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30 March 2017

Parshas Vayikra – His Face Turned White

His Face Turned White
By Roy S. Neuberger

This is a true story.

My friend was davening Friday night somewhere in Israel. In this shul the rov speaks in Hebrew between Kabbalas Shabbos and Maariv. My friend’s Hebrew skills are weak, so the rov originally suggested that he daven elsewhere Friday night where he would feel more comfortable. But he enjoys davening in that shul. The rov then suggested, “Bring a sefer and learn it while I speak. It’s fine with me; I will not be the least bit offended.” And this is the way it has been.

One recent Friday night a new person sat down next to my friend. During the rov’s droshe, this person kept staring at my friend. After a while, he nudged him, pointed at the rov and made motions to indicate that he should put down his sefer and listen to the droshe.

After davening, my friend said to the man, “I understand your concern, but there is a reason for what I was doing. If you’d like, I will explain it to you.”

Listen to the response: “Don’t explain. I don’t care what your reason is.”

My friend felt the blood rush to his face and then drain from it. He turned white.

Without exaggeration, I believe the man who said these words may face a very serious judgment in Olam Ha Emes.
“Just as there is wrongdoing in buying and selling, so there is wrongdoing with words…. A Tanna taught in the presence of Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak: If someone makes his friend’s face turn white [from shame] in public, it is as if he has spilled blood. [Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak] said [to the Tanna]: What you are saying is right, because I have seen how the red coloring leaves [the face of an embarrassed person] and his face turns white. [Tosfos remarks: although a person generally turns red when he is embarrassed, this is because the blood gathers in his face before draining from it.] Abbaye said to Rav Dimi: About what are they careful in the West? [Rav Dimi] answered him: They are careful about [not] embarrassing people…. [The Gemora elaborates, in the words of Rabbi Chanina:] All who descend to Gehenom [soon] ascend, except for three … [one of whom is] someone who makes his friend’s face turn white [from shame] in public….” (Bava Metzia 58b)

My friends, we are approaching Pesach, and I believe that we must consider very carefully our behavior toward our fellow Jews. We are eliminating chometz. Are we eliminating the chometz in our heart?

We were able to stand at Har Sinai only because we were “k’ish echad b’lev echad ... like one man with one heart.” (Rashi on Shemos 19:2) This is the prerequisite not only for our glory but for our very survival. We were one, and Hashem spoke to us because we were one. He is One – Hashem Echad! – and it is our avoda to imitate Him. When we allowed ourselves to be divided by sinas chinom – unwarranted hatred, lack of compassion – our Holy Temple was destroyed and we were thrown into the catastrophic Golus from which we are still unable to extricate ourselves.

When are we going to learn? 
When are we going to tear down the wall separating brother from brother? 

It is even worse when we batter each other with clubs of Torah, because Torah’s essential nature is to bring peace. That means we are twisting Torah. How can we bring Redemption if we are cold and hateful to each other? Are we living in a fantasy? What is wrong with us!

“Which is the one destined for the World to Come? [One who is] modest and humble, who enters bowing and leaves bowing, and learns Torah constantly but does not take credit for himself.” (Sanhedrin 88b) If this sounds extreme, that just shows how far we have strayed from the ideal.

We left Mitzraim humbled by slavery, carrying our bread on our shoulders. We had nothing except a few possessions and endless gratitude to the Ribono shel Olam, Who had saved us from the fiery furnace and mem-tes sha’are tumah. United by our miraculous delivery, we felt the heartbeat of our brothers and sisters. “Hakodosh Baruch Hu said to Israel: I desire you [as My people] because even at a time when I bestow greatness upon you, you humble yourselves before Me.” (Chullin 89a)

Frankly, I feel it is no mystery what is pushing Moshiach away from us. Can he come amidst sinas chinom? We have to stop being naïve. A game of life and death is being played out on this planet and every person is in mortal danger. We are cleaning our houses, looking for crumbs of chometz, which Chazal likens to arrogance. We cannot leave Mitzraim if we are arrogant. We cannot hope for salvation if we act like Paro, who thought he was a god. “Every haughty heart is the abomination of Hashem.” (Mishlei 16:5)

My friends, we are in deep trouble, but, as the Novi says on the most tragic day of the year, “Let him put his mouth to the dust; there may yet be hope” (Eichah 3:29) We need to call out from the Pit and beg Hashem to save us. We do not understand how much we have to do teshuva. But Hashem answers if we call! “Min ha maitzar … from the straits did I call upon Hashem. Hashem answered me with expansiveness.” (Tehillim 118)

We were rescued from mem-tes sha’are tumah, but only because we understood that we stood at mem-tes sha’are tumah. “Hashem Hoshia, Hamelech ya’anainu b’yom korainu … Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call!” (Tehillim 20:10)

* * * *
Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger

29 March 2017

The UN is Building Illegally on Israel State Land

Regavim Sues UN for Illegal Jerusalem Construction

The Regavim organization filed a petition today in a Jerusalem District Court against the United Nations and the Jerusalem Municipality following the discovery of illegal construction being carried out at the United Nation’s Armon Hanatziv UNTSO compound.

The Regavim petition claims that in recent years the UN has taken advantage of its immunity by carrying out a series of illegal construction projects in the compound on property which is State owned. The UN was granted the area for use to monitor the ceasefire between Israel and her neighbors after the 1967 Six Day War.

The illegal building projects within the compound include: making structural changes to a historic building from the 1930’s, the illegal construction of a multi-story office building, the building of an illegal storage facility, and the installation of an illegal petrol station for UN personnel usage.

The petition also takes the Jerusalem Municipality to task along with its building planning committee as well as the Israel Land Authority, demanding the implementation of Section 212 of the Planning and Building Law, which permits the demolition of a building even if the party responsible for the violations is no longer living or has some form of immunity.

The Israel Land Authority is charged in accordance with the Public Land Law, of exercising its power to act in order to evict squatters who misuse State Lands.

In addition a recent Regavim investigation of State Archives indicates that at the time the compound was leased to the UN, a stipulation was included in the deal indicating that the government could terminate the agreement at any time with reasonable notification.

It is also unclear whether the UN received permission to expand its compound significantly from 44.6 dunam to its current 77.5 dunam.

Meir Deutch, Regavim’s Director of Policy and Knesset Relations, said on Monday (March 27), “Since the liberation of Jerusalem the UN has been given the privilege of using the allotted property as guests of the State of Israel. But the illegal work on the historic building, and the additional illegal building on State Land without the proper permits continues. The work in fact is causing environmental damage to surrounding areas.”

Deutch added, “if the tenant [the UN] doesn’t know how to behave it seems that the time has come for the government of the State of Israel to find a replacement tenant.’ It’s no secret the UN abuses Israel at every opportunity.”

Source: JewishPress

28 March 2017

Two Teachings of the Chofetz Chaim

Two Teachings of the Chofetz Chaim

1) There was once a shopkeeper who, all his life, has never found the time to study Torah. He had been too busy with his shop all the time but now he needed a change. While the store was still full of customers who wanted to be served, the shopkeeper sat down to study. His wife had to serve all the customers and when she got fed up, she came over to complain:

"Don't you see that we have customers ? Just work and you can study Torah later on in the evening !"

The shopkeeper responded:

"What would you do when the Angel of Death was walking through the door ? Would you also tell him to hang on until you finish serving all the customers ?

After saying this, the shopkeeper continued studying.


Many times in life we work and act as if all our daily matters are the most important things on earth but, at the same time, we forget the true importance of life.

2) G – d invests much more time caring about the Rich. He provides them with money, property, expensive food and clothes. In other words, G - d looks after them much more than after the Poor. However, the Rich hardly give Him anything in return. When someone has a great life and nothing is really missing, he doesn't think too much about G - d. A poor person, on the other hand, is thanking G - d for any tiny gift he receives.

What G - d does is testing all of us. The Poor as well as the Rich. He provides so much money for the rich in order to see what they are going to do with their money. Are they remaining good and honest people or are they becoming vulnerable to corruption and crime. The poor person is getting tested as well and also he has to show how he is going to lead his life.

Source: Shearim

27 March 2017

PESACH MAKKOS – A Most Amazing Letter and Segula – Rabbi Simshon M’Austropolia, the ARIZAL

A Most Amazing Letter and Segula
(Below was taken verbatim from the Arutz Sheva website)

For the first time in English, Arutz Sheva brings you the secret of the arcane acronym found in the Passover Haggada as revealed by the seventeenth century Kabbalist, Rabbi Simshon m'Austropolia, from the Siddur “Brocha u’Tehilla”

 One who is able to concentrate on the meaning until the end will be richly rewarded, and it was vouchsafed that "anyone who properly contemplates this awesome and phenomenal mystery even once a year, and on every Pesach eve, is assured that he will be protected that entire year from every obstacle, violent death, and any duress. His enemies will not prevail over him, he will witness the downfall of all who wish him harm, and he will succeed and acquire wisdom in everything he undertakes, Amen Selah."

(Original Hebrew version proofread and compared with many venerable and precise texts, intentionally arranged with the paragraphs and calculations divided for ease of use by the reader, according to the work of HaRav YA”Z Margolius, Ztz”l.)

Note by Publisher in Original Hebrew, 1945: 

 “I, the publisher, saw with my own eyes in 1944 in the concentration camps in Hungary during a time of distress for the Jewish people, that those who said this ma’amar all survived with the help of G-d.


Letter by the Holy Genius, Man of G-d,
Rebbe Shimshon from Austropolia, ztvk”l

With absolute conciseness, what I wrote regarding the initials in the Pesach Haggada, Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v, when you asked me how the future Redemption is hinted at in this acronym. I shall now reveal it to your honor, according to what the Arizal wrote in his epistle entitled “Many Wonders”, Gateway #15 entitled “The Gateway of the Exodus from Egypt”, chapter 3, page 42:

“…And I have already informed you that Pharaoh was stricken by these Ten Plagues in Egypt by 3,280 angels of destruction who inhabit three dimensions of impurity;

one named “Shin Resh Ayin”,
one named “Tav Mem Vav Chaf”,
and one named “Beis Yud Shin Heh Alef”,
and over them was the higher ministering angel named “Daled Lamed Peh Kuf Tes” (another version holds the name to be “Daled Lamed Peh Kuf Tes Alef”),
and above all of them the minister called “Tav Kuf Alef”
- in the beginning.

And behold:

the third is missing ten,
the fourth is missing six,
and the ninth is missing six,
as written in the Torah.

Now we find,

the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with Ten Plagues and on the sea fifty plagues by agency of the name “Shin Peh Vav” in which David ben Yishai is attached – and G-d said to strike and they struck them.

And by agency of the name “Tav Kuf Lamed” the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with forty plagues, and on the sea two hundred plagues, and G-d said to strike and they struck them.
And by agency of the name “Shin Tzadi Heh” (another version holds the name to be “Alef Shin Tzadi Heh”), the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with fifty plagues and on the sea two hundred fifty plagues, and G-d said to strike and they struck them.

And the same thing with which G-d struck, He healed the golus (exile); and what was their guilt and what was their sin and what was the crime of our forefathers for them to have deserved the iron pressure-cooker that was Egypt until they were redeemed by the agency of these names: “Daled Ayin Beis, Tzadi Daled Alef, Caf Shin Ches Beis”…”

Until here the words of the Arizal, see there, may his merit protect us.

Now our holy teacher and master wrote these words; they are closed and wondrous mysteries, with none to elucidate them. The great Sages of the Jewish people have already requested that I interpret these words of the Arizal and I did not tell them. But out of my great love for your Honor I shall reveal this secret of ours as the vision was revealed to me at night in a dream, and may the compassionate L-rd who forgives iniquity have mercy…

The explanation is as follows: 

What the Arizal wrote,

And I have already informed you that Pharaoh was stricken by these Ten Plagues in Egypt by 3,280 angels of destruction etc.

the meaning is this: the masters of Kabbalah Ma’asis have already stated that there are 3,280 angels of destruction appointed to the task of striking the wicked and punishing them in gehennom and purifying them of their sins, and they provided a sign to indicate this: “…to strike wickedness with a fist (egrof)…”; the word “egrof” is an acronym for the number spelled out in Hebrew Three Thousand Two Hundred Eighty (e g r o f, spelt “Alef, Gimel, Resh, Peh” – Gimel: Three; Alef: Thousand; Resh: Two Hundred; Peh: Eighty) angels of destruction who strike the wicked and by their agency the wicked Pharaoh and the Egyptians were also stricken.

Now I, writing these words, say this is an extraordinary secret, for when we calculate the gematria value of

These Ten Plagues, when written out letter for letter, equal exactly 3,280 – these letters totaling this sum, indicating the 3,280 camps of angels of destruction mentioned above appointed to punish and cleanse the wicked. This is an astonishing enigma that has never been disclosed. And the calculation is arrived at when in Hebrew we deliberately enumerate Kinim missing a Yud, Arov missing a Vav, and Choshech missing a Vav.

And this is what the Arizal wrote:

The third is missing ten.
meaning, the third plague which is Kinim (lice) is missing a Yud, gematria ten.

The fourth is missing six.
Meaning, the fourth plague which is Arov (wild beasts) is missing a Vav, gematria six.

And the ninth is missing six.
The ninth plague, which is Choshech (darkness), is missing a Vav, gematria six.

And what the Arizal wrote

…as written in the Torah.
means that precisely so these words are written in the Torah, missing those very letters we just mentioned – written in the Torah in Parshas VaEirah: Kinim missing a Yud, Arov missing a Vav, and Choshech missing a Vav – unlike the versions written in the prayer books as transcribed from the author of the Haggadah, with all those words correctly spelled with the missing letters. Rather, “as written in the Torah”. When we calculate it this way the sum equals no less and no more than 3,280 angels of destruction punishing the wicked, and they punished the Egyptians and struck Pharaoh and the Egyptians in Egypt with these three dimensions of impurity.

And regarding the Arizal’s words, that these

3,280 angels of destruction who inhabit three dimensions of impurity;

one is named “Shin Resh Ayin”,
one is named “Tav Mem Vav Chaf”,
and one is named “Beis Yud Shin Heh Alef”
- also here we find a great, wondrous, and awesome secret that the author of the Haggadah inserted here when he wrote

“these are the Ten Plagues that (G-d) brought” (in Hebrew: “aylu eser makos sh’hayvee”):

“eser” (spelled Ayin Shin Resh) are the very letters Shin Resh Ayin;
“makos” (spelled Mem Chaf Vav Tav) are the very letters Tav Mem Vav Chaf;
“sh’hayvee” (spelled Shin Heh Beis Yud Alef) are the very letters Beis Yud Shin Heh Alef -
within these letters are alluded the dimensions of impurity which the 3,280 angels of destruction inhabit who assaulted Pharaoh and struck Egypt with the number of blows that G-d brought, the numbers alluded to in these Ten Plagues, and this is a stunning phenomenon.

And what the Arizal wrote:

and over them was the higher ministering angel named “Daled Lamed Peh Kuf Tes”

By “over them” he meant that this acronym is the root from which the Hebrew word for “the Egyptians” – “HaMitzrim” – sprouted; with the letters that precede the letters Heh Mem Tzadi Resh Yud Mem:

Daled precedes Heh;
Lamed precedes Mem;
Peh precedes Tzadi;
Kuf precedes Resh;
Tes precedes Yud
and the final Mem of the word HaMitzrim only makes the word plural and is not part of the word’s root. The author of the Haggadah alluded to this in writing “Ten Plagues that G-d brought al HaMitzrim (on the Egyptians)”, connoting the letters that precede the letters HaMitzrim. Ponder this well. This is what I received, may the Good L-rd atone my sins.

And what the Arizal wrote

and above all of them the minister called in the beginning,

the meaning is that the acronym formed by the first letters of the Ten Plagues, Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v, equal the gematria Tav Kuf Alef (501) – the exact numeric value of the Ministering Angel’s name:

And by saying “in the beginning” the Arizal meant that these letters are the beginning letters of each plague. (This is also the numeric value of the word “asher” (“that”), revealing the secret meaning of the verse “…es asher hisalallti b’Mitzrayim…” – “…that I manipulated Egypt…”, and thousands of similar verses where the word “asher” appears, to signal the numeric value of the above mentioned acronym derived from the Ten Plagues. We have magnificent mysteries and many associations connected with this; G-d in His Glory has left much hidden).

The Arizal’s words

the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with Ten Plagues and on the sea fifty plagues by agency of the name “Shin Peh Vav” etc.

allude to an astonishing mystery, the dispute between Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli, Rebbe Eliezer, and Rebbe Akiva that is cited in the Haggadah:

Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli says: 

Which source teaches that the Egyptians were struck by ten plagues in Egypt and fifty plagues at the Sea? Concerning the plagues in Egypt, it is written: “The sorcerers told Pharaoh: ‘This is the finger of G-d.’” With regard to the events that took place at the Sea, it is written: “When Israel saw the great hand that G-d wielded against the Egyptians, the people feared G-d. The believed in G-d and in Moshe, His servant.” How many plagues were they stricken with by the “finger”? Ten. Thus it follows that they were stricken by ten plagues in Egypt and fifty at the Sea. (Ten “fingers” multiplied by one “hand” (five fingers) equal fifty.)

Rebbe Eliezer says: 

Which source teaches that every plague that G-d wrought against the Egyptians consisted of four plagues each? It is written:

“He unleashed upon them His burning anger:
1) wrath,
2) fury,
3) distress, and
4) a contingent of evil-bearing-messengers.”

Wrath, one plague; fury, a second; distress, a third; and a contingent of evil-bearing-messengers, a fourth. Thus, we may conclude that they were stricken by forty plagues in Egypt and by two hundred at the Sea. (Ten “fingers” consisting of four plagues each – forty – multiplied by one “hand” (five fingers) equal two hundred.)

Rebbe Akiva says: 

 Which source teaches that every plague that G-d wrought against the Egyptians consisted of five plagues each? It is written:

“He unleashed upon them:
1) His burning anger,
2) wrath,
3) fury,
4) distress, and
5) a contingent of evil-bearing-messengers.”

His burning anger, one plague; wrath, a second; fury, a third; distress, a fourth; and a contingent of evil-bearing-messengers, a fifth. Thus, we may conclude that they were stricken by fifty plagues in Egypt and by two hundred fifty at the Sea.

The words of the Arizal are the secret of “Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli” – the same numeric value as Shin Peh Vav (386) – worded with literal, precise intention – “Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli said…”, meaning, “the Name Shin Peh Vav said - and struck them…”

And where the Arizal wrote

the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with Ten Plagues and on the sea fifty plagues by agency of the name “Shin Peh Vav” in which David ben Yishai is attached

means that “David ben Yishai” also has numeric value of Shin Peh Vav – 386 – and with that very name He struck them. This reveals a staggering mystery, as Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli was a reincarnated manifestation* of David ben Yishai, and Moshiach ben Yishai will appear to the world with this very name. This itself involves awesome and incredible enigmas, but the plain meaning remains as stated here, that Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli, gematria Shin Peh Vav, spoke - and He struck them.

And what the Arizal wrote

And by agency of the name “Tav Kuf Lamed” the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with forty plagues, and on the sea two hundred plagues

alludes to the mystery that “Rebbe Eliezer” has the same numeric value as “Tav Kuf Lamed” – 530. That is, Rebbe Eliezer, specifically, whose name is the gematria Tav Kuf Lamed, spoke and He struck them. “Rebbe Eliezer says…” – Rebbe Eliezer, who holds that the Name Tav Kuf Lamed caused the Egyptians to be stricken.

And what the Arizal wrote

And by agency of the name “Shin Tzadi Heh” (another version holds the name to be “Alef Shin Tzadi Heh”), the Egyptians were stricken in Egypt with fifty plagues and on the sea two hundred fifty plagues

- alludes to the mystery that “Rebbe Akiva” has the same numeric value of “Shin Tzadi Heh” – 395, meaning that Rebbe Akiva - whose name is gematria Shin Tzadi Heh - said that the Name Shin Tzadi Heh spoke and G-d struck them, etc.

Each and every one of these Sages spoke according to the method of his soul root, alluded to in these three names, Shin Peh Vav, Tav Kuf Lamed, Alef Shin Tzadi Heh, corresponding in essence to these three Sages, Rebbe Yossi HaGlilli gematria Shin Peh Vav, Rebbe Eliezer gematria Tav Kuf Lamed, and Rebbe Akiva gematria Alef Shin Tzadi Heh. This mystery is simply supernatural and among the most hidden of all hidden secrets, as I wrote to your Honor, and may the compassionate L-rd who forgives sin have mercy.

And what the Arizal wrote

And the same thing with which G-d struck, He healed the golus (exile)

is as I already wrote to you, that in these Ten Plagues are alluded the reason for Israel’s going down into exile – that the letters Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v are the secret of Israel’s descent into Egypt.* With this G-d healed us while administering them a vigorous beating – and this is the “finger of the L-rd” – that from the blow itself dealt to the enemy comes the healing to Israel, that within those Plagues are alluded the cure with which G-d redeemed them.

And where the Arizal says

and what was their guilt and what was their sin and what was the crime of our forefathers for them to have deserved the iron pressure-cooker that was Egypt until they were redeemed by the agency of these names

it means that in these Plagues are alluded the sin of our forefathers that caused them to descend to Egypt, and in those very Plagues are alluded the remedy with which G-d redeemed them.

And the Arizal’s words

until they were redeemed by the agency of these names: “Daled Ayin Beis, Tzadi Daled Alef, Caf Shin Ches Beis”

mean that “Daled Ayin Beis” are the first letters of Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v, and then comes the Name Tzadi Daled Alef, which are the second letters of Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v, and then comes the Name Caf Shin Ches Beis which are the third letters of Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v with which G-d redeemed us.

Thus the same Plagues that afflicted Egypt contain and allude to the cure and redemption of Israel. The secret of the initials Dtza”ch Ada”sh B’acha”v refer to the ministering angel appointed over all the angels of destruction who struck the Egyptians in Egypt, and these letters allude to the reason of the descent to Egypt, and in these letters are intimated also the redemption and healing of Israel. These letters contain the secret of the transubstantiation of affliction and cure.

May it be the Will of the Blessed Holy One that we may see the coming of our Moshiach with the angels associated with the final redemption speedily, in our days, and in us may there be the fulfillment of the verse, “And as in the days of your exodus from Egypt I will show you wonders,” Amen, Netzach, Selah Va’ed.

Afterwards, the secret was revealed to me that everyone who properly contemplates this awesome and phenomenal mystery even once a year, and on every Pesach eve, is assured that he will be protected that entire year from every obstacle, violent death, and any duress. His enemies will not prevail over him, he will witness the downfall of all who wish him harm, and he will succeed and acquire wisdom in everything he undertakes, Amen Selah.

Rebbe Shimshon from Austropolia, ZTZ”L

Words of the publisher: 

“I heard from our teacher, HaRav m’Baranov Ztvk”l that the Holy and Awesome Rebbe Shimshon from Austropolia Zy”a was murdered in the year 1648 in great cruelty as he stood in shul davenning, wrapped in his tallis and crowned with his tefillin. The cruel murderers sharpened a long branch and impaled him from behind; the Holy Rebbe was so absorbed in his prayers that he felt nothing that they did to him the entire time until the point of the spear reached his brain and penetrated out of his skull, at which time he fell in the House of G-d and was gathered unto his people while being in the midst of holy unifications, may his blood be avenged.”

This is what the Chid”a writes in his sefer Shem HaG’dolim:

“HaRav R’ Shimshon m’Austropolia was holy and authored many works on Kaballah as he himself mentions in his introduction to his sefer Dan YaDin. He had a Maggid – a teacher from the World of Truth; he lived in the days of the Gaon Moreinu Yehoshua m’Krakow HaRav HaPnei Yehoshua Sha’alos u’Tshuvos as one can see in the likkutim in that sefer. In our many sins he was murdered as he stood in the Beis HaKnesses wrapped in his tallis and tefillin.”

I heard from my father-in-law that once he was in Sadigora by the Holy Rabbi Rav A”Y Z”L, and one of the Holy Rav’s sons asked him to try to find the book “Machane Dan” by the Kabbalist Rebbe Shimshon, because they knew that Austropolia was not far from my father-in-law’s town of Old Constantine. So it was that when he arrived home he exerted great efforts and wrote many Rabbonim in the area to search for this book. He posted a reward of three thousand reinush for whoever found it, as the sons of the Holy Rav of Sadigora promised to pay him this amount if he would find the book or a manuscript.

And every single one of the Rabonnim answered him that the book was not in existence. Afterwards, when he came another time to Sadigora and reported that he received an answer from all the Rabonnim of the area that this book was absolutely nowhere to be found – then Rav Nachum Ber Z”l answered my father-in-law that they have received word that came down from their elders all the way back from the Maggid of Mezritch Z”l, who heard from his Rav the Ba’al Shem Tov Z”l, that if only the Jewish people would merit to learn Sefer HaZohar with the commentary Machane Dan by Rebbe Shimshon Z”l from Austropolia, through this they would hasten the Final Redemption and the coming of the Moshiach, however, because of our many sins, Israel has not merited this, and for this reason the book has been lost to the world. It is amazing to note that in sefer Dan YaDin by that Kabbalist, Rebbe Shimshon, he writes many times: “And see in my sefer Machane Dan HaGadol, this is a commentary on the Zohar”.

(Sharsheres Zahav, pp. 21; and see sefer Sur M’Ra V’Asseh Tov with addition 12: “See the words of Rebbe Shimshon from Austropolia, whose work “Machane Dan” we did not merit to see, as it seems the world was not fit to make use of it…”)

Source: ArutzSheva

26 March 2017

'The Zookeeper's Wife’ – A True Story of Saving Jewish Lives

'The Zookeeper's Wife’ 
A True Story of Saving Jewish Lives 
(A Polish couple who hid 300 Jews in their zoo during the Holocaust)

The following are testimonials from those who were saved, some living in Israel now.

"I remember squatting under this concrete shelf in the basement and keeping my hand over my sister's mouth to muffle her cries because she was constantly crying, day and night," said Moshe Tirosh, aged five at the time.

"When someone slammed the door upstairs, fear would pass through me, lest they find us," the 80-year-old told AFP in a telephone interview. The retired businessman and grandfather-of-seven, who has lived in Israel since 1957, still cannot believe what he lived through.

"I saw children's dead bodies on the street. Terrible things... I remember wondering why everyone wants to kill us. I couldn't understand it,"

"My parents figured that it's always darkest under a lamppost," the zoo couple's daughter Teresa Zabinska said, citing a Polish saying according to which it is best to hide in plain sight.

"My father knew that it wouldn't occur to the Germans that so many people could be hiding in a place like this with open windows and no curtains,"

"The hardest was explaining away the increase in daily meals"

Tirosh had suffered two years in the ghetto, marked by hunger, typhus and near deportation to the Treblinka death camp. To escape Warsaw's Jewish quarter, his family paid off the guards and Tirosh and his sister were thrown over the wall in sacks while their parents climbed over. On arriving at the zoo, Antonina's empathy and reassuring calm told them they were in good hands.

"She was extraordinary. I was a small boy who was very afraid of everything. But when I saw her face, I calmed right down. I still remember that feeling,"

Official Trailer: The Zookeeper's Wife
The real-life story of one working wife and mother who became a hero to hundreds during World War II.

Source: FocusFeatures

23 March 2017

Parshas Vayakhel/Pekudey - Hachodesh

By Roy S. Neuberger

Pesach is approaching. 
We have to think about how Yetzias Mitzraim applies to us.

I want to ask: why is anti-Semitism on the increase since the inauguration of President Trump? This seems surprising in light of this administration’s perceived friendliness toward Israel.

My wife and I once traveled to Germany. We learned that, over the centuries, German Jews were extremely firm in the face of terrible adversity. Families were willing to die al kiddush Hashem rather than compromise their allegiance to Torah. But then the ghetto gates opened and the non-Jewish world allowed us to enter, and everything changed. This nisayon, the challenge of freedom and acceptance by the non-Jewish world, proved most the difficult test of all, and became a stumbling block for huge numbers of our brethren.

“In 1844, there was an assembly of Reform Jews in Germany. They ‘abolished’ many of the mitzvos, in effect creating for themselves a new Torah. When Rabbi Yisroel Salanter heard about this gathering, he declared, ‘They made a new ‘Shulchan Aruch,’ and permitted marriage to a non-Jew. There will come a time when the gentiles will [write their own] ‘Shulchan Aruch’ and make marriage to a Jew a transgression punishable by death.’ Ninety years later, right there in Germany, the Nuremberg Laws were instituted, making it a capital offense for a Jew to live with a gentile.” (Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, Shiurei Chumash, Parshas Yisro 18:11, Artscroll Edition, brought to my attention by Rabbi Osher Anshul Jungreis)

We Jews have a weakness when we are accepted by non-Jews. We tend to forget that other nations receive their blessing from us, not the reverse. This challenge is alluded to in the Torah, when Yaakov Avinu begs Hashem, “Please rescue me from my brother, from Esav.” (Beraishis 32:12) Why did Yaakov need to refer to Esav as “my brother?” Obviously Esav was his brother!

The Beis Halevi explains that Esav has two faces, the fearsome face of “Esav,” and the ostensibly friendly face of “my brother.” The face of “my brother” is even more dangerous, because we can be fooled into thinking that Esav is really our friend. (Talelei Oros)

It is vital for us to understand that the Geulah Shelemah is not going to emanate from the other nations, no matter how well-disposed they may be toward us. Our Redemption will come about only when we resume our proper role as Goy Kadosh and Mamlechet Kohanim (Shemos 19:6). As Chazal say, “What can a person do to be spared the travail of the Moshiach? One should occupy himself in Torah and in acts of kindness.” (Sanhedrin 98b)

We are about to enter Chodesh Nissan. We can learn how to survive in the coming years from the lessons we learned in Mitzraim, where we were spiritually vulnerable. The Avos and the Shvatim were no longer with us. Without leadership, we were sinking into the amoral culture of a idolatrous world. Hashem sent a Redeemer in the person of Moshe Rabbeinu; only those who followed him were able to survive. As it was, four fifths of our People fell into the trap of sinking into the surrounding culture and never escaped from Mitzraim.

Moshe Rabbeinu was not afraid of Paro. Although he grew up in the palace, he rejected the culture. One can cleave to Hashem only if one accepts the authority of the Torah, which means rejecting the authority of that which is not Torah. We have to understand this.

Just as our ancestors in Mitzraim were bereft of the Avos and Shvatim, so are we in this generation bereft of godolim who are respected and followed by all of Am Yisroel. How many great roshei yeshiva and universally-respected godolim remain? Only a few. We are surrounded by shrill voices trying to claim our allegiance. We are alone in a world of violence and danger, in which it is extremely difficult to find a person of Torah wisdom and integrity.

“In the Generation in which Ben Dovid will come, [the number of] Torah scholars will decrease, and [as for] the rest [of the people] their eyes will become worn out through grief and anxiety. Numerous troubles and harsh decrees will be [constantly] appearing…. Before the first [trouble] is over, a second one will … appear…. Rav said: All the ‘ends’ have passed, and the matter [of Moshiach’s arrival] depends only on repentance and good deeds.” (Sanhedrin 97a/b)

The events of Yetzias Mitzraim should be occupying our thoughts during these rarified and holy days. Just as we are now engaged in eliminating every crumb of chometz from our homes, so we should be engaged in eliminating every crumb of attachment to the alien and dangerous society which surrounds us.

This may be the most challenging era in the history of the world. The voices of emptiness are crying out, trying to lure us to destruction, like the daughters of Moav (Bamidbar 25:1ff). Even in the Midbar, after leaving Mitzraim, our ancestors heard those voices, as it says, “The entire assembly of the Children of Israel complained against Moshe and Aharon … ‘If only we had died by the hand of Hashem in the land of Egypt, as we sat by the pot of meat, when we ate bread to satiety….’” (Shemos 16:2-3)

We are challenged greatly by the surrounding culture, but, if we listen carefully, we can hear Hashem’s Voice calling out to us. Soon, “all the ends” will have passed and Moshiach will appear in his glory. We must detach ourselves now from the alien world which is even now disintegrating, just as Mitzraim disintegrated so many millennia ago.

A new world is coming, and we want to be there to worship the King in Yerushalayim, the Capital of the World on the day that Hashem Echad Ushmo Echad!

* * * *
Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger

22 March 2017

"Wave of Insanity” – A Cultural War

A Wave of Insanity is Overtaking Elements of Israeli Society having a Deleterious effect on all of Israeli Society. This endangers the continuity of the Jewish People and the Jewish Nation. 
[UPDATE: See video at end]

Rabbi Melamed: A wave of insanity has permeated the IDF [. . .] calls for an end to the 'leftist-inspired cultural war'. 
"They tell us, Rabbi, that we religious are backward and primitive. We are in the 21st century, they say, get real, what reasons can we provide for not having women serving in combat units alongside men?”
Rabbi Melamed: The way of life set out by the Jewish faith is the most progressive lifestyle there is. This ethical way of life has survived many attempts to overcome it with transient, inane and sometimes evil societal mores.

Rabbi Melamed: There is no question that we are embroiled in a culture war that has infiltrated the IDF. For the last year and half, there is a negative feeling emanating from IDF upper echelons with regard to the IDF Rabbinate. [. . .]Its role has been downsized. [. . .] IDF rabbis also were tasked with teaching Jewish identity, Jewish consciousness. a feeling of Jewish continuity, all of which contributed a great deal to the spirit and ideology of the soldiers guarding Israel and the Land of Israel. ArutzSheva

The Cultural War Doesn’t Begin 
and End in the IDF

Maaleh Adumim: Christianity in an Orthodox kindergarten?
Mother discovers non-Jewish child enrolled in her daughter's Orthodox kindergarten is spreading Christian beliefs. ArutzSheva

Efrat Levy spoke with Arutz Sheva about the kindergarten, and the effect it had on her daughter. Levy’s suspicions were initially raised after her young daughter began repeating slogans which did not fit the religious environment in which she was being raised. Some of the comments had explicitly Christian content: “Jxxxx is God”, “Jxxxx is the Messiah”, and so forth.

“I didn’t send my daughter to a religious kindergarten so that she would come home saying things about Jesus,” 

The Cultural War Continues with 
Innoculating Foreign Worship to Children

Parents in Caesarea are up in arms over their children apparently being asked or required to bow down in a mosque, mimicking the Muslim form of prayer, when they were taken on a class trip to a mosque in the Arab town of Jisr a-Zarka. Images of the visit reached Channel 20, and were broadcast, leading parents to inundate the offices of local and national education officials with complaints.

The Caeserea elementary school that the children attend is known to be “open” to other cultures, and has a comprehensive program for children to explore and experience all aspects of Israeli culture. But parents of the students in question called the visit “ridiculous. What would happen if they took the Muslim children of that town to a synagogue and made them bow?”

TO this Rabbi Mizrachi said (paraphrased), "if they were taken to a Synagogue, all out war would erupt in Israel. A Mosque is okay, but a Synagogue . . . .!”

. . . And also poisoning Kindergarten Children

City council member (
Herzliya) dismissed for opposing heterophobic values.  Elad Zadikov dismissed from coalition and Torah culture portfolio for opposition to anti-family value dissemination ​​in kindergartens. . . .claimed to the mayor that he is turning the Herzliya education system "into the first in Israel to impart deviant tendency values ​​as a normal model, even to be emulated." ArutzSheva

"On behalf of what public," he asked, "were you allowed to poison the minds of our kindergarten children and introduce a spirit of lasciviousness and confusion into the tender souls of Herzliya's 3,4,5-year-olds!? The fact that they are affiliated with the general public education system does not allow anyone to confuse basic concepts and the traditional values ​​of home and family unit."

Zadikov: 'Irrational decision that poisons our children’: Herzliya City Council member 'shaken by kindergartens pushing deviant tendencies', calls on mayor to ban agitators from education system:

"Among the recommendations to kindergarten teachers and their assistants: Eliminating the concept of 'father and mother of the Sabbath' classroom role-playing; deliberate identity confusion: No dolls for girls, no boy's games; providing a female role model for male professions; explaining to kindergarten children that there is a wide range of family units, including for example: two mothers, or two fathers, or a mother and father who live apart, or the mother and her friend, or the father and his friend (for 4-year-olds)!!??

Fadlon (of Hoshen) responded to Zadikov that "the education system in our city is among the most advanced and enlightened in the State of Israel. 

Who and What is Hoshen:

Hoshen (in Hebrew, an acronym for "Education and Change") is the public education and awareness-raising arm of the LGBT community in Israel. We are a nationwide, non-profit organization whose purpose is to challenge the stereotypes surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity while training the Israeli professional community to better deal with these issues.

Sota 49b: "In the footsteps of Mashiach the Government will turn to heresy”

Historic Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem

Historic Etz Chaim Yeshiva Building to be Preserved and Updated into the Surrounding Machne Yehuda Area

Pei, Cobb, Freed and Partners, the firm tasked with projects like the Grand Louvre and the US Holocaust Museum, are now planning on preserving and updating the Etz Chaim Yeshiva complex. Situated next door to Machane Yehuda, the firm is sensitive to the needs and history of the location.

About the Historic Early 20th Century Etz Chaim Yeshiva 
ישיבת עץ החיים
הישיבה היתה ברחוב יפו 115 והיום, תוך פעילות שימור, האזור הופך לחלק מהשוק.
הישיבה נוסדה בעיר העתיקה בשנת 1841 על ידי הרב שמואל סלנט. משנות ה – 50 של המאה ה – 19 שכנה הישיבה בחצר ה"חורבה" שבמרכז הרובע היהודי. בישיבה היו 13 כיתות (רמות לימוד) כאשר המעבר מרמה לרמה היתה תלויה ביכולתו של התלמיד ולא בהכרח בגילו. הילדים נכנסו לישיבה בגיל צעיר מאד ולמדו בה עד לנישואיהם.
עם זקנותו מינה הרב שמואל סלנט את בעלה של נכדתו – הרב יחיאל מיכל טוקצ'ינסקי למנהל הישיבה והוא זה שיזם את הקמת הסניף ברחוב יפו . אז הוקם במקום גם "כולל" שהוא ישיבה עבור התלמידים שנישאו.

שני אישים מפורסמים מאד כיהנו בישיבה והם: הרב איסר זלמן מלצר שעמד בראש הישיבה החל [English text follows]  משנת 1925 והרב אריה לוין שכיהן כמשגיח

בשנת 1910 נפתח הסניף של הישיבה ברחוב יפו כאשר היה שם בית ישן, אליו נכנסה הישיבה. כדי להגדיל את הכנסות הישיבה נבנו חנויות להשכרה על גבול השוק ובקצה המגרש של הישיבה ברחוב יפו. בשנת 1934 הוקם מבנה נוסף מפואר בין הבניין הישן ורחוב יפו ובשנת 1936 יצאה הישיבה מהעיר העתיקה ומרכזה היה בסניף של רחוב יפו. בשיא גדלה הגיעה הישיבה ל – 13 סניפים שהיו פזורים ברחבי העיר.
במסגרת עבודות הקמת הרכבת הקלה הוסרו החנויות של רחוב יפו ונשארה רק החזית שלהן.
בשנת 2010 עזבה הישיבה את המתחם ברחוב יפו והמקום מיועד למתחם חנויות, משרדים ומגורים. הישיבה עתידה לעבור למתחם בית הספר למל ברחוב ישעיהו.
"ישיבת עץ חיים" נמצאת באתר "אהבת ירושלים" במסגרת - "סיור ברחוב יפו (4)"

WIKIPEDIA: Etz Chaim Yeshiva was originally a Talmud Torah that was established in 1841 by the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, Shmuel Salant. For the first two years classes were held in various rooms throughout the Old City. 

In 1857, the yeshiva consolidated into a group of buildings adjacent to the Hurva Synagogue, sharing the premises with the Beth Din of Jerusalem. It was at this stage that the institution was renamed "Etz Chaim Yeshiva." The first permanent home of the yeshiva was financed by Rabbi Tzvi Zeev Fiszbejn (Fishbein in English), a wealthy brush maker originally from Miedzyrzec Podlaski in what is today Poland, who donated a thousand rubles in silver to Rabbi Salant for that purpose in 1863.

The head teacher was Rabbi Chaim Mann. His brother Yehuda Leib Mann was the secretary who also served as a teacher. They were the sons of Rabbi Yaakov Mann, who was a prominent scholar who had declined the invitation of Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank to become a dayan on the Beth Din. (He went on to build the Sha'arey Tzedek Medical Center and the Lemel school). As the yeshiva expanded, a plot of land on Jaffa Road was acquired in 1908, and subsequently a kollel was established catering mainly for the alumni of the yeshiva. At the time Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukichinsky, who was married to the granddaughter of Rabbi Salant, served as the rosh yeshiva.
After disputes arose between the pupils and the faculty, a permanent agreement was reached by Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, who reallocated the positions of authority.
In 1925, Rabbi Isser Zalman Meltzer was appointed to lead the yeshiva and Rabbi Aryeh Levin was made the mashgiach. After the death of Rabbi Meltzer, his son-in-law, Rabbi Aharon Kotler, was appointed rosh yeshiva. In an unusual arrangement, he held this position while continuing to live in the United States, and visited Jerusalem on occasion. During the periods when he resided in Israel he delivered fortnightly lectures. After his death, Rabbi Elazar Shach was chosen to head the yeshiva and he also delivered fortnightly lectures. Some time later, Rabbi Yisroel Yaakov Fisher took up a position at the yeshiva. A grandson of Rabbi Aharon Kotler, Rabbi Zvulun Schwartzman, has served as one of the primary leaders.
A grandson of Rabbi Salant, Rabbi Nissan Tukichinsky, the son of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukichinsky, serves as head and director of the institution. For many years he traveled to the United States and South Africa to raise money to keep the institution functioning.

Although the yeshiva building on Jaffa Road is registered on Jerusalem's List of Protected Monuments, in 2007 the building was under the threat of demolition to make way for shops and offices. The authorities accepted an appeal for the buildings’ preservation. [Etz Chaim Yeshiva Building Saved from Destruction. Following the dramatic decision to save vast Jerusalem Forest areas from the massive Safdie construction program, conservatives have now won another round, saving the 100-year-old Etz Chaim yeshiva. Article from January 2007.]


    I did not expect to send out another mailing before  Pesach , but a Great Miracle has occurred.   I must admit my shortcomings. I did no...