Wednesday, February 28, 2007

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It's....Grogger Force!

Just in time for Purim, it's...Grogger Force.

I'm not much for petitions, but this is cute, and the points made have been said here as well previously.
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In Memory

In righteous memory of Reb Erez Levanon, hy"d...


The first song is Erez's, the second is the prayer and meditation he was saying when murdered. Erez's song has been permanently added to the Background Music section lower down the sidebar.

Please help his widow and orphans...donations can be sent to:

M.A.Y.B.E G.D.C
84-01 Lefferts Blvd
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

In the memo of the check please write "Keren Erez"

If sending in Israel...

Bank Mizrachi
Alon Shvut Branch: 454
Gush Etzion
90433 ISRAEL

In the “deposit to” line please write: “The Levanon Family #150531”.


I cannot explain why this brings such tears to my eyes. Mentalblog has pictures and video from his funeral, along with his young son saying kaddish (the mourners prayer). May Hashem avenge his blood, and comfort his widow and orphans among the mourners of Tziyon and Yerushalayim. While we may not be able to comfort them, we can help them out. Please, please do so.
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Who is the High Priest?

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

This week’s portion of the Torah deals almost entirely with the Kohanim (the priests). Going back to one of our original questions, if this section of the Torah deals only with the kohanim and their service, then of what value is it to me? There is no Temple now and even if there would be, I am not a kohen.

As last year’s comments point out, each of us must become a High Priest. Obviously we cannot wear the High Priest’s actual physical garments, but we must don them in a spiritual way. How do you put on a spiritual garment?

When the High Priest was told to wear a garment over his chest with twelve different precious gems on it, we have to ask, “How do we do that?” Each stone represented one of the twelve tribes of Israel. One of the spiritual priestly duties that is incumbent upon all of us individually is to carry all of the Jewish people upon our hearts. This love is commanded to all of us but especially to the High Priest when he came before G-d and asked Him to forgive us. We who are spiritual priests of the Jewish people must also do this.

We also wear precious stones that represent Israel on our shoulders. This shows that our love for Israel is more than mere emotional love; it must also include carrying the people, supporting them with physical benefits.

The plate on our forehead reads “Holy to Hashem.” This is to be our priestly mindset. The plate was to be worn “always.” But this is impossible since those garments were to be worn only when the priest was fulfilling his duties in the Mishkan and Temple. But since he was told to wear it “always” we see that this points to its spiritual service, that is, spiritually we are to wear it always. This means at least when we perform our individual priestly acts (Torah and mitzvot) our minds are to be focusing on the Holiness of Hashem. We dedicate our deeds and our thoughts to G-d.

Look through each of the priest’s garments that are described in the Torah remembering that garments represent deeds. See which of these garments implores us to do which priestly deed.

For instance, the priests were to wear hats while performing their service. The hat of the common (not the High Priest) priest was turban-like. Rashi tells us that it was a type of “dome” (kipa). All of the priestly garments were worn to give honor and glory,[i] but each also had its individual function. Here we see one of the priestly garments being worn today by all Torah observant men. The yarmulke is a direct descendant from that hat worn in the Temple.

Today, Jewish men are enjoined by the rabbis to wear this head covering. Although this comes from the rabbis we see that its roots are from the Torah itself. And its function today is just as valid as it was back then. It is to give honor and glory.

We wear a kipa and it gives honor to the one who wears it and glory to the One it reminds us of. How does a simple yarmulke give glory to G-d? First know that the name itself reminds us of G-d. Yarmulke comes from “Fear of the King” (Yira Malka). But more than that, when we wear a kipa we are always aware that there is something above us. When we look hard in that direction (above our head), we will come to give glory to G-d.

[i] Ex 28:3

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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The Music, The Eulogy

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

The music, now silenced, of Reb Erez Levanon, hy"d

The eulogy by Rabbi Lazer Brody.

Word is that Reb Erez's widow and 3 orphans can be helped via a charity fund being created in his name, Keren Erez. Donations can be sent to:

M.A.Y.B.E G.D.C
84-01 Lefferts Blvd
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

In the memo of the check please write "Keren Erez"


Ad Mosai!

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

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The Roadmap to Munich?

Eugene Narrett writes a historical description of how the "Roadmap" is historically exactly what was done to Czechoslovakia by British diplomacy and German aggression before World War II.

The parallels are frightening...check it out.
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Myths and Conflicts

by Aharon Hoffman at Mystical Paths

One of the way that the power elites keep control in a country like Israel is to divide and conquer. Each party is for itself, and each group believes that the other is not doing it's part...

As reported in Haaretz: The myth about the Haredim ("ultra-orthodox" Jews in Israel) not supporting Israel or the army should be put to rest.

The Netzah Yehuda Battalion was founded in 1999 as an attempt to allow Haredi Israelis to serve in the IDF in an atmosphere conducive to their religious beliefs.

The service combines military and vocational training. At first it consisted of only 30 soldiers. As of 2006, the battalion had grown to over 1,000 soldiers, and intends to become a fully functioning brigade in the future. The battalion's main action arena is the Jordan valley.


So these soldiers are stationed opposed to the PLO and Hamas...not what I would call easy duty. Further, it's been noted that several of their units fought in Lebanon in the recent Hizbollah war. So the religious don't serve, except that they do. 40% of officer candidates are 'national religious', and now we see the 'ultra-religious' serving in numbers as well.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

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A Man of Peace and Prayer and Song...Murdered

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

(Unfortunately, my schedule today hasn't allowed me to focus on this, but in brief...)

A Jewish man, a husband, a father, a man of prayer and joy, of peace and song, was murdered today. Murdered during mediation and prayer...for, nothing.

Tomorrow he will be forgotten, even today he's only a minor news item. His songs will fade, his prayers stand with his soul before his Maker and are no longer to be heard in this world.

We continue to sacrifice and let the barbarians run wild, in the vain hope that being kind to the cruel will have a positive result.

May Hashem avenge the blood of Reb Erez Levanon, HY"D. His songs can be heard here, information on this murderous event here and here, and a great opinion on it here.

His murderers have been found, but if history shows the pattern of the government of Israel, then his orphans will suffer while his murderers won't. May Hashem avenge his blood!

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Matanos L'Evyonim - Purim Gifts to the Poor

It is a great and obligatory mitzvah to provide for the poor for the holiday of Purim. Purim this year falls out this coming Motzei Shabbat, Sunday.

R. Nati of this blog will be distributing Matanos L'Evyonim to the poor of the Shomron, the Jewish towns of the West Bank, Israel, as well as in Jerusalem. If you'd like to donate to help him provide for the poor (and designate either Jerusalem or the Shomron), you can do so here (up through 6:00 AM US Eastern Time on Sunday, March 4, after that you still get the mitzvah of tzedakah but not Matanos L'Evyonim):


Many very very worthy charities are working hard to help the poor, the hungry, the needy, the injured, the war torn, this Purim. Please help them out, here's our recommendation:

Yad Eliezer - Helping the Poor, Purim Campaign


There is no mitzvah of Purim more important than this!
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Deep Thoughts

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Some important lessons from HaYom Yom, from Day to Day...

My father said: Coldness and heresy are separated by so slender a barrier!

It is said, "For the Eternal your G-d is a consuming fire."

G-dliness is a flame of fire. Learning Torah and Davening must be with a blazing heart, that "all my bones may utter" the words of G-d in Torah and prayer.

---
Our Holy forebears, the Rebbe'im through the generations, appealed to G-d and evoked Divine compassion toward their Chassidim, those bound to them.

This was not all; they also had an Avoda of bringing their Chassidim to mind, inwardly, pondering their affection and attachment to the Rebbe, reciprocating that affection and attachment.

Bringing someone to mind has the effect of arousing that person's innermost powers. We see that when one looks deeply and intently at another he will turn around and return the glance, because the penetrating gaze awakens the core of the soul. Thought has the same effect.

---
"The people saw and moved."

Simply perceiving G-dhood caused the people to move, a movement showing vitality, life.

If you only knew - The Tzemach Tzedek said - the power of verses of Tehillim and their effect in the highest Heavens, you would recite them constantly. Know that the chapters of Tehillim shatter all barriers, they ascend higher and still higher with no interference; they prostrate themselves in supplication before the Master of all worlds, and they effect and accomplish with kindness and compassion.
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

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Living Galus or Geulah?

In response to The Illusion, a friend emailed this...

...I have to tell you that the posting The Illusion really resonates deeply with me. During a past Shabbat, our community had the privalege of hosting a renowned Torah speaker / orthodox speaker. He came all the way to our community to give us Chisuk & Torah. As I had a hand in organizing the event I was invited to the private dinner on Friday night. We were so excited, his shiurim had literally kept us going through the confusion of our lives and we couldn't wait.

Well, we got the shock of our lives. This famous Rabbi was NOT awake!!! His shiurim were bland and just copies of his tapes (which I anyway knew by heart!) He steered clear of important issues and kept to what my husband calls the Torah of the Galut.

We are convinced that the Torah of the Galut will keep you precisely in the Galut and the Torah of the Geulah will wake you up and help you go forward to what's coming.

When I found out just how much we had paid to bring him in I felt sick, it's all about the money. During our meal we kept on trying to speak to him about all our hot topics, i.e. Gush Katif, Erev Rav, spiritual revolution, Moshiach, you know, the ones that keep us alive. He did not adress one of them. My husband was devastated. He had also seen him chatting in Shul during davening, which is a big no no for my husband as he realizes who considers Hashem a reality (and who does not). What's going on, he asked? What is EMETT (Truth)?

After some soul searching I told him that he should be SO happy at our let down because it just reinforces just how close we are to Moshiach. Like Rabbi Akiba and the fox, all we can do is laugh and know that there are NO leaders now and just Hashem will redeem us....Emunah (Faith).

Like the wheat that's gone bad, at least lets wear the mark on our heads & recognize each other in this up side down world. It's SUCH a Bracha to be alive when so many are not, even though it can get lonely. There are not many in our community who are alive. There are pockets of resistance, but not many.

May we merit to greet our Moshiach this year in Yerushalayim, AMEN.

Amein, kein yehi ratzon!

(The reference to Rabbi Akiba and the fox is a story from the Gemora about Rabbi Akiba acending the destroyed Temple Mount with other sages. They cry at the destruction, he sees a fox run from a hole and laughs, realizing that just as the destruction, to the point of the Mount being the home of foxes as stated in prophecy came true, so will the rebuilding come true.)

(The reference to wheat is one of the stories of lesson from Rav Nachman of Breslov, where a king and his advisor realize the wheat crop has been infected such that anyone who eats it goes insane. Realizing this, they have the option of staying sane in a completely insane nation (as it's too late to stop the general populace from eating it), but they opt to join their people but mark their foreheads with a sign, so at least they will realize their situation.)


Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Idiots and Trends

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

In response to Ugh, "g" commented...

Akiva, why bother reading the nonsense? Sick people exist and no one can cure them. I pity them for they don't know what is going to happen to them. First Europe and then ... people more evil that themselves will bring them suffering ...

Trends. It's important to watch the trends. Like the broken window theory in the downfall of a neighborhood, trends and tipping points bear watching. Individual idiots are of little concern, patterns of idiocy bear watching and preparing for early.

World War II wasn't a surprise. The collapse of the Soviet Union was, though for those watching closely it was just hitting a tipping point. The moments of the Geulah will involve both. Some trends we are already seeing, such as Yishmael rising up and shaking the world. Others, such as the ingathering of the exiles may be more of a tipping point, assuming most of the East is already done and there is a steady but low flow from the West, what's the tipping point?

Maybe it's things like this, that subtle change of the public environment from friendly and supportive (even if the actual government foreign policy actions have been otherwise) to mildly hostile but not personally threatening. Maybe.


Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Friday, February 23, 2007

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Ugh.

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Nothing quite like Jews and Israel getting sucked into American presidential politics, especially when it's almost 2 years to an election (hurry, times running out to be an %&^)...

LGF: Wonkette: Kiss Israel's %&^ Or Lose the Nomination - Warning, foul language.

Check out the comments also.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Emunah Wins

Shoshana commented...

When the Avot and Imahot (the patriachs and matriachs) follwed HaShem, that was emunah (faith).

I am only a simple Jewish woman, but if anyone tells me that my devotion is based only on what I know- what I learned- they are wrong. My very secular sibling wrote that we should all be living in Israel. That is her expression of emunah. Emunah lives in all of us. We only have to quite the voice of the yetzer harah long enough
to hear it.

Didn't Rambam give us the 13 principles of faith? Wasn't one to desire the coming of Moshiach, daily? Well isn't that an act of emunah?

Emunah is my constant companion, it is my best friend and my greatest comfort.

You see, I am a very simple woman.

Baruch Hashem, may Hashem bless you. A few years ago, I walked into shul and we were discussing a Torah concept. They asked me what I thought, and I responded, "I'm just a simple man." To which a particular chossid challenged me, "You think you've reached the level of being "a simple man"??? Do you have any idea what the Baal Shem Tov taught about the purity and acceptance of the prayers of the "simple people"? Do you honestly think you can measure up to "a simple man"???

Unfortunately, he was right. The true faith (ben porat Yosef) displayed above, that's the makings of a simple person. No complications, calculations, or distractions. Just emunah and bitachon, trust and faith in Hashem.


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Anti-Semitism Out Of Left Field

by Aharon Hoffman at Mystical Paths

When we think of anti-semites in the US, we usually think of southern or rural xians and the traditional anti-semitic offshoots (such as the KKK).

Surprisingly, they're relatively marginalized and not the group to worry about. The Southern Poverty Law Center writes, "The New Crusaders: The radical traditionalist Catholics, who reject the teachings of the modern papacy, may form America's largest group of anti-Semites."

"...these Catholic extremists, including the Gibsons, may well represent the largest population of anti-Semites in the United States. ...that exhibit varying degrees of anti-Semitism, typically focusing in on conspiracy theories that accuse the Jews of corrupting the church and society. Because of that ideology, they are being added to the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups."

So be aware, the following groups are out to get you. They seem to have book distribution, newspapers, web sites, TV and radio franchises. They have priests, nuns, schools, etc...

Society of S. Pius X, Catholic Apologetics Intl, Catholic Counterpoint, Catholic Family News/Catholic Family Ministries, Culture Wars/Fidelity Press, The Fatima Crusader/International Fatima Rosary Crusade, Legion of S. Louis/IHS Press, OMN Xian Book Club, The Remnant/Remnant Press, Slaves of the Immacualte Heart of MaryAnn, S. Joseph Forum, S. Michael's Parish/Mount St. Michael, Tradition in Action

And, here's why (a sample)...

"the 1911 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia "predicts the anti-Christ will come from Jewry."

"a massive conspiracy aimed at Satan ruling the earth. "Among the major forces in the ascent of the New World Order," he explained, "are the Jews, Judaism and the land of Israel."

"the Antichriss, when he arrives, will be a Jew."

"that "Jewish media elites" run the country, that Jews are "major players" in pornography, and that Jews are behind Masonry and the French Revolution"
"the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy"


Take a look at the whole thing.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Jewish Archeology

Smooth Stone shared this...

There is no other word than hubris to describe the behavior of people who insist on killing Jews in order to feed their manufactured man-god. From WND:

The replacement in the Al Aqsa Mosque of a podium transported with the coordination of Israeli security forces is "proof" the Temple Mount belongs only to Muslims and will never be returned to Jewish sovereignty, according to the leader of the Wafq – the Muslim custodians of the Temple Mount. "This historic occasion proves that the extremist Jews will never achieve their goals of taking over the [Temple Mount.] It shows that we are much closer to liberating the Al Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem from Israeli occupation," said Waqf chief Adnan Husseini.

Muslims believe no real harm lies in conceding the Holy Jewish Temple Mount to Jews except for one very important motivating factor - destroying the Holy Jewish Temple Mount promotes and expediates the Islamic goal to ethnically cleanse Jews from the Middle East. One goal of Islam is to destroy any trace or any artifacts of the Holy Jewish Temple Mount. This way, Islam declares supremacy over Judaism by invalidating claims to the historic Jewish presence of the Holy Jewish Temple Mount. Muslims have enjoyed destroying their enemies icons for hundreds of years. The Twin Towers and the Pentagon were intentionally chosen because they were national symbols of the United States and the Western world. Jewish synagogues, cemeteries, schools and community centers are often targets of Islamo-rage. For decades, Muslims been busy destroying the archeological remains of the Holy Jewish Temple. Don't forget about the destruction of the Buddhist statutes in Bamiyan by the Muslim Taliban in Afghanistan. Muslims have desecrated the Holy Jewish Temple Mount just as they did Joseph's Tomb, the Tomb of the Matriarchs and the Church of the Nativity.

Anyone who supports the concession of the Holy Jewish Temple into the hands of Muslims violates the historical veracity of what is written in both the Torah and Xian books, both which precede the Koran by over a thousand years. Conceding the Jewish Holy Temple Mount into the hands of Muslims will embolden Muslims to continue to try to subjugate the rest of the world.

Folks, read the writing on the wall, while we still have The Wall. Below are 25 archaeological articles which prove the Jewish presence in Israel predates Islam by thousands of years. Spread the truth: Jewish Archaeology.
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Thursday, February 22, 2007

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Prophecies and Earthquakes and Walls

by Elisheva & Akiva at Mystical Paths

Elisheva writes: "but it [Jerusalem] will... remain in its old place..." - Zechariah 14:10

Jerusalem is like a hinge, and Africa and the Arab Plate swings on it. Boom. Right into Iran!

Zechariah 14:4 (Note it says towards the east and the west...) And on that day His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem from the east. And the Mount of Olives shall split in the midst thereof-toward the east and toward the west-a very great valley. And half the mountain shall move to the north, and half of it to the south...

14:10 The whole earth shall be changed to be like a plain, from the hill of Rimmon in the south of Jerusalem; but it [Jerusalem] will be elevated high and remain in its old place; from the gate of Benjamin to the place of the first gate, until the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananel until the king's wine-cellars.

The mosques on the Temple Mount HAVE already falled to quakes, 2 times at least that I have found (and I saw an article today where an imam said 3 times).

Akiva writes : The language in Zechariah 14:10 is quite interesting. There have never been places around Jerusalem called Sha'ar Binyomin (the Gate of Benjamin) or Givat Rimon (the Hill of Pomegranates). All the commentaries say about this is "someplace near Jerusalem". UNTIL NOW!!!

As the wall, and around Jerusalem yes it's a wall, was built around the north east of Jerusalem, a developer build on the land right outside the wall, creating a major West Bank shopping complex. Now, the area north of Jerusalem is called the Binyomin Regional Area (equivalent to Benjamin County in US english). So the developer named his shopping complex...Sha'ar Binyomin, the Gate of Benjamin!

The wall of Jerusalem extends pretty far to the south, all the way to the Jewish town of Efrat. The wall loops right around the southern end of Efrat. In Efrat, the builder named the most southern neighborhoods, of which there just happened to be 7, for the 7 fruits of the holy land. The last neighborhood is on top of a hill, and is bounded by the wall. And it's name is...Givat Rimon, Pomegranate Hill.

These names weren't planned, the namers were not looking into the prophets when they named them. It was just by chance (chance!) that the northern most place on the Jerusalem wall is the Gate of Benjamin, and the southern most is Pomegranate Hill.

Oh, and the new wall of Jerusalem increases the size of Jerusalem 100 times, meaning we can eat our Korbon Pesach in a space large enough to truly fit all of Klal Yisroel.

(Heard from the head of the Hebron Fund, raising money for the Jews living in Hebron.)

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Above the Top

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

“I shall speak with you from atop the Cover, from between the two Cheruvim that are on the ark . . .” [i]

The Mishkan served the nation for over four hundred years and was replaced by the First Temple, which was destroyed. Next came the Second Temple, which also was destroyed. Soon, (God-willing), there will come the Third Temple, which our sages say will not be destroyed. As quoted above, God told us that it is from within this place that He would speak with us.

But are we to believe that since the Mishkan and Temples are gone that we have no place to go in order to hear God speak to us? God forbid.

Remember, for the Torah to be more than a mere history book, somehow the Mishkan and the Temples had to be physical enactments of our individual spiritual lives. So even today, there must be some place we can go to hear Him speak.

In the heart of the Mishkan was the ark. Inside the ark were placed the tablets of the Commandments. Above the ark were the two Cheruvim. These were two angel-like forms made out of gold. One of the Cherubim had the face of a male child, and the other a female child. They had wings somewhat like birds. It was from there, above the ark and between those Cheruvim, that God would speak.

When the sages teach, “Let everyone be involved in the ark,” [ii] we learn that not only do each of us have a share in the Torah that the ark houses, but that each of us has a share in the ark itself. Since we keep the Torah in our heads or minds, this shows that the ark must represent this area of our body.

Above the cover of the ark (but one with the ark cover) are the Cheruvim, two entirely spiritual representations. We see that they are entirely spiritual since they have human faces and angels’ wings. Their form is of creatures that do not physically exist.

Since we are told that it is from between these two Cheruvim that God speaks to us [iii] this must somehow be a metaphor for God and us. Most obviously, we do not take this illustration literally. God is not depicted anywhere in any way, let alone as an angelic being.

However, in order to guide us in our approach to God, we are shown the image of two spiritual youths, one male and one female, facing each other with their wings outstretched and touching at the tips. Imagine how these two would speak and listen to each other, and this is how we should speak to and listen to God - “A still small voice.” [iv]

And the deepest thought on this is that the ark cover and those two entities are made out of a single piece of material. They are two only in their form, but of their being, their actual make up and essence, they are one. These two “beings” speaking to each other are really one.

[i] Ex 25:10
[ii] Shemos Rabbah 34:3
[iii] Ex: 25:22
[iv] 1 Kings 19:12

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

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Refuah Shalayma!

Reb Nati, my co-blogger, friend, and chavruta is pretty ill. If you could take a moment and say a kpitil of tehillim (say a psalm) for him, it would be appreciated.

L'Refuah Shalayma (for a complete healing) of Rabbi Nathanael Levi ben Chana Sarah.

Also, over at Sarah's View, her mother can use those tehillim also. (Sarah is responsible for the wonderful banner at the top of the page.)
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Halacha of The Sanhedrin

by Aharon Hoffman at Mystical Paths

I sent the following question to the New Start-Up Sanhedrin: Does the Sanhedrin require a pluraility or a majority of Jews living in Haaretz? I was under the impression, from my studies, it requires a majority.

Their answer:

Not according to the Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, zt"l). Some other issues, such as Yovel, etc. require a majority of Jews living in Eretz Yisroel.

  • According to some opinions it requires a miracle, like Eliyahu (HaNavi, the prophet) appearing.

  • According a simple reading of the Rambam, it requires the agreement of all scholars in Eretz Yisroel (Israel).

  • According to the Mechaber's understanding of the Rambam, it requires the agreement of the main scholars of Eretz Yisroel.

  • According to the responsa since that time, it requires only a vote of the main scholars of Eretz Yisroel, lehavdil, as one would vote for the president of the United States.

Of those who require a miracle, nothing can be said, only that the majority of authorities disagree with this approach Of the other opinions, the disagreement is over this: does the unity of scholars comes before the election of samuch, or as a result of the election of a samuch and the creation of a beis din?

The consensus of halacha is that the latter is correct, although this runs counter what many have been taught.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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The Kissenger Effect

How to screw friends to influence people. The Kissenger Effect and Israel as America's plaything...

Here at Newsweek.
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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5 Songs

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Several asked for some details about the Time of Great Mercy. Here they are:

Gimmel Adar, a date on the hebrew calendar, is this Tuesday night through Wednesday sundown. The 5 songs referred to are:

1 - שירת הים 'אז ישיר'משה .(פרשת בשלח ספר שמות פרק ט"ו)
1 - The song at the splitting of the sea, sefer Shemos, parshat Beshalach, 15:1-18

2 שירת האזינו השמים ואדברה .(פרשת האזינו -דברים-פרק לב) -
2 - Moshe's (Moses's) song, sefer devarim, 32:1-43.

3 - שירת מרים. (בשלח אחרי שירת הים ממש - פרק ט"ו) תפ מרים עוזי וזמרת י"ה.
3 - Miriam the Prophetess and Sister of Moses's Song, sefer Shemos, parshat Beshalach, 15:21.

4 -שירת דבורה 'ותשר דבורה הנביאה ע"ה.'(ספר שופטים פרק ה)
4 - Devorah the Prophetess's Song, sefer shoftim, 5

שירת "עלי (יעל) באר ענו לה"(במדבר פרק כ"א פסוק י"ז)אז ישיר ישראל - 5
5 - The song of the well, sefer bamidbar, parshat chukas, 21:17-20.

A bit of explanation from Chabad.Org: The Midrash enumerates ten preeminent songs in the history of Israel -- ten occasions on which our experience of redemption found expression in melody and verse. The first nine were: the song sung on the night of the Exodus in Egypt (Isaiah 30:29), the "Song at the Sea" (Exodus 15:1-21), the "Song at the Well" (Numbers 21:17-20), Moses' song upon his completion of writing the Torah (Deuteronomy 32), the song with which Joshua stopped the sun (Joshua 10:12-13), Deborah's song (Judges 5), King David's song (II Samuel 22), the song at the dedication of the Holy Temple (Psalms 30), and King Solomon's Song of Songs extolling the love between the Divine Groom and His bride Israel.

The tenth song, says the Midrash, will be the shir chadash, the "New Song" of the ultimate redemption: a redemption that is global and absolute; a redemption that will annihilate all suffering, ignorance, jealousy, and hate from the face of the earth; a redemption of such proportions that the yearning it evokes, and the joy it brings, require a new song -- a completely new musical vocabulary -- to capture the voice of Creation's ultimate striving.


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The Circle of L'Zecher Nishmas

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

L'Zecher Nishmas, in memory of the soul...

Check out LzecherNishmas.Com, which organizes group Mishnah learning in memory of...
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Monday, February 19, 2007

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A Time of Great Mercy!

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

I received the following email from Reb Gideon (hebrew link):

(Free translation by my eldest daughter and myself, please forgive any error, original hebrew here.)


A Good Month to Dear Friends who are like gold! An update from HaRav Elinor:

In a dream tonight I saw that on the 21st of February, which is Gimmel Adar, there is a Atz Ratzon Gadol (a time of great mercy) in Shamayim (in heaven). They showed me in shamayim, the kingdom in full as it says inside it, the word אוש"ר. This is a day very capable for the tikun hayesod (the kabbalistic foundational repair) and a day of bracha (blessing) and hatzlacha (success), for sure! Please, please don't be complacent about this!

Therefore, on the day of Gimmel Adar, the whole day of Wednesday from morning till night, there are a number of actions to pay attention to:

1. To light candles in the z'chut (merit) of the 5 holy matriachs, and they ascent through the secret of the initials Alef-Dalet-Reish-Yud-Mem, these are:

Ester Hamalka (Queen Esther)
Devorah Hanavia (The Prophetess Devorah, a'h)
Rachel Imaynu (Holy Mother Rachel)
Yael Ashet Chavel Hakani (יעל אשת חבר הקיני)
Miriam Hanavia Ochot Moshe (Miriam the Prophetess, Sister of Moses)

All are connected to the holy song, the secret song of Moshiach...Shir Hadash.

2. Read the 5 Songs that appear in the Torah. The 5 songs of the chumash, the secret of Alef-Dalet-Reish-Yud-Mem (see above), 5 views in the kingdom, opposite 5 songs. When joyful, these letters multiply the repairs of thought (all the same letters) -

a) Shirat HaYam, Az Yashir.
b) Shirat Haazinu
c) Shirat Miriam
d) Shirat Devorah
e) Shirat Ali (Yael) - Bamidbar Perek Chaf-Alef - Pasuk Yud-Zayin - Az Yashir Yisrael

All of them purify thought - purify in 5 - become purified in joy. Because, from when (the month of) Adar enters, we increase in joy. There is singing = the work of thanksgiving of creation, there is praise from awareness of the light coming from above to down below to a fixed vessel.

Serve serve serve serve serve Hashem with joy!!! Come before Him in song!

Please pass on this secret to all your families and relatives and friends, because this is a huge time of mercy in the secret of אוש"ר .

This thought I received from shamayim: Whoever is worthy will gain. Pass on this message to all of Yisroel, in the Land in the world.

A good month,גדעון עינא פקיחא

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

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A Baal Shem Tov Story: Grand Daughter

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

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


by Nava at Mystical Paths

Shortly before the Baal Shem Tov left this physical world, his granddaughter, Adel's daughter, came to the him for a blessing.

"Zeide," (grandfather) she begged him, "bless me. I have been married for some time but still have no children." Her beloved grandfather assured her that she would soon give birth to a son. Soon thereafter, she conceived. But before her son was born, the Baal Shem Tov passed away. When the child was born, he was named Yisrael after his illustrious grandfather.

When little Yisrael was only two years old, he fell ill and soon passed away. His mother, beside herself with grief, took the lifeless body to her grandfather's grave. "Is this the child you promised me?" she cried out. She left her baby's body by the Baal Shem Tov's grave and returned to her home, brokenhearted.

On that same day, some people came to visit the grave of their departed Rebbe. They were surprised to find a young child playing by himself near the Baal Shem Tov's grave. "Who would abandoned a child in a cemetery?" they wondered. They brought the child to the nearby village, hoping that someone would be able to identify him. When little Yisrael's mother heard the startling news that a young child had been found at the Baal Shem Tov's grave, she quickly ran to claim her son. She was overjoyed to find him alive and well.

That night the Baal Shem Tov appeared to his granddaughter in a dream. "Why did you have to create such an upset by bringing your child to my grave? You could have simply come alone to tell me of the death of your son. By leaving him in the cemetery you forced me to go searching among thousands of souls to find the right one to return to his body."

And so it was.

The Baal Shem Tov was also able to understand the inner meaning of events, as the following story illustrates.

Once, a childless woman came to the Baal Shem Tov and begged him to give her a blessing for a child. He agreed, and a year later she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

When her son was 2 years old, she brought him to Mezibuzh to receive a bracha from the Baal Shem Tov. The Rebbe took the baby in his arms and kissed him tenderly before returning him to his mother. As soon as the woman returned home, however, the baby became ill and, within a few days, passed away.

The woman was heartbroken. She returned to the Baal Shem Tov and cried bitterly, "Rebbe, why did you bless me with a son that would only live two years? What type of a blessing is that?"

The Baal Shem Tov answered her with a story:

There once was a king had no children. One of his advisors told him that his dream of having a child would only be fulfilled if the Jews were to beseech their God to grant the king a son.

The king threatened the Jews with expulsion from his kingdom if his wife would not give birth to a son by the end of the year. The Jews, of course, turned to Hashem and begged Him to save them.

A certain holy neshama in heaven heard the cries and offered to be sent down to this world to save the Jews in this kingdom. Within the year, this neshama was sent down in the body of the king's newborn son.

This little child was very special. As soon as he turned two, the queen stopped nursing him and the king began to teach him to read. He advanced so rapidly in his studies that, although his father hired the best tutors, he outgrew them all within a very short amount of time.

The king summoned the priest, who was known far and wide as an extremely wise man, and asked him to tutor his son. Although the priest was willing, he had one request. "Every day," he told the king, "I spend two hours alone in my room. That is when I ascend to heaven. I would like you to forbid your son from entering my room during those two hours."

The king agreed. A few days later, the priest moved into the king's palace. Every day he spent his entire day-except for those two hours-teaching the young prince the wisdom of the world. Within a short time, the prince, too, turned into a wise and knowledgeable young man.

There was one thing, however, that the prince could not understand. What, exactly, did his tutor do during those two hours? Unable to contain his curiosity, he managed to obtain a key to the priest's study and open the door.

The moment the prince saw his teacher, he stood staring in a state of shock He could not believe that it was his teacher, the priest, who was sitting at the table and studying Torah dressed in a tallis and tefillin. The priest, as well, almost fainted from fear. It was only after the prince promised the priest that he would guard his secret that he was finally able to give a sigh of relief.

The prince begged the priest to teach him Torah. After they began to learn together, the prince realized that he had finally discovered the deep wisdom he had always been searching for. His life took on new meaning, and one day he came to the conclusion that he, too, would like to become a Jew.

As soon as the prince came to that decision, he begged his father to allow him to travel and see the world. When he left his father's house, he quietly crossed the border and found a yeshiva where he could continue to study uninterrupted. Within a few months he had converted and spent the rest of his life as a religious Jew, studying Torah and performing mitzvos.

After a long life, the prince passed away and was escorted by the angels directly to the Kisei Hakavod. From there, he was to be taken to the section of Gan Eden that is reserved for the greatest tzaddikim of each generation. Suddenly, a prosecuting angel stood up and said, "For the first two years of his life, this neshama was nursed by a non-Jewish woman."

It was decreed in heaven that before this neshama could ascend to its proper place in Gan Eden, it would have to return to this world and be nursed by a Jewish woman for two full years.

The Baal Shem Tov gently looked at the grieving woman. "And you," he told her, "were chosen to nurse this holy neshama."

The young woman was comforted from the Baal Shem Tov's words.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

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Thirst

by Nava at Mystical Paths

The final desperation is thirst. Water is an analogy for Torah. When a Jew has no water (Torah), he is thirsty. This is a terrible state for a Jewish neshamah. A Jewish neshamah thirsts naturally for Torah. If denied, a Jew will seek all kinds of other 'liquids' to quench his thirst; but for a Jew, such other liquids cannot succeed.

When Yosef HaTzadik (the biblical Joseph), zs'l, was thrown into the pit, it is described as being filled with scorpions, then there is the incredible account of there being no water in the pit... "אין מים אלא תורה, שנאמר 'הוי כל צמא לכו למים'."

There is no water except Torah, as it says 'Everyone in need, come to the waters'. “Behold, days are coming – the word of HaShem – when I will send a hunger into the Land; Not a hunger for bread or a thirst for water, but to hear the words of Hashem.”

I was also told קול שאון מעיר קול מהיכל קול יהוה משלם גמול לאיביו - There is a noise of war from the town, a sound from the Temple, the voice of the Lord giving punishment to His haters.

These are the last minutes of the Galut. Do Teshuva, collect Mitzvot, chesed, break your will...

It is your choice – but look at the choice that is before you. If you strive to live in accordance with your Yetzer Tov – Chaim – Life. And if you permit your Yetzer HaRa to dominate – Mavet – Death. And there is the difference, right before your eyes: living the life of Torah requires effort. Living a life without Torah requires… nothing. Do Teshuva, collect Mitzvot, chesed, break your will...

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

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Excavation - The Video

Does the truth matter? Apparently not. But, we try anyway, and with Hashem's help, sheker (lies) will fail.

tm




Live Video Feed
from the site.
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Excavation Live

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Live Video Feed from the Rambam (Mugrabi) hill excavation next to the Kotel, courtesy of the Israeli government.

Chief Sephardic Rabbi says, "There is no need for unnecessary provocations" and "The Chief Rabbinate should discuss the issue before construction works on the bridge connecting the Western Wall and the Temple Mount begin. This matter should be examined from the perspective of Jewish law," - YNetNews here. Now, YNet works hard to spin the chief rabbi's words in their worst most inflamitory light (inflamitory against the Jewish people), but that said, this is still giving in. Argh.

Uzi Landau, former minister of internal security, says "The Israel government in its entirety must stop apologizing and ensure that both the letter and spirit of the law are being followed, and never ever capitulate in the face of threats backed by the culture of terror. Only one possibility is worse than violence – capitulation in the face of violence." Lots of details of historical PA reaction and government response to prove this, worth reading. - YNetNews here.

(Hat tip to IsraelReporter.Com)

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The Most Mysterious Color

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

The color blue is indeed a most unusual color. It was used extensively in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and even on the High Priest’s clothing. Its most familiar use was as the color of one of the fringes of our four-cornered garments. And most mystically, in this week’s portion of the Torah, it was in the vision of Hashem that Moshe and the elders saw. “Under His feet was the likeness of sapphire (deep blue) brickwork, and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity.” [i]

Blue is also commonly found painted on the gravestones of righteous people in the mystical city of Tzfat. Also some homes there are painted blue.

All of this suggests that there must be a special holiness to this color. So it seems strange that there is also an entirely different reputation to this color too. The gematria (numerical equivalent) [ii] of the word “blue” (techelet) [iii] is the same as the gematria of the word “you would hearken.” (shematem) [iv] It is also the gematria of “and sanctify them” (vekidashtam) [v] and “you shall be ensnared.” (tinakesh) [vi]

Why should the numerical value be the same for both “holiness” and “being ensnared”?

There is a good lesson about gematria here. If words found in the Torah have the same numerical value, there must be a good reason for it. This is true even when words that have opposite meanings share the same numerical value. When this happens, you must look deeper and most often broader, until you find the overall relationship between them.

In the case of blue, we find that even though it is found in so many holy places, when it comes to dreams and visions, we are strictly warned, “All colors in visions are a good omen except for the color blue. It is the low color, and much ardent prayer must be exercised to avoid it.” [vii]

The reason why some people paint blue on gravestones and their homes is because they see this to be “protection from the evil eye.” Whether or not, or how, such things exist is not the subject at hand, but those who do concern themselves with such things say, “Blue is the color of the sea, and fish live in the sea, and fish never close their eyes. So this color must provide protection from the ‘evil eye.’ (This also is why fish are a common motif in jewelry and artwork.)

The reason why blue is used on the fringe (tzitzit) is to help remind us to do the commandments. Blue reminds us of the ocean and of the sky. These are two elements that we cannot live without. But they are also two elements that we cannot live in. Picture yourself in the middle of the ocean without a boat, or in the middle of the sky without an airplane. What would you immediately think? “God help me!” Blue certainly can be a reminder to do His commandments.

Yet blue is called the lower or sick color in visions. How can this apparent contradiction be explained? How can blue be holy in so many places and also be called low and sick?

Use sunlight as an analogy. The human eye cannot see the actual light, but when we bend the light through a prism we see the spectrum of its colors. If you would point with one finger to the red light and with another finger to the blue light, how many lights would you be pointing to? If you said two, you were wrong. There is only one light there. There is one light and seven colors.

In visions and the most mystical dealings we always seek the revelation of G-d, which is formless, and singular. The sunlight in our illustration represents this formless, universal, singular perspective. The colors in this example represent the particulars within the universal since they are many. Blue is the lowest color on the spectrum. All colors (particulars) take our attention away from the light (the universal.) Since blue is the lowest color, it is portrayed as the furthest away from the universal. It is interesting that idols in India are frequently painted blue.

This color was also seen in the glorious vision that Moshe and the elders were shown. “ . . . under His feet was the likeness of sapphire (deep blue) brickwork and it was like the essence of the heaven in purity.” [viii] Even in most holy visions, blue is the lower color.

Now we can see the reason those words share the same numerical value. “You will hearken” when you see the blue fringe. “You will sanctify” when you use this color on the High Priest’s garment and other holy places, and “you will be ensnared” if you focus on this color in meditation and visions.

-- Eating and Drinking --

“They gazed at God and they ate and drank.” [ix] At the end of this week’s portion of the Torah, we read of the great vision that the elders saw when they “ascended.” The Torah tells us that they actually saw a vision of God. Then it says that they ate and drank.

There is an argument among the commentators as to what exactly happened there. Rashi claims that the elders sinned tremendously by eating and drinking at such a time. Onkelos saw their eating and drinking as a metaphor for their great joy. Ramban writes that after seeing the vision they celebrated by having a feast.

There is more to learn from this episode. There will be a time in the future, in the World to Come,[x] when life will be so spiritual that there will not even be eating and drinking. The Torah here is showing us that as high a vision as the elders saw, still, they were within the realm of being able to eat and drink. Later, when the greater time comes, all life will be even higher than the elders were when they saw that vision. Life will be so entirely spiritual that we will even be beyond the realm of eating and drinking.

[i] Ex 24:10
[ii] Gematria. See Spice of Torah-Gematria Judaica Press
[iii] Ex 24:6
[iv] Gen 42:22
[v] Ex 19:20
[vi] Duet 12:30
[vii] Zohar Chadash 68:4, Gemora Berakoth 57b
[viii] Ex 24:10
[ix] Ex 24:11
[x] Berachos 17a

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Capitulation

by Nechama Sarah at Mystical Paths

"Capitulation to Terror: Mugrabi Gate Bridge project halted" and "Egypt MP: Only nuclear bomb can stop Israeli digging [at the Mugrabi gate]".

Please, be alerted, we need to begin a mass email campaign to all media outlets and Israeli politicians to expose the LIARS for what they are.

Everyone that fights this attempt to deny our governmental rights to fix this area is helping to bring Moshiach. This was the WRONG thing to do, Mr. Lupolianski and Mr. "keeper of the Kotel"!!! (Mayor Lupolianski can be emailed at "mayor@jerusalem.muni.il".)

Haaretz is reporting that the current plan to build a new bridge to the Mugrabi Gate Entrance to the Temple Mount has been withdrawn. Effectively, there are no entrances for Jews to visit the Temple Mount and no simple way for the Israeli Police to enter the Temple Mount when the Arabs riot and throw stones at Kotel worshipers.

Egypt MP: Only nuclear bomb can stop Israeli digging [at the Mugrabi gate]. This wasn't just any Member of the Egyptian Parliment, this was Mohamed el-Katatny of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP).

"That cursed Israel is trying to destroy al-Aqsa mosque...Nothing will work with Israel except for a nuclear bomb that wipes it out of existence." --MP Mohamed el-Katatny (NDP)

"The war with Israel is still ongoing whether we like it or not," --MP Khalifa Radwan (NDP)

"What this (Israeli) gang is doing makes me demand that we trample over all the agreements we signed." --MP Mohamed Amer (NDP)

"Know that the Israeli establishment, which wants to conquer al-Aqsa, has already started to destroy part of the mosque." --Sheikh Ra’ad Salah, head of the Islamic Movement

"The Aqsa Mosque is in real danger and needs Muslim support to defend and spare it the rancorous Israeli conspiracies" --Palestinian Chief Justice Tayseer al-Tamimi

"The Israeli occupation government is conspiring to finally destroy the Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest Muslim shrine world-wide, and to install the alleged Third Temple on its ruins." --Hamas Website


(Information from Haaretz, YNetNews, JoeSettler, and The Muqata.)

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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Ready? How?

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

A younger daughter asked, "Do we really want Moshiach? How can people live at such at time that they say the slightest word of loshon hara (evil speech) and are inflicted with tzoras (leprosy), or their house is and has to be torn down?"

It took me a while to find a good example, but here is what finally helped...

"If there's a voice whispering to you, do you hear it? Now turn on a stereo, now another, now ten. Maybe at a brief moment here in chutz la'aretz (the diaspora), when all ten songs have a quiet moment at the same time, you catch the briefest hint of the whisper. But otherwise, it's just a rumor.

Now in Israel, there's only five stereo's playing in the background. The briefest hint isn't quite so brief. Maybe if you really really concentrate, you catch that hint now and then.

In the time of the mishkan (the portable temple in the desert), only one stereo was playing. In the time of the beis hamikdash, only two. You could ignore the whisper, for there is free will, but if you paid attention, you could hear it. This world would still draw you away if you let it, but the other possibility was close.

Today, it's just a rumor.

If you follow Torah and the ways of Hashem when you hear the whisper, that's good. If you follow when it's just a rumor, that's absolutely incredible."

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Chassidus and Kabbalah

Alex-X-Eli commented over at A Simple Jew...

The Lubavitcher Rabbi once explained in a sicha (religious talk) that the main purpose of chassidut is to bring 'yayina shel Torah', the secrets of Torah and its very deep understandings, from the knowledge of a happy few (at the time of Rashbi [Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, zt"l] and still at the time of the Holy Ari zal) to all the Jews. The Rabbi explains also that the Baal Shem Tov brought these levels of Torah to the simple people throught stories and mashalim (examples), and then the Maggid of Mezritch gave the intellectual explanations to those sharply minded. From Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady further on, those intellectual explanations of the 'sod' had been given to every Jew. Hence, according to not less than the Lubavitcher Rabbi, chassidut is davka not only 'pure and simple Emuna (faith)' but a mix of very strong Emuna along with very serious efforts to rationalize and to study the Torah at a level of Kabbalah...

(Used with permission from A Simple Jew.)

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Deals for The Land

Noted at Shamrak's Reports...

"Be most careful not to make a treaty with the people who live in the land to which you are coming, since they can be a fatal trap to you. But you will destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves." - Exodus 34:12,13
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

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Earthquakes and Prophecy

by Elisheva at Mystical Paths

Yeranen Yaakov
brings a translation from Hashem1.Net (hebrew) that says...

The students of R' Yosi Ben Kisma asked their rabbi, "When will the son of David come?" He answered, "I'm afraid you might request a sign from me." They said to him, "We will not request a sign from you." He told them, "When this gate will fall, and be rebuilt, and fall, and be rebuilt, and fall, and there won't be a chance to rebuild it until the son of David comes." - Gemora Sanhedrin 98a

Hashem1.net quotes the Maharal, who says that this gate is not referring to a gate in Rome, but rather, a gate in Jerusalem.


Recently, there have been a great increase in earthquakes, both in number and even more in size, over the few past years. This became apparent in the early 1990's. This process is now accelerating at an amazing rate. The prior belief has been that the earth is at a point of homeostasis - even balance - and should stay about the same. Not so!

Relying on the prophecy that "Mount Olives shall split in the middle" as Moshiach appears, one can study the pattern of the geology and earthquakes to see how things are progresssing!

The Dead Sea Transform Fault is very active, and getting more so. (See data on quakes in the past half year since August, 2006).

One major cause for the quakes is that the continents are moving in a directional pattern. As Africa pushes northwards, it "kicks" the Arabian plate. This then swings north, pivoting at the top of the Red Sea / lower Dead Sea area. Well, not actually. It is literally pivoting on Jerusalem!

The Arabian Plate then gives Iran a good hard kick. One cna see the chain reaction by watching the quakes, starting with one in, for example, the Indian Ocean, moving along fault lines, to Oman, and the lower Red Sea.

What is interesting is that the areas which are now without Jews and without our Torah study centers are the ones getting quakes - the epicenters of the quakes are towards the east and north of the major Dead Sea fault line.

What is happening is that as Africa kicks the Arabian plate, the little connections to Israel - at the Dead Sea - are being sort of sawed off. This frees the Arabian Plate to continue North - to hit Turkey, etc.

Another related phenomena is that the land masses in the Mediteranian Sea indicate that the land in the north - such as Cyprus - originated in the south. Cyprus is geophysically a cut off of the coast of Gaza / Israel. But Israel herself stayed put.

In Northern Israel, the Dead Sea Fault line cuts westwards, to the sea. This, too, results in an enhancement of the Arabian Plate motion, it's breaking loose of Israel and kicking North.

And a week ago there was a nice quake right off shore from Gaza - which has been cleansed by tsunami's in the past!

So when we see this precise pattern of quakes accelerating, we know that we are moving towards fulfillment of the prophecy and thus, that Moshiach is, in fact, close to appearing!

h_world

Antarctic quakes often precede lots of activity up north. Follow that one to the west and north, and you come to this a week later - also other things pushing. Example - how a quake in the south leads to a quake in Dead sea. Note the series in Gulf of Aden - These show that the African Plate is kicking the Arabian Plate - so where will it move?

If we read the navi'im, the prophets, we already know where to look.

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Holiest Site?

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

"Just below the Temple Mount (or worse, Al Aqsa Mosque) is the Western or Wailing Wall, the holiest site in Judaism."

The BBC and most other Western News Agencies consistently makes this damaging error. This puts a lie in the news that affects people's attitude as to the solution.

News Guys, whoever told you this? The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, not the Western Wall of the Mount. We go to the Wall to pray only because we are not allowed to go to the Mount.

Ask any Jewish, religious source.

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Video de Uman

I'm getting a ton of hits from Mexico searching for Video de Uman. (They're getting directed to Reb Nati's video to the kever of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, zt'l, in Uman, Ukraine.)

Anyone know why so many people in Mexico are searching for videos from Uman?
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Monday, February 12, 2007

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Waves of Confusion

by Nava at Mystical Paths

Chasdei HaShem, everything is amazingly above nature and human understanding. The Soton, imach shemo, has power and sends us waves of confusion. There are times I cry to know if choices we think we make are right and through the tears of human confusion, HaShem sends messages of protection and strength and weakens the Soton and the tears become history and the inner strength is increased to do Avodat HaShem...

The yetzer hara (evil inclination) gets to everyone sooner or later, but when the will to sacrifice to HaShem is stronger, the yetzer hara immediately disappears. It's about choices and when choosing the emet (truth), HaShem right away sends messages of KOACH and Emunah that Shamayim is

There is no human wish to reveal what cannot yet be revealed.

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The Voice of Mishnah

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Mishnah should be the primary area of study, and if one has merited insight into the Kabbalah, then a most propitious time for this study is after midnight. - Mishnah Berurah 1:9, mentioned in Likeutey Moharan commentary on 3:1

By studying the six orders of the Mishnah, a person rectifies the six rings of the windpipe, via which the voice emerges. - Likutey Moharan 3:1

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Conflicts between Tzadikim

Dixie Yid has translated a story from the Rebbe of A Simple Jew's home town. It's quite a story...

Part 1 - - Part 2 - - Part 3
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Sunday, February 11, 2007

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Shechita

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

(This was a shared post from a week ago with A Simple Jew, other topics of last week delayed it here till now. Hopefully you didn't read it there. :-)

A Simple Jew asked:

When we are dealing with shechita, we are concerned primarily with the fact that the shochet has knowledge of the myriads of halachos of shechita, and that he is a person of exceptional Yiras Shamayim. While I can understand that a chassid who is sensitive to these considerations would only want to eat meat shechted by another chassid, I don't understand how a chassid can only limited himself to eat meat shechted by a chassid from his own group ( i.e. a Lubavitcher only eating Rubaskin meat) when there is always the possibility of meat from another group being on a higher level.

Take this hypothetical, lets say that one determined that a certain slaughter house employed a shochet who was a chassid and whose knowledge of halacha and Yiras Shamayim was on a higher level than that of the Chabad shochet. Would you seek to eat the meat from this shochet, or would you continue to eat only Rubashkin meat since this is the community standard?

I answered:

Wow, what an interesting cultural question. To understand the answer, and (assuming you buy the answer) whether such an approach makes sense today, we have to look back a bit, as well as understand some practical details.

What''s a shochet? A ritual slaughter is the only answer. He's trained to religiously slaughter kosher animals, in the proper way, and is skilled in maintaining and validating the condition of his equipment per religious requirements. That's all. Most people trained with these skills made their living this way.

So, in da olden days, you'd go to the market, pick a chicken (or duck or goose) or two, take them over to the shochet, who'd do his thing and get paid for it. If there was a problem with the cut itself, or something in the appearance of the animal, the shochet would send you to the rav to rule on it's kosher status. When _you_ kashered the meat, if you saw certain internal problems, _you_ would go to the rav to rule on it's kosher status.

So why is it important the shochet be Yirat Shamayim, G-d fearing? Because he's paid to do his job, yet has to stand up and say "I did it wrong, lets go to the rav and see if your meat is now not permitted." His fear of heaven has to overcome his need for that income and potential damage to his reputation. In the case of a chicken, there's some risk. In the case of a cow, the money involved is substantially higher.

Now the Baal Shem Tov came along and he did something unusual regarding shechita. He declared that halacha requires the latest knife technology, and therefore sharpening was no longer enough. Honing was also required. (One makes the knife cut better, the other takes off minute jagged edges, making the knife cut smoother and not tear - more here at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharpening). So now the shochtim of the chassidim were actually maintaining their knives differently. Many towns only had one shochet, in larger cities each community would have one. So using the shochet that held to your standard was critical both to meet the standard, and to maintain the shochet himself!

So I had to use my shochet to maintain my community standard and support the shochet's parnosa to keep that standard around. Fast forward 300 years and things are completely different.

Nowadays, in the meat factory setting, someone shechts the animal, someone else checks the knife (for chickens, the shochet slaughters 10 animals, then the knife goes with the batch for checking, and he picks up another knife from the stack), someone else checks the animals, someone else rules on any questions, and someone else is responsible for packing/tracking/guarantee of no change. The shochet must be trained to do his job properly, smoothly and well, with maximum care to the animal and the cut. This requires training but is not hard. The knife checker's job is more serious, if he calls a knife bad, 10 animals are declared non-kosher, the knifes must be very carefully checked (but fast fast, it's a business). Same for the animal checker, checking the animal's health against halachic standards, is harder as the meat must move down the line for processing. Now the mashgiach, the halachic ruler, his job is hard. He needs to know all the details of all the above, and be ready to declare monitary loss, and do it at high speed.

Today we find very funny mismatches. For example, the Lubavitch meat plant in Iowa sells under 3 brand names. The shochets are the same (and they rotate between slaughtering and knife checking). But the animal checkers and the mashgiach, that changes depending on brand. These are the people who replaced the old role of YOU and the RABBI. They are the ones who uphold the community standard. Which standard? DEPENDS ON THE LABEL. In the Iowa plant's case, they sell under KAJ - Kahal Adas Yeshurun, which is Litvish, Weissmandl/Nitra, and Crown Heights Beis Din, which is Lubavitch Chassidic. (The 3 brands are Aaron's Best, Supreme Kosher, and Shor HaBor.)

So, for example, the question today would not be "Would you seek to eat the meat from this shochet, or would you continue to eat only Rubashkin meat", it is "do you eat meat from the Chabad shochet and Chabad meat company with a Litvish mashgiach?" (if eating Aharons Best) Conversely, I had a neighbor who was a Chabad shochet who slaughtered literally all the cattle for Best Kosher (which is not glatt or mehadrin). HE wouldn't eat the meat he slaughtered, exactly because the checking and processing standards were below the level he held.

So, to personally answer your question, I would eat from any G-d fearing shochet who was backed by checking, a mashgiach, and company standards that meet my community standards. And in many ways, it's now the standard of the mashgiach and the company that have the most impact.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Frum Spam

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

I've got my email address up here on the blog, and while it's somewhat adjusted to be human (and not program) readable, still, it's up on the Internet. So it's no surprise that I get lots of spam. Lots. I mean, lots. My inbox currently has 4,456 spam messages from the past 30 days.

Now, I've gotten the standard Nigerian scam spam, where someone says they've got X million dollars that I get a portion of for helping them. It has an Xian form, "for the Lordy", it has a Muslim form, "for Allahaha". But, for the first time ever, it's Mitzvah Spam...

Shalom, I am David from Jerusalem, Israel. I am 21 years old and I am asking for your help. First, this email is real and true with every word it says...

Me and my girlfriend are both religious and love each other and would like to get married...the problem is that we don't have enough money...Our parents can't help...

I want to ask you to help us...Every Dollar will help us to start build our life together...hopefully you will help us to do this Mitzvah of the Marriage and build a Kosher house in Israel...Birkat Ha'Shem will be with you all your life.


And a nice Paypal address, attached to an email from an Israeli equivalent of Hotmail (called Walla).

Well, I guess it's possible, but, things don't quite add up. I don't tend to do much of an investigation of those mishaluchim that come to my door. But here, the terminology used just isn't right for someone Jewish religious, and it's not right in all the wrong ways.

So there it is, my first ever mitzvah spam.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Another Thought on Rav Kaduri (zt"l)'s Note

Parsha Blog took a look at Rabbi Kaduri's, zt"l, note, and came up with a different opinion...

It seems that the commenter is unfamiliar with kabbalistic practices. Coding in Roshei Teivot of pesukim, together with atbash and albam encoding, is standard kabbalistic practice, for example in amulets. And here, he gets to send an additional message together with the roshei teivot, with meaning besides just the name.

It is thus not strange at all.

Thus, I would conclude that the text of the note is exactly as Mystical Paths reported it.


Read the whole thing, here
.
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Thursday, February 08, 2007

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Go Down

by Reb Gutman Locks of the Old City, Jerusalem, Israel at Mystical Paths

In this week’s portion of the Torah, just before God gives the Ten Sayings He tells Moshe, “Go, descend . . . then you shall ascend, . . ..“ [i]

As usual, the Torah is speaking of both a one-time historical moment and of the overall spiritual moment that affects each of us every day. The historical moment is what physically happened back then - Moshe was to go down the mountain and then later he would ascend it.

From the spiritual perspective, this teaches us one of life’s greatest overall lessons. “Go down so you will come up” is the entire summation of the soul’s journey on earth. Moshe was high up on the mountain at the very place where God would soon reveal Himself to the entire Jewish nation, yet God said to him, “Go down so you can come up.” But he was already up there, so why should he go down to come back up?

The soul is in its highest place before it descends into the human body. Then, when it goes down into the body, it will be in a very low place. But this descent is for the soul’s ultimate benefit. At first glance, this does not seem to make sense. Why not leave it up there, where it was already high? But no, we learn that by coming down it will go up even higher than it was.

Use a shekel as an example. In your hand it is worth a shekel. Now you decide to give the coin to a poor person. As you are handing it over, the coin is held above the poor person’s hand. It is higher. When you release the coin, it falls down into his hand. Now it is lower; it went down.

But since you used this coin for the mitzvah of tzedaka (charity), its value is greatly enhanced. Before you gave it, it was worth only a shekel, but now its value is greater than gold. That coin went down into that very poor man’s hand for his personal use. He received the physical coin, but now that coin is in your spiritual bank account forever. Long after you leave this world, that coin will still be shining its light on you. We see that its value increased tremendously by having gone down.

This is the opportunity for the soul. The soul is an actual portion of God Himself on High. But after it comes down into this very low world and makes the correct choices, it will go up and be even higher than when it began.

[i] Ex 19:24

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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More on the Gate in Jerusalem

Blessed to be Yerushalmi commented at Mystical Paths...

To see the Truth, you have to look past the illusionary covering. Rejoice! Heaven is speaking to us through the rantings of the Muslims. The mosques ARE going to be destroyed and the Third Temple IS going to be rebuilt just as they are saying. They (and we, if we will but open our hearts) know at a soul level that this is in the very process of occurring at this very moment.

Looking at it only from the this-world perspective is what makes it look so nonsensical. The same goes for the Erev-Rav regime and explains their 'insane' actions. Those who are controlled by the Yetzer/Soton/SA are feeling HIS panic, seeing his ultimate end approaching and trying futilely to prevent it. 'Drowning' men do crazy things to try and save themselves.

May I share here something that I wrote yesterday? I'm only sorry I didn't think to bring a camera along!

Baruch Hashem! What a day and time to be alive!! We're in the midst of being redeemed!!! No more crying, no more tears, just awe of the mighty hand of the One above and a little bitty taste of the joy to come.

I have had the most amazing day today! I went to daven Tehillim at Kever David HaMelech at Har Tzion. Anytime I pray in or around the Old City, I always feel an overwhelming sadness that brings tears to my eyes. Well, not today!! The portion of Tehillim designated for the nineteenth day of the month ended with Psalm 96, "Shiru l'Hashem shir chadash..." (Sing to the Lord a new song...) The introduction to it in the Artscroll Tehillim says the following:


"This psalm is a call to the world to sing a new song. What is new about this song? It is the one that will be sung in honor of the future redemption of Israel as is indicated by the final verse of the psalm (Rashi). The song is new because, like none other in scripture, it will come at the unique stage of history when all the nations on earth will join in acknowledging God (R' Hirsch)."

It's one of the songs that we sing every Kabbalat Shabbat and I have a Carlebach tune for it. I found myself alone at the Kever at this particular time so I set my book of Tehillim down on the cover and very quietly sang David's song to Rav Shlomo's melody and beat a little rhythm out with my fingers. It was all I could do not to dance a little jig on my toes as well.

When I left there and walked down to the Kotel Plaza, I saw a most amazing sight and realized that I was zoche to witness a unique piece of history in the making. Under heavy guard and TV cameras, a bulldozer was scooping up buckets of black earth; methodically dismantling what used to be the ramp up which those who wanted to ascend to Har Habayit (including riot police as necessary) would walk to gain entrance through the Mugrabim Gate. The shed in which the police would sit, the covering from heat and rain, and the paved walkway is all gone.

If you didn't already know, time, heavy rains and a small earthquake worked together to weaken the area and cause a bit of a landslide to occur just a few years ago. Earth and rocks tumbled into the women's section of the prayer area at the Western Wall. For awhile it was barricaded and then an ugly temporary structure was built to allow access to the Temple Mount until a more permanent arrangement could be made.

Amid reports that the current temporary structure is now at risk of collapse, the government has finally begun the work of taking down the old earthen ramp in preparation for a new bridge walkway that it wants to build in its place. However, nothing in Israel and certainly nothing in this part of Jerusalem is ever quite so simple.

Muslim leaders are agitating furiously and ferociously for a jihad to save Al Aksa Mosque. Take a look at some of the headlines:

Sheikh Calls For Day of Arab Rage
Jordan Slams Israel on Temple Mount Repairs
Arab MK: Work at Temple Mount May Cause New Intifada
Syria slams Jerusalem works
Top Egyptian Cleric Joins Walkway Hullabaloo
Iranian Islamic ruler Ayatollah Ali Khameini...called on Muslim nations to attack Israel in response

Remember Beloved of Hashem, this-world is UPSIDE DOWN! In Shamayim, this is excellent news!!

People of Israel!! Stand clear of the tracks. Get ready to wave your flags. The Geulah train is pulling into the station!! Mashiach is waving to us from the window. He's as anxious to celebrate his arrival as we are to welcome him.


Amein, Kein Yehi Ratzon!

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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A Small Mound of Dirt and Big Self Hatred!

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

There's a small pile of dirt that's in danger of collapse in Jerusalem. It's unsafe, and next to a holy site where people pass by, so it's being removed. Carefully, and with archeological checks. Just a small mound of dirt.

The yellow box shows the small pile of dirt in question. The red arrow shows a gate to the Temple Mount, used exclusively by Jewish visitors and the Israeli police. You may recognize the area to the left as the Kotel, the Holy Western Wall. (Not shown, wooden bridge built to the left of the mound since this picture was taken, can be seen here.)

So why is the King of Jordan threatening Israel about this? "Jordanian King Abdullah on Tuesday accused Israel of "an attack on our holy Muslim sites" after it began excavation work near Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock. He also claimed the work could prevent the revival of Middle East peace talks between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States due to a "a dramatic escalation" in tensions." And why are the Palestinians going nuts over this? "Police will be on high alert in Jerusalem for the remainder of the week and especially Friday, in light of increased tensions due to the excavations near the Temple Mount, which have ignited Muslim sentiments in Israel and the surrounding region."

Near? NEAR? Are these people crazy? (Both the King and the reporters???)

The gold thing in the middle is the "Dome". The green circle is the Muslim controlled area, the Temple Mount. The blue circle is the Kotel, the Western Wall, the current Jewish prayer site. The yellow circle below it is the area being worked on, which is offset by a wall of stones bigger than cars that has stood for over 2,000 years. The yellow circle to the left is a second dig which has re-proven a 2,500 year old Jewish presence in Jerusalem...

Which, of course, is exactly why they're going nuts. Yes, Jerusalem is Jewish, the stones themselves testify so. A dig at the back of the Western Wall plaza has uncovered historical links to the Beis Hamikdash. (Picture shows the dig some months ago in the early stages.)


While the stones of Jerusalem are testifying, the Erev Rav government of Israel authorizes Jordan to bring in a multi-ton ALTAR into the Dome, and authorizes them to build YET ANOTHER phallic tower. In return for this, Jordan threatens, and the Pal's attack.

Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, leadership with faith is gone, with vision is gone, with guts is gone, wisdom, hey that's beyond hoping for, at least the slightest standing by their own nation could be hoped for, but I guess not. Self interest seems to be all that's left. Hashem, Ad Mosai!!!

It's painful. Painful to watch concession after concession on Jerusalem handed over. Even worse to those who spill our blood. Painful to watch 'our' government just throw it away like trash. Oy oy oy.

A nice panoramic view of the Western Wall area, mound and bridge in the news.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

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Emunah: Torah Concept or Not?

Great discussion on whether Emunah (Faith) is a Torah concept or not.

Over here at A Simple Jew. Read the comments as well!
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"Some of Us are Waking Up"

by Reb Nati at Mystical Paths

The following is an excerpt from an interview that Ploni posted in comments, interview Here.

"The Rebbe (the Lubavitcher Rebbe) mentioned many times that which the Gemara says in Sanhedrin "All predestined dates (for the redemption) have passed and the matter now depends only on repentance." The Rebbe would cry very much when he said this."

As the Lubavitcher Rebbe said, at this present time there is only one shitah, that is teaching and leading people to T'SHUVAH (repentence/reconnecting to G-d). This comes straight from Dovid HaMelek (King David) as he was the one to introduce t'shuvah into the world. Prior, we don't have one case of repentance, and Rebbenu (Nachman of Breslov) teaches us that we need to do t'shuvah, and how to do it, and why!

This is the message that all of us need to hear, receive, understand and accomplish if we want geulah shalaymah (the complete redemption). Real repentance is like this: You need to completely throw away everything you know and start again with a broken heart, call and cry out to Hashem and get clean, then ask Him to fill the void, and only then can you start to fill your life anew with truth and emunah (faith) in the Hashem and not in 'shtuss'. We need to be careful not to let alien and corrupt ideas enter. We have a written record of what has worked and failed. Read it, learn it, trust it.

This new/old way is a life style, not a religion. It a total and simple trusting of Hashem!!!

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

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Feedback on The Name of Moshiach

A Commentor at Mystical Paths wrote, in reply to the Note with Moshiach's Name...

Too bad you posted this nonsense.

First, the note says ד"ת and not ר"ת. It's Divery Torah and NOT Rashey Tevot (this is also the context of his note).

Second, the so called "Vav" before "Torato" as it is very easy to notice, is forged. All "Vav"s in the note appear as single line, while this "Vav" is made with two lines (in order to create the initials Yehoshua). Also "Divrey Vetorato" has no meaning in Hebrew. Only "Divrey Torato" has a meaning.

Third, give me a break, if the Rav wanted to say the name of Moshiach he wouldn't say: "hey, see the initials of this sentence". Oh, what a big secret....


Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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Battle Lines

by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Some months back, there was a discussion on Lazer Beams about the heavenly disagreement between the chassidic rebbaim and the sephardi mekubalim about the process of the geulah. Are we in the final stage in a somewhat gentle and political manner of a 3 part final redemption (with the nastiest stuff already past in past generations, at least for the yidden), or are we rolling downhill into the big bang of the final geulah?

Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok of KosherTorah.Com connection is via the sephardi masters. He read the post The Illusion, and recommended reading of his lastest publication, here. It describes a stark image, wrapped in modern visage terminology, in line with the sephardi position.

Careful in reading it, the confusion factor and concern factor is great.

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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The Name of Moshiach

by Akiva at Mystical Paths, shared with me by Yaak of Yeranen Yaakov.

The great and holy mekubal (kabbalist), the elder of the generation, HaRav Yitzchok Kaduri, zt"l, left this world after a brief illness at the age of 106, one year and two weeks ago. In the years prior to his death, he is said to have recognized that the neshama of Moshiach had entered this world, and had met with Moshiach. We have no reason to doubt his holy words.

Before his passing, the holy rav left a note with instructions for it not to be opened until 1 year after his hilhula. That year has passed, and the note has been opened.

The note reads:

בעניין הר"ת [ראשי תיבות, ע.י.] של משיח. ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים. באתי על החתום בחודש הרחמים [אלול, ע.י] התשס"ה, יצחק כדורי

The Rav gives the name of Moshiach by the first letters of a pasuk, the name being Yehoshua!

Unfortunately, there are those who find this name greatly similar to another name, and are looking to this as some validation for their non-Jewish religious positions. (Yehoshua is close to the traditional Hebrew name associated with the Xian deity.)

As Yaak pointed out to me...

Rabbi Lazer Brody, shlita, wrote 18 months ago...

"The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a explained to me how difficult the future tests of faith will be. "Imagine that Eliahu HaNavi returns to earth, and again challenges all the false prophets on Mount Carmel, only this time, the fire will come down and consume the sacrifice of the false prophets. Many of the simpletons will run and embrace the false prophets. But, there will still be a few of us who will yell out, 'Hashem hu HaElokim' (The Lord is G-d!). Despite the fact the everything looks like the false prophets are right, as soon as those few steadfastly loyal believers of Hashem cling to their pure and unwavering emuna, a second fire will come from the Heavens and destroy the false prophets". The Rebbe shlit'a is in effect saying, "Don't be fooled when you see evil winning out; this is a difficult - but only temporary - test of faith." This is an important principle to remember, especially during these difficult times."


If memory serves, the Melitzer Rebbe, shlita, quotes from a Yalkut Shimoni, which further states at that time the kings of the world will turn to the Jews and say, "Now, see, our god is true and yours is obviously false. We've proven it to you. Join our religion!" Then it will be the time to stand up and shout, Hashem Hu HaElokim, The Lord is G-d, and stand true to HaKodesh Baruch Hu, the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and Toras Emes, the Torah of Truth!

Posted at Mystical Paths. Read it elsewhere? Stop by the source.
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