30 December 2020


 15 Tevet 5781

!ברוך אתה יהוה אלהינו מלך העולם, הטוב והמטיב

Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe,
 Who is good and does good!

Jonathan Pollard landed early Wednesday morning in Eretz Yisrael with his wife Esther as the U.S. authorities finally removed all restraints from his dream to relocate there.

As the plane approached its landing, Mr. Pollard was escorted to the cockpit of the plane and listened as the air traffic controller welcomed him, Israel Hayom reported. 

Precisely five years since Jonathan Pollard was released from prison after serving thirty years of an unprecedented life sentence for passing classified information to an ally, Israel, he was finally informed last month that onerous parole restrictions slapped on him then were lifted. Thirty-five years after his arrest on November 21, 1985, Jonathan Pollard, now 65, has finally arrived in Israel.

He was granted Israeli citizenship while still in prison, and he had expressed his wish to settle there. “The final step which remains in order to be free is return home, to the land of the people we love,” Jonathan said recently.

Due to the medical condition of his wife, they chose to travel on a private plane from Newark to ben Gurion Airport.

Rabbi Pesach Lerner, who worked tirelessly for decades to secure his release, told Hamodia, “Shehecheyanu vekiyemanu vehigiyahu lazman hazeh! 35 years after he was arrested, b’ezras Hashem he landed early this morning in Eretz Yisrael as a free man. It’s been a long journey, and this stage of the journey has ended. Im yirtzeh Hashem he should be able to start the next chapter of his life where he longed to be, in Eretz Yisrael.”

29 December 2020


 15 Tevet 5781

WHO urges vaccinated travelers to take coronavirus precautions

World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan told a virtual briefing Monday people who've been vaccinated for COVID-19 "need to take the same precautions" as those who haven't "till there's a certain level of herd immunity."

Driving the news: Swaminathan was asked whether international travel without quarantine would be possible after mass coronavirus vaccinations. "I don't believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it's going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on," she said.

...It's also unknown whether people can have rare or delayed side effects, which could be detected in long-term trials with millions of participants. 

WHO doesn’t have evidence vaccines prevent people transmitting virus to others 

I told you it's not a "vaccine"!  Vaccines provide long-term immunity.  You can't get it and nobody else can get it from you!!

If they had let "nature" take its course, we would already have reached "herd immunity" naturally and all the damage would have been mitigated.

A Lesson From History: Thalidomide Babies

 14 Tevet 5780

I remember hearing about this when I was growing up.  I guess there is a good chance that younger people may have never heard of it, so in the interests of education...

Dedicated especially to those who think the "experts" are never wrong.

The U.S. was supposed to have escaped the devastation of a drug that caused birth defects in babies overseas. This is the almost forgotten story of its toll in America.

By Katie Thomas
Published March 23, 2020

The man on the bus was staring at her. Carolyn Farmer, 17, noticed him as she closed the Leon Uris novel “Exodus” and gathered her things.

It was 1979, and she knew what it was like to have strangers gawk at her: She had been born with shortened arms and fingers missing on each hand.

“Are you a thalidomide baby?” he asked as she waited to get off.

Confused, she said no. But on the walk home in her close-knit suburb of St. Paul, Minn., she repeated this word she had never heard before: tha-lid-o-mide.

Thalidomide, a sedative sold by a German drugmaker, was said to relieve everything from anxiety to morning sickness, but it led to perhaps the greatest pharmaceutical scandal of all time. About 10,000 babies, many in Germany, Britain and Australia, were born with severe defects in the 1950s and 1960s after their mothers took it. Some babies had no arms or legs. Others had no ears or malformed kidneys.

The scandal briefly flared in the United States, where the drug was given to about 20,000 Americans in loosely run clinical trials sponsored by two American drug makers. The crisis led to passage of modern drug safety laws in the United States that required pharmaceutical companies to prove their medicines worked through rigorous clinical trials.

But the babies whose mothers took thalidomide in the United States were largely forgotten. Today, more than half a century later, people who believe they are the U.S. survivors of thalidomide have found one another through Google searches and Facebook groups, joining forces to fight for justice, recognition and compensation.

Historians say the lesson of thalidomide is one that society is still learning the hard way. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in an opioid epidemic that has its roots in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the painkiller OxyContin and dishonest, aggressive marketing of the drug by its maker, Purdue Pharma.

Today, as the coronavirus circles the globe — claiming thousands of lives — there is a renewed push to rush potential cures to market, even if it means bypassing the checks and balances that were thalidomide’s legacy.

Jennifer Vanderbes, who is researching a book about the history of thalidomide in the United States, said society owed the survivors in America a debt of gratitude.

“They took a pharmaceutical bullet for all of us, not choosing to,” she said. “But without them, we don’t have the safeguards that we have today.”

Pills Safer Than Alka-Seltzer

Carolyn was just a year old in 1963 when her father, a Konica salesman and freelance wedding photographer, posed her for a portrait, a teddy bear obscuring her weaker, shorter left arm. It was one of many props he used to hide her birth defect as she grew up: cuddling a bear, seated behind her baby sister, in profile against a tree.

Her disability was like that — seen, yet unseen — for much of her childhood.

Her mother, Marilyn, was 22 when she gave birth in March 1962. The nurses did not tell her about her newborn’s defects right away. They presented the baby in a tight swaddle, her too-short limbs tucked under a blanket.

Her mother, whose last name is now Martin, had heard about thalidomide, but said she didn’t connect it to Carolyn’s defects.

Her doctor had given her a packet of pills early in her pregnancy that were for headaches, not morning sickness. Besides, the doctor had assured her they were safer than Alka-Seltzer, and she had taken only one or two, she said.

Carolyn’s arms were shorter, and she was missing fingers, but “it wasn’t the horrific deformities that they were telling about or showing,” Ms. Martin recalled.

Nevertheless, she set the pills aside, just in case.

Carolyn, the eldest of four children, was expected to do the same chores as everyone else, washing dishes after dinner and changing her sheets every Friday.

But she couldn’t hold hands on Sundays at church or when her third-grade class learned to square dance. She remembers visits to doctors, including to a surgeon who fashioned a working thumb out of one of her index fingers. She endured taunts at school.

Her siblings had to answer prying questions. “My mom would say, ‘Well, tell your friends that’s how God made her,’” Patty Westcott, Carolyn’s younger sister, recalled.

By the time the man on the bus asked about thalidomide, Carolyn’s parents were divorcing. Her mother said she wasn’t sure what the cause was, but ended the conversation. It wasn’t the right time to ask questions no one felt like answering.

When Carolyn was old enough to get a job, no one wanted to hire her. She was turned down at a fast-food chain because she couldn’t hold the fry basket. At a department store lunch counter, she was told she wouldn’t be able to balance large trays of food. She was fired from a gas station after being wrongly accused of making errors at the cash register.

Carolyn married at age 19 and quickly had two girls. Angered by her poor job prospects, she consulted a lawyer to look into the thalidomide story.

This time, she pinned her mother down, and to her surprise, her mother handed over the old pills. Her lawyer sent them to a lab, but the tests could not determine whether they were thalidomide, and they were not returned.

Carolyn divorced, becoming a single mother.

As she got older, she learned to slip her arms into her sleeves at job interviews, revealing her disability only after she was hired. A career in public relations followed, and she dabbled in local Democratic politics.

In 2008, as she prepared for her daughter Angie’s summer wedding, Carolyn agonized over what to wear. A long-sleeved jacket would be too hot, yet she cringed when she imagined the photograph hanging on her wall, her arms exposed every time she walked by. She bought a sleeveless dress anyway.

Similarly emboldened, in 2011, Carolyn typed the words “thalidomide victim” into Google. Decades of burying her feelings had caught up with her, and she was struggling with depression and anxiety. She needed to understand what had happened.

Her Google search led her to a Facebook group for international survivors of thalidomide, and she learned there that a lawsuit was being prepared on behalf of American victims.

That fall, she reached out to the lawyers bringing the suit, and one of them returned her call at work. She walked to the parking lot to talk.

The lawyer told her about the American clinical trials, and that the drugs had been dispensed in paper packages, without labels.

“I was just pacing around the parking lot, like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it,’” Carolyn said. “My whole life kind of flipped upside down.”

A Marketing Campaign Disguised as a Clinical Trial

In 1957, thalidomide arrived in German pharmacies as a sedative sold by Chemie Grünenthal, whose head of research, Dr. Heinrich Mückter, was a Nazi war criminal.

The drug, approved in Germany without testing in pregnant women, was sold as a safe alternative to overdose-prone sedatives. Soon, Grünenthal and its overseas partners were selling thalidomide for a range of ailments, including morning sickness in pregnant women.

Two American companies explored bringing thalidomide to the United States. In 1956 and 1957, the Philadelphia drugmaker Smith, Kline & French distributed it to dozens of doctors through a clinical trial. Doctors were not initially told it was thalidomide; the pills instead carried the label SK&F #5627, according to federal court documents. The company’s researchers concluded it was not effective and decided not to pursue an application for approval.

But Richardson-Merrell, a Cincinnati company that was selling thalidomide in Canada under the name Kevadon, began a more aggressive, sloppily run trial to prepare for what the company assumed would be an easy approval in the United States.

One part of the campaign, run by its marketing department, instructed salesmen to assure doctors they didn’t have to keep track of which patients took it. “Do not sacrifice having an important man evaluate Kevadon for the sake of case histories,” according to a handbook later turned over to Congress for Senate hearings that took place in 1962.

Internal F.D.A. reports, obtained through a recent public records request, show just how chaotic the distribution of thalidomide had been.

The tablets came in a variety of shapes and colors, from yellow to pink to white.

In one case, a boy with birth defects was born to a Maryland woman who had been given the drug by her mother, whose psychiatrist issued it “to allay her nervousness,” according to an F.D.A. memo from August 1962.

A Chicago-area doctor told investigators that a colleague had given him 400 pills, according to another memo. He heard of the drug’s problems only from later news reports.

In the United States, thalidomide was never approved for sale in the 1960s because a drug reviewer at the F.D.A., Dr. Frances Kelsey, successfully delayed an application by Richardson-Merrell over concerns that the drug could be unsafe (Another company got the drug approved in the 1990s for limited treatment of leprosy and, later, cancer.)

In November 1961, Grünenthal announced it was pulling thalidomide from the German market because of questions about whether the drug was causing birth defects. Richardson-Merrell later withdrew its application.

Alarm in the United States crescendoed in the summer of 1962, when a Washington Post article revealed Dr. Kelsey’s role. Other reports followed, including news about the clinical trials in the United States. President John F. Kennedy warned women to check their medicine cabinets and not to use the drug.

The F.D.A. initiated an investigation into whether any American babies had been harmed, sending a “rush” assignment to each of its field offices.

Over the next months, investigators struggled to document the drug’s toll because of the casual way it had been distributed, according to hundreds of pages of government and company documents uncovered through court filings and public records requests made by The New York Times, as well as those who believe they were harmed by the drug.

The federal government, citing limited resources, did not try to track down all of the affected babies, focusing instead on ones who would build their case against Richardson-Merrell.

Estimates of how many American babies were affected by thalidomide have varied. A lead F.D.A. investigator said in a 1964 report that 17 infants had been harmed. Investigators in the agency’s Cincinnati office later pursued reports of about 40 births associated with one obstetrician, Dr. Ray O. Nulsen of Cincinnati. Dr. Nulsen, who had been one of the chief doctors in the Richardson-Merrell trial, declined to cooperate, according to F.D.A. reports. The agency later said it could not verify that number, but found that he had delivered at least five malformed infants.

By the fall of 1962, F.D.A. officials concluded that Richardson-Merrell had most likely broken the law several times over. An agency memo described how the company emphasized “selling the product” even though it had never been approved. The officials also said that company lawyers appeared to have cleared their records of incriminating internal memos for the years after 1960, when Richardson-Merrell was pursuing approval.

In September 1964, federal prosecutors declined to press charges. Some of the company’s activities had “questionable overtones,” prosecutors said, but the evidence did not warrant criminal charges.

F.D.A. officials later noted that prosecutors had made a critical error when they said only one baby had been born in the United States with defects from thalidomide.

But by then, the public had moved on.

‘I Feel Manipulated by Everyone’

The children of thalidomide are now in their late 50s and early 60s.

In 2011, the lawyers who had contacted Carolyn Sampson were planning to sue Grünenthal, which is still in business, and GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, the successors to Smith, Kline & French and Richardson-Merrell.

To avoid the long-expired statute of limitations, the lawyers would have to prove their clients had a new claim, based on new information.

One of the lawyers, Peter Gordon, had filed a class-action suit in Australia, arguing that a larger group had been affected than those who had previously received government compensation, and citing recent research that changed the understanding of how thalidomide caused defects.

The question of who is a thalidomide survivor has persisted since the earliest days of the crisis.

Infants injured by thalidomide suffered a range of ailments, but the focus was on the most severe cases. European researchers settled on a set of attributes that would guide who could be compensated, including people with symmetrical defects — that they were missing both arms, for example.

Lawyers in the recent cases have cited newer research. It posits that thalidomide could have interfered with embryonic growth in many ways, including stopping the creation of blood vessels, which halted the formation of limbs. This would mean thalidomide survivors could have a wider range of defects.

“Thalidomide was a wrecking ball to the embryo, but the early medicine got it wrong,” said Mr. Gordon, whose Australian lawsuits were settled in 2014 for more than 100 million Australian dollars, tripling the number of people in Australia and New Zealand who were recognized as survivors, to about 150 from 45.

Neil Vargesson, a professor of developmental biology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, who has studied the effects of thalidomide, said that while the precise cause of the damage was still unclear, “I honestly think there are way more people affected.”

Beginning in 2011, lawyers for Ms. Sampson and about 50 other American plaintiffs filed suit. But those recent cases have largely failed. In 2015, a federal judge in Philadelphia fined the Seattle firm that helped bring the suits, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, for employing “bad faith and dishonesty.” The judge, Paul S. Diamond of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, concluded that the lawyers should have known the cases, filed after the statute of limitations expired, would fail.

A special master appointed by the judge is investigating a range of claims against the firm, including that it misled plaintiffs about their chances for success.

Ms. Sampson has dropped Hagens Berman as her representative and testified against the firm at a hearing before the special master last May.

“I feel manipulated by everyone,” she said.

Nick Styant-Browne, a lawyer for Hagens Berman, said that “the firm would like to respond to these issues, but, in 2013, Judge Diamond directed the parties not to make any further public statements about the cases.”

A Search for Justice

With the lawsuits in tatters, those who considered themselves the American survivors of thalidomide met on a late winter weekend in 2018 at a Holiday Inn near the Atlanta airport.

It was part reunion, part battle planning.

The men and women — about a dozen in all — had never met in person, having connected on a Facebook group set up by Ms. Sampson. They talked for hours at the hotel restaurant, gesturing with arms and hands of all shapes and sizes as waiters brought fresh glasses of beer. Some had shortened legs and used wheelchairs. Others had eye problems, ear problems, a cleft palate, no toes.

Some had driven for hours, while others had flown across the country. One woman took Greyhound from Cincinnati in her power wheelchair, a 12-hour ordeal that involved a broken-down bus and a midnight arrival at the Atlanta bus depot.

She and another woman from Cincinnati ordered “pop” at the bar in their flat Ohio accents; another spoke with the drawl of Monroe, her Louisiana hometown. There was a shy nurse from Missouri whose voice cracked when he spoke of his family.

For the first time, they watched as others who looked like them raised glasses, brushed away hair, scrolled through Instagram. They compared notes from a lifetime of compensating for malformed limbs: chronic back pain, worn-out joints.

By the end of the weekend, they resolved to form a nonprofit, US Thalidomide Survivors, to press for their needs and to initiate a campaign to draw attention to their story.

Around the world, thalidomide survivors have been making a renewed push for recogition. In Australia, that has meant the legal settlement. In 2015, Canadians persuaded the government to increase its compensation payments, and the Canadian government enhanced its assistance to survivors again in 2019.

The Americans who believe they are survivors say they want to spread the word that thalidomide harmed babies in the United States, too. They want better medical information and research about the way their bodies were damaged. They want to remove statutes of limitations that have prevented them from successfully suing. And they are planning to campaign for compensation, inspired by the success of Canadian survivors.

Dorothy Hunt-Honsinger, of Cortland, Ohio, said her mother was given pills for anxiety and morning sickness in Pennsylvania in 1960. She believes someone must be held accountable for the trials, even if thalidomide was never approved in the United States.

“I would like compensation,” said Ms. Hunt-Honsinger, who has malformed arms and legs as well as heart problems. “More than that, I would like recognition that it did happen.”

No Easy Answers

As part of her quest to understand her story, Ms. Sampson asked the F.D.A. for the list of American doctors who distributed thalidomide. Soon she was turning through the roughly 1,200 doctors who worked with Richardson-Merrell, and nearly 70 who received the drug through Smith, Kline & French.

She was searching for her mother’s obstetrician. Discovering whether he had been part of the trial might offer her one more clue to her story. The names beginning with H, the first letter of his name, ran for four pages. But he was not there.

Another dead end.

Today, Ms. Sampson receives federal disability assistance as a result of chronic back, neck and arm pain that she says results from her defects. She works part time designing websites for businesses and nonprofits around Minneapolis, and volunteers as the communications director of the nonprofit she helped to found.

She said she had struggled to make peace with the idea that she would never know for sure whether she is a thalidomide survivor.

That ambiguity is built into the story of thalidomide in the United States. Richardson-Merrell’s slapdash clinical trial and the flawed investigation by the F.D.A. most likely mean the drug’s true toll will never be known.

“I can’t tell you how angry that makes me,” Ms. Sampson said.
We can only hope and pray that history is not being repeated.  The difference between now and then, however, is that there is no dearth of warnings about the experimental nature of the COVID-19 mRNA "vaccines."

28 December 2020


 13 Tevet 5781

My research leads me to believe that the nanotechnology used to deliver the mRNA "vaccine" is the real long-term danger, and any damage it can cause will not show up immediately, so all those people getting out of the chair from taking their COVID-19 shot, grinning and proclaiming, "I feel fine," are just idiots.

Re-visiting an earlier blog post

Two nanoparticle-based vaccines close to obtaining approval by the US Food and Drug Administration could represent a giant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. [BioNtech, Pfizer and Moderna]

...This new class of DNA- and RNA-based vaccines deliver the genetic sequence of specific viral proteins to the host cells using nanotechnology platforms.

...these vaccines are a huge achievement for molecular medicine and biotechnology. They also represent a big milestone for nanomedicine, which has struggled to gain mainstream recognition so far due to translation challenges. They are a success for all those scientists who have worked to optimize nanoformulations for the efficient packaging and safe delivery of genetic material.

Nanotechnology In Medicine: Huge Potential, But What Are The Risks?

...one area that concerns the committee is the size and exceptional mobility of nanoparticles: they are small enough, if ingested, to penetrate cell membranes of the lining of the gut, with the potential to access the brain and other parts of the body, and even inside the nuclei of cells.

Another is the solubility and persistence of nanomaterials. What happens, for instance, to insoluble nanoparticles? If they can’t be broken down and digested or degraded, is there a danger they will accumulate and damage organs? Nanomaterials comprising inorganic metal oxides and metals are thought to be the ones most likely to pose a risk in this area.

Also, because of their high surface area to mass ratio, nanoparticles are highly reactive, and may for instance, trigger as yet unknown chemical reactions, or by bonding with toxins, allow them to enter cells that they would otherwise have no access to.

For instance, with their large surface area, reactivity and electrical charge, nanomaterials create the conditions for what is described as “particle aggregation” due to physical forces and “particle agglomoration” due to chemical forces, so that individual nanoparticles come together to form larger ones. This may lead not only to dramatically larger particles, for instance in the gut and inside cells, but could also result in disaggregation of clumps of nanoparticles, which could radically alter their physicochemical properties and chemical reactivity.

Ok?  Review over.  Here is some new information...   

Nanotechnology-based disinfectants and sensors for SARS-CoV-2

Nanotechnology-based antimicrobial and antiviral formulations can prevent SARS-CoV-2 viral dissemination, and highly sensitive biosensors and detection platforms may contribute to the detection and diagnosis of COVID-19.

Our most important line of defence is our own immune system, however people who are immunocompromised, or people with at least one underlying co-morbidity (that is, cardiovascular diseases/hypertension and diabetes, and other chronic underlying conditions), are highly vulnerable and their sole line of defence is sanitizers, face masks, immune system boosters and drugs that are clinically approved. Scientists around the world have made promising strides towards developing approaches to prevent COVID-19. However, there are still challenges for the development of therapeutics or vaccines, such as regulatory issues, large-scale production and deployment to the public. It will take months before we can have a global answer to this pandemic. Furthermore, we must be prepared for potential outbreak of a second and even a third wave of the virus, which calls for alternative options to reinforce our arsenal against not only COVID-19 but also other viral diseases that can potentially become pandemics. The silver lining amidst this crisis is the state of our technological advances mainly in the field of nanotechnology. So far, a significant body of work has covered the development of nano-based vaccines or anti-viral agents to block SARS-CoV-2, all of which are currently far from public implementation due to lengthy and strict regulatory affairs.

Consequently, we propose that nanotechnology could have a closer impact on the current pandemic when implemented in two defined areas: (1) Viral disinfectants, by developing highly effective nano-based antimicrobial and antiviral formulations that are not only suitable for disinfecting air and surfaces, but are also effective in reinforcing personal protective equipment such as facial respirators. (2) Viral detection, by developing highly sensitive and accurate nano-based sensors that allow early diagnosis of COVID-19.
It's worthwhile to follow the link to the article and read the whole thing, but the most important take-away is that Nanotechnology seems the be the newest idol on the pedestal and no one knows what its true impact on everything that inhabits the biosphere can or will be.

What You Can Do

Learning Torah is HKB"H speaking to us and prayer is us speaking to Him - it makes a complete connection which is critical for maintaining spiritual health.  Being busy with mitzvot and acts of kindness not only maintains our mental health, but actually helps to defeat evil by raising the level of kedushah.  

What You CAN'T Do

Take this nano-vaccine.  Fear anyone or anything except the Master of the World.  Despair.


27 December 2020


 12 Tevet 5781

Some of you readers might be surprised to learn that it is not at all uncommon for bloggers to receive threats and insults and promises of all kinds of retribution for being on the "wrong" side of this issue or another.  It goes with the territory of being outspoken and opinionated and even more so if you are female and low down on the social totem pole.  Bullies always go for the weak-looking ones.  I have to share the one that came in this morning's mail because it gave me a good laugh...

"You should remove the false data about the vaccine. Gedoli Yisrael said it's a chiyuv.  You will litteraly (sic) have blood on your hands for convincing ppl not to take the virus." 

I'm sure the author, who appears to reside in the States, really meant to write "vaccine" but instead, he made a Freudian slip and wrote "virus" - love it. 

Then there was the comment, also in the morning mail and now published on the previous blog post, which said...

I think we need to discuss the next step. Because a very high percentage of the world population - both Jewish and non-Jewish are going ahead with the vaccine and looking at it like the salvation - what do you think is going to happen next? It's so heartrending to read the comments and furious arguments each man toward the next in regard to yes vaccinate, not vaccinate, one is obligated to, etc. etc. etc. - I think the few who are trying so hard to see the Emes amongst all of this Sheker could use a dose of Chizuk, no?

I agree, so what follows will be my best attempt to answer these questions.

In recent times, we've seen for ourselves a phenomenon that has even been extensively remarked upon across all media, and that is the very great polarization that has been taking place on many subjects across all levels of society worldwide.  Torah sources call this the great "birur" or clarification.  The "middle ground" has virtually disappeared while people choose one side over another - this process ultimately "clarifies" what they truly believe and where they stand with regard to the Master of the Universe.  

In the end, it will determine who lives and who dies and since this is the main subject of whether to submit to this injection they persist in calling a vaccine, even though by every scientific criteria, it is not a vaccine, I suspect we have reached the final phase in the birur process.  The final test of this final phase will be to stand strong and stand fast with the Truth against very great opposition; however, know that even among those who feel they will be steadfast, the pressure will be so great and the doubts which will continue to invade our thoughts as well as the manufactured fear that strains our hearts could so undermine our commitment and resolve that we could succumb even at the last moment.  

In the book  Redemption Unfolding by Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum and published by Feldheim, the rabbi writes:

...The last 45 days of Chevlei Moshiach will be more difficult than the first days.  The troubles of those final days will move the community of Israel to do complete teshuva, and, thereby, they will be privileged to merit the geula.

...Rav Avrohom Azulai wrote (Chessed leAvrohom, Maayan 5, Nahar 35): "The troubles shall increase as they never did before....   These are the 45 days in the future when Israel will go out of Jerusalem to be in the desert of the nations of the world, just as Lot was displaced during the upheaval of Sedom, when he was not able to save even a small piece of bread, and he was rushed out into the desert.  Actually, the troubles of Israel will be in a very similar manner.  Bnei Yisroel will be dispersed throughout the desert, and all the troubles that Israel ever experienced will not be like these troubles....  There, Israel shall count 45 days...  they will eat only salty roots that they will find in the desert, and then they will all repent there.  Those who cannot stand it will go to the nations of the world, and be destroyed with them.  

For that reason it is absolutely essential to find a dependable source of strength.  Of course, we find strength through words of Torah, through our connection with HKB"H and shared experience with like-minded individuals, but never underestimate the power of Tehillim to restore your soul and empower your faith.  

Rabbi Mandelbaum wrote already in 2005...

The Test of Our Times 

“This is the test that HaShem has propelled us into in the time before Moshiach.  HaShem has brought many Jews back to Eretz Yisroel, and they rule it, and those who have cast off the yoke of Torah gloat as if they have accomplished this miracle with their own powers.  The more their arrogance grows, the more their audacity will burgeon, with ever-increasing desire to force their heresy on us.  This is the last, most difficult challenge of the golus.  The more we recognize this test with all its impact, the better we will understand our task – to strengthen ourselves against these physically-based, false beliefs.

“Those who stand strong against all the heresy – who, rather than being influenced, bolster their belief in HaShem and do not budge at all from the true dictates of the Torah – will merit to see the full Redemption through Moshiach.  To them will be revealed the highest levels of spiritual clarity, a knowledge of real truth – a glimpse of the light of Gan Eden.  For them will be rectified all the spiritual darkness and ‘hiding’ that has so clouded the world since the sin of Adam, and they will be granted, in the end, true completion in this world, and revelation of the greatness of HaShem’s kingdom in the World to Come….” 

...The great technological advancements of the last generation - amazing advances in the fields of engineering, chemistry, biology, nuclear research, and other sciences - have all been used by Edom as they try to assert that they have the power and ability to conquer and rule over nature.  They have used their incredible intellectual achievements to immerse the world in the fulfillment of their wishes and desires.  Today, these technological advancements themselves constitute the greatest threats to the world, for they can be used to manufacture tools of widespread destruction such that our ancestors never even imagined.

Moreover, it is clear that these technological inventions, which, admittedly, are of great help to humanity, are now the greatest sources of terror in the world.  This is because any attempt to change the natural order of the Holy One, Blessed be He, will be revealed at the end of days to have caused irreversible damageWe see that technological advancement itself has transformed itself from a symbol of pride, serenity, and happiness, to a source of subjugation, terror, and fear.  ...Today, it is very clear that the only One we can depend upon is our Father in Heaven.

Written over 15 years ago and it could not be more apropos of the current situation!  As in the population at large, even among the "gedolim" there is polarization on this issue and it doesn't stop at a ruling that one may or may not take this injection, but that one must at all costs submit or at all costs avoid.  Both sides cite to danger and pikuach nefesh.

All that any of us can really do is try our very best to understand the issues and also try our very best to see that important information is available to all, so that everyone can make his own informed decision.  No one can decide for another.  We each have the responsibility for ourselves and, of course, those who are dependent upon us.  

Again, I advise all the readers that all the halachot involving vaccines from the past cannot be applied to this situation as what they are injecting is decidedly and conclusively NOT a vaccine.

Someone brought me a copy of the Torah Tidbits this past Shabbat in which can be found the "OU / RCA COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance."  It follows in the same path as the majority coming out of the religious world.  But, what I found most compelling was this paragraph:

While this guidance of our poskim has addressed vaccine usage generally, the introduction of the novel COVID-19 vaccines required specific reconsideration.  The poskim recognize that the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed with unprecedented speed and are expected to be made available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  In addition, the two currently leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates are mRNA vaccines which employ a new vaccine technology.

That is to say, nobody there is under any illusions about what is really at stake; however,...

Notwithstanding these factors, the conclusion of our poskim is that, pursuant to the advice of your personal health care provider, the Torah obligation to preserve our lives and the lives of others requires us to vaccinate for COVID-19 as soon as it becomes available.

In other words, all legitimate areas of concern are swept aside and rendered irrelevant by the phrase "notwithstanding these factors."  They will not be addressed, they will be ignored, glossed over, and rather than leave people the wiggle room, as other rabbonim who have ruled that it is too early to tell what risks the vaccine could pose, so people should wait, they eliminate that legitimate out by saying "as soon as it becomes available" - assur to wait!

Now, as to what is coming next...  See here: Possible Leaked Roadmap for the Next Phase of the Agenda and keep in mind that this came out back in October.  However, that's what The Powers That Shouldn't Be plan to do.  HKB"H is working on His own agenda.  I expect we'll know who Mashiach is by Pesach, but that still won't be the end.  It'll really be just another beginning, but a good and happy one!

Look, there is no doubt that this is a very, very difficult Test.  And it will require a great deal of mesirut nefesh (self-sacrifice) to pass successfully.  But, really, all you have to do is look at the situation realistically and understand who is pushing it - ON THE ENTIRE WORLD! - and you'll already know the correct path to follow and the right decision to make.  Put your full faith and trust in HKB"H and He will give you the assurance you need to know if you've chosen well.

Hashem be with us all!!

25 December 2020

TEVET: The Beginning and The End of Exile

 10 Tevet 5781 - Fast of Asarah b'Tevet
Erev Shabbat Kodesh - Parashat Vayigash

In this week's parashah, the Egyptian exile begins as Am Yisrael journeys down to join Yosef HaTzaddik in Mitzrayim.  This would, unfortunately, be just the first of four exiles, the last of which is still ongoing!

In a lecture from 2009, Rabbi Mordechai Sitorsky related the following on this parashah:

"The goal is that Asara b'Tevet is turned into a yom tov and Tevet becomes a month in which the geulah should start.  Until now, it was the month that the golus began; therefore, Tevet is the month in which the geulah should begin."
May it be so - right now!  

Do not give way to fear. Know that certain scary things have to happen, but HKB"H holds each of us securely in His hands. And if we do complete teshuvah, everything can turn around in an instant!


24 December 2020

R. Richter: "You Must Listen Before X-mas"

 9 Tevet 5781

You Must Listen Before X-mas!!!!



If a public fast occurs on Erev Shabbat, we fast the entire day till the conclusion of the fast, even though it means entering Shabbat while fasting. Neither “Avinu Malkeinu” nor “Tachanun” are recited at Mincha, but there is Torah reading.

The fast continues until after the completion of Maariv for Shabbat (after the appearance of the stars). One should not eat or drink anything until after Kiddush.

Nowadays our calendar calculation is such that the only public fast which can fall on Erev Shabbat is the tenth of Tevet.  (Source)

23 December 2020


14 Tevet 5781 


9 Tevet 5781

And this is not the first time.  Let's pray it will be the last.

Attorney Nati Rom Speaks About the Injustice Done to Ahuvya Sandak


8 Tevet 5781


Dr. Paul Thomas Targeted By Medical Board & Media After Landmark Vaccine Study - Interview

[Pay special attention to the portion at 0:31:19 - 0:32:34.]



 8 Tevet 5781

The State of Israel can no longer maintain a functioning government.

22 December 2020


 7 Tevet 5781

Even among informed people, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what is in the COVID-19 injection and how it works.  Take, for example this comment by an "Unknown" person self-identifying as a nurse...
"MRNA works specifically, on the bit of covid protein fragment that is being injected" ...
In fact, although we are not told exactly what IS being injected, we know it is not "bits of covid protein fragments" because we are informed by the following article from the CDC that whatever they ARE injecting into people is meant to teach the body's own cells how to replicate this viral protein which is then supposed to provoke an immune response similar to what a traditional vaccine would normally do.

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle. Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the immune cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. [Let's hope, anyway.]

Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19.
When I searched the internet by asking what is inside the mRNA vaccine, the answer I got was "snippets of genetic code."  I'm guessing that would be the copy of the code taken from the virus's own DNA which produces this particular protein.  That's where the (m)essenger RNA comes in, it somehow delivers this information to the chosen cells in the human body which for a designated space of time turns them into viral protein production facilities.
The genes in DNA encode protein molecules, which are the "workhorses" of the cell, carrying out all the functions necessary for life. For example, enzymes, including those that metabolize nutrients and synthesize new cellular constituents, as well as DNA polymerases and other enzymes that make copies of DNA during cell division, are all proteins.
In the simplest sense, expressing a gene means manufacturing its corresponding protein, and this multilayered process has two major steps. In the first step, the information in DNA is transferred to a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule by way of a process called transcription. During transcription, the DNA of a gene serves as a template for complementary base-pairing, and an enzyme called RNA polymerase II catalyzes the formation of a pre-mRNA molecule, which is then processed to form mature mRNA (Figure 1). The resulting mRNA is a single-stranded copy of the gene, which next must be translated into a protein molecule. (Source)

Another component of the injection is apparently aborted fetal tissue cells, as otherwise, why would the Pope see fit to rule on its admissibility? 

VATICAN CITY, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The Vatican told Roman Catholics on Monday that it was morally acceptable for them to use COVID-19 vaccines, even if their production employed cell lines drawn from tissues of aborted fetuses.

A note from the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the use of such vaccines was permitted as long as there were no alternatives.
Finally, we have to wonder if nanotechnology plays any part in all this.  As it happens, COVID-19 has put medical nanotechnology "on the map."

Two nanoparticle-based vaccines close to obtaining approval by the US Food and Drug Administration could represent a giant step in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. [BioNtech, Pfizer and Moderna]

...This new class of DNA- and RNA-based vaccines deliver the genetic sequence of specific viral proteins to the host cells using nanotechnology platforms.

...these vaccines are a huge achievement for molecular medicine and biotechnology. They also represent a big milestone for nanomedicine, which has struggled to gain mainstream recognition so far due to translation challenges. They are a success for all those scientists who have worked to optimize nanoformulations for the efficient packaging and safe delivery of genetic material.
To get a look at the possible downside of these injectibles (I still don't want to call them "vaccines"), we have to look back at a 2012 article which looks at what a UK Parliamentary investigative committee determined.

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular scale to create materials with remarkably varied and new properties, is a rapidly expanding area of research with huge potential in many sectors, ranging from healthcare to construction and electronics. In medicine, it promises to revolutionize drug delivery, gene therapy, diagnostics, and many areas of research, development and clinical application. [Think $$$$$.]

...there are also concerned parties, who highlight that while the pace of research quickens, and the market for nanomaterials expands, it appears not enough is being done to discover their toxicological consequences.

This was the view of a science and technology committee of the House of Lords of the British Parliament, who in a recent report on nanotechnology and food, raise several concerns about nanomaterials and human health, particularly the risk posed by ingested nanomaterials.

For instance, one area that concerns the committee is the size and exceptional mobility of nanoparticles: they are small enough, if ingested, to penetrate cell membranes of the lining of the gut, with the potential to access the brain and other parts of the body, and even inside the nuclei of cells.

Another is the solubility and persistence of nanomaterials. What happens, for instance, to insoluble nanoparticles? If they can’t be broken down and digested or degraded, is there a danger they will accumulate and damage organs? Nanomaterials comprising inorganic metal oxides and metals are thought to be the ones most likely to pose a risk in this area.

Also, because of their high surface area to mass ratio, nanoparticles are highly reactive, and may for instance, trigger as yet unknown chemical reactions, or by bonding with toxins, allow them to enter cells that they would otherwise have no access to.

For instance, with their large surface area, reactivity and electrical charge, nanomaterials create the conditions for what is described as “particle aggregation” due to physical forces and “particle agglomoration” due to chemical forces, so that individual nanoparticles come together to form larger ones. This may lead not only to dramatically larger particles, for instance in the gut and inside cells, but could also result in disaggregation of clumps of nanoparticles, which could radically alter their physicochemical properties and chemical reactivity.

“Such reversible phenomena add to the difficulty in understanding the behaviour and toxicology of nanomaterials,” says the committee, whose overall conclusion is that neither Government nor the Research Councils are giving enough priority to researching the safety of nanotechnology, especially “considering the timescale within which products containing nanomaterials may be developed”.

They recommend much more research is needed to “ensure that regulatory agencies can effectively assess the safety of products before they are allowed onto the market”.
How fantastically convenient that this crisis came along which has allowed the "industry" to prove its worth without the bother with regulatory agencies' demands.

Now, who is going to go and explain it to the rabbis?  And remind them that only 0.1% of the population is actually at risk. [Even with inflated numbers!]  7 million deaths out of 7 billion population worldwide over the course of a year.  You do the math!

This is what all the rabbonim should be saying - at the very least.  This psak din from Bnei Braq basically says (if I am understanding it correctly) that not enough is presently known to rule for or against, but comes down on the side of not taking it until things are clearer.

(H/T SR)