Friday, January 9, 2015

Parsha Shemos, Stories, Halacha clarification

This week’s issue is dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Glixman who passed away around Parsha Shemos and may his teachings continue to live.

Prayers for Men: Eliezer David HaCohain ben Naomi, Avraham HaCohain ben Yocheved, Asher ben Esther Malka, Avraham ben Devorah, Zvi Yechezkel ben Leah, Naphtali Moshe ben Tziporah, Yehuda ben Gittel Perel, Baruch Michael ben Petal Yenta, Shalom Charles ben Gracia, Yoel ben Esther, Zev ben Rachel, Yehonatan ben Malka, Zvi ben Chava, Shlomo Chaim ben Basya Raizal, David Zvi ben Sarah Leah, Yosef ben Shifra, Daniel ben Rivka, Nehemiah Arieh Liab Peretz ben Esther Rachel, Chaim Yechiel ben Malka

Women: Karen Neshama bas Esther Ruth, Chaya Melecha Rachel bas Baila Alta, Rachel bas Chana, Hodaya Nirit bas Mazel, Rivka bas Idit, Kayla Rus bas Chaya Rachel, Tsvia Simcha bas Devorah Yachad, Miriam bas Irene Taita Malka, Henshi bas Nashe, Basya bas Chaya Miriam. Ayala bas Ruth [She has woken up but will need burn operations for months]

The following people are recovering from long term non-threatening injuries and need Psalms. Binum Benyamin Tuvia ben Chana Friedel, Adele Chaya bas Edva, Adina bas Sara,

While passing through the various airports on the way to visit my son, my computer picked up via WI-FI a trovi virus which I hope via a download that I got rid of. Somehow I kept getting bad messages so the blogspot got sent out 6 times.

Parsha Shemos Part 1

Sefer Beresheis ended with the death of the 12 brothers who progenerated the tribes. The last to die was Levi and with his death slavery began. What was national service became forced servitude and the blaming of the Hebrew Strangers were the reason given by the advisors of pharaoh.

1:1 Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt with Jacob; every man came with his household: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. 5 And all the souls that came out of the loins of Jacob were seventy souls; and Joseph was in Egypt already.

This section starts with the word  וַיְהִיand as I wrote as soon as we see Vayehi that means trouble. Vayehi is followed by the death of the brothers and the coming of a new king over Mitzrayim.

6 And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. 7 And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.

Not only did the brothers pass away but the Pharaoh who protected the family of Yosef passed on and maybe his son too. This historical phenomena was to repeat itself a few times in history. The Jews settle in a country and they are welcomed. Later their population and wealth accumulate for Jews look for the future world and future of their family. Some jealous people of populace worry about the Jews who do not drink, gamble or are excessively lazy at work. The Jews are accused of stealing the wealth or being disloyal. The sons of the Lavan were the first ones followed by the Egyptians here. It would reoccur throughout our history so documented like the welcoming of the Jews to Spain and the Golden Age until the inquisition and expulsion on Tisha B’Av 5242 (Aug. 1492 CE). In the modern era about 5640 Berlin was over-enlightened with the Reform Judaism and assimilation into German Culture and called the Jerusalem of the West. Today all the leftist Israelis are remaking their homes in Berlin and leaving Eretz Yisrael.

8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph.

A new king arose: [There is a controversy between] Rav and Samuel. One says: He was really new, and the other one says: His decrees were new. [From Sotah 11a, Exod. Rabbah 1:8] Since the Torah does not say: The king of Egypt died, and a new king arose, it implies that the old king was still alive, only that his policies had changed, and he acted like a new king. [Rashi on Sotah 11a] And who did not know: [means that] he acted as if he did not know about him.

9 And he said unto his people: 'Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us; 10 come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there befall us any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land.'

Get ready, let us deal shrewdly with them: Heb. הָבָה. Every הָבָה [found in the Torah] is an expression of preparation and readiness. That is to say: Prepare yourselves for this. Let us deal shrewdly with them: With the people [of Israel]. Let us act shrewdly regarding what to do to them. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted [that Pharaoh said], Let us deal shrewdly with the Savior of Israel [thus interpreting לוֹ as to him] by afflicting them [to die] with water, for He has already sworn that He would not bring a flood to the world. (But they [the Egyptians] did not understand that upon the whole world He would not bring [a flood] but He would bring it upon one nation In an old Rashi manuscript.) from Sotah 11a] And depart from the land: against our will. Our Rabbis, however, interpreted [i. e., depicted Pharaoh] as a person who curses himself but ascribes his curse to others. And it is as if it were written: and we will depart from the land, and they will take possession of it. [From Sotah 11a]

Let us take this and translate it into a more modern way of thinking in democratic countries. In the United Kingdom there is a “WOG” or slang for Western Oriental Gentleman aka Jew. I think I heard this argument before the Six Day War that if “Israel and the US were to go to war”. After the Six Day War and Yom Kippur War the talk got worse. With the current character in the White House and his Muslim Brotherhood Advisors the situation has deteriorated further. Herr Senator Rand Paul, if heaven forbid would be elected, would not be good foreboding for Israel unless it was in the interests of the US. (Don’t think that Hillary Clinton is any better. One reason why I believe that Mike Huckabee will not be the candidate for president is that he is more for the days of the Moshiach but he could be Vice President.)

11 Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses.

Yosef instituted taxes to pay for the storage of food and the government. The government then asked for National Service of which the loyal Bnei Yisrael Youth volunteered. The Leviim, being the priestly class, were exempt. The voluntary service became a conscription until eventually slavery was instituted.

12 But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And they were adread because of the children of Israel.

But as much as they would afflict them: In whatever [way] they set their heart to afflict [them], so was the heart of the Holy One, blessed be He, to multiply [them] and to strengthen [them].So did they multiply and so did they gain strength: Heb. כֵּן יִרְבֶּה וְכֵן יִפְרֹץ, lit., so will they multiply and so will they gain strength. [It means, however,] so did they multiply and so did they gain strength. Its midrashic interpretation is, however: The Holy Spirit says this: You [Pharaoh] say, Lest they multiply, but I say, So will they multiply. [From Sotah 11a] and they were disgusted: They were disgusted with their lives. (Others explain: And the Egyptians were disgusted with themselves, and it is easy to understand why.) Our Rabbis, however, interpreted it to mean that they [the Israelites] were like thorns (כקוצים) in their eyes -[from Sotah 11a]

13 And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor.

With back-breaking labor: Heb. בְּפָרֶ. With hard labor that crushes the body and breaks it.

14 And they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; in all their service, wherein they made them serve with rigor. 15 And the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah;

To the midwives: Heb. לַמְיַלְּדֹת. This is an expression similar מוֹלִידוֹת, [meaning] causing to give birth, but there is a light form and there is a heavy form, similar to שׁוֹבֵר, breaks, and מְשַׁבֵּר, shatters, דּוֹבֵר, says, and מְדַבֵּר, speaks. So are מוֹלִיד and מְיַלֵּד. Rashi classifies the Hebrew conjugations, those that have a dagesh in the second root letter, and those that do not. Of the seven conjugations, three have a dagesh, and four do not. Since it is more difficult to pronounce the letters with the dagesh, those conjugations are referred to as the heavy form, and those without the dagesh are referred to as the light (קַלִּים) [Sefer Hazikkaron Shifrah: This was Jochebed, [called Shifrah] because she beautified [מְשַׁפֶּרֶת] the newborn infant. [From Sotah 11b] Puah: This was Miriam, [called Puah] because she cried (פּוֹעָה) and talked and cooed to the newborn infant in the manner of women who soothe a crying infant. פּוֹעָה is an expression of crying out, similar to “Like a travailing woman will I cry (אֶפְעֶה) " (Isa. 42:14). Rashi on Sotah 11b explains that she played with the infant to soothe and amuse him

16 and he said: 'When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, ye shall look upon the birthstool: if it be a son, then ye shall kill him; but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.'

These women were not Nazis who hated the Bnei Yisrael but members of the tribes. Could he really expect them to perform cold blooded murder on babies? I know that somebody will argue that Pharaoh was a god-king but to the Bnei Yisrael he was a man-king and that he could not comprehend.

17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men-children alive.

We read the story of Irene Sandler, the Polish nurse, who risked her life to save over 2,000 Jewish Children.

18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them: 'Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men-children alive?' 19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh: 'Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwife come unto them.'

They answered him with a Nazi type of answer that the Bnei Yisrael are sub-human animals that give birth like animals do in the wild.

20 And God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty. 21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that He made them houses.

He created a maternity hospital which essentially was filled with females and female children and those who gave birth to male children were delivered and remained at home.

22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying: 'Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive.'

This now went on the Egyptian Males too as the astrologers warned him that the day was due so to make sure, he had all the males killed.

2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2 And the woman conceived, and bore a son; and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.

Rashi says a goodly child because he brought light into the house and was born circumcised. However, the Egyptians had seen her pregnant and were looking for a child and estimated her due date so they figured what they saw might be a few months earlier but by now surly the 9th month passed so if she had a girl no problem but if a boy he will be killed.

3 And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch; and she put the child therein, and laid it in the flags by the river's brink.

Peradventure further down the river some childless person or even an animal will have compassion upon him and take care of him.

4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him. 5 And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the river; and her maidens walked along by the river-side; and she saw the ark among the flags, and sent her handmaid to fetch it.

G-D laughed you silly mortal called Pharaoh ordered all males thrown into the river to die. The redeemer will be saved from the river and grow up in your house raised by non-other than your daughter. Your worst nemesis right under your nose eating off your table and being treated as royalty.

6 And she opened it, and saw it, even the child; and behold a boy that wept. And she had compassion on him, and said: 'This is one of the Hebrews' children.'

Rashi says he wept not like an infant but like a boy.

7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter: 'Shall I go and call thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?' 8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her: 'Go.' And the maiden went and called the child's mother.

Why did she need a Hebrew nurse were there not wet nurses in Mitzrayim? Rather according to Rashi, Moshe refused to drink the milk of a non-Jew and only drank Chalav Yisrael.

9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her: 'Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages.' And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses, and said: 'Because I drew him out of the water.'

So he grew up with the protection of the seal of Pharaoh under the watchful eye of his own mother!

Having dedicated a lot of time and thought into the Halachic Discussion below to dispute two well-known Rabbis I will end at this point and continue next week. …

Miracle Children

Children who are born after years of being childless are often viewed as miracle children. This week in Israel there were two stories. Two brothers died in Petach Tikva a few years ago in a special bus lane either crossing the street in the middle of the special lane on Jabotinsky Street became known as the “death lane”. This week their mother at the age of 50 gave birth to twin boys sort of like an Iyob story two replace two. A woman who lost two girls due to improper use of pest extermination gave birth to a boy. A woman who lost children in a terror attack married a man who lost a few daughters and his wife in the Gush Katif terror attack and they had a joint child a few years back.

In 1974 a truck made into a personal travelling unit which we called “TIALIT” in Hebrew was too top heavy and on the way down toward Tiberius tipped over killing a lot of people on Lag B’Omer the Abergel Family, who ran the Manhedrin Shmita Store in Ashdod died leaving a 3 year old boy. A few years ago a family of 8 were in a car and the brakes failed at the same spot. Only a girl survived. A few nights ago in Kentucky a light plane crashed killing all on board except one 7 year old girl who walked in the woods over brambles about three-quarters of a mile until she came to a house where a man opened the door for her and called the police.

Halachic Proposal by “Big” Rabbis regarding Stainless Steel Pots which I will shoot down (please read to the end)

This is almost like the joke where three roommates see a fire break out in the room a mathematician, physicist and engineer. The mathematics sees the fire hits his computer and says there is a solution. The physicist sees the fire and calculates how much water is needed and the engineer takes a bucket and douses the flame. Perhaps because I am an Engineer I first come up before the Halachic Arguments with a photo of a stainless steel pot for people to picture many.

The reason for all this Halachic discussion was brought on by two Rabbanim Rabbi Dov Lior Shlita and Rabbi David Bar-Hayim Shlita in this video: In the video he starts making a case for stainless steel pots being used for both Milk and Meat for steel not absorbing the food. In my arguments I will bring down a number of practical reasons why not as well as a Halachic basis for layman.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein Ztz”l according to Rabbi Yona Gewirtz Shlita used to make his students watch the slaughtering and check the knives and learn everything about the slaughter of both animals and chickens for three months before being given the test and having the right to Posak Shelalos (questions) on Shechita (slaughter and kosherness of the animal slaughtered). Well I took a silly course in my Technical High School in the 9th Grade called industrial Processes. I know it was for at least have a year if not a year. In it we learned about coal and coke plants, steel processing and metal tempering. I then worked on mechanical engineering components and metals for a number of years along with passive electronic components. I knew about Aluminum 2024 or 6061 with the various tempers and the types of steel whether it be stainless 303 etc. or when to use copper or brass in designs. So I know a little about how pots are made somethings that the other Rabbis might know more of Torah and Halacha than I.

First of all there is a general rule in Kashrus that the Rabbis got from Har Sinai in Oral Torah that metals absorb the taste of the food that they cook. If we cook potatoes in a meat or milk pot which has not been used for 24 hours we can eat our pareve potatoes and after the other type of food without waiting as the taste imparted is either bad or neutralized by 60. Some folks like I use a special Pareve Pot but that is my personal strictness and within my financial means and kitchen storage space.

The Oral Torah was given by the CREATOR of all and HE knew that large atomic gaps in the aluminum, steel, copper or stainless steel atoms are so wide that in theory the gap in my hand atoms could pass through the iron without hitting one atom. However, on the size of the pots and pans and humans this is not so. However, metals can absorb especially over time the food particles. I admit that due to my personal time frame I only heard 3 out of 24 minutes of the lecture of the Rabbi above where he quotes a physicist. I did have 3 years of physics in College but again the man was not a metallurgist or geologists whom I would trust more for his opinion.  

Now I contend that both Rabbi Lior and Rabbi Bar-Hayim are on the level of a Daas Yechid (individual opinion). Both are contemporaries of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and other well-known Rabbis alive today and Rabbi Eliashiv Ztz”l so had they wanted to could have had their agreement on this instead of going out on a limb.

In the Mishnah and Talmud we have stories of Greater Rabbis than those alive in the past centuries. Rabbi Akavia ben Mehalael would have been named instead of Hillel and Shammai as the leader but he refused to give up a teaching that the majority of Rabbis held. (For more information google his name) Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol was put into Cherem (excommunicated) for refusing to go against what he was taught (Gittin) and Rabbi Yose HaGalili allowed the eating and cooking of chicken with milk and nobody died before his time. I believe the story is in Chullin about Daf 109. Yet we do not Poskim according to them and only in 6 cases we go according to the school of the tradition given by Shammai the Elder. With this in mind we go according to the majority ruling even if it is a mistake.      

In truth I have no idea how either Rabbi came to their Halachic Conclusion but before I became a paramedic in the IDF because I was married, my staff sergeant allowed me to work in the kitchen so that I could come home to my family nightly and get off every Shabbos. I washed thousands of dishes and scrubbed and scrapped hundreds of times pots and pans of all sorts. Using close to boiling water and various cleaning agents. Let me tell you the two Rabbis and their theories are great but in practical terms ask the cook and the washer.

However, I really need a strong Halachic Argument to counter the Rabbis:

There is a rule in Halacha that a flat surface like a board cannot absorb Tuma but reeds made into a basket provides a storage place for Tuma. Getting back to our original photos that I showed at the beginning one can see handles to hold the pots and pans and perhaps folded rims. The handles are riveted and the rims have a fold. I will give you one guess what happens to food particles as they touch the riveted or folded areas. This in Halacha is called Beis Kibul or fold in which particles can go. Therefore without a completely smooth surface where nothing could stick their arguments fall apart.

So let this be a lesson to any Rabbi who wants to make a Psak Halacha which is on a new item or technology. Check out all the implications from Aleph until Tav of everything involved. [This is why there is a Halachic Institute of Technology for medical devices and what solid state technology is good for doctors to use in hospital and the recoding on computer on Shabbos and Yom Tov of medical records and various devices of mobility of individuals and even Shmita hydroponics.]   

Netanyahu – Herzog in secret deal to prevent the right from obtaining power no surprise if one read or knows of “Traitors and Carpetbaggers in the Middle-East”:

The political assassination of Moshe Feiglin & Who ‘Assassinated’ Feiglin in Likud Primaries?   By Orli Harari, Ari Yashar, INN First Publish: 1/2/2015, 12:10 PM
Likud MK Moshe Feiglin was given an unrealistic spot to get into the next Knesset in Likud primaries tallied on Thursday, but according to reports on Friday that wasn’t mere chance – he was the target of an orchestrated “political assassination” from within the party.
According to Yedioth Aharonoth, the main hand behind Feiglin’s primaries failure was none other than Haim Bibas, director of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s elections headquarters, mayor of Modi’in & director of the regional authority of the city.
Bibas held a campaign to convince Likud activists in Judea & Samaria not to support Feiglin, according to the paper.
            “We wiped him out below the radar,” a senior Likud source was quoted as saying.
            “It took Likudniks time to understand that he causes us damage. This is Netanyahu’s greatest success in these primaries.”
            Another opponent of Feiglin who acted for his downfall according to the report is his neighbor in Karnei Shomron in Samaria, Asi Levi, who is a member of the Karnei Shomron Regional Council.
            “All these years we helped Feiglin succeed, but he had delusions of grandeur. I came to the conclusion that he isn’t a Likudnik…,” Levi was quoted as saying. He then admitted- “we did a ‘targeted killing’ on Feiglin.”…

Former number 3 in the Labor Party and son of a right wing religious leader turns communist! What happened to his education???

False claim by women’s rights groups in Israel anti-male agenda:

Inyanay Diyoma

Gazan shot and killed in Egypt as they crack down on smuggling: (The article was about Rafiah and the computer rebooted)
Why is every Israeli paying for free electricity for Arabs including Gaza???

Your US State Dept. at work Jews threated by Consulate Staff with M-16 rifle:

The positions presented by the prime minister during the negotiations with John Kerry are a red flag in the eyes of Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovely, Ze'ev Elkin, Yariv Levin and others. In a government with Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, and guarded by a cloak of secrecy, Netanyahu could allow himself to move closer to the 1967 lines, and expand the settlement enterprise too – but only, or almost only, within the boundaries of the existing settlement blocs.

From Barry Shaw: When the West Bank becomes Hamastan will the left be so keen on a Palestinian state?

Three Arabs planned to be “Charedim” to attack Jews:

Dennis Ross tells EU to stop catering to the Arabs:

Opinion The Strategic Failure of Protective Edge:,7340,L-4612039,00.html

Operation Protective Edge sent Israel back to Gaza – big time. In the coming days, when the army summarizes the operation's lessons, it won't be able to ignore this outstanding strategic achievement that the IDF and political echelon served the state's citizens with as a gift for 2015. The Egyptians are moving away from Gaza, while Israel is reconnecting to the Strip in an embrace which will lead us very soon back to the pre-disengagement days.

On the eve of the operation, Israel planned to weaken Hamas, but it now finds itself reinforcing the Islamist organization economically and humanitarianly. And it is not only reinforcing Hamas, it is also rattled by every sniper or every rocket someone discharges there. Since the operation, Egypt has done everything in its power to physically disengage from Gaza. It created a 500-meter buffer zone, which will turn into a kilometer in the future, and sealed most of the tunnels.

In addition, Gazans leaving for Egypt and seeking to reach Europe illegally, through the sea, are met by the strict Egyptian navy and sent back home. The Rafah crossing is opened only once or twice a month, for several hours, and Egypt's alliance with Qatar will only exacerbate the Gazans' situation. The Egyptians have shut off, and everything is being dumped on us: From the international pressure to the frustration of every single resident in Gaza.

Hamas fighters in Gaza. 'On the eve of the operation, Israel planned to weaken Hamas, but it now finds itself reinforcing the Islamist organization economically and humanitarianly'

The Palestinian Authority, on the other hand, is putting spokes in the wheels of Gaza's reconstruction. When it found out that Muhammad Dahlan's people had given money to civilians in Gaza who were injured in the war, it took its anger out on the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. It seems that as far as the PA is concerned, they should just die.

And who are the idiots charged with the duty of helping the Strip's residents and perpetuating the Hamas rule? We. The PA turns to the United Nations, turns to the International Criminal Court in The Hague – and we will deal with Gaza's destroyed infrastructures.

Only recently, different international bodies – including the US State Department – asked Israel to consider building a gas pipe to Gaza in order to provide a stable solution to the energy crisis.

The water pipes in Gaza carry salty water. Selling drinking water from tankers is a profitable business in Gaza – there are several dozen domestic desalination facilities there, alongside three small governmental facilities. But most of the drinking water is supplied by Israel, which sends in 5 million cubes of water a year, and that amount is expected to be doubled.

The solution is a large desalination facility, which has already been planned, but it will need huge amounts of energy, which only Israel can supply. You'll be surprised – this is also on the agenda. Israel is already supplying most of the electricity to the Strip – 132 megawatt – including during the war. The Egyptians supply 32 megawatt, through a shaky line, from a power station which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.

Now there are talks about building a serious power station in the Strip, whose energy supplier will be Israel. In other words, Israel will supply energy to an entity which does not recognize its right to exist. The distress over the destruction left behind by Operation Protective Edge has created a 30% increase in the number of mass marches towards the fence and in the number of people jumping over the fence in search of work in Israel.

In addition, Israel is singlehandedly bringing down the segregation policy it dictated between the Strip and the West Bank: There are more agricultural exports from Gaza to the West Bank, more movement for religious and humanitarian reasons, more sports groups which are travelling to competitions in the West Bank, etc. Trying to relieve pressure.

Israel cannot claim a price from Hamas in return for its increased dependency on Israel, because Israel does not recognize Hamas. Israel cannot translate its deeper involvement in Gaza, into which it is being dragged against its policy, into a security or political achievement, like stopping the production of weapons in Gaza or a long-term commitment to maintaining the calm. On the contrary, the demands from Israel in the international arena are only growing.

So is there anyone else who sees Operation Protective Edge as a strategic success story?

Terror attack on a sophisticated scale in Paris:,7340,L-4612454,00.html
Jewish cartoonists one of the victims as the police close in on the three terrorists:
A policewoman and sanitation worker murdered in Paris:,7340,L-4612857,00.html

Egypt calls for purge of extremism from Islam:,7340,L-4612771,00.html

Tunisian Murderer might have had links to the Charlie Hebdo murderers?,7340,L-4613022,00.html


Now for M. Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Schnorer Park” and “Undercover Jew”

Good Shabbos Everyone . In this week's parsha Yakov Avinu blesses his sons, the 12 tribes. There are many deeper meanings which are hinted to in the blessings. Regarding the blessing for Yehuda, his father Yakov says, "Red eyed from wine, and white toothed from milk." (Bereishis 49,12) The Sages say that in this blessing is hinted to the idea that it is better to smile at someone than to give him milk; meaning that it is even better to be nice to someone than to give them something. The following story illustrates the importance of being kind to others.
One Friday morning in December 1996, Sheppy Borgen was driving from Williamsburg to Boro Park. The corner of Bedford Avenue and Keap Street is an unofficial meeting place for religious Jews seeking rides to Boro Park. Dozens of people get their rides there every day.
           As Sheppy came to the light at Bedford and Keap, just two blocks before entering the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, he noticed a chassidishe fellow waiting on the corner, peering into each passing car hoping for a ride. Sheppy slowed to a halt, opened the passenger-side window, and called out in Yiddish, "Do you need a ride?" The chassid said “yes,” and Sheppy motioned for him to get into the back seat of his Town Car and told him to make himself comfortable.
           Sheppy, who lives in Forest Hills, Queens, is a tall and imposing fellow with a heart to match. He is admired and liked by everyone. He was president of his shul for many years, has been honored by numerous organizations, and is an easy conversationalist. He and the chassid made small talk as traffic, in a rare departure from the usual, moved swiftly through downtown Brooklyn under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges past Atlantic Avenue onto the Prospect Expressway. Since it was Friday, the chassid spoke of the upcoming parshah. Sheppy countered with a relevant story from his repertoire of favorite stories.  
           The chassid spoke of his children and grandchildren and Sheppy spoke of the upcoming wedding of his daughter in three days. When they arrived in Boro Park the two wished each other "Gut Shabbos" and "mazel and simchas" in each other's families.  
           Within minutes of leaving the car, the chassid realized that he had left a bag with very valuable contents in Sheppy's car. He became frantic because he didn't know the driver's name, only that he lived in Queens and was about to marry off his daughter.
Later that morning when Sheppy came to his office in Long Island City, he emptied the contents of his car and he, too, realized that the chassid had left a bag in the back seat. He looked into the bag and saw that there were numerous brass pipes and tubes that seemed to be of little value. He put the bag in his office and figured he would deal with it when he got back on Monday. He, too, had no idea of the identity of the chassid except that he lived in Boro Park and had nice things to say about the parshah.
            That afternoon, the chassid went to the Skulener Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Portugal, and worriedly told his Rebbe of his loss. "Much of my parnassah (livelihood) for the next year is in that bag," he cried. "How can I get it back?" The Rebbe thought for a moment and then called in his gabbai (attendant) and gave him instructions.
           Rabbi Peretz Steinberg, Rav of the Young Israel of Queens Valley and former president of the Vaad Harabbonim of Queens, was surprised to get a call from the Skulener gabbai that erev Shabbos. "The Skulener Rebbe wants to know if you know anyone in Queens that is making a chasuna for a daughter in the next few days." The gabbai explained that the contents in the missing bag were valued at close to $40,000. It was actually unprocessed gold that would be used for bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. 
           "Queens is a big place," chuckled Rabbi Steinberg, "there is Kew Garden Hills, Kew Gardens, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates — a Yid from any of those places could have given the chassid a ride." 
           "The owner thinks that the driver said he was in the chemical soap business. Does that help?" "That helps," said Rabbi Steinberg. "I'll see what I can find out." 
           "Please," the gabbai pleaded, "the man is desperate and he stands to lose a fortune."
Friday night as Rabbi Steinberg peered at the balabatim (business people) in his shul, he noticed Mr. Jerry Meyer. 
           "Jerry is a photographer," thought Rabbi Steinberg. "He might know." After davening, Rabbi Steinberg approached Mr. Meyer and said, "Jerry, I'm trying to help a Yid in Boro Park. Are you by any chance doing a wedding for a Queens family next week?" Jerry thought for a moment and said, "Yes, I'm doing a wedding for Sheppy Borgen, Tuesday night in Westchester."
           "Do you know what he does for a living?" Rabbi Steinberg asked anxiously. "Isn't he in the industrial cleaning business or something like that?" asked Jerry. Rabbi Steinberg was elated at the possibility of having solved the mystery so quickly. He couldn't wait to call Sheppy Borgen, who lives a few miles away in Forest Hills. 
           After Shabbos, Rabbi Steinberg called Sheppy and, in his usual upbeat cheery voice, wished him mazel tov on the upcoming wedding. Then, laughing, he asked, "Did you by any chance pick up a chassid yesterday in Williamsburgh?" Sheppy laughed, "Rabbi Steinberg, are you a navi - prophet? How do you know? I actually did and he left a bag in my car."
           "That's exactly why I'm calling. It's not some bag. It's got close to $40,000 dollars worth of unprocessed gold in it!"
           "What?" exclaimed Sheppy. "It looked like cheap pieces of piping. But okay, if you say it's expensive, I'll bring it back on Monday when I go into the office."
           "No," said Rabbi Steinberg. "I'm sorry to bother you, but it's too valuable to leave unattended for that long. Could I trouble you to get it to me soon as you can, tonight?" When Sheppy readily agreed, Rabbi Steinberg called the Skulener gabbai and told him the good news. 
           By Sunday morning the material was in the hand of its rightful owner!  "Mi K'Amcha Yisroel!"  - who is like you Israel among the nations! Good Shabbos Everyone.
  Good Shabbos Everyone. Anyone wishing to see proof of the existence of Hashem, need only look at the Jewish people. We are a nation that by all estimates, should have been destroyed long ago. We are small among the nations. However, after years of persecutions, banishments, burnings, gassings, torturing and exterminations, Am Yisroel is alive and well.
        We read about the indestructibility of the Jewish nation in our Torah portion this week Shemos. The Torah tells us about how Moshe Rabeinu (our teacher) saw a prophetic vision in the form of a burning bush. The verse tells us "…behold! The bush was burning in the fire but the bush was not consumed." (Shemos 3:2) The Midrash tells us that the bush symbolizes Yisroel. Although the nations may try to destroy us, we are not consumed… we will never be consumed. (Midrash Rabbah, Shemos [Margolios] 2,14) We are the eternal nation.
        The Jewish Nation has ridden the storm of many generations of persecution. Unfortunately, some Jews have fallen away, by intermarrying and assimilating. However, no matter how far a Jew may stray, he still retains his membership in the eternal nation. The following amazing true story describes one Jewish family's journey back home to the eternal Jewish Nation.
        Rabbi Rafael Grossman and his wife of Memphis, Tennessee, are involved in the important task of outreach, reaching out to those Jews who are ignorant of their heritage. One useful method for attracting Jewish youth from the local colleges is the regular Shabbos "oneg," where students are invited to enjoy good food and stimulating conversation-thus exposing them to the beauty of a Torah life.
        On one occasion, Rabbi Grossman noticed a new face in the crowd, a young lady named Elizabeth Gordon. Rabbi Grossman asked Elizabeth a little about herself and he was surprised to hear what the young lady had to say: Her parents were both Jewish but her father worked as a minister in a church, and she herself was raised in a church home.
        "So what brought you here today, Elizabeth?" Said Rabbi Grossman. "I'm Jewish," Elizabeth said evasively, "so I decided to come."  "You haven't come here to evangelize, have you?" Asked Rabbi Grossman as politely as he could.
        Elizabeth did not answer the question, and Rabbi Grossman realized that he would have to watch this young woman very carefully. As the oneg proceeded. Rabbi Grossman saw that Elizabeth was, indeed, trying to persuade the other students that Xtianity was superior to Judaism. Politely but firmly, Rabbi Grossman asked Elizabeth to stop.
        She began to argue theology with Rabbi Grossman, but it soon became clear to the listening students that Elizabeth was completely outclassed. With patience and clarity, Rabbi Grossman calmly refuted her assertions, explaining how her quotes from the Bible were poorly translated and completely misinterpreted. In the end, Elizabeth's voice trailed off into flustered silence. "I don't mean to embarrass you," Rabbi Grossman told her gently "But I'm afraid you'll find it very difficult to maintain your arguments with anyone with a clear understanding of the Torah." "I don't..." Elizabeth stopped. Without looking at anyone, she rose from her chair and left the room. Rabbi Grossman assumed that he would not hear from Elizabeth Gordon again, but to his surprise, he received a phone call from her a few days later.
        When Elizabeth arrived at the Grossmans' home a few days later, she was agitated and distraught. "I've been taught to believe in Xtianity my whole life," she blurted out. "But I see now that everything was a sham and a lie. Is there some way I could learn the real Torah?" "You surely can, Elizabeth," Rabbi Grossman assured her.
        Some four weeks later, Elizabeth spent a Shabbos in the Grossmans' home. Her conversations revealed Just how far she'd come in such a short time. She loved the holy atmosphere of Shabbos, discussing the weekly portion with Rabbi Grossman's daughters and displaying a clear understanding of the very basic precepts of the Torah. Afterward, as she spoke privately with Rabbi Grossman, she poured out her distress. "I just can't live this way any longer… I've got to start living like a religious Jew, too!" Rabbi Grossman promised her all the support she needed, and Elizabeth soon embarked on a new way of life.
