September 23, 2022 – 27 Elul 5782: Shabbos Parshas Netzvim

Shabbos Parshas Netzvim

Torah for Rosh Hashanah 2022

Medresh Moshe 1906, Page 131 – Simanim

I hope I captured in my translation of this Maamor and in my speech the essence of my great Uncle, Moshe Mordechai Morgenstern, known as the Pilaver Rebbe.

וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: . . . אֶלָּא: לָמָּה תּוֹקְעִין וּמְרִיעִין כְּשֶׁהֵן יוֹשְׁבִיןוְת וֹקְעִין וּמְרִיעִין כְּשֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין כְּדֵי לְעַרְבֵּב הַשָּׂטָן.

Friday night we ate by the Glenners and had a great Shabbos meal.  They always put out a great spread.  

Shabbos morning the first time since my stroke back in late June, I walked to Anshei Shalom and davened.  Spoke to Mateo Aceves, who told me his wife is just about due.  She had a baby boy on Wednesday, September 29th, 2022.  Rabbi Wolkenfled’s speech was about the word “Hayom” mentioned twenty times in this week’s Sedra.    I then walked to Chabad.  The Kiddush was excellent.  Marcel’s daughter recently had a baby girl and he sponsored the Kiddush.  There were ten people at the Shiur; Paul, Avigail, Tamar, Ray, Herb, Peggy and Sid, Mia, Lisa and myself.   I spoke out the below Medresh Moshe.  I also said a new translation of the words   לְעַרְבֵּב הַשָּׂטָן used in Talmud Rosh Hashana 16B different than the plain meaning.  Plain meaning is to confuse the Satan; however, Rashi seems to say to silence, and I want to translate to sweeten based on the Midrash Moshe, similar to the word  והערב  in Bircas Hatorah.

After the speech I went to my son’s apartment and slept.  Went for Maariv to Anshei Shalom.  After Shabbos  I walked home.  At 4100 N. Clark, a car stopped and asked if everything was okay.  I asked to use his phone and asked if he could drive me home.  He did and we had a  number of delightful conversations.  We talked about Torah, Gettysburg, America, his parents and his life.  His name is Jan – John W. Dressel.  He is a Navy contractor and specializes in asbestos removal.  Overall a very pleasant Shabbos.

The below Gemora in Horayos 12A brings down three related ideas about סימנים – omens :

1) Braissa that says kings are anointed only by a spring.  A spring is always flowing and it is an omen that the king’s monarchy should endure.  Proof is a Pasuk in Kings 1 when Dovid instructed his son Shlomo to be anointed king.

2) Rav Ami – talks about a test to see if one will be successful

3) Abaya who says we eat certains types of specific foods for us to have a good omen, 

The Gemora in Horayos from Sefaria:

ת”ר אין מושחים את המלכים אלא על המעיין כדי שתמשך מלכותם שנא’ (מלכים א א, לג) ויאמר המלך להם קחו עמכם את עבדי אדוניכם [וגו’] והורדתם אותו אל גחון The Sages taught: One anoints the kings only upon a spring, as an omen, so that their kingdom will continue like a spring, as it is stated with regard to the coronation of Solomon before the death of David: “And the king said unto them: Take with you the servants of your lord, and let Solomon my son ride upon my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon. And let Tzadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there king over Israel and sound the shofar and say: Long live King Solomon” (I Kings 1:33–34).

אמר רבי אמי האי מאן דבעי לידע אי מסיק שתיה אי לא ניתלי שרגא בעשרה יומי דבין ראש השנה ליום הכפורים בביתא דלא נשיב זיקא אי משיך נהוריה נידע דמסיק שתיה § Apropos good omens, the Gemara cites a statement that 

Rabbi Ami said: This person who seeks to know if he will complete his year or if he will not, i.e., whether or not he will remain alive in the coming year, let him light a lamp, during the ten days that are between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, in a house in which wind does not blow. If its light continues to burn, he knows that he will complete his year.

ומאן דבעי למיעבד בעיסקא ובעי למידע אי מצלח אי לא מצלח לירבי תרנגולא אי שמין ושפר מצלח And one who seeks to conduct a business venture and wishes to know if he will succeed or if he will not succeed, let him raise a rooster. If the rooster grows fat and healthy, he will succeed.

האי מאן דבעי למיפק [לאורחא] ובעי למידע אי חזר ואתי לביתא אי לא ניקום בביתא דחברא אי חזי בבואה דבבואה לידע דהדר ואתי לביתא ולאו מלתא היא דלמא חלשא דעתיה ומיתרע מזליה אמר אביי השתא דאמרת סימנא מילתא היא [לעולם] יהא רגיל למיחזי בריש שתא קרא ורוביא כרתי וסילקא ותמרי One who seeks to embark on a journey and wishes to know if he will return and come to his home or if he will not, let him go to a dark [daḥavara] house. If he sees the shadow of a shadow he shall know that he will return and come home. The Sages reject this: This omen is not a significant matter. Perhaps he will be disheartened if the omen fails to appear, and his fortune will suffer and it is this that causes him to fail. 

אמר אביי השתא דאמרת סימנא מילתא היא [לעולם] יהא רגיל למיחזי בריש שתא קרא ורוביא כרתי וסילקא ותמרי

Abaye said: Now that you said that an omen is a significant matter, a person should always be accustomed to seeing these on Rosh HaShana: Squash, and fenugreek, leeks, and chard, and dates, as each of these grows quickly and serves as a positive omen for one’s actions during the coming year.

Shulchan Aruch  Siman 583 – דברים שנוהגים לאכול בליל ר”ה ובו ב”ס:

יהא אדם רגיל לאכול בראש השנה רוביא דהיינו תלתן כרתי סילקא תמרי קרא וכשיאכל רוביא יאמר יהי רצון שירבו זכיותינו כרתי יכרתו שונאינו סלקא יסתלקו אויבינו תמרי יתמו שונאינו קרא יקרע גזר דיננו ויקראו לפניך זכיותינו: הגה ויש נוהגין לאכול תפוח מתוק בדבש (טור) ואומרים תתחדש עלינו שנה מתוקה (אבודרהם) וכן נוהגין ויש אוכלים רימונים ואומרים נרבה זכיות כרמון ונוהגין לאכול בשר שמן וכל מיני מתיקה: (מרדכי דיומא): (1) One should eat beans, leeks, beets, dates, and pumpkin. And as one eats the beans (rubiya), they say: God, may our merits increase (yirbu)! Eating leeks (karti), they say: God, may our enemies be wiped out (yekartu)! Eating dates (tamri), say: God, may our enemies disappear (yetamu)! Eating pumpkin (kra), say: God, may our judgement be ripped up (yikra) and may our merits be called out (yikrau) before You! RAMA: Some have a custom of eating a sweet apple in honey, and saying: May a sweet year be renewed on us! This is what we do. Some eat pomegranates, and say: may our merits be as many as pomegranate seeds! And we are accustomed to eat fatty meat and all sorts of sweets.

אוכלים ראש כבש לומר נהיה לראש ולא לזנב וזכר לאילו של יצחק: הגה יש מדקדקים שלא לאכול אגוזים שאגוז בגימטריא חט ועוד שהן מרבים כיחה וניעה ומבטלים התפלה (מהרי”ל) והולכין אל הנהר לומר פסוק ותשליך במצולות ים כל חטאתינו וגומר (מנהגים) וגם נוהגים שלא לישן ביום ראש השנה (ירושלמי) ומנהג נכון הוא: Eat a head of a lamb saying: Let us be as a head and not a tail. It is also a remembrance of the ram of Isaac. Rema: There are those who are careful not to eat nuts, as the word “egoz” in gematriah [is equal to the value of] chet (sin). They also cause a lot of excess saliva and phloem and cause abrogation of prayers. They also go to a river and say the verse: And Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19). There are also those who do not sleep during Rosh Hashana during the day, and this is the correct thing to do.

The Medresh Moshe asks:

#1 – It seems that Abayah is basing his law on Reb Ami.  However, Reb Ami’s case is different because his cases are a test which if the test is successful, he will be successful in his endeavor.  How can Abayeh prove his point from Reb Ami.  How is eating Rubya – fenugreek a good sign that our merits should increase or our enemies should be destroyed.  There is no test.

The Drisha on Orach Chaim 583:

סימנא מילתא היא ק”ק מאי ענין סימנא דאביי לסימנא דרבה דבשלמא סימנא דרבה י”ל כיון שרואה שהנר דולק יפה והתרנגול משמן שפיר יכול לידע שהש”י הסכים עמו להיות לו לסימן טוב אבל בהאי דאכל כרתי ואתרוגא ואינך מאי סימנא מילתא שייך לומר ביה וי”ל דלאו לדמות אתא אביי אלא ה”ק השתא דאמרת סימנא מילתא בעלמא היא ולית ביה משום ניחוש א”כ בהאי נמי לית ביה משום ניחוש ומותר וכ”פ בתשובת הגאונים והביא הג”ה במנהגים ז”ל ומנהג לאכול מתיקה ואין בוה משום ניחוש מרדכי ריש יומא עכ”ל: 

#2 – Reb Ami’s statement was rejected by the Gemora so how can Abayeh use Reb Ami for his Halacha.

#3 – Why didn’t Abayah bring his proof from a Mishna in Chulin 83A:

 בארבעה פרקים בשנה המוכר בהמה לחבירו צריך להודיעו אמה מכרתי לשחוט בתה מכרתי לשחוט ואלו הן ערב יום טוב האחרון של חג וערב יום טוב הראשון של פסח וערב עצרת וערב ראש השנה וכדברי רבי יוסי הגלילי אף ערב יום הכפורים בגליל

ערב יו”ט האחרון של חג – הא דלא נקט (יום) הראשון של חג לפי שהם טרודים במצות לולב וסוכה ואין להם פנאי להרבות בסעודות וי”מ דבהנך ארבעה פרקים טעמא רבה אית בהו יו”ט האחרון של חג לפי שהוא זמן בפ”ע וחלוק משלפניו תקנו להרבות בסעודה משא”כ בשביעי של פסח וגם הקרבנות שבשמיני היו בשביל ישראל וכל החג היו מקריבין נגד העובדי כוכבים וערב פסח לפי שהוא יום גאולה ויציאה לחירות ועצרת כדאמרינן בפרק אלו דברים (פסחים דף סח:) הכל מודים בעצרת דבעינן נמי לכם ור”ה מפני שהוא תחלת השנה מרבים בסעודה לעשות סימן יפה וכמה עניני’ עושים בו לסימן יפה כדאמר במסכת הוריות (דף יב.) וכריתות (דף ה:):

The Medresh Moshe answers the three questions:

Abayah is really referring back to the Braissa about kings being anointed by a stream.  The flow of the Gemora is as follows:

We have the Braissa that Simanim are effective based on a  Pasuk in Kings I verses 1:33 and 1:34.  Comes along Reb Ami and says this type of sign also works.  Even though Reb Ami is pushed off, we see from Reb Ami that signs do work from the fact that Dovid said to take Shlomo down to the Gichon.  The Medresh Moshe continues that Abayah says his thought based on our Braissa.  He used this Brasisa of kings over the Mishna in Chulin 83A because our Braissa is based on a Pasuk vs. using the Mishan is Culin 83A.

In fact the Ein Yakov says directly that Abayeh is referring to the Braissa and not Reb Ami.

The Medresh Moshe continues – why do we need omens and signs. It says תָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה עִ֖ם יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃

“You must be wholehearted with your God יהוה”  The Haga in the Shulchan Aruch says in Chapter 664- Siman 1

כתבו הראשונים ז”ל שיש סימן בצל הלבנה בליל הו”ר מה שיקרה לו או לקרוביו באותה השנה ויש מי שכתב שאין לדקדק בזה כדי שלא ליתרע מזליה גם כי רבים אינם מבינים הענין על בוריו ויותר טוב להיות תמים ולא לחקור עתידות כנ”ל:

The Merdresh Moshe answers by asking a question –

What does anointing kings by a stream have to do with an enduring monarchy? The Torah says how to have a long reign in D’varim Verse 17:19-20 and it is not annoying the King by a stream.

וְהָיְתָ֣ה עִמּ֔וֹ וְקָ֥רָא ב֖וֹ כׇּל־יְמֵ֣י חַיָּ֑יו לְמַ֣עַן יִלְמַ֗ד לְיִרְאָה֙ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֔יו לִ֠שְׁמֹ֠ר אֶֽת־כׇּל־דִּבְרֵ֞י הַתּוֹרָ֥ה הַזֹּ֛את וְאֶת־הַחֻקִּ֥ים הָאֵ֖לֶּה לַעֲשֹׂתָֽם׃ לְבִלְתִּ֤י רוּם־לְבָבוֹ֙ מֵֽאֶחָ֔יו וּלְבִלְתִּ֛י ס֥וּר מִן־הַמִּצְוָ֖ה יָמִ֣ין וּשְׂמֹ֑אול לְמַ֩עַן֩ יַאֲרִ֨יךְ יָמִ֧ים עַל־מַמְלַכְתּ֛וֹ ה֥וּא וּבָנָ֖יו בְּקֶ֥רֶב יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃         

The Medresh Mordechai answers that correct, going to stream by itself is meaningless.  However, Dovid was attempting to “היינו כדי להיות נסמן בּשלמה שצריך מלכותו להמשיך” to reinforce in Shlomo that his kingdom must endure and how does the future king do this? By being faithful to God.   Lessons are more impactful if they are delivered with symbolism.

Similarly this is the purpose of eating the simanim, the special foods on the night of Rosh Hashanah. It it is to awaken in us and  inscribe in our hearts that when we pray for God’s mercy the next day  that we ask in the strongest way possible that we have sufficient merits to give us what we need in life, that harsh decrees against us should be annulled,and we defeat our enemies.   This is a preparation for our davening, at night prior to blowing the Shofar.  As the Pasukim say:

וְהָיָ֥ה טֶֽרֶם־יִקְרָ֖אוּ וַאֲנִ֣י אֶעֱנֶ֑ה ע֛וֹד הֵ֥ם מְדַבְּרִ֖ים וַאֲנִ֥י אֶשְׁמָֽע׃ Before they pray, I will answer;

While they are still speaking, I will respond.

תַּאֲוַ֬ת עֲנָוִ֣ים שָׁמַ֣עְתָּ יְהֹוָ֑ה תָּכִ֥ין לִ֝בָּ֗ם תַּקְשִׁ֥יב אׇזְנֶֽךָ׃ You will listen to the entreaty of the lowly, O LORD,

You will make their hearts firm;  You will incline Your ear.

We can further explain this based on a Gemora in Rosh Hashanah 16B;

וְאָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק: . . . אֶלָּא: לָמָּה תּוֹקְעִין וּמְרִיעִין כְּשֶׁהֵן יוֹשְׁבִיןוְת וֹקְעִין וּמְרִיעִין כְּשֶׁהֵן עוֹמְדִין ,

 Rather, Rabbi Yitzḥak asked about the common practice in Jewish communities, which is not explicitly stated in the Torah: Why does one sound a long, continuous shofar blast [tekia] and then a staccato series of shofar blasts [terua] while the congregation is still sitting before the silent prayer,and then sound again a tekia and a terua while they are standing in the Amida prayer?

The Gemora answers — כְּדֵי לְעַרְבֵּב הַשָּׂטָן.  He answers: In order to confuse Satan, for this double blowing of the shofar demonstrates Israel’s love for the mitzva, and this will confuse Satan when he brings his accusations against Israel before the heavenly court, and the Jewish people will receive a favorable judgment.

Rashi says – כדי לערבב – שלא ישטין כשישמע ישראל מחבבין את המצות מסתתמין דבריו:

Rashi doesn’t say confuse, but rather silence Satan. When Satan sees that the Jews love Mitzvos, Satan is silenced.  Both Artscroll and Seferai translate the word  לערבב to confuse.  However Rashi does not use the word that Satan is confused, but rather Satan is silenced.  Granted the word עַרְבֵּב normally means to confuse, however, Rashi does not seem to be saying confuse.  Rather it seems that Rashi is saying the Satan sees that Jews love the commandments of God and is silenced.  You can say that rashi means that Satan thnks the Jews are sinful people and when he sees the Jews love Mitzvos he is confused and says to himself, these are not sinful people and is thus silenced.

However, Rashi says nothing about confusing, rather the word he uses is silenced,  

Asks the Medresh Moshe – we should do this by all commandments, do it twice,  The answer is since Rosh Hashanah is the judgment day, it is important we do the Mitzvah twice to show our love for the Mitzvos.  Since during Musef we ask Hashem to remember us for good we are afraid that Satan will prosecute us.  Therefore beforehand we blow Shofar sitting down, which is not the main time to blow Shofar and during this time we do not pray but are silent, Satan cannot prosecute. And based on the verse in Psalms 18:4    מְ֭הֻלָּל אֶקְרָ֣א יְהֹוָ֑ה וּמִן־אֹ֝יְבַ֗י אִוָּשֵֽׁעַ׃ .All praise! I called on the LORD-d  and was delivered from my enemies.  Through praising God Satan cannot prosecute so therefore we fist blow Shofer sitting where we are not davening, the blowing of Shofar without daening, we are saying praises to hashem and the Saan agrees with this sounding of the Shofer, then when we actually blow Shofar in the davening the Satan again thinks we are praising Hashem. However, now we are davening and Satan does not prosecute us because he is thinking we are only praising Hashem and according to Rashi the satan is silenced.

I think my great uncle is saying more than this.  I think the word לערבב   is to be translated like  והערב

In Birchas Hatorah and it means to sweeten.  Meaning Satan actually answers Amen because he thinks we are saying praises to Hashem and he affirms our prayers, so his words are sweetened.  Look at the last 5 sentences of this Maamor in the Medresh Moshe.

To conclude, that on Rosh Hashanah we  include our desires in praise of God, that all the prosecuting angels by their very nature being angels have to agree with the praises of the Jewish people since these are not requests from God. 

August 10 – 21, 2022 Trip to Toronto

We had a beautiful 11 day trip to Toronto

People I met:

Rabbi Chaim Metzger

Rabbi Lescher of the BAYT

Rabbi Yitzchok Yagod

David Max Spiegel

Dr. Barry Levi

Allen and Ellen Siegel

David Woolf

Mr. Shiel – cousin to Gary Bajtner

Allen and Josh Gutterman and family

August Belmont and Naomi Maimon

Birnbaum and Kushner

Professor Sharon Green and Cantor Jonathan Green

Rabbi Sholom Gold – read his book, Touching History

Wednesday August 10, 2022

We drove to Toronto and arrived at 11:30 PM.  Serka drove for 7 of the 10 hours.  We ended up not taking a hotel room in Port Huron at 8:00 PM – we drove on.

Thursday August 11, 2022

Serka went to purchase 50 muffins from Amazing Muffins.   After Maariv, I was speaking to Rabbi Chaim Metzger about the dating issue with 2 Kings 18.  He told me that Rabbi Alex Israel discusses it in his book which is available online on the Gush Etzion website.  Rabbi Metzger and his wife are making Aliyah in two weeks.  His wife is a daughter of Moshe Lichtman, who translates Seforim into English.  He translated Eim HaBanim Semeicha. I recently obtained a copy of his book.  I was leafing through it and I was reading tragedy.  He is in Hungary in 1943, with the Nazi menace growing daily, wanting to talk about the need to go to Israel and the people just shutting him down.

Eim HaBanim Semeicha was written by Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal, and published in 1943 in Budapest, Hungary.[2] The title is taken from Psalms and means “A Joyous Mother of Children”.

Teichtal grew up as a staunch anti-Zionist Chasid of the Munkatsher Rebbe. However, during the Holocaust, Rabbi Teichtal changed his position from the one he espoused in his youth. The physical product of that introspection is the book, Eim HaBanim Semeicha, in which he specifically retracts his previous viewpoints, and argues that the true redemption can only come if the Jewish people unite and rebuild the land of Israel. Many of his coreligionists viewed the book with skepticism, some going so far as to ban Rabbi Teichtal from their synagogues.

In the book, Rabbi Teichtal strongly criticizes the Haredim for not supporting the settlement of the Land of Israel. When it was written, it was a scathing criticism of the Jewish Orthodox establishment, and Agudat Israel in particular.

He writes:

It is clear that he who prepares prior to the Sabbath will eat on the Sabbath (Avodah Zarah, 3a), and since the Haredim did not toil, they have absolutely no influence in the Land (of Israel). Those who toil and build have the influence, and they are the masters of the Land. It is, therefore, no wonder that they are in control… Now, what will the Haredim say? I do not know if they will ever be able to vindicate themselves before the heavenly court for not participating in the movement to rebuild the Land. (p. 23)

Friday August 12, 2022

Shabbos Nachamu.  Friday night davened at the Conservatory.  It was outside.  Just beautiful.

August 13, 2022 Shabbos Parshas Ve’eschanan and Shabbos Nachamu

Davened at the BAYT.   Rabbi Korobkin’s speech was okay, not his normal dynamic speech.

Went back at 7:30 PM for the Pirkei Avos Shiur and for Mincha.

At Shalosh Suedas Rabbi Yitzchok Yagod spoke.  He was excellent.  Rabbi Yagod is Rabbi in three small communities:  Rabbi of Congregation Tiferes Israel, Moncton, NB, Canada;  Congregation Beth Avraham of Bethlehem, PA   http://www.bethavraham.org/ and  Congregation  Beth Avrohom of Bangor, Maine http://koshertravelinfo.com/the-frum-jewish-community-of-bangor-maine/

 He is the founder and head of the Vaad HaKashrus of East Canada and Maine.  https://easternkosher.com/  

He is in Toronto because his wife is sitting Shiva for her mother, Mrs. Sylvia Spiegel.  About 18 months ago, Sylvia Spiegel got Parkinsons, so her daughter moved from the east coast into her apartment to take care of her mother.   Syliva Spiegel was just shy of her 97th birthday when she passed away. Sylvia Spiegel’s sister was Gilda Spiegel-Nussbaum.  Gilda was best friends with my mother-in-law Blanche Janowski. David (Max) Spiegel is her son and is sitting Shiva.  He was my roommate in the Ner Israel Yeshiva in 1973 with Reb Yosef Spiro. The oldest brother, Dr. Shmuel Spiegel, is a radiologist and dated Serka.  It was just one date.  My wife could have been married to a doctor.

Sunday August 14, 2022

I walked into the Froom wedding at the BAYT and met my nephew.

Tuesday August 16, 2022

I was davening at the Conservatory and afterwards I was talking to David Woolf.  I also mentioned to him the dating issues of Nach.   He directed me to Dr. Barry Levy.

David Woolf gave me his book, newly publoshed:

Wednesday August 17, 2022

At 11:00 AM I met with Dr. Barry Levy.  Dr. Barry Levy was a professor at McGill University, Montreal, CA in Jewish studies,  He had a stroke 10 years ago and his left side has been impacted.  I asked him my question about Chizkiyahu and he told me that there is no clear answer.  I had a delightful conversation with him about Jewish history.  Wow.  I am in awe of him.  He has a collection of Mikraos Gedolos going back hundreds of years and is writing a book on the historical progression of the Mikraos Gedolos on Chumach.  He had finished his manuscript and the publisher, Tzvi Mauer of Urim Publications wanted a final chapter discussing, ‘What does the history of the Mikraos Gedolos mean to us today?’  He will send a copy of his final chapter to me.

 

B. Barry Levy

Barry Levy

Emeritus Professor

Areas of Interest – Bible and the History of Jewish Interpretation of the Bible

Education-   B.A., M.A., BRE (Yeshiva University), Ph.D. (New York University)

Publications:

Refereed books

LEVY, B. Barry. Jewish Masters of the Sacred Page (Jerusalem: Urim Publishers, forthcoming).

LEVY, B. Barry. Fixing God’s Torah: The Accuracy of the Hebrew Bible text in Jewish Law. Oxford University Press, 2001.

LEVY, B. Barry. Rabbinic Bible Interpretation after the Holocaust. Strange Fire: Reading the Bible After The Holocaust, edited by T. Linafelt, New York University and Sheffield Academic Press, May 2000.

 

Refereed journal articles

LEVY, B. Barry. Jewish, Christian and Muslim Responses to the Hebrew Bible. ARC, 27, 1999, pp. 161-205.

Dictionary entries, book reviews, commentaries

LEVY, B. Barry. Review: The Bible As It Was, by James Kugel, ARC, 27, 1999, pp. 220-221.

LEVY, B. Barry. Review: The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible, Reviews in Religion and Theology, 7, 2000, pp. 118-119.

LEVY, B. Commentary: Decoding the Torah’s secrets: Why can we not accept what the text actually says? Canadian Jewish News, 1-2, 1998.

LEVY, B. Review: The context of scripture. Volume I: Canonical compositions from the Biblical World, edited by William Hallo, Arc, vol. 26, 1998, pp. 147-149.

LEVY, B. Review: Magic and divination in ancient Palestine and Syria, by Ann Jeffers, Arc, vol. 26, 1998, pp. 149-151.

Scholarly Activities:

LEVY, B. Jubilee. Ottawa-Montreal Synod of United Church of Canada, May 1998.

LEVY, B. The History of Jewish Interpretation of the Bible Since the Holocaust. Thirtieth Anniversary Conference of the Department of Jewish Studies, McGill University, May 1999.

LEVY, B. The Ethics of Educational Leadership. Conference on Ethics, Faculty of Management, McGill University, May 1999.

  •  

Department and University Information

Department of Jewish Studies

Leacock Building, 7th floor

855 Sherbrooke Street West

Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7

Tel.: 514-398-6543

Afterwards I saw Ellen Siegel and she showed me the book about Jewish Kitchner.  Kitchner is about one hour west of Toronto. Ellen Siegal is married to Allen Siegal.  Allen Sigel’s family had a major produce company in Kitchener, Ontario from the 1920s through the 1970s. Ellen’s brother is a relative to Lynn Stone-Borlat’s husband.  Aunt Rose Noble-Stone was Lynn’s mother, making her a first cousin to my wife.  Rose and Blanche are sisters.  Aunt Rose lived in the Conservatory and she would come over for Shabbos meals. Ellen told me that Lynn lives nearby. I called Lynn the next day to invite her over to our Shabbos meal.  She is having a wedding in three weeks and her husband’s father is in Hospice at Sunnybrook Hospital.

Shimon Siegel opened a fruit stall which his sons, Louis, Norman and Gerald, expanded into a thriving fruit business located at 270 William Street. Gerald Siegel used to appear on a televised cooking show to discuss fruits and vegetables. Thursday August 18, 2022

I was sitting with my mother in law and my wife in the Conservatory garden.  She received a wedding invitation to the Parshan and New wedding. The News are from Montreal. I dealt with Levi New, the older brother of the Chosen in April 2021.  anny Levy’s mother in-law passed away, Tzipporah Bas Mordechai, and he arranged to have a Minyan at the funeral and Zoomed us in. It was a bchovidik funeral thanks to Levi New. I had to report the Chesed of Levi New to the Parshans and to his father, Rabbi Moshe New. At 6:30 PM I went over to the Parshans and had them call their Mechutan, Moshe New, in Montreal..  I had to tell his father, Rabbi Moshe New about what his son did for us and I found out I had not given them a donation.  This was a sign from Hashem.  I would normally not see a wedding invitation that my mother in law would receive and only because I was sitting in the garden with her and that she had her mail brought to her that I was able to thank the New family.

I davened Mincha and Maariv at the BAYT.  I picked up the below Sefer that came out in 1981.  It was published by “Zecher Naftali”, an institution set up by  Naftali Carlebach’s son, Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Carlbach.  Eliyahu Chaim Carelbach’s brother was Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim was a huge Torah Scholar and wrote Torah for the Bobover Rebbe.  Reb Eliyahu Chaim passed away in 1995. I was fortunate to attend a wedding and Sheva Brachos of Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Carlebach’s grandson’s wedding  right before Pesach 2021.  The boy was a Citron, whose great – great grandmother was the daughter of Eliyahu Chaim.  The Citron boy  married the daughter of Rabbi and Nechama Dina Turk.  The boy’s grandfather is Rabbi Chaim Citron who is a Rosh Yeshiva  at Lubavitch Mesivta in LA and is the Rabbi of Ahavas Chesed, a Shul in LA on LaBrea just north of Melrose.   In 2002 when we were cleaning out my father’s apartment in LA, we davened at Ahavas Chesed.  Rabbi Citron spoke Friday night and Shabbos.  Phenomenal.  Shabbos he compared the wording in Parshas Ki Tatzeh Verses 25:13-16 of the laws of proper measures and a similar Parsha in Kedoshim 19:35-36.  I remember him saying that in D’varim it says the word Toavah – abomination and not in Kedoshim.

The Choson’s father, Rabbi Naftali Citron is the Rabbi in the Carlebach Shul in the upper west side.  I watched a video he did on the Kotzker Rebbe.  Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim’s widow is still alive, Hadassah Carlebach and was a Schneerson.  She came in for the wedding and gave my family a Bracha at the Sheva Brochos.

Ki Teitzei 25:13-16

לֹֽא־יִהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֛ בְּכִֽיסְךָ֖ אֶ֣בֶן וָאָ֑בֶן גְּדוֹלָ֖ה וּקְטַנָּֽה׃ You shall not have in your pouch alternate weights, larger and smaller.

לֹא־יִהְיֶ֥ה לְךָ֛ בְּבֵיתְךָ֖ אֵיפָ֣ה וְאֵיפָ֑ה גְּדוֹלָ֖ה וּקְטַנָּֽה׃ You shall not have in your house alternate measures, a larger and a smaller.

אֶ֣בֶן שְׁלֵמָ֤ה וָצֶ֙דֶק֙ יִֽהְיֶה־לָּ֔ךְ אֵיפָ֧ה שְׁלֵמָ֛ה וָצֶ֖דֶק יִֽהְיֶה־לָּ֑ךְ לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִ֣יכוּ יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ You must have completely honest weights and completely honest measures, if you are to endure long on the soil that your God יהוה is giving you.

כִּ֧י תוֹעֲבַ֛ת יְהֹוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ כׇּל־עֹ֣שֵׂה אֵ֑לֶּה כֹּ֖ל עֹ֥שֵׂה עָֽוֶל׃ {פ}

For everyone who does those things, everyone who deals dishonestly, is abhorrent to your God יהוה.

Kedoshim Verses 19:35-36

לֹא־תַעֲשׂ֥וּ עָ֖וֶל בַּמִּשְׁפָּ֑ט בַּמִּדָּ֕ה בַּמִּשְׁקָ֖ל וּבַמְּשׂוּרָֽה׃ You shall not falsify measures of length, weight, or capacity.

מֹ֧אזְנֵי צֶ֣דֶק אַבְנֵי־צֶ֗דֶק אֵ֥יפַת צֶ֛דֶק וְהִ֥ין צֶ֖דֶק יִהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם אֲנִי֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם אֲשֶׁר־הוֹצֵ֥אתִי אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם׃ You shall have an honest balance, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin.I יהוה am your God who freed you from the land of Egypt.

Rabbi Chaim Citron, my Rebbe, and myself at the Citron-Turk wedding, April 2021.

 The below are pictures:  I showed it to Rabbi Lescher, the assistant Rov of the BAYT.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Went to Dr. Barry Levy’s unveiling for his wife, Cookie Levy, who passed away last year from cancer.   

Debbi Krakowski-Janowski’s parents:

Shabbos Parshas Eikev – August 20, 2022

Aleasha and Mordy Rothman

Ateres Mordechai – Rabbi Bitterman’s Shul

Mr. Shiel – cousin to Gary Bajtner

Josh and Allen Gutterman

August and Naomi Maimon – Belmont

Birnbaum and Kushner

Professor Sharon Green and Cantor Jonathan Green

Rabbi Sholom Gold

Friday night:

On Friday night davened in the Conservatory Minyan at their Paleg Minyan.  Ate a delicious meal at my mother-in-law’s house.  At about 9:30 PM I went to visit Aleasha and Mordy Rothman and their kids.  Hillel Janowski was there.  Had a good time.  Spoke over my Torah on Chizkiyahu.  Shimmy listened to some of it. Egg Rolls were great. Went home at about 11:15 PM.

Shabbos Morning:

At 8:45 AM I walked onto Clark Street and it was magnificent.  75 degrees and sunshine.  On the way to Shul I met Allan Fink who told me that he has never been to Boca Raton Synagogue, but listens to Rabbi Efreim Goldberg every day. I decided to daven at Ateres Mordechai, Rabbi Bitterman is the Rov.  Rabbi Bitterman is the son-in-law of Aaron Grubner, a lawyer from Toronto that has studied with my brother, Pesach, for 40 years. There were only 20 Talisim and I was a little surprised because I thought the Shul is always packed. People must be away at the cottages up North.

The Rabbi first spoke about verse 10:12:

וְעַתָּה֙ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל מָ֚ה יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ שֹׁאֵ֖ל מֵעִמָּ֑ךְ כִּ֣י אִם־לְ֠יִרְאָ֠ה אֶת־יְהֹוָ֨ה אֱלֹהֶ֜יךָ לָלֶ֤כֶת בְּכׇל־דְּרָכָיו֙ וּלְאַהֲבָ֣ה אֹת֔וֹ וְלַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּכׇל־לְבָבְךָ֖ וּבְכׇל־נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃

The Gemora says that we learn from the word מָ֚ה that one must make 100 blessings every day.  What is the purpose?  Rabbi Bitterman answered, we should always say thank you Hashem and that should lead us to say thank you to everyone we meet.  Today was a beautiful day, thank you Hashem, your wife served you breakfast, thank you. We cannot be complaining and complaining nonstop.

Verse 9:24 says  מַמְרִ֥ים הֱיִיתֶ֖ם עִם־יְהֹוָ֑ה מִיּ֖וֹם דַּעְתִּ֥י אֶתְכֶֽם׃ 

As long as I have known you, you have been defiant toward יהוה.

The Ba’al Haturim says that the Pasuk begins with a Mem and ends with a Mem to say that all forty years in the desert the Jews complained.  Non Stop complaining for forty years.  What did they have to complain about, yet they did.  As human beings we have to condition ourselves to appreciate what we have and say thank you, whether to Hashem or the waiter or to our spouses, and to everyone. This is great rebuke and I decided that I will change my attitude.

Saw Jason Lapidus, the erstwhile South African and gave him a heartfelt hug. Davening was over at 11:30 AM.  I talked to the Gabbai, whose last name is Shiel.  He is about 62.  His aunt is Paula Gassel who grew up in Winnipeg and is married to Arnold Gassel. Arnold’s first wife died of cancer about 25 years ago.   Our family has known the Gassel family since the west side 90 years ago. Arnold Gassel is in the high 90s.  He is the only person in Chicago that I knew that had Bubi Sklar as a kindergarten teacher.  My mother was best friends with Arnold Gassel’s ex sister-in-law.  In fact my mother got her a job at Kemper Insurance in the 1960s.

On the walk home met Allen Guttenberg and his son Josh Guttenberg.  Two months ago Josh made a Bris that I crashed.  I actually was looking for Josh. He spoke for a women’s group about Mechitzas in Shuls which in the 1930, 1940s, and 1950s was a major dividing line between Orthodox and non Orthodox.   I told him what Rov said and my comments on it. Please see my blog post at https://kotzk.com/?s=eleff.

Then I met August Belmont and his wife Naomi, whose maiden name was Maimon.  She grew up in the Bnei Torah area and knows Abie’s and Sarah’s kids.  Belmont’s family name was Blumnekrantz, but his father came to Toronto in the 1930s and wanted to completely assimilate.  He loved the Belmont race track and its founder, August Belmont, Jr., so he changed his last name to Belmont and named his son August.

Then I met a young couple in their 20s who had one child in a stroller.  His last name is Birnbaum and she is a Kushner.  He toldme that his grandfather, Nathan Birnbaum,  was a Zionist with Herzel, etc., but became more Othordox, became disillusioned, and ultimately rejected Zionism.

From Wikepedia:

Nathan Birnbaum (Hebrew: נתן בירנבוים; pseudonyms: “Mathias Acher”, “Dr. N. Birner”, “Mathias Palme”, “Anton Skart”, “Theodor Schwarz”, and “Pantarhei”; 16 May 1864 – 2 April 1937) was an Austrian writer and journalist, Jewish thinker and nationalist.[1][2] His life had three main phases, representing a progression in his thinking: a Zionist phase (c. 1883 – c. 1900); a Jewish cultural autonomy phase (c. 1900 – c. 1914) which included the promotion of the Yiddish language; and religious phase (c. 1914–1937) when he turned to Orthodox Judaism and became staunchly anti-Zionist.

He married Rosa Korngut (1869–1934) and they had three sons: Solomon (Salomo) Birnbaum (1891–1989), Menachem Birnbaum (1893–1944), and Uriel Birnbaum (1894–1956).

The last people I met were Professor Sharon Green and her three children. Her son is Jonathan Green and is Cantor at the Manhattan Davening was over at 11:30  Jewish Center and is friendly with my own nephew, Matt Schwartz.  https://ca.linkedin.com/in/sharon-hart-green-764924a

Davening was over at 11:30 AM and I made it back to my mother-in-laws at 12:50 pm.

I read Sholom Gold’s autobiography most of Shabbos afternoon.   Mendel Rubinoff lent it to me and I have to return it tomorrow on Sunday.

Went to the BAYT for Daf Yomi, Michas, and Maariv.  Josh (?) Stein The speaker at the Shalosh Suedas 

discussed Mishne 2:9 of Pirkei Avos:

 אָמַר לָהֶם, צְאוּ וּרְאוּ אֵיזוֹהִי דֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה שֶׁיִּדְבַּק בָּהּ הָאָדָם. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, עַיִן טוֹבָה. רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹמֵר, חָבֵר טוֹב. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, שָׁכֵן טוֹב. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הָרוֹאֶה אֶת הַנּוֹלָד. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר אוֹמֵר, לֵב טוֹב. אָמַר לָהֶם, רוֹאֶה אֲנִי אֶת דִּבְרֵי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲרָךְ מִדִּבְרֵיכֶם, שֶׁבִּכְלָל דְּבָרָיו דִּבְרֵיכֶם.

He spoke over a Sfas Emes who says that Lev Tov doesn’t mean a good heart but rather someone who controls his heart and his desires to do good.  It is about self control.