Thursday, October 10, 2013

Parsha Lech Lecha, a 43year old question is answered, First Armeggoden

New names: The best name that I could get for this woman is Carol bas Esther for prayers and Henshi bas Neshe. Malka Perel bas Rivka and a new added name NAOMI Esther bas Tziporah.

Parsha Beresheis revisited: 1:7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so

IDF check post rammed 2 soldier injured and The non-religious press call this a miracle 2 bullets miss at point blank and the third does little damage:,7340,L-4436860,00.html

Another Miracle of Oct. 6, ’73 – a patrol of soldiers came to rescue Israelis in one of the fortifications on the Golan Heights from the Syrians. The officer in charge was killed in the battle and they sustained a lot of wounded but relieved the charge on the outpost. When it looked like they were about to be killed, a night fog swooped in and they strategically withdrew = heard on Israeli TV 40th anniversary of the war.

Quote of the week! Stephanie T: MK Israel Katz said that Abbas is not lifting a finger to prevent terrorism, we had to laugh because the Holocaust denier and planner of the Munich & Maalot massacres was none other than Abbas who himself is a bloody terrorist. However the biggest problem is our own government who can’t muster the strength and pride to tell the world that Hashem gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people and the world is constantly engaged in one way or another to steal it off of us.

Baruch Dayan Emmes HaRav Ovadia Yosef

To get a proportion on the influence of Rav Ovadia within 4 hours there started to gather hundreds of thousands of mourners with the transportation delays the number reached 850,000 people from all walks of life paying their respects. The Population of the United States per Jan. 1st of this year was 316,809,000 people so having the equivalent funeral would have been about 35,000,000 coming to a funeral in 4 hours’ notice with perhaps double that number not being able to make due to distance or transportation difficulties as was in Israel there were simply no buses to take people from Netivot and road 446 from Chashmonayim to the Shilat Junction was turned into a parking lot. This was a man who was busy in every free moment he had studying Torah and especially Halacha. He made many friends and a few enemies of the far out anti-religious left in Israel.

For generations the Sephardim did not have too many clear absolute Halachic Authorities from Rabbi Yosef Caro until Rav Yosef. The Shass Party was not started by Rav Ovadia but rather upon the advice of Rav Eliezer Menachem Mann Shach. Rav Baradani headed the Yemenite Jews, Rav Elbaz, Rabbi Moshe Tzadka and Rav Ovadia formed the basis for their Chacham in Torah but Rav Ovadia was the dominant Rabbi. I was one of the few people to see him in a small Synagogue before he became the Chief Rabbi.

A few things about HaRav that should be mentioned: First the glasses that he wore were special. He would speak to groups of men and women but his glasses were made to look down so that he would not gaze at a woman.  Second, although the Rav was against the use of television for entertainment he was not against the use of TV to broadcast Torah and Halacha and also had Shass open up a radio station. What he did was within the Halacha and if he said that peace was more important than the land of Israel that is what he believed. The Lubavitcher held that there could be no peace by giving up the land of Israel. Third the Rav did not have any political correct agenda and often spoke incorrectly politically. On a number of occasions I felt that it hindered us rather than helped. I did not always agree with him and Rav Shlomo Goren was again humbled by Rav Ovadia’s knowledge and mentioned that publically in the case of the withdrawal from Yamit where some you men and women were in a shelter threatening suicide and the chief Rabbis came to convince them personally that it was against the Torah. 

There was not one Jew in Eretz Yisrael who was not affected by him. Once the Rav had to undergo angioplasty in the morning and stayed up all night to free an Aguna the source Rabbi Eli Yeshai.

Sometimes the Rav talked so low or in Sephardic Nuances that I could not fully understand or hear him. He would often give a pat on the back or cheek to his students and followers to sort of strengthen them or praise them. For the Sephardim he was the greatest Rabbi in Generations almost equivalent to the Chofetz Chaim, Chazon Ish, Aharon Kutler and Rav Moshe Feinstein for Ashkenazim.
The Sephardic Community feels the void. There is no replacement for Rabbi Yosef. At this point Rabbi Amar and the brother of Arieh Deri or the children of Rabbi Ovadia fall far short,7340,L-4437902,00.html

Parsha Lech Lecha

Last week we left off with the birth of Avram. There are Midrashim that Avram the youth broke all the idols and put the hammer in the hands of the largest. Terach the manufacturer gets so angry at his son that he considers him a Ben Sorah v’ Moreh (the rebellious son who should be put to death). Terach shouts you know that the idols cannot move, see or hear and then Avram replies and this hunk of wood, stone or clay you call a god! At this point he is brought before Nimrod, the mighty hunter and king. Nimrod sentences him to death by burning and Avram is willing to die on a Kiddush HASHEM. However, even though he did not expect a miracle, one happens and he survives. Avram, similar to the one being stoned today in the Arab countries, survived and is left alone after surviving. Haran, however, not ready in the beginning for a Kiddush HASHEM, is burnt to death. Terach then moves from the large metropolis of Ur and starts a new life in a city that he names after his son, Haran.

Rabbi Eliyahu Schatz Shlita comes up with a novel theory which I thought about too but he is older than I and published it in his works on the Tanach and credit is due him. Hammurabi was actually Avram the Wikipedia writes: (Akkadian from Amorite ʻAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", from ʻAmmu, "paternal kinsman", and Rāpi, "healer"; died c. 1750 BC) was the sixth king of Babylon (that is, of the First Babylonian Dynasty) from 1792 BC to 1750 BC middle chronology (1728 BC – 1686 BC short chronology). He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire following the abdication of his father, Sin-Muballit, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms.[3] Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire. It has been said that Hammurabi was Amraphel, the King of Shinar in the Book of Genesis 14:1 Wikipedia ends his reign in the year 2010 which would either mean he was disposed by Nimrod then or they are off. Rabbi Shatz ends his reign in the year 2018 when he reaches 70 and is told first to leave his native land and then at 75 he is command to leave his father’s land.

