Friday, November 8, 2013

Parsha Vayeitzei, Part V Jews of the West, 3 Good Shabbos Stories



Hena bas Gizella had another stroke so please re-add her in the meantime Aharon ben Miriam has been cured by a very strict diet and the diabetes has left him.


Parsha Vayeitzei


Last week, both Rabbi E. Davis and the newspaper columnist Sivan Rachav Meir talked about or wrote about dysfunctional families. We start Beresheis with unformed and void in our universe followed by the older brother Kayn murdering Hevel. The world of Avraham was not much better with Yishmael and Yitzchak fighting and then last week Esav and Yacov. This week with starts off the Parsha with family dysfunction again. We are dealing with problems between Leah and Rachel and later on Yosef and his brothers. The feuds only end with Ephraim and Menashe at peace with each other and used as a blessing for Yisrael. In Chumash Shemos we see Moshe, Aaron and Miriam working in harmony.  


When Yacov arrives in Haran we see the most romantic section (at least in my opinion) of the Chumash. Yacov meets Rachel, the daughter of Laban, and since she is his intended at the age of 77 acts like a young man in love and physically moves a rock over a well hugs and gives her a kiss almost singing “Stranger in Paradise” to her


28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.


Rabbi Emmanuel Gentlecore Shlita (Hebrew University & Virtual Yeshiva) gave a lecture in our Condominium’s little Minyan that the Angels that Yacov saw was that of the four kingdoms which would conquer Eretz Yisrael and the relative length of the particular Gallus. Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita equated it to the fact that when Esav’s Angels were up, Yacov’s were down and vice versa. Yacov’s dream was prophecy. Another interpretation is that he saw the Angels of Eretz Yisrael that protected him being replaced with those of Chutz LaAretz and we see at the end of this Parsha that Yacov meets the encampment of the angels of Eretz Yisrael at a place called Mahanaim.    


Ascending and descending: Ascending first and afterwards descending. The angels who escorted him in the [Holy] Land do not go outside the Land, and they ascended to heaven, and the angels of outside the Holy Land descended to escort him.[From Gen. Rabbah 68:12]



13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed.


Not to the seed of Yishmael or Esav but to the children of Yisrael.


And behold, the Lord was standing over him: to guard him. and the God of Isaac: Although we do not find in Scripture that the Holy One, blessed be He, associates His name with that of the righteous during their lifetimes by writing “the God of so-and-so,” for it is said (Job 15:15):“Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones,” [i.e., God does not consider even His holy ones as righteous until after their deaths, when they are no longer subject to the evil inclination,] nevertheless, here He associated His name with Isaac because his eyes had become dim, and he was confined in the house, and he was like a dead person, the evil inclination having ceased from him (Tanchuma Toledoth 7). upon which you are lying: (Chullin ad loc.) The Holy One, blessed be He, folded the entire Land of Israel under him. He hinted to him that it would be as easily conquered by his children (as four cubits, which represent the area a person takes up [when lying down]). [From Chullin 91b]


14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.


And you shall gain strength: Heb. וּפָצתָּ, as in יִפְרֹץ וְכֵן,“and so did they gain strength” (Exod. 1:12). [after targumim]


The spreading out of the Jews to the east and west actually saved us from extinction for when the Jews of Arabia were murdered by Mohammed and his friends, others survived elsewhere. In fact in most Muslim Lands prior to the advent of Islam, Jews were accepted and well integrated into the culture not like as in Europe. For Europe which took up the philosophy of Esav hates Yacov did not exist with the Yishmaelim until the advent of Islam and the Jihad. The Jews being dispersed to the east, west, north and south.


15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou go, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.'


Maaseh Avos Siman Le Banim (what happened to the Patriarchs are good predictions of what will happen to the children): Just as I have sent you, Yacov, into exile so eventually I will bring back all the 12 tribes of Yisrael in the days of the Moshiach. People may be comfy-cozy in their native lands but eventually they will return with the Moshiach as in the days of Moshe. Perhaps there is a mission for Yacov and the Bnei Yisrael in Gallus because of the words until I have done that… which hint not only on keeping a promise but more. I could be looking too hard but there seems to be a purpose both for the education of Am Yisrael and the education of all mankind into the ways of and mission of mankind towards HASHEM Yisborach.


16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.'


Sometimes we end up in a place we even think “What is this G-D forsaken place?” but in reality is really only our perception and HASHEM is everywhere all the time but we are often too oblivious.


17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'


Than the house of God: Said Rabbi Eleazar in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra: This ladder stood in Beer-sheba and the middle of its incline reached opposite the Temple, for Beer-sheba is situated in the south of Judah, and Jerusalem [is situated] in its north, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin, and Beth-el was in the north of the territory of Benjamin, on the boundary between Benjamin and the sons of Joseph. Consequently, a ladder whose foot is in Beer-sheba and whose top is in Beth-el-the middle of its slant is opposite Jerusalem. This accords with what our Sages said, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “This righteous man has come to My lodging place [i.e., the Temple Mount]. Shall he leave without lodging?” And furthermore, they said: Jacob called Jerusalem Beth-el. But this place [which he called Beth-el] was Luz, and not Jerusalem. So, from where did they learn to say this? [i.e., that Luz was Jerusalem.] I believe that Mount Moriah was uprooted from its place, and it came here, [to Luz, i.e., at that time, Luz, Jerusalem and Beth-el were all in the same place], and this is the “springing of the earth” mentioned in Tractate Chullin, i.e., that the [site of the] Temple came towards him until Beth-el. This is the meaning of ויפגע במקום “And he met the place.” Now if you ask, “When Jacob passed by the Temple, why did He not detain him there?” [The answer is:] If he did not put his mind to pray in the place where his forefathers had prayed, should they detain him from heaven? He went as far as Haran, as it is stated in the chapter entitled, “Gid HaNasheh” (Hullin 91b), and the text, “and he went to Haran” (verse 10) supports this. When he arrived in Haran, he said, “Is is possible that I have passed the place where my forefathers prayed, and I did not pray there?” He decided to return, and he went back as far as Beth-El, and the earth “sprang toward him.” [This Beth-El is not the one near Ai, but the one near Jerusalem, and because it was the city of God, he called it Beth-El, the house of God, and that is Mount Moriah where Abraham prayed, and that is the field where Isaac prayed, and so did they say in Sotah (sic.) (Pes.88a) [concerning the verse] (Micah 4:2):“Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of God of Jacob.” [It is] not [called] as did Abraham, who called it a mountain, and not as did Isaac, who called it a field, but as did Jacob, who called it the House of God. An exact edition of Rashi. How awesome: The Targum renders: How awesome (דְּחִילוּ) is this place! דְּחִילוּ is a noun, as in (Targum Exodus 31:3):“understanding” סוּכְלָתָנוּ; (below verse 20):“a garment (וּכְסוּ) to wear.” and this is the gate of heaven: A place of prayer, where their prayers ascend to heaven (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 35). And its midrashic interpretation is that the Heavenly Temple is directed exactly towards the earthly Temple. [From Gen. Rabbah 69:7]


