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The Week In News

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NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

#8

IN A SERIES

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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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Dear readers, Most of the Torah’s description of Yitzchok Avinu’s life shows him digging wells and re-digging them if they had been filled with dirt. What is so significant about digging wells that causes the Torah to expound on it so much? The Chassidic Masters teach that a person is like a well. Wherever one goes in the world, he is guaranteed to find water, so long as he digs. The only question: How long will he need to dig? In some areas, it will take a short time to find water; in other areas, longer; and in yet others, it will take an extremely long time. But fresh, living water he is guaranteed to find. What is that “water?” The soul. Yitzchok Avinu was a digger of wells, a discoverer of the soul. This past Shabbos was the conference of Chabad shluchim in Crown Heights, New York. A digger of wells is the perfect way to describe the ideal shliach. They have an astounding ability to bring out a Jewish connection from people who, whether because of their indifference or hostility were written off as a lost cause. Yet along comes a shliach and shlucha, who embrace them with heartfelt ahavas Yisrael, and this very same person is suddenly adding mitzvos to their life and learning Torah for the first time. We also need to look at our fellow Jews the same way. Whether they be neighbors, fellow carpoolers, or members of our shul, they have a precious “source of water” inside, and we need to view them that way. Perhaps the best way to do so is to tap into our own soul: thinking more Torah, giving more tzedakah, being kinder, doing mitzvos whenever we can, and praying more intently. When we are more spiritual, we see spirituality in others as well. May our collective Torah & mitzvos finally tip the scales for good, revealing the good in all of us and indeed in all of creation. Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,

Shalom

T H E P R E M I E R J E W I S H N E W S PA P E R H I G H L I G H T I N G L A’ S O R T H O D OX C O M M U N I T Y The Jewish Home is an independent bi-weekly newspaper. Opinions expressed by writers are not neces­sarily the opinions of the publisher or editor. The Jewish Home is not responsible for typographical errors, or for the kashrus of any product or business advertised within. The Jewish Home contains words of Torah. Please treat accordingly. FOR HOME DELIVERY, OR TO HAVE THE LATEST ISSUE EMAILED TO YOU FREE OF CHARGE, SEND A MESSAGE TO EDITOR@JEWISHHOMELA.COM


The Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

Happenings

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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As part of a continuing series of lectures on shalom bayis, marital harmony, the Los Angeles community was recently treated to several great speakers on the subject. These included Michal Horowitz, Rabbi Jonathan Rosenberg, and Rabbi Dov Heller. “Tools and Tips from the Wisdom of Torah” featured Michal Horowitz, a highly sought-after speaker from New York. She graced the audiences in the Valley and Beverly Hills with her warm and heartfelt stories. Mrs. Horowitz is no stranger to Los Angeles, having spoken last year at the YULA shabbaton and the OU West Coast Convention. Speaking first at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in the Valley on Sunday, November 17th, and then at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills on Monday, November 18th, Mrs. Horowitz related a number of Torah-based examples of how we should relate to our spouses. She pointed out that there are only two places in the Torah where the words lo tov, “not good,” are used. The first is in relation to Adam, who— before the creation of his wife, Chava—was all alone in the world. The second instance was when Moshe Rabbainu had taken upon himself to judge every single case of dispute among the Jewish nation. His father-in-law, Yisro, related to him that it was lo tov for Moshe to assume all of the responsibility alone; Moshe could delegate authority to others to judge the lesser cases. In each case the phrase lo tov is connected to the concept of “alone.” In Adam’s case, it was physical loneliness. He did not have a partner. In the case of Moshe, it was quite the opposite; he was inundated with work and was anything but alone. How, then, can we say that Moshe was alone? Mrs. Horowitz pointed out that even if we are in a relationship such as marriage, we can still feel alone and isolated from our spouses. Lack of communication, lack of feeling are signs of loneliness in a marriage. Just

going through the motions of earning a living and raising children is quite a painful existence without a connection to our spouses. That is why the Torah singles out loneliness as the prime example of lo tov. Mrs. Horowitz brought in other Torah-based examples of how to communicate and appreciate our spouses despite the troubles and travails that encompass our lives. Rabbi Jonathan Rosenberg delivered a passionate lecture in his own shul, Shaarey Zedek, on Monday, November 18th. In a smooth and calming manner, Rabbi Rosenberg quoted various Torah sources for maintaining shalom bayis, explaining it’s an issue that he deals with on a constant basis as a congregational rabbi. His talk ran over the allotted time due to the voluminous material that he presented, but all participants stayed to the very end due to the great presentation and subject matter. The next evening, November 19th, Rabbi Dov Heller enthralled an audience at Nessah Synagogue in Beverly Hills by enumerating the four Torah principles of shalom bayis: chessed, love, joy, and patience. Rabbi Heller, a practicing psychotherapist, quoted Rabbi Moshe Luzzato in stating that one should give love and avoid giving pain to others. While citing many rabbinic authorities of past and present, Rabbi Heller weaved in many practical suggestions based on his years of family therapy. Make time to be together, be a good listener, do not be self-centered by just focusing on what is bothering you. He emphasized the importance of coming home from work in a good mood and leaving your troubles at the office. As with the other speakers, the audience was riveted to their seats even as the talk ran overtime. Dr. David Stoll, the organizer of the events, says that the series will continue to grow with new speakers and new topics in the future. For more information, please go to the website: myshalombayis.com.


TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Community Activists Seek Shutdown of Petrochemical Drilling in Pico-Robertson Company Violated Terms of Previous Agreement and Out of Compliance with Law Tova Abady “Ushmartem Meod L’naf Shotechem. The community must mobilize to shut down the oil drilling facilities in Pico-Robertson!” said Emanuel Taitz at a meeting held November 20th at the Pico Shul. The purpose of the meeting was to update residents and representatives from local synagogues, schools, and businesses about the status of oil and natural gas wells located directly across the street from the Pico Shul. Additional goals were to inform attendees about current violations and to organize members of the community seeking elimination of this likely hazard. Taitz, a Pico-Robertson resident who attends the West Side Shul and Young Israel of Century City, was just one person of many to share their concerns at the event. The petrochemical drilling is right in the heart of Pico-Robertson. Many residents and passersby are unaware of its presence because a 175-foot tower and the facility’s retaining walls, with vines wrapped around them, were intended to imitate a synagogue. The drilling site takes up two blocks on Pico Boulevard, from Doheny

to Oakhurst and Oakhurst to Cardiff. The only sign of anything unusual is a small notice that states prolonged exposure can be harmful to your health. Rabbi Yonah and Rebbetzin Rachel Bookstein of the Pico Shul have decided to organize the Jewish community here as well as our non-Jewish neighbors around this issue. They’ve established the Pico-Robertson Health and Safety Coalition and have been actively working to alert the public and contacting officials. A number of violations with the potential to place the community in danger have already been discovered. For the first few minutes of the meeting, Rabbi Bookstein explained the history of the facility from its inception to present. In 1966, the original tower was built by Occidental Petroleum. In 1988, they sold the site to Breitburn, which specialized in buying old wells and increasing their production. In the early 2000s, a group of individuals formed Neighbors For a Safe Environment; they sued Breitburn for odor and noise complaints. They were forced to

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new owners came aboard (using the same name). Although no studies have been done to date in Los Angeles, in 2014, a peer-reviewed study conducted in five states— Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming—was published in the journal Environmental Health which concluded there were “potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtures that can make people feel ill and raise their risk of getting cancer” in areas which abut urban petrochemical sites. “The implications for health effects are just enormous,” said David O. Carpenter, the paper’s senior author and director of the University at Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment.” According to the air sampling in the above referenced study, “Forty percent of laboratory tests found benzene, formaldehyde, or other toxic substances associated with oil and gas production that were above levels the federal government considers safe for brief or longer-term exposure.”

