September 17, 2022 – Shabbos Parshas Ki Savo

I was to be in Baltimore for Rabbi Jonathan Gross’s daughter’s Bas Mitzvah Shabbos, however on Thursday we received a call from Shoshana to go down to Florida and spend a week with them.  Hashem rewarded me with the following Torah after the picture.

September 18, 2022 at the Bagel Store in Boca Raton.  Serka and I with Shoshana and the grandkids.

Torah from Shabbos:Devarim 26:14 and 15:לֹא־אָכַ֨לְתִּי בְאֹנִ֜י מִמֶּ֗נּוּ וְלֹא־בִעַ֤רְתִּי מִמֶּ֙נּוּ֙ בְּטָמֵ֔א וְלֹא־נָתַ֥תִּי מִמֶּ֖נּוּ לְמֵ֑ת שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי בְּקוֹל֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֔י עָשִׂ֕יתִי כְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּיתָֽנִי׃ *. I have not eaten it while in mourning, I have not cleared out any of it while I was impure, and I have not deposited any of it with the dead. I have obeyed my God יהוה; I have done just as You commanded me.Rashi quotes the Sefrei 303:18:עשיתי ככל אשר צויתני. שָׂמַחְתִּי וְשִׂמַּחְתִּי בוֹ (ספרי303:18) ; (מעש”ש פ”ה 12) : — I have myself rejoiced and made others rejoice by itVerse 26:15הַשְׁקִ֩יפָה֩ מִמְּע֨וֹן קׇדְשְׁךָ֜ מִן־הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבָרֵ֤ךְ אֶֽת־עַמְּךָ֙ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְאֵת֙ הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֖תָּה לָ֑נוּ כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר נִשְׁבַּ֙עְתָּ֙ לַאֲבֹתֵ֔ינוּ אֶ֛רֶץ זָבַ֥ת חָלָ֖ב וּדְבָֽשׁ׃ {ס} Look down from Your holy abode, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the soil You have given us, a land flowing with milk and honey, as You swore to our fathers.” Rashi on this verse also quotes the Sefrei and adds two verses from בְּחֻקֹּתַ֖י: Verses 26:3 and 264:השקיפה ממעון קדשך. עָשִׂינוּ מַה שֶּׁגָּזַרְתָּ עָלֵינוּ, עֲשֵׂה אַתָּה מַה שֶּׁעָלֶיךָ לַעֲשׂוֹת (ספרי), שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ (ויקרא כ”ו) “אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ … וְנָתַתִּי גִשְׁמֵיכֶם בְּעִתָּם”: “We have done what You have laid upon us, do Thou now what has upon Thee to do, because Thou hast said, (Leviticus 26:3, 4) If you walk in My ordinances … Then I will give you rain in its season etcBoth Rashi’s on Verses 14 and 15 are from the Sefrei, while in Verse 15 Rashi adds שֶׁאָמַרְתָּ (ויקרא כ”ו) “אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ … וְנָתַתִּי גִשְׁמֵיכֶם בְּעִתָּם”: The Sefrie on Verse 14 of I rejoiced and nade other rejoice by it seems not to be in accordance with the plain meaning of the verse. Rashi’s explanation from the Sefrei in Verse 14 that the words שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי בְּקוֹל֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֔י עָשִׂ֕יתִי כְּכֹ֖ל אֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוִּיתָֽנִי׃ not in the normal sense of obeying God’s commandments, but it means that when I observed God’s commandments I rejoiced and others rejoiced with me. In the next Pasuk Rashi explains that now Hashem has to reciprocate. for us because of our joy. Rashi also bring down the Pasuk in Vechoksasi אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ … וְנָתַתִּי גִשְׁמֵיכֶם בְּעִתָּם”: Why does Rashi bring down this Pasuk? We understand naturally what a Bracha means for us. Is Rashi telling us that it is the same Bracha as expressed in VaYikra verse 26:4 – 10? It seems more than that. Rashi is saying that there is a parallel in Bechukosei. It we keep the statues, which Rashi translates as ( שֶׁתִּהְיוּ עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה (ספרא, and the commandments then Hashem will give us a Bracha which starts from verse 4 and goes through Verse 10; God will give us rain in its proper time and all the other Brachos listed in Bechukosai. Interesting that both the Rashi her and the Rashi in BHechukosia are Sefreis.Rashi is drawing a parallel between Dvorim 26 Verses 14 and 15 and Bechukosai 26 Verse 3 – 10? What is the parallel?My answer is that this supports the Torah I said on אִם בְּחֻקֹּתַי תֵּלֵכוּ. I combined Rashi on VaYikra 26:3, which says that “if we are עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה – diligent in Torah study” with the Ibn Ezra’s one word on Verse 6 on וְנָתַתִּ֤י שָׁלוֹם֙ בָּאָ֔רֶץ. The Ibn Ezra says “ ונתתי שלום בארץ. ביניכם” . What is this internal peace? How is this done? Only through all the Jewish people learning and having עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה , will there be internal peace. Everyone’s diligent study of Torah Is true. If I have an answer for the Gadol hador of a Pesht in the Gemara, I am correct if what I said fits into the Pshat. Once we are עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה can we have internal peace. Talking about politics, theology, Halacha, Zionism, Kippa Seruga yes or no, all leads to fighting that is divisive. We all have different viewpoints. Fighting בּמלחמתה של תורה where we are fighting to ascertain the truth of God’s Torah will bring internal peace. We can have a connection between all the various groups. This is what Rashi is saying here in our Pasuk. Just like doing God’s commandments with joy and a joy that permeates and gives others joy brings peace among people in their physical and emotional needs, so to the thoughts expressed in Behukosai in terms of spiritual needs. If the entire nation are עֲמֵלִים בַּתּוֹרָה in the מלחמתה של תורה there will be internal peace. Story of the Chiddushei Harim and the Lssa Riv – the Nessivos. When I was in Brisk Yeshiva in Chicago as a student in the 1970s, I was told that after Purim the learning in Israel gets weak because everyone is thinking about Pesach, going home, etc. I told my study partner, wouldn’t it be great if every Rosh Yeshiva gave Shiur in a Yshevia different from his own Yeshiva. Reb Aaron Lichtenstein would give Shiur in Ponovitch, the Ponovitcher Rosh Yeshiva would give Shiur in bar Elon University, the Rosh Yeshivas of the Hesder Yeshivas in Chevron, Mir etc., we would have a different Israel today.

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. 

Shabbos Parshas Naso

June 11, 2022

Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi Eisenstock – Scholars in Residence

This past Wednesday, June 8th, we drove to Toronto.  We dropped Chani off at Midway airport at 3:30 PM and left to Toronto.  We got to Toronto at 3:00 AM Thursday morning. Tough drive.  Serka drove the last two hours.

Friday June 10, 2022 – BAYT’s Shabbos booklet:

I read in the above Shabbos Booklet  that this week at the BAYT they have scholars in residence, Rabbi Yair and Tanya Halevi (Eisenstock).  I was very excited and planned to attend the Tisch Friday night.   

Rav Yair Halevi (Eisenshock)  Bio:

Rav Yair is a Rosh Yeshiva at Yeshiva Torah Vavodah.  http://www.tvaisrael.org/meet-our-staff1.html

Rav Yair received his rabibnic ordination from the Rabbinate of Israel and Yehsivat Hamivtar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeshivat_HaMivtar, as well as a B. Ed and a M. Ed Degree in Talmud and Tanach form the Herzog College.  Rav Yair was a director of the overseas Program at Yeshivat Hesder Otniel where he also served as Ram to both Israeli and overseas first year students.  Rav Yair went to work at Yeshivat Orayta where he served as Director of Informal Education, a Ram and Rosh Kollel in the Yeshiva.  During the summers Rav Yair has been involved in Bnei Akiva programs and worked with the Kol HaNearim program.  He also served in the Infantry Corps in the IDF.:

Tanya Halevi Bio:

Tanya is the director of the Kol Hanearim organization that works with Emunah Children’s homes in Israel.  Prior to this, Tanya worked at Midreshet HaROva, as well as Ulpanat Orot whirle she and her husband were here on Shlichut in Toronto.   Tanya has a B. Sc and a B. Opt and has done numerous educational seminars.   Her and her family have recently moved to the Dagan in Efrat. Maiden name is Glassman.

Shabbos Friday night:

Davened at the BAYT.  Ate and went to the Tisch at 9:30 PM, by Steven and Alina Mayers, 49 Michael Crt..  I was surprised.  I thought the tisch would be crowded and it was relatively full, but not standing-room only.    There were a few middle aged people and quite a few kids in their late teens and early 20s, which made sense.  Rav Yair was a teacher at Orach Chaim, the Bnei Akiva Yeshiva in Toronto when he and his wife were Shiluchim.   I looked around and looked at myself.   There is alway a question on IQ tests in which you are shown 4 things and you have to answer which does not belong.  It was a Beni Akiva crowd, a lot of Kippah Seruga’s.   I was wearing a black hat, and older than everyone else.  When you looked around the room, I was clearly the one who did not belong.  However, I wanted to speak and as the night went on, I looked at Rav Yai and said, I bet you are wondering who I am.  I asked to speak and spoke for about 15 minutes discussing the original Chassidic masters.  The next day Tanya Halevi thanked dme for speaking.  It was Leibadic with lots of singing.  Tanya Halevi spoke at the Tisch and she told a great story about her husband.    

The evening was inspirational.

Shabbos Morning, June 12, 2022:

Davened in the building’s minyan.  Minyan was outside and it was beautiful.  After Davening went to the BAYT to hear Rabbi Yair.  Spoke about Birchas Kohanim.  There was an Auf Ruf in Shul. Noah Zionce ismarring Eliana Grunbaum.    Went to the Kiddush and had some good Potato Kugel.  Tanya HaLevi told me she enjoyed my speech.  On the way home I  spoke to Rabbi Chaim Metzger about the Aleppo Codex.  He was familiar with it  and we had a spirited discussion.  He is the Rabbinic intern at the BAYT and is moving to Israel at the end of the summer.  He is applying for jobs but has nothing yet.  

Had the Shabbos meal.  Then went to Alesha and Mordy Rothman for a second meal.  They had good Spanish rice and Chinese chicken.  Afterwards Alesha Rothman  came to visit Bubi.  Overall a great Sahabbos.

Torah from Shabbos: I learned the first Kli Yakar on the Parsha.   

נשא את ראש בני גרשון. היה לו למנות תחילה את בני גרשון הבכור, ומה שרצו לתקן זה במדרש הרבתי (ו א) לומר שלפי שנמסר משא הארון אל קהת ע”כ מנאו תחילה לכבוד הארון היא גופא קשיא למה לא מסר משא הארון אל הבכור לכבדו ביתר שאת ועוז התורה אשר לה משפט הבכורה.

והקרוב אלי לומר בזה, שרצה הקב”ה להראות שכבוד חכמים ינחלו    the wise will inherit honor-  כדי ללמד דעת את העם שיכבדו את לומדי התורה ולקרא לקדוש ה’ מכובד לקדשו בכל דבר שבקדושה, כדרך שמנה את קהת תחילה בעבור משא דבר ה’ אשר אתו ואילו היה נותן הארון לגרשון הבכור הייתי אומר שבעבור הבכורה מנאו תחילה ולא הייתי תולה החשיבות במשא הארון ע”כ מסר הארון אל קהת ומנאו תחילה וידעו הכל ליתן כבוד לתורה וללומדיה. אך מדסמך בעל המדרש ענין זה לפסוק יקרה היא מפנינים (משלי ג טו) she is more precious than rubies – כדאיתא ברבתי ודאי כוונתו להורות שכתר תורה הפקר לכל וע”כ לא ניתן הארון אל הבכור שלא יהיה תפארתו לומר אני ראוי לכתר תורה יתר מזולתי אלא הכל שוין בה לכך נאמר יקרה היא מפנינים. היינו מכ”ג שנכנס לפני ולפנים כי לכתר כהונה אין זוכה כ”א מי שהוא מזרע אהרן אבל כתר תורה הפקר לכל והכל זוכין אליו, ויקרה היא מפנינים, מכתר מלכות שיש לו זהב ורב פנינים ואין זוכה בו כ”א מי שהוא מזרע דוד אבל לכתר תורה הכל זוכין ומטעם זה דרש ברבתי יקרה היא מפנינים מן הבכורה כד”א וזאת לפנים בישראל, (רות ד ז) כי אל הבכורה אין זוכה כ”א מי שנולד ראשונה אבל לתורה הכל זוכין. ד”א לכן לא ניתן משא הארון אל הבכור שלא תזוח דעתו עליו ביותר. וי”א הטעם לפי שמן קהת יצאו משה ואהרן מקבלי התורה.