18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,


Yacov did not pray for wealth, even a home as he was traveling only for what he hoped would be a short time so he wanted only the minimum to sustain himself and return in peace to his father’s home and family.


If God will be with me: If He keeps these promises that he promised me to be with me, as He said to me, “And behold, I am with you.” [from Gen. Rabbah 70:4] and He will guard me: As He said to me, “and I will guard you wherever you go.” and He will give me bread to eat: As He said, “for I will not forsake you,” for if one must seek bread, he is called “forsaken,” as it is said, (Ps. 37:25): “and I have not seen a righteous man forsaken and his seed seeking bread.” [from Gen. Rabbah 69:6]



21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God,


And if I return: As He said to me, “and I will restore you to this land.” in peace: Perfect from sin, that I will not learn from the ways of Laban. and the Lord will be my God: that His name will rest upon me from beginning to end, that no disqualification should be found among my seed, as it is written: “[I will do] that which I have spoken concerning you.” And this promise He promised to Abraham, as it is said (17: 7):“to be a God to you and to your seed after you.” (“Your seed” [means that they should be] of pure lineage, that no disqualification should be found in him.) [from Sifrei Va-etchanan 31]



22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.'


Then this stone: Heb. וְהָאֶבֶן הַזֹּאת, lit., and this stone. This“vav” of וְהָאֶבֶן is to be explained as follows: If You will do these things for me, I too will do this: “And this stone, which I have placed as a monument, etc.” As the Targum paraphrases: “I will worship upon it before the Lord.” And so he did when he returned from Padan-aram, when He said to him, (35:1): “Arise, go up to Beth-el.” What is stated there? (ibid. verse 14): “And Jacob erected a monument, etc., and he poured a libation upon it.” [from Mishnath Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 14]



29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east. 2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it.--For out of that well they watered the flocks. And the stone upon the well's mouth was great. 3 And thither were all the flocks gathered; and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone back upon the well's mouth in its place.—


Would gather there: They were accustomed to gather because the rock was huge and they would roll: Heb. וְגָלְלוּ [like] וְגוֹלְלִין. The Targum renders: וּמְגַנְדְרִין, and they would roll. Every present tense [i.e. every verb expressing continuous action] changes to speak [sometimes] in the future tense and [sometimes] in the past tense, because everything that occurs constantly has already transpired and is destined to transpire [again].and [then] they would return: Heb. וְהֵשִׁיבוּ, which the Targum renders: וּמְתִיבִין, and they would return.



4 And Jacob said unto them: 'My brethren, whence are ye?' And they said: 'Of Haran are we.' 5 And he said unto them: 'Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.' 6 And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.' 7 And he said: 'Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.' 8 And they said: 'We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.' 9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she tended them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father.


The order seems correct to me in this narrative up until he kisses Rachel and then says he is her father’s brother unless he kissed her on the forehead or hand. For in truth even in ancient times in the Middle-east it was not the custom to kiss women upon meeting as with Europeans who when introduced to women kiss the back of their hand. There is a possibility that she was very young only old enough to tend sheep but not having reached maturity thus the 7 year wait so that him kissing her would not be the great romantic stranger in paradise scene that I mentioned at the opening. It just does not seem logical to me that any female would let this strange man come up to her and kiss her; however, if she knew that she was his betrothed by reversing the order of the narrative or somebody tipped her off first that he was her first cousin, then she might allow a kiss from a close family member.


13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 14 And Laban said to him: 'Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.' And he abode with him the space of a month. 15 And Laban said unto Jacob: 'Because thou art my brother, should you therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?' 16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah's eyes were weak; but Rachel was of beautiful form and fair to look upon.


Her eyes were tender: Because she expected to fall into Esau’s lot, and she wept, because everyone was saying, “Rebecca has two sons, and Laban has two daughters. The older [daughter] for the older [son], and the younger [daughter] for the younger [son]” (B.B. 123a).



The story Rashi tells about her tender eyes is nice and puts her in the light of a real G-D fearing woman.


18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.'


This was done with bargaining. Yacov is willing to work for Rachel but most likely set a shorter time which is a normal time for a dowry such as a harvest, shearing of the sheep or year. However, Lavan seeing Yacov’s initial infatuation with Rachel wanted to drain the highest possible bid or the longest amount of time from Yacov and upped the ante to 7 years.


19 And Laban said: 'It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me.' 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.


There are two ways of thinking these 7 years as either the wedding was immediately and then started the period of labor or as the writing appears here. In the next few lines we see that he marries Leah by deceit and agrees to 7 more years of work only to wait the week of Sheva Berachos for rejoicing with Leah and then immediately marrying Rachel. It is also more logical in the Middle-east with family honor for a wedding to take place quickly and not leave 7 or 14 years of meeting each other the sheep and having nature take its course and disgrace the family honor. It is uncertain that honor killings took place but as Rashi writes that it was a matter of weeks or days and not full years seems quite logical to me.


