Sunday, November 29, 2009

How Does One Keep Shabbos?

It is a given that a Jew must learn the laws of Shabbath to be able to remember, keep, honor and enjoy the day of rest that G-d gave to His one and only chosen nation. I highly recommend Rav Yehoshua Y. Neuwirth’s sefer/book Shemirath Shabbath, a guide to the practical observance of Shabbath. (see excerpt below)

Psalm 147:19-20 He relates His words to Jacov, His statutes and judgments to Israel. He did not do so for any other nation; such judgments they know not. Hallelukah!

How blessed the Jews are to have the commandments of G-d. We are a holy people, chosen nation (Deut. 14:2), a light to the nations (Isaiah 60:2-3; , a royal priesthood, a peculiar people (Deut 14:2)– no other nation/religion has been chosen by G-d to be His Servant. How beautiful indeed is our heritage!

Deuteronomy 14:2For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.

Isaiah 60:2-3 For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and a thick darkness the nations. But G-d Will Shine upon you. Nations shall then go by your Light and kings by your radiant illumination.

Maimonides, in Mishneh Torah, Hilchoth Shabbath, broadly categorizes the laws of Shabbath in the following way: “Four commands were given regarding Shabbath, two by the Torah and two by the Rabbis, which [later] were expressed by the Prophet Isaiah,

A. Those of Torah,
1. ‘Remember [the Shabbath day’ (Exodus 20:8)] זכור and
2. ‘Keep [the Shabbath day’ (Deuteronomy 5:12)] שמור, and
B. Those which were expressed by the Prophet,
1. Honoring [Shabbath] כבוד and
2. Enjoying [Shabbath] עונג,
In the verse [Isaiah 58:13],’…call Shabbath a joy, [call] G-d’s sanctified [day] honored….’’’

A. How does one “remember” Shabbath? זכור
1. a) The verse from Exodus 20:8 reads in full, “Remember the Shabbath day to sanctify it”; that is to say, remember it in praise and sanctification.
b) This is a positive commandment to sanctify the Shabbath day in words.
2. One remembers it
a) at its commencement, with Kiddush, and,
b) at its termination, with Havdalah

A. How does one “keep” Shabbath?
1. Refraining from forbidden activities on Shabbath is a positive commandment, contained in the words, “…and on the seventh day you shall rest” (Exodus 23:12)
2. Engaging in a forbidden activity on Shabbath is prohibited by the words, “you shall not carry out any [forbidden] activity” (Exodus 20:10).
3. Thus, somebody who performs a forbidden activity on Shabbath transgresses both
a. A positive commandment and
b. A prohibitory injunction

B. “Work” – a misunderstood concept
1. Activities which are forbidden on Shabbath are by no means synonymous with what we would consider hard work.
2. This can be illustrated by the fact that
a. Someone who spends the whole day moving furniture around his house does not infringe any Torah prohibition, whereas
b. Someone who carries a sewing needle out of his house into a public thoroughfare is guilty of such and infringement

C. The Chief Activities and Derivative Activities
1. The categories of forbidden activities were revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai,
2. They consist of
a. The thirty-nine Chief Activities which were required when the Tabernacle was constructed and
b. Derivative Activities which are similar to the Chief Activities in the ways detailed in paragraph E. below
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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ten Tests of Abraham

1) The terrifying experience in Ur Casdim, when Nimrod cast Abraham into the fiery furnace.

2) When G-d commanded Abraham to leave his parents and his family. It was very difficult for Abraham to leave family and friends and go to a strange city, expecially since G-d had given him no indication as to his destination. Abraham was even more troubled, since he had no idea where he would end up. (Chapter 11 verse 1)

3) The great famine in the land of Canaan. The rest of the world had more than enough; only in Canaan where Abraham lived, there was a great famine. Abraham did not want to return to his father and violate G-d's commandment, so that he went to Eqypt. (chapter 11 verse 10)

4) When Abraham came to Eqypt, Pharaoh seized Sarah and had her brought to his harem (chapter 12:15)

5) The four kings came to kill him. They said, "Let's start with his nephew Lot, and when Abraham attempts to rescue him, we'll take care of him." When Lot was taken captive together with the other citizens of Sodom and Gemorah, Abraham had to wage war against four large armies (chapter 14)

6) At the "Pact Between Halves" (B'rith beyn HaBetharim), G-d showed Abraham every exile that his descendants would suffer as well as the punishments of purgatory, asking him to choose one of the two (chapter 15)

7) G-d commanded Abraham to cxircumcise himself when he was 99 years old. This was a very painful operation, expecially since he was so old and still wished to have a son. Abraham wanted to strengthen his reproductive organs; G-d was commanding him to mutilte them. (chapter 17)

8) When Abraham was in the land of the Philistines, Abimelekh had Sarah brought to his harem by force. (chapter 20)

9) When Issac grew up, Sarah saw Ishmael using him as a target to practice archery. She told Abraham to write out a will leaving everything that he owned and everything that G-d had promised him to Isaac, so that Ishmael would not share in the inheritance at all. G-d then told Sbraham to drive Hagar and Ishmael away from his house. Of all the troubles that Abraham suffered, none was worse than driving away his firstborn son. (chapter 21)

10) The tenth teast was the Akediah, under discussion here. After all that had happened, Abraham finally had a beautiful son when he was a hundred years old. Now G-d was telling him to bring the child as a sacrifice. (chapter 22)

source: The Torah Anthology Yalkut ME'AM LO'EZ Genesis-II The Patriarchs

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Enduring Forever Never To Be Breached

Tehillim/Psalm 19

ח תּוֹרַת יְהוָה תְּמִימָה מְשִׁיבַת נָפֶשׁ
The Torah of HaShem is perfect restoring the soul.
עֵדוּת יְהוָה נֶאֱמָנָה מַחְכִּימַת פֶּתִי
The testimony of HaShem is trustworthy making wise the simple one
ט פִּקּוּדֵי יְהוָה יְשָׁרִים מְשַׂמְּחֵי-לֵב
The precepts of HaShem are upright gladdening the heart.
מִצְוַת יְהוָה בָּרָה מְאִירַת עֵינָיִם
the command of HaShem is clear and enlightening the eyes
י יִרְאַת יְהוָה, טְהוֹרָה--עוֹמֶדֶת לָעַד
The fear of HaShem is pure enduring forever
מִשְׁפְּטֵי-יְהוָה אֱמֶת; צָדְקוּ יַחְדָּו.
the judgments of HaShem are true, righteous altogether.
יא הַנֶּחֱמָדִים--מִזָּהָב, וּמִפַּז רָב
They are more desirable than fine gold in abundance
וּמְתוּקִים מִדְּבַשׁ, וְנֹפֶת צוּפִים.
and sweeter than honey and drippings from the combs
יב גַּם-עַבְדְּךָ, נִזְהָר בָּהֶם; בְּשָׁמְרָם, עֵקֶב רָב
Indeed, Your servant is scrupulous in them, in observing them there is great reward
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Do You Honor Your Parents?

How sad if one reads but one or two and dismisses the rest of what is listed here.

1. Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be lengthened upon the land which Hashem your G-d gives you. (Shemot/Exodus 20:12)

2. And he who strikes his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. (Shemot/Exodus 21:15)

3. And he who curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
(Shemot/Exodus 21:17)

4. You shall fear every man his mother and his father, and keep My Shabbats; I am Hashem your G-d. (Vayikra /Leviticus 19:3)

5. Anyone who curses his father or his mother shall be surely put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him. (Vayikra 20:9)

6. Honor your father and your mother, as Hashem your G-d has commanded you; that your days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with you, in the land which Hashem your G-d gives you. (Devarim 5:16)

7 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son, who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother and who, when they have chastened him, will not listen to them; Then shall his father and his mother lay hold of him, and bring him out to the elders of his city, and to the gate of his place; And they shall say to the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and
rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men
of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die; so shall you put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. (Devarim 21:18-21)

8. Cursed be he who dishonors his father or his mother. And all the people shall say Amen. (Devarim 27:16)


9. My son, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the Torah of your mother (Mishle 1:8)

10. My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not the Torah of your mother (Mishle 6:20) (Of course these verses speak to a Jew and not to a nonjew as a Jew is the one that keeps and guards Torah - when one learn and walks in the commandments of G-d - then G-d's Torah becomes as such his/her Torah)

11. The proverbs of Shlomo: A wise son makes a father glad; but a foolish son is the grief of his mother (Mishle 10:1)

12. A wise son hears his father's instruction; but a scorner does not accept rebuke. (Mishle 13:1)

13. A fool despises his father's instruction; but he who heeds reproof is prudent. (Mishle 15:5)

14. A wise son makes a father glad; but a foolish man despises his mother. (Mishle 15:20)
15. He who begets a fool does it to his sorrow; and the father of a fool has no joy. (Mishle 17:21)

16. A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him. (Mishle 17:25)

17. A son who causes shame and brings reproach, ruins his father and chases away his mother. (Mishle 19:26)

18. Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in utter darkness. (Mishle 20:20)

19. Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is
old. (Mishle 23:22)

20. The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice; and he who begets a wise child shall have joy of him (Mishle 23:24)

21. Whoever keeps the Torah is a wise son; but he who is a companion of riotous men shames his father. (Mishle 28:7)

22. He who robs his father or his mother, and says: This is no transgression; he is the companion of the destroyer. (Mishle 28:24)

23. He who loves wisdom makes his father glad; but he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth. (Mishle 29:3)

24. The eye that mocks at his father, and scorns to obey his mother, will be picked out by the ravens of the valley, and the young vultures shall eat it. (Mishle 30:17)


Do watch this 4 minute video how an adult child "honored" his elderly father
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Monday, November 9, 2009

248 Limbs in Human Body Parallel the 248 Positive Commandments

Each limb announces, "Observe a commandment with me, so that I will live long."
pg 115 The Torah Anthology / Yalukt ME'AM LO'EZ


30 bones in the sole of the foot, six in each toe = 60 ; total 60
10 in each ankle = 20 ; total 80
2 in the lower part of the each leg = 4 ; total 84
5 in each knee = 10 ; total 94
1 in each thigh = 2 ; total 96
6 in the hips ; total 102
11 pair of ribs = 22 ; total 124
30 in each hand, six in each finger = 60 ; total 184
2 in each forearm = 4 ; total 188
2 in each elbow = 4 ; total 192
1 in each upper arm = 2 ; total 194
4 in each shoulder = 8 ; total 202
18 vertebra in the spine ; total 220
9 bones in the head ; total 229
8 in the neck ; total 237
6 in the chest ; total 243
5 at the orfices ; total 248

There are also 365 prohibitions in the Torah, paralleling the 365 days of the solar year. Each day, from sunrise to sunset, a heavenly voice announces to man, "Take it upon yourself not to sin on this day, so as not to tilt the world to the side of liability. The world is in a state of equilibrium between good and evil. Even a minor sin can upset this equilibrium toward the side of evil and cause great damage.
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

It Ain't Over 'Till the Canibal Loses His Appetite


Side A (21:33)Side B (20:03)
It Ain't Over 'Till The Canibal Loses His Appetite - Tape 1
Side A (20:33)Side B (20:17)
When The Light Goes On, Where Will The Darkness Go? - Tape 2

Side A (34:27)Side B (34:16)
The Feminine Mystique - Tape 1
Side A (22:12)Side B (21:56)
Marriage: Thinking, Speaking, Doing - Tape 2
Side A (16:53)Side B (16:16)
Three kinds of Love - Tape 3

Days of Awe
Redemption Purim & Pesach

Side A (22:20)Side B (20:39)
The Seven Days of Creation - Tape 1
Side A (26:37)Side B (26:18)
A New Twist to an Old Story - Tape 2
Side A (28:17)Side B (23:30)
Putting First Things First - Tape 3
Side A (25:36)Side B (24:03)
The Soul of the Matter - Tape 4
Side A (25:30)Side B (24:26)
Like Mother, Like Daughter - Tape 5
Side A (28:20)Side B (26:54)
Intimacy, Modesty and Sexuality - Tape 6
Side A (28:34)Side B (23:54)
Elisha - The Rest of the Story - Tape 7
Side A (29:00)Side B (25:38)
An Appointment with G-d. - Tape 8
Side A (25:22)Side B (26:03)
Beyond the Male Ego - Tape 9
Side A (28:18)Side B (26:08)
Let's Talk Intimacy or 'Intimacy For Dummies' - Tape 10
Side A (24:36)Side B (26:35)
The Elements of Humility - Tape 11
Side A (25:16)Side B (25:20)
The Rebbe's Legacy - tape 1 of 2 - Tape 12
Side A (24:56)Side B (24:55)
The Rebbe's Legacy - tape 2 of 2 - Tape 13
Side A (19:11)Side B (18:16)
Its Good to Know - the Conclusion - Tape 14

Side A (30:03)Side B (25:57)
Two Holy Men and a Tartar - Tape 1

Side A (29:35)Side B (22:46)
The Crowns of Royalty - Tape 2

Side A (26:37)Side B (21:52)
Moshe Our Teacher - Tape 3

Side A (28:15)Side B (28:13)
Tape 4
Side A: Light and Shaddows
Side B: Live and Live Again

Side A (27:48)Side B (28:30)
Tape 5
Side A: He Would Not Bow
Side B: He Said And There Was

Side A (28:38)Side B (27:52)
Tape 6
Side A: The Man Who Stood On One Leg - Twice
Side B: Out Came A Golden Calf

Side A (27:01)Side B (27:38)
Tape 7
Side A: In The Vilage of Che
Side B: Spy vs. Spy

Side A (27:12)Side B (27:05)
The Purim Story - Tape 8

Side A (27:46)Side B (27:34)
Tape 9
Side A: Women and Torah
Side B: Joseph The Wagon Driver

Side A (27:40)Side B (27:47)
Tape 10
Side A The Story of Water
Side B Let's Talk Business

Tape 11
Side A: The Miser of the Town
Side B: Broad Shoulders

Tape 12
Side A: The Czar Visits the King
Side B: A Prince in Prison
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Measure for Measure - Your Deeds are Rewarded or Punished

There are consequences to our actions -- consequences that reflect those actions. If you commit murder and drown others in a river to hide your crime, you will receive your punishment in the form of your crime. If you invent an unjust thing to benefit yourself at the expense of others, that unjust thing will ultimately be used against you. On the positive side, if you introduce something that benefits others, that thing will ultimately come to benefit you as well. In Hebrew it is called: midah k'neged midah -- measure for measure.

The Midrash also stresses that each of the plagues represented punishment for a particular wrong that the Egyptians did to the Jews:
1)'They made them drawers of water--and so their river was turned to blood;
2)they made them load their freight -- and the frogs destroyed it;
3)they had the Jews sweep the streets--and the dust turned into lice;
4)they made the Jews watch their children--and God flooded the country with wild animals that devoured the children ...'.
5)The Egyptians made them cattle-herders, whereupon the pestilence killed the herds.
6)They used them to prepare their baths--and then they developed boils which made it impossible for them to wash.
7)The Jews were made stone-cutters -- and God sent hailstones against the Egyptians.
8)They were forced to tend the vinyards and fields--and the locusts consumed all that grew.
9)The Egyptians sought to keep the Jews as prisoners--and were themselves shackled by the thick darkness that fell upon Egypt;
10)their murderous designs upon the Jews brought the killing of the firstborn-- and their drowning of Jewish children was repaid by their death in the Sea of Reeds (Tanchuma).

Hashem responds to our actions using 'midah k'neged midah'. This means that the response fits our act. Not simply a punishment but rather a means of revealing mistakes and rewarding proper acts. Let's see how this concept works through with the three advisors.

The ultimate end of Bilaam, who advised that the Jews should be killed, was that he was killed by the Jews. A clear example of midah k'neged midah. Yisro, who defended the Jews, ran for his life and settled in Midyan. There he met Moshe as he was fleeing from Paroah. Moshe married Yisro's daughter Tziporah, connecting Yisro to Klal Yisroel in a most intimate way. Once again, we see a very clear example of midah k'neged midah - the one who defended the Jews became part of the Jewish nation. However, when we come to the third advisor, Iyov, the connection is more difficult to understand. Iyov, who remained silent, suffered excruciating pain. How did that response fit his act?

Let's understand Iyov. He really had wanted to defend the Jews but, seeing the fate of Yisro, realized that his words would fall upon deaf ears. With nothing to gain by speaking, he remained silent. In order to reveal his error to him, Hashem sent 'yisurim', terrible pain. What does one do when experiencing intense pain? He screams! Even though the screams do nothing in terms of alleviating the pain, if it hurts, you scream. Hashem was teaching him that remaining silent showed that it didn't really bother him. Had Paroah's planned destruction of the Jews bothered him, he would have defended them.


Yaacov deceiving his brother Esav out of the rights of the firstborn and his paternal blessing, we also see Yaacov being deceived by his Uncle Lavan who duped him into marrying Leah.

Haman fabricated lies about Mordechai and his Jewish brethren in order to defame them in the eyes of King Achashverosh and to convince the king to annihilate them. Haman was punished measure for measure when Heavenly messengers appeared to King Achashverosh and made the false claim that they had been sent by Haman to destroy Achashverosh’s property and to kill the king.

* You lie to someone - someone will lie to you
* A cashier steals money - he/she finds that their money has been misplaced or stolen
* An uncaught killer strangles his victim - G-d will exact punishment in this world ; perhaps the killer will die from choking, from drowning
* You smile at someone - someone will smile back
* You give charity - in your time of need charity will be given to you
*You pray for a person to be healed - in your time of need if G-d's will you will be healed

get the picture? good deeds are rewarded with good deeds ; evil deeds are repayed with evil deeds (in this world or in the world to come) NO DEED GOES UNREWARDED OR UNPUNISHED

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