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TheHappenings Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

The hugely profitable petrochemical industry was largely dismissive of the research that was released. Additionally, the fire department has cited Pacific Coast Energy Company for several violations, including holding combustible materials on site with insufficient precautions. And while the state permitted several generators to be added to the facility in the last two years, local authorities were not notified appropriately to their presence. Foul odors have been detected at the Pico Shul and even at yesterday’s meeting several people were overwhelmed by the smell. Rabbi Bookstein said that just like we’re told, “See something, say something, so should we adhere to, “Smell something, say something.” He pointed out that there is indeed a number to call for this purpose: 1-800-CUT-SMOG.

Longtime Happy Minyan member, Aaron Biston, who has extensive experience in the field of real estate, finds it ironic that the city inspects his rent-controlled apartments and scrutinizes even the most minute details of each property, demanding immediate action for the smallest of violations, yet virtually ignores oil drilling facilities that could potentially result in major health issues for the hundreds of adjacent residents, students, and workers. Dr. Matthew Lefferman was also present at the meeting in his role as a community organizer and concerned parent. He stated that there is an urgent need for more stringent guidelines and robust testing for the local incidence of cancer and other conditions which may be triggered by the presence of petrochemical drilling. He also said this is a topic that should mobilize the entire local community, regardless of affil-

iation. Shabsi Katz said he shudders to think what the potential harm is to our community. He lives in Pico Robertson about a mile from the site. “Residents are receiving small dividends for the oil drilled under their homes, but it’s not worth it potentially killing them with cancer and a host of other diseases. “ Advocacy attorney Aimee Zeltzer, a Pico resident who has attended both meetings at the Pico Shul on this subject, wrote a powerful letter to elected officials with four requests for immediate action: an open viewing day for concerned citizens to see what goes on behind closed doors, immediate construction of a 2500-foot setback surrounding the site (as proposed by Paul Koretz, the City Council member representing the fifth district of Los Angeles) until the oil wells are shut down, and

full disclosure of health and environmental information such as how many cancerous toxins are emitted into the air and water each year. Committees were formed at the meeting, and individuals are encouraged contact Rabbi Bookstein to get involved or to schedule meetings on the topic at their shuls and organizations. Rabbi Bookstein is coordinating with STAND-LA, a community organization which is fighting drilling in predominately Latino sections of L.A. Rabbi Bookstein said that the City says there will be a public review in the near future, but no date has been announced. He made it clear to all present that this is an extremely critical issue affecting the lives of thousands of people who live, study, and work in Pico-Robertson and its environs.

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The Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News Living with the Times

By Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Wake Up

Publisher of the Yated Ne’eman We read this week in Parshas Toldos about Rivkah’s difficult pregnancy. She is informed that “shnei goyim bevitneich,” she would be giving birth to two distinct personalities, Yaakov and Eisov, who would lead two separate nations. Yaakov was the epitome of goodness, while Eisov is always pointed to as the embodiment of evil. The pesukim describe their differences somewhat cryptically, and Chazal expound upon what took place. The posuk portrays Eisov as an “ish yodeia tzayid, ish sodeh,” a hunter, while Yaakov is depicted as an “ish tam yosheiv ohalim,” a fine person who spent his time in the tent of Torah. On the day that Avrohom Avinu passed away, Yaakov prepared the customary “nozid” of lentils for the mourners to partake of when returning from the cemetery. Eisov returned “oyeif,” tired, from committing sins and murder in the fields. He asked Yaakov to let him eat the red mix, “ki oyeif anochi,” because he was tired. The posuk concludes, “Al kein kara shemo Edom – Therefore, they called him Edom.” While it is commonly understood that he was given the name Edom because of his red hair and because he preferred to partake in the red soup rather than to serve as a bechor in the Bais Hamikdosh, we must understand why the posuk interrupts the discussion of his desire for the red food to tell us that he was oyeif, tired. Yaakov responded that he would serve Eisov the red soup if he would give him the bechorah in exchange. The posuk describes this with the words, “Vayomer Yaakov michra kayom es bechorasecha li.” Eisov was overjoyed by the deal. He mocked the bechorah and noted that it was of no use to him, since he would die anyway. The conversation between Yaakov and Eisov is similar to the exchange between Avrohom and his assistants as they were approaching Har Hamoriah to perform the Akeidah with Yitzchok. Avrohom and Yitzchok saw “hamakom meirachok”; they had vision and perceived the holiness of the mountain ahead of them and its eternal meaning to the Jewish peo-

ple. The assistants only knew what was immediately in front of them. They had no vision; they didn’t see the mountain up ahead and didn’t feel anything holy about the path they were on. Avrohom told them to stay behind with the donkeys, and for all time, Chazal compared that nation to animals, for they have no vision towards the future, seeing only the present and what is in front of them. So too, the exchange between Yaakov and Eisov contains the ideologies that would separate the two until this very day. In their dialogue and subsequent barter, the lines that separate the nations for eternity were drawn. To Eisov and his progeny, life is temporal and fleeting. The goal towards which they expend their energy is maximizing

the Edomites trade the holy and eternal for simple temporal pleasure. The opportunity of bechorah was an investment that would offer future spiritual benefits. The inherent gifts of avodah and closeness to Hashem, serving as the nation’s representatives in the Mishkon, were in the distance. Eisov didn’t possess the energy to see that far. He saw the soup, he smelled it, and he quickly enjoyed it as he moved on to fulfill his next temptation. To Eisov, something that cannot be immediately touched and tasted has no value. The subtle and the sublime are traded for the here and now. Eisov lives only in the moment for the moment. He gets his high and then he is drained, tired and empty. Rav Mordechai Respler, rosh yeshiva of Mesivta of Long Beach, spent a few days last week with Lev L’Achim in Eretz Yis-

“Men darfen bleiben frish.”

physical enjoyment. Their objective in life is to enjoy pleasures. Eisov tires himself working for those momentary splashes of joy. However, when it comes to matters of lasting value, he is lethargic and uninterested, because they do not grant instant physical pleasure. A person is referred to as an oyeif when he becomes tired from engaging in idle pursuit – or worse – and his energy is spent when it comes to doing real stuff. He simply has no strength left to engage in matters of lasting value. A student who spends the night playing games instead of studying and sleeping is too tired the next day to study and conduct himself properly. Thus, Eisov was named Edom, and his nation is referred to as Edom for all time, because his desire for the red soup - and the lopsided barter he agreed to in order to obtain it - express his essence: Eisov and

roel, observing the organization’s amazing work from one end of the country to the other. Among the people he met there was one of Israel’s leading soccer players, who has become observant through the efforts of Lev L’Achim, making many sacrifices along the way, as can be imagined. Rav Respler asked him why he gave up so much for Torah. What drove him? He responded that with all the fame, fortune and adulating crowds, he still felt emptiness in his heart. When you go home and all the noise is gone, you are alone and empty. When he discovered Torah and began learning and doing mitzvos, he suddenly felt fulfilled. He is thus happily on his way to becoming a full-fledged shomer Torah umitzvos. And so it is that reshoim bechayeihem kruyim meisim, because their lives are void

and empty and they are unfulfilled. The adjectives in the posuk are laden with meaning and significance. When the posuk states “vehu oyeif,” it means more than the fact that Eisov was tired. His essence was such that when it came to matters of importance, he had no patience. He was exhausted and he was drained. He lacked in spirit and in verve. This is reinforced by the phrase used in the posuk to describe the sale: “michra kayom.” It was a sale for today, because Eisov’s vision was limited to that which fit with his need for immediate gratification. Yaakov didn’t tire. He remained vibrant, fresh and young, with the feeling that a person has at the dawn of a new day, when he is just getting started, aflame with the sense of possibility and optimism that comes with the start of a project or endeavor. He saw far into the future. He visualized the fires of the mizbeiach, the joy of a korban being accepted, and the sanctity of the makom haMikdosh. He was able to “taste” it right then. He felt it. He saw a bigger picture than “kayom.” When he realized the value of every moment and every mitzvah and every word of Torah, he was energized. In making that decision, he invested us, his children, with the ability to stay young - ki na’ar Yisroel ve’ohaveihu - and remain fresh. Yaakov studied for 14 years in the yeshiva of Sheim and Eiver without sleeping (Rashi, Bereishis 28:12, from Bereishis Rabbah). Imagine a marathon runner nearing the finish line. He is sapped, drained, thirsty and hot. But he sees the finish line and his spirits are up. He looks ahead, more excited and energetic as his eyes behold his goal. A nation of people who had the strength to walk into fires in Spain, death pits in Lithuania, and gas chambers in Poland, and face the less glorious mesirus nefesh of turning their backs on the world, ignoring the call of the street and the lure of the outside culture each day, draw their strength from that vision. They embody the rush of power that comes from visualizing a goal. Thus, the posuk states, “Vekovei Hashem, those who hope to Hashem, yachalifu koach, are constantly re-energized.” Their hope and faith invest them with life, spirit and stamina. Being a Jew means being connected and charged. That is the legacy of Yaakov Avinu. That is our legacy. That is who we are. Rav Mordechai Zuckerman was a humble tzaddik with a glowing countenance and unassuming ways who lived in


The Week Living with In theNews Times

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Yerushalayim not long ago. A student of Kelm, he hid his greatness and conducted himself outwardly as if he was a regular, simple person. As was the custom, he would go to the local makolet (grocery) every morning after davening to purchase bread and milk, and he would wait on line to pay just like everyone else. Back in those days, in the morning, the bread and milk would sit outside in boxes as most people came by after they had davened. Once, as he was on line waiting to pay for his items, a fellow customer held up a bag of milk he had taken from the box on the floor and asked the makolet owner, “Zogt mir, Reb Pinya, is the milk fresh?” With the dry wit unique to Yerushalmis, Reb Pinya responded, “It was fresh when it came here.” Rav Zuckerman lit up. He turned to his friend who was standing on line next to him, Rav Avrohom Sh’or Yoshuv, and said, “Reb Avrohom, did you hear what he said? That is our story. We arrive in this world fresh. It is our job to do what we can

to remain fresh. Men darfen bleiben frish.” Man’s obligation in this world, summed up in a single sentence. The message of the milk is an important one for us all, no matter our age or our physical condition. A person who is alive, who appreciates the gifts Hashem has given him, and who understands “mah chovaso ba’olamo” doesn’t tire. Every moment is an opportunity for nitzchiyus, not to be wasted or squandered. Did you ever notice that people who play football don’t appear tired? They get knocked down and pick themselves right back up and go back to playing. There is no stopping them. They push themselves to be their very best, charged with energy, focused on scoring. Because it is important to them, they give it all they’ve got. And if they didn’t sleep well the night before, it’s fine, because they’ll sleep tonight when the game is over. And so it is, lehavdil, with people who appreciate Torah and mitzvos. Adrenaline kicks in every time they do a mitzvah, take

a step, daven and learn. They live to do mitzvos and to learn Torah and don’t let anything stop them. Reshoim, who by definition lack this appreciation, are kruyim meisim. Even when they are alive, they are dead. They are spent, lethargic and burnt out. They have no energy to perform life’s tasks. Many talmidei chachomim with whom we are familiar can become overwhelmed by the day’s activities and pressures, yet when they are in front of a Gemara, they become alive. They are energized and electric with anticipation and joy as they study the word of Hashem. They are the offspring of Yaakov, who didn’t sleep for the fourteen years he studied in the yeshiva of Sheim and Eiver. The Vilna Gaon didn’t sleep more than two hours each night, yet he had strength to study Torah throughout the day and night. Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv awoke every morning at 2:30 a.m. and began another day of uninterrupted Torah study for hours on end. Other anoshim gedolim also

wake early and spend their days studying Torah, alive and fully energized. No matter what our surroundings are and no matter what challenges are thrown our way, Hashem has blessed every one of us with the ability to keep our internal fire of Torah burning, ready to burst into a glowing flame at any moment. Let us do what we can to grow that fire, day after day, week after week, and year after year, expending our energies on matters of substance and meaning. Let us endeavor to always remain focused on a goal, ambitious and driven, young and vital, as long as we are able to on this earth. If what we are doing is worth doing, then it is worth doing it right, energetically and giving it all we’ve got. Let us never become lazy, lethargic or tired, focusing merely on momentary impediments. We are charged with a mission. Let’s get going.

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Rebbe TheBiale Week In News Feature

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Biale Rebbe of Bnei Brak Arrives in Los Angeles ONE OF ISRAEL’S GREATEST RABBIS, RENOWNED FOR HUNDREDS OF PHENOMENAL MIRACLES Hardly a year has passed since the Biale Rebbe of Bnei Brak has visited Los Angeles, yet hundreds are excitedly anticipating the return of their revered rebbe. Each year when the Rebbe arrives at the house of the Stolls’, where he lodges, the place becomes a public source of attraction as hundreds of people of various standards and types gather. South Las Palmas Avenue becomes a hive of activity as lawyers, doctors, lay leaders, rabbis, educators, ranging from Chassidic to Modern Orthodox mingle as they flock to the Rebbe’s house. From early morning until the small hours of the night, the streets resound with miraculous tales of unnatural miracles seen and experienced firsthand as a result of the Rebbe’s blessing. What is his secret? What is it that pulls so many people to seek his presence again and again? What is it that causes thousands of people from different backgrounds to seek the Rebbe? What is it that brings people with no semblance to Chassidim to cleave to the Rebbe with all their might, involving him in every move they take in life? At every occasion, be it happy or sad their first phone call is to include the Rebbe! What is it that unites young boys and the elderly? What brings Ambassador David Friedman to visit the Rebbe? Many other prominent rabbis and significant political figures from the American government can be recognized amongst the Rebbe’s visitors anyplace between California, Florida, New York, and New Jersey. GO BUY A BABY CARRIAGE! This incident happened two years ago: A nice couple came to the Rebbe for a blessing, as they had been married for several years and were still childless. Doctors suggested several remedies; however, as one of the couple had been in an accident in the past, there were complications. The Rebbe counselled them in his unique and holy way, when suddenly he asked the wife, “Which color carriage do you prefer for your baby?!?” The woman became emotional and began to cry, but the Rebbe persisted. “Go buy a baby carriage this week, and on my next visit I want you to come to me with your baby!” Needless to say, last year the delighted couple came to the Rebbe accompanied by a screaming, healthy baby, two weeks old, in a carriage purchased on the Rebbe’s behest. WHEN THE REBBE DROWSED AT A MEETING A noted rabbi told his congregants the following amazing incident: “Several days ago, one of my community members approached me requesting that I amend his ketubah. After a quick inspection I noticed

a severe misspelling of the wife’s name. I asked him what made him decide to inspect his ketubah after 30 years of marriage, and so this man answered, ‘Thank G-d, I have been blessed with several children who have reached a marriageable age. However, they find themselves stuck, unable to find suitable matches. “‘Upon the Rebbe’s visit to our town, I decided to ask him for a blessing. I called the gabbai for an appointment, and when my turn arrived, I entered the Rebbe’s domain, handing him the note with all of our names on it. The Rebbe read the names and talked to me for a couple of minutes, when suddenly it seemed as if the Rebbe fell asleep. I thought he must be very tired. However, after a couple of minutes the Rebbe opened his eyes and asked, ‘What is it with your ketubah?’ The Rebbe told me to check out the viability of my ketubah. When I came home, I immediately checked and found that indeed my wife’s English name was registered and not her Hebrew name which she was given at birth. I returned to the Rebbe who advised me to ask my community rav to write us a new marriage contract. On that very same day, a special match was suggested for my daughter, and I hope and pray that they will soon finalize the bond between them.’” The rav involved who related this phenomenal story was seen later waiting in line to see the Rebbe, saying: “I, too, would like to meet a Rebbe who is aware of a problematic ketubah in the home of a person he has never met before.” KEEP THE BOTTLE OF WHISKY FOR THE NEXT YEAR AND THE FOLLOWING YEAR. The power of the Rebbe’s blessing is well known in Central Manhattan. Many residents have their own unbelievable

story to share. Two years ago, the Rebbe received the public in the home of a well-known businessman who was close to reaching his 40th birthday—a bachelor. Prior to bidding him farewell, the host brought the Rebbe a bottle of whisky, wishing to drink l’chaim with the Rebbe. The Rebbe returned the bottle saying, “Save this whisky for next year. Next year, when I will return, we will drink l’chaim together with your wife!” Needless to say, the following year when the Rebbe paid a visit to Manhattan, the young man came accompanied by his wife… However, this story has a sequel to it. As he was pouring the Rebbe a glass to drink, the Rebbe said, “Save the bottle for next year, when we will drink l’chaim to the birth of your son.” Barely a year has passed, and several weeks ago the couple came to drink l’chaim with the Rebbe accompanied by their firstborn son. YOUR MATCH HAS BEEN WAITING FOR YOU THE PAST TEN YEARS. Many young couples are amongst those waiting for an audience with the Rebbe. Each one tells their own fascinating tale. One young girl relates: “I live in the Upper East Side. For many years I was looking for my destined match, to no avail. The years passed, and as I grew older, I saw no hope in sight. “One day a friend told me about the Biale Rebbe, and I went to him for a blessing. The Rebbe, who had never met me before, exclaimed suddenly, ‘You have already met your destined. You went out with him many years ago. Go search for him again; he is still waiting for you!!!’ “I searched my mind for the guy the Rebbe had in mind. I mentioned several names, and the Rebbe stopped me at one certain name saying, ‘Go out with him again!’ I had met him ten years earlier—

an excellent young man, a friend of my brother’s. Our relationship ceased for no apparent reason. I contacted my brother to inquire about this boy, and indeed he was still waiting for me. Thank G-d, at the age of 37, I was finally married to the wonderful boy I had met ten years earlier, just as the Biale Rebbe had seen with his ruach hakodesh.” Many share similar stories of how the Rebbe finalized their engagement. Young couples who were having shalom bayis issues, with the Rebbe’s mentoring, restored marital harmony and happiness to their homes. These stories mingle with stories of businessmen who reaped great success after receiving the Rebbe’s blessing. Childless couples who had all but lost hope were blessed with children. The situations of people who were being harassed by the legal system and could not sleep at night from fear were miraculously straightened out after receiving the Rebbe’s blessing. So, it is really no surprise or wonder at the crowds waiting to meet the Rebbe. THE REBBE FILLS THE VACANCIES IN THE NURSING HOME! A well-known businessman, the owner of several nursing homes, is also waiting to see the Rebbe. He tells us that he had heard about the Rebbe from his late father who had bequeathed him the ownership of the nursing homes. The work is not easy, and its success depends on how many beds are occupied. Lately, business has been sliding a little, leaving him with only 80% occupation. This means that the place is losing money. “As I was sitting in my office contemplating my sad state of affairs,” the man relates, “my eyes fell on a Sefer Tehillim autographed by the Rebbe which the Rebbe had given to my late father. I opened the sefer and said a few chapters, and immediately thereafter I called the gabbai. To my luck, the Rebbe was visiting in New York at the time. I booked an appointment and came to see the Rebbe. I cannot reveal everything that I experienced at my audience with the Rebbe. I can only reveal this much: that the Rebbe was aware of everything, that which I mentioned and that which I left unmentioned. The Rebbe gave me spiritual guidance, telling me which areas require improvement and what to work on for the next 40 days. “You won’t believe me, but at the end of 40 days the nursing home had a 96% occupation.” THE REBBE, SHLIT”A Twenty-two years ago, The Rebbe was barely in his early thirties when the yoke of leadership of Biale Chassidus Bnei Brak was thrust upon him. His greatness


TheBiale WeekRebbe In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

and guidance reached far beyond the borders of Bnei Brak as the Rebbe chose to draw his brethren from all over the world close to him by encouraging and helping them. The Rebbe is leader and mentor of a most respectable Chassidus which is centrally based in Bnei Brak and has branches in Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Ashdod, Beit Shemesh, and Modiin Illit. This has added a old/new hue to the leadership of Biale Chassidus. Every day, hundreds of people from varying backgrounds, Sephardim and Ashkenazim alike, Ultra-Orthodox and those who have only just donned a kippah, from Cholon to Bat Yam, Beer Sheba to Eilat all stream to one address. This young Rebbe, who was barely elected as Rebbe, opened his door and his heart to the whole of klal Yisrael. The Rebbe dedicates hours upon hours of his precious time to klal Yisrael, welcoming them with his compassionate heart and warm smile. People enter his room carrying a heavy load of troubles and worries, however when they leave, they are lighthearted and hopeful. Biale Chassidus’ holy lineage stems from a holy sage named Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok from Peshischa. This revered tzaddik lived some two hundred 200 years ago and was known to all as the “holy Jew”—”The Yid HaKadosh”— from Peshischa. He was a disciple of the holy Chozeh of Lublin, who was a direct fourth generation descendant of the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Yid HaKadosh was the greatest of Polish Rabbis, rabbi to the leaders of Gur, Kotzk, Alexander, and other great luminaries. Generations of tzaddikim in succession continued the tradition of the “Yid HaKadosh.” This chain was continued from father to son until the flame was kindled in our generation by the holy tzaddik and Rebbe, Reb Yechiel Yehoshua from Biale, may his holy memory be blessed. He was the grandfather of our revered Rebbe, a direct descendent of five generations to the Yid HaKadosh. THE CHELKES YEHOSHUA Pre-war Poland boasted of the Rebbe’s grandfather, Reb Yechiel Yehoshua, ztk”l, as one of its greatest leaders. However, his fame reached a pinnacle during the terrible holocaust when he sanctified Hashem’s name without compromise, first in occupied Poland and later in the freezing Siberia. His selflessness was indescribable. When he reached Israel, all the great rabbis acknowledged him as a great tzaddik. He was described as and honored as an angel in a mortal world. THE LEHAVAS DOVID Next in line was the Rebbe’s father, the holy rabbi, Dovid Mattisyahu, ztk”l. He was renowned and famous for his purity and greatness. During his lifetime, his father appointed him as head of Yeshivas Biale. During his travels throughout the world, he revived the broken-hearted with his moving prayers and heartfelt talks. People were drawn to him from afar. His tall, handsome profile reminded many of his holy father’s image. The Rebbe continues to tow this beautiful golden chain. However, he does not

suffice with leading his own community. He is concerned about the welfare of all of Klal Yisrael. Several times a year, he leaves the comforts of his home and visits countries and communities where no other Chassidic rebbe has ever spent a Shabbos before. He embraces those who have strayed. He strengthens, encourages, motivates, and directs until another Jew has found his way back to our Father in Heaven.

THE FATHER OF THE ORPHANS The Rebbe’s institutions are famous throughout Israel. The center is based in Bnei Brak, and there are branches all over the country. However, his favorite project is the welfare of “his” orphans. The Rebbe is father to 15 biological children and countless of grandchildren. However, hundreds of children throughout the world call him “Father.” Amongst the many institutions which are under his auspices is the

yeshiva gevo’ah called “Mishkan Shimon Biale” which is situated in Beitar Illit. Batei midrash and kollels for young men are spread out in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Beitar Illit, Modiin Illit, Ashdod, and Beit Shemesh. However, the institution for widows and orphans are under the Rebbe’s direct administration. This fund supports the widows and orphans studying in the Rebbe’s institutions. The desolate orphans receive everything they need

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TheBiale WeekRebbe In News of the best quality and quantity. This includes clothing, shoes, scholarships, dorm service, and of course pocket money. All this is naught compared to the personal attention the Rebbe bestows upon them. As far as the Rebbe is concerned, they are his fully adopted children. His house is their house; their worries become his own. The Rebbe is following after their studies and makes sure they have personal tutors. Point in case: the Rebbe, who had just returned from a trip to the USA, one Erev Pesach told his driver to take him to visit his orphans directly from the airport. His own family and children could wait—his orphans came first. Upon his arrival, the Rebbe gave each orphan gifts and pocket money enough for everything he needed for yom tov. Only then did he make his own way home to his family and yom tov preparations. Outstanding development in Biale institutions in Israel: For many years, the special institution in which the Rebbe’s “children” resided was an old building in the town of Beitar Illit, which is close to Jerusalem. The building lay in close proximity to the border and faced the Arab town, Hussan. The Arab inhabitants had a daily view of a Jewish Torah town developing right in front of their hate-filled eyes. The town was part of the “Occupied Territories.” The building was old and dilapidated. In the winter, the rain leaked in; in the summer, it was more of a furnace. This year, the Rebbe reached a decision: NO MORE! “My wonderful children deserve better!” In recent months, a new campus has been built on Kedushas Levi Street in the heart of Beitar Illit. The campus will include spacious classrooms, computer and game rooms, a fully equipped dormitory, and a modern kitchen for the welfare of the students for whom the building is home. In addition to the above, a huge chessed center is being built on Daf Hayomi Street. The Rebbe is renowned for his acts of chessed. He is the first address which needy widows and orphans turn to. Truckloads containing everything possible are sent on every erev chag to provide the needy with everything they need for yom

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

tov. Clothing, shoes, fish, meat, chicken, goodies, and—last but not least—a hefty check to lighten their sorrow-filled hearts. Very often, the Rebbe takes part in weddings where he acts as the “father” on both sides. AROUND THE CLOCK As day turns to dusk in New York, the phones in Israel become alive! Now it is the Jews of Israel’s turn. They call nonstop asking the Rebbe for blessings and advice. Then when the Rebbe returns to Israel it is the Yidden in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and New Jersey who are calling. It makes no difference; they are all his children. Hundreds of emails are sent to the Rebbe’s office daily, and the Rebbe devotes precious hours to answer them personally. He carries these requests with him and remembers them in his daily prayers, and when he prays at his forefathers’ gravesite. The burden becomes his own. He is with them in their sorrow and delights in their happiness. Seven gabba’im are employed throughout the day to provide immediate response to the thousands calling the Rebbe. How happy are the gabba’im when they can inform the Rebbe of another baby born a couple engaged or yet another miraculous turn of events! EDUCATION AND MARITAL HAPPINESS: Amongst his other vast talents is the Rebbe’s deep understanding in matters of education. Parents worldwide call him for advice in education dilemmas. Very often the Rebbe’s advice leaves the parents surprised. Yet it is this very unique approach which eventually brings about a positive change to the entire family. Homes which were full of strife and angst are now happy, warm nests. So too, many issues of marital distress were solved by applying the Rebbe’s insightful advice. Restoring peace at home is high on the Rebbe’s list of priorities. Many hopeless couples who were already applying for divorce had a miraculous turnabout enabling the holy Shechinah to dwell in yet another Jewish home. THE REBBE’S HOBBY: SHIDDUCHIM The Rebbe has an interesting “hob-

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by.” He enjoys seeing more and more new Jewish homes being established. Along with the thousands of single boys and girls seeking their true match are anxious parents of aging children who beg the Rebbe for a blessing and advice. In several weeks, the wedding of two orphans, residents from Long Island, will take place. Only the couple are aware of the secret that if not for the Biale Rebbe, this would not be happening. The Rebbe encouraged, supported, and even “pushed” the couple to make the decision. Hours upon hours were devoted to this holy cause and finally one early morning at 3 a.m., a plate was broken, and another home was established. All in the merit of the Rebbe. THE REBBE KNOWS!! A couple enters the Rebbe’s chambers, both have written a request with their names and the names of their children. Each name had a different request. One was having trouble in school, another needed help in his business. The Rebbe looks on the kvittel and tells the husband, “You have to honor your wife! If you will respect your wife, your problems will be solved.” The woman burst out crying. This is the first time they’ve met the Rebbe, and yet he is aware of everything going on between the couple. The Rebbe is unconcerned about the tens of people waiting outside and patiently expounds on the importance of domestic peace. The Rebbe gives them detailed instructions how to bring their hearts closer. The Rebbe tells them that the key to happiness and success as well as nachas from their children lies in the respect shown between the parents. And so, another couple exits with a happy smile on their faces. After a while the Rebbe’s secretary receives a note from the wife saying: The Rebbe saved our marriage!!!” THE REBBE’S LODGING These days are happy days for the residents of Los Angeles as they anxiously prepare to meet once again with their beloved Rebbe. The Rebbe will be staying in Los Angeles, from Tuesday, November 26th, at the house of the honorable host and hostess, Dr. David and Dorothy Stoll: 422 S. LAS PALMAS AVE, LOS ANGELES, CA 90020. ONEG SHABBAT & TISCH FRIDAY NIGHT IN HANCOCK PARK Hundreds are expected to join and enjoy the amazing “Oneg Shabbos” tisch which the Rabbi will hold the next Friday night. The great Shabbos will take place on Parshas Toldos, November 29th, at the KOLLEL YECHIEL YEHUDA under the leadership of the well-known rabbi, Rabbi Yochanan Henig, and Rosh HaKollel, Rabbi Menachem Krybus, at 441 N LA BREA AVE, LOS ANGELES, CA 90036 at 8:30 pm. There are still some people in Los Angeles who remember the Rebbe’s holy father, the previous Biale Rebbe, z”tzl. It is now over 30 years that rabbis of the community, shtreimlech-wearers, and modern Jews, have participated in Biale tischen. The most special part of the tisch is

during the famous kiddush which the Rebbe performs. It is well known that the Rebbe’s kiddush is capable of bringing about great miracles. The emotive singing and dancing at the Rebbe’s tischim elevate its participants to a standard of “m’eyn oilam habah!” This will be followed with an abundance of divrei Torah and hashkafah. On Shabbos morning, the Rebbe will pray at the famous Yavneh shul which is under the leadership of the prominent Rabbi Einhorn. SECONED ONEG SHABBAT & TISCH FRIDAY NIGHT IN PICO-ROBERTSON The second Shabbos, Parshas VaYetzei, December 6th, will be held in the Pico-Robertson area. There the main host is the well-known rabbi of the LINK Kollel, Rabbi Asher Brander. Yearly, the community there gets big chizzuk and the entire area is waiting the whole year for the Rebbe’s visit. And every year the same question is asked, “When is the Rebbe coming again?” These Shabbos events will be held at THE LINK KOLLEL & SHUL, 1453 S ROBERTSON BLVD, LOS ANGELES, CA 90035 at 8:30 p.m. A SON BORN IN THE MERIT OF THE SHABBOS TISCH An amazing story has lately been publicized. A Monsey resident related his experience in his own words. “Nine years ago, I was already married for several years, a happy family with four healthy daughters. However, my wife and I both craved a boy. I gave the Rebbe a kvittel which listed the names of our family. The Biale Rebbe looks at the kvittel and says, ‘What about a boy?’ I answered that my wife and I would be delighted to have a boy. The Rebbe, shlita says, ‘Come to my tisch. Friday night is a time for yeshuos!’ Friday night, I took part in the ‘oneg Shabbos’ tisch. A large crowd participated, enjoying the Rebbe’s divrei Torah and zemiros. “Suddenly, the Rebbe lifted his eyes and searched through the crowd as if searching for someone specific. The Rebbe looked to all directions until he caught my eye. The Rebbe took a piece of bone from the fish which he had just eaten, gives it to me, and says, ‘Nem a bein.’ [This means, “Take a bone,” in Yiddish, whereas “ben” is the Hebrew word for “boy”!] After the tisch, the Rebbe spoke privately with me and told me which resolution to undertake. “The miracle was imminent!!! Less than a year passed when I found myself standing outside the labor room excitedly calling the Rebbe in Bnei Brak. ‘Mazel tov!’ I screamed. ‘I have a son!’ ‘Mazel tov,’ the Rebbe answered. ‘I already know.’” Now the residents of Los Angeles have this unique opportunity. If you have not yet had the merit of meeting the Rebbe and would like to book an appointment for a personal consultation a blessing or advice, call the Rebbe’s private secretary now! Rabbi Moshe Friedman’s (English speaking) telephone number is 917-272-40-45. Or send an email to bialebneibrak@ gmail.com. Don’t miss this opportunity…


NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

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The Week In News

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Torah Musings The Week In News

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Waking Up Fearless Sarah Pachter

A student of mine showed me a photograph from an African safari which showed her petting and cuddling a lion cub. Looking like it had been photoshopped, the lion nuzzled up against her. They both seemed completely peaceful. I began to bombard her with questions. “How in the world weren’t you afraid? Didn’t the lion try to attack you?” She stopped me mid-sentence and showed me her Instagram post about the experience. Apparently, petting the lion was not as easy as it seemed. Other photos showed the animal clawing at her, and her scrapes and injuries were in plain view. The majority of the time, she was terrified, and they only managed to get a few calm shots. Although no photoshopping had occurred, one perfect “money shot” made it

seem like the experience was playful and fun-filled. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Her Instagram photo was an attempt to explain to others that social media posts are never what they seem. This lion escapade reminded me of my own photography experience. A few years ago, my husband and I took beautiful photos to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. We found a stunning location in Laguna Beach and used a photographer who was familiar with the area. She suggested a great park with flowering fields and a huge oak tree which she thought would provide the perfect photo opportunity. It was. We (read: I) had fun posing for various shots, and my husband was a great sport. As we finished up around dusk prepared to leave the park, we noticed many

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warning signs regarding mountain lions. The signs advised how to react if encountering one. The suggestions read, Don’t run! Make yourself appear as large as possible. Don’t crouch. Do not turn your back to the lion. Back away slowly while facing the lion, and yell firmly. Since mountain lions prey mostly on deer, dawn and dusk are the most dangerous times in the park. As I read the signs, I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach, realizing we were potentially amidst mountain lions of which we had been previously unaware. Oh well, I thought, I guess ignorance is bliss. We drove out of the park as fast as possible. When it comes to fear, ignorance certainly is bliss because fear is dependent on awareness. Awareness can either increase or dissipate fear. For example, the lion is aware of its superseding strength, and therefore it fears no other animal in its kingdom. In turn, the other animals, knowing the same fact, fear the lion. The Shulchan Oruch cites that every morning we are meant to rise like a lion, ready to serve our Creator.1 Many commentaries explain that this means we should face the day with zest and energy. However, the source could have used a different animal—such as a deer, known for its alacrity—to analogize our waking habits. The Shaarei Teshuvah2 points out that what is unique about the lion’s character is that it fears no other animal in its kingdom. If we intend to overcome our yetzer hara each day, we must act like a lion and wake up fearless.3 How can we be fearless in the face of the powerful yetzer? Imagine you are enjoying family time in the living room of your home. Suddenly, one of your children spots a huge black spider and begins to shriek with terror. A child who is not educated in the various spider species would be just as terrified of a daddy long legs as of a black widow— and possible more. For the black widow— often smaller than a daddy long legs—to be terrifying, you must be aware of its dangers. Now, imagine that as you attempt to calm your children, you collectively hear a thief attempting to break into your home.

1 2 3

Shulchan Oruch, (1:1) Shaarei Teshuvah, (1:1) Praying with Joy, Danel Yaakov

Travis (pg. 42)

The fear of the spider will dissipate as long as they imagine the bigger and fiercer danger of a human attacker intent on harm. Whatever issues we face are frequently trumped by larger fears. One way to overcome our everyday fears is to place the awe of Hashem in the forefront of our minds. If we increased our awareness of Hashem’s influence over our daily lives, if we truly comprehended the immensity of His power, we would not fear anyone or anything else. A student of mine suffered abuse as a child, and she understandably struggles to overcome her daily fears. When discussing our learning options, we came to the conclusion that emunah would be the perfect antidote. Belief in Hashem, and feeling connected by knowing He is ever-present in the minutiae of our lives, can bring tremendous relief and comfort. In one aspect, ignorance is bliss, but from a different perspective, a sense of ignorance breeds fear. Like the small child, when we don’t know the potential threat of an intruder, the fear of a spider can still hold its grip over us. In a similar vein, when we are not cognizant of Hashem’s presence, we are left fearing even the smallest of issues. Alternatively, when we place Hashem as King over us, everything else can become trivial. When we realize how great Hashem is, then all other fears fade. This concept is similar to the way a couple might be engaging in conversation while everyone else around them fades into the background. Hashem, too, must become our focal point. Saying Modeh Ani is only the first step to increasing awareness. Hashem fills our days with opportunities for mitzvot, all of which can increase the connection to and our awareness of His presence. Everything from brachot and tefillah to chessed and tzedakah bring Hashem to the forefront of our mind. The more we realize how great Hashem is, the more we recognize how small everything else is. We can gain the power to face our fears head on by placing Hashem, the greatest power, in the forefront of our minds. This is why we recite Modeh Ani upon arising every morning. In this way, we can begin our day fearless, like a lion. When we recognize and are grateful to the source of all life, then we can rise like a lion and begin our day fearing nothing outside of Hashem.


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Feature The Week In News

Jenna

&Jacob’s Sheep

How a South African Woman Became a Shepherdess to Descendants of Yaakov Avinu’s Sheep

Jacob Sheep grazing at Migdal Eder (photo credit Jenna Lewinsky)

By Rivkah Lambert Adler

I will pass throughout all your flocks today, removing from there every speckled and spotted kid, and every brown lamb among the sheep, and [every] spotted and speckled [one from] among the goats, and this shall be my wages. -Bereishis, 30:32

sheep is really the middle of the story. To understand more, we have to go back to Durban, South Africa, where Jenna was born and raised.

It’s

“I grew up in a Zionist home,” Jenna explains. “We always discussed Israel very intensely. My father watched all the news clips. His favorite character was Moshe Dayan. Mom loved Golda Meir. You don’t have to be in a religious home to see why we need Israel’s success. “The Durban Jewish community had an organization called TaMaR to connect young Jewish adults, ages 2535, with Zionism and with Judaism. I was 24 years old when I connected with TaMaR. “A rabbi offered me a position to be in charge of TaMaR in South Africa. We held a lot of barbeques. The people who attended were connected

not unusual for new immigrants to Israel to struggle as they get themselves settled. Few, however, have faced the complex series of challenges that Jenna Lewinsky faced when she and her husband at the time made aliyah and brought with them a flock of sheep known to be descended from the sheep that our forefather Yaakov took as wages from his fatherin-law Lavan. In 2016, three weeks after Lewinsky and then-husband Gil moved to Israel, the 119 very special sheep that were in their care arrived as well. But the aliyah of the Lewinskys and their

From Zionist to Zulu Connections

to the barbeques and not to Hashem. For them, it was just for socializing.” Lewinsky decided to up her Zionist game. Starting in 2009, she began creating special events, including Nights To Honor Israel and Nights to Honor Jerusalem, for an interfaith audience. “At the first one, I invited the Zulu prince to speak. For the second one, I had the actual Zulu king come to speak.” Lewinsky reports that the event attracted 400 Christian Zionists and 200 Jews. As her Zionist programs developed, Jenna got the premier of the providence and a representative from the Israeli embassy to speak. “At the time, I became the person who connected the Israeli government with the Zulu king,” she recounted. All that Zionist fervor led her to come to Israel for the first time on her own in 2009. “I was 25 years old,” she recalls. “I decided to buy a ticket on a whim

– there was a sale on airfare in July. I had the money and decided I wanted to go.” Lewinsky had family living in Israel that she’d never met. She spent much of that trip getting to know the branch of her family that had made aliyah from Cleveland on the first-ever Nefesh b’Nefesh flight. Their first home in Efrat, seven miles south of Jerusalem, turned out to be foreshadowing of Lewinsky’s future.

Town of the Flock Today, Jenna lives as a shepherdess on the Eitam, a vacant hill belonging to the municipality of Efrat, slated to be a new neighborhood of 7,500 Jewish homes. Her farm is called Migdal Eder, which means “tower of the flock.” Jenna explains her Biblical rationale for naming her farm. “In Bereishis 35, following the death of his beloved Rachel, who was

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015 NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Feature The Week In News

Jenna Lewinsky at Migdal Eder

buried in Efrat, which is Bethlehem, Jacob the patriarch passed a location called Migdal Eder. “This site, a hilltop in the Efrat region in Judea, became the location later where the national flock of Israel was kept until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. Special shepherds would take care of the flock night and day, which would then be sent to the Temple as a sacrifice, making sure the flock was in excellent condition, without spot or blemish. Today, there is no Temple, but the national flock of Israel’s home needs to be reclaimed,” she says. Lewinsky refers to a verse in Yechezkel that speaks of the sheep’s new home “as a fertile grazing land where the flock would once again graze the mountains in safety.” On good pasture I will pasture them, and on the mountains of the height of Israel will be their dwelling; there they will lie in a good fold and graze on fat pastureland upon the mountains of Israel. (Yechezkel 34:14)

Saving Lambs from the Slaughter How did a young woman who grew up in South Africa and moved to Canada with her then-husband come to adopt a flock of sheep descended from the 4,000-year-old sheep Yaakov took as wages from Lavan and

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Lambs grazing at Migdal Eder (photo credit Jenna Lewinsky)

bring them home to Israel? Jenna and Gil Lewinsky met in Jerusalem while he was working at the Jerusalem Post and she was working for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon leaving Jerusalem, the couple moved to South Africa. After

ing to auction. “I’d never heard of it before and did a Google search and learned what Jacob Sheep were. It said on the Internet that they were from the story of Jacob and Lavan,” she said. To this day, Jenna has no idea why

“I knew if I didn’t take the risk, we wouldn’t have Jacob Sheep in Israel.” their South African home was violently broken into, the couple quickly relocated to Canada, where Gil originated. Jenna spent her first year in Canada waiting for her Canadian residency to be processed. In retrospect, it’s clear that this was where her mission to take responsibility for the heirloom sheep began. In August of 2014, a friend from British Columbia called to tell her there was a flock of Jacob Sheep go-

this friend called her specifically to discuss the sheep. While the Hand of Hashem becomes increasingly obvious as the story unfolds, at that point, it seems her friend called her simply because Jenna is Jewish, a fact her friend figured out from scanning Jenna’s Facebook profile. In that first call, Jenna was told that there were four lambs that were destined for the butcher. “The same afternoon, she called back to say that they had to be gone immediately.”

New lambs from 2019 (photo credit Jenna Lewinsky)

Very quickly, Lewinsky learned about ten or so other Jacob Sheep that urgently needed to be adopted. At the same time, she had been told by her landlord that she had to leave her home. “I said yes,” she recounts simply. “I absorbed 14 sheep before I moved. I had seven days to leave.” This seemingly impetuous decision would change the course of her life. “I knew if I didn’t take the risk, we wouldn’t have Jacob Sheep in Israel. I bought them all off the butcher. I had a strong feeling that if one has a chance to be part of our Jewish history, we have an obligation to try to preserve it. “We need to have something from


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Tanach to show to our great-grandchildren, so they will know the Tanach is true. If we can show an animal that still lives, we can prove that we as Jews belong in the land and that the Torah is real. That’s why I said yes that particular day,” she explains. When her husband asked her what she was planning to do with the sheep, she readily admits that “I didn’t really have an answer. To be truthful, I never had a plan. “My grandfather had a farm in Cape Town that produced wine. That’s the only farming in my family. When I was a child, I volunteered at the SPCA. My mom was a big animal lover, and she imprinted on us to love animals. I knew a little about animals, but not farm animals.” According to Lewinsky, who has since become quite well-versed in sheep and shepherding, “The Jacob Sheep are a rare heirloom (unaltered) breed of ancient sheep which originated in the Middle East’s Levant approximately 4,000 years ago.” The Jacob Sheep’s uniqueness comes from their piebald (dark-colored with patches of white) coloring, spotted and speckled patterns, black rings around the legs called kneebands, and multiple horns. A Jacob Sheep can have up to six horns. The sheep breed that the Biblical Jacob founded through selective breeding followed the Jewish people down to Egypt. Lewinsky believes that lambs from the original Jacob Sheep “were likely used in the Passover sacrifice.” Eventually, “the flock was dispersed, likely during the Babylonian exile. Both prophets [Yirmiyahu and Yechezkel] foresaw a return of the lost sheep as essential to the geulah. The return of Israel has been compared to the return of sheep by Yeshaya,” she notes. In the meantime, the original Jacob Sheep were disbursed throughout the world. “They remained in the Middle East before being traded to Spain and via the Silk Road to China. Britain obtained the sheep through trade in the 17th century. The sheep arrived in the early 20th century in North America, before finally touching down in Israel in late 2016,” she recounts. Although the decision to adopt

Feature The Week In News

Lewinsky hopes the Eitam hill will be their last stop before the Third Bais Hamikdash is built.

A Shlichut of Shepherding

a small flock of Jacob Sheep came quickly for Jenna, it did not come without a steep price. From the moment she took possession of the flock, she was beset with one mishap after another. In story after story, she recounted the disastrous litany. One sheep ran away to the mayor of the city, who

As she retells it, the list of calamities seems endless. Even as a plan to repatriate the sheep to Israel came into focus, it, too, was beset with endless setbacks. It was two years until Jenna and Gil got to Israel with the sheep, and even then, new problems appeared at every juncture. Just getting the sheep to Isra-

“Now they are settled, waiting for the Sanhedrin to show up.” subsequently adopted her as a mascot. Coyotes killed two of the sheep. The best breeding ram died. One of the sheep ate too much grain and died. Another ram died. They were evicted from their temporary farm because their dog barked too much. At the time, Gil was hospitalized, recovering from a cardiac event, so Jenna had to find another barn and move the animals by herself. The new barn subsequently caught on fire.

el was its own logistical nightmare. “The pilots went on strike the day of the flight. Every airline we would book, they went on strike,” Lewinsky laughs. “The biggest joke of all? We booked them on Air Canada. I flew on Sunday night. I’m in Israel, and the sheep are not able to fly because there’s not enough oxygen on the flight, so no sheep are arriving.” Since finally arriving in Israel, the sheep have been moved seven times.

More remarkable than the litany of problems is Lewinsky’s attitude. “I think when you have a shlichut (mission), Hashem doesn’t tell you all the trials and what lies ahead. Even with the most stressful things, something good came out of it. Hashem turns the problem into an opportunity. “Whenever I think, ‘I want to give up now,’ then a person sends me a message to inspire me to continue. I also feel very big miracles with regards to what happened to the sheep.” Lewinsky and her sheep have been visited by a number of prominent rabbis. She recounted one of the most meaningful visits. “One day when I was low in spirits, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu showed up and blessed the flock. No deaths occurred with the sheep (after 60 had died) after he gave the blessing. “ Although she often has visitors who come to see these remarkable sheep, she lives alone, her home consisting of a trailer and a tent. Building materials were recently purchased to make her a more stable home. Dealing with all these challenges, Lewinsky reflects, “I learned a lot about myself and my strength as a person. I learned to laugh at myself and the situation. Without a sense of humor, you cannot do this. “Hashem sends the help I need, people I never met before, who can do the jobs I need done. I’m not capable of doing everything, but I have a willing heart. Just when I was ready to give up, a big rainbow came. That was a sign to hold on one more day. Then a donor came and built a barn. That was a big test of my faith. There is danger all around me, but I’m oblivious to it. I sleep at night. “I believe that Hashem protects us. I’m 100% certain about it. We had to bury 70 sheep who died from a virus in Jordan Valley. Now the sheep are much healthier because the weaker ones are gone. “We had all kinds of problems with the government. We had to research ancient genetics. Hashem fixed the whole battle, and after it was done, we had the evidence that they

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The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015

Feature The Week In News

22

were pure Jacob Sheep.” Eventually, Gil filed for divorce. “I decided to continue without him and sat one afternoon on the couch and was very worried. How am I going to continue to do this on my own?” Her own strength of mind pulled her through that dark time. She told herself, “If you want to be a worrier or a warrior, you have to make that mind change. And so, I just stopped worrying. “I don’t think about the future anymore. Before, I wasn’t really trusting in Hashem. Now I am. The worst that can happen is that I can’t manage and I’ll have to find the sheep good homes. If that’s the plan, it’s going to happen anyway. “I’m going to do this job as best I can. The rest I’m going to leave to Hashem. When I made that kind of mindset, I stopped worrying about everything. Those things have become much easier than they were before. “If I feel threatened, I pray to

NOVEMBER 28, 2019 | The Jewish Home

Hashem and somehow it always works out. Hashem can use anyone to do His will. I’m not important in the story at all. The miracle is that [these sheep are] just like the Jewish people who wandered for 2,000 years and maintained our genetics and came back to Israel.” Lewinsky believes that she’s tend-

co Moroc Book NOW ember 4 Dec

ing to these sheep for the entirety of the Jewish people. “Now they are settled, waiting for the Sanhedrin to show up. Yeshaya speaks of shepherds returning with their flock. We’re in the ancient fields of King David. Maybe [the members of the Sanhedrin] don’t know I’m here. If they show up, I’m willing to turn them over.”

She is understandably very protective of the sheep and those who might try to take financial advantage of them. “These are the collective property of the Jewish people,” she asserts. “I gain very little off the sheep and I don’t sell them. Any money [that] comes [in goes] to the feeding expenses. It’s not a business; it’s a shlichut. “That’s why I have my own private company to make money, so I don’t have to take from this project anything for myself. They are not to become one person’s possession. I’m the temporary shepherdess for now,” she emphasizes. Across the world, there are an estimated 8,000 Jacob Sheep. Thanks to the amazing self-sacrifice of Jenna Lewinsky, in Israel today, there are 65 sheep, and the flock is continuing to grow. “Every day is a miracle,” she concludes. To learn more, go to migdalever.com.

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