Friday, September 14, 2012

Parsh Nitzavim, Rosh Hashanah Special

Before we get into the seriousness of Yom HaDin (Day of Judgement) the non-test of Avraham Avinu we have today from Rabbi A. L. (something lighthearted)

Test of sitting through a speech entitled "The Shidduch Crisis."

Test of Chairing a Synagogue Building Fund in Lincoln Center.

Test of Landing an American paying job in Israel.

Test of explaining Shomer Negiah to your co-workers. (not touching females or the wife during off days)

Test of paying full tuition for a Jewish Education for 2+ kids.

Test of living on the 30th floor without a doorman on Shabbos. (Some of us had been stuck in a prison called a hotel in France on Shabbos because of the electronic doors on the entrance and to the room and not being able to communicate with the staff) Test of World Series Game 7 on a Friday Night. Test of sitting through Kosher restaurant service. Test of enduring a 3-Day Yom Tov with your extended family

HaKaros HaTov (noting good deeds) this week Rabbi A. L. who usually supplies me with more jokes and little material supplied me with more material for this Drasha than his usual humor. I guess he is taking Rosh Hashanah as serious as I do.

Some thoughts before Rosh Hashanah

I am dealing with fighting the Satan who wants to send out death warrants to many in the world and I have to find a way to improve my deeds, prayers and give charity. Sometimes I have that feeling it is a losing battle. I write about the importance of observing Shabbos as it is the source of all Berachos and I am praying for a diabetic who does not cling to the main source of his own cure by observing Shabbos. It hurts me as some of the people do have cures or improvement which could or would work for them but instead they violate the Shabbos and throw their hopes for health away. The same goes for all diseases for I have seen Shomer Shabbos people in a number of cases of Terminal Cancer that managed to live from close to a year to three when the doctors had all but written them off – they survived on Mitzvos and reaching out to their fellow Jews. So it was with Yacov Glicksman, Rebbitzen Hedva Silberfarb, and Rabbi Adam Levinson all of blessed memory lived much longer than their doctors expected.

Rabbi A.L. sent me this which is Mussar which is thoughtful: There is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400.00 - It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do?? Draw out ALL OF IT, of course you would?? Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "Tomorrow".

You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from in the amount in health, happiness, and success!! The clock is running. Make the most of today.

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.

To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a Mother who gave birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper.

To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the student of a Daf Yomi Shiur.

To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train.

To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident.

To realize the value of ONE TENTH OF A SECOND, ask the person who won the "silver" medal in the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have.... And remember that time waits for no one!!

On Rosh Hashanah we go before HAMELECH (THE KING of Kings) and we go before him as a shepherd leads the sheep before him into the pen as he counts them. We say: Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; YOUR throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that YOU alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seats, (counts and calculates); Who remembers all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Chronicles — it will read itself, and everyone’s signature is in it. The great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin sound will be heard. Angels will hasten, a trembling and terror will seize them — and they will say, ‘Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!’- for they cannot be vindicated in Your eyes in judgment. …

On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. …

How many of us really believe this? How many of us will repent? How many of us will see HIS HAND behind what goes on in the world? If the Gematria is correct and the war of Gog does not occur before the US elections we could see a Gezaira of years of worldwide economic downturn before the straightening out by the Moshiach revives the remnant of mankind. (My friend Akiva calls me “Doom and Gloom” – but this is not so for I see Moshiach at the end of the tunnel – it is doom and gloom for the short term)

Do not be fooled by the abounding US Stock Exchange or the German Bailout of Europe we are living in a day to day era and a fool’s paradise. The generation before the Moshiach will have the “face of a dog”. Just as a dog thinks that he runs before his master so too do we run before THE MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE! Let us humble ourselves and be prepared to except the will and rule of HAMELECH. It is time for us to repent, pray and give charity for this coming Monday/Tuesday we are being Judged!

I don’t use politically incorrect words lightly before Rosh Hashanah but somebody has to remind Mike Bloomberg - WHO gave him money? Who will Judge him in a few days? And where this man is coming from! Just when I thought that the ban on Circumcision in San Fran and Germany had been dealt with Mike (the kike) Bloomberg has signed a bill limiting Circumcision in NYC. By calling him a kike perhaps that will shake up the man’s roots. His forefathers risked their lives for to make a Bris and what does this person does he spits on the graves of his forefathers and their legacy. His riches and place in this world will not help him in the next.

