Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Parshiyos Acherei Mos - Kedoshim, Perkei Avos Ethics and story

My main computer was hacked when I tried to download something and some garbage downloaded instead. I should have had the aptitude to reset to an earlier time but the servers were taken over by characters I just hope that you did not receive advertisements like my former Yeshiva buddy, Lenny did.

Parshiyos Acharei Mos — Kedoshim

After the hiatus of laws given before the deaths of the two sons of Aaron, the laws of the Metzora were given. We now return to HASHEM talking to Aaron and warning him that one goes into the Kodesh Kedoshim only on Yom Kippur to atone.  As for this week’s Parsha, Chapter 16 deals with the Yom Kippur Service with a stern warning against intoxication and uncleanliness in Chapter 17. I am skipping ahead this, year to Chapter 18 as there are tens of Mitzvos this week and most I will not cover.

16:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the LORD, and died; …

18:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: I am the LORD your God. 3 After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes. 4 Mine ordinances shall ye do, and My statutes shall ye keep, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. 5 Ye shall therefore keep My statutes, and Mine ordinances, which if a man do, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

This chapter starts a section on being holy. The first two chapters were concerned with atonement and once atoned, the person/people are pure and should try to stay in that state.

6 None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness. I am the LORD.

The first part of this chapter begins with incest within the family and the warning of Kares or even the death penalty for doing such acts. Some of these situations may even make one queasy in the stomach and they are bad but only one is called an abomination and one perverse. The Torah is telling us with the specific language how horrible they are.

7 The nakedness of thy father, and the nakedness of thy mother, shalt thou not uncover: she is thy mother; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

It is written in the masculine form but it applies to females. This was one of the practices of the Pharaohs to keep the power within the family. Inbreeding could produce a Cleopatra and Ptolemy or a bunch of really defective genes.

8 The nakedness of thy father’s wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father’s nakedness.

This is assuming that the father passed on. It was often the custom of kings to take on their non-mother wives of their father this practice is therefore frowned upon.

9 The nakedness of thy sister, the daughter of thy father, or the daughter of thy mother, whether born at home, or born abroad, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover.

A sister or half-sister like the Egyptians did was forbidden.

10 The nakedness of thy son’s daughter, or of thy daughter’s daughter, even their nakedness thou shalt not uncover; for theirs is thine own nakedness.

This will apply also to the resurrection in the future when people will return after being widowed or widows and some of the spouses may not return.

11 The nakedness of thy father’s wife’s daughter, begotten of thy father, she is thy sister, thou shalt not uncover her nakedness.

This refers to a slave girl or non-Jew. Supposed both the servant girls and the sisters that married Yacov were from Lavan.

12 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s sister: she is thy father’s near kinswoman. 13 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister; for she is thy mother’s near kinswoman.

These two Posukim cover all the possibilities of marrying an aunt.

14 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy father’s brother, thou shalt not approach to his wife: she is thine aunt.

Previously we were dealing with an aunt who is genetically tied to the individual and now with a stranger who married your uncle and became your aunt – what is not covered is your mother’s brother but probably if I studied the Gemara, I would find a Gezaira on this aunt too.

15 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy daughter-in-law: she is thy son’ wife; thou shalt not uncover her nakedness. 16 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother’s wife: it is thy brother’s nakedness.

Actually the former is logical and the later has an exception in the days of the Tenach for the land was parceled out to tribes and families and one would want to build up the seed to run the land so if the brother heaven forbid died childless one would perform a Levirate aka Yebum marriage.

17 Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter; thou shalt not take her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter, to uncover her nakedness: they are near kinswomen; it is lewdness.

Among certain characters this is less uncommon than our normal brain might think. I read a story of a woman about 36 who had an 18 year old daughter who had her 25 to 27 year old boyfriend sleep over and the mother started up with him. B”H they were not of our religion but still the situation is sick. The when he asked a psychologist what should he do, the advisor told the man to run do not pass go and get out of the sick situation.

18 And thou shalt not take a woman to her sister, to be a rival to her, to uncover her nakedness, beside the other in her lifetime.

Prior to the giving of the Torah this was common and we see that Yacov married two sisters who had servants that the Midrash says were half-sisters from Lavan. If one sister passes away, it is not uncommon for an unmarried sister to marry the widower and take care of the children such was common in the middle-ages and this happened with two daughters of the Maharal of Prague.

