Shabbos Parshas Pinchos – July 11, 2020 – 19 Tammuz 5780

The Three Weeks – Very Zionistic Period

Hertzl’s Yahrzeit – 20 Tammuz 1904 (July 12, 2020)

Herzl’s Repentance

Admor Dovid Morgenstern – 22 Tammuz  1873 (July 14, 2020)

Ze’ev Jabotinsky – 29 Tammuz 1940 (July 21, 2020)

Shabbos Day July 11, 2020:

I spoke today before Krias hatorah and the following is my speech:

On Thursday was the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and the beginning of the three weeks, which are times of great sadness in the Jewish calendar when the two Temples were destroyed.  It is a time that we talk about Moshiach.  Even the Chicago Community Kollel this year had an article about Moshiach.   All the years I worked these were not easy weeks.  Even though I did try to minimize the feelings of depression to do my job, I still felt the weight of Jewish history on my shoulders.  Once my associate presented a loan for Frum people on Tisha B’av and I thought about how when the customer is fasting, his loan is being presented for approval.   

At the same time it is a time of great hope that the Jews will overcome all hardships and Moshiach will come.  We have come very far as Jews being privileged to have the State of Israel and as for myself, living in America.  However, the journey is not yet over.   This period of time a very Zionistic.  

There are three Yahrzeits of great people in the Zionistic movement during the three weeks.

  • Hertzl’s Yahrzeit – 20 Tammuz 1904 (July 12, 2020)
  • Admor Dovid Morgenstern Yahrzeit – 22 Tammuz  1873 (July 14, 2020)
  • Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Yahrzeit – 29 Tammuz 1940 (July 21, 2020)

Hertzl’s Yahrzeit – 20 Tammuz 1904 (July 12, 2020)

Binyomin Zev Ben Yaakov, known as Theodore Herzl, died at only 44 years old during his struggle to get the Jews out of Europe and establish a country in Eretz Yisroel.  I have said in the past that the Imrei Emes who in 1903 criticised Herzl and the movement back to Israel is now learning B’Chavrusa with Herzl.

What was Theodore Herzl’s repentance? 

Early on Theodore Herzl proposed to the Archbishop of Vienna a mass conversion to Christianity of Jewish children.  Herzl was laughed out of the church.

Fast forward about 15 years later to early 1904.  Herzl’s dream of establishing a State in Israel was not going well.  His friend, Count Lippay, got him an audience with the pope. Pius X at the Vatican.  Herzl had wanted an audience with the pope for years to request the Church’s help in settling the Jews in Eretz Yisroel.   Herzl was told by his friend that protocol is to kiss the Pope’s hand.  Herzl refuses to kiss the Pope’s hand.  Despite Herzl’s fight to establish a Jewish state in Israel, he refused to humble himself in such a way to the pope. The pope would never have agreed to help Herzl and the Jewish people even with the kissing of his hand.  Herzl stood as a proud Jew, aware of his  role representing a proud and noble people, and that he is an equal to the pope.  He represents a proud people, entitled to live freely and openly as Jews.  Wow.  Similar to Mordechai who refused to bow to Haman.

This was Herzl’s repentance.  Years earlier, Herzl thought the answer to the “Jewish problem” was mass conversion.  Herzl changed, he understood the holiness of the Jewish people.  Despite the major roadblocks and seeing his dream of Israel in his lifetime fading, Herzl refuses to kiss the pope’s hand.  As you read the below, Count Lippay who got Herzl the audience with the pope, said to Herzl to impress the pope, reminded Herzl, Herzl himself said he wanted to kiss the pope’s foot.  

Throughout Herzl’s writing he writes about the  specialness of Jewish people.

At the end of his audience with the pope, Herzl writes, “ Then I realized that the Pope liked this sort of thing. But on parting, too, all I did was to give him a warm hand-squeeze and a low bow.”

I have copied a little background and text from Herzl’s diary at the end of this speech.  

Admor Dovid Morgenstern – 22 Tammuz  1873 (July 14, 2020)

Admor Dovid Morgenstern was the son of the Kotzker Rebbe. He was my grandfather’s great grandfather.  He is second generation and I am seventh.   Admor Dovid Morgenstern was a Bocher and a Chosid of the Rebbe, Reb Bunim of Peshischa.  His Chasuna was on the day Reb Bunim of Peshischa passed away.   He was more of a calmer nature than his father, the Kotzker.    It is tragic that he nor his father wrote anything down, so the world does not have a legacy of his Torah.   His legacy is the Torah of his children.      Bourch Gutter put out a Sefer on Admor Dovid called Ahavas Dovid, however, there are few first person stories or life stories. 

In the Sefer Bais Kotzk from Yehuda Leib Levin, there are eleven pages on Admor Dovid Morgenstern.  After the Kotzker’s passing in 1859, most of the Chasidium became aligned with the RIM, the first Gerrer Rebbe.  There is little known about Admor Dovid  Morgenstern.    I read page 282 in Yehuda Levin’s Bais Kotzk, which is a story when Admor Dovid’s nephew, Reb Yechiel Moshe Greenwald, came to visit his uncle.  Rabbi Yechiel Moshe Greenwald is the sole source of stories about Admor Dovid Morgenstern.  He lived until around 1920 and remarried into his 80’s.   He has a grandson in Toronto.  Reb Yehcial Moshe has family living in Chicago.  

Page 282  says the Admor Rabbi Dovid did not push away any man.  He was willing to purify sinners from their sin, and to cleanse their body.  He could not tolerate people with false piety and arrogance.   

What was Admor Dovid Morgenstern’s Zionism.  As I spoke out the last three weeks, the essence of Kotzk was Ahavas Yisroel.  Admor Dovid’s son, Reb Chaim Yisroel Morgenstern, known as the Pilaver Rebbe, in 1885 wrote a Sefer Shalom Yerushalayim that it is time for the Jews to go back to Israel.  I read the first Chapter a number of times.  Around the 5th time, I read it with Ahavas Yisroel and it was a different Chapter.   This to me is one of the unknown legacies of the Kotzker Rebbe and his son Admor Dovid Morgenstern.

Pages from Bais Kotzk.

Ze’ev Jabotinsky – 29 Tammuz 1940 (July 21, 2020)

Ze’ev Jabotinsky, despite being born into an assimilated family in Odessa, Russia, became entwined with the Jewish people and his legacy continues to benefit the Jewish people.   He was born and not given a Jewish name, and later in life took on a jewish name.   He was a prophet and in the 1930s saw the holocaust coming.  He worked tirelessly to aswaken the Jews about the nazi threat.  My friend Eliykum Schwartz told me that despite not being Frum, when he travelled throughout Europe. insisted on Kosher food, as he understood that he represented the Jewish people. His great student was Menachem Begin.

I met Rabbi Naphtali Jaeger of Shaarei Yoshuv, in Far Rockaway, New York.  He told me that his father was from Alkush in Poland.  I said, wow, the first position of the Sochachover Rebbe in the 1860s was Alkush.  I asked Rabbi Jaeger when did his father leave Europe,  Upon hearing that it was in the early 1930s, I asked why did your father leave Europe?   He answered that his father heard Ze’ev Jabotinsky speak, came home, and said we are leaving Europe.   He took Jabotinsky’s words to heart.

THEODOR HERZL: Audience with Pope Pius X (1904)

 

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On January 26, 1904, Theodor Herzl had an audience with Pope Pius X in the Vatican to seek his support for the Zionist effort to establish a Jewish state in Palestine.  He recorded his account of the meeting in his diary. Source: Raphael Patai, The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, translated by Harry Zohn (New York/London: Herzl Press, Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), 1601-1605.  The “Lippay” to whom he refers is Count Berthold Dominik Lippay, an Austrian papal portraitist, whom Herzl had met in Venice and who had arranged the audience with the pope.

Yesterday I was with the Pope. The route was already familiar since I had traversed it with Lippay several times.

Past the Swiss lackeys, who looked like clerics, and clerics who looked like lackeys, the Papal officers and chamberlains.

I arrived 10 minutes ahead of time and didn’t even have to wait.

I was conducted through numerous small reception rooms to the Pope.

He received me standing and held out his hand, which I did not kiss.

Lippay had told me I had to do it, but I didn’t.

I believe that I incurred his displeasure by this, for everyone who visits him kneels down and at least kisses his hand.

This hand kiss had caused me a lot of worry. I was quite glad when it was finally out of the way.

He seated himself in an armchair, a throne for minor occasions. Then he invited me to sit down right next to him and smiled in friendly anticipation.

I began:

Ringrazio Vostra Santità per il favore di m’aver accordato quest’udienza” [I thank Your Holiness for the favor of according me this audience].”

È un piacere [It is a pleasure],” he said with kindly deprecation.

I apologized for my miserable Italian, but he said:

No, parla molto bene, signor Commendatore [No, Commander, you speak very well].”

For I had put on for the first time—on Lippay’s advice—my Mejidiye ribbon. Consequently the Pope always addressed me as Commendatore.

He is a good, coarse-grained village priest, to whom Christianity has remained a living thing even in the Vatican.

I briefly placed my request before him. He, however, possibly annoyed by my refusal to kiss his hand, answered sternly and resolutely:

Noi non possiamo favorire questo movimento. Non potremo impedire gli Ebrei di andare a Gerusalemme—ma favorire non possiamo mai. La terra di Gerusalemme se non era sempre santa, è santificata per la vita di Jesu Christo (he did not pronounce it Gesu, but Yesu, in the Venetian fashion). Io come capo della chiesa non posso dirle altra cosa. Gli Ebrei non hanno riconosciuto nostro Signore, perciò non possiamo riconoscere il popolo ebreo [We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people].”

Hence the conflict between Rome, represented by him, and Jerusalem, represented by me, was once again opened up.

At the outset, to be sure, I tried to be conciliatory. I recited my little piece about extraterritorialization, res sacrae extra commercium [holy places removed from business]. It didn’t make much of an impression. Gerusalemme, he said, must not get into the hands of the Jews.

“And its present status, Holy Father?”

“I know, it is not pleasant to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with that. But to support the Jews in the acquisition of the Holy Places, that we cannot do.”

I said that our point of departure had been solely the distress of the Jews and that we desired to avoid the religious issues.

“Yes, but we, and I as the head of the Church, cannot do this. There are two possibilities. Either the Jews will cling to their faith and continue to await the Messiah who, for us, has already appeared. In that case they will be denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot help them. Or else they will go there without any religion, and then we can be even less favorable to them.

“The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day.”

It was on the tip of my tongue to say, “That’s what happens in every family. No one believes in his own relatives.” But I said instead: “Terror and persecution may not have been the right means for enlightening the Jews.”

But he rejoined, and this time he was magnificent in his simplicity:

“Our Lord came without power. Era povero [He was poor]. He came in pace [in peace]. He persecuted no one. He was persecuted.

He was abbandonato [forsaken] even by his apostles. Only later did he grow in stature. It took three centuries for the Church to evolve. The Jews therefore had time to acknowledge his divinity without any pressure. But they haven’t done so to this day.”

“But, Holy Father, the Jews are in terrible straits. I don’t know if Your Holiness is acquainted with the full extent of this sad situation. We need a land for these persecuted people.”

“Does it have to be Gerusalemme?”

“We are not asking for Jerusalem, but for Palestine—only the secular land.”

“We cannot be in favor of it.”

“Does Your Holiness know the situation of the Jews?”

“Yes, from my Mantua days. Jews live there. And I have always been on good terms with Jews. Only the other evening two Jews were here to see me. After all, there are other bonds than those of religion: courtesy and philanthropy. These we do not deny to the Jews. Indeed, we also pray for them: that their minds be enlightened. This very day the Church is celebrating the feast of an unbeliever who, on the road to Damascus, became miraculously converted to the true faith. And so, if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we shall have churches and priests ready to baptize all of you.”

