Friday, May 16, 2014

Parsha Bechukosai, stories, miraculous events, news

Prayer Update: I am removing Carol bas Esther I have no idea who sent me the name.  Nomi Esther bas Tziporah fighting a very tough battle, kick the Tefillos up a notch.  We have a Tinok ben Yitta Aliza born at 24 weeks, for at least this week for the latter. Add a new name please Bella Chava bas Pearl Leah.

When I read 26:9 this week I am reminded to pray for the yet barren couple Shaul ben Rivka and his wife Michal Rachel bas Geula that they will have the fruit of the womb and a healthy child or children that will group up as their parents to follow Torah and Mitzvos and have the fear and love of HASHEM upon them.

Parsha Bechukosai

Last week we learned about the holiness of the physical land of Israel and the Shmita Year. This week we continue how the land and the people together through observance allows us to chase away our enemies but the reverse is true if we do not observe. Because this week as in most years is the anniversary of the Six Day War and Yom Yerushalayim we see how appropriate. 27:8 is when we observe or HASHEM has compassion upon us.

26:3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them;

Hebrew has three words to describe various types of Commandments. Chuk such as in Parsha Chukkas and here which does not need to have a full explanation which human beings can understand by inborn logic this is the word statutes and it is within the first word of our Pasha. Literally, in this Pasha written as in MY Chukim. There is also Mishpatim which are judgements and between man and his fellow man as we find in Parsha Mishpatim. The third is Mitzvos or in this case MY Mitzvos to guard or do. Since we have the word ‘If’ followed in the next sentence by ‘then’ we have a condition of a contract. If you do this then I, the L-RD, will do that.

This week Rashi does not bring down the Pshat like I did but goes into the Drasha: If you follow My statutes: I might think that this refers to the fulfillment of the commandments. However, when Scripture says, “and observe My commandments,” the fulfillment of the commandments is [already] stated. So what is the meaning of “If you follow My statutes”? It means that you must toil in the study of Torah [for the word for “follow” here, תֵּלֵכוּ, literally means “walk,” which is a strenuous activity (Gur Aryeh)]. — [Torath Kohanim 26:2 And observe My commandments: You shall toil in the study of Torah in order to observe and fulfill [the commandments (Torath Kohanim 26:2). This is similar to, “[Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances…] and learn them, and keep in mind to do them” (Deut. 5:1) [i.e., learn the Torah in order to keep them in your heart and perform them]. — [Sifthei Chachamim]

4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

The following is my observation vs. the Pshat. This is one time where in this year in particular I can show the correlation between lack of rain and the war on the ultra-Orthodox and even modern Yeshivos. The season started out with the biggest rain and earliest large snow storm in modern Israeli History which was followed by the worst drought in modern recorded history. And did the war on the ultra-Orthodox work? Well a year ago my grandson and his friends in a Charedi Yeshiva were talking among themselves that most would stay in the Yeshiva to get a good Shidduch and then go into the army to earn money afterwards and get a good secular education. Now what – my grandson debated the others that one who lives in the Medina (country) should be patriotic and respect the Independence Day Celebration and be proud to have been born here and a citizen. However, the others were mostly riled up at the politicians for the forcing of Charedim to join the army. Beforehand 3,000 reported for induction and now less than 900 plus hundreds in National Service. If Dr. Philip McGraw was to ask the politicians “Now how is this working for you?” the politicians would have their mouths full of water.

Returning from my observations to the Pshat in our Parsha we see that if there is not enough rain then the fruits, vegetables and crops of the field will have a very low to zero yield but man and animal will be driven from the land and it will look barren like most of the area the politicians and newspapers love to call the west bank with a few olive trees and some greenery around springs and cesspools that overflow.

However, if you fulfill the commandments including thinking of others and respecting the Torah then you will see amazingly high crop yields.

[I will give your rains] in their time: at a time when people do not usually go out, for example, on Sabbath Eve. — [Ta’anith 23a] The tree of the field: This refers to trees [planted in the field, as opposed to the orchard,] that do not bear fruit, but are destined to bear fruit in the future. — [Torath Kohanim 26:5]
5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread until ye have enough, and dwell in your land safely.

Your threshing will last until the vintage [and the vintage will last until the sowing]: For the threshing will be so plentiful that you will be occupied with it until the vintage, and you will be occupied with the vintage until the sowing season. — [Torath Kohanim 26:6] You will eat your food to satiety: One will eat only a little [food], but it will become blessed in one’s innards. — [Torath Kohanim 26:6]

I am glad to report on the practical side that HASHEM is still working miracles for us and we are still dwelling in safety despite ourselves. I attribute this more to the fact that the time is close by for the Moshiach to appear.

