Thursday, February 25, 2016

Square, Not Round

Now it came to pass when he drew closer to the camp and saw the calf and the dances, that Moses' anger was kindled, and he flung the tablets from his hands, shattering them at the foot of the mountain. [Ki Tisa 32:19]

According to the Talmud, the Tablets were each 6 x 6 tefachim in size, and together they filled the Ark, leaving no space [Bava Basra 14a].  From this we see that the Tablets were square in shape.

Furthermore, there is a halachic principle that the vessels of the Temple are only valid if they are "intact and full". Thus, it was a legal imperative that the Tablets filled the Ark completely leaving no space.  Obviously, ths would preclude them from being rounded in shape.

The concept of tablets with rounded tops is actually non-Jewish in origin, being derived from Roman tradition (the nation that destroyed our holy Temple).  Nevertheless, the image found its way into our books due to the non-Jewish censorship of printing spanning many centuries.  As a result, today there are even religious Jews who depict the tablets as being round on the top, contrary to the Talmud.

It is a mitzvah to publicize at every opportunity that, according to Jewish sources, the Tablets are square in shape.

[Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Ki Tisa 5741 - Lubavitcher Rebbe]

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Give and You Shall Receive


וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כֹּפֶר נַפְשׁוֹ לַי־הֹוָ־ה
"let each one give [וְנָתְנוּ] to the Lord an atonement for his soul "[Ki Tisa 30:12]

The Ba'al HaTurim notes that the word וְנָתְנוּ is a palindrome: it can be read both backwards and forwards.  This is to teach us that whatever a person donates to tzedakah will ultimately be returned to him: one never loses by giving charity.

There was a rich man in Volozhin who used to give generously to the poor of his city.  Misfortune struck, however, and he lost much of his wealth.

He approached R' Chaim of Volozhin with the following question: "Rebbe" he said, "I do not know what to do. As you know, I used to give a large sum of money each month to the poor people of Volozhin.  Due to the hard times which have befallen me, however, I don't have that much money to give. Should I simply give a smaller sum than I have in the past, or should I borrow money from others and give the same amount that I am accustomed to giving?"

R' Chaim thought for a moment and then responded: "Continue to give the exact amount that you have always given.  As far as your livelihood is concerned, do not worry, for Hashem will provide you with all that you need."

A few weeks later, the man returned to R' Chaim, but now he was happy.  "Rebbe" he said, "your words have been fulfilled! I did exactly as you said: I borrowed money and distributed it to the poor. Shortly thereafter, I participated in a lottery and won an enormous sum of money."

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, February 22, 2016

BDE : Erlauer Rebbe zt''l


A very special soul has passed from this world.

''B’tzaar Ra’av we regret to report the passing of the Erlauer Rebbe, Harav Yochonon Sofer zt”l. He was 92 years old. 

Harav Yochanan Sofer, the Erlau Rebbe, was born in Erlau, Hungary, in Teves 5683/1923. His father, Harav Moshe Sofer, great-grandson and namesake of the Chasam Sofer, zt”l, was the son of the Rav of Erlau, Harav Shimon Sofer, known for his sefer Hisorerus Teshuvah.

In his later years, Harav Shimon appointed his son, Harav Moshe, to serve as Rav of Erlau alongside him.''

More at Hamodia

Purim Katan: The Rebbe Explains

According to the Jewish calendar, a second month of Adar is added in a leap-year. While Purim is usually celebrated in Adar, during a leap-year it is postponed until the second Adar, and we mark Purim Katan - “the small Purim” in the first month.

 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Moshiach's Arrival: How Do We Know It's Imminent

I ''accidentally'' stumbled upon this shiur, while I was looking for something else.  It is one of the best shiurim I've heard.   It was given a couple of years ago, but is timeless - absolutely brilliant

Rabbi Shimon Kessin speaking at KSY, Kehillas Shivtei Yeshurun, in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel in 2013.

