Thursday, December 18, 2008


70, 9, 45, 1, 18

70 years and 7 years.

9 months.

45 days.

1 day.

18 minutes (or 12 according to the Gra).

...the phases and stages of the geulah. 70 years may stop and start, depending on whether we are worthy or G-d forbid otherwise. 7 years perhaps as well.

Many gedolim of the last generations have referred to the events of the 70 years. More recent gedolim to the 7 years. And very recently to even the 9 months.

It would seem we're nearing the time when the process no longer may pause.


  1. I need to tell your chutz l'aretz readers about what i heard on the news. This was only heard on the radio, but it startled me. They were bringing Madoff into the courthouse and a crowd formed, I heard scuffling and people were lunging at him, anger was vented at him, and it sounded like they were going to attack him.

    Now, wait a minute...

    Did anyone do that to Paulson, Bernanke, or the Big 3 auto czars, or the Wall St lawyers, or any of the other bankers and banks or even the S.E.C.??

    They forget that for 40 yrs [FORTY YEARS] it worked, people made money, and all the Jewish charities were helping all types of people were helped by Madoff. REMEMBER that was charity. Charity does not last forever. [yes, there are others who lost total savings/retirement - and that of course was a hedge-fund risk]

    The Jews invested in and built up this country [like they did in every other country that we lived in]. Now, the Jewish money is disappearing.

    Does that mean we Jews are next?

  2. Neshama- I haven't heard that report, but I would not be surprised if it were true. Madoff has perpetrated one of the largest financial frauds in US history - so no one should be surprised that there is anger and outrage.

    Comparisons to Paulson, Bernanke, etc. are not warranted. Those guys may be incompetent, but they are not criminals. Madoff has admitted to criminal behavior.

    Note that many if not most of the victims of Madoff's scam are Jewish individuals and organizations. Off the top of my head: Yeshiva University. Congregation KAJ (Manhattan). SAR Academy (Bronx). Carl Shapiro (Major donor to Brandeis University). Steven Spielberg's charitable foundation. The list goes on and on. Some of these organizations will never recover from their losses.

    You say that for 40 years it "worked." No it did not! For 40 years or however long the Ponzi scheme was in operation, investors who received dividends from the fund were unwittingly receiving stolen property.

    These individuals and organizations are now liable for that stolen property (regardless of whether or not they knew it was stolen). The SEC may now go after them to recover as much of the money as possible. This money will be used to partially reimburse investors who lost everything.

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  5. re: geula: should we be telling folks in America and elsewhere to come to Israel?

    I'd have to agree with Dan Schwarz on the Madoff issue. I know dan l'chaf zchut and all, but even he himself admitted to criminal behavior apparently.

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  8. For those of uncompromising intellect:

  9. BTW guys: Washington - Social Security A Far Bigger Ponzi Scheme Than 'Ganef' Madoff

    Washington - For four days running, The Wall Street Journal’s lead followed the story of Bernard Madoff and his “giant Ponzi scheme,” estimated to have cheated tens of billions from unsuspecting investors. The SEC calls it “a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions.”
    But is this—as it’s being touted—the largest financial scam in history? Hardly. Social Security dwarfs Madoff’s con in both size and scope.
    About 162 million people pay taxes on labor income to finance the 50 million Americans receiving benefits. In 2008, income was $785 million and benefits were $585 billion.
    Most Americans believe that Social Security’s annual surpluses accumulate in a trust fund that will be used to meet future costs. Although the Board of Trustees reported that these assets reached $2.2 trillion in 2008, the trust fund does not represent forward funding.
    Any surplus from Social Security flows into the Treasury, which uses the money to finance other spending or reduce borrowing. In exchange, Social Security receives special issue government securities that are nonmarketable promissory notes backed by nothing of tangible value—i.e., “IOU nothings.”
    When it comes time to use the trust fund to pay benefits starting in 2016, Social Security will present its “IOU nothings” for payment, and the Treasury will have to raise the money through higher taxes or borrowing.
    As for Madoff’s scheme: How could investigators, regulators, and investors have been taken for such a big ride for so long, despite a stream of red flags? Those who did their due diligence were not fooled—the steady returns, unusual fee arrangements, and lack of independent custodian able to prove the existence signaled trouble.
    Likewise, Social Security should be considered “too good to be true.” It is an unsustainable pay-as-you-go system—i.e., a Ponzi scheme. Just as Mr. Ponzi’s and Mr. Madoff’s schemes collapsed, Social Security will become unsustainable when payroll taxes don’t cover program benefits. At that time, benefits will need to be cut, or more money raised, whether by higher payroll taxes, by higher general-revenue taxes, or by higher borrowing.

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