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13.2.17

California

California used to be different. My Dad was there at Cal Tech for his master's degree and then joined the Air Force, the USAF (i.e. WWII). After the war  he moved back to join  aerospace stuff going on there. The USA was way behind the Soviets in everything related to space including Star Wars (Strategic Defense Initiative, SDI). So my Dad was asked to create a kind of laser communication device between satellites so the Soviets could not eavesdrop on our communications like they could with radio waves. There was a lot of good stuff going on in those days. It was a magnet for talent. The problem is that once it was successful it became a magnet for the wrong types.  I knew some really talented people there and I think there still are some great things going on there in Stanford and Cal Tech. 

12.2.17

The Rashbam in Bava Batra 175B

בבא מציעא ק' ע''א פרה נמכרה ויולדה ואנחנו לא יודעים מתי. אם לפני שהעסקה נחתמה, אז העגל שייך לבעליה הראשונים. אם לאחר שהעסקה נחתמה, העגל שייך לבעלים השניים. יש ויכוח בין רשב''ם ורבינו יצחק על המילה אלא. זוהי הגמרא:  מדוע חזקת מרא קמא לא עוזרת? הגמרא משיבה ",אלא היא סומכוס." סומכוס מחזיק כסף בספק מחולק. כלומר, הגמרא זורקת את הרעיון כי העגל הוא בסמטה. במקום זה הוא ברשות של הבעלים השניים, ועדיין אין חזקת ממון משום המשנה היא כמו סומכוס. זו גרסה אחת. הגרסה האחרת משמיטה את "אלא".  בבבא מציעא ק' ע''א לנו חזקא דהשתא יחד עם חזקת רשות. האם ניתן לומר כי  תוספות  ואת הרשב''ם הם בקו אחד עם דעותיהם במקום אחר? תוספות  למעשה מעלה את  השאלה הזו בטיעוניו נגד הרשב''ם בהתוספות השניה בדף.] הנושא המרכזי שאני רואה כאן הוא זה: כמה חזקה היא  חזקה דהשתא? האם  לחזקת השתא לבדה יש מספיק כח להפוך  שאלה לספק ועם חזקה אחרת  להפוך לודאות? או רק עם עוד חזקא היא יכולה להפוך לספק כפי שהיא עושה נדה ב' ע''ב? הסיבה שאני מזכיר זאת היא כי בבבא מציעא ק 'ע''א יש ויכוח בין הרשב''ם ותוספות אם שמא עם חזקת הרשות מחליטה את הבעלות על העגל או לא.  הגמרא המלאה היא זה ולחזי ברשות דמאן דקיימא? בסימטא. (בוא נראה לאן העגל הוא עכשיו? תשובה: זה בסמטה.) אז בואו פשוט לתת אותו לבעל הראשון? זה סומכוס, (או ליתר דיוק זה סומכוס). מה חשוב לשים לב הוא לחכמים המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה. זה אומר שאם זה ברשות  של הבעלים השניים אז זה הולך להם אפילו נגד מרא קמא.



