Sunday, October 31, 2004

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Terrorism is not caused by hopelessness, it is caused by hope.

Raphaella Segal is the assistant mayor and one of the founding members of the Shomron (West Bank) town of Kedumim. This Shabbat, she spoke to the community in Central New Jersey:

“Terrorism is not caused by hopelessness, it is caused by hope. Every time the Palestinians are given hope that they will succeed in their battle to destroy Israel, terrorism increases.”

“We have been through Oslo, Wye, the Roadmap, and others. If we packed up every time someone said this is it, we would have left a long time ago and not built what we have today.”

“In this weeks parsha (weekly Torah portion), we read of Avraham buying Hebron. In other portions we read of Yaakov (Jacob) purchasing Shechem (Nablus), and Dovid Hamelech (King David) buying Jerusalem. Yet these are the specific areas which the Israeli government is trying to give up! Every day the Palestinians teach their children about their ‘historical’ attachment to the land. What are we teaching our children?”

Ms. Segal is currently on a North American speaking tour. She is a dynamic speaker, if she comes to your community it’s well worth making the time to hear her.

Cross posted to Israpundit and Mystical Paths - Kabbalah, Israel & Politics

Friday, October 29, 2004

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Just Plain Weird Pre-Election Stuff

While a little off target, these weird pre-US-election stories got my attention:

Underpants Gnomes for Kerry

The Neocon Cabal is Giving People Shingles!

Something a little more pertinent...Saudi Charities: creating orphans

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Miracles in Meron

Copyright 2004 by Akiva Marks

Miracles in Meron – Yehuda’s Story

In Petach Tikvah there lives an old yidele (old Jewish man) by the name of Yehuda. He would be very insulted to hear himself described as such, as he’s only 72 in a family blessed by longevity (his parents survived into their late 90’s), and coming from a Sephardi (Mediterranean) family that has lived in Eretz Yisroel for generations, he doesn’t speak Yiddish (and would say, “what’s a yidele?”) We were blessed to have him as a neighbor for years, though we’ve both since moved.

He was visiting our area, and joined us for Shabbat. At the evening meal, we have a custom with our children to share stories of tzaddikim (righteous people). At the appropriate time, the children raised a clamor for a story, and Reb Yehuda (again he would be insulted, “Reb”, me? I’m just a man who worked my whole life and learned a few words of Torah in the Beit Knesset [synagogue], Baruch Hashem Yishtabach Shemo [Thank G-d, Holy is his Name], stop such nonsense!) asked what the children were shouting about (their fast English being a bit much for him). I explained, he lowered his head and held his long white beard for a minute, then straightened up and said, “Children! Be quite, listen carefully, I have a story for you”…

“When my mother was a young girl, her family used to visit Meron (northern Israeli village) on Lag B’Omer (Jewish holiday). Understand, it’s wasn’t like today with a nice highway and a visitors center. No, it was a long trip on dirt paths up into the mountains. And it wasn’t like today, Baruch Hashem, Yishtabach Shemo!, with 200,000 visitors on Lag B’Omer. No, maybe 200 in a busy year, and 50 of them mekubalim (kabbalists/mystics) from Tzfat (northern Israeli village of mystics).

One year, during their visit, there was an unusual commotion with the arrival of a rich woman. This was quite unusual and the woman was obviously from outside Israel. The one thing that struck my mother was she was wearing the finest scarf my mother had ever seen. This woman came to the kever (burial site) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (author of the Zohar), which was quite a climb in those days. There was no paved path or steps, just rocks and boulders and a difficult path. Anyway, she came to the kever and prayed for a child, promising to return with him for his first haircut at 3 and promising to come with scarves for everyone. Now, it wasn’t like today, when you can go to the shuk (market) and buy a fancy scarf for 20 shekels, in those days such a scarf was more than anyone could afford. To offer hundreds, everyone was astounded. But the visit ended, my mother went home with her family, and thoughts of foreign women and scarves passed from her thoughts, even as she visited in subsequent years.

