Thursday, August 13, 2020

Daily Mail Releases Police Bodycam Video Of Floyd Arrest--he was completely stoned--no one killed him and 10 Keys to Understanding Many Ashkenazi Family Names By Yehuda Altein and million Euro ming vase auction and the protection of a Mezuzah and Do you need to say a blessing on a new NOSE MASK?

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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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Do you need to say the Shehecheyanu blessing on a new nose mask

Do you need to say the Shehecheyanu blessing on a new nose mask

The Shehecheyanu blessing (Hebrew: שהחינו‎, "Who has given us life") is a common Jewish prayer said to celebrate special occasions. It is said to express gratitude to HaShem for new and unusual experiences or possessions. The blessing is recorded in the Talmud, indicating that it has been recited for over 1500 years.

The Israeli Declaration of Independence was publicly read in Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948, before the expiration of the British Mandate at midnight. After the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, read the Declaration of Independence, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Maimon recited the Shehecheyanu blessing, and the Declaration of Independence was signed. The ceremony concluded with the singing of "Hatikvah.

The "Shehecheyanu" Blessing on a New Garment

When is the appropriate time to recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing on a new garment, at the time of purchase or the first time one wears it? Similarly, must one recite this blessing for every new piece of clothing one purchases?

The Mishnah (Berachot 54a) teaches us that upon purchasing new garments, one should recite the blessing of "Shehecheyanu Ve'Kiyemanu Ve'Higianu La'Zeman Hazeh."

Regarding when to recite this blessing, the Rashba writes that this blessing should be recited at the time of purchase and not when it is worn. Indeed, the Rosh writes that this blessing was enacted upon the joy one has at the time one purchases a new garment. Maran Ha'Shulchan Aruch (Chapter 223) rules in accordance with this opinion that the "Shehecheyanu" blessing should be recited at the time of a garment's purchase and not the first time it is worn.

Nevertheless, several Acharonim write that the prevalent custom is not to recite this blessing at the time the garment is purchased, rather, it is recited the first time one wears the garment at which point one is truly happy. Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim rules likewise in his Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Re'eh, Section 1) as does Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt"l. Since the recitation of this blessing is contingent upon the prevalent custom, one should not change this custom and recite the blessing at the time of purchase; rather, one should recite the blessing the first time one wears the garment in accordance with the custom of the entire Jewish nation.

Regarding which garments one should recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing upon, since the "Shehecheyanu" blessing was instituted upon one's inner joy, one may only recite this blessing upon garments which usually bring joy to people. Additionally, in order to warrant this blessing, the garment must be innately important, as the Mishnah states that this blessing is recited upon "a new home or new garments" (although it is preferable not to recite this blessing upon a new home). We can infer that the garment must be important just as a house is. The great Tosafists derive from here that one should not recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing upon insignificant garments such as shoes or socks. Similarly, one should certainly not recite this blessing upon undershirts and the like, for such garments are not significant enough to require the "Shehecheyanu" blessing to be recited. It is indeed the prevalent custom to recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing only on important garments as opposed to shoes (refers to regular shoes which are not expensive and important in the individual's eyes), socks, and the like.

Summary: One who purchases a new garment must recite the "Shehecheyanu" blessing. The prevalent custom is to recite this blessing the first time one wears the garment. One should not recite this blessing on garments that are not so significant such as undershirts or socks. Similarly, one should not recite this blessing upon shoes that are not so significant or expensive.

One only makes shehecheyanu on a garment that has a degree of importance. However, it does not have to be a very special garment, such as a suit, and if a person experiences joy in buying a nice (but not a very simple) shirt, he should say shehecheyanu.


Authorities dispute whether the berachah of shehecheyanu is entirely subjective, depending on the subjective joy a person feels, or whether the berachah includes an objective element, whereby if a garment or item is not important, and does not usually induce joy, one cannot recite the blessing.

According to the Rosh, the Radvaz, and the Shulchan Aruch (223:6), a poor person, who experiences joy in purchasing simple items like shoes and socks, should make the blessing.

However, according to Tosafos (Berachos 59b), it appears that one does not make shehecheyanu on something that is not objectively important, and this is the opinion of many poskim, including the Terumas Hadeshen and the Rema (223:6), the Rema adding that this is the custom. This ruling is also stated in the Mishnah Berurah (223:24).

