Thursday, December 25, 2014

Parsha Vayigash, stories

B”H Bella Chava bas Leah Pearl is better so that we can stop our prayers.

Last week I tried to send a photo onto my blogspot of Laudanum or Lotus or Lot in Hebrew. There seems to be a variation of this plant(s) see photos:

Parsha Vayigash

We left off last week with the brothers free to go and Benyamin to be taken to be a slave. Yehuda now speaks up risking his life to go against the powerful leader to plead for his brother and to be a slave instead of him. The Teshuva of Yehuda is complete he knows that he deserves Mida K’neged Mida and Benyamin is completely innocent.

44:18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said: 'Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant; for thou art even as Pharaoh.
Like Pharaoh you are here one day and gone from history. That was on the Drasha front but in the context with Pshat, you are all powerful and we are helpless to go against you but please hear my plea. 

19 My lord asked his servants, saying: Have ye a father, or a brother?

I would like to remind you of our brief encounters.

20 And we said unto my lord: We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loves him.

Why did he say that one is dead? Lest this man who interprets the hidden ask for him to produce the other brother or he will have to admit to the man who they are to sell their own brother into slavery.

21 And thou said unto thy servants: Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
You requested this although we did not want to for we stated:

22 And we said unto my lord: The lad cannot leave his father; for if he should leave his father, his father would die. 23 And thou said unto thy servants: Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.

We were sore afraid for our father that we delayed our return even though Shimon was in jail.

24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And our father said: Go again, buy us a little food. 26 And we said: We cannot go down; if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down; for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. 27 And thy servant my father said unto us: Ye know that my wife bore me two sons; 28 and the one went out from me, and I said: Surely he is torn in pieces; and I have not seen him since;

At this point, Yosef learns the story that they told their father. He also hears the narrative of what happened back home. Yet he also heard “thy servant our father” he could have said, I need not your father as my servant for he must be elderly and therefore peace unto him. His hearing all the time “servant-father” would end up taking years off of his life for Levy lived until 133 years and if I recall the other brothers had a longer life-span than him.

29 and if ye take this one also from me, and harm befall him, ye will bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

And misfortune befalls him: For Satan accuses at time of danger. [From Gen. Rabbah 91:9] You will bring down my hoary head in misery, etc.: Now that he is with me, I comfort myself over [the loss of] his mother and over [the loss of] his brother, but if this one [too] dies, it will seem to me as if the three of them died in one day. [From Gen. Rabbah ff. 93:8]

Yehuda is telling a narrative but Yosef’s heart and emotions are racing at this point for what son does not wish to see his father after hearing this!

30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad is not with us; seeing that his soul is bound up with the lad's soul;

Lad? Perhaps to his father but he is around 33 years old. Yacov entered the land when he was 97 and he now is 130 and since Rachel was pregnant with Benyamin and I assume advanced enough to have a large protruding belly, we can arrive at this age.

31 it will come to pass, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die; and thy servants will bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.

It will come to pass, when he sees that the boy is not here, he will die: His father will die because of his calamity [of the loss of his son].

Yosef will have an answer for this – “When you sold me you did not think of what it would do to my father. He did not die then!” This is why further on they could not answer him because of the Tochacha {rebuke} that he gave them. [Warning after 120 and we are brought to the Beit Din Shel Maalah there will be plenty of these types of rebukes and we will not be able to answer. Only our Mitzvos can stand for us then!]

32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying: If I bring him not unto thee, then shall I bear the blame to my father forever. 33 Now therefore, let thy servant, I pray thee, abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.

Yosef see that Yehuda is accepted the principle of Mida K’neged Mida and Benyamin’s innocence. It has befallen them because he suggested selling Yosef. Just as he knows the buck stops here and he took responsibility for Tamar’s pregnancy so he does not shift the blame when push comes to shove he steps up as a leader.

34 For how shall I go up to my father, if the lad be not with me? lest I look upon the evil that shall come on my father.'

Please let your servant stay: I am superior to him in all respects: in strength, in battle, and in service. [From Gen. Rabbah 93:8]

The Pshat is a tone of begging but the Medrash says the Yehuda let out a roar that shook up all of Egypt but Yosef was not afraid of the roar and the brothers looked at him as if he had some Divine protection like the Bnei Yacov. Yosef realizes that Yehuda loves Benyamin more than his own being or immediate family. His repentance is certainly complete now for true forgiveness. Furthermore, bringing to mind Yacov is enough to break down Yosef’s façade.

