Monday, August 5, 2019

GEDOLIM ARE NOT INFALLIBLE and the Jerusalem Syndrome and What Is Tisha B’Av? (this year on Sunday-Starting Saturday night for 24 hours and Shiur in 2 days: Gush Katif - Tisha B'av Connection

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works  with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement

Build On your Spouse's Image

If your spouse portrays a picture of him/herself more positively than you feel is accurate, accept it. Build upon it. It is frequently a mistake to try to demolish this picture. By building upon it, you create a more positive future reality.

People tend to act in ways that are consistent with their view of themselves. For example, your spouse might say, "I consider myself to be very considerate." Let's say you disagree and feel that your spouse has a long way to go to fit this picture. You would like your spouse to be more considerate, wouldn't you? Therefore, it is best to express gratitude for the consideration already displayed. By doing so you have a better chance of having a more considerate spouse. If you argue, there is a good chance you will end up in a no-win quarrel. Even if your spouse ends up agreeing with you, it is not likely that your approach will improve their character.

Love Yehuda Lave

Wed. Aug. 7,Israel Center, 8 PMThe Gush Katif - Tisha B'av Connection- A Torah Approach

The Spiritual Reasons Behind the Expulsion From Gush Katif

Why is There Arson Terror in the Land?Crowning G-d King

English shiur

by Menachem Gottliebwith Torah source sheets, for men and womenAdmission: 20 NIS

22 Keren HaYesod, Jerusalem

What Is Tisha B'Av?

Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av (Aug. 10-11, 2019), is the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, on which we fast, deprive ourselves and pray. It is the culmination of the Three Weeks, a period of time during which we mark the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

What Happened on 9 Av?

1313 BCE: The spies returned from the Promised Land with frightening reports, and the Israelites balked at the prospect of entering the land. G‑d decreed that they would therefore wander in the desert for 40 years. Read more.

Both Holy Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on this date. The First Temple was burned by the Babylonians in 423 BCE (read more) and the Second Temple fell to the Romans in 70 CE (read more), unleashing a period of suffering from which our nation has never fully recovered.

The Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in 133 CE ended in defeat: The Jews of Betar were butchered on the 9th of Av and the Temple Mount was plowed one year later on the same date. Read more.

Later on in our history, many more tragedies happened on this day, including the 1290 expulsion of England's Jews and the 1492 banishment of all Jews from Spain. Read more.

More: What Happened on Tisha B'Av?

How 9 Av Is Observed

The fast begins at sunset of the 8th of Av and concludes at nightfall the following night. During this time, we do not

  • eat or drink
  • wear leather footwear
  • bathe or wash ourselves (washing only until the knuckle when mandated by halachah)
  • apply ointments or creams
  • engage in marital relations or any form of intimacy
  • sit on a normal-height chair until chatzot (the time when the sun has reached its apex)
  • study Torah (except for the "sad" parts that deal with the destruction of the Temples, etc.)
  • send gifts, or even greet one another (you may respond to greetings)
  • engage in outings, trips or similar pleasurable activities
  • wear fine, festive clothing

Read more: The Laws of Mourning

What We Do

Starting from midday on 8 Av, we limit our Torah study to the few allowed topics that are of a sad nature or pertain to the Temples' destruction.

We eat a square meal in the afternoon, before Minchah services. Then, late in the afternoon, a "separation meal," seudah hamafseket, is eaten. It consists of bread and a hard-boiled egg dipped in ashes, accompanied by water. This meal is eaten alone, sitting on a low stool. (See here for how this plays out when Tisha B'Av follows Shabbat.)

The meal must be over by sundown, when all the laws of Tisha B'Av take effect.

Tisha B'Av evening services are held in synagogue, where the ark has been stripped of its decorative curtain and the lights dimmed. Evening prayers are followed by the chanting of Eichah (Lamentations).

Morning prayers are held without tallit and tefillin, since both are considered adornments. Most of the morning is occupied by the reading of Kinot, elegies marking the various tragedies that befell our people.

Work is permitted on Tisha B'Av, but discouraged. On this day, one's focus should be on mourning and repentance. If one must work, it is preferable to begin after midday.

It is customary to give extra charity on Tisha B'Av, as on every fast day.

After midday, it is permissible to sit on chairs, and tallit and tefillin are worn during the afternoon prayer. In the synagogue, the ark's curtain is restored to its place before the afternoon prayers.

Many communities have the custom to clean the house and wash the floors after midday, in anticipation of the Redemption, which we await.

Many important details and laws can be found in Order of the Day and What to Expect at Tisha B'Av Services.

After the Fast

When night falls, before breaking the fast, one should perform netilat yadayim (hand-washing), this time covering the entire hand with water, but without reciting the blessing. It is also customary to perform Kiddush Levanah at this point, celebrating the rebirth of the moon, and our hoped-for national rebirth.

The Temple was set ablaze on the afternoon of the 9th of Av, and it burned through the 10th. Therefore, the restrictions of the Nine Days (such as not eating meat, swimming or laundering clothing) extend until midday of the 10th of Av.

The Joy Within the Sadness

Even as we mourn, there is an element of joy and comfort. Indeed, the reading of Eichah concludes with the verse "Restore us to You, O L‑rd, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old." There is also a custom among many to use flimsy paperback Kinot booklets, hoping that they will not be needed next year.

It is by no accident that Scripture refers to this day as a mo'ed, a holiday, and Tachanun (prayer of repentance) is not said today. May the time soon come when we look back with the clarity of hindsight to see how all our suffering was but a prelude to happiness and goodness, with the coming of Moshiach. Amen!

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Chocolates from scratch

Hebrew inscription discovered in ancient Jewish ritual bath in Sicily By ROSSELLA TERCATIN

For centuries, the island was home to numerous thriving Jewish communities. Jewish life came to an end when Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. A Hebrew inscription was identified in a medieval Jewish ritual bath under a church in the Italian city of Syracuse, Ariel University announced on Monday.

The mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) in Syracuse is located 14 meters underground beneath the Church of St. Philip the Apostle. It was identified in 1977, although there is a much earlier tradition which maintains that the Church had been built on the remains of a Jewish site.

The Church stands on Ortigia Island, where the Jewish neighborhood used to be located. To this day, the area is also known as "Giudecca."

During a conference sponsored by the San Metodio Higher Institute of Religious Sciences in cooperation with the municipality of Syracuse, Yonatan Adler, senior lecturer in archaeology at Ariel University, revealed the new discovery: an inscription which consists of six Hebrew consonants: "a-sh-r h-f-tz."

The inscription probably referred to the last name of a prominent Jewish-Sicilian family, Hefetz in Hebrew, or Bonavoglia in Italian, according to the university statement.

"This discovery provides compelling evidence that the structure beneath the church was constructed as a Jewish ritual bath prior to the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Sicily," Adler said.

The ancient mikveh is located at the foot of a long spiral staircase hewn into the limestone bedrock. Fresh groundwater continues to flow to the underground pool where Jewish women used to bathe.

"It is a great honor for me to serve as parish priest of this church which enshrines centuries, if not millennia, of Syracusan history," commented Flavio Cappuccio, the local parish priest. "The history that Jews and Christians share in this unique site underscores for me the fraternal bonds which unite us all in brotherhood as children of one heavenly Father."

Syracuse, one of the main cities in Sicily, was home for centuries to numerous thriving Jewish communities. Jewish life in Sicily came to an end when Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. At the time, most of southern Italy was under Spanish rule; most Jews left, but others converted while continuing to keep Judaism in secret. However, most Jewish sites were destroyed or converted to a different use.

Rare -- a clean Buddy Hacket and Dean Martin

they were both pretty young

Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat Shelach

We never cease to be amazed when Parshat Shelach is read, exposing as it does the true colors of the nation's leaders. The very same people who were to lead the Jewish people into the Promised Land suddenly scorn it. They brazenly turn their backs on the Holy Land promised to them by G-d and, to our amazement, are even prepared to find a substitute for it.
How could these Jewish leaders make such a total about-face? How could they ignore the destiny of the Jewish people? How could they reject the very land for which G-d redeemed them from Egypt?

We will address these questions momentarily but first, the fact that such great leaders (see Rashi on Numbers 13:1) spurned heaven's plans for the Jewish people teaches us that we must ALWAYS examine the positions of our leaders -- no matter how righteous they may be. We must NOT be robots, blindly trusting that our leaders or 'gedolim' will "take care of everything" while we rest easy. Even the most reliable leader can, at one point or another, betray himself and his ideology as a result of normal human weakness. The Talmud (Berachot 29a) relates that even though Yochanan served as Kohen Gadol for 80 years, he embraced heresy at the end of his life.

We must be especially wary of leaders who lead us around by the nose from one corner to the next. We must break off the shackles of such leadership and not hesitate to defy it. Particularly in this orphaned generation, in which a gadol isn't so 'gadol', and a leader isn't much of a leader, it is OBLIGATORY to go to all these heads of the people and ask them the difficult questions that need to be asked. And if they have no answers, let us recognize this fact and start searching for the honest truth the hard way.

Why did the spies betray their destiny? The Rabbis offer several reasons, but they all boil down to one factor: lack of faith. After all, how can grasshoppers stand up to giants? Yes, the G-d of history who created heaven and earth made them a promise, but they didn't believe He was capable of making good on it. Without question, the leaders of that generation piously read the 13 principles of faith and gave shiurim in yeshivot on trusting in G-d. But when it came down to "practicalities," when they had to practice what they had been preaching every day, when their faith was put to the test -- "Who is stronger: G-d or Sichon and Og?" -- they selected Sichon and Og.

As the Israeli government hands over the Land of Israel to the Arabs piece by piece, it is CRUCIAL that we study Parshat Shelach carefully. For the sin of the spies -- "and they despised the holy land" -- is repeating itself in grand fashion in our time. And once again, the basic problem is LACK OF FAITH!

But our sin is worse than that of the spies. After all, unlike the spies, we are already IN the Land of Israel. We have already conquered it through great wonders and miracles. We don't need to muster such tremendous faith when G-d has already made HIs providence over this land crystal clear in Israel's wars. Trusting Him should not be that difficult for us. And yet, we insist on groveling to the Assads and Arafats of this world, continuing to perceive ourselves as grasshoppers instead of giants.
May G-d give us the faith and mesirut nefesh to save ourselves from awesome punishment.
Darka Shel Torah, 1993

Jerusalem syndrome: Spiritual experience or psychiatric condition?

Jerusalem locals know they're surrounded by historical and religious monuments every day. But residents also see a huge influx of tourists who aren't so used to the surroundings—with some tourists breaking down into what appears like psychotic episodes.

These tourists often enter the Holy Land, take in the sights and then begin thinking of themselves as historical, religious characters. Tourists may take on new identities and believe they are on a mission from God or that the end is coming.

According to The Telegraph, Israel's health ministry records around 50 cases of this phenomenon each year. Often these require police involvement and hospitalized treatment.

The Telegraph describes several cases, such as a woman who thought she was Mary about to give birth to Jesus. The woman wasn't even pregnant at the time.

Another case occurred when a German chef demanded to use a hotel kitchen to prepare the Last Supper, reports Jerusalem Post.

Psychiatrists have dubbed this condition "Jerusalem syndrome" with the idea that somehow the city triggers the tourists' strange reaction.

The term was first used by psychiatrist Heinz Herman in the early 1900s to describe cases occurring even around that time, reports the Jerusalem news outlet.

But health professionals don't view these occurrences as true spiritual enlightenment. Doctors Eliezer Witzum and Moshe Kalian, both psychiatrists experienced in treating the condition, chalk it up to mental delusions.

The psychiatrists documented their findings in a 1999 report published in the Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences. The authors wrote that most cases don't support "the religious atmosphere of the city" as the primary cause.

Instead, tourists who already have mental conditions come with the intention of performing their religious act or mission.

Interestingly, the doctors state they have not found cases of Jerusalem syndrome in Muslims, only Jews or Christians.

However, a smaller number of cases have been reported with a similar condition for Muslims in Mecca, states Jerusalem Post. Mecca is the Muslim holy city and thereby an important religious location for this group.

The most controversial side of the syndrome is the cases in people without diagnosed psychiatric problems. According to The Telegraph, experts deem there must be some undiagnosed issue in these cases.

One interesting common factor is that most of these people seem to come from "ultra-religious" families, perhaps predisposing them, reports The Telegraph.

But whether these cases are purely spiritual experiences or underlying psychiatric problems remains to be known.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit

Who Was Caleb? By Shlomo Chaim Kesselman


Caleb (in hebrew, "Kalev") was one of the most prominent and influential Jews to leave Egypt. A leader of the tribe of Judah, he was one of the 12 spies Moses sent to reconnoiter the Land of Israel, and later one of two sent by Joshua to scout out the city of Jericho. His is a tale of bravery, piety, and above all, loyalty.


Caleb, son of Yefuneh (or Chetzron, but more on that later), was born in the year 2408 from Creation1 (1353 BCE), 40 years before the Exodus from Egypt. He rose to prominence at a young age and was appointed chief of the noble tribe of Judah. He is mentioned in Tanach primarily regarding his exploits as a spy—once for Moses and once for Joshua. Truehearted and sincere, he remained loyal to G‑d and Moses when his fellow spies turned conspiratory, and for that he was eternally rewarded.

Spying for Moses

Shortly after the Giving of the Torah, the Jews stood poised to enter the Promised Land. Apprehensive of what lay in store, they entreated Moses to send spies ahead. Skeptical though he was, Moses nevertheless acquiesced and appointed 12 men, one from each tribe. From Judah, Caleb was chosen.

Although righteous and well-intended at the outset, the spies ultimately sinned and chose to deliver a negative report. Only two—Caleb and Joshua—remained loyal to their mission. According to the Midrash, Caleb actually went off on his own to visit maarat hamachpelah, the Cave of Machpelah, in Hebron. There, at the graves of our patriarchs and matriarchs, he prayed to G‑d for the strength to faithfully complete his mission without being ensnared in the spies' plotting.2

The men scoured the Land for 40 days, collected samples of its produce, and returned to the Jewish camp. They gathered the people and began to speak, frightening them with tales of mighty cities, giants, and an unforgiving, inhospitable land "that eats its inhabitants."3

The people grew hysterical, terrified that "the men would be murdered and the women and children taken as slaves."4 But Caleb stood up and silenced their wailing,5 declaring:6

"We can surely go up and take possession of it, for we can indeed overcome it…. The land we passed through to scout is an exceedingly good land. If the L‑rd desires us, He will bring us to this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey. But you shall not rebel against the L‑rd, and you will not fear the people of that land for they are as our bread. Their protection is removed from them, and the L‑rd is with us; do not fear them."7

Joshua joined him, and together they implored the Jews to believe that G‑d could, and would, deliver salvation as He had in the past. Unconvinced, and crazed with fear, the Jews began to pelt them with stones, until the Glory of G‑d revealed Itself to protect them.8

As a result, G‑d declared that those people would never enter Israel; they would wander the desert for the next 40 years until they all died out. G‑d punished the spies as well. Only Caleb and Joshua were spared, promised they would live to enter the Land. Caleb was also gifted the area surrounding the city of Hebron as an inheritance.9

Read: The Full Story of Moses' Spies

Spying for Joshua

Under the leadership of Moses' successor Joshua, at the conclusion of their 40 years in the desert, the Jews camped on the banks of the Jordan River. G‑d commanded10 Joshua to send two spies into Jericho, a strongly fortified and strategically placed city that was to be their first point of attack.11 According to tradition, Joshua chose his right-hand men Caleb and Pinchas (grandson of Aaron).12 Together they snuck into the city and made their way to an inn, where their true identities were discovered and their lives were in grave danger. Rahab, the inn's owner, bravely saved their lives and helped them escape the city. She assured them that the people of Jericho were terrified of the Jews and their G‑d. She asked them to spare her family's lives when they conquered the city. They promised they would, and made their way back to Joshua having successfully completed their mission. 13

His Names and His Family

Caleb is referred to in Scripture as the son of Yefuneh in some places,14 son of Chetzron in others,15 and Caleb the Kenizzite16 or son of Kenaz in others.17

The Talmud explains that his father's name was Chetzron, but his mother remarried and his stepfather's name was Kenaz. He is sometimes called the son of Yefuneh because the root of the Hebrew word "yefuneh" means to "turn away," referring to his turning away from his fellow spies.18

Additionally, Caleb is referred to by many names throughout Tanach, such as Mered,19 Yesher, Shovav, Ardon,20 all which reflect his righteous loyalty and unwillingness to join the spies' slandering.21

Caleb married the prophetess Miriam,22 sister of Moses and Aharon. He also married Batya,23 princess of Egypt who rescued Moses from the Nile and left Egypt with the Jews. He had children with both, and a grandson of his and Miriam's was the famous Chur, also one of the leaders of the Jews in the desert.

The Hard Worker

Chassidic teachings explain the unique greatness of Caleb. Before the spies embarked on their mission, Moses, divining that the spies would not remain truehearted, wanted to give Joshua extra G‑dly energy to withstand their wicked counsel. He added the letter "yud", which represents G‑d, to Joshua's name, changing it from Hoshea, "Hosea" to Yehoshua, "Joshua". 24 And Joshua did indeed remain faithful to Moses.

Read: Name Changes in the Bible

Caleb, on the other hand, had to battle his inner demons on his own. He was given no such inspiration or empowerment. In fact, he almost succumbed to the pressure, and it was only because he went to pray at the graves of his ancestors that he was strengthened. Whereas Joshua's struggle was blown away by Moses, Caleb fought his own battle and overcame it. As a result, G‑d bestowed on him the special title "My servant.25 26

It's easy to demonize the other 10 spies, but Chassidic teachings ascribe them lofty intentions. They did not give a bad report simply because they were wicked, but because they knew that were they to enter the land, the Jews would lose the distinctly spiritual lives they led in the desert. They would have to occupy themselves with the mundane and the physical, no longer able to pursue spiritual greatness as they had in the desert. As such, they conspired to convince the Jews to stay where they were. Caleb did not join them—not only because he disagreed with their reasoning, but because he knew one thing only: dedication, loyalty, and subservience to Moses. If Moses wanted them to report positively and enter the Land, then that is what he would do. Whether he liked or understood it was entirely irrelevant. Loyalty and subservience were his crowning attributes.27

FOOTNOTES 1. Or 2407. See Joshua 14:7. 2. Sotah 34b. 3. Numbers 13:32. 4. Numbers 14:3. 5. The Talmud explains that the spies allowed Caleb to speak for they thought he was on their side. He began to speak seemingly disparagingly about Moses, saying, "Is this the first time the son of Amram ( Moses) has done something like this to us?" However, he went on to extol all the great miracles Moses had performed for the Jews throughout the Exodus. Sotah 35a. 6. Numbers 13:30; 14:7-9. 7. Caleb said, "If he says to us: 'Build ladders and climb to the heavens,' should we not listen to him? We should go up at once, even to the heavens, and possess it." Sotah 35a. 8. Numbers 14:10. 9. Joshua 14:6-14. 10. Likutei Torah Shelach 51:3. 11. Bamidbar Rabbah 15:15. 12. According to an alternative tradition, the spies were actually Caleb and Joshua. 13. Joshua 2. 14. Numbers 13-14. 15. I Chronicles 2. 16. Numbers 32:12. 17. Judges 1:13. 18. Sotah 11b. 19. I Chronicles 4:18, Megillah 13a. 20. I Chronicles 2:18. 21. "Mered," which means to rebel, refers to his Caleb against the spies. "Yesher" means 'to straighten,' as he set himself straight and did not join in the counsel of the spies. "Shobab" means 'to break,' referring to the fact that he broke his evil inclination by rebelling against the other spies. And "Ardon," which means 'to rule,' refers to the fact that he ruled over his evil inclination. See Megillah 13a, Sotah 11b. 22. Sotah 11:b. 23. Megillah 13:b. 24. Numbers 13:16. Sotah 34b. 25. Numbers 14:24. 26. Likutei Sichot vol. 8 pp. 82-93. See also Or Hachaim Numbers 14:24 . 27. Likutei Torah Shelach 51:3.

By Shlomo Chaim Kesselman


Korach: The Danger Of Quarreling   Aharon HaKohen is distinguished for his love of peace. Korach earned distinction for failing in this area; his name has become synonymous with dispute and divisiveness. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt"l, found in this story a striking lesson about the danger of argumentativeness and its application to every Jew.   "And he shall not be like Korach and his congregation" (17:5). This verse speaks of two principles. The first is that the memorial created by coating the Mizbeach with the metal from the censers of the dissidents who perished is intended as "a sign for the sons of Israel" (17:3) so that never again should anyone challenge the prerogative of the sons of Aharon as the kohanim of Hashem. The second principle is not to engage in quarrels – not to "be like Korach and his congregation," allowing ourselves to be motivated by envy or desire for glory or power and thereby cause dissension among the people of Israel. Advertisement   Thus one purpose of the episode was to serve as a model to warn against quarrels of every kind, domestic or business, between private persons or groups in the community. One should not say that only against Moshe and Aharon it was wrong – but that against others we may quarrel. Or that at least the sin would not be of equal gravity as in the case of Korach. The Torah declares that in every generation all Israelites are held as responsible as was Korach for any form of jealous dissension.   Although this admonition is specifically directed against future claimants to the priesthood, it is actually a general admonition against disharmony and divisiveness, as all admonitions to the nation are also intended for individuals and their private behavior.   All events in the Torah are intended as models and lessons for guidance to individuals in their personal conduct. Rambam writes, "One should hearken to his neighbor's words and not be obstinate.… Thus the Torah commands (Devarim 10:16): 'Circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and no longer stiffen your neck' " (Moreh Nevuchim 3:33). Although this admonition was said to the nation in reference to certain national misdeeds, it is intended for everyone at all times.   Similar directives for personal behavior are cited by Rambam (ibid.) from various pronouncements concerning the nation. Following this principle, whenever Hashem Speaks to any person in Scripture, or whatever Scripture says concerning an individual or the entire nation, is to be considered as a lesson for the individual behavior of every person and a requirement Hashem demands of all.   Similarly, Rabbeinu Yonah (Shaare Teshuvah 3:17) cites the commandment to "remember the kindnesses of Hashem and to meditate on them, as is said: 'And you shall remember all the journey' (Devarim 8:2)." This was said specifically to Israel in general so that the nation would remember the journeys in the wilderness for 40 years (ibid.), yet it is considered an obligation for every person to remember his own journey in life and always to look back with gratitude on Hashem's many kindnesses to him.   Similarly, the admonition that the king should not become arrogant over his brother-Israelites (Devarim 17:20) is understood (R. Yonah, Shaare Teshuvah 3:34) as an admonition for everyone to follow.   "You have killed the people of Hashem" (17:7). Here the people vouch for Korach and his associates as being as fully accredited as all other sons of Israel. Even though the miraculous destruction of Korach had clearly demonstrated that this was Hashem's will, they blamed Moshe for proposing (16:18) this punishment. By this statement the people testified that Korach and his company were truly observant and fully loyal Israelites. Had Korach and his associates openly transgressed the least commandment, they would not have been the generous encomium "the people of Hashem."   In any previous dissension – such as the meraglim or Miriam (17:1) or the complainers (11:1) – Korach had never been named as a participant and it is certain that when Moshe called out "Who is for Hashem, to me!" (Shemos 32:26) and "all the sons of Levi gathered themselves to him" (ibid.), Korach had been among them. Moshe's prayer to Hashem – "Turn not to their offering" (16:58) – is sufficient evidence of the worth of these opponents.  

See you tomorrow-bli neder-

Love Yehuda Lave

Rabbi Yehuda Lave

PO Box 7335, Rehavia Jerusalem 9107202


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