Sunday, December 31, 2006

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The Jewish Position

Joe5348 commented:

If you have some evidence that J actually existed, I would like to see it. I think (the Mishnah Torah) it is referring to somebody else. In any event, there seems to be no contemporary discussions of him. The writer that most likely would have been most familiar with the goings on of that time period would be Philo of Alexandria. And he doesn't acknowledge any such person. It is important to note that Philo's writings were kept by the Jews while Josephus' were kept by the Romans. As I previously noted, I don't believe that any of Josephus' authentic writings refer to Jesus. Even the noted Catholic scholar John Meyer agrees that the at Josephus' writings in that regard were tampered with.

Well, I'm not an expert in such things, nor do I want or intend to be. However, the Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, zt"l, wrote the following in the great and holy work, the Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Miluchim uMilchatonim (the laws of Kings and their wars), which was written approximately 850 years ago. This section was EDITED OUT by the Vatican, and forbidden in all lands which had the church. It's reprinting from ancient non-edited editions is only within the last 15 years.

Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Miluchim uMilchatonim, Chapter 11, Halacha 4, part 2...

...Yayshua HaNotzri (J the Nazerine) who aspired to be the Moshiach and was executed by the court was also in Daniel's prophecies, as Daniel 11:14 states, "the vulgar among your people shall exalt themselves in an attempt to fulfill the vision, but they shall stumble."

Can there be a greater stumbling block than this? All the prophets spoke of the Messiah as the redeemer of Israel and its savior, who would gather the dispersed and strengthen their mitzvot. But this caused the Jews to be slain by the sword, their remnants to be scattered and humbled, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to err and serve a god other than Hashem.

Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. All the deeds of Yayshuah HaNotzri and that Ishmaelite who arose after him will only serve to prepare the way for the Moshiach's coming and the improvement of the entire world, to serve G-d together, as Zephaniah 3:9 states: "I will amek the peoples pure of speech that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve him with one purpose."


Amein, kein yehi ratzon.

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

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Friday, December 29, 2006

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The Fast, The Siege

This Sunday is the Fast Day of the 10th of Teves. The following, excerpted and published with permission from Rabbi Tzadok at KosherTorah.Com, is some thoughts for that day...

The fast day of Asarah B’Tevet commemorates the beginning of the siege of Biblical Jerusalem by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.

...The society in Biblical Israel stumbled and fell into the same social pitfalls of which we suffer from today. All the social and personal problems can be summed up and described simply: people stopped caring for one another. Instead of living like responsible moral adults, people ... acted more like hungry animals, showing absolutely no regards for others. This ... does not go unnoticed by those who are also on the prowl.

For years, G-d sent prophets to His people. Their message was two-fold. Yes, they did predict and forewarn the coming of the Babylonians, but they also explained why the people were heading towards this horrible destiny. It wasn’t that G-d was acting like some cosmic parent frustrated over the misbehavior of His child and therefore was going to spank His wanton people. Rather, G-d was going to allow nature to take its course. G-d foresaw the long term results of the people’s individual and national behavior and sent prophets to warn them of what was to be the inevitable fruits of their actions.

We all know what happened. The prophets were ignored. More so, the prophets were rejected, some even murdered. The people arrogantly proclaimed their right to live as they choose and to act as they choose. G-d was far away from the affairs of their daily lives, they thought, so why should they bother with what He and His prophets think or had to say. They came to realize only too late that there are more important things in life that individual, personal desires and pursuits. But by this time, the Babylonian armies had surrounded Jerusalem and destruction was imminent.

Mind you, this destruction was brought about by the people themselves and their lack of foresight. G-d allowed both Israel and the Babylonians to follow the course of nature and did not hold back their hand by means of Divine intervention. But never let it be said that G-d sent the Babylonians independent of the natural order, for this is not true. The sins of the people and their shortsighted and foolish, sinful behavior arouse the Babylonian animal to pounce on small ... Israel.

G-d allows nature to take its course because both past and present we refuse to accept the Divine Hand of guidance upon us. L’fum Tza’arah Agrah. We brought our own destruction down upon our own heads. For this did our Sages ordain a fast day throughout the centuries; that we should remember and mourn our own stupidity.

So, now let us ask the valuable question. What have we learned from history?


The whole thing, (PDF) here.

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Walking for Israel

Shlomo ben Avraham and his wife are Walking for Israel, raising money for hungry children.

Check it out.

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Video: Praying for Their Return

...of the kidnapped and wounded soldiers of Israel.

Video: Here. (6 minutes) - - - Prayer, Here. (Hebrew)

(Thanks to Nava of Dreaming.)

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

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Emunah!

Some things cannot be said with words. R. Nati's promised message of tomorrow starts with...Emunah! (Faith)

High quality video link here (IE only) - - - direct download here. YouTube (lower quality) below...



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

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They Think This, Part 2

In response to comments on You Won't Believe They Think This, Aharon Hoffman writes (about the discussion of positions of the Vatican towards Jews and Judaism, and conversely comments on Judaism's position on the Vatican's deity, and any understanding of relationships between the two)...

Let's put the bonifides on the table first. I have been in dialogue with a certifed senior catechist for 6+ years; have regular correspondence with Dr. Philip Cunningham (Catholic theologian), director of the Jewish-Christian (Catholic) center at Boston College; have had correspondence with Don Kenner, who runs Catholic Friends of Israel; and have duked it out with Father Neuhaus on certain issues. Beyond that, I have read 3 books on theology written by one Cardinal Joseph Radzinger, now known as P. Benedict XVI and have read over 100 theological position papers on multiple ecumenical websites. My opinion is not an uniformed view.

Yes, the halacha is Esav (Edom, Christendom) hates Yaakov, and that holds at least through the End of Days.

As for defining Jaysus (exclusively speaking of how he is viewed from an orthodox Jewish position), there is some dispute over what our Chazal sources say and how they are to be interpreted. However, many Jews will accept that he is characterized in a negative way and his "apostles" (Rabbi Avigdor Miller: Nazarenes, Notzrim) were heretical and apostate Jews in the first century. Yes, he was real, but his "observance" if we go by New T. sources, is highly unTorah-like (violated the Sabbath, preached some violence, stole fruit just for starters). There was no normative Judaism called "Hellenistic Judaism" which is often used by secular people and non-Jews to claim some normal status for Jaysus. Hellentistic Jews were assimilating Jews, not a sect with yeshivot, traditions and theology.

So, I reject he followed the Torah in some correct way, based on any traditional reading of the Torah as portrayed by the New T. What Jaysus may or may not have intended cannot be known. Even if he never intended to start a new religion, the point is he was used in that fashion with well known results. Stealing fruit from some tree, violating the Shabbos and overturning tables (used by the "moneychangers" who really did a mitzvah in removing from circulation money with embossed idols) in the Temple is not condoned by the Torah nor was it accepted in the 1st century CE.

Nor was his scholarship at all evident to any learned Jew. He was not ordained a rabbi, he graduated no yeshivah and never demonstrated any Torah competence recognizable by any Jew - ever.

Allusions to Adam being Jaysus or vice-versa have no place in Judaic theology. Claims to Jaysus' genius have been plowed under once one realizes that every line from his "Sermon On the Mount" can be traced to sources in Tanach that any ten year old student of Torah can look up (R. A. Miller) and some unTorah-like behavior. Some Xians will use excuses such as he was a god and therefor must have known Torah (idolatry) or that he was a full time honored student of R. Gamliel (I or II) - which is unsubstantiated. Rambam even claims Jaysus was misguided and he was sent as a test of Torah true Jews at best, and that Xian movement towards monotheism serves by any discussion of a messiah (See Dev. 13:1-6).

I am familar with most of the Talmudic, Rambam, R. Emden and R. Meiri sources on Jaysus. I have not heard any mainstream Orthodox rabbi/scholar claim we should claim him as anything other than an errant Jew, who may have been misquoted, or who caused fellow Jews to stumble. If there are sources contrary to that idea, I would appreciate a list. Clearly the "gentilization" of the Nazarene sect (according to Prof. L. Freidman, YU, Gedaliyah Alon, historian, and Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, NYU, Hyam Maccoby, historian) cut across errant Jews who succumbed to assimilation with a larger gentile group of Greek influenced Noachides. R. A. Miller comments that the so-called Jewish Nazarenes were no longer extant after the war of Betar, 135 CE - a mere 100 years after Jaysus. They either died out, assimilated or returned to their roots as did Sadducees and Essenes of that era.

Before people start comparing Catholicism with Judaism, I suggest a little reading. The difference is not merely interpretation of the the story of Gan Eden. It also involves beliefs in the sacraments with no parallel in Judaism (can you spell "transubstantiation"?), a rejection of some of the Noachide laws (subject to interpretation). Some of those are idolatrous in Judaism. If the Church has recently changed its interpretation (it has on some things) it is not yet up to Judaic standards for adoption. As for taking "spritual wisdom" from Gentiles, may I remind people that in Judaism we admit there is secular wisdom (ex. science) we should be grateful to Gentiles for, but there is "no Torah wisdom" among the Gentiles to be gleaned. They never received that revelation at Sinai, nor are party to the Oral tradition. That is the purview of the Jewish people. They have not added one iota to the Torah (unless you posit the Torah is "incomplete" in its Sinaitic revelation) worthy of being called spiritual wisdom for the Jews. Sinai was complete for the Jew. We never experienced the so-called Jaysus revelation which raises many questions about its historicity (unless you resort to the discredited Jews are all dumb, deficient argument). That is not to say they have not created some for themselves, borrowing liberally from Judaism - as it should be. Every truely good idea you can find in any religion can be found in Judaism. Let me caution readers, these religions often espouse things that resonate well generally, but are self-destructive to Jews (i.e., outside halacha) like...

a) turn the other cheek (rejection of legitimate self-defense, milchamah mitzvah),
b) universalism to the point of loss of identity as a Jew,
c) rejection of the Land of Israel as one of G-d's guaranteed gifts to a specific people, etc. Espousing peace, love, etc. is great - Judaism 101, nothing new.

Let us be clear - to the extent the Gentiles incorporate the Noachide laws into their belief system, are not supersessionist toward Judaism, are allowed their spiritual intermediary through the idea of shtuif, there is room for friendship and pragmatic cooperation. The Torah still calls us to be a people separate and apart, based on Torah, not the NT. Please, make your own decisions, but do the reading if really interested.

For the Gentiles reading this blog, no one is calling you fools for believing anything. You are products of your own callings, education and tradition. But we have ours as well. But it cannot co-opt mine in a distorted way to substantiate yours - most churches have rejected that approach (supersessionism). It cannot claim that we Jews must buy it. Xianity may feel a theological need to incorporate some sense about Jews, Judaism. Judaism does not need to do that since we only rely on Sinai as the final word. Most Xian scholars admit this - so please read your own theologians.

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

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And Yosef Wept

Our weekly word of Torah from Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

In this week’s portion of the Torah Yosef cried uncontrollably twice. He cried when he revealed his true identity to his brothers and again when he saw his father Yaacov for the first time since he was taken away and sold into slavery.

What was the nature of his crying? When he was kidnapped and thrown into the pit thinking that he was about to be killed he did not cry. When he was sold into slavery he did not cry. When he was put into the dungeon and left there to rot he did not cry. At these times of great distress he did not cry. So why did he cry when he spoke to his brothers and kissed his father?

There are different kinds of crying. The crying we are most familiar with are the tears of distress. Simply something is wrong and we cry about it. But Yosef was not crying because something was wrong. He was crying because something very right was happening.

Yesterday afternoon at the Kotel I put tefillin on a gray-haired man from France. It probably was the first time he had ever put on tefillin but I did not know this at the time. He saw the soldiers putting on tefillin there and he wanted to join them. When he tried to repeat the blessing he began to cry. He was sobbing deeply and couldn’t stop. I have seen this happen before and waited patiently for him to stop and catch his breath. He went on for quite some time. I assumed his putting on tefillin reminded him of some emotional scene from his past, maybe seeing his beloved grandfather put them on many years ago when he was still a little boy, or some other family scene. I was wrong.

When he stopped sobbing he asked, “Please, can you tell me why I am crying?” I said that I would explain it to him after we finished. He read the prayers in French and tearfully prayed for his family.

Then he turned to me. I patted his chest and said, “This is not you I am patting. This is merely your body. The body is a physical garment that you are wearing. What you actually are is a spiritual being who is just riding around in this body. When you die your body will be buried and turn to dust but you will not. You will go up and up.” I moved my hand up from his chest trying to give him the idea of the soul leaving the body and rising up.

I went on, “When you go up you will be in an entirely spiritual world and only your deeds will follow you there. This is why we put on tefillin and do other mitzvoth. They are spiritual deeds and they have the ability to remind us that in truth we too are spiritual. When this reminder came to your consciousness you were overwhelmed. This may have been the first time in your entire life that you have remembered this, but this knowledge has always been embedded in your soul. This is why you cried.”

When the intellect becomes overwhelmed and we cannot analyze or fathom the depth of what is happening the emotions sweep over our intellect and we weep. This is what happened to the man from France and this is what happened to Yosef the Tzadek when he wept.

The man from France was overwhelmed when he experienced a powerful reminder that there is more to life than the mere physical. Yosef was overwhelmed when he saw his spiritual dreams being fulfilled and realizing that it was G-d Who had sent him into Egypt and not his brothers. Then, when he kissed his father his emotions overran his intellect, and again he cried.

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

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

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All You Need Is Daat

"Seek not the things that beyond you and search not out things that are hidden from you."(Ben Sira's dictum)

All you need is Da'at: This is a the Lie that was told to Chava "for once you eat of it you will become (like) G-d", At this Present level You can not Handle DAAT!

Daat is Hebrew for Knowledge, its also one of the sefirot, actually the third after Chomah and Binah, and the last of the upper triad. This Knowing or knowledge is as man knows his wife, for they are one. The etymological meaning of Da'at is attachment or union. So to really know is to be one with the Creator, which in this present manifestation is impossible. After Chet rishon we were all cursed with an unquenchable appetite to understand. You see Chomah, Binah and Daat, are all faculties in man's intellect.

I see that all of you are searching for what you don't know, you want knowledge that will lead to understanding, where are we, what do I do; (for that's why you come here to read)? Deep down inside you just want the status quo to continue. And you know, that would be a nice thing, if it were not for the fact that it is totally against the truth. Not only is it against the truth, it is against the ratzon (the will) of Hashem. You are looking for reality, but if you given a glimpse of it, it would totally destroy you. All these things (the news) are happening in the world to bring you to a point that Hashem can lead you. The more you resist (by thinking and figuring, and armchair quarterbacking) the deeper we sink. Time is running out, if you do not believe this stop here. Do not read any further!

I already know the backlash I'm going to receive. But you know, I'm not afraid. I no longer run from public opinion. "As long as you continue to use your intellect you are not fit to understand what and where we are".

Wow, that hards language Reb Nati. Who are you to speak to us this way?
I'm just a Jew, who at the end of my proverbial rope gave up. No, not that kind of giving up, that you just jumped to saying 'Ah got him'. No, not the giving up that the world knows. I gave up after 26 years of figuring and calculating, thinking. I gave up using my intellect, because all of our intellects are defective. There is a recall for those who want to repair it. If you knew my story, you would be more inclined to read on, but I know exactly what you're thinking right now, because I was there!

I haven't written here in a while because, frankly, what I have to say to all of you, you do want to hear. Don't rock the boat, and no one wants a mirror held up to him with a spot light so everyone can see the truth. I'm not going to debate with any of you, as I do not need the frustration of that. "You see, when you're in the life boat and want to save someone whose in the sea, and there sharks swimming around, you are not going to waste time with those who want to debate how we are going to do it. You're going to help those who want to get out, Right?"

I will, however, very lovingly, explain to those who wish to, how to leave where you are and join me in the desert of the real.

This means that you are done struggling in the the mud and quick sand of your present life and want out. If this is the case I will share where you can meet me, but I warn you now if in the course of us retrieving you from the mud, you decide you want to pull me down I'm letting go. There will be no debate!

Wow, you say, that sounded hard and unloving. Sometimes mercy has to be hard and stand fast. This process has to be self paced. As fast as you want you can change everything in your life. "But there is not a lot of time!!!"

There are things you need to know and understand, and G-d willing we will explain, and there are things you must believe without understanding. Emunah, Faith, it's not a dirty word.

You first have to decide! And for that I leave you alone. Because only by secluding yourself and performing sincere self introspection are you going to come to the place of inner quietness where you can truthfully decide what the next step is. When you reach this place, then you are ready to jump, and that's what it takes a leap away from everything, everybody, you depended on until now.

DON'T LOOK AT THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT'S NOT REAL!!!!

And when you are ready you can sign up to become one of Hashem Marines.

I promise that tomorrow there will be something new!

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

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A Depressing Situation & Eliyahu HaNavi

A conversation and a few notes, somewhat depressing actually, with Reb Dov Bar Leib of the End of Days blog...

Dov: In what way do you think things might be diverging from the prophetic scenario?

In the first case, I think it's the level of internal chaos and rot that has me shaken. I don't mean of the Israeli government or Armilus, that's expected. I mean within the Torah world itself. Watching Chabad, Satmar, and Ponevitch tear themselves apart, while protesting airline flights and not their impoverished fellow from Gush Katif.

Dov: Yea, need to find a tzaddik. Everyone needs to find one of the thirty thousand tzaddikim in whose merit Mashiach comes according to the Medrash Eliyahu.

Parents are crying while the Chevra is advertising a $2000 Pesach in the Bahamas.

Dov: He was severely depressed too after Izevel threatened to kill him.

And the Torah world leadership bashed the pride parade protestors, but ignored the government provocation, attacks, and even entry and beating a yeshiva student body. (Mir in Meah Shearim) While ignoring the conservative decision to give smicha (rabbinic ordination) to actively (same gender oriented) people. It's just so twisted.

Dov: Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the prophet) thought that there was no hope. He had just won the day on Mt. Carmel. He had slain all the avodah zarah (idol worship) priests and priestesses. He thought for sure that there would be a rebirth at that time, but Michael HaMalach (the angel Michael) told him that it will not really get better until the reign of a man named TRMLO. He could only count 7000 tzaddikim in all of the Northern Kingdom. Now Mashiach will find 30,000 men, not even enough votes for one seat in the Knesset!

All institutions that allow the impure to exist with the pure in order to make money are going to fall apart this year, the year of Ya'akov, the third year of Sukkot. The crumbling in certain segments of Orthodoxy is no exception. Apparently this is what Chabad, Satmar, and Ponevitch have in common with the Dems and the Repubs.

If Moshiach shows up and every institution is strong and solid, who's going to listen? If he steps up into the middle of chaos, broken squabbling institutions, then the opportunity to step in as leader easily is available.

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

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Lining Up?

Josh, commenting on Geulah Indication 2: The Tipping Point, said...

I share your anticipation, but while I listen to what the Arabs say (death to Israel), I've learn't to take their propaganda with a large grain of salt. Nasrallah plays with us, the PLO arabs play with us ..., and the Persians are no different.

Ben Caspit, who was part of the Sharon-etrog 'expulsion is good' fan club, is also not to be given credibility for much...

On the other hand, HaRav Dahan predicts that the erev rav government will fall within three months. And the sooner, the better.


Amein. It seems to be becoming a more and more opportune time. I've been forwarded (public) military reports that indicate a quiet build-up in the Persian Gulf region in preparation for action in March as well. That would be a line up for Rome taking on Persia, as mentioned a number of times previously.

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

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Winter Tree

Stark, bleak, but is spring all that far away?
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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

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The Mixing of Good and Evil

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but Emes is in the heart and mind of the righteous. (A great comment left by Neshama.)

In generations past right and wrong were clear to see. There was good, there was evil, and you could tell which was which.

The Tanya, the Book of the Intermediates by the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, starts with a quote from the Gemorah, "An oath is administered to him (before birth, warning him): 'Be righteous and be not wicked, and even if the whole world tells you that you are righteous, regard yourself as if you were wicked'." And the Rebbe goes on to explain why this is good advice.

But, when we live in a time when it's hard to tell the difference, how do you know if you are righteous or wicked? The world around us would tell us that bad things are good, that judging bad things to be bad is itself a bad thing. This is not a matter of culture difference, we live one way, they live another. This is so many things that keep teaching that wrong is ok. Music, TV, movies, it's not that they're different from being frum, it's that they're teaching wrong is right, right is wrong, and just mixing it all up until you can't tell the difference.

So according to the world, being righteous could be a bad thing. You might say this is good, since the Tanya said "regard yourself as if you were wicked", and if you're being good and everyone says that's bad, great! But not really, because next the Tanya teaches from Pirke Avos, ethics of our fathers, "and don't consider yourself to be wicked".

So perhaps we have entered that time when, as the Mishnah in Sota says, "With the coming of the footsteps of Moshiach, ...those who fear sin will be despised, the truth will be lacking. So upon whom can we rely? Upon our Father Who is In Heaven!"

May those footsteps be immediately followed by Moshiach, mamosh, now! Ribono Shel Olam, we no longer want Moshiach now, we need Moshiach now! Ad mosai!

An adaptation from my daughter's bat mitzvah speech, recently given, Baruch Hashem.

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Delaying

This is an unbelievable, yet all too believable, quote posted by A Simple Jew. My apologies in advance, it's so special I felt I had to repost it here.

(Otzar Chayim) - I heard from my teacher and father-in-law, who was the chief disciple of Rebbe Yechiel Michal of Zlotchov, that once when the Baal Shem Tov was traveling on the road, he stepped into a wooded area to pray the afternoon prayer. His disciples were dumbfounded to see him hitting his head against a tree, crying and screaming. Afterward, they asked him what had happened. He explained that he had seen, with divine inspiration, that in the generations before the coming of the Moshiach there would be a multitude of rabbis, and that they would be the very ones who would impede the redemption.

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You won't believe they think this!

A guest post from Aharon Hoffman, on his ongoing topic of the Vatican and the 'Tholic Church's beliefs toward the Jews...

'Tholic thinking becomes more obvious with each utterance of some member of their clergy... (from ecumenical religious magazine First Things, link provided in comments )

Quote from Father Richard John Neuhaus in First Things, The Public Sphere, October 2006:

"Some Jews protested that the Church was trying to “Christianize the Holocaust.” Yet Christians cannot help but say that the redemptive suffering of (Our Man Deity) is universal and comprehensive. Jewish suffering is indeed different, in that Jews and Judaism have a most particular and intimate connection with the Xian narrative of salvation. (1) For Xians, the Jewish experience is not entirely “other.” It is not too much to say that there are two Judaisms; the one is called Judaism and the other is called Xianity.(2) Xianity and rabbinic Judaism are the two forms assumed by Judaism following the destruction of the Second Temple.(3) The dispute that divides us, the dispute that may not be definitively resolved until the End Time, is over the question “Who is the Christ?” (4)"


I used numbers to follow the lines in question rather than interrupt the text. But can you believe this???

1 - Can a Xian really define for Jews what Jewish suffering is, considering it is Xianity that has caused the most of it? If Jewish suffering is related to Xian salvation, then why did Xity cause so much of it? Can Jewish suffering only be understood in Xian terms? Is not our suffering ours to be understood in terms of the evil done by the perpetrators - Xians, Xianity?

2 - Two Judaism? Is this how 'Tholics look at us? One department of Judaism, they being the other? Does this imply a false equality? How does this square with the Torah's normative laws referring to peoplehood, family and nationhood, where it is clear Gentile Xians are neither Jewish nor a citizen of Israel, nor even genetically related?

3 - Judaism did not historically take two forms, one being Xianity. How can one say this honestly if the beliefs are totally different - one negating the other?

4 -The dispute is not over who is (Man Deity)? Within Judaism we know who he was and who he was not. We do not argue this. It is Xianity that argues this. How can the one who starts the argument with an unwilling partner claim this is a legitimate argument? This is a difference in books, language, tradition, peoplehood, nationhood, eschatologym and concepts of G-d. We want to maintain ours, he wants us to question it. What good comes out of questioning one's own identity, people, destiny and self-worth? One seeks to define such things in concrete ways, not undermine them once they are established. Why does Xianity want to dispute that?

In general, does not 1, 2, 3 and 4 all clearly speak to an intended supersessionism? And did not the Vatican already declare that dead with regards to Judaism?

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Monday, December 25, 2006

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Geulah Indication 2: The Tipping Point

The tipping point in world change is upon us. Iran is leading the Arab world. Israel, as a power player, is in decline. The US presidency of Bush is collapsing, both externally with the Democratic election victory and internally with cabinet shifts acting against the president's stated policies.

Have we reached the tipping point into Gog uMagog? ...

"Quietly; In Four Months We'll Have a Dramatic Announcement" - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew, 15Dec06)

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh received a promise from Iran of extensive economic aid, cash, military cooperation, and also good news, from his perspective. Lower your profile, calm the situation, the Iranians told Haniyeh. In four months we're going to issue a statement that will dramatically change the strategic balance in the Middle East. According to Israeli intelligence, the Iranians have promised to make an important announcement at the next Persian new year, which begins the third week in March 2007.


A responder to this article wrote...

I checked the calendar. Nowruz (Persian New Year) begins on March 20, which this year corresponds to Rosh Chodesh Nisan, and lasts 13 days, which leads to .... zman hayrutaynu, Pesach!.

It would seem we're about to.

Update: Commentors add...

There is to be a partial eclipse of the sun on 19 March 2007. The partial eclipse starts from the North in Russia and goes down mainly over Iran, Pakistan and India! (Eclipse graphic here.)

The fact that we move from an eclipse into Rosh Chodesh Nissan, and it's the same moment the Iranian's have pre-announced their big 'announcement' is stated to be a good sign.


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With the Breslovers

Here at Ynet.

It's a mitzvah to be happy, all the time. - Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

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For The Reward? Not.

A special entry from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day, that especially resonates with me, from the Kislev 18th entry...

The Tzemach Tzedek (the 3rd Lubavitcher Rebbe) writes: The love expressed in "Beside You I wish for nothing," (Palms 73:25) means that one should desire nothing other than G-d, not even "Heaven" or "earth" i.e. Higher Gan Eden and Lower Gan Eden, for these were created with a mere Yud...

(The Divine Essence-Name, Havayeh (the Tetragrammaton), is source of all creation. Olam haba, spiritual Hereafter, including Gan Eden, was created from the first (and smallest) letter - Yud - of the Name.)

The love is to be directed to Him alone, to His very Being and Essence.

This was actually expressed by my master and teacher, may his soul rest in Eden (the Alter Rebbe) when he was in a state of D'veikut (ecstatic, cleaving devotion to G-d) and he exclaimed as follows:

"I want nothing at all! I don't want Your Gan Eden, I don't want Your Olam Haba... I want nothing but You alone."

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Video: Baker & Peace In Our Time



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Sunday, December 24, 2006

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What They Say About Us...

A guest compilation by Aharon Hoffman...

In their own recent and official words, these quotes refute the ideas that the Catholic Church has, as they often state, renounced supersessionism, respects Judaism, want equitable relations and have no conversionary agenda. No doubt some will say these were taken out of context. Check out the sources for yourself.

o Benedict (aka Radzinger), denial of German people’s complicity in the Holocaust:

"as a son of the German people, a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation's honor, prominence, and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation." - Boston Globe, June 5, 2006 about May 31, 2006 trip of Pope to Auschwitz

o Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, publisher of First Things magazine, demeaning Jewish views on the Holocaust:

“…Jews are hyper-sensitive about the Holocaust…some Jews are hyper-Orthodox…”, First Things editorials, several during 2006, 2005

o John Paul II, with assistance from Radzinger (now Benedict) – distortion / mischaracterization of Jewish facts, from The Jewish People and Their Sacred Scriptures in the Christian Bible – official document of the Catholic Church:

“…the Torah did not deny other gods existed”.

o John Paul II, with assistance from Cardinal Radzinger (now Benedict) – on interfaith dialogue, from Dominus Iesus – official document of the Catholic Church:

“The object of dialogue is conversion and the Church is the only way: “Indeed, G-d ‘desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth'; that is, G-d wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the promptings of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in G-d's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary”

”Inter-religious dialogue, therefore, as part of her evangelizing mission, is just one of the actions of the Church in her mission ad gentes. Equality, which is a presupposition of inter-religious dialogue, refers to the equal personal dignity of the parties in dialogue, not to doctrinal content, nor even less to the position of [their savior] — who is G-d himself made man — in relation to the founders of the other religions. Indeed, the Church, guided by charity and respect for freedom, must be primarily committed to proclaiming to all people the truth definitively revealed by the L-rd, and to announcing the necessity of conversion to [their savior] and of adherence to the Church through Baptism and the other sacraments, in order to participate fully in communion with [edited-our stuff].”

This is just scratching the surface of such quotes, many more are available. The atttitude of these people in their own words and publications must be considered before making any deal (such as the Tomb of David) or trusting interfaith dialogue.

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

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Truths and Lies

A guest post by Aharon Hoffman.

In the end of days, truth would be treated as lies and lies as truth.

The article, "Illegal Aliens Murder 12 Americans Daily" very graphically shows that people can be focused by a mis-directed media to focus on a war in Iraq where 2,800 US troops have died over 3 years, yet are blind to the fact that in the same period, 21,700 unarmed US citizens have died here from not protecting our own border with Mexico.

Any analysis of media will show how under-reported the losses here at home are, 8 times greater than those on a foreign battlefield, and how people can be fooled into worrying about remote, rather than immediate threats. That the problem is 8 times greater may be of interest who understand the significance of that number in Jewish tradition.

Hashem wants us to think and understand.

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

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Baker and Gates

The politics of what's going on in the Middle East is amazing. Not in a positive way, but in it's ability to surprise at instant shifts weekly. One of the biggest, of course, was the sudden return of Baker and the introduction of Secretary of Defense Gates since the election.

Some good details to read about them, here. How this ties in to upcoming prophetic events, coming shortly.

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Theatre of the Absurd

This is an article from Israel National News, sent to me a few weeks ago. Given news today of Israel again paying off the PA for NOTHING, it bears posting in full...

Marwan, Yigal and Akiva by David Wilder, 14 Kislev (Dec 5)

Absurdity levels are difficult to measure. Defense Minister Amir Peretz gave orders forbidding apprehension of terrorists in Judea and Samaria without the express permission of the commander of forces in Judea and Samaria. In other words, if a wanted killer is seen standing on a street corner in downtown Jenin, an official request has to be issued before he can be arrested.

In addition, should Israeli forces spot terrorists in Gaza preparing to shoot a Kassam rocket at Sderot or elsewhere in southern Israel, the terrorists may not be stopped. They must be allowed to finish what they started; i.e., attempting to kill Israeli civilians in the state of Israel.

And finally, Ehud Olmert, speaking to the Knesset committee for defense and foreign policy, promised that Israel will "pay whatever price is necessary in order to release the POWs be held in Gaza and Lebanon."

What are the implications of the above three paragraphs?

1. Israel is opening coffee shop chains throughout Judea and Samaria, providing wanted terrorists a place to rest while the request to arrest them is processed.

2. Israel is opening coffee shop chains in Gaza for terrorists to rest and relax at following a hard day (or night's) work shooting missiles at Israeli citizens.

3. Rumor has it that the Palestinian Authority has included Yigal Amir's name on the list of prisoners it wants freed, right after Marwan Barghouti.

However, this is just the beginning. Just how far does Israeli theater of the absurd go? About two weeks ago, our friend Akiva Lebovitch received a military order, signed by General Yair Naveh, commander of the IDF's Central District, ordering him to report to Ma'aleh Adumim.

Akiva, twenty-two years old, grew up in Hebron. His parents and younger siblings live in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Late Friday afternoon, on July 26, 2002, one of Akiva's older brothers, Elazar, was driving his friend Neria Ben-Yitzhak and his new bride Sarah to Hebron, to celebrate the first Shabbat following their wedding. Terrorists opened fire on their car, killing Elazar. Only minutes earlier, the same terrorists shot and killed three members of the Dikstein family from Psagot.

Akiva, married less than three months ago, lives with his new bride in the Yitzhar community in Samaria. There, he studies in the local yeshiva, while his wife travels daily to the city of Ariel, where she attends the College of Judea and Samaria.

Security forces delivered a military order to Akiva that forbids him from being anywhere in Judea and Samaria for the next three months. He may not live in his new home in Yitzhar, nor may he visit his parents in Hebron. He can't even take a trip to Tel Aviv. The military order commands him to reside in Ma'aleh Adumim, just south of Jerusalem; for the next three months.

Why? According to the order: "After having studied the security material which has piled up against Akiva Lebovitch, I am of the opinion that it is necessary for definite security reasons that he be placed under special surveillance."

Just what is the "security material which has piled up" against Akiva? Ahh, that's a state secret, material compiled by the Jewish Section of the Shabak, the Israeli secret service, an organization that more resembles Stalin's secret police than a Jewish intelligence agency in Israel, 2006.

Where in Ma'aleh Adumim must Akiva reside? Is the army providing him with an apartment or a hotel room? Are they providing free transportation for his wife everyday to get to Ariel? (The order was addressed only to him, not to her.) What about his monthly stipend from the yeshiva?

Of course, the answers to the above questions are clearly understood: sleep in the street, eat air for three months, and forget about your wife. She's not dangerous; you are.

The restricting orders shocked the entire Lebovitch family. Akiva's father, Yossi, told me that the last time Akiva had any contact with the law was over three years ago, after participating in a Hebron demonstration. Since then, nothing.

They have no reason at all to restrict my son's movements. He hasn't done anything and was just married. Why should they make his life so difficult for him now, at this special time in his life? It was hard enough following the murder of his brother Elazar. But we've tried to mend our lives, putting them back together again - not an easy feat. Akiva and Moria (his wife) are so happy together. What did they do to deserve this?

If the security forces have information which incriminates my son, let them arrest him, present evidence, and give him a chance to defend himself. If they don't have any evidence against him, why should he be punished for not only something he didn't do, but for what he is not even able to know about? His alleged crime is so horrendous that it is a secret even from him?

Akiva isn't the first young man placed under "military house arrest" for unknown and undefined crimes against humanity. Over the past few months, 20 others preceded him in receiving such military orders, barring them from anywhere in Judea and Samaria.

Of course, protests against such deviations of justice are also illegal. One Saturday night last month, as he left his car in the vicinity of the residence of General Naveh, Hebron resident Noam Federman was immediately arrested, together with two young children, and held until four in the morning. Another of those apprehended of late was Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv, a well-known Torah scholar, who was disgraced by the police.

So, let it be known by one and all: it is forbidden to arrest Arab terrorists without permission, or to stop them from attacking Israelis even when the missile is in the launcher. However, harsh restriction orders against Israeli citizens who have absolutely no idea what they've done wrong is perfectly OK.

Maybe we can get Marwan to add Akiva's name to that list of prisoners, too?

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Friday, December 22, 2006

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A Story of Happiness - CANCELLED

The following was sent to me by a friend...

Update: This story came to me from a good source, but contained a bit of strange explanitory content at the end that I did not post. A commentor provided a link that shows the story and the explanation comes from a very treif source. Since I can't verify the story itself is via a kosher source, I've deleted the whole thing.

My apologies. I should have noted that if something seems weird, it probably is.

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Last Stories of Chanukah for the Last Night

Thousands of Yidden gathered in Kiev's (Ukraine) stadium for a public menorah lighting. Just after the Mayor, Mr. Leuind Micholevitch Chernovsky was honored with lighting the shamash, the shliach (Chabad rabbi/emmisary) in Kiev, Rabbi Moshe Reuven Osman, explained to the Mayor that only a Jew can light the remaining candles. The Mayor turned to Rabbi Osman with tear-filled eyes and told him, "I am Jewish...it's a secret that was kept in our family for over 60 years." He then proceeded to light the three candles saying the two Brachos and "Shehechiyanu".... - more here at Chabad.Info.

And, at the Maggid of Bergenfield, publicising the miracle on highway 287.


A nice Chanukah short film, here.

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

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Torah Dreams

A weekly dvar Torah, a word on the Torah portion of the week, from ongoing guest poster Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel. If your going to the Kotel (the Western Wall), stop by the tefillin stand and ask for him...

In this week’s portion of the Torah we see dreams once again playing a major role in Yosef’s life. As a youth he told his family of the dreams he had which fired up his brother’s jealousy and led to his being sold into slavery. While in the dungeon Yosef accurately interpreted dreams for Pharaoh’s two servants and now this week it is Pharaoh himself who calls upon Yosef’s ability to understand the significance of his dream. Hashem used dreams to guide Yosef’s life to save his family and much of the world from famine.

In fact dreams have been a fairly common way that Hashem communicated with the Fathers and prophets and even to certain non-Jews throughout the ages.

But what about our dreams? Are they of any significance or are they merely jumbled thoughts left over from our busy days?

Even common dreams are considered 1/60 of Prophecy[i] and can be explored to gain insight to our subtle concerns or even our needs.

Here are some interesting things about dreams that can help us to utilize them in our spiritual life.

“Dreams dreamed in the morning are more likely to come true.”[ii]

All dreams contain an aspect of truth and an aspect of foolishness so they certainly cannot be relied upon.

Dreams follow their interpretation and “while part of a dream may be fulfilled, the whole of it is never fulfilled.”[iii]

A righteous person is given bad dreams to worry him into repentance, while a sinful person is given pleasant dreams to lull him into complacency.[iv]

Obviously, the dreams we remember vividly usually are of our greatest concerns.

Normal dreams are simply thoughts coming into the mind that deal with leftover concerns or interests of the day and are completely forgotten. But if you pay attention you can remember your dreams and search to see if in fact they have any significance.

The following is an interesting example of how dream interpretation can help. [v]

Some years ago a nonreligious Israeli came up to me at the Kotel. He told me he had a dream about the Kotel and it was bothering him very much. He wanted me to explain the dream to him. Of course I told him that I was not an interpreter of dreams but seeing how upset he was I asked him about the dream.

He said that in his dream he was washing the Kotel and the water splashed off the Wall falling onto some candles that were burning close by. The water put them out. He was upset and he did not know why.

The answer came to me at once. Not in words, nor in actual mental pictures, but in a clear understanding of the dream’s meaning. To be sure I was right I asked if anyone in his near family had recently passed away.

He said, “Yes,” his father.

I told him, “This is what your dream meant. You feel, even though you have been praying for your father in your own personal way, that since your prayers are so sincere, they must be so pleasing to G-d that they are actually washing the Kotel. But since you have not been praying in the Traditional way, but simply praying how you feel best, your prayers have actually been putting out the lighted candles that are traditionally lighted to remember the dead.”

Right away he saw the interpretation was correct and he happily said that from then on he would follow the ancient, prescribed tradition.

Obviously, I was not able to explain his dream because of some mystical gift but rather since I was familiar with the Kotel and if there would be any candles lighted there what their significance would be, and if someone splashed water on them how I would feel.

This is how we can try to explain or understand our dreams. Simply put yourself into the situation that you dreamed and try to understand why it happened.

[i] Gemora Berakoth 57b
[ii] Ibid 55b, Bereshit Rabbah
[iii] Ibid 55a
[iv] Me’am Lo’ez 3b p 361
[v] Adapted from “Taming The Raging Mind” Chap 10

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

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

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Seattle and the Menorah

By now, most have heard the story of Seattle and the menorah. In short, the Seattle airport had large public display across the facility of 9 'trees'. When the Chabad rabbi of Seattle came and requested to add 1 menorah to the primary display, the airport authority immediately removed all holiday displays, to prevent any claim of failing to provide accomodation. Some brief time later, reacting to public outrage and a comment from the requesting rabbi that he had no intent to sue, they returned the 'trees' and 'holiday displays'. But, they still didn't allow the menorah.

While not delving any deeper into this story, I did receive 2 emails on it that point out...

Following storms after refusal to permit a menorah, one of the concourses at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was without electricity, and an airport spokesman said some flights likely would be canceled. - source here.

4 million in the Seattle area without power after storms. And what took out the power? A (holiday) tree stuck up in power lines. "Somebody told us a day or two ago about the 'tree' caught on a junction line. Today, after our stop at the bakery, we snapped it (picture at the top of this article). Still no power in many places, still problems caused by those darn trees!" -- You want your trees up and no menorahs?

In an interesting note, the airport director indicated he was out of the country in Egypt at the time of the menorah and tree decisions. It's unclear who actually made them.


Hmmm. (Thanks to Elisheva and Yaakov for their emails.)

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

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Japan and the Jews: The Fugu Plan

An amazing bit of history sent to me by friend Aharon Hoffman...

The Fugu Plan was a plan created by the Japanese government of the 1930's to draw, yet control, a huge migration of Jew's to Japan or Japanese controlled territory. It seems that after reading The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, some elements of the Japanese government came to believe that those who bless you will be blessed, though in it's more gross Protocols version, the Jews control significant international commerce and having them around brings that commerce to you.

At its core, the Fugu Plan was a scheme to convince thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Jews to settle in Manchuria (or possibly Japan-occupied Shanghai), thus gaining not only the benefit of the supposed economic prowess of the Jews but also convincing the United States, specifically American Jewry, to grant their favor and investment to Japan...

The planners eventually came up with a detailed scheme, or rather, a set of options, for how the settlement would be organized, and how Jewish support, both in terms of investment and actual settlers, would be garnered. In June and July of 1939, these schemes, under long-winded names like "Concrete Measures to be Employed to Turn Friendly to Japan the Public Opinion Far East Diplomatic Policy Close Circle of President of USA by Manipulating Influential Jews in China," and "The Study and Analysis of Introducing Jewish Capital" came to be reviewed and approved by the top Japanese officials in China...

The plans allowed for the settler populations to range in size from 18,000 up to 600,000... It was agreed, by all the planners, that Jews in these settlements would be given complete freedom of religion, along with cultural and educational autonomy; while the Japanese were wary of giving the Jews too much freedom, they felt that some freedom would be necessary to maintain their favor, and their economic proficiencies. The officials asked to approve the plan insisted that, while the settlement was to appear autonomous, controls needed to be placed, behind the scenes, to keep the Jews under close watch and under control. They feared that the Jews might worm their way into the mainstream Japanese government and economy, taking command of it the way they, according to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, had done in many other countries...

An amazing bit of history, read the whole thing here.

Akiva adds: You might almost say a backup plan in history to save a remnant of the Jews, or a possible option for the Jews to have safely left or been forced out of Europe, if they had known or if circumstances had differed just slightly.

From Mystical Paths, MPATHS.COM. Reading it somewhere else? See it there, click.
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A Place to Preserve, A Place Not To

Photo Series: Givat Olam farming community in the Shomron (West Bank).

One of the many Jewish places slated for destruction for no particular reason or benefit. Pictures via Chabad.Info.

Venice Beach and an Eruv, concerns over an invisible wire. One law says you can't block the sea view, so they have to use nearly invisible fishing line, but another law says you can't put the sea birds at risk, which the not visible wire might do. Oy.

I've walked on that beach and by that synogogue. Must be beautiful to open the doors as the sun sets, and have the light fade against the aaron kodesh. Yet, Venice Beach, for all it's natural beauty, is one of the most bohemian places in the United States. I can't imagine trying to maintain a religious Jewish lifestyle within it.

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Chanukah vs. Purim

From Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel...

Even the holiday games we play are chosen because of their spiritual characteristics. For instance, on Chanukah we spin the dreidel and on Purim we whirl the grogger.

Dreidels are pointed, top like inventions that have a different letter written on each of their four sides. We spin them, twirling them while holding their handle from above with the dreidel pointing down. Spinning is an indication of making something happen, like the world, which is happening because it is being spun. After we spin them and they stop, whichever letter lands facing up is the winner.

The dreidel is a reminder of when the Romans banned the study of Torah. When their soldiers would see Jewish boys learning they would rush over to enforce their law. The boys would quickly pull out and spin their dreidels showing that they were only playing gambling games.

On Purim we spin groggers that make a very loud noise. We hold them pointing up in the air and twirl them holding the handle from underneath. The spiritual reason for the grogger is to make so much noise that it drowns out the name of Haman, the villain, in order to fulfill the commandment to wipe out his remembrance.

The question here is, why on Chanukah do we spin the dreidel from above with it pointing down, and on Purim we spin the grogger holding it from below with it being raised, pointing up?

On Chanukah we celebrate overcoming the Greeks. The Greeks came to destroy the Torah. They did not necessarily want to kill the Jewish People, just our beliefs. These beliefs held us apart from them and this they could not stand. Since they attacked the Torah, which is the spiritual or higher realm, the miracle that saved us from them also came from the Higher realm. It came as a spiritual miracle. The one day’s oil lasted eight days.

On Purim the villains were not at all concerned with our Torah. They wanted to destroy us physically. They planned to attack our bodies, so the miracle that saved us at that time came from below. The miracle came in the form of our being able to physically defend ourselves. Instead of them destroying us, we destroyed them.

So on Chanukah we spin the dreidel holding it from above, where that miracle happened, and on Purim we spin the grogger while holding it from below which is where that miracle happened.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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Video: Save Kever Dovid HaMelech!

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Recent Prediction?

I found the following posted from May 21, words from HaRav HaMekubal Dahan...

...Mashiach will come ... when the xtians will say that they want Yerushalayim and all the world will come to the Land of Israel [as stated in Yechezkiel and other places, the war of Gog and Magog].

The xtians are concealing their desire for Yerushalayim....

Very shortly they will be asking people here [in Eretz Yisrael] if they want to be a Jew or an Israeli like all the other nations. They will also ask about Yerushalayim. After Yerushalayim is handed over, Hakadosh Baruch Hu will get involved. Until then there is free choice and we can still do tshuva...


As readers here will note, PM Olmert met with the Vatican this past week to re-open talks to turn over Mt. Zion to Vatican control. Hmmm.

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

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

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Pre-Filled Oil Warning


I've used pre-filled oil cups for years and the only problem I've every had was with the break-off glass top types, where I've cut myself.

However, there seems to be two types this year that are causing bigger problems. Both appear to be some kind of jelled (olive) oil. The somewhat dangerous one seems to be jell filled plastic cup with no top cover. The possibility of overheating seems to be high. The second is jell filled glass, again with no top cover. The problem seems to be with hot liquid if spilled (and also burning long enough, as it burns down the heat isn't enough to liquify).

It took me a while looking at these to understand the difference to what I use, which are called E-Z Lite, and are also plastic cups. However, E-Z Lite is liquid olive oil, and has a metal cap covering the top (which prevents spillage and keeps the flame away from the plastic cup). So far they've been working very well for me.

A little more info here and here.

Regardless of the style you use, please keep a close eye on your menorah while it's burning, especially if you have children in the house. In U.S. wood built homes, this is a direct danger to life and should be treated as such.

A safe and happy chanukah!

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The Darkest Night of the Year

The fifth night of chanuka is the darkest night of the year. It is always on the moonless night of Erev Rosh Chodesh Tevet, and the longest night of the year. It cannot fall on Shabbat.

This the Chatzot of the year. A very auspious night, the very auspious night, to pray. And this year we have a lot to pray for. Let this be our hope and our prayer as we light the 5th light tonight...

Send us a complete redemption very soon. Redeem our souls, our body, and our possessions, because they're all in deep exile at present. Have mercy on the remnant of our people, the House of Israel, and quickly send us eternal redemption collectively and individually, physically and spiritually. Send us our righteous Moshiach. Let the son of Dovid come and redeem us, rebuild the ruins of Jerusalem, the city of the righteousness, the Faithful Citadel. Shine on us with the light of Your countenance, and quickly build our Holy Temple in it's glory. There we will offer You the fixed sacrifices. We will offer the perpetual offering at the proper time and place according to it's law and burn the incense at it's proper time. And light the Holy Menorah. In this way we will be able to cut off the seed of Amalek and remove and destroy the thorns from the vineyard. We'll cut down and uproot all the thorns and thistles surrounding the Supreme Rose, and elevate all the sparks of holiness from amidst the forces of unholiness and the worshippers of false gods. All of them will then be firmly attached to the realm of holy faith. They'll be purified and ascend from level to level, until they again rise up to be renewed in the light of Your countenance.

Quickly establish the Throne of David, and let Your Name be complete and Your throne complete. Give us one king and shepherd according to Your desire, Moshiach, son of Dovid, king of Israel. Let Your kingship be manifest to all the inhabitants of the world. Let Your faith and kingship be magnified, elevated and exalted high, high above all creatures of the universe. Let them all long and yearn to have holy faith in You. And may You alone, O G-D, rule over all Your works, for kingship is Yours, and You'll rule in glory for ever and ever, as is written in Your Torah: "G-d will be King over all the earth. On that day G-d will be one and His name one."


From here we only look forward to lengthening days and the dawning of the Geulah.

Amein, Chanuka Sameach

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A Chanukah Story - The 5th Night

In honor of the festive occasion of Hanukah, a constant reminder that a little light dispels a lot of darkness, I humbly offer my favorite Hanukah story:

Adapted from the Hebrew weekly, Shav'uon Kfar Chabad, a wondrous account sent in by Rabbi Moses Hayyim Greenvald from 12 years ago...

Since the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, zt"l, may his merit guard over us, Jews all around me -- of every stripe and persuasion -- can't seem to stop talking about the Rebbe. At the synagogue I pray at, at work. It amazes me to see how every Jew seems to have a story about a personal encounter or experience with the Rebbe.

I say it's a mitzvah to tell these stories so that our children and children's children will hear about the Sanctification of G-d's name by means of a tzaddik who walked amongst us and was a faithful shepherd for all the children of the generation. It's widely known that Hasidim place great importance on tales of the righteous, as it is written, "Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord O ye Servants of the Lord" (Psalms). In order to comply with this precept myself, I offer a wondrous account about the Rebbe and my father. Until now this was known only in our family circles. I now find it incumbent upon me, after the Rebbe's passing, to tell the story publicly.

My father, Rabbi Abraham Zvi Greenvald, was born in Lodz, Poland, and was orphaned from his father at the age of 8. His mother was left with seven little orphans, and she worried much about the education of her eldest boy, whom she sent to live with a cousin, the exalted scholar Rabbi Menachem Zemba, may G-d avenge his blood. It was he who raised my father with great self-sacrifice. Understandably, he was concerned about my father's studies and even tutored him personally.

My father was almost 17 years old when there took place in Warsaw "The Great Wedding" -- the nuptials of the daughter of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Isaac (Schneersohn) with Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, who would later become the seventh Rebbe. My father used to tell about this wedding almost as a spiritual exercise -- both regarding the wedding itself, in which participated the cream of Polish Hasidic leaders, and also that my father was able to meet personally with the young bridegroom. This meeting, my father would later realize, would portend much in the future.

A youth of about 17, my father arrived at the wedding together with his relative and teacher, Rabbi Menachem Zemba. On the morning after, Rabbi Zemba told him he was going to visit the bridegroom in the hotel, and if my father wished, he could accompany him. Understandably, my father agreed.

My father could not remember and repeat all that the two spoke about, but he did remember well the end of the conversation, before these two personalities parted ways. The Rebbe turned to my father and said, "In another few days, it will be Hanukkah. Do you know why many small synagogues hold festivals on the fifth day of Chanukah?" My father did not know what to answer, and he recalled that Rabbi Zemba just looked at the Rebbe waiting for an answer. Then the Rebbe, turned to my father and said, "The fifth Hanukkah candle signifies great darkness because this day cannot fall on the Holy Sabbath. And through the Hanukkah candles, the greatest (spiritual) darkness of the world is illuminated. And for this reason, the potential of Hanukkah comes to fruition specifically through the fifth candle, which signifies the darkness. And this is the function of every Jew, in every place -- in Warsaw or London -- to illuminate the darkest place."

As mentioned earlier, my father did not remember what the Rebbe and Rabbi Zemba spoke about during their long conversation. But he said he would never forget that all the tractates of the Babylonian Talmud flew around the room. When they left the hotel, my father recalls, Rabbi Zemba was extremely excited and didn't stop speaking about the meeting to everyone with whom he conversed for several days.

After that meeting, nearly 10 years passed.

My father survived the Holocaust, first in the Ghetto, and afterwards in the Extermination Camps. His first wife and their five little children were slaughtered in front of his eyes. When the war ended, and he was left alive by the grace of G-d, he experienced a mental and physical breakdown. For two years, he moved from displaced persons camp to displaced persons camp, trying to learn if there were relatives -- close or distant -- who survived. In the end, it became clear that all his brothers and sisters -- each one of them -- was liquidated by the oppressor, may its name be blotted out.

In the year 5708 (ca. 1948), he traveled to the United States, to Philadelphia. There lived his uncle, Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Greenvald of the Amshinov Hasidim, who he had never met because the uncle immigrated to America before he was born. But the uncle arranged my fathers travel to the U. S. and received him with great love, and did everything to make it easier for him and to comfort him after the portion of awesome suffering he underwent . . . Under pressure from his uncle, with the intervention of the Amshinov Rebbe, my father decided to put his life back together, married a second wife (my mother, of blessed memory).

She was a child of Karkov, daughter of Rabbi Zushya Sinkowitz, may G-d avenge his blood, of the elders of the Alexander Hasidim. Together with his sister, he succeeded in fleeing immediately at the beginning of the war, running from country to country until they set sail for Canada. There, they raised in the house another cousin, the great leader, Mr. Kuppel Shwartz, one of Toronto's leading Jews. Before my parents were wed, Mr. Shwartz took my father to New York for an audience with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Joseph Isaac (Schneersohn) to obtain his blessing.

My father told me that he trembled to see the change that had overtaken the Previous Rebbe, how age had crept up on him since the Warsaw wedding. (It was very difficult to understand the Rebbe's speech; one of the Hasidic elders who stood in the room explained what the Rebbe was saying). Mr. Shwartz told the Previous Rebbe that my father had been saved, but lost his family in the Holocaust. Then, from the holy eyes of the Previous Rebbe there began to fall streams of pure tears. The Rebbe blessed my father and wished him a long and good life. Before he left, my father told the Rebbe that he had been fortunate to be at the wedding of his son-in-law, the Rebbe, in Warsaw. Then, my father tells, the Previous Rebbe's eyes brightened and he said that since his son-in-law lived here, and he was at the wedding, he should certainly visit him to pay his respects.

Mr. Shwartz and my father left the Rebbe's chambers, and after they were shown where to find the chambers of the Ramash, as he was known then, they knocked and entered, saying they came at the instructions of the Previous Rebbe. My father was elated that the Ramash remembered him immediately. His first question was that my father should tell about last days of Rabbi Zemba because he heard he was killed in the Warsaw Ghetto but did not know any details.

After my father told all he knew, the Ramash said, "since the Rebbe told you to visit me, I am obligated to say to you words of Torah. And since the month of Kislev is close to Hanukkah, it is known the custom of many Hasidim," followers of the Baal Shem Tov, to celebrate the fifth day of Hanukkah. What is the reason? Since the fifth day can never fall on the Sabbath, if so, then it implies strong (spiritual) darkness. This is the potential of the Hanukkah candle -- to illuminate the greatest darkness. This is the mission of every Jew in every place he may be -- New York or London -- to illuminate the darkest place.

Needless to say, my father was startled as he had all but forgotten the very same thing that the Ramash had told him nearly 20 years earlier. And now, his memory was jarred, and he realized that the Ramash had repeated, almost word-for-word, what he told him then, in the hotel in Warsaw.

After his wedding, my father served as a rabbi and teacher for Congregation Adath Israel in Washington Heights. There we were born, my sister and I. My father remained there some five years, and, with the help of Mr. Shwartz in Canada, moved to Toronto and worked there as a rabbi and teacher in the Haredi congregations there.

Over the course of years, in Toronto, my father became close to the Satmar Hasidim in the city, since he ministered in his rabbinical work to these Hasidim. Though he never sent us to the Satmar schools, he sent us to educational institutions that were spiritually similar. Me and my brother were sent to the well known Nytra Yeshivah. Though my father's outlook was philosophically close to Satmar, he never spoke against the Lubavitcher Rebbe. On the contrary, he always spoke of him in with praise and in especially respectful terms, as did his children.

In the winter of 5729 (ca. 1969), I was married. My father told me that even though I wasn't a Lubavitcher Hasid, he feels the need to go with me to visit the Lubavitcher Rebbe to receive his blessing for my wedding -- just as he had done, even though he had not seen the Rebbe for some 20 years. I agreed with a whole heart.

But then, I learned it's not so simple to visit the Rebbe.

Only after negotiations with the Rebbe's secretary -- and only after my father explained to him that we could not wait several months to reserve a place in the queue for audiences -- did he agreed to place us in line, but only after we promised we would only ask for a benediction and would not detain the Rebbe. My father promised and we left Toronto on the appointed day. I don't remember the exact hour we entered the Rebbe's chambers, but it was closer to morning than night, if not dawn itself.

I saw the Rebbe's face for the first time in person. His face, especially his eyes, made a great impression on me. My father gave the Rebbe the customary epistle on which were inscribed the names of myself, my bride-to-be and my father's request for a benediction. The Rebbe took the epistle from my father's hands. Before he opened it, he looked at my father with a broad smile and said, "Not more than 20 years ago the time had arrived, especially as the Previous Rebbe sent you to me." My father stood, scared and trembling, and couldn't find the energy to open his mouth.

Meanwhile, the sexton banged on the door, but the Rebbe waved his hand as to negate the knocking, like someone who was saying, don't pay attention.

In the midst of all this, the Rebbe opened the epistle, glanced at it, and immediately began to give us his blessing, blessed my father with a long life and good years, and said, roughly, "Just as you rejoiced at my nuptials, may the Lord give you nachas and strength to dance at your grandchild's wedding." Tears poured from my father's eyes, and I was also elated. My father had been physically broken from all he had endured in the camps, and this benediction of the Rebbe's was especially dear.

Before we left, my father got together the strength to ask the Rebbe that since he had promised the secretary we would enter solely to request a blessing, and he has a pressing question, would the Rebbe permit him to ask it. The Rebbe smiled and laughed, and said (roughly): "Since the Rebbe the father-in-law sent you to me, I am obligated to answer all questions. And as before, we heard loud banging on the door, and the Rebbe signaled we should ignore it.

My father turned to the Rebbe and said that for different reasons, we had lived among the Satmar Hasidim and their fellow travellers for many years. There, we frequently hear complaints about the views of Lubavitch. "Even though I do not accept all the gossip that I hear, they have nonetheless succeeded in raising within me a great doubt about the Lubavitch view in connection with working together with the "wicked people." The verses are well known, such as "And those that thou hatest the Lord shall hate." "How is it that Lubavitch can openly work together with those who battle against G-d and his Torah?"

My father told the Rebbe that he requests forgiveness for the question, and did not mean to offend. Quite to the contrary, he really wants to understand the Rebbe's view so he can answer others as well as himself. The Rebbe then turned to my father with a question. "What would your neighbors do if a neighbor's daughter began to keep bad company? Would they attempt to return her to the way of Torah and the Commandments, or would they say, 'And those that thou hatest the Lord shall hate and it is forbidden to involve oneself with the wicked; therefore, we should distance ourselves from her and not bring her closer?'"

The Rebbe did not even wait for an answer, and promptly added: "This zealous one would answer that with a daughter, the injunction of 'From thy flesh do not conceal thyself would apply.'" And then the Rebbe's eyes became serious, and he knocked on the table, and said: "By the Al-mighty, every Jew is as precious as an only child. With the Rebbe, the father-in-law, every Jew was 'From thy flesh, do not conceal thyself.'"

Then the Rebbe looked at me, and at my father with a constant gaze, and said: "One concludes with a blessing. As it is known, it is customary among Hasidim to celebrate the fifth day of Hanukkah with festivities. What is the reason? Since the fifth day cannot ever fall on the Sabbath, this signifies that it is the height of darkness. With the light of the Hanukkah candle, it is possible to illuminate the darkest thing. This is the mission of each Jew, to illuminate even the darkest places. It does not matter where he lives -- Toronto or London. Every Jew is veritably a part of G-d above, the only child of the Holy One, Blessed be He. And when one lights his soul with the candle of holiness, even the distant Jew is stirred in the darkest place."

My father was startled in the most shocking way. He didn't even hear the last words of the Rebbe's blessing, nor how we left the Rebbes chambers. All the way back to Toronto he was silent. Only two words: "wonder of wonders. Wonder of wonders."

Since then, about 10 years passed.

In the year 5739 (ca. 1979), my youngest brother was married in the city of London. The whole family, my father, my mother, my sister, my brother-in-law, and I flew to the wedding in an airplane. On the way to London, I saw my father was preoccupied. Something was bothering him. I asked him what was wrong and he didn't want to say. Only after I asked several times, he told me. "A few minutes after I left the house in Toronto, the neighbor -- one of the dignitaries of our congregation -- came to see me, rivers of tears pouring from his eyes. He said he would tell me a story that he would not otherwise tell to anybody willingly, but that maybe I could help.

It turned out that the daughter of this community leader wavered very much in her ritual observance. In the beginning, the parents didn't really know about it, because she hid it from them. But two weeks earlier, the great catastrophe became known to them: she eloped with a Gentile to London. Since then, the atmosphere at home was one of crying and mourning, the 9th of Av.

All the efforts of relatives in London came to naught. Therefore, he asked my father, since he was travelling to London, maybe he would look into the matter, and G-d would be merciful. Maybe he could find the daughter and prevent her from descending into the depths of iniquity? My father was a close friend of this neighbor, and was affected greatly by the story. I also took it to heart and thought about what I could do in London.

The nuptials were held at a good and auspicious hour. On the first night of the Seven Benedictions, my father turned to the bride's father and told him the story about the neighbor's daughter. Perhaps he had some advice, who, where? Maybe he could look into the matter and do something? The bride's father, as soon as he heard the story, said to my father that he had no understanding of such matters, but did have a friend who was a Lubavitcher Hasid, who the Lubavitcher Rebbe had always charged with all types of errands. The man's name was Rabbi Abraham Isaac Glick, and if there's somebody who can help, it is this man, who had already managed to save from the streets of Europe many confused souls.

That night, the bride's father telephoned Rabbi Glick, told him the story and explained how pressing the matter was. Rabbi Glick asked for the telephone number of the girl's parents in Toronto -- perhaps they knew some details that would help, like addresses, telephone numbers. Perhaps they would give him some clue where to start searching. Rabbi Glick promised to do what he could.

I don't know where Rabbi Glick searched, where he went, nor with whom he consulted. But one night, about 10 days later -- my father and my mother decided to stay in London until after Hanukkah -- Rabbi Glick called the bride's father and told him to come immediately. "I have a very good surprise," he said.

The bride's father and my father hurried to Rabbi Glick's house. As they entered, they saw a girl sitting, crying. At the entrance of the salon, a Hanukkah candelabrum was lit. Suddenly, as my father looked at the menorah, he saw five candles lit, and he almost fainted and fell to the ground. He remembered the strange sentence the Rebbe had told him some 50 years earlier, then 30 years earlier and then 10.

"The fifth Hanukkah candle signifies the power of the Hanukkah menorah, and the mission of every Jew is to illuminate even" the darkest place -- Warsaw or London, New York or London, or Toronto or London . . ."

"What will that zealous one do when his daughter wavers ...with the Holy One, Blessed be He, every Jew is an only child ... With the Previous Rebbe, every Jew is 'From thy flesh, do not conceal thyself.'" There's no need to mention that the girl completely repented and became on observant Jew. There's also no need to mention that the zealous one shut his mouth and ceased speaking against Lubavitch.

When my father returned to Canada, he made every effort to obtain an audience with the Rebbe. He felt a need, a spiritual duty after what had happened, to see the Rebbe. But in those years, it had become very difficult to obtain a private audience. But the following month of Tishrei, the year 5740 (ca. 1980), my father succeeded seeing the Rebbe on the night that a group of holiday visitors had a group audience. My father said that from all the emotions that were coursing through him, he could not utter anything during the audience. When he tried to tell the story, he would break into tears. The Rebbe heard just a few sentences, turned to my father and said, "The father-in-law has a very distant vision."

Every time my father would tell this story, he would say that the real wonder was the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Even more than his vision of events to come from 50 years beforehand, was his heavenly humility of, that he said, "The father-in-law has a very distant vision."

The chain of wonders has not stopped. On 14 Kislev 5748 (ca. 1989), exactly when the Seven Benedictions for my firstborn child ended, on the day which represented the passage of 60 years from the Rebbe's wedding in Warsaw, my father passed away -- all just as the Rebbe had blessed my father, that he should rejoice at the wedding of his grandchild.

We should be happy that this man, Holy to G-d dwelt amongst us. Since it is known that "The righteous are greater in their death than in their lives," certainly the Rebbe will cause a flow of blessings, salvation and comfort from On High, to each and all, until we merit to the promise of the verse, "And a Redeemer shall come unto Zion," in accord with the holy will of the Rebbe, soon and in our time. Amen.

-- Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Greenvald

The copy that I received 11 years ago was originally provided by Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Kazen, a"h (who has passed away), the original founder of Chabad Online (www.chabad.org), one of the primary web sites for the Chabad Lubavich Hassidim. At the time I received this, an online web site was a new thing (for those who know 'net history, it originally came with a Gopher address), and a religious web site was a wondrous thing. It came with the stipulation that the site be advertised, which I have done here, and donation info provided. To donate to Chabad Online, click here.

It also came with the stipulation that this acknowledgement be included, though I can no longer guarantee the contact information is accurate:

Translation provided courtesy of:

FRIENDS OF LUBAVITCH OF FLORIDA, (Est. 1960)

Rabbi Abraham Korf
Lubavitch Regional Director-Florida
e-mail: rabbi@bcfreenet.seflin.lib.fl.us
voice: (305) 673-5664; fax: (305) 673-0269


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