Yacov has just received the blessing of Yitzchak and Rivka. He has set forth towards Haran. (Note I write the standard name but it is written with a Chet in Hebrew and therefore like Chevron should be a guttural CH.) The Medrash tells the following story: Yacov was pursued and ambushed by Eliphaz, the son of Esav. Yacov soundly defeats him. Rather than kill him as he is trying to murder Yacov. Yacov strikes a deal with him. Take the jewelry that my parents have given me and say that you have killed me as a poor man is similar to a dead man. So Esav thinks Yacov is dead and now nobody will pursue him anymore.
28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-Sheba, and went toward Haran.
Yacov went out of Beer Sheva very early in the morning to avoid Esav and prayed Shachris along the way. Going by himself on a donkey or camel at a good clip, he could make it without a Divine boost from place to place.
11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.
The Pasuk later says it is the “House of G-D”. Might have been the current Har HaBeis. [today 1 h 26 min (109.8 km)] If he rested in the modern day Beit El, that would be approximately another 33.6 km further. It might be under two hours today but then it was a good trip and impossible in one day by foot. From Yerushalayim to Haran Turkey is 1023 km via Damascus.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold (hinnei), the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou lie, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. 14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
The Bnei Yacov shall spread Torah and blessings throughout the earth.
15 And, behold (grammatical form of hinnei), I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou go, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.'
I, the L-RD, will be your Shomer (guardian) wherever you are or go. Because I am here in anyplace you travel not only the physical place of Beit El (hinnei). You may not feel it when Lavan comes after you with his band or Esav with 400 men, but it will be so. I am HE that shall be your salvation and your people shall be eternal. Hinnei I am and will be by your side!
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said: 'Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.' 17 And he was afraid, and said: 'How full of awe is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.' 18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
He consecrated the place for perpetuity. Unfortunately, about 3500 or more years later we have lost knowledge of the exact spot. If it is the stone in Yerushalayim we know but if in Beit(s)-El we do not know.
19 And he called the name of that place Beth-el, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
Luz is mentioned in an Aggadah of Rebbe Meir Baal HaNes. That was the place where the Angel of Death had no power unless somebody lied.
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,
We are not quite this way when there is a lottery for $1.6billion. Yacov prays a long term version of the prayer for going on a journey and returning safely home. He does this by strengthening it as a vow. Yacov asks for the minimum of clothing for warmth and something to eat while away from his father’s house.
21 so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then shall the LORD be my God,
He asks to return in peace to his father’s house and this will be his part of the covenant with G-D.
22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house; and of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.'
Next week, I will depressurize on vacation and write the rest of the Parsha and next week’s Parsha ble Neder. People who know me – know that I am a workaholic and I work until I fall asleep at the computer. But being human I need sometimes rest and relaxation from the hubbub of daily life. The great Rabbi Chaim Grenerman Zal used to be hours upon hours advising people about Halacha and Medical Problems. He also would decide if he could go on vacation based on the fact that he needed to refresh his energy to help others – as told to me by his grandson.
An oral history project dedicated to documenting the life of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. The story is one of thousands recorded in over 1,500 videotaped interviews conducted to date. While we have done our utmost to authenticate these stories, they reflect the listener’s recollection and interpretation of the Rebbe’s words. An inspiring story for your Shabbos table.
HERE’S my STORY THE IMPOSSIBLE KIDDUSH MRS. SCHULAMITH BECHHOFER
Generously sponsored by the Crain Mailing Foundation.
When we first immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1951, we settled in Toronto. It took some months before we could buy our own home, and our initial accommodations were very primitive — in fact, we lived in an abandoned house which the Jewish community planned to make into a mikveh. But the place was free and it was temporary, so we made due.
We were a family of ten children. I was already twenty years old, and so I went to work, while my younger siblings went to school. The two youngest ones stayed home with my mother — Obi, who was three, and the baby, Amina, who was not quite two at the time.
It was hard on my mother, because the house had no modern facilities and, to do the laundry, she had to boil water in a big pot on the stove, then haul it upstairs to the bathroom which was on the second floor. One day, when she was going back and forth, she returned upstairs to find Amina submerged in the pot of boiling water!
In a panic, my mother grabbed her and she immediately saw that her skin was coming off her. She wrapped Amina in a sheet, and rushed her to the Hospital for Sick Children. I don’t know how she managed this, because she didn’t speak English, but she ran out into the street screaming, and people helped her.
Later that same day — which was Thursday, November 22, 1951 — I was sent to the hospital to talk to the doctors
because I was the only one in the family who was fluent in English, having attended the Bais Yaakov seminary in London. The doctors’ prognosis was grim. “Tell your parents that there is no hope,” they said. “This child is going to die. She is not going to live out the day.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell this to my parents. So, instead, I said, “She is very, very sick, and the doctors are trying their best.”
Indeed, they were trying. They put her in a cast in order to minimize the exposure of the burned skin to the air and retain as much fluid in the tissues as possible. But they really didn’t think that this would help her survive
Realizing the gravity of her condition, and not knowing who else to turn to, my father called his brother-in-law, Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Aizik Hodakov, who served as the secretary of the Rebbe. Rabbi Hodakov took the matter to the Rebbe, who said that Amina would be alright, and he instructed my father to make a communal Kiddush that Shabbat, specifying that my mother be involved in the preparations.
It felt strange to us to be making a celebratory Kiddush, but my parents — who were not Chabad Chasidim — put on the Kiddush because the Rebbe had instructed them to. Word spread in the neighborhood and many Lubavitcher Chasidim
showed up — they ate, they drank, they danced. They put their all into it, knowing the directive had come from the Rebbe, which meant it was important. And when Shabbat was over, we found out that the Rebbe had been right – Amina was still alive despite the doctor’s worst predictions.
We began to grasp the power of the Rebbe’s blessing, and our trust in G-d was renewed, as our hopes grew.
Luckily, at that point we were still ignorant of the details of her condition. In a child this small, the heat from such severe burns can damage the internal organs, including the heart, lungs and kidneys. The doctors were particularly concerned about her kidneys, and were waiting to make sure that the urinary system was still working. That turned out to be fine, but she was hardly out of danger.
The following Saturday, December 1, was her second birthday, and we planned to go to the hospital on Sunday to celebrate and give her some small presents. Instead, the police came to our door — because we had no phone and the hospital couldn’t call us — to inform us that we needed to rush to the hospital because Amina was dying.
When we arrived, she was in bad shape. It was awful to look at her little face. Her cheeks were sunken, and there were deep black circles under her eyes. I tried to pull my mother away, saying, “Don’t look, don’t look,” but she said, “This is my child. I have to.”
My father called the Rebbe again, and again the Rebbe said that she would be all right. My brother Dovid remembers that, on this occasion, my father spoke directly with the Rebbe who told him, “You are a rabbi. It is your job to see that Jewish education in the city is as it should be, that the kosher standards are good ... You must do your job, and G-d will do His.”
While the doctors were constantly trying to prepare us for the worst, the Rebbe continued to sustain our hope, which we clung to as the months passed and Amina remained on the critical list. During this time, there were many setbacks and close calls, as when her fever spiked to 106 and, again, when she began vomiting and deteriorating for an unexplained reason.
In the latter instance, when my father informed the Rebbe, he said, “Ask the hospital to check what they are doing. Something is not right.”
It is very difficult for a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language to challenge doctors and insist that they double-check their treatment. However, the Rebbe’s certitude that the hospital was making some sort of mistake instilled my parents with courage. So they spoke up.
As it turned out, Amina was being given the wrong medicine — an improper injection or something like that. I don’t remember specifically what it was, but I do remember that my parents’ insistence caused the hospital to correct what the mistake.
Amina stayed in the hospital until March, when she was moved to home care. She had very deep wounds, some still open, and her bandages had to be changed constantly. Also, by the time she returned home, she ad lost the ability to walk, or even to sit and stand, as a result of having been in a body cast for all those months. She had to re-learn everything. It took months for her to recuperate, but, ultimately, the Rebbe was right — she got better and was able to function normally.
On one particular occasion, the Rebbe sent a golden ruble to Amina with instructions that, when she would get married, she give it to charity on her wedding day. And, indeed, when the time came, she did just that. (I believe she gave the value of the ruble to charity and held onto the actual ruble the Rebbe sent.)
When she became engaged to Yitzchak Newman, he was a bit worried that the trauma her body had suffered as a result of the burns might affect her ability to bear children. He asked the Rebbe about it, but the Rebbe assured him there was nothing to be concerned about.
Indeed, she went on to have sixteen children, which was very unusual in itself. Now her children are raising their own children, so a whole tribe has come out of that miracle.
Mrs. Schulamith Bechhoffer (1931-2018) was the daughter of Rabbi Dov Yehudah and Sarah Schochet. She was a teacher who resided in Queens, New York, where she was interviewed in August, 2012
I have long known that my grandmother witnessed Kristallnacht. But it is only this year — as we mark the 80th anniversary of the vicious antisemitic pogrom that exploded across Nazi Germany on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938 — that I have come to learn the details of her harrowing experience.
Now Esti Kalms, my grandmother grew up as Esther Weinstock on Lilienbrunngasse, a small street in Vienna’s 2nd district, just south of the River Danube. In March 1938, nine months before the pogrom, Austria was incorporated into Nazi Germany through the infamous “Anschluss,” and Adolf Hitler was greeted by adoring crowds on the Heldenplatz when he triumphantly arrived in Vienna.
The area where my grandmother lived was home to a significant Orthodox Jewish community, alongside non-Jewish neighbors. The street was relatively narrow for Vienna, lined with fairly large apartment blocks, all four stories high. “From your window you could look into the windows of the houses opposite,” my grandmother told me. There were a few stores on the block and a synagogue that was housed directly below her apartment.
It was the family’s proximity to the synagogue that made her a front row observer to the events of that brutal night, when more than one hundred Jews were murdered, thousands deported to concentration camps, and hundreds of synagogues and Jewish-owned stores were destroyed in the antisemitic frenzy.
We enjoyed a wonderful 60-year run, we American Jews. The postwar boom of the 1940s and 1950s heralded a Golden...
My grandmother was 9 years old at the time. She recalls huddling silently at the window of their apartment with her siblings, her mother, who sold knitted goods for a living, and her father, a kabbalist and local rabbi, and “hearing a lot of noise outside in the street.”
The road below was dimly lit, and in their apartment all lights were switched off. “We were told to stand well back from the window, so as not to be seen from the street,” she said. “We thought we would be next.” Down below she saw a group of soldiers and “a lot of the contents of the shul that was one flat below us in the middle of the street.”
“We were obviously quite scared,” she added.
And then a vivid recollection: “In the middle of it all there was one SS man holding up a Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) and kicking downwards with his boot to try and tear it, to destroy it.”
“How stupid is he,” she remembers thinking. “He thinks it’s made out of paper and I know it’s made out of parchment, why doesn’t he realize he’s not going to tear it.”
The scroll didn’t tear, and shortly afterwards the family moved away from the window.
The following day she walked alone to her mother’s shop. On her way there she passed by a large synagogue that they had often attended growing up. “I saw the destruction of that shul and I had to walk into the middle of the road to get past because of the destruction and the rubble,” she said. “You could see the inside of the shul right outside in the street. That made a big impression on me.”
“I was extremely puzzled,” she said. “I didn’t know that this had gone on all over the place and whatever else had gone on that night. It took time to seep through.”
Shortly afterwards she told her parents that she wanted to leave the country, and a month or so later she left for England on the “Kindertransport” with two of her sisters and one of her brothers. Both of her parents, my great-grandparents Dovid and Chaye Ides Weinstock, perished at the hands of the Nazis.
Reflecting back on that fateful night, I asked why she felt the memory of the Nazi with the Torah scroll had remained so lucid all these years.
“It was in fact a microcosm,” she said. “It symbolizes how we are indestructible really. Just as the written word on the Sefer Torah, on the parchment, couldn’t be destroyed in the way he wanted to destroy it, we’ll go on forever.”
For the global community of Holocaust scholars and educators, the 80th anniversary of the Nazi pogrom against Germany’s Jews commonly known as “Kristallnacht” — which falls this Friday and Saturday — could scarcely come at a more pertinent moment.
Since the violent far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Americans have become transfixed by the growing brazenness of this country’s white supremacists. In the last month alone, the murderous consequences of this hatred have been on graphic display — first in the Oct. 24 slaying of two African-Americans in a Kentucky grocery store by a gunman who reportedly tried to enter a black community church moments earlier, and then the Oct. 27 massacre of 11 Jewish worshipers at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue by a neo-Nazi assailant, marking the worst antisemitic atrocity in the history of the US.
Over in Europe, antisemitism is more in the frame now than at any other time since the Nazi era. From the antisemitic murders of two elderly French Jewish women — Sarah Halimi in 2017 and Mireille Knoll this year — to the unresolved crisis over antisemitism at all levels of the British Labor Party, to the bitter disputes in Eastern European countries on the topic of wartime collaboration with the Nazis, scarcely a day passes without discussion or reflection on whether there is a future for Jews on the continent. And in the Middle East, Holocaust denial, crude antisemitism and comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany remain a staple of the region’s media, as well as a core theme of the Iranian regime’s propaganda.
An Australian man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the center of Melbourne and stabbed...
Against this background, Holocaust educators see little alternative to doubling their efforts in their quest to demonstrate where antisemitism and racism can lead. One trusted tool in that regard has been the growing archive of personal testimonies, letters, diaries, paintings and sketches that were produced by Holocaust victims before they perished — documents that humanize their experiences by providing first-person insights into their thoughts, their worries and their daily lives.
Among the most moving of the textual accounts is the diary of Rywka Lipszyc, a Jewish teenager whose ordeal during the Holocaust took her from the Lodz Ghetto in Poland to both the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camps. Gravely ill, Rywka is assumed to have died in a hospital in Germany in 1945, shortly after the Allied victory in World War II.
When The Algemeiner spoke last month with Dr. Anita Friedman — a leading San Francisco-based Holocaust educator whose unsparing efforts resulted in the publication of Rywka’s Diary in 2014 — the focus of the discussion was on the diary’s significance in understanding how the Nazi persecution of the Jews evolved from the Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) pogrom to a full-scale program of extermination. More than one hundred Jews were slaughtered during the night of Nazi violence on Nov. 9 and 10, 1938, with 30,000 Jewish men deported to concentration camps, and hundreds of synagogues, homes, Jewish-owned stores and hospitals incinerated across Germany and Nazi-controlled Austria. Alongside the 1935 Nuremberg Laws that effectively classified Jews as subhuman, Kristallnacht was a critical milestone in the coming Holocaust that took Rywka Lipszyc and millions like her.
But with the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre of Oct. 27, Friedman’s latest initiative to promote the diary and its lessons has taken on an unexpected urgency. “The attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh showed the world that the antisemitic violence we commonly associate with the past — with pogroms, persecution and the Holocaust — is alive and well today,” Friedman told The Algemeiner in an email on Wednesday. “It is more important than ever to educate new generations through firsthand accounts like ‘Rykwa’s Diary’ about the devastation wrought by antisemitism, so that we can commit to ending it.”
Currently, the diary is a centerpiece of a multimedia exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, which runs until January. Assembled in cooperation with the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland, “The Girl in the Diary” allows visitors to read from a selection of Rywka’s entries — which began on Oct. 3, 1943 and ended abruptly on Apr. 12, 1944. After New York, the exhibition about Rywka will travel to the Jewish Museum in Milwaukee, and after that to the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.
Much of the diary’s searing drama stems from the circumstances of its discovery. Plucked from the ruins of the Auschwitz crematoria by a Soviet Army doctor, Zinaida Berezovskaya in 1945, the diary arrived in San Francisco fifty years later in the hands of Berezovskaya’s granddaughter, who had emigrated to California.
The original copy of Rywka’s diary is now housed at Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. But an English language version, edited by Friedman in 2014 and containing all 112 pages of the diary, has served to introduce a new generation to the horrors of the Holocaust.
For Friedman, Rywka’s unshakable commitment to the Jewish faith is one of the elements that makes her diary special. “She was a girl who was very religious,” Friedman – who also heads the Koret Foundation, a philanthropic enterprise with a strong focus on Jewish education – explained. “Her formal education stopped at the age of 11, when Hitler invaded Poland, but at the age of 14, she was capable of writing a beautifully-crafted diary. The way she grappled with deep questions of theology and faith makes it very unusual.”
An entry of Feb. 1, 1944 gives a sense of Rywka’s literary talents, with her psalm-like plea to God to come to her aid. “O, God help me lift myself up, I can’t do it on my own!” she wrote. “Don’t let me flinch before hardship and put me back on my feet! …My God! I have such longing…” But she also had a 14-year-old’s penchant, even under extraordinary hardship, for observations about her family, her friends and her life in the ghetto suffused with gentle humor and feeling. There are passages of great melancholy too: “It’s the second day of the holidays,” she wrote on Apr. 11, 1944, during Passover. “How was the Seder? How could it be?! Oh, Daddy’s absence made our life miserable. The Seder without Daddy, but without not only Daddy, without men at all…”
Friedman’s hope is that Rywka’s voice will “inspire current generations to be morally courageous and socially responsible.”
“I wish she were alive to know that we are all so sorry we were not in a position to protect you in your time of urgent need,” she reflected. “But we are continuing your legacy 70 years later.”
While there has been concern that interest in the Holocaust is fading as it recedes in time, Friedman argued that the reverse is happening. She singled out Germany’s government for “setting the standard for moral clarity” in Holocaust education, but added that there were encouraging trends in other countries too — including Poland, where political life for much of this year has been dominated by legislation that outlawed discussion of Polish collusion with the Nazi occupying authorities. Nonetheless, Friedman said, last year Poland added Rywka’s Diary to its Holocaust-education curriculum. “This increased interest in understanding what happened during the Holocaust and for patterns of genocide currently is an encouraging trend,” Friedman said, pointing to the recent genocides in the Sudanese region of Darfur and against the Yazidi minority in Iraq as crimes that can be further understood through the lens of the Holocaust.
Now published in 15 languages, with a film currently in production in Poland, Friedman presents Rywka’s Diary as the unique perspective of a religious Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied Poland on the tribulations of the Jewish people over 3,000 years. She also holds up the diary as a warning against trivializing Nazism and its legacy — a point to bear in mind, perhaps, as the world prepares to commemorate the atrocity of Kristallnacht.
“Labeling anything that’s bad ‘Nazi’ or ‘Naziesque’ reveals a lack of understanding,'” Friedman said, when asked about the present profusion of Nazi analogies on social media and in national politics. “So to me, that’s also an opportunity to do more Holocaust education.”
Israeli Company opens up company in USA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKK12lmbiTs