Friday, January 24, 2014

Parsha Mishpatim 1, stories and more winds of Gog and Magog

Posted on the 45th anniversary of the passing of my father, Felix ben Yitzchak may the Torah here raise his Neshama to higher heights in heaven.

Parsha Mishpatim Part 1

Last week we were reading about Moshe Judging and dedicating his authority out to others. This week we learn a lot of laws of the Choshen Mishpat Shulchan Aruch about damages, Hebrew or Gentile Slaves, furthermore there is a section on Eben HaEzer about the rights of each wife.

21:1 Now these are the ordinances which thou shalt set before them.

And these are the ordinances: Wherever it says, “these” [in the Torah,] it [(this word) is used to] separate from what has been stated previously. [Where it says,] “And these,” [it means that] it is adding to what has been previously stated (Tanchuma Mishpatim 3). [Thus] just as what has been previously stated [namely the Ten Commandments,] were from Sinai, these too were from Sinai. Now why was the section dealing with laws juxtaposed to the section dealing with the altar? To tell you that you shall place the Sanhedrin adjacent to the Beth Hamikdash (other editions: the altar). — [From Mechilta] that you shall set before them: The Holy One, blessed is He, said to Moses: Do not think of saying, “I will teach them the chapter or the law [both terms seemingly refer to the Oral Torah] two or three times until they know it well, as it was taught, but I will not trouble myself to enable them to understand the reasons for the matter and its explanation.” Therefore, it is said: “you shall set before them,” like a table, set [with food] and prepared to eat from, [placed] before someone. — [From Mechilta, Eruvin 54b] before them: But not before gentiles. Even if you know that they [gentiles] judge a certain law similarly to the laws of Israel, do not bring it to their courts, for one who brings Jewish lawsuits before gentiles profanes the [Divine] Name and honors the name of idols to praise them (other editions: to give them importance), as it is said: “For not like our Rock [God] is their rock, but [yet] our enemies judge [us]” (Deut. 32:31). When [we let] our enemies judge [us], this is testimony to [our] esteem of their deity. — [From Tanchuma 3]

2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

Should you buy a Hebrew slave: A slave who is himself a Hebrew. Or perhaps it means only a slave of a Hebrew, a Canaanite [servant] whom you bought from a Hebrew. And concerning him, he [the Torah] says, “he shall work [for] six years.” How [then] can I apply the [law in the following] verse, “and you shall bequeath them” (Lev. 25:46) ? [Does this verse apply] concerning one [a servant] purchased from a non-Jew, but one [a servant] purchased from an Israelite goes free after six years? Therefore, the Torah states: “Should your brother, a Hebrew man… be sold to you, [he shall serve you for six years]” (Deut. 15:12). [This is the clarification that] I [God] said this only regarding your brother. — [From Mechilta]  Should you buy: from the hand of the court, who sold him [into servitude] because of his theft, as it is said: “If he has no [money], he shall be sold for his theft” (Exod. 22:2). Or perhaps it refers only to one who sold oneself [into servitude] because of poverty, but if the court sold him, he does not go free after six [years]? When he [the Torah] says: “And if your brother becomes impoverished beside you and is sold to you” (Lev. 25:39), one who sells oneself because of poverty is mentioned [here]. So [to avoid repetition,] how do I apply “Should you buy” ? [By understanding that this is] concerning one sold by the court. to freedom: Heb. לַחָפְשִׁי, to freedom.

Either he was sold into slavery for being a thief or the famine made him sell himself as a free worker for food and board. The slave in Judaism was treated like a human being, had rights and was more part of the family. It was more a loyal servant. My daughter-in-law’s grandmother hired a black lady to be caretaker of her aging mother. In the end the lady raised my daughter-in-law’s father and siblings, her and siblings and in retirement came to visit to see my daughter-in-law’s baby and her sister’s children. FOR although the technical word slave is used, the person is more like a hired servant and treated with respect, dignity and honor and is beloved by the family.   

3 If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married, then his wife shall go out with him.

The owner would have to take into account that he would have two or more mouths to feed for this “slave” also he had to supply sleeping quarters.

4 If his master give him a wife, and she bear him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.

Normally a Ben Yisrael is forbidden to a non-Jew but a slave can be given a slave girl to produce another generation of slaves for the master.

5 But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;

Actually, he should go out free then earn money to purchase his wife and children buy them and free them into becoming free members of our Nation.

6 then his master shall bring him unto God, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.

