Monday, July 17, 2006

My Prayer - Shemittah is the Key

As the War in Israel is going on, I find comfort in the words of the Torah.  Who is the cause of this big mess?  Who can take us out and save us from this big mess.  Only the Rebono Shel Olam.  Yet it comes with a price.  This price is we must keep the Commandments of the Torah.  Which Mitzvah specifically is related to Security?  It is the Mitzva of Shemittah.  So in my naive, childlike expression of faith I turn to the Torah.  If we truly have that desire to keep the Mitzvah of Shemittah in order to bring forth Kedusha and the blessings of peace and prosperity we would find the strength to proclaim "THIS IS THE LAND PROMISED TO THE AVOT AND TO THEIR OFFSPRING THE NATION OF ISRAEL "  We in turn are obligated in keeping the Mitzvoth of Shemittah.  Shemittah is a Mitzvah that requires Land,  Only Am Yisroel can actualize the raison d'etre of this Holy Land by keeping the Mitzvah of Shemittah.  That's the reason we can not give it to anyone else.  Not even to a friend that isn't out to destroy us.
The forces are out to destroy us.  Let us return to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and say.  Hashem we made a few mistakes.  But now we are ready to do Teshuva.  We want to keep the Torah as you prescribed. We really desire Eretz Yisroel and we truly want to keep the Mitzvoth.  Will you please give us another chance?  We are begging you Hashem.  Please have pity on us.  We are not perfect human beings.  We all make mistakes.  But now we wish to do better.  Please save us from our enemies and we will try our best to be better Jews and keep the Torah better.  We will focus on the Mitzvah of Shemittah and all the Mitzvoth in Devorim read at Hakhel.  We will examine how these Mitzvoth can be done in our days without a Beis Hamikdash.  We are a poor Nation yet with You we are rich.  We are a weak Nation yet with YOU we are strong.  Let us find the strength to fight and win this battle and please G-d let us never forget that it is only You that saved us and that it is only Your Torah that can Save us.  Please hear my prayers and let these words find their way into the heart of your people.  I believe with my heart and soul that they are true.  Aseh Le'maan Shemecha, Aseh Lemaan Yimenecha, Aseh Lemaan Kedushasecha, Asheh Lemaan Torasecha, Lemaan Yechaltzun Yedidecha, Hoshea Yemincha Vaneini. Yehiyu Leratzon Imrei Fi Vehegion Libi Lefanecha Hashem Tzuri VeGoali.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Letter to Malcolm Hoenlein and Rav Shteinman

It interested me to see how similar on the Nachum Segal show, Malcolm's answers were to Rav Shteinman.  From a reliable source I learned that Rav Shteinman when asked regarding the expulsions and the future expulsions answered in 3 words in Yiddish.  Nisht Inzere Sugia.  Which  roughly translated into English means "not our dept: or not related to what we are involved with." 
Malcolm said on the Nachum Segal show regarding land withdrawal, that we can't really make a difference  yet he ended the session with inspiring words regarding those missing in action and the archeological excavations that when we all stand up together and unite and take a stand then it does make a difference.  Malcolm who represents the Conference of Presidents that supported the disengagement openly in their website  is now actively planning a demonstration in conjunction with the OU and an AD Hoc Coalition for Justice regarding the kidnapped soldiers and in defense of the State of Israel retaliation in Gaza and Lebanon.
Malcolm Hoenlein and Rav Shteinman  choose their battles carefully. Apparently, they choose the same battles President Bush is willing to fight.
Eretz Yisroel is our Biblical Inheritance and we, Am Yisroel are obligated in commandments.  That is not revocable.  Oslo, Roadmap, Convergence and Unilateral Withdrawal are diametrically opposed to the Covenant - the Oath Hashem gave to Am Yisroel through our Forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob).  The boundaries of Eretz Yisroel are delineated in the Torah.  They are not defined by 1948 or 1967 or the present. They were defined from the beginning of Time..  Period. The time has come to speak up.  It is perhaps for this reason alone you have come to greatness.
Malcolm and Rav Shteinman.  You can state the Torah position or you can ignore it.  Up till now you are simply addressing the byproducts of ignoring the Torah.  We are now in a security and humanitarian crisis.  President Bush realizes it and supports Israel's right to defend herself.  Yet, there is no reason to believe that even with the mighty strength of the IDF we can overcome our enemies without listening and keeping Hashem's Torah.  Tonight I studied with my 8 year old son Parshas Toldos.  Please read Breishis Perek 26 Pesukim 1-6.  The translation is from the Stone Chumash.  1) THERE WAS A FAMINE IN THE LAND, ASIDE FROM THE FIRST FAMINE THAT WAS IN THE DAYS OF ABRAHAM; AND ISAAC WENT TO ABIMELECH KING OF THE PHILISTINES, TO GERAR.  2) HASHEM APPEARED TO HIM AND SAID, "DO NOT DESCEND TO EGYPT; DWELL IN THE LAND THAT I SHALL INDICATE TO YOU.  3) SOJOURN IN THIS LAND AND I WILL BE WITH YOU AND BLESS YOU; FOR TO YOU AND YOUR OFFSPRING WILL I GIVE ALL THESE LANDS, AND ESTABLISH THE OATH THAT I SWORE TO ABRAHAM YOUR FATHER; 4) I WILL INCREASE YOUR OFFSPRING LIKE THE STARS IN HEAVENS; AND WILL GIVE TO YOUR OFFSPRING ALL THESE LANDS; AND ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH SHALL BLESS THEMSELVES BY YOUR OFFSPRING. 5) BECAUSE ABRAHAM OBEYED MY VOICE, AND OBSERVED MY SAFEGUARDS, MY COMMANDMENTS, MY DECREES AND MY TORAHS.  6) SO ISAAC SETTLED IN GERAR.
We know that Eretz Pelishtim, Gerar is Gush Katif.  Isaac was not allowed to leave Eretz Yisroel.  Gush Katif is included in the delineated boundaries of Eretz Yisroel specified in the Torah. How do I explain to my 8 year old son why the Rabbanim are being silent about the Promised Land. Why is there silence when President Bush talks about a democratic Palestinian State living side by side in peace and harmony with the State of Israel. (also known as the Roadmap Plan).  Why is there no public yearning for The Land Promised  to Avraham. Yitzchok and Yaakov and their offspring as is clearly stated in these Pesukim and many others as well.  How do I teach my son Emunas Chachamim or respect for the Jewish Leaders when there is silence about the Torah.  Perhaps it is this Silence, this Chillul Hashem  that has brought these tragedies upon us?
You can choose between Life and Death.  Ubacharta BaChaim.  Choose Life. Then we will be worthy of the coming of Moshiach.

Letter to Zev Brenner - Rabbi Spero - negative press for NY Times

Dear Zev Brenner, amv"sh
I would like to get in touch with Rabbi Spero the person you interviewed tonight Thursday June 13th at 9:00 pm TCN radio show) who led the demonstration in front of the Times office this past week . Is he aware that there has been a grassroots efforts going on this past week as well to Mr. Calame, of the New York Times asking him to inform its readers of the extremely grave conditions of the expellees from Gush Katif.  This grassroots efforts was initiated by Buddy Macy who is actively working on the year anniversary Commemoration of Gush Katif.   Buddy has kept track of the letter writers.  This past week alone there were definitely over 40 letters and most probably many more, written to Mr. Calame.  Yet instead of the Times reporting on the grave conditions of the expellees from Gush Katif they chose instead to post a very sympathetic article about the Gazans that were recently displaced due to Israel's response of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.  This article of July 12th page A12 of the International Section was entitled "Once Again, Gazans Are Displaced by Israeli Occupiers" by Steve Erlanger.
After reading this article in the Times it was apparent that this letter writing campaign wasn't going the way we had hoped.  Jay Ticker, wrote the following that might be of interest to Rabbi Spero.
Dear Robin
   The Times has many features I really love.  It's an institution that
can't easily be avoided.  I read it on the internet or borrow a copy,
but haven't subscribed or purchased the paper in ages.  
   There's nothing new about bias and lies in the pages of the Times. 
I just recalled the name of Walter Duranty, the Times Moscow
correspondent in the 1930s, who got a Pulitzer by glossing over the
deaths of millions in the Stalin's famines and purges with timeless
quotes like, "You can't make an omelet without braking eggs..."  (New
York Times, May 14 1933, page 18);  or the classic obfuscation, "There
is no actual starvation or deaths from starvation but there is
widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition...."   (New York
Times, March 31, 1933, page 13).  This while thousands were dying of
starvation each day in the Ukraine. 
    Walter Duranty's dead but his spirit lives on in the correspondents
successively anointed by the Times and in its editorial policies.  It's
the same romantic spirit that brought the Times' man in Cuba in the late
1950s, Herbert L.  Matthews, to brand Fidel as an idealistic liberator
and overlook the tyrant in the making.
     What does the spirit of Walter Duranty and Herbert L. Matthews
have to do with the contemporary Times' endless sympathy for
Palestinians and its simultaneous dismissal of the suffering of Gush
Katif exiles and Israeli victims of Arab terror?   Walter Duranty,
Herbert L. Matthews, and their current avatars at the Times share being
animated by a tendency to romanticize violent ideological extremism, be
it in the form of messianic Marxist promises of an earthly paradise to
be brought about through sweeping but necessarily bloody historical
change; the charisma of iconic, macho Cuban rebels; or the toxic
apotheosis of anger and resentment characteristic of Muslim
fundamentalism in general and Arab and especially Palestinian mythos in
    The Sun is a fine young paper and I hope it thrives and we should
buy it to help it do so.
    Jay (Yakov) Ticker    
Thanking you in advance.
Sincerely, Robin

