Yesterday, May 5, 2022, I was davening at Chabad of East Lakeview, listening to leining and following along in the Parsha. As the Parsha was being read, an idea I said a few months ago crystallized in my mind.
There is סמיכות between Holiness, Godliness and fearing (and I will include honoring ones parents – the Ba’al Haturim does make the connection here) and Shabbos. What is the connection?
On October 13, 2020, Behind the Bima out of Boca Raton Synagogue had as their guest Ben Shapiro. Rabbis Goldberg, Moskowitz, and Broide interviewed him. Minute 27:08 of the interview Ben Shapiro said the following, “I have gone to Shul with my dad since I was a kid. My parents have also moved into the area. My dad and I have sat next to each other since before my Bar Mitzvah.” When I heard this, I stopped figuratively and comprehended what Ben Shapiro just said. He has davened with his father on Shabbos year after year. During his father’s working career and during Ben’s years in building a brand, one thing was constant, his father got to see his son and now his grand kids every single Shabbos, and not just for a few minutes, an entire 2.5 hours. This cost Ben Shapiro no money and no time out of his day. He fulfilled the Mitzva of honoring ones parents.
As my father told me that when he was in the Warsaw Ghetto with his parents and supporting them, one day his father turned to him and said with deep emotion “you have fulfilled the commandant of honoring one’s parents כמו שכתוב בתורה ”
The famous song from 1974, Cats in the Cradle by Harry Chapin came to mind about a father who had no time for his son, while the son was growing up. Years later when his father retired and the son was raising a family , the son had no time for his father.
Ben Shapiro did the opposite without costing him time or money. He made sure to purchase a house near his father in LA and when Ben Shaprio moved to Boca Raton, his father also moved. All it was is a decision that I will do what it takes to daven with my father every Shabbos that I am in town. He may have not made a conscious decision but for him it may have been a natural decision. Greatness.
Going back to my question above, that there is סמיכות between Holiness, Godliness; and Shabbos and fearing *(and I will include honoring ones parents – the Ba’al Haturim does make the connection here) . What is the connection?
This has been fulfilled by what Ben Shapiro has done in life. On Shabbos he gives honor and respect to his father, which produces holiness and Godliness.
This past March, I was in Boynton Beach visiting my kids. Of course I went to Daf Yomi in Boca Raton Synagogue by Rabbi Ben Sugerman. After Shiur I walked into the Shul to daven. I see my cousin David Gross from Teaneck, New Jersey visiting his kids. Davening next to him was his son-in-law, Dr. Michael. Wow. I saw the above Torah of sons praying with fathers in action on a weekday morning. While this is a son-in-law, the same specialness and greatness is manifested. I am so inspired by this scene and it is glued to my memory. I also noticed that Dr. Michael davens with Kavanah; conviction and concentration. He does not fly through Shmonah Esray.
Join us after Kiddush on November 6 to hear from guest speaker Matti Friedman – journalist, contributor to the New York Times Op-Ed Section, and the author of three award-winning books.
“The Aleppo Codex”
The perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written 1,100 years ago. It was kept in Jerusalem, stolen by Crusaders, ransomed by the Jews of Cairo, used by Maimonides, and hidden in a vault in Aleppo for six centuries. Around the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, it vanished. The story of the Aleppo Codex, Judaism’s most important book, is not only a true mystery involving theft, murder, and a government cover-up – it also allows us to look at Jewish history in the Islamic world, the creation of Israel, and the role of the Bible in the unlikely survival of the Jews in exile.
After Shabbos, I called Rabbi Wolkenfeld of Anshei Sholom and told him that I was sorry I missed attending. Rabbi Wolkenfeld told me how they had a wonderful Shabbos and told me that I should read The Aleppo Codex. He was excited about the book and infected me with his excitement.
I purchased the book from Half Price Books. I started reading the book and the opening chapter was a difficult read. I put the book aside for a while, but went back and read it during Pesach.. Once I got through the first chapter and understood what was happening I was able to read this magnificent book.
Background of the Aleppo Codex:
The Aleppo Codex in Hebrew is titled כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא and means “The Crown of Aram Tzova”. Aram Tzova is Aleppo. The Aleppo Codex was written in the city of Tiberias in the 10th century CE (circa 920). The Aleppo codex and the other Codex’s are companions to Tanach. Whereas a Sefer Torah and the prophets are written on a scroll and have no vowels or cantillation notes – Trup, the codex contains the vowels and cantillation notes. It also contains notes that hint to connections to other parts of the Torah. This is what the Ba’al Haturim means when he says ב’ במסורת , there is a letter ב’ in the codex by this word and that there are two times in Tanach that this word or combination of words are used. The other difference between the Codex and the Sifrei Tanah they had was that the codex was written in manuscript form and not in scroll form. This made it easier to use than a Sefer Torah as to move around and read different parts of Tanach you can flip pages vs. having to roll a scroll. The word codex itself means “a manuscript book especially of Scripture, classics, or ancient annals.” Tradition has it that the Rambam used the Aleppo Codex when he learned. Together with the Leningrad Codex, it contains the Ben-Ashermasoretic tradition.
This time period in which the Torah codices were written were towards the end of the Geonic period. The period of the Geonim began in 589 CE after the period of the Sevora’im, and ended in 1038. The first gaon of Sura, according to Sherira Gaon, was Mar Rab Mar, who assumed office in 609. The last gaon of Sura was Samuel ben Ḥofni, who died in 1034 CE; the last gaon of Pumbedita was Hezekiah Gaon, who was tortured to death by fanatics of the Buyid dynasty in 1040; hence the activity of the Geonim covers a period of nearly 450 years. There were two major Geonic academies, one in Sura and the other in Pumbedita. The Sura Academy was originally dominant, but its authority waned towards the end of the Geonic period and the Pumbedita Gaonate gained ascendancy (Louis Ginzberg in Geonica).
The Aleppo Codex was kept for five centuries in the Central Synagogue of Aleppo, until the synagogue was torched during anti-Jewish riots in 1947. The fate of the codex during the subsequent decade is unclear. When it resurfaced in Israel in 1958, roughly 40% of the manuscript—including the majority of the Torah section—was missing, and only one additional leaf and a small scrap have been recovered since then. The original supposition was that the missing pages were destroyed in the synagogue fire has increasingly been challenged, fueling speculation that they survive in private hands. This Is from Wikipedia. Matti Friedman in his book clearly says they were not burnt, and strongly believes that they were stolen, and sold on the black market. The portion of the codex that is accounted for is housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.
Matti Friedman Efforts
Matti Friedman traces how and why the codex was transferred to Israel In 1957, how it ended up with the government and his speculation as to what happened to the missing parts of the codex. Missing is half of Bereshis, all of Exodus, VaYikra, and Bamidber. He found a transcript of the Din Torah starting on March 18, 1958 to decide where the codex belongs; to the state of Israel or to the exiled of the Aleppo community living in Israel and other parts of the world. Matti Friedman said the Din Torah lasted on and off for four years. Page 110 states about the trial, “It was charged and, at times, ugly. Most of the characters in the story appeared in court. Not all of them told the truth.” Unfortunately when Matti Friedman was researching this story most were dead and the rest who were still alive were well into their 80s and 90s and had faulty memories. It seems clear that Murad Fahem, the envoy who brought the codex from Aleppo to Israel, did not tell the truth of how the codex ended up with Yitzchok Ben Zvi, the second president of Israel.
As Matti Friedman dug deeper into the mystery of how the State of Israel obtained the Codex and what happened to nearly 200 missing pages, the story became fascinating.
Matti Friedman concluded:
The Codex was to go to the Aleppo community to be kept by their Rabbis
Murad Fahem, the envoy who brought the Codex from Aleppo to Israel in 1957, lied about his instructions from the Rabbis in Aleppo in 1957
There was a Din Torah starting on March 18, 1957 as to who should be the keepers of the Aleppo Codex and safeguard it.
The State of Israel in effect stole the Aleppo Codex from the Aleppo community
The missing pages were stolen from the Ben Zvi Institute which was the place where the Aleppo Codex was to be safeguarded for the Jews of Israel.
Matti Friedman touched upon the theft of the Israeli government and others of historical treasures that the Yemenite Jews brought when the community left Yemen. Clearly there was anti-Sephardic and anti-religious bias on the part of the Israelis
The person who brought the codex from Aleppo to Israel was Murad Fahim at the direction of Rabbi Moshe Tawil who was the Chief Rabbi of Aleppo and Rabbi Shlomo Zaafrani. Upon arriving in Israel Murad Fahem gave it to Shlomo Zalman Shraga who was Orthodox and was the director of Israel’s immigration network in the 1950s. Shlomo Zalman Shraga then gave it to President Yitzhok Ben Tzvi, the second President of Israel, the first one being Chaim Weitzman.
In Matti Friedman’s book, Yitzchok Ben Tzvi seems to come off as a villain, although Matti Friedman never said this outright. I found this interesting tidbit on Yitzchok Ben Tzvi that sheds light on his character. Yitzchok Ben Tzvi in 1924 ordered the first political murder in Israel. tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Ben-Zvi . What the leaders of the Yishuv lws by Ben Gurion tried to do is silence debate on the entire issue with how the Yishuv deals with the existing Arab population. If someone has an opposing view and seems to have a voice, he must be silenced by whatever means. Killing anyone, let alone a Jew who doesn’t present harm to people is corruption at its highest form. Once you do this, you can justify anything. This is what Reb Chaim Brisker said about the Zionists, that they are murderers. I found this on Wikipedia and the allegation about Yitzchok Ben-Tzvi was written by Shimon Nakidimon, an Israeli journalist.
Yitzchok Ben-Zvi served in the Jewish Legion (1st Judean battalion ‘KADIMAH’) together with Ben-Gurion. He helped found the Ahdut HaAvoda party in 1919, and became increasingly active in the Haganah. According to Avraham Tehomi, Ben-Zvi ordered the 1924 murder of Jacob Israël de Haan. De Haan had come to Palestine as an ardent Zionist, but he had become increasingly critical of the Zionist organizations, preferring a negotiated solution to the armed struggle between the Jews and Arabs. This is how Tehomi acknowledged his own part in the murder over sixty years later, in an Israeli television interview in 1985: “I have done what the Haganah decided had to be done. And nothing was done without the order of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. I have no regrets because he [de Haan] wanted to destroy our whole idea of Zionism.”
As I understood the Aleppo Codex and got deeper in the book, I realized that the Ba’al Haturim is partly an explanation of the Codex and had a codex when he wrote his Perush on Chumash. Until now I never understood what the Ba’al Haturim meant when is said ב’ במסורת .
“וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם” – ב’ במסורת. הכא, ואידך: “וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי זֶה מְקֹמוֹ” (איוב לח יט). זה הוא שאמרו (חגיגה יא ב), שאין לשאול: “מה לפנים? מה לאחור?” “וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי זֶה מְקֹמוֹ”, פירוש, שאין לשאול אי זה היה מקום החושך תחילה.
The ב’ במסורת means that in the codex which is the מסורת the letter Bais appears before these words. It is code telling us that there are only two times in Tanach that these words appear. The Ba’al Haturim then goes on to explain the connection. Artscroll never explained this properly.
I found on the internet this 2010 book written by Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schnieder. I have not read it and I do not know if Matti Friedman read this book or spoke to the authors. Hayim Tawil must be the son of Rabbi Tawil who authorized the transfer from Aleppo to Israel in 1957.
פּירוש בּעל הטורים על התורה לרבּינו יעקב ב”ר אשר זלה”ה
Rabbi Yakov Koppel Reinitz
I was davening at the BAYT in Toronto on Monday April 24th, right after Pesach and I came upon the below Sefer –
As can be seen from the title page, the author is Yakov Kopel Reinitz and was printed in 1996. I saw somewhere that he is from Bnei Brak. I was amazed at the fact that someone spent the time and wrote a commentary on the Ba’al Haturim. What scholarship! I love people who have great knowledge.
I asked my good friend, Boruch Kelman, from Har Nof to track down Rabbi Yakov Kopel Reinitz. Boruch Kelman is amazing. He adds a sense of American fair play into israel.
Boruch obtained his phone number and I called Rabbi Yakov Kopel Reinitz. Rabbi Reinitz and his wife know little English and I know little Hebrew and Yiddush. I spoke to him and I think he understood that I am calling from Chicago to thank him for producing a book of great scholarship. It seemed because we could not communicate properly, he struggled to understand why someone was calling him from America to thank him. It does seem a little odd. Afterwards his wife’s friend got on the phone who had a better English. She did a better job of explaining why I called and I could hear the joy in his voice. He told me that he will be 89 in two days. He lives in Neve Daniel. Neve Daniel is located next to Alon Shavut in the Gush. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neve_Daniel. I was taken aback because I thought Reb Yakov Kopel Reinitz lived in Bnei Brak and would have nothing to do with the Gush. Just to be sure I understood, I asked him if he ever spoke to Reb Aaron Lichtenstein TZL and he said, Yes, many times. I told him that in the summer, I should be in Israel and will visit. He told me he looks forward to my visit. I could hear the joy in his voice.
