Tehillim 5:7


תְּאַבֵּד דֹּבְרֵי כָזָב אִישׁ דָּמִים וּמִרְמָה יְתָעֵב יְ-ה-וָ-ה, may You doom the speakers of deception; HaShem abhors a bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

One would think that HaShem despises one who speaks deception, and He would doom a bloodthirsty and deceitful man. After all, is it not worse to murder than to speak deceitfully? Yet, Dovid HaMelech teaches us here what we learn (Arachin 15b) that one who slanders kills three people, the one whom he tells, the one spoken about, and the speaker himself. Indeed, the speaker of deception dooms himself with his slander and deception. HaShem merely abhors a bloodthirsty man, as apparently it is easier to repent from the sin of murder than from the sin of slander and deception.

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Mishpatim 5776


The Gemara (Bava Kama 60b) makes a puzzling statement regarding a passuk in this week’s parasha. It is said (Shemos 22:5) כִּי תֵצֵא אֵשׁ וּמָצְאָה קֹצִים וְנֶאֱכַל גָּדִישׁ אוֹ הַקָּמָה אוֹ הַשָּׂדֶה שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם הַמַּבְעִר אֶת הַבְּעֵרָה, if a fire shall go forth and find thorns, and a stack of grain or a standing crop or a field is consumed, the one who kindled the fire shall make restitution. and the Gemara states, כי תצא אש ומצאה קוצים תצא מעצמה שלם ישלם המבעיר את הבערה אמר הקב”ה עלי לשלם את הבערה שהבערתי אני הציתי אש בציון שנאמר {איכה ד-יא} ויצת אש בציון ותאכל יסודותיה ואני עתיד לבנותה באש שנאמר {זכריה ב-ט} ואני אהיה לה חומת אש סביב ולכבוד אהיה בתוכה,  HaShem said, I lit the fire of Tziyon and I will make restitution by rebuilding the Bais HaMikdash through fire. The Gemara is saying that HaShem is taking responsibility for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash and therefore He will pay restitution by rebuilding it. One must wonder why HaShem takes the blame for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash? Was it not our sins that destroyed the Bais HaMikdash?

The answer to this question can be found in the Gemara (Yerushalmi Yoma 1:1) that states that any generation that does not have the Bais HaMikdash built in their time, it is deemed as if the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed in their time. Why does the Gemara use the passive expression of “the generation that does not have the Bais  HaMikdash built,” as opposed to stating that “one who causes the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash” or “one who does not build the Bais HaMikdash?” The answer to this question can be found in the passuk cited earlier. It is said כִּי תֵצֵא אֵשׁ וּמָצְאָה קֹצִים, if a fire shall go forth and find thorns, the fire goes out on its own. Often, we see that people commit various sins and we stand by, apathetically, and we “watch the fire burn.” Do we take a stand in matters of holiness and purity? Do we cry for those who don’t even know how to recite Shema? While there are many approaches to bringing close estranged Jews and sinners, one thing is for certain. We must be disturbed that most of world Jewry is not yet fulfilling HaShem’s will. If we can’t even shed a tear or give a krechzt for all the Jewish suffering and the decadent level of our society that has had terrible influences on our communities, then perhaps we are accomplices of allowing the Bais HaMikdash to be destroyed in our time. This is the message of the Gemara that states that HaShem declared that He destroyed the Bais HaMikdash. HaShem is hinting to us that if we are not willing to take the blame for the destruction of the Bais HaMikdash, then He will take the responsibility. Yet, in truth, the rise and fall of the Bais HaMikdash is on our hands. Let us use this parasha, replete with laws that focus on our interpersonal relationships with our fellow Jews, to be a catalyst to the rebuilding of the Bais HaMikdash, speedily, in our days.

Have a REBUILDING Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Mishpatim 5776


Mishpatim 5776

New Stories Mishpatim 5776

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Mishpatim 5776

Shabbos is a Spiritual Day Accompanied by Physical Indulgences

Introduction

In this week’s parasha we learn about the precursor to the Jewish people fashioning the Golden Calf. It is said (Shemos 24:9-11) vayaal Moshe viAharon Nadav viAvihu vishivim miziknei Yisroel vayiru es Elokei Yisroel visachas raglav kimaasei livnas hasapir uchietzem hashamayim latohar viel atzilei binei Yisroel lo shalach yado vayechezu es HaElokim vayochlu vayishtu, Moshe, Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended. They saw the G-d of Israel, and under his feet was the likeness of sapphire brickwork, and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity. Against the great men of the Children of Israel, He did not stretch out His hand – they gazed at G-d, yet they ate and drank. Rashi (Bamidbar 11:16) writes that this eating and drinking is comparable to a commoner who bites into a piece of bread while talking to a king. One must wonder, though, how it was possible that the great men of Israel could witness the greatest revelation ever experienced by mankind and then engage in such mundane acts like eating and drinking. How are we to understand this apparent paradox?

Attaining spiritual heights on Shabbos requires physical indulgence

There is a well-known statement from the Holy Baal Shem Tov of blessed memory who said that on Shabbos, we are instructed by the Torah and the prophets to indulge in eating, drinking and other physical actions and this is deemed to be oneg Shabbos, delighting in the Shabbos. The Zohar refers to Shabbos as yoma dinishmasa, the day of the souls. How is it, then, that one can view Shabbos as a spiritual day when he is involved in such physical acts? The Baal Shem Tov would say that the Satan, i.e. the Evil Inclination, does not wish that a Jew attain such great spiritual heights on Shabbos. If a Jew would not eat and drink and indulge himself on Shabbos, the Satan would thwart the Jew’s attempt to ascend the spiritual ladder. Thus, HaShem instructed us to eat and drink on Shabbos, and this would satisfy the Satan.

The great leaders of Israel sought to attain a high level of spirituality while their souls were separated from their bodies

In a similar vein, we can suggest that the great leaders of Israel witnessed the revelation at Sinai, and this experience literally took the souls out of the bodies of the Jewish people. While the soul leaving the body is an indication of great spiritual heights, the Rambam (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 7:6) posits that HaShem did not desire that the Jewish People remain at this level. Thus, HaShem instructed Moshe (Devarim 5:27) lech emor lahem shuvu lachem liahaleichem, “go say to them, ‘return to your tents.’” The Rambam interprets this to mean that HaShem desired that the souls of the Jewish People should return to their bodies. The great leaders, however, wished to retain this level of spirituality. While HaShem desires that a person lives on a high spiritual level, and this normally requires the attachment of the body to the soul, the great leaders felt that by eating and drinking at the time of the great spiritual revelation, they would somehow be able to maintain the status of their souls being outside their bodies. This concept, that one can be totally spiritual and yet indulge in physical matters, is beyond our comprehension. Yet, according to the words of the Holy Baal Shem Tov, this is exactly the dichotomy that we experience every Shabbos. The great leaders at Sinai, however, did not follow HaShem’s instructions, and by attempting to retain the level of their souls outside their bodies, they were punished later with the death penalty.

The Shabbos Connection

This fresh perspective of what we are experiencing on Shabbos should inspire us to prepare even more for the Holy Day of Shabbos, when HaShem allows us to physically indulge to thwart the schemes of the Satan. By following HaShem’s will, we should merit a day that is completely Shabbos and a day of rest for eternal life.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Tzama Lecho Nafshi

This zemer was composed by the great medieval commentator and poet Avraham Ibn Ezra whose name is found in the acrostic of the verses

עַל כּל אֲהוֹדֶךָ. כָּל פֶּה תְּיַחֲדֶךָ. פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶיךָ. וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חָי, for everything I shall glorify You, every mouth shall acknowledge Your Oneness; for You open Your hand and satisfy all living. The connection between glorifying HaShem and the fact that He sustains all of mankind is clear. When one acknowledges HaShem as his provider, it is easier to glorify Him. The Gemara (Eruvin 41b) states ת”ר ג’ דברים מעבירין את אדם על דעתו ועל דעת קונו אלו הן עובדי כוכבים ורוח רעה ודקדוקי עניות, three things cause one to violate his intellect, and, so to speak, the intellect of his creator, and one of them is poverty. Heaven forbid that one could actually violate HaShem’s intellect. Rather, the Gemara uses the term דעת, which means connection, and the Gemara is stating that often one is less aware of his connection to HaShem when he is in a state of poverty. When one realizes, however, that HaShem sustains every living thing, then he can truly glorify HaShem and appreciate his connection to his creator.

Shabbos Stories

Seeing the Angels on Friday Night

The Baal Shem Tov once visited Lemberg and stayed with his relative, the Gaon, Rabbi Chaim HaKohen Rappaport, the rabbi of the city. It was the custom of Reb Chaim to pray in the town synagogue. Reb Chaim was a great and famous rabbi and he was not a follower of the Baal Shem Tov and did not appreciate his new Chasidic movement.

The Baal Shem Tov asked for permission to pray with a separate minyan of the town’s Chasidim. Reb Chaim agreed, but with the condition that his guest, the Baal Shem Tov, not pray a long Friday night service – as he usually did – as this would delay the Sabbath meal if they had to wait for him.

The Baal Shem Tov agreed to this request. In actuality, however, he Baal Shem Tov could not control his ecstatic davening, so the Baal Shem Tov prayed for a long time, and thus arrived late at the rabbi’s house. Reb Chaim was waiting for his guest to arrive. When the Baal Shem Tov finally arrived, the rabbi began with Shabbos Zemiros, and he continued the meal without saying anything about the Baal Shem Tov’s lateness, which contradicted their agreement.

When the meal was over, the Rebbetzin asked her husband, “Why didn’t you rebuke the Baal Shem Tov regarding his tardiness?” “How could I rebuke him?” the rabbi responded. “The Talmud states that on Friday night two angels accompany a person back home from the synagogue. When the Baal Shem Tov entered, I actually saw the two angels entering with him! I certainly always believed what the Talmud said regarding the angels. Now, however, I actually saw them! That shows what my level is compared to the level of the Baal Shem Tov. Tell me, then, how could I say anything to him?”

Shabbos in Halacha

מוליד – Creating a  new Entity

  1. The Prohibition

Summary

One is prohibited from dissolving a frozen item (or congealed gravy) manually (i.e. by crushing). If one violated this prohibition, one is prohibited from using the newly dissolved liquid until after Shabbos.

One should not cause an item to dissolve by placing it near an oven, or cause an item to freeze by inserting it in a freezer. However, if one did cause nolad, the item may be sued (unless another is available).

Solid foods that contain gravy should not be caused to freeze or caused to defrost near an oven. Those that have no gravy are exempt from this prohibition.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Mishpatim 5776

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

New Stories Mishpatim 5776

A Holocaust Love Story

A powerful true story of Jewish heroism.

by Rabbi Yosef Wallis

Rabbi Yosef Wallis, director of Arachim of Israel, talks to Project Witness about his father, Judah Wallis, who was born and raised in Pavenitz, Poland.

While he was in Dachau, a Jew who was being taken to his death suddenly flung a small bag at my father, Judah Wallis. He caught it, thinking it might contain a piece of bread. Upon opening it, however, he was disturbed to discover a pair of tefillin. Judah was very frightened because he knew that were he to be caught carrying tefillin, he would be put to death instantly. So he hid the tefillin under his shirt and headed for his bunkhouse.

In the morning, just before the appel [roll call], while still in his bunkhouse, he put on the tefillin. Unexpectedly, a German officer appeared. He ordered him to remove the tefillin, noted the number on Judah’s arm.

At the appel, in front of thousands of silent Jews, the officer called out Judah’s number and he had no choice but to step forward. The German officer waved the tefillin in the air and said, “Dog! I sentence you to death by public hanging for wearing these.”

Judah was placed on a stool and a noose was placed around his neck. Before he was hanged, the officer said in a mocking tone, “Dog, what is your last wish?”

“To wear my tefillin one last time,” Judah replied.

“The officer was dumbfounded. He handed Judah the tefillin. As Judah put them on, he recited the verse that is said while the tefillin are being wound around the fingers: “Ve’eirastich li le’olam, ve’eirastich li b’tzedek uvemishpat, ub’chessed, uv’rachamim, ve’eirastich li b’emunah, v’yodaat es Hashem – I will betroth you to me forever and I will betroth you to me with righteousness and with justice and with kindness and with mercy and I will betroth you to me with fidelity, and you shall know God.”

It is hard for us to picture this Jew with a noose around his neck, wearing tefillin on his head and arm – but that was the scene that the entire camp was forced to watch, as they awaited the impending hanging of the Jew who had dared to break the rule against wearing tefillin.

Even women from the adjoining camp were lined up at the barbed wire fence that separated them from the men’s camp, forced to watch this horrible sight.

“Yidden, I am the victor. Don’t you understand, I am the winner!”

As Judah turned to watch the silent crowd, he saw tears in many people’s eyes. Even at that moment, as he was about to be hanged, he was shocked. Jews were crying! How was it possible that they still had tears left to shed? And for a stranger? Where were those tears coming from? Impulsively, in Yiddish, he called out, “Yidden, I am the victor. Don’t you understand, I am the winner!”

The German officer understood the Yiddish and was infuriated. He said to Judah, “You dog, you think you are the winner? Hanging is too good for you. You are going to get another kind of death.”

“Judah, my father, was taken from the stool and the noose was removed from his neck. He was forced into a squatting position and two huge rocks were placed under his arms. Then he was told that he would be receiving 25 lashes to his head – the head on which he had dared to position his tefillin. The officer told him that if he dropped even one of the rocks, he would be shot immediately. In fact, because this was such an extremely painful form of death, the officer advised him, “Drop the rocks now. You will never survive the 25 lashes to the head. Nobody ever does.”

Judah’s response was, “No, I won’t give you the pleasure.”

At the 25th lash, Judah lost consciousness and was left for dead. He was about to be dragged to a pile of corpses, after which he would have been burned in a ditch, when another Jew saw him, shoved him to the side, and covered his head with a rag so people didn’t realize he was alive. Eventually, after he recovered consciousness fully, he crawled to the nearest bunkhouse that was on raised piles and hid under it until he was strong enough to come out under his own power. Two months later he was liberated.

“I saw what you did that day when the officer wanted to hang you. Will you marry me?”

During the hanging and beating episode, a 17-year-old girl had been watching the events from the women’s side of the fence. After liberation, she made her way to Judah. She walked over to him and said, “I’ve lost everyone. I don’t want to be alone any more. I saw what you did that day when the officer wanted to hang you. Will you marry me?”

My parents walked over to the Klausenberger Rebbe and requested that he perform the marriage ceremony. The Klausenberger Rebbe, whose Kiddush Hashem is legendary, wrote out a kesubah [marriage contract] by hand from memory and married the couple. I have that handwritten kesubah in my possession to this day. (www.aish.com)

 

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Yisro 5776


Do you ever have a question in the parasha that year in, year out gnaws at you, and you can never find a good enough answer? I have had a question for many years on Parashas Yisro and have asked numerous people the question and have received numerous answers. So here’s the question: The Gemara (Sanhedrin 94a) states that the Torah speaks about the disgrace of Moshe and six hundred thousand Jews, because until Yisro arrived, no one uttered the words ברוך ה’, blessed is HaShem. This Gemara appears to be in direct construction to the words that we recite every  morning in the Shacharis prayers: עַל זֹאת שִׁבְּחוּ אֲהוּבִים, וְרוֹמְמוּ לָאֵ-ל וְנָתְנוּ יְדִידִים זְמִירוֹת שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבָּחוֹת בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לַמֶּלֶךְ אֵ-ל חַי וְקַיָּם, for this, the beloved offered praise and exaltation to G-d, the dear ones offered hymns, songs, praises blessings, and thanksgivings to the King, the living and enduring G-d. Clearly the Jewish People at The Sea offered blessing to HaShem, so why does the Gemara denigrate them? One answer I heard is that there are various levels of blessing and the blessing that Yisro offered was on a higher level than the Jewish People. To this suggestion I respond, “one must bring a  solid proof that Yisro’s blessing was more exalted than the blessings of the Jewish People.” Another suggestion could be that the Jewish People did not utter the exact words ‘ברוך ה, which is a weak answer, because clearly the Jewish People were offering thanks to HaShem.

Perhaps , based on the words of the Sfas Emes, we can suggest a plausible solution to this enigma. The Sfas Emes writes that the word ברוך is associated with the word מורכב, grafting. A blessing is not merely, “blessed are You, O G-d.” Rather, one is “grafting” and intermingling his experiences with his heartfelt praises and thanks to HaShem. While the Jewish People recited blessings for the miracles for the moment, Yisro was in a different league, i.e. he had traversed many paths before accepting HaShem’s Oneness and His Torah. Once Yisro came to the recognition that HaShem is the One and Only True G-d, he was able to graft his experiences with his blessings and offer blessings to HaShem.

So, one may ask, what was so disgraceful about the Jews not offering this grafted blessing? The answer to this question is that one must always see the Hashgacha, Divine Providence, in all areas of life, and the Jewish People, on some level, failed to connect all their past experiences in slavery and liberation with the blessing.

HaShem should allow us to recognize that all of our suffering and pain is a catalyst for the great salvation that we will experience soon, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.

Have a GRAFTED BLESSED Shabbos!

Rabbi Adler

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Yisro 5776


Yisro 5776

New Stories Yisro 5776

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Yisro 5776

Shabbos all the Time

Introduction

In this week’s parasha the Torah records the Aseres HaDibros, the Ten Commandments. It is interesting to note that all of the Commandments contain an instruction that one must be constantly aware of. For example, the first Commandment instructs us to be constantly aware that HaShem is our G-d. The second Commandment instructs us that we are prohibited from fashioning idols or bowing down to idols. All the Commandments are constant, except for one, and that is the fourth Commandment that instructs us to keep Shabbos. It is said (Shemos 20:8) zachor es yom haShabbos likadisho, remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it. It would seem that the Commandment to remember the Shabbos is only applicable on the seventh day of every week. If this is true, why did HaShem include the Commandment of remembering Shabbos in the list of the Ten Commandments?

Rashi’s interpretation of the Commandment requiring us to remember Shabbos

In order to answer this question, it is worth examining the words of Rashi on this verse. Rashi writes that the word zachor is written in a present tense, which means that one should constantly remember the Shabbos day. Thus, if one encounters a fine item during the week, he should designate it for Shabbos. The difficulty with the words of Rashi, asks the Ramban, is that this does not follow the halacha stated in the Gemara. The Gemara (Beitzah 16a) states that Shammai would always eat in honor of Shabbos. When Shammai would find a choice animal, he would declare “this should be for Shabbos.” The next day Shammai would find a more preferred animal and he would eat the first one and leave the second animal for Shabbos. Hillel, however, had a different approach. All of Hillel’s actions were for the sake of Heaven, as it is said (Tehillim 68:20) baruch HaShem yom yom yaamas lanu, blessed is the Lord, day by day He burdens us. Thus, how could Rashi write that the explanation of this verse follows the interpretation of Shammai, when the halacha generally follows the opinion of Hillel?

Remembering Shabbos is a requirement throughout the entire week

The answer to this question is that although the halacha follows Hillel, Rashi chose to interpret our verse according to Shammai, because Rashi is explaining this Commandment according to the context of all the Commandments listed. Thus, Shabbos is not limited to the seventh day of the week. Rather, one is required to remember Shabbos throughout the entire week. One can achieve this remembrance by preparing foods for Shabbos, or even by counting the days to Shabbos, as the Ramban cites from the Mechilta.

Taking Shabbos into the week

With this premise we can understand the significance of the custom to eat Seudas Melaveh Malka, the feast that escorts the Shabbos Queen. In addition to paying respect to the departing Shabbos, by partaking in this feast we are also demonstrating how we are bringing the Shabbos into the week. Indeed, the word Melaveh, which is translated as escorted, is associated with the name Levi, who was thus named because Leah declared (Bereishis 29:34) atah hapaam yilaveh ishi eilay, this time my husband will become attached to me.

The Shabbos Connection

Shabbos is in a sense the culmination of the Commandments that are focused on our relationship with HaShem, commonly referred to as mitzvos shebein adam laMakaom, commandments that are between man and his Creator. Our acknowledgment of HaShem as the G-d Who redeemed us from Egypt, and our admission that there is no other G-d besides Him, culminated in our remembering and observing the Holy Shabbos. Shabbos is the day when HaShem rested from all His work, and HaShem’s rest, so to speak, allows us the opportunity to come even closer to HaShem than we do during the weekday. HaShem should allow us to remember the Shabbos throughout the entire week, and through the remembrance of Shabbos, we will remember that HaShem is our G-d Who loves us and bestows all His goodness on His Chosen People.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Tzama Lecho Nafshi

This zemer was composed by the great medieval commentator and poet Avraham Ibn Ezra whose name is found in the acrostic of the verses

נְסוֹגִים אִם אָבוּ. וּמִדַרְכָּם שָׁבוּ. טֶרֶם יִשְׁכָּבוּ. בֵּית מוֹעֵד לְכָל חָי, those gone astray, had they but desired and repented from their way! Before they go to rest in the place appointed for all life. Shabbos is a time for repentance, and while one must always repent from his errant ways, prior to Shabbos is an auspicious time for one to repent from his sins and return to Hashem.

Shabbos Stories

Good morning to everyone

Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky writes: Last year my brother, Rabbi Zvi Kamenetzky of Chicago, tried to contact a friend who was vacationing at Schechter’s Caribbean Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. After about 15 rings, the hotel operator, an elderly, southern black woman, who worked at the hotel for three decades politely informed my brother that the man was not in the room. “Would you like to leave a message?” she inquired.

“Sure,” responded Reb Zvi, “tell him that Rabbi Kamenetzky called.”

The woman at the other end gasped. “Raabbi Kaamenetzky?” she drawled. “Did you say you were Raabbi Kaamenetzky?” She knew the name! It sounded as if she was about to follow up with a weighty question, and my brother responded in kind. “Yes.” He did not know what would follow. “Why do you ask?”

“Are you,” asked the operator, “by any chance, related to the famous Rabbi Kamenetzky?”

There was silence in Chicago. My brother could not imagine that this woman had an inkling of who his grandfather, the great sage. Dean of Mesivta Torah Vadaas to whom thousands had flocked for advice and counsel, was. She continued. “You know, he passed away about ten years ago at the end the wintah?” She definitely had her man, thought Reb Zvi. Still in shock, he offered a subdued, “Yes, I’m a grandson.”

“YOOOU ARE?” she exclaimed. “Well, I’m sure glad to talk to ya! Cause your grandpa — he was a real good friend of mine!”

My brother pulled the receiver from his ear and stared at the mouthpiece. He composed himself and slowly began to repeat her words, quizzically. “You say that Rabbi Kamenetzky was a good friend of yours?”

“Sure! Every mornin’ Raabbi Kaaamenetzky would come to this here hotel to teach some sorta Bible class (It was the Daf-Yomi.) Now my desk is about ten yards from the main entrance of the hotel. But every mornin’ he made sure to come my way, nod his head, and say good mornin’ to me. On his way out, he would always stop by my desk and say good-bye. Oh! Yes! He was a great Rabbi but he was even a greater man. He was a wonderful man. He was a real good friend of mine!” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

מוליד – Creating a  new Entity

  1. The Prohibition
  1. Freezing and Defrosting Dry Foods

Dry food items are not subject to this prohibition, as they retain their solid form whether frozen or thawed. However, foods that contain gravy are subject to molid and should neither be frozen nor defrosted in a hot area on Shabbos.

For example, challah, chicken and kugel may be frozen, or defrosted near an oven (Where there is no question of cooking) but a soupy cholent may not. [If a frozen item is covered with some rice, it is proper for one to shake off the ice before placing it near a source of heat for defrosting.]

Occasionally, a fully defrosted food has some congealed gravy on it. Such a food may not be placed near an oven to dissolve its gravy.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Yisro 5776

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

New Stories Yisro 5776

The Amazing Life of Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald

Community activist, international spy swapper and hostage mediator, political mastermind, mentor for troubled teens, beloved camp director and dedicated Jew.

by Suri Cohen

The last text we got from Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald, two days before his death on Wednesday, January 20th, was a photo of him and a friend, up to their necks in the sunny blue waters of a Miami swimming pool. Rabbi Greenwald was radiating his trademark ebullience, and the picture was cheekily captioned, “It’s 16 degrees in Monsey.”

It was to that photo that my mind inevitably drifted when we received the shocking news of his untimely passing. For it encapsulates so much of what made him unique and so very beloved – the slightly rakish insouciance, the unwillingness, or even inability, to stay within the neatly defined borders of convention, the sense of fun that made his chronological age of 82 appear like part of the joke, and the infectious joie de vivre that seemed to include the entire world in its orbit.

Equal parts James Bond and revered mentor to thousands, in the unlikely guise of a rumpled Orthodox Brooklyn Jew with an offbeat sartorial sense, Rabbi Greenwald’s credentials – community activist, political mastermind, mentor for troubled teens, creative camp director, international spy swapper and hostage mediator – strain at the confines of cliché. The most cursory Google search will take the reader on a breathtaking geopolitical tour spanning decades.

Following a stint as a campaign aide to New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, he served as Richard Nixon’s liaison to the Jewish community prior to the 1972 election. After Nixon was re-elected, Rabbi Greenwald was given a Washington office with a White House phone number, thus ensuring that his calls would always be answered. He used his newfound clout with the Departments of Agriculture, Housing, Labor, and Education for the benefit of the needy and the underserved within the Jewish community. “I would bring groups to Washington to meet senators and congressmen, to prove to them that we also had a needy underclass. I had to counter the stereotype of the rich Jew,” he told me in a 2012 interview in his Monsey home, whose walls were studded with letters and photos of the rabbi with presidents and politicians.

Along with family portraits, he was also pictured with many prominent and revered rabbis within the Orthodox community. “There’s barely a rosh yeshiva (yeshiva dean) or chassidic rebbe I would meet,” recalled a son in his eulogy Wednesday night, “who, upon learning who my father was, wouldn’t tell me, ‘You have no idea what your father did for me.'”

Although he left government to pursue a business career after Nixon’s impeachment, Rabbi Greenwald maintained all his high-level government contacts.

“Even though at this point I was a private citizen, wherever I went, governments knew that I had U.S. government backing. But everything was always through back channels; it all had to be kept quiet and secret until the job was done. If you really want to help people, that’s the only way. Publicity is dangerous and is always going to arouse opposition.”

Clandestine Rescue

Seeking to avoid the limelight, he was content to leave headline-making to others, although the unspoken rule did not preclude his eventual participation in high-stakes clandestine rescue operations. An early success was the release of Miron Marcus, an Israeli national living in Rhodesia whose private plane was shot down over Mozambique, where he was imprisoned in solitary confinement until Rabbi Greenwald’s appearance on the first night of Passover, the culmination of months of diplomatic maneuvering.

He was also a key figure in negotiating the freedom of Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, as well as that of molecular biologist Vladimir Raiz and his wife Carmela. He was successful in procuring improved living conditions for Lori Berenson, an American Jew imprisoned in Peru, and in brokering the liberation of Raul Granados, who was kidnapped by leftist guerrillas in Guatemala City. As well, he was often an articulate spokesman defending Orthodox interests before a sometimes hostile American media.

During a September 1997 visit to Lithuania along with a delegation of rabbis, Rabbi Greenwald embarked on negotiations with the Lithuanian government that culminated in the release and burial of several desecrated Torah scrolls. A day before the burial, he was invited to address the Lithuanian Parliament. As Lithuanian law prohibited burial of religious objects, Rabbi Greenwald explained the Jewish perspective to the legislature, and convinced them to ratify an exception to their statute, which they dubbed the “Grinvaldis Law”. Having lobbied on behalf of Lithuania’s inclusion in NATO, he was successful in intervening with that country’s Prime Minister to prevent the razing of the Jewish cemetery of Vilnius, the site of which had been slated for a shopping mall.

Loving Others

Although he was a larger than life figure within the community for his political connections and the scope of his activities – including an unlikely stint as ambassador from the African bantusan of Bophuthatswana to the United States – his unique genius lay in his ability to find the spark of Godliness within every single human being he met, thus empowering many who had lost faith in themselves to reclaim their humanity. Founder and director of a girl’s camp, Camp Sternberg, for over 50 years, he was visionary in his incorporation of a division for special-needs children within the camp, thus training and sensitizing hundreds of girls through hands-on acts of kindness and caring with this challenged population.

And, of course, there were the “adopted” children – scores of kids over the decades who found themselves in need of a place to go, to whom Rabbi Greenwald and his remarkable wife Miriam opened their doors, and provided a loving home, for months, and sometimes for years. As one of their children reminisced at the second funeral held in Jerusalem, “I would come home from yeshiva, and find new siblings in the house. I became, over the years, a brother and an uncle to so many.”

The stories are legion – the children society gave up on whom he refused to abandon, knocking on doors until he got them readmitted to school, found them employment, married them off, mentored them as their own families grew.

His son recalled the time his father was blackballed by some zealots within the community who disapproved of the rabbi’s methods and activities. “My father got the sweetest revenge. He supported some of their children for years, and got their grandchildren accepted into yeshivas when nobody wanted to take them in. He got revenge his way.”

No Ego

Rabbi Greenwald had no ego. He truly loved humanity, lived to help others, and had absolutely no need for recognition or acclaim. The pleasure he derived from spreading happiness was its own reward.

My husband, who prayed and studied Torah with him daily, recalls him as seeming to move within a cloud of joy. “He would come into shul always, somehow, chuckling. And people would just gravitate to him, to hear his jokes, to warm themselves by his light.”

As I entered the building where his funeral was held, the energy in the room was electric, the raw pain and sense of loss palpable. For a brief moment, personal differences were elided, as we all felt the gravitational pull of connection to this great and beloved man, who walked with kings, princes, and presidents, and yet whose heart and vision were big enough to see within us what sometimes we ourselves could not see – the person God intended each of us to be. (www.aish.com)

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Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Beshalach 5776


 

This week’s parasha has a subtle theme of leadership. The Parasha begins by stating that HaShem did not want to lead the Jews by way of the Philistines because it was near. HaShem led them through the Wilderness with a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire. Hashem then leads the Jewish People toward the Sea, and subsequent to the Egyptians being destroyed, Moshe has to drag the Jews away from the Sea and its spoils, to lead them on to the Promised Land.

It is said (Shemos 13:22) לֹא יָמִישׁ עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן יוֹמָם וְעַמּוּד הָאֵשׁ לָיְלָה לִפְנֵי הָעָם, He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night from before the people. The Baal HaTurim reads this verse as an allusion to Yehoshua, the future leader of the Jewish People. The Baal HaTurim writes: לא ימיש. ב’ במס’ הכא ואידך ביהושע לא ימיש מתוך האהל כמו שהעננים היו משלימין זה לזה כך עשה יהושע משכים בבוקר בעוד עמד עמוד האש ללמוד ולערב הקדים ולמד בעוד עמד עמוד הענן והיינו לא ימיש כמו שהעננים לא משו כך יהושע לא מש מתוך האהל וע”כ זכה לילך לפני העם, Just like the clouds complemented each other, so too Yehoshua would arise to study with the pillar of fire still extant, and he would continue to study in the evening while the pillar of cloud remained. This is the meaning of the words לֹא יָמִישׁ, he did not remove. Similar to the clouds that did not move, so too Yehoshua did not move from the tent, and for this reason Yehoshua merited to go לִפְנֵי הָעָם, before the people.

It is noteworthy that Yehoshua and allusions to him appear in the Torah in surprising instances, such as here and further on by the sin of the Golden Calf. It is said (Ibid 24:13) וַיָּקָם מֹשֶׁה וִיהוֹשֻׁעַ מְשָׁרְתוֹ וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה אֶל הַר הָאֱלֹהִים, Moshe stood up with Yehoshua, his servant; and Moshe ascended to the Mountain of G-d. Rashi wonders for what purpose was Yehoshua with Moshe when Moshe ascend the mountain. Rashi explains that Yehoshua, the student, escorted his teacher to the boundaries of the mountain, and then Moshe ascended the mountain alone. Yehoshua then pitched his tent by the mountain for forty days, as we find that when Moshe descended, Yehoshua was there waiting to greet him. Yehoshua demonstrated a consistency unlike anyone else amongst the Jewish People. Even in chaotic times, such as leaving Egypt, receiving the Torah, the sin of the Golden Calf, the slander of the spies, Yehoshua remained dedicated to his teacher and to the study of Torah. Indeed, as the Baal HaTurim writes, Yehoshua never deviated, so he merited leading the nation. It is noteworthy that the words לֹא יָמִישׁ equal in gematria the word יהושע.

The Jewish People, have undergone many trials and tribulations, but the secret to our success is consistency. It is said that Reb Aharon Belzer zt”l said that despite the upheaval of war and fleeing from one city to another to avoid the murderous Nazis, he never changed one minhag of Belz! We can strive in our own lives to remain consistent in the study of Torah, performance of mitzvos, and by having יישוב הדעת, clarity of mind. When we merit this level of consistency, HaShem will allow us to lead our families, our communities, and soon, the road to the Ultimate Redemption, with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu, speedily, in our days.

Have a LEADING Shabbos!
Rabbi Adler

Erev Shabbos Kodesh Inspiration Besahlach 5776

Is sponsored in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Aryeh Leib Adler from Chicago. May he be zoche to grow liTorah lichupah ulimaasim tovim and he should be a source of nachas to his parents and grandparents and all of Klal Yisroel!

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

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Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5776


Beshalach 5776

New Stories Beshalach 5776

Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim Beshalach 5776

Shabbos, Manna and Daas

Introduction

In this week’s parasha we learn about the fascinating chapter of the manna that HaShem provided for the Jewish People while they sojourned in the Wilderness. The manna was miraculous in that it fell from heaven every day except for Shabbos and every Jew received exactly what he needed for sustenance. Furthermore, one who ate the manna did not need to relieve himself afterwards and the manna tasted like any food that one desired. There is one aspect of the manna, however, that is not as well known, and that is that the manna was not named by HaShem or by Moshe. Rather, it is said (Shemos 16:4-5) vayomer HaShem el Moshe hinini mamtir lachem min hashamayim viyatza haam vilaktu divar yom biyomo limaan anasenu hayeielch bisorasi im lo vihayah bayom hashishi viheichinu eis asher yaviu vihayah mishneh al asher yilkitu yom yom, HaShem said to Moshe, “Behold! – I shall rain down for you food from heaven, let the people go out and pick each day’s portion on its day, so that I can test them, whether they will follow My teaching or not. And it shall be that on the sixth day when they prepare what they bring, it will be double what they pick every day.” Further on it is said (Ibid verse 15) vayiru vinei Yisroel vayomru ish el achiv man hu ki lo yadu mah hu vayomer Moshe aleihem hu halechem asher nasan HaShem lachem liachlah, the Children of Israel saw and said to one another, “It is food!” – for they did not know what it was. Moshe said to them, “This is the food that HaShem has given you for eating.” One must wonder why the Jewish People referred to the food as manna.

Why did Moshe not inform the Jewish People regarding Shabbos?

Another difficulty that must be addressed regarding the manna is the fact that the manna did not fall on Shabbos. It is said (Ibid verse 22) vayehi bayom hashishi laktu lechem mishneh shinei haomer laechod vayavou kol nisiei haeidah vayagidu liMoshe vayomer aleihem hu asher diber HaShem Shabbason Shabbas kodesh laHaShem machar eis asher tofu eifu vieis asher tivashilu basheiulu vieis kol haodeif hanichu lachem limishmeres ad haboker, it happened on the sixth day that they gathered a double portion of food, two omers for each; and all the princes of the assembly came and told Moshe. He said to them, “This is what HaShem had spoken; tomorrow is a rest day, a holy Shabbos to HaShem. Bake what you wish to bake and cook what you wish to cook; and whatever is left over, put a way for yourselves as a safekeeping until the morning.” Rashi (verse 22) writes that the princes queried Moshe regarding the double portion of the manna and from here we derive that Moshe had not yet informed the Jewish People regarding the aspect of manna not falling on Shabbos and the receiving of a double portion of manna on Friday. Once the princes asked Moshe regarding this phenomena, Moshe informed them regarding Shabbos and HaShem chastised Moshe for this. This is difficult to understand, because Rashi writes earlier (verse 4) that the test that HaShem set up for the Jewish People was to see if they would be successful at not leaving over the manna and that they would not go searching for manna on Shabbos. It is said (Ibid verses 19-20) vayomer Moshe aleihem ish al yoser mimenu ad boker vilo shamu el Moshe vayosiru anashim mimenu ad boker vayarum tolaim vayivash vayiktzof aleihem Moshe, Moshe said to them, “No man may leave over from it until morning.” But they did not obey Moshe and people left over from it until morning and it became infested with worms and it stank; and Moshe became angry with them. It is clear that Moshe knew what he was supposed to inform the Jewish People regarding the manna. Why, then, did Moshe choose to not inform the Jewish People of the uniqueness of the manna with regard to Shabbos?

The double portion of manna on Friday was a prelude to attaining daas on Shabbos

Regarding the definition of Shabbos it is said (Ibid 31:13) viatah dabeir el bnei Yisroel leimor ach es Shabsosai tishmoru ki os hi beini uveineichem ledorseichem ladaas ki ani mikadishchem, now you speak to the Children of Israel, saying: ‘However, you must observe my Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you for your generations, to know that I am HaShem, Who makes you holy.’ Thus, the essence of Shabbos is daas, knowledge, which on a deeper level means a closeness that the Jewish People have with HaShem. The Gemara (Shabbos 10b) states that HaShem told Moshe, “I have a beautiful treasure in My treasure house and it is called Shabbos. Go and inform them.” What is the meaning of this statement? It would appear that Moshe wished that the Jewish People should be able to understand on their own the significance of Shabbos. How were the Jewish People to understand the significance of Shabbos on their own? They had experienced Shabbos in Egypt, and according to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 56b) Moshe had instructed them regarding Shabbos in Marah. This should have been sufficient for them to grasp the holiness of Shabbos. However, they were still lacking daas, as the Gemara states (Brachos 40a) a child does not begin to call “Abba, Imma, father, mother” until he tastes wheat. Thus, when the Jewish People saw the manna, they declared “man hu, it is food!” The Rashbam (Shemos 16:15) writes that the word man in Egyptian means “what.” It is said (Ibid) vayiru vinei Yisroel vayomru ish el achiv man hu ki lo yadu mah hu vayomer Moshe aleihem hu halechem asher nasan HaShem lachem liachlah, the Children of Israel saw and said to one another, “It is food!” – for they did not know what it was. The Torah specifically states that they referred to it as man because they did not “know” what it was. Had they understood what the manna was, they would have been able to attain the level of daas which is inherent in Shabbos. Since they had not attained this level of understanding, the princes approached Moshe on Friday to inquire regarding the double portion that they had received. It was only then that they were so close to Shabbos and Moshe informed them of the holiness of Shabbos. When HaShem chastised Moshe for not informing the Jewish People regarding Shabbos, it is said (Ibid 16:29) riu ki HaShem nasan lachem haShabbos al kein hu nosein lachem bayom hashishi lechem yomayim shevu ish tachtav al yeitzei ish mimekomo bayom hashevii, see that HaShem has given you the Shabbos; that is why He gives you on the sixth day a two-day portion of bread. HaShem was informing Moshe that in order for the Jewish People to attain the level of daas that one experiences on Shabbos, they would first have to see that HaShem had given them the Shabbos, and this was only manifest through the double portion of manna that they received on Friday.

The Shabbos connection

The Medrash (Bereishis Rabbah 11:2) teaches us that there are two aspects of Shabbos. One aspect of Shabbos is the blessing of Shabbos, which was reflected in the fact that the Jewish People received two portions of manna on Friday. The second aspect of Shabbos is that by the fact that the manna did not fall on Shabbos, the Shabbos was sanctified. Daas, closeness, and kedusha, holiness, are intertwined, as it is said ladaas ki ani HaShem mikadishchem, to know that I am HaShem, Who makes you holy. Thus, one must first, in a sense, experience Shabbos during the week in order to attain the level of daas that can be experienced on Shabbos. HaShem should allow us to be cognizant of Shabbos during the week and thus experience the closeness and holiness of Shabbos on Shabbos.

Shabbos in the Zemiros

Tzama Lecho Nafshi

This zemer was composed by the great medieval commentator and poet Avraham Ibn Ezra whose name is found in the acrostic of the verses

בְּלֵב יֵצֶר חָשׁוּב. כִּדְמוּת חֲמַת עַכְשׁוּב. וְאֵיכָכָה יָשׁוּב. הַבָּשָׂר הֶחָי, within the heart, inclination is considered as if it were a viper’s poison. So how can one repent, becoming healthy flesh? When one is cognizant of the fact that the Evil Inclination is constantly scheming to cause man’s downfall, it is much easier to contemplate repentance. HaShem creates the remedy before the wound, and for this reason He created repentance before He created the world and the Evil Inclination. Yet, only with HaShem’s help can one defeat the Evil Inclination.

Shabbos Stories

Not worth sleeping a lot every night

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffman writes: The Rebbetzin of the holy Rebbe Reb Shmelke of Nikelsburg once came to her husband’s contemporary, the Rebbe Reb’ Elimelech of Lizhensk with a desperate plea: The doctors had warned her husband that he was sleeping far too little, and that his health was deteriorating as a result. Yet their warnings had fallen on deaf ears: Her holy husband absolutely refused to change his grueling schedule to allow for more sleep. It was a situation of pikuach nefesh, a question of life and death, she said. Perhaps, she pleaded, Reb Elimelech would be able to convince her husband to allow himself a little more rest!

Soon afterwards, Reb Elimelech arrived in Nikelsburg with a group of his disciples. They were told to go about arranging a seudah, a festive meal, in honor of the Rebbe Reb Shmelke. Reb Elimelech personally invited Reb Shmelke to the seudah, an honor which he could not refuse. At the meal, the Rebbe Reb Elimelech took out a bottle of very rare whisky, poured a glass for himself and for Reb Shmelke, and made a le-chaim. Reb Elimelech then seemingly sipped from his schnapps, as did Reb Shmelke. In truth, however, Reb Elimelech did not drink from his whisky, for it was spiked. Even a small amount was enough to put Reb Shmelke to sleep on the spot. Reb Elimelech had Reb Shmelke carried off to his home, where he was put to bed for the night.

The next morning, the Rebbe Reb Shmelke awoke, startled to have slept through the night, but with an invigorated spirit. Upon arriving in shul to pray, he was joined by a large group of Chassidim, who did not fail to notice the unusual energy of the Rebbe’s prayers. They too felt energized by the Rebbe’s powerful spirit, and that day’s Shacharis took on a special quality. Indeed, it is told that on that day, when the Rebbe reached the Shiras Ha-Yam, the Song at the Sea, the entire congregation was swept away by the powerful vision of the Jews crossing the Sea of Reeds with Moshe Rabbeinu at their helm, to the extent that Reb Shmelke actually picked up his bekitsche (traditional chassidic coat) as he stepped into the raging waters. The Chassidim too followed suit. This was not pretentiousness – that day they truly satisfied the obligation of our Sages that, “Each person should imagine that he himself was redeemed from Egypt.”

That evening, the Rebbe again sat with his disciples. When Reb Elimelech arrived, a place was made for him at the head-table, next to the Rebbe. Once seated, Reb Elimelech again took out his now infamous “bottle,” and poured a glass for Reb Shmelke. “Perhaps you think,” said the Rebbe, “that I am a fool? It was enough that yesterday you robbed me of my entire night. I can’t recall ever spending a whole night sleeping. Mark my word: I’m not going to make the same mistake twice!”

“But the Rebbe himself saw,” argued Reb Elimelech, “the power of his tefillos (prayers) this morning. We all felt as if we were truly traversing the Sea of Reeds!”

“Indeed,” said Reb Shmelke, “when Shmelke spends all his nights immersed in Torah study, and once in his life he sleeps through the night, that indeed was a wonderful experience. But can you imagine what would become of Shmelke if he will begin to allow himself ‘a good night’s sleep’ every night? Shmelke will become just another farshlufenne Yid (sleepy Jew)!” (www.Torah.org)

Shabbos in Halacha

מוליד – Creating a  new Entity

  1. The Prohibition

The Accepted Ruling

Lechatchilah (before the fact), we abide by the stringent view. Therefore, one should not defrost liquids in a particularly hot area, i.e. near a stove or radiator, or freeze liquids on Shabbos. However, bidieved (ex post facto), if an object was caused to liquefy or freeze, and one cannot replace it with a similar item, one may rely on the lenient view and use that item on Shabbos. For example, one should not defrost frozen concentrate near an oven. However, if this was done and no other juice is available, one is permitted to use the melted concentrate. Similarly, one should not make frozen ices on Shabbos. If it was done, however, and no other is available, those ices may be used.

Shabbos Ta’am HaChaim: Beshalach 5776

Is sponsored in honor of the Bar Mitzvah of Aryeh Leib Adler from Chicago. May he be zoche to grow liTorah lichupah ulimaasim tovim and he should be a source of nachas to his parents and grandparents and all of Klal Yisroel!

Sponsorships $180.00

Have a Wonderful Shabbos!

Prepared by Rabbi Binyomin Adler

For sponsorships please call 248-506-0363

To subscribe weekly by email, please email ShabbosTaamHachaim@gmail.com View Shabbos: Ta’am HaChaim and other Divrei Torah on www.doreishtov.wordpress.com

New Stories Beshalach 5776

Remembering Devorah Stubin

Devorah was the happiest person I knew. She will be sorely missed.

by Sara Cohen   

“Baruch Dayan HaEmet. They found Devorah.”

The words burned through my phone as I woke up in the middle of the night hoping the text was good news. This was not the news I was waiting to hear. “No. It can’t be true. It must be a mistake,” I replied. “Are they sure?”

I sobbed loudly as the reality of the truth sank in. For 48 hours I had been fervently praying, crying for the safe return of my dear friend, and now I was crying for our loss. Devorah was found inside her car which was submerged in the Passaic River, a result of a tragic accident.

Devorah Stubin and I met when she moved to Passaic many years ago. Though we never attended the same school, somehow our friendship blossomed. We spent Shabbat afternoons together, family barbeques and became Sunday morning play date buddies. I was drawn to her sweet and fun nature and I quickly learned more about her and her hobbies as we got to know each other.

Always with a smile on her face, Devorah was the happiest person that I have ever come in contact with. No matter the situation or what life circumstance she was dealing with, she radiated joy. She was a pure soul, with the ability only to spread love and kindness to the people in her life.

I remember sitting in her room as a little girl and listening to her interesting stories that she would make up using her dolls as props. I was fascinated by my friend who had such a great imagination and happy nature, even at such a young age.

When Devorah came to wish me a mazal tov at my engagement party I felt her true expression of love through her words and her smile. She had no ulterior motives; no reason to be there other than to rejoice with me in my simcha. She hardly knew anyone that was there but she took time out of her day to let me know how happy she was for me. As a true friend, she wanted to share this special moment with me.

Devorah was always looking to help other people and make them feel good. People could always count on her for a smile, a kind word or a genuine “how are you?” to make their day just a little bit brighter. You didn’t have to know her to get a grin or a thoughtful blessing for a good day. There was no such thing as a stranger in Devorah’s book; she felt that all people were deserving of her warm wishes.

Devorah lived a short life when measured by numbers, but she lived an incredibly long one when measured by her acts of kindness and in the love and happiness that she spread. She left a mark on this world and her existence touched thousands of people’s hearts. Devorah accomplished more in her short life than many accomplish in four times the years that she had.

People who had the privilege of knowing Devorah experienced her warmth and were inspired by her. She was a role model for the rest of us.

In a world full of ersatz friends, Devorah was a true friend, a shining light of joy in people’s lives and a true example of a happy and fulfilled person.

We will miss you Devorah. We will miss your smile and your laugh and we will cry over the loss of your sincere and loving nature. We will attempt to spread your light and joy to the world and we only pray that we can successfully follow in your footsteps.

Dafna Meir: A Heartbreaking Farewell

Murdered by an Arab terrorist in front of three of her children, her family says goodbye to a special soul.

by Adina Hershberg

This past Monday night was the first time that I heard about a very special person named Dafna Meir. Tragically, it was due to her murder by an Arab construction worker employed at a nearby site in the community of Otniel, in the southern Hebron Hills.

An investigation revealed that Dafna had opened her front door to the terrorist while three of her six children were home with her. The terrorist stabbed Dafna and a struggle ensued in which Dafna attempted to close the door. Renana, Dafna’s 17-year old daughter described the horrifying event, “I saw the terrorist stab my mother and she struggled with all her might so he would not come into the house and hurt us. At one point the knife got stuck and the terrorist could not get it out. Our eyes met. He looked at me and I looked at him. He kept trying to pull out the knife and it was clear to me he wanted to come and hurt me too.”

Renana was screaming at the terrorist, and when he failed to retrieve his bloody knife, he ran away. After a two-day manhunt, police arrested a 16-year-old Morad Bader Abdullah Adais.

On the morning of the funeral I joined one of the vigils on Highway 60 waiting for Dafna Meir’s funeral convoy to pass by.

While the vigil was being held, many of the army personnel suddenly jumped into their vehicles and raced off with sirens blasting. A person near me asked a soldier what happened and was told that there had been a terrorist attack in Tekoa, a 20-minute drive from where we stood. (Please pray for Michal bat Esther, a young pregnant woman who was stabbed.)

Scores of vehicles with Israeli flags hanging from them started passing by, along with an ambulance which held 38-year-old Dafna’s body.

At the funeral, Atarah, the adoptive mother of Dafna, told the crowd that Dafna was up for adoption at a young age because her biological parents were not able to care for her. Despite the hardships, “She managed to build herself up, build a home and turn herself into a kind and giving woman.”

“No matter how many children we have, we will also foster children in addition to our own.”

Atarah spoke about Dafna’s decision to enlist in the IDF as well as Dafna’s decision to marry Natan. “Dafna told us that when Natan had proposed she said she only had one condition, ‘No matter how many children we have, we will also foster children in addition to our own.’ And that is indeed what happened. They accepted Yaniv and Yair when they were three and one and a half. It wasn’t simple to find an adoptive family that would accept two brothers together. They invested so much in both of those children and in their own children.”

An acquaintance of mine told me that both her son and Yaniv had been at a nursery school for children with special needs. On several occasions she had gotten a ride with Dafna and was impressed with Dafna’s friendliness and helpfulness. Yaniv and Yair had been born to a mentally retarded mother, and it was only after Yair’s birth that social services got wind of the fact that the mother was incapable of properly raising her children.

Dafna’s husband Natan was the last to eulogize her at her funeral. “We met as soldiers on the border with Lebanon,” he said with tears in his eyes. “It took us a moment to fall in love…I said to you then, ‘Welcome.’ I say to you now, ‘Farewell.’ We are thankful for every moment we had with you. You left me six treasures. I will guard over them for you.”

With eyes lifted to the heavens he stated, “Dear Father. I have no second thoughts about you at all. Give us strength, be present in our home and let us feel your warm embrace – your love.”

“My Dafna is one in a million,” Natan continued. “One in a million, who grew up in a troubled home and managed to rebuild herself and give kindness back to the world.”

Dafna had combined conventional medicine in her work as a nurse in the neurology department at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, and work as a natural therapist who specialized in the field of fertility. Many Jewish souls came down to this world due to Dafna’s loving guidance.

Dafna was a shining star whose contributions to the Jewish people, as well as to people from other religions, continue to light up the world. (www.aish.com)

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