More about NY Times and the 17th Day of Tammuz - Biblical Archeology

Please refer to the Times article  Batya Medad has posted in her blog in order to really see what we are up against.  To get it online you needed to be a registered member of the Times (for free). entiled "Once Again, Gazans are Displaced by Israeli Occupiers". by Steven Erlanger.
The article focuses on the poor displaced Palestinians due to the recent Israeli incursion with tanks and armored bulldozers and artillery disturbing their sleep and forcing them into shelters and causing a humanitarian crisis of food shortages including baby formula etc.
The Times sees no reason at all to focus on the displaced Jews from Gaza. 
The New York Sun's article by Benny Avni, Staff Reporter of the Sun "Israeli Action in Gaza Scrutinized by U.N. Humanitarian Official" on the other hand wrote
"Israeli officials told the Sun yesterday that the army closed the Karmi Crossing only after receiving "specific" terrorist threats.  Last April, Colonel Peres noted, a car bomb exploded in the Karni Crossing, Tunnels said to be used by terrorists were recently found near the crossing.
Israel, he added has offered to open up an alternative entry for the use of humanitarian trucks through the southern Gaza Kerem Shalom crossing.  The Palestinian Arabs balked for political reasons, he said."
Today, the 17th Day of Tammuz I received the Mishpacha Magazine.  The Cover Page Article "Challenge -  The Quest to Eradicate Our Connection and Claim to The Temple Mount" by Rachel Ginsberg.   The article was about the truckloads of ancient dirt illegally scooped out from under the Temple Mount and retrieved from the City Dump.  There is an additional side boxed article about Dr. Eilat Mazar who believes she has discovered King David's Palace.  "More than ten years ago, Mazar proposed a solid thesis as to the location of the palace but despite her sound hypothesis and impeccable credentials, she couldn't find any financial backers for her proposed dig, as if no one in the academic world really wanted to find David's palace.  It's no wonder, when even mainstream archaeologists are inclined to play down funds which might be considered too highly charged with Biblical or historical accuracy.  Another example is Adam Zertal who in 1983 discovered an enormous sacrificial alter on Mount Ebal on the very mountain where Joshua's alter was built after the Jews crossed the Jordan River. The alter he found contained tools dating to the twelfth century BCE the time the Jewish people entered the Land, and its construction matched the descriptions of Joshua's alter in both Biblical and rabbinic texts. ... The more vocal accused Zertal, a secular Jew raised on a kibbutz, of being politically motivated to support Jewish settlement in the area around Shechem where Mount Ebal is located.  (p.s these are communities scheduled for next wave of expulsions like Itamar)  David Hazony of the Shalem Center, an academic think tank in Jerusalem sponsored Mazar. He is quoted as saying "We didn't want to see this shunted to the side like Zertal's discovery.  The message he got from his colleagues was, 'It's bad for business to find things from the Bible these days.  It makes us look like unsophisticated messianic fanatics.' 
This insert article concludes by saying "Unfortunately, academia has done much to undermine the Jews' capacity to say where we came from and what our past is all about."
Our focus until now has been defensive.  Today President Bush was asked how he felt about Israel's attack in Lebanon he said "It's pathetic but Israel has the right to defend itself". The understanding of that statement is that if Israel isn't attacked then the Convergence Plan and Roadmap are legitimate solutions to the Middle East instability. 
I would like to see a change in our focus.   I like the analogy of the Jews being the violinist and the Land of Israel is the precious violin and the Torah is the proper notes.  In order to create beautiful music you need a talented violinist, the precious violin and the right notes.    We are a proud Nation.  Blessings for the entire World can only come through us.  This is not the time to be humble.  Let us not be afraid to be like "unsophisticated messianic fanatics" and promote Biblical and historical accuracy.

More about the NY Times

Dear Friends, amv"sh
Please read discussion below.  We'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
In a message dated 7/12/06 12:46:29 P.M. Central Daylight Time, writes:
Dear Robin,
I halted my subscription of the Times almost ten years ago, when it was not yet fashionable to do so! I couldn't take the bias back then and the aggravation it gave me was not worth reading any part of the paper. I actually went through a withdrawal of sorts after I cancelled my subscription, and I only found a wonderful substitute with the New York Sun.
You are right about not knowing whether they will distort any info on the sorry situation of the Gaza refugees. Since their foremost aim is to slant all news into their own radical bias, they may use any material you (or others) send them to do the same. Any article they print really ends up being a feature article rather than a news one. But, at the chance of embarressing the Sharon/Olmert government, it might be worth a shot. You never know!
What do others think?
Kol tuv,
I don't know.  I'll ask around.  Meanwhile in my letter to the Times I focused on the positive contributions of the settlers to society before the disengagement and not only on their unfortunate homelessness at the present.  I made it a point to emphasize that they grew flowers and bug free lettuce.  That is in stark contrast with what the Palestinians have been doing with Gaza once it was given to them.  They literally destroyed equipment, buildings, infrastructure and many of the profitable farming enterprises that were handed over to them for free.  The chose instead to send Kassam rockets and attack Israel.  I am sure documentation for this can be found.  Perhaps it pays to focus on papers like the New York Sun that are less biased and not expect much from the Times.
What do others think?

More about letter writing campaign to NY Times

Dear Sara, amv"sh
The campaign I understand is to put pressure on the Times to report the negative consequences of the Disengagement.  After reading an article in yesterday's Times related to Gilad Shalit, I am a bit concerned.  The Times article appeared in the  International Section A8 entitled "Israel Rejects Hamas Terms for Exchange Of Prisoners" By Greg Myre. (my husband picks up stray copies on the train)  In this article they portray Olmert as being very forceful in his unwillingness to negotiate with Hamas while the Hamas spokesperson  on the other hand Mr. Khaled Meshal, the exiled director of the Hamas political bureau, in a news conference in Damascus, Syria shows a strong willingness to negotiate.  "The solution is simple: exchange prisoners," Mr. Meshal said.  "There will be no freedom for the Israeli prisoner without an exchange involving Palestinian detainees."
the Times article continues...
Mr. Meshal was also critical of the U.S. and other Western countries for placing so much emphasis on one Israeli soldier when Israel was holing nearly 9,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Meshal continues and says that Corporal Shalit had been seized in a "clean military operation" and that Hamas considered him a prisoner of war.
The Times reporter(s) are very slick. I am afraid this campaign might cause  the Times to have a balanced article of all the "Palestinian refugees" in the same breath as the unfortunate conditions of the Jewish refugees from Gush Katif.  I am not an avid reader of the Times but it is for legitimate reasons that the Times is being boycotted by Dov Hikind.  Recognizing the TImes for who they are, the question is what is the best way to put pressure on them that will report the disengagement in a negative light rather than twist it to appear justified.  I don't really have an answer.  Perhaps you guys do. 

Letters written to the NY Times

Dear Mr. Calame,
You are in a position of influence.  You must be aware of the power of  News on future News.  What I am suggesting is that the Times and other media does not only report the News, they are actually part of the creation of the News.  I preface my remarks with this statement in order to impress upon you your role in effecting change either for the good or for the bad.
The Gaza Disengagement was tragic.  Not only because of having caused homelessness but even more so because it took productive individuals and brought them down.  Most of the people disengaged from Gaza were productive farmers.  They were role models.  Many of their farming techniques were models for the international farming communities.  You must be aware that many scientific agricultural methods developed by Israel is presently being used all over the world to improve farming techniques and eliminate food shortages in Third World countries.  What comes to mind is drip irrigation which was developed in Israel, hydroponics which was used extensively in the disengaged communities of Gaza and just today I read in  Israel National News "Israeli Research Paves the Way to Grow Crops in Saline Land". 
The tragedy of the disengagement is twofold.  People are now homeless and are undergoing severe psychological and emotional trauma from being uprooted from their homes for no apparent good reason.  But the more subtle tragedy is to mankind who will be denied the lost fruits of their labor.  Maybe flowers and bug free lettuce can be grown elsewhere.  But it is not the same.  These people of Gush Katif (Gaza) have to start from scratch with many roadblocks.  They are emotionally scarred.  They are preoccupied with nursing their wounds instead of moving forward with what might have been great benefits to mankind.   
And more expulsions are in the works.  Please read Olmert: My Unilateral Withdrawal Plan is Still On.
This is where you come in.  If the Times and other papers as the Times would report on the tragedy of the Disengagement, not only to 8,000 people but also to humankind, perhaps Olmert who in very influenced by public opinion would choose not to continue with his Withdrawal Plan. 
Please do what you can in this matter.
Robin Ticker

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Lmaan Zion lo Echesheh


The following is a response to Hakhel's message (see below).

Again, beautiful in words but empty in action. Like the Emperor's garments. Your Torah is dressed in the most beautiful of finery and the most eloquent Divrei Torah. Yet where is a united proclamation that Eretz Yisroel is the Inheritance of Am Yisroel? The Promised Land was promised to our Patriarchs starting with Avraham as an inheritance for their seed as an eternal possession. Doesn't eternal include the present? Aren't Jews all over the world and Israel their seed? If there was a true Tzipisi Leyeshua, these words would replace the words of your Divrei Torah. The Convergence Plan and Roadmap are against the Torah. A child of 5 knows the first Rashi of Breishis. Yet the Gedoilim have been silent.

The Children will speak the truth and the Leaders will be embarrassed. It's even worse. The chait of the Miraglim was akin to idolotry. They didn't merit Olam Haba. They perished immediately for misguiding the hundreds of thousands of their followers. The rest of the Nation were allowed a gradual punishment. In fact, those that sat in meetings, many members of the Sanhedrin joined with Korach and they perished. These are two blatant examples where the Leaders were wrong and were punished severely.

Let me add that Gedoilim alone is a bathroom word. Without Torah, Gedoilim Batorah are simply Gedoilim.

These are words of harshness. Yet, it is not nearly as harsh as the Chillul Hashem that is as a result of the Silence. Is the Admor M'Gur, Rav Shteinman, Rav Kanievsky, Rav Eliashiv, Rav Kamenetsky of the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation speaking out? Are their Shamashim even allowing them too or updating them on current events? Is this lack of Emunas Chachamim? Or is it simply exposure of an Avoda Zara that has pervaded Orthodox Jewry. To put our blind trust in people who are simply human beings rather than in believing in Toras Moshe MeSinai and really believing in the fundamental Truth that has been repeated hundreds of times in the Torah that Eretz Yisroel is our Inheritance and we are obligated to keep the Mitzvoth. The second Dibra of the 10 Commandments is that we shouldn't have other Gods. If only these Gedoilim would make this Kol Korei that Eretz Yisroel is the Divine Ordained Land for Am Yisroel the Seed of the Patriarchs, exclusively, and that the Convergence Plan and Unilateral Withdrawal and the Roadmap are all a contradiction to the Torah. If only they would say please voice a protest by calling the White House or sending an email or supporting the March of the Youth (Separate marching for boys and for girls) over the Land of Eretz Yisroel fulfilling Kum Hishalech command to Avraham Avinu and to future generations.. These youth are acting on their love and yearning for the Land. Why not admit it? If only they would speak out and end the Silence as is the group L'Maan Zion Lo Echesha, then hundreds of thousands of people would follow their lead. The expulsions would be stopped in its tracks. The Chillul Hashem would end.

The Miraglim were Tzadikim before the Chait Hamiraglim. Let this generation be the rectifiers of this Chait. Let individual Gedoilim Batorah stand up and collectively take a claim to Our Land. Let the Chofetz Chaim Foundation be Metaken the root of Lashon Hara this Tisha Baav which stems from Chait Miraglim. Or will it simply not be on the Agenda? Please Hashem, let my words prove to be false. I wish to be proven wrong because I know how desperately we need our Gedoilim Batorah.


Robin Ticker

Hakhel Email Community Awareness Bulletin-One of Only Six


One of the six questions a person is asked after his 120 year stay in this world is "Tzipisa Li'Yeshua"--did you sincerely await the Redemption (Shabbos 31A)? Indeed, the Rambam writes in the 12th Foundation of Faith that we must await Moshiach every single day. Further, as we all know, in the 15th brocha of Shemone Esrei we all plead "...for your salvation we hope every day."

We asked HaRav Yisroel Belsky, Shlita, for the Makor, for the source, in Torah that we must wait for this fundamental principle. HaRav Belsky, Shlita suggested two possible sources. First, the Pasuk in Beraishis(49:18): "LiShuasecha Kivisi Hashem"--for your Redemption I wait Hashem. It is well known that the Brisker Rav Z'tl could recite this Pasuk several times during any given day. Various explanations may be given for his practice. We suggest that perhaps he was careful to constantly remind himself throughout the day to await redemption--by reciting its Makor in the Torah. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the nusach of the 15th bracha of Shemone Esrei seems to indicate that our longing for redemption should go on throughout the day ("KOL HAYOM"), and not necessarily be limited to our thrice daily recitation in Shemone Esrei. Although the Avudraham and Radak in Tehillem seem to learn that "KOL HAYOM" simply means ever day and not throughout the day, it is conceivable that the Brisker Rav felt that the literal translation of the words "KOL HAYOM" mean that one has to await Moshiach throughout the day, and not necessarily at a formal or fixed time.

The second possible source for this fundamental principle of our faith suggested by HaRav Belsky, Shlita,is the Pasuk in Chabakuk (2:3) "Im Yismahmeah Chakeh Lo"--if he be delayed await him-- which is the phrase utilized by the Rambam in the Ani Maamin mentioned earlier. For further explanation on the meaning of this Pasuk, see the Malbim there.

Now that we have identified Torah sources for our longing, WHY is it that we are to long in this way? HaRav Belsky, Shlita, explains: "The main reason is that no one should come to terms with a world that is devoid of Kedusha, Chochma and Gilui Shechina and a host of other attributes." HaRav Belsky, Shlita, referred us further to the words of the Rambam which immediately precede the 13 Foundations of Faith ,which are presented by the Rambam in his Introduction to the 11th Perek of Sanhedrin. There, the Rambam writes that we strive for the times of Moshiach not for the resulting glory, grandeur or riches, but rather for man's resulting advancements in wisdom, proper conduct and closeness to Hashem... so that at long last our hearts of stone are replaced with hearts of inspired and sincere, truly righteous behavior, from young to old.

Is this not worth thinking about more than in a flashing moment or two in the course of a day beset by the problems, or at least issues, of this world?

We are about to enter the heart of Tammuz. We must recognize that the times and dates in the past which have been so extremely unpleasant for us and our people could provide just the opposite experience for us. Have you thought about what would have happened on the 17th of Tammuz had B'nei Yisroel not made the Eigel--we would have forever possessed the unbroken, original first set of Luchos!

Similarly, if the spies would have come back with the right report on Tisha B'Av, it could have been a day of rejoicing--and not crying----all these years! These days are days of happening. Let us break away from the estrangement and void that we have brought upon ourselves--and strive to draw closer to man's true fulfillment.

Perhaps we can start by especially thinking, hoping and praying for the Yeshua just a little bit more during these days--from time to time through the day. In this zechus, may we directly see and experience the Kedusha, the Chochma, the Gilui Shechina we so sorely, sorely lack--speedily and literally in our days!

Hakhel MIS

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