Avodah Mailing List

Volume 31: Number 194

Fri, 29 Nov 2013

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Zev Sero <z...@sero.name>
Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 22:58:00 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Thanksgiving on Chanukah

> Rav Menashe Klein [...] the Thanksgiving holiday was originally
> established by (Pilgrims) rejoicing over their own survival, that
> they didn?t starve due to their finding the turkey,

RMF was also under this strange impression.

Zev Sero               A citizen may not be required to offer a 'good and
z...@sero.name          substantial reason' why he should be permitted to
                        exercise his rights. The right's existence is all
                        the reason he needs.
                            - Judge Benson E. Legg, Woollard v. Sheridan

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 06:19:04 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Thanksgiving on Chanukah

On Tue, Nov 26, 2013 at 10:58:00PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
>> Rav Menashe Klein [...] the Thanksgiving holiday was originally
>> established by (Pilgrims) rejoicing over their own survival, that
>> they didn?t starve due to their finding the turkey,
> RMF was also under this strange impression.

Historically speaking, I think it would be accurate to say that
Thanksgiving is a holiday of American unity. While there were a few
observances before 1863, they were few and weren't on the some date,
or in Pres. Madison's case, not even in the fall. Today's Thanksgiving
dates back to Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclomation. He focuses on thanking
"the Most High God" for "dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath
nevertheless remembered mercy" during the years of Civil War and allowing
the country to reach Reconstruction. (Complete text at
) And it made sense for him to revive an observance that predates the
formation of the Union, something the former Confederates would have no
problem agreeing to.

So I would think the halachic question needs to be framed as:

1- Do we care about the actual origins of the holiday, or what most people
think they're celebrating?

When it came to sheitls from Indian hair, the consensus emerged to be
meiqil because the theory of the temple was that the hair is cut at the
temple to renounce worldliness. Not as taqroves, although the Temple
does then sell the hair. Many/most of the people there do not actually
have such distinctions in mind. So our leniency is relying on what the
priests teach, not what the masses think.

2- Is Lincoln's notion of "the Most High God" intended to be specifically
Xian when he was establishing a specifically national holiday for the
US? He does end by dating the year quite religiously "in the year of our
Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence
of the United States the eighty-eighth." (Although arguably he might have
been trying to start a new dating system, getting people used to referring
to 1863 CE as 88 US.) Tosafos famously consider trinitationism shituf,
which means that they consider at least part of the Xian deity to actually
refer to the true Borei. Would that make the holiday mutar? Is this
chiluq (between Xian God and general notion of The Creator) one that
would even cross their minds, and if not, does /that/ make a difference?

3- If the God being thanked is simply the Creator, with no specific
religion's concept in mind, is it chuqas haakum anyway? And if not,
is it actually /wrong/ to ignore Thanksgiving, that the people named
Yehudim for Leah's "hapaam odeh es Hashem" should not be standing back
when everyone else is thanking Him. Does the question have a "neutral",
or is it between absolutely assur vs something one ought to be doing.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Brains to the lazy
mi...@aishdas.org        are like a torch to the blind --
http://www.aishdas.org   a useless burden.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                 - Bechinas haOlam

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Message: 3
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi, its Kosher!" <ra...@itskosher.com.au>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 17:44:36 +1100
[Avodah] Skiing HaGomel

Driving a car in India where the rate of accidents and the drivers take
ridiculous risks (Isaac says that he would recite Tehillim, it was so bad!
and that he was scared) does not qualify to obligate one to Bentsch
HaGomel, I think.

But Isaac, I think, is suggesting that there is no need to Bentsch HaGomel
for the plane flight, as per Reb S and actuarial risk calculations; but
there is a duty to Bentsch HaGomel after having driven on the road in India.

I dont think that is correct. As far as being scared is concerned, the
Halacha will measure that by the average person's behaviour. Isaac says
that Indians are not scared [they just die on the roads, he says] well, it
seems that Isaac was not scared enough, after all, he did opt to drive - he
just took insurance by reciting Tehillim.

If there is a Machlokes about Bentsching HaGomel or not, for plane flights,
I suspect it will circulate around the question of - do we look at this
activity as a NORMAL activity as we see everyone flies, or do we deem it a
specialised activity controlled exclusively by highly qualified and vetted

I can't think of many people brave enough to get into a home made plane,
even if it is built from a kit designed by an engineering company, even if
they usually drive on the roads of India and even if they have a Tehillim
firmly grasped in their white knuckled fist.


Rabbi Meir G. Rabi

*Its Kosher* <http://www.kosherveyosher.com> and *Exodus Matza

*it's kosher Authority Pty Ltd    **ABN: *77 160 144 374

ra...@itskosher.com.au    +61 0423 207 837
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Message: 4
From: "Rabbi Meir G. Rabi" <meir...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 17:54:07 +1100
[Avodah] The Gym, the Carpool, and Tzniyus

Is it not correct to explain that Tznius is the Hashkafa of not shouting to
the world - Look At ME?

And it relates to much more than dress length or loose clothing; it defines
the Hashkafa of the individual.

There are millions of subtle ways of shouting - LOOK AT ME, and they are
all powered by an energy that conflicts with and devalues the Torah.


Meir G. Rabi
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Message: 5
From: "Joseph Kaplan" <jkap...@tenzerlunin.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 08:43:14 -0500
[Avodah] eating out


the OU kashrut in israel guide states---  [pg 22]


The first point to bear in mind is that if a family has a particular minhag
vis-a-vis kashrut, any supervision that you rely on while in Israel should
meet that same standard. Furthermore, even if your family doesn?t have a
specific minhag, but are nevertheless accustomed to relying on a certain
level of kashrut supervision, you should ensure that you are maintaining the
same level of kashrut as you would at home.

Both these points relate not only to relying on a particular hechsher or
restaurant, but also eating in someone else?s home.


--- is this gebnerally true, you cant eat at another's home who has
different minhagim?"


I always thought that one of the purposes of kashrut (yes, I know, we don't
look for ta'amei hamitzvot) was to stop intermingling between us and "them,"
not between us and us.  Or, as one insightful rabbi once put it in a sermon,
we shouldn't state with pride how many Orthodox houses we don't eat in. 




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Message: 6
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgl...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2013 20:13:24 -0500
Re: [Avodah] The Gym, the Carpool, and Tzniyus

R' Meir Rabi:

Is it not correct to explain that Tznius is the Hashkafa of not shouting to
the world - Look At ME?


That may not be incorrect but it's certainly not complete, as tznius is an
obligation "afilu b'chadrei chadorim."



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Message: 7
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 03:23:43 GMT
Re: [Avodah] P'sakim of HaRav Shmuel Kamenetsky Regarding

Prof. Levine cited the following:

> 11. If the Brachos on Hadlakas Neiros are recited out of order,
> one is still Yotzei.  However, if after the Brachos one said
> something unrelated to the lighting--even HaNeiros Halallu which
> should be recited later, then he must recite the Brachos again.

If this is so, then why is the common practice to say Haneros Halalu after
the first light, while lighting the others? I would think that it is best
to save Haneros Halalu until after they've all been lit, so that the
brachos can go on all of them. (Note that the Mishne Brurah 676:8 mentions
both procedures, without explaining either of them.)

I am also curious why Haneros Halalu is referred to as "unrelated to the
lighting". It seems to me that it is VERY related to the lighting, as it
explains what we're doing. Is it less related to the lighting, than how
b'samim are related to havdala?

Akiva Miller
LifeLock&#174; Official Site
Relax this vacation season & stay protected with LifeLock&#174; protection. Learn how.

