Friday, April 12, 2013

Parshiyos Tazria - Metzora, Love and Marriage, stories

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Dr. Harry sends me his poetry on Torah and the Parsha. However, I liked this self-Mussar best of all! I am working on in myself is a greater appreciation and fear of Heaven, so my words and poems do not instantly pass through the readers heart and are forgotten.

Parshiyos Tazria – Metzora

This week our Parshiyos take a little turn from the regular duties of a Cohain to that of being a specialist in skin diseases. Mistranslated as Leprosy it sound more like Psoriasis that I have seen on people at the Dead Sea. In any event there are 4 different versions of the disease(s) and also on the garments and house which appear to be some form of mold to me. After we establish forms of Tuma and what has to be known for ritual purity, we shall return to the holiness of the Kahuna and Am Yisrael and all the permissible and forbidden family relationships. Since there is no earliness or lateness aka chronological order in the Torah we don’t know if this instruction was given before or after Nadav and Avihu passed away.  

I was listening to a radio program in my car and the Dr. described a skin disease brought on trauma which he seemed to think was closer to Tsoras even more so that Psoriasis but they could be both be two of the four types with perhaps some being within Psoriasis.

12:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: If a woman be delivered, and bear a man-child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of the impurity of her sickness shall she be unclean.

Sickness what sickness rather read the Chabad Translation as menstruation is not an illness: Speak to the children of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, she shall be unclean for seven days; as [in] the days of her menstrual flow, she shall be unclean. It is not all the time that I catch the bad translation but this time it was so obvious that I caught it immediately.

If a woman conceives: Rabbi Simlai said: “Just as in the Creation, man was created after all domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds, so too, the law [concerning the cleanness] of man is stated after the law [concerning the cleanness] of domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds.”- [Vayikra Rabbah 14:1] If [a woman] conceives: Heb. כִּי תַזְרִיעַ. [These words are stated] to include the case of [a woman] who gave birth to a dissolved [fetus, i.e., the fetus had matured, but had subsequently] dissolved [in the womb], resulting in a semen-like mass (זֶרַע akin to תַזְרִיע), its mother has the impurity of birth. — [Niddah 27b] as [in] the days of her menstrual flow: According to the order of all the uncleanness mentioned in regard to the menstruating woman (נִדָּה), she becomes unclean on account of giving birth. [This is true] even if the womb opens without [any issue of] blood. Flow: Heb. דְּוֹתָהּ This expression denotes a substance that flows from her body. Another explanation: It denotes illness (מַדְוֶה) and sickness, for there is not a woman who sees [menstrual] blood without feeling ill, [since] her head and limbs become heavy upon her.

3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 And she shall continue in the blood of purification three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification be fulfilled.

she shall remain: The word תֵּשֵׁב means only staying [or remaining], like, “And you dwelled (וַתֵּשְׁבוּ) in Kadesh” (Deut. 1:46), “and he dwelt (וַיֵּשֶׁב) in the plain of Mamre” (Gen. 13:18). in the blood of purity: [I. e., during this interim period,] although she may see blood [issued from her], she is ritually clean. — [Torath Kohanim 12:15] in the blood of purity: Heb. טָהֳרָה. [This could be mistakenly understood as “in the blood of her purity.” However,] this is not an aspirate “hey,” [as is evidenced by the absence of a dot in the final letter ה]. Therefore, it is an [unqualified] noun, like the word טֹהַר [meaning “purity”]. the days of her purification: Heb. טָהֳרָהּ. [Here,] this is an aspirate “hey,” meaning “the days of her purification.” she shall not touch [anything holy]: [Although the verse says “shall not touch,” this is] a warning against one eating [anything holy] as is taught in Tractate Yev. (75a). [she shall not touch] anything holy: This comes to include terumah [being prohibited to this woman, before she is ritually clean (Torath Kohanim 12:16). This woman is considered a טְבוּל יוֹם, i.e., someone who has immerses in a mikvah, but must still wait for that day to elapse in order to become completely clean. Now, how is she considered a טְבוּל יוֹם ? We are talking here about a thirty-three day period. However, she does fall under this category] because she is considered a טְבוּלַת יוֹם אָרֹ [i.e., she must wait a “prolonged day,” insofar as] she immerses after seven [days], but the sunset that she must wait for [in order to become pure is not the sunset of the day of her immersion, but rather, it] is the sunset of the fortieth day [from birth], since it is [only] on the following day that she may bring the atonement [sacrifice] of her purification. [Thus, the whole period is to be considered one prolonged day, in the context of the law regarding her eating anything holy.]

She needs a Mikvah for purification.

5 But if she bear a maid-child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her impurity; and she shall continue in the blood of purification threescore and six days. 6 And when the days of her purification are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtle-dove, for a sin-offering, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest. 7 And he shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the fountain of her blood. This is the law for her that beareth, whether a male or a female. 8 And if her means suffice not for a lamb, then she shall take two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons: the one for a burnt-offering, and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

There is plenty that I can write on this subject and I wrote in the past on how Meseches Niddah advises a person who wants a son or daughter on how to behave that can be looked up on my on this Parsha.

13:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 2 If a man has a se'eith, a sappachath, or a bahereth on the skin of his flesh, and it forms a lesion of tzara'ath on the skin of his flesh, he shall be brought to Aaron the kohen, or to one of his sons, the kohanim.

