Friday, May 27, 2016

Parsha Bechukosai, Return to Judaism Part 3

Parsha Bechukosai

The first word of our Pasha is “if” or a condition. It is a contract between HASHEM and the Bnei Yisrael. If you observe, then you will get this and that but if you get sick of doing Mitzvos then you will get this punishment and if you still don’t behave yourselves then worse. Menashe read this with me in Schul yesterday and he was horrified at the magnitude of the punishment like the eating of children that occurred during the siege of northern Israel during the days of Elisha HaNovi.

26:3 If ye walk in My statutes, and keep My commandments, and do them; 4 then I will give your rains in their season, and the land shall yield her produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. … and dwell in your land safely. … 11 And I will set My tabernacle among you, and My soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright.

Up until now for obeying and now for disobeying.

14 But if ye will not hearken unto Me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 and if ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul abhor Mine ordinances, so that ye will not do all My commandments, but break My covenant; 16 I also will do this unto you: I will appoint terror over you, even consumption and fever, that shall make the eyes to fail, and the soul to languish; and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. … 18 And if ye will not yet for these things hearken unto Me, then I will chastise you seven times more for your sins. … 21 And if ye walk contrary unto Me, and will not hearken unto Me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.  … 26 When I break your staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver your bread again by weight; and ye shall eat, and not be satisfied. … 27 And if ye will not for all this hearken unto Me, but walk contrary unto Me; 28 then I will walk contrary unto you in fury; and I also will chastise you seven times for your sins.

The cycle is getting worse and worse the more that G-D hides HIMSELF, the more the people sin, the more they sin the punishment grows sevenfold.

29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. 30 And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your sun-pillars, and cast your carcasses upon the carcasses of your idols; and My soul shall abhor you. 31 And I will make your cities a waste, and will bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your sweet odors. 32 And I will bring the land into desolation; and your enemies that dwell therein shall be astonished at it.

When Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain came to Israel in the late 1800’s he did not find a land flowing with milk and honey but a few trees and barren rocks even the Arab Population was low for there was nobody to sell goods to or work for. A few Jewish families lived in Israel. It was only towards the end of days that settlers started moving in and gathering water for agricultural settlements. Eventually, more and more trees were planted and roads were built. Where there are only Arabs, the hills are basically barren. Where the Jews are green with trees, grass and vines. We call this the physical green line and now settlements are popping up bring green across the line into the line in Yehuda and Shomron.

33 And you will I scatter among the nations, and I will draw out the sword after you; and your land shall be a desolation, and your cities shall be a waste. 34 Then shall the land be paid her Sabbaths, as long as it lies desolate, and ye are in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and repay her Sabbaths.

Of course this is more than just the Shmita or Shabbos of the land but rather other sins. For if you hold by 420 years that would be 60 Shmita years or 600 years of the diaspora. Therefore 2,000 years must constitute more sins and perhaps violation of Shabbos.   

35 As long as it lies desolate it shall have rest; even the rest which it had not in your Sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it. 36 And as for them that are left of you, I will send a faintness into their heart in the lands of their enemies; and the sound of a driven leaf shall chase them; and they shall flee, as one flee from the sword; and they shall fall when none pursues. 37 And they shall stumble one upon another, as it were before the sword, when none pursues; and ye shall have no power to stand before your enemies.

The lack of fear of G-D will cause fear of man and more fears that become exaggerated to such an extent that the people live in a constant state of panic.

38 And ye shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. 39 And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies' lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.

There will be nothing we can do and persecution, pogroms, forced conversion and worse of all assimilation shall take its toll on our people physically, financially and spiritually. It is easy to convert a Reform Jew to another religion because he has no spiritual food for his Neshama. I was lucky in that I returned to Torah Judaism but others were lost to Buddhism, cults and Christianity.

40 And they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, in their treachery which they committed against Me, and also that they have walked contrary unto Me. 41 I also will walk contrary unto them, and bring them into the land of their enemies; if then perchance their uncircumcised heart be humbled, and they then be paid the punishment of their iniquity; 42 then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.

The Diaspora ends with the confession and return to the Bris between Am Yisrael and the HOLY ONE BLESSED BE HE.

43 For the land shall lie forsaken without them, and shall be paid her Sabbaths, while she lies desolate without them; and they shall be paid the punishment of their iniquity; because, even because they rejected Mine ordinances, and their soul abhorred My statutes.

This is a theme which I see all the time Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael are tied to each other something that the USA or other places are not tied together.

44 And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God. 45 But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.

There will be places, parts of the nation and Rabbis in Gallus that will allow for people to live in peace and prosper. But this depends on Torah Observance.

46 These are the statutes and ordinances and laws, which the LORD made between Him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.
27:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When a man shall clearly utter a vow of persons unto the LORD, according to thy valuation,

This section deals with the valuation of people, fields and slaves/servants. But for dedication to the Temple and for selling a thief to a wealthy person or selling oneself into servitude during a famine.

34 These are the commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.

Chazak – Chazak v’ nit Chazak
The Ultimate kindness (a story from Lugano)

You might have heard about the tragic car accident in Quinto (south of Switzerland) this past Tuesday evening. I would like to share with you what my colleague Rabbi Yakov Kantor of Lugano wrote to his community following the sad event. Needless to say, I admire his work and dedication: "Shir and Anat Mittelman, a mother (56) and daughter (27) from Israel, whowere touring Italy and Switzerland, were stopped in the pre Gotthard traffic, and killed instantly (despite having seat belts fastened), when a distracted driver rammed into them from behind. What followed was 48 hours of litigation and efforts to arrange the immediate release of the deceased, waive the autopsy order and see to the complete burial in Israel as soon as possible. The funeral is taking place now and the family is somewhat comforted by the relatively quick burial. There were many people who were understanding and involved, the Polizia cantonale, the state judge, centro funerario Lugano and the Israeli consulate in Bern. Within the community thanks must be extended to Mr. Elio Bollag, and Mr. Shmuel Castro. Chabad of Ticino was highly involved and instrumental throughout many of the details and procedures in front and behind the scenes. Thank you for your support, as our supporter you take part in this tragic but exceptional Mitzvah. May we share good news.

My Return to Judaism Part 3

We each have our ups and downs and no path is completely smooth. Around Elul 5726, Howard took me to meet his mother. She did not keep kosher in the sense I do today but she was the most religious person whom I had come in contact with at the time. She only had one set of pots but cooked the meat and milk dishes separately and I believe it was kosher meat. She would light Shabbos candles each week. For me that was a giant step above where I had been all my life! She told me to read the Bible and pray by myself. [This was the same JPS Version which is available on line and I use the translation which is more like KJV than Chabad or Art Scroll at times. Yet I use it here for it is free and on-line.] Though May she worked on me to go get a kosher Bar Mitzvah with an Orthodox Rabbi. She contacted Rabbi Klayman (perhaps with a C) and made an appointment for me to see him. I already wrote about seeing Tephillin for the first time during the Six Day War and obtaining my first Siddur.

The Six Day War broke out after my last finals of my Sophomore year and I went to City College that day to check my grades and meet up with my friend Joel Klein. (I wonder now if he is the head of the NYC Board of Education and allowed a special Arabic/Moslem School in the Public School System a few years ago.) As we got off at 42nd St to head to the Port Authority Terminal to take the Warwick Bus Line to Greenwood Lake New York for Astronomy Observing and just relaxing, we encountered a bunch of Jewish Youths collecting money for Israel. He gave $5 which was his week’s allowance and I gave $1 which was my week’s allowance. I mention this to show that charity is relative to the donor.
We rode up to the Lake and each night on the news watched the victories of Israel against the three surrounding nations. Meantime back in Israel some towns were being shelled by Yarden especially areas of Yerushalayim like Kiriat Zands where a shell did not explode near a natural gas canister. The Israelis were not told of the victories and the press in Israel was silent not like today. On the day that Yerushalayim was liberated, I saw the strangest sight that angered me. You see I had friends in the army and army reserves and was at that time applying for or thinking of applying for the diesel submarine Navy Reserve Officer Training Course. In the end I did not go because they would not guarantee my participating as an officer candidate so I figured that I would wait until I graduated and try for an aircraft carrier or the air force. Here I had donated a week’s allowance and the US Army did not have a communication device on the left hand and on the head above the middle of the forehead and yet ‘poor’ Israel had it for all the soldiers at the wall and then even a stranger thing happened the fellows started bowing down (genuflecting) to this wall. I mentioned this to Joel as I knew that he had been educated much better than I in Judaism. He told me the black boxes were not army communication devices but Tephillin and the wall was the wall of the Temple and the soldiers were praying that way to G-D. (Wow what a relief and double wow how ignorant I had been of my own people and religion.)

I met the Rabbi in Elul and he took me to buy a pair of Tephillin. It was a very small pair and cost only $54 and I bought the Hertz Chumash and Code of Jewish Law. He lent me a book by Rabbi Avraham Carmel “How Strange was my Path” and another book with the story of the boy who whistled on Yom Kippur – I think it was called “The Torah as our Guide” and as I read it on that Yom Kippur 5728, I cried like a baby as that boy was me who got to the town either whistled or held the Siddur upside-down and save Am Yisrael from a Gezaira when he said, “MASTER OF THE WORLD, I cannot read Hebrew but you know the words except my prayers as if I prayed them with Kavannah. I began putting on Tephillin and I praying part of the morning service each day at home in English. On the 50th day after putting on Tephillin my prayers were really answered. There was a meeting with three Astronauts and Astronomers. All my life I wanted to be a professional Astronomer and here I was going to meet with Dr. Fred Whipple of the Smithsonian. (Dr. Whipple a number of years ago from the original posting at the age of 98. November 5, 1906–August 30, 2004) I showed him my meteor research. He invited me to come for a job interview. That was G-D’s way of repaying me in this world and getting the astronomy out of my blood so that I could get to real work for the next not only for myself but for others.

The year went by quickly and an old friend from the boy scouts named Sivan helped me with the blessings for the Haftarah for my Bar Mitzvah and although I could only read nicely Chapter 2 of Yehoshua, the people in Schul were impressed by me and that I was a returnee to Judaism. Around Sukkos, I had begun praying in the local Conservative Schul called the “Sunnyside Jewish Center” and began following the prayers. It was far from ideal. 15 and 16-year-old girls would Daven next to the tall thin 20-year-old fellow. A flock of sheep and I was basically the only Ram around. I tried my best to concentrate on my prayers Shabbos morning as most of the other times there was only men. In my spare time, I was reading the “Gates of Repentance”, “Path of the Just”, and “Ways of the Righteous”. IN THOSE DAYS OF BEING NEW TO JUDAISM AND PRAYING EACH WORD WITH INTENT IN ENGLISH IT WAS HARDEST OF ALL ON THOSE SHABBOSOS WITH FEMALE DISTRACTION NEXT TO ME. This is perhaps one of the greatest reasons that I am against mixed prayers. When on field trips years later with the men praying in front of the women or the women meters away on the side, the distraction was not there. At home my wife is a full partner and advisor but at prayer we go our separate ways and that is the best way to serve HASHEM. (If I want to sit together with my wife in mixed seating at a wedding or in a movie that is a different story but never ever at prayer.)

I began joining the Mincha / Maariv Minyan at work and during this time I met (now Rabbi) David Willig and others at the Jewish Lunch table on South Campus and somebody loaned me “Rejoice O’Youth” by Rabbi Avigdor Miller (now of blessed memory). It took about 50 pages to knock evil or evolution by Darwin out of my head. Instead of a Random evolution, I see a master plan evolution by a CREATOR.

In early June 5728, I went up to Boston and rented a room in Cambridge, MA to work for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. I used to turn on and off the lights on Shabbos as I knew no better but I made Kiddush and did not work or travel. I had to come in for my Bar Mitzvah on Shabbos 21st and did not time my bus and subway to Brooklyn and came in a few minutes after sundown. I don’t recall if it was at this time or my second visit to Brooklyn that Howard convinced me to fly back to Boston and I took my first plane flight then.

I had one more relapse on Shabbos. I had always been curious to meet my European Family and Cousin Andre Horgen from France was passing through NY. I hitched a ride toward Greenwood Lake and got there a bit after sundown and the next day I traveled too. The only two times that I traveled since then was on border patrol in the army and once I had to take a girl who swallowed pills to the hospital on Shabbos – Pekuach Nefesh. Perhaps had I not met him and violated the Shabbos, things would have been different. As he married Christina, a non-Jew. I wonder to this day if I had guarded that Shabbos if I could have prevented it?

One of my friends was a ‘fanatic’ Chabad follower and he observed meticulously Shabbos. He told me that I should not turn on and off the lights on Shabbos. To check him out, I asked my more modern Jewish friend Myron if this is true and he told me yes. So from around Mar Cheshvan 5729, I became completely Shomer Shabbos. David Willig, another David and a nice girl named Suri encouraged me to try to join Yeshiva Haichal HaTorah. I went down for the Feb. Semester and was accepted on the grounds that I had no money, could help in the office, at Bingo, substitute teach, proctor exams etc.

I finally began learning Gemara and Mordechai Rubin introduced me to the Blackman Mishnayos which I still read to this day on my plane flights over and over again. I watched the Rabbis, learned the Shabbos Songs, began to give Drashos and learn from the CCNY library the Midrash Rabbah and bits of the Zohar (until I got learned enough to quit reading it for a while). The seeds had been planted now for what we call a Torah Yid.

I have already written about the last time I saw my father alive was when he brought me to the Yeshiva. I was on my own saying Kaddish and graduating from College. Since I had been dating and now it was time to get serious and build a family, that summer and fall I began looking for a wife. I also went down to the Bostoner Rebbe at that time and I think it was he who suggested Haichal HaTorah. Associating with both Litvak and Chassid, I was being to become a member of the Frum world but not good enough for a Shidduch with their daughters. Modern Orthodox was a bit too weak for me then as I was on an upswing. Eventually I placed Yiddishkeit above all else and married a girl with other problems. Eventually for the sake of my children and myself, I would have to divorce. This was one of the prices I had to pay for keeping myself from sin and not being able to wait until I was more learned. There were some close relatives and distant relatives of my Rosh Yeshiva whom I did date. One was cripple but that did not bother me but her personality was not exciting enough. Other I was dating when my first wife turned my head with her Yiddishkeit and beauty. Still I got some nice children out of it. My problem at the age of 22 is that I went for the outside package. A sadder and wiser me a bit older when for an inner package and the outside wrapping concerned me less when looking for a wife.

To be continued.

G-D had plans for me in the Knesset:,7340,L-4806435,00.html

Catriona E M. I'm an unmarried, single woman, in a liberal community, I'm pro-egalitarian and love to do guy's stuff like martial arts and DIY. But tichel just looks pretty cool from a fashion point of view. Also, the argument of sniut (Tznius = modesty) is quite understandable. I don't see why woman have to "sell" their body and show loads of skin just to be m'sameach men. So wearing tichel (kerchief) can feel quite empowering. The visiting student rabbi in our community said it's absolutely fine even for an unmarried goi to wear tichel. That's the progressive point of view, though.
It has been over a year perhaps two since I wrote about modesty. A woman in the summer time according to the liberal rulings of Rav Moshe Feinstein should wear a closed blouse that has what my wife calls 3/4ths sleeves that cover the elbow and a dress that covers the knees sitting down. The Chofetz Chaim and the Holy Zohar wrote fire and brimstone about a married woman who does not cover her hair. A woman should marry a man who respects her intelligence and being and not because he likes her legs or cleavage. For how long does love last if it is based on the physical either beauty or money for if that goes one has to have intelligence and a give and take.
PS it is not a progressive point of view but that of the most conservative ultra-Orthodox Rabbis.

Farmers protest middle-men after told to destroy crops and sell directly to public under cutting the ones who raise the price by 5 to 10 times

Ed-Op on internal Likud Politics and it reflects 20 years behavior of Benyamin Netanyahu:,7340,L-4806361,00.html

Two Likud Knesset Members wanted Christian Missionaries to enter the country to guarantee their seats. Now with 66 coalition members they are not in power to do anything:

Inyanay Diyoma

Guess who is one of the big Clinton Foundation donors. If D. Trump got them for a mere $200,000 donation to come to his wedding all the more so $1 - $5,000,000!

Yaalon resigns and Rabbi Glick replaces him. No tears on my part!,7340,L-4805583,00.html

Ed-Op military correspondent attacks Bibi for hurting Al Sisi:,7340,L-4805609,00.html

Bibi attacked by his enemies in the press and TV.

Dr. Martin Sherman has left the Jerusalem Post for this paper Pitfalls of peace:

Besides George Soros, guess what Barak Hussein paid money to J-Street for backing Iranian Deal. Read “Traitors and Carpetbaggers in the Promised Land”

Donald J. Trump plans to visit Israel:

Undercover Police did not identify themselves attacked an Arab – since I am not super pro-Arab it is bad:,7340,L-4806449,00.html

Since this is not a major newspaper I would not put this past him to pull money from Veterans for Syrian Immigrants but I like to check out the truth so at this point I take this with a grain of Dead Sea Salt:

Jewish woman and daughter stabbed in kosher restaurant:
Iran claim that it can destroy Israel in 8 min.

Oren Shaul and Hadar Goldin are not buried why not hold these terrorists in pig skins until our fighting men are returned? After they take advantage of Bibi-Yaalon return, Police Minister orders freeze on returning.

US bombs Shiites so Iranians can take over Iraq and move closer to Israel and Saudis-Yarden. Not so smart!’s-Soleimani-leads-US-backed-attack-on-Fallujah

Elkin covers for Netanyahu but it is not true and intelligence should have been provided to security cabinet ministers:

Comptroller’s report shows that Israel blundered fighting BDS:,7340,L-4807490,00.html

Attorney General angry of political interference in army trial:

Why Home Schooling or Religious Schooling is necessary: Ed-Op from Dr. Harry: For all the justifiable press coverage of Barack Obama's federal guidance on transgender students in the public schools, its most dangerous provision has largely gone unnoticed – and it has nothing to do with bathrooms.

The most outrageous provision of his transgender bathroom order does not even involve locker rooms, where teenagers of the opposite sex will change and shower next to one another.

The most offensive part of the new policy is that, under the Obama administration's federal guidance:

School districts must allow biological males and females to spend the night together in the same hotel room on field trips;

Colleges must let men who say they are transgender be roommates with one or more women; and

School officials cannot even tell those young women or their parents in advance that their new roommate is a man, without risking a federal lawsuit.

The plain wording of the Obama administration's diktat is clear enough, yet it has not been reported, even by conservative news outlets.

Republicans get it wrong, again!

Molotov Cocktails thrown at border police on Har Scopus near Hebrew U.,7340,L-4807991,00.html

Another heat wave and sudden fires. Some might be from Lag B’ Omer ceremonies but in Kiriat Mattesdorf witnesses saw somebody set the fire.,7340,L-4808264,00.html

Being the only full Jew on the block I got bullied more than anybody else: Anti-Semitic Attack in NH CT.

Iran and Hezballah planning a series of terror attacks according to intelligence:

Shin-Bet stops rocket parts to Gaza:,7340,L-4808463,00.html

Have a healthy, peaceful and good Shabbos,

Rachamim Pauli