רשב''ם בבבא בתרא קע''ה ע''ב מחזיק גט עם עדים על זה אבל בלי זמן הוא כשר. לא כמו רמב''ם ולא רמב''ן. הדרך שרב שך מבין את זאת היא על ידי נדה ב' ע''ב שבו יש לנו חזקה דהשתא בצירוף עוד חזקה שיכולה לנצח בחלקו חזקה מעיקרא לעשות ספק. כלומר: לעשות ספק כנגד חזקה מעיקרא, אבל רק בעזרת חזקה אחרת. לכן במקרה שלנו של גט הכל טוב. אין בעיה של חיפוי על בת אחותו כי ללא זמן על הגט, אין סיבה לדחוף את הזמן של המסמך אחורה בזמן. זה ברור. אבל תוספות אומר נדה ב' ע''ב כי גם לחזקה דהשתא יש כח להביס חזקה מעיקרא לפחות להפוך אותו מצב לספק. אז הבעיה היא זו. הרשב''ם בבבא מציעא מחזיק חזקת רשות יכולה לקבוע את החוק אפילו לסומכוס. לפיכך חזקה היכן העגל הוא עכשיו יכולה להביס חזקת מרא קמא אפילו לסומכוס. עכשיו ברור חזקת רשות אינה חלשה כמו חזקת השתא, אבל הנקודה היא כי כאן יש משהו שמחליש את חזקת הממון, וזו חזקת מרא קמא. הכל יהיה בסדר אם נוכל להפוך את הדעות. אחרי הכל השאלה היחידה היא מה עשוי סומכוס להחזיק לגבי רשות של הבעלים השניים. האם חזקה זו מספיקה לקחת את כל הספקות ולזרוק אותן, ואת הבעלים השניים בכך מקבלים את העגל? רשב''ם מחזיק כן ולכן חזקא דהשתא היא חזקה מספיקה כדי לקבוע בעלות. תוספות מחזיק שלא כן הוא. לכן חזקא דהשתא אינה חזקה מספיקה כדי לקבוע בעלות. זה נראה יותר כמו הדרך רב שך מבין את הרשב''ם בבבא בתרא קע''ה ע''ב כי גמרא בנדה ב' ע''ב מחזיקה  שחזקה דהשתא צריכה  עזרה איתה כדי להיות יעילה.  אני לא אומר שום דבר על חכמים. החכמים ממילא אומרים כי חזקת הרשות עובדת. כל מה שאני אומר הוא שהעובדה שחזקת רשות חלשה כאן בבא מציעא ק' ע''א כי יש חזקת מרא קמא נגדה זה נותן לסומכוס את היכולת להגיד שהיא חלשה מספיקה לומר חולקים. אחרי הכל אין ויכוח בין חכנים וסומכוס על מה הן חזקות אלא אם הן חזקות מספיק כדי לקבוע את הבעלות.

 The Rashbam in Bava Batra 175B hold the divorce with witnesses on it but no time is Kosher. [Not like the Rambam nor the Ramban.] The way Rav Shach understands this is by Nida 2b where we have a state now that at least can defeat in part to make a doubt a state that comes before, but only with the help of some other state.  Therefore in our case of the divorce everything is good. There is no problem of the daughter of his sister because with no time in the document there is not reason to push the time backwards. That much is clear. But Tosphot says right there in Nida 2b that either the state now or a different state can defeat a previous state to at least make it doubtful.

So my problem is this. The Rashbam in Bava Metzia 100b holds חזקת רשות can determine the law . Thus a חזקה of where the calf is now can defeat חזקת מרא קמא .
[That is why the Gemara says Let's see where it is. That would answer all questions. Then it answers it is in an alley. Then it asks let's give it to the first owner. Answer the Mishna is Sumchos, But that answer implies we leave it in the alley. So if there was חזקת רשות that would answer the question.]


Now clearly חזקת רשות is not as weak as חזקת ממון- but the point is that here there is something that weakens the  חזקת רשות and that is חזקת מרא קמא.
Everything would be fine if we could reverse the opinions. After all the only question is what does Sumchos hold in the רשות of the second owner. Does that רשות belay all doubts  and the second owner thus gets the calf? The Rashbam holds yes and so the חזקא רשות is strong enough to him to determine ownership. Tosphot holds no. Therefore חזקא דהשתא is not strong enough to determine ownership. That seems more like the way Rav Shach understands the Rashbam in Bava Batra 175 that the gemara in Nida holds all חזקות דהשתא need some other חזקה with them to be effective at all.

I hope it is clear I am not saying anything about the sages. The sages in any case say that חזקת רשות works. All I am saying is that the fact that חזקת רשות is weak here in Bava Metzia 100b because there is חזקת מרא קמא against it this gives to Sumchos some ability to say it is weak enough to say חולקים. After all there is no argument between the sages and Sumchos about what are the different חזקות but rather whether they are strong enough to determine the ownership.

The answer here is this: חזקת השתא works with חזקת מרא קמא. The reason is it says the state of affairs now we push back in time. Thus if the cow has given birth we say it gave birth as far back in time as possible. So the Rashbam is being consistent that two two חזקות together are effective to give the calf to the first owner. So we would have to say the mishna is like Sumchos



התשובה כאן היא זו. חזקת השתא עובדת עם חזקת מרא קמא. הסיבה היא שהיא אומרת את מצב העניינים עכשיו אנחנו דוחפים אחורה בזמן. לכן אם פרה הולידה, אנחנו אומרים  הולידה ככל אחורה בזמן ככל האפשר. אז רשב''ם אומר ששתי החזקות יחד יעילות לתת וולד לבעל הראשון. אז היינו צריכים לומר המשנה היא כמו סומכוס.







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 The רשב''ם in בבא בתרא קע''ה ע''ב holds the גט with עדים on it but no זמן is כשר. Not like the רמב''ם nor the רמב''ן. The way  רב שך understands this is by נדה ב' ע''ב where we have a חזקה דהשתא that  can defeat in part  a חזקה מעיקרא. That is: to make a doubt against a חזקה מעיקרא , but only with the help of some other חזקה.  Therefore in our case of the גט everything is good. There is no problem of the חיפוי על בת אחותו because with no זמן in the גט there is no reason to push the time of the document back in time. That much is clear. But תוספות says  in נדה ב' ע''ב that either the חזקת השתא or a different חזקה can defeat a חזקה מעיקרא to at least make it a ספק.

So my problem is this. The רשב''ם in בבא מציעא ק' ע'א holds חזקת רשות can determine the law even to סומכוס. Thus a חזקה of where the calf is now can defeat חזקת מרא קמא even to סומכוס.

Now clearly חזקת רשות is not as weak as חזקת ממון,  but the point is that here there is something that weakens the חזקת ממון and that is חזקת מרא קמא.
Everything would be fine if we could reverse the opinions. After all the only question is what does סומכוס hold in the רשות of the second owner. Does that רשות take away all doubts  and the second owner thus gets the calf? The רשב''ם holds yes and so the חזקא שהשתא is strong enough to him to determine ownership. תוספות holds no. Therefore חזקא דהשתא is not strong enough to determine ownership. That seems more like the way רב שך understands the רשב''ם in בבא בתרא קע''ה ע''ב that the גמרא in נדה ב' ע''ב holds all חזקות דהשתא need some other חזקה with them to be effective at all.

I hope it is clear I am not saying anything about the חכמים. The חכמים in any case say that חזקת רשות works. All I am saying is that the fact that חזקת רשות is weak here in בבא מציעא ק' ע''א because there is חזקת מרא קמא against it this gives to סומכוס some ability to say it is weak enough to say חולקים. After all there is no argument between the חכמים and סומכוס about what are the different חזקות but rather whether they are strong enough to determine the ownership.

[What I am saying here is really an amazingly simple thing. I'm sorry if it sounds complicated. All I am doing is noticing what Rav Shach said about Tosphot and the Rashbam in Gitin (Rambam Hilchot Gitin ch 1 halacha 25) and taking note that that is the reverse of their opinions in Bava Metzia as Tosphot himself points out there that he is going with the idea of חזקא דהשתא needs help to defeat חזקא מעיקרא --just like the Gemara in Nida sounds like. The trouble is in Nida Tosphot says something different. Now Tosphot is a lot of different people so one Tosphot does not have to agree with the other. But with the Rashbam this is curious. Take a look at Tosphot ב''מ ק'ע''א the second one and you will see he raises this exact issue.

[I actually do not remember what Tosphot says. All I know is he brings up the issue in a way that is not obvious at first sight. I hope someday to have a Bava Metzia to be able to check on this. ]
The only thing that I have to add to this that really is anything new is just the question of how this all relates to how I already dealt with this argument between the Rashbam and Tosphot in my little book on Bava Metzia. I sort of remember that I brought the idea of Naphtali Troup is חזקת מרא קמא Is like חזקת איסור  and also there is an argument how the second Tosphot relates to the first between the Maharshal and the Maharsha. These things might shed some light on our problem here.

I






Bava Metzia 100A, the argument between the Rashbam and Tosphot in the light of Rav Shach.

Bava Metzia page 100a.
A cow is sold and gives birth and we do not know when. If before the deal was concluded, the calf belongs to the first owner. If after the deal was concluded the calf belongs to the second owner.

There is an argument between the Rashbam and Rabbainu Isaac about the the word אלא "rather". That is the Gemara asks, why does חזקת מרא קמא [possession of the first owner] [first owner] not help? The Gemara answers, "rather it is Sumchos." [Sumchos holds money in doubt is divided], That means the Gemara throws out the idea that the calf is in an alley. Rather it is in the property of the second owner, and still there is no חזקת ממון [assumption that since it is in the property of the second owner we give it to him] because the Mishna is like Sumchos.
That is one version.
The other version leaves out the אלא ("rather"). Then this is what the Gemara says: "Why does מרא קמא [first owner] not help? Because it is Sumchos. That is: it is in an alley, but if it was in the property of the second owner, the second owner would acquire it-- even against חזקת מרא קמא  even to Sumchos. So we have חזקה מעיקרא that pushes the time forwards along with חזקת רשות thus it belongs to the second fellow. What works against this is חזקת השתא since it gave birth we push that back to time and that helps חזקת מרא קמא

What is important here to notice is the חזקת השתא [what is the present state of affairs we push backwards as far as possible -like a mikve that lacks 40 S'eah We say it was lacking the right amount as far back as the time it was last measured.]. In the beginning of Nida we have חזקא דהשתא  can at least put חזקא מעיקרא into doubt if it works together with another חזקא. There is another argument between Tosphot and the Rashbam if that is only in that case of a mikve or if it is a general rule.[Rav Shach mentions this at the beginning of laws of divorce in the Rambam.]  Thus in general חזקא דהשתא works to even the odds against חזקא מעיקרא even with no help.

 In Bava Metzia pg.100 we have חזקא דהשתא along with חזקת רשות.  It is possible I think to say that Tosphot and the Rashbam are being consistent in Bava Metzia with their opinions in Nida. [Tosphot in Bava Metzia actually brings this up in his arguments against the Rashbam in the second Tosphot on the page.]


The major issue that I see here is this: how strong is חזקא דהשתא by itself? Does it just make a doubt and with another חזקא make a certainty? Or even with another חזקא Just make a doubt a it does in Nida?
The reason I mention this is that on the page [BM 100] there is an argument between the Rashbam and Tosphot if  שמא with חזקת רשות  gets the calf or not.

Appendix: The full Gemara is this ולחזי ברשות דמאן דקיימא בסימטא Let's see where the calf is now? Answer: It is in an alley. So let's just give it to the first owner? It is Sumchos. [Or ''Rather it is Sumchos."] "It is Sumchos" means we leave it in the alley and there מרא קמא would have answered the question but if it had been in the רשות  the the second fellow he would now own the calf  even to Sumchos. If the Gemara reads "rather it is Sumchos" that means we reject even the idea of the alley. So to answer the first question Let's see where it is? we answer it is Sumchos and that is why even in the domain of the second fellow, he would not own the calf.



What is important to notice is to the sages המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה means that if it is in the actual property of the second owner then it goes to him even against מרא קמא ( the first owner who we know owned it at a certain point in time.)

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בבא מציעא ק' ע''א A cow is sold and gives birth and we do not know when. If before the deal was signed and sealed, then the calf belongs to the first owner. If after the deal was signed, the calf belongs to the second owner.

There is an argument between the רשב''ם and רבינו יצחק about the the word אלא "rather". That is the גמרא asks, why does חזקת מרא קמא  not help? The גמרא answers, "rather it is סומכוס." סומכוס holds money in doubt is divided. That means the גמרא throws out the idea that the calf is in an alley. Rather it is in the property of the second owner, and still there is no חזקת ממון because the משנה is like סומכוס.
That is one version.
The other version leaves out the אלא. Then this is what the גמרא says: "Why does מרא קמא  not help? Because it is סומכוס. That is: it is in an סימטא, but if it was in the property of the second owner, the second owner would acquire it, even against חזקת מרא קמא even to סומכוס.

What is important here to notice is the חזקת השתא like a מקוה that lacks ארבעים סאה. We say it was lacking the right amount as far back as the time it was last measured. In the beginning of נדה we have חזקא דהשתא  can at least put חזקא מעיקרא into doubt if it works together with another חזקה. There is another argument between תוסות and the  רשב''ם if that is only in that case of a מקוה or if it is a general rule. רב שך mentions this at the beginning of laws of divorce in the רמב''ם.  Thus in general חזקא דהשתא works to even the odds against חזקא מעיקרא even with no help.

 In בבא מציעא ק' ע''א we have חזקא דהשתא along with חזקת רשות.   Is it possible  to say that תוספות and the  רשב''ם are being consistent in בבא מציעא with their opinions elsewhere? תוספות in  actually brings this up in his arguments against the רשב''ם in the second תוספות on the page.]