        Her studies continued and she was a frequent guest in the Grossmans' home. Her enthusiasm for Torah proved infectious; when she met a young secular Israeli, she convinced him to meet Rabbi Grossman and learn the beauty of a Torah life, just as she had done. The young man was soon wearing tefillin on a regular basis and observing many more laws of the Torah. Some months later, Elizabeth and the young man came to visit Rabbi Grossman together. "We came to ask for your blessing that we should marry," the young man said shyly. Rabbi Grossman smiled warmly at the young couple, feeling tremendous pride in their great accomplishments.
        As plans for the wedding got underway, however, a problem arose. Elizabeth's parents wanted to come to the wedding, but they were still practicing Xtians. Rabbi Grossman told the couple that they could come to the wedding but they would not be able to accompany their daughter to the chuppah or participate in the wedding ceremony itself. Elizabeth's parents did not care for the compromise. Rabbi Grossman soon received an angry phone call from Mr. Gordon.
        On the day of the wedding, both Mr. and Mrs. Gordon did come for the ceremony. They sat in the back, speaking to no one, as their daughter was married according to the laws of the Torah. After the wedding, Elizabeth and her new husband moved to a small community. There they organized a regular minyan and encouraged spiritual growth. A few years later, with the birth of their first child, they moved to a larger community with greater opportunities. Elizabeth opened the city's first religious school and continued to dedicate her life to spreading Torah to others. Eventually, with a family of five, they moved to Eretz Yisrael.
        A few months after the move, Rabbi Grossman received a phone call from Elizabeth's father again. This time, he seemed even angrier than before. "You've brainwashed my daughter!" Mr. Gordon stormed. "I have half a mind to start legal proceedings against you!" "I could suggest a good lawyer for you, if you'd like," Rabbi Grossman offered, completely unfazed. Mr. Gordon, taken aback by Rabbi Grossman's response, changed his tone. He calmed down and began to speak more rationally.
        Over the course of the conversation, which lasted over five hours. Rabbi Grossman learned that Mr. Gordon had originally become a minister in order to support his family. "Listen," Rabbi Grossman said finally, as he prepared to hang up the phone. "You haven't lost a daughter; you've found one. If you are prepared, you can accept this beautiful gift that Hashem has given you." Mr. Gordon did not seem able to reply, and he ended the conversation.
        Two years passed. Elizabeth's mother became ill and died shortly afterwards. Rabbi Grossman picked up the phone to hear Mr. Gordon's trembling voice on the other end of the line. "Rabbi," Mr. Gordon said hesitantly, "My wife, before she died, she said that she regretted her conversion. She didn't want to be buried in the church cemetery, but ..." his voice trailed off into silence. "It's all right," Rabbi Grossman encouraged him. "Go ahead and purchase a lot for her in a Jewish cemetery. No one will ask you any questions." "But isn't that fraud?" Mr. Gordon asked unhappily. "After all, she lived her entire adult life as a Xtian." "She did teshuvah."' Rabbi Grossman said softly. "She was born a Jew, and she died as a Jew. Have her buried according to Torah Law."
        This time, Mr. Gordon did not simply hang up the phone and retreat from any contact with Rabbi Grossman. He called him often, seeking inspiration and encouragement. Rabbi Grossman offered comfort and support, recognizing that Mr. Gordon was a troubled, almost broken man. Things came to a head one Sunday morning, when Mr. Gordon went to his pulpit and gave a sermon that his Xtian congregants had never heard before. Instead of preaching about Xtianity, he derided Xtian beliefs and their way of life. Before the day was over, Mr. Gordon found himself fired. He was now completely alone; he had no wife, no job, and his daughter's family lived on the other side of the world.
        Mr. Gordon went to Israel, where Elizabeth and her family greeted him warmly. Mr. Gordon was moved by the gracious welcome. Soon after, Mr. Gordon himself became a committed baal teshuva. He spent the last ten years of his life at peace, living as a Torah Jew. No one knew that the elderly man who stood in shul, immersed in his prayers, had spent years living as a Xtian minister before he finally found his way home. (From, Visions of Greatness, Rabbi Yosef Weiss, Volume 6, p.70)
        We are a nation that by all estimates, should have been destroyed long ago. We are small among the nations. However, after years of persecutions, banishments, burnings, gassings, torturing and exterminations, Am Yisroel is alive and well. Every Jew, no matter how far he has strayed, can come home and rejoin the Eternal Nation. 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   In memory of  Tziporah Yita (Wienshienk) bas Reb Lipa , Erev Chanukah 5723

Wishing everybody a healthy and wonderful Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli