TO LIVE IN LA – THREE DAYS OF HEAVEN IN LA

December 17 – December 20, 2015

PARSHA    V’YIGASH

Tuesday- December 15, 2015

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

Thursday- December 17, 2015

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

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

Friday – December 18, 2015

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

8:00 AM – Breakfast served by Madeline

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

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

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

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

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

4:00 PM – Leave for Shul

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

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

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

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

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

Naomi and her husband are friendly with Martin and Madeline.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rashi on this Verse says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motzai Shabbos – December 19, 2015

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

Sunday – December 20, 2015

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

Said goodbye to Madeline and Martin.

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

Went to Pizza Maven for lunch.

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

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

 

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

November 27, 2015 – 14 Kislev 5776

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

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

Picture1

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

Dear Fern and Mark:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Medresh Rabbah 75:4 brings down a dispute:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jack Reiss passed away and his funeral is this morning.

 

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

Sam Smilovic (Smiley) ז״ל

We regret to announce the passing of our member:

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

Father of:

Fern Smiley

Rabbi Mark Smilovic Smiley (Aviva Silverman)

Neil Smiley (Jordana) our members

Grandfather of:

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

Funeral:

November 29, 2015, 11:00 am

Shaarei Tefillah Congregation, 3600 Bathurst Street, Toronto

Interment:

Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Toronto – Shaarei Tefilah Synagogue Section

Shiva:

566 Castlefield Avenue, Toronto

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

Services:

Morning Services at 7:30 am

Evening Services at 4:30 pm

 

Parshas Ki Tavo – Jewish Soldiers

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

Rabbi Goldberg:

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

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

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

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

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

Wishing you continued success.


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

Rabbi Goldberg:

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

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

The Medresh is not like any of the other explanations.

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

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

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

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

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

 

SHABBOS CHAZON – JULY 25, 2015

 

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

LEADERSHIP II

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

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

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

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

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

 

This Shabbos I focused on the following verses.

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

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

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

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

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

Verse 12 says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reb Meir Simcha says:

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

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

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

Dr. Ungar added the following:

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

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

Rashi has a different definition of apikorus…

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

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

However the Rambam made apikorsus into apostasy.

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

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

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

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

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

LEADERSHIP

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

LEADERSHIP:

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

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

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

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

These three people should be MiLeitz Yosher for all Jews.

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

15Moses spoke to the Lord, saying:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Verse 16:

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

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

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

 Verse 17:

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

The final Verse that can be questioned:

 Verse 19:

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

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

Rashi says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Admor Dovid Morgenstern

Yesterday, July 9, 2015 – 22 Tammuz – was the 142nd Yahrzeit of Admor Dovid Morgenstern, Dovid ben Menachem Mendel, known by Kotzker Chassidim in Europe as the Mittler (Middle) Rebbe.  He was born in 1809. Refer to my post from last year.

I did not really do anything. I did say a Kal Maalah (prayer for the departed) for him; however, I only said it for myself, as Chazzan Silber told me we do not say Kal Maalah for old ancestors because they are already bound up with God.

I left work late and walked to the mail box on Lincoln to mail out a protest to a parking ticket I received, through almost no fault of my own. I bumped in Rabbi Yitzchok Kalish, a Breslever Chosid from Israel and a third cousin to me. I was happy to see him as he has not been in Chicago for years.    We made up a time to meet. I drove him to Great Chicago and of couse, if you read my post about my father’s Yahrzeit, I paid for his dinner.

On this day 152 years ago: The Battle of Gettysburg

JULY 3, 1863 – GETTYSBURG, PA – 152 Years ago

The Battle of Gettysburg was fought from July 1 – July 3, 1863. At 1:00 PM on July 3, 1863 Colonel E. P. Alexander, commander of the Confederate artillery on that day, gave the order and 150 Confederate guns open up against the Union line located approximately 1 mile away along Cemetery Ridge. The plan was to soften the Union defenses and then charge through the Union line and rout the Army of the Potomac.

This is a 6 minute portion from the movie, Gettysburg, which shows General James Longstreet discusisng the plans with his field General.s

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=gettysburg%2c+youtube+movie&FORM=VIRE16#view=detail&mid=E36C5D461F9D8BCABAE3E36C5D461F9D8BCABAE3

This is a 4 minitue snipet from the movie showing Picketts charge:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=gettysburg%2c+youtube+movie&FORM=VIRE16#view=detail&mid=073B339C01E63C2FBE9D073B339C01E63C2FBE9D

This is another 4 minute snippet showing General Armistad ralling the troops.  He shouts,  “Give them the cold steel boys” and they go over the top.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=gettysburg%2c+youtube+movie&FORM=VIRE16#view=detail&mid=073B339C01E63C2FBE9D073B339C01E63C2FBE9D

At about 1:30 PM, the order is given and 12,500 Confederate soldiers emerge from the woods behind Seminary Ridge. They line up in formation about 1 mile across, bayonets fixed and glistening in the bright July sun. It was an amazing sight.
At about 2:00 PM, General Pickett gallops on his horse to General James LongstreLet, commander of Lee’s First Corp . Pickett asked Longstreet, “General, shall I advance?” Longstreet’s memoir recalled: “The effort to speak the order failed, and I could only indicate it by an affirmative bow.”[x] General Longstreet felt the charge was doomed and could not verbalize the order to charge. He nods and General Pickett gives the order to march forward towards the Union line. The charge is known in history as Pickett’s Charge. Watch the movie Gettysburg for a vivid view of the Battle of Gettysburg, Pickett’s Charge and see all the entire battle unfolding before your eyes.

gettysberg
James_LongstreetRobert_Edward_Lee
Lieutenant General James Longstreet                General Robert E. Lee

I visited Gettysburg one item in my life and that was the day after Nachum and Alyssa Caplan’s wedding in Baltimore. I wandered onto the battlefield with no clue what I was looking at. I asked someone walking by for information. He told me that he is of the Southern persuasion and comes often. He showed me the high water mark, the bloody angle, and gave me an outline of Pickett’s charge . He told me that it has been debated for years as to why General Lee ordered the attack, when they were going p against a dug in and fortified Union line. This Southern gentleman explained that General Lee was suffering from dysentery and his mind was not clear. The wisdom and failure of Pickett’s charge has been debated every since the war. Who was to blame? Who let General down? Was General Longstreet a traitor ? Years later, when asked why his charge at Gettysburg failed, General Pickett replied: “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.”
William Faulkner commented on this moment before the charge of the possibilities, when all the hopes and dreams of the Confederacy can come true. Read it with a Southern drawl.

For every Southern boy fourteen years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armistead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come to far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a fourteen-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose than all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago.
– William Faulkner, novelist

I read this fascinating account of the battle by Colonel C. E. Alexander written by him in 1877.

E. P. Alexander at Gettysburg

Letter From General E. P. Alexander, Late Chief Of Artillery, First Corps., A. N. V.

Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. IV. Richmond, Virginia, September, 1877. No. 3.

Montgomery, Alabama. March 17th 1877.
Reverend J. William Jones, Secretary:

EdwardPAlexander

Edward Porter Alexander (Library of Congress)

Dear Sir — I have your favor of the 27th ult., enclosing copy of letter from , giving an outline of his views of the campaign and Battle of Gettysburg, and inviting my comments thereon. I take great pleasure in giving them in the same frank spirit in which they are asked, and asking no one to accept them to whom they do not commend themselves, and not pretending to know every thing about it.
My rank and position during that campaign was colonel of artillery, commanding a battalion of six batteries attached as reserve to Longstreet’s corps; and on the field of Gettysburg I was placed by General Longstreet in command of all of his artillery on the field as chief of artillery for the action. As I had belonged to the United States Engineer Corps before the war, and as General Longstreet at that time had no engineer officers on his staff, I was frequently called on, also, during the campaign, as an engineer officer. I mention these facts only that you may form an idea of my personal opportunities of observation and information.

Today, 11 Tammuz 5715 – June 28th is the Yahrzeit of my father, Yisroel Yaakov ben Avrohom Meir, ZL.

Today, 11 Tammuz 5715 – June 28th is the Yahrzeit of my father, Yisroel Yaakov ben Avrohom Meir, ZL.

My nephew, Michoel Glenner, went to my father’s buriel site on Har Hamuchos to and took these pictures.

IMG-20150628-WA0000 IMG-20150628-WA0001

Part One:

My father’s will states:

“This is a donation from the late Mr. Israel J. Morgenstern, who was continuously hungry since September 1, 1939, when Hitler and his German army with his German Luftwaffe (air power) attacked Poland, until May 7, 1945, when he was liberated from Dachau Concentration Camp by the American Army”.

