Monday, October 29, 2018

Gentiles and Geula


Last week Rabbi Anava spoke about the Gentiles' role in the coming of Moshiach




Further clarification is given in this video, from the 55.50 min mark




and in this one: ''Will only the Righteous survive the Geula?"

Eleven


Thank you Devash for reminding me about this post, from 2011.  In memory of the 11 murdered Jews in Pittsburgh.




Ever since the Twin Towers fell on 9 11 people have tuned into the number 11.
What is the significance of eleven in the Jewish religion?


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Here's a few things I found regarding the number eleven and it's relevance to the Messianic Era, and which may explain why it is being brought to our attention again and again :

"Normally the attributes (Sefirot) add up to ten. There is, however a case where the number eleven comes into play. This would be the level of Kodesh HaKodoshim, (Holy of Holies) or the "crown." "You are One but not in the numerical sense" [Tikkunei Zohar, Introduction II], meaning not in the normal order of ten, rather eleven!

"We would associate the eleventh level with the Divine service of ba'alei teshuvah, who reach above the system of development of the worlds, where even tzaddikim don't stand.

"Chassidus teaches us that in the future G-d will cause the tzaddikim to rise to the level of teshuvah, thus, then, all will reach to the same level of eleven!

"Which also connects all these thoughts with the theme of parshas Shemini where we are told that Moshe and Aharon entered the Communion Tent to burn the incense and then the Shechinah came to rest in the Tabernacle.

"The incense was composed of eleven different spices and symbolized the aspect of teshuvah, which brings the revelation of: "You are one but not in the numerical sense" (above the Ten Sefiros)."


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"The number eleven, which is how many spices there were in the Ketores, at first seems rather odd. However, Kabbalistically it is a number of tremendous importance for it alludes to one of the most prized possessions in all of history: Da'as Elokim - G-dly-Knowledge.

"It is well-known that there are only ten fixed Sefiros: Keter, Chochmah, Binah, Chesed, Gevurah, Tifferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, and Malchut - Crown, Wisdom, Understanding, Kindness, Strength, Harmony, Dominance, Glory, Foundation, and Kingship. They are, for all intents and purposes, the spiritual DNA for all of existence, and the filters through which the G-d of light passes to make it all exist and happen.

"Kabbalah explains that there is actually an eleventh sefirah. However, because it is really the product of other sefiros and subject to movement, meaning that it can come and go based upon the efforts of man, it is more like a pseudo-sefirah, though its centrality is not to be under-estimated. (In truth, Da'at is what the light of Keter becomes after being filtered through Chochmah and Binah, which is why it is not really counted independently, but that is already a discussion that goes above our heads.)

"Brushing aside the details, Da'at means one thing and one thing only: Redemption. The more of this light that exists in the world, the more redemption will become a real and fixed reality, which is why the prophets describe Yemos HaMoshiach as a time when the world will be filled with Da'at, just as Betzalel was to construct the Mishkan, a microcosm of the entire universe in perfection, as the Zohar said:

"Ya'akov wanted to establish the Mystery of Unity below, and composed the twenty-four letters of, "Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom forever." He didn't make it twenty-five letters since the Mishkan (Tabernacle) had yet to be built. Once the Mishkan was built, the first word was completed . . . With regard to this it says, "G-d spoke to him from the Appointed Tent, saying . . ." [Vayikrah 1:1] which has twenty-five letters. [Zohar 2:139b]

"The golden calf represents the other extreme - the world without Da'at, a forerunner of modern Western Society.  The Parah Adumah of course is the tikun for the golden calf, and therefore an expression of this very concept. [See Rashi at the beginning of Parashas Chukas]

"Thus, there are some very famous elevens through history, and they are all associated with this concept of Da'at. For example, Yosef was the eleventh son born to Ya'akov, the one through whom the hand of G-d became clear and from whom Moshiach ben Yosef will descend to help us across the threshold into Moshiach's time.

"However, perhaps the most famous eleven is the gematria of the letters "Vav-Heh" from G-d's Tetragrammaton Name, purposely left out at the end of Parashas Beshallach when G-d swears there will be war against Amalek until the end of history. The Name of G-d that represents this reality is "Elokim." Once Amalek is finally snuffed out in Moshiach's time, they will return and G-d's Name will once again be one. However, until such time it is as if they remain hidden, like the hand of G-d itself in the affairs of man, allowing Gevuros and Amalek to do their thing."

Source: Torah.org

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"The number eleven is associated with the phrase, "an eleven day journey from Choreb." This implies that after the experience of Choreb, the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, there is the need to proceed to a higher rung, "an eleven day journey."

"This teaches that one should not content himself with the service of the ten conscious powers of the soul, but should also involve our encompassing powers, including the power of yechidah whose transcendent nature is symbolized by the number eleven. Furthermore, both these dimensions of service should be fused together.

"The fusion of ten and eleven relates to our present time, the time when all of our energies are directed towards "bringing the Era of the Mashiach." This will be the tenth redemption. Simultaneously, there is a connection to eleven for the "the new [dimensions of the] Torah that will emerge from Me" represents an increase beyond the Ten Commandments and thus relates to the number eleven."
Sources: Sichos in English  and Eleven Days Fall from Edom

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And from Rebetzin Esther Jungreis:

"Turning to parshas Nitzavim [Deut. 28:28], in which it is written: "The hidden things are for G-d, but that which is revealed is for us and our children." Over the words "for us and our children" there are dots, and if you count them, you will discover exactly eleven! .... What is the meaning of eleven? I called all the members of my family for their input, and each of them came up with a different Torah answer.

"In the Book of Daniel, Chapter 7, the prophet speaks of a vision of "horns" which symbolize the various regimes that we will encounter in our exile. The last and smallest of these horns will be the eleventh, after which the messianic period will be ushered in. Sadya Gaon, the Rambam, and the Malbim all interpret this eleventh horn as the religion of Ishmael - Mohammed - Islam! The Rambam, in his "Epistle to Yemen"writes that "the horn has human eyes and a mouth speaking big things, that is to say that this upstart would conjure up a religion similar to the G-dly religion. He will say that he is a prophet and say many things. His interest will be to hinder and destroy the true religion and he shall think to change the times and the law...." I was floored by it all and continued to search.

"Eleven, I remembered is also the eleven stars that Joseph saw in his dream which foretold his future. Joseph was the eleventh son of the patriarch Jacob, and he died at the age of 110 (remove the zero and once again, you have 11)."

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Rabbi Kessin on Kashoggi



Guests of Honour


"They (pretended) to eat"  [Vayeira 18:8]

The Torah states that the angels ate the food which Avraham served them, on which Rashi comments: "they pretended to eat".

It appears, therefore, that Avraham did not perform a mitzvah by feeding his guests, for ultimately they were angels who did not need to eat.  Thus: a) Avraham interrupted his audience with the Divine Presence unnecessarily, and b) How can we learn the principle that "welcoming guests is greater than welcoming the Divine Presence" [Shabbos 127a] from an incident where there were no real guests present?

Generally speaking, with acts of kindness, the primary focus is on the results of the mitzvah, i.e. the benefits given to the guests - food and drink etc.

The unique quality of the mitzvah of welcoming guests is that the primary focus is not on the benefits received by the guests, but rather on the good will demonstrated by the host.  In this light, it turns out that Avraham did fulfill the mitzvah of welcoming guests, in the most exemplary manner.

Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Journey of the Soul


Teachings from the Zohar - Parshat Lech Lecha

Parts 1, 2 and 3

Rabbi Alon Anava




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Noach vs Avraham



''Noach was a righteous man, perfect in his generations; Noach walked with G-d.'' [Noach 6:9]

Later, the Torah tells us that Hashem told Avraham Avinu ''Walk before Me and be perfect'' [17:1], but here the Torah says that Noach ''walked with G-d''.  What was the difference between Noach and Avraham?

The Midrash Rabbah answers this question with a parable:  A father was once walking down the road with his two sons.  The father turned to the younger son and said ''Give me your hand and we'll walk together.''  But to the older son, he said ''Go ahead, you can walk before me.''

''Father'', asked the older son, ''why won't you hold my hand as well?''

''My son'' answered the father, ''your brother is still young and I'm afraid that he might stumble or fall.  You, however, are older and I'm not worried about your walking.''

The difference between Noach and Avraham was like the difference between the two sons in the parable.  Though Noach was a tzaddik, he nonetheless needed protection to make sure he would not stumble in his beliefs.  The verse therefore describes his relationship with G-d as ''Noach walked with G-d'', since Hashem stood by him at all times, to make sure his faith would not falter.

Avraham's faith, however, was much stronger, so Hashem told him ''Walk before Me - I'm sure you will not stumble.''

Rashi expressed this idea in one sentence: ''Noach needed support, but Avraham drew his strength from himself and walked in his righteousness on his own.''

Source and written by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The Purpose of Falsehood

Text by Rabbi Daniel Travis

Two by two the animals came into the Ark to Noach. [Noah 7:9]

The concepts in this verse are illustrated by the following allegory:

Sheker (lies/deceit) approached Noach and requested entry into the Ark. Noach refused sheker on the grounds that it did not have a “mate.” When sheker left Noach, it met pachsa (financial loss and destruction) and proposed that they form a partnership, so that together they could gain entry into the Ark. Pachsa agreed, stipulating that any profit which would be earned through sheker would be handed over to pachsa to be destroyed.

There are many questions to be asked about this allegory. Why did our Sages see fit to single out sheker from all the possible negative character traits? Furthermore, why was it necessary for sheker to find a mate? Surely it would have been better to deny sheker entrance to the ark altogether. On the other hand, if sheker belonged in the world, should it not have been allowed to enter the ark without having to fulfill any conditions?

The decree of the flood was sealed on account of the dishonesty of that generation. Sheker was rampant, and there was no way to stop it short of wiping out the entire world. In the process of reconstructing the world, God wanted to make sure that the sins which had caused it's demise would not be repeated. Therefore sheker could not be allowed to perpetuate in its present form. However, it was important that sheker continue to exist in order for the iniquities of the previous generation to be rectified. This could only come about through recognition of the utter futility of any involvement with sheker.

When pachsa joined forces with sheker, causing the loss of all profits earned through sheker, it made it glaringly evident that any association with sheker is totally counterproductive. The lesson that would be learned from the alliance between sheker and pachsa allowed sheker to continue to exist.

After leaving the ark, sheker came to pachsa and requested all of the profits that it had acquired through under-handed methods. Pachsa reminded sheker of their agreement, and sheker was unable to respond. Although under normal circumstances sheker would have denied ever making such a promise, this case was different. Denying the truth would be tantamount to self destruction, for without its partnership with pachsa, sheker would not be allowed to exist.

At the time of the flood sheker joined with pachsa to teach the following generations the futility of trying to acquire wealth dishonestly. Although this type of destruction is certainly a punishment for one’s crooked behavior, there is a flip side to this relationship. Since pachsa “wed” itself to sheker, it can not affect any money earned one hundred percent honestly.

This concept was vividly demonstrated to the Jewish people after their Exodus from Egypt. For forty years they were sustained every day with manna, a miraculous food that descended from the heavens. Each individual was instructed to take an omer each day – not more, not less. If someone tried to “steal” a little bit more than he was allotted, the extra manna would disappear. The futility of taking more than was Divinely allotted was quite clear. Although we are not privileged to see this principle in action in such a striking fashion, it is still in effect even in our times.

Someone once came to Rav Mordechai Schwab and told him that one of his investments had gone sour, causing him a loss of seventy thousand dollars. Rav Schwab asked him if the money had been earned honestly to which the man replied in the affirmative. Rav Shwab assured him that he would recover the money, for wealth acquired honestly does not get lost. Within a few months the investment turned a profit.

Similarly, when Rav Chaim of Volozhin was hosting a meal in his home, one of his guests inadvertently knocked over the table. All the delicate porcelain on the table came crashing to the floor. The guests were all stunned into silence, in anguish over the tremendous loss which they were certain had occurred. Only Rav Chaim remained calm. He explained to his guests that property loss can occur only if the money used to purchase that property had been acquired corruptly. Since he knew that every penny used to buy the dishes that now lay on the floor had been earned honestly, he was sure that none of the porcelain had broken, so there was nothing to worry about. When they picked up the dishes, they found that not a single one was broken or damaged.

From the above incidents we see that the partnership that sheker established with pachsa still remains in force. As such, we can be sure that any funds acquired without a tinge of corruption are not subject to pachsa, and will be spared from damage.

(c) Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Morid HaGeshem


Clouds gather on the Sturt Highway, between Narrandera and Hay, preparing for a rare rain storm. (ABC News: Mary Lloyd)

Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem
"He causes the wind to blow and the rain to fall"

Before the start of the silent Musaf Amidah on Shmini Atzeret, the beadle bangs on a table and announces to the congregation that they will begin reciting "Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem". [Source]

And a few days later.... thank G-d, the rain has finally begun to fall in drought affected areas of Australia.  

Up to a month's worth of rain in a few days... the heaviest rainfall in years.