Kuntris Atoros AD”R – Rabbi Eliyahu Dov Rabinwwitz-Toemim known as the Aderes
I received a major bonus looking at the Sefer. Rabbi Reintiz included a Sefer written by the Aderes on the Ba’al Haturim by Rabbi Eliyahu Dov Rabinwwitz-Toemim, Rav Avrhom Yitzchok HaCohen Kook’s father-in-law.. I know that the Aderes was a major Torah scholar and authored Seform. But this is the first time I have seen one of his Seforim. I have a Blog post on Rav Kook and the Aderes. This is very exciting for me. https://kotzk.com/2014/04/14/in-tribute-to-rav-avrohom-yitzchok-kook/
Rabinowitz-Teomim was born on 11 June 1843 in the town of Pikeln. At the age of five his mother died and from then on, his father, Rabbi Benjamin Rabinowitz, raised him and his brother, Tzvi-Yehudah, alone. He studied Talmud and rabbinics under the tutelage of his father and by the age of fifteen he had acquired a substantial knowledge of Talmudic and rabbinic literature. Rabinowitz-Teomim was married to Feige Minna, with whom he had seven children. His daughter Batsheva married Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook in 1886; however she died a few years later, whereupon Rabinowitz-Teomim encouraged Rabbi Kook to marry his niece (the daughter of his brother Tzvi-Yehudah). He encouraged Rabbi Kook to become the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa. He died on 3 Adar 5665 (10 March 1905). He is buried on the Mount of Olives.
I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview to attend Helen Bloch’s and Avikam Hameiri’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, Megill Shmuel, which took place at Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel Congregation.
In discussing his Parsha Tzav, Megill focused on the uniqueness of the trope in his parsha, in that it includes a Shalshelet. The Shalshelet note in the trope in parsha Tzav is the 4th and final shalshelet in the whole Torah. What is the significance of this Shalshelet? From analogizing the shalshelet in Tzav to the other shalsheles in the Torah one learns that the Shalshelet indicates that the person discussed at that point in the Torah has some sort of hesitation or ambivalence as to the situation at hand. If it were not for the shalshelet we would not know this. The message is that it is okay to hesitate and have doubts. But one needs to overcome such hesitation and do the right thing at the end, similar to what the great leaders in the Torah have done, including Moshe, Joseph, Lot, and Eliezer, as indicated by the Shalshelet included in the reading that accompanied their situations as they appear in the Torah.
Kiddush was huge and I saw many friends. I spoke to Rabbi Wolkenfeld and his wife, Sara. I updated Sara about her friend, Amy Gross-Tarlow. They went to Penn together. Met some new friends. The caterer was Shmuel Diamond who is the chef at Evita’s. The chef is a regular by the Chabad of East Lakeview. There were about 250 people.
Helen Bloch spoke excellently. She talked about the unique and special aspects of her son, Megill Shmuel Hameiri. He is empathic, kind, and carries with him the Midos of a Jew. Helen Bloch’s parents were Naftali Glenner’s visual therapist, her father Marvin Bloch was his optometrist. My mother always took Naftali there for his therapy and Helen remembers her well. I took Naftali there once or twice.
Helen Bloch’s father-in-law, Shlomo Hameiri, came to Chicago in 2009 for Megill’s Bris. He spoke at Anshe Sholom about his life experiences.
Shlomo Hameiri’s last name in Europe was Hammer. He was six years old when the Nazi’s came. The below biography says it was the Ukrainians. They went to his mother’s parents house which was right outside Lvov and lived on a small farm where his mother’s parents lived. Shlomo’s grandfather was a Schochet and I believe a Mohel.
He said I cried twice in my lifetime.
The first time was when the Nazi/Ukranians tortured his grandfather. As the Nazis/Ukranians were torturing hs grandfather, Shlomo asked his mother, why is Zedi crying? His mother responded, he is not crying he is talking to the angels.
The second time was when he was on the Exodus. The Exodus set sail from Marseille. The British notified the French to lock the port so the Exodus will not be able to travel to Israel. The Exodus was able to slip out of the port. On day four when the Exodus was in International waters, the ship hoisted the Israeil flag and Shlomo Hammer ((Hameiri) cried. He had his bar Mitzvah on the Exodus.
My aunt Fay Grinblatt – Noble was also ont he Exodus as a child. ON one Sunday morning as PBS was playing the movie, The Exodus, I went to her house to watch the movie. With her and her huband, Rabbi Moshe Noble.
I found this picture on the Internet:
Group portrait of members of the Nitzanim group of the Zionist youth movement, Hanoar Hatzioni.
All of the children had been on the Exodus and had been sent back to Europe. Ziomek Hammer (Shlomo HaMeiri) is pictured in the third row from the bottom, fifth from the right.
Biography Shlomo HaMeiri (born Ziomek Hammer) is the son of Heinrich Hammer (b. 1905,
Stanislawov) and Lola Tempel (b. 1905, Lvov). Heinrich and Lola each had gone to Vienna to study. After they married, they returned to Lvov where Heinrich completed his degree in engineering. Ziomek was born July 13, 1934 in Lvov, Poland. His father was an engineer. In 1940 Henrich joined the Russian army and was sent by the Russians to Leningrad. Ziomek and his mother joined her father Moshe Lev Temple in the village of Uhzedov. A while later, Ukrainians beat and executed him in front of Ziomek and his mother. They also attacked Lola. Afterwards, Ziomek and his mother went to Tarnopol where her sister Rivke lived. There they found Ziomek’s father who had come to look for them. They all were herded into the Tarnopol ghetto where they remained from 1941-43. From Tarnapol, they were taken to a concentration camp, where Ziomek’s parents hid him from the Germans. After three or four months, Ziomek, his father, and mother somehow escaped. They paid a Christian named Stanislavski to hide them in the attic above his pig pen, together with four other people. They could neither stand nor shower; rats crawled over them and they subsisted on dried corn which they softened with snow. The Hammers lived there for nine months. One night in April 1944, Stanislavski asked Ziomek’s father to slaughter a pig. The pig screamed loudly, as they did not know the proper way to kill it. Stanislavski told the family to drink some of the pig’s blood for strength and to run and hide. Later that day, Heinrich left their hiding place and found that Stanislavski had been shot. A few days later the Hammers returned to Tarnopol where they were liberated. Ziomek’s parents decided to return to Uhzedov to recover coins and other valuables that had been hidden with neighbors. They managed to retrieve their valuables but were caught and murdered. Ziomek waited several days for them to return before learning what had happened. For the next few years he lived with his cousin and uncle and, during that time, he attended a Catholic school for about a year and a half. Then his uncle was incarcerated. Ziomek was taken by Jewish soldiers from the Brigade to a Jewish orphanage in Krakow, where he remained for two weeks. He was then transported, along with other children, to Bad Reichenhall, a displaced persons’ camp in Germany. He lived on a Zionist hachsharot, and in 1947 he was sent with a group of children to Palestine on board the Exodus. After the ship was forcibly returned to Europe, Ziomek lived in the Poppendorf and Emden displaced persons’ camps before immigrating permanently to Israel in 1948 on the Aliya Dalet. Before leaving Europe all the children were given new Hebrew names, and Ziomek became Shlomo HaMeiri. Years later, he met another holocaust survivor, Tziporah, on a kibbutz. They married and had two children together.
What a Rabbi in small town San Antonio, Texas Achieved
Pastor John Hagee
Helen Bloch’s Son’s Bar Mitzvah – Megill Shmuel Hameiri
Martin and Madelaine Brody-Seth’s Wedding-Remembering Aunt Flo
March 5, 2022 was a warm day with the temperatures into the 60’s. I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview. Rabbi Kotlarski was making a Kiddush for his new daughter, Shula. The place was packed. Normally he gets about 50 people, this Shabbos he had over 125. Great Kiddush. Rabbi Kotlariski named the baby after his maternal grandmother. His grandfather and grandmother were holy Jews. His grandfather was a Mohel and always pursued by the Russian authorities.
After Kiddush we had our class and I spoke out the Medresh which discusses Moshe’s accounting. Moshe was 1,775 Sheklim short in his accounting for money taken in and how it was used. Moshe was accused of benefiting from the donations to the Mishkan until God revealed that the missing money was used for the hooks in the Mishkan. See the below Medrash.
It should be noted that there were mockers and scoffers who pursued this nonsense. They could have said, this is only a small amount and we probably miscounted somewhere or forgot where it was spent. Yet they persisted in their nonsense and wanted every monetary donation to be accounted for. If Moshe was taking money, it would not make sense that Moshe would only take the 1,775 Silver Shekalim. In today’s dollars the 1,775 Silver Shekolim would be worth $165,000. One is not rich on this amount.
Why did Moshe forget about the 1,775 Shekalim which were used for the hooks in the Mishkan? Hooks are very small, almost insignificant, and additionally in the Mishkan’s courtyard they were covered by curtains. Moshe forgot them. If someone builds a $500,000 home; the hooks, door handles, and cabinet pulls maybe cost $5,000. They are inexpensive and when you consider the cost of the house you miss these items. When you look around your house you miss these items. You see the overall kitchen. not the door handles. This is what Moshe forgot and needed Hashem’s intervention to find. The Medresh also says that most people trusted Moshe, but there are always mockers and scoffers. This is so true. These mockers and scoffers cause great damage.
These hooks are called וָוִים They are critical for a house. They are connectors. Hooks and similar items allow a house to be used. You are able to open doors, drawers, hang towels, pictures, etc.
The letter Vav serves a similar purpose. It connects verses together. Most of the Pesukim in the Torah start with Vav. We darshan if the word is אֵ֣לֶּה or ואלה.
We all have small seemingly random and sometimes insignificant events that are forgotten that occur over a period of time. These events pieced together on their own timeline connect together to be the great influencer on our life, similar to the events in the story of Purim. Events that occurred over a ten- year period that when pieced together show the miracle of Purim.
My job and career and my identity are linked together by a chance meeting with Rabbi Chaim Stein. This is my Vav Hachibur. I graduated college in 1977. I struck out on campus job interviews and had zero job prospects. I did not feel successful and was worried about the future. I kind of felt I was a failure. I could not afford to give up. I put one foot in front of another and looked for a job. My mother told me she would call someone for a favor and I was against it. I had to find a job myself for my esteem.
I opened the Yellow Pages and wrote down each accounting firm’s name on a 3 x 5 index card and went knocking on doors. I recorded on each respective card what happened. I must have knocked on over 100 doors. Almost all of the firms were at downtown office buildings. At that time there were numerous accounting firms in each building. Very tough. After one fruitless day, I was walking to my car which I parked on the west side of the loop, west of the river. The area was not developed and it was easy to find free parking. I met Rabbi Chaim Stein who was also looking for a job. We spoke and he asked me, why don’t I take the Civil Service exam? I did not know it existed. On his advice I took the exam and that led me to a job with the FDIC. After 9 years I took a job at Peterson Bank. Peterson Bank ultimately became Fifth Third Bank and I had a very successful 40-year career in banking.
It was this chance meeting in the vastness of the western part of the loop that I met Rabbi Chaim Stein, which led to my career. What are the chances we would meet at that very time on that very day? Rabbi Chaim Stein was my angel. It was Hashgacha Pratis. It took twenty years for me to remember what Rabbi Chaim Stein did for me. That day as I was walking to my car, my life was closing in on me. That meeting unbeknownst to me, stretched out my life’s narrowing path, stretched it out into a wide boulevard. The chance meeting was the Vav Hachibor to the rest of my life. At the time it occurred it was a seemingly small event but God made it happen. I called Rabbi Chaim Stein to again thank him and his wife told me that he passed away two years ago.
Pesach Chase, my dear brother, told me that my Bris in 1953 was held at Pesach Stein’s restaurant on Roosevelt Road. Pesach Stein put up a Sukkah. Quite unique at that time.
I tried to call Chaim Stein today and found out that he passed away two years ago. Boruch Dayan Emes.
I took the Civil Service exam. I found a job right after I took the test in August 1977, and did not think I would need that test; however, I lost my job right after Rosh Hashanah 1977 because one of the two partners of the firm was having an existential crisis and wanted to experience life in the great outdoors. The firm needed someone with experience and they did not have the luxury of training me. A week after I was let go, I received notice of a job interview and was hired by the FDIC.
My Vav Hachibor with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg:
Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg is a person who lived the dictum that we Jews have to be a light to the nations. Someone who lived well away from a major Jewish community, in San Antonio, Texas quietly changed the world and did great things for the Jews. Most Rabbis would stay in a small town for a few years and move on to larger and more prestigious positions. The Musser is that every Jew no matter where he or she is can change the world.
Rabbi Lopatin speaks from the pulpit about the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) convention he recently attended. Rabbi Lopatin expressed the excitement of being only one of fifty Jews with 5,000+- Christians singing Am Yisroel Chai, the Shema, and Hatikvah. I was excited.
Rabbi Shmuel Bowman of Efrat was a scholar in residence at the Boca Raton Synagogue. He spoke about collecting money from Christian Evangelicals. He also mentioned the signs at Christian Evangelical conventions. Genesis 12:4 – וַאֲבָֽרְכָה֙ מְבָ֣רְכֶ֔יךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ֖ אָאֹ֑ר וְנִבְרְכ֣וּ בְךָ֔ כֹּ֖ל מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הָאֲדָמָֽה; Esther 4:14 – וּמִ֣י יוֹדֵ֔עַ אִם־לְעֵ֣ת כָּזֹ֔את הִגַּ֖עַתְּ לַמַּלְכֽוּת׃. He added, and the Christian Evangelcials believe the Bible.
Saw Herb Eisemen wearing his CUFI lapel pin.
I shared the dais with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg in Brooklyn, New York when we were both honored by the Yeshiva Toras Chaim in Denver.
February 12, 2022
BRS has a Stand with Israel night with Pastor Mario Bramnick of the Latino Coalition for Israel.
Listened to Behind the Bima with Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein. Rabbi Adlerstein is the director of Interfaith Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He holds the Sydney M. Irmas Adjunct Chair in Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School and teaches senior high school girls at Yeshiva University High Schools of Los Angeles. Rabbi Adlerstein mentioned that when he was first offered the job he did not know what to do. He was a Yeshivisha guy and went to Kollel. He said “what did I know about Interfaith Dialogue?” He asked one of the Gadolim and the Gadol responded, it is a Pikuach Nefesh for the Jewish people. Of course, take the job. Klal Yisroel needs friends. He then said that the hero of Jewish Christain relationship is Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg. I was astounded. I stood up and said Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg! Why didn’t I know this? I sat on the same dais and his son lives in Chicago. When he was honored by Denver they never mentioned this aspect of Rabbi Scheinberg’s greatness. Rabbi Adlerstein said that 40 or some years ago Rabbi Scheinberg became friends with Pastor John Hagee. He told the Pastor, we can be friends but there are red lines that you cannot cross. Their friendship grew over the years. In David Brog’s book “Standing with Israel” he writes on Page 3,
Thirty-five years after the Holocaust, the Israeli air force destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, outside of Baghdad. The Israelis had determined that Iraq was usinght the reactor to develop a nuclear bomb, a weapon this implacable enemy might one day uese agaisnt them. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin justified the action to the world by declaring the he would not permit “another Holocast in the history of the Jewish people.” Israel was universally condemned for the Osirak raid, including by its ally the United State.
In San Antonio, Texas, a pastor named John Hagee was dismayed by the loud outcry against Israel’s action. He decided to counter the chorus of criticism with a public show of support. With the help of a fellow pastor and two rabbis, Pastor Hagee organized a “Night to Honor Israel.” The day after he held a press conference to announce the upcoming event, someone phoned Pastor Hagee’s church and said, “Tell that preacher he’ll be dead by Friday.”
When asked why he so staunchly supports Israel, Pastor John Hagee speaks of a “biblical mandate to bless the Jews” and a Christian debt of gratitude to the Jewish people.
I mention Rabbi Adlerstein’s statement to Herb Eiseman and a week later Herb brings me The Torch, the CUFI quarterly magazine. CUFI honors Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg and they create the Rabbi Scheinberg Fellowship. The magazine states, “Rabbi Aryen Scheinberg changed the history of the JEWISH-Christian landscape as we see it today?”
I watched CUFI’s 2021 Night to Honor Israel at Cornerstone Church that was held on Sunday October 24th 2021. Pastor John Hagee told a great story. Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg was dying of cancer and called Pastor John Hagee for a meeting. At their visit Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg tells Rabbi Hagee that I called to meet with you because at my funeral there will be 6 speakers; five by my five sons, and the sixth by you. You Christians wait six days and then you have the funeral. Us Jews bury the deceased immediately and then wait 6 days. I want to be sure you have time to prepare my eulogy.
Pastor John Hagee and Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg were like brothers. Rabbi Scheinberg’s favorite picture was when they were together at the Kotel. arms around each other and praying.
Peggy and Sid and Herb attend the annual CUFI convention in Washington DC pre-Covid every year, showing their support for this vital organization. This is Sid, Herb, and Rabbi Asher Lopatin.
Shabbos – March 12, 2022
After Shul I visited Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg, the Rov the West Rogers Park Agudah, and a son of Aryeh Scheinberg. I showed him the CUFI magazine, The Torch, and their tribute to his father. Moshe Scheinberg tells me that of course he has the magazine. I spoke to his family about their father and grandfather. As I am leaving the house Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg said that it is good for his kids to hear about his father from outsiders.
Rabbi Scheinberg’s oldest brother, Avrohom, took over the Shul in San Antonio and has continued the relationship with Pastor John Hagee and the Pastor’s son, Pastor Mike Hagee.
I found out from my brother-in-law that Rabbi Avrohom Scheinberg made a distant cousin Frum. The family lived in San Antonio. Their last name is Lifshitz. The family made Aliyah. The father got a job as a Doctor in Hadassah hospital and their son is known as the Ilyu of Yerushalayim. He has written 20 Seforim.
Shabbos – March 19, 2022 Parshas Tzav
I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview to attend Helen Block’s and Avikam Meiri’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, Megill Shmuel. Kiddush was huge and saw many friends. I spoke to Rabbi Wolkenfeld and his wife, Sara. I updated Sara about her friend, Amy Gross-Tarlow. They went to Penn together. Met some new friends. The caterer was Shmuel Diamond who is the chef at Evita’s. The chef is a regular by the Chabad of East Lakeview. There were about 250 people.
Helen Bloch spoke excellently. She talked about her unique and gifted son, Megill Shmuel Hameiri. He is empathic, kind, and carries with him the Midos of a Jew. Helen Bloch’s parents were Naftali Glenner’s vision coaches. My mother always took Naftali there for his therapy and Helen remembers her well. I took Naftali there once or twice.
We had our Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur at 2:30 PM. Peggy and Sid Kaz said that they attend the CUFI conventions every year. Peggy told me that Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg always gives the closing remarks and is always excellent.
Sunday – March 20, 2022.
Madelaine Brody, my cousin from LA, mentioned that Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein may perform the wedding service for her son, Seth, who is getting married during Labor Day weekend 2022. I found out that Rabbi Adlerstein learned with her husband, Martin Brody, for many years. If he attends, I am ready. I am very excited about the wedding and I will be with the family for the Auf Ruf. I will be wearing a Tux. The only other time I wore one was for Karen Schwartz’s wedding.
Martin Brody is my Rabbi, made me a talmud of Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, and overall, a good guy. We both loved running. I used to go into LA for the City of Angels half-marathon that started at the LA Zoo in the Hollywood Hills. The half marathon was on the first Sunday in December of each year until the owners of the hospital were caught on Medicaid fraud. I would fly in on Thursday and stay at his mother-in -law, Flo. One Friday afternoon we were running late and she was driving us to Martin and Madelaine’s house. I was frightened of being in the car with her. Another time I was at his house years ago for the Friday night meal. Martin fancies himself as a wine connoisseur and I have no use for wine. I put ice and diet coke in my wine. Martin says to me, you heathen.
I loved going. There is nothing like LA, especially on a warm Friday evening during the winter when the angels are singing in the Shabbos. We also got in a 14 flight of stairs walk.
I was able to stay at my mother-in-law’s sister, Aunt Florence. She was special. She was a happy person
Email to Rabbis Efreim Goldberg, Philup Moskowitz, and Josh Brody on March 16, 2022
I hope I am not overstepping my bounds by sending this to you.
Rabbi Yitchok Adlerstein mentioned that the hero of Jewish – Christian relations is Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg who recently passed away. I did not know this. In 2015 I shared a dais with Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg when we were both honored by Denver Yeshiva. His kids went to the Denver Yeshiva. They did not mention Rabbi Scheinberg’s great work on behalf of Jewish -Christian relations at the dinner. Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg has a son in Chicago, who is Rabbi of the Agudah Shul in West Rogers Park. I approached Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg and asked him if he knew about his father’s activities and he said of course.
I mentioned all this to my friend Herb Eiseman who pre-Covid regularly attended CUFI conventions. Herb lent me the CUFI Fall 2021 magazine, The Torch. It was dedicated to the legacy of Rabbi Ayeh Scheinberg, with the following words. “Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg changed the history of the Jewish-Christian landscape as we see it today”. They created the Rabbi Scheinberg Fellowship. Wow. My head exploded. His story is untold. It took a one-line statement from Rabbi Adlerstein to reveal this great story to me. Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg is a person who lived the dictum that we Jews have to be a light to the nations. Someone who lived in an out-of-the way Jewishly, San Antonio, Texas quietly changed the world and did great things for the Jews. There is a speech about this concept of how every Jew no matter where can change the world.
This past Shabbos I went to Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg’s house to further discuss his father with his family. Sometimes I do get carried away. As I left Moshe Scheinberg he told me that it is important for outside people to praise his father so his kids hear about the greatness of his father from outsiders. Rabbi Moshe Scheinberg told me that his older brother took over the Shul in San Antonio and has continued his father’s work with Pastor John Hagee and their world. His brother was in Israel this past Shabbos to support Pastor John Hagee, who was receiving an award from an organization.
My humble suggestion is that on Behind the Bima you have a show about Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg with his son, Rabbi Avrohom Scheinberg, with perhaps Rabbi Adlerstein to discuss the legacy of his father. I envision that perhaps even Pastor John Hagee would agree to be on that show.
I do not want you to Jump the Shark by having such a program. Let me know what I can do to facilitate.
I believe it was the influence of Pastor John Hagee who helped push President Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem.
PS: I heard from Rabbi Shmuel Bowman about Jewish – Christian relationships about 8 years ago when he was a scholar in residence at BRS. Also Rabbi Asher Lopatin from his pulpit expressed his excitement right after he attended his first CUFI convention.
I would like to come full circle. As I mentioned before Moshe Rabbenu had to contend with mockers and scoffers. They challenged Moshe on everything. Despite all the efforts of these heroes, ignorant people say, Aah, Aah – the Christians only do it because they want all Jews to be in Israel for the “rapture”. These mockers and scoffers feel that they can negate all the good work of Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg, Rabbi Adlerstein, and many others. They reveal their ignorance and prejudice.
Sefer HaYasher talks about Yisro, Iyov , and Bilaam giving advice to Pharoah regarding what to do with the Jews.
Chani Morgenstern is still here with us. Friday night’s meal was great. Went to Mayer Chase at 7:30 PM. Went to bed at 9:00 PM. Got up at 5:30 AM to learn. Shabbos morning I davened at Sidney. Sidney, Lisa, and Naftali were in Miami Beach, FL. After my meal, I walked to Rabbi Revah to tell him over my Torah. Afterwards went over to my son in law, Mordy Siegal. Davened Mincha and had Shalosh Suedos by his grandfather, Joseph Siegal. I spoke out the Kotzker Vort.
The following is my Torah from this Shabbos.
Torah Vort #1:
One can write psychology books based on Kotzker Torah. The Kotzker on Verse 15:23 has such a classical piece of Torah in a one liner.
The Kotzker said, הם בעצמם היו מרים ולכן לא יכלו לשתות. Bitter people can turn sweet water into bitter water. Bitter people ruin everything. Lest you say that this Vort is Drush and not Pshat, we can use this concept to understand and contrast the hitting of the rock later on in this Parsha and the Mai Merivah in Bamidbar, where Moshe was punished for hitting the rock. Why?
Moshe was told to hit the rock to provide water while in Bamidbar Moshe was to speak to the rock. Moshe gets confused and hits the rock. Why was Moshe punished for hitting the rock?
The answer is the above Pasuk. The Jews just left Israel where they had over 100 years of brutal slavery. They led bitter lives. They understood brutality and had to be led with toughness, with hitting the rock. Forty years later there is a new generation of kids who grew up in the desert under the protection of God, with God and Torah, in peace with daily miracles and manna. The new generation had a different outlook in life, they had to be led with softness, with words. Moshe had to speak to the rock to produce water and not hit it. They cannot be led with hitting. When Moshe could not find the rock he should not have hit the rock, but should have prayed to God. Hitting the rock sent the wrong message and showed that Moshe could not be the leader of the new generation. This is why Moshe took his staff and why God hid the rock. To show Moshe why Moshe could not be the leader taking he Jews into Israel.
Torah Vort #2:
Sefer HaYasher talks about Yisro, Iyov , and Bilaam giving advice to Pharoah regarding what to do with the Jews. The Sefer Hayashar mentios Iyov asking to give advice twice.
115 years of the Jews being in Egypt – pages 248 – 251 in the Sefer HaYasher
The Egyptions are afraid of the Jews and they trick the Jews into slavery, Shmos verses 1:10 – 1:14
125 years of the Jews being in Egypt – pages 252 – 253 in the Sefer HaYasher .
The Jewish people keep growing and the Egypts are more fearful. Pharaoh asks his wise men what to do. Iyov steps up and says kill all the Jewish babies. Pharoah instructs the midwives to kill the Jewish babies. Verses Shmos 1:15 – 1:22.
130 years of the Jews being in Egypt – Pages 254-257 in the Sfer Hayasher.
Pharaoh has a dream. Yisro, Iyov, and Bilaam give him advice. Yisro tells Pharaoh to leave the Jews alone. Iyov says do whatever you decide, ויאמר המלך לאיוב העוצי, מה תאמר אתה איוב ומה תהיה עצתך בעברים. ויאמר איוב אל המלך, הלא כל יושבי הארץ בידך כטוב בעיני המלך יעשה. Iyov is silent in the face of brutality.
Bilaam advises throw all the Jewish babies in the Nile.
In the year 125 Iyov says kill the Jewish babies. Pharaoh tries to implement Iyov’s advice, however due to Shifra and Puah it does not happen. Five years later Iyov does not want to get involved so he basically says nothing.
Was Iyov a Rasha or a decent person? He seems to be an evil person as he first suggested killing all the babies. He obviously was very accomplished as he was one of the three advisors of Pharaoh.
Perhaps Iyov saw that his attempt of solving the “Jewish” problem did not happen. Iyov reflected on this and five years later decides not to get involved. Perhaps God did not let his evil advice happen because Iyov was a decent person who made a terrible decision. Therefore God did not want evil to be attributed to Iyov. Being silent was a step in the right direction, but was still wrong.
As the words attributed to Edmund Burke states, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”
I had been untroubled, and He broke me in pieces; He took me by the neck and shattered me; He set me up as His target.
Upon reading the Medresh it seems that God gave Iyov to Samael for Sameal to batter and hurt Iyov, thereby distracting Samael from pursuing his court case. Samael contended that God should kill all the Jews by saying, both the Egyptians and the Jews worshiped idols, why are you saving the Jews?
I want to say that the Medresh means that Iyov will fight with Sameal in court. God was going to save the Jews. Of course the Jews worshipped idols but that is beucase the Jews were slaves. The Tshuva process of the Jewish nation started with the Korban Pesach, Miscu U’Kichu, as Reb Yossi Hagelili said withdraw from idol worship and cling onto Mitzvos. God will save the Jewish people and not listen to Samael. God is giving Iyov a chance to redeem himself. Iyov is being given the chance to defend the Jews, to tell Samael you are wrong, the Jews have great potential. They are from the Avos, they will be receiving the Torah, and will be the moral compass of the world. Iyov will slap Samael across his cheek and say, you paskunyak, stop with your nonsense.
God gives people the chance to do Tshuva. Herzl did Tshuva in January 1904 when he refused to kiss the pope’s hand. Herzl was granted an audience with the pope after waiting years for a chance to ask the pope to help the Jewish people. Herzl was told protocol is to kiss the pope’s hand. Herzl refused to do so and saw it irritated the pope. Herzl was desperate to find a place for the Jews to escape the horrible Galus, yet he would not compromise on Jewish values. The pope was never going to grant Herzl’s wish for help. Herzl transformed and became a proud Jew. See https://kotzk.com/2020/07/13/shabbos-parshas-pinchos-july-11-2020-19-tammuz-5780/
ויאמר המלך לאיוב העוצי, מה תאמר אתה איוב ומה תהיה עצתך בעברים. ויאמר איוב אל המלך, הלא כל יושבי הארץ בידך כטוב בעיני המלך יעשה
ועתה אדוננו המלך הבו לכם עצה על הדבר הזה ואבדתם את תקות בני ישראל ואת תוחלתם, טרם תצמח הרעה הזאת על כל מצרים. ויאמר המלך אל בלעם, ומה לנו לעשות לישראל הלא כזה וכזה יעצנו עליהם בתחילה ולא יכולנו עליהם. ועתה הבה לנו עצה גם אתה עליהם, במה נוכל אליהם. ויען בלעם את המלך לאמור, שלח נא וקרא אל שני יועציך ונראה מה עצתם על הדבר הזה ואחר ידבר עבדך. וישלח המלך ויקרא את שני יועציו את רעואל המדיני ואת איוב העוצי, ויבואו וישבו לפני המלך. ויאמר אליהם המלך, הנה כולכם שמעתם את החלום אשר חלמתי ופתרונו. ועתה עוצו נא עצה ודעו וראו מה לעשות לבני ישראל ובמה נוכל עליהם, טרם אשר תצמח רעתם עלינו.
ויען רעואל המדיני את המלך ויאמר, יחי המלך יחי המלך לעולם. אם על המלך טוב, יחדל לו מעל העברים ויעזוב אותם ואל ישלח ידו בהם. כי אלוקיהם בחר בם מימי קדם, ויקחם לחבל נחלתו מכל גויי הארץ ומכל מלכי האדמה. ומי אשר שלח ידו בהם וניקה, ולא עשה בו אלוקיהם נקם. הלא ידעת כי ברדת אברהם אביהם מצרימה, וירא פרעה מלך מצרים הקדמוני את שרה אישתו ויקחה לו לאישה. כי אמר אברהם אחותי היא, כי ירא פן יהרגוהו אנשי מצרים על אישתו. ויהי בקחת מלך מצרים את שרה, וינגעהו אלוקיהם נגעים גדולים ואת ביתו עד אשר השיב לאברהם את שרה אישתו, אז נרפאו. וגם לאבימלך הגררי מלך פלישתים הוכיח אלוקימו בעבור שרה אשת אברהם, בעצור להם כל רחם למאדם ועד בהמה. יבוא אלוקימו אל אבימלך בחלום הלילה ויפחידהו, למען ישיב לאברהם את שרה אשר לקח. ואחרי כן התווכחו כל אנשי גררה בעבור שרה, ויתפלל אברהם עליהם אל אלוקיו ויעתר לו וירפאם. וירא אבימלך את כל הרעה הבאה עליו ועל עמו וישב לאברהם את שרה אישתו, ויתן לו עמה מנות ומתנות רבות.
וגם אל יצחק כה עשה בגרשם אותו מגרר, ויפליא אלוקיו עמו פליאות ויתיבשו כל מוצאי מימי גררה ועצי תנובתם לא צמחו עד אשר הלכו אליו אבימלך מגרר ואחוזת מרעהו ופיכול שר צבאו ויקדו וישתחוו לו ארצה. ויבקשו ממנו תחינה להתפלל עליהם אל ה׳, ויעתר לו ה׳ וירפא אותם. וגם יעקב איש תם הוצל בתומו מיד עשו אחיו, ומיד לבן הארמי אחי אמו המבקשים את נפשו. וגם מיד כל מלכי כנען אשר באו כולם יחד עליו ועל בניו להשמידם, ויצל אותם ה׳ מידם וישובו עליהם וימיתום כי מי אשר שלח ידו בהם וניקה. הלא פרעה הקדמוני אבי אביך גידל את יוסף בן יעקב על כל שרי ארץ מצרים בראותו את חכמתו, כי בחכמתו מלט את כל יושבי הארץ מן הרעב. ואחרי כן ציוה להוריד את יעקב ובניו מצרימה, למען תמלט ארץ מצרים וארץ גושן בחסדם מן הרעב. ועתה אם אוב בעיניך חדל לך מהשחית את בני ישראל, ואם אין בלבך להושיבם מצרימה שלח אותם מזה וילכו ארצה כנען ארץ מגורי אבותיהם. ויהי כשמוע פרעה את דברי יתרו ויחר אפו מאוד עליו, ויקם מאת פני המלך בבושת ויצא ממצרים ביום ההוא וילך אל ארצו מדינה ומטה יוסף לקח בידו.
ויאמר המלך לאיוב העוצי, מה תאמר אתה איוב ומה תהיה עצתך בעברים. ויאמר איוב אל המלך, הלא כל יושבי הארץ בידך כטוב בעיני המלך יעשה..
ויאמר המלך אל בלעם, מה תאמר אתה בלעם דבר את דבריך ונשמענו
ויאמר בלעם למלך, כל אשר יעץ המלך על העברים ימלטו ממנה ולא יוכל המלך עליהם בכל עצה. כי אם בלהבת אש תאמר להמעיטם, לא תוכל עליהם בה כי הלא אלוקיהם מילט את אברהם אביהם מאור כשדים. אם בחרב תאמר להשמידם, הלא יצחק אביהם נמלט ממנה וינתן איל תחתיו. ואם בעבודת פרך וקושי תאמר להמעיט אותם, לא תוכל על זה הלא יעקב אביהם עבד את לבן בכל עבודה קשה והצליח.
ועתה אדוני המלך שמע נא את דברי וזאת העצה היעוצה עליהם אשר תוכל עליהם בה, וממנה לא תסור. אם על המלך טוב יצוה להשליך ילדיהן אשר יולידו מהיום ההוא והלאה אל המימה, כי בזה תוכל למחות את שמם כי לא נוצל אחד מהם ומאבותם בדבר הזה. וישמע המלך את דברי בלעם, ויטב בעיני המלך והשרים ויעש המלך כדבר בלעם. ויצו המלך ויעבירו קול ותנתן דת בכל ארץ מצרים לאמור, כל זכר היולד לעברים מהיום הזה והלאה ישלך אל המימה. ויקרא פרעה אל כל עבדיו לאמור, צאו נא ובקשו בכל ארץ גושן אשר שם בני ישראל וראו כל בן הילוד לעברים היאורה תשליכוהו וכל הבת תחיון. ויהי כשמוע בני ישראל את הדבר אשר ציוה פרעה להשליך את זכוריהם היאורה, ויפרדו מקצת העם מנשיהם, ומקצתם דבקו בהנה. ויהי מהיום ההוא והלאה בעת לדת נשי ישראל אשר עודם דברו בהנה, ותצאן השדה ללכת שמה ותלדן בשדה ותעזובנה ילדיהן על פני השדה וישובו אל בתיהם. וה׳ אשר נשבע לאברהם להרבותם, שלח להם מלאך ממשרתיו אשר בשמים לרחצו במים ולסוכו ולמושחו ולהחתלו, ולשום בידו שתי חלוקי אבנים מן האחת ינק חלב ומן השנית יונק דבש. וגם את שערות ראשו מגדל עד ארכובותיו, למען יתכסה בהם לענגו ולדבקו בחמלו עליו. ויהי בחמול האלוקים עליהם ובבקשו להרבותם על פני האדמה ויצו לתבל ארצו ותקבלם להישמר בתוכם עד עת גדולם. ואחרי כן פתחה הארץ פיה ותקיא אותם, ויציצו מעיר כעשב הארץ וכתמסי יער וישובו איש אל משפחתו ואיש אל אבותיו וידבקו בהם. ויהיו ילדי בני ישראל בתבל הארץ כעשב השדה, בחמלת ה׳ עליהם. ויראו כל מצרים את הדבר הזה ויצאו כל מצרים איש אל שדהו איש בצמד בקרו ובמחרשתו, ויחרישו על גביו כמשדד תבל בעת הזרע. ויהי כחרשם ולא יכלו להזיק את ילדי בני יעקב, וירב העם ויעצמו מאוד
Flew to Florida to stay with the kids. Arrived at their house at about 9:00 PM.
Thursday, February 10, 2022:
Went to Daf Yomi at Boca Raton Synagogue with Rabbi Sugerman. Saw David Gross and his son-in-law, Dr. Michael Tarlow, at BRS. Dr. Tarlow davened with quite a bit of Kavana. I am very impressed by Amy and Dr, Michael Tarlow. Drove back to Boynton to take Tehillah to school. Davened Mincha and Maariv at BRS.
Late in the afternoon, we drove around the area of the new Yeshiva to get an idea of the housing. I spoke to a broker, Eitan Abromowitz, 828-263-2055, about purchasing a new house in the area of the Yeshiva. Very little is available and it is very expensive.
Went to eat with Shoshana and Danny Levy and kids at Burnt in Boca Raton.
Friday, February 11, 2022:
Went to Daf Yomi at BRS. After Davening took Tehilah to school,
At 12:15 PM met with Rabbi Shimmy Shabtai. We discussed the new Yeshiva and I gave him my $10,000 donation. I wanted to meet with Rabbi Goldberg , but he was too busy.
Went to Nachum Caplan’s new house in Captiva. He lives down the street from Rabbi Sugerman. Nachum was wearing a Hatzalah hat. Hatzalah just started in Boca Raton and he is a volunteer. I saw Alyssa and their two kids. He showed me his new house. He gutted the entire house and removed a load bearing wall between the kitchen and dining room, replacing it with a beam. He was his own contractor and did a large part of the rewiring himself. He spent about $135,000 on the renovation, however since he did some of the work himself, did not have to pay a contractor, and knew how to save money, the job would have cost me $200,000. His father in law, Sid Cohen, came by and we talked.
Nachum is a nurse and has become a visiting nurse, tripling his pay. Nachum and Alyssa are a great couple.
I got great satisfaction because in my own way I helped him when he was younger. I looked at him and saw a Gavrah. He has grown as a person.
Went back to Shoshana’s house where I vacuumed the steps, washed the first floor, and cleaned up the boys room.
Shabbos, Friday night February 11, 2022:
Davened at Chabad of Boynton Beach, Rabbi Sholom Ciment. Rabbi Moshe Soloveick was in Boynton Beach and was the scholar in residence. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik came to Boynton to go to Connections of West Palm Beach’s dinner on Motzei Shabbos. I called Rabbi Ciment and told him that Reb Moshe will bei n Boynton this Shabbos and I want him to be Scholar-in-Residence. Rabbi Ciment said with pleasure as he is good friends with Reb Moshe. Rabbi Ciment asked me, what about an honorarium? I gave $1,000.
After Davening I went up to say Good Shabbos to Reb Moshe and schepped Nachas seeing Reb Moshe’s face beaming and people going over to him.
Shabbos Morning, February 12, 2022:
Davened a Chabad’s Hashkama minyan. They started at 7:30 AM and by the time I got there at 8:00 they were already by Chazaros Hashatz. After davening went home to make Kiddush. I took Aryeh Moshe and Tehillah with me to Shul. Luckily I met Rebbetzin Billet and she told me to put Tehillah in Anshei Chesed’s youth groups. Her husband is the Rabbi. I also asked her if I could come over to her house during their meal. Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz, his wife and in-laws were eating by Rabbi Billet for the Shabbos Seudah. She said yes and that I should come over at 1:30 PM. I walked to Anshei Chesed, put Teholla in the youth group, and went into the Shul with Aryeh Moshe to listen to Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz’s Drasha. I was proud of Aryeh Moshe as he was attentive and listened to the speech. Rabbi Leibowitz talked about the clothing of the Cohanim. Great speech.
After the speech, when I walked out of the Bais Medrash, I saw Tovah and my wife who had come to pick up Tehillah. I was happy to see them. The tragedy to me was that Zechariah did not have any Shabbos clothes, so he could not come. Zechariah is very sociable and needs interaction with other kids.
Went to Chabad of Boynton Beach to listen to Reb Moshe Soloveichik’s drasha. It was on observing Yahrzeit during a leap year when there are two Adars. Which Adar is the Yahrzeit?
Went home for the Shabbos Seudah. Great meal.
At 1:30 PM went to Rabbi Billet. They were at the end of their meal. I told Rabbi Leibowitz my two stories from the Kotzker on clothing. Rabbi Leibowitz was going the next day to Israel to recruit for YU. His in-laws are the Gewirtzs who live in Boynton. Rabbi Leibowitz is a superstar in the YU Torah world. He gives a 40 minute Daf Yomi Shiur every day, packed with Reshonim, Achronim. Gives Torah non-stop.
Davened Mincha at Chabad
Motzei Shabbos – February 12, 2022:
Got a ride with Reb Moshe and Debra Soloveichik to the Connection of Palm Beach County school. The school was honoring Jason Wolke, Michelle’s son. Reb Moshe came in to honor and say thank you to Jason and Michelle Wolke partly for their help with my granddaughter, Tiferat. I was happy to attend and it was a very heartwarming dinner.
Debi Johnson, Principal of Connections The Adlers, Michelle’s Friends:
Sunday, February 13, 2022:
Superbowl Sunday. Tovah is making a super bowl party. I davened and went to Daf Yomi at BRS. Most of the afternoon I walked. I was bored so I called family and called Yaakov Chase and he was in an Uber to his hotel in Surfside Florida. We made up to go to lunch with them on Monday. Great Siatta Dismaya that we were in Florida.
The super bowl party was delicious. It was Mexican themed with nachos, guacamole, cheese dips, and imitation chicken. Unfortunately the Cincinnati Bengals lost.
At 9:45 we left to go to our hotel, a Comfort Suites Inn right by the airport on Sterling Road, just off 95.
Monday, February 14, 2022:
Drove to Boca for Daf Yomi and Davening. We drove to Miami Beach, 41st Street to walk the Boardwalk. Walked to 64th and took the trolley back to our car. Drove to Surfside to meet Yaakov and Gittie Chase at Cine Citta Caffe, 9544 Harding Avenue. Very nice restaurant but they served fish and pasta, not what I would order. I shared food with Yanky and Gittie. Sat there for two hours and schmoozed. Shalom Saltz came to visit. He was at a conference down the street at the St. Regis.
After the meal we went to Rita’s to have ice cream.
Drove back to the hotel and went for Mincha / Maariv to the Young Israel of Hollywood. Schmoozed with the gabbai.
Tuesday, February 15, 2022:
Went to BRS for Daf Yomi and Davening. Went back to the hotel and checked out. Drove to Hollywood and walked along the Boardwalk. We headed north away from the shops and the crowds. Every few people were there. A group of 4 girls on bicycles said hello to me. I commented to Seka, look there are Frum girls here Serka said, look at them, they are your nieces.
Later on during our walk I met Josh Mushell and wife who live in Baltimore. He went to Chicago Telz in the late 1960s, I went to Yeshiva with his brother, Aaron Mushell who now lives in New York. I heard about Josh Mushell for years but never met him. Because Isay hello to every Frum Jew I meet, I met his walking along the Boardwalk in Hollywood, FL.
And these are the laws that you should put before them. Rashi explains אשר תשים לפניהם — God said to Moses: It should not enter your mind to say, “I shall teach them a section of the Torah or a single Halacha twice or three times until it will become current in their mouths exactly according to its wording (i. e. until they know the text verbatim), but I shall not take the trouble to make them understand the reason of each thing and its significance”; therefore Scripture says, אשר תשים לפניהם, “which thou shalt set before them” (cf. Genesis 34:23) — like a table fully laid before a person with everything ready for eating (Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 21:1:1).
The Kotzker explains that God is telling Moshe that the Jewish people should understand the Torah with the sources בּמקורו העליון, the heavenly source being the Penimos Hatorah, Kabbalah, Zohar, and Tanya until they understand that the Torah could only be given to the Jews. The Jewish people are one with the Torah. (As we sing Yisroel, Oiriasa, V’Kudsha Brich Hu, Chad Hu.) This is the meaning of Rashi who says, לפניהם. וְלֹא לִפְנֵי גוֹיִם This Kotzker continues that this can only happen if the Jews thoroughly understand the reason for everything, without the laws being a חוקה, a statue with no meaning. Meaning we do not want the people to do Mitzvos just because that is how it is done, like a statute, but through full understanding.
What is this full understanding?
I showed my initial translation to Rabbi Kimmelman, a Lubavitcher, and I explained it as a non-Chassid. Meaning we have to thoroughly explain each Mitzvah so people become attached to the Mitzvah. He told me that the Kotzker is referring to understanding the hidden meaning of the Torah through Kabbalah. I changed my translation to incorporate his thoughts. However, I believe this Kotzker can also be used that we have to explain each MItzvah in a rational way so people connect to the Mitzvah and love the Torah so the Mitzvos are done due to their connection to the Torah and ultimately to God. Take for example, the laws of Tumah. On a rational level this makes zero sense. However, because God created us as a holy nation and God instituted this concept, we accept it because of our specialness.
How do I apply this?
I love to walk six miles Shabbos morning to Daven at Chabad of East Lakeview. There are a number of reasons. Walking is therapy for me. I want to be part of building a community from the inside and I want to see if Rabbi Kotlarski can actually make his Chabad House a community, with all the challenges of being in Lakeview. My friends from Anshei Shalom moved to Chabad and we have a Chumash Shiur. When I attend I give the Shiur. I pour all my feelings and emotions into the Shiur. I want the attendees who have not had an intense Hebrew education connect to a Rashi, an Ibn Ezra, a Ramban so that they feel emotionally connected to these great commentators. I want them to see the greatness of Torah and I want them to feel they were there when Rashi wrote his Parush. After 120, they will go over to Rashi, hug him, and discuss various Rashi’s or the other Reshonim with him. This Is what the Kotzker means, we become one with the Torah and with Hashem.
Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michel Wisser (March 7, 1809 – September 18, 1879), better known as the Malbim (Hebrew: מלבי”ם), was a rabbi, master of Hebrew grammar, and Bible commentator. The name Malbim was derived from the Hebrew initials of his name. He used this acronym as his surname in all his published works, and became known by it in common usage. When we spent a Shabbos in Pinsk in 2007, the Rabbi, Moshe Dema, took us on a walk on Shabbos afternoon. He showed us about where the Malbim was buried. In Belarus there was a law that if a cemetery had no burial for 50 years, the cemetery was destroyed and the land reused. The government plowed up the cemetery, I guess they moved the graves, and built houses on part of the cemetery land. Wikipedia said the Malbim died in 1879 in Kiev. I would go with Rabbi Dema.
Thursday – January 13, 2022 – :
On Thursday morning after Shabbos I was still reviewing my Torah from the past Shabbos. I came across a beautiful Malbim. The night before I read through the Malbim and I did not fully understand what he said. This morning at 5:30 AM I learned the Malbim again and it came into clear focus. I was very joyous. My grandfather Rabbi Sholem Sklar praised his father (died in 1923) that his father knew all the Malbims. I have the Malbim of my wife’s grandfather, Rabbi Leibush Noble. It seemed that the Malbim was in every Jewish home and when the Eastern European Jews came to America, they brought their Malbims with them.
I was very B’Simcha. This is the first Malbim that I worked on and understood. There was one before but this one I put it within a larger Torah thought. I connected to the Malbim and to my grandfathers. I had the same Simcha when I learned and understood my first Netziv. I spoke this Torah to the Kollel at Skokie Yeshiva in front of Rabbi Revah.
Moses then summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, pick out lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover offering.
What doesמִֽשְׁכ֗וּ וּקְח֨וּ לָכֶ֥ם צֹ֛אן mean?
Targum Onkelos – נְגִידוּ וְסִיבוּ לְכוֹן (מִן בְּנֵי) עָנָא – translated in the Artscroll by Avrohom Morgenstern as “Draw forth and take lambs for yourselves.”
Translating this Pasuk like Onkelos are:
Sefaria – “Go, pick out lambs for your families”
Artscroll – “Draw forth and take for yourselves”
JPS, Mechon Mamre, and Soncino – Draw out and take you lambs,
Reb Shimshon Raphael Hirsch – Go out and take for yourselves
See Artscroll on Pasuk 12:6, note five that says, “Rashi explains why two verbs, “משכו” – “draw” and
“קְח֨וּ” – “take” are used for a single action of taking. What this note is saying that the plain meaning of these two verbs are used for a single action of taking, like Targum Onkelos. Rashi both here 12:6 and 12:21 is the deeper meaning of the Pasuk. As we delve into Pasuk 12:21 we see that there are four ways to Darshen the two words of שְׁכ֗וּ וּקְח֨וּ .
משכו. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ צֹאן יִמְשֹׁךְ מִשֶּׁלּוֹ
וקחו. מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ יִקַּח מִן הַשּׁוּק
Reb Yosef Ber Soloveichik (Rabbi AJ Rosenberg) – Draw forth or buy for yourselves..
Gutnick Lubavitch Chumash – Draw (from your own flock) or buy for yourselves
Artscroll Green Tanach – Draw forth or buy for yourselves
What is interesting is that you see that although the Jews were slaves, they had property rights. They owned flocks.
Interpretation #2 – Rashi on Verse 12:6:
ר’ יוסי הגלילי אומר, משכו מעבודה זרה והדבקו במצוה.
Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel – נְגוּדוּ יְדֵיכוֹן מִטַּעֲוַות מִצְרָאֵי וּסְבוּ לְכוֹן מִן בְּנֵי עָנָא Withdraw your hands from the idols of the Mizraim, and take to you from the offspring of the flock. Does not mention”sheep of a Mitzvah”
Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel did not quote Reb Yosi Hagelili completely. He quotes the first half exactly as Rashi and the Mechlita to withdraw from idol worship; however regarding the second half he does not say take a sheep and cling to the Mitzvah. You could say that this is what he meant, but I am not happy with this Pshat.
Why does Rashi on Verse 21 translate משכו וקחו differently?
The Seifsei Chacomin, which is the Mizrachi asks and answers this question.
מי שיש לו צאן ימשוך משלו. והא דלא פי’ נמי הכא משכו ידיכם מעבודת אלילים כדפירש לעיל (פסוק ו). י”ל דהתם לאו בפירוש המקרא קאי אלא בטעם המצוה, ובטעם המצוה סגי אפי’ מילתא דאגדתא, אבל הכא מיירי בפירוש המקרא, לכן פי’ אותו היותר לפי פשוטו. [רא”ם]
English Translation of the Seifsei Chacomin from Sefaria:
Whoever owns lambs shall draw one of his own. Why does Rashi not explain this as he did above (v. 6), “Withdraw your hands from idol worship”? The answer is: Above, Rashi was not explaining the meaning of the verse, but the reason for the mitzvah. For that, a midrashic explanation is sufficient. But here Rashi is explaining the meaning of the verse; thus he offers its simple meaning (Re”m).
The two versions in Rashi is actually a Memra in the Mekhilta D’Rav Yismael who cites both interpretations and has another two:
Words of the Mekhilta:
משכו וקחו לכם. משכו מי שיש לו וקחו מי שאין לו. ר’ יוסי הגלילי אומר, משכו מעבודה זרה והדבקו במצוה. רבי ישמעאל אומר, בא הכתוב ללמד (על כל העולין) למנין על הפסח (ומושכין) [שמושכין] את ידיהם ממנו עד שישחט, ובלבד (שיניח) את הפסח (כל) [כמות] שהוא. ר’ יצחק אומר, בא (הפסח) [הכתוב] ללמדד על בהמה דקה שהיא נקנית במשיכה.
English translation of the Mekhilta from Seferia:
“Draw forth and take for yourselves”: “Draw forth” — he who possesses his own; “and take” (i.e., acquire) — he who does not possess his own. R. Yossi Haglili says (The meaning is:) “Draw away from idol worship and cleave to mitzvoth.” R. Yishmael says: Scripture here comes to apprise us that one may number himself for (the eating of) the Paschal lamb, and he may “depart” from it, until it is slaughtered, so long as it is not left without any owners. R. Yitzchak says: Scripture comes to teach us that a small beast is acquired by (the act of) משיכה
The list of the four interpretations as as follows:
1) Tanna Kama- משכו וקחו לכם. משכו מי שיש לו וקחו מי שאין לו
2) ר’ יוסי הגלילי אומר, משכו מעבודה זרה והדבקו במצוה.
3) רבי ישמעאל אומר, בא הכתוב ללמד (על כל העולין) למנין על הפסח שמושכין את ידיהם ממנו עד שישחט,
ובלבד (שיניח) את הפסח (כל) [כמות] שהוא.
4) ר’ יצחק אומר, בא (הפסח) [הכתוב] ללמדד על בהמה דקה שהיא נקנית במשיכה.
Mishna in Kiddushin 25b and the Yerushalmi has an identical Mishna:
Clearly the Chacomin that hold a בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה is acquired with מְשִׁיכָה agree with Reb Yitzchok. The presumption is that Reb Meir who holds that a בְּהֵמָה דַּקָּה is acquired with lifting is like the Tanna Kammah, even though the Tanna Kammah does not say this directly.
How does Reb Yitzchok learn מְשִׁיכָה from the Pasuk? If he translates the Pasuk like the Tanna Kamma that Rashi brings down that משכו מי שיש לו וקחו מי שאין לו, how does he learn his Chiddush that בְּהֵמָה דַקָּה נִקְנֵית בִּמְשִׁיכָה. The acquisition is going on the קחו and not on the משכו .
Comes along the Malbim and explains Reb Yitzchok. The Malbim also says that the Tanna Kama is Reb Meir.
משכו וקחו לכם . . . במ”ש משכו וקחו, שהוא לדעת ר’ יצחק שמ”ש משכו הוא שמי שאין לו צריך לקנות הצאן במשיכה, והוא כדעת חכמים בקדושין (דף כה ע”ב), דבהמה דקה נקנית במשיכה, וכן *פרש”י ז”ל משכו מי שאין לו וקחו מי שיש לו, ומ”ד במכילתא משכו מי שיש לו וקחו מי שא”ל ס”ל כר’ מאיר בקדושין [שס] דבהמה דקה נקנית בהגבהה, ועז”א וקחו מי שא”ל שיקח ויגבהנו, ומי שי”ל ימשך ליחדו למצוה, וריה”ג מפרש ע”ד הרמב”ם שימשכו ידיהם מע”ז, כי עיקר טעם הפסח היה לבטל ע”ז שלהם שהיו עובדים למזל טלה, והוסיף ושחטו הפסח ולא אמר ושחטו אותם ללמד שישחט לשם פסח ואם שחט שלא לשמה פסול כמו שלמד בזבחים (דף ז) בכמה למודים:
*I do not know where this Rashi is located.
Based on the Malbim משכו וקחו has four different explanations
2) Reb Yitzchok who explains these words opposite of the Tannah Kamah/Rashi.
משכו. מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹצריך לקנות הצאן במשיכה
וקחו. מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ ימשך ליחדו למצוה
3) Reb Yose Haglili who explains Reb Yose Haglili
מפרש ע”ד הרמב”ם שימשכו ידיהם מע”ז, כי עיקר טעם הפסח היה לבטל ע”ז שלהם שהיו עובדים למזל טלה
4) Reb Yishmael explains these words as referring to allowing the withdrawal from one group and adding yourself to another group before the actual slaughter of the Korban Pesach.
(provided the first sheep has an owner).
When I learned and understood this Mekhilta unfortunately I did not feel that I was standing in the presence of these Tanauim, Reb Meir, Reb Yossi Hagelili, Reb Yismael, and Reb Yitzchok, and the Malbim. This is because my sins have caused me to lose this feeling. I hope one day to discuss it with them.
On Shabbos I was looking at a new Sefer written by Rabbi Shlomo Morgenstern on the Targum Yerushalmi and saw a beautiful addition to my Torah. The Targum Yerushalmi translated in Aramaic the words “משכו וקחו” as אתמנון וסבו . Rabbi Shlomo Morgenstern in his explanation says that the word משכו is to be translated the same way as the Targum Yerushalmi translated the word תָּכֹ֖סּוּ in Pasuk 4 – וְאִם־יִמְעַ֣ט הַבַּ֘יִת֮ מִהְי֣וֹת מִשֶּׂה֒ וְלָקַ֣ח ה֗וּא וּשְׁכֵנ֛וֹ הַקָּרֹ֥ב אֶל־בֵּית֖וֹ בְּמִכְסַ֣ת נְפָשֹׁ֑ת אִ֚ישׁ לְפִ֣י אׇכְל֔וֹ משכו עַל־הַשֶּֽׂה׃. The Targum Yerushalmi תָּכֹ֖סּוּ is תִּתְמְנוּן in Aramaic. The Artscroll translates Verse 4 as “so shall you be counted for the lamb/kid.
Comes out that according to the Targum Yeruchalmi both משכו and תָּכֹ֖סּוּ mean to be counted. Normally משכו means to draw out so why does the Targum change the meaning of משכו to תָּכֹ֖סּוּ .
A) The Targum was bothered by the same question as the other תנאים, why did the Torah use two verbs to describe the same action, so they understood that they are not to be interpreted as the same verbs. B) Then how are we to translate the word משכו? I spoke to Rabbi Avrohom Isenberg who told me that whenever the Targum Yerushalmi translates a word differently than the normal Pshat you have to look at Remez and Sod. The Gematria of משכו וקחו is 486, the same Gmatria of תָּכֹ֖סּוּ. The Targum Yerushalmi is therefore learning like Reb Yishmoel of the Mekhilta and they hold that the word משכו means that you can do a counting after you withdraw from an original counting which you can do up until the slaughter of the animal.
Perhaps the reason why Reb Yismoel did not learn like the Tanna Kama and Reb Yitzchok is that this Pasuk is talking about Hilchos Korban Pesach which is the same Inyan while the Tanna Kama and Reb Yitzhcok are in Hilchos Kinyan. Perhaps also since the Tanna Kama and Reb Yitzchok use the same words two different ways for the concept of Kinyan, Reb Yishmoel felt that their explanations are not correct. Therefore there is no limud of Kinyan from this Pasuk. Reb Yishmoel did not learn like Reb Yosi Hagelili as the Sefisei Chacomin said that Reb Yossi Hagelili is Aggdata.
Gur Aryeh adds the source of Reb Yossi Hagelili
משכו מי שיש לו צאן ימשוך משלו כו’. אף על גב דלעיל פירש (רש”י פסוק ו) “משכו וקחו” ‘משכו ידיכם מעבודה זרה ו
קחו לכם צאן של מצוה’, אין המקרא יוצא מידי פשוטו *(יבמות כד. ), וצריך לפרש “משכו” מי שיש לו ימשוך משלו, “וקחו” וגו’, אלא שקשה דלמה לי למכתב, דפשוט מי שיש לו ימשוך משלו, ולא היה צריך לומר “[משכו] וקחו צאן”, ולכך דרשינן “משכו” ידיכם מעבודה זרה “וקחו” צאן של מצוה:
I would add that perhaps the main Drasha of Reb Yossi Hagleli is from the word “לָכֶ֥ם” in מִֽשְׁכ֗וּ וּקְח֨וּ לָכֶ֥ם צֹ֛אן. If you take something of course it is yours. Therefore Reb Yose Hagelili says that the Korban Pesach is your mitzvah, so that you will have the merit to leave Egypt. The Malbim and Torah Teminah add a beautiful wrinkle.
The Torah Temimah says on Reb Yosi Hagalili – משכו וקחו. משכו מי שיש לו וקחו מי שאין לו קפזכלומר קנו מי שאין לו, ומפרש קחו מלשון קנין וכמ”ש בקדושין ב’ א’ קיחה אקרי קנין וכמ”ש בירמיה ל”ב שדות בכסף יקנו. , ר’ יוסי הגלילי אומר משכו מעבודת כוכבים והדבקו במצוה קפחנראה הבאור ע”פ מש”כ הרמב”ם במורה פ”ל משלישי דתכלית מצות הקרבנות היתה מפני שקשה היה לישראל להפרד ממנהגי האומות בזביחתם והקטרתם לאלהיהם, ולכן נצטוו להתרגל בעבודה זו בקודש לשם ה’. ואע”פ שהרבו לטעון נגד הרמב”ם בענין זה, אבל האמת הוא, כי יש לו להרמב”ם על מי להשען, ודבריו ממקום קדוש יהלכון, שכן מ
בואר במ”ר פ’ אחרי, איש איש וגו’ אשר ישחט, משל לבן מלך שלבו היה גס עליו והוא למוד לאכול נבילות וטריפות, אמר המלך, יאכל על שלחן זה תדיר ומעצמו הוא נוזר [פורש], כך לפי שהיו ישראל להוטים אחר ע”ז והיו מביאים קרבנותיהם לשעירים באיסור ופורעניות בא עליהם, אמר הקב”ה, יהיו מקריבים קרבנותיהם לפני באהל מועד והם נפרשים מע”ז, ע”כ. וזה מורה ממש כדברי המורה, ויותר מזה הכתוב עצמו מורה מפורש כדבריו, והוא בפ’ אחרי במצות קרבנות מסיים למען וגו’ ולא יזבחו עוד וגו’ לשעירים, יעו”ש. והנה גם ממאמר זה שלפנינו משכו מע”ז והדבקו במצוה יש סמוכים נאמנים לדעת הרמב”ם. ועפי”ז יש לפרש לשון הגמרא בתמורה ל’ ב’ עה”פ דפ’ פינחס תשמרו להקריב לי במועדו, לי ולא לאדון אחר, יעו”ש לפנינו. .
I purchased these two Seforim at the Lubavitch in Chabad Gate, the Shem Hagedolin Hachadash and the Tur HaAruch.
It is interesting to note that in the Shem Hagedolim Hachadosh’s face page, the author’s name is not listed. The Chida is listed. This Sefer is a continuation of the Chida’s Sefer, Shem Hagedolim. Rabbi Ahron Walden updated the Chida’s Sefer with a list of Rabbis and scholars where the Chida’s sefer ends. The Chida died in 1806.
I was made aware of the Tur HaAruch through Sefaria. I was overjoyed to obtain my own copy of this Reshon.
Spent this week in Toronto. My mother in law is doing well.
December 17, 2021 – Friday night
Davened in the building. They require masks and the Gabbai lectured everyone. Very distasteful.
Had a great meal with my mother- in-law. After the meal went to visit Yosef and Heather Kelman. Yosef Kelman is Auntie Ruthie’s grandson. Auntie Ruthie is my mother-in-law’s sister. Yosef’s mother, Beverly, was my Shadchan. Yosef and Heather’s daughter is getting married in Lakewood during January 2022. Heather is a runner and has corresponded with Beatie Duetsch. We had running in common. I found out that Heather grew up in Denver, CO. In November I was in Denver for the 50th anniversary of Yeshiva Toras Chaim’s first graduation class and we spoke about Denver. Yosef Kelman has a beautiful family and is doing well. The below is a picture of his mother in the high chair, his grandparents, Marvin and Ruth Lister, and his great grandparents, Rabbi Leibush and Zelda Bayla Noble.
Zelda Baila Noble (my mother-in-law’s mother), Ruth Noble-Lister, Rabbi Leibush Noble, with Beverley in the high chair.
December 18, 2021 – Shabbos Morning
Got up at 1:00 AM, read and learned Chumash. Went back to sleep at 4:00 AM. Got up at 8:00 AM. Walked to Ateras Mordechai, Rabbi Bitterman is the Rabbi. It was snowing and for me this was the first snow of the season. The first snow of the season is beautiful and I felt joy, a lightness. I was invited by Jason Lapidus to daven at his Shul. I sat with the South African contingent at Ateres Mordechai.
The Shul is at 230 Arnold, a converted home. I was invited there by Jason Lapidus. They davened relatively slowly. There was a Bar Mitzvah, last name of the family is Dabush. The boy leined nicely. His Bar Mitzvah speech was on the father’s Bracha of Bracha Sh’Petrani.
Rabbi Bitterman spoke nicely on the following Verses 50:15-21, especially Verse 50:17.
Rabbi Bitterman commented on Yosef’s crying. Yosef cried because he realized that their fighting was so counterproductive. He was responsible for the animosity. How much was lost because they fought. They did not grow and lost many opportunities to move forward. People fight over nothing. He mentioned a Rabbi Efraim Goldberg story, https://mishpacha.com/what-kind-of-friend/., how a little mistake can create major fights. Rabbi Bitterman said how many family fights are over nothing and years later, people do not even know why they are fighting. Rabbi Bitterman mentioned the story of Kamtza and Ben Kamitza.
After the davening, I stayed for the Kiddush. Delicious. I sat across from Jason Lapidus, Sheldon Tennabaum, and Stan Vanik; and next to Douglas Chillovitz. Douglas Chillovitz employed my nephew, Dovie Janowski. Dovie’s mother told me that Doug Chillovitz is a nice guy and was good to Dovie. I told them my Torah from this week that I learned in the early morning.
I ended up being the last to leave. I looked around to find someone to walk with however, no one was around. I started walking home. On Atkinson near Clark I saw someone walking in the opposite direction, wearing a knit hat. I stopped him and asked where he Davened this Shabbos morning. He davened at Netivot. I asked him if I could say over my Torah and he said yes. I started and after a few minutes, I said that I do not want to hold him from his Shabbos meal. He said no problem with me saying over the Torah and that he would walk me. I asked, but you are walking the opposite way from your destination, and he said no problem. He turned and accompanied me. After I finished my Vort we were at Clark and Hilda, across the street from my mother in law. I was not sure if he was married and asked if he wanted to come over for lunch? He told me that he is married and has four kids. I apologized for making him late for his family meal. He said no problem. I asked his name and he is Noam Horowitz. He is a Levi and from the Shelah Hakodesh. He learned in the Gush. I told him how much I love Rabbi Moshe Teragin, https://mizrachi.org/speaker/rabbi-moshe-taragin/. Rabbi Moshe Teragin is one of the few people in the world that can say Torah in perfect English, using the right descriptive words, being efficient while speaking, and able to teach and be understood. Additionally, he teaches history while he speaks Torah. I mentioned that my nephews learned at the Gush, Matt and Elyasaf Schwartz. He responded, of course. I am good friends with Matt and that they were also together at YU. His Rebbi was Rabbi Rosenzweig. After Shabbos Matt told me that Noam Horowitz is a great guy, will do anything, has a great wife, and four cute kids. Noam Schartz walking me, and going out of his way is Noam Horowitz. He is an inspirational Rebbe. Gevaldig. I met the only person who knows Matt Schwartz in Toronto.
Got to my mother in law, walking on a cloud. Had the Shabbos meal, cold cuts sandwiches.
Torah #1 – the Theme of Yakov Kissing and being Kissed:
This week I focused on kissing. It seems that more than anyone else in the Torah, kissing played a role in Yakov’s life. How are we to understand this? Is it just happenstance or is there something deeper.
We find Yakov kissing or being kissed in the following six times:
1 – Yitzchok kissing Yakov when he blessed Yakov posing as Eisav. Berehsis 17:27 – וַיִּגַּשׁ֙ וַיִּשַּׁק־ל֔וֹ וַיָּ֛רַח אֶת־רֵ֥יחַ בְּגָדָ֖יו וַֽיְבָרְכֵ֑הוּ וַיֹּ֗אמֶר רְאֵה֙ רֵ֣יחַ בְּנִ֔י כְּרֵ֣יחַ שָׂדֶ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בֵּרְכ֖וֹ יְהֹוָֽה
Both reasons are powerful. Yakov found his soulmate, the love of his life, the one who he would give his everything to. Rashi says that Yakov saw with his holy spirit that they would not be buried together. Yakov’s kiss with Rochel was tragic. Yakov sensed that something would happen that would get in the way of true happiness in marriage. He cries over this impending darkness.
Lavan kissed and hugged Yosef not out of love but to see if Yakov was hiding diamonds in his mouth and money around his chest. Lavan reasoned that Eliezer, the servant of Avrohom, come with ten camels full of riches, so he thought Yakov would also be coming with great wealth, Lavan did not see camels laden with riches, so he kissed and hugged to see if Yakov was hiding the wealth on his body protecting it from thieves. This kissing has an ulterior motive. Yakov tells Lavan that he is penniless and the reason as Rashi says in 29:13. .ויספר ללבן. שֶׁלֹּא בָא אֶלָּא מִתּוֹך אֹנֶס אָחִיו, וְשֶׁנָּטְלוּ מָמוֹנוֹ מִמֶּנּוּ
Yakov feels compelled to say what happened. Not sure if Yakov admitted to taking the Brochos deceitfully, but he did reveal that Eisav wants to kill Yakov and he gave his money to Eliphaz. Lavan got the upper hand, as Yakov is a pauper, estranged from his family. He knew that Yakov did something to antagonize his brother and that Yakov could not go home.
This is another example of Yakov divulging too much information. See my Torah from last year.
4 – When Yosef revealed himself to his brothers, he kissed his brothers.
It does say in Verse 32:1 that Lavan kissed his daughters and grandchildren – וַיַּשְׁכֵּ֨ם לָבָ֜ן בַּבֹּ֗קֶר וַיְנַשֵּׁ֧ק לְבָנָ֛יו וְלִבְנוֹתָ֖יו וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֶתְהֶ֑ם וַיֵּ֛לֶךְ וַיָּ֥שׇׁב לָבָ֖ן לִמְקֹמֽוֹ׃, however, since it was not Yakov we will ignore it.
Let us trace Yakov’s life using the above mileposts.
Yakov is kissed by his father and results in getting the blessings in a deceptive manner. This is the beginning of the tragedy of Yakov’s life and is the סיבּה, the cause of all of Yakov’s trevails. Yakov deceives his brother. His brother swears revenge and Yakov has to flee. As Yakov was making his way to Choron, he is overtaken by Eliphaz who is told to kill Yakov. Yakov gives Eliphaz all of his money and Yakov arrives at Choron penniless. He does not arrive at his uncle’s home as the honored family member. As a result he has to work for Lavan for seven years for Rochel’s hand in marriage. Yakov is tricked to marry Leah and Leah’s justification is that Yakov tricked his own brother Eisav, saying whatever goes around, comes around. Yakov is powerless to dictate anything because he arrived in a weakened position. Had Yakov come with money, Yakov would have been treated as an honored guest and in all likelihood married Rochel immediately without any trickey and having to marry Leah. Yakov sensed this tragedy when he kissed Rochel. All this traces itself back to when Yakov deceived his father.
The dysfunction continues. Yakov’s marriage to Leah created friction in his marriages and between the brothers. This friction leads to animosity and the animosity leads to the brothers selling Yosef and splitting the family. Yosef is sold into slavery and Yakov does not see his beloved son for twenty two years. During this time Yosef became monarch in Egypt. Finally at age 130 father and son are reunited. It takes a dramatic scene of Yosef revealing to his brothers that this despot, this Egyptian they were dealing with, is indeed their brother and Yosef kisses them and they cry. This is the kiss of Godliness, of brotherhood, of unity.
Yakov is now 130 years old and is able to live out the last seventeen years of his life in total peace and harmony. As the Medresh Rabah says, 96:1, דָּבָר אַחֵר, לָמָּה הִיא סְתוּמָה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁסָּתַם מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל צָרוֹת שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם and the Kli Yakur elaborates:
וללשון שלישי הדורש, לפי שנסתמו ממנו כל צרות שבעולם יאמר הכתוב אע״פ שהיה כל ימיו בצרה וגרות כמ״ש ימי מגורי ק״ל שנה מעט ורעים, מ״מ לגודל השלוה שהיה לו תוך י״ז שנים שראה ישיבת בניו בשלום ויאחזו בארץ ויפרו וירבו נשכחו ממנו כל הצרות הראשונות שעברו עליו והיו כלא היו, לכך נאמר ויהי ימי יעקב שני חייו קמ״ז שנה כי *אותן ק״ל שנים לא היו נחשבים מכלל ימי חייו לגודל צרותיו, ועכשיו למפרע נחשבו כולם שני חייו, וזה לפי שנסתמו ממנו כל הצרות שעברו וכאילו היה חי חיים נעימים ועריבים בכל שנותיו, שהרי באמת יוסף היה חי, לכך סמך ויחי יעקב אל הפסוק הקודם,
The Kli Yakur is explaining the first pasuk on a deeper level than the plain meaning. The plain meaning is that Yosef lived for 17 years in Egypt and his total life was 147 years.
“Jacob lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt, so that the span of Jacob’s life came to one
hundred and forty-seven years.”
The Medresh and Kli Yakur are saying that Yakov’s life of 17 years in Egypt was in
such bliss and peace, that Yakov was able to forget the pain and
suffering of the first 130 years of his life, so much so that he felt as if he lived for 147 years in
goodness and sweetness. To expand on this, Yakov felt that he did not live the first 130
years. He was tossed and turned by life and he had no control over life. He could not smell
the roses and every breath he took was loaded with stress. Once he went to Egypt and was
supported by Yosef and surrounded by his other kids, did he feel alive. He had a joy of
waking up every day.
Now that Yakov has had 17 years of life of peace and harmony, he is able to kiss his grandchildren with this same kiss of Godliness that Yitzchok blessed him with, however, that kiss ended in tragedy and Yakov kiss was full of light and ended in greatness for his grandchildren.
As Yakov leaves this world, Yosef kisses his father, the kiss of one’s soul being bound up in another soul.
The Tur HaAruch and understanding the kiss and hug Yakov gave to Ephraim and Menassha:
This past Tuesday I davend in Lubavitch on Chabad Gate in Toronto. There is a bookstore in Lubavitch and they have many older Seforim on sale. I picked up two Seforim that I was looking for for years. One is a Shem Hagdolim Hachodesh by Rabbi Ahron Walden, published in 1864. He has two great paragraphs of a first person account of the Kotzker. It is very poetic and draws on many Pesukim in which one has to understand. I had Barnea Sellavan translate it. The second is the Tur HaAruch. I did not know that the Tur HaAruch existed until I saw it on Sefaria a number of years ago. I was B’Simcha Gedolah when I found these Sefroima nd was able to purchase.
This Pasuk is saying that Yakov was blind from old age and he (Yosef) brought Ephraim and Menashe close to Yakov. Yakov hugged and kissed them.
The Tur HaAruch says
וישק להם ויחבק להם. שאין שכינה שורה אלא מתוך שמחה וכדרך שנעשה לו שאביו חבקו ונשקו כשברכו:
Yakov hugged and kissed his two grandchildren to create Simcha so that the Schinah should rest on him to bless his grandchildren, just like Yitzxhok kissed Yakov posing as Eisav. However in Bereshis Verses 27:26 and 27:27 speaks to the kiss of Yakov, as follows:
And Yitzchok his father ssiad come close and kiss me, my son. Yakov approaches and kisses his father and smells the smell of his clothes and he blesses him, saying see the smell of my son is that of a field that Hashem has blessed.
However, the Tur HaAruch does not say that Yitzchok’s kiss was done to create Simcha. The Tur HaAruch gives a very practical reason –
גשה נא ושקה לי בני. אמר הנה שני סימנין בקול דומה ליעקב במשוש דומה לעשו אראה עוד סימן ג’ בבגדיו ויכריע בין
ב’ סימנים ועל כן כשקרב אליו והריח ריח בגדי עשו ברכו:
Yitzchok was not sure who was standing in front of him, Yitzchok performed one more test to see if he has an earthy smell or would the person smell like Yakov, so he kissed him to test him. Yirzchok was being practical. Kissing his son, Yizchok smelled the smell of the field (not someone sitting in the Bais Medrash), confirmed in his mind it was Eisav and blessed him.
We seem to have a contradiction in the Tur HaAruch. In Breshis 27:27 the Tur HaAruch gave a practical reason for Yitzchok’s kiss, for a test; however, in the week’s Sedra the Tur HaAruch refers back to Yitzchok’s kiss and said it generated Simcha. Both kisses in VaYicha and in Toldos were for Simcha.
The answer is that while true the purpose of the kiss was very practical, the outcome was that it created great Simcha. What was the joy? On a simple level you can say that Yakov felt he had proof that the person in front of him was Eisav and was now happy that he can give a Bracha to Eisav. In both cases the kiss created joy, by Ephreim and Menashe he hugged and kissed to create joy, by Yitzchok the outcome of the kiss was joy and Yitzchok had clarity. I think the answer is much deeper than this. Yitzchok already had a good meal and wine. Knowing with clarity would seem to bring some joy, but not great joy.
I think the Pshet is that Yitzhok’s kiss created unbelievable joy for him and this is what the Tur HaAruch is saying. Everyone asks the question, what was Yitzchok thinking? He knew Eisav was an evil person, albeit mitigated by Eisav’s fulfillment of honoring his parents. The mainstream answer said by Rabbi Aaron Solovechik in 1974 is that Yitzchok options were to either give the blessing to Eisav and teach Eisav to do good, after all Eisav excelled in the commandment of honoring one’s father and mother; or give the Bracha to Yakov, who was physically and emotionally weak, not equipped with the strength to be the foundation of the Jewish perople. Yitzchok felt it is best to give the blessing to Eisav and Rivka understood the disaster that would occur if Eisav received the blessing.
When Yitzchok kisses the person in front of him and smells a field, it is a field of blossoming floors, a touch of Gan Eden. As Rashi on this Pasuk says,
“ ’וירח וגו AND HE SMELLED etc.— Surely there is no more offensive smell than that of washed goat-skins! But Scripture implicitly tells us that the perfume of the Garden of Eden entered the room with him (Genesis Rabbah 65:22)” .
The smell of blossoming flowers, enhanced by the smell of Gan Eden brought tremendous Simcha to Yitzchok. Yitzchok according to the Tur HaArcuh has now confirmed in his mind that Eisav is standing in front of him ready to receive the blessing and Yitzchok smells Gan Eden. Yitzchok is overjoyed. He confirmed in his mind that he made the right decision, Eisav is the correct person to receive the blessing of the nation of Israel. This was his great Simcha and this is the comparison between the two kisses, one in Toldos and the other in Vayechi.
This is exactly what the Tur HaAruch is effectively saying in his next piece on the next Pasuk, which discusses the actual kiss.
ראה ריח בני כריח שדה. פי’ ראה הוא הדבור במחשבת הלב שאמר בלבו ודאי עשו הוא זה שריח בגדיו מריחים כריח השדה פי’ כציצי הפרחים שהוא איש שדה וקלטו בגדיו ריח השדה ועל כן ברכו. וי”מ שהיה בגדיו מגומרים בבשמים הגדלים בשדה:
ראה ריח בני כריח שדה, “indeed the fragrance of my son is like the fragrance of the field.” The meaning of the word ראה here is that the expression does not reflect something Yitzchok saw with his eyes, but that this is what he observed internally, when thinking about what his son Esau’s presence projected. He felt that there could not be any doubt that of his two sons it was Esau who represented the fragrance of blossoming flowers and all the blessings associated with nature when it unfolds. This is why he determined to accord him the blessing. Other commentators see in this statement about the fragrance simply a reference to the perfume with which Esau sprayed his garments, something which matched what could be found in the field.
Torah #3 – Yakov’s blindness and kissing and hugging his two grandchildren are in the same Pasuk, Verse 48:10. Is there a connection?
Pasuk is saying that Yakov was blind because of old age. The same Pasuk that talks about his blindness also says Yakov hugged and kissed his two grandchildren. There seems to be a connection.
I believe that the answer is based on the above Torah. Kissing represents connecting to someone one a deep level, your soul’s touch one arbiter. I believe that the juxtaposition of Yakov’s blindness and his kissing his two grandchildren is to tell us although a poor person and a blind person are both considered “dead”, when Yakov lost his money before going to Choron, this was “death” for Yakov. This led to bad outcomes in Yakov’s life. You can even say that Yitzchaks blindness also led to “death”, to the deception which defined UYakov’s life for years and not seeing Yakov for 22 years. However, in this Parsha Yakov’s blindness did not result in “death”. Yakov saw and radiated light. He woke up every day with joy knowing that he had another day to be with his family, to learn Torah with his grandchildren. He was able to kiss and hug his grandchildren to pass on Yakov’s neshama of purity and holiness.
An alternative explanation and other Reshonim discussing Yakov’s blindness.
The Ohr Hachaim is bothered by this connection and says:
ועיני ישראל וגו’. צריך לדעת למה כתיב הודעה זו במקום זה, ומה קשר ושייכות לדבר זה עם הסמוך לו וישק להם ויחבק להם. עוד צריך לדעת אומרו להם שהיה לו לומר וישק אותם. ואולי ששני דקדוקים אלו כל אחת מתרצת חברתה כי לצד שכבדו עיניו מזוקן היה מחבק שלא במקום החיבוק ומנשק שלא במקום הנישוק ולזה אמר להם ולא אמר אותם והבן:
Israel’s eyes were heavy with old age, etc. Why did the Torah choose this point to inform us of Jacob’s failing eyesight? What does it have to do with his proceeding to embrace and kiss Joseph’s children? Besides, why did the Torah have to describe these kisses as להם instead of אותם? Perhaps one of these details will help us understand the other detail. Jacob embraced the children in the wrong places and kissed them in the wrong places due to his failing eyesight. If that were true the expression להם instead of אותם is quite understandable.
The Ohr Hachaim’s explanation leaves us wanting more.
Contrast Yakov blindness to Yitzchok’s, Verse 27:1
Notice that Rashi does not say that he lost his sight due to old age, even though the Pasuk says he was old. The Rashban says that Yitzchok did lose his sight because of old age.
Rashbam – ותכהין עיניו – מן הזקנה, כמו שמצינו בספר שמואל: ועיניו החלו כהות.
The Netziv in his Hemek Dvar and others say that Yitzchok was only 127 and he was not old enough to lose his sight from age, rather there is another reason.
ותכהין עיניו מראות. אין לפרש שהזקנה גרמה זאת שהרי לא הי׳ זקן כ״כ לפי ערך ימי חייו. שהי׳ חי עוד ששים שנה. אלא סיבה הי׳ מן השמים. וכמבואר עוד ברבה הרבה טעמים וגם דקדקו לשון מראות שהוא מיותר אלא נרמז בזה הסיבה לכך וא״כ צריך לפרש ויהי כי זקן יצחק אירע סיבה שכהו עיניו. אבל הזקנה גרמה לו לחשוב מחשבות כי קרבו ימיו שהוא בעצמו לא שיער שהוא סיבה מן השמים. אלא חשב כי סוף ימיו המה
December 3, 2021 -Thursday Night – Fifth night of Chanukah
We had our 2021 Chanukah party. Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. Serka received a Tory Burch purse The boys and Mordy received a colorful pair of socks. Mordy showed up in shorts. I received a blue and white Chanukah gnome candle. We had three types of pizza, eggplant parmesan, mac and cheese, and of course potato latkes. For dessert an assortment of Sufganiyot.
Joseph Interprets the Dream of Pharaoh (19th Century painting by Jean-Adrien Guignet)
Davened at Sidney’s Bais Ment Shul. Great Shabbos meal from Serka, food was the perfect amount. Went to sleep at 9:00 PM.
Got up at 4:00 AM and prepared for my Shiur. I left my house at 8:45 AM to walk to Chabad of East Lakeview. Walk seemed to go by fast as I was thinking my speech. At the parking lot of Target on Ashland and School, a Streetwise vendor asked if I was Jewish and I showed him my Yarmulka. His name was Gary (Steve) Cole. His mother was Jewish, last name Frank, and his father was a hillbilly. I told him to bring his sister to Chabad. Arrived at Chabad at 10:45 AM, by Chazras Hashatz.
Paul Fruend was there, along with the rest of the Chevra. Nice crowd. I received an Aliyah.
Kiddush was sponsored by Dr. Stuart Sprague for the Yahrzeit for his father. Dr. Stuart Sprague is a specialist who offers services and treatment options in Nephrology (Kidneys). Magnificent Kiddush. Chicken wraps, lean corned beef, turkey roll, coleslaw, and a great Pesach Cholent.
The Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur started at 2:15 PM. In attendance were Paul Fruend, Marcel, Tamar, Peggy, Ray Miller, and Herb. I started out with a question. Miketz is always read during Chanukah. Is there a connection between Mikatz and Chanukah? Rabbi Efreim Goldberg answered that Yosef at the end of last week’s Sedra was languishing in prison. In Mikatz, Yosef goes from the bottom to the top of the world. In the Chanukah story, the Jews were ruled by the Greek empire. The Greeks did not want to annihilate the Jews as in the Purim story. They wanted Jews to take on Greek culture. Circumcision was forbidden. The Greeks worshiped perfection of the body. The Olympic games celebrated the human body. Jewish athletes undid their circumcision. Many Jews wanted to be Greek, the dominant culture in Israel at that time. Dana Horn who wrote the book, People Love Dead Jews, talks and writes about the historical need for Jews to assimilate and turn against themselves. https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/the-cool-kids
She talked about the tragedy of Jews undoing their circumcision to gain acceptance. The Chasmonean, a ragtag group of freedom fighters fought against the Greeks to restore Jewish culture. Israel went from almost losing their identity and brought back not only the Jewish religion, but also sovereignty to the Jewish people. Both tell the story of rising from the depths of despair to greatness, to freedom.
Yosef was sent to prison, falsely accused by the wife of Potiphar. I always thought that the incident happened within a year of his coming to Egypt. This means that Yosef was in prison for ten years, plus the additional two years or twelve in total. This year I revisited this question. Maybe the incident with Potiphar happened after Yosef had been in Egypt for ten years and he was only in jail for two years. Rabbi Dovid Kotlarski said last week that the incident with the Chief Baker and the Cupbearer happened because the gossip of Egypt was about Yosef and Potiphar. Hashem made a new scandal so that Yosef’s story would be yesterday’s news and stop being talked about. The news cycle moved on. This is a Rashi and I was glad the Rabbi mentioned this Rashi. This means that Yosef was only imprisoned for slightly over two years.
The יְאֹֽר is the Nile. Pharaoh was a God king and in his dream he is standing by the Nile. The Nile was the lifeline of Egypt. Pharaoh felt the Nile is his.
Verse 41:2 – Verse 41:7 – The dream of Pharah. The way the Torah describes the cows and grain is in different order when comparing what the Torah said when Pharaoh dreamt vs. the language used when Pharaoh told the dream to Yosef. I do not have an answer.
Actual dream – שֶׁ֣בַע פָּר֔וֹת יְפ֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וּבְרִיאֹ֣ת בָּשָׂ֑ר
Reciting to Yosef – שֶׁ֣בַע פָּר֔וֹת בְּרִיא֥וֹת בָּשָׂ֖ר וִיפֹ֣ת תֹּ֑אַר
Question 1 – Good cows – Description of cows are in reverse order
Question 2 Why in one place it is יְפ֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה and in the second place וִיפֹ֣ת תֹּ֑אַר
Different descriptive words מַרְאֶ֖ה vs. תֹּ֑אַר and why in the first recital יְפ֥וֹת
has a Vav and in the retelling the word וִיפֹ֣ת does not have a Vav
Actual dream – רָע֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וְדַקּ֣וֹת בָּשָׂ֑ר
Question 3 – Bad cows – דַּלּ֨וֹת -weak is only mentioned in Pharaoh rendition to Yosef
In the rendition of Yosef Pharaoh adds the word מְאֹ֖ד.
Artscoll translates מַרְאֶ֖ה as appearance and תֹּ֛אַר as form.
Sefaria described מַרְאֶ֖ה as ugly and תֹּ֛אַר as ill-formed.
Continuing the narration:
The king’s necromancers and wise men could not interpret Pharaoh’s dream. The Chief Cupbearer suggests that Yosef be brought in. The Chief Cupbearer says the following in Verse 41:12:
וְשָׁ֨ם אִתָּ֜נוּ נַ֣עַר עִבְרִ֗י עֶ֚בֶד לְשַׂ֣ר הַטַּבָּחִ֔ים וַ֨נְּסַפֶּר־ל֔וֹ וַיִּפְתׇּר־לָ֖נוּ אֶת־חֲלֹמֹתֵ֑ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ כַּחֲלֹמ֖וֹ פָּתָֽר׃A Hebrew youth was there with us, a servant of the chief steward; and when we told him our dreams, he interpreted them for us, telling each of the meaning of his dream
The Chief Cupbearer is telling Pharaoh, I know someone who has the knack for interpreting dreams. Despite this ability he is a fool, a slave and not fit to be king. Yes he has a talent, but he has nothing else going for him. He is an idiot savant like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. The Cupbearer could not be gracious and say, I know a young man who is great, smart, and can interpret dreams. Why would the Cupbearer be afraid that Yosef would be king? Joseph is a prisoner and to think that Yosef as a foreigner, a slave and a prisoner would becomed king is preposterous. Yet the Cupbearer was afraid that Yosef could indeed become king. I believe the answer is that the Cupbearer recognized that Yosef was successful, smart, a leader of men, and had a graciousness about him that drew people in. Yosef was not a criminal nor did he behave like a slave. The Cupbearer knew that if Pharaoh met Yosef, Pharaoh would be impressed and possibly promote Yosef. Yosef’s political stock would rise and ultimately Yosef would become a major leader. Therefore, the Cupbearer denigrated Yosef by saying Yosef is a nothing, a fool.
Verse 41:15 through Verse 41:36 is the dialogue between Pharaoh and Yosef; the interpretation of the dream and Yosef’s advice. Yosef has the confidence and presence before Pharaoh and the entire court. He talks confidently, articulately and impresses everyone in the room. They do not see a lowly criminal and slave. Therefore Pharaoh responded –
Verse 41:37 וַיִּיטַ֥ב הַדָּבָ֖ר בְּעֵינֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֑ה וּבְעֵינֵ֖י כׇּל־עֲבָדָֽיו׃ – The plan pleased Pharaoh and all his courtiers.
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is none so discerning and wise as you.
Everyone is happy. Pharaoh found a person who should be able to handle running Egypt, gathering the grain, storing it, and the distribution. All of Pharaoh’s advisers are happy. At this point Pharaoh has buy-in from his court ministers that Yosef should be promoted. They are thinking that Pharosh will appoint one of us to lead the effort, Yosef will work for us, and we will get all the glory, the glory of saving Egypt. They will erect statues in our honor.
In the next verse, Pharaoh delivers a shock to his royal court.
Verse 41:40 says – אַתָּה֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה עַל־בֵּיתִ֔י וְעַל־פִּ֖יךָ יִשַּׁ֣ק כׇּל־עַמִּ֑י רַ֥ק הַכִּסֵּ֖א אֶגְדַּ֥ל מִמֶּֽךָּ׃ – You shall be in charge of my court, and by your command shall all my people be directed; only with respect to the throne shall I be superior to you.”
Yosef is promoted to be the leader of Egypt who will be making all the decisions. Only Pharaoh has more power, but will not be running the country. It will be Yoseph. This is a wondrous turn of events. Why would Pharaoh bypass all of his wise men, his politicians, his necromancers who have been with him for years. I believe that Pharaoh really wanted to do good for his people. He realized that Yosef is the best person for the job and he did not want to hinder Yosef from reporting to a boss who would only create another level of management and create roadblocks. So true in the corporate world. It would make it harder for Yosef to carry out his mission of saving Egypt during the famine years. The royal court must have been stunned. They were in disbelief and rendered speechless. In all likelihood from that day forward they worked against Yosef. At every turn they tried to sabotage him. Yosef could not let his guard down. This is one of the reasons given why Yosef did not let his father know that he was okay.Yosef was always watched, and if he faltered he would be accused of disloyalty.
Pharaoh gives Yosef a wife, the daughter of Potepher.” אֶת־אָֽסְנַ֗ת בַּת־פּ֥וֹטִי פֶ֛רַע*כֹּהֵ֥ן אֹ֖ן לְאִשָּׁ֑ה”. In the previous Parsha Potephar’s wife wanted Yosef and falsely accused Yosef of attacking her. She is now his mother-in-law. Awkward, Thanksgiving must have been tough. Perhaps Pharaoh deliberately gave Asnas to Yosef as a wife to show that Yosef was innocent and to quell any talk about that incident. Interesting to note that Potephar’s wife is not identified by name. Perhaps now that her daughter became the husband of a powerful person and she sees that the prophecy of her family becoming part of Yosef’s was not her but her daughter, she apologized to Yosef and they were on good terms.
Yonasan Ben Uziel says that Asnas was the daughter of the union of Shechem and Dina that Potephar’s wife raised, as follows”
And Pharaoh called the name of Joseph, The man who revealeth mysteries. And he gave him Asenath, whom Dinah had borne to Shekem, and the wife of Potiphera prince (Rabba) of Tanis had brought up, to be his wife. And Joseph went forth ruler over the land of Mizraim.
This makes so much sense. The attack on Dina, terrible when it happened, ends up being for the good. Imagine the joy of the family comes down and they discover that Dina’s daughter has been restored to the family. The family is whole.
Yosef is asked to interpret the dream, however, in verse 41:33 Yosef offers advice. Yosef was not asked to offer advice. I said a Pshat that Yosef did not want to be thrown back in prison, so he offered advice in the hopes that he would become a government official working for an advisor and not be sent back to prison. He did not think that Pharaoh would praise him and elevate him to the number two person in the entire Egypt.
The word חִמֵּשׁ֙ according to Rashi is to “prepare” the land . The Ibn Ezra says it means take a fifth of all the produce.
Verse 35 says – וְיִקְבְּצ֗וּ אֶת־כׇּל־אֹ֙כֶל֙ הַשָּׁנִ֣ים הַטֹּב֔וֹת הַבָּאֹ֖ת הָאֵ֑לֶּה וְיִצְבְּרוּ־בָ֞ר תַּ֧חַת יַד־פַּרְעֹ֛ה אֹ֥כֶל בֶּעָרִ֖ים וְשָׁמָֽרוּ׃ Let all the food of these good years that are coming be gathered, and let the grain be collected under Pharaoh’s authority as food to be stored in the cities.
Verse 36 says – וְהָיָ֨ה הָאֹ֤כֶל לְפִקָּדוֹן֙ לָאָ֔רֶץ לְשֶׁ֙בַע֙ שְׁנֵ֣י הָרָעָ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּהְיֶ֖יןָ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וְלֹֽא־תִכָּרֵ֥ת הָאָ֖רֶץ בָּרָעָֽב Let that food be a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will come upon the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish in the famine.”
According to Rashi in Verse 34 it does not say that it is a tax or that the government will buy up the food supply, where the government will own this stockpile of food. It is a פִקָּדוֹן֙ , a deposit. The Torah seems to say that the people will give the food to the government and will get it back during the years of famine. This Is not what ultimately happened. Why did it change? It ended up that Pharaoh owned all the excess grain and while he saved his people, it was done at a tremendous cost to the Egyptians. They lost their land and their freedom, as much as they had under a Sun God.