Parshas Vayikra

4 Nissan 5777 – April 1, 2017

Friday night I walk into Shul in the Bais-Mint and needed a boost.  I opened up the Sefer Amud Haemes on the Kotzker and saw a beautiful Kotzker.  Chapter 1 Verse 17 says

בִכְנָפָיו לֹא יַבְדִּיל וְהִקְטִיר אֹתוֹ הַכֹּהֵן הַמִּזְבֵּחָה עַל הָעֵצִים אֲשֶׁר עַל הָאֵשׁ עֹלָה הוּא וְשִׁסַּע אֹתוֹ
אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ נִיחֹחַ לַיהֹוָה

“It is a burnt offering, a fire offering [with] a pleasing fragrance to the Lord.”

Rashi on this part of the verse says.

It says regarding animal offerings and bird offerings that the Korban – Sacrifice is a fragrance pleasing to God.  This teaches us that whether one does much or little, [it is equally pleasing to God] provided that he directs his heart to God.

The Kotzker says, “the understanding is that even one who does much also needs Kavana [to direct his intentions and thoughts to God}.ccvayikracover

I also opened up a Sefer on Vayikra by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, who has a brilliant Dvar Torah on Holiness, Korbonas (Sacrifices in the temple), purity and impurity.  I recommend reading t it o properly set the tone for Vayikra.

Joe Bulgatz ate over.  We eat in the basement before Pesach every year as our kitchen and dining room has been cleaned for Pesach.

Rabbi Zalmen Eichenstien had a Chanukas Habayis as he moved into the neighborhood.  It was a Chassidic get together.  The songs are beautiful.

Shabbos Morning:

Davened at Mishne Ugemorrah, had Kiddush, went to Yonatan’s house to speak Torah, and then went home to sleep.  Got up at 4:15 PM, went to visit my mother, and then walked to Anshe Sholem, 5.9 miles from my house.  I missed the speech of the scholar in residence, Dr. Shira Berkowitz.  Refer to her attached resume.

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Of course, played Jewish geography with her.  She went to Prospect Girls High School and she mentioned a great story about the Rov, Rabbi Abraham Kelmen.  My sister and her family davened in his Shul for over 20 years.  I have been inspired by him and he is Mishpocha to me through the Smiley family (Greenwald).  Dr. Shira Berkowitz had just started at Prospect and something happened that Dr. Shira would be reprimanded.  She had to meet with Rabbi Kelmen, the principal. She was expecting a tongue lashing and when she meets with Rabbi Kelmen, he asks her, How is your integration into Prospect Girls High School going.  That was it, no negativity; just a desire to make sure Dr. Shira is doing well in his school.

Rabbi Wolkenfeld at the Shalosh Seudes meal said that it is the Yahrzeit of Professor Nechama Leibowitz and spoke out a Dvar Torah from her.

She asked why is there a difference in Yeyikra and Tzav in the order of explaining Sacrifices.

            Vayika: Tzav

1) Olah Olah

2) Mincha Mincha

3) Shalomin Chatos

4) Chatos Asham

5) Asham Shalomin

She answers that in Vayikra the conversation is with the entire Jewish people and to the Jewish people the Shalomin takes priority.  In Tzav’s Moshe is talking to the Cohanim directly and to them priority in Holiness is how the sacrifices are mentioned.  Or you can say that in Tzav the last three sacrifices is based on the amount of food the Cohen eats.  They get least by Shalomin.

My son picked me up and went to his apartment after Shabbos and then walked home at 10:50 PM.

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Jonah Parker Bar Mitzvah

  1. Parsaha Terumah -5-6 Adar 5777 = March 3-4, 2017

Thursday March 2, 2017:

Hopped on a 2:00 PM flight to Los Angeles.  I hadn’t been to LA since late December 2015.  My seat placement on Southwest was C 04 so I had to sit in a middle row. Someone thin was in the aisle seat so it was not bad.   Arrived in LA and needed a Minyan so I could say Kaddish for Beverly OBM.  Hopped on the 405 and was sailing along until I hit traffic and was stalled, missed Mincha.  I called Martin Brody and we made up to meet at the Fish Grill on Pico and Beverly.  I had a very nice dinner with Madelaine and Martin.  Left about 8:00 PM to go crosstown to daven Maariv at Rabbi Bess’s Shul.   After Maariv my classmate from high school, Sheldon Burg, came over to say hello.  I did not recognize him.  I look the same as in high school.

Met up with Tziporah, my niece, and she wanted to go to the Yogurt place on La Brea.  Afterwards went to the place  I was staying in Hancock Park, on Las Palmas.    My host was very gracious.  

Friday – March 3, 2017:

Woke up at 8:00 AM and went to daven at the red shul at the corner of La Brea and Oakwood.  I love going to that Shul as it is a New York style shul, wooden floors, many Minyanim, and a place where the Mishulachim hang out.  There are sweet rolls for visitors.    Met Kornwasser.  Went to the Mikvah in the Shul.  It was only $2.00 and did not have a turnstile to keep people out.  It was old school with the towels threadbare.  I loved it.  

After the prayer services went to La Brea Bagel Co. at 7308 Beverly.  The Parkers graciously paid for any food ordered from La Brea Bagel using the attached coupon.  I got there and my cousins were already there; Piala and Charles, Michael Parker and kids.  A few minutes later in walks Sasha mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy.   Afterwards in walks Zlat, David, Laura and kids.  Afterwards in walks Shoshana and her husband, with their baby.    It was great.  I also met Michael’s Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Dovid Hirsch, and Rabbi Hirsch’s wife.  Rabbi Hirsch grew up in Peoria and knew my namesake, Harry Morgenstern.  Rabbi Hirsch knows Rabbi Joshua Hoffman, who needs a Refuah Shelamah.

Walked back to La Palmas to pick up my car.  I realized that 17 years ago when my mother and I came to LA for Sasha and Michael’s wedding, we stayed a few doors down by Joe Bobker.

Went to visit Aunt Florence at the assisted living facility on Fairfax, Garden of Palms, just south of Santa Monica.  On the way, went back to La Brea Bagel and picked up two sandwiches to have food for the day.  Sorry, Michael.   Visited Aunt Florence, however, she was exhausted and she slept while I visited.  So I sat down and likewise dozed off for the 45 minutes I was by Aunt Florence.  

Went to Hollywood Boulevard and to my father’s apartment building at the corner of Hawthorne and Sycamore.  Sat down and had one of my sandwiches at the Hollywood/Highland shopping center.  The number of street performers seems to have grown.  Many superheroes.  

Afterwards went to the storage unit housing my father’s belongings to commune with my father’s spirit.   Opened the storage unit.  It is jam packed with items and I was not able to get into the unit.  I looked through the books he had.  There was an Ain Yaakov.  Most interesting he had a number of holocaust books.  I read through the introduction on one of them.    It was a book on Auschwitz.  In the introduction the author wonders why the Jews made it easy for the Germans and went to the killing centers.  We didn’t they make the Germans aim of killing every Jew as difficult as possible.  This is a question I thought about.  In fact Dr. Hillel Zeidman wrote in late 1943 that  Rabbi Menachem  gave a talk to the leaders of the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto.  Rabbi Ziemba said we should fight the Nazi’s and lamented the fact the Jews walked to the Umschlagplatz and onto the trains, making it easier for the Germans.  I  do not understand in Hungary 1944 after the death camps  were known, there was not a Psak that it is Assur to board the trains.  Stay in your houses. I know if is easy for me to say, sitting here in America.

Went back Las Palmas to get ready for Shabbos.  

Shabbos – Friday night

Made it on time to Yavneh.  Yavneh is a school on Third and Highland. http://www.yha.org/welcome/mission-statement/

The principal, Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn, has a Shul  He was a student and in the same class as the mother of the Bar Mitzvah boy.    It’s very nice, like a lecture hall, with the rows of seating rising up like an amphitheater.  I sat next to Zlat’s husband, David.  I saw a nice Ibn Ezra at the beginning of Parshas Trumah.     Avi Maza davened and it was a concert, combining Carlbach with other songs.   

The Shul is phenomenal.  It is what a Shul should be with community, Torah, a  Rov who gets it.  

Walked to Sasha and Michael’s house for the Friday night dinner.  His house was full of family who came for the bar Mitzvah.   It was overwhelming.  I met Eve and her husband  Charles parker’s cousin .  She is a daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Simon OBM.  My mother worked for Rabbi Mordechai Simon years ago at the Chicago Board of Rabbis.  My mother and Rabbi Simon were the Shadchanim for Piala and Charles.   There was a tent set up for the meal in the back yard.  I sat with Zlat and David, Laura, Amy, Elliot, Avi and Dr. Lauren.  The conversation was stimulating and I was honored to be with the Maza’s.

 Sassha’s brother spoke like a Torah Scholar.  He spoke over Torah of Rabbi Joseph Maza’s father, Rabbi Eliyahu Mordechai Maza, the R’AM.  The R’AM was the patriarch of the family and lived on Henry Street in the lower East Side of Manhattan.  Rabbi Eliyahu Mordechai Maza said a Shiur at MTJ which was Rabbi Moshe Feinstein’s Yeshiva.  If fact Reb Moshe went to all of the Maza weddings.  Elliot Maza is name after the R’AM who was his grandfather.   I first met Sassha’s brother  at their wedding when he was a scrawny kid and he has turned into a Talmud Chachom.

Shabbos Morning

I wanted to grab every minute of the Simcha with the family and was also  determined to attend every Shiur  at Jonah’s Bar Mitzvah.  Made it to Shul at 8:15 AM and I am never early to Shul.  Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn gave a very nice Shiur on the Rambam.  Again sat next to David Gross.  The Ba’al Shachris performed  a Chassidic concert.   Before the first Aliyah. The Rov said a beautiful Vort from the Bnei Yisoschor, a Chassidic Master from the 1800’s who was a student to the Chozeh.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munkacs_(Hasidic_dynasty)

The Rov had a pre-publication review  copy of a new English translation of the Bnei Yisoschor.  The Vort centered on the two Cherubim  that sat atop of the Ark of the Covenant.  I remember the explanation of the translator, not the actual Bnei Yisoschor.  Just as the Cherubs are inanimate objects and God put into them animation, so to when we are down, we feel depressed, we feels that we cannot go on, we have to understand the lesson of the Cherubim.  Just as God put animation in inanimate objects, much more so us who are alive, who have a spark of God, can we bring back our life from the depths of despair.

Jonah read the Torah portion.  He was perfect.  It was a pleasure listening to him.  Jonah was called up for his Aliyah, bags of candy were thrown, and it was pure joy.   Avi Maza davened Mussaf and again another concert.  Davening was over.   

The Kiddush was held in  Yavneh’s courtyard.  I zeroed in on the sushi station.  It rivaled  Shoshana Parker-Fridman’s wedding  sushi station.     I was walking around and happened  on Jacob Greenbaum, one of Laura’s triplets.  He is a sweet soul.  He had taken a plate of sushi, triple layered.  I took one layer from him and had my second portion of sushi.  I thanked Jacob for the food and told him that I love sushi.  He disappears and comes back 5 minutes later with another plate of sushi for me.  I told his mother that I appreciate her kids and Jacob.  Whenever I visit Laura and family in Boca Raton on Shabbos with my grandkids, it was always Jacob who took Tiferat, gave  her food, sat her down, and was concerned.  All of her kids are great to my grandkids.

I also was able to work the tent, talking with as many people as possible.  I reunited with Sasha’s parents.  The last time I saw them was 1999 or 2000 when I was visiting my father with Karen.  We needed a meal for Shabbos and I told Karen , we will show up in Shul and get invited.  Sassha’s parents invited us over for the meal.

Went into the school lunchroom for the meal.  The room was beautifully decorated.   Johan made a Siyum on Mishnayos Mo’ad.  Jonah Parker also said a complicated Torah Pshetal that would have made his great-grandfather, the R’AM proud.  

Rabbi Dovid Hirsh spoke, calling Michael and Sasha, individuals who are the best of YU.  They embody what YU represents.   It was tremendous honor to Sassha and Michael, the Parkers, the Maza family, and the Teichmans.  I was inspired.  Michael then got up and spoke.  He spoke emotionally and  let us  in and be emotionally attached to the Simcha.   He  spoke about when he first met  Rabbi Dovid Hirsch as a 19 year old student at YU.  Michael wanted to get into Rabbi Dovid Hirsch’s class, however, there were already 60 students registered for the Shiur.  The registrar told him that he can call Rabbi Dovid Hirsch and if Rabbi Hirsch agrees to accept Michael,  then he can attend the Shiur.  Rabbi Hirsch arranged a Bechinah .  The Bechinah was on a Gemorah in Kiddsuhin, which Michael learned as a sophomore in high school.  Rabbi Hirsch met with Michael and told him to read a Mishna.  Michael read the Mishna and Rabbi Hirsch told him to close the Gemorah.  Rabbi Hirsch looked  at Michael and asked, “Will you give me 100%”.  Michael, who is 19 year oil and shaking, says.  Yes, Rebbe, I will give you 100%.  As Michael is relating this, he is holding back tears.  The emotional impact was felt by the entire room.  Time stopped as Michael gathered himself and his thoughts.  He was telling his wife and his children, yes, I have given you  100% of myself.  Michael graciously shared his Neshamah with me and everyone in the room.

Took a walk with Elliot and at 4:30 PM attend Rabbi Dovid Hirsch’s Shiur.  Beautiful Shire.    Had the Shalsoh Suedos meal back at Sassha and Michael’s house, davened Maariv, and heard Havdalah.  Of course I too left over  food  for Sunday.

After Shabbos, Tziporah came over, we went for a drive, Martin called me to offer an update on his mother-in-law.  We drove past Mann’s Chinese theater, went back to where I was staying and  talked a bit.  She had some of the food I had from the Bar Mitzvah.

Sunday Morning, March 5th

Took the 7:15 AM flight back to Chicago.  What a weekend.

My Bracha to Sassha and Michael is that in 20 years they are sitting in Jonah’s dining room on Purim and Jonah’s students are sitting around the table at a Purim Seudah.

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Shabbos Parshas Shemos – January 20 – January 21, 2017:

Friday Night:

Ate by the Glenners.  Karen came in to be with my mother.   It was a very nice meal.  Chana is in Chicago during her winter break.

Shabbos Moring – January 21, 2107:

Could not sleep and finally got up at 6:00 AM.   Had 1.5 bowls of delicious Cholent.  Learned Chumash through Moshe’s going to Midyan and marrying Zipporah, Yisro’s daughter.   I went through the Medresh Rabbah and other Seforim to find support for my Torah on Chapter 2, Verse 11.

I opened up a Sefer calling Niflous Chadoshos written by Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald who was head of Jewish court of Kamarvka and Yadamov.   Rabbi Greenwald was the grandson of Tzvi Hersh Dishkis.  Rabbi Greenwald was a Talmud of Admor Dovid Morgenstern and one of the few sources of Torah form Admor Dovid Morgenstern.

The first verse in Shemos:

א    ו אֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּאִים מִצְרָיְמָה אֵת יַעֲקֹב אִישׁ וּבֵיתוֹ בָּאוּ:

The Holy Rabbi, Reb Yehoshua of Belz TZL says that we have to understand why the word   הַבָּאִים     is in the present tense.   The correct Hebrew word that should have been used is    ו בָּאִ which is past tense.    The way of the world is that if a man comes to a strange land, every second he wants to leave because it is not his place.  However when he stays in the new land and becomes a permanent resident, then the city is pleasant, Sotah 47A.  This usage of the word that Yaakov and his sons are coming in the present tense it to convey that Yaakov our father prayed that it should be ingrained in the Jewish people  that in the diaspora they will always be “coming”  even if they were there for 100 years, and always want and desire to leave.  (The Belzer Rebbe doesn’t say but he means that the desire is to leave the diaspora and go to Israel because that is the Jewish land.)

The Belzer Rebbe continues that this can be homiletically explained by the Verse in Yeshayahu, Chapter 27, Verse 6.

והַבָּאִים יַשְׁרֵשׁ יַעֲקֹב יָצִיץ וּפָרַח יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמָלְאוּ פְנֵי תֵבֵל תְּנוּבָה:

My great-great grandfather, Admor Chai8m Yisroel from Pilav and known the Pilivar Rebbe in his Sefer Sholom Yerushalim talks about that the return to Israel in the 1880’s is the start of the coming of Moshiach.   The Pilaver asks how is it possible that the people who started the movement back to IsraelJacob implanted in the hearts of the Jews that the Jews should always be “coming” and in this merit salvation will blossom and burst forth.

which is a holy endeavor, are far away from Torah and keeping commandments, and they have no idea about the purpose of building up the land of Israel Is the start of the coming of Moshiach.  They have forgotten about Shabbos and how is it possible that they merited doing this Mitzvah,   The Pilaver answers the question by saying that we do not knows Gods ways.  Says the Hebrew version.

Based on the words of the Belzer the answer is clear.  Because of Yaakov’s prayer, there was implanted into the Jews hearts the eternal desire to go back to Israel.   The secular Zionists, the people of Choviva Zion, Bilu, and others went for nationalistic reasons, anti-Semitism, and other reasons.  But the real reason was a holy spark.      It was through Yaakov’s prayers these secular Zionists had in their hearts a strong desire to reject the diaspora have a strong desire to go to Israel, a land that had many challenges, including swamps, poverty, in Israel.

This Vort from the Belzer is how Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook saw in the secular Zionists, the holiness in their mission and he worked to bring them closer to Torah and Mitzvos.

Mayer Chase picked my up and we went to Rochel Leah’s Chosen’s Auf Ruf at Meor Hatorah.  Went home for the Shabbos meal.  We had my daughter and son-in-law, Rivkie and Mordy Siegal and their kids, my mother, and Karen.

 

sholom-yerushalim

neflous-chasdoshos

HESPED FOR BAILA (BEILKA) BAS SHOLEM and CHANI FEIGAL – BEVERLY SKLAR

24 Sivan -5689 – July 2, 1929

2 Tevet 5777 – January 1, 2017

Beilka was taken tclipboard01o the hospital on Motzei Shabbos two week ago. We knew that her time in this world was short and we did not expect her to last even for a day. She held on for two weeks and passed to the next world on Friday night a few hours into Shabbos. The Gomorrah says that a person who is Niftar – passes to the next world on Motzei Shabbos is a bad sign. If a person passes away on Erev Shabbos or on Shabbos night it is a good sign, a sign that the person is righteous. Beilka as we know did not have
a sin. I was sitting a number of years ago with my son-in-law at the shul Bnei Torah in Indianapolis, davening. I picked up a Lubavitch Siddur with an English translation and read the English version of Raza D’Ecod. Even in English I barely understood the prayer. However, it talks about Hashem as the king, not sitting on his throne on Shabbos until the angels, even the destructive ones come up to heaven in peace. This is when Beilka passed to the next world, in harmony and peace.

Why did Beilka wait to pass away on Friday night, Shabbos? To bring peace to the family.

Beverley was born on July 2nd, 1929 corresponding to the Hebrew date of the 24th of Sivan, 5689. It was a bright and sunny early summer day right before the July 4th holiday. My mother told me that Beverly was a beautiful child. It was a decent time for her parents, Sholem and Feigal Sklar. They were immigrants having come to America 5.5 years earlier, Beilka’s father our Zedi did not compromise his religion, and Zedi had a job as a manager in a burlap and sack factory. He was able to make sure his Frum employees did not work on Shabbos. He was able to provide for his family. Four months later on October 29th, 1929 the stock market crashes; and America and Zedi’s world changes dramatically. Extreme poverty hit America, people routinely committed suicide, soup kitchens were opened in every city. Zedi lost his job in the factory and life became extremely difficult. Zedi’s options became limited; life was closing in on him. Chapter 42, verse 21 says.

כאוַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל אָחִיו אֲבָל אֲשֵׁמִים | אֲנַחְנוּ עַל אָחִינוּ אֲשֶׁר רָאִינוּ צָרַת נַפְשׁוֹ בְּהִתְחַנְנוֹ אֵלֵינוּ וְלֹא שָׁמָעְנוּ עַל כֵּן בָּאָה אֵלֵינוּ הַצָּרָה הַזֹּאת:

21And they said to one another, “Indeed, we are guilty for our brother, that we witnessed the distress of his soul when he begged us, and we did not listen. That is why this trouble has come upon us.”

Rabbi Mike Myers this past Shabbos said what is the meaning of Tzaruh. Tzaruh in English is translated as distress of the soul, anguish. Rabbi Myers said the world Tzar is to become narrow, when we feel everything is closing in on us and our options become fewer and fewer. We are trapped. This is what Yosef felt when he was thrown into the pit and this is what the brothers felt at that time when they were falsely accused. This is what the Jews have felt for 2,000 years in the exile until 1948, when the State of Israel was created and America became a place of refuge.

Karen remembers that Ma would collect gifts that Beverly liked and put them in the butler pantry when we lived on Eastwood. Karen remembers going with ma to visit Beverly. It was a very long drive. This defined our mother, our grandmother, our great grandmother, our matriarch, Bubbi Jean. She watched and worried over Beverly. Ma went consistently to visit her. First with Bubby and Zedi, then with Bubby only, then by herself. Ma became a surrogate mother for Beverly. She worried about her, she visited her, she dealt with the people who took care of her. This is when Ma had her own challenges in life. When Beverly became ill, on February 21, 2001 she went to Glencrest where Sidney and Lisa made sure that she was well taken care of. I believe that Beverly felt protected and secure knowing that ma was watching over her.

Beverly was blessed with a beautiful voice. She sang in a choir. I remember ma telling me that a big music or movie star came to visit and said that Beverly can be one of his singers. Karen told me that one of the toys that Beverly liked was a harmonica.

Beverly was named after her aunt, Beilka – Bella. Beilka was Zedi’s oldest sister. Beilka was the first of Zedi’s sibling to come to America. She came to America in 1909 and with her husband brought the entire family to America. Zedi loved her. He named Beverly after her. Beverly became inexorably linked with her aunt. When Beverly’s name is mentioned, my subconscious stirs up within me and I think about Beilka, her aunt, Zedi’s hero. Unfortunately when Zedi came to America, Beilka had already passed away.

Our Beverly with her linkage to her aunt brings me back to Europe to 1909. Let us understand what Zedi saw in Beilka and then Beverly. Beilka’s husband Aaron Tiktozky was the first of the family to go to America due to the grinding poverty, lack of opportunity, and pogroms of Eastern Europe in the pale of settlement. Zedi told me a story about Beilka. Her husband sent her a ticket to join him in America. Months before, Beilka, the oldest child of Avrohom Shmuel and Alta Sklar, asked permission from her father to leave Europe. Her father, Reb Avrohom Shmuel, did not answer her for months. It was the morning that Beilka had to leave Krinik. Her father said, “min’a kint” come here. He hugged her and did not let go. They had to pry her from his arms. Zedi said that this father turned grey overnight. Beilka wrote back that she cried and cried and cried.

This is the love Zedi had for his sister that was transferred to Beverly and made everything that much more difficult.

Boruch Hashem, I had tremendous Siatta Dismaya to have Beilka being buried right by her grandmother the Yunge Bubby, Zedi’s mother, which we can see her picture. When Beverly was born the Yunge Bobby was still living and helped take care of her. My mother remembers that when Bubby had Beverly, the Yunge Bubby gave ma a bottle to settle her down.

Even though Sidney had graciously purchased a grave for her on Har Menuchos, I felt it would be more appropriate for her to be buried in Chicago by her family. Sidney graciously gave me permission.

About 10 years ago Arnold Sklair, Victor’s son, mentioned that he had two graves available in the Krinik section by the Yunge Bubbe. When Beverly was taken to the hospital, I called Terry Taylor to get phone numbers and ask for advice. On Tuesday of that week, I called Arnold’s sister, Nani Karm. I told her my dilemma. We talked and then we ended the conversation. Right after that conversation, I called the cemetery, Waldheim, to see if there any other plots in the Krinik section and was told that nothing close is available. Then I asked it there were any graves by her namesake, Debbie at the Waldheim office said that the Tikotzky family has three gravesites and that Arden Weinstein, controlled them. That itself was a miracle. For close to 20 years we looked for Beilka’s grave and found out where it was a year ago. This past summer we went with Meir and Pesach and afterwards with ma, and Tzvi, and after some searching we found her grave. We were full of joy, Ma’alah Simcha. Arden is Beilka’s granddaughter, Manny and Sylvia Perl’s daughter. Ten years ago I had Arden over for a meal. For the last 10 years, I call Arden about once a year and we never seem to reach each other. That Tuesday morning she answered right way and she graciously agreed to give me a grave.

About one hour later Nannie called back and said that she spoke to Arnold, and that I can have the two graves by the Yunge Bubby. I was ecstatic, two of my cousins graciously stepped in for our family. Thank you Nonie, Arnold, Arden, and Terry. May you be blessed with good things in life, both spiritual and physical

We decided to use the grave by the Yunge Bubby who loved Beilka so dearly.

During Pesach 1980, one Sunday morning Zedi tells me that we are going to the cemetery. We went and Zedi took me to the Krinik section of Waldheim where his family is buried. He showed me the gravesite of his mother, Alta Henya Rvika. There was a picture of her on the stone. Zedi took his sleeve wiped it across his mother’s faced from top to bottom and kissed his sleeve. He cried and then said, Momma, your great grandson is here. I am inviting you to his upcoming wedding.

Beilka, you will have a beautiful Kabblos Panim in the next work. Your parents, Zedi and Bubby will be there, with your grandparents, Reb Avrohom Shmuel and Alta, your namesake and her husband, Beilka and Aaron Tikotzky and Zedi’s grandfather who at age 28 passed away when he was Olah Regel to Kotzk.

I ask Mchilah for myself for not visiting you often, not giving you what you need. I ask Mchilah for the entire family. May you be a Melitz Yosher in for our family, especially your sisters, Bubby Jean and Shirley, and Altie.

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Shabbos Parshas Netzavim

Shabbos Parshas Netzavim, 29 Elul 5776

Week of September 26 – 30:

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch

Toda Rabbah Shimon

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During Shabbos Parshas Netzavim, October 1, 2016, I thought about the week that passed. Would I find inspiration in this week’s Sedra. The following events transpired:

Tuesday September 27:

My brother -in-law held a fundraiser and three leaders came in from New York. Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, the Satmer Rov, and Rabbi Malkeil Kotler. I said hello to the Satmer Rov. He is personable. I told Rabbi Dovid Feinstein that Klal Yisroel still lives in the merit of his great father, Reb Moshe Feinstein, the great patron of Israel.

Wednesday, September 28:

The passing of Shimon Peres, ZL

A siyum was held in Shul on Seder Mishnayos and the last Mishna was read that says:

RABBI SIMEON B. HALAFTA SAID: THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, FOUND NO VESSEL THAT COULD CONTAIN BLESSING FOR ISRAEL SAVE THAT OF PEACE, AS IT IS WRITTEN: ‘THE LORD WILL GIVE STRENGTH UNTO HIS PEOPLE; THE LORD WILL BLESS HIS PEOPLE WITH PEACE’.

Friday, September 29:

The funeral of Shimon Peres, ZL

End of the quarter and very, very hectic at work. A customer who I was upset with needed a favor.   We talked it through on Thursday and were okay. On Friday I had to help him out when I really did not have the time.  BH I was there for him. I also had to wire out money and ran to two banks. At Citibank while transacting business I overheard Abraham who needed to deposit his payroll checks. The checks were not drawn on Citibank and the money was unavailable. He had to pay rent and this would be a problem for him. I interceded and helped him. He told me that he lives paycheck to paycheck and was once homeless. He barely had money for food. For him to cash the checks would have cost $30 and aggravation. Hashem put me in this location at this time to help this young man.  Many other times I failed, including my own family, and have paid a huge price.

Shabbos, October 1:

My nephew spoke a Dvar Halacha which was nice. I said that the issue he raised is a major problem and that a Jewish Posach would not Pasken against Klal Yisroel. Everyone attacked me for saying that a Posak would paskan against the Torah. However, that was not what I was saying. I was saying the Poskim have the backs of Klal Yisroel. If they saw people doing something, they would not Pasken if possible against Klal Yisroel to make them sinners. They would see holiness in Klal Yisroel.

I looked for inspiration in the Sedra and it was difficult. It is a very dark, Mussar Parsha. However, I found comforting words in Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh’s commentary on the Haftorah. The Haftorah is from Isiah, Chapter 61, Verse 10. Verse 10 is the first Verse in the Haftorah, but RSRH mentions Verse 9:

ט  וְנוֹדַע בַּגּוֹיִם זַרְעָם וְצֶאֱצָאֵיהֶם בְּתוֹךְ הָעַמִּים כָּל רֹאֵיהֶם יַכִּירוּם כִּי הֵם זֶרַע בֵּרַךְ יְהֹוָה:

Verse 9:  And their seed shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall recognize them that they are seed that the Lord blessed.

Verse 10:
ישׂוֹשׂ אָשִׂישׂ בַּיהֹוָה תָּגֵל נַפְשִׁי בֵּאלֹהַי כִּי הִלְבִּישַׁנִי בִּגְדֵי יֶשַׁע מְעִיל צְדָקָה יְעָטָנִי כֶּחָתָן יְכַהֵן פְּאֵר וְכַכַּלָּה תַּעְדֶּה כֵלֶיהָ:

Verse 10:  I will rejoice with the Lord; my soul shall exult with my God, for He has attired me with garments of salvation, with a robe of righteousness He has enwrapped me; like a bridegroom, who, priestlike, dons garments of glory, and like a bride, who adorns herself with her jewelry.

RSRH explains verse 10 as an explanation of Verse 9 and explains “that all who see time shall recognize them that they are seed that the Lord blessed”. Verse 10 says “for He has attired me with garments of salvation,” is the consequence, the reward to the Jewish people. This benefit and blessing to Israel only happens because “with a robe of righteousness He has enwrapped me”. This means that God has put Klal Israel in a position to do good and not just the Jewish people but to mankind, to be a light unto the nations. Isiah goes on to say that if the Jews do good they are like a groom and bride whose inner beauty makes the expensive garments and Jewelry shine. (It is not that the expensive garments and Jewelry make the groom and bride shine, but the opposite.) Therefore when I do good because God gave me the responsibility and opportunity, and I do good, then Verse 9 applies, people will see in me Godliness that I am the seed that the Lord blessed. Salvation results and blessing to the Jewish people is because of my actions.

The actual words of the translation of RSRH from the German, page 448:

Security, salvation יֶשַׁע  is the consequence, “clothing oneself in the priestly mantle of devotion to duty” is the cause.  In educating me, Israel, to faithfulness to duty and thereby dedicating me to be the priest of mankind, God has made me not only worthy of the highest degree of human happiness but also to participate in it.  The worthiness is express in the second half of the verse in an extraordinary characteristic manner.  Thereby a point of view is expressed which is the exact opposite to that usually taken.  For an ideal perfection of the bridegroom is presupposed if one says that he has not to thank his festive “get up” for his dignity and august appearance, but, on the contrary he lends them a priestly consecration and grandeur.  And further, it is the most delicate description of feminine grace and charm if one says of a bride that it is she who in truth gives beauty to her bridal dress and ornaments, rather than that they grace her.   In the same way, in the sharpest contrast tot he past, material possessions will attain their purest and noblest use by the sons and daughters of Zion new grown to maturity.

The last Mishna says the Torah is protected by peace. How true. Klal Yisroel only survives when there is peace and Torah must lead to peace. This is a powerful message. Peace is not only mentioned at the conclusion of Mishnayos, but at the end of Shemonei Esra, and the end of Bentching which quotes the Mishna in Uktzin. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says that at the end on Shemonei Esra we mention peace and take three steps back. Peace can only be achieved if we step back and let people in front of us, we give them space, we listen to them. How many leaders do not understand this powerful statement of Rabbi Simeon Ben Halfata, pay lip service to it, and explain with a Drei, well it does not mean the current situation.  Read the Kehati on this Mishna.

The three leaders from different spectrums and personalities, were able to come together for Klal Yisroel at my brother-in-law’s house, may they come together for all of Klal Yisroel, not to bash and criticize, but to uplift, not to just their communities but to Dati Leumi, secular Jews, all Jews, and inspire mankind. It will result in peace emanating from them and Godliness from the Jewish people as Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch says.

I was blown away by the funeral of Shimon Peres. It seemed that the entire world came to honor Shimon Peres and consequently the Jewish people and the Jewish state. I felt uplifted by Shimon Peres ZL. It calls to mind a Midrash in Bereshis that when Yaakov was buried in Hevron, the kings who had gathered to battle each other, stopped, and hung their crowns around the casket of Yaakov. Unity because a great man was passing by. Shimon Peres, a Jew from Europe, who helped found Israel to be a safe haven for Jews around the world, including Satmer Chassidim. All I heard in the past was criticism of him that he was selfish, not Jewish in his heart. Bibi Natanuhu said it beautifully. I believe in security first and then peace; and Peres believed in peace, then security. We are both right. I read the glowing accounts on the internet and see in Shimon Peres ZL the words of Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh. Read this from the Jerusalem Post:

“In August 1942, Shimon Peres’s grandfather Rabbi Zvi Meltzer was marched by the Nazis along with more than 2,000 Jews of Vishneva into the town’s wooden synagogue, where they were burned alive.

Seventy-four years later, the leaders of more than 70 countries – representing well over half of humanity – came to Jerusalem for Peres’s funeral. That, as much as anything, epitomizes the change the State of Israel has brought upon the Jewish people.
As Elisha Aviner, the Rabbi of my local synagogue, said Saturday morning, kings, princes, presidents and prime ministers dropped everything to pay respects for a little Polish Jew. Put in historical perspective, he said, that is nothing short of a miracle.”

To quote President Obama, TODAH RABA SHIMON.

 

Parshas Eikev – Kotzk – Vorka

Parshas Eikev

22 AV 5776 – August 27, 2016

Pesach

Chapter 8, Verse 14: “Vram Levavcha” –  “and your heart grow s haughty”

Kotzk and Vorka

Pesach came in for Shabbos to be with my mother. It is always great seeing him. Friday night we stayed up to 11:30 PM talking about Bubby and Zedi Sklar.  Bubbi and Zedi Sklar’s trip to Israel in 1962, Pesach’s trip to Israel in 1960 to learn in Yeshiva.  Pesach got Bubby and Zedi a room at the hotel Tzfania, not exactly a 5 star hotel, but served its purpose.  Zedi wanted to go to Meron on Lag Ba’omer, however knew that Bubbi would not let him go.  Zedi made up with Pesach for Pesach to go to Zedi’s hotel room at 2:00 AM, lightly knock on the door, and Zedi  would come out.   They hopped on a bus to Meron.  Imagine, Zedi sneaking out at 2:00 in the morning.  What would Bubby  think when she woke up and Zedi would be gone all day.  For Zedi it was an Avodas Hakodash and not a tourist trip.  Pesach also with detail talked about his trip from Chicago to Israel on  a two week boat trip aboard the SS Zion, a Zim Lines passenger ship;  and back on a Greek passenger line. As only Pesach can tell a story, we laughed, reminisced, and laughed.

Shabbos morning was a normal Shabbos. Went home to eat and then went to Mayer’s  house to have Cholent for the third time.

At Sholosh Suedas Pesach, Mayer, my mother, and myself washed and had gefilte fish, Matzah, and salad.   I spoke the following words of Torah:

Dvorim Chapter 8, Verse 14 says:

יד: וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:

14:  and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

The simple explanation is that you will become arrogant, forget God, you will go astray and worship idols. The Ibn Ezra explains it differently.  You will be come arrogant, you will forget that once you were slaves, forget that once you were poverty stricken, and forget that God provided for you when you were down.  The Ibn Ezra is saying that you will not go astray, you will not worship idols, rather you will remain Orthodox and keep Gods commandments, but your heart will turn to stone, you will not have empathy for your fellow Jews.  This will lead to demeaning other Orthodox Jews, hatred for the sake of hatred, all the while , going to Shul three times a day, even learning Torah, and wearing a big Yarmulke.  How else do you explain many of the disagreements in Israel.  It almost seems that it todays world certain segments of Klal Yisroel forgot there was a Holocaust.

Today is Shabbos Mvorchim.  Chazzan Silber has a beautiful Nusach for the Yehi Ratzon.  I was looking up the English translation and saw that Artscroll explained “Chaverim Kol Yisroel” as ” All Israel becoming Comrades”.   I decied to look further into the translation of “Chaverim Kol Yisroel”.  A second translation not found in any of the English prayer books is that we are joined together like two pieces of metal are soldered together so they appear as one piece but are actually two pieces.  Rabbi Jonathan Sacks translates these words as “so that all Israel may be united in friendship.”  However, the Birnbaum Siddur explained it that all Jews are “knitted together”.  It is interesting that the same words are translated differently, and each while similar have different connotations, which reflect Haskafah, and time of history.  Refer to end of this post to explains the differences in interpretation.

Philip Birnbaum is the highest level, the knitting together, being intertwined.  This  can be explained best by the following story of the Kotzker and his dear friend, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka.  I had heavenly help in finding this story to understand Birnbaum.

At 3:00 PM I went to take a nap and looked for something to read. I found in my closet three pages from a publication called Hapardas, dated January 1968.  Hapardes was a publication for the Torah world by Rabbi Simcha Elberg, first published in Warsaw, then Chicago, and in the later years of his life from Boro Park.  1968 was his 42nd year of publication.  On page 36 Rabbi Elberg had a book review of a new Sefer published by Rabbi Kalman Eliezer Frankel, a Rabbi in Tel Aviv.  The new book’s title was; In the Tents of the Righteous – the branch of the house of Vorka – Sakranovitz.

I will translate a large part of the book review as follows:

The Seraf of Kotzk did not want many Chassidim among the masses; however, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka drew the love of the masses to himself. Just like Rabbi Levi Yitzchok TZL of Berdichiv was in his generation (1740 – 1810), so was Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka in his generation, he looked upon the Jewish people  with the mindset  of “ He (God) does not look at evil in Jacob and has seen no perversity in Israel. (Numbers 23:21).”    These two great people came out of the Bais Midrash of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim TZL, who both illuminated the heavens of Poland, two completely different viewpoints in Chassidus and nonetheless a great love  and an everlasting love existing between the two great and holy individuals

On page 322 in the book,”B’Ohali Tzaddikkim” the reader will find an amazing story from the author. It is worthwhile to recount the story here.

The Rebbi, Reb Yitzchok Vorka in his generation was like the Berdichiver in his generation, having great compassion, a lover of the Jewish people, a trusted servant for his people, he found merit even on the lowest of the lowest Jewish person.

After the death of the Rebbi, Reb Bunim, Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka crowned the son of Reb Bunim, Rabbi Avrohom Moshe as the leader of the holy congregation, which he led for only two years. And after the death of Reb Avrohom Moshe, Reb Yitzchok of Vorka accepted the leadership of the congregation.

Even though the mindset, the essence, and entire being of Rabbi Yitzchok Vorka was totally  different than  Reb Menachem  Mendel of Kotzk; as the Kotzker  demanded only perfection, without blemish,  Rabbi Yitzchok of Vorka saw the light that shines in each Jewish person.  Despite this they were strongly and faithfully attached

After the death of Rabbi Yitzhok Vorka on the last day of Pesach (1848), the Vorka’s son and successor, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kalish, goes to Kotzk.  The Kotzker asks have you seen your father in the next world?  The son answers no.  The Kotzker responds – I saw him. In the Kotzker sharpness, the Kotzker relates the following story. “I was in the heavenly world, and I searched and asked the heavenly angels: Tell me, where can our Reb Yitzhok’l be found?  The angels answered, he is in a higher level, that even we are not allowed to enter. I then searched in the level of the Baal Shem Tov and I was told that Reb Yitzchok was in a higher level. I went to the level of the Achronim, of the Bais Yosef and Remah, and also there I could not find my friend. I traveled and entered the level of the Reshonim and could not find him.  I then went up to the level of they holy Amoreim and asked them, tell me, I am searching for Yizhok’l my friend, where is he and where can he be found.   They responded he was here, but now he can be found on the river’s edge which is closeby. I ran with all my might, I passed the field of the “Chakal Tapuchin” (mentioned in the Zohar of the next world), and there I saw a flowing river, and at its edge, your father Reb Yitzchok’l was leaning on his staff and looking into the clear and pure waters of the river. I grabbed his coat and asked, Yitzchok’l my faithful friend, what are you doing here? He answered me do you see this river? These are the tears of the Jews that were shed over the generations and from the tears a river was formed that flows into the upper heavens. I am standing by this river and I am not able to move away.

Rabbi Frankel adds that this is how the Kotzker described to the son of the Vorker  who his father was and his father’s  greatness. No other leader in that generation merited to be described by the great Kotzker, as the true lover of the Jewish people, Rabbi Yitzchok of Kalish, the first Admor of Vorka, TZL.   The story is told by Rabbi Naftoli Citron – youtube, The Kotzker Rebbe, #3 and #4.

This is how Philip Birnbaum translates “Chaverim Kol Yisoel” “knitted together” as the Kotzker and Vorka Rebbes. And this is the model for the Jewish people.

The four interpretations of Chaverim Kol Yisroel are:         1) Artscroll – All Israel are Comrades.

2) All Israel are connected –pieces joined together.

3) Rabbi Jonathan Sacks – so that all Israel my be united in friendship.

4) Birnbaum Siddur – All Israel is “knitted together”.

Each interpretation I believe depends on someone’s outlook towards life, religion, time of history, and relationships.   They are probably all true at times during history.

Artscroll’s translation sounded strange to me. The word Comrades brings up negative images.  Loyal communists were called Comrades.  This implies that Klal Yisroel must all be the same, think the same, and look the same.   Comrades is an exclusionary term, anyone different is not part of us.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld did tell me that in Israel the word Chaverim is used in the Kibbutzim and it means comrades.

The second explanation is like the Satmer. Klal Yisroel is separate parts joined together as in a menorah whose branches are soldered to the base.   This is how the Satmer would translate the word.  The Satmer in his Hagadah says on Yachatz (we break the middle matzah) – sometimes our community has to break off from the rest of Israel.  We must split off.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is how most people would interpret the words; however, Birnbaum is on a deeper level. We are bound to one another.  This is more the viewpoint of the Besht, the Kotzker, the Lubavitcher, Menachem Begin, and others.

 

TISHA B’AV 2016

Tisha B’Av 2016 – August 14, 2016

Parshas Devorim

 Rabbi Tzvi Yechezkel Michelson

1856 – August 25, 1942 (12 Elul 5702)

Dr. Hillel Zeidman – Warsaw Ghetto Diaries

Chanukas Hatorah

Torah of Rabbi Heschel M ‘Lublin and Krakow

Rov of Lublin and then Krakow

1600 – 1663 (20 Tishrei – October 21)

Kli Yakor on Devorim, Chapter 1, verse 7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Parshas Pinchos 2016

24 Tammuz – July 31, 2016

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

Pesach Frank
Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Menachem Ben Zion Sacks

Hebrew: מנחם בנציון זקס

                    Also Known As: 

“Ben-Tzion”

Birthdate:

July 15, 1896

Birthplace:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel

Death:

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

Place of Burial:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel

Rabbi Sacks on Parsha Pinchos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHABBOS PARSHAS BEHAR

,y

May 28, 2016 – 20 Iyar 5776

Friday Night:

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

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

Shabbos Morning:

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

Naftoli Glenner Customs in Shul:

Opened the Aron with strength.

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

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

He banged the Bimah when we started Musaf.

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

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

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

 

My Torah from this week:

Behar Chapter 25, Verses 18-30:

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

 

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

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

Verse 19:

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

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

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

Verse 19 according to Sforno would be read as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

noble
Reb Leibish Noble

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

 

 

 

 

dvisnk
Meir Simcha of Dvinsk

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

 


See the pages from the Gutnick Bible.

 

 

 

 

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

Chumash

Gutnick – Lubavitch Bible

Malbim

Meshech Chochma

Siach Sarfei Kodesh – Reb Zusha – RIM

Shabbos Parshas Shimini

April 2, 2016 – 23 Adar 2

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

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

וַיְהִי בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי קָרָא משֶׁה לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו וּלְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל:

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

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

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

Ba’al Haturim (BHT) on Verse 1:

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

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

Orach Chaim Hakodesh (OCH):

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

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

The OCH says:

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

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

The OCH continues:

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

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

The OCH continues:

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

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