The name of the condition including on the walls of the house or the clothing is called Tsoras which is very close in sound and description to Psoriasis so rather than fight the Jewish Publication Society’s translation of 1917 based on the King James Version and revised a bit, I shall leave the leprosy statement but having seen patients of Psoriasis and photos of Lepers, it would seem to me like the former disease is closer. According to the Talmud the main cause of these diseases and house mold/clothes mold is Lashon HaRa. The best cure or stopping the spread is to guard ones tongue and then the person is declared clean once the disease stops spreading. Note Chabad does not translate three words. Se’eith, Sappachath, Bahereth and these are three different things.

bahereth: Heb. בַּהֶרֶת, spot, taye in Old French. This is similar to the verse, “it is [like] bright [clouds] (בָּהִיר) in the skies” (Job 37:21) [i.e., like the spots created by bright clouds in the blue sky. [he shall be brought] to Aaron [the kohen, or to one of his sons]: It is a Scriptural decree that the uncleanness of lesions and their cleanness do not come about except by the pronouncement of a kohen. — [Torath Kohanim 13:43]

3 And the priest shall look upon the plague in the skin of the flesh; and if the hair in the plague be turned white and the appearance of the plague be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is the plague of leprosy; and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.

[if] hair in the lesion has turned white: Heb. וְשֵׂעָר. At first [the hair] was black, and then it turned white in the lesion. The minimum [quantity referred to by the term] שֵׂעָר, hair, is two, [as opposed to שַׂעֲרָה, a hair, as in Jud. 20:16. Thus, there shall be a minimum of two hairs that turn white in the lesion for this law to apply]. — [Torath Kohanim 13:4547] [and the appearance of the lesion] is deeper than the skin of his flesh: Anything with a white appearance seems deeper [in contrast to a darker object next to it], just as sunlight appears deeper than a shadow. — [Shev. 6b] he shall pronounce him unclean: He shall say to him: “You are unclean,” for white hair is a sign of uncleanness by Scriptural decree.

What we see here is definitely a case of Tuma and the person cannot enter the camp.

4 And if the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and the appearance thereof be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white, then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days.

[But if it is a white bahereth…] and its appearance is not deeper: I do not know its meaning [since a white bahereth should always appear deeper than the skin, as above, yet here the verse describes a case where it does not].

It does not appear to be the disease or it is a mild form that will spread no further so the person is confined and then released.

5 And the priest shall look on him the seventh day; and, behold, if the plague stay in its appearance, and the plague be not spread in the skin, then the priest shall shut him up seven days more.

[The kohen] shall quarantine him… a second time: But if it [the lesion] spread in the first week, he is definitely unclean. - [See Nega’im 3:3]

We want to make sure that the person is Tahor and it was some other malady that attacked him or the start of the disease and it stopped before the man became unclean.

6 And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day; and, behold, if the plague be dim, and the plague be not spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is Mishpahath; and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

Has become dimmer: [I.e.,] it became dimmer in its appearance. Hence, if it remained the same in its appearance or spread, he is unclean. mispachath: The name of a clean lesion. He shall immerse his garments and become clean: Since he was required to be quarantined, he is considered unclean and requires immersion.

7 But if the scab spread abroad in the skin, after that he hath shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall show himself to the priest again. 8 And the priest shall look, and, behold, if the scab be spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is leprosy.

The reason for the two previous weeks were that we were afraid that he would be ritually impure and therefore the long time period precaution.

9 When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the priest. 10 And the priest shall look, and, behold, if there be a white rising in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising, 11 it is an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; he shall not shut him up; for he is unclean. 12 And if the leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of him that hath the plague from his head even to his feet, as far as appears to the priest; 13 then the priest shall look; and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague; it is all turned white: he is clean. 14 But whensoever raw flesh appears in him, he shall be unclean. 15 And the priest shall look on the raw flesh, and pronounce him unclean; the raw flesh is unclean: it is leprosy. 16 But if the raw flesh again be turned into white, then he shall come unto the priest; 17 and the priest shall look on him; and, behold, if the plague be turned into white, then the priest shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: he is clean.
18 And when the flesh hath in the skin thereof a boil, and it is healed, 19 and on the place of the inflammation there is a white se'eith, or a reddish white bahereth, it shall be shown to the kohen. 20 And the priest shall look; and, behold, if the appearance thereof be lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy, it hath broken out in the boil. 21 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein, and it be not lower than the skin, but be dim, then the priest shall shut him up seven days. 22 And if it spread abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague. 23 But if the bright spot stay in its place, and be not spread, it is the scar of the boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean. 24 Or when the flesh hath in the skin thereof a burning by fire, and the quick flesh of the burning become a bright spot, reddish-white, or white; 25 then the priest shall look upon it; and, behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and the appearance thereof be deeper than the skin, it is leprosy, it hath broken out in the burning; and the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy.

This particular disease is like a burn scab and is therefore called “Bahereth” it is different from other forms of the disease perhaps a different disease altogether as I have not seen burn like scabs on the patients that I have seen at the Dead Sea.

The healed area of the burn: Saynement [in Old French]. When the burn healed, the area changed to become a blended bahereth [of white and red], or pure white one. The signs of a burn (מִכְוָה) and the signs of an inflammation (שְׁחִין) are the same. [If so,] why does Scripture separate them [into two sections]? To teach us that they do not become combined with each other, [i.e., while a griss, the area of a bean, is the minimum surface area of a lesion for it to be deemed unclean,] if a lesion the size of half a griss emerges in an inflammation, and [another] the size of half a griss in a burn, they are not judged as [though] a full griss [of lesion has emerged]. — [Chul. 8a]

26 But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hair in the bright spot, and it be no lower than the skin, but be dim; then the priest shall shut him up seven days.

The “clean” version sounds more like what I have seen on people.

27 And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day; if it spread abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is the plague of leprosy. 28 And if the bright spot stay in its place, and be not spread in the skin, but be dim, it is the rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean; for it is the scar of the burning.

As soon as the disease is contained and not expanding the person becomes clean.

