Monday, April 27, 2015

Revenge is Not Sweet



"You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people" [Kedoshim 19:18]

There are times, said the Chofetz Chaim, that a man grows angry with a friend who did not do him a particular favor.  Such feelings are completely unjustified.

To what can this be compared?  To a man who was walking down the street, looking for his friend.  As he passed people in the street, he would ask them "Have you seen my friend perhaps?"

"Try looking for him in the town square," he was told.  "There are many people gathered there; maybe your friend will be among them."

He went to the town square, searched for his friend, yet he did not find him.

Would it even ocur to him to feel anger toward those individuals who directed him to the town square?  Of course not! He realizes that he must simply continue his search.

The same thing applies to the prohibitions of taking revenge and bearing a grudge, said the Chofetz Chaim.  We are forbidden to feel anger towards a friend who did not do us a favor.  What reason can there be to be angry with him?  Hashem obviously did not designate him as the one who would bestow this particular kindness upon us.  We must simply turn to someone else, and place our request with him; perhaps he is the one who will be able to assist us. 

If a person accustoms himself to constantly thinking in this manner, he will never bear a grudge or feel the need to take revenge.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Friday, April 24, 2015

Calbuco Volcano Erupts in Chile - Video

Incredible sight as this monster volcano in Chile erupts for the first time in more than 42 years.





Also see:  Concerns Rise for Contaminated Water, Respiratory Illnesses

Self Reflections



"No man among you may mislead his fellowman, and you shall fear your G-d" [Behar 25:17]

According to the simple meaning of the verse, remarked R' Simchah Bnim of P'shischa, the Torah is only prohibiting an individual from deceiving his fellowman.  An individual of true piety, however, will go beyond the letter of the law and refrain from deceiving himself as well.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two Birds


Then the kohen shall order, and the person to be cleansed shall take two live, clean birds, a cedar stick, a strip of crimson [wool], and hyssop. [Metzora 14:4]

Rashi explains that since tzara'as comes about because of lashon hara, the person being purified must bring two birds, for birds ''constantly twitter with chirping sounds''.

The Talmud Yerushalmi [Berachos 1:2] cites the words of R' Shimon bar Yochai:  ''If I would have been standing on Har Sinai at the time the Torah was given to the Jewish people, I would have requested before Hashem that He create two mouths for man.  One mouth would be for the purpose of toiling in Torah study, and the second would be for the purpose of allowing him to speak about his ordinary needs.''

Later, R' Shimon bar Yochai changed his mind, and he said:  ''If the world cannot withstand man's slander when he has only one mouth, how much more so would this be the case if he had two mouths.''

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Rainbow's Message


Double and quadruple rainbows at Long Island....  see Everyone is Looking for a Sign
and Devash is correct because whilst a rainbow is beautiful it is not something we really want to see
as it is telling us that our generation is being judged.  See below for more details.

A quadruple rainbow was spotted in the skies over the Glen Cove LIRR station Tuesday morning - Photo Amanda Curtis

God made a covenant with Noah that He will not destroy the entire world again with a Flood. The symbol of this covenant is the rainbow.

When observing a rainbow, we recite a blessing: "Blessed is God, Who remembers the covenant (of Noah)."

However, the rabbis discourage one from staring at a rainbow, since it has a negative message:  It is telling us that the world deserves (another) flood but because of God's covenant, it will not happen.
The Talmud relates that during the lifetimes of certain great sages, a rainbow was never seen, because they were capable of saving the world from a flood, in their own merit.



Rav Kook writes:


Were there not rainbows before the Flood? How did the rainbow suddenly become a symbol of protection from Divine punishment?

In truth, the rainbow was created immediately before the Sabbath of creation (Avot 5:6). Before the Flood, however, the rainbow could not be seen. It was a "Keshet Be'Anan," a rainbow in the clouds. The thickness and opacity of the clouds, a metaphor for the world's dense physicality — obscured the rainbow. Only after the Flood, in a world of diluted physical strength, did the rainbow finally become visible.

The rainbow is a symbol of weakness. Physical weakness, that the cloud no longer conceals it. And also spiritual weakness, that only a Divine promise prevents destruction of the world as punishment for its sins. The Sages taught in Ketubot 77b that rare were the generations that merited tzaddikim so holy that no rainbow could be seen in their days.

The Flood restored balance to the world in two ways. In addition to weakening the material universe, the aftermath of the Flood resulted in a bolstering of the spiritual and moral side, through the Noahide Code. The Flood annulled all previous obligations, and initiated a new era of repairing the world via the seven mitzvot of Bnei-Noah.


Read entire essay at Rav Kook Torah


Why was the rainbow chosen as a symbol of peace between Hashem and mankind?

Hashem said: "When I brought the mabul (flood), My bow was drawn against man. The rainbow resembles a reversed bow, signifying that there shall be no more "arrows from Heaven" sent to destroy humanity".

In the Torah portion that relates the establishment of the covenant between God and Noah (and all generations to come) by means of the rainbow, the word "covenant" (בְּרִית) is repeated seven times. These seven appearances of the word "covenant" allude to the seven colors of the rainbow studied and documented by Isaac Newton, and to the seven Noahide commandments.

The seven colors of the rainbow and the seven Noahide commandments correspond to the seven lower sefirot as follows:

RED - Gevurah (might) - The prohibition against murder

BLUE - Chessed (loving-kindness) - The prohibition against adultery

YELLOW -Tiferet (beauty) - The prohibition against theft

ORANGE - Hod (thanksgiving) - The prohibition against blasphemy

VIOLET -Netzach (victory) - The prohibition against idolatry

GREEN -Yesod (foundation) - The prohibition against eating the flesh of a live animal

INDIGO -Malchut (kingdom) - The injunction to establish a just legal system


by Rabbi Y. Ginsburgh
Read entire essay at: Inner.org

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cyclone Sydney

Bondi Beach: closed !


We're in the middle of some pre-Moshiach weather right now.








Lessons to be Learned


"This shall be the law of the metzora" [Metzora 14:2]

Why, asked R' Shmuel of Sochotchov, does the verse state: "This shall be the law of the metzora" and not "This is the law of the metzora"?

The tzara'as affliction, answered the Rebbe, is brought about by the sin of haughtiness.  Once he is afflicted, however, and individuals begin to distance themselves from him, he feels contrite and humbled.

But this feeling of humility must accompany him for the rest of his life.  Even after he is healed, let him not return to his previous state of arrogance; rather, he must ingrain the lesson he has learned as a metzora and remain humble until his very last day.

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Sunday, April 19, 2015

5776 Moshiach Codes, and Obama

A Deafening Silence

Dedicated by Sruly Heber in loving memory of his grandfather, R' Moshe ben Eliyahu HaLevi ​ respectfully known as Reb Moshe Heber of Toronto.

~~~~ A Deafening Silence
In Tribute of Holocaust Remembrance Day

by Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson

In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.—Martin Niemoller

Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph.—Haile Selassie

As many survivors and their families commemorated Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, to remember the 6,000,000 who perished; as Jews in Israel continue to be threatened by nations determined to destroy it; as bloody wars continue to claim lives inmany parts of the world, with the thunderous silence coming from the international community; as anti-Semitism has increased over the last year by 400 percent; as abuse and injustice often take root in our own communities due to the silence of good people—let us reflect on a stirring Midrash on this week's Torah portion.

The Fateful Conversation
This week's Torah portion, Shmini, relates the tragic episode of the premature death of Aaron's two sons, Nadav and Avihu.

On the day that the Tabernacle in the desert was erected and Aaron's four sons were inaugurated as priests, the two oldest children entered into the tabernacle and did not come out alive (1).

The Talmud (2) relates the following story to explain the cause of their death:

"It once happened that Moses and Aaron were walking along the road and Nadav and Avihu (Aaron's two sons) were walking behind them, and all Israel was walking behind them. Said Nadav to Avihu, 'When will these two old men die and you and I will lead the generation?' Thereupon G-d said to them: 'We shall see who will bury whom!'"

A Cryptic Midrash

Now, this story of Aaron's two sons, engendered a cryptic Midrash. It reads like this (3):

"When Job heard about the death of the two sons of Aaron, he was seized bytremendous fear. It was this event that compelled Job's best friend, Elihu, to state (4): "Because of this my heart trembles and jumps from its place."

This Midrash seems strange. Why did the Nadan-Avihu episode inspire such profound fear in the heart of Job's friend?

Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulaei, the 18th century Italian sage and mystic known in short as the Chida (5), presents the basis of the following interpretation on this obscure Midrash. He quotes it (6) "in the name of the Sages of Germany."

Three Advisors

The Talmud relates (7) that Job served on the team of advisors to Pharaoh, the emperor of Egypt. The other members of the team were Balaam and Jethro. When the Jewish population in Egypt began to increase significantly, developing from a small family of seventy members into a large nation, Pharaoh, struck by the fear that this refugee group would ultimately pose a threat to his empire, consulted his three advisors on how to deal with the "Jewish problem."

Balaam chose a tyrannical approach. He suggested that Pharaoh drown all Jewish baby boys and force every adult Jewish male into slave labor.

Job remained silent. He neither condemned the Jews to exertion and death, nor defended their rights to life and liberty.

Jethro was the only one among the three who objected Balaam's plan of oppression. To escape the wrath of Pharaoh, who enthusiastically embraced Balaam's "final solution," Jethro fled from Egypt to Midian, where he lived for the remainder of his years.

The Talmud (7) relates the consequences of the advisors' respective behaviors. Balaam was slain many decades later during a Jewish military campaign in the Middle East (8). Job was afflicted by various maladies and personal tragedy (9), while Jethro, the exclusive voice of morality in the Egyptian palace, merited not only Moses as a son-in-law but also descendants who served as members of the Jewish Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) in Jerusalem, loyally representing the Jewish principles of justice and morality (10).

Job's Self-Righteousness

What went through Job's mind after this incident? Did Job consider himself morally inferior to his colleague Jethro who, in an act of enormous courage, stood up to a superpower king and protested his program of genocide? Did Job return home that evening and say to his wife, "I discovered today that I am a spineless and cowardly politician who will sell his soul to the devil just to retain his position in the government."

No.

Job, like so many of us in similar situations, did not entertain that thought even for a moment. On the contrary, Job considered himself the pragmatist and Jethro the idiot.

"What did Jethro gain of speaking the full truth?" Job must have thought to himself. "He lost his position and was forced to flee. He acted as a fanatical zealot. I, Job, by employing my savvy diplomatic skills and remaining silent, continue to serve as Pharaoh's senior advisor and thus will be able to assist the Jewish people, subtly and unobtrusively, from within the governmental ranks of power." For decades, Job walked the corridors of the Egyptian palace saturated with a feeling of self-righteousness and contentment.

Till the day he heard of the death of the sons of Aaron.

Job's Shattering Discovery

When Job inquired as to what might have caused the premature death of these two esteemed men, he was answered with the famous Talmudic episode quoted in the beginning of this essay:

"It once happened that Moses and Aaron were walking along the road and Nadav and Avihu (Aaron's two sons) were walking behind them, and all Israel were walking behind them. Said Nadav to Avihu, 'When will these two old men die and you and I will lead the generation?' Thereupon G-d said to them: 'We shall see who will bury whom!'"

Job was astounded. "I can fully understand," Job said (11), "why Nadav was punished. It was he who uttered these disgusting words. But why was his brother Avihu punished? He did not say anything (12)."

"Avihu?" came the reply. "He was punished because he remained silent (13)."

Because when a crime is happening in front of your eyes, your silence is deafening.(14)

Footnotes:
1) Leviticus 10:1-3; 16:1.
2) Sanhedrin 52a.
3) The Midrash is quoted in Nachal Kedumim and Chomas Anach by the Chida Parshas Acharei Mos (see footnotes 5-6); in the book "Midrash Pliah," and in Pardas Yosef to Leviticus 16:1. - See Vayikrah Rabah 20:5 (and commentaries of Matnois Kehunah, Yefah Toar and Rashash).
4) Job 37:1.
5) 1724-1806. The Chida, author of more than fifty volumes on Torah thought, was one of the great Torah luminaries of his day. He resided in Israel, Egypt and Italy.
6) In his book Chomas Anach (However, see there for his refutation of this interpretation). This answer is quoted also in Pardas Yosef ibid and in "Midrash Pliah - Chedah Upelpul."
7) Soteh 11a.
8) Numbers 31:8.
9) See the biblical book of Job chapters 1-2. Job, just like Balaam, received a punishment measure for measure. One cries when he suffers even though he knows that doing so will not alleviate his suffering. Why? Because pain hurts. This keenly demonstrated to Job his state of moral apathy. For if he were truly perturbed by the plight of the Jewish victims, he would have voiced his objection to Balaam's plan even if he thought that protesting it wouldn't bear any results, just as one cries out in pain upon suffering though the cry will not help the situation (See Chidushei HaGriz by Rabbi Yitzchak Ze'av Soloveitchik to Soteh ibid.).
10) Jethro, too, was rewarded measure for measure (see Toras HaKenaos to Soteh ibid.). 11) It is unnecessary to assume that the Chida's intent is that Job actually heard of this Talmudic tradition and posed the following question. As is the case with many Midrashim, certain statements and episodes may be understood symbolically. Possibly, the Midrash is conveying to us its perspective on moral silence by employing the images of Job, and Aaron's two sons, as examples.
12) This question is raised (independently of this entire discussion) in Birchas Shmuel to Soteh ibid. 13) Cf. Eyoon Yaakov to Ein Yaakov Soteh ibid.
14) This essay is partially based on an address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Purim 1971. Published in Sichos Kodesh 5731 vol. 1 pp. 560-568.

Source: The Yeshiva.net