Friday, June 30, 2006

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Henay MaTov

Henay MaTov uMaNayim Shevat Achim Gam Yachad - How good it is when brothers sit together.

We don't get together very often. We as in, we Jews. Together as in, well, together. The Ashkenazim don't pray with the Sephardim, the Yeshivish don't learn with the Chassidim, the Modern Orthodox don't pray with the Yeshivish, the Religious Zionists don't stop by the Charedim, and Chabad generally stands alone. Within the world of Torah there's surprising diversity and yet surprising isolationism.

This week, DovBear invited his brothers, his fellow Jews, to come and use his bully pulpit. He brought together a diverse group, who no doubt would probably never get together in the physical world, who disagree with each other and with DovBear on most everything. A right wing religious zionist settler, a chassidic kabbalah learner, a learned atheist, an uber-liberal, and more.

It's good when brothers sit together, even when they disagree, as they're still family. In a difficult week for Israel, DovBear has done an immeasurable service to Klal Yisroel, he has created a moment of unity.

Yasher Koach DovBear, and thanks for inviting me to be a part of it.

--Akiva

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Thank You Hashem!

Image036
flood1
As I left my work today, the rain came down hard, amazingly hard. A huge umbrella was useless, by the time I made it to my car, I was soaked. It continued as I drove, and the roads quickly starting having large pockets of standing water.

Yet as I came down the hill, it was something more, a flash flood! The road was covered, in front, to the left, to the right. To the left (bottom picture), an SUV was sitting trapped with water up to his headlights. Next to him, a mini-van, floating! Baruch Hashem, Yishtabach Sh'mo, I was able to drive on the median to get enough height to safely get through.

THANK YOU HASHEM!

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This article is from Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

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Israel Situation Tracking - Day 2

The best news tracking I've seen of the situation in Israel continues here:

News Headlines here at IsraellyCool.

Audio / Video here at IsraelReporter.

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The Shechina

rebbe
The Lubavitcher Rebbe
Tonight is Gimel Tammuz (the 3rd of the Hebrew month of Tammuz), the Hilhula (leaving of this world and spiritual ascent) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

The Midrash Rabbah, on the pasuk from Shir HaShirim "I have come in to My garden, My sister, My bride" says, 'for the essence of the Shechina was originally in this lowly world."...

Discussing the meaning of [the level of divinity termed] Shechina, the (first Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Baal HaTanya) explains that the Divine Presence is thus named "because it dwells and is enclothed (in all worlds), as in the pasuk 'that I may dwell within them', for (the Shechina) is the initial revelation of the (infinite) Ein Sof light."

...the revelation of the Shechina in this world is not on the level of Malchus, i.e. the Shechina in relation to Atzilus, nor is it the level of the kav, i.e. the Shechina in relation to the Ein Sof-light, rather, what was present specifically in this lowly world was the essential and innermost degree (i.e. the most transcendental and consequentialy non-manifest degree) of Shechina.

...We must say that the above statement refers to the illumination that transcends all worlds, this is what is meant by the essence of the Shechina.

-- The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Maamar Basi LeGani, 5711, the Rebbe's first discourse.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

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Israeli Situation News Tracking

The best news tracking I've seen of the situation in Israel is here:

News Headlines here at IsraellyCool.

Audio / Video here at IsraelReporter.

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It Begins, Or Ends, With Persia

From Gog1.Com, Hebrew End-of-Days site, translated by Yaak...

Kabbalist Rabbi Daniel Zer- You should know one thing: I have a sign [transmitted] to me that Gog Umagog is close. I spoke in the past about Gog Umagog. When the Gulf War broke out, they said that this was Gog Umagog. I told them all: Understand, the Gemara (Talmud) says and the Midrash says and the Zohar says that there is one sign when Gog Umagog is close. Do you know what the sign is?

The Gemara says that the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash started with Paras (Persia, aka Iran), the destruction of the world will begin with Paras. The Zohar and Midrash say that Gog Umagog will begin with Paras.

When it was the Gulf War, I told you: as long as Paras is not in the middle of it, this is not Gog Umagog. Now, pay attention, Paras is starting... The whole world is afraid of Paras. Now it is starting to speak of "wiping Israel off the map"...

This article is from Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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Watching the Tanks Roll By

The Muqata is watching the tanks roll by.

Lazer Beams is watching them line up on arrival (with pictures), and has some spiritual strengthening suggestions.

Gimel Tammuz (the 3rd of the Hebrew month of Tammuz), the Hilhula (leaving of this world and spiritual ascent) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe is tomorrow night.

Will we soon be able to read this with joy??? And He will say to them: "My children, do not be afraid! Whatever I made, I only made for your benefit! Why are you afraid? Do not be afraid! The days of your redemption has arrived!" - Yalkut Shimoni

This article is from Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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Dreaming...

When Hashem will return the exiles of Tziyon (Zion), we will have been like dreamers... - Tehillim (Psalms) 126

Nava's dreaming of Moshiach, and sharing it with us.

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News Flash: IDF Leaps In To Actions!???

News Flash- Southern Israel, um, Palestine, um, Israel:
Israeli Defense Forces took the unprecidented action of delivering a sternly worded letter to Palestinian authorities, well, actually, to an Arab guy with a keffiah herding sheep who happened to be passing by (being that no authority could actually be found).

With the world news media in attendance, they then launched a successful attack on the undefended Palestinian tunnel which the Israelis have accused of being used in legitimate Palestine defense actions. After action reports state that this important Palestine construction project, funded by US Aid and the European Union International Assistance Institute, was completely destroyed.

In related news, Palestinian hospitality is on display with the reported hosting of now 2 Israeli's in separate luxurious locations.

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Sneaking Up

R. Yess shared this note from R. Dov Bar Leib of the End of Days blog:

(R. Dov Bar Leib wrote) And he [Moshiach] is coming like a scorpion, slowly sneaking up on us. The process is so natural that without the tools of the prophets that prophesied in the distant past, we would not know that the end of what has been real for 2000 years is so close at hand.