29 And when a man or woman hath a plague upon the head or upon the beard,

I hope that I am not making a mistake and will call this the 4th type.

on the head or on the beard [area]: Scripture comes to distinguish between a lesion in a place where hair grows and a lesion in a place of flesh, namely, that in one [case, i.e., on flesh], the sign [of uncleanness] is white hair, while in the other [case, i.e., on the area of hair], the sign [of uncleanness] is golden-yellow hair. — [Torath Kohanim 5:5]

30 then the priest shall look on the plague; and, behold, if the appearance thereof be deeper than the skin, and there be in it yellow thin hair, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a scall, it is leprosy of the head or of the beard.

and in it is a… golden-yellow hair: [meaning] that the black hair in it has turned golden-yellow. It is a nethek: This is the name of the lesion [of tzara’ath when it occurs] on an area of [skin where] hair [grows].

31 And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, the appearance thereof be not deeper than the skin, and there be no black hair in it, then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days.

and there is no black hair in it: Thus, if there was black hair inside it, he is clean and does not require quarantine, for black hair in a nethek is a sign of cleanness, as the verse (37) says, “or if black hair has grown in it, [the nethek has healed; it is clean].”[Torath Kohanim 13:125]

32 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague; and, behold, if the scall be not spread, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the appearance of the scall be not deeper than the skin, 33 then he shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more. 34 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall; and, behold, if the scall be not spread in the skin, and the appearance thereof be not deeper than the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

The Parsha goes on to explain the Tsoras of a house or  garment and the atonement for the various types of this disease.

15:19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be in her impurity seven days; and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her impurity shall be unclean; every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

The laws of family purity are described here.

31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile My tabernacle that is in the midst of them. 32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him from whom the flow of seed goes out, so that he is unclean thereby; 33 and of her that is in menstruation with her impurity, and of them that have an issue, whether it be a man, or a woman; and of him that lies with her that is unclean.

From the Parshios Tazria & Metzorah To Delay Bris Milah

This week’s parshah begins discussing the spiritual impact on a woman of giving birth. Shortly afterwards, the Torah moves on to a lengthy explanation about the laws of tzara’as, the skin affliction that was a form of Divine punishment for having spoken loshon hara, true but derogatory speech about another.
Though the matters are quite different from each other, they are somewhat similar inasmuch as they deal with the spiritual status of a person based upon a physical event. If the Torah had merely gone from the one subject to the other, few eyebrows might have been raised.
Instead, though, the Torah inserts the mitzvah of Bris Milah between the two matters:
“. . . If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, then she will be ritually unclean for seven days, as if she had her period. On the eighth day, his foreskin must be circumcised.” (Vayikra 12:2-3)
Even though Bris Milah is necessary because of the birth of a new boy, there are other more logical places elsewhere in the Torah to discuss the mitzvah. Doing so would have allowed the Torah to flow more smoothly from the mitzvos of purification that have to do with birth to those associated with tzara’as, begging the question, why didn’t it?
At first glance, the two topics seem to have little to do with each other. Bris Milah is something we celebrate as we enter a new born son into the Covenant of Avraham Avinu, and tzara’as is something to be mourned, being a Divine punishment for having spoken loshon hara. The former brings a person into the community and the latter sends him from it (the Metzora lives in isolation for a period).
What they do have in common, however, is that they are both mitzvos that have to do with a person’s skin. Tza’aras afflicted the skin:
God told Moshe and Aharon, “When a person has a blotch, a discoloration, or spot on his skin . . .” (Vayikra 13:1-2)
whereas Bris Milah removed the orlah—foreskin—with which a male is born.
This may only seem like a skin-deep connection, but in this case, this makes it a deep skin connection. For, the words Bris Milah themselves mean Covenant of the Word, something which the person who speaks loshon hara has clearly violated; loshon hara violates the covenant made through the removal of a skin, and therefore the punishment is an affliction of the skin.
The connection between Bris Milah and our commitment to weigh our words and speak meaningfully is further accentuated by the fact that the word orlah—foreskin—is used in connection to speech:
Moshe said to God, “God, I am arul sefasayim—of uncircumcised lips . . .” (Shemos 4:10)
We’re not finished yet. Why is it that a woman bleeds as a result of childbirth and can even become spiritually defiled as well? The Torah answered that question back at the beginning, when God punished Chava for her role in the eating from the forbidden fruit:
To the woman He said, “I will greatly increase your pain in pregnancy, and childbirth will also be painful.” (Bereishis 3:16)
But the bigger question is, why did she sin in the first place? The Torah tells us that as well:
Moshe answered and said, “They will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; they will say that God has not appeared to me.”
God said to him, “What is in your hand?”
He said, “A staff.”
He told him, “Throw it to the ground.”
He threw it to the ground and it became a serpent, and Moshe ran away from it. (Shemos 4:1)