 

Pride

Art by Ben Goosens

Text by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita 

Pride is a type of currency that the Supreme King has declared null and condemned in the Torah: “Beware lest you forget the L-RD your G-d, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt.” In fact, the man of pride forgets his Creator, as it is written: “Your cattle and sheep increase, and you increase silver and gold for yourselves … and you may say in your heart, ‘My strength and the might of my hand made me all this wealth!’ Then you shall remember the L-RD your G-d, that it was He Who gave you strength to make wealth.” The king himself is also warned, “so that his heart not become haughty over his brothers.” If the Torah judged it necessary to make this recommendation to the king, how much more so is it essential for ordinary people, in order that they not lord it over one another!

A person can act arrogantly with his ears, by not listening to the cries of the poor, or by his nose, if he is disgusted by standing near the poor or going to their homes because of the smell. One can also be arrogant by one’s words, by making haughty and brazen remarks against the upright. Pride can be recognized by eating and dressing habits, with the man who wears pretentious clothing. The Torah warns us concerning this: “Do not follow the ways of the nations.” Arrogant men are abysmal in G-d’s eyes – “All haughty hearts are loathsome to G-d.” These people will be delivered to their desires because G-d, Who loathes them, will not come to their aid. And even if a man does not demonstrate his arrogance to others by his actions or his words, but rather keeps it in his heart, he is called “loathsome,” for it is written: “All haughty hearts are loathsome to G-d” – even if his pride is only in his heart.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Nibiru - ''You Will Lift Up Your Eyes To the Sky''


All of the words and phrases listed below have been found encoded in close proximity in the Torah Codes: 

Threat of the comet - Nibiru - [verses from the Torah] ''stars in the Heavens'' - ''you will lift up your eyes to the sky'' - Moshiach - 5776 - the month of March - Adar Beit

Click on the NIBIRU label below this post to see more.

The Power of Charity

Rabbi Alon Anava: The Power of Charity: Parts One and Two
Learn all about the great Mitzvah of giving Charity and its spiritual powers




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Rav Kanievsky: Moshiach is at the door

Rabbi Chananya Chollak, the founder and international chairman of Ezer Mizion, visited Rav Chaim Kanievsky today.

During the course of their conversation, Rabbi Chollak mentioned the horrific, tragic crash on Highway 1 on Sunday that claimed six Yiddishe neshamos.

“Moshiach is on his way,” Rav Chaim told Rabbi Chollak.

“But what’s going to be with the rash of tragedies we have been experiencing?” asked Rabbi Chollak.

Rav Chaim responded, “Moshiach is not just on the way. He is at the very door.”

Source: David Steger – Matzav.com Israel

A Hint of Moshe Rabbeinu


"And you will command the Children of Israel" [Tetzaveh 27:20]

The Vilna Gaon asks why the verse begins with Hashem instructing Moshe "And you will command..." without first stating the standard opening "Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying..."

The answer, said the Gaon, is as follows:

The day of Moshe Rabbeinu's passing [and day of his birth] was the seventh of Adar. In most years, this day falls out during the week in which Parshas Tetzaveh is read. Now, in the entire Parshas Tetzaveh, Moshe's name is not mentioned, even once. This alludes to the fact that Moshe's demise took place during this week.

However, continued the Gaon, even though Moshe's name is not mentioned explicitly in Tetzaveh, it is nevertheless there in a hint:

There are 101 verses in the Parsha. If the letters that comprise the name "Moshe" - משׁה -are spelled out in their entirety, we would have the following:

מ the letters comprising Mem are מ מ -

שׁ the letters comprising Shin are שׁ י ן -

ה the letters compring Hey are ה א -

Total numerical value: 446

If we add up the numerical value of all these letters, and then subtract the numerical value of משׁה [Moshe: 345] - we will be left with the number 101 - the exact number of verses in the parsha.

