Friday, December 27, 2013

Parsha Vaera, 2 miracles, 4 stories



Pessach is a few months away especially with part of Teves, Shevat, Adar I and II and the first days of Nissan. However, the Rabbis are at work on Kosher for Pessach and Matzah Factories are in full production mode. Last year I saw after Pessach Quinoa Noodles with a Charedi Heckshir Kosher LePessach. The OU has certified this grain which grows in the Andes Mountains.


New virus or phishing: I have gotten about 3 or 4 e-mails about orders from Amazon. Since I have not ordered anything from them in a few years and each time a new order number I know that this is utter rubbish. On every order to Amazon either it went through or they told me credit card or address was wrong do not be fooled.


Parsha Vaeira


We left off last week that 80 year old Moshe was sent on a mission directly by HASHEM. Pharaoh does not know of the L-RD. Pharaoh is the living god of Egypt and he views Moshe’s request as a slave rebellion and clamps down harder on the slave population making their lives more miserable than it was in the first place. Moshe cries unto HASHEM as he feels his stuttering in Egyptian has made things worse for the Bnei Yisrael.


6:2 And God spoke unto Moses, and said unto him: 'I am the LORD; 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name YHWH I made Me not known to them.


I made promises to them, in all of which I said to them, “I am the Almighty God.” but [with] My name YHWH, I did not become known to them. It is not written here לֹא הוֹדַעְךְתִּי, “but My Name YHWH I did not make known to them,” but לֹא נוֹדַעְךְתִּי, “I did not become known.” [I.e.,] I was not recognized by them with My attribute of keeping faith, by dint of which My name is called YHWH, [which means that I am] faithful to verify My words, for I made promises to them, but I did not fulfill [them while they were alive].

In 5770 I made the following note: I began thinking deeper into the reason for the full name vs. the simple name. Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov were simple shepherds with honest to goodness simple faint hence the ALL MIGHTY was good enough for them to protect them, prophesize and live by. However, a nation with artisans, craftsmen, salesmen, traders, merchants needed a more awesome, fearsome, judging and merciful manifestation of the L-RD.


4 And I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned. 5 And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.


Moshe, don’t worry about as I your G-D am going to keep my covenant with Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov. You are my messenger and shall not be hurt and eventually the people will benefit. We have to reread last week’s section by the burning bush where HASHEM tells Moshe what will happen in the end. Moshe, however, is living the here and the now and therefore, Moshe could only live the present.


6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel: I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments;


Therefore: according to that oath. Say to the children of Israel, I am the Lord: [I am] faithful to My promise. And I will take you out: for so did I promise him [Abraham], “and afterwards they will go forth with great possessions” (Gen. 15:14).The burdens of the Egyptians: The toil of the burden of the Egyptians.


Note the outstretched arm and great judgements are mentioned in the Haggada of Pessach.


7 and I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.


You are going to be MY people.


8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning which I lifted up My hand to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am the LORD.' 9 And Moses spoke so unto the children of Israel; but they hearkened not unto Moses for impatience of spirit and for cruel bondage.


Questioning G-D – Rabbi Glixman used to ask “Until when will YOUR people suffer?” with tears in his eyes. Other Rabbis have asked questions too. Here Moshe is asking too according to Rashi.


But they did not hearken to Moses: They did not accept consolation. I.e., they despaired completely of ever being redeemed.Because of [their] shortness of breath: Whoever is under stress, his wind and his breath are short, and he cannot take a deep breath. Similar to this [interpretation, namely that what is meant by I am the Lord is: I am faithful to fulfill My word] I heard from Rabbi Baruch the son of Rabbi Eliezer, and he brought me proof [of this explanation] from this [following] verse: “at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My name is the Lord” (Jer. 16:21). [Rabbi Baruch said,] We learn from this that when the Holy One, blessed be He, fulfills His words-even [when it is] for retribution-He makes it known that His name is the Lord. How much more so [does this expression apply] when he fulfills [His word] for good [because the Tetragrammaton represents the Divine Standard of Mercy]. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it (Sanh. 111a) as related to the preceding topic, [namely] that Moses said [verse 22], “Why have You harmed…?” (Exod. 5:22). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “We suffer a great loss for those [the Patriarchs] who are lost and [whose replacement] cannot be found. I must lament the death of the Patriarchs. Many times I revealed Myself to them as the Almighty God and they did not ask Me, ‘What is Your name?’ But you asked, What is His name? What shall I say to them?’” (Exod. 3:13). [4] And also, I established, etc.: And when Abraham sought to bury Sarah, he could not find a grave until he bought [one] for a very high price. Similarly, [with] Isaac, [the Philistines] contested the wells he had dug. And so [with] Jacob, “And he bought the part of the field where he had pitched his tent” (Gen. 33:19), yet they did not question My actions! But you said, “Why have You harmed [the Israelites]?” This midrash, however, does not fit the text, for many reasons: First, because it does not say, “And My Name, ה they did not ask me.” And if you say [in response to this] that He did not let them [the Patriarchs] know that this is His name, [and nevertheless they did not ask Him, (and we will explain לֹא נוֹדַעְךְתִּי like לֹא הוֹדַעְךְתִּי, I did not make known,) I will answer you that] indeed, at the beginning, when He revealed Himself to Abraham “between the parts” (Gen. 15:10), it says: “I am the Lord (אֲנִי ה), Who brought you forth from Ur of the Chaldees” (Gen. 15:7). Moreover, how does the context continue with the matters that follow this [verse]: “And also, I heard, etc. Therefore, say to the children of Israel” ? Therefore, I say that the text should be interpreted according to its simple meaning, [with] each statement fitting its context, and the midrashic explanation may be expounded upon, as it is said: “‘Is not My word so like fire,’ says the Lord, ‘and like a hammer which shatters a rock?’” (Jer. 23:29). [The rock it strikes] is divided into many splinters.


10 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 11 'Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.' 12 And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying: 'Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?'


How can I go before Pharaoh with my speech defect? My late friend Yacov Glicksman and I were learning Yechezkel together. I believe either he or a commentary pointed out how Yechezkel was a great speaker like Winston Churchill but nobody listened to him and Moshe mutter and stuttered and the whole nation listened to him with baited breath. 


the tribes of Yisrael are mentioned in birth order until we get to Moshe and Aaron and we continue now: At this point something should be bothering everybody. The Torah explains all these tribes and leaves out Yehuda onwards so me only have 25% of the tribes mentioned here. Obviously G-D had a reason or two for this. The reason for three tribes is the order and also to show that each tribe was equal in the eyes of G-D. The reason of stopping at Levi was just to establish the lineage of Moshe.


29 that the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 'I am the LORD; speak you unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee.' 30 And Moses said before the LORD: 'Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?' 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'See, I have set thee in God's stead to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet.


Meaning Moshe stuttered in Hebrew and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh in Egyptian making himself distant from Pharaoh.


2 Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.


For the first five plagues, Pharaoh was given the chance to repent. The magicians could duplicate with hydrochloric acid and phenolphalic solution that the ‘water’ turned to blood and with the frog they used witchcraft. However, the lice were too small for the Shaydim known in other religions as Demons, Genies, etc. to move them. Then it was ‘the finger of G-D’.

 A bas Noach named Colleen asked me “Why did G-D harden Pharaoh’s heart?”

1) Because a normal human when he realizes that he is up against G-D chances his ways. (2) To work more miracles to sanctify HIS NAME. (3) The first 5 plagues were sufficient but each time Pharaoh hardened his own heart so that G-D closed the gates of repentance to him.