21 And Jacob said unto Laban: 'Give me my wife, for my days are filled, that I may go in unto her.' 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. 25 And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?' 26 And Laban said: 'It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born. 27 Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.'


The whole preparation for the wedding of Rachel appears to be a week. How is this that it says 7 days as Yacov started working this taking on his contract, now it was up to Lavan to give him his part of the bargain – his daughter. For we see after he marries Leah, the next wedding takes place a week later and Lavan has squeezed out of Yacov 14 years of hard labor minding the animals.


28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife. 29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid. 30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.


Lavan had inherited large sums of money from Nahor and the large dowry for Rivka had allowed him to live a life style with servants which is our Pshat. However, according to the tradition that Lavan had a slave-concubine and that he fathered Zilpah and Bilhah it appears that he wanted to get rid of all his daughters.


31 And the LORD saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived, and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said: 'Because the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.' 33 And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said: 'Because the LORD hath heard that I am hated, He hath therefore given me this son also.' And she called his name Simeon. 34 And she conceived again, and bore a son; and said: 'Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have borne him three sons.' Therefore was his name called Levi. 35 And she conceived again, and bore a son; and she said: 'This time will I praise the LORD.' Therefore she called his name Judah; and she left off bearing.

30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and she said unto Jacob: 'Give me children, or else I die.' 2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel; and he said: 'Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?' 3 And she said: 'Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; that she may bear upon my knees, and I also may be built up through her.'


Rubertha asked me: Why are only Rachel and Leah mentioned as the matriarchs. I reason because they were servants and was acting on behalf of the two wives. However I don't think my reason is good. So why are they not given recognition?

Actually they were 4 sisters each set of two a daughters of Lavan one set by his wife and one by his concubine. However, since Rachel told her servant sister to marry and bear children for her and the same with Leah both Bilhah and Zilpah having tribes were credited to their Shaddchan. For we see the impetus for the other 4 tribes came from Rachel and then Leah and not from the other two wives of Yacov. 


4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife; and Jacob went in unto her. 5 And Bilhah conceived, and bore Jacob a son. 6 And Rachel said: 'God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and has given me a son.' Therefore called she his name Dan.


Rachel says “has given me a son” so Rachel is the adopted mother and mother of the tribe.


7 And Bilhah Rachel's handmaid conceived again, and bore Jacob a second son. 8 And Rachel said: 'With mighty wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.' And she called his name Naphtali.


Having now two children of Yacov to raise, she now felt that she was the mother of more than one child. Although Bilhah was for Rachel a surrogate mother, being a servant she did have a lot to do with the raising of Dan and Naphtali and she did nurse them as infants.


9 When Leah saw that she had left off bearing, she took Zilpah her handmaid, and gave her to Jacob to wife. 10 And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said: 'Fortune is come!' And she called his name Gad. 12 And Zilpah Leah's handmaid bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said: 'Happy am I! for the daughters will call me happy.' And she called his name Asher.


Leah had to do her best feminine tricks to get Yacov out of Rachel’s tent and to be with her. She then says to Yacov, I would like surrogate children. Even though I have not real tradition on this the incident below with the ‘hiring’ of Yacov by a payment in mandrakes appears to bear this out.

14 And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah: 'Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes.' 15 And she said unto her: 'Is it a small matter that thou hast taken away my husband? And would you take away my son's mandrakes also?' And Rachel said: 'Therefore he shall lie with thee to-night for thy son's mandrakes.' 16 And Jacob came from the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said: 'Thou must come in unto me; for I have surely hired thee with my son's mandrakes.' And he lay with her that night. 17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bore Jacob a fifth son. 18 And Leah said: 'God hath given me my hire, because I gave my handmaid to my husband. And she called his name Issachar. 19 And Leah conceived again, and bore a sixth son to Jacob. 20 And Leah said: 'God hath endowed me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.' And she called his name Zebulun. 21 And afterwards she bore a daughter, and called her name Dinah. 22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bore a son, and said: 'God hath taken away my reproach.' 24 And she called his name Joseph, saying: 'The LORD add to me another son.' 25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban: 'Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 26 Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served thee, and let me go; for thou know my service wherewith I have served thee.'


Lavan’s request that Yacov stay and that he enjoy his grandchildren while Yacov continues to work seems from his standpoint reasonable and Yacov works hard and Lavan deceives him. As Yacov leaves, Lavan is reading to kill him or keep him as a hard working prisoner, but the G-D of Yacov’s fathers saves him. They build a pile of stones that will serve as their border and a few hundred years later, Bilaam with cross it and have his leg crushed on it by the donkey. After they depart as in the opening of our story Yacov saw the Angels in a dream this time he physically meets angels as did Avraham, Daniel, Yehoshua and others.


32:1 And early in the morning Laban rose up, and kissed his sons and his daughters, and blessed them. And Laban departed, and returned unto his place. 2 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 3 And Jacob said when he saw them: 'This is God's camp.' And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.


Shalom on the Range: In search of the American Crypto-Jew Part 5



At the junction of two dead rivers on the parched mesa outside Los Lunas, New Mexico, a string of foothills covered in desert shrubbery stretches to the horizon. The arroyos where the rivers once flowed run some thirty feet deep, a gash in the lunar landscape of red dirt and volcanic boulders. This stretch of territory, known as Cerro de Los Escondidos—Hill of the Hidden Ones—was part of a 1761 land grant awarded to a Spanish settler party that wanted to homestead in the area. It is unclear whether the settlers ever made it here. By the 1800s no trace of them remained. The land then passed into the hands of a family of prosperous Jewish merchants originally from Germany who eventually ceded it to the state of New Mexico.

I had come here with a Catholic priest from Albuquerque named William Sanchez. He was a large man in his mid-fifties, dressed this morning in new-looking hiking boots, cargo pants, and mirrored sunglasses. A few of Father Sanchez’s friends, cheerful older folks done up in varying shades of golf and western clothing, had come along, too. Father Sanchez guided us down a wide, planed dirt track away from the highway until we reached an oak cattle fence bleached gray by the sun and held fast with barbed wire. Beyond it a winding footpath led into the hills. We began to climb, shuffling upward in a slow and careful single file.

As we walked, Vicky, one of Sanchez’s friends, plucked a green weed from between some rocks. She mentioned that her mother used to season her eggs with this weed. It tasted like parsley.

“We used to pick up all kinds of weeds as kids,” she said.

“As long as you never smoked it,” joked her husband, Carlos.

“Oh, we sure did,” said another one of the group, a man named Gil, who earlier that day had told me he was a distant relative of an Apache war chief.

After a short while, the footpath plunged into a narrow ravine shaded by sun-blackened boulders. About five yards ahead, a small rectangular stone blocked the way. This stone was the reason we had come here.

Known variously as “Covenant Rock,” “the Mystery Stone,” or “Los Lunas Decalogue,” the rock was a hundred-ton slab of basalt inscribed with nine lines of text. Theories about the writing’s origins abound: It is a poem composed by the ancient Greek sailor Zakyneros; a treasure map of the Acoma Indians; the Ten Commandments, written either by “Hebraic mound builders” originally from Ohio or by ancient Samaritan seafarers who ran aground off the coast of Texas or by Phoenician sailors out of Tarshish; or, as theorized in a 1973 article in Desert magazine, the work of an extraterrestrial “intelligence” that had devised a “coded message” whose meaning “we are . . . not yet ready to receive.”

Father Sanchez was a proponent of the Phoenician-sailor theory, because the presence of far-ranging biblical-era ocean voyagers squared well with his understanding of his own family history. A devoted amateur genealogist, Sanchez believed that he had successfully traced his ancestry back to before his family’s migration from New Spain to New Mexico in 1598; to before they departed Spain in 1492; to earlier even than their flight, in 587 B.C.E., from Jerusalem to southern Spain, following Nebuchadnezzar’s sack of the First Temple; all the way to the Negev, where his earliest descendants were _Kohanim, _Israelite high priests of an order founded by Aaron, brother of Moses. That is, Father Sanchez, Catholic priest, believed he was a Jew.

We sat on the boulders surrounding the Rock, pulled out our water bottles, and mopped our brows. Carlos had brought a harmonica with him, and he played a mournful hymn. Earlier that week, I had attended mass at Father Sanchez’s parish church in Albuquerque. He kept a menorah in the church sanctuary, and a shofar, which he sounded each Ash Wednesday; he wore a silver-and-turquoise Star of David beneath his awl, chasuble, and stole; and during his sermon he referred to God as Yahweh. He had been very eager for me to see the Rock, which he described as a mystical point of “convergence.” The Rock was about five feet square, and was engraved with what I can only describe as a series of exceedingly fake-looking petroglyphs. The earliest confirmed reports of the Rock date to 1933, which meant the markings were no less than seventy-five years old. I had trouble believing they had been there longer than a week.

“Notice the tree,” Father Sanchez said, pointing at a withered acacia growing from under the stone. “The Ark of the Covenant was made from this.”

Genealogy is a slender thread on which to hang one’s identity, religious or otherwise. A Jew in the family four hundred years ago doesn’t really make you Jewish. But Father Sanchez had had his DNA tested for the presence of a Y-chromosome marker called the Cohen Modal Haplotype, which research has shown to be carried only by historical descendants of the Israelite priesthood. The test results confirmed that he was, genetically at least, Kohanim. Sanchez subsequently encouraged other Crypto-Jews to be tested. Of the 185 people he convinced to submit samples, 100 showed genetic evidence of Sephardic descent, though, to be fair, a peer-reviewed 2006 study in the Annals of Human Biology disputed those results. Among the five people Sanchez brought with us that day, everyone but Gil had been tested. Vicky and Carlos were the only ones whose results came back positive for Jewishness.

The morning was gone by now, and the Rock was engulfed in shadow. It was time to return to Los Lunas for lunch. Father Sanchez led us in a prayer before we left.

“Pray, Father, that you give our ancestors peace,” he said. “Bring healing to them and bring healing to our world.” He ended with the Shema, the Jewish daily prayer: Hashem yisrael adonai eloheinu adonai echad. Hear, O Israel: the Lord, our God, the Lord is one. Amen.

We made for the cars.


Marriage is not for me – a great article. Having been married only a year and a half, I've recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn't for me. Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for 10 years until... until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, "Seth, you're being totally selfish. So I'm going to make this really simple: marriage isn't for you. You don't marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn't for yourself, you're marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn't for you. It's not about you. Marriage is about the person you married."

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

My father's advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today's "Walmart philosophy", which is if it doesn't make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It's about the person you love--their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, "What's in it for me?" while Love asks, "What can I give?"

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful -- she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and anguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Marriage is about family.

I realized that I had forgotten my dad's advice. While Kim's side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realization brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article -- married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette -- I want you to know that marriage isn't for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn't for you. It's for others.


The last wishes of Alexander the Great: thanks to Chaim B.

On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:

1.  The best doctors should carry his coffin;
2.  The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery, and
3.  His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see.

One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.

Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:

1.  I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal
2.  I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth
3.  I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.

TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED.  We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.
When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life.


GMO = Genetically Modified Organism a Rabbinical Thought – Personal Opinion based on rough data.


I don’t have the millions to conduct a true scientific evaluation of whether or not GMO food is damaging to humans or not. As my Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi London TzZal used to say “All I know is…” That is not the way I should make a scientific and worldwide accepted theory. However, my thesis is based on evidence. Something is causing an alarming rise in Autism. Now, I cannot tell if it is exposure of the parents to cellphones or GMO’s that is the culprit. When my generation was born and that of my children Autism was very rare indeed. About 30 years ago or so the first GMO’s started to appear and be sold to humans. All of a sudden almost all our American Corn aka Maize is GMO, Tomatoes all had the same shape and size, Canola or Rape Seed oil appeared on shelves, etc. Recently, my wife bought a Persimmons in the States it looked so good on the outside. In Israel they are juicy a bit sweet and sticky inside. This one after one bite dried out your mouth and had a funny taste. In fact it was so bad that we could not eat it.


Other considerations against GMO food is the much-much higher incidence of cancer and other diseases. I am wondering what these GMO foods are doing to us. The situation is so bad in the States that I have to go to a whole food type of store to get organic produce for a farmer’s market might only have the chemically altered that which the farmer grew.     


More and more of my friends are becoming vegetarian or vegan and others like myself are cutting down on animal protein recently. There are theories among Homeopathic Doctors regarding making the body more basic as the acidity adds to aging and certain diseases. As a Rabbi concerned for people’s health, just as I advised against smoking before it was proven that it had negative effects on the body, so I advise against eating and feeding your loved ones these products. This includes one of my vices of eating corn chips or taco chips when I come to the States as I consider GMO produces dangerous and harmful to my health. (GMO Chemical Companies have donated over 500,000,000 in campaign funds to politicians and they are collecting on their favors. That is why unlike 60 other countries GMO is not labeled in the States.)


From Sheldon 94 Maidens a holocaust story that the public schools in many states don't teach.


Roger P. is a person who checks like Rabbi Avigdor Miller Zal the fossil record to see that fossils in the Alps match closer the 6 day or 6 period creation story than Darwin. Here is an article he posted which might be of interest to some. The fossil evidence of widespread gigantism across a wide range of species/genus till the end of ice age +- , is more consistent w/ the Recent Complex Creation Judaism does not brush aside science or fight it but we rather contend with the evidence and our tradition. The Torah is Emmes (truth) and by teaching the Torah/Truth we have nothing to fear by learning and examining the world:  and/or It is equivalent to ignoring the Arab-European Campaign arising anti-Semitism so we must contend.


Is this fellow working on or with the Sidra Acher?



One should keep up with scientific theory: Disclaimer this does not necessarily have to be true and it appears not to conflict with Torah - if one views a guiding thought process in creation from plants to man.:


Children in Israel an appeal from a volunteer most with horrible diseases: My name is Shmulik Horviz and I am 22 years old from Chashmonayim. I have been volunteering with an organization, Chayenu, the Israeli branch of Chai Lifeline for the past 4 years. The organization works with children with cancer and their families. We are working around the clock to run our annual Chanuka operation "Dreams Fulfilled." During the past months we have been collecting a wishlist from children and have been trying to make their wish a reality in time for Chanuka. Last year yishuv Chashmonayim was very involved in this project and I hope the same will be true this year. This is how it works. You look through the attached list and be in touch with me to let me know which present you would like to contribute. Also, you can contribute a sum of money towards the project, "Hagshamat Habakashot." Please send this e-mail to all who might be interested. Shmulik Horviz 0528067733


There have been a number of people recently writing about Reform or Conservative Conversion vs. Orthodox Conversion. In my humble opinion it is like taking pure gold and mixing it with various amounts of iron or gold colored aluminum or taking crystal glass and passing it off for a diamond. There have been throughout history people who have rebelled against Torah Judaism going back as far as Korach vs. Moshe, the Hellenists vs. Maccabees, Tzaddok aka Sadducees vs. the Torah Scholars who were Parushim from sin, David who started the Karites vs. his brother who became the Gaon of the Jews which was followed centuries later by Shabbtai Tzvi who converted to Islam and Frank who converted to Catholicism, an off shot of the last two was the Reform and finally the Conservatives were disgusted with the Reform misbehavior with Pork and intermarriage and the Orthodox Establishment which further split Judaism. There are disputes that are for the sake of heaven in Judaism and they exist. These were the school of Hillel vs. the school of Shammai, the Chassidim vs. the other streams of Orthodox Judaism and eventually Hillel and Shammai became one unified Orthodox Group via marriage and the Orthodox Jews from Eastern and Western Europe intermarrying and recently the intermarrying between the Sephardim, Yemenites, Ashkenazim, Ethiopians making Judaism into one big melting pot from blonds to blacks. The country of Israel recognizes for citizenship and army service Reform and Conservative Conversion, Muslims and Christians who had one Jewish Parent but that is not what the Halachic from the days of Moshe and the Rabbis Recognize and marriage to such individuals are forbidden until the individual undergoes Conversion according to the laws of Moshe and Yisrael. A Cohain who marries a divorced woman produces a child who is a Challal and is forbidden to Kahuna but not to Yisrael or Levy and these are laws from Mount Sinai. As suspected “Women of the Wall” are part of the anti-Israel groups and not necessary women’s equality: Besides them the left is trying to dilute Judaism by half-baked conversions in legislation and a pro-Reform Editorial,7340,L-4449873,00.html


Acquitted after 17 years of the left and police going after him:,7340,L-4450143,00.html


Inyanay Diyoma


HOW LONG MUST WE PUT UP WITH THIS? – 5 IDF Soldiers wounded 2 officers among them:,7340,L-4448193,00.html



Obamacare seems to be even more popular than people imagined to meet their goals they must enroll between 38-39,000 people a day for six months otherwise it  fails:



If he did not kill the US Economy with Healthcare, he will do it with Energy:




The enemy gets some technology for free:,7340,L-4448913,00.html


Right now before Moshiach the Nations of the World having forgotten about their past pogroms towards the Jews will return to their evil ways and then on Judgement their mouths will be filled with water: I pity the USA because of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the White House,7340,L-4449105,00.html


Finally a good word for Israel from the US Administration:,7340,L-4449538,00.html


The Gaon from Vilna stated that when you see the Russian Navy going through the Bosporus towards Eretz Yisrael dress your Shabbos clothes for Moshiach. I would not take my suit out of the clothes just yet for it is in the early stages. The Russians are returning to Egypt. You can perhaps stab Israel in the back because we have no friends but the other Nations you cannot do that to who was your friend for they can find other willing friends.


There is one Nation in the world that the US stabs in the back and spies on them but will not release Pollard:,7340,L-4449675,00.html


Americans selling our secrets Op-ed: US administration intentionally pointing finger at Israel in bid to sabotage our security policy by Alex Fishman What the hell are the Americans thinking when they point at Israel as responsible for the strikes in Syria? Past experience shows that we have shared our operational activity with them so as not to embarrass and surprise, but Washington is selling our secrets cheaply. For More:,7340,L-4448860,00.html





After the Emirates, Saudi, Egypt and even Israel I received this from the grapevine: Turkey, supposedly a NATO country, is negotiation a customs union with Russia, buying missiles from China



Being foolish enough to let Iran develop arms good enough to destroy the Sunni Moslem and Western European World.


Uncle Bully as Kerry pressures both sides to talk and threatens us with a third Intifada even though the Arabs are about as interested in peace as most of us are interested in eating rabies infected mice.,7340,L-4450870,00.html

Kerry is threatening us with third Intifada and the Arabs are more than obliging him:



                                                                             SIMPLIFYING THE COMING SYRIAN/ISRAELI WAR by Barry Chamish

       There are powerful forces in Washington doing everything they can to shove Syria and Israel into a final bloodbath. It's not complicated to separate the spin from the truth if it matters to you. That is not the issue. Things become impossibly complicated when people won't separate the spin from their deluded truth. When they won't divorce themselves from their hopeful reality.
        Just for today, let's simplify our upcoming fate. Shall we start with a reliable news source, reporting:                                           
The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Anbaa is reporting that the US embassy in Lebanon has been holding secret 'indirect' talks with Hezbullah.

The paper quoted an unnamed member of the March 14 alliance, who claimed that "relations between the Hezbollah and the US are developing positively."March 14 is an alliance of Lebanese political factions opposed to the influence of Hezbollah and its Syrian and Iranian patrons.As further proof of a budding, if as-yet unofficial diplomatic relationship between the US and the Shia terrorist group, the unnamed MP pointed out that during his last public address Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah notably neglected to criticize US foreign policy in Lebanon and the wider Middle East.The unnamed source went on to site an alleged statement by the US's Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale, who he said informed several Lebanese leaders that "a cabinet can not be formed without Hezbollah participation."If true, the rapprochement marks a continuing shift in US foreign policy towards Iran and its regional allies, and will do little to assuage the growing feelings of abandonment by America's traditional allies in the region - in particular the Arab Gulf States and Israel.It would also be a remarkable shift in relations given Hezbollah's legacy of bloody attacks against US personnel in the region, including the infamous October 1983 truck bombing of a multinational forces barracks in the Lebanese capital which killed 241 American soldiers and wounded scores more.

      Simplified again, if you accept this reportage, the White House is destroying America's network of alliances, lying without regret about its abuse of the nation's power, while secretly snuggling up to its enemy Hizbullah. And the real proof of this covert diplomacy comes from this hysteria from Israel:

Israeli officials expressed anger Friday at the White House's decision to disclose that Israel carried out the two attacks on targets in Syria Thursday. The attacks in Latakiya and Damascus are believed to have targeted SA-8 missiles that were about to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon. An Obama administration official confirmed to CNN that the target of the Israeli strike was "missiles and related equipment the Israelis felt might be transferred to Hezbollah."
A panel of experts agreed that the interests of both Israel and Syria are best served by remaining silent on the attacks, since neither side is interested in a larger-scale conflict. Veteran Defense Correspondent, Ronny Daniel, said that the US's behavior "could really start a large scale conflagration here." "By exposing that Israel is behind the attacks, the US is bringing us nearer to the day in which [Syrian president Bashar] Assad will no longer be able to swallow these provocations, and he will have to respond, and if he responds then Israel will probably have to respond in kind, and then maybe, in the White House, people will clap their hands, because they have started a very large fire here."
     For those who refuse to understand that real American diplomacy is aimed at ensnarling Israel in a final battle, recall what I wrote barely a month ago when the White House was on the verge of smashing Syria with Tomahawk missiles:

If Syria's regime is pushed too far, it has an estimated 100,000 missiles, many with gas and biological warheads, to put an end to Israel. Hizbullah and Hamas will likely join in the fun with another 70,000 rockets.
To those deluded Israelis who think America is doing them a favor by eliminating Assad's chemical weaponry, remember, you are the real target. When your defenses collapse, and they will if the American gangsters get their way, prepare to find out how much the Arabs hate you when the rapes, mutilations and slow deaths begin in the latest Holocaust.
               So we understand each other, forget your politics, religion and beliefs for a second, The American administration failed to entrap the country in a war strike against Syria barely a few months ago, but hasn't given up trying. Now fit that into your faith, whatever it may be.

Two weeks ago for some reason the Good Shabbos Story was not published now it is out “Day at the Beach”, “Get a Ticket” and “Jacob’s Ladder” thanks to M. Wolfberg


Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's Torah portion we read about the power of prayer.  The Torah tells us how Eliezer, Avrohom's slave, goes out to find a wife for Yitzchok.  The Torah tells us that Eliezer davened (prayed) that he should find a fitting wife for his master's son.  The verse states "And he (Eliezer) said, 'Hashem, G-d of my master Avrohom, may You so arrange it for me this day that You do kindness with my master Avrohom.'" (Bereishis 24:12) The Torah then goes on to describe the meeting between Eliezer and Rivka, who would of course later become Yitzchok's wife.  From here we see the power of prayer.  Eliezer davened, and his prayers were immediately answered.
        Uri Zohar, the famous Israeli actor turned Baal Teshuva, once related an amazing story about the power of prayer.   Uri related that he had just received a call from an old friend, someone from his old bohemian days. This fellow and his wife had gone out to the beach in Israel like (unfortunately) so many others on the Holy Shabbos!
        After a day of sun bathing the man returned to the car with his wife and soon became aware that he could not find his keys. After checking all his pockets he implored his wife to search the depths of her pocket book for the missing keys.  She did so, with no luck
        He retraced his steps in the sand back to the place where their blanket had been. No keys. He emptied the nearby trash can. No keys. He looked under the car. Still no keys! People were getting into their cars and driving away with ease and now the sun was a setting. In a moment of desperation and frustration he began to march across the sand and out to the water as his wife looked on in horror. 
        He waded up to his thighs in water. (At this moment Rabbi Uri Zohar stood from his chair to demonstrate. It was obvious he had lost none of his dramatic flare.) The fellow raised his hands and shouted out, “Elo-him! Elo-him! Give me my keys!” At that very moment, floating in the water, touching his leg were his keys (which floated with the help of a key chain.)! 
        He came back to the car shaken and his wife observed that he had found the keys. He told her that he had found more than the keys. That Sunday morning he gave a call to his old friend Uri Zohar to ask, “Where do I begin? Kashrus, Tefillin, Shabbos!?”  We should not be so surprised because three times a day we say, “HASHEM is close all, to all who call out to Him in truth!” (Tehillim 145) 
        And now for a second story... A couple who had gone to a number of seminars decided months earlier to send their boy and girl to a Hebrew Day School. One day soon after, an amazing story happened which only solidified the family's new found faith. Often times, the father of the family would come home from work earlier than his wife.  So, often times, he would take his kids and a few others out to a local park after school. Later he would shepherd them back to the apartment for dinner and homework. That week, when it came time to leave the park, and all the children were around him, he realized that he could not find his keys. 
        Even if the door man would let them into the building he would be left waiting for hours in the hallway till his wife came home. He began to fret anxiously as he searched and searched for the keys. His eight year old boy, now newly immersed in Yeshiva for only a few months watched as his father became nervous, and he too began to feel upset. So he grasped his tennis ball, the one he had just been playing with and he whispered with sincerity, “HASHEM, please help my father find his keys!” Then he threw the ball any which way with all his might.  And... when he went to pick up the bally there were his father’s keys touching the ball!  (heard from Reb Label Lam, Monsey, New York) 
        And now for a third story about the power of prayer involving yours truly.  Once, I was in a court house and it was raining torrentially, as it often does in New York in the summertime.  As I waited in the court lobby, a elderly and crippled attorney looked out of the window pensively, as if to demonstrate his consternation about having to get back to his car in the outdoor parking lot during such a downpour.  As we stood and "shmoozed" a the court officer looked about me (with my religious garb) and said, "you must have some pull upstairs, why don't you pray that it stops raining."   
        I told him that of course I could not promise anything, but that I would do my best.  I uttered a silent prayer asking Hashem to stop the rain; my main intent behind the prayer was to make a kiddush Hashem, to make Hashem and the Jewish people "look good."  Well, it did not take more than a few minutes, and the rain became a light drizzle.  I escorted the elderly and crippled lawyer out to his car.  Interestingly enough, neither the court officer nor the attorney acknowledged the amazing nature of my "prayer."  Was it a coincidence?  Well, one thing is clear, when I prayed, it stopped raining!
        A man once came to the Ponevitzher Rav told him that he was concerned that Hashem is "not answering his prayers."  The Rav responded, Hashem has answered "not!"  The Rav meant to say that not all our prayers are answered in the way we want because only Hashem knows what is the ultimate good and thus, Hashem does not grant all of our wishes in prayer, only those which are for the ultimate good.  
        No prayer is wasted.  All heartfelt prayers ascend to the highest heights in Heaven.  We do not always see it right away, and sometimes it never appears that our prayers are answered, but we should know that our prayers are always heard!
  Good Shabbos Everyone


Good Shabbos Everyone.  In this week's Parsha Toldos, the Torah speaks about the birth of Yaakov and Eisav, the twin sons of Rivkah, the wife of Yitzchok.  Rivkah apparently had a very difficult pregnancy carrying the twins.  Whenever she passed by the house of study, Yaakov would stir inside of her, as if he were trying to get out to go to the house of study; whenever Rivkah passed by a house of idol worship, Eisav would stir inside of her, wanting to leave the womb to go worship idols. 
         Rivkah experienced great discomfort as the result of this activity inside of her and she asked Hashem why this was happening to her.  Hashem tells Rivkah:  "Two nations are in your womb; two regimes from your inside shall be separated; the might shall pass from one regime to the other, and the elder shall serve the younger."   (Bereishis 25:23)
        Thus we see from this verse that Rivkah's two sons were the progenitors of the two major "nations" in the world:  Yaakov - whose name is later changed to Yisroel (Israel) - symbolizes the Jewish nation, while Esav symbolizes the nations of the world.
        The commentators explain that when Yaakov - the Jewish people - does his duty and fulfills the Torah, then they merit that Esav - the "Nations" - will actually assist us and not persecute us.  The following inspirational true story illustrates this concept, even if only tangentially.
        It was just not fair. He was sure that he had made it across the intersection in New York City before the light turned red. Of course, the police officer disagreed. That is why he was now busy writing out a ticket.
        Well, Yitzchok told himself, he was going to fight this one and he might even win. He sent in the ticket pleading not guilty and contacted the dreaded Traffic Violations Bureau of the New York DMV to find out the hearing time.  Not wanting to miss work, Yitzchok made sure to get the earliest appointment possible, at eight-thirty in the morning.
        On the day of the hearing, Yitzchok arrived at the hearing room early, and was happy to find the room empty. Hearings were held on a first-come, first-served basis, so Yitzchok assumed that he would be heading for work by nine o'clock. Just to make sure that the judge noticed him, he took a seat in the front row. 
        At eight-thirty the judge, an elderly black gentleman, came in and looked around the filled room and began the proceedings shortly thereafter. Yitzchok recognized the officer who had ticketed him. It seemed that everyone in the room had come to contend tickets which had been issued by this officer. The judge called out someone's name — but it was not Yitzchok's, and he looked on in consternation as someone else came forward.
        He grew more upset as the judge proceeded to call a number of others ahead of him. The judge seemed to be quite unforgiving; virtually everyone was found guilty after the officer stated his side of the story.
        "What is going on here?" Yitzchok thought, "is this guy an anti-Semite that he's making me wait for last? Judging by what I have seen, he is sure to find me guilty. I will be late to work and all I got for it was aggravation!"
        By nine-forty, there was no one left but Yitzchok. His name was called and he came forward. He stated his case: he had crossed into the intersection when the light was changing from green to yellow.
        The judge motioned to the officer and, as if prearranged, the officer and the clerk left the room without a word. The judge then shut the microphone and tape recorder. There was no one left in the room except the judge and Yitzchok, who was thoroughly confused and a bit nervous.
        The judge suddenly leaned forward and said, "I will take your word for it that the light was green, because a person like you deserves a break."
        Yitzchok had no idea what was going on. "You don't recognize me?" asked the judge. Yitzchok replied that he did not. The judge then reached into his pocket and withdrew a New York subway-and-bus token which he handed to Yitzchok.
        "I've been waiting four years to return this to you," said the judge. Then, Yitzchok remembered . . . It was close to eleven o'clock on a wet, wintry night in New York City and Yitzchok and his wife were driving home after a long day.  The precipitation took the form of snow showers which made the driving even more difficult.  
        Suddenly the couple noticed an elderly black gentleman struggling to push his stalled car off the road. Yitzchok pulled over to the side of the road, got out of his car and offered his services to the very appreciative man. Together, they pushed the car into a legal parking space.
        Yitzchok turned to the man and asked where he had been heading. The man had been on his way home. Without a car, he was best off taking a city bus, which stopped a few blocks from where they now stood. Yitzchok invited the man into his car and they headed for the bus stop. As they neared it, they could see the bus a few blocks ahead of them. Undaunted, Yitzchok sped up just a bit as he attempted to overtake the bus.
        At that point, the gentleman mentioned that he did not have the exact change needed for the bus fare. Yitzchok handed the man a subway-and-bus token. The man looked at Yitzchok in amazement at the extent of his kindness toward him. They overtook the bus and the man expressed his thanks before alighting from the car.
        "I was waiting for the day when I would meet my Jewish friend with the yarmulke," the judge now said, "and that day has finally come.  I will never forget the kindness that you showed me!" 
        We Jews have to do our job, to be a shining example for the Nations and to do acts of kindness and goodness.  Then we will merit that Esav will cease to persecute us and will actually assist the Jewish nation!
Good Shabbos Everyone.


Good Shabbos Everyone.   In this week’s parsha Vayeitzeh we read about how, on the way to Charan, Yakov Avinu stopped to rest for the night. As he slept, Yakov dreamt that he saw a ladder. The famous dream of the ladder contains some of the most inspirational spiritual lessons of the entire Torah. The verse tells us that Yakov “dreamt, and behold! A ladder was set on the earth and its top reached towards the heavens...” (Bereishis 28:12)
        The Sages teach us that the ladder symbolizes the position of a Jew in this world. Although we stand on the ground like the base of the ladder, we strive to reach up to the heavens, like the top of the ladder in the dream. As the verse states, "A ladder was set on the earth and its top reached towards the heavens..."
        The following emotional story illustrates how one Jew climbed very high in life through his spiritual dedication.
        Reb Gedalia Moshe Goldman, who later became the Grand Rebbe of Zvhil, and Chaim Shaul Bruk, a renowned Chabad mashpia (mentor), were serving time together in a Soviet prison camp. Their "heinous" crime? Observing and spreading Judaism under the Communist regime. 
        One Shabbos, the sadistic commandant of the camp called Reb Gedalia Moshe into his office. "I have here the papers for your release," he said as he waved some papers in the air, "and if you sign them now you will be a free man." 
        "But it is Shabbos," replied Reb Gedalia Moshe. "I cannot and will not sign on Shabbos." The commandant – who, of course, knew that Reb Gedalia Moshe wouldn't transgress the Shabbos – shouted, "If you don't sign the papers now you will remain here another eight years!" 
        "Nevertheless, I will not sign and desecrate the Shabbos." 
        "Very well," sneered the commandant. "Don't sign. You will be in this prison for eight more years. And we'll see how your G-d will help you…" 
        "If you don't sign the papers now you will remain here another eight years!"
        "If my G-d wants to help me, He'll do it without you. And if He wants me to be in this prison eight more years, I will be here eight more years even if you would decide to let me go," replied Reb Gedalia Moshe calmly. "It has nothing to do with you." 
        The already enraged commandant saw red. He whipped his pistol out of its holster, pointed it at Gedalia Moshe's heart, and screamed "Let's see who will help you now!" He cocked the gun… 
        At that moment his daughter walked into the office. She saw her father pointing the gun at Reb Gedalia Moshe and said in a bored voice, "Father, it's a waste of a bullet…" Slowly the commandant lowered the gun. "Don't think it was your G-d that saved you!" he shouted at Reb Gedalia Moshe who was standing there serenely. "If it hadn't been for my daughter you would be dead by now!" 
        He turned to an aide and yelled to him, "Bring in the other Jew trouble-maker, Chaim Shaul!" A few moments passed, and Reb Chaim Shaul was standing in the office next to Reb Gedalia Moshe.
        The commandant made him the same offer as he had to Reb Gedalia Moshe: "Sign these papers and you can go free."
        "Of course I can't sign the papers," replied Reb Chaim Shaul, "It's Shabbos, and I don't violate the Shabbos." "You will remain here another eight years." "I will not write on Shabbos."
        Suddenly Reb Gedalia Moshe said, "Give me the papers. I will sign for him." The commandant was dumbfounded.
        "What? You said you wouldn't write on Shabbos! You're going to be here for another eight years! And now you'll sign for him?"
        "Of course I wouldn't sign on Shabbos to gain my freedom," Reb Gedalia Moshe replied. "But this is different. I'm strong, and I can withstand the conditions in this prison another eight years. But Reb Chaim Shaul is weaker, and he cannot stand this place any longer. It would be dangerous for him to remain here another eight years. Give me the papers and let me sign..." Both men were freed from prison within the next few days. For after all, it wasn't the commandant who was in control.
  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


Have a wonderful Shabbos and stay healthy,

Rachamim Pauli