Friday, September 4, 2015

Parsha Ki Savo, Elul, Stories

The two soldiers who were badly injured in the attempted murder by auto one is awake and the other is in a coma still a few weeks later: Yuval ben Miriam Chaya and Yarin ben Rivka.

Selichos the forgiveness of Elul

The Sephardim started the Selichos Prayers on Rosh Chodesh Elul while the Ashkenazim start Motzei Shabbos. This is the time we begin reflecting on the results for our souls of the past year. Where have we faltered and where have we improved. On the positive side: I noticed that in this incarnation of parenting vs. the first, I learned how to punish the child without corporal punishment. The question remains is which punishment stricter and does the child do Teshuva. I watched a child who could not say two sentences without making up a fib because of his insecurity come to start telling the truth more than 96% of the time all because of some sort of security and a home environment that is contusive to telling the truth. These were successes in my parenting skills and the dedication to improving the skills of the boy.

But did I fail in Halacha to the members of the blogspot? Did I say something forbidden that was permitted or permitted something that should have been permitted? Was I too strong or too weak in my own Shabbos observance, kashrus or immodest in words or deeds? Did I mess up in my explanations to the many with either too short explanations on why to observe Shabbos or was I too much on the Kares for non-observance and not the benefits both physically and psychologically to full rest. For although we go to Schul and have to sit and sing with our families we still have the pleasure and Mitzvah of resting on Shabbos. A few weeks ago when Parsha reviewed the kosher and non-kosher animals did I skip too much on the non-kosher animals especially what is in the sea or the fowl of the air? Did I follow the advice of Rabbi Yehuda ben Tema “Be bold as a leopard, light as an eagle, swift as a deer and strong as a lion to do the will of your FATHER who is in heaven!” Or did I fake it and do a slob job the whole year?

I did find some faults in my character and weaknesses that I normally would be embarrassed to publicize as losing my temper and on about two or three occasions and even used some choice words in English that should not have passed from my mouth or a racy comment which was not the best taste for a joke if I were to say it in the presence of my forester child but I might have made about a Miley Cyrus or Kim Kardashian dress and behavior style or something similar. In short my growing up non-religious in an all-boys High School, Israeli Army and mostly working with male Engineers produced a different atmosphere than the person who grew up in the Beis Medrash. If they said the same things they would be judged stricter than a Baal Teshuva which does not lessen the need to repent but perhaps the punishment is less if I mess up repenting. As for Lashon HaRa that is a Mitzvah with 14 positive, 17 negative Commands and three curses. Yet most of us goof up on this. Did I really give 10% of my income to charity? Did I violate the Shmita year? Did I take Teruma and Maaser properly or was the fruit for Shmita and a made the wrong blessing? On Yom Kippur I always add on the sins mentioned in the Chayei Adam Sefer. A week ago, there was even a shocking Holocaust photo of a Jewish woman sitting nude in the street of the Ukraine covering her breasts as the crowd looks and jeers her that I wonder if I stared too much at it. Lastly, with the potential Converts that are dear to my heart, did I drive somebody away or drive them into becoming a Jew or did I drive them into the Reform or Conservative Camps. Did I do right when I told an individual in the middle of the boon-docks to convert Conservative and make Aliyah after a year under the law of return in order to get a good job and support himself or herself while doing Conversion Classes? Thus was I too much like Hillel where I should have been like Shammai or too much like Shammai where I should have been like Hillel?

Now dear reader before the Selichos, I ask you to repent and your families to repent for yourselves and Am Yisrael. I am not done with repenting only starting to reflect but it is better to do it now then to miss out on the Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur days of awe.

Parsha Ki Savo

We have been told in Sefer Devarim about a land flowing with milk and honey, how to wage war and appoint a king. Now it is time to know how to settle the land.
[I found a sentence thou art become a people and changed it into you have become a people but not every passage in the 1917 translation I catch and it is not possible with my limited schedule to really edit the old English] Most of the commentary here is new and I took my own commentary of three years ago to enhance the commentary and also saving me time to copy, combine and paste and color a lot of the Rashi and I enhanced my own thoughts.

26:1 And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God gives thee for an inheritance, and dost possess it, and dwell therein;

And it will be, when you come… and you possess it and settle in it: This [verse, which is immediately followed by the commandment of bringing the firstfruits,] teaches us that they were not obligated [to bring] “firstfruits” until they conquered the Land and divided it. - [Kid. 37b]

From Rashi we learn that Bikurim only exists in Eretz Yisrael further down we will need pure fruit and pure Cohanim to accept the Bikurim brought.

2 that thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which thou shalt bring in from thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee; and thou shalt put it in a basket and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to cause His name to dwell there.

Of the first: but not all the first, because not all fruits are subject to [the mitzvah of] “firstfruits”-only the seven species [for which the land of Israel is noted]. Here, in our verse, it says the word אֶרֶץ, “land,” and there [in the verse describing the praise of Eretz Israel], it says, “A land (אֶרֶץ) of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil-producing olives and honey” (Deut. 8:8). Just as the earlier verse (Deut. 8:8) is referring to the seven species through which Eretz Israel is praised, here too, [the verse is dealing with] the praise of the Land. [Rashi proceeds to explain two expressions in Deut. 8:8, which are relevant to the mitzvah of firstfruits, in light of the connection taught by our Rabbis above:] “Oil-producing olives” [refers to] “אֲגוּרִי olives,” [see Sifrei 26:2, meaning superior quality] olives that retain their oil, keeping it gathered (אָגוּר) [as it were] inside it. [Hence, it is the superior fruits which must be brought here]. — [Ber. 39a] [And in the same verse (Deut. 8:8):] “honey”-that is the honey of dates. — [Sifrei 26:2] Of the first [of all the fruit]: [What is the process of taking these fruits?] A man goes down into his field and sees a fig that has ripened. He winds a reed around it for a sign and declares: “This is the firstfruit (בִּכּוּרִים).” - [Mishnah Bikurim 3:1]

3 And thou shalt come unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him:

You have only the Kohen in your days, whatever he is [and although he may not be as wise or holy as those of previous generations, you are obliged to address him with the respect due to his office as an agent of God]. — [Sifrei 26:3] and say to him. That you are not ungrateful [for all that God has done for you]. I declare this day. [The expression, “this day,” teaches us that the one who brings the first fruits must make this declaration] once a year, and not twice [even though he may return with more firstfruits later that same year]. — [Sifrei 26:3]

So you should know that not every Cohain is like Rav Kuk Shlita of Rehovot or Rav Shaar-Yeshuv Cohain Shlita of Haifa but perhaps only a Reform or Conservative Cohain with good genealogy back to Aaron HaCohain. The Torah comes to tell us that if he is a Kosher Cohain, you get the Mitzvah anyway just as if you brought it to a Cohain Rabbi and Gadol B’ Torah.

When bringing the basket to the Cohain he makes the following confession.

'I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the land which the LORD swore unto our fathers to give us.' 4 And the priest shall take the basket out of thy hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD thy God.

You have only the Kohen in your days, whatever he is [and although he may not be as wise or holy as those of previous generations, you are obliged to address him with the respect due to his office as an agent of God]. — [Sifrei 26:3] and say to him. That you are not ungrateful [for all that God has done for you]. I declare this day. [The expression, “this day,” teaches us that the one who brings the first fruits must make this declaration] once a year, and not twice [even though he may return with more firstfruits later that same year]. — [Sifrei 26:3]

The Cohain could be the age of your child, a boorish person, etc. but if he receives the basket from you Rashi comes to explain to us that he is an agent of G-D.

And the Kohen shall take the basket from your hand. In order to wave it. [How so?] The Kohen places his hand under [the basket, beneath the level of] the owner’s hand [which is grasping the basket at the top, by its rim] (Sukk. 47b), and [in this position,] waves [the basket together with its owner].

If Rashi would not explain to me that the owner and Cohain do it together, I would think it was the Cohain only.

5 And thou shalt speak and say before the LORD thy God: 'A wandering Aramean was my father, and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number; and he became there a nation, great, mighty, and populous.

I read and conducted my first Pessach Haggadah in my parent’s house in the year 5717 just before my 10th birthday. We were assimilated beyond belief. My grandfather who had brought me to the Reform Temple was lying in a hospital in the Bronx with just over two weeks of life left in him. He would have enjoyed seeing me conduct the Seder which was the first one since my other grandfather broke away from the Jewish Tradition. When I got to the part of “A wandering Aramean …” I had no idea why it was there and why not bring down the ten plagues instead of this. Fast forward and we see Shavuous is in reality the ending of Pessach with the Bikurim. But there was none in my house who would have been able to explain the passage to me. I went on and it bothered me for years until I learned Devarim.

6 And the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. 7 And we cried unto the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, and our toil, and our oppression. 8 And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders. 9 And He hath brought us into this place, and hath given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

The context Pshat here is the Mishkan for sacrifices but Rashi says it is recognizing The Temple (Beis HaMikdash) as the center of Jewish Life.

10 And now, behold, I have brought the first of the fruit of the land, which Thou, O LORD, hast given me.' And thou shalt set it down before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God.

Then, you shall lay. [The repetition of the expressions וְהִנִּיחוֹ (verse 4) and here, וְהִנַּחְתּוֹ] teaches us [that there were two procedures involving laying the hands on the basket and waving it, namely] that [the owner] takes [the basket] after the Kohen has [completed] waving it; [the owner subsequently] grasps it in his hand during his declaration, and then repeats the waving procedure.

11 And thou shalt rejoice in all the good which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thy house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is in the midst of thee.

From here, [our Rabbis] said that the firstfruits declaration is recited only at the time of “rejoicing,” namely, from Shavuoth until Sukkoth, for [then] a person gathers in his grain, fruit, wine and oil [over which he rejoices]. However, from Sukkoth and onwards, he must bring [his firstfruits to the Temple], but he does not recite the declaration. – [Pes. 36b] you, the Levite. [From here, we learn that] the Levite is also obligated in [the mitzvah of bringing] firstfruits if they planted [trees] within their [forty-eight] cities. [Outside of these cities, they had no land.] and the stranger who is among you. [I.e., the proselyte.] He brings [his firstfruits], but he does not recite the declaration, since he cannot say “to our fathers” [in the introduction to the declaration (verse 3): “I have come to the land which the Lord swore to our forefathers to give us”]. — [Mishnah Bikkurim 1:4]

12 When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithe of thine increase in the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, to the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be satisfied,

Rashi at this point is going to explain the Shmita cycle in details and we are coming to the end of the cycle on Rosh Hashanah and the Assemblage on Sukkos.

When you have finished tithing all the tithes of your produce in the third year. When you have finished separating the tithes of the third year [of the seven-year shemittah cycle]. It fixes a time for the removal [of the tithes from the house] and for the [accompanying] confession [regarding their proper disposal] on the Eve of Passover [for the removal, and for the confession, in the afternoon of the last day of Passover] of the fourth year, as it is said,” At the end of (מִקֵּץ) three years, you shall take out [all the tithe of your crop] (Deut. 14:28), and later on, Scripture also uses this expression: “At the end of (מִקֵּץ) seven years“ (Deut. 31: 10), referring to the mitzvah of הַקְהֵל [assembling all the people in the Temple courtyard, to hear the king read the book of Deuteronomy]. Just as there, the mitzvah was to be performed on a Festival, here too [in the case of removing the tithes and reciting the confession, the mitzvah must be performed] on a Festival. But one could suggest that just as there [in the case of הַקְהֵל, the mitzvah was performed] on the Festival of Sukkoth, here too, [the mitzvah must be performed] on the Festival of Sukkoth. Therefore, Scripture states here: ”When have you finished taking all the tithes in the third year”- [this refers to] a festival on which all tithes have been completely taken: this is Passover [not Sukkoth], because many trees have their fruits picked after Sukkoth [but not after Passover]. Consequently, the separating of tithes of the third year’s produce will conclude on Passover of [the following year, namely] the fourth year. And anyone who has delayed [in distributing] his tithes is ordered by Scripture to remove [any remaining tithes] from the house [on Passover of the fourth year of the shemittah cycle]. — [Sifrei 26:12] the year of the tithe. [The third year of each shemittah cycle is called “the year of the tithe” because] it differs from its preceding two years insofar as it is a year in which only one of the tithes separated in the two preceding years is separated. During the first and second years of the shemittah cycle, the tithes separated are: a) מַעֲשֵׂר רִאשׁוֹן, “the first tithe,” as the verse says, “[Speak to the Levites, and say to them,] When you take from the children of Israel the tithe…” (Num. 18:26) [Referring to “you first tithe,”] and b) מַעֲשֵׂר שֵׁנִי, “the second tithe,” as the verse says, “And you shall eat before the Lord, your God… the tithes of your grain, of your wine and of your oil…” (Deut. 14:23) [Which is a reference to “the second tithe”]. Thus, we have two tithes [being separated during the first two years of the shemittah cycle]. Now Scripture comes and teaches us that in the third year, only one of these two tithes is separated. And which one is that? It is “the first tithe.” [“The second tithe is not separated during the third year.”] Instead of “the second tithe,” one must give “the tithe for the poor,” for it says here in our verse “you shall give [them] to the Levite” what belongs to him, namely “the first tithe” ; [then our verse continues:] “the stranger, the orphan, and the widow”-this is “the tithe for the poor.” – [Sifrei 26:12; R.H. 12b] so that they can eat to satiety. Give them enough to satisfy them. Based on this, [our Rabbis] stated: One may not give the poor in the granary less than one-half a kav of wheat [or one kav of barley. [A kav represents the volume of twenty-four eggs]. — [Sifrei 26:12, Peah 8:5]

13 then thou shalt say before the LORD thy God: 'I have put away the hallowed things out of my house, and also have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, according to all Thy commandment which Thou hast commanded me; I have not transgressed any of Thy commandments, neither have I forgotten them.

[Sifrei 26:13] I have removed the holy [portions] from the house. This refers to: a)“the second tithe,” and b) נֶטַע רְבָעִי, the fruit yielded by a tree in its fourth year of growth [both of which are termed קֹדֶשׁ, holy (portions)], they must be brought up to Jerusalem and eaten there in purity. [Accordingly,] the verse here teaches us that if one has delayed bringing these tithes up to Jerusalem for two years, he must take them up now [in the third year]. And I have also given it to the Levite. This refers to “the first tithe.” – [ibid.] and… also. [This seemingly superfluous word, “also,”] comes to include Teruma , [the part given to the Kohen] and the firstfruits [which are also given to the Kohen . Since Kohanim stem from the tribe of Levi, they are referred to here as Levites]. — [Yerushalmi Maaser Sheni 5:5] the stranger, the orphan and the widow. This refers to “the tithe for the poor.” – [Sifrei 26:13] according to all Your commandment. I have given them [the tithes] in their proper sequence (ibid). I did not give Terumah before the firstfruits; I did not give tithes before Terumah; I did not give the second tithe before the first tithe. For Terumah is termed רֵאשִׁית, “the first one,” because it is the first portion to be separated when the produce has become [matured]“grain,” and it is written [regarding the separation of tithes]: מְלֵאָת‏ ְוְדִמְע‏ ֲלֹא תְאַחֵר (Exod. 22: 28), which means that one must not change the order [set out in Scripture for separating tithes]. – [Mechilta , Exod. 22:28] I have not transgressed Your commandments. I did not separate tithes from one species [of produce to fulfill the obligation of tithe-separation due] from another species [of produce], and I did not separate tithes from the new crop [of the year to fulfill the obligation of tithe-separation due] from the old crop. — [Sifrei, Maaser Sheni 5:11] nor have I forgotten. To bless You [on the performance of the mitzvah] of separating tithes. — [ibid.]

The confession was to make sure that one really gave some charity to have given them unto the Levite, and unto the stranger, to the fatherless, and to the widow, and that was the main ceremony and guarantor for the poor. It was also a hidden warning to those that understood after the curses section. Not giving charity to any one of the group Levy – Levite, poor would bring retribution and also helping the stranger in your midst. But to the Orphan and the widow there was even a stronger meaning: Your children could become orphans and your wife could be a widow if you don’t do what HASHEM commanded.

14 I have not eaten thereof in my mourning, neither have I put away thereof, being unclean, nor given thereof for the dead;

There is a lot to confess and any one of the conditions can make the Bikurim void.

I have hearkened to the voice of the LORD my God, I have done according to all that Thou hast commanded me. 15 Look forth from Thy holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Thy people Israel, and the land which Thou hast given us, as Thou didst swear unto our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.' 16 This day the LORD thy God commands thee to do these statutes and ordinances; thou shalt therefore observe and do them with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

Every day is a new day and a new mitzvah. Here the word might (strength physical and monetary) is not used and since most of us know the Shema prayer by heart this has a special meaning.

Rashi notes: [Tanchuma 1] You will observe and fulfill them. A heavenly voice is blessing you: “You have brought the firstfruits today- [so] will you merit to bring them next year!”

17 Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and that thou would walk in His ways, and keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His ordinances, and hearken unto His voice.

We do not find any equivalent expression in the Scriptures [which might give us a clue to the meaning of these words]. However, it appears to me that [the expression הֶאמִיר] denotes separation and distinction. [Thus, here, the meaning is as follows:] From all the pagan deities, you have set apart the Lord for yourself, to be your God, and He separated you to Him from all
the peoples on earth to be His treasured people. [Notwithstanding,] I did find a similar expression [to הֶאמִיר], which denotes “glory,” as in the verse“[How long will] all workers of violence praise themselves (יִתְאַמְּרוּ) ?” (Ps. 94:4).

Moshe concludes the Drasha with the fact that we must keep and obey the Torah

18 And the LORD hath avouched thee this day to be His own treasure, as He hath promised thee, and that thou should keep all His commandments; 19 and to make thee high above all nations that He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in glory; and that thou may be a holy people unto the LORD thy God, as He hath spoken.

And so that you will be a holy people… as He spoke. [When He said]:“And you shall be holy to ME” (Lev. 20:26). – [Mechilta 12:78]

Rabbi Yossi Jankovits Shlita concludes this whole section with a short thought: It is interesting to note that we make mention of the lengths Hashem went to and not merely the fact that he removed us from Egypt. We learn from this an important lesson: when assessing the gratitude that we owe another we must take into account not only what we received, but also the amount of effort exerted on our behalf.
We have finished learning about how to bring the Bikurim.

27:1 And Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying: 'Keep all the commandment which I command you this day. 2 And it shall be on the day when ye shall pass over the Jordan unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, that thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster. 3 And thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law, when thou art passed over; that thou may go in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the LORD, the God of thy fathers, hath promised thee. 4 And it shall be when ye are passed over the Jordan, that ye shall set up these stones, which I command you this day, in mount Eval, and thou shalt plaster them with plaster. 5 And there shalt thou build an altar unto the LORD thy God, an altar of stones; thou shalt lift up no iron tool upon them. 6 Thou shalt build the altar of the LORD thy God of unhewn stones; and thou shalt offer burnt-offerings thereon unto the LORD thy God. 7 And thou shalt sacrifice peace-offerings, and shalt eat there; and thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God.

In seventy languages. — [Sotah 32a]

8 And thou shalt write upon the stones all the words of this law very plainly.' 9 And Moses and the priests the Levites spoke unto all Israel, saying: 'Keep silence, and hear, O Israel; this day you have become a people unto the LORD thy God. 10 Thou shalt therefore hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and do His commandments and His statutes, which I command thee this day.' 11 And Moses charged the people the same day, saying:

As it is found in Tractate Sotah (32a): Six tribes ascended to the top of Mount Gerizim and [the other] six to the top of Mount Eval; the kohanim , the Levites and the [holy] ark stood below in the middle. The Levites turned their faces towards Mount Gerizim and began with the blessing: “Blessed be the man who does not make a graven or molten image…,” and these [the tribes on Mount Gerizim] and these [the tribes on Mount Ebal] answered “Amen!” Then [the Levites] turned their faces towards Mount Eval and began with the curse, saying: “Cursed be the man who makes any graven [or molten] image…,” and these [the tribes on Mount Gerizim] and these [the tribes on Mount Eval] responded “Amen!” The Levites then turned their faces once again towards Mount Gerizim, and said: “Blessed be he who does not degrade his father and mother,” [and the tribes on Mount Gerizim and those on Mount Eval responded “Amen!” The Levites] would then turn their faces once again towards Mount Ebal, and say: “Cursed be he who degrades his father and mother,” [and the tribes on Mount Gerizim and those on Mount Ebal responded “Amen!”]. Thus [it would continue] in this manner for all of them [the blessings and curses] until [the very last curse, namely (verse 26)]:“Cursed be the one who does not uphold [the words of this Torah].”

I repeat myself here. Mt. Gerizim is a fruitful mountain and green. Mt. Eval is barren. Both overlook the grave of Yosef and the town of Schem. The striking difference can be seen from the Yeshuv Alon Moreh. Google like the Roman name Nabulus instead of Schem in their search engine but one can see the barren mountain behind the town and some greenery on the other mountain from the photos.

12 'These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people, when ye are passed over the Jordan: Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin; 13 and these shall stand upon mount Eval for the curse: Reuben, Gad, and Asher, and Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. 14 And the Levites shall speak, and say unto all the men of Israel with a loud voice: 15 Cursed be the man that makes a graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say: Amen. 16 Cursed be he that dishonors his father or his mother. And all the people shall say: Amen. 17 Cursed be he that removes his neighbor's landmark. And all the people shall say: Amen. 18 Cursed be he that makes the blind to go astray in the way. And all the people shall say: Amen. 19 Cursed be he that perverteth the justice due to the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say: Amen. 20 Cursed be he that lies with his father's wife; because he hath uncovered his father's skirt. And all the people shall say: Amen.  21 Cursed be he that lies with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say: Amen. 22 Cursed be he that lies with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say: Amen. 23 Cursed be he that lieth with his mother-in-law. And all the people shall say: Amen. 24 Cursed be he that smites his neighbor in secret. And all the people shall say: Amen. 25 Cursed be he that taketh a bribe to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say: Amen. 26 Cursed be he that confirms not the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say: Amen.'

28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God. 3 Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. 4 Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the young of thy flock. 5 Blessed shall be thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 6 Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. 7 The LORD will cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thee; they shall come out against thee one way, and shall flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD will command the blessing with thee in thy barns, and in all that thou puttest thy hand unto; and He will bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. 9 The LORD will establish thee for a holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee; if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in His ways. 10 And all the peoples of the earth shall see that the name of the LORD is called upon thee; and they shall be afraid of thee. 11 And the LORD will make thee over-abundant for good, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, in the land which the LORD swore unto thy fathers to give thee. 12 The LORD will open unto thee His good treasure the heaven to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand; and thou shalt lend unto many nations, but thou shalt not borrow. 13 And the LORD will make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if thou shalt hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them; 14 and shalt not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
15 But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.

Last year I covered the curses but the main point here is non-observance brings on awful and terrible punishments to those folks. This is more than the opposite to the reward for when one sinks from poor to poorer to poorest or from a hard life to close to an impossible life similar to Auschwitz or that of complete starvation and treated like an animal it is far worse than the rewards. For the blessings that one receives as rich as one could be, one cannot put two gold table spoons into his mouth at the same time but a dozen Nazis can kick a Jew at once. Since the section on the blessings is short and the curses long. I take this as a sign that the average man should learn to do a Mitzvah not for the reward but if he wants to sin, he should hold back for the punishment of a sin is many times worse than the temporary pleasure of the moment.

 …69 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which He made with them in Horev.

That they should accept the Torah upon themselves with a curse and an oath, besides the covenant. [Namely,] the curses [which appear] in Lev. (26: 14-39), which were proclaimed at [Mount] Sinai.

29:1 And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them: Ye have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; 2 the great trials which thine eyes saw, the signs and those great wonders;

This is to strengthen them and fortify them to go and enter the land. For the L-RD is with you to fight your battles.

3 but the LORD hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. 4 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

Is this not a miracle? For does one know of shoes that last 40 years especially walking in the terrain of the Sinai or Negev or over the Yarden? How many of you have garments that lasted 40 years? Yet people read this and fail to see the size of the Miracle.

5 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink; that ye might know that I am the LORD your God. 6 And when ye came unto this place, Sichon the king of Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, came out against us unto battle, and we smote them. 7 And we took their land, and gave it for an inheritance unto the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to the half-tribe of the Manassites. 8 Observe therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may make all that ye do to prosper.

Moshe ends with a historical reminder. We can learn from this for educational purposes one must learn over and over again the lessons from the past. Also the miracle of feeding and eating Mann (Manna) for an entire generation and they grew up healthy is a tremendous miracle which we take for granted. Also the miracle of clothing not wearing out for 40 years, no skin rash, no bad odors and walking in the same pair of shoes or sandals for 40 years without any problem. Even with the best hard soled rubber, the shoe’s bottom and instep wears out. All this the Bnei Yisrael took for granted but it was a combination of miracles. The concluding words of the Parsha are: just observe the Torah and do the Mitzvos and you will prosper.

The Paralyzed Fingers by Rabbi Y. Tilles

There was a very rich man who lived with his family in the state of Walachia. Without warning, both of his wife's hands became paralyzed so that she could not move her fingers at all. The man, who was very rich, spared no expense in taking her to all of the most famous physicians that lived in and near their city. But alas, none had any idea as to the cause of her illness or a suggestion for a cure.

The husband was not willing to give up. He traveled with her in their carriage from one distant city to another in the hope of finding a physician who could heal her.

As they traveled, they stayed at inns along the way. At each inn, the condition of his wife and their search for a physician was a frequent topic of discussion. Many fellow travelers suggested that they visit Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov, a famous miracle worker who lived in the town of Mezibush, deep in the Carpathian Mountains. The couple had never heard of the Baal Shem Tov and were hesitant to visit him, especially since he lived so far away. But after months of traveling, they agreed that since they were unable to find a doctor who had even an inkling as to the cause of her illness, they might as well visit the Holy Rabbi.

As soon as they arrived in Mezibush, the husband and wife immediately went to meet with the Baal Shem Tov in his study. After they talked for a while, the Baal Shem Tov told them to remain in the community.

The couple found a comfortable inn and stayed for several weeks. During this period of time, they met with the Baal Shem Tov on several occasions. Each time, the Baal Shem Tov told them to stay longer. The husband and wife were both skeptical as to whether the Baal Shem Tov could heal the wife, but they really didn't have a better option. And besides, wherever they went in Mezibush, there was always someone that told them a miracle story about the Baal Shem Tov. Also, everyone assured them that the Baal Shem Tov would heal her.

Finally, after a number of weeks had already passed, the Baal Shem Tov asked Alexi, his wagon driver, to harness the horses to his wagon and prepare for a long trip. Then, he told the man to put his wife in their carriage and to follow him. The man didn't have any idea where they were going but he immediately harnessed his horses to his carriage, put his wife in and followed closely behind the Baal Shem Tov's wagon.

After several days of travel, the wagon and the carriage stopped in front of an inn whose innkeeper was one of the Baal Shem Tov's followers. The noise of the wagon and carriage brought the innkeeper and his wife out to welcome the unknown guests. When the Baal Shem Tov got down from the wagon, the innkeeper was beside himself with joy when he realized it was his Rebbe. The Baal Shem Tov asked the innkeeper whether they could have several rooms for the night.

"Of course Rebbe," the innkeeper answered without hesitation.

"There is one thing," the Baal Shem Tov continued, "during our stay, you will have to lock all the windows and the doors to the inn. And most importantly, you must not open them for anyone, irrespective of who it is, even if it is a very important person. If anyone does manage to force his way in, you may tell him that the Baal Shem Tov ordered the doors and windows locked and then point me out to them."

The innkeeper was perplexed by this request, but he promised to carry out every detail of the Baal Shem Tov's instructions. So Alexei unharnessed the horses from the wagon and the carriage, put them in the barn and fed them. Meanwhile, the Baal Shem Tov and the couple carried their bags into the inn. Even before they got settled in their rooms, the innkeeper locked all of the windows and the doors to the inn.

After dinner, they all went to sleep except the Baal Shem Tov who sat at the dining table in the main room and studied from a Holy book. Also, the wife with the paralyzed hands couldn't sleep, so she sat next to the warm oven in the corner of the main room. The Baal Shem Tov cautioned her that if he should ask her to do anything the next day, she must do so immediately.

Coincidentally, on that very same day, the regional Governor who owned the inn was visited by his brother whom he had not seen for many years. They rejoiced at seeing each other by eating and drinking to excess. Being somewhat tipsy from the drinking, the Governor started to brag to his brother, "I built an amazingly beautiful inn on my property. It's not very far from here. You must go over and see it before you leave."

"Who runs the inn?" inquired the brother.

"Moishke, one of my Jews, runs the inn," answered the Governor.

"Those Jews again," retorted the brother, "they run everything. I can't stand them."

"Brother, please don't speak that way. The Jews manage everything on my estates and they do a very good job," said the Governor.

Just then, someone came to see the Governor on official business. The brother asked, "Since you'll probably be busy for awhile, could I borrow one of your horses and ride over to look at your inn?"

The governor was happy that his brother was going to see his pride and joy. "Quick," he ordered one of his servants, "saddle up my finest horse for my brother and give him exact directions to the inn."

Since the inn was located near the Governor's mansion, the brother rode off without a warm coat. After riding for some time, a light snow began to fall. Soon, the light snow fall turned into a heavy snowstorm. The brother got lost and rode for several more hours in the snow before arriving at the inn, nearly blue from the cold. Relieved that he had finally arrived at the inn, he jumped off his horse and tried to open the door. But it was locked. He could see people in the inn through the windows, so he started to knock with all his might on the door.

The innkeeper yelled through the door, "I'm sorry but I can't open the door because Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov is here."

The Governor's brother started to plead with him, "Please open the door, can't you see it's snowing and I'm freezing to death."

But the innkeeper answered, "I can't let you in because the Rabbi said to keep the doors and windows locked."

The Governor's brother started to pound frantically on the door with his fist while yelling to let him in.

Finally, the Baal Shem Tov motioned the innkeeper to open the door.

The governor's brother burst into the inn and rushed over to the hot oven to thaw out his nearly frozen hands and feet. When he finally warmed up, he asked: "Who is this Rabbi that wouldn't let me in?" 

The innkeeper and his wife told him, "The Baal Shem Tov," and pointed towards him.

The Governor's brother looked at the Baal Shem Tov who was still reading and not paying the slightest bit of attention to him. This disregard by the Baal Shem Tov made the man even more angry as he walked back and forth across the room, all the while glaring at the Baal Shem Tov. 
"Who is this Rabbi Baal Shem Tov," he screamed at the innkeeper, "that you did not open the door for me until I almost died of the cold?!"

The innkeeper and his wife again meekly pointed towards the Baal Shem Tov.

The Governor's brother became overwhelmed with anger. He drew his sword and shouted at the Baal Shem Tov, "Prepare to die you fool!" Then he rushed towards the Baal Shem Tov with his upraised sword.

At that very moment, the Baal Shem Tov called out to the paralyzed woman, "Lift up both your hands!"

She raised her paralyzed hands. Immediately her fingers began to move. At the same time, the Governor's brother stopped in his tracks as his sword fell out of his hand. He could no longer move his hands or fingers and he could see his hands beginning to curl and gnarl before his eyes.

"Please help me Rabbi," he screamed, "I'll do anything. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. My hands are paralyzed. My fingers won't move. Help me. I beg of you."

The Baal Shem Tov answered, "I cannot help you. The transference has occurred and it cannot be reversed."

When the couple returned to Mezibush, everyone crowded around to ask what happened. All the woman could say was "Baruch Hashem - Blessed be G-d Al-mighty," and wiggle her fingers to everyone's delight.

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the rendition of Tzvi-Meir Cohn on //, of a story found in Shivchei HaBesht and translated in In Praise of the Baal Shem Tov by Ben Amos and Mintz.

Connection: Seasonal--Wednesday is the 317th anniversary of the birth of the Baal Shem Tov (and the 270th of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad).
Biographic note:
Rabbi Yisrael ben Eliezer (18 Elul 1698-6 Sivan 1760), the Baal Shem Tov ["master of the good Name"], a unique and seminal figure in Jewish history, revealed the Chassidic movement and his own identity as an exceptionally holy person, on his 36th birthday, 18 Elul 1734. He wrote no books, although many claim to contain his teachings. One available in English is the excellent annotated translation of Tzava'at Harivash, published by Kehos.

Holocaust and Reincarnation a story from Linda

I have a memory of another life in dreams that haunted my childhood. I never understood what the dreams meant but I was quietly terrified of them. 
A few years ago a friend opened my eyes to the idea that I could be remembering a past life. Up until that point I was a skeptic about reincarnation but the more I looked into it, the more the pieces began to fall into place.
From the beginning:
My father was a bombardier in WWII and I was the apple of his eye. 
When I was about five or six years old I was 'snooping' in the upstairs crawlspace of our house looking for hidden treasures. I came upon a box of daddy's war things, his canteen, aviator glasses and a few army objects I didn't recognize. At the bottom of the box there were a few books. I sat alone in the dimly lit space of the tiny crawl space paging through the books looking for story pictures. I picked up a small book and turned it over in my hands. From the binding, it looked like an official book of some sort and was army-green in color. I opened the book and found a story I didn't expect. The book was a published documentation of the liberation of the camps and as I sat alone turning the pages, the faces of a suffering people looked back at me. I was confused by what I was seeing, live skeletons with their skin still on, mountains of bodies, ladies standing in showers with no water coming out of them but I was held captive by the book. As I turned the pages, my little six year old heart began to break. I thought the people in the pictures were like stick men. As I looked at them, they seemed faintly familiar. From somewhere distant in my soul I seemed to know them. I remember looking at one man in a picture, emaciated, gaunt features, haunting and sorrowful eyes. I looked at him and a confusing thought went though my mind. I thought I recognized him, "daddy?" I asked from somewhere in the distant past. 
Fast forward 55 years. 
In confidence, I told an online friend about this and she sent me the book "Beyond the Ashes", stories of reincarnation from the Holocaust. A few pages in I read something that caused me to remember the night terrors I had as a child. When I was very small (around 4 and 5, before I saw the book) I used to dream about stick men. I tried for years to figure out what the dream interpretation of stick men is, going through dream dictionaries, searching dream boards online. It seemed that no one ever dreamed about stick men except me. These stick men walked through my dreams all night long going uphill and downhill, never stopping. I remember how long and exaggerated their stick legs were. Oddly their faces were skinny with prominent noses. Even more strange, the stick men in my dreams wore wide brimmed hats.
In the first pages of the book "Beyond the Ashes" the author talked about a woman who had recurring dreams of very skinny men walking to their deaths wearing hats, the wide-brimmed Hasidic type and suddenly I realized for the first time what my dreams were. I think the stick men might be the very skinny, starving Jews who were nothing but skin and bones in the camps, like stick men. I thought the same thing when I found the book and saw the pictures of the camps for the first time when I was little. 
I never told anyone about my dreams and I never asked about the book. I was afraid to bring up the book because I knew I was snooping and seeing something that wasn't meant for my eyes. 
The memory of these dreams haunted me all my life. I often returned to that book in secret, drawn to it by a strange curiosity. I wish I knew where that book is now. I have several books about the Holocaust now and many of the photos are like the ones I saw in that book. 
I had always been a skeptic about reincarnation until someone suggested that I might be reincarnated from the Holocaust. The more I considered this possibility the more everything began to make sense to me

From Chaim B: 100th Yahrzeit of an American Jew killed Al Kiddush Hashem

This coming Shabbos, the 7th of Elul, is the 100th yahrzeit of Leo Frank, who was lynched by an anti-Semitic mob near Atlanta, GA, in 1915. Frank was accused of murdering a 13 year old girl who worked in the factory where he was the foreman. In a sensational trial rife with antisemitism, he was convicted and sentenced to death. The governor, sensing a miscarriage of justice, resisted enormous pressure, including death threats, and commuted the sentence to life in prison. Not to be denied, a mob of Georgia's leading citizens, including judges, doctors, and businessmen, took the law into their own hands, kidnapping Frank from prison and hanging him. They were proud of their crime and made no effort to hide their involvement. Jews in Georgia lived in great fear for years after the hanging.

Almost 7 decades later, an eye-witness finally revealed that he knew that Frank was innocent

These past days, Israel has been involved with a furor of whether to take an outsider or insider from the police to clean up the business as usual. Response time is down so much that murderers and thieves can get away because the patrol cars don’t get to the scene of the crime on time or prevent a murder. It was like when my children were born, the ambulance in Ashdod took 45 minutes to arrive. There are a lot of angry people who lost children during the war. The Minister of Defense was without experience and the Chief of Staff thought that a war could be won from the air. Gal Hirsch thought differently but did his command lead to the deaths of many soldiers? Or was it the fish stinking from the head? Carmella Ben-Menashe thought differently and she has been a military correspondent for 40 years and also Alex Fishman:,7340,L-4695324,00.html

From Albert a 360 degree view of a Synagogue 415 years old in Italy:

400 years ago Jews left Portugal and Holland and moved to the new world some grew sugar but out of hundreds of Jews then and persecutions by others only a few are left today:

Second Temple Stairs found in a large building that existed prior to the destruction:,7340,L-4696252,00.html

Business as Deri holds up the Israeli Gas Deal, Egypt discovers a super large gas field:,7340,L-4695985,00.html

From Emily son of Nazi Tank Commander becomes a Jew:

Ed-Op on schooling by the Education Minister:,7340,L-4696608,00.html

From Nitza Chana: Sephardim Selichos we have sinned before YOU:

Inyanay Diyoma

Thailand finally catches a suspect in the bombing:

PLO tries to imply after Abbas denying the Holocaust that the population transfer was equal to or greater than the Shoah:

I remind myself each morning in the blessings not to change my religion. Disclaimer this may or may not be true as Catholic Homosexuals may have posted it.

There is no easy solution to the Global Jihad as ISIS is in many countries including Boko Haram:

Killer behind the wheel as search for vehicle with bullet holes in Chevron starts:

The Oshkosh system to replace the Humvee Vehicle half designed in Israel:,7340,L-4695631,00.html

I would have shot the bitches:,7340,L-4695494,00.html  Hurray for Pallywood. Note the face of the soldier is covered by cloth to hide the Arabic Jaw but not disguise the facial features. The “soldier” is not wearing a helmet or flack gear for stones which is strange. I noticed other points about the Pallywood film below look at the still picture. The real soldiers have helmets, flak jackets and gear which the Pallywood soldier does not have.,7340,L-4696553,00.html

After threatening to take over the Turkish Gov. Turkey gets wise:,7340,L-4695569,00.html

Caught between the Jewish Voters in her district and the devil she drinks half-coffee and half-tea:

There was a shoot and run by car in the Shomron a person was slightly injured and at night a fire-bomb near Mevo Dotan in the Shomron.

Israeli soldier injured by friendly fire in exchange of fire:

Egypt builds Fish Farms to keep out terror tunnels:,7340,L-4695985,00.html

Fire and perhaps jail the ORT teacher who participated with terrorists in the Pallywood film against the IDF:

Norway a bank prints anti-Semitic credit cards:,7340,L-4696839,00.html

Although I like very much Donald J. Trump I enjoyed this cartoon of him too:

20 years for stone and boulder throwers gets Arab MK’s riled up:

Because of the Iran Deal, Obama grants Israel participation in joint air force exercises since 2009:,7340,L-4697489,00.html

5 US Tourists, Charedim, almost lynched in Chevron:,7340,L-4697472,00.html

A good Shabbos to all and repent now and avoid the Rosh Hashanah Yom Kippur rush.

Rachamim Pauli