Friday, October 19, 2012

Parsha Noach Part 1, Two Goog Shabbos Stories

Last week I saw that I had written in one place regarding scientific notation 1 with 130 zeros after it in another place I wrote 10 with 130 zeros after it. Both numbers for the probability of Amino Acids going into a DNA chain by accident is beyond human comprehension. The number should be a 1 followed by the zeros which was my scientific notation error that repeated itself and has been corrected in the

Stephen Hawking, whom I had the pleasure of meeting as a teen and working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory  a few rooms from him, wrote regarding the Divinity of the Torah that given enough monkeys pressing on typewriter keyboards one could write a Shakespeare Sonnet by accident. Since the sonnets have 14 lines the probability is a mere 1 followed by 686 zeros and the events of particles meeting particles since the Universe was created is 1 with 108 zeros after it. Even if one was to consider the whole animal kingdom the answer is as close to an absolute zero chance as ever.

Parsha Noach Part 1

What went wrong with mankind was he going to go the way of the dinosaurs, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon and others? Mankind was close to that but Noach found grace. That is what is the key. Man had become corrupt and it is unfortunate. The Good Shabbos Story which arrived late last week shows that the proper intent is needed.

6:9 These are the generations of Noah. Noah was in his generations a man righteous and whole-hearted; Noah walked with God.

These are the generations of Noah—Noah was a righteous man: Since Scripture mentions him, it tells his praise, as it is said (Prov. 10:7): “The mention of a righteous man is for a blessing.” - [Pesikta Rabbathi 12]. Another explanation [for why the names of the children are not mentioned immediately following “These are the generations of Noah”]: To teach you that the main generations [progeny] of the righteous are good deeds. — [Mid. Tan. Noah 2]
in his generations: Some of our Sages interpret it [the word בְּדֹרֹתָיו] favorably: How much more so if he had lived in a generation of righteous people, he would have been even more righteous. Others interpret it derogatorily: In comparison with his generation he was righteous, but if he had been in Abraham’s generation, he would not have been considered of any importance. — [Sanh. 108a, Gen. Rabbah 30:9, Tan. Noach 5]
Noah walked with God: But concerning Abraham, Scripture says (below 24:40): “[the Lord] before Whom I walked.” Noah required [God’s] support to uphold him [in righteousness], but Abraham strengthened himself and walked in his righteousness by himself. — [Tan. Noach 5]
walked: (הִתְהַלֶּךְ) is here in the past tense. The following is the usage of the “lammed” : in the “heavy” (כָּבֵד) form [this refers to conjugations with a dagesh in one of the root letters, in this case, in the lammed], one form can be used [both] for the future [really the imperative] and the past tense. For example, (Gen. ibid. 13): “Rise, walk (הִתְהַלֵּךְ)” is the future (i.e., imperative). “Noah walked (הִתְהַלֶּךְ)” is the past. (I Sam. 12:19): “Pray (הִתְפַּלֵּל) for your servants” is future (i.e., imperative), and (I Kings 8:42) “and he will come and pray (וְהִתְפַּלֵּל) toward this house” is past, only that the “vav” at the beginning converts it to the future. — [as explained by Mizrachi]

I wonder why Rashi did not mention Moshe whom the L-RD spoke to face by face. For based on the wording Noach was like a Toddler who had to walk with G-D while Avraham was like an older child who walked a bit ahead and Moshe talked face to face like a teen or young adult. It took 26 generations from Adam to bring back mankind to a level of receiving the Torah. I just have a gut feeling that had Adam not sinned, the Torah would have been given to him and thus all mankind.

10 And Noah begot three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. 11 And the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

The Torah does not mince words and the word used here is Hamas for violence.

was corrupt: Heb. וַתִּשָּׁחֵת is an expression of immorality and idolatry. (other editions add: immorality, “for all flesh had corrupted (הִשְׁחִית) its way,” and idolatry), as in (Deut. 4:16): “Lest you deal corruptly (תַּשְׁחִיתוּן).” - [Sanh. 56b, 57a]
and the earth became full of robbery: Heb. חָמָס, robbery. (other editions add: as it is said (Jonah 3:8): “and of the dishonest gain (הֶחָמָס) which is in their hands.”) - [Sanh. 108a]

Between Rashi and Tuval Kayn we can picture a generation that engages in murder, idolatry, robbery and all sorts of immoral behavior and the Rashi in the next  Pasuk indicates even animals behaving in interspecies and with humans in immoral acts.

12 And God saw the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.

for all flesh had corrupted: Even cattle, beasts, and fowl would mate with those who were not of their own species. — [from Tan. Noach 12]

From what I wrote above all flesh and become corrupt. 

13 And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

The end of all flesh: Wherever you find promiscuity (and idolatry), a pestilence comes upon the world and kills both good and bad alike. — [from Gen. Rabbah 26:5] Note that parenthetic words do not appear in Gen. Rabbah , Lev. Rabbah, or in early mss. and printed editions of Rashi. We have translated אַנְדְרוֹלוּמוּסְיָה as pestilence, following Aruch. See below.

We see the same phenomena with Sodom that only because of the sake of Avraham was Lot saved and then his daughters did immoral things.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; with rooms shalt thou make the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

with pitch: Heb. כֹּפֶר This is זֶפֶת in Aramaic, and we find in the Talmud (Shab. 67a, b, Ned. 51a, Git. 69b, B.M. 23b, 40a, 70a, Ar. 19a) the word כּוּפְרָא [meaning pitch]. In Moses’ ark [i.e., the ark in which Moses was placed in the Nile], since the water was calm, it was enough to have mud on the inside and pitch on the outside. Another reason: so that this righteous man [Moses] should not smell the bad odor of pitch. But here, because of the force of the water, he caulked it with pitch both inside and outside. — [from Gen. Rabbah 31:10, Sotah 12a]

15 And this is how thou shalt make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

If we go according the standard 18 inches per cubit we end up with 450 ft by 75 ft by 45 ft. If we go according to the Chazon Ish we get 150 meters by 25 meters by 15 meters or something like 3 Olympic size swimming pools long, one regular swimming pool wide and 5 stories or more high. It was a box shaped object covered by pitch close the size of a modern cruise ship. It took Noach 120 years starting by himself and then with his sons to build the Teva.

16 A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

a skylight: Heb. צֹהַר, lit. light. Some say [that it was] a window, and some say [that it was] a precious stone, which gave them light. — [Gen. Rabbah 31:11]
and to a cubit you shall finish it to the top: Its covering slanted upwards until it narrowed at the top to one cubit (Gen. Rabbah 31:11), so that the rain should run down (the following does not appear in certain editions) (from both sides) (Sanh. 108b, Maharsha).

This appears to be different from a regular window. If it was a radioactive glowing stone it could explain for the sudden change in life span from 900 plus to that  of a life span of a hundred or much less.

17 And I, behold, I do bring the flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; every thing that is in the earth shall perish. 18 But I will establish My covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the fowl after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. 21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.' 22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he. …

Due to Circumstates beyond my control, I will continue the commentary next week. I am only bringing down how the section dealing with the Noahide Laws:

9:12 And God said: 'This is the token of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I have set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow is seen in the cloud, 15 that I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.' 17 And God said unto Noah: 'This is the token of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is upon the earth.'

These are the Mitzvos that HASHEM gave Noach and his children for all generations:

Zahava M. Z. posted this on fanaticism

Don't follow excessive stringencies in your practice of the Torah. "God does not rule over His creatures with tyranny" (Avoda Zara 3a) - "The Torah was not given to ministering angels" (Berachos 25b) .

Our rabbis have taught that it is proper for each person to choose for himself one mitzvah to observe with particular care in all its fine details (Shabbos 118b). Yet even with your chosen mitzvah, you should not be excessively strict to the point of folly. Don't let it make you depressed. Simply try to keep the mitzvah carefully in all its finer points, but without excessive punctiliousness.

As for the other Mitzvos: simply follow the essential laws without adding extra stringencies. If only we could keep all the Mitzvos of the Torah according to the simple interpretation of the law without seeking to go beyond it!

There is no need to look for extra stringencies: this is foolish and confusing. The essence of serving God is simplicity and sincerity. Pray much, study much Torah and carry out many good deeds without seeking out or inventing unnecessary restrictions. Simply follow the path of our forefathers. "The Torah was not given to ministering angels."

There is nothing that you absolutely must do or else. If you can, you can. But if you cannot: "God exempts a person under duress" (Bava Kama 28b) . Sichot Haran #235

Halacha 3
A person who accustoms himself to live by [the rules of] medicine does not follow a proper path if his sole intention is that his entire body and limbs be healthy and that he have children who will do his work and toil for him. Rather, he should have the intent that his body be whole and strong, in order for his inner soul to be upright so that [it will be able] to know God. For it is impossible to understand and become knowledgeable in the wisdoms when one is starving or sick, or when one of his limbs pains him. [Similarly,] one should intend to have a son [with the hope that] perhaps he will be a wise and great man in Israel.
Thus, whoever walks in such a path all his days will be serving God constantly; even in the midst of his business dealings, even during intercourse for his intent in all matters is to fulfill his needs so that his body be whole to serve God.
Even when he sleeps, if he retires with the intention that his mind and body rest, lest he take ill and be unable to serve God because he is sick, then his sleep is service to the Omnipresent, blessed be He.
On this matter, our Sages have directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." This is what Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6).
Commentary Halacha 3
A person who accustoms himself to live by [the rules of] medicine does not follow a proper path if his sole intention is that his entire body and limbs be healthy - The Rambam puts the maintenance of health mentioned in the previous halachah into proper perspective. It is not to be pursued as a goal in its own right. Rather, it should be appreciated as merely a means to enable one to reach an awareness of God. The Rambam develops this idea at length in Shemoneh Perakim Chapter 5. There, he states:
A person should have the intention while eating, drinking, having intercourse, sleeping, awakening, moving, and resting, [that he does so] for the purpose of his physical health alone.
His intention in [seeking] physical health should be to prepare for the soul healthy and sound vessels to acquire wisdom and intellectual and emotional advantages until he reaches the goal of [knowing God].
and that he have children who will do his work and toil for him.- i.e., though procreation is a valid reason for intimate relations, one's intent in procreation should not be selfish.
Rather, he should have the intent that his body be whole and strong, in order for his inner soul to be upright so that [it will be able] to know God. - The Rambam also elaborates on the interrelation between the attainment of physical health and spiritual achievement in the Guide to the Perplexed, Vol. III, Chapter 27.
Heath is necessary as part of one's process of striving to know God...
For it is impossible to understand and become knowledgeable in the wisdoms when one is starving or sick, or when one of his limbs pains him. - The Maggid of Mezeritch would say: "A small hole in the body creates a large hole in the soul."
[Similarly,] one should intend to have a son [with the hope that perhaps he will be a wise and great man in Israel. - This is the desired goal in procreation - to perpetuate the nation, not only physically, but also spiritually.
Thus, whoever walks in such a path all his days will be serving God constantly; even in the midst of his business dealings, even during intercourse for his intent in all matters is to fulfill his needs so that his body be whole to serve God. - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam associates such behavior with Deuteronomy 6:5: "Love God, your Lord, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might." The course of action described enables us to dedicate every aspect of our being toward the love of God as prescribed by this verse.
Even when he sleeps, if he retires with the intention that his mind and body rest, lest he take ill and be unable to serve God because he is sick, then his sleep is service to the Omnipresent, blessed be He. - Perhaps, the Rambam uses this name for God to convey the concept that just as God's presence pervades all existence, our service of Him must encompass all aspects of our lives.
On this matter, our Sages - Avot 2:15
have directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." - In Shemoneh Perakim (ibid.), the Rambam elaborates upon this statement as follows:
Our Sages included this entire concept in the most succinct expression possible... When one meditates on this concise statement, one wonders how they could describe in its entirety an idea so awesome that many books were written about it without encompassing it totally. Without a doubt, [the statement] was made with Divine inspiration.
The commentaries note that Beitzah 16a stated concerning Hillel: "All of his deeds were for the sake of Heaven," and associates that with the following narrative in VaYikra Rabbah 34:3.
Hillel bid his students farewell. They asked him where he was going He told them that he was going to perform a mitzvah. They discovered that he was going to the bathhouse and asked him to explain his previous statements. He told them: Since the human body is created in the image of God, it is a mitzvah to wash oneself.
This is what Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways - Avot D'Rabbi Natan 17:7 also associates the above statement with this Biblical quote. Berachot 63b describes this verse as: "A small passage upon which all the fundamentals of Torah depend." Note also the Rambam's comments in Shemoneh Perakim, ibid.
Likkutei Sichot, Vol. III, notes that the rules of Torah scholarship would have called for the quotation of the Biblical verse before the quote from our Sages. However, the Rambam chooses this sequence because it reflects a progression in the service of God.
"All of your deeds should be for the Sake of Heaven" implies that the deeds are not themselves holy, merely that they are directed toward a Godly intent. "Know Him in all your ways" implies that a bond with God can be established within the context of our physical activity itself.
and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6). - In Iggerot HaKodesh, the Ramban interprets the state described in this clause as a natural product of the elevated rung of service mentioned in the previous clause. When a person develops an all encompassing bond with God, Divine light will illuminate all his paths.

Less than 5 days before my friend Yacov Glicksman passed away, Joe & Seth came to learn with him in Kaplan Hospital, I was there visiting him and it was the next to the last time that I would see him alive. We sat down and we all learned the Mishnah in the Chapter Rabbi Eliezer Ben Azariah’s cow went out on Shabbos. He learned it with the same fervor and clarity as he did when he was well!

Ari Mendelson Bias Incident is a finalist for Book of the Month over at Freedom Book Club. I would be very grateful if you could please go vote for him at

The IDF starts drafting very Orthodox young men:

From Ruth – the NYPD did not do their homework:

There are times to fight and there are times to upgrade oneself and fearlessly set down guidelines:,7340,L-4291320,00.html

Inyanay Diyoma

Barry Chamish wrote a book “Traitors and Carpetbaggers in the Promised Land”: IF HASHEM HAD NOT PERFORMED A MIRACLE HERE WE WOULD BE IN GREAT DANGER TODAY.,7340,L-4291337,00.html

A neighbor visits the mount of Olives and is attacked by Arabs,7340,L-4291333,00.html

Iran has the material but does it have the bomb? According to the Prophets it will.

Sometimes Caroline Glick is a bit long Miriam sent me this condensed piece: I found this information from Arlene Kushner's email update extremely interesting. I thought it was worth sharing, although those who support Obama may not agree. Yet, even if you are a Democrat, I hope you will read this and feel free to comment.

"On Friday, Caroline Glick wrote a fine piece that I would like to draw from here. Her focus is the irrational insistence of a considerable percentage
of the American Jewish community on supporting Obama. I say "irrational" because, to a very considerable degree, Obama does not represent the values Jews espouse.

While quoting her here, I would like to suggest that some of her arguments also apply to some who are not Jews, but who think of themselves as "liberal."

Glick asks, Does Obama really advance American Jewish [or, I will add, liberal] values?

"What are those values anyway? Well, there's civil liberties. American Jews like these. But Obama doesn't.

"Take freedom of speech. Obama is the most hostile president to freedom of speech in recent memory. He has advocated implementing the so-called "fairness doctrine" for radio to stifle the free speech of his political opponents on talk radio.

" He has sought to undermine the freedom of the Internet through federal regulations and intimidation of Internet companies such as Google.

"He has made repeated and outspoken attempts to intimidate individuals, groups and businesses including Google to bar freedom of speech as it relates to criticism of Islam. He has purged the lexicon of the federal government of all terms necessary to describe jihad, Islamic radicalism and terrorism...

"Then there are women's rights. American Jews like those.

"True, Obama has distinguished himself as the greatest ally of abortion-on-demand ever. He even supported infanticide of babies who survived abortions when he served in the Illinois legislature. But we women are a bit more than reproductive machines. We also work and raise families..."

"Aside from that, there are females who live outside of the US.

"American Jews have long been outspoken champions of women's rights around the world. But here Obama's record is arguably worse than any president in US history.

"Obama has abandoned the women most at risk of gender-based discrimination, rape and murder -- the women and girls of the Muslim world. Whereas the Bush administration liberated the women and girls of Afghanistan from the maniacally misogynist Taliban regime, the Obama administration is negotiating with the Taliban and setting the conditions for its return to power. If the signature image of the Bush administration's war in Afghanistan was that of women voting, the signature image of Obama's war in Afghanistan is the photo of 14-year old Malala Yousafzai. This week Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan for her defense of the right of girls to go to school."

Concludes Glick: "...The most disturbing aspect of the American Jewish community's devotion to Obama and the Democrats is that it indicates that the vast majority of American Jews have abandoned their faculties for independent thought and judgment in favor of conformism and slavish partisanship. They have rendered themselves unreachable."

The Iranian Surrogates preparing for war.

You can imagine what they do to Jews:  This is what happens to Christians in Iran

Anti-Semites as “humanitarians”:

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Food Fight” “Noah’s Ark”

Good Shabbos Everyone. Reb Mordechai Dov Twersky, known as Reb Mottel Hornisteipler was a holy man who was known to eat very little. Once, however, when Reb Mottel stopped at an inn for a meal while traveling, the holy man tasted his soup and then ate the entire bowlful. To the further surprise of his Chassidim, Reb Mottel asked the innkeeper if there was any more soup.
The innkeeper was delighted that the distinguished Rebbe was enjoying the soup so much, and so the host hurried to serve Reb Mottel another bowl. When that bowl was finished, Reb Mottel asked if he could have more, and after the next serving was finished, Reb Mottel asked if perhaps there was any more soup to be had. Finally, the innkeeper returned from the kitchen and apologetically told the Rebbe that the pot was empty.
When the Rebbe and his Chassidim resumed their travels, the Rebbe explained how he had suddenly developed such a hearty appetite. "When I tasted the soup, I realized that they [the kitchen staff] had mistakenly put kerosene (a fluid for burning) in the pot! I knew that if the innkeeper would have tasted it and realized that they had served such soup to me, the innkeeper would have been very angry with the cook. I did not want her [the cook] to be distressed on my account..."(Gut Voch, Rabbi A. Barash p.50)
From this amazing story, we see how the righteous eat for the right reasons. As the verse in Proverbs states "A righteous person eats to satisfy his soul..."(Mishlei 13:25) Reb Mottel ate not because he loved the taste of the soup. Reb Mottel ate in order to save someone from embarrassment. Reb Mottel ate with the pure intent of doing a mitzvah and serving Hashem.
In our Torah portion this week Bereishis, we read about the importance of eating for the right reasons. The Torah tells us "Hashem G-d took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden, to work it and to guard it. And Hashem G-d commanded the man saying: Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, you must not eat thereof; for on the day you eat of it you shall surely die." (Bereishis 2:15-17) Hashem had given Odom and Chava plenty to eat in the Garden of Eden, as Hashem said "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat." (2:16) Chava, however, took the forbidden fruit because it looked tasty, as the verse states, "And the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was a delight to the eyes..."(3:6) Odom and Chava did not eat because they wanted to serve Hashem. Hashem had specifically told them not to eat from that tree. Odom and Chava ate because the food looked good. Eating of the forbidden fruit brought bad into the world. Therefore we see that Hashem punished mankind because Odom and Chava ate for the wrong the reasons.
Hashem surely wants us to eat from his creation. However, we must eat for the right reasons.
Reb Menachem Nuchem of Chernoble writes in his commentary "Maor Eynayim" that after Odom and Chava ate from the forbidden fruit, good and evil become mixed up in the world. The "Maor Eynayim" tells us that by eating with the proper intent, we have the power to separate good from evil in the world. He explains that food and drink contain sparks of goodness and holiness. When we make a blessing over food and we eat the food with the proper intent of wanting to have strength to serve Hashem, we are able to absorb the sparks of holiness from the food. These sparks feed our souls and give us strength, while the waste product which is pure evil, is released from our bodies. ("Maor Eynayim" Parshas Matos) We see that eating for the right reasons thus has a tremendous power to elevate the soul.
Our lesson for this week is therefore the following: We have the power to correct the mistake of Odom and Chava. Odom and Chava brought evil to the world through eating for the wrong reasons. We, on the other hand, can unite the sparks of holiness in world by eating for the proper intent. Therefore, our goal in eating should be for spiritual elevation, rather than pure physical pleasure.
On Shabbos, it is a mitzvah to eat special foods, in order to honor the holy day. We gather around the table with family and guests to share in good wine, challah, fish, chicken soup, chicken and potato kugel, etc. As we mentioned, the "Maor Eynayim" explains that the taste of food is actually the sparks of holiness being released. Therefore on Shabbos, we can raise ourselves spiritually even more by eating tasty food with the proper intent.
In order to get the most out of life, we should view eating as a way to grow spiritually, rather than just a source of pleasure. Our challenge is to eat for the right reasons. Odom and Chava brought bad to the world by eating for the wrong reasons. Let us elevate ourselves and unite the sparks of holiness in the world by eating for the right reasons. Good Shabbos Everyone.

 Good Shabbos Everyone.  The Torah portion this week parshas Noach, tells of the shameful incident of Noach. Two of Noach's sons Shem and Yefes seek to minimize the shame of their father. Noach's third son Cham, however, takes advantage of his father's drunken state and violates him in the ugliest way. When Noach wakes up from his stupor to realize what Cham did, he curses Cham saying that he and his descendants are destined to be slaves. Noach then blesses Shem and Yefes for their honoring of him. Sufficed to say, that the Jewish nation descends from Shem - read Semitic.
         We see from here the greatness of the mitzvah of honoring one's parents. Because, it is through one act of the mitzvah of honoring one's parents that generations were affected for better or worse.  The following inspirational true story illustrates the special relationship which Jewish parents have with their children and the blessings which emanate from such relationships.
         The middle-aged woman entered the dining room and let the sights and sounds wash over her. About thirty boys clustered around a long dining-room table, singing a slow, harmonious song. Some of them had their eyes squeezed shut, as if to block out anything but the heavenly sound they were creating together. They swayed to the tune, their young hearts clearly swept up in the moment. "
         So this is a Shabbaton," the woman thought. "My Shmuel will love it." Her 10-year-old son, Shmuel, stood by her side, and indeed, his eyes were locked upon the scene in front of him. All he wanted was a place at the table.
         After a few moments, the woman caught the eye of Rabbi Nissel, a Rabbi from Eretz Yisrael who had been invited specifically to help teach and inspire this group of NCSY boys.
         The woman approached the rabbi with Shmuel at her side and said, "Rabbi, I would like to introduce you to my son, Shmuel. Please watch over him. He is a great boy who loves to learn, and this is the first time he has ever been to a Shabbaton."
         Then, the mother turned and left the house. The Rabbi looked at his young charge, who did not seem at all uneasy about having been placed in this situation. "Well, Shmuel, there's a seat for you right here," he said. "I'm sorry you missed the Friday night davening and meal, but you'll be here for the rest of Shabbos, and I'm sure you'll have a great time."
         Shmuel needed no convincing. He smiled a broad, utterly happy smile and joined in with the song the boys were then singing. When the others danced, he danced. When they davened, he davened. When they sat soaking up Rabbi Nissel's shiur, he sat among them, his eyes bright with interest.
         "So this is Shabbos," Shmuel thought to himself. It was his new, most precious possession, and he knew he would never let go of it. Launched so powerfully into religious life, it wasn't long before Shmuel began his career as a yeshivah student. His was an odd situation — a child of non-religious parents who nonetheless wholeheartedly supported his Torah learning and nurtured his success in every way.
         Rabbi Nissel played his part as well, keeping in touch with this special boy and encouraging his remarkable growth. The years passed and Shmuel made steady progress, never turning back to the non-religious life he had left behind. When he finished high school, he traveled to Eretz Yisrael to learn at a yeshivah there, once again finding inspiration and success. So impressed were the rebbeim by his dedication and enthusiasm that, at the age of 21, he was offered a fine shidduch with a young woman from Bnei Brak.
         Once again, Shmuel's path in life proved to be smooth and pleasant; a short time later, the couple was engaged. A few days later, the elated chassan was walking down a Yerushalayim street when he encountered his friend and mentor Rabbi Nissel.
         "Mazel tov, mazel tov!" the rabbi greeted him. "I heard the great news!" The two spoke for a few minutes, discussing Shmuel's current learning situation and his plans for the future. As Shmuel spoke, Rabbi Nissel observed his young friend as if he had never met him before. Standing there before him was a young man who was every inch the yeshivah bochur in his dress, his expressions, his conversation. No one could see anywhere a hint of the uninitiated 10-year-old who had been led by his mother to the Shabbos table so many years ago.
         "Tell me something, Shmuel," Rabbi Nissel at last interrupted. "I've wanted to ask you this for many years. I'm looking at you and I see that you have grown into a fine bochur, but I've always wondered how it happened. I mean, you grew up in a home that was completely non-observant, and yet here you are today. Why did your mother even go along with all of this?"
         "Rav Nissel, there is a story behind my being religious today, but now is not the time for me to discuss it," Shmuel answered. "But I would like you to come to my sheva berachos, and that is when I plan on telling everyone my story."
         "B'ezras Hashem, I'll be there!" Rabbi Nissel responded. Two months later, he was indeed there, at Shmuel's sheva berachos, when the chassan rose to speak. With friends and family gathered together, he revealed his remarkable story.
         "When my parents married, they were not religious people," he began. "They really didn't know much about Judaism. There was no Shabbos or Yom Tov or kashrus in their home. Only on Yom Kippur did they attend services. But they had a difficult challenge that finally opened my mother to the idea of praying. The problem was that after five years of marriage, they still had not been blessed with a child. Both of them wanted a family, and they were heartbroken when it seemed it would never happen. "My mother started going to shul on Shabbos, hoping that if she prayed more, Hashem would grant her a child.
         One week, as she sat there in shul, the rabbi spoke about Chanah and Elkanah who, after many years, had not been able to have children. She heard how Chanah had prayed and prayed, all to no avail. And then, Chanah did something different. She not only prayed from the bottom of her heart, but Chanah vowed that if her prayer were answered with the birth of a son, she would dedicate his life to serving Hashem. Finally, Chanah was granted a son, Shmuel HaNavi.
         "As my mother sat there absorbing this story, she realized that she had the same problem as Chanah. She began to cry, and then she vowed right then and there that if Hashem would grant her a child, she, like Chanah, would dedicate his life to serving Him.
         "I was born that year, and I was named Shmuel. My mother wanted to fulfill her vow, and she felt that the way to do it was to raise me as a religious Jew. However, since my parents had no knowledge in this area, they never quite knew how to make it happen. Finally, when I was 10, my mother found out about the NCSY Shabbaton and brought me there the way Chanah had brought Shmuel to Eli the Kohen. She has encouraged me every step of the way, and baruch Hashem, my parents have also become religious over the years. Now, as I start a new phase of life, I pray only that I will be able to fulfill my mother's promise and live a life that is truly dedicated to serving Hashem." ( p.212 Stories for the Jewish Heart II, R. Binyomin Pruzansky)  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

To all a wonderful Shabbos  and those of you who are over 50 or in a health category where a flu shot is desired please get one. Everybody should be well,
Rachamim Pauli