Baltimore, MD  Daily Dvar Halacha -  Aug. 25, 2016 /  21 Menchem Av 5776 - Bathroom In The Middle Of The Night, Do I Say Asher Yotsar? 
Charleston, WV - U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin remained mum Wednesday as a pharmaceutical company run by his daughter faced mounting criticism for hiking prices on life-saving allergy injection pens. The Democratic West Virginia senator’s daughter, Heather Bresch, is CEO of Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPens. A two-dose package, costing around $94 nine years ago, rose more than 600 percent to an average cost of $608 in May, according to the Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database. Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott said Wednesday the senator had no comment right now. His silence contrasted with a growing number of leaders crying foul on the ballooning prices, including fellow senators and the presidential candidate Manchin has endorsed, Hillary Clinton. None o...
Washington - The top naval officer says four Iranian small boats harassed a U.S. Navy warship near the Persian Gulf, but no missiles were fired. The chief of naval operations, Adm. John Richardson, says the incident involving guided missile destroyer USS Nitze (NIT’-zee) reflects the greater competition the U.S. is facing at sea. A U.S. defense official says the Iranian boats approached the Nitze at high speed, in an unsafe manner. The official says the destroyer fired ten flares in the direction of the Iranian boats and sounded the ship’s whistle, but the boats ignored the warnings until they were within 300 yards of the U.S. ship. The USS Nitze was in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the incident publicl...
Ramallah, West Bank - A lawyer for a Palestinian detainee on a hunger strike for over two months says he has ended his fast. Attorney Sahar Francis says Bilal Kayed, 34, stopped his protest Wednesday after 71 days of fasting, and that there is an agreement that will see him freed in December. Kayed’s relatives say he began the fast in June after Israel ordered him held for six months without charges, immediately following completion of a 14-and-a-half-year prison term. He was arrested in 2001, at the height of an armed Palestinian uprising against Israel. Kayed, a Palestinian policeman at the time, was convicted of shooting at Israeli troops. Palestinian prisoners have used hunger strikes before. Fearing a fasting detainee’s death could spark more violence, Israel h...
Kokomo, IN - Thunderstorms and tornadoes plowed through central Indiana on Wednesday, leveling a Starbucks shop in the city of Kokomo and knocking out electricity to thousands of Indianapolis-area homes, but no injuries were immediately reported, authorities said. The National Weather Service issued a bulletin saying a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous” tornado had struck near Indianapolis, the state’s capital and largest city, and was headed east. The Weather Service also reported that a Starbucks coffee shop was demolished in Kokomo, a city of 45,000 people about 60 miles (97 km) north of Indianapolis, but said there were no immediate reports of injuries. AccuWeather.com reported that two severe thunderstorms had produced tornadoes, one just northwest...
Newark, NJ - Passenger traffic at New York’s three major airports plus Atlantic City is on a record-setting pace. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says more than 60 million travelers used Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and Kennedy airports in the first six months of 2016. Counting Atlantic City Airport, they say 62.4 million travelers passed through Port Authority airports between January and the end of June. That’s an increase of more than 6 percent over the same period in 2015. JFK, Newark and LaGuardia all set individual passenger records in the first six months of this year. JFK served about 28 million passengers, followed by Newark with more than 19 million and LaGuardia with more than 14 million. Atlantic City saw a 1.6 percent increase.
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Cape Canaveral, FL - Astronaut Jeffrey Williams has a new record for NASA under his space belt. The commander of the International Space Station marked a U.S. recording-breaking 521st day in orbit Wednesday, a number accumulated over four flights. That surpasses the 520-day record set by Scott Kelly, whose one-year space station mission ended in March. By the time Williams returns to Earth in two weeks to close out his latest half-year trip, he will have logged 534 days off the planet for NASA. His record won’t last long. Space station veteran Peggy Whitson will top that after she flies up in November for another six-month stay. She’s already at the 377-day mark for total space time, a record for a woman. And even that won’t come close to the world record of 87...
New York - An accomplished photographer who lets the public use thousands of her images of America for free has sued the Getty Images photo agency for more than $1 billion, saying it’s improperly selling her work to customers and threatening those who don’t pay. The photographer, Carol Highsmith, whose work has been featured in books, newspapers and magazines and on two postage stamps, said she became aware that Getty was selling her work in December, when she received a letter from an affiliated company accusing her of copyright infringement for using one of her own photographs on the website of her nonprofit group, the This is America! Foundation. The letter demanded a settlement payment of $120. “While we appreciate the effort of removing the material in que...
