Friday, November 14, 2014

Parsha Chayei Sara, stories and news

You may remove the name Yisrael Alter ben Chava Chana from the prayer list.

From Liab HaCohain (spelling mine) “and, lo, three men stood over against him; and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed down to the earth,"

The Rabbi asked why did he bow down to the earth?  He said if a stranger runs at you, you do not know whether he is going to pull a knife and attack or not.  But
when he bows down, he shows his mission is peaceful. This explains why he would bow towards idol worshipping people. The Rebbe from Lubavitch would be humble and lower his heads towards Jews but look at the non-Jewish Policeman straight in the eye and enquire how he was and his family. The reason was because he viewed Jews as sons of kings and the non-Jew he viewed himself as a son of a king opposite a commoner.

Parsha Chayei Sara

This week’s Parsha according to Rashi and our Sages that before Yitzchak came back alive from the Akayda that Sara tried to go to stop Avraham and the Satan reported that Avraham already bound him on the Mizbayach and took out his knife and she passed away on the spot. Avraham returned to Beer Sheva the most direct way and found that Sara had passed away in Chevron henceforth the joining of the Parshiyos.

It was at this time according to Rashi that Rivka was born but according to the Ibn Ezra she was 11 at the time and 3 years later the Shidduch occurred. There are commands given to Eliezer who had two daughters to find a Shidduch and he did not offer his daughters but went according to the instructions of Avraham. His prayer is off as the woman who met these criteria could be lame, deaf, dumb, blind or mentally defective. He was looking for Chessed and the prayer was designed to find hospitality and Chessed like in the house of Avraham = water for you and your camels.

23:1 And the life of Sarah was a hundred and seven and twenty years; these were the years of the life of Sarah.

And the life of Sarah was one hundred years and twenty years and seven years: The reason that the word “years” was written after every digit is to tell you that every digit is to be expounded upon individually: when she was one hundred years old, she was like a twenty-year-old regarding sin. Just as a twenty-year-old has not sinned, because she is not liable to punishment, so too when she was one hundred years old, she was without sin. And when she was twenty, she was like a seven-year-old as regards to beauty. — from Gen. Rabbah 58:1] The years of the life of Sarah: All of them equally good.

This explains why at the age of 60 plus or 89 the various kings wanted to take her as a wife and Avraham’s statement that she was beautiful. This did not go into her head she was not a Hollywood type but a humble prophetess.

2 And Sarah died in Kiriatharba--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.

In Kiriath-arba: lit. the city of the four. So named because of the four giants who were there: Ahiman, Sheshai, Talmai, and their father (Gen. Rabbah from Num. 13:23). Another explanation: Because of the four couples that were buried there, man and wife: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 20). And Abraham came: from Beer-sheba. To eulogize Sarah and to bewail her: The account of Sarah’s demise was juxtaposed to the binding of Isaac because as a result of the news of the “binding,” that her son was prepared for slaughter and was almost slaughtered, her soul flew out of her, and she died. — from Gen. Rabbah 58:5]

For our last Parsha states that Avraham went to Beer Sheva and if this occurred at the same time it would explain the need to come from the Capitol of the Negev to Chevron.

3 And Abraham rose up from before his dead, and spoke unto the children of Heth, saying: 4 'I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a burying-place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.' 5 And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him: 6 'Hear us, my lord: thou art a mighty prince among us; in the choice of our sepulchres bury thy dead; none of us shall withhold from thee his sepulchre, but that thou may bury thy dead.'

Note there is no obstacle or problem even use our structures with our symbols of our gods on them.  

7 And Abraham rose up, and bowed down to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying: 'If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession of a burying-place.' 10 Now Ephron was sitting in the midst of the children of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the children of Heth, even of all that went in at the gate of his city, saying: 11 'Nay, my lord, hear me: the field give I thee, and the cave that is therein, I give it thee; in the presence of the sons of my people give I it thee; bury thy dead.'

No price no request of money just go ahead and take it for free!

12 And Abraham bowed down before the people of the land. 13 And he spoke unto Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying: 'But if thou wilt, I pray thee, hear me: I will give the price of the field; take it of me, and I will bury my dead there.' 14 And Ephron answered Abraham, saying unto him: 15 'My lord, hearken unto me: a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that betwixt me and thee? bury therefore thy dead.' 16 And Abraham hearkened unto Ephron; and Abraham weighed to Ephron the silver, which he had named in the hearing of the children of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.

This was like millions of dollars in their days with their spending power but about $16,000 in our terms.  Ephron original offer should have been taken up by Avraham as every place where the non-Jews sold to the Bnei Avraham – Chevron to Avraham, Schem by Yacov and Har HaBeis by David are disputed today despite the price and deed.

17 So the field of Ephron, which was in Machpelah, which was before Mamre, the field, and the cave which was therein, and all the trees that were in the field, that were in all the border thereof round about, were made sure 18 unto Abraham for a possession in the presence of the children of Heth, before all that went in at the gate of his city. 19 And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre--the same is Hebron--in the land of Canaan. 20 And the field, and the cave that is therein, were made sure unto Abraham for a possession of a burying-place by the children of Heth

24:1 And Abraham was old, well stricken in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.

Because Avraham and Yitzchak looked alike due to lack of aging, Avraham prayed for the aging symbols and aging came into the world - Midrash.

Had blessed Abraham with everything: [The word] בַּכֹּל is numerically equal to בֵּן [son]. Since he had a son, he had to find him a wife.

2 And Abraham said unto his servant, the elder of his house, that ruled over all that he had: 'Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh.

To the fathers but Avraham and Yacov the Bris was Kodesh. The oath was not taken holding the Holy Scriptures but the Holy Circumcision!

3 And I will make thee swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell.

This is where the Medrash comments that Eliezer had two daughters and they were from Canaan and he had to give up on having

4 But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son, even for Isaac.' 5 And the servant said unto him: 'Peradventure the woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land; must I needs bring thy son back unto the land from whence thou camest?' 6 And Abraham said unto him: 'Beware thou that thou bring not my son back thither. 7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house, and from the land of my nativity, and who spoke unto me, and who swore unto me, saying: Unto thy seed will I give this land; He will send His angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife for my son from thence.

We see the faith of Avraham here and in the next sentence the lack of faith of Eliezer.

8 And if the woman be not willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath; only thou shalt not bring my son back thither.'

Avraham loads up 10 camels of all his wealth. He is not afraid of Eliezer running off with the money or thieves killing Eliezer and even the bride and running off with the wealth.

9 And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter. 10 And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master, and departed; having all goodly things of his master's in his hand; and he arose, and went to Aram-naharaim, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water.

Eliezer does not pray correctly but HASHEM is in charge that it turns out all right.

12 And he said: 'O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, send me, I pray Thee, good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham. 13 Behold, I stand by the fountain of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water. 14 So let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say: Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say: Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be she that Thou hast appointed for Thy servant, even for Isaac; and thereby shall I know that Thou hast shown kindness unto my master.'

What if she was a slave, lame, deaf, blind, married, betrothed or a prostitute? But HASHEM does this Chessed for Avraham Ish Ha Chessed and harkens to the Kavana of Eliezer’s Prayer.

15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham's brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.

Just in the nick of time as an answer to his prayer.

16 And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her; and she went down to the fountain, and filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her, and said: 'Give me to drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher.' 18 And she said: 'Drink, my lord'; and she hastened, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. 19 And when she had done giving him drink, she said: 'I will draw for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.' 20 And she hastened, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw, and drew for all his camels. 21 And the man looked stedfastly on her; holding his peace, to know whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not. 22 And it came to pass, as the camels had done drinking, that the man took a golden ring of half a shekel weight, and two bracelets for her hands of ten shekels weight of gold;

Why the rush to hand out gold what if she was betrothed?

23 and said: 'Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee. Is there room in thy father's house for us to lodge in?' 24 And she said unto him: 'I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore unto Nahor.' 25 She said moreover unto him: 'We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.' 26 And the man bowed his head, and prostrated himself before the LORD. 27 And he said: 'Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who hath not forsaken His mercy and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD hath led me in the way to the house of my master's brethren.'

This is a true blessing from the heart even though it was not a standard prayer. From here we learn that pray is a conversation between man and G-D and spontaneous blessings that are from the heart are kosher.

28 And the damsel ran, and told her mother's house according to these words. 29 And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban; and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the fountain. 30 And it came to pass, when he saw the ring, and the bracelets upon his sister's hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying: 'Thus spoke the man unto me,' that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the fountain. 31 And he said: 'Come in, thou blessed of the LORD; wherefore stand thou without?

The Pshat is the clearing and invitation for the servant of a family member. The Drasha is that he ran to see If there was more gold and what he could steal by poisoning Eliezer. According to Medrash the reason why he speaks is because he accidently poisoned his father and Eliezer was protected. I think that since Avraham was 140, his brother was also older and giving over the business to his son, Nahor let Lavan negotiate. (While I listen on my phone to the e-Daf I also flip channels from time to time and see a father son(s) business called “Pawn Stars” about a Las Vegas Pawn Shop.) From my standpoint Nahor wants to see how Lavan can drive a bargain and my son too is a better negotiator than I am.

For I have cleared the house, and made room for the camels.' 32 And the man came into the house, and he ungirded the camels; and he gave straw and provender for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men that were with him. 33 And there was set food before him to eat; but he said: 'I will not eat, until I have told mine errand.' And he said: 'Speak on.' 34 And he said: 'I am Abraham's servant. 35 And the LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great; and He hath given him flocks and herds, and silver and gold, and men-servants and maid-servants, and camels and asses. 36 And Sarah my master's wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and unto him hath he given all that he hath. 37 And my master made me swear, saying: Thou shalt not take a wife for my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I dwell. 38 But thou shalt go unto my father's house, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son. 39 And I said unto my master: Peradventure the woman will not follow me. 40 And he said unto me: The LORD, before whom I walk, will send His angel with thee, and prosper thy way; and thou shalt take a wife for my son of my kindred, and of my father's house;

Rivka all this time is listening in and has no say in the negotiations about her own fate. The only say that she will have is if she wants to go or not. Not so when she becomes Yitzchak help-mate as we shall see next week.

50 Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said: 'The thing proceeds from the LORD; we cannot speak unto thee bad or good.

Lavan was negotiating and Bethuel nodded his approval and now verbally confirms this. This is also another reason to accept the fact that he was poisoned!

51 Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master's son's wife, as the LORD hath spoken.' 52 And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he bowed himself down to the earth unto the LORD. 53 And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah; he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things. 54 And they did eat and drink, he and the men that were with him, and tarried all night; and they rose up in the morning, and he said: 'Send me away unto my master.' 55 And her brother and her mother said: 'Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go.' 56 And he said unto them: 'Delay me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.' 57 And they said: 'We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth.'

This was a delaying tactic and a way to get the dowry and perhaps even more money if she did not go. However, she knew the tactics of Lavan and did not want to end up being a spinster. She also was G-D fearing.

58 And they called Rebekah, and said unto her: 'Wilt thou go with this man?' And she said: 'I will go.' 59 And they sent away Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men.

Devorah’s name is not mentioned here only when Yacov mourns her death.

60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her: 'Our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let thy seed possess the gate of those that hate them.' 61 And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man. And the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of Beer-lahai-roi; for he dwelt in the land of the South. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, there were camels coming.

He established the Mincha Prayer towards sundown.

64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she alighted from the camel. 65 And she said unto the servant: 'What man is this that walks in the field to meet us?' And the servant said: 'It is my master.' And she took her veil, and covered herself.

This Parsha has a nose-ring and Burka covering of the married woman for that was the dress of the time something like a Bedouin today with tent included.

66 And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. And Isaac was comforted for his mother.

Now he culminates the marriage that was performed by the negotiation of Eliezer. No fireworks, no bands, no dating, no infatuation but here couple we prayed to HASHEM and here she is. You are man and wife now. First his wife fills his mother’s shoes, she acts out the wifely chores and then with time he loves her. They were married from between 119 years of the Ibn Ezra Commentary to 130 years of the Rashi Commentary so it was not unsuccessful.

25 Avraham remarries so as not to be alone and even has children in his old age. ... 7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, a hundred threescore and fifteen years. 8 And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people. 9 And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre; 10 the field which Abraham purchased of the children of Heth; there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. 11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed Isaac his son; and Isaac dwelt by Beer-lahai-roi.
12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bore unto Abraham. 13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the first-born of Ishmael, Nebaioth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, 14 and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa; 15 Hadad, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedem; 16 these are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their villages, and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations. 17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty and seven years; and he expired and died; and was gathered unto his people. 18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur that is before Egypt, as thou goes toward Asshur: over against all his brethren he did settle.

This is all for the marriage of Esav in the future to the daughter of Yishmael.

The once laudable organization is obsessed with demonizing the Jewish state.
On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, Amnesty International released its latest attack on Israel: a highly biased report that accuses the Jewish state of war crimes in its fighting in Gaza over the previous summer. Avoiding the use of the word “terror” in relation to Hamas, and failing to mention the terrorist tunnels Hamas built in order to infiltrate Israel and carry out attacks, Amnesty’s report was followed up later in the day with a Tweet from a senior Amnesty official, equating the Jewish state with the terror group ISIS, which has beheaded countless Muslims and Western journalists across Syria and Iraq.
The report is typical of Amnesty’s highly critical style towards Israel. As Israel responds that Amnesty “serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups” it’s worth asking how such a worthy organization as Amnesty International could have fallen so far, and wound up obsessed with demonizing the Jewish state.
I remember as a child our class writing letters to the USSR, protesting the jailing of Soviet Jews who wanted to immigrate to Israel. We relied on information and names of Jewish prisoners of conscious often provided by Amnesty International. The very term prisoner of conscious was Amnesty’s coinage, and it conveyed the profound injustice facing the refuseniks: Soviet Jews whose petitions to move to Israel had been denied. In those dark days of Soviet repression, it was Amnesty International who detailed the horrendous conditions the prisoners were kept in, and who made sure the world knew their names. Many refuseniks, such as Ida Nudel and Natan Sharansky, today head of Israel’s Jewish Agency, were first identified by Amnesty researchers.
Amnesty International started with a cri de coeur – a vivid 1961 newspaper article by a London lawyer named Peter Benenson titled “The Forgotten Prisoners,” about the many political prisoners languishing in jails around the world. Benenson had recently read about two students in Portugal, then a fascist dictatorship, who were sentenced to seven years in prison for raising their glasses and making a toast to freedom. He wanted to do something about it.
“We have set up an office in London to collect information about the names, numbers, and conditions of what we have decided to call ‘Prisoners of Conscience,’” Benenson announced, “and we define them thus: ‘Any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing… any opinion which he honestly holds and which does not advocate or condone personal violence.’" Donations poured in, and Amnesty International, as the new group was called, started collecting and publicizing information about political prisoners.
But as the years passed, Amnesty’s focus became not only exposing prisoners of conscience, but advocating specific policies, too. As its ambitions expanded, Israel increasingly found itself the focus of Amnesty International’s condemnations. The recent, outrageously biased report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza is the culmination of a decades-long trend of demonization of the Jewish state.
An early change in Amnesty’s activities came in 2002, at the infamous UN World Conference Against Racism, in Durban, South Africa. Amnesty International officials participated by targeting the Jewish state. Officials distributed material detailing examples of racism and human rights abuses around the world, mentioning only one nation – Israel – by name. Irene Kahn, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, later admitted her organization should have named other countries, too, but the damage was done: the Durban conference, encouraged by the non-governmental organizations like Amnesty in attendance, produced a highly biased anti-Israel final report that still is influencing policy discussions today. Lending its prestige to the hate-fest at Durban, Amnesty helped single out the Jewish state as somehow uniquely evil, unparalleled in human affairs.

War Crimes

Amnesty’s criticism of Israel has increased after Durban; one powerful strategy has been to accuse Israel of war crimes.
2006 was a turning point. That year, after Israel fought a four-week war against the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, Amnesty formally accused Israel of war crimes for attacking civilian infrastructure in Lebanon during the fighting. Despite the fact that during the four-week period, Hezbollah fired 3,900 rockets at Israeli towns and cities, killing 44 Israeli civilians and wounding 1,400, Amnesty refused to condemn Hezbollah. Even when Hezbollah cynically used human shields in Lebanon (in violation of international law) by embedding their fighters in civilian population centers, Amnesty’s criticism remained one-sided, directed at the Jewish state.
Prominent legal scholars at the time criticized Amnesty International’s sloppy use of legal terms. Accusing Amnesty of being in a “race to the bottom” in criticizing Israel, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz called Amnesty’s definition of war crimes “idiosyncratic” and not reflective of international law. Amnesty’s main criteria of calling something a war crime seems to be anything Israel does. David Bernstein, a Law Professor at George Mason University, observed that Amnesty’s criticisms of Israel’s use of force “has nothing to do with human rights or war crimes, and a lot to do with a pacifist attitude that seeks to make war, regardless of the justification for it or the restraint in prosecuting it…an international ‘crime’.”
After Israel responded to mortar attacks on Israeli civilians in 2009 from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, Amnesty issued a report accusing Israel of war crimes: the 127-page report minimized Hamas’ violations of international law, and accused ignored eyewitness accounts that Hamas had used human shields.
That year, Amnesty sent its internal documents to the International Criminal Court, for use in case that body brought charges against the Jewish state. Amnesty also started calling for an international arms embargo against Israel, citing Israel’s supposed status as “a grave violator of human rights”.

Anti-Israel Intensification

Despite defending its impartiality, Amnesty’s anti-Israel obsession has intensified. Director of Amnesty International Finland, Frank Johansson, called Israel a “scum state” on his blog in August 2010. Amnesty International Australia has had to repeatedly apologize after highly anti-Semitic posts (some praising Hitler, calling Jews cancer, and calling for death to Jews) have been allowed onto its Facebook page. In 2013 Amnesty awarded its Ambassador of Conscience award to Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd musician who tirelessly calls for boycotting the Jewish state and features a giant inflatable pig wearing a Star of David in his shows.
When Amnesty Campaign Manager Krystian Benedict was asked in 2010 if he would support an event drawing attention to kidnapped Israeli private Gilad Shalit, he responded only if “thousands of Palestinian prisoners” were included as well. Mr. Benedict later told a journalist “Israel is now included in the list of stupid dictatorial regimes who abuse people’s basic human rights – along with Burma, North Korea, Iran and Sudan, it’s government has the same wanton attitude to human beings.” Mr. Benedict was temporarily suspended from Amnesty for posting a joke about Jewish members of Britain’s parliament on Twitter, but was soon reinstated. On Wednesday, November 5, 2014, after Israeli objections to Amnesty’s latest biased report, he Tweeted that Israel is equivalent to the vicious terror group ISIS.
This obsession with Israel and Jews – and sympathy with those who wish to harm them – is reflected in staffing choices at Amnesty International. One Middle East Researcher, Saleh Hijazi, was previously the contact for a political organization called “Another Voice,” whose slogan was “Resist! Boycott! We Are Intifada!” British-based Amnesty researcher Deborah Hyams volunteered as a “human shield” near Bethlehem, preventing Israeli military responses to gunfire and rockets aimed at civilians in nearby Jerusalem. Amnesty’s American-based Israel researcher, Edith Garwood, used to be a member of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement. Rasha Abdul-Rahim, a fourth member of Amnesty’s research unit, describes herself as “a ranty Palestinian activist” on Twitter.
In 2010, Gita Saghal, the head of Amnesty International’s Gender Unit was fired after she criticized Amnesty’s close links with Cageprisoners, a British Muslim extremist group whose leader defends violent jihad and the Taliban; she accused Amnesty of “ideological bankruptcy” and said an “atmosphere of terror” prevails inside Amnesty International, where staff cannot question leaders’ ideological views.
Amnesty’s latest report – and its offensive jokes and Tweets about the Jewish state – betray an unhealthy obsession and hatred of Israel. It’s time the world woke up to the sad fact that this once-laudable organization no longer has any moral standing, and ignore its pronouncements.

Alan Lock was going blind. Here’s how he fought to get through the darkness.
Alan Lock was slowly going blind. He began his career in the Royal Air Force as a navigation officer and he noticed that towards the ends of his shifts his navigation charts were beginning to look blurry. At first he thought it was just because he was tired, but even after he had slept his eyes continued to ache and shadows began to cloud his vision.
When Alan went in for eye testing, he was told that he was born with macular degeneration, a genetic abnormality that usually shows up when people are in their sixties and seventies. There was no way to treat the disease. He would never be able to drive, read or completely see again. Alan, 23, was devastated. He had to resign from the dream of his military career. He gradually began to lose his independence. There were people who told him to think positively, but this was not what helped him get through the encroaching darkness.
“No matter what people say, there were no positives in losing my sight. You might stretch it and say you appreciate your hearing; you might say, ‘Keep your head up and think about what all these other blind people do to get by.’ But I’d have given anything to change this,” Alan is quoted saying in Super Survivors, by David B. Feldman, PhD and Lee Daniel Kravetz. Instead, Alan faced the darkness. He knew what he couldn’t do anymore now that his eyesight was gone, so he began trying to figure out what he could do.
He decided to do something that most people might see as crazy; he commissioned a rowboat to paddle from Spain to Barbados. While his blindness did not affect his ability to row, he had to figure out how to avoid bumping into sharp corners on board or burning himself on the electric stove. His navigator, Matt, who joined him on the boat, had tried to row this course across the Atlantic before and failed. It was a dangerous route that they were rowing with no motor, no sail, five-by-seven feet of maneuvering space and a compass. They packed enough food for a hundred days, but they hoped that they would make it there in less than 70 because they were racing hurricane season.
When they finally made it to their destination, Alan became the first registered blind person ever to row across one of the world’s oceans. Today Alan is training to be the first visually impaired person to make the grueling 600 mile trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.
To set that world record, Alan had to use grit and courage, tenacity and perseverance.
We can tap into that same power. Here are seven things that people with grit say to themselves to get them through the darkness.
1. What now? When a door closes on them, people with grit don’t dwell on that lost opportunity. They look at their current life and ask: What now? What next step can I take with my strengths and weaknesses? How can I move forward? What will be challenging but doable? What now?
2. I’m curious. People with grit are curious about themselves and the world around them. They study what makes other people successful; they strive to understand where other people are coming from. And they want to know themselves. They are curious about their own potentials and limitations. They hold off judgment until they try. They follow ideas that they are passionate about. They begin many of their days by saying: “I’m curious about this possibility.”
3. I’m responsible. People with grit take responsibility for their lives. They don’t blame others or even their circumstances when darkness surrounds them. Instead they tell themselves: It is my choice to find a way to bring light into this situation. I am not stuck sitting in the darkness, wallowing in self-pity. I can choose to build an extraordinary life.
4. Keep rowing. Even after icy winds set Alan and Matt back several days, Alan rowed with the same intensity as before the setback. He had expected that when he would face the ocean, winds would come. And he had decided before he began, that he would keep going no matter what. People with grit see the darkness as a challenge. When they’re tired, it’s a challenge. When they’re cold and wet and pursuing their goal, they are happy that they are able to keep rowing.
5. I don’t settle. When Alan was deciding what to do after the Royal Navy handed him his resignation papers, he decided that he wanted a “watershed moment.” He wanted greatness. He wanted challenge. He wanted to be true to the fighter that was still inside of him. People with grit don’t settle. They don’t sit back and accept that this is all there is. They want more. They demand more of themselves. They spend their lives reaching higher.
6. It’s supposed to be hard. One of the ideas that helped Alan the most on his journey was that he expected it to be hard. He expected storms. He expected discomfort. He even expected fear. People with grit expect life to be hard. They expect the darkness to come. They’re ready for it. They tell themselves in the most painful times, that it’s supposed to be hard. That it’s okay for it to be dark. That it’s okay for them to be uncomfortable in order to move towards their goals.
7. This is important. Whatever they are doing at the moment, people with grit tell themselves that it is important. They don’t dismiss all the tiny details that they must attend to on the way to their destination as insignificant. They see every step and everything that they do to prepare as crucial and worthwhile. They view even their mini-goals, however ordinary they may seem to someone else, as critical milestones and accomplishments.
People with grit believe that with the darkness comes an opportunity to create light. And they inspire the rest of us to reach for that light.

Love and marriage in Judaism. Beside the laws of the Mikvah and family purity there are other laws regarding marriage and modesty. A number of times, I have written about women having sleeves that cover the elbows, blouses that are not revealing when a woman bends forward, a dress that cover the knees when sitting. Men too are required as a minimum to wear sandals (The Ben Ish Chai rules that socks are needed but in ancient times this was not so), shorts and heart separated by a belt or elastic band from the pants towards the chest, and the chest covered for Shemonah Esray Prayer and when saying the night time Shema either under the covers or covered somehow. Here are some of the laws:
A foot note is that just as we keep things under the covers does not mean the stupid rumors of the Chassidim and Meah Shaarim types that tell the story of relations via a hole in the sheet. My Torah says “Bone of my bones flesh of my flesh” it is not written sheet of my sheet.

The law of supply and demand hits Israel. The number of lawyers in Israel and law schools grew between 300 to 400% in the last 20 years or saw. There are many new colleges and teachers but I foresee an over-supply of lawyers. On the other hand accountants have not grown so much but their tests are relatively harder so if I were a person looking into this or that I would use my head and choose the later. There is a problem with doctors as new doctors are paid very low but when one becomes experienced and takes on private patients the money does roll in. But it is good to go into a profession that you like but remember there is a limited number of historians, musicians, artists that the market can bear and one must put food on the table therefore when studying be practical or live on close to nothing like a Kollel Student.

After 69 years survivor finds his first cousin but not yet his twin brother:,7340,L-4589762,00.html

My friend Daniel is giving a course on the Jewish Calendar in Woodmere LI not far from Brooklyn and Queens if one has a car:

The next time Dr. Phil asks “Did somebody write stupid on my forehead” check him for this virus:

Inyanay Diyoma
Two posts from Naftali Bennett: 1) The concrete barriers at the Light Rail are a reward to terrorism. The solution to terrorism is not to put Jews behind fences and barriers, but to deter the murderers. Last night the decision was made to place concrete barriers by the light rail to prevent terrorists from running over innocent people with a car. This is not the correct way to solve the problem. This concept of being defensive is wrong. When there were attacks on buses, they put security guards on every bus. When missiles hit the south, they fortified the schools. When the terrorist attacks increased, we ran away from Gush Katif. When they fired more missiles, we established the Iron Dome. When we stopped missiles they came through the underground tunnels, kidnapped Shalit, and then we released terrorists in a terrible deal. When our boys were abducted and murdered, we blamed the hitchhiking. When they shot Yehuda Glick, we spoke about background checks on restaurant employees. Enough.

We cannot be silent anymore. This is a conceptual problem that costs us civilian lives. Just so we are clear, these concrete blocks will be destroyed or defiled. They will not help. That is not how one fights terrorism. That is how one encourages it. It was said that "the missiles will rust" before they are ever used, instead we got the Second Lebanon War. It was said that "the tunnels will crumble" before they are ever used, and the rest is history. What are we supposed to say now? “The truck will eventually run out of gas?” This is the problem with the conceptual mind set of defense. Israel is defending itself to death. The solution is deterrence, not defensive measures. The solution is not the Iron Dome concept, but an iron fist. We did this during Operation Defensive Shield in Judea and Samaria, and the terrorism ceased. We can do this today in Jerusalem. It takes courage, and a decision needs to be made. Those who do not know how to do it should say so.

2) The Terrorist law just passed! From now on, terrorists will die in prison. Israel's security policy on the topic of releasing terrorists is returning to sanity: MK Shaked’s bill that prevents pardons for terrorists just passed its final vote in the Knesset. This means that Israeli terrorists, such as Shelly Dadon’s murderer, and many others, including terrorists from eastern Jerusalem, can be sent to prison without the possibility of parole, with no exceptions or loopholes. This is the beginning of a return to Israeli security policy sanity on the topic of releasing terrorists. For years, we were told there is nothing you can do; Israel releases terrorists, just the way that it is. No more. It is over. There is much more work that remains to be done.

My wife tells me that shots were fired at border police near Neve Sof last week: Call for bringing in soldiers to stop Intifada:

Egypt demolishing homes in which one with a tunnel explodes.,7340,L-4589220,00.html

Iron Dome and Muslim States attending Israeli Arms Show:,7340,L-4589076,00.html

Ed-op on the battle for Yerushalayim:,7340,L-4588907,00.html

Boo-hoo dept. Arab shot dead when he pulls a knife resisting arrest: riots followed the attack see the video. He is shot by the driver from the side as he thought that his fellow officers were in danger

2016 Presidential Politics starting as Obama criticized on his Iranian action.

ISIS leader seriously injured and scores dead in US or coalition raid:,7340,L-4589456,00.html

This week there was an anniversary of the first Hitler attempt to take over Germany, Krystall Nacht and the fall of the Berlin Wall and this year the first two were blurred by the later. 

From Stephen E. H. explaining Obama’s Iranian Policy: SECURITY BRIEFING: Obama’s Trita Parsi, Agent of Tehran’s Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Intelligence & Security, and his position in the White House Nov. 2014 In 2009 Obama turned over virtually all responsibility and authority for foreign policy negotiations with Iran to Trita Parsi and his National Iranian American Council (NIAC). Founded by Parsi in 2003, the Washington-based NIAC is a powerful lobbying group that is “widely considered the de facto lobby for the Islamic Republic Regime in America. He calls America & Israel a Treacherous Alliance, Israel is the reason there is chaos in the Middle East ,

Iran’s Uranium Stockpile Grows and Grows. Iranian Sheep Fur pulling the wool over our eyes:,7340,L-4589512,00.html

The Fish always begins to stink from the head (not about POTUS or SCOTUS or even Olmert but another PM).

From Gail Winston: Why the Temple Mount Belongs to Jews & Israel
Al Aqsa Mosque Turned into Terror 'War Room' By Uzi Baruch, Gil Ronen First Publish: Arutz Sheva- - Update: 11/5/2014, 11:17 AM
Arab rioters wound police, Jews temporarily banned; MK Zoabi insults police officers: 'you didn't learn from the Holocaust.'   Israeli police came under assault by rock-throwing Arab protesters on the Temple Mount compound on Wednesday, as clashes were highlighted by pro-Hamas Arab MK Hanin Zoabi's (Balad) presence at the site. "Dozens of masked protesters threw rocks & firecrackers at security forces who then entered the Temple Mount & pushed the demonstrators back inside the mosque," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP.
Police had collected intelligence overnight about Muslim youths who were holing up in the mosque, which has effectively been turned into a combat facility by the Muslims.  The youths collected rocks, fireworks & prepared firebombs inside the Al Aqsa structure, & set up barricades to prevent police from closing the doors of Al Aqsa & shutting them inside, as police usually do in confrontations with them.   Early in the morning, when the Rambam Gate doors were opened for visitors, the young Muslims began firing fireworks at police who were at the gate.
As police entered the compound, which was originally built for the Jews who made pilgrimage to the First & Second Jewish Temples, the Muslims escaped into the Al Aqsa structure & fired hundreds of firework rockets directly at the policemen. They also used fire extinguishers to spray at the police.


Man almost lynched by Arabs within the green line (time to kick them out of the holy land once and for all)!,7340,L-4589988,00.html Related 2 days ago two buses were stoned near the town of Abu Gosh.

Don’t blame the Irish or the Jews for this plot to kill the Queen of England:

2 arms smuggling fishing boats sunk as Egypt destroys tunnels

We recently had the Guy Falk’s Day and Rabin Yahrzeit at the same time while from his policies we have terrorist in Guy Falk’s masks chasing IDF soldiers. Time to either have massive rubber bullet fire or shot to kill.

As Gail wrote the war never really ended here is an Ed-Op on the countdown to the next war:,7340,L-4589830,00.html

TWO TERROR ATTACKS TODAY. 1) An 18 year old from Schem stabbed a soldier and tried to steal his rifle. With multi-stabs the soldier stopped breathing the paramedics managed to give him air and after the Aorta was clamped in Tel HaShomer Hospital his heart started beating. He is in critical condition with some stabilization of one or two systems. Terrorist injured and questioned. 2) After failing to run over people at the same bus stop where the three boys were kidnapped due to barricades, Arab driver runs out with knife and stabs a teenage girl in her neck artery killing her and stabbing others. He is shot by the guard of Alon Shevut a number of times in the chest and hospitalized.
For more two articles:,7340,L-4590231,00.html and,7340,L-4590384,00.html In both instances it was a man who jumped out of his car unarmed and fought the terrorist that may have saved the soldier’s life and it knocked the knife out of the terrorists hand and the fellow in Gush Etzion was cut on the chin but in light condition.

Rabbi Glick has trouble talking but otherwise is doing well as he writes his followers to be strong:
Good Morning in some ways but for the Shiloni Family from Modiin who lost their son, Almong, HY'D to a terrorists stabbing it is not. Blessed be the true JUDGE. Since we took upon us the 9 year old boy, I am living a life of a soap opera which involves talk of the neighborhood and other adventures.,7340,L-4590499,00.html

Premature explosion? There were reports of secondary explosions but appear to be rumors at this time.

Ed-Op by the President of Israel denouncing violence:,7340,L-4590177,00.html

Family in Schem evacuate home expecting demolition and are arrested for questioning:

From Gail Winston: How did Jerusalem become so important to Muslims? By Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups & the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel....
The importance of Jerusalem for Jews & Christians is beyond dispute, since the connection of this city to Judaism & Christianity is part of universal concepts about history & theology. However, when it comes to modern politics, we hear over & over that Palestinians, Arabs & Muslims demand that Jerusalem become the capital of the future Palestinian state, owing to its holiness to Islam. The question is how & when this city became holy to Muslims.
After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramle, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.
         When the Prophet Muhammad established Islam, he introduced a minimum of innovations. He employed the hallowed personages, historic legends & sacred sites of Judaism, Christianity, & even paganism, by Islamizing them. Thus, according to Islam, Abraham was the first Muslim & Jesus & St. John (the sons of Miriam, sister of Moses & Aaron) were prophets & guardians of the second heaven. Many Biblical legends ("asatir al-awwalin"), which were familiar to the pagan Arabs before the dawn of Islam, underwent an Islamic conversion, & the Koran as well as the Hadith (the Islamic oral tradition), are replete with them.
Islamization was practiced on places as well as persons: Mecca & the holy stone - al-Ka'bah - were holy sites of the pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus & the Great Mosque of Istanbul were erected on the sites of Christian-Byzantine churches - two of the better known examples of how Islam treats sanctuaries of other faiths.
Jerusalem, too, underwent the process of Islamization: at first Muhammad attempted to convince the Jews near Medina to join his young community, and, by way of persuasion, established the direction of prayer (kiblah) to be to the north, towards Jerusalem, in keeping with Jewish practice; but after he failed in this attempt he turned against the Jews, killed many of them, & directed the kiblah southward, towards Mecca.
Muhammad's abandonment of Jerusalem explains the fact that this city is not mentioned even once in the Koran. After Palestine was occupied by the Muslims, its capital was Ramle, 30 miles to the west of Jerusalem, signifying that Jerusalem meant nothing to them.
Islam rediscovered Jerusalem 50 years after Muhammad's death. In 682 CE, 'Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr rebelled against the Islamic rulers in Damascus, conquered Mecca & prevented pilgrims from reaching Mecca for the Hajj. 'Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, needed an alternative site for the pilgrimage & settled on Jerusalem which was then under his control. In order to justify this choice, a verse from the Koran was chosen (17,1 = sura 17, verse 1) which states (trans. by Majid Fakhri):
"Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing."
The meaning ascribed to this verse (see the commentary in al-Jallalayn) is that "the furthest mosque" (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem & that Muhammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel), on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, & hoofs reaching to the horizon. He tethered the horse to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount & from there ascended to the seventh heaven together with the angel Gabriel. On his way he met the prophets of other religions who are the guardians of the Seven Heavens: Adam, Jesus, St. John, Joseph, Idris (=Seth?), Aaron, Moses & Abraham who accompanied him on his way to Allah & who accepted him as their master.
Thus Islam tries to gain legitimacy over other, older religions, by creating a scene in which the former prophets agree to Muhammad's mastery, thus making him Khatam al-Anbiya' ("the Seal of the Prophets"). According to this legend, Islam came to the world in order to replace Judaism & Christianity rather than to live side by side with them.
Not surprisingly, this miraculous account contradicts a number of the tenets of Islam: How can a living man of flesh & blood ascend to heaven? How can a mythical creature carry a mortal to a real destination? Questions such as these have caused orthodox Muslim thinkers to conclude that the nocturnal journey was a dream of Muhammad's. The journey & the ascent serves Islam to "go one better" than the Bible: Moses "only" went up to Mt. Sinai, in the middle of nowhere, & drew close to heaven, whereas Muhammad went all the way up to Allah, & from Jerusalem itself.
What are the difficulties with the belief that the al-Aqsa mosque described in Islamic tradition is located in Jerusalem? For one, the people of Mecca, who knew Muhammad well, did not believe this story. Only Abu Bakr, (later the first Caliph), believed him & thus was called al-Siddiq ("the believer"). The second difficulty is that Islamic tradition tells us that al-Aqsa mosque is near Mecca on the Arabian peninsula. This was unequivocally stated in "Kitab al-Maghazi" (Oxford University Press, 1966, vol. 3, pp. 958-9), a book by the Muslim historian & geographer al-Waqidi. According to al-Waqidi, there were two "masjeds" (places of prayer) in al-Gi'irranah, a village between Mecca & Ta'if, one was "the closer mosque" (al-masjid al-adna) & the other was "the further mosque" (al-masjid al-aqsa), & Muhammad would pray there when he went out of town.
This description by al-Waqidi which is supported by a chain of authorities (isnad), was not "convenient" for the Islamic propaganda of the 7th century. In order to establish a basis for the awareness of the "holiness" of Jerusalem in Islam, the Caliphs of the Ummayad dynasty invented many "traditions" upholding the value of Jerusalem (known as "fadha'il bayt al-Maqdis"), which would justify pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the faithful Muslims. Thus was al-Masjid al-Aqsa "transported" to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Saladin also adopted the myth of al-Aqsa & those "traditions" in order to recruit & inflame the Muslim warriors against the Crusaders in the 12th century.
Another aim of the Islamization of Jerusalem was to undermine the legitimacy of the older religions, Judaism & Christianity, which consider Jerusalem to be a holy city. Islam is presented as the only legitimate religion, destined to replace the other two, because Jews & Christians had changed & distorted ("ghyyarou wa-baddalou") the Word of God, each in their turn. On the alleged forgeries of the Holy Scriptures, made by Jews & Christians, see the third chapter of: M. J. Kister, "haddithu 'an bani isra'il wa-la haraja", IOS 2 (1972), pp. 215-239. Kister quotes dozens of Islamic sources).
Though Judaism & Christianity can exist side by side in Jerusalem, Islam regards both of them as betrayals of Allah & his teachings, & has always done, & will continue to do, all in its power to expel both of them from this city. It is interesting to note that this expulsion is retroactive: The Islamic broadcasters of the Palestinian radio stations consistently make it a point to claim that the Jews never had a temple on the Temple Mount & certainly not two temples. (Where, then, according to them, did Jesus preach?)
Arafat, himself a secular person (ask the Hamas!), did exactly what the Caliphs of the Umayyad dynasty did 1300 years ago: he marshaled the holiness of Jerusalem to serve his political ends. He could not give control of Jerusalem over to the Jews since according to Islam they are impure & the wrath of Allah is upon them ("al-maghdhoub 'alayhim"; Koran 1,7, see al-Jalalayn & other commentaries; note that verse numbers may differ slightly in the various editions of the Koran). The Jews are the sons of monkeys & pigs (5,60). (For the idea that Jews are related to pigs & monkeys see, for instance, Musnad al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, (Beirut 1969) vol. 3, p. 241. See also pages 348, 395, 397, 421, & vol. 6, p. 135.) The Jews are those who distorted the holy writings which were revealed to them (2,73; 3,72) & denied God's signs (3,63). Since they violated the covenant with their God (4,154), He cursed them (5,16) & they are forever the inheritors of hell (3,112). So how could Arafat abandon Jerusalem to the Jews?
The Palestinian Arab media these days are full of messages of Jihad, calling to broaden the national-political war between Israel & the Palestinians into a religious-Islamic war between the Jews & the Muslims. READ THEIR LIPS: for them Christianity is no better than Judaism, since both "forfeited" their right to rule over Jerusalem. Only Islam - Din al-Haqq ("the Religion of Truth") - has this right, & forever. This was & still is the leitmotiv in Friday sermons in Palestinian mosques & official media. (Note: photo accompanying this article is a keffiya showing the hoped-for taking Jerusalem from Israel & the destruction of Israel on the scarf. On the right side it says "Jerusalem is ours" & the left: "Palestine" with no Israel on the map.)
Since the holiness of Jerusalem to Islam has always been, & still is no more than a politically motivated holiness, any Palestinian Arab politician would be putting his political head on the block should he give it up. Must Judaism & Christianity defer to myths related in Islamic texts or allegedly envisioned in Muhammad's dreams, long after Jerusalem was established as the ancient, real center of these two religions which preceded Islam?
Should the world reshape the Middle East map just because Muslims decided to recycle the political problems of the Umayyads 1250 years after the curtain came down on their role in history?

Israel begins losing control of the internal situation with the Arabs. When will we get tough???,7340,L-4590684,00.html

Jewish gal volunteers to help Kurdish Fighters (Rabbis says she should be married and helping Israel instead)

With the destruction of the tunnel highway exporting and importing terror and weapons and expertise to go via the sea a new front opens against Egypt:,7340,L-4591648,00.html
B”H that two stabbing attempts were spoiled by quick thinking police:

Bibi may call for elections soon as Livni and Lapid threaten leaving the coalition:

The French don’t believe Obama or Iran but if they don’t stop it, Paris will go with the bomb:

Soldiers can now use live fire against fireworks attack:

Like most truces the one between ISIS and Al Qaeda is only temporary in my opinion:,7340,L-4591881,00.html

Now for our Good Shabbos Story “Conservadox”

Good Shabbos Everyone. In this week's parsha Chayei Sorah, we read about the deaths of Avrohom and Sorah, who were the father and mother of the Jewish people. The Rabbis tell us: "The deeds of fathers are an example for the children." Because we are all children of Avrohom and Sorah, we can learn from their actions.
         One of the ways that Avrohom and Sorah distinguished themselves is in the decision they took to go against the cherished ideals of society and to build their own lives based on a belief in the One G-d. For this reason is Avrohom referred to in the Torah as "Ha'Ivri" - "The Hebrew". Rashi explains that the word "Ivri" is related to the root of the word meaning "on the other side."
         It is as if Avrohom put himself on the other side of world opinion. The whole world at the time worshipped idols. Yet Avrohom believed in the One G-d. That is why we, the children of Avrohom, are called Hebrews, because we follow in the footsteps of a man who set himself apart from the entire world. Avrohom was not intimidated by the fact that he held a minority opinion. So too can we be inspired by the example of our forefathers and mothers who made the decision to worship Hashem against the popular view at the time.   Let us not read an inspirational story, told in the first person by Reb Mishulem Laib Drapkin.
        "I always felt a connection to Judaism because of my grandfather. We often spent the Jewish holidays with my grandparents and were always greeted by the warmth of my grandmother's cooking, and my grandfather's sure, but soft handshake with a hearty "Gut Yontiff!" I didn't really know what "Gut Yontiff" meant, but I knew that we always greeted each other with it at happy times.
        Often when we came to visit on Sundays, my grandfather took us kids to a small amusement park. He bought us tickets for the rides, watching us scream with delight. He got such pleasure from his grandchildren. He even went on the Ferris wheel with us, his arm wrapped protectively behind us as the car soared up into the sky.
        One Rosh Hashanah, I asked my mother where my grandfather was. She said he was at services all day. I asked why, and she replied, "He goes to an Orthodox synagogue. They pray all day." I imagined my grandfather in a synagogue full of other grandfathers, all wearing dark suits and yarmulkes. I thought to myself that if my grandfather went there, it must be serious Judaism!
        When I was older, I attended Hebrew School at our local Conservative Synagogue. I didn't much care for it. It cut into my after-public school play time. Like many children of my time, I couldn't see the relevance of Hebrew School when none of what we studied was practiced in our "regular" lives.
        Although my experiences seemed to be pushing me farther from Judaism, there was one notable exception: my Bar Mitzvah. I enjoyed learning how to read my Torah portion. My tutor, an elderly Orthodox rabbi teaching at our synagogue, really inspired me. I also immensely enjoyed the singing and chanting. My Bar Mitzvah was an unqualified success. I was proud of what I did, and was gratified when my mother said, "I wish that your grandfather was still alive to see your Bar Mitzvah. He would have been so proud of you."
        By the time I went away to college, I had little or nothing to do with Judaism. The fact that I was living far away from family and friends and the heritage I grew up with didn't bother me most of the time, except during the December holidays. Then, I became intensely aware of being a minority in a country where someone else's religion is assumed to be part of everyone's heritage. My Jewish identity remained at an ebb for many years until a close family friend became a "Baal Teshuvah" and an orthodox Rabbi to boot.
        When his mother passed away, some local Chassidim volunteered to help with the necessary arrangements. After the funeral, I chanced to talk to the baal teshuva - Orthodox rabbi, who to my great surprise was a really nice guy! He in turn, gave me the number of my local orthodox rabbi who also turned out to be really terrific. He was my age, with a background like mine, and was not only observant, but seemingly fulfilled and happy with his world and existence.
        My preconceptions about Judaism were blown away. What an amazing world I had discovered, where people actually lived what they learned. I was overwhelmed by the vast storehouse of knowledge that I had not only discovered, but belonged to me by birthright!
        I began to study more about Judaism, and one Sunday, my new found friend from the orthodox shul announced a class called "Lox, Bagels, Cream Cheese and Tefillin." I eagerly went down to shul with my grandfather's Tefillin which my father had recently given me, only to discover that I was the only one who showed up. We chatted for a while, which helped to calm my jitters about something that seemed so foreign. The rabbi explained the workings of Tefillin, and then told me to get them out. I was completely unprepared for what I found.
        I took the Tefillin out, and laid them on top of the bag. I was struck by how carefully and lovingly they had been wrapped. Although they were last touched by my grandfather over 25 years ago, it was as though I was seeing his hands carefully wrapping them and holding them right in front of me. This conscious act of his had transcended the decades since he had last used them. The memories of my grandfather came back in a flood, and when I had his Tefillin wrapped around me, I felt myself surrounded by his love, strength, and kindness.
        Later, I related the story to my wife and wept. On the High Holy Days this past year when I was praying, I remembered the image of my grandfather going off to daven in his synagogue on Rosh Hashanah. This was the first time that I was attending observant services in their entirety, from beginning to end! In a moment of reflection, I wished that I could be next to my grandfather, together, chanting the prayers that were such a natural part of his life. He would see them becoming a part of my own life, and I know that he would have beamed with pride.
        Recently, I told one of my new, observant friends that my Tefillin were my grandfather's. I told him the story of how they hadn't been used for over twenty five years, and when my local orthodox rabbi had them checked that they were still "kosher." With a twinkle in his eye he said, "You know, your grandfather knows that you are wearing them." Shrugging his shoulders he concluded, "Don't ask me how, but he knows."  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 rest,
Rachamim Pauli