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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
Baruch Gordon founded the Arutz Sheva-IsraelNationalNews.com website in 1995 and directed its English Media Department for 14 years. Baruch studied and taught at the Bet El Yeshiva Center, later serving as Dean of its Program for Overseas Students and Program for IDF Veterans.
Baruch is certified by Israel's Chief Rabbinate to counsel married couples and prepare hatanim for marriage.
Kislev 12, 5771, 11/19/2010
Many of us who work are serious about Torah learning, but don't quite have a set regime of study. We cherish the Torah, observe the mitzvot, and open various books and commentaries several times a week to delve into the depths of our ancient heritage. But our Rabbis told us, "Kva itim l'Torah" [Set times for Torah study].
I am writing to highly recommend a daily regime of study of the mishna berura commentary to the Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law]. The pace of study is one amud (a side of a page) per day. And an organization in Chicago provides a link to a short English audio class (3 - 6 minutes) which gives an overview and introduction to the page. It is great. Go for it:
Cheshvan 11, 5771, 10/19/2010
In the winter of 1995, Gittel Sarah Deutsch, of blessed memory, passed away. She was known in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighborhood for dedicating her life to acts of charity and loving kindness. Her husband, Rabbi Yehuda Deutsch, who died young leaving his wife with ten children.
Despite the tragic loss, Gittel Sarah remained strong. She continued her daily routine of providing food and clothing to the needy and entertaining Jewish guests who were on the path of returning to religious observance.
She dressed in the finest clothes, while maintaining a strict, modest appearance. She always celebrated the Shabbat and Jewish holidays with great joy. An aura of spiritual courage permeated her home.
She married off her ten children to the finest Rabbinic families.
Gittel Sarah's granddaughter Yochi Goldman from Beitar had a special relationship with her, and felt great sorrow at her passing. One night, after the conclusion of the Simchat Torah holiday in 2005, Yochi had a dream.
Yochi saw herself walking in the Mea Shearim market, near the home of her late grandmother. Suddenly, she saw her grandmother walking towards her wearing her majestic, holiday clothes and jewelry and looking especially happy. Yochi knew in her dream that her grandmother was deceased and, puzzled, she asked, "Grandma, what's going on? How can it be that I am meeting you in the market?"
"I am in the World To Come, and I have a good place there, and all is well," the grandmother answered with a face radiating light. "But there is one thing that is causing me great discomfort and I am begging you to help me in this matter," she said.
Yochi wondered to herself how she could possibly help her grandmother who was already deceased and had a good place in the World to Come.
Gittel Sarah continued: "About a year before I passed away, I did renovations in my home in honor of the approaching holiday. There is an outstanding debt of 875 shekels from the work which I owe to Moshe the Painter. If you are in a position to pay my debt, then marvelous. If not, please contact one of my boys – Amram or Mattitiyahu and ask them to immediately remit funds to Moshe the Painter."
Yochi walked in her dream with her grandmother to the Yeshuot Yaakov Synagogue in the middle of the market. Gittel Sarah entered the synagogue, and Yochi awoke.
Within a few moments, Yochi came to her senses and realized it was already morning. She remembered the dream in detail and felt she had to act with urgency on behalf of her grandmother. She called her parents, who lived in Jerusalem, and described the dream in great detail to her father and mother - Gittel Sarah's daughter. Yochi's parents grew anxioius, but were at a loss of what to think or do.
Yochi suggested that they all initiate a conference call to Moshe the Painter to see what he says.
Yochi's mother remembered well the renovation that her mother did and placed a call to the known Mea Shearim painter. He answered immediately.
Gittel's family asked Moshe the Painter if any debt remained from the work. "Well let's see," he said, flipping through his small notebook. "Gittel Sarah owes me… uh…here it is - 875 shekels."
Once their emotions subsided, the family members decided that Yochi's mother would go over to Moshe the Painter's house and clear the debt. But Yochi still knew no rest. She sensed that her grandmother was hovering above her and urging her, "Go already. Go already." Yochi called her mother several times to ask her to do this chore immediately.
A short while later, Yochi's mother called her from the home of Moshe the Painter as she paid the debt, and heard Moshe saying, "That's it. The debt is erased. No need to worry anymore."
At that moment, Yochi felt great relief. She pondered upon how the living can still help the deceased and, more importantly, how meticulous one must be in his dealings with other people.
This story appeared in the Aug. 26. 2010 edition of Besheva Newspaper, Arutz Sheva's hardcopy weekly, Hebrew magazine. Before translating to English and posting here, I called Yochi Goldman in Beitar to verify the details. Baruch Gordon
Tishrei 18, 5771, 9/26/2010
Myth and Facts on Aliya to Israel
Thank you America
According to the late Jerusalem Old City Kabbalist Rabbi Mordechai Atiya, author of Lech Lecha – Sod HaShvua, all of the trials and tribulations that befall the Jewish People in their long exile are messages sent from heaven to awaken the Jewish People to leave the foreign lands they dwell in.
On a micro level, the life of the Or HaChaim (Rabbi Chaim Ben Attar) is an embodiment of this teaching that the tragedies of the exile are divine signals to prod the Jewish People to return to Israel.
In his native Morocco, the Or HaChaim was targeted by the government, falsely accused of things that he had no part in, thrown into jail on more than one occasion, and even thrown once into the lions den - coming out unharmed. In 1738 when hunger plagued Morocco, he began his long journey to Israel.
In the introduction to his Torah commentary, the Or HaChaim writes:
"Those who pursued me didn't turn back. I prayed for peace, but behold, enemy after enemy assaulted me, one trouble after another, until I was up to my neck in distress. I wondered from town to town, becoming a fulfillment of the verse, 'He that flees from terror, shall fall into the pit…' And G-d opened my eyes, and I realized that the reason for these troubles was none other than to signal me to ascend to the place of the Shechina, the city which is so exalted and so dear to G-d of the world."
Note that the final straw that convinced the Or HaChaim to make aliya was the financial collapse in Morocco induced by famine. It was not a decree specifically targeting the Jews.
Every Last Jew Will Leave the Diaspora,
Regarding the first redemption from Egypt, the Torah says, "…afterwards he [Pharaoh] will let you go from here; when he shall let you go completely, he shall surely expel you out from here" . The Torah commentator Rabbeinu Bachyeh explains the use of the word kaleh [completely]: "when Pharaoh sends you out, he will send all of you, and will not leave a single one of you."
So, too, regarding the final redemption, the prophet Yechezkel says, "…and I will gather them into their land, and I will not leave any of them there" . Rashi explains: "I will not leave one of them in the exile."
Hence, the liquidation of the Jewish presence outside of Israel and the return of every last Jew to Israel follows the paradigm, "What was in the past (in the redemption from Egypt) is what will be in the future (in the final redemption)."
Rabbi Atiya admonishes:
"And G-d forbid that one should sit with folded arms in the exile waiting for miracles and wonders to occur, because we have a principle that an awakening of human initiative is a necessary prerequisite to Divine intervention."
Elul 29, 5770, 9/8/2010
I share with you below an excerpt from "The Art of T'shuva," a book by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman on the writings of Rabbi A. Y. Kook on t'shuva (penitence). Take 60 seconds to read it and be inspired!
From "Art of T'shuva"
When will I finally rectify my character faults?
Rabbi Kook tells us that this perspective is wrong. When it comes to t'shuva, the goal is not the most important thing. It is the means which counts.
Elul 26, 5770, 9/5/2010
The first round of renewed talks between Israel and local Arabs are over with a continuation set for September 14 and 15. On Thursday Sept 2, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hosted a press conference at which brief remarks were made by her, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas.
Who Does Clinton Favor?
US State Department
At all international press conferences, Israeli dignitaries never mention the rights of the Jewish People to their historic and biblical homeland. They speak of security needs. The Thursday press conference was no exception. Netanyahu said, "President Abbas, I am fully aware and I respect your people’s desire for sovereignty. I am convinced that it’s possible to reconcile that desire with Israel’s need for security." Netanyahu further said, "And so achieving security is a must. Security is the foundation of peace. Without it, peace will unravel. With it, peace can be stable and enduring."
I reviewed Netanyahu's entire speech. No mention of rights.
On the other hand, leaders of the Arabs of Judea and Samaria always speak of Arab rights to what they have been led to believe is their land. At the press conference, Abbas spoke of "peace that guarantees freedom and independence for the Palestinian people who is attached to his [sic] land and his rights."
Israel's own leaders broadcast to the world that the negotiations are about reconciling Arab "rights" with Israel's "security needs." With these parameters, we've lost from the outset.
Question: When will an Israeli leader proudly assert the inalienable, historic and legitimate rights of our people to our land?
To all the wonderful Jews who voted for the leftwing Likud party in the last elections, you perpetuate the self-castration of our national rights by electing such leaders, and frankly, you make me puke.
Father pumpkin upon hearing that his son voted Likud