ספירת העומר : 33 - היום שלשה ושלשים יום שהם ארבעה שבועות וחמשה ימים לעומר
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TA Ushers in Lag Ba'Omer Amidst Ruach & Simcha (Video) Updated as of 1:30 PM - Attempted Robbery at Rite Aid in Greesnrping Shopping Center Annual Bar & Bat Mitzvah Celebration in Jerusalem for Children With Hearing Loss And Other Disabilities (Photo Essay) Wildfires Sweep Across Israel As Heatwave Grips Region Baltimore Co. Lawmakers Approve Tax Increases, Full Budget Makers For Heroes: Israeli Innovation (4 Videos & Photo Essay) Former City Prosecutor Announced As Deputy Commissioner No Longer Joining Police Brilliant - Watch: The Gemorah Song! Rabbi Meltzer’s 6th Grade Shiur, Mechina Toras Avraham Of Yeshiva Of South Shore (Video) War Of Words Intensifies Between Trump, Democratic Leaders Bank CEO Charged With Trying To Trade Loans For Trump Post Listen to New Compostion by David & Anne Gerstman's Son-in-law Moishey Ney – Chaneinu (Audio) Iranian President Rejects Negotiations With Trump 4 Shootings In 3 Minutes In Baltimore Overnight Former Israeli Security Adviser: Iran Wants ‘to Annihilate’ Israel, Hamas Doesn’t Want A ‘Solution’ Baltimore Co. Schools Seek Public Opinion On Whether To Start After Labor Day Security Breach Exposes Travel Plans of Israeli Prime Minister, Senior Security Agents Drunk New York Cop Arrested, Charged With Assaulting Baltimore Police World Health Organization Passes Resolution Faulting Israel For Palestinian Crisis Image Of Trump’s Rose Garden Notes Captured By Media United Hatzalah Treats Nearly Two Hundred People In Meron For Dehydration and Minor Injuries
Baltimore, MD - May 23, 2019 - The Ruach and Simcha were in the air last night at TA as the entire middle school and all of their fathers gathered for a next level Madura and BBQ in honor of Lag Ba'omer.  As TA Mashgiach, Rabbi Shraga Herskowitz lit the fire, singing and dancing began with the accompaniment  of live music by Benzion Bluming. TA talmidim, Rabbeim and fathers all joined hands in the spririt of the evening. After dancing, all of those assembled we're treated to a Lag B'omer story and message from TA's own Rabbi Yechiel Spero.  Through a story th...
Updated as of 1:30 PM - A male subject implied that he had a gun, demanded money, then left on foot. Here is currently more than one description of vehicles that may or may not be involved…both are uncertain. One is the Malibu, but the license plate is different than that which we reported earlier. K9 units have been deployed and searched the area. Suspect is described as a black male with jeans & a black hoodieBaltimore, MD – May 23, 2019 – 1:02 PM - At 12:48 PM, there was a report of an attempted robbery at the Rite Aid in the Greenspring Shopping Center. According to the Citizen website, officers are looking for a Chevrolet Malibu with Virginia license plates: VLX7092.
Jerusalem, Israel - May 23, 2019 - The bar and bat mitzvah celebration of 90 Israeli children with hearing loss and other disabilities began at the Nitzanim synagogue in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel, and concluded with a visit to the Kosel in the afternoon. The annual event held on Monday, May 20th, was sponsored by the International Young Israel Movement (IYIM) which provides programming and support of the Israeli deaf community, the Jewish Agency for Israel, and the non-profit organization Shema. The children, who came from Eilat in the south to northern Israeli communities, were accompanied by an adult. Most bar mitzvah boys had a father or grandfather, or both standing next to them. Tefillin were presented, and were being put on, assisted, either by one of the yeshiva bo...
Jerusalem - Israeli police have ordered the evacuation of several communities in southern and central Israel as wildfires rage amid a major heatwave. Firefighters battled brushfires Thursday along the Gaza boundary, as well as near the country’s main international airport and outside Jerusalem. A major Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway was also closed to traffic because of the fire. Israel and the region are gripped by a major heatwave, with temperatures around the country reaching 100 F (38 C) and higher. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the fires near the boundary with Gaza were caused by incendiary balloons launched from the Palestinian enclave. Gaza militants had launched incendiary balloons into Israel on Wednesday, and in response, Israeli authorities reduced Gaza’s...
The Baltimore County Council on Thursday passed the income tax increase requested by County Executive John Olszewski Jr. Council members also blunted the impact of what was an unpopular proposed tax on cell phone lines. The full budget later passed in a 6-1 vote. Republican Todd Crandell was the lone vote against the budget, while Republican Wade Kach reluctantly voted yes. The original cell phone tax would have added a $3.50 monthly fee per cell phone line. The new version will port the 8% landline fee to cell phone accounts, amounting to about $1.60 per account, rather than per line. The reworked tax passed in a 6-1 vote, with Republican Todd Crandell voting against the measure. The budget saw $14 million in cuts to account for the decreased revenue. T.J. Smith, Olszews...
Jerusalem, Israel - May 23, 2019 - In 2008, IDF soldier Amit Dafni was wounded near the Egyptian border and airlifted to Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva. For eight days he remained in a medically induced coma before being transferred to Sheba Hospital for rehabilitation. After one year in hospital, the wounded soldier received treatments daily for another four to five years. Eleven years after the tragic training accident in which he was injured, Dafni is a lawyer, married, and has a baby daughter. He says he has learned to live with his injuries. However, the weakness in his left arm and elbow prevents him from doing simple tasks with his child, such as lifting her from the bath.  Dafni was one of nineteen injured soldiers in the south Tel Aviv WeWorks Impact Lab for a ReStart/TO...
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Michelle Wilson, the former city prosecutor tapped earlier this week to head the public integrity bureau of city police, won't be joining the department after all. “Michelle Wilson will not be joining the Baltimore Police Department," police said in a statement. "Because this is a personnel matter, and based on the advice of the city solicitor, we cannot comment further."  Wilson, currently assistant attorney general under Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, recently accused State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby of perjury in a wrongful termination suit filed by a former colleague. Following news of Wilson's hiring on Tuesday, a Mosby spokeswoman said prosecutors "remain steadfast in our commitment" to work with City Hall and police "to fight crime and ro...
The journey of haschalas gemarah is daunting for any boy in yeshiva: a new language, unfamiliar grammar, foreign concepts and a set of logic that is quite challenging. It’s like being in 1st grade all over again! Of course, those of us who have successfully navigated this journey know how worthwhile it is, and appreciate how our lives have been eternally transformed through the learning of Gemorah. But have we forgotten the experience of the journey itself? Perhaps it was that first good grade that gave us confidence. Or maybe just an encouraging word that carried us through. Baruch Hashem boys throughout the Torah world have made tremendous strides in learning. Whether in terms of their skill set, confidence, or personal enjoyment of learning, it has truly been transformative. Th...
Washington - The rift between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to be widening Thursday after a dramatic blow-up at the White House at a meeting on infrastructure. A day after Trump stalked out of the Cabinet room demanding an end to congressional investigations, the Republican president and Democratic leaders dug in, while plans to fix the nation’s roads and bridges fell into the chasm. Each side insisted it wants to agree on a plan, but a path forward was difficult to see. Shadowing the whole drama are the ongoing congressional investigations of whether Trump obstructed justice or committed other crimes and the demands by some Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against him. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Thursday on CNN that “i...
New York - Federal prosecutors have charged a banker with trying to buy himself a role in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Stephen M. Calk was arrested Thursday in New York City on a financial institution bribery charge. He is scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court in the afternoon. A message seeking comment was left with his attorney. Authorities said Calk committed the crime while serving as CEO of The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago. Federal prosecutors described the charge in a release, saying Calk abused his bank position by approving millions of dollars in high risk loans that were ultimately downgraded. Prosecutors say Calk wanted to be appointed Secretary of the Army or some other high...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Behar: The Numbers Don’t Lie; Balance And Symmetry

Rabbi Safran’s recently published volume on all parshiyot ha’Torah available on Amazon: Something Old, Something New: Pearls from the Torah: Rabbi Eliyahu Safran: 9781602803152: Amazon.com: Books 

There is perhaps no greater cultural image of Jewish life than the “fiddler on the roof”.  In him, we see ourselves seeking to find the balance between the beauty and grace of our tradition with the challenges and seductions of the world around us. 

The truth is, we all seek balance in our lives.  As we rush around, negotiating the competing demands of our home lives, our professional lives, our communal lives and the nearly invisible lives we lead in cities and towns we try to “balance” it all.  Otherwise, like that fiddler, we run the risk of toppling off.  To where, I couldn’t say.  But the sensation of falling off is real just the same.

If you ever doubt the importance of balance, just glance in the windows of the many gyms and exercise studios that exist throughout the country.  You will see people working desperately to do what?  Strengthen their cores!  Why?  That balances them and minimizes the risk of injury!

There was a time when the ancients – not Jewish – who envisioned the universe to be made up of a series of concentric circles or nestled spheres.  When those circles were in perfect balance they created a symphony of beautiful sound, called the music of the spheres.

Balance is essential to our psyches, to our emotional health, our physical selves and our communal selves.  Balance, like harmony, is dynamic.  It is not a static state.  Finding balance or harmony requires our constant attention. 

As challenging as it may be to constantly seek balance, we can be sure that creation structurally tends toward balance.  How?  Numbers.

Numbers have power and significance.  While all numbers are important some have greater significance, often due to their properties as primes, or their role in anchoring our numbering system.  The number one is unique.  By definition singular, it is the identity number.  “Who Knows One?” goes the Pesach song.  “One is our G-d Who is in the Heavens and on Earth.”  The number two defines the concept of evenness.  Three, an ideal balance, whether in geometry or the world.  Ten is the basis for our numbering system. 

These numbers resonate in our consciousness and our world but no number has the power and significance of the number seven.  It is the perfect number.  More than that, it is Judaism’s most sacred number.  Seven is completeness and wholesomeness.  My revered uncle, Rabbi Alexandre Safran Z’L , concludes his prolific discussion of “Jewish Time /Sabbath Time” in his Israel in Time & Space by noting that, the number seven thus “joins for all eternity the Creator and His Creation, God and His people; and the hyphen uniting them, is the holy Shabbat.”  For, as we know, the Sabbath is the seventh day.  Shemittah, the seventh year.  Yovel, the culmination of seven cycles of seven years. 

Rabbi Shraga Simmons underscores the power of seven when he considers Shavuot. He finds “Shavuot” – literally, “weeks” – to be a curious name for the holiday.  While the name does highlight the seven-week period between Pesach and Shavuot in which we count each day (and week) in anticipation and preparation for re-living the Sinai revelation, he remains troubled by the name.  “Why not call the holiday ‘Torah,’ or ‘Sinai,’ ‘Commandments,’ or ‘Tablets’?”

He asks a good question.

He writes, “Time contains many different entities. Nearly all of them are related to natural phenomena. Days, nights, months, seasons and years are all directly determined, in some way, by the constellations. There is one exception – the week. The formulation of a week seems to be totally arbitrary. Who needs it? Let one day just follow the previous one.  Why seven days?

“The concept of a week and its constitution of 7 days is one that is strictly God-invented and human-adopted. While we may argue about creation – how, when, by whom, why – the world has consensually agreed to the concept of a week.”  

The significance of “seven” is woven throughout our lives and experience.  The seven branches of the Temple Menorah.  The sprinkling of blood seven times in the Temple.  The seven days of shiva.  The seven days of celebration for chatan and kalah.  Seven aliyot.  Seven mitzvoth required on Sukkot.  Seven major days of celebration in Jewish calendar.  Seven days of nidah… and on and on. 

Seven completes a cycle fully and wholly.  Brit Milah, which lifts the newborn son from a mere physical existence into meaningful, goal-oriented Jewish life, takes place on the eighth day.  As Rav Hirsch explains, eight days because the “young being must pass through a full period of seven days as a creature perfect in body; and only on the eighth day must the seal of Israel be impressed upon him.”

Rav Kook finds in Shemittah and Yovel a completeness of life’s spiritual qualities.  Too soon, the fruit is not ripened.  Too late, it is overripe and rotted.  At its time…  Without the fullness of “seven” there is an emptiness, an unripeness, still awaiting its time.  “Quality of life can be improved through the affording of a breathing space from the bustle of everyday affairs… What the Sabbath achieves regarding the individual, the Shemittah achieves with regard to the nation as a whole.”  Shemittah and Yovel are not mere mechanisms of ensuring equality, freedom from poverty and slavery.  More importantly, they are a means of attaining a fullness and wholeness, of attaining holiness complete. 

In Nitzavim, the Parasha read on Shabbat Shuva or the Shabbat prior to Rosh Hashanah, the word shuv, “to turn or, to return” occurs seven times in various forms,  all underlining the theme of repentance, of teshuva (itself, a form of shuv).  This speaks to the deep relationship between the number seven, connoting completeness, to teshuva, repenting and returning. 

The Torah source of teshuva, “You shall then return to G-d your Lord, and will obey Him,” is one of these seven verses.

Because God’s creation tilts toward balance and man has free will, the choice of attaining wholeness and completion or remaining incomplete, the Rambam writes, he “should strive to repent” of all sins, as well as investigate and repent of any evil disposition. “Great is repentance, for it brings man near, back to the Divine Presence.”

Teshuva turns back to completion, to a state of wholeness and completeness.  To perform teshuva is to arrive at one’s full potential and real self.  Without teshuva, one’s life is lived as a series of discrete moments, with good and evil, success and failure intimately related.  Without teshuva, the week is seven days, not a grand march toward the glory of Shabbat. 


Marriage is nothing but a physical partnership without the fulfillment of the sheva (seven) brachot ideals.  Faith, without the completeness of the seven mitzvoth enunciated in the Shema, an empty proclamation.  Agriculture is backbreaking labor without the peace and tranquility of the Shemittah year.


Even before the great brit between God and the Jews, before the Ten Commandments, before the mitzvot were enumerated, there were seven foundational laws that defined behavior and the correct balance in life and spirit.  These were the Noachide Laws. 

These, we transgress at our peril.  Why?  Because these are the laws that  are the pillars upon which all else rests.  One can build a house a thousand feet tall and it will withstand any storm so long as it has a solid foundation.  But even a single-story home will fall to the merest breeze if its foundation is not strong.  The seven Noachide laws form the foundation upon which meaningful and significant human life rests. 

The costs of ignoring them were plain at the time of Noah.  And yet, in our own time we are ignoring them as well!  Consciously, deliberately and with eyes wide open!

Who could have imagined a time when national headlines would report about bathrooms!  But they do.  Perhaps most people would like to remain unaware of the “bathroom wars” in North Carolina; perhaps most people would prefer to simply shrug when they are challenged as counter to Biblical values.

What does it matter?

What does it matter than the Supreme Court has proclaimed same-sex marriage the law of the land?

What does it matter that the White House has essentially proclaimed transgender bathrooms to be the civil rights issue of our times?

What does it matter?

What does it matter if a foolish fiddler – who shouldn’t be up on a roof anyway! – topples off?  What does it matter if there are four days this week and eleven next?

It matters because balance matters and no amount of pilates will strengthen your core enough to provide balance when the foundation cracks.  We rely on balance to live lives of meaning and significance.  We each build our own homes but we rely on a communal foundation for our houses and homes to stand.

One can make any argument he pleases to suggest otherwise but the numbers don’t lie.  Five cannot be seven.  Fourteen cannot be ten.

And one can never be any other than Our God in Heaven and on Earth.

Rabbi Safran’s recently published volume on all parshiyot ha’Torah available on Amazon: Something Old, Something New: Pearls from the Torah: Rabbi Eliyahu Safran: 9781602803152: Amazon.com: Books

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected negotiations with the Trump administration amid increasing tensions between Washington and Tehran. “Today’s situation is not suitable for talks, and our choice is resistance only,” said Rouhani on Tuesday, according to the state news agency IRNA. U.S. President Donald Trump has shown tough rhetoric, but also a willingness to sit down for talks with the regime. “Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready,” he said on Monday, a day after tweeting, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Since withdrawing last year from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the United States has increased pressure on the Islamic Republic by reimposing sanctions ...
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Baltimore City Police are investigating four separate shootings that occurred within three minutes of each other late Wednesday night.  According to police, all four shootings occurred between 10:41 p.m. and 10:44 p.m.  At 10:41 p.m. police received a tip through a Shot Spotter alert of gunfire on the 2300 block of East Preston Street.  Once on the scene police found evidence of a shooting and were advised that the victim was being assisted by medics in the 1700 block of Monument Street.  Also at 10:41 p.m., police were called to the 2300 block of East Hoffman Street for reports of a shooting.  Police found evidence of gunfire and two victims, 50 and 54-years-old, walked into a hospital seeking treatment for graze wounds.  The victims told police that th...
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former national security advisor talked about regional challenges facing Israel’s security at an event in New York City last week organized by Friends of European Leadership Network (ELNET). Brig. Gen. Jacob Nagel, a current visiting professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, discussed the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS), as well as Syria and Iran. Of the latter, he called it a country that does not want peace. Rather, it is “a country that wants to annihilate Israel,” and said that Israel cannot accept an agreement with Syria that allows Iran and its proxy, Hezbollah, to remain as ground forces in the country because they are threatening the security of the Jewish state. He also explained why h...
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Baltimore County Public Schools officials want to hear from parents, teachers and other members of the public on when the school year should start, before or after Labor Day. Officials want people to vote for the school calendar of their choice. Under a law passed over Gov. Larry Hogan's veto, school systems have the power to set when the school year starts and ends. Under a prior executive order by Hogan, systems had to start after Labor Day and wrap up by June 15. The new law allows systems to extend the length of the school year for up to five school days beyond that date without approval from the state board of education. Under the pre-Labor Day start, classes would begin Aug. 26 and end June 16 of next year, with a week-long spring break. Under the post-Labor Day opti...
Information about the international travel plans of the Israeli prime minister, other high-ranking Israeli diplomats, and senior agents of the country’s security agencies was leaked following a recent security breach, according to one person who spoke to Calcalist on condition of anonymity. That person identified himself as the hacker who discovered the breach, which compromised the database of alp.co.il, an online platform used by Israeli travel agents to book flights and hotels and submit visa applications. Calcalist reviewed some of the leaked data and consequently informed the Israeli National Cyber Directorate of the leak. The breach has since been addressed. Alp.co.il is used by popular Israeli online travel booking services such as Gulliver.co.il, Issta.co.il, and government...
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A New York Police officer was arrested and charged with being drunk at an Inner Harbor hotel after assaulting Baltimore Police who tried to make him leave. Officer Eugene Donnelly, 32, of Bronxville, N.Y., was charged with first- and second- degree assault and disorderly conduct following the incident early Tuesday morning, according to police. Baltimore Police were called to the Hilton Baltimore on 401 West Pratt Street around 7 a.m. for reports of an intoxicated male refusing to leave the hotel lobby and acting disorderly, police spokesperson Detective Chakia Fennoy said.  On the scene, Donnelly refused to leave the hotel and assaulted officers when they arrested him.  Donnelly was released from jail on his own recognizance on Wednesday. A New York Police Department spokes...
The World Health Organization passed a resolution accusing Israel of perpetuating a health crisis in the Palestinian territories. The tally was 96 in favor, 11 against and 21 abstaining. Voting against the measure were the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary and, of course, Israel. “The World Health Organization has, yet again, demonstrated the pervasive double standards within the United Nations which single out Israel for condemnation while absolving the Palestinian authorities of any wrongdoing or responsibility in the territories under their control,” said World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder. “As in the U.N. General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, the Commission on the Sta...
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Press at President Trump’s impromptu media appearance in the Rose Garden on Wednesday captured images of his handwritten notes. In the picture, taken by Washington Post staff photographer Jabin Botsford, Trump’s notes read “They want to impeach me over acts that they did” and “Dems have no achomlishments.” Trump told assembled members of the press he would not work with the Democratic House majority on major legislation until it ended its various investigation into his administration and businesses and fired back at accusations by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he had engaged in a “cover-up.” Read more at The Hill.
Nearly two hundred people have been treated by United Hatzalah EMS personnel so far at Meron in northern Israel, where the main Lag Ba’Omer festivities occur. Most of the injuries were light abrasions, contusions, people suffering from smoke inhalation, shortness of breath due to the weather, light burns and other cases. “Hundreds of United Hatzalah volunteers from all over Israel gathered to Meron to help provide medical services to the tens of thousands of people who have arrived to celebrate the holiday,” said United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer in a press release. “Our national dispatch center has been bolstered with extra dispatchers in order to provide a faster response to the many medical emergencies that occur on Lag Ba’Omer in Meron and ...
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