This indicated to him that he had spoken loshon hara about the Jewish people, and that he had imitated the trade of the serpent. (Rashi)
Which serpent spoke loshon hara? The original one. When did he speak it? Here:
The serpent told the woman, “You will not die! God knows that once you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Bereishis 3:4-5)
True or not, the Original Snake spoke derogatorily about God, and triggered the downfall of mankind, which has led to thousands of years of death, meaningless murders, and a whole host of destructive behaviors and events. It underscores the incredible destructive power of simple words when they are abusive, and our ability to validate them and facilitate their destructive ability when we accept them.
Knowing this helps to explain a somewhat bizarre chain of events. The Torah recounts:
It happened along the way to the Inn that God met him [Moshe] and wanted to kill him. Tzipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the orlah of her son, and threw it at his feet, and said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” She loosened her hold of him and said, “You are a bridegroom of blood, because of circumcision.” (Shemos 4:24)
The angel became a serpent and swallowed him from his head to his thigh, and then spit him out again, and then swallowed him from his legs to the place [of Bris Milah]. Tzipporah thereby understood that it had happened on account of the delay in performing Bris Milah to her son. (Rashi)
When you think about it, it is amazing how close the Jewish people came to losing their redeemer from Egyptian slavery, and all because Moshe had delayed the planned bris of his son by what would have amounted to minutes! For putting off milah for the malon (i.e., the Inn), Moshe incurred the death penalty on the way to Mitzrayim.
He did? Why? After all, though it is a Positive Mitzvah to perform Bris Milah on one’s son, the penalty for not doing so is not death, or even kares (being cut off from the Jewish people). Rather, a father who does not circumcise his son “merely” loses out on the opportunity to perform a very important and central Positive Mitzvah.
If so, then what had been Moshe’s crime that he warranted death as a punishment? Furthermore, why did God go after Moshe by sending an angel in the form of a snake? And why was Tzipporah, the mother of the child, forced to perform the circumcision herself to save her husband’s life?
The answer should be clearer now. Moshe Rabbeinu was on a mission to save the Jewish people from Pharaoh, whose name, in Hebrew letters, spells “evil mouth” (when the Peh is written as it sounds). He was going to save them from what the Torah calls avodah b’pharach, which the Talmud reads as peh-rach, or soft mouth.
Eventually they escaped the Egyptians at the Reed Sea, from a place called Pi Hachiros, or the Mouth of Freedom. As a result, we celebrate the holiday called Pesach, which the Maharal says is really Peh Sach, which means the mouth that spoke, which explains why the Seder revolves around the saying of the Haggadah, which means telling.
Hence, since Moshe Rabbeinu’s mission was to free the Jewish mouth, so-to-speak, so that it could fulfill the following:
Rebi Elazar said: Every man was created to toil, as it says, “Because man was made to toil . . .” (Iyov 5:7). Now, I do not know if that means to toil through speech, or in actual labor; however, once it says, “A toiling soul toils for him, for his mouth compels him” (Mishlei 16:26), I know that a person was created to toil with his mouth. I do not know, though, if this means to toil in Torah or just in regular conversation. However, once it says, “This Torah should not leave your mouth” (Yehoshua 1: 8), I know that man was created to toil in Torah [through speech]. (Sanhedrin 99b)
For a man on such a mission, all of sudden, a delay in Bris Milah carried a lot more meaning, for which a delay was a lot more serious. Understanding this, and all that has been said until now, the flow of this week’s parshah is actually quite profound and instructive.

I got this story from Hena whom I managed to put in contact with this Rabbi. I think it is such a nice story which I heard before but don’t think I wrote that I will print it here:
When Rabbi Israel Spira was confined in the Janowska Concentration Camp –right on the border town of Lwów, Poland (today Ukraine) – it did not matter that he happened to be a Chassidic Rebbe, a Chassidic master, of the “Bluzhov” dynasty. He was treated like the rest of the Jewish people incarcerated there as slave labor.
Each morning at dawn, the Germans would force all the inmates for line up and counting. The Nazis would then lead them out of the camp for another day of hard labor in the carpentry and metalwork factory. Their day ended only at nightfall. A giant saw was given to each pair of unskilled workers. They cut the logs for use in the factory by the skilled laborers.
The conditions in the camp were horrendous: No real bedding, no real sanitary conditions, and no real security and safety, as people were murdered all the time. Besides, food consisted of starvation rations of 180 calories a day. Trying to subsist on such rations made it almost impossible for the poor inmates to stand on their feet. Failing to meet the daily quota, however, was not an option. Anyone who was unfortunate enough to collapse on the job from sheer physical and mental exhaustion would be murdered on the spot. The same applied to those who failed to meet the daily quota. Those who were too weak and meek were a waste of time and resources for the Nazis. Plenty more free labor, in the form of Jews, were out there somewhere in
Europe. As unfamiliar as he was with the harsh labor, the Rebbe, Rabbi Spira, was forced to perform his duties like everyone else.
One day, as he pulled and pushed the heavy saw with his partner, a young woman quietly approached him from the same work detail. The pallor of her face showed her to be in an extremely weak physical state. “Rebbe,” she whispered, “do you have a knife?” The Rebbe thought he had understood her intention. He felt the great responsibility that rested upon his shoulders. He had to dissuade her from the intended harm she wanted to inflict on herself. “My daughter,” he begged, concentrating with as much love and conviction in his heart possible. “Do not take your own life. I know that your life is now a living hell. Death must seem like a blessed release. But we must never lose hope. With G-d's help, we will survive this ordeal and see better days.” But the woman seemed oblivious to his words. “A knife,” she repeated. “I must have a knife. Now. Before it is too late.” At that moment, one of the German guards noticed the whispered conversation and approached. “What did she say to you?” the thug demanded of the
Rebbe. The Rebbe froze. Chatting during work was a grave transgression. Many a camp inmate had been shot on the spot for far lesser crimes. The woman, though, was upfront. “I asked him for a knife,” she said. To the Rebbe’s horror, she then addressed her request to the guard, “Give me a knife!” The German, too, guessed her intention, and a devilish smile flickered on his lips. This would be a novel sight for him. Still smiling, he reached into his pocket and handed her a small knife. Taking the knife, she hurried back to her work station and bent over a small bundle of rags that she had placed on a log. Quickly unraveling the bundle, she took out a tiny infant. Before everyone’s astonished eyes, she swiftly and skillfully circumcised the week-old boy. The blessing was next: “Blessed are You, G-d our G-d, King of the Universe,” she recited in a clear voice, “Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to enter him into the covenant of Abraham our Father.” Cradling the child in her arms, she soothed his cries. Then, she addressed the heavens, “Master of the Universe! Eight days ago you gave me a child. I know that neither I nor he will long survive in this accursed place. But now, when you take him back, you will receive him as a complete Jew.” “Your knife,” she said, handing the now holy object back to the German. “Thank you.”
This story was told by Rabbi Israel Spira, the Rebbe of Bluzhov himself. Throughout history, the enemies of the Jewish people have done whatever they could to exterminate the Jewish people. Their attempts have been to rid the world forever of Jews and their religion. The enemies, though, even the evil Nazis, had no idea with whom they were dealing. Being a committed Jew – on any level – means that one strives to be connected with the Divine whether it is logical or not. When logic is transcended that cannot be destroyed.
The above story explains a strange admonition in this week’s Torah portion, “Shemini.” In its laws regarding keeping Kosher, the Torah warns, several times, not to consume insects, “You should sanctify yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. And you shall not defile yourselves through eating any creeping creature that crawls on the ground. For I am G-d who is bringing you up from the land of Egypt to be your G-d. Thus, you shall be holy because I am holy.” (Vayikra (Leviticus) 11:44-45.)
The Talmud teaches that for consuming an ant, one has transgressed five violations. A type of bee would be six violations. The question begs to be asked: Ants and bees, flies and spiders are not found on the menu of most normal human beings. Most people would actually find it detestable and loathsome even to think of getting their bodies close to any of those insects. Is it really necessary to pile on those prohibitions for things which people naturally spurn? It is all about being connected to the Divine. The Torah wishes to emphasize that one should be focused on the G-dliness not because of bodily nature or logic, but because of the added sanctity this provides.
In the final analysis, Judaism is about a connection which transcends nature and the natural. Whether it is a repulsive creature, or a repulsive human, being connected to the Divine ultimately provides an opportunity to be elevated to a level of sacredness higher than any place in this physical world.
Let’s be honest: for a Jew in the Okanagan in 2013, keeping Kosher isn’t easy. Yes, you can get quite a few items at some local supermarkets, but overall it’s not cheap, it’s not easy and there’s delicious non-Kosher everywhere. Yet, I believe in my heart of hearts that it’s absolutely doable.
Every single Jew in Canada can incorporate Kosher into their life. If you’re not ready for full on Kosher 24/7, ok I understand, but a little bit at least is definitely possible! One meal a week, one day a week, one more item in our pantry that could be Kosher. This is not about your health or some archaic Jewish idea of our grandparents. Kosher is important as Hashem puts it Himself in today’s portion “For I am the Lord Who has brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God. Thus, you shall be holy, because I am holy.”

