I paid a visit to Eliezer David ben Naomi HaCohain for he looked in good spirits and he was in a humorous mood. He told me that he went down two sizes through his diet. I asked him what was his diet? He said “Cancer”! I guess half the fight to stay alive is to be in a good spirit for depression only hastens illness. One of the diabetics on my list is reacting positive to Insulin. Prayers help these people so don’t forget to make an effort.
I had some maintenance problems at home, two weddings this week, catching up a lot of Dafim on the Daf Yomi and a lack of sleep that for the first time ever I am repeating my Drasha which I wrote 4 years ago. For my new readers this will not be a repeat but for me I will try if I have the time to edit it to revise it for the better as Rashi revised his comments except a few three times on the Torah and on the Talmud. I have driven myself hard these past few months and some rest and relaxation that I wanted to do last Spring I am finally going to do next week to refresh my batteries for the intense prayer and concentration for the High Holidays.
Last week, we saw the unprovoked attack by Amalek on Am Yisrael. Actually the conflict started in the womb of Rivka in Parsha Chaya Sarah. There the two boys Esav and Yacov are fighting. It continues in Parsha Toldos with the selling of Esav’s birthright and Yacov “stealing” Esav’s blessing. Esav sent his son to kill Yacov and his son returned only with the jewels of Yacov. As a father and grandfather, Esav knew that often the children could not be trusted to follow 100% the orders of a parent while the grandchild could. He charged Amalek to carry out his extermination of Yacov. Now Amalek was cunning, he knew that Yacov and family would be enslaved in Egypt. After suffering a bit and on the way to Eretz Yisrael was the best time to hit Am Yisrael.
So we were attacked by Amalek from the rear on the way where the women, children and elderly were struggling to keep up. After the reminder of war which was to prevent us from entering Eretz Yisrael; we were told about possessing the land. The first thing a nation does once it settles down is to secure its borders and food supply. It is a natural derivative of growing fruits from the land to bring them before G-D as a thanksgiving. The Nation must remember its history. Just as a new immigrant to the United States must take a test on American History to become a Citizen so too must the Israeli farmer remember our history in confessing or attesting before G-D the bringing of the first fruits. When we observe the Mitzvos and deserve the blessings from Har Gerizim, we are protected by HASHEM and when we go astray the curses from Har Eval come to haunt us and so we have this conflict within the individual and the general population. Amalek is always ready and able to punish us from Haman to Khomeini with Rome, Inquisitions and Hitler/Stalin/Saddam in the middle. (I will not go into the atrocities of the Arabs and Turks but one can read them in “From Time Immemorial” by Peters)
In 5767 I wrote: This is one of the hardest Parshiyos for me to write about. Not that the curses do not supply material, but I don’t want to talk about Am Yisrael faults. I may add that I don’t like to spit out fire and brimstone. That is not the Torah was as we say that the way of Torah is “Noam” (pleasant) and all its paths are Shalom. So I like to think positive.
No commentator explains so well things about Shmita, Tithes, Confession of the First Fruits but Rashi so I am using him a bit more this week than usual.
26:1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein;
And it will be, when you come… and you possess it and settle in it. This [verse, which is immediately followed by the commandment of bringing the firstfruits,] teaches us that they were not obligated [to bring] “first fruits” until they conquered the Land and divided it. – [Kid. 37b]
This is first section of the Parsha is read on Pessach and spoken when bringing the Bikurim (first fruits) from Shavous through Sukkos. Originally the person was called up to read from a Torah Scroll the confession. When the illiteracy rate increased after the destruction of the first Temple and in my case the inability to read Trop (proper cantillation of the Torah) the person bringing the Bikurim was read to and he repeated it.
2 that thou shall take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shall bring in from thy land that the LORD thy God gives thee; and thou shall put it in a basket and shall go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.
Of the first. But not all the first, because not all fruits are subject to [the mitzvah of] “first fruits”-only the seven species [for which the land of Israel is noted]. Here, in our verse, it says the word אֶרֶץ, “land,” and there [in the verse describing the praise of Eretz Israel], it says, “A land (אֶרֶץ) of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey” (Deut. 8:8). Just as the earlier verse (Deut. 8:8) is referring to the seven species through which Eretz Israel is praised, here too, [the verse is dealing with] the praise of the Land. [Rashi proceeds to explain two expressions in Deut. 8:8, which are relevant to the mitzvah of first fruits, in light of the connection taught by our Rabbis above:] oil-producing olives. [refers to]“ אֲגוּרִי olives,” [see Sifrei 26:2, meaning superior quality] olives that retain their oil, keeping it gathered (אָגוּר) [as it were] inside it. [Hence, it is the superior fruits which must be brought here]. — [Ber. 39a] [And in the same verse (Deut. 8:8):] honey. That is the honey of dates. — [Sifrei 26:2] of the first [of all the fruit]. [What is the process of taking these fruits?] A man goes down into his field and sees a fig that has ripened. He winds a reed around it for a sign and declares: “This is the first fruit (בִּכּוּרִים) .” – [Mishnah Bikurim 3:1]
When one brought Bikurim, he would bring let us say large figs as Bikurim, smaller figs as addition to the Bikurim and dried figs for the display too.
3 And thou shall come unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him: ‘I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the land which the LORD swore unto our fathers to give us.’
You have only the kohen in your days, whatever he is [and although he may not be as wise or holy as those of previous generations, you are obliged to address him with the respect due to his office as an agent of God]. — [Sifrei 26:3] and say to him. That you are not ungrateful [for all that God has done for you]. I declare this day. [The expression, “this day,” teaches us that the one who brings the first fruits must make this declaration] once a year, and not twice [even though he may return with more firstf ruits later that same year]. — [Sifrei 26:3]
So you should know that not every Cohain is like Rav Kuk Shlita of Rehovot or Rav Shaar-Yeshuv Cohain Shlita of Haifa but perhaps only a Reform or Conservative Cohain with good genealogy back to Aaron HaCohain. The Torah comes to tell us that if he is a Kosher Cohain, you get the Mitzvah anyway just as if you brought it to a Cohain Rabbi and Gadol B’ Torah.
4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thy hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.
You have only the kohen in your days, whatever he is [and although he may not be as wise or holy as those of previous generations, you are obliged to address him with the respect due to his office as an agent of God]. — [Sifrei 26:3] and say to him. That you are not ungrateful [for all that God has done for you]. I declare this day. [The expression, “this day,” teaches us that the one who brings the first fruits must make this declaration] once a year, and not twice [even though he may return with more firstfruits later that same year]. — [Sifrei 26:3]
The Cohain could be the age of your child, a boorish person, etc. but if he receives the basket from you Rashi comes to explain to us that he is an agent of G-D.
And the kohen shall take the basket from your hand. In order to wave it. [How so?] The kohen places his hand under [the basket, beneath the level of] the owner’s hand [which is grasping the basket at the top, by its rim] (Sukk. 47b), and [in this position,] waves [the basket together with its owner].
