Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi Eisenstock – Scholars in Residence
This past Wednesday, June 8th, we drove to Toronto. We dropped Chani off at Midway airport at 3:30 PM and left to Toronto. We got to Toronto at 3:00 AM Thursday morning. Tough drive. Serka drove the last two hours.
Friday June 10, 2022 – BAYT’s Shabbos booklet:
I read in the above Shabbos Booklet that this week at the BAYT they have scholars in residence, Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi (Eisenstock). I was very excited and planned to attend the Tisch Friday night.
Rav Yair received his rabibnic ordination from the Rabbinate of Israel and Yehsivat Hamivtar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshivat_HaMivtar, as well as a B. Ed and a M. Ed Degree in Talmud and Tanach form the Herzog College. Rav Yair was a director of the overseas Program at Yeshivat Hesder Otniel where he also served as Ram to both Israeli and overseas first year students. Rav Yair went to work at Yeshivat Orayta where he served as Director of Informal Education, a Ram and Rosh Kollel in the Yeshiva. During the summers Rav Yair has been involved in Bnei Akiva programs and worked with the Kol HaNearim program. He also served in the Infantry Corps in the IDF.:
Tanya Halevi Bio:
Tanya is the director of the Kol Hanearim organization that works with Emunah Children’s homes in Israel. Prior to this, Tanya worked at Midreshet HaROva, as well as Ulpanat Orot whirle she and her husband were here on Shlichut in Toronto. Tanya has a B. Sc and a B. Opt and has done numerous educational seminars. Her and her family have recently moved to the Dagan in Efrat. Maiden name is Glassman.
Shabbos Friday night:
Davened at the BAYT. Ate and went to the Tisch at 9:30 PM, by Steven and Alina Mayers, 49 Michael Crt.. I was surprised. I thought the tisch would be crowded and it was relatively full, but not standing-room only. There were a few middle aged people and quite a few kids in their late teens and early 20s, which made sense. Rav Yair was a teacher at Orach Chaim, the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Toronto when he and his wife were Shiluchim. I looked around and looked at myself. There is alway a question on IQ tests in which you are shown 4 things and you have to answer which does not belong. It was a Beni Akiva crowd, a lot of Kippah Seruga’s. I was wearing a black hat, and older than everyone else. When you looked around the room, I was clearly the one who did not belong. However, I wanted to speak and as the night went on, I looked at Rav Yai and said, I bet you are wondering who I am. I asked to speak and spoke for about 15 minutes discussing the original Chassidic masters. The next day Tanya Halevi thanked dme for speaking. It was Leibadic with lots of singing. Tanya Halevi spoke at the Tisch and she told a great story about her husband.
The evening was inspirational.
Shabbos Morning, June 12, 2022:
Davened in the building’s minyan. Minyan was outside and it was beautiful. After Davening went to the BAYT to hear Rabbi Yair. Spoke about Birchas Kohanim. There was an Auf Ruf in Shul. Noah Zionce ismarring Eliana Grunbaum. Went to the Kiddush and had some good Potato Kugel. Tanya HaLevi told me she enjoyed my speech. On the way home I spoke to Rabbi Chaim Metzger about the Aleppo Codex. He was familiar with it and we had a spirited discussion. He is the Rabbinic intern at the BAYT and is moving to Israel at the end of the summer. He is applying for jobs but has nothing yet.
Had the Shabbos meal. Then went to Alesha and Mordy Rothman for a second meal. They had good Spanish rice and Chinese chicken. Afterwards Alesha Rothman came to visit Bubi. Overall a great Sahabbos.
Torah from Shabbos: I learned the first Kli Yakar on the Parsha.
נשא את ראש בני גרשון. היה לו למנות תחילה את בני גרשון הבכור, ומה שרצו לתקן זה במדרש הרבתי (ו א) לומר שלפי שנמסר משא הארון אל קהת ע”כ מנאו תחילה לכבוד הארון היא גופא קשיא למה לא מסר משא הארון אל הבכור לכבדו ביתר שאת ועוז התורה אשר לה משפט הבכורה.
והקרוב אלי לומר בזה, שרצה הקב”ה להראות שכבוד חכמים ינחלו the wise will inherit honor- כדי ללמד דעת את העם שיכבדו את לומדי התורה ולקרא לקדוש ה’ מכובד לקדשו בכל דבר שבקדושה, כדרך שמנה את קהת תחילה בעבור משא דבר ה’ אשר אתו ואילו היה נותן הארון לגרשון הבכור הייתי אומר שבעבור הבכורה מנאו תחילה ולא הייתי תולה החשיבות במשא הארון ע”כ מסר הארון אל קהת ומנאו תחילה וידעו הכל ליתן כבוד לתורה וללומדיה. אך מדסמך בעל המדרש ענין זה לפסוק יקרה היא מפנינים (משלי ג טו) she is more precious than rubies – כדאיתא ברבתי ודאי כוונתו להורות שכתר תורה הפקר לכל וע”כ לא ניתן הארון אל הבכור שלא יהיה תפארתו לומר אני ראוי לכתר תורה יתר מזולתי אלא הכל שוין בה לכך נאמר יקרה היא מפנינים. היינו מכ”ג שנכנס לפני ולפנים כי לכתר כהונה אין זוכה כ”א מי שהוא מזרע אהרן אבל כתר תורה הפקר לכל והכל זוכין אליו, ויקרה היא מפנינים, מכתר מלכות שיש לו זהב ורב פנינים ואין זוכה בו כ”א מי שהוא מזרע דוד אבל לכתר תורה הכל זוכין ומטעם זה דרש ברבתי יקרה היא מפנינים מן הבכורה כד”א וזאת לפנים בישראל, (רות ד ז) כי אל הבכורה אין זוכה כ”א מי שנולד ראשונה אבל לתורה הכל זוכין. ד”א לכן לא ניתן משא הארון אל הבכור שלא תזוח דעתו עליו ביותר. וי”א הטעם לפי שמן קהת יצאו משה ואהרן מקבלי התורה.
Take the count. The likely explanation for this is that the Holy One wanted to show that “the wise shall inherit honor.” The nation needed to be taught that they should honor those that study Torah, and that “the holy of Hashem should be honored,” to give them precedence in every matter of holiness. Thus, Kehos was counted first because they carried the Aron with the word of Hashem. If the Aron had been given to Gershon, the firstborn, and his family was counted first, we might have thought he was counted first because he was the firstborn and we would not have attached the importance to being the bearers of the Aron. Therefore, the Aron was given to Kehos and he was counted first. Thus, all would know to give honor to the Torah and those who study it. Another explanation: The task of carrying the Aron was not given to the firstborn so that he would not become haughty. Some say the reason Kehos was counted first is because of Moshe and Aharon, who received the Torah, and were descended from Kehos.
Rabbi Judah said: be careful in study, for an error in study counts as deliberate sin. Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the crown of torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty, but the crown of a good name supersedes them
What does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them? Is the crown of a good name a fourth crown. Most people are naturally nice and there is nothing special that he or she does, so what does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them. I agree that perhaps in the time of Chazal most people were nasty because life was tough. The Kli Yakur and the Medresh in Nasso does not talk about the crown of a good name? The Miforshim say that the Crown of a good name is not a separate crown, The Mishna means that the above three crowns mean nothing unless the king, Cohen, and Talmud Chachom are good people and do good deeds.
Can the Mishna be understood that a good name exceeds that of the crown of Torah or is it only good for speeches, “he is a good guy”? I do not know. I have to look up the Kotzker.
I davened by Bnei Ruvain. The Benjamins were making a Seudas Hodah for the recovery of their son (Refael) Mechail Benjamin, who last Rosh Hashanah suffered burns over 55% of his body. Michail looks good. Aryah Benjamin, the father, spoke for 45 minutes adn talked about the ordeal the family went through, the community support, the time the hospital doctors said,all is lost, and the miracles. Aryah said that Michael always does things right. When he burnt himself over 55% of his body, it was the right 55%. The doctor was Dr. Schwartz who decided to put in Michael’s neck a third PICC line. . A PICC line is a thin, soft, long catheter (tube) that is inserted into a vein in your child’s arm, leg or neck. The tip of the catheter is positioned in a large vein that carries blood into the heart. The PICC line is used for long-term intravenous (IV) antibiotics, nutrition or medications, and for blood draws. Oxygen was not getting into Michael”s body and his organs started shutting down. Dr. Schwartz decided to put in a second oxygenator through the third PICC line. Dr. Schwartz said that in all of his 30 years of his burn ward practice he never put ina third PICC line or a second oxygenator. An oxygenator is a medical device that is capable of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood of a human patient during surgical procedures that may necessitate the interruption or cessation of blood flow in the body, a critical organ or great blood vessel.
Cheryl Steiner came in from Toronto to be with the family.
I saw the beautiful Kotzker below. The Kotzker is self explanatory. The Kotzker speaks to the human condition. The Yeshiva world explains this Medresh that Dovid would always end up in the Bais Medrash and not do the work he had to do. The Kotzker asks, cannot be. If King David wanted to go to look at the defenses of Yerushalim or look at the waterworks, that is where he went.
Notice in the answer, the Kotzker says that when Dovid went to do his physical labor בּעסקים הגשמיים- with a חשבּון-, he had an increased desire to learn and delve into the Torah. The Kotzker does not define בּחשבּון and we are free to interpret. Most of us would interpret with the understanding that Dovid was working on behalf of the nation of Israel and therefore was doing Hashem’s work. You could say with a little twist that once we do work that helps ourselves, our people, and humanity, we connect to Hashem and to his Torah.
I also worked on the first Pasuk of the Parsha. Verse 26:3 says:
I never realized that both ideas in the Pasuk according to Rashi talk about studying Torah diligently. I looked at the Mizrachi and Sefisei Chacomin who talk about this.
אם בחקותי תלכו יכול זה קיום מצות כשהוא אומר ועשיתם אותם הרי קיום מצות אמר הא מה אני מקיים אם בחקותי תלכו שיהו עמלים בתורה. בתורת כהנים פי’ אם בחקותי תלכו וכן ואת מצותי תשמרו א”א לפרש לא זה ולא זה בקיום המצות שהרי כתוב אחריהם ועשיתם אותם שמורה על קיום המצות א”כ עכ”ל דאם בחקותי תלכו ואת מצותי תשמרו תרויהו ביהו עמלים בתורה קמיירי אלא דחד מנייהו בסתם עמלין וחד מינייהו בעמלין על מנת לשמור ולקיים:
כמו שנאמר ולמדתם אותם ושמרתם לעשותם. דשמירה בלב משמע שישמרו בלבם בעת שהם עמלים בה לעשות כל האמור בה וזהו ששנו בתורת כהנים וכה”א זכור את יום השבת לקדשו יכול בלבך כשהוא אומר שמור הרי שמירת הלב אמורה הא מה אני מקיים זכור שתהא שונה בפיך:
הרי קיום מצות. ה”ג כשהוא אומר ועשיתם אותם הרי קיום מצות אמור וכו’ ואם כן פירוש ואם בחקותי תלכו בעמלים סתם ואת מצותי תשמרו בעמליים ע”מ לשמור ולקיים:
שתהיו עמלים בתורה. מדכתיב תלכו ולא כתיב תלמדו אלא ללמד שתלכו אחר דרש חכמים: [נח”י] דייק מדכתיב תלכו דכיוצא בזה מצינו לשון הליכה בירמיה על עזבם את תורתי ולא הלכו בה. וכמו הוי כל צמא לכו למים שמורה על התעסקות בתורה:
ע”מ לשמור. רצונו בזה דהא אחרי כן כתיב ונתתי גשמיכם וגו’ והוי משמע שיתעסקו בתורה ע”מ שיקבלו שכר והלא אמרו רז”ל אל תהיו כעבדים המשמשין את הרב ע”מ לקבל פרס ל”פ ע”מ לקיים כמו שנ’ ולמדתם אותם ושמרתם לעשותם דמשמע שישמרו בלב בעת שעמלים בה לעשות כל האמור בה:
Rabbi Revah is learning Chovos Halevavos in Shiur. The portion we are learning today deals with the reasons why the Torah does not describe the reward for doing Mitzvos are in the next world. The Chovos Halevavos says that certain great Tzadikiem who are already attached to the next world are shown their reward in the next world. He brings down a Pasuk in Zechariah that says that Yehoshua Cohen Gadol was shown his reward in the next world because he understood what the next world is all about. The Chovos Halevavos writes:
אחד הטעמים הוא: מפּני שׁאין אנו משׂיגים איזה צורה ישׁ לנפשׁ כּשׁהיא בּלי גוף, ומכּל שׁאין בּכחנו להשׂיג איזה דברים גורמים לה תענוג וצער כּשׁהיא בּמצב זה, וה׳ פּרשׁ את הדברים הללו רק למי שׁמבין את הענין הזה, כמו שׁאמר ה׳ ליהושׁע הכּהן הגדול (זכריה ג ז): ונתתי לך מהלכים בּין העמדים האלה (עג)
We see that the reward for great people, great Tzadikim in the next world, is to be an angel on a higher level than angels who were created by God. Angels created by God are called עומדים. They are stationary, they cannot go up in levels of spirituality. People are called מהלכים because humans can go up and up in levels of Holiness, by doing MItzvos, learning Torah and connecting to God. Yehoshua Cohen Gadal will be better than an angel. He will be an angel directory connected to God with the ability to continue to grow.
When I heard this piece from the Chovovs Haelaovos, I told Rabbi Revah that this is the source of the Kotzker on Chanoch. The Kotzker learned the Chovos Halevavos, refer to Page 4..
The Chumash says in Bereshis 5:24 – וַיִּתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ חֲנ֖וֹךְ אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִ֑ים וְאֵינֶ֕נּוּ כִּֽי־לָקַ֥ח אֹת֖וֹ אֱלֹהִֽים׃.
The Kotzker Rebbe asks on Rashi, how can you say that Chanoch was Kal Bidato, when Chanoch became the angel מט״ט? Since Chanoch became the angel Mitat, it must be that Chanoch was a great Tzadick in this world. How do we understand Rashi who seems to diminish Chanoch? We see from the Chovos Halevavos and the Pasuk in Zechariah that great Tzaddikim become high level angels. This I believe is the source of Kotzker’s question. If Chanoch became the high level Metat, Chanoch must have been a great Tzaddik.
In my Shabbos October 26, 2019 Blog Post on this Kotzker I explained the Kotzker Vort on Chanoch and I added an addendum about Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach.
Much Earlier Blog Post:
Chanoch walked with God then he was no more, for God took him. Rashi explains that Chanoch was a righteous man, but his mind was easily induced to turn from his righteous ways and to become wicked, God therefore took him away quickly and made him die before his full time.
It appears to be very difficult to anyone who reads this Rashi. Is it possible to say about Chanoch who was the angel “Mitat”, the official angel of the inner sanctum of God, was heaven forbid easily influenced to do evil.
The Kotzker continues that it seems that the explanation is just the opposite – it was easy for Chanoch to speak to the heart of a sinner to leave his path of wickedness. God was therefore afraid through Chanoch that free choice (in the world) would be gone; therefore He hastened to remove Chanoch from this world before his time. Meaning Chanoch was a super Lubavitcher Rebbe. (Source Lekutai Magadim, Volume 1 (Page 11A).
Wow. The Kotzker turns Rashi 180 degrees and says that Rashi is talking in praise of Chanoch.
A few years ago Rabbi Pilchik told me the above Vort and said the below follow-up in the name of an anonymous Rebi. Rabbi Ephraim Twerski confirmed the Vort and told me that it was his Zedi, the Dizikor Rebbe.
The followup by Rabbi Pilchik – The night after saying the Vort the Dzikov Rebbe had a dream where Rashi appeared to the Dizikor Rebbe and thanked him for the explanation. Rashi told him that when Rashi saw Chanoch in the next world, they did not look at each other because Rashi disparaged Chanoch. Now that you explained what I said regarding Chanoch that he was a complete Tzadik, we are friendly. After Rabbi Pilchik and Rabbi Twerski told me this Vort, I found the Vort in this Sefer and also in the name of the Kotzker’s son, Admor Dovid Morgenstern TZL (1809-1873), and was ecstatic. The Kotzker lived from 1787-1859.
Perhaps both interpretations in Rashi can be true at the same time. The more a Tzadik and people are out in the world interacting with people, the more he can be susceptible to be negatively influenced by the people and society he is trying to help, especially if they are speaking to the inner Neshmah of that person. Perhaps you can say something similar to what happened to Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach and this is why Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s music is greater than ever, because it came from a holy place.
This Maamer lends an important insight into the Kotzker. He was always looking to find the positive and good in everyone and everything. I have found that this mindset influences the writings, ideas, and thoughts of his descendants.
The following is from the Sefer Amud Haemes, page 248: Rabinu is the Kotzker.
So said the God of the Hosts. If you walk in My paths and keep My charge, and you in turn will rule over my house, and guard My courts; then after your death and you go up to the heavens, I will make you a מהלך among the עומדין – the עומדין refers to the Seraphim and administering angels whose level is fixed. However, Yehoshua Cohen Gadol will be a מהלך, able to go on higher and higher levels of holiness.
The PIschai Lev, a Perush on the Chovos Halevavos, says that בֵּ֥ין הָעֹמְדִ֖ים הָאֵֽלֶּה׃ refer to the Se to the Seraphim and the administering angel. Actual words of Rashi and Metzudas Dovid –
The Metzudas Dovid says –
ונתתי לך מהלכים. ר״ל ומלבד זאת לא יקופח שכרם בעולם הנשמות כי אתן להם מהלכים וטיולים בין המלאכים האלה העומדים פה כמ״ש למעלה ויאמר אל העומדים לפניו :
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 (1) 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.
(1) May 25, 2022: I just found this piece of information on Shlomo Zalman Shragai from his grandson, Nadav Shragai.
(May 24, 2022 / Israel Hayom) Some 77 years ago, the Chief Rabbi of the Jews of the Land of Israel, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog—Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s grandfather—entered one of Europe’s convents and categorically demanded that the mother superior release Jewish children who were hidden there during the Holocaust.
“There are no Jewish children here,” she said innocently, but the rabbi insisted, and the children of the Christian institution were brought into the courtyard and arranged in rows before the rabbi and his entourage.
According to the testimony of my grandfather, Shlomo Zalman Shragai, who accompanied Rav Herzog on this trip—as mentioned in Rabbi Haim Sabato’s book Be-Shafrir Chevyon—the rabbi asked, “Who here is Jewish?” several times, but was met with total silence. His entourage encouraged him to leave for the next convent in order to search for more Jewish children; but then, a moment before they left, Rabbi Herzog suddenly wandered amongst the rows of children and shouted out loud: “Shema Yisrael, Hashem Eloheinu, Hashem Ehad” (“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One”). The small hands of seven children rose of their own accord in order to cover their eyes, and the rabbi shouted in excitement: “They’re Jews, this is how their mothers taught them.”
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.