Tuesday, November 30, 2004

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An excellent explanation and incredible list from Nehora.com / JudaicaPlus:

Hillulah is a kabbalistic concept regarding the extremely righteous, learned in Torah and Kabbalah, and their permanent impact to the world as and after they leave it...

Hillulah - When a person leaves the world, their last moments represent the accumulation of what they achieved in their lifetime. When a tzaddik (righteous person) reveals a great deal of spiritual light for humankind, it makes a lasting impression on the universe. Every year on the anniversary of their passing, that tzaddik's soul (nefesh) returns to our world and their energy is available to help us. This is called the day of Hillulah. When we have awareness of what we can receive on this day, study something that tzaddik revealed, light a candle in their memory, and partake in a seudah (a ritual meal) in their honor, we receive spiritual support from that tzaddik.

And the list: Tzaddikim and Days of Hillulah
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Levels of Reaching Upward

From the book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for Nov. 27th of this year...

The author references the writings of Rabbi Shalom Dov-Ber Schneersohn, the 5th grand rabbi of Lubavitch...

...he explained a subject, of which this is the core:

There are Tzadik, Yashar, Tamim and Chassid.

Tzadik is so called regarding his fulfillment of the positive mitzvot, thereby eliciting revelations inherent in the creative order.

Yashar is so called regarding his fulfillment of the negative mitzvot - which draws forth revelations beyond the creative order.

Tamim, (man of) earnestness elicits revelations (from a level of G-dliness at which) "the taste of the tree and its fruit is the same" - the co-joining of the Encompassing (soveiv) and Permeating
(memalei) modes of Divine influence.

Highest of all is Chassid, and here there are three levels:

a) Worldly affairs do not disturb or distract him. Every individual can, and every individual must, attain this level.

b) All his affairs "are G-dliness." Though this level "is not distant from you etc.," it is still not within everyone's reach.

c) The level described in Tikunei Zohar, "Who is a chassid? He who conducts himself with benevolence towards his Creator - towards His nest" - which means that he seeks to unite the Holy One blessed be He, and His Shechina within those who dwell in the lower worlds - not merely to quench the thirst of his own soul; as explained in Tanya.
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Political Analysis: UTJ & Israeli Politics, A Zero Sum Game

In watching the current government situation in Israel from the U.S. (and other Western nations), it’s often difficult to fathom what in the world is going on. One moment, a political party declares itself strongly against some government policies, and there are certainly major ones in actions right now to stand against (Withdrawal from Gaza and Secularization come to mind). The next moment, the party is willing to join the government…

Sharon suffered the embarrassing loss after Shinui lived up to its threat to bolt the coalition following Sharon's deal with the United Torah Judaism faction. He promised the UTJ 290 million shekels for education in return for support for the budget. The first vote on the 2005 budget is scheduled for Wednesday night. (IsraelNationalNews)

The Western observer needs to understand that in Israel, politics is a zero sum game. In most Western nations, parties out of power still exercise a minority role, sharing in lawmaking, influencing (somewhat) funding and decision making, and providing representation of a physical area, district, and therefore a group of people (at least some are tied to area’s, in some countries, some are not). Their people, their constituency, gives them influence.

In Israel, this is not the case. Those parties out of power are truly out of power. They represent no one but their party ideology, and when out of power have no say, no influence. Further, unlike most Western countries, where funding priorities are relatively static, even when governments change (a few percent more for schools or the arts, or for the army or for industry), in Israel funding is tied to the party in power. When your party is out of power, your school’s funding is cut, completely, 100%. So when Meretz was in power, Yeshiva’s starved, art’s blossomed. When Shas was in power, Yeshiva’s blossomed, art’s starved.

Usually, this isn’t too bad, as the government changes back and forth every few years (two on average). However, the previous government was left wing (no religious), and the current right wing government with Shiniu also has excluded the religious.

The Yeshiva’s have been starving for a long time now, and starving people will do almost anything to survive.

The question in this case is if personal survival will cost national survival. May Hashem help.

Cross posted to Israpundit and Mystical Paths

Monday, November 29, 2004

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November 29, 1947 - November 29, 2004

November 29, 1947 - 2004:

Anniversary of the UN vote on Resolution 181

2004_11_13 - un_resolution_181

Today is the (secular date) anniversary of the UN vote on resolution 181, which approved the partition of the western part Palestine into a predominately Jewish state and a predominately Arab state. (It is vital to recall that the UN partition plan referred to western Palestine, to underscore that in 1921 the eastern part was ripped off the Jewish National Home by the British Government and handed over to the then Emir Abdullah.)

