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August 27, 2016 / 23 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘agreement’

An Expensive Agreement (Continued from last week)

Friday, July 15th, 2016

Reb Daniel Yaffe, the wealthiest Jew in Berlin, had made a foolish bargain with his friend David when both were poor, whereby he promised to give the latter all the fortune he would make above 10,000 marks. Now, many years later, his impoverished friend has shown up seeking 1,000 marks for his daughter’s wedding. Daniel remembers the bargain and feels duty-bound to give up his fortune, but visits Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin to see if he might have some answer for his predicament.


What Is Wrong?

“Reb Daniel? What is wrong? What has happened that causes you to weep?” asked Rav Tzvi Hirsch.

“Rebbe,” cried Reb Daniel, “I believe I have lost virtually my entire fortune and will be forced to become a beggar who goes from door to door seeking charity.”

Rav Tzvi Hirsch looked at the weeping man and answered in a soft voice: “Let us assume that what you say is true. Is that any reason for you to behave as though the world has come to an end? Listen to a brief story that I will tell you and perhaps you will feel better.

“Rav Shmuel HaNagid was one of Spain’s greatest scholars. He spent his days learning Torah and lived a simple life in poverty. He became beloved and famous throughout the Jewish community and even among the non-Jews.

“His name came to the attention of the king, who was so deeply impressed by him that he decided to appoint him as his finance minister. Rav Shmuel was very conscientious and successful and the king’s fortunes rose mightily. The other ministers became bitterly jealous of the Jewish scholar who was so obviously in the court’s favor and they decided to spread libels about the Jews.

“Going to the king, they said: ‘Your Majesty, we are convinced that Rav Shmuel has been using the office of the finance minister to line his pockets with money. He has been stealing from the royal treasury and robbing you.’”

Asks For Accounting

“The king refused to believe what he considered to be sheer nonsense. But the jealous ministers persisted in their fierce accusations and finally, to put the lies to rest, the king decided to have an accounting.

“Calling Rav Shmuel before him, he said: ‘Rav Shmuel, you are undoubtedly aware of the campaign that some of my ministers have launched against you. I know that the accusations are not true but I want to prove this to everyone’s satisfaction once and for all.

“‘I would like you to go home and give me an accounting of all your assets from the time that you became my finance minister.’”


King Is Amazed

“Rav Shmuel went home and appeared the following day before the king with his accounting. The king took it in his hands and studied it. As he read on, his face grew red with anger. Rav Shmuel had listed as his assets not more than 10 percent of the amount that the king himself estimated he had amassed.

“‘How dare you show me such a list?’ the king cried in fierce anger. ‘I myself gave you as personal gifts much more than you have listed here. There is no doubt in my mind that my ministers were correct and that you have stolen things from the treasury.’

“‘Allow me to explain,’ Rav Shmuel said. ‘You asked me to draw up a list of my assets, all the things that are mine, in his world.

“‘What you have given me is not really mine. At any moment you can grow angry with me and take it back. How can I list it then as my own?

Rabbi Sholom Klass

An Expensive Agreement (Continued from last week)

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Recap: Reb Daniel Yaffe, the wealthiest Jew in Berlin, had made a bargain with his old friend, David to give the latter all the money he would make over 10,000 marks in return for a penknife. As the years passed, he forgot about it. Now David, an impoverished man, has suddenly shown up after many years to borrow money for his daughter’s wedding.


An Expensive Agreement

“David, is it really you?” asked Daniel in amazement.

“I haven’t seen you in ages. Come in, come in and have breakfast with me.”

The two old friends sat and eagerly exchanged stories about all that had happened to them since they last saw each other. Daniel told the story of his meteoric rise to affluence and greatness while David, with a bitter sigh, told of his struggles to make a living and the tragedy of the death of his children through sickness.

“Now, I have an opportunity to marry off my only remaining child, a beautiful girl named Sarah, but I must have 1,000 marks. Do you think you can help me, Daniel!”

“What kind of question is that?” asked Daniel. “Of course, I can. Do you imagine that I would allow you to struggle when I can help my old best friend?”


The Reminder

“I knew I could count on you,” exclaimed David in joy. “You were always a good friend and from the earliest days you were so positive that you would be rich. It is true that I laughed when you bought the penknife from me but you were correct. You did become a wealthy man.”

