Parshas Vayetze

Channukah Story by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of Ohr Ha T’mimim

Posted on December 24, 2008. Filed under: 2nd Night of Channukah, 3rd Night of Channukah, A Channukah Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, blessing for lighting the menorah, Blessings for Lighting the Menorah, Blessings for the Menorah, Channukah, Channukah lights, Channukah Menorah, First Night of Channukah, Happy Channukah - How To light the Menorah, how to light a menorah, How to Light the Menorah, Jewish Customs, Jewish traditions, left to right, Lighting Left to Right, Menorah Lighting Blessings, Menorah Lighting Blessings | Blessings for Lighting the, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayetze, Placing Candles Right to Left, Rabbi Bolton Stories, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, right to left, Shamash, Shamash Above the Rest, Shamash in the Middle, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, Torah is THE Truth, True, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

Channukah Story:

Chanukah – 5765

This week’s section always coincides with the holiday of Chanukah.

‘Mikaitz’ means ‘At the end’ and refers to the end of Joseph’s imprisonment. But it also hints at Moshiach and the raising of the dead.

In fact, so do Yosef’s release and Chanukah.

First of all; all of them, Moshiach, Yosef’s release and Chanukah are miracles without precedence and totally above nature, but they affect the entire world.

Yosef’s miraculous rise from prison to become ruler of the entire world is like Moshiach who will elevate the Jews from exile, spiritually rule the world and eventually raise the dead.

Chanukah, with its amazing victory and discovery of one vial of pure oil that lit for eight days is like ‘Moshiach’ (which means ‘anointed with oil’) who will defeat the enemies of Judaism and illuminate the world with the ‘oil’ (deepest secrets) of the Torah (See Rashi on Song of Songs 1:2).

[The essence of the Torah is likened to oil because it floats ‘above’ even the spiritual while simultaneously permeating the entire creation; as oil floats above all liquids and permeates all solids.]

And the number eight hints at revelation above nature (above the seven days of creation) that will accompany Moshiach. The harp of Moshiach will have eight strings. Moshiach will bring the circumcision of our hearts and circumcision is connected to the number eight.

But what does all this mean to us?

The story of Chanukah occurred over 2,000 years ago and that of Yosef some 2,000 years before that!

And even if they can be connected to Moshiach, so what?

Moshiach will happen when G-d wants it to.

What has it all got to do with us?

To understand all this here is a story:

In 1927 the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn was imprisoned by Stalin’s police and sentenced to death as the arch enemy of communism.

But like Yosef in this week’s Torah section, he was also miraculously exiled, then released, to become the leading force in world Judaism.

He moved from Russia to Riga, Latvia in 1928 then again in 1940 to Brooklyn N.Y. where he began what became today’s outreach T’shuva movement that is saving the world.

But what pained him most was that he was forced to leave his Chassidim behind at the mercy of Stalin’s deadly and viciously anti-Semitic police network. There was literally no way they could cross the Iron Curtain between the U.S.S.R. and the rest of the world to see him.

But there are always miracles.

In the year 1945 in the city of Somerkand (in the communist satellite country Bukhara not far from Iran) a large group of Chabad Chassidim were celebrating Simchat-Torah (the eight and most joyous day in the holiday of Succot) with a Chassidic ‘Farbrengen’.

A farbrengen is a VERY informal Chabad Chassidic gathering around a table with much vodka, deep soul-stirring speeches, stories and singing.

But in Somerkand, although it was far from the center of Russia, there was still ample reason to worry; the sword of death was waiting in every corner. Informers, secret police, and soldiers were everywhere and Chabad Chassidim were officially public enemy number one.

Nevertheless, tonight these Chassidim didn’t worry. They only cared about one thing… seeing the Rebbe again.

The Rebbe was like their Moses!

Jews without the Rebbe become selfish; without joy, without brotherly love; obsessed with reward and punishment. Look what happened at Mount-Sinai when the Jews thought Moses wasn’t going to come back. They turned to idolatry and worshiped the Golden Calf, just forty days after they heard G-d Himself forbid it!!

But there were other topics as well. The Chassidim talked about loving G-d, about serving G-d, about learning Torah. They brought interesting stories to drive their points home and sang deep Chassidic songs to open their minds and inflame their hearts.

But a few didn’t want to sit. In fact one of most respected Chassidim, Reb Nisson Neminov, stood up and began dancing! It was Simchat-Torah! A few Chassidim stood up and began with him. Dancing with the Torah and dancing for redemption, for freedom, for the Rebbe!! The Moses of our generation – the Moshiach of our generation!!

Then someone pounded on the table and most of the Chassidim sat back down for some more serious talk.

But Reb Nisson didn’t. He took a few chairs put them in a row, sat on one and announced joyously “Who wants to take the train to the Rebbe!? Choo Chooooo!! We’re going to the Rebbe ‘ChooCHOOOO!”

The other Chassidim didn’t catch his spirit. In fact this foolishness and noise annoyed them and they tried to tell him so; to get him to quiet him down and back to the table but it didn’t work.

“Come! ChOO CHOOOO!” Reb Nissan called out as he pushed the chairs around the room. “Who wants to go to the Rebbe!!”

But the Rebbe was thousands of miles away and they were hopelessly locked in Russia. How could this nonsense possibly help? They didn’t even want to think about it, it made them sad. They were deeply involved in their Farbrengen and he was disturbing.

“Come and join me!” yelled Reb Nisson. “Don’t you want to see the Rebbe? We have to do all we can, no matter how crazy! Choo ChOOOO!!”

A few of the Chassidim were wild enough to join ‘the Rebbe train’ and also stood up and began pushing the chairs around the room yelling “Choo Choo, we’re going to the Rebbe!!” while the others just tried to ignore the nonsense.

But a few months later an interesting thing happened.

A small escape route opened from Lemburg to Warsaw by taking a train with forged Polish passports. It was very dangerous, expensive and very erratic. Some departures were arranged and announced only moments beforehand and many Jews got caught, sent back, lost all their money and even got severely punished.

So needless to say, few were willing to take the chance even if they had the funds for the trip, and not everyone that traveled actually made it to freedom.

But, lo and behold, ALL the Chassidim that participated in Reb Nemeoff’s crazy ‘Rebbe Train’ made it out! Each and every one of them! And actually got to see the Rebbe!! While those who were ‘normal’ were not as fortunate.

This is the lesson of Yosef and of Chanukah to us.

Although things seem to be dark and impossible we must always try to get on the ‘train’ of optimism and that very optimism will open the door to Divine assistance. Just as Yosef never lost hope of leaving prison and the Maccabees were optimistic in the face of impossible odds.

And without their optimism there certainly would have been no miraculous results.

The only catch is that there must be a worthy and a true goal: Yosef believed his dreams would be fulfilled and the Maccabees believed that G-d did not want a ‘normal’ Jewish race.

[The Greeks didn’t destroy the Temple or even spill out the oil of the Menorah. They even supported Torah learning and the observance of the commandments. Their goal was not to destroy Judaism but to normalize it; that it should be spiritual like all the other religions but NOT G-dly. They didn’t want crazy Jews like Yosef, the Maccabees or those on Reb Nisson’s Train].

And our goal is the most true, worthy and optimistic of all; bringing Moshiach.

Moshiach will, like Yosef, change the entire world and like the Maccabees defeat all the enemies of truth. He will teach all mankind to know the Creator, bring peace, health and prosperity to the entire world, put an end to all suffering and eventually even raise the dead. Heaven on earth.

But it all depends on us.

The only way to make it all happen is to learn from Yosef and the Maccabees: in the language of Chassidut; “Sh’toot D’Kedusha”.

We must be ‘crazy’ about Moshiach; learn about Moshiach, teach about Moshiach and do all we can to bring Moshiach one instant earlier.

Only then will we bring the true END of darkness and fill the world with the light of…

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

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Parsha Story: Parshas Vayeshev / Vayeishev (for 5769)

Posted on December 21, 2008. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Parshas Vayeishev, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayeshev, Parshas Vayetze, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayeishev, Parshat Vayeshev, Rabbi Bolton Stories, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, True, Truth, Vayeshev, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayeishev 5769

We’d like to apologize for:

Delay in posting this week’s Parsha Story by Rabbi Bolton.

This week we read an interesting story of how Yosef, the favorite of Jacob’s children, was hated by his brothers and fanned that hatred by interpreting two dreams to mean that everyone would bow down to him.

The Torah tells us “His brothers hated him but his father waited to see what would happen” (37:11)

This, at first glance, doesn’t make sense. If his father saw how they hated him then why didn’t he say something to them? What was he ‘waiting’ for?

To understand this here is a story. (Di Yiddishe Heim, Winter 5742)

Communist Russia was, along with Nazi Germany, the worst possible place on the globe for Judaism. After the revolution of 1917 the ‘Party’ began closing Synagogues and forbidding the learning of Torah and in the early 20’s only the old Jews and the Chassidim dared look ‘Jewish’ in public. Only card carrying Communists could get normal jobs (which could mean starvation) and anyone caught doing a Jewish ritual even in private would lose any position of importance.

In such an environment occurred, in the city of Gomel in 1924, a sensational trial with a Jewish theme; a high-ranking Communist official who happened to be Jewish, discovered that his wife, without his knowledge, had their baby son circumcised eight days after he was born and was suing for divorce.

The Communists made sure it was well-publicized; they wanted everyone to see how outdated religion was and courthouse was overflowing; even the standing-room bleachers and public galleries were full to capacity.

The judge, who happened to be Jewish, sat austerely in a large chair behind a thick table and before him stood several burly young ‘Yevsektsia’ (Jewish movement sworn to destroy Judaism) ‘security’ ready to keep order.

The first to take the stand and testify was the husband.

“I came home to find my child crying. When I went to change his diaper I saw that he was bandaged up. ‘Circumcised’ she says! Just like that. I was surprised, disgusted and angry at once. Then she insisted that she had nothing to do with it which, even if it’s true, it still makes her at fault! Isn’t she supposed to guard the child? And, frankly, I don’t believe her. I mean, comrade judge, can one possibly live with a woman tells lies because her mind is too small to accept the new order?! I want a divorce!!”

The judge thanked him, told him to step down and called the defendant; his wife. She was red-eyed from crying and as she passed her husband he turned his head in disgust so as not to look at her.

“Comrade Judge.” She said trying to choke back her tears and occasionally dabbing her eyes. “I am innocent. I swear I am a loyal Party Member and a good wife but my husband will not let me explain. What happened was like this. A few days ago I had to go out shopping to buy some food. I have no baby sitter, so I waited for the baby to go to sleep, locked the door and ran to the market. Anyway, I when I came back home, it couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes later, maybe twenty my door was open and the baby was gone!! Gone!!!”

She wept uncontrollably for a few seconds, blew her nose with a small kerchief and continued.

“So I ran into the streets asking people, searching like a crazy woman asking everyone if they saw my son until about a half an hour later I see my parents and in-laws walking in the distance. So I ran to them yelling and crying and what do I see? They are carrying my baby! They just had taken him for a walk!! That’s what they said. I was so relieved and happy!! But when I got home I saw what had happened! He had blood on his diaper!! Oy!! How could my own parents have mutilated my baby!!! MY BABY!!” And she began wailing so loudly she had to be escorted from the witness stand.

The grandparents took the stand. The four of them stood before the Judge like wax figures of thousands of years ago. The men sported long white beards and wore worn-out, long black coats to their knees while the grandmothers had their hair covered with large kerchiefs tied under the chin. The judge asked if they had anything to say in their defense.

One of the grandmothers who spoke Russian better than the others stepped forward and said in a thick Jewish accent, “Your Honor”.

The Judge cut her short and said authoritatively, “‘Your Honor’ is an out-dated title of the old regime. You are to call me ‘Comrade’.

“You Honorable Comrade” she said as a few snickers came from the crowd. “Although I don’t see what’s so bad about our einikel (Yiddish for grandson) having a ‘Bris’ (circumcision) like everyone but I want you to know that we didn’t mean to do it….. It just happened.”

There was a second of total silence and then like an explosion, the crowd burst into howling laughter repeating the words ‘Just happened!’ Haa Haaaa! Just happened!! Hooo!!’ Even the Judge had to turn his face to a side until he could regain enough seriousness to pound his gavel and call for silence.

The old lady was obviously lying and when things returned to normal he leaned forward, narrowed his eyes and asked her sarcastically. “Happened?! And how, Babushka, can such a thing as a circumcision just ‘happen’?”

“I tell you Your Comrade Honorship.” She continued as though talking to someone on the street. “We went to our daughter’s house to take the baby for a long walk for his health. My daughter doesn’t take him for enough fresh air. Anyway she wasn’t home but we have a key. So we took him, our little sweetie, and went for a long walk. Then suddenly from nowhere some man walks over to us that we never saw before and asks if we want our einikel to be a Jew. We answered, what’s the question? So he takes out a knife, makes a B’racha (blessing) and that’s it! Circumcised!!”

The crowd was already on the edge of pandemonium and this was it! The laughter was like thunder and it just got louder and louder. The judge pounded on the table, screamed for silence, stood up and stamped with his feet but nothing helped. People were in tears, holding their stomachs and a few actually fell into the isles! Totally out of control.

The Judge motioned to the Yevsektsia thugs and when they turned to the crowd and gave a few menacing glares the crowd became silent.

“But you should know, Comrade Honorable Judge,” The old woman continued as though there had been no disturbance. “We are happy.”

“Happy?! Who is happy?” exclaimed the Judge in exasperation. “And about what!?”

“Ahh, we are all happy that our dear Einikel is one hundred percent Jewish….. Just like you, Your Honor! Aren’t you proud and happy you are circumcised?”

That was it! The crowd went wild! Whistling and hooting! Even the Yevsektsia toughs couldn’t control the waves of sheer glee. The Judge didn’t even try. He had no choice but to wait for the noise to subside, tell the grandparents to be seated, call the husband back and try to bring this fiasco to an end.

“Tell me, dear Comrade. I see from your record that you are a good, loyal hero of Communism and hold a very responsible position. Is there any other reason, that is, do you have any other reason for divorcing your wife?”

“No, Comrade Judge, none whatsoever; she cooks my meals, cleans my shirts and is a good wife. Except for this!”

“Well” The Judge continued “If I tell you that she is not guilty and has no part in this terrible act would you consider returning to her and dropping the charges?”

“Yes, of course Comrade Judge, if that is the decision of the court.”

“If so, the decision of this court is that your wife is innocent of all the charges. It is totally the fault of your superstitious parents and in-laws for allowing this act to be perpetrated. They will be fined 50 rubles and you may return to your wife. Case dismissed!!

No one in that room including the Judge (except for a few religious friends of the family) had any idea that it was all a staged trick! The couple wanted to have their son circumcised and still retain their government positions and this was the only way they could do it.

The name of the ‘Mystery Mohel’ that circumcised the child from nowhere was Rabbi Chonya Shagalov was one of the thousands of Chabad Chassidim of the time that risked their lives daily just to do a favor for someone else and whose offspring are Chabad Chassidim throughout the world still risking everything to help others.

This explains our questions.

Yosef represents the Jewish people (see Rashi on Psalms 80:2) who, like Yosef, were put into exile in order to manifest what they were ‘chosen’ for; to bring blessing, meaning and joy to the entire creation.

Yosef also represents Moshiach ben Yosef who will suffer in exile as the precursor of Moshiach ben Dovid (See Lekutei Sichot of the Rebbe vol. 35 pg. 156).

And this is what Jacob was ‘waiting’ for. He knew that his other sons would not understand, they lacked the vision and faith that both he and Josef had. But on the other hand Jacob knew that he could do nothing to quicken the process except to wait and pray that all the Jews would do their part to reveal Moshiach and take the Jews from exile ….. as the Chassidim in our story did.

And just as Communism fell in the merit of such Chassidim so also will all the idolatry and foolishness of the exile be transformed, as Yosef did to Egypt… (but permanently) and G-d will circumcise our hearts (Deut. 30:6).

We just have to do even one more good deed, word or even thought to hasten the arrival of …..

Moshiach NOW!!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

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Parsha Story: Parshas Vayishlach (for 5769)

Posted on December 12, 2008. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayetze, Parshas Vayishlach, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayishlach, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayishlach – 5769

We’d like to apologize that it arrived on the site,

a little late, just a little before Shabbos.

This week we read of Yaakov’s (Jacob’s) battle with an angel that resulted in his name being changed to Yisroel (Israel).

But this does not seem to make sense. How can a person fight, no less win, against an angel? And after he won why didn’t he get a bit more than just a name change? Couldn’t he have just changed it without going through so much trouble?

Also, this coming week many Jews will celebrate the Chassidic holiday “19th of Kislev” when the originator of the Chabad Chassidic movement, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, was miraculously let out of prison where he had been falsely incarcerated for treason under punishment of death.

Is there a connection?

To understand this here is a story.

