Friday, August 23, 2013

Parshiyos Ki Seitzei 2, Ki Savo, Elul, Rosh Hashanah, stories




Please add to prayer list Avraham ben Rachel and remove Shmuel Naphtali ben Esther Lieba and Chana Itta bas Hazzi. A REQUEST I HAVE TWO NAMES THAT PEOPLE HAVE SENT ME FOR PRAYER. I DON’T REMEMBER WHO SENT ME AND BECAUSE I PRAY TWICE A DAY WITH THE LARGE LIST AND MANY READERS SAY PSALMS WITH THESE NAMES IT IS IMPORTANT THAT THE PEOPLE STILL NEED PRAYERS AND WE ARE NOT MAKING UNNESSARY REQUESTS. I have one name at present who I have no idea if it was sent to me directly or by people on Facebook:Benyamin ben Ganendel

Evil thoughts in your head are a very funny thing
when try to battle them the more sadness they bring – Dr. Harry on the month of Elul

What happened to the Jews in 1948 is happening to Christians in Egypt, Nigeria and elsewhere. This time 80 churches have been burned and looted by the Muslim Brotherhood with the difference being that Christians compose in Nigeria a large percent of the population and in Egypt 9% not like the poor hapless Jews of 1948.

I have a question which might not have anything to do with Judaism other than we are in the times before Gog and Magog where the Yetzer seems to be running everything. As anybody heard a word from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson about the “bored” teens killing an Australian Baseball Player for the fun of it? They ignited the flames when a dark Hispanic killed a black person! Neither cases have anything to do with race, but when the tide is reversed all I hear is the sound of silence not outrage. Then after a day or more of publicity Jesse Jackson made a very-very weak statement and after a tweet of one of the teens it does seem that race was a partial motive.

Self Mussar an internal audit of myself an example for Elul

The Vilna Gaon used to have a small note paper or pad where he wrote down all the time he wasted for not studying Torah. Then on Yom Kippur he would look it over and cry profusely of the waste of time. One year after Yom Kippur, his student got ahold of the paper. He did the calculation and it turned out to be 3 minutes in the whole year. How many of us watch the news when we eat or run to see it because in Israel like the rocket attack this week something may pop up. Then after the news how many of us stick around to wait 2 minutes during the commercial before the weather comes on when we could go to either weather bug or accu-weather in less than a minute. I don’t want to even go into Facebook Feeds or not.

Returning to myself, I began to think about deadlines.  At work my bosses always gave me deadlines. Sometimes they were reasonable and other times I would say that they were unrealistic and I would bargain with them. I learned early in the game to leave myself spare as my job was not only working on a specific project but perhaps helping others. Each week in my retirement I lend a sympathetic ear to people and advise. I also have a deadline. The deadline when I am in FL is about 7 AM on Friday Morning as that is 2 PM in Israel and in Israel sometime in the early morning because of the Jews in Australia and New Zeeland. Unfortunately, I don’t always make it.

Last week, my situation hit a real snag. I had prepared some Pasukim to write about and when Friday rolled in for the first time in the over 10 years of writing the Drasha and about 4 to 5 years of having the blogspot, I had to quit from exhaustion. You would think that I learned my lesson and Motzei Shabbos finish off the sections that I wanted to write about. Logical but not against the Yetzer HaRa, as the Yetzer distracts us! Here it is Friday still a bit left to write on Ki Seitzei and a few sentences on Ki Savo. Excuses are easy to make and sometimes one can pass them off and fool oneself or twist around a human boss saying remember the emergency engineering thing that happened this week. But when it is between me and HASHEM and every school boy, except the Bar Mitzvah Boy in the Reform Schul video, knows that HASHEM checks every heart and kidneys inside of man. (In fact a Frum doctor will probably tell you each cell in the 9 different system Endocrine, Circulation, Nerves, Muscles, Bones, etc.)

I have made a public reflection of one of my bad habits and faults in hope that each of us before Rosh Hashanah will do our own personal reflection an internal Din V’ Cheshbon (accounting) one what we did right or wrong and what we could do better. (Thank G-D after a three years of having gained weight due to my irregular heartbeats, my medication and reflection and advice on how to combine the right about of sports with proper diet appears to be starting to work and is noticeable so people can improve against their eat my child eat Yetzer and put of going to the gym until tomorrow Yetzer – so the same with money, the opposite sex attraction and too much loafing around.)

Parsha Ki Seitzei Part 2

Do not be surprised that I did not finish the Parsha last week as it contains the most amount of Mitzvos in the Torah. We continue this week with a repetition of Mitzvos first seen in Kedoshim Vayikra 19

22:10 Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together. 12 Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou cover thyself.

There are three types of forbidden mixtures mentioned in the Torah. The first is grain grown in a vineyard and the second mixing various species of animals together to work thus either mules or horses or oxen to pull cars but not a mixture. Lastly the mixture of wool and linen in a garment called Shatnez which is forbidden to put on such a garment but if one was a dry cleaner or repair tailor one could put the non-Jew’s garment over his head or shoulder to hoist it up on the clothing rack.

13 If any man take a wife, … through 29 deals with spousal abuse, rape and seduction of a maiden either by persuasion or rape and the penalties involved include the death penalty for a man sexually abusing a betrothed or married woman. The Torah does not take kindly to this type of behavior.

23:1 A man shall not take his father’s wife, and shall not uncover his father’s skirt.

Of course we are discussing a woman who is not his mother but his father took as a wife.

2 He that is crushed or maimed in his privy parts shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD.

This was to prevent the non-Jewish practice of Eunuchs for concubines, idol worship, male sopranos and girly men which is an abomination unto HASHEM.  