Rabbi Shmuly []

I was a master at creating false intimacy. Until I realized I was missing out on true love. by Larry Barret

In my late-20s I figured out I was pretty good at dating. I spent significant time diligently learning all the "rules" and applying the gentlemanly behaviors I’d been raised with. I met hundreds of women through work, on the street, and online dating sites – all with the objective of getting them to want to go out with me.
The "rules" were: Use good eye contact; smile; pay sincere non-threatening compliments about things they choose in their appearance (shoes, a necklace, eyeglasses); ask appropriate questions and listen to the answers with interest; offhandedly suggest that we meet again; and most importantly, get a phone number.
I would take notes after the meetings to boost my powers of recall (it was a lot to keep straight) and appear even more sincere. Two days later (not one, and not three), I’d call with a plan for a date, indicating that I’d listened to everything they shared when we’d first met.
Before the first date I'd make sure the car was clean and that I was moderately fashionably dressed – especially the shoes (women seem obsessed with shoes). I’d pick her up 10 minutes late (to be sure she was ready), and head out.
On the first date, I would open the doors, pick up the check, listen more than speak, be careful with alcohol (one glass of wine, no more), and have a plan for the next meeting. This approach continued with little variation in strategy or results. The first date led to second, which led to third. Within a few weeks I invariably found myself in an intimate relationship with a person I didn't even know. I was a master hook-up artist. I was a master hook-up artist and that made me feel good about myself.
For a while.
I didn't create this narrative as some kind of how-to guide. I'm trying to explain how truly unromantic and devoid of honest human feeling the entire process was for myself and others. It was a time-consuming game that many young adults play – and then complain they missed the boat on marriage and children.
I almost did.
There is a better way for things to happen that changes the whole nature of dating from sport to relationship. You get to know a person as a person – their interests, their goals, their beliefs. You hear about their families, their careers and their childhood crushes. You carefully observe: Are they neat or messy? Do they get angry quickly, or have a way of soothing others? Do they live their beliefs, or simply pay lip-service?
Do you actually like this person? More importantly, do you respect them?
Then you decide to have a relationship. You connect and commit intellectually, emotionally and spiritually – before even thinking of physical intimacy. It takes time and effort and – when done properly – produces lifelong intimacy on all levels that makes every other human relationship pale in comparison. That's the way things are supposed to happen.
But that's not how it was happening in my world. I blew right past the “getting to know you” stage into false intimacy. And once things get to that point, they never seem to circle back to the “getting to know you.” You're stuck with what you've got and convinced by all the dramatic, exciting things going on that it will work out.
Invariably one of us would sober up and decide to move on. It might be a few months, a few weeks, or even a few days. (One lasted two years and I almost got married!) Occasionally I'd recycle things with an old flame after a time if I wasn't finding enough new excitement on my own. But each time, as soon as one ended I was off to the next.

