Friday, June 13, 2014

Parsha Shelach Lecha, stories and news

I was on the phone with a woman who married a friend of mine from College, yes 45 years since I graduated. He lost a kidney in College and now needs a Kidney transplant Daniel ben Rivka, he has O negative blood. Also a internet pal of about 13 years Rachel bas Bruncha needs a Refuah.

Parsha Shelach Lecha

After the desperation for water and meat in the desert and the Egel HaZahav aka golden calf, still Am Yisrael was worthy of entering the land of Eretz Yisrael. All they needed was a little faith in HASHEM. They had seen the plagues, the splitting of the sea and heard THE VOICE OF HASHEM on Sinai. But no a new sorrow would hit them and the punishment for the calf on that generation that was put off would hit them now so that they would not enter Eretz Yisrael except for Kalev and Yehoshua although the Medrash states that there was a minority of 15,000 who did not die in the desert and when Tu B’Av rolled around they declared a Yom Tov but that will be at the end of Sefer Bamidbar. Now for our Parsha.

13:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Send thou men, that they may spy out the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel; of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, everyone a prince among them.'

The Medrash seems to come to a consensus by the Sages that the people demanded from Moshe guides to let them know the terrain and HASHEM granted them this. Yet the Pshat is that HASHEM ordered this and the spies were sent from the cream of the crop. Everyone a top notch person on the level of Kalev and Yehoshua. So where did they go right and the others go wrong? For one thing Ephraim from the Tribe of Yosef was from the inheritance and blessing of Yacov and he received the personal blessing of Moshe changing his name from Hoshea to Yehoshua. Kalev was from the tribe of kingship and turned aside from the spies to pray at the graves of the Avos for strength against the council of the spies. By meriting the help of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov, he was to be granted that portion in the land and eventually the Melech would reign starting in that area. In fact the changing of Beis Lechem HaGalil (near) Natzaires[R1]  to Beis Lechem near Yerushalayim  

Send for yourself men: Why is the section dealing with the spies juxtaposed with the section dealing with Miriam? Because she was punished over matters of slander, for speaking against her brother, and these wicked people witnessed [it], but did not learn their lesson. — [Midrash Tanchuma Shelach 5] Send for yourself: According to your own understanding. I am not commanding you, but if you wish, you may send. Since the Israelites had come [to Moses] and said, “Let us send men ahead of us,” as it says, “All of you approached me…” (Deut. 1:22), Moses took counsel with the Shechinah . He [God] said, “I told them that it is good, as it says, ‘I will bring you up from the affliction of Egypt…’ (Exod. 3:17). By their lives! Now I will give them the opportunity to err through the words of the spies, so that they will not inherit it.” - [Midrash Tanchuma 5]

3 And Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran according to the commandment of the LORD; all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.

By the word of the Lord: With his consent; He did not stop him. All of them were men of distinction: Whenever [the word] אִנָשִׁים [is used] in Scripture, it denotes importance. At that time, they were virtuous. — [Mid. Tanchuma 4]
By the word of the Lord: With his consent; He did not stop him. All of them were men of distinction: Whenever [the word] אִנָשִׁים [is used] in Scripture, it denotes importance. At that time, they were virtuous. — [Mid. Tanchuma 4]

How could such men who were learned in Torah and excelled go astray? There is a hint in Perkei Avos on this: Any person who has more fear of G-D and good deeds than his learning, his learning is preserved. Anybody who has more learning than fear of G-D and good deeds, his learning is not preserved.

Story: I saw this in an old man of blessed memory named Menashe Rosenthal. He was learning in a Yeshiva in Hungary and the Nazis invaded. They gathered the Jews together in an area they had large trenches where they told the Jews to strip at gunpoint. They then shot the Jews and left them for dead. Menashe had 7 bullets in his leg and nude managed to crawl out where a peasant found him took him in and nurtured him back to health.

Menashe was one of the first people to move into Chashmonayim along with one of his sons and family and his daughter and family. Menashe had built himself up from zero until a well spoke and outstanding person. (The cigar story with General and President Charles De Gaulle on Shabbos which I wrote about) Through his wealthy friends, he managed to fund the building of the frame of the Yad Moshe Synagogue. The Schul being named after Yissachar and Moshe HY”D his relatives who perished by the hands of the Nazis, may their names be erased.   