Take the count. The likely explanation for this is that the Holy One wanted to show that “the wise shall inherit honor.” The nation needed to be taught that they should honor those that study Torah, and that “the holy of Hashem should be honored,” to give them precedence in every matter of holiness. Thus, Kehos was counted first because they carried the Aron with the word of Hashem. If the Aron had been given to Gershon, the firstborn, and his family was counted first, we might have thought he was counted first because he was the firstborn and we would not have attached the importance to being the bearers of the Aron. Therefore, the Aron was given to Kehos and he was counted first. Thus, all would know to give honor to the Torah and those who study it. Another explanation: The task of carrying the Aron was not given to the firstborn so that he would not become haughty. Some say the reason Kehos was counted first is because of Moshe and Aharon, who received the Torah, and were descended from Kehos.

I asked from the Mishna in Pirkei Avos that says:

רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בַּתַּלְמוּד, שֶׁשִּׁגְגַת תַּלְמוּד עוֹלָה זָדוֹן. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׁלשָׁה כְתָרִים הֵם, כֶּתֶר תּוֹרָה וְכֶתֶר כְּהֻנָּה וְכֶתֶר מַלְכוּת, וְכֶתֶר שֵׁם טוֹב עוֹלֶה עַל גַּבֵּיהֶן: 

Rabbi Judah said: be careful in study, for an error in study counts as deliberate sin. Rabbi Shimon said: There are three crowns: the crown of torah, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty, but the crown of a good name supersedes them 

What does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them?  Is the crown of a good name a fourth crown.  Most people are naturally nice and there is nothing special that he or she does, so what does it mean that the crown of a good name supersedes them. I agree that perhaps in the time of Chazal most people were nasty because life was tough.  The Kli Yakur and the Medresh in Nasso does not talk about the crown of a good name?   The Miforshim say that the Crown of a good name is not a separate crown,  The Mishna means that the above three crowns mean nothing unless the king, Cohen, and Talmud Chachom are good people and do good deeds.  

Can the Mishna be understood that a good name exceeds that of the crown of Torah or is it only good for speeches, “he is a good guy”?  I do not know.  I have to look up the Kotzker.

Matti Friedman – The Aleppo Codex – כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא

True Story of Obsession, Faith, and the Pursuit of an Ancient Bible

Published in 2012

פּירוש בּעל הטורים על התורה לרבּינו יעקב ב”ר אשר זלה”ה

Rabbi Yakov Koppel Reinitz

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  

The timeline and thread of this post is as follows:

November 6, 2021 –  Matti Friedman is a Scholar in Residence at Anshei Shalom

November 7, 2021 –  Spoke to Rabbi David Wolkenfeld

November 15, 2021 – I purchase Matti Friedman’s book – The Aleppo Codex

April 15 – 23, 2022 –   I read the Aleppo Codex

April 25, 2022 –          I am at the BAYT in Toronto and discover the Sefer authored by Rabbi

                                   Yakov Koppel Reinitz   פּירוש בּעל הטורים על התורה לרבּינו יעקב ב”ר אשר זלה”ה   

April 26, 2022 –         Baruch Kelman tracks down Yakov Kopel Reinitz’s phone number

April 27 2022 –          I call and speak to Rabbi Yakov Kopel Reinitz

May 5, 2022 –            I research and put together this blog post

Matti Friedman

The Aleppo Codex – כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא

Book written by Matti Friedman titled The Aleppo Codex

Last November Matti Friedman was a Scholar in Residence at Anshei Sholem.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matti_Friedman

VISITING SCHOLAR MATTI FRIEDMAN

Saturday, November 6, 2021 • 2 Kislev 5782

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM

Join us after Kiddush on November 6 to hear from guest speaker Matti Friedman – journalist, contributor to the New York Times Op-Ed Section, and the author of three award-winning books.

“The Aleppo Codex”

The perfect copy of the Hebrew Bible was written 1,100 years ago. It was kept in Jerusalem, stolen by Crusaders, ransomed by the Jews of Cairo, used by Maimonides, and hidden in a vault in Aleppo for six centuries. Around the time of Israel’s founding in 1948, it vanished. The story of the Aleppo Codex, Judaism’s most important book, is not only a true mystery involving theft, murder, and a government cover-up – it also allows us to look at Jewish history in the Islamic world, the creation of Israel, and the role of the Bible in the unlikely survival of the Jews in exile.

After Shabbos, I called Rabbi Wolkenfeld of Anshei Sholom and told him that I was sorry I missed attending.  Rabbi Wolkenfeld told me how they had a wonderful Shabbos and told me that I should read The Aleppo Codex.  He was excited about the book and infected me with his excitement.  

I purchased the book from Half Price Books.  I started reading the book and the opening chapter was a difficult read. I put the book aside for a while, but went back and read it during Pesach..  Once I got through the first chapter and understood what was happening I was able to read this magnificent book.

Background of the Aleppo Codex:

The Aleppo Codex in Hebrew is titled  כֶּתֶר אֲרָם צוֹבָא and means “The Crown of Aram Tzova”. Aram Tzova is Aleppo.   The Aleppo Codex was written in the city of Tiberias in the 10th century CE (circa 920).   The Aleppo codex and the other Codex’s are companions to Tanach.  Whereas a Sefer Torah and the prophets are written on a scroll and have no vowels or cantillation notes – Trup, the codex contains the vowels and cantillation notes.  It also contains notes that hint to connections to other parts of the Torah. This is what the Ba’al Haturim means when he says ב’ במסורת , there is a letter ב’ in the codex by this word and that there are two times in Tanach that this word or combination of words are used.  The other difference between the Codex and the Sifrei Tanah they had was that the codex was written in manuscript form and not in scroll form.  This made it easier to use than a Sefer Torah as to move around and read different parts of Tanach you can flip pages vs.  having to roll a scroll.   The word codex itself  means “a manuscript book especially of Scripture, classics, or ancient annals.”   Tradition has it that the Rambam used the Aleppo Codex when he learned.    Together with the Leningrad Codex, it contains the Ben-Asher masoretic tradition.

This time period in which the Torah codices were written were towards the end of the Geonic period.  The period of the Geonim began in 589 CE  after the period of the Sevora’im, and ended in 1038. The first gaon of Sura, according to Sherira Gaon, was Mar Rab Mar, who assumed office in 609. The last gaon of Sura was Samuel ben Ḥofni, who died in 1034 CE; the last gaon of Pumbedita was Hezekiah Gaon, who was tortured to death by fanatics of the Buyid dynasty in 1040; hence the activity of the Geonim covers a period of nearly 450 years.  There were two major Geonic academies, one in Sura and the other in Pumbedita. The Sura Academy was originally dominant, but its authority waned towards the end of the Geonic period and the Pumbedita Gaonate gained ascendancy (Louis Ginzberg in Geonica).

The Aleppo Codex was kept for five centuries in the Central Synagogue of Aleppo, until the synagogue was torched during anti-Jewish riots in 1947. The fate of the codex during the subsequent decade is unclear.  When it resurfaced in Israel in 1958, roughly 40% of the manuscript—including the majority of the Torah section—was missing, and only one additional leaf and a small scrap have been recovered since then.[3] The original supposition was that the missing pages were destroyed in the synagogue fire has increasingly been challenged, fueling speculation that they survive in private hands. This Is from Wikipedia.  Matti Friedman in his book clearly says they were not burnt, and strongly believes that they were stolen, and sold on the black market.   The portion of the codex that is accounted for is housed in the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum.

Matti Friedman Efforts

Matti Friedman traces how and why the codex was transferred to Israel In 1957, how it ended up with the government and his speculation as to what happened to the missing parts of the codex. Missing is half of Bereshis, all of Exodus, VaYikra, and Bamidber.  He found a transcript of the Din Torah starting on March 18, 1958 to decide where the codex belongs; to the state of Israel or to the exiled of the Aleppo community living in Israel and other parts of the world.  Matti Friedman said the Din Torah lasted on and off for four years.  Page 110 states about the trial, “It was charged and, at times, ugly.  Most of the characters in the story appeared in court.  Not all of them told the truth.”  Unfortunately when Matti Friedman was researching this story  most were dead and the rest  who were still alive were well into their 80s and 90s and had faulty memories.  It seems clear that Murad Fahem, the envoy who brought the codex from Aleppo to Israel, did not tell the  truth of how the codex ended up with Yitzchok Ben Zvi, the second president of Israel. 

As Matti Friedman dug deeper into the mystery of how the State of Israel obtained the Codex and what happened to nearly 200 missing pages, the story became fascinating.  

Matti Friedman concluded:

  1. The Codex was to go to the Aleppo community to be kept by their Rabbis
  2. Murad Fahem, the envoy who brought the Codex from Aleppo to Israel in 1957, lied about his instructions from  the Rabbis in Aleppo in 1957
  3. There was a Din Torah starting on March 18, 1957 as to who should be the keepers of the Aleppo Codex and safeguard it.
  4. The State of Israel in effect stole the Aleppo Codex from the Aleppo community
  5.  The missing pages were stolen from the Ben Zvi Institute which was the place where the Aleppo Codex was to be safeguarded for the Jews of Israel.
  6. Matti Friedman touched upon the theft of the Israeli government and others of historical  treasures that the Yemenite Jews brought when the community left Yemen.  Clearly there was anti-Sephardic and anti-religious bias on the part of the Israelis

The person who brought the codex from Aleppo to Israel was Murad Fahim at the direction of Rabbi Moshe Tawil who was the Chief Rabbi of Aleppo and Rabbi Shlomo Zaafrani.  Upon arriving in Israel Murad Fahem gave it to Shlomo Zalman Shraga (1) who was Orthodox and was the director of Israel’s immigration network in the 1950s.  Shlomo Zalman Shraga then gave it to President Yitzhok Ben Tzvi, the second President of Israel, the first one being Chaim Weitzman. 

In Matti Friedman’s book, Yitzchok Ben Tzvi seems to come off as a villain, although Matti Friedman never said this outright.  I found this interesting tidbit on Yitzchok Ben Tzvi that sheds light on his character.  Yitzchok Ben Tzvi in 1924 ordered the first political murder in Israel.  tps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yitzhak_Ben-Zvi .  What the leaders of the Yishuv lws by Ben Gurion tried to do is silence debate on the entire issue with how the Yishuv deals with the existing Arab population.  If someone has an opposing view and seems to have a voice, he must be silenced by whatever means.  Killing anyone, let alone a Jew who doesn’t present harm to people is corruption at its highest form. Once you do this, you can justify anything.  This is what Reb Chaim Brisker said about the Zionists, that they are murderers.  I found this on Wikipedia and the allegation about Yitzchok Ben-Tzvi was written by Shimon Nakidimon, an Israeli journalist.

Yitzchok Ben-Zvi served in the Jewish Legion (1st Judean battalion ‘KADIMAH’) together with Ben-Gurion. He helped found the Ahdut HaAvoda party in 1919, and became increasingly active in the Haganah. According to Avraham Tehomi, Ben-Zvi ordered the 1924 murder of Jacob Israël de Haan.[22] De Haan had come to Palestine as an ardent Zionist, but he had become increasingly critical of the Zionist organizations, preferring a negotiated solution to the armed struggle between the Jews and Arabs. This is how Tehomi acknowledged his own part in the murder over sixty years later, in an Israeli television interview in 1985: “I have done what the Haganah decided had to be done. And nothing was done without the order of Yitzhak Ben-Zvi. I have no regrets because he [de Haan] wanted to destroy our whole idea of Zionism.”

As I understood the Aleppo Codex and got deeper in the book, I realized that the Ba’al Haturim is partly an explanation of the Codex and had a codex when he wrote his Perush on Chumash.  Until now I  never understood what the Ba’al Haturim meant when is said  ב’ במסורת .   

“וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם” – ב’ במסורת. הכא, ואידך: “וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי זֶה מְקֹמוֹ” (איוב לח יט). זה הוא שאמרו (חגיגה יא ב), שאין לשאול: “מה לפנים? מה לאחור?” “וְחֹשֶׁךְ אֵי זֶה מְקֹמוֹ”, פירוש, שאין לשאול אי זה היה מקום החושך תחילה.

The  ב’ במסורת means that in the codex which is the מסורת the letter Bais appears before these words.  It is code telling us that there are only two times in Tanach that these words appear.  The Ba’al Haturim then goes on to explain the connection.  Artscroll never explained this properly.  

I found on the internet this 2010 book written by Hayim Tawil and Bernard Schnieder.  I have not read it and I do not know if Matti Friedman read this book or spoke to the authors.  Hayim Tawil must be the son of Rabbi Tawil who authorized the transfer from Aleppo to Israel in 1957.

  פּירוש בּעל הטורים על התורה לרבּינו יעקב ב”ר אשר זלה”ה

Rabbi Yakov Koppel Reinitz

I was davening at the BAYT in Toronto on Monday April 24th, right after Pesach  and I came upon the below Sefer –

Title Page:

As can be seen from the title page, the author is Yakov Kopel Reinitz and was printed in 1996.  I saw somewhere that he is from Bnei Brak.  I was amazed at the fact that someone spent the time and wrote a commentary on the Ba’al Haturim.  What scholarship!  I love people who have great knowledge.

I asked my good friend, Boruch Kelman, from Har Nof to track down Rabbi Yakov Kopel Reinitz. Boruch Kelman is amazing.  He adds a sense of American fair play into israel.

Boruch obtained his phone number and I called Rabbi Yakov Kopel Reinitz.  Rabbi Reinitz and his wife know little English and I know little Hebrew and Yiddush.  I spoke to him and I think he understood that I am calling from Chicago to thank him for producing a book of great scholarship.  It seemed because we could not communicate properly, he struggled to understand why someone was calling him from America to thank him. It does seem a little odd.  Afterwards his wife’s friend got on the phone who had a better English.  She did a better job of explaining why I called and I could hear the joy in his voice.  He told me that he will be 89 in two days.   He lives in Neve Daniel.  Neve Daniel is  located next to Alon Shavut in the Gush.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neve_Daniel.    I was taken aback because I thought Reb Yakov Kopel Reinitz lived in Bnei Brak and would have nothing to do with the Gush.  Just to be sure I understood, I asked him if he ever spoke to Reb Aaron Lichtenstein TZL and he said, Yes, many times.  I told him that in the summer, I should be in Israel and will visit.  He told me he looks forward to my visit. I could hear the joy in his voice.

Kuntris Atoros AD”R – Rabbi Eliyahu Dov Rabinwwitz-Toemim known as the Aderes 

I received a major bonus looking at the Sefer.  Rabbi Reintiz included a Sefer written by the Aderes on the Ba’al Haturim by  Rabbi Eliyahu Dov Rabinwwitz-Toemim, Rav Avrhom Yitzchok HaCohen Kook’s father-in-law..  I know that the Aderes was a major Torah scholar and authored Seform.  But this is the first time I have seen one of his Seforim.  I have a Blog post on Rav Kook and the Aderes.  This is very exciting for me.   https://kotzk.com/2014/04/14/in-tribute-to-rav-avrohom-yitzchok-kook/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliyahu_David_Rabinowitz-Teomim

Rabinowitz-Teomim was born on 11 June 1843 in the town of Pikeln.[1] At the age of five his mother died and from then on, his father, Rabbi Benjamin Rabinowitz, raised him and his brother, Tzvi-Yehudah, alone. He studied Talmud and rabbinics under the tutelage of his father and by the age of fifteen he had acquired a substantial knowledge of Talmudic and rabbinic literature. Rabinowitz-Teomim was married to Feige Minna, with whom he had seven children. His daughter Batsheva married Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook in 1886; however she died a few years later, whereupon Rabinowitz-Teomim encouraged Rabbi Kook to marry his niece (the daughter of his brother Tzvi-Yehudah). He encouraged Rabbi Kook to become the Chief Rabbi of Jaffa.  He died on 3 Adar 5665 (10 March 1905). He is buried on the Mount of Olives.

(1) May 25, 2022: I just found this piece of information on Shlomo Zalman Shragai from his grandson, Nadav Shragai.

(May 24, 2022 / Israel Hayom) Some 77 years ago, the Chief Rabbi of the Jews of the Land of Israel, Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog—Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s grandfather—entered one of Europe’s convents and categorically demanded that the mother superior release Jewish children who were hidden there during the Holocaust.

“There are no Jewish children here,” she said innocently, but the rabbi insisted, and the children of the Christian institution were brought into the courtyard and arranged in rows before the rabbi and his entourage.

According to the testimony of my grandfather, Shlomo Zalman Shragai, who accompanied Rav Herzog on this trip—as mentioned in Rabbi Haim Sabato’s book Be-Shafrir Chevyon—the rabbi asked, “Who here is Jewish?” several times, but was met with total silence. His entourage encouraged him to leave for the next convent in order to search for more Jewish children; but then, a moment before they left, Rabbi Herzog suddenly wandered amongst the rows of children and shouted out loud: “Shema Yisrael, Hashem Eloheinu, Hashem Ehad” (“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One”). The small hands of seven children rose of their own accord in order to cover their eyes, and the rabbi shouted in excitement: “They’re Jews, this is how their mothers taught them.”

Shabbos – March 19, 2022 Parshas Tzav

Bloch – Hameiri

I walked to Chabad of East Lakeview to attend Helen Bloch’s and Avikam Hameiri’s son’s Bar Mitzvah, Megill Shmuel, which took place at Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel Congregation. 

In discussing his Parsha Tzav, Megill focused on the uniqueness of the trope in his parsha, in that it includes a Shalshelet.  The Shalshelet note in the trope in parsha Tzav  is the 4th and final shalshelet in the whole Torah.  What is the significance of this Shalshelet?  From analogizing the shalshelet in Tzav to the other shalsheles in the Torah one learns that the Shalshelet indicates that the person discussed at that point in the Torah has some sort of hesitation or ambivalence as to the situation at hand.  If it were not for the shalshelet we would not know this.  The message is that it is okay to hesitate and have doubts.  But one needs to overcome such hesitation and do the right thing at the end, similar to what the great leaders in the Torah have done, including Moshe, Joseph, Lot, and Eliezer, as indicated by the Shalshelet included in the reading that accompanied their situations as they appear in the Torah.

Kiddush was huge and I saw many friends.  I spoke to Rabbi Wolkenfeld and his wife, Sara.  I updated Sara about her friend, Amy Gross-Tarlow.  They went to Penn together.   Met some new friends.  The caterer was Shmuel Diamond who is the chef at Evita’s.  The chef is a regular by the Chabad of East Lakeview.   There were about 250 people. 

Helen Bloch spoke excellently.  She talked about the unique and special aspects of her son, Megill Shmuel Hameiri. He is empathic, kind, and carries with him the Midos of a Jew.  Helen Bloch’s parents were Naftali Glenner’s visual therapist, her father Marvin Bloch was his optometrist.   My mother always took Naftali there for his therapy and Helen remembers her well.  I took Naftali there once or twice.

Helen Bloch’s father-in-law, Shlomo Hameiri, came to Chicago in 2009 for Megill’s Bris.  He spoke at Anshe Sholom about his life experiences. 

Shlomo Hameiri’s last name in Europe was Hammer.  He was six years old when the Nazi’s came.  The below biography says it was the Ukrainians.   They went to his mother’s parents house which was right outside Lvov and lived on a small farm where his mother’s parents lived.  Shlomo’s grandfather was a Schochet and I believe a Mohel.

 He said I cried twice in my lifetime.

The first time was when the Nazi/Ukranians tortured his grandfather.  As the Nazis/Ukranians were torturing hs grandfather, Shlomo asked his mother, why is Zedi crying?  His mother responded, he is not crying he is talking to the angels.

The second time was when he was on the Exodus.  The Exodus set sail from Marseille.  The British notified the French to lock the port so the Exodus will not be able to travel to Israel.   The Exodus was able to slip out of the port.  On day four when the Exodus was in International waters, the ship hoisted the Israeil flag and Shlomo Hammer ((Hameiri) cried. He had his bar Mitzvah on the Exodus.

My aunt Fay Grinblatt – Noble was also ont he Exodus as a child.  ON one Sunday morning as PBS was playing the movie, The Exodus, I went to her house to watch the movie. With her and her huband, Rabbi Moshe Noble.

I found this picture on the Internet:

Group portrait of members of the Nitzanim group of the Zionist youth movement, Hanoar Hatzioni.

All of the children had been on the Exodus and had been sent back to Europe.  Ziomek Hammer (Shlomo HaMeiri) is pictured in the third row, fifth from the right.

Group portrait of members of the Nitzanim group of the Zionist youth movement, Hanoar Hatzioni.

All of the children had been on the Exodus and had been sent back to Europe. Ziomek Hammer (Shlomo HaMeiri) is pictured in the third row from the bottom, fifth from the right.

Date:   1948 January 06

Locale:   Emden, [Lower Saxony] Germany

Photo Designation

JEWISH REFUGEES: IMMIGRATION TO PALESTINE/ISRAEL — Refugee Ships (1945-1949) — Exodus — Transfer to Germany — Poppendorf/Amstau/Emden

Photo Credit                   United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Shlomo HaMeiri

About This Photograph

Biography Shlomo HaMeiri (born Ziomek Hammer) is the son of Heinrich Hammer (b. 1905,

Stanislawov) and Lola Tempel (b. 1905, Lvov). Heinrich and Lola each had gone to Vienna to study. After they married, they returned to Lvov where Heinrich completed his degree in engineering. Ziomek was born July 13, 1934 in Lvov, Poland. His father was an engineer. In 1940 Henrich joined the Russian army and was sent by the Russians to Leningrad. Ziomek and his mother joined her father Moshe Lev Temple in the village of Uhzedov. A while later, Ukrainians beat and executed him in front of Ziomek and his mother. They also attacked Lola. Afterwards, Ziomek and his mother went to Tarnopol where her sister Rivke lived. There they found Ziomek’s father who had come to look for them. They all were herded into the Tarnopol ghetto where they remained from 1941-43. From Tarnapol, they were taken to a concentration camp, where Ziomek’s parents hid him from the Germans. After three or four months, Ziomek, his father, and mother somehow escaped. They paid a Christian named Stanislavski to hide them in the attic above his pig pen, together with four other people. They could neither stand nor shower; rats crawled over them and they subsisted on dried corn which they softened with snow. The Hammers lived there for nine months. One night in April 1944, Stanislavski asked Ziomek’s father to slaughter a pig. The pig screamed loudly, as they did not know the proper way to kill it. Stanislavski told the family to drink some of the pig’s blood for strength and to run and hide. Later that day, Heinrich left their hiding place and found that Stanislavski had been shot. A few days later the Hammers returned to Tarnopol where they were liberated. Ziomek’s parents decided to return to Uhzedov to recover coins and other valuables that had been hidden with neighbors. They managed to retrieve their valuables but were caught and murdered. Ziomek waited several days for them to return before learning what had happened. For the next few years he lived with his cousin and uncle and, during that time, he attended a Catholic school for about a year and a half. Then his uncle was incarcerated. Ziomek was taken by Jewish soldiers from the Brigade to a Jewish orphanage in Krakow, where he remained for two weeks. He was then transported, along with other children, to Bad Reichenhall, a displaced persons’ camp in Germany. He lived on a Zionist hachsharot, and in 1947 he was sent with a group of children to Palestine on board the Exodus. After the ship was forcibly returned to Europe, Ziomek lived in the Poppendorf and Emden displaced persons’ camps before immigrating permanently to Israel in 1948 on the Aliya Dalet. Before leaving Europe all the children were given new Hebrew names, and Ziomek became Shlomo HaMeiri. Years later, he met another holocaust survivor, Tziporah, on a kibbutz. They married and had two children together.

Trip to Florida – February 9, 2022 to February 15, 2022

The Levy Family

Rabbi Sugerman

Yakov and Gittie Chase

Rabbi Simcha Shabtai

Nachum Caplan

The Chase Girls

The Broadwalk in Hollywood, FL

Josh Mushell

Wednesday, February 9, 2022:

Flew to Florida to stay with the kids.  Arrived at their house at about 9:00 PM.

Thursday, February 10, 2022:

Went to Daf Yomi at Boca Raton Synagogue with Rabbi Sugerman.  Saw David Gross and his son-in-law, Dr. Michael Tarlow, at BRS.  Dr. Tarlow davened with quite a bit of Kavana.  I am very impressed by Amy and Dr, Michael Tarlow.  Drove back to Boynton to take Tehillah to school.  Davened Mincha and Maariv at BRS.

Late in the afternoon, we drove around the area of the new Yeshiva to get an idea of the housing. I spoke to a broker, Eitan Abromowitz, 828-263-2055, about purchasing a new house in the area of the Yeshiva.  Very little is available and it is very expensive.

Went to eat with Shoshana and Danny Levy and kids at Burnt in Boca Raton.

Friday, February 11, 2022:

Went to Daf Yomi at BRS.  After Davening took Tehilah to school,

At 12:15 PM met with Rabbi Shimmy Shabtai.   We discussed the new Yeshiva and I gave him my $10,000 donation.  I wanted to meet with Rabbi Goldberg , but he was too busy.

Went to Nachum Caplan’s new house in Captiva.  He lives down the street from Rabbi Sugerman.  Nachum was wearing a Hatzalah hat.  Hatzalah just started in Boca Raton and he is a volunteer. I saw Alyssa and their two kids.   He showed me his new house.   He gutted the entire house and removed a load bearing wall between the kitchen and dining room, replacing it with a beam.  He was his own contractor and did a large part of the rewiring himself.  He spent about $135,000 on the renovation, however since he did some of the work himself, did not have to  pay a contractor, and knew how to save money,  the job would have cost me $200,000.   His father in law, Sid Cohen, came by and we talked. 

Nachum is a nurse and has become a visiting nurse, tripling his pay.  Nachum and Alyssa are a great couple.

I got great satisfaction because in my own way I helped him when he was younger.  I looked at him and saw a Gavrah.  He has grown as a person.

Went back to Shoshana’s house where I vacuumed the steps, washed the first floor, and cleaned up the boys room.

Shabbos, Friday night February 11, 2022:

Davened at Chabad of Boynton Beach, Rabbi Sholom Ciment.  Rabbi Moshe Soloveick was in Boynton Beach and was the scholar in residence. Rabbi Moshe Soloveichik came to Boynton to go to Connections of West Palm Beach’s dinner on Motzei Shabbos.  I called Rabbi Ciment and told him that Reb Moshe will bei n Boynton this Shabbos and I want him to be Scholar-in-Residence.  Rabbi Ciment said with pleasure as he is good friends with Reb Moshe.  Rabbi Ciment asked me, what about an honorarium?   I gave $1,000.

After Davening I went up to say Good Shabbos to Reb Moshe and schepped Nachas seeing Reb Moshe’s face beaming and people going over to him.

Shabbos Morning, February 12, 2022:

Davened a Chabad’s Hashkama minyan.  They started at 7:30 AM and by the time I got there at 8:00 they were already by Chazaros Hashatz.  After davening went home to make Kiddush.  I took Aryeh Moshe and Tehillah with me to Shul.  Luckily I met Rebbetzin Billet and she told me to put Tehillah in Anshei Chesed’s youth groups.  Her husband is the Rabbi.  I also asked her if I could come over to her house during their meal.  Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz, his wife and in-laws were eating by Rabbi Billet for the Shabbos Seudah.  She said yes and that I should come over at 1:30 PM.    I walked to Anshei Chesed, put Teholla in the youth group, and went into the Shul with Aryeh Moshe to listen to Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz’s Drasha.  I was proud of Aryeh Moshe as he was attentive and listened to the speech.  Rabbi Leibowitz talked about the clothing of the Cohanim.   Great speech.

After the speech, when I walked out of the Bais Medrash, I saw Tovah and my wife who had come to pick up Tehillah.  I was happy to see them.  The tragedy to me was that Zechariah did not have any Shabbos clothes, so he could not come.  Zechariah is very sociable and needs interaction with other kids.    

Went to Chabad of Boynton Beach to listen to Reb Moshe Soloveichik’s drasha.  It was on observing Yahrzeit during a leap year  when there are two Adars.  Which Adar is the Yahrzeit?

Went home for the Shabbos Seudah.  Great meal.

At 1:30 PM went to Rabbi Billet.  They were at the end of their meal.  I told Rabbi Leibowitz my two stories from the Kotzker on clothing.  Rabbi Leibowitz was going the next day to Israel to recruit for YU.  His in-laws are the Gewirtzs who live in Boynton.  Rabbi Leibowitz is a superstar in the YU Torah world.  He gives a 40 minute Daf Yomi Shiur every day, packed with Reshonim, Achronim.  Gives Torah non-stop.

Davened Mincha at Chabad

Motzei Shabbos – February 12, 2022:

Got a ride with Reb Moshe and Debra Soloveichik to the Connection of Palm Beach County school.  The school was honoring Jason Wolke, Michelle’s son.  Reb Moshe came in to honor and say thank you to Jason and Michelle Wolke partly for their help with my granddaughter, Tiferat.  I was happy to attend and it was a very heartwarming dinner.

Debi Johnson, Principal of Connections                   The Adlers, Michelle’s Friends:

Sunday, February 13, 2022:

Superbowl Sunday.  Tovah is making a super bowl party.  I davened and went to Daf Yomi at BRS.   Most of the afternoon I walked. I was bored so I called family and called Yaakov Chase and he was in an Uber to his hotel in Surfside Florida.  We made up to go to lunch with them on Monday.  Great Siatta Dismaya  that we were in Florida. 

The super bowl party was delicious.  It was Mexican themed with nachos,  guacamole, cheese dips, and imitation chicken.  Unfortunately the Cincinnati Bengals lost.

At 9:45 we left to go to our hotel, a Comfort Suites Inn right by the airport on Sterling Road, just off 95.

Monday, February 14, 2022:

Drove to Boca for Daf Yomi and Davening.  We drove to Miami Beach, 41st Street to walk the Boardwalk.  Walked to 64th and took the trolley back to our car.  Drove to Surfside to meet Yaakov and Gittie Chase at Cine Citta Caffe, 9544 Harding Avenue.   Very nice restaurant but they served fish and pasta, not what I would order.  I shared food with Yanky and Gittie.  Sat there for two hours and schmoozed.    Shalom Saltz came to visit.  He was at a conference down the street at the St. Regis.

After the meal we went to Rita’s to have ice cream.

Sholem Saltz, Mitch Morgenstern, Serka Morgenstern, Gittie Chase, Yaakov Chase

Drove back to the hotel and went for Mincha / Maariv to the Young Israel of Hollywood.  Schmoozed with the gabbai.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022:

Went to BRS for Daf Yomi and Davening.  Went back to the hotel and checked out.  Drove to Hollywood and walked along the Boardwalk.  We headed north away from the shops and the crowds.  Every few people were there.  A group of 4 girls on bicycles said hello to me.  I  commented to Seka, look there are Frum girls here   Serka said, look at them, they are your nieces.  

Later on during our walk I met Josh Mushell and wife who live in Baltimore.  He went to Chicago Telz in the late 1960s,  I went to Yeshiva with his brother, Aaron Mushell who now  lives in New York.  I heard about Josh Mushell for years but never met him.  Because Isay hello to every Frum Jew I meet, I met his walking along the Boardwalk in Hollywood, FL.

Parshas Mishpatim 2022

January 29, 2022:

Torah from this past Shabbos, Parshas Mishpatim:

Mishpatim Verse 21:1

And these are the laws that you should put before them.  Rashi explains אשר תשים לפניהם — God said to Moses: It should not enter your mind to say, “I shall teach them a section of the Torah or a single Halacha twice or three times until it will become current in their mouths exactly according to its wording (i. e. until they know the text verbatim), but I shall not take the trouble to make them understand the reason of each thing and its significance”; therefore Scripture says, אשר תשים לפניהם, “which thou shalt set before them” (cf. Genesis 34:23) — like a table fully laid before a person with everything ready for eating (Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 21:1:1).

The Kotzker explains that God is telling Moshe that the Jewish people should understand the Torah  with the sources בּמקורו העליון, the heavenly source being the Penimos Hatorah, Kabbalah, Zohar, and Tanya until they understand that the Torah could only be given to the Jews.  The Jewish people are one with the Torah.  (As we sing Yisroel, Oiriasa, V’Kudsha Brich Hu, Chad Hu.)   This is the meaning of Rashi who says,  לפניהם. וְלֹא לִפְנֵי גוֹיִם  This Kotzker continues that this can only happen if the Jews thoroughly understand the reason for everything, without the laws being a חוקה, a statue with no meaning.  Meaning we do not want the people to do Mitzvos just because that is how it is done, like a statute, but through full understanding.

Footnote:

What is this full understanding?

I showed my initial translation to Rabbi Kimmelman, a Lubavitcher, and I explained it as a non-Chassid.  Meaning we have to thoroughly explain each Mitzvah so people become attached to the Mitzvah.   He told me that the Kotzker is referring to understanding  the hidden meaning of the Torah through  Kabbalah.  I changed my translation to incorporate his thoughts.    However, I believe this Kotzker can also be used that we have to explain each MItzvah in a rational way so people connect to the Mitzvah and love the Torah so the Mitzvos are done due to their connection to the Torah and ultimately to God. Take for example, the laws of Tumah.  On a rational level this makes zero sense.  However, because God created us as a holy nation and God instituted this concept, we accept it because of our specialness.  

How do I apply this?

I love to walk six miles Shabbos morning to Daven at Chabad of East Lakeview.  There are a number of reasons.  Walking is therapy for me.  I want to be part of building a community from the inside and I want to see if Rabbi Kotlarski can actually make his Chabad House a community, with all the challenges of being in Lakeview.  My friends from Anshei Shalom moved to Chabad and we have a Chumash Shiur.  When I attend I give the Shiur.  I pour all my feelings and emotions into the Shiur.  I want the attendees who have not had an intense Hebrew education connect to a Rashi, an Ibn Ezra, a Ramban so that they feel emotionally connected to these great commentators.  I want them to see the greatness of Torah and I want them to feel they were there when Rashi wrote his Parush.   After 120, they will go over to Rashi, hug him, and discuss various Rashi’s or the other Reshonim with him.  This Is what the Kotzker means, we become one with the Torah and with Hashem.

Shabbos Parshas Miketz / December 4, 2021 – Sixth Day of Chanukah 2021

Chabad of East Lakeview

December 3, 2021 -Thursday Night – Fifth night of Chanukah

We had our 2021 Chanukah party.   Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.  Serka received a Tory Burch purse The boys and Mordy received a colorful pair of socks.  Mordy showed up in shorts.  I received a blue and white Chanukah gnome candle.  We had three types of pizza, eggplant parmesan, mac and cheese, and of course potato latkes.  For dessert an assortment of Sufganiyot.

Joseph Interprets the Dream of Pharaoh (19th Century painting by Jean-Adrien Guignet)

Friday Night:

Davened at Sidney’s Bais Ment Shul.  Great Shabbos meal from Serka, food was the perfect amount.  Went to sleep at 9:00 PM.  

Shabbos Morning:

Got up at 4:00 AM and prepared for my Shiur.  I left my house at 8:45 AM to walk to Chabad of East Lakeview.   Walk seemed to go by fast as I was thinking my speech.  At the parking lot of Target on Ashland and School, a Streetwise vendor asked if I was Jewish and I showed him my Yarmulka.  His name was Gary (Steve) Cole.  His mother was Jewish, last name Frank, and his father was a hillbilly. I told him to bring his sister to Chabad.  Arrived at Chabad at 10:45 AM, by Chazras Hashatz.

Paul Fruend was there, along with the rest of the Chevra.  Nice crowd.  I received an Aliyah.  

Kiddush was sponsored by Dr. Stuart Sprague for the Yahrzeit for his father.   Dr. Stuart Sprague is a specialist who offers services and treatment options in Nephrology (Kidneys).  Magnificent Kiddush.  Chicken wraps, lean corned beef, turkey roll, coleslaw, and a great Pesach Cholent.

The Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur started at 2:15 PM.  In attendance were Paul Fruend, Marcel, Tamar, Peggy, Ray Miller, and Herb.    I started out with a question.  Miketz is always read during Chanukah. Is there a connection between Mikatz and Chanukah?  Rabbi Efreim Goldberg answered that Yosef at the end of last week’s Sedra was languishing in prison.  In Mikatz, Yosef goes from the bottom to the top of the world.  In the Chanukah story, the Jews were ruled by the Greek empire. The Greeks did not want to annihilate the Jews as in the Purim story.  They wanted Jews to take on Greek culture.  Circumcision was forbidden.  The Greeks worshiped perfection of the body. The Olympic games celebrated the human body.  Jewish athletes undid their circumcision.  Many Jews wanted to be Greek, the dominant culture in Israel at that time. Dana Horn who wrote the book, People Love Dead Jews, talks and writes about the historical need for Jews to assimilate and turn against themselves. https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/the-cool-kids

She talked about the tragedy of Jews undoing their circumcision to gain acceptance.  The Chasmonean, a ragtag group of freedom fighters fought against the Greeks to restore Jewish culture.  Israel went from almost losing their identity and brought back not only the Jewish religion, but also sovereignty to the Jewish people.  Both tell the story of rising from the depths of despair to greatness, to freedom.

Verse 41:1 – וַיְהִ֕י מִקֵּ֖ץ שְׁנָתַ֣יִם יָמִ֑ים וּפַרְעֹ֣ה חֹלֵ֔ם וְהִנֵּ֖ה עֹמֵ֥ד עַל־הַיְאֹֽר׃

Yosef was sent to prison, falsely accused by the wife of Potiphar.  I always thought that the incident happened within a year of his coming to Egypt.  This means that Yosef was in prison for ten years, plus the additional two years or twelve in total.  This year I revisited  this question.  Maybe the incident with Potiphar happened after Yosef had been in Egypt for ten years and he was only in jail for two years. Rabbi Dovid Kotlarski said last week that the incident with the Chief Baker and the Cupbearer happened because the gossip of Egypt was about Yosef and Potiphar.  Hashem made a new scandal so that Yosef’s story would be yesterday’s news and stop being talked about.  The news cycle moved on.  This is a Rashi and I was glad the Rabbi mentioned this Rashi.  This means that Yosef was only imprisoned for slightly over two years. 

The יְאֹֽר  is the Nile.  Pharaoh was a God king and in his dream he is standing by the Nile.  The Nile was the lifeline of Egypt.  Pharaoh felt the Nile is his.  

Verse 41:2 – Verse 41:7 – The dream of Pharah.  The way the Torah describes the cows and grain is in different order when comparing what the Torah said when Pharaoh dreamt vs. the language used when Pharaoh told the dream to Yosef.  I do not have an answer.

Good Cows:

Actual dream –        שֶׁ֣בַע פָּר֔וֹת יְפ֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וּבְרִיאֹ֣ת בָּשָׂ֑ר

Reciting to Yosef –  שֶׁ֣בַע פָּר֔וֹת בְּרִיא֥וֹת בָּשָׂ֖ר וִיפֹ֣ת תֹּ֑אַר

Question 1 – Good cows –  Description of cows are in reverse order

Question 2         Why in one place it is יְפ֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה    and in the second place וִיפֹ֣ת תֹּ֑אַר

                                            Different descriptive words מַרְאֶ֖ה  vs.  תֹּ֑אַר and why in the first recital יְפ֥וֹת 

has a Vav and in the retelling the word  וִיפֹ֣ת does not have a Vav 

Bad cows:

Actual dream        –  רָע֥וֹת מַרְאֶ֖ה וְדַקּ֣וֹת בָּשָׂ֑ר

Reciting to Yosef – דַּלּ֨וֹת וְרָע֥וֹת תֹּ֛אַר מְאֹ֖ד וְרַקּ֣וֹת בָּשָׂ֑ר לֹֽא־רָאִ֧יתִי כָהֵ֛נָּה בְּכׇל־אֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לָרֹֽעַ׃

                                  Weak, bad in appearance, and emaciated flesh

Question 3 – Bad cows –    דַּלּ֨וֹת -weak is only mentioned in Pharaoh rendition to Yosef

                                              In the rendition of Yosef Pharaoh adds the word  מְאֹ֖ד. 

Artscoll translates מַרְאֶ֖ה as appearance and תֹּ֛אַר as form.  

Sefaria described  מַרְאֶ֖ה as ugly and  תֹּ֛אַר as ill-formed.

Continuing the narration:

The king’s necromancers and wise men could not interpret Pharaoh’s dream.  The Chief Cupbearer suggests that Yosef be brought in.  The Chief Cupbearer says the following in Verse 41:12:

וְשָׁ֨ם אִתָּ֜נוּ נַ֣עַר עִבְרִ֗י עֶ֚בֶד לְשַׂ֣ר הַטַּבָּחִ֔ים וַ֨נְּסַפֶּר־ל֔וֹ וַיִּפְתׇּר־לָ֖נוּ אֶת־חֲלֹמֹתֵ֑ינוּ אִ֥ישׁ כַּחֲלֹמ֖וֹ פָּתָֽר׃A Hebrew youth was there with us, a servant of the chief steward; and when we told him our dreams, he interpreted them for us, telling each of the meaning of his dream

Rashi – נער עברי עבד. אֲרוּרִים הָרְשָׁעִים, שֶׁאֵין טוֹבָתָם שְׁלֵמָה, מַזְכִּירוֹ בִּלְשׁוֹן בִּזָּיוֹן

                                                       נער. שׁוֹטֶה וְאֵין רָאוּי לִגְדֻלָּה

                                                       עבד. וְכָתוּב בְּנִמּוּסֵי מִצְרַיִם שֶׁאֵין עֶבֶד מוֹלֵךְ   וְלֹא לוֹבֵשׁ בִּגְדֵי שָׂרִים            

The Chief Cupbearer is telling Pharaoh, I know someone who has the knack for interpreting dreams.  Despite this ability he is a fool, a slave and not fit to be king.  Yes he has a talent, but he has nothing else going for him.   He is an idiot savant like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man.  The Cupbearer could not be gracious and say, I know a young man who is great, smart, and can interpret dreams.   Why would the Cupbearer be afraid that Yosef would be king?  Joseph is a prisoner and to think that Yosef as a foreigner, a slave and a prisoner would becomed king is preposterous.  Yet the Cupbearer was afraid that Yosef could indeed become king.  I believe the answer is that the Cupbearer recognized that Yosef was successful, smart, a leader of men, and had a graciousness about him that drew people in.   Yosef was not a criminal nor did he behave like a slave.    The Cupbearer knew that if Pharaoh met Yosef, Pharaoh would be impressed and possibly promote Yosef. Yosef’s political stock would rise and ultimately Yosef would become a major leader.  Therefore, the Cupbearer denigrated Yosef by saying Yosef is a nothing, a fool.  

Verse 41:15 through Verse 41:36 is the dialogue between Pharaoh and Yosef; the interpretation of the dream and Yosef’s advice.  Yosef has the confidence and presence before Pharaoh and the entire court.  He talks confidently, articulately and impresses everyone in the room.  They do not see a lowly criminal and slave.  Therefore Pharaoh responded – 

Verse 41:37     וַיִּיטַ֥ב הַדָּבָ֖ר בְּעֵינֵ֣י פַרְעֹ֑ה וּבְעֵינֵ֖י כׇּל־עֲבָדָֽיו׃ – The plan pleased Pharaoh and all his courtiers.

Verse 41:38      וַיֹּ֥אמֶר פַּרְעֹ֖ה אֶל־עֲבָדָ֑יו הֲנִמְצָ֣א כָזֶ֔ה אִ֕ישׁ אֲשֶׁ֛ר ר֥וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֖ים בּֽוֹ 

 And Pharaoh said to his courtiers, “Could we find another like him, a man in whom is  the spirit of God?”

Verse 41:39:    וַיֹּ֤אמֶר פַּרְעֹה֙ אֶל־יוֹסֵ֔ף אַחֲרֵ֨י הוֹדִ֧יעַ אֱלֹהִ֛ים אוֹתְךָ֖ אֶת־כׇּל־זֹ֑את אֵין־נָב֥וֹן וְחָכָ֖ם כָּמֽוֹךָ  

So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is none so    discerning and wise as you.

Everyone is happy.  Pharaoh found a person who should be able to handle running Egypt, gathering the grain, storing it, and the distribution.  All of Pharaoh’s advisers are happy. At this point Pharaoh has buy-in from his court ministers that Yosef should be promoted.  They are thinking that Pharosh will appoint one of us to lead the effort, Yosef will work for us, and we will get all the glory, the glory of saving Egypt.  They will erect statues in our honor.

In the next verse, Pharaoh delivers a shock to his royal court.

Verse 41:40 says  –  אַתָּה֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה עַל־בֵּיתִ֔י וְעַל־פִּ֖יךָ יִשַּׁ֣ק כׇּל־עַמִּ֑י רַ֥ק הַכִּסֵּ֖א אֶגְדַּ֥ל מִמֶּֽךָּ׃ –  You shall be in charge of my court, and by your command shall all my people be directed; only with respect to the throne shall I be superior to you.”

Yosef is promoted to be the leader of Egypt who will be making all the decisions.  Only Pharaoh has more power, but will not be running the country.  It will be Yoseph.  This is a wondrous turn of events. Why would Pharaoh bypass all of his wise men, his politicians, his necromancers who have been with him for years.   I believe that Pharaoh really wanted to do good for his people.  He realized that Yosef is the best person for the job and he did not want to hinder Yosef from reporting to a boss who would only create another level of management and create roadblocks.  So true in the corporate world.   It would make it harder for Yosef to carry out his mission of saving Egypt during the famine years.   The royal court must have been stunned.  They were in disbelief and rendered speechless.  In all likelihood from that day forward they worked against Yosef.  At every turn they tried to sabotage him.  Yosef could not let his guard down.  This is one of the reasons given why Yosef did not let his father know that he was okay.Yosef was always watched, and if he faltered he would be accused of disloyalty.

Pharaoh gives Yosef a wife, the daughter of Potepher.” אֶת־אָֽסְנַ֗ת בַּת־פּ֥וֹטִי פֶ֛רַע* כֹּהֵ֥ן אֹ֖ן לְאִשָּׁ֑ה”.  In the previous Parsha  Potephar’s wife wanted Yosef and falsely accused Yosef of attacking her.  She is now his mother-in-law.  Awkward,  Thanksgiving must have been tough.    Perhaps Pharaoh deliberately gave Asnas to Yosef as a wife to show that Yosef was innocent and to quell any talk about that incident.    Interesting to note that Potephar’s wife is not identified by name.  Perhaps now that her daughter became the husband of a powerful person and she sees that the prophecy of her family becoming part of Yosef’s was not her but her daughter, she apologized to Yosef and they were on good terms.

Yonasan Ben Uziel says that Asnas was the daughter of the union of Shechem and Dina that Potephar’s wife raised, as follows”

וּקְרָא פַרְעה שְׁמֵיהּ דְיוֹסֵף גַבְרָא דִטְמִירָן מְפַרְסֵם וִיהַב לֵיהּ יַת אָסְנַת דִילֵידַת דִינָה לִשְׁכֶם וּרְבֵיתָה אִיתַּת פּוֹטִיפֶרַע רַבָּא דְטָנִיס לְאִינְתּוּ וּנְפַק יוֹסֵף שַׁלִיט עַל אַרְעָא דְמִצְרַיִם

And Pharaoh called the name of Joseph, The man who revealeth mysteries. And he gave him Asenath, whom Dinah had borne to Shekem, and the wife of Potiphera prince (Rabba) of Tanis had brought up, to be his wife. And Joseph went forth ruler over the land of Mizraim.   

This makes so much sense.  The attack on Dina, terrible when it happened,  ends up being for the good.  Imagine the joy of the family comes down and they discover that Dina’s daughter has been restored to the family.   The family is whole.

Final Thought:

Yosef is asked to interpret the dream, however, in verse 41:33 Yosef offers advice.  Yosef was not asked to offer advice.  I said a Pshat that Yosef did not want to be thrown back in prison, so he offered advice in the hopes that he would become a government official working for an advisor and not be sent back to prison.  He did not think that Pharaoh would praise him and elevate him to the number two person in the entire Egypt.

Verse 34 –  יַעֲשֶׂ֣ה פַרְעֹ֔ה וְיַפְקֵ֥ד פְּקִדִ֖ים עַל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְחִמֵּשׁ֙ אֶת־אֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם בְּשֶׁ֖בַע שְׁנֵ֥י הַשָּׂבָֽע׃

The word חִמֵּשׁ֙ according to Rashi is to “prepare” the land .  The Ibn Ezra says it means take a fifth of all the produce.   

Verse 35 says – וְיִקְבְּצ֗וּ אֶת־כׇּל־אֹ֙כֶל֙ הַשָּׁנִ֣ים הַטֹּב֔וֹת הַבָּאֹ֖ת הָאֵ֑לֶּה וְיִצְבְּרוּ־בָ֞ר תַּ֧חַת יַד־פַּרְעֹ֛ה אֹ֥כֶל בֶּעָרִ֖ים וְשָׁמָֽרוּ׃ Let all the food of these good years that are coming be gathered, and let the grain be collected under Pharaoh’s authority as food to be stored in the cities.

Verse 36 says – וְהָיָ֨ה הָאֹ֤כֶל לְפִקָּדוֹן֙ לָאָ֔רֶץ לְשֶׁ֙בַע֙ שְׁנֵ֣י הָרָעָ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר תִּהְיֶ֖יןָ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרָ֑יִם וְלֹֽא־תִכָּרֵ֥ת הָאָ֖רֶץ בָּרָעָֽב Let that food be a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will come upon the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish in the famine.”

According to Rashi in Verse 34 it does not say that it is a tax or that the government will buy up the food supply, where the government will own this stockpile of food.  It is a פִקָּדוֹן֙ , a deposit.  The Torah seems to say that the people will give the food to the government and will get it back during the years of famine. This Is not what ultimately happened.  Why did it change?  It ended up that Pharaoh owned all the excess grain and while he saved his people, it was done at a tremendous cost to the Egyptians.  They lost their land and their freedom, as much as they had under a Sun God.

Shabbos Parshas VaYeshev / Thanksgiving 2021

Kiddush for Beverly’s fifth Yahrzeit coming up on 2 Teves – 

December 6, 2021

Torah on the Sedra

Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021

Sholem made Thanksgiving dinner.  Great meal with turkey, chicken, three types of vegetables, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rice.   Dessert was pumpkin pie.  

Friday, November 26, 2021

Cold day.  An hour before Shabbos I went walking to get my 10,000 steps in.  Listened to Rabbi Efrim Goldberg’s Shiur on the Sedra.  It was vintage Rabbi Goldberg where he weaved together different Rishonim.  He said over a beautiful Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik on the Pasuk 37:18 – וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק – and they saw him from afar, last Torah thought on this post.  

Friday Night Shabbos – November 27, 2021:

My grandchildren, Aliza and Nechama, stayed over for Shabbos.  My daughter and son-in-law were in the hospital with my grandson.  He had trouble breathing.  Boruch Hashem everything is fine and on Sunday they came home from the hospital. 

 Every Friday night I overeat and fall asleep right after the meal.  Tonight was no different and I was asleep by 6:00 PM.  I awoke at 11:45 PM and stayed up for three hours learning the Sedra and preparing for my Shiur.  

Shabbos Morning:

At 8:45 AM left to go to Chabad of East Lakeview, a six mile walk.  Thought about the Shiur I would give and the time flew by.  Arrived in Shul at 10:45 AM, in the middle of Leining.  I leined the Haftorah in Amos which starts with the following Pasuk from Amos 2:6:

כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ פִּשְׁעֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָ֖ה לֹ֣א אֲשִׁיבֶ֑נּוּ עַל־מִכְרָ֤ם בַּכֶּ֙סֶף֙ צַדִּ֔יק וְאֶבְי֖וֹן בַּֽעֲב֥וּר נַעֲלָֽיִם׃

“For (the) three sins (I could forgive) Israel, but for four I will not forgive, because they sold justice of an innocent man for silver and cheated the poor for a pair of shoes.” 

Redak on this Pasuk:

רד”ק על עמוס ב׳:ו׳:א׳

אף על פי שעברו על שלשה עברות חמורות, והם עכו”ם, גילוי עריות ושפיכות דמים, לא נחתם גזר דינם לפני להחריב ארצם ולהגלותם ע”י מלך אשור, אלא על החמס, והוא הרביעי, ועליו הענישם על כל מה שעשו. וכן בדור המבול: אף על פי שהיו בידם כמה עברות, לא הענישם אלא על החמס, שנאמר (בראשית ו’ י”ג) “כי מלאה הארץ חמס מפניהם”, וכל שכן כשהחמס בא ע”י השופטים, שהיה להם להעמיד הצדק והם ע”י השוחד מטים הדין… פירוש “לא אשיבנו” – לא אשיבנו אל סליחתי שסלחתי לו שלש פעמים והייתי משיב אותו בכל פעם אל סליחתי אם לא היה שב אל פשעו, אבל אחר ששב עוד אל פשעו אענישנו על כולם.

The brothers purchasing shoes in Medresh:

ילקוט שמעוני על התורה קמ״ב:א׳

… (בראשית ל”ז כ”ז) “וימכרו את יוסף לישמעאלים בעשרים כסף” – כל אחד ואחד מהם נטל שני כספים לקנות מנעלים לרגליהם, שנאמר: “על מכרם בכסף צדיק ואביון בעבור נעלים”.

מדרש עשרה הרוגי מלכות (אייזנשטט, אוצר המדרשים):   פעם אחת היה יושב הקיסר ועוסק בתורה ומצא כתוב (שמות כ”א) “וגונב איש ומכרו ונמצא בידו מות יומת” – והלך וטח הבית בנעלים ודבקם בכתלים, ושלח אחר ר’ שמעון בן גמליאל וחבריו ואמר להם: אם כן אתם חייבים מיתה, קבלו על עצמכם דין שמים. אמרו לו: למה? אמר להם: בשביל אחי יוסף שמכרו את יוסף, דכתיב “וימכרו את יוסף בעשרים כסף” וכתיב “על מכרם בכסף צדיק ואביון בעבור נעלים”, ולכן טח אותו רשע את הבית במנעלים, כדי שיכירו באיזה דבר מכרו את יוסף, “בעבור נעלים” – בדמי נעלים.

The Targum Yonason Ben Uziel also brings up the purchase of shoes.   “And the Midianite men, masters of business, passed by; and they drew and brought up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Arabians for twenty mahin of silver; “which were used to purchase sandals”. And they brought Joseph to Mizraim.”

The Gutnick Chumash says “This Haftorah alludes to the sale of Yosef who was sold for silver by his brothers.  The Haftorah is a harsh rebuke by the Prophet Amos for the sins of the Jewish people during the reign of King Yarovam II (8th century BCE).”

Is the linkage of this Pasuk in Amos only superficial or is it on a deeper level.  Is it  an indictment of the ten brothers who sold Yosef because they sold Yosef without justice?  I believe that the answer is superficial linkage.  The reason the Haftorahs were instituted was at a time when the authorities forbade Jews to read the Torah.  Chazel said we will read Nach in that talks about the subject of the Sedra or something that will have a tie into the Parsha, even on a superficial level.

Where else do shoes play a role? 

The battle of Gettysburg.  The goal of General Robert E. Lee was to attack north and conquer Harrisburg, PA and from there go to other Northern cities.   The   battle plan changed in late June 1863.  Shelby Foote in his book ‘Stars in their Courses, The Gettysburg Campaign’ states; “Heth was quick to take him up on that.  “If there is no objection” he said, “I will take my division tomorrow and go to Gettysburg and get those shoes.”

I sponsored the Kiddush in memory of my Aunt Beverly Sklar, my mother’s younger sister who was born with special needs.  I told the circumstances of Beverley’s birth and life.  My source was my Hesped speech at her funeral.   https://kotzk.com/?s=beverly+sklar .

On Thursday I called Linda Kahn to come to Chabad for Davening and for the Kiddush. She has rarely been out of her house due to covid. She came.  I told her I would get her lean corned beef, her favorite, which the Rabbi made sure we had for the Kiddush.

I gave the Dr. Leonard Kranzler Memorial Shiur.  In attendance were Linda Kahn, Peggy and Sid Kaz, Herb Eiseman,  Ray Miller, Tamar Genin, Eli Morgenstern, and Xi.  Paul was in Texas for Shabbos.

Shiur was over at 3:05 PM and walked the six miles back home.

First thought – Verse 37:1 – וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃

Yakov arrived at his father’s house when he was 99 years old and Yosef was 8 years old.  Yaakov was 108 years old when the sale of Yosef occurred.  This means that Yakov was 11 years by his father in peace and harmony.  However, during those 11 years trouble was brewing below the surface.  The famous Medresh that Rashi brings down,  וְעוֹד נִדְרָשׁ בּוֹ וישב, בִּקֵּשׁ יַעֲקֹב לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, קָפַץ עָלָיו רָגְזוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף – צַדִּיקִים מְבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה, אָמַר הַקָּבָּ”ה לֹא דַיָּן לַצַּדִּיקִים מַה שֶּׁמְּתֻקָּן לָהֶם לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, אֶלָּא שֶׁמְּבַקְּשִׁים לֵישֵׁב בְּשַׁלְוָה בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה:

On the surface everything was fine but there was trouble afoot.

Yakov was planning to spend the rest of his life learning, davening, and doing Tzedakah and he did get eleven years, yet Hashem said that you cannot withdraw from reality and live a life of serenity.  The Ohr Hachaim goes a step further saying that Yakov disengaged from being the leader of the family, being actively engaged.  This was a monumental mistake because his not leading caused the rift in the family, whose effect we felt for generations. 

The first Pasuk says   וַיֵּ֣שֶׁב יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו בְּאֶ֖רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃ .  Yakov was יֵּ֣שֶׁב which means he found permanence in the land of the sojournings of his father.  Was his father also a יֵּ֣שֶׁב or a sojurner?  Avrohom said to the children of Ches, I am a sojourner and a permanent resident among you. What about Yitzchok?  I do not have an answer for this question.  

I saw this interesting Kotzker who brought down this Medresh. I did not say this Vort at the Shiur.  

The following Medresh say the words  בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י means in the land of the converts of his father.  This teaches us that Yitzchak also converted people to monotheism.  

:דָּבָר אַחֵר, וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב וגו’, אַבְרָהָם גִּיֵּר גִּיּוּרִים, הֲדָא הוּא דִכְתִיב (בראשית יב, ה): וַיִּקַּח אַבְרָם אֶת שָׂרַי אִשְׁתּוֹ, אָמַר רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יוֹסֵי בֶּן זִמְרָא אִם מִתְכַּנְסִין כָּל בָּאֵי הָעוֹלָם לִבְרֹאת אֲפִלּוּ יַתּוּשׁ אֶחָד אֵינָן יְכוֹלִין, וְאַתְּ אוֹמֵר (בראשית יב, ה): וְאֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן, אֶלָּא אֵלּוּ הַגֵּרִים שֶׁגִּיֵּר אוֹתָם אַבְרָהָם, וְלָמָּה אָמַר עָשׂוּ, וְלֹא אָמַר גִּיְּרוּ, לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁהוּא מְקָרֵב אֶת הַגֵּר כְּאִלּוּ בְּרָאוֹ. תֹּאמַר אַבְרָהָם הָיָה מְגַיֵּר וְשָׂרָה לֹא הָיְתָה מְגַיֶּרֶת, תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר וְאֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ בְחָרָן, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֵין כְּתִיב כָּאן אֶלָּא אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ. אָמַר רַבִּי חוּנְיָא אַבְרָהָם הָיָה מְגַיֵּר אֶת הָאֲנָשִׁים וְשָׂרָה מְגַיֶּרֶת אֶת הַנָּשִׁים, וּמַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ, אֶלָּא מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה אַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ מַכְנִיסָן לְתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וּמַאֲכִילָן וּמַשְׁקָן וּמְקָרְבָן וּמַכְנִיסָן תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה. יַעֲקֹב גִּיֵּר גִּיּוּרִים, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית לה, ב): וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל בֵּיתוֹ וגו’ וַיִּתְּנוּ אֶל יַעֲקֹב וגו’, בְּיִצְחָק לֹא שָׁמַעְנוּ, וְהֵיכָן שָׁמַעְנוּ, רַבִּי יִצְחָק וְתָאנֵי לָהּ מִשּׁוּם רַבִּי הוֹשַׁעְיָא רַבָּה בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה בַּר סִימוֹן, כָּאן כְּתִיב: וַיֵּשֶׁב יַעֲקֹב בְּאֶרֶץ מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו, מַאי מְגוּרֵי אָבִיו מִגִּיּוּרֵי אָבִיו.

The Kotzker said that Avrohom’s method of converting people was through action, doing kindness,  Yakov’s was more internal.  Verse 35:2 says  וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־בֵּית֔וֹ וְאֶ֖ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמּ֑וֹ הָסִ֜רוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֤י הַנֵּכָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתֹכְכֶ֔ם וְהִֽטַּהֲר֔וּ וְהַחֲלִ֖יפוּ שִׂמְלֹתֵיכֶֽם.  The אֶ֖ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמּ֑וֹ is referring to converts of Yakov.  Yakov was telling them to look deep inside yourselves and remove the bad influence of idols.  What type were Yitzchok’s?  They were the same as Yakov’s as it says,  בְּאֶ֖רֶץ מְגוּרֵ֣י אָבִ֑יו, meaning that both Yitzchok and Yakov’s converts wee converted the same way.  As I contemplate this Kotzker, what is the Kotzker trying to say?  

Second thought on the Parsha:

Verse 2 –  אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ תֹּלְד֣וֹת יַעֲקֹ֗ב יוֹסֵ֞ף בֶּן־שְׁבַֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה נְשֵׁ֣י אָבִ֑יו וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם׃

How do we understand this Pasuk that described Yosef.  Was Yosef good or bad? There are four descriptors of Yosef:

1 –  הָיָ֨ה רֹעֶ֤ה אֶת־אֶחָיו֙ בַּצֹּ֔אן  – good.  He was willing to pitch in. 

2 –   וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר – immature – could be parve, but we will put this in the bad category.  They viewed Yosef as an immature youth who wanted to control the world. 

3 –  וְה֣וּא נַ֗עַר אֶת־בְּנֵ֥י בִלְהָ֛ה וְאֶת־בְּנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֖ה – good.  Yosef hung around the sons of the maidservants who

                                                                          were verbally abused by the sons of Leah

4 – וַיָּבֵ֥א יוֹסֵ֛ף אֶת־דִּבָּתָ֥ם רָעָ֖ה אֶל־אֲבִיהֶֽם – bad

Overall, the Pasuk seems to describe Yosef as bad.

If # 3 is true; why did the four brothers of the maidservants Pasken with the sons of Leah.  They should have stepped up and said, you are wrong, we know Yosef and he would never usurp power,  He is kind and gentle.  In Shiur I answered that although Yosef supported them, when they had a chance to side with the bullies, they abandoned Yosef.  Put another way, they had a chance to be part of the club and this meant turning their backs on their former friend and defender.  This is common among people who are bullied. They so wanted to be part of the cool kids, the power elite, that when offered the opportunity they abandon their former uncool friends. Similar to Israel in the 1950s.  Israel’s foreign policy was to help the African and other poor countries with agricultural expertise.  However, in 1967 when the Arabs demanded loyalty they abandoned Israel and the technology for the people to better themselves and sided with the bullies.

Verse 3 continues and describes Yosef relationship with his father:

                                                                  וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכׇּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת פַּסִּֽים׃    

The brothers saw the bad side of Yosef.  Yosef was their father’s favorite and made Yosef a special coat.  Additionally, Yosef was from Rachel, the love of Yakov and his primary wife.  Their mother was secondary.  This special love, the special coat had to bother them greatly which turned into jealousy and hatred.  It is understandable why Yakov would love  Yosef over all his brothers. Yosef was the son of the love of Yakov’s wife, they looked alike, he saw that Yosef was smarter than all his brothers, and he was born later in life to Yakov.   I would also guess that he saw leadership qualities in Yosef which were borne by the dreams.  To compound everything Yakov makes Yosef a special coat.  

We can understand why the brothers hated Yosef.  It was a hatred that turned into jealousy, very deadly.  

All the components of a combustible fire were set in  motion and are further exacerbated by the two dreams.  The first one he did not tell their father, however, in the second doubled down on bringing hatred to himself by telling their father the dream in front of the brothers.

Verse 37:3 –      וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָהַ֤ב אֶת־יוֹסֵף֙ מִכׇּל־בָּנָ֔יו כִּֽי־בֶן־זְקֻנִ֥ים ה֖וּא ל֑וֹ וְעָ֥שָׂה ל֖וֹ כְּתֹ֥נֶת

                                                                                                                                    פַּסִּֽים

Verse 37:4  וַיִּרְא֣וּ אֶחָ֗יו כִּֽי־אֹת֞וֹ אָהַ֤ב אֲבִיהֶם֙ מִכׇּל־אֶחָ֔יו וַֽיִּשְׂנְא֖וּ אֹת֑וֹ וְלֹ֥א יָכְל֖וּ דַּבְּר֥וֹ לְשָׁלֹֽם

Verse 37:5  וַיַּחֲלֹ֤ם יוֹסֵף֙ חֲל֔וֹם וַיַּגֵּ֖ד לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיּוֹסִ֥פוּ ע֖וֹד שְׂנֹ֥א אֹתֽוֹ׃     

Verse 37:6     וַיֹּ֖אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם שִׁמְעוּ־נָ֕א הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר חָלָֽמְתִּי   

וְ֠הִנֵּ֠ה אֲנַ֜חְנוּ מְאַלְּמִ֤ים אֲלֻמִּים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְהִנֵּ֛ה קָ֥מָה אֲלֻמָּתִ֖י וְגַם־נִצָּ֑בָה וְהִנֵּ֤ה תְסֻבֶּ֙ינָה֙ אֲלֻמֹּ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם וַתִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶ֖יןָ לַאֲלֻמָּתִֽי׃

וַיֹּ֤אמְרוּ לוֹ֙ אֶחָ֔יו הֲמָלֹ֤ךְ תִּמְלֹךְ֙ עָלֵ֔ינוּ אִם־מָשׁ֥וֹל תִּמְשֹׁ֖ל בָּ֑נוּ וַיּוֹסִ֤פוּ עוֹד֙ שְׂנֹ֣א אֹת֔וֹ עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָ֖יו וְעַל־דְּבָרָֽיו׃

Verse 37:9  וַיַּחֲלֹ֥ם עוֹד֙ חֲל֣וֹם אַחֵ֔ר וַיְסַפֵּ֥ר אֹת֖וֹ לְאֶחָ֑יו וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הִנֵּ֨ה חָלַ֤מְתִּֽי חֲלוֹם֙ ע֔וֹד וְהִנֵּ֧ה הַשֶּׁ֣מֶשׁ וְהַיָּרֵ֗חַ וְאַחַ֤ד עָשָׂר֙ כּֽוֹכָבִ֔ים מִֽשְׁתַּחֲוִ֖ים לִֽי׃

Verse 37:10 – וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖ אָֽרְצָה

Yakov realizes that the brothers hated Yosef and he tries to mitigate the hatred by minimizing the dream and saying it is a false dream.  Obviously, this was too little, too late. This verse and Verse 11 say:

וַיְסַפֵּ֣ר אֶל־אָבִיו֮ וְאֶל־אֶחָיו֒ וַיִּגְעַר־בּ֣וֹ אָבִ֔יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֔וֹ מָ֛ה הַחֲל֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר חָלָ֑מְתָּ הֲב֣וֹא נָב֗וֹא אֲנִי֙ וְאִמְּךָ֣ וְאַחֶ֔יךָ לְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֺ֥ת לְךָ֖  אָֽרְצָה׃

Third Thought:    Verse 37:11 וַיְקַנְאוּ־ב֖וֹ אֶחָ֑יו וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר׃

Beautiful Medrsh says on the words    וְאָבִ֖יו שָׁמַ֥ר אֶת־הַדָּבָֽר – 

וַיְקַנְאוּ בוֹ אֶחָיו וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר (בראשית לז, יא), אָמַר רַבִּי לֵוִי נָטַל קוּלְמוּס וְכָתַב בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם וּבְאֵיזֶה שָׁעָה בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. אָמַר רַבִּי חִיָּא רַבָּה וְאָבִיו שָׁמַר אֶת הַדָּבָר, וְרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ אוֹמֶרֶת שְׁמֹר אֶת הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁעֲתִידִין הַדְּבָרִים לִגַּע. רַבִּי לֵוִי בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא אָמַר כָּךְ אָבִינוּ יַעֲקֹב סָבַר וְרָאָה דְּבָרִים מְמַשְׁמְשִׁין וּבָאִין, אָמַר אִם נִתְבַּקְרָה פִּנְקָסוֹ מַה יָּכוֹל אֲנִי לַעֲשׂוֹת.

Yakov marked down on his notepad the details of the dreams because he fervently believed it would happen and he wanted to record what Yosef said so that he can look into his notebook years later and recall his thoughts and emotions when he heard the dream.  Rabbi Efreim Goldberg said in the name of Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian that we all should  record in a notebook things in our life that are monumental and of consequence so we do not forget what we did and relive the experience.  We will be able to vividly recall our feelings of that time.  Imagine a lifetime of those thoughts and deeds where you can go back and relive those moments.  Especially moments of truth when our life changed directions because of a decision or an action.

As an aside.  All three parties, Yakov, Yosef, and the ten brothers bore responsibility. The ten brothers were the ultimate guilty party, even though they thought they were acting properly, but Yakov and Yosef also contributed to the hatred.  

Continuation of the Narrative:

Everything is primed for a disaster.  The brothers hated and were jealous of Yoseph.  They felt that Yoseph was a Morad B’Malchus.  Yehuda was to be the king in the Jewish nation and Joseph via his dreams said I will be the king and they felt Yosef was trying to influence their father to be his successor and not the ten tribes.  The brothers Paskened that Yoseph deserved death.  We see that after they put Yoseph in the pit, they ate with a clear conscience.  They felt morally correct.

Fourth Thought:  Verse 37:12:

וַיֵּלְכ֖וּ אֶחָ֑יו לִרְע֛וֹת אֶׄתׄ־צֹ֥אן אֲבִיהֶ֖ם בִּשְׁכֶֽם   – There are two dots about the אֶׄתׄ .  Rashi brings down the Medresh saying that the two dots are telling us  that they went to take care of themselves. Bamidbar Rabbah 3:3 escribes what the were doing –  וְדִכְוָתָהּ (בראשית לז, יב): וַיֵּלְכוּ אֶחָיו לִרְעוֹת אֶת, לָמָּה נָקוּד עַל אֶת, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹא הָלְכוּ לִרְעוֹת אֶלָּא לֶאֱכֹל וְלִשְׁתּוֹת וּלְהִתְפַּתּוֹת.  The Medresh is very critical of the tribes. When I first saw the word  לְהִתְפַּתּוֹת I thought it meant girls, however the  Medresh does not say girls.   This Medresh is telling us that they went to Shechem to think about how to carry out  the Pesak that Yosef deserves death and should be killed.  They had to talk themselves into carrying out this terrible Pesak.  They had to seduce themselves and talk themselves into carrying out the death sentence.  לְהִתְפַּתּוֹת is a reflexive word, meaning you let yourself be seduced.  It is one thing to say that Yosef deserves death, but to actually carry it out is difficult.  They had to build up the courage to actually carry out the death sentence.  I spoke this over with Rabbi Avrohom Shimon Moller and he did not hesitate that it means to seduce themselves, talk themselves into.

Fascinating.  It seems from their viewpoint, they were right. They sat down for a meal when they had Yoseph in the pit to eat with a clear conscience. Later on when they had the trouble in Egypt, they did not say they made a mistake, rather they said we should have heard the pleading of Joseph.  

Rabbi Efreim Goldberg asked why were they punished if they paskened that Yosef should die and God participated in their decision?  Their decision had a lasting negative impact on the Jewish people from the split in the tribes to the ten martyrs, so we see that they were wrong.  Rabbi Goldberg answered because they were jealous of Yosef and hated  him.  They did not have clarity when they Paskened.   Therefore they had no right to Pasken and were held accountable.  I am willing to bet that during the 22 years that Yoseph was gone some it not all of them felt uneasiness about their Pasak.  I have to assume that the four sons of the maidservants regretted the Pasak.   God’s participation is cited in Rashi Verse 37 that the brothers cursed anyone who would reveal what happened and included God with this curse.  

חיה רעה אכלתהו. נִצְנְצָה בוֹ רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, סוֹפוֹ שֶׁתִּתְגָּרֶה בוֹ אֵשֶׁת פּוֹטִיפַר. וְלָמָּה לֹא גִלָּה לוֹ הַקָּבָּ”ה? לְפִי שֶׁהֶחֱרִימוּ וְקִלְּלוּ אֶת כָּל מִי שֶׁיְּגַלֶּה, וְשִׁתְּפוּ לְהַקָּבָּ”ה עִמָּהֶם (תנחומא), אֲבָל יִצְחָק הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא חַי, אָמַר הֵיאַךְ אֲגַלֶּה וְהַקָּבָּ”ה אֵינוֹ רוֹצֶה לְגַלּוֹת לוֹ:

The Sefsei Chachomin adds:

לפי שהחרימו וקללו את כל מי שיגלה ושתפו להקב”ה עמהם כו’. בודאי לא היה מוכרח לכך אלא מעצמו היה מסכים עמהם מפני כמה דברים חדא כדי שיתקיים כי גר יהיה זרעך (לעיל טו יג) דאי היה יודע יעקב שהורד למצרים היה פודה את יוסף בכל ממון שבעולם. ועוד דאי היה יודע יעקב היה מקלל אותם למחות את שמם ואז יכלה זרעו של ישראל והקב”ה רצה שיפרו וירבו. ולכך פירש בסמוך והקב”ה אינו רוצה לגלות לו משמע שלא היה מוכרח לכך ואם רצה היה מגלה אלא שהקב”ה הסכים עמהם כדי שיתקיים הגזירה של ועבדום וענו אותם. ועוד י”ל כדפירש רש”י בסמוך ימים רבים כ”ב שנה וכו’. וקשה מאי נ”מ אם כ”ב שנה או יותר הוא אלא ודאי דקשה לרש”י למה לא הגיד לו הקב”ה ליעקב למה היה מצערו כ”ב שנה אלא משום זה היה עושה כנגד כ”ב שנים שלא קיים כיבוד אב ואם שאם הגיד לו הקב”ה היה יעקב עושה תשובה והיה מבטל מה שנגזר עליו שיהיה בצער כ”ב שנה והקב”ה רצה לשלם לו על שביטל כיבוד אב ואם ולכן הסכים עמהם בחרם כדי שלא יהיו רשאין לגלות. דחרם הוא כמו שבועה וכשהקב”ה נשבע אין התשובה מבטלת כדפירש”י בפרשת חקת (במדבר כ יב) לכן לא תביאו בשבועה וכו’ נשבע בקפיצה כדי שלא ירבה בתפלה על כך ה”נ החרם היא כמו שבועה לכך הסכים עמהם:

  Fifth Thought:   Verses 13 and 14:

Continuing the Narrative:

                                                     וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶל־יוֹסֵ֗ף הֲל֤וֹא אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ רֹעִ֣ים בִּשְׁכֶ֔ם לְכָ֖ה וְאֶשְׁלָחֲךָ֣ אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֖וֹ הִנֵּֽנִי׃

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ לֶךְ־נָ֨א רְאֵ֜ה אֶת־שְׁל֤וֹם אַחֶ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת־שְׁל֣וֹם הַצֹּ֔אן וַהֲשִׁבֵ֖נִי דָּבָ֑ר וַיִּשְׁלָחֵ֙הוּ֙ מֵעֵ֣מֶק חֶבְר֔וֹן וַיָּבֹ֖א שְׁכֶֽמָה׃

Yakov tells Yosef.  Please go and see what is happening with the brothers and the flock.  Despite Yakov knowing of the hatred, he asked Yosef to go.  Yosef responded  הִנֵּֽנִי.  Yosef knew that he was hated and he should have said to his father, Dad, I do not think this is a good idea, my brothers hate me and may harm me.  Additionally, why would Yakov have to worry about his ten 10 sons.  They were a strong group of adult men.  We also see that Ruvein went back to take care of his father so why did he have to send Yosef.

The answer is that this all is the start of the fulfilment of the destiny foretold at the Akediah of the enslavement in a strange land. The entire idea of Yakov feeling the need to send his son for a status report had to be placed in Yakov’s head by God, Yakov thinking I need a report.   

Yakov sending Yosef,  you can answer simply that he did not understand how deeply the brothers hated Yosef, however, how do you understand Yosef’s reaction?  The answer that is given is that he had so much honor and respect  for his father, he would not question his father in any way.  

The new Lubavitch Chumash explains Yakov’s and Yosef’s considerations differently.  Yakov knew that the brothers hated Yosef and did not want to send, however, he sensed destiny and felt he had to send.  Similarly, Yosef also felt that destiny will be played out.   Both Yakov and Yosef had an intuition that something big will happen, destiny is about to happen but this is only a feeling.   There is no  question that had Yakov known the end result he would not have sent Yosef. 

Peggy Kaz said over a nice Pshat.  Where else does the Torah say הִנֵּֽנִי?  When  Avorhom responded to God    הִנֵּֽנִי by the Akeidah and a second time in Genesis Verse 31:11 – וַיֹּ֨אמֶר אֵלַ֜י מַלְאַ֧ךְ הָאֱלֹהִ֛ים בַּחֲל֖וֹם יַֽעֲקֹ֑ב וָאֹמַ֖ר הִנֵּֽנִי׃.

Peggy said that perhaps the word   הִנֵּֽנִי is not that just a response, I am here to do what you are asking me to do,   Perhaps it is also a sense that I am here to do what you want because I sense destiny. It is a word that infers destiny.  

We see from Rashi on Verse 37:14 that destiny is playing its hand.

מעמק חברון. וַהֲלֹא חֶבְרוֹן בָּהָר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר וַיַּעֲלוּ בַנֶּגֶב וַיָּבֹא עַד חֶבְרוֹן (במדבר י”ג), אֶלָּא מֵעֵצָה עֲמֻקָּה שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק הַקָּבוּר בְּחֶבְרוֹן, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר לְאַבְרָהָם בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ (בראשית ט״ו:י״ג):

Sixth Thought

I said years ago that Yakov for twenty two years wondered why he sent his son.  He told himself, I knew that there were reasons not to send, why oh why did I send him? He replayed the scene daily in his mind. I found the following Medresh that says this very thing.     רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר חֲנִינָא הַדְּבָרִים הַלָּלוּ הָיָה יַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ נִזְכָּר וּמֵעָיו מִתְחַתְּכִין, יוֹדֵעַ הָיִיתָ שֶׁאַחֶיךָ שׂוֹנְאִים אוֹתְךָ וְהָיִיתָ אוֹמֵר לִי הִנֵּנִי.

    Rabbi Chama bar Chanina: Yaakov remembered these words and his internal organs would

    feel like     they were being chopped up: you knew that your brothers hated you, and still 

    you said to me ‘here I am.’

Seventh Thought:

Yosef goes and has a dialogue with someone the Torah calls an “Ish” who Rashi says is a good angel, Gavriel.   Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik calls Gavriel, the angel of destiny.  Destiny is being played out at this time and Gavriel is manipulating events to make sure it happens.  Rashi in Verse 37:14 says that destiny is being played out to start the process of fulfilling God’s words at the Akediah that the Jews will be in a strange land for 400 years.

Rabbi Goldberg brought down a beautiful Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveichik.

The angel Gavriel asks Yosef what are you seeking.  Yosef answers  וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֶת־אַחַ֖י אָנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ.  The Rov says the Pshat is that I am looking for brotherhood, peace and harmony.  The angel responds that brotherhood will not happen, and the angel hinted to Yosef, in fact they are going to Dosan to Pasken that you should be put to death and they are planning to kill you.   וַיֹּ֤אמֶר הָאִישׁ֙ נָסְע֣וּ מִזֶּ֔ה כִּ֤י שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֹֽמְרִ֔ים נֵלְכָ֖ה דֹּתָ֑יְנָה וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ יוֹסֵף֙ אַחַ֣ר אֶחָ֔יו וַיִּמְצָאֵ֖ם בְּדֹתָֽן׃ 

Then it says וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק וּבְטֶ֙רֶם֙ יִקְרַ֣ב אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם וַיִּֽתְנַכְּל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ לַהֲמִיתֽוֹ׃  The Rov tranlslates וַיִּרְא֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ מֵרָחֹ֑ק that they saw Yosef as an outsider, a  stranger.  Yosef wanted brotherhood but they would not reciprocate and never would.    After Yakov dies the brothers go over to Yosef and tell him that their father instructed them to tell Yosef not to take revenge against them.  Yosef is devastated.  He knew that they were lying because he never revealed to his father the true story of himself going to Egypt.  Despite years of all of them getting along, it was illusionary, they only showed brotherhood because of Yakov.  They never viewed him as part of the family.

You can ask, isn’t this rich? Yosef caused the rift and now he wants to have brotherhood.  You have to answer that Yosef never wanted to cause jealousy.  He never intended to hurt his brothers.  He wanted them to grow as humans.  Rabbi Efreim Golberg asked when Yosef told over the dreams what did he expect?  Rabbi Goldberg answered perhaps Yosef is saying strive for greatness.  Look at me, the young, immature  brother will accomplish greatness.  The message of the dream is not that you will bow down to me, but that I will also become a great figure and you, my older brothers, can also achieve greatness. I have had this younger brother syndrome to my two older brothers, Peach and Arela.