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Senate Republicans adopted a budget for the next fiscal year, clearing a critical hurdle in the GOP push to overhaul the tax code. The Senate's late Thursday passage of the budget blueprint, in a 51-49 vote primarily along party lines, helps unlock a procedure that Republicans plan to use to rewrite the tax code with just GOP votes. See More Coverage »
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SukkahScenes: Massive Clearance Sale Going On Now.  *Special offer for Baltimore Residents* Wait, don't put away your Sukkah yet... Now is your chance to save up to 75% on all of SukkahScenes magnificent banners. There are over 20 designs to choose from but merchandise is selling out fast so order now to guarantee your shipment. Stock up now for next year... you can even buy them as gifts! PLUS, as a special offer for all Baltimore area residents only, enter code BALTIMORE to get FREE SHIPPING on your order of $60 or more. All banners are manufactured from durable, completely waterproof vinyl with amazing vivid color and detail. They're easy to hang and easy to store. You'll never need to replace them! Shop the Post-Sukkos Clearance Sale at !!
The European Union is well-known for ignoring Israeli law and funding major construction projects. Eight EU countries led by Belgium, have sent an official protest to Israel, demanding $35,400 in compensation from the Government of Israel after the latter razed the illegals structures, Haaretz reported on Wednesday, 28 Tishrei. Israel has razed illegal structures built by the EU in the past and according to the Haaretz report, this marks the first time a protest was filed with the Israel Foreign Ministry demanding compensatory payment. The report is based on a senior EU official speaking with Haaretz. It does not come as a surprise that the eight nations (in alphabetical order); Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, Spain, and Sweden are members of the “West B...
Parshas Noach / Shabbos Rosh Chodesh/ Baltimore Zmanim / Eruv is UP! Baltimore, MD – Oct. 20, 2017 Parshas:  Noach Today:    30 Tishrei  (1st Day Rosh Chodesh MarCheshvan)    Chatzos: 12:51 PM Hadlakas Nairos: 6:02 PM Shkiah:                   6:20:24 PM Tzais HaKochavim:  7:11 PM Rosh Chodesh Mar Cheshvan: Friday, Oct. 20 and Shabbos, Oct. 21 Kiddush Levanah: Oct. 23 @5:52 AM through Shabbos, Nov. 4, @12:14 AM
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to the Middle East, South Asia and Europe this week on a diplomatic mission focused on conflicts in Iraq and Syria and blunting Iranian influence in the region, the State Department said Thursday. Tillerson departs on Friday for travel to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Pakistan and India before returning home through Switzerland on Oct. 27, the department said in a statement. In Riyadh, Tillerson will explore ways of improving relations between Saudi Arabia and Iraq by participating in the first meeting of the two countries’ new coordination council, it said. That effort, which U.S. officials say Tillerson has pushed for months, is aimed reducing Iran’s increasing influence in Iraq by encouraging Baghdad to align more closely with Riyadh. S...
After the debacle of the deluge, G-d sought to rebuild mankind through Noach and his descendants. However, after the misguided united effort to build the Tower of Babel in defiance of G-d’s dominion, once again G-d was forced to play His hand by dispersing the populace to the far corners of the globe, foiling their rebellion. The stage was now set for one man to establish a family that would lead the world back to its former hope and glory, by promoting the unadulterated truth of G-d’s oneness and absolute benevolence. Before Avraham Avinu sets out on that journey the Torah details the family of mankind, zeroing in on the objective of all creation, the descendants of Terach. It first details his three sons, Avram, Nachor and Haran, adding that Haran was the father of Lot. It t...
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Police have opened an investigation after a swastika was found daubed outside homes in the predominately Jewish neighborhood of Stamford Hill, in north-east London. Shocked families discovered the antisemitic graffiti painted on the roadway on Geldeston Road on Wednesday afternoon. Shomrim Stamford Hill was contacted by local residents, who then alerted Metropolitan Police and the local Council. On Thursday morning, Shomrim tweeted that the swastika graffiti had now “been removed by Hackney council”. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police confirmed that “the incident happened between 12:30hrs and 16:30hrs on Wednesday, 18 October” and that an investigation was under way. No arrests had been made so far. The spokesperson added that patrols in the area ...
In this week’s Parshah, Noach is forced to live in the Ark in order to survive The Great Flood. Rashi (6:16) quotes a dispute regarding what Noach used as his source of light to navigate within the Ark. One Sage states that he built windows in the Ark and it was those very windows that gave Noach the light that he required. Another Sage argues that the Ark did not possess windows for light. Rather, Noach used a magical stone which provided supernatural light. The brother of the famous R’ Chaim Shmuelevitz asks a poignant question on the second Sage who states that Noach used a magical stone that provided light and not windows: the Torah states explicitly that Noach released the dove through the Arks’ WINDOW to investigate whether or not the flood had subsided (8:6). Clea...
For the second time in a week, a south shore neighborhood on Staten Island has been hit with hate and targeted with racist graffiti. But as CBS2’s Jessica Layton reported, the victims in the most recent case are responding in a way you might not expect. In a neighborhood where American flags adorn the fronts of homes and Halloween decorations are on display, the message of hate stands out in a sickening way. “It’s hard and very upsetting to know that someone could have that much hate for someone of a certain religion or a certain race,” said vandalism victim Halle Calabrese. At 17 years old, Calabrese said she has never felt targeted for being Jewish – until her family woke up to the swastika and the anti-Semitic slur Tuesday morning. “We are ...
American Mideast Envoy Jason Greenblatt released a statement Thursday backing Israel’s position that Hamas recognize the State of Israel and disarm. This follows the recent agreement between Hamas and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ (Abu Mazen) Fatah party to end hostilities and work together. From Israel’s perspective, all talks between Israel and the PA are off until such time Hamas disarms and changes its position to officially recognize the State of Israel as part of the PA Government. This was the decision reached by the Political Security Cabinet on Wednesday, 28 Tishrei, refusing all negotiations with the PA until Hamas meets its obligations and this is the minimum obligation to be included in the PA Government as far as Jerusalem is concerned. “All partie...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Noach - A True Jewish Princess

After the debacle of the deluge, G-d sought to rebuild mankind through Noach and his descendants. However, after the misguided united effort to build the Tower of Babel in defiance of G-d’s dominion, once again G-d was forced to play His hand by dispersing the populace to the far corners of the globe, foiling their rebellion. The stage was now set for one man to establish a family that would lead the world back to its former hope and glory, by promoting the unadulterated truth of G-d’s oneness and absolute benevolence.

Before Avraham Avinu sets out on that journey the Torah details the family of mankind, zeroing in on the objective of all creation, the descendants of Terach. It first details his three sons, Avram, Nachor and Haran, adding that Haran was the father of Lot. It then makes reference to Nimrod’s challenge to Haran, after his having observed Avram miraculously survive the fiery furnace, as to where he stands, where he affirms his allegiance to Avram, then being thrown into the fire becoming the very first person in history to sacrifice one’s life for G-d.

The Torah then records a very puzzling verse:

ויקח אברם ונחור להם נשים שם אשת אברם שרי ושם אשת נחור מלכה בת הרן אבי מלכה ואבי יסכה, And Avram and Nachor took to themselves wives; the name of Avram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nachor’s wife was Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah and the father of Yiscah (בראשית ל יא)

Upon the superficial reading of this verse it would seem that Avram selected a wife by the name of Sarai, without any mention of her parentage, while Nachor took one of the daughters of the deceased Haran, whose mother was Milcah and also had a sister by the name of Yiscah. There is absolutely no evidence within the verse itself that Sarai and Yiscah are one and the same.

Yet we are taught that indeed Sarai is Yiscah. Why all the confusion? Why does she go by the name Sarai if her father evidently called her Yiscah? Did Avram confer a new name for her upon taking her as his wife? What was wrong with her original one?

Rashi quoting the Talmud elucidates the deeper meaning behind her initial name. Firstly we are told that יסכה, relates to her status as a prophetess, being able to, סוכה ברוח הקודש, see with divine inspiration. Rashi adds, without asserting as he often does that this is an alternative interpretation, that at the same time it also intimates שהכל סוכין ביפיה, that everyone gazed at her beauty. Tradition has it that Sarah was one of the four most beautiful women who ever lived.

Based on these interpretations in identifying the qualities of Yiscah we certainly know that Yiscah was indeed the woman we know as Sarai. But why the name change?

Rashi goes on to offer a novel idea, clearly his own, as it is not sourced anywhere in the Midrash or the Talmud. יסכה, he claims, is rooted in the notion of נסיכות, princedom, ‘similar to שרה, which is a language of שררה, dominion.’

Rashi seems to be addressing our question by explaining that by Avram calling her Sarai he was actually keeping within the spirit of her original name which extolled her regal and noble qualities, the very first Jewish ‘princess’.

Perhaps Avram sought to downplay the implication of her beauty being gazed upon that is implicit in the name Yiscah and preferred to accent her majestic personality by calling her Sarai.

Yet the question still begs as to why the Talmud interprets Yiscah as referring to her captivating beauty, is that a Jewish value? Furthermore, what was Haran’s intent in bestowing the name Yiscah upon his child, could he possibly have foreseen her role as a prophetess? Could he have known what stunning beauty she would possess as an adult to emphasize it at her birth?

Even more intriguing is the Talmud’s assertion that her name is rooted in the word סוכה, implying gazing or seeing, since nowhere in all of Tanach is this word utilized in that context. In fact the word is Aramaic in origin and not even a Hebrew word.

It is remarkable to observe that the composite of the Jewish nation as fathered by our illustrious Patriarchs and Matriarchs all trace back to Avraham and Haran. Sarai was the daughter of Haran. Rivkah the wife of Yitzchok was the daughter of Besuel who was the child of Milcah, the daughter of Haran. Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah, the wives of Yaakov, were all fathered by Lavan the brother of Rivkah, a son of Besuel, a grandson of Milcah and a great grandson of Haran.

May I boldly suggest that Haran possessed greatness as evidenced in his forfeiting his life in G-d’s name. Although secondary to Avram, he sought greatness and truth hoping that from him would descend children of nobility who would foster morals and values for the betterment of mankind. He thus named his two daughters in that spirit, the first one Milcah rooted in the sentiment of מלכות, royalty, and his second daughter, Yiscah, a נסיכה, a princess. He sensed these special souls would instill a nobility within their progeny. Perhaps that is indeed the פשוטו של מקרא, the simplest meaning of the text, as Rashi so brilliantly suggested with nary a need for any source, for that is its obvious and self-evident interpretation.

The root word סכה, in Hebrew alludes to a protective cover. Perhaps when the Talmud attests to Sarai being סוכה ברוח הקודש, it implies that she ‘clothed’ herself in the spirit of holiness, she found her definition not in the manner by which people perceived her but rather by the truths she lived by, uninfluenced by the forces of instinct and self-interest that surrounded her. Taking this a step further, might that also explain the other side of this coin, as Rashi presented it, הכל סוכין ביפיה, not that they gazed in reflexive admiration of her shallow physical beauty, but they felt ‘safe’ in the presence of her attractiveness. Her sterling inner and selfless confidence in her constant connection to G-d, the holy inspiration, stifled any taint of inappropriate attraction to those who observed her. Only one who promotes artificial value must fear the ‘gazing’ eyes of immorality. The result of her exalted stature conveyed a powerful and positive influence on all who entered her ‘holy realm’. The word נסיכות, princedom, is also rooted in that same word סכה and its deeper meaning. True nobility radiates outwardly in encompassing all those who enter its domain to feel secure, elevated, and inspired by the persona of devoted greatness.

This ‘regal’ quality of Haran filtered down through his son Lot as well. Wasn’t it the daughters of Lot who mothered those two children, Amon and Moav from whom stemmed Naamah, the wife of Shlomo HaMelech and mother of his heir Rechovam, and Rus, the wife of Boaz, the great-grandfather of Dovid HaMelech?

Haran had two daughters, Milcah the elder one and Yiscah. Avram despite being the older brother to Charan and logically the one to be paired with the elder niece, Milcah, chose Sarai/Yiscah instead.

Milcah/Malchus relates more to the goal of leadership in leading the people as the word מלך sourced in לֶך, to ‘go’, with the king being the מֶלֶך, the one that assures things move forward.

Yiscah/Nesichah, focuses on the key to possessing that ability, to first reign over oneself, living inspired solely by the ‘holy inspiration’, becoming immune to outside influence. That healthy self-assuredness that needs not the admiration of outsiders that thrives on one’s sensing being embraced by G-d alone, creates the aura of royalty that inspires and exalts all who enter its atmosphere. One must first possess princedom before one can reign effectively.

The lesson therein is not only for princesses but for princes as well. The very name of our nation ישראל, Israel, bestowed upon us when Yaakov conquered the angel and was told שרית, you have prevailed accentuates his becoming a שר, a master, a prince. The Rokeach HaGadol indeed says that it finds its source in Sarah, the first ‘princess’, who instilled the nobility that permits us to rule.

May we each portray this noblesse in all our actions and in its merit bring about the rule of the Melech HaMoshiach speedily in our days.


צבי טייכמאן

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he number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level since Richard Nixon was president. THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said Thursday that claims for jobless aid dropped by 22,000 to 222,000, fewest since March 1973. The less volatile four-week average slid by 9,500 to 248,250, lowest since late August. The overall number of Americans collecting unemployment checks dropped to 1.89 million, lowest since December 1973 and down nearly 9 percent from a year ago. THE TAKEAWAY: Unemployment claims are a proxy for layoffs. The low level suggests that employers are confident enough in the economy to hold onto workers. The unemployment rate last month hit a 16-year low 4.2 percent. Employers more at Chicago Tribune
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