Friday, December 31, 2010


The Alter Rebbe and the Kedushas Levi

From the upcoming MeOros Kedushas Levi on Chumash
– stories of Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, zt”l
- Compiled/Translated by Rabbi Tal Zwecker, Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Mystical Paths

And I appeared...To the Avos  (Rashi to Shemos 6:3)

During the wedding in Zlovin, when the Alter Rebbe of Chabad’s granddaughter married the
grandson of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, Rav Levi Yitzchak sat in his place at the head of the table receiving the well wishes of his many guests, disciples, and chassidim. They in turn stood in line to petition him for salvation and blessings. All of a sudden, the Berditchever stopped and cocked his head to one side as if straining his ears to hear something. It seemed as if he was listening to something coming from a great distance, perhaps from the supernal upper worlds.

Everyone stared, transfixed with curiosity and wonder.  And then, all of a sudden, the Berditchever jumped up from his place and joined the throngs of dancing chassidim with great joy and ecstasy.  As he danced, they could see that his features shone with an otherworldly light.

The Alter Rebbe took one look at his mechutan and said, “Mechutan, Mechutan! Not every time that you hear the angels on High recite ‘Kadosh’ do you have to dance!”

During the great wedding that took place in Zlovin between the daughter of the Mittler Rebbe — the granddaughter of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad Rav Shneur Zalman of Liadi — and the grandson of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the Alter Rebbe’s chassidim expressed their wonder and surprise at Rav Levi Yitzchak’s mannerisms and holy ways.

“You should know,” Rav Shneur Zalman told them, “that whatever the archangel Michael is above, so is Rav Levi Yitzchak here below!”

To another chassid, who wished to confess his sins before Rav Levi Yitzchak (so that the Berditchever could then give him guidance on the proper path to teshuvah), the Alter Rebbe said, “You wish to talk to him regarding sin? What does the archangel Michael have to do with sin?”

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Those of you…

by Reb Gutman Locks

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Who prayed for rain (in Israel)…

Thank you!


Thursday, December 30, 2010


Peace Partner? Death Partner!

Blog Israellycool found this lovely piece of Palestinian Terrorist propaganda, from their monthly newsletter of death.  (Tips and techniques for the aspiring jihadi.)  I’ve blurred out the arabic text because, frankly, I’m not giving space to their propaganda of death.


So lets examine our peace partner briefly.  He’s a sniper standing in a gilli suit (a professional high camouflage outfit) holding a .50 caliber sniper rifle (long distance and armor piercing).

And he’s holding something in his hand.  What is that?


He’s holding 4 IDF (Israeli army) dog tags, showing he’s killed 4 Jewish soldiers.  Not only is he a successful killer, he collects trophies.

The propaganda says something to the equivalent of “come join us in murdering people, we’re beautiful and you can be beautiful too”.

Fortunately much of the picture is BS, a photoshop job.  The face and left hand are photoshopped in, indicating that they don’t actually have professional sniper gilli suites or .50 caliber sniper rifles.  The IDF dog tag is the same one replicated 4 times (it reads first name “Andrey”, I couldn’t read the rest), so we’ll assume they only have 1 dog tag or downloaded the image from the internet.

But the intent is clear.  Be a recruit to kill Jews.

I’d like to see ANYONE come up with ANYTHING even remotely similar from Israel, the IDF, or the Jewish people.

The UN, EU, and United States can come talk about Middle East peace when this crap stops.

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Even Beginning Yoga???

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

A friend wrote, continuing our ongoing conversations about yoga: “I don't think it directly addresses the teshuvos (rabbinic responses) I sent you. Even if the actions were designed with a religious purpose in mind, the intentions of the pop yoga practitioners at clubs have none of those intentions with their actions and that it what gives it the tzad heter (a side allowance) in the teshuvos (rabbinic responses) quoted.”

This is a little tricky.  I agree with you that the physical actions taken at such clubs indeed have none of the intentions by most of the attendees.  BUT, the teacher is almost always trained by a guru in a program that DOES include the intentions.  And the teachers of such classes frequently add in tidbits of the religious philosophy, in a seemingly integrated palatable form, even at the basic level.

Example.  I just googled "basic yoga class".  The first site on "basic yoga class" includes this...

* Take the wide range of Yoga Poses that can help an individual attain a high level of self-awareness, balance, and strength.

High level of self-awareness???  What’s that got to do with exercise?  That’s a Hindu religious approach.

* Basic pose #5 - Sun Salutation.

An actual sun god worship position!

* You will see at the end of the Yoga Session that the forward bends, Backbends, Twist Poses, Standing Poses, Inverted Postures, as well as Meditation Exercises are not that hard as you might have imagined. You just need to properly execute these Yoga Poses and Exercises to achieve the full potential of your body - may it be physical, mental, or spiritual.

Meditation exercises, spiritual potential…need more be said?

Ok, maybe I hit an unusual site.  The second on google "basic yoga class" comes back from, a good general source for basic information About lots of things.

* Basic item #4 - The teacher may start class by leading the class in chanting "om" three times.   Om is a very simple chant with a complex meaning. Often chanted three times at the start and finish of a yoga session, om is the whole universe coalesed into a single sound and represents the union of mind, body, and spirit that is at the heart of yoga. When chanted, the sound of om is actually three syllables - a, u, and m.

That's pretty clear.  Basic yoga includes "spiritual", coalescing the whole universe in a single sound, the union of mind body and spirit, positional worship to physical parts of the universe, self awareness and meditation.

Those intentions are part of basic classes.  You can certainly argue it's not the main focus of basic classes, and I agree.  It's simply woven in as part of the experience.  And as people reach levels of proficiency, those goals are brought deeper into the experience.

Hindu religious goals, Hindu spiritual philosophy.  And they may be fine goals, but they are at odds with Judaism.

And that's what makes it assur.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

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An Airplane

image002by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     Does anyone remember “Jefferson Airplane”? It was a very famous music group in the 1960s. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Jorma Kaukonen was their guitarist.

     I assume that most of you were not yet in the world when their music was happening. For those of us who were around, it is said that if you remember the ‘60s you really weren’t there.

     What’s Jorma doing now? He is in Israel with his band, “Hot Tuna,” and he came to the Kotel to pray. It’s interesting that, except for the clothing, whether it is a Member of Parliament, a famous rock star, or a bus driver, when we put on tefillin and pray, we all kind of look alike.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

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The Root of the Names

Excerpt of the Sefer Kedushas Levi – by Rabbi Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, zt”l
Translated by Rabbi Tal Zwecker, Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
Mystical Paths

These are the names of the children of Israel who were coming to Egypt...
Reuven, Shimon, Levi...  (Shemos 1:1–2)

When we examine the names of the tribes and the reasons they were given these names — Reuven, “because Hashem has discerned my humiliation and now my husband will love me” (Bereishis 29:32); Shimon, “because Hashem has heard that I am unloved...” (ibid. 29:33); Levi, “because this time my husband will be attached to me” (ibid. 29:34), and so on — it looks like as if these reasons were rooted in physical lust, as the incident of Reuven and dudaim could imply (ibid. 30:14–18).

In truth, the names of the tribes allude to the act of spiritually elevating all physical desires by utilizing them to serve Hashem alone. Therefore, Reuven’s name alludes to elevating the physical desires between man and wife in service of the Blessed Creator. And the same is true regarding the names Shimon and Levi — they allude to the fact that all forms of connection and attachment should be elevated by using them to serve the Blessed Creator.

This is why the tribes are also known as mattos, which means to “shift” or “move,” as in “mateihu michalon l’chalon — shifting [a ladder] from one window to another” (Beitzah 9a). It is implying that all the physical desires were moved and shifted, and thus elevated, to the Blessed Creator [through the tribes].

This then is the meaning of “These are the names of the children of Israel” — their names themselves allude to the uplifting of all things to the Blessed Creator.

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Member of Parliament

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     The day before yesterday, the Prime Minister of Lithuania came to the Kotel with a group of some 10 Members of his Parliament. One of the Members of Parliament walked a little behind the rest of the group so I was able to walk over and talk to him. I asked him if anyone in his group was Jewish.

     He answered, “Yes. One man is.”

     I told him that he should go over and tell him to put on tefillin. I pointed to the men putting them on so he would understand what I was talking about. He went right over and told one of men in his group what I had said. I went with him, and the Jewish man asked me if I spoke Yiddish. I quickly called for one of the Yiddish speaking guys to help him.

     Emanuel is a Member of the Parliament in Lithuania. Before World War II there were some 220,000 Jews living in Lithuania, 7% of the total population. There were over 110 synagogues and 10 yeshivas in Vilnius (Vilna). So strong was their influence that the term Litvak(Lithuanian Jew) is still often used to cover all Orthodox Jews who follow the Ashkenazic and non-Hasidic style of life and learning, whatever their ethnic background.

    During the German invasion of June 1941, 206,800 Lithuanian Jews were murdered by the Nazis and the all-too-willing Lithuanian collaborators. Most of the Jews were taken into the woods to be shot in graves they were forced to dig themselves.

     Some 3 million people live in Lithuania. Only 4,000 of them are Jews. One of these Jews is a Member of their Parliament.

    Jews are an amazing people.


Monday, December 27, 2010


Dr. Vendyl Jones Has Left Us


Dr. Vendyl Jones past away Monday morning in Texas.

Vendyl Jones was a Ben Noach, one who scrupulously follows the seven laws of Noah. A man of deep faith, he was steeped in the study of the Torah and Talmud. The breath and depth of his knowledge was vouched for by a number of rabbinical scholars.

"In that day, I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: that they may possess the remnant of mankind. Thus says HaShem, upon them, the gentiles that are called by my name, that do this!" Amos 9:11-12

On the basis of this pasuk (passage) Dr. Jones spent a significant part of his life searching for the holy treasures of the First Temple. And, he found some, including anointing oil and incense from the Holy Temple!

He spent the last decades of his life zeroing in on the location of the lost vessels of the Beis HaMikdash.  Literally on a hunt for the Ark of the Covenant, the Golden Menorah and Golden Altar, and so forth. 

[This paragraph excerpted from End of Days.] At the end of his long life he wanted to drill a bore hole into the Cave of the Column in Qumran to see if the treasures of Betzalel were hidden there, believing he’d finally found the location of the Menorah, the Golden Table, and the Ark of the Covenant. All of these things were hidden during the reign of Josaiah (Yoshiyahu), the great king of Yehudah, in the waning days of the First Temple period.

Yet he ran into political resistance, for Qumran is in what was or is to become Palestine.  He was denied permits, blocked from renting equipment, blocked from moving funds, and soldiers were posted at the site having declared it “a closed military zone”, all preventing his research and investigation but not stopping him from keeping on trying.

While he was a firm believer in Judaism and a number of his children converted, he intentionally chose not to convert, to be able to approach and bring out the Temple vessels if he found them (as according to Jewish law only purified kohanim among the Jews could do so safely – and we don’t currently have the proper components for the purification).

Someone else will have to carry on this mission when the proper time comes. For now, Baruch Dayan Emeth for the soul of this great man.  May his neshama merit the highest levels for those who dedicated their lives to Hashem, the Torah, Israel, and the Jewish people and the righteous among the nations.

[ Funeral info - Clayton Kay-Vaughn Funeral Home, Grandview, Texas, 817-866-3311 ]

He is survived by five children, two of whom converted to Judaism and live in Israel.

(Photograph – Dr. Jones fundraising for his investigations in Livingston, New Jersey, around 2003 or so.)


Interviewing a Messiah

image005by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     David is almost sure that his mother’s mother is Jewish. At least, “That is the color of the garment,” he told me. His father is almost certainly not Jewish. David asked if we could sit and talk, that he had something important to tell me. David is very intelligent. He holds an important computer position for a large firm in America. He is a very nice person, and is apparently normal in every way. Every way, that is, except one. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “I am the Messiah.”

     I told him not to worry about it, that that feeling was going around these days. In fact, I had seen three guys like him that very week.

     He was not at all deterred, “But, I am the real one.” He smiled. “You think that I have Jerusalem Syndrome, but I don’t.”

    Jerusalem Syndrome is a well known temporary mental condition that sometimes causes tourists here to believe that they are one of the great Biblical personalities.

    I tried to explain, “David, you do not even know if you are Jewish.”

    “We are almost sure that my mother’s mother is Jewish,” he replied.

     “David,” I told him, “the Messiah has to come from the tribe of Yehudah. The tribes are handed down from the father. Your father is not from the tribe of Yehudah. He is not even Jewish!”  It didn’t change David’s mind in the least.

   “The color of the garment is here. You will see as things go on,” he said.

     I was not joking with him. I saw at least three men here this week who thought that they were the Messiah. So, the question has to be, how will we know who is the real one?

image006The Rambam lists a number of things that a Jewish King has to do before we accept him as the Messiah. Such as; “He builds the Temple in its place (Jerusalem) and he gathers in the scattered Jews from around the world.”[i] But, even if all of the signs and wonders would be fulfilled, there will be only one thing that will prove that any particular man is the Messiah -- the entire world will agree on it.

As the prophet said, at that time, “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of G-d...”[ii] When this happens, and everyone on the planet is filled with the knowledge of G-d, then we will all know that the Messiah has come.

(Second Picture, one of the other current self-believing Messiah’s.)

[i] Mishnah Torah, Laws of Kings 11:4
[ii] Habakkuk 2:14

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Leaving Golus

by Rabbi Tal Zwecker, Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim @ Mystical Paths

Rav Modechai Alter the Gerrer Rebbe used to say: In the future there shall be two forms of
redemption: First taking the Jews out of exile and secondly taking exile out of the Jews. The latter is much more difficult than the former!

(Source: Likutei Yehudah)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

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Hamas–Now Tax Deductible (Video)

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What Should Our Daily Priorities Be?

by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

    Let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for another 50 years. What you would want to do? What are the important things that you would put on your list of things to accomplish? Of course, if you do not already one, then there is the need to make a family. That takes a good wife (or husband). Surely, you will also need a good income to provide for all of the children whom you plan to bring into the world. And obviously you will need a nice home for them. Besides all this, you probably would like to do something good for the world. You want to leave your mark here before you go. And don’t forget the need to discover your spiritual purpose. Fine, all this makes perfect sense.

    Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for only five more years. What would your priorities be then?

    Well, unless you already have one, creating a family would not make so much sense now. If you are going to live for only five more years, who would take care of those little kids? If you already have a family, you would want to quickly provide whatever you could to sustain them after you are gone. And if they are taken care of, what would be the most important things that you would want to accomplish? Maybe, you would want to do as many good deeds as you possibly could. So, if there really is a World to Come, and if your position there will to be determined by what you do here, then it certainly makes sense for you to spend your remaining time helping this world to become a better place. And surely you would want to spend more time thinking about spiritual matters. All these seem to be logical things to do.

     Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you are going to live for only five more minutes. What would you want to do right now? Well, there is no time left to do good deeds. And forget about leaving your mark on the world; you will barely have enough time to call your loved ones to say goodbye. Maybe you had just better start praying: “G-d I have no time left to do anything but to ask You for forgiveness for my having wasted most of my life and for all of the improper things that I did.”

     Now, let’s say that you know for sure that you have only one more minute left to live, and that minute is ticking away. What would your priorities be?

     Maybe you would just say “Hear, O’Israel, the L-rd our G-d, Hashem Is One” and if you have any time left, then say it again.

     What is the point here? All of the above scenarios are possibly true, and there is no way of knowing which one applies to each of us right now. No one knows how much time he has left. Maybe we have this amount of time, maybe more, maybe less. Since we do not know how much time we have left, we better set out to accomplish our priorities now.

    Say the Shema (Hear O’Israel . . .), make a family, earn a livelihood, make a home, find your spiritual purpose, say goodbye to everyone you walk away from, help the world to become a better place. Do it all, while you can. Take care of whatever is in front of you at this moment, and always be on the lookout for opportunities to do more. Then, no matter when you are taken from this world, you will have done the best that you possibly could.


Saturday, December 25, 2010

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imperfect-worldsGuest Article by Reb Gavriel Savin

Why aren’t you perfect?  Because you’re not supposed to be.  For reasons that only Hashem knows, everything is created imperfect.

From the very beginning HaShem created the world in a way that it could not withstand His light.  When the vessels burst from HaShem’s light, the klipot came into being.   This started the process that would give us reward and punishment by letting us choose between good and bad.  Our job is to rectify the world and bring it to perfection.

The Jewish nation was conceived in the greatest impurity.  Terach, Avrohoms father, forced his mother to have relations with him while she was a niddah.  Avrohom was clothed in terrible tumah, living in a house of tumah.  By rectifying himself he came to perfection.

The  giving of the Torah wouldn’t have been possible without Moshe Rabbainu.  Even now, every Jewish soul has a spark of Moshe Rabbainu in him to enable him to learn the Torah.  Moshe Rabbainu was born from a forbidden union.   Amram divorced his wife when Paroh started throwing the boys into the river. She remarried and had two sons.  Amram later remarried his wife even though such a union is forbidden by the Torah.  It was from such an imperfect union that the perfection of Moshe Rabbainu had to come from.

The perfected world that we all wait and pray for is brought about through Moshiach, who will be the product of many imperfect unions.  Rav Nachman says that Moshiach will not come from such a good Yichus.  The more perfection that is required the more imperfections it must go through.

The  only way to become perfect, is first to be imperfect.  If something starts out perfect, it really isn’t  perfect because it’s never gone from imperfect to perfect.  Lacking that transformation is a serious deficiency of perfection.  So the next time you find an imperfection in yourself, be happy, because now you are on your way to becoming perfect.


Who’s Birth Are You Celebrating?

A great brief article by Rabbi Aron Moss of the Nefesh shul in Bondi Beach, Australia.  I don’t know Rabbi Moss or the Nefesh shul, but I like this article!

Question of the Week:

As a believing Christian, I made a recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was profoundly disturbed by the Jewish state and its criminal occupation of the West Bank. How can you justify usurping land that belongs to others?


You are entitled to your opinion on the matter. But I hope you are consistent in your beliefs. Being that you oppose a Jewish presence on the West Bank, I assume you will not be participating in any celebrations during the coming days. According to your view, there is no reason to be merry on December 25.

The Christian holidays celebrate an event that you have named a criminal act - the birth of a Jewish baby to a Jewish family living in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Your views should not allow you to have any part in this cheer, for if you did you would be giving retroactive approval to a Jewish settlement on the West Bank that dates back more than two thousand years.

Perhaps you will be joined by the UN and other humanitarian organizations around the world condemning any celebrations this week that are connected with this controversial birth, as such events would be recognizing the rights of a Jewish family to live on what you see as occupied territory.

However I must warn you, by espousing this view and not celebrating, you will be vastly outnumbered. Not that it's so bad to be in the minority, I personally have been all my life. But keep in mind, while you accuse Israel of occupying land, there will be two billion Christians around the world celebrating the fact that the West Bank has always been the home of the Jewish people.


Friday, December 24, 2010


Rain, Thank G-d

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

A couple of weeks ago there was a wonderful rain in Israel. It was a tremendous blessing in a year of drought. But now it is gone.

We need more rain. All of you, wherever you are, please think, “Rain, rain, lots of rain in Israel.”


Thursday, December 23, 2010

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Leadership 101

leadershipDvar Torah by Reb Ari Waldman @ Mystical Paths

In Parshas Shemos we are introduced to the Torah's most central person; Moshe Rabbeinu. He was the fearless leader that Hashem chose to take us out of Mitzrayim, and eventually bring us the Torah from Hashem! Did you ever wonder what made Moshe Rabbeinu, Moshe Rabbeinu? Of course he had a holy neshama! Even at birth that was apparent when the room filled with light! (Shemos 2, 2 in Rashi) But what made Moshe Rabbeinu stand out even amongst the holy that made him our leader?

Let's start with Moshe Rabbeinu's parents. When Pharaoh decreed that every male newborn be thrown to the Nile, Amram left his wife Yocheved thinking "why should I have a child that will be taken to be drowned?" Seeing this many other men followed suit and divorced their wives. His daughter Miriam said to him "your decree is worse than Pharaoh's for he decreed only on males and your abstinence will also prevent the birth of daughters!" So Amram remarried his wife and all the other men also followed suit and Moshe Rabbeinu was born. It comes out that Moshe Rabbeinu's birth came out of Amram's sense of responsibility to Clal Yisrael to do the right thing and have faith that Hashem will make it all come out for the best! Everyone else saw that faith and got remarried and courageously had more children!

As a young man, the pasuk tells us "And Moshe grew and he went out to his brothers and saw their suffering". (Shemos 2, 11) Rashi says "He gave his eyes and heart to feel their pain". The Midrash says "he would cry saying "I wish I could die for you!" For there is no harder work than making mortar and he would put his shoulders (under the burden) to help every single worker!" Young Moshe was not egocentric, seeking the pleasures of Pharaoh's palace! Nor did he conveniently choose to ignore his brothers out there who were suffering. It would have been easy to ignore them as most people of royalty hardly ever go out to the masses to help. Moshe's incentive to ignore his brothers was even greater because they were being persecuted and why should he identify with their suffering and put himself in danger? But Moshe Rabbeinu ignored these rationalities instead and went out to help his brothers.

Right away he risks his life, killing the Mitzri that was mercilessly beating a fellow Jew. (Shemos 2, 12) Moshe the next day reprimands Datan and Aviram for hitting each other and they go straight to Pharaoh informing him of Moshe's killing the Mitzri. Moshe is sentenced to death and miraculously escapes to Midian. He went from royalty to being a fugitive in a very short time! Obviously, Moshe's decisions and actions were politically incorrect! But that doesn't stop him. The Midrash says that as soon as he gets to Midian he saves some unpopular shepherd girls from their tormenters. Why were they unpopular? Because they were the daughters of Yisro, who after investigating all idolatry, recently renounced all idol worship and would serve only Hashem!! Helping anyone in need regardless of the consequences was Moshe's way of life! On this deed Hashem said "Since Moshe had compassion on (unpopular) girls he didn't even know he'll be called a Servant of Hashem so all shall know that Hashem's servants are compassionate and do kindness to all of creation!"

Moshe marries Tzipporah, Yisro's daughter and becomes a shepherd. He was meticulous that the sheep wouldn't graze on other people's land so he took them to the desert, land which belonged to no one. The Midrash (Shmos Rabbah 2, 2) says that one day a goat ran away from the flock to drink from a spring. Moshe then mercifully carried the goat on his shoulders back to the flock. Hashem said on this, "you were compassionate with this goat and other sheep; I know you'll be a great shepherd and leader for My nation, Israel!"

The Midrash continues that Moshe didn't say "out of sight, out of mind!" He prayed to Hashem for our survival at every opportunity. Moshe would pray; "Master of the world! If You don't save your nation now there will be no one left! Daily many people are dying from their hard labor! I understand why the generation of the flood got punished and why the generation of the Haflaga (the great dispersal) and Sodom got punished! But I don't understand what sin Israel did to be so harshly punished! Hashem have mercy on them redeem them and take revenge from their enemies!"

In case you were wondering what made Moshe Rabbeinu our great leader you now have your answer. All he thought about was us!! If our (secular) leaders would have one hundredth of his mesiras nefesh, they would be more worthy public servants and perhaps many people would suffer less and feel more secure in this holy land!!

We can learn from Moshe Rabbeinu that leadership = mesiras nefesh to help our fellow Jew!! "Politically correct" wasn't in his dictionary nor should it be in ours! Our desire to help Clal Yisrael should make those words petty in our eyes. My fellow Jew is all that matters!!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010


A Serious Appeal

by Reb Akiva

A friend, a neighbor, a Jewish family is in serious trouble.  A Jewish family who lives on the edge with nothing to spare has fallen over that edge.  The father learns and teaches Torah and is a rav, the mother works long days.  Yet, an old bill they missed that accumulated interest, a major dental problem for a child, and investing a moderate amount in trying to create a Torah institution that the promised supporters disappeared has left the family in a disaster.

The electricity is turned off in the middle of winter.  (Fortunately they are in Israel so they’re only cold, not freezing to death.)  The refrigerator is empty (and of course not working for want of electricity).  The follow up dental care required for the child is desperately needed but the previous bill isn’t paid.

Since this is my neighbor and my fellow Jew, I can’t sit back and do nothing.  Because I have a blog and an audience, I am obligated to try to use it to help.

$1,800 solves most of this family’s problems and pulls them back from the abyss.  $3,000 solves all their financial problems and removes the daily worry chasing them.

I’m asking you to join me and giving them a hand.  Every donation of ANY amount helps, and every time one person helps another it makes this world a better place.

( the appeal has ended )

May Hashem bless you abundantly for helping others and for the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity).


Monday, December 20, 2010


What Might Happen Now

Geulah Speculation by Dov bar Leib.  Published at Mystical Paths and End of Days.

Wait, didn’t we write just a few weeks ago that we’re against geulah hype?  Indeed we did.  But we find some scholarly research associating modern historical events with biblical prophecies faith strengthening.  There is a plan, there is a Planner, and occasionally we merit the wisdom to get a glimpse of it.

According to the Chafetz Chaim, right after World War I (WW1) he said that World War I was the first war of Gog and Magog. He proceeded to say that about 25 years after World War I there would be another great war from which the Jewish people would not be redeemed. That of course was World War II, the 2nd war of Gog and Magog.

He then said that sometime in the future after this second great war there would be a final great war from which the Final Redemption would take place. This prediction of his is verifiable by one of his students, Rav Elchanon Wasserman.

It is also a verifiable prediction that according to Rav Yitzchak Kaduri's (zt”l) quotation of the Vilna Gaon that the final battle of Gog and Magog would begin on Hoshanah Rabba, the 7th day of Sukkot, in the first year of a Shmittah (Sabbatical) cycle.

It just so happens that Gog W. son of Gog Bush initiated the War on Terror after 9/11 by starting the bombing of the Taliban in Afghanistan on Hoshanah Rabbah 5762, the first year of a Shmittah cycle. The problem is that what happened after seven years of this final battle was the beginning of a seven year economic cycle spoken of in the Talmud in Sanhedrin 97a.

According to the prediction of the Gemora in Sandhedrin, in the third year of that cycle, which I believe we are now in, the economy of Western Civilization will collapse after signs of collapse for two full years prior. This started really in Elul 5768, just before the first year of the next Shmittah cycle, 5769, after the one that began in 5762. On Rosh HaShanna 5769, the bottom fell out of the stock market after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment banking house two weeks earlier. I believe we are now in the third and pivotal year of that Shmittah cycle, and the dollar is literally disintegrating before our eyes.

Why the seven year cycle of the War on Terror is being followed by a seven year economic cycle is a question that only Eliyahu HaNavi can answer. There is nothing about this in the words of our sages that the seven year war cycle would be followed immediately on its heels by another seven year economic cycle. One possible insight is that the Jewish people have to do Teshuvah before Mashiach arrives. Since the seven year war on terror did not facilitate this teshuvah, G-d has to hit us where it really hurts, our pocketbook. The Old World Order where the purpose for serving G-d is to make money has to be replaced by its converse where the purpose for making money is to serve G-d. Since America represents the former and not the latter, America's collapse is destined to happen during the third year of this Shmittah Cycle if this is the seven year cycle from Sanhedrin 97a.

The New World Order will not be lead by the likes of George Soros, of course, but by Mashiach ben Yosef who is either the present Prime Minister (yes, believe it or not I mean Netanyahu) or one with enough faith to set up the New World Economic Order where the purpose for making money is to serve G-d. Remember it is Yosef who can economically stabilize the entire world as he did in ancient Egypt. But just like ancient Egypt the “World” will not appreciate what he does and they will gather against Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) to divide it either this year or in the 7th year of this economic cycle (if we are in the cycle described by Sanhedrin 97a).

When the nations of the world do this, either only Mashiach ben Yosef will be killed in accordance with most commentaries on Zecharia 12 or "Half the City will go into exile" in accordance with Zecharia 14. Some other sefarim by our sages say that Mashiach ben Yosef does not have to die, but the Mixed Multitude will try to kill him for not bending on the status of Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) before the entire world (at this current moment the entire world except for Canada, which is very strange).

Therefore, I believe either in August (Av) of 5771 or in 5775, the next Shmittah year, the nations of the world will gather against Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) to divide it, probably in order to set up a Palestinian Authority State. By the way, do not think for one minute that a Republican House of Representatives in the United States can prevent Obama from ordering the sending of NATO troops to do this. Since these troops would be on a peace keeping mission, he does not need a Declaration of War in accordance with the Constitution or the War Powers Act. Since no treaty will need ratification, he does not need 2/3 of the Senate to give its consent. And since the NATO troops will have a high German (Gomer) and Turkish (Togarmah) representation, Germany and Turkey will gladly flip the bill to pay for it. (And the current NATO leader announced they are prepared to sent troops to Israel.A special appropriations bill to pay for it from the US Congress will not be needed. In short the American Founding Fathers put way to much power in the day to day running of foreign policy into the hands of the President. But their mistake is part of Divine Providence.

One of the arguments that it might be this year is that Av 5771 is Mincha Gedolah of the 6th millennium. According to a shitah (method of calculation) of the Vilna Gaon, Mashiach ben David can no longer come Achishena, in a nice way without suffering, after Mincha Gedolah on Yom Shishi (12:30 pm on Friday). He therefore has to start coming b'itah (in its time with tribulation). Just calculate from the Year One when the 1st millennium began until the year 5001 when the 6th millennium began. That takes us to sundown at the beginning of Yom Shishi, Thursday evening. To high noon on Friday just add 750 years (3/4 of a millennium) taking us to Rosh HaShana 5751. Since 1000 years divided by 24 hours = 41.6667 years, that is how many years correspond with each hour of the day. To get to 12:30 pm on Friday take 41.6667 divided by 2 = 20.8333 years or 20 5/6th years for each half hour. Add this to Rosh HaShanna 5751, and one gets Rosh Chodesh Av 5771, 5/6th of the way through 5771, which is this coming August 1st, just at the time when the PA wants to set up their state. On this subject one just has to see the following sent to me by Rav Pinchus Winston:

Rabbah bar Bar Chanah said: Once I was going on a boat and saw a fish upon whose back grass was growing. We thought it was an island. We alighted, baked, and cooked upon it. When the back of the fish became hot, it turned over, and had the ship not been so near (to enable us to jump into it), we would have drowned (Bava Basra 73b) … Explains Rabbeinu Ya’akov: Rabbah bar Bar Channah saw with Ruach Hakodesh that in the End-of-Days, Israel would rule over a people. Israel will assume that this people has no hope of ever overcoming Israel, and will therefore subjugate them. When the people have suffered much, they will “turn the plate over on its mouth” and resist Israel. If Moshiach is not close at hand, Israel will drown from the many problems that will arise. (“I, the author of the ‘Beis Yechiel’) showed this explanation to my teacher, Rabbi Nachum Partzuvitch, immediately after the Yom Kippur War (1973). He said that these words must have been written with Divine assistance, since at the time (18th century), the idea of Jews controlling another people was incomprehensible.” (Tuvcha Yabiyu, Balak)

We can make a valid argument that that the Palestinians are not really a people, that many of their so-called refugees were simply trying to return to where they came from. The most common last name in Gaza is Masri which means Egyptian in Arabic (Mitzri in Hebrew), proving that all those people with that last name were originally from Egypt. They made massive immigration to the Holy Land because the Jews were arriving at the same time, bringing with them the highest prosperity in that part of the world from the 1880s onward. In 1947 and 48 these Arabs were trying to return back to Egypt when King Farouk stopped them at the border and forced them to settle in Gaza. The Masris became instant Palestinians. Kaboom!!

This happened many times over with a massive influx from Jordan because the Palestinian Mandate under the British had an open border with the Jordanians with almost unlimited immigration while Jews were forced to wait in line to enter starting in the 1930s. Of course in 1939 Jewish immigration was effectively ended. What a wonderful time for the civilized British Empire to shut down Jewish immigration to the Holy Land! How thoughtful that Empire was! And with unlimited Arab immigration from Jordan to boot! Yea, I am sure no Arabs showed up from there to participate in the highest standard of living in the entire Middle East.

But the facts are these people are here now, and in 1964 the new ethnic group, the Palestinians formed the PLO to liberate Palestine from the Jews. Wait a second. Judea and Samaria were part of Jordan in 1964. What lands was the PLO formed to liberate? Golly, could it be Haifa and Tel Aviv? Do they still want to flood Haifa and Tel Aviv with 7 million Arab "refugees"? Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad just said that last week!

So for what reason are we talking to them? Because if we do not the entire world will come to force a settlement and send NATO (Gomer and Togarmah), Russian (Meshach and Tuval), and UN troops, representing the entire Quartet. The fact on the ground is that 3 million Arabs live in Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and "East Yerushalayim" along with another million and a half who live in pre-67 Israel. No matter how they got here, they are here now with no real demographic solution in sight. And now they want to, in the words of the interpretation to the above medrash, "turn the plate over on its mouth" and "re-establish" the historically non-existent" Arab country (or even province of another country) of Palestine in Judea and Samaria and Haifa and Tel Aviv and the Galilee.

How unbelievably thoughtful of them! We get to remain in a non-Jewish State of Israel with a majority Arab population that was in large part from either Egypt or Jordan to begin with who magically coalesced into a people in 1964. And of course we will be dhimmi'ized, and no Jew will ever ascend again to the seventh step leading to the Cave of Machpelah where Avraham, Isaac, and Ya'akov and their wives are buried. Remember Hebron will be Judenrein. But this is what the above medrash says.

Whichever it is, I believe in Rosh Chodesh Av 5771 or sometime in 5775, the nations of the world will gather against Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) to kick off the final phase of the battle of Gog and Magog. According to Talmudic Sources and the Prophet Micah 5:2, this final tribulation of Jews being dislocated from their properties should last approximately nine months. At that point according to the Talmud in several places, there will be one great apocalyptic battle between Rome or Edom (Western Civilization) and Persia (Iran) and its allies such as North Korea. According to this time schedule thinking, this should happen either in 5772 or 5776.

During this war all the nations that gathered to divide Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) will be punished by the effects of a nuclear war. See Zecharia 14 for the plague upon the nations that come up against Yerushalayim, it describes the effects of nuclear blasts upon the human body. During this nine month period there will be severe punishments leading up to this war upon the nations of the world.

We saw with the evacuation from Gaza and the northern Shomron a preview of things that will take place if the nations of the world evacuate Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem of their Jews. Hurricane Katrina, the worst natural disaster in American History, came to New Orleans within two weeks of these evacuations. During this hurricane 60 times as many Americans lost their homes as were evacuated from Gaza and the Northern Shomron. Until this day tens of thousands of New Orleans residents are living in temporary shelters.

If this 60 to one ratio holds up for the evacuations of Jews from Judea and Samaria to make them Judenrein, then 320,000 Jews will lose their homes (for up to nine months). 60 * 320,000 = more than 19 million people worldwide will lose their homes as divine retribution for that many Jews losing their homes. This will also happen in short order after any successful evacuations from Judea and Samaria.

East Yerushalayim has a special status though. According to Zecharia 12, just talking about slowing down Jewish population growth in the Holy City will cause the nation that does the talking, in the words of the Prophet, to be lacerated. It is very possible that G-d will consider the 19 years that Yerushalayim was divided under Jordanian rule between 1948 and 1967 to be enough time where Jews in East Yerushalayim were forcibly removed from their homes. But the verses in Zecharia 14 do not say this. Immediately after it says that all the nations of the world will gather against Yerushalayim, it says that homes will be ransacked and women will be violated, and half of the City will go into exile.

To say that this happened in 1948 would require HaShem to use His attribute of Rachamim (Mercy) in calculating the events of the End of Days. He did this in Egypt by counting the 400 years of exile from the birth of Yitzchak. We therefore only spent 210 years in Egypt. He could be doing this again, but we cannot expect it because in 1948 all the nations of the world did not gather against Yerushalayim. Only Jordan's Arab League gathered against Yerushalayim. This is a far cry from what is about to happen in our time where the entire world will gather against the Jews in East Yerushalayim and where the entire world will at least attempt to send half of the City into exile.

With all this exile and being thrown out of one's permanent home into temporary shelters, no wonder that the holiday which most represents the Final Redemption is Sukkot, the holiday of temporary dwellings.

On this note it might be best to discuss where should one be to be part of these apocalyptic events. Here in Eretz Yisrael (in Israel) the worst that will happen to its Jews is that up to 570,000 Jews might lose their homes in Judea, Samaria, and East Jerusalem. Some women might be violated while they are being dislocated from their homes too, which of course is even worse than the expulsions.

What will happen to the rest of the world because of this will be far worse. Will Jewish communities in the Diaspora have invisible shields to protect them from the punishments on the nations in which they dwell. I do not believe so, but there are actually those in the Diaspora who think that this is the case. They believe this even though already most homes in America have lost between 25-50% of their cash value since the onset of the sub-prime mortgage crisis beginning in 2006. Most Jewish communities have suffered along with the rest of America with steep declines in the value of their homes, declines which have become far more steep over the last two years. It does not look like that the invisible shield theory has worked very well.

On the other hand, there are medrashim about miracles here in the Land of Israel that will protect Eretz Yisrael from the worst of the backlash on the nations. This does not include earthquakes that will turn Yerushalayim into a plain by flattening out the entire City, but there is a medrash which talks about aerial attacks of "missiles" which will be stopped by the Hand of G-d. Do not confuse this with Ehud Barak's and Barack Hussein Obama's Iron Dome Missile Shield system for the truncated Eretz Yisrael, which in their minds does not include Judea, Samaria, Gaza, and East Yerushalayim. Such borders are proving to be insane as secular Israelis on the Left Coast are slowly waking up to this fact and missed the fact that the IDF announced Iron Dome will only be deployed to protect key military installations or perhaps Tel Aviv (depending on the threat and the number of systems available, which at the moment is one).

Therefore I think whether it is less than two years or if it is five years, the end is clearly in sight. And if it takes longer so be it.

To end this off, I need to note three other reasons why the nations might gather against Yerushalayim this year and not in 5775. For one, there is a post from Rav Lazer Brody, right after the evacuations from Gush Katif in 5765 (Aug. 2005), that quoted Rabbeinu Bachya on the Torah portion of VaYechi, that the Final Redemption (either Mashiach ben Yosef or ben David) has to begin within seven years of Jews being forcibly removed from their homes. (Rav Lazer has recently purged many of his old posts including this one from his archives, for he says that he does not want to comment any more on politics. Everything that he writes about now deals with increasing emunah (faith) in HaShem in the world. Therefore, do not look for this post in his archives).

[ Side note - I do not know why this does not include Yamit and other communities that were in the far-eastern Sinai in 1982 as part of the Peace Treaty with Egypt. These communities were also part of Eretz Yisrael according to BaMidbar (Book of Numbers) which includes up to 1/3 of the eastern Sinai. ]

But the evacuation of Gush Katif by a standing army of 200,000 Jews as part of the time of Gog son of Gog is spoken about by the Targum (translator) Yonatan ben Uziel from 2000 years ago here on Deut. 34:2-3. He even mentions by name the capital city of Gush Katif as Kirvat Dekalya, City of Date Palms.  The name of the actual capital city of Gush Katif was Newe Dekalim, The Dwellings of Date Palms. Now this happened 5 1/2 years ago. By August of this year it will be six years since the evacuation of Gush Katif, leaving only one year left in Rabbeinu Bachya's calculation. This calculation allows for the arrival of Mashiach ben Yosef in the seventh year from the evacuation from Gush Katif and not necessarily the coming of ben David.

Secondly, in my Cosmic Clock calculations this year 5771 is the Year of Hoshana Rabbah, the seventh Year of Sukkoth. Therefore until the end of this year according to the Cosmic Clock, Jews could still enter "temporary dwellings", forcibly this time at the hands of the entire world. Also in accordance with the Cosmic Clock, 5772 is Shmini Atzeret, the 8th day of the Great Festival of the Final Redemption on which only one sacrificial bull for the nation Israel was offered. On the other previous seven days of the Festival, during the seven days of Sukkot, 70 bulls for the 70 original nations of the world are offered up. The nations of the world are invited to "party" with Israel during these first seven days. Shmini Atzeret is only for Israel, and we return to live in our permanent homes too. Therefore it makes sense that Israel's Final Redemption might come to its peak during 5772 according to the Cosmic Clock.

Finally there is a book by Eliyahu Shatz. I came across this book because of my close association with Rabbi Dr. Marvin Antelman (To Eliminate the Opiate) who highly recommends Shatz's book written in Hebrew (Commentary of Eliyahu on Prophesies of the Redemption in (the Hebrew) Scripture). In this book he dissects the two word expression that appears regularly throughout Scripture Acharit HaYamim (The End of Days). He says Yamim should be understood as Yoma'im (Two days) as it says in Hoshea 6:2 After two days He will resuscitate us. On the third day He will raise us up, and we will live before Him.

The two days are 2000 years where the Holy Temple lies fallow in a state of ruin. This includes 70 years for the First Temple, and 1930 years for the 2nd Temple. This takes us to the end of the Year 5760 (autumn of 2000). Acharit refers to the beginning the the Al Aksa Intafada which began about 36 hours before Rosh HaShannah 5761 (autumn of 2000). Somehow he derives that Acharit refers to twelve years. He understands this as twelve years of the final third battle of Gog and Magog.

Rabbi Dr. Antelman has given me another book to read in English by the same author which derives this from the Book of Daniel. I will let you all know when I have read it, bli neder, and understood it. He definitively says in the above referenced book that the Redemption is in 5772. The copyright date on the book is in 5764 (2004).

As with everything else we will have to see it happen to know for sure. In truth none of this is certain as I have learned since I started blogging in early 2005 right after the South Asian Tsunami. We should just be prepared for anything that G-d might happen to throw our way. It is all for our very best. This is, G-d willing, the generation that will correct the original sins of Israel in the desert.

G-d will find the best path for us to do that.

May the Geulah come before it’s time, b’Rachamim (in mercy), today!

(Photo – Jordanian and Israeli soldiers share a cigarette near the Mandelbaum Gate of a divided Jerusalem of the past.  Today the Mandelbaum Gate border building hosts the Breslev Yeshiva of HaRav Shalom Arush, shlita and sits at the corner of Meah Shearim.)


Life and Safety in the Jewish Quarter

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     Here, in the Old City (Jerusalem), we live normal lives. Well, normal for our part of the world. Pictured here is a young man rushing around doing the kind of things that we all have to do. He is shopping with his small daughter on his shoulders. Except for the unusual architecture, you might think that it is like any other Jewish neighborhood you have seen…lots of young children, noise, not enough time to do everything that needs to be done.

     But, if you look carefully, you will notice one big difference. Look what he has tucked into his belt right next to his tzitzits (fringes). Do you see it? It is a loaded, nine-millimeter, 16 shot per clip, automatic pistol. Yeah, it’s real, and because he is carrying this, Jewish children can play in the streets.

     Shabbos afternoon at the Kotel, a new oleh (immigrant) from Latin America who is in the army asked me, “What kind of religious thing is this… me being in the army learning to kill people? How does this make G-d happy?” 

     I told him, “The Torah teaches that when someone rises up to kill us, we are not to turn the other cheek, or run away. We are obligated to rise up and kill him first. We do not want war with these people. We want to live in peace. We would even let them live here as long as they would stop trying to kill us. But they rise up against us time and time again. We have to defend ourselves.

     Even the world’s greatest example of kindness, Avraham, had to fight a war in order to free his captured nephew.[i] And it seems that, until the Messiah comes, so, too will we have to fight. You are doing a tremendous mitzvah by being in the army. If you weren’t there, the Jewish people couldn’t be here.”

(Akiva adds…”loaded”, there is a clip in the pistol.  But Israel teaches an amazing level of gun safety.  There is NOT a round in the chamber, and gun users are taught to draw and cock in one motion…so that no accidental discharge is possible.  With all the guns found in Israel there are NO reports of children being injured, people grabbing their weapons in anger and doing something stupid, or improperly handling weapons and getting hurt.  Every weapon owner has to go through a yearly certification demonstrating that he knows all the rules, can and does handle his weapon safely, and can use his weapon properly to an good level of proficiency.  Every Israeli weapon holder can hit what he shoots at and keeps his (or her) weapon either on his person or under lock and key at all times.)

[i] Genesis 14:14


Sunday, December 19, 2010


CNN: Shhh, Don’t Mention Arabs Murder

As most have no doubt heard by now, there was a terrorist attack just up the road from me on Shabbat (Saturday).  After Shabbat as my wife drove through the area (returning from the supermarket having no idea what was going on), her car was carefully scrutinized.

The story that’s been reported is, in brief, this… A group was hiking the lovely forested hills near Beit Shemesh on Shabbat by the Hanot ruins.  [ The Hanot ruins are the ruins of an ancient town of Jews who took vows of a nazir that’s just off the side of the road at the beginning of a camping area and forest trails. ]  Most of the group finished the hike and left, but the tour guide, a Jewish woman originally from England stayed behind together with a visiting Jewish woman from the United States.

The two women continued on the trails going a mile or so towards the nearby Israeli village of Mata.  Along the way they passed two Arab men who asked for some extra water, which the women did not have.  The women continued on their way and a few minutes later were attacked by the Arab men who were armed with large knives.

One of the women (the British one, who was the tour guide) was tied up and stabbed 12 times by the Arab men.  She was injured and bleeding heavily and played dead.  They grabbed the other woman and headed off.  The injured woman shakily got to her feet, bleeding heavily, and stumbled towards the nearby village where she received help and the police were called.

The other woman (the American Jewish tourist) was not found for some hours and was then found brutally murdered.


(CNN) The body of an American female tourist missing since Saturday was found outside Jerusalem on Sunday morning, an Israeli police spokesman said.  A search was launched after a second woman arrived at a picnic area with multiple stab wounds and said she and a friend had been attacked, police said.

Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld identified the deceased woman as Christine Logan, an American, and the other woman as Kaye Susan Wilson, a British citizen living in Israel.  Wilson was in stable condition at a hospital in Jerusalem on Sunday, said Dr. Yuval Weiss, the hospital's director.

The two women had been hiking in a forest near Beit Shemesh, west of Jerusalem, Rosenfeld said.  Wilson told police they were attacked by two men, tied up and stabbed. She said she escaped and ran for help.

No, Wilson told police they were attacked by two Arabs.  Even the AP get’s this one right…

(Associated Press) Israeli police found the body of a female American tourist, with multiple stab wounds and her hands bound behind her back, in a forest outside Jerusalem on Sunday in what authorities believe was a politically-motivated attack by two Arab men.

A friend of the slain woman survived, despite being knifed several times, and said the assailants at one point carefully removed her Star of David necklace and then stabbed her in the place it had rested on her chest.

With a massive manhunt under way for the assailants, Rosenfeld said "the main lead line is that the attack was nationalistic, but we haven't ruled out the possibility that it was criminal."  Police said there were no signs that Wilson had been sexually assaulted or robbed.

Wilson told Israeli media that two Arab men approached her and Logan as they rested during a hike in the hills outside Jerusalem. She said the men asked them for water, and then she and her friend walked away. Thinking the men had left, the women headed back to the main trail when suddenly they were attacked.

"It all happened so fast. They came and attacked us," Wilson told reporters.  She said one of the men took out a knife that looked "like a bread knife with a serrated edge." Logan then "became hysterical" and the men began to stab them, Wilson said.

"It was clear that they came to kill," she added. "Who carries around a knife like that?"

At one point, Wilson said one of the assailants gently took a Star of David chain off her neck, "then turned me around and stabbed in the place where the Star of David had been."

After Wilson reported the incident, police and paramedics launched a large-scale hunt and located Logan's body early Sunday buried under some bushes, about 20 yards (meters) from where the attack was believed to have occurred. The site is inside Israel, not far from the frontier with the West Bank.

Missing some details or relying on an early report is one thing.  Skipping mention that it was Arab men, that’s intentionally falsifying the report…avoiding the fact that two Arabs decided to attack and murder (or attempt to murder) two innocent Jewish women women.

That’s warping the truth to fit your agenda.  For a politician that’s unpleasant but normal.  For a news channel…it’s a criminal omission.

CNN, you’ve clarified what you are…political, not news.

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A Russian Hero

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

His medals were earned from his service in the Russian army during the Second World War. One of them came from his having fought in the battle to capture Berlin at the close of the War. He is 87 years old, and had never put on tefillin before coming to the Kotel today.

That Russian Jews fought valiantly in that War is well known. This is no surprise. But, that he had never put on tefillin even once in his 87 years is shocking. How could it be that no one ever helped him? He didn’t argue at all when he was invited to put them on. He walked right over smiling. Does this mean that no one ever asked him? More importantly, are there old guys in your neighborhood whom you see who have never been asked, either?


Friday, December 17, 2010

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Dvar Torah by Reb Ari Waldman @ Mystical Paths

In Yaakov Avinu's blessing to Yehudah it says, "Your eyes will be red from (an abundance of) wine and your teeth white from (an abundance of) milk" (49, 12 according to Rashi). On this pasuk the Gemara says "Rabbi Yochanan says, "It's greater to smile at someone than giving him milk as the pasuk reads (better) the whiteness of the teeth (than) milk!"

Harav Shlomo Volbe in his Alei Shur, book 1 page 190 writes, "Even a small baby can discern a happy face or upset face! If you scowl at him, immediately he'll cry. If you light up with a smile to him, he gets excited. Who knows what promotes the child's health and development more, the food he gets or the smiles he receives?! It's clear that a child growing up without the light of smiles is exactly like a plant that grows without sunshine!! There's no way he'll grow up healthy!! On the other hand, even a small baby can give when he lights up with a smile to others! From his first smile and onward he is already higher than any animal. For this smile is really the light of his neshama shining out of his small and helpless body!! The more a child develops in a healthy manner, the more he smiles out into his surroundings creating an atmosphere of love and happiness! This is the strength of the neshama, shining out its first rays. This is its whole essence, to light up with a smiling countenance!!"

Harav Volbe continues, "These two life forces are the bedrock of any social interaction and of all society. The first, the hunger a person has for his friend's smile. Second, the power and desire to give which is embedded in the hearts of anyone who has a neshama! If you were to contemplate the way people relate to each other you would see how people can live side by side with their neighbor or friend without finding a way or language to communicate with one another. They can live with anger and bitterness because of their misunderstanding one another. If you search for the source of this, you'll find that always one person is waiting for the other to make his overtures and approach him. Only then will he respond in kind! Be it a Rebbi hoping for his student to approach him with his problems or the student waiting for his Rebbi to approach him! A community Rav who wants his flock to come consult with him on communal matters and the community may be waiting for the Rav to initiate his helping to solve those matters! In this manner people can live side by side without approaching one another!! Meanwhile the gap between them is widening into a gaping abyss which they’ll eventually be unable to bridge. Each side has his excuse why the other side should come to him! These aren’t excuses; they are just a display of foolishness! The first thing they should learn is "I must shine with a smile to my friend first!!And not ignore my friend!" How great are the words of Chazal "Be first to greet with Shalom every man!!"

"This is not such an easy task! For Two Years Harav Avrohom Grodzensky, a primary disciple of the Alter of Slabodka worked on "sever panim yafos" greeting people with a shining happy countenance!!" It was said of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach that he would practice smiling in the mirror to receive people in a kind manner!! No wonder people remember him for his smile!! People sometimes come to a family simcha when they didn't feel well. Understandably, it was hard for them to smile. But looking back at a photo album, they regret they didn't at least try to smile! Don't you want to be remembered by your smile?

In summary; You have a neshama that's waiting to shine out to others. This is done by a, making the first move and b, smiling! You can fill the world with sunshine! Today!!

Good Shabbos!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

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Said in My Name

Many times in the last few years I’ve heard some rather extreme statements published in the name of various gedolim (Torah leaders) among orthodox Jewry.  More so in Israel where the primary method of community communication is posters, newsletters, and the not-so-occasional car-with-loudspeakers going through the neighborhood.

And many times now I’ve heard the gedolim (Torah leaders) specifically stating that “many things are said over in my name” or otherwise indicating that they didn’t say it, the reply was to someone privately on a private question with a specific answer for that person, or even their words were taken out of context.

To our great misfortunate, there are clearly those who would manipulate the community, using words, images and signatures of the gedolim for their own purposes.  The mediums of communication have become corrupted and can no longer be trusted.  Every Kol Kore’ must be suspect and considered unreliable unless proven otherwise.

…And the holy words of the gedolim must arrive with a tamper-proof kashrus certification to be considered true.  Hashem Ya’a’zor (G-d should help us!)

(Ad from Life in Israel by Rafi G.)


The Courage of a Jew in Israel


Wednesday, December 15, 2010


A Noachide on Selfishness

A Noachide wrote commenting on Tanya chapter 1.  The end of Tanya chapter 1 seems rather harsh, describing the spiritual motivations for doing chesed (kindness) to others…

Tanya, end of Chapter 1 - The souls of the nations of the world, however, emanate from the other, unclean kelipot which contain no good whatever,

כמו שכתוב בע׳ חיים שער מ״ט פרק ג׳: וכל טיבו דעבדין האומות לגרמייהו עבדין

as is written in Etz Chayim, Portal 49, ch. 3, that all the good that the nations do, is done out of selfish motives.

Since their nefesh emanates from kelipot which contain no good, it follows that any good done by them is for selfish motives.

וכדאיתא בגמרא על פסוק: וחסד לאומים חטאת — שכל צדקה וחסד שאומות העולם עושין אינן אלא להתייהר כו׳

So the Gemara comments on the verse, “The kindness of the nations is sin” — that all the charity and kindness done by the nations of the world is only for their self-glorification...

When a Jew acts in a benevolent manner he is motivated mainly out of concern for the welfare of his fellow. The proof of this is that were his fellow not to need his help, this would give him greater pleasure than the gratification derived from his act of kindness.

Concerning the nations of the world, however, this is not so. Their motivation is not the welfare of their fellow; rather, it stems from a self-serving motive — the desire for self-glorification, a feeling of gratification, and the like.

It should be noted that among the nations of the world there are also to be found those whose souls are derived from kelipat nogah.  Called “the pious ones of the nations of the world,” these righteous individuals are benevolent not out of selfish motives but out of a genuine concern for their fellow. (End of Tanya, Chapter 1.)

I was recently in the offices of a multi-national corporation.  As with many such large companies their walls are covered in motivational posters.  A number of these posters display employees who have made various commitments to their communities, such as tutoring, fundraising for worthy causes, etc.  Each one of these posters finishes the the tagline “volunteer, it feels good.”

That said, the quote from the Tanya still seems rather harsh.  Our friendly Noachide continues…

I never doubted what the holy (Jewish) sages wrote or thought it off target.  Sort of.  But I used to wonder why there was such a blanket statement on the selfishness and self motivation of the 70 nations, though some respite is given below to righteous believing gentiles.

Reb Gutman responds: Know that the Tanya is speaking of a non Jew who does not keep the Seven Commandments of Noah. These things do NOT apply to a non Jew who accepts and follows the ways of the righteous Noah as you do.

(Our Noachide commentor continues…) Today after reading what former U.S. President Nixon did and said regarding Jews, I can understand why it was written that everything gentiles do (except the righteous believing gentiles) is for SELF and self glorification.

It is true what was written on Mystical Paths, that Israel has only ONE friend, and that is Hashem. If only they would realize it.  Fortunately we have Israel as our friend, and if only our people would realize it.

Thank you for your thoughts.  We are humbled and awed as you’ve helped us to realize the responsibility we carry.  While it may be understandable that we have forgotten this due to the continuous persecution of the nations, that doesn’t relieve us of it.  We will continue to work to be worthy of it.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Don’t You Be Lazy!

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by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     Sometimes a single idea can change a person’s entire life. Friday night, there were five seminary girls coming for dinner. One of them called at the last minute and asked if they could bring another girl, whose Shabbos dinner plans had just fallen through.

   “Sure, there is plenty of room.” I told her.

    “The problem is that she is in a wheelchair. I can carry her up the stairs, but can we bring the wheelchair into the house?” the girl on the phone asked.

    “Of course you can? What’s the problem?”

     Friday night she carried Sarah into the house and put her on a chair at the dinner table. Although Sarah has a normal head, the rest of her body is severely dwarfed. She is about two feet tall and has very short arms and legs. She has never taken a step in her life. But, as I said, her head, her brain, and her face are fine.

     Unless you have been by me for Shabbos, you may not understand what goes on here. Surely, I want my guests to have a good time, to eat and drink and have a party, but as I tell them, more importantly, I want them to grow spiritually. Why did G-d give us Shabbos? If it was only to rest, then we should stay in bed the entire 24 hours, like some Jews used to do. But, no, Shabbos is a spiritual time of favor. G-d wants us to rest from our physical work on Shabbos, so we can be attentive to our spiritual work. This is what Shabbos is for.

     What usually happens is, they have a good time, and I end up pushing them any way that I think it will help. So, in the middle of the meal, without any warning, I pointed my finger at Sarah, and with a little mock sternness, I shook my finger at her and said, “Don’t you be lazy! You have work to do.”

     The girl who was taking care of her quickly turned away. She didn’t want to see how she thought Sarah would react to my statement. After all, this is not the normal way someone talks to a girl who has never been able to take one step in her entire life. She is a severely disabled girl who rarely speaks to others. The girls were really surprised that I would talk to her like that. I mean, what can you expect from her?

     I went on, “You, of all people, can help others to be happy. Look at you. You have been smiling and enjoying yourself very much tonight. You are happy to be here and sharing this time with us. You can go up to other girls who are sad and say to them, ‘You’re sad? What do you have to be sad about? Look at me, and I’m happy!’ You can help others more than anyone I know.”

     She beamed. Her life changed on the spot. No longer was she just a sad, sad case with nothing to do. Now she had a lifetime of work ahead of her. It is her job to make people happy. And she is not going to be lazy about it, either.

     After Shabbos I received an email from the girl who was taking care of Sarah. She said that when they left my house, Sarah “was quiet for a long time, thinking,” but then they went to another Shabbos dinner where there were lots of guests, and Sarah made a speech about how by her becoming religious she led her entire family to becoming religious. The friend added that, “She has already opened up more than I have ever heard her open up.”

     Hurray for Sarah. But she better keep busy. She has a lot of work left to do.

Here is the letter that I sent to her.


     Please tell Sarah how happy she made me (and a bunch of other people, too). When she gave her story over to that group of people Friday night she changed a lot of Jewish lives. She should know that when she speaks, everyone listens. A lot of those people had not only their Judaism strengthened by Sarah’s speech, but also the idea to help others with their Judaism was planted in them. Now, they are going to go on to help bring other Jews home, and all this will happen only because Sarah taught them a great lesson.

  Sarah, thank you.


Monday, December 13, 2010

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He Prayed


Not The Rains of Blessing?

I was discussing the weather with a co-worker.  Three days of sandstorm, with the final day coating everything in orange sand and falling like snow flurries.  And then came a good hard drenching rain (still continuing right now).

He said to me “this is not the rains of blessing.  If Hashem wants to give rains with kindness, the weather turns, the gentle rains come and then the hard rains come.  But if first there is days and days of sandstorm and strong winds causing everyone to suffer, this is Hashem saying ‘Enough already, I’ve heard your tefilot (prayers) and here’s some rain to shut you up.’  It’s rain, but not with kindness, and answers to our prayers, but not with mercy.”

May our tefilot always be answered b’rachamim.

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Wacky Israeli Weather

About 15 years ago I looked out the window of my Israeli apartment and thought I’d been kidnapped to an alien planet.  It was exactly like a science fiction movie.  It was bright glowing YELLOW outside, the air itself was shining yellow and everything was coated in yellow.  And in the afternoon it rained MUD.  Weirdest thing I ever saw.

Today it’s been glowing ORANGE outside, as I drive down the street there’s small drifts (and it’s not snow) exactly like flurries (but it’s not snow).  The wind is howling literally stripping the leaves off of trees.  Everything is coated in ORANGE, the streets are orange, the cars are orange, the sidewalk is orange, my black desk chair that the kids left outside is…


orange, and that’s a blue futon next to it that’s orange.  And while driving it started raining mud.

The wind STINGS your eyes and walking out for more than a minute it becomes hard to breathe.  [Hmm, maybe aliens are terraforming the planet for themselves?]

Though the Israeli weather service says it’s raining in Israel somewhere, all I see is SANDSTORM.  COLD WINDY ORANGE STINGING SANDSTORM…

[Maybe, or maybe it’s alien terraforming.  That would explain a lot actually.]

There’s now a layer of orange on my patio about as thick as 30 minutes of snow flurries in the US.  It’s piling up on the sides of the streets and in the corner of every building.

P1020832I’ve never seen a GIANT WINDY COLD STINGING SANDSTORM last day after day after day, actually piling up the freaking sand.

Did I mention it’s cold?  40 degrees by US standards.
Did I mention you can’t breathe in it?  Or keep your eyes open!

When this nuttiness started we looked outside and the kids said “look, it’s foggy, must be about to rain”.  HA HA, jokes on us, it’s just THICK SANDY AIR.

You know what happens when it rains (briefly) through a sandstorm?  Mud drops!  All over the car, all over your hat, coat, whatever.

The laundry we left outside looks like the kids just came back from the park.  The car looks like it went 4-wheeling.  I’m afraid to wear my rain coat (it’s black), it will come back looking like a shmatta (a dirty rag).

Ribono Shel Olam, send some rain and clear the air!

You know, when Hashem takes away the water (it’s not raining much in Israel and the danger of very serious drought is in front of us) it’s really worrying.  But when Hashem starts to take away the AIR!!!

Tefilah, Teshuva, Tzedakah !!!!

Update – I hit post, heard a crack of lightning and it starting pouring, washing the sand right out of the air.


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Nations Don’t Care!

Today a release of some additional tapes from former U.S. president Richard Nixon, who was a not uncommon example of his time in disliking various minorities and expressing it directly (in private at least), brought us these wonderful insights from his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (a non-observant assimilated U.S. citizen who was a German Jew)…

Henry Kissinger is heard saying the genocide of Soviet Jews would not be an American problem on newly released tapes chronicling President Nixon’s obsession with disparaging Jews and other minorities.  Kissinger’s remarks come after a meeting between the two men and former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir on March 1, 1973, in which Meir pleads for US pressure on the Soviet Union to release its Jews.

The men dismiss her plea after Meir leaves.

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” said Kissinger, then secretary of state, on the tapes. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

Nixon replies: “I know. We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

You might be surprised to here Mystical Paths say “he’s right”.  Nations have national concerns, and the leader of a nation is concerned about his nation, his citizens, his economy.  Nations are not friends nor are they humanitarian, they’re self-centered organizations that exist for themselves.

So while it distresses me in the extreme to hear a Jew saying such a thing, NO ONE should think for a second that if the United States of America determines (or rather it’s president or government administration determine) that it’s in it’s interest to let Israel be burned to the ground that it wouldn’t let it happen.

These men, Nixon and Kissinger, aren’t being bastards they’re being national leaders.  How do you know?

Six months later, during the Yom Kippur War, Nixon rejected Kissinger’s advice to delay an arms airlift to Israel as a means of setting the stage for an Egypt confident enough to pursue peace; Nixon, among other reasons, cited Israel’s urgent need.

The president judged that having a strong ally in the Middle East was of value, as was pushing back the Soviet Union’s influence in the Middle East.  So he helped Israel.  Not as a friend, because it was of value to the United States (as he judged it as president).

The friendship of nations is not friendship, it’s a temporary alignment of interests and sometimes of values.  Always remember, we have no one to turn to except Our Father in Heaven. 

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Talking To The Amish at the Kotel


by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths

     A group of Amish from Lancaster, Pennsylvania came to the Kotel the other day. Amish have a reluctance to use modern conveniences, so for them to fly to Jerusalem shows how important their mission was to them. The newspaper said that they came to apologize for their silence during the Holocaust. According to the article, that was what they spoke about with the rabbi of the Kotel. But the picture from the newspaper is not of them talking to the rabbi about the Holocaust. It is me explaining to them what is wrong with worshiping a man. Amish are x-ians, and almost all x-ians transgress the universal commandment not to worship idols, by worshiping the man whom they call “god.”

     They asked an interesting question, “Why did G-d create the universe in six days instead of one?

    Actually, the Talmud asks this question, albeit in a slightly different way. “Why did G-d create the universe with 10 sayings instead of one?”[i] The Torah tells us that G-d created the creation by saying 10 things, i.e. “Let there be light,” “Let there be a firmament,” and so on.[ii]

    The Talmud answers that Creation was created stage after stage in order to give retribution to the wicked who destroy it, and ample reward to the righteous who sustain it. The intricate making of creation shows its greater value, which teaches man to treasure it more.

      There are other lessons to be learned from there being six days of creation. When, many years later, Hashem gave the Jewish People the commandment to rest on the Shabbos, He told us that we are to do our work in six days and rest on the seventh day, as He did when He originally made the Creation.[iii]

      Another important lesson can be learned from the staging of creation over six days. With its various stages, the physicality becomes more and more dense. The Creation process moves from the less dense to the more dense. Light then darkness, then the firmament (Heaven), and the gathering of the waters allows land to appear, and so on. This gives us an indispensable guide when we try to search for spirituality within Creation. We are to conceive of a transcending scale from the most physical world that we see around us, reaching for the subtler, and subtler, the finer and finer, until we “reach” (conceive of) the Ultimate, i.e. moving from the dense physical to the less dense spiritual.

    Although we cannot really understand how G-d actually creates the Universe, we are to learn from everything written in the Torah, including the way that He makes the Universe.

[i] Pirke Avot 5:1
[ii] Genesis 1:3
[iii] Exodus 20:11

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