Growing up my father never spoke about his life, his parents and his family in Europe. My grandfather who I am named after, was not real to me. He was not part of my psyche. I did not identify with him, did not feel him within my soul. Despite my father being a holocaust survivor, I did not feel the holocaust within me. I mourned the holocaust as part of the Jewish people, not of my family’s loss. I have gotten older, delved into my family history, understood more of life, backfilled my knowledge about my grandfather, and now can mourn my grandparents and family. Tonight we are mourning not only my father but our family who we lost in the holocaust.

 The below picture is from a meeting of the Warsaw Community Council.  It is a tragic picture because they did not know what the Nazi beast had planned for them.

My grandfather, Reb Avrohom Meir Morgenstern, HYD is sitting in the back right, partially obsucred by I believe Reb Zushe Friedman, author of the Maynah Shel Torah.  Sitting on my zedi’s right is Rabbi Tzvi Yechizkal Michelson, HYD.  For many years I did not know what happened to the holy Rabbi Tzvi Yechizkal Michelson until I read in Dr. Hillel Zeidman, Warsaw Ghetto Diaries, who describered the last day of this Tzaddik.   The Nazi’ s YS’Z,  sent Rabbi Tzvi Yechizkal Michaelson to Treblinka.  Also in the picture according to Historian Esther Farbstein who sent this picture into the Hamodia Magazine is –  Reb Eliyahu Mazor, ZL standing; Dr. Yitzchok Schiffer, HYD to his right.

warsaw

Polish Jewry was destroyed from 1939 to 1943. The liquation of the Warsaw ghetto began on July 23, 1942. Dr. Hillel Zeidman in his Warsaw Ghetto Diaries, recorded the summer and fall of 1942 along with the winter and spring of 1943 documenting the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto and the final total destruction of Polish Jewry.

It started on July 23, 1942. The head of the Judenrat was Adam Czerniakow. Dr. Hillel Zeidman writes that Adam Czerniakow was secular, but always believed that the Jews would outlast the Nazis. He felt that they must follow the dictates of the Nazis as terrible as they were. Eventually the Germans would be defeated and the Jews would remain intact as a community. On July 23, 1942, he was visited by two SS Officers. They leave and Adam Czerniakow asks his assistant for a glass of water. The assistant gives Adam Czerniakow the water, leaves, and closes the door. After a few minutes, the assistant knocks on the door and there is no response. After a few more minutes he walks in and finds Adam Czerniakow slumped over his desk.   They called doctors, but to no avail. He committed suicide. Adam Czerniakow did not leave a note or a will. They opened his appointment / note book and saw the number 7,000 on it. They understood that Adam Czerniakow was told to deliver 7,000 Jews to the Umschlagplatz, the train station which would take the Jews to Treblinka.   Adam Czerniakow realized that the Jews in Poland as a community would not outlast the Germans, Devastating.   His obedience to the Germans aided the Nazis in their pursuit of the destruction of the Jews. How does on live with oneself. He did not want to further the Nazi’s goals by being their pawn, by delivering the Jews to the Umschlagplatz, to help destroy Polish Jewry. He committed suicide.

Czerniakow

My grandparents Avorhom Meir and Ester (Blass) Morgenstern lived before the war in Warsaw and were trapped in the ghetto. We have a partial picture of my grandfather. It is uncanny that he looks like by mother’s father, Reb Sholem Sklar. They could be brothers.

My father who had a wife and child in Kielce, went to be with his parents in the Warsaw ghetto. My father kept his parents alive by providing food for them. They were elderly and could not survive on their own. His father, Reb Avrohom Meir. turns to my father one day and say, “my son, you have fulfilled the command of Honor Your Father and Mother, just like it says in the Torah.” My grandparents were taken to the Umschlagplatz, put on a train, and sent to Treblinka as part of the 7,000. Their number came up.

Michael Savage on his radio program read a first person account of what it was like for a person, such as my grandparents and hundreds of relatives to have the train doors open and you are at Treblinka., It described the horrors of the last hour of life for these holy souls. I listened to it, with one hand by the dial to shut the radio if it got too gruesome. They you Michael Savage.

This day was Tisha B’Av 1942 – the ninth day Av.

The End of the Warsaw Ghetto and Polish Jewry:

downloadThe Warsaw ghetto and Polish Jewry was fully destroyed during Pesach 1943.  Dr. Hillel Zeidman records a meeting between the remaining Rabbis and leaders in the ghetto to discuss the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Rabbi Menachem Ziemba speaks last and says, we should have resisted passively. We should not have gone willingly to the Umschlagplatz.  Rabbi Menachem Ziemba says that there is no Kiddush Hashem to die, but to fight. He places the Warsaw Ghetto uprising as a fight for the sake of God. Every person who fought was an agent of God, part of the Jewish army, in the legacy of Dovid Hamelech. They all had the kiss and love of the Gadol Hador, the Rabbinic leader of the generation. They were surrounded with his love. A few days later Rabbi Menachem Ziemba is martyred and Polish Jewry is destroyed.

Please read the following article which expresses these sentiments:

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/The-last-rabbi-in-the-Warsaw-Ghetto-Zionist-311637

Please also read this article:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/this-day-in-jewish-history/this-day-in-jewish-history-the-warsaw-ghetto-uprising-begins-in-the-mind-1.493880#!

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What is the lesson. On a communal level it is Torah, Israel, a strong Army, moral clarity, Achdus, loyal Jews, and wealthy Jews to donate money for the community. What does this mean and what is my father’s legacy on an individual basis. What could Mitch Morgenstern do?   I am not wealthy, I am a middle of the road Jew. Just remembering the holocaust means nothing without something tangible. I did not fight for the IDF, I am not a Torah scholar.

My Speech Continued:

It is about the Chulent:

My father’s hunger led to the following story:

I learn with a study partner. The Shul serves Chulent Thursday nights as a treat. This one Thursday a Mshulach wanders in and asks if he can have some Chulent. One of the members said, No! The Chulent is for the people learning. I was aghast. The poor guy wants some Chulent. There is always extra. I was flabbergasted but could not say anything. I have since gotten to know the no person and he is not bad, he just did not have the sensitivity. He has to be educated.

The next day on Friday, I left work at 6:00 PM. As I am passing the corner of Devon and Lincoln, I see this Meshculach at the stoplight. I made a U-Turn and picked him up. He was with a friend. As he got into my car, I said, aren’t you the person last night who asked for Chulent. He said, I think so. I apologized for the person for his lack of sensitivity, the Shul, and the city of Chicago. I told him that while he is in Chicago, he can go to Tel Aviv Pizza, give them my card and I will pay. He left the following Monday and only used it once. The bonus is that his friend’s grandfather was a Kotzker Chossid.

I do not remember his name.  I think his friend was Rotman.

No Pain, No Gain – A heartfelt Brocha

Rabbi Naftoli G.

No Pain, No Gain – A heartfelt Brocha

June 24, 2015

This coming Sunday the 11 day of Tammuz is my father’s 13th Yahrzeit. I offer the following incident L’Chovod my father.

I am in pain and went to visit the Doctor. I need an MRI and probably some minor surgery. I finished with the Doctor at 7:10 PM and ran over to Chicago Center for Mincha. I usually daven at Reb Moshe’s Shul or Kins, rarely at the Chicago Center. Davened Mincha and said Kaddish for my Mechutan, Moshe ben Yosef, Halevi.   As I walked out I saw an older gentlemen who I thought I recognized but being in pain shuffled past him.   I admit that had I made eye contact, I was afraid that he would ask me donate to his charity, but being in pain, I was not in a charitable mood.

B’H he followed me and gave me an envelope, did not ask for money.   I recognized these older gentlemen and told him we met a few weeks earlier at a different Shul.  He is Rabbi Naftoli G. I reminded him of what he told me at that time. This Rabbi is a Talmud of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, TZL. His father was a Talmud of Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook, TZL. Wow. I met someone who was a Talmud and saw Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda and Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook.   He said they were Kiddoshi Elyon, lofty souls.   I gave him a copy of my Zedi’s Sefer, Sholem Yerushalim that was reprinted by Rabbi Zini, Shlita, and a Rosh Yeshiva in Haifa of Yeshivas Ohr Vishua. Rabbi Naftoli G. knows Rabbi Zini well and will visit him to give him my regards. I never met Rabbi Zini, but feel a close bond to him. Unfortunately, I was in Israel in late January and to my loss I did not visit Rabbi Zini or his Yeshiva. I pray to Hashem that in the near future we have a family Simcha in Israel and I can visit.

I asked Rabbi Naftoli G. to give a speech on Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda, TZL. He mentioned that many places would not appreciate the Gadlus of Reb Tzvi Yehuda and Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook. I told him that I would find him the appropriate venue. Rabbi Naftoli G. is leaving Chicago tonight, but I told him next time to let me know when he will be in Chicago.

I insisted that Rabbi Naftoli G. give me a Brocha for my pain and for Shidduchim.

Perhaps my week of pain was a Kapara for me, and to allow me the Zichus to give regards to Rabbi Zini.