Count Lippay had had himself announced. The Pope permitted him to enter. The Count kneeled, kissed his hand, then joined in the conversation by telling of our “miraculous” meeting in Bauer’s Beer Hall in Venice. The miracle was that he had originally planned to spend the night in Padua. As it happened, I had expressed the wish to be allowed to kiss the Holy Father’s foot.

At this the Pope made une tête [a long face], for I hadn’t even kissed his hand. Lippay went on to say that I had expressed myself appreciatively on Jesus Christ’s noble qualities. The Pope listened, now and then took a pinch of snuff, and sneezed into a big red cotton handkerchief. Actually, these peasant touches are what I like best about him and what compels my respect.

In this way Lippay wanted to account for his introducing me, perhaps to excuse it. But the Pope said: “On the contrary, I am glad you brought me the Signor Commendatore.”

As to the real business, he repeated what he had told me: Non possumus [We can’t]!

Until he dismissed us Lippay spent some time kneeling before him and couldn’t seem to get his fill of kissing his hand. Then I realized that the Pope liked this sort of thing. But on parting, too, all I did was to give him a warm hand-squeeze and a low bow.

Duration of the audience: about 25 minutes.

In the Raphael stanze [rooms], where I spent the next hour, I saw a picture of an Emperor kneeling to let a seated Pope put the crown on his head.

That’s the way Rome wants it.

Parshas Vayera: November 3 – 4, 2017

What a Shabbos.  On Friday, I had to drive to the western part of the State, 30 miles from the Iowa border.  I listened to Rabbi Goldberg’s Chumash Shiur  from 2015.  Excellent Shiur.  At the end of the Shiur, Rabbi Goldberg gave four reasons why Monarchy and/or Moshiach had to come from Lot and his two daughters.  Rabbi Goldberg mentioned

  1. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, using Rabbeinu Bachya
  2. Reb Tzadoch Hacohen
  3. Kotzker Rebbe
  4. The Rov, Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveichik in his book Abraham’s Journey,

The reason given by the Kotzker Rebbe is in the Sefer, Shem M ’Shmuel on Megilas Rus  written by Reb Shmuel Bornstein, the son of the 1st Sochachover Rebbe and a grandson of the Kotzker, my second cousin, four times removed.

The Shem M’Shmuel writes that his father asked the Kotzker this very question as to why Monarchy has to come from the Lot and his two daughters.   The Kotkzer answered: since the Jewish people are united as one body, and just like one part of the body cannot rule over another part of a body, the same thing with the Jewish people – one person cannot be a king and rule over the rest of the Jewish people.  Therefore, God had to take the Middah (character trait) of Monarchy from a non-Jewish source.  God had to take the Ga’avah (arrogance, strength) of Moav which is sourced in an incestuous act from a non-Jewish source and turn it holy.  Meaning, this DNA was integrated into Malchus Bais Dovid.

How do you understand the Kotzker?

I thought and thought about this Vort and explained it as follows: The foundation of Kotzk Chasidus is Ahaves  Yisroel – Love of Fellow Jews.  It is not possible, says the Kotzker.  When you love another Jew, how can you rule over him?  A king has absolute control over his subjects.  He can take away property, kill people, and be nasty, all for capricious reasons.  This is not a Jewish character trait.  God had to take the Monarchy character trait of arrogance from the non – Jewish world, make it holy and integrate it into the Jewish people. 

Friday Night – November 3rd:

Davened by the Glenners.  Saw Ma. Went home to eat.  My kids were there.  I love my boys so much.

Shabbos Morning – November 4, 2017

Mayer Chase came to my house at 7:40 AM to take me to the Peterson Park Kollel for Davening.   I did not want to get up, but Mayer insisted.   Normally I go to Mishna Ugemorah much later for a davening that starts at 9:30 AM and usually ends at 12:15 PM.   Meir schlepped me to the Kollel because Rabbi Elya Brudny, Rosh Yeshiva in Mir was speaking.   I walked in the Kollel and it was beautiful.  The place was packed with Kollel guys and many others I knew.  It is a fast davening with little talking.  Davening started at 8:00 AM and ended at 10:00 AM, my style of Davening.     After davening Rabbi  Elya Brudny, Rosh Hayeshiva of Mir,  spoke  for 30 minutes,  He spoke out an Avi Ezri (Reb Shach  and it was Reb Shach’s Yahrzeit)  and a Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin.  What was the test of the Akediah to Avraham?  The Avi Esri explains it that the highest levels of Nevias was Moshe who spoke to God “B’Aspakya Hemeirah” clear communication between God and Moshe, Peh el Peh.    All other prophets do not have  direct communication with God. Meaning, God communicates with prophets in the heavenly realms and the message from God  gets filtered down to this world through the prophets understanding.  Each prophet can and will understand God’s message differently.  Their goal is to understand God’s message as God intended.  Despite this if a prophet interprets if his way, then it is still God’s prophecy.   When Avraham heard Gods words to bring Yitzchak as a sacrifice Avraham could and would have been justified interpreting it as to not bring Yitzchak on the Akediah.  After all, God told Avraham that Yitzchak will grow into a great nation.  Avraham remained true to what God wanted and this was the test of Avraham.

Rabbi Brudny then explained Da’as Torah based on the Gemorah that says a Talmud Chocom is greater than a Navi.  Once a Talmud Chocom can discern Gods will through Torah wisdom, he is higher than a prophet.   The Talmud Chachom’s   level of understanding is on a very high level.  A Talmud Chachom can then understand other aspects of life such as business, medicine, and other matters because he attained a  level of greater than prophecy.

Picture of Rabbi Elya Brudny

Image result for pictures of rabbi elya brudny

During Davening I said the following  Vort.

Bereshis Chapter 21, Verses 22-24 says:

22  Now it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech and Phicol his general said to Abraham, saying, “God is with you in all that you do.  23And now, swear to me here by God, that you will not lie to me or to my son or to my grandson; according to the kindness that I have done with you, you shall do with me, and with the land wherein you have sojourned.”    24And Abraham said, “I will swear.”

When Abimelech wants  a covenant of peace between the two, Abraham simply says, I swear that we will live in peace.  No arguments, no recriminations.

However, Verses 25 through 33 show a more contentious exchange and a ceremony to reinforce that Abraham dug the wells.

כה. וְהוֹכִ֥חַ אַבְרָהָ֖ם אֶת־אֲבִימֶ֑לֶךְ עַל־אֹדוֹת֙ בְּאֵ֣ר הַמַּ֔יִם אֲשֶׁ֥ר גָּֽזְל֖וּ עַבְדֵ֥י אֲבִימֶֽלֶךְ                  
כו  וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲבִימֶ֔לֶךְ לֹ֣א יָדַ֔עְתִּי מִ֥י עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֑ה וְגַם־אַתָּ֞ה לֹֽא־הִגַּ֣דְתָּ לִּ֗י וְגַ֧ם אָֽנֹכִ֛י לֹ֥א שָׁמַ֖עְתִּי בִּלְתִּ֥י הַיּֽוֹם
כז   וַיִּקַּ֤ח אַבְרָהָם֙ צֹ֣אן וּבָקָ֔ר וַיִּתֵּ֖ן לַֽאֲבִימֶ֑לֶךְ וַיִּכְרְת֥וּ שְׁנֵיהֶ֖ם בְּרִֽית
כח: וַיַּצֵּ֣ב אַבְרָהָ֗ם אֶת־שֶׁ֛בַע כִּבְשׂ֥ת הַצֹּ֖אן לְבַדְּהֶֽן
כט: וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ אֶל־אַבְרָהָ֑ם מָ֣ה הֵ֗נָּה שֶׁ֤בַע כְּבָשׂת֙ הָאֵ֔לֶּה אֲשֶׁ֥ר הִצַּ֖בְתָּ לְבַדָּֽנָה

25 And Abraham contended with Abimelech about the well of water that the servants of Abimelech had forcibly seized.  26 And Abimelech said, “I do not know who did this thing, neither did you tell me, nor did I hear [of it] until today.”    27 And Abraham took flocks and cattle and gave them to Abimelech, and they both formed a covenant.  28 And Abraham placed seven ewe lambs by themselves 29 And Abimelech said to Abraham, “What are these seven ewe lambs, which you have placed by themselves?”  30 And they formed a covenant in Beer-Sheba, and Abimelech and Phicol his general arose, and they returned to the land of the Philistines.

Why the different reaction?.  Water is life.  Avraham’s family could not survive if the servants of Abimelech would seize Avraham’s  water supplies.  Avraham fought Abimelech on this very essential need.  The word the Torah uses the Hebrew word,   וְהוֹכִ֥חַ.  This word can mean  rebuke, which is Onkelyos.   However, Rashi brings down Yonasan Ben Uziel who explain it as to contend , to fight, and Avrohom fought with Abimelech.    This was critical and  Avraham  fought for his rights.  What does Abimelech say in  Verse 26.  “I did not know.”   This is usually the reaction of people in power.  Their minions steal and destroy and the king  says, I did not know.   Plausible deniability.  Politicians and people in power haven’t changes in 4,000 years.  This is why Avrohom made a public ceremony to reinforce publicly his right to the well.

However, it goes beyond this.  The Jewish mission is to do good to the world.  What happens when a king or politicians have control over something needed by the public, by humanity.  They limit access, tax it, and use it to have power over their subjects.  Avrohom was fighting Abimelech from hurting his own people . Avraham had to publicly declare I dug this well and it  is mine.    I will give it the public at large for free because water is a human right and not  be controlled by a king.  This is the Eishel Avraham opened for humanity, and gave food and water as needed.

After Davening there was a Kiddush Rabbi Leibenstein’s son’s house.  My nephew and I went over to Rabbi Elya  Brudny.  Meir asked Rabbi Brudny if he know his father, Pesach Chase.  Rabbi Brudny said he was close to Pesach when they were both learning in Mir Yeshiva in New York.  .  Rabbi Brudny then said he knew our grandfather,  Rabbi Sholom Sklar,  from Lakewood and he was close to my Zedi.  Rabbi Brudny substituted at the Daf Yomi Shiur in Yuks shul and my Zedi would tell him about Europe.

I told Rabbi Brudny, my above Vort from the Kotzker Rebbi and he responded;  based on the Kotzker’s Pshet perhaps you can answer a question that is asked on the following Verse that speaks about a Jewish king.

Dvorim, Chapter 18 Verse 14 says:

יד כִּֽי־תָבֹ֣א אֶל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְהֹוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֨יךָ֙ נֹתֵ֣ן לָ֔ךְ וִֽירִשְׁתָּ֖הּ וְיָשַׁ֣בְתָּה בָּ֑הּ וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֗ אָשִׂ֤ימָה עָלַי֙ מֶ֔לֶךְ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר סְבִֽיבֹתָֽי:

14. When you come to the land the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, “I will set a king over ourselves, like all the nations around me.”

Rabbi Brudny said the Velt asks why does it say “like all the nations”.  The Chumosh should have stopped at “I will set a king over ourselves”.  We know what a king is.  Rabbi Brudny said that perhaps the Torah means what the Kotzker is saying, we Jews do have the emotional wherewithal to appoint a king over ourselves, it has to come from  non-Jewish DNA and like the Kotzker said that God took the non-Jewish DNA and make it holy.

At davening Shabbos morning there was a Rov who I know and may be a relative.  I am happy to see him.  However, a number of years ago he did something  I felt was not proper.  About two years ago the incident was mentioned and the Rov’s approach was justified and how the Rov was right.  I said nothing.  I am so happy that I did not respond.  Had I responded, it would have gotten back to the Rov and would have affected our relationship.  The incident was years ago, everyone moved on, so why get involved and Boruch Hashem I said nothing.   I was able to greet him with a smile and told him the Kotzker Moshiach Vort.

The rest of Shabbos was great.  By davening at 8:00 AM I expanded my Shabbos by three hours.