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Monday, February 15, 2016

The Torah is Light

''To light up the lamp continuously'' [Tetzaveh 27:20]

The Ner Tamid  [perpetual candle] which the Kohen Gadol kindled in the Beis HaMikdash symbolized the Torah, as the verse states: ''The Torah is light'' [Mishlei 6:23]

In the same way that the Ner Tamid was never extinguished, and its light was a constant source of illumination, so too, the radiance of the Torah will always shine upon the world and its inhabitants.

Each and every individual is commanded to fulfill the precept of ''You should contemplate it day and night'' [Yehoshua 1:8].  By upholding this commandment we ensure that the Torah's light continuously shines and illuminates the world.

**********
The Vilna Gaon's diligence in Torah study was legendary. His days were spent in his room, delving into the depths of the Torah with every ounce of strength that he possessed.

On one occasion, the Gaon's sister arrived from a distant land in order to pay him a visit.  This was by no means a minor event, as the two had not seen each other for some fifty years !

The Gaon went out to greet his sister and, as the halachah dictates, recited the blessing that is said upon seeing an acquaintance that one has not seen for a long time - ''Blessed are You, Hashem... Who resuscitates the dead.''

After concluding the blessing, the Gaon said to his sister: ''My dear sister. I know that we have not seen one another for quite some time. However, when I leave this world and am called before the Heavenly Tribune, I will be asked to give an accounting for every single second of my life.  Each moment of time will be scrutinized and judged on whether or not it was utilized studying Torah and performing Hashem's mitzvos.  How, then, can I waste away the precious time that I have been allotted, by engaging in trivial conversations?''

''I therefore beg your forgiveness, but I must return to my room and resume my Torah study.''

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Christchurch Hit by Severe Earthquake

Aftershocks are continuing to hit Christchurch New Zealand after a "severe" earthquake struck the city, prompting buildings to be evacuated.

In what appears to be a re-play of the 2011 quakes which severely damaged the Christchurch Cathedral, the building has again been affected by today's quake.

Story here and live updates here


Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Divided Heart


Rebbe Nachman taught: A person's heart contains two inclinations: one towards good and one towards evil. This causes division within the heart. An example of this division is when a person feels he "knows" that G-d is always present, yet is lax in using his prayer time to really speak to G-d. If he truly felt G-d's presence, he would certainly pray with all his might. The fact that he is lax and does not exert himself to pray with full concentration shows that part of him "does not acknowledge" G-d's presence. This is the result of a "divided" heart. [Likutey Moharan I 62:2]

Strife, simply defined, is a lack of accord between two parties. Two countries might argue between themselves, so might two families or two individuals. The strife that exists within one's own heart is the result of a schism between one's right side, which strives for spirituality, and one's left side, which pulls towards materialism. Someone who has not yet succeeded in fully purifying his heart will always feel this "inner strife". Questions of faith, and confusion concerning both one's immediate and longterm goals are all symptomatic of a divided heart.

Rebbe Nachman explained it this way: The world is full of strife. There are wars between the great world powers, there are conflicts within different localities, there are feuds among families, there is discord between neighbours and friction within a household, between man and wife, between parents and children... Life is short; people die a little each day. The day that just passed will never return, but people still fight, and never once do they remember their ultimate goal in life.

The characteristic traits of each nation are reflected in individuals. Some nations are known for their anger, for example, and others for bloodthirstiness. Each nation has its own particular trait. In the same way, these traits are to be found in each household. Even someone who wishes to live in peace can be dragged into conflict by virtue of his living among conflicting parties.

Man is a microcosm, holding within himself the world and everything in it. A man living alone can become insane, because his personality is forced to focus upon the "warring nations" within him, and he finds no peace. When Moshiach comes, all these wars will be abolished.

If someone's heart is divided, what can he do to "pull himself together"?

Rebbe Nachman placed much emphasis on the study of the Codes of Law. The Codes abound with discussions, sometimes quite heated, between the various Sages regarding what is permitted and what is forbidden, what is pure and what is impure, and so on. One's goal during one's studies should be to clarify the opinions of the Sages, bringing "peace" to the opposing views and coming to a clear conclusion. This method of study - examining opposing views and arriving at a peaceful solution - can have a deep and lasting effect upon a person's character. Employing one's Binah (understanding) to resolve a conflict of Torah Law can bring "peace" to one's divided heart, the heart divided between two inclinations.

Though this method of study is an advanced one and will certainly pose difficulties for those who are unfamiliar with the system of Talmudic research, Rebbe Nachman's directive to study the Codes in order to achieve lasting benefit is a universal one. In several lessons, he speaks about the importance of studying and knowing the Codes in order to proceed on the proper path in life.

Rebbe Nachman taught further: The good inclination is known as "a poor but wise child" [Ecclesiasties 4:13] - poor because few listen to him, wise because he leads one on the path of life. The evil inclination is compared to "an old foolish king" - people tend to listen because he is king, but his advice is foolish. These two inclinations represent the kingdom of holiness and the kingdom of impurity. One who studies Torah with effort strengthens the kingdom of holiness. [Likutey Moharan I 1:2]

The Arizal used to expend tremendous effort in his studies of the Codes. He exerted himself so much that it caused him to break out in a sweat.

Rebbe Nachman teaches that advice which comes from improper sources overwhelms the heart and putrefies it. The heart is then compared to an outhouse; the advice of that heart is malodorous. Rabbi Chaim Vital thus writes that the reason the Arizal worked himself into a sweat when he studied was in order to break the illusory powers of the evil inclination that envelop the heart. We know that excess waste products pollute one's system and we know that sweating is one way of purifying the body of this waste. The 613 commandments of the Torah are called the "613 precepts of advice". This type of advice also brings harmony to the heart, clearing it of division.

Source: "Anatomy of the Soul" by Chaim Kramer

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rabbi Mizrachi Mentions Nibiru

At approx 33:15 on this video, Rabbi Mizrachi mentions Nibiru, and goes on to speak about Aliyah to Israel before Moshiach. The full shiur is a ''Unique Explanation Of Parshat Mishpatim: The Secrets Of The Verses Based On The Zohar – Kabbalah.''

A note to commenters:  On the subject of Aliyah, please do not post your ''opinion'' as this is not helpful and just confuses the issue.    Rabbi Mizrachi is quoting Torah sources. If you can provide other Torah sources that differ from his, please post them, otherwise try to refrain from telling us your personal opinion.

 

''It Wasn't A Dream''

Have you ever had a dream of a Rebbe? If you have, you would not forget it. In this video Rabbi H. Greenberg shares a powerful true story of the same dream that two family members received at the same time.  It wasn't a dream, and there's a powerful message for all of us at the end of the video.

 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hasidic 'Royal' wedding links two dynasties


Incredible photos by Gil Cohen-Magen

This may appear a bit strange to some readers but here are some amazing photos from the recent wedding  in B'nei Brak of the Sassov Hasidic dynasty head's youngest son marrying the Kretshnif dynasty head's granddaughter; the traditional 'mitzvah tantz' dance lasted all night. See: Haáretz.com


Secrets of the Hebrew Letters and Vowels

HaRav Dovber Pinson 

''The Power of the Hebrew Letters and Sounds  - The Path of the Baal Shem Tov in Prayer''
Parts 1 and 2

This lecture by Rav Pinson reveals how the Letters/ Sounds are the building blocks of Creation and how we too can create by using them.

Part One:



Part Two:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

`Mishpatim’ – Judaism Abhors Child Abuse

by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz 
Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

Just after the giving of the Law at Sinai, the Torah presents us with an assortment of laws, some criminal, some civil and some purely religious.

The civil laws in our Torah portion this week, Mishpatim, regulate how we act with one another. They must have been of immediate, practical use, even in the desert; they dealt with slavery, mayhem, and stealing, among other sins. Even more basic are the foundational principals of justice – some explicit and some implicit, but clear in their meaning. The Torah is clear about equality. No one is above the law. Individuals of all stations in life and society must be treated equally. It does not matter if they are of high rank or not. It is of no concern whether they are men, women or small children: the law is equal to all of them.

These laws are as relevant today as they were in ancient times. Mishpatim makes clear, for example, that Judaism abhors the abuse of children.

As the Torah well understands, child molestation is an ancient vice. It has become much more widely discussed because of several recent scandals, mostly in religious institutions.

There are some objective reasons why such things happen quite often in religious institutions. Children are taught and trained to be obedient and to accept their elders as authorities – which makes it so much more difficult for them to resist abuse or to report it. Unfortunately there is no sex education in some of the schools; nor is the subject discussed in some homes. So when something like this happens, it takes time for a child to understand it and even more than that – to talk about it.

Child molestation almost always causes enormous, multi-level damage to the victim's soul: it may make the victim unable to form healthy relationships. They may lose trust in people, because the molesters are often those who were supposed to be their caretakers and protectors.

It should also be stressed over and over again that this crime of child molestation is not just a civil offense: it is also a very severe religious crime. Under Jewish law, it may even deserve capital punishment. Offenders may also be liable for the most severe punishment of karet (untimely death by the hands of the Almighty).

It is important to say all that because there is a tendency to cover up such incidents, especially in institutions, and sometimes even to protect the perpetrators. Partly this is so because those in charge are often more in touch with the molester – who may be a colleague or a friend – than with the children. This is especially the case since children hardly ever express their hurt. And, of course, institutions do not want their reputations to be harmed.

The first and foremost duty of any educational institution, and the prime responsibility of its heads and leaders, is to be rid of anyone who causes such great harm. Good reputation or personal friendships must by no means stand in the way of investigation and clean-up.

We must make sure that such a person will never again be in a position to repeat such offenses. It is therefore not enough to fire the perpetrator from his (or her) work place: it is both the organization’s and society’s duty to make sure that the crimes are known and punished.

As Mishpatim reminds us, no one is above the law. Child molestation is not a local problem; seemingly, it has been with us for millennia. Our duty is to diminish, even eradicate, this evil as much as humanly possible.

Rabbi Steinsaltz, who lives in Jerusalem, is a teacher, philosopher and author who has translated the Talmud into Hebrew and English.

Originally published at The Jewish Week

Tzedakah: A Loan to Hashem

A Teaching of the Maggid of Dubno

“When you lend money to My people, to the poor person who is with you, do not act towards him as a creditor” [Mishpatim  22:24].

The Midrash explains this verse by citing another: “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem,  and He will pay him his reward” [Proverbs 19:17].

How can it be said that one has lent to the Master of the universe? The Maggid of Dubno offers a parable in order to understand this.

One day Shimon needed some money. His friend Reuven offered to lend it to him on condition that Shimon finds two guarantors in case he couldn’t pay back at the agreed-upon date.

Shimon found the first guarantor, his friend Aryeh, who was financially well-off. His second guarantor, Benjamin, was hardly better off than Shimon himself.

Shimon happily returned to Reuven with the papers signed by both guarantors, and as agreed upon, Reuven lent Shimon the money and put the contract away for safekeeping.

Shimon traveled to a great trade fair in the market district of the capital. Hashem was with him and his earnings increased. Too occupied to even properly deal with his present business, Shimon forgot the due date set for paying back his loan.

The repayment period having passed, Reuven felt quite embarrassed. He held Shimon’s contract in his hand, but there were no signs of Shimon himself.

Reuven asked his assistant to find Shimon. He left to search for him but wasn’t successful because Shimon had left the city not long after having received Reuven’s money. Furthermore, no one knew where he was or when he would return.

After hearing this, Reuven ordered his assistant to approach the guarantors in order to reclaim his money. Without difficulty the assistant found the address of Aryeh, who lived in a beautiful home and was well known in the city. He then went in search of Benjamin, and was told that he lived in a tiny lane in the poor section of town. Arriving there, the assistance saw a passer-by wearing a patched-up coat and asked him if he knew someone by the name of Benjamin.

“Benjamin,” he slowly repeated. “Yes, that’s me. How may I help you?”

“You have a friend by the name of Shimon? He disappeared after having borrowed some money….”

The assistant couldn’t continue. He felt too embarrassed. How could he recover money from a man that he wasn’t even sure could feed himself on that day?

He decided to approach the first guarantor, Aryeh. The assistant went to his home and presented him with the signed contract. Aryeh then reimbursed the entire sum.

Reuven was delighted that Aryeh paid the total amount of the loan and that there was no need to collect anything from Benjamin. Thus Reuven would cause Benjamin neither shame nor suffering to admit that he owned nothing and couldn’t pay his portion of the loan.

Among gentiles, it is normal to lend money with interest in order to make even more of it.

Lehavdil, we act differently in Klal Israel, for the Torah forbids us to take interest. Everything happens as if Klal Israel was in possession of a sum of money, a sum made available to everyone in need and regularly supplied with cash infusions by those who have great amounts of money.

It’s a great mitzvah to lend money without interest.

We are also taught that we shouldn’t humiliate those who owe money but have none with which to pay back. No pressure should be exerted on the poor, and no attempt should be made to remind them of their debt. A person who lends money to another is even advised to avoid meeting the debtor, for the latter might see him and get scared, thinking that he has come to reclaim what the poor person owes, and so the latter will have to admit to the fact that it’s impossible for him to pay it back.

As was stated earlier, in the book of Proverbs it is written, “One who is gracious to the poor has lent to Hashem, and He will pay him his reward.”

In other words, the poor individual receives the tzeddakah as a gift, but for Hashem it is a loan that He will pay back a hundred fold. Also, when a person can’t pay back his debt, the example of Reuven in the parable should be followed. Let us appeal to the more fortunate one, to Aryeh; let us address Him Who possesses all the wealth in the world, Who blesses all our actions that enable us to perform His mitzvot.

Source: Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Nibiru - Star of Moshiach?

Update to this post:  Please see comments for information regarding the Kochav Yaakov - Star of Moshiach, as written in the Zohar.  Maybe this is Nibiru.

Have you been reading Devash's posts about Nibiru?  I am fascinated by the whole thing, and have been looking at video sightings of it for quite a few weeks now.  This video below was just posted on You Tube and clearly shows Nibiru next to the sun.   I have no predictions or thoughts regarding its close encounter with Earth in the near future, but would be interested to hear your thoughts.




Also see: Nibiru - Torah Codes - Star of Yaakov

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Foundations of True Emunah That Can Save Us In The End of Days

A new shiur from Rabbi Yaron Reuven

Compensation



עַיִן תַּחַת עַיִן "An eye for an eye" [Mishpatim 21:24]

The term "eye for an eye" explain Chazal [Bava Kamma 84a] is not meant to be taken literally - one who causes another the loss of an eye is not punished by having to lose his own eye.  Rather, it means that the responsible party must pay the monetary value of an eye.

Chazal's interpretation of this halachah, said the Vilna Gaon, is alluded to in the words of the verse.  Why does the verse state "Ayin tachas ayin" - which literally means "an eye beneath an eye" - and not "Ayin be'ad ayin" - which means "eye for an eye"?

The Torah, explained the Gaon, is hinting to us that in order to discover the true meaning of the verse, we must look at what is "beneath" the ayin, that is the letters that follow the word "ayin" עין:

The letter ayin ע is followed by the letter pei פ
The letter yud י is followed by the letter kaf כּ
The letter nun is ן followed by the letter samech ס
These letters form the word keseph - כּסףmoney !


Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, February 1, 2016