If Rashi would not explain to me that the owner and Cohain do it together, I would think it was the Cohain only.
5 And thou shall speak and say before the LORD thy God: ‘A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
And you shall call out. Heb. וְעָנִית [Usually meaning to “respond.” However, in this context, this word] denotes the raising of the voice. — [Sotah 32b] An Aramean [sought to] destroy my forefather. [The declarer] mentions [here] the kind deeds of the Omnipresent [by stating]:“An Aramean [sought to] destroy my forefather.” That is, Laban, when he pursued Jacob, sought to uproot [i.e., annihilate] all [the Jews], and since he intended to do so, the Omnipresent considered it as though he had actually done it (Sifrei 26:5), for [regarding] the pagan nations of the world, the Holy One, Blessed is He, considers the [mere] intention [of an evil deed] as [being equivalent to] the actual perpetration [of the deed itself]. — [Yerushalmi Peah 1:1 at end] who then went down to Egypt. And [apart from Laban,] still others came upon us to annihilate us, for after this, Jacob went down to Egypt [“and the Egyptians treated us cruelly…”]. With a small number of people. [Namely,] seventy persons. — [Sifrei 26: 5; see Gen. 46:27]
This is one of the few times that Torah specifically mentions our family/national history. It is to remind us that we must review and study the past and learn from our mistakes for the future. One who gets divorced because he married a woman for her beauty or her money only and now she posses none will have to review why he wants a divorce before going through it and he must make sure that he does not make the same mistake the second or third time around. History tends to repeat itself unless quick and corrective action is taken. One who doesn’t know mankind’s history is not fit to lead as he will make mistakes that other already made and corrected.
6 And the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. 7 And we cried unto the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders. 9 And He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
The context is the Mishkan for sacrifices but Rashi says it is recognizing The Temple (Beis HaMikdash) as the center of Jewish Life.
10 And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land, which Thou, O LORD, hast given me.’ And thou shall set it down before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God.
Then, you shall lay. [The repetition of the expressions וְהִנִּיחוֹ (verse 4) and here, וְהִנַּחְתּוֹ] teaches us [that there were two procedures involving laying the hands on the basket and waving it, namely] that [the owner] takes [the basket] after the kohen has [completed] waving it; [the owner subsequently] grasps it in his hand during his declaration, and then repeats the waving procedure.
11 And thou shall rejoice in all the good which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thy house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of thee.
From here, [our Rabbis] said that the firstfruits declaration is recited only at the time of “rejoicing,” namely, from Shavuoth until Sukkoth, for [then] a person gathers in his grain, fruit, wine and oil [over which he rejoices]. However, from Sukkoth and onwards, he must bring [his firstfruits to the Temple], but he does not recite the declaration. – [Pes. 36b] you, the Levite. [From here, we learn that] the Levite is also obligated in [the mitzvah of bringing] firstfruits if they planted [trees] within their [forty-eight] cities. [Outside of these cities, they had no land.] and the stranger who is among you. [I.e., the proselyte.] He brings [his firstfruits], but he does not recite the declaration, since he cannot say “to our fathers” [in the introduction to the declaration (verse 3): “I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us”]. — [Mishnah Bikkurim 1:4]
12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithe of your increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be satisfied,
Rashi at this point is going to explain the Shmita cycle in details and we are coming to the end of the cycle on Rosh Hashanah and the Assemblage on Sukkos.
When you have finished tithing all the tithes of your produce in the third year. When you have finished separating the tithes of the third year [of the seven-year shemittah cycle]. It fixes a time for the removal [of the tithes from the house] and for the [accompanying] confession [regarding their proper disposal] on the Eve of Passover [for the removal, and for the confession, in the afternoon of the last day of Passover] of the fourth year, as it is said,” At the end of (מִקֵּץ) three years, you shall take out [all the tithe of your crop] (Deut. 14:28), and later on, Scripture also uses this expression: “At the end of (מִקֵּץ) seven years“ (Deut. 31: 10), referring to the mitzvah of הַקְהֵל [assembling all the people in the Temple courtyard, to hear the king read the book of Deuteronomy]. Just as there, the mitzvah was to be performed on a Festival, here too [in the case of removing the tithes and reciting the confession, the mitzvah must be performed] on a Festival. But one could suggest that just as there [in the case of הַקְהֵל, the mitzvah was performed] on the Festival of Sukkoth, here too, [the mitzvah must be performed] on the Festival of Sukkoth. Therefore, Scripture states here: ”When have you finished taking all the tithes in the third year”- [this refers to] a festival on which all tithes have been completely taken: this is Passover [not Sukkoth], because many trees have their fruits picked after Sukkoth [but not after Passover]. Consequently, the separating of tithes of the third year’s produce will conclude on Passover of [the following year, namely] the fourth year. And anyone who has delayed [in distributing] his tithes is ordered by Scripture to remove [any remaining tithes] from the house [on Passover of the fourth year of the shemittah cycle]. — [Sifrei 26:12] the year of the tithe. [The third year of each shemittah cycle is called “the year of the tithe” because] it differs from its preceding two years insofar as it is a year in which only one of the tithes separated in the two preceding years is separated. During the first and second years of the shemittah cycle, the tithes separated are: a) מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן, “the first tithe,” as the verse says, “[Speak to the Levites, and say to them,] When you take from the children of Israel the tithe…” (Num. 18:26) [Referring to “you first tithe,”] and b) מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי, “the second tithe,” as the verse says, “And you shall eat before the Lord, your God… the tithes of your grain, of your wine and of your oil…” (Deut. 14:23) [Which is a reference to “the second tithe”]. Thus, we have two tithes [being separated during the first two years of the shemittah cycle]. Now Scripture comes and teaches us that in the third year, only one of these two tithes is separated. And which one is that? It is “the first tithe.” [“The second tithe is not separated during the third year.”] Instead of “the second tithe,” one must give “the tithe for the poor,” for it says here in our verse “you shall give [them] to the Levite” what belongs to him, namely “the first tithe” ; [then our verse continues:] “the stranger, the orphan, and the widow”-this is “the tithe for the poor.” – [Sifrei 26:12; R.H. 12b] so that they can eat to satiety. Give them enough to satisfy them. Based on this, [our Rabbis] stated: One may not give the poor in the granary less than one-half a kav of wheat [or one kav of barley. [A kav represents the volume of twenty-four eggs]. — [Sifrei 26:12, Peah 8:5]
13 then thou shall say before the LORD thy God: ‘I have put away the hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Thy commandment which Thou hast commanded me; I have not transgressed any of Thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.
