Friday, November 20, 2015

Parsha Vayeitzei Part 1, History of recent Halacha,

Revising my prayer list as I am removing and adding names. There has been over two months since the soldiers regained consciousness and are in rehabilitation and somewhere between eight to nine months since the mother and daughter were burned in the Shabbos fire.
Prayers for Men: Eliezer David HaCohain ben Naomi, Avraham HaCohain ben Yocheved, Asher ben Esther Malka, Avraham ben Devorah, Shalom Charles ben Gracia, Yoel ben Esther, Yehonatan ben Malka, Zvi ben Chava, Shlomo Chaim ben Basya Raizal, David Zvi ben Sarah Leah, Daniel ben Rivka, Nehemiah Arieh Liab Peretz ben Esther Rachel, Eliyah ben Chana, Reuven David ben Rachel, Shmuel Carmi ben Ita, Avraham ben Rachel, Aharon Chayim ben Ruchama, Mordechai ben Nina, Menashe Ben Golda

In the meantime keep praying for Yosef ben Shifra, , Menachem Mendel ben Michal, but if I hear nothing on their condition by next week, I am going to remove them.

Women: Karen Neshama bas Esther Ruth, Chaya Melecha Rachel bas Baila Alta, Rachel bas Chana, Hodaya Nirit bas Mazel, Rivka bas Idit, Kayla bas Chana, Tsvia Simcha bas Devorah Yachad, Miriam bas Irene Taita Malka, Kayla bas Chana, Esther Rachel bas Sarah Golde Chaya bas Esther, Lydia bas Elvira,
Adding for long term Shulamis bas Etta
Adding for short term like a month or two Drorah Rivkah bat Chana, Chana Friedel bas Sara,

The following people are recovering long term non-threatening injuries at this time and need Psalms but not in the Shemona Esray. Binum Benyamin Tuvia ben Chana Friedel, , Yuval ben Miriam Chaya, Yarin ben Rivka,  Henshi bas Nashe, Basya bas Chaya Miriam. Gila bas Francis, Tsipora bas Gila,

Two miracles outside of Israel: The Daily Mail UK released a film this week of a woman at point blank range from a terrorist who clicked his weapon three times but the gun jammed. Had she been Jewish she would be throwing the biggest Kiddush in a Schul ever. The second one is of doctors saving (a) premature baby through a radical idea:

Note  I have in my course learned to add symbols this one ∏ looks like the guttural letter Chet and the Chevron that I use for the standard Hebron is a guttural letter like the German “Ach or Auch”

Parsha Vayeitzei Part 1

The people who inherit the blessing of Avraham have no rest and are put through trials and tribulations. It could be with fighting twins or water rights where wells which were dug by Avraham are closed up by the Plishtim and when redug are claimed by them. Yacov being blessed suddenly finds Esav planning the final solution before he can marry or produce offspring. Even after he marries, Lavan in our Pasha is willing to kill Yacov and steal all the possessions that Yacov has earned in 22 years of labor night and day and more like 24/7 for he probably had to go out on Shabbos to check on the animals and letting them graze. Pharaoh only tried it temporarily on the males born at a certain time.

28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.

Here it says stones but later on it says stone and he made an altar. The Medrash talks about 12 stones circling Yacov and they fuse together to become one stone for peace like the 12 tribes into one nation. [Would it have been so for already in the time of David there was two of his sons contesting for the throne. Until the times before the destruction of the second Mikdash where wars were fought]. Rabbi Elihu Schatz Shlita while writing his next book is so saddened by the infighting that existed. Today the arguments between the left and the religious do not end in murder as it did then.

Because the sun had set: Heb. כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ [Scripture] should have written [in reverse order]:“And the sun set (וַיָּבֹא), and he stayed there overnight.” [The expression] כִּי בָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ implies that the sun set suddenly for him, not at its usual time, so that he would have to stay there overnight. [From Gen. Rabbah 68:10, Chullin 91b]And placed [them] at his head: He arranged them in the form of a drainpipe around his head because he feared the wild beasts. They [the stones] started quarreling with one another. One said, “Let the righteous man lay his head on me,” and another one said, “Let him lay [his head] on me.” Immediately, the Holy One, blessed be He, made them into one stone. This is why it is stated (verse 18):“and he took the stone [in the singular] that he had placed at his head.” [From Chullin 91b]

A total eclipse of the sun is rare but in the path of totality it often happens at sundown or sunrise as in the famed June 24, 1954 Eclipse in NY which I remember but missed it as I was very young and did not know the value of what was happening to run out and look towards the rising sun.

12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Rabbi Simcha HaCohain Kuk Shlita describes Esav’s angel rising close to 2000 rungs and Yishmael’s angel 1300 plus rungs while Yacov is down in this period.

13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon you lie, to you will I give it, and to thy seed.

And behold, the Lord was standing over him: to guard him. And the God of Isaac: Although we do not find in Scripture that the Holy One, blessed be He, associates His name with that of the righteous during their lifetimes by writing “the God of so-and-so,” for it is said (Job 15:15):“Lo! He does not believe in His holy ones,” [i.e., God does not consider even His holy ones as righteous until after their deaths, when they are no longer subject to the evil inclination,] nevertheless, here He associated His name with Isaac because his eyes had become dim, and he was confined in the house, and he was like a dead person, the evil inclination having ceased from him (Tanchuma Toledoth 7).Upon which you are lying: (Chullin ad loc.) The Holy One, blessed be He, folded the entire Land of Israel under him. He hinted to him that it would be as easily conquered by his children (as four cubits, which represent the area a person takes up [when lying down]). [From Chullin 91b]

Yacov is promised the land for him and his children after him.

14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

This blessing being like the dust of the earth is a powerful blessing not for the numbers but when one stamps on the dust it moves aside and always remains a part. No matter how crushed the dust is, it returns once the foot is gone. The same with the Jews.

15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou go, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.'

I will be with you 24/7 even if you do not feel MY presence.

16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.'

And I did not know [it]: For had I known, I would not have slept in such a holy place. [from Bereishith Rabbathi , attributed to Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan]

Is not HASHEM everywhere? Rather that the spot where Yacov slept had an extra Kedusha and was a gateway to heaven.

17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'

Than the house of God: Said Rabbi Eleazar in the name of Rabbi Jose ben Zimra: This ladder stood in Beer-sheba and the middle of its incline reached opposite the Temple, for Beer-sheba is situated in the south of Judah, and Jerusalem [is situated] in its north, on the boundary between Judah and Benjamin, and Beth-el was in the north of the territory of Benjamin, on the boundary between Benjamin and the sons of Joseph. Consequently, a ladder whose foot is in Beer-sheba and whose top is in Beth-el-the middle of its slant is opposite Jerusalem. This accords with what our Sages said, that the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “This righteous man has come to My lodging place [i.e., the Temple Mount]. Shall he leave without lodging?” And furthermore, they said: Jacob called Jerusalem Beth-el. But this place [which he called Beth-el] was Luz, and not Jerusalem. So, from where did they learn to say this? [i.e., that Luz was Jerusalem.] I believe that Mount Moriah was uprooted from its place, and it came here, [to Luz, i.e., at that time, Luz, Jerusalem and Beth-el were all in the same place], and this is the “springing of the earth” mentioned in Tractate Chullin, i.e., that the [site of the] Temple came towards him until Beth-el. This is the meaning of ויפגע במקום “And he met the place.” Now if you ask, “When Jacob passed by the Temple, why did He not detain him there?” [The answer is:] If he did not put his mind to pray in the place where his forefathers had prayed, should they detain him from heaven? He went as far as Haran, as it is stated in the chapter entitled, “Gid HaNasheh” (Hullin 91b), and the text, “and he went to Haran” (verse 10) supports this. When he arrived in Haran, he said, “Is is possible that I have passed the place where my forefathers prayed, and I did not pray there?” He decided to return, and he went back as far as Beth-El, and the earth “sprang toward him.” [This Beth-El is not the one near Ai, but the one near Jerusalem, and because it was the city of God, he called it Beth-El, the house of God, and that is Mount Moriah where Abraham prayed, and that is the field where Isaac prayed, and so did they say in Sotah (sic.) (Pes.88a) [concerning the verse] (Micah 4:2):“Come, let us go up to the Mount of the Lord, to the House of God of Jacob.” [It is] not [called] as did Abraham, who called it a mountain, and not as did Isaac, who called it a field, but as did Jacob, who called it the House of God. An exact edition of Rashi. How awesome: The Targum renders: How awesome (דְּחִילוּ) is this place! דְּחִילוּ is a noun, as in (Targum Exodus 31:3):“understanding” סוּכְלָתָנוּ; (below verse 20):“a garment (וּכְסוּ) to wear.” And this is the gate of heaven: A place of prayer, where their prayers ascend to heaven (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer , ch. 35). And its midrashic interpretation is that the Heavenly Temple is directed exactly towards the earthly Temple. [From Gen. Rabbah 69:7]

Rashi brings down the mathematical vector or matrix where Yacov was relative to Har HaBeis and Beer Sheva and these spots and what the Arabs call the “Well of Souls” in the burial chamber of Yitzchak and Rivka where all the Neshamos are drawn like moths to the heavenly abode above have special Kedusha.

18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

The Pshat is that he stones from the place to protect him from animals in the night and one was used as a pillow with perhaps part of his clothing or sack to rest at night and this stone he anointed. However, the Medrash speaks of twelve stones that he took and they fused together as they all wanted the Kedusha of the Tzaddik. 

19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. 20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

Yacov does not ask for anything more than food and clothing for he can brave the elements or find shelter without bothering G-D but Panosa aka employment or money is in the hand of G-D. Of course Yacov does have one more request because of Esav. And that is: 21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace,

This will be a sign unto Yacov so then shall the LORD be my God, 22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.'

Tithing started here and Yosef used it slightly differenced to store wheat and Mordechai used it so that the King would not be dependent upon his rich lobbies of people like Haman. This goes down to certain Republican Law makers with variations this year.

29:1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came to the land of the children of the east.

This is Haran in northeastern Turkey close to Syrian where Avraham, Terach and Nahor fled from Nimrod in Iraq. To get an idea how life was and is in Haran:

2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, three flocks of sheep lying there by it.--For out of that well they watered the flocks. And the stone upon the well's mouth was great. 3 And thither were all the flocks gathered; and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone back upon the well's mouth in its place.-- 4 And Jacob said unto them: 'My brethren, whence are ye?' And they said: 'Of Haran are we.' 5 And he said unto them: 'Know ye Laban the son of Nahor?' And they said: 'We know him.' 6 And he said unto them: 'Is it well with him?' And they said: 'It is well; and, behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep.' 7 And he said: 'Lo, it is yet high day, neither is it time that the cattle should be gathered together; water ye the sheep, and go and feed them.' 8 And they said: 'We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, and they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the sheep.' 9 While he was yet speaking with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep; for she tended them. 10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother.

Yacov did not use the DIVINE NAME but rather simple physics with his walking stick. He used the rocks around the well as a fulcrum and moved the large stone by rolling it with his stick. It is how I moved a few large stones from my property which the contractor had left without hiring a bulldozer but just metal polls and smaller rocks and rolling them across the road to the ditch on the other side. Later other contractors took them to make walls for other people.

11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son; and she ran and told her father. 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things.

That he ran towards him: He thought that he (Jacob) was laden with money, for the servant of the household (Eliezer) had come here with ten laden camels.[from Gen. Rabbah 70:13] And he embraced: When he (Laban) did not see anything with him (Jacob), he said, “Perhaps he has brought golden coins, and they are in his bosom.” [from Gen. Rabbah 70:13] Aand he kissed him: He said,“Perhaps he has brought pearls, and they are in his mouth.” [from Gen. Rabbah 70:13] He told Laban: that he had come only because he was compelled to do so because of his brother (Esau), and that they had taken his money from him. — [from Gen. Rabbah 70:13]

It was not a kiss on the cheeks according to the Medrash but a French Kiss to check throughly for jewels.

14 And Laban said to him: 'Surely thou art my bone and my flesh.' And he abode with him the space of a month. 15 And Laban said unto Jacob: 'Because thou art my brother, should thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what shall thy wages be?' 16 Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah's eyes were weak; but Rachel was of beautiful form and fair to look upon. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and he said: 'I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.' 19 And Laban said: 'It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man; abide with me.'

This is Yichus. Now Yacov was 63 when the incident with Esav occurred according to Oral Torah and he learned 14 years with Shem and Ever Torah. He arrives at Lavan who was Rivka’s older brother at the age of 77. (This makes sense because of the age of Yosef when they meet to confirm that Yosef was 39 and Yacov lived 147 aka 17 in Egypt and died). At 84 he is ready to marry Rachel. Lavan’s age must have been older than Rivka. If she was three when she married according to Rashi, he would have had to been past maturity or older than 13 to talk the way that he did. Rivka waited another 20 years of marriage until Yacov and Esav were born. Add at least 10 or more years 23 and 84 you get the age of 117 or if we go according to the ibn Ezra that Rivka was 14 years old that would make him possibly between 120 and 130 years. Since it was not impossible for older men then and in the Middle East today to marry young women, the daughters would be of child bearing age and he could have sons later as we see at the end of the Parsha.

20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.

This is romantic love based on how his mother and father interacted for 104 years together and her Midos and physical beauty. It was an infatuation that would last until her passing. Marriage to Leah was a mature love and she was buried next to him but the storybook love was for Rachel.

21 And Jacob said unto Laban: 'Give me my wife, for my days are filled, that I may go in unto her.' 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid unto his daughter Leah for a handmaid. 25 And it came to pass in the morning that, behold, it was Leah; and he said to Laban: 'What is this thou hast done unto me? Did not I serve with thee for Rachel? Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me?' 26 And Laban said: 'It is not so done in our place, to give the younger before the first-born.

He was tricked by the thick Chassidishe veil that he place on Rachel for the Chupah and Lavan and wife pulled a switch on him as the Chatan walks out first to the Chupah and then the Calla.    

27 Fulfil the week of this one, and we will give thee the other also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.' 28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week; and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife.

Many commentators agree that this was as stated one week in time and not seven years which sometimes the Torah and Sefer Daniel use.

29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her handmaid.

[I was a bit ill earlier this week with a 48 hour virus and did not finish the commentary early enough. The birth of all the tribes will be continued next week.]


The Novi Ovadia stated what will be with those who think that they can make signs on products from Yehuda and the Shomron. France pushed for it. Now read what is our Haphtarah of two weeks from now: Chapter 1:8 Shall I not in that day, says the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and discernment out of the mount of Esau? 9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one may be cut off from the mount of Esau by slaughter. 10 For the violence done to thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever. 11 In the day that thou didst stand aloof, in the day that strangers carried away his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou were as one of them.  … 17 But in mount Zion there shall be those that escape, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken. 19 And they of the South shall possess the mount of Esau, and they of the Lowland the Philistines; and they shall possess the field of Ephraim, and the field of Samaria; and Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel, that are among the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath, and the captivity of Jerusalem, that is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the South. 21 And saviors shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. 

A historical perspective of Ashkenazic Halachic Practices mailed to me by Cindy Gray

ON THE ISSUE OF "OPEN ORTHODOXY" Daat Torah; The Mind (or Opinion) of Torah by Rabbi Jeffrey Siegel
By Fernando Manaças Ferreira on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 5:30pm

Part 1
After Talmudic times, until the late seventeenth century, communities (and rabbis) were fairly independent. True, there were times and places where a group of cities, or even an entire country, would get together in a confederation, complete with a central rabbinic/legislative council, and establish common practices, but these were not the norm.
Occasionally, a great figure would have influence far beyond his own country, but it was up to the local rabbis to give their imprimatur to those decisions. Community councils chose the rabbis, taking their views and writings into account when deciding whether to accept him as rabbi.
The standard practice in most places was that a young scholar would study for a number of years under the rabbis of his region. Upon completion of his studies (formalized in Germany in the 14th century with an official ordination), he would ask an accepted rabbi of a community to accept him as an intern; seeing and partaking in every day rabbinic duties and decision making. When that rabbi felt him to be ready, he would grant the young man an additional ordination. The young rabbi would then seek an appropriate community where he could serve. There was no such thing as the rabbi of a synagogue. That only came in fairly recently.
The rabbi was responsible for governing the community (in tandem with the elected city council), making decisions in halachah that were binding upon everyone, deal with people's individual issues, perform marriages, divorces, and all other religious ceremonies; as well as oversee the synagogues, local schools, slaughter houses, butcher shops, and mikvehs. There were no formal Yeshivot (Rabbinic Academies) at that time, although many students would often gather to a particularly great luminary, forming a sort of ad hoc Yeshivah around him.
Everything changed in the late 1600s. Although we have had many false Messiahs in our history, there was only one who garnered near universal acceptance, sending world Jewry into a tailspin upon his conversion to Islam in 1666. His name was Shabbetai Tzvi. I hope to reprint some essays about him which I wrote some months ago.
Like a great hurricane that reshapes the map of an area, the Jewish world was never the same. There was no country spared. Famous rabbis had also erred. There was a crisis of faith. Could even rabbis be trusted? (There are still some nine thousand followers of Shabbetai Tzvi in Turkey).
Among the after-effects of this debacle, a number of things changed. Jewish authority shifted away from the local city or town, in the direction of centralized Batei Din (Courts). These batei din were made up of the brightest and best scholars in the region, with the highest standards of integrity. To be sure, there were local rabbis. But more and more they deferred to the decisions and policies of the court of "Gedolim" (Great ones).
This became known as the system of Daat Torah (Daas Torah in Ashkenazi pronunciation). Formal institutions grew around these central authorities, insuring that their students would be well trained in sources, and not fall sway to popular delusions, like the Shabbaetai Tzvi tragedy. The great rabbis have hearts and minds filled with Torah. Shouldn't they be the people we turn to in cases of doubt?
Beyond that, it was felt that these men should be the ones to ask even on questions that were not directly religious ones. Should I go into partnership with X? Should I marry Y? These were questions that had not classically been the province of rabbis. But there could be little doubt that advice given by a true Torah scholar, with no personal connection to the situation, would likely to be far better than that given by random friends.
This system has become well rooted in most Orthodox communities until this day. I have had the experience of being asked by congregations where I had applied for the position of rabbi, "when we ask you a question, who will be answering it?" In other words, which Gedolim do you follow? But this system also has its critics.
Why? That will be my next post.
Part 2
The system of Daat Torah; turning to a group of men who are both learned and of the greatest integrity, would seem like it would be the best vehicle for both bringing about a consensus, and arriving at truth. Often, it has worked that way. However, there were and are pitfalls.
First of all, with the rise of Hassidism in the eighteenth century, the face of Jewish leadership changed. The position of the Gadol (Rabbinic Greats) was primarily dependent on knowledge of sources and their application. The Hassidic leaders, called Rebbes rather than Rabbis, was primarily based on charisma, spirituality, and the ability to counsel people in crisis. The classical rabbi rarely dealt with these things. He was more interested in the permissible or forbidden, proper and improper doctrine. The Rebbe is interested in your hopes, fears, ambitions, hurts and disappointments.
Although many Rebbes were also Rabbis, many were not; or even particularly learned. When a anti-Hassidic rabbi was informed about a statement made by a famous Hassidic Rebbe, which was apparently based on a very obscure Talmudic statement, he expressed surprise that the Rebbe had known the statement. Upon hearing this, the Rebbe replied "He's right, I didn't know the statement. I got it from where the Talmud got it!"
In the U.S., the usual reality is that the community rabbi is rarely a great scholar, but more of a pastoral figure. When legal questions come up, he will usually defer to a Gadol. When I lived in Israel (1984 to 2001), I would often visit the Chief Rabbi's office. Once, his personal secretary asked me "Are you sure you are a rabbi?" I said to him "of course, Why?" He said "because you're always smiling. I never saw a rabbi smile". Yes, in most of the world, the idea of a rabbi as a friend and guide is still unknown. The American experience has, in effect, blended the traditional rabbi with the rebbe.
Herein lies a problem as well as a blessing. The community rabbi (in the U.S., more often the rabbi of a synagogue rather than an entire community) is free, for the most part, of making momentous decisions. That is for the Gadol. But that also means that decisions are made by those who don't interact with the people. The local rabbi knows all about the community's circumstances. The Gadol in the ivory tower probably doesn't.
There is a lovely Hassidic story about a Rebbe who visited a Gadol. He asked the Gadol "What are the roofs in your community made of?" The Gadol answered "brick". "Too bad" said the Rebbe. It would be better if they were made of iron". The Gadol thought the Rebbe a madman. He related the story to a follower of that Rebbe. "That's amazing" said the follower. "The Rebbe was speaking about leadership. He was saying that if there is a "fire", a spiritual or material crisis, brick leadership will be unmoved. Iron will moan and groan with the rest of the house. What a pity that the people of this community only have a brick roof".
Still another issue is if setting universal standards is such a good idea. Many areas of Jewish thought are not spelled out in Tanach or Talmud. Numerous approaches appear in the writings of later scholars. Although there may have been disagreements, there was almost always respect and tolerance for other views. With the system of Daat Torah, one view generally became the only legitimate one. Since the Gedolim were educated in Torah, with little or no secular education, a decision might reflect this.
Even how things are done by the average person might be unknown to them. One example came in the 1950s, when a major Gadol issued an opinion about women using makeup on Shabbat. He ruled that makeup does, indeed, violate the prohibition of "tzove'a" (coloring, dying), Powdered makeup is OK. This has become standard Orthodox policy. One can buy "Shabbat makeup" in all colors, in powdered form.
Another Gadol asked the first for his reasoning. He said "Powder is not coloring. If she walks out in the slightest breeze, it will blow right off". The second Gadol wrote "Not in the slightest breeze, and not in a hurricane". But the first Gadol is seen as one of the ultimate sources of Daat Torah. His view is still accepted, not for the view's logic, but because of that Gadol's stature. Some will say that this is Daat Torah. Others would say that it is a distortion of the halachic process.
More issues will be discussed in my next post.
Part 3
Another issue that many have with the Daat Torah idea is the fact that nearly all the "Gedolim" are of the Lithuanian stream of Orthodoxy. The Jews of Lithuania (and surrounding areas) developed a system of study involving deep analytics of Talmudic texts and deriving ideas and doctrines from these texts that are not actually spelled out.
Many have accepted these methods wholeheartedly. Many have not. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, for example, considered much of this type of learning as "confusion" ("bilbulim"). The method of study in most other places involved a strong effort to understand what the text is actually saying (not always easy!).
The Lithuanians set up a great network of Yeshivot, which has been transported to Israel, the U.S., as well as many other countries. The "Harvard and Yales" of Yeshivot are all Lithuanian-style. For most Orthodox Jews, this has become standard Judaism, with other Jews needing to hop on the band wagon. But there are dissenting voices as well.
Rabbinic leaders who are rooted in other traditions see this as a form of cultural imperialism. The Syrian Jewish community of New York is deeply divided between those who wish to maintain the way of life of their ancient community, and those who feel that it is essential to accept the ways of the Gedolm.
Many Chassidic leaders also struggle to maintain their way of life and thought. Even German Jewish leaders, the cultural and religious fore-bearers of Ashkenazic Jewry, have reservations about this. Calls for "unity" often translate into "let's all be the same".
A related factor is the effects of all this on halachah. Different communities always maintained their own interpretations of halachah. But the Gedolim of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries have pushed the idea of one unified approach.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, two great books of halachah appeared in Eastern Europe. One was the "Aruch HaShulchan" of Rabbi Y.M. Epstein. It is a rewriting of the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), but it did much more.
In each area of halachah he analyses the development from the Torah, through the Talmud and later opinions. He describes how the accepted final decision was made, but then analyses whether the conclusion is correct. He often jettisons the common practice for another one, more firmly based on sources and logic.
The Aruch HaShulchan became the standard halachic work in Yeshivot until about 1950. The second work to appear at that time is the Mishnah Berurah of Rabbi Y.M. Kagan, know as the Chafetz Chaim. The Chafetz Chaim had made his reputation primarily as an ethicist.
The Mishnah Berurah is based on the first part of the Shulchan Aruch only (dealing with daily rituals, Shabbat and Holidays). Unlike the Aruch HaShulcahn, its primary goal is to show how the practices of Lithuanian Judaism are completely based on sources, and is essentially the only way to understand these sources. In essence, the halachic system had ended in one definitive work' a compendium of Daat Torah.
The work was hailed by some, but opposed by many. Both German and Chassidic rabbis pointed out the cultural bias. Even among the Lithuanians, most preferred the analysis of the Aruch HaShulchan over the ultra-conservative Mishnah Berurah.
However, around 1950, a change occurred. Many rabbis were horrified that Orthodox Jews were changing centuries old traditions in favor of the Aruch HaShulchan's theories. This put the common man's Judaism in danger; opening the way for considering that there might be greater truths outside the Daat Torah community.
The Mishnah Berurah was substituted in virtually all Yeshivot. It has become the "gold standard", with later rabbis' opinions needing to conform. Even groups that used to oppose it have accepted it, albeit with reservations. Does this signify a culmination, or decaying of the classical halachic system? Each side has its distinguished proponents.
Part 4
A corollary to this idea of making one Judaism, with common, codified beliefs, is, in my opinion, a "dumbing down" of Judaism. Orthodox Judaism has always included a spectrum of approaches and understandings, albeit united by certain basic principles. While unity is a beautiful thing, putting minds into a straight jacket is not. I would like to share several personal experiences I had.
The first was when I was seventeen. I am not from an observant background. I was greatly helped by a group that pioneered outreach. However, one of the doctrines of this group was to insist on a literal understanding of Talmudic legends.
Some were VERY hard to accept at face value. I was experiencing a crisis of faith. I began college that year. As this was shortly before the "teshuvah movement", a baal teshuvah was seen as fairly unique. The campus rabbi asked me how I was relating to traditional Judaism. I told him that I loved it, but was having a hard time accepting the legends. He said "what are you talking about? They were never meant to be understood as other than allegories. RAMBAM writes the explicitly".
I was puzzled. I asked the rabbi who had been teaching me. He said "NO!!! Rambam said that they had have allegoric meanings besides the literal." I saw the campus rabbi the next day. With the arrogance of youth, I said "You lied to me on this point". He said "let's look into the writings of RAMBAM." This idea had never occurred to me! Sure enough, RAMBAM called those who understand them literally "fools". I confronted the rabbi who was teaching me. He said "Oy! Why did he show you that? I didn't want to confuse you." My problem was not with the stance, but with his branding it as the ONLY stance.
Fast forward fifteen years. My wife and I, with our one and a half kids, moved to a lovely New England community. We were delighted to find that there were several groups of Orthodox Jews there. Our delight didn't last long, as we discovered that the different factions were at odds, even to the extent of law suits. We decided to try and be on good terms with all the groups. My wife befriended a woman in one of the groups (they are still in touch twenty four years later).
The woman asked my wife do deliver a Dvar Torah to a women's group. My wife agreed happily. A few hours later, the phone rang. It was the Rebbetzin who was in charge of the group. She told my wife "I'm afraid that you will present teachings from Rabbi Nachman. We don't want to confuse the women. I will tell you what to say". My wife declined the "help", and withdrew her offer to speak. We were on shaky terms with that faction throughout our three years in the community.
My last story is much more recent, just a few weeks ago. A friend (who is also a member of this group) posted a quote from one of the many laymen's book that are on the market. She found the quote troubling. I replied that I understood the subject differently from the author, and proceeded to give my interpretation of the passage under discussion.
I got a PM from a colleague, taking me to task for "showing that Orthodox Rabbis disagreed with each other", as it would confuse the people. Rabbis have been disagreeing for thousands of years! (let me stress again that I am not speaking of heretical views, but different understandings within the confines of Torah Judaism). Somehow, a new approach had emerged, accepted by the community, which shut the door on any ideas that were not in conformity with certain Gedolim.
I love Torah. I delight in finding out how different rabbis and groups have understood it throughout the ages. Let us not mistake an artificial unity for Truth. Torah is Truth. Truth speaks in different forms. let us make the effort to understand what is said, while respecting other understandings.

Part 5
A crucial idea in the debate of Daat Torah, is a Talmud statement that in order to truly understand the Torah, we must inculcate "Emunat Chachamim". This is usually translated as "Faith in the Sages". How is this to be understood?
The Torah commands us (Deuteronomy 17:8-13) to follow the instructions of the sages of the Sanhedrin. The Torah even stipulates a death penalty for those who do not accept their rulings. But what happens after the demise of the Sanhedrin, which occurred around the year 350?
Maimonides rules that, after that, there is no universal rabbinic authority, other than a rabbi chosen by a community, for that community. Other than that, we listen to what rabbis have to say, and hold their words up to the scrutiny of earlier sources, as well as logic. Rashi, expressing the view of most Ashkenazi rabbis at that time (11th century) posits that all great sages in a generation together form a sort of Sanhedrin. Their words are to be seen as binding according to Torah law.
Moreover, there is a Talmudic concept of "halachah k'batrai" (the law follows the later authority). The idea here is that the later scholar has seen the words of the earlier scholars. If he has ruled against them, he surely has a good reason, even if that is not readily apparent to us. Therefore, according to this, a rabbi in 2015 can overrule a rabbi from a thousand years ago. This is a very strong concept in most Orthodox communities. Of course, this would not mean EVERY rabbi, but those who are noted for their vast knowledge and piety; the Gedolim.
Maimonides, on the other hand, states that the principle of "halachah k'batrai" only applies until the year 350, as long as there was a Sanhedrin. After that, we go by who is most logical, and whose views conform with sources. This view is upheld in most Sepharadic communities, as well as the Modern Orthodox. So what about "faith in the Sages"?
The fact is that the phrase probably doesn't mean that! Faith in the Sages would be translated into Hebrew as "Emunah BaChachamim". "Emunat Chachamim actually means "Faith OF the Sages"! That is, Judaism must be understood in terms of the Oral Tradition, as transmitted to us from Moses, through all the Sanhedrins and ultimately through their heirs, the Rabbis of the Talmud. It is saying that there is no other way to understand the Torah except through the Oral Tradition.
The statement is NOT an automatic endorsement of the views of rabbis yet to be born. We are not to negate them, but Torah resides in sources, not personalities. A modern sage, according to this approach, is NOT an authority figure, but rather a repository of ancient treasure. We must learn, be inspired, and absorb the light of the millenia. We are not to close our minds, but open them.

The consensus today among Ashkenazi Jews are to go according to the Mishnah Berura or with arguments straight from the sources of the Shulchan Aruch where there is no Mishnah Berura. Sephardim go according to the Beit Yosef who is based on the Rambam and the Yemenite Community based on the Rambam.

From Sophia: The Tzaddik, Reb Noach of Lechovitch, shared the following story with his Chassidim:
Hirshke, a simple Yid, earned his parnasa by selling merchandise in the market. Before daybreak he would go out to the countryside to meet the goyishe farmers before they arrived in town, and bargain with them over their goods.
One day a visiting maggid came to town and spoke of the intrinsic value of living with bitachon, and explained that no man ever earns a kopke more than what Hashem has ordained for him. Hirshke took those words to heart. On the following market day he decided not to rush out early to try and reach the farmers before his competitors did. His anxious wife, seeing him lying in bed, urged him to get up. He told her what he had heard from the maggid, concluding that whatever Hashem had planned for him, he would be able to buy at home. She did her eloquent best to convince him otherwise, but Hirshke refused to leave the house.
A while later, when they heard the other buyers outside clinching their deals with the goyim, she pleaded with him again, but to no avail. Then one of the farmers called out, "We're not selling any more stuff until Hirshke shows up!"
The goyim began banging on his shutters, shouting for him to get up. Hirshke got dressed, brought the farmers inside and bought everything at a discounted rate without having to bargain. From that day on, he never had to leave his house, for the goyim would come to him, and he made a respectable parnasa till the end of his days.
Reb Noach finished the story and added, "This worked for him, because he was a simple fellow whose faith was whole and uncomplicated. It wouldn't be the same for someone else who tried to upgrade his bitachon by adding the sophistication of reason...."
(סיפורי חסידים זוין תורה ע' 381)

When the Rabbinute becomes too tough on Gerim more modern Orthodox Jews open up a Conversion Court:

Since Jewish Prayer is based on sunrise and sunset times and Halachic hours are broken up by day light or night time try this app. It also has for today or years from now you might have to google for your area.

Inyanay Diyoma

Two killed in terrorist drive by shooting near Otniel seems to be father and 18 year old child:,7340,L-4725112,00.html

Two homes surrounding Gaza hit with bullets.

Israel shoots and wounds some attempted infiltrations in Gaza Friday afternoon.

France is hit with 8 terrorist attacking innocents: After this on Saturday a French Citizen was arrested with a gun or rifle in Gatwick: Amsterdam had a scare in the airport and we are moving closer the predictions of Daniel that the Malbim stated may years ago.
I take this from Dr. Harry so that you can see measure for measure it does not take a math or chemistry major to figure out the measure from this article cut short: BRUSSELS (AP) — Relations between the European Union and Israel took a dive on Wednesday after Jerusalem derided a decision of the 28-nation bloc to specially label products made in West Bank settlements. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the EU has taken an "exceptional and discriminatory step" for what the ministry called "political reasons." The EU move, which came after months of procrastinating, underscores the bloc's unhappiness over Israel's continued expansion of settlements on territory that Palestinians seek for their future state.
At least 200 terrorists and associates planned the attack where the main target was President Hollande:

Italy boosts security after attack on Chabad Rabbi in Milano:,7340,L-4725176,00.html

Are you surprised that the PLO will not condemn the attack near Otniel?

Ed-Op - The beginning of WWIII or perhaps as a certain group states “Now the end begins”. Europe with all their brains failed to see what one Rabbi and a few other Israelis could see about a certain “religion of peace” even on France 24 some “genius” commentator said “Islam means peace”. Obviously that commentator did not read the simple Hebrew where Yishmael is called a “Perry-Adam” or a wild ass of a man. Beresheis 16:12 And he shall be a wild ass of a man: his hand shall be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the face of all his brethren.',7340,L-4725484,00.html

Four wounded in car attack north of Yerushalayim.

Old City of Yerushalayim illuminated in the French tri-colors as solidarity:

Under our nose!
The Holy Land Foundation was the largest Islamic charity in the United States. Headquartered in Richardson, Texas.
it was originally known as Occupied land fund.
It was the "largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history."
In 2009, the founders of the organization were given sentences of between 15 and 65 years in prison for "funneling $12 million to Hamas to kill those Jews"
May 2012, Elashi, Baker, Abdulqader, and Odeh filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, challenging their convictions on Sixth Amendment grounds and thereby requesting that the high court review their convictions.
Thank G-D the United States Supreme Court denied the petition for writ of certiorari. But here is a list of their other foundations.
list of Hamas/MB groups includes the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim American Society (MAS), Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim Students Association (MSA), Islamic Centers, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), American Muslims for Palestine, EMERGE, US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), and many others.
They have 29 millions followers. Good morning Islam! Thanks to Bat Zion Sachs.

MDA furious after Red Crescent refuses to treat Jews:

From Barry Shaw: The EU's decision demanding that Israel label products from Judea & Samaria is hypocritical. Here are just two reasons why; Last year, the EU signed an agreement with Morocco extending their fisheries treaties into Western Sahara. The Moroccans have been accused of occupying that region and conducting a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people there. Yet the agreement allows the EU and Morocco to profit from this occupation.
In northern Cyprus, the EU provides direct grants and funds to the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It even offers an aid program to Turkish Cypriots, even though the Turkish invasion and transfer of its population has been condemned by the United Nations.
The EU provide grants and funds to Turkey and signs agreements with Morocco, but punish Israel. That's hypocrisy. That's double standards. That's discrimination. Use these examples to challenge your media and politicians, especially Members of the European parliament.

From Leon how the so-called Palestinians reacted to the attack in Paris:

France does to ISIS what Israel should have done in Gaza and Obama should have done two years ago.,7340,L-4726126,00.html PS nobody is worried if human shields die neither ISIS, France, UN or Human Rights Watch only in Israel with Hamas, PLO or Hezballah.

From Richard A. How the KGB successfully negotiated with Hezballah in Beirut:

80% of French Jews considering Aliyah it could happen to the USA too someday so be wary:

2 perhaps 3 more Shachidim and plenty wounded when they ambush the IDF and call from their Mosque to attack. Dudavan Golani spearheaded the operation back by Givati Troops as they demolish the couple story reinforced concrete structure in the “refugee” camp.
I drink mostly Israeli but sometimes Bartenura Wine form Italy or Kedem Grape Juice from NY for Pessach but only drink kosher Jewish made wine.,7340,L-4725072,00.html

Profile of the terrorist made public:,7340,L-4726642,00.html
Tourist in Rome and the Pope in danger of drones:

Danny Danon asks for condemnation of the Red Crescent for not treating Israelis:

From Reuven: BDS the truth about Reform Judaism and the rich socialists/atheists:
From Miriam Esther: A super liberal Jew for 30 years in an article from a leftist newspaper throws in the towel:

Europe must brace for more attacks as too many radical Muslims are already there:

From Albert: If France was Israel this is how the world would react via restraint calls etc.:

Obama did not answer anything and Bill Hammer goes off.

Diane Weber Bederman no sympathy for Jews:

Iron Dome shot down a rocket near the Gaza area

US gives the green light to Russia and French-Russian Air Force alliance against ISIS:’s-air-strikes-focus-first-on-rebels-next-on-ISIS-

Political cartoon aka mark the goods as the terrorists come in.
And still can’t figure this out:

Mass murder grave by ISIS uncovered testimony of beatings selling of women slaves for pleasure:

Moroccan Security supplies France with the hide out of 9 terrorists who planned to attack La Defense industrial complex.,7340,L-4727476,00.html

ISIS cell of Israeli Arabs broken up:,7340,L-4727587,00.html

Two women who defaced a German Synagogue arrested:,7340,L-4727645,00.html

Islamic State shows photo of plane bomb used against Russia:,7340,L-4727705,00.html

Terrorist mastermind killed along with him died the information on other networks:

Stabbing of Jewish teacher in southern France:

Assad has used up most of his missiles on the Rebels B”H:

Ed Op wailing sirens in the middle of Kiddush from an Israeli visiting Paris (based on sunset, I would have been sleeping at that hour).,7340,L-4725746,00.html

I did not get a prophetic vision but when HASHEM gives out measure for measure as the Moshiach approaches I would tell Europe to watch your step as they are unlikely to change their ways just like Pharaoh 3328 years ago:

2 murdered in Terror attack in Tel Aviv Synagogue:,7340,L-4728168,00.html

Second terror attack with two more Jews and one innocent Arab killed by the terrorist with a good number of wounded or in shock. A 50 year old man and a Yeshiva Bachur from the USA who was 18 died in this attack earlier in Tel Aviv a 32 year old and a 51 year old died.,7340,L-4728304,00.html

From Miriam Esther – 4,325 Chabad Embassies come out against a two state solution to the Israel-Arab conflict:

Ed Op Jimmy Carter and others have a scapegoat so blame Israel:,7340,L-4727007,00.html
And this cartoon from David with the Swedish Ambassador and the remarks about the poor Arab’s reasons:

25% of the terrorist come from the area of Chevron and therefore Israel to revoke work permits from that area:

Like many of the lasers shined in the eyes of drivers, stones, firebombs the following attempted infiltration of three Arab High School girls with long kitchen knives into an army base was thwarted on Thursday.

Pollard is freed – Glory be free at last with good Shabbos food waiting for him after 30 years.

Finally a photo of the Kotel with a message of yesterday’s and other attacks:

I guess that “There will be peace in our times!” Last Friday, just hours after Pres. Barack Obama claimed that the Islamic State has been "contained" in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist group's long reach was demonstrated by a series of attacks in Paris that left at least 129 people dead and hundreds wounded. Senator Dianne Feinstein also differed with the President, telling MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell:  "I have never been more concerned... I read the intelligence faithfully. ISIL is not contained, ISIL is expanding," said Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

Everybody have a wonderful, peaceful, pleasant, secure and healthy Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli