Happy and appreciate the Miracle of Jerusalem Day and Following the Footsteps of My Father--200 Jewish POWs saved during WWII from being Murdered and humorist Dave Barry and Cuomo extends eviction moratorium, another Doctor tells her experiences with censorship and Follow the instructions or no guarantees
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. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column
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Follow the instructions or no Guarantees
Follow the instructions or no Guarantees
Last week we completed the Book of Vayikra, which is also called "Leviticus."
The last Portion (parsha or section) in Vayikra is Bechukosai, which contains the first "Tochecha" in the Torah, a very frightening prophetic passage that describes in detail what will befall the Children of Israel if we, G-d forbid, stray from Hashem's commandments.
The Tokhahah, or admonition, refers to the passages of curses that Moses uttered by way of moral instruction and warning to the children of Israel. These passages occur twice in the Torah, in Parashat Behukosai (Lev. 16:14-46), and in Parashat Ki Tavo (Deut. 28:15-69).
It is important to remember that the Tochecha is preceded by a passage of tremendous blessings. We should always keep in mind that we have a choice between blessing and curse. The blessings are endless and without boundary, shining as brilliantly as the morning sun.
G-d created mankind in the Garden of Eden, and we would still be there if our first parents had not strayed from G-d's laws. They gave away their blessings. there was one rule in the garden, and that was not to eat the fruit from a certain tree.
They violated that one rule, and the result has been death, destruction, pain, and constant suffering for mankind.
This is such a clear example for us to follow.
We read in Psalm 81, "If only My people would heed Me, If Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant I would subdue their foes and turn My hand against their tormentors… But My people did not heed My voice …"
And so, today, we live in a dark world.
The Tochecha is frightening because it is so real. IT HAS ACTUALLY HAPPENED! These frightful prophecies came to pass during the destruction of the Holy Temples in Yerushalayim and they came to pass during our long Exile to the "four corners of the earth," which culminated in the Holocaust. We have indeed gone through the fire.
But the blessings are still here. They have not gone away. They are accessible today.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about us, the Children of Israel, is that we have passed through the fire and we are still here. We have been terribly burned, and not all of us who WERE here are still here, BUT WE AS A NATION ARE STILL HERE!
Our Rabbis teach us that Hashem said about the destruction of the Holy Temple: "The Holy One, Blessed is He, said 'I lit the fire in Tzion … and I will [in the future] build it [again] with fire…"
We learn from the Tochecha that it is possible for an entire world to go up in flames, but that people of faith and trust in G-d can survive the flames, a remnant can survive.
He has sent a plague into our midst, the way He sent plagues into Ancient Egypt, and they uprooted the culture of Egypt. From there, we marched to Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.
This is what we are re-enacting during Sefira and it is happening again in our world.
We have to be very strong to hold onto Torah values, to try to strengthen our bond with Hashem by keeping His Torah, because this is our lifeline, our link to Him, and THIS IS HOW WE WILL SURVIVE THE CONVULSIONS AROUND US.
What are we holding onto? The Chofetz Chaim says that, before Moshiach comes, Hashem will stretch a rope across the world and shake it violently. Our job is to "Hold On" to that rope.
"Please be revealed, and spread upon me, my Beloved, the shelter of Your peace. Illuminate the world with Your glory that we may rejoice and be glad for You.
Hasten, show love, for the time has come, and show us grace as in days of old."
In this Parsha, G-d, the designer and manufacturer of life, world, and everything, provides us with a guarantee: live life according to my instructions and the complex machinery of life will operate optimally. If not, you take life into your hands.
Life is infinitely complex. We haven't begun to understand even a thumbnail of its mechanics, let alone purpose. Even the great Einstein was heard to say: I feel like a small child playing with shells on the edge of a huge and vast sea
Therefore, ask yourself the following question: in my pithy 80 or 90 years of life, will I discover its secrets, its moving parts, its energy source, its original design, and purpose. Highly unlikely. So be humble. Follow the instructions.
Do you want to get to your destination? Follow the instructions. Otherwise the warranty lapses.
This is an illustration from an Italian magazine published in 1962 depicting life in 2022.
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day
Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day
The newest holiday on the Jewish calendar celebrates the reunification of Israel's capital.
— Jerusalem Day — is the most recent addition to the Hebrew calendar. It commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish sovereignty in 1967. It is celebrated on the 28th day of Iyar (six weeks after the Passover seder, one week before the eve of Shavuot). In 2020, Yom Yerushalayim falls on May 22nd.
Jerusalem became the capital city of the Jewish people in the time of King David who conquered it and made it the seat of his monarchy in approximately 1000 B.C.E. It was conquered twice in antiquity, the second time by the Romans in 70 C.E. The destruction of Jerusalem was a watershed event in Jewish history that began thousands of years of mourning for Jerusalem—including an official day of mourning every year on Tisha B'Av. During the ensuing two millennia of exile, Jerusalem remained the Jews' spiritual capital. To this day, Jews face in the direction of Jerusalem for prayer and Jewish services are filled with references to Jerusalem. However, there has never been a special day in honor of the city until recent times.
Following the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, the city of Jerusalem was divided, with the older eastern side falling under Jordanian control, and the more recently-developed western side falling under Israeli control. On the third day of the Six-Day War in June 1967, the Israeli army captured the ancient, eastern part of the city. The 1967 victory marked the first time in thousands of years that all of Jerusalem came under Jewish control. It also allowed Jews access to the holiest parts of the city, especially the Western Wall, a remnant of the ancient Temple.
Due to the young age of this holiday, there is still not much that makes it unique in terms of customs and traditions. It is gradually becoming a "pilgrimage" day, when thousands of Israelis travel (some hike) to Jerusalem to demonstrate solidarity with the city. This show of solidarity is of special importance to the state of Israel, since the international community has never approved the "reunification" of the city under Israeli sovereignty, and many countries have not recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. (The United Nations "partition plan" of November 1947 assigned a status of "International City" to Jerusalem.)
The Israeli education system devotes the week preceding this day to enhancing the knowledge of the history and geography of the city, with a special emphasis on the unique role that it played in Jewish messianic aspirations since Biblical times.
The status of Yom Yerushalayim in Jewish religious life seems more ambiguous than the religious status of Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). Following the model of Yom Ha'atzmaut, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel decided that this day should also be marked with the recitation of Hallel (psalms of praise), and with the lengthier version of Psukei d'Zimra (the psalms in the earlier part of the morning service).
A common citation in Yom Yerushalayim celebrations in Israel is a quote from Psalm 122:3: Ir shehubrah lah yahdaiv — "a city uniting all."
Another Doctor tells her experiences
A story about the fallen soldiers "Yom HaZichron"
IT IS A BOOK - 1974
Rabbi Meir Kahane
The press had announced that, on March 11, booklets listing all 2,482 soldiers who had fallen in the Yom Kippur War would be handed out at post offices throughout the country, and now long lines of Israelis waited patiently to get them. Unlike the usual lines, here were somber and silent people who reached the window, extended a hand and quietly left with their copy. Each one had a special name that he wanted to see. Perhaps a son, a father, a brother, a relative or friend. Immediately, after leaving the line, the pages of the book would be gone through quickly in search of the name.
In one case, the silence on the line was broken by a man who approached the window and could see the stack of literature. He suddenly exclaimed:
"A booklet? It's a book! My G-d, it's a whole book!"
Indeed it was, for 2,500 names take up a great many pages, and it was only then that many people could begin to realize the magnitude of the loss. For each line was a person and each person had a family, and each family was left with only memories and sorrow.
Of course, as always, not everything went according to plan. At the main Tel Aviv Post Office on Allenby Street, thousands of people gathered to get their copies, but only 2,500 were delivered. The young soldiers who were handing out booklets couldn't cope with the confusion and the anger of people who had waited hours and were told that there were no more booklets left.
"How should I know why there were only 2,500 sent here?"
asked an official watching the angry people. "At the Defense Ministry they have a key by which they distribute the material." At 1:00P.M. the literature began to be handed out and by 1:30 it was gone. Many of the people pleaded for more than one copy.
"It is for my neighbor," explained the woman. "She is sick and could not come."
"I am sorry," was the patient reply, "but the rules are that only one can be given to each person."
"I want to send one to my relative in America," cried one man. Again, the shake of the head. It is not allowed.
Outside the post office stand a few who have gotten their booklets. One is an elderly couple. The husband has his arm around his wife as they look silently at a name. A young woman sits alone, quietly weeping.
A day earlier, the booklets had been brought personally, by Defense Ministry people, to the homes of the families of the soldiers who fell. It was a thankless task. Usually it would go as follows:
The messenger arrived at the apartment. In this case, it was an address in the Tel Aviv neighboring city of Ramat Gan. Going up to the second floor, he paused for a moment, swallowed and slowly rang the doorbell. In his hand was the blue envelope that held the booklet, the envelope with the emblem of the Israeli Defense Forces on it.
Heavy steps could be heard from inside the apartment and then the door opened to reveal a short, tired-looking woman.
"I am from the Ministry of Defense," the messenger began . . .
The woman heard the words and made an effort to overcome her emotions but the tears began to flow. The man held her for a moment to make sure she would not collapse and then led her to a chair. "I brought you the booklet with the names of those who fell. Here is the name of your son ..."
"Thank you," she replied quietly. "For me, the booklet is not important. You can leave it or not. It does not matter. For me what was important was my son. He was a wonderful boy. A pilot." She paused and glanced at the page. There was the picture of her son, a handsome young man in pilot's uniform.
"He was born in war, more than 25 years ago, and died in war. I will never forget how, on the day he was born, the Egyptians bombed the Central Bus Station in Tel Aviv. During the war he flew more than 25 sorties into Syria — and returned. And then they sent him to the Egyptian front and he never returned. Why did they have to send him? Was it not enough that he flew so much in Syria?"
"Today is the thirtieth day. Last month they found his body in the vicinity of the Egyptian Second Army ..." She stops and the messenger rises and leaves. He has other "errands" . . .
"I do not know how I get the strength to do this each time," he says as he climbs the steps to yet another Ramat Gan apartment, this one the home of a widow whose husband had been an officer.
The widow and her mother are at home. They knew that someone would come today and they had waited.
They stand as the messenger leafs through the book, searching for the name of the husband who would never return. The wife holds back the tears and the mother clenches her fists. The man finds the name and shows it to them.
"Thank you," the wife says. "He fell in the north, on the Golan Heights ..."
The man from the Ministry of Defense leaves. The door closes behind him and from inside is heard the faint crying of an infant. . .
March 29, 1974
Following the Footsteps of My Father--200 Jewish POWs saved during WWII from being Murdered
December 1944 – The Ardennes, The Battle of the Bulge – The 106th Infantry Division landed in France some ninety days after D-Day. The division, which consisted of the 422nd, 423rd, and 424th Regiments, began an arduous journey by truck across France and Belgium. The winter of 1944 was brutal – it was cold and wet. The 106th Division reached the Schnee Eifel area in eastern Belgium near the German border by December 10, 1944, and took up their positions, with the 422nd Regiment taking up a forward position. On December 16, 1944, the 422nd was attacked by the Germans as part of their counter offensive, which became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The Regiment was quickly cut off and surrounded. In the afternoon of December 19, 1944, Colonel Deacheneaux, Commander of the 422nd Regiment, decided to surrender. Parts of the Regiment, including Headquarters Company, in which Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds served, were captured by the Germans later that day.
The Germans captured more than 20,000 GIs during the Battle of the Bulge. The men of the 422nd Regiment were marched some fifty kilometers to Gerolstein, Germany where they were loaded into box cars, 60 to 70 men per car, with virtually no food or water. They spent four days and nights traveling to Stalag IXB in Bad Orb, Germany, arriving on Christmas Day. After several weeks in Bad Orb, the American POWs were divided into three groups – officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and enlisted men. The NCOs were taken to Stalag IXA in Ziegenhain. There were 1,292 men in this group.
The highest ranking NCO was Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds from Knoxville, Tennessee. Upon their arrival in Ziegenhain, the commandant of Stalag IXA, Major Siegmann, ordered all Jewish POWs to present themselves the next morning. Master Sgt. Edmonds ordered all 1,292 American POWs to stand in formation outside of their barracks.
The next day, when Major Siegmann saw that all 1,292 GIs were standing in front of their barracks, enraged he turned to Edmonds and demanded: "They cannot all be Jews!" To this, Master Sgt. Edmonds said, "We are all Jews here." Siegmann immediately drew his pistol and pressed it into Edmonds's forehead. Roddie Edmonds did not back down and replied: "According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and when we win this war you will be tried for war crimes." Siegmann turned around and left. There were 200 Jewish GIs among the 1,292 American POWs. This act by Master Sgt. Edmonds saved the lives of these 200 Jewish GIs.
Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds died in 1985. He was the fifth American to be recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations.
On Monday, November 28, 2016, The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous (JFR) honored Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds with the Yehi Or Award – "Let There Be Light" and recognized Jewish GIs saved by Master Sgt. Edmonds.
Dave Barry/Quotes The problem with winter sports is that -- follow me closely here -- they generally take place in winter.
Thus the metric system did not really catch on in the States, unless you count the increasing popularity of the nine-millimeter bullet.
If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be 'meetings.
A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person.
People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.
Camping is nature's way of promoting the motel business.
Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.
Cuomo extends eviction moratorium,
Cuomo extends eviction moratorium, promises landlord reliefFacing pressure from tenant advocates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the state's moratorium on evictions for at least another two months.
The governor said the moratorium on residential and commercial evictions — for non-payment of rent due to Covid-19 — will last through August 20. He also announced a ban on fees for late or missed rent payments during the moratorium, as well as the option for tenants to tap into their security deposits to pay rent (though those deposits would ultimately need to be repaid). He said he was unsure if the moratorium would be extended beyond August.
When asked about relief for landlords who might struggle to make mortgage payments without rent revenue, Cuomo indicated that the state is working on "relief from the banks for landlords also" and as well as for banks. He didn't go into specifics but said that, "We stopped the foreclosures on the landlords."
In March, the state had ordered that state-chartered banks give borrowers a break on mortgage payments for 90 days. More specific details on halted foreclosures for landlords were not immediately available.
The governor noted that there's a "tradeoff between the tenants and the landlord" and that there's a need to protect those who are "most vulnerable." "We have to make sure those people are protected," Cuomo said. "The number one issue people talk to me about, probably is rent. This takes this issue off the table until August 20."
Last week, protestors interrupted Cuomo's daily press conference, calling on the governor to outright cancel rent payment obligations. At the time, Cuomo pointed to the eviction ban as the state's form of renter relief. [TRD]
See you Sunday, bli neder Shabbat Shalom--Be proud of Yom Yershalim today!