[Sifrei 26:13] I have removed the holy [portions] from the house. This refers to: a)“the second tithe,” and b) נֶטַע רְבָעִי, the fruit yielded by a tree in its fourth year of growth [both of which are termed קֹדֶשׁ, holy (portions)], they must be brought up to Jerusalem and eaten there in purity. [Accordingly,] the verse here teaches us that if one has delayed bringing these tithes up to Jerusalem for two years, he must take them up now [in the third year]. And I have also given it to the Levite. This refers to “the first tithe.” – [ibid.] and… also. [This seemingly superfluous word, “also,”] comes to include Terumah , [the part given to the kohen] and the firstfruits [which are also given to the kohen . Since Kohanim stem from the tribe of Levi, they are referred to here as Levites]. — [Yerushalmi Maaser Sheni 5:5] the stranger, the orphan and the widow. This refers to “the tithe for the poor.” – [Sifrei 26:13] according to all Your commandment. I have given them [the tithes] in their proper sequence (ibid). I did not give Terumah before the firstfruits; I did not give tithes before Terumah; I did not give the second tithe before the first tithe. For Terumah is termed רֵאשִׁית, “the first one,” because it is the first portion to be separated when the produce has become [matured]“grain,” and it is written [regarding the separation of tithes]: מְלֵאָת ְוְדִמְע ֲלֹא תְאַחֵר (Exod. 22: 28), which means that one must not change the order [set out in Scripture for separating tithes]. – [Mechilta , Exod. 22:28] I have not transgressed Your commandments. I did not separate tithes from one species [of produce to fulfill the obligation of tithe-separation due] from another species [of produce], and I did not separate tithes from the new crop [of the year to fulfill the obligation of tithe-separation due] from the old crop. — [Sifrei, Maaser Sheni 5:11] nor have I forgotten. To bless You [on the performance of the mitzvah] of separating tithes. — [ibid.]
The confession was to make sure that one really gave some charity to have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, and that was the main ceremony and guarantor for the poor. It was also a hidden warning to those that understood after the curses section. Not giving charity to any one of the group Levy – Levite, poor would bring retribution and also helping the stranger in your midst. But to the Orphan and the widow there was even a stronger meaning: Your children could become orphans and your wife could be a widow if you don’t do what HASHEM commanded.
14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I put away thereof, being unclean, nor given thereof for the dead; I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, I have done according to all that Thou hast commanded me. 15 Look forth from Thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Thy people Israel, and the land which Thou hast given us, as Thou didst swear unto our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 16 This day the LORD thy God commands thee to do these statutes and ordinances; thou shall therefore observe and do them with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.
Every day is a new day and a new mitzvah. Here the word might (strength physical and monetary) is not used and since most of us know the Shema prayer by heart this has a special meaning.
Rashi notes: [Tanchuma 1] You will observe and fulfill them. A heavenly voice is blessing you: “You have brought the firstfruits today- [so] will you merit to bring them next year!”
17 Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and that thou would walk in His ways, and keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and hearken unto His voice.
We do not find any equivalent expression in the Scriptures [which might give us a clue to the meaning of these words]. However, it appears to me that [the expression הֶאמִיר] denotes separation and distinction. [Thus, here, the meaning is as follows:] From all the pagan deities, you have set apart the Lord for yourself, to be your God, and He separated you to Him from all the peoples on earth to be His treasured people. [Notwithstanding,] I did find a similar expression [to הֶאמִיר], which denotes “glory,” as in the verse“[How long will] all workers of violence praise themselves (יִתְאַמְּרוּ) ?” (Ps. 94:4).
Moshe concludes the Drasha with the fact that we must keep and obey the Torah
18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His own treasure, as He hath promised thee, and that thou should keep all His commandments; 19 and to make thee high above all nations that He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in glory; and that thou may be a holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.
And so that you will be a holy people… as He spoke. [When He said]:“And you shall be holy to Me” (Lev. 20:26). – [Mechilta 12:78]
Rabbi Yossi Jankovits Shlita concludes this whole section with a short thought: It is interesting to note that we make mention of the lengths Hashem went to and not merely the fact that he removed us from Egypt. We learn from this an important lesson: when assessing the gratitude that we owe another we must take into account not only what we received, but also the amount of effort exerted on our behalf.
27:1 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying: ‘Keep all the commandment which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over the Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, that thou shall set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster. 3 And thou shall write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over; that thou may go in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath promised thee. 4 And it shall be when ye are passed over the Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Ebal, and thou shall plaster them with plaster. 5 And there shall thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones; thou shall lift up no iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shall build the altar of the LORD thy God of unhewn stones; and thou shall offer burnt-offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God. 7 And thou shall sacrifice peace-offerings, and shall eat there; and thou shall rejoice before the LORD thy God.
In seventy languages. — [Sotah 32a]
8 And thou shall write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.’ 9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying: ‘Keep silence, and hear, O Israel; this day thou art become a people unto the LORD thy God. 10 Thou shall therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and do His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day.’ 11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying: 12 ‘These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin;
As it is found in Tractate Sotah (32a): Six tribes ascended to the top of Mount Gerizim and [the other] six to the top of Mount Ebal; the kohanim , the Levites and the [holy] ark stood below in the middle. The Levites turned their faces towards Mount Gerizim and began with the blessing: “Blessed be the man who does not make a graven or molten image…,” and these [the tribes on Mount Gerizim] and these [the tribes on Mount Ebal] answered “Amen!” Then [the Levites] turned their faces towards Mount Ebal and began with the curse, saying: “Cursed be the man who makes any graven [or molten] image…,” and these [the tribes on Mount Gerizim] and these [the tribes on Mount Ebal] responded “Amen!” The Levites then turned their faces once again towards Mount Gerizim, and said: “Blessed be he who does not degrade his father and mother,” [and the tribes on Mount Gerizim and those on Mount Ebal responded “Amen!” The Levites] would then turn their faces once again towards Mount Ebal, and say: “Cursed be he who degrades his father and mother,” [and the tribes on Mount Gerizim and those on Mount Ebal responded “Amen!”]. Thus [it would continue] in this manner for all of them [the blessings and curses] until [the very last curse, namely (verse 26)]:“Cursed be the one who does not uphold [the words of this Torah].”
I repeat myself here. Mt. Gerizim is a fruitful mountain and green. Mt. Eval is barren. Both overlook the grave of Yosef and the town of Schem.
13 and these shall stand upon mount Eval for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zevulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice:
… 28:68 And the LORD shall bring thee back into Egypt in ships, by the way whereof I said unto thee: ‘Thou shall see it no more again’; and there ye shall sell yourselves unto your enemies for bondmen and for bondwoman, and no man shall buy you.
In his stories about Eliyahu HaNovi, Rabbi Klapholtz, brings down the fact that there is no blessing to contra this curse. Eliyahu said that in the future the enemies of Israel will make such a fearsome war against us that it would be as if we want to sell ourselves as slaves. But none will buy is actually a blessing in disguise as HASHEM purchased us according to the Chumash and in the future HE will redeem us!
