Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Fascinating Voyage into Our Souls

Rabbi DovBer Pinson talks about reincarnation, past life memories, the Zohar, death, afterlife, kabbalah, autism, suffering, souls of converts, and children.

 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Special Healing Prayer

Art Sarolta Ban

It is customary to say Tehillim for sick people.  Recently someone told me of a special way to daven for a sick person.

Perek 119 in Tehillim is divided into paragraphs according to the Alef Bet. Write down the Hebrew name of the person you are praying for: example Moshe ben Sarah:  משה בן שרה

Then say the paragraphs of Psalm 119 according to that name.  Fox example, the first paragraph you would say is the one beginning with the letter ''Mem'' then ''Shin''  then ''Hei'' then move on to the letters of the rest of the name in the same way, ending with the ''Hei'' of Sarah.

Why do we use the name of the mother rather than the father?  The answer, as well as some other interesting facts, can be found here.

Wishing everyone who needs it a Refuah Shelaimah.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lost at the Fair

"Olam Ha-Ze" by Barbara Mendes


"I was a stranger in a foreign land" [Yitro 18:3]

Moshe Rabbeinu, said the Chofetz Chaim, called his son Gershom ('stranger there') because he wished to be reminded daily that his life in this world was but a temporary one, like a stranger living in a foreign land.

The Chofetz Chaim explained this idea with a parable:

A merchant once went to a fair in order to purchase merchandise at a low cost.  The fair was being held in a distant location, so the merchant was forced to part with his family for a long time.

Before he left home, the merchant comforted his wife and children: "Do not be upset. It's true that I will be away for a long time and I will certainly miss all of you, but the time will pass quickly and, with the help of Hashem, I will soon return home.  You have my word that I will not tarry a moment longer than necessary."  The merchant then gathered his belongings and went on his way.

After a long trip, the merchant arrived at the fair.  Without wasting any time, he hurried to the marketplace and began investigating the merchandise.

At one of the booths, he met a friend whom he had not seen in many years.  After exchanging warm greetings, the friend suggested to the merchant that they leave the fair and go to a quiet area for a day or two, where they could sit and share memories from the past.

"I'm sorry" replied the merchant, "but I cannot accept your offer. Do you think I left my wife and children to engage in frivolous conversations?  Did I travel to such a distant land for my amusement? As soon as I finish acquiring the merchandise I need, I will immediately rush home."

So it is with man, said the Chofetz Chaim.  Every individual is placed in the world for the express purpose of fulfilling Hashem's will by doing mitzvot and performing good deeds.  But then the yetzer hara tries to lure the person into wasting his precious time on meaningless pursuits.

Therefore, concluded the Chofetz Chaim, a person must say to his yetzer hara exactly what the merchant said to his friend: Did I come to this world in order to engage in foolishness?  Do not even attempt to beguile me into wasting my precious time!

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Whoever Has Not Suffered

Art Cyril Rolando


From the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov - Yitro
Keser Shem Tov 46

"The Jewish people were not exiled until they denied G·d and the dynasty of David." [Yalkut Shimoni, I Samuel #106]

"The only difference between the world at the present and the world at the time of the Messiah is the subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms." [Tractate Pesachim 68a]

The Baal Shem Tov taught:

The Talmud teaches, "Whoever has not suffered for forty days has received thereby his future reward. And what is considered suffering? Even if one puts his hand into his pocket to take out a golden coin and instead takes out one of lesser value." [Tractate Erkhin 16b]

However, since suffering is only in atonement for liability, how can such minor inconvenience constitute atonement?

The explanation is that since the righteous person lives with G·d, he believes in Divine providence and knows that G·d is guiding all events in his life down to the smallest minutiae, and that all his suffering is an expression of Divine justice - DINA, which is represented by the Divine Name of ADoNaI - on account of his sins.

Hence, as soon as the righteous person suffers however slightly, he immediately [searches his soul and] regrets [any misdoing], and becomes filled with anxiety and fear of G·d. He is thus immediately forgiven, since he believes [that his suffering is from G·d], and he repents and binds his mind to G·d.

Therefore, even when one is only slightly inconvenienced by having not taken out the coin he intended, since this only happened because of his sin, and he [is aware of this and] repents, this constitutes atonement.

This concept is referred to as "David" [made from the letters daleth, vav, daleth] :-  for the Infinite One, Who is referred to as Ayin/Nothingness, is represented by the [first] daleth. "Nothingness" is then conveyed via the vav to the [second] dalet, which represents the nadir of nothingness, which is expressed by a belief that everything that happens is Divine providence from G·d.

However, when a person does not believe that everything that happens is Divine providence from G·d, but rather attributes things to his own actions, this is considered having denied G·d and the aforementioned concept of "David" for he is denying the justice [providence] of the Kingdom of G·d/ADoNaI.

But G·d's Kingdom is hidden and subservient to the kelipoth/shells that cover and conceal G·d's providence from mankind. (1) 

In the future, though, with the coming of the Messiah, who will banish the spirit of impurity from the earth, G·d's providence will be revealed even in the minutest of events.

With this we can understand, "The Jewish people were not exiled until they denied G·d and the dynasty of David" and "The only difference between the world at present and the world at the time of the Messiah is the subjugation to the [gentile] kingdoms."

Understand this well (2) for everything that a person is able to comprehend about G·d is only regarding His Malkhut/Kingdom, but above that cannot be comprehended.

1) These "shells" are the "laws" of nature, the apparent cause-and-effect, and in this case, the statistical but "chance probabilities" that seem to govern whether one picks the gold coin or the copper one from one's pocket.

2) Until here is quoted from the Toldot Yaakov Yoseph, VaYishlach #8. The conclusion is that of the compiler of the Keser Shem Tov, and its relevance to the rest of the piece is not clear.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Tikkun of Tu B'Shvat

a Mystical Interpretation by David Aaron

The celebration of Tu B'Shvat--the 15th of the month of Shevat on the Hebrew calendar--is not mentioned in the Bible. The oldest reference is found in the Talmud, where Tu B'Shvat is called "the new year of the trees." The Talmud ascribes significance to this date only in terms of the legal implications of taking tithes [10%] from fruits.

About 500 years ago, the Kabbalists revealed the deeper meaning of Tu B'Shvat. They taught that Tu B'Shvat is an opportune time for rectifying the transgression of Adam and Eve. Amazingly, just through the simple act of eating fruit during the Tu B'Shvat festive dinner, we are able to contribute to this cosmic repair ["tikkun"].

But how? How are we "fixing" the transgression of Adam and Eve, according to the Kabbalists? First let's explore the transgression of Adam and Eve, and then we can understand the mystical meaning of the Tu B'Shvat holiday, and why eating fruit is the way we celebrate it.

Amazingly, just through the simple act of eating fruit during the Tu B'Shvat festive dinner, we are able to contribute to this cosmic repair of Adam and Eve's transgression The Torah says that G‑d put Adam and Eve in the garden "to work it and to guard it."[1] The Jewish oral tradition teaches us that this refers to the do's and don'ts of the Torah. The do's are called the "positive mitzvot" and the don'ts are called the "negative mitzvot." Adam and Eve were given very little to do: "eat from all the trees of the garden."[2] And their only don't--their single prohibition--was not to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [3] What was that about?

The Torah teaches that G‑d created the world so that we could experience goodness in general, and His goodness in particular. Experiencing His goodness—-bonding with G‑d—-is the greatest joy imaginable. G‑d empowers us to bond with Him by serving His purpose for creation. Just as when we do for others, we feel connected to them, so, too, serving G‑d enables us to bond with Him. Ironically, serving G‑d is actually self-serving—-profoundly fulfilling and pleasurable.

If we eat and enjoy the fruits of this world for G‑d's sake-—because this is what He asks of us-—then we are actually serving G‑d and bonding with Him. We serve G‑d by acknowledging that the fruits of this world are His gifts to us and by willfully accepting and enjoying those gifts.

The root of Jewish life is, in fact, enjoyment—-the pleasure of connecting to G‑d. We connect to G‑d by serving Him, and this means obeying His command to enjoy the fruits of this world.

While in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve's entire obligation was to enjoy all the lush fruits-—with the notable exception of one forbidden fruit. Sure enough, they went after that one. This misdeed demonstrated their confused orientation to the real meaning of pleasure. Rather than seeing the fruits as pleasurable because they are G‑d's gifts and enjoying them as part of their service to G‑d, they wanted to partake of them independently of G‑d-—in fact, contrary to His will.

The Art of Receiving

As already explained, real pleasure is experiencing a connection with G‑d. We enjoy the ultimate spiritual pleasure when we enjoy the physical pleasures of this world as part of our divine service. Then, the act of receiving and enjoying G‑d's gifts to us is amazingly transformed into a selfless act of serving G‑d.

We can understand now that G‑d’s only desire in giving Adam and Eve those two mitzvot was to give them the ultimate pleasure—-bonding with Him. True pleasure was not in the taste of the fruits, but in eating and enjoying these gifts from G‑d. This was the way to serve and connect with Him—-the Ultimate Pleasure.

But Adam and Eve misunderstood this. They did not see physical pleasure as a conduit to the spiritual pleasure of bonding with G‑d. Rather, they sought pleasure independent of G‑d.

This is the root of all wrongdoing: when instead of seeing the pleasures of this world as a gift from G‑d, enjoying them in the service of G‑d and using them as conduits to a connection to G‑d, we seek pleasure independent of any connection to G‑d. In other words, is the pleasure about us, or is the pleasure about our relationship with G‑d?

There is a fundamental difference between having pleasure and receiving pleasure. If we want to have pleasure, it doesn't matter where it comes from There is a fundamental difference between having pleasure and receiving pleasure. If we want to have pleasure, it doesn't matter where it comes from. Having pleasure is void of any connection to a reality greater than ourselves. It is simply a selfish desire to experience a particular pleasure for its own sake. Receiving pleasure, on the other hand, is rooted in the soul's desire to serve G‑d's purpose, which is to receive the ultimate joy of connecting to Him.

Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit because they were confused about their purpose on earth and, consequently, what is truly pleasurable in this world. They were clueless about what would bring them meaning and joy in life.

Following Adam and Eve’s fatal mistake, G‑d told them, "Because you ate from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from, the earth has become cursed."[4] G‑d was not punishing the earth because of Adam and Eve's transgression; rather He was informing them that their distorted orientation towards physical pleasures has turned the earth into a source of curse rather than blessing for them and for their descendants.

Depending on how we view the physical world, it is cursed or blessed Depending on how we view the physical world, it is cursed or blessed. If we look at the physical world as a conduit to a connection with G‑d, and if, as a service to G‑d, we gratefully receive His gift of delicious fruits, we thereby experience His presence and the physical world becomes blessed. The physical world then becomes a bridge between the human and the divine. But if we fixate on the physical, independent of any relationship with G‑d, and mistakenly perceive this world as the source of our pleasure rather than as a bridge to G‑d, then this world becomes a barrier to G‑d and a curse for us.

Now that we understand the transgression of Adam and Eve, we can begin to appreciate how we can contribute to its rectification on Tu B'Shvat.

On Tu B'Shvat, the new sap begins to rise up into the trees. And we bring abundance to this process when we celebrate Tu B'Shvat.

More than the baby wants to suck, a mother wants to nurse. The Talmud says that more than the baby wants to suck, a mother wants to nurse. The mother not only gets tremendous pleasure from nursing her baby, but the flow of her milk is actually generated by its sucking. The more the baby wants to suck, the more milk the mother has to give. This principle also applies to our relationship to G‑d.

G‑d wants to give us the greatest of all pleasures, which is a connection with Him. But if we don't recognize that to be the greatest pleasure, and we don't want it, then He can't give it to us. Of course, G‑d could give it to us, but it would just be a waste, because we wouldn't recognize it for what it is.

The Power of a Blessing

On Tu B'Shvat, we take a fruit, and before enjoying it, we recite a blessing: "Blessed are you, G‑d ou G‑d, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the tree." In other words, "You, G‑d, are the source of this blessing." In doing this, we attempt to rectify the transgression of Adam and Eve.

When I taste an apple with that kind of consciousness, I cannot but experience the presence of G‑d within the physical An apple is not just an apple; an apple is a blessing. Maybe I could believe that apples come from trees, but a blessing could only come from G‑d. If I really contemplate the mystery and miracle of the taste, fragrance, beauty and nutrition wrapped up in this apple, I see that it's more than just a fruit--it is a wondrous loving gift from G‑d. When I taste an apple with that kind of consciousness, I cannot but experience the presence of G‑d within the physical. When I recite a blessing before I eat and acknowledge it as a gift from G‑d, I reveal the divinity within it, and the transient sensual pleasure of the food is transformed, because it is filled with eternal spiritual pleasure. The food then feeds not only my body but also my soul. However, when I eat without a blessing, it's as if I stole the food. Perhaps it will nourish and bring pleasure to my body, but it will do nothing for my soul. The soul is only nourished when it experiences its eternal connection to G‑d.

Tu B'Shvat is an opportune time to celebrate how eating and enjoying the fruits of trees can be a bridge to G‑d, and how it can bring back the blessing to the earth.

When we enjoy the fruits of the previous year as wonderful gifts from G‑d and affirm our yearning for G‑d's presence manifest in the fruit, we are like a baby sucking its mother's milk with great appetite. We draw forth with great abundance the "milk of the earth"—-the sap in the trees rises up with great abundance, so that they will bear much fruit in the coming year.

Unlike Adam and Eve who sought pleasure separate from G‑d and who turned physical pleasure into a barrier to G‑d, we—-on Tu B'Shvat-—enjoy the fruits as G‑d's gift and experience their pleasure as a connection to G‑d. In this way we rectify the transgression of Adam and Eve. We free the earth from being a curse for us—-a barrier to G‑d. We transform it into a bridge, so that it becomes a wellspring of blessing and G‑d-given pleasure.

Footnotes
1. Genesis 2:15
2. Ibid. verse 16
3. Ibid. verse 17
4. Genesis 3:17

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beshalach Haftorah: Shirat Devorah

This week is Parshat Beshalach, where we read the Haftorah of Shirat Devorah: The Song of Devorah. The following text was written by Joel Gallis a''h and Dr Robert Wolf




The Zohar says that the upcoming, final war of Gog and Magog will be similar to the war with Sisera in that it will also have tremendous miracles. These miracles will be due to the merit of Devorah. And a Torah Code analysis of the Song of Devorah, confirms this. The words, Mashiach, Gog and Magog, are all secretly coded in the song, overlapping each other, each coded with an interval of 102 spaces. 102 is the gematria of emunah (true faith). And it's interesting that the codes appear in the verses where Devorah admonishes the tribes that didn't participate in the war, and praises the ones that did. This is a hint that we all must be willing to fight for Jewish survival. When Hashem sees our emunah and effort, He then takes over.

Shirat Devorah - Devorah's Song - is located in the haftorah for Parsha Beshalach. We should read it, and if we can, sing it often, for her song is indeed about the final redemption and Mashiach. We should sing this song now and show our great emunah to Hashem, thanking Him in advance for destroying our enemies completely.

The Song of Devorah applies to all Jews, but it is especially connected to the Jews in America. In order to place our complete trust and faith in G-d, we must place our entire essence in Hashem's hands. But how can we do that when we, and most of our possessions, time and energy, are invested in lands away from our true home. The Song of Devorah is the key to unlock the door to our redemption, because it is the Song of total freedom. Freedom from the world of material possessions, the urge to accumulate, and the phony happiness and pleasures we derive from our wealth. This total freedom, will free us from the Soton's hold on us. The Song of Devorah can break the chains that bind us to the material temptations of America. Evidencing this is the fact that there are 356 words in the song, the same as the gematria of America, אמריקה.

The following text of Shirat Devorah is from Chabad.org

Judges: Chapter 4

4. Now Deborah was a woman prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth; she judged Israel at that time.

5. And she sat under the palm tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-el, in the mountain of Ephriam; and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.

6. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedesh-naphtali. And she said to him, "Indeed the Lord, God of Israel, commanded, 'Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun.

7. And I shall draw to you, to the brook Kishon, Sisera, the chieftain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will give him into your hand.' "

8. And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me then I shall go, but if you will not go with me, I shall not go."

9. And she said, "I shall surely go with you, but your glory will not be on the way which you go, for into the hand of a woman will the Lord deliver Sisera." And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh.

10. And Barak gathered Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and ten thousand men went up at his feet; and Deborah went up with him.

11. Now Heber the Kenite had separated from the Kenites, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses; and he pitched his tent as far as Elon-bezaanannim, which is by Kedesh.

12. And they told Sisera that Barak, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor.

13. And Sisera gathered all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth-goiim, to the brook Kishon.

14. And Deborah said to Barak, "Rise, for this is the day which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand. Did not the Lord go out before you?" And Barak went down from Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men after him.

15. And the Lord confused Sisera and all the chariots and all of the camp with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot, and fled on foot.

16. And Barak pursued the chariots and the camp, to Harosheth-goiim; and all of Sisera's camp fell by the edge of the sword, not even one was left.

17. And Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite.

18. And Jael went out to meet Sisera and said to him, "Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not." And he turned in to her into the tent, and she covered him with a garment.

19. And he said to her, "Give me now a little water to drink, for I am thirsty;" and she opened the flask of milk and gave him to drink, and covered him.

20. And he said to her, "Stand in the doorway of the tent; and it shall be, if any man comes and asks you and says, 'Is a man here?,' then you shall say, 'There is not.' "

21. And Jael, the wife of Heber, took the tent-pin, and placed the hammer in her hand, and came to him stealthily, and thrust the pin into his temple, and it pierced through into the ground; and he was in a deep sleep and weary; and he died.

22. And behold, Barak pursued Sisera, and Jael came out to meet him, and she said to him, "Come and I will show you the man whom you seek," and he came to her, and behold, Sisera lay dead, and the pin was in his temple.

23. And God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan, before the children of Israel.

24. And the hand of the children of Israel prevailed constantly harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin, king of Canaan.

Chapter 5

1. Now Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying.

2. "When breaches are made in Israel, when the people offer themselves willingly, bless the Lord.

3. Hear, O kings, give ear, O princes; I, to the Lord I shall sing, I shall sing to the Lord, the God of Israel.

4. Lord, when You went forth out of Seir, when You marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens also dripped; also the clouds dripped water.

5. The mountains melted at the presence of the Lord, this (was at) Sinai, because of the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

6. In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, caravans ceased, and travellers walked on crooked paths.

7. The open cities ceased, in Israel they ceased, until I Deborah arose; I arose as a mother in Israel.

8. When they chose new gods, then there was war in the cities; was there seen a shield or a spear (when the) forty thousand (went against) Israel?

9. My heart is toward the lawgivers of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people, (saying,) 'Bless the Lord.'

10. The riders of white donkeys, those that sit in judgment, and those that walk on the path, tell of it.

11. Instead of the noise of adversaries, between the places of drawing water, there they will tell the righteous acts of the Lord, the righteous acts of restoring open cities in Israel. Then the people of the Lord went down to the cities.

12. Praise! Praise! Deborah. Praise! Praise! Utter a song. Arise Barak, and capture your captives, son of Abinoam.

13. Then ruled a remnant among the mighty of the nations; the Lord dominated the strong for me.

14. Out of Ephraim, whose root was against Amalek; after you (will be) Benjamin with your abaters; out of Machir came down officers, and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the scribe.

15. And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah, as was Issachar with Barak; into the valley they rushed forth with their feet. (But) among the divisions of Reuben, (there were) great resolves of heart.

16. Why do you sit between the borders, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? At the divisions of Reuben, (there are) great searchings of heart.

17. Gilead abides beyond the Jordan; and Dan, why does he gather into the ships? Asher dwelt at the shore of the seas, and by his breaches he abides.

18. Zebulun is a people that jeopardized their lives to die, as did Naphtali, upon the high places of the field.

19. The kings came and fought; then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money.

20. From heaven they fought; the stars from their courses fought against Sisera.

21. The brook Kishon swept them away, that ancient brook, the brook Kishon; tread down, O my soul, (their) strength.

22. Then were pounded the heels of the horses by reason of the prancings, the prancings of their mighty ones.

23. 'Curse you Meroz,' said the messenger of the Lord, 'curse you bitterly (you) inhabitants thereof,' because they came not to the aid of the Lord, to the aid of the Lord against the mighty.

24. Blessed above women shall Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, be; above women in the tent shall she be blessed.

25. Water he requested, (but) milk she gave him: in a lordly bowl she brought him cream.

26. She put forth her hand to the pin, and her right hand to strike the weary; she struck Sisera, pierced his head, and wounded and penetrated his temple.

27. At her feet he sank, fell, lay; at her feet he sank (and) fell; where he sank, there he fell down dead.

28. Through the window the mother of Sisera looked forth, and peered through the window; why is his chariot late in coming? Why tarry the strides of his chariots?

29. The wisest of her princesses answer her, she too returns answers to herself.

30. 'Are they not finding (and) dividing the spoils? A damsel, two damsels to every man; a spoil of dyed garments to Sisera, a spoil of dyed garments of embroidery; dyed garments of embroidery for the neck of the spoiler.'

31. So may perish all Your enemies, O Lord; but they that love Him (should be) as the sun when he goes forth in his might." And the land rested forty years.


A Hebrew/English format of Shirat Devorah can be found at Mechon-Mamre

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Stocks and Mazal


As stock markets around the world send investors into a panic, everyone needs to relax and trust that all is in Hashem's Hands.  R'Dov Bar Leib has explained the situation in The Dawning of the Age of the Water Bucket [Aquarius].

As Dov Bar Leib wrote: ''Only on Rosh Chodesh Shevat does the water begin to feed the fruit for the coming year.''

January 20th - Yud Shvat 5776 - five planets aligned - and stock markets are plunging.  

The Age of Aquarius seems to have kicked in.

You may wonder why the Age of Aquarius seems to have kicked in on 10 Shvat and not Rosh Chodesh Shvat.

Astrolojew gave me the answer in a Facebook post:  ''By the time the Sun enters Aquarius it will be 11 Shevat on the Hebrew Calendar. This shows you a little bit how the Hebrew Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar vary, year by year. There's sometimes up to a dozen days difference between the Sun entering a Zodiac Sign and Rosh Chodesh of a Hebrew month, depending on what year we are in the 19-year Metonic cycle. Some years it's quite close - other times, wider. That's why you'll frequently find someone's Hebrew "Mazal" and their Zodiac sign to be different [like a Tevet Sagittarian vs. a Kislev Sagittarian, etc.]

Just by the way, 5776 is a Yovel year [Jubilee] - the 50th year which occurs after seven cycles of Shemitah years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

God's Signature

Hashem left his personal signature inside every creation.  It's all in the DNA.  Listen to Rabbi Yaron Reuven explain.  HT: Rabbi Mizrachi




For Hebrew speakers, see original video by Dr. Yeshayahu Rubenstein

The Final Exile of Yishmael

from the writings of Rav Chaim Vital

"You already know that the exiles [from Egypt until the Mashiach] are four: Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome [as represented by the four cups of wine on Pesach, the four beasts in Daniel 7, and many other places. The fourth, Rome stretched out from the 2nd Temple destruction and apparently ended with the Holocaust].

However, the Jewish people are destined further in the end of days to be in the exile of Yishmael, as mentioned in Pirkei D'Rebi Eliezer, and in the Midrashim of our Rabbis, and in the Zohar end of Parsha Lech Lecha. And there in [Zohar] Parsha Lech Lecha it says that being that Yishmael is the son of Avraham, and was circumcised, he is called "Pereh Adam" - "A wild donkey of a man" - [Bereishit 16:12], implying not a full man, because he was circumsized without Priah [an integral part of the Bris Mila]. But the other four exiles are compared to beasts as mentioned in the book of Daniel Chapter 7.

.....and he will cause suffering to Israel, great and terrible sufferings, such that none like these had ever been seen, and we will not know what to do. And we will have no other hope than to trust in His great Name to save us from his hand. And this is what is meant in verse 8, "Our help is in the name of the L-ORD, who made heaven and earth. Which means who made heaven and earth for the sake of the Torah and Yisrael who as in the verse "if not for my covenant day and night [study of Torah], I would not have appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth [Yirmiyahu 33:25]". Therefore He is forced to help us from their hands, and redeem us a full future redemption, in order that there will be a cause for the existence of heaven and earth.

Read the entire essay at Daf Yomi Review

Monday, January 18, 2016

Planets Align on Yud Shvat

Image: Dr Alan Duffy


On 20 January, all five bright planets – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn – will appear in a line, visible to the naked eye. From 20 January to 20 February, all five visible planets will sit in a line from the horizon to the moon - for the first time since 2005.  Read more at Australian Geographic.

20th January is Yud Shvat which you can read about here.

Yud Shvat is also the yahrzeit of Ariel Sharon a''h.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Heavenly Tribunal #2

Following  yesterday's post about the Heavenly Tribunal, a reader [thank you Moriah] sent me a link to this new video of Natan's NDE.  A short 12 minute version has been made with a particular mention of these Judges in Shamayim.  The light effects shown in the video, when he is speaking about the Heavenly Court, are pretty much the same thing I saw when my soul had a dream about this very same thing.  That dream was an incredible personal experience which I did not share with many people, but Natan's description is consistent with what I remember.  Even more so is Rabbi Alon Anava's description of triangles: triangular light shapes - which you can find here.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

4 Shevat: Yarzheit Baba Sali


Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah - The Baba Sali
Born: Tafillalt, Morocco,1890
Died: 4 Shevat, Israel, 1984

Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah was of a well-known rabbinical dynasty. His grandfather was the famous tzaddik, Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeirah. He had great skill in Talmudic interpretation and many of his halachic decisions were accepted and took root among his followers. He was regarded as someone who possessed the Ruach Hakodesh or "Divine Spirit".

Although still very young, people flocked to R' Yisrael for blessings for their parnassa (income), family, and health. Consequently he became known as "Baba Sali," (our praying father) because of the prayers that he would invoke on behalf of those who sought out his guidance.

One day, young Yisrael's father told him, "My child, you have a great power to bless people which you cannot measure. Your words can bring great help to men. From now on, you must use this power to say good things about others and to bless them."

Young Yisrael gave his word. Soon it became known that the blessings of this young child brought miraculous results. He became famous as Baba Sali. A master of the Kabbalah and a great Torah Sage, he took over his father's position as head of the yeshiva and Rabbi of the community. Although he regularly gave many lectures in Torah and kabbalah, he did not permit his students to write them down because he wanted his scholarship to remain unknown. Nevertheless, his fame as a holy man and a righteous Tzaddik continued to draw Jews to him from all over. Even Arabs came to receive his blessings and the coins he gave for charity.

At 19 he was inducted as the Rosh Hayeshiva, after his father's death. After an extended one year trip to Eretz Yisrael he returned, and was compelled to take the position of Rav of the community after the murder of his brother by an Arab. He gave daily lectures, served as a judge in the beit din (rabbinical court), and set the tone for the kehilla. The community appreciated that nothing escaped his holy, penetrating eyes. From throughout Morocco, people converged on his home for his blessings, his counsel, and his encouragement.

In 1964 when Baba Sali noted that much of Moroccan Jewry had emigrated to Eretz Yisrael, he followed them to fulfill his dream of settling there. Baba Sali chose Yavne as his home because many of his followers had settled there.

In 1970 he moved to Netivot where he was steadily visited by Chassidim, Ashkenazim and Sephardim who sought his unique counsel. He stressed emunah (faith), humility, ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews) and kiyum hamitzvot (fulfillment of mitzvot). His phenomenal memory allowed him to access information at will, whether it dealt with law, Talmud, Kabbalah,etc.

He was very humble and did not want to attract attention, however, his prophetic powers and his miraculous prayers soon became renowned. Thousands of Jews from all over the world would come to seek his advice and blessings for children, health, and livelihood. Baba Sali was very close to other great Torah scholars, especially the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom he referred to as "the Great Eagle in the Heavens." He strongly encouraged the Rebbe's Mitzvah campaigns, especially urging young girls to light candles for Shabbat and Yom Tov.

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Young and old, men and women, observant and secular, Sephardim and Ashkenazim of every stripe, all streamed to the door of the great kabbalist and tsaddik, Baba Sali, in Netivot, seeking his blessing and help. Everyone, without exception, held him in the highest esteem.

Once a man from Holon, Eliyahu, was scheduled to have his legs amputated. His spinal cord had been damaged by a bullet in the Yom Kippur War. He had already spent much time in the hospital, and so was reconciled to his fate. The procedure was to take place on Friday.

That Thursday, an elderly woman acquaintance suggested that he receive a blessing from Baba Sali before the operation. She said that she knew of someone who had been paralyzed, yet was healed through Baba Sali's blessing. Although Eli was not at all observant, he decided to try it anyway, in desperation. Maybe, maybe....

It would have been impossible to get permission to leave the hospital the day before the operation, so Eli snuck out. He didn't even disclose his intention to see Baba Sali to his concerned family.

Eli sat on a chair in the waiting room near the entrance to the tsaddik's room. After many hours, finally his turn came. The custom was, before anything, to approach Baba Sali on his couch and kiss his hand, but because of the advanced thrombosis of his legs and the crippling pain that accompanied it, Eli was unable even to rise to enter the room.

Following Baba Sali's instruction, Rabbanit Simi, his wife, approached Eli and asked, "Do you put on tefillin?" Do you keep Shabbat? Do you say blessings?

"No," admitted Eli, and burst into sobs.

Baba Sali seemed to be moved by Eli's suffering and his sincerity. He said to him, "If you do my will and observe the Shabbat and repent completely, then G-d, too, will listen to my will."

With great emotion, Eli promptly cried out, "I accept upon myself the obligation to observe the Shabbat in all its details. I also promise to do full tshuvah, to 'return' in repentance all the way."

At Baba Sali's directive, Eli was served tea. After he drank it, the Rabbanit suggested that being that the Rav had blessed him, he should try to get up, in order to go and and kiss the Rav's hand.

After much effort and pain, Eli managed to rise. He couldn't believe it-his legs were obeying him! Shakily, he walked over to Baba Sali and kissed his hand! By then nearly delirious with shock and joy, he began to thank Baba Sali profusely. The Rav interrupted him, saying with a smile, "Don't thank me. Just say: 'Blessed are those who sanctify His name publicly!'"

As if in a dream, Eli stumbled out the door and descended the stairs. He experimented, walking this way and that. He had to know: Was he really awake? Could this truly be happening? With each step, his legs felt better.

On his "new" legs, he went over to Yeshiva HaNegev, not too far from the home of Baba Sali. When the students realized they were seeing the results of a miracle that had just occurred, they surrounded Eli with happy dancing and singing, and words of praise and gratitude to G-d.

Rejoicing in his new-found ability to walk, Eli returned to the home of Baba Sali to say goodbye properly and to thank him again. He also expressed his fear that his legs would relapse to their previous weakness and disease. Baba Sali calmed him, saying cheerfully, "Don't worry. In the merit of your oath to 'return' and repent, and especially that you promised to observe Shabbat according to its laws, which is equal to all the commandments, G-d has done this miracle and nullified the decree against you. Now it is up to you to fulfill your words."

Leaving Baba Sali's house again, Eli telephoned his mother. "I'm all better!" he shouted, without explanation. She figured that fear of the surgery had caused him to loose touch with reality. "Are you coming home?" she asked with concern. "Or will you go straight to the hospital?"

Eli then told her what he had promised Baba Sali, the blessing that he had received from the tsaddik, and the miraculous improvement that had already occurred. As soon as he hung up, he called his doctor at Achilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and informed him of his cure. The doctor told Eli to be back at the hospital the following day, and to "stop acting crazy!"

Eli did go to the hospital the next day. The doctor was barely able to accept the evidence of his eyes. After a few days and many tests, Eli was released. The first thing he did was to return to Netivot, to thank Baba Sali again. The Rav requested of his household that a seudat hoda'ah, a meal of thanksgiving to G-d in honor of the miracle, be prepared and served. At the end of the meal, Baba Sali blessed a bottle of water and told Eli to deliver it to the hospital so that his doctor could drink l'chaim from it. "And tell him," added Baba Sali, "not to be so hasty to cut off legs."

Baba Sali's gabbai (attendant) during most of his years in Netivot, Rabbi Eliyahu Alfasi [who witnessed much of the story and heard the rest of the details from Eli of Holon], reports that he once asked Baba Sali how he performed this great miracle. The tzaddik answered him innocently, "Believe me, Eliyahu, all I did was tell him 'Stand up!'"

Heavenly Tribunal

The way we are judged in Heaven these days is different to the way we were judged a thousand or five thousand years ago.  The world is so ridiculous now that anyone living even fifty years ago would not be able to identify with any of it.  That is why the Judges in the Heavenly Court are always the last three tzadikim to have passed on from this world.

In the video of Natan's NDE, he told us that he saw the three judges in the Heavenly Court and they were R' Ovadia Yosef zt'l, R' Eliyashiv zt'l and R'Yitzchak Kaduri zt'l.

I just came across a story which explains why the judges in the Heavenly Court are always those who have died recently.

The Heavenly Court is governed by tzaddikim who have died recently. They replace other righteous men, tzaddikim who've been in Heaven too long to remember the reality of struggle in this world.

You can read the story here:  Under The Bed

There is also the concept of transfer of Judgement:  ''...the judgement was transferred there instead as we find the concept of transferring judgement elsewhere.''  [Rav Fish]

And here is an excerpt from Rabbi Alon Anava's NDE about judgments in Shamayim.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Midnight


At the dividing point of the night, I will go out into the midst of Egypt... [Bo 11:4]

Rashi comments: At the literal level [p'shat] Moshe informed Pharoah that the plague would start at midnight precisely.

A non-literal [agadic] interpretation is that G-d told Moshe the plague would start at precisely midnight, but Moshe decided not to tell this fact over to Pharoah because he feared that the Egyptian astrologers might err in their calculations of the exact time of midnight. Then, when the plague failed to come at the time they expected, they would come to the conclusion that Moshe had spoken falsely. Therefore, Moshe told Pharoah that the plague would start at 'around midnight'.

Mizrachi comments: The Torah states that Moshe told Pharoah the plague would begin כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה. Literally, this means 'around midnight'. However it is unthinkable that G-d should express Himself in such an uncertain manner. Therefore, Rashi understood that כַּחֲצֹת means precisely midnight. This unusual translation was achieved by rendering the word not as a noun but as a verb: ''when the night divides''.

The second agadic interpretation of Rashi solves this problem by explaining that G-d did indeed express Himself in precise terms, but Moshe chose to use a more ambiguous expression, for fear of being misjudged.

Ibn Ezra: The term כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה could be rendered 'after midnight' i.e. in the second half of the night [as in Ruth 3:8]

Ramban: Moshe was clearly not trying to tell Pharoah the exact timing of the plague at all, for he did not mention which day the plague would occur. Rather, Moshe was hinting generally that the next plague would cause Pharoah and his servants to arise in the middle of the night.

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Perhaps we could argue that Rashi accepted the problem presented by Ramban that the warning of a precise time seems totally superfluous here, as Pharoah was in any case not informed of the date.

Furthermore, we do not find that most of the other plagues were associated with a specific time. Even in those instances when the dates were specified [e.g. before the plagues of death of cattle and hail] the time was not. So, why do we find that in this final plague, an exact time was given?

[One exception to this rule was the plague of hail. Rashi explains that Moshe drew a line on the wall and said that when the sun would reach the line, the hail would fall [Vaera 9:18]. But in that case, there was a reason for giving a time, so that those who ''feared the word of G-d'' [Vaera 9:20] would be able to put their slaves and cattle under shelter before the plague started. In our case, however, there is no practical reason to mention the time.]

Since the time appears to be of no relevance here, Rashi concluded that the reference to midnight was primarily a descriptive statement which conveyed the unique quality of the impending plague.

We are therefore left with a question: the distinctive feature of the plague of the firstborn is that it was carried out by G-d Himself, as verse 4 states: ''I will go out into the midst of Egypt''. But if we would follow the usual translation of the word כַּחֲצֹת [around midnight] then how would the verse convey the unique quality of this plague, that G-d was involved personally? Surely, one would expect G-d Himself to be of the utmost precision?

[In fact, we find that the plague of hail was enacted with extreme precision. So, it would be unreasonable to suggest that the plague which G-d enacted personally would be around a certain time, and thus less accurate than one of the previous plagues in which He was not directly ''involved''.]

Therefore, Rashi was forced to conclude that, at the literal level, כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה must be rendered [not as 'about midnight' but] as ''precisely midnight'' i.e. even though this is an unconventional [and thus apparently non-literal translation] it is nevertheless necessary to preserve the basic implication of the text, that the plague occurred at a specific time to express G-d's personal involvement.

However, since this interpretation resorted to an unconventional translation, Rashi felt it necessary to bring also a second interpretation from agadic sources.

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Midnight as an Expression of Infinitude
It was explained above that Pharoah was informed of the time of the plague of the firstborn primarily as an expression of G-d's personal involvement. This is highlighted by the comment of Rabbi Yehudah ben Basaira in the Mechilta that midnight is not a definitive moment in time, but rather, a threshold. Thus G-d's revelation at ''midnight'' expresses His true infinitude, how He can be simultaneously revealed in our world that is bound by time, and yet, remain aloof from it.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Vol 21 Lubavitcher Rebbe - Gutnick Chumash

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Difficulty Hidden In Moshe's Name

Art: Lucy Campbell

"HaCHodesh Hazeh Lachem - הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם - This new month is for you..."[Bo 12:2]. Rashi tells us the pasuk uses the word Zeh because Moshe could not properly grasp Kiddush HaChodesh, so Hashem showed it to him, using the word Zeh. We find the words Zeh two other times where Chazal says the same thing. Moshe could not grasp the inner depth of the Shekalim or the Menorah.

The Vilna Gaon says that these three Mitzvot are hidden in the name Moshe twice. If you take the Roshei Teivot [first letters] of the words Menorah, Shekalim, and HaChodesh, it spells Moshe. "Also," says the Gra, "if you take the last letters of those same words they also spell Moshe."

Source: Revach.net

Friday, January 8, 2016

Genuine Wonder or Optical Illusion

Art: Jacek Yerka
"Provide a wonder for yourselves" [Va'eira 7:9]

Why, asked R' Elimelech of Lizhensk, would Pharoah ask Moshe to "provide a wonder for yourselves"?  Since Pharoah was the one who wanted proof of Moshe's legitimacy, would it not have made more sense for him to say "Provide a wonder for me"?

The difference, answered the Rebbe, between a genuine wonder and one which is no more than an optical illusion is that the illusion amazes only those who witness it.  However, the one who performs the feat is not impressed in the least, since he knows that it was no more than a delusion.  A genuine wonder, on the other hand, amazes not only its spectators, but even the tzaddik who performs it.

This, then, was Pharoah's intention when he said: "Provide a wonder for yourselves" - Provide us with a true wonder, one that will not only dazzle us but will even make an impression upon yourselves."

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Source of Sickness and Disease [videos]



Parts 1, 2 and 3 - from Rabbi Alon Anava
 



''The More They Torture You - The More You Grow''

Rabbi Mizrachi: Parshat Shemot and Current Events
For the Gog & Magog watchers: @ around 24 minutes he talks about the latest developments.

HT: Neshama

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton

by Joel Gallis a''h and Dr Robert Wolf

''A Time Of Terrible Distress'' [originally published July 2009]


When Hillary Rodham Clinton lost the Democratic Nomination for President to Barack Hussein Obama, many thought that she would disappear from the world stage for years. But her name in Hebrew hinted that something different would happen. Our attention was gained by her unique name expressed in Hebrew letters. Never before did we see the following occur in anyone's name:

Hillary הילרי, Rodham רודהם, and Clinton קלינטון each have a gematria of 255. Imagine that a person's first name, middle name and last name all have the same exact value! When the value of the entire name is calculated, the total gematria is 765 [255x3], the same value as עת צרה [Time of terrible distress]. This finding indicated that Hillary would not disappear into the sunset so quickly. She would be (as she has become) an influential voice reprimanding the State of Israel.

The term עת צרה comes from the Book of Daniel [12:1] which describes the time when Michael, the guardian angel of Israel, will stand in defense of his people at this time of catastrophe. The atbash gematria of עת צרה is 106, the same value as the letter נ nun, spelled out נון.

No verse in the Ashrei prayer [Psalm 145] begins with the letter נ nun. There are 21 verses in this psalm and each verse (in order) begins with the remaining 21 letters of the Hebrew aleph bet. This is because in the verse that speaks of G-d supporting the fallen, the letter נ can be taken as an allusion to the word נפילה, Israel's future downfall, G-d forbid. King David refused to use a letter to begin a verse that could suggest such tragedy. But knowing that downfalls must take place as they have throughout our history, King David comforted Israel with the verse that begins with the letter ס samech [the letter that follows the nun in the Hebrew alphabet]. The full verse beginning with the samech states "Hashem supports all the fallen ones and straightens all those who are bent." With this verse, King David made a guarantee to the Jewish People that even when a dreaded downfall occurs, the people can count on Hashem's support.

Today, the leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahou בּנימין נתניהו, has not one, but four nuns in his name, representing the four exiles of the Jewish People. We have gone from one exile to another, falling down and then being lifted up by Hashem. We kept falling into galus because we would not learn from our mistakes and make adjustments in our lives. The purpose of falling is to arise and lift ourselves to a higher level, not to the same plane. When G-d tests us in our personal lives and we fall down through illness, financial setbacks or personal tragedy, we must pull ourselves not only back to where we were before the fall, but to greater heights.

The letter נ is the 14th letter in the aleph bet. This is the gematria of דוד [David] whose descendant will shortly be sent by G-d to redeem us. May we all dance with joy when that wonderful moment arises.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Rabbi Mizrachi Responds

I'm not going to link to all the articles, but in the past week or so, Rabbi Mizrachi has been accused of saying various offensive things.  The accusations were distortions of his words and taken out completely of context. Here he responds to those who have publicly attacked him. Comments are disabled, as I do not want to start another debate here.

 

The Alter Rebbe, Sarah and Esther

Adapted from the works of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson 

Source: Chabad.org

The 24th of Tevet marks the anniversary of the passing of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad. On this day, it is customary to gather for farbrengens, informal chassidic gatherings where Torah thoughts, inspiration and stirring melodies are shared around a festive table.

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson—who was a direct descendant of Rabbi Schneur Zalman—wrote extensively about the greatness of his illustrious ancestor and pointed out how the details of various aspects of his life were in tune with the teachings of the Kabbalah. While the full teaching is beyond the scope of this article, let’s focus on Rabbi Levi Yitzchak’s understanding of the name Schneur Zalman.

The name Schneur (שניאור) contains within it two Hebrew words, שני (two) and אור (light): “two lights.” This is a most appropriate name for a man whose life mission was to teach others the two illuminations of the Torah: the revealed portion of Torah, which is embodied in his Code of Jewish Law; and the hidden Kabbalah, which he espoused in his many chassidic teachings.

Taking it a step further, אור (light) has the numeric value of 207. Adding together “two lights” (207+207) brings us to a total of 414, the numerical value of ואהבת (“and you shall love”).

Indeed, Rabbi Schneur Zalman devoted his life to helping people live the values of “And you shall love the L‑rd your G‑d” and “And you shall love your fellow like yourself,” as well as a love for the Torah and a love for the Land of Israel, which he actively supported through the Colel Chabad charity he led.

Curiously, Abraham our forefather was also associated with these same qualities of love and light. Isaiah refers to him as “Abraham, my lover,” and the Midrash tells us how he brought light to the world, saying, “Until Abraham, the world functioned in darkness—Abraham came and began to shed light.”

If the two lights of Schneur are associated with Abraham, then the name Zalman must connect with Sarah, his wife.

Sarah is the only woman in the entire Torah whose age is recorded: 127 years, a number the Kabbalists explain denotes perfection and achievement. And you guessed it: Zalman (זלמן) has the numerical value of 127.

Now, the 127 years of Sarah’s life were not all identical. There were the first 90 years before G‑d blessed her with a child, and then there were the last 37 years, when she raised her son Isaac, fulfilling her essential role as a mother of our people.

The name Zalman (זלמן) can be divided neatly into these two halves: זל=37, and מן=90.

One last facet:

The 127 years of Sarah came into play a thousand years later, when Ahasuerus, who eventually married Esther, ruled over 127 countries. Why 127? The Midrash fills us in:

Why did Esther merit to rule over 127 countries? Said G‑d: “Let Esther, the descendant of Sarah who lived 127 years, come and rule over 127 lands.'' [Esther Rabbah 1:8]

Concerning Esther, the Megillah tells us that she was taken to the king’s palace to be queen in the month of Tevet. Quite appropriately, Rabbi Schneur Zalman (whose connection to Esther is expressed in the number 127) was taken to G‑d’s supernal palace on the 24th of Tevet.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Where's David from Georgia?


Miraculous events are common at the Ohel of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  This one occurred last week.

A small crowd filled the entrance room of Ohel Chabad Lubavitch Center in Cambria Heights, Queens, on Motzoei Shabbos Shemos 5776 to watch videos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe that play in a constant loop.

Shown on the large screen was a farbrengen held on 10 Shevat 5732 in the main shul at Lubavitch Headquarters - 770 Eastern Parkway, and celebrating the anniversary of the Rebbe accepting the leadership of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement.

In the video, in between delivering "sichos," the Rebbe was searching for someone.

Sitting and watching the clip were David Weisshaar of Atlanta, Georgia, and his fiancee Leah Ganz of Woodmere, New York, who came to pray before their wedding. He is a real estate broker in Atlanta and she works for the Orthodox Union (OU).

"We got engaged on December 13 and people have been encouraging me to go to the Rebbe and ask for his blessing," Weisshaar told COLlive.com in a phone conversation from New York on Sunday.

Weisshaar, 44, has grown close to Chassidus with the guidance of Shliach Rabbi Shmuel Posner of the Chabad House of Boston, MA. He later studied in the Yeshivos Ohr Temimim in Kfar Chabad, Tiferes Bachurim in New York and Ufaratzta in Katamon, Jerusalem.

So when he came to the Five Towns last week to visit his fiancee, he offered her to go with him to the Rebbe's holy gravesite at the Old Montefiore cemetery in Queens after Shabbos.

Upon arriving there, Weisshaar commented to Ganz that "everything here is Hashgacha protis - Divine Providence." The two, accompanied by a friend, wrote a personal 'pan' request, as customary, and walked into the Ohel to pray.

Sipping a warm drink, the two sat down in the "house" adjacent to the cemetery to draw further inspiration from watching a video of the Rebbe from the vast archive footage of JEM [Jewish Educational Media].

"The Rebbe was between talks and had a big bag of mail in front of him," Weisshaar told COLlive.com. "Then, all of a sudden, the Rebbe asked, 'is there a Jew here from Georgia?' I turned to Leah and asked if she saw that as well.

"Then the Rebbe spoke again and said, 'where's David from Georgia?' That is when I jumped up out of my seat. I said, 'wow! This is kind of wild!' I realized the Rebbe wasn't only looking for a Jew from Georgia, he's looking for 'David from Georgia!'"

"We noticed that it took a while for the people in 770 to find this David," Weisshaar related. When the Jew from the former Soviet country is finally found, the Rebbe instructs him to sing.

The person, who was a diamond dealer and an immigrant living in Kiryat Malachi, Israel, began singing a Georgian Jewish melody.

And the words? The blessing for a bride and groom traditionally sung at weddings: "kol sason v'kol simcha, kol chatan v'kol kallah..."

Weisshaar says he turned to some bochurim standing nearby and told them that his first name is David and that he lives in the state of Georgia as well, and that he came at this late hour to request a blessing for their wedding.

The friend that came with Weisshaar and Ganz even commented that David also resembles David from the video. Bochurim present were moved by the story and helped Weisshaar purchase the Farbrengen DVD from 10 Shevat 5732.

"I already knew this (engagement) was a solid thing and I was sure we had the Rebbe's bracha," Weisshaar said. "But this was like the icing on the cake. It was kind of crazy to see it on the screen."

The couple set their wedding date to Thursday, 24 Adar II, 5776 in Brooklyn, NY. Mazel Tov!


Source and more photos at: COLLive

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Miracle Within a Miracle



''There was hail and fire flaming amid the hail'' [Va'eira 9:24]

The Midrash states that the Plague of Hail was a miracle within a miracle: the hail did not extinguish the fire and the fire did not melt the hail.  Rather, both elements joined forces in smiting the Egyptians.

R' Acha compared this to a king who had two very powerful legions of soldiers. To find greater favor in the king's eyes, each legion tried out-doing the other when they went out to war. The competition between the two legions escalated to the point that they hated one another.

This hatred continued for some time until a major war threatened to break out in the king's land. The king summoned both legions to appear before him, and he told them the following:

''I know'' said the king, ''that you are both very powerful and dedicated to my service. I usually send only one of you at a time to the battlefront. But now a major war looms on the horizon, and I need assistance from both of you. But what shall I do about your mutual hatred? You must make peace between yourselves and go out to war united. Then we will be victorious!''

So it was with the Plague of Hail. Hail and fire cannot co-exist because the nature of fire is to melt hail and the nature of hail is to extinguish fire. But in this instance, Hashem made peace between them and together they struck at the Egyptians.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Friday, January 1, 2016

Shana Tova on the New Year

Photo: Daily Mail

A story is told, about the Lubavitcher Rebbe, how one year on the 1st of January he wished someone a "Happy New Year". Seeing the surprised reaction to this open acknowledgment of this secular juncture, the Rebbe went on and quoted a verse in Tehillim [Psalms 87], where King David writes how "G-d takes into account the demarcations of time of all the nations of the world".

As Jews we don't ignore New Year, we acknowledge the world around us.

The Apta Ruv – The Oheiv Yisrael - used to bless people on the secular New Year’s “From now on, there should be a good year for Klal Yisrael” 

It is said that The Ropshitzer Ruv, used to wish people a happy new year’s in Polish “Szczęśliwego nowego roku” on the secular new year.

See more at : The Rare Minhag of Wishing ''Shana Tova'' on New Years