Friday, May 8, 2015

Parsha Behar, Stories

Rabbi Levinger's son Shlomo Levinger told Arutz Sheva that his father was hospitalized in recent days after suffering an epileptic seizure, and that he is also suffering from pneumonia. The family is asking the public to pray for the full recovery of Rabbi Moshe Ben Tirtze.

Parsha Behar

25:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying: 

On Mount Sinai: What [special relevance] does the subject of Shemittah [the “release” of fields in the seventh year] have with Mount Sinai? Were not all the commandments stated from Sinai? However, [this teaches us that] just as with Shemittah, its general principles and its finer details were all stated from Sinai, likewise, all of them were stated-their general principles [together with] their finer details-from Sinai. This is what is taught in Torath Kohanim (25:1). [And why is Shemittah used as the example to prove this rule, especially since the very fine details are not even specified here (Sefer Hazikkaron)?] It appears to me that its explanation is as follows: [At the plains of Moab, Moses reiterated the majority of the laws of the Torah to the Israelites before their entry into the land of Israel, this reiteration comprising most of the Book of Deuteronomy. Now,] since we do not find the laws of Shemittah [“release”] of land reiterated on the plains of Moab in Deuteronomy, we learn that its general principles, finer details, and explanations were all stated at Sinai. Scripture states this [phrase] here to teach us that [just as in the case of Shemittah,] every statement [i.e., every commandment] that was conveyed to Moses came from Sinai, [including] their general principles and finer details [and that the commandments delineated in Deuteronomy were merely] repeated and reviewed on the plains of Moab [not originally given there].

Perhaps the Torah knew the psychology of the hard working farmer. For this reason Shmita and Har Sinai were put in the same context. It is a natural trend for the working man to labor and earn as much as possible. By letting the land lie fallow he does not know that it is better for the land and the crops but he is not getting his income. With the emphasis that this mitzvah comes from HASHEM, then the farmer is a more willing observer.

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 

A Sabbath to the Lord: For the sake of the Lord, just as is stated of the Sabbath of Creation (see Exod. 20:10) [i.e., just as every seventh day is a holy Sabbath day, acclaiming that God Himself rested on the seventh day and thus acclaiming that God is the Supreme Creator of all existence, likewise, man must rest from working the land on the seventh year, for the sake of God, not for the sake of the land, so that it should gain fertility by lying fallow for a year]. — [Sifthei Chachamim ; Torath Kohanim 25:7]

Outside of Eretz Yisrael the Shmita Year is not to be observed as there is no holiness in the land.

3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the produce thereof. 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of solemn res t for the land, a Sabbath unto the LORD; thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 

Just like the seventh day is for man to rest the seventh year is for Eretz Yisrael to rest.

5That which grows of itself of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, and the grapes of thy undressed vine thou shalt not gather; it shall be a year of solemn rest for the land. 6 And the Sabbath-produce of the land shall be for food for you: for thee, and for thy servant and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant and for the settler by thy side that sojourn with thee; 7 and for thy cattle, and for the beasts that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be for food. 

This is food planted at least two weeks before Shmita or has grown by itself from last year’s crop.

8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and there shall be unto thee the days of seven Sabbaths of years, even forty and nine years. 

The number seven since the six days of creation and the first rest of the HOLY ONE BLESSED BE HE has become a special number in observance. The Shmita is the 7th year and the 7th time one observes that is the Yovel or 50th year. In English it is the Jubilee year.

Sabbatical years: Heb. שַׁבְּתֹת שָׁנִים, sabbatical years. Now, [since our verse therefore tells us to count “seven sabbatical years,”] one might think that we should observe seven consecutive sabbatical years, and then make a Jubilee year after them. Scripture, therefore, continues here, “seven years seven times,” thus showing us that every Shmita year occurs in its own time [namely, every seventh year]. — [Torath Kohanim 25:13] And the days of these seven [sabbatical years will amount to forty-nine years]: [But is it not already clear that seven years seven times equals forty-nine? However, this] comes to tell us that even though you have not observed the Shmita years [throughout that period], nevertheless, make a Jubilee at the end of forty-nine years. — [Torath Kohanim 25:14] [This is a Midrashic explanation, linking the end of our verse with the next, to read, “And the days of these seven sabbatical years will amount to forty-nine years for you (and) Then…you shall proclaim with shofar blasts.”] The simple meaning of our verse is, however, that the calculation of the years of the Shmita cycles will amount to the number forty-nine.

9 Then shalt thou make proclamation with the blast of the horn on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make proclamation with the horn throughout all your land. 10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof; it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. 

Ever been to Philadelphia PA? What famous bell only rang once and cracked but has this Pasuk written on it and what value denomination of currency is the bell printed on the reverse side? The ones who went free were the Eved Evri or Hebrew Servant who sold himself into slavery and loved his slave wife and children and had his ear lobe drilled to the Mezuzah of the door. When the Yovel came, he was to be released and if he wanted this wife and children freed he would have to purchase them from his master or get them in a compensation package.

11 A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you; ye shall not sow, neither reap that which grows of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of the undressed vines. 12 For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy unto you; ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. 13 In this year of jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

What happened if the land of the poor man did not produce enough for him to eat, he would sell his inheritance. Elimelech in Sefer Ruth had been rich and now after the passing of him and his sons, Naomi had to sell the land to get by. Boaz comes to Tov and asks him if he wants to redeem the land. Tov has no problems with that but the “Shicksa” named Ruth was not for him. He was bigoted and wanted pure seed in his inheritance. [This is the first time I have ever used this term “Shicksa” because of the bigotry against our black Jewish brothers and the Charedi Sephardim have experienced in Israel.] Ruth becomes the mother of royalty. How is this so? She came from those horrible Moavim? It is perhaps a spark of belief in HASHEM left over in the seed of Lot. “Your G-D is my G-D and where you go, I will go …”. The complete acceptance of HASHEM ELOKAYNU made her different from Ophra who became the grandmother of Goliad.    

14 And if thou sell aught unto thy neighbor, or buy of thy neighbor’s hand, ye shall not wrong one another. 15 According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbor, and according unto the number of years of the crops he shall sell unto thee. 16 According to the multitude of the years thou shall increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of the years thou shall diminish the price of it; for the number of crops doth he sell unto thee. 17 And ye shall not wrong one another; but thou shalt fear thy God; for I am the LORD your God. 

Essentially one takes a risk in buying the land for a certain time based on crop production as there could be a drought, frost, lightning strike or even locusts. All in all the seller is taking out a financial deal and it has to benefit both the buyer and the seller. The seller if he is a wise businessman takes this money and buys goods and trades with them or gets a fixed rental income in his old age until a child inherits the land. In the beginning as we shall see with the daughters of Zelophad, there was intra-tribal marriages because of inheritance but as time went on the marriage pool became inter-tribal and one could inherit in both tribal areas. Such as good as the other could be rented out until the Yovel as supplicant income. 

18 Wherefore ye shall do MY statutes, and keep MINE ordinances and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. 19 And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat until ye have enough, and dwell therein in safety. 

This is a blessing and a condition for that blessing: If you observe you will be blessed with good crops and dwell in safety.

20 And if ye shall say: 'What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we may not sow, nor gather in our increase'; 21 then I will command My blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce for the three years. 22 And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat of the produce, the old store; until the ninth year, until her produce come in, ye shall eat the old store. 23 And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is MINE; for ye are strangers and settlers with Me. 24 And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. 

G-D foresees the question of the people and gives the answer to their questions. First of all the sixth year will produce a crop that will suffice in food until the 8th year’s crop comes in. This will continue through the Yovel too.

25 If thy brother be waxen poor, and sell some of his possession, then shall his kinsman that is next unto him come, and shall redeem that which his brother hath sold. 26 And if a man have no one to redeem it, and he be waxen rich and find sufficient means to redeem it; 27 then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the over plus unto the man to whom he sold it; and he shall return unto his possession. 28 But if he have not sufficient means to get it back for himself, then that which he hath sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubilee; and in the jubilee it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. 

Inheritance land can never be sold but only leased out. This would most likely be within the tribe as Gad would not lease in Yehuda because of the distance but perhaps Yehuda to Benyamin on the border the other might want to lease the land until the Yovel.

29 And if a man sell a dwelling-house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; for a full year shall he have the right of redemption. 30 And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be made sure in perpetuity to him that bought it, throughout his generations; it shall not go out in the jubilee. 31 But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be reckoned with the fields of the country; they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubilee. 32 But as for the cities of the Levites, the houses of the cities of their possession, the Levites shall have a perpetual right of redemption. 33 And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold in the city of his possession, shall go out in the jubilee; for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. 34 But the fields of the open land about their cities may not be sold; for that is their perpetual possession. 

A house sold in the city if not redeemed within a year, the sale becomes final for city life is not the original inheritance of the people.

35 And if thy brother be waxen poor, and his means fail with thee; then thou shalt uphold him: as a stranger and a settler shall he live with thee.36 Take thou no interest of him or increase; but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. 37 Thou shalt not give him thy money upon interest, nor give him thy victuals for increase. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, to be your God. 

A person is forbidden to take interest on a loan unless it is for a business investment ( for the lender there is also a risk that the business might fail and he could have used the money for the business himself).

39 And if thy brother be waxen poor with thee, and sell himself unto thee, thou shalt not make him to serve as a bondservant. 40 As a hired servant, and as a settler, he shall be with thee; he shall serve with thee unto the year of jubilee. 41 Then shall he go out from thee, he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. 42 For they are My servants, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt; they shall not be sold as bondmen. 43 Thou shalt not rule over him with rigor; but shalt fear thy God. 44 And as for thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, whom thou may have: of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them may ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they have begotten in your land; and they may be your possession. 46 And ye may make them an inheritance for your children after you, to hold for a possession: of them may ye take your bondmen forever; but over your brethren the children of Israel ye shall not rule, one over another, with rigor. 

This is the law of the Hebrew servant or slave and it is usually that he is sold for thievery or famine and becomes a bondman or Hebrew slave. He is freed on the Yovel even if he loves his wife and children and wants to continue. At this point he must free them.

47 And if a stranger who is a settler with thee be waxen rich, and thy brother be waxen poor beside him, and sell himself unto the stranger who is a settler with thee, or to the offshoot of a stranger's family,48 after that he is sold he may be redeemed; one of his brethren may redeem him; 49 or his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be waxen rich, he may redeem himself. 50 And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he sold himself to him unto the year of jubilee; and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years; according to the time of a hired servant shall he be with him. 51 If there be yet many years, according unto them he shall give back the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. 52 And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubilee, then he shall reckon with him; according unto his years shall he give back the price of his redemption. 53 As a servant hired year by year shall he be with him; he shall not rule with rigor over him in thy sight. 54 And if he be not redeemed by any of these means, then he shall go out in the year of jubilee, he, and his children with him. 55 For unto Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My servants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

The law of a Ger Tzeddek is different from that of a Jew as he has no inheritance. However, he is a full Jew!

26:1 Ye shall make you no idols, neither shall ye rear you up a graven image, or a pillar, neither shall ye place any figured stone in your land, to bow down unto it; for I am the LORD your God.

This is one of the examples of the wicked priest who put in the chapters in the Holy Scriptures which is our standard today. These two Posukim are clearly marked in Hebrew as belonging to a continuation of the last line in the last chapter. However, the Catholics have their images and he wanted to break this away from the other section so as not to end up insulting his icons and statues in his church. At the start of the next chapter and adding the warning in the next Parsha, one forgets this sentence against graven images quick enough.

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

Why must we observe Shabbos because THE L-RD told us so! Period and if we are too involved in worldly gains and not realizing that our body and spirit has to refresh itself and it is for our good then we have to observe Shabbos like a military command. However, if we view it as an instruction from a parent to help us for our own good then we observe it out of love and not out of fear. The only fear we need is violation of the Shabbos.

Did you ever forget to read the fine print? I just jotted off a note asking permission to use this translation to the meaning of life center so this is pirated until I get permission otherwise next week I have to reinvent the wheel and translate this myself. Like a youth with passion and dreams and plans, I wanted to finish off Perkei Avos in installments with the rest of the world on the six week cycle. But as I wrote a few months ago, life throws us curve balls and it is more important for me at this time to make an almost 10 year old into a G-D fearing adult. I B”H have made tremendous progress and both his teachers, friends and parents have seen the change. Still we have a long way to go with a boy with fears of losing us like he lost his mother. I will not proceed to do what I can in the way of Perkei Avos as my schedule permits.

8. Judah the son of Tabbai and Shimon the son of Shetach received from them. Judah the son of Tabbai would say: When sitting in judgement, do not act as a counselor-at-law. When the litigants stand before you, consider them both guilty; and when they leave your courtroom, having accepted the judgement, regard them as equally righteous.

This is all well and good for the Judge but still what happens if the litigant is speaking with a forked tongue against a stutterer and runs in his lies a path for the judges to make mistakes? What used to be innocent farmers or men of words has turned out to be in our generation in fact there was a group of liars that put to death the son of Rabbi Shimon ben Shetach even then. All the more so today with horrible cunning plots and designs where money and other Yetzer conquers the truth whenever the last days of the Satan can. Under normal circumstances with two honest people both will leave without a trace of guilt remaining and hopefully this is the case.

9. Shimon the son of Shetach would say: Increasingly cross-examine the witnesses. Be careful with your words, lest they learn from them how to lie.

Question the witnesses thoroughly and look into their eyes. Listen to their intonation as a false outcome of a trial opens up the pit of Gehennom. It is unfortunate that a good liar can lie with a straight face and then you are confronted with a man of Emmes vs. the Sheker of the liar. In this case the judge is confounded on what the truth is. Therefore be careful.

10. Shemaiah and Avtalyon received from them. Shemaiah would say: Love work, loath mastery over others, and avoid intimacy with the government.
This were the teachers of Hillel and Shammai and they were from Gerim tracing their roots to Sancheriv. Be happy that you can work for the idle brain is a play tool of the Yetzer HaRa. Unless you are parenting treat others as equals and respect them and they will in turn respect your opinion. A husband or wife trying to master the other eventually gets divorced. Government is not to be trusted later on Avos says that they come to you during elections or when they need you and when you need them, they are nowhere to be found.

11. Avtalyon would say: Scholars, be careful with your words. For you may be exiled to a place inhabited by evil elements [who will distort your words to suit their negative purposes]. The disciples who come after you will then drink of these evil waters and be destroyed, and the Name of Heaven will be desecrated.

Imagine a teacher making a blunder as high if not higher than the Himalayas. The students then repeat this and the mistake because part of the nation for generations and it cannot be weeded out. This  will be established a foolish and non-kosher Minchag and eventually a Chillul HASHEM.    

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the orphan

Rabbi Shimon was walking with one of the companions perhaps Rav Chiya and he said, “I sense a miracle is about to happen! Come let us depart from our planned journey and stop in this small village.”

The two Rabbis proceeded to the house of a Talmud Chacham who had taught many and had just finished teach Shass Mishnayos to a group of students. The man had died and was lying before his young orphan son. Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Chiya entered the room where the son and the body was and sat down. The son then began cry: “Master of the world, my father taught many but I am young and need him to teach me to do your work.” The boy pleaded and cried before G-D. “L-RD G-D have you not written in YOUR holy Torah to be compassionate to the widow and the orphan. It is YOUR WILL that I am an orphan now. Please give me back my father that he can teach me YOUR Torah.”

With that plea the body began to stir and breath came back into the man. The two Rabbis blessed him and told him that his mission was to make his son a Gadol B’ Torah. After a short thanksgiving meal, the Rabbis continued on their journey. (From the Holy Zohar written Lag B’ Omer 5775)

Lost e-mail from years back: If G-d cared about me, why doesn’t He do miracles for me?
How many times have I heard that question? Sometimes it sounds like a complaint; perhaps it’s really a plea for help. If we open our eyes, if we open our minds, if we open our hearts, we will see that the Hashem is doing miracles for us all the time—from the very small and seemingly insignificant to the larger and more dramatic.
If you look back over your life experiences I bet you’ll probably find that you, too, have a story to tell.
Sharon’s story:
When I was 25, my father had a stroke and went into a coma. The doctors said there was nothing they could do and that I should give up hope. For months he lay there. I was allowed to visit him every few hours and although I always hoped he would wake up, he never did.
One night when I left his room, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went down to my car in the parking lot and I started screaming and begging G-d to give me back my father.
When I went into my father’s room the next day, his eyes seemed to be focused on me, but still he didn’t move or speak. I said, “It seems like you’re watching me. If you can hear my voice, close your eyes.”
My father closed his eyes.
I thought it might be a coincidence so is said, “Close your eyes again, I’ll count to five and when I get to five, open your eyes.”
My father did exactly as instructed. At the moment I knew the Hashem loved me, and I knew I was close to Him.
Hashem is intervening in our lives every day, all the time, if we are but open to it. Not only is He providing us with the majesty of the ocean and the beauty of the sunset, with the profusion of colorful flowers and the melodic song of the birds, but Hashem’s hand is apparent in the mundane as well.
You may think its trivial , a ‘waste’ of prayer to ask for a good parking place- but Who do you think makes sure you get one whether you’ve asked or not? When you run into the very person you need to speak to at your local grocery, when a phone call from a friend wakes you, the day your alarm clock breaks, Hashem is looking out for you. Are you looking out for him?
Our job is to recognize His guiding hand and be grateful for His intervention. Even if it’s not always an intervention we like. Maybe we don’t get the job, the house, the match we think we want. God is speaking to us then too. A world without G-d’s voice would be an empty void. A world of randomness and meaninglessness would be the painful world of all.
None of us are ever alone; we just need to know where to look.
Binyamin Jadidi

Chief Rabbi warns of fake Kashrus Certificates do you want to eat bugs, frogs and lizards?

Editorial Abusing free speech

The contest to draw a picture the prophet of Islam. Was not the world’s nicest thing to say the least! I am not a truly public person. So if in private I call their prophet a profit as Mo-HAM-mud that is not the same as making a public event to provoke them. To me it is like having a public drawing the best Nazi flag ceremony or the best Nazi salute. I might not love the Jihad or a religion made up by a man on weed who had a Jew write his Koran as he was illiterate. However, I am a private person and can tell other private people what I think. I will not go on public TV against them but neither will I go PC and false claim they are “the religion of peace” when they want to chop our bodies and that of Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. into pieces.

The Liberator Chaplain of Dachau (mailed by Dr. Harry)

Today is the 70th anniversary of the first Jewish service in Dachau after its liberation.

This week commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp Dachau.  The liberation of Dachau starkly publicized for the world the tremendous evil of the Holocaust. When you enter the Holocaust Museum, you see a film that is played continually showing -- an excerpt of the first Shabbat service at Dachau.  It was led by a chaplain, Rabbi David Max Eichhorn and occurred on May 6, 1945.

            Rabbi Eichhorn's   was a Chaplain in the XV Corp of the Third Army.  His story is told in a book of his letters, The GI's Rabbi, edited by his grandson, Mark Zaid.  His letters provide fascinating insight to the war, the daily life of soldiers, the battles and the role of Jewish Chaplains. Before World War II, the military chaplaincy was almost exclusively limited to Christian ministers. 

A small, hardworking and energetic group of rabbis became the first Jewish chaplains. The role of Jewish chaplains was distinctly different from non-Jewish chaplains.  They had to deal with the issues of anti-Semitism, which could be relatively blatant in the higher ranks.  In addition, the Jewish chaplains had to deal with the liberation of the camps and issues involving the Jewish refugees after V-E Day.

Rabbi Eichhorn played an important role in some of the critical events of the last phase of World War II.  He landed at Omaha Beach soon after D-Day and accompanied the Third, First and finally the Seventh Armies as they fought their way through Normandy, endured the Battle of the Bulge, crossed the Rhine River, and was with the first troops that invaded Germany.  The book of Rabbi Eichhorn's letters tell firsthand the dramatic story of the troops and his role as spiritual leader in many crucial events during the last phase of the war. 

The book of Rabbi Eichhorn's letters is a fascinating read.  Soldiers during the last phase of the war faced tremendous challenges, but Rabbi Eichhorn was always nearby offering support in a Jeep decorated with a large Magen David, carrying prayer books, wine and other Jewish items.  His letters were either letters to his family or letters to the Jewish Welfare Board.  There is a terrific story about holding Yom Kippur services in a Synagogue that was beyond the front lines.  And a dramatic retelling of the US troops entering into the stadium at Nürenberg led by him and his jeep decorated by a Mogen Dovid.  What a sense of triumph.

            Chaplain Eichhorn arrived at Dachau on April 30, one day after the first American troops had liberated the camp, and organized the first Jewish religious services at the camp on May 5 and 6.  The human misery was painful to document.  Here is an excerpt from the letter when he first arrived at Dachau.  "We saw the 39 boxcars loaded with Jewish dead in the Dachau railway yard.  Thirty-nine carloads of little, shriveled mummies that had literally been starved to death; we saw the gas chambers and the crematoria still filled with charred bones and ashes and we cried not merely tears of sorrow.  We cried tears of hate.  Combat-hardened soldiers, Gentile and Jew, black and white cried tears of hate.  Then we stood aside and watched while the inmates of the camp hunted down their former guards many of whom were trying to hide out in various places in the camp.  We stood aside and watched while these guards were beaten to death beaten so badly that their bodies were ripped open and innards protruded.  We watched with less feeling than if a dog had been beaten.  In truth it might be said that we were completely without feeling.  Deep anger and hate had temporarily numbed our emotions.  These evil people it seemed to us were being treated exactly as they deserved to be treated to such depths does human nature sink in the presence of human depravity."

            Rabbi Eichhorn tells this story of giving a Torah to the Jews in an adjacent camp Allach. The people after the service came up and thanked him.  He writes "I felt it was I who should be humbling myself before them and honoring them for which they had suffered and surmounted.  I kept reminding myself that it was not I to whom they were paying homage but to the wonderful American Army which had delivered them from certain death and from physical and mental tortures worse than death.  To die from a bullet is so easy and so quick many said but to die slowly in mind and in body from torture, humiliation and hunger is much worse." 

Then he went to Dachau.  There were almost 3000 Jews over 90 percent of which were men.  The Jews were incredibly diverse – from Germany, Poland, Israel, Mediterranean countries and even the UK.  Typhus was prevalent.  People were dying even as they had arrived.  They were emaciated, filthy and lice-ridden.  He visited every barracks where there were Jews, talked to the bedridden, miserable, and dying and tried to raise their spirits.  He also tried to act as a liaison between the Jews, the prisoners' committee and the American military authorities (a role he would increasingly play when dealing with refugees after the liberation of the camps).

            The first Shabbat was on May 5.  Because of protests by Polish inmates they were unable to hold the service in a public place but held it in the camp laundry – only 80 people could attend. The famous Hollywood director George Stevens was there to document the liberation and he went to the authorities and demanded a more public service -- it was held on Sunday May 6 in the main square of the compound. 
Thousands of prisoners, emaciated, holding on to life, attended.  As the Rabbi describes they had beginning prayers, he opened the ark and recited the sheheheyanu and benched (bircat) gomel and went through a brief Torah service.  When he finished a group of girls gave him a bouquet of flowers and the Palestinian “halutsa” came to the platform bearing a Zionist flag and made an impromptu speech in the beautiful Sephardic Hebrew.  Young girls made little American and Zionist flags from their precious remains of remnant materials.  The Rabbi gave a sermon which was translated into German.  At the end everybody gathered and sang hatikva. 

The Rabbi's sermon is simple, direct, and to the heart.  It gives the vision of liberation and relief the survivors so desperately needed.  It returns the words of justice and faith to a place where evil had ruled. And the words are stunning especially when you consider the fact that he had almost no time to prepare it. 

Here are excerpts:  
“In the portion that we read yesterday in our holy Torah we found the words "Proclaim freedom through the world to all inhabitants thereof; a day of celebration shall this be for you a day when every man shall return to his family and to his rightful place in society."
            “Today I come to you in a dual capacity as a soldier in the American Army and as a representative of the Jewish community in America.  As an American soldier I say to you we are proud very proud to be here to know that we've had a share in the destruction of the most cruel tyranny of all time.  As an American soldier I say to you that we are proud very proud to be with you as comrades in arms to greet you and salute you as the bravest of the brave.  We know your tragedy.  We know your sorrows.  We know that upon you was centered the venomous hatred of power-crazed madmen that your annihilation was decreed and planned systematically and ruthlessly.  We know too that you refused to be destroyed, that you fought back with every weapon at your command that you fought with your bodies, your minds and your spirit.  Your faith and our faith in God and in humanity have been sustained.  Our enemies lie prostrate before us.  The way of life which together we have defended still lives and it will still live so all men everywhere may have freedom and happiness and peace.”
            “I speak to you as a Jew, as a rabbi in Israel, and as a teacher of religious philosophy which is dearer to all of us than life itself.  What message of comfort and strength can I bring to you from your fellow Jews?  What can I say that will compare in depth or in intensity to that which you have suffered and overcome?  Full well do I know and humbly do I confess the emptiness of mere words in this hour of mingled sadness and joy.  Words will not bring back the dead back to life neither right the wrongs of the past ten years.”
            “Words will not bring the dead back to life nor to right the wrongs of the past ten years.  This is not the time for words you will say and rightfully so.  It is the time for deeds of justice, deeds of love, justice will be done.  We have seen with our own eyes and we have heard with our own ears and we shall not forget.  As long as there are Jews in the world “Dachau” will be a term of horror and shame.  Those who labor here for their evil master must be hunted down and destroyed as systematically and as ruthlessly as they sought your destruction.  And there will be deeds of love.  It is the recognized duty of all religious people to bestir themselves immediately to assist you to regain health, comfort, and some measure of happiness as speedily and as is humanly possible.  This must be done.  This can be done.  This will be done.  You are not and you will not be forgotten men, my brothers.  In every country where lamps of religion and decency and kindness still burn, Jews and non-Jews alike will expend as much time and energy and money as is needed to make good the pledge which is written in our Holy Torah.  Every man who has been oppressed must be and will be restored to his family and to his rightful place in society.  This is a promise and a pledge which I bring you from your American comrades in arms and your Jewish brethren across the sea.”

  He closed with Isaiah. 
            You shall go out with joy and be lead forth in peace;
            The mountains and hills shall break forth before you unseeing;
            And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.  
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress, and instead of brambles myrtles shall spring forth;
            And Gd’s name will be glorified;
            This will be remembered forever, this will never be forgotten.  Amen. 

            Rabbi Eichhorn continued to serve for several months in Europe and helped deal with refugee issues.  He had a distinguished career after that as a Rabbi and a Chaplain doing extensive work on chaplaincy for the Jewish Welfare Board.  He was the director of field operations of the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy of the National Jewish Welfare Board a position he held until 1968.  He described his duties in his autobiography as “supervising all these full-time and part-time chaplains ecclesiastically.”

May his memory, the memory of the survivors and the memory of all who perished be for a blessing.

David Balto

A message from Dr. Harry: Next time you use your I-phone think about this:

Nine years, a trillion dollars in sales, and almost no taxes paid. That’s just the starting point for wondering about Apple’s actual contribution to the US economy.
Apple’s success drags down the US GDP.  The behemoth that is Apple sold almost 200M phones last year, none of which were made in the US or used components made here. Instead of exporting $100B in iPhones, the US imported $50B. That $150B swing matters in terms of balance of trade, GDP and MIDDLE CLASS jobs. If you wanted to improve the US economy, there’s no better place to start than with Apple and smartphones.
Apple undermines the US manufacturing base. Assembly matters and manufacturing matters more. There was a time when Apple could have assembled phones and tablets in the US, but that would mean spending an extra $5 per phone since that’s approximately the extra labor cost to build that $700 phone here instead of in Vietnam or China. Assembly may not be a competitive, value-add step but it does employ a lot of people.
Unfortunately, it would also cut Apple’s profits by $1B, shrinking the company’s annual net income from $45B to $44B. Apple wouldn’t notice a drop in profits of $1B because it’s not putting its cash to use: Apple has $200B in cash conveniently parked outside of the US, not doing anything. On the other hand, assembling in the US would employ tens of thousands of people.

Contrary to the characters rioting in Baltimore my heart went out for these good citizens who served in the army and get discriminated against:…
Ed-Op blaming the behavior and attitude of the police:,7340,L-4653525,00.html
From Tsipora P: Police Brutality is not only an Ethiopian Problem:
After the shocking video of police officers beating up an Israeli soldier in uniform in Holon, there have been repeated demonstrations by Ethiopian Jews, first in Jerusalem and today in Tel Aviv. They are demonstrating against discrimination - the beaten up soldier is of Ethiopian origin. In my opinion, these protests are "incomplete" and one-sided. First of all, yes, there is discrimination against Ethipian Jews in many places in Israel, when it comes to jobs, housing, services etc. More than once I have personally overheard "white" Israelis calling an Ethiopian "black monkey". And there are many who claim that Ethiopians aren't "real Jews" - which isn't true - the Rabbinate has checked them all, and converted all who were in need of conversion because they had Jewish ancestors but weren't halachically Jewish. They were converted as a group, unlike Russian non-Jews who were left to their own devices after they came to Israel. But in the case of the soldier, racism against Ethiopian Jews is only half of the problem. The other big issue, which is being swept under the carpet here, is that there are also too many instances of police brutality in Israel. This police violence is directed not only against Ethiopians but also against settlers, at almost every outpost destruction and demonstration, against Hareidim, against any citizen taking part in any demonstration and sometimes just against random people looking at a cop the wrong way and in some cases of mistaken identity. The Ethiopian protests now turn the whole issue into an "Ethiopian issue" (and maybe there are political elements or certain NGOs that want to use this to chew the cud on "Israeli racism"). But I think that leaves out half of the problem. There should be protests by all citizens against police violence, because that's a problem in its own right that should concern everyone. Why don't Israeli citizens of all shades and political outlooks unite for once to demand better control over the police? Today they beat up an Ethiopian - and tomorrow? Could be you or me. The photo down below is from the Amona police crackdown 2006 where "settler" teenagers were beaten down and trampled by mounted riot police. Some of the injured later got some financial compensation after going to court. But there is nothing that prevents this from happening again any day.

From my cousin David: Israel a formidable force in the military arena:

From Gail old Yemenite Synagogue returns to Jewish hands after illegal Arab squatters threw out the owners:

Author of the Zohar still popular 1800 years after his passing:,7340,L-4654576,00.html

I don’t usually bring down advertisements but this was a customer improvement notice which technologically is improving the electric grid:

From Sophia: Yahrtzeit of Rabbi Meir of Rotenburg (1215-1293), a great Talmudic commentator and leader of German Jewry, known by the acronym Maharam. When leaving Germany, Rabbi Rotenburg was arrested on false charges, and a huge ransom was imposed for his release. The money was raised, but he forbade it to be paid, on the grounds that it would encourage further hostage-taking of Jewish leaders. At great personal sacrifice, he preferred to remain in prison, in order to save many others from a similar fate. He died in captivity seven years later, however his body was not surrendered for another 14 years, when a Jew named Alexander Suskind gave away most of his fortune to ransom the body -- on condition that he would later have the honor of being buried alongside Rabbi Rotenburg.

Inyanay Diyoma

Ed-Op: Israel is up to its neck in Syria:,7340,L-4652757,00.html

Hopes go down for Ohr as the bodies of 50 hikers found in area where he went missing:,7340,L-4652983,00.html

Missionaries from the witnesses bothering Jews in Israel:

From Gail: 12.Israeli innovations save lives in Nepal
 Israeli innovations like the Emergency Bandage and the Pocket BVM, a manual ventilator to assist people who are not breathing, are just two of the technologies that are being put to use in saving lives in earthquake-stricken Nepal. According to Israeli paramedic Dov Meisel, speaking to ISRAEL21c from Nepal’s badly-damaged capital, Kathmandu, a number of innovative Israeli technologies have been packed into 60 cases of medical and search-and-rescue equipment arriving at Kathmandu today for his 25-member Israeli disaster response team. “A lot of our equipment is Israeli-made,” said Meisel, a volunteer with Israel’s United Hatzalah voluntary emergency response network and director of international operations for IsraeLife, an umbrella organization for which he is coordinating a joint disaster response team from United Hatzalah, ZAKA and FIRST rescue and recovery nonprofits. The Emergency Bandage, by First Care Products, has a built-in pressure bar to stop bleeding and was invented by a former combat medic in the Israel Defense Force. It’s been credited for saving lives of US servicemen in Iraq, as well as Arizona Congresswoman, Gabriel Giffords. In addition to this, the Pocket BVM from MicroBVM, and other blue-and-white supplies, the crew is mapping its activities using a satellite-based smartphone technology created for United Hatzalah, called the NowForce Life Compass. (via Israel21c)

The world has come a long way since 1945,7340,L-4653157,00.html

Terrorist with knives arrested when trying to attack soldiers “If HASHEM does not watch then the soldier is worthless”:

Getting ready for Gog and Magog: US, Israel, Greece end joint sea-air maneuver DEBKAfile May 3, 2015, 4:20 PM (IDT)
The US Sixth Fleet and the Israeli and Greek air forces Sunday wound up a joint war game lasting two weeks opposite Greece. It focused on intensified military cooperation, on the one hand, and enhancing each force’s individual capabilities, on the other. Following Moscow’s promise of S-300 air defense missiles to Iran, the Israeli air crews practiced maneuvers with F-16 warplanes. Also taking part in the exercise were Israeli Navy missile ships.

Tuesday morning I left Schul and saw what looked like a rocket or missile contrail:,7340,L-4653845,00.html

Only a stone’s throw away from Yerushalayim.

After destroying Jewish settlements finally illegal Arab settlement to be demolished:

This should stop the razing of Jewish Homes and start releasing from harassment some settlers:,7340,L-4654041,00.html

Drone attack on Al Qaeda storage facility in Sudan:,7340,L-4654271,00.html

Not only Israel is worried about Iran also the Saudis and they are getting pilot practice in Yemen:

Netanyahu will have to decide whether to topple the PLO and let ISIS take over temporarily or not:

Senior Al Qaeda leader in Yemen killed:

Ed-op analysis of the Golan Druze situation and its trap:,7340,L-4654968,00.html

Have a wonderful Shabbos,
Rachamim Pauli