Rashi however brings down the negative part of the curse: And there, you will seek to be sold to your enemies. You will wish to be sold to them as slaves and handmaids. But there will be no buyer. Because they will decree death and destruction upon you, and you will seek to be sold. Heb. וְהִתְמַכַּרְתֶּם, in Old French epor vandrez vos. [That is, the verb is in the reflexive conjugation. Accordingly,] it is incorrect to explain וְהִתְמַכַּרְתֶּם [as if in the passive conjugation, i.e.,] as וְנִמְכַּרְתֶּם, “and you will be sold”-sold by others-because the verse continues: “but there will be no buyer.” [Thus how could they be “sold by others” if there is “no buyer”?]
69 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.
That they should accept the Torah upon themselves with a curse and an oath, besides the covenant. [Namely,] the curses [which appear] in Lev. (26: 14-39), which were proclaimed at [Mount] Sinai.
29:1 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them: Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 2 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and those great wonders; 3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 4 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 5 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink; that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 6 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them. 7 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. 8 Observe therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may make all that ye do to prosper.
Moshe ends with a historical reminder. We can learn from this for educational purposes one must learn over and over again the lessons from the past. Also the miracle of feeding and eating Mann (Manna) for an entire generation and they grew up healthy is a tremendous miracle which we take for granted. Also the miracle of clothing not wearing out for 40 years, no skin rash, no bad odors and walking in the same pair of shoes or sandals for 40 years without any problem. Even with the best hard soled rubber, the shoe’s bottom and instep wears out. All this the Bnei Yisrael took for granted but it was a combination of miracles. The concluding words of the Parsha are: just observe the Torah and do the Mitzvos and you will prosper.
The man from Missouri accepts the Baal Shem Tov
The well-known Torah scholar, Rabbi Dovid of Nikolayev, once encountered an old friend from his youth, who demanded to know what had decided him to be a follower of the Baal Shem Tov. Reb Dovid related the following:
I heard of the Baal Shem Tov and was interested to investigate what he had to offer. I went to visit him, but I did not find what I was looking for. The Chasidim there influenced me to stay a little longer. They told me that if I would remain until Shabbos, and make the effort on Friday afternoon to be in his presence when he recited Song of Songs, I would find what I sought. I changed my travel plans, and the Chasidim helped me to arrange what they had suggested. Well! I certainly heard something that was sublime and a delight to the ears. I even sensed that his words set up a clamor in all the supernal worlds! But still, he did not capture me.
The Chasidim then urged me to wait until the eve of the day on which the Rebbe observed Yahrzeit after one of his parents. That is when he would pace around his room all night long, and recite the entire Mishna by heart. This would undoubtedly captivate me. I stayed on, and that night hid in his room. What I saw was truly extraordinary. But still, I felt this wasn’t it.
Then the Chasidim insisted that I should wait until the following night, when after a full-day fast, he would invite his elder disciples for a mystic meal. At that meal, they assured me, it was impossible that he should not draw out my soul. They also forewarned me earnestly that I must make sure s not to fall asleep there, because for some reason slumber often overcame those who participated. I napped during the day and utilized other methods in order to ensure that I would not fall asleep at the table.
I was assigned a place at the gathering. The Baal Shem Tov sat at the head of the table. Surrounded by his Chasidim, he began to expound upon the kabbalistic meditations that accompany the ritual immersion in the Mikvah.
“But Rebbe,” one of his Chasidim called out to him; “Does not the holy Ari of Safed, of sainted memory, explain these meditations otherwise?”
The Baal Shem Tov threw his head back. His face, which had been like a fiery flame, suddenly grew pale. His eyes bulged. He looked like one not in this world. At that moment I was overcome by a deep slumber, despite all my efforts to ward it off. In my sleep I saw myself in an unknown city. People were hurrying in one direction. I asked them where they hastened so urgently, and they told me that The Baal Shem Tov was soon to deliver a discourse, and they were eager to hear it. I ran with them, until we came to an imposing edifice, inside which stood two chairs.
“Who is the young man in the second chair?” I asked.
“That is the Ari of Tsfat,” I was told.
I managed to stand near the chair of The Baal Shem Tov, who soon began to expound the Kabbalistic meditations of the Mikvah. When he had completed his discourse the Ari challenged him with a series of questions, each of which the Baal Shem Tov answered. Finally it was clear that the Ari accepted the Baal Shem Tov’s position as correct for the times that he lived in.
At that point I awoke, and saw that I still sat at the table with the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples. The color was returning to his face, and it was becoming fiery once more. Again he began to deliver the discourse on the meditations of the Mikvah, and again the same disciple asked him: “Rebbe! Does not the Ari explain otherwise?”
The Baal Shem Tov turned to me, and said, “Dovid! Stand up and testify as to what you have seen!”
At that moment, the Baal Shem Tov captured my soul.
Editor’s note: The friend who heard this report, Reb Meir, went to the Baal Shem Tov, and in due course became one of his outstanding disciples. His great-grandson, Rabbi Hillel of Paritch, was such an outstanding Chassid of the first three Lubavitcher Rebbes, that the Tsemech Tsedek (the third Rebbe) testified, “Reb Hillel is himself half a Rebbe.”
Another editor’s note: Nikolayev is also where the Lubavitcher Rebbe of our generation was born, in 1902
Biographical notes: Rabbi Yisrael, the Baal Shem Tov [“master of the good Name”], a unique and seminal figure in Jewish history, revealed the Chassidic movement and his own identity as an exceptionally holy person, on his 36th birthday, 18 Elul, 1734. He passed away on the festival of Shavuot in 1760. He wrote no books, although many claim to contain his teachings. One available in English is the excellent annotated translation of Tzava’at Harivash, published by Kehos.
Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (1534-5 Av 1572), Known as “the holy Ari,” revolutionized the study of Kabbalah and its integration into mainstream Judaism during the two years he spent in Tsfat before his death at 38. Much of Chasidic thought is based on the Ari’s teachings, as recorded by his main disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital.
Source: The above story is abridged, adapted and supplemented by Yerachmiel Tilles from A Treasury of Chassidic Tales (Artscroll)
Yerachmiel Tilles is the director of the AscentOfSafed.com and KabbalaOnline.org websites. This story was first posted on the Ascent website. Ascent is a seminar-retreat center and hostel in Tzefat—call 972-4 692-1364 or in Israel 1-800 30-40-70.
Ask Dr. Yosef
When my children were at home usually the oldest or the youngest washed the dishes on Friday night. I personally feel that I should help out my wife who allows me to study Torah and write this Drasha by washing the dishes doing some if not most of the food shopping and I usually set up the Table for Shabbos and we share in placing the food on the table unless she is exhausted or she has help. Marriage is a partnership and one should help their partner out of love and share things together. I call it sharing and caring. Dr. Yosef deals with an exhausted bread winner who comes home and expects to rest on Shabbos but he encounters an exhausted partner.
Question: When we first got married (10 years ago) my wife washed all the dishes and didn’t expect me to do any of the dish washing. Now, however, she wants me to wash the dishes after dinner and Shabbos. She says that she makes the food and I should do the dishes. I know what you are going to say, but I really don’t like doing
dishes. And, after all, I do work long hours to make all of our income. Do you think I should also have to wash dishes?