3 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD.

A bastard is the result of a forbidden relationship. It is not the English definition of bastard born out of wedlock but the Maumzer comes from adultery, incest or a relationship with a bastard. It is assumed that they will die out by the 10th generation or their seed will come from marrying a non-Jew and then coming back to Yisrael as a Ger. Actually the 10th generation is not a limit as we see below.

4 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of the LORD forever;

However, since the females were not involved in the behavior towards Yisrael they are permitted. Nowadays the Nations of the World have been mixed up and we don’t know who they are if they are even left living today.

5 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee. 6 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. 7 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

This is an immutable Mitzvah but unlike Amalek we are just not to make peace with them but we do not destroy them.

8 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because you were a stranger in his land. 9 The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of the LORD.

About 100 years after Moshe they could convert to Judaism and they have no other limitations.

10 When thou go forth in camp against your enemies, then thou shalt keep thee from every evil thing. 11 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chances him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp.

A young soldier might have a nocturnal emission and would become Tumay and forbidden by that to go to war.

12 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he may come within the camp. 13 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad. 14 And thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when you sit down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee.

Covering up the excrement has three functions. 1) keeping the place clean to talk Torah and pray. 2) hiding evidence of encampment from the enemy and 3) Hygienic but the other two are the main reasons.

15 For the LORD thy God walks in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up your enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy; that He see no unseemly thing in thee, and turn away from thee.

The reason I wrote that the covering up was due to keeping the place spiritually clean was because of Pasuk 15.

… 18 There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 19 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow; for even both these are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Again this is for holiness.

20 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest. 21 Unto a foreigner you may lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou put thy hand unto, in the land whither thou go in to possess it.

This is not for a Ger Tzeddek for they are Jews in every circumstance.

2224:1 When a man takes a wife, and marries her, then it cometh to pass, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her, that he writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house,

The Torah recognized human behavior and divorce if they could not stand each other.

2 and she departs out of his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife; 4 her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD; and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance.

You will note the word Abomination has appeared more than six times but Abomination to or before HASHEM only appears six times. If this was not an abominable act then scheming husbands and wives would divorce and marry somebody wealthy and then get back together. Hollywood soap operas become repugnant to me because of the way the couples switch around and marry a different character who could be a brother, sister, father, mother the main thing they produce is the romance for the moment story. It is also not surprising that many of their own marriages in real life end up on the rocks.
  
5 When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out in the host, neither shall he be charged with any business; he shall be free for his house one year, and shall cheer his wife whom he hath taken.

This does not apply for a Milchemes Mitzvah and so Aharon went back into the army the day after his marriage and became the worst injured in the Gaza Campaign. Since his sins were forgiven under the Chupa it was a choice for the Beis Din shell Maalah to recall the sinless man or to let him live and possibly sin again. They let him live but many hold that since it was a limited campaign he should not have participated.

6 No man shall take the mill or the upper millstone to pledge; for he takes a man’s life to pledge.

Not only the millstone but also the computer from a writer, hand calculator from an engineer, the chair from the dentists, the stethoscope from the doctor, etc. for one is taking away his livelihood and ways of earning.

7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and he deal with him as a slave, and sell him; then that thief shall die; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.

This is more detailed than “You shall not steal”! Taking a free man and enslaving him especially  for immoral purposes is what we have seen with a sick individual in Cleveland OH with three women and in cases with the Russian Mafia even worst.

…17 Thou shalt not pervert the justice due to the stranger, or to the fatherless; nor take the widow’s raiment to pledge.

Or take advance of these poor people or the mentally incapacitate. In my grade school there was poor R. He was a nebbish with a very low IQ. Every kid would avoid him and in my wicked days in the 5th grade somewhere between the age of 10 and 11. I decided to have so fun on his account. My joke sounded funny theoretically to my young mind and he would not get hurt. But when I had played it on R., there he was next to me like when I call my dog a dumb mutt. He loved the attention. From that day on I had compassion for him and would give him some attention from time to time. It was the first time in my life that an adult did not have to tell me be ashamed of yourself for I was. I had a friend, Larry, who had a hot temper and in the second grade we got into a fight which he started and I flipped him over. I learned that he had been ill with a kidney disease and everytime he hit me, I absorbed his blows like a sponge and never fought back when he grew a bit older, he learned how to control his temper and until about the time I left the States we were still in contact. If a husband and wife have a violent relationship then both need to examine their deeds and if things can’t be corrected then they should separate. In fact the only approved beating in the Torah is that of the grapes into wine and the olives into oil.

18 But thou shalt remember that you were a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing.

This next section deals with the gleaming of the field and the left overs for the poor. What falls to the ground, the forgotten sheaf and leaving a corner of the field for the poor. The same with fruit of the trees.

19 When thou reap thy harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go back to fetch it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hands. 20 When thou beat thine olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 21 When thou gather the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it after thee; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 22 And thou shalt remember that you were a bondman in the land of Egypt; therefore I command thee to do this thing

It takes a big man to take for a wife a widow or divorcee with children and raise them as his own and the Torah warns over and over not to take advantage of these women. There is one widow who goes around from place to place to ask for money for herself and her 10 children and each month I give a little but before the holidays I double the donation.

Parsha Ki Savo

This the last Parsha that has a lot of Mitzvos in it. It deals mainly with coming into Eretz Yisrael and starts with the Mitzvah of Bikurim (first fruits).

26:1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives you for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein;

Inheritance from Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov but one must continue their legacy in following the Mitzvos as the land was given on the condition of following the Mitzvos otherwise the land will vomit a person out of it.

2 that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shalt bring in from thy land that the LORD thy God gives you; and thou shalt put it in a basket and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.

