And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them (Exodus 21:1). It is in this week’s Parsha that the Jewish people transition from the surreal and supernatural to the ordinary, yet important details of building a nation and a just society.  Mishpatim is filled with detailed laws regarding damages, fair treatment for servants, charity and looking out for the needs of the underprivileged.  These laws serve to create an atmosphere of justice, fairness and compassion.  The Talmud (Sanhedrin 7b) notes an interesting juxtaposition between the first verse in this wee...
Baltimore, MD - Feb. 23, 2017 - In the 3rd aliyah (section) of Parshas Mishpatim, many interpersonal laws are discussed, and Hashem promises that He will listen to those who are oppressed. The giving of the Torah is surrounded by these mishpatim (laws), indicating their significance. The way that we care for each other is of paramount importance, as Hashem does not want a dynamic is which one person is taking advantage of another. Hashem Himself is so great, but concerns Himself with the every individual, and we must do the same, expressing our care and concern for each person. Click here to  listen
Tnuva Israel has issued a product recall due to the fear of small pieces of plastic possibly being inside 3 liter containers of 3%, 4% and 6.5% fat yogurt. The product in question has a ‘best used by’ date of February 25, 2017 to April 2, 2017. The barcodes are 7290000045771, 7290014759237, 7290004132286. The problem is local and it was corrected the moment it was detected. Tnuva reports it immediately reported the incident to the Health Ministry and the company is working to pick up the product in question. Anyone who purchased the product may phone 1-800-666-244 for consumer service.
Mexico’s mounting unease and resentment over President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown are looming over a gathering of U.S. and Mexican leaders that the U.S. had hoped would project a strong future for relations between neighbors. There is no shortage of tension points as U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly meet Thursday with top Mexican officials. After all, it’s Kelly who’s tasked with executing Trump’s plan to target millions for possible deportation, and Tillerson who must explain it to the rest of the world. As the pair arrived in Mexico City, the two countries seemed much farther apart than their close geographical proximity would suggest. “I think Secretary Tillerson and Secretary Kelly are goin...
An Indiana lottery official says the sole winning ticket for an estimated $435 million Powerball jackpot was sold in an Indiana city. Hoosier Lottery spokesman Dennis Rosebrough says the name of the business in Lafayette where the winning ticket was sold will be announced Thursday. Lafayette is about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis. Rosebrough says the winner has 180 days to claim the prize and can claim anonymously in Indiana through a limited liability corporation or other means. Rosebrough says the single winning ticket means “no one will have to share.” The winning numbers in Wednesday’s drawing were 10-13-28-52-61 and Powerball 2. Powerball is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The top prize falls to $40 milli...
On Thursday afternoon 28 Shevat at 5:00PM, there will be a gatheirng in Jerusalem’s Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva to mark nine years since the terror attack that claimed the lives of eight kedoshim, HY”D. On March 6, 2008, an Arab terrorist entered the yeshiva building and murdered eight talmidim. Murdered in the attack were Neria Cohen (15) of Yerushalayim; Segev Peniel Avichayil (15) of N’vei Daniel in Gush Etzion; Yonatan Yitzchak Eldar (16) of Shilo in Shomron; Yehonadav Chaim Hirschfeld (18) of Kochav HaShachar in Shomron; Yonai Lifshitz (17) of Yerushalayim; Doron Meherete (26) of Ashdod; Avraham David Moses (16) of Efrat in Gush Etzion; and Ro’i Roth (18) of Elon Moreh in Shomron HY”D. The memorial event will be addressed by roshei yeshiva and rabbo...
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Such an odd sequence, to pledge to “do” before hearing what it is that you are to do!  When a people makes such a pledge before a king or a tyrant, the only promise that will ensue is their own slavery.  There is only one leader before whom such a pledge should ever be undertaken – the Lord God.  Exactly before whom the Children of Israel made their eternal pledge and promise, “Na’aseh v’nishma!” He took the Book of the Covenant and read it in earshot of the people, and they said, “Everything that Hashem has said, Na’ase v’nishma!”  We Jews declared our resolve to do and obey whatever God commands – even before the commandments were issued!  This pledge, this bold declaration, has remained the...
MK (Yahadut Hatorah) Uri Maklev feels that instead of providing a service to patients and their families, hospital parking lots have become a source of hefty income for hospitals at the expense of patients. During a Knesset discussion on the topic, Maklev explained there is a serious lack of hospital parking in these lots, and for many, they are too expensive. He feels the fees must be reduced to permit patients and visitors to park. He is calling for a comprehensive study to establish the costs of all hospital parking, citing for families of persons who are admitted for a prolonged period, the accumulative cost often become prohibitive. Maklev calls for increasing the current standard, which is 1.5 parking spaces per patient, which he feels is insufficient today. He turns to the Israel ...
Daily Halacha
Hilchos Chanukah

During the Second Temple, the Greek empire reigned (over Israel),1  and they (the Greeks) passed decrees against the Jews and (tried) to erase their religion,  and did not allow them to carry out Torah (study) or the commandments.  They put their hands on their property and their daughters.  They entered the Temple, destroyed and made the pure unclean.  The Jews were in great distress because of them and were much oppressed, until the G-d of their fathers had mercy on them, delivering them from their hands and saving them.  Then overcame, the sons of the Hasmonean High Priest, (the Greeks) and killed them  and saved the Jews from their hands.  They appointed a king from the Priests,  and the kingdom of Israel was restored  for more than 200 years until the destruction of (the) second (Temple).  When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them,  it was the 25th of Kislev2  when they entered the Sanctuary (inner room) and did not find pure (olive) oil in the Temple,  except one jar sealed with seal of the High Priest,  and it did not contain enough to light except for one day only.  But they lit from it the lamps of the Menorah3 for eight days,  until they could crush olives and produce a (new quantity) of pure oil.  For these reasons, decreed the Sages of that generation  that these eight days  that begin on the 25th Kislev, will be days of joy and praise.  One lights on them lamps at evening at the entrance to the houses,  every evening of the eight nights to show off and demonstrate the miracle.  These days are called ''Hanukah''  that is to say ''they rested'' (chanu) on the ''25'' ('th of the month)  because on the 25th they rested from their enemies.  and also because of those days  they (re)-dedicated the house (Temple) which their foes had defiled.  Also some say that it is a commandment to increase slightly the festive meals on Hanukah.  Another reason is because the work of (building) the Sanctuary (in the desert) was completed in these days.  One should tell one's children the story of the miracles  that were done for our fore-fathers in those days,  (see Josephus)  However, these meals are not considered as part of the commandment  unless one says at the meal songs of praise.  One should increase charity in these Hanukah days,  for this can help mend any defects in our souls.  This charity, should be given particularly to poor Torah scholars. (KSA 139:1)
1) 352 BCE until 70 CE
2) 139 BCE
3) The Menorah was made of gold and had seven branches.

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Every year, tax refunds spark a psychological battle for millions of Americans. The payout, on average about $2,800, feels like a windfall that needs spending on something fun. But we know a more responsible track would be to pay down some bills. A good chunk of the $330 billion or so that will flow back to taxpayers in 2017 will go to overdue bills and necessities. The percentage of consumers planning to put some of their refund toward paying down debt rose to 35.5 percent, from 34.9 percent last year, according to an online survey of 7,609 taxpayers by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The percent of consumers saying they needed to put the refund toward everyday expenses fell to a record low of 20.9 percent. Some 48 percent of consumers across all age...
Rosh Yeshivas Chevron Givat Mordechai HaGaon HaRav Nachman Tucker Shlita, 77, has been hospitalized for a number of days and is reported to be in serious condition. The rav is admitted to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. the tzibur is asked to be mispallel for Nachman ben Tziporah bsoch kol cholei yisrael.
Parsha Hashavua
Rabbi Shmuel Silber on Parshas Mishpatim: Mishpatim: Appreciating the Ramp

And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them (Exodus 21:1).

It is in this week’s Parsha that the Jewish people transition from the surreal and supernatural to the ordinary, yet important details of building a nation and a just society.  Mishpatim is filled with detailed laws regarding damages, fair treatment for servants, charity and looking out for the needs of the underprivileged.  These laws serve to create an atmosphere of justice, fairness and compassion. 

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 7b) notes an interesting juxtaposition between the first verse in this week’s Parsha (mentioned above) and the last verse in Parshas Yisro; “And you shall not ascend with steps upon My altar, so that your nakedness shall not be exposed upon it (Exodus 20:23).”  The Talmud explains: 

Bar Kafra asked: ‘From where do we know the concept of hevu misunim b’din (that one must be deliberate in judgement)? The verse says, ‘you shall not ascend with steps,” and then afterwards it says, ‘These are the laws.” 

The Torah prohibits the use of stairs to ascend the altar – we must construct a ramp.  A ramp represents incremental ascension, whereas as a step must be taken all at once.  The Talmud explains that the juxtaposition of these verses teaches that just as the Kohen (priest) must ascend slowly to the top of the altar, so must the judge take his time in deciding and adjudicating the legal disputes before him.  The judge must take the time to analyze, process and review before issuing the proper verdict.  The placement of this important lesson comes at the end of Yisro, the parsha in which Moshe set up the Jewish judicial system and the beginning of Mishpatim where Moshe gives us the body of tort and interpersonal law.

But there is another lesson to be learned, a lesson that applies to us all.  Rav Chaim Shmulevitz zt’l (1902-1979) explains that the word “misunim” does not simply mean deliberate, it means patience.  The Rabbis were not simply telling us to take our time in issuing judgement; they were telling us to learn the art of patience.  Up until this point in time, whatever the people needed was given to them immediately.  They needed the sea to part – it split.  They needed food – manna came down from the heavens.  The desert was hot by day – there was constant cloud cover.  The desert was cold at night – there was a fire to warm them.  Whatever they needed – they were granted.  And it is now that God instructs Moshe to tell the Jewish people – life is a ramp.  You must take small steps to accomplish your goals.  Your growth must be incremental.  You won’t always see immediate results.  You must work on creating a just society.  But you will not be able to solve all of the problems at once.  There will be widows and orphans who you must help.  There will be the poor and hungry who you must clothe and feed.  And just when you think you have solved all of the world’s problems – you will find a whole new batch waiting at your doorstep.  And so God tells us, you must be patient.  You will accomplish, self-actualize, and grow – but it will all take time.  I have provided you with instant gratification because in your embryonic national state – this is what you needed.  But as you mature and develop – you will have to learn to wait.  You will have to learn to be misunim b’din – patient, as you try to reach your goals.

We live in a society that desires instant gratification.  We want it all and we want it now. And when we don’t get it – the process, the product or the person must be broken.  Couples have challenges in their marriage and if the therapist can’t fix it immediately there is a temptation to throw in the towel.  We take on certain responsibilities or embark on new life initiatives and if we can’t accomplish or cross the finish quickly we are ready to move on to other things.  God teaches us that patience is not a virtue, it is a necessity.  It is only if we learn the art of patience that we can see our efforts bear fruit.  It is only if we learn the art of patience that we can work through our challenges.  It is only through the power of patience that we can build ourselves and our people.  We must to learn to appreciate and navigate the ramp of life.

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Verizon Communications Inc. will test faster fifth-generation mobile broadband service in 11 markets in the first half of this year as the nation’s largest wireless carrier tries to take the lead in the 5G race. Working with equipment partners including Ericsson and Samsung Electronics, Verizon will beam 5G signals to a test group of homes and businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Miami; Sacramento, California; Seattle; and Washington, D.C., according to a statement released as part of Mobile World Congress, which starts this week in Barcelona. While 5G service isn’t expected to be commercially available until 2020, Verizon and its closest rival, AT&T, are bringing the technology out of the...
New York - Alan Colmes, the radio and television host and commentator best known as the amiable liberal foil to the hard-right Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, has died. Fox spokeswoman Dana Klinghoffer confirmed his death Thursday. Fox also aired a statement from his family saying that he died Thursday morning after “a brief illness.” Colmes was 66 and is survived by his wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley. Born to Jewish parents, Colmes was a New York City native who worked for years in radio and standup comedy before joining Fox in 1996. That same year he and the conservative Hannity began a 12-year run as co-hosts of the popular “Hannity & Colmes” program. Colmes also was an author, his books including “Thank the Liberals” and “Red, White &a...
Kiddush Levana Jan 30 10:15 am - Feb 11 4:37 am
Shevat 27
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The news spread quickly from Laniado Hospital on Thursday 27 Shevat 5777, the petira of HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Edelstein ZT”L. The rav, who served as mora d’asra of Ramat HaSharon, lost consciousness last Monday and was hospitalized in serious condition. The niftar was a brother to Rosh Yeshiva Ponevezh HaGaon HaRav Gerson Edelstein Shlita. For close to nine decades, Rav Yaakov Edelstein devoted himself to growing in Torah; both the revealed portions and the world of Toras haNistar. He was a close mekurav of the Chazon Ish ZT”L who, in 1944, chose Rav Yaakov (and his brother Rav Gershon) to be amongst the first group of six bachurim which inaugurated the new Yeshivas Ponevezh in Bnei Brak. Later, upon the passing of their father HaGaon Rav Tzvi Yehuda Edelstein Z...
The election of President Trump, and the presence of a Shomer Shabbos daughter and son-in-law, has sparked new interest in the blessing that is recited upon kings. Indeed, the issue even made it into the Annual Five Towns Brachos contest. Does we recite a blessing over President Trump? Is it just kings who have life or death in their hands, or is it even U.S. presidents? The Shulchan Aruch (OC 324:8) rules that on Jewish kings one recites the blessing, Boruch atta Hashem, elokainu melech ha’olam – sh’chalak mikvodo lirayav. On kings of the nations of the world one recites the blessing, “boruch sh’nasan mikvodo l’basar vadam.” This is based upon a passage in Brachos 58a. The blessing, it seems, is recited with Shaim uMalchus – mentioning the ...
SimchasSimchas Simcha
There were many on hand to give a last kovod to the rav of Kedar, Rabbi Yitzchak Abba Shaul z”l, who was niftar in his Jerusalem home on Tuesday night at the age of 56. During the levaya, Jerusalem Chief Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita announced that “with permission of my mechutin HaGaon HaRav Yitzchak Yosef, we appoint Rav Yaakov, his son, as the new rav of Yishuv Kedar”. Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef Shlita then gave a hesped for the niftar, citing the level of chochma he achieved in his life and how he was entirely dedicated to serving the tzibur. The niftar was a nephew of Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef the Baal Ohr L’Tzion HaGaon HaRav Abba Shaul ZT”L and was very close to Rav Amar.
On the eve of the deadline for Dakota Access pipeline protesters to vacate camps in North Dakota, the company in charge of construction said in a court filing on Tuesday that oil could start flowing in as little as two weeks – sooner than previous estimates. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners, the builder of the pipeline whose construction has sparked protests since last August over its location, said in the filing to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., that the company “estimates and targets that the pipeline will be complete and ready to flow oil anywhere between the week of March 6, 2017, and April 1, 2017.” The court filing was required as part of an ongoing legal battle that is challenging the construction at the site by Lake Oahe. North Dakot...
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Brett Hollander caught up with former Baltimore basketball high school star Tamir Goodman. He was dubbed the "Jewish Jordan" in the late 90's and garnered an incredible amount of local and national media attention. Goodman joined Brett from Israel where he currently lives with his wife and 4 children.  Goodman reflects on the media storm and what happened to him at the University of Maryland and at Towson. Brett also talks with Keith Mills who was probably first on the scene on the Tamir Goodman story. 
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Rabbi Eliyahu Yitzhak Abba Shaul Z”L, 56, was niftar on Tuesday night the eve of 26 Shevat. He was the mora d’asra of Kedar as well as the one responsible for kashrus supervision in the Gush Etzion Regional Council. Rabbi Abba Shaul was a resident of Ramat Shlomo in Yerushalayim and he reportedly went into cardiac arrest at home. EMS responded and Ichud Hatzalah personnel tried to revive him, but it was not meant to be. The rav was planning the chasenah of a daughter next month. His levaya took place on Wednesday morning at 11:00AM from the kollel of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu ZT”L at 17 Reinis in the Kiryat Moshe area of Jerusalem, where he studied for thirty years, since the first days of the kollel.
Police announce having successfully located the driver from the hit-and-run accident in Beit Shemesh that occurred on Sunday 23 Shevat at 4:00PM on Ben-Ze’ev Boulevard. A private vehicle struck a 60-year-old woman crossing in an authorized crosswalk. The victim was transported to the emergency room of Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in moderate condition. Police accident investigation technicians worked the scene in the hope of gathering clues towards locating the driver who fled the scene. On Tuesday evening the driver was located and taken into custody. The driver is a 30-year-old Beit Shemesh resident and she was arraigned on Wednesday with police requesting she be held without bail.
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