Dr. Yosef replies: I feel that this is a serious concern for you and I want to try to be helpful. Let me review with you what you have written and see what lessons can be derived. First of all, 10 years have gone by and probably a lot more than who washes dishes has changed. I am guessing that you have been blessed with children and the
work load for both you and your wife has increased. By the end of the day, maybe both of you are exhausted and apparently, neither one of you “likes doing dishes.” What happens when you come home after a long day of work – do you relax on the couch while your wife is preparing dinner; do you read a newspaper or do you open a Sefer and get into learning, perhaps even reviewing a Torah thought with your wife? Are the children still up or have they been put to bed and are asleep? Do you help with bedtime or is everything done by your wife except for washing the dishes? Your claim that you make all of the income – surely you know that what you have is a blessing from Hashem and the blessings flows into the household through the wife, as our Chazal (our Sages of blessed memory a Heb. Abbrev.) have frequently noted.
My suggestions are these – first talk over the issues with your wife from the stand point of fairness – are you being fair with your expectations of her and vice versa? Are there some compromises or alternatives that can be considered? A strategy which has become increasingly popular with frum families – especially on Shabbat and when there are many guests – is to use disposable dishes, etc., which need not be of the very fancy, expensive type.
Maybe this could help. Finally, avoid any semblance of a power struggle – where no one wins. Do what is best for family and children after discussing the real, underlying issues honestly and lovingly.
Dr. Yosef Halbfinger – Personal, Marriage (Shalom Bayis) & Family Issues–English, Hebrew, Yiddish– Halachic Advisor: HaRav Chaim Shalom Deitsch, Shlita. (02) 571-4532; (0547)-651- 288; 131 HaYehudim, Old City, JM.
Hilchos Deyos of the Rambam http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/910343/jewish/Chapter-Three.htm
A person might say, "Since envy, desire, [the pursuit] of honor, and the like, are a wrong path and drive a person from the world, I shall separate from them to a very great degree and move away from them to the opposite extreme." For example, he will not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor live in a pleasant home, nor wear fine clothing, but, rather, [wear] sackcloth and coarse wool and the like - just as the pagan priests do.
This, too, is a bad path and it is forbidden to walk upon it. Whoever follows this path is called a sinner [as implied by Numbers 6:11's] statement concerning a nazarite: "and he [the priest] shall make an atonement for him, for his having sinned regarding [his] soul." Our sages declared: If the nazarite who abstained only from wine requires atonement, how much more so does one who abstains from everything.
Therefore, our Sages directed man to abstain only from those things which the Torah denies him and not to forbid himself permitted things by vows and oaths [of abstention]. Thus, our Sages stated: Are not those things which the Torah has prohibited sufficient for you that you must forbid additional things to yourself?
This general statement also refers to those who fast constantly. They are not following a good path, [for] our Sages have forbidden a man to mortify himself by fasting. Of all the above, and their like, Solomon directed and said: "Do not be overly righteous and do not be overly clever; why make yourself desolate?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16)
Commentary Halacha 1
A person might say, "Since envy, desire, [the pursuit] of honor, and the like, are a wrong path and drive a person from the world, - With these statements, the Rambam obviously refers to the mishnah from Avot which he quoted at the conclusion of the previous chapter. Having decried the traits mentioned there, he explains that his condemnation is directed against excessive materialism, but not against all involvement in worldly affairs.
I shall separate from them to a very great degree and move away from them to the opposite extreme." - I.e., asceticism
For example, he will not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor live in a pleasant home, nor wear fine clothing, but, rather, [wear] sackcloth and coarse wool and the like - In Shemoneh Perakim, Chapter 4, the Rambam makes a similar - but more lengthy - condemnation of asceticism. There he also mentions other ascetic practices - refraining from sleep and seeking solitude in the mountains and deserts.
just as the pagan priests do. - This translation follows the published texts of the Mishneh Torah which state: kohanei haovdei kochavim. However, many manuscripts and early printed editions state kohanei Edom - "Roman priests," which would seem to indicate that the Rambam had hermitlike Catholic monastic orders in mind.
This, too, is a bad path and it is forbidden to walk upon it. - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam explains that, at certain times, many of the pious adopted ascetic practices as a safeguard against excessive involvement in materialism. However, they never regarded such practices as a goal in their own right. Others observed their behavior and mistook asceticism for an end rather than a means to achieve the middle path.
From the Rambam's statements in Shemoneh Perakim, it would appear that there are two drawbacks to asceticism:
a) It might lead a person to poor health, illness, and a lack of strength which would prevent him from serving God as the Rambam states in Halachah 3.
b) A person might err and feel that he has fulfilled his obligation to serve God through these ascetic practices. As a result, he may never feel the need to dedicate himself to the service of God as He prescribed in the Torah.
There is a third disadvantage that is stressed heavily by the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut and may be hinted at by the Rambam's statements in the following halachot.
The Zohar (Vol. II, p. 42b) states that God created the world "in order to let Himself be known." Similarly, Tanya (Chapter 33) explains that God created the world because He desired to have a dwelling place in the lower worlds. Thus, a person who tends to otherworldliness and asceticism, defeats God's purpose in creation.
Whoever follows this path is called a sinner [as implied by Numbers 6:11's] statement concerning a nazarite: "and he [the priest] shall make an atonement for him, for his having sinned regarding [his] soul." - A nazarite is forbidden to become impure through any contact with a dead body for the extent of his nazarite vow. If he contracts such impurity, he is required to bring a special sin offering. See Numbers, Chapter 6, Hilchot Nezirut, Chapters 6-8.
Our sages declared: - Ta'anit 11a. [Interestingly, the author of this statement, Rabbi Eliezer HaKfar, is also the author of the statement (Avot, ibid.) that "envy, desire, and the pursuit of honor, drive a person from the world."]
If the nazarite who abstained only from wine requires atonement, how much more so does one who abstains from everything.
Therefore, our Sages directed man to abstain only from those things which the Torah denies him and not to forbid himself permitted things by vows and oaths - One should not conclude that the Rambam completely disapproves of vows and oaths. At the conclusion of Hilchot Nedarim (13:23), the Rambam states: "Whoever takes a vow in order to stabilize his temperaments and correct his deeds, is zealous and praiseworthy."
In Hilchot Nedarim, he gives examples of people who were excessively inclined to a particular quality who take vows to correct their faults (in a manner reminiscent of his advice in the beginning of Chapter 2 of these halachot). Rather, what the Rambam criticizes in our halachah is abstention for the sake of abstention.
[of abstention]. - Note the Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin 4:12:
Rav Chizkiyah the priest said in the name of Rav: "A person will ultimately be called to judgment for everything which his eye saw and which he did not taste."
Rav Lazar was concerned because of this teaching. He saved his pennies and would [purchase] and eat from every fruit once a year.