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Message: 8
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 03:07:47 GMT
Re: [Avodah] eating out

R' Saul Newman quoted Rabbi Dovid Bistricer of the OU
as saying on page 22:

> ... Furthermore, even if your family doesn't have a specific
> minhag, but are nevertheless accustomed to relying on a
> certain level of kashrut supervision, you should ensure that
> you are maintaining the same level of kashrut as you would at
> home. Both these points relate not only to relying on a
> particular hechsher or restaurant, but also eating in someone
> else's home.

It seems to me that Rabbi Baruch Beyer of the Star-K might not agree. He
seems to feel that one may indeed avail himself of more lenient standards
when he is away from home. (It goes without saying that this is NOT carte
blanche, and that NOT all substandard foods become magically acceptable,)

In his article about Starbucks coffee shops (at http://www.
star-k.org/kashrus/kk-DontDrinktheCoffee.htm) he lists some products as
"Acceptable any Starbucks". Most other products, however, are "Acceptable
when Traveling or from Kiosks (that don't serve meat items). Traveling
means when you are away from your hometown (this creates a situation of
sha'as hadchak = no other option readily available). You don't need to be
driving on the highway to fit into the category of traveling."

He says that in the name of Rabbi Heinemann, and gives other situations
where this would apply, and also explains the Yad Ephraim and the Nodeh
Be?Yehudah upon whom this psak is based. See there for more details.

Akiva Miller
LifeLock&#174; Fraud Services
LifeLock&#174; Credit Alerts For Fraud Protect Against Identity Fraud.

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Message: 9
From: Eli Turkel <elitur...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2013 10:35:42 +0200
[Avodah] RSYE and Chanukah

I recently purchased a small pamhlete with the customs of R. Elyashiv on
Chanukah (all with references as to whom he heard this from). Some random

As a hidur he used oil that was not heated and was eatible
He did not use new wicks each night and simply added oil to the leftover
He left the candles burning until about 9pm
After lighting he went straight to learn and did not wait 1/2 hour to watch
the candles
In fact he insisted that learning was important on Chanukah and was not
interested in visitors coming to talk
He wore a hat and jacket but not shabbos clothing while lighting
He said "ner shel chanukah"
He has a rather unusual version of haNeros Hallalu which he said after
completing lighting all the candles afteards he sang Maoz Tzur and nothing
He used the standard case for lighting outside - at the end of the yard
which had no other use then for the stairs
They added one extra food beyond the usual
After lighting he would eat some latkes ! (minhag yisrael) with a bracha of
borie pri haadamah
He also ate kreplach on Purim, erev Yom Kippur and Hoshana Rabba
He gave chanukah gelt on the 3rd night of chanukah (based on parshat
hanesiim that Zevulkun symolizes charity giving.)
In hid later years he put the candles on the left side of the chanukiya and
then lit from left to right
In his beit medrash they did not say shehechiyanu on the first night
The last one leaving the bet medrash would put out the candles because of a
fire hazard
On motzei shabbat he waited 55 minutes after sunset to light - he would
light chanukah candles before havdalah
In the beit medrash they followed minhag eretz yisrael (Mechaber) that
shlishi rereads the layning from cohen and levi and not like the Rama they
says to layn the next day's parsha

Eli Turkel
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Message: 10
From: "Kenneth Miller" <kennethgmil...@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 14:58:30 GMT
[Avodah] Structure of Modim

I had a thought that I'd like to share, and I invite all comments from the chevra:

At first, the structure of Modim seems pretty straightforward: We begin
with "Modim anachnu Lach" (We thank You), and we repeat it: "Nodeh l'cha".
This is followed by a long list of things that we are thanking Hashem for,
connnecting them with "v'al". We end up saying, essentially, "Thank You for
this, and for that, and for the other thing, and for yet another thing, and
for that, and for those..." and so on and so forth.

The part that has long bothered me is the way we interject "Biymei
Matisyahu" into this list. For some reason, we pause the litany of thanks
to offer a history lesson. The same occurs on Purim.

But it isn't really the off-topic story that bothers me. What *really*
bothers me is the grammar of it all. It would not be so bad if we added
another "Nodeh l'cha" afterwards, upon returning to the list. But instead,
we continue the list with "v'al kulam" ("and for all of them") as if we had
not strayed off-topic at all.

And actually, this question applies not only to Chanuka and Purim, but all
year, regarding the line "Hatov, ki lo chalu rachamecha." Please take a
moment to look at your siddur. Why is that line there, in the midst of the
"v'al"s? Isn't is a break in the flow of thoughts?

Some might answer that these phrases are not off-topic at all, but are very
relevant to the topic at hand. But I *agree* that they are ON-topic. My
point concerns the interruption in the flow of "v'al"s.

I'd like to suggest an answer: That Chazal -- here like in so many other tefilos -- are teaching us the proper and normal way of speaking.

When a person is making a request, the normal and proper way to speak is
with each word carefully chosen, and set in a specific order. A good
example would be someone who is on trial, and appeals to the court for
mercy; he makes his plea, but often his attorney wrote the script for him,
and he dare not deviate from it.

But Modim is not a bakasha. It is giving thanks. And I'd like to suggest
that when a person is bubbling full of thanks, the normal -- and perhaps
proper -- way to speak is in a rambling manner. My example is the recipient
of an award. Even if he had hoped to win, and had prepared a speech in
advance, the emotion of the moment takes over, and he rambles on from
thanking this person to that person to another, and it is not at all
unusual to deviate to offer some words about the things that someone did to
help him win the award.

And that, I suggest, is what we do in Modim. If our gratitude is as
effusive as it ought to be, we'll find ourselves rambling on, stopping the
thanks here and there, to offer a story or two of what it is that we're
thanking Him for.

Akiva Miller
Do THIS before eating carbs &#40;every time&#41;
1 EASY tip to increase fat-burning, lower blood sugar & decrease fat storage

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Message: 11
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 11:33:07 -0500
Re: [Avodah] AHAVA

Lisa wrote back on Sun Nov 17th:
> With all due respect to Rav Kook, I don't think the Torah wants us to do
> *anything* "chinam".

I understand the problem. And yet it would seem that bestowing chein is
a positive middah. Such as birkhas kohanim's "viychuneka". But chein
is unearned, found not made -- "matza chain". /Ch-n-n/ is the common
shoresh of chein and chinam, no?

And yet, we are supposed to be more reasoning, rational beings. Doing
something chinam, without reason, seems to be running against that.

I prefer the shitah that defines "sin'as chinam" as "pointless hatred",
rather than basisless. It is implied by Tosafos (Pesachim 113b, "shera'ah
bo"), although they don't use this idiom. Which gives

The Gemara (BM 32b-33a) says that if someone has to choose between
unloading a friend's donkey, or loading that of someone he hates, one
should choose helping the one he hates, because overcoming the yetzer
hara is a mitzvah. (In other cases, unloading has priority over loading,
because of the weight on the poor animal.) But from the gemara the
Tosafos are commenting on in Pesachim, we learn that this rule applies
to unloading an enemy's donkey even where the enemy is a sinner of the
sort that we're supposed to and even obligated to hate him. So they ask,
why then is there a mitzvah to overcome that hatred? Tosafos answer that
the justified enmity can cause a cycle of hatred. As is says in Mishlei
27:19 "As with water, one surface (literally: "face") answers another, so
too the heart of a person to a person". And so the measure of hatred one
is supposed to have can grow, "uva'in mitokh kakh lidei sina'h gemurah".

Sin'ah gemura would go beyond the permissable limits. But it would still
have a basis. So Tosafos speak out against sin'ah that has a basis as
much as basisless sin'ah.

If we take sin'as chinam that way, then ahavas chinam is also purposeless
love, rather than the uncaused sort. And loving others with no intent
to get anything -- even positive things -- out of it is a good thing.

Can someone who owns Orot haQodesh 3:323 let me know if they can tell
which was RAYK's intent by the coinage?


Micha Berger             Life isn't about finding yourself
mi...@aishdas.org        Life is about creating yourself.
http://www.aishdas.org                - Bernard Shaw
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 11:40:41 -0500
Re: [Avodah] eating out

On Sat, Nov 23, 2013 at 07:28:47PM -0800, saul newman wrote:
: --- is this generally true, you cant eat at another's home who has
: different minhagim?

I think it depends on how the word "minhag" is being used.

1- Persona; chumerah, for which one may have an implied neder
2- Formal minhag hamaqom (or minhag avos if your maqom has no minhag)
3- A community's pesaq lechumerah

Sepharadim insisting on Bet Yosef (#3) isn't the same as Hungarians
insisting on glatt (#2), isn't the same as a Litvak in America who only
eats glatt because it's hard to find non-glatt meat with a supervision
he trusts (#1).

Notice that while many (most? all?) posqim allow Ashkenazim to eat off
keilim used for qitniyos, do any allow them to eat actual qitniyos in
a Sepharadi home?


Micha Berger             When you come to a place of darkness,
mi...@aishdas.org        you don't chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org   You light a candle.
Fax: (270) 514-1507        - R' Yekusiel Halberstam of Klausenberg zt"l

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Message: 13
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Nov 2013 12:19:30 -0500
[Avodah] Listening to Prominent Rabbis Today

From this Week's Shabbat B'Shabbato, sent out by Machon Zomet, and
translated by R' Moshe Goldberg.

    Listening to Prominent Rabbis Today
    by Rabbi Re'eim Hacohen, Rosh Yeshiva and Chief Rabbi, Otniel

    Question: Do the laws "You shall take care to do whatever they tell
    you" [Devarim 17:10], "Do not turn away" [17:11], and laws of a sage
    who rebels against the accepted rulings apply only to the Sanhedrin,
    or are they also relevant for arguments with the great men of our

    Answer: It is written, "When something is beyond you in court, whether
    between blood and blood or between one judgment and another or one
    blemish and another -- a matter of controversy at your gates -- you
    shall rise up to the place which your G-d will choose. And you shall
    come to the Kohanim and the Levites and to the judge who will live
    at that time. You will present your case, and they will tell you the
    judgment. And you shall act according to the decision that they give
    you from that place which G-d will choose, and you shall take care
    to do whatever they tell you. Act according to the Torah that they
    teach you and according to the decisions that they give you, do not
    turn away from what they tell you to the left or to the right. And if
    the man acts on purpose and does not listen to the Kohen who stands
    there to serve G-d or to the judge, he shall be put to death. And
    you will eradicate the evil from Yisrael." [Devarim 17:8-12].

    At first glance this passage involves only the Great Court which
    sits in judgment "at the place where G-d will choose." And indeed
    a Bareita quoted in the Talmud explicitly states that the law of
    "zaken mamrei" -- a sage who rebels against the law -- is only
    relevant at the Great Court which sits in the courtyard of the Temple.

    "If the sage found the people at Beit Pagi and led them to rebel,
    I might have thought that this is considered rebellion. However,
    it is written, 'you shall rise up to the place which your G-d will
    choose.' This means that the place is an important part of the
    definition." [Sanhedrin 14b].

    Tosafot explain that as opposed to other laws where "the place"
    refers to all of Jerusalem, the place of the Sanhedrin is only in the
    "Lishkat Hagazit" in the Temple. On the other hand, in the Sifri and
    the Talmud Yerushalmi it is written, "'And you shall come' means that
    you should broaden this to include the court in Yavneh," which seems
    to extend the application of the law. However, in his commentary
    on the Sifri Rabeinu Hillel explains that the extension of the law
    refers to the prohibition "do not turn away from what they tell you"
    (which is also specifically linked to the Great Court) and not to
    the laws of zaken mamrei. Other rabbis agree with this approach.

    The Relevance of the Prohibition "Do not Turn Away"

    As usual, the Rambam accepts the ruling of the Babylonian Talmud, and
    he says that "do not turn away" is only relevant in the Great Court in
    the Temple. In his listing of the mitzvot, at the beginning of Hilchot
    Mamrim, the Rambam writes: "To act according to the instructions
    given to us by the Great Court, and not to turn away from their
    words." In the beginning of Hilchot Mamrim the Rambam limits the law
    "do not turn away" to the Great Court sitting in the Lishkat Hagazit,
    in the Temple. "The Great Court in Jerusalem... About which we were
    promised in the Torah, as is written, 'according to the instructions
    that they teach you' -- this is a positive mitzva... Anybody who
    does not follow their instructions has violated a positive mitzva,
    as is written, 'Do not turn away from what they tell you to the left
    or to the right.'" (However, the Minchat Chinuch notes that in the
    Sefer Hamiztvot, number 496, the Rambam does not limit the law in
    the same way.)

    The Ramban (in his commentary on the Torah) also limits the above
    laws to the Great Court in the Temple. "...that we should listen
    to the Great Court which stands before G-d in the place which He
    will choose." In his critique of the Sefer Hamitzvot of the Rambam,
    the Ramban repeats the same principle: "It is clear and well known
    that the Great Court has been removed from Eretz Yisrael... And
    even if they left for a short time and then returned, their power
    and abilities were taken away from them until they return to their
    place... And this is certainly true after the destruction, as the
    sages indicated in the Chapter 'Four Deaths' -- 'And you shall come
    to the Kohanim who are Levites and to the judge.' Whenever there is
    a Kohen there will be judgment but when there is no Kohen there is
    no judgment. [Sanhedrin 52b].'" [Positive Mitzva 153].

    In contrast to the Rambam and the Ramban, the Sefer Hachinuch expanded
    the laws "Do whatever they tell you" and "Do not turn away" for every
    place and for all times [Mitzva 495]. According to this, the law is
    not linked to the Great Court and certainly not to its place in the
    Lishkat Hagazit. "The mitzva also includes to listen and to act at
    any time according to the instructions of the judge -- that is, the
    greatest wise man who lives in those days. Yiftach in his generation
    is like Shmuel in his generation..." The Minchat Chinuch questions
    this statement: "Just how does he know this?" He claims that these
    laws are unique to the "Great Court which is respected by G-d every
    day, and through whom we were promised the Torah."


    Clearly, in practice we should not accept the opinion of Sefer
    Hachinuch as against both the Rambam and the Ramban, especially
    since they follow the straightforward meaning of the Torah and the
    passages in the Talmud. We note also that even according to the Sefer
    Hachinuch, that these laws apply at any time, a zaken mamrei is only a
    person who is accepted by the entire community of Yisrael. However, in
    our generation, when the nation of Yisrael remains in exile and there
    is no Sanhedrin, when the nation is separated into different sects,
    every community has its own "great sage." Then any attempt to apply
    the words of the Sefer Hachinuch to the "sage" of one community will
    mean to declare the "sage" of another community as a zaken mamrei. Not
    only would this be opposed to the basic idea of a rebelling sage,
    it would lead to many disputes and much separation and to a greater
    distance from the Shechina -- as happens to our sorrow even today,
    when every sector belittles the great men of all the other sectors.

(I also found the review of Otzar haGe'onim fascinating. But this topic
of halachic authority is an Avodah perennial.)


Micha Berger             Feeling grateful  to or appreciative of  someone
mi...@aishdas.org        or something in your life actually attracts more
http://www.aishdas.org   of the things that you appreciate and value into
Fax: (270) 514-1507      your life.         - Christiane Northrup, M.D.


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