The major issue that I see here is this: how strong is חזקא דהשתא by itself? Does it just make a doubt and with another חזקא make a certainty? Or even with another חזקא just make a doubt as it does in נדה ב' ע''ב?
The reason I mention this is that on the page בבא מציעא ק' ע''א there is an argument between the רשב''ם and תוספות if  שמא with חזקת רשות  gets the calf or not.

 The full גמרא is this ולחזי ברשות דמאן דקיימא בסימטא Let's see where the calf is now? Answer: It is in an alley. So let's just give it to the first owner? It is סומכוס. Or rather it is סומכוס.
What is important to notice is to the sages המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה means that if it is in the actual property of the second owner then it goes to him even against מרא קמא 

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בבא מציעא ק' ע''א פרה נמכרה ויולדה ואנחנו לא יודעים מתי. אם לפני שהעסקה נחתמה וחתומה, אז העגל שייך לבעליה הראשונים. אם לאחר שהעסקה נחתמה, העגל שייך לבעלים השניים. יש ויכוח בין רשב''ם ורבינו יצחק על המילה אלא. זוהי הגמרא:  מדוע חזקת מרא קמא לא עוזרת? הגמרא משיבה ",אלא היא סומכוס." סומכוס מחזיק כסף בספק מחולק. כלומר, הגמרא זורקת את הרעיון כי העגל הוא בסמטה. במקום זה הוא ברשות של הבעלים השניים, ועדיין אין חזקת ממון משום המשנה היא כמו סומכוס. זו גרסה אחת. הגרסה האחרת משמיטה את "אלא".  בבבא מציעא ק' ע''א לנו חזקא דהשתא יחד עם חזקת רשות. האם ניתן לומר כי  תוספות  ואת הרשב''ם הם בקו אחד עם דעותיהם במקום אחר? תוספות  למעשה מעלה את  השאלה הזו בטיעוניו נגד הרשב''ם בהתוספות השניה בדף.] הנושא המרכזי שאני רואה כאן הוא זה: כמה חזקה היא  חזקה דהשתא? האם  לחזקת השתא לבדה יש מספיק כח להפוך  שאלה לספק ועם חזקה אחרת  להפוך לודאות? או רק עם עוד חזקא היא יכולה להפוך לספק כפי שהיא עושה נדה ב' ע''ב? הסיבה שאני מזכיר זאת היא כי בבבא מציעא ק 'ע''א יש ויכוח בין הרשב''ם ותוספות אם שמא עם חזקת הרשות מחליטה את הבעלות על העגל או לא.  הגמרא המלאה היא זה ולחזי ברשות דמאן דקיימא? בסימטא. (בוא נראה לאן העגל הוא עכשיו? תשובה: זה בסמטה.) אז בואו פשוט לתת אותו לבעל הראשון? זה סומכוס, (או ליתר דיוק זה סומכוס). מה חשוב לשים לב הוא לחכמים המוציא מחבירו עליו הראיה. זה אומר שאם זה ברשות  של הבעלים השניים אז זה הולך להם אפילו נגד מרא קמא.








11.2.17

the father of Trump

I know of at least one story in which the father of Trump helped someone. My father-in-law had a few unpleasant run ins with the Nazis in Western Poland until he escaped to the East and was caught by the Red Army. His papers said was a German Jew, so they sent him to a labor camp in Siberia. [I do not know why they simply did not enlist him like his brother Shmuel. I think the reason may have been that Bill (Binyamin) had German papers while his brother had Polish papers ] Since he could fix almost anything they made him in charge. After the war he came to the USA with no money and no job, and he knew no one, and it was the father of Trump that hired him and helped him get set up. He knew Rita [who had been on the Kindertransport, the only time the Nazis let Jewish children go to England.] Her parents survived by going Far East and came to California. So after the war Rita went from NY to CA, and Binyamin [Bill Finn] joined her there.[Bill changed his name when he got to the USA from some Jewish name that I forgot.]
That is the basic story. I met their oldest daughter in my second year in high school in Mr. Smart's orchestra practice.
We were friends all through high school but things only got serious after I went to yeshiva Shar Yashuv in NY with her letters. Then by the time I got to the Mir she came to NY and began calling me for different reasons. We were married after two years at the Mir and I learned there in kollel for another few years until the idea of making Aliya to Israel came along.



10.2.17

Learning Torah.

Rav Shach in the introduction to the Avi Ezri mentions the importance of learning Torah in several contexts. This type of idea really became common in the Lithuanian yeshiva world after the time of the Gra. It is kind of the basic "culture" (if you can call it that) of the Litvak yeshiva world. It is is based on statements in the Mishna, Gemara, Midrashim, and Zohar. The most commonly known statement to this effect is the Mishna אלו דברים that ends with תלמוד תורה כנגד כולם. ["The Mitzvah of learning Torah goes above all other mitzvot."] [The basic idea I mentioned about culture is this. In the Litvak world the idea of learning Torah is not just a slogan the essential element. It is the essential goal in life. There is this, however, only in authentic yeshivas. Some people have found they can make good money by pretending to be on this wavelength and so try to make copycat yeshivas without the spirit. ]

The trouble is to discern real Torah from Torah of the Sitra Achra [Torah of the Kelipot, Dark Side.]

What I mean by this is a statement from Reb Nachman that once there is found a true tzadik (saint), there come many copycats to try to get the same level of money and success they see the true tzadik got. This same idea goes for yeshivas. After there were authentic Litvak yeshivas like Voloshin, Mir, Ponovitch and Brisk, there came copycats that seem to learn Torah but in fact only learn Torah of the Dark Side, demonic Torah. 

What makes the false Torah places particularly pernicious is they makes learning Torah for sincere people almost impossible.

However most Litvak places are pretty straightforward as to what they are about. If you have any kind of Lithuanian yeshiva in your area I do not urge caution, but assume it is OK. There surely are exceptions  but you do not have to worry about them unless it comes to your attention.

Torah is incidentally against sin. The hope in learning Torah is know what sin is, and to stop doing it. It is not to lift up people, and to be positive and make people feel good. That is, to feel comfortable and not to feel bad about sin. There is an alternative Torah that is taught nowadays that is made to make people feel good and to get the money keep coming in. That is not the Torah of God. When you hear teaching that is against authentic Torah, run for your life. The first verse in Tehilim says "I did not sit in the seat of the scoffers." I stay away from counterfeit Torah for I am afraid of God's punishment for sin.


[Sin is incidentally, how the Torah defines sin. It is not how people try to redefine sin in order to fit their lust for money. Therefore the best way to keep Torah is to learn Musar [basic Torah ethics]. ]





the child of a Jewess and a gentile

Tosphot holds in at least three places in Shas that the child of a Jewess and a gentile is not Jewish. [for example Kidushin 75 Tosphot first words ור''י סבר לה כר''ע וכו נינהו. 
Also יבמות ט''ו ע''ב תוס' ד''ה  אמוראי 
This is obviously not like the Rambam.

This is obviously relevant nowadays to groups that pride themselves on being Jewish when in fact it can be shown historically they are descended from mixtures like this. If people's sense of pride and identity was rather their effort to learn and keep the holy Torah --that would a lot better. This whole idea of Jewish pride seems vacant to me. 


Sephardim have a private approach to Ashkenazim. They say Ashkenazim are not Jewish, but they feel they have to pretend. But they definitely feel they are not the same tribe nor kosher.[Any Ashkenazim in  Sephardi community will experience an enormous amount of pressure to leave. There will always be at least one Sephardi determined to get rid of the Ashkenazim at all cost.] Still in all history books about the original conquest of Islam, the general rule was Muslims took Jewish wives as spoils of war. Therefore Spanish Jewry when exiled to North Africa always made a point to write ס''ט  ספרדי טהור in cases when they could trace their lineage father from father back to people that were certainly Jewish. That is why ס''ט is how the Rambam signed his name and Bava Sali also.
Outside of a few amazing people like Bava Sali the general problem in the Sefardi world stems from their origins from Muslims. This seems to create a kind of problem that still exists. If they would simply be committed to keeping Torah then I would have nothing to say, but instead their commitment in Israel seems to be to find fault in Ashkenazic Jew and then to try to kick them out. 
As one fellow mentioned to me they have the trait of Sedom and Amora [That fellow I believe is from the family of Bava Sali--at least I know his wife is a granddaughter of Bava Sali's older brother David. The one that was martyred.]