Thus, our Sages stated: - The Jerusalem Talmud, Nedarim 9:1
Are not those things which the Torah has prohibited sufficient for you that you must forbid additional things to yourself? - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam prefaces this statement with the following comment: "Our Sages have made statements about this subject which are more marvelous than any others that I have ever seen."
This general statement also refers to those who fast constantly. - In Shemoneh Perakim, the Rambam also criticizes excessive fasting. He quotes the prophet, Zechariah, who questions the motives of the Jews' fasts (7:5): "Was it for Me that you fasted?" and exhorts them to "Practice true justice, and show kindness and mercy every man to his brother" as the proper service of God. To underscore this point, he concludes with the prophecy (ibid. 8:19) that even the public fasts will ultimately be transformed into festivals and days of rejoicing.
They are not following a good path, [for] our Sages - Ta'anit 11a
have forbidden a man to mortify himself by fasting. - The phrase "to mortify himself" is significant here. The Rambam (Hilchot Ta'anit 1:4; 1:9) himself mentions that the Sages commanded both the community and the individual to fast in times of distress.
The Rambam's statements have been questioned by the Rashba (Responsa 431 and 688) and by the Lechem Mishneh based on Nedarim 10a. However, the commentaries note that Shmuel, the author of the statement in Ta'anit, also states (Bava Kama 91a) that one may fast. Here, the Rambam's statements are directed against self- mortification and asceticism and not against fasting per se.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that in Hilchot Teshuvah, when the Rambam describes "the paths of Teshuvah" (3:4), he makes no mention of fasting.
Of all the above, and their like, Solomon directed and said: "Do not be overly righteous and do not be overly clever; why make yourself desolate?" (Ecclesiastes 7:16) - The midrashic works have not interpreted this verse in the manner suggested here. However, we find other Spanish Jewish Sages who followed this interpretation. See Duties of the Heart 3:25, Ibn Ezra in his commentary to Ecclesiastes.
Note that this verse uses the two terms - the righteous (tzadik and the wise (chacham) - which the Rambam has used to designate the man with a ideal traits.
The placement of this halachah raises questions. One might have expected it to appear in the previous chapter which deals with other excesses and deviations from the middle path. However, it is possible to explain that, in its present position, it serves as a preface to the following halachot which explain how our service of God and connection to Him can be established within the context of our material reality. Thus, when viewed as a totality, this chapter emphasizes how Judaism desires that religious fulfillment be found within the context of our day to day life, rather than in otherworldly "spiritual" activities.
Col via Linda: Regarding Abortion:
A worried woman went to her gynecologist and said: 'Doctor, I have a serious problem and desperately need your help! My baby is not even 1 year old and I'm pregnant again. I don't want kids so close together. So the doctor said: 'OK and what do you want me to do?' She said: 'I want you to end my pregnancy, and I'm counting on your help with this.' The doctor thought for a little, an
d after some silence he said to the lady: 'I think I have a better solution for your problem. It's less dangerous for you too.' She smiled, thinking that the doctor was going to accept her request. Then he continued: 'You see, in order for you not to have to take care 2 babies at the same time, let's kill the one in your arms. This way, you could rest some before the other one is born. If we're going to kill one of them, it doesn't matter which one it is. There would be no risk for your body if you chose the one in your arms. The lady was horrified and said: 'No doctor! How terrible! It's a crime to kill a child! 'I agree', the doctor replied. 'But you seemed to be OK with it, so I thought maybe that was the best solution.' The doctor smiled, realizing that he had made his point.
The day of Judgement Approaches and so does a Nuclear Iran
Let us look into various possible things that can go wrong for us. For we don’t want to be part of a possible Gezaira Ra (evil decree).
So it is that time of year where we must look into our deeds, prayers and charity. The first measure that week look into are Mitzvos and Avairos (sins) that involve Kares. The one that occurs most frequently is Shabbos Kodesh. If one was to forget to make Kiddush on Shabbos or a blessing before eating food or upon completion of the meal it is like stealing or detracting from the Shabbos or the food that HASHEM blesses us with. If one forgets to say Havdallah at the conclusion of the Shabbos then it is as if we have not distinguished between Shabbos and Chol (profane). It is like destroying the light of Shabbos with darkness of Motzei Shabbos by doing a Melacha mistranslated as work without parting gracefully by taking our leave from Shabbos.
Now let us look into Shabbos itself. If we travel by foot more than 2000 Amos (a kilometer) out of the city without an Eruv that gives us another 2000 Amos, we are in violation of the Rabbis who via tradition forbade travelling out of town. Essentially we could walk within a large built up area kilometers. If we were to walk from Bat Yam to Rosh HaAyin since the area is built up we could the same with Brooklyn via Parts of Queens or from Long Island City past Cedarhurst Long Island further outwards. As long as there was no stop in the buildings for more than 1 Km and there was an Eruv that allowed us to carry we could go for miles with a knapsack on our back filled with food and wine. Yet where one cannot have an Eruv like around Brooklyn NY; if one was to carry from a private domain to public domain even a tissue he would be involution of the Shabbos. Or in a private domain we could push our furniture around the room if we needed to do so for the space but not to make a permanent change on Shabbos and this would not be a Melacha. (Again I do not use the word work for pushing a couch or a piano for space from one side of the room to the other in physics is work = force times distance. Believe me it is work but no Melacha.)
What about forgetting ourselves and doing a Melacha by Shogeg (unintentional). I go for a walk in a wooded area behind my son’s house within the Eruv let us say. I step on a twig and break it. Nuts fall off my pecan tree on to the side walk. I can kick them to the side if I have an Eruv so that the neighbors will not step on them but I cannot put them into a pile on my property as that is the Melacha of gathering. My neighbor cannot pick up the nuts on Shabbos to eat them even though they are on the sidewalk because it is making use of something “born” on the Shabbos. For the nuts were on the tree and not picked before Shabbos. There is in this case no stealing because they are in a public domain and not need for Teruma and Maaser for this is not the place of eating a usual meal and never brought in as the harvest. But still because it is something new that came into being on Shabbos it is forbidden. The same goes for an egg laid on a farm on Yom Tov. It is permissible to cook eggs that were gathered before Yom Tov but not new eggs born on Yom Tov.
Now other laws with Kares involve the laws of Family Purity when a woman is in the state of Niddah and becomes Tumay. She is forbidden to her husband until she becomes purified in the Mikvah and the same goes for a woman after childbirth. There are also forbidden relationships mentioned in the Torah. We can also get Kares from eating forbidden fat of the animal or untithed fruits, vegetables or grains grown in Eretz Yisrael. The rest of the laws of Kashrus do not have Kares. Eating pork, rabbit, forbidden animals, birds and fish deserve punishment but not Kares.
Pray – perhaps the most common error is losing our concentration. One can sometimes pray “Oh king, helper, savior, shield – blessed are you ---- the shield of Avraham” with intent and then daydream and found out that we are muttering like a robot “blessed are you --- who revives the dead”. One of the worst things that can happen to us is being too busy to pray on time or forgetting our prayers altogether.
