Thursday, June 30, 2005

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Chabad takes a stand.

Chabad Lubavitch, the hassidic movement lead by the Lubavitcher Rebbe with representatives around the world, met with the Israeli Prime Minister about disengagement...

A delegation of Chabad rabbis met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in his Jerusalem office yesterday - the first meeting of its kind since he announced his expulsion/withdrawal plan.

The meeting began in a friendly atmosphere, but tensions gradually rose, and at certain points it was "almost on the verge of an explosion."
...
Participating in the meeting were Rabbi Yehuda Leib Groner, who was the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s secretary, Chabad Israel Rabbinical Court Director Rabbi Yitzchak Yehuda Yaruslavski, his deputy Rabbi Menachem Glocobosky, Binyamin Regional Council Rabbi Shimon Elituv, and other senior rabbis.

The 90-minute meeting began with the recounting of stories about Prime Minister Sharon’s meetings with the Lubavitcher Rebbe and the warm ties between them.
...
The Chabad representatives told the Prime Minister how strongly the Lubavitcher Rebbe always opposed any concession over any part of the Land of Israel. “While we do not have your experience and knowledge," Rabbi Brod told him, "we do have the Rebbe and we are certain that he is right."
...
Rabbi Brod told Arutz-7 that the rabbis decided to meet with Sharon after he said that if he could speak with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, he would persuade him of the correctness of his plan. "We showed him that the Rebbe's opinion, which is the opposite of Sharon's, corresponds perfectly to the situation and dangers as we see it now," Rabbi Brod said. Sharon asked to see the Rebbe's words in writing, and the rabbis said they would send him the relevant passages.

Sharon himself admitted that the Rebbe had been more precise and accurate in his analysis of the shortcomings of the infamous Bar-Lev Line [a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the Suez Canal after the Six Day War, which was easily overrun by attacking Egyptian forces on the first day of the Yom Kippur War - ed.] than IDF experts.

Rabbi Groner told Sharon, "You feel that the plan will be beneficial to Israel, but you yourself cannot be certain that things will develop the way you want them to. We tell you with absolute certainty, in light of the Rebbe's clear words, that this plan will cause the exact opposite."

From Israel National News - Read the whole thing, click here!

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More Protest Photos and an Anti-Disengagement Link

Yaakov Natan (from Yiddishkeit.org) provided these additional protest photo links with many pictures:



Protest photos link 1

Protest photos link 2

Protest photos link 3

Yiddishkeit.org's Resources to Stop the Disengagement from Gush Katif Page

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Photo: See the Dangerous Settlers



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News: Gaza Closed, People Infiltrate

As announced here yesterday, the IDF has closed Gaza to non-residents. Details - The Jerusalem Post reports here.

Many heard and headed out early. Others ran into road blocks, regardless, various people are jumping off stopped buses and walking around the checkpoints. Details - The Jerusalem Post reports here.

CosmicX has some more pictures from yesterday's protests here.

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The Time for Gush Katif IS NOW.

(From Chabad.info) Yesha News reports that tomorrow, Thursday afternoon, the army plans on sealing off Gush Katif to non-residents of the area. According to recent reports, thousands of soldiers have begun to stream into Gush Katif in order to seal it off to any Jew who is not a resident. Yesha leaders are planning strategies to deal with the situation as it develops.

People are requested to urgently make their way towards Gush Katif in order to prevent this decree from being carried out.


Protestors being hit by water cannon.

The signs read, "Jews don't expel Jews"


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A Generational Leader says: Moshiach in Months, Not Years

Some new and very exciting news from the Moshiach / Geulah front. Rabbi Lazer Brody from the Lazer Beams blog writes:

Rabbi Yakov Aryeh Alter, better known as the Gerrer Rebbe (grand rabbi of Ger hassidus), one of the world's most prominent, respected, and influential rabbinical leaders joins the lineup of Tzaddikim (Jewish living saints) who expect the arrival of Moshiach in the nearest future. Expressing himself in Yiddish, the Gerrer Rebbe Shlit"a said recently, "Moshiach will come this year, or by the end of next year." The Gerrer Rebbe is known as an individual of tremendous spiritual stature, who does much and says very little...
...
Yesterday, I met with Rabbi Shlomo Tzvi Alter - one of the Gerrer Rebbe's sons who, along with his brothers, heard the Rebbe say emphatically before Kiddush, "Moshiach will come this year, or by the end of next year." After the Seder, the Rebbe concluded by saying in Yiddish, "We'll soon discover that the entire Golus was worth eating one little piece of meat (alluding to the korban Pesach, or Pascal lamb, which G-d willing we'll all be eating in the Holy Temple this coming Passover)," meaning that we have no idea of the value of Moshiach, the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, korbonos, and the spiritual treasures that are in store for us. When one of his sons asked him to elaborate, the Rebbe refused, saying, "Ich hob schoin gezugt tzu fil," or, "I've already said too much."


Whoa, WHOA! This is not just another rabbi piling on, this is one of the top Jewish leaders of the generation. The signs are lining up, more than a few.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

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Video: Zoo Rabbi on the Strength of a Lion

Here's a video clip of Rabbi Slifkin, the Zoo Rabbi (see previous post here), on the topic of:

Pirke Avos (Ethics of our Fathers) Chapter 5 - Yehuda ben Tema said: Be bold as a leopard, light as a nesher (condor, not eagle, see previous zoo post), swift as a antelope (not deer, see previous zoo post), and strong as a lion, to carry out the will of your Father in heaven.

What's the strength of a lion that makes it unique and worth mentioning? Why not the strength of an elephant, or the strength of a leopard?

06-26--zoo-- 110

Video Page- Rabbi Slifkin - The Strength of a Lion

(or play direct here - Quicktime video link - 30mb)

06-26--zoo-visit-- 055

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Segulah: Purifying and Protecting

From the book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 9th Sivan...

The world is in need of a purified atmosphere.

Purified air comes only through words of Torah.

Words of Torah offer protection in general and for each individual in particular.

The division of the Six Orders of Mishna (the [formerly] Oral Law of Judaism) for memorization is intended for "when you walk on the road."

The Mishna or two recited from memory wherever one may be, in whatever sort of place he may be, will illuminate the bond between Israel and G-d.

The letters MiSHNa are the same as NeSHaMa (soul).

It is extremely difficult to find the words to express the tremendous benefit, with G-d's help, in the general and individual protection that constant repetition of Mishna will bring.

And there are no words to describe the tremendous gratification one thereby gives the Creator, may He be blessed.

As the Rebbe wrote, this is a powerful segulah (physical action bringing spiritual blessings) for protection and purification of ones place. Further, kabbalistic and hassidic thought teaches that sparks of divinity that are mixed into the world may be released or gathered up through the recitation of Torah (and Mishna is a recommended method).

The world is waiting for you to walk by with these words on your lips!

For an example Mishna, here's an extensive hebrew/english edition, and here's a sample page.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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The Zoo Rabbi and Torah about Animals - Photos

I went with my children this past Sunday to see Rabbi Natan (or Nosson) Slifkin, known as the Zoo Rabbi. Rabbi Slifkin is called that because of his great interest and expertise in zoology and biology, as well as working in the Jerusalem zoo. We took his Zoo - Torah tour, as well as one of his lectures.

Rabbi Slifkin has become a controversial figure, with some rabbi's calling for the banning of his books. (I've previously posted about this here.)

slifkin picture

So what's so controversial about Rabbi Slifkin (besides being a rabbi who likes to interact with wild and dangerous creatures)? Well, it seems that it comes down to this...

Which one of these is a 'nesher' (commonly translated from hebrew as 'eagle')?

06-26--zoo-visit-- 008 06-26--zoo-visit-- 010


What Rabbi Slifkin does is learn the Torah, Neviim (prophets), and Talmud, and compare what's said against zoology and biology. Above are pictures of a bald eagle and a condor (a type of vulture). The Talmud says that a 'nesher' is the 'greatest of birds', a bird with enormous wings, with no feathers on it's head, that eats dead animals only. A bald eagle (and all eagles) are not bald (rather a bald eagle has white head feathers) and only eats live prey. Oh, and no eagles of any kind live in the Middle East. Condor's do, they have no feathers on their head (allows them to eat dead animals without getting filthy), they eat dead animals, and they fly to a much greater height than any other bird.

But everyone knows a 'nesher' is an 'eagle', not a kind of vulture (condors are vultures). Contradicting common knowledge is controversial.

Here's some photos: Rabbi Slifkin at the Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey

Slideshow -- Photo Page


I learned a good bit from Rabbi Slifkin, such as what's the strength of a lion (the mishnah says to serve G-d like a lion), what's the difference between a group of lions and a group of tigers, and what's the cruelty of ostriches (Iyov - Job 39:14-16)?

He's not the best speaker, but the topic is facinating. He shows that many statements of the great sages had enormous depth and inside, understanding great details of the natural world beyond what one might think. As with much in Torah, the common understandings are commonly misunderstood.

Of course, with lecture titles like this:

The Terror of Dinosaurs: Confronting the Challenges of Creation, Dinosaurs, and the Age of the Universe - Wednesday, June 29th, 8 pm at the Young Israel of Ave. I in Flatbush (1012 Ave. I, near Coney Island Ave.)

it's no wonder he's controversial. But he deserves much more serious consideration than those who freak out at a lecture title rather than content are giving him.

I recommend his lectures, and the animal oriented ones are very appropriate for children 8 or older.

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Disengagement Protest Pictures

From Israpundit:


Wow, this is the road-traffic protest. The whole article here.

And pictures from the protest in Jerusalem, click here for pictures from Cosmic-X.

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Video: Yeshiva Boys Choir

This is a video I took during Chol HaMoed Passover (the intermediate festival days) of the Yeshiva Boys Choir performance in Philadephia, at the kosher edition of the Ringing Brothers circus. (Low resolution, with sound.)

Click here to see it.

I had a lot of trouble getting it posted at the time, it seems it finally appeared. I've been experimenting with (and having trouble with)...


As much trouble as I have getting my children coordinated doing anything, I'm always very impressed with someone who can get a large group of children so well coordinated in a single activity (and still smiling about it!).

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Water on the Mount?

Lazer Beams posts an interesting note about a story that's been going around for a few years about water coming forth from Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount):

The Gihon River mentioned in Genesis 2:13 flows under Jerusalem, directly under the Holy Temple Mount, under what today is known as the Dome of the Rock in the Al Aksa mosque. There, it's known as Siloam Spring (see Rashi on Kings I, 1:33), and flows out in the direction of Silwan (Arabic for Siloam), the Arab town directly to the South of the Temple Mount. King Hezekiah sealed off the waters of the Gihon when he was threatened by Sannherib and the Assyrians (see Chronicles II, 32:30 and Talmud tractate Brachos 10b).

According to Islamic tradition, when the waters of the Gihon begin surfacing under the Dome of the Rock, then the Jewish Messiah is fast on the way...

In recent months, several witnesses have told about water seeping out of the floor near the base of the Dome of the Rock...


The whole article is here.

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Sanhedrin Roundup

Here's a number of posts on the Sanhedrin worth noting (positive and negative):

[The Sanhedrin is the ultimate religious authority in Judaism. This organization has not existed for 1,600 years, but an attempt to reinstituted it was begun about 7 months ago in Israel.]

"Gemara (Eruvin 43b) states that Eliyahu [haNavi, Elijah the prophet] will declare his arrival as the harbinger of Moshiach by coming to the Beis Din HaGadol [aka the Sanhedrin]. This Gemara implies that the Beis Din HaGadol will precede the arrival of Eliyahu, and not the other way around (see Maharitz Chiyos ad loc.)."

  • From this weeks article in Yated Ne'eman (which is somewhat anti-Sanhedrin, but is a thorough examination of the topic), click here.


  • More on the Yated article, with pictures, click here.


  • Pictures of the Sanhedrin members here (going on to Har Habayit, the Temple Mount), and comments on the pictures here.


  • Quotes from talk of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, commenting on the possibility of recreating the Sanhedrin, click here.


All interesting reading on the topic.

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Monday, June 27, 2005

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Contrasts

These are a few interesting photos I ran across online, from Israel...

Contrasts


Windows Home Edition? Reality Based Software?


Both photos appear to be from Israel, the building is in Afula.


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UPC

A UPC (found on most things you buy):


A Heavenly UPC (found on a nation of priests, a holy people):
tefillin
tallis

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Friday, June 24, 2005

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Children and the Esoteric

Renegade Rebbetzin wrote (on her blog, original post here):

I'm sooo upset right now. One of my kids has recently become acquainted with the concept of death. No big deal; we've been through this before, and we go through the scripts we're supposed to go through...

My kid announced to me recently that "when Maschiach comes, everyone who's dead is going to be alive again." Now, knowing my kid's teachers, I was somewhat surprised, and quite certain that Phillie didn't hear this in school. So when I asked Phillie where Phillie heard it, Phillie confirmed that it was not from school, but from a kid who was visiting our shul, who learned it at another school - and this visiting kid is four years old.

Here's my response (which I posted in a comment on her blog as well)...

There is a tendency in Judaism to focus on the legalistic aspect, halacha, Talmud, is it kosher or treif, etc.

But, particularly in today's vacuous society, some people ask WHY? Why Torah and mitzvot, what's G-d, where's G-d, what's with souls, etc. While it has not been a heavy focus of Judaism in the past, especially when the 'masses' have been less than scholars and the scholars have been focused on the operational / legalistic aspects, today the situation has changed (which is not to say that scholarship is not critical to Judaism, nor that Jewish education has not always been a key priority, but historically I'd be surprised if generations past exceeded 15-20% 'scholars').

Even our children are often more significantly educated in religious concepts than our great-great grandmothers were (not to say they weren't holy and righteous women, but most were probably not worrying about how the soul is impacted by mitzvot, or G-d forbid the opposite).

My 10 year old daughter came home and asked, "Charity saves from death, but in the Midrash of the time of Sdom we were told the story of the woman in Sdom who did charity and was horribly tortured to death for it, how can that be?"

The study of pnimiut ha'Torah (the inner essence, the secrets) is not just for men over 40 anymore.

If I can describe the Big Bang in great scientific detail, why can't I describe the Creation in great spiritual detail?

How's a baby made? Skipping the um-hmm part, I can show my children detailed pictures of the growth of a fetus and the amazing biology of life. Why not the details of a soul moving through the heavenly storehouse down the divine channels and into the body?

In today's world, the children (especially the Jewishly-educated ones) will probably not be challenged when another religion is thrown in their face. But what when science is thrown in their face, in exquisite detail, and they're told 'there is no g-d'?

Parshas Ha'azinu, Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:20 -

For they are a generation that changes; Children that have no upbringing. They have made Me furious with no god,Provoked My anger with their nonsense.

I think teaching children, appropriately, esoteric concepts of Judaism, it's theology if you will, is critically important for this generation.

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Thank G-d

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, the grand rabbi of Chabad hassidus, wrote...

One of the Baal Shem Tov's "holy tasks" was to use every opportunity to cause people, men, women and children, to bless G-d's name. He would ask them how they are, so that they would reply "Thank G-d", etc. My father-in-law (the Rebbe is speaking) of sainted memory, emphasized that the Baal Shem Tov would do so not only in the synogogue and at home, but also in the street and stores, and places of work; at every time and every place.

excerpted from a letter written the 15th of Tammuz, 5723.

The holy Baal Shem Tov (literally Master of the Good Name) worked hard to raise the moral and spiritual level of the Jewish communities over 300 years ago (a nice article about the Baal Shem Tov that I haven't posted before, here). A seemingly small thing, getting everyone to constantly acknowledge G-d in their life, was actually a major step in increasing people's focus on the Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the Universe).

In orthodox Jewish circles today, it's an extremely common expression to answer a question such as, "How are you today?" with "Baruch Hashem" (equivelent to Thank G-d in hebrew). Of course, Thank G-d in English does just fine.

So the next time someone ask, "How's it going", try "Thank G-d, ok" for an answer.

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Rabbi Brody - Now!

Rabbi Brody, who six months ago was warning caution regarding geulah (redemption) and moshiach (the righteous redeemer), now says, get ready, the moment is upon us!

Here's his words (original post here)
Last night, the Melitzer Rebbe had a siyum (festive completion of learning a Talmudic tractate) in his house...

It was the most astounding siyum I ever heard. With the voice of a pilot doing a pre-flight check, the Rebbe read one by one the preconditions for the coming of Moshiach that our sages listed on 49b, the last page of Sota. Especially when the Rebbe reached the conditions, "The heads of the generation are like the face of a dog," he nodded, paused, then completed the list. In a calm matter-of-fact manner he then said, "this is the generation of Moshiach."

A week ago, I told the Rebbe that I had four speaking invitations...The Rebbe told me not to leave Israel. Now I understand why.

It's time to fasten our seat belts: It looks like we'll be taking off for Geula (redemption) any minute. Nows the time to grab as much Torah and tshuva as we possibly can...

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

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Photos: Dr. Vendyl Jones in New Jersey

Here's a link to a few photos of Dr. Vendyl Jones visit to New Jersey in February...

Photos Here - Slideshow Here



My previous post about Dr. Jones here.

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Technology Test - Tags

Sorry for the interruption in normal blogging, this is a technology test post. Testing "tags".

Tag:
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Photo Link: Nachal Haredi, Israeli Army Ultra-Religious Soldiers Unit

IsraelNationalNews.com has a photo-article with a series of pictures from Nachal Haredi, the Israeli army unit for ultra-religious soldiers.



Full Article / Photos Here.
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Segulah: Zera shel Kayama, for Children

A segulah is an action that is said to specifically activate a channel for a divine blessing, for someone who is a worthy recipient (and/or who has prepared a proper vessel to receive the blessing). There are some commonly known ones among the orthodox Jewish community, occasionally a great mekubal (a master kabbalist) will give out another.

The following segulah for Zera shel Kayama (a blessing for children) is being publicized by a charity organization, Kupat Ha'ir. This segulah is said in the name of the mekubal (kabbalist), the great and saintly rabbi, Rabbi Haim Falaji, zt"l:

First, prayer is the main thing. As I said above (and the charity emphasizes), one should turn to the Healer of all Flesh, praying and pleading, doing good deeds (Torah and mitzvot), and being exceedingly charitable.

On to the segulah, in the name of the holy rabbi, scholar and kabbalist, Rabbi Haim Falaji, zt"l (the memory of a saint is a blessing):

One should set aside for charity 91 of the smallest whole monitary unit of one's country (specifically he said 'perutos', but this is understood to mean whole monitary unit). It appears this should preferrably be done with coins, such as 1-dollar coins in the U.S. or 1-shekel coins in Israel [is there a 1-euro coin?]. One should then add additional coins until he has reached the count of twice of the gematria (numerical value) of the hebrew word 'ben' (which means son). [The numerical value of ben is 52, double the value is 104.]

This money should then be given to a poor and humble Torah scholar. This is a segulah for a childless couple.

Kupat Ha'ir, who publicized this, states that they route donations to poor Torah scholars. They can be reached (in the USA) at +1-866-221-9352.

Rabbi Nati, who occasionaly posts to this blog, also qualifies. If you would like to support his Torah learning in Israel, you can do so here:


Support R. Nati Learning in Israel



May the merit of your charity and good deeds bring you all the blessings you need from heaven.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

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Fair and Balanced?

Is the Torah, is life fair and balanced?

This is certainly a topic that is dealt with quite a bit in Judaism, it's discussed in the Talmud, it's an intensive subject in hassidic philosophy, as well as many other traditional Jewish texts.

So, without actually bothering with any of the great depth to this question, what's the answer?

Is the Torah, is life fair and balanced?

Yes, but, not apparently so in the context of one time frame, one lifetime, or even one life. The sound of a particular instrument may not be individually pleasant, even to the musician playing it. But in the context of the orchestra, as directed by the orchestral director, the whole is beautiful music.



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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

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The 'Body' of Souls & The Watches of Geulah

Rabbi Brody wrote (good stuff, edited for focus, his complete post here):

The Talmud in tractate Yevamos (pg. 63b) says, "[Moshiach] Ben David won't arrive until all the souls are depleted from the body."

Rashi (the most important Talmudic commentator of all times) explains this very cryptic passage. "Body," says Rashi, "is the name of a partition that separates the Sechina (Divine presence) from the angels, which serves as the warehouse for all the souls that were created during the six days of creation, and that are destined to be given to bodies that will subsequently be created."

The above Talmudic passage teaches us that all the souls must assume bodily forms on earth before Moshiach can come. Even though unborn babies all possess divine souls (neshoma, since the unborn learn the entire Torah - oral, written, and esoteric - from an angel while in the mother's womb), the entire spiritual/soul complex that includes nefesh, ruach, and neshoma [basic vitality, spirit, and divine soul] all come together in the body momentarily before the baby is born (full references provided in the original post).


When a baby is born with a 'new' soul (yes, there is recycling also), that soul leaves the heavenly "Body", that is (in Rabbi Brody's words) "the heavenly warehouse for unborn souls. Until Guf [body] is empty, Moshiach is delayed in arriving."

I heard it said from a friend in Israel that one of the mekubalim (master kabbalists) announced, right before Shavuos (the holiday that just passed) that this task completed, the heavenly warehouse of new unborn souls is now empty, and simultaneously reports came out that the silver watch of the Geulah struck 12:00.

I'll attempt to get the name of the mekubal (kabbalist) and source. (If you can't quote with a source, it's just a rumor.)

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Monday, June 20, 2005

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A Garden of Nuts?

From the book Hayom Yom, from Day to Day, for the 8th of Sivan...

The physical universe is a mixture.

It is a meeting-place where G-d meets together (as it were) with man, the select of all creatures; yet it is also Ginat Egoz, "a garden of nuts," the word Egoz having the numerical equivalent of Cheit, "sin."

G-d gives man the capacity to choose freely, that man may choose for himself a path in life.

Unspoken, "or G-d forbid, the opposite". This little entry teaches several detailed lessons.

First, 'gematria', Hebrew letters are used both for words and for numbers (somewhat like Roman numerals, is "VI" a word or the number 6). Relationships between words and meanings are sometimes made when the words have the same numerical value. In this case, nut is the same as sin.

What's a garden of nuts? Ever walked near a nut tree (in season), nut's all over the ground? How about in an orchard in season? Fruit everywhere, step carefully. Some on the trees to be picked, some spoiled on the ground to be avoided. With nuts, they're all over the place.

Step carefully, watch your path, pick the ripe fruit, don't get into a mess by stepping on the rotten ones.


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Focusing The Deeds

Shalom from the land of milk and honey!

After a long break I'm back online, now from my home in the Shomron (West Bank) in Israel.

As I passed through Shavous, and (G-d willing) into a new era of the Geulah (period of the redemption, may it be His will to bring it fast), I was thinking, and Akiva's post focused it a bit, where should we focus our deeds?

Should a person jump out of the plane and them worry about a parachute, wondering what will be after he exits the door?

I just finished building a house in Itarmar, a lovely Jewish village of organic farmers in the hills around Shechem (Nablus, West Bank). A tremendous mitzva, building up Eretz HaKodesh (the holy land), and of course a way of making a living. But also a job that requires a very serious investment of time.

Several other similar jobs await me, and I wonder whether I should focus on making a living or focus on learning and sharing Torah. It's a fortunate but difficult type of confusion, not confusion from the news and media of the world (which I avoid, refusing to be fed a virtual reality that is manipulated lies), but rather the confusion of the crossroads, directing one's path.

I realize that all of us are here for a specfic purpose, just as the specialized tools of construction have various jobs, so do we. The world is the midbar (desert wilderness) and as our forefathers wanted to stay there and focus on g-dliness, I do too. But the Torah was given so that we may operate in this world. Our task is to elevate this world to the level of g-dliness, with us making a place for the Shechina (an aspect of G-d) to reveal itself in this lowly physical world.

I've got more to say, but work awaits. Shalom from the Shomron, Eretz Yisroel, Eretz HaKodesh (West Bank, the land of Israel, the holy land).
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Sunday, June 19, 2005

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The Feeling or the Deed?

In the beginning, any spiritual arousal is mostly (passion and) light, which is why a person (in such a state) will experience excitement and an increased sense of vitality. The intent (of such an arousal), however, is to bring about actual deed, and to do so on a daily basis - that is to say, to clothe the light (and passion) in vessels (of deeds and actions).

Consequently, it is absolutely necessary that the passion be de-emphasized and the vitality be experienced on a lesser level - because (the emphasis must be on) the actual deed. This (actual deed and) performance is the ultimate intent.

Do not listen to the temptations of the evil inclination which claims that the (loss of spiritual passion, arousal and vitality) should lead a person to a state of depression, G-d forbid. Rather, serve G-d in an orderly and ever-increasing manner, clothing the light (and passion) in many vessels (of actual deed).


...From the collected letters of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (the grand rabbi of Chabad Hassidus), Igros Kodesh Volume 11, p. 182.

Wow, what can one say? It is not uncommon to get a burst of energy, a revelation, a focus on something good. But where is it a week later? A month later? Is it just a memory, or has it been channeled into a permanent improvement in one's service?

Shevua Tov! A good week to all.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

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An American Response

As the barbarians of the world practice their current unique style of evil, cutting off the heads of specifically those people that have come to help them, blowing up places of worship, murdering innocent women and children, I have been heartened by the grass roots American response. This response and these people have no difficulty in recognizing evil and standing up or speaking out against it.

Normally I see this at blogs such as Little Green Footballs, but today I ran into this (following a link of a link):

WARNING - The following links are crude, rude, and definately NOT politically correct. You may find it offensive, especially if you are a follower of Islam.

An American Response to Suicide Islamist Bombers: Click Here (short video)

and a series of additional similar videos and photos, Team Infidel - Click Here.

Unfortunately, the social relativists, for which there is no good and evil, only shades of grey, have been very successful in the past year in redefining the current conflict. There's little doubt in my mind this will result in a more bloody price to pay.

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Blocking the Search? Vendyl Jones's route is not clear.

I've previously posted about Dr. Vendyl Jones and his search for artifacts from the holy Beis Hamikdash, here, here and here.

The last one notes the news article that Dr. Jones feels he's very close to locating the aaron kodesh (the holy ark of the covenant).

Unfortunately, the level of publicity leads to concerns. These are the types of things that happen quietly, that require privacy and even a bit of intentional misdirection (the lesson of Yaakov and the blessings is an example). Revelations of holiness always bring opposition.

I have word from a friend who has spoken with Dr. Jones very recently. There are people _now_ getting in the way, including the government which has now blocked off his announced search area (specifically the IDF is now stationed there, and the area is a 'closed military zone').

The path is now no longer straightforward, there are now new obstacles, in the most physical sense.

If you have the ability to assist Dr. Jones (money, resources, or abilities), contact him and do so (his web site and contact info here). Or contact me if you want to help a helper (I can direct resources to someone who will be helping Dr. Jones, contact info to your right.) The straight path is no longer viable.

On the positive side, Yaakov Nathan (from Yiddishkeit.Org I think) posted this extremely cool note on the End Of Days blog post about Dr. Jones...

I heard that Vendyl Jones has been called a gilgul of Yisro?

Take a look at Bamidbar 10:31 -

Moshe pleads with Yisro to stay with Yisroel:

כִּי עַל-כֵּן יָדַעְתָּ, חֲנֹתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר, וְהָיִיתָ לָּנוּ, לְעֵינָיִם

"You know our resting places in the desert, and you would be eyes for us."

Rashi points out this can be read as future tense:
"If anything should be hidden from our eyes (in the future), you shall enlighten us."

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

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The Reward?

The book HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, writes for the 25th of Iyar 25...

(From the writings of the first grand rabbi of Lubavitch hassidus, a famous saint and incredible scholar, author of many serious works of hassidus and halacha (Jewish law)...)

"The reward of a mitzva is the mitzva."

The mitzva in its ultimate essence-state is the reward. The revelation of this essence will take place in the Time to Come. This is the "enduring principal of the mitzva."

However, man also "eats of its fruits in This World," each mitzva according to its particular nature; i.e. when man has that particular need, he is answered.

This brief note attempts to explain, what is the reward for a good deed, for following a G-dly command? Does one 'go to heaven' and receive a special meal? A nicer room?

As hassidus explains in depth, the good deeds, or more specifically the G-dly deeds, of one's life enwrap ones soul and provide the heavenly access to G-dly essence.

In life, the soul is wrapped in a body which provides the ability to survive in and interact with the environment.

The deeds of one's life, specifically the G-dly deeds, provide the same in the next.

The mitzva itself, the heavenly essence or result, enwraps one in the next world. The mitzva is the reward.

So load up while you still can! :-)

Oh, and by the way, it makes this world better too.


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Photos: Shiloh and the Hills of Judea

The town in the distance is Shiloh, the biblical town where the Mishkan (Tabernacle) stood for over 400 years, and today once again a thriving Jewish community in the Shomron (West Bank). The large building in the center is a yeshiva (Jewish religious school) and synogogue.

Shiloh
(Click for larger views)

The hills of Judea around Shiloh.
NearShiloh
(Click for larger views)


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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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Gush Katif Protest and Support Items

The following online store has protest materials and support items for Gush Katif, and supports Gush Katif directly. Check it out.

Online Gush Katif Support / Protest Store Here.


Prices look pretty reasonable (by U.S. standards).

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Shalom Bayis (Peace in the House)?

A story is told of the great and holy rabbi, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, a major figure of the previous generation among orthodox Jewish America...

A student once came and asked him, is it true it's a segulah (an action or activity that brings a positive spiritual influence for an outcome) for shalom bayis (peace in the home between husband and wife) to fold your tallis (Jewish prayer shawl worn by men) right after Shabbos? (This is a commonly held belief.)

Rabbi Feinstein is said to have answered, "I don't know if folding your tallis right after Shabbos is, but helping with the dishes definately is!"

...After I finish helping my wife get everything back under control after the holiday (Shavuos was Sunday night through Tuesday night), I hope to get back to posting!

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Monday, June 13, 2005

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Last Minute Shavous Thoughts - Time, Geulah Update

The day to day moments of life, the things which happen over which we have no control (which, in reality, is everything, but we become fooled by the illusion of areas of control and normality), are always a surprise. Will we be distracted, turned aside from what's important, drawn away from our proper focus?

Exciting things are happening today, here's a few in the Geulah (redemption) department:

Yiddishkeit.org and Yeranen Yaakov bring sources now reporting that one of the Watches of the Geulah has struck 12:00. This is exciting news and should continue to point to the urgency to do good deeds, Torah and mitzvot, now when it is so dark (so hard to see g-dliness in the world), when it counts the most, the moment before Moshiach!

Dov Bar Lieb (scholar of the End of Days blog) had a meeting with Dr. Vendyl Jones in Israel, and says (to paraphrase), expect the aaron kodesh (the holy ark of the covenant) to be brought forth by Tisha B'Av. Of course, Dr. Jones is a very optimistic fellow. Personally, I believe he will find the aaron (or is the most likely person to do so), but I have less confidence in the timing. (Mr. Jones has made optimistic predictions previously.)

These are exciting events and should spur us on to greater efforts in Torah, mitzvot, and good deeds!

In the middle of our family Shabbos and Shavuos preparations, I had a small emergency at work, and a required day of training that kept me in the office later in the day on Friday than I normally stay. Today I was first surprised that my sons yeshiva had a 1/2 day of learning (unusual the day of a holiday), then my oldest son was injured while at yeshiva and I spent most of this day focused on his care.

It would have been very easy to say "oh why is Shavuos coming, I wish it wasn't, so many important things going on". The struggle, the challenge was to say "Shavuos is coming, we're focused on preparing to receive the Torah and celebrate this wonderful occasion", and it was a struggle. But it was exactly by staying focused on this holy goal that the details worked out.

Somehow, for children, it's not so hard. My son's major concern while waiting for and receiving treatment was, "will I still be able to stay up tonight and learn?" (It's customary the first night of Shavuos for the men to stay up through the night learning Torah.)

May we learn from the clarity and vision of the children.

Chag Samayach - A happy and holy holiday, Shavuos, the time of our receiving of the Torah.

Being I publish from Chutz La'Aretz (from outside Israel), I won't be blogging again until Wednesday. May we meet again then with only good news, and hopefully the best of news, news of the coming of Moshiach Tzidkaynu, mamush, now!

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

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Blinders On

(The following is a response to an email I received today as a member of the U.S. Republican Jewish Coalition.)

Dear Republican Jewish Coalition:

As an RJC member, to your article "Bush Remains Israel's Strong, Consistent Friend", the only thing I have to say is CHARA!

(That's Hebrew for an American expression comparing a statement to the fecal output of a bovine.)

You further state, "George W. Bush is not flip-flopping on Israel. Some critics of the President's May 26th meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have alleged that he is. But that is a false description of the President whose numerous statements of support for Israel, expressed philosophy and vision for the greater Middle East, and more than four years of unparalleled, tangible support for Israel remain unmatched in American history."

CHAROT! (That's a compounding of CHARA, a double measure.)

The following is part of the _Whitehouse Press Release_ of the words of President Bush during the press conference with Abbas...

"Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work. There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza. This is the position of the United States today, it will be the position of the United States at the time of final status negotiations."

Clearly President Bush has significantly changed his previous positions. Your article quotes from a 2004 statement of Mr. Bush, unfortunately it's now 2005 and the statement above has clearly become the new position of the government of the United States.

I am a staunch Republican, a member of the Republican party, a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition (and a member of Blogs for Bush and GOP Bloggers), but that does not blind me to the fact that the President is clearly either strongly supporting or actually forcing Israel into positions that put her very existance at serious risk.

It should not blind you either.

I will be working against Mr. Bush's position, will you?

...Akiva

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Friday, June 10, 2005

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A Guide to Shavuos

This Sunday evening is the holy Jewish holiday of Shavuos, celebrating G-d giving the Jewish people the Torah.

For those not fully familiar with the holiday, a good beginners guide is here (click here).

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Can you see the Name of G-d in an Apple?

Rabbi Brody has a cool article up about finding the Name of G-d in an apple.

Take a look - click here.

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Elder of Ziyon Missing?

Elder of Ziyon was a nice blog that was posting a series of historical facts about historical Palestine based on articles from The Palestinian Post (the newspaper forerunner to The Jerusalem Post) from 70 and 80 years ago.

(Link to the online Palestine Post historical archive here.)

Unfortunately, the blog has disappeared (as did an associated blog Daughter of Ziyon, written by his daughter). Disappeared as in the sense that it's gone and the archive was deleted.

The articles were quite good and I picked up a few formatting tricks from him as well (the live Western Wall photo on the header came from there).

UPDATE:

Thanks for the comment from Yaak, seems it's just a change in URL, B"H my concerns for this lost blogger were misplaced. He's now at: http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com .

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

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Rebuke?

A lesson from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, for Iyar 26, 41st day of the holy counting of the Omer...

The command "You shall rebuke" is preceded by the words "You shall not hate your brother," for this is a precondition for the rebuke.

The Torah continues, "...and you shall not ascribe sin to him," for if the rebuke was ineffectual, you are certainly the one responsible, for yours were not words coming from the heart.

I once had a Rav with whom I studied. One day he came over to me and said, "I'd like to learn the laws of rebuke with you." "Ok", I said, "when?". "Right now" he responded, and pulled a Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law book) and proceeded to learn the lessons of rebuke with me.

He then told me, "by the way, you've been doing such-and-such wrong, it's important you work to correct this deficient behavior." I asked him why he had learned with me first? He responded, "so both you and I can agree that I'm doing this the correct way, as I'm concerned about you and am concerned about whether you'll listen to my words."

One cannot rebuke out of anger or, G-d forbid, self concern, but out of love for one's fellow. Otherwise one's ego will get in the way of listening to the rebuke in defense of oneself.


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Gaining Merit

As we approach the holy holiday of Shavuos, the time of the giving of the Torah, lets remember the words of the Divrei Chaim, zt"l:

"Torah should be studied lishmah (for it's own sake), who knows if we have merited this? Avoda (divine service, prayer) requires kavana (focused concentration), who knows if we have merited this?

The only thing with which we have to come to Yom HaDin (the day of judgement) is the merit of tzedakah (charity)."
- - - - - - -

Hashem Yazo! (G-d Help Us!) Not only is the government of Israel rushing head first down the path of the abyss, it's drawing resources from those least able to absorb it. It has not raised taxes to cover the wild expenses it's running up, it's cut programs to the poor!

This has left the most vulnerable in Israel in terrible shape, with nothing left to fall back on. Real poverty, hunger and malnutrition are becoming rampant. Your help is needed now more than ever.

Please fulfill this wonderful mitzva by helping the needy in Israel. I recommend this very worthy organization (which runs with the lowest expense overhead of any I know), with some other worthy alternatives listed at the bottom:

Yad Eliezer - Make a Donation Here

Help them out!



Yad Eliezer is currently the largest anti-hunger agency in Israel. And each day it struggles to fulfill the many requests for assistance that it receives. As Yad Eliezer’s executive director, Dov Weisel describes it, “Each month is it’s own miracle.”

Exposure to the plight of the poor opens one to the almost insurmountable problems they face. Poverty is a lot more than a lack of funds to cover the budget. It is only a symptom of a whole host of layers upon layers of problems which can be called “the cycle of poverty”. By visiting the homes of those with not enough to feed their children, we find serious cases of undernourishment among children (especially babies). Children who resist going to school because they fear being laughed at by their peers because of the clothing they wear, and children who fall far behind in their studies as a result of a home environment that does not allow them to study.

While Yad Eliezer cannot address every single aspect of this circle of poverty, we do extend ourselves wherever possible. Yad Eliezer offers sufficient food to prepare basic meals. We have addressed the issue of undernourished babies by distributing bay formula to mothers who cannot nurse and who have resorted to diluting the little formula they have to dangerously low levels. Yad Eliezer has an extensive program whereby vast quantities of perfectly good used shoes and clothing is distributed to children so their parents can clothe them with dignity. Our latest program is dealing with the social and educational needs of young boys who have no father figure in the home.



Other worthy charities include:

Yad Sarah - Donate Here - Medical help for Israel and Terror Victims.

Colel Chabad - Donate Here - Helping the poorest.

Kupat Ha'Ir - U.S. +1-866-221-9352 - Helping Poor Torah Scholars
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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

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Video: Rabbi Eliyahu and the Watches of Geulah.

Yeranen Yaakov posted this link to the interview of Rav Eliyahu and the watches (see previous post here for English transcript):

Video Link - Interview of Rav Eliyahu with 'Mystical Watches'.

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The Answer That's Been Waiting 900 Years! - Part 3

[ Part 1 here -- Part 2 here ]

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, 1040-1105) is considered the foundational commentator on the Torah. The following is from the comments of The Lubavitcher Rebbe (grand rabbi of the chabad hassidus), Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson about Rashi's commentary on Genesis 1:1...

The claim and complaint of the nations now appears in a new light: When they declared, "You are robbers for you took by conquest the lands of the seven nations," they were very well aware that once Israel had taken possession of the "lands of the seven nations," these territories underwent an intrinsic change and became Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) for eternity, the land can never again belong to the world's peoples — and this provides the force for their complaint. Their claim is thus: Before Israel's conquest, the land was the same as any other, and had the potential of belonging to any nation on earth. The Jews, claim the other nations, had no right to occupy the Holy Land in such a manner as to permanently disenfranchise the other nations of the world from ever taking possession of it; it is an act of theft, of robbery!

To which Israel responds: "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed Be He; He created it." The Almighty created the earth; He is the One Who brought into being the very essence and substance of the world. So it is self-understood that when we say "the entire earth belongs to G-d," we mean not only an external legality of ownership but also that the very inherent character of the world is G-d's.

This being the case, G-d has the right to transform the character of any particular land from one which has the potential of being called "a land belonging to the nations" to one which inherently and exclusively must remain Eretz Yisroel (the Land of Israel).

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

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Congratulations, You're the 10,000 Visitor!

BS"D - BiSiyata D'Shamaya (Aramayic) - With Help from Heaven

With thanks to G-d and the support of my wife and family, I note the passing of the 10,000 unique visitors mark (for visitors, you're unique once every single day, which is a lesson in itself, every day there's another chance to be the best you that you can be) for this blog.

Thank you for visiting and letting my words touch your lives.

As this day in the holy counting of the Omer is represented by the kabbalistic attributes of Gevurah she'b'Malchus, the Strength/Strickness of Kingship, may be merit to speedily see greatest kingship, that of Moshiach ben Dovid, and the time when the knowledge of Hashem will cover the Earth like the oceans cover the seabed, and Hashem can judge the world and find only good.

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The Sanhedrin Moves Forward!!!

Reported by Arutz Sheva - Israel National News:

Semicha - original rabbinic ordination as handed down from Moses - was reintroduced by the Sanhedrin recently when hundreds of Israel's greatest rabbis agreed on the worthiness of a particular rabbi to receive it. The committee who oversaw the process made every effort to fulfill the Jewish legal requirements as outlined by Maimonides, as closely as possible.

Leading Sephardic and Ashkenazic spiritual leaders Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Rabbi Shalom Elyashiv also agreed that this rabbi was "fitting to serve."
...
The court of 71 rabbis has now decided to select of a group of seven individuals within the Sanhedrin to represent the institution in dealings with the public and with Gedolei Yisrael - recognized spiritual leaders of Israel.
...
Those currently sitting on the Sanhedrin stress that they have all assumed their seats on condition that they give them up to anyone greater in wisdom who joins.


This seemingly secular detail, the setting up of a 'big rabbinical council', is a major spiritual deal. Clearly (from the article), this group has agreement and backing of every significant orthodox Jewish religious group's leaders and is the ultimate unifier of Judaism.

After 1,600 years, we can stand up and shout, "Habeas Sanhedrin!' We don't lead with 1, we lead with unity! And, amazingly (for all the detailed disagreement between the diverse orthodox Jewish sub-sects), truly amazingly, we have unity. We have a Sanhedrin!

On an important side note, Dr. Vendyl Jones, a well known leading Bnei Noah (Noahide, following of the 7 Laws of the Universal Covenant, see links on the side of this blog for more info, scroll down, look right ---> ) was also reported at the most recent meeting of the Sanhedrin, which is responding to his request to set up a religous court system specifically focused on Bnei Noach.
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Another view on G. Bush

The most recent guest was Mahmoud Abbas, who was elected president of the Palestinian Authority even as members of the same Authority resigned to protest alleged corruption at the ballot box. Abbas came with a wish list of one item. In keeping with the still-operational Palestinian charter, he wanted Israel.

Bush told Abbas that he could have all of Gaza, the entire West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and part of Jerusalem.

What about the rest?

In good time. Step by step, said Bush.

That conversation is just guess, but is to be assumed from published accounts of Bush's Rose Garden remarks that followed his meeting with Abbas -- "Israel should not undertake any activity that contravenes road-map obligations or prejudices final-status negotiations with regard to Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem."

Moreover, "Israel must remove unauthorized outposts and stop settlement expansion."

Israelis, in other words, are permitted to do anything they want, as long as they get permission first, from Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas, we are told, was thrilled to find Bush so easy to win over, as Israel was now the property of the Palestinian Authority. Abbas, however, was concerned, momentarily, as to how the prime minister of Israel, Ariel Sharon, would respond to having his country slipped out from under him.

Bush said, "You're worried about Sharon?" Someone in the room make a crack and people laughed.

That is also a guess, but a good one.

Observers who voted for Bush (like myself) not once but twice, the same people who consider themselves Republicans and Conservatives (like myself) were not thrilled at what appeared to be an about-face by President Bush. He was voted in to fight terror, but, instead, was taking the side of a man, Abbas, who had been Yasser Arafat's sidekick during a Palestinian Arab terror uprising that killed 1,500 Israelis.

Bush was also voted in by right-wingers (like myself) who favor a strong America and a strong Israel. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that shares America's values in terms of liberty. So it came as a surprise to behold the same Bush handing over fifty million dollars to Abbas.
...
The removal of all Israel must be done in stages.

Bush reminded Sharon (if not in these exact words) that Israel is sovereign as long as it gets permission from Mahmoud Abbas, from Egypt, and from the Condoleezza Rice, who will be making frequent trips to Israel to monitor the dismantling of Israel step by step.


Read the whole thing here: IsraelInsider: Bush to Israel: Drop dead! by Jack Engelhard
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Rabbi Eliyahu and the Watches of Geulah?

Yiddishkeit.org is carrying this transcript of an interview with the saintly scholar, great rabbi and kabbalist, former chief sephardic rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu shlita, from the day before yesterday: [items in brackets I've added for explanation]

(27 Iyar/June 5) - Report from Israeli Television (Mabat):

Anchorman: We know that Moshiach [the redeemer] will arrive on a donkey, What's new is that there is already a specified hour; it will occur at 12:00, although it's not clear when, but this is at least what they can promise us from the study of Baba Baruch [saintly mystic, son of a great and godly saint and kabbalist, of southern Israel]. "Prepare for Moshiach" in this report from Uri Revach [reporter's name]...

Reporter: In this small room, the study of the kabbalist Harav [the rabbi] Mordechai Eliyahu, this watch is found. More than two years ago the Baba Baruch [southern mystic] had a dream where his father, the Baba Sali, Holy and revered Sephardic leader [saint and great mystic], revealed himself to him and requested of him to send this watch to Harav Mordechai Eliyahu. In the dream, he revealed to his son that when the hands of the watch reach 12:00, Moshiach will come.

Harav Mordechai Eliyahu: I was warned not to touch the watch. I don't open the watch, I'm afraid of it (smiling), but it resides with me.

Reporter: Initially, a gold watch was sent to Harav Eliyahu, but after a few months the Baba Sali returned to his son in a dream and asked him to send the silver watch. The watch was at 3:00 [when it arrived] say those who are close. Now, the hands stand at fifteen minutes to twelve [11:45].

Harav Mordechai Eliyahu: When the hands are like this and like this, it is a sign that the geulah is beginning. The gold watch is below, the silver watch is placed on top of the gold watch, because silver is rachamim (mercy) and gold is din (judgement). I wanted that the rachamim [mercy] should be above this, that the Holy One should help that the redemption should be speedily!

Reporter: Harav Mordechai Eliyahu [?unclear?] the story of the watches, but today for the first time we merited to photograph them.

Harav Mordechai Eliyahu: (Standing, with emphasis) We need to believe that Moshiach will come. And with our good deeds he will come even more quickly!

Wow! Unfortunately the included video link was invalid.

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Another Geulah Calculation

In other exciting geulah (redemption) news...

Arutz 7 has this Geulah Calculation article... (hat tip Yeranen Yaakov)

It was 434 years after the Arizal started his study of the Zohar. Could it be that more words of Daniel were fulfilled in 5751? We read: "And after 62 weeks a Moshiach will be cut off, and none will be left to him (Daniel 9:26)." Seven times 62 equals 434. Could there be a more appropriate description of the rejected prophet Rabbi Meir Kahane than "none will be left to him?"

Yes, I am suggesting that Rabbi Kahane was Moshiach ben Yosef, and I am by no means the first to do so. Many harbor the thought in their hearts, because of the scholar Rabbi Kahane was, because of his unique labor for a truly Jewish state, and because of what happened to him.

In his last shiur in his Yeshiva, Rabbi Kahane taught about Moshiach ben Yosef, the self-sacrificing Moshiach who is not recognized by his brothers, but prepares them for the coming of Moshiach ben David. In his magnificent book Or HaRa'ayon, which Rabbi Kahane was frantically working on in the final months of his life, and which he almost finished, the subject of Moshiach ben Yosef stands out because two independent chapters are devoted to it. He was not given the time to merge the material into one chapter.

After the 62 weeks, seven weeks were decreed until another Moshiach, as it says: "Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Yerushalayim until a royal Moshiach, shall be seven weeks. (Daniel 9:25)."


It's a bit difficult, but very interesting nonetheless. Read the whole thing here.

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The Answer That's Been Waiting 900 Years! - Part 2

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, 1040-1105) is considered the foundational commentator on the Torah. The following is from the comments of The Lubavitcher Rebbe (grand rabbi of the chabad hassidus), Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson about Rashi's commentary on Genesis 1:1...

The ultimate, complete distinctiveness of the Jewish people from among all other nations of the world results from their being endowed with Torah and mitzvot—which, essentially, first took place at the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It was then that G-d declared, "You shall be My special treasure among all nations." In a more general way, the Jewish people attained their distinction from among the nations at the time of the Exodus from Egypt—an event connected to, and leading toward, the giving of the Torah. And it was at that time, when Israel left Egypt, that they were commanded with the mitzvah, "This month (Nissan) shall be the head month to you."

The mitzvot of brit mila [circumcision] and gid hanasheh (**see below) were given to our people much earlier than the time of the Exodus. These precepts were given exclusively to the children of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. However, since the command for these mitzvot was not given to the Jewish people at the time of the giving of the Torah, and had no connection with that event, they were commands given to a people who were a part (albeit a special part) of B'nai Noach.

[There is some similarity between Israel's status prior to Sinai and that of the descendants of Eisav, Ammon and Mo'av. The Torah accords a distinct status to these three peoples with regard to their relationships with the Jewish people. So they, too, form a distinct subgroup among the nations of the world.]

** The mitzva of Gid HaNasheh:

The Gid HaNasheh is the sciatic nerve (nervus ischiadicus, running down the back of the hind leg of an animal). This is one of the parts of kosher domestic and non-domestic animals which is forbidden by Torah law to be eaten (Genesis 32:33). In addition to the nerve itself, it is customary not to eat any of its branches or the fat that encloses the nerve.

gidhanasheh


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A Non-Nation

Reb Nati showed this one to me, and noted several references that again seem to be unique to this time, from the song of Parshas Ha'azinu, Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:20...

He said: I will hide My face from them;
I will see what their end will be.

For they are a generation that changes;

(we're doing some research on the Hebrew word that translates to 'changes', it may be an encoded date)

Children that have no upbringing.

They have made Me furious with something that is not a god,

(literally, made Me furious with no-god, meaning atheism? This is unique, with all almost every prophecy talking about worshipping 'other gods'.)

Provoked My anger with their nonsense.

So I will make them furious by a non-nation,

(that's really strange language, a literal translation would be, they make Me furious with non-god...I will make them furious with non-nation, or not a nation, how about a people that have never been a nation but are pretending to be one, namely the Palestinians???)

I will provoke their anger with a vile nation.

(This doesn't need much explanation.)

For a fire burned in My nostrils,
And it will blaze (in you) to the lowest depths (of your foundations).
It will consume (your) land and its produce,
Setting aflame, founded upon mountains.

I will heap misfortunes upon them.
I will use up My arrows on them.

They will sprout hair from famine, be attacked by flying (demons).
And be cut down by (the Demon) Meriri.
I will send animal's teeth upon them.
With the venom of those (snakes) that slither in the dust.

(Actually, the literal words of this last line say in Hebrew, "With HAMAS")


No need to continue the frightening words, which describe outside attacks, inside terror, and finally as the enemy becomes completely arrogant at their ongoing victories and effectiveness of terror, G-d stands up and avenges His people, may it be today!

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Monday, June 06, 2005

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The Answer That's Been Waiting 900 Years! - Part 1

Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak, 1040-1105) is considered the foundational commentator on the Torah...

Berashis Bara Elokim et Hashamayim v'et Haaretz - In the beginning, G-d created heaven and earth. - Berashis (Genesis 1:1)

900 years ago, the great sage, gadol and tzaddik (leader and saintly) Rashi wrote this comment about the opening verse of the Torah. As you will see, this comment was written for today!. This is my response to Gog (sorry, George) Bush and the nations of the world.

Rashi's Commentary:

"In the beginning": Declared Rabbi Yitzchak: The Torah ought not to have begun from any verse other than, "This month [Nissan] shall be the head month to you," which is the first mitzvah that the Jewish people were commanded. What is the reason, then, that the Torah opens with Bereishit—the account of creation? Because — "He related to His people the power of His works in order to give them the inheritance of the nations!"

For should the peoples of the world say to Israel, "You are robbers, for you took by conquest the lands of the seven nations [of Canaan]," Israel may reply to them: "The entire earth belongs to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He created it - and gave it to the one who was appropriate in His eyes. That He gave it to them was an expression of His will, and that He took it from them and gave it to us was an expression of His will."

(This needs to be understood in more depth, for who says that it wasn't then His will that the land be taken from Israel and given to others? The next posts on this topic (evenings this week, G-d willing) will bring a copmlete explanation.)

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$50 million bounty?

Elisheva commented:

POGROM! - BY DEFINITION!
Pres. Bush put a $50,000,000 cash bounty on heads of 10,000 Jews in Gush Katif!!
----
Perhaps you did not notice an even more direct attack - last week Pres. Bush promised to give the "Arabs" a $50,000,000 cash bounty, overriding the US Senate - IF /WHEN the Jews had been successfully taken out of Gush Katif.

Does everyone on this blog know that the real purpose is an international land-grab of Jewish property? - to build a casino, a Club Med and arab vacation resort?


I did go back and re-read the Whitehouse press release to see what was said regarding money. Here it is...

(President Bush) To help ensure that the Gaza disengagement is a success, the United States will provide to the Palestinian Authority $50 million to be used for new housing and infrastructure projects in the Gaza. These funds will be used to improve the quality of life of the Palestinians living in Gaza, where poverty and unemployment are very high.

I think I have to disagree with Elisheva, this is not a bounty, it's straight support to ruthless murderers.

It also may explain where the disconnect is here. President Bush has once again been convinced (or led or forced into the position) that the Israeli-Palestinian situation is the result of Palestinian hopelessness, lack of opportunity, poverty and lack of a functional economy. Of course, this is a joke as the Palestinians never fail to flush their opportunities if there is any hope of causing injury or death to more Jews and/or Israel. Clearly, that's the only opportunity they are looking for.

There's a mystical hint to this in Parshat Haazinu, which (G-d willing) I will post soon.

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Sunday, June 05, 2005

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Simple

In terms of scholarship and aptitude the Chassid Reb Elyeh Abeler was a simple man.

Once, when he came into Yechidus (a private meeting with the Rebbi, grand rabbi of a hassidic sect), my grandfather said to him:

  • "Elyeh, I envy you. You travel to various fairs, you meet many people. Sometimes, in the middle of a business transaction, you get into a warm discussion about a Jewish saying, a saying from the Ein Yakov etc., and you arouse the other fellow's interest in studying Nigleh (Talmud, Halacha etc.) and Chassidus.

    This causes joy On High, and the A-lmighty rewards such "trade" with the blessings of children, health and sustenance; the larger the fair the more work there is and the greater is the livelihood earned."


from Hayom Yom, from Day to Day for Iyar 16, the 31st day of the Omer.

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A Baal Shem Tov Story - Spiritual Impact

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...

Two Jews living in Mezibush (the home village of the Baal Shem Tov) were constantly fighting with one another. Once when they were in synagogue, the pair erupted into a fierce argument, which quickly flared out of proportion. "I will tear you apart like a fish!" one roared.

Summoning his students together, the Baal Shem Tov ordered them to stand near him, shut their eyes, and place their arms on each other. The Baal Shem Tov then placed his arms on the shoulders of the two students flanking him, and the entire group recoiled in shock. Screaming in alarm, they watched helplessly as the threatening individual tore his friend into shreds!

The Baal Shem Tov removed his hands and the vision dissipated. The students clearly understood the Rebbe's message: every physical word carries tremendous spiritual weight and reverberates with spiritual significance. Hence, in the spiritual spheres, this angry threat had been translated into real action!

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Friday, June 03, 2005

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Gog? With 3 little words?

For a long time I've been following and posting, on this blog, articles and research that shows that the world will suddenly and quickly begin to change as Gog of MaGog suddenly reveals himself. The prophecies and commentaries state this will be a surprise, a shock, someone who will have been a major supporter will suddenly turn around, a friend will be drawn to the wrong path and cause great trouble.

For Israel, and Justice (a blog) points to an article on WorldNetDaily, where the author points out the U.S. declares the end of Israel. No, this is not a joke.

The President of the United States of America, Gog Bush (sorry, I meant George Bush), declared:

(supporting sources at the end)

"Any final status agreement must be reached between the two parties, and changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed to. A viable two-state solution must ensure contiguity of the West Bank, and a state of scattered territories will not work. There must also be meaningful linkages between the West Bank and Gaza. This is the position of the United States today, it will be the position of the United States at the time of final status negotiations.

As the author of the WorldNetDaily article states,

"Connecting the West Bank and Gaza effectively cuts Israel in half, making Israel a "state of scattered territories" instead. Such a border arrangement renders Israel totally indefensible...

To my horror, this statement is the greatest betrayal of Israel committed by any American president in history.

It nearly knocked me out of my chair when I considered the implications of Bush's statement. After considering them, I waited for a clarification. I thought, "Surely this president could not have meant what he said. It has to be a mistake."


To my great misfortune, it appears that Gog has declared himself. I am not a Godol (a Torah great) or a leader, just an average guy reading prophecies and the news. Other sages and men wiser than me have declared that the horrible bloody prophecies are over, that Hitler (may his name be erased!) has fulfilled them (see statements by the Lubavitcher Rebbe and from Rabbi Brody's mentor on the Lazer Beams blog). This may, and I certainly hope and pray, be so.

But clearly the times of our troubles are not over, and while the battle in which Moshiach (the righteous redeemer) arises hopefully will not be a giant bloody one, but rather a political and bloodless one, nevertheless it seems to be coming, soon.

References:

For Israel, and Justice Blog: Lindsey spells it out.
WorldNetDaily: Bush's 3 little words, 1 big betrayal.
Whitehouse Press Release: President Welcomes Palestinian President Abbas to the White House.
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The Truth about Kabbalah and The Baal Shem Tov

From this excellent article (click here)...

Here is the tzaddik's version, as he told it in the Baal Shem Tov's words:

[The words of The Baal Shem Tov, the Master of the Good Name...] On my sixteenth birthday, the eighteenth of Elul 5474 [1714], I was in a small village. The innkeeper was a Jew of quintessential simplicity. He knew his prayers only with difficulty--he had no idea what the words meant. But he had a great awe of heaven and for everything that would occur to him he would comment, "Blessed be He, and may He be blessed for ever and ever." The innkeeper's wife and partner had a different saying: "Blessed be His Holy Name".

On that day, I went to meditate in solitude in the pasture, as had been taught by the sages before us, that on one's birthday one should meditate alone for a period of time. In my meditations I recited Psalms and concentrated on the yichudim of the divine names.

("Yichudim" are a form of kabbalistic meditation based on different permutations and combinations of the divine names and attributes of G-d --trans.)

As I was immersed in this, I had lost awareness of my surroundings. Suddenly, I beheld Eliyahu (Elijah) the Prophet--and a smile was drawn over his lips. I was very amazed that I should merit a revelation of Eliyahu the Prophet while alone. When I was with the tzaddik (saint) Rabbi Meir, and also with others of the hidden tzaddikim (saints) I had the fortune to see Eliyahu the Prophet. But to be privileged to this while alone--this was the very first time and I was very amazed. Understandably, I was unable to interpret the smile on Eliyahu's face.

And this is what he said to me:

"Behold, you are struggling with great effort to focus your mind upon the divine names that extend from the verses of psalms that Dovid, King of Israel composed. But Aaron Shlomo the innkeeper and Zlota his wife are so ignorant of the yichudim of divine names that extend from "Blessed be He, and may He be blessed for ever and ever" that the innkeeper recites and "Blessed be His Holy Name" that she recites--yet these yichudim make a storm throughout all the worlds far beyond the yichudim of Divine Names that the great tzaddikim can create."

Then, Eliyahu the Prophet told me about the pleasure G-d takes, so to speak, from the praise and thanksgiving of the men, women and children who praise Him--especially when the praise and thanks comes from simple people, and most specifically when it is ongoing, continual praise--for then they are continuously bonded with G-d, blessed be He, with pure faith and sincerity of heart.

From that time on I took upon myself a path in the service of G-d to bring men, women and children to say words of praise to G-d. I would always ask them about their health, the health of their children, about their material welfare--and they would answer me with different words of praise for the Holy One, blessed be He--each one in his or her own way.

For several years I did this myself, and at one of the gatherings of the hidden tzaddikim they all accepted this path...


Wow! The excellent article explains how/why Kabbalah is the 'soul' of Judaism, and the Baal Shem Tov's direction.

Read the whole thing, click here!

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