Mishnayos Bikurim (first fruit) deals with two facts: 1) It must be your land and not that the roots nurtured from the neighbor’s land. 2) There is no limit to the percentage that can be designated first fruits.

3 And thou shalt come unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him: 'I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the land which the LORD swore unto our fathers to give us.' 4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thy hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God. 5 And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God: 'A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.

I always wondered what this had to do with the Pessach Haggada when I was a child but when I read this passage I understood that the words are straight from the Chumash and this is the confession of to the Cohain for bringing the Bikurim.   

27:1 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying: 'Keep all the commandment which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over the Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster. 3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over; that thou may go in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath promised thee. 4 And it shall be when ye are passed over the Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Eval, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. 5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones; thou shalt lift up no iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of unhewn stones; and thou shalt offer burnt-offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God. 7 And thou shalt sacrifice peace-offerings, and shalt eat there; and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God. 8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.'

A Dead Sea Scroll on Parchment is not enough, it should be written in stone which is immutable. However, the elements plus various enemies like what is being perpetrated under the Temple Mount by the Arabs erases part of history and the Stones are no longer around.

9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying: 'Keep silence, and hear, O Israel; this day thou art become a people unto the LORD thy God. 10 Thou shalt therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and do His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day.'

Up unto now you have been acting like runaway slaves. You are now free men with responsibilities no more Mann food stamp program in Eretz Yisrael but the collection by the poor from the fields and you will have to tithe your produce. You are now going to have to work for your living and step up and take responsibilities for your land, your family, your tribe, your nation and your actions.

11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying: 12 'These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin; 13 and these shall stand upon mount Eval for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice:

I have left out the curses and return to the blessings below.

…28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth.

I have mentioned this Axiom and Equation in the past and will put it now in Mathematical Notation.
Shomer Mitzvos with all your heart, soul and money aka might = unlimited blessings from HASHEM Yisborach.
Sin and violate the Commandments, Ordinances and Statutes including pretending to be Frum by putting on 17th Century Dress Codes and run around shouting Glatt Kosher and Modesty when in reality you are a violator = Exile, death, destruction and the nations making you into the lowest of the low nations on earth.

HASHEM in HIS great Mercy has left areas of gray that we are not destroyed. There are many questions which we cannot answer regarding the Shoah why these people lived and these people died. HASHEM measured and took some Tzaddik like Elchonon Wasserman HY”D to save thousands of ordinary Jews. HE took people who appeared to be righteous but were rotten to the core. When my friend Jacob Kaplansky says to me that his whole family died and he does not know why he survived, I cannot answer him for only after 120 years will he understand. Perhaps because he was going to father Frum Children and Grandchildren living in Israel? WHEN YOU GO FOR A JOB INTERVIEW YOU GIVE IT YOUR BEST SHOT. HOW ABOUT FOR CHAIM NESACH IN THE NEXT WORLD?

2 And all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. \

Observance = automatic blessings coming upon you!

3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

True Compliance to the Torah = blessings in any endeavor in any place both in this world and in the next.

4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy cattle, and the young of thy flock. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou come in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou go out. 7 The LORD will cause your enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee; they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD will command the blessing with thee in thy barns, and in all that thou put thy hand unto; and He will bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God gives thee. 9 The LORD will establish thee for a holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the LORD is called upon thee; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11 And the LORD will make thee over-abundant for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The LORD will open unto thee His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them; 14 and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

All this for the small price of observing perhaps 80 practical Mitzvos of the 613 as most of us today do not grow first born cattle, sheep or donkeys nor are we ritual slaughterers of wild animals like bison, deer, moose, etc. There are more details in the Halacha but it is a small effort for a very large blessing.

15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. …

For two thousand years we have seen these. Why not give whole hearted observance a chance for once and have Moshiach come if not today then perhaps next week but for every forkful of pork or beach trip on Shabbos we are put on hold and our calls to HASHEM are waiting.

 69 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horeb.

29:1 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them: Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 2 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and those great wonders; 3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 4 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

How many of us have a garment that lasts more than a year or two or doesn’t need washing? I don’t know one person who has a shoe that last too long. These people had 40 years of Chashgacha.

5 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink; that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 6 And when ye came unto this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them. 7 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. 8 Observe therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may make all that ye do to prosper.

Moshe again confirms the equation: Observe Mitzvos = Prosper

Steven M. Have we forgotten what Bar Mitzvahs are all about? By David Wolpe, Published: August 15 at 2:59 pm

The egregious, licentious and thoroughly awful video that is circulating ‘celebrating’ a Bar Mitzvah contains so much that is offensive that it requires restraint to hold oneself to three ways in which this display slaughters the spirit. Still, in the face of excess what could be more appropriate than abstinence? So here are only three of the worst things about this travesty:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/08/15/have-we-forgotten-what-bar-mitzvahs-are-all-about/
My children had a Bar Mitzvah Party with friends from their class and some of my friends and my grandsons larger parties with men on one side and women on the other side with perhaps more adults and the full class of friends and teachers a little music or disks and Torah statements aka I completed Shass and my grandson Mishnayos but not the nonsense of acting out adult themes. Another tragedy of America: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/video-picks/honest-bar-mitzvah-speech/2013/08/21/

Mistranslation of the week comes from a Biblical Discussion that some Christian wrote about a character named Lucifer who never ever existed in Hebrew. I went to Yeshayahu 14:12. How have you fallen from heaven, the morning star? You have been cut down to earth, You who cast lots on nations. Having the Hebrew on the side helps clarifies a lot. (The original Hebrew can be found in http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/15945)

B'H "There is a Midrash"

There is a Midrash that say's, on Rosh Hashanah three books are opened. A book for the evil ones or Reshaim, a book for the Righteous, and a book for those who are in between the balances of judgment, called Benoim. Mankind will be judged according to their actions, whether worthy of life and well-being or anguish and death, even countries and their leaders will be judged.