Some background is due here. Avram was 48 years old aka the year 1996 when the tower of Bavel occurred and the nations got different languages. He kept the original Hebrew and Hammurabi might be more like Chamor Rabbi for he was humble and in Akadas Yitzchak ride a donkey aka Chamor towards Har HaMoriah. (22:5 And Abraham said unto his young men: 'Abide ye here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship, and come back to you.') I believe for that reason of imitation of the Tzaddik that Bilaam rides the donkey in Sefer Bamidbar 22 - 24. Even as a child learning history, I could not help see the similarities time wise and law wise between Avram and Hammurabi and our Halacha and when Rav Shatz wrote this he got my approval hook, line and sinker.

There is one conflict in our story time wise and I am not satisfied with any answer until this past week. Avram is told Lech Lecha when he is 70 years old. In order for the Medrash to count 430 until the leaving from Mitzrayim the Bris between the pieces is supposed to take place 30 years before the birth of Yitzchak and then from there 400 years until Pessach 2448. Avram is born in 1948 at 100 gives birth to Yitzchak or 2048 makes sense. However, 75 and 25 make 100 so if the Bris between the pieces too place 5 years earlier we would have to have it either occur in Haran or Avram would have to have tried to convert people in Eretz Yisrael and returned to Haran. This is my problem. I explained this problem that I have had for the last 43 years to Rabbi Mimran Shlita so I await his research and answer. Shemos 12:40. And the habitation of the children of Israel, that they dwelled in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. That they dwelled in Egypt: after the other dwellings in which they dwelled as foreigners in a land that was not theirs. — [from Mechilta] was four hundred and thirty years: Altogether, from the time that Isaac was born, until now, were 400 years. From the time that Abraham had seed [i.e., had a child, the prophecy] “that your seed will be strangers” (Gen. 15:13) was fulfilled; and there were another 30 years from the decree “between the parts” (Gen 15:10) until Isaac was born. It is impossible, however, to say that [they spent 400 years] in Egypt alone, because Kehath [the grandfather of Moses] was [one] of those who came with Jacob. Go and figure all his years, all the years of his son Amram, and Moses’ 80 years; you will not find them [to be] that many, and perforce, Kehath lived many of his years before he descended to Egypt, and many of Amram’s years are included in the years of Kehath, and many of Moses’ years are included in Amram’s years. Hence, you will not find 400 years counting from their arrival in Egypt. You are compelled, perforce, to say that the other dwellings [which the Patriarchs settled] were also called being “sojournings” and even in Hebron, as it is said: “where Abraham and Isaac sojourned (גָּרוּ) ” (Gen. 35:27), and [Scripture] states also “the land of their sojournings in which they sojourned” (Exod. 6:4). Therefore, you must say that [the prophecy] “your seed will be strangers” [commences] when he [Abraham] had offspring. And only when you count 400 years from the time that Isaac was born, you will find 210 years from their entry into Egypt. This is one of the things that [the Sages] changed for King Ptolemy. — [from Mechilta, Meg. 9a] There is a general rule that unless Rashi writes “I say” or “I think” he has a definite source from older sources as he will not bring down something like this accounting.
For regarding the Bris mentioned by Rashi: 15:1. After these incidents, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Fear not, Abram; I am your Shield; your reward is exceedingly great." After these incidents: Wherever the term אַחַר is used, it signifies immediately afterwards; אַחֲרֵי signifies a long time afterwards (Gen. Rabbah 44:5). After this miracle had been wrought for him, that he slew the kings, he was worried and said, “Perhaps I have received reward for all my righteous deeds.” Therefore, the Omnipresent said to him, “Fear not Abram, I am your Shield” from punishment, that you will not be punished for all those souls that you have slain, and as far as your being worried about receiving reward, your reward is exceedingly great. [from Aggadath Bereishith 16:2; Tan. Buber, Lech Lecha 15; Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer ch. 27]

My idea of the excuse that it could have occurred before Avram left Haran for good fails the test here. For Avram was 75, left Haran, went to Mitzrayim, came back with Hagar and a lot of goods, he and Lot parted ways, Avram rescues Lot with Eliezer of Damascus whom he purchased between the age of 75 and going down to Egypt, and then at this point prior to the birth of Yishmael (Avram was 86) this all occurred.

... 10. And he took for Him all these, and he divided them in the middle, and he placed each part opposite its mate, but he did not divide the birds.  ... 13. And He said to Abram, "You shall surely know that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will enslave them and oppress them, for four hundred years. that your seed will be strangers: From the time that Isaac was born until the Israelites left Egypt was four hundred years. How so? Isaac was sixty years old when Jacob was born, and Jacob, when he went down to Egypt, said, “The days of the years of my sojournings are one hundred and thirty years,” which total 190. They were in Egypt 210 years, like the numerical value of רְדוּ (see Rashi, below 42:2; ר = 200, ד = 4, ו = 6, totaling 210). Thus, the total is 400 years. Now, if you should say that they were 400 years in Egypt, [this is not so] because Kehath was one of those who descended to Egypt. If you compute the years of Kehath (133) and those of Amram (his son, 137), and the 80 years of Moses, his age when they left Egypt, you will find only 350 [years]. And you must still subtract from them all the years that Kehath lived after the birth of Amram and that Amram lived after the birth of Moses. [from Seder Olam ch. 3] If somebody has a good explanation, please write me to my mail or my Facebook account.  

12:1 Now the LORD said unto Abram: 'Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee. 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and be thou a blessing. 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curses thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.' 4 So Abram went, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him; and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.

The earliest time that I can derive is that it is no earlier than 25 years prior to the birth of Yitzchak or 425 years before the Exodus. So I am 5 years in the best case short of what is written in Shemos 12:40 on 430 years. In the 1000 plus years after what Rashi wrote, I am sure that I am not the only Jew with this question and there must be an answer.

There was also another problem that would make Avram 73 or 74 minimum at the time of the Bris Between the Pieces: The splitting of the language was in 1996 when Avram was 48. Artscroll and others then write about the various kings 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim,

The account in the Artscroll adds 25 perhaps one can say in the 26th year. So the division of languages occurred when Avram was 48 plus 25 years of conquest and rebellion is 73 years old. I will get back to his after the explanation of the age of 70 from Rabbi Mimran and then Rav Shatz.