As Menashe was nearing the end of his life, he reviewed at least a section of the Talmudic Tractate of Bava Basra that he had learned so many years before in the Yeshiva. I am sure that he retained this due to his fear of heaven and good deeds.

4 And these were their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur. 5 Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori. 6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh. 7 Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph. 8 Of the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea the son of Nun. 9 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu. 10 Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi. 11 Of the tribe of Joseph, namely, of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi. 12 Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli. 13 Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael. 14 Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi. 15 Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi. 16 These are the names of the men that Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua. 17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them: 'Get you up here into the South, and go up into the mountains;

Like today trade routes were known even if by word of mouth alone. So today before we go on a guided tour, we get an itinerary on where we are going. We can do our homework and are prepared for what we are about to view. In fact today we can view the area on-line. Example: I want to tour Paris I Google it and get the tower, arch, museums, etc. so I have an idea what I want to see. (Notre Dame is not exactly what a Rabbi visits but the Meter Standard next to it is what a Certified Quality Control Engineer does visit)  

18 and see the land, what it is; and the people that dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many;

There was a problem or two with this command. It was not specified that secrecy was in effect and the report was only for the ears of Moshe and perhaps the elders. Rather the report ended up being public knowledge. Imagine today knowing how man Hezballah rockets are aimed at Haifa, Netanya, etc. and how many potential homicide bombers are out there or the true status of the Iranian Bomb. Some knowledge is best kept from worry warts, the weak, feeble and elderly who are dependent. One or two cowards in an army base can spark a rout in battle.

What [kind of] land it is: Some countries rear strong people, and some countries rear weak [people]; some produce large populations and some small populations. — [Mid. Tanchuma 6] Are they strong or weak: He gave them a sign. If they live in open cities [it is a sign that] they are strong, since they rely on their might. And if they live in fortified cities [it is a sign that] they are weak. — [Mid. Tanchuma 6]

19 and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds;

If they sleep in camps then they can be attacked easily but if in fortifications then a different strategy is needed to conquer the land.

20 and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land.'--Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.—

Is it good: possessing springs and other good and healthy water sources.

The object was to gather intelligence look for weaknesses and let the political and military staff (Yehoshua) deal with the knowledge and find physical solutions.

21 So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, at the entrance to Hamath. 22 And they went up into the South, and came unto Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were there.

These people were extremely tall supposedly descended from Og the giant. However, the height should not have scared a person who feared HASHEM but a slave mentality of 600,000 men were afraid of 600 chariots. It once happened that Joseph Stalin ordered during WWII to close down the Synagogue in the Capitol of Georgia. The Commissar read the declaration. Before he could finish a knife was thrown from somewhere in the crowd and he died on the spot. Stalin did not come back to enforce that and delay his war effort. That is a difference between fear of G-D and fear of man.

--Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.

What is the message here regarding Chevron? It comes to show that Eretz Yisrael was settled after the flood before Mitzrayim and other places.

Had been built seven years: Is it possible that Ham built Hebron for Canaan, his youngest son, before he built Zoan for Mizraim, his eldest son? Rather, it was stocked with everything good, seven times more than Zoan. The intention is to inform you of the excellence of the Land of Israel, for there is no place in the Land of Israel rockier than Hebron, which was why it was designated for a burial ground. And there is no country in the world as excellent as Egypt, as it says, “it was like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt” (Gen. 13: 10). Zoan is the best part of Egypt, for the residence of the kings is situated there, as it says, “for his princes were in Zoan” (Isa. 30:4). Yet Hebron was superior to it seven times over. — [Sotah 34b]

-- 23 And they came unto the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bore it upon a pole between two; they took also of the pomegranates, and of the figs.—

