Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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Bring the Apocalypse, Send a Jew to Israel?

I picked this up from News of the Weird, which picked this up from the S. Petersburg Times newspaper of Florida (original article here)...

At the end of his half-hour television segment, Joe Van Koevering urges viewers to mail in their $250 checks. He sweetens his pitch with the promise of a free "beautifully crafted" gold-plated gift.

Van Koevering isn't the host of some late-night infomercial, hawking weight loss products or get-rich-quick schemes. He is the pastor of an evangelical church in St. Petersburg.

For their $250, he tells viewers of God's News Behind the News they can help speed the apocalypse and the end of the world.

And the gift? A shofar - a traditional Jewish ram's horn blown during ceremonies, for donors to sound "the soon coming of the Lord."

Van Koevering pastors Gateway Xian Center on Central Avenue, and believes by helping Jews immigrate to Israel he's speeding Bible prophecy. So, with donations from his congregants and TV viewers nationwide, he wants to send Jews "home."

"They must be there, when Jesasas returns to that land," said Van Koevering, who also directs God's News. "And the Bible seems to indicate that we can hasten the coming of the Lord."

So far, he's raised over $40,000 for the cause.

Van Koevering cites the Bible's Book of Revelations, telling viewers Jesus will come again after the Jews return to the Holy Land. He doesn't know how many must be there, but whatever the number, he wants to get the ball rolling.

Van Koevering uses the Old Testament to bolster his Non Testament beliefs as Jeremiah 32:37 scrolls down the screen in yellow letters, "I will surely gather them from all the lands . . . I will bring them back to this place."
The funds raised through God's News go to a Xian organization based in England, the Ebenezer Emergency Fund, which helps Jews from the former Soviet Union immigrate to Israel, a practice known as making aliyah.

The Ebenezer Fund was founded in 1991 by Gustav Scheller, a Swiss businessman who said G-d told him to help gather the Jews in Israel. The organization said it has helped more than 100,000 make aliyah from the former Soviet Union.

Israel pays the cost of flights for immigrants, but Ebenezer assists them with travel expenses to consulates and with documents and food.

Van Koevering said about 80 percent of the funds raised through God's News go to Ebenezer, with the rest for overhead and the shofar gifts.

Tears fall from Van Koevering's eyes as he speaks of the "precious Jewish people" during church services and on God's News.

Full article here.

Further on, the article notes the motives are self serving, that is to bring the xian end-of-days scenerio sooner (which requires, per the article, a proper number of Jew's to be in Israel), and which by the way results in most Jew's dying.

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The State vs. The Protestors

Court Judge: Yitzhak Shioni, Vice President 24/5/2005
State of Israel vs. Shai Yishaiayu Malcha Ariel Weingruber
The defendants represented themselves.

Prosecuting Attorney: The defendants were arrested on the 15/5 during a search of the headquarters of the National Home on Reines Street. They are suspected of establishing and organizing a civil disobedience movement for struggling against the disengagement, for instigating revolt in such that they organized activities to block roads and forbidden gatherings, and as a result of that endangered human life on public thoroughfares throughout the country on the day that was designated try 'tryout.' The suspects were arrested one day prior to the demonstrations. We requested an extension of arrest and the courts gave us one day. After that we requested a further extension and the court rejected our request and ordered that the suspects be freed with restrictions. We appealed to Justice Inbar who reversed the decision of the lower court and in his decision declared that the two suspects endangered the public, and there was reasonable cause to suspect interference with the continuing investigation and extended their detention for another four days as per the original request. Afterwards we submitted a request for an addition extension last Friday and we were granted a five day extension until today. The respondents submitted an appeal to the District Court through their attorney Wertzberg which was rejected unconditionally. Yesterday they appealed to the Supreme Court and we spent the entire day there, though at the last moment they withdrew their appeal. Today we are again before the Court to request an additional extension of seven days to complete the investigation. I submit all previous protocols for extension of detention. I submit records of all the investigations that we intend to complete and that we completed from the first extension and all the extensions. I submit a document which details all the investigations which we have carried out until today and those that we wish to undertake as a result of developments resulting from the investigation as well as the cause of arrest that we are requesting. I note before the Court that I will point out to the Court whatever it wishes to see. I would like to add two points. The deeper we get into the investigation the more we discover and the wider the circles get of people we need to investigate. In general there is no cooperation, certainly not from the suspects who refuse to respond because they claim that this is a political investigation, and because of this the police are experiencing difficulties in conducting an investigation in these circumstances. The suspects have been interrogated twice. Since the last extension they have not been interrogated. We have detailed the investigations that we intend to carry out in the future, and let me add just two things in conclusion. First, since the arrest we have spent almost every day in court because of one action of ours and two of theirs. Last Friday, Sunday, and yesterday we were rushed to the Supreme Court twice for no purpose. Lastly, concerning the cause for arrest, this has been before the lower court twice, and there it was decided that the activities that the suspects intend to perform in the future endanger the public. This in light of the fact that the 'tryout' is a disturbance of public order and future activities will be determined on the basis of prevailing conditions. Tomorrow or any other time they may decide again to block thoroughfares, and the local court accepted the police's argument that there is a possibility that they will disrupt further investigations if they are released...

Read the whole thing, and the defendent response, here.

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Map of Israel - Attack Ranges

For those who haven't seen it, the following map from SaveGushKatif.org says alot with a visual picture. Note the distances marked from the PLO areas, those are miles, as in :

6 miles to Netanya
10 miles to Hadera
12 miles to Tel Aviv

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Who are the Palestinians?

Elder of Ziyon has been searching through the Palestine Post online archive (which can be found here), and using both the Palestine Post and Washington Post shows that:

I don't think that anyone can seriously doubt that today there are a people who could accurately be described as "Palestinian."

But there is an incredible hue and cry whenever people say, accurately, that there were no such people that could be distinguished from the rest of the Arab world until relatively recently.

There is a very simple test that can prove which claim is more accurate, whether the Palestinian people have existed as such historically or not. The test is to look at newspaper archives from before the establishment of Israel and see how they used the word "Palestinian."
As is clear, at least in Palestine, the word "Palestinian" usually referred to Jews, not Arabs.
So while the word Palestinian as referring to Arabs who lived in the area does seem to predate the 1964 establishment of the PLO, it is not by much - and it seems pretty clear that the impetus towards the establishment of the PLO came from Egypt and other Arab states, not from the Palestinian Arabs themselves.

It's an interesting piece of research, stop by and check it out (includes the original newspaper clippings).

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Places to visit, virtually speaking.

Just a reminder, I maintain, on the right side of the blog's web page, an Interesting Links section, with links to places worth visiting.

Recently added links are:

Elder of Ziyon - An interesting blog on historical and current gross inaccuracies frequently portrayed about Israel. (Also the place where I got the link for the Western Wall picture now on this blog's header.)

Manhigut Yehudit aka Jewish Leadership - If the world and Israel are operating via Derek Teva (the natural path, according to the laws of nature), this is the way, perhaps the only way, that Israel's politics and politicians will get fixed. Well worth your consideration and support.

A Crisp Elul Morning - several kabbalistic and ethical books being translated and commented upon (from Hebrew) on a daily basis.

And a reminder of some of this blog's features:

Don't forget to look over to the right and scroll down, you may find some of these features there of interest:

Make a Donation - Worthy Charities that need your help!
Key Posts - Some historical posts on Kabbalah (not updated in a while though).
Search - Search just this Blog's posts for a particular topic.
Background Music - Set the mood for the posts.

Newsreader - Subscription...

If you're not familiar, blog's offer the ability to be cataloged, kind of like an email program, by a Blog Reading Program or Blog Reading Website. This can make the task of reading multiple blogs simpler (instead of visiting each site, you just get each site's article's listed and click any that catch your attention).

If you use Bloglines, MSN Blog Reader, My Yahoo Blog Reader, or Newsgator, just click the right button to add this blog. If you use a Blog Reading Program, click the Add to my Newsreader label. If you have your own blog or use Blogrolling to keep your blog list, click Add to Blogrolling.

Yes this can be confusing. Personally, I like this program, Sharpreader (click to get it). It's simple to use and free. For Blog Reader websites, I like Bloglines (click here). It's also free to use.

A note on blog update emails from Bloglet. I sometimes post an article as a Draft, touch it up and post it later. Seems that Bloglet emails are picking up draft articles. Sorry for any confusion this may cause (as the articles aren't too readable when their in draft form).

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Monday, May 30, 2005

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Question: Is it ok to study the Zohar?

I was sent a kind but surprisingly difficult question...(edited to retain meaning but adjusted for brevity and to remove any identification)...

I've been studying Judaism for a while. I don't think I will convert, and I'm focused on the 7 laws G-d gave Noah. I've seen questions about studying the Zohar, and while it's not my focus (or serious interest) right now, is it allowed for me?

While question was brief, forgive me for giving a long answer. Further, at the start let me note that I am not a rabbinic authority who decides such issues. I think I can provide some thoughts on the issues around the question but should not be relied upon as an authoritative answer. If any authoritative readers note any mistakes here, please let me know and I will correct (or even remove) this post.

Important (and serious) disclaimer over, here we go (much of this is from a response to a similar question I gave on another blog)...

Through the course of history, there have been nine major famines; immediately before the Messianic Age, there will be a tenth. But the hunger pangs will be of a different sort, as the prophet (Amos 8:11) said, "Behold, days are coming, said G-d, the Lord, when I will send hunger to the world; not a hunger for bread, and not a thirst for water - but to hear the words of G-d." (Bereishit Rabba on Gen. 25:3, Gen. 40:3, and Gen. 64:2)

Eliyahu (Elijah) the Prophet said to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (author of the Zohar): Many people down below will derive nourishment from this book of yours [the Zohar], when it will be revealed [finally] in the last generation, before the End of Days. But it has been already been revealed for hundreds of years!? Close to the Messianic Age, however, even the deepest passages will be explained. (Tikunei Zohar, end of Tikun 6, Kisei Melech, ibid.)

(Quotes from KabbalaOnline.Org)

In discussions of End of Days prophecies according to Jewish tradition, Rabbi Yess (his somewhat confusing site here) brings this known kabbalistic idea...

Whenever a great influx of Holiness occurs it is opposed by spiritual impurity...

It should be apparent to anyone that if you are given the wrong directions you will never get to your proper destination...

Religion is a real good business. Convince enough people that you know all about Him (Upstairs) and that you speak with knowledgeable authority about G-d’s Wishes and you have made yourself a power to be reckoned with in any society. Lotsa money in it too.

We live in a confusing time. More information that we could possibly absorb in a lifetime available at our fingertips. War. Cultural conflicts. Mass facts and news from around the world.

Kabbalah is an exceedingly complex philosophical-religious-mystical-theological system. It's sufficiently complex that it has historically recommended that people not become involved in it until age 40 and having a firm and complete foundation and grasp of Jewish religious texts [specifically the Tanach (old testament and prophets), Talmud (jewish legal-philosphical-oral tradition), and Shulchan Aruch (Jewish Law)]. It's sufficiently complex that traditionally there was concern that those without the complete grasp of the above could not approach the depth and complexity without getting hopelessly confused, particuarly in the spiritual sense. This being the case, the knowledge was historically kept to limited circles.

However, given the complexity, it's cool stuff. In today's world, science presents itself as knowing all (except when it doesn't, see this). All that G-d, religion and soul stuff seems a bit old fashioned.

Along comes Kabbalah, an ancient mystical system, that has a thorough, complete and complex spiritual system that rivals the awe inspiring complexity of science. You got quarks and super-strings, we got sephirot and divine energy channels. You've got the big bang, universal expansion and curved space, we've got tzimtzum (divine energy contractions), the Or En Sof (the infinite light), and the Kav (the light-channel from the creator and the infinite to the finite).

Finally, G-d can stand on His own against science. And that's a good thing. Suddenly, the majority of people who have successfully been convinced that G-d is passe', that faith and belief was no longer enough in our complex scientific well defined over-stimulated world, have an option to hold their own and bolster faith and belief.

But, "Whenever a great influx of Holiness occurs it is opposed by spiritual impurity". Free will requires an option, reward requires difficulty in achievement.

It's Complex

It's pretty difficult to understand DNA. Try explaining it to a 10 year old (I have, it's not easy, don't think I've succeeded yet). There's a series of foundational concepts that are absolutely required to get even the most simplistic understanding.

Kabbalah is no different. This doesn't stop some salespeople from trying to sell advanced stuff without noting the foundation necessary for understanding or use.

It's Mixed Up

Kabbalah is different things, depending on who you buy it from. Are there people now making a living off selling this stuff? Definately. Any businessman wants to increase his sales. Package the material for maximum sales potential. Are there unscrupulous people doing their best to line their pockets? Yep.

It's difficult to sort the quality material, the true material, from the well packaged fluff. Even worse, the fluff is not hollow, since the origin is solid, but it's not solid on it's own (or worse, much worse, perhaps it's contaminated, mixed with improper concepts for repackaging or because it's not clearly understood by the seller).

This is the best way to destroy the 'hope' of Kabbalah in improving the world and sowing maximum confusion. Suddenly, Kabbalah, the ancient Jewish mystical tradition of purity and holiness is selling Sexual Energy Kabbalah Candles???

Kabbalah can help us understand our relationship with the Creator, the world, our own soul and spiritual nature. But, both the current sales ploys going on and the complexity can also confuse you, obscure the truth, or worse lead in the wrong direction. There is a Creator, with whom you can connect directly. Kabbalah can give you some techniques for doing this, or rather for upgrading communication channels.

Unfortunately, most of what's being sold is designed for sales, not for effect. Much of it is downright spiritually dangerous.

So, what's the proper path? For Jew and Non-Jew?

Every person is created B'Tzelem Elokim, in the image of G-d. Not of course physically, but in the ability to make decisions, do things, and communicate.

Why should G-d listen to us? What have we done that you deserve being listened to? G-d does constantly, creates and maintains the world. To be the image of G-d, one must also make a point of doing. Of course, we don't have unlimited resources, we have to work with what we have.

Give a hand. Give a smile. Give a kind word. Help a friend. Help a neighbor. Help a stranger. Give some charity. Help a charity. Do good things (meaning, be kind and help other people). Pray to G-d, speak to him directly. If your not Jewish, understand what's expected of you (good resource click here). If you are Jewish, also understand what's expected of you (yes it's different, click here).

Whoa, you say, wait a minute. We have lives, work, families, children, parents, responsibilities. Sorry, one doesn't preclude the other, it may even facilitate it. Put those good actions in the context of work, home, family, neighborhood.

Then, having given, having helped, pray. You have made yourself a partner in the goodness of creation, you've earned the right to speak with the main partner. In Kabbalistic terminology, you've created a vessel to receive and initiated an arousal from below, which should draw an arousal from above.

That's bringing kabbalistic concepts into your life.

Regarding the actual study of the Zohar or other kabbalistic works, I have read that the great sage, saint and kabbalist master Rabbi Yitzchok Kaduri has said that this is inappropriate for non-Jews. However, a some months ago I saw this statement by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (respected ultra-orthodox hassidic Jewish rabbi and kabbalist in Israel):

Obviously, spreading the wellsprings of Kabbalah to these extremes means specifically addressing every single Jew, regardless of level of observance or commitment to the Torah. Not only that, but even non-Jews, who also require the wisdom of Kabbalah in order to participate in the redemption in a compassionate and merciful manner, should also be addressed and taught those parts of the wisdom that pertain to them.

Trying to square this circle myself from what these sages have said, for non-Jews who are interested in Kabbalah, it would appear that actual study of the Zohar is inappropriate, however learning about and incorporating appropriate kabbalistic concepts into one's life and prayers is ok. For Jews, it's clearly inappropriate as well without the right foundation, but again certain kabbalistic concepts can be incorporated into the path of improving one's relationship with G-d.

Give the quantity of material on the market nowadays, it's critically important to know whether the source is kosher (real, valid and authoritative) and whether it's appropriate for your current level of knowledge.

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Sunday, May 29, 2005

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Havale Havawlim #22

Welcome to Havale Havawlim, Vanity of Vanities, (who's name and English pronounciation Elder of Ziyon argues about here), which is the Jewish blogosphere's weekly Blog Carnival, rounding up what's happening in our little corner of the blogo'sphere.

This week is Parshas Bamidbar (the Torah portion starting the book of Numbers), and on this coming Shabbos we bless the month of Sivan (according to the Jewish calendar), which is the 3rd month, the month of the giving of the Torah (the holiday of Shavuos), which is a 'threefold light' given to a 'threefold people'. And those people are never at a loss for things to say...

Torah is always a key topic in the J'sphere (as in Jewish life). We lead off with a parsha of the week commentary by a most unusual source, DovBear on the Parsha, quoting from the Lubavitcher Rebbe! If this isn't a sign of the imminent geulah, I don't know what is. In discussing mitzvot, Critical Mastiff reminds us about the mitzva of maintaining your health, while Hirhirum posts an essay on the various religious-zionism positions.

In the prophetic and mystical department, Lazer Beams explains that Jews indeed don't have horns and an opinion that Gog u Magog is over (may it be so!), End of Days explains the Secret of the Vav in Hashem's Name, and A Crisp Elul Morning delves into desires from Ashlag's Intro to the Zohar.

In honor of Lag B'Omer this week, A Simple Jew has a saying of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai from the Gemora (Talmud), and so does Cosmic X, Mystical Paths links to a Lag B'Omer in Miron video, and Treppenwitz has Lag B'Omer bonfire pictures!

In Israeli news and views, Chayyei Sarah has a beautiful way to help Israel, Smooth Stone has a series of Did You Know info about Palestine, Cosmic X has a series about the Israeli government considering legalizing gambling (G-d forbid!), here, here, and here, and Elder of Ziyon has posted a series of newspaper clippings from the 1930's about historical illegal Arab immigration to Palestine.

Yiskadal v'Yiskasah, with the saying of Kaddish we note the passing of a surprising number of J'blogs in the past few weeks: leaving the J'sphere are MOChassid, Mis-Nagid, Godol Hador, AddeRabbi, Pravda Ne'eman, and OrthoSceptic. All were highly opinionated, with comments running high. All (except MOChassid and Pravda Ne'eman) also chose to delete their content, leaving them only a memory. While not all will miss their opinions, they're voices added to the rich content of the Jewish'sphere (everybody loves a good argument). Bloghead has her own thoughts about it here.

As some have left, a hearty Mazel Tov goes to those new voices that have joined in and/or are standing out from the crowd. Yeranen Yaakov joins with this Gog u Magog round up, Yeshayah 62:1 (for Zion's sake) comments on the media contrasts reporting Palestinian versus Israeli reactions to the visit by Mrs. Bush (which may not have been what you heard), Ha-Mikdash (the Temple) is dedicated to issues relevent to Kohanim (the Jewish priestly class), a regular commentor on the always controvertial DovBear has opened her own doors at AskShifra, the Algemeiner Journal has come to life as a Yiddish language blog, and as mentioned last week The Hall aka Steg is a bit odd with no interesting posts but a really interesting J'blog link list in Yiddish/Hebrew with interpreted meanings. Check it out.

Speaking of (or in) Yiddish, Chasidei Umot HaOlam (the righteous among the nations) notes an interesting find, the Yiddish Radio Project.

In other changes around the Jewish'sphere of note, Mirty Get's Married has settled in and is now Mirty's Place and gives us this heart rending story about her brother, the Renegade Rebbetzin has restyled hers and tells us about doing the hospital clergy visit thing, and Mystical Paths has a cool new header and an unusual post with A Wifely Answer from Heaven.

Various opinions leads to interesting arguments and cross-blog interactions, especially on Torah topics: Soccer Dad takes Dovbear to task over the issue of the Ramban and Miracles / Magic, Mirty's Place questions AddeRabbi over trees, while Hirhurim takes himself to task for taking on the positions of the Satmar Rav.

Regarding Havale Havawlim, this Jewish blogosphere round-up, last week's edition can be found here at Rachack, next weeks edition and a full list of all past editions is here at Soccer Dad. Two weeks from now, Mirty's Place is the place to find it. Soccer Dad is the man to see for suggested entries or round-up info as well. See the links in the top left corner of his blog.

Shevua Tov, a good week, and as we move forward in the holy mitzva of counting of the Omer..."Teach us to count our days, that we shall acquire a heart of wisdom." Tehillim (Psalms) 90:12 -- If we will learn to count our days, to make sure that they do not go to waste, we will then increase wisdom into our hearts. (Rav Zalmen Sorotzkin, z"l - from here)

May we meet again for only good occasions and good news!

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A Baal Shem Tov Story - Following your desires

It's a custom to tell stories of tzaddikim (the righteous sages) during melava malka (the post-Shabbos meal). The custom among hassidim is to tell Baal Shem Tov stories, or stories of other rebbaim (grand rabbi's). Sheva Tov (a good week)...

A Baal Shem Tov story. Many miraculous stories are told about the saintly Baal Shem Tov (literally the Master of the Good Name), who brought the path of hassidus, great insights into kabbalah, and hope to a generation of embattled Jews (teaching that every soul has a immeasurable and special value and every person should be treasured). Are all the miraculous stories the literal truth? Of course not. But could they be, with such a saintly man, literally yes...

Once as The Baal Shem Tov sat with his students on Shabbat, he told them them to shut their eyes and place their arms on each other around the Shabbat table. The Baal Shem Tov then placed his arms on the shoulders of the two students flanking him.

Suddenly, he showed them a startling vision — an ox, seated by a Shabbat table.
Clad in the finest Shabbat garments, the ox was busy gorging itself on the sumptuous Shabbat feast that crowded the table. As the vision disappeared, the disciples looked at the Baal Shem Tov in surprise. What was an ox doing at a Shabbat table?

"You just saw a real person," explained the Baal Shem Tov. "This individual is dressed in the best Shabbat clothes and is seated before a delectable meat dish. Yet, having totally forgotten about the true import of Shabbat, this individual is totally obsessed with relishing every bite of the meat. His desire consumes him, transforming him into the very beast he is bent on eating. Hence, he has become an ox himself...."

The Baal Shem Tov then concluded with his oft-spoken observation: "Man is found where his desire is found."

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Friday, May 27, 2005

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A Wifely Answer from Heaven

(This is the kind of post that DovBear will like.)

My wife (may she live and be well!) was at our children's yeshiva (school) and was confronted by a major community leader and rabbi...."Mrs. Akiva, I understand you're family was our-sub-sect, then you married your husband (implied, not-our-sub-sect-type, G-d help us!), what happened?", he asked in earnest.

My wife answered, "Ask the Abister (yiddish for Almighty)!".

"Huh?" he replied.

"Ask the Abister, the maker of all shidduchim (matches). Doesn't it say in the Gemora (Talmud) that 40 days before a child is born a Bat Kol (a heavenly voice) calls out and declares 'the son of so-and-so will be married to the daughter of so-and-so'? You want to know how I ended up married-to and part-of my-husbands-sub-sect? Go ask the matchmaker in Heaven!" said my wife.

No answer, he was just a bit stunned. And I'm very proud to be married to her.

Unfortunately, when the Yetzer Hara (the evil inclination) comes to those occupied with Torah and mitzvot, he doesn't come and say 'go steal' or 'eat non-kosher food' (for observant Jews). He looks for the points of weakness...'they're not your sub-sect, they're not your people or group or ...', they're the other and therefore must be less than us, or doing it wrong.

Love for your fellow, consideration for the good and G-dly image of all of us, is the antidote to much evil, a great and unbelievable power if actually utilized.

I have learned so much and seen so much good living in different communities, having an opportunity to interact with a wide variety of orthodox Jewish sub-sects (and others was well) Unfortunately, many have not and have a limited view of what's the right path (their own path of course). This is a weakness that is frequently exploited and is the opposite of Achus (Unity).

When people stand together, with one heart and one mind (especially pertitent coming to the holiday of Shavuos), they can accomplish tremendous things.

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Know what is above you

The Alter Rebbe (the first grand rabbi of Chabad hassidus) once said [during those years that he would say short Maamarim]: "Know what is above you."

Know that everything "above" in the supernal Sefirot and Partzufim (Divine emanations and configurations), all derives "from you"; it all depends on man's service. **

  • Manifestations of the Divine Emanations, whether Chessed (Kindness) or Gevura (Severity), are determined by Man. Man's actions are independent and real, and from Above, G-d reacts to Man, "reflects" Man's actions.

    Man may be insignificant from one perspective, but his importance is cosmic from another. "I am dust and ashes" expresses one view; "The universe was created on my account" expresses the second.

From HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 13th day of the month of Iyar, the 28th day of the Omer.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

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New Blog Function: Email Updates

If you'd like to get a nightly email of updates from this blog (containing excerpts from the day's postings), please notice the new option the right right side (over there -----> > > > ).

It says, "To get email updates of new posts, enter your email address here:", has an empty box and a [subscribe] button. Just type in your email address and press the button.

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Brief Bnai Noach Info

I received a basic question that in essence is, "What place for non-Jews in the mystical path?" While I intend to go into this in some depth in the near future (but with Lag B'Omer tonight I'm somewhat preoccupied at the moment), here's some brief starting info...

And God spoke unto Noah, and to Noah's children with him, saying: 'And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you.' -Berashis (Genesis) 9:8-9

For those who are unfamiliar, the Torah and our sages have taught that just as G-d made a covenant with the Jewish people, the above reference indicates he made a covenant with all people.

What is to covenant of Noach (Noah), the obligations of all mankind?

While not my area of specialty, the sites below focus on this:

Noahide.org - The 7 Laws of Noah
The Rainbow Covenant Foundation
Agudat B'nai Noach
Chasidei Umot HaOlam - The Righteous Among the Nations (a.k.a. HasidicGentile.org)

The following info is from Chasidei Umot HaOlam (reference here):

According to the sages of the Talmud, there are 70 families with 70 paths within the great Family of Man. And each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet, there is one universal basis for us all.

At the dawn of human history, G-d gave man seven rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path.


The term "Hasidic Gentile" is derived from a classic commentary by the Rambam, Rav Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), in The Laws of Kings 8:11: "Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these Seven Mitzvos [commandments] and is precise in their observance is considered one of the chassidei umos ha'olam ["Hasidim of the nations of the world"]--the righteous among the nations--and will merit a share in the
World to Come."

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Audio Post: Handling the Difficult Moments

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A word for Lag B'Omer

On Lag Ba'Omer, about 5604 (1844), the Tzemach Tzedek (the third grand rabbi of Chabad hassidus) related this teaching of the Baal Shem Tov:

  • "It is written, `For you (Israel) shall be a land of desire, says the L-rd of Hosts'. Just as the greatest scientists will never discover the limits of the enormous natural resources which the A-lmighty has sunk into the land ("everything came from the earth"), neither will anyone ever find the limits of the great treasures which lie within Israel - G-d's `Land of desire.'"

  • The Baal Shem Tov concluded:

  • "I want to make Israel yield the kind of produce which the A-lmighty's `land of desire' is capable of yielding.

from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 17th day of Iyar, the 32nd day of the Omer.

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Audio Post: Thoughts on Lag B'Omer and News Update from Israel

this is an audio post - click to play

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

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Sanhedrin on Disengagement. Sanhedrin??? They're still around?

While this has been around for a little while (and was recently forwarded to me again by a friend), what struck me about this is that while it may seem nothing is really going on here (so, a Sanhedrin, who authorized a group of guys to stand up and call themselves a Sanhedrin), notice the response.

If some inappropriate / unauthorized organization started running around calling itself the Sanhedrin, you'd expect the Gedolim (Jewish religious Torah leaders) to stand up and start screaming about it.

Heard anything from Rav Kotler in Lakewood? Rav Elishav in Bnei Brak? Rav Yosef in Jerusalem? Rav Eliyahu in Jerusalem? The Chief Rabbinute in Israel?

As they say, the silence is deafening.

The momentum is building simply by it's continued existance and, by their silence, the tacit approval of the Gedolim. More is going on here that meets the eye.

The reestablished Sanhedrin has concluded extensive deliberations on the disengagement plan, rejecting it as a contradiction to the Torah of Israel.

The current format of the Sanhedrin is the renewal of the historic Sanhedrin, Judaism's highest legal-religious tribunal during Holy Temple times. The 71-man assembly convened in one of the Holy Temple chambers, and existed from several decades before the Common Era until roughly 425 C.E. The renewed body was launched last year in Tiberias, and convenes in Jerusalem.

Following an intensive study and debate on the issue and its halakhic [Jewish legal] implications, the Sanhedrin drafted a declaration Monday, stating inter alia:

* The disengagement plan, involving the uprooting of Jewish communities in Gaza and Samaria and the abandonment of these areas to a foreign entity, is in direct contradiction to the Torah of Israel, and is null and void. Future governments of Israel will have to re-conquer the areas in question.

* The decision to implement the uprooting will cause large numbers of Jews to transgress many of the Torah's commandments.

* The Government of Israel and the Knesset, in their present form and power structure, are institutions that have no authority according to Jewish Law to render decisions that contradict the Torah of Israel.

* No Jew is permitted to cooperate with the program of uprooting, in any way whatsoever.


There's more, the full article is here.

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A Baal Shem Tov Story - Light

A Baal Shem Tov story. Many miraculous stories are told about the saintly Baal Shem Tov (literally the Master of the Good Name), who brought the path of hassidus, great insights into kabbalah, and hope to a generation of embattled Jews (teaching that every soul has a immeasurable and special value and every person should be treasured). Are all the miraculous stories the literal truth? Of course not. But could they be, with such a saintly man, literally yes...

Once before the Baal Shem Tov was expected to arrive, his students tried to prepare the room accordingly for their teacher. Well aware that the Rebbe was exceedingly fond of light, they were most distraught to find only a solitary candle in the room. They sought and searched for additional means of light, but to no avail.

The Baal Shem Tov entered the room and surveyed the gloom with displeasure. "Jews need light!" he exclaimed. "My entire goal in life is to bring light to fellow Jews!"

His students lowered their eyes in shame. "We couldn't find anything more than a single candle," they apologized.

"Go outside and snap off some icicles hanging from the roof," instructed the Baal Shem Tov. "Bring them inside and light them!"

His students rushed outside, grabbing the large icicles that hung on the sides of the roof. After bringing them inside, the students held a match to the icicles and watched in awed amazement as the frozen water caught flame and burned brightly!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

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Lag B'Omer in Miron! Video and info.

(Note this is an old post, for 2006 info see links at the bottom.)

Lag B'Omer is this Thursday night, the evening of 5/26 (2005).

Video - Lag B'Omer in Miron - Click here.
Live video links for 2006: here.

Lag B'Omer, the 33rd day of the Omer Count, is a festive day on the Jewish calendar, celebrated with outings (on which the children traditionally play with bow-and arrows), bonfires, and other joyous events. Many visit the resting place (in Miron in Northern Israel) of the great sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, whose yahrzeit the day marks.

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai was the first to publicly teach the mystical dimension of the Torah known as the "Kabbalah", and is the author of the basic work of Kabbalah, the Zohar. On the day of his passing, Rabbi Shimon instructed his disciples to mark the date as "the day of my joy." So each Lag B'Omer we celebrate Rabbi Shimon's life and the light he shed on the Torah.

Lag B'Omer also commemorates another joyous event. The Talmud relates that in the weeks between Passover and Shavuot a plague raged amongst the disciples of the great sage Rabbi Akiva "because they did not act respectfully towards each other"; these weeks are therefore observed as a period of mourning, with various joyous activities proscribed by law and custom. On Lag B'Omer the dying ceased. Thus Lag BaOmer also carries the theme of Ahavat Yisrael, the imperative to love and respect one's fellow.

Live video links for 2006: here.
And the latest charity opportunities, here.

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Photo: Generation's Past

(Click photo for a larger version.)

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Instruction in All Things

Our teacher the Baal Shem Tov said:

Every single thing one sees or hears is an instruction for his conduct in the service of G-d.

This is the idea of Avoda, (divine) service, to comprehend and discern in all things a way in which to serve G-d.

from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 24th of the month of Iyar, the 24th day of the Omer.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

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Just for a favor

The Alter Rebbe (the first grand rabbi of Chabad chassidus) received the following teaching from the Tzadik (saintly) Reb Mordechai, who had heard it from the Baal Shem Tov:

  • A soul may descend to this world and live seventy or eighty years, in order to do a Jew a material favor, and certainly a spiritual one.

from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 5th of the month of Iyar, the 20th day of the Omer.

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What's a Jewish Bible?

I have previously and just now received questions about where to get, and what is, a Jewish bible...

One question was: When it is said that one have a firm foundation on jewish texts and the old testament, does that mean the old testament as is, or the old testament uncoded as in the Zohar. What I'm asking is, am I supposed to read the bible? Like the actual bible? Keep in mind that I don't have a lot of bible reading history. So, am I suppose to start reading it and knowing it? And as far as jewish relgious texts besides the Torah, where am I suppose to get those and would I really understand them anyway?

Associated question, why read the bible if it is a code? Why not just study Zohar?

Another was: I'm (non-Jewish religious denomination), but have always loved the Jewish bible. I am trying to find a place to buy the Hewish Bible with Hewish references. I have only a xian bible and websites say that they were mistranslated.

In Hebrew and among the Jewish community, the bible (or 'old testament' in xian terminology) is called either the Tanach (ch = gutteral hebrew letter het) or a Chumash (again ch = gutteral-H). Both are abbreviations, Tanach meaning Torah + Prophets + Writings, Chumash meaning The 5 Books of Moses (and is often sold as 5 separate physical volumes). (Sometimes the word Tanach is written as Pentatuch in English, which I have no idea what it means but it refers to the same thing.)

PaRDeS : Each passage of the Torah is subject to 4 general levels of interpretation/understanding. The four level of interpretation are called: P'shat, Remez, D’rash & Sod. The first letter of each word P-R-D-S is taken, and vowels are added for pronunciation, giving the word PARDES (meaning "garden" or "orchard"). Each layer is deeper and more intense than the last, like the layers of an onion.

  • P'shat (pronounced peh-shaht' - meaning "simple"): The p'shat is the plain, simple meaning of the text.

  • Remez (pronounced reh-mez' - meaning "hint"): This is where another (implied) meaning is alluded to in the text, usually revealling a deeper meaning.

  • D’rash (pronounced deh-rahsh' also called "Midrash"): This is a teaching or exposition or application of the P'shat and/or Remez.

  • Sod (pronounced sawd or sood [like "wood"] - meaning "hidden" or "secret"): This understanding is the hidden, secret or mystic meaning of a passage.

Insights from the Zohar only assist at the level of Sod, hidden or secret understanding. However, to even begin to understand that level you have to understand the building blocks, the previous levels.

In a Jewish bible in English, the Word is printed along with a translation, and commentary, detailed insights and understanding are provided by great and holy Jewish scholars, sages and saints. Often the commentary provides understanding that could not be gained from the Word alone, bringing information from other reliable sources as well as incredible levels of in-depth study of the text. Some of these commentaries are considered so basic to Jewish understanding of the Word that (almost) no Jewish bible is printed without them.

Here's an example of how a Jewish bible in English looks, click here, and here, and here (scroll down on this one). This is no simple bible story when accompanied by the levels of understanding.

Here's another example (different edition).

And here's a full downloadable chapter (PDF format, Adobe Acrobat reader required).

The Zohar does not decode the Torah, it provides the 4th level of understanding. But how can you grasp the 4th level if you've never seen the first 3?

I recommend these Chumash versions:

The Stone Edition from Artscroll publications. Hebrew/English, classic rabbinical commentary.
The Gutnick Edition from Kol Menachem. Hebrew/English, includes hassidic insights, separate volumes.

Both are excellent and very popular among the English speaking orthodox Jewish community. There are a variety of others available as well (here's a Jewish book store link.)
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The Time before Moshiach

Last time Rabbi Lazer Brody was on the (streaming) radio, I spoke with him about what's going on in Israel, how do we understand what's happening with the government (and by extension, the power-elites in Israel)? He responded by pointing me to this... (thanks to A Simple Jew for help in locating it):

The Rebbe (Rabbi Nachman of Breslev) said, "Great atheism is coming to the world."

Many times he told us that the world's many sins are resulting in great disbelief. Happy is he who is strong in his faith.

The Rebbe said that the fact that he is predicting this will not prevent this G-dlessness and confusion from increasing.

Thousands of years ago, Daniel (the biblical prophet) and others predicted that this would happen in the days before the Messiah (Moshiach, the righteous redeemer). They said (Daniel 12:10), "Many will purify themselves and be refined, and make themselves shining white. The wicked will be evil, and only the wise shall under­stand."

It has already been predicted that there will be great temptations before the Messiah's coming, where "many will purify themselves and be refined, and make themselves shining white" in faith. Fortunate indeed is one who resists these temptations and remains firm in his belief. He will be worthy of all the good promised to us by the prophets and sages of old.

Knowing full well that this has already been pre­dicted, it would seem ridiculous for one to succumb to any temptation to abandon his beliefs. It would seem obvious that every Jew would have enough intelligence to remain firm. But still it is a great trial. Many will fall away, and for this reason it is written that "the wicked will be evil."

The Rebbe said, "Still, I am revealing this for the sake of the few faithful who will remain strong in their belief. They will certainly have great conflicts. But when they see that this has already been predicted, it will give them additional strength and encouragement."

(Sichos HaRan, 35)

The Rebbe also said, "There will come a time when a simple religious man will be as rare and unique as the Baal Shem Tov."

(Sichos HaRan, 36)
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Does the prophet speak of today?

(For Zion's sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be still, until her victory emerges like a brilliant light and her salvation like a burning torch.) - Yishayahu [Isaiah] 62:1

Does this prophecy speak of today? What has happened to the leadership of Israel? How can they turn their backs on their people and accept nothing to abandon their land?

How the faithful city (Jerusalem, the capital of the nation-state of Israel) has become a prostitute! Once it was full of justice and righteousness dwelled there, but now — murderers! Your silver has become debased and your wine diluted with water. Your rulers are knaves, thieves' comrades; they all love bribes and chase gifts. They do not judge the orphan, and the widow's case does not reach them.

Therefore, the Lord of Hosts says: "Woe! I will relieve Myself of My enemies and take revenge on My foes! I will sweep My hand over you and smelt your impurities as with lye, and I will remove all your dross. I will restore your judges as of old and your advisers as of yore. Afterwards you will be called 'City of Righteousness, Faithful City.'"

Zion will be redeemed through justice, and those who repent there through righteousness. All the rebels and sinners will be destroyed, and those who abandon God will perish.

-- Yishayahu (Isaiah) 1:21

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

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Hypocracy revealed: Israeli Institute for Democracy

(Cross posted to Mystical Paths, Israpundit, and ENGAGE)

Moshe Feiglin, the head of the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud party and head of the (now dissolved) This Is Our Land (Zo Artzranu) movement, writes (from the Jewish Press) about a meeting in Kedumim (one of the oldest Jewish towns in the Shomron - West Bank, about 35 years old) between the residents and the euphimistically named Israeli Institute for Democracy. Here is an excerpt:

The lectures continued. One after another, each learned person explains why we should obey orders.

Prof. Ravitzki is getting worked up. "You have to under­stand that all these years in which we sent our sons to places and wars that we opposed, we did so in order to preserve de­mocracy. It is inconceivable that now that we are finally actu­alizing our philosophy you should suddenly start break­ing the rules and refusing to obey orders."

The performance goes on and on, and at 2:30 in the morn­ing Prof. Kremnitzer finishes condemning refusal to obey or­ders. Prof. Cannon then invites me to respond. "Only because it's so late, please speak briefly," he requests. I would need 10 full speeches in order to say everything I feel about this group of people. However, I didn't come for the panelists, but for the humiliated public in Kedumim.

"You are the nation!" I say, speaking directly to the set­tlers. "For many years, you have been isolated from the gen­eral Israeli culture, without influence. With the disintegration of the religious Zionist movement, you can now assume your rightful place, a position of leadership in the country."

"Tell me, please," I asked Prof Kremnitzer, "suppose that tomorrow I am Prime Minister, and I decide—according to the proper procedures and in accordance with all the rules of democracy—to apply the eviction-compensation law to Arab villages. In this case also will the Israeli Institute for Democracy get aboard a bus, travel to all the villages, and explain to the Arabs that there is no alterna­tive, and that in the name of democracy they must obey the law?"

"But they are not Israeli citizens," cried Prof. Carmon.

"OK," I reply. "Let's apply the eviction-compensation law to the residents of Tira and Taibeh (Israeli Arab villages near the Green LIne), in the State of Israel. There the Arabs have a proper blue ID card. Exactly the same law and the same Supreme Court ruling will be on my side. Will you then persuade them to leave?"

Prof. Kremnitzer shook his head.

"Thank you for your honesty," I continued. "You are fasci­nating people, and I can learn a lot from you. I'm ready to lis­ten to you all night, but you have to admit that the last thing that you are representing is democracy."

It is now three in the morning. The journey home from Kedumim doesn't leave me a lot of time for reflection. In the same night I met the nation that isn't the State, and the State that isn't the nation. It seems that this distortion is coming to an end. Those people who regard themselves as the State, sens­ing the danger facing them, are desperately attempting to sink the flagship of those who have the belief, vitality, and force to lead, who aim to restore the State to the nation.

How to navigate during this process? How to embrace those desiring to destroy you, without adopting their philosophy?

G-d preserve us.

More info on Moshe Feiglin and the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) program, click to www.jewishisrael.org
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Update from Rav Kaduri - Soon...

Rabbi Yitzchok Kaduri is considered the world's leading kabbalist, a great saintly and scholarly man of great age and mystical wisdom.

Yiddishkeit.org published this translation of a interview on Thursday by Israel National News / Channel 7 with the Rabbi...

Intervew by Yehoshua Meiri of Arutz-7, published electronically 10 Iyar / May 19 '05

Meiri: The Rav said that we need to rely on the Prime Minister [Ariel Sharon]?

Harav Kaduri: "The heart of kings and ministers is in the hands of Hashem" and he [Sharon] is doing His will. Hashem will turn the Prime Minister away from bad counsel. The Prime Minister is a mighty warrior three times over.

Meiri: So the Prime Minister is good?

Harav Kaduri: Shortly the Moshiach will come, he will help the government, and Hashem will have mercy on them and make their prayers and requests successful and not turn them away empty-handed.

Meiri: But there is a big argument among Jews ["between brothers"] and there are people who say that there is danger of a civil war and that the Prime Minister is in danger.

Harav Kaduri: The people will rejoice, and the sick will be resuced. Such a thing [as civil war] will not occur.

Meiri: What will happen now?

Harav Kaduri: Hashem will have mercy on his people Israel that they will return to him and he will not turn them away empty-handed. He will nullify all the decrees instantly and peacefully. He will inspire the Prime Minister not to give all these places to the Arabs. And all the places will be for Jews. In the merit of our Holy Torah [which is learned there].

Original article, click here (hebrew).

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Reb Lazer jumps on board...

Rabbi Lazer Brody, well known in Israel, and around the world via his Lazer Beams blog, has jumped on board the Moshiach and Geulah news with 6 significant posts about the topic. Here's a few highlights, but stop over there and see what he has to say...

It's true - the war we all dreaded, described in Ezekiel's prophecy (chapters 38, 39) - is over. Now, we are closer than ever to the true redemption, the coming of Moshiach, and the building of the Holy Temple. A banner headline? I only found out few hours ago
We are now facing the final test of faith before the coming of the Moshiach, our messiah, and the redemption of our people. The world is now like a blanket; The Almighty is giving it a tremendous shake, and only those who hold on tight - by clinging to their faith in Him - will stay aboard. Therefore, now is the time to strengthen our faith, to wash our eyes from the materialism that blinds us, and to see Hashem's miracles, which are now out in the open for everybody to see.
Yet, our sages prepared us for the coming of Moshiach with certain definite signs. All those signs have been fulfilled. That's why I know that Moshiach is on our doorstep. Exactly when? I cannot and will not speculate. What am I doing about it? I'm trying my best to polish every aspect of my service to Hashem, and am trying my utmost to help others, so that they won't miss the glorious days of Moshiach and redemption, which I believe we'll all see with our very own eyes; that is, if we don't fumble the ball of geula.
As we said earlier, Gog and Magog have left us with the poison of epikursis, a nasty lack of faith and denial of Torah and The Holy One. Gog and Magog have contaminated the people of Israel with foreign values, materialism, and immorality, all which are mutually exclusive to Torah. The venom is all around us, on the TV, the radio, and especially on the web. Epikursis penetrates the mind and soul via the eyes and ears much faster than a high velocity 5.56 bullet penetrates the heart.
The train to Moshiach is gaining momentum. Now, Rabbi Chaim Kanyevski shlit"a, the son of the monumental Steipler of blessed memory and Dean of the Chazon Ish Kollel in Bnai Brak, is now on record saying, "We are currently in the midst of the redemption process." For those who don't know, Rabbi Kanyevski is one of the world's most prominent Torah scholars alive, may Hashem grant him good health and length of days.
Meanwhile, the Yetzer (Evil Inclination, or "EI") is also getting stronger; when someone fights for their very life, they have tremendous power, and the Yetzer is certainly no exception (as an angel, he already has tremendous power). He's on the warpath to prevent anything that smacks of Tshuva. Why? Tshuva - more than anything - will bring Moshiach, and when Moshiach comes, the Yetzer's existence will be terminated.

See all his exciting posts on the topic at the Lazer Beams blog, click here.

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Sharon in NYC, Protest This Sunday (May 22)

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be in New York City this Sunday, May 22, speaking at Baruch College in Manhattan. The following protest has been organized in response to his disengagement plan...

Join Us in a Prayer Vigil
to Save the 10,000 Jews of Gush Katif/Gaza and Shomron.

Join Us to Stop Sharon’s expulsion plan.

Join us to stop this victory for Hamas and terrorism.

Join Us on Sunday, May 22, 1:00 PM

at Baruch College, 17 Lexington Avenue, NYC
(Between 22nd & 23rd Street)

Where Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will be speaking.

More Info - Click Here

Saturday, May 21, 2005

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Vendyl Jones closes in on the Aron.


I've previously posted about Vendyl Jones, with a post (here) talking about his findings of items from the Beis Hamikdash (holy Jewish temple) and about his take on prophecy (here).

These posts came from hearing him speak, his quest being raising money for equipment to precisely locate the Aron Hakodesh (the holy ark). Yes, that's ark as in ark of the convenant, Indiana Jones movie kind of stuff.

He's back in the news (article here), as it appears he's near the end of his quest to find the holy ark.

This guy is 100% serious, he's no wacko, he knows exactly what he is doing, how he's doing it and has followed every necessary step to get there. Take this very seriously.

Israel Nation News reports: An unnamed Kabbalist has granted blessing to famed archeologist Dr. Vendyl Jones to uncover the Holy Ark of the Covenant. Jones plans to excavate the Lost Ark by the Tisha B’Av Fast this summer...

Dr. Jones, who divides his time between Texas and Israel, has been here since March 9th ready to finally reveal the Ark. However, he has been waiting for both permission from the mysterious Kabbalist and for project funding to come through.

As recently as last month, the rabbi, who only communicates via messenger, told Jones that the time was not yet right to discover the Temple vessels. Last Thursday, however, Dr. Jones received a communication from the rabbi reading, “The time is right.”

Armed with this and other blessings, Jones is now excited to uncover his life's pursuit. He believes the ark will be discovered by Tisha B'Av (Aug. 14), a day of repeated tragedy in Jewish history. Most notably, it is the anniversary of the destruction of both the First and Second Holy Temples.

Noahide guru Jones says that the State of Israel is passing through the same biblical straights as the generation that first entered Israel after the exodus from Egypt. “If history repeats itself, the history itself is prophecy,” Jones says.

The Shemen Afarshimon, the Holy Anointing Oil, from the Holy Temple, was found in April, 1988 by the VJRI excavation team. After intensive testing by the Pharmaceutical Department of Hebrew University, financed by the VJRI, the substance inside the small juglet was verified to indeed be the Shemen Afarshimon of Psalm 133.

The Qetoret - (Temple Incense) - Vendyl Jones examines samples of temple incense found in 1992 dig.

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Friday, May 20, 2005

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Doublespeak of the Day: "Decision to Retaliate Returns Tension"

When lies are truth and truth is lies...

Front page story from Google News...

Israel's Decision to Retaliate Returns Tension to Middle East
By Cihan News Agency
Published: Friday 20, 2005

The decision by the Israel army to retaliate immediately against any Palestinian attack has weakened the mutual cease-fire.

What??? A Palestinian attack doesn't weaken or violate a cease-fire, but a Jewish defense or response does? Translation: 'A Jew defending himself violates the peace, an Arab attacking is part of the peace.'

Top-level Israeli military officers met as Palestinian armed group HAMAS attacked Jewish settlements, and decided on immediate reprisals for these kinds of attacks.

Translation: Israeli military officials meeting is worrisome, terrorists attempting to kill Jewish civilians, including women and children, isn't.

Anti-Sharon slogans were chanted at the funeral of a Hamas member, who was killed by Israeli troops as Palestinian groups committed two counter attacks on Israeli settlements by using Qassam missiles.

Translation: A terrorist attempting to murder Jews was killed, this is very upsetting. Not necessarily that he was killed, but that he was unsuccessful.

One person was injured in the attack.

Translation: Only 1 injured Jew, this is seriously upsetting!

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Anti-Disengagement Police Violence

With regret, I feel it's necessary to propagate messages of Israeli police and judicial inappropriate reactions to anti-disengagement protests:

Israpundit reports:

We did not lay on the road. I took on myself the task of distributing stickers with the message: People of Israel are with Gush Katif.

Policemen apparently did not want to deal with the elderly women. They approached me and asked me to stand aside. I followed their order. Then they asked me to get into their car, transferred me to the Police station. After police interrogation (that included threats, ridicule, etc. but this is another story), I was put in a small cell of about 1X1 m that is normally used for visitor communication with jailed inmates. I spent there several hours. Then at night I was transferred to the Maasiyahu jail. The policemen who transferred explained to me that distributing stickers is against the law!

Full article here.
And this...

When we got home we found that one of our neighbor's kids (14 years old) had been arresting for walking across the street against a red light at the junction that we were at. He is still in jail after two days. It is mind boggling.
My daughter is a Student at a school a block away from the rally on Bar Ilan St. in Sanhedria, and so she found herself in the midst of it, though she had previously been shielded from the whole issue and controversy by her school.

She called me in a state of shock from the Rally just a few minutes ago upon witnessing the Police Brutality against the protestors.
Police were pushing people violently back, throwing children and women to the ground and then stepping on them and kicking them. A few Rabbis in particular, those who were "Hareidi" - hasidic in appearance - were singled out and thrown to the ground and beaten.

She could not believe the level of brutal physical violence she was seeing the Israeli police perpetrate against their fellow Jews. She asked me crying over the phone how what she was seeing could be possible.

She naively asked me if I was seeing the scene on Television, as she assumed that such a remarkable event was being covered in the media.

Full article here.

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Update from the Sandlar

In this post (click here) I noted a message from 'the sandlar', the shoemaker, regarding the expected coming of Moshiach during the week of Passover. Here's an update that's now online (click here for original and complete English edition):

A few weeks ago, we were approached by a tzaddik that we know, and we are not allowed to disclose his identity now, but his nickname is “Sandlar” (not related to the “sandlar” that died many years ago in Bnei Brak, nor is it referring to Harav Shalom Shmueli, shlita, whose name is associated with this context in various places). We are referring to a hidden tzaddik, with whom our first contact was (no connection whatsoever to this website) made by the initiative of another famous and renowned tzaddik who had heard about this hidden tzaddik.

Several weeks ago, the sandlar approached us and asked us to publicize on the internet this special message. Obviously, we were very excited to receive this information, and we did not doubt for one moment its accuracy, due to our familiarity with this tzaddik and our clear knowledge of his powers and knowledge of hidden secrets. We thought that this may be the very reason for our website’s existence, especially since these things fit in very well in a wondrous way with what we had previously published regarding the possibility of uncovering the secrets of Daniel’s prophesy. And it fit in very well with the increasing excitement that is triggering very optimistic things being said by g’dolei Yisrael recently.

We published the message, and were very careful to write with very large letters the disclaimer that “this site is not associated with any rabbi, yeshiva, political party whatsoever,” in order that the readers will use caution when reading what we’ve written, without regard to our personal belief.

After publishing the “message,” and after a number of days passed, and then more days, there began to arise among us doubts. The problem wasn’t our personal belief, rather that these words were published on a website that has an unusual web-surfing traffic that reaches every corner of the world. When we reviewed the letter with the sandlar, he told us in no uncertain terms that the words in the “message” were accurate according to his investigations, but that things seem to be taking longer than what was at first anticipated. So we waited longer, almost to the end of Nissan, and then decided to remove the “message” from the website.

The “sandlar” still believes, and feels, and “knows” that the message is true, but it’s taking longer to fulfill them. We asked another tzaddik, who is much more known than the sandlar, if he could check into whether the words of the message are true “that in the lower world, the world of ‘klipot,’ way down, in the fiftieth level of tum’ah, all of the roots of the klipot were severed.” His answer was that there was no way for him to know. According to what we understood, this is referring to the Sitra Achra of the deep, where few tzaddikim, if any, are able to understand what exactly goes on down there. And among those that do have some understanding, even they can only reach that understanding by their “feeling” of what is happening. We asked how long, at the very most, will it take to see the fulfillment of these things, if it actually happened in the “fiftieth level of tum’ah?” The answer was there is not sufficient definitive information. It is known that, throughout the entire history of the world, never did such a thing ever occur. The exodus from Egypt happened at the 49th level of tum’ah, and the tzaddikim say that the difference between the 49th level and the 50th level is as great as the difference between heaven and earth. (And we know, according to the Kabbalah, that this is the reason that Hashem expedited the Redemption before the end of 400 years, because had they remained in Egypt a moment longer, they would have sunk to the 50th level of tum’ah, and they would have lost all chance of being redeemed. Today, however, our sole redeeming factor is the Torah that we received, through which we can be elevated even from the 50th level of tum’ah, into which we have sunk in the last generations because of our numerous sins. Ever since the sin of Adam Harishon, we have been trying to recover the sparks of holiness that have fallen to the 50th level of tum’ah.)

There's more, read the whole thing (in English) here.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

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Moshiach will come in the middle - Video link and translation

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel says (May 16 video here, hebrew)...

"Today we are counting the Omer, and as we said there is a difference of halachic opinion. Moshiach will come in the middle [of the Omer period] and then we will ask him: 'What do we say about [this mitzvah]? Is it a biblical mitzvah, or just a mitzvah?'

"Why? Moshiach is coming, the Holy Temple is coming -- it's a biblical mitzvah [implying that we will perform the mitzvah of waving the Omer as described in the Torah]. Or, he will tell us: 'No, you needed to bring the Omer [offering] from the beginning [of the seven weeks in order to fulfill the biblical mitzvah], not now.'

Good–then we have a question to ask the Moshiach, which should be speedily in the near future, Amen!"

(Translation credit to Yiddishkeit.org)

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Are we getting HYSTERICAL?????

In the next few posts, as the last one, I'm going to be showing more and more signs that the Geulah may be here!!!! THIS IS VERY EXCITING! BARUCH HASHEM! (Blessed is G-d) BARUCH HABA! (Blessed is he who comes!)

R. Yess reminds us...

Messianic hysteria is a very potent matter. In the past history of the Jewish people there have been quite a few periods of time when many Rabbis were convinced and certain that End of Days had arrived. Jews sold their houses, danced in the streets, boarded ships to the Holy Land as their Gentile neighbors tried to figure out what all the fuss was about. There was a lot of embarrassment that ensued. (my words - if not the complete collapse of people's lives)
The fact that past, recent and present world events are lined up and congruent with Judaism’s End of Days Prophecies is splattered all across the pages of our website. And as I have stated on many occasions in prior emails the fact that Rabbi Schneerson, a true and Proven Prophet of our days, stated as clear and certain Prophecy that “The time for your Redemption has arrived” is nothing less than the highest certainty threshold that Judaism affords.

In spite of all of the above being true, and operative, and highly relevant today and for our collective tomorrows,… we nonetheless should not throw all caution to the wind and engage in Messianic hysterics. That can be very dangerous and disruptive. No I am not throwing cold water on this entire matter trying to diminish its epochal significance and importance. Rather I am restating now what the Rebbe instructed, namely, to prepare to greet Moshiach (Judaism’s King Messiah) with an increase in matters of goodness and kindness.

We were also instructed by the Rebbe [the 7th grand rabbi of Lubavitch chassidus] to learn about Moshiach from all classical Jewish Sacred Sources on this topic as well as Rabbi Schneerson’s Discourses on this topic. Here would be a good starting point:-
Click here.

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Is the War of Gog and Magog Over?

Rabbi Lazer Brody of the Lazer Beams blog posts this:

Periodically, I update the Melitzer Rebbe shlit"a as to what's appearing on Lazer Beams...For several weeks now, I've been preparing a post on the War of Gog and Magog, and how - according to the leading rabbis of the last 300 years - it will manifest itself. When I showed the Rebbe my findings, based predominantly on the works of the Vilna Gaon and Rebbe Nachman of Breslev, the Melitzer looked up from his Gemorra and said, "No need to print that article, Lazer; the war is already over!"
The Melitzer Rebbe, my esteemed and beloved teacher and spiritual guide, explained to me yesterday - in the exact words that he heard from the holy Rebbe Aaron of Belz of blessed memory - that the murder of 6,000,000 Jewish martyrs in the Nazi Holocaust was the pinnacle of Gog and Magog's attack against Am Yisroel, the people of Israel. As a result, a third of the Jewish people was destroyed.

Gog and Magog are dead. The Almighty no longer hides His holy countenance from us, as He did in the Holocaust. In 1948, He helped a handful of farmers, factory workers, and concentration-camp survivors defeat the combined standing armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. In 1967, He again delivered Israel from her enemies. In 1973, when according to all military logic Israel should have been destroyed, The Almighty turned the tables around in Israel's favor. Don't be mistaken - the Syrian and Egyptian commandos are superb soldiers; at the time, their armies boasted state-of-the-art Russian weaponry. Defeating them was a major miracle.

Read the whole thing here! Many more significant details included.

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Wow, Turn your Back and You'll Miss It!

Wow, after a post-Passover lull in Moshiach (the redeemer) and geulah (the redemption) activity, suddenly there's a ton of activity (which naturally all occurred the moment I went out of town and wasn't focused).

If you haven't already seen the info elsewhere, keep checking back as I'll be posting heavily about it today and over the next couple of days here (except on Shabbos of course).

May we hear only good news!

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The Palace of Strength?

Driving back to the airport in Washington, I noticed this building:

It's hard to relate as you drive by, and keep driving by, and curve around and keep driving by, just how big this building is.

The highway is on the far side, and you drive around 2 sides. Yes, this is the Pentagon. Or, rather, perhaps it's The Palace of Strength ('HECHAL HAOZ') from the Zohar?

Zohar - Parshat Balak: And in the sixth day, shall be seen within 25 days of the sixth month (Hebrew month of Elul) and shall gather on the seventh day at the end of 70 days.

In the first day it will be seen in one city, and at that day three high places shall fall down in that city. And the Palace of Strength shall fall down. And the ruler of that city (i.e. the angel that is responsible for this city in the upper worlds) shall die.

And then that star shall be spreaded to be shown in the world. And at that time there shall be harsh battles stimulated in all 4 directions and faith shall not be found among them.

...One king shall rise, big and ruling in the world, shall rise over all the kings, and shall stimulate battles in 2 directions, and will overcome them.

And... the holy land shall tremble (i.e. earthquake) 45 miles away from the place where the Temple used to be...

From here.

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Online Omer Help with Kabbalistic Sefirah

This time of year (between Passover and Shavuos), the special mitzvah of Counting the Omer is in practice. (What's this unusual and mystical mitzvah about? Click here and here.)

This link (click here) has a nice online counter (the day, the blessing, the associated hassidic prayer and the kabbalistic Sefirah within Sefirah that this day of the count represents.)

Therefore, may it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, that in the merit of the Sefirat Ha-Omer which I counted today, the blemish that I have caused in the sefirah Netzach ShebeNetzach (for the night of May 18th '05) be rectified and I may be purified and sanctified with supernal holiness. May abundant bounty thereby be bestowed upon all the worlds. May it rectify our nefesh ruach and neshamah from every baseness and defect, and may it purify and sanctify us with Your supernal holiness. Amen, selah.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

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Directing the Negative Traits...

From HaYom Yom, the book from Day to Day, for the 3rd of Iyar.

It is possible to utilize for G-d's service, according to Torah, all behavior-traits. This includes those traits that are unwholesome, and even those that are evil, as their names and descriptions indicate.

For example, the Tzadik (righteous saintly main) Rabbi Meshulam Zusya of Anipoli, of blessed memory, learned a number of methods of serving G-d - from a thief:

a) He works quietly without others knowing.

b) He is ready to place himself in danger.

c) The smallest detail is of great importance to him.

d) He labors with great toil.

e) Alacrity.

f) He is confident and optimistic.

g) If he did not succeed the first time, he tries again and again.

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Push back.

Anti-disengagement news of note from Israel...

Shiloh Musings writes: First of all, I've noticed that my neighbors feel very calm that their sons are arrested. At least some of them. An the wives left home with the kids are doing well, too. The government hasn't frightened anyone. Was it like this during the Mandate when people joined the Etzel and Lechi? (the pre-Israel Jewish underground)

Chabad hassidic news writes: Today (Monday), five Chabad chassidim were arrested at the junction of the main exit from Tzefat after they blocked the road for a considerable amount of time. The roadblock was part of a countrywide protest against the disengagement plan, organized by the right-wing group Habayit Haleumi. When the five were arrested, they were holding signs printed by the World Campaign for the Nation and the Land, bearing the slogan, "The disengagement is a terrible danger for millions of Jews." Full article and pictures here.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

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More on Mishnah of Geulah

In this post I referred to an interpretation of the Mishnah Brachos, mishna alef...

The question which the mishna begins with, "From what time do we say the Shema (prayer)?" means "From when is it time for Moshiach to come?". The mishna continues "in the evening", meaning in the 6th millenium (the 6th day of creation is the evening before Shabbos, and each day of creation corresponds to 1,000 years of history).

Comments said: Yaakov Nathan, "Who is "The Ben Yeyada"? What era? And how is it explained what it means to say the Shema when Moshiach is able to come and not before?". Anonymous replied "It's probably the "Ben Yehoyada" which was written by the Ben Ish Hai on Aggadot of Shas."

Here's the relevent section of the shiur, forward 1 minute 30 seconds for the exact section:

Wagner on Mishna - MP3 audio format
Wagner on Mishna - Play it Here page.

And for anyone interested in the whole shiur (lesson), it can be purchased here (click here), for $5.

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Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

For those who drive in the U.S., most cars have right side rear-view mirrors that magnify the picture. Because the resulting image can be deceiving, they say "Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear".

Because, images can be deceiving.

Today I'm traveling for business purposes. I headed off the the airport and boarded a plan for Washington D.C. (On a side note, while I had peripherally heard about a new airline security rule, I was still surprised when they announced on the flight that everyone must stay seated during the last 30 minutes approaching Washington, or else the flight would immediately be diverted away.) Of course, the Capitol building, the Whitehouse, the Washington Monument, are all very impressive.

The created image of Washington is exactly that, the impressive buildings and monuments. Never in a news report, picture, or whatever do they ever show that 2 streets back it's just a city, houses, traffic, restaurants, etc.

On arrival, as I drove out of Reagan National Airport, I looked over and saw the Capital building and the Washington Monument. Impressive, I first thought. Then I noticed the view was crowded with office buildings, roads, etc. Not like some distance away, like someone just took those impressive buildings and dropped them into the middle of a downtown. Which, of course, is exactly what Washington D.C. is.

The image of Washington D.C. is a picture of impressive buildings, the seat of power of the United States of America. And, a street away, everyone is stuck in traffic. The garbage men come and pick up in the back. There's some construction going on, as some of the buildings need some work. It's hard to find parking. In other words, pretty much the same as any other city.

Do you realize the images you're being fed, by the news, paper, TV, Internet, are manipulated?

(Of course, this blog is an exception.)

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