However, this does not mean that one can only make a shehecheyanu on a very important item of clothing, that everybody will experience joy from. Even if the item has some degree of importance, such as a fancy shirt, it is sufficient for making the blessing, provided that the person experiences subjective joy in buying it. Only on clearly unimportant clothes, such as socks and underwear, or simple shirts and the like, would one not make the blessing even when experiencing subjective joy (instead, one should thank Hashem in one's own words, or say the blessing without mentioned the Name of Hashem).

So there we have it. There is an element of subjectivity to the question. If you treat the new mask-like socks, you can say a blessing without the name of G-d. If it brings you joy, because you feel the mask is saving your life, there is a support to make the blessing with the name of G-d.

If you feel the mask makes you sick and it brings you no joy, certainly do not mention G-d.

Tel Aviv Zoo's New Kangaroo

The Ramat Gan Zoo was thrilled with their new acquisition: a kangaroo. They'd never had a kangaroo before so they had to set up a brand new enclosure. Unfortunately, the kangaroo kept getting out. Knowing that he could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. He was out the next morning, just sauntering around the zoo. A twenty-foot fence was put up. Again he got out.

When the fence was forty feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, "How high do you think they'll go?"

The kangaroo said, "About a thousand feet unless somebody locks the gate at night!"

New/Old Security Technology

Four years ago, Rabbi Dov and Sarah Henig, the emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Chengdu [1], China since 2012, returned there with their three small daughters from a visit to Israel, where he is from (she is from Brooklyn). The rabbi tells:

After a very long flight and with lots of suitcases in tow, we headed towards the complex where our house is. But the security guards wouldn't let us in. They told us that they need to call the police.

What was the reason? While we were away there were many robberies in the area, so they were sure that during the three weeks we had been out of the country the robbers had also "visited" our house.

The police officers arrived with devices to check fingerprints and walked with us towards our home. We opened the doors with a heavy heart. When burglars break in, they also leave a big mess. We were also worried to see what they took.

We all went inside and thank G-d, everything was in its place, looking exactly as we left it. Nothing was stolen from us; all was well.

Two weeks later I received a phone call from the commanding police officer in the area. He said "Rabbi, please come. I want to meet with you!"

I arrived at the police station and immediately was shown into his office. He says to me, "Remember what happened when you arrived and we told you about the burglars? Well, we caught them! And can you guess what our first question to them was? It was: 'Why didn't you break into the house of the foreigners, the home of the Rabbi?'

"In reply, the burglars took out their phones and showed us photos of the doorways of your home, and that thing attached on the right side of the doorframe of each of your external entrances. They said, 'We know how to deal with and control many different security cameras, alarms, remote programs, wireless and WiFi systems, but this is a technology that is completely unknown to us. That's why we took photos of it, so we can investigate it and know how to deal with it in the future.'"

The commander turned to me and asked, "Rabbi, maybe this is special technology from Israel? Perhaps you can bring it here as well!"


[1] The capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, with the country's fifth highest population, more than 16 million in the 2019 census.

Source: Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from the video of Rabbi Henig telling the story, based on the faithful transcription by Mrs. C. R. Benami. (If you would like to receive a copy of the video by WhatsApp, send a whatsapp request to +972-526-770-137.)

Rabbi X's conclusion:
I explained to the Chengdu police what a mezuzah is all about. For those Jews who are unfamiliar with this mitzvah, know that we are commanded in the Torah to put a mezuzah parchment scroll on the entrances to our home. This mitzvah is first of all a protection for us and for our home. On the outside of the rolled scroll is written the Hebrew letters shin-dalet-yud, which, in addition to spelling one of G-D's holy names, is an acronym for "Shomer Deletot Yisrael" -- "He who watches over the doors of the Israelites." [Indeed, an excellent security device! -yt]
Too, it reminds us that we have to be proud Jews also when we are at home and no one is watching us as well as when we are outside on the streets. So if you want this special 'security technology' and you don't have it yet, order it from the Chabad House nearest to you [or from a reliable authorized Jewish scribe]. If you already have a mezuzah but haven't had it checked in a while, and especially if it has been years, it's worthwhile to have it checked now.

Connection: Weekly Torah Reading of Ekev -- and of Vaet'chanan) - contain the source verses of the mitzvah of mezuzah.

Daily Mail Releases Police Bodycam Video Of Floyd Arrest--he was completely stoned--no one killed him

A Minnesota court is investigating how a British newspaper obtained police body-camera footage showing the arrest and death of George Floyd.

The Daily Mail on Monday published parts of videos from two Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's arrest on May 25. A Hennepin County judge last month allowed journalists and members of the public to view the footage by appointment but has not yet ruled on a motion by a coalition of news organizations, including The Associated Press, seeking public access to the videos.

The newspaper's article said the videos were leaked to The website shows about 10 minutes from former Officer Thomas Lane's bodycam and about 18 minutes from former Officer J. Kueng's bodycam.

Hennepin County District Court spokesman Spenser Bickett told the Star Tribune an investigation is underway into the leak, but declined further comment.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is leading the prosecution of the four fired Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd's death, said he was not the source of the leak.

"We will continue to take the strictest precautions to ensure a fair trial," Ellison said in a statement.

Representatives of the Daily Mail did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment Monday.

Hennepin County District Court spokesman Spenser Bickett told the Star Tribune an investigation is underway into the leak, but declined further comment.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is leading the prosecution of the four fired Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd's death, said he was not the source of the leak.

"We will continue to take the strictest precautions to ensure a fair trial," Ellison said in a statement.

Representatives of the Daily Mail did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment Monday.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Lane, Kueng, and another former officer, Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired.

This is something to see. Italian Auction - only 44 seconds!

You don't have to understand Italian to follow the auctioneer: A Chinese Ming Vase is up for auction.

The bidding opens at a half-million Euros. Bidding is brisk and each bidder is clearly identified as each raises the bid by 100,000 Euros. (The exchange rate at auction time was 1 Euro =$1.12.)

Within seconds, the bid stalls at One million Euros, and the gasp from the crowd identifies the excitement that prevails in the room.

The successful bidder is the last one who bid - one million, and the auctioneer counts down the bid, "Going once, going twice, and sold to the gentleman sitting in front of me for one million Euros."

The pace is fast. This is how an auction should be.

10 Keys to Understanding Many Ashkenazi Family Names

By Yehuda Altein

For most of our history, Jews did not have surnames. In communal life, Jews were most often known by their name and their father's name (e.g., Abraham son of Moses, Dina daughter of Isaac), or, when mentioned in prayer, by their name and their mother's name (e.g., Dinah daughter of Leah).

For Ashkenazic Jewry, the wholesale introduction of surnames began in 1787, when a new law established by Emperor Joseph II of Austria mandated that all Jews adopt last names. Other countries and localities followed suit, and by the mid 19th century most Jewish families had surnames.

Although the officials who delegated last names sometimes did so indiscriminately, often a name can shed light on an ancestor, revealing information about his or her hereditary status, place of origin, profession, or other personal details.

Join us as we explore some of the most common family names found among Ashkenazi Jews today.

In this article:

1. Cohen and Its Variants

Among the most ubiquitous of Jewish last names, Cohen is common in families that descend from Aaron the High Priest. The priests, kohanim, served in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and they still enjoy distinction today (giving the priestly blessing and being called up first to the Torah, among other privileges).

Other priestly last names include Kohn, Kahn, Kahane, Kagan, Kogan, and many other variants. (Since the sound /h/ does not exist in Russian, it was replaced with /g/.)

Note: Having the last name Cohen does not necessarily mean that you are a kohen. When in doubt, consult a halachic authority.

2. Levy and Its Variants

Levy is a common surname among families descending from the tribe of Levi (one of the 12 tribes of Israel). Historically, this tribe was responsible for guarding the Temple and singing when sacrifices were brought. They also received a tithe from all produce grown in the Land of Israel.

Common variations include Levi, Lewi, Levin, Levine, Lewin, and many more.

Note: Having the last name Levy does not necessarily denote Levite status.

3. Patronymics and Matronymics

Many Jewish surnames are patronymic (based on the name of a father or other male ancestor), denoted by the suffix -s, -son, -ovitch/-owitz, or -ovics. Thus, if one's father's name was Abraham, his son might have adopted the name Abrams, Abramson or Abramowitz; if it was Isaac, he was Isaacs, Isaacson or Isaacowitz; Jacob—Jacobs, Jacobson or Jacobowitz; David—Davidson or Davidowitz; Leib—Lebovics; Mendel—Mendelson or Mendelowitz; Benjamin—Benjaminson; Aaron—Aaronson. (In this vein, "Rabinowitz" is the son of a rabbi.)

The surname of the Lubavitch rebbes, Schneersohn, derives from the name of the dynasty's founder, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi.

A surprising number of Jewish surnames are matronymic (based on the name of a mother or other female ancestor). These names often conclude with the suffix -in. Thus Rivkah became Rivkin or Rivlin, Feiga—Feiglin, Sarah—Sorkin, Tamar—Tamarkin, and Beila—Belkin.

Margolis, a surname shared by many famous rabbinic personalities, derives from the female name Margalit (Hebrew for "pearl").

4. Location-Based Surnames

Very often a surname provides a clue as to the family's place of origin. Location-based surnames include Brody (a city in present-day Ukraine), Halpern (the German city of Heilbronn), Frankel (the German region of Franconia), Schlesinger (from Schlesien (Silesia)), Gordon (Grodno in Belarus) Pollack (from Poland), Auerbach and Epstein (both towns in Germany), Ginzburg (the Bavarian town of Gunzburg), Wiener (from Vienna), Danziger (from Danzig, now Gdansk, Poland), Deutsch (German), Horowitz (the Bohemian town of Horovice), Gurevitch/Gorowitz (the Russian version of Horowitz), Schapiro (the German city of Speyer), Landau (a town in Germany), Posner (from Posen, now Poznan, Poland), Mintz (Mainz, Germany), Oppenheimer (from Oppenheim, Germany), Ostreicher (from Austria), Prager (from Prague, Czech Republic), Unger (from Hungary).

Many location-based surnames end with the suffix -sky (e.g., Minsky—Minsk, Belarus; Pinsky—Pinsk, Belarus; Twersky—Tverai, Lithuania, or Tiberias, Israel; Persky—Pershai, Belarus).

Fact: Moskowitz means "son of Moske" (a nickname for Moses), and probably does not mean that your family is from Moscow.

5. Profession-Based Surnames

A surname may have been chosen or assigned based on its bearer's occupation. Thus you have Schmidt or Kowalski (smith); Schuster or Sandler (shoemaker); Kravitz, Schneider or Portnoy (tailor); Malamud (teacher); Schochet or Schechter (ritual slaughterer); Sofer or Schreiber (scribe); Kantor, Chazan or Spivak (cantor); Blecher (tinsmith); Kramer (storekeeper); Miller (miller); Weber (weaver).

Many of these surnames end with the suffix -man(n): Fleischman (butcher), Kuperman (coppersmith), Wasserman (water-carrier), Kaufman (merchant), Fishman (fish merchant), or Schusterman (shoemaker-man).

6. Physical Features

Sometimes names are associated with physical features or traits. Examples include Klein/Kleinman (small), Gross/Grossman (large), Alt/Alter/Altman (old), Schwartz (black hair or dark complexion), Weiss (blonde hair or fair complexion), Roth/Rothman (redhead), Ehrlich (upright), Reich/Reichman (rich), Fried/Friedman (peaceful), Scharf (sharp or intelligent).

7. Nature-Based Mix-and-Match Surnames

Many surnames reflect natural objects such as trees, minerals and animals. These are often compound names, taken from the German language, and for the most part were randomly assigned.

Here are some examples:

-baum (tree): Teitelbaum (date palm), Mandelbaum (almond tree), Tannenbaum (fir tree), Appelbaum (apple tree), Birnbaum (pear tree), Nussbaum (nut tree), Greenbaum (green tree), Rosenbaum (tree of roses).

-berg (mountain): Goldberg (golden mountain), Greenberg (green mountain—i.e., a mountain covered with foliage), Eisenberg (iron mountain), Rosenberg (mountain of roses).

-feld (field): Weinfeld (field of vines), Blumenfeld (field of flowers), Rosenfeld (field of roses).

-blum (flower): Rosenblum (rose flower).

-zweig (branch): Goldzweig (gold branch), Rosenzweig (rose branch).

-thal (valley): Rosenthal (valley of roses).

-garten (garden): Baumgarten (garden of trees), Weingarten (vineyard).

-stein (stone): Goldstein (gold stone), Silberstein (silver stone), Eisenstein (iron stone), Kuperstein (copper stone), Rothstein (red stone).

Animals: Hirsch (deer), Adler (eagle), Hecht (pike), Karp (carp), Wolf (wolf).

Other natural phenomena: Stern (star) and Sternberg (star mountain).

8. Acronyms

Some last names are acronyms of Hebrew phrases.

Katz, a Kohanic surname, stands for kohen tzedek, righteous priest, while Segal (or Siegel), a Levite surname, stands for segan leviyah, Levite deputy.

Other acronyms include Ralbag (after an ancestor named Rabbi Leib ben Gabriel), Babad (ben Av Bet Din, son of the leader of the Jewish court), and Bek (bnei kedoshim, sons of martyrs).

9. Some Family Names of Older Origin

While legal names were assigned around the turn of the 19th century, there were certain families, mostly those blessed with wealth and/or Torah scholarship, which had names for many hundreds of years. Here are some of the most common:


Apparently derived from the Bohemian town of Horovice, Horowitz is usually associated with families of Levite descent. Many famous rabbinic personalities carried this last name, such as Rabbi Yeshaya Horowitz (known as the Shaloh), Rabbi Yitzchak Yaakov Horowitz (the Seer of Lublin), and the brothers Rabbi Pinchas and Shmuel Shmelke Horowitz, rabbis of Frankfurt and Nikolsburg, respectively.

The last name Gurevitch (and similar variations) is the Russian equivalent of Horowitz (the sound /h/, nonexistent in Russian,was replaced with /g/).


Schapiro, one of the most widespread Ashkenazi surnames, is thought to derive from the German city of Speyer. Famous rabbis carrying the name Schapiro include the seventeenth-century Kabbalist Rabbi Natan Nata Schapiro, and more recently Rabbi Meir Shapira, founder of the famed Chachmei Lublin rabbinic school.


The first half of the surname Rappaport is said to derive from the German word for "raven," while the latter half can be traced to Porto Mantovano, a town near Mantua, Italy. The family's coat of arms pictures a raven and a pair of hands lifted in the priestly blessing, evidence of the family's Kohanic lineage. Many prestigious families throughout Europe carried this famous name.


Landau is an old Ashkenazi surname, dating back hundreds of years. Rabbi Yaakov Landau was a 15-century German native who moved to Italy. Three centuries later Rabbi Yechezkel Landau served as rabbi of Prague, and is famous for his work Noda B'Yehudah.


According to some sources, the Luria family traces its lineage to Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi), and from there to King David. Notable members of the family include Rabbi Shlomo Luria— famous halachic authority and rabbi of Lublin, and Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (the Arizal)—considered the most eminent Kabbalist of all times.

10. So Where Is My Family From?

With the understanding that Jews moved around a good deal, and that every rule has exceptions, here are some broad strokes with which you can trace your family origin.

  1. Language: If your family name is neither Hebrew or German, the language is a great clue. Portnoy is Russian for "tailor," so your family is probably from Russia. Farkas is Hungarian for "wolf," so your family is probably from Hungary. The list goes on.
  2. The Classic Hungarian Names: Monosyllabic, descriptive names such as Schwartz (black), Weiss (white), Roth (red), Gross (big), Klein (small), and Stark (strong) are most common among Jews of Hungarian heritage.
  3. Goldberg, Silverstein, et al: The German-language mix-and-match names are most common among Jews from Galicia.
  4. Matronymics: Names like Rivkin, Laikin, Tamarkin, etc., are most common among Jews from the Russian empire.

Look at the Map: If your name is taken from a city or town, there is a good chance (but this should not be taken for granted) that your family is actually from that city. Thus, Oppenheimer would put your heritage in Germany, and Wiener would trace your ancestry to Vienna.

See you tomorrow

We need Mosiach now

Love Yehuda Lave

Yehuda Lave, Spirtiual Advisor and Counselor

Jerusalem, Jerusalem

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