19 And thou shalt not approach unto a woman to uncover her nakedness, as long as she is impure by her uncleanness.

This includes his wife and she has to go to the Mikvah and be ritually pure before they can have relations.

20 And thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbor’s wife, to defile thyself with her.

This is a repeat of you should not commit adultery but in different words for many sinners are lazy and if they have to travel an hour or two to sin they get deterred but if they only have to go near-by their Yetzer works harder upon them.

21 And thou shalt not give any of thy seed to set them apart to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.

The L-RD is holy and what are you doing passing your child over fire to some profane fire-god or something.

22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination.

Incest is one horrible thing but not classified as an abomination and defiling themselves the men and women in these acts but this is so bad that the Torah goes out of its way to use this word.

From Medrash Eicha: After the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash the Romans captured for enslavement some Jewish Youth. The teenage girls not wanting to become sex slaves jumped overboard from the ship carrying them. The youths upon seeing the young ladies jump overboard said to one another if they are willing to die rather than preform natural intercourse all the more so what the Romans plan to do with us and they jumped overboard.   

Another slave story from the Medrash was about two slave owners that wanted profits from selling or producing more slave children and they took two slaves that had been an engaged couple but they had no Mikvah or Ketuba and stayed apart until they died. Another story was that of a brother and sister who were put together by the Romans.

23 And thou shalt not lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith; neither shall any woman stand before a beast, to lie down thereto; it is perversion.

Later on we shall see about the death penalty but as perverse as this act is it is not on the level of an abomination.

24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things; for in all these the nations are defiled, which I cast out from before you. 25 And the land was defiled, therefore I did visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land vomited out her inhabitants.

If you want to know some of the reasons why we were exiled we have them here. Idolatry and groundless hatred might be the main reasons and they were publically known but the private sins might have been the straw that broke the back of Beis HaMikdash. 

26 Ye therefore shall keep My statutes and Mine ordinances, and shall not do any of these abominations; neither the home-born, nor the stranger that sojourns among you—27 for all these abominations have the men of the land done, that were before you, and the land is defiled.

In Kabbala we have four forms of life – inanimate, plant, animal and talking. Here the inanimate land has a power who lives or doesn’t live in it.

28 that the land vomit not you out also, when ye defile it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

The Canaan residents did perversions and idolatry and were spat out of the land. It is no ordinary land like the things that went on in Greece or Rome but this was a holy land with special properties.

29 For whosoever shall do any of these abominations, even the souls that do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep MY charge, that ye do not any of these abominable customs, which were done before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

When all the acts are classified together they are abominations but one is the abomination of the abominations.

19:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them: Ye shall be holy; for I the LORD your God am holy.

We must emulate G-D since HE is holy, so shall we strive too to be holy.

3 Ye shall fear every man his mother, and his father, and ye shall keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God.

The foundation of Judaism is active parenting, not helicopter parents, but guidance with love and discipline. The second part of the foundation is the observance of Shabbos and Yom Tov followed by Taharos HaMishphacha and Kashrus. The four cornerstones of our faith.

4 Turn not unto the idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. 5 And when ye offer a sacrifice of peace-offerings unto the LORD, ye shall offer it that ye may be accepted. 6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow; and if aught remain until the third day, it shall be burnt with fire. 7 And if it be eaten at all on the third day, it is a vile thing; it shall not be accepted. 8 But every one that eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he hath profaned the holy thing of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from his people.

There is a repeat of the prohibition of idolatry and the limitation of eating a peace-offering aka Korban Shlamim. Being lazy in eating the Korban brings about Kares so enough people should be invited to the feast so that it will not get wasted.

9 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not wholly reap the corner of thy field, neither shalt thou gather the gleaning of thy harvest. 10 And thou shalt not glean thy vineyard, neither shalt thou gather the fallen fruit of thy vineyard; thou shalt leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

We read about this practice in Sefer Ruth where she and Naomi were dirt poor.

11You shall not steal. You shall not deny falsely. You shall not lie, one man to his fellow.

Part of this section of holiness is that of both guarding the tongue and being honest. We see a bit further on about just weights and measures in this chapter.