True Love

It might appear that I was manipulating the women I dated, but I assure you I was not. There is an entire subculture based on this type of false intimacy. Just as I was engaging in a lifestyle of serial monogamy, so were the women I dated. That's what we did during that time and place in life. These women had careers and goals, and most were probably more self-aware than I was. That's why they played along. They, as much as I, wanted this faint shadow of things that go along with marriage – without all the actual work and commitment involved. Since I observed the "rules" and followed the guidelines of gentlemanly behavior, these women considered me a “good guy,” and so it was all okay.
I did this for seven years.
I started my own business and had some money in the bank. I had a regular Saturday morning foursome on the golf course. I lived in the most beautiful city in the U.S. I was dating the current “love of my life”.
Then I started attending synagogue, exploring Jewish spirituality, and I began to think about things a little differently. I realized something was wrong. I should have been happy, but I realized how lonely I really was. How little value I was attaching to myself and what I had to truly offer others. I realized that for all the dating and romance, I hadn't been in love for many years. Later I would realize that I had never really been in love, ever.
I stopped chasing after the then-“love of my life” and she didn't really mind. She didn't get the Jewish Friday night thing, anyway. I dropped my Saturday foursome and gravitated toward a more observant lifestyle. I started to make friends that shared my values and began to figure out who I was and what I wanted.
I stopped dating for a while to give myself the needed space to introspect and explore. After about a year I asked out one of the women I had become friendly with at the synagogue. After dating for a few months, we decided that we weren't suited for marriage and we moved on. We remained friends – probably because we were friends before we dated and we stopped dating before any feelings got hurt.
Then I met my wife. She walked into the room took my breath away. We went out for a cup of coffee and talked for hours. She, like me, was clear on the fact that she was dating for marriage. That's definitely against the "rules."
The next day I couldn't help myself, I called and left her a voice mail saying how I had a great time and wanted to see her again. I broke the "rules" again.
Two Sundays later we went to a kosher winery, had a picnic, and talked from morning to night about the things that we wanted. Who we were. What we believed. How we wanted to live. We talked about faith and careers and money and children. That is absolutely against the "rules."
We met several times a week. I met her parents. She met mine. We met each other's friends. We attended synagogue together. After two months, I proposed. She said yes before thinking and then said yes again after catching her breath.

Burning Bush

We married six months later and in the four years since we've been through financial crises, family issues, lost pregnancies, career changes, and been blessed with a beautiful daughter so late in life. We're business partners and friends. I am absolutely not lonely anymore. The excitement of finding a new woman to date is nothing compared to the adventure of discovering new things about myself and my wife every day. And it's nothing compared to raising my daughter.
But here's the thing.
For seven years my wife’s office was three blocks away from me before I met her. We discovered that we parked in the same parking lot. We lived a few blocks away from each other for two years, and vaguely remember bumping into each other at a neighborhood convenience store. We both have a sweet tooth and ended up there on late-night candy runs at the same time on several occasions. There were a number of other near-misses.
We're now in our mid-40s. While we're thankful that the Almighty finally stomped His foot hard enough for us to get the message, we really would have liked to have met each other earlier. We love our infant daughter so much that it kills us to think that had we met earlier, we might have been blessed with five of her by now.
The first time I studied the Torah portion that talks about Moses and the Burning Bush, the rabbi asked the study group how long we thought the bush had been burning before Moses noticed it and turned toward it. I think about that a lot these days. With all those near-missed meetings with my wife, that bush must have been burning for years before I saw it. I wasted seven years, blinded by "false intimacy" and the year I spent recovering from it. What if I would have seen it earlier?
It's hard to be out there in the world and be single. It's hard to see people that seem happy serial monogamists and not want to try out the lifestyle while waiting for your true mate to show up. I thank God every day that I got out of it in time to meet my wife and daughter. I shudder to think what might have been, and for so many others out there, what still could be.
In a different non-Torah way: and

The miraculous story of the Jews of Zakynthos LEORA GOLDBERG THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 13, 2009 An old e-mail from Chaim B.
ZAKYNTHOS, Greece - I needed a break at the end of a long and exhausting semester. My family was off to the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula, to an unknown island in Greece. I decided to join them.
We flew from Tel Aviv to Athens. From Athens, towards the famous sunrise of the eastern isles, we landed on the island of Zakynthos - "Fiore di Levante" (Flower of the East) - which is also known by its Italian name - Zante.
During the ride, I read the travel guide, and learned a little about the history, the agriculture, the weather and finally about the poetic origins of the national anthem. I did not read one word about what I was really about to discover on the island.
The drive from the airport to our villa lasted a few minutes. From the coastal plateau, we drove up through twisted village bends to our destination.
An old lady, a typical Greek villager dressed all in black, welcomed us with a warm smile into her home. She asked to show us around her beloved mansion. It was obvious that this place was the source of her pride.
The landlady gave us a short tour of the old-style bedrooms, bathrooms and salon. In the kitchen, we noticed the beautiful authentic Greek dishes that were hanging over her antique-looking stove. All these were for our use.
We explained to her that for religious reasons, unfortunately, we would not be able to enjoy using her kitchenware and that we had brought our own. This is when it all began. She seemed confused. She looked at my dad and suddenly her eyes lit up. She noticed his Kipa (yarmulke). We were asked to follow her out to the garden. From the high point where we were standing, we saw a fantastic view of the ocean and the ships. But she pointed the other way completely.
"Look over there!" she said. She wanted to know what we saw. "Trees, vegetation," we said. "Look again and focus!" she demanded. "Something unidentified that looks like teeth, white dots," my dad said. She stared at us for a long moment and said: "That is the Jewish cemetery." I was shocked. We were all astounded. Here were on an isolated island in Greece. Who ever heard of Jews here? I tried reminiscing about stories and experiences I had heard from friends who had visited here. Nothing came to mind.
From this moment on until I left Greece, the relaxing summer holiday drinking ouzo on the beach became a fascinating journey. By the end of it, I uncovered an unforgettable story.
The next morning, I got on my rented moped and drove to the cemetery. The shudder that went through me started when I first saw the Star of David on the little black gate. The trembling grew as I walked in. It was a huge cemetery containing hundreds of graves from the 16th century up until 1955. The grounds were well-kept and little stones were set on many graves, as if they had had visitors recently. 1955. I thought for a moment. Whoever knows the history of Greece and its islands even faintly knows that there was no place struck harder by the Nazis. Rhodes, Corfu, Salonika, Athens. The loss of Jewish life in Greece was devastating. From 1944, there were almost no Jews left even in the bigger communities.
I did not, however, understand the meaning of the "1955" grave, and decided to investigate. In a small house that stood in the heart of the property, I found the cemetery keeper, a third generation of custodians of the Jewish graveyard in Zakynthos. My inability to speak the language prevented me from having a deep conversation with him. I sought to continue my search for the Jewish history of this town, and within five minutes I was at City Hall. When I told the clerk at the front desk what I was after, he asked if I had already been to the synagogue. The question was posed casually, as though it's asked on a daily basis.
"Excuse me?" I thought I hadn't heard right. "A synagogue on this island?" He gave me directions. The synagogue was located on a busy road in the center of the island. Off the main street, in a space between two buildings, was a black iron gate, just like the one I had seen not long ago at the cemetery Above it was a stone arc with an open book. It read, in a loose translation from the original Hebrew, "At this holy place stood the Shalom Synagogue. Here, at the time of the earthquake in 1953, old Torah scrolls, bought before the community was established, were burned."
Through the locked gate I saw two statues. Judging by their long beards, they looked to me like rabbis. The writing on the wall proved me wrong: "This plaque commemorates the gratitude of the Jews of Zakynthos to Mayor Karrer and Bishop Chrysostomos." What was the acknowledgment about? Who were these people? Why the statues? What happened here? I had lots of questions. I had to find a lead, if not an answer. I returned to City Hall, excited and trembling. I approached the clerk, who already recognized me, and started questioning him about what had happened here. He referred me to the mayor's deputy on the third floor. I found his room, knocked at his door and asked him if he would spare me a few minutes. He willingly accepted.
HALF an hour later I came out with this: On September 9 1943, the governor of the German occupation named Berenz had asked the mayor, Loukas Karrer, for a list of all Jews on the island. Rejecting the demand after consulting with Bishop Chrysostomos, they decided to go together to the governor's office the next day. When Berenz insisted once again for the list, the bishop explained that these Jews weren't Christians but had lived here in peace and quiet for hundreds of years.
They had never bothered anyone, he said. They were Greeks just like all other Greeks, and it would offend all the residents of Zakynthos if they were to leave. But the governor persisted that they give him the names. The bishop then handed him a piece of paper containing only two names: Bishop Chrysostomos and Mayor Karrer. In addition, the bishop wrote a letter to Hitler.

Facebook threat: Lately the Arabs are using photos of live and dead soldiers from the IDF or sick pedophiles in the US to get into a relationship with youth (article below is from Dr. Phil).

Online Dating Red Flags: Warning Signs of a Catfish

With more than 40 million men and women online looking for love, there are bound to be some scam artists out there. A “catfish” is a person who creates a false online identity in the hopes of luring people into romantic relationships. Nev Schulman starred in the 2010 documentary, Catfish, about being drawn in by a woman online claiming to be someone she wasn’t. Now the executive producer of Catfish: The TV Show on MTV, he advises you to think before you begin your next online relationship. Look out for these early warning signs that your love interest may not be who they say they are:

The Modeling Profession
If anyone says they are a model, watch out. It means that they are recognized as a very attractive person. If the person you are talking to says they are a model, but also has another amazing career, he or she may be too good to be true. Models are generally very busy and travel a lot. Also, it's easy enough for a scam artist to access model photos online and post as their own.

Facebook Profiles
If a person’s profile has fewer than 100 friends, and more specifically, if there are photos of the person with other people but the other people aren’t tagged, be cautious. These may be pictures taken off an unsuspecting person’s profile.

Traumatic Injuries and/or Illness
We see car accidents, deaths in the family and cancer a lot in catfish scams. This is very common because the best way to avoid meeting up is by having a traumatic experience. It will make the other person say, “Oh, my God, don’t worry about meeting with me now. I will just wait until you are better.” This is a way of tugging at your heartstrings and making you feel guilty. "Sympathy is an incredibly strong emotion," Nev says.

No Pictures

If a person can’t immediately send you pictures of themselves in this day and age, then you should proceed with caution. "You've got to expect and require them to show you to some degree that this is who they are," he says.

No Webcam
If a person cannot get to a webcam after repeated requests and attempts, then this is an early potential warning sign that they are trying to avoid you seeing who they really are.

Pain from the holocaust often prevents people from talking:

My friend Martin with a 93 average from Stuyvesant HS and a few high scorers and Merit Scholastics from Brooklyn Technical HS could not make the quotas of the University of Michigan but some girls with half their IQ’s from Utah made it. Here is a letter for those of you who were rejected by the schools of your choice: I did not try for Harvard because I thought there were only 50 and not 57 States so I guess I had a too low IQ.

This shows that after the great flood one of the oldest lands occupied was Eretz Yisrael.|main5|dl6|sec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D296388

Hero of the Polish Underground and survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto passes away before he could light his candle:

From Cheryl Ur of the Chaldea discovered?

Thanks to Malka: What made Yeshai excited by a manhole cover?

Arabs please boycott the research:

On Friday he published the first edition of a new newspaper in the evening he was dead:

From Chaim O. I can’t recall because it was before Pessach if I published the film of Rabbi Lau and Obama here is what was said by the Rabbi Shlita:

Watch out the truth will catch up with you some day:,7340,L-4365213,00.html

The driver and most of the injured were non-Jews it was a horrible accident.,7340,L-4366512,00.html

Thanks to Denise C. How the IAF got started or how 4 Jews stopped the whole Egyptian Army:

Soldiers Memorial Day: Major Eliraz Peretz HY”D died when a sniper from Gaza set of his grenade. Eliraz was a neighbor and friend of this other hero:

Inyanay Diyoma

Very Interesting: People in Israel analyzing the photos of Kim Jong On came up to the fact that the Generals are more leading him and too close to his personage which they never would do to his father. It seems that perhaps he is not calling the shots in North Korea but rather his aunt or some general and he is more the figurehead.  He also smokes a long at certain times showing that he is nervous and not relaxed.