They carried it on a pole between two [people]: From the implication of what it says “they carried [in the plural] it on a pole” do I not know that it was [carried] by two? So what does “[between] two” tell us? [The answer is:] With two poles. How was it done? Eight of them took a cluster [of grapes], one took a fig and one took a pomegranate. Joshua and Caleb did not take anything, for the intention of the others was to present a slanderous report, [namely,] just as its fruit is extraordinary, so its people are extraordinary. If you wish to know how much one of them carried, go forth and learn from the stones they set up at Gilgal: Each man carried on his shoulder one stone [from the Jordan] and set it up at Gilgal. The Sages weighed them [and determined that] each stone weighed forty seah, and it is a fact that the load a person can carry on his shoulders is only a third of the weight of the load he can carry when others help him lift it. — [Sotah 34b

The cluster was so heavy that it took two men to carry one cluster on their shoulders you can just imagine a vineyard!

24 That place was called the valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the children of Israel cut down from thence.—

The Hebrew for cluster is Eshkol.

25 And they returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days.

Eretz Yisrael was supposed to be to the Euphrates River so if they had walked that far could they had made it back in 40 days of which 34 were not Shabbos? The Medrash states that the time should have been longer but they had heavenly help that it went so fast.  I did Google as a reference the town of Eilat since it is not that far from Paran. The result was a bit crooked path and if driven today would be a 40 hr. drive. However, when I used my head and changed the search from Aqaba to Damascus I got 285 miles or 460 kilometers. This is a 11.5 hr. drive! I then took Damascus to Silopi Turkey as an 11 hr and 21 minute drive or to Al Qamishli is 8 hr. and 54 min. and 446 miles or 720 km. Let us up and round off the distance to 750 miles. The men were used to walking and during my youth the late President Kennedy asked people for fitness to walk 25 to 50 mile hikes people used to do that in 10 hours. Of course day after day and uphill with packs on their backs but longer days and taking into account supplies, it is not unreasonable to cover this distance in 34 walking days as we subtract the 6 weeks where there was one Shabbos each week. This leaves 44 miles per day to walk back and forth from Sinai to the Euphrates which might have been shorter. Day breaks now before 5 AM and it is light until 8 PM giving between 12 to 13 hrs. of light to break camp, pray, walk, obtain food and pitch camp it is not unreasonable for physically fit men to undertake such an adventure. On the other hand, who says that they went to the Euphrates or further than Damascus? 

Now after all this theoretical discussion of going to the Euphrates River, we now see how far they really went. Which is from Midbar Zin until Hamat. Below we have Rashi on Pasuk 21.

From the desert of Zin until Rehov at the entrance to Hamath: They walked along the length and width of its borders, [so that their path looked] like a [Greek] gamma. They walked along the side which was the southern border, from the eastern corner to the western corner, as Moses had directed them: “Go up this way in the south”-by way of the southeastern border until the sea, for the sea was its western border. From there they turned and walked along the entire western border, which is the coast, until the entrance to Hamath, which is near Mount Hor, in the northwestern corner, as is described in the borders of the Land in the portion [beginning with the words,] “These are the travels” (34:6).

At this point, we redo the distance The travel time today is 3 hrs. of non-stop driving or 145 km. In modern conditions walking 50 km a day within a week one could easily go back and forth. This is 28 miles a day walk or an easy pace of 2.8 miles an hour which is slower than the 4 I do in an hour at the gym. Now if we give ourselves 34 days that would average less than 10 km. per day. SO NOW THE QUESTION IS WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE HAD A SPECIAL SHORTENING OF THE WAY?

26 And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 And they told him, and said: 'We came unto the land whither thou sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.

Up until now it looked like they were telling an impressive positive story so the people opened up their hearts and minds to receive what should have been a top secret military briefing.

28 Howbeit the people that dwell in the land are fierce, and the cities are fortified, and very great; and moreover we saw the children of Anak there.

Rashi already mentioned that if their cities are fortified like the amount of shelters in Israel today or the “safe rooms” that means that there is a chance of an external attack.

29 Amalek dwells in the land of the South; and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.' 30 And Caleb stilled the people toward Moses, and said: 'We should go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.'

Aka besides that HASHEM is with us they are a bunch of small tribes and we are a 600,000 man standing army! But a slave mentality is a slave mentality and this week as Al Nusra attacked cities of Iraq the army melted like dominos against a rag tag group of terrorists.