12 And ye shall not swear by MY name falsely, so that thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. 13 You shall not oppress your fellow. You shall not rob. The hired worker's wage shall not remain with you overnight until morning.

A worker who is not on contract should be paid daily as he lives from hand to mouth and this again is acting holy.

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before the blind, but thou shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.

The vile and vicious acts of a bully to make a fool out of the person with a physical impairment. As we grow older we lose our hearing especially with the loud weddings that go on or even riding on an aircraft without ear-plugs. Our sight gets weakened with age. Image the punishment of measure for measure of a foolish youth who does these things and then it turn as we say what goes around comes around. Happy is the man who in his youth helped the blind and befriended the dear.

15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor favor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge your neighbor (fellow).

This is similar to Sefer Devarim Parsha Shoftim of pursuing Justice. One can be righteous and poor and wicked and rich and vice versa it is up to the Judge to be fair and pursue the truth and not be bribed by cunning words and nuances of a crooked tongue.

16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people; neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor: I am the LORD.  

Run as far as you can when somebody starts telling you a juicy tidbit about somebody else as you are allowing him/her to sin and also you are guilty of listening to this. However, a public figure or politician is not subject to this. However, one does not have the right to lie like a certain dingy person did in the last election “Mitt Romney did not pay taxes these last 10 years”. That falls under the classification of telling a lie. However, most tale bearing is the truth it also does not apply to non-Jews who are not obligated by these commandments. Thus if I were to ramble about Luke Skywalker and R2D2 having a meeting with Obi even if it were in private, I would be exempt. Still it might set a precedent and the next time I might start talking about Moshe or Yacov.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart; thou shalt surely rebuke thy neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.

If a brother sins you should give him Mussar. However, that is on the condition that you do not endanger yourself. Example I would refrain from tell Meyer Lansky and Benny Segal how to conduct their affairs even if they were not 100% according to the Torah.

18 Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD.

One thing about Meyer and Benny mentioned above as criminal as they were, they loved their people and when the German Bund started organizing in some cities from the east coast to the mid-west at the start of World War II, they challenged them to a game of baseball as they came with bats. After the Germans lost the game they never bothered the Jews of their area again.

19 Ye shall keep My statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind; thou shalt not sow thy field with two kinds of seed; neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together.

This is the prohibition of mixing animals in plowing or breeding mules unless they occur naturally this is called Kilayim also with seeds. In the garments mixing wool and linen is called Shatznez and there is a special laboratory to check suits and coats for such stuffing.

20 And whosoever lie carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, designated for a man, and not at all redeemed, nor was freedom given her; there shall be inquisition; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free.

What was common in the southern States in the USA is forbidden by the Torah.

21 And he shall bring his forfeit unto the LORD, unto the door of the tent of meeting, even a ram for a guilt-offering. 22 And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt-offering before the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned; and he shall be forgiven for his sin which he hath sinned.

Just because he has not been killed by forcing himself upon the married slave girl or the unmarried one does not let him off Scott free.

23 And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as forbidden; three years shall it be as forbidden unto you; it shall not be eaten. 24 And in the fourth year all the fruit thereof shall be holy, for giving praise unto the LORD. 25 But in the fifth year may ye eat of the fruit thereof, that it may yield unto you more richly the increase thereof: I am the LORD your God.

This is the law of Orlah fruit which is the same word for uncircumcised.

26 Ye shall not eat with the blood; neither shall ye practice divination nor soothsaying.

The blood is the life force of the animal and is forbidden therefore we either roast or soak and salt meat to remove the blood. There are all sorts of divination, soothsaying and contact with the dead through séances and bones and are forbidden.

27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.

This is with a razor but not with scissors, shears or by chemical means. One reason is that it is the way of the Goyim to make themselves younger without a beard and in Judaism a beard is a sign of distinction. However, one can trim the beard like I do as shown in the picture on the blogspot or let it grow like the Lubavitcher Chassidim. 

28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor imprint any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

Cuttings come from idolatry and Hezbollah does this. (Although I generally use Hezballah aka soldiers of Allah, the standard way of spelling is now with the “o”.) The imprint marks are tattoos and forbidden. I feel sorry for the ignoramuses who ruin their bodies with these. However, if one has done so out of ignorance, he or she need not erase but to repent. If it bothers one then by all means have them removed.

29 Profane not thy daughter, to make her a harlot, lest the land fall into harlotry, and the land become full of lewdness.

HASHEM despises lewdness and even with one spouse we are asked to be modest but it might not always work out that way in a spontaneous bit of passion especially newlyweds although they should try to refrain and conduct their activities under an sheet or blanket or in the dark as written in Siman 240 of Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim.

30 Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.

This is not the first time that Shabbos is mentioned but since we are on the subject of holiness and being holy it is repeated by the Torah. It is obviously an important and the violators get a greater punishment that a lot of other Mitzvos. The Yetzer works overtime to get us to violate the Shabbos.

31 Turn ye not unto the ghosts, nor unto familiar spirits; seek them not out, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

The Torah covers this here although I mentioned this before. This is different from a spirit coming to visit somebody in a dream or vision for we have not summoned him/her but rather they got permission from HASHEM to guide us.

32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and thou shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.

This can be a Torah Scholar too but generally refers to somebody over the age of 70.

33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not do him wrong. 34 The stranger that sojourns with you shall be unto you as the home-born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

This is a Ger Toshava such as the Druze and other minorities who accept monotheism and Jewish sovereignty of the land. This is not a Ger Tzeddek because he or she has become a full Jew and is no longer a stranger but a brother or sister.

35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meter yard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephod, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt.

It is a Mitzvah to have standard weights and measures and a fair balance.

37 And ye shall observe all MY statutes, and all Mine ordinances, and do them: I am the LORD.

You are to observe all the Mitzvos that you can for it is obvious that an ordinary Jew cannot observe those of a Cohain or Levy and the same holds true for these groups.

20:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Moreover, thou shalt say to the children of Israel: Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that give of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death; the people of the land shall stone him with stones. 3 I also will set MY face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people, because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile My sanctuary, and to profane My holy name. 4 And if the people of the land do at all hide their eyes from that man, when he gives of his seed unto Molech, and put him not to death; 5 then I will set My face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go astray after him, to go astray after Molech, from among their people. 6 And the soul that turns unto the ghosts, and unto the familiar spirits, to go astray after them, I will even set MY face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. 7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the LORD your God.

Molech was mentioned in Chapter 18 above and ghosts in Chapter 19 here we see the punishment for such an observance or violation of the Torah and it ends with the next sentence.

8 And keep ye My statutes, and do them: I am the LORD who sanctify you. 9 For whatsoever man there be that curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death; he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

In the last chapter we were told to honor our parents in the same sentence as honoring G-D and if one violates this and curses his parents he will die in his own blood. The Gemara in Sanhedrin states the conditions that make it almost impossible that such an occurrence would ever be.

10 And the man that commits adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

I want to remind people of the famous incident with the Chida (Rabbi Chaim David Azulai, the Cohain and Kabbalist, who read the Parsha of Sotah to a husband and wife and told her that she had to get divorced. She designed it and as she left his office, her thighs and stomach swelled and that of the adulterer and both died on the spot.)  

11 And the man that lies with his father’s wife—he hath uncovered his father’s nakedness—both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. 12 And if a man lie with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have wrought corruption; their blood shall be upon them.

This time we include the punishment which was left out of the original prohibition.

13 And if a man lie with mankind, as with womankind, both of them have committed abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

The word abomination is mentioned again to emphasize the seriousness that up until now it is the way of the world for a man to lie with a woman but two men wasting their seed is an abomination. While unmarried men wasting their seed is forbidden, the punishment is not death on the spot but if they don’t repent they could die before their time and the solution is marriage.

14 And if a man take with his wife also her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you. 15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death; and ye shall slay the beast. 16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. 17 And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness: it is a shameful thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

We have covered this before and the death penalty is the punishment.

18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness—he hath made naked her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood—both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

The punishment is being cut off somehow from the people in the next world.

19 And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister; for he hath made naked his near kin; they shall bear their iniquity. 20 And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife—he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness—they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless. 21 And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is impurity: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

We covered this above.

22 Ye shall therefore keep all My statutes, and all Mine ordinances, and do them, that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, vomit you not out. 23 And ye shall not walk in the customs of the nation, which I am casting out before you; for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.