There is a period of Ten days, between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur called the Ten Days of Repentance (Aseret Y'mei Teshuvah). This period according to our tradition is when our fates are to be decided and finally sealed on Yom Kippur, or as is said "The Books are closed." We must not merely "wait around" for Yom Kippur to come. During these days, that are both sacred and scary, during this time that is awesome and full of dread, we are said to have a great amount of influence on what our fates will be.

The Talmud says: "Every individual should always consider himself, or herself, evenly balanced: half sinful and half righteous. If that person performs one mitzvah, happy is he, for he has tilted the scale towards righteousness. If (s) he commits one sin, woe unto (h) him, for (s) he has tilted the scales towards sinfulness. In our hands lies the power to shape not only our inner character, in our hands is the power to give direction to the whole world.

How can we affect our fate? We read on Rosh Hashanah morning the phrase "U'teshuvah u'tefillah u'tzedakah ma'avirin et ro'ah hag'zeirah; but repentance, prayer, and righteousness - charity, will avert the evil decree." The pathway to being better people, to securing a better future, is set before us, but it is arduous, it has three steps, and it involves much more than merely feeling bad about the hurts and harms which we may have caused.

This is our three-fold path. Teshuvah (repentance): our response to the challenge, our searching out what needs to be changed.  Tefillah (prayer): our public rehearsal of our errors, our solemn vows to make amends. Tzedakah (righteousness, charity): the actions we take to show how serious we are, and to change our ways in practice as well as thought.

U'teshuvah, u'tefillah, u'tzedakah, ma'avirin et ro'ah hag'zeirah; repentance, prayer and charity. It is not that they "avert the evil decree." It's not that they will make us immune from misfortune. Rather, they cushion the blow, they temper the severity of our troubles, they make what life throws at us, easier to bear.

We must remember that we are standing before the "Ribono Shel Olam", the "Master of the World", and as we pray, sincerely promise to examine ourselves and rectify our bad actions. Hopefully, with enough energy and effort, our souls will climb to a higher plane where G-d will accept our plea and erase our misdeeds.

Sources: Midrash, Talmud, Rabbi M. Feshbach, Book of Our Heritage, To be a Jew, Rabbi S. Labowitz, Miraculous Living.
"More than we want to be forgiven, H-Shem want's to forgive us."
Yaffa

 
"L'shanah tovah tikatev v'taihatem" ("you should be written and inscribed for a good new year") 5774

Rabbi Judah Loew - "The Maharal of Prague" 5285 - 5369 (1525-1609)

By Nissan Mindel http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111877/jewish/Rabbi-Judah-Loew-The-Maharal-of-Prague.htm


Rabbi Judah ben Bezalel Loew was born about the year 5285, probably in Posen. He became famous as a great Talmudic scholar at an early age. In his late twenties, he was invited to become the Rabbi in Nikolsburg, Moravia, a position which he held for about twenty years. His greatest fame, however, came to him as the spiritual head of the Jewish community in- Prague, then the main center of central European Jewry. In Prague, the Maharal established the great Talmudic Academy known as the Klaus. (The ancient building of the Klaus burned down about eighty years after his death and was subsequently rebuilt and named the Klaus Synagogue.) Among his famous disciples were, Rabbi Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, and Rabbi David Ganz, who were among the most Famous Talmudists of their age. The Maharal won the admiration of his great contemporaries ­Rabbi Solomon Luria (Maharshal), Rabbi Meir (Maharam) of Lublin, and others, who called him affectionately "The iron pillar supporting Israel," "Our breath of life" and "The marvel of the age."
The Maharal also became famous among non-Jews for his great secular knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, and other sciences. He was a great friend of the astronomers Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler. These in turn introduced him to Emperor Rudolph II. According to many legends, the emperor paid him frequent visits during the night, to discuss with him both politics and science, and Rabbi Judah Loew made use of these excellent connections to the advantage of his community whenever it was threatened by attacks or oppression.
Rabbi Judah Loew wrote many works on rabbinic subjects, one of the most important of which is "Gur Aryeh," a commentary on Rashi on the Chumash. Some of his best works are on Jewish philosophy and ethics. In his writings and teachings, he laid stress on understanding the simple literal meaning of the passages studied, avoiding the complicated form of study known as pilpul. He insisted that children should have a thorough knowledge of the Bible and Mishnah before taking up the study of the Talmud. His writings, particularly his commentary on Pirkei Avoth (the Talmud's "ethics of the Fathers") and the collection of his lectures such as Nezach Israel ("The Eternity of Israel"), Nethivoth Olam ("Ways of the World"), reflect his saintly character.
The Maharal of Prague must have also been a master of Kabbalah, for most of the legends concerning him speak of his knowledge of the divine creation and the hidden ways of G-d. The Maharal was credited with being a miracle worker. The most famous story is that of the Golem which he created out of clay and which he brought to life by the use of G-d's holy name. The Maharal averted many calamities and blood-libels through the Golem. Every Friday evening, he would remove the sacred amulet bearing the name of G-d from the Golem, in order that it might not profane the Sabbath. When the Golem had performed his mission, the Maharal laid it away in the attic of the Prague Synagogue. In later years, a statue of Der Hohe Rabbi Uwe, created by a famous Czech sculptor, was placed before the new city hall of Prague.
Few among the great men of Jewish history have been the subject of so many popular legends as Rabbi Judah ben Betzalel of Prague. He was said to possess great powers. One legend tells of the Maharal's having shown the emperor his far-off castle by television. Another one tells of the Maharal having brought down the spirits of the twelve sons of Jacob in the presence of the emperor.
But the Maharal has not become so revered a figure amongst the Jewish people because of his supernatural powers. To us, he is the man who during one of the trying periods of Jewish history has done so much for his Jewish brethren, who was their spiritual leader and their spokesman, and who in his writings has left us a wealth of deep Jewish thought and moral teachings. We do not think of the Maharal as of the creator of the Golem, but rather of the light he has brought to Torah students and of the source of inspiration and faith contained in his ethical writings. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judah_Loew_ben_Bezalel and http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Loew.html and http://revach.net/stories/gedolim-biographies/Rav-Yehuda-Lowy-The-Maharal-of-Prague-The-Man-And-The-Legend/4061 The connection with this week is his Yahrzeit on the 18th of Elul and my family from Prague tradition that he is one of my ancestors.

My Quest For Understanding: Confronting My Family's Nazi Past by Katharina von Kellenbach http://www.aish.com/jw/s/48882597.html

I was about thirteen when I read that my uncle was accused of killing 30,000 Jews.

There is considerable interest in contemporary Germany about the history of the Holocaust and about Jewish religion and culture, but there is little detailed knowledge about the perpetrators – especially those in one's own family. While the Holocaust is taught in schools, portrayed in the media and discussed in public life, it continues to be a taboo subject in most families. Young Gentile Germans generally have no idea what their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles did during the period 1933-1945. Many laudatory speeches during birthday parties and eulogies during funerals simply skip over this time and construct biographical outlines without these years.
I was "lucky" that one of my uncles decided to show me a newspaper article during a family gathering that reported about a trial in the early seventies involving Nazi crimes. I was about thirteen when I read that my uncle, Alfred Ebner, was accused of killing 30,000 Jews, and that his trial was to be discontinued because of health considerations. Alfred Ebner was sitting across the table from me while I was reading this news release. He was a regular guest at family gatherings and I had often visited his family's house in Stuttgart before my family moved to Munich. I remember my confusion and inability to make sense of this information while he sat peacefully (and apparently healthy) among my family. What was I to make of the fact that my family did not censure him? Would my family not ostracize him if he had killed one person, or two? The fact that he sat among us unperturbed seemed to imply that these murders never happened. I wondered, how does one person kill 30,000 people? Where did he do it? Who were his victims?
Would my family not ostracize him if he had killed one person, or two?
My attempts to find out more were brushed off: "Of course, he didn't do these things, these are all lies. Leave this old man his deserved peace, he has suffered enough..." The newspaper article was taken from me and my questions ran into stony walls of silence. For years, I pestered family members with questions about this subject to no avail. Eventually, I "forgot" (repressed?) this incident. Years later, as a graduate student in religious studies and in conversation with Jewish survivors and their children in the United States, I "remembered." As I saw myself through the eyes of my Jewish dialogue partners, I realized that my ignorance was not innocent. My lack of precise knowledge colluded with the perpetrators' desire to conceal their crimes. In order to interact with Jewish peers, I had to break the "conspiracy of silence" and become much more deliberate in my search for the truth.
For the first time I understood the temptation of denial.
Since my close and extended family continued to resist any inquiry into "the past," I decided to turn to historical archives. Strict privacy laws protect German archives and I had to show my academic credentials before I gained access to the indictments against Alfred Ebner. When I began reading the charges, my initial sense of triumph at having broken through the wall of silence soon disappeared. As his crimes became real to me, I too did not want to be burdened with this knowledge. I had to force myself to continue reading and for the first time, I understood the temptation of denial. Maybe this was not true after all?... How could the old man of my childhood be identical with this fanatical killer?
After his early enrollment and steep career in the National Socialist party, Alfred Ebner was appointed deputy area commissioner (stellvertretender Gebietskommissar) to the city of Pinsk in Byelorussia in September of 1941. He was the responsible official for the Jewish inhabitants of the entire region of Pinsk and in control of the lives and deaths of approximately 30,000 Jews who had survived the first mass killings in August 1941. Between the fall of 1941 and December of 1942, Alfred Ebner oversaw the systematic expropriation of Jewish property, the exploitation of their labor and methodical starvation. He organized the ghettoization of Jews in May 1942 and helped implement the mass execution of the entire Jewish population between October 29 and November 2, 1942. Based on the historical record, Ebner was directly responsible for the implementation of Nazi extermination policies, and he killed both by virtue of his position as well as on personal impulse – yet, he was never convicted and, as far as I know, he never regretted his actions.
My quest to collect bits and pieces of information about Alfred Ebner in archives in Germany, Israel and the United States was often circuitous and accompanied by ambivalence. On the one hand, I felt driven to learn as much as I could about his activities as deputy commissioner of Pinsk, a major center of Jewish life since the 16th century. I wanted to understand his "career" and the depth of his anti-Semitic hatred that justified his murderous activities in his mind. And I wanted to learn about his victims, whose lives and culture have been destroyed so completely (Pinsk was once 80% Jewish, but today there is only one small synagogue) by people who knew next to nothing about their victims.
To acknowledge evil in one's own family raises disturbing questions. Does this evil contaminate me?
But this knowledge is painful, because it brings profound evil and the horrors of mass murder close to home. Most families like to think of themselves as essentially "good" and it is not surprising (to me, anyway) that German families engage in far-reaching strategies of evasion and denial. We tend to project evil onto others and assume that the "bad guys" live over there, in a different time, a different place, and a different family. To acknowledge evil in one's own family raises disturbing questions. Does this evil contaminate me? Am I like him? Would I have done what he did? What (if anything) makes me different from him?
Although I sometimes feel disloyal and like a traitor of my family, I consider it my responsibility to "own" this past. This story of anti-Semitic hatred, of supremacy and greed is as integral to German history and identity as Goethe and Mozart. There can be no future without a truthful account of the past.