45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried: 'Cause every man to go out from me.' And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.

Now Joseph could not bear all those standing: He could not bear that Egyptians would stand beside him and hear his brothers being embarrassed when he would make himself known to them. [From Tanchuma Vayigash 5]

It is a Medrash or even a kosher source that Yosef said to them that he was Yosef and revealed his Bris Milah Kodesh!

2 And he wept aloud; and the Egyptians heard, and the house of Pharaoh heard.

And the house of Pharaoh heard: Heb. פַּרְעֹה בֵּית, the house of Pharaoh, namely his servants and the members of his household. This does not literally mean a house, but it is like “the house of Israel” (Ps. 115:12), “the house of Judah” (I Kings 12:21), mesnede in Old French, household. [From Targum Onkelos]

3 And Joseph said unto his brethren: 'I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?' And his brethren could not answer him; for they were affrighted at his presence.

They were startled by his presence: Because of embarrassment. [From Tanchuma Vayigash 5]

4 And Joseph said unto his brethren: 'Come near to me, I pray you.' And they came near. And he said: 'I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.

Please come closer: He saw them drawing backwards. He said, “Now my brothers are embarrassed” (Tanchuma Vayigash 5). He called them tenderly and pleadingly and showed them that he was circumcised (Gen. Rabbah 93:10).

After 22 years he needed his family for Menashe and Ephraim were children but he needed a Torah Chavrutha and perhaps some hugs from his brothers.

5 And now be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life.

To preserve life: Heb. לְמִחְיָה, to be to you a preserver of life. [From Targum Jonathan]

6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land; and there are yet five years, in which there shall be neither plowing nor harvest.

I can tell you that this is from HASHEM Yisborach and not some non-sense theory of man-made global warming. It might be because of the behavior of man or sun-spot activity that HASHEM is doing this but “What is man that you should consider him”-Tehillim. So come and I will sustain you and yours. Since you are shepherds and sheep are the idol of Mitzrayim, I will place you far away from the center in the fertile Nile delta of Goshen.

7 And God sent me before you to give you a remnant on the earth, and to save you alive for a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God; and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hasten ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him: Thus says thy son Joseph: God hath made me lord of all Egypt; come down unto me, tarry not.

And go up to my father: The land of Israel is higher than all [other] lands. [From Kidd. 69a, b]

Now they know that there is 5 more years of famine and they will have to harden to Yosef to eat. But they have a dilemma how to break the news to the old man lest his heart give out and he ends up in the cave of the Machpelah.

10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast; 11 and there will I sustain thee; for there are yet five years of famine; lest thou come to poverty, thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast. 12 And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaks unto you.

From here we know that he and Benyamin were similar in appearance but Yosef had extreme beauty and with the Egyptian Make-up around his eyes they could not recognize him. But now that he pointed this out it became a different story.  

13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall hasten and bring down my father hither.' 14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.

Benyamin also had the facial features of Rachel and after taking care of business he lets go 22 years of not having his baby brother with him. (This is what I think happened to Esav with Yacov for a brief period of time.)

And he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept: for the two sanctuaries which were destined to be in Benjamin’s territory and would ultimately be destroyed. [From Meg. 16b] And Benjamin wept on his neck: for the Tabernacle of Shiloh, which was destined to be in Joseph’s territory yet would ultimately be destroyed. [From Meg. 16b, Gen. Rabbah 93:12]

15 And he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him.

They were afraid until now.

16 And the report thereof was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying: 'Joseph's brethren are come'; and it pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 17 And Pharaoh said unto Joseph: 'Say unto thy brethren: This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; 18 and take your father and your households, and come unto me; and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. 19 Now thou art commanded, this do ye: take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come.

If they are good smart people like Yosef they are welcome. Thus it is in Jewish history the Jew s were welcome in Spain or Germany and then they eventually they were unwelcome.  “They are our misfortune” as the sign said in the 1930’s.                  

20 Also regard not your stuff; for the good things of all the land of Egypt are yours.' 21 And the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. 22 To all of them he gave each man changes of raiment; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver, and five changes of raiment. 23 And to his father he sent in like manner ten asses laden with the good things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with corn and bread and victual for his father by the way. 24 So he sent his brethren away, and they departed; and he said unto them: 'See that ye fall not out by the way.' 25 And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the land of Canaan unto Jacob their father. 26 And they told him, saying: 'Joseph is yet alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt.' And his heart fainted, for he believed them not. 27 And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them; and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. 28 And Israel said: 'It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die.'