RABBI SHLOMO MIMRAN Shlita found the answer to my question. The 430 years written in Shemos on the spot Sifsei Chachamim writes that the Bris occurs when Avram was 70 years old based on Seder Olam. On Chapter 15 of our Parsha Tosfos Dalet of our Pasha brings down Seder Olam. Avram was 48 when the Tower of Bavel occurred, 58 when Noach passed away and 70 at the Bris between the pieces. Since it is written “After” and not “Afterwards” this occurred immediately after the war of the 4 kings. What appears to have happened is that Lot had left Haran to live the fertile and rich Sodom and the news of his capture reached Avram who then fought the war. This does not necessarily coexist with the Pshat what is written but the tradition of Seder Olam is very strong. It also gives backing to my theory that there was a previous trip to Canaan. One must remember another rule regarding the Torah. There is no early and no late in Torah. The commentary Shor Ha Bechor also holds by 70 years as the age Avraham was at the time of the war and sacrifices afterwards. 

Rav Shatz has either Hammurabi retiring or be disposed and moving to Haran at the age of 70 perhaps being conquered by Nimrod aka Chedorlaomer. Lot perhaps was sent as Judge to Sodom by Hammurabi and is now captured and then Avram rescues him and brings him to Haran for 5 years.

Regarding the Artscroll 25 years my theoretical answer is as follows and it is speculation: However, Seder Olam says differently and it is an ancient book based on tradition either from Avraham or Moshe from Sinai. So I have to agree that the Bris occurred at the age of 70. This still leaves me with what about the forming of the nations and the languages?

For this I have to go back to Parsha Noach. 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. We therefore see a reason to spread mankind out over various lands. But if they were spread apart so far how did they get together to build the Migdal Bavel? The answer can be found in Malachim aka Kings 1:5:26 And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together. 27 And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. 28 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home; and Adoniram was over the levy. 29 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bore burdens, and fourscore thousand that were hewers in the mountains; 30 besides Solomon's chief officers that were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, who bore rule over the people that wrought in the work. Therefore just as Melech Shlomo would take people for a month’s duty and then return those to their households to work the land so I assume the work on Migdal Bavel went. For had they had compassion on people who fell or died during the building as they had on the bricks that broke even if they made war with HASHEM  or thought they could, they would not have been punished. However, their cruelty to their fellow man sealed their fate.

Once you had 70 languages plus the original Hebrew you could no longer rule efficiently and therefore some of the subservient kings rebelled against Nimrod and his taxes that they did not understand anymore.

5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the terebinth of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said: ‘Unto thy seed will I give this land’; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

In my Sukkos-Beresheis Drasha I wrote that Gog and Magog most likely would come via Schem. There is some logic that the first advancement in the land and the promise to Avram is reiterated at Schem. The fact that Avram made the area holy first is the contra to Magog. 

8 And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east; and he built there an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the South. 10 And there was a famine in the land; and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was sore in the land. 11 And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt, that he said unto Sarai his wife: ‘Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon.

According to Rashi up until this point Avram did not mention to Sarai anything about her looks. Now, however, he does mention something to get her to cover-up, Can you imagine a generation without make-up or at best minimum cosmetics.

12 And it will come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see you that they will say: This is his wife; and they will kill me, but thee they will keep alive. 13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister; that it may be well with me for thy sake, and that my soul may live because of thee.’ 14 And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair. 15 And the princes of Pharaoh saw her, and praised her to Pharaoh; and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.

Mitzrayim was from Cush and dark skinned. Sarai was most likely a brunette but with a much lighter complexion and therefore more attractive to the Egyptians. Remember according to the Medrash there was no external aging until Avraham prayed so that he could be distinguished from his son Yitzchak. So even at 65 or to see Rashi’s comment upon her death that she was seven and twenty and one hundred years that at the age of 100 she looked like a 20 year old.

16 And he dealt well with Abram for her sake; and he had sheep, and oxen, and he-asses, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and she-asses, and camels. 17 And the LORD plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai Abram’s wife. 18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said: ‘What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why did you say: She is my sister? So that I took her to be my wife; now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.’ 20 And Pharaoh gave men charge concerning him; and they brought him on the way, and his wife, and all that he had.

Here we don’t find the answer to the question but with Avimelech we see the answer: “There is no fear of G-D in this place!” Why didn’t Avram answer this here? Or perhaps he did and the Chumash does not mention it? The Answer most likely is that Pharaoh was a king-god similar to what we hand with emperor of Japan during WWII and he had to give up his Divinity. (Christian Crusade Morals or Jihad on Shinto just as they imposed their ways on Judaism from Inquisition to the Shoah. Chaviva posted this from our own newspapers:  

13:1 And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the South.

And Abram came up, etc., to the south: To come to the south of the Land of Israel, as Scripture stated above (12:9): continually traveling southward to Mount Moriah. And in every case when one goes from Egypt to the land of Canaan, he goes from south to north, for the land of Egypt is south of the Land of Israel, as is evidenced by the travels [of the Jews in the desert] and by the boundaries of the Land.

This must be after Lot returned to Haran after the war of the kings.

… 14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, 2 that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela—the same is Zoar.

There is nothing new under the sun. Shinar is identified with Bavel the King of Elam is identified with Greece and Goyim is identified with Rome and its allies making many nations. The battle in the war first conquers what is Yarden today to or through Saudi  or just to land of Edom which is modern Aqaba and then returning north hits Sodom and the Dead Sea from the south side causing the kings to flee north and them falling into the sink holes of the northern Dead Sea. (Artscroll and Medrash)

3 All these came as allies unto the vale of Siddim—the same is the Salt Sea. 4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. 5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, 6 and the Horites in their mount Seir, unto El-paran, which is by the wilderness. 7 And they turned back, and came to En-mishpat—the same is Kadesh—and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazazon-tamar.

The armies came out of the north but made a swoop down south to come out of the south into Eretz Yisrael but that would be the path that Egypt would take in the future and it does not match the description in Yechezkel. Also the armies do not reach either Beer Sheva or Chevron (guttural CH) so it is similar to but not fully Gog v’ Magog.

8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela—the same is Zoar; and they set the battle in array against them in the vale of Siddim; 9 against Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings against the five.

What this represents though are the 4 Kingdoms that captured Yisrael in the past – Bavel, Persia, Greece and Rome united coming against Eretz Yisrael and this is what will be in the end after their own in-fighting in the war of Gog and Magog.

10 Now the vale of Siddim was full of slime pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell there, and they that remained fled to the mountain. 11 And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. 12 And they took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Even if we say this was Avram of prior to going down unto Egypt as a deposed Hammurabi, he would have a lot of wealth to live off of and holding Lot for ransom would be worth it.

13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew—now he dwelt by the terebinths of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol, and brother of Aner; and these were confederate with Abram.

And the fugitive came: According to its simple meaning, this was Og, who escaped from the battle, and that is what is referred to (in Deut. 3:11): “Only Og survived from the rest of the Rephaim.” And that is the meaning of “survived,” that Amraphel and his allies did not kill him when they smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth-Karnaim [Midrash Tanchuma (Chukkath 25)]. The Midrash Gen. Rabbah [explains]: This is Og, who escaped from the Generation of the Flood, and this is the meaning of “from the rest of the Rephaim,” as it is said: (above 6:4): “The Nephilim were on the earth, etc.” And he [Og] intended that Abram should be killed and he would marry Sarah (Gen. Rabbah 42:8).

This was Og Melech Ha Bashan who was in love with the beauty of Sarah and wanted her. However, after the flood he had the morals not to swipe her from Avram but wait until she became a widow when Avram attacks the kings. It sounded good in theory but he did not know that the ALL MIGHTY was on the side of Avram.

14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he led forth his trained men, born in his house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued as far as Dan.

and he armed: Heb. וַיָּרֶק, like its Aramaic translation: וְזָרֵיז, [and he armed], and similarly (Lev. 26:33): וַהִרִיקֹתִי אַחֲרֵיכֶם חָרֶב [which Onkelos renders]: “and I will arm Myself with My sword against you,” and similarly (Exod. 15:9): “I will arm myself (אָרִיק) with my sword,” and similarly (Ps. 35:3): “And arm Yourself (וְהָרֵק) with a spear and ax.” - [from Gen. Rabbah 43:2] his trained men: Heb. חֲנִיכָיו. It is written חֲנִיכוֹ [in the singular], his trained man (other editions: It is read). This is Eliezer, whom he had trained to [perform the] commandments, and it [חֲנִיכָיו] is an expression of the initiation (lit. the beginning of the entrance) of a person or a utensil to the craft with which he [or it] is destined to remain, and similarly (Prov. 22: 6): “Train (חֲנֹךְ) a child”; (Num. 7:10): “the dedication of (חֲנֻכַּת) the altar”; (Ps. 30:1): “the dedication of of (חֲנֻכַּת) the Temple,” and in Old French it is called enseigner [to instruct, train]. three hundred and eighteen: Our Sages said (Gen. Rabbah 43:2, Ned. 32a): It was Eliezer alone, and it [the number 318] is the numerical value of his name. until Dan: There he became weak, for he saw that his children were destined to erect a calf there (Sanh. 96a). The reference is to I Kings 12:29: “And he (Jeroboam) placed one in Beth-el, and the other he placed in Dan.”

15 And he divided himself against them by night, he and his servants, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.

It appears that at first they fled with the goods but being pursued and in panic they left the spoils and fled for their lives. When you pull out and leave or even flee with the spoils we can call it a strategic withdrawal but when you abandon and flee it is a full rout. {During the Yom Kippur War, Syrian Captives told about wave after wave of Israeli attackers dressed in white and them spending their bullets on the attackers and more and more came until they gave themselves up to the warriors in green. With the exception of the Mt. Hermon Ski Patrol there are no white uniforms for the Israeli Combat Units take it or leave it as told to me by Rabbi Zvi Drapkin Shlita in the middle of the Yom Kippur War.} 

16 And he brought back all the goods, and also brought back his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people. 17 And the king of Sodom went out to meet him, after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, at the vale of Shaveh—the same is the King’s Vale. 18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine; and he was priest of God the Most High.

Rashi and our Medrash say that this is Shem who was King of Salem aka Yerushalayim of today.

19 And he blessed him, and said: ‘Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be God the Most High, who hath delivered your enemies into thy hand.’ And he gave him a tenth of all.

He was Avram’s grandfather from 9 generations back but only now after proof that HASHEM is with him does Avram receive a blessing of such magnitude. In short, he has received the reward for all the past generations and he is the continuation of the prophecy of HASHEM.

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram: ‘Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.’ 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom: ‘I have lifted up my hand unto the LORD, God Most High, Maker of heaven and earth, 23 that I will not take a thread nor a shoe-latchet nor aught that is yours, lest you should say: I have made Abram rich;

A Tzaddik does not accept money for doing a Mitzvah unless he is appointed by the community and given a set salary. So when one sees a “Tzaddik” asking for money draw your own conclusions unless you want to pay him and he say please donate to my charity or such and such.

24 save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshkol, and Mamre, let them take their portion.

These men were his allies and friends but they were not Tzaddikim and had incurred financial loss or down time during the war and had risked their own lives and limbs.

15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying: ‘Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, thy reward shall be exceeding great.’ 2 And Abram said: ‘O Lord GOD, what wilt Thou give me, seeing I go hence childless, and he that shall be possessor of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ 3 And Abram said: ‘Behold, to me Thou hast given no seed, and, lo, one born in my house is to be mine heir.’ 4 And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying: ‘This man shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.’ 5 And He brought him forth abroad, and said: ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them’; and He said unto him: ‘So shall thy seed be.’ 6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And He said unto him: ‘I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.’ 8 And he said: ‘O Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?’ 9 And He said unto him: ‘Take Me a heifer of three years old, and a she-goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon.’ 10 And he took him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each half over against the other; but the birds divided he not. 11 And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away. 12 And it came to pass, that, when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a dread, even a great darkness, fell upon him. 13 And He said unto Abram: ‘Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 But thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 And in the fourth generation they shall come back hither; for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet full.’ 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and there was thick darkness, behold a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces. 18 In that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying: ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates; 19 the Kenite, and the Kenizzite, and the Kadmonite, 20 and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Rephaim, 21 and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Girgashite, and the Jebusite.’

16:1 Now Sarai Abram’s wife bore him no children; and she had a handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. … 13 And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, Thou art a God of seeing; for she said: ‘Have I even here seen Him that seeth Me?’ 14 Wherefore the well was called ‘Beer-lahai-roi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered. 15 And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ishmael. 16 And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram

17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him: ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou wholehearted. 2 And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.’ 3 And Abram fell on his face; and God talked with him, saying: 4 ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for the father of a multitude of nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.’ 9 And God said unto Abraham: ‘And as for thee, thou shalt keep My covenant, thou, and thy seed after thee throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of a covenant betwixt Me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner, that is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

There is no end to Christian anti-Semitism with the European Parliament voting to ban Circumcision when Yeshu, their god, was Jewish and Circumcised!

26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son. 27 And all the men of his house, those born in the house, and those bought with money of a foreigner, were circumcised with him.

I don’t video weddings any more I find the videos are viewed once or twice and that is at best however still Photos are OK. I often give cousins besides the present lots of photos some of which I posted on FB tagged the cousins and removed some because of Facebook’s policy on photos. Here is a politically incorrect thought by Dr. Harry and I will let you think if he is right? Yesterday I was asked by a Rabbi friend if I could help him pay for wedding for one of his students. It turns out that a large part of the cost was for an 800 dollar videographer to record the ceremony.  Being that the bride and groom were not paying, I cannot understand why a friend could not make the video, that 
No one will probably watch in the future.  Another example of ridiculous entitlement, you betcha!  Couples frequently use my backyard for weddings, officiated by my wife, which saves them a lot of money.

Shalom on the Range: In search of the American Crypto-Jew Part 1

Believe me, there are Jews everywhere. —Bernard Malamud, “Angel Levine”
I was nine years old when my mother forced me to convert from Judaism to Christianity. We had just moved from New York City to a small southern town whose local hospital had recruited her to open a medical practice. My new faith was a ruse—I never formally converted—but if anyone asked, I was instructed by my mother to say I was Unitarian. She also told me to keep these sectarian machinations secret from my father, who was still in New York and who would have filed a court order demanding custody if he had the slightest notion of what she was up to. Meanwhile, I was enrolled in an Episcopal school, where I studied the Bible, attended church each week, received communion, and even sang in the choir.
Understand, please, that I love my mother, and know that she had her reasons. In retrospect, her belief that our Bible Belt town would reject a divorced, Yankee, female doctor who was also Jewish seems not so absurd. Yet let no one mistake her either for a friend of the Jews. She was convinced that the ceaseless shtick that defines Judaism in this country—the wry exceptionalism, the ironic fatalism, the false socialism, the Zionist apologetics, the Yiddish jargoning, the hand-wringing over the Holocaust—barred her from the full American experience. For her, being a Jew meant being cheated of a piece of this country’s restless, rootless anonymity. She didn’t hate Jews or Judaism, and she certainly didn’t want to hurt me. She just wanted to be one of us.
I can relate. As an adult I find that I am uncomfortable with devout practitioners of my birth religion. I worry that if they knew of my past they might not accept me as Jewish, and, with some of my mother’s scorn cutting through the unease, I wonder why I would want their acceptance in the first place. The result has been a furtive fascination with Judaism, one that compels and repels in equal measure.
One evening not long ago, I came across an odd little children’s book. Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs told the story of a Hispanic boy named Jacobo who, while visiting his grandmother in Santa Fe, learned that he was something called an anusim, or a “Crypto-Jew,” which I learned meant that he was a descendant of the Medieval Jews of Spain, who were forcibly converted to Catholicism yet continued, for hundreds of years, to practice Judaism in secret. Anusim is the Hebrew word for “forced.” The forced converts were also known by the pejorative Marrano (Spanish for pig); cristianos-nuevos (New Christians); Conversos (converts); and judaizantes (Judaizers). The term “Crypto-Jew” dates from 1893, when it was used in an article in the British journal Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England.
I also learned that no sizable population of formerly Jewish Christians existed before 1391, when anti-Semitic riots in Spain resulted in the conversion under duress of some 200,000 Jews, many of them baptized by clergymen accompanying the mobs. Once this violence abated, Spanish Christians wanted nothing to do with their converted brethren. Some historians insist, in fact, that the Inquisition was established in Spain in 1481 not to convert the Jews, as I had always thought, but to eradicate what were believed to be large numbers of surreptitiously still-Jewish families among the conversos, both anusim and meshumadim (willing converts). Some of those persecuted fled for locations throughout Europe, while others made their way to the New World. Semi-open communities of Crypto-Jews thrived in the Spanish imperial possessions until the late 1500s, when the Inquisition arrived in the colonies. Trials, interrogations, and autos-da-fé ensued, and within a century the Crypto-Jews were no more.
That, at least, is the conventional history. But what if Jacobo’s grandmother was to be believed? What if some of her ancestors had evaded the Inquisition in Mexico and infiltrated the conquistador party that later settled the northern wilderness that became New Mexico? Could they possibly have remained in the Southwest ever since, covertly maintaining their religion, avoiding pork in their burritos, substituting tortillas for matzos, co-opting Mexican serapes for Jewish prayer shawls, and somehow hiding in plain sight? Certainly their Judaism would have changed with time, evolving into something not immediately recognizable as such, even to those practicing it, but could it actually exist?
At first, I had a great deal of difficulty believing it could. I had always felt an ironic affinity for the world’s communities of supposed “Lost Jews” (the Hebrews of Cape Verde, Kaifeng, and Timbuktu), but these American anusim seemed altogether different. The idea of hidden Judaism in Santa Fe had the feel of a tall tale, of yetis and UFOs and Atlantis.
Yet articles on the Crypto-Jews had appeared in practically every major American newspaper; in academic journals; in Jewish publications such as Shofar, Hadassah, and The Forward; and in a slew of books with God-awful New Age titles like The Marrano Legacy, Suddenly Jewish, and Sephardic Destiny: A Latino Quest. Unfortunately, finding an actual living, talking, davening Crypto-Jew proved a challenge. Neither the academics who had studied them nor the authors who had attempted their history were willing to introduce me to one, usually citing concerns for their privacy.
Then I caught a break. I found an email address for a man named Daniel Yocum, who had revealed to the New York Times in 1990 that he was a Crypto-Jew. He agreed to speak to me by phone. Yocum had been raised in Albuquerque’s Atrisco Valley, an insular tract of ranch and farmland that had been absorbed by the city only in his lifetime. Raised Catholic, Yocum didn’t know he was Jewish growing up, though he told me that “there were always rumors around.” The men of his family, he said, used to gather each Friday night in the morada, the chapterhouse of a secret society of Catholic flagellants. They would cover the santos—wooden images of the saints—with gunnysacks, light candles, and conduct a modified Sabbath service, reading from a handwritten Book of Psalms. Daniel, who now lived in Colorado, told me that he had learned these practices were Judaic in nature only as an adult. As a child, he thought they were part of the Catholic rituals specific to rural New Mexico. After learning the truth, he said, he had begun to live openly as a Jew. He now attended synagogue regularly, kept kosher, read his Torah portion, and wore a yarmulke. When I asked him if he would help me contact his Crypto-Jewish relatives and friends in New Mexico, he agreed. I thanked him and booked my ticket to Albuquerque. To be continued …

An Oldie: A king who did not believe in the goodness of God, had a slave who, in all circumstances would always say “my king, do not be discouraged, because everything God does is perfect. He makes no mistakes!”

One day they went hunting and along the way a wild animal attacked the king. His slave managed to kill the animal, but could not prevent his majesty from losing a finger.

Furious and without showing his gratitude for being saved, the nobleman asked "Is God good? If He was good, I would not have been attacked and lost my finger."

The slave replied:

"My king, despite all these things, I can only tell you that God is good, and he knows why these things happened. What God does is perfect. He is never wrong!"

Outraged by the response, the king ordered the arrest of his slave.

Later, the King left for another hunt, this time alone. He was captured by savages who engaged in human sacrifices.

On the altar and ready to sacrifice the nobleman, the savages discovered that their victim did not have one of his fingers. According to them, only a whole person with all his/her parts intact could be offered to the gods. The King without a finger was deemed an abominable sacrifice for their gods. So they released the King.

Upon his return to the palace, the King authorized the release of his slave. He received the slave affectionately.  "God was really good to me! I was almost killed by the wild men, but for lack of a single finger, I was let go! But I have a question: if God is so good, why did he allow me to put you in jail?"

The slave answered, "my King, if I had gone with you on this hunt, I would have been sacrificed instead because I have no missing finger. Remember everything God does is perfect. He is never wrong. He made you keep me in jail so I would not be with you on the hunt."
Often we complain about life, and negative things that happen to us, forgetting that nothing is random and that everything has a purpose.

Every morning, offer your day to God, don't be in a rush.

Ask God to inspire your thoughts, guide your actions, and ease your feelings. And do not be afraid. God is never wrong! 

Danny F. reads the Torah in his Schul for years. He had some reflection on Simchas Torah of which I bring down one of his insights. Devarim is, unquestionably, my favorite of the five books. The Hebrew language seems far more expressive and more flourished than it does in the rest of the Torah. It should be. The words were spoken by Moses – a human – rather than by God. The focus of the laws is very different, here. Most of the laws focus on what do in the land of Israel. There are laws dealing with produce, how to appoint a king, and numerous laws dealing with ethical behavior among people, such as caring for the poor and the orphaned. Moses describes the beauty of the Promised Land. Even the law of benching, saying Grace after meals could only be mentioned in Devarim and nowhere else. Imagine if this law was in one of the other books and God said, “When you finish eating the food of the land, you shall thank God.” It doesn’t resonate as well as if Moses, a human, first talks about the beauty of the land – how it has dates, figs, olives, wheat, etc. Then, Moses says, essentially, “You will eat the produce of this beautiful land, and you should remember that God brought you to this land and allowed you to enjoy its produce. Therefore, it is appropriate to thank God.” This reasoning by a human seems to have a better effect on people than God talking.

From Benedictine Monk to Rebbe's Assistant by Michael Freund

For three years, Aharon Calderon was a monk at a Catholic monastery in South America, living an austere existence of contemplation and introspection. But amid all the silence, he heard the call of eternity, leading him to embrace Judaism. This is his story.
Aharon Calderon was born 36 years ago, in the city of Parana, capital of Argentina's Entre Rios province. "I was born into a Catholic family, though it was not a very religious one," Calderon says. "But my parents did send me to a Catholic high school."
The ideal of helping people greatly appealed to him. At school, Calderon found himself taking a growing interest in religion, confident that it would offer him a framework in which he could give to others while also achieving his own sense of spiritual satisfaction.
After high school, he attended a Catholic seminary for two years, where he had his first experience with missionary activity. Along with his fellow students, Calderon was charged with assisting a group of Indians from a less affluent part of Argentina. At the time, he enjoyed it immensely. It seemed to embody the idea of universal love that he was always hearing about in school.
In retrospect, however, Calderon says it proved to be an important moment, one in which the first seeds of doubt regarding the Church were planted in his mind, albeit subtly. "The work gave me a great deal of satisfaction because I was helping people. However, it also created a spiritual vacuum within me, because it was to a certain extent superficial."
Continuing, Calderon asserts that, "To give can also be a form of falsehood. And this, by the way, was the first intuitive criticism that I had regarding the Church: we would help the poor, give them second-rate food and drink, and then go back to our comfortable institution, where we would take a warm bath, relax and eat expensive delicacies."
At the age of 19, Calderon sought out what he terms "a more archaic, more ancient order, one more connected with Catholicism's roots." He found and joined a Benedictine monastery.
"It was a contemplative order, where the monks were forbidden to speak most of the day," Calderon says. The enforced silence, he says, was a powerful experience, and it gave him an opportunity for self-exploration and discovery.
Among other things, Calderon spent a lot of time engaged in inner reflection and in reading the Bible. "When a person connects to their true self," he says, "they can then discern the existence of the Creator, of a solitary being Who protects, creates and sustains the universe."
It was during this period that Calderon began to develop a sense of unease with basic Catholic doctrine. One evening, Calderon was reading the Bible when he came to the verse, "Hear O Israel, the L-rd our G-d the L-rd is One." As he thought about the text, he wondered why his own faith contradicted this most fundamental of principles. Calderon's doubts persisted. Eventually, he decided to leave the monastery. But he remained intrigued by the world of the spirit and went to study theology at a Catholic university. While there, he decided to learn Hebrew. He found an adult-education institute where Hebrew was taught, and through the classes Calderon first met Jews.
The turning point came one day when, "I said to my friend, 'The Jews say every Friday, "The Children of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath an eternal covenant for their generations." If it is an eternal covenant, then G-d would not go back on it. So if we move it to Sunday, then we are making a mistake!' "I understood then that there was no turning back. This was the spiritual point at which I decided to join the Jewish people."
Calderon had heard that an Orthodox rabbi had recently arrived in the city. One day, Calderon saw the rabbi walking in the street, so he introduced himself, and said that he wished to convert. They later arranged a meeting, where Rabbi Moshe Blumenfeld, a Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in Argentina, said something that made a deep impression on Calderon. "He explained to me that I did not need to convert to achieve redemption... it was sufficient for me to keep the seven basic commandments required of a gentile."
"This," Calderon explains, "led me to understand that the G-d of Israel is a G-d of love Who accepts all of mankind. By contrast, according to Christianity, anyone who does not accept their way of thinking is condemned to hell."
Calderon found Rabbi Blumenfeld to be warm and hospitable, and for the next two years, he spent a great deal of time with him studying Judaism. "I wanted to learn how Jews live. In the process, I watched, internalized and then connected to it."
Calderon decided that he wanted to go to Israel to convert. "From the moment I arrived in Israel, I felt a connection with the Land and with the Jewish people." He began to study at a yeshiva in Jerusalem. A few months later, a friend of Calderon's took him to see the Rebbe of Stropkov, of the Sanz dynasty. Calderon was immediately captivated by the Rebbe and by his personality. He found himself drawn to the Chassidic lifestyle.
Eventually, he went before a rabbinical court in Jerusalem and converted. After his conversion, Calderon continued to study while working. He married, and he and his wife Anya have three children. Calderon remains close to the Rebbe of Stropkov, serving as his assistant in Jerusalem's Meah Shaarim neighborhood. Looking back, Calderon remembers something that Rabbi Blumenfeld told him. "He explained to me that the conversion must be like a fruit that ripens and falls by itself from the tree when it is ready. That is how I view my Judaism, as something natural and integral to me."
Calderon is proud of his spiritual journey, and he hopes that it will inspire more Jews to cherish their heritage. "Generally speaking, once people know that you have converted for no reason other than love for G-d and for the Torah, it causes them to feel proud and gives them yet another reason to appreciate their Judaism."
Source: Reprinted from // (#979), with permission.
Michael Freund is the founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (//, a Jerusalem-based group that assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people.

Biographical note: Rabbi Avraham Shalom Halberstam, a descendant of the Devrei Yehezkiel, son of the Devrei Chayim of Sanz, is the present day Stropkov Rebbe in Jerusalem, living in Meah She'arim. He runs several yeshivas and kolels in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel. He is known for devoting himself to helping many who need to return to their Jewish roots.

Ana (not her new Halachic Name) sent me this for potential converts to read. I took a look and thought how many Jews have read these books:

From Albert perhaps a repeat. Hidden Spanish Jews for 500 plus years:

From Tzippi This does not apply to converts to Judaism for they are considered Jewish.

Rabbi Bar Chaim reviews 20 years of the Oslo Accords.

The religion of peace destroys this last Synagogue:

Last week I wrote about the horrible statistics of intermarriage (and Gerim count as Jews not non-Jews) here is an Ed-op on the subject:,7340,L-4436562,00.html

From Rabbi A.L. "Fiscal Cliff" put in a much better perspective.


U.S. Tax Revenue:  $2,170,000,000,000
Fed Budget:  $3,820,000,000,000
New Debt:  $1,650,000,000,000
National Debt:  $14,271,000,000,000
Recent Budget Cuts:  $38,500,000,000,000

Let us now remove 8 zeros and pretend it is a household budget.

Annual Family Income:  $21,700
Money the Family Spent:  $38,200
New Debt on the Credit Card:  $16,500
Outstanding Balance on the Credit Card:  $142,710
Total Budget Cuts so far:  $38.50

Got it??..... OK, now.


Here is another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let us say, you come home from work and find there has been a sewer back-up in your neighborhood, and your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do.....?

Raise the ceilings, or remove the garbage??

This is not for me as I have lactose intolerance but when a Rabbi sees a question sometimes he shares an answer especially if you used to eat pasta before dieting.

Inyanay Diyoma

Delusions of grandeur they want peace like you and I want to chop off body parts:

The problem with Israel’s public image is the left.,7340,L-4436106,00.html

Store video of 4 of the Somali Terrorists in Kenya.

This time Black Hawk is up and we did withdraw under heavy fire to prevent losses:

PLO praises the shooting of the 9 year old girl.

It did not start with the Six Day Way it started at least in 1921 if not all the way back to Nehemiah:

Egypt has to be retaken after the revolution of a year ago plus failed:,7340,L-4437364,00.html

More Israelis and the Nobel Prize: Tel Aviv U. Professor and Holocaust Survivor Francois Englert wins the prize for Physics although he most likely is listed as a Belgium.  Two of the three Prize winners in Chemistry are Israelis

Two Israeli Soldiers had to be treated.,7340,L-4438774,00.html

So you didn’t take care of the gang that attacked the US Embassy now look what you have! The whole thing makes one think why did we throw out Gadhafi for Al Qaeda.,7340,L-4438886,00.html

Does Obama love the Muslim Brotherhood?,7340,L-4438985,00.html

Has the Israeli left gone too far joining in at anti-Semitic rally?

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Nick of Time”

Good Shabbos Everyone.  In this week's parsha, we read about the great flood which Hashem sent to destroy the inhabitants of the world.  One of the reasons Hashem decided to flush out the evil people in the world is that they were practicing idol worship.  Although the Sages were subsequently successful in effectively eliminating the desire to serve idols, there still exists today idol worship.  Unfortunately, many Jewish young men and women are drawn to cults.  Many of these poor souls grew up without a strong connection to Judaism.  The following true story illustrates one young Jew's journey in life, which took him the depths of darkness to the heights of spiritual light.
         Rabbi Glukowski, of blessed memory, was a rebbe - a Torah teacher in Toronto. It was his job to teach Torah to the Jewish children in the school, but he also had a hobby: Teaching Torah to yet more Jews. In fact he was so good at it that he was often offered payment for special speaking arrangements. But he always refused, saying that he wanted to do it for the mitzvah.
         One day he received a telephone call from a man that he had never met in his life and who he had no idea where he got his phone number. The fellow was frantic. He was Jewish and his son, who we will call Sheldon, somehow got involved with a cult called Hari Kishka (name changed to avoid mentioned the name of an idol worship) and no one had heard from him for months. The man was going out of his mind and was about to call the police when someone gave him the Rabbi's number.
         Rabbi Glukowski expressed sympathies at the tragic news but didn't understand what it had to do with him. After all, he was a normal religious Jew with no experience with cults or such things. True he was an venturous sort of person with a tremendous love for all mankind, especially his fellow Jews, but he didn't understand anything about cults and certainly didn't have the time to go searching in India or somewhere else to find about this cult.
         But the man on the other end of the phone wouldn't take no for an answer. He didn't care if the Rabbi knew about cults or not, he had heard his name from friends and was convinced that if anyone could get his son out it as him. Not only that but he had tried a lot of other things and called a lot of other people and nothing else worked. And as far as locating his son, that was no problem. It so happened that he knew the exact location of his son, or at least where he was when he was last heard from several months ago; in an Ashram in Toronto, not far from where the Rabbi worked.
         Something told Rabbi Glukowski to do it. It was crazy! But this could be another of his 'special projects'. He took the challenge. With no plan, strategy or inside information whatsoever he woke early the next morning, erev Shabbos, located the Ashram, said a short prayer, put on a smile and began knocking on the massive front door (there was no door bell).
         At first no one answered. They probably peeked out, saw a religious Jew and figured they should ignore him till he went away. But after he knocked for ten minutes without stopping a gruff voice from the other side of the closed door answered, "Who is it?! What do you want?!"
         "Hello!" he replied brightly, "My name is Glukowski, Rabbi Glukowski, and I want to talk to Sheldon Greenbaum. Anyone called Sheldon Greenbaum in there? His parents are worried about him."
         There were a few moments of silence and he almost considered to give them another ten minute knocking session when a different voice came from behind the closed door. "Yes, this is the one who is called Sheldon."
         "Sheldon? Sheldon Greenbaum?" yelled the Rabbi. A faint grunt signifying 'yes' was heard from the other side. "Hey! Hi Sheldon! Your father called me and he's worried. He might just call the police." "I'm okay!" he answered. "Listen Sheldon. Do me a favor. Your father called me and asked me to contact you because he's worried and he said he might call the police because he's worried."
         "So what do you want me to do?"
         The Rabbi had to think fast and suddenly it came to him. "Listen, if you call him he won't believe you. He'll think you are brainwashed. I mean, three months is a long time not to call. And if I call him, what will I say? I can't lie and say you're all right, I haven't even seen you. So I have an idea.."
         Rabbi Glukowski knew he was really crossing the line here but he went through with it. "Come to my house this Shabbos and then I can tell him I saw you for a full day and he won't worry. What do you say?"
         "One minute." Was the reply. After a few minutes of silence the door opened and out stepped a thin fellow, shaved head except for a clump of hair on the top with some sort of ornament dangling between his eyes. He was dressed in an orange robe wearing loose sandals and was carrying some sort of shapeless leather briefcase that looked like it was made in Tibet. He declared, "I am ready."
         Rabbi Glukowski took him to his house, which was only a few streets away, showed him to a room in the basement asked him if he wanted anything to eat or drink, or if he possibly wanted to take a shower. But Sheldon just gave a close-mouthed smile, sat as straight-backed as possible and shook his head serenely 'no'.
         That evening, as the Rabbi expected, Sheldon declined his offer to go with him and his sons to Synagogue. When they returned an hour or so later from the prayers they all sat down, Sheldon included, to the Shabbos meal. Luckily there were enough potatoes, salad and bread to keep their vegetarian guest satisfied. Rabbi Glukowski had no problem talking Torah at the dinner table but he soon realized that none of it was really pertinent to spaced-out Sheldon. So he tried a joke. no reaction, a story... shabbos zemiros, no reaction, something about family, life, sports, hobbies, animals. no luck;
         Sheldon just smiled, sat straight backed and nodded his head and finally said a few words before he retired to his basement room. That night Rabbi Glukowski was awaked from his sleep by a low groaning noise that filtered up into his bedroom from the basement. He put on his slippers and night-robe and went down to have a look.
         The moaning became louder as he descended and realized he was witnessing some sort of ritual. Sheldon had a picture or some sort of statue propped up on a chair before him and he was actually bowing to it while chanting some monotonous mantra. It was too weird for the Rabbi to bear: he had never seen a Jew actually worshiping an idol - certainly not right here in his house!!
         He didn't know what to do. It was out of the question to let it continue, but on the other hand he couldn't get angry or evict him... poor Sheldon thought he was doing a big "mitzvah!"
         So Rabbi Glukowski sat up the entire night and talked to him. Occasionally he went to get a cup of coffee to keep him up but he just kept talking. Not one word about idolatry, because he didn't know what to say, and also not too much about Judaism, because it turned Sheldon off, but about everything else under the sun; especially stories.
         The next day Sheldon was so exhausted that he slept the entire day, waking only for the Shabbos meal and, needless to say, Rabbi Glukowski was a wreck. He would have liked to also catch a few hours of sleep but Shabbos was one of his busiest days, praying, being with his family and teaching several classes.
         Years later (only a few years ago) Rabbi Glukowski passed away and his children, all of whom had already married and had children of their own, spent the seven-day mourning period in his home in Toronto. In that time hundreds, of people came to comfort the mourners and to praise the deceased. Among them was a thin, middle aged, religious fellow with sparkling eyes that no one seemed to recognize. He sat opposite the mourners and said; "When I heard your father passed away I had to come. Remember me, Sheldon? I was by your house about fifteen years ago for one Shabbos. You were all younger then, so was I but I had a shaved head and was wearing an orange robe."
         He told them of how that Shabbos got him to begin to think about his Jewish soul seriously for the first time in his life until finally he went to a yeshiva a year or so later and liked it. "You know what did it?" He concluded his story," You know what really impressed me about your father? It wasn't anything he said; in fact even the next day I didn't remember any of it, not a word. It was his love. I never saw such unconditional love in my life. That is what changed my mind."
         If we know Jews who have been enchanted into cults and other non-Jewish practices, it is big mitzvah to help them get out there and get into the real thing!
Good Shabbos Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In Memory of CHAYA CHAVA BAS REB MOSHE YAKOV 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

A healthy, happy and wonderful Shabbos and may we all be well,
Rachamim Pauli