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President Trump on Tuesday called for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as he unveiled the details of his administration’s much-awaited Middle East peace plan. Trump announced the proposal alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during remarks in the East Room of the White House. "My vision presents a win-win situation for both sides," Trump said. "Today Israel has taken a giant step toward peace." While Trump and Netanyahu praised the plan as a way toward ending the decades-long conflict between the Israelis and P...
JERUSALEM (AP) — The population of Jewish settlements in the West Bank surged by more than 3% in 2019, well above the growth rate of Israel’s overall population, a settler group said Tuesday. It predicted even higher growth this year thanks to a nascent building boom made possible by friendly policies of the Trump administration. The data, released ahead of President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan, indicate that evacuating settlements is no longer a viable option for international peacemakers, said Baruch Gordon, director of West Bank Jewish Population Stats. “We’re here and we’re not going anywhere,” he said. His group, using official Interior Ministry data, said the population of West Bank settlements rose to 463,353 people as of ...
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Baltimore, MD - Jan. 27, 2020 – The last time Yaakov Shwekey performed in Baltimore was the 35th annual Isaac H. Taylor Jewish Music Festival in 2010. It felt only right to usher in a new decade with the same performer that has stood the test of time and has added many new popular songs to his catalogue of impressive music. His reinvigorated performance was truly the concert of a decade and enjoyed by a sold-out auditorium of children, teens, parents, grandparents. The event began with a beautiful VIP reception graciously sponsored by Hoffman & Co., filled to the brim with NCSY supporters, all uniting with a shared passion for Jewish outreach. The VIP reception included fantastic food, great entertainment, including a magician, and a chance for Yaakov Shwekey fans to get ph...
JERUSALEM (JNS) — Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit filed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment in Jerusalem on Tuesday, just hours after Netanyahu withdrew his request for parliamentary immunity from prosecution in the three corruption cases against him. The indictment marks the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister will face criminal charges. Following the withdrawal of the immunity request, Netanyahu’s main political rival Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, who like the prime minister was in Washington, D.C., for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump regarding the U.S. administration’s Middle East peace plan, said in a statement: “Netanyahu is going to trial. The citizens of Israel face a clear choice: a prime minister who will w...
BORO PARK (VINnews) — U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr met with Jewish leaders in Boro Park on Tuesday, amid a recent uptick in anti-Semitism across New York City. The meeting was held at the Boro Park JCC, and the mission was to “discuss anti-Semitism and ways to combat it,” according to ABC News. “I’m extremely distressed by the uptick in hate crimes against the Jewish community,” said AG Barr. Barr further said that he is “extremely distressed” about recent acts of intimidation and violence against Jewish communities, and vowed that we will see an increased effort on the federal level to combat and prosecute these hate attacks. Barr said that he will be issuing a directive to all US Attorney Offices across the US, to “reinvigorate...
As a cohen, I often participate in the mitzvah of pidyon haben, redeeming a firstborn male child, a bechor; but I have never been asked to participate in redeeming a firstborn donkey, in Hebrew called petter chamor. The Torah mentions this mitzvah in three different places. (1) In Parshas Bo, the pasuk says: Every firstborn donkey, you shall redeem with a “seh,” and if you do not redeem it, you should break its neck. Furthermore, the firstborn of your children, you shall also redeem (Shemos 13:13). (I will explain later why I did not translate the world “seh.”) (2) The pasuk repeats the same commandment almost verbatim in Parshas Ki Sissa (Shemos 34:20). (3) In Parshas Korach, the Torah states: And the firstborn of a non-kosher animal you shall redeem (Bamidbar ...
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[Ed. Note]: There is a great new resource available for reviewing or learning the daf. Request to join by texting 7185772401 or clicking here or by emailing dafbirchaschaim@gmail.com for archives of the shiur. To download click here . In Shemos 10:22 Moshe tilted his hand toward the heaven and darkness descended all over Mitzrayim and one was able to feel the darkness. Rashi explains the reason Hashem made darkness was so that the Jews of that generations who were resha’im and did not want to leave Mitzrayim would die during those three days and the Mitzriyim would not see it and say that the Jews are being punished just like us. In the gemara in Megillah 11a we see that Dasan an...
A deadly pneumonia-like illness that has raised the specter of an international health emergency has now claimed over 100 lives. Most of the deaths have occurred in the mainland China province of Hubei where the virus originated. The death toll comes from China Global Television Network, a state-run media organization that has been following the situation closely. So far, all deaths have been recorded in China. The new virus, now known as 2019-nCoV, is part of a family of coronaviruses that includes everything from the common cold to deadly SARS, which killed hundreds in 2003. Read more.
The Yesha Council umbrella group of settler leaders announced on Tuesday that it would oppose President Donald Trump’s peace plan, hours before the White House was slated to unveil its details. “We are very troubled,” said Yesha Council leader and Jordan Valley Regional Council Chairman David Elhayani in a statement after meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with someone he referred to as a senior US official. “We cannot accept a plan that would include the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would pose a threat to the State of Israel,” he said. “We will also not allow for the establishment of a Palestinian state, even if that means giving up on enacting sovereignty in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley [for now],” E...
U.S. forces have recovered the remains of two American service members from the Air Force plane that crashed in eastern Afghanistan Monday, a U.S. defense official tells Fox News. The two Americans recovered were the only two on board the E-11A plane,  the official added. The aircraft is the U.S. military's version of the civilian Bombardier Global Express business jet. The identities of the two have not been publicly announced, pending notification of their relatives, according to the Associated Press. Read more at FOX News
Parsha Hashavua
Dasan and Aviram

[Ed. Note]: There is a great new resource available for reviewing or learning the daf. Request to join by texting 7185772401 or clicking here or by emailing dafbirchaschaim@gmail.com for archives of the shiur. To download click here .


In Shemos 10:22 Moshe tilted his hand toward the heaven and darkness descended all over Mitzrayim and one was able to feel the darkness. Rashi explains the reason Hashem made darkness was so that the Jews of that generations who were resha’im and did not want to leave Mitzrayim would die during those three days and the Mitzriyim would not see it and say that the Jews are being punished just like us. In the gemara in Megillah 11a we see that Dasan and Aviram were wicked from beginning to end. Why were they not killed during those three days of darkness?


There are a number of answers to this question. The first answer is based on the Rosh that says the only ones who were killed during the three days of darkness were the ones who did not believe they would be redeemed. Dasan and Aviram believed that they would be redeemed; hence they were not killed. 


The second tirutz is based on the Divrei Sholom that says that Dasan and Aviram were destined to have the earth open up to swallow them together with Korach and his followers. It would seem that they had no free will. The explanation could be that they had free will, but Hashem knew what they would choose, therefore Hashem predetermined that they should be swallowed in to the earth. This decree dated as far back as the six days of creation. The Chasam Sofer adds that the miracle of the earth opening up was made special for Dasan and Aviram since Korach and the rest of the community were first burned and the earth swallowed them only after they died. Dasan and Aviram were swallowed into the ground while they were still alive.


The third tirutz is based on the Maharil Diskin that says that since Dasan and Aviram were destined to be part of the Jewish taskmasters who took the hit for the Bnei Yisroel when Pharaoh added to their hard work they were unable to be killed by the Malach Hamaves. The Malach Hamaves cannot kill anyone who takes a punishment on behalf of other Jews. The taskmasters (including Dasan and Aviram) also had the zchus that the Yam Suf was split in their merit. Yet all this could not save them and their children under age 13 from being swallowed into the ground. This goes to show how great is the punishment for machlokes


The fourth tirutz is based on the Chasam Sofer in Parshas Beshalach  that says since Dasan and Aviram helped Moshe out by making him run away to Midyan which was where he was raised. Despite the fact they meant it to be a rishus, Dasan and Aviram nevertheless got rewarded for it. There is an animal call the Ayala that has a tight uterus and can’t give birth, so Hashem makes sure that at the time of birth the uterus gets bitten by a snake helping it give birth. The snake, who appears to be hurting the Ayala, is actually helping him. Similarly, Dasan and Aviram actually helped Moshe.


The fifth tirutz is that Hashem wanted to kill all the reshaim in Mitzrayim, but Moshe davened to Hashem to save their lives. Hashem said I will save two reshaim in your zchus, but you will see what kind of damage they will perpetrate. The ta’ana against Moshe was that he should have davened that these reshaim should do teshuva, not just save their lives.


The sixth and final tirutz is that it could be that since Dasan and Aviram looked like tzaddikim and if they would have died it would have been a chillul Hashem, the people would say that even tzaddikim died during the three days of darkness. They therefore were zocheh to stay alive. 


May we be zocheh to be like the people in Mitzrayim who believed in the geulah and may we have the geulah sheleima bikarov.   




Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com


[Ed. Note]: There is a great new resource available for reviewing or learning the daf. Request to join by texting 7185772401 or clicking here or by emailing dafbirchaschaim@gmail.com for archives of the shiur. To download click here .

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NEW YORK (VINnews) — The Metropolitan Travel Authority (MTA), which is responsible for providing public transportation in New York State with an estimated 11 million passengers daily, revealed a new advertising campaign Monday designed to encourage passengers on public transport to report hate crimes and other “bias-motivated” threats or graffiti. The campaign comes in the wake of a spate of anti-Semitic and xenophobic hate crimes in the NY public transit system, with the latest occurring just hours before the campaign, as New York police arrested a man for allegedly terrorizing a transgender woman on the subway over the weekend. The announcement of the campaign was set for January 27th, the day when Auschwitz was liberated, now recognized as International Holocaust Rem...
NEW YORK (VINnews) — Elie Wiesel’s only son Elisha has led a rocky path living in the shadow of his Nobel-prize winning father and his father’s torrid past. In a revealing New York Post interview, Wiesel described his relationship with his father, his religious journeys and how he felt firsthand his father’s experiences after visiting Auschwitz with his father in 1995. ”It was a very powerful experience,” he said of the notorious extermination camp in Poland where his father was deported at age 15. Elie’s mother and younger sister were sent to the gas chambers on the first day there. “We found the spots where my father thought each of the various members of [our] family died and read Psalms there,” Elisha recalled. But even more emot...
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On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed on Monday the Never Again Education Act, a bill that seeks to expand Holocaust education. The final tally was 393 to 5, with four Republicans and one Independent, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voting against the bill. If enacted, it would expand the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s education programming to teachers nationwide, requiring the museum to develop and disseminate resources to improve awareness and understanding of the Holocaust and its lessons. The bill heads to the U.S. Senate, whose version slightly differs from the one in the House. “We have learned over time that it’s not enoug...
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Former National Security Adviser John Bolton cannot let the leak of his memoir stand and should go to the press and explain what he knows about aid to Ukraine, says Fox News contributor Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that she was not thinking about the 2020 Democratic primary or her effect on voters when she criticized Sen. Bernie Sanders, her 2016 primary rival, in a new documentary. In an interview with Variety, Clinton said her comments about Sanders’s likability and whether she would support him if he’s the Democratic nominee, were made more than a year ago. “I think we did that interview about a year-and-a-half ago. I wasn’t thinking about the election by any means,” Clinton told Variety. “I’ve said I’m going to support the nominee,” she added. “But I do think it’s important to look at somebody’s record and look at what they’ve gotten done and see whether you agree...
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The U.S. State Department, working with Congress, is slated to send $2 million to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation to “preserve the Auschwitz and Birkenau Memorial and Museum so future generations never forget, and to further efforts to combat contemporary forms of anti-Semitism,” announced U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday. Between 2013 and 2018, the United States sent $15 million to support the foundation. “The United States encourages other nations to join us in supporting the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation. We firmly believe it is humanity’s duty to honor Holocaust survivors, guard the memory of Holocaust victims and all other victims of Nazi persecution, and fight back against anti-Semitism, and attempts to ignore and revise history,” said P...
A senior adviser to Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, currently accompanying Gantz on a visit to Washington, D.C., to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, has likened Trump in the past to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and insinuated that he colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has also suggested that Trump play Russian roulette with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. In August 2017, Tzur tweeted: “Barack Hussain Obama left, Donald Adolf Trump arrived. Dying to see who comes next.” Similarly, in March 2016, Tzur tweeted: “Donald’s next book: Mein Trump,” playing on the spelling of Trump’s name (in Hebrew, “p” and “f” are represented by the same letter). In September 2017, during attempted negotiations between Trump...
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Leaders of the Hamas terrorist organization and Fatah will join forces Tuesday in a rare meeting in Ramallah against President Trump’s long-awaited peace plan, officials said. “We invited the Hamas movement to attend the emergency meeting of the leadership and they will take part in the meeting,” senior Palestinian Authority official Azzam al-Ahmed said. Hamas official Nasser al-Din al-Shaar confirmed he would attend the meeting, which all Palestinian Arab factions were invited to. “The meeting will discuss the position that must be taken (against) Trump’s plan,” Shaar said. Read more at Arutz Sheva.
Iranian media claims that “many CIA” officers were killed in a plane crash on Monday. The Taliban initially claimed large numbers of Americans were killed, while Russian media and Iranian media then asserted that a senior CIA officer responsible for killing IRGC general Qasem Soleimani was on board. The claim has been greeted with skepticism. Michael D’Andrea’s name began to appear in Farsi media in the wake of the Soleimani killing when articles at Mehr News and Radio Farda claimed he was involved in planning the US operation. Later on January 27 his name appeared again in rumors after the plane crash. There are many who might have an interest in spreading conspiracies about the Taliban downing high ranking US intelligence officers, nevertheless Iran’s Tasn...
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