I believe by next Pesach [Passover] we will have a clearer picture of how Batzrah [Basra, Iraq] will trigger the fall of Western Civilization in lieu of something better, Yemot HaMasiach [Days of the King Messiah]. Even if Gog [President Bush] delays the inevitable war of civilizations by tolerating Persia's nuclear enrichment program for a few more months, Batzrah [Basra, Iraq] will continue to deteriorate. It is Iran's next door weapon of mass destruction.

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Ignore Them At Your Peril!

As Time recently reported, terrorist cells developed fully functional chemical weapons designed for crowded US public areas (such as the New York subway system) as well as a plan to deploy them (in New York!) Thank G-d, they called the plan off very shortly before it's planned execution.

In today's events in Israel, one little announcement has been somewhat ignored as 'terrorist bluster'...Palestinian news agency Ramattan: Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah’s armed wing, announced "With the help of Allahahaha, we are pleased to say that we succeeded in developing over 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons, this after a three-year effort...". Sultan Knish notes "Saddam's Iraq fell in the summer of 2003, exactly three years to the date today. The same date given by Fatah in its 'development' of chemical weapons. To this day the locations of Saddam's chemical weapons remain mostly unknown."

So, a part of the previous, US funded Palestine government ruling authority has developed chemical weapons (or said they have), while the US was funding them. A simple fully functional chemical weapon delivery system has been found (and tested, G-d help us, it works). Ladies and Gentleyidden, that's Weapons Of Mass Destruction in the hands of murderers with no hesitation in their actions.

Or we can pretend they don't exist, that it's all bluster, and the inexpensive US & European funded (by funding the Fatah government) chemical weapon dispursement system found was actually a fancy bird cage.

G-d forbid, how many will die, how big will the civilian slaughter be, before this is taken seriously and responded to as such?

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Monday, June 26, 2006

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Jerusalem Holiness Action Update!

As Rabbi Brody wrote here, the desecration events planned for Jerusalem are still in motion, with some very high government support. While the mayor is responding to the deluge of faxes and emails, it seems his power is limited.

Turns out there are 3 people that can make a difference...

  • Jerusalem Police: Fax from US 011 972-2-5391391, world wide +972-2-5391391 -
    The Jerusalem police can stop the event if they are convinced that it's a security risk to the public.

  • Eliahu Yishai, Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor: Fax from US 011 972-2-6662909, world wide +972-2-6662909, email eyishay@knesset.gov.il -
    Yishai, is head of Shas (the Sephardi religious party) and has the power to cripple Olmert's coalition. Minister Yishai, does Jerusalem and your principles count or not?

  • The Gerrer Rebbe: Fax from US 011 972-2-5388774, world wide +972-2-5388774 -
    The Gerrer Rebbe shlit'a is one of the Jewish religious leaders of the generation in Israel, he can awaken the religious majority of Jerusalem to public action (and merely the statement that he is considering it would have tremendous impact).

Do your part, send a fax today.

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Q&A with A Simple Jew

A Simple Jew asked:

Perhaps this is a silly question, or maybe I might be a little meshugga here...

It is known that Moshe Rabbeinu ascended Har Sinai on the 2nd of Sivan in order to receive the first set of luchos from Hashem. Moshe ascended again on the 1st of Elul to receive the second set of luchos.

My first daughter was born on 1 Elul and my second daughter was born on 2 Sivan. Do you believe there is a connection between Moshe's ascent to bring down the luchos and the birth of my daughters, or I am reading to much into this?

Answer:

Mazel Tov! The birth of a child in good time and in good health always brings us to great hope for the future, may you lead them to Torah, Chuppah, and Ma'asim Tovim!

It's natural for parents to look for positive signs in their childrens birth. The 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe said, we should live with the times. This he explained to mean, we should live with the Torah portion of the week! (And bring it in to our lives and tie the events of our week to it.)

In this realm, it's a very common Jewish custom for some parents to name their children when their birth comes out during a particular holiday season (such as Ester or Mordechai around Purim, or Pesach, Aviva, or Eliyahu around Passover). Among chassidim, if a child is born on the very auspicious times of a tzaddik's hilhula or birthday, the child may be named for the tzaddik (such as Yisroel on the 18th of Elul, for Rabbi Israel the Baal Shem Tov or Shneur Zalman for the Baal HaTanya, also born on the 18th of Elul).

Further, many events are considered to have occurred when they did because it was an auspicious time for such an event, meaning there was a certain mazel at that time for that event. And of course, a mazel for a person is dependent on the day of birth.

So I would say your daughters were born at very auspicious times and indeed their mazel is related to the events of the luchos.

A Simple Jew responds:

What do you think it is in particular that connects my daughters to the events related to the luchos? Do you think that their birth on these dates is symbolic of the fact that they are responsible to bring down the Torah to a new generation by giving birth to Jewish children (G-d willing)?

Answer:

I wish I had the wisdom and vision to truly discern it. However, at best I can only speculate.

As we are, G-d willing, mere moments away from the revelation of Moshiach, every neshoma must be given its opportunity in this world, or it's last opportunity to repair previous breaches.

At this stage of their lives, your little daughters opportunity is to live in a kosher environment, as provided by you and your wife. They also have the zechut of their parents mitzvos invoke because of them (naming at the Torah, teaching them brachos, emunah, saying Shema with them, chinuch).

Later in their lives (if, G-d forbid, Moshiach has not yet come) their mazel will shine through, and perhaps you will notice a special level of exactness in committment to Torah and mitzvot, or a special level of connection to Hashem, in association with the mazel of the special days of the giving of the luchos.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

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Attack News: You've Got To Be Kidding!

Beyond belief... (graphic at the end, avoid reading if disturbed by such discussions)

Beilin: ‘Ask Abbas for an Exceptional Effort’ for Release of Captive

An escalation of violence in the wake of Sunday’s lethal terror attack on an IDF outpost would be counterproductive to Israel’s interests, according to Meretz Knesset member Yossi Beilin.

Beilin said, “The Israeli government should ask Mahmoud Abbas to make an exceptional effort to release the kidnapped soldier from the captivity of terror groups and to replace Hamas with an emergency government if he is not released immediately.”

The Meretz leader also said that the attack, which left two soldiers dead and four injured, in addition to the capture of 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit, should not prompt “a new cycle of violence.”

I guess on the planet he lives on, terrorist murdering barbarians treat their captives kindly, with padded comfy chains, mood music, and 5 course meals, and release their temporary detainees on request.

Unfortunately, on planet Earth, terrorist murdering barbarians torture their captives to death, cutting off body parts and often finish by video taping their cutting off the head of the live screaming captive. They then bath their hands and face in their captives blood and carve off body parts for sharing as trophies with friends. (Every single thing I described are real events of the past 5 years.)


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Attack, Kidnap, Pray For...

For those who don't keep up on the Israeli news, the 'peaceful' government of Palestine, Hamas, led an attack out of Gaza on Israel, killing 2 Israeli soldiers, seriously injuring 1, and kidnapping one. (News here.)

The kidnapped soldier's name is Gilad ben Aviva (Shalit). Please pray for him.

Now, as for the government of Israel, will they recommend 'converging' (aka retreating) from the Negev and Sderot to prevent antagonizing their peace partner?

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Geula Summary Partially Translated

I made an attempt at translating Hashem1.net's Geula Status post.

Here's part 1 so far:

End of Days - Where are we? (part 1 of 3)

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Major Meteorite Strike in Norway

A large meteorite struck in northern Norway this week, landing with an impact an astronomer compared to the atomic bomb used at Hiroshima.

The meteorite appeared as a ball of fire just after 2 a.m. Wednesday, visible across several hundred miles in the sunlit summer sky above the Arctic Circle, Aftenposten reported.
...
The meteor struck a mountainside in Reisadalen.
...
'If the meteorite was as large as it seems to have been, we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb,' he said. 'Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we may be able to compare it to the bomb.'


Simonim, signs, follow up later.

(Source here.)

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Friday, June 23, 2006

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Visiting Yehoshua bin Nun

As in, the student of Moshe (Moses) and leader of the Bnei Yisroel (Children of Israel) after him, the author of the Book of Yehoshua (Joshua).

Photo and Description at the Muqata, here.

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Yaffa Ganz: Commenting on Love, Borders, Civilization

A follow up by Yaffa Ganz, well known orthodox Jewish childrens author...

There is, of course, only one true reason why homosexuality is immoral and that is because the Torah says it is. But even I, in my "stridency" did not dare give that simple, clear, basic reason, for in today's relativistic world, where absolutely nothing is "absolute", who is able to "hear" such a reason unless they already believe it? And so I attempted to present other valid societal, democratic reasons. But when you're up against (as I wrote) a highly aggressive, well funded, well organized and thoroughly immoral phenomenon, perhaps a strident voice is required.

I agree 100% with everything Rabbi Feldman wrote in his article, but it is one thing to explain a position quietly to interested individuals and another thing to attempt to deal with today's universal, ubiquitous campaign for homosexuality. If armed robbers attempt to break into your home, you don't invite them in for coffee and conversation. You act to stop them. And if you're attempting to explain the inherent fallacy in, for example, communism, you will speak differently than if you are facing a confrontation with a nuclear armed USSR. (I shall now be accused of calling homosexuals robbers and communists. Oh well….)

One of your respondents wrote: The last sentence [in the article] is particularly charming -"they are destroying our world". I thought being a Jew meant understanding "everything is from Hashem" and correcting our own behavior - silly me." Yes, the campaign for recognition of homosexuality is destroying our world. Are evil and sin "from Hashem?" You could answer Yes, because He allows it in His world; but No, because it results from the actions of people, and we are supposed to try and correct our behavior and perfect the world, no matter how difficult the challenge. Doesn't a public campaign against morality, a really gross display, and a demand to legitimatize immorality require a strong public response, to "correct", fight against, prevent (if we can)?

Perhaps I should have struck out the word "homosexuals" from the article and replaced it with "homosexuality" . As Rabbi Feldman writes, every Jew is and remains a Jew, deserving of love, attention, empathy, assistance. As Beruria, the wife of the famed Talmudic scholar Rabbi Meir, said: Yitamu chata'im min ha'aretz – Let sins (not sinners) cease to be. But that being said….

  • 1) Homosexuality is a sin and an abomination (toeyva) and is forbidden in the Torah.

  • 2) A public flaunting of homosexuality in the streets of Jerusalem is a public challenge to G-d, Torah, holiness which we dare not ignore. The Torah clearly spells out a long list of forbidden sexual encounters - including homosexuality - and ends with the warning: Let not the Land vomit you out for having contaminated it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. [Lev., 18, 28]

  • 3) Jerusalem was chosen specifically as an attack on the gates of the Holy City, its G-d, and its people, just as last year, Rome was chosen to attack Christianity. Last year, Rome/Christianity "succumbed". This year – the plan is for Jerusalem/Judaism to bow low. Next year…well, next year Mecca is on the agenda. but I wouldn't count on it!

To sum up, if my "strident" language offended anyone personally, I personally and sincerely apologize. This fight is not a vendetta against homosexuals; it is a battle for Torah against immorality. Everywhere – but especially in the Land of Israel and the streets of Jerusalem. If Rabbi Feldman does battle more elegantly or more effectively than Yaffa Ganz, I bow my head low and accept his lead. But every battle has its different strategies; every voice will be heard by someone. I hope mine will too.

--- Yaffa Ganz, Jerusalem

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The Gemora of Orientation

(R. Yess wrote...) I sent Dov (Bar Leib of the End of Days blog) an email with a link to a news item about 2.4 million people participating in a “gay” parade in Brazil last week. Here was his reply:

(R. Dov Bar Leib wrote) The gemorrah [Talmud] in Chullin [one of the Talmud’s sections] says that there are two things for which G-d punishes the Umot HaOlam [nations of the world] by removing their blessing that they receive because of the good done by previous generations.

1. Selling human flesh in the market place.

2. Granting marriage licenses to gay (activity perpetrators).

Neither America nor Brazil have yet to realize what they have just done to themselves. A constitutional amendment on banning gay marriage could not even get a majority in the Senate, much less than the necessary 2/3.

Of course the Israeli Supreme Court sponsored [gay] "Parade" in the Holy City will have repercussions which cannot be calculated. In the year of Yitzkhak, [a Judgmental year] they have hit upon one of the three laws for which there is no extenuating circumstance to ever engage. The Midas HaDin [Divine Attribute of Judgement] and the Midas HaEmes [Divine Attribute of Truth] are the same with regards to these three cardinal sins: murder, idolatry, and the four principle sexual immoralities. It was a good idea to up my earthquake (insurance) coverage this past year.

Let me firmly add, as Dov pointed out, this specifically refers to the public normalizing of inappropriate activity.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

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Video: Terrorists In Their Own Words

60 Minutes Interviews Terrorists, WATCH THIS!

Part 1 - - - Part 2

(English, 6 minutes each, via Circus Tent)

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Orientation...

Ben Bharata commented: The beautiful letter from R' Feldman was instrumental in helping me, an orthodox yeshiva educated young man, in the long task of dealing with same sex attraction (SSA).

Please note the difference in tone between the two writings: the ahavas yisroel and deep feeling / empathy which flows from R' Feldman's letter for his reader and the strident tone of the guest poster which has the ring of a politican haranguing her audience to "get those people" who offend "decent society."

Important: I don't totally disagree with the guest poster: society must have standards, one should not revel in or proclaim as right and good behaviour contrary to the Torah, and Yerushalayim is definitely not the venue for such an event. Yet, I hope the guest poster sticks to writing and never tries kiruv work: she has no concept of how deeply rooted sexual orientation is, nor how people like her cause many good (and yes decent) frum young people with SSA decide to cast away Torah and mitzvos.


After seeing this comment I read the letter as well. It is indeed a special letter and an excellent Torah position. The commentor has my respect and admiration for overcoming an immensely strong ta'ava (desire).

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

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The Kabbalah Movie: The Sefirah of Earth???


Israel commented, "I'm not sure what your criticism is...As far as I can see, he is doing a great job of spreading the wellsprings." and Leah commented "It sounds to me like this video is a great thing to use as part of an event for a Chabad house. What am I missing?"

The video is riveting, it's bright and attractive, interesting intriguing music, good quality voices. It says, this is Kabbalah, it's alive, vibrant, and mystical.

It also says the sefirah of Malchut is Earth and all creation, and the mountains are a hug from G-d, and the beat of a heart in the womb is the musical beat.

To which I say, huh??? (Poetic, yes, some kind of real lesson in Kabbalah or simply engaging in New Age terminology???)

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

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Hashem1.net Updates Geula Status Post

Hashem1.net has updated his Geula status post.

It's quite long (and quite good), and I don't know if I'll have the time to translate it like I did last time. BL"N, I'll try to do so, but it may take some time.

If someone beats me to it, let me know and I'll BL"N post a link to it.

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Guest Post: Love, Borders & Civilization

(The following post was sent to me (and others I assume) by Yaffa Ganz, author of more than 50 childrens books and several collected essays, and longtime resident of Jerusalem. It's also scheduled for publication in the Jerusalem Post.)

And we know from our own experience, too, that those who deny all limits are forever finding the beautiful words, the high phrases and the slippery and diseased thoughts needed to strengthen this beast in others, to make them appreciate and approve, and to pull them along and down, men and nations, into their abyss… – Yoram Hazony, ‘The Dawn’

This summer, a 10-day international gay conference is scheduled to take place in Jerusalem. It will conclude with a gala gay parade in the streets of the city. Thousands of participants are expected to attend. The affair is to be so expansive and expensive that, I’m told, Tel Aviv, “the city that never sleeps,” declined the honor of hosting the conference and suggested that Jerusalem would be a better venue.

Believing Jews are adamantly opposed to any blatant, public display of sexuality. But homosexual behavior is doubly appalling, not only to believing Jews, but to Christians, Muslims and other decent people around the world.

Concepts such as right and wrong, good and bad, healthy and normal versus unnatural and dysfunctional have been so impaired that today it is difficult to even explain why homosexuality is unnatural, destructive and wrong, even when the vast majority of people in the world know instinctively that it is. You hear, “I wouldn’t want my kid to be one, of course, but it’s not my business to tell other people what to do.”

HERE ARE the facts:

• Homosexuality is an aberrant biological phenomenon. Human beings are designed to propagate through the union of two opposite sexes, male and female. The world can only continue to exist if Nature – and sex – are allowed to run their natural course. Promoting public, social and legal recognition of homosexuality as an “alternate life style” means admitting that there is no value to perpetuating life. It is a destructive, nihilistic and absolutely anti-life ethos.

• Homosexuality is deviant social behavior. Homosexuals comprise a very small percentage of the population and those unable to respond to treatment are a smaller number still, but the media has made them larger than life.

In the process, the media has promoted condoning – not a genetic, biological or physiological condition, but a cultural phenomenon. As in ancient Greece, where every man of standing had a young boy to enjoy, today too, the gays would have us believe that everyone can, and has the right to “indulge” and their sexual preferences should be recognized, respected and legalized.

But why should society recognize, legalize and respect an “alternate life style” which is historically, and by definition, aberrant and destructive?

• Like any other physiological, biological or emotional problem, homosexuality is a dysfunctional behavior requiring treatment, not legislation or “recognition.”

Treatment is available and can be effective for many people. Those few who cannot (and some cannot) or those who will not (and some will not) attempt to reach a more normal state of sexual behavior are still perfectly free to live their own private lives.

EVERY SOCIETY has a public and a private sphere. Generally speaking, what people do in the privacy of their homes is their own business, so long as they do not the invade the public arena.

This is true of both heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. Our society does not condone parading intimate sexuality in public (despite the media). Why is the desire of homosexuals to go public more compelling than the public’s desire to keep certain areas of life private?

The public sphere must be a communal meeting place where all of society can participate and feel comfortable. If homosexuals, who make up but a tiny percent of the population, have “rights,” then so do the vast majority of people who prefer that one’s sexuality be kept in the privacy of the bedroom and not paraded on the street.

In virtually all times and places heterosexuality has been the universal norm. And the normal, two-parent (male/female) family has always been the backbone of human civilization.

No other satisfactory substitute has ever been found which offers the physical and emotional nourishment necessary to raise children and turn them into healthy, normal adults. No other substitute has ever been found which guarantees the transmission of human values and culture. One-parent families, divorcees, widows and orphans have always existed, but children in such situations have always been at risk.

LOVE WITHOUT borders? Society is being raped. The underpinnings of human civilization are being whittled away as universal, natural law is being destroyed.

Only where human morality is relative can reality be manipulated semantically. In a borderless world anything and everything can become an “alternate life style.” One shudders to think of the possible ramifications.

The homosexual movement, tiny as it is, is articulate, well-funded, aggressive and out to conquer. And conquer it will, if we remain silent. It is obsessive in its need for social recognition, to justify its “normalcy.”

The gay king is indeed naked. And the gay logo of “World Pride” is a desperate attempt to clothe the movement in legitimacy and recognition.

Those of us attempting to do battle with the tidal wave of culturally inspired homosexuality are not primitive, intolerant or ignorant. We are normal and healthy, and in our normality lies our wisdom.

“Love without borders” may be the gay slogan, but no human society or civilization has ever existed without borders. What we desperately need today is love, life, order and law with borders. The iconoclasts who would break down all the borders of civilization are not only invading our private space; they are destroying our world.

For more information about the issues raised in this article go to the Web sites: www.narth.com and www.jonahweb.org
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Arguing About Jerusalem

gpride2002
Photo from 2002 Jerusalem
GLBTQ 'event'.
Click for bigger image.
On the parade in Jerusalem, AmEchad commented: I'll pass. Sorry, Mayor Lupiansky needs to spend time creating jobs in Jerusalem and cleaning up the dilapidated city (truly turning it into the Holy City and Eternal Capital of Israel) instead of stopping free speech.

And if you don't live in Jerusalem or Israel, stay out of our internal politics. If you want a say -- one word: עלייה -- and if you can't read it -- all the more so.


AmEchad - If the beit knesset (synagogue) across the street is being desecrated, do I ignore it because I don't regularly daven (pray) there?

I don't discount your point about condition of the city, it needs work. And if the bureaucracy of Israel would just get out of the way instead of stopping business and throwing up barriers to entrepreneurship, the job situation would be much better.

But don't try to feed me a line about free speech. Living in Israel as you do, you know very well there's no free speech in Israel. If you believe otherwise, check with Nadia Matar, who's being prosecuted for "insulting a public official".

I don't place the Western ideas of liberal democracy above those of Judaism, although even according to those ideals you don't walk in to a crowded theatre and yell fire (and a KKK convention would not be permitted in New Orleans). It's unfortunate that so many of those in Israel do place those ideals above Judaism and sometimes above their own survival.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

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Jerusalem - Holiness Alert Update!

Rabbi Brody reports, "Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Uri Lupolianski has signed a petition against holding the GayParade 2006 in Jerusalem, and the organizers of this unfortunate event are frothing at the mouth. An inside source from the Jerusalem Municipality told me that over 20,000 letters and faxes of the Lazer Beams form-letter helped convince the mayor."

Well, a petition, that's a start. But the event's still on. Please continue to let Jerusalem Mayor Rabbi Lupolianski know that such an event is completely inappropriate for the Holy City. Fax or Email Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lopianski:

Fax in Israel: 02-6296014 or 02-6296004
Fax from US: 011-972-2-629-6014
Fax Worldwide: +972-2-6296014
Email: lpuri@jerusalem.muni.il

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Ad Filtering for Fellow Bloggers

My dear fellow J-Bloggers:

If you use Google Adsense, you know that some inappropriate ads pop up now and then. Over the past six months of using this, I've compiled a small list that I use in my competative ad filter to block the garbage.

If you're interested, here's my Google AdSense block list.

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A Minor Vino Gripe

For Shabbos my wife bought a new brand of wine. It had a reasonable but not too low price, a reasonable name and label, was Israeli, and had 6 (count-em, 6!) kosher supervisions (a bit of crazyness that happens to some Israeli products). It was labeled sweet, which with young children is our household preference.

As I opened the bottle in preparing for Kiddush, I gave it a little sniff and immediately carried it away. Not that it was bad or anything, but a follow up tiny taste later confirmed it.

It was sweet. Not sweet as a nice lightly sweet wine. Not sweet as tickle your palate and warm your tongue. Sweet as in, I just ate 6 cholelate bars and think I'll throw up sweet.

Who in the world actually drinks these things? How in the world does anyone actually drink these things? (I'm referring to things such as this.)

Is it just me, or is calling these kind of things wine a misuse of the world?

Blech! (The wine referred to here is Mount Hebron Sweet Red Wine.)

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Friday, June 16, 2006

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Knowing You Are Ill...

There was some argument over the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in the video I posted. Here's some Torah and Chassidus that may lend understanding...

Excerpt from HaYom Yom, From Day to Day, Sivan 16 -


The early sages, who were like angels (may their merit protect us) have already determined that the healing of the soul is like the healing of the body:

The crucial first step is to identify the location of the illness, whether it is caused by the crassness, grossness and corruption of his physical body or by a failing in his soul-powers, the person being inclined to undersirable traits like arrogance or falsehood and the like. Or, the source of the malady may be habit - inadequate rearing or unwholesome environment having brought on bad habits.

Without ascertaining the specific site of the illness and the cause of infection, it is impossible to embark on a cure. One can only prescribe an orderly proper conduct in all matters, what to do and what to avoid.

To "do good" in terms of observing mitzvot, designating times for Torah-study and acquiring good character traits - and also to "turn away from evil."

