"and these are the names of the Children of Israel"
"GOD heard their moaning and GOD remembered HIS covenant with Abraham with Isaac and with Jacob.
GOD saw the Children of Israel and GOD knew."
"I have seen slaves on horses while princes walk like slaves on the ground." Koheles 10:5-7
"I shall bring you up from the affliction of Egypt…to a land flowing with milk and honey."
Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah
Issachar, Zebulum and Benjamin
Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher
These are names of Israel's children.
The children of Israel were fruitful and strong
Then came the time when a new Egyptian king did wrong.
His plot was to enslave the Jews in the Egyptian land
They were forced to do hard work with mortar and bricks hand over hand.
It was when the world knew not Joseph and their truths
The Jews were unsecure forgetting their roots
And of their strengths they were unsure.
The Egyptians felt their lack of loyalty would lure them together with enemies to war.
An order was given to kill all the newborn Jewish sons
But the midwives did not do so as they were true to what HASHEM wanted done.
Miriam's brother was put in a cradle in the water.
Moses was brought up by Pharaohs' daughter.
As Moses grew up he identified with HIS nation
HASHEM saw him an activist with selfless motivation
He reacted to affliction and was chosen by HASHEM to make his people free.
He was chosen for his concern and humility
He showed his special character at the burning bush
His use of the staff and its turn into a snake was the push
Thus began the order of the plagues
To challenge Pharaoh to let HIS people out of slavery's cage.
The procession of the plagues first made the burdens harder
But when it came to the death of the first born there was a pardon
With a strong hand HASHEM sent his people out
This was an aliyah that we continue to learn about.
That the Jews assimilate and forget their roots
That the Egyptians forgot Joseph and that he had replaced famine with edibles and fruits
Shemos affirms names and essential truths
It is an exclamation against that which is uncouth
Shemos is a revaluation of assets
The stability from the law of the Torah tablets.
With a strong hand and mind and unity for continuity, evil is banished
Israeli moonshot will make space history in 2019
The dishwasher-sized spacecraft will be the first-ever privately-funded lunar landing. by Benyamin Cohen | Wednesday, December 19, 2018
"We choose to go to the moon!" declared President John F. Kennedy in a speech in the fall of 1962. "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard." Seven years later, his words became a reality when Neil Armstrong exited the Apollo 11 lunar module and hopped into history.
Nearly 50 years after those fateful first steps on the moon, another country is aiming for its shot at a vast new frontier. Israel will be launching a ship into space this February and, if all goes as planned, the small Mediterranean country will become only the fifth country to ever land on the moon – after the U.S., Russia, India and China.
Inside a space simulator in Israel, the spacecraft is now undergoing a series of final checks. Once it's prepped, it will be boxed up and shipped to Cape Canaveral, Fla., where it's scheduled to liftoff on Feb. 13, weather permitting. It will hitch a ride into space aboard Space X's Falcon 9 rocket.
Once the Falcon rocket reaches 37,000 miles from earth, the unmanned Israeli ship will separate from its host rocket and embark on the remainder of the journey alone to its final lunar destination. Think of it like an Uber that drops you off more than 200,000 miles away from your destination. Traveling at 22,370 mph, the entire trip should take about two months to get from the earth to the moon.
This will only be a one-way mission, and the spacecraft will remain for the ages on the surface of the moon, an Israeli flag attached to its exterior, for new explorers to discover.
A historic first
The Economist magazine, in a special issue examining the stories people will be talking about in 2019, highlighted a new trend in interstellar travel: private space missions. Gone are the days when the only way to get into outer space was with a billion dollars and a NASA employee badge.
From Elon Musk's Space X and Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic to Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, private companies have staked their claim in the new moon rush. Following in this trend, the Israeli trip marks another debut. The mission is being funded by a non-government entity, marking the first privately funded moon landing in history. Its entire budget is expected to clock in at under $100 million.
Philanthropist Morris Kahn donated nearly $30 million for the mission. "I have experienced numerous challenges in my life, but this was the greatest challenge of all," said Kahn, who ran several multi-national corporations and founded marine water parks across the globe. "It is a national accomplishment that will put us on the world's space map."
The mission, not surprisingly, is mixed with a sense of urgency and destiny. It began back in 2007 when the Google X Prize was first established. The Silicon Valley tech giant was offering $20 million to the first team to land a rover on the moon and send back high-definition video. Teams from all over the world signed up, hoping to take part in this literal space race. One of those groups was an upstart team from Israel called SpaceIL.
The brainchild of three Israeli entrepreneurs – Yonatan Winetraub, Kfir Damari and Yariv Bash – the group excelled in the competition, quickly separating itself from the pack by becoming one of the top three teams. (Bash played double duty during this time, also launching a company that makes drones that deliver burgers to golfers.) As the contest waged on, Google had to keep pushing back the deadline to allow more time for the teams to work. In early 2018, with no team able to meet the latest deadline, Google withdrew the prize money.
But SpaceIL was so close to finishing the project, only months away from completion. Quitting was not an option for dreamers and technophiles in a country known as the Startup Nation. They decided to keep going, and that bet paid off.
The future is now
Dozens of journalists crowded into a press event held at Israel Aerospace Industries just outside of Tel Aviv this Monday to see the fruits of their labor. The public finally got to see the finished product – a golden foiled contraption about the size of a dishwasher.
The size was no surprise to those in the room; after all, Israeli-made space equipment is known for being lightweight and energy efficient. "Israel builds lighter satellites than anywhere in the world," Damari explained at the event. Indeed, the SpaceIL ship weighs less than a ton – 1,322 pounds to be exact – which would make it the smallest spacecraft to ever land on the moon.
The SpaceIL team is drawing on knowledge and ingenuity from a wide array of local schools – including Tel Aviv University, the Technion Institute, the Weizmann Institute of Science and Ben-Gurion University. If successful, it could open entirely new avenues for space exploration.
As part of the ceremony, the team announced that they will be sending a time capsule aboard the ship consisting of three discs – each containing hundreds of digital files. Among them will be drawings by Israeli children, MP3 files of Israeli songs and photos of Israeli landscapes.
"This is a very emotional moment," said SpaceIL co-founder Winetraubas he inserted the time capsule into the ship. "We do not know how long the spacecraft and the time capsule will remain on the moon. It is very possible that future generations will find this information and want to learn more about this historic moment."
The time capsule of three digital discs containing thousands of files was placed within the space pod. (Photo: Jack Guez / AFP/Getty Images)
To infinity, and beyond
The trip is more than just a history-making venture. It's deeply rooted in scientific research. Once it lands, it will conduct experiments on the moon's magnetic field. NASA recently installed some of its own monitoring devices onto the ship as well. Equipped with an external camera, the craft will also be able to broadcast video of what it's seeing back to mission control here on earth. "The educational activity we are doing around the mission sets the foundation for engineers who will work in the field of space and science in the next decade," explained Ofir Akunis, Israel's Minister of Science, Technology and Space.
Sylvan Adams, a philanthropist who came on board just last month, thinks the project will accomplish more beyond its original mission. "I believe that sending the first Israeli spacecraft to the moon will inspire Israeli school children to take up STEM studies and think about space exploration, and especially to believe that everything is possible," he said.
Those seeds were first planted half a century ago at the Rice University football stadium in Houston. It's there that Kennedy finished his historic speech. "But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?"
He concluded: "... Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too."
The press gets a look at the SpaceIL craft. (Photo: Courtesy)
Benyamin Cohen writes about everything from science to entertainment – and sometimes about dating apps for dogs.
In Terrorists' Line of Fire Daily, IDF Troops Turn to Chabad of Hebron
Rabbi, wife and staff ease the burdens and pressures of thousands of soldiers
Chabad of Hebron has served tens of thousands of IDF troops stationed in the historic, holy city.
With an obvious lump in his throat, a new recruit to the Israel Border Police shared over a break in Safed this past Shabbat that he knew one of the two soldiers laid to rest only a day earlier after being gunned down by a terrorist at a West Bank bus stop. In a thinly disguised effort to assuage his heartache, the young man, who will remain unnamed for security purposes, shared that an elite IDF unit was already closing in on the perpetrator, and it wouldn't be long before he would be brought to justice.
"This is not an easy time for Israel," he said with trepidation, being away from his U.S. family in the lone soldier program, and only a few months into his tour of duty. "There are at least a few more [enemy acts] planned."
But his eyes lit up when he noted he would be returning to his base in Hebron right after Shabbat, where he alternates devotedly between guarding the Me'arat Hamachpelah, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the general Hebron area.
While Hebron is not a cakewalk for any soldier in terms of tensions and prevailing threats, especially with the recent spate of terrorist acts against soldiers and civilians, he said that the assignment is cushioned by the presence of one Rabbi Danny Cohen, who with his wife, Batsheva, have been providing a spiritual and emotional buffer for soldiers there for the past 16 years as Hebron's head Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries.
Now with a look of relief and admiration in his eye, the 19-year-old member of the unit known in Hebrew as "Magav" (border guard) then told Chabad.org how Rabbi Cohen—with the help of local rabbinical students and at least one of the five emissaries on staff at Chabad of Hebron—makes the rounds to every area outpost, checkpoint and base before Shabbat and Jewish holidays to make sure that the soldiers are buttressed emotionally, spiritually and materially. The program comes complete with the delivery of extra rations of cake, coffee and candles for Shabbat, Jewish song and dance.
Sometimes, a hot cup of coffee and some friendship is just what a soldier on duty needs.
"It is really quite amazing what they do," he said.
Supporters of those efforts are seeking to raise $613,000 in a 24-hour online drive beginning Wednesday, Dec. 19, at noon EST. To participate, visit their donate page here.
The Cohens, who arrived in 2002, also serve the local residents and the thousands of tourists who stream to Hebron each year from Israel and around the world, but it is the work with the ever-changing shifts of male and female soldiers that have earned them their widespread reputation.
Upwards of 500 troops reside there at any given time. Every four months, the rotation changes, so that over the years, thousands upon thousands of soldiers have had their lives touched by the Cohens and their dedicated staff in different ways.
For Rabbi Cohen, who served in the Givati Brigade—and whose oldest son of six children is training to be an IDF paratrooper—helping soldiers materially and spiritually has additional meaning. In many cases, it is the first time that some of these stalwart young Israelis have had any exposure to Torah Judaism.
Among the offerings are Torah classes, and to some of the soldiers, this represents their first exposure to traditional learning.
Of the many yeshivah students in Hebron, there are always two boys who make the rounds of the bases, helping soldiers put on tefillin, while another of the emissaries staffs a permanent tefillin booth and coffee corner at the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Batsheva Cohen leads classes for women soldiers.
Serving Women Soldiers as Well
Batsheva Cohen, who instituted a course of study and special events for women soldiers soon after the couple's arrival, has watched her weekly classes grow exponentially from four attendees at one army base to dozens of regular attendees at four bases and outposts. Jewish law, Jewish thought, challah-baking, candlestick-making and even a tour of the mikvah (ritual bath) are part of the regular activities that she provides. "For some of these women, this may be the only time they will even see some of these things," she explained. "Due to the rotation and the sheer number of soldiers we come into contact with, we don't always get to see how this experience may have impacted their lives."
The Cohens are quick to emphasize that they were not the first to serve the city in modern times, citing the presence of continuous Chabad activity from the time the city was returned to Jewish hands in the summer of 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War to the present. "Baruch and Sarah Nachshon, for example, with great personal sacrifice, led many struggles to maintain and ensure Jewish presence in Hebron," notes Cohen, referring to the famed Chabad artist and his wife, "by teaching and disseminating Torah and chassidus, and feeding and hosting Jews from every walk of life."
Hebron Chabad history, though, goes much further back, he said.
"My wife and I are part of a storied history that began when the first Chabad community was established here almost 200 years ago."
In 1844, the granddaughter of the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, and daughter of Rabbi DovBer, the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Mittler Rebbe, Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel Slonim, left Russia together with her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Kuli Slonim, to fulfill her dream of living in Hebron. As matriarch of the Chabad community, she would receive guests in her home, which became known as Beit Schneerson ("Schneerson House"). Known for her piety and wisdom by Jews and Arabs alike, she gained a reputation as a sought-after spiritual counselor and provider of blessing to many. She died in her 90th year in 1888 and is buried in the old Hebron cemetery, where a kollel in her name has been established since.
Bringing family to soldiers away from home.
In 1878, a wealthy Turkish Jew by the name of Chaim Yisrael (Mercado) Romano built a palatial home and guesthouse that was eventually known as Beit Romano. In 1901, the renowned Sephardic sage, Rabbi Chaim Cheskia Medini—the Sdei Chemed—arrived to live there and established a yeshivah. Learning that the Romano family was interested in selling the property, the Sdei Chemed offered it to the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom DovBer Schneersohn—the RebbeRashab—where he established the Yeshiva Torat Emet.
Fast-forward to further notable activity and ongoing community-building in the most recent of times. For the last three years, the Cohens have erected, with the help of an anonymous donor, the massive Chayei Sarah Tent to accommodate in style the thousands of visitors who converge on the city annually on the Torah portion of that name to eat and celebrate. The portion contains the famed story of Abraham buying from the then locals the burial plot for his deceased wife, Sarah, that would also become the tombs for all of the Jewish patriarchs, including Abraham, and the matriarchs except for Rachel, who is buried near Bethlehem.
"A beautiful welcome center is also planned for the area outside of the cave," said Cohen, adding that the beautification of Hebron "to give it the honor it deserves," in addition to bolstering its spiritual life, has always been part of he and his wife's mission as encouraged by the Rebbeim ("rabbis") of Chabad down through the years. "That will be the next campaign."
But in the final accounting of all past, future and current activity, Cohen says he looks most forward to the time when the Jewish redeemer will come and take the Jewish people out of exile. "We know that one of his first stops is to awaken the sleeping fathers and mothers [buried in Hebron]," he said. "We hope he will come very soon to wake them up and together with the rest of the Jewish world dance to Jerusalem."
Once a year, on Parshat Chaya Sarah, a massive, lavish hospitality tent is erected for the many visitors who travel to Hebron.
Having a laugh with the troops.
Chabad rabbinical students help out throughtout the year.
At the Me'arat Hamachpelah
See you tomorrow--Enjoy the end of the Secular year coming up Love Yehuda Lave