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Daniel Lansky, A" is just so painful and surreal. A"H? Are we supposed to use that term for a 40 year old dedicated husband and father of 3 young boys? Daniel was a friend to everyone and loved by all. His and his wife's emunah and bitachon towards the end of his battle, in the most difficult of times, were supernatural. Daniel left 3 beautiful boys who need your support. Let us rally together and contribute to the Lansky Children Fund to ensure that these precious children will be provided for with whatever they need as they grow up without their father, A"H. May we all see bracha...
If the U.S. abdicates internet stewardship, the United Nations might take control When the Obama administration announced its plan to give up U.S. protection of the internet, it promised the United Nations would never take control. But because of the administration’s naiveté or arrogance, U.N. control is the likely result if the U.S. gives up internet stewardship as planned at midnight on Sept. 30. On Friday Americans for Limited Government received a response to its Freedom of Information Act request for “all records relating to legal and policy analysis . . . concerning antitrust issues for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers” if the U.S. gives up oversight. The administration replied it had “conducted a thorough se...
Jerusalem - Transportation Minister Israel Katz vowed Sunday to emerge unscathed from a political scandal over work conducted by Israel Railways over Shabbat. Speaking to Knesset reporters on a tour of the tunnels being built for a high-speech rail line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, he said he did not take seriously reports that United Torah Judaism would insist on his firing. “I assume that if you will come back on this tour in another few months, you will do it with the same minister and not a different one,” he told the reporters. “I am in favor of maintaining the status quo on matter of religion and state and I am dear to the haredi community, so most of the attacks on me on those issues are from the other side.” Katz said he was not concerned that Pri...
Berlin -  German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday slammed those countries in Europe who say they won’t take in Muslim refugees, a position that several eastern European governments have taken in response to the influx of migrants from the Islamic world. Merkel said she was hopeful that European Union members would reach an agreement on outstanding questions arising from the migrant crisis, one of which is how to fairly distribute asylum-seekers among all the bloc’s 28 member states. She told German public broadcaster ARD that “everybody has to do their bit” and didn’t rule out the possibility of letting some countries take in fewer migrants if they contribute more financially instead. “How the individual components are weighted will hav...
Nablus, West Bank - Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah are gearing up for their first contest at the polls since 2006 — a vote for mayors and local councils in 425 communities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Each side hopes the election will give it a foothold in what has been the other’s exclusive territory since mutual purges in 2007. At the time, the Islamic militant group Hamas seized Gaza, driving out Fatah, while Fatah’s leader, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, cracked down on Hamas in the autonomous areas of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Oct. 8 ballot might not allow either side to proclaim victory. Popular independents are part of the candidate mix, tribal loyalties often trump factional allegiances at the local level and Hamas activists can&...
Eli Cohen, a resident of Benyamina identifying with the Parmishlan hassidic sect, will be deported to the US for illegal weapons dealing. Eli Cohen, a resident of Benyamina identifying with the Parmishlan hassidic sect, will be arrested in the US following a saga that has stretched over several years, Kikar Shabbat reported. While presenting himself as an antique goods seller, US Security Authorities uncovered that he was, in fact, selling sensitive weapon parts to no less than Iran. According to the indictment against him, Cohen exported substitute components for army missiles, personnel carriers and fighter jets from the US to Israel without permission. The illegal activity was perpetrated when Cohen was a resident of Israel. In addition, on two different occasions, he exp...
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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Haredi Orthodox parties in Israel are threatening to leave the ruling coalition and bring down the government over the construction of a Tel Aviv train station on the Jewish Sabbath. Late Saturday night, the heads of the religious parties demanded a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and issued calls for him to fire his transportation minister, Yisrael Katz of his Likud party. The haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties held hours-long talks on the issue overnight Thursday with Katz, calling on him to not undertake the work on Shabbat. Party leaders in a statement called the work an “unnecessary desecration of the Shabbat.” They reportedly threatened to leave the government coalition during the talks. Katz said the work had...
Washington - A former top adviser to President Barack Obama on Sunday labeled Donald Trump a “psychopath”, saying the Republican presidential nominee met the clinical definition of the personality disorder. With a little more than two months to go before the Nov. 8 U.S. election, the comments by David Plouffe, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and manager of his 2008 presidential campaign, mark another escalation in a series of blows exchanged between Trump’s camp and that of his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. “Basically, you have a psychopath running for president. I mean, he meets the clinical definition,” Plouffe said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press”. When challenged, Plouffe acknowledged he had no degr...
Daily Halacha
Chodesh Elul

From Rosh Hodesh Elul until after Yom Kippur  is a time of (Divine) favor.  Although, throughout the entire year,  the Holy One, blessed be He, accepts the repentance  of those who return to Him wholeheartedly,  in any case, these days (between the 1st of Elul and Yom Kippur) are more special  have been set aside for repentance,  because they are days of mercy and favor.  Because on Rosh Hodesh Elul, Moses ascended Mount Sinai  to receive the second set of stone tablets  and spent forty days there,  descending on the tenth of Tishrei,  which was then the finish of the atonement period1  From then on, these days were set aside as days of favor,  and the tenth of Tishrei as the Day of Atonement. 2  It is the custom in most places  to fast on the day preceding Rosh Hodesh Elul  and follow the order of prayer (termed) the Minor Day of Atonement  to prepare one's heart to repent.  If Rosh Hodesh Elul falls on Shabbat,  one advances (the fast) to the Thursday before it.  The Ari (lit; The Rabbi, our master, Rabbi Isaac Luria), may his memory be a blessing,3  wrote:4  ''Surely (a man) does not lie in ambush (to murder), but G-d  (who) caused this to happen, then I will provide for you (a place for you to take refuge)''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul.  To tell (us) that this month  is (like a place of refuge,) a time of favor when (G-d) accepts (our) repentance  on the sins done throughout the year.  It also alludes to (sins) committed inadvertently  that also need repentance during this month  The Rabbis5 have also noted6  ''And G-d, your Lord, will circumcise  your heart and the hearts of your descendants''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  and also7  ''I am for my Beloved and my Beloved is for me''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  and also8  ''a person (sending gifts) to his friend and (giving) presents to the poor.''  the first letters (of the words spell) Elul  (The verses) allude to the three things, which are repentance  prayer, and charity,  which must be done eagerly in this month.  ''And G-d will circumcise...'' alludes to repentance;  ''I am for my Beloved...'' alludes to prayer,  which is ''a song of lovers'';  ''Sending gifts...''  alludes to charity. (KSA 128:1)
1) For the sin of the Golden Calf.
2) Moses went up to Mt Sinai for 3 consecutive 40 day periods; for the first forty days, Hashem taught him the entire Torah and gave him the first set of stone tablets, which Moses subsequently smashed when he came down the mountain and saw the Jews dancing around the Golden Calf; Moses then spent the next 40 days begging Hashem to forgive the Jewish People; the final forty days was spent receiving the second set of tablets.
3) Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), renowned as the greatest kabbalist of modern times, is commonly known as the ARI, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Yitzhak - the G-dly Rabbi Isaac.
4) To explain the verse Exodus 21:13.
5) lit; the explainers of lists.
6) Deuteronomy 30:6
7) Song of Songs 6:3
8) Esther 9:22

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allas, TX -  The day after five Dallas officers were killed by a sniper, the city’s police chief described the men as “guardians” of democracy, praising them for protecting the freedom to protest at a large demonstration against police brutality. President Barack Obama later eulogized the slain officers, saying they died while defending essential constitutional rights. But nearly two months after the shootings, Dallas police have moved to silence critics and squelch lingering questions about the attack. Officers in riot gear have been told to ticket protesters who block or disrupt traffic, and Police Chief David Brown has refused to meet with demonstrators unless they agree to end their marches through downtown, which he says pose a threat to officers. Au...
Trenton, NJ - Nearly three years after New Jersey traffic lanes were closed leading to the George Washington Bridge in an apparent act of political revenge, the costs continue to mount. Taxpayers are footing millions in legal fees, Gov. Chris Christie’s political trajectory has been altered and the agency that operates the bridge is unable to find a new chief. Two former Christie loyalists go on trial next month for their alleged roles. They are accused of deliberately creating traffic jams to punish a Democratic mayor for not endorsing the Republican governor in 2013, then concocting a cover story woven into a traffic study. Christie hasn’t been charged, but the scandal has lingered through his failed presidential bid and his second term as governor.
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Aikev: Nechama – Its Meaning and Ramifications

