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January 27-Feburary 10, 2012

Vol. 9 Issue 199

c�ga, jkac - tc

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What We See As Important

A discussion of our nation’s priorities is in order. The fairness of our taxation system which puts some individuals and businesses above others should be part of this discussion. THE COMMUNITY LINKS is published biweekly and is distributed free to the Jewish Community of Southern California. THE COMMUNITY LINKS accepts no responsibility for typographical errors or reliability of Kashrus of any advertisers. All submissions become the property of THE COMMUNITY LINKS and may be shortened and/or edited for length and clarity. Articles published in THE COMMUNITY LINKS express the views of the individual writers and may not necessarily represent the views of THE COMMUNITY LINKS. No artwork or any part of the magazine may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without the written permission of the publisher.

But why must we make a vessel to carry G-d’s blessing? If G-d loves us infinitely, why do we face these challenges in the first place?

Rabbi Reuven Wolf

Dr. Robert Rome


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Human Nature


As you know, human nature is not predictable. Each and everyone of us reacts to situations in a different way. Rabbi Eli Hecht

COMMUNITY LINKS • Volume 8 Issue 199 6 January 27, 2012

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The other earns the same income but pays less than 15% tax as his income was reported as capital gains on business investments, with an actual income tax payment of less than half of his opponent who seems to have earned the same amount of money. The implied question in the debates: Is this fair?

What We See As Important

Robert J. Rome, Ph.D

Note to reader: This is not an article on politics or preferred political candidates. This also is not an article on economics or finance. This article addresses our priorities as a nation. Taxation has become part of the presidential debates and discussion in this presidential campaign year. Some candidates have proposed a “flat tax.” Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan was featured in news headlines. A basic issue of discussion is the fairness in our taxation system. Some professions and businesses get special exemptions or deductions not permitted to others. We see tax incentives for “green energy” businesses. We see lower tax rates for those who invest in businesses. We even see real estate investors sometimes avoiding all taxes through special deductions, depreciation allowances, and other tax provisions not available to others. The issue of the discrepancies of what individuals may pay in taxes has emerged as an issue in this year’s presidential campaign. Two presidential candidates may each earn over a million dollars a year. One pays 31% of his income in taxes as he earned “normal income” as a speaker and as a consultant. 10 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

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This is not a Republican or a Democratic issue. In a previous campaign year, I recall how Democrat John Edwards reported much of his income as a dividend or a bonus, or in some other manner. I’m also not a tax expert, but I recall from the newspaper accounts that by not reporting his income in the usual way, he was able to escape the approximately 3% Medicare tax on these amounts and he saved a couple of hundred thousand dollars in the Medicare tax that is required on all normally earned income.

The person earning money as capital gains is able to save 15% or more on income tax and can save an additional 3% or so on Medicare taxes. The real estate investors who pay no income tax may also be avoiding any required payments for Social Security taxes. Not having to pay Social Security or Medicare taxes may save the investor these 15% combined taxes. This savings is in addition to income tax savings for these investors. Two people may earn the same money. One may pay close to 30% in income tax, plus an additional 15% in Social Security and Medicare taxes, plus state income tax on his or her declared income. The other may pay nothing! I understand and wish to emphasize that none of these actions which bring less tax obligation is illegal. All of the presidential candidates in question apparently paid in full the taxes required by the IRS on their reported income. Those who invest in real estate but pay no taxes also are paying every penny due in taxes, even though in the end no pennies are paid. How a government taxes its citizens tells us a lot about what the nation sees as priorities. Business investment is

aged. Real estate investment is encouraged. As these are encouraged, however, it seems that normal wage earning is discouraged. In many colleges and universities there has been a surge in students pursuing business majors and a drop in those pursuing certain professions and wage-earning fields, like teachers. I remember a leading California pulpit rabbi who shared with me what happened during the interview process for his current position. He met with the synagogue board members. They asked him questions about his education and his experiences in previous positions. They asked about his plans, his goals. When they were done, the synagogue President asked the rabbi, “Do you have any questions?” Without skipping a beat, the rabbi stated that he would like to see the synagogue’s budget. The board members gave off a collective gasp. Why would this young rabbi ask to see the Shul’s budget? The synagogue President responded, “No other rabbi that we have interviewed has ever asked to see our budget. Why do you want to see it?” The rabbi responded, “The budget reflects the synagogue’s priorities. How much is invested in the education of the children? Is there a budget for a library? How much is allocated to children’s programs or to family activities? The budget is the statement of what is important to the synagogue.” In the United States, the system of taxation helps to define what Congress and the President see as our nation’s priorities. Those who invest in “green energy” are seen as promoting a national priority and given a tax reduction. Those who invest in equipment for their businesses are seen as promoting the manufacturing of that equipment and are given unique depreciation tax benefits, among other possible tax savings. Those who invest in businesses are seen as helping to create 11 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2


jobs and are given substantial tax savings. Those who make movies in Los Angeles are given state and local tax benefits. Through tax policies, the government promotes certain kinds of investments, certain kinds of businesses. Most of these tax policies are easily understood. For example, by giving tax exemptions to those who make movies in California, more movies are made in California, creating many thousands of jobs. With these jobs, millions of dollars in tax revenue are created. Without these incentives, all of the movie production money may have gone instead to Vancouver, Canada, or other cities and nations promoting the making of movies. Through providing money or tax advantages to those who invest in new industries, like the production of electric cars, the government helps to lower the risks of these new businesses and advance these new industries. Electric cars can mean less imported oil. This is a national concern and priority. But when our government promotes certain jobs or industries, there is a result that other jobs are discouraged. The incentives to enter business investing actually serve as disincentives to enter other fields. We are seeing a shortage emerge in qualified teachers, in primary care physicians, in nursing, and a host of other fields. If we promote our “best and brightest” to enter the field of business investing, we discourage normal wage earning jobs and professions. When the public school teacher pays twice as much in taxes as those in some other fields, two things happen: One, we discourage those possibly interested from entering the field, and two, we require school districts to pay increasing amounts to teachers so that after-tax income keeps up with the cost of living. • 323-965-1544 •

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As a psychologist, I frequently am hired to serve as a consultant to school districts. I frequently help districts to resolve costly law suits from parents through innovative and less costly methods. I frequently work with children and adolescents in juvenile courts to design treatment programs which will help keep these children from repeated violations, a major public benefit. I sometimes wonder when I see the tax advantages given to “chosen” fields or professions why the government sees those fields as providing a greater public benefit, and thus less taxes, than what I do. Paying taxes is part of our civic responsibilities. Supporting education, our national defense, our environment, and other governmental programs through taxes is important. While I often feel on April 15 that my taxes are too high, I pay my obligations. I am proud to be an American and paying taxes helps to make this great country work. But there seem to be issues of fairness. Millionaires can escape all taxes while working people often have to give up or reduce basic necessities to have enough money for meeting tax obligations.

A discussion of our nation’s priorities is in order. The fairness of our taxation system which puts some individuals and businesses above others should be part of this discussion. We need to promote our nation’s traditions of strong moral values through our government policies. We need to promote those who serve the public and not just those who pursue profits. These are difficult issues. We do need to reward those who create jobs and help our economy to grow. But what other values should we promote with our taxation and other governmental policies? There are many questions, but not necessarily many clear answers to these questions. I welcome the debate on these issues. The fairness of our nation for all its citizens has long been a key concern. This is an important debate in an important campaign year. I look forward to following future presidential debates and the answers offered by the candidates. We will be a better nation for having this debate.

Robert J. Rome, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Encino, California. He can be reached at

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One of the initial mitzvos of the Torah, the Korban Pesach, was given to the Jewish nation as a preface to redemption. It is filled with myriad details, surely a distinct departure from other introductory exercises that leave the participants with simple initiatory protocol. What is truly amazing is the place where the Torah put the specific mitzvah that prohibits the breaking of the meat bones of the sacrifice, to get to the food. At first, in the early part of the parsha, the Torah details the way the lamb is roasted and how it is eaten. "But if the household is too small for a lamb ARSHAS or kid, then he and his neighbor who is near his house shall take according to the number of people; everyone according to what he eats shall be counted for the lamb or kid.: They shall eat the flesh on that night -roasted over the fire -- and matzos; with bitter herbs shall they eat it.: "You shall not eat it partially roasted or cooked in water; only roasted over fire -- its head, its legs, with its innards: You shall not leave any of it until morning; any of it that is left until morning you shall burn in the fire: "So shall you eat it - your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; you shall eat it in haste -- it is a Pesach-offering to Hashem" (Exodus 12:4-7).



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later when the Torah discusses the fundamentals of the offering,does it add that law, as a seemingly misplaced detail among serious edicts: such as who is permitted to eat it; and that the korban is a mitzvah which is incumbent on every Jew. "Hashem said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the chok (decree) of the Pesach-offering - no alienated person may eat from it. Every slave of a man, who was bought for money, you shall circumcise him; then he may eat of it. A sojourner and a hired laborer may not eat it. Then it adds, "In one house shall it be eaten; you shall not remove any of the meat from the house O to the outside, and you shall not break a bone in it. The entire assembly of Israel shall perform it: "When a proselyte sojourns among you he shall make the Pesach-offering for Hashem; each of his males shall be circumcised, and then he may draw near to perform it and he shall be like the native of the land; no uncircumcised male may eat of it. One law shall there be for the native and the proselyte who lives among you."


Break No Bones About It

It makes no mention of the command to eat it without breaking a bone. Only, some thirty verses later, • 323-965-1544 •

The question is: why insert the issue of broken bones, a seemingly minor detail, together with the fundamentals of this most important ritual? When the Satmar Rav came to this country after World War II he had a handful of Hungarian immigrants, most of them Holocaust survivors, as his Chasidim. As the custom is with Chasidic rebbes, they would come for a blessing and leave a few

dollars for the rebbe to give to charity on their behalf. The poor immigrants, would come in for blessings, some leaving a dollar, others some coins and on occasion a wealthier chasid would leave a five, a ten, or even a twenty-dollar bill. The rebbe would not look at the offerings; rather he would open the old drawers of his desk and stuff them in, ready, and available for them to be put to charitable use. Of course, givers were not the only one who visited the rebbe. Those who were in need came as well. Each of them bearing their tale of sorrow, asking for a donation. Once a man came desperately in need of a few hundred dollars, which the rebbe gladly agreed to give.


The rebbe opened hid drawer, and began pulling out bills. Out came singles and fives, a few tens and even a twenty. Then the rebbe called in his Gabbai (sexton), "Here," he said, please help me with this." The Rebbe began straightening out the bills one by one. Together, they took each bill, flattened it and pressed it until it looked as good as new. The rebbe took 100 one dollar bills and piled it into a neat stack. Then he took out a handful of five-dollar bills and put them into another pile. Then he took about five wrinkled ten dollar bills, pressed them flat, and piled them as well. Finally, he slowly banded each pile with a rubber band, and then bound them all together. He handed it to the gabbai and asked him to present it to the supplicant. "Rebbe," asked the sexton, "why all the fuss? A wrinkled dollar works just as well as a crisp one!" The rebbe explained. "One thing you must understand. When you do a mitzvah. It must be done with grace, and class. The way you give tzedoka, is almost as important as the tzedoka itself. Mitzvos must be done regally. We will not hand out rumbled bills to those who are in need." The prohibition against breaking bones is not just a culinary exercise. The Sefer HaChinuch explains it is a fundamental ordinance that defines the very attitude toward that Jews should have toward mitzvos. Though we eat in haste, we must eat with class. We don't break bones, and we don't chomp at the meat; especially mitzvah meat. That fact is as fundamental as the others it is placed with. A person's actions while performing a Mitzvah is inherently reflective of his attitude toward the Mitzvah itself. The Torah, in placing this seemingly insignificant, command about the way things are eaten together with the laws of who is to eat it tells us that both the mitzvah and the attitude are equally important with no bones about it. Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky 19 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

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Journeying From the Forest of Despair By Natalia Thalheim

It was about a year after I began to become observant that I asked my older brother to tell me his story. All I knew was that he had been religious for decades, and that reality was beginning to appeal to me. He was the oldest of us four kids born to parents who survived the Holocaust. Our mother had been raised in a traditional home in Eastern Europe, and our father was from Communist Russia where religious identity was forbidden. Their compromise: a lukewarm form of Judaism. My brother asked to go to Hebrew School at age six, which paved the way for the rest of us to receive a Jewish education. When he was in college, my brother joined some friends on a cross-country ski trip during winter break. The first day went well. Somewhat sore on the second day, yet still possessed with adventurous spirit, the group set out with greater ambition, choosing more challenging trails. Late in the afternoon, as the other guys briskly traversed forward, my brother lagged behind. At a fork in the trail, his companions decided to play a trick on him. They went ahead in another direction, without letting him know. Proceeding slowly, he soon realized he had lost sight of his buddies. He was tired and cold and unsure of which path to take. He was deep in the woods, alone. Despite his age (late adolescence being a time of presumed invincibility) and his size (he was a big guy), my brother began to become fearful. Dusk was rapidly ap20 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

proaching. He had no idea how to get home; no food, no flashlight, no map. In the stillness of the woods, where everything was the white and brown and blue black colors of the winter woods, he became aware of the minutest sounds – snow crunching underfoot, his arms swinging, his ski poles being planted in the earth. Mostly, he heard the staccato rhythm of his own quickened breathing dominate the stillness. Anxiety mounting, he longed for company. He made his own voice a friend. He decided to sing. He sang a tune he remembered from Hebrew School – the tune to a familiar prayer, Adon olam, which means Master of the world. In the quiet of the forest, in the company of the words, he became comforted. As he sang, it dawned on him that G‑d is the Master of the world. G‑d put him in that forest. G‑d would take him out. And He did. Singing and striding, my brother was led to a clearing. A short distance ahead he spotted his surprised friends and rejoined them, completing the last leg of the trail before nightfall.

observant, married and raised children. Always, he filled his home with Jewish books and music. He studied medicine, and put his heart into helping others, particularly Russian Jews and singles in his neighborhood. But as life would have it, sometimes he still struggled to stay on the trail, to find his way home when it was dark. When my brother died suddenly at age forty-three, eleven years ago, his sixteen-year-old son came to live with me and my husband for a few months. In the unbearable darkness of my young nephew's horror and grief, only the Jewish music that his father loved offered solace. History repeated itself. Heartfelt melodies about trust and faith gradually guided my nephew out of the forest of despair.

G‑d guided my brother along many other dark trails in the two dozen years that followed that incident. He travelled to the Former Soviet Union, to the death camps of Europe, and to the Holy Land. He gave up a PhD program in philosophy, moving from atheist to believer. He enrolled in a program of Rabbinic Studies, and with G‑d's help, my brother continued to find his way. He became

Today, my nephew and his siblings are traversing their individual life trails. Each strives to find his or her own connection with G‑d. I am grateful to have heard my brother tell his story shortly before he passed, when Torah observance was so new to me. I wish I had been close with my brother during those years when he sang at his Shabbat table, celebrated the births of his children, and taught Torah to the people he welcomed into his home. But this I know: if G‑d guided my brother out of his personal darkness, He will certainly continue to illuminate the way until redemption reunites us with our loved ones. May it be speedily in our days.•

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TOURO LOS ANGELES Touro College Los Angeles (TCLA) provides our community with an affordable, high quality college education in a Torah observant environment. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), TCLA has established itself as a premier institution equal to that of other local four year universities and in many ways better.

also has an Israel Option program for students who are committed to earning their degree at TCLA. This program allows qualifying students to apply state and federal grants towards their cost of seminary/yeshiva tuition. TCLA provides links to all relevant financial aid websites on their webpage,

TCLA’s primary focus is on the quality of its education, faculty and staff. With small class sizes, students are afforded the unique opportunity to build meaningful academic relationships with their professors and peers and benefit from a level of attention that is generally not available in large class settings. Students are able to transfer in their seminary and yeshiva credits, providing students with the opportunity to graduate in less than four years. Touro College Los Angeles also offers students preferential admissions to the many prestigious Touro graduate programs. In today’s modern world, a college degree is crucial in supporting a religious family lifestyle. Touro College Los Angeles enables students to pursue an education and be in the comfort of a familiar Torah environment. But what’s most notable about having a religious alternative to secular education is TCLA’s affordability.

One of the most valuable savings at TCLA is that of time. According to CSU Schools Report, less than half of California State University system students are graduating after six years of college. At TCLA, our student advisors and administration are committed to seeing that students who begin their education with Touro, complete their degree within four years. With transfer credits from Israel, most TCLA students graduate with their degree in less than 3 years. This allows TCLA students to pursue graduate studies and career opportunities sooner than many of their peers. Many TCLA students have gone on to such schools as UCLA, USC, and Touro medical graduate programs.

TCLA is a non-profit institution offering the same quality education as other universities at half the price. With an experienced financial aid advisor on staff, TCLA is committed to assisting students explore all available options to financially assist them through their college careers. Many students can attend Touro tuition-free if they qualify for full state and federal grants. For those who don’t fully qualify, TCLA offers other financial relief options such as generous Dean’s and Merit Scholarships (for those who qualify). In addition, interest-free loans are available especially for students through the Jewish Free Loan Society. TCLA 24 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

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During times where the tuition cost of Jewish education is rising each year, TCLA is committed to seeing that every student is granted the opportunity to attend a Jewish college. TCLA prides itself on its commitment to the Los Angeles community and its vision that every Jewish student should have the option to study and pursue career opportunities in a warm, Torah observant atmosphere. TCLA is offering a free Financial Aid seminar in order to better inform those interested in learning more about TCLA and all the financial aid options that are available. Call 323-822-9700, 85150 to RSVP for the February 5th seminar. •

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Beshalach – A Stress Free Life

Rabbi Reuven Wolf A month after their glorious exodus from Egypt, the Jews found themselves in the wilderness without any food. They were terrified, cried out to Moshe and prayed to G-d. Hashem answered them with an outstanding miracle that lasted forty years: the gift of manna from heaven. G-d delivered delicious, ready-to-eat food to their doorsteps. Albeit, some had to walk a little farther than others to find their manna, everyone benefitted from the delicious and perfectly nutritious bounty, which was literally bread from heaven, and was delivered every single day. The amount of manna that each family received was exactly the amount they needed. Whether a person spent an entire day gathering manna, filling his basket to the brim, or only a few minutes gathering a minimal amount, his efforts were irrelevant. When he returned home, there was just the exact amount needed to satisfy the needs of his family for the day, no more and no less. Just as G-d precisely dispensed the sustenance of the Jews in the wilderness for forty years, He dispenses the sustenance of all of humanity to this very day. The Shulchan Aruch mentions a custom to read daily this portion of the Torah, called Parshas Ha’Mon. Two explanations are given for this custom: The first reason, from the Bais Yosef, is that it helps to ingrain emunah/faith into people that Hashem is the only source of every bit of our livelihood and our sustenance. Even though today we are required to create a vessel to carry G-d’s blessing – by engaging in commerce or employment in worldly matters – the truth is that this effort is just a façade. Every morsel of food we eat and every penny in our pockets come to us only because G-d gives them to us. 28 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

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Even though the nature of the universe suggests that material success is related to effort, education, family, networking or even being in the right place at the right time, the fact is that the only cause for one’s success is G-d. In the wilderness they saw this every day; today we must labor not to forget. Reading the Parshas Ha’Mon daily helps us keep the proper perspective. The second reason for this custom, given by the Shulchan Aruch HaRav, is that reading Parshas Ha’Mon helps one maintain bitachon/trust that G-d will definitely provide for every one of our needs, every single day. At first glance, these two reasons appear quite similar. However, there is a big difference between emunah and bitachon. Emunah is the faith (a deep conviction, recognition and acceptance) that G-d is the one who runs the world, and controls every aspect of it. Bitachon is the reliance and trust in G-d (a calmness, and lack of worry) that He always does what is best for us. Emunah is something that is with us all of the time – knowledge of the facts; bitachon is a well we draw from to counter a stressful situation or circumstance. There are actually two levels of bitachon. One type of bitachon is accessed on a daily basis. For example, we all have financial obligations: rents and mortgages, tuitions, and many other bills. In these situations, bitachon is the calm awareness, certainty, and complete lack of anxiety that G-d will make sure that whatever money we need will come through – that we will stay employed, that our prospects will turn into customers, or that our projects and investments will continue to be successful.

There are also extreme situations. These are the circumstances we may find ourselves in where we cannot imagine any possible means of escape; when the natural order of the universe doesn’t leave the possibility for a favorable outcome. For example, if G-d forbid, one receives a foreclosure notice or a bleak medical prognosis – horrifying news. The highest form of the mitzvah of bitachon is to be completely calm, without any type of worry or anxiety about the situation, and absolutely certain that Hashem will provide a miracle. The mitzvah in these cases is not to know that G-d has the power to perform a miracle, or to believe that it could happen, that is emunah. Rather, true bitachon is the absolute trust in G-d that He will definitely save us, no matter the circumstances. The Baal Shem Tov teaches that every single Jew is akin to Hashem’s only child! What obstacle will a parent not face for a child? This is the feeling we must evoke from within ourselves when facing a hopeless obstacle. The yetzer hara will try to convince us otherwise. He will ask us many harebrained questions to throw us off guard. “Do I really deserve Hashem’s salvation? How can I be G-d’s only child?” Knowing that our virtues and our failings are irrelevant to G-d’s desire to help us is the key to finding our bitachon. G-d is the supreme omnipotent power which exists beyond the universe and the creation. He has an unlimited patience, boundless mercy, an infinite well of love and limitless control of every detail of existence. He created nature; He can do whatever He wishes. One should say “Hashem is my father! If I need help, I can call Him and He will come to my rescue!“ The reward for this type of trust, one that goes beyond any logic, is that G-d will certainly help and deliver any salvation we need, whether we deserve it or not, beyond any calculations. But why must we make a vessel to carry G-d’s blessing? If G-d loves us infinitely, why do we face these challenges in the first place? When G-d created everything, in order to create a universe which can be perceived as physically distinct and separate from Him, He created nature, time, logic and many other boundaries. Man’s job is to elevate G-d’s creation by transforming it from a place where G-d is invisible, to one in which G-d can be completely manifest and revealed. 29 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

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Of course, G-d could have created everything this way to start with, but that is not His desire. He has challenged us to transform the world by living a spiritual life in a physical world through the precepts and commandments of the Torah. He therefore makes Himself hidden to the physical world. In order that we can have some level of relationship with Him, He projects a condensed and reduced element of Himself into the creation. This is His “human personality,” what Kabbalists refer to as His system of attributes. His true all-powerful Self is boundless and infinite and completely unknown to us. For our mission to be successful, we must live within this system, but we must also realize that it is all a façade. A creation where manna falls from heaven will never be able to realize its purpose. To strengthen the Jewish people after their ordeal in Egypt, and to prepare us for mission, G-d temporarily lifted the veil of creation, and in the wilderness we lived without worry for our needs. Our challenge today is to realize that the situation has not changed. If we give credence to the vessels – by thinking that any employer, bank, doctor, economy, government, scientific rule or law of nature determines our fate – then we are not engaged in true bitachon. The reality is that there is nothing other than G-d, even the vessels themselves are simply manifestations of G-d’s will. Hashem can and does break the boundaries of His own creation in order to take care of His children. Bitachon is what allows us to reach beyond the system. The vessels are meaningless. Hashem is the only one responsible for us, and is the only provider. This is the key to a stress free life. This means that our work and other worldly pursuits have context, they are at G-d’s whim, and only to serve Him and His purpose for creation. Knowing this prevents our perception of nature from encroaching on our true purpose in life. Working late hours, trying to get ahead in the workplace by sacrificing prayer or Torah study isn’t the path to success. Our basket of manna will always contain only what we need and nothing more, no matter how much time we spend gathering. Today, so close to the time of Moshiach, we have special access to this level of bitachon.We need it to survive. By not submitting ourselves to lower, earthly powers, we retain the ability to access the infinite source of life. May we all merit to have an abundance of blessing and only goodness in our lives.


It therefore is no surprise that historians and scholars alike have traced the German butchers of World War II as descendants of the Amalekites.


t was a battle for the ages. As the Jews departed Egypt and miraculously crossed the Red Sea, they were brutally and savagely ambushed by Amalek, a nation who would prove to be the perpetual nemesis of the Jewish People until this very day. The nation of Amalek repeated their malice again during the Israelites' trek in the desert after the death of Ahron. At that time, they posed as Canaanites and once again tried to defeat the Jews (Numbers 21:1). Both times they were repelled. Amalek's venom spewed throughout history. Eventually, Amalek's direct descendant, Haman, would unsuccessfully try his hand at the total annihilation of our nation during the era between the destruction of the first Holy Temple and the rebuilding of the second Temple.

Towards the end of last year, a Judge in Denver Colorado was presiding over a civil trial when she noticed that a screw must have fallen out of the Venetian blinds over a window on the right side of the courtroom, and they were beginning to give way. As the window treatments were suspended directly over the jury box, the judge was concerned. A screw must have fallen out and the shades were beginning to tilt precariously.

Clear Intructions

But history did not have to be repeated. Amalek could have been quashed at the beginning of his ruthless career. After the first ambush, Hashem gave specific instructions on how the Jewish nation must deal with Amalek. The directive was not pretty. It entailed war, but following the directives precisely would have prevented generations of bloodshed and preserved millions of Jewish lives throughout our history. The failure to fulfill them in toto would lead to the Jewish People's eventual and constant persecution, even attempted annihilation. The plans were so precise that instructions were given as to how the directive was supposed to be transmitted. Yes, even the instructions were given with instructions! "Hashem said to Moshe, 'Write this as a remembrance in the Book and put it in the ears of Yehoshua (Joshua) that I shall surely erase the memory of Amalek from under the heavens' " (Exodus 17:14). And so Moshe is told to instruct Joshua, his warrior, in no uncertain terms how the Jewish nation must deal with those who sought to abort their growth only days from their triumphant emergence from the parted waters of the Red Sea. He is told write it down and then place it in the 30 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

ears of Joshua. What troubles me is the double directive. The entire Torah was either written or transmitted orally. The Torah hardly ever tells Moshe to do both write and transmit orally. Wasn't the entire Torah written and taught? Why, then, when it comes to this particular command does the Torah instruct both a written and verbal instruction, the latter to be placed directly into the ear of Joshua?

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She did not want to interrupt the testimony of one of the litigants, and quickly scribbled a note and motioned for the court officer.

With a look of concern, and without even directing her attention toward him, she handed the note to the court officer. The officer looked at the note and immediately raced from the courtroom for assistance. Within minutes, an ambulance, sirens blaring, screeched to a halt in front of the courthouse. The paramedics raced to the courtroom, stretcher opened, fully prepared to treat a stroke victim. The startled Judge looked up in horror as she protested the onslaught of medics - until they handed her the note, she had given the court officer. In her own hand it read, "Blind on the right side. Send for immediate assistance." Instructions that deal in life or death situations can be easily misconstrued. Wars have been fought, lives have been lost, and nations defeated due to homonymic misinterpretations. The formidable foes were on the verge of defeat all too often in Jewish history when misplaced compassion led to progenitors who returned the Jewish kindness with murderous onslaught. And so, writing messages or telling stories were not enough. The message had to be oral and written, spoken and recorded, documented and preserved. For hatred and evil must be eradicated - in our minds, in our mouths, with our ears, and with our quills. •

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Human Nature

As you know, human nature is not predictable. Each and everyone of us reacts to situations in a different way.

I remember a fellow classmate in high school having a strange eating ritual. Whenever he picked up a slice of bread to eat, he would hold the slice vertically. One slice of bread would be placed on the bottom palm of his hand. If he would be able to bring the top crust to touch the bottom crust without having the soft middle break, then he would eat the bread. If it was a bit hard to bend or if it would break, then he would not eat the bread. Being very curious, I asked him about his strange eating habit. He explained to me that his parents had lived in Nazi concentration camps and were nearly starved to death. After the war they fled from Europe to Toronto, Canada where they became very rich. They vowed to never serve their family any food that wasn't very fresh and they would only eat the freshest bread possible. So he showed the children how to test for the freshness of bread. This test became second nature for my friend. In contrast I had a second friend who always kissed his bread before eating it. At times his sandwich looked as if there was mold from stale bread. I asked him to explain why he kissed the moldy bread. He told me that his mother was on one of

the last transports to the Auschwitz death camp. On the way she and her family was starving when at a short stop someone threw an old loaf of bread into their car. That loaf of bread kept her and 23 family members alive. His mother eventually married and moved to New York. She vowed never to throw away bread. At the wedding of her children she danced with a loaf of bread. Her son never threw away any part of the bread. Bread was too valuable. The above vignettes show two families basically exposed to adverse conditions. Each family learned how to cope and instruct their children in different ways. People really react differently to situations. What is crystal clear to one person may be very hazy to another. Who knows the reasons why people do what they do. I keep on thinking, our generation is blessed in knowledge and science and we must have the answers. If only there was a way for us to be kind, loving, and compassionate, what a great world we would have. There is one thing we can do. Think of the other person’s perspective before we judge them! By doing so we may find that we can help makes this world a better place for all of us.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Sift together the first 6 ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, brown sugar and eggs until well combined. Whisk in the applesauce, vanilla and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in 1/4 cup of the chopped walnuts. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. With an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and lemon zest until smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. The cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator.

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DINING GUIDE MEAT Afshan Restaurant RCC 106 W. 9th St. LA, (213) 622-1010 Bocca Steakhouse RCC 16610 Ventura. Encino, 91436 (818) 905-5855 Café Del Mar Meat Kehila 12526 Burbank Blvd. N.H. 91607 (818) 487-8171 Chic N Chow Kehila 9301 West Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-5595 Chinese and Kabob Kehila 9180 Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 274-4007 Cohen’s Restaurant RCC 316 E Pico Blvd # F LA, CA 90015 (213) 742-8888 Elat Burger Kosher LA 9340 W. Pico Blvd. LA, 90035 (310) 278-4692 Elite Cuisine RCC 7119 Beverly Blvd. LA, 90036 (323) 930-1303 Shawarma Express Kehila 5577 Reseda Blvd. Tarzana, 9135 (818) 342-2226 Glatt Hut RCC 9303 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 246-1900 Golan RCC 13075 Victory Blvd. N. H, 91606 (818) 763-5344 Got Kosher? RCC 8914 W. Pico Blvd. 90035 (310) 858-1920

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Busines Changes: • Buy/Sell funding is no longer required • Business is sold • Changes in deferred compensation benefits • Bankruptcy proceedings

C A S E S T U DY INSURED: Type of Policy: Face Amount: Cash Surender Value: Offer price to policy owner: Reason:

81 year old male Universal Life $5,000,000 $0 $860,000 Premiums of in-force policy were expensive and becoming difficult to afford. The insured no longer needed the policy and sold it for a sum worth approximately twice the policy’s cost basis. C A S E S T U DY

For a free, no obligation consultation and policy appraisal, by phone or in person



42 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

• 323-965-1544 •

OPEN HOUSE 2/12/2012 1667 S. La Cienga Blvd @SOLA 4-6 pm

43 J a n u a r y 2 7 , 2 0 1 2

• 323-965-1544 •









at The Five Diamond Park Hyatt Aviara FEATURING THE FINEST IN DINING



Secluded amid 200 acres of verdant hillsides and rolling valleys | Balcony/patio in every room with mountain & ocean views | Beach butler service | Two outdoor pools | Exciting nightly entertainment | Outstanding children’s programs | Beautiful two mile Resort Batiquitos Lagoon trail | Many theme parks in close proximity Experienced teachers available for children & adult classes or private learning Non Gebrokts, Shmurah Matza, and Cholov Yisroel


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, Founder & President of Hineni Rabbi Yosef Y. Jacobson, One of the most sought-after Jewish speakers in the world today Rabbi Binyomin Ginsberg, Noted Chinuch Columnist

ENTIRE RESORT EXCLUSIVE FOR KMR GUESTS Please visit our website for a complete list of services, activities, amenities & much more. 1-888-567-0100 or 718-778-4241 WWW.KMRTOURS.COM

Community LInks Issue 199 Jan 27, 2012  

Community Links Issue 199. Publishe January 29, 2012