31 But the men that went up with him said: 'We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.'

A brave man dies but one death and a coward a thousand deaths.

32 And they spread an evil report of the land which they had spied out unto the children of Israel, saying: 'The land, through which we have passed to spy it out, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature.

Many prominent people died as they passed through by HASHEM so that the inhabitants would be busy with the funerals and not pay attention to 12 spies. But these men misinterpreted what was happening.

33 And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim; and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.'

We imagined ourselves out of our fear and panic this way but humans have a limit in growth height despite the Midrashim as the bones can only hold so and so much weight without breaking. We would need dinosaur type bones to grow to heights over about 9 feet as these giants have fragile bones.

14:1 And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.

It was the night of Tisha B’Av and because the people cried that night it was determined that for future generations they would have a reason to cry that night.

2 And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them: 'Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would we had died in this wilderness!

So you don’t want Eretz Yisrael and want to die in the wilderness well that is OK with HASHEM.

3 And wherefore doth the LORD bring us unto this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be a prey; were it not better for us to return into Egypt?' 4 And they said one to another: 'Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.'
All this disturbed Moshe and Aaron and the other leaders of Levy, Ephraim and Yehuda. But the mob was beginning to act against them.

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of them that spied out the land, rent their clothes.

It was a horrendous scene of total anarchy and chaos with this panic and perhaps this action stopped the immediate hysterics.

7 And they spoke unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: 'The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land.

This is the truth but the mob had made up their minds.

8 If the LORD delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it unto us--a land which flows with milk and honey.

Almond milk and date honey.

9 Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defense is removed from over them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.' 10 But all the congregation bade stone them with stones, when the glory of the LORD appeared in the tent of meeting unto all the children of Israel.

HASHEM had to intervene to save the true leaders.

11 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'How long will this people despise Me? and how long will they not I
Am I my brother’s keeper? The answer is: “Yes”. For we see that if I make no attempt like Yehoshua and Kalev to stop the sinner, I could get caught up with the collective punishment. For HASHEM became wroth with the generation for their lack of love and understanding and their constant rebellion. I cannot physically stop every Jew who wants to believe in a Trinity instead of a Unity, Shabbos violation, Adultery, Thievery, Murder, Homosexuality, etc. but I can exhort and warn or point out that something is wrong. The fact that I tried and failed as we see with the two really righteous spies is taken before HASHEM as credit.

12 I will smite them with the pestilence, and destroy them, and will make of thee a nation greater and mightier than they.' 13 And Moses said unto the LORD: 'When the Egyptians shall hear--for Thou brought up this people in Thy might from among them-- 14 they will say to the inhabitants of this land, who have heard that Thou LORD art in the midst of this people; inasmuch as Thou LORD art seen face to face, and Thy cloud stands over them, and Thou go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night; 15 now if Thou shalt kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of Thee will speak, saying: 16 Because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land which He swore unto them, therefore He hath slain them in the wilderness.

Moshe makes a compelling argument. You, HASHEM, will make a Chillul HASHEM if you destroy the people for look what the other parts of creation will say! After this, Moshe makes the following entreaty.

17 And now, I pray Thee, let the power of the LORD be great, according as Thou hast spoken, saying: 18 The LORD is slow to anger, and plenteous in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 19 Pardon, I pray Thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy lovingkindness, and according as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.'

This is the key to asking for a pardon that HASHEM to Moshe and Moshe used these attributes to save the people from the wrath of G-D.

 20 And the LORD said: 'I have pardoned according to thy word. 21 But in very deed, as I live--and all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD—

You are correct and I will continue makings a Kiddush HASHEM throughout all generations that the nations will know that I am the L-RD.

22 surely all those men that have seen My glory, and My signs, which I wrought in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to proof these ten times, and have not hearkened to My voice; 23 surely they shall not see the land which I swore unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that despised Me see it.

Although I am a patient G-D waiting for Teshuva after 10 times, I have lost my patience and now they will be punished!

24 But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed ME fully, he will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

He has the spirit of his forefathers and will inherit Chevron and the environs as a merit.

25 Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the Vale; tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.'

You will cross the Yarden on your way to Eretz Yisrael so that the generation of cowards will not see any more battles with these fierce people even though you are stronger.

26 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying: 27 'How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, that keep murmuring against ME? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they keep murmuring against Me. 28 Say unto them: As I live, says the LORD, surely as you have spoken in Mine ears, so will I do to you:

Be wary of what you wish for or say for sometimes it comes true.

29 your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, ye that have murmured against Me; 30 surely ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I lifted up My hand that I would make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Yephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, that ye said would be a prey, they will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have rejected. 32 But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.

Each would die according to the way he moaned and mourned the Lashon HaRa of the spies but 15,000 did not. Either they were of the idea of going into Eretz Yisrael, neutral, did immediate Teshuva or they did believe in the salvation of HASHEM for we see in the Medrash that this number survived even though the Pshat is different. It is also theoretically possible that a person in his last years of service in the army in his 50’s could survive another 38 years before passing and live a long life even by today’s standards. In fact Kalev was in his 80’s when he entered the land.

33 And your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your strayings, until your carcasses be consumed in the wilderness. 34 After the number of the days in which ye spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know My displeasure. 35 I the LORD have spoken, surely this will I do unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against Me; in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.' 36 And the men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, and who, when they returned, made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, 37 even those men that did bring up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before the LORD. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Yephunneh, remained alive of those men that went to spy out the land.

For they stood up for the sake of HASHEM even against the mob.

39 And Moses told these words unto all the children of Israel; and the people mourned greatly. 40 And they rose up early in the morning, and got them up to the top of the mountain, saying: 'Lo, we are here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised; for we have sinned.'
This was the right wing of Ephraim that wanted to show that they could repent and fight. However …

41 And Moses said: 'Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the LORD, seeing it shall not prosper? 42 Go not up, for the LORD is not among you; that ye be not smitten down before your enemies. 43 For there the Amalekite and the Canaanite are before you, and ye shall fall by the sword; forasmuch as ye are turned back from following the LORD, and the LORD will not be with you.' 44 But they presumed to go up to the top of the mountain; nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and Moses, departed not out of the camp. 45 Then the Amalekite and the Canaanite, who dwelt in that hill-country, came down, and smote them and beat them down, even unto Hormah.

And their bones were left in a valley. Yechezkel saw them in his vision of the resurrection of the dead and THEY WILL RETURN for although misguided, their intentions were for the sake of heaven!

15:118 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land whither I bring you, 19 then it shall be, that, when ye eat of the bread of the land, ye shall set apart a portion for a gift unto the LORD. 20 Of the first of your dough ye shall set apart a cake for a gift; as that which is set apart of the threshing-floor, so shall ye set it apart.

This is the Mitzvah of Challah and unless one has a large family and a Yom Tov and Shabbos together, most women do not bake enough bread to take the Challah.

21 Of the first of your dough ye shall give unto the LORD a portion for a gift throughout your generations.

This is whether in Eretz Yisrael or in Galus.

22 And when ye shall err, and not observe all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses, 23 even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations; 24 then it shall be, if it be done in error by the congregation, it being hid from their eyes, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt-offering, for a sweet savor unto the LORD--with the meal-offering thereof, and the drink-offering thereof, according to the ordinance--and one he-goat for a sin-offering. …
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks upon the Sabbath day.

This is the first record of the violation of the Holy Shabbos.

33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 34 And they put him in ward, because it had not been declared what should be done to him.

The execution of this man by Beis Din was to serve a deterrent for all to prevent further Chillul Shabbos in the future.

35 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.' 36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Unlike the spies when the violator of HASHEM’s law is put to death the congregation is exonerated.

37 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 38 'Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them throughout their generations fringes in the corners of their garments, and that they put with the fringe of each corner a thread of blue.

We shall continue with the theme of Techeles in Parsha Korach with the help of HASHEM.

39 And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye go not about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go astray; 40 that ye may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.'

A refreshing prayer break

There are many different pray Minchagim in Judaism. The Yemenite Community has two variations. The Ashkenazim have at least three major variations Ashkenaz, Sephard and Ari. The Sephardim appear from my limited knowledge to have one custom. I like to daven Nusach Ashkenaz but it has two variations those who say “V’ Shomru” and those who don’t. They do say the Mishnayos of Chapter 2 and V’ Shomru which was quite interesting and refreshing for me. Also there were nice songs in the prayer.

Reaping the 3rd Melacha By Rabbi Jack Abramwitz :

Kotzeir (reaping) is the third of the 11 agricultural labors used in constructing the Mishkan. The melacha of kotzeir involves detaching a growing thing from its source of nourishment. (“A growing thing” is usually plant life or vegetation, but not exclusively.) Harvesting wheat, apple-picking and weeding the front lawn are all examples of kotzeir. Picking mushrooms is also kotzeir, even though mushrooms are fungi and not plants.
Many of the melachos have reciprocal relationships that are equally prohibited: writing and erasing, igniting and extinguishing, sewing and tearing, etc. Kotzeir, however, is not the reciprocal of zorei’ah (planting). For example, if one were to pull down the shade to prevent light from reaching a houseplant in order to impede its growth, that would be an oddly spiteful thing to do to a plant, but it would not violate the melacha of kotzeir. In order to transgress kotzeir, one would have to pluck the plant (or part of it).
Kotzeir is the reason that using a tree is rabbinically prohibited on Shabbos. Accordingly, one may not climb a tree or use something directly suspended from a tree, such as a swing or a hammock. This is also the reason that horseback riding (of all things) is prohibited on Shabbos. It is common for a rider to break off a branch from a nearby tree for use as a switch (see Talmud Beitzah 36b).

As I continue on with my review of the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch or Code of Jewish Law by Rabbi Ganzfried, I came across Siman 32 which is healthy living that I recommend for everybody to review perhaps once a year as we do the laws of Pessach. It covered eating habits for youths, middle-aged and elderly as we burn less energy. We are told to drink more warm drinks in winter and cool drinks in the summer. We also warned that heavy people have to exercise harder than lean people in 32:21 all in all this is a great thing to ones body and mind to review the full Siman. This can be read online at

Kaf HaChaim by Rabbi Tilles

A Quick Trip The Kaf HaChaim was always begging G-d not to ever force him to leave the Land of Yisrael. But in the end, he had no choice.

When Rabbi Yaakov- Chaim Sofer, author of the Kaf HaChaim, was preparing to publish the first volume of his work, he had no idea how to pay for the cost of printing. He had not so much as a penny in his pocket at the time.
His friends advised him to travel abroad in order to raise money. But this was a very hard thing for R' Yaakov Chaim to do. He was always begging G-d not to ever force him to leave Eretz Yisrael. But in the end, having no choice, he did go -- praying that he would not have to stay away for long.
R' Yaakov Chaim took the train from Yaffo-Tel Aviv to Alexandria, Egypt. When he stepped off the train onto the platform, he ran into one of the wealthiest philanthropists of his time, a man by the name of Yosef Somocha, with whom he was acquainted.
Mr. Somocha asked, "To what do we owe the honor of this visit?"
R' Yaakov Chaim explained his purpose in coming. The rich man immediately took 200 lira out of his pocket -- the cost of printing the first volume.
Later that same day, R' Yaakov Chaim boarded a train for the return trip home. It was the same train that had brought him to Alexandria.
His friends back in Jerusalem were surprised to see him back so soon. When R' Yaakov Chaim explained the amazing thing that had happened, they protested, "If you were so successful in raising the money, you should have stayed a few days and raised the amount you'll need for future volumes!"
"No!" R' Yaakov Chaim declared. "I will not remain in a foreign country one minute longer than urgent necessity forces me to stay."
[Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from "Stories my Grandfather told me " (Mesorah) by Zev Greenwald]
Biographic note:
Rabbi Yaakov Chaim Sofer, (1870 - 9 Sivan 1939) better known as the Kaf Hachaim (the name of the monumental halachic work which he authored), was born in Baghdad. In the beginning of the 20th century he emigrated to the Land of Israel, and settled in Jerusalem.
Connection: Weekly Reading-true love of the land.

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A wonderful and peaceful Shabbos to all,
Rachamim Pauli