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The Frank shiva will resume in Baltimore on Tuesday, Sept. 27
Baltimore, Md - Sept. 29, 2016 - Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion was host to a by-invitation only, security briefing by the Baltimore City Police Department on Wednesday, September 28. One representative from each shul as well as community leaders were invited to attend this important in-depth briefing and update about security for the upcoming holidays in light of current events around the world. Representing the police department were Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere, Detective Jeremy Silbert, Chief Melissa Hyatt, Major Latonya Lewis, Captain Jason Yerg, Sergeant Leo Furman, Detective Bill Cu...
The issue is not so far-fetched. As it stands now, both candidates have Jewish sons-in-law. But what if we were to take things one step further? What if there were a mandate that both candidates, in the debates and in the times directly before and after, would also have to follow halacha? Let’s explore this a bit. LYING During the actual debate on Monday evening at Hofstra University, both candidates told some whoppers. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fully denied saying things that they had actually said. Regarding the prohibition found in parshas Mishpatim of “MiDvar Sheker Tirchak – stay away from a false matter (Shmos 23:7) ” we have three opinions: The Chofetz Chaim writes in his Sefer Ahavas Chesed that the verse MiDvar Sheker Tirchak is a full-blown...
Jerusalem, Israel - Sept. 29, 2016 - Inside the Israeli Knesset Building, on Thursday, the corridors were quiet. The main Chagall Hall had a desk with two chairs, ready for international visiting dignitaries to sit and sign a memory book for the former President of Israel Shimon Peres z'l.  Outside was a very different scene. Israeli flags flew at half mast, as thousands of Israelis, young and old, religious and secular, some waiting in line in the hot sun for over an hour, slowly passed by the Israeli flag draped casket of Shimon Peres z"l. One had to pass multiple security layers to reach the Knesset, but the public was invited and they came. One man had a framed photo of Peres who years ago visited his home. The youngsters from the Peace Team soccer came as a group. Bus...
On the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu’s life he gathers the entire nation one last time to initiate them into the covenant of G-d. He emphasizes how every single one of them stands before G-d equally in their responsibility to G-d and one another, each to their own ability. You are standing today, all of you, before G-d, your Lord,: the heads of your tribes, your elders, and your officers - all the men of Israel; your small children, your women, and your proselyte who is in the midst of your camp, from the hewer of your wood to the drawer of your water... Who are these ‘woodchoppers’ and ‘water carriers’ that are singled out and noted by their profession rather than by their essence? Rashi informs us that these were Canaanites who presented themselves to Moshe ...
A commuter train plowed into the bustling Hoboken rail station during the morning rush hour Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring more than 100 others, some critically, in a tangle of broken concrete, twisted metal and dangling cables, authorities said. Witnesses reported seeing one woman trapped under concrete and many people bleeding after the arriving New Jersey Transit train crashed through a barrier at the end of the track. The train came to a halt in a covered area between the station’s indoor waiting area and the platform, collapsing a section of the metal shed roof. Sources have confirmed to YWN that the train is the Pascack Valley Line, and originated in Spring Valley NY. It is train #1614. The train left Spring Valley 7:30AM. Nancy Bido, a passenger on the t...
FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday that the Justice Department gave immunity to top Hillary Clinton aide and attorney Cheryl Mills, not the bureau. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) questioned Comey on the matter at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. “Who authorized granting Cheryl Mills immunity?” Sensenbrenner asked. “It’s a decision made by the Department of Justice. I don’t know at what level inside,” Comey said. “In our investigations, if anything, any kind of immunity comes from the prosecutors, not the investigators.” Sensenbrenner then asked if Mills requested the immunity. “I don’t know for sure what the negotiations involved,” Comey said. “I believe her lawyer asked for...
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A Farewell to Shimon Peres, Israel's ninth President.President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset Chairman Yuli Edelstein lay memorial wreaths by President Peres' coffin at the Knesset Plaza. 1fd1ec51-a303-4194-b122-316d08d48ff7 from BaltimoreJewishLife.com on Vimeo.  
Former US president joins thousands at the Knesset, where the late president lies in state ahead of the funeral Friday Former US President Bill Clinton paid his respects to former Israeli president and prime minister Shimon Peres immediately after landing in Israel on Thursday, viewing the late statesman’s coffin where it lay in state at the Knesset. Clinton drove directly from Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv to the Knesset in Jerusalem, where Peres’s casket has been placed. He was welcomed to the Knesset with a “warm embrace” from President Reuven Rivlin, according to the Knesset spokesman. Rivlin, together with Speaker Yuli Edelstein, then accompanied Clinton to the Knesset plaza to pay his last respects to Israel`s ninth president. Clinton is one...
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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Organization of Israeli pilots appeals to transportation minister: ‘passengers were given an inferior product, unidentified planes, foreign technicians and pilots with unknown credentials;’ El Al: ‘The safety procedures and checks exist and the ground services are provided by El Al personnel.’ An Israeli organization of pilots is launching a campaign against El Al under the banner of “Israeli flights only with Israelis” in an effort to halt the selling of what are incorrectly believed by many Israeli passengers to be Israeli airline tickets. Over the last few months the Israeli airline El Al leased seven planes from foreign airlines and has been selling flights to various destinations including central Europe and South American as “El Al...
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas intends to attend Shimon Peres’s funeral in Jerusalem tomorrow, at the head of a PA delegation. Abbas’s office contacted the head of Israel’s civilian authority in the Palestinian territories, Yoav Mordechai, to coordinate the president’s attendance. Abbas will be joined by a delegation comprising senior officials...read more at Times of Israel
Parsha Hashavua
What if the Presidential Candidates Would be Subject to Halacha?

The issue is not so far-fetched. As it stands now, both candidates have Jewish sons-in-law. But what if we were to take things one step further?


What if there were a mandate that both candidates, in the debates and in the times directly before and after, would also have to follow halacha?


Let’s explore this a bit.


LYING


During the actual debate on Monday evening at Hofstra University, both candidates told some whoppers. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fully denied saying things that they had actually said. Regarding the prohibition found in parshas Mishpatim of “MiDvar Sheker Tirchak – stay away from a false matter (Shmos 23:7) ” we have three opinions: The Chofetz Chaim writes in his Sefer Ahavas Chesed that the verse MiDvar Sheker Tirchak is a full-blown biblical prohibition. Other Rishonim write that it should be understood as good advice, but is not fully binding. A third opinion holds that the verse was directed to judges in a court case, and not, in fact, to lying.


How do we rule? The halacha follows the view that it is a fully binding Mitzvah.


Some background now. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multinational trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.


Thus, Hillary Clinton, who denied that she had called the Trans-Pacific Partnership “the gold standard of trade deals,” would have been in violation of the prohibition. She did call it that.


She also lied about Trump paying no federal taxes. In the five year period under discussion, Trump paid taxes in 1975, 1976, 1977 but did not in 1978 and 1979. Hillary Clinton was thus in violation of MiDvar Sheker Tirchak.


Mischaracterizing what another says is also a form of lying. Hillary said that Trump rooted for the housing crisis. Obviously this was misconstruing his remarks.


LIFNEI IVER


The Torah (VaYikrah 19:14) tells us not to place a stumbling block before the blind. “You shall not curse the deaf nor place a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your G-d -I am your L-rd.” Hillary Clinton set a perfect trap for Donald Trump in regard to the Alicia Muchado issue. Alicia Machado, the former 1996 Miss Universe, had alleged that Trump called her names such as “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” after she had gained weight. Trump had bought the pageant the previous year.


Clinton knew that her raising the issue would cause an argument between Trump and Machado, and that argument would both win her votes and prevent Trump from making gains. Causing a machlokes between others is a form of Lifnei Iver – placing a stumbling block before the blind.


In the days following Monday’s debate, Trump has entered into a public argument with Muchado and is now seriously jeopardizing the Latino vote. He allowed Hillary to rehash his past attacks of the former Miss Universe for gaining too much weight. This trap set by Hillary is now dominating all media conversation. The talk is galvanizing Latinos to come behind Hillary and has pretty much stopped undecided women from moving toward Trump.


During a recent Fox News interview, Trump admitted to getting a little too irritated “at the end, maybe” when Hillary had dug up Alicia Machado.


MOVING UP BY EMBARRASSING THE OTHER


In Hebrew it is called “Miskabed bikalon chaveiro” – receiving honor through the embarrassment of another. The Midrash Rabbah (Bereishis 1:5) quotes Rabbi Yossi Bar Rabi Chanina that whomsoever receives honor through the embarrassment of another has no share in the world to come. It is also cited in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Chagigah 2:1). Hillary Clinton’s citing all the names that Trump had called others, especially Alicia Muchado with him allegedly having called her “Miss Piggy”, and having them in the audience would seem to be a violation of this.


Similarly, Trump having said, “I do want to bring up the fact that you were the one that brought up the words super-predator about young black youth” is another example of moving up by embarrassing another. Hillary stating, “Donald started his career back in 1973 being sued by the Justice Department for racial discrimination because he would not rent apartments in one of his developments to African-Americans” is also an example of this.


NAME-CALLING


Hillary Clinton used Trump’s name in a pejorative, negative fashion. She said, “I call it trumped up trickle-down because that’s exactly what it would be.” This is a violation of hamechaneh shaim rah l’chaveiro. The Gemorah in Bava Metziah (58b) states that all the people who descend to Gehenam arise from there with the exception of three people. Adulterers, those who affix a pejorative name to another and one who embarrasses his friend in public. These three never arise. This halacha is quantified in Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat 228:5) – when the intent is to embarrass the other.


It seems obvious that Hillary’s intent was to embarrass Donald Trump. Although he did not do so in the debate itself, Donald Trump violated this as well, throughout the campaign with such appellations as “Lyin’ Hillary” and more. The Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 3:14) lists this as one of the 24 categories of people that have no share in the world to come.


MIDOS


In the days that followed the debate, Hillary Clinton gloated over her perception of how she did. Donald Trump was apparently fuming over a number of issues. Fuming is a manifestation of Ka’as, anger, something that the Mussar Seforim tell us to stay far from. The Rosh tells us to distance ourselves form this evil character trait. Gloating is also a form of Miskabed b’kkalon chaveiro – something described earlier. It is not a good character trait and takes us away from our obligation to emulate Hashem.


BITUL TORAH


Although it may seem to be a side issue, the debates in Hofstra University actually caused the closing of the Hebrew Academy of Nassau County (HANC) on Monday. The Gemorah in Shabbos (119b) quotes Rav Hamnunah that Yerushalayim was only destroyed because of the Bitul Torah of the tinokos shel bais rabban – the children studying Torah under their master. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai states that the world only exists on account of the study of young Yeshiva students – who have no sin. Furthermore, the Gemorah tells us that we do not stop Yeshiva students from learning – even to build the Bais HaMikdash. We see from all this that being the cause of the cessation of Torah study is a serious prohibition.

CONCLUSION


Hopefully, from all of the above, we have discovered numerous halachic violations involved in participating in a presidential debate – if one was Jewish. The issues involve lying, moving up by embarrassing others, Lifnei Iver, Name-calling, Midos, and – in this case, causing Bitul Torah. Of course, these issues apply to us in all aspects of life, not just in this theoretical discussion of what would happen if presidential candidates had to keep halacha. Indeed, many of these issues to a certain degree might apply to gentiles as well, according to some Poskim.


The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

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Thousands of Israelis filed past the flag-draped coffin of Shimon Peres outside parliament on Thursday, honoring the former president and prime minister who won worldwide praise for his efforts in peace talks with the Palestinians. U.S. President Barack Obama is among foreign dignitaries due to attend the funeral on Friday of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who died on Wednesday at 93, two weeks after a stroke. But with Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations frozen since 2014, it was unclear whether Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who sent a condolence letter to Peres's family, would travel to Jerusalem from nearby Ramallah for the ceremony. The leaders of Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab states to have signed peace treaties with Israel, were not on the roster...
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Heads of state and other dignitaries arriving in Israel to attend the funeral will be accommodated in four of the capital’s hotels. Police and Foreign Ministry jumped in to high gear to prepare for former president Shimon Peres’s funeral and the influx of foreign dignitaries. Traffic will be restricted and diverted throughout Jerusalem on Thursday and Friday to enable the funeral convoy and the entrance of foreign dignitaries.Heads of state and other dignitaries arriving in Israel to attend the funeral will be accommodated in four of the capital’s hotels. However, US President Barack Obama will only be present for a short period as he will immediately fly out of Israel after the ceremony.    All the other US officials will be accommodated at the David Citadel...
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