Now the question remains to ask myself and others: Are we ready for the day of Judgement?

Parsha Nitzavim

29:9 Ye are standing this day all of you before the LORD your God: your heads, your tribes, your elders, and your officers, even all the men of Israel,

What an appropriate sentence to read right before the day when the whole world is judged!

10 your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in the midst of thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water;

The level of Pshat is that everybody stood during the last days of Moshe before him and HASHEM to listen to his words. The level of a Drasha for Rosh Hashanah, from the wealthiest of Jews like George Soros, Mike Bloomberg, Marc Zuckerberg to the humblest janitor we all pass before HASHEM for Judgement on Rosh Hashanah. The dollar from the janitor to help a hospital in Israel vs. the millions given to J-Street for their agenda against Yisrael is recorded in the book of life or the opposite.

11 that thou should enter into the covenant of the LORD thy God—and into His oath—which the LORD thy God makes with thee this day;

The Pshat is talking to the men leaving the Midbar to enter Eretz Yisrael. On the Drasha level it is speaking to Baalei Teshuva and Gerim who re-enter or enter into the Mitzvos from where they had been beforehand.

12 that He may establish thee this day unto Himself for a people, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He spoke unto thee, and as He swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

The comments mention in the Chumash is your book of law for following the covenant.

13 Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;

HASHEM is giving HIS Oath before Am Yisrael and not just with Moshe as he had done previously with Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov as individuals but a whole nation.

14 but with him that stands here with us this day before the LORD our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day—

This is the generation worthy to enter Eretz Yisrael and in our generation I want to believe that it is Am Yisrael who will now return to Eretz Yisrael to accept Moshiach.

15 for ye know how we dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the midst of the nations through which ye passed; 16 and ye have seen their detestable things, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were with them—

It does not have to be a worshipping idol but placing a job, stocks or other investments ahead of Shabbos and Yom Tov. For one can be detestable in not observe properly the Mitzvos or detestable even within the Torah by over indulging in eating, marital relations or sleep.

17 lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood;

A Jew is forbidden to worship Allah, Yeshu, Buddha or a wide assortment of gods and entities whether real or fictitious. A Jew has the L-RD G-D only as his king, helper, savior and shield. I was once tempted outright in my younger years by a Kibbutznik who offered her affections if I were to remove my Yarmulke for her. Even the thought of going after this Jewish Female who would not observe family purity for her non-god was repulsive to me no matter how attractive she was. For if one is not repulsed from these activities in this world, one will find out after 120 years how repulsive he/she will be in the next world.

18 and it come to pass, when he hears the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying: ‘I shall have peace, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart—that the watered be swept away with the dry’; 19 the LORD will not be willing to pardon him, but then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy shall be kindled against that man, and all the curse that is written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven;

On Rosh Hashanah the book is opened with a clean page for writing down what will become of each creature, inanimate object, etc. HASHEM rarely forces one to be afflicted with sorrows to make him repent unless he had such an illustrious ancestor that did not want to tarnish his seed that he makes waves in Beis Din Shel Maalah. For the wicked will be granted their riches in this world and can continue onwards like Dr. Faust going after the 14 year old Gretchen for his pleasure or Helen of Troy. Eventually the curse will hit and hard for man is given a free choice to choose life or death as Adam had in Gan Eden.

20 and the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that is written in this book of the law.

The breaking away from Shabbos and Mitzvos can only last a certain amount of time and a number of generations. My family broke away on my mother’s side during the great socialist revolts and my father’s side close to the turn of the 20th century (5640’s). I came back most likely from the merits of forefathers and my atheist brother ended up taking his adopted daughter to Chabad for a few hours of peace on Shabbos and ended up liking the Kiddush there. After years of work and patience the Rabbi has gotten him to have a kosher part of his kitchen and put on Tephillin a few times a week. For the evil in a family can only last for so long. The first and second Temples were destroyed not only by the evil in that generation but of corruption that had crept in over a longer period of time.

21 And the generation to come, your children that shall rise up after you, and the foreigner that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that land, and the sicknesses wherewith the LORD hath made it sick; 22 and that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and a burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass grows therein, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger, and in His wrath; 23 even all the nations shall say 'Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this land? what means the heat of this great anger?'