It would be improper of me not to bring down what Rashi says on the subject of hardening of Pharaoh’s heart:  But I will harden: Since he [Pharaoh] behaved wickedly and defied Me, and I know full well that there is no delight among the nations to make a wholehearted attempt to repent, it is better for Me that his heart be hardened, so that [I can] increase My signs and My wonders in him, and you will recognize My mighty deeds, and so is the custom of the Holy One, blessed be He. He brings retribution on the nations so that Israel should hear and fear, as it is said: “I have cut off nations; their towers have become desolate… I said, ‘Surely you will fear Me, you will accept reproof’” (Zeph. 3:6, 7). Nevertheless, in the first five plagues, it does not say, “And the Lord strengthened Pharaoh’s heart,” but “Pharaoh’s heart remained steadfast.” -[from Exod. Rabbah 13:3, 11:6; Tanchuma Buber, Va’era 22; Yeb. 63a]


4 But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, by great judgments. 5 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.' 6 And Moses and Aaron did so; as the LORD commanded them, so did they. 7 And Moses was fourscore years old, and Aaron fourscore and three years old, when they spoke unto Pharaoh.


This is Pharaoh hardening his own heart and G-D did not do anything to harden his heart. It is only later like some narcissus politicians refusing to admit that they were wrong that G-D hardens their hearts. (Can anybody think or a dozen or more in Israel, United Kingdom and the United States) Sometimes G-D gives us a pat on the rear like a loving father and it is time to wake up. I can guarantee you that if Stephen Hawkins or Albert Einstein were politicians that the other side of the political spectrum would question their intelligence. About 900 years ago the Rambam was questioned on his philosophy by the religious establishment. Today we have the Zoo Rabbi approved and then rejected by the establishment. So in this vein of thought Pharaoh pursed his goal blindly and stubbornly.


8 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 9 'When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying: Show a wonder for you; then thou shalt say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it become a serpent.' 10 And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so, as the LORD had commanded; and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their secret arts. 12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. 13 And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.


Rashi being in Europe in the era before the first crusade never heard of snake charming for the east and the orient would not become knowledgeable to Europe until Marco Polo some 450 to 500 years later. However, snake charming was common enough in Egypt and snakes on the grill were probably eaten by Pharaoh just as they are eaten in the far east.


With their secret rites: Heb. בְּלָטֵיהֶם, an incantation which they uttered silently and in secret (בְּלָּט). [This follows Onkelos.] Our Rabbis, however, said: בְּלָטֵיהֶם means acts of demons. בְּלַהִטֵיהֶם means acts of magic. — [from Sanh. 67b] [See above commentary on verse 11.]   בלטיהם: And Pharaoh’s heart was steadfast: saying, “You are doing this through sorcery. ‘You are bringing straw to Aphraim,’ a city that is full of straw. So too you bring magic to Egypt, which is [already] full of magic.” - from Exod. Rabbah 9:11, Men. 85a]


14 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Pharaoh's heart is stubborn, he refused to let the people go.


The fact that the staff of Aaron became a snake, swallowed the other snakes and turned back into a rod was not that impressive for Pharaoh. He would need more convincing something that the Bnei Yisrael did not need but they were disheartened and depressed.


15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning; lo, he goes out unto the water; and thou shalt stand by the river's brink to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent shalt thou take in thy hand.


Behold, he is going forth to the water: to relieve himself, for he had deified himself and said that he did not need to relieve himself; so, early in the morning he went out to the Nile and there he would perform his needs. — [from Mid. Tanchuma, Va’era 14; Exod. Rabbah 9:8]


16 And thou shalt say unto him: The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, hath sent me unto thee, saying: Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness; and, behold, hitherto thou hast not hearkened;


Until now: Heb. עַד-כֹּה, [meaning] until now [Onkelos]. Its midrashic interpretation is: Until you hear from me [the announcement of] the plague of the firstborn, which I will introduce with “So (כֹּה said the Lord, ‘When the night divides…’” (Exod. 11: 4). — [from an unknown midrashic source]


17 thus says the LORD: In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD--behold, I will smite with the rod that is in my hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. 18 And the fish that are in the river shall die, and the river shall become foul; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink water from the river.' 19 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Take thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.'


Their ponds: Water that does not spring [from beneath the ground] and does not flow [to any other place] but stands in one place. It is called estanc [in Old French], pond. Throughout the entire land of Egypt, even in the bathhouses and in the bathtubs in the houses. Even in wood and in stone: Water in wooden vessels and in stone vessels. — [from Onkelos, Jonathan, Exod. Rabbah 9:11]

I mentioned years ago that the Reform movement was trying to tell me that red clay fell into the Nile and caused a fish kill. However, it appears to me that this strange as this is not the rainy season and clay even from an earth quake should not last 7 days and the river smells foul. Could it have been red algae? But why would the water in wooden and stone vessels or pools collected before the river turned to blood turn red as it was good beforehand? The only conclusion that I can draw from this is a complete miracle for clay would have settled to the bottom of these vessels which were standing and water which was algae free the day before or longer would not form in these vessels as the Nile is flowing. This would be equivalent to bottled water turning suddenly red. I saw a program on National Geographic that the plague appears to be a certain type of reddish bacteria that would stink and kill off the fish in the water. What makes it a miracle is that it occurred when Moshe went down and met Pharaoh and not a week, month, year or century later.


20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. 21 And the fish that were in the river died; and the river became foul, and the Egyptians could not drink water from the river; and the blood was throughout all the land of Egypt. 22 And the magicians of Egypt did in like manner with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.


One can only speculate what would have happened if after this plague that Pharaoh would have let the slaves go and worship. After all Pharaoh had plenty of gods why shouldn’t he placate another one?


23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he lay even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians dug round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. 25 And seven days were fulfilled, after that the LORD had smitten the river.


It appears to me besides the Egyptians suffering, some might have died from thrust so Pharaoh was being cruel also to his own people. Of course it is also possible that the Egyptians had some quantity of beer and wine as I wrote in the past: “The Egyptians may have had wine and other liquids that kept them from dying of thirst as no mention of man or beast dying during this period although this might have happened and just was not recorded as it was a relatively small percentage and insignificant for Pharaoh and his advisors.”


26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses: 'Go in unto Pharaoh, and say unto him: Thus says the LORD: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 27 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs. 28 And the river shall swarm with frogs, which shall go up and come into thy house, and into thy bed-chamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into your ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs. 29 And the frogs shall come up both upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.'


The Rambam likes to show miracles as natural occurring events. However, when the natural even defies probability or logic one begins to thin, (Like the Grad rocket that fell in Ashdod and damaged a house to the right and a house left of a house that had the sign: Guard the Shabbos and the Shabbos will guard you. – as seen on the news of channel 2 in Israel.) (Frog population is kept under control by the fish and the fish died during the plague of blood that without natural enemies the frogs over produced.) Because by witchcraft frogs could be made to appear and also because by logic mentioned above, the frogs could have gone up or down stream and not necessarily in front of Pharaoh and filled the land. Therefore, I still claim it was a miracle considering that each and every miracle occurred according to tradition precisely23 days after the previous one. This would give a date at the full moon of each month.


8:1 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Stretch forth thy hand with thy rod over the rivers, over the canals, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt.' 2 And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. 3 And the magicians did in like manner with their secret arts, and brought up frogs upon the land of Egypt. 4 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said: 'Entreat the LORD, that He take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice unto the LORD.'


Even though the magicians could via use of demons bring frogs sort of out of the air to Pharaoh, they were incapable of removing the frogs. They would say an incantation and let us say got rid of 20 frogs and 40 new would hop in and take over the chamber of Pharaoh.


5 And Moses said unto Pharaoh: 'Have thou this glory over me; against what time shall I entreat for thee, and for thy servants, and for thy people, that the frogs be destroyed from thee and thy houses, and remain in the river only?' 6 And he said: 'Against to-morrow.' And he said: 'Be it according to thy word; that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God. 7 And the frogs shall depart from thee, and from thy houses, and from thy servants, and from thy people; they shall remain in the river only.' 8 And Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried unto the LORD concerning the frogs, which He had brought upon Pharaoh. 9 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields. 10 And they gathered them together in heaps; and the land stank.


First the land stank from the river and now from dead frogs.