We are supposed to play with fear, love, awe and joy before HASHEM. For the parts including thanks joy and love for the parts about the tribulations of the wicked awe and fear and other prayers a combination of emotions.
The beggars are coming to the Schuls at this time of year. One cannot tell an honest person from a fraud and sometimes the honest ones are too down trodden to describe well their plight while the frauds are well greased machines. In the US I usually run out of dollars and in Israel of coins. I was sitting in the Beis Medrash the other day and they were coming in groves one after the other or two at a time mostly to poor Kollel Scholars with a small income themselves.
In addition to my random thoughts above on prayer: Prayer: What is Kevanah? From http://rabbichaimcoffman.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/prayer-what-is-kevanah.html
What is Kevanah? (I write it Kavana) It is not just focus or concentration, which are the most popular translations of the word. It also means preparedness, or direction, as in the sense of the word, kiven, which means "to aim."
The need for Kevanah in prayer is obvious; what is more perplexing is the seeming interchangeability between having intention in your mind and intention in your heart.
Both of them are vital. Aside from the obvious intellectual efforts one must put into the effort of having intention in one's thoughts, it is also crucial to enlist one's emotional strengths, the intention of the heart in addressing one's Creator. Only by the fusion of these two aspects of man can one be considered to have truly paved to his Creator. Rav Chaim Shmelevitz explains that this is because intellectual knowledge of Whom we are addressing is by itself not enough to move us to action. Only by adding emotional involvement can we be moved to press ourselves into action on the commitments we make in prayer.
King Solomon teaches us this lesson Proverbs (24:30-32). He relates how even after having passed by the field of a lazy man, and having observed clearly the overrun growth and broken walls testifying to the owner's lack of care, still he was unmoved emotionally until he focused his heart on what he saw. Only then did he feel in his heart the overwhelming destruction wrought by the field owners indifference. Only then could King Solomon say "I learned the lesson," well enough for it to effect a genuine change in his very self.
To further enhance this concept of kevanah we can note what HaRav Shlomo Wolbe writes in his Alei Shor II. he teaches us that by proximity to one's Creator is the one single powerful force that, by definition effects change in a person. Clearly, then, if a person has not changed during prayer he has not come close to his Creator. Emotional attention is vital to success in prayer.
Kevana is something that we strive to have. We have to try to the best of our ability to keep our minds clear in prayer and focus on what we are doing. The idea is at that time, you are standing in front of the King and after 120 years, we will have to give an accounting of our actions. Imagine when G-d will "remind" us of our actions and thoughts when we were praying to Him!!
When the Rabbi met the Ethiopian Case
One of my cousins married an Ethiopian woman this week. It was sort of the product of the means equals the product of the extreme as he is blondish and she is on the darkish side of the Ethiopian spectrum. Since we both come from Melech Shlomo perhaps he was attracted to her like Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) 1:5 I am black and comely. At the wedding there stood a man in his 30’s or 40’s wearing a white version of a Rav Shach Kipa. Since he was all in white robes, I asked him if he was a Case.
He affirmed that to me. He explained that his learning was based on the Torah, oral tradition and Mussar. He explained that the umbrellas that one sees the Case using at funerals and weddings and perhaps on Yom Tov are for the clouds of Kavod that protected the Bnei Yisrael Bamidbar. I did not ask about the pillar of fire. I broached the terrible spate of Ethiopian husbands coming under stress and murdering their wives. It is not quite one a month but enough to upset a lot of people including in Rehovot where he lives. He said that he has been trying to get them to follow the Torah and “Do not murder” but is not always successful. Not everybody goes to a Case or for that matter Rabbi with questions. In fact, I have a certain advantage over a city Rabbi. If one of the names (not on my list) super-suds at such and such mail dot com asks me a question his or her identity is protected and has no worry about me knowing them.
I came to the conclusion that the Case was more or less Orthodox but had the learning of a Reform Rabbi but did have a function and standing of leadership in the community for centuries. After the meeting I went to my friend from the Synagogue and he explained to me that the Ethiopian Community came from escapees from Sancheriv and the Assyrian Invasion which is pre-Mishnayic and Talmudic by hundreds of years.
Austrian Anti-Semitism grows: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4276728,00.html
Besides bothering the Christian Copts now the Synagogues in Egypt are closed down: http://counterjihadreport.com/2012/09/02/egypt-shuts-down-last-jewish-synagogue/
Free Newspapers are ruining the competition. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/159568#.UER9KKMgBOg
They have the majority of the Jewish vote in the bag so why try for more! http://freebeacon.com/pro-israel-language-removed-from-democratic-party-platform/
Romney Criticizes Democrats Over Failure to Mention Jerusalem Unlike previous years, the Democratic Party platform doesn’t state that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/159637#.UEbuf6OwZOg
Palmach Hero from 1948 passes away: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4277294,00.html
The Israel Police catch up with the hit and run suspects pretty fast. This was a targeted attack. http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=283872
Third time same house must be a special stance for the terrorist. http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=283358
Remember Adolph Eichmann was just following orders: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=283363 and http://www.debka.com/article/22322/Top-US-soldier-“I-don’t-want-to-be-complicit”-if-Israel-attacks-Iran
Do I make a fuss because Obama threw us under the bus? http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4275319,00.html
Not a strong enough response: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=283403
In Berlin the religion of peace: http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=283493 and the reaction of the righteous Germans http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4275824,00.html
Condi is good on equality but clueless on other things: http://www.debbieschlussel.com/53752/paul-ryans-speech-terrific-but-amnesty-babble-from-condi-clueless-rules-gop/
Big Military Drill with the USA has been downsized: http://www.debka.com/article/22326/Slashed-US-military-input-shortens-Israel’s-notice-of-Iranian-missile-launch
Good Morning finally the truth comes out. The US is no longer a paper tiger it is a paper rabbit: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4276276,00.html
USA - You might want to be an Ostrich or Rabbit but you cannot stay out: http://www.debka.com/article/22331/If-Israel-attacks-Iran-US-Mid-East-bases-will-pay-dear-–-Nasrallah
War approaches: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4276196,00.html
Is a surgical strike enough? http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=283601
Neither Turkey or Israel will be happy with Obama’s response or lack of one: http://www.debka.com/article/22327/US-CIA-chief-Petraeus-arrives-Monday-to-cool-Israeli-ire
The US is running from Afghanistan but http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/03/world/asia/pakistan-peshawar/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
Your tax dollars at work for the Muslim Brotherhood: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4276806,00.html
Egyptian Sinai danger to Israel: http://www.debka.com/article/22329/Egypt-confronts-Israel-with-6-000-Sinai-Islamists-as-an-approved-militia-
Is the Assad Regime teetering on falling apart http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=283775
Most unusual political story of the week: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/homeless_n_1855013.html?1346787369&icid=maing-grid10%7Chtmlws-main-bb%7Cdl10%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D201001
Israeli Politicians betraying Israel’s trust: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4277510,00.html
I do not know who is kidding whom? http://www.debka.com/article/22334/Massed-US-UK-French-navies-for-drill-simulating-breach-of-blocked-Hormuz
Going – going – gone picked up by ABC News not the right wing: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/159663#.UEeKb6OwZOg Democrats restore Jerusalem into the platform but it was only after the liberal left and mainstream when after them: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4277847,00.html
Obama on Islam: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tCAffMSWSzY#t=28
Sometimes you win a battle: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4277827,00.html
We have peace with Yarden but some unfinished business: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=284017
Arab Spring awakens in Israel http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/159684#.UEgnLaOwZOg
Now for Matis Wolfberg’s Story “Brother can you spare a Kidney?”