6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will cause evil beasts to cease out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

And I will grant peace: You might say, “Here is food, and here is drink, but if there is no peace, there is nothing!” Scripture, therefore, states, after all this [blessing], “I will grant peace in the Land.” From here, [we learn] that peace is equal to everything else. And so, [this is illustrated in our morning prayers,] when we say: “[Blessed are You, O Lord…] Who… makes peace and creates everything” [a paraphrase of the verse] (Isaiah 45:7). - [see Ber. 11b; Torath Kohanim 26:7] And no army will pass through your land: It is unnecessary to state that they will not come to wage war, but [they will not come] even to pass through your land from one country to another. — [Torath Kohanim 26:9]

After reading this week of a woman who found a 12 foot python in her bathroom in Texas thanks to a genius who thinks that pythons make nice pets like the man who had a four year old son that his python started eating back in the news a few years ago one can understand this blessing. In the Golan Heights and other places there are still hyenas and wolves. My area of Yisrael still has snakes, wild boar, deer, foxes, weasels and jackals. It is not pleasant if a person is attacked by a pack of jackals or hyenas or a pack of wolves. So you must be under a Torah regime to protect yourself from these beasts.

7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

[And they will fall] by the sword before you: each man [falling] by the sword of his fellow. — [Torath Kohanim 26:9]

Not quite this happened in the Six Day War, but the pill boxes on the way up the Golan Heights had Syrian Soldiers chained to their posts while their officers ran away leaving them without leadership or a way to escape. That was what happened in the Six Day War but with our Chutzpa of not recognizing HASHEM for the miracle, our leaders began to think that we were supermen and did not tribute the victory to HASHEM Yisborach. Therefore we were given the Yom Kippur War that had miracles but tremendous losses. No human can bring back to life the thousands that died on a Kiddush HASHEM or return limbs to the wounded or the psychological damage to husbands and wives. SO WE MUST RECOGNIZE HASHEM and celebrate HIS GLORY and praise HIM.

8 And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand; and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Of you will pursue: [It will require only five] of your weakest [to pursue a hundred enemies], and not of your strongest [i.e., מִכֶּם means “the weakest (מָ) of you.”]- [Sifthei Chachamim; Torath Kohanim 26:10] Five… will pursue a hundred, and a hundred of you will pursue ten thousand: But is this calculation correct? [Since five will pursue a hundred, this means that each Jew will pursue twenty enemies;] therefore, should Scripture not have written here: “and a hundred of you will pursue two thousand”? But, [the Torah teaches us that] there is no comparison between a few who fulfill the Torah and many who fulfill the Torah [and thus, here, the larger the group of pursuers, the higher proportionately is the number pursued]. — [Torath Kohanim 26:10]  And your enemies will fall [by the sword before you]: [This promise, already stated in verse 7, is repeated here to teach us (Torath Kohanim 26:10)] that the enemy will fall before you, not in the usual manner [i.e., that many of them will fall by the hand of only a few. — [Rash MiShantz ad loc.]

The ratio in the Six Day War was 3,000,000 vs. 150,000,000 or 75 to 1 and yet despite more tanks, more artillery, more soldiers, higher elevations the Mitla and Gidi Passes, we conquered them.   We see this all the time, in the Gulf War with all the miracles that I wrote about in the past and the more than 10,000 plus missiles and mortars from Gaza did mostly monetary damage and very few people died or were injured.

9 And I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you; and will establish My covenant with you.

This can only be if we follow the Mitzvos however going against the Mitzvos will lead to the opposite.

I will turn towards you: “I will turn away (אֶפְנֶה) from all My affairs to pay your reward.” To what may this be compared? To a king who hired some workers [only one of whom worked for him for a long time, while all the others did not. When they presented themselves to receive payment, the king quickly paid the others a small amount, while to the one who had worked long, he said, “They worked merely a little for me, but with you, I must now turn my attention to calculate the substantial amount that I owe you.” Likewise, God will quickly pay the nations the small amount He owes them for their little good deeds, and then He will turn His attention, as it were, to the Jewish people, to calculate their great reward,] as is taught in Torath Kohanim 26:11.] And I will make you fruitful: [Unlike the usual expression of פִּרְיָה וְרִבְיָה in Scripture, here, the two parts of this expression are separated by the word אֶתְכֶם (Sifthei Chachamim quoting Maharai). The first part, וְהִפְרֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם, refers to the blessing of] being fruitful and multiplying. — [Torath Kohanim 26:12] And increase you: [while the second part,] וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶתְכֶם [refers to the blessing of having] dignity of stature [(הִתְרַבְרְבוּת) i.e., being able to hold one’s head up high due to dignity]. — [Mizrachi; Torath Kohanim 26:12] And I will set up My covenant with you: a new covenant, not like the first covenant, which you broke, but a new covenant, which will not be broken, as it is said, “I will form a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah-not like the covenant [that I formed with their forefathers… that they broke]” (Jer. 31:30-31). - [Torath Kohanim 26:12]