11 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.


Pharaoh might have been a god-king but in this case his promise is that of a political leader and typical of the words of the followers of Yishmael where lying is a means to an end.

12 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Say unto Aaron: Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.'

And the lice were: The swarming, pedoiliee in Old French, the swarming of lice. [This accounts for the singular verb form.]


The pattern of two announced and a surprise plague will continue with more plagues coming up.


13 And they did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and there were lice upon man, and upon beast; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. 14 And the magicians did so with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; and there were gnats upon man, and upon beast.


How this version had gnats in it is beyond me unless if was from the King James Version and not corrected. ’Lice’ is the proper name for the plague. I purposely left gnats because many people have the old JPS translation from 1917 after all I got my Holy Scriptures at the age of 9 in 5716 and I don’t throw out Holy Books. The magicians could not ward off the frogs or the lice. The frogs around Pharaoh could be killed by 15 servants or more working full time but the lice jumped from one to another and if the head was not shaved and perhaps the beard shaved, lice would be all over everybody. When my daughter was 7.5 years old there was a large amount of lice in the girls in the Beit Yacov school and women were picking up lice in Bellinson Hospital too at the time the year was 5742 where we had lice shampoos, running water and even sprays among educated clean families and medical facilities so I can imagine what it was like in Egypt.  


15 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: 'This is the finger of God'; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken.


It is the finger of God: This plague is not through sorcery; it is from the Omnipresent. — [from Exod. Rabbah 10:7]


The witch or sorcerer needs something the size of a barley grain to have negative spiritual powers to move it and lice are smaller. Therefore with this plague the Egyptians are stumped and they tell the truth now to Pharaoh. Still he refuses to let the people go and pray.


16 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he comes forth (we would say goes out) to the water; and say unto him: Thus says the LORD: Let My people go, that they may serve Me.


Moshe keeps meeting this god-king that has to relieve himself.


17 Else, if thou wilt not let My people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies (wild beasts) upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are. Again I took the standard JPS which copied a lot form the KJV of the English Bible without doing their homework. Chabad translates this correct as it does not say flies - Zevuvim in Hebrew but Arove in Hebrew. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will incite against you and against your servants and against your people and in your houses a mixture of noxious creatures, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the mixture of noxious creatures, as well as the land upon which they are.


Incite against you: Heb. מַשְׁלִיחַ בְּ, incite against you. Similarly, “and the tooth of beasts I will incite (אִשַׁלַּח) against them” (Deut. 32:24), an expression of inciting, antiziyer in Old French, to incite, to set upon. — [from Jonathan] a mixture of noxious creatures: [which includes] all species of wild beasts, snakes, and scorpions in a mixture, and they were destroying among them [i.e., among the Egyptians]. There is a reason [given] for this matter in the Aggadah, [i.e.,] for each plague, why this one and why that one. Following a king’s war strategy did He come upon them [the Egyptians], according to the order of a kingdom when it besieges a city. First they [the King’s army] destroy its [the city’s] springs, and then they blow and sound rams’ horns to frighten them and confuse them; thus did the frogs croak and make noise, etc., as is stated in the Midrash of Rabbi Tanchuma (Bo 4).

For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will incite against you and against your servants and against your people and in your houses a mixture of noxious creatures, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the mixture of noxious creatures, as well as the land upon which they are. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will incite against you and against your servants and against your people and in your houses a mixture of noxious creatures, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the mixture of noxious creatures, as well as the land upon which they are. For if you do not let My people go, behold, I will incite against you and against your servants and against your people and in your houses a mixture of noxious creatures, and the houses of Egypt will be filled with the mixture of noxious creatures, as well as the land upon which they are.

18 And I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end that thou may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.


And I will separate: Heb. וְהִפְלֵיתִי, and I will set apart. Similarly, “And the Lord will set apart (וְהִפְלָה) ” (Exod. 9:4), and similarly, “it is not separated (נִפְלֵאת) from you” (Deut. 30:11); it is [not] set apart and separated from you. — [from Onkelos] in order that you know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth: Although My Shechinah is in heaven, My decree is fulfilled in the lower worlds. — [from Onkelos]


According to the Medrash, Goshen had fresh water during the plague of blood and nothing is mentioned of frogs or lice in or not in Goshen. However, we see from here on the plagues do not affect the Bnei Yisrael at all.


19 And I will put a division between My people and thy people--by to-morrow shall this sign be.'



And I will make a redemption: which will set apart My people from your people.


The separation appears to me as follows: The Egyptian soldiers would fight off the wild beasts and try to take a Ben Yisrael as bait for the beasts. The beasts would ignore the Ben Yisrael and devour the Egyptians but I have no Medrash or Aggadah to back me up but just from the language and a thought on Pshat knowing our history from Avram in the furnace through the death camps and fights of Jew against Jew to the death in the Concentration Camp for Nazi entertainment.


20 And the LORD did so; and there came grievous swarms of animals into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants' houses; and in all the land of Egypt the land was ruined by reason of the swarms of Arove. 21 And Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said: 'Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.'


Go, sacrifice… in the land: in your place, and do not go into the desert.


Go ahead under the watchful eye of my troops and task masters and perhaps guard dogs.


22 And Moses said: 'It is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God; lo, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, will they not stone us?


The abomination of the Egyptians: Heb. ךְתּוֹעִבַתמִצְרַיִם, the deity of the Egyptians, like “and for Milcom, the abomination of the children of Ammon” (II Kings 23:13), but for the Jews, [Scripture] calls it an abomination. It may also be explained in another manner: The abomination of the Egyptians: Our slaughtering is a hateful thing to the Egyptians, for we are slaughtering their deity. And they will not stone us? This is a question.



23 We will go three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the LORD our God, as He shall command us.' 24 And Pharaoh said: 'I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only ye shall not go very far away; entreat for me.' 25 And Moses said: 'Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD.'


Tease: Heb. הָתֵל, [like] לְהָתֵל, to tease. [The literal translation is: let Pharaoh stop teasing.]


26 And Moses went out from Pharaoh, and entreated the LORD. 27 And the LORD did according to the word of Moses; and He removed the swarms of Arove from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people; there remained not one. 28 And Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.


Just when things began to look better, Pharaoh recants.


9:1 Then the LORD said unto Moses: 'Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him: Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 2 For if you refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, 3 behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which are in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the herds, and upon the flocks; there shall be a very grievous murrain.


In Hebrew the word for Plagues is Makkos or being hit/whipped as a punishment. This one was the Bubonic Plague on the animals that a large number died.


4 And the LORD shall make a division between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.' 5 And the LORD appointed a set time, saying: 'Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land.' 6 And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. 7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he did not let the people go.


The scenario repeats itself and like plague 3, plague 6 will come unannounced.


8 And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron: 'Take to you handfuls of soot of the furnace, and let Moses throw it heavenward in the sight of Pharaoh.


Handfuls-: Jaloynes in Old French, double handfuls. Furnace soot: Heb. פִּיחַ, a substance blown (נִפָּח) from dying embers that were burned in a furnace, and in Old French [it is called] olbes, cinders from a furnace. פִּיחַ is an expression of blowing (הֲפָחָה), that the wind blows them (מְפִיחָן) and makes them fly. And Moses shall cast it: And anything cast with strength can be cast only with one hand. Hence there are many miracles [here], one that Moses [single] handful held his own double handfuls and those of Aaron, and [another miracle was] that the dust went over the entire land of Egypt. — [from Tanchuma Va’era 14]


The dust spread out like the radiation that leaked from the Japanese Reactor that has now reached the Western United States.


9 And it shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt.' 10 And they took soot of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses threw it up heavenward; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast.


Upon man and upon beast: Now if you ask, “From where did they have beasts? Does it not say already, ‘and all the livestock of the Egyptians died’ (above, verse 6) ?” [I will answer that] the decree was leveled only upon those in the field, as it is said: “upon your livestock that is in the field” (above, verse 3), but he who feared the word of the Lord brought all his livestock into the houses, and so it is taught in the Mechilta (Beshallach 1) regarding “He took six hundred chosen chariots” (Exod. 14:7). — [See Rashi on that verse.]


11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.


I wonder if Pharaoh was also affected or just the people around him so that he could harden his heart?


12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses. 13 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him:


Caught again acting human with normal body functions boy is he looking foolish and embarrassed each time.


Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: Let My people go, that they may serve Me. 14 For I will this time send all My plagues upon thy person, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. 15 Surely now I had put forth My hand, and smitten thee and thy people with pestilence, and thou had been cut off from the earth. 16 But in very deed for this cause have I made thee to stand, to show thee My power, and that My name may be declared throughout all the earth. 17 As yet exalts thou thyself against My people, that thou wilt not let them go?


If you still tread upon My people: Heb. מִסְךְתּוֹלֵל, as the Targum [Onkelos] renders: כְּבִישַׁתבֵּיהּ בְּעַמִי. This is an expression of a highway (מְסִלָה) (Num. 20:19), rendered by the Targum אֹרַח כְּבִישָׁא, a trodden road, and in Old French, calcher, to trample underfoot. I already explained at the end of [the section entitled] וַיְהִי מִקֵץ (Gen. 44:16) that in every word of which the first root letter is “sammech,” when used in the “hithpa’el” form, the “tav” of the prefix is placed in the middle of the root letters, such as here, and such as “and the grasshopper will drag itself along (וְיִסְךְתַּבֵל) ” (Eccl. 12:5) from the root סבל “that you rule (תִשְךְתָּרֵר) over us” (Num. 16:13), an expression of a prince (שַֹר) and a ruler; “I looked (מִסְךְתַּכַּל)” (Dan. 7:8). [Actually, the word is מִשְֹךְתַּכַּל, but the same rule applies for a “sin” as for a “sammech.”]


18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. 19 Now therefore send, hasten in thy cattle and all that thou hast in the field; for every man and beast that shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.' 20 He that feared the word of the LORD among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses; 21 and he that regarded not the word of the LORD left his servants and his cattle in the field.


This time it would affect some personal servants, prize horses of war and Pharaoh’s personal livestock as well as that of the people and his favorite plants, flowers and botanical gardens would be ruined.


22 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Stretch forth thy hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.' 23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down unto the earth; and the LORD caused to hail upon the land of Egypt. 24 So there was hail, and fire flashing up amidst the hail, very grievous, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.


Flaming within the hail: [This was] a miracle within a miracle. The fire and hail intermingled. Although hail is water, to perform the will of their Maker they made peace between themselves [that the hail did not extinguish the fire nor did the fire melt the hail]. — [from Tanchuma, Va’era 14]


Despite the hail there were lightning strikes causing electrical fires within the area where the coconut size hail fell. (Note it is not uncommon in States like Texas that during the change of seasons that baseball size hail falls breaking car windshields and here this was an extraordinary hail. There is a theory that states that the hail here and the plague of darkness were caused by a super volcano called Stromboli and the ashes spewed out on Egypt. Natural hair or volcanic hail it came announced by Moshe before it came and was needed at that time to redeem the Bnei Yisrael.


25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail. 27 And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them: 'I have sinned this time; the LORD is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.


Even though Pharaoh is considered a god by his believe, HASHEM is more powerful and he confesses until he retracts. It is sort of like an Israeli-Arab agreement we agree for a truce or peace until retracted.


28 Entreat the LORD, and let there be enough of these mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.' 29 And Moses said unto him: 'As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread forth my hands unto the LORD; the thunders shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is the LORD'S.


When I leave the city: Heb. כְּצֵאתִי אֶת-הָעִיר, [equivalent to] מִן-הָעִיר, [lit., when I go out] from the city, but within the city he did not pray, because it was full of idols. — [from Exod. Rabbah 12:5]


30 But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God.'-- 31 And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.


Though the flax and the barley have been broken: Heb. נֻכָּתָה, has been broken, an expression similar to “Pharaoh-Neco (פַּרְעֹה נְכֹה) ” [the lame Pharaoh] (II Kings 23: 29); “broken-hearted (נְכָאִים) ” (Isa. 16:7); and likewise, “have not been broken (נֵכּוּ)” (below, verse 32). It is incorrect to interpret it as an expression of smiting (הַכָּאָה), because a “nun” does not come in place of a “hey,” that נֻכָּתָה should be explained like הֻכָּתָה, smitten, and נֻכּוּ like הֻכּוּ, smitten. The “nun” is, however, a root letter in the word, and it is of the same form as “and his bones are dislocated (ֹשֻפּוּ) ” (Job 33:21). For the barley is in the ear: It has already ripened and is standing in its stalks, and they have been broken and have fallen. Likewise, the flax has already grown and has become hardened [enough] to stand in its stalks. The barley is in the ear: Heb. אָבִיב, it has stood in its stalks, an expression like “the green plants of (בְּאִבֵּי) the valley ” (Song of Songs 6:11).


32 But the wheat and the spelt were not smitten; for they ripen late.—


Because they ripen late: Heb. אִפִילֹת, late, and they were still tender and were able to withstand the hard [hail]. Although it says: “and the hail struck all the vegetation of the field” (verse 25), the simple meaning of the verse may be explained as referring to the herbs that were standing in their stalks, which could be smitten by the hail. In the Midrash of Rabbi Tanchuma (Va’era 16), some of our Rabbis differed with this and interpreted כִּי אִפִילֹת to mean that “wonders of wonders (פִּלְאֵי פְלָאוֹת) ” were wrought for them, that they were not smitten.


As an aside note: The recent snow storm cost the government of Israel $400,000,000 NIS which not so strangely is the amount that Lapid cut from the Yeshiva Budget. As it is written “If there is no flour there is no Torah and if there is no Torah there will be no flour.” (Sit and think about the meaning of this statement)


33 And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread forth his hands unto the LORD; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth. 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. 35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses


A bit of a miracle and alert passenger and a cautious driver avert terror attack. The driver is a very religious man so perhaps his Mitzvos protected everybody.,7340,L-4468375,00.html And in Yerushalayim:

A just in time miracle prevents carbon monoxide poisoning. Remember burning gas, coal, kerosene or wood leave the window a crack open:


A DEATH-BED CONFESSION although everyone was aware of Bagalo’s great wisdom, no one had yet realized his great secret.                            


“Water!" the invalid rasped in a whispery voice. The astounded doctors, who had given up the unconscious man for dead, were shocked to hear his voice again. The priest, who had taken his final confession, turned pale. Had a miracle taken place?

The doctors quickly initiated treatment. For hours they attended at his bedside. Finally, they saw clear signs of a positive change in his condition. By evening they were able to declare that his situation was no longer critical; he was out of danger.

For another several weeks Bagalo continued to be very weak, and the doctors prohibited him to engage in any of his regular activities. Finally, however, he regained his strength completely. Every trace of the disease had completely disappeared!

All of Spain breathed a collective sigh of relief at Bagalo's recovery. He was one of the King's most trusted advisors, with a strong reputation for honesty and intelligence. The king loved to consult with him so much that he had risen to be one of the most important personalities in the royal court.

His advice was especially valued by the monarch in economic affairs. More than once his suggestions had directly resulted in great fiscal gain for the kingdom, and concurrent improvements in the daily life of the people. The king considered Bagalo to be a financial wizard, and was not slow to express his appreciation, as he showered upon him wealth and valuable gifts.

Although everyone was aware of Bagalo's great wisdom and praised him for it, no one had yet realized that he was really a Jew. This was his great secret. He was an anus ['forced'-a Marrano], of a family that had been coerced to convert. As far as he was concerned, his Catholic status was for appearances only. He conducted himself outwardly as he had to, while he continued to observe all of the commandments secretly, in hiding.