The land has special holiness and will vomit out violators of these holy laws. This is an inanimate object with certain physical forces and properties that judge the inhabitants of the land. Rabbi Yehuda Yosefi Shlita once told a story of a spirit that returned in a dream and warned that in the next world “even the walls of the house come and testify after one is 120 years”!

24 But I have said unto you: ‘Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the LORD your God, who have set you apart from the peoples. 25 Ye shall therefore separate between the clean beast and the unclean, and between the unclean fowl and the clean; and ye shall not make your souls detestable by beast, or by fowl, or by anything wherewith the ground teems, which I have set apart for you to hold unclean. 26 And ye shall be holy unto ME; for I the LORD am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that ye should be MINE.

You have been chosen by ME and given extraordinary laws and commandments to observe to keep your holiness and that of the land.

27 A man also or a woman that divines by a ghost or a familiar spirit, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.

This is like Shaul who brought up the spirit of Shmuel the night before he was killed in battle.

A little personal story. On the plane from MD to FL I sat next to two religious Christians (one who had met with two popes) they asked me how come we don't missionize. I said to her not that we were spiritual billionaires’ bur spiritual doctors and one doctor can be a light to the nations and treat many souls. One was busy telling me how she found Yeshu and I said good for you. I told her we believe that all the righteous have a place in the world to come. I asked her if she heard of the iron dome and the rocket that changed course and blew into the sea? I then told her of two gulf war miracles about the Scud that fell in the middle of the oil tanks and caused minimum damage and the one that landed on the Bible on Allenby Street on Shabbos. At least she will go away glorifying the G-D of Israel who makes miracles for all HIS people.

"An opportunity came up to open a restaurant on Madison Avenue. I asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe if I should do it, and his answer was 'Be careful.'"
Connections: 1-Seasonal -- 113th anniversary of the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; 2-Weekly Reading -- "Shemini" contains a long section about Kashrut.

The Blessing of Tofutti as told by David Mintz:

Dedicated to the soul elevation of Yehuda ben Yerachmiel (Tilles) on the occasion of his 39th Yahrzeit on the 17th of Nisan (3rd day of Pessach)

In the late 1970s, I asked the Rebbe for a blessing to open a kosher restaurant, Mintz's Buffet, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. At the time there was nothing glatt kosher there [or even regular kosher]. They only had "kosher style." The only real kosher place was Meal Mart on the West Side, and aside from that, there was nowhere an observant Jew could eat.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave me a beautiful blessing. He emphasized that I would succeed if I was very careful with the kosher products I used.
When I first opened and people saw the 'glatt kosher' sign and then saw that I was wearing a kippah, they said, "Young man, you're wasting your time and money in this place. You belong on the Lower East Side."
And I would reply, "I appreciate your interest and advice, but the success of the business depends on G-d."
The restaurant became a huge success. I did a lot of take-out and a lot of catering. People would often ask me for ice cream, to which I would reply, "The food is fleishig ('meaty'), so in the same meal we can't have ice cream." Then they would say, "Okay, so we'll buy our own ice cream."
That's when the seeds were planted in my head. I started to do research and finally decided to make non-dairy pareve ice cream which I could sell with a meat meal. I read an article about tofu. I didn't even know what tofu was at the time, but I went to Chinatown to buy it.
I started experimenting with it but at first I had little success and whatever I made, I had to throw out. During this time, whenever I met with the Rebbe I would mention what I was doing, and he would say to me, "You have to have faith. If you have faith in G-d, you can do wonders." So I kept trying.
Meanwhile, my restaurant business expanded. I now had a Mintz's Buffet on 3rd Avenue in Manhattan and another one in Flatbush, Brooklyn. And then an opportunity came up to open on Madison Avenue.
I asked the Rebbe if I should do it, and his answer was "Be careful." I didn't understand what that meant. It was Madison Avenue and it was such an opportunity.
I opened there, but I was not successful. The local clientele was wrong for my sort of business. And then my 3rd Avenue restaurant had to close because Donald Trump bought out the whole square block and razed all the buildings.
That is when Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, founder of the Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side, came to me. He said, "I understand that you have to leave your location because of Donald Trump. Why don't you come to us - we want you here on the West Side. Open up a Mintz's Buffet and we will support you totally. My whole congregation will come to you."
I was very excited about that, especially when a friend of Rabbi Riskin found me the perfect location at 72nd and Broadway. What an opportunity!
As always, I asked the Rebbe's advice. This time I got an immediate answer. It was the same day, a few hours later. The Rebbe's secretary, Rabbi Leibel Groner, called up, and he said, "Listen carefully. Get a pencil and paper and write it down. This is very important." I was very excited. This was the answer I was waiting for.
Then he dictated to me, "The Rebbe says, 'B'shum oifen nisht! Absolutely not! B'shum oifen nisht.'"
Twice he said that. I was taken aback. I said, "Why is the Rebbe saying absolutely not?"
Rabbi Groner said, "The Rebbe says you should continue with your experiments with the pareve ice cream and G-d will help you to be very successful. And your products will become so popular and so in demand that they'll be sold all over the world."
It sounded like a fantasy. Meanwhile, I felt like I was losing a golden opportunity at 72 and Broadway.
But I listened to the Rebbe. For me it was not even an option to do otherwise.
Eventually, somebody else seized that opportunity and it proved nothing but trouble - trouble with the building department, trouble with the health department - the man never really managed to open up despite the enormous expenses that went into it.
I decided to go into experimentation full time. I sold the Brooklyn restaurant because the neighborhood had changed and I committed to making this pareve ice cream from tofu - first I called it Tofu Time, and later Tofutti.
By 1981 I was distributing samples. Then I got my first break. The owner of a health food store in Manhattan called Health Nuts called me. He said, "I heard people talking about a product you are making - tofu ice cream. I'd like to try it."
I brought him a five-gallon pail. No sooner had I returned from Manhattan to Brooklyn, there was a call from this guy from Health Nuts: "Mr. Mintz, Mr. Mintz, you've got to bring me more. Please bring me more."
He was my first big customer and then came Zabar's, the epitome of gourmet shops in New York. After that, Bloomingdale's called. They ended up giving it out as people came into the store and selling it in their cafeteria.
Now I knew I couldn't make enough of the stuff in the small place where I was working. I had to go commercial - to take it to the next level. Again, I went to the Rebbe and I said, "Please give me a blessing. I found a factory that wants to make it."
The Rebbe said, "It will be difficult in the beginning, but you have to have faith in G-d."
And it was difficult. In my lab in Brooklyn we made the stuff in little kettles. In the factory, the pots were a hundred or two hundred gallons. I had to reformulate.
Fortunately I succeeded, thank G-d, and Tofutti took off. Eventually, we were producing almost ten thousand gallons of Tofutti a week in cooperation with Wells Farms.
At this time, the Rebbe told me, "People will come and they'll offer you all kinds of money. Don't be swayed by their offers and be very careful. Just keep on doing what you are doing."
When that did happen, I followed his advice and turned down all offers, even the most generous ones. But after a time I asked him if I should take the company public. It was a privately held company and I thought it would be profitable to have it traded on the stock exchange.
The Rebbe's response was: "That's a very good thought." And that's what I did. This move put Tofutti on the map, so that we were working with the largest companies like Haagen Dazs and others. And it was all because the Rebbe gave me a blessing that I should be successful, and because his guidance saved me each and every time.
* David Mintz, a New York restaurateur, is the founder of the Tofutti company, makers of non-dairy ice cream. He was interviewed in his home by JEM (//JEmedia.org) in Alpine, New Jersey in February, 2007, as part of their extraordinary "My Encounter with the Rebbe" project, documenting the life of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi M Schneerson of righteous memory. This story is one of thousands recorded in the 800 videotaped interviews conducted to date with seniors who knew the Rebbe in the 30's, 40's and 50's.

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from a mailing of "JEM - Here's My Story".
Connections: 1-Seasonal -- 113th anniversary of the birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; 2-Weekly Reading -- "Shemini" contains a long section about Kashrut.
Biographical note:
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe [11 Nissan 5662 - 3 Tammuz 5754 (April 1902 - June 1994 C.E.)], became the seventh Rebbe of the Chabad dynasty after his father-in-law's passing on 10 Shvat 5710 (1950 C.E.). He is widely acknowledged as the greatest Jewish leader of the second half of the 20th century. Although a dominant scholar in both the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah and fluent in many languages and scientific subjects, the Rebbe is best known for his extraordinary love and concern for every Jew on the planet. His emissaries around the globe dedicated to strengthening Judaism number in the thousands. Hundreds of volumes of his teachings have been printed, as well as dozens of English renditions.

Perkei Avos or Ethics/Teachers of our Fathers

Chapter 1 Mishnah 1. Moses received the Torah from Sinai and gave it over to Joshua. Joshua gave it over to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets gave it over to the Men of the Great Assembly.

One should read this with the excitement of a sports announcer. Moshe got the ball and passed it to Yehoshua who forwarded it to the Elders, etc. We should have passion for our learning.

They [the Men of the Great Assembly] would always say these three things: Be cautious in judgement. Establish many pupils. And make a safety fence around the Torah.

If a judge makes a mistake the pit of Gehennom opens up below him for not being cautious enough. For an unjust ruling and listening to the lies will bring calamity on the world and in the afterlife an accounting of the judge.

2. Shimon the Righteous was among the last surviving members of the Great assembly. He would say: The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.

The word after Torah was Avoda or work in the Mikdash of the Korbanos and we can use the translation of Chabad today as there are no sacrifices at this time.  

3. Antignos of Socho received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He would say: Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you.

He is the last of the leaders who is both the head of the Sanhedrin and the teacher or secular leader of the generation after which come the pairs until the house of Hillel establishes itself with the Sanhedrin. Basically he is saying to do everything for the sake of heaven and don’t do it because of the reward in the next world but because it is the right thing to do.

4. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah, and Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem, received the tradition from them. Yossei the son of Yoezer of Tzreidah would say: Let your home be a meeting place for the wise; dust yourself in the soil of their feet, and drink thirstily of their words.

Host Torah Sages in your home and learn from them and have your family learn from them.

5. Yossei the son of Yochanan of Jerusalem would say: Let your home be wide open, and let the poor be members of your household. And do not engage in excessive conversation with a woman. This is said even regarding one's own wife--how much more so regarding the wife of another. Hence, the sages said: One who excessively converses with a woman causes evil to himself, neglects the study of Torah, and, in the end, inherits purgatory.

Let your house be filled with the poor for meals so that they may bless you and all the more so if they are poor Torah Scholars. He cautious against talking too much with his wife or his wife and her friends as their conversation is not usually that of Torah.

6. Joshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit.

A Rabbi you can have for free who will teach you but a Chavrutha or good friend should be acquired so that he will be with you and loyal to help you.

7. Nitai the Arbelite would say: Distance yourself from a bad neighbor, do not cleave to a wicked person, and do not abandon belief in retribution.

Very often in this world we see the wicked prospering and it is disheartening do not despair.

Chapter 1 hopefully will be continued in the future and this week we learn chapter 2 so I am starting on this chapter.
Chapter 2 Mishnah 1. Rabbi [Judah HaNassi]* would say: Which is the right path for man to choose for himself? Whatever is harmonious for the one who does it, and harmonious for mankind. Be as careful with a minor mitzvah as with a major one, for you do not know the rewards of the mitzvoth. Consider the cost of a mitzvah against its rewards, and the rewards of a transgression against its cost. Contemplate three things, and you will not come to the hands of transgression: Know what is above from you: a seeing eye, a listening ear, and all your deeds being inscribed in a book.

If one counts Sefiras HaOmer 50 times it adds up even if it is a minor Mitzvah. What Rabbi Yehuda is saying that just as we have nowadays a video or camera recorder in this world when it comes to the next everything is inscribed.

2. Rabban Gamliel the son of Rabbi Judah HaNassi would say: Beautiful is the study of Torah with the way of the world, for the toil of them both causes sin to be forgotten. Ultimately, all Torah study that is not accompanied with work is destined to cease and to cause sin.

One must struggle to understand the Torah and the Mishnah it is not given on a silver plate for if one is given everything he becomes spoiled and is more prone to sinning.

Those who work for the community should do so for the sake of Heaven; for then merit of their ancestors shall aid them, and their righteousness shall endure forever. And you, [says G-d,] I shall credit you with great reward as if you have achieved it.

One who does this has immense aid from heaven.

3. Be careful with the government, for they befriend a person only for their own needs. They appear to be friends when it is beneficial to them, but they do not stand by a person at the time of his distress.

Poor Moshe Katzav when he was on top everybody was his friend but when he went down his fellow politicians who were with him for years leave him to fend for himself and only his wife whom he most likely cheated on stood by him.

4. He would also say: Make that His will should be your will, so that He should make your will to be as His will. Nullify your will before His will, so that He should nullify the will of others before your will.

The L-RD rewards measure for measure so that if you do HIS will, HE will have others submit theirs to your will.

Hillel would say: Do not separate yourself from the community.

You might be able to live for a week or month by yourself but after that you are lost from Jewish atmosphere and not learning or teaching Torah. I came across some fellow who wanted my friendship on Facebook who is the “Rabbi” of the Schul of the 7 whatever. It sounded odd and then it was in the middle of nowhere in the woods. I cautiously befriended the person but when I saw the pictures of his Schul it was in his house he wore a Strimel which must have been taken on a weekday did not appear to have a wife or even a real Congregation. Either there was something wrong with him or he was a non-Jew posing as a Jew.  Whatever it was he was separated from the community and I separated myself from this individual.

Do not believe in yourself until the day you die.                                  

Nobody can actually say that he will not sin until he passes away for there is always that slight chance.
Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place.

Often we see somebody who grew up out of the Jewish Community do something off. How can we truly judge him as he might have thought that was the normal behavior.

Do not say something that is not readily understood in the belief that it will ultimately be understood [or: Do not say something that ought not to be heard even in the strictest confidence, for ultimately it will be heard].

I have a nasty habit of thinking something and it is clear to me and I say something but nobody fully understands and I have to explain myself. If I don’t say something from A to Z, I may miss out on an important step or concept.

And do not say "When I free myself of my concerns, I will study,'' for perhaps you will never free yourself.

How many of us have said “when I retire this or that” but actually we never get around into doing these things.

5. He would also say: A boor cannot be sin-fearing, an ignoramus cannot be pious, a bashful one cannot learn, a short-tempered person cannot teach, nor does anyone who does a lot of business grow wise.

A boor will not fully know the Halacha and neither will an ignorant person. If one is too shy he will not ask questions and learn and a person with a temper will scare the Talmidim off. However, one must eat but a large business creates worry and distraction and one cannot get wisdom this way.

In a place where there are no men, strive to be a man.

Sometimes one has to step up and do things that he might not desire to do but they are the right things to do.

6. He also saw a skull floating upon the water. Said he to it: Because you drowned others, you were drowned; and those who drowned you, will themselves be drowned.

There is a vicious cycle of murders and killing once they start.

7. He would also say: One who increases flesh, increases worms; one who increases possessions, increases worry; one who increases wives, increases witchcraft; one who increases maidservants, increases promiscuity; one who increases man-servants, increases thievery; one who increases Torah, increases life; one who increases study, increases wisdom; one who increases counsel, increases understanding; one who increases charity, increases peace. One who acquires a good name, acquired it for himself; one who acquires the words of Torah, has acquired life in the World to Come.

This is the plain meaning and explanation:

Chief Rabbi of Rome Elio Taraf passed away at 99 years of age. Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein of Kiriat Arba passes away: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/194308                                                                                    

From Valerie whom I believe is Protestant in her beliefs. - I am sure I will offend Protestant folks by saying this, I find the Reformer, Martin Luther to be a horrible man. In fact when I see or hear his name mentioned, it makes my blood boil. How could anyone, filled with GOD's goodness and loving kindness even think of saying the following with regards to the Jews...? Hitler built his ovens and death camps on the foundation of Martin Luther's writings... He would quote... "The Jews and their Lies"...
Hitler followed Luther's advice to the letter....
Quoting from the Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther... this is what this man wrote in a book... "“My advice, as I said earlier, is: First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it…The rulers must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them. If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs."

United Torah Judaism and the Likud temporarily suspect talks: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/194237#.VTQa55t8OM8                                                           

Inyanay Diyoma

Ed-OP: Obama hurting US companies with his boycott and not Israel: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4647856,00.html

Hamas rules on the Temple Mount – an embarrassment to Am Yisrael and Netanyahu tries for Labor instead of the right: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/194251#.VTQRfZt8OM-

A good Shabbos to all I am returning this week to Israel and next week should be back to normal. Be well,
Rachamim Pauli