Thursday, March 31, 2011


Never succumb to feelings of loneliness. No matter where you are, God is close by.

Remember: Feeling distant from God is subjective, not objective; it is just your own feeling, not reality.

[Rebbe Nachman of Breslov]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It is still possible to repair

 'The Shoemaker' by Elena Flerova

R' Yisrael Salanter was returning home very late one night. As he walked through the dark alleyways, he suddenly noticed that a light was still burning in the home of the shoemaker. He knocked on the door and entered his home.

"Why are you still sitting and working at such a late hour?" asked R' Salanter.

"As long as the candle burns" replied the shoemaker, "it is still possible to repair."

Those words made a great impression upon R' Salanter and, from then on, he repeated them on many occasions.

"Do you hear?" R' Salanter would ask. "As long as the candle burns, it is still possible to repair! As long as a person is alive and his soul is within him, he can still repent and rectify his deeds."


The Midrash Rabbah relates a story about a Kohen who used to examine individuals afflicted with tzara'as. The Kohen was extremely poor, however, and he was desperate for a means to earn a livelihood.

Perhaps, he thought, I should leave Eretz Yisrael and seek my fortune abroad. It is much easier to make a comfortable living overseas....

The Kohen discussed his plans with his wife, and he said to her, "People often come to me to examine their tzara'as marks, and I feel bad leaving them.  Let me teach you how to examine these marks, so that while I'm away, you will take my place and perform the necessary examinations."

His wife agreed, and the Kohen began to teach her the laws of tzara'as.

"When a person comes to be examined", instructed the Kohen, "make sure to observe his hair. It is important for you to know that each strand of a person's hair grows from a separate opening, and each one is nourished from its own follicle.  If you see that the openings around the hairs have dried out, then you can be sure that the person has tzara'as."

"Listen to what you are saying!" responded his wife. "If HaKadosh Baruch Hu has provided each hair with a wellspring from which to draw its sustenance, how much more so you, His very handiwork. Hashem will most certainly provide you with a livelihood! Why must you wander so far away, and search for a livelihood in chutz la'aretz?"

The Kