Friday, July 4, 2014

Parsha Chukkas 2 and Balak, news and stories

News update from last week. A fire in Abu Gosh was caused by a dispute between two Arab Families. The large fire near Yerushalayim was caused by careless campers who should have reported it at out-break. So some are caused by terrorists or other Arabs and some fires caused by idiots.

Please add to prayers the following names: Ariel ben Ruth, Zusha ben Sara, Miriam bas Basha and a non-Jew who is in Israel and wants to convert asked for prayers Noreen bas Beverly. Unfortunately Yosef Manus ben Shayna Pessia passed away.

Miracle Alert: More shells more miracles a woman in charge of 4 infants to toddlers in her care managed to have the children in the secure room in Sderot. A rocket it the side of the building causing a lot of damage but did not explode. Only some property damage.

Parsha Chukkas Part 2

20:1 And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came into the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there.

The leaders of the generation of the wilderness are dying out and Miriam passes just before the people will enter the land. The Torah continues with the death and burial of Aaron.

2 And there was no water for the congregation; and they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.

It was the merit of Miriam that the people were able to obtain water. The Talmud in Shabbos has an Aggadah about Miriam’s miraculous traveling well that traveled with the people in the desert until Miriam’s passing.

3 And the people strove with Moses, and spoke, saying: 'Would that we had perished when our brethren perished before the LORD! 4 And why have ye brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, to die there, we and our cattle? 5 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.'

This story according to the complaints appears to me time wise to be earlier to 40th year but according to tradition it is in the 40th year and the mentality has not changed.

6 And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tent of meeting, and fell upon their faces; and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them. 7 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 8 'Take the rod, and assemble the congregation, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes, that it give forth its water; and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock; so thou shalt give the congregation and their cattle drink.' 9 And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said unto them: 'Hear now, ye rebels; are we to bring you forth water out of this rock?' 11 And Moses lifted up his hand, and smote the rock with his rod twice; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their cattle.

For not talking to the rock and striking the rock plus Aaron’s behavior in the past at this point Moshe and Aaron lose their right to enter Eretz Yisrael.

12 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron: 'Because ye believed not in Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.' 13 These are the waters of Meribah, where the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and He was sanctified in them. 14 And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom:

It appears that at this point the Halacha which is known from the time of Moshe was set down: “Esav hates Yacov”! This is a Halacha and is immutable until the redeemer will come to Har Tzion and Judge Har Edom.
… 20 And he said: 'Thou shalt not pass through.' And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand. 21 Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; wherefore Israel turned away from him. 22 And they journeyed from Kadesh; and the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, came unto mount Hor.

This is in modern Yarden and blow Ammon and Moav and in close proximity to where Balak lived. He saw physically that he was powerless to confront a massive 600,000 man army in an out and out battle and only by divination and spiritually could he defeat them.

23 And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, saying: 24 'Aaron shall be gathered unto his people; for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against My word at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.' 27 And Moses did as the LORD commanded; and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount; and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.

The Medrash and Zohar speak of a kiss from HASHEM drawing out the soul and Moshe then hoped to die that way. The second of the leaders of the exodus from Mitzrayim had just passed on. A new order would take over with Eleazar HaCohain, Yehoshua bin Nun and Kalev ben Yepuneh would take over. Yehoshua is approaching 70 and Kalev a bit over 80 as he was 83 when they conquered Chevon.  

29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they wept for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

This indicates that they did not leave the spot for 30 days.

21:1 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who dwelt in the South, heard tell that Israel came by the way of Atharim; and he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said: 'If Thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.' 3 And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities; and the name of the place was called Hormah.

There are two possibilities that seem likely regarding this. 1) The Bnei Yisrael left Kadesh traveled via Paran and Zin near Sde Boker today and went via the Arad area towards the Dead Sea. The king of Arad comes out (Tel Arad today) and is defeated. 2) According to the present narrative, the Bnei Yisrael are at the end of the Dead Sea and decided to attack the Bnei Yisrael on the other side of the Yarden. This seems to me to be highly improbable for the king to attack down a mountain from the height of 700 meters or 2300 plus feet above sea level to 400 meters or more than 1230 feet below sea level. 1.1 km climb back after the battle. It also appears far out of the way. Remember: There is no early or late in the Torah and it is not a chronologically set action.

And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became impatient because of the way. 5 And the people spoke against God, and against Moses: 'Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, and there is no water; and our soul loathes this light bread.'

Again this more appears to be the repetition of the incident before and the narrative just repeats itself. Or perhaps they wanted a second quail type of incident where they would get meat from heaven but instead they got death.

6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses, and said: 'We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that He take away the serpents from us.' And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.' 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it upon the pole; and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked unto the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Gemara asks does the hands of Moshe with Amalek kill the enemy and save the Bnei Yisrael or does a brass serpent kill or revive the dead? Rather that when the people turn their hearts and minds toward heaven, HASHEM protects them.

,,, 21 And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying: 22 'Let me pass through thy land; we will not turn aside into field, or into vineyard; we will not drink of the water of the wells; we will go by the king's highway, until we have passed thy border.' 23 And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz; and he fought against Israel. … 27 Wherefore they that speak in parables say: Come ye to Heshbon! let the city of Sihon be built and established! 28 For a fire is gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon; it hath devoured Ar of Moab, the lords of the high places of Arnon. 29 Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh; he hath given his sons as fugitives, and his daughters into captivity, unto Sihon king of the Amorites.

The Bnei Yisrael return his attack and take his land and make fun of chemosh the god of Moav.

… 33 And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan; and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.

He was a giant of a man must have been about 8 or 9 feet tall the Medrash has him at the height of a kilometer but the Chumash in Devarim states that the length of the bed was 12 feet but since beds are made larger than the person he was probably like the tallest man in the world is today.

34 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Fear him not; for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon.' 35 So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him remaining; and they possessed his land.

At the Bas Mitzvah of my granddaughter a few weeks ago, I stood next to her uncle who is 6ft 8 inches tall which is something like 2 meters in height. Since I am 5ft 9.6 inches and taller than the average Jew that makes this height awe inspiring to the shorter person. If you take something like an 8ft or larger man and his sons leading even a team of normal soldiers with swords, spears and arrows one becomes very afraid of them. Ignore the Medrash on the height of Moshe and at the age of almost 119 years physically jumping 5 meters into the air to swing his sword at the height of 10 meters to chop off the ankle of the giant we get something like Moshe being 6ft or 6ft some inches high like my Levy grandfather and uncle and coming with his staff and the DIVINE NAME and going into the battle. Am Yisrael had essentially a good deal of the Golan Heights.

22:1 And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.

Parsha Balak

Balak according to the Medrash was greater than Bilaam in divination but Bilaam had the uncanny ability similar to Edgar Cayce who lived in WWII to act as a Medium. Balak understood that the only way to defeat the Bnei Yisrael was a spiritual breech. It goes back to what Yitzchak said, “The voice of the voice of Yacov (prayer and spirit) the hand is the hand of Esav”! Beresheis (Gen.) 27:22!

22:2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 And Moab said unto the elders of Midian: 'Now will this multitude lick up all that is round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field.'--And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.-- 5 And he sent messengers unto Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the River, to the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying: 'Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt; behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me.

Moav was the ones fearing Yisrael and they went to the diviner in Midian. One of the sons of Avraham and Ketura was Midian and so Yisro came out to be good but this sub-tribe of Midian turned out to be bad.

6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me; peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land; for I know that he whom thou bless is blessed, and he whom thou curse is cursed.'

Returning to the voice or Kol Yacov then we can see that against prayers one must either bless or curse the people. Perhaps there is a violation of Shabbos here, non-compliance to family purity there, non-observance of Kashrus in the area or somewhere immorality or lewdness?

7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spoke unto him the words of Balak.

The people of Moav instigated the dispute and then when it came to an alliance against Yisrael backed out and left Midian to fight the battle by themselves.

I am skipping this year the narrative and commentary regarding the donkey and the Angel.

36 And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto Ir-moab, which is on the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost part of the border.

This is close to Ramat HaGolan.

37 And Balak said unto Balaam: 'Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour?' 38 And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Lo, I am come unto thee; have I now any power at all to speak any thing? the word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I speak.'

He speaks the truth here and should have refrained twice from going. Once when he has the warning dream and secondly when the Angel stood before him but he was so anti-Semitic that he could not stop himself.

39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him.

This is an ancient and false notion that G-D could be bribed or placated by the sacrifice of a sheep, ram, lamb or cattle which even Shaul pursued when he left Agog alive.

41 And it came to pass in the morning that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into Bamoth-baal, and he saw from thence the utmost part of the people. 23:1 And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.'

Against Shabbos and the six days of Creation for spiritual power of the people on these days. This was done (See the first chapter of Tractate Berachos) at a certain hour of the morning when it was propitious to say Tachanun Prayer to prevent an enemy from hurting oneself.  

2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. 3 And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Stand by thy burnt-offering, and I will go; peradventure the LORD will come to meet me; and whatsoever He show me I will tell thee.' And he went to a bare height.

He is uncertain if he will be a Medium unto G-D at this time.

4 And God met Balaam; and he said unto Him: 'I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.' 5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said: 'Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.' 6 And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt-offering, he, and all the princes of Moab. 7 And he took up his parable, and said: From Aram Balak brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East: 'Come, curse me Jacob, and come, execrate Israel.'

He has the fortune of a being a medium now and will transmit G-D’s message. He is hoping for a gigantic curse to come pouring out of his mouth but remember his prophecy cannot move to the right or the left of what the L-RD puts in his mouth.

8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? And how shall I execrate, whom the LORD hath not execrated?

Balak it is time to open up your eyes and make peace with Yisrael and the G-D of Yisrael! But no he will not do so…

9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

Yisrael cannot join fully with the Nations of the World but is separate both in holiness and morals. We will not become Christian because they are or Muslims because they are but we dwell alone.

10 Who hath counted the dust of Jacob, or numbered the stock of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let mine end be like his! 11 And Balak said unto Balaam: 'What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether.' 12 And he answered and said: 'Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD puts in my mouth?' 13 And Balak said unto him: 'Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou may see them; thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all; and curse me them from thence.'

Instead of drawing the proper conclusions he will make 2 more attempts wringing his hands and getting angry each time.

 25 And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place; and Balak also went his way.

The next few lines are the opening to next week’s Parsha with the theme about Pinchas being jealous for HASHEM.

24:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab.

Bilaam advised Balak that the L-RD hates promiscuity and the way to hurt Yisrael is to make immodesty in front of idols of fertility cults and the god of the toilet.

2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 3 And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. 4 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them up unto the LORD in face of the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.' 5 And Moses said unto the judges of Israel: 'Slay ye everyone his men that have joined themselves unto the Baal of Peor.' 6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting. 7 And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand. 8 And he went after the man of Israel into the chamber, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. 9 And those that died by the plague were twenty and four thousand.

HASHEM was about to destroy many from the people but Pinchas acted and calmed the wrath of HASHEM.

************ Personal Statement **************

My heart is heavy at what happened to our boys! I am not able to handle the murder of 6 to 7,000,000 Jews during the Shoah but I am capable of understanding 3 boys with their parents, grandparents, siblings and I feel like a mourner too.

From Rabbi A. L.:  In a rare joint statement - Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union on the Murder of Three Israeli Teens

We cry out in anguish and in outrage at the unspeakable horror of today’s announcement that the three teens, whom Jews and so many other people of good will around the world dared to hope would be found and returned safely to their families, were instead murdered in cold blood by their Hamas kidnappers, apparently shortly after their abduction 18 days ago.

The Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union, with the rest of acheinu kol beis Yisroel (our brothers and sisters, the entire nation of Israel), mourn this unthinkable tragedy, this worst possible end to the search for Naftali Frenkel, 16; Gil-Ad Shaar, 16; and Eyal Yifrach, 19. This is, unfortunately, only the latest episode in which innocent lives have been snuffed out by adherents of a murderous, amoral death cult sworn to the destruction of Israel, and the genocide of the Jewish people.

The Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America offer their profound condolences to the families of these three boys, whom we have all come to think of as our own sons. Naftali, Gil-Ad and Eyal were our family, our brothers. The world needs to recognize, as it often fails to do, the nature of the enemies that are arrayed against Israel and the level of inhumanity of which they are capable. We join in the call for swift and resolute punishment for the perpetrators of this atrocity, and call upon world leaders to continue to affirm that such heinous tactics have no place in the civilized world.

The recurring theme expressed by the courageous mothers of the teens, as they saw the throngs who joined with them in support, is the unity of the Jewish people. Before, we were unified in prayer and hope for the boys’ safe return. Now, tragically, we are unified in grief.

May the families, the people of Israel, all those who stood with the families and held them in their hearts and prayers, be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Orthodox Union
Rabbinical Council of America

At MAD Magazine, an Unlikely Rabbinic Figure
What the magazine’s humorist and artist Dave Berg taught me about Judaism
In my high school confirmation class, the rabbi of my synagogue at the time, Richard Sherwin, used an unorthodox approach to teach us about the essence of Judaism; he used essays from the book My Friend God by MAD magazine writer and artist Dave Berg. Not only did it work in getting me excited about all of the things my religion had to offer, but it reinforced my love for MAD.
After 20 years, I finally bought my own copy of Berg’s long-out-of-print book. When I began flipping through it, I discovered that the edition I bought included a letter from Rabbi Sherwin, with whom I had recently reconnected through the magic of Facebook. I called him immediately and he told me about his ongoing correspondence with the late humorist, with whom, apparently, he had grown pretty close until Berg’s death in 2002.
In the letter, Sherwin wrote:
I have been using my old worn copies in my high school classes at the synagogue. If I had my way, I would not hand out copies of the prayer book when [my students] go off to college, but I would make sure everyone had Dave Berg’s books. The concept of God as a friend had really made a difference in the way people perceive the traditional worship service. People here—especially the kids—tell me that there is so much warmth that now comes from the pages of the prayer book, that they can now find new meaning from the most ancient words.
Who would’ve thought a cartoonist from a satire magazine could bring that kind of enlightenment to a rabbi and his synagogue? But Berg did.
He is best known for his “The Lighter Side of…” column in MAD, which ran for 41 years, from 1961 until his death. The satirical cartoons took shots at everyday life with topics ranging from marriage and having babies to generational and gender differences. He pretty much made fun of everybody, including himself, often inserting his likeness into the panels—a caricature by the name of Roger Kaputnik, the everyman.
But what many people don’t know is that Berg was a pretty religious guy. And working at MAD, there was little tolerance for serious, straight-laced Judaism, especially from then-publisher Bill Gaines, who happened to be an atheist. Gaines would respond to Berg’s “God bless you” by telling him to go to hell.
Berg held an honorary doctorate in theology and often contributed religiously themed pieces to Chabad’s Moshiach Times and the B’nai B’rith newsletter. According to cartoonist Al Jaffee, MAD’s longest-running contributor (and a fellow contributor to Moshiach Times), Berg had a very moralistic personality. In a 2009 interview, he said, “Dave had a messianic complex of some sort. He was battling… he had good and evil inside of him, clashing all the time. It was sad, in a sense, because he wanted to be taken very seriously and, you know, the staffers at MAD just didn’t take anybody seriously; most of all ourselves.”
In other words, Berg was human.
Like a Jewish Mark Twain, he was a great observer of life and how humans live it, especially in America. He took our insecurities, our contradictions, our strengths and weaknesses and he wrote and drew about them, exposing them all in such a way that we can’t help but laugh at ourselves. And that’s how Berg approached his religious writing as well.
But unlike Mark Twain—who didn’t care much for religion—Berg was a devout practitioner of Judaism. He studied it, working out anecdotes for the way he saw God and religion. And he made it funny.
In a passage from My Friend God, he writes:
In the beginning God created…”
What’s that you ask, “WHO IS GOD?”
I’m talking about MY FRIEND GOD.
When’s the last time I saw God?
Well, the astronauts just saw God
on the last shuttle mission

OK, so maybe that’s a joke. Maybe.
But my friend God isn’t a she or a he.
All that “He” stuff in the Bible
is only because a HE is just an IT.
Not all men are ITS, but my friend God
is not a sex or a color. Just a shade
called FRIEND.

Berg, or Roger Kaputnik, deconstructs Judaism’s idea of God, to make he/she/it something less intimidating and more relatable. And by doing this, he blew my mind.
He touched not just on religious matters but political, cultural and social ones, simplifying complex ideas into quirky life lessons:
There is no,
There never was any
There never will be any
Such an ANIMAL as
There is,
An will only be
such a monster as

He also questioned everything and encouraged his readers to do the same, pointing out the contradictions in life and religion, the absurdity and beauty of it all.
Charles Moss is a freelance writer based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He has written for Slate, The Atlantic, Paste and Pop matters.

Trick and Treat by Rabbi Y. Tilles Shlita

Reb Chayim was a chasid who made his living by buying and selling in the various European market places and fairs. He devoted all of his free time to studying Torah. Once a year he would come to his Rebbe's court, to spend time in his presence and be inspired.
Whenever he came, everyone would greet him with great respect, as he was known to be a scholar and a righteous man. On Shabbat, he would be honored with the most prestigious aliyah of the Torah reading, "Maftir," the final portion plus the Haftorah. After Shabbat, he always made a handsome contribution to the synagogue.
On one of his visits, he went in for "yehidut" - a private personal meeting with the Rebbe, the most special time for a chasid. This time Chayim poured out his heart to the Rabbi, telling him about a difficult problem that was hindering him in his service to G-d, a problem that troubled him every day. "I am hot-tempered, " he told the Rebbe, "and I am easily angered. Even small issues can set me off. For example, when things don't work out as I wished, or when people do not do what I asked them to, I explode."
He finished speaking and eagerly waited for the Rebbe's response. Many times before he had been in yehidut and had received answers and instructions on a variety of matters. This time, however, was different. The Rabbi merely waved his hand dismissively and said that the problem was small and insignificant, really not a problem at all.
Chayim could not understand. He had waited so long to come to his Rebbe and tell him of his difficulty, and had anticipated receiving an answer that would solve his problem, yet the Rebbe had barely addressed the issue.
Chayim did not give up; he asked again. He described his difficulties, how his problem affected him and all those around him, and waited again for an answer. But again, the response was: "This is a very small difficulty, not really a problem at all," said the Rebbe.
Chayim tried a third time and received again the same response. He had to leave the Rebbe's room in disappointment. "I can't believe that I received no answer!" he thought. "But perhaps I will in time," he tried to cheer himself.
After Chayim had left the Rebbe's room, the Rebbe called in the gabbai, the one who supervised the synagogue. He instructed him that on the coming Shabbat day, he not give Reb Chayim the honor of Maftir as usual, but rather, give him the task of "Gelila" - the retying of the Torah scroll at the end of the reading (a task often given to children) and covering it.
The gabbai listened to the Rebbe's request and looked at him in amazement. He began to imagine the astonishment and perhaps furor in the synagogue as a result.
As the Shabbat approached, the gabbai's concerns grew, and he decided to take action. "It's best I let him know in advance," he thought.
He called upon Reb Chayim and told him that on the Shabbat he would receive "Gelila" rather than Maftir. Chayim began complaining at once, and loudly, too. The gabbai explained that this was the instruction he had received from the Rebbe's mouth. This calmed Chayim down a bit, and he began to understand that there must be something in this.
"It must be that the Rebbe is testing me," he thought to himself.
The Shabbat arrived. The chasidim had already seen Reb Chayim in the Rebbe's court, and assumed that he would receive the honor of Maftir, as usual. A few of them tried to guess how large a contribution he would make afterward. But when it came time for the Maftir and the gabbai called the name of someone else, they were amazed. When they turned to look at Chayim and see his reaction, they became doubly astonished: Chayim was standing there, completely calm.
Shortly thereafter he was called for the Gelila task. "He'll get angry now," the chasidim thought to themselves. But to their amazement Reb Chayim strode up to the Torah with a little smile on his face, humming a tune under his breath. When he had finished retying and covering the Torah scroll, he returned quietly to his seat, still smiling.
"I wonder what is going on?" they all thought.
At the end of the prayer, Chayim did not leave the synagogue with the others, but waited to talk with the Rebbe. When the Rebbe had completed his prayer, Chayim went over to him. The rebbe smiled at him, and Chayim smiled back.
"Well," said the Rebbe, "I see that your problem is not as great as you said. Look how you were dishonored in front of everyone because you were not called for Maftir like you usually are, and yet, you did not get angry."
"Of course not, Rebbe," replied Reb Chayim , I knew that this was a trick, that you were testing me; therefore I did not get angry. If it were not a trick--if they were truly trying to anger me--you don't want to know the fury I would have unleashed here today!"
The Rabbi replied, "Now you can understand why I said your problem is not so difficult. Listen to me - it is always a trick! The Holy One, Blessed be He, is always testing us. Everyone who annoys you is His messenger, a part of this exercise in which He tests us and our reactions.
"When you look at all the world in this way," the Rabbi concluded, "everything will seem different. You will not have to overcome your anger, because you will have no reason to be angry!"
Source: From Mudaot Yehudit by Nadav Cohen, as first translated into English by his mother, Yehudit-Esther Cohen and lightly edited by Yerachmiel Tilles. The published English version is called GPS for the Soul (translator: Zalman Nelson of Tsfat) and is available for purchase at Ascent's
Kabbala Online shop site.

Moshiach Now?

Sitting in a Beis Medrash or Ivy Tower one does not know what sickness and wickedness is out in the world. Going on-line seems to attract like a magnet a lot of sick people, money scammers & money making advertisers, pranksters and perverts. I try to help people but when I vet people before being Facebook Friends I come across ‘heathens, pagans, wiccans, missionaries, and deviants from the normal behavior of human beings some of which are mentioned as forbidden in the Torah and others are not forbidden but abnormal behavior. The question remains where do these characters come out of the wood work? I guess they were always there throughout all generations but did not let themselves go until our generation where they can find their society on the internet and expand their realm of nonsense with others who share their sickness. This is a horrible fact and now child predators and other illness characters can get bolder when they expand their sick society on-line. The internet is an instrument it can be used for a Torah-Forum, Jewish Conversion Group, Jews for Judaism, just like a TV or Radio for broadcasts of Torah but they can be used for evil too. There is a reason why some Rabbis ban the use of these things and certain technologies for the chance of spoiling pure young men and women are greater than the chance of helping. It takes a lot of self-restraint and a few smacks on the face or punches in the Stomach to deal with some of the negative things we get hit by through technology. Since this blogspot makes use of technology for good I can only hope that people are capable of policing themselves and restraining from the Yetzer. I too get perhaps too much distracted from my Torah by these even if I help a lot of people my question that I ask myself everyday is does the good outweigh the bad and am helping bring about the Moshiach as soon as possible?

Do nothing Prime Minister:

When I was in the States, I saw an editorial in the Jewish Press I believe on the difference between Reuven Rivlin and Benyamin Netanyahu. It was entitled “LO YEHI” of Naomi Shemer Zal or so shall it be vs. the Beatles “Let it be”. Rivlin is the man who says build, incorporate land into Israel vs. Netanyahu let it be or sit this round out. Or as we say in Talmudic language “Shave v’ lo ta’aseh”. Watching the developments this week, I saw how correct the other editor was as Netanyahu is delaying and hemming and hawing about both Gaza and Iran.

From Albert a grandnephew of the man - Jewish war Hero in India a story:

Adultery prevented by delay for this bill might allow for a non-Halachic divorce and the production of Maumzerim:

From Piper a short lecture United for once was the Nation of Israel for 18 days: - from

From Phyllis via Denise C. Triplets in memory of the boys:

Jewish Family smuggled out of Syria:,7340,L-4537614,00.html

Inyanay Diyoma

I personally have no sympathy for a factory that violates the Shabbos to make money but I feel sorry for the poor devils who live near-by and work in it.

They crucify their own and murder 102 year olds in the name of Allah the merciful.

My neighbor is fighting a battle against terrorism on a different front:

6 rockets in the south with 2 of them shot down by iron dome. In the center of the country a massive rally:

Massive Rally held for the missing boys with many famous musicians singing:,7340,L-4535678,00.html The president elect also participated and prayers all over the world have united Jews as almost 100% Am Ehud Lev Ehud.

10 Rockets hit Shaar Ha Negev between 6 to 7 AM,7340,L-4536060,00.html

Baruch Dayan Emmes the bodies of the three boys were found. Probably murdered within hours of the kidnapping. HY”D I have no idea what was found on the bodies or how they were slaughtered by the Arab Animals,7340,L-4536477,00.html

34 targets after almost the same amount of rockets it is not enough but we have to have 500 to 700 sorties on Gaza and artillery and knock them half to the next world:

Bibi and the left in the Cabinet are too restrained:

Alice you are a riot a real riot: Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Jerusalem Demonstrations and Light Rail July 2, 2014
Demonstrations and police activities are ongoing in various parts of Jerusalem today, including the Shuafat, Beit Hanina, and Wadi Joz neighborhoods.  The Jerusalem light rail system is currently limiting its service and there is no service north of French Hill. The Consulate General is monitoring the situation closely.

These events underscore the importance of situational awareness. We remind you to be aware of your surroundings at all times, monitor the media, and avoid demonstrations and other crowds as they can turn violent without warning.

Ben Dror Yemini is a liberal moderate who writes as loyal Israeli I read him all the time and write him directly where I disagree or am disappointed:,7340,L-4536681,00.html

From Henia O. Song and clip in memory of the boys:

After inaction by Netanyahu’s Cabinet 15 rockets last night 20 today with 5 Jews miraculously saved in a direct hit.’s-inaction-opens-door-to-surge-of-violence-in-Jerusalem-and-Gaza-rocket-fire

I smell blood libel here as some sources reported that the boy was a known homosexual and fanatics took care of him. Jews do not burn bodies and leave them to be found sounds like an honor killing or blood libel: see also:

Ultimatum issued as two people injured with approximately 20 mortars and rockets firing on the south:

After the numbers of rockets and mortars passed 78 in the last 36 hours and the ultimatum of Netanyahu, a partial reserve call-up has taken place:

Until we shoot out every water tank on their roves and all their tires and their Mercedes Engines there will not be quiet as they now pound the IDF with rocks for Netanyahu has done nothing over the years – I, however, can speak their language that they will understand.

Witch Hunt in the IDF after Charedi Soldiers and then they wonder why the Charedim don’t want to serve in the IDF: NOTE THE FB PAGE WAS STARTED BY NON-RELIGIOUS JEWS!!!

Now for M. Wolfberg’s “Have a cow” and “To feel him”

 Good Shabbos Everyone. In our parsha this week Chukas, Hashem commands us to perform one of the most puzzling mitzvahs of the Torah, the ritual of the parah adumah - the red heifer (cow). Hashem commands that a red heifer, perfect in its redness, be slaughtered and burned. Its ashes are then mixed in a special container with spring water, and sprinkled on anyone who was ritually impure as the result of coming into contact with a dead body. (see Bamidbar 19:2 to 19:22) The procedure of the red heifer served to purify a Jew and allow him to return to communal life.
          There are many mitzvahs in the Torah for which Hashem gives us the reason, such as Tzitzis to remember the mitzvahs and Shabbos as a reminder that Hashem created the Universe. There are several mitzvahs however, such as the red heifer, which are a total mystery. There seems to be no logical connection between the actions of the mitzvah of the red heifer and the purpose of the mitzvah, to purify the impure.
          One of the foundations of Jewish belief is that we perform all the mitzvahs even though we may not understand them. A father asks his son to do certain things. The son does not necessarily understand why he has to do what his father asks him. However, the good son does what his father asks him to do. The Torah tells us, "You are children to Hashem, your G-d…"(Devarim 14:1) Thus, when Hashem commands us to do a mitzvah, we do as a good son would, without asking for a reason why we have to do it. As the verse tells us: "The hidden are for Hashem, our G-d, while the revealed are for us and our children, forever, to carry out all the words of the Torah." (Deuteronomy 29:28) Again, the verse teaches us that although we may not understand all the mitzvahs of the Torah, we still must do all of them.
          If we could look behind the curtain which covers the spiritual world, we would understand the secrets of the Universe. However, Hashem hides the secrets of the spiritual world. Sometimes however, Hashem opens the curtain a little and gives us a peak of the hidden mystical world.
          Dreams are often a time when the hidden is revealed. The Sages in fact tell us that dreams have a power equivalent to one-sixtieth of prophecy. In the following incredible true story, Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser tells about one amazing dream in which a little bit of the hidden was revealed…
          It was well past midnight on a particularly warm June night. Having had a busy week, I was intent on making sure that my sleep would be uninterrupted. As I drifted off, I became oblivious to the conscious world.
          A few hours later I began dreaming, but the dream was frighteningly real.
          I dreamt that I was riding in the passenger side of a car with a man whom I had never met. As he barreled down the highway, I noticed that his eyes had closed and he had fallen asleep. To make matters worse, we were quickly approaching a sharp curve in the highway. With the speeding oncoming traffic approaching from the other side of the median, I immediately shouted, "Wake up! Wake up!" However, the driver, whoever he was, lowered his head slightly and seemed to descend into an even deeper sleep. Desperately, I shouted the first thing I could think of-"Wake up! For G-d's sake, wake up!"
          With those words, I woke up in a cold sweat. Somewhat relieved that I had been dreaming and was not actually in the car, I calmed myself with the words, "It's only a dream!" I looked at the clock on my night table. It was exactly three a.m. Needless to say, the dream was a horrific experience. I decided to give tzedakah and thank the Almighty that this event had not really happened.
          The next morning, I bumped into one of my closest friends. He startled me by saying. "You will never believe what happened last night. My brother called me shortly after three a.m. He was driving his car on the Long Island Expressway, returning from North Carolina. I guess the trip was too much for him and he fell asleep at the wheel.
          All of a sudden, he heard a voice screaming, 'Wake up! For G-d's sake, wake up!' Thank G-d he did! Boruch Hashem, he tricked the Angel of Death by executing a harrowing maneuver, steering his car around a dangerous curve on the highway. My brother-who as you know is not a religious man-instantly became a believer. He called me to ask if there was anything special that he should do to thank G-d for sparing him. I explained to him that it would be appropriate for him to donate money to charity."
          I was stunned by my friend's story. I still vividly remembered my dream and was a little shaken up because of it. I related my dream of the previous night to my dear friend; we both were astounded. (from Stories of Inspiration, p.81 R. D. Goldwasser) Everything is real: the soul, Hashem, Torah and mitzvahs.
Good Shabbos Everyone.       

  Good Shabbos Everyone.  Having gotten his Tefillin from one of the most prominent scribes of his time, Reb Michel Prager was quite proud of them. He would always point out how dear they were to him and how rewarding it was to wear them.
          Throughout his lifetime he had been faced with numerous challenges and difficulties, but never did he miss the opportunity to wear his tefillin. As a Chassidishe Yid, Reb Michel's davening played a major role in his life, and knowing that his tefillin were so special made it all the more gratifying.
          Although be knew that there were some opinions that encouraged checking tefillin every so often, Reb Michel was careful not to have the sealed boxes opened for fear of exposing them to air and dust, and perhaps ruining them. And so, the tefillin were never checked.
           One day, however, seventy-two years after he first put on the tefillin for his bar mitzvah, someone inadvertently switched their tefillin with his, and this man gave what he thought were his tefillin to a sofer (scribe) for checking.
          The sofer (scribe) carefully checked all the words, scrutinizing them to ensure their validity. Suddenly, he let out a gasp. "Oy Gevalt! These tefillin are missing an entire word!" He continued to check the shel yad (hand) portion of the tefillin and found a missing word in them as well, rendering the entire pair pasul (invalid).  
          The man who had brought the tefillin to be checked was quite upset, but soon realized that these were nor his tefillin at all. Upon closer examination he was able to determine that they were Reb Michel's tefillin. It was unbelievable! Reb Michel's tefillin were posul.
          How would they break the bad news to the elderly man? He was 85 years old and the shock, horror, and disappointment of never having fulfilled a mitzvah of which he had been so proud could possibly cause him enough grief to endanger his life.
          Several of the elderly members of the shul conferred and decided that they had no choice but to tell him. A doctor was brought along just in case, Reb Michel experienced any medical problems. "Reb Michel." one or the elder gentlemen said, "we have something important to tell you,"
          Slowly they spelled out the story — how the tefillin were switched, how the tefillin were taken to a sofer, and how Reb Michel's tefillin were found to be posul - invalid. They didn't have to explain further. Reb Michel understood that he had never properly fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillin. Not even once.
          At first Reb Michel sat there frozen. They worried. Had he heard them? How was he going to react? They were wondering what else they should do when suddenly Reb Michel stood up and started smiling. At first Reb Michel began to laugh and then he started to sing and dance, instead of joining him they watched with pity, assuming that he was "losing it," This was someone who look more pride in his tefillin than in any other mitzvah. Who could blame him now for losing control? He sang and danced around the room, skipping with joy. To see an 85-year-old act this way was quite unusual and, under the circumstances, very sad. But, no one dared to interfere. After all, he was entitled.
          Finally he finished dancing and singing. Suddenly he looked up and noticed everyone staring at him. He then explained. "Do you know what this means? Had my tefillin never been checked, I never would have had [he opportunity to fulfill this precious mitzvah. But now I will. For this, I am very grateful."
          And then, with tears screaming down his eyes, he began to unwrap a pair of kosher tefillin and put them on his head and on his arm. With a smile on his face and rears running down his checks. 85-year-old Reb Michel Prager fulfilled the mitzvah of tefillin for the very first time. (Touched by a Story, p. 205, Reb Yechiel Spiro.) 
          In this week's portion Balak, we read about the attempts of the evil Bilaam to curse the Jewish people.  When Bilaam opens his mouth intending to curse the Jewish people, Hashem causes Bilaam instead to utter praises of the Jewish people.  In Bilaam's first "blessing" he says about the nation of Yisroel, "Behold!  It is a nation that will dwell in solitude and not be reckoned among the nations."  (Bamidbar 23,9)  When the verse states that the Jewish nation will "not be reckoned among the nations," it means that we are different and special.  We Jews have different priorities in life than the nations.  We get excited about mitzvahs such as tefillin while the nations are busy rioting when their sports team wins. 
          Tefillin are referred to as a sign, a sign of being a Jew.  Every male must put Tefillin on daily except Shabbos and Yom Tov.  If Let us all be inspired to dedicate and rededicate our lives to doing that was distinguishes us from the nations, namely the performance of mitzvahs such a Tefillin.  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

A healthy and peaceful Shabbos to all and pray for the people near the Gaza area,
Rachamim Pauli