To the judges: Heb. אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים, to the court to consult his sellers, for they sold him [the slave] to him [to his master]. — [From Mechilta] To the door or to the doorpost: I might think that the doorpost is [a] qualified [place] on which to bore [the servant’s ear]. Therefore, Scripture says: “and you shall thrust it into his ear and into the door” (Deut. 15:17), [meaning] “into the door,” but not “into the doorpost.” What then does or to the doorpost mean? [The text is] comparing the door to the doorpost. Just as the doorpost is upright [i.e., attached to the house; otherwise it is not called a doorpost], so is the door upright. [A detached door may not be used for the ritual of ear boring.]-[From Mechilta, Kid. 22b] and his master shall bore his ear: [I.e.,] the right [ear]. Or perhaps it means the left one? Therefore, the Torah states אֹזֶן “ear,” here and אֹזֶן [elsewhere] for [the purpose of making] a גְזֵרָה שָׁוָה, [which means two places having similar wording, which indicates that the rulings pertaining to one situation also apply to the other]. It is stated here: “and his master shall bore his ear,” and it is stated regarding the mezora [person with the disease of zara’ath]: “the cartilage of the right ear of the one who is becoming pure” (Lev. 14:14). Just as there the right [ear] is specified, here too the right [ear] is meant. Now, why was the ear chosen to be bored out of all the organs of the body? Rabban Jochanan ben Zakkai said: The ear that heard on Mount Sinai, “You shall not steal” (Exod. 20:13) and [then] went and stole, shall be bored. And if [the text is referring to] one who sold himself [into servitude, the reason is that] the ear that heard, “For the children of Israel are slaves to Me” (Lev. 25:55) and [then] went and acquired a master for himself, [this ear] shall be bored. Rabbi Shimon used to interpret this verse [in a beautiful manner] like a bundle of pearls [or a great amount of perfume in this way:]-why were the door and the doorpost singled out from all the fixtures in the house? The Holy One, blessed is He, said: The door and the doorpost were witnesses in Egypt when I passed over the lintel and the two doorposts, and I said, “For the children of Israel are slaves to Me; they are My slaves,” but [they are] not slaves to slaves, and [yet] this one went and acquired for himself a master-[his ear] shall be bored before them [for everyone to see]. — [From Kid. 22b] and he shall serve him forever: Heb. לְעֹלָם, until the Jubilee year [the fiftieth year of the cycle]. Or perhaps it means literally forever, as its apparent meaning? Therefore, the Torah states [in reference to the Jubilee year]: “and each man to his family you shall return” (Lev. 25:10). [This] informs [us] that fifty years are called עֹלָם. But [this does] not [mean] that he must serve him [his master] the entire fifty years, but he must serve him until the Jubilee year, regardless of whether it is near or far off. — [From Mechilta, Kid. 15a]

7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do.

Now if a man sells his daughter as a maidservant: Scripture is referring [here] to a minor girl. I might think that even if she develops signs [of initial puberty, the father may sell her]. [But] you must agree that a kal vachomer [the inference of a major rule from a minor rule] applies here namely if she who is already sold goes free with signs [that is, when she has signs of initial puberty], as it is written: “she shall go out for nothing, without money” (Exod. 21:11), which we interpret as referring to the signs of initial puberty, does it not make sense that she who is not sold [and has initial signs of puberty] should not be sold [at all]? -[From Mechilta, Arachin 29a] [At the moment when a female has two pubic hairs, usually when she is twelve years old, she is no longer considered a minor. She is then called נַעִרָה. She is, however, still under her father’s jurisdiction until six months later, when her breasts have developed to a certain stage. Then she is called בּוֹגֶרֶת, a mature girl. In the case of a Hebrew maidservant, the father may sell her only when she is a minor, not after she has become a נַעִרָה
 she shall not go free as the slaves go free: [I.e.,]-like the emancipation of Canaanite slaves, who go free because of [the loss of] a tooth or an eye. [See below, verses 26, 27.] This one [a Hebrew maidservant], however, will not go free because of [the loss of] a tooth or an eye, but she will work for [her complete] six years or until the Jubilee year or until she develops signs [of initial puberty]. Whichever comes first will be the first [event] to effect her emancipation, and [her master] will reimburse her for the value of her eye or the value of her tooth. Or perhaps this is not so [i.e., the intention of the verse], but “she shall not go free as the [male] slaves go free” [meaning] after six years or in the Jubilee year? Therefore, the Torah states: “Should your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, be sold to you…” (Deut. 15:12). This compares the Hebrew woman to the Hebrew man in regard to all the ways he can be emancipated: just as a Hebrew man goes free following six years [of service] or in the Jubilee year, so too does a Hebrew woman go free following six years [of service] or in the Jubilee year. What then is the meaning of “she shall not go free as the slaves go free” ? [This means] she shall not go free with [the loss of] the tips of her limbs, as do the Canaanite slaves. I might think [then] that [only a Hebrew maidservant does not go free due to the loss of the tips of her limbs, but] a Hebrew man does go free with [the loss of] the tips of his limbs. [Therefore, the Torah] compares the Hebrew man to the Hebrew woman: just as the Hebrew woman does not go free with [the loss of] the tips of her limbs, neither does the Hebrew man go free with [the loss of] the tips of his limbs. — [From Mechilta]

Rashi tells us that she is under 12 years of age. The owner should have his son marry her as she is used to listening to his wife and knows the family customs as suggested by the Talmud. It was a way of improving the status of the girl. In any event she is not to be kept after reaching puberty or 12 years.

8 If she please not her master, who hath espoused her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her unto a foreign people he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.