Daily Halacha
Chodesh Elul

From Rosh Hodesh Elul until after Yom Kippur  is a time of (Divine) favor.  Although, throughout the entire year,  the Holy One, blessed be He, accepts the repentance  of those who return to Him wholeheartedly,  in any case, these days (between the 1st of Elul and Yom Kippur) are more special  have been set aside for repentance,  because they are days of mercy and favor.  Because on Rosh Hodesh Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai  to receive the second set of stone tablets  and spent forty days there,  descending on the tenth of Tishrei,  which was then the finish of the atonement period1  From then on, these days were set aside as days of favor,  and the tenth of Tishrei as the Day of Atonement. 2  It is the custom in most places  to fast on the day preceding Rosh Hodesh Elul  and follow the order of prayer (termed) the Minor Day of Atonement  to prepare one's heart to repent.  If Rosh Hodesh Elul falls on Shabbat,  one advances (the fast) to the Thursday before it.  The Ari (lit; The Rabbi, our master, Rabbi Isaac Luria), may his memory be a blessing,3  wrote:4  ''Surely (a man) does not lie in ambush (to murder), but G-d  (who) caused this to happen, then I will provide for you (a place for you to take refuge)''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul.  To tell (us) that this month  is (like a place of refuge,) a time of favor when (G-d) accepts (our) repentance  on the sins done throughout the year.  It also alludes to (sins) committed inadvertently  that also need repentance during this month  The Rabbis5 have also noted6  ''And G-d, your Lord, will circumcise  your heart and the hearts of your descendants''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  and also7  ''I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  and also8  ''a person (sending gifts) to his friend and (giving) presents to the poor.''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  (The verses) allude to the three things, which are repentance  prayer, and charity,  which must be done eagerly in this month.  ''And G-d will circumcise...'' alludes to repentance;  ''I am for my Beloved...'' alludes to prayer,  which is ''a song of lovers'';  ''Sending gifts...''  alludes to charity. (KSA 128:1)
1) For the sin of the Golden Calf.
2) Moses went up to Mt Sinai for 3 consecutive 40 day periods; for the first forty days, Hashem taught him the entire Torah and gave him the first set of stone tablets, which Moses subsequently smashed when he came down the mountain and saw the Jews dancing around the Golden Calf; Moses then spent the next 40 days begging Hashem to forgive the Jewish People; the final forty days was spent receiving the second set of tablets.
3) Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), renowned as the greatest kabbalist of modern times, is commonly known as the ARI, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzhak - the G-dly Rabbi Isaac.
4) To explain the verse Exodus 21:13.
5) lit; the explainers of lists.
6) Deuteronomy 30:6
7) Song of Songs 6:3
8) Esther 9:22

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Baltimore - Baltimore police, using money provided by a wealthy, anonymous donor, have been surveilling the city with a manned plane loaded with cameras that can view 30 square miles. The existence of the program was made public Tuesday in a lengthy report by Bloomberg Businessweek. At a news conference on Wednesday, Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith repeatedly insisted to reporters that the test program, which began in January, was not a secret. “It’s not a secret spy plane,” Smith said as reporters pressed him for an explanation for the lack of information. “There’s no conspiracy to not disclose it.” The test program lets the department evaluate the effectiveness of a potential tool in the department’s crime-fighting arsenal, he s...
Erez Crossing - The last few animals remaining at the Khan Yunis Zoo arrived at the Erez Crossing on Wednesday morning to be brought into Israel in an intense effort to rehabilitate the animals and find them a better home. “We believe that this is an important mission and we are doing it out of a desire to help these animals, which did not receive the care that they needed,” said Erez Crossing Director Shlomo Tzavan. The operation, dubbed “Operation Safari,” brought 15 animals into Israel from the Khan Yunis Zoo. The animals were sedated and brought in specially designed cages. The Agriculture Ministry said that the wildlife would be taken to zoos in Jordan, South Africa, Moshav Ben Shemen, and the Ramat Gan Safari. Operation Safari was conducted in coo...
Parsha Hashavua
Watch: Daily Dvar Halacha - Aug., 25, 2016 - 21 Menachem Av - Bathroom In The Middle Of The Night, Do I Say Asher Yotsar?

 Baltimore, MD  Daily Dvar Halacha -  Aug. 25, 2016 /  21 Menchem Av 5776 - Bathroom In The Middle Of The Night, Do I Say Asher Yotsar? 



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New York - If the U.S. presidential election were held today, Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the key swing states of Florida, Ohio and Virginia and have a 95 percent chance of beating Republican Donald Trump to become America’s first female president, according to the Reuters/Ipsos States of the Nation project. The project, which combines opinion polls with an analysis of voting patterns under different election scenarios, shows Clinton currently beating Trump in the popular vote by six percentage points and ahead in 19 states, including most of the larger-population ones that heavily influence the outcome of the election. At the moment, Clinton would win at least 268 votes in the Electoral College, the body that ultimately chooses the next president, just two shy of ...
Baltimore, MD - Aug. 24, 2016 - Unfortunately, the condition of Rephoel Daniel Mordechai ben Chaya Shifra is extremely critical and he is in need of Rachamei Shamayim. There will be an Atzeres Tefillah at Mercaz Torah U'Tefilah this evening, Aug. 20, following Mincha/Maariv along with community Rabbonim. Mincha/Maariv is at 7:45pm and the Atzeres Tefillah will be at approximately 8:10pm. It is our hope that are tefillos will bring about a Refua Shlaima B'Karov.
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Baltimore, Md -  I want to take a moment to thank our future councilman, Issac "Yitzy" Schleifer. My family has been dealing with issues regarding the 3 way stop sign in front of my house. After almost a decade of fighting city hall, some solutions were proposed and we were hopeful to reach a conclusion to make the intersection by my house safer. Yesterday and today the city and the department of transportation began taking measures which would not only make things more dangerous but in complete contrast to what was agreed upon in meetings prior to today. Things came to a head today and after trying to reach our current councilwoman, who has been MIA throughout this process and trying to reach people in charge, I waged a personal protest and didn't allow for the work to ge...
We often make reference to ‘the Ten Commandments’, those famous words uttered by G-d, that were etched into the stone tablets at Mount Sinai. The problem is there were never any ‘commandments’ uttered. In Talmudic literature they are referred to as the עשרת הדברות, the ‘Ten Expressions’ or ‘Utterances’, and never once as the עשרת המצות, the ‘Ten Commandments’.  Truth be told, even the term עשרת הדברות, ‘Ten Expressions’, appears nowhere in all of the Written Torah. The phrase, used merely three times throughout the entire Torah, to describe these utterances is: עשרת הדברים, the ‘Ten Statements’ or perhaps, ‘Ten Things’. Isn’t it strange that bo...
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Raizel Schusterman Posted this amazing story that we just had to share! “My faith in humanity restored: It’s been a long day, but a good day. My children were in day-camp and on a trip which meant that I had to stay in the Brighton area for an extra two hours with the little kids while waiting for my children’s bus from Canobie Lake Park to return. I decided to treat the two little children with a play date with a friend and her two little ones, who were also waiting for her older children to return. We decided to meet at the Artesani splash pad in Allston. After two hours of running after the two little ones pushing them on swings, feeding them a picnic dinner, and just having good old-fashioned water fun, I left the park in a hurry to go pick up my older children at ...
Far Rockaway, NY - It was an outpouring of love for a legendary figure whose life was all about that very same emotion at Agudath Israel of Long Island in Far Rockaway this morning as hundreds came to mourn Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis who died on Tuesday at the age of 80. Known for her love of Torah, yiddishkeit and her fellow Jew, Rebbetzin Jungreis earned a place in the hearts of many, serving in the role of a mother to some and as a grandmother to others, her diminutive size belying her powerful messages that emphasized the importance of Torah true Judaism. Considered by many to be a pioneer in the world of Jewish outreach, the seeds for Rebbetzin Jungreis’ work inspiring Jews to live observant lives were sown in her youth.  Rebbetzin Jungreis learned by example f...
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Akron, Ohio - Black Republicans cheer Donald Trump for a newfound outreach to African-Americans, but say the GOP presidential nominee must take his message beyond arenas filled with white supporters and venture into the inner cities. Many rank-and-file black voters, meanwhile, dismiss the overtures as another racially charged pitch from a campaign aimed exclusively at whites, from Trump’s emphasis on “law and order” to his withering critiques of President Barack Obama, the nation’s first black chief executive. It was Trump in 2011 who fiercely challenged Obama’s U.S. birth. “Any minority who would vote for him is crazy, ought to have their head examined,” said Ike Jenkins, an 81-year-old retired business owner in the predominantly black...
New York - Three hospitals in New York’s Mount Sinai Health System will pay $2.95 million to settle Medicaid fraud charges for taking two years to repay more than $844,000 of improper billings that had been flagged by a whistleblower, authorities said on Wednesday. The accord resolves claims that Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, Mount Sinai Roosevelt and their former Continuum Health Partners venture violated federal and state False Claims Acts by failing to repay the funds within 60 days, resulting in “reverse false claims.” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in Manhattan said the case arose after Continuum had been alerted by Robert Kane, a technical director for operations, to a software glitch that caused the erroneous billing of 444 claims t...
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Jerusalem - The Israeli military on Wednesday cleared its forces of wrongdoing in three deadly incidents that took place during the 2014 Gaza war — including an airstrike that killed 15 members of a single family. Israel’s investigative process is at the heart of a Palestinian case to press for war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Palestinians say that Israel has a poor record of prosecuting wrongdoing in its ranks. Wednesday’s announcement was likely to add to those claims. In a statement Wednesday, the military said it had closed a total of seven investigations without filing charges after a special team collected testimony from Gaza residents and Israeli officers. The deadliest incident involved an airstrik...
Washington - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is scheduled to receive a pre-election briefing from U.S. intelligence officials on Saturday, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. Clinton, a former secretary of state, will receive the briefing, an overview of foreign policy and international security issues facing the United States, from career officials in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the source said. CNN reported that the briefing would be given to Clinton at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s field office in White Plains, New York, not far from the Chappaqua, New York, residence she shares with her husband, former President Bill Clinton. Representatives for relevant government agencies and Clinton’s ...
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