This is more towards Gog and Magog:

Sticks and stones:

Would you believe that Bassam Abdullah could do this to steal from the USA!

Why did Obama come to Israel?!

Remember the ship Struma which sank now read why:

UN = useless Nazis fail again:

Rats tunnel under Damascus:,7340,L-4364337,00.html

Sadifist of Sinai:

Iran joins the N. Korean chorus:


The best defense is a good offense:

Somebody goofed in a big way so it is a good thing that there is a lot of Torah learning in Netivot:

Delusions of Grandeur for Kerry:,7340,L-4364396,00.html

During the holocaust ceremony a rocket is fired:,7340,L-4365144,00.html

Justice Minister tries to pull the rug from under the Prime Minister:

This is nothing new for the readers of Debka but it comes from mainstream media now:

Abbas and his tricks no chance of peace:”-for-April-15-to-peak-during-peace-talks

Despite Obama’s pressure and the apology it seems that Obama failed again:

Major setback for Al Qaeda:

Iron Dome heads south again:

The worst of them all for bad politics:

If I was in Iran I might be a bit concerned:,7340,L-4365975,00.html

Israeli Arab a possible Al Qaeda link:

Israel and Cyprus relations strengthen:

The strings attached on this aid is that to keeps production lines going at companies such as GE, Boeing, Grumman, Helicopter Manufacturers, and others as all the money must be spent on US Manufacturers so in a way it keeps Defense Readiness in the USA too.

WHY AM I NOT SURPRISED!!!,7340,L-4366532,00.html

Who was asleep at the reigns when they got this capability?

Gun Thief shot.

  Good Shabbos Everyone.   In this week's Parsha Shemini, the Torah tells us "you are to sanctify yourselves and you be holy, for I am holy."  (Vayikra 11:44)   Holiness means separate.  By holding views different than the Nations, we show ourselves to be a holy nation.
         The following inspirational story illustrates this concept.  The story is told in the words of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950) of blessed memory.  In the summer of 1920 I was summoned to the Tcheka - the name GPU was not yet in use at the time - of Rostov-on-the-Don. The summons was carried out by the Judaism-hating "Jewish section" of the communist party, the infamous Yevsektzia.
         The summons was typical to the manner of the Tcheka. I had not yet concluded the morning prayers (I was leading the prayers myself, for it was within the year of mourning after my holy father's passing) when the three emissaries from the court of death entered the room - dressed in their uniforms of red and black, rifles in hand, their belts filled with bullets and hung with a pair of revolvers and another pair of Cossack knives, with helmets of brass and their faces aflame.
         They approached me and said: "You are summoned to immediately accompany us to the offices of the Tcheka." Two of the messengers were from the Yevsektzia and the third a non-Jew. The two Jews wished to strip me of my tallit and tefillin on the spot. When I told them that I must first finish my prayers - we were at the Monday supplement Vehu Rachum - and the study of mishnayos which follows, they let loose a barrage of curses and yelled at me to remove my tallis and tefillin immediately. (Incidentally, one of them was a refugee from the city of Shavel who had come to me for assistance. I had arranged a position for him at a cigarette business and later I had loaned him money to establish a business of his own. For the next three years - up until the revolution - he earned a respectable living.)
         Were it not for the intervention of their non-Jewish colleague, they would have forcefully interrupted my prayers. When I finished reciting the final kaddish which follows the study of mishnayos, I removed my tallis and tefillin and went along with my armed guardians. One walked on my right, a second on my left, and a third behind me - in the manner that those accused of treason against the regime are led.
         When we arrived at the courtyard of death, they led me to a large chamber in which some fifteen persons sat along both sides of a long table. At the head of the table sat another two, and I was seated opposite them at the foot of the table. My three guards sat behind me, left, right, and center.
         One of those seated at the head of the table addressed me: "We are the members of the Party's Committee to Investigate Religions, now occupied in investigating the Jewish religion. We have various questions. We have already summoned Rabbi Berman and Rabbi Goldenberg - we asked what we asked and they answered what they answered. Now we have summoned Rabbi Schneerson to resolve certain issues pertaining to Kabbalah and Chassidism."
         All this was said in the Russian language. I answered in Yiddish: "I have already made it clear on the two former occasions on which I was summoned to the Tcheka that I will not budge from my principles. There is yet to be born and never will there be born, the man or demon who will move me in the slightest degree from my principles..."
         Before I finished my words I was interrupted by a "committee member" seated on the right side of the table. He lifted the revolver which lay on the table - in addition to the arms which they all wore on their belts, a revolver lay on the table before each of the assembled - and pointed it at me, saying: "This toy does away with 'principles.' Fear of it has opened many a mouth. Also the dumb have become talkative before it."
         "You are utterly mistaken," I replied. "This toy impresses only the cowardly atheist, who has but a single world and many gods (ein velt un asach getter) - every hedonist has his many gods. But as for us, who have but a single G-d and believe in two worlds, the toy which you are brandishing not only fails to frighten, it makes no impression whatsoever."  Soon after the Rebbe was released unharmed.   Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg is sponsored by:  In In Memory of R' Chaim ben R' Asher (Wolfberg) of blessed memory, In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory In Memory of Reb Yitzchok ben Reb Shimon (Friedman) of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Leah bas Tziporah

Be well and have a great Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli