More on the miracles of the Six Day War: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4812536,00.html
Two miracles that I know of from the terror action this week and perhaps a third. The first was a young man who was shot twice in the head from point blank range. One bullet was removed and the doctors are discussing the second what to do. He is talking and moving all his limbs.
The second was a man sitting a meter from the terrorist at the next table. They shot in the other direction killing the former member of the elite COS unit. They are sort of the Israeli Version of the Green Beret.
The possible third miracle is that all the easing of travel has been suspended and more roadblocks in place. Those who snuck through holes in the fence around Chevron are being rounded up and two Golani Units put on patrol (They are like the Marines).
Although Naso is the largest Parsha, we have only 18 Mitzvos which are 7 positive and 11 negative written down. Bamidbar was the largest Parsha with no Mitzvos at all. Among commandments mentioned this week is the Nazir and the Sotah and what is required to do with these commandments.
The Parsha continues from last week with the children of Gershon and Merari and the number of members of their children who were between the ages of 30 years until 50 years who could work on the Mishkan. It must have been a great let down to the older members of the tribe who could get Maaser if they were in Israel and could sing in the Mishkan Service but not participate in the moving and building or dismantling the Mishkan.
4:21 And the LORD spoke unto Moses saying: 22 'Take the sum of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers' houses, by their families; 23 from thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them: all that enter in to wait upon the service, to do service in the tent of meeting. … 25 they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tent of meeting, its covering, and the covering of sealskin (giraffe skin) that is above upon it, and the screen for the door of the tent of meeting; 26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and whatsoever there may be to do with them, therein shall they serve. … 29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them by their families, by their fathers' houses; … 31 And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tent of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof; 32 and the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, even all their appurtenance, and all that pertains to their service;
In Shemos I discussed the various weights of items used in the Mishkan. The curtains were very weighty that it took 300 men to dip them and remove them from the Mikvah and I showed how weighty they were in tons based on the density of water and not even taking surface tension into account. All the curtains and the covering were placed on the wagons assigned to the Gershon family.
Because of the weight of the boards and accessories therewith, Merari got the largest amount of wagon to carry them and I did the calculation of the tonnage this year in commentaries on Shemos.
Kohath did not have an easy job as the Teva and its gold cover were very weighty but I came to the conclusion that it had to have ‘carried itself’ like our Sages tell us for 6, 8, 10 or 12 men taking turns with a relief squad could not have carried that for much distance. It might have been boards under the Ark and making the number of men a few dozen being rotated that might have been possible. There was also the golden Menorah, golden Mizbayach, and other items which they carried distances. The bronze lave was very large in size. The weights are large and therefore the numbers of people listed below and the replacement for others as they tired-out is important.
…36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. 37 These are they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, of all that did serve in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
Although the amount looks a lot the number of items and the weights of them make this amount very reasonable. An oil cruse could be carried by one man for miles with the oil or broken up into cruses and oil separately. However, the lave and the Mizbayach or Teva amounted to team work.
38 And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, by their families, and by their fathers' houses, 39 from thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entered upon the service, for service in the tent of meeting, 40 even those that were numbered of them, by their families, by their fathers' houses, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty. 41 These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that did serve in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of the LORD.
Taking down or putting up the Mishkan and the various skins, boards and connections required the most precise team work with ropes, ladders and pulleys. (They had this knowledge even if the Leviim had been exempt in Mitzrayim for the cities and pyramids were built by this method. Most modern men use machines and are not used to plain ropes and pulleys and human strength and fortitude.)
42 And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, by their families, by their fathers' houses, 43 from thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entered upon the service, for service in the tent of meeting, 44 even those that were numbered of them by their families, were three thousand and two hundred.
The tonnage required that the holy parts of the boards and the risk to the men involved removing the staves or placing them to hold the sides together was great so many men had to secure the pulleys and ropes and slowly one by one add, subtract, raise or low the boards and sockets.
5:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 'Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is unclean by the dead; 3 both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camp, in the midst whereof I dwell.' 4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp; as the LORD spoke unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.
This is to purify the holiness of the camp. I assume that it was done around the dedication of the Mishkan as there is no early or late in the Torah, we learn this fact now.
5 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 6 Speak unto the children of Israel: When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to commit a trespass against the LORD, and that soul be guilty; 7 then they shall confess their sin which they have done; and he shall make restitution for his guilt in full, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him in respect of whom he hath been guilty. 8 But if the man have no kinsman to whom restitution may be made for the guilt, the restitution for guilt which is made shall be the LORD'S, even the priest's; besides the ram of the atonement, whereby atonement shall be made for him. 9 And every heave-offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they present unto the priest, shall be his. 10 And every man's hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his.
Part of purifying the camp is to confess one’s sins and between a man and his fellow shall make restitution or trespass on the Kodesh. Elsewhere
11 and the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: If any man's wife go aside, and act unfaithfully against him, 13 and a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, she being defiled secretly, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken in the act; 14 and the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled; or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled;
I have written about this in the past and the only thing I want to add this year is that some men are jealous or a woman for no reason and in some cases bring on this behavior just to spite them. I know a case of one woman with a boyfriend who wanted her to photo every place she was to check up on her. Until one day she left him and Israel with somebody else. However, there are other cases where the test and trial of the Sotah has happened involving death as I brought down the Chida reading it and the woman dying after leaving his office.
6:1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: When either man or woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the LORD, 3 he shall abstain from wine and strong drink: he shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or dried. 4 All the days of his Naziriteship shall he eat nothing that is made of the grape-vine, from the pressed grapes even to the grapestone.
It is said that if a person sees a Sotah he should vow this vow so as not to get light-headed over wine. This includes the grape-seed abstracts that many natural medications people take.
… 22 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 23 'Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying: On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel; ye shall say unto them: 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee; 25 The LORD make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 So shall they put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.'
It is not enough to offer-up the Korban Tamid for Am Yisrael. The Cohanim are required to bless the nation.
7:1 And it came to pass on the day that Moses had made an end of setting up the tabernacle, and had anointed it and sanctified it, and all the furniture thereof, and the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them and sanctified them; 2 that the princes of Israel, the heads of their fathers' houses, offered--these were the princes of the tribes, these are they that were over them that were numbered. 3 And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen: a wagon for every two of the princes, and for each one an ox; and they presented them before the tabernacle.
Six covered wagons: The word צָב can denote only “covered.” Similarly,“In covered wagons (בַּצַּבִּים) and on mules” (Isa. 66:20). Covered wagons are called צַבִּים. [Some expound the word צָב in the sense of הַצְבִי יִשְׂרָאֵל, “O beauty of Israel” (II Sam. 1:19), (meaning) that they were elegant.] - [Sifrei Naso 1:148, Num. Rabbah 12: 17. See Maharzav.] They presented them in front of the Mishkan: for Moses did not accept them from their hands until he was instructed to do so by the Omnipresent. Rabbi Nathan says: Why did the chieftains see fit to be the first to contribute here, whereas concerning the work of the Mishkan , they were not the first to contribute [but the last]? However, the chieftains said as follows, “Let the people contribute what they can, and then we will complement whatever is missing.” When they saw that the people had supplied everything-as it says, “And the work was sufficient for them” (Exod. 36:7)-they said, “What is left for us to do now?” So they brought the shoham stones and the filling [stones] for the ephod and the choshen . Therefore, [in order to make amends,] here they were first to contribute. — [Sifrei Naso 1:150]
These were the wagons that Yosef sent to fetch Yacov even though the Pshat seems to say newer ones.
4 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying: 5 'Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tent of meeting; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.' 6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites. 7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service. 8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. 9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none, because the service of the holy things belonged unto them: they bore them upon their shoulders. 10 And the princes brought the dedication-offering of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes brought their offering before the altar. 11 And the LORD said unto Moses: 'They shall present their offering each prince on his day, for the dedication of the altar.' 12 And he that presented his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah;
He started first for the everlasting kingship would come from his seed. It is also the marching of the army in the wilderness.
13 and his offering was one silver dish, the weight thereof was a hundred and thirty shekels, one silver basin of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meal-offering; 14 one golden pan of ten shekels, full of incense; 15 one young bullock, one ram, one he-lamb of the first year, for a burnt-offering; 16 one male of the goats for a sin-offering; 17 and for the sacrifice of peace-offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, five he-lambs of the first year. This was the offering of Nachshon the son of Amminadav.
These gifts repeat themselves there I only bring down the names. See last years’ post for the approximate amount in modern cash of the gifts and my calculations.
18 On the second day Nethanel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, … 24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun: … 30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben: … 36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon: … 42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad: … 48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim: … 54 On the eighth day Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh: … 60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin: … 66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan: … 72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ochran, prince of the children of Asher: … 78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali:
And the grand total of the gifts from the princes is: … 84 This was the dedication-offering of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, at the hands of the princes of Israel: twelve silver dishes, twelve silver basins, twelve golden pans; 85 each silver dish weighing a hundred and thirty shekels, and each basin seventy; all the silver of the vessels two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; 86 twelve golden pans, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary; all the gold of the pans a hundred and twenty shekels; 87 all the oxen for the burnt-offering twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the he-lambs of the first year twelve, and their meal-offering; and the males of the goats for a sin-offering twelve; 88 and all the oxen for the sacrifice of peace-offerings twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he-goats sixty, the he-lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication-offering of the altar, after that it was anointed. 89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him, then he heard the Voice speaking unto him from above the ark-cover that was upon the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and He spoke unto him.
Thanks to Linda: Holocaust Survivor shares her story: http://www.ldnews.com/story/news/local/2016/06/01/holocaust-survivor-shares-story-cedar-crest-middle-school/84743766/
It’s not every day that the 405 eighth graders at Cedar Crest Middle School get a deeper insight into the Holocaust, one of history’s most abominable atrocities. During their trip to Washington, D.C. of the previous week, they could choose any of the museums on the National Mall to visit. Better than half of them chose the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Fresh from a three-day Memorial Day weekend and filing into the school’s auditorium this past Tuesday morning for an 8:30 a.m. assembly, the students were about to meet Hilda Mantelmacher, a Holocaust survivor of the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazis’ largest concentration and extermination camp of World War II, and the typhus-infested camp of Bergen-Belsen.
Leading up to the Holocaust Museum visit and that morning’s assembly, the students had been studying the “Diary of Anne Frank” as part of their English curriculum.
After an introduction by the school’s principal, Mariah Rackley, Mantelmacher made her way to the podium as the students greeted her with a respectful applause that was destined to grow in intensity as the assembly proceeded.
At first glance, Mantelmacher, of Harrisburg, could be mistaken for a sweet and gracious grandmotherly type who would be more than willing to share her recipes for cookies and treats as well as a few hugs. Her eyes danced with energy that belied the experiences she was about to share.
Holocaust is derived from the Greek word “holokauston,” which means “sacrifice by fire.” Mantelmacher’s presentation was dramatically underscored by an airing of the PBS Frontline documentary “Memory of the Camps.”
She was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Czechoslovakia on Dec. 4, 1930.
“Czechoslovakia was a democratic country like the United States,” she told the students. “I had freedom like you have. I could do anything you do.”
By the time she was 9 years old, all that had changed with the Nazi occupation that “took everything away.”
Her father ran a restaurant in Bratislava, a city in an area Hitler referred to as the “Sudetenland,” a German-speaking section of Czechoslovakia which Germany annexed before the start of World War II.
She recounted that Hitler had identified Jews as public enemy No. 1.
“We were singled out for total destruction,” she said.
Eventually, Jews were forbidden to go to school or work and were forced to wear yellow stars of David on all their clothing.
“They had to be sewn in,” Mantelmacher said, not affixed with a safety pin otherwise a person faced a beating or was sent off to a concentration camp.
Life under Nazi occupation was just the beginning of her darkest days. Before then, she said that people could rely on the local police for protection and law and order.
“They broke the windows and set the curtains on fire,” Mantelmacher said of the fate that had befallen her father’s restaurant at the hands of the Nazis.
For their own protection, her father had built a hiding shed where “we huddled together like frightened animals in the hope we would not be found,” she said when the Nazis would come round.
The Nazis also instituted a curfew. She and her family lived in fear of a “knock on the door” that usually meant that the Nazis wanted to pay them a visit.
“Knocking on the door gave me nightmares,” Mantelmacher said.
Soon the Nazis set up a ghetto in Bratislava where they herded 14,000 Jews into space for 2,000 in an old pig factory where six families were assigned to one room without bathroom facilities. All their belongings were confiscated and sent to Germany.
“They took my mother’s wedding ring and my earrings,” Mantelmacher said. “When my mother took off her wedding ring, my father cried.”
It wasn’t much longer until they would leave the ghetto for a train ride into the south of Poland but for some unknown reason.
“They put us in cattle cars,” Mantelmacher told the assembly, “and for three days and three nights, we had to stand in the same place. We couldn’t move and couldn’t ‘go’ even though there was a bucket in the car (for personal sanitary needs).”
What lay ahead for them in Poland was unthinkable. They were being transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau where they were greeted by the Nazis’ “Angel of Death,” Dr. Josef Mengele who would literally determine who was to live and who was to die as these passengers left the train.
Right from the start, they were told, “You are here to obey or you will wind up in smoke.”
“He greeted us with big German Shepherd dogs,” Mantelmacher said of Mengele. “If he sent you to the left side, it was to the gas chambers. If he sent you to the right side, it was to slave labor.”
That was the last time she saw her parents, her younger brother Joshua and her grandparents who were directed to the left side.
As if the despicable experience of the ghetto weren’t enough, Mantelmacher and the others who were in line for slave labor were told to disrobe.
“They took everything away from us,” she said, including their undergarments. “They gave us wooden shoes that caused blisters on my feet that felt like fire.”
The women were issued potato sacks for dresses.
Mantelmacher recalled that she had long blonde hair which was soon shaven off.
“They would take our hair to Germany and make pillows and mattresses out of it,” she said.
Living conditions in barracks-like buildings were horrible. People slept in cramped wooden bunks arranged three high with only straw for bedding.
“If old people couldn’t walk, they were shot on the spot,” Mantelmacher said of life in the camp.
Auschwitz-Birkenau was surrounded by a high-charge electric fence with guard towers positioned along it. Escape was impossible.
“Some couldn’t take it,” she said of the living conditions. “So they would touch the fence.”
More suffering was imposed by watching people heading for the fence being shot down by the guards who would get rewarded for their ghastly efforts.
“They were shot because they were supposedly trying to escape,” Mantelmacher explained of this additional horror.
Because Auschwitz-Birkenau was a death camp, even those who were not immediately sent to the gas chambers would eventually learn of their fate.
One day Mengele announced to Mantelmacher and her fellow-inmates of “A House” that they would be going to the gas chambers the following day.
Through the intercession of a girl named Lydia, whom Mengele had admired for her attractiveness, “A House” was spared for one more day while the occupants of “B House” were sent to the gas chambers instead.
“The trucks came,” Matelmacher said, “and there was screaming and crying.”
As fate would have it, a message came from Germany the next day with a requisition for 500 laborers to work in Hamburg. Mengele, as he always had done, would personally choose the 500 including the “A House.”
It was 1945, and the war was rapidly turning in the favor of the Allies.
Mantelmacher (now between 14 and 17 years of age), because she was so diminutive, initially didn’t qualify and would be sent to the gas chamber.
“He looked at me and said I was too little,” Mantelmacher said. “You can’t work. I started crying.”
Her friend Lydia told her to go to the back of the line and bite her lips to make them red and to pull her cheeks to give them a red glow. However, Mengele recognized her and was about to dismiss her to the gas chamber when Lydia came to her rescue.
“Look, she is a good worker,” Lydia told him as she lifted Mantelmacher’s potato sack dress. “She has good strong legs.”
In Hamburg, the work was to collect bricks from bombed out buildings for use in new structures. It appeared to Mantelmacher that the city’s residents went about their business oblivious to the slave labor.
“When the bombs came, we were so happy,” she said. “I prayed for the safety of the pilots.”
To Mantelmacher and her fellow-laborers, the bombings gave them joy, confidence and hope.
“If the Nazis win the war, none of us would be here,” she continued. “If I die from a bomb, somebody will survive.”
Nevertheless, there was always the overhanging threat that if a person did not work hard, she would be shot, beaten to death or sent to the gas chamber.
Mantelmacher was eventually sent to another camp, Bergen-Belsen, where Typhus and death were rampant. It was originally built to hold 10,000 inmates but by April 1945, that number had risen to 60,000.
“The dead were stacked up,” she said. “My job was to take away the dead.”
She also contracted the disease.
“I knew my days were numbered,” she said. “The only way to earn food was to drag the bodies on the ground.”
With the approach of the British Army’s 11th Armored Division and liberation, the Nazis tried to destroy as much evidence of the death camps as they could. That included burying the corpses of the dead.
“We dug big pits and buried people,” said Mantelmacher of the attempted cover-up. “We didn’t feel nothing. We just had to survive.”
For their work, Mantelmacher and her comrades received some bread and turnip soup.
As she grew weaker, she fell down and was stacked up along with the dead that numbered 13,000 corpses.
“If the British didn’t come in, I probably couldn’t have lasted a week,” Mantelmacher said. “Nobody cared.”
At the conclusion of her presentation, she took questions from the audience.
“What motivates you to come to schools?” was one question.
“I want to teach students not to hate,” Mantelmacher replied. “What can we do to not have another Holocaust? Prevent hating and you’ll have a better life.”
“Ever lose faith and hope?” a student asked.
“I never gave up,” she said, referring to her strong belief in God even in her most dire hours. “Don’t blame God. The Nazis chose to be evil. When people hurt each other, God cries.”
To a similar question she replied, “I didn’t want them to be happy (referring to the Nazi guards). If a person would go to the electric fence, they would smile.”
“When the Nazis killed your family, why didn’t you want to die?” was a question.
"I didn’t want to give them another reason to make them happy. I know I would never say anything that hurt me because if I did, it would be a trip to the gas chamber,” she said.
“Were you ever ashamed of being a Jew?” came another query.
“I wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t do anything wrong,” she explained. “I had good parents. I was hurt, but never ashamed.”
“If you met a Nazi guard today, what would you want him to say?”
Her reply, “I would want him to say, 'I’m sorry. I was bad. I did bad and I hope nobody does that kind of bad.'”
“What one decision you made during the Holocaust that you would change?” asked another student.
“I would tell my parents for the last time that I love them,” she said.
As she closed her presentation, Mantelmacher scanned her audience and said, “Grow up in peace. Six million Jews were killed. I know I’m very lucky. Don’t bully anybody. It hurts forever.”
She added, “I thank God every day that I live in the best country in the world, the United States.”
That respectful applause that greeted her at the start of her presentation rose to a sustained and higher level of appreciation and admiration.
Two Students React
The week before Hilda Mantelmacher’s presentation at Cedar Crest Middle School, the eighth-grade students visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Two students, Elizabeth Knapp, 14, and Owen Kreider, 14, shared their thoughts and impressions on how the presentation brought the impact of the Holocaust as they observed it at the museum into a more meaningful perspective.
“She was such a beautiful person inside and out,” said Knapp of Mantelmacher. “Imagine the amount of physical and mental strength she had to get through the Holocaust.”
For Knapp, a strong connection was made between the museum and the presentation.
“Today explained the horror and torment of the Holocaust a lot more,” she said.
Kreider called the presentation “eye-opening.”
“Hearing about her stories and talk about what happened to her and her family made things more personal than the museum,” he said of Hilda Mantelmacher’s presentation. “She is someone who was part of it.”
On the horror of the Holocaust, he said, referring to Hitler’s Final Solution, “I understand one man said what goes. I can’t see how somebody could do that to somebody.”
From the presentation, both students had similar takeaways.
“Always have love in your heart,” said Knapp. “There’s no room for bullying because no one deserves that.”
For Kreider, who admires Mantelmacher’s strong faith in God, it’s about family.
“Cherish your family every day of your life,” he said. “Hilda will never see any of her family again.”
Knapp rejects the idea that there was never a Holocaust.
“I don’t understand that,” Knapp said. “It’s history. It’s happened. There are videos to show it happened.”
Kreider commented on the freedom Mantelmacher enjoys as a U.S. citizen.
“We take it for granted,” he said. “It means a lot more to her other than the average person. She came over here to start a new life.”
Developing a perspective on the Holocaust
Hilda Mantelmacher’s presentation at Cedar Crest Middle School as a Holocaust survivor was one of three such programs that Principal Mariah Rackley has scheduled for her eighth-grade students over the last seven years. The other two were individually given by Severin Fayerman and Dr. Joseph Hirt, both survivors of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“They are so meaningful connections,” said Rackley of the presentations. “You can’t teach them. There was no YouTube in 1940, so you can’t go back and see it.”
The presenters bring a different reality to the students.
“That’s what makes this opportunity so important for our students,” Rackley continued. “Standing in front of you is a person who had an SS guard standing in front of her who was going to kill her.”
She pointed out that Hilda, Severin and Hirt weren’t much older than her middle school eighth graders when they experienced the horrors of the Holocaust but had the will to survive in spite of the Nazis.
“We hope the presentations offer our students a perspective to help understand that the past of a teenager in Poland or Czechoslovakia is different from them living in Lebanon in 2016,” she said.
Rackley added that all three survivors emphasized the importance of education.
“Not only the importance of education, but also the importance of what it means to be an American, and how great a place the U.S is to live.”
During my first years in Israel, I worked to Rabbi Yerachmiel Kram Shlita of Keren Ezra LeYeledim. I helped send a few fellows go to Yeshivos that normally would have gone the way of some of the Sephardic Religious Children in Ashdod and left the ranks of the religious.
Before I started working with Rav Kram, he was already the Director of Yad LeAchim in Ashdod. Once a Yeshiva youth wanted to do what most youths his age did and he went down to the beaches of Sinai. They were filled with drugs, hippies, nudity and other immodesty. Rav Kram and Rav Fein Shlita went down there in his car to rescue the fellow. It was one of the operations that nobody knew about.
In the early 1970’s two brothers murdered their grandmother for the equivalent of $200. Rabbi Kram rescued the sister and sent her to a religious girls’ dormitory. When it came time for her to marry, nobody wanted to marry her in Israel. He paid for her to go to the USA to marry a Satmar Chassid and I was at her Sheva Berachos. I also saw the young Abrech from Tiberius who had been in the Sinai.
The following story appeared in Arutz 7: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213329#.V1WGF49OI5s
When the Rabbi wore Jeans and a Wig to save a Jew.
A story about a rabbi in jeans, a monastery, and a Jewish grandson.
Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman, legendary head of the Migdal Ohr Institutions in Migdal HaEmek in the Jezreel Valley – known as the "Disco Rabbi" because of his practice of entering noisy nightclubs to find potential returnees to Torah – related the following extraordinary incident in his most recently column in the weekly BaKehillah.
In the days preceding Yom Kippur one year, a man came to Rabbi Grossman and tearfully told him that his grandson had been caught in the clutches of missionaries. "My son and his family live in Europe," the man said, "and they sent their son to study in Israel. He ended up renting an apartment with a missionary, who convinced him to move to a monastery in Dir Hana to learn Christianity. How can I pray on Yom Kippur when my own grandson is sitting in a monastery?!"
Dir Hana, located not far from Migdal HaEmek, is a predominantly Muslim village, with a Christian monastery perched on a hilltop at the edge of town. Rabbi Grossman contacted the village mukhtar and asked for his help in entering the monastery. The mukhtar said that his son is in charge of bringing food up to the site, and that he could give him a lift up the hill. But in order not to attract attention, the distinguished Hassidic-looking rabbi, originally from Meah She'arim, put on a wig and jeans and made his way up to the monastery on a tractor loaded with bread, vegetables and other victuals.
The disguise worked; the Christians thought he was a new recruit and allowed him to enter. Rabbi Grossman quickly located the young man in question, and asked to talk with him privately. They entered a side room, Rabbi Grossman took off his wig, and the astonished boy exclaimed, "Rav Grossman?! What are you doing here?!"
"What are you doing here?" the rabbi countered. "Your grandfather survived the Nazi camps – does he deserve this? He came to me crying and cannot be comforted!" The boy began to cry and complain about things his family had done to him, but Rabbi Grossman was insistent: "I hear you, but you have gone too far. Yom Kippur is two days from now. How can you remain here on that holy day?"
The boy said, "No matter what, I eat on Yom Kippur." Rav Grossman said, "I have a full refrigerator at home – just come! Be with us in Migdal HaEmek on Yom Kippur."
The boy refused to commit himself, yet they still parted warmly, and Rav Grossman got back on the tractor to return home.
Yom Kippur came – with no sign of the boy. "I was very tense," the rabbi related, "and with a very heavy heart, I began reciting Kol Nidre… But the next night, after the fast, I received a very emotional call from the grandfather, who told that his grandson had spent Yom Kippur in the synagogue with him, full of remorse at what he had done and resolved to start on a new path."
Many years later, Rabbi Grossman continued, "I was in a shtiebel in Monsey, New York, when a local man came up to me, dressed as a typical Orthodox Jew. He bent down to me with a smile and whispered, 'Rabbi Grossman, where's your wig?'"
In honor of Yizkor on Chag Shavuous
Interruption of Shiva by Rabbi YY Jacobson Shlita
A teaching in the Mishna defines the duties of a Jew who is in mourning at the outset of a festival. “Regalim mafsikim,” state the sages, “festivals interrupt shivah,” the seven-day period of mourning following the death and burial of a close relative (Moed Katan 3:5).
In one of the most brilliant psychological responses to death, mourners, in the Jewish tradition, are supposed to step out of normal life when they have suffered the loss of a loved one. They don’t pretend to be brave and go on as if nothing had happened. They take time to grieve; their normal pattern of behavior is disrupted as a way of recognizing that a profound change has occurred in their life. Thus the custom is that they stay home during shivah, and people come to be with them, to share in their grief. Jewish law recognized that life will never be the same again, and the dramatic transition requires time off.
But the Mishna is saying that if one of the major Jewish festivals (Shavuos, Passover, or Sukkos) begins while you are in the shivah period you are supposed to put aside shivah and join with the community in celebrating the festival. So for example, if someone lost a loved one on Sunday and buried them on Monday, Shivah would only go till Saturday night, when Shavuos begins. The mourner takes part in a Shavuos celebration, attends a Passover seder, goes out to eat in the Sukkah, etc.
Why? At first glance this law seems insensitive. Seeing how sensitive Jewish law is to someone who suffered a loss, requiring them to stay home for seven days, why suddenly in this case do we display such brute insensitivity? How can we be expected to put aside our grief and go to a celebration? How can halacha command us to suppress natural human emotions for the sake of going through the motions of a ritual?
The Talmud, the commentary on the Mishna, explains the reason for this ruling: “aseh d’rabim” – a positive mitzvah incumbent on the community, overrides “aseh d’yachid” – a positive mitzvahincumbent on the individual” (Talmud Moed Katan 14b). Celebration of the festivals is a mitzvah of the entire community; mourning is a mitzvah on the individual who suffered the loss. The communal time of joy overrides the individual’s time of grief.
But this does not seem to answer the question. After all, if someone lost a loved one, how do we ask of them to transcend their individual state of mourning because of the communal state of joy? Let the community celebrate, but let the individual mourn!
If I Am Only For Myself…
Each and every Jew can experience himself or herself in one of two ways, and they are both equally true. We are individuals. Each of us has our own “pekel,” our own baggage, our own unique story and narrative. I got my issues, you got yours; I got my life, you got yours. You fend for yourself, I fend for myself. In the words of Hillel: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”
Together with this, we are each also an indispensable part of “klal Yisroel,” of the community of Israel. We are not only individuals; we are also an integral part of “keneset Yisroel,” the collective soul of the Jewish people. Like limbs in a body, each limb has its own individual character and chemistry, but it is also a part of a single organism we call the human body.
The difference between these two components is critical. The individual life can die. But, in the words of the Talmud, “tzebor lo mas,” the community does not die (Talmud Horayos 6a). The collective body we call “the Jewish people” never dies, it only changes hands. The very same “body” of “klal Yisroel” that existed 3000 years ago still exists today. Moses was a Jew and you are a Jew. Rabbi Akiva was a Jew and you are a Jew. The Ball Shem Tov was a Jew and you are a Jew. An individual can die; a nation does not die (unless the entire nation is obliterated.) Again in the words of Hilel: “But if I am only for myself, what am I?”
The tyrants and Anti-Semites in history could sadly wipe put individual Jews, but never the Jewish people. “Tzebor lo mas.” The community of Israel never dies.
Now we will understand the explanation of the Talmud, that shivah gets interrupted for a holiday because the mitzvah of the community takes precedent over the mitzvah of the individual. This is not saying that the individual who suffered a loss must forget about his or her own pain because the community is celebrating. That would be unfair. Rather the Talmud is telling us something deeper.
When the community of Israel is experiencing a celebration, a festival, marking a watershed moment in the history of our people—that celebration of the “tzebur,” of the collective body of the Jewish people, includes also the person who passed away, because that aspect of us which is part of the community of Israel never ever dies. The “Jew” in the Jew cannot die, because it lives on in the collective body of the Jewish nation.
When the mourner interrupts his shivah to celebrate the holiday of Passover, Shavuos or Sukkos, he is not diverting his heart from his or her beloved one; rather he is given the ability to connect to the central defining moments defining Jewish history and eternity, and it is in that drama that his loved one still lives on. In the collective life of the Jewish people, and in our collective celebrations of Jewish faith and history, our loved ones continue to live.
A Lost Child
This may be of the reasons we recite Yizkor on each of the three holidays. During Yizkor, we don’t only remember our loved ones who passed on; we also ensure that a part of them never dies, by insuring that the collective organism of Am Yisroel—the people of Israel—survives and thrives.
A moving story is told by the Yiddish writer Shalom Asch, about an elderly Jewish couple in Russia forced by the government to house a soldier in their home. They move out of their bedroom, and the young man, all gruffness and glares, moves in with his pack, rifle and bedroll. It's Friday night, and the couple prepares to sit down for Shabbat dinner. The soldier takes his place at the table. Only now is it apparent just how young he is. He sits and stares with wide eyes as the old woman kindles the Shabbas candles. And he listens as the old man chants the Kiddush and Hamotzie. He quickly devours the hunk of challah placed before him, and speaking for the first time, he asks for more. His face is a picture of bewilderment. Something about this scene -- the candles, the chant, the taste of the challah, captures him. It touches him in some mysterious way.
He rises from his seat at the table, and beckons the old man to follow him, back into the bedroom. He pulls his heavy pack from the floor onto the bed, and begins to pull things out. Uniforms, equipment, ammunition. Until finally, at the very bottom, he pulls out a small velvet bag, tied with a drawstring. "Can you tell me, perhaps, what this is?" he asks the old man, with eyes suddenly gentle and imploring.
The old man, takes the bag in trembling fingers and opens the string. Inside is a child's tallis, a tiny set of tefillin, and small book of Hebrew prayers.
"Where did you get this?" he asks the soldier.
"I have always had it...I don't remember when..."
The old man opens the prayer book, and reads the inscription, his eyes filling with tears:
“To our son, Yossel, taken from us as a boy, should you ever see your Bar Mitzvah, know that your mama and tata always love you.”
You see, this boy was one of the cantonists. On August 26, 1827, Tsar Nicholas published the Recruitment Decree calling for conscription of Jewish boys between the ages of twelve and twenty-five into the Russian army. These boys were known as Cantonists; derived from the term 'Canton' referring to the 'districts' they were sent, and the 'barracks' in which they were kept. Conscripts under the age of eighteen were assigned to live in preparatory institutions until they were old enough to formally join the army. The twenty-five years of service required that these recruits be counted from age eighteen, even if they had already spent many years in military institutions before reaching that age.
Nicholas strengthened the Cantonist system and used it to single out Jewish children for persecution, their baptism being of a high priority to him. No other group or minority in Russia was expected to serve at such a young age, nor were other groups of recruits tormented in the same way. Nicholas wrote in a confidential memorandum, "The chief benefit to be derived from the drafting of the Jews is the certainty that it will move them most effectively to change their religion."
During the reign of Nicholas I, approximately seventy thousand Jews, some fifty thousand who were children, were taken by force from their homes and families and inducted into the Russian army. The boys, raised in the traditional world of the Shtetle, were pressured via every possible means, including torture, to accept baptism. Many resisted and some managed to maintain their Jewish identity. The magnitude of their struggle is difficult to conceive.
This thirty-year period from 1827 till 1856 saw the Jewish community in an unrelieved state of panic. Parents lived in perpetual fear that their children would be the next to fill the Tsar's quota. A child could be snatched from any place at any time. Every moment might be the last together; when a child left for cheder (school) in the morning, parents did not know if they would ever see him again. When they retired at night after singing him to sleep, they never knew whether they would have to struggle with the chappers (kidnapper, chap is the Yiddish term for grab) during the night in a last ditch effort to hold onto their son.
These kids were beaten and lashed, often with whips fashioned from their own confiscated tefillin (phylacteries.) In their malnourished states, the open wounds on their chests and backs would turn septic and many boys, who had heroically resisted renouncing their Judaism for months, would either perish or cave in and consent to the show of baptism. As kosher food was unavailable, they were faced with the choice of either abandoning Jewish dietary laws or starvation. To avoid this horrific fate, some parents actually had their sons' limbs amputated in the forests at the hands of local blacksmiths, and their sons—no longer able bodied—would avoid conscription. Other children committed suicide rather than convert.
All cantonists were institutionally underfed, and encouraged to steal food from the local population, in emulation of the Spartan character building. (On one occasion in 1856 a Jewish cantonist Khodulevich managed to steal the Tsar's watch during military games at Uman. Not only was he not punished, but he was given a reward of 25 rubles for his display of prowess.)
This boy in our story was one of those cantonists.
Let Them Live
At Yizkor, our mama and tata, our zeide and babe, our great grandparents for many generations, whisper to us how deeply they love us and believe in us. No matter how many years have passed, the bond is eternal and timeless.
When we embrace and continue their story, we ensure that every single Jew who ever walked the face of this earth is still, in some very real way, alive.
Due to three long stories and other factors I will have to delay again part 4 of my return to Judaism but you will not be disappoint with the help or HASHEM.
This should never have happened he needs to be punished: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4812075,00.html
There are amazing things in creation: http://www.aol.com/article/2016/06/02/astronomers-say-universe-expanding-faster-than-predicted/21388618
New kosher smart phones: http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/06/03/samsung-offers-new-kosher-smartphone/
Rivals but best of friends a short story from the boxing world: http://www.tmz.com/2016/06/04/george-foreman-muhammad-ali-death/
From Lenny country music on Jerusalem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrrJxX3CBnc#action=share
BDE Chief Rabbi of Netanya passes away: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213421#.V1gS-5F96M8
Another heat wave and more fires some natural perhaps others terror related: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4811559,00.html
From Richard A. A disgrace in the USA. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQe0y7Zc-nI
Syrian liaison office like the “good fence” during my border service. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4810130,00.html
Thanks to Dr. Rona: http://www.bookwormroom.com/2016/06/02/trump-may-be-the-non-kosher-candidate-but-that-doesnt-mean-we-cant-partake/
200 leftist generals from the old school propose a multi-security plan for a two State Solution. Until they get into their heads that there is no land of Oz and there is no Palestine there can never be peace. They all need a slap on both cheeks from HASHEM Yisborach to wake them up from their hysteria. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4811738,00.html
Iran very happy from Hillary’s policy. http://debka.com/article/25461/How-Hilary-s-foreign-policy-succeeded-for-Iran
Surprise-surprise State Dept. wipes clean an official video on Iran. http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/06/03/outrage-rising-over-state-departments-wiping-of-official-video-showing-obama-administration-lie-about-iran-deal-video/
I received this directly from Barry Shaw and the story appeared on the TV News too. http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-tunnels-crisscross-entire-length-of-the-gaza-strip-israel-says/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=8b8034acad-2016_06_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-8b8034acad-54488109
After months in the hospital terror victim released for rehab. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213289#.V1ROUo9OI5s
The Saudis are convinced that unfortunately Netanyahu and Lieberman are willing to make Hefker parts of Eretz Yisrael to a non-existent people against the will of HASHEM. The PLO is trying to get out of this but is being pressed by the Saudis. My only hope is that HASHEM will miraculous stop this foolishness. They eat Trafe (Tumay which Mittumtam – destroys one’s sense) and cannot see clearly. Only the religious with principles and scruples can stop them. Oy Vey. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4811540,00.html
From Joseph S. Glad that he will not make drones for Hamas or Hezballah with his engineering skills. : http://conservativetribune.com/media-ucla-shooters-religion/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=PostTopSharingButtons&utm_content=2016-06-03&utm_campaign=websitesharingbuttons
5 Jordanian Intelligence Officers killed: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4812511,00.htmlhttp://debka.com/article/25465/ISIS-launches-Ramadan-with-terror-strike-in-Jordan
Terrorist shoots at IDF vehicles and civilian shoots back. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213374#.V1aJho9OI5s
Modiin has an archeological surprise: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213378#.V1cX3Y9OI5s
Turkey hit again with a terrorist attack: http://thinkprogress.org/world/2016/06/07/3785401/istanbul-hit-with-another-terrorist-attack/
Israel destroys a storage depot belonging to Hezballah. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4813234,00.html
14 year old injured in TA explosion: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213432#.V1gK2o9OI5s
Trump to spill the beans on the Clintons: http://www.aol.com/article/2016/06/07/donald-trump-threatens-to-spill-the-beans-on-clintons/21391354/
Drones are given defense: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4813411,00.html
60 meters from the Israeli version of the Pentagon or 180ft is the food court that was attacked. It is also about a block from all the government buildings in Tel Aviv and diagonally across from the government offices is the three Azrieli Towers and shopping center (Cylinder, Triangle and Rectangle buildings). One terrorist was caught on the spot and the other fled to opposite the national lottery and the main headquarters of Klalit and Meuhedet Sick Funds and near a high school. The attack was most strategic and psychological blow to Israel. Immediately all the family 204 men had their work permits revoked. The houses in Kfar Yatta near Chevron are going to be demolished. Computers confiscated and searches going on. 83,000 permits frozen or revoked. Finally fence near Chevron will be given money to complete: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4813955,00.html Terrorist ID: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4814114,00.html
A special story on TV how the second terrorist was captured. The terrorist fled the scene and was running with a policeman and his wife into their home not far from the Sarona Center. They hid him in their house with him and the wife alone. The police ran back to the scene and then he got a description of the terrorist at which time he ran home and handcuffed him and called the other policemen for back-up after he was cuffed.
Condemning terror in no uncertain terms not like a certain POTUS. http://www.algemeiner.com/2016/06/09/in-robust-response-to-tel-aviv-terror-trump-rips-uncivilized-palestinians-who-praised-attack/
France a Synagogue and Rabbi’s home vandalized: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/213530
Data base for Get refusers to be post internationally in order that the communities deal with these people and cast them out until they give their wife a divorce: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4813526,00.html
The person who aided the terrorist is caught: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4814240,00.html
Have a good, safe and healthy Shabbos,