Some 350 years ago Judaism seemed to be in its death throes. Almost two thousand years of wandering, suffering, dashed hopes and unanswered prayers began to take its toll and a lot of Jews simply wanted ‘out’.

It was in these desperate times that a holy man by the name of Rabbi Yisroel Baal Shem (a.k.a. Baal Shem Tov) began teaching new ideas called Chassidut. Chassidut was designed to make Jews happy by teaching them how good and close G-d and His Torah are to all of us.

It caught on like wildfire and in just a few years half of Russian and Polish Judaism became his followers (‘Chassidim’).

But success also brings enemies. The elite Torah scholars of the time rose in protest! They felt threatened by this new movement and devoted themselves heart and soul to oppose and destroy it in any way possible.

They called themselves ‘Misnagdim’ (opposers) and their war was especially directed against Rebbe Shneur Zalman who founded the branch of Chassidim ‘Chabad’.

Rebbe Shneur Zalman wrote a book called “Tanya” that explained such ‘forbidden’ ideas as the ‘Oneness of G-d, the uniqueness of the Jews, the G-dliness of the Torah and its Commandments and why this physical world is ‘higher’ than heaven.

They branded the Chassidim as maniacs, heretics and dangerous enemies of mankind who deserved excommunication, corporal punishment and worse.

The Misnagdim went so far as to slander the Rebbe and have him arrested and almost executed by the Russian Government for treason (his miraculous exoneration became the Chabad Holiday of Yud Tes Kislev which we mentioned previously). Unexplainably, ultra-orthodox Jews who had been examples of brotherly love and objective thinking became consumed with hatred.

The Jews of Lithuania were fervent Misnagdim and the city of Globak was one of the most fervent in Lithuania. There lived a very wealthy Torah Scholar by the name of Rabbi Shraga who, besides being a leading figure in the town and in the movement, was a strong willed person with unbounded hatred for the Chassidim.

So it was no wonder that when his brother, Zelig, went ‘over’ to ‘visit’ the Chassidim in the city of Liozhne (where the Chabad Chassidim were) and came back several months later with a very positive report.. It wasn’t taken well.

Zelig was a simple, easygoing fellow that was more philosophical than practical. He really believed that the worst that could happen when he came back with praises of the Chassidim was that he would be ignored.

But it wasn’t so.

When he returned to Globak and began telling people what he thought about the Chassidim he was escorted into a side room of the synagogue by several strong young men and given such a severe lashing that a few weeks later he passed away and was buried in the worst area of the cemetery!

But no one in the town, including his brother, felt any regret. Exactly the opposite! In their minds Zelig was a deviant; a sick criminal and a threat to Judaism. They were certain that their actions and quick thinking saved thousands of families from being lured into apostasy and eternal damnation; Zelig’s violent death would discourage anyone from making the same horrible ‘mistake’ in the future.

But in fact it did the opposite.

Shraga had a 19 year old son by the name of Mordechi. A few months after this incident Mordechi disappeared and left a note to his parents telling them that he had decided to exile himself to a place of Torah (Avot 4:14) (A common practice in those days; people would leave the ‘comforts’ of home, family and friends and wander to distant places to learn Torah) and they shouldn’t worry.

But, in fact his uncle Zelig’s death awakened something in him more than just curiosity; the desire to be a Chassid.

Two years later in the middle of the night, Shraga’s other son (who we will call Yehuda) heard a knock at the window and turned to see Mordechi standing outside.

He let him in, they hugged for a long time but when Mordechi told him where he had been Yehuda jumped back as though bitten by a snake. He looked at his brother in horror but the horror faded when Mordechi began to explain some of the ideas he heard there; how every Jew is holy, G-d loves all mankind, creates the universe constantly, the Torah and its commandments connect to the Creator.

Mordechi saw that Yehuda wasn’t going to turn him in and he pulled out a small page and gave it to him.

Upon was written in Hebrew.

“If this person comes into your camp, don’t kill him.”

Mordechi explained, “Take this. It’s from the Rebbe. Before I left there I went in to him for a blessing because I was afraid that they would kill me like they did uncle Zelig and he gave me this. It seems that it’s working. At least you didn’t kill me.”

Yehuda had to think fast; memories of uncle Zelig’s death danced in his mind. If anyone discovered them it might mean big trouble. He told Mordechi to go to the synagogue adjoining their house and wait inside until he thought of something.

Mordechi did as he was told. It was almost midnight and the room was abandoned, only him and G-d. He stood for a while then opened his prayer book to say the evening prayer and before he knew it he was in a different world. He was singing to the Creator. Words of longing, trust, hope and love were in his mind and on his lips. He was swaying back and forth, singing a slow Chassidic song with his eyes closed in devotion.

The sweet singing from the synagogue next to his house woke Shraga from his sleep.. He sat up, listened for a few minutes washed his hands, got dressed and followed the sound like a baby to its mother’s voice. He had to find what it was.

In moments he was peeking into the window of the Synagogue but the light was too dim. Suddenly his son Yehuda ‘happened’ to walk by pretended to also listen and finally told him that he recognized the voice. It was that of his brother, Mordechi.

Shraga waited for him to finish praying, ran into the room and shook his son’s had warmly. But when Mordechi revealed that he had been by the Chassidim his father just stood in wide-eyed disbelief and then moved a few steps back so as not to come too close to a suspected heretic.

But he listened to what his son had to say.

It seems the letter of the Rebbe was working. Shraga gave his son a room in his house so he could do what he wanted and didn’t tell anyone what had happened. His opposition was wearing away but he was a long way from being a Chassid.

Until the argument.

It wasn’t so clear exactly what they argued about but one thing led to another and Shraga’s wife demanded a divorce. Shraga, not one to back down, countered that nothing would please him more and announced that they would go to Vilna, the seat of great Talmudic scholarship, and officially separate.

But his wife refused. She wanted a divorce but the only one she would accept to do the ceremony was none other than Rebbe Shneur Zalman the head of the Chassidim!! Where she got this idea from was also not clear but she was adamant!

At first Shraga refused. He explained passionately, tried to appeal to reason, to loyalty, to mercy but for naught.

He was trapped!

Two weeks later they were standing before the door of the Rebbe, the door opened and they entered. Immediately when Shraga looked into the Rebbe’s eyes he knew that this was a true Torah genius and when the Rebbe began speaking he was overwhelmed with his holiness.

The Rebbe heard their claims and complaints and within just moments made them see that that there was absolutely no substance to their argument what so ever. In fact he left them wondering if perhaps the only reason they fought was to bring them to the Rebbe.

Shraga and his wife left the room feeling that it was their wedding day when suddenly Shraga remembered his brother Zelig and he began to cry.

He went back to the Rebbe’s door and knocked. A voice from inside the room told him to enter. When he did and closed the door behind him the Rebbe said.

“Nu! You are a Talmudic Scholar. When your brother, Zelig, came back from here, did you have any indication or support from the Talmud that it was permissible to beat him? To kill him?”

Shraga was crying and shaking his head ‘no’.

“Nu” Continued the Rebbe, “You are a Talmudic Scholar. Can you find in the Talmud how to get forgiveness for such a murder?” Shraga was really crying now.

“Well,” Replied the Rebbe, “I can.”

“It says in the Tractate Baba Basra (3b) that King Hordus killed the wise men of Israel because he thought they were his enemies. But when realized he was wrong he was filled with remorse and asked Rabbi Baba ben Buta what he could do to be forgiven. The Rabbi answered: ‘You killed Torah scholars and extinguished the light of the world. Therefore you must rekindle the light of the world.’ Hordus took the hint and began to beautify and decorate the Holy Temple in Jerusalem until it was the most beautiful building in the world. So too in our case” Concluded the Rebbe. “You extinguished a light so you must kindle a light. You killed a Chassid, so build a synagogue in Globak for the Chassidic community and see to it that there is a flourishing community.”

Rabbi Shraga became an ardent Chassid of the Rebbe and followed his advice. He built what was for several hundred years, until the destruction of WWII, the most magnificent Synagogue in Globak and perhaps in all Lithuania. Built for the Chassidic community that grew there due to his generosity.

This answers our questions.

The ‘angel’ of Asav is really the power behind all the pleasures and pressures of this world both inside and outside of us.

While Jacob is the ability of man to wrestle with, defeat and even transform these urges and pressures to good.

Just as, in our story, the Rebbe transformed the world outside him and Shraga his internal world.

And this is the connection to Yud Tes Kislev, the holiday of Rebbe Shneur Zalman’s redemption from imprisonment and death.

This is the holiday that began the true spreading of Chassidut in preparation to bring the Messiah (Moshiach). As the Baal Shem Tov was promised; that when your teachings (Chassidut) are spread out and learned by everyone; then the Messiah will bring total redemption; the power of Yaakov will transform the world (Asav) into blessing and joy.

This is what is implied by the name change; Yaakov implies wrestling, while Yisroel implies the days of Moshiach when we will defeat and even transform the Creation so it reveals the Creator.

It all depends on us (with the help of G-d) to do all we can, even one more good deed, word or even thought can bring…

Moshiach NOW!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

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Parsha Story: Parshas Vayishlach

Posted on December 11, 2008. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayetze, Parshas Vayishlach, Parshat Hashavua, Parshat Hashavuah, Parshat Vayishlach, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly Parshah, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:


We’d like to apologize:

Due to lateness in the week and NO update on the site, we are using last year’s Story

This week we read a strange episode in the history of Judaism; G-d changes the Patriarch Jacob’s name, “Your name will no longer be called Yaakov but Yisroel will be your name” (35:10)

And it wasn’t the first time it happened. Earlier (17:5) G-d changed Avram’s name to Abraham. But there is seemingly a big difference between them:

After Avraham got his new name he is never referred to again by the old one. But after Yaakov’s name change the Torah continues calling him Yaakov (in fact just a few sentences later (35:14) it does it!) and calls him BOTH Yaakov and Yisroel.

At first glance this makes no sense. First, why did G-d have to change names? Was it really so important?

Second, why is Yaakov called by TWO names?

And finally, and most important, what does this mean to us now?

To explain this here is a story (HaGeula #105)

Rabbi Yaakov Levkefker, today the Chabad representative in Elizabeth, New Jersey has an interesting story to tell.

Some twenty five years ago he was a new resident in the U.S.A. and wanted to apply for a ‘Green Card’; a permit to live and work in that country.

But because it was a complicated process and this Card was of the utmost importance to him he decided to get a good lawyer to guide and represent him.

So he chose an expert lawyer by the name of Mr. Ring who had been helping Chabad Chassidim in such matters for years.

And just a few days later Mr. Ring called the Rabbi and told him that he had good news; he used his influence and got an early hearing and things looked promising but they had to move quickly. They would be going to court in a week’s time.

But to Mr. Ring’s surprise Rabbi Levkefker wasn’t pleased. The date fell out within the first nine days of the Jewish month of AV which were bad luck days for the Jews especially in a non-Jewish court. They’d have to push off the meeting for a week or two.

Mr. Ring was disappointed and angry all his work was down the drain! He called Rabbi Levkefker to come to his office. He was going to tell him face to face to find another lawyer.

But when the Rabbi entered suddenly Mr. Ring remembered something that happened long ago and he changed his mind.

It was over thirty years ago. A young religious Jew of about eighteen years old came into his office, introduced himself as Rabbi Label Raskin (who later would become the Rebbe’s emissary in Morocco) and explained that the Lubavitcher Rebbe had recommended him.

Mr. Ring was very flattered. At that time he was just a few years into his practice and was surprised that a person of the fame and stature of the Rebbe even knew his name.

But then, when he got some of the details of the case he lost his enthusiasm.

It seems that this young Rabbi Raskin was already in trouble with the immigration bureau and had received a notice of deportation for many good reasons.

But the main cause of his rejection was that on his application for citizenship he described himself as nothing less than ‘The Manager of all Chabad Activities in Europe’!

Mr. Ring explained to him how ridiculous it was for him to write such a fabrication and that the only way they might possibly change their minds is if he tells the truth and says something believable. Perhaps write that that he had been the principle of a school and didn’t understand the question.

But Raskin refused and even gave two unforgettable reasons: First, he insisted that he was telling the truth and really had been in charge of all Europe. And second, the Rebbe had sent him not to hear opinions or ideas why it wouldn’t work but because he would get the Green card. So any pessimism was totally out of place.

Ring was so impressed to hear such clear and forceful words coming from such a young man and amazed to see the total devotion he demonstrated to the Rebbe that he took the case. But as things progressed he began to regret it. It became obvious that the case was surely doomed to failure.

So he made a new condition that he would only continue working if Raskin would pay after every stage of the process and not at the end as was the usual practice.

“Anyway” Mr. Ring continued the story to Rabbi Levkefker, “after a few weeks I got a date for a hearing to re-consider the case and told Rabbi Raskin the good news. But do you know what he said? Just like you, he said he couldn’t go.

“He said that the evening of the hearing fell out on a day that the Lubavitcher Rebbe would be speaking in public, which he couldn’t miss and he wanted me to go there without him.

“I thought he was nuts. At first he’s desperate to get the citizenship and then he doesn’t seem to care at all. There was no doubt in my mind that when the judges saw that he couldn’t even make it to his own trial they would for sure throw the case out of court and evict him from the U.S.A.”

“But do you know what happened? Against my better judgment and certain of failure I went to the trial without him and I got a few surprises.

“First of all the judges didn’t seem to care or even notice that my client wasn’t there. Rather they just asked me why I thought that their decision to reject Raskin’s request was a mistake. At first I was confused but then suddenly from nowhere an idea popped into my mind. In fact it was like the words just came out of my mouth without me thinking at all.

“I said, ‘Your honors. We here in the United States are accustomed to young men at the age of eighteen that are given life on a silver platter; they are supported by their parents, watch television and are truly incapable of standing under the pressure of directing and organizing international projects.

“‘But my client was born and raised in Communist Russia where life is pure hell! I’m certain that your honors can imagine the fortitude it must have taken for a young orthodox Jewish boy to succeed under the pressures and prosecutions of that oppressive government. Why, from the age of kindergarten he was probably already making life and death decisions about himself and those around him.

“‘It is precisely dealing with these obstacles that gave him the experience and the maturity necessary to direct the Chabad activities in Europe after he left Russia. So it is no wonder that it was hard for you to believe his claim at first. But I can assure you that my client was not exaggerating when he described his achievements.

“The judges were silent for a few seconds, then turned to one another for consultation and finally decided unanimously that the appeal was accepted and Raskin would get his papers.

“But the best part was when I returned and gave Raskin the good news. We were both very happy and I said half-jokingly, ‘Well Mr. Raskin, I have to admit that you have a very clever Rebbe if he knew to pick probably the only lawyer in America that could reverse a hopeless case like yours into a victory.”

“Raskin looked at me as though I was a child and said, in a tone of certainty I’ve never heard before or since then.

“‘Tell me Mr. Ring, do you really think that what you said to those judges came from your talents? Why, you know yourself that it isn’t so! It was the Rebbe who made sure that those right words would come out of your mouth that is why the Rebbe chose you!’

“The idea was ridiculous, unheard of, completely not normal but I somehow knew he was right. It was a miracle that did it. That was thirty years ago and his words are fresh in my mind as today.”

Mr. Ring took Rabbi Levkefker’s case and, needless to say, it too succeeded.

This answers our questions.

A name of a person indicates both how he (or she) affects the world and also (according to Kaballah) how that person’s soul is attached to his body. (That is why an unconscious person may be awaked by calling his name.)

So changing the name means changes the person both inside and out.

When Abraham’s name was changed it brought him from being removed and distant from the world (Av Ram) to being the spiritual ‘father’ of all mankind (17:5) which this is the purpose of the Jews: Namely to bring the entire world to worship only the Creator according to the Torah.

So he was never again called Avram.

And the other forefathers brought this purpose more and more to fruition. Especially : Yaakov-Yisroel.

‘Yaakov’ implies correcting the world from by overcoming obstacles and nature (especially one’s own human nature) (Gen. 27:36) something like what Mr. Ring thought had happened at first.

While Yisroel means revealing the blessing of G-d in the world in a miraculous way something like what really happened to Mr. Ring; the words just ‘came to him’ and he won the case.

And we need both names; i.e. both types of service of G-d:

Like Yaakov we need to use all our talents and all the resources in the world to do the Creator’s will; do it all ourselves.

But like Yisroel we must realize that the results of our efforts are really not from us; they are miraculous blessings of G-d; and success is assured!

And it is only through the combination of these two approaches to life that we can transform the world into a joyous, meaningful, blessed place fulfill all the promises given to the forefathers and bring the complete redemption

Moshiach NOW!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

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The Parshah in a Nutshell: Parshas Vayeitzei (AKA: Vayeitze)

Posted on December 4, 2008. Filed under: A Parsha Story, Jewish Customs, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayetze, The Parsha in a Nutshell, The Parshah in a Nutshell, The Truth, Torah, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


The Parshah in a Nutshell

(A Summary of the Parsha Story)

Brought to you by:

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayeitzei (AKA: Vayeitze)

Genesis 28:10-32:3

The Parshah in a Nutshell


Genesis 28:10-32:3

Jacob leaves his hometown Be’er Sheva and journeys to Charan. On the way, he encounters “the place” and sleeps there, dreaming of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending on it; G-d appears and promises that the land upon which he lies will be given to his descendents.

In the morning, Jacob raises the stone on which he laid his head as an altar and monument, pledging that it will be made the house of G-d.

In Charan, Jacob stays with and works for his uncle Laban, tending Laban‘s sheep. Laban agrees to give him his younger daughter Rachel — whom Jacob loves — in marriage, in return for seven years’ labor. But on the wedding night, Laban gives him his elder daughter, Leah, instead — a deception Jacob discovers only in the morning. Jacob marries Rachel, too, a week later, after agreeing to work another seven years for Laban.

Leah gives birth to six sons — Reuben, Shimon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun — and a daughter, Dinah, while Rachel remains barren.

Rachel gives Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, as a wife to bear children in her stead, and two more sons, Dan and Naphtali, are born.

Leah does the same with her handmaid, Zilpah, who gives birth to Gad and Asher.

Finally, Rachel’s prayers are answered and she gives birth to Joseph.

Jacob has now been in Charan for fourteen years and wishes to return home, but Laban persuades him to remain, now offering him sheep in return for his labor.

Jacob prospers, despite Laban’s repeated attempts to swindle him. After six years, Jacob leaves Charan in stealth, fearing that Laban would prevent him from leaving with the family and property for which he labored.

Laban pursues Jacob, but is warned by G-d in a dream not to harm him. Laban and Jacob make a pact on Mount Gal-Ed, attested to by a pile of stones, and Jacob proceeds to the Holy Land, where he is met by angels.

*** Above portions were copied from ***

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*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

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Parsha Story: Parshas Vayeitzei / Vayeitze

Posted on December 4, 2008. Filed under: A Parsha Story, a Rabbi Bolton Story, a Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Jewish Customs, Parshas Vayeitzei, Parshas Vayetze, Rabbi Bolton Story, Rabbi Tuvia Bolton Story, Story by Rabbi Bolton, The Parshah Story, The Truth, Torah, True, Truth, Weekly Parsha, Weekly sedra, Weekly Sedrah | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


A Parsha Story by:

Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

On this week’s Parsha:

Vayeitzei (AKA: Vayeitze) – 5769

This week’s Torah portion tells us how Jacob, the last of the three founders of Judaism, was tricked repeatedly by his father-in-law Lavan into marrying a woman he didn’t want and working over ten years without pay.

This is definitely not so clear.

The Torah is a book of G-dly instruction, every letter, word and sentence holds hundreds of lessons in life. What is the purpose of telling us how Jacob was tricked so severely and ‘wasted’ so many years of his life?

To understand this here is a story that was told by the keynote speaker; Rabbi Moshe Bryski, in this year’s massively successful ‘Chabad Shliach’ Convention in New York.

A ‘Chabad Shliach’ is an emissary of a great man called ‘the Lubavitcher Rebbe’ or as he is often referred to ‘The Rebbe’. The Rebbe took upon himself to make sure that every Jew in the world, without exception, learns and takes to heart what Torah, G-d and Judaism really are.

In order to accomplish this he personally sent thousands of his pupils or ‘Shluchim’ throughout the world to do the job and Tabbi Bryski is one of them.

He gave a good example of how G-d helps Shluchim to do their job and told the following story:

One of the holiest holidays in Judaism is the two day holiday of Rosh HaShanna (Jewish New Year). Jews spend much time in Synagogue asking G-d to make the world into a good, blessed, happy place and the peak of the holiday is when the Ram’s Horn (called a Shofar) is sounded.

This commandment of ‘Blowing the Shofar’ is perhaps the most ‘Jewish’ commandment in the Bible. There are many heart- rending stories of Jews risking their lives throughout the generations to perform this commandment; smuggling shofars into concentration camps etc.

On Rabbi Bryski’s first Rosh HaShanna in his then brand-new Chabad House in California some fifty people attended services. He was overjoyed with the success and happily announced that after the meal and afternoon services, anyone that wanted could accompany him in the ritual of ‘Tashlich’ (which consists of walking to the nearest river or lake and saying a short prayer).

About half of his new congregation agreed to go with him, some from nostalgia (perhaps they remembered grandpa doing it) others from curiosity and several hours later they met at the Rabbi’s house and set off.

It was about an hour’s walk, but it was a pleasant day and half way there one of the group members claimed he knew of a ‘shortcut’ they could take through a housing development.

It ended up not being a shortcut at all and as they were trying to find their way out they noticed an old woman on crutches standing in the street waving and saying something to them.

As they approached her feeble voice became audible. “Ahhh! Thank G-d!! Thank G-d!! You are a miracle!! Just what I prayed for!! Baruch HaShem (Hebrew for Thank G-d).”

They all greeted here with a happy holiday and she related that she had just undergone an operation on her legs and it was the first Rosh HaShanna in her life that she had been unable to walk to Synagogue to hear the blowing of the Shofar. So she prayed to G-d for a miracle and .. “Here you are!! G-d sent me a Rabbi so I could hear Shofar!

But Rabbi Bryski didn’t have a shofar! He didn’t think he would need it and . He had left it in the synagogue!!

He began to feel bad. He should have thought of this! What type of ‘Shliach’ was he?! Emissaries of the Rebbe all over the world take to the streets with Shofars on Rosh HaShanna and give hundred’s of thousands of Jews a chance to hear the G-dly sound. And he . Forgot!

But what could he do? It was too late to walk back to get a Shofar in time to do the commandment (which is only done in the day). He wouldn’t make it.

So he apologized profusely, gave the woman all sorts of blessings; for a speedy recovery, for a good, happy, healthy new year, for much good news etc. etc. and explained that really she is exempt from the commandment anyway because it’s impossible for her to attend services etc. etc.

The woman understood, blessed the Rabbi in return and they bade each other a happy new year and parted ways.

But Rabbi Bryski felt really bad. He had failed! It was like a soldier forgetting his gun! He had to make it up.

The next day after morning services instead of going home to eat the holiday meal he told his wife what he had to do, took a Shofar and went back to the housing project to find the woman.

It wasn’t easy. He didn’t know her name, he forgot to ask her, and it was the first day she had been out of the house since her operation so saying she was on crutches wasn’t much of an identifying sign but after almost an hour of asking and searching he was directed to her door.

But he was in for a very unpleasant surprise.

An old man with a scowling face opened the door, took one look at him and almost yelled “Whad-ya-want!”

“Hi! Happy Rosh HaShanna!” the Rabbi said, forcing a smile. “I’m Rabbi Bryski and I met your wife on the street yesterday. She’s on crutches, right?”

“WHADAYAWANT!” the old man yelled.

“Well” The Rabbi answered timidly pulling out the small ram’s horn from his pocket. “I just wanted to sound the Shofar for .. ”

“Go home!!” He mumbled and slammed the door in the Rabbi’s face!

Rabbi Bryski couldn’t understand what happened but with no alternative he hung his head and turned around to leave. He had failed again!

Suddenly he heard a window slide open and an old woman’s voice creaked: “Rabbi! Ohhh! Am I glad to see you!! Did you come to blow the Shofar for me?”

The Rabbi walked to the window and almost whispered.

“Yes but someone, I think it was your husband, just told me to leave! He even slammed the door in my face. Maybe I should just

“Ahhh! That’s my husband Max. I’ll talk to him. Just don’t go away. Max is angry but I’ll talk to him.”

Sure enough, a minute or two later the door opened and Rabbi Bryski entered. He tried to be as pleasant as possible to Max, who was standing there looking to a side. As soon as the Rabbi was completely in Max just went into the kitchen and closed the door.

The Rabbi took out his shofar, the woman covered her head, said the blessings and the ancient sounds of the Ram’s horn filled the room.

The old woman dried her eyes, thanked him profusely and explained.

“Listen Rabbi, please don’t be angry with my husband. He’s very mad at you religious people and, well, I don’t know but maybe he’s right. You see, we have a son. A handsome boy, brilliant! He’s the apple of our eye! Max is crazy about him. But a year ago our son got religious.

“That’s right, he started getting really serious about being Jewish and. Well. now he won’t even come to eat by us! He says we aren’t kosher for him and now we never see him anymore. We tried to talk to him, to his friends, to his Rabbis but they don’t want to talk. So Max got really mad. That’s why he didn’t let you in!”

Rabbi Bryski got a brainstorm. He asked the woman to call her husband out. Max came out of the kitchen and the Rabbi asked him:

“Listen, if your son brings his own dishes and his own food and eats with you is that okay?”

Max shook his head yes.

“Listen, Max. I promise that tonight immediately after the holiday I’ll talk to your son and convince him to come here. What do you say?”

Max was happy. He almost cried as he pumped the Rabbi’s hand in gratitude.

“Now” Rabbi Bryski said “I’ll blow the shofar for you too, good?”

Max thought a few seconds, pulled his car keys out of his pocket and said. “Listen Rabbi, I got a brother that lives a few blocks down the street. He didn’t hear Shofar either. Let’s go to his house. If you want, you can drive” and tried to hand him the keys.

But the Rabbi explained that it is forbidden to drive a car on the Jewish holidays, convinced Max to walk and twenty minutes later they arrived at his brother’s home.

When his brother heard what had happened and how the Rabbi promised to fix things up he excused himself, left the house and returned ten minutes later with some twenty Jewish neighbors none of which had heard the Shofar!

If the Rabbi had ‘remembered’ his Shofar the day before none of these people would have participated in this wonderful commandment. That year was one of the best Rosh HaShanna’s in a lot of people’s lives.

This answers our question:

G-d created (and creates constantly) this beautiful, complicated, miraculous world and all the people in it for a purpose; that all mankind realize how good G-d is, how close He is to us and how much He loves and cares for EACH and ALL of His creations.

And this is what the Jews were ‘chosen’ for; to realize this by themselves and to teach it to the world. Or, in the language of ‘Chabad’ teachings; ‘To Elevate the Creation’.

But it isn’t so simple; as Jacob in this week’s Torah portion and Rabbi Bryski almost 4,000 years later, discovered.

Sometimes the only way to fix the world up is to let G-d take over. And often this takes time.

Indeed time itself is one of the aspects of creation that must be elevated.

And this is why Jacob’s mission took so long. Indeed, because of his patience he gave birth to the twelve Tribes that were to become the nation of Israel.

This is very relevant to us today.

Ours is the generation of Moshiach.

Moshiach will be a Jewish leader exactly like the Lubavitcher Rebbe; he will bring all the Jews back to Judaism and ‘elevate’ the entire world. Including ‘time’.

And the Lubavitcher Rebbe said repeatedly The ‘Time’ has arrived! Now even one good deed, word or even thought can tip the scales.

It is up to us to do all we can, or even one thing more, to make the world a better, more holy place and reveal

Moshiach NOW!

Copyright © 1999-2008 Rabbi Tuvia Bolton of OhrTmimim.Org/torah

All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction or copying of this material shall occur without prior permission.

We recommend that you visit them for more info…

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

By the way, You, too, can help hasten the coming of Moshiach, by doing ONE more Mitzvah. ***

*** We WANT Moshiach, Now!!! ***

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

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