Good Shabbos Everyone. Judgment day is approaching. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem "takes stock" of His creation. He examines every Jew in the world and judges their actions. There is plenty of time to do Teshuvah - to repent, to make up for misdeeds throughout the past year. Teshuvah means confessing to Hashem the wrongdoing, feeling remorse about and accepting upon one's self not to repeat the bad deed. For example, someone tells Hashem, "Father in Heaven, I ate non-kosher food. I am sorry. I feel bad about it and I promise not to do it again." Let us all be inspired by the following story to all do Teshuvah - to return to the proper path in life.
He went on to describe the terminally-ill man he had met earlier, a father of a large family just like theirs. “By tatte giving him a new kidney, he will live, G-d willing. This is our gift to him and you are all a part of it.” Simon’s journey from community leader to organ donor – the operation took place exactly one week ago – began last year when the 41-year-old rabbi opened a mass e-mail from a woman trying to arrange a kidney donation for a potential recipient. A 12-year-old Jewish girl with the same blood type as Simon’s was succumbing to a terrible disease, and desperately needed a new kidney.
The rabbi decided to respond. “I have a 12-year-old daughter, too,” explains Simon from his home, where he’s in the midst of a two-week recovery period. Having never considered donating an organ in the past, “I was moved to consider testing for her.” “Let’s see what it entails, and then make a decision,” came the reply from his wife, Nechamy Simon, when he brought it up. After a few days of intense research, and a careful risk-benefit analysis together, the Simons reached out to the sender of the e-mail, a Jewish woman by the name of Chaya Lipschutz, offering one of the rabbi’s kidneys if he matched as a candidate. “I cannot let a young girl die, and not do anything,” Simon told Lipschutz. But the woman informed him that “a donor has already been found.”
Many people would have understandably felt relief at the realization that they wouldn’t be called upon to undergo major surgery. Simon, however, saw things differently. “I felt like I didn’t act fast enough,” he recalls. “I knew right then and there that if somebody else was in need, I was going to be the one to save their life.” According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, more than 80,000 people nationwide are waiting for a healthy kidney. But last year, more than 4,500 lost their fight for life while waiting. Simon told Lipschutz, a former kidney donor herself, to keep his name on file and to contact him if another person was in need.
Two months later, the woman called back with news that a 35-year-old mother of two needed a kidney. Simon immediately agreed to undergo tests at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., where the woman was being treated. He wasn’t a match. Then in February, Lipschutz called yet again to ask Simon if he would give his kidney to a single Israeli man in his 30s. “It wasn’t for a young girl, or for a mother of two,” says Simon, “but one cannot weigh one life over another.”
The rabbi underwent his third series of tests at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan. In the weeks that followed, Lipschutz informed him that should he not be a match for the Israeli man, another person on her list was in dire need of a kidney. As it turned out, Simon was not a match, but he immediately went to another hospital to undergo tests for the other man, a Satmar Chasid from the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and a father of 10.
At the kidney clinic of Cornell University, as the rabbi was on his way to have his blood tested, the critically ill man came down the hallway, heading in the opposite direction. “Excuse me,” said the man, who had heard that a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary had volunteered to donate his kidney. “Are you the one testing for me?” The two chatted briefly. The man showed Simon pictures of his family and told him a little about the genetic disease that had killed several of his relatives and was destroying his kidneys. Simon assured him that if he were a match, he would go through with the procedure.
A few hours before Passover, both men received the news they had been waiting for. Simon was busy preparing for the communal Seder at his Chabad House when the hospital called. “Rabbi,” a voice on the other line began, “you are a match.” Although he and his wife kept it between themselves, their Seder for more than 100 people took on new meaning for them both. Rabbi Ephraim Simon prays in the hospital. Immediately following the holiday, Simon called the transplant coordinator at the hospital to set up a series of examinations to assess his fitness physically, emotionally, and mentally as an organ donor. On May 18, he received the go-ahead. In consultation with the recipient, Simon opted to schedule the surgery immediately following the conclusion of his Camp Gan Israel preschool summer camp.
At Shabbat services that week, he broke the news to his congregation. Seeing his community members as his own family, he wanted to explain to them why he was taking the risk. Every single person is important, he told them. If an individual is lacking, it is everyone’s job to help him or her. So “in a few weeks, a critically ill Jew in need of a healthy kidney in order to survive will receive one of mine.” Tears welled up in some of the worshippers’ eyes. One man rushed to the front of the synagogue to embrace his rabbi. One woman says that because of the rabbi’s sacrifice, she doesn’t feel uneasy anymore when surprise Shabbat guests show up. She now happily prepares extra food.
“I initially had a mother’s natural reaction,” reveals Judy Simon, 61, who at first was very concerned about her son’s long-term health. ”But after doing research, I realized that there is no reason to be.” After a “heart-warming” meeting with the recipient’s family at the hospital during the procedure, the mother says that it’s “incredible to have a child do this altruistic thing. I feel so honored and blessed to be part of it and to say he is my son!”
Simon went to Cornell University Medical Center the day of the surgery carrying letters and pictures from his nine children. When the anesthesia wore off and he awoke in the recovery room, his wife read the letters to him. In another room, the recipient was doing so well, that a doctor remarked that if he didn’t know better, he “would have said this kidney came from a brother.”
“I told my children that G-d could have easily made me ill, and I would have been the recipient,” he says. “Thank G-d, I was blessed with a healthy family. What better way to thank Him than to use my own health to help somebody else?” Simon’s eldest daughter, 14-year-old Chaya, says her father’s deed reminds her of a parable she once learned. “Saving one life is like saving a starfish,” she says. “Even though you cannot save every single starfish, each one that you pick up from the sand and throw back into the sea is a life saved.” Looking back at the ordeal, Simon – who is quick to emphasize that his wife had as much a hand in donating “their” kidney as he did – hopes that more people will step up and give the gift of life. “My sacrifice is just a few days of discomfort,” he says.
“The reward of saving a man’s life, giving a father his life back, giving a family their father and husband back, outweighs all the risks. “Not everyone can donate a kidney,” continues the rabbi. “But everyone can reach out to help another person.” Good Shabbos Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
A healthy, blessed and peaceful Shabbos to all,