The Pshat is that he did not believe them but when he saw the wagons with the seal of Pharaoh on them knowing that the sons could not afford to buy gold plated chariots and wagons, the answer is that he revived. The Drasha is that Yosef and Yacov were learning Egel Arufa or the calf that is killed if a murdered person is found on the way. It was obvious to him that Wagon Agala was similar to Egel in sound and it revived him.

46:1 And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beer-sheba, and offered sacrifices unto the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said: 'Jacob, Jacob.' And he said: 'Here am I.' 3 And He said: 'I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. 4 I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again; and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.'

Where was HASHEM all these years? Why was prophecy hidden from him? It is simple that because of him being depressed for the loss of Yosef a depressed person cannot get prophecy only a joyful one.

5 And Jacob rose up from Beer-sheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him; 7 his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.

I have skipped the accounting on who went down to Egypt not because it is unimportant but because it is only Pshat. When Yacov sees Yosef he reacts as follows:

I will die this time: Its simple meaning is as the Targum renders. [If I should die this time, I would be consoled.] Its midrashic interpretation is, however: I thought that I would die two deaths, in this world and in the next world, because the Shechinah had left me, and I thought that the Holy One, blessed be He, would hold me responsible for your death. Now that you are still alive, I will die but once. [From Tanchuma Vayigash 9]

47:1 Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and Now said: 'My father and my brethren, and their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have, are come out of the land of Canaan; and, behold, they are in the land of Goshen.' 2 And from among his brethren he took five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. 3 And Pharaoh said unto his brethren: 'What is your occupation?' And they said unto Pharaoh: 'Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and our fathers.' 4 And they said unto Pharaoh: 'To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants' flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.' 5 And Pharaoh spoke unto Joseph, saying: 'Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee; 6 the land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and thy brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell. And if thou know any able men among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.' 7 And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said unto Jacob: 'How many are the days of the years of thy life?' 9 And Jacob said unto Pharaoh: 'The days of the years of my sojournings are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojournings.' 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph sustained his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to the want of their little ones.

Yosef wanted to be a diplomat but Emmes is Yacov’s trademark and he told the truth. He blesses Pharaoh but it is strange to me when asked his age that he tells the Jewish custom of aches and pains.

13 And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. 15 And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said: 'Give us bread; for why should we die in thy presence? for our money failed.' 16 And Joseph said: 'Give your cattle, and I will give you [bread] for your cattle, if money fail.' 17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph. And Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, and for the flocks, and for the herds, and for the asses; and he fed them with bread in exchange for all their cattle for that year. 18 And when that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him: 'We will not hide from my lord, how that our money is all spent; and the herds of cattle are my lord's; there is nought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands. 19 Wherefore should we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be bondmen unto Pharaoh; and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, and that the land be not desolate.' 20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine was sore upon them; and the land became Pharaoh's

With all that money and slaves the pharaohs could start building Pyramids to glorify themselves.

. … 27 And Israel dwelt in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen; and they got them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly.

Note the fast of the 10th of Teves is Thursday Jan 1st check your local times for the start and finish of the fast.

Why Kiss the Mezuzah? by Rabbi Ari Kahn How the mezuzah provides a daily connection to spirituality.

I was sitting in a coffee shop waiting for a friend; I had chosen a table with a strategic view of the door so I could spot him as soon as he arrived. Each time the door opened I quickly glanced up to see if my friend had walked in. At one point, the door opened and a very tall, attractive and immodestly dressed woman walked in. She looked like she might have been a model.
Before I averted my eyes and looked back at my menu, this woman did something that struck me: she reached out her hand, touched the mezuzah outside the door, and proceeded to kiss her fingers. It was a gesture I have witnessed thousands of times; nonetheless, I felt a sense of dissonance, of the incongruity between her lack of outward religious identification and the religious gesture she performed before she entered the building.
My friend's tardiness allowed me to perform a sociological experiment over the next few minutes; I quickly noticed that there was absolutely no correlation between outward appearance and the act of kissing the mezuzah upon entering or leaving a room.
Related Article: Mezuzah: The Inside Story
I mentally filed this as another wonder of living in Israel, alongside another such striking episode. Several years ago, during a particularly tense period in Israel, the security guard at the entrance to my bank employed a most unusual security regimen: He greeted customers at the door with a bundle of spices in hand. Anyone who knew the correct blessing was allowed in; anyone who didn’t was subjected to a more conventional security check. In this instance, as well, I was quite surprised to see how many "non-religious looking” Jerusalemites knew the proper blessing. I made a second mental note: don’t ever judge people based on their outward appearance.
Why, though, did this woman, and so many other patrons of the restaurant that day, kiss the mezuzah? Indeed, why do Jews kiss mezuzahs?
Some may view this as a superstitious gesture: They seek protection from the elements, from both the physical and spiritual harm that lays in wait beyond the security of the home.1 However, for many, kissing the mezuzah may be an expression of simple and honest faith. They seek a connection with God, and view the mezuzah as an expression of this connection.
In the middle ages, a number of rabbinic authorities expressed approval of the custom of touching the mezuzah upon taking leave of one's home while uttering a prayer asking God for protection.2 The mystics instructed that when touching the mezuzah, specifically the three-lettered name of God – SHA-DaI – that is printed on the outside of the parchment, should be touched, and then the finger which touched this holy name should be kissed.3
What is it about this name Sha-dai that affords protection and gives us strength when facing the world? Why is this particular name of God associated with the mezuzah, so much so that some say the name Sha-dai is actually an acronym for shomer dalatot Yisrael – ‘protector of the doors of Israel’?4
The Talmud5 explains that this name is intertwined with the very basic processes of creation: Prior to the moment of Creation, there was nothing. The act of Creation was an act of expansion, which progressed until the point that God said to nature, "dai" – "enough," desist from expanding. This name, then, is associated with the ability to control nature or harness instinct.
The name Sha-dai is found for the first time in the Torah when God gives Abraham the commandment of circumcision, as if to express the concept that, although man is surely a creature of natural impulse, although man is often controlled by instinct, nature can and must be harnessed. Just as God harnesses nature, creates boundaries so that the universe does not continue to expand into extinction, so can man harness his own nature, draw lines within which he can realize his potential and become perfected.
The biblical character most closely identified with this characteristic is Joseph; the Divine name Sha-dai is used in connection with him more than any other biblical character. We recall that Yosef heroically controlled his own instinct and impulses when propositioned by the wife of Potifar, his master. He practiced restraint, creating and respecting the boundaries that comprise moral behavior. He knew the secret of Sha-dai.6
Although the original custom was to touch or kiss the mezuzah when leaving one's home, many Jews have extended this practice to every doorpost that has a mezuzah. They seem to have decided that uttering a silent prayer and asking for Divine protection is a wonderful way to punctuate the day with spiritually uplifting mini-events.
But the truly "Godly" gesture is not merely reaching out one’s hand to the doorpost; it is knowing how and when to say "enough" – dai, of practicing self-control. The restraint that we learn from the very act of Creation should be a guiding principle for our lives, an organizing principle that can help us perfect all our relationships.
Self-restraint – control of the human impulse to expand, to control, to conquer – will help us when are at work, and when we are at play. It will even help the next time you see a woman who looks like a supermodel in a coffee shop – just picture her kissing the mezuzah, and say "Dai," – enough.

  1. This association may be dated back to the placing of the blood on the doorposts during the Exodus, an act which protected the Israelites as God "passed over" their home. See the Mechilta Bo, end of section 11, which associates the mezuzah with this rite. See Responsa Divrei Yatziv,Yoreh Dayeh 191.
  2. See customs of the Mahril section 91.
  3. BirkiYosefYorehDayeh 285:3.
  4. SeferEitzChaim, ShaarHaKlalim.
  5. Talmud Bavli, Chagiga 12a.
  6. For more on this idea, see Explorations (Jerusalem: Targum Press, 2001), p. 87 ff.

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The Thin Red Green Line by Leigh McMullen Abramson

For a Jewish Convert how much Xmas is too much?

A few years ago, shortly before getting married, I converted to Judaism. Never much of a practicing Episcopalian, most of the time I have little trouble feeling Jewish. I can bake a challah that would make any bubbe proud. I know my way around brises and bar mitzvahs. I can hora with the best of them.
But this most wonderful time of year gives me trouble; I still love Christmas.
It’s not the religious aspects of the holiday I long for, but all the trappings of the season. When the calendar turns to December, my urge to smell gingerbread sends me hunting for my rolling pin. I walk around humming “Once in Royal David’s City,” a melody that even in memory gives me chills. Drinking eggnog in a snowflake sweater just feels so right.
My husband, who’s from a Reform family, supports my Christmas lust to a point, but there’s a red-and-green line we’re always negotiating. We delicately dance around the question of how much Christmas is too much Christmas when you’re Jewish.
Take the issue of seasonal greenery. Though I experience tree-envy when I spy the lights twinkling through our neighbors’ windows, I know it’s not happening.
“I can’t be a Jew with a tree,” says my husband. And I get it.
A wreath is a real possibility, though I might feel awkward having my in-laws over with a door that’s all ‘Hello Christmas’ when we haven’t yet put up a mezuzah. A few tastefully placed bows of evergreen seem to strike the right balance of secular yet festive.
There’s no formula to the resolutions of these Christmas questions, just some gut feeling of what feels too, well, Christian-y. Baking cookies in the shape of angels and snowmen seems kosher, but my childhood nativity set should probably stay packed in the closet. Our three-month-old can have a stocking hung at my parents’ house, but dressing him up as a tiny Santa? Not so much.
“We have to make sure he knows Hanukkah is cool, too,” my husband reminds me about our son, who we plan to raise Jewish.
I know that many converts give up Christmas–full stop–in order to avoid sending mixed signals to their children. And maybe there is a Christmas threshold, a point at which too many carols and candy canes could leave my son baffled about his family’s religious identity.
But to be honest, on the list of things I do that may send my child to therapy, causing Christmastime confusion ranks pretty low, well beyond writing about my bikini waxes or hissing, ‘Did you Purell?’ at anyone who comes within 20 feet of him.
Part of my inability to quit Christmas is tied to a major question: Exactly how Jewish am I? How much of my background must I give up and how much do I get to bring along?
And in marrying me and into my non-Jewish family, my husband has had to make shifts of his own, like giving up the extreme convenience of flying on Christmas and having a wife who once unthinkingly whipped out Tic Tacs during Kol Nidre.
My husband and I may never fully agree on where to draw the red-and-green line. But in coming up with our own idiosyncratic solutions—the gingerbread house iced in white and baby blue, the tradition of giving Christmas pajamas on the last night of Hanukkah—each December we can confirm that we’re not very far apart at all.
Having been born a Reform Jew and living on an Irish Catholic block I did not have much exposure to Yiddishkeit and my parents were assimilated enough that Santa would bring me presents so as not to cause too many waves. I almost got into a fight with Bobby when he said that his father was Santa. Well thank G-D those days are past and buried and my children and grandchildren do not believe in that stuff.
Yet like the woman who wrote the article the Goyishe fiction “peace on earth and good will to men” got embedded in my memory chip. This year, my 44th in Israel I saw Chanucha Hits on sale in a cheap disk which is my vengeance for the Xmas cheap disks sold in Wal-Mart or K-Mart in the areas that I often visit between Nov through Dec.
There is a fine line of sleigh bells in the snow, Rudolph, Frosty, and Jingle Bells vs. Come all Ye Faithful, Silent Night, etc. Irving Berlin, a nice Jewish Boy, wrote “Holiday Inn” in which Fred Astaire, a Jew, played. It was revised to become “White Christmas” staring a nice Jewish Fellow named Danny K. And his “Easter Parade” starred Fred Astaire. 
If somebody was brought up wrong with propaganda (fortunately no storks, tooth fairies or bunnies) it is hard to press delete on the error button despite all the anti-Semitic verbal and even physical abuse I got from those “peace on earth, good will to men” kids growing up. I know that some folks who grew up in countries ruled by “the religion of peace” have the same syndrome. REMEMBER THE HALACHA is on certain things we have to be more lenient with Baalei Teshuva and Gerim as the 180 degree switch had plenty of bumps in the road.
Or as my friend Chaim B. said ho-ho-ho turned upside down becomes oy-oy-oy.

THE MAGIC BANK ACCOUNT I got this from Sam K. in the past I got it either from Rabbi A.L. or Albert Levy

The Magic Bank Account
Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules:
1. Everything that you didn't spend during each day would be taken away from you.
2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.
3. You may only spend it.
4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.
5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say,"Game Over!". It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.
What would you personally do?
You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don't know, because you couldn't possibly spend it all on yourself, right?
You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?
Shocked??? YES!
Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can't seem to see it.
1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.
2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us.
3. What we haven't used up that day is forever lost.
4. Yesterday is forever gone.
5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time WITHOUT WARNING... SO, what will YOU do with your 86,400 seconds? Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars.  Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think. So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life! Here's wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start "spending"....
Defend Cancer against the Jews: Thanks to Richard A.