“Penknife? What penknife?” asked Daniel.

“Don’t your remember? It was such a foolish thing, really,” said David. “Remember the penknife I had gotten from the Polish nobleman that you so admired and wanted so desperately to have? It was only worth a few marks, but you had no money for it and you said that if I gave it to you, you would give me all the money you would eventually have over 10,000 marks.

“I laughed at the time for you were a penniless young man. But you were right. Look at you now…”


Daniel Petrified

As David continued to talk Daniel’s face turned pale and his heart felt as if a knife had cut through it. Indeed, he did remember now. What a foolish bargain! But it was a bargain and if he were held to it, it would mean that he was about to lose all he had accumulated over the years. All his furnishings, his wife’s jewelry, his proud coach and horses, the beautiful garden, all that his powerful steel safe held – all this was no longer his; it belonged to the man in rags who sat before him and spoke only of 1,000 marks.

What was he to do?

David noticed that his old friend looked white as a sheet and he cried out.

“Daniel, what is the matter? Are you ill? What has happened to you?”

“It is nothing, nothing, I have a bit of a headache and I would appreciate it if you could come back again a little later.”

As soon as David left, Daniel went to his wife and told her the entire story.

“We have lost almost everything,” he exclaimed.

His wife sat stunned and replied.

“Perhaps, if you sat with David, you could work out a compromise whereby he would take a lump sum and leave you most of your wealth.”

“I don’t doubt that for a moment,” said Daniel, “but my conscience would not allow me to do such a thing. After all, a man’s word is his bond. I made a bargain with him when I was young and, though it was foolish, I must live up to it.”

“What can I tell you, my husband,” replied his wife, “you are a good and honest man. I can only suggest that you go to Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin and ask for his advice. Perhaps he can help us.”

“You are right. If there is any man in Berlin who is wise enough to find some answer for me it is Rav Tzvi Hirsch.”

Rushing into his carriage, Reb Daniel set off immediately for the home of the rav. As he rode he was greeted along the way by Jew and Christian alike. The great Reb Daniel Yaffe was a man whom all respected and this respect was clearly shown in their faces and the warmth of their greetings.

But this time, the greetings did not fill Daniel with joy. “Are they greeting me for myself or for my money? What will happen when I give up all my wealth to David? Will they still shout so warmly when they see me?” A deep sigh burst forth from Reb Daniel Yaffe’s soul and he exclaimed to himself: “At least there is one thing that can never be taken from me. All the good deeds that I have done with my money, all the charity and aid to the poor and needy will always be in my account in Heaven.”


The Rav’s Home

As he finished speaking these words, the carriage arrived at the home of Rav Tzvi Hirsch. Rushing out, Daniel hurried into the house.

Rav Tzvi Hirsch was in the midst of a lecture on Talmud to his students but he greeted the head of the Berlin community with sincere friendliness. When he saw that Daniel did not sit down to wait until the lecture was over, he excused himself to his students and asked Daniel if something was wrong.

“Rebbe,” Daniel replied, “I must see you about something very urgent – and I must see you alone.”

Rav Tzvi Hirsch saw that there was something serious involved and asked his students to leave him and Reb Daniel to themselves.

When they had left, Rav Tzvi Hirsch turned to Reb Daniel and was shocked to see tears running down the wealthy man’s face.

“Reb Daniel! What has happened? Why are you crying?”

“Rebbe, a tragedy has struck me! I think I have become a poor man overnight.”

(To be continued)

Rabbi Sholom Klass

High Court Rejects Petitions Against Israel-Turkey Deal

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Israel’s High Court of Justice rejected all three petitions to stay the agreement renewing diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. The court ruled the matter was one of statecraft rather than an issue for the courts, and something that in fact did not lay within the jurisdiction of the judiciary.

Under the agreement Israel promised to allow Turkey to send humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip via the Ashdod port in Israel. In turn, Turkey promised to stop allowing terror organizations such as Hamas to plot attacks against Israel or to raise funds from Turkish territory.

The first aid shipment from Turkey to Gaza was trucked through the Kerem Shalom Crossing Monday, July 4 after arriving by ship and going through inspection at Ashdod Port.

Hana Levi Julian

Shiloh Musings: Israeli Debacle in Turkish Agreement!

Monday, June 27th, 2016

I am embarrassed to be an Israeli!

Turkey supported an armed terror ship towards Israel, the Marmara, and now Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has agreed to pay them as if we’re guilty!!!

Netanyahu traveled to Rome on Sunday to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli and Turkish officials were also in the Italian capital to finalize the deal. Israel, which had already offered its apologies – one of Ankara’s three conditions for a deal – for its lethal raid on the Mavi Marmara activist ship, agreed to pay out $20 million to the bereaved and injured, the Israeli official said in a briefing to Israeli reporters traveling with Netanyahu. (Reuters)

I am so disgusted that Bibi is paying off these terrorists and terror supporters. It will just encourage them to kill more Jews.

Batya Medad

An Expensive Agreement

Friday, June 24th, 2016

Among the wealthy leaders of the Berlin community, where Rav Tzvi Hirsch Levin served as spiritual leader, was the famous Reb Daniel Yaffe. He was very prominent and influential and it was through his urging that Rav Tzvi Hirsch was chosen as rav.

Reb Daniel was the very model of what a Jewish communal leader should be. Despite his wealth and power, he remained a deeply religious, modest and generous man who followed the Shulchan Aruch to the letter.

However, there was one odd thing about Reb Daniel. He hesitated to talk about his past and never referred to it. The reason, which was only discovered later, was as follows:


A Horse Handler

Many years before, when he was only 16 years old, he had been a handler of horses in the city of Dessau. He was very unhappy with his work and always dreamed of going elsewhere to make his fortune.

He had a very good friend in those days, David, who shared his work but not his feelings.

“If only I could get to Berlin,” said Daniel one day as he sat with David in the fields, “I know that I would be able to make a great success of my life. There is an opportunity for an energetic young man there, I just know it.”

“Not me,” replied David. “I am perfectly content to work with the horses that I love. Besides, I heard from the maggid that seeing a white horse in a dream is a good symbol (see Berachot 56b), and I know that if I continue to work with the white horses I may eventually dream about one.

“In fact,” continued David, “I already had some luck yesterday. I brought two horses to the baron and he gave me money and this beautiful gold knife.”

Taking out a penknife from his pocket, David showed it to Daniel. Never had the latter seen anything so lovely.

“How beautiful it is! It must be worth at least five marks. If only I owned something like that I would be so happy.”

“Very well,” said David. “I am prepared to sell it to you for the price that you estimate it to be worth. Give me five marks and I will sell it to you.”

“I would be more than happy to make such a deal,” said Daniel, “but I have only a few coins in my pocket.

“If you will sell it to me now, however, I promise you that I will pay you back in installments within two or three months.”

“But you want to go to Berlin. How can I follow you there for my money?” asked David.

Tears appeared in Daniel’s eyes, as he knew that he had to have this money in order to get to Berlin.

“Very well, I will make you this deal. If you give me the knife, I promise you that all the money that I will make above 10,000 marks will be yours.”


The Agreement

“You are making fun of me,” said David. “All that you own in the world is worth only a few coins and here you are talking to me about thousands of marks.”

“I know, I know, but I have a feeling that the Almighty will bless me with a great fortune. When that happens you will have everything over 10,000 marks – if only you will sell me this penknife.”

David looked at his friend’s face and saw that this meant more to him than anything in the world.

“Very well,” he said. “I agree to your proposition.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you,” exclaimed Daniel, as he embraced his friend. “I promise you that you will never regret the decision that you have just made.”


On To Berlin

Daniel took the penknife and proceeded as quickly as he could to the great city of Berlin. There he set about with patience, diligence and determination to make his fortune. He went to school and learned to be an accountant.

At the same time he learned German and took other business courses. Armed with this knowledge, he became an accountant in a large business establishment and steadily climbed in the business world. He married a girl from a wealthy home and was able to open his own bank and discount house. He became a very wealthy man and the poverty-stricken young man who had handled horses in Dessau now became known as Reb Daniel Yaffe, one of the leaders of the Jewish community of Berlin.


David Remains Poor

And so the years passed and the bargain that had been made so long ago was completely forgotten, not just by Daniel, but also by his friend David. The latter’s life remained just as poverty-stricken as before. He saved a little money from his employment as a horse handler and went into business on his own. But everything that he touched seemed to fail.

Even his family was smitten with bad luck. He married and his children were all sickly. Every penny that he managed to save went for doctors and medicine. Even this was unable to save them and each succumbed to illness and died. David’s hair turned prematurely white because of his troubles and his one consolation was a daughter – Sarah – the one child who remained alive.

David and his wife watched over her day and night, for she was, literally, their very life.

Life was apparently destined to be one long road of suffering for David. But, though he did not know it, Providence was already decreeing a great change.


(To Be Continued)

Rabbi Sholom Klass

Israel and Turkey to Meet June 26, ‘Declare a Deal’

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Israeli and Turkish delegations are set to meet on Sunday (June 26) to “declare they have reached a deal” to end the six-year-long conflict between the two nations.

The two teams, headed by Turkey’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israeli special envoy Joseph Ciechanover, have been carefully negotiating for months.

But after Sunday’s “declaration,” the agreement will allegedly be finalized, according to a report by the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News, and then signed in July by Foreign Ministry undersecretaries of both nations.

Ambassadors will be reappointed in both countries and diplomatic relations will be normalized by the end of July, if all goes well, if the document is signed as expected, if there are no hitches and if everything else goes as planned. According to the report, if that takes place, the final obstacles will also be removed from joint military exercises, joint energy investments and joint defense investments.

If all goes according to plan.

All of Turkey’s demands have been met, in the wake of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident that so angered Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he severed ties with Israel.

Years of talks — and in particular, these past months of negotiations — have led to creative solutions on both sides that allowed for dignity and saving of diplomatic face with Turkey’s demands still able to be met by Israel. It was a delicate task, given Turkey’s insistence on freedom for Gaza, and Israel’s need for security in the face of the Hamas dedication to Israel’s annihilation.

But that does not mean that the current President Erdogan cannot come up with new demands, or reinterpret those that were met — or suddenly reject Israel’s responses.

Should Israel suddenly take action in response to a national security issue that upsets or offends the Turkish president, it is quite possible he may dial back his nation’s agreement to re-establish ties.

Diplomats and officials on both sides are holding their breath.

Hana Levi Julian

École Polytechnique and the Weizmann Institute of Science Sign Cooperation Agreement

Sunday, May 29th, 2016

Jacques Biot, President of École Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France), and Prof. Daniel Zajfman, President of the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel), signed a cooperation agreement to develop and promote collaboration in higher education and research between the two institutions.

École Polytechnique is the leading French institute combining top-level research, academics, and innovation at the cutting-edge of science and technology.

With this agreement, École Polytechnique and the Weizmann Institute of Science, both  renowned for their high standards of quality in academics and research, seek to promote the exchange of students and faculty members, as well as to foster scientific and academic cooperation in topics of common interest.

A laboratory-initiated collaboration

Prof. Victor Malka, Research Director at the Laboratory of Applied Optics, a joint laboratory of École Polytechnique, ENSTA ParisTech and CNRS, joined the Physics of Complex Systems Department of the Weizmann Institute of Science in October 2015. Malka is committed to bring École Polytechnique and WIS closer: “It felt natural to me to initiate this collaboration, to create scientific cooperation. Both presidents − of Polytechnique and the Weizmann Institute of Science − have fully endorsed this initiative, enabling its quick success.”

Malka’s research deals with laser-plasma accelerators. This accelerator concept, invented 30 years ago, has enabled researchers to obtain particle beams with unique properties. Very energetic, extremely bright and tunable in energy, these beams open new opportunities in such diverse fields such as medicine, chemistry, biology and materials science.

Recent improvements at the Laboratory of Applied Optics have opened the path to treating cancerous tumors. Research projects in this lab have yielded new perspectives, for example, on the detection of breast cancerous tumors at a very early stage. This new laser-plasma technology can also be used for industrial applications as it produces high-resolution, three-dimensional images of dense materials, for example those used in airplane parts.

Malka is currently working towards an association between the Laboratory of Applied Optics and the Weizmann Institute of Science Faculty of Physics to develop applications for laser-plasma accelerators. Under his initiative, two students from the Weizmann Institute of Science have already started PhD research at LOA.

Jewish Press Staff

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/ecole-polytechnique-and-the-weizmann-institute-of-science-sign-cooperation-agreement/2016/05/29/

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