The partition plan was approved by 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions.

The 33 countries that cast the “Yes” vote were: Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Byelorussia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Iceland, Liberia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, Union of South Africa, USSR, USA, Uruguay, Venezuela. (Among other countries, the list includes the US, the three British Dominions, all the European countries except for Greece and the UK, but including all the Soviet-block countries.)

The 13 countries that chose the Hall of Shame and voted “No” were: Afghanistan, Cuba, Egypt, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Yemen. (Ten of these are Moslem countries; Greece has the special distinction of being the only European country to have joined the Hall of Shame.)

The ten countries that abstained are: Argentina, Chile, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Honduras, Mexico, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

On November 30, 1947, the day following the vote, the Arabs murdered six Jews in a bus making its way to Jerusalem, and proceeded to murder another Jew in the Tel-Aviv - Jaffa area. This was a prelude to a war that claimed the lives of 6,000 Jews, or 1% of the total Jewish population in 1948. This toll is the per capita equivalent of today’s Canada losing 300,000 lives, or the US losing 3,000,000.

The object of the war, launched by the migrant Arabs in the area and the armies of Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon (with help from other Arab countries), was to "throw the Jews into the sea". As the partition map indicates, however, rather than annihilate the Jewish population, the Arabs ended up with less territory than they would have gained by peaceful means.

In addition to the bloodshed in nascent Israel, immediately after the UN vote, Arabs attacks their Jewish neighbours in a number of Arab countries, the murders in Syria’s Aleppo being the best known.

Bruised and bleeding, Israel prevailed nonetheless, with the help of G-d, various miracles, and despite infighting.

In commemoration of this miraculous political event (did you see that list of countries that agreed, could it be anything less than a miracle? This doesn't mean that I'm unaware of the various political deals, arm twisting, and even blackmail that made it happen, yet it did happen!), these Blogs have joined together in commemoration and common posting (a BlogBurst):

Anti Idiotarian Rottweiler
Arkansas Bushwacker
Armies Of Liberation
Bama Pachyderm
Blog Willy
Blue Rev
Canadian Comment
Cao's Blog
Catholic Friends of Israel
Christian Patriot
Christian Action for Israel
Clarity and Resolve
Crusader War College
Daniel Davis
God Pigeon
Harald Tribune
Heretics Almanac
Hidden Nook
History Nerd
I Love America
Instant Knowledge News
Israel Commentary
Jersusalem Posts
Leaning Right News
Letter from Israel
Mugged By Reality
Mystery Achievement
Nice Jewish Boy
Protect Our Heritage
Red Tigress
Spitball Defense
Tampa Bay Primer
Techie Vampire
Tex The Pontificator
The Autism homepage
The Conservative
The Homeland
The Seal Club
Who's Your Rabbi
Yoan Hermida
Weblog of a Wondering Jew

Sunday, November 28, 2004

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Current Events Clearly Written?

Reb Lazer writes in his blog about whether the Torah or newspapers are a better source of current info (Who needs newspapers?), with an excellent focus on current events from the Gemora and Zohar...

If you open a Gemorra, Tractate Avoda Zara 2b, and examine Tosephos commentary (beginning word, "Vearo"), you will learn that in the end of days, near the coming of the Messiah (now - these very times!), the most important two nations in the world will be the USA and Iran. I don't need the CNN or the NY Times to tell me that. Wait and see - the history of the coming years will rotate around a nuclear confrontation between Iran and the USA. I also don't need the Atomic Energy Commission or the CIA to tell me than Iranians are stockpiling tons of Uranium, and are fast on the way to producing their own nuclear fuel, while the Froggies and the Germans pretend they don't see.

Now, if I add to the knowledge of the aforementioned tractate the Zohar in parshas Shmos, I can tell you exactly how the showdown will be.

Great article, read the whole thing!

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What Luck!

My luck has been so incredible since setting up this blog and listing my email address!!! see, over there to the right --->

I've won international lotteries 44 times, and 28 former foreign dictators have contacted me to assist in moving their money to the West, giving me 25% for the privilege. As soon as I send them all my bank account information, I should be worth billions!!! Some of the most interesting new soliciations are the ones specifically targeted at Muslims, as new Islamic devotee's wish to have their former millions used in the West...

Here's 2 examples of the 63 notices I've received in the past 3 weeks:



REF Number:BIS/342-ILGI2143/04
TICKET No: 12047532274-3321
SERIAL No: 143-546981
LUCKY No: 7-23-67-22-92-44


Sir, Madam

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery Winners International programs held on the 26TH of NOVEMBER 2004 Your E-mail address attached to Ticket number 12047532274-3321 with Serial number 143-546981 drew the lucky numbers 7-23-67-22-92-44, which consequently won in the 1st category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum payout of US$ 1,000,000.00 (One Million United States Dollars). This is from a total cash prize of USD$10,000,000.00 Million shared amongst Ten International Lucky Winners in the Category A + (Plus).


Great, I'm looking forward to my millions soon! :-)


Assalamu Alaikum,
In the name of Allah the Beneficent; the Merciful,the Master of the day of Judgement , I greet you in the name of Allah. I am formally Miguel Marcos Llera from Cuba.I was born into a strong and devoted catholic family.All through my life i have been doing business and i was into gold
mining and selling.I met our creator and the meciful one Almigthy Allah when i was having a business deal with one of my partners from U.A.E and from the day i was given the Islamic bath(Tawheed) my name changed to Al Ahli Usman.On 10th Feburary 2004 myself and my family and my business partner took a flight from kish to sharjah and we flew kish airline.We had a plane crash and all members of my family including my very good friend lost thier lives.I give thanks to Allah that i am one of the lucky ones that survived the crash.The airline was under the management of one Mr Shabab Attarzadeh who was later sacked after this incidence.I had to return to my home town in cuba and i am now left with my relatives to take care of me. Owing to the fact that my relatives knows i have reverted to islam,they have left me to suffer in pain.what disturbs me most is stroke that i have.I have developed paralyses from my waist region downward i am taking this bold step to let you know that i want to leave in your care the sum of $12.8million United States Dollars i deposited in a security company for the enhancement and propagation of the word of Almigthy Allah. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a mosque,or an islamic organisation or better still a muslem that will utilize this funds the way I am going to instruct here in. My main aim of doing this is for the propagation and upholding of the message of Prophet Muhammad(peace be upon Him).I want this funds to be used for Zakah and for helping the poor in fasting in Ramadhan and performing pilgrimage.Also In the western world,you find out that the message of Allah has not yet really gotten there.The
message of Islam must not only be preached and upheld,but also our youths have to be called back to the right path and thereby reawaken their consciousness.Allah didnt send Muhammad(peace be upon him)to one particular tribe,but to mankind at large.Surah #2.254 "Allah commands His slaves to spend out of what He has provided them in His way,in charity that they may accumulate thier reward with thier lord and proprietor.It is for this reason they should hasten up to do in this world before the Day of Resurrection in which neither bargaining nor friendship nor intercession shall avail. No one can bail himself out or can he ransom himself even if he spent,for that purpose,and earth load of gold. Nor can kinship avail him.(#23.101)For now i dont want any calls from you because of the presence of my relatives that are always around me and i dont want them to know my plans.

Hoping to hear from you soonest and do notify your interest to help me to propagate islam.All praise is due to Allah Who brought everything into existence and may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon our noble Prophet Mohammad(peace be upon him) and His virtous adorers till the
day of Judgement. May Allah bless you as you respond to my plea.
Al Ahli Usman

Wow, $12.8 million to propogate Islam, and all I've got to do to receive it is send my bank account info. (insert heavy sarcasm here) How fortunate I am to have received this email!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

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Yad Vashem is now online.

It is with tears in my eyes that I write about the following (all quotes credit to Yad Vashem)...

And to them will I give in my house and within my walls a memorial and a name (a 'yad vashem') ... that shall not be cut off. - Isaiah 56:5

"Remember, both of you, that which Amalek did to us; remember everything do not forget for the rest of your lives and pass on as a holy testament to the coming generations that the Germans killed, slaughtered and murdered us..." (from the Testament of Elkhanan Elkes, leader of the Kovno Jewish Council)

Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, is the Jewish people’s memorial to the murdered Six Million and symbolizes the ongoing confrontation with the rupture engendered by the Holocaust.

Pages of Testimony

Visit it, support it, never forget.

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


Monday, November 22, 2004

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Paths of Mystical Philosophy

From the book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for Nov. 20th of this year...

There are three schools of thought {my comment- schools of thought of Jewish philosophy and mystical approach}:

1. The discipline of nullification of the material by indicating the repulsive and abhorrent nature of all that is bodily and material. This is the school of Mussar.

2. The school of recognition of the superiority of the "inner form" and the spiritual - the dimension of character-traits and intellectuality - and instruction as to how one may come closer to attaining these. This is the school of Chakira, philosophy.

3. The discipline of predominance of form over matter. This school teaches the unique quality of the material when it is purified, and the unique quality of "form" when integrated with the material; the two are to be so thoroughly fused that one cannot detect where either of them begins or ends - for "Their beginning is wedged into their end, and their end into their beginning."

The One G-d created them both, and for one purpose - to reveal the light of Holiness of His hidden power. Only both of them together will complete the perfection desired by the Creator. This is the school of (the teachings/instruction of) "Chassidus."

Sunday, November 21, 2004

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Kabbalah's Separation From Moral Values

A topic on which I intend to focus, and which was one of the starting topics of this blog, is the current facination with Kabbalah among many Hollywood (and non-Hollywood) elites, and the distinct effort to divorce the "divine technology" of Kabbalah from the moral and religious context, and how basic kabbalistic texts themselves clearly make this ridiculous.

In the article below, which serves as a nice introduction to this topic, Rabbi Boteach writes, "Madonna’s latest outburst is a further embarrassment to her spiritual masters at the Kabbalah Center who clearly have failed at inspiring within her, after a decade of studying Kabbalah, a clear sense of right and wrong."

However, Rabbi Boteach is a little off in this regard, as it's clear the Kabbalah Centre's approach removes the moral and religious context, attempting to sell (and sell is indeed the right term) just the 'divine technology' of Kabbalah...

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Responds to Madonna's Attack on the United States

(the blog offers no direct link, you may need to scroll down to view the original article)

Madonna has today called for American troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. She also accused the United States of ‘dropping tons of bombs on innocent people.”

The tragedy of Madonna sadly reflects terribly on world Jewry. Here is a woman disrespected around the world for the sleaze she almost single-handedly introduced to our culture in the 1980’s and 90’s claiming to have found Jewish spirituality in the form of Kabbalah, yet who has not changed her morality in the slightest. Madonna has demonstrated the near total impotence of faith to bring about dramatic change. She continues with her lewd, nude, and near-pornographic displays in concerts, movies, and videos, all the while claiming she is a Kabbalist, which is like a porn star claiming to be a religious nun.

Now, she has clearly shown that studying Kabbalah has also not sensitized her in any way to the value of human life. Madonna has always opposed the U.S. liberation of Iraq. She famously made an anti-war video for her American Life single, just before the American invasion, that she then withdrew.

Now, she told the BBC’s Radio 2, “I just don’t want American troops to be in Iraq, period. My feelings are ‘can we just all get out?’” What was truly offensive was her accusation that the United States indiscriminately bombed innocent Iraqis.

Has Madonna ever condemned the fact that Saddam, according to the New York Times, killed 800,000 Arabs, and 300,000 Kurds? Has Kabbalah not taught Madonna that an Arab life is as valuable as a Jewish life, a Christian life, or a Western life? Why is the United States the party she finds fault with?

Madonna’s latest outburst is a further embarrassment to her spiritual masters at the Kabbalah Center who clearly have failed at inspiring within her, after a decade of studying Kabbalah, a clear sense of right and wrong. Judaism gave the world the Ten Commandments, the world’s greatest moral code, and our religion’s objective is not to offer sentimental new-age spiritualism, but to get humans to act morally. One of the Bible’s foremost laws prohibits murder, and further commands that we dare “not sit idly by the blood of our neighbor.”

Read the whole thing (though the blog offers no direct link, you may need to scroll down).


Thursday, November 18, 2004

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Memo From the TrollHunter General

Since as many Jews (approximately 850,000) were kicked out of Arab countries as were Arabs who left present day Israel (despite being literally begged to stay), why should Arabs be permitted to return to Israel if Jews aren’t allowed to set foot in Arab countries? Can you explain why Arabs can worship freely in Israel but Jews would certainly be hung from street lamps after having their intestines devoured by an Arab mob if they so much as entered an Arab country?

It's powerful, and no less so for being posted last year. Read the whole thing....The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: Memo From the TrollHunter General

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

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Finally - A Good Two State Solution

Snap Judgment: A two-state solution

Calev Ben-David writes from Israel for the Jerusalem Post,

Two peoples sharing one land. Despite common historical roots, they are today irreversibly separated by opposing cultural, political, and religious values. Although some still dream that they can live together in peace in one nation, it is increasingly clear that nothing short of a two-state solution will resolve this conflict.

Of course, I'm talking about the United States. President George W. Bush's victory over John Kerry has opened up a major fault line between the two Americas: the so-called Republican-conservative Red States, and the Democratic-liberal Blue States.

On such key issues as abortion, gay rights, taxation, church-state separation, and America's place in the world, they are irreconcilably divided. The passions aroused by last week's election have only exacerbated their differences.

At this point, a clean break between the two may be the best answer.

Think I'm exaggerating? Maybe. But some of my old Blue State friends were so shocked by the GOP's victory that they're seriously talking about leaving the US.

According to the Pasadena Star-Union, on election night California State Senator Jack Scott told a crowd of Kerry supporters, "If President Bush does win, maybe we could secede from the Union."

The liberal on-line magazine Slate subsequently ran a feature exploring whether any legal mechanism existed by which Blue States could peacefully dissolve their political affiliation with the rest of the country.

Given America's past experience with secession, it's obvious the US is going to need some help in dividing itself into two nations: The Republican Republic of Red America, and the Democratic Union of Blue America. And this is where I think Israel has a tremendously helpful role to play.

No other country in the world has had more experience in modern times with the two-state solution process. True, we haven't actually achieved it yet; but Israel is unmatched in terms of dealing with the steps needed to get there.

Read the whole article.
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Faith & War?

Here's a link to a beautiful video about one rabbi's religious experience during war...Reb Lazer's Video, from his blog Reb Lazer's Shtibble

Monday, November 15, 2004

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Arab Internet Magazine for Women

News Of The Weird reports:

Latest Religious Messages...The Arabian Peninsula Women's Information Bureau (which is said to be an al-Qaida affiliate) announced in September that it had published the first issue of an Internet magazine, Al-Khansaa, designed to help women sort out their simultaneous obligations to their family and to the holy jihad. Among the inspirational guidelines: "The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are the sacrifice by means of which we draw closer to Allah," and "(The wife and mother) is the soldier who bears (her husband's) pack and weapon on his back in preparation for the military offensive." The first issue admonished the wife-mother to be in "top condition," to "not overindulge in eating and drinking," and to have a vast knowledge of jihad. [Middle East Media Research Institute, 9-7-04]

News Of The Weird may consider this funny, I consider this tragic. A fundamental societal change is clearly necessary before any kind of normal relationship can be had with these people, as their society continues to spiral down into a complete obsession with death. We read biblical stories of societies that sacrificed children and had no value for human life, G-d help us, today we see it on the news and on the 'net.

ABC News reports further:

Al Qaeda's 'Female Squads' Go Online - Al Qaeda’s New Webzine Rallies Women — in Veils and Robes — to Holy War

The contrast between the Web site's pretty pink-hued visuals, bathed in feminine shades of peach and ocher, and the strident, often incendiary text is stark and unsettling.

Against a pastel image of a road studded with roadblocks, disappearing into a desert, a banner in ornate Arabic script reads, "al-Khansaa," followed by a tagline, "published by the Women's Information Bureau in the Arabian Peninsula."

Named after a renowned Arab poetess of the early Islamic era, al-Khansaa is a Webzine ostensibly written by women and specifically targeted at women.

But instead of the usual feminine fare of food, fashion and furnishings, it provides tips on how to physically prepare for jihad, parenting advice on grooming future "lions on the battlefield" and discussions on the role of female holy fighters — mujahidat — in Islamic law.

"We will stand covered in our veils and abayas [all-encompassing robes favored by Saudi women], with our weapons in our hands and our children in our arms," proclaims the editorial in the inaugural issue of al-Khansaa, which first appeared on the Internet last month.

Cross posted to Israpundit and Mystical Paths.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

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Jewish / Kabbalistic End Times Sites, News???

Suddenly, several Jewish / Kabbalistic end-times sites have poped up. It's not that end-times are not discussed in traditional Jewish religious literature, or that they are not discussed in classic biblical texts (such as the writings of the biblical prophets), or that there are not references in classical kabbalistic works, there are all the above. However, they have all generally been minor points or bits of side references.

For some, the side points are starting to move front and center.

"The Hassidim used to say: Mashiach's coming will be written up in the newspapers. Today, since news is communicated through the radio as well, we can understand that when Mashiach comes, his coming will be the prime topic of the news broadcasts." -- Lubavitcher Rebbe, Sukkos, 5751 (thought for the week at Yiddishkeit.org)

R. Moshe Yess writes, "It's coming alive from the Bible! Something unprecedented is happening!" His site presents key events tied to prophecies, cool present day links (such as the ancient prophetic reference to the Taliban), and more. But, the site format and organization is extremely confusing. Try it out, www.rabbiyess.com

GogUMagog.com describes itself as "the first comprehensive and authoritative Jewish site on End Time prophecies". They (who they are is as of yet unclear, though a post refers to 'Rabbi Jacobson') are starting to post of current events tied to biblical prophecy, with a new post every few days. Further, in a bigger surprise for me, they had a column published in this week's edition of The Jewish Press newspaper. The significance being a certain mainstream acceptance/presense.

The Latter Days site ties Afganistan and Iraq war events to biblical and kabbalah prophecies. The site describes itself as being a translation and summary of a hebrew site. Interesting stuff, though the site organization is a bit confusing and difficult to work through, and the English ability of the translator leaves a bit to be desired. The material, however, makes up for it. Check it out - The Latter Days in English (or, in Hebrew).

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Blog Updates

I've spent some time over the last few days to upgrade some of the blog technology, within the parameters of what can be done using Blogger (which is where this blog is published), and tie it into the Blogosphere.

You can see most of these features scrolling down the right side of the page, near the bottom. Mystical Paths is now a listed blog in a number of blog directories, including Blogarama, Blogwise, and Technorati. It's listed on Blogstreet and Blogshares, and is part of the TTLB Ecosystem.

I've also switched the comment system from Blogger to Haloscan, which allows trackbacks, should be faster and appears in a pop-up (which I think is a little easier to manage).

Being my email address has generated some spam, I've added Spampoison (boy I hope that helps). I've also added a Creative Commons usage license, which, to quote The Truth Laid Bear, basically says "I'd appreciate if folks don't copy entire entries from the site for posting on their own pages. Excerpts are fine, of course. .... it is my stuff, ya know, for better or worse. Excerpt and link, baby: if your stuff is good enough, they'll know where the back button is, honest", and of course, if something here is worth making money from, let's talk.

For those with RSS / XML / News readers, this site can be subscribed to with the links at the very top of the page (right side). Just click the one your reader prefers (if your note sure, choose Feedburner, it will figure it out and send the right kind).

Hopefully, you'll find some of these features of interest.

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"at the death of the wicked, there is joyful song."

Frum Dad notes some nice points about Arafat: Frum Dad: Some Short Easy Pieces

Friday, November 12, 2004

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Don't Just Complain About It

From the hassidic book of guidance, HaYom Yom, From Day to Day, for November 10:

The true way is to know one's character, truly recognizing one's own deficiencies and one's good qualities.

And when one knows his deficiencies - he should correct them with actual Avoda (work/effort), and not satisfy himself merely with bemoaning them.
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Arafat the Monster

...It would take an encyclopedia to catalog all of the evil Arafat committed. But that is no excuse for not trying to recall at least some of it.

Perhaps his signal contribution to the practice of political terror was the introduction of warfare against children. On one black date in May 1974, three PLO terrorists slipped from Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Ma'alot. They murdered two parents and a child whom they found at home, then seized a local school, taking more than 100 boys and girls hostage and threatening to kill them unless a number of imprisoned terrorists were released. When Israeli troops attempted a rescue, the terrorists exploded hand grenades and opened fire on the students. By the time the horror ended, 25 people were dead; 21 of them were children.

Thirty years later, no one speaks of Ma'alot anymore. The dead children have been forgotten. Everyone knows Arafat's name, but who ever recalls the names of his victims?

So let us recall them: Ilana Turgeman. Rachel Aputa. Yocheved Mazoz. Sarah Ben-Shim'on. Yona Sabag. Yafa Cohen. Shoshana Cohen. Michal Sitrok. Malka Amrosy. Aviva Saada. Yocheved Diyi. Yaakov Levi. Yaakov Kabla. Rina Cohen. Ilana Ne'eman. Sarah Madar. Tamar Dahan. Sarah Soper. Lili Morad. David Madar. Yehudit Madar. The 21 dead children of Ma'alot -- 21 of the thousands of who died at Arafat's command.

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Opinion / Op-ed / Arafat the monster

Thursday, November 11, 2004

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On the passing of Arafat

Rabbi Yannai said: We are unable to understand either the well-being of the wicked or the tribulations fo the righteous. - Pirke Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) 4.15

Shmuel HaKatan said: When your enemy falls do not rejoice, and when he stumbles let your heart not be glad, lest G-d see and it will be displeasing... Pirke Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) 4.19

Sometimes, following the path is very challenging. :-)


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

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Absence - Blogging at Work

Sorry about the extended absence. I've been live-blogging a computer conference for work. It's not spiritual or political stuff, but if your interested, you can see it here.

Webmethods Conference Real Time Blog

Monday, November 08, 2004

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Anti-Semitism - Truly Spiritual Cause? Natan Sharansky on Hating the Jews

For Israel, and justice: Natan Sharansky on Hating the Jews

NO HATRED has as rich and as lethal a history as anti-Semitism—"the longest hatred," as the historian Robert Wistrich has dubbed it. Over the millennia, anti-Semitism has infected a multitude of peoples, religions, and civilizations, in the process inflicting a host of terrors on its Jewish victims. But while there is no disputing the impressive reach of the phenomenon, there is surprisingly little agreement about its cause or causes.

Read the whole article.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

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TV's Everywhere! You, yes you, are responsible for what you see!

Ann Althouse writes, in her excellent Althouse blog:

"TV-B-Gone. You know, I don't like TVs in restaurants and a lot of other places, but what makes someone think he should be allowed to turn off other people's TVs? Obviously, he must think the no-TV preference is so morally/aesthetically superior to the preference for TV that he has the right to reshape the environment even inside someone else's business place. Is it worse than getting a no-smoking ordinance passed? Of course it is. It's just one guy with a universal remote control on his keychain going about behaving sanctimoniously." Althouse - TV-B-Gone

My Response to Ann Althouse...

Being conservative oriented, I agree completely that a person certainly has no right to enter a private establishment and adjust it to his or her preferences. Philosophically speaking, my turning of their TV would be the same as my deciding to re-arrange the tables. It's just not my place, and if I don't like the TV on then I can just get up and leave.

However, I personally don't own a TV, don't allow one in my house, and don't allow my children to watch TV. Unfortunately, I think there's very little material suitable for a family currently playing on TV, tremendous material that clearly is not suitable, and to find the material that is requires effort and controls that generally don't exist. (As opposed to, for example, the Internet where I can apply those filters and controls that I find appropriate for my personal and family moral and religious choices.) I do consider this unfortunate, as the medium clearly offers much possibility.

So, in current society I find a bit of a problem. While indeed I can depart from the private establishment that has the TV tuned to material I consider inappropriate, now I find TV in public and semi-public establishments that I can't avoid. For example, the airports through which I travel now have TV's posted in every waiting area and gate area. The train station I use for my daily commute has the same. My physician sent me to a commercial lab for a blood test. Long wait, 50 people, and of course, TV. On an interesting side note, I find travelling through heavy traffic areas at night with many mini-vans and large SUV's now having TV's playing for their passengers to be very distracting (as the bright light and motion out their back window naturally attracts the human eye).

I find it to be somewhat reminicent of George Orwell's 1984, with TV's everywhere. My office building has them in the elevators, and at Best Buy last week I saw them now available built in to refrigerators. The only Orwellian step lacking is the law regarding turning them off. (The bi-directional Orwell feature is covered by the current proliferation of camera's.)


I consider it my personal responsibility to control what I see, hear, and read. I choose not to watch extreme violence, to see pornography, to hear rap music or other things that denigrate women or the value of people, etc. I have no problem, when public places consider it appropriate to push their viewing choices on me, to push back.

Perhaps in Madison you haven't yet seen such a proliferation, if so, your fortunate. Here in Northeast, it's hard to avoid.
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Patterns Beyond Our Control

There's a Yiddish (Eastern European Jewish Language) expression that goes like this, "Men Tracht, Got Lacht", which translates to, "Men Plan, G-d Laughts", and means that people make plans, but G-d is running the world and often changes events [or at least it seems that way to us], thereby invalidating plans.

A Lesson In a Family

I read a great story on Shabbat about a husband and wife that were having serious marital troubles. They had been married for over 10 years, yet never quite appreciated each others efforts, and finally things had reached the stage of great resentment and anger. So the husband agreed to move out, he packed his bags and prepared to leave. The morning came, and he literally couldn't get up from bed. A trip to the hospital and tests found he had contracted hepatitis. He had weeks of treatment, and spent over 6 weeks recuperating at home, with his wife caring for him in his completely disabled state. She also had to take care of household finances, bills, and deal with all the money issues (his normal area of household control). Finally, he recovered and again prepared to leave. He went to his wife, and found her in the same state (unable to get out of bed). Same trip, same diagnosis (while the family was innoculated after his diagnosis, she must have contracted it from him before, or maybe from the same original source). Same result, weeks of treatments and home recovery for many weeks. This time, the husband cared for his wife, and along the way also had to do the housework, take care of the kids, cook, school meetings, everything in her normal area of family control.

Well, as you can imagine, not only did they receive close care from each other for this long period of time, but they also came to appreciate the other's efforts within the family. When their lawyers contacted them after they both recovered to continue the divorce, they were no longer the same couple that had started the proceedings.

Lessons In The World

The U.S. election result was wonderful for what it was not. It was not chaos. It was not an indecision. It was not unclear. The outcome, while taking a little time, was clear.

Though, the evening of the conclusion of voting, all 'exit polls' stated that Senator Kerry had won. Reports showed President Bush upset, and Mr. Kerry very pleased. Yet, that was not the ultimate result. The carefully calculated and controlled polls were...wrong.

In Israel, Prime Minister Sharon has a plan and seems very certain of what he is doing relative to Gaza. Yet, suddenly Arafat is dying and the other side of the equation is changing. And, simultaneously, his own government has become very unstable beneath his feet. Succeed or fail (and it's my fervent desire and prayer that he fail), events are certainly not following his plans.

"Men Tracht, Got Lacht"

Friday, November 05, 2004

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Comments On

In ongoing efforts to improve this blog, I've decided to add Comments. You may now comment on entries, though of course the management reserves the right to delete inappropriate comments.

So, let me know what you think!
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Then again, maybe not.

A respected rabbi with which I am having a dialog responded with this about some material on the site in my previous post:

(some contextual definitions inserted, excerpted from a longer conversation)

I really feel that it is mandatory that before pushing what is proclaimed as being Kaballah Tradition, secret, key-based insights about Magog (end-time prophecy) passages...the public is entitled to some textual citations and solid explanations with much precedent which support abundantly these novelties posing presently as new insights that all prior Gedolei Torah (current and classical Jewish sages) missed.

Otherwise Torah Judaism is going to end up being a repeat of California where every quack with a "vision" dons white robes and starts a new theology.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

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End Time Prophecy and George Bush? Hmm...

Will George Bush win the election to play the role of Gog in the biblical end-of-times prophecies? This and other interesting thoughts at GoguMogog.com.

From GoguMogog.com: "Jacobson has no doubt that the United States is “Mogog”, but which of its president's is the Biblical “Gog” is another story. Here he is relying on his intiution. He explains that a careful reading of the prophetic texts clearly indicates that “Gog” is not a bad person and really does not wish to harm the Jewish people. G-d must actually entice him and force him to fulfill his cosmic role in the process which will lead to the ultimate revelation of the Messiah.

That is why Jacobson does not think Governor John Kerry makes a good candidate for the position of “Gog”. All his talk about working together with the Europeans suggests that he would happily agree to encourage Israel towards concessions on Jerusalem. He will not need G-d to “force” him into this role."


Monday, November 01, 2004

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Thoughts From the Sages for the U.S. Election

"Be wary of those in power, for they befriend a person only for their own benefit; they seem to be friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man in his hour of need." - Pirke Avos 2:3

While I personally recommend voting for Bush, I am under no illusions by either candidate.
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