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Please daven for HaRav Slanger, Zvi Dov ben Sheva, who is need of Rachamei Shamayim
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“Blessed is the person who finds wisdom and the man who attains understanding, for it is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (Mishlei 3:13-14). “Wisdom is preferable to gold because in financial exchanges, if you exchange gold for silver your gold is gone, but when a person says to his friend, ‘Teach me your chapter and I will teach you my chapter,’ each one obtains fresh knowledge while holding on to the old, so that afterwards each one has two chapters” (Rashi ibid., loose translation). The esteemed visitor this morning in A...
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Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 -  It is with deep sadness that BaltimoreJewishLife.com (BJL) informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Chaiya Drabkin, a’h. Levaya will take place Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 at Levinson's at 12:00 PMKevurah at Agudath Israel Cemetery - RosedaleShiva will be observed at 6302 Pimlico Road Baltimore, MD 21209Shacharis 7:30 AMMincha/Maariv: 4:50 PMVisiting Hours: After Shacharis through 12 PM....2:00 PM - 6:00 PM....8:00 PM - 10:30 PMMotzaei Shabbos 7:00 - 10:30 PMPlease respect the family and adhere to these times for visiting Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
Berlin - German authorities have rejected a former Auschwitz death camp guard's bid for clemency, removing the final barrier to him serving his sentence for accessory to murder. Lueneburg prosecutors' spokeswoman Wiebke Bethke said Wednesday her office had rejected former SS sergeant Oskar Groening's clemency request filed earlier this week. She said regulations prevented her from releasing any further details. The 96-year-old was convicted in Lueneburg in 2015 as an accessory to the murder of 300,000 Jews and sentenced to four years in prison. He hasn't yet spent any time behind bars because of the appeals process. Germany's highest court rejected his last legal appeal in December. Hannover prosecutors, who have been handling his case, are expected to soon s...
DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge's ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an appeals court issues a decision. Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing that they were appealing the Jan. 9 ruling by a federal judge preventing President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The appeal was filed with the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a separate news release, the agency said it planned to file documents seekin...
WASHINGTON –  The Department of Homeland Security will be working with states to ensure they follow proper protocols when issuing safety alerts and can quickly retract incorrect alerts, like Hawaii's warning of a ballistic missile over the weekend, Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Tuesday. Sen Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, said it's clear that human error initiated the false alert. But she worries that system failures allowed it to go uncorrected for too long, nearly 40 minutes. "That seems to point to some communication and other types of failures we ought to be addressing," Hirono said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining DHS. Hawaii residents received cellphone alerts Saturday warning of an incoming ballistic missile strike. State officials later said s...
More than 40 Jews, including several rabbis, were detained at the Temple Mount Wednesday and were later expelled during a tour of the compound. The incident apparently followed a provocation by Arab visitors on the Mount which was directed at the group. A confrontation ensued, prompting police to intervene and remove the Jews from the holy site. Attorney Nati Rom of the Honenu legal aid organization said "there are over 40 detainees at the police station in Beit Eliyahu in the Old City. The group was attacked by Arabs and Waqf members who began verbally attacking the group, as well as shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and more. "Some of the members of the group called back Shema Yisrael, and the police began to use violence against the group. There are rabbis, public...
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday during his state visit to India that the Spike missiles deal is back on the table, after it was announced a few weeks ago that the deal, worth half a billion dollars, was canceled. “They are reauthorizing the Spike deal. We are going in a very positive direction," Netanyahu said during a press conference in India. "There is a process ahead. Before we came the deal was taken off the table and during this current visit we have returned it to the table.” PM Netanyah with his wife Sara and PM Modi in Ahmedabad, Gujarat(Photo: Reuters)   The lucrative deal was also regarded as further evidence of tightening Israeli ties with India and was supposed to be signed following a negotiation in 2016. As part of the deal, t...
President Donald Trump ordered a CNN correspondent out of a meeting at the Oval Office Tuesday, after the reporter asked whether the president believes immigration should be based on race. The incident took place during a press briefing in the Oval Office, as President Trump met with Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev. During the press briefing, CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta peppered President Trump with a series of racially-charged questions relating to allegations by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin that the president had lamented that a disproportionate number of immigrants to the US came from “sh**hole countries”. President Trump and others present during the meeting later denied the claim that the preside...
As parents, there are times where we can feel like we are drowning. For some, it’s having a handful of kids under the age of six. For some, it is trying to figure out how to pay next month’s grocery bill, the babysitter, and the frozen pipe that suddenly burst. And for some, it is navigating the murky waters of the medical world. For me, it began with a phone call from the pediatrician, “Go immediately to the emergency room. Do not stop to pack a bag. I do not even understand how your baby is alive. Leave right now!!” Thus began the scariest and most overwhelming journey of my life. Sitting in the hospital room, feeling so unsure of what was happening, watching my poor sickly baby struggle against wires and machines, and be constantly pricked with needles was soul...
Military Court rules Ahed Tamimi will be detained until end of trial. 'Seriousness of allegations leave us no choice.' The Ofer Military Court of northwest Jerusalem ordered today that Palestinian Arab teenager Ahed Tamimi, who attacked soldiers in the PA village of Nabi Salih about a month ago, remain in custody through her trial. The court also ruled that her mother would likewise be detained until the end of legal proceedings against her. On December 15, 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi, her 21-year-old cousin Nour Tamimi and Ahed’s mother Nariman Tamimi confronted 2 IDF soldiers stationed in the town of Nabi Salih following the outbreak of riots in the area. In footage of the incident that went viral, the Tamimis can be seen pushing, kicking, slapping, and shouting at the ...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas VaEira - Enough!

It is easier to take Jews out of Galus than to take the Galus out of the Jews


- Chasidic Master


Ever been accused of “being your own worst enemy”?  In a world filled with real dangers, from cheating merchants to terrorists, how could such an accusation have any real merit?  Easy.  As Sol Herzig notes in a column on Aish.com, we are all confronted in our lives by the, “…sobering fact that serenity and joy are natural states for all of us…”  However, he is quick to point out that we needn’t fear the imminent loss of our treasured discontent, there are any number of methods we can – and do! – employ to ensure that we remain miserable.


I am not a man much enamored by “pop psychology” or “feel good” philosophies that dominate our modern culture.  Quite the contrary.  The superficiality of much of our times disturbs me more than I can say.  But I also know our tradition teaches that God deemed His creation to be good and that we are to enjoy creation and our existence.  Even more to the point, our failure to find joy – to get out of our own way – leaves us vulnerable to real dangers and profound misery.  A determined and internalized sense of galus diminishes us and God. It is powerfully true that we, as Jews, have been victimized too often in history but we are not victims!  We weaken ourselves by continuing to think of ourselves as such.


Even our archetypal experience of victimization – our enslavement in Egypt – needed to be shrugged off before we could realize the promise of freedom God had for us.


“…and I shall take you out from under the burdens (sivlot) of Egypt” (Ex. 6:6)


The Hebrew verb li’sbol means “to suffer”. God promises that He will remove us from the burdens, from the suffering, that was a constant of our existence in MitzrayimLi’sbol also means “to tolerate”.   With this understanding in mind, Rebbe R’ Bunim comments that despite their backbreaking labor, the Children of Israel came to “tolerate” their situation.  In their perspective, slavery was the natural state of being.  They became blind to how terribly bitter it was.  As a result, God had to free them not only from their physical slavery but from their tolerance of their slavery.


Tolerance of evil is worse than the evil itself.


How easy it is to become benumbed to our discomfort!  So much so that we’d rather continue our misery than subject ourselves to the challenge and uncertainty of change and the hope of betterment.  We know from countless studies that long-term prisoners are reluctant to leave their prison cells to face the “outside world”.   So too were the Jews reluctant to leave their “prison” in Egypt. 


As slaves, we didn’t have to “think”, we didn’t have to “risk”, we didn’t have to “feel” honest and true feelings.  All was decided for us.  No uncertainty.  Just burden, to which we became tolerant.   Imagine!  We tolerated – invited – the burden of slavery as though it was our appropriate lot in life!  If it is possible to become tolerant of sivlos Mitzrayim how much more is it to become tolerant of the everyday burdens and challenges, we all confront today!


R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk proclaimed that the first step towards freedom is the willingness to rebel against slavery.  Before being led to Sinai, B’nai Yisrael had to accept God’s great gift of freedom from their savlanut – their tolerance to their slavery.  This, the freedom from tolerance, is the ultimate foundation for geula.  There can be no redemption until galus is utterly rejected.  Indeed, it is this understanding that prompts the Chidushei HaRim to teach us that the posuk should read, “I will deliver you from being tolerant of Egypt.” 


* * *




In last week’s parasha, the Children of Israel criticize Moshe and Aaron for angering Pharaoh by calling for their freedom. They have become so inured to their slavery that they would rather continue as slaves than sacrifice for their freedom.  They had become like the beaten down and despondent worker who faces his miserable shop foreman with a shrug, “What else can I do?  This is my life.”  The necessary implication being, “This is the life I deserve.”


No!


That is not “a life”.  That is slavery.  It is addiction.  It is the antithesis of God’s desire that we enjoy the power and grace of geula!  The slave, the addict, the downtrodden and miserable want only their daily bread, their drug, the inexorable sameness and numbness of their existence.  They do not consider a life of spirituality and meaning. 


Our prison can be anything that benumbs us to that life of meaning.  Drugs.  Sex.  Money.  Fine cars.  Misery.  Anything that we tolerate that keeps us from enjoying the geula that God wants for us is slavery, a prison!  Our first step towards a life of meaning is to become intolerant to enslavement; to value the dignity of liberty over physical gratification; our first step is to declare without qualification, “Enough!” 


Certainly, the generation of Yetziat Mitzrayim had to say, “Enough!” before they could cross the Red Sea and enter the wilderness and, ultimately, receive the Law at Sinai.


“Enough” is more than “ouch” to the pain of the lash.  It is a declaration that the pain of the lash is not “my due”.  It is a statement of absolute refusal.  It is not a negation of what is bad but an embrace of what is good.  It is an embrace of the possibility of geulah.




* * *




If it is difficult to cry out, “Enough!” to the lash of slavery, how much more so is it to say “Enough!” to the numbing satisfactions of an everyday life?


It is told that Rav Nachum of Chernobel once stopped at an inn owned by an old Jew.  At midnight, Rav Nachum sat on the floor to conduct his Tikun Chatzos, crying so bitterly over the Churban that many of the inn’s guests were awakened by his distress. 


Trembling, the Jewish owner rushed to the Rebbe.  “Why are you crying?  Does something hurt?” 


Rav Nachum shook his head.  “I am bemoaning the Churban and the bitter galus.” 


The innkeeper was confused.  “What Churban?  What galus?  What is all the grief about?”


“You don’t know?” Rav Nachum asked.  “Our Temple in Jerusalem was razed.  We were exiled from our Chosen Land because of our sins.”  He studied the innkeeper.  “I am beseeching God to speedily send the Moshiach, so he brings us to Eretz Yisrael.


“Are you ready to go up to the Promised Land?”


The innkeeper shook with fear and raised a hand.  “Wait, Rebbe.  I am going to ask my wife what to do.  She will know.” He hurried away only to return soon after.  “No,” he said, clearly.  “We will not go.  It would be foolish to lose all the chickens, cows, and sheep.  No, it makes no sense to follow Moshiach and leave all this behind!”


Rav Nachum persisted. “Is it really so good here?  Often, the locals rampage, kill and plunder!”


The inn owner once again raised his hand.  “Let me ask my wife.”  Once again, he came back quickly.  “She said that this is our life and it is quite satisfactory, thank you.  She said I should tell you to pray to God to chase away all the evil locals to the Promised Land.  As for us, we will stay here with the chickens, cows and sheep.”


Imagine!  To be satisfied, to be tolerant, of a simple and vulnerable existence for the sake of a few chickens, cows and sheep! 


Foolish people!  To say, “What is so terrible?  It’s a life after all…”  How sad, how familiar a feeling, to not be able to cry out, “Enough!”  How pathetic to accept tzuros rather than embrace God’s gift of geula!


It is time for us all to turn away from the acceptance, the tolerance, the embrace of our own tzuros; to turn away from that insidious and irksome phrase, “It is what it is” (as if that is    an explanation and excuse) and say, “Enough!”  It is time that we all stop thinking a pitiful few “chickens” or “cows” justify misery.  “Enough!”


Geula awaits.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has proven himself an unconventional leader time and time again in his first year in office. Here are some of the more memorable moments from the AP reporters tasked with covering this whirlwind presidency: CAN I SHOW YOU MY BUTTON? Midway through my April 23, 2017, interview with President Donald Trump, he reached over and pressed a red button on his desk in the Oval Office. It didn't trigger a nuclear launch or send advisers scurrying into the room. Instead, a White House butler walked in with a single glass of Diet Coke on a silver tray for the commander in chief. Trump was still relatively new in office and seemed to relish the trappings of his new digs. Moments before pressing the button, in the middle of an answer about his de...
BJL Weather Information Notification System Community Schedule Changes for Schools, Organizations & Businesses Jan 17, 2018 / 1 Shevat, 5778     @8:27 AM BAIS YAAKOV ELEMENTARY PARK HEIGHTS CAMPUS Open 10:30 AM [Grades 4&5 Daven At Home - Grades 1-3 Daven In School. Hallel For Entire Upper Elementary At 11 @8:08 AM BALTIMORE CITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Open 2 Hours Late @8:08 AM BALTIMORE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Closed @7:34 AM BNOS YISROEL Drop Off Begins 9 AM - Classes @ 10 AM - Daven In School -Staff Report 9:45 AM @7:35 AM TORAH INSTITUTE Open 10 AM - Grades 3-5 Daven At Home, Hallel/Musaf In School 6-8 Breakfast In Cheder
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The following announcement was sent by Bais Yaakov of Baltimore to its parent body: Baltimore, MD - Jan. 18, 2018 - Bais Yaakov is very pleased to announce that Rabbi Shaul Engelsberg, Head of School at Derech Emunah Girls High School in Seattle, Washington, will iy"H join Bais Yaakov for the September, 2018 school year. Rabbi Engelsberg will be an important part of the expanded Middle School's educational administration as co-Principal alongside our esteemed Principal, Rabbi Naftoli Hexter. Rabbi Engelsberg is no stranger to Baltimore as he is a Musmach of Ner Yisroel.  He holds a certificate from Torah Umesorah for The Principals Fellowship, and has a Masters in Education from Johns Hopkins University. He spent over 20 years in chinuch in Detroit and Seattle and is well know...
PRAGUE (AP) — A 16th century book that belonged to Prague's Jewish community before World War II and surfaced at a New York City auction last year was brought back to the Czech Republic on Tuesday. Titled "Mikne Avram - Peculium Abrae," the recovered volume is a grammar book published in both Hebrew and Latin in 1523. It was written by Abraham ben Meir de Balmes, an Italian Jew, and published in Italy. It belonged to the library of Prague's Jewish community before the war, and it is not clear under what circumstances it disappeared. "It's an exceptional moment for us that such a rare book returns to Prague after such a long time," Leo Pavlat, director of the Jewish Museum in Prague, the legal successor to the Czech capital's pre-war Jewish community. The boo...
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Wednesday morning's commute could be slippery with a coating of snow expected. A winter weather advisory  remains in effect until 9 A.M. on Wednesday. Snow continues into early Wednesday morning with a dusting to 1 inch expected around Baltimore, and higher amounts northwest of Baltimore City. Higher elevations and colder areas well north of Baltimore could get a little more snow. The Eastern Shore is forecast to get a coating of snow. Roads will likely be slippery through Wednesday morning. Most of the snow is likely to be gone by 9 A.M. Wednesday as the storm moves out of the area.   Scott Wykoff✔@ScottWykoffWBAL See @wbalradio Video: I'm out on the 'snow patrol' on @WBALNewsNow in the Hereford Zone with a light dus...
Baltimore City police are currently searching for two robbery suspects. Around 1:10 a.m. Tuesday, Citiwatch camera monitors spotted two men robbing the 7-Eleven store on North Charles Street and East Saratoga Street, according to police. Officers arrived within one minute. "The underlying stupidity is it's a convenience store at night that doesn't have a lot of money," police spokesman Chief T.J. Smith said. Video showed the pair pulling out their guns as they entered the store. "These two bad guys didn't have a care in the world," Smith said, suggesting the two were repeat offenders. "They didn't hesitate to pull their gun out and pull the trigger on uniformed  Baltimore police officers they knew they were going to be confronting." The two suspects ope...
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A 10-year-old boy died over the weekend of complications from the flu as he was returning home from a hockey tournament in Western New York, according to officials. Nico Mallozzi, of New Canaan, Conn., started feeling sick last Thursday, but wanted to travel with his team to Buffalo for the weekend sports trip, the Stamford Advocate reports. On Sunday, his condition worsened and he left the tournament early. Mallozzi’s family only made it as far as the Catskills region before they were forced to take him to a local hospital — where he died later that day, officials said. “From the start, we have been in close contact with medical professionals, who have shared what they know about the situation,” Superintendent of Schools Bryan D. Luizzi explained Tuesday. ...
Wednesday morning's commute could be slippery with a coating of snow expected. A winter weather advisory remains in effect from 9 pm this evening to 9 am on Wednesday Snow develops Tuesday night into early Wednesday with 1-2 inches expected around Baltimore, and higher amounts northwest of Baltimore City. Higher elevations and colder areas well north of Baltimore could get a little more snow. The Eastern Shore is forecast to get a coating of snow. Roads will likely be slippery through Wednesday morning. Most of the snow is likely to be gone by 9 a.m. Wednesday as the storm moves out of the area. From the National Weather Service: ...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM EST WEDNESDAY... * WHAT...Snow expected. Plan on slippery road c...
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — 11 days after the recent winter storm, there are still travellers waiting to be reunited with their luggage from John F. Kennedy International Airport. On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a federal case out of the chaos. The New York Democrat wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation, calling on federal officials to urge foreign airlines to work better with the operators of JFK Airport after the winter weather woes cascaded into days of cancellations and delays. Five days ago, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey put its figurative foot down about the sea of luggage stranded at the airport, saying in part, “we share the public’s outrage and have directed the airlines to have all bags out o...
White House physician Ronny Jackson was slammed with an onslaught of questions regarding President Trump’s health in a bizarre press briefing on Tuesday that raised eyebrows as the press fished for maladies. Jackson said Trump was in "excellent health" after conducting the  president’s physical exam at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday, but the positive results weren’t enough for the reporters in attendance. Jackson answered questions for more than 50 minutes, running the gamut from the odd to the conspiratorial. White House correspondents asked about everything from whether Trump wears dentures to how to gauge his mental health. President Trump is berated on a regular basis for his alleged eating and sleeping habits, and many report...
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