19 August 2022

Rabbi Kahana: Parashat Aikev


The 15th of the month of Menachem Av (which was last Friday) is not a major holiday even in the calendars of the most observant among us. However, if one looks beyond the individual incidents to analyze the entire repertoire of this day, the message is explosive. It reveals no less than one of the fundamental ways that HaShem controls history and where He is leading the Jewish nation in our time. Tu Be’Av is a guarantee that the words of the prophets will come true, that we shall return to Eretz Yisrael, and the third Bet HaMikdash will stand erect on the Temple Mount.

I will explain:

Six important, but seemingly unrelated events occurred on the 15th of Av in different generations:

1- In our desert experience:

On this date, it became apparent to the generation of the meraglim (scouts) who refused to enter the Land and were sentenced to die over a 40-year period, that the punishment had been paid in full.

Every year on the 9th of Av, the anniversary of the meraglim’s rebellion, the men who had refused to enter the land would dig their graves and lie in them the entire night; many would die (about 15,000) and the living would return home to wait for the next 9th of Av. In the final year the routine was repeated, but no one died. The feeling was that perhaps there was a mistake in determining the new month and the 9th day, so they waited every night in the graves until the 15th when the moon is full, and it was certain that the 9th had passed.

Henceforth the 15th became a day of memorial and thanks to HaShem.

2- The first generation in Eretz Yisrael

In order to ensure the orderly distribution of the homesteads among the twelve tribes of Israel and within the respective tribes, restrictions were placed on intermarriage between the tribes. This was done to prevent a situation of land transfer between the tribes. For example, if a woman of tribe A had a parcel of land, and she were to marry a man from tribe B, there was risk of that piece of tribe A land being transferred to tribe B.

This ordinance was binding on the first generation. The restriction was lifted on the 15th of Av and was considered a cause for celebration.

3- The tribe of Binyamin

There was a prohibition on marrying into the tribe of Binyamin after the disastrous incident of the “Concubine at Givah”. The prohibition was later revoked on the 15th of Av.

4- Gathering of the Wood

During the periods of the Bet HaMikdash, this day marked the end of the yearly cycle of gathering wood for the altar, and a special sacrifice of thanksgiving was offered.

5- From Yeravam to Hoshea

Upon the division of the Holy Land into two kingdoms following the death of King Solomon, Yeravam Ben Nevat, ruler of the breakaway northern kingdom of Israel, set up roadblocks to prevent his citizens from making pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, capital of the southern kingdom of Judah. These were finally removed after 200 years by Hoshea ben Elah, the last king of the northern kingdom, on the 15th of Av.

6- The martyrs of Betar

The Jewish dead of the city of Betar were permitted by the Roman authorities to be buried after an extended period of prohibition imposed by Hadrian (Adrianus).

The fortress of Betar was the last holdout of the Bar Kochba rebellion. When Betar fell, on Av 9, 3893 (133 CE), Bar Kochba and many thousands of Jews were murdered with great cruelty, and there was a prohibition on burying the dead. When they were finally brought to burial on Av 15, 3908 (148 CE), an additional blessing Hatov Vehameitiv was added to the Grace After Meals in commemoration.

At first glance these six historical incidences have no connection; but in fact, they all possess a common denominator. Each episode began with a normal and desired state of affairs, with the situation changing radically due to the sins of the people, proceeding to HaShem’s intervention to bring closure of the undesired, deviant and unnatural period and restoration of the inherent, positive, natural flow of our lives, as follows:

1- In the normal sequence of events, all the Jews who left Egypt were destined to enter the holy land. However, the meraglim caused a radical change in “normal” events and six hundred thousand Jews died in the 40-year sojourn in the desert. On the 15th of Av in the 40th year the normal status of Jews entering Eretz Yisrael came about.

2- In the normal flow of lives, halachic Jews can marry each other. The prohibition on tribal intermarriage was a pause in this natural flow of life. It was revoked in the following generation and normalcy restored.

3- The prohibition on marrying into the tribe of Binyamin, which was enacted after the disastrous incident of the “Concubine at Givah”, was revoked on the 15th of Av and we returned to the previous status of full tribal intermarriage.

4- During the periods of the Bet Hamikdash, this day closed the yearly cycle of gathering wood for the alter, and to be continued the following spring, and a special sacrifice of thanksgiving was offered.

5- On this day, the last king of the northern tribes Hoshea ben Ela revoked the 200-year prohibition placed by Yeravan Ben Navat closing the border between north and south. These were removed more than 200 years later by Hoshea ben Elah, the last king of the northern kingdom, placing closure on this sad period in our history.

6- The Jewish dead of the city of Betar were permitted by the roman authorities to be buried after an extended period of prohibition imposed by Hadrian (Adrianus). It was an important closure to the infamous dictates of the Romans.

So, the schematic outline of these auspicious events is inherent normality followed by an undesirable interruption, ending with closure and return to normality.

Based on these historic patterns one could reach some interesting conclusions:

1- In the long history of our people, the inherently normal state of affairs, as desired by our Father in Heaven, is our presence and sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael. However, 2000 years ago as a result of our deviating from the dictates of the Torah this natural mission was interrupted and we were exiled to the four corners of the world, creating a grotesque imbalance in our historical goals as HaShem’s chosen people. And in our own time, HaShem has begun the closure of this interruption and we are on track to rebuilding our national home, with the eventual return of the Jewish people and the restoration of classic Jewish life centered around the holy Temple on the Temple Mount.

2- The inherent “natural” presence of a Jewish neshama is to be in Gan Eden, from where we all came. The interruption of this natural state occurred with the reality of our birth in this material world. The death of a Jew is the closure of his personal mission and return to his inherent natural state in Gan Eden.

3- The only true inherent “natural” state is pre-creation when HaShem was the only entity that WAS. Creation of heaven and earth with all their innumerable, miscellaneous, myriad spiritual and material entities interrupted this state of total perfection, which will be followed in, who knows, how many billions (or hundreds of billions) of light years with the closure of creation and return to “nothingness.”

In the meantime, we exist as Jews, as HaShem’s chosen people. We need not dwell on thoughts which are beyond our rational scope, when all that HaShem demands from us is to love and be in awe of Him and live our lives according to the mitzvot in our Torah.

Shabbat Shalom

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5782/2022 Nachman Kahana



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Rabbi Winston: Parshas Aikev


It sounds like a good thing at first, getting to know good and evil. After all, if you don’t know what they are, how can you choose to do the good and shun the evil? Even though G–D warned Adam not to eat from the tree, and warned him about death as a consequence, at least he became wiser for it, right?

Wronggggg. If you start from nothing, like the average person since, then getting to know the difference between good and evil is a must. But if you started from the level of emes v’sheker—true and false—as had been the case with Adam and Chava, then coming to know good and evil is a demotion. 

The difference is almost audible just from saying the words. The difference is fundamental. Emes v’sheker are absolutes that leave no room for any doubt. Tov v’ra—good and evil—are really the product of doubt, what you get when you add it to emes and sheker. Good and evil can be very subjective, which is why even Hitler, ysv”z, rationalized that he was doing mankind a favor by exterminating its Jews. That’s why the Gemora says that the source of Haman in the Torah, a descendant of Amalek, was the eating from the Aitz HaDa’as Tov v’Ra (Chullin 139b). 

Now what? Are we stuck with our situation until Moshiach comes and rids the world of all doubt? Can we remove the doubt from the equation and return back to emes v’sheker once again?

Of course. We already do it on different levels. There are many things we once had doubts about in life but which we cleared up after doing some research and learning. Not all doubts are beyond resolution if, a person cares enough to work hard enough to get rid of them. Once they do that, they are able to move up to the level of true-and-false, and enjoy living with such clarity.

This is what G–D told us in last week’s parsha. “I showed you to know…” that G–D is G–D, and that there are none others besides Him. Supposedly, we saw enough at that time in history to eliminate any doubt about G–D and divine providence. But we doubted Him anyhow. How did that work?

The problem, of course, is that it was kind of a one-time thing. G–D made a huge and masterful entry into history, stayed around for about 1,000 years, then went on radio silence. Prophecy ended, though we had already stopped heeding it. 

Then all the bad things started to happen, and happen, and happen. Other religions rose to prominence, and even idol worship had its heyday. 

The number one reason people doubt G–D is that sometimes He allows things to happen that people assume He wouldn’t, if He were actually there. But as the Gemora says, G–D shows real strength when He keeps silent to things He hates the most, for the sake of history. People press His hot buttons all day long, and He just remains cool to them. It’s enough to make an atheist or agnostic out of just about anyone.


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THERE IS ANOTHER way. It’s the opposite of Amalek and doubt, kind of. The real opposite of course is intellectual certainty. But clearly that is not very likely in many cases, and even the Talmud ends up with questions it can’t answer. That is why so much halachah tends to be stringent, to make sure we cover all the halachic angles. We’re only lenient when we’re clear that we can be.

It’s called yiras Shamayim—fear of G–D, which Moshe Rabbeinu addresses directly in this week’s parsha

Now Israel, what does G–D your G–D ask of you?  Only to fear G–D…  (Devarim 10:12) 

There is a reason why we call people who adhere to halachah without wavering, especially when it is uncomfortable not to, G–D-fearing people. It might seem as if they are really only punishment fearing people, but that is not the case. They might fear punishment too, like the rest of us, but that is not the essence of their fear of G–D. Respect is.

Respect is an interesting thing. It is an attitude of admiration or esteem for something, and it is really the basis of any good relationship, even more than love. Many people who love one another end up breaking up because they lack mutual respect. But though people who respect one another may not actually feel love, their relationship will last forever. The strongest relationships have both aspects, love and respect.

Respect is so important to us that we even need to have it for ourselves. We don’t talk about self-love and self-fear as much as we talk about self-respect. It is the basis of any good and meaningful life, something that can’t be faked and must be earned. Everything else we do in life is built upon it.

Because we all need to feel validated. We need to feel that our lives mean something. We need to feel real, and that often means being noticed for good things. People only resort to bad to get negative respect in desperation when they cannot be respected for good. They do fearful things to make a difference in life, albeit the worst way possible. But some people will take any kind of fear rather than live with a feeling of non-existence.

This is not G–D, of course. He doesn’t need anyone’s respect, not even His own. Any respect He wants from us is for our good. We need to respect Him for Who He is, so that we will not falter in our devotion to Him and His ways. Fear of punishment, believe it or not, does not keep people religious. Over time it makes them run the other direction, which has happened to millions of once-religious people. They’ll latch on to the first thing that casts doubt on G–D’s existence and His providence to jump ship, as many have already done.

The same thing is true with fear. People can only live with so much fear before they do something drastic, like rebel and go in the other direction. Excessive fear leads to resentment, and resentment leads to rebellion, as it so often has over the ages.

But respect stands the test of time. People who have maintained respect for G–D and all that He has done, and continues to do each moment, stick with Him through thick-and-thin. Nothing upsets their belief or causes them to waver in their faith. They replace intellectual and religious doubt with emunah—faith. This is how they turn tov into emes and ra back into sheker. This is how they counter Amalek and remove him from the equation. 

THE THREE WEEKS between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B’Av are the dangerous period for the Jewish people. Kabbalistically, it is the time of year that G–D withdraws His light enough to make it dangerous to be a Jew, even a righteous one. That’s why our enemies were able to destroy the Temple and exile our people during this period climaxing with Tisha B’Av.

But those lights, kabbalistically, are supposed to begin their return around the 10th of Av. It’s supposed to be a period of rectification overlapping a period of consolation. Some tragedies have occurred during this time because people on vacation took unnecessary risks, or were just vulnerable to accidents. But most of the time, Bein HaZmanim passes pleasantly for those who wait all year for it, and even for those who don’t. 

Not this one, though. The first week after Tisha B’Av, which itself passed relatively quietly thank G–D, the news has been very hard and sad. Weird accidents, which are always signs of more overt divine providence, have resulted in sudden deaths and incomprehensible injuries. It has become an extremely painful period of mourning for the families involved and the nation as a whole. 

This was followed by a terrorist attack on a bus returning from the Kosel at 1:30 in the morning on Motzei Shabbos. From the Kosel…and at 1:30 in the morning!

We are quick to look for explanations. It is our automatic response. This was very bad. G–D is very good. How do the two work together? 

We have some answers because we are no strangers to the questions, after thousands of years of going through similar crises. By now we are fully aware of what G–D can do, or at least allow to happen, to His treasured nation when He decides it is what must occur according to the bigger picture. 

When this happens, Amalek circles like a hungry vulture watching its prey struggle through the desert below. We just don’t know. There are so many details that are not shared with us at this time, and this creates doubt, first intellectual and then emotional, and that is when Amalek swoops in for the kill.

It says that just before Moshiach comes, G–D shakes the world out like a dirty garment, and only those strong in faith remain hanging on. Last week’s incidents were a real shake-up. That is always the test of a Jew, but particularly towards the end of history. If you look down, you will see Amalek standing below with opened arms to catch whoever falls. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. 

But, the bigger the emunah, the harder it is to fall, and you don’t want to fall, not now, not so close to the “big reveal.”

Ain Od Milvado, Part 14

THE KLI YAKAR explains on Parashas Yisro that people once thought that there were at least two G–Ds, one who did the good and one who did the bad. It was only once that Yisro saw that the same G–D who did all the good for the Jewish people also destroyed Egypt, that he decided to convert to Judaism. 

The Greeks and Romans were worse. They had a G–D for just about every natural force in the world. Today, people have gone to the other extreme, having no G–D for anything. Or at least they say they don’t. The truth is, they do worship something. They just don’t call all that adoration and sacrifice for it “worship.”

But every time a person relies on something else other than G–D to save them, it is a form of idol worship. It’s okay to believe your fate is in the hands of your bank manager, provided that you know it is really just G–D working through them. It’s fine to be very relieved that you can pay for something you need with a credit card and in multiple payments, as long as you understand that this was G–D’s way of giving you a break.

Technology is powerful, but its power comes from G–D. Remember the Tower of Bavel? It was a technological breakthrough in its time, even built according to kabbalistic specification. It actually could have worked, and would have worked, had not G–D brought it down. He gives us technology to improve the world and enhance our appreciation of Him. When it becomes the reason to turn our backs on Him, then He takes it away from us.

This does not mean you will see a huge hand come down from the sky and yank some massive plug from some massive outlet. But for all intents-and-purposes, that’s what happens.

It could be an overloading of the system that causes massive blackouts and systemic failure. It could be an EMP attack by some enemy nation that crashes the entire electrical grid. It could be a solar flare that does the same thing, or some other event that we haven’t even considered at this point. As the expression goes, “G–D has many messengers.”

Including us. Let’s say someone has wronged us, resulting in our own inner turmoil. We’d like to give the offender a piece of our mind, but we know he was just a shaliach—messenger for G–D. As a result, part of us, the hurt part, argues that we should go over and tell the person what they have done to us. The other part says, “If G–D didn’t want that to happen to you, it wouldn’t have. If they wronged you, it is between them and G–D, not you and them.”

What about the mitzvah of giving criticism? Some say that it doesn’t apply today since so few people know how to criticize properly. We’re too subjective, and we use the mitzvah of criticism as a cover for our own complaints against others. When that is the case, the criticism usually comes out wrong, and just adds more sin to the picture.

But let’s say the person can’t hold themself back from speaking their mind, and end up saying what they feel has to be said?

Once something becomes reality, it becomes bashert—destined, something G–D intended to happen. If it was something you said, He wanted you to say it. If it was something you did, He wanted you to do it. As Yosef told his brothers at the end of Parashas Vayechi, nothing happens to anybody if G–D does not green light it. Ain od Milvado

The story doesn’t end there, of course. While the offended deals with why G–D let you say or do what you did to them, you will have to deal with why G–D chose you to be His messenger for bad. 

If what you did worked out well for everyone, then you can just take pleasure in the fact that G–D decided to make you a shaliach for good. But if what you did had negative repercussions, it is a wakeup call for you to look over your life and see what made Him use you for a shaliach for not-so-good. Because it is one thing to be cast as the villain in a play, but something altogether different to play the villain in real life, even if only for a moment.

Mayim Achronim: G–d’s Metal


Israel and the Iron Age

In this week’s parasha, Ekev, Moses describes the rich land of Israel and says it is “a good land, a land with brooks of water, fountains and depths, that emerge in valleys and mountains, a land of wheat and barley, vines and figs and pomegranates, a land of oil producing olives and honey…” This first part of the description is well-known, and the source for the Seven Species of Israel. These are the seven plants that are particularly praiseworthy, and are native to the Holy Land: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives, and dates (which were used to make the honey that Moses is speaking of). The Zohar explains that all other species of plants have various angels appointed over them, but God alone oversees the growth and flourishing of the Seven Species (see Zohar Chadash on Ruth, 106a).

What we often overlook is the next part of Moses description: “a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, you will lack nothing in it, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose mountains you will hew copper.” Moses promises the Israelites a land full of iron and copper. This statement is actually just as significant as the Seven Species! What is so special about iron and copper that it was so enticing for Israel?

Bronze Age to Iron Age

When Israel came out of Egypt, the Old World was still mired in what historians refer to as the “Bronze Age”. Weapons and other instruments were primarily made of bronze, an alloy that is nearly 90% copper, and the rest mostly tin. In the Wilderness, we see how the Israelites used copper (or bronze, nechoshet) in making some of the structures of the Mishkan, including the copper altar and the copper basin. Moses also put together a nachash nechoshet, “copper snake”, to heal the people from venomous snake bites. Some believe this is the most ancient origin of the famous medical symbol of a staff intertwined with a snake.

Soon, bronze gave way to iron, a metal that is much harder and stronger. Scholars point out that the transition from Bronze Age to Iron Age took place roughly around the same time as the Exodus and Israel’s conquest of the Holy Land. In his eye-opening book, The Eighth Day, Samuel Kurinsky points out that the Israelite migration into the Holy Land closely coincides with the rise of ironworking. In fact, Kurinsky points out (pg. 149) that some 240 different iron-working sites have been found across Israel, dated roughly to the same time as the Israelite conquest! Kurinsky argues that what gave Israel such a mighty advantage over the Canaanites—and allowed them such a swift conquest with few casualties—is the fact that Israel had far superior iron weapons. Israel learned the secret of ironworking, and this is what allowed them to wipe out the old bronze age kingdoms. (We do see several instances, such as Joshua 17:16, where Israel had a hard time conquering the Canaanites, and this is because here the Canaanites also had iron!)

Kurinsky points out how the Torah accurately describes iron mining and iron working (pg. 181). For example, the verse in this week’s parasha cited above says the iron will be in “stones” while the copper is hewn out of “mountains”. Indeed, iron is typically mined from surface rock, while copper is found deeper in mountains and caves and had to be carefully “hewn out”. Isaiah 44:12 is even more precise regarding iron metallurgy, and mentions the fact that iron smelting requires large amounts of charcoal to generate much higher heat than needed for copper.

We can add to these descriptions that the Torah mentions iron casually numerous times, including the laws of accidental murder caused by a flying iron implement (Numbers 35:16), and the prohibition of building the Temple with iron tools (Deuteronomy 27:5). This implies that iron really was readily available and commonly used by the Israelites. The Torah first mentions iron at the very beginning in Genesis 4:22, crediting Tuval-Cain with being the first to discover bronze and iron metallurgy. Tuval-Cain was a descendant of Cain, son of Adam. Amazingly, scholars believe that the name “Tuval-Cain” was the origin for the Roman deity Vulcan, their god of fire and metalworking! Fittingly, it is also the origin of the English word “volcano”, from which flows iron-rich lava.

Iron is mentioned many more times later in the Tanakh. A careful reading shows how whoever controlled the iron trade in ancient Israel would inevitably control the entire region. For instance, some time after the Holy Land conquest, the Canaanites themselves learned how to forge iron and soon came to dominate the iron industry. This is what gave King Yavin of Hazor the strength to take over, and the Tanakh makes sure to point out that his general Sisera had 900 iron chariots with which he reigned over Israel (see Judges 4-5).

Israel would eventually regain control of the iron trade, and restore its prestige. Kurinsky points out how of all the things that King Solomon inherited from his father David, the largest deposit by far was of iron. We read in I Chronicles 29:7 that Solomon had “5,000 talents of gold, 10,000 darics, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of copper, and 100,000 talents of iron”. The amount of iron was greater than all the other metals combined! It isn’t hard to imagine how King David was able to unite all the Tribes of Israel and defeat their enemies because he had a massive supply of invaluable iron.

Of course, these are only physical reasons—what is the spiritual significance of iron?

God’s Metal

On the Periodic Table, iron is found at position #26. It is element #26, and has 26 protons. This is of tremendous significance because 26 is, of course, the numerical value of God’s Name (יהוה). Amazingly, iron has just the right number of protons (26) to produce the most stable atomic nucleus. For this reason, iron is the most abundant metal in the entire universe. It is also the most abundant metal on this planet, making up about 80% of Earth’s core, and is also the most abundant element on Earth by mass.* For most of history, iron has been the most useful metal for humans, too, used in everything from train tracks to skyscrapers; from horseshoes to vehicles; for weapons, utensils, bridges, appliances, magnets, and everything in between.

More significantly, iron courses through our veins and makes our blood red. It is an iron ion that holds on to oxygen within our red blood cells, keeping us alive. A typical blood cell has about 250 million molecules of hemoglobin, each of which has 4 iron ions inside of it. In other words, every one of our red blood cells has a billion iron atoms inside of it! A similar molecule to hemoglobin, myoglobin, is vital for our muscles, too. Even more incredibly, iron is necessary for the electron transport chain in our cellular mitochondria, to extract the energy from the food we eat. (The other metal necessary to extract energy in the electron transport chain is copper!) Still, the average person has just 4 or 5 grams of iron in their entire body, yet without it no one could survive for even a few minutes. God keeps us alive spiritually, and His element #26 keeps us alive biologically.

The connection between Israel and iron is even more impressive. Our Sages pointed out long ago that the four mothers that gave birth to the Twelve Tribes of Israel are Bilhah (בלהה), Rachel (רחל), Zilpah (זלפה), and Leah (לאה)—and their initials spell barzel (ברזל), “iron”! This gives greater meaning to the famous statement that God forged us as a nation in the kur habarzel, the “iron crucible”, of Egypt (as in I Kings 8:51). Israel comes from “iron”, so to speak. One of the most ancient mystical texts that we have, Hilkhot haKise, points out that the Shema that we recite multiple times a day has exactly 239 words, the gematria of barzel (ברזל), for Israel is like iron. In fact, there used to be an ancient custom for a Jew to always carry a small piece of iron for protection—both spiritual and physical.

Jewish expertise in ironworking did not end in Temple times. Kurinsky traces the evolution of Jewish ironworking throughout much of history (Pgs. 250-274). The Roman historian Deo Cassius described how Jews were instrumental in the Roman iron industry. Incredibly, he blames the Jewish blacksmiths for purposely making faulty iron weapons for the Roman soldiers, to give Judea an upper hand in the Roman-Jewish Wars! He records that the Romans enslaved 4000 expert Jewish blacksmiths and iron miners to work for the Roman iron industry in Sicily.

Jewish ironworking continued for many centuries afterwards. Sephardic Jews in Spain were iron experts, which is why to this day many Sephardic Jews have iron-related last names like Ferro, Fierro, and Herrero. It is well-known that the word ghetto originally comes from the Italian word for an iron foundry. Now we can appreciate why! The first official Jewish ghetto was the iron foundry area of Venice, and we have a record of one Soranzo of Venice complaining to the governing council not to expel the Jews, for then the Italians would run out of good quality iron, and only make their enemies stronger:

What pernicious act is this, to expel the Jews? Do you not know what it may cost you in years to come? Who gave the Turk his strength and where else would he have found the skilled craftsman to make the cannon, bows, shot, swords, shields and bucklers which enable him to measure himself against other powers, if not among the Jews who were expelled by the Kings of Spain?

Indeed, we know that the Ottoman sultan at the time, Bayezid II, declared: “They tell me that Ferdinand of Spain is a wise man, but he is a fool, for he takes his treasure and sends it all to me.” As explored in the past here, within a century of the Spanish Expulsion, the Spanish Empire’s glory days were over and it had begun to fade into oblivion. The Ottoman Empire, on the other hand, only grew more powerful, and at one point threatened all of Europe, largely thanks to that massive influx of knowledgeable Jews.

In time, it appears that the Jews were mostly squeezed out of the iron industry. In 1933, an influential German Jew named Alexander Kremener saw the need for an iron industry in the Holy Land and established the Palestine Foundries and Metal Works near Haifa. When it opened the following year, it was the first steel production plant in the whole Middle East. It played an instrumental role in pre-state Israel, but unfortunately didn’t last too long. The foundry didn’t live to see the rebirth of Israel.

Today, while Israel sits securely under its Iron Dome and Iron Beam, the country makes very little of its own iron and imports nearly $2 billion of the metal every year. This is quite unfortunate, because the UN estimates that Israel is sitting on at least 15 million tons of iron deposits! It would be wise for Israelis to return to their birthright and heritage, and to resurrect the ancient ironworking strength of the Holy Land. This is God’s metal, after all, and has tremendous power both spiritually and economically.

*When it comes to the Earth’s crust, the most abundant metal is aluminum. This is also interesting because the atomic mass of aluminum is 26.98 g/mol.

For more on the number 26 and God’s fingerprints hidden in biology and nature, read ‘The Divine Anatomy of the Human Body’.

Source:  https://www.mayimachronim.com/israel-and-the-iron-age/

18 August 2022


 Welcome to my other Blogs

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Reb Neuberger


Dear Friends

Mailings will B”H resume the week of 1 Elul/August 28/Parshas Shofetim.
With all our blessings, Roy Neuberger

Rabbi Weissman: Leaked … Inconvenient Data


This week's Torah class is available here.  How much mind-blowing Torah can you cram into an hour?  I'm trying to find out. 

This week's two-minute take: Bring Back Tu B'Av

I couldn't resist making this: Coincidence?

*   *   *

Leaked: Vaccine extremist Blima Marcus colludes to spin inconvenient data

This article was first published on America's Frontline doctors here.

The leaked recording is here.

Blima Marcus is one of the fiercest pro-vaccination activists within the Jewish world.  She has been working closely with the government to produce and disseminate material tailored to persuade Orthodox Jews.  As Jewish-appearing comrade Laura Kurcfeld emphasized in a recently leaked conference call, recruiting people “who look like me” to push pharmaceutical products is a critical part of their strategy to obtain the community's trust.

When watching these conversations between glorified drug-pushers that the sheep were not supposed to hear, one is struck by how much they fret over “trust”. Their greatest concern is that people will “lose trust” in the priests of the medical cult.  The conversations revolve around strategies they can employ to overcome this and similar “challenges”.

Consistently telling the truth, being transparent, modifying their beliefs in light of new information, displaying humility, steering clear of bribery and other conflicts of interest, and otherwise being trustworthy are not among these strategies. 

Blima Marcus introduced herself to the Jewish world as an ultra-Orthodox nurse, a highly dubious self-identification, though most convenient for insinuating herself into the community and performing, as she calls it, “vaccination outreach”.  Oddly, in the same thread she also referred to herself as “a liberal Democrat”, which would make her a unicorn. 

She later stated: “I imagine a world where all of the frum (religious) media had a unified, supportive message for public health policies from the start of the pandemic. Things would be so different.”  Indeed, pushing vaccines on everyone would be much easier without voices of dissent against the government with whom she collaborates.

IMAGE undeciphered

Marcus has a strong social media presence (highly unusual for an “ultra-Orthodox Jew”), and her manner toward those who are skeptical of establishment positions is often malicious, even abusive.

Marcus's vaccination outreach bears more resemblance to forcible conversions. Indeed, she openly supports vaccine mandates – a sanitized term for having the government force people to take injections against their will, which anyone with a sense of decency should abhor. 

Marcus is President of an organization called EMES Initiative, which, like JOWMA, is a front organization of Jewish-appearing vaccine-pushers to propagandize in Orthodox Jewish communities.  “Emes” is the Hebrew word for truth, though, as we shall see, it is yet another dubious self-identification.

One propaganda booklet from EMES, which was disseminated by the government of New York City, contains a “cheat sheet” that attacks “anti-vaccination sources”. Marcus and her comrades define the dreaded “anti-vaxxers” as “people who oppose vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination”.  Just a few paragraphs later, however, they deceptively write that “we strongly believe in parental choice”. 

If Marcus had her way, what “choice” would people actually have?  Take a vaccine or else. 

Marcus regularly defames people who wish to choose what, if any, pharmaceutical products they inject in themselves and their children.  In the “cheat sheet” she helped create she accuses them of using “biased sources”.  As it states, being “affiliated with an anti-vaccination organization” automatically renders one biased, and discredits any information from such a person. 

This is circular logic.  After all, what sort of organization would one expect people who independently arrived at these conclusions to join?  Vaccines For All?  On what basis does association with an organization that doesn't kneel before the vaccine G–Ds render one “biased” to the point of immediate disqualification? And why does the same rule not apply to Blima Marcus and her cohorts at “vaccination outreach” organizations?

Most incredibly, they add that “if a study was sponsored by a pharmaceutical company, it can be considered biased as well”.   

Insert your own punchline. 

IMAGE undeciphered

They further accuse “anti-vaxxers” of cherry picking information that suits their agenda,  noting that this is “a common propaganda tactic”.  File that away for now.

Then they accuse “anti-vaxxers” of stating “pure lies”.  Of course they do; they call their vaccine-pushing organization EMES, truth.  Just like Fauci is science, Blima Marcus is truth, and those who have unfavorable opinions about the products she pushes must be pure liars. 

What's most amusing about this “intellectual” response to “anti-vaxxers” is that the booklet accuses them of spreading false information “for reasons we cannot understand”.  After all, what incentive is there for people to express skepticism about vaccines? Unlike establishment drug-pushers, they will not be richly rewarded with government grants, “consulting fees” from drug companies, prestigious positions, and adulation from the establishment. 

Could it be that some “anti-vaxxers” independently drew their own conclusions about certain pharmaceutical products?  Could it be that some of them arrived at their beliefs the hard way, through devastating personal experience with these products, and therefore do not concur with Marcus's 5-star reviews?  Could it be that professionals with far greater knowledge and experience than Marcus believe her information is false, and have the integrity to jeopardize everything to say so?

One can well understand why vaccine-pushers like Blima Marcus might, in theory, spread false information.  But one is indeed hard-pressed to understand why, circumstances being what they are, her opponents would do the same.

Perhaps the most amusing, least self-aware part of the EMES “cheat sheet” is the accusation that “those who promote 'vaccine choice'” did not allow Marcus and company to “ask important questions” on their hotlines, and did not reply to their emails.  For people on that side of the discussion to whine about not being given a forum, their voices not being heard, and their questions not being answered is enough to discredit them without further examination.

Remember, this ridiculous propaganda, projecting all the sins of vaccine-pushers onto those who oppose them, was incorporated into New York City's official material.

Back to Blima Marcus.  With this lengthy introduction in mind, a recently leaked video of this “ultra-Orthodox” queen of vaccines is explosive.  In a conference call with Dr. Jane Zucker, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Marcus took off her mask and dropped any pretense of integrity, or, shall we say, emes

“As I think you know already from our conversations,” began Marcus, “my goals, at least in the [Orthodox Jewish] community are twofold: increase vaccinations for, you know, when appropriate – which in this case is basically always appropriate and for everyone – as well as be very careful with how we talk about what's happening in, you know, on the ground, as that relates to public trust, because that's ultimately the crisis we have.  I mean, across America, but in our community.  That's my concern.”

IMAGE undeciphered

As far as Blima Marcus is concerned, her life is not complete until every Orthodox Jew – men, women and children – takes the Covid shots.  They are always appropriate, and there are no exceptions. 

Clearly, her obsession with a syringe in every arm far transcends science.

At the same time, she recognizes that she and her needle-wielding comrades have to be very careful about how they present their message.  After all, there are those pesky issues with “public trust” they have to navigate. 

Those who speak the truth, whose positions are firmly rooted in truth, tend not to agonize over “public trust”.  Then tend not to worry about it at all. 

Blima Marcus, despite calling her organization EMES (truth), who is promoting the most wonderful life-giving products, and whose opponents allegedly spread “pure lies”, seems to be having great difficulty with “public trust”.  It's a crisis! 

Remarkable, isn't it?

Now comes the real bombshell.

“There was an MMWR [Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report] today...the New York Times reported it, so I expect to get slammed with that, which found that people with prior COVID infection...they found that when it came to the Delta variant, those who had prior infection and no vaccines fared the best in terms of lowest cases, and possibly lowest hospitalizations.”

One would have expected a religious person, a medical professional, a person of truth who rails against spreaders of false information, to embrace this data.  But Blima Marcus prefaced her remarks about this data by doubling down on her position that the COVID shot “is basically always appropriate and for everyone”. The fact that a new report indicated the precise opposite – that for at least a significant number of people the best outcome correlated specifically to not having taken the shots – was not cause for Marcus to modify her position accordingly.  Rather, it presented a logistical problem with continuing to push the shots for all people, all the time.

“So that brings us back to, you know, the conversations we've all had in the past, and keep raising, which is, you know, how do we tailor this message to a community that has had high infection rates and very low vaccination rates, when they see this data?” 

Blima Marcus then acknowledged Dr. Ellie Carmody, the disgraced JOWMA comrade who expressed a lack of confidence in her own sales pitch, yet had no moral qualms with continuing to push the product.

Marcus continued expressing her concerns to Jane Zucker.  “So I guess I want to hear your thoughts – and I completely want to just acknowledge that you're in a very difficult situation where I fully understand what public health messaging has to remain, which is that vaccination during a pandemic is the way forward, and I fully agree with that, while also acknowledging that we serve a community that can be very challenging.”

For people of integrity, for people of science, the correct approach would be obvious: change your approach to align with reality.  For vaccine-pushing prostitutes targeting the demographic least advised to take the shots, however, this was a serious problem.  The people would see the data.  One way or another, however, reality would have to be altered to suit the agenda.  The “public health messaging” must stay the same, irrespective of inconvenient new information.

Nothing would have made Blima Marcus happier than for the data to be buried, or for her target population – a “challenging” bunch of people – to remain unaware of it. 

The EMES “cheat sheet” declares that “You deserve honest information.”  It decries those who demonstrate bias, cherry pick information, mislead people, spread false information, and engage in “irresponsible actions”.

Maybe she can get a government grant for a mirror. It's time she and her comrades took a long, honest look at themselves.




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*   *   *

More mythological, pseudo-scientific propaganda from Mishpacha Magazine. 


"By the fall she was starting to feel better, although taking the Covid vaccine in December and January temporarily exacerbated her symptoms again." 

"Vaccination may help. The Journal of the American Medical Association published results at the end of June showing that getting vaccinated seems to help not only with the severity of Covid symptoms, but with the likelihood of contracting long Covid. Furthermore, some patients’ symptoms are relieved by getting booster shots, although no one really knows if this is a placebo effect or possibly some dormant virus "

And the obligatory recommendation from a priest of the medical cult: “if you want to take something on, take on getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.” 

Don't think too much about this, your brain might start to hurt.

17 August 2022

Rabbi Weissman: Interview Dr Carmody


This article was first published on America's Frontline Doctors here.

Dr. Ellie Carmody, of the shady front organization JOWMA, has been a fierce proponent of vaccines. In a letter to Mishpacha Magazine in 2019, in protest of an article that raised religious and health concerns about mandating the HPV vaccine for Orthodox Jewish children, Dr. Carmody wrote that "the proposed mandate for HPV vaccination is a public health measure and not a religious issue particular to the Orthodox community. Like mandated child car seats and house lead inspections, it is simply about the safety of our children in a world that we cannot predict".

This was merely a warm-up for the Covid shots, which JOWMA relentlessly pushed with advertising in Orthodox Jewish media, community events, and culturally tailored propaganda. Carmody played a prominent role in this propaganda campaign. She served as a board member of JOWMA's Covid-19 “task force” (all mention of which has since been scrubbed from their site, though their archived material can still be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20211229160447/https://jowma.org/covid19.)

Also missing from their website is the below guidance they once posted for children under 12, claiming 91% vaccine efficacy and no life threatening side effects.

[me: I made this chart xtra large so it can be read]

In one interview on the popular Nachum Segal radio program (one of nine separate interviews Segal conducted with JOWMA/PHARMA operatives), Carmody and Segal mocked the crazy notion that the Covid shots could cause serious reactions. The interview is still available here.

And here is a promotional video of Carmody and other JOWMA operatives, all using their orthodox appearances to push the shots on their community.

In light of this, a recently obtained recording of Dr. Carmody is downright explosive. In a conference call with Dr. Jane Zucker, Assistant Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Carmody expressed serious concerns about her ability to continue pushing the Covid shots on 5-year-olds.

Watch it at https://rumble.com/v1g2hkb-leaked-dr.-ellie-carmody-of-jowma-doesnt-believe-her-own-sales-pitch.html.

She acknowledged the fact that people with prior infection (natural immunity) were at very low risk of serious illness, and that the Covid shots were proven to be “less effective” against the so-called “Omicron variant”.

Carmody, visibly rattled, then said the following: “Yet we're really asking people with prior Covid to vaccinate their kids. It's really challenging, and I don't have answers, and I don't know if it's – if I have that lack of confidence in my own pitch, then I don't know what to do as a provider.”

One of the most outspoken vaccine-pushers in the Jewish world, who had mocked and defamed those who had doubts about vaccines in general and the Covid shots in particular, was now confiding to a superior that she herself lacked confidence in her own sales pitch!

Was this a small flicker of conscience emerging from the depths of Ellie Carmody? A pang of guilt? A tiny slice of soul that had not yet been sold to the devil?

Of course not. Carmody was not at all concerned about the ramifications of pushing shots on children that provided dubious benefits at best, with all the needless risks and unknowns involved. She had no intention of informing the parents who trusted her “expertise” and Jewish appearance that the Covid shots were far less beneficial, advisable, or necessary than she had previously claimed. That was not for public consumption.

She was concerned only with the effectiveness of her sales pitch. The car salesman hawking jalopies was seeing a decline in sales and consumer confidence, and needed some tips to keep moving the product. This was not a meeting of doctors to share medical knowledge and better serve their patients, but to share propaganda tips and better serve their patrons.

“What would help you?” asked Dr. Zucker. In other words, how can I help you continue pushing Covid shots on children, even though your belief in the shots is badly shaken?

Carmody was searching for something, some morsel of data, that she could use to sell the shots to children. Maybe there is a decrease in the risk of hospitalization for children who were infected and later took the shots?

“I don't know that,” admitted Zucker in a fumbling reply. “I can't say that. You know, what I can say is that I wouldn't be worried about the safety of the vaccine in those kids...and we're going to see a boost in the immune response based on everything we know, from vaccination, in terms of having increased protection. That we know. Like, there's some things we know, there's some things we don't know.”

In other words, just tell parents that the shots are safe and they will add protection to children – even though the former is entirely speculative, the latter is something they no longer believed based on the data, and there was so much they still didn't know.

Doctors who care about the health and lives of their patients would be loath to advise medical treatments under such circumstances. But for these people, the “doctor” part is a front, a side gig at best. Their main job is manipulating people to take the shots – whatever it takes.

What are you going to do about it?

We're far from done.  More on the way.


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Update on iPAD Issue

Worked only for a while. It jumps back and forth between colors.

UPDATE:  using search.brave.com was the place I found all the possible approaches to fix this KNOWN PROBLEM plaguing users.

Someone was very kind to do some searching for me and found how I could get rid of the psychedelic hot pink screen. She was quite clever in doin so.

B”H it worked.

However the appearance jumps from one designation to a different one occasionally, even while  i am typing.

This is only so far happening on my iPAD. My iMAC (since unlinked from the iPAD) seems to be ok for now. Have not checked in yet this am to see.

This is all the software people! They even don’t like using the screen horizontally, and have limited screen space for writing. They are designing everything for the vertical position, which is how most people use their iPhone, except when taking pics.

All this is part of the DS control over all of us. You may think this not so, but believe me it IS.

Knowing what is coming toward us in the future is important for protection and sanity. Not knowing is being in the dark.

Now, all this is part of the end times machinations of the mentally unstable “elite” who think they can be gods and control EVERYTHING.


So please all readers, improve your relationship with HKB”H, HASHEM, the only ONE. Speak to HIM from your heart, ask for forgiveness and try to improve yourself in all your ways.

And all the above iPAD mess happened to me on my birthday. A message, perhaps.

PS ignore the labels on right side, as I don’t use them anymore.

Rabbi Kahana: Parashat Aikev

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