Four years later, again at the kever on Lag B’Omer, my mother was amazed to see the foreign woman return. But this time, she came with a beautiful young child. Ah, such a child, with a bright face and long beautiful hair. As she followed the difficult path to the kever, the child scampered about, brightening the path as he ran past. As she reached the kever, the boy climbed some of the rocks, though you would call them boulders, around the kever. Suddenly, there was a scream, as the boy slipped, fell, and hit his head on the rocks below. The mother turned and ran to her son. Hashem Yishmo (G-d should help!), he lay still, and the glow of life left his face as his mother picked him up. The mother screamed, and such a cry you should never hear. She picked up the child and ran into the kever, where she placed him and yelled, ‘Rabbi Shimon, I came here with a living child to fulfill a vow, and I’m not leaving without one’, and she sat and could not be moved.

As the afternoon came to a close, an elderly rav, one of the mekubalim (mystics) from Tsfat, came over to her and said, “Come, you must go, it’s time for us to pray Minchah, and we will take care of your child.” The mother was reluctantly persuaded to leave. Then the rav stood up and shouted, “everyone, OUT”, except for 8 other men that he carefully picked. He ordered the door to the kever to be closed and locked.

He placed a holy sefer (book) with the child, stood up and shouted, “Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, there are 9 men standing before you who have never prayed without a minyan (prayer group of 10 Jewish men) in their life! In the merit of Rabbi Shimon, Adonaynu Bar Yochai, and his bracha (blessing) given for this child, complete this minyan!” And they began to pray the holy Minchah (afternoon Jewish prayer).

Now, this was not an Ashkenazi minchah, starting with the Ashrei prayer. This was a Sephardi minchah, prayed slowly with concentration on each word. It begins with the Korban Mincha, the holy offerings in the Beit Hamikdash, Hashem should have mercy and it should be speedily rebuilt in our days! As they prayed, the sun fell lower in the sky, setting into evening. None could join them now, for it was past the time for those who were not already praying.

Finally they came to the Ashrei prayer, saying the holy words from Dovid HaMelech with kavana that few know. Together they reached towards the end of the prayer, two pasukim (lines) away from where a minyan is required for the holy Kaddish. Tehilat Hashem Yedaber Pe, My Mouth will utter Praise of Hashem ……... And the child answered, “Vevarach Kol Basar Shem Kadsho Le’Olam Voed”, and All Flesh Bless His Holy Name Forever! … And together, the minyan completed the holy Minchah prayer in the kever of the holy Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Reb Yehuda looked up, his eyes red and his voice choked up, with the memory of his mother telling him the story clear in his eyes. “So many years, and the story still leaves me like when I first heard it. Children”, he said, “do not doubt for a moment the brachot (blessings) of our holy tzaddikim.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

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What, Exactly, is the Conflict?

A Time to Choose by Yaakov Nathan

There are those who would describe this as a battle of Democracy versus demagoguery, freedom versus oppression, free-market versus feudalism. The other side describes it as a battle against the global purveyors of immorality and G-dlessness: between believers and infidel non-believers. Among those nations that support terrorism, the conviction of the rightness of their cause is firm and unshakeable. No matter how horrific the acts of terrorism become, no sense of moral stock-taking seems to occur. In the West, by contrast, self-doubt reigns and a tense inner struggle is occurring; but this inner struggle is no less important than the larger external struggle.

The culture of the West has two distinct roots: on the one hand, it is deeply rooted in Pagan indulgence and self-gratification; on the other hand it is connected to the Torah of Israel and its clear definitions of right and wrong and its call to pursue Justice. This mix of oil and water has been maintained for close to two thousand years, but has never and can never be reconciled. The current conflict is bringing these divergent roots to the fore, each one struggling to establish its primacy and to rid itself of the burden of other. The illusion of a marriage between them is disappearing, and within the West each individual is finding that he is being forced to choose whether he is "with us or against us." Increasingly, we are coming to realize that the grey area, the fence sitting, the trying to have it both ways, is no longer a viable option.

Read the whole article.

Friday, October 22, 2004

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Mystical Places - School of the Kabbalists in Jerusalem

Aug-26 061
Beit Knesset Beit El, Mercaz HaMekubalim

If you turn the right corner in the old city portion of Jerusalem, you may encounter the following door, over 200 years old. This door, which is made of silver and gold, reads (free translation):

School of the Kabbalists
The Holy Congregation of the Pious
House of G-d

And Your eyes will look upon us when You return to Zion with mercy

And shows 6 of the gates of Jerusalem with their titles: Gate of Zion, Gate of Yafo (Jaffa), Gate of Shehem (Nablus), Lion's Gate, Dung Gate, Flower Gate


Thursday, October 21, 2004

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Different Worlds, Different Values -

I'm proud and honored to stand here today as a Lebanese speaking for Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. As someone who was raised in an Arabic country, I want to give you a glimpse into the heart of the Arabic world.

(Some excerpts, but follow the link and read the whole article!)

The difference between Israel and the Arabic world is a difference in values and character. It's barbarism versus civilization. It's democracy versus dictatorship. It's goodness versus evil.

Once upon a time, there was a special place in the lowest depths of hell for anyone who would intentionally murder a child. Now, the intentional murder of Israeli children is legitimized as Palestinian "armed struggle". However, once such behavior is legitimized against Israel, it is legitimized everywhere in the world, constrained by nothing more than the subjective belief of people who would wrap themselves in dynamite and nails for the purpose of killing children in the name of god.

Different Worlds, Different Values by Brigitte Gabriel, Oct 20, '04 / 5 Cheshvan 5765

Monday, October 18, 2004

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Article - Kerry's Mideast Policy


Sunday, October 17, 2004

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What if the Ultimate Redemption comes tonight?

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#1 World Kabbalist Says - Moshiach Coming Very Soon

Rav Kaduri: Moshiach has Arrived

"After the Sharon government (current Israeli administration), the Moshiach will come" -- so foresees the Tzaddik, the G-dly Harav Yitzchok Kaduri, shlita. His words were reported in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot.

In the words of the Rav, the Moshiach is already in the Holy Land, and will reveal himself in the future at the moment that is set for him. The Rav revealed to his students that according to calculations of the Vilna Gaon, the war of Gog and Magog began about [three] years ago (on Hoshana Raba), and will continue for seven years. During this time, every moment is suited for the Moshiach to reveal himself. (The American War on Terror began on Hoshana Raba when the Americans went into Afghanistan.)

Rav Kaduri has lately been speaking with greater frequency on the revelation of the Moshiach, and he said that signs have already been given for this from Heaven by way of cosmic events, which indicate -- according to the secrets of Torah -- the arrival of the benevolent end of days. "The world continues on and is being sweetened" -- thus is the Rav accustomed to addressing his students.

The revelation of the Moshiach, according to the Rav, will rescue Jerusalem from the hands of Islam and Xtianity, both of which seek to overwhelm Jerusalem and wrest ownership of her away from the Jewish people; but their ways will not succeed and they will wage war against each other. The Rav revealed that hidden in the garments of Moshiach is a Magen-David which grants him the power to conduct himself in a concealed way.

As will be remembered, at the time of the meeting between Rav Kaduri, shlita and the Lubavitcher Rebbe more than 12 years ago, the Rebbe said to him that he would merit to live until the revelation of Moshiach.
(Source: , news, Hebrew site)

Friday, October 15, 2004

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A Major Step!

Says Rabbi Yochanon (Talmud Rosh Hashanah 31b) "From there [Tiberias] redemption will begin."

Sanhedrin Launched In Tiberias - Oct 14, '04 / 29 Tishrei 5765

"A unique ceremony - probably only the second of its kind in the past 1,600 years - is taking place in Tiberias today: The launching of a Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish-legal tribunal in the Land of Israel.

The Sanhedrin, a religious assembly that convened in one of the Holy Temple chambers in Jerusalem, comprised 71 sages and existed during the Tannaitic period, from several decades before the Common Era until roughly 425 C.E. Details of today's ceremony are still sketchy, but the organizers' announced their intention to convene 71 rabbis who have received special rabbinic ordination as specified by Maimonides."

Religiously and kabbalistically speaking, this is a very big deal.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

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The Battle of the House of Dovid

With Light and With Might
Two Chassidic Discourses by
Rabbi Sholom DovBer Schneersohn of Lubavitch

An important (but long) excerpt...and it will relate to my next post.

Our Sages teach: "If you see one generation after another scoffing [at G-d and His Torah], be on the watch for the approaching footsteps of Mashiach. For in the above-quoted verse it is written, 'Your enemies, O G-d, have abused...the footsteps of Your Mashiach.' And what is written immediately after that? -- 'Blessed be G-d forever, Amen and Amen.' " I.e., when one generation of scoffers follows another, we can expect the ultimate Divine blessing, the coming of Mashiach.

The first generation of scoffers are the members of the "Society for the Dissemination of Enlightenment," the founders and teachers of the above-described schools. They will educate the second generation of scoffers, who will bring on the "birthpangs of Mashiach" which the world at large and the Jewish people must undergo. This is what necessitates "the battle of the House of David," whose task is to strengthen our people's faith in the Messianic Redemption and to ease its birthpangs.

There are two levels of evil found in the time of "the footsteps of Mashiach." One category comprises "the enemies of G-d," the veteran apikorsim and maskilim, the above-described teachers and their disciples, who do not believe in G-d or in the Torah, and whose prime intent is to ridicule the mitzvos and in particular the faith in the coming of Mashiach. The second category comprises those who believe in G-d and in the Torah, but do not appreciate the holiness of the Torah.

[This category includes] those who believe that they can bring on the Redemption through their own efforts -- such as the new group that distorts the meaning of the verse, "G-d will build Jerusalem and gather in the dispersed of Israel," saying that "when the dispersed of Israel will gather, they will rebuild Jerusalem." May G-d protect us from them and theirs, and ensure that they do not bring about a new spiritual and material destruction.

The other category -- of those who "have abused ... the footsteps of Your Mashiach" -- comprises all kinds of people; in fact, it even includes quite reputable Torah scholars, whose faith in the imminent Redemption is nevertheless weak. They may well rationalize their beliefs with explanations ostensibly based on the fear of heaven. The final word, however, is that their faith in Mashiach's coming is weak.

The guiding strategy for "the battle of the House of David" is the principle, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit." The use of "might" and "power" signifies the rebuking approach of mussar; "My spirit" signifies pnimiyus HaTorah -- the inner, mystical dimension of the Torah embodied in Chassidus, i.e., the comprehension of G-dliness and the service of the heart.


Monday, October 11, 2004

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A proud Israeli Bedouin stands up for Israel

A wonderful article about an Israeli citizen, a Muslim Bedouin (nomadic desert tribesmen), on a speaking tour in the US...

A proud Israeli Bedouin.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

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The Surreal Events in Gaza

"When enemy soldiers are actively hunting armed men through the streets, using tanks, machine guns, and helicopter missiles, what kind of parent endangers his children's lives by taking them outside to mingle with the targets and watch the show? No matter how hot and humid it is, one would expect a parent to keep his children in the house under those circumstances. But not, apparently, a Palestinian parent."

Good article, The Jerusalem Post - Getting Gaza Wrong
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East versus West or Chesed versus Gevurah

So, as the previous posts discuss, most Western nations are associated with the kabbalistic attribute of Chesed, kindness and giving, and to an unbalanced degree. Similarly, most Eastern nations are associated with the kabbalistic attribute of Gevurah, strictness or severity, also to an unbalanced degree.

Many of the posts to this blog have highlighted the Arab and Islamic association with Gevurah. Further, as the posts have shown, the association is to such a degree that most readers, who I assume are coming from Western nations and societies, truly consider the actions completely incomprehensible.

And of course, from a position of chesed, it is incomprehensible. But from a position of gevurah, it's understandable.

Gevurah means Might or Power in a sense of severity. It is the attribute of Din (Law and Judgement) is the principle that seeks to control, limit, restrain. (Mystical Concepts by Schochet)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

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The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda


Monday, October 04, 2004

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Mystical Places - Jerusalem Tunnels

Aug-26 153

Aug-26 210

Sunday, October 03, 2004

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The Mainstreaming of McMysticism

2 articles on whatever it is (titled Kabbalah) that is being sold to the celebs ...

The Mainstreaming of McMysticism

Mystery Sells, What the Kabbalah Centre Actually Teaches
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Israel & Kerry's Global Test

Since the election debate ran on Sukkot, I didn't see it, and so far I haven't spent the time to track down a recorded link. However, I have spent a good bit of time reading reactions and listening to radio responses. This one point struck me, though I must say I remain confused as to the position in general...
JustOneMinute: I Didn't See This Question On Kerry's Global Test
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Unusual - or the norm?

This is a reference to an Arab talk show about regional conditions...The Opposite Direction
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The Muslim "debate" on hostage-taking and beheading

The Muslim "debate" on hostage-taking and beheading - This article should put in stark contrast the basic cultural foundational attributes between eastern philosophy and western philosophy.

Who are we allowed to seize as hostage? Who are we allowed to kill?

For the past few weeks these questions have prompted much debate throughout the Muslim world. The emerging answer to both questions is: Anyone you like!

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