There is one segulah [supernatural cure] transmitted to us by our righteous leaders of previous generations which acts as a powerful tool to cure or protect against the disease of cancer.
The following are the words of the holy Sanzer Rebbi, the Divrei Chaim זצ"ל, as heard by his grandson, Rav Moshe Halberstam זצ"ל from the Satmar Rebbi זצ"ל:
“…the learning from the Sefer Tomer Devorah is a segulah against the terrible sickness…”
"הלימוד בספר תומר דבורה מסוגל נגד פגעי המחלה הנוראה רח"ל..."
It is recommended to learn from the sefer Tomer Devorah [Palm Tree of Devorah] once a week or at least once a month, even though this sefer is not easy to understand, This segulah follows the principle of midda k'neged midda [measure for measure]. If we emulate G-d’s attributes and act like He does with patience, compassion, forgiveness, etc, Hashem will act towards us in the manner of midda k'neged midda and be patient, compassionate and forgiving with us.
"A man or woman who distinguishes himself (or herself) by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem" [Naso 6:2]
Rashi asks "Why was the Torah portion of the nazir put adjacent to the portion of the sotah (a woman who deviated from moral behaviour)? To tell you that anyone who sees a sotah in her disgrace should take upon himself to abstain from wine [by becoming a nazir]."
Whenever a person sees something improper, he must think: "Why has Heaven shown this impure thing to me?" He must do some serious soul-searching and attempt to strengthen himself in his Divine service.
R' Yisrael Salanter once caught a bad cold. The first day of his illness, he spent the entire day worrying.
"Why is the Rav so worried?" asked one of his close disciples. "Baruch Hashem, it's just a cold and it will not pose any serious threat to your health."
"It is not my health that concerns me" responded R' Salanter. "I worry over what it states in Mishlei: "Colds and traps are in the path of the stubborn" [Mishlei 22:5] "This verse is evidence that I was stricken with a cold on account of possessing the terrible trait of stubbornness".
Only once evening had arrived and R' Salanter had thoroughly examined his deeds without finding the trait of stubbornness within himself, was his mind put to rest.
To what can this be compared, asked the Chofetz Chaim? Answer: to a King who summoned his servant Reuven, to appear before him.
Reuven was filled with dread and thought "why has the King summoned me? Perhaps someone has slandered me and falsely accused me of committing some crime".
Reuven approached his trusted friend Shimon, and asked him to accompany him to the King's courtyard; yet Shimon refused!
"What shall I do" thought Reuven. "Shimon my closest friend has refused to join me; I will go and ask Levi. True, Levi is not my best friend, but perhaps my plea will sway him enough that he will accompany me."
"I am prepared to join you" replied Levi, "but I am afraid of entering the King's palace. I will accompany you to the King's courtyard, and then I will have to part from you."
Left with little choice, Reuven approached Yehudah, whom he hardly knew.
Surprisingly, it was Yehudah who agreed to join Reuven on his visit to the King. He agreed to enter the palace and intercede on Reuven's behalf.
"When a person departs from this world", concluded the Chofetz Chaim, "and is summoned to appear before HaKadosh Baruch Hu, the King of all kings, his closest "friend" - the gold and silver that took so much effort to amass - will refuse to accompany him. His sons and daughters escort him partway, but they will not enter the King's palace.
"Only the mitzvos and good deeds that he performed during his life - the things he appreciated least - will be the ones to accompany him all the way to the Throne of Glory. Only they will plead on his behalf!"
This is as the verse states: "A man's holy items" - the mitzvos and holy deeds that a man has done throughout his life - "shall remain his" - only they will remain with him to intervene on his behalf after passing from this world.
Rav Chatzkel - Look Inward For The Greatest Chesed
Although doing Chesed [kindness] to oneself is not called Chesed, Rav Chatzkel Levenstein says that the greatest Chesed can be done with one's self. How?
Chesed is helping a person fill his needs. If a rich person became poor we have a much greater obligation towards his needs than to a poor person. The rich person lacks so much and is in terrible pain from the loss. The poor person only lacks a little as his aspirations are quite low.
We can do Chesed with our Neshamos [souls]. Our Neshama is considered a stranger in an extremely strange land - our body. Helping a stranger is Chesed. This Neshama came down from the Kisei HaKavod [Throne of Honor] where it rejoiced in the presence of the Kedusha of Hashem. Now suddenly it finds itself in a cramped body whose every desire runs totally opposed to everything the Neshama craves. The Neshama is trapped and cannot do anything and suffers unbearably.
While surely we'd love to do Chesed for our Neshama, our difficulty is that we cannot fathom how deeply our good or bad deeds affect our Neshama. We project our feelings on it, thinking that the things that make us happy will make it happy as well. Unfortunately that couldn't be further from the truth.
Rav Chatzkel tells a Mashal of a villager who marries the princess. He cannot bring her anything to make her happy for she is the daughter of the King and nothing the villager brings means anything to her. Similarly no worldly pleasures mean anything to our Neshama. Even mitzvos don't satisfy the Neshama for they are mixed with worldly intention and are not the pure fare that the Neshama desires.
Pity your Neshama and do mitzvos and maasim tovim [good deeds]. Give it a small consolation by refraining from bad and doing good. This is a great Chesed that you can do for your soul. After all she is the daughter of the King and He asked you to keep an eye on her. [Midos - Gomel Nafsho Ish Chesed]
Some years after the Six Day War, I was invited to address the I.D.F. as well as various communities in Israel. On one of these occasions I called a press conference. In those days, it was possible to do that for outreach was a novelty. With the exception of Chabad, none of the kiruv organizations that are active today were in existence. We were literally the first to put kiruv – outreach, on the map.
I called the press conference because I was terribly afraid. In the euphoria that followed the spectacular victory of the Six Day War.... gratitude to Hashem, proclaiming His guiding hand, was blatantly missing. We deluded ourselves into believing that it was “kochi v’otzem yadie...” – “It was my strength, my might that achieved this...” I was so terribly afraid of the consequences of this attitude, that I felt constrained to call a press conference in the hope that someone might just listen.
“The nations of the world begrudge us victory,” I said. “Yes, for a few moments after the Holocaust, their consciences bothered them and anti-Jewish diatribes became politically incorrect. But alas, as a survivor of the Holocaust, I knew that that would soon pass, and their hatred would resurface,. There is only one way in which we can protect ourselves,” I continued, “and that is to have our representatives at the U.N. and throughout the world, unabashedly proclaim that we returned to our G-d given land – that our right to that land was granted by the Almighty G-d Himself and we have a deed to prove it. And even as we make that declaration, we must point to the Bible – our Torah and read the passages that assure that this land will belong to us, the Jewish people, for all eternity...... that G-d Himself deeded it to us as an eternal inheritance – that the covenant sealed at Sinai proclaims that we the Jewish people, the Torah, and the land are one.”
My plea, of course, went unheeded. At best, people smiled at my naivete, and others just dismissed it as “religious fanaticism. Sadly, to this very moment, nothing has altered. With the exception of Menachem Begin, none of Israel’s leaders – neither the Prime Ministers nor any of the ambassadors have mentioned Hashem or recognized that it was His guiding hand that enabled Israel to triumph. Sadly, this failure to recognize Hashem, is also evident in many areas. Our beautiful, moving anthem, Hatikva, would be so much more meaningful if G-d’s name was mentioned. I could cite many other examples, but the important factor is that we ourselves understand that “we are a holy nation that stood at Sinai and heard the voice of G-d, and that voice is embedded in our neshamas. If we would only listen to its still, small voice that is constantly calling out to us.
With every passing year, the demonization of the Jewish State has escalated, where once, for a very brief moment, Israeli soldiers were held in esteem, today, they are regarded as oppressors of the downtrodden who occupy land that does not belong to them.
In vain does Israel reach out with compassion to those who attack her; in vain does she extend the hand of peace. The attacks continue unabated and with every passing day, they become more deadly., killing men women, children and babes. From the very moment of Israel’s rebirth, Jewish blood flowed freely in the land, but no nation ever protested that; no nation ever raised its voice on our behalf.. The centuries old canard of Jew hatred never really dissipated, and today we are witnessing that which we thought would never occur.
Was it only yesterday that the most popular song on the Israeli hit parade was “Ani mafticha lach..... I promise you my child, that this will be the last war...” Tragically, it was a dream that never came about.
I write all this not because, G-d forbid, I want to criticize our people, but precisely because I love our people and our land, that I write. G-d knows we have undergone more than enough suffering already, and in this time of crisis, even as in pre-Holocaust Europe, doors are once again being shut against us. Before it’s too late, we have to recognize that our help, our salvation will not come from Washington nor from any other capitol on earth. But it can and will come from the greatest capitol of all – the capitol in the Heavens above. It is there and only there that our destiny is shaped. It is to that capitol that we must cry out, and if we do so, our help will come.
President Obama, in his address to the nation outlined his new peace initiative, calling upon Israel to return to her pre-1967 borders, a suicidal course that the Jewish state can never consider. Israel’s Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, delivered a most eloquent, powerful response, explaining why Israel can never entertain such a death sentence. He passionately explained how, throughout the centuries, the Jewish have people suffered barbaric torture and persecution that saw millions slaughtered, but throughout, the Jewish people never renounced their right to the land of Israel nor their hope of return. Yes, he spoke from the heart and you had to be a stone not to be moved by it. But with all that, there was one word that was blatantly missing, and the absence of that word rendered Israel vulnerable, open to further attack, and that one word was Hashem – the Almighty G-d.
If only.....if only, I thought to myself, he had added to his powerful plea, “We have returned to our G-d given land!”. But alas that one sentence never surfaced. No, we cannot rely upon anyone. I reiterate, our help can only come from G-d Himself.
I ask every fair-minded person to consider what happens if millions of people shout that Israel and the Jews, are the vermin of the world and must be exterminated. Then consider what would happen if, instead of the word “Jew”, the words “black man” was substituted. Then consider what would happen if, instead of “Israel” another nation would be required to give over its land to a people who openly proclaim that they will never recognize her right to exist.
What’s more, consider what would happen if any other nation was required to give up her land, evacuate her citizens, and remove them by force. What would happen if they were demanded to give up the homes and the synagogues that they built, the land that they converted from a desert into beautiful gardens and orchards only to see that place become a launching pad for deadly terrorist attacks. Yes, Israel called upon her own soldiers to uproot their brethren from Gush Katif and rendered them refugees in their own land.
And it wasn’t only these places. Remember Oslo when Israel gave up her land for the creation of a Palestinian State and then supplied weapons for a police force, only to see those weapons turned against her. I could go on and on, but would anyone dare demand that after having seen and experienced all that, more land be given away to a people that have proven time and again that they have only one agenda, and that is to wipe Israel off the map.
And how, you might wonder was Israel rewarded for her sacrifices? The lands that she gave away were quickly converted into launching pads for deadly missiles and rockets aimed at her villages and cities, killing and maiming. And now, Israel is being pushed to give away more and more of her land. from whence Hamas and her cohorts can launch even more deadly rockets.
Prime Minister Netanyahu explained that we are a nation that suffered one holocaust too many. we cannot risk another slaughter. Instead of understanding his plea, he was chastised for lecturing the president in the White House.
There is something here that does not make logical sense, something that every rational mind must question and wonder at. How could such evil be accepted? It defies all reason, and yet, the answer is simple: “If only My people would heed Me. If Israel would walk in My ways, in an instant, I would subdue their foes and against their tormentors, turn my hand....” [Psalm 81]
Last Yom Kippur, a Rabbi in an upmarket synagogue told the packed shul about the awe he had for his congregation. "I only see most of you here once a year.... and yet I am in awe of you - and it is precisely because I only see most of you once a year, that I remain in awe of you. In spite of the fact that you never come to shul on a regular basis, you make sure that you are all here for Yom Kippur. I know without a doubt that on Yom Kippur, every seat in the synagogue will be filled."
Why do Jews bother going to shul once a year? What brings them back, even if the remaining 364 days are spent doing anything but connecting with G-d?
The pintele yid is described as that tiny part of Jew that never quits - the little spark of Jewishness that is indestructible. No matter how hard that person tries to leave his Jewish-ness, there is a part of him that just can't get away. Run to the ends of the earth, and it will still be there. Announce your non-belief to the world, tell everyone you don't believe, and the 'pintele yid' will still disrupt your plans.
Dear Rabbi Moss,
Although I was raised in a traditional home, was brissed and barmitzvad (sorry about these spellings) I have never had any faith or “religious” belief. I am now aged 34, and would describe myself as an atheist. I have no wish to be buried in a Jewish cemetery (and my Will has also made this clear) and have married a non-Jew in a civil ceremony.
My question is, can I consider myself officially non-Jewish, by my effective opting-out, or do I need some sort of form or dispensation to be officially no longer Jewish?
Many thanks for your help with what is perhaps an unusual question.
I would like to help you, but I feel there’s nothing I can do.
According to your question, you have done everything possible to negate your Jewishness: in practice you do not keep Jewish tradition; in belief you are an atheist; in family life you have married a non-Jew and thus won’t have Jewish children; and even in death you are determined not to be buried in a Jewish cemetery.
One would think that all this would be enough to confirm your un-Jewishness. But no. for some reason, you are still unsatisfied: you still feel Jewish. So much so, you feel you need official dispensation.
And so, being an atheist, to whom do you turn to solve this problem? A doctor? A psychiatrist? The civil celebrant that married you? No…….You turn to a rabbi!!!
I’m reminded of the child who ran away from home, but ended up just going round and round the block because his parents told him never to cross the road by himself.
I’m sorry, Edward. There is nothing more you can do. You are as Jewish as Moses, Woody Allen and the Chief Rabbi of Wales. And you always will be. There is nothing you can do to change it.
In fact, it seems that being Jewish is the most dominant facet of your personality. It is even influencing the place you want to be buried. (Why would an atheist care about where they are buried?)
Edward, Jewishness is not a belief, a feeling, a conviction or a lifestyle. It is a state of being. You have a beautiful Jewish soul. You can either celebrate it or fight against it. But it will always be there. So why not celebrate it?
More questions and answers from Rabbi Aron Moss can be found here: Nefesh.com
Increasing tensions between Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intensified when hardline clerics exerted pressure on Ahmadinejad to obey the supreme leader as the ultimate authority. Those tensions were exacerbated with the arrest of over 25 of Ahmadinejad’s associates and loyalists, along with a high-level member of his inner circle. Supporters of the supreme leader are referring to Ahmadinejad’s group as “The Deviant Movement.”
This “group” has announced that within the upcoming weeks a monumental event will turn the tide to their advantage.
Based on a report from Iran’s Ayandeh, one of the officials within “The Deviant Movement” has informed his confidants that certain sources close to the “Mahdi’s Emergence Movement” have stated that an important event will soon change the course of operations to Ahmadinejad’s favor. According to interpretations offered by Ahmadinejad’s team, a high-ranking member of the Islamic Republic will meet with a climactic incident. This in turn will build up to the announcement of the “covert emergence” of the Twelfth Imam (or Mahdi) in Medina, Saudi Arabia.
Hardliners critical of Ahmadinejad maintain that his team believes a covert emergence will commence on the 14th of Khordaad (June 5) in Medina, setting the stage for the announcement of the actual emergence in the next few years.
Ahmadinejad believes that the covert emergence has, in fact, occurred. Therefore, he acts like he no longer needs the supreme leader and that he can disobey him, as he is taking his orders directly from the Mahdi himself.
G-d spoke to Moses saying "Take revenge against the Midianites for the children of Israel."
In contrast to other wars, where the Levites did not fight, Rashi writes that the Levites were required to fight in the war against Midian. However this is difficult to understand in light of Rambam's explanation that the Levites were exempt from fighting because "they have been separated out to serve G-d as His ministers... therefore they were also separated from worldly matters." Why was an exception made in this case?
The explanation is that the war against the seven Cana'anite nations was fought in order to conquer and settle their land, which would then lead to a life of plowing and sowing the land. Thus the Levites who were "separated from worldly matters" did not participate in this war.
However, the war against Midian was not fought in order to conquer territory, but rather it was purely "to carry out G-d's revenge". Thus the war did not fall into the category of "worldly matters" but rather, it was solely an act of serving G-d - fitting indeed for the Levites, who "have been separated out to serve G-d as His ministers".
According to Chassidic thought, the war against the seven Cana'anite nations alludes to the "battle" of refining one's overtly undesirable character traits which fall into seven broad categories, stemming from the seven emotional faculties of the Animal Soul. Consequently, this "war" is not relevant to the tribe of Levi, or to those who aspire to their spiritual level - as Rambam writes that this could be "any type of person... whose spirit inspires him, and he resolves in his mind to set himself apart (from worldly pursuits), to stand before G-d and serve as His minister, to work for Him, and to know G-d".
In contrast, the war against Midian involved fighting against a subtle type of evil which is found in virtually every personality, even those who dedicate themselves as fulltime "ministers" of G-d. Thus, even the Levites, and those among the Jewish people who devote themselves "to stand before G-d and serve as His minister" must participate in waging the spiritual war against Midian.
What is the "subtle evil" that can plague even the most dedicated servant of G-d? Chassidic thought explains that this is a lack of unity and camaraderie between one man and another, indicating underlying emotions of divisiveness and unjustified hatred. All this arises from a sense of over-inflated self-importance, which causes a person to be intolerant of others and eventually view them as enemies. Clearly the war against these attributes is very important indeed.
Source: Based on the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Likutei Sichos vol 28 p.344
"....in our time and recent generations there has been a plethora of dates given. In recent years it’s increased to statements of holy rebbes, rosh yeshivas, mekubalim, tzadikim that we’re almost there, we’re there, we’re there soon, etc.
According to the Gra, the Vilna Gaon, one of the ways he taught (or rather wrote down, it wasn’t really to be shared) to calculate the ketz on it being “before it’s time in it’s time” gives an “early” date of the 17th of Iyar, 5771 and a “late” date of Rosh Chodesh Av, 5771.
As we stated in Part 1 of this FREAKING OUT article series, a (small) number of tzadikim in Jerusalem have given a warning that it’s best for Jews to be in Israel by the 17th of Iyar this year."
Have a peaceful Shabbat, thanks for reading my blog.... and I'll see you next week iy"H
IDENTIFYING THE EVIL AT THE END OF DAYS - by Joel Gallis a"h and Dr. Robert Wolf
Yaakov [Jacob] called for his sons and said, האספו , gather and assemble yourselves. That is, unify and become a single nation with לב אחד , one heart, and I’ll tell you about your descendants' redemption at the end of days. When you have a לב אחד , [gematria of 45], then you will have aגאולה, a redemption, [gematria of 45] at the end of days. But there was no unity among the brothers. There still were bad feelings and finger pointing among them. They did Tshuvah with respect to their brother Yosef, but with respect to each other, they were separate tribes. And so, Yaakov could not reveal to them what would befall their descendants at the end of days. He thought that perhaps one of his sons had sinned. He then searched the names of each of his 12 sons to see if the letters ח or ט, the main letters of the word for sin, were present in any of his son’s names. He was relieved when he realized that these letters were absent from their names. He then thought that perhaps their lack of achdus was worse than he imagined. If so, their merit to learn about the future final redemption was lost. Yaakov then searched their names again to see if the letters ק and ץ from the wordקץ [end] were present in any of their names. Once again these letters were absent from all 12 names.
Yaakov then realized the extent of their disunity and began to give them various brochos. Although he was not allowed to tell about events affecting the Jewish People thousands of years in the future, Yaakov had already hinted at the identity of the evil that would befall their descendants at the time of the end. He also hinted that the lack of unity that they possessed would continue until the final days. For the gematria of האספו is 152, and that is the same as the phrase עד היום הזה [until this day]. For until this very day, there still has not been achdus, or unity, among the Jewish People.
However, there was one brief period of time of a לב אחד , at Mount Sinai when the Jewish People received the Torah. This unity lasted until Moshe’s death, and because of it, Moshe was able to tell the Jewish People before he died what will occur to their descendants at the end of days. He said that the Jewish People would stray from the path of Torah, and that if they angered Hashem through the work of their hands, במעשה ידיכם then evil would befall them, וקראת, at the end of days. The only other time this word וקראת is used in the 5 Books of Moses, is when Hagar was told that she would have a son, and she should call him וקראת, by the name Yishmael. This word, וקראת , which normally is connected to proclaiming and voicing something, is surprisingly used here to tell us that when evil befalls the Jewish People, it was proclaimed in heaven and does not happen by chance. So just what is the connection between Yishmael and the end of days? The connection is that the descendants of Yishmael are the evil that will befall the Jewish People at that time. We will anger G-d through the work of our hands, במעשה ידיכם [a gematria of 501], and the evil of the ישמעאלים[also a gematria of 501] will befall us.
So what could we have possibly done with our hands that would anger Hashem? With our very own hands, we finance and work to put the wrong people in power over us. This action results in our downfall. By putting into power leaders in Israel who don’t believe in G-d, we help bring about a spiritual collapse. And by electing dangerous leaders in America and other countries, we assist in bringing our physical and moral downfall. We vote for these people, we put them in power, and we raise money for them. This inappropriate work of our hands will bring evil upon us in the form of Yishmael.
For not only is 501 the value of במעשה ידיכם [the work of our hands], and our punishment, the ישמעאלים , but it is also connected to the next President of the United States that we are helping put in power through Jewish efforts. For 501 is also the gematria of ראש - representing the new head, or leader of America.
So who will be the new ראש of America? Our readers probably will be shocked to learn that 501 is also the gematria of ברק חוסיין אובאמה - Barack Hussein Obama. Hashem watches as countless Jews, especially in Hollywood, California, rush to send their money to Obama’s campaign chest. And so, with our own hands we are in the process of taking a descendant from Yishmael and placing him as our Rosh in the White House, just 7 years after 9/11. He is indeed the evil that will befall us at the end of days, the evil that Moses spoke to our ancestors about. But there are those who argue that Obama is youthful and energized in his appearance and his ideas. Why shouldn’t we believe him when he says the magic words that he is a friend of Israel? How do we really know he’s dangerous to us? Not only is his name the same gematria as Yishmaelim, evidencing that he is a Muslim although he denies it, but it also has a further connection to a wave of impending evil against the Jews and the rest of the world. At our Passover seders we spill a drop of wine when we mention each of the 10 plagues, and also when we mention the abbreviation of those plagues by saying דצך עדש באחב . Well this abbreviation of the 10 plagues also has a gematria of 501, the same as Barack Hussein Obama and the Yishmaelim.
Obama and radical Muslims will bring as much havoc, destruction, and confusion to the world as all the 10 plagues together brought to Egypt. It’s interesting how Rabbi Yehudah, who made the acrostic or abbreviation of the plagues, took the first Hebrew letter of each plague. However, with respect to the last plague, מכת בכרות , the killing of the first born, he took the bais [the first letter of the 2nd word of the plague], rather than the mem [the first letter of the first word]. Perhaps he knew that in the future, during the end of days, there would be an Obama. Perhaps his message is a warning to us that has been encoded in the Haggadah for nearly 2 thousand years until today.
The foreign minister of Hamas has recently endorsed Obama for president. The Los Angeles Times devoted a lengthy front-page story headlined, “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama.” Ali Abunimah, a resident of Obama’s district, claims that Obama said several years ago when running for the Senate, that he was sorry he couldn’t talk more about the Palestinian cause since his primary campaign had constrained what he could say. Daniel 7  deals with the last king of the 4th beast of exile who will humble 3 other kings. Rav Saadia Gaon stated that the 3 kings or leaders who will be humbled, are from Israel, Greece [representing Europe], and Yishmael [representing the Arab nations]. This haughty, arrogant king will speak words against G-d and the Jewish People, and he will try to change the times and the law. How interesting is it that this very word, change, is the key word used by Obama in his campaign?
The coded, end of days message that Yaakov gave over to his sons was not deciphered by them. But our generation, the generation alive at the end of days, can understand the clues and break the code. In Yaakov’s statement there are four words אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית [that will befall you in the end]. The word אשר that describes the identity of the evil has a gematria of 501 the same as Barack Hussein Obama. And if you look at the word באחרית , in the end, the first 3 letters contain the initials of Obama. The bais is for ברק Barack, the aleph is for אובאמה Obama, and the ches is forחוסיין Hussein. May Hashem protect us from this evil and bring Mashiach speedily in our days.
In the verses below, starting from the א of the first נשיא [President], every 7 letters spell out the name Obama in Hebrew:
א ויהי דבר-יהוה, אלי לאמר. ב בן-אדם, שים פניך אל-גוג ארץ המגוג--נשיא, ראש משך ותבל; והנבא, עליו. ג ואמרת, כה אמר אדני יהוה: הנני אליך, גוג--נשיא, ראש משך ותבל. ד ושובבתיך, ונתתי חחים בלחייך; והוצאתי אותך ואת-כל-חילך סוסים ופרשים, לבשי מכלול כלם--קהל רב צנה ומגן, תפשי חרבות כלם.
[Translation] And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying
Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
and say: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;
and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords:
This is a photo from 2008 - a Lag B'Omer bonfire - but some people can see a face, right in the centre of the photo: a woman smiling. Please leave a comment if you can see it. Don't strain your eyes for hours... you either see it straight away, or not at all. The face is of someone who died a few months before this photo was taken. [Yes it's really there]
Most people these days are going about their lives as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening. I can't really understand it, because to me the world is on the verge of something huge, and yet only a small percentage of people seem to "see" it. Not only can people not see what's going on in front of their eyes, they can no longer hear either..... as Rebbetzin Jungreis writes:
The Rebbetzin's Viewpoint
By: Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
`Deaf and Dumb`
I have often written and said that we are living today in remarkable but dangerous times in which we can hear (provided we know how to listen) the footsteps of Messiah. Ours however, is a generation that has difficulty hearing. We are saturated with constant noise, not only by world events that are so rapidly unfolding that before we digest one, another is upon us. But we are also assailed by our own tumultuous, seductive life styles – lifestyles that are conducive to self-absorption and “deafness”.
You might, of course, wonder at the appropriateness of the word “deafness”. “Isn’t that a bit too extreme?” No! Even if there was a stronger expression, I would resort to that, because indeed, our generation has become deaf – no matter how thunderous the call of Hashem may be.
But still you might ask, “Why deaf?” What is there in our society that inhibits a person from listening? Why should our generation be more deaf than those that preceded us? To be sure, in every generation we have had problems hearing that “still small voice” that comes in many shapes and forms. However, in our generation, that blockage has become even more acute. There are so many sounds that divert us from hearing. Nowadays, it is rare to see anyone take even a moment to think. There was a time when people took walks to contemplate or they secluded themselves to give themselves time to think and review their lives. Today however, such happenings hardly occur, if at all. Today, when you see people walking, they are always involved in some activity, be it talking on their cell phones, text messaging, scrolling through their e-mail on their blackberrys, or listening to their I-pods. And should they steal some moments to seclude themselves, there are always other diversions vying for their attention, be it the internet, TV, or video games, etc.
In the interim, time relentlessly passes by, and with every moment, events unfold that we don’t hear or see. Not only have we lost our ability to hear, but we have also lost our ability to talk.... to hold a conversation. Nowadays, people communicate through e-mail, texting, or twitter. This has become so prevalent that children no longer speak to parents, couples no longer speak to each other. They find it much easier to text or resort to other technological means of communication, because through these methods, they don’t have to hear a response – another voice which might question or negate their message. Nor are they obliged to hear expressions of love which might make them feel guilty or indebted. There is an old Yiddish saying, “There was a time when parents taught their children to talk, but now, children teach their parents to keep quiet.”
Regardless of our reaction however, the messages continue.... the sounds become louder and louder, demanding a response, but how can we respond if we no longer know how to hear? Deaf, dumb, and blind, we continue to march on to the sound of our own music and congratulate ourselves on our open-mindedness and ready acceptance of all life-styles.
So it is that we never learn. Even the most world-shaking events go unheeded. Neither the Holocaust nor the rebirth of Israel after two thousand years of exile has made us stop and re-think our lives.
I could go through countless happenings of our contemporary life, but I will skip to 9/11 a tragedy which spoke thunderously to all the citizens of our USA. Remarkably, even then, we continued to remain deaf, and perverted its message to that which we regarded as “politically correct”.
We have become so inured that we see nothing unusual in the constant escalation of natural disasters, be they tsunamis, floods, tornados, earthquakes, nuclear spills, and so on. Nor do we see anything remarkable about dead birds falling from the skies or dead fish – sardines washing ashore. Even though they numbered a million. Nor did we wake up when financial disaster overtook us. Overnight, we witnessed the collapse of giant corporations and industries.... the melt-down of Wall Street and the devaluation of the dollar, all of which we once believed to be invincible.
Our inability to hear rendered us deaf and blind to the messages behind the toppling of powerful governments – governments that for years were controlled by dictators who ruled with iron fists. We delude ourselves into believing that that which we are witnessing is the establishment of democratic societies, the dawn of freedom and peace in the dark world of the Middle East. We refuse to consider that the mobs on the streets are the precursors of even more tyrannical dictatorships. Take, for example, Egypt, which we believe to be the perfect example of the democratic dream fulfilled. In our blindness and deafness, we refused to pay heed to the heinous shouts of “Jew! Jew” as Lara Logan, the CBS foreign correspondent was barbarously attacked (although Lara Logan is not a Jew). Nor has the world paid heed to the destruction of churches and the killing of those of the Christian faith. Yes, all this is unfolding in the “democratic new Egypt”. Paradoxically, neither Rome nor any other Christian denominations have raised voices of outrage. The silence is deafening. Why? Why? But we dismiss that question as well. We have our own problems. We can’t really get involved in world events. It won’t help anyway, so the call continues to be sounded and we continue to remain blind, dumb and deaf.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch, the Friediker Rebbe, writes:
In the winter of 5673  I went to visit my father, who was staying in Menton, France. Every day we would walk for hours along the seashore and I was privileged to hear of things which had never been told to anyone: practices, stories, visions and ideas of my holy ancestors, transmitted through the generations from rebbe to rebbe.
Father spoke much about "thinking chassidus" - meditating upon concepts of chassidic teaching - before prayer, while wrapped in tallis and tefillin. He discussed the topic continuously over the walks of several days and enumerated its many virtues. Thinking chassidus, he said, refines the body, making the mind and heart receptive to G-dliness. It repels the "animal soul", cleanses the "natural soul", subdues the "intellectual soul" and illuminates the world. It draws down a revelation of light in all worlds, from the highest to the lowest of levels. It transforms the essence of one's natural character, and illuminates the five levels of one's "Godly soul", nefesh, ruach, neshama, chaya and yechida.
All this applies to any individual who is involved in "the service of the heart" [i.e. prayer] and prepares properly for prayer, but how much more so to the perfectly righteous tzaddik. My father continued to describe at great length the heights attained by a tzaddik, concluding "one attains an appreciation of G-dly delight, ah Getleche ziskeit, a G-dly sweetness".
With G-d's help, I shall never forget that glorious moment, the sight of that holy face flaring in ecstasy as he enunciated the words "a G-dly sweetness". At that moment, I truly understood Rabbi Schneur Zalman's definition of a merkava [chariot] to the Almighty, those who "all their days... do not cease for a single moment to bind their minds and souls to the Master of the Universe".
To stroll within the splendorous natural surroundings of the Menton shore, and to be so immersed in G-dly delight, to so relish "G-dly sweetness" - this can only be an atzmi [a quintessential one; one who's every act, thought and character trait is utterly in line with and permeated by the very essence of his soul], a rebbe the son of a rebbe, a Jew of self-sacrifice, one for whom G-d is forever standing over him and the light of his soul is openly manifest within his being.
For a long time we walked along the shore without a word. All who met or passed us noticed the look of his holy face, shining with a G-dly light. Suddenly, as one who awakes from sleep, he turned to me and said:
"Yosef Yitzchok! Listen! All the benefits of thinking chassidus in tallis and tefillin prior to prayer, both for the ordinary chassid and for the tzaddik, are utterly insignificant compared to a single privilege: if the Almighty grants a person an aptitude for and a delight in doing a Jew a favour. If the Almighty grants a person that his fellow should be more dear to him than himself.
"It is worth one's while to toil five hours a day for five days, toil of the body and toil of the soul, to comprehend the Divine - if the result is that one truly desires to do a Jew a favour."
Father concluded by quoting Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov: "A soul descends to the world and lives seventy, eighty years, in order to do a Jew a favour physically and particularly in a spiritual matter."
Source: "Once Upon A Chassid" - Kehot Publications
U.S. President Barack Obama will call on Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders and agree to additional concessions that will enable a resumption of the peace process, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Tuesday.
The newspaper claimed to have obtained a draft of Obama's planned speech at the State Department on Thursday in which he will outline his administration's Middle East policy, in light of the anti-government protests that have swept the region over the past year.
The president is also expected to announce his solution regarding the status of Jerusalem and call for its division. The U. S. envisions the city as the shared capital of the two states, Israel and Palestine, side by side in peace.
King Solomon was the son of King David and Bathsheba. He composed 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 songs and authored the Song of Songs, the Book of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
He became ruler in approximately 967 B.C.E. and his kingdom extended from the Euphrates River in the north to Egypt in the south. His crowning achievement was the building of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
People from surrounding nations came to hear Solomon’s wisdom. The first and most famous incident of his cleverness as a judge was when two women came to his court with a baby whom both women claimed as their own. Solomon threatened to split the baby in half. One woman was prepared to accept the decision, but the other begged the King to give the live baby to the other woman. Solomon then knew the second woman was the real mother.
Jerusalem can be compared to the baby in this story. Any person who condones the cutting in half of Jerusalem, is not the real mother. Jerusalem belongs in the hands of those who will treat her the way she is meant to be treated - in one piece, in the hands of her rightful owners, the Torah-true Jewish people.
Why is Lag b’Omer celebrated with bonfires and bows and arrows?
by Rabbi Yossi Marcus
The bonfires celebrate the immense light that was brought into the world by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai [who passed away on Lag b’Omer], especially on the day of his passing.
The bow commemorates the fact that during Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime no rainbow was ever seen. [Bereishit Rabbah 35:2] Note: This was a good thing because the rainbow appears when the earth deserves punishment. The first time a rainbow appeared was after Noah’s flood, when G-d said that He will no longer destroy the world, rather He would send a sign: the rainbow. During Rabbi Shimon’s lifetime, the world was filled with merit because of him and therefore never saw a rainbow. [Genesis 9:8-17 and Rashi there]
There is a Kabbalistic tradition that on Lag b’Omer a rainbow will appear in a different color, which will symbolize the arrival of the Messianic age [Bnei Yissaschar]
I blogged this a long time ago, but it disappeared during The Great Blog Deletion of 2010 [mine, not Google's]..... anyway I managed to find parts of it on the internet and put it back together, in response to some of the comments at this post at the Jewish End of Days blog.
In the Hebrew text of[Deut 4:27-28] where the Torah speaks about two religions of "wood and stone", we can find the words "Yeshu" and "Mecca" encoded, obviously referring to Christianity and Islam.
"And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will remain few in number among the nations to where the Lord will lead you. And there you will worship gods, man's handiwork, wood and stone, which neither see, hear, eat, nor smell."
An Equal Distance Lettering count of 50 letters within these passages identifies the two religions. The blue letters reveal the name Yeshu [Jesus] The red letters reveal the word Mecca in reverse.
Just as we saw in the Jonathan Pollard Torah Codes , where Pollard's name is encoded in the story of Yosef, so is the name Gilad Shalit. The codes note that one is in captivity in Edom, and one in captivity with the Yishmaelim.
Last night the Tokyo High Court failed to overturn the ruling of the district court.
However, the presiding appelate judge did show leniency when calculating the credit for time served off the initial sentence. In total the judge deducted 814 days from the 6 year sentence, even though these days were spent al Hatorah ve'al havodah at the detention centre, and not in forced labour.
The prosecution initially demanded a 13 year sentence. You may remember that an extraordinary sentence of 6 years was handed down in the district court, in addition to a monetary fine of 4 million ¥, this equating to $50,000.
The verdict of 6 years was based on the fact that the judges found reason to accuse that Yakov Yosef should have suspected something was amiss, and although he had no clear knowledge of any contraband, there was negligence on his part for not being more cautious.
The judge claimed that the polygraph examination, whilst out ruling clear knowledge, does not prove lack of suspicion.
The defence attorneys were dismayed at the callous nature of the judge's dismissal of the defence arguments. Mr. Masaki, one of the lawyers, commented that the judge failed to glance even once at the lawyers during the verdict due to his lack of confidence with his verdict, and knowing that his verdict contains many illogical assumptions.
For a number of reasons an appeal was filed, among them:
1) Yakov Yosef's not accepting his verdict directly assisted Yoel Zev's trial which is taking longer than expected due to court technicalities and changes of judges. In Japan, not accepting the verdict is a powerful indication of the defendants and co-defendants claim to innocence.
Furthermore, the appeal process brought to light substantial evidence for the defence of Yoel Zev who is scheduled to receive his verdict on 29th August.
2) Yakov Yosef was saved having to go to a forced labour prison camp during the appeal phase. The forced labour sentence allows virtually no free time for davening or learning. Yakov Yosef spent this time in the detention centre learning with great hasmodah.
3) The District Court failed to examine some of the strong evidence material, including the polygraph results. It was hoped that at the appeal trial these elements would overturn the verdict.
Efforts are being made to retain Yakov Yosef's status at the Chiba detention centre until his transfer to Israel. We would want to avoid the forced labour at all costs. According to Israeli protocol, one third of the full sentence can be deducted, and the remaining time can also be commuted as per their discretion. According to this, Yakov Yosef could be out of prison within 10 months from now. Askonim are working towards this goal.
Reb Aron Nezri and Reb Meilech Bindinger visited Yakov Yosef immediately after the verdict, together with defence attorney Mr. Ozawa.
Yakov Yosef was amazingly upbeat. I quote some of his comments:
"I took upon myself kabolos toivois, however I do not regret them for a second."
"I also do not regret filing for my appeal. During this time I concluded hilchos boser becholov, hilchos taaruvos, and over 100 daf gemorroh; I would never have managed this elsewhere."
Mr. Ozawa sadly said to Yakov Yosef that he feels very sorry for him, and conveyed the feeling of the defense team, that Yakov Yosef's attitude in court and when accepting his sentence was respectful and
At the court room today were present the parents of Yakov Yosef, Reb Aron Nezri, Reb Meilech Bindinger, Rabbi Binyomin Edery and Rabbi Mendy Sudakevitch of Tokyo, and other concerned yidden from USA, UK, Israel and Japan.
May we merit to hear good tidings.
Please daven for Yaakov Yosef ben Raizel and Yoel Zev ben Mirel Reesa Chava.
To take part in the mitzva of pidyon shevuyim www.japanpidyon.org
Reb Mordechai of Neschiz was a disciple of Rebbe Elimelech. When the Rebbe passed away, Reb Mordechai inherited the Rebbe’s tea mug. The Rebbe would say that when one drinks tea, he is in the spiritual realm of Asiyah, the World of Action, and he can do many things that otherwise he could not do.
Once, a barren woman asked Reb Mordechai to intercede on her behalf to Rebbe Elimelech that he should pray for her to bear children since the doctors had given up hope. “Go to him during tea time,” was Reb Mordechai’s advice. She did and received a blessing. Indeed, Reb Mordechai used to say, “Many barren women were blessed with children because their plight was mentioned to me while I drank tea from Rebbe Elimelech’s mug.”
The holy Rebbe Meir of Premishlan taught that this is hinted at in the prayer “Tehei hasha’ah hazos she’as rachamim — May this time be an auspicious time of mercy.” The word for “may,” תהא, can be read as תה, “tea.” Therefore the prayer can be read: “Tea time is a time of mercy.” In fact, the Gerrer Rebbe, the Chiddushei HaRim, used to say that Reb Mordechai of Neschiz was able to resurrect the dead using the tea mug of his Rebbe, Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk.
Reb Chaim Vital says in the name of the Arizal that there are twelve gates in the Heavens corresponding to the twelve tribes and each tribe has a designated entrance for their prayers. Each gate and their approach are different from the others.
Each of the tribes had their own specific Nusach Hatefillah [specific prayers]. The Holy Arizal established a Nusach that corresponds to all twelve of the tribes. The"Nusach Arizal" are the prayers for those who do not know their tribe.
The Chasam Sofer writes this concept in the name of the Maggid of Mezritz. He explains that in fact, there are thirteen gates in Heaven for our tefillos to pass through. Each gate is for one of the tribes and everyone’s tefillah can pass through the thirteenth gate.
"...and I will remember My covenant [with] Jacob, and also My covenant [with] Isaac, and also My covenant [with] Abraham I will remember."[Bechukotai 26:42]
Why are the forefathers listed in reverse order? asked R' Shmelke of Nikolsburg.
Chazal have taught us, answered the Rebbe, that "The world depends on three things - on Torah study, on the service of G-d, and on kind deeds [Pirkei Avot 1:2]
Each one of the forefathers was noted for a different character trait.
Yaakov embodied Torah study. He was "a wholesome man abiding in tents" [Bereishis 25:27] who studied Torah in the yeshivah of Shem and Ever.
Yitzchak, who had been bound to an altar, represented service of Hashem.
Avraham, the paradigm of hospitality, represented the trait of kindness.
The order in which the verse lists the forefathers - Yaakov, Yitzchak and Avraham - corresponds to the order utilitzed by Chazal to enumerate the three things upon which the world depends: first "Torah", then "service of G-d" and finally "kindness" [Torah, Tefilla, Tzedaka]
".....the Zohar says that when Moshiach comes there will be 2 seven day Passovers - Pesach Mitzrayim, like we have now, and Pesach Moshiach, the Passover of Moshiach. Pesach Moshiach will start on the last day of our current Passover - Pesach Mitzrayim - and will celebrate the miracles involved in the coming of Moshiach. This is why the haftorah on the last day of Passover deals with Moshiach. Pharoah's final fall was on the last day of Passover. Bin Ladin was killed on the last day of this second Passover, the Passover of Moshiach..."
UPDATE 18:15 UTC :7 deaths have been confirmed. A number of people have been seriously injured. 2 houses confirmed to have been partly destroyed (1 in Galicia street, 1 in La Vina neighbourhood). Half of the belfry of the church of Santiago have been destroyed. CATDAT sees this earthquake being much more damaging than the 1999 and 2005 earthquakes in the same region.
UPDATE 17:50 UTC : The tower of the church of Santiago was split in half according to eyewitnesses.
UPDATE 17:46 UTC : Although the 2005 earthquake around the same area caused 900 damaged houses, there were no deaths at that time. Unfortunately this time, the 2 heavily damaged buildings, and the falling cornices and roof tiles of other buildings have caused additional deaths/injuries
UPDATE 17:43 UTC : There are reports from the local mayor that 5 people have died.
UPDATE 17:37 UTC : As confirmed by sources close to Europa Press, many buildings have been affected, such as the Belfry of the Church of San Diego, the roof of the asylum, the Torre del Castillo de Lorca Ram and a wall could have stopped someone trapped.
R' Aharon Rokeach of Belz was a holy man. He was completely dedicated to Divine service, and his mind was constantly filled with elevated and holy thoughts.
One day, he summoned his attendant and requested that he hire a gardener to cultivate the garden in his courtyard.
The members of the Rebbe's household were astounded by this strange request. Why was the Rebbe, who lived every day of his life with exacted sanctity, suddenly concerned over the garden's aesthetics? Despite their bewilderment, they nevertheless hurried to do his bidding.
On erev Rosh Hashanah, the Rebbe instructed his attendant to inform the gardener that today would be his final day of work, as the coming year would be a shemittah year.
The Rebbe's pure intentions were now fully understood. Everything he had done was simply in order to practice the mitzvah of shemittah.
It helps very much to know the unique strengths that come simply from your name so that one can be empowered to move along the Divine path that has been laid out before you.
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Never one to miss a chance to blog Alice in Wonderland, I couldn't resist this one: A White House “Alice in Wonderland” costume ball...
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"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."