Friday, August 28, 2015

Parsha Ki Teitzi, Miracles, Concluding Perkei Avos, Story

This week I received prayer requests for two important Rabbis: Rabbi Leff Shlita – Zev Yacov Moshe ben Chaya and Rabbi Hollander Shlita – Chaim Yitzchak Yehoshua ben Yenta

Miracle Alert

Jordanian sniper shoots woman in Beit Shean in the head and she does not lose consciousness:

A miracle for a non-Jew as airman Stone wrestled with the terrorist on the train, his pistol did not fire point blank at Stone and many people were saved by the brave action.

Parsha Ki Teitzei

Last week I forgot myself and thought that it was with the most Mitzvos. Actually this week has 74 Mitzvos which is more than 10% of the total Positive Mitzvos and 12.8% of the Negative Mitzvos. When we finish this week’s Parsha we have only 8 more Mitzvos left in the Torah. Having next week’s Torah Tidbits in hand, I have the Rambam’s Mitzvah Count.

21:10 When thou go forth to battle against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God delivers them into thy hands, and thou carry them away captive, 11 and see among the captives a woman of goodly form, and thou hast a desire unto her, and would take her to thee to wife (532); 12 then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails; 13 and she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thy house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month; and after that thou may go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. (533) 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not deal with her as a slave, because thou hast humbled her. (534)

The Torah gives the soldier a concession to take a wife from the beautiful captive. However, the Torah wants to teach that grace is false and very flaky is beauty so what does it tell us to remove the woman’s beauty (her hair – and that is why we ask our wives to cover their heads so that men are not enhanced by their beauty also some think that a woman with long nails is more attractive. However for the Mikvah we could have an imposition and she becomes a Giyores by force. Since he has had relations with her, she cannot be sold as a slave but rather she becomes a free Jewish woman. It could be that when first captured she would want to resist being with the man, but when given the possibility of freedom without his support unless the two of them were like cats and dogs, she would probably choose him for security as long as he was not an abuser. 

15 If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the first-born son be hers that was hated;

I do not know why this does not count as a MTitzvah. Perhaps it us that the normal reason for taking a second wife is a dispute with the first and therefore her son is guaranteed the first born. However, it might be that the husband loves his wife and takes a second because something happened to her physically or his libido is too active and he is going nuts during the time out period of the marriage. Still this should be a separate Mitzvah in my eyes and some of the stealing, robbing and enslaving a person is counting them as 3 Mitzvos.

16 then it shall be, in the day that he causes his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved the first-born before the son of the hated, who is the first-born; 17 but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the first-fruits of his strength, the right of the first-born is his.

However the Torah views the general case where the first wife becomes a nag, the infatuation of love at first sight etc. is long gone and now we are down to the everyday life and dispute after dispute occur and there is no Rav, Aaron HaCohain or friend who will but some sense of proportion in with the couple. There was a case of two young lovers who got married and had two children. They had married young and thought that there was better in the wide-wide world. However, men between the ages of 25 to 35 are not beating down the door to woo her and her children and as for him, he did not find women outside better than his wife. Eventually, they had remarried quietly and had more children.

18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, that will not hearken to the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and though they chasten him, will not hearken unto them; 19 then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 and they shall say unto the elders of his city: 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he doth not hearken to our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.' 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

This too is not counted as a Mitzvah for perhaps not many parents would do such a thing especially the mother who bore a rebellious son. The son according to Meseches Sanhedrin could only between the age of 13 to 13.5 years and some other conditions. But then the Talmud brings down the adjunction of the captive woman and the rebellious son. For Chaggit was the captive who bore Tamar and Avshalom. Tamar was born of another father and Amnon ben David wanted her and for this Avshalom rebelled against David, his father. For this reason the Talmud says if you take a captive woman she will bare you a rebellious son. Actually, I see it resentment for the Bnei Yisrael killing off her father, husband and brother and her hatred for the capture of her. However Rav had a daughter named Martha who was captured and she convinced him to convert. However, her son was born before he converted, became a great Torah Scholar and was known as Murray ben Martha.

22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; (535) 23 his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, (536)

He is buried with the hanging post for in the priority of creation the plant used for the post is not on the level with the “talker” – Kabbala.

but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is a reproach unto God; that thou defile not thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (537)

He should be hung as warning to others not to do the same sin and buried before night fall so as to honor the dead for after all he is a dead brother.

22:1 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep driven away, and hide thyself from them; thou shalt surely bring them back unto thy brother. (538) 2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, and thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it home to thy house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother require it, and thou shalt restore it to him. 3 And so shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his garment; and so shalt thou do with every lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found; thou may not hide thyself. (539)

In this case you are your brother’s keeper and cannot ignore your duty.

4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fallen down by the way, (540) and hide thyself from them; thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. (541)

You cannot ignore the pain of the animal or duty to your neighbor even your enemy and help him.

5 A woman shall not wear that which pertains unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (542)

Cross dressing is forbidden [There is an exception to avoid death by posing as a member of the other sex or a woman posing as a husband to her friend to avoid both being abused] but under normal circumstances it is an abomination. Rabbi Yonatan ben Uziel defines this as a woman putting on a Tallis or Tephillin but not everybody agrees with him.

6 If a bird's nest chance to be before thee in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the dam sitting upon the young, or upon the eggs, thou shalt not take the dam with the young; (543) 7 thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, (544) but the young thou may take unto thyself; that it may be well with thee, and that thou may prolong thy days. 8 When thou build a new house, then thou shalt make a parapet for thy roof, (546)

This goes beyond the manslaughter of the ax handle breaking and the blade flying off but rather one has to put in a safety fence around his roof. In my youth, I worked on fixing shingles on a roof. One side the roof built on a house on a hill was about eight or nine feet above the ground, but the other side was 20 or more feet. I worked with caution but there was no safety fence around the slanted roof.

that thou bring not blood upon thy house, if any man fall from thence. (547)

As for other safety hazards around the house, it is forbidden to have any of them. When I bought a pistol, I did not buy the standard one that most use but one with a double safety lock so that there would be no accidental bullet in the chamber going off. Get a Glock or get one where there was no chance of an accident.

9 Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with two kinds of seed; (548) lest the fullness of the seed which thou hast sown be forfeited together with the increase of the vineyard. (549) 10 Thou shall not plow with an ox and an ass together. (550) 11 Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together. (551)

These last two commandments were given in Parsha Kedoshim so I have not checked the Mitzvah count perhaps I could have made up two of the above that appeared missing to me.

12 Thou shalt make thee twisted cords upon the four corners of thy covering, wherewith thou cover thyself.

This is already counted at the end of Shelach Lecha so not counted here.

13 If any man take a wife, (552)

It is a Mitzvah to write out a Ketuba for one’s wife.

and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 and lay wanton charges against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say: (553) 'I took this woman, and when I came nigh to her, I found not in her the tokens of virginity'; 15 then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate. (554) 16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders: 'I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hates her; 17 and, lo, he hath laid wanton charges, saying: I found not in thy daughter the tokens of virginity; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. (555)

He is brought to court for a betrothed woman would be subject to adultery changes and the death penalty.

18 And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him. 19 And they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel; and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.

This is if he raised this against his betrothed wife.

20 But if this thing be true, that the tokens of virginity were not found in the damsel; 21 then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die; because she hath wrought a wanton deed in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.

If the maiden passed a certain age like 12.5 years old or had had a freak accident like falling off of a horse or something, she might have lost her virginity and would not be put to death. Essentially this Mitzvah does not hold true today.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, the man that lay with the woman, and the woman; so shalt thou put away the evil from Israel. 23 If there be a damsel that is a virgin betrothed unto a man, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die: the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbor's wife; so thou shalt put away the evil from the midst of thee.

In a city, it is considered the woman would have cried out for help so both would die. However, if she was knocked out, taken and gagged from behind or given a drug only the man would die if two witnesses warned him.

25 But if the man find the damsel that is betrothed in the field, and the man take hold of her, and lie with her; then the man only that lay with her shall die. 26 But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; there is in the damsel no sin worthy of death; for as when a man rises against his neighbor, and slays him, even so is this matter. 27 For he found her in the field; the betrothed damsel cried, and there was none to save her. (556) 28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, that is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he hath humbled her; (557) he may not put her away all his days. (558)

He gets a punishment that he cannot divorce her and she can play hell into him all his days for the rape. This may be his punishment like with the beautiful captive that the woman may hate him all his days.

23:1 A man shall not take his father's wife, and shall not uncover his father's skirt.

Of course not his mother but a woman widowed or divorced by his father.

2 He that is crushed or maimed in his privy parts shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD. (559) 3 A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of his enter into the assembly of the LORD. (560) 4 An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter into the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation shall none of them enter into the assembly of the LORD forever; (561) 5 because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee. 6 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. (562)

This is how to behave towards people who need food and drink.

7 Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever. 8 Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, for he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou were a stranger in his land. (563, 564) 9 The children of the third generation that are born unto them may enter into the assembly of the LORD. 10 When thou go forth in camp against thine enemies, then thou shall keep thee from every evil thing. (566, 567)

Keeping the camp clean for prayer and blessings. An offshoot of this (565) and keep the Beis HaMikdash clean.

11 If there be among you any man, that is not clean by reason of that which chances him by night, then shall he go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp. 12 But it shall be, when evening cometh on, he shall bathe himself in water; and when the sun is down, he may come within the camp. 13 Thou shalt have a place also without the camp, whither thou shalt go forth abroad. 14 And thou shalt have a paddle among thy weapons; and it shall be, when thou sit down abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee. 15 For the LORD thy God walks in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy; that He see no unseemly thing in thee, and turn away from thee. (572

Every soldier should have a paddle or shovel to cover over his physical needs.

16 Thou shalt not deliver unto his master a bondman that is escaped from his master unto thee; (568. 569)

No recapturing of runaway slaves for it is assumed that a slave master should treat his slaves fairly.

17 he shall dwell with thee, in the midst of thee, in the place which he shall choose within one of thy gates, where it likes him best; thou shalt not wrong him. 18 There shall be no harlot of the daughters of Israel, neither shall there be a sodomite of the sons of Israel. (570) 19 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow; for even both these are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (571)

I am speculating that for HASHEM the hire money is forbidden but to help a sick person, needy bride, food for the poor, etc. this would be OK.

20 Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother: interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest. (572) 21 Unto a foreigner thou may lend upon interest; (573) but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou put thy hand unto, in the land whither thou go in to possess it. 22 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the LORD thy God, thou shalt not be slack to pay it; for the LORD thy God will surely require it of thee; and it will be sin in thee. 23 But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. (574)

These are pledges and offerings for the three Regelim either for the Temple or a free will Korban.

24 That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt observe and do; according as thou hast vowed freely unto the LORD thy God, even that which thou hast promised with thy mouth. (575)

Your word shall be holy and you shall honor it.

25 When thou come into thy neighbor’s vineyard, then thou may eat grapes until thou have enough at thine own pleasure; but thou shalt not put any in thy vessel. (576)

Workers are entitled to eat from some of the fruits that they pick. But cannot take more than what they eat (577).

26 When thou come into thy neighbor’s standing corn, then thou may pluck ears with thy hand; but thou shalt not move a sickle unto thy neighbor’s standing corn. (578)

Eating during their breaks from work only not while working in the field.

24:1 When a man taketh a wife, and marries her, then it cometh to pass, if she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her, that he write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, (579) 2 and she departs out of his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 and the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, who took her to be his wife; 4 her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD; and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance. (580)

This is to prevent sort of promiscuity or even hanky-panky where the ex-wife marries a very rich person receives a fat settlement and returns to the original husband.

5 When a man taketh a new wife, he shall not go out in the host, neither shall he be charged with any business; he shall be free for his house one year, (581) and shall cheer his wife whom he has taken. (582)

Our Rabbis say this is for a war of conquest by the king or country but not a war of defense. However, if not all the reserves are called up this should apply today.

6 No man shall take the mill or the upper millstone to pledge; for he taketh a man's life to pledge. (583)

For dealing with food or even a writer’s or engineer’s computer today or an instrument used by a doctor or dentists, etc.

7 If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and he deal with him as a slave, and sell him; then that thief shall die; so shalt thou put away the evil from the midst of thee.

This is the main intent of you shall not steal from the Decalogue and therefore is not a separate commandment here.

8 Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that thou observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you, as I commanded them, so ye shall observe to do. 9 Remember what the LORD thy God did unto Miriam, by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt. (584)

This is not to remove the signs of leprosy from the body. So authorities have the memory of what happened to Miriam as a separate command.

10 When thou dost lend thy neighbor any manner of loan, thou shalt not go into his house to fetch his pledge. (585) 11 Thou shalt stand without, and the man to whom thou dost lend shall bring forth the pledge without unto thee. 12 And if he be a poor man, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge; 13 thou shalt surely restore to him the pledge when the sun goes down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless thee; and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the LORD thy God.

(586, 587) If the poor man requires his pledge back we shall give it to him.

14 Thou shalt not oppress a hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy strangers that are in thy land within thy gates. 15 In the same day thou shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go down upon it; for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it: lest he cry against thee unto the LORD and it be sin in thee. (588)

This goes for all contract workers whom he has to pay by a certain date or upon completion of a certain amount of work.

16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin. (589) 17 Thou shalt not pervert the justice due to the stranger, or to the fatherless; (590) or the widow nor take the widow's raiment to pledge. (591) her pledge shall be returned. 18 But thou shalt remember that you were a bondman in Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing. 19 When thou reap thy harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go back to fetch it; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thy hands. (592)

See Sefer Ruth for this Mitzvah.

20 When thou beat thine olive-tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 21 When thou gather the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it after thee; it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow. 22 And thou shalt remember that you were a bondman in the land of Egypt; therefore I command thee to do this thing. (593)

Although it is written like more than one Mitzvah, there are essentially the same.

25:1 If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, and the judges judge them, by justifying the righteous, and condemning the wicked, (594) 2 then it shall be, if the wicked man deserve to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to the measure of his wickedness, by number. (595) 3 Forty stripes he may give him, he shall not exceed; lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should be dishonored before thine eyes. (596)

This is the maximum number of lashes and the Sages ruled no more than 39 to build a fence around the Torah.

4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he tread out the corn. (597) 5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not be married abroad unto one not of his kin; her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband's brother unto her. (598)

This has to do with the inheritance of the tribes and is not used really today and one does Halitzah if needed to free the widow. However, if he does start living with her after 91 days we do not tell them to get a divorce but rather leave them alone.
6 And it shall be, that the first-born that she bears shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel. 7 And if the man like not to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate unto the elders, and say: 'My husband's brother refuses to raise up unto his brother a name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother unto me.' 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him, and speak unto him; and if he stand, and say: 'I like not to take her'; 9 then shall his brother's wife draw nigh unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face; and she shall answer and say: 'So shall it be done unto the man that doth not build up his brother's house.' 10 And his name shall be called in Israel the house of him that had his shoe loosed. (599)

This is the Halitzah ceremony.

11 When men strive together one with another
r, and the wife of the one draws near to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smites him, (600)

This is the pursuer and he must be stopped from murdering his fellow. (601) and if necessary kill him. the Rodef.

and puts forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets; 12 then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall have no pity. (602)

There is something wrong with this woman and we fine her for she should have grabbed his hand or weapon but not his privates.

13 Thou shalt not have in thy bag diverse weights, a great and a small. 14 Thou shalt not have in thy house diverse measures, a great and a small. 15 A perfect and just weight shalt thou have; a perfect and just measure shalt thou have; that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 16 For all that do such things, even all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God. (603)

Standard and Just weights and measures for the entire nation.

17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way as ye came forth out of Egypt; (604)

The Mitzvah is to remember and the reason is then given.

18 how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, all that were enfeebled in thy rear, when you were faint and weary; and he feared not God. 19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given you rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget. (605)

1. The sages expounded in the language of the Mishnah (blessed is He who chose them and their learning):
Rabbi Meir would say: Whoever studies Torah for Torah's sake alone, merits many things; not only that, but [the creation of] the entire world is worthwhile for him alone. He is called friend, beloved, lover of G-d, lover of humanity, rejoicer of G-d, rejoicer of humanity. The Torah encloses him with humility and awe; makes him fit to be righteous, pious, correct and faithful; distances him from sin and brings him close to merit. From him, people enjoy counsel and wisdom, understanding and power, as is stated (Proverbs 8:14): "Mine are counsel and wisdom, I am understanding, mine is power." The Torah grants him sovereignty, dominion, and jurisprudence. The Torah's secrets are revealed to him, and he becomes as an ever-increasing wellspring and as an unceasing river. He becomes modest, patient and forgiving of insults. The Torah uplifts him and makes him greater than all creations.

This is all that he studies Torah for the sake of heaven. However, if he studies for being a Rav to be famous in the Congregation or to get a nice salary or exemption from the army he does not obtain these blessings. There is a possibility that he did not start off for the sake of heaven but then ended up studying for the sake of heaven.

2. Said Rabbi Joshua the son of Levi: Every day, an echo resounds from Mount Horev (Sinai) proclaiming and saying: "Woe is to the creatures who insult the Torah." For one who does not occupy himself in Torah is considered an outcast, as is stated (Proverbs 11:22), "A golden nose-ring in the snout of a swine, a beautiful woman bereft of reason." And it says (Exodus 32:16): "And the tablets are the work of G-d, and the writing is G-d's writing, engraved on the tablets"; read not "engraved" (charut) but "liberty" (chairut)---for there is no free individual, except for he who occupies himself with the study of Torah. And whoever occupies himself with the study of Torah is elevated, as is stated (Number 21:19), "And from the gift to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to The Heights."

One should occupy himself with Torah night and day.

3. One who learns from his fellow a single chapter, or a single law, or a single verse, or a single word, or even a single letter, he must treat him with respect. For so we find with David, king of Israel, who did not learn anything from Achitofel except for two things alone, yet he called him his "master," his "guide" and his "intimate," as is stated (Psalms 55:14), "And you are a man of my worth, my guide and intimate friend." Surely we can infer a fortiori: if David, king of Israel, who learned nothing from Achitofel except for two things alone, nevertheless referred to him as his master, guide and intimate, it certainly goes without saying that one who learns from his fellow a single chapter, a law, a verse, a saying, or even a single letter, is obligated to revere him. And there is no reverence but Torah, as is stated (Proverbs 3:35; 28:10), "The sages shall inherit honor" "and the integral shall inherit good"; and there is no good but Torah, as is stated (ibid. 4:2), "I have given you a good purchase; My Torah, do not forsake it."

The Torah is a tree of life for those who cling to it and every verse of Torah or the rest of the prophets and writings are treasures.

4. Such is the way of Torah: Bread with salt you shall eat, water in small measure you shall drink, and upon the ground you shall sleep; live a life of deprivation and toil in Torah. If so you do, "fortunate are you, and good is to you" (Psalms 128:2): fortunate are you in this world, and it is good to you in the World To Come.

The greater the Torah Scholar the more detached he is from this world. Rebbe was an exception as he was wealthy, a diplomat and gymnast yet he wrote, edited and published the Mishnah by hand.

5. Do not seek greatness for yourself, and do not lust for honor. More than you study, do. Desire not the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs, and faithful is your Employer to pay you the rewards of your work.

The Holy One Blessed Be HE will pay you your wages if not in this world, then in the next. Your greatness is in your knowledge and Torah effort your effort is your reward.

6. Torah is greater than the priesthood or sovereignty, for sovereignty is acquired with thirty virtues, the priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is acquired with forty-eight qualities. These are: study, listening, verbalizing, comprehension of the heart, awe, fear, humility, joy, purity, serving the sages, companionship with one's contemporaries, debating with one's students, tranquility, study of the scriptures, study of the Mishnah, minimizing engagement in business, minimizing socialization, minimizing pleasure, minimizing sleep, minimizing talk, minimizing gaiety, slowness to anger, good heartedness, faith in the sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one's place, satisfaction with one's lot, qualifying one's words, not taking credit for oneself, likableness, love of G-d, love of humanity, love of charity, love of justice, love of rebuke, fleeing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, reluctance to hand down rulings, participating in the burden of one's fellow, judging him to the side of merit, correcting him, bringing him to a peaceful resolution [of his disputes], deliberation in study, asking and answering, listening and illuminating, learning in order to teach, learning in order to observe, wising one's teacher, exactness in conveying a teaching, and saying something in the name of its speaker. Thus we have learned: One who says something in the name of its speaker brings redemption to the world, as is stated (Esther 2:22), "And Esther told the king in the name of Mordechai."

Torah is better than the Priesthood or Kingship and the virtues are laid out before us here.

7. Great is Torah, for it gives life to its observers in this world, and in the World To Come. As is stated (Proverbs 4:22): "For they are life to he who finds them, and a healing to all his flesh." And it says (ibid. 3:8): "It shall be health to your navel, and marrow to your bones." And it says (3:18): "She is a tree of life for those who hold fast to her, and happy are those who support her." And it says (1:9): "For they shall be a garland of grace for your head, and necklaces about your neck." And it says(4:9): "She shall give to your head a garland of grace, a crown of glory she shall grant you." And it says (9:11): "With me, your days shall be increased, and years of life shall be added to you." And it says (3:16): "Long days in her right hand; in her left, wealth and honor." And it says (3:2): "For long days, years of life and peace, they shall add to you."

One who acquires a lot of Torah amasses long life and wealth if not in this world then in the next.

8. Rabbi Shimon the son of Judah would say in the name of Rabbi Shimon the son of Yochai: Beauty, strength, wealth, honor, wisdom, sagely, old age and children are becoming to the righteous and becoming to the world. As is stated (Proverbs 16:31): "Old age is a crown of beauty, to be found in the ways of righteousness." And it says (ibid. 20:29): "The beauty of youths is their strength, and the glory of sages is their age." And it says (ibid., 17:6): "The crown of sages are their grandchildren, and the beauty of children their fathers." And it says (Isaiah 24:23): "And the moon shall be abashed and the sun shamed, for the L-rd of hosts has reigned in Zion, and before his elders is glory."
Rabbi Shimon the son of Menasia would say: these seven qualities enumerated by the sages for the righteous were all realized in Rabbi [Judah HaNassi] and his sons.
9. Said Rabbi Yossei the son of Kisma: Once, I was traveling and I encountered a man. He greeted me and I returned his greetings. Said he to me: "Rabbi, where are you from?" Said I to him: "From a great city of sages and scholars, am I." Said he to me: "Rabbi, would you like to dwell with us in our place? I will give you a million dinars of gold, precious stones and pearls." Said I to him: "If you were to give me all the silver, gold, precious stones and pearls in the world, I would not dwell anywhere but in a place of Torah. Indeed, so is written in the book of psalms by David the king of Israel: `I prefer the Torah of Your mouth over thousands in gold and silver' (Psalms 119:72). Furthermore, when a person passes from this world neither silver, nor gold, nor precious stones, nor pearls accompany him, only Torah and good deeds, as is stated (Proverbs 6:22): `When you go it will direct you, when you lie down it will watch over you, and when you awaken it shall be your speech.' `When you go it will direct you'---in this world; `when you lie down it will watch over you'---in the grave; `and when you awaken it shall be our speech'---in the World To Come. Also it says (Chaggai 2:8): `Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold, so says the L-rd of Hosts.' "

One should always strive to live in a place of Torah for the minds of companions in Torah learning sharpen each other and lack thereof weakens one’s knowledge. Our Rabbi above was very knowledgeable but did not want to lose his knowledge by going off to establish a Yeshiva in the middle of nowhere. Rav Leff came out to my area and my Yeshuv followed and eventually Kiriat Sefer which became Modiin Illit but without pioneering, one does not have the possibility to have other grow and perhaps grow with you. Chabad takes on a reverse trend to the Mishnah as if we went that way many Jews would be lost and this way many Jews have been found or returned. As for me, I would not go pioneering to the wilderness, but if there was a city with Jews, I would go there and bring in more Torah.

10. G-d acquired five acquisitions in his world. These are: one acquisition is the Torah, one acquisition are the heavens and the earth, one acquisition is Abraham, one acquisition is the people of Israel, and one acquisition is the Holy Temple. The Torah, as it is written (Proverbs 8:22), "G-d acquired me as the beginning of His way, before His works of yore." The heavens and the earth, as it is written (Isaiah 66:1), "So says G-d: The heavens are My throne and the earth is My footstool; what house, then, can you build for Me, and where is My place of rest?"; and it says (Psalms 104:25), "How many are your works, O G-d, You have made them all with wisdom; the earth is filled with Your acquisitions." Abraham, as it is written (Genesis 14:19), "And he blessed him, and said: Blessed be Abram to G-d Most High, acquirer of heavens and earth." Israel, as it is written (Exodus 15:16), "Till Your nation, O G-d, shall pass, till this nation You have acquired shall pass"; and it says (Psalms 16:3), "To the holy who are upon earth, the noble ones, in whom is all My delight." The Holy Temple, as it is written (Exodus 15:17), "The base for Your dwelling that you, G-d, have achieved; the Sanctuary, O L-rd, that Your hands have established"; and it says (Psalms 78:54), "And He brought them to His holy domain, this mount His right hand has acquired."

This is what G-D created and owns.

11. Everything that G-d created in His world, He did not create but for His glory. As is stated (Isaiah 43:7): "All that is called by My name and for My glory, I created it, formed it, also I made it." And it says (Exodus 15:1): "G-d shall reign forever and ever."

With this we conclude Perkei Avos and we should go on and on to more Torah studies.

Defying the Mayor by Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles

One day during the month of ELUL, Rabbi Meir Abuhatzeira [son of the Baba Sali], arrived in one of the main cities of Morocco, intending to remain there for a few days to breathe fresh life into the community which had invited him to strengthen its spiritual state. The first night of his stay, Rabbeinu Meir, wishing to recite the Selichot, asked his host what time the people gathered in the synagogue. The host responded that the mayor forbade them to recite Selichot (the pre-Rosh Hashana prayers for forgiveness) because, he claimed, it disturbed the sleep of the Muslim neighbors.
It was clear that Rabbeinu Meir was not happy with the situation, yet the people could not defy a decision signed and sealed by the mayor himself. Rabbeinu Meir, however, did not hesitate and asked his assistant to summon all the communal leaders immediately. He asked them if it was true that their fear of the mayor was preventing them from reciting Selichot. They admitted that it was, to their chagrin. Rabbeinu Meir instructed them to assemble all the Jews of the city that night in the local synagogue for the recitation of Selichot. The midnight hour was fast approaching.
Slightly after two o'clock in the morning hundreds of Jews gathered in the synagogue with their prayer books in hand, in a mood of anticipation. Rabbeinu Meir himself was to serve as Prayer Leader. Before Selichot he spoke encouragingly, asking them to pour their hearts out to the Al-mighty and urging them to make up for all they had missed until that day. He then began to pray out loud, with the congregation following. The sounds of prayer emanated from the synagogue, to the surprise of the non-Jewish neighbors who immediately summoned the police.
The police officers, hearing about the Jewish prayer service led by Rabbeinu Meir, made haste to the mayor's house for orders. With rings of sleep clearly visible under his eyes, the mayor listened intently to the police commissioner's report. Fuming, he ordered the police to halt recitation of the Selichot immediately. One of the officers reported to him that Rabenu Meir, son of the Baba Sali, had organized the group and was even serving as Prayer Leader. The mayor, now furious sneered: "Who is the Baba Meir and who appointed him to so brazenly disobey the law?"
As soon as the words were spoken, the mayor suddenly found himself unable to continue. His body became paralyzed and his face became contorted. He sank helplessly into his armchair while his racing eyes shouted that which he was unable to speak.
It was obvious that his trouble was caused by his disdain for the honor of the tzadik. A messenger was dispatched to the synagogue to appeal to Rabbeinu Meir. As the messenger entered the sanctuary, the worshippers held their breath. There was utter silence as he hastily made his way to the raised platform at the center of the synagogue. Rabbeinu Meir, however, motioned that he was unable to interrupt even for the emissary of the mayor. To the congregation he signaled that they should continue praying with still more fervor.
At the end of the Selichot, Rabenu Meir turned to the messenger to hear what he had to say. With some trepidation the man unfolded before him to story of the mayor in his mansion, lying like a stone. Rabenu Meir said to him: "Go and tell him that he will return to full strength only if he promises not to persecute the Jewish people and permits them to practice their religious beliefs."
When the messenger told this to the mayor, he agreed by blinking his eyes to accept these conditions. In a matter of minutes his strength returned as if nothing had happened.
The mayor trembled as he waited for Rabbeinu Meir at his host's house. The door opened and he fell at the Baba's feet, begging his forgiveness. Taking advantage of the moment, Rabbeinu Meir demanded that the mayor sign an explicit commitment not to hamper his Jewish citizens in observing Jewish tradition down to its finest detail.
From that day on, the Jewish residents of the city encountered no more troubles in leading a Jewish life.
Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Abir Yaakob: The Lives & Times of the Saintly Grand Rabbis of the Abichazira Dynasty (vol 2.) by Chaonch Regal. Photo credit: //
Connection: seasonal - the Month of Elul - Elul 2 is when Jews of Sephardic tradion begin reciting the Selichot/Forgiveness prayers.
Biographical note:
Rabbi Meir Abuhatzira, popularly called "Baba Meir" (10 Tevet 1917 - 17 Nissan 1983), was the oldest son and designated spiritual successor of the Baba Sali. The Lubavitcher Rebbe indicated in private conversation that he was one of the pillars of the world. However, he pre-deceased his illustrious father by less than a year. Born and educated in Morocco where he became one of the most important rabbis there, as well as an accomplished Kabbalist. In 1966(?), he made Aliyah and moved to Ashdod, where, after turning down an offer to be chief rabbi of Jerusalem, he lived reclusively for the rest of his life. Today, one of his five sons, Rabbi David, chief rabbi of Nahariya, is considered the scion of the Abuhatzeira clan

Essentially the PM forces the Police Minister to choose somebody outside of the police force after all the scandals:

Questions that I would ask a potential convert thanks to Tikvah Ruth

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Inyanay Diyoma

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Tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levy trades some weapons with Kurds for oil:

This week more Jewish Youths were put under six month house arrest or similar restraining orders from Yehuda and Shomron and one even from Yerushalayim. Blood Libel – this is what I have been saying about the burnt house recently: “Jewish extremists suspected in Israel mosque attack,” blared an October 4, 2011, Los Angeles Times headline, in a report that informed readers that “Palestinian and Israeli officials have condemned the attacks as acts of terrorism. Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency warned recently that those responsible are escalating their activity and evolving from small vigilante squads into organized terrorist cells.”

Shimon Peres – then president – responded with almost instantaneous alacrity, declaring Jewish guilt: “It is unconscionable that a Jew would harm something that is holy to another religion. This act is not-Jewish, illegal, immoral, and brings upon us heavy shame.”

Several Jewish teenagers were arrested, with the police hinting that apparently incriminating “forensic evidence” had been found at the scene. Several days later, all were released for lack of any findings tying them to the deed. Eventually details began to emerge casting doubt as to whether Jews were involved at all.

‘A Jew will not come and burn down this mosque’ 
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Iran the cat inspecting the cream absolutely brilliant negotiations on part of the west:

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After attacking Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, Dr. Orly Taitz wonders about Megyn Kelly?

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Egypt bids for more helicopter carriers to counter the Iranian Navy Saudis pay:

Good Shabbos all Elul is time to strengthen your Torah,
Rachamim Pauli