Samuel Clemens visited Eretz Yisrael around the turn of the 20th century (5640-50). He was shocked at the desolation of the land not one flowing with milk and honey but of barren rocks with some wild desert plants growing here and there.

24 then men shall say: ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them forth out of the land of Egypt; 25 and went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods that they knew not, and that He had not allotted unto them; 26 therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against this land, to bring upon it all the curse that is written in this book; 27 and the LORD rooted them out of their land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day’.—28 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

20:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt bethink thyself among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 and shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and hearken to His voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul;

What more propitious a time to return unto HASHEM but in the last days of Elul or Rosh Hashanah when one is on trial for his very life!

3 that then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.

Just like during the Egyptian exile not everybody deserves to return or deserving to see the redemption. Some are leaders of the flock to prepare us like Moshe Feinstein, Yosef Bear Soleveichik, The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Chofetz Chaim, Rav Elchonon Wasserman, and hundreds of others that have prepared our generation to accept Moshiach.

4 If any of you that are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee.

I have met a Jew from Sudan, China, Albania, etc. they are all being gathered now in Eretz Yisrael. There are Jews in Nigeria and other African lands that want to return home and the tribes in Afghanistan and the Himalayas that claim to be from the 10 lost tribes. They too will return in part.

5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, that thou may live.

Return now and repent now!

7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon your enemies, and on them that hate thee, that persecuted thee.

In the war of Gog and Magog the Muslim countries who forced conversion, carried off our women and killed the men will fight the countries who caused an inquisition, holocaust and pogroms. Only the righteous will survive and will come and serve Yisrael and HASHEM the other two thirds will disappear.

8 And thou shalt return and hearken to the voice of the LORD, and do all His commandments which I command thee this day. 9 And the LORD thy God will make thee over-abundant in all the work of thy hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good; for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as He rejoiced over thy fathers; 10 if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul. 11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that thou should say: ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou should say: ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ 14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou may do it. 15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil,

How appropriate to read this before Rosh Hashanah what are you planning to choose of this offer from

16 in that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances; then thou shalt live and multiply, and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou go in to possess it.

Eretz Yisrael and the inhabitants thereof have the potential to be the barren land that Samuel Clemens saw or a wealthy land even better than what we have today but it depends on our merits and deeds.

17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; 18 I declare unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou pass over the Jordan to go in to possess it. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life,

Your free will gives you a choice and this is advice from HASHEM.

that thou may live, thou and thy seed;

HASHEM loves his children and wants the best for them. This advice is given for fathers and mothers who love their children for prolongation of their seed.

20 to love the LORD thy God, to hearken to His voice, and to cleave unto Him; for that is thy life, and the length of thy days; that thou may dwell in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

To deserve the prosperity of the land where our father’s lived; we have to emulate them and observe with zeal the Mitzvos as they did. (To the best of our ability no more is expect for we are not be perfect but people with our best deeds)

Through the Window

On the first night of Selichos over one hundred years ago, instead of going to the large Schul to signal the beginning of the prayers, the rebbe, Rabbi Shalom of Belz, ordered his attendant to harness the horses. He said they would be going into the woods.

The astonished attendant wanted to remind the Rebbe that thousands of Chassidim were waiting in the Schul, but he knew better than to ask questions and went out to prepare the wagon. After a half hour drive the Rebbe signaled him to stop. They alighted and walked down a narrow path till they saw a small hut in the distance. The Rebbe signaled the attendant to wait for him, and then tiptoed alone up to the window and peeked in.

An old Jewish man was sitting alone at a table. On the table was a bottle of vodka and two small cups, one in front of him and the other before the empty seat opposite him.

Through the window the Rebbe couldn’t hear what the old man was saying, but he saw him raise his cup in a toast, drink it, and then drink the second cup as well. This he repeated two more times, after which the Rebbe tiptoed back to the attendant. They walked quickly to the wagon and the Rebbe motioned him to drive back to Belz.

Meanwhile the Chassidim had been waiting for over an hour and were becoming worried. But when the doors of the Synagogue opened and the Rebbe entered, the congregation fell silent. All eyes followed him to his place at the front of the Schul, and then the room burst into prayer as they began Selichos. When the prayer ended the Rebbe turned to his secretary and said, “There is an old man that came in after everyone and I’m sure he will finish after everyone also. He’s the one I saw in the house in the woods. Please wait for him to finish. Tell him I want him to come to my study and speak to him alone.”

Half an hour later the simple Jew was standing in fear and trepidation before the Holy Rebbe. “Sit down, Zelig,” said the Rebbe, indicating a chair. “I want you to tell me what you did in your house before you came here tonight. What were those two cups of vodka for and that strange l’chayim you made?”

“The Rebbe knows that?” he exclaimed, his eyes bulging in amazement. Then he started to shake. “How does the Rebbe know?”

“I sensed that something important was going to happen,” the Rebbe answered, “so I drove to the woods and peeked in your window. But I want to understand what you were doing.”

“The Rebbe peeked in my window! How could it be? I am a nothing!” Now the poor Chassid was really confused. He was silent for a moment. Then, realizing that there was no alternative, he sank down onto the chair and began to explain. “I’m a poor man, Rebbe, I have no children and my wife passed on years ago. I live alone with just a few farm animals. That is, until a few months ago when my cow became sick. I prayed to G-d to heal the cow. ‘After all’, I said to G-d, ‘You create the entire world and everything in it; certainly you can heal one cow!’ But the cow got worse. So I said ‘Listen G-d, if You don’t heal that cow I’m not going to Schul anymore!’ I figured that if G-d doesn’t care about me—I mean, it’s nothing for Him to heal one old cow—so why should I care about His place? But the cow died anyway. I got mad and … and… I stopped going to synagogue. But then my goat got sick! I said to G-d, ‘What! You haven’t had enough? Do you think I’m bluffing? Listen, if this goat dies I’m not putting on tefillin anymore!’ And when the goat died I stopped putting on tefillin.

“Next, my chickens got ill and I told G-d that if they die I’m not going to recite Kiddush or keep Shabbos. Well, a week later I was without chickens and G-d was without my Shabbos. I held out for over a week until suddenly I realized that the time for Selichos was approaching. I thought to myself, ‘What, Zelig, you aren’t going to go say Selichos with the Rebbe? What, are you nuts?’ But on the other hand I was angry with G-d and had vowed I wasn’t going to the Schul. But then I remembered that once I had an argument with Shmerel the butcher. For about a month we didn’t even say hello. Then one night he came to my house with a bottle of vodka and said, ‘Let’s forget the past and be friends, enough enemies we have among the goyim; why be enemies.’ So we made three l’chayims, shook hands and even danced around a little together. Baruch Hashem, we were friends again. So I figured I would do the same thing with G-d. I invited Him to sit opposite me, poured us two cups and said, ‘Listen, G-d, you forget my faults and I’ll forget yours. All right? A deal?’ L’chayim!

“So I drank my cup and understood that since G-d doesn’t drink, He probably wanted me to drink His. And after we did it twice more I stood up and we danced together! Then I felt better and came to Selichos.”

The Rebbe looked deeply into Zelig’s innocent eyes. In a serious tone, he said, “Listen to me, Zelig. Before we began Selichos I saw that in heaven there was a terrible decree on our holy congregation, because the Chassidim were saying the words in the prayer book but they weren’t really praying seriously to G-d. Of course, there are a lot of distractions and other excuses; nevertheless this terrible decree was looming. But you, Zelig, you talked to G-d like He is your friend. Zelig, your sincerity saved the entire congregation!” Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the rendition of Rabbi Tuvia Bolton. (Actually I first heard this story from a mutual teacher of Rabbi Bolton and mine, the venerable Chassid Rabbi Abba Pliskin of blessed memory, upon his noticing my astonishment when he said, “it has been known for Chassidim to arrive tipsy for Selichos.”) Connections: The hassidi always falls during the days of Selichos. Biographical note: Rabbi Shalom of Belz [1779-27 Elul 1855] was the first of the Belz Hassidic dynasty. He became the main Rebbe of Galician Jewry, and had tens of thousands of Chassidim. His teachings are collected in Dover Shalom.

The Prayerbook of Screams by Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles

The Machzor, the prayerbook for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, has been soaked with tears down through the generations. Even so, one glance at the unique Machzor in the possession of Ze'ev Glick in Jerusalem is enough to guarantee that your heart will begin to pound in reaction to this Machzor that so strongly emanates tears and Jewish suffering.

The prayerbook is small, the pages delicate and thin, and the letters are tiny. The binding is wood. The opening page is inscribed with the title "[Machzor] Za'akat Hashevi" : "The Captive's Screams [High Holiday Prayer book]". The bottom section of the page bears the words, "Written in a prison camp in Russia, 1944, the fifth year of the fearsome World War, because there was not in our possession a single Machzor with which to pray on the holy days of Divine Favor, to scream out to G-d Al-mighty, all of us together, that He should redeem us immediately and gather our oppressed" [signed] "Mordechai ben R. Chaim-Zvi HaKohen Glick."

Ze'ev Glick holds the precious heirloom in his hands with great care and tells its story.

Before the war his father Benzion together with his uncle R. Mordechai Glick, were living in the town of Oyhal in Hungary. With the outbreak of the war, the two were arrested and dispatched to a labor camp in the Ukraine. In 1942 they were driven by Russian soldiers to Siberia, in what turned out to be a long death march.

Only a small minority survived the rigors and oppression of the journey. Mordechai carried his sick brother, Benzion, on his back most of the way. Benzion by then had shrunk to a mere 36 kilogram (80 lb) skeleton of bones!

When they finally reached the prison camp in Siberia, conditions did not improve much. From the total of 3000 Jews who managed to arrive there, after three months only around 300 were still alive. All the rest had perished from the combination of hard work, illnesses, starvation and the freezing cold.

Mordechai took upon himself the seemingly hopeless task of encouraging his fellow prisoners. One of his "methods" was to compile a four-year calendar, so they could always know when would be Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov.

As Rosh Hashanah 5705 (Sept. 18 1944) approached, there were zero prayerbooks available. The one request on the tongues of all the captives was to have a Machzor, for how else would they be able to recite the prayers for the Days of Awe. That is when Mordechai resolved to try to write the entire Machzor in longhand by heart!

Immediately arose the problem of how to acquire paper? Mordechai began to withhold part of his already inadequate food rations, and traded the portions daily with the guards in exchange for cigarettes. Then he stripped the papers from around the tobacco and stocked-piled them. When he felt he had enough papers, he began to inscribe on them, in tiny but clear block letters, fully voweled the text of the Machzor. Just before Rosh Hashanah he completed it, including even all the lengthy piyutim that are said only once a year.

After finishing the writing, he managed, to persuade a few soldiers also in exchange for food, to prepare for him two slabs of wood of precise size. These he used to bind the pages, front and back. He carved into them a depiction of the Ten Commandment tablets, and under that a Magen David ("Jewish Star"). He also engraved two hands with fingers spread, so it would be known that the writer was a Kohen.

[Can this not be considered one of the most incredible accomplishments in modern Jewish history? To write out every single Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayer by heart, by hand, on the small, thin papers used for rolling cigarettes, in a brief time period, and then to create and engrave wood bindings- - - and all under starvation, sleep-deprived tortuous conditions! What's more, in a later year, after they reached freedom, the Machzor was checked, whereupon it was discovered that he had remembered correctly every single word and letter, and even every vowel!]

On Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur he led the prayers, using his unique Machzor, surrounded by the wailing of his fellow captives. The other Jewish prisoners answered responsively whenever they could, including all the "Amen"s**. Still the myriads of tears greatly outnumbered their words.

Mordechai and Benzion managed to survive the Siberian ordeal. Mordechai, who lost his wife and all of his children in the war, immediately left for Israel, where he remarried. Sadly, he never had more children and passed away relatively young on 21 Sivan 5720 (1960). The Machzor next passed into the possession of his brother, who by then was already living in Israel, where he married and fathered two children. Benzion lived to a ripe old age, passing away on 26 Nissan 5766 (2006). The precious Machzor is now being lovingly preserved by one of his son, Ze'ev, as you, dear reader, can see in the photo.


**Editor's note: Interestingly, the Rambam rules that this is the way the High Holiday prayers should be done. Since they are so complex, it is preferable, he says, that the congregation should rely on the prayer leader. And so it was done in Yemen for many centuries.

Source: Translated and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Sichat Hashavua #1135 Connection: Seasonal: Rosh Hashanah 5773

A story from Rabbi A.L.: R' Shimshon Sherer relates:

As a young boy, he would walk through the streets of Boro Park on Shabbos morning together with his Father as they made their way to Shul. R' Sherer wish a "Gut Shabbos" to every Jew he passed and a "Good Morning" to every gentile.

One Shabbos morning, young Shimshon asked his Father, "Daddy, are you running for President?? Why must you say "Good Morning" to every single person to whom we pass??"

R' Sherer replied, "As you know, when I was a student at Mesivta Torah Vodaath, I had a great privilege of serving as an assistant of sorts to the Gaon and Tzaddik R' Elchonon Wasserman when he visited America in 1938. I first met R' Elchonon when I reported to his room one morning at the Broadway Central Hotel. I greeted the Tzaddik with a 'Shalom Aleichem" and then we headed for the elevator to go downstairs.

"As we waited for the elevator, R' Elchonon turned to me and asked, "Vi arol zogt men "Gut Morgen" oil English??" (How does one say "Gut Morgen" in English??"). I replied, "Very much like we say in Yiddish, "Good Morning."

"R' Elchonon then paced back and forth and practiced saying "Good Morning." The elevator arrived and as we entered it, R' Elchonon wished the gentile elevator attendant, "Good Morning." He then turned to me and asked, "Hob ich get gezokt??" ("Did I say it well??").

"And so," concluded R' Moshe Sherer, "I learned from R' Elchonon that saying "Good Morning" to everyone is something that a Jew should do."

A thoughtful words at the right time can have enormous impact. Yes, even a simple "Good Morning" can give a person a feeling of self-worth and change his entire day.

And words, which used correctly, are themselves "Ambassadors" of Hashem and His Torah. A person who speaks wisely and thoughtfully, in a calm and respectful manner, demonstrates that the Torah's ways are "Ways of pleasantness and all its paths are peace."

This is a great Kiddush Hashem.

A Reminder

There are up to 15 Segulos for Rosh Hashanah. (Hidden Treasures) Not in order: The first is the Apple dipped in Honey which I do not do but sugar because I have reacted bad to bee’s honey. The second one is a Date (Tamar) which is used in Hebrew to make our enemies stupid. The next is Leak that our enemies will get Kares followed by Beet leaves that are checked or beets that our enemies will run away. The next is Gourd (a small one) that is used to rip up the evil decree and read our merits before HASHEM. The next is black eyed peas sort of string beans or carrots that will boost our merits followed by the pomegranate which will boost our merits like the seeds of the pomegranate. The head of a fish is traditionally used for fish receive no evil eye and they we should be a head and not a tail among nations. One I made up is to have a tongue after the fish which is also from the head and that we should be a head and guard our tongues.

From Rabbi A. L. Visiting the Sick or Bikur Cholim

I am reminded that Yacov Glicksman TzZal used to blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah for people in the hospital. As he was dealing with his own terminal Cancer, HASHEM did not fail him and he blew it for himself. The next day he needed Oxygen but the Mitzvah of hearing the Shofar did not slip through his hands. In fact, when I bought my own Shofar a number of years before, he helped me choose mine and told me what to look for.

1. According to the Chachmas Adam (151:3) the ikar (main points) of Bikur Cholim is davening for the sick person while visiting him/her. In fact, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (193:3) poskens that has not fulfilled the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim if he visits, but does not Daven to Hashem while there. This is because the Shechina is present above the head of the sick person, and your Tefillos are, K'viyachol, in fact of the Shechina itself (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 335, Shach Se’if Katan 3). In your Tefillah, you should ask for Hashem's mercy for that particular Choleh "B'soech Cholel Yisrael" (amongst the other sick of Israel), because, in the merit of the many, your Tefillos will be better received (ibid, Shach Se’if Katan 4).

2. Bikur Cholim should not be performed when it is convenient for the visitor, but when it is best for the Choleh. As the Halacha states, one should not visit in the first three hours of the day, the last three hours of the day, etc.... (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah 335:4).

3. In addition to Tefillah, there is a Mitzvah to give the Choleh "Nachas Ruach" (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 193:3). This does not mean that one should speak on and on, or even with witticisms. Statements should be "You will not have to take that medicine for the rest of your life," or 'Next time, you will be more careful," or even "How will this effect your life going forward??" May be equaled with smacking a poor person across the face and knocking out a few teeth as you hand him a hundred dollars with a smile.

4. The Chazon Ish (Collected Letters, Volume 1:138) writes that everyone has the Mitzvah to perform "Bikur Cholim" upon himself, as well. This means that he must take care of his own body and use the most effective means possible for his personal health.

5. One should try to tidy up and make the atmosphere more cheery for the Choleh, if possible. The Gemara (Nedarim 40A) relates that Rabbi Akiva himself swept and cleaned the floor for his sick student. As a result, the student told him, "You have caused me to live." Rabbi Akiva then taught, "He who does not perform the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim, it is as if he spilled blood." The reverse is also, of course, true. In fact, the Gemara clearly teaches that one who acts wisely with the ill will himself be saved from "A bad day: by Hashem (See Tehillim 41 and Gemara, Nedarim 40A).

6. Finally, one should consider a Choleh's status after he/she leaves the hospital, and even after he/she returns to the Schul or to work. In fact that he/she has somewhat healed does not necessarily mean that he/she is not suffering pain or otherwise in distress. One should continue to Daven for, and inquire as to, a person's welfare, until he/she is confident that the Choleh has received he/she Refuah Shelaimah.

From Miriam: Presented on the net by Rebbitzen Ruth Menashe:

The Gemara of Rosh Hashanah (17;a), mentions an eye opening incident, which took place when Rab Huna was lying sick in bed. He was visited by Rab Papa who, upon seeing Rab Huna's critical condition, told his family members, in Rab Huna's presence, to prepare his shrouds for him. Miraculously, Rab Huna recovered. Rab Papa, who heard of his recovery, was too embarrassed to see Rab Huna.

Sometimes later the two scholars met. Rab Papa asked Rab Huna to explain to him what happened, since it was clear that Rab Huna was lying on his death bed. Rab Huna's answer was an astounding one. "Indeed I was facing the gates of death," he explained, "the decree was, that it was time for me to pass on to the next world. However, that decree was changed!"

Why was the decree changed?

Rab Huna explained that the Holy One blessed be He said to the angels: "Since he (Rab Huna), did not respond harshly, when he heard Rab Papa instructing his family to prepare him for his 'last journey', it would be appropriate to forgive him and grant him life."

Rab Mordechai Eliyahu, 'a"h, explains that we would have expected Rab Huna to express anger with harsh words towards Rab Papa, but, on the contrary, Rab Huna went against his nature and kept quiet. He did not harbor any ill feelings towards Rab Papa. Our Father in Heaven, acts with us the same way we act with others. If we are not particular with our fellow Jew, let things pass, don't take revenge or bear a grudge, He will do the same for us.

We ask the Holy One blessed be He to forgive us. We must, therefore, work on ourselves tenaciously to diffuse anger, hostility and any negative feelings. We should develop the art of forgiveness, reconnect with our brothers and sisters, speak to our parents and our children and all those we have lost contact with. In this merit, may we be granted complete forgiveness from Heaven.

For those who like real Italian Cheeses Imported from Italy: Del Monte Cacocavallo, Buffalo Mozzarella, Pepperoncino, Ricotta and Scamorza Affumicata smoked is now OU-D

Beginners & Returners: This is an e-book which might help many understand Rosh Hashanah it is free:

How to feel on the day of Judgement.

I am not a member of either Political Party but thing that this is good for Jews if the man wins the primaries:,7340,L-4279896,00.html

A new blog for Israel:

Inyanay Diyoma

We are oblivious to developments behind our back:

Neither Israel nor Iran believes Obama – leaked from a security meeting: Rogers said that it was “very, very clear” from the meeting that the Israelis “had lost their patience with the administration. There was no doubt.” “Right now the Israelis don’t believe that the administration is serious when they say that all options are on the table, and more importantly neither do the Iranians. That’s why the [nuclear] program is progressing,” he said.,7340,L-4278403,00.html and

Left over from the socialism days in Israel:,7340,L-4278331,00.html

Not much time left for procrastination:

More and more rockets and mortars from Gaza:

Thanks to Devorah America today:

How can you trust this man?,7340,L-4278000,00.html

A week ago the papers had a story that if we have no choice we might have to take back again parts of Gaza (which during the Second Temple times was a thriving Israeli City)

Chemical weapons return to the agenda:

Mr. Obama where is the red line?

Please clue me in why the majority of Jews will vote for this wicked one? and wait for what after the US elections it will be worst if Gog gets re-elected.

The US State Dept. and Obama prefer the Arabs so they get what they deserve:

If somebody told me the choice for Hispanic Heritage Month was Balboa, Desoto, Cortes not that he was a Tzaddik, etc. I would not write anything here but the crazy planet is full of crazy people and this is whom they chose:

Sow and you shall reap US State Dept.:

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Milk & Honey”

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's parsha, we read about some of the mitzvahs which are tied to the land of Eretz Yisroel. Part of the tithing-of-produce ceremony requires the person to make a declaration. As part of that declaration, the person asks Hashem: "Gaze down from Your holy abode, from the heavens, and bless Your people Yisroel, and the ground that You gave us, You swore to our forefathers, a land flowing with milk and honey." (Devorim 23,15) The following story illustrates this Brocha.
Yaakov Chaziza has always lived on a moshav located on the border with Lebanon. Thus, his life has always been filled with worry about the possibility of an attack. He and his neighbors live every day knowing that at any minute they may have to grab their machine-guns and be called into action. Yaakov used to be the only religious person on the moshav. When the others played cards in the social hall in the evenings, he would be learning in the moshav's shul.
As a farmer, he was, of course, careful about keeping all the halachos pertaining to farming and agriculture. For example, he kept the laws of orlah — not partaking of a tree's fruit during the first three years of its life — and Shemittah — letting the land rest in the seventh
Aside from the plots he owned himself, he also owned a few plots in partnership with some local farmers, who were not religious. As a result, he would occasionally find himself in conflict with them about halachic issues. Usually, they were able to work things out; one time, however, they were not able to come to an agreement. That event would change the lives of the people on the moshav forever.
As was normal for farmers in the area, Yaakov rented the farming equipment he needed each season. One year, one of his partners took charge of the rental without checking the day and date with Yaakov. The equipment was rented on a Friday, and had to be returned by Sunday morning, because the partners intended to do the
work, which consisted of harvesting the crops, on Shabbos.
For Yaakov, of course, this was completely unacceptable. He would never allow work to be done in his fields on Shabbos, and he begged his partners to push off the harvest to a later date. However, they would not give in to his wishes.
In the end, the others' fields were harvested, while Yaakov's portion of the crop remained standing uncut. It had been a very bad year for the crops. The lack of significant rainfall had led to a poor return on the produce. The three other partners were happy to have salvaged at least a small portion of their fields. They mocked Yaakov and told him how foolish he had been to allow his crop to continue to grow. The inevitable result would be that Yaakov's entire crop would be lost.
Yaakov ignored their taunting, knowing that he had done the right thing. Three weeks passed. During that time, it rained very hard — unusual for this time of year. As a result, Yaakov's crop flourished, and when he eventually harvested it he found that it far surpassed all his previous harvests. Not only that, but the yield was greater than that of his three partners put together. The other farmers were astonished!
This time there was no doubting Yaakov or the laws he followed. Yaakov's harvest caused a tremendous buzz among the members of the moshav. They were inspired to begin a change of lifestyle and started learning Torah instead of sitting around playing cards. It started with a few men, but the number grew, and within a few weeks there was a large group learning Torah. It changed their lives, but they could never imagine just how much.
It was a mere three weeks after Yaakov had begun his shiur. As the men left their makeshift beis midrash, happily discussing what they had learned, they heard a tremendous explosion. As soon as they realized it was a bomb, they all ran to their homes, afraid of what they would find. Their families were huddled together, shaking from fear;
thankfully, there were no injuries or casualties.
Upon checking the moshav for damage, they were shocked to find that the bomb had hit the very social hall where they had usually spent their weeknights, playing cards. But this week, they had been elsewhere, learning Torah with Yaakov. They hugged each other and thanked Hashem for sending them a messenger who had introduced them to the beauty, truth and salvation of Torah. (from A Touch of Warmth, p. 124, Reb Yechiel Spiro) Good Shabbos Everyone.
thankfully, there were no injuries or casualties.
Upon checking the moshav for damage, they were shocked to find that the bomb had hit the very social hall where they had usually spent their weeknights, playing cards. But this week, they had been elsewhere, learning Torah with Yaakov. They hugged each other and thanked Hashem for sending them a messenger who had introduced them to the beauty, truth and salvation of Torah. (from A Touch of Warmth, p. 124, Reb Yechiel Spiro) 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 whole year that will be to all a healthy, happy, wonderful, blessed, prosperous, fruitful, successful and Torah filled year. Please view this as an individual blessing.

Rachamim Pauli