Thursday, November 30, 2006

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So upon whom can we rely?

Mishnah Sotah 9:15...

With the advent of the footsteps of Mashiach, insolence will increase and prices will soar; the vine will yield its fruit, yet wine will be dear; the government will turn to heresy and no one will rebuke them; the meeting place of scholars will be used for immorality; Galilee will be destroyed, Gavlan will be desolate, and those who dwell on the borders will wander about begging from town to town without being pitied; the wisdom of the scholars will degenerate, those who fear sin will be despised, and the truth will be lacking; youths will put old men to shame, elders will rise in deference to the young, a son will revile his father, a daughter will rise up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man's enemies will be the members of his household; the face of the generation will be like the face of a dog; a son will not feel ashamed before his father.

So upon whom can we rely? -- Upon our Father Who is in heaven.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

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Signs, Symptoms, Headaches

Oy oy oy.

As I've discussed before, when someone forwarded me the video of what seemed to be the Lubavitcher Rebbe walking by 2 weeks ago in 770, it struck me as an amazing resemblence to the Rebbe, in both appearence and gaint. However, it was a very low resolution cell phone video with a low frame rate, leaving the moving image (the Rebbe-like motion) only a blur. Not much could be done with professional tools to improve the view, only checking for it being faked (which it does not appear to be).

The video did invoke strong feelings though.

As I was working on that post, my daughter showed up with the convention picture of the shluchim (the Rebbe's emmisaries), and noted that one had a remarkable resemblence to the Rebbe. I zoomed in on the face, put a yellow circle around it, and posted it. Together with the video, well, just wow.

But lets be clear, these were 2 low resolution images with resemblence. Nobody saw the Rebbe or heard the Rebbe in body. Videos and pictures were played at the convention of course, and the spirit of the convention was completely the impact of Rebbe.

I did not investigate, I just laid out a question. The people in the video could be asked, "what did you see?". The people in the picture could be asked, "who as next to you?". Others did.

I was sent several pictures of the convention photo from different angles and noted that the resemblence was much less from other angles. I'll also note that the image I zoomed in, if you look closely, seems to be wearing large frame glasses and have his eyes closed, neither of which were attributes of the Rebbe.

Some people jumped on my post as proof of techiyas hameysim, announced this to the world, and even sent my post to a popular nationwide US radio program.

While I have no problem with their enthusiasm for hope, I would truly wish they had the same enthusiasm for truth. If my one low resolution photo zoom and speculation was enough to announce, then multiple side images and the testimony of a trustworthy chossid should be enough to retract.


Oy oy oy. Done with good intentions, I am horrified at the results.

I hereby publically apologize for my speculation without investigation, hope without emes, and for misleading others. I request your mechila, forgiveness.

Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, Abba b'Shamayim, Father in Heaven, please forgive me for causing a Chillul Hashem, a desecration of Your Divine Name.

Rebbe, oh my Rebbe, I've caused your picture and name to be misused and associated with shtuss. I beg your forgiveness.


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Debunked (Sightings)

It's indeed with a twinge of regret I post this report...

Dreaming of Moshiach translates from an Israeli Hebrew Chabad site...

The video inside 770 that 'seemed like' the Lubavitch Rebbe is NOT the Rebbe. It is Rabbi Elimelech Shachar, CEO of Chabad Institutes.

Harav Shachar said the following: "I was in 770 and needed to cross the parting of the Chasiddim to the other side. That minute, someone was videoing on his cell and decided that my image is the Rebbe. I don't understand how such a thing is done."


Additional side images from the many pictures taken at the convention photograph have shown the chosid in the picture resembling the Rebbe loses the resemblence when viewed from the side.

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Whatever you do comes back to you

A guest dvar Torah from Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

The mystical workings of the universal principle “portion across from portion” or “measure for measure” (mida kenegid mida) are seen in great detail in this week’s portion of the Torah.

Remember, the sole reason the Torah teaches us such a principle is to show us how it affects our lives today. When we see how it works in our daily lives we can direct our actions in order to bring the results we want.

Last year’s comments on this portion explain why this happened to Yacov from a spiritual perspective. Now we are trying to understand what brought these specific things to him from the physical perspective.

Yacov thought he was marrying Rachel but her father did a horrible thing. He took her older sister Leah and put her in Rachel’s place. This fooled Yacov into marrying the wrong woman!

What did Yacov do that brought this seemingly horrible thing to him? We know there are no accidents in the universe so all this must have come for a reason. What caused it to come the way it did?

Look back at what Yacov did. He also made a tricky switch. In order to receive his father’s blessing, he switched himself for his older sibling (Esau), just as these siblings (Leah and Rachel) were switched on him.

Yacov put himself (the younger) in his brother’s (the older) place to fool his father just as Lavan his father-in-law put his older daughter in the place of the younger one to fool Yacov. It is as if Lavan, acting as the agent of mida kenegid mida, was saying, “Since you switched the younger for the older, now the older must be switched for the younger. With trickery you took away the older, so with trickery I am going to put the older back.”

Yacov’s father’s eyes “were dim,” that is, it was dark for him and he could not see that the switch was being made. So too, when Yacov’s father-in-law tricked him, the room was dark and Yacov could not see that the switch was being made.

Because of his father-in-law, Yacov gave his greatest love and strength to the “wrong” daughter. Because of Yacov, his father Yitzchak gave his greatest love and blessings to the “wrong” son.

Leah, the switched woman, was really the woman Hashem intended for Yacov because she was his spiritual wife, but Yacov wanted Rachel, his earthly wife.

Yacov, the switched brother was the one Hashem really intended to receive his father’s blessing, but Yitzchak wanted to bless the wrong son, the one of the field, the earthy one.

As it turned out both switches were for the good, but neither man who was fooled knew this at the time.

So many of the details of what came to Yacov are rooted in what Yacov had done.

Now, see if you can find the source of some of the things that happen to you. What did you do that brought that particular result back to you? Did you force something on someone and now see something being forced on you? Did you move something in an unusual way? Say something? What somewhat unusual thing did you do? Although all things we do somehow bring similar consequences back to us, it is easier to see this when we examine the outstanding or unusual things we do.

Once you begin to recognize what brought those specific details back to you, you will be able to guide your future by more carefully directing your present deeds.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

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Metaphor's and Examples

Sholom, commenting on An Eye that Sees, and a Blog that Records, said, "So the internet is to be taken as a metaphor for god?

The Besht said: A flaw which one sees in a fellow Jew is reflective of a flaw in one's own self."


Sholom, no, that wasn't the point. Rather, we mundane humans seem to do much better with concepts when we have a nice example to relate to. For a shepherd, or a wine merchant, an Eye That Sees And An Ear That Hears recording all of lifes events in a book which is read back later might be a difficult concept.

When I can walk around doing the same thing (sort of) with a video camera that fits in my pocket, and can go online and share it with 1,000 of my closest friends, the concept takes on a little more solidity. When there are camera's and microphones all around me doing the same thing, the concept of G-d Knowing The Secrets hits a lot closer to home.

I'll take your second comment to heart and think about it a while. Thanks.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

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Earthquakes and Prophecy

WARNING: Most of the article below is from non-Jewish sources, and has been previously posted to Xian web sites. If you google it, you'll most likely end up on such a site, not recommended.

Assuming the science details are accurate, as well as the navi quotes, neither of which have been verified by me, a religious gentile is trying to tie earthquake science to navi (Torah prophecy). Nothing inappropriate is posted below.


A guest post from an anonymous contributor...

I have known with an absolute certainty since I was a small child a very long time ago that we are going to see mammoth seismic and volcanic activity which will rearrange the existing landscape worldwide and that it would relate to the judgments of G-d. America will suffer greatly. My husband and I both have dreams and visions. I had a dream in '98 of a tower falling. In brief, two hands came down from heaven and shook it and it fell to the ground. I thought at the time it was America. Too few seek G-d for the interpretation. Joseph said, Gen 40:8 ... "Don't interpretations belong to God?" Therefore, I have studied earthquakes and volcanoes.

This is a map to the main faults in Africa and Israel. Click to enlarge and you will see the main fault goes up through Israel.

I know of an older man with much more formal training in earth sciences than me. We have posted occasionally on the same earth sciences board in the past. I don't post there much any more because I use scripture and they hate me when I do.

His article relates to the subject of the "tongue" mentioned in your post about Egypt.

Tectonically-correct Biblical Prophecy

"I wrote it sometime back to confound the nay-sayers on a "prophecy" board. So far no one has managed to refute what I've written.

There are two prophetic verses in holy scripture (there may be more) that amount to predictions of two massive earthquakes in the earth's future. So…here is a problem in earthquake prediction evaluation…what technique was used? How did the prophets arrive at such astounding conclusions?

Obviously...the identification of the mechanisms of plate tectonics was millennia away...and yet...both prophecies are tectonically correct. It is doubtful that these two ancients were even aware of faults...and yet...both prophecies place these future seismic events in areas that involve the same well known fault; i.e., a left-lateral strike slip fault that is actually a plate boundary...the Dead Sea Fault.

So...how was it done...did these prophets understand the concept of strain energy accumulation? No...that hypothesis is doubtful. There is no indication that either of the men ever experienced an earthquake of any great magnitude…let alone a seismic event of sufficient strength to cause surface rupture and the consequent identification of the source of the phenomenon.

Were these men aware of extra-terrestrial objects that could intersect the earth's orbit at some future date? Now then…that might be a likely premise to pursue…we might be "getting somewhere" if we look for some object that could precipitate such a dramatic movement within the fabric of the earth.

But first...let us examine the first of the two prophecies of that predict impending catastrophe. It has to do with two invasion routes so that armies will be able to travel "dryshod" (presumably to the place of battle).

"And the Lord shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod. And there shall be a highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt." -- Isaiah 11:15,16

Clearly...if the Egyptian sea is construed to be that body of water currently referred to as the Red Sea...then there are two choices for this "tongue"...it is either the Gulf of Suez...the logical choice...or the Gulf of Aquaba...not a choice required to improve an invasion route.

The quoted verses also have a "companion" verse to support the contention that the earthquake of Isaiah provides an invasion route out of Africa.

"...at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind..." -- Daniel 11:40

Thus…Isaiah implies another invasion route out of east Asia...Daniel confirms it.

Thus...if we choose the Gulf of Suez as “the tongue of the Egyptian sea”...then we see that such an occurrence as it’s destruction is not only conceivable...but...is tectonically-correct. This is so because the Dead Sea Fault is a left-lateral strike-slip "leaky" transform fault zone that is the plate boundary separating the African and Arabian tectonic plates. Over time...this fault has produced the Dead Sea Basin...one of the largest and deepest pull-apart basins on the earth...rivaled only by Death Valley in California.

Left-lateral...or sinistral...means that...if one were standing on the Arabian Plate facing west and looking at the African Plate across the Dead Sea Fault during this prophesied earthquake...the Sinai Peninsula would move to your left...or...to the south toward Egypt and the Gulf of Suez. Thus...in such a scenario...a titanic earthquake slams the Sinai sub-Plate into the African Plate...closing the Gulf of Suez...or...by the description of the prophet Isaiah...utterly destroying "the tongue of the Egyptian sea".

In context...the time of this great earthquake of the prophet Isaiah is in our future "...in the day of his fierce anger...the day of the LORD...".

"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate..." -- Isaiah 13:9

"...I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger." -- Isaiah 13:13

The second prophecy of a great earthquake concerns the environs of Jerusalem...specifically the mount of Olives.

"And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which [is] before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, [and there shall be] a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south." -- Zechariah 14:4

When asked...via e-mail...to comment on this verse...Stanford University geophysicist Amos Nur responded as follows: "An earthquake on a strike-slip fault oriented north-south with a pull-apart basin, with the eastern side moving north and the western side moving south."

Thus...the same motion in this earthquake prophesied by Zechariah as in the earthquake prophesied by Isaiah. One can only wonder at the remarkable consistency between the two prophecies. Did Isaiah and Zechariah understand plate tectonics? Did Isaiah and Zechariah realize that there was a strike-slip fault along the lineament of the Jordan River...the Dead Sea...and...the Gulf of Aquaba? Did Isaiah and Zechariah realize that this strike-slip fault was left-lateral? Did Zechariah understand the concept of parallel left-stepping strike-slip faults forming a pull-apart basin between them?

Because...it would take an understanding of these highly technical details of a science that was unknown until the 20th century to logically make such mutually consistent tectonically-correct prophecies as these.

The time of this great earthquake of the prophet Zechariah is also prophesied to happen on "...the day of the LORD...".

So...it would seem that the earthquake of Isaiah that is to "...destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea..." is the same earthquake of Zechariah in which "...the mount of Olives shall cleave...". Remarkable...both men writing about the same earthquake producing different results in different locations...and both results being mutually consistent and consistent with the tectonic configuration of the region.

So...there we have it...one tremendous earthquake...prophesied by two different men...

And again...the question is asked...is it likely that these prophets had the scientific skills necessary to logically make such predictions? And...the question is answered...no...that scenario is not very likely at all. And so...there seems to be only two alternative explanations that remain.

Either...Isaiah and Zechariah made such good guesses (about the same seismic event) that the odds against such accurate guesses are astronomical...or...Isaiah and Zechariah were inspired by Almighty God to make these prophecies.

So...there we have it...tectonically-correct Biblical prophecy. Over the past several years...this article has been posted on numerous electronic "bulletin boards".

There's been some disagreement in commments about whether keeping this article is appropriate or not given the source. It's a worthy question.

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From Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

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It's Just a Little Homemade Rocket...

It's just a little homemade rocket. Not accurate, kind of like shooting a rubber band at someone, just point in the general direction. Just a little homemade rocket, you'd have to get lucky to hit anything with it.

Woman killed, man has legs blown off, home destroyed...

(Noam Bedein reports from Sderot...) This house in the Israeli city of Sderot was hit by a Kassam missile early this morning at 5:30...it was an enormous crash that we heard and felt loudly in our house, a ten minute walk away! The roof collapsed into the living room, destroying the home.

Small photo set here - slideshow mode here.

News this morning reports ceasefire in effect, which means the Israeli's have stopped their minimal attempts to stop the missles. Same news reports state Palestinian missles continue to fall (albeit at a decreased rate, oh yay!).

Love the news headline, "Despite truce, Palestinian attacks go on". Umm, aren't attack and truce mutually exclusive? I guess not when it applies to Israel?
Sderot Report via IsraelReporter.Com news service.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

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Go Away You Funny Little Bearded People!

At the O-U (Orthodox Union) convention in Jerusalem, the surprise speaker was Israeli Ambassador to the US Danny Ayalon. Ambassador Aylon is reported to have said...

"During this critical times, you must unite behind Israel’s officials...I join Jewish Agency Chief Ze’ev Bielski’s call for Aliyah (Jewish immigration) from the States – but I have to say, you can wait a while.

If you funny little bearded people with that weird thing on your head could just stay in US and lobby the US administration instead of coming here with your weird Torah thing and crazy claims that G-d gave us this land, you'd really save us a lot of hassle in dismantling this country and handing it back to it's rightful owners. Further, you're seriously changing our power structure here with your large famlies and are going to require us to import yet another group of secular non-Jews to offset it."


Following the ambassador's speech, Prime Minister Olmert was given a standing ovation as he ascended the podium...

"“Warren Buffet came to Israel after investing $4 billion,” Olmert declared, receiving a hearty applause from the visiting American Jews. He went on to declare that Israel unquestionably won the war against Hizbullah last summer and called upon Orthodox Jews to continue to stand united behind Israel. “We may have some differences occasionally – I don’t think we do. But they are marginal,” Olmert said. “We know you are there for us any time. Please stay there, send us your money and let us govern as we see fit. Just as we won the war with Hizbollah and successfully expanded the peace so successfully by leaving Gaza, I look forward to completing the wonderful peace process by evacuating the West Bank, Judea, Sderot, Ashkelon, Safed, Haifa, and most of Jerusalem. If anyone knows a good real estate agent in Manhattan, please let me know."

After his speech the Prime Minister received another standing ovation. Afterwards the crowd of American O-U rabbi's was heard effuse, "Wonderful, we're so honored to be able to bask in his honor's glory. And he's right, how could we possibly let the Torah get in the way of true peace? Pass the Magen Dovid 20/20 please."

Source - News item here. It's possible some liberties have been taken with transcribing this post, but less than you might think!

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Is this important?

On the way to shul (synogogue), I pass a Blockbuster (video rental). On a particular Shabbos not so many weeks ago, I was running a bit late and walked by with my boys about 15 minutes before they open. On that particular morning, I commented to my sons, "You see that? We are rushing off to shul to the service of Hashem, and they're rushing off to the video store in the service of pleasure. We're trying to mentally raise up this world, they're trying to mentally leave this world." I have no idea what new release they were in line for.

Tonight I needed a small item for the computer (a memory stick reader) and though it's a holiday in the US (Thanksgiving), I had heard on the radio that a store was opening early, at 9pm. So off I went with a daughter.

We passed a Best Buy along the way and saw the parking lot half full and a line of people sitting around the building, in the rain, waiting for it to open. We arrived at our target, CompUSA. The parking lot was fill, as the one next door, completely. We arrived about 9:15pm, and to say the store was packed would be such an understatement. You literally couldn't move in there, and at least 100 people were already waiting to check out with their hands and carts loaded with stuff.

Now I understand there were some incredible shopping deals available. I saw some advertisements for a full computer system at $200 (reasonably equiped), a color laser printer for $250 (normally around $600), and plenty more.

But sitting in the rain? Loading up like no tomorrow? Do you live to shop???

Being a consumer culture is not a compliment. It's crazy.

My daughter and I walked out of the store, empty handed. I didn't get a bargain, I've got a life, Baruch Hashem (Thank G-d).

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An Eye that Sees, and a Blog that Records

Uberdox wrote Agudas Yisroel about their upcoming anti-blog seminar at their convention. Here's the reply he got and my thoughts...

...I think I can assure you that Agudath Israel has no complaints against blogs like yours -- my own essays are occasionally posted on at least one responsible blog, Cross-Currents. There can be no question that much good is being accomplished by the web-presence of responsible, intelligent frum people... any criticism of blogs from us, as a careful reading of Rabbi Zwiebel's statement should show, is clearly aimed at the irrresponsible and destructive ones...

It's a nice try. However, everything about the response says "we don't get it". This isn't unusual, there's a vast group of businesses that haven't gotten it, and they're sitting there wondering where their customers are while Amazon and eBay grow at 30% a year.

Would you do business with a bank that didn't have a web site to check your account? I wouldn't, and I changed banks because from one with a poor web site.

Today, an MP3 on record, or a cell phone, or a pocket video camera, is capturing every shiur (except on Shabbos) and it's being shared. Good news, Torah spreading! Bad news, the maggid shiur has to be a lot more careful in what he says because he never knows who's going to hear it.

Some time not so long ago, the gedolim were legends that lived far away and weighed in on issues months old via letters. Some time some people still think it is, you could call the gedolim and pass questions to their secretary, and get an answer in a day or two, and you could call around about it. Today the actual words of the gadol can be sent around the world in minutes, or real time. Good news, get it instantly. Bad news, no editing on live communications.

Once, not so long ago, anyone with a community problem had to raise it to the rav, or beis din, or gadol, who could 'manage' it. Or, the person could just go grumble in the corner and maybe get a few other souls to pay attention.

Today, the Eye that Sees and the Ear that Hears is mimic'd in every cell phone, digital camera, and mp3 player. The Book that is Written is mimic'd and can be written to by all and read by all.

In theory, we believe that Hashem is listening at this level and have a Fear of Heaven, dreading what it will be like to stand before the Beis Din shel Shamayim and see our life replayed before the Judge.

It seems to me that if one truly has Fear of Heaven and acts so, then one will have no fear of the mp3 recorder, digital camera, video camera, web site or blog.

Rather than hide away and pretend the information age and internet age isn't upon us, they should be setting up a free facility for every rav to be posting every shiur, dvar torah, and shabbos message. "The Daf Yomi blogs", where every one of the hundreds of daf yomi shiurim are recorded and placed, "The Parsha Blogs", "The Halacha Blogs", etc. Take all their coordinated Torah and spread it!

Do they fear the darkness won't recede before the light? Or is it an admission of dark places they don't want illuminated?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

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"I Was Robbed"

A parshah of the week guest post from Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

This week we read one of the most misunderstood episodes in the entire Torah. On the surface we see Rivka pushing her son Yacov to cheat his twin brother Esau out of their father’s blessings.

Yitzchak wanted to give his blessings to his older son Esau. He told him to go hunt some game that he loved and he would eat it so his soul would bless him before he died. Rivka overheard their conversation and while Esau was out hunting game for his father she pushed Yacov to impersonate Esau, fool Yitzchak and take the blessing before Esau could get it. Clearly she engineered this deception.

But is it really so clear?

If this case would be brought before the Beis Din (Jewish Law Court) Yitzchak would testify: “I am getting old now. My eyes have dimmed and I do not know the time of my death. Before I die, I wanted to bless my beloved son, my son Esau the son who gives me so much honor. But my wife with her trickery engineered a great swindle and fooled me so I gave my blessings to the wrong son! Indeed, this was a terrible thing she did!”

Easu would go before the court and testify: “It is me whom my father loves so much and it is me whom he wanted to give his blessings to and my mother had my younger brother Yacov, that conniver come and steal my father’s blessings from me. Indeed I have been robbed!”

Yacov would have to testify and he would say: “My beloved mother forced me to do this. I really did not want to do it. I was afraid to do it but my mother insisted. So I did what she told me and pretended to be my brother Esau. But in truth, he had already sold me his birthright so really I was not taking anything that did not already belong to me.”

And the primary defendant, Rivka would have to come and testify before the court too. She would say: “Sirs, my beloved husband was about to make a terrible mistake. My son Esau has fooled him his entire life. He tricked him into thinking that he is a righteous man when really he is a dishonest and violent man. Had my husband known the truth surely he would have wanted to give his best blessings to Yacov and not to Esau for Yacov is a righteous man.”

And what would the court decide? “We must judge this case according to what G-d Himself has decided. Read the Torah and see. When Rivka was still pregnant with the two boys G-d said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; two regimes from your insides shall be separated; the might shall pass from one regime to the other, and the elder shall serve the younger.’[i] Since Hashem has already decided this way before these events even happened we must decide in favor of Rivka. She did what Hashem wanted. Not only is she not guilty of any crime but by doing what she did she again proved herself to be a righteous woman and has saved the world from immense troubles.”

To see why G-d wanted Yacov and not Easu to receive Yitzchak’s blessings...see who Yacov and Esau really are.

[i] Gen 25:23

From Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

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Responding to Sightings

(In response to the post Sightings, video and photo, here.)

It's hard to explain, to those who never had the opportunity, what it was to be in the presense of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Perhaps you could describe it as the reflection of the Shechina, the afterglow of the Divine Presense. I have visited a number of tzaddikim since those days, chassidic rebbe's, litvish gedolim, and mekubalim. To stand in the presense of a tzaddik is always special, always a beautiful face, an inner glow, and a hint of greater wisdom. Yet, if the tzaddikim are the candles that lights up the darkness, the Rebbe was a blazing torch.

We yearn for those days. And when the Rebbe called his chassidim together, the torch lit a wildfire across the souls of the chassidim. The heights were in reach, and Torah and Hashem were more real than this physical reality. My hand trembles and my eyes tear to remember those holy times.

It was not a perfect world, yet it seemed it could be so. Geulah was within reach...with..just..a..little..more..effort.

The direction of the Rebbe, his Torah, lives on. The dedication of his chassidim has transferred to another generation, the outposts of Torah and reach to Jews of the world has grown tremendously. But the world of Chabad is a lot less perfect. Divisions, interpretations, power grabs, the objectives remain strong but the hope is fading, the goal a murky memory of the past.

There are those religious Jews who discount the mystical, who take the straight statements of the Gemorah as fairy tales. Today, science rules and if it's not proven, it's not real (except movies and TV of course). That's ok, there's no halacha to believe anything you can't see except for Hashem, Melech HaMelachim, HaKodesh Baruch Hu.

There are those religious Jews who invest greatly in the mystical, who take every statement of the Aggadah and Midrash as literal truth. That's also ok, though it must be balanced by the understanding there's no halacha stating that one must operate this way, and later sages clearly say this in extreme is not a wise position.

The video was posted up on several Israeli hebrew Chabad or Jewish web sites and was forwarded to me by a friend (thanks N!). When I saw it, hope and belief swelled. Intellect, however, cautioned.

The video is so astounding because the posture, hand contents, and gaint appear to be a perfect match. Of course, more detailed items such as beard details and profile are only glimpsed and the low quality of the video prevents any further detail extraction.

However, people I've spoken to who saw it who had the privilege of seeing the Rebbe in person during his life were stunned, several brought to tears. While that impact doesn't prove anything, it certainly speaks for the depth of feeling and longing.

A brief time later, my daughter was scanning the shluchim's picture for people we know. She brought it to me astounded, could it be? I zoomed in...it seems so, it resembles greatly. Even further, both picture and video? Hope soared. Intellect, however, cautioned.

Many of you did more than caution...

Tzemach commented: Lose the bottle!
Simon commented: Investigate!
Liorah commented: Earth to Akiva, Earth to Akiva...
Dovid commented: Photoshop.
A Believer commented: It's a certain chossid.
Simon commented: Bigfoot, Elvis, Jim Morrison, and the Rebbe together?
Anonymous 1 commented: So much for this as a serious blog.
Liorah commented: Just a little fun.
Ploni #2 commented: Sick, get a life.
Anonymous 2 commented: It's a certain chossid, get a life.
Simon commented: Pull yourselves together.
G commented: Next time by the Ohel, remind him to sit up front.
Ploni #2 commented: I am very upset, you owe an apology.

Well, that hurt. I did say, "it seems that" (highlighted), and "They are both, however, low resolution, subject to viewer interpretation, and of course expert software nowadays can do amazing things. Hint, sign, wonder, or illusion, mirage, wishful thinking, resemblance, or fake, forgery, fraud?"

What do I believe? That this is not faked, not photoshopped. My intellect says, resemblance and wishful thinking. My soul whispers...hint/sign.

And we could use the hope.

Oh, and, I only drink on Purim and the week of Succos, I have a life, I live on Earth, yes it could be photoshopped, Jim Morrison???, it's not a joke, I am together, I do go to Ohel, and an apology for what?

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

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Oy.

The Mishnah in Sotah states, "Whom have we to depend upon, no one but our Father in heaven"

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked rule, the people mourn. - Proverbs 29:2

As we see currently what is happening here and abroad, the leadership of almost every nation has dived into the mud head first. Or as others say, they've reached bottom and begun to dig.

Oy, indeed, who do we have to rely uppon except our Father in heaven?

It's shaping up with Egypt in the south and Syria in the north, and the news from the east, Iran...

Daniel 11:40, 42 - And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over... He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

The Dam's of Egypt, floods and then drying up of the Nile?

Isaiah 19:4-7 - And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts. And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up. And they shall turn the rivers far away; and the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither. The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.

Isaiah 11:15 - And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with His mighty wind shall He shake His hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.

Quote: "And which countries have been crowned as 'friends' of Egypt? The list is topped by Saudi Arabia, Libya, the Palestinian Authority, Sudan and Syria. Source Reuters

Because of this, I believe Egypt will break its peace agreement with Israel (there have already been calls for it to do so over the Israeli Hizbullah war), and become engaged in a major Middle East war, possibly the Gog Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39.

The Tanach states that after this period, several cities in Egypt will speak the language of Canaan, and one city will be called the city of destruction (Isaiah 19:18). The poll also reveals a surprising statistic, that most Egyptians view Libya, the PA, Sudan and Syria as allies. Libya and Sudan are of course mentioned by name in Ezekiel 38-39. The PA and Syria will also become involved in this war, resulting in the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17).

And none of these quotes even relate to the many quotes about Paras, Persia, aka Iran.

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Exposed



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Sunday, November 19, 2006

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Sightings???? !!!!!

Update: The pictures and video below have been shown to NOT be what was hoped. Debunked - here.

It's written that a tzadik's influence is greater in this after he leaves the limitations of the physical, yet that influence is in a very physical sense. Further, the Gemora specifically discusses the case of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi, who continued to come and make kiddush for his family after his passing.

Yet, we live in such a time of information overload, media intrusion, and outright news fakery. Do we dare believe our own eyes through the screen anymore?

First, a video. A small group of Lubavitch Chassidim follow the practice of inviting the Rebbe in and out of the main synogogue, as they did when he was alive. Like in Gemora where Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi instructed his family that his place be set, they set the place for the Rebbe regularly. A chossid visiting from Israel for the emmissary's convention going on right now in Crown Heights took this video with his cell phone on Thursday. Watch closely at seconds 9-12...

Video in 770.

To quote the capture from the hebrew site, "it seems that...".

Second, the picture from the Chabad emmissaries convention. Incredible in size and scope of the number of Chabad chassidim who have dedicated their lives throughout the world to raising the level of Torah and knowledge of Hashem among the Jewish communities. (Click the picture for full size version.)


Now look in row 2 from the front, 5 men from the far right...

rebbequestion

I'm no expert, but I did run the video by an expert for an instant eval, and I blew the picture up to 800% looking for anomalies. These do not look manipulated. They are both, however, low resolution, subject to viewer interpretation, and of course expert software nowadays can do amazing things. Hint, sign, wonder, or illusion, mirage, wishful thinking, resemblance, or fake, forgery, fraud?

Did the Lubavitcher Rebbe attend the Chabad Shluchim's convention this weekend?

Update: Another look at the picture, a side view somewhat out of focus shows the same chossid and shaliach looking a bit less Rebbe-like (or just having a bad mustache day)...

rebbequestion2


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Review: Bein Kach, This Way or That Way

Bein Kach uVein Kach - This Way or That Way - is the latest album by orthodox Jewish music leading musician Avraham Fried. It has songs done in a range of styles targeted at a general audience within the Jewish religious spectrum.

The music, sound quality, and production values are great. The CD includes the first ever orthodox Jewish music video (playable on a PC). Good music, good background singers, and Avraham Fried's strong voice with great range mix with very meaningful tunes (though almost exclusively Hebrew lyrics) result in a great album. Most of the songs are good, some are great, a few miss.

For wider input, this review goes track by track and includes an adult opinion, a teen opinion, and a child opinion (though all from the same family). Here goes...

Track 1 - Matzliach - Moshiach : A high speed klezmer kind of thing. Also reminds me of Avraham Fried's early music style. Get past the opening, it gets better. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Pretty good.
The teen says - Reminds me of MBD stuff, excellent.
The kid says - A little good.

Track 2 - Baishanim : A very sephardi-Israeli-temaniya style, which I think is Avraham Fried's first attempt at this. Moderate pace, good beat, dance music. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Great, can't get it out of my head.
The teen says - I love it.
The kid says - Awesome.

Track 3 - Menorah : A slow sweet tune based on a Yalkut Shimoni. Soothing and calming, great high notes. Deep meaning related to current events. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Nice.
The teen says - Very meaningful to me with events in Israel, nice.
The kid says - Don't like it.

Track 4 - Bein Kach Ubein Kach : Some kind of big band jazz 20's fusion kind of thing. Moderate pace. Hebrew lyrics.

The husband says - Horrid, I'd pay extra to have the CD without it. What was he thinking? Can I scrape it off the CD?

The wife says - I like it, nice beat.
The teen says - Ewwww.
The kid says - Yuck.

Track 5 - Al Tira : Very classic Avraham Fried fast style of song, reminds of lots of other Fried hits. Medium pace. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Ok, but a little tired style.
The teen says - Pretty bad, but the lyrics are nice, very chassidic.
The kid says - I like it!

Track 6 - Father Don't Cry : A song with the very first Orthodox Jewish Music video. Pop music style. Opens slow, pace picks up. English lyrics. Video included on CD. Concept from Talmud Brachos 59a.

The parent says - Great! Very emotional song. Love the refrain.
The teen says - Great, very comforting song.
The kid says - It rocks!

Track 7 - Malko D'olmo : What is it? Gregorian chants? Choral Chazanos? Then it changes over to what, oom-pah music?

The husband says - Ahhhhhh! Quick, stick a cheese stick in my ear!
The wife says - Good chazonos, you don't know how to appreciate good music.
The teen says - (She couldn't speak, she was on the ground gagging.)
The kid says - Yuck, turn off the church music!

Track 8 - Lo Ovo : A very classic Avraham Fried slow song sound. Slow pace, sweet tones. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Nice, soothing.
The teen says - So so, I can listen to if forced to.
The kid says - Ok.

Track 9 - Shetita! : At first I though it was some kind of sephardi attempt, but then I thought, salsa music? Fast pace. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Nice try, but it just misses. Grating.
The teen says - Nice dance music.
The kid says - It rocks.

Track 10 - G-d of Avraham : This song is a segulah for success from the Kedusas Levi, Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev, zt"l! The first ever musical segulah! Slow sweet pace. Hebrew introduction, Yiddish lyrics.

The parent says - Hey, this blog now has a theme song! I like it.
The teen says - Ok.
The kid says - Oh yuck.

Track 11 - Nu Nu Nu : A moderate paced pop style song. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Eh, barely ok.
The teen says - Ad mosai (enough).
The kid says - No thank you.

Track 12 - Kol Ho'oseik : A slow paced story song. Reminds of MBD tunes and old Fried music. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Take it or leave it.
The teen says - I'd rather clean my room than listen to it.
The kid says - Yuck.

Track 13 - B'zu Hasho'oh : Moderate paced big band sounding standard Fried song. Hebrew lyrics.

The parent says - Nothing special.
The teen says - No comment.
The kid says - I don't like it.

Overall Album Rating

The parent says - Great album! Worth the price.
The teen says - Tatti, can you make me a copy?
The kid says - Imma, put it on when driving us to school!

Full family rating - 5 out of 5 stars, as we all liked a good part of it and loved some of it, which puts it way above all other music purchases in the last 2 years.

Street price and online price around $15 in the New York area.
Buy it online here.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

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Love

A guest post on the Torah portion of the week from Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

This week’s portion of the Torah deals almost exclusively with the continuation of the Jewish People.

It begins with the passing of Sarah our mother. The first thing Abraham did after tending to Sarah’s resting place was to find someone to continue as the mother of the Jewish people. G-d told Abraham that the future of the Jewish people was to be through his son Yitzchak and not through any other children he might father. So Abraham sent his trusted servant to find a proper wife for his son: one who would be fitting to continue Sarah’s ways.

Next is the warm and interesting story of Abraham’s servant finding a woman to be Yitzchak’s wife. This story is so beloved to Hashem that it is one of the only places in the entire Torah that something is repeated and certainly it is the longest.

Then comes the most beautiful love story in the Torah. What type of love is this?

When Rivka first sees Yitzchak she covers her face with a veil. But she was very beautiful and was about to see her future husband for the first time. Even more importantly, her future husband was about to see her for the first time. Why did she cover her face? Wouldn’t she want her husband to see her beauty? Rivka knew that Yitzchak would love her beauty, but she wanted him to first hear how Hashem chose her to be his wife and to love her for that and not merely because she was physically beautiful.

Abraham’s servant told Yitzchak how Hashem chose Rivka “And Yitzhak (1) brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother, he (2) married Rivka, (3) she became his wife, and (4) he loved her, and thus was Yitzchak (5) consoled after his mother.” [i]

These events seem to be out of order. Normally a man first sees a woman’s face and if he loves her he marries her and only then does he bring her into his tent.

But Yitzchak did not see Rivka’s face. First he heard how Hashem chose her to be his wife and then he brought her into his mother’s tent. But why into his mother’s tent? Why not into his tent, or into her own tent? And why didn’t he marry her before he brought her into the tent?

He brought her into Sarah’s tent because “Sarah’s tent” is the home of the Jewish People. Coming into Sarah’s tent was Rivka’s “conversion” to Judaism. Only then could Yitzchak marry her and she could become his wife. This shows that their marriage was primarily a spiritual union: a union created to bring forth the Jewish Nation. But it was not only a spiritual union, as the Torah testifies: “and he loved her and was consoled for the loss of his mother.”[ii]

[i] Gen 24:67
[ii] ibid

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Video: Kassam Strike with Victims in Sderot

This video link from Guysen Israel News is live moments after the missle strike in Sderot, showing the victims moments after hit. 3 minutes, brief commentary in French.

Very graphic video of Sderot.

Remember, these are the home built rockets that supposedly do almost nothing and don't need a serious response, nothing to worry about.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

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2 Not To Miss

A Funeral in Sderot by The Muqata.

For The Last Time, The Immoral Pride Parade was Not Cancelled Because, at Israpundit.

And please daven for a refuah shalayma for Yitzchok ben Miriam, a security guard for the Defense Minister who lost his legs in the Sderot missile attack.

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WABC Radio and Jews for Idolatry

The following is a conversation I had with the management of WABC radio (770 AM) in New York City some months ago about the Jews for Idolatry radio campaign. The final part of the conversation was a long delayed reply I received from one of their major radio personalities just recently...

From: Akiva of the Mystical Paths Blog

To: WABC Radio, 770 AM, New York City, USA
To: Program Manager, Advertising Manager, Various Personalities


As a very long time listener of WABC radio, I have truly enjoyed the various shows offered....

Further, as a religious fellow, I appreciate that your personalities keep it clean yet interesting, topical and contravertial without delving into intimacy or smut. I'm comfortable having my children listen as well, and by doing so they're considered pretty darn well informed kids.

At least until this week. This week I see you have picked up a major Xian Missionary campaign specifically against my religion. Yes, I'm an orthodox Jew, and not one who's interested in Jaysus.

I am very highly insulted by this disingenious radio ad campaign that presents two 'Jews' with yiddish accents arguing about the truth of...Jaysus. Somehow, I think you would hesitate to take an ad campaign for "Proving the Falsity of Catholicism and Exposing Pedophile Priests, Call 1-800-ChurchLies", or "Jaysus, Incest or Homosexual, Our New Book Reveals the Truth, JaysusWasGay.Com".

You have an ad campaign several times an hour claiming to prove the falsity of my religion. Neither I nor my community is going to stay part of your audience while you continue such.

Will you discontinue this insulting ad campaign?

To: Akiva of the Mystical Paths Blog

From: Phil Boyce, Director of Programming, WABC Radio


Akiva: Thanks for writing and letting me know your concern. WABC respects all religions, but we also have an open policy toward issue advertising. We would be just as happy to accept an ad from "Jews Not for Jesus" if there was such a group. We have also freely allowed our hosts to criticize the ads if they so chose. WABC is about freedom of speech, and we let listeners decide. They are not advocating harm to Jews...in fact they claim to love them.

To: Phil Boyce & Various Personalities, WABC Radio

From: Akiva of the Mystical Paths Blog


Phil:

Sorry, the freedom of speech argument is a cop-out. It's not the station's freedom to accept the ad that I'm challenging. Of course you have that right.

But I don't believe that you don't consider audience impact in accepting an ad. For example, I notice that some competative stations are now running daytime ads for, um, male enhancement products. And, because of this, one of your competitors has lost my wife as a listener during her morning commute to camp with the children. I don't hear you running those ads, and I suspect you've been approached. You do run some not-quite-as-bad ads, but usually late night. A comfortable time to assume children aren't listening.

As far as the claim that "they love them". Yes, they would very happily love the Jewish people right out of existance. That's a religious imperative for them, they have that freedom. I have no imperative to listen to them do it.

So, by your 'open policy', you would commit to accepting these ads?

- KKK for racial separation
- NRA, arm up for freedom
- Islamists, learn about the Christian lie
- Have you been sodomized by a priest? Call our law firm, Catholic church suit specialists.

Somehow, I think you'd consider the negative audience impact in doing so. Am I wrong? Is it really purely about the price?

Of course I understand a station operates to make a profit, and that comes via advertising. Yet those advertising dollars are based on audience size. I assume these ads were placed on WABC because the station has a Jewish audience demographic, and probably a uniquely large one of orthodox Jews in the New York area as well as the whole country.

You should know that audience is at risk with this advertising. I won't be listening, I'll be pointing that out on my blog, my synogogue mailing list, and sharing it with my closest 1,000 friends and co-religionists.

On two side notes, while your personalities may be free to speak against ads, I don't think I've ever heard them do it in the 10 years I've been listening. They do know where their paycheck comes from. But I'd appreciate if you'd forward this on to Curtis and Kube, as well as Rabbi Potasnick.

And, there are two organizations that fit the Jews Not for Jaysus...

Jews for Judaism - http://www.jewsforjudaism.org/
Yad Le'Ahim (A Hand for Your Brother) - no website in English

Unfortunately they're not backed by huge church organizations with multi-million dollar missionary budgets and probably can't afford your advertising rates.

From: Ron Kuby, Esq, WABC Radio Morning Show Co-Host & Lawyer

To: Akiva


Sorry it took me so long to get back to you after our last exchange. The "Jews for Jesus" folks have crawled back under their rocks until next summer--but our policy remains the same. While every station is free to accept or reject any ad it desires, our policy has been to accept any ad that does not violate the law, advocate law breaking or criminal activity, or violates some FCC rule regarding sex or excrement.

Under that policy, the NRA ad certainly would be accepted, the lawyer's ad probably would make the cut, the Islamist ad probably would, and the KKK ad probably would not, as enforced racial segregation is unlawful. I realize that Phil may not understand how much bad history is packed into the notion that Christians love us so much they want to convert us. But this does not change the basis of his position--a position with which I agree. The beauty of American democracy and free exchange of ideas is that people are free to try to change each other's minds about religion, politics, and morality. I try to do that every day.

We are many years removed from the shtettl--it is time we partake in the fullness of American life, rather than fear it.

Ron

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

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United Jewish Communities Honor - Olmert

The following was forwarded to me by Shlomo Wollins of IsraelReporter.Com. In addition to the plan of the Orthodox Union to honor Prime Minister Olmert, it appears that the United Jewish Communities is honoring Olmert at their General Assembly in Los Angeles, tonight... The following thoughts say much!

On the eve of UJC's annual gala of self-aggrandizement and idealism, this year to be held in the City of Angels, I appeal to all of the attendees of the GA (General Assembly) to look deeply into their hearts and souls. The State of Israel finds itself in the most perilous, vulnerable position in its history, yet the North American Jewish leadership ignores all of the blatant signs of doom and continues to act in the manner of business as usual. Worse still, the Jewish Federation network has invited the leading culprit in Israel's impending demise to speak to its leadership -- more than 4,000 Jews -- to serve as a catalyst to raise more money for the failing government, and uses the war as a means of maintaining their jobs and social status.

Unfortunately, and tragically so, the answer to the Jewish State's severe security problems lay not in the monetary arena: no, Israel's downfall is her lack of leadership, lack of unity and emptiness of spirit. And, UJC and most of the other 52 member groups comprising The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations are guilty in their appeasement of Olmert and his cronies, and of providing nourishment to this hollow and shapeless state.

Since he has become Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert has done everything in his power to suppress the traditional Jews of Israel -- those who are arguably most loyal to Israel's Land and People -- and to empower the internal and external enemies of the Jewish State. He intentionally and purposefully executed a violent attack against the protectors of, and protestors at, Amona; he refused to argue for Prisoner of Zion status for Jonathan Pollard; he did nothing to protect the citizens of Sderot from the constant barrage of missile attacks months prior to the war; he insisted on administrative detention for protestors of his now obsolete and absurd "convergence" plan; he ignored three years' worth of planning by Israel's most knowledgeable, sophisticated military strategists, and, instead, micro-managed the war in Lebanon and northern Israel, causing the unnecessary deaths of dozens of courageous, trusting Israeli soldiers and reservists; he encouraged the disunity among Israel's soldiers and citizens by continuing his calls for withdrawals from Judea and Samaria while the fighting was ongoing; he employed a policy of appeasement of the media, foreign governments and United Nations, reflected in his acceptance of a self-destructive cease-fire that has empowered Hezbollah and all of Israel's enemies by enabling the terrorist organization to regroup and re-arm with even more technologically-advanced weaponry, and by bringing a questionable (at best) force of soldiers smack against Israel's northern border; he failed to make preparations for the caring of the victims of rocket attacks in the North; he denied the formation of an independent commission to investigate the horrendous operations during the war...and, much more. In general, Olmert has displayed a complete lack of leadership since he has assumed power. Yet, this is the man UJC has chosen to feature and honor in its biggest event of the year.

Since the war, UJC has raised more than $330 million for Israel, through the Israel Emergency Campaign. Several weeks ago, Howard Rieger, the president of UJC, became quite defensive; he responded to an article about the IEC by claiming that only 3% of all funds raised had gone to non-Jews. The UJC intentionally mislead its donors through the use of two separate IEC updates, the second of which contained omissions and additions. In a related matter: Until two weeks ago, the UJC, as a whole, failed to provide any assistance whatsoever to the expellees from Gush Katif and northern Samaria. For 14 months, not one dime was given to our fellow Jews who had been encouraged by successive governments to settle in those communities. Within the past 14 days, UJC has provided the more than 9,000 victims with a sum of $40,000 of the $400,000 it had allocated "...for trauma relief for those evacuated from the Gaza Strip during the disengagement, to help these Israelis adjust to new homes and communities and rebuild their lives." The total allocation comes to less than $3.20 cents per month per Jew. During this same time, United JEWISH Communities has given at least $9 million to non-Jews in Israel!

I beg of you: At the GA, speak out loudly against Prime Minister Olmert's self-destructive, evil, faithless conduct. And, demand that UJC live up to its claims of helping ALL JEWS. Finally, insist that the Federation network clearly explain to whom the dollars raised will be going. Donors deserve to know the destinations of their hard-earned, compassionately-given contributions.

Please examine and analyze these extremely crucial issues. Do not be an appeaser; be an independent thinker and activist on behalf of the Jewish People and Israel.

By B. of NJ

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

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Safed at Chatzot

Safed Beit Chayim Atika at Chatzot

The Mikvah Ari at Chatzot

The Kever of the Ari at Chatzot

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Monday, November 13, 2006

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Groveling Before Power - the O-U

Shemayah said... Abhor taking high office, and do not seek intimacy wit the ruling power.

Rabban Gamliel...Be wary of those in power, for they befriend a person only for their own benefit, they seem to be friends when it is to their advantage, but they do not stand by a man in his hour of need.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi...Do not yearn for the table of kings, for your table is greater than theirs, and your crown is greater than theirs, and your Employer is trustworthy to pay you remuneration for your deeds. - Mishna, Pirke Avos, 1:10, 2:3, 4:5

The O-U, the Orthodox Union announced today that the Prime Minister of the State of Israel - the Hon. Ehud Olmert will address the opening session of the Biennial Convention of the Orthodox Union in Jerusalem on Wednesday, November 22.

In the words of my friend Shlomo Wollins of IsraelReporter.Com (with a little of my own editing and contributions)...

This man Olmert has sent thugs to smash brains of yeshiva students in Amona...his family are all founders or members of anti-Israel organizations. His son is same-gender oriented and living in Paris.

This past week he sent his horses to trample yeshiva students protesting the great Chillul Hashem, the Immoral Pride Parade which his government strongly suppported.

He is under investigation for 5-7 separate acts of financial or power corruption.

And not to mention his political aspirations are to throw 80,000-120,000 more Jews out of their homes in Israel central, Biblical and strategic highlands, and give it all to Israel's proven, sworn, and current enemies and murderers.

He is either insane or certainly a horrid Jew (or bought and paid for, or Erev Rav, or all the above).

It is a great disgrace that O-U associates itself with this man after his approving the Immoral Pride Parade in Jerusalem and sending his thugs to beat up kids with iron sticks who are protesting the Chillul Hashem (according to all the rabbis).

It may be time for O-U to do some teshuvah for its silence on Gush Katif by canceling this appearance. By having him appear now the O-U koshers the public flaunting of same-gender relationships (called an abomination in the Torah), corruption, the Amona bloodbath, Gush Katif, all by association. It further appears that O-U also supports the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Yesha (the Shomron and Yehuda, aka the West Bank) and the creation of a Palestinian State.

It us stunning that the O-U would associate with the upcoming (chv'sh) suicidal and cruel "convergence". What an insensitive and self-serving choice of speakers at this time. Doesn't O-U have a soul or conscience anymore, or it is just a stamp? Doesn't O-U need to stand up for Torah in more ways than just food? Supporting Olmert is opposing Torah and therefore Hashem.

We would suggest canceling the whole conference which likely accomplishes little, and give all the millions of dollars to the victims of the Gush Katif destruction who are wallowing in squalor with few helping. That would really make O-U special.

We must stand up for Torah and not try to white wash or cozy up to power. The Torah demands it, Truth demands it.

If the Orthodox Union is worthy of it's name, it must take action and reject Prime Minister Olmert as a conference speaker.


If you agree, you may express it to these O-U Contacts on their press release:

Conference Web Site - Here.

Nathan J. Diament, Director of Institute for Public Affairs
+1 202-513-6484; ndiament@ou.org

Stephen Steiner, Director of Public Relations
+1 212.613.8318; steiners@ou.org

Frank Buchweitz, Convention Information Contact
+1 212 613-8188, frank@ou.org


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Sunday, November 12, 2006

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Kahane

Rabbi Meir Kahane, zt"l, may Hashem avenge his blood, yaretzheit was this past week. He was a very controversial figure in life. Primarily because he held up very ugly truths and realities that no one wished to face. Unfortunately he predicted the failure to face them would result in much the situation Israel finds itself today. In other words, however ugly those truths and realities were, they were also right. Today we pay the price for continuing to ignore them.

Rabbi Kahane was murdered in New York City by the forerunner to Al Qaeda. If investigators had followed through on the organization then, the first bombing of the World Trade Center and 9/11 would have been prevented.

Rabbi Kahane's letter to the world...

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Instincts

Ploni said, "I have great difficulty in decision making. I'm like Hamlet, in that I am indecisive and .... gosh, it takes me ages to figure out what music I want to listen to on my iPod! I really need Hashem's help in this! A big question with me is - should I trust my instincts?

Hmm, what an interesting question, are 'human' instincts trustable? Most of what we usually refer to as instinct in humans is rather an automated judgement system, our mind coordinating those facts and experiences we've had to provide immediate directional feedback. Like any system, the question of is it trustable is in the results. For example, should you trust your feelings about certain relationships? Well, what's your historical result in doing so? If you usually trust and are usually right, then trusting the feelings will have a good chance of accuracy. If you usually trust and are usually wrong, then not only don't trust your feelings, do the opposite :-) [moving you back to usually right]. If it's 50/50, then try something completely different.

Pure instinct, animalistic desire, is absolutely trustable to be animalistic, selfish, self serving, and set to your body's needs. So, for example, in a male/female relationship you can trust your instinct as to whether you find the other person attractive. You cannot trust instinct if that means the person is a good fit as a spouse (but you can check off an important item).

Regarding needing Hashem's help, some people are able to work extremely hard and somewhat modify their basic natures. While this is always recommended, it's rarely achieved (and those who actually do are almost always considered exceptional). Better to understand the strengths within our given abilities and place ourselves in circumstances that use those to their best, while understanding our given weaknesses both to work for improvement and to avoid situations depending on them.

So, for example, if it takes so long to make decisions when overloaded with data (guessing here, say you have 500 songs in your collection and can't decide between so many), the make sure you like your whole collection and use a random selector, or cut your collection into 12 equal smaller pieces and just select from a given piece within a single month (the January part, the Feb part, etc). In other words, select a pattern of action that minimizes your weakness.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

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FYI - The Mayor of Jerusalem Replies

I emailed the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Uri Laplionski, regarding the Immoral Pride Parade, noting a promise to post this fact and his reply. Here it is...

Jerusalem, November 2006
Cheshvan 5767

Dear Sir / Dear Madam, (Umm, no, those SirMadams are the Parade marchers)

In answer to your letter to the Mayor’s Office regarding the scheduled gay pride parade in Jerusalem, I would like to advise you that neither the Jerusalem Municipality nor the Mayor have any authority to permit of forbid any parade in the city. The only authority in this matter belongs to the Israeli Police, which unlike in other cities in the world is independent and not subordinated to the Mayor. (True, but what a statement it would be if the mayor himself protested against it with the populace, or even quit over it. That would be called mesiras nefesh for your principles, not politics.)

The Mayor’s sincere opinion and belief is that the gay pride parade should not take place in Jerusalem, on account of her essence as the Holy City, as well as the firm objection of the three monotheistic religions and concern for the denigration of the relationship between the different populations of the city. (That's very PC of you.)

This parade, is not promoting the rights of any population, on the contrary, it generates provocations and quarrels.

The management of the municipality and the Mayor unanimously oppose the parade being held in Jerusalem. They have asked the police to forbid the parade which will damage the sanctity of this city together with the unity of its residents. The Israeli Police decided not to permit the parade to take place in Jerusalem but recently the matter was brought to court and unfortunately the Supreme Court decided to allow the parade to take place on November 10th. Efforts are still continuing to prevent this parade from taking place in the city. (Only in Israel does the court think it has the right to rule on such matters, override police concerns, override the mayor, and [this is the important part] everyone actually listens to them.)

Yours truly,
Michal Sharvit
Foreign Relations Coordinator to the Mayor of Jerusalem

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Protestors Under Attack - Video & Pictures

From the previous nights this week, Shlomo Wollins of IsraelReporter.Com has uploaded video and photos. Note Shlomo is the only reporter to place himself within the protestors (all the others were hiding behind the police with telephoto lenses).

The first picture at the right is the Yassam Storm Troopers. Note even the horses are armored, and especially note the 4 foot billy clubs on the saddle.

IsraelReporter Gallery of Pictures Here


IsraelReporter Video Gallery Here.

Shlomo put himself at serious risk and sustained some not-so-minor injuries to gather these pictures and video. If you'd like to donate to IsraelReporter to help him out, click here.

News from today is that the Immoral Pride Parade has been downgraded to an Immoral Pride Inside-The-Stadium Rally to be held in the stadium of the Givat Ram campus of Hebrew University. In response, most leading rabbi's have requested the religious public to call off the protests, stating:

"We are protesting in every shape and form forbidden 'things' done also in closed places. But because of the situation, do not continue protesting on the streets of the holy land. We are warning to heed to this warning very strongly. And the Holy One, Blessed By He, will fence the eruption and will plant holiness and purity from heaven with the arrival of Moshiach, Amen".

Kein Yehi Ratzon!

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From Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.

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The Greatness of Avraham

A guest post from Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

Just how great was our father Abraham?

Hashem appeared to our fathers Abraham, Yitzchak and Yacov and later to the Children of Israel a number of times. To our fathers He appeared six times and to the Children of Israel six times.

Of the six times that He appeared to our fathers three were to Abraham. The first time Hashem appeared it was to Abraham (Gen. 12:7). At this time Hashem promised Abraham that He would give the land of Israel to his offspring. The second time, Hashem also appeared to Abraham. (Gen. 17:1) This time He promised Abraham that He would increase him “most exceedingly.” The third time Hashem appeared to Abraham it was unto Abraham and this came on the third day after Abraham circumcised himself. (Gen. 18:1)

Hashem appeared to Yitzchak twice. Both of these times the Torah states that Hashem appeared unto Yitzchak and not to him. The first time (Gen. 26:2) Hashem told him not to descend to Egypt and that He would bless him and establish the oath that He swore to Abraham. The second time He told him that He was going to bless him and increase his offspring because of Abraham. (Gen. 26:24)

Hashem appeared to Yacov once, but the Torah tells us that this revelation was of Elokim appearing to Yacov. (Gen. 35:9) The text there says that Hashem appeared to Yacov again but the first time He revealed Himself to Yacov it was in a dream. (Gen. 28:13) This was the famous dream of “Yacov’s ladder” that came when he was running away from his brother Esau. This time (Gen. 35:9) Hashem appeared to Yacov when he was returning from his father-in-law Lavan. Hashem appeared as Elokim to Yacov and blessed him. The revelation of the Name Hashem is a much greater revelation than the revelation of the Name Elokim.

Later, regarding the Israelites, the Torah states that an angel of Hashem appeared onto Moshe in the “burning bush.” (Ex. 3:2)

After Moshe and Aaron blessed the people the glory of Hashem appeared to the people. (Lev 9:23)

Later when Korach challenged Moshe and Aaron the glory of Hashem appeared to the entire assembly. (Num. 16:19)

Soon after Korach’s rebellion “when the assembly gathered against Moshe and Aaron they turned to the Tent of meeting . . . and the glory of Hashem appeared.” (Num 17:7)

Some time latter the entire assembly gathered against Moshe and Aaron. Moshe and Aaron went to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and “ . . . the glory of Hashem appeared to them.” (Num 20:6)

Much latter when Moshe was about to die he was told to summon Joshua and stand in the tent of Meeting so Hashem could instruct Joshua, and “Hashem appeared in the Tent in a pillar of cloud.” (Duet. 31:15)

So we see that whenever Hashem appeared to the Children of Israel it was either in a cloud, or it was His glory, or as an angel. While with Yacov it was Hashem appearing as Elokim and the two times Hashem appeared to Yitzchak it was unto him and not to him. These experiences of unto him were not as direct as Abraham’s experiences, which were to him. Not only did Hashem appear to Abraham more times than to Yitzchak or to Yacov but with Abraham two of the three times it was to him and only the third time was it unto him. Also, both times that He appeared to Yitzchak Hashem said that it was because of Abraham.

No one in the entire Torah experienced the revelations that our father Abraham experienced. Not even Moshe our teacher. What was so special about Abraham that he merited such wonderful revelations?

This week’s portion lists some of the tremendous challenges that Abraham faced. Any one of them would be enough to fill a lifetime of struggle. The Torah lists at least ten of them. Yet, given all of these great tests (all of which Abraham passed) still he is not known for passing tests. He is known for his kindness and his effort in bringing others to the true knowledge of G-d.

Most certainly you and I could not withstand such tests, but we can be kind and bring someone closer to understanding G-d and His ways.

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