10 And ye shall eat old store long kept, and ye shall bring forth the old from before the new.

You will eat very old [produce]: [But what blessing is it to eat old food? The Torah, means, however, that] the produce will remain well preserved, growing mellow with age, so that very old produce from three years ago will be better to eat than that of last year. — [B.B. 91b]  And you will clear out the old from before the new: The threshing floors will be full of new [grain, which would decay if left there, and, therefore, must be stored]. The storehouses, however, will be filled with the [abundant] old produce. Therefore, you will have to remove what is in the storehouses and take it elsewhere [in your house], in order to put the new produce into them. - [Sifthei Chachamim and see preceding Rashi; B.B. 91b]

I see this as a blessing. My wife sometimes chides me, “Why do you eat older food from the refrigerator on Shabbos instead of the fresh?” but actually I see it as being blessed with plenty as this Pasuk teaches me. As Herbert Hoover said in the great Depression “wilful waste makes wrongful want and one day you may say how I wish I had that bread that I once threw away!”. I saw before the Yom Kippur War people who had the tradition not to throw out bread but they would leave it near the garbage and it would mold and everyday they bought the fresh subsidized bread. Well after the war inflation set in and eventually the subsidies left and I saved up some money on my low salary for better things. I did not throw out the bread, I ate it and not leaving it aside the garbage can. When I had left over bread in FL, I fed it to the fish in the pond as I had no need to schlep it to Israel but that is like the only time one can see me doing something with bread or a hard piece of pita going to my dog for a treat and he loves it. But the garbage or next to the can – no!

11 And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright.
14 But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments;

This is the penalty clause in our contract with HASHEM. We do next to nothing follow a few Mitzvos and have a wonderful and relatively easy peaceful life. However, if we become wise guys and think that our jobs are safe or our money is save then we have a surprise if we break the contract. My family was happy either or both in Spain and Portugal and my father and grandfather in the fatherland that he fought for in World War I only to flee and lose his house and fortune and his health to torture.

15 and if ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul abhor Mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but break My covenant;

One is not free to break the contract.

16 I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall make the eyes to fail, and the soul to languish; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set My face against you, and ye shall be smitten before your enemies; they that hate you shall rule over you; and ye shall flee when none pursues you.

Where does Anti-Semitism come from? HASHEM says here blame the Bnei Yisrael for violating MY Covenant. So the next time somebody says “It’s the Jews fault”. It is time to reflect on our own deeds and warn your brothers and sisters to shape up in Mitzvah observance. After seeing the Facebook film that I brought down below and the behavior of our ‘leadership’ and orders, I wonder if we have reached this curse part where armed soldiers flee from teens and young men with rocks.

18 And if ye will not yet for these things hearken unto Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins.

If you do not repent and learn from your sins you shall not get a double whammy but a seven fold punishment over your last punishment.

19 And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass.

How many times did we see the weather pattern this great drought year with rain clouds coming our way only to disapate?

… 32 And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

Until this day most of Arab areas of Yehuda and Shomron are barren rocks with a few weeds and desert plants growing there.

33 And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you; and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste.

Jews leave your flesh pots while you can for there many come a day in the future where these nations will come against us in the final judgement and you will be in grave danger with all your money.

34 Then shall the land be paid her Sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and ye are in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and repay her Sabbaths. 35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest; even the rest which it had not in your Sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it.

You did not observe Shmita so now the barren land will rest instead.

… 43 For the land shall lie forsaken without them, and shall be paid her Sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them; and they shall be paid the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected Mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred My statutes. 44 And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.

This is what we pray in the Shemona Esray to remember our forefathers. However, if you tell me that our prayers are in vain this is not so. However, what percentage of the population prays? And those who do pray; how many make it to a Minyan?

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.

These last two Parshiyos and the rest of the Torah were given on Har Sinai along with plenty of Oral Warnings and signs for the leaders of the future.

