NEW YORK (AP) — The compensation fund for victims of 9/11 is running out of money and will cut future payments by 50 to 70 percent, officials announced Friday. September 11th Victim Compensation Fund special master Rupa Bhattacharyya said she was “painfully aware of the inequity of the situation” but stressed that awarding some funds for every valid claim would be preferable to sending some legitimate claimants away empty-handed. “I could not abide a plan that would at the end of the day leave some claimants uncompensated,” Bhattacharyya said. Nearly 40,000 peop...
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As Ilhan Omar’s political star was rising last year on her way to becoming one of the first Muslim women in Congress, several Minnesota Jewish leaders invited her to talk privately about past statements they considered anti-Semitic and anti-Israel. Gathering at a state senator’s home, they hoped to get a better sense of her views while expressing their concerns. Most came away dissatisfied by what they heard. Those concerns were confirmed this week when Omar suggested on Twitter that members of Congress support Israel for money, igniting a bipartisan uproar in Washington that included criticism from President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “There seems to be a pattern developing which indicates more of an attitude than m...
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Baltimore, MD - Feb. 6, 2019 - BGE will soon begin work on Reisterstown Road at Hooks Lane, near the north of the I-695 interchange, as part of BGE Electric Investments. The project will begin February 11 and be complete in late-April, weather permitting. BGE will begin underground electric utility work in the center of Reisterstown Road at Hooks Lane and will continue working 24 hours a day. BGE will close and detour that left-turn lane from southbound Reisterstown Road to eastbound Hooks Lane, and close one lane of northbound Reisterstown Road between the I-695 interchange and north of Hooks Lane. Around 55,000 vehicles travel on this section of MD 140 each day, motorists should plan extra travel time, BGE says. MDOT SHA will assist BGE by providing this detour route: Motorists trav...
AURORA – Police say they have stopped the suspect in a shooting that occurred Friday afternoon at the Henry Pratt plant in the 400 block of HIghland Avenue on the city's near west side. Police were called to the plant at approximately 1:30 p.m. to a report of an active shooter. As of 3:04 p.m. the plant remained on lockdown. However, witnesses outside the plant reported hearing gunfire coming from inside the building about 2:55 p.m. Clayton Muhammad, director of communications for the City of Aurora, announced at 3:15 p.m. the shooter had been "neutralized" by police inside the plant. A Henry Pratt employee reached by Shaw Media inside the plant said she believed the shooter was an employee at the plant who had been laid off Friday morning. The employee said the shoo...
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday barred longtime Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone from making public comments that could influence potential jurors in the criminal case brought by the special counsel in the Russia probe. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the gag order was necessary to ensure Stone’s right to a fair trial and “to maintain the dignity and seriousness of the courthouse and these proceedings.” The order is narrowly tailored to comments about his pending case and does not constrain Stone from discussing other topics publicly. The ruling, which applies to Stone and lawyers on both sides in the case, comes after a string of media appearances by the attention-seeking political consultant since his indictment and arrest las...
NEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local): 4:00 p.m. Stocks surged on Wall Street Friday after Chinese and U.S. officials agreed to continue trade talks in Washington next week. Investors are again weighing quarterly results from major U.S. companies. Newell Brands shares are plunging 21 percent after saying the loss of retailer Babies R Us is hurting sales. Toy maker Mattel slumped 18 percent after it issued a weaker-than-expected 2019 revenue outlook. The S&P 500 rose 29 points, or 1.1 percent, to 2,775. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 443 points, or 1.7 percent, to 25,883. The Nasdaq added 45 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,472. Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.67 percent. _____ 11:50 a.m. Stock...
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AURORA, Ill. — The gunman has been apprehended in the active shooter situation in Aurora, city officials confirmed. Kane County’s SWAT team, the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force and other police are on the scene of an industrial park, which is near Highland Avenue and Prairie Street. There are several businesses in that area, including Henry Pratt Company. The streets in the area are closed. Security analyst John O’Malley told WGN that four police officers were injured in the shooting. There are also reports that multiple civilians have been shot. West Aurora School District 129 posted on its Facebook that students are sheltering in place for their safety. Here is a statement from the West Aurora School District 129: “There are reports of an active shoote...
New York - More than a year of work to bring Inc’s headquarters and tens of thousands of jobs to New York City ended on Thursday with a couple of phone calls. Jay Carney, the company’s top policy executive, told New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that the world’s biggest online retailer would not go ahead with plans to invest $2.5 billion to build a second head office in the New York City borough of Queens. Carney, a former press secretary for President Barack Obama, told New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio the same shortly after. Abruptly scuttling its Big Apple plans blindsided Amazon’s allies and opponents alike. The company said the decision came together only in the last 48 hours, made by its senior leadership team and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founde...
Warsaw - Poland summoned Israel’s ambassador on Friday and threatened to scupper a Jerusalem diplomatic summit after reported comments in which Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Nazi Holocaust. A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, who was in Warsaw for a U.S.-sponsored Middle East conference, said Netanyahu had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which issued a corrected story. But Poland, where sensitivities over the issue of its behavior during the Holocaust are high, called in Israeli envoy Anna Azari and said doubts remained about what Netanyahu said. The matter of Poland’s conduct during the Holocaust - in which many of the six million Jewish dead were killed in Nazi camps on Polish soil - was at the center of an Israe...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Tetzaveh - It Makes Scents!

A famous anomaly related to this week’s portion is the omission of Moshe’s name from the entire reading.

We are taught that this is due to Moshe after hearing from G-d, subsequent to the sin of the Golden Calf, that He intended to eradicate the entire nation saving only Moshe from whom a new nation would arise, that Moshe protested by stating, forgive their sin… if not, erase me now from Your book, which You have written.

Moshe was willing to forfeit his life and his accomplishments for the sake of his beloved nation. G-d retracted His decision permitting the nation to survive, but symbolically fulfilled Moshe’s request by omitting his name from this one portion.

Why though did G-d select this portion specifically from among many others to carry out Moshe’s entreaty?

G-d’s exact response to Moshe seems at odds with the tradition we have.

In His rejoinder to Moshe G-d tells him: whoever has sinned against Me, him I will erase from My book.

The reply seemed to be a total rejection of Moshe’s suggestion, with G-d seemingly asserting that only the deserving sinners will be erased from the Book of Life. There is no further dialogue reported regarding this issue.

The third Belzer Rebbe, Reb Yissocher Dov, offers a brilliant interpretation to resolve this dilemma.

Moshe sought to remove his fate from among those recorded in the Book of the Righteous rather than forsake his beloved flock. His intent was to be bonded and fated with them in the Book of the Wicked, if that’s what it took. G-d however had a better idea. Agreeing with Moshe in principle that they shall be entwined forever, but rather than Moshe being inscribed among the wicked, G-d will have them all etched among the destiny of the righteous with Moshe. When G-d states ‘whoever has sinned, him I will erase from My book’, He meant from the book of sinners, and be placed instead with Moshe among the righteous.

Where is the justice in this? How can sinners be given a pardon based simply on Moshe’s throwing down the gauntlet?

Until this juncture Moshe embodied all of Torah. The nation was expected to follow suit in abiding by all its laws. When they failed miserably at the Sin of the Golden Calf, it was over, a botched experiment. G-d therefore called for a new game plan, starting from scratch from Moshe alone. Moshe understood that this simply wasn’t viable, he couldn’t carry on without them as they were part and parcel of him. G-d, consented, but instructed them the deeper consequence of this reality. It was no longer a relationship of a teacher with a disciple, but rather an embodiment of Moshe by the people. The lessons of Torah would be taught through the lives, challenges and failures they would face and endure. It would be a process within each individual, who each possessed a ‘piece’ of Moshe that would have to come to fruition in the lives they lead and the manner they reacted. Every soul although inherently pure, would nevertheless have to struggle to discover its brilliance. G-d would never give up, for He knew that ultimately the collective ‘soul of Moshe’ would accomplish its task.

Moshe’s disappearance from our portion wasn’t a diminishing of his presence but rather the expression of his submersion within the ‘soul of the nation’ who by living its ideals would become the fullest manifestation of ‘Moshe’.

At the end of our portion the directive to construct the altar upon which the incense would be brought is recorded.

Weren’t, the vessels of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, enumerated in the previous portion? Why is this listed here amongst and after the discussion of the priestly garments and the inaugural sacrifices?

The Midrash Tanchuma teaches that this altar and its service is distinct from all that preceded it.

Everything up until this point was implemented for man’s sake to serve, devote and grow spiritually in that experience atoning for one’s failures. It certainly was not to fulfill a ‘need’ of G-d’s as all is his and possessed by Him.

The fragrant incense, in distinction, was brought to bring joy to G-d, and display His personal satisfaction with his servants. It is thus placed separately at the very end.

Is this a ‘need’ that has to be filled? The one who ‘owns and governs all’ can’t possibly ‘need’ this.

The early commentaries point out that the word for incense, קטרת, is actually an acronym of the following words: ק-דושה, sanctity;ט-הרה , purity;ר-חמים, compassion;ת-קוה, hope.

How are these attributes and attitudes unique to the Incense?

In Israel, many schools have report cards with three categories of general comments assessing the child’s standing:מאוד  טוב-very good, טוב-good, and כמעט טוב-nearly good. A good humored teacher who had a particular student who was both greatly challenged and very challenging, added a fourth category,יהיה טוב-It will be good!

G-d wants to be in a state of joy, so that we may sense His love and appreciation.

The scent that rises up from the special formula unique to the Ketores, represent the inner essence of that which stems from the vaporized molecules, that which is invisible and ethereal. G-d acknowledges the inner essence of each our beings, our special souls, which strive towards closeness, even when externally it may not appear as such. G-d knows that we will each come to manifest that spark of Moshe that is bursting forth.

He senses and cherishes those who have reached sanctity, and even those who have only sloughed off impurity alone. His compassion understands the struggles of those who are still entrenched in contamination, trying to come clean. And even those who seemingly wander purposelessly, G-d still holds out hope that indeed, יהיה טוב, it will be good!

Although the incense represents the personal and private joy of G-d, yet that fragrance cannot be kept private, as it envelopes every space way beyond the Alter of Incense. It is intentionally so, because it is that pervading presence of G-d that our ‘Moshe Souls’ can connect to wherever we may discover it, wherever we find ourselves.

May we each make ‘scents’ out of the myriad of opportunities that come our way in manifesting new lessons in Torah and Avodah, in the spirit of Moshe, our very essence and soul.


צבי יהודה טייכמאן

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Sofia, Bulgaria - The World Jewish Congress is voicing concern about the rise of far-right activities across Europe attempting to promote anti-Semitism, hatred, xenophobia, and Nazi glorification among young people. The organization’s CEO, Robert Singer, said in a statement that “it is absolutely abhorrent that in 2019 in Europe, the very place in which the Nazis attempted to wipe out the entire population of Jewish men, women, and children, far-rightists continue to parade unfettered through the streets with swastikas, SS symbols, and messages of hatred for Jews and other minorities.” He pointed at the annual Lukov March, to be held this weekend in Sofia, Bulgaria. Staged by the far-right Bulgarian National Union, it attracts hundreds of Bulgarian and nationalist suppo...
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Aurora police are responding to the Henry Pratt Company for a report of an active shooter situation.  Police could only say command staff were at the site. It remained unclear if there were any injuries.  The valve manufacturing company is located at 401 S. Highland Ave. near Prairie Street, according to its website.  Holy Angels Catholic School said it was on lockdown amid the report.  West Aurora School District 129 said all students were being held in place "for their safety" after "reports of an active shooter at the Henry Pratt building."  "Per directions from the county sheriff, the District has been advised to go into soft lockdown situation across the district. Teaching will continue with reduced movement. Normal operations will resume when the soft lo...
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Eliezer Martin, MS Accounting, CPA, is an unlikely brand ambassador for PCS. A good husband, a proud father, and an active member of his kehillah, Eliezer is also constantly busy with his job as CFO of a real estate management company. But he will always stop to talk about PCS. “I credit PCS with providing me with the education and knowledge to advance in my career, become a CPA, and earn a living parnassah,” he says.   And Eliezer is not the only one. There are 5,999 other people who credit PCS with their jobs. Daniel Soloff, National Director of PCS, a division of Agudas Yisroel, says, “I have a hard time wrapping my head around the numbers sometimes. This February we are celebrating our 6,000th job placemen...
Video of Presentation of Agudath Israel of America’s Humanitarian Award to Attorney General William Barr at the Agudah National Dinner in 1992 Presentation of Agudath Israel of America’s Humanitarian Award to Attorney General William Barr 1992 from Agudath Israel on Vimeo.
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