A Rabbi or Psychologist cannot be a substitute for proper spousal attention, love and handling of the other half to prevent adultery. Being there, sympathy, empathy, compassion are part of the game but other advice how to avoid adultery.

The Likud could prevent Netanyahu from running in the next election:,7340,L-4607410,00.html

Scandal plagues Lieberman’s Party is it police trying to ruin an election?,7340,L-4607132,00.html   Extent of scandal revealed:,7340,L-4607728,00.html

4 out of 6 MK’s of Livni’s Party resign or retire from politics.

The new Party that will work on disgruntled voters and disappoint them in the future:

10’s of thousands sign up as dues paying members of the National Union Party.

The latest Public Opinion Poll too low for Shass or United Torah Judaism:
 Child poverty rises to 55% Defend Cancer against the Jews: Thanks to Richard A.

A Rabbi or Psychologist cannot be a substitute for proper spousal attention, love and handling of the other half to prevent adultery. Being there, sympathy, empathy, compassion are part of the game but other advice how to avoid adultery.

The Likud could prevent Netanyahu from running in the next election:,7340,L-4607410,00.html

Scandal plagues Lieberman’s Party is it police trying to ruin an election?,7340,L-4607132,00.html   Extent of scandal revealed:,7340,L-4607728,00.html

4 out of 6 MK’s of Livni’s Party resign or retire from politics.

The new Party that will work on disgruntled voters and disappoint them in the future:

10’s of thousands sign up as dues paying members of the National Union Party.

Two haunting statistics that I saw this week. 55% of the children in Israel are under the poverty level (this includes Arabs and Charedim) and 58% of American Jewry intermarries out of the religion.

Inyanay Diyoma

The reply and counter-reply. Nu Bibi do you have the guts to finish them off once and for all!!!,7340,L-4605717,00.html

EU went for Hamas and PLO well welcome to Eurostan as car bombs go off!’s-hosting-of-Meshaal

Obama’s brother received bribes from the USA Consulate:
Muslim in France becoming more than just a Jewish Problem: French Police did a good job on a knife wielding member of the religion of peace.,7340,L-4605787,00.html Citizens mowed down in junction:

Gaza Shooting one soldier critically injured, Israel kills their area commander and hits a second target:

Hamas fortifying positions and watching the IDF patrols for more RPG or sniping activity.,7340,L-4607489,00.html

Analysis the next Gaza War is not far away the Hamas has misread Netanyahu:,7340,L-4607639,00.html

Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Merry Chanucha”

Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah Everyone.  The Sages tell us that the Shechina - Hashem' holy presence, does not rest within 10 handbreadths of the ground, presumably because the ground is a dirty place (Sukah 5a)  However, we also know that it is mitzvah to place the Chanukah Menorah within 10 handbreadths of the ground.  (Orach Chayim 671:6)  Why is that?  Because the Chanukah lights have a tremendous power to bring holiness where holiness is not found.  The following is an interesting true story of how one Jew was inspired on Chanukah to return to his roots, even though he was in a spiritual desert:
        "In the fall of l990, things were heating up in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. I had been an Army Captain and a helicopter maintenance test pilot for a decade and received notice that I would be transferred to the First Cavalry Division which was on alert for the Persian Gulf War.
        Consequently, I also got wind of the Department of Defense "dog tag dilemma" regarding Jewish personnel. Then, as now, Jews were forbidden by  Saudi law to enter the country. But our Secretary of Defense flat out told the King of Saudi Arabia, "We have Jews in our military. They've trained with their units and they're going. Blink and look the other way." With Kuwait occupied and the Iraqis at his border, King Faud did the practical thing.
        We shipped out, but there was still the issue of classification. Normally the dog tags of Jewish servicemen are imprinted with the word "Jewish." But Defense, fearing that this would put Jewish soldiers at further risk should they be captured on Iraqi soil, substituted the classification, "Protestant B," on the tags.
        I didn't like the whole idea of classifying Jews as Protestant anything and so I decided to leave my dog tag alone. I figured if I were captured, it was in Hashem's hands. Changing my tags was tantamount to denying my religion and I couldn't swallow that.
        In September, 1990 I went off to defend a country that I was prohibited from entering. The "Jewish" on my dog tag remained as clear and unmistakable as the American star on the hood of every Army truck.
        A few days after my arrival, the Baptist chaplain approached me. "I just got a secret message through channels," he said. "There's going to be a Jewish gathering. A holiday? Simkatoro or something like that. You want to go? It's at 1800 hours at Dhahran Airbase."
        Simkatoro turned out to be Simchas Torah, a holiday that hadn't registered on my religious radar in eons. Services were held in absolute secrecy in a windowless room in a cinder block building. The chaplain led a swift and simple service.
        We couldn't risk singing or dancing, but Rabbi Ben Romer had managed to smuggle in a bottle of Manischewitz. Normally, I can't stand the stuff, but that night, the wine tasted of Shabbat and family and Seders of long ago. My soul was warmed by the forbidden alcohol and by the memories swirling around me and my fellow soldiers. We were strangers to one another in a land stranger than any of us had ever experienced, but for that brief hour, we were home. Only Americans would have had the chutzpah to celebrate Simchas Torah under the noses of the Saudis. Irony and pride twisted together inside me like barbed wire. Celebrating my Judaism that evening made me even prouder to be an American, thankful once more for the freedoms we have. I had only been in Saudi Arabia a week, but I already had a keen understanding of how restrictive its society was.
        Soon after, things began coming to a head. The next time I was able to do anything remotely Jewish was Chanukah. Maybe it was coincidence, or maybe it was Hashem's hand that placed a Jewish Colonel in charge of our unit. Colonel Lawrence Schneider relayed messages of Jewish gatherings to us immediately. Had a  non-Jew been in that position, the information would likely have taken a back seat to a more pressing issue. Like war. But it didn't.
        When notice of the Chanukah party was decoded, we knew about it at once. The first thing we saw when we entered the tent was food, tons of it. Care packages from the states -- cookies, latkes, sour cream and applesauce and cans and cans of gefilte fish. The wind was blowing dry across the tent,  but inside there was an incredible feeling of celebration. As Rabbi Romer talked about the theme of Chanukah and the ragtag bunch of Maccabee soldiers fighting Jewry's oppressors thousands of years ago, it wasn't hard to make the connection to what lay ahead of us. There in the middle of the desert, inside an olive green tent, we felt like we were the Maccabees. If we had to go down, we were going to go down fighting, as they did.
        We blessed the candles, acknowledging the King of the Universe who commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights. We said the second prayer, praising Hashem for the miracles he performed, bayamim hahem bazman hazeh, in those days and now. And we sang the third blessing, the Shehecheyanu, thanking Hashem for keeping us in life and for enabling us to reach this season.
        We knew war was imminent. All week, we had received reports of mass destruction, projections of the chemical weapons that were likely to be unleashed. Intelligence estimates put the first rounds of casualties at 12,500 soldiers. I heard those numbers and thought, "That's my whole division!" I sat back in my chair, my gefilte fish cans at my feet. We were in the desert, about to go to war, singing songs of praise to Hashem who had saved our ancestors in battle once before. The feeling of unity was as pervasive as our apprehension, as real as the sand that found its way into everything from our socks to our toothbrushes. I felt more Jewish there on that lonely Saudi plain, our tanks and guns at the ready, than I had ever felt back home in shul.
        That Chanukah in the desert solidified for me the urge to reconnect with my Judaism. I felt religion welling up inside me. Any soldier will tell you that there are no atheists in foxholes and I know that part of my feelings were tied to the looming war and my desire to get with Hashem before the unknown descended in the clouds of battle.
        It sounds corny, but as we downed the latkes and cookies and wiped the last of the apple sauce from our plates, everyone grew quiet, keenly aware of the link with history, thinking of what we were about to do and what had been done by soldiers like us so long ago.
        The soldier beside me stared ahead at nothing in particular, absent-mindedly handling his dog tag. "How did you classify?" I asked, nodding to my tag. Silently, he withdrew the metal rectangle and its beaded chain from beneath his shirt and held it out for me to read. Like mine, his read "Jewish." Somewhere in a military depot someplace, I am sure that there must be boxes and boxes of dog tags, still in their wrappers, all marked "Protestant B."   Good Shabbos and Happy Chanukah 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   In memory of  Tziporah Yita (Wienshienk) bas Reb Lipa , Erev Chanukah 5723

Good Shabbos and have a healthy, peaceful and pleasant one,
Rachamim Pauli