We are now within a seven week period of the Jewish calendar which is referred to as the shiva d’nechemta – the seven (weeks) of consolation. How is this; i.e. where does this term originate?

These seven weeks follow on the heels of ‘Three Weeks’ of mourning over the destruction of the two Temples. During these Three Weeks – beginning with the fast of the seventeenth of Tamuz and ending with fast of the ninth of Av – we read as haftaros (following the regular Torah reading on Sabbath day) selections from our prophets which foretell of the oncoming Destruction of Jerusalem, of the Temple, and the dispersion of the Jewish people from their Land. The Shabbos immediately preceding Tisha b’Av is known as Shabbos Chazon based upon the dire prophecy of Isaiah [1:1-27; “The vision (chazon) of Isaiah, son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem…”] which is read as the haftarah for parshas Devarim.

After these Three Weeks of sadness, semi-mourning and outright mourning on Tisha b’Av, the first Shabbos after Tisha b’Av is a Sabbath of rejoicing over the hope for comfort and consolation. R’ Eliyahu Kitov zt”l in The Book of Our Heritage writes, “It is called, Shabbos Nachamu after the prophetic portion read in the haftarah, “Nachamu, nachamu ami, yomar Elo-keichem … Comfort, comfort My people, says your G-d. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her time of exile has been fulfilled…” [Isaiah 40:1-26]. The haftarah of Shabbos Nachamu is the first of the shiva d’nechemta – the seven haftaros of consolation:  Seven prophetic passages of comfort which are read from the Book of Isaiah on the seven Sabbaths which follow Tisha b’Av. One-hundred and forty-four verses are contained in all the seven haftaros of consolation – corresponding to the one-hundred and forty-three verses of admonition which are contained in all the verses of tochacha (rebuke) written in the Torah. But, the verses of consolation exceed those of admonition by one verse [to tip the scales, so to speak].”

It seems clear from this initial look at our mesorah that the word nechama has as its most immediate and uncomplicated meaning the concept of comfort and consolation. After experiencing suffering, pain and disappointment, the human soul craves to be consoled and comforted – to find in the universal experience of loss and despair an element of hope and optimism, faith and courage; to discover the ray of light after the storm; that inspiration which gives true meaning to our lives. It is the contrast of hope against the backdrop of pain that brings the virtue of nechama into such sharp relief. This is not just a nice idea; rather, it is a core mitzvah to be menachem aveil – to comfort the bereaved and to stay by their side in their moment of grief. “It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting” [Ecclesiastes 7:2] because to share in another’s pain and offer actual (vs. virtual) consolation in the form your bodily presence will teach you more about the meaning of life than happiness and rejoicing … even when the latter is also l’dvar mitzvah.

However, you may recall that there is a more subtle alternate meaning to the word nechama, and, when viewed through the prism of Torah exegesis, may even vie with ‘comfort’ and ‘consolation’ for primary position. At the very end of parshas Bereishis, we are told that the Creation experiment is going poorly, the best-case scenario of Man living in harmonious union with his fellow man and with G-d broken apart and dashed upon the sharp rocky landscape of free-choice and self-interest [Genesis 6:5-8]:

G-d saw that the wickedness of Man was great upon the earth, and that every product of the thoughts of his heart was but evil always. And G-d reconsidered (v’yee’na’chem) having made man on earth, and He was pained in His heart. And G-d said, I will wipe out man whom I created from upon the face the earth – from man to animal, to creeping things, and to birds of the sky; for I have reconsidered (nee’cham’tee) My having made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of G-d.”

The English translations here do not say that G-d was ‘comforted’ or ‘consoled’ that He made Man (although the Hebrew root of the words under consideration, nun•ches•mem, is the same as that in our key word, nechama). No, saying that G-d was comforted or consoled by this unhappy turn of events would certainly not be fitting. Although the great Biblical commentator, Rashi zt”l, does mention in his commentary that the root verb used here does mean to be consoled, he nevertheless emphasizes  G-d’s reconsideration of His actions:

Va’yee’na’chem – The attitude of the Omnipresent was transformed from the attribute of Mercy to the attribute of Judgment [Bereishi Rabbah 33:3]. The question arose in His thought before him regarding what to do with man, who He had made on earth. Similarly, all instances of words from the root nun•ches•mem mean ‘reconsidering what to do’.”

So, let us deconstruct this scenario and compare it to our three weeks of mourning and tragedy, followed by the shiva d’nechemta – the seven weeks of … (should we say?) consolation:

In the Book of Genesis, we are told that G-d was “pained in His heart”:  Whereas the Creation scenario that G-d had envisioned was one of harmony and peace, the actual turn of events produced a situation “where the wickedness of Man was great upon the earth, and that every product of the thoughts of his heart was but evil always.” This pain, despair and profound disappointment brings G-d to have feelings of nechama – to ‘reconsider’ what He has done and to make alternate plans accordingly.

Can we not draw a direct parallel to the tragedy that has befallen us with the loss of the Temple and our Homeland? Whereas the original scenario that both G-d and we, His people, had envisioned with the building of the Bais Hamikdash and our dwelling in the Land was one of beauty and lasting grandeur– this beautiful and idyllic situation instead turned to tragedy and despair. Instead of showing honesty, decency and kindness one to another in the midst of unparalleled opportunity, we turned away from the Torah and towards our baser actions of deceit, thievery and sinas chinam (baseless hatred).

Of course, we need to feel consoled and comforted in the face of such a great loss, hoping that we will be granted another chance to prove ourselves worthy of such Divine gifts. But, our nechama must also include a ‘reconsideration’ of those actions which led to such a painful and tragic situation – and decide what courses of action can help us make amends and restore what has been lost. Seven weeks of reconsideration and restorative thinking will certainly help to do the trick and help transform sadness into true rejoicing.


We learn a key mishnah in Pirkei Avos that the world stands upon three things: Torah study, Service (to G-d) and on Kind Deeds [Avos 1:2]. Perhaps we can use this as a platform for rethinking our actions; b’aniyus da’ati, perhaps we can ‘reconsider’ the following, deciding to realign our thoughts and actions in small ways:

Torah:  Maybe it’s possible to add five minutes of Torah study to our schedules each day. There are so many opportunities for doing this: the five minutes while waiting for davening to begin, the five minutes after davening ends; the five minutes waiting for the doctor to see us, the five minutes before or after dinner; five minutes subtracted from internet reading, five minutes at night learning Mishnah Berurah (perhaps via a telephone chavrusah). We have just finished watching videos on Tisha b’Av on the great merit of kiruv, of reaching out to those who don’t know about Torah. On a more ambitious note, perhaps we can set up chavrusah learning Torah with someone who unaware of our precious gift and heritage. Call Partners in Torah and they’ll set you up. Or simply turn to that acquaintance who doesn’t know much Torah and ask, “How would you like to learn Torah together?” Your own reward will be greater than your chavrusah’s.

Avodah: Maybe it’s possible to daven at least one Shmoneh Esrei during the week milah b’milah – word for word without rushing and without thinking about something else. How about on Shabbos kodesh, when there’s no rush – right ;-)? Maybe SE is too long for such concentration – how about one Psalm in pesukei d’zimra said with kavanah and concentration? The prayer landscape is filled with such beauty; it’s a shame to always be on the express train. Also, maybe it’s possible to take five minutes extra each day and say Tehillim (Psalms). Many of us could finish the entire Book of Psalms once a month with just a five minutes input each day. Too much trouble? Then how about one or two extras Psalms each day. David Hamelech wrote each psalm reaching out to the Jewish soul; are we listening? And maybe, after davening each day, we can take a few minutes to talk straight to Hashem, in our own words, expressing our thanks for His kindnesses to us, asking Him directly for our heartfelt desires, telling Him we’re sorry that we sometimes miss the mark.

Gemillus Chasadim: Perhaps it’s possible to pick up the phone every day and call that person you’ve been thinking about, and wondering how they’re doing? We can also take just a few moments to reach out to our parents, gransparnents, children & grandchildren and ask them how things are going and that we’re thinking about them. Perhaps we can just ignore the perceived slights and insults that others may (or may not) have directed towards us. Of course it’s hard to do (why else would we pray for Divine assistance in this area at least three times a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year – in our ‘meditation’ at the close of every SE!) – but someone who can do this is very, very close to Hashem and deserves His special attention. G-d showers love and kindness upon all of humanity constantly, even though so many are disrespectful of Him, or dismiss His existence altogether! [Think about G-d’s ‘Gevuros’ in the second bracha of SE; Ay’ze’hu gibbur? Hakoveish es yitzro! G-d’s ‘Power’ is His ability to perform acts of kindness no matter what].

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Yellowstone National Park, WY - Tourist John Gleason crept through the grass, four small children close behind, inching toward a bull elk with antlers like small trees at the edge of a meadow in Yellowstone National Park. “They’re going to give me a heart attack,” said Gleason’s mother-in-law, Barbara Henry, as the group came within about a dozen yards of the massive animal. The elk’s ears then pricked up, and it eyed the children and Washington state man before leaping up a hillside. Other tourists — likewise ignoring rules to keep 25 yards from wildlife — picked up the pursuit, snapping pictures as they pressed forward and forced the animal into headlong retreat. Record visitor numbers at the nation’s first national park have t...
Baltimore, MD – Aug. 28, 2016 - It is with deep sorrow that informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Clara Tropper, a'h, mother of Dov Tropper, Izzy Tropper, Moshe Tropper, Shimmy Tropper, Mutty Tropper, Mechla Tropper,  and Goldie Tropper. Levayah will take place at 10:00 Am, Monday, Aug. 29, at Mt Moriah cemetery 685 Fairview Ave, Fairview, NJ (Chapel on site). Shiva will be observed at the home of Dov Tropper beginning Monday. 500 C Grand St Apt 3H New York, NY. (212) 475-8595 (Moishe Tropper: 410- 935-0342) Bila HaMaves LaNetzach...
Kiddush Levana Sep 04 7:35 pm - Sep 16 1:57 pm
Av 25
NEW YORK (JTA) — The vast majority of Florida Jews will vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the presidential election, according to a new poll. Orthodox Jews were the only Florida Jewish demographicb to support Trump. The poll, conducted by GBA Strategies, found that Clinton is beating Trump by 43 points among Florida Jews, 66 percent to 23 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein earned six and two percent of the Florida Jewish vote, respectively. Jews make up four to five percent of the overall Florida electorate. Clinton is leading Trump by a few points in Florida polls. Clinton beat Trump in almost every Florida Jewish demographic. Reform, unaffiliated and Conservative Jews all favored Clinton, as did Jews of every age g...
So much has been written already. There is little I can add to those who have brilliantly described Daniel. I was not particularly close with Daniel, but he was always friendly, sharing that big warm smile when we greeted each other. One particular memory I have of Daniel, was 20 years ago during my years as an advisor in NCSY. I will never forget the passion and confidence with which Daniel would sing at an NCSY Shabbaton. He used his koach of niggun to uplift the neshamos of many. However, my main purpose for writing is to focus on an observation I have made over the last few months, weeks and these last few days. Since the time Daniel was diagnosed about 6 months ago, our community did not hesitate to learn more, daven more, or say more tehillim. When Daniel was up for it, community me...
SimchasSimchas Simcha
Tehran - The United States does not have the capability to engage Iran in a war on land, air or sea, a top Iranian Navy commander charged Saturday night boasting of his nation’s military prowess. “The US doesn’t enjoy the power to confront Iran militarily,” Iranian media quoted Revolutionary Guards Navy Admiral Ali Fadavi as stating. The remarks downplaying US power came days after an uptick in tensions between Washington and Tehran due to multiple instances of Iranian vessels encountering US warships in the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz. Actions by Iranian vessels in several encounters with US warships in the Gulf this week are cause for concern and increase risks of miscalculation, the White House said on Friday. However, in a speech to volunte...
Istanbul - It is official: Turkey’s female police officers will be able to wear headscarves as part of their uniform. The ruling published by the government’s official gazette this weekend says policewomen can wear headscarves under their caps or berets on condition they be the same color as the uniform and without a pattern. The ban on wearing headscarves in public services was introduced after the 1980 coup. Turkish secularists consider the garment a symbol of religious conservatism in the officially secular state. The ruling pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party has long been urging the removal of the restriction. The headscarf ban in Turkey’s universities was lifted in 2010 and in civil services in 2013, except for the police, military and judiciary. ...
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Baltimore, MD - Aug. 28, 2016 - Today, 24 Menachem Av, is the Yahrtzeit of my late father in law,Yechezkel B'Reb Chaim Halevi, Chester Siegel, ZT'L.  I  have written several times over the years of his life. Today, I would rather focus on his times. In a short while, Feigi and I will be driving up to Lakewood for the Bar Mitzvah of one of Chester Siegel's many great grandchildren, kein yirbu. Yechezkeel Zwieback was born 13 years ago on the yahrtzeit of his great grandfather. Yechezkel is growing up in Lakewood, New jersey in an environment that simply did not exist in the United States when Yechezkel Siegel was his age. So let me reminisce a little about how it used to be in "olden days". When I first came into the Siegel family by marrying their daughter, Feigi,...
London -  Police and airline officials say two United Airlines pilots have been arrested for suspected intoxication before they were to fly 141 passengers from Scotland to the United States. United Airlines officials have confirmed Saturday’s arrest of the pilots, aged 45 and 35, at Glasgow Airport. The Police Service of Scotland says both men are expected to be arraigned Monday at a court in Paisley, a Glasgow suburb, to face charges connected to Britain’s transport safety laws. United said Saturday’s flight from Glasgow to the U.S. city of Newark, New Jersey, was delayed for 10 hours while the airline sought replacement pilots. Saturday’s arrests come barely a month after two Canadian pilots of an Air Transat plane were arrested at Glasgow Airport...
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Benyamin Ben-Eliezer, former Defense Minister, passed away at Assaf Haroeh Medical Center. He was 81 years old. The Minister and former MK Benyamin (Fouad) Ben-Eliezer passed away today (Sunday) at age 81. Ben-Eliezer was transferred last Friday to an intensive care unit for heart problems at Assaf Haroeh Medical Center after he was discovered with problems in his heart. Ben-Eliezer, who suffered from sickness stemming from kidney problems, was hospitalized in recent weeks in a general intensive care unit. A month and a half ago, Ben-Eliezer reported feeling unwell during dialysis treatment for his sickness. He was hospitalized in the neurological unit of the hospital and was checked for possible stroke symptoms. Fouad made Aliya as a child by himself from Iraq straight to a ...
Baltimore, MD - Aug. 28, 2016 - After an absence on the s’farim market for nearly fifty years, the Torah masterpiece Toras Michoel has been re-issued.  It was reprinted in Eretz Yisrael and is currently selling in Sfarim stores there and should be available in Chutz La’aretz within a few weeks.  Toras Michoel is a collection of sixty four Torah Novellae collected from the nearly fifty bound volumes of handwritten manuscripts, which the ‘Gaon of the Gaonim’ Rav Michoel Forshlager, ZTvK”L, left behind after his P’tirah.  He wrote all of these volumes in his home, working tirelessly for several hours a day during the last ten to fifteen years of his life.  All of these manuscripts were written and bound here in Baltimore, and this is wh...
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