TISHA B’AV 2016

Tisha B’Av 2016 – August 14, 2016

Parshas Devorim

 Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson

1856 – August 25, 1942 (12 Elul 5702)

Dr. Hillel Zeidman – Warsaw Ghetto Diaries

Chanukas Hatorah

Torah of Rabbi Heschel M ‘Lublin and Krakow

Rov of Lublin and then Krakow

1600 – 1663 (20 Tishrei – October 21)

Kli Yakor on Devorim, Chapter 1, verse 7.

 Thursday night, August 11, 2016,  davened at Anshei Sholem.  After Maariv I took a long walk and listened to Rabbi Sholem Rosner, YU.org.  on Parshas Devorim.   Rabbi Rosner told over a Torah thought found in the Chanukas Hatorah from Rabbi Heschel.    This is the first time I have heard a speaker quote from the Chanukas Hatorah.  I have the book, probably one of handful of people who know of the Sefer.  The Chanukas Hatorah came out in 1900 and was published by Rabbi Chanoch Henock Arison from the city of Zgierz. Rabbi Heschel who lived in the 1600s did not publish a book of his Torah on Chumash, rather his Torah was written down by  other.   Rabbi Chanoch Henoch gathered together the Torah of Rabbi Heschel and published it in the book titled, Chanukas Hatorah.  The back of the book contains a biography of the life of Rabbi Heschel.

The book has Haskomos – approbations from three of the descendants of Rabbi Heschel. One of them was from Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson,  HYD.  http://hevratpinto.org/tzadikim_eng/180_rabbi_tzvi_yechezkel_michelson.html

If you open up any  Sefer published in Poland from 1900 to 1939, you probably will find a Haskoma from Rabbi Michelson.  In the back of the Sefer, Atares Tzvi,  by my great-great grandfather,  there is a picture of a meeting of the Warsaw Community Council.  My grandfather was on the council and is in the picture.   I showed the picture to Henry Morgan and he said, here is my uncle, Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson.  I kept running across Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson and  always wondered what happened to him.  A while back, the book mobile from Lakewood came to Chicago to sell Seforim.  For $2.00 I picked up the book, Warsaw Ghetto Diaries written by  Dr. Hillel Zeidman.  In it Dr. Zeidman who was a historian in the Warsaw Ghetto,  chronicled the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto and the end of Polish Jewry in 1942 – 1943.  He followed the English calendar.  My Hebrew is bad and it was hard for me to read the book so I set it aside.  My Hebrew slowly improved and a few years later I decided to read from the diary on each day the entry of that day.   I read the entry of August 25, page 60.  The entry is titled, “The leaders of the Ghetto in the furnace of the Selection.”

Page 61 – “Two elder Rabbis, Rav Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson, the well known author, the elder of the Warsaw Rabbis, was 86 years old and Rav Noah Rogozinski went down with us.  We thought – even with everything they (the Nazi’s) did, they will not kill these elder Rabbis.

I stood with the people who were waiting for the judgment (of the selection by the Nazi’s. Those that went to the right lived and those to the left were sent to Treblinka and death). The faces of the exhausted people were pale.    I was not sure if I would find a merit to be counted with those that would be saved.  I saw how Professor Balaban was treated.  He is a well known person, they (the Nazi’s) considered his fate and decided to keep in alive.  Doctor Sapir, Dr. Stein, Orlean, Fredonson were accompanied by a Kapo who would walk with these men and speak in their defense (to the officers deciding their fate).  They went to the right (to live another day).  But regarding the two Rabbis, Michaelson and Rogozinski, no words would save them.  I saw them standing with those that were to go to the Umschlag (the train station that took the Jews to their death in Treblinka).  Rabbi Michelson stood before the soldiers with his head held high and his body straight, he appeared calm, but in truth he was lost in his thoughts.  The Rav of Warsaw was 86 years old, for many years was the Rav of Plonsk, is the author of 43 books, besides what he had in manuscripts – stood without hope, alone, abandoned within his congregation, destined for death, waiting to be slaughtered.  Next to him was the Rav from Lita, a regal person, Rogozinski.  Their lot has been decreed.”

I cry for these. My Zedi,  Rabbi Avrohom Meir Morgenstern, who I was named for  and my  Bubby were killed in Treblinka.  Professor Michael  Savage on his radio program read a first person account what is like for the Jews when the train door opened until they were marched to their death  in the gas chambers, roughly 30 minutes later.  Al Eleh Anei Bochiya – on these I cry.

My friend Leon asked me why was it that no words would spare the two Rabbis. The reason  I believe is that the Nazi’s realized that the backbone of the Jewish people are its Rabbis, its Torah Scholars and felt that these leaders had to be killed before anyone else.

On Shabbos I told over the Torah thought of the Chanukas Hatorah. I also told over a beautiful  Kli Yakor and Ibn Ezra on Chapter 1, Verse  7:

7Turn and journey, and come to the mountain of the Amorites and to all its neighboring places, in the plain, on the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south and by the seashore, the land of the Canaanites, and the Lebanon, until the great river, the Euphrates River. זפְּנוּ | וּסְעוּ לָכֶם וּבֹאוּ הַר הָאֱמֹרִי וְאֶל כָּל שְׁכֵנָיו בָּעֲרָבָה בָהָר וּבַשְּׁפֵלָה וּבַנֶּגֶב וּבְחוֹף הַיָּם אֶרֶץ הַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַלְּבָנוֹן עַד הַנָּהָר הַגָּדֹל נְהַר פְּרָת:

Once you see the Kli Yakor, then you will understand the reason for the Yisiv P’sik after the first word in the verse.

Parshas Pinchos 2016

24 Tammuz – July 31, 2016

During this past week, there were two Yahrzeits. On 20 Tammuz was the 122th Yahrzeit of Benyamin Tzvi Herzl. In the 22 Tammuz was the 143th Yahrzeit of My great-great-great- grandfather Admor Dovid Morgenstern.

Pesach Frank
Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I offer a Torah thought from Rabbi Menachem Ben Zion Sacks, the son-in-law of Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank. His book on his Torah thoughts is Menachem Tzion on the Torah. Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank (1873–1960) (Hebrew: הרב צבי פסח פרנק) was a renowned halachic scholar and the Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem for several decades. Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank in his own way was a Zionist. 

 

Menachem Ben Zion Sacks

Hebrew: מנחם בנציון זקס

                    Also Known As: 

“Ben-Tzion”

Birthdate:

July 15, 1896

Birthplace:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel

Death:

Died February 7, 1987 in Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States

Place of Burial:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel

Rabbi Sacks on Parsha Pinchos

Numbers, Verse 23:7 in this week’s Sedra tells about the daughters of Zelophechad coming to Moshe and saying, “Our father died in the desert, but he was not in the assembly that banded together against the Lord in Korach’s assembly, bet he died for his own sin, and he had no sons.” The Talmud in Shabbos, Daf 96 says, Rabbi Akiva identifies Zelophechad as the person who chopped wood on the Sabbath. Rabbi Yehuda the son of Besara said, “Akiva, you will have to answer for your comments, if you are correct, the Torah did not want to reveal Zelophechad’s sin and you revealed it, and if your are incorrect, you said a falsehood about this righteous man. Rather, he was one of the “Mapelim” Numbers 14:, Verse 44. The Mapelim where those who after the sin of the spies went to the top of the mountain and fight their way into Israel. Moshe told them in Numbers 14, Verse 42. “Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, (so that) you will not get slaughtered by your enemies.”

Rabbi Sacks asks: Rabbi Yehuda Ben Besara did the same thing as Rabbi Akiva, as the Mapelim transgressed the word of God. Additionally, Rabbi Yehuda Ben Besara calls Zelophechad a Tzaddik, when he did die of a sin.

Rabbi Sacks answers: The daughters of Zelophechad told Moshe in defense and redeeming their father that he did not die in rebellions against God but “Because he died of his own sin”. From this it seems that there is no problem to reveal that Zelophechad was one of the Mapelim, because of their great love for Israel, that the Mapelim were ready to die for Israel, alleviates the blemish that is associated with the Mapelim. (This is why Rabbi Yehuda Ben Besara says he was a Tzaddik.)

Rabbi Sacks continues: from this answer of Rabbi Yehuda Ben Besara, we can extend it to the Aliyah to Israel from 1881 and forward, which contained great sacrifice to settle Israel; this Mesiras Nefash, protects from the blemish of many of the secular Zionists, the merit of wanting to settle the land tilts the scales of merit in favor of these modern day Mapelim. God should open up their eyes to return to good.

This thought of Rabbi Sacks mirrors the thoughts of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchok Kook, Admor Chaim Yisroel M’Pilov the Shalom Yerushalim and the successor and son of Admor Dovid Morgenstern.

A week earlier I told a Rosh Kollel from Israel my Torah thought on Bechukosi that dedication to Torah study among the Jewish people can bring peace and Achdus to Israel. I said that in Jewish thought and Halacha people cannot agree; however in dedication to Torah study there can be Achdus. I said that each Torah giant should have to give a class or classes in a Yeshiva or college not in their orbit. Meaning, the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir, should give a Shiur in Har Etzion, The Rosh Yeshiva of Har Etzion should give a Shiur in Ponevich. The Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevich should give a Shiur in Bar Elon University. Can you imagine the Achdus that would be archived over a 20 year period.

He argued with me and said I am wrong. Why should the head of Mir, Rabbi Finkl give a Shiur in Har Etzion. He basically said that the people in Har Etzion are wrong and no different than Apikorsim (He did not use this word but this is what he meant.). This was very depressing to me. What is wrong with teaching Torah. I think that I almost had my neighbor, a Telzer agreeing with me. I told the Rosh Kollel that he doesn’t get it, he does not understand the truth and power of Torah.

In this period of mourning for the Jewish nation and the merit of our holy fathers, may Klal Yisroel come together in Torah, in common goals, even though in ideologically or Halahca we disagree. We should realize that we will not and should not agree in Halacha or Hashkafa. May our Achdus in Torah bring us to recognize the humanity of fellow Jews and the world.

SHABBOS PARSHAS BEHAR

,y

May 28, 2016 – 20 Iyar 5776

Friday Night:

Had a tough week and it was great to have Shabbos. Chani came in from Stern College for the summer. My anniversary is Memorial Day and this is our 36th wedding anniversary.

Serka made a great meal. I gave Serka a tennis bracelet for our anniversary. Thanks to EC for getting me the bracelet.

Shabbos Morning:

Woke up at 7:15 AM and studied the Torah portion. Naftoli came over at 9:30 for me to take him to Shul. Got to Shul at 10:10 AM. Regular Davening. Naftoli and my mother ate over along with Joel Bulgatz. My mother was great. We read my post from three years ago, when I went to visit Rabbi Jonathan Gross and family in Omaha, Nebraska.

Naftoli Glenner Customs in Shul:

Opened the Aron with strength.

When I called him up for an Aliyah, I walked towards the front of the Shul, away from Naftoli and with my back to him. I always do this, and he always knows that he is being called up.

Naftoli has a new custom that he says the Blessings when called up to the Torah in a whisper. All of us around the Bimah and people standing near the Bimah all bent ourselves towards Naftoli to hear his blessing and we all shouted Amen. The scene was reminiscent of an EF Hutton commercial years ago. The commercial shows an EF Hutton broker talking very softly and everyone straining to listen and the tagline is, whenever EF Hutton talks, everyone listens.

He banged the Bimah when we started Musaf.

The Shul has a chart of the Torah Blessings with Ashkenasik on one side and Sephardic on the other side. Naftoli kept turning the chart over, briefly studying each side. Naftoli was trying to figure out what was the difference between the two sides.

He wears his hat backwards with the pinches in the back. He is starting a new fashion trend.

Naftoli is probably the most recognized non-public Jew in the world. If he were to walk in Jerusalem, many people would come over to him because of his semi-celebrity status.

 

My Torah from this week:

Behar Chapter 25, Verses 18-30:

You shall perform My statutes, keep My ordinances and perform them then you will live on the land securely. יחוַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֶת חֻקֹּתַי וְאֶת מִשְׁפָּטַי תִּשְׁמְרוּ וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם וִישַׁבְתֶּם עַל הָאָרֶץ לָבֶטַח:
Then you will live on the land securely: because it is through the transgression of [the laws of] Shemittah that the Israelites are exiled [from their land], as the verse says, “Then, the land will appease its Sabbaths. [All the days of desolation while you are in the land of your enemies -] the land will rest and appease its Sabbaths” (Lev. 26:34). And the seventy years of the Babylonian exile [when the land remained forcibly at rest], corresponded to the seventy years of Shemittah not observed by Israel, [and thus came to rectify and “appease” them]. [see Rashi Lev. 26:25 where the calculation is explained; Shab. 33a; and see II Chron. 36:21] וישבתם על הארץ לבטח: שבעון שמטה ישראל גולים, שנאמר (ויקרא כו לד) אז תרצה הארץ את שבתותיה והרצת את שבתותיה, ושבעים שנה של גלות בבל, כנגד שבעים שמטות שבטלו היו:
19And the land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, and live upon it securely. יט וְנָתְנָה הָאָרֶץ פִּרְיָהּ וַאֲכַלְתֶּם לָשׂבַע וִישַׁבְתֶּם לָבֶטַח עָלֶיהָ:
And the land will then yield [its fruit…and you will…] live upon it securely: i.e., you will have no worry about a year of drought. ונתנה הארץ וגווישבתם לבטח עליה: שלא תדאגו משנת בצורת:
and you will eat to satiety: There will be a blessing in it even inside your innards. ואכלתם לשבע: אף בתוך המעים תהא בו ברכה:
20And if you should say, “What will we eat in the seventh year? We will not sow, and we will not gather in our produce!” כוְכִי תֹאמְרוּ מַה נֹּאכַל בַּשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִת הֵן לֹא נִזְרָע וְלֹא נֶאֱסֹף אֶת תְּבוּאָתֵנוּ:

 

for three years: for part of the sixth year from Nissan [when the crop is reaped] until Rosh Hashanah, for the [entire] seventh [Shemittah] year, and for the eighth [year, namely,] for they will sow [a new crop] in Marcheshvan of the eighth year and reap [this new crop] in Nissan [while still eating of the sixth year’s crop]. לשלש השנים: למקצת הששית מניסן ועד ראש השנה, ולשביעית ולשמינית, שיזרעו בשמינית במרחשון ויקצרו בניסן:

Rashi on Verse 18 says that keeping Shmittah will insure that the Jews are able to live in Israel and conversely, transgressing Shmittah leads to exile. It seems depressing that for 490 years the Jews did not keep Shmittah. This is from the times of Shaul until the destruction of the first temple. My guess is that after the split of the Jewish people after Shlomo Hamelech’s death, you have the Northern Kingdom of 10 tribes and the Southern Kingdom of 2 tribes . The Northern Kingdom must have stopped keeping Shmittah.

Verse 19:

Let us read Verse 19 with Rashi and understand how Rashi explains the verse.

And the land will then yield its fruit and you will eat to satiety, even if you eat a little portion, there will be a blessing and you will be satisfied with eating just a little (Just like the Mun, which was an Omer for everyone), and as a result of having to only eat little portions to feel satiated, you will live securely in the land of Israel, enough crops will be stored that even in a year of drought you will have food and feel secure. The crops of previous years will be able to cover times of drought. Verse 20 go on to say that if one questions, how will we eat during the Shmittah year, God says, don’t worry, I will send a blessing so that the crop of the sixth year will be a bumper crop. Rashi seems to believe the Verse 20 is an inquiry and not a challenge.

The Sforno (1475-1550) offers a different explanation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obadiah_ben_Jacob_Sforno

Verse 19 according to Sforno would be read as follows:

And the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat a little and be satisfied, so that during the Shmittah year when you do not plant, you will be secure, and not have to rely on purchases or charity from other countries to survive during Shmittah. Verse 20 is a challenge and is referring to people of lesser faith who will question God and ask how we will survive. To these people God answers that in year six you will have a bumper crop.

The Sefer Siach Sarfei Kodesh brings the following Vort on Verse 20:

Harav Austrover who heard from the Chidusshei Harim who said in the name of Reb Zuisha to explain verse 20. If the Jews did not ask, what we will eat in the seventh year, there would be plenty of produce, and satiety in the seventh year. Even without any commandment from God to bless the land to produce extra food, there will be plenty of food. However, if people ask, what will we eat? God must “command my blessing etc. The Chedusshei Harim concluded that the world says that Reb Zusha was not a Torah Scholar. But in truth this is not true, we see from this Torah Vort that he was a Goan – a Torah Scholar.

Why did this prove that Reb Zusha was a Torah scholar. On the surface, this is Drush, anyone can say it. However, the RIM is saying that Reb Zusha was not saying Drush but was explaining the words of the Chumash like the Sforno. This is why the RIM said Reb Zusha was a Torah scholar.

What difference does in make which type of blessing.  To answer this I have to thank Dr. Jerry Noble.

Dr. Jerry Noble gave me a set of Malbim (1809 – 1879) that was owned by my wife’s grandfather, Rabbi Leibish Noble TZL, 1895-1965+-. The Malbim is old and yellowed but it’s Torah is fresh, vibrant, and relevant. I opened the holy Malbim that Rabbi Leibush Noble touched.  The Malbim on  Verse 20 explains the two types of blessings; eating a little and being satisfied,and bumper crops.  Having a normal crop and having it last longer because of the blessing allows for a normal crop without the extra work, less worry of spoilage, easier to safeguard, and not having your enemies see you are very prosperous.   However, the second blessing of bumper crops brings worry and problems along with the extra work.  Http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malbim
     

noble
Reb Leibish Noble

1916: Eitz Chaim hires a second teacher, Reb Leibish Noble. The school expands to two classes and has thirty students. Classes were held for four hours each day after a regular public school day, on Sundays, and during the summer

 

 

 

 

dvisnk
Meir Simcha of Dvinsk

I also opened up the Meschech Chochma, Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, 1843-1926, and he says a beautiful explanation on Verse 20, see the attachment.

 


See the pages from the Gutnick Bible.

 

 

 

 

malbim
Rabbi Meir Lebush ben Yehiel Michal, “the Malbim”

Chumash

Gutnick – Lubavitch Bible

Malbim

Meshech Chochma

Siach Sarfei Kodesh – Reb Zusha – RIM

Shabbos Parshas Shimini

April 2, 2016 – 23 Adar 2

Karen came in to be with our mother.  Ate Friday night at the Glenners.  Right before Shabbos listened to 50% of Rabbi Efrem Goldberg’s Shiur on this week’s Torah portion.  He led me to the first  Orach Chaim Hakodesh (OCH).

Rabbi Goldberg explained the following Rashi beautifully:  The first Verse in Shimini says:

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי קָרָא משֶׁה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו וּלְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:

And it was on the eight day, that Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.

Rashi explains that Moses called the elder of Israel, “to inform them that is was by the express command of God that that Aaron was  becoming the High Priest, so that they should not say that he entered of his own accord.” (Medresh Tanchumah)

Rabbi Goldberg explains that Rashi is telling us that process is very important.  When you make a major decision or an appointment, you must be  cognizant of the politics of the situation, the personalities, and the effects of what you are doing.  If transparency is needed, be transparent, play your politics correctly.

Ba’al Haturim (BHT) on Verse 1:

Rabbi Goldberg read and linked the BHT  to the Orach Chaim Hakodash.  I will attempt to explain both.

The BHT said on the first Verse.  “Moshe said, “because I resisted for seven days by the burning bush (when God told Moshe to be the leader and take the Jews out of Egypt) , I only merited to serve as High Priest for seven days.”  The attribution listed in the Miikros Gedolus is the Medresh Rabbah 11:6. The Artscroll attempts to explain the BHT using the Medresh.    While the Medresh is the source of the idea of the BHT, the BHT is taking the idea in a new direction.   Moshe is thinking to himself, on why he (Moshe)  only merited to  be the  High Priest for 7 days.  It is one of regret.  The BHT is following the same line of reasoning as the Orach Chaim Hakodesh (OCH).

Orach Chaim Hakodesh (OCH):

The OCH  brings the Talmud in Megillah, 10b.  The Talmud in Megilah 10b says that the first word on Shimini – V’Yehi – translated as “ and it was” – is a word used to reference or foreshadow  distress, agony, a bad situation, pain.   It says “And it was in the days of Achashverosh”    The Jews were in distress during the days of Achashverosh.   The Talmud says the V’Yehi of this weeks portion, foreshadows the deaths of Nadav and Avihu.   The OCH goes on and gives a Torah lecture on the Talmud in Megillah.

The OCH  offers a second explanation  of the distress reference in the word V’Yehi.

The OCH says:

  “Perhaps the distress is Moshe’s distress, which is mentioned in the verse, (Moshe’s distress is that ) he saw  the greatness and the greatness and the greatness of Aaron’s  sons .”

Moshe saw that Aaron’s appointment to the High Priesthood was a legacy for his children.  Aaron’s children will eternally be High Priests.  Moshe’s children would not inherit Moshe’s position and this is what distressed him.  In fact Moshe’s own grandson was a priest for idols.

The OCH continues:

 Let us learn what the pain of jealousy even from good, what can happen, from the story of the children of Shimon Hatzadik, (brought down in Menachos 109b), and changes what was supposed to happen, that was to be his and his children afterwards.

The Talmud in Menachos details the tragic consequences even when Shimon Hatzadik , who was the High Priest for first 40 years of the Second Temple and was a very holy man, instructs his kids as to who is succeed him, jealousy ensued, and not only did the family of Shimon Hatzadik lose the legacy of High priesthood, there was a calamity of for the Jews people.

The OCH continues:

Because Moshe resisted being the messenger of God in Egypt, God got angry (at Moshe) on that day and (Moshe) lost the priesthood, so when it came the time that the priesthood would go into effect, Moshe was pained that he lost the glory of eternal priesthood, even though Moshe was outstanding in righteousness and humility, every  heart has feelings (we are all human) , especially with something  so valuable and glorious,  perhaps the distress of Moshe  is referenced in Numbers 7:1, which describes  the dedication and  raising of the Mishkan also on this same day of this Parsha,  and uses the same word, V’Yehi.”  (This way the V’Yehi of Shimini is  the distress of the deaths of Nadav and Avihu and Numbers the distress of Moshe).

Lest you think that the story of Shimon Hatzadik does not happen today, that Shimon Hatzadik’s son, Chonyav was evil, and this would not happen today. Look what is happening today at outstanding Torah institutions that were started by holy men.   Look at Ponevich, Telz, Satmer, Bobov, and others.  The people who built up these organizations were holy men, yet their heirs fight.  Nothing destructive that we see has happened, however, there has been a Chilul Hashem.  As far as Telz, the Sortzkins left Telshe.   The Sorotzkins were not part of the fight because the Patriarch of the family,  Reb Zalman Sorotzkin, was a big  Zionist.  Since he was a Zionist, he felt responsibility  for Klal Yisroel and this has seeped into the psyche of his descendants.

 

TO LIVE IN LA – THREE DAYS OF HEAVEN IN LA

December 17 – December 20, 2015

PARSHA    V’YIGASH

Tuesday- December 15, 2015

Decided to go to LA and clean out my father’s last storage unit.  The storage unit location is being sold and everything had to out by 12/31/2015. My father died in 2002 and he had three store units.  We cleaned out two of them following his passing in 2002.  We kept delaying and now we were up against a hard deadline.

Thursday- December 17, 2015

3:00 PM   – I try to get my boarding pass for my 8:00 PM flight.  I discover that I did not book the flight and was in a panic.  I found a 5:50 PM flight for $168.00 (original flight cost was $268).  I book the flight, go home, pack, and make the 5:50 PM flight.

10:30 PM – Arrive at Madeline and Martin’s condo in Westwood. Madeline is a first cousin of my wife.  It had been over 5 years since I was in LA, I was home and hugged them.

Friday – December 18, 2015

7:00 AM – Morning prayers at the Westwood Village Synagogue.  Reacquainted myself with Rabbi Abner Weiss, one of my teachers.

8:00 AM – Breakfast served by Madeline

9:00 AM – Arrive at my father’s storage unit, #449 on Lexington, east of LaBria

I open the unit and it is full of boxes, files, suitcases, luggage metal trunks, supplies, and everything else. I do not know what to do. I am overwhelmed as there is quite a bit to look at and did not want to miss anything. I am  also fearful of losing my sense of my father. I call my sister, Lisa. She has the same feeling as me.  My brother-in-law would have mocked me and would  have saidthrow it all out.

I panic and decide to move the stuff “as-is” to another storage unit four blocks away. I make three trips with a loaded mini-van. As the day went on I asked myself, what am I doing, it’s all junk and should be bulldozed. As the day wore on, I trashed about 25%of the unit and filled up the trash bin provided on the premises.

I find bank statements from the 1980’s; a copy of his lawsuit against Ma Parker, a deli he purchased in the 1970s on Fairfax; books; office supplies; rental car receipts. I found letters he sent to the IRS about malfeasance by people, and his tax returns. Nothing of value. I found luggage, metal suitcases that he shipped via rail in the early 1970s when he moved to LA. There were shirts, socks, blankets, his boxer shorts, uniforms from when he owned a Baskin- Robbins ice cream parlor. My most revolting discovery was a box of his undershirts. He wore undershirts, not T’s. I remember his wearing them when I was a kid and I was utterly revolted by them. I chastise the Schwartz boys because they wear these disgusting undershirts.

Friday Night – December 18, 2015 – Parshas V’igash

4:00 PM – Leave for Shul

Rabbi Abner Weiss spoke after Davening. He asked why is Yosef, the only son of Jacob, referred to as Yosef HaZaddik (Joseph the righteous one). For nine years Yosef delayed informing his father that he was still alive and that he was the Viceroy in Egypt. It is very cruel. Yosef had dreams and made sure to let his brothers know about it.

Rabbi Weiss said that the word Tzadik means, “Tzad Dak” – “the side that is across the tine line”, meaning Yosef was a Tzadik – someone who is just over the center line between good and evil.

Had a delicious Shabbos meal at Madeline and Martin. The Nachash – snake popped up twice. Once which I cannot say and the second is that I did not bring the Diet Coke. Madeline and Martin eat healthy and do not drink diet pop. I did not pick up the pop as I said I would  and was suffering. Madeline had a 20 ounce bottle of Coke zero and I had to nurse my one glass of Coke Zero the entire evening. We engaged in the fine art of conversation.

Shabbos Morning – December 19, 2015 – Parshas V’Yigash

1) On my way to Shul met Naomi and her two sons. They were on their way to the hospital to visit their father who was very sick. I told them a Dvar Torah. One of the boys is at Rutgers and I will try to set him up to stay for Shabbos with my cousin and family, who live right across the river in Highland Park, NJ, very close to Rutgers. I was dismayed to learn that their father passed away on the following Tuesday.

Naomi and her husband are friendly with Martin and Madeline.

2) Met Pablo from Argentina in front of Peet’s Coffee and invited him to Shul. He came and had an Aliyah.

3) I had a special treat. My niece, Tziporah, met me in Shul. It was great to see her.

4) Rabbi Abner Weiss was his brilliant self. He asked a question. Why did Yehuda and his descendants merit Monarchy in Israel? Reuven was the eldest son of Jacob. Yosef was a viceroy and great leader in Egypt.

The name Yehuda means to give thanks, to acknowledge. Leah named Yehuda as she was giving thanks to God. Yehuda acknowledged his guilt in the incident of Tamar. Tamar did not tell the court that Yehuda was the father. Yosef could have chosen not to acknowledge that he was the father of Tamar’s child. However, before a court consisting of his father, Yaakov, and grandfather, Yitzchok, he admitted to impregnating Tamar out of wedlock. Not easy to do. Yosef could have sidestepped everything by delaying the court proceedings and let Tamar escape without admitting guilt.

Rabbi Abner Weiss said that these are not the reasons for Yehuda’s rise to greatness. It was loyalty to his family. It first started with Tamar, then Yehuda was willing to give up his freedom for his brother, Benjamin, his loyalty to Jacob. To Yehuda, Yosef was this megalomaniac, unpredictable leader of Egypt, who could have imprisoned everyone and destroy their family. Yet Yehuda stood up to Joseph because of his loyalty to family.  What about Joseph’s sale when Yehuda said “What do we get by killing Joseph” and they sold him. It appears to be disloyalty to family. You can say that from that low point in Yehuda’s life, he changed, he realized what he did was wrong and became a completely different person, a change of 180 degrees, and had the moral compass to confront the Egyptian leader. Rabbi

Abner Weiss said that Yehuda was actually loyal to Joseph, because all the brothers felt Yehuda deserved death and Yehuda saved him from death.

Rabbi Abner Weiss mentioned a dear friend of his who was a leader for 15 years, consoled and counseled hundreds of people, had many friends. Yet when he needed his friends the most, they deserted him.

Jews traditionally are loyal to one another. This is one of the secrets of our people. The Jews have suffered for no reason other than being Jewish. However, when there is disloyalty, treachery, and no Achdus the suffering is more intense. We have a current situation today, where there seems to be lack of loyalty, even among Torah leaders. People defend lack of loyalty, claim that Achdus in Klal Yisroel is not a Torah value, and claim the disloyal Rabbi is standing up for trust. This is a false Truth, this is falsehood.

5) I saw a Rashi and said the following Torah thought.

Chapter 45; Verse 4:
דוַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל אֶחָיו גְּשׁוּ נָא אֵלַי וַיִּגָּשׁוּ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲנִי יוֹסֵף אֲחִיכֶם אֲשֶׁר מְכַרְתֶּם אֹתִי מִצְרָיְמָה
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me,” and they drew closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.

גשו נא אלי: ראה אותם נסוגים לאחוריהם, אמר עכשיו אחי נכלמים, קרא להם בלשון רכה ותחנונים, והראה להם שהוא מהול
Please come closer: He saw them drawing backwards. He said,“Now my brothers are embarrassed” (Tanchuma Vayigash 5). He called them tenderly and pleadingly and showed them that he was circumcised (Gen. Rabbah 93:10).

Rashi on this Verse says:

Please Come Closer:  He saw them drawing backwards.  He said, “Now my brothers are embarrassed (Tanchuma Vayigash 5)”.  He called them tenderly and pleadingly and showed them that he was circumcised (Gen. Rabbah 93:10).

Rashi used the Hebrew word “Achshav – Now”. It is an extra word. You can read Rashi without the word “Achshav” – Now. They were already embarrassed two seconds ago.

The answer is that with this one word Rashi is answering a fundamental question. Why did Yosef create this drama? Why didn’t he tell them that he is Joseph one year earlier when they first came for food? Rashi is telling us that Yosef had to create a crisis for his brothers. A crisis where they could have lost everything. Yehuda offered to be Yosef’s slave; he would lived out his life as a slave, no freedom, and would have lost his family. The brothers did not know if Yosef would change his mind and imprison all of them.   Yosef’s behavior to them was mercurial in his treatment to them and they did not know what to expect. Binyamin may have been lost to them and their father.

Yosef had to make them feel the emotional turmoil of being put in the position of losing everything, just as Yosef lost everything when they sold him to slavery. This was the only way for them to understand that what they did was wrong and truly be sorry. Otherwise, they would have been embarrassed but would have felt that they were correct in their actions.

5) Met the Rabbi of the UCLA Hillel House – Rabbi Kaplan, a YU Musmach. He learned in Har Etzion – the Gush and I played Jewish geography with him. He was good friends with my Chavrusa, Noah.

6) The Shul served a great meal with Cholent, Chicken Kabob food, and salads. And plenty of Diet Coke.

7) Went back to Martin’s place. Walked my niece to her friend. I spent “islands of time” with her.

8) Got caught in a downpour. Rain is a blessing for LA, as they have been having a multi year drought.

9) Made it to Rabbi Abner Weiss’s Gemora class in his house. I did not have an address, just the general location. I said at Shul that I would be there for Maariv so I felt I had to find his house. I found the house and listened to the class. Davened Maariv

Motzai Shabbos – December 19, 2015

Picked up Tzipporah and went to my niece and nephew’s house in Hancock Park, Michael and Sassha. Michael brought the sushi. I spent 2 hours there catching up on family, stories. They are making a Bar Mitzvah in March 2017 and I told them to book me a reservation.

Sunday – December 20, 2015

Davened at the Westwood Village Shul, however, only 9 people.

Said goodbye to Madeline and Martin.

Picked up Tzipporah and went to visit my aunt Florence, Madeline’s mother, who is at a memory care facility on Fairax, just south of Santa Monica. Spent 90 minutes with her. Had a great time. Although Zipporah is not her relative, Zipporah engaged her in conversation. I felt as if I was with her mother, my sister. Greatly appreciated. I called my mother –in-law, Florence’s sister, so they were able to talk. Departing was not easy.

Went to Pizza Maven for lunch.

Drove to Hollywood Boulevard; walked through the Roosevelt hotel, Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and the shops at Hollywood and Highland. Bought a red San Francisco hat for $5.00. Saw a Lubavitch Menorah, next to a Christmas Tree. This is why we love America.

I took Tzipporah to my father’s apartment building and we went inside to the door of his apartment. Dropped Tzipporah off and drove to LAX for my flight home.

 

Reb Shmuel (Shiku) Smilovic – Sam Smiley February 1928 – 11/27/2015

November 27, 2015 – 14 Kislev 5776

Reb Shmuel (Shiku) Smilovic – Sam Smiley  February 1928 – 11/27/2015

Today I received news of the passing of Reb Shmuel Smilovic.  I met Reb Shmuel about 5 years ago.  His wife was a fifth cousin of mine.    I felt instant kinship with Reb Shmuel and cherished my visits with him.  I had a lunch with him along with his daughter, Fern, and son,  Dr. Mark Smiley.  The following is my feelings on his passing.

Picture1

Please click on this link for his history, – http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/wims-smilovic-prewar.htm

Dear Fern and Mark:

I join with you in your sense of loss on the passing of your father.  My connection with your father while short left a deep impression on me.  The grace, the sense of history, the joy of family is what I remember and I cherish.  Thank you for introducing me to your father.

On Shabbos at the Sholosh Suedas meal, I dedicated my speech to your father and spoke about your father.  It was at my sister’s house as she has a Minyan every Shabbos and hosts the Shalosh Suedas meal.  Here are my words and I have added to them.

I regret to inform everyone of the passing of our relative in Toronto, Reb Shmuel-Sam Smilovic-Smiley.  His wife was a descendent of Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald.   Despite his wife being a sixth (fifth) cousin to us, I felt a close bond to Reb Shmuel.

Reb Shmuel grew up in Munkatch Hungary and was in the city choir with his best friend Jack Reiss.   He had a happy childhood.  It changed in 1943 – 1944.  Reb Shmuel wrote about his experiences in Hungary and in the concentration camps.  I tried to read through his memoir on those years.  I have a difficult time reading first person accounts of the holocaust and will just quickly scan through an account because of the horror.  The one thing I remember is Reb Shmuel writing about being in the train to Buchenwald, looking out of the window, seeing the soccer fields that he played soccer with his friends.  It was a nice day.   The kids on the field had life and he and his fellows Jews were on their way to death.

He was freed from Buchenwald with Jack Reiss.  Both wanted to start a new life.  Reb Shmuel ended up in Toronto.

Reb Shmuel lived in an Assisted Living Facility on Sheppard.  It was there that I met his kids, Fern Smiley and Dr. Mark Smiley.

I remember him introducing me to his friends in the assisted living facility.  Everyone had a nickname for where they were from in Europe.

As I think back to my visiting him, what stood out most is when I sat with him is his apartment.  I looked around his apartment and tried to absorb everything in the room.

  • I saw the picture on the wall of Reb Shmuel at a grandson’s Bar Mitzva (wedding?). He was in the center, surrounded by his beautiful family.  I only wish that God gives me the same feeling of joy and Nachas that Reb Shmuel felt on that sunny day at his Ainilkol’s Bar Mitzvah.
  • I looked at his coffee table to see what books he was reading and what gave him comfort.  There were three books:
  • A cantorial book.  Reb Shmuel loved Chazzonus.  As I am writing out my speech on Sunday morning, I recall Reb Shmuel breaking out in Chazzonus.
  • A book by Elie Weisel.  Reb Shmuel met and was honored by Elie Weisel.   He also met and felt honored by his friendship with the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Lau.
  • A book of Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach’s stories.  The incomparable Reb Shlomo.

I looked through his son’s, Dr. Mark Smiley’s, wedding album.  Beautiful.  I was able to see his family.  As I turned the pages I saw one of my mentors, Rabbi Avrohom Kelman, Rabbi of Prospect Park, where my sister’s family davened.    The next day I called Rabbi Kelman and gave him a “Gruss” from his Mechutin.  Rabbi Kelman is elderly and appreciated my call.   Reb Shmuel was able to reach out and touch Rabbi Avrohom Kelman.  One year later my nephew’s Aufruf was in Prospect Park and Rabbi Kelman in his 90’s was as strong as ever.  I Febrenged with him.

I then said over a Dvar Torah that his wife’s ancestor, Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald, wrote that he heard from his Uncle, Admor Dovid Morgenstern on this week’s Bible portion.  Admor Dovid was married to Chaya Toibe, a brother to Reb Yechiel Moshe’ father.  Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald saw the Kotzker as a boy. learned by the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid.  Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald is the only one who wrote Torah from Admor Dovid, and because of his efforts we have Torah from the Kotzker’s son.  Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald lived roughly from 1830 to 1920.  He fathered kids into his 80’s.  Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald has a grandson in Toronto.  Imagine, we have a grandson of a man who saw the Kotzker.

The first Verse in this week’s Torah portion, says.  “And Yaakov sent Malochim “before him”, to Eisav his brother, to the land a Seir, the field of Edom.”  The Hebrew word Malochim can be translated as angels or messengers.

The Medresh Rabbah 75:4 brings down a dispute:

“These Malochim are human messengers.  The Rabbis said Malochim Mammosh – actual angels.”

Rashi mentions only the Rabbi’s position and says “Malochim Mamosh “ – angels.  The Sifsei Chachomin says the basis for this positon is that there is an extra word in the Verse,  “The word “L’phnov – before him”.   This word is clearly  extra as it can be read without this word, without losing any meaning.   This word  teaches us that Yaakov sent the angels that were before him, two verses prior says that as Yaakov entered Israel he met the angels of God.  These are the angels that were sent.

What does the first opinion that Yaakov sent humans do with the extra work of L’phnov – before him.

You can answer it by a Torah thought written down by Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald from his uncle, Admor Dovid Morgenstern on this Verse.   Admor Dovid said that the extra work of “L-phnov” means that he sent them away from before him. He sent them away as he did not want their help, because God can help without angels, and without any intermediary.  Yaakov wants his prayers to God and his own efforts to help and guide him, and not reliance on  intermediaries  Similar to  Exodus 33:15 where  Moshe did not want angels leading the children of Israel but God himself.

Reb Shmuel combined both aspects of the Medresh.  He was a human being with the qualities of an angel.

I know that his Neshama is in Toronto and he may not be able to hear me, I ask him forgiveness for not visiting more, not calling.  May his life be a source of comfort to his family and be a Melitz Yosher for his family.

—–Original Message—–
From: fernsmile [mailto:fernsmile@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, November 27, 2015 8:36 AM
To: Mitch Morgenstern
Subject: Re: Jack Reiss

My father, Sam Smilovic passed away this morning. Funeral Sunday through Steeles memorial, Fern

On Oct 19, 2014, at 9:01 AM, Mitch Morgenstern <MMorgenstern@mbfinancial.com> wrote:

Jack Reiss passed away and his funeral is this morning.

 

SMILOVIC (Smiley), Sam
Within the loving embrace of his family, Sam Smilovic (Smiley) passed away early Friday morning. Sam always found a way to overcome his difficult past by holding true to his values and traditions, while moving forward with his beloved Annette z”l with hope, humour, and contributions to the community. Sam is lovingly remembered by his children, Fern Smiley, Rabbi Mark Smilovic Smiley (Aviva Silverman) and Neil Smiley (Jordana), by his grandchildren, Jessica, Daniel, David, Yael (Gabe), Dov, Benjamin, Jared and Erin, by many nieces and nephews in Canada, U.S., and Israel, as well as by a multitude of friends from each stage of his life.* He will be greatly missed and forever remembered. Sam’s published Holocaust memoir can be found at http:/ /migs.concordia.ca/memoirs/smilovic/ smilovic.html. Funeral service will be held on Sunday, November 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Shaarei Tefillah Synagogue, 3600 Bathurst St., Toronto. Interment to follow at Mount Sinai Cemetery, Shaarei Tefillah section. Memorial donations may be made to The Sam and Annette Smilovic Fund, c/o Associated Hebrew Schools (416) 494-7666.

Sam Smilovic (Smiley) ז״ל

We regret to announce the passing of our member:

Sam Smilovic (Smiley) z”l
on
Friday November 27, 2015
15 Kislev 5776

Father of:

Fern Smiley

Rabbi Mark Smilovic Smiley (Aviva Silverman)

Neil Smiley (Jordana) our members

Grandfather of:

Jessica, Daniel, David, Yael (Gabe), Dov, Benjamin, Jared and Erin

Funeral:

November 29, 2015, 11:00 am

Shaarei Tefillah Congregation, 3600 Bathurst Street, Toronto

Interment:

Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Toronto – Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue Section

Shiva:

566 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto

Private family time between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm

Services:

Morning Services at 7:30 am

Evening Services at 4:30 pm

 

Parshas Ki Tavo – Jewish Soldiers

From: Mitch Morgenstern <MMorgenstern@mbfinancial.com>
Date: Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 9:54 AM
To: Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
Subject: Update

Rabbi Goldberg:

I hope everything is well.  I like your weekly Chumash Shiur.  I listened to your Shiur from Tuesday on Ki Teitzei.   I used your Torah as a springboard,  went through the Rishonim myself, expanded for myself your approach, added to it, and spoke on Shabbos in two places.

I went through the Meshcech Chocma who added greatly.  I find the Meshech Chocma refreshing and the few times I have seen the Meshech Cochma, it seems  that his Torah is very Litvish, very practical.  To me he is part of the Rov’s world, part of Rabbi Kook is his approach. I admit I have seen only a few of his Divrei Torah.  My daughter got me a Cooperman Meshech Chochma  this past June (she was in Michlala this past year, unfortunately did not get me a signed copy) and without Cooperman, it is almost impossible for me to learn the Meshcech Chochma.

I also ended my speech with reading directly from the Abarbanal who beautifully recapped  your approach.

I spoke at Shalosh Suedes and told over your IDF Golani story along with another story I heard.  The crowd is more Yeshvish and I am the only one who will bring up Israel, the IDF, Rav Kook so I thank you for your approach and your stories.  It is not that they do not agree with me, but they do not hear these stories, will never hear a Torah Vort from Rav Kook, how to look positively at the State of Israel and the IDF.

I wish that the BRS classes would be broadcast live and that they be recorded as audio classes.

Wishing you continued success.


From: Mitch Morgenstern
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 9:44 PM
To: Rabbi Efrem Goldberg
Subject: Update

Rabbi Goldberg:

I know you will be giving a Shiur tomorrow on Ki Tavo, however, I wanted to add something from your Shiur last week.

The attached Medresh Tanchumah translates “M’Kol Dvar Ra” as there should not be an “Lazunus” – frivolity,  so that you do not come to guilt.

The Medresh is not like any of the other explanations.

I think the Medresh is saying that when you go into the army, a soldier may feel that everything is permitted.  Halacha is that certain things are permitted in times of war,  and since a soldier is in a  situation of Pikuach Nefesh, he will have a laxity in his attitude, Mitzvos, and actions.

The Medresh Tanchuma is saying that a soldier should not have this sense of Lazunus, translated more as laxity.   The YU Kollel Torah M’Tzion had a program where two Kollel members, Rabbis’ Liss and Berman, spoke about why they served in the IDF.  Rabbi Liss was a Yeshiva Hakotel student and Yeshiva Hakotel goes to the army (as I recall) after Purim as a Chevra.  These guys go in with a sense of purpose, with seriousness, and a sense of  responsibility to the entire Jewish nation.  These Bochrim do not go in with Lazunus.

The Medresh Tanchuma is saying be like these Hesder boys, who go in for the right reasons.    Rabbi Liss and Rabbi Berman were riveting and after there speeches, all one can say is Boruch Hashem  we have boys like this.   I sit in one of Rabbi Liss’s classes and I looked at him totally different after his talk.  I  am not on his level.

Rabbi Liss has terrible asthma and during basic training had a serious attack.  He was told that he could get a desk job, yet he refused, and completed basic training.  They made him a tank driver which is not as hard.  When he left after his 14 months in the Hesder program, he had a sense that was deserting his friends who serve for three years.    Rabbi Berman was equally compelling.

Rabbi Liss said they had 20 minutes for Mincha, which only took 10 minutes.  They spent the extra 10 minutes learning

 

SHABBOS CHAZON – JULY 25, 2015

 

SHABBOS CHAZON – PARSHAS DEVORIM – JULY 25, 2015 – 9 AV 5775

LEADERSHIP II

Moshe FeIglin – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Feiglin

Moshe Feiglin spoke at 5:00 PM at KJBS and I went to hear him and his ideas for Israel. It was very informative. I walked him home with others to his host after the speech. I told him what he said in his speech is what Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh said on the Haftora for Shabbos Chazon. Moshe Feigln wants both religious and secular Jews in Israel to go back to their purpose which is to be a light to the nations. This is why Moshe Feiglin moved his political center to Tel Aviv. He wants to bring a universal message to all Jews, that we are to be a beacon of light to the world, whether secular or Dati.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsh said the first temple was destroyed because the Jewish people were no longer the light to the world. They did not bring morality and spirituality to the entire world, so God destroyed the temple and sent the Jewish people into exile.

On Tisha BAv, I heard the Consulate General Roey Gilad.  He said that depsite all of the problems in Israel, he trusts the Jewish people and that God will not let us down.  Moshe Feiglin said the same thing.

I only wish I was a Talmud Chochem so I would give a Shiur with Moshe Feiglin and Roey Gilad and with Torah we can unite all Jews together.  They can argue but they would leave the Shiur as friends and can work together.

 

This Shabbos I focused on the following verses.

כדאי לעצמו:
9 And I said to you at that time, saying, ‘I cannot carry you alone. ט וָאֹמַר אֲלֵכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לֵאמֹר לֹא אוּכַל לְבַדִּי שְׂאֵת אֶתְכֶם:

Rashi comments –  “What is the meaning of   לֵאמֹר   ?” (This is an extra word as the Verse makes sense without this word.)    “Moshe said to them, “not by my own accord do I speak to you, but by the command of the Holy One, blessed is He.”

The next Rashi on the words “I cannot carry you alone” explains why God did not let Moshe carry the burden of the Jewish people alone. Rashi says:

Rather Moshe said to the Jewish people – The Lord, your God has multiplied you: – meaning – He has made you superior and elevated you higher than your judges. He took the punishment away from you and imposed it upon the judges.

Rashi seems to be saying that there is too much responsibility for one man, even as great as Moshe. I feel that God is also saying to rule and judge, one man cannot do it alone; especially a court system. Honest judges and a fair court system are the cornerstones of a normal society, a just world.

Verse 12 says:

כאשר דבר לכם:
12 How can I bear your trouble, your burden, and your strife all by myself? יב אֵיכָה אֶשָּׂא לְבַדִּי טָרְחֲכֶם וּמַשַּׂאֲכֶם וְרִיבְכֶם

Why does Moshe essentially repeat himself? In verse 9 he already said that he cannot do it alone. Although the plain meaning of the text does not seem to criticize the Jewish people, as Moshe on a plain meaning is saying how can I alone put on my shoulders the trouble, burdens, and strife of my people Every leader put on his shoulders the responsibility of his people.   Moshe is saying I need help doing it. However, here Rashi is saying that Moshe is criticizing the Jewish people saying they are 1) troublesome  2) burdensome – they were heretics, and 3) they are contentious.  This is very difficult because the Rashi on verse 9 said that God told Moshe that God is not allowing Moshe to be the sole leader because God made the Jewish people superior and elevated them higher than the judges.

Another question is that the first Rashi on Verse 12 says, Even if I were to say, “I will do so in order to receive a reward,” I cannot do so. This is what I have already said to you, “Not by my own decision do I tell you [that I am unable to bear your trouble], but by the command of God.

What does it mean, even if I were to say, I will do so in order to receive a reward, why would Moshe want a reward, leaders do not ask for a reward, they want to do the right thing, they are leaders.

The Gur Aryeh on this Verse asks this question and another one, and explains Rashi

Final questions on Verse 15, Rashi says what does it mean “So I took the heads of your tribes, . . .” – “I attracted them through fine words: “How fortunate you are! Over whom are you to be appointed? Over he children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – over the children of people who are called brothers and friends, God’s portion and inheritance and every term of endearment.

In verse 12 Rashi says that Moshe severely criticized the people, saying they fight, are heretics, and are burdensome and to attract the judges he says the people are great.

There is a beautiful Mesh Chochma, on Verse 9 which is in line with the Gur Aryeh. The Meshech Chocma is Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk (1843 -1926), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meir_Simcha_of_Dvinsk. My daughter was in Michlala and she bought me the Meshech Chocma edition with Rabbi Cooperman’s footnotes. The Meshech Chocma is a difficult Sefer to understand and Rabbi Cooperman opened up the Sefer with his footnotes.

Reb Meir Simcha says:

Verse 9 is can be explained in the following manner: A person who is blessed with wealth and children. He has problems raising his kids, from his business. He says, how great are these problems from you. God should give you, my children and grandchildren the same problems.   This is what Moshe the faithful servant said , God increased you and made you like the stars of the heaven, in numbers and greatness almost as if by miracles.  So should all leaders say about you and complain how difficult it is because that is their job. They are not complaining, but saying thank you Hashem for giving me this opportunity to lead the Jewish people.

As Rabbi Cooperman says, Moshe is really blessing the Jewish people. There are always problems and only because of the problems can we be leaders.

Rabbi Samson Raphael says on Verse 12 that these three negative attributes are not specific to the Jews in the desert, but to all nations, like the Gur Aryeh and the Meshech Chocma.

Dr. Ungar added the following:

http://www.jyungar.com/theological-essays/2012/4/27/the-space-upon-which-the-torah-hinges.html

Submitted on 2015/07/26 at 6:15 PM

Rashi has a different definition of apikorus…

“troubles” meaning litigious and using the legal system to further business aims…
“burdensome” means apikoris (like the targum)..here it means alsways questioning the leader’s motives….ie the definition of true heresy…

Heresy is any provocative belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs. A heretic is a proponent of such claims or beliefs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one’s religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion.

However the Rambam made apikorsus into apostasy.

has anyone done a study on the difference between the French and Spanish Jewish theologies?
( I would argue that being exposed to Arabic philosophy the JEws of Spain were more inclined to arguing about doctrine.)

How can I bear…all by myself?: [Even] if I were to say, “I will do so in order to receive a reward,” I cannot do so. This is what I have already said to you, “Not by my own decision do I tell you [that I am unable to bear your trouble], but by the command of the Holy One, blessed is He.”

איכה אשא לבדי: אם אומר לקבל שכר לא אוכל, זו היא שאמרתי לכם לא מעצמי אני אומר לכם, אלא מפי הקדוש ברוך הוא:
your trouble: This teaches us that the Israelites were troublesome [people]; if one saw his opponent in a lawsuit about to win, he would say, “I have [other] witnesses to bring, [more] evidence to introduce, I [will exercise my right to] add judges to you [in your tribunal]”.

טרחכם: מלמד שהיו ישראל טרחנין. היה אחד מהם רואה את בעל דינו נוצח בדין, אומר יש לי עדים להביא, יש לי ראיות להביא, מוסיף אני עליכם דיינין:
and your burden: This teaches that they [the Israelites] were heretics: If Moses was early leaving his tent they would say, “Why does the son of Amram leave so early? Perhaps he is not at ease inside his house?” If he left late, they would say, “Why does the son of Amram not leave? What do you think? He is [probably] sitting and devising evil schemes against you, and is thinking up plots against you. [Other editions of Rashi have”commandments and reckonings.”]

ומשאכם: מלמד שהיו אפיקורסין. הקדים משה לצאת, אמרו, מה ראה בן עמרם לצאת, שמא אינו שפוי בתוך ביתו. איחר לצאת, אמרו, מה ראה בן עמרם שלא לצאת, מה אתם סבורים, יושב ויועץ עליכם עצות רעות וחושב עליכם מחשבות:
and your strife: This teaches that they [the Israelites] were contentious (Sifrei).

LEADERSHIP

SHABBOS – PARSHAS PINCHOS – 24 TAMMUZ 5775 – July 11, 2015:

LEADERSHIP:

20 Tammuz – 5664 – July 3, 1904 – Yahrzietof Binyomin Tzvi Ben Yaakov – Theodore Herzl

22 Tammuz- 5666 – July 17, 1873 – Yahrzeit of Admor Dovid Morgenstern. Second Kotzker Rebbe.

29 Tammuz – 5700 – August 4, 1940 – Yahrzeit of Ze’ev Jabotinsky

Parshas Pinchos Chapter 27, Verses 15-23 talks about leadership. Parshas Pinchos is blanketed by the Yahrzeits of Herzl and Jabotinsky, with my Zedi’s Yahrzeit in the middle. Herzl and Jabotinsky were secular and not accepted by many in the Torah world. Yet they were great people whose mission was to save Jews. The tragedy is that many in the Torah world refused to understand them. Others understood their message.   My Zedi and all the Kotzker children understood leadership, the responsibilities, and worked for the betterment of all the Jews. Reb Dovid’s son in 1885 tried to go to Israel and change everything to save the Jews in Europe. He understood the right things to do because he had Shimosh from his grandfather, the Kotzker Rebbe, and his father, Admor Dovid Morgenstern.

These three people should be MiLeitz Yosher for all Jews.

This Shabbos I went through the first half of Parsha Pinchos and tried to get a foothold in the parsha. I focused on Chapter 27, Verses 15-23. The storyline is that Moshe and Eliezer counted the nation of Israel and said these 601,730 men over 20 years old will inherit the land of Israel.   The five daughters of Zlaphchad go to Moshe and say , “why should our father’s name be eliminated from his family because he has no sons, give us an inheritance.” The next storyline is that God tells Moshe “go up to the mountain of Averim and look at the land. You will die and you are not going into Israel.” After Moshe is told you are not going to Israel, he asks for God to appoint a successor. When you read these nine verses, it is a beautiful story. One leader passed the leadership to the next generation’s leader. However, Hebrew words have nuances and there are Midrashim that give color.

15Moses spoke to the Lord, saying:

16“Let the Lord, the God of spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,

17who will go forth before them and come before them, who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the congregation of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”
18The Lord said to Moses, “Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, a man of spirit, and you shall lay your hand upon him.

19And you shall present him before Eleazar the Kohen and before the entire congregation, and you shall command him in their presence.

20You shall bestow some of your majesty upon him so that all the congregation of the children of Israel will take heed

21He shall stand before Eleazar the Kohen and seek [counsel from] him through the judgment of the Urim before the Lord. By his word they shall go, and by his word they shall come; he and all Israel with him, and the entire congregation.”

22Moses did as the Lord had commanded him, and he took Joshua and presented him before Eleazar the Kohen and before the entire congregation.

23He laid his hands upon him and commanded him, in accordance with what the Lord had spoken to Moses

Rashi on Verse 15 speaks in praise of Moshe and says.:

Moses spoke to the Lord…: This [verse comes] to let us know the virtues of the righteous, for when they are about to depart from the world, they disregard their own needs and occupy themselves with the needs of the community. — [Sifrei Pinchas 23] וידבר משה אל ה’ וגו’: להודיע שבחן של צדיקים שכשנפטרין מן העולם מניחין צרכן ועוסקין בצרכי צבור:
saying: He said to Him, “Answer me whether You are appointing a leader for them or not.” – [Sifrei Pinchas 23] לאמר: אמר לו השיבני אם אתה ממנה להם פרנס אם לאו:

Moshe wants an answer from God. Moshe didn’t merely ask, but said in a harsher tone, I want an answer. The Orach Chaim Hakodosh speaks about this and really does not answer.  Chazal say that there were 4 times that Moshe asked something from God and wanted an answer. All were when the nation of Israel was in trouble.

I can understand why Moshe talked harshly saying, I demand an answer. Leadership is critical. Throughout our history leaders have failed. After King Solomon dies, the Jewish people had a series of bad leaders leading to disastrous results. In our own day and age, the great leaders after the Holocaust rebuild Jewry.  Unfortunately there were those who despite their greatness felt a need to disparage other leaders.   Pre WW II, when Europe was burning there were those leaders who understood that the salvation for Jewry was Eretz Yisroel. In the 1880s Admor Dovid Morgenstern’s son, Reb Chaim Yisroel M’Pilav understood this and tried to change the dynamic. The Meshech Chocmoh understood this and while not directly agreeing with Rabbi Avraham Yitzchok Kook, agreed in principal with him. In secular Jewry, Herzl changed everything and in the heavens they were praying that Herzl would succeed. Jabotinsky also got it. Many, many Gedolim understood it, but could not make the necessary changes. The Agudah got it in 1937.

Rashi on Verse 16 seems to contradict the above and that Moshe was asking for selfish reasons.

Artscroll put the two together and says that Moshe desired a successor and he truly felt that he son could be that person. It was a benign request of God. However, the language used by the Medresh Tanchuma Sefrei is harsh, as if Rashi is saying time for me to take care of my own. After all, the opening Rashi on Verse 15 is also harsh.

 Verse 16:

Let the Lord… appoint: When Moses heard that the Omnipresent told him to give Zelophehad’s inheritance to his daughters, he said, “It is time to ask for my own needs-that my son should inherit my high position.” The Holy One, blessed is He, said to him, That is not My intention, for Joshua deserves to be rewarded for his service, for he “would not depart from the tent” (Exod. 33:11). This is what Solomon meant when he said, “He who guards the fig tree eats its fruit” (Prov. 27:18). – [Mid. Tanchuma Pinchas 11],

Another question on Rashi – You would think that Moshe would have thought to ask for his sons to succeed him would have happened after Moshe heard that he is going to die. Perhaps Rashi means both.

Another question – Rashi says that Joshua was rewarded for his service. Does this mean that Joshua was a worthy leader, or with  Moshe by laying his hands on Joshua thereby passing the mantle of leadership, and this instilled in Joshua a leadership force.  (The magic wand). The Ksav Sofer says that Joshua was a capable leader. A person to become a leader must have “Shimosh”. He must learn and observe from a teacher, a leader and once he absorbed all that he saw, how his teacher treated people, how people asked questions, then he can succeed him. Joshua observed all this. Not only that we know that Joshua led the fight against Amalek, Exodus 17, Verses 9 and 10. Joshua was this person through his dedication to Moshe.

 Verse 17:

Verse 17 repeats itself. The leader is to take the people out and lead them back in twice. What does it mean “and back in”.

The final Verse that can be questioned:

 Verse 19:

יט  וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ לִפְנֵי אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וְלִפְנֵי כָּל הָעֵדָה וְצִוִּיתָה אֹתוֹ לְעֵינֵיהֶם:

19And you shall present him before Eleazar the kohen and before the entire congregation, and you shall command him in their presence.

Rashi says:

And you shall command him: Concerning Israel; be aware that they are troublesome and obstinate. [You accept office] on condition that you take upon yourself [all this]. – [See Sifrei Beha’alothecha 42]

This command was said in their presence”. In front of the entire congregation Moshe told Joshua they are troublesome and obstinate. We have a beautiful moment and the people of Israel are criticized. Why say anything negative at this time. Joshua saw everything that Moshe went through and knows all this. If you want to criticize, put a positive spin on it. Why not say, yes that are troublesome, but they are a holy nation, well worth the sacrifice. They are a great people. Maybe that is what was actually said.

It appears that this Rashi is his own explanation.   My initial reaction is that Rashi is focusing on the words        לְעֵינֵיהֶם   “in their presence”, even though it is not part of the Divrei Hamaschil of Rashi.    This word is extra because the Verse already said that Joshua is standing before the entire congregation.

On initial glance Rashi appears to be rebuking the Jewish people. The Ranban asks this question on Rashi and says that these words of rebuke were not said in front of the people. But rather privately to Joshua.   We still have to understand Rashi.

I was looking in Rabbi Munk’s Sefer and I noticed something. The same word,   לְעֵינֵיהֶם is used five Verses earlier when God told Moshe the reason why Moshe will not be going into Israel with the Jewish people , “ because Moshe did not  to sanctify Me through the water before their eyes   “לְעֵינֵיהֶם“.

I believe that Rashi agrees with the Ranban,  but Rashi is telling us that God told Moshe to command Joshua about the “לְעֵינֵיהֶם “. Remember what happened to me, how I let my anger get the better of me and was punished, do not let this happen to you.   This was not done publicly, but privately.   This verse is explained both ways.   Pashut Pshat like the Ranban, but the deeper explanation is that privately Moshe told Joshua, this is serious business. You will be provoked, etc.