Lately, though, he hadn't had much to hide. Whereas previously he had set aside time for mitzvah observance and even for Torah study and thought, his new prominent position in court consumed virtually all of his waking hours. He no longer had time to pray or to study, or even to perform the commandments. His Judaism remained only in his core beliefs, his strong inner faith in his G-d and His people.

From time to time, at moments when he was alone, a heavy sigh would push through his lips. How he longed for Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, for all of the mitzvot. How had he allowed himself to become so distant?

But such thoughts could only be indulged for a few moments. Than the heavy pressure of his workload would again take over his time and his thoughts. Thus he conducted his life until he fell critically ill.

The most competent of the royal physicians had been summoned to care for him. They gave him the finest medicines and treatments, at the king's order sparing no expense, but nothing helped. He became weaker and weaker until finally the doctors felt they had no choice but to declare that his case was hopeless. An important priest was summoned.

Then came his miraculous recovery. After a while, no one recalled that he had been so sick. No one but him, that is. He remembered very well what had happened; he knew and kept to himself what even the most expert of the physicians could not know.

One day Bagalo summoned the priest who had taken his confession. He led him to a private room, locked the door behind them and lowered the window shades. He sat opposite the priest and looked him straight in the eyes. "I remember everything you said to me when we thought I was dying. At the end, after all the prayers, you muttered a few words that I didn't understand. Those words are engraved in my memory. What do they mean?"

The priest visibly trembled. His face changed colors. He tried to stammer a reply but his teeth were rattling too hard.

Seeing that the other's distress had rendered him unable to speak, Bagalo continued. "The words were: 'Shma Yisrael A--noy E--heinu A--noy Echad.' Isn't that a Jewish prayer?"

The priest's whole body quivered, but no words were forthcoming. "So, you are a Jew?" Bagalo pushed on.

The priest sat frozen, his face registering shock and terror that his secret had been uncovered by the king's advisor.

"Don't be afraid; I won't inform on you," Bagalo said gently. "Just give me your word of honor that you will be wholehearted in the word of Jesus and you will put aside these Hebrew incantations."

"No!" roared the priest. "I prefer to die as a Jew. Enough of this double life. This is the moment of truth." Now that he had recovered himself, the words were quickly tumbling from his mouth. "I am prepared to die, but as a Jew."

"My brother!" Bagalo cried out, and fiercely embraced his co-religionist. "I too am Jewish. And now I know that you are truly attached to the faith of our fathers. We are one!"

Their shared secret drew the two men to become close friends. They revealed to each other their secret lives. The priest explained that he had entered the clergy for one reason only: to be able to whisper "Shma Yisroel..." in the ear of Marrano Jews on their death-bed, so that their souls would exit in purity.

The king's advisor related that when he had been at death's door he had wanted to at least say the Shma. To his distress, he found that he couldn't remember exactly how it went. Then, suddenly, he heard the holy words being said in his ear! It was as if a gentle breeze had wafted him up and re-invigorated him with new life.

Falling into a deep sleep, he began to dream. He saw an old man, who smiled warmly and spoke. His voice was gentle and melodious. "I am your grandfather. You shall recover from this illness and you shall live, but only on a condition. You must return to a full Jewish life. Therefore, you shall leave this country. Move to the Land of Israel. Upon your departure, take with you the bones of your father and give them a Jewish burial there."

The two friends planned their escape. They decided that Bagalo should tell the king that during his critical illness he had vowed that if he recovered he would make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. The king would probably not be able to refuse such a request. He would likely even help him to fulfill it. The priest would arrange for the disinterment of the remains of Bagalo's father, for the church cemetery was under his supervision.

Thus, the pair was able to abandon Spain. After a series of difficult journeys, the two Baalei Teshuva (returnees to Jewish observance) reached the holy city of Tsfat (Safed). There they dedicated themselves to lives of total mitzvah observance, Torah-study and prayer. When, in the course of time, they passed away, both of them were complete tzadikim (perfectly righteous). [Translated by Yrachmiel Tilles from Sichat HaShavuah #144]


Reincarnation and the Holocaust - Why some Jews suspect they've returned. by Sara Yoheved Rigler


Why some Jews suspect they've returned.

Finding an article about reincarnation in Scientific American is as unlikely as finding a recipe for pork chops in a kosher cookbook. How surprised I was, therefore, to read “Ian Stevenson’s Case for the Afterlife: Are We ‘Skeptics’ Really Just Cynics?” in Scientific American’s online issue of November 2, 2013.

Its author, Jesse Bering, a former professor of psychology, is a self-proclaimed skeptic. “If you’re anything like me, with eyes that roll over to the back of your head whenever you hear words like ‘reincarnation’ or ‘parapsychology’ …” he writes. And his article is a wrestling match between his own inveterate skepticism and his intellectual honesty in daring to examine the research done by the late Prof. Ian Stevenson, who held the Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia.

Prof. Stevenson meticulously studied the memories of previous lives of some 3,000 children. For example, a toddler in Sri Lanka heard her mother mention the distant town of Kataragama and proceeded to tell her mother that she had drowned there when her “dumb” brother pushed her into the river. She went on to mention 30 details of her previous home, family, and neighborhood. Prof. Stevenson went to Kataragama and found a family that perfectly fit the child’s description. Their two-year-old daughter had indeed drowned in the river while playing with her mentally challenged brother. Prof. Stevenson verified 27 of the 30 statements made by the child.

After reading Stevenson’s research reports, Jesse Bering grudgingly admits: “I must say, when you actually read them firsthand, many are exceedingly difficult to explain away by rational, non-paranormal means.”

Bering then declares: “Towards the end of her own storied life, the physicist Doris Kuhlmann-Wilsdorf—whose groundbreaking theories on surface physics earned her the prestigious Heyn Medal from the German Society for Material Sciences, surmised that Stevenson’s work had established that ‘the statistical probability that reincarnation does in fact occur is so overwhelming … that cumulatively the evidence is not inferior to that for most if not all branches of science.’”

The Jewish View

We Jews certainly never learned about reincarnation in Hebrew School. But if we dig, we discover that there are hints to reincarnation in the Bible and early commentaries 1, while in Kabbalah, Judaism’s mystical tradition, overt references to reincarnation abound. The Zohar, the basic text of Jewish mysticism (attributed to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, a 1st century sage) assumes Gilgul neshamot [the recycling of souls] as a given, and the Ari, the greatest of all Kabbalists, whose 16th teachings are recorded in, Shaar HaGilgulim, traced the reincarnations of many Biblical figures. While some authorities, such as Saadia Gaon (10th century) denied reincarnation as a Jewish concept, from the 17th century onward, leading rabbis of normative Judaism, such as the Gaon of Vilna and the Chofetz Chaim 2, referred to Gilgul neshamot as a fact.

The Ramchal, the universally-admired 18th century scholar, explained in his classic The Way of God: “God arranged matters so that man’s chances of achieving ultimate salvation should be maximized. A single soul can be reincarnated a number of times in different bodies, and in this manner, it can rectify the damage done in previous incarnations. Similarly, it can also achieve perfection that was not attained in its previous incarnations.” [3:10]

Still, many Jews feel that believing in reincarnation is like believing in Santa Claus. It violates two taboos: It’s irrational and it smacks of other religions.

My Holocaust-Obsessed Childhood

Born in 1948 in suburban New Jersey to second-generation American parents with no family connection to the Holocaust, my own disbelief in reincarnation marred my growing-up years in two ways: It left me devoid of any logical explanation for my obsession with the Holocaust and my seething hatred of everything German. And it filled me with anger against God at the suffering of innocent Jews whose final chapter ended in the gas chambers of Auschwitz or the pits of Babi Yar.

I well remember the day in third grade of Hebrew school, at the age of 11, when I realized that I was not “normal.” During recess I was sitting, legs dangling, on the desk of my favorite Hebrew school teacher, Mr. Feinstein. I told him how my father had just purchased a German camera, and of course I refused to let him take my picture with it. I myself refused to buy German products and never accepted a ride in a Volkswagen. Mr. Feinstein asked me if any members of my extended family had been killed in the Holocaust. “No,” I replied.