Chapter 27 is the laws of valuations and Yovel concluding what we started in Parsha Behar and like the ending of the last chapter this Parsha and our Sefer ends with these words:

34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Chazak – Chazak v’ nit Chazak

Mussar from Dr. Harry a true story that made news about 1975: Hiroo Onoda’s fascinating story came back into the headlines this January when he died at age 91 in a Tokyo hospital. As an officer in the Imperial Japanese Army, he had been stationed on the island of Lubang in the Philippines and given strict orders to stay there and carry out reconnaissance and guerrilla warfare. Lieutenant Onoda was directed not to leave the island or to surrender. His commanding officer, Major Yoshimi Taniguchi, ordered: “You are absolutely forbidden to die by your own hand. It may take three years, it may take five, but whatever happens, we’ll come back for you. Until then, so long as you have one soldier, you are to continue to lead him. You may have to live on coconuts. If that’s the case, live on coconuts! Under no circumstances are you [to] give up your life voluntarily.” He was told to carry out his duties until his commanding officer returned.

In the confusion that followed defeat, the Japanese army lost track of Onoda. For 30 years, this dedicated soldier evaded capture and continued to fight a war he didn’t know had ended. He didn’t compromise. He followed his orders without interruption until he was found in the jungle and his commanding officer, long since retired, returned in person to the island to relieve him of his orders.

This one-time enemy soldier’s devotion to duty spoke to me about the commitment we are supposed to have as Jews. We too have been given orders. Our orders are from the “King of kings and Lord of lords”. He is clear about them in the Torah, and we are not to compromise.  Let us all try to be as devoted to our duty as Jews, as Hiroo was devoted to the Japanese army.

10 life lessons from an accessible giant.
The period of counting the Omer is also a time of national mourning. The Talmud (Yevamot 62b) recounts that Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest scholars of the Mishna, lost 24,000 students to plague during this time of year. The world was “desolate” until he raised five new students – who were able to restore the Torah to its full glory in that dark period.
Rabbi Akiva’s life is a fascinating tale of inspiration, of a man of humble origins who overcame it all to achieve greatness. I would like to outline some of the highlights of his life story – and demonstrate why I feel he serves as a personal role model to us all.

1. He was of Humble Origins

Rabbi Akiva began his life as a shepherd. He was entirely unlearned until his middle years. He likewise had no Jewish lineage to speak of (Talmud Brachot 27b). He descended from converts. And as he rose to greatness in his later years, he never forgot who he was or where he came from. His favorite principle was “Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). Rich or poor, simple or scholarly, tall or short, strong or weak: We are all God’s children. God and His Torah are not the monopoly of the wise or well-pedigreed. We are all precious to God.

2. He Saw Inspiration and Acted on it

The Midrash (Avot d’Rav Natan 6:2) records the turning point of Rabbi Akiva’s life. One day, at the age of 40, Akiva passed a well. He saw a rock with a hole carved into it. He inquired who shaped the rock, and was told it was caused by the slow but constant dripping of water on top of it.
Akiva then reasoned: If a substance soft as water can penetrate a rock with slow, persistent motion, so too the Torah, which is hard as iron, can slowly but surely penetrate my heart. And this was Akiva’s turning point. He promptly set off to study Torah – for an uninterrupted 24 years.
So many times in our lives are we moved by inspiring words or events. We know they are speaking to us, that God has a message for us. Yet the inspiration fades before we do anything about it – and life moves on. Not R. Akiva. He saw his moment – and he changed his life right then and there.

3. He Patiently Started from the Bottom

When Akiva went to study, he did not exactly hire a private tutor or join an adult study program. Nor did he sign up for an anonymous on-line course. The Midrash describes how he, together with his young son, went to cheder to learn the alef-bet together with the youngest children. And his past humility showed. He wasn’t fazed by the awkwardness; he didn’t care for his own dignity. He set right down to work.

4. He was No Super-Genius

It is not as if Rabbi Akiva really had an IQ of 180 all along but was just withering on the vine during his years as a shepherd. He had to work – and work hard – to become who he was.
The Talmud (Yevamot 16a) records a meeting R. Akiva had with a monumental scholar, to discuss a debate they had about a touchy subject in Jewish law. The other scholar was the raving genius type. No one could keep up with him in an argument – not even R. Akiva, by then the acknowledged leader of his generation.
The other scholar, after R. Akiva failed to convince him, had nothing but snide remarks for the supposed leading scholar of the generation. But as the Talmud continues, it didn’t faze Akiva in the slightest. He was still the shepherd-turned-scholar. He had no airs about him whatsoever.

5. He Asked All the Tough Questions

Rabbi Akiva, in spite of his late start, had a distinct advantage over his colleagues. Unlike they who began their study as small children, he came to it as an adult. And as a result, he approached the Torah with mature eyes. Nothing was taken for granted or viewed as, “Well, that’s just the way things are.” R. Akiva probed every aspect of Judaism – and discovered truths where others failed even to look.
We thus find Rabbi Akiva posing some of the most profound questions of life. In Pirkei Avot (3:19) he grapples with the contradiction between man’s free will and God’s knowledge of the future. If God already knows what I will do tomorrow, do I really have the free will to decide? He likewise discusses (3:20) how God’s governs and judges the world. The Midrash (Avot d’Rav Natan 6:2) describes R. Akiva as a persistent student, leaving no issue unexplored and unexplained. His colleague characterized him with the comment – “Matters hidden from people, R. Akiva has brought to light.”

6. It was All Because of His Wife – and He Knew it

So much of R. Akiva’s greatness was on account of his devoted wife Rachel. She “discovered” him. He served as shepherd for one of the wealthiest men of his time, Kalba Savua. Kalba’s daughter took a liking to the humble shepherd, whom she saw as modest and refined. She proposed to him – on condition that he agree to study Torah. He agreed and they married secretly. Kalba promptly disowned his daughter and for years the young couple lived in abject poverty (Talmud Ketuvot 62b).
If not for Rachel, Akiva would have no doubt remained an anonymous shepherd with little future. But she believed in him. Rachel left a life of fabulous wealth to make home for Akiva – because she knew he could become great – and she had the faith and the patience to see it happen. And when he was ready, she encouraged him to leave home to study – which he did for an uninterrupted 12 years.
But that was only half of it. The Talmud (Ketuvot 62-3) records that on his return, already an accomplished scholar, R. Akiva was about to enter his home. Just then he overhears a conversation. An elderly man challenges Rachel: “How long will you live as a widow with your husband alive?” She responds, “If [my husband] would listen to me, he would remain for another 12 years in yeshiva!” On that providential note, R. Akiva returns for another 12 years of study.
At last, after 24 years, R. Akiva returns to his hometown, now the leading scholar of the generation, escorted by an entourage of 24,000 students. His wife, still dressed in her simple house clothes, goes out to greet him. She falls before his feet. It creates a scene – an elderly woman thrusting herself before great rabbi surrounded by scores of devoted students. They move to push her away. But R. Akiva stops them, uttering a line which has since become famous: “Leave her. What is mine and what is yours is hers.”

7. He Never Forgot His Origins

R. Akiva “made it” in every sense of the word. By the end of his life he was the acknowledged spiritual leader of world Jewry. He became wealthy. He was revered and admired by all. His opinion was sought and regarded on all matters Jewish. Yet he never forgot where he came from. He was still one of the masses. He knew what it was like to be poor, to be unknown, and to be unlearned.
And his love for humanity showed. His favorite verse was Leviticus 19:18: “Love your fellow as yourself” (Sifra 4:12). In Pirkei Avot (3:18), he states, “Beloved is man for he was created in the image [of God],” as well as, “Beloved are the Children of Israel for they are called children of the Lord.” We are all precious to God. There is no favoritism in Heaven.
R. Akiva in fact well remembered his past hatred for Torah scholars (Talmud Pesachim 49b). He knew what it was like to be coarse and ignorant. And he remembered the resentment – and the hatred – felt by the underprivileged classes. He had love and patience for all – because he was one of them himself, and he realized how difficult it is to outgrow one’s past mindset.

8. He Lost All – and Kept Going

After achieving fame, R. Akiva became teacher and spiritual mentor to an astounding 24,000 students. As the Talmud (Yevamot 62b) recounts, every one of them died in an exceedingly brief period of time – during the several week period between Passover and Shavuot – due to epidemic. And as the Talmud puts it, the world was desolate. The human tragedy was devastating, the loss to the Torah world unimaginable.
But apart from all of that, R. Akiva personally witnessed his entire lifeworks go down the drain. Years of training the greatest minds of the next generation were lost to R. Akiva, with nothing remaining to show for himself.
If there were anyone in this world who could be forgiven for spending his remaining years wasting away feeling sorry for himself, it was R. Akiva. Could there have been a clearer sign from heaven that God was not interested in R. Akiva’s works, that his precious legacy was just not meant to be? How could a human being not become paralyzed from misery and indecision at that point?
But R. Akiva picked himself up and started again. As the Talmud continues, he found 5 new students – five to replaced 24,000. Rather than attempting to amass students without number, he focused on 5 precious souls, who would between them restore the Torah to its past glory.
No doubt R. Akiva never recovered from the pain of the loss. As we saw, his way was to ponder the most difficult questions of life. Yet he didn’t let his inability to explain stand in the way of his life’s mission. We all have questions in life we cannot answer. Even with his great intellect – or perhaps because of it – R. Akiva was no exception. But questions and doubts did not stop him. The rabbi’s intellect was far from assuaged, but he kept on going – and ultimately persevered.

