Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Parshiyos Hazinu - Zos HaBracha, Rabbi Yacov Lustig, story and returning Pasha Noach


Baruch Dayan Emmes Rabbi Yacov Lustig (Yacov ben Tova Ethel on my prayer listed passed away). In an e-mail Chesped by the Chief Chabad Rabbi of Brazil:  Our final address has three names which represent three kinds of lives and ways of living.
1 - Beis Hakvoros, those who live as if life ends here and then a cold slab covers all.
2 - Beis Olam, those who leave projects which will continue even after they have gone.
3 - Beis Hachaim, those who continue alive and among us because they inspired and inspire, whose company was a pleasure and an honor, and will always be remembered. 
Rabbi Yakov Lustig was a Beis Hachaim yid.

Shabsi and Yael Alpern

Parsha Hazinu

Last week, we concluded the 613 Mitzvos. The last one was to listen to this song and some say to memorize it. In fact, when my oldest son was in elementary school, he committed this to rote.

32:1 Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

One needs two witnesses. In the spiritual world of Torah, sometimes the walls of one’s house are called to testify upon our actions what we thought was private. Moshe calls upon heaven and earth to witness the Bnei Yisrael.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.

The Torah is not supposed to be like a Volcano or Hurricane but rather like a drop of rain. Rabbi Akiva was asked by Rachel to learn Torah and she would marry him. He was smart but when it came to learning a Boor and Am HaAretz. As he tended the sheep for her father, he saw a rock which had been cut deep by dripping water. He learned that if the hard rock could be cut by water, his head can be penetrated by Torah which is often equated with living waters.

3 For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

One should try to live a Kiddush HASHEM.

4 The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He. 5 Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse.

Who is crooked and perverse? Not HASHEM for HE is just and perfect but rather us.

6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not He thy father that hath gotten thee? hath He not made thee, and established thee?

Throughout the ten days of repentance, we say “Our Father, Our King” known as the Avinu Malkaynu Prayer. We start with “sinned before you” and end with “we have no deeds (Rav Ovadia Yosef used to say like a person asking for shopping at the local story, we have no money give us credit) do unto us Tzeduka V’ Chessed (charity and mercy) and save us”.

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, thine elders, and they will tell thee.

Oy what was the level of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yacov and where are we today. It is true that life was longer and different then and the bustle of the Jet Set was not upon the world. There was no rush hour, but they did have threats, tests and wars in their generations. Avraham was thrown into the fire, fought a war, had to sacrifice his only son which fortunately was stopped and even had to chop a strategic part of his body at the age of 99. Yitzchak stretched out his neck and Yacov had problems with his brother, father-in-law and more that endangered his life.

8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. 9 For the portion of the LORD is His people, Jacob the lot of His inheritance.

The first Rashi in the Chumash gives us the right to the land of Yisrael and now the Torah is concluding with our inheritance.

… 30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had given them over and the LORD had delivered them up?

When HASHEM is with us and we are doing Mitzvos or even if HE foresees that we will repent and return we can win physical battles. But first we must fight our spiritual battles.

… 36 For the LORD will judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants; when He sees that their stay is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or left at large.

This line is so appropriate for Shabbos Teshuva. We are being judged act that way!

… 40 For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say: As I live forever, 41 If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine adversaries, and will recompense them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy.' 43 Sing aloud, O ye nations, of His people; for He doth avenge the blood of His servants, and doth render vengeance to His adversaries, and doth make expiation for the land of His people.

For those who ignored the cries of the 6,000,000 during the Shoah the Muslim Immigration is about to extract a high price until Esav and Yishmael fight in the war or Gog and Magog.

44 And Moses came and spoke all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said unto them: 'Set your heart unto all the words wherewith I testify against you this day; that ye may charge your children therewith to observe to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days upon the land, whither ye go over the Jordan to possess it.'

You will be the generation that conquers the land.  So you must remember this song and observe the Commandments.

48 And the LORD spoke unto Moses that selfsame day, saying: 49 'Get thee up into this mountain of Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession; 50 and die in the mount whither thou go up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people. 51 Because ye trespassed against Me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribath-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified Me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 52 For thou shalt see the land afar off; but thou shalt not go thither into the land which I give the children of Israel.'

The Nevo range and probably Har Ha Hor one can see from the other side of the Yarden down to Eilat and the Hermon and to the Mediterrean Sea. Moshe’s reward is seeing the land but his punishment is not entering it. It is a pity for had he entered, we would never have had Gallus.

Zos HaBracha

33:1 And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. 2 And he said: The LORD came from Sinai, and rose from Seir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran, and He came from the myriads holy, at His right hand was a fiery law unto them. 3 Yea, He loves the peoples, all His holy ones--they are in Thy hand; and they sit down at Thy feet, receiving of Thy words. 4 Moses commanded us a law, an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob. 5 And there was a king in Yeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together.

It is not a normal law with speeding tickets or obstruction on the sidewalk but a fiery law. It is a law for a holy nation. The Congregation of Yeshurun a straight and religious people. So Moshe blessed the tribes.

6 Let Reuben live, 7 And this for Judah, and he said: Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, 8 And of Levi he said: 12 Of Benjamin he said: 13 And of Joseph he said:

Moshiach ben Yosef:

17 His firstling bullock, majesty is his; and his horns are the horns of the wild-ox; with them he shall gore the peoples all of them, even the ends of the earth; and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. 18 And of Zebulun he said: 20 And of Gad he said: Blessed be He that enlargeth Gad; 22 And of Dan he said: 23 And of Naphtali he said: 24 And of Asher he said: … 29 Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee? a people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and that is the sword of thy excellency! And thine enemies shall dwindle away before thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.

Now that Moshe had finished blessing the people, it was time for him to pass on and be rewarded to witness the Holyland and find his heavenly rest.

34:1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, even Gilead as far as Dan; 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the hinder sea; 3 and the South, and the Plain, even the valley of Jericho the city of palm-trees, as far as Zoar. 4 And the LORD said unto him: 'This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying: I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.' 5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.

He lay down upon a rock in a cave and the L-RD drew out his soul. After which I assume an earthquake caused the entrance of the cave to be sealed. It is also possible that Yehoshua ben Nun sealed the entrance and then forgot where Moshe was buried.

6 And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor; and no man knows of his sepulchre unto this day.

We will never know but his 2 Gilgulim of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the Ari Zal we do know. Some say that they were just sparks of Moshe’s Neshama.  

7 And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

I am 50 years younger and I feel my strength, memory and concentration waning. Yet Moshe miraculously kept his until the last moment.

8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; so the days of weeping in the mourning for Moses were ended. 9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.

People near Yehoshua could feel the presence of the Shechina and were awe stricken.

10 And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face;

He was a one-time prophet and even the Moshiach will not be like him.

11 in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; 12 and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.

Chazak – Chazak v’ nit Chazak

Order in the World, here comes the JUDGE.

I read in Torah Tidbits from the OU about the curses that people were barely observant written by a Rabbi who lived sometime between 1550 -1600 CE 5310 – 5360 on our calendar.

I always wondered in my youth why the older folks were so perturbed about my generation. Yes, there were hippies, promiscuity and other things. However, these things did exist before. But now in the world of internet, cell phones, tablets etc. things have jumped really out of hand and parenting and so called ‘snow flake generation’ is upon us and I thought my generation was becoming an entitlement generation this one is worse.

Where are the Jews? Instead of being a light unto the Nations, the non-Orthodox like Bernie (marry a Goya and eat trafe in the Orthodox section of Brooklyn) Sanders leads these folks and is their hero. Israel slammed by Islamists, the Clan and others on Facebook and Zuckerberg (marry a Goya) allows it while censoring Jewish Groups. Don’t get me wrong there are fine non-Jews and great converts to Judaism just we don’t marry out of our religion.

But we must be strong and repentant and the happenings in the last paragraph will go away if we do Teshuva, Tephilla and Tzeduka. Ezra faced a problem with ten different classifications of Jews in his day. I have no idea where we are today. We don’t know in some cases whom we are much less others.

The world is full of surprises. Earthquakes, terror attacks, illness, fires, floods, hurricanes can happen. That is why we must be vigilant in our prayers on Rosh Hashanah. We do not have to catch a bus, plane or train so pray slowly and with feeling. The meal can wait a few minutes for us and we will not die of starvation.

I wish everybody a good Judgement and writing in the book of life, health and happiness.

Rosh Hashanah Shofar Blowing and Spear Fishing in Oceania
By Rabbi Ben Tanny

The plane taxied slowly to the airport terminal and then came to a stop. I strapped on my backpack, picked up the Torah scroll, and headed to clear New Caledonian** customs. As I had expected, a man met me at the exit gate. He was thrilled to see me with the Torah. "It has been so long," the man said. "May I carry it?"
I handed him the Torah which he held reverently for a few seconds. Then his face lit up with the biggest smile. "We are so delighted you could come," said the man. "We are maybe 150 Jewish people here, mostly from Algeria and Tunisia. It has been a long time since we have had a rabbi and a Torah."
"I am not a rabbi," I corrected him. "I am an 18-year-old studying in a Rabbinical seminary. Perhaps one day I will be a rabbi."***
"Yes, but you can read from the Torah. You know how to blow the shofar, lead the prayers, and put up some mezuzot. We here cannot do this very well. We are isolated on this island."
The man's name was Abraham. I knew this from having spoken to him on the phone. Other than knowing his name, I knew nothing about him, though I'd learn a lot as he welcomed me to stay in his home for the following weeks.

Abraham spoke with me in French. I understood most of what he was saying with my Montreal Quebec French, though there were some differences. When we needed clarification we switched to broken Hebrew. Abraham had never been to Israel but his parents had taught him some Hebrew when he lived in Algeria.

The truth was I had not wanted to come to New Caledonia for the High Holidays. I had just spent almost an entire year of intensive study in Australia and was scheduled to fly home to Montreal. I wanted to see my family and friends. There was also a synagogue in Montreal that had offered to pay me $800 to conduct services over the High holidays.

But two weeks before the end of the school term a call had come through. The Jewish community of New Caledonia wanted a rabbi for a few weeks. The senior yeshiva students laid a "guilt trip" on me. I was the only student in the yeshiva who could lead a service, blow shofar, and speak French. In addition, they knew that I had solo backpacked around Europe, so they thought I might just be crazy enough to go solo to this French Polynesian island.

After a large dose of hearing that I was the only one who could do the job, I agreed to go. I found someone who would lend me a small Torah scroll provided I insure it. Also, as requested by the community, I purchased 10 mezuzot and 50 kipot on the agreement that they would pay me back for everything.

Though I wouldn't earn the money I could have earned in Montreal, I imagined that I would at least have some fun exploring the island. But within a short time after arriving in New Caledonia, I was no longer so sure about that.

In the week preceding Rosh Hashana, I visited Jews in and around Numea, the capital. I affixed 10 mezuzot to door-posts, put tefilin on people, helped a boy find a yeshiva in Israel, and even had an interview with a local newspaper. I was kept busy teaching Torah and it seemed as if all 150 Jews wanted to meet and talk with me.

I was asked to sit through a number of community meetings and I gave my two cents when asked, and sometimes even when not. At one point they were discussing building plans for a new synagogue and mikva. One of the big donors did not want to give any money towards the construction of the mikva. "If you have money for just a synagogue or a mikva, Jewish law requires that you build a mikva," I explained. It took a little more convincing, but in the end he agreed to contribute.

I finally did get a few days break in the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. A wealthy community member rented for me a wave runner for a full day. I rode from one island to the next, stopping off to snorkel in the reefs teaming with magnificent coral and fish life.

The next day he gave me a plane ticket to one of the smaller neighboring islands. I cycled around, exploring native villages where people lived in grass huts, caves filled with bats, and deserted white sandy beaches. I picked green coconuts to drink and found plenty opportunities to escape into my own tropical paradise.

When I got back Abraham set me up to go spear fishing with one of the local champions he knew well. Needless to say I didn't spear anything but the fisherman gave me half his catch to take back for Abraham to cook for us. It was a delightful change from canned tuna.

The two and a half weeks flew by. As Abraham drove me to the airport, I sat in the car thinking; "Even if I did not make any money I accomplished a lot and had a great time. The money made in Montreal would have been nice, but I got to have an incredible experience." In addition, I had a direct flight to Montreal and would see my family in the next 24 hours, G-d willing.

"We are very thankful that you came and for all your help," Abraham said, as he bid me good-bye. "We want to give you something as a token of our appreciation." He handed me an envelope. In the envelope there was $1000 Australian which equaled $800 Canadian based on the exchange rate at that time. I had just received the same amount of money that I would have earned had I forgone New Caledonia and gone home to Montreal.

At the young age of 18, my trip to New Caledonia had helped me realize that we can not make one penny more or less than what G-d intends for us. I did the right thing by coming to help the New Caledonian community, I had an awesome experience, and I received the exact amount of money that was destined to be mine.****
*Source: Reprinted with permission from // Submitted by Daniel Keren. Edited and annotated by Yerachmiel Tilles.
Editor's notes:
** New Caledonia, formerly called French Polynesia, is located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, 1,210 km east of Australia
*** In 2013, Adelaide Hebrew Congregation appointed Rabbi Binyamin Tanny as spiritual head of the orthodox Jewish community of South Australia.
**** "A person's earnings for the coming year (except expenditures in honor of Shabbat, Jewish holidays, and for the Torah education of one's children.) are determined in the days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur." (Talmud, Beitza 16a)

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Good Shabbos and a healthy, happy, wonderful, joyous, marvelous, prosperous, successful, blessed, fruitful and Torah filled New Year,
Rachamim Pauli