Most urgent of all, however, is that the patient make himself aware of two things:

a) to know that he is ill, and desire most fervently to be cured of his malady;

b) to know that he CAN be cured, with hope and absolute trust that, with G-d's help, he WILL indeed be cured of his sickness.

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Shut Up? I Don't Think So.

American Jews largely support Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's realignment plan, and those who don't will be told to keep quiet so that the global Jewish community can maintain a united front, says Consul-General in New York Arye Mekel.

"Most American Jews accept this premise," said Mekel, "that in these issues of peace and security and defense and so on, it's up to the government of Israel to make these decisions. And with all due respect to our brethren in the US, it's not up to them to second guess Israeli democracy and the Israeli voter's choice."


Dear Mr. Mekel:

The Israeli elected junta, the mask of democracy you place over your face, which no matter who is elected consistently follows the same self destructive policies to it's own citizens, to Judaism, to the Land, (the only difference elections make is the speed with which these policies are followed), has no right to tell anyone whether they can agree or not.

You make up a statement "most accept" and present it as fact. Well, here's a true fact, a 3000 year old fact -

No Jew has the right to give up the eternal heritage of the Jewish people.

To say otherwise, you must be stating that you, the junta of Israel, do not represent the Jewish people. That being the case, do not ask us for a united front with an Israeli power-elite junta. We will not enable and support your personal self destructive policies that benefit only the bank accounts and power accumulation of those living in penthouses in Tel Aviv.

Waving the Israeli flag will no longer garner our support, for we see only darkness behind it.

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Kabbalah - The Movie?

One nice? side effect of the kabbalah sales drive has been every Jewish outreach program being able to re-label their programs as Secrets of Kabbalah Revealed Here!

The latest here, including show times for The Kabbalah Movie (or some such).

When I'm looking for secrets of G-d and the universe, I often go to the movies with a young rabbi from the Rocky Mountains.

(Don't get me wrong, I'm sure he's doing nice things teaching the basics to those who are searching.)

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Thursday, June 15, 2006

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Rav Shteinman: Ge'ula Close!

Hashem1.net (in his first post in a while) reports (via the magazine Bikhilah) that Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman said "The awakening of the Jewish world in the Diaspora, as far as we can see, testifies that it is clear that the arrival of Mashiah is close!"

The crowd who heard this was apparently left stunned.
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Review: CD, You're Not Alone

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(A guest post by my teenage daughter.)

Harness your untapped powers and vast potential! This amazing CD shows you how.

You're Not Alone is the start CD of a new series in English by Rabbi Shalom Arush, shlita, with English voice-over by Rabbi Lazer Brody.

You’re not alone! That’s the main message of the Rabbi Arush / Rabbi Brody CD. This amazing CD teaches a person how to trust in Hashem (G-d) when their faith is starting to fail and hard times have come. It teachs that you need to know that you're not alone and there is always someone there for you, someone named Hashem (G-d).

This CD focuses on emuna, faith. Because if you have faith, all of a persons troubles don’t seem like problems when you know that what G-d is doing is for good, and good for you. It further shows the Breslov chassidic idea that you can (and should) talk to Hashem, asking G-d for anything and speaking to him any time, no appointment needed!

I think the CD is great, I think you'll think so too.

-- Akiva's Opinionated Daughter

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

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Jerusalem - Holiness ALERT!

Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh, Jerusalem the Holy City. I wrote in the past (here) about a kabbalistic description of levels of holiness...

Kabbalistically, kedushah (holiness) is related to the tzimtzumim, the contractions and filters that separate this world from the Ein Sof HaKodesh and the Or Ein Sof, the Blessed Infinite One and His Infinite Light. There's a little less filtering in Eretz HaKodesh, in the Holy Land, a little more spiritual light leaks through. You can't see it, but you can see people reacting to it. Spirituality is just a little more spiritual, discussions of G-d and his Torah are a little more real, a little more alive. The neshama, the soul, gets a little more excited.

The neshamot (souls) are drawn to a greater closeness of G-d, and reach a higher level of excitement, of spiritual vitality, when there.


Jerusalem (and certain other holy cities) are higher again.

On the opposite side of the scale, everyone has ta'avot, illicite desires. It's the nature of the physicalness of this world to literally do everything it can to draw one away from kedusah, holiness. Some desires are more challenging, some we consider more deviate (though who are we to judge until faced with such a desire ourselves???). As long as we acknowledge them for what they are, and fight them, even if we don't constantly succeed, we're on the path to connect with Hashem and towards holiness.

When we revel in them, flaunt them, disparage those who don't accept them, and intentionally desire to parade them exactly where they will be noticed the most, then we destroy ourselves, those around us, and society as a whole.

"World Pride 2006" is a planned 'massive' conference, party and parade in Jerusalem, the Holy City, for August 6-12 2006. It's an organization of LGBTIQ individuals who plan to flaunt and revel in their ta'avot (illicit desires) in the Holy Land, in the Holy City.

We cannot stand by and accept this event, equivalent to placing an idol in the Beis Hamikdash, or painting a picture of Yoshka on the Western Wall. Here's what you can do:

Fax or Email Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lopianski:

Fax in Israel: 02-6296014 or 02-6296004
Fax from US: 011-972-2-629-6014
Fax Worldwide: +972-2-6296014
Email: lpuri@jerusalem.muni.il

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Incoming Qassam!

When you hear this sound, you have 5 seconds to duck! (Click here.)

This system has been installed by the government for your security. We hope it makes you feel better. Sincerely, the Government of Israel.

(This is the actual alert sound from the Red Dawn incoming Qassam rocket alert system in Sderot, Israel.)

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

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Amazing Video: The Rebbe and the Missionary!


A video of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, during 'dollars' (visiting with Jews one after another) being confronted by a Jew who converted to Xianity! (English with Hebrew subtitles)

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Where are they???

Guysen reports: Mahmoud Abbas is assisting Hamas members of parliament. Following the taking hostage of one of their colleagues by the Al-Aqsa Brigade, 10 deputies took refuge in the nuclear shelter of PA president, in the muqata in Ramallah.

They took refuge in the Muqata???

Wait a minute, nuclear shelter???

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Monday, June 12, 2006

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Criticism

From HaYom Yom: My father (the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe) wrote in a letter: "Cherish criticism, for it will place you on the true heights." (for the 12th of Sivan)

Thank you, to select commentors and emailers. Really.

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A Holocaust Comic?

Non Sequitur Comic ExcerptA bit of a surprise in the Sunday comics, a holocaust comic by Non Sequitur. I have mixed feelings about the message, click it to see the whole thing.

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Sunday, June 11, 2006

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Zarqawi's Death at 2/3 Mark of War?

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (ימ"ש) was killed by U.S. Forces on June 8, 2006.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 (Hoshana Rabba, 5762 - it was October 8th in U.S. time).
The difference is 4-2/3 years.
4-2/3 years is exactly two-thirds of 7 years.
According to some (see here under the heading "War of Gog Umagog" and also mentioned in Arutz Sheva), the war of Gog Umagog started when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, and is supposed to last 7 years.

What the significance is is not clear. It's just an interesting thought.

(Cross-posted at Yeranen Yaakov)
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How G-d Wants It.

In Tvarat HaRivash, attributed (at least the version I have) to the Baal Shem Tov, the rebbe writes about what to do if one can't maintain a constant level of devekut, literally mentally cleaving to G-d constantly and strongly, and if one falls to katnut, a small connection to G-d, and gets stuck there.

Now for a long time I've been considering this, given that not only is constantly maintaining devekut beyond my grasp, but even ever reaching devekut may be a major achievement! How can I reach such a lesson and feel anything but small, insignificant, unworthy, incapable?

Yet I realized that while the specific details of the lesson may be currently beyond me, it teaches a very important lesson, for it says, do not feel bad about having falling to such a state, for perhaps today Hashem desires your more distant prayer and your struggles while in such a state.

In other words, you may feel bad today that you have not achieved your highest and best prayer, or great steps in learning, because things are interfering. Somehow, you just can't do it, maybe there's a problem at work, or with money, or with the children, or car, or a minor health issue (G-d forbid a major one), or just noise and distraction that won't go away. Why, oh why, you wonder, can't I reach that level of prayer today, that level of learning, that connection with Hashem? So you try harder, fight harder, yet disappointingly, still don't achieve it.

Realize, that's ok, you weren't supposed to reach it today, it was your struggle that was of value! That, the struggle itself, your hard effort, was exactly what Hashem wanted of you today.

And that's not only ok, that's fulfilling Hashem's plan.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

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Social Engineering

A story of social engineering, here. Off general blog topic, but I thought it was interesting.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

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A Non-Confrontational Jewish Expulsion Process?

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results” --- Umm, no it's not, it's 'Persistent mental disorder or derangement.' (see here or here.)

IsraelReporter goes on about the insanity of the apparent sell out or support of 'West Bank' rabbi's for a non-confrontational Jewish expulsion process. This is not insanity, it's a failure from the reporter's perspective to understand what hidden pressures have been brought to bear.

Our rabbinical establishment has yet to stand up. May Hashem help them find the strength.

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Iraq's Nukes vs. Iran's Nukes

Wednesday was the 25th anniversary of the bombing of Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant, which was successfully carried out by Israel's Air Force - guided by the Yad Hashem.

Meanwhile, the international community is throwing a bone to Iran by allowing them to enrich uranium if it agrees to negotiate.

The irony cannot be any more striking.

Hmm. Let's take a look at 2 verses in Yirmiyahu Hanavi.

In Yirmiyahu 51:56, the prophet speaks about the destruction of Bavel (Iraq):

נו כִּי בָא עָלֶיהָ עַל-בָּבֶל, שׁוֹדֵד, וְנִלְכְּדוּ גִּבּוֹרֶיהָ, חִתְּתָה קַשְּׁתוֹתָם: כִּי אֵל גְּמֻלוֹת יְהוָה, שַׁלֵּם יְשַׁלֵּם

56 For the spoiler is come upon her, even upon Babylon, and her mighty men are taken, their bows are shattered; for the LORD is a God of recompenses, He will surely requite.


And 2 chapters earlier, in Yirmiyahu 49:35, we find this about Eilam (Persia):

לה כֹּה אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, הִנְנִי שֹׁבֵר אֶת-קֶשֶׁת עֵילָם, רֵאשִׁית, גְּבוּרָתָם
35 Thus saith the LORD of hosts: behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might.


The word "bow" (קשת) refers to their main weapon at the time(see Metzudat David on 49:35). Nowadays, what is any country's main weapon (if they possess it)? A nuclear weapon of course.

So we see that Hashem will find a way to destroy Iran's nukes no matter what the international community decides.

(Don't ask about Hoshe'a 1:5 - וְהָיָה, בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא; וְשָׁבַרְתִּי אֶת-קֶשֶׁת יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּעֵמֶק יִזְרְעֶאל - since that verse is clearly only talking about בית יהוא and not meant to be referring to future generations, unlike the other verses in Yirmiyahu which could have multiple meanings.)

(Cross-posted on Yeranen Yaakov)
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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

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The Spiritual Risks of a Song

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Video Link: A Bear and The Chassidim

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Review: The Light And Fire of the Baal Shem Tov

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As promised, it's more reviews! Excellent dude.

The Light And Fire of the Baal Shem Tov by Yitzhak Buxbaum is a book of holy stories of the Baal Shem Tov. The stories are organized through the life of the founder of Chassidus, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, starting with stories of his parents and birth, early years, starting on his path, leading the path, and coming to and beyond life's end. In a way, it traces the life of the Baal Shem Tov through the miraculous stories associated with each period.

The book is well written and targeted at a general audience, making a point of avoiding the use of any special Jewish religious terminology that is often found in such books. The stories are warm, engaging, and faith inspiring.

This book has two special distinctions. First, it's by far the largest collection of stories of the Baal Shem Tov in English that I've ever seen. As opposed to most similiar stories-of-the-righteous books, it's so long and complete it easily lasted through several weeks of reading! Second, it's the priciest book of stories of the Baal Shem Tov that I've ever seen (though given the number of stories included, it's easily equivalent to 4-5 similar books). That said, it can be had at a substantial discount at Amazon.com.

One small formatting gripe, the printing is a bit small and also a bit wide on the page. The result gives you more content per page than similar books, but makes it a less physically comfortable reading experience.

Regardless, my wife and teenage children thorough enjoyed the book, as did I when I finally was able to get it from them.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

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Review: Body, Mind and Soul

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It's time again for reviews, book reviews, tape reviews, CD reviews, hurray! Actually I've got a few saved up that I'm excited to share. (Really.)

Body, Mind and Soul: Kabbalah on Human Physiology, Disease and Healing is by the noted rabbi and chassidic kabbalist, Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh (of inner.org) and published by Dwelling Place Publishers.

The concept behind this book is to lay out the kabbalist framework of health and, G-d forbid, it's opposite, disease. It discusses in depth and in detail, how is the body energized (how G-dly energy is received by and flows through the body), and how certain symptoms related to certain problems associated with it. And of course, potentially that leads to understanding certain spiritual corrections that need to be made, thereby leading to healing.

And it's great, in concept. As a practical matter, the book requires at least an intermediate level of kabbalah or chassidic understanding, and is written like a college textbook. The presentation is dry and technical, making it a hard read and more useful as a reference book than a topical review.

If you've got some serious kabbalah background and are looking for a book to research specific health issues, you may find it useful in pinpointing spiritual problems (note I didn't say resolving them). Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend it.

(Note the publisher provided me the book for review.)

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Monday, June 05, 2006

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Holy Stories

The Jewish Press had a nice article about the literal truth of Midrashim (biblical collected ancedotes), and Dovbear has a couple of posts on the same topic today.

Similar to Midrashim, what's the appropriate view of holy stories of the tzaddikim (righteous), gedolim (great sages of our time), rebbaim (grand rabbi's), and mekubalim (kabbalists)?

Rebbe Mordechai of Neshkiz said, "I don't give much credence to the miracle stories told about tzaddikim, because many of these stories are fabricated and others are riddled with errors - except stores about the Baal Shem Tov, zt"l. For even if a story about him never actually occurred or there was no such miracle, it was in the power of the Baal Shem Tov, zt"l, to perform everything."

Rebbe Shlomo of Radomsk said, "Whoever believes all miracle stories about the Baal Shem Tov is a fool, but whoever denies them is an apikoros (a heretic)."

Rebbe Naftali of Ropshitz said, "All the miracles people tell about the Baal Shem Tov were certainly in his power to do, and even many more, but in actuality, most of them never happened."

(Quotes from the book The Light and Fire of the Baal Shem Tov.)

There are many miraculous and inspiring stories of our sages, Torah leaders, and righteous. Clearly, not all of them are true, and certainly not all of them are literal. But some...

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

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Visions of Shiloh

08-14Israel 005 --- 08-12Israel 006 --- 08-14Israel 007
Click any Picture for a Larger View

I heard some movie stars named their new baby Shiloh. That's nice, here's the real Shiloh...

Shiloh is the biblical town where the Mishkan (the Sanctuary) stood for 400 years. Today it's a mid-sized Jewish town that may be slated, G-d forbid, for 'evacuation'.

Shiloh in the Distance - Photo Slideshow

Here's a brief video of R. Nati describing the view...


Shiloh, the site of the Mishkan, Sanctuary, for 400 years, the central location of Jewish worship to G-d, discussed in Shmuel Alef and Beis (Samuel 1 & 2). In the third picture on this post, there's a grey rectangle in the middle slightly to the left (click the picutre, all sizes, to get a bigger version). That's the site of the Mishkan!

Land, Prophets, Holiness, Oh never mind.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

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Hag Samayach! Happy Shavuos!

Tonight and tomorrow are the holiday of Shavuos, the season of the giving of the Torah, aliyat b'regel, a pilgrimage holiday to spend with Hashem in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) with the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple).

Followed on Friday night by Shabbos Kodesh, the Holy Sabbath, as well as continuing Shavuos outside of Israel (where it is celebrated for 2 days instead of 1).

As we celebrate this time as best we can without the Beis Hamikdash, without aliyat b'regel, without the korbonos and bikurim, yet enjoying the traditional dairy treats of this holiday, the all night Torah learning, and of course the holiday time with our families, friends, and communities in synogogue, let us not forget in the joy of the holiday and traditions of our times what we stand without.

Chag Samayach, a happy holiday of Shavuos to all Mystical Paths readers.

(No blogging tonight thru Friday due to the holiday, and never on Friday night till Saturday night due to Shabbos Kodesh.)

Update: I just love this last line from Renegade Rebbitzen's Shauvos post...

and next year may we merit the bringing of the first-fruits to the rebuilt Temple, just as God intended. Those of us who are farmers, anyway. The rest of us should merit the seeing of other people bringing the first-fruits to the Temple, so we can say "Hey, they're bringing the first-fruits to the Temple, just as God intended!"

Amein!

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Video: Israeli 1982 Reactor Strike on Iraq

The Military Channel (who knew?) show on the 1982 Israeli strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

Video: here.

"For some inexplicable reason, the guards at the reactor site had turned off the radar!"

"When we turned on our radar and so there were no fighters over Baghdad, we were really surprised."

"They didn't scramble their jets to come after us, why?"

"Even after the bombing, for 90 minutes, they didn't try to intercept us (shaking his head)."

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We are joined by Yaak!

I've asked Yaak, of the Yeranen Yaakov blog, to join us on Mystical Paths. He's well known for blogging on Moshiach and geulah (the redemption) topics, as well as bringing insights from Israeli mekubalim (kabbalists).

I'm very pleased that he's graciously agreed to join us.

Welcome to Mystical Paths, Yaak!

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