9. He Always Saw the Positive

Looking back at his difficult life, Rabbi Akiva saw God’s goodness in all that transpired – not only in his personal life but in all the events of the world. He became famous for the saying, “Whatever God does is for the good.”
The Talmud (Brachot 60b) recounts how R. Akiva was once traveling. He had with him a lantern, a rooster, and a donkey. He came to a village seeking lodging. No one took him in. Undaunted, his trademark reaction went through his mind: “Whatever God does is for the good.” He set up camp in the wilderness nearby. During the night a wind blew out his lamp, a fox ate his rooster, and a lion slew his donkey. R. Akiva took it all in stride.
He awoke the next morning to find that during the night soldiers had sacked the village which refused him lodging. Not only would the rabbi have been captured with the other residents had he been there, but had his light or animals betrayed his camp he would have equally been doomed.
The Talmud (Makkos 24b) relates that once R. Akiva and a number of colleagues passed by the former location of the Temple in Jerusalem (they lived shortly after its destruction). They saw a fox run out of the place of the Holy of Holies. The colleagues began crying at the pathetic sight. R. Akiva, however, laughed. To his surprised colleagues he explained: "We have both the prophecy of Uriah and of Zechariah. Uriah foretold, ‘Zion shall be plowed like a field’ (Micha 3:12). Zechariah foretold, ‘Again shall old men and old women sit in the streets of Jerusalem... and the streets of the city shall be filled with boys and girls playing’ (Zechariah 8:4-5). Until the prophecy of Uriah was fulfilled (fully and literally) I was fearful lest the prophecy of Zechariah not be fulfilled. Now that the prophecy of Uriah was fulfilled, it is clear that Zechariah's prophecy will be fulfilled – to the final detail."
R. Akiva lived through it all, yet he never lost hope. The very sights that brought others to tears of despair filled him with undying hope. All that occurs in this world, both the good and the bad, emanate from an infinitely-good Creator. But life isn’t always for us to understand. We must at times just be patient and wait.

10. He Died a Hero’s Death

We might hope that after living so troubled yet heroic a life, R. Akiva and Rachel would at last settle down to live happily ever after. But that was denied them as well.
The Talmud (Berachos 61b) describes Rabbi Akiva’s bitter end. He was incarcerated and tried by the Romans for his “crime” of publicly teaching Torah. He was found guilty as charged. They tortured him to death, flaying off his skin with sharpened iron combs.
R. Akiva spent his final moments on earth reciting the Shema, accepting upon himself the yoke of Heaven. His students asked him: “Our teacher, this far?!” He answered: The Shema teaches us to love God with all our souls (Deuteronomy 6:5), which I understood to mean “even if they are taking your soul.” My entire life I agonized over this verse: Would I really love God even if my soul were being taken? I at last have the opportunity to demonstrate this. How could I not do so now? And as the rabbi recited “the Lord is one” his soul left him.
R. Akiva is counted as one of the “ten martyrs” slain by the Romans – the ten leading Torah giants killed during and shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple. Most of the other scholars, in spite of their greatness, you might not have even heard of if you are not a Talmudic scholar yourself. But not R. Akiva. He was one of us: His story is our story, his life is our life. He began his days simply and humbly as so many of us, yet he grew to become whom we all know we too could be. May his memory be for a blessing. This story was brought to my attention by K. F. one of my potential conversion students.

When a world power collapses: From Barry Shaw "Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought out nothing but loads of dung. That was their return cargo."
– The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade (1871)
If a country produces nothing it is worthless. Thank goodness for the Jewish genius and the entrepreneurial skills of Israelis that make this country a powerhouse for today's driving technology and science.

There are discussions among Rabbis most agree that early abortion until the 40th day is not murder as the soul has not been matched to the body. Dr. Harry sent me this about late term abortions: May 13, 2014, marks one year since Philadelphia abortion Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted of first-degree murder “in the deaths of three babies who were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy, ‘house of horrors’ clinic,” according to the Associated Press. Gosnell instantly became the face of abortion in the prolife community.
But there’s another, more recognizable face pushing abortion in the U.S. – liberal billionaire Warren Buffett. The so-called “Oracle of Omaha” has donated more than $1.2 billion to abortion organizations from 2001 to 2012.
That’s equal to the cost of roughly 2.7 million first-trimester abortions – more than twice the number of abortions that occur in an entire year in the United States. Unlike Gosnell, however, everything Buffett has done has been entirely legal. But Buffett does share something else in common with the abortionist. Both their stories have been largely unreported.

Aish HaTorah brought down an important point. Although most Orthodox Jews stay married for life sometimes two good people cannot manage together as a team or sometimes something happens to a spouse (not upon us) and they are taken from us before their time. This article deals with dating a second time around. fellows caution this is written by a woman “men are not emotionally stable” but basically good advice.