“Do your parents hate Germans?” he probed.

“I guess not. They never talk about the Holocaust,” I answered, clueless as to what he was getting at.

“Then why do you hate Germans so much?”

I stared at him as if he had asked me why I like chocolate milkshakes. “All Jewish kids hate Germans,” I replied, stating the obvious.

The bell announced the end of recess. My classmates filed in and took their seats, with me still sitting on the teacher’s desk. Mr. Feinstein threw out a question: “How many of you hate Germans?”

My hand shot up. Harry Davidov tentatively half-lifted his hand. No one else in the class moved.

Mr. Feinstein gazed at me without saying a word. I slithered down from his desk, feeling weird, estranged from my friends, a different species, an ugly duckling.

How could it be that my inner passions were not what all Jewish kids felt? Where did they come from? Who had given birth to them? I felt like I had just learned that I was adopted. My assumptions were false, the genealogy of my innermost passions shrouded in haze.

At the beginning of ninth grade, I had a dream that left me even more bewildered. Everyone in my ninth grade glass was required to select a language to study for the next three years. Our choices were: French, Spanish, German, and Latin. All my friends chose French or Spanish. I chose German. When my surprised friends asked me why, I replied with steely eyes, “’Know your enemy.’ I want to read Mein Kempf in the original.”

At the end of my first week of German study, after two classes and a language lab repeating, “Guten tag, Freulein Hess,” I had a convoluted dream. I woke up in the middle of it, shaking. I and everyone else in the dream had been speaking fluent German.

Trying to understand myself without a concept of reincarnation was like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing.

Dreams and Phobias

The clues that hint at a reincarnated soul from the Holocaust are recurrent dreams, phobias, and déjà vu experiences, especially by people born in the first decade or so after the Holocaust. In the 1950s and 60s, books and movies about the Holocaust were virtually non-existent and therefore could not account for these vivid phenomena.

Jackie Warshall was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to American-born parents. When she was four years old, at night after her mother tucked her in and left her to go to sleep, little Jackie would stare into her pillow as if it were a TV set, and see a vision. She saw herself inside the back of a truck filled with women. Some of them were collapsing to the floor. Then she saw herself fly out of the truck. There, above the truck, she would feel a sense of liberation, and say, “I got out. I’m free now.”

Only decades later did she learn that the Nazis’ earliest experiment in mass murder was to pack people into a truck and pipe the carbon monoxide gas from the motor into the back of the truck.

Many years later, Jackie was teaching a fourth grade class in a Jewish day school in Connecticut. In the library, leafing through a Holocaust book for young readers, she found a watercolor sketch of women standing inside the back of a truck. “Standing in the library,” Jackie recounts, “I felt like a lightning bolt of recognition hit me.”

Anna B. was born in 1957 in St. Louis to a traditional Jewish family with no direct link to the Holocaust. When Anna was five years old, she began to have a recurring dream that she was being tortured in a laboratory setting. Her torturers were a doctor wearing a white coat and, incongruously, a man in a military uniform. She had this recurring dream until she was ten years old.

When she later learned about the Holocaust, Anna felt, “The Nazis were the people in my dream.” Starting in third grade, she became obsessed with the Holocaust, reading whatever Holocaust books and seeing whatever Holocaust movies were available at that time. At some point, she concluded that she had been experimented upon in Mengele’s infamous twin experiments.

Years later, Anna was invited for a Shabbos meal in New York City. When she arrived, an elderly gentleman who was a fellow guest opened the door for her. She looked at him quizzically. She knew him, but she couldn’t place from where. He also stared at her with a perplexed recognition. Finally, still standing at the doorway, he said, “I think I know you.” Anna replied, “I think I know you, too.” Neither of them, however, could figure out from where.

The connection between Anna and this man, many decades older than she, was so strong that the man’s wife started to get upset. The man and his wife had been guests in this home many times before. Over Shabbos lunch, however, the elderly man, a Holocaust survivor, revealed something that his hosts had never before heard: He had been a subject in the Mengele twin experiments.

I received the following correspondence from a Talmud scholar who detailed a recurrent nightmare he had as a child, six decades ago. He wrote: “I have never shared the following story with anyone, not even my parents, wife or closest friends.” At the end of his account, he added: “I wish to remain anonymous. Jerry Friedman was the first fictitious name that popped into my head.” So averse was he to being associated with a book about reincarnation that he even created a special Gmail account just to send me his story.

He described his recurring dream:

I was born in 1942 to American-born parents. As a young child I had a recurring nightmare. I was a child of about 7 years of age, lying on a well-worn wooden floor, my back propped up against a wall. The room was in my home, not my real home, but in my “nightmare home.” Somehow I knew that the home was in Europe, probably Poland ... . The room was dimly lit and filled with choking smoke. I could see people on the floor who had been shot. They were my “nightmare” family.

There were several uniformed men standing in the room- the perpetrators of the slaughter. I spotted a black gun on the floor next to me and picked it up, still lying on the floor with my back propped against the wall. I held it tightly in my two hands and aimed it at the upper chest of one of the uniformed men who was standing above me. The officer- I just assumed he was an officer of some sort because of his cap- just mockingly smiled at me as if to convey that he knew I would not have the courage to pull the trigger. I looked to the right and left of the officer and noticed the other men and their armbands with the strange symbols, X’s with the ends broken back, like a pinwheel. [At that point in his childhood he was totally unfamiliar with the swastika.]

I looked back at the officer as he was slowly raising his gun towards me. I tried real hard to pull the trigger of my gun. I knew if I didn't pull it, he would shoot me. I just stared at his eyes and his mocking grin growing wider and his gun raised, pointing to my head. I wanted so much to pull the trigger of the black gun. Then the dream ends.

Since early childhood, I have had an aversion to guns, especially black guns. I still get the chills when I see one.

Nechama Bornstein, a Jewish woman from Denmark, born in 1963, had a dream as an adult:

In the dream, I was walking with a group of people, through a darkened passage. At the end of this hallway, there was a wall, made of brown wooden planks. The ceiling was low. The wall to the left was set with white-painted bricks. … I knew that we were being taken to be punished. We had done something terrible, according to the Nazis. We were herded on, close together. … Then right before the end of the hallway, on the right, a door was slightly open. We were pushed through it and entered a fairly large room. It was lit, but I didn't see any source of light. …

Years later, a traveling exhibition of children's photos from Auschwitz was held in The Architect Academy in Copenhagen.

A small photograph on the wall caught my attention. … The small photograph wasn't showing a face, but a low-ceiling hallway. My heart started pounding. I moved forward, every step seemed to take an eternity, unfolding in another time dimension. I knew this place. There it was - the wall made of wooden planks, then that of white-painted bricks. ... I was so upset, I could hardly breathe. I reached the small photograph. This was where we had been walking [in the dream]. There was the door to the right.

A small sign beneath the photograph read: "Entrance to the gas chamber at Auschwitz."

Perceiving God’s Love

Reincarnation turns the gas chambers of Auschwitz and the pits of Babi Yar into terrible chapter endings rather than the final conclusion of the soul’s story. Every great epic includes fearsome chapters where, for example, the heroine is abducted by the villain and subjected to torment. If that were the ending, the saga would indeed be dubbed a tragedy. But if there’s a subsequent chapter, where the villain is vanquished and the heroine—now wiser and kinder for her ordeal—is reunited with her family and goes on to live a salubrious, happy life, would you call that story a tragedy?

The most impactful words I ever heard came from the mouth of Batya Burd, widow of Gershon Burd, speaking at a recent event. After her husband drowned on his 40th birthday, Batya was left a 39-year-old widow with five children under the age of ten. Some people have been asking Batya how such a tragedy could have occurred to her. Batya offered “a potential scenario just to quench the ‘Why?’”

What if, she asked hypothetically, she had been a religious girl in the Holocaust, and had seen someone very dear to her die in front of her. And her reaction had been to deny God, abandon Jewish practice, and rail against God to as many people as would listen. As Batya postulates in her hypothetical scenario:

“What if I spoke out very strongly to people around me that there must be no God that He must have abandoned us, and I brought others down with me.” What if she then died, and in “the World of Truth,” where the soul goes after death, she recognized her mistake and asked for a chance to rectify it. And God gave her another opportunity to “get it right and fix what I had spoiled before.”

And what if she was born again into this world, and had “a good life, and, again, God had someone very dear to me die in front of me, and this time I was going to be given ample opportunity to stay strong in my faith, and I was going to be given a platform to strengthen other people to stay strong, and in that way not only would I rectify what I had done before, but I would go even higher.

"What a good, loving, caring, compassionate God, to allow me the opportunity to rectify and perfect myself and the world around me.”

Reincarnation is a powerful lens through which God’s love and mercy can be perceived in the cataclysms of life.

I’m not asking you, dear reader, to start believing in reincarnation, only to be open-minded enough to examine the evidence. As Jesse Bering wrote in his Scientific American blog: “I’m not quite ready to say that I’ve changed my mind about the afterlife. But I can say that a fair assessment and a careful reading of Stevenson’s work has, rather miraculously, managed to pry it open. Well, at tad, anyway.”

Sara Yoheved Rigler is collecting more stories for a possible book on this subject. Readers who have stories alluding to a Holocaust incarnation are invited to send them to the author at

  1. See Deut. 33:6, and Targum Onkeles and Targum Yonosson on that verse. Also see Isaiah 22:14.
  2. Mishnah Berurah 23:5 and Shaar HaTzion 622:6

I sent this to Mrs. Rigler: In my childhood I had a fascination with trains. At the age of 3 my dreams were "The clink-clink train is coming and I got to get out of it's way". Those were the sounds that I heard before the subway train arrived with the noise of the metal of the tracks moving. My train was not a subway or Long Island Railroad train but a strange brown car where people were standing in it and it had cracks in the floor where I could see the grass and weeds growing along the tracks. I never remember where I got off only going on but it was a long ride and it repeated and repeated itself. It was not an enjoyable ride like the subway but it was a scary ride. Well dreams perhaps 1949 and 1950 disappeared into a new life but I never forgot them and I always suspected reincarnation. One time in a book I bought in Hebrew on the Shoah, I saw a picture of a Polish Rabbi who looked at bit like me at the time for I was thin.
I also learned German in school and forgot most of it but my granddaughter in the States also took up learning German. Like one of the persons mentioned above, I don’t recall telling my dreams to my parents perhaps because they might not take me to the Sunnyside Freight Yards to watch the trains moving there.


No Fraternity pledging for me please!


In June 1965 Richard graduated High School. He took two psychological placement and personality tests and an IQ test where the answers were top secret so the participant would never figure out if he was intelligent, brilliant or a complete idiot. The placement test came back that he was fit to be a scientist, engineer, lawyer, doctor and cleric. Ha-ha laughed the fellow for me an atheists or at least agnostic a cleric they must be out of their minds. But that is what the personality traits showed because of the straight forward and consistent answers. What was funny to Richard was that while taking the test he sat next to a fellow with a black Yarmulke on him who was the first non-primitive or filthy Orthodox Jew. Obvious this fellow was more the cleric type when he reflected on the test results.


Richard wanted to graduate early and took some summer courses in required subjects like Calculus 101 and American History. He was annoyed during a lesson in Calculus that the monthly air raid sirens went off at 11:15 AM. He thought what good is an air raid siren if the USSR hurls a 20 Megaton Hydrogen Bomb or a 50 Megaton one unless you are under the east river in a subway tunnel at the time of the explosion. One did not have a prayer of escaping the city in the panic that would ensue and expect to be out of the 50 mile radius or more in time.


At this time, Richard applied for a job with the College Research Association and worked for a Dr. of Astronomy and Physics doing cosmic ray research. Richard was to use an old adding machine to calculate the statistical deviations for the research. So he had the ethics of working and studying combined. Richard lived in a private house but his parents made only average middle class salaries and due to his refusal to convert to Catholicism did not get the money to go to an out of time College with better Astronomy Courses. He did not know logically why he did not accept the silly conversion for after all he was an atheist of Jewish decent. However, there was some principle of an 18 year old who saw things in black and white and going into a church with a statue of a dead Jew and bowing down to what he considered an idol did not appeal to him.


The man who offered the conversion scholarship was an old foolish friend of his father. He told the following story. “You were an infant. One summer day, I decided that since I was babysitting for you that I would do you a favor to protect you from future Nazis. I was going to walk with you in your carriage the 3 short blocks to the Catholic Church and have you Baptized with a certificate from your infancy. At that time while I was walking the skies became overcast and one could see thunder and lightning heading our way. I rushed you home and not a minute too soon.” There was a pintele Yid inside of Richard and a tear swelled in his eye as if to say I was miraculously saved from this degradation of my soul. Yet the atheist went back to his principles immediately and would not budge after all his Reform Rabbis were atheists themselves and he had no use for religion.   


September came fast enough and he had the opportunity to join a Fraternity, House Plan or some other social group but his desire was to be in an Astronomy Club. In a place where there is no Astronomy Club make one! He made a few friends that got together. About this time walking down the street by the campus was a bunch of young men with buttons and the same type of hat on “I put on Tephillin did you?” Richard thought is that a name of something funny or a brand of condoms that these guys were pledging a fraternity. Silly fellows!


Richard would eventually go to a social function after his first term and meet a nice Jewish Girl from the South Bronx at a House Plan Party. The funny thing is that her father questioned all the time if Richard was Jewish when once he began in the summer of 1966 a search for a religion and one Friday night went out with the girl to a Unitarian Meeting just to make sure that Judaism was right for himself. Well they were as bad as he Reform so not for him. However, he was not quite ready to make the move to Orthodox or even Conservative Judaism. That would take another year. However, trying to find himself he broke up with the lovely young lady as he wanted to concentrate about finding himself in his religion.


The process would take him some more years to strengthen himself before learning what Tephillin were in June 1967 during a film on the Six Day War on the 6 O’clock News. And more time before entering a Yeshiva in February 1969.


There is a man somewhere in Brooklyn NY who published this under the name Avraham Schwartz THROUGH FIRE AND WATER it is a story of bullying, non-religious parents and taking care of them when they were ill. He went to hell and back and the plight of a simple to Jew to honor his parents.



From Roger: More on the mixing of ancient species of man with Homosapiens from last week’s posting:


From Miriam Esther of Boston: Dec. 24th in the evening after the mass was famous for drinking and Pogroms and made the writer of the following article flip out when he saw this he wondered if the some Orthodox Jews had such short memories:


From Roger who theorizes that from the physical standpoint the Yucatan Asteroid impact caused the Mabul (Deluge of Noach) and killed off most of the Dinosaurs also it produced a cooler climate. Afterwards, Dinosaurs and man living at the same time – Chinese Dragons, St. George and the Dragon and more it would seem that mankind made them extinct and not a meteor???


Inyanay Diyoma



Kerry to force an insecurity plan on Netanyahu:



There is a mess in south Sudan and Israel and the US are trying to keep the calm:


Finally getting thanks from Gaza for our help during the flooding and supplying fuel incident number 3:,7340,L-4467929,00.html



Hamas and the Jihad are full of praise for this act against civilians:,7340,L-4468313,00.html



2 Gaza Rocket articles one on an attack and the other on improved range:,7340,L-4468505,00.html and,7340,L-4468548,00.html



Terrorist increase their efforts with more and more attacks:,7340,L-4468765,00.html


Statistics: Terror Attacks Increase As Talks Progress Israel's Security Agency (Shin Bet) statistics for November show dramatic increase in attacks; numbers follow negotiation timeline.





From the author of the article: When it comes to money it is OK to finance the Jihad which is a temporary pocket gain in exchange for a future threat:


The rain washed away parts of the border fence between Gaza and Yisrael:,7340,L-4468864,00.html


Al Qaeda fights against the Egyptian Military:


Bedouin Civilian murdered by Gaza Sniper:,7340,L-4469055,00.html IDF preparing for Gaza escalation at the same time a patrol was shot at in a drive by shooting in the Shomron: We reply



Thanks to Amos P. BOYCOTTING ISRAEL THEN BOYCOTT THE CANCER KILLING PROTEIN WE DISCOVERED. Christians, have you been paying attention? Have you checked to see if your Church is Boycotting, Divesting, and seeking Sanctions against Israel? Seriously, you need to do that.

Okay, if you found your church is indeed participating in BDS, you will want to make sure that you boycott this unique class of cancer-killing fusion-protein molecules developed as an outgrowth of research carried out over a decade at the University of Pennsylvania and the Hadassah Medical Center in ISRAEL!

SO... if you or a family member gets cancer, you and all the BDS-ers in your group must stand by your guns and refuse this amazing treatment.



Remember the old sci-fi films where everything is electronic defending somebody and then one needs simple manned protection? Here we go again with this mad man wanting the Nobel Prize over our dead bodies:’s-revisions-for-US-troops-on-Jordan-Valley-border-Gaza-Hebron-express-train-link


Pinocchio 101 how to play right winger and do the bidding of the left behind everybody’s back:,7340,L-4469832,00.html


Tehillim 121”He who guards Israel neither slumbers or sleeps.”


In Iraq Xmas was celebrated with car bombs. Jan 1st is the founding of the PLO and we got to watch out:




With snipers Gaza may be changing the rules of the conflict but rockets are back for a second time:

The IDF replies forcefully no more empty buildings as in the past:,7340,L-4470150,00.html


Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “To Say or Not to Say”


Good Shabbos Everyone. Sometimes in life we see Jews who are not behaving according to the Torah. What should we do? Should we correct them and risk offending them? Or, should we be silent, in order to keep the peace? This week we will discuss our obligation to correct others when we see them acting in violation of the Torah.
          In general, whenever someone's misbehavior violates a mitzvah which is clearly stated in the Torah, such as keeping Shabbos, we are commanded to correct that person, as the verse states, "You shall surely correct your fellow…" (Vayikra, 19:17) So for example, if we see someone lighting a stove on Shabbos, we must tell them that it is forbidden to do so, because the Torah clearly states, "… You shall not kindle any fire in your dwelling place on the Shabbos day." (Shemos 35,3)
          However, there are times when it is preferable not to correct others. For example, when the misbehavior violates a mitzvah, which is not clearly stated in the Torah and which is a mitzvah that many people are lax in observing, it may actually be preferable not to correct the violator. (Shulchan Aruch, Rama 608:2)  The Shulchan Aruch brings the following example: many people are unaware of the mitzvah to begin the Yom Kippur fast several minutes before dusk; instead, many people eat up until dark. Because this misbehavior is so wide-spread, it is very possible that one would not listen to rebuke on this matter. Therefore, it this case, it would be preferable not to correct a fellow Jew by telling them to stop eating several minutes before dusk. It is better that the person sin unknowingly. (Shulchan Aruch, Rama 608:2) IN ANY CASE, WHEN WE ARE IN DOUBT AS TO OUR OBLIGATION TO REBUKE A FELLOW JEW, WE SHOULD ASK A COMPETENT HALACHIC AUTHORITY.
          Apropos to this issue, the the Sages teach us a general rule: "just as it is a mitzvah to say something which will be accepted by the hearer, so too is it a mitzvah not to say something which will not be accepted by the hearer." (Yavomos 65b) Because, if we know that the listener of the rebuke will not accept the rebuke, we will in effect cause that person to violate the Torah knowingly, which is a much graver level of Torah violation than violating the Torah unknowingly. However, it must be stressed that according the Rama on Shulchan Aruch (608:2), when the mitzvah involved is a mitzvah clearly stated in the Torah, such as Shabbos, one must rebuke the Shabbos violator even if the violator will not listen to the rebuke.
          We read about this concept in the weekly Torah portion Vaera. Hashem commands Moshe Rabeinu (our teacher) to implore Pharaoh to release the Bnai Yisroel from Mitzraim (Egypt). Moshe refuses to accept Hashem's assignment to go to Pharaoh. Moshe says to Hashem "…the Bnai Yisroel did not listen to me, why should Pharaoh listen to me, for my lips are stopped up." (Shemos 6:12)
          Perhaps, Moshe was alluding to the issue we discussed above: "just as it is a mitzvah to say something which will be accepted by the hearer, so too is it a mitzvah not to say something which will not be accepted by the hearer." The following story illustrates this concept.
          Reb Yisroel of Vizhnitz was in the habit of strolling with his gabbai - attendant for half an hour every evening. On one such occasion they reached the house of a certain wealthy bank manager who was a maskil, a follower of the "Enlightenment" movement - in a word, he was a man who definitely was not a chassid of the Rebbe.
          Reb Yisroel knocked on the door, and when a servant opened it, entered the house. The gabbai did not begin to understand the reason for this unexpected visit but, without asking a word, followed the rebbe inside. The host received his distinguished guest with all the marks of respect and politeness dictated by such an occasion; the rebbe for his part took the seat that was offered him, and sat for quite some time without saying a word.
          Considering that it would be rude to ask the rebbe directly about the purpose of his visit, the host whispered his question to the gabbai, but the gabbai did not answer the host. At length the rebbe offered him his farewells, and rose to leave.
          As a mark of respect, the host accompanied him in silence all the way to his home, but at the last minute, when he was about to leave, his understandable curiosity got the better of him, and he turned to the tzaddik: "Rebbe, pardon my question, but it would hardly have been proper for me to ask when we were in my home, so I am taking the liberty of asking now: why did you honor me with a visit?"
"I went to your house in order to fulfill a mitzvah," answered the rebbe, "and thank G-d I was able to fulfill it." "Which mitzvah?" asked the bank manager.
          The rebbe explained: "Our Sages teach that 'Just as it is a mitzvah to say that which will be heard, so is it a mitzvah not to say that which will not be listened to.' Now if I remain in my house and you remain in yours, I cannot fulfill the mitzvah of refraining from telling you 'that which will not be listened to.' In order to fulfill the mitzvah properly, one obviously has to go to the house of the man who will not listen, and there refrain from speaking to him. And that is exactly what I did."
          "Perhaps, rebbe," said the bank manager, "you would be so good as to tell me what this thing is? Who knows, perhaps I will listen?" "I am afraid not," said the rebbe. "I am certain that you will not." And the longer the rebbe refused, the greater grew the curiosity of the other to know his secret, and he continued to press him to reveal "that which would not be listened to."
          "Very well," said the rebbe at length. "A certain penniless widow owes your bank quite a sum for the mortgage of her house. Within a few days your bank is going to dispose of her house by public sale, and she will be out on the street. I had wanted to ask you to overlook her debt, but didn't - because of that mitzvah of 'not saying.'"
          "But how is such a thing possible?" asked the bank manager in amazement. "Surely you realize that the debt is not owed to me personally, but to the bank, and I am only its manager, not its proprietor, and the debt runs into several hundreds, and if so…"
          The rebbe interrupted him: "It is exactly as I said all along - that you would not want to hear." With that he ended the conversation and entered his house. The bank manager also went home - but the rebbe's words found their way into his heart and gave him no rest, until he paid up the widow's debt out of his own pocket. (From, A Treasury of Chassidic Tales on the Torah, R. Zevin, p.189)
Good Shabbos Everyone.
M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In Memory of a fine person and a good Yid: 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 and peaceful Shabbos and guard your health,

Rachamim Pauli