The Rambam’s first chapter on the laws of repentance recommended reading all chapters: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/911888/jewish/Chapter-One.htm
HILCHOT TESHUVAH Translated by Eliyahu Touger

[This text describes] one mitzvah; that a sinner should repent from his sin before God and confess. This mitzvah and the fundamental principles [of faith] that follow in relation to itl are explained in the coming chapters.

Halacha 1
If a person transgresses any of the mitzvot of the Torah, whether a positive command or a negative command - whether willingly or inadvertently - when he repents, and returns from his sin, he must confess before God, blessed be, He as [Numbers 5:6-7] states: "If a man or a woman commit any of the sins of man... they must confess the sin that they committed."
This refers to a verbal confession. This confession is a positive command.
How does one confess: He states: "I implore You, God, I sinned, I transgressed, I committed iniquity before You by doing the following. Behold, I regret and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat this act again."
These are the essential elements of the confessional prayer. Whoever
confesses profusely and elaborates on these matters is worthy of praise.
Those who bring sin offerings or guilt offerings must also [confess their sins] when they bring their sacrifices for their inadvertent or willful transgressions. Their sacrifices will not atone for their sins until they repent and make a verbal confession as [Leviticus 5:5] states: "He shall confess the sin he has committed upon it."
Similarly, those obligated to be executed or lashed by the court do not attain atonement through their death or lashing unless they repent and confess. Similarly, someone who injures a colleague or damages his property, does not attain atonement, even though he pays him what he owes until he confesses and makes a commitment
never to do such a thing again as implied by the phrase [Numbers, loc. cit..], "any of the sins of man."
Halacha 2
Since the goat sent [to Azazel] atones for all of Israel, the High Priest confesses upon it as a spokesman for all of Israel as [Leviticus 16:21] states: "He shall confess upon it all the sins of the children of Israel."
The goat sent to Azazel atones for all the transgressions in the Torah, the severe and the lighter [sins]; those violated intentionally and those transgressed inadvertently; those which [the transgressor] became conscious of and those which he was not conscious of. All are atoned for by the goat sent [to Azazel].
This applies only if one repents. If one does not repent, the goat only atones for the light [sins].
Which are light sins and which are severe ones? The severe sins are those for which one is liable for execution by the court or karet. False and unnecessary oaths are also considered severe sins even though they are not [punished by] karet. [The violation of] the other prohibitions and [the failure to perform] positive commandments that are not punishable by karet are considered light [sins].
Halacha 3
At present, when the Temple does not exist and there is no altar of atonement, there remains nothing else aside from Teshuvah.
Teshuvah atones for all sins. Even a person who was wicked his whole life and repented in his final moments will not be reminded of any aspect of his wickedness as [Ezekiel 33:12] states "the wickedness of the evil one will not cause him to stumble on the day he repents his wickedness."
The essence of Yom Kippur atones for those who repent as [Leviticus 16:30] states: "This day will atone for you."
Halacha 4
Even though Teshuvah atones for all [sins] and the essence of Yom Kippur brings atonement, [there are different levels of sin and hence, differences in the degree of atonement.] There are sins that can be atoned for immediately and other sins which can only be atoned for over the course of time. What is implied?
If a person violates a positive command which is not punishable by karet and repents, he will not leave that place before he is forgiven. Concerning these sins, [Jeremiah 3:22] states: "Return, faithless children! I will heal your rebellious acts."
If a person violates a prohibition that is not punishable by karet or execution by the court and repents, Teshuvah has a tentative effect and Yom Kippur brings atonement as [Leviticus, loc. cit. states "This day will atone for you."
If a person violates [sins punishable by] karet or execution by the court and repents, Teshuvah and Yom Kippur have a tentative effect and the sufferings which come upon him complete the atonement. He will never achieve complete atonement until he endures suffering for concerning these [sins, Psalms 89:33] states: "I will punish their transgression with a rod."
When does the above apply: When the desecration of God's name is not involved in the transgression. However, a person who desecrated God's name, even though he repented, Yom Kippur arrived while he continued his repentance, and he experienced suffering, will not be granted complete atonement until he dies. The three: repentance, Yom Kippur, and suffering have a tentative effect and death atones as [Isaiah 22:14] states: "It was revealed in my ears [by] the Lord of Hosts, surely this iniquity will not be atoned for until you die."

From B. Levy: “Afghani elder next to an ancient inscription made up of Aramaic/Hebrew letters.”

SOURCE:
http://www.simchajtv.com/headline-israelite-history-and-the-boston-marathon-bombing/

"In other words, the place that the Bible describes exists on the Pakistani-Afghan border and, what do you know, there are 16 million people living there that call themselves “Bani Israel” i.e., “the children of Israel”. They still live in tribal structures corresponding to the Biblical tribes. The tribe of Ephraim is now called Afridi, Gad is called Gadun, Reuven is called Rabani and so on. There is even a tribe called the Yusufsai i.e., the children of Joseph
(http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/2.209/could-the-taliban-be-genetically-linked-to-the-jews-1.261447). We traveled to the Khyber Pass sixteen years ago and moved among the people that we call Afghans or Pathans. They call themselves Pashtun or Puchtu and they say that they are Israelites. Our film documented the many, many connections between the modern Afghani tribes and the ancient Israelites. Since the return of the tribes is prophesied in the Bible, I assumed that the discovery of the tribes would have a great impact on a Western audience. At the very least among Israelis, Jews in general and Christians. After all, the fate of the lost tribes of Israel is tied up with the fate of all Israel."

"When we were in the tribal territories on the Afghani-Pakistani border, we found that the Jihadists rejected their Israelite background. During the second World War, a theory took hold that the Pathans were of “Aryan” stock. I guess faced with the power of Nazi Germany some Afghans preferred to be Aryans rather than Jews. This theory was resuscitated by Jihadists who didn’t want to be connected in any way, shape or form with Israel – ancient or modern. But these people were in the minority. Even members of the Taliban told me that they are the descendants of Israelites. They pointed out that the very name “Afghanistan” means “the land of Afghan”. Afghan, they said, was a son of Saul, the first king of Israel. He fled to this area, they said, to get away from King David who took over the throne. In other words, from the perspective of the Afghans, the very name of the country is Israelite in origin. They also pointed out that the name of their capital, “Kabul”, appears twice in the Bible (Joshua 19:27 and Kings 9:13). There were two Kabuls in ancient Israel. One mentioned as a city conquered by Joshua, and the other in the north of Israel. The tribes of Israel, they said, transplanted Israelite city names to their place of exile. Even the mountain range next to their capital is called “Suliman,” after King Solomon. All these Israelite connections are common knowledge in Afghanistan."


From Lisa M. Rebbitzen Jungreis Shiur mp3 download. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/4848#.UhJqXz8X62B

A story but if it was true the children of the grandmother would be Maumzerim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q98z9COsgqI





I once treated a pilot candidate and gave him intravenous after he collapsed during phase two of pilot training from not drinking enough. He was taken out of the course and offered a different position in the IDF: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4419432,00.html



Learning more about the physical creation of the Universe thanks to my cousin David: http://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/umass-amherst%E2%80%99s-giant-new-telescope-ready-attempt-imaging-black-hole-center-our-galaxy

From Chaim O. Very interesting to me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPM8OR6W6WE

The Arabs undermined the archeology of the Temple Mount by removing 200 trucks loads a day of material for years and now the Mosque is going to be in danger of Collapse boo-hoo-hoo! http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171163#.UhWRLFffrIU

Inyanay Diyoma

A lot of behind the scenes news such as Israel telling the US not to cut off aid to Egypt and Egypt warning that would be the end of the peace treaty with Israel. Note how strong the peace treaty is! http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Israels-message-on-Egypt-Keep-country-from-collapsing-then-worry-about-democracy-323531 Paris is staying out of Egypt’s internal affairs: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4419455,00.html

Egypt is fighting Egypt post 1 of 2. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4418870,00.html


The man needed minor surgery see video after police went berserk at him being passive: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170980#.Ug-2FFffrIU  Israel police videoed acting like storm troopers on a religious it was caught and now Bennett is asking for answers from the police minister: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170995#.Ug-1T1ffrIU 

What is left of the Constitution in the USA? http://www.rightsightings.com/levin---8-16-13.html

Video thanks to Steve: Muslim Group wants to march on Washington to celebrate 9/11 – how perverse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoWjwsCqvrM&feature=youtu.be



The war in Sinai Egyptian Army plays a critical but not decisive role yet: http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Source-Dozens-of-Egyptian-policemen-killed-in-North-Sinai-blast-323552






The political democratic movement wants to stop the peace accords: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4418907,00.html

Syria kills 120,000 not a peep the Al Dura shot was Pallywood and Israel gets condemned http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/World-mum-on-PA-incitement-but-slams-Israel-on-construction-323645

Another failure of the American Policy is the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood! http://debka.com/article/23203/Erdogan-in-another-anti-Semitic-diatribe-against-Israel-reveals-his-failures


So far the IDF has treated 120 injured Syrians some in the hospital for months: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171095#.UhOOPFffrIU

A fool and his own good self-preservation interests are soon parted: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4419884,00.html

The Pentagon has Communications Command Control in case of Nuclear War: http://news.cnet.com/2300-13576_3-10017624.html?tag=nl.e435&s_cid=e435&ttag=e435&ftag=CADf00141e

Getting ready for war for the north as well as the south just in case: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4420396,00.html



This General knows how to speak the language of Gaza! http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171139




JUST WHEN THE NEWS STARTS TO BECOME A BIT ROUTINE IN THE MIDDLE EAST NEVER A DULL MOMEMT: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171188#.UhYim1ffrIU   and FRIDAY UPDATE: http://debka.com/article/23209/Pro-Iranian-Jihad-Islami-aimed-four-rockets-at-Israel-from-S-Lebanon-Two-caused-damage Another Grad fell in Shlomi and one in Acre one of them hit an old age home with Shoah Survivors sending thousands of pellets in all directions but only hitting walls.

Good news for Israel at least now (please read the whole article): http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4421011,00.html 

Israel applies limited and precise retaliation in Lebanon: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/171210#.UhclcFffrIU

More uneducated Arabs for the next generation of Jihad: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4421318,00.html


Chemical Warfare in Syria: As a front line paramedic I was shown films of the effects of chemical weapons on lab rats and the antidote applied on one rat. This week I saw in the TV for the first time evidence of the use of chemical weapons. The question is by whom? Let me explain: In Bosnia or Croatia there was supposedly a “shell” from the Yugoslav Forces that exploded and in a cafĂ© and that prompted Clinton to saturate bomb the area. However, that same day Israeli bomb experts came out and said based on the injuries of the lower to mid extremities of the body and our experience with terrorist attacks it definitely had the markings of a typical Arab terrorist bomb or an Islamic Bomb. With Al Qaeda using the ends justify the means in their Shahid-Jihad I cannot put it past either side on the use of chemical warfare agents. The question remains who used it not if it was used? http://debka.com/article/23206/Reported-Syrian-gas-attack-killing-hundreds-after-first-US-trained-rebel-incursion-from-Jordan

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Heart of Hearts”

 Good Shabbos Everyone.   The Torah tells us this week, “…you shall observe them (the mitzvahhs) and perform them with all your heart and all your soul.” (Devorim – Deuteronomy 26:16) The verse is hinting to a foundation of Jewish belief: We must serve Hashem with an intense feeling in our hearts.  As the mystical Zohar teaches us “Hashem wants the heart.” (Parshas Ki-Seitzei, part 3, page 281b) Practically speaking, when we do mitzvahhs, we should always do them with a feeling and a knowledge that we are fulfilling Hashem’s will.  The following interesting story will inspire us to do mitzvahhs with feeling.
        This true story happened during the Jewish month of Elul 5749 (September 1989). I was driving home from a bris in Elizabeth, New Jersey. On the way I stopped at a branch of the bank that I use to make a deposit. I parked in the lot behind the bank. I got out, locked the door and then remembered that the check was in the car. 

        I opened the door, found the check, turned to close the door, and gasped. Three men surrounded me. They wore tattered jeans and filthy t-shirts. Though it was before noon, they reeked of alcohol. The guy on the left was clutching a whiskey bottle like a hammer. He had a desperate, mean look in his eyes. The guy on my right almost looked friendly, but a little scared and hungry. He was about my size. But the one in the middle--he was big, bad and ugly. He loomed above. He had tattoos up the entire length of his bare arms. "Got some change?" he said, extending his huge hand towards my neck. 

        Three teeth were missing from his grin. A deep scar ran from his chin to his cheek. Thoughts raced through my head. Think fast, stay calm. Everything happens for a reason. All is for the good. Only fear Hashem. All the Chasidic dictums about life were running through my mind. They made sense in yeshiva. But now? 

        Now it was Elul, when Hashem is supposed to be very accessible, like the King who leaves his palace and is in the fields and streets listening to the requests of the ordinary folks. "Yes, I have some change for you," I said, while dropping the check back in the car, locking and closing the car door behind me. 

        Everything happens for a reason. "Any of you Jewish?" I asked. I knew it was next to impossible. "Yeh, I'm Jewish," the big guy said. 

        "You're Jewish?" I said in disbelief. It must be a ploy. "You have a Jewish name?" 

        "Shmuel Yankel ben Moshe," he said with pride, like a boot soldier responding to his officer. In his eyes I probably looked like a rabbi. "Did you have a Bar Mitzvahh?" 

        I asked. "Yuh. Baruch ata..." The big guy, nee Shmuel Yankel, began singing the Haftorah blessings. "Why are you asking for a few cents? You should be asking for millions. It's right before Rosh Hashana and you can ask Hashem for anything. He's here in the streets with you and me and we can ask Him for anything now. On Rosh Hashana, Hashem goes back into His palace and it's not so easy for us to get in, but now He's taking requests. I might have some change, but Hashem has millions. 

        "You know what tefilin are? Put them on, Shmuel Yankel. I'm sure Hashem will hear you." As I spoke I slipped the car key out of my pocket and got my tefilin out. "Put out your arm." The sleeve was torn off his shirt. That made it easy to slide the tefilin over his arm, past the chorus line of tattoos and rows of little holes. Those must be needle tracks, I thought.

         "Here," I said, as I took off my yarmulka from beneath my hat. "Let me put this on you so you can say the blessing with me." He lowered his head so I could reach it. "Baruch ata..." We said the blessing and then I reached up and put the tefilin on his head. Shmuel Yankel said the Shema and his eyes became wet. 

        "Hashem's right here with you, Shmuel Yankel. Ask Him whatever your heart desires." He was quiet. A tear rolled into the scar groove. One of his partners was pacing back and forth on the asphalt, like a shark swimming in front of his prey. "Let's go already," the Shark snapped. "You just wait. I'm praying," Shmuel Yankel said. The Shark backed off like a guppy. The third guy looked with amazement at the whole ceremony. Why was he so interested? I asked him his name. 

        "Michel," he said with a slurred French accent. "Are you Jewish, Michel?" 

        "No, I'm Catholic. My mother was Jewish but she became Catholic. The Nazis killed her parents and a Catholic monastery raised her." 

        "You're Jewish," I told him. "If your mother was born Jewish, then nothing can take that away. Once a Jew, always a Jew," I said. 

        "Today is like your Bar Mitzvah. Put on these tefilin and we'll make a Bar Mitzvah celebration." Michel repeated the blessings for tefilin as best he could. The tefilin sat on his greasy, long, black hair. His eyes sparkled with life, and Michel began to look like a scraggly Jewish boy, like the lost prince who had been dragged through the mucky alleys of medieval Europe, beaten and abused, and now has finally stumbled across his royal home. The King met him in the streets, and Michel recognized his Father. "You can take them off now," I said. 

        Michel held out his arm and let me unwrap them as if he were a gentle baby. I had some cake with me from the bris. The four of us split the two slices of cake. "L'Chaim. To life," I said, raising my cake. My two Jewish friends thanked me. We shook hands and hugged. "Wait," I said, running after them, "here's some change." "No, that's all right," Shumel Yankel said as he waved good-bye.  Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: 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

Good Shabbos and remember only a little over a week to Judgement Day repent now and avoid the Rosh Hashanah rush! Reminder: Observe Mitzvos = Prosper
Be well,
Rachamim Pauli