Another miracle for the Goyim where they fed the poor:

A Jew gets a miraculous escape from a new terror tactic:

25% of non-Jews infected with anti-Semitism:,7340,L-4519441,00.html

Israel has had a lot of corrupt politicians:,7340,L-4519354,00.html

The religious party stops left of center legislation after they shoot down “life for terrorists without parole”

From William a worker in the school worked for the mob:

Illegal immigrants in Tel Aviv is a danger to the population and themselves:,7340,L-4520010,00.html

For Tourists to Israel visiting the Golan do not stray from secure paths due to pre-1967 Syrian Mine Fields: Security Message for U.S. Citizens May 15, 2014 The U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv advises U.S. citizens that due to the ongoing conflict between Syrian opposition forces and the Syrian military in Syrian territory but in proximity to the Israeli side of the Disengagement Zone in the Golan Heights, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have declared portions of the disengagement line with Syria a closed military area and have subsequently restricted civilian access.

Route 98 near the border remains open for travel.  However, U.S. government personnel are now prohibited from all official and personal travel east of Route 98 until further notice.
Additionally, as always when traveling within the Golan Heights, caution should be exercised due to unmarked or poorly marked minefields from previous conflicts.  Travelers are reminded to walk only on established roads or trails and to pay close attention to warning signs and notices in the area.
Please review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.  The attached Israeli Home Front Command website provides helpful guidance for an assortment of emergency situations,

Inyanay Diyoma

Iran is 2 to 3 months away from a bomb if they so desire but they do not yet have payload delivery systems neither to us or to the USA and All of Europe.

Bill introduced to prevent the release of bloody handed terrorists:

Somebody fed Newsweek with a false story about Israelis spying via a vent on Al Gore:,7340,L-4518057,00.html and

 This is one of the worst news items I have seen in a long time stealing a wheel chair ramp.

For people on Facebook only: You don’t have to understand the Hebrew: Here Political Correctness of lawyers in ivory towers endangers the lives of our soldiers. I know that if I was in this situation there would have been a few limping or dead Arabs around. It is time to wake up and demand to the government to change the rules for engagement:

Syrian battles near the Israeli borders closes the area to visitors:

Clan fights among the religion of peace within their neighborhood:

The Defense Budget may be the biggest ever but parts are not cheap and we cannot afford to train and drill our soldiers:,7340,L-4519031,00.html

Is this any way to treat a fellow Jew? Vote against Yaalon and Netanyahu in the Likud Primaries:,7340,L-4519530,00.html

Defense aid and agreements with the USA under talks:,7340,L-4519998,00.html

Well it is about time the IDF was unchained from the lawyers in ivory towers:

Secretary Hagel seems to confirm that Israel did not spy on the US and it is all a story from a rouge anti-Semitic Agent.

The Brits and the Israeli Ish set up a joint Cyber-Defense:

Gen. 3:2 When on snake meets another it is a Yetzer HaRa meeting:

Yitzchak Rabin who murdered Irgun Members on the Altalana following orders later reversed himself as Defense Minister and told soldiers not to accept illegal orders. So what does the army expect of young soldiers nowadays?

When they were “occupied” by Israel their employment was close to 100% now under Hamas 41% unemployment.,7340,L-4520387,00.html

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Cut Down”
Good Shabbos Everyone.    The Torah this week in parshas Behar, speaks about the mitzvah of Shemittah - the "Sabbatical Year," leaving the land fallow in the seventh year.  As it states in the verse, "But the seventh year shall be a complete rest for the land, a "Sabbitical" for Hashem...."  (Vayikra 25:4)  The Torah goes on to state, "And if you shall say: "What shall we eat in the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our produce!" But I will command my blessing upon you..."  The following amazing story told Dov Weiss in his own words, illustrates the fulfillment of the these verses of the Torah.
         "I was one of a group of about thirty young men that started the moshav (agricultural settlement) of Komemiyus, in the south of Israel. It was in 1950, after we had completed our army service. I was still a bachelor then. Among the founders was also the well known Torah scholar and rabbinical authority, Rav Benyamin Mendelson, of blessed memory. He had previously immigrated to Israel from Poland and had served as the rabbi of Kfar Ata.
         At first we lived in tents, in the middle of a barren wilderness. The nearest settlements to ours were several kibbutzim associated with the non-observant Shomer Hatzair movement: Gat, Gilon, and Negvah.
         Several of our members supported themselves by working at Kibbutz Gat, the closest to us, doing different types of manual labor. Others worked in our fields, planting wheat, barley, rye and other grains and legumes. I myself drove a tractor. Our produce, which grew throughout the 15,000 or so dunam (nearly 4000 acres) allotted us, we sold to bakeries and factories.
         At that time, there were not yet water pipes reaching our moshav. We had to content ourselves with what could be grown in dry rugged fields. Every few days we would make a trip to Kibbutz Negvah, about 20 kilometers distant, to fill large containers with drinking water. The second year we were there, 5711 on the Jewish calendar (1950-1951), was the shemittah year which comes every seventh year in which the Torah commands to desist from all agricultural work.
         We were among the very few settlements in Israel at the time to observe the laws of the Sabbatical year and refrain from working the land. Instead, we concentrated on building and succeeded that year in completing much of the permanent housing.
         The moshav gradually developed and expanded and more and more families moved in, as well as a number of young singles. By the end of the year we numbered around eighty people.
         As the shemittah year drew to its completion we prepared to renew our farming activities. For this we required seed to sow crops, but for this purpose we could only use wheat (for seed) from the sixth year, the year that preceded the shemittah, because the produce of the seventh year is forbidden for this type of use.
         We went around to all the agricultural settlements in the area, near and far, seeking good quality seed from the sixth years' harvest, but no one could fulfill our request. All we were able to find was some old wormy seed that, for reasons that were never made clear to us, was laying around in a storage shed in Kibbutz Gat.
         No farmer in his right mind anywhere in the world would consider using such poor quality seed to plant with, not if he expected to see any crops from it. The kibbutzniks at Gat all burst into loud derisive laughter when we revealed that we were actually interested in this infested grain that had been rotting away for a few years in some dark, murky corner.
         "If you really want it, you can take all that you like, and for free, with our compliments," they offered in amusement.
         We consulted with Rabbi Mendelson. His response was: "Take it. The One who tells wheat to sprout from good seed can also order it to grow from inferior wormy leftover seed as well."
         In any case, we didn't have an alternative. So we loaded all the old infested seed that the kibbutz had offered to us free of charge onto a tractor and returned to Komemiyus.
         The laws of shemittah forbade us to plow and turn over the soil till after Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the eighth year, so we didn't actually sow the seed until sometime in November. This was two or three months after all the other farmers had already completed their planting!
         That year, the rains were late in coming. The farmers from all the kibbutzim and moshavim gazed upward longingly for the first rain. They began to feel desperate, but the heavens were unresponsive, remaining breathlessly still and blue.
         Finally, Boruch Hashem, it rained. When? The day after we completed planting our thousand dunam of wheat fields with those wormy seeds, the sky opened up and the rains exploded down to saturate the parched earth. The following days we were nervous in anticipation but we turned our attention to strengthening our faith and trust in Hashem.
         Anyway, it did not take a long time for the hand of the Almighty to be revealed clearly to all. Those wheat fields that were planted during the seventh year, months before the first rain, sprouted only small weak crops. At the same time, our fields, sowed with the old infested seed and long after the appropriate season, were covered with an unusually large and healthy yield of wheat, in comparison to any standard.
         The story of "the miracle at Komemiyus" spread quickly. Farmers from all the agricultural settlements in the region came to see with their own eyes what they could not believe when they heard the rumors about it.
         When the farmers from Kibbutz Gat arrived, they pulled a surprise on us. After absorbing the sight of the bountiful quantity of wheat flourishing in our fields, they announced they wanted payment for the tractor-load of old rotten wheat they had scornfully given us for free only a short time before.
         Even more startling: they said they would file a claim against us at a beit din, a rabbinical court, and with Rabbi Mendelson himself, no less! They must have figured that in a secular court such a claim wouldn't have even the slightest possible chance of gaining them a single penny.
         Rabbi Mendelson accepted their case seriously, and in the end judged that we should pay them. He explained that the reason they gave it for free was because they thought it worthless for planting, while in truth it really was excellent for that purpose. We were astonished to hear his ruling, but needless to say, we complied.
         The whole story became an extraordinary kiddush Hashem (glorification of Hashem's name) in the eyes of Jews across the country. Everyone agreed it was a clear fulfillment of Hashem's promise in the Torah "Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit. But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbatical of solemn rest for the land, a "Shabbos" for Hashem... And if you shall say: "What shall we eat in the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our produce!" But I will command my blessing upon you..."
  Good Shabbos Everyone
. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: L'illui Nishmas Aryeh Leib ben Avrohom and Malka bas Tzvi Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta  Refuah Shleima to Leah bas Tziporah

Wishing all my readers a healthy, happy and peaceful Shabbos with good food, prayers and plenty of relaxation for the body and soul,
Rachamim Pauli