If she is displeasing to her master: [Meaning] that she does not please him to the extent that he would [want to] marry her. — [From Mechilta] who did not designate her: For he should have designated her and married her, and the money paid for her purchase is the money of her betrothal. Here Scripture hints that it is a mitzvah [for the master] to perform יִעוּד, designation for marriage, [with the maidservant] and it hints that she would not require any other betrothal. [I.e., neither money nor articles of value would have to be given to the girl’s father in order to marry her. The money the father originally received for selling his daughter now would become the money of betrothal from her master.]-[From Kid. 19b] he shall enable her to be redeemed: [This means] he [the master] should give her the opportunity to be redeemed and go free, for he too assists in her redemption. Now what is this opportunity that he gives her? That he deducts from her redemption, according to the number of years that she worked for him, as if she had been hired by him [and was not a slave]. How so? Let us say that he bought her for a maneh [one hundred zuz], and she worked for him for two years. We say to him, “You knew that she would ultimately leave at the end of six years. This means that you bought each year’s work for one-sixth of a maneh, and she has worked for you for two years, which equals one-third of a maneh. Accept two-thirds of a maneh [from her, to pay for the remaining four years] and let her leave you.” -[from Kid. 14b] to another person: Heb. לְעַם נָכְרִי. [Meaning] that neither the master nor the father has the right to sell her to anyone else. — [from Kid. 18a] when he betrays her: If he [the master] comes to betray her and not fulfill the commandment of designation, and the father, too, since he betrayed her and sold her to this one.

If he does not have a son to marry her then he should marry her.

9 And if he espouse her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters.

The whole object of a poor person selling his daughter into servitude in a rich family was to get her into the upper class through education and hopefully marriage. The father has succeeded in changing the social status of his daughter.

10 If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her conjugal rights, shall he not diminish.

One might think that two wives and the man being king of his castle he can do what he wants. He might be wealthy but he has obligations for a man cannot run after a second wife because of some qualities or objects that she possesses but rather has to respect his first wife with all honor due her and may I be so bold as to add love both his wives. Women will pipe up immediately how can one love both his wives? Well I have a few granddaughters and love them all. Each one has their own qualities and personality.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out for nothing, without money.

Rashi explains about taking the Jewish Servant Girl and not marrying her or setting her aside for his son; then upon reaching 12 or puberty, she is freed and not redeemed for the value of which he paid for her to be his servant. And if he does not do these three things for her: If he does not do any one of these three things for her. Now what are these three things? He should designate her for himself or for his son [as a wife], or he should deduct from the money of her redemption and allow her to go free. But this one [master] designated her neither for himself nor for his son, and she could not afford to redeem herself [even after the deduction]. — [From Mechilta] she shall go free without charge: [The text] adds [another means of] emancipation for this [maidservant] beyond what it provided for male slaves. Now what is this [means of] emancipation? וְיָצְאָה חִנָם informs you that she goes free when she shows [initial] signs [of puberty], and she must stay with him until she develops [these] signs. If six years pass before the appearance of these signs, we have already learned that she goes free, as it is said: “Should your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman [be sold to you, that one] shall serve you for six years” (Deut. 15: 12). What then is the meaning of “she shall go out without charge” ? If the signs [of puberty] precede the [end of] six years, she shall go free because of them. Or perhaps it means only that she goes out when she reaches maturity [i.e., at twelve and a half years]? Therefore, Scripture says: “without [payment of] money,” to include her emancipation at maturity. If both of them [i.e., that she goes free “without charge” and “without money”] were not stated, [and “she shall go out without charge” was stated,] I would say that “she shall go out without charge” refers to [her being freed at] maturity. Therefore, both of them were stated, so that the disputant has no opportunity to differ. -[From Mechilta, Kid. 4a]

The next section deals with death penalty cases. I shall continue next week as I had a touch of flu this week and am B”H better now.

12 He that smites a man, so that he dies, shall surely be put to death. 13 And if a man lie not in wait, but God cause it to come to hand; then I will appoint thee a place whither he may flee. 14 And if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbor, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from Mine altar, that he may die. 15 And he that smites his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. 16 And he that steals a man, and sells him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Or the Castro character in Ohio who stole three young women for his fancy.

17 And he that curses his father or his mother, shall surely be put to death. 18 And if men contend, and one smite the other with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keep his bed; 19 if he rise again, and walk abroad upon his staff, then shall he that smote him be quit; only he shall pay for the loss of his time, and shall cause him to be thoroughly healed. 20 And if a man smite his bondman, or his bondwoman, with a rod, and he die under his hand, he shall surely be punished. 21 Notwithstanding if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his money.

This section deals with fines and shall also be handled next week Ble Neder.

22 And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall be surely fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. { 26 And if a man smite the eye of his bondman, or the eye of his bondwoman, and destroy it, he shall let him go free for his eye's sake. 27 And if he smite out his bondman's tooth, or his bondwoman's tooth, he shall let him go free for his tooth's sake. 28 And if an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die, the ox shall be surely stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. 29 But if the ox was wont to gore in time past, and warning hath been given to its owner, and he hath not kept it in, but it hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 If there be laid on him a ransom, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. 31 Whether it have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. 32 If the ox gore a bondman or a bondwoman, he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. {S} 33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein, 34 the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall give money unto the owner of them, and the dead beast shall be his. 35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, so that it dieth; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the price of it; and the dead also they shall divide. 36 Or if it be known that the ox was wont to gore in time past, and its owner hath not kept it in; he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead beast shall be his own. 37 If a man steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it, he shall pay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.

To be continued.

Rabbi Yacov Kamenetzky was once being driven to an event and a bus signaled that he wanted to enter traffic. His driver wanted to pass but the Rav said give the bus the right of way. You and I are individuals but the bus is taking the public from place to place and the public have precedence over individuals from the group. This is not a Halacha but Derek Eretz – proper thoughts and behavior as told by his grandson years ago in the Another story of Rabbi Kamenetzky appears below.

R’ Dovid Winiarz (the Facebuker Rebbe) · Sealed and Delivered

This parsha is called Mishpatim. Simply translated it means ordinances. The portion entails laws that deal with various torts and property damages. It discusses laws of damages, of servitude, of lenders and borrowers, employers and laborers, laws of lost items and the responsibilities of the finder. Many of these mitzvos that are discussed in the section of Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat. But there are quite a few Mitzvos mentioned that engage the purely spiritual quality of the Jew. Some of them deal with kosher restrictions, others with our relationship with the Almighty.

One verse that deals with the requirement of shechita (ritual slaughter) begins with a prelude regarding holiness. “People of holiness shall you be to Me; you shall not eat flesh of an animal that was torn in the field; to the dog shall you throw it (Exodus 22:30). The question is simple. There are many esoteric mitzvos whose only justifiable reason is spiritual. Why does the Torah connect the fact that Jews should be holy with their prohibition of eating meat that was torn as opposed to ritually slaughtered? There are myriad mitzvos that require self-control and abstention. Can there be another intonation to the holiness prelude?

(I heard this amazing story a number of years ago from a reliable source; I saved it until I was able to use it as an appropriate parable to answer a scriptural difficulty. I hope that this is it!)

Dovid, a serious yeshiva student, boarded the last flight out of Los Angeles on his way back to his Yeshiva in New York. He was glad that they were going to serve food as he had left his home in a rush and did not get a chance to eat supper. Sitting next to him on the airplane, was a southern fellow who knew little about Judaism, and considered Dovid a curiosity. As the plane flew eastward, he bantered with Dovid about Jews, religion and the Bible, in a poor attempt to display his little bits of knowledge. Hungry and tired Dovid humored him with pleasantries and not much talking. He was pleased when his kosher meal was finally served. The kosher deli sandwich came wrapped in a plastic tray, and was sealed with a multiple array of stickers and labels testifying to its kosher integrity. His new-found neighbor was amused as Dovid struggled to break the myriad seals and reveal the sandwich, which unbelievably looked just as appetizing as the non-kosher deli sandwich the airline had served him.

“Hey,” he drawled, “your kosher stuff doesn’t look too bad after all!” Dovid smiled and was about to take his first bite into the sandwich when he realized that he had to wash his hands for the bread. He walked to the back of the plane to find a sink. It took a little while to wash his hands properly, but soon enough he returned to his seat. His sandwich was still on his tray, nestled in its ripped-open wrapping, unscathed.

And then it dawned upon him. There is a rabbinic ordinance that if unmarked or unsealed meat is left unattended in a gentile environment, it is prohibited to be eaten by a Jew. The Rabbis were worried that someone may have switched the kosher meat for non-kosher.

Dovid felt that in the enclosed atmosphere of an airplane cabin, nothing could have happened. After all, no one is selling meat five miles above earth, and would have reason to switch the meat, but a zaddik is zaddik, the rule is a rule, and Dovid did not want to take the authority to overrule the age-old Halacha.

Pensively he sat down, made a blessing on the bread and careful not to eat the meat, he took a small bite of the bread. Then he put the sandwich down and let his hunger wrestle with his conscience. “Hey pardner,” cried his neighbor, “what’s wrong with the sandwich?”

Dovid was embarrassed but figured; if he couldn’t eat he would talk. He explained the Rabbinic law prohibiting unattended meat and then added with a self-effacing laugh, “and though I’m sure no one touched my food, in my religion, rules are rules.”

His neighbor turned white. “Praise the L-rd, the Rabbis, and all of you Jewish folk!” Dovid looked at him quizzically.

“When you were back there doin’ your thing, I says to myself, “I never had any kosher deli meat in my life. I thought I’d try to see if it was as good as my New York friends say it is!

Well I snuck a piece of pastrami. But when I saw how skimpy I left your sandwich, I replaced your meat with a piece of mine! Someone up there is watching a holy fellow such as yourself!”

The Pardes Yosef explains the correlation of the first half of the verse to the second with a quote from the Tractate Yevamos . The Torah is telling us more than an ordinance. It is relating a fact. “If you will act as a People of holiness then you shall not eat flesh of an animal that was torn in the field; to the dog shall you throw it. The purity of action prevents the mishaps of transgressions. Simple as that. Keep holy and you will be watched to ensure your purity. Sealed and delivered.

Rabbi Kamenetzky
When I was in College I learned a Heter regarding this. The reason why we wash is because of the original prohibition on eating with Tumay Yadayim (ritually impure hands). However, if the bread is wrapped in plastic there is absolutely no reason to wash but we eat it as is but hold the wrap. There is another Halacha which involves Rabbinical Polemics. A man orders a hot dog in a bun. However, the store owner says we are out of buns but I can give you a hot dog with sauerkraut and pickles on a plate would you take it or not. Or if the store owner says I am out of hot dogs but I can give you a bun would you take it. It is a matter of what is more important and there are some that hold since the bun is of minute importance to the customer he can and should bless “Shehacol” (all things exist) instead of the blessing over bread. Last but not least, the Israeli Rabbinute puts out only Mezonos (baked goods) rolls made from juice for plane flights so that one does not have the problem the young man had.

Returning to Derek Eretz, I found it annoying that I am added to Facebook Groups by “Friends” who don’t even want my posts and one “Torah Judaism” and “Real Torah Judaism” were run by non-Jewish Missionaries. I think it is proper ethics to ask somebody if he wants to be a member of group especially in French or Spanish.

Last week, I had too much on the liberation of the Concentration Camps that I did not print this story:

Esrog Jam on Tu b’Shvat


The sun was already overhead. Tu b’Shvat, the “New Year’s Day” for fruit trees in Israel, would start that night, and the residents of Jerusalem could feel the festive atmosphere permeating their famous Machane Yehuda midtown market place. The numerous food stands were all stuffed with colorful displays of an astonishing variety of fruits, and the crowds of Jewish customers were happily buying them out of love for the fruits of the Holy Land, to be celebrated on their annual special day, and in gratitude and praise to the Creator who bountifully provides them.
In the shul of Rabbi Shlomo, the Rebbe of Zevhil, in the Beit Yisrael neighborhood of Jerusalem [behind Meah Shearim, the location of Mir Yeshiva], the chasidim were finishing the preparations for the festive meal that evening. On the crowded tables were trays and baskets filled with every species of fruit you could think of, in a spectacular variety of colors that challenged the ability of the eye to assimilate. There was even a special jam whose primary ingredient was cooked etrog, which had been prepared by the wife of one of the chasidim.
The Rebbe settled into his chair at the head of the table and deep contemplation of the fruits. He thought about the nature and symbolic significance of each of the species of fruits, and also the complicated question in Jewish law of which of the many kinds of fruits should be given the preference to recite over it the blessing before eating fruit.
Finally he chose the appropriate fruit, recited the blessing with intense concentration, and chewed a small piece. Then he had his attendants distribute most of the vast quantity of fruit among the large crowd assembled in multiple rows round the table.
In the midst of the distribution, a young boy walked in, a cute kid of about ten years old. Most of the men in the shul recognized him, as he lived in the area and would drop in at the shul from time to time. He enjoyed spectating at the colorful events that took place there. He especially enjoyed being present when the Rebbe would host a “tisch” – a table–from where he would distribute “shirayim”-‘leftover’ food from his serving dishes-and inspire all the chasidim with song and teachings.
The Rebbe looked towards the boy, and signaled him to come closer. In excitement mixed with a bit of trepidation, the boy went over to the Rebbe’s chair. The Rebbe smiled at him and said, “Its Tu b’Shvat. Did you have any etrog jam yet?”
The boy shook his head “No.” The Rebbe dipped a spoon into the delicacy, presented it to the boy, and signaled him to say the blessing before tasting. After the boy did so, the Rebbe said to him:
“Do you know that it is of great benefit to eat etrog on Tu b’Shvat? On this ‘Rosh HaShana of Fruit Trees,’ all the fruits for the year to come are judged, including the etrogs that Jews will use on Sukkot for the commandment of “Taking the Four Species.” We have a tradition that we pray on Tu b’Shvat [during the Boraich Aleinu prayer in Shemonah Esreh] that there will be available excellent quality etrogs for the mitzvah on this holiday of Sukkot this year.”
The boy returned to his place in the crowd. By the following night Tu b’Shvat was over, and within a few days the young boy had already forgotten everything the Rebbe had said to him.
Eight months later the Jewish month of Tishrei arrived, which begins with two days of Rosh HaShana and then, on the tenth of the month, Yom Kippur. In the following four days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, the market places and streets of Jerusalem were packed with people looking to buy the Four Species – etrog (citron), zadd ( a date palm branch), Hadasim (3 or more myrtle twigs) and arravot (2 willow stems) – for the mitzvah of joining them together and shaking them on each of the days of Sukkot [except Shabbat].
Besides the potential customers, hoards of Jewish youth were circulating among the different stands excited to see what was happening and what would happen. Vendors were hawking their wares at the top of their voices, nearly everyone was sorting through the Four Species, hoping to find a superior specimen or a good deal that their predecessors had overlooked. The most particular even pulled out magnifying classes and jeweler’s loupes to minutely examine the etrogs for blemishes, and were animatedly consulting with each other and any rabbinical authority in the vicinity.
The young boy whom the Zevhil Rebbe had befriended was also present. He found himself becoming overwhelmed with the desire to possess a superior quality, fine-looking etrog of his own. Every previous year he had recited the blessings over his father’s set of the Four Species. He well understood the limitations of his father’s income and how it was difficult for him to afford even the simplest etrog that was kosher for the mitzvah. Nevertheless, his longing became stronger and stronger, until finally he could not hold himself back, and he revealed his desire to his father.
The father listened carefully. He was thrilled that the passion that filled his young son’s heart was to be able to fulfill a commandment in the finest possible way. Although he couldn’t possibly afford to purchase a high quality etrog – he didn’t even possess that much cash – he gave him some coins and a few small bills, and prayed that with Heaven’s help it would turn out to his son’s satisfaction. At least he would be able to have his own kosher etrog.
The boy passionately thanked his father, then ran off excitedly to the well-known etrog store of Reb Zalman Sonnenfeld. The shop was busy, but when there was a pause between customers, Reb Zalman turned to the young boy and pleasantly asked, “So, what can I do for you?”
“I want to buy an excellent etrog.”
“Really? How much money do you have?”
The boy extended his hand to allow the seller to count his meager stash. Reb Zalman kept a straight face and said patiently, “Good. Go over to that corner of the shop. There you can find a nice etrog for yourself. But please, make sure not to poke in any of the other etrog crates. Understand?”
The boy nodded his head in affirmation and strode quickly to the corner of the store that Reb Zalman had indicated. He picked up the first etrog he saw, examined it, then returned it to its place and lifted up a different one. But he quickly found flaws in it so he placed that one down too. And so it went with another dozen or so samples.
Then, suddenly, he found himself staring with a rush of emotion at the etrog in his hand that he had just plucked from much deeper within the carton that had been designated to him. It seemed top notch. His heart beat faster as he rotated it slowly in his hand and scrutinized it minutely. Not a single blemish! Its color and shape also appealed to him. Even its pitom [‘pistil’–the protruding nipple at the top] was perfect. What an exemplary etrog.
He trotted to the front of the store and excitedly showed his find to Reb Zalman. The owner looked carefully at the etrog and began to shout at the startled boy. “Didn’t I warn you not to touch any etrog in the other crates? Did you really think I would sell you such a superior etrog for the pittance of money in your hand? Why, the price of this etrog is at least 200 times that!”
The boy quickly attempted to justify himself to the shopkeeper, explaining that he had discovered it in one of the boxes in the corner that had been indicated to him. He didn’t pick up a single etrog from any other crate.
Reb Zalman didn’t believe him.
Fortunately for the boy, some of the other shoppers had taken note of him. They enjoyed watching such a young fellow examining the etrogs with so much care and patience. They testified to the store owner that the boy was indeed telling the truth.
Reb Zalman felt ashamed and regretful that he had suspected the boy unfairly. He also now perceived the guiding hand of Providence in the matter. His stern face transformed with a warm smile as he said, “It appears that it was meant for you to possess a magnificent etrog this year. Since I recognize now that you came upon it honestly, it is yours. You deserve it. I’ll sell it to you for the sum of money in your hand.”
He wrapped and packaged the etrog securely and handed it to his little customer. The boy accepted it in both hands with pure joy. And to the amused delight of the sympathetic shoppers, he sprinted out of the store with his prize. He wanted to get home as fast as he could to show it to his father and relate to him all that had happened.
Only after he reached the house and calmed down somewhat did he recall suddenly and clearly what had taken place on Tu b’Shvat eight months before and the words of the zaddik of Zevhil: that eating etrog preserves on Tu b’Shvat and praying for a good etrog is a segula (propitious) for obtaining an excellent etrog for the Mitzvah of the Four Species on Sukkot.
He told all of this to his father too. Tears glistened in the eyes of each of them.
Source: Translated and adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Sichat HaShavua #1360.

Biographical note:
Rabbi Shlomo (Shlom’ke) Goodman of Zivhil (?-26 Iyar–Yesod of Yesod–1945) was the first one of the dynasty to be based in Israel. For a long time after he came to Jerusalem, no one knew his true identity as the Rebbe to whom thousands had flocked in his native land, until a chance visitor from his hometown revealed his secret to the stunned worshipers in the shul he was attending. So once again he acquired thousands of followers and admirers. Famed for his remarkable deeds of kindness, he particularly concentrated on rescuing youths from missionaries and inculcating the importance of the laws of family purity to the masses, while still finding time to answer complicated questions in Jewish Law.

Question can marijuana be good and bad at the same time? When HASHEM created everything he created them for good. However, when Adam sinned and let the bad into the world it affected everything. Snow was good to soak into the ground and rocks were good to build houses and fences with but when the Arabs put the rocks into snowballs to throw at Jews it becomes bad. Cocoa is good as nice drink in the morning and to stop a bad cough in the form of a medicine but cocaine can be a dangerous narcotic. Marijuana when taken in moderation and externally can have medicinal effects for good but can have a bad effect on the brain cells and know a person out of normal functions if used improperly.


From Marnie a non-Jewish friend: Let us never forget the European Anti-Semitism for generations which continues today with the EU Boycott nonsense.  Marlon Brando appearing in the Broadway Production of “A Flag is Born”.. The play had three principal characters, though several other actors played bit roles. Paul Muni and Celia Adler, major stars at the time, played Tevye and Zelda, survivors of the Treblinka death camp who are attempting to travel to the Land of Israel, and Marlon Brando, who played David, an angry young concentration camp survivor. The play opens as the older couple halts for the night and Zelda lights Shabbat candles on a broken tombstone. Tevye recites the Shabbat prayers, then dreams of the town where he was born, as it was before it was destroyed by the Nazis. He then dreams of King Saul at the battle of Gilead, and has a dream conversation with King David after which, in his dream, he stands before the council of the United Nations, Britain, France, the United States, and the Soviet Union, and pleads for the formation of a Jewish State. They ignore him. When Tevye awakens, he finds that Zelda has died during the night. He recites a traditional Jewish memorial prayer, Kaddish, and welcomes the Angel of Death who has come for him. As the young hero, David, considers committing suicide, three Jewish soldiers appear and promise to take him with them to the Land of Israel to fight for Jewish independence. In the play’s stirring finale, David delivers a moving Zionist speech and marches off to fight for Jewish freedom holding a Zionist flag made out of Tevye’s prayer shawl.

Latest public opinion poll shows a shift to the right but with Netanyahu – blah!

Surprise-surprise a redundant ministry in Israel wasting our money:

1981 could this be the future of news?

Remember the Ukrainian Guards in Treblinka?,7340,L-4478175,00.html

From Brian C. If this is how they treat Christians you can imagine how “the religion of peace” treats Jews:

When I was younger I once ran into an insecure building with my first aid kit after a gas blast. I managed to find one injured or in shock when the ambulance arrived he found another 2.,7340,L-4478722,00.html

Temple Mount to be filled with rocks or weapons against Jews in these “trash cans”

Noach Hertz was shot down in his Sky-hawk over Syria he lost a leg and was imprisoned: This is not news for Israelis:

From Barry Chamish’s book Traitors and Carpetbaggers in the Middle-east: Note his claim about Netanyahu:

This woman broke away from a Torah family and did everything to fight Torah and the right wing of Judaism.

Sodom and Amorah has moved from the Dead Sea to London: UK gay reform rabbi makes wedding plans: Rabbi David Mitchell of West London Synagogue wants to be among very first to marry his partner once same-sex marriage becomes legal in England and Wales in late March. Liberal and Reform synagogues across London are lining up to offer the very first same-sex Jewish marriages. They’ll become legal in England and Wales from later in the year. So if you are wondering why the Reform are dying out when they used to number more than the Orthodox now you know.

Inyanay Diyoma

I was not a Chassid of George W. Bush but he was fairer:

Great Video -  And the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air:,7340,L-4477747,00.html


We will soon find out if Israel is bluffing or not if the weak Iran deal goes through or if Iran can hit Europe and Destroy Paris, Berlin, Rome and others. There will be no safer place than Israel at that time:

Gazans wounded as they get too close to the fence for comfort:

Kerry and Putin trying to undermine Israel. The man is wicked and malicious (a) the first (b) the second (c) both plus Obama“Jerusalem-Committee”-–-with-Kerry’s-approval

Remember Obama talking about Bibi with an open mic. Well besides the double standard Kerry is a fully fledged and vicious enemy of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael.

It only took 20 seconds to capture this terrorist:

From Miriam – Israel has 2 friends Australia and Canada: PM Harper of Canada too.

If Netanyahu tries to compromise with the Arabs too much at least 12 members of the Likud would break off to form their own Party and he would be out of a job.

Hamas initially claimed a boy was injured in the airstrike but from their own video only the terrorist was hit.,7340,L-4478666,00.html

Arabs plan Ambush note the VW goes in front of the police and the people running off the street.

Where or where are the Jewish Democrats to help Israel???,7340,L-4478640,00.html

The trickle of rockets continue in the south and we will hit them again and harder until they learn:

When the Shin are not after right-wing Jews they do some good:,7340,L-4479884,00.html

From William the EU Boycott might hurt a little but the smart money is investing in Israel: Occupied by whom? I saw a film the other day by Danny Danon which showed that the whole land from the Mandate was ours and the cease fire line of 1948 was land ceased by Jordan and they had no legal right to it and the PA did not exist.

Arabs chop down their own trees paint signs in Hebrew and blame the Israeli Right:

Aywan Zuwahiri the terrorist from the Caucus and Arab Terrorist in a combined operation to attack the US Embassy, Jerusalem Convention Center and other places.

First they show immodest women then they hype Muslim Veils where are normal modest housewives and gals in the fashion industry?

The police down under find the terrorist money trail:,7340,L-4480081,00.html

The Jihad is under siege by Israel and Egypt and putting out propaganda:

Jihad that kills Muslims neither love Israel but one hates us with more passion:

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Don’t pull the plug”

Good Shabbos Everyone.   In this week’s Parsha Yisro, we read the 10 Commandments.  Being that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of Jewish belief, let us focus in on one of the Ten Commandments in order to strengthen our observance of the fundamentals of our faith. We will concentrate our discussion this week on the Fifth Commandment: Honor your Father and Mother.        
            The mitzvah of honoring parents is very dear to Hashem. As the commentator the Chinuch explains, if one is meticulous in honoring his parents, he will come to honor Hashem.  (Mitzvah 33) Because, one who appreciates his parents who give him his material needs, will surely come to appreciate and honor the One who gives the Universe its spiritual needs.  Because, if Hashem were to “pull the plug”, the Universe would cease to exist.  Thus the mitzvah of honoring one’s parents is dear to Hashem because it is a mitzvah which leads to honoring the Master of the Universe.         The mitzvah of honoring one’s parents applies to one’s grandparents also.  The following amazing true story told in the first person will inspire us all to honor our parents and grandparents properly.       
        “After sustaining a severe heart attack in 1973, my grandmother sank into a deep coma and was placed on life support systems in the hospital. Her EEG was totally flat, indicating zero brain activity. She was hooked up both to a pacemaker that made her heart beat artificially and a respirator that made her lungs breathe artificially. But technically, as the doctors told me privately, she was basically as good as dead.        
       “She’ll never come out of the coma,” they said, “and she’s better off this way. If she did, her life would be meaningless. She’d exist in a purely vegetative state.”         Even though she was in her mid-seventies and had lived a full life, I refused to believe that my beloved grandmother could simply slip away like this. She was too feisty, too vital to just disappear into a coma. My instincts told me to start talking to her and keep chatting away. I stayed at her bedside day and night, and that’s precisely what I did. I spoke to her all the time about my husband and our two small children, about other relatives, about her own life. I told her all the news that was circulating in Australia at the time. Anything and everything was grist for the mill. I also kept urging her to keep clinging to life, not to give up.        
        “Don’t you dare leave us!” I exhorted. “I need you, Mom needs you, your grandchildren need you. They’re just beginning to get to know you. It’s too soon for you to go!”       
         It was hard for me to do battle for my grandmother’s life, alone as I was. During the time that she fell ill, I was her only relative in Sydney. Her daughter (my mother) was away overseas on a trip, and my only sibling – a brother – lived in Israel. My husband was home caring for our children so that I could take my post at her bedside. I stood a solitary vigil, but that was not what placed such tremendous pressure on me. What was enormously difficult was being asked to make decisions alone. The emotional burden was huge.         When four days passed with no signs of life flickering in either my grandmother’s eyes or her hands, and no change recorded by the EEG, the doctors advised me to authorize the papers that would turn off the life support systems. I trembled to think that I held the power of consigning my grandmother to an early grave.         “But she’s really already dead,” the doctors argued. “She’s just being kept artificially alive by the pacemaker and the respirator. Keeping her hooked up to these machines is just a waste.”        
           “Well, listen,” I said. “It’s Thursday afternoon, and in the Jewish religion we bury people right away. My parents are overseas – practically two days away – and they would certainly want to be here for the funeral. But we don’t do funerals on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. The earliest we could do the funeral would be on Sunday. So let me call my parents to get ready to fly home, and I’ll sign the papers on Sunday.”        
       It was all very cold and calculating, but deep inside, my heart was aching. Meanwhile, I didn’t let up. I kept talking up a storm, discussing weighty matters, babbling about the mundane.       
          “Guess what, Grandma?” I gossiped. “You won’t believe who ended up being your roommate here in the hospital! Stringfellow! Your next door neighbor at home, Mrs. Stringfellow, was just brought in with a serious condition. Isn’t that a coincidence? She lives next door to you in Sydney and now she’s your roommate here in the hospital!”        
         On Shabbos, I was at my usual post at my grandmother’s bedside, getting ready to start a round of tearful goodbyes, when I thought I noticed her eyes blinking. I called a nurse and told her what I had seen.         “It’s just your imagination, dearie,” the nurse said compassionately. “Why don’t you go downstairs for some coffee, and I’ll stay with her until you come back?”         But when I returned, the nurse was brimming over with excitement herself. “You know,” she said, “I think you may be right. I’ve been sitting here watching your grandmother, and I could swear I saw her blinking, too.”         A few hours later, my grandmother’s eyelids flew open. She stared at me and then craned her neck to look at the empty bed on the other side of the room.         “Hey,” she yelled, “what happened to Stringfellow?” By the time my mother arrived at the hospital the next day, my grandmother was sitting up in bed, conversing cheerfully with the hospital staff, and looking perfectly normal. My mother glared at me, annoyed, sure I had exaggerated my grandmother’s condition. “For this, I had to schlep all the way home?” she asked.        
        Later, my grandmother told me that while she was in the “coma” she had heard every single word that was said to her and about her. She repeated all the conversations to me, and her retention was remarkable.         “I kept shouting to you,” she said, “but somehow you didn’t hear me. I kept on trying to tell you, ‘Don’t bury me yet.’” After she was discharged from the hospital, my grandmother’s quality of life remained excellent. She lived on her own as a self-sufficient, independent, and high-spirited lady and continued to live in this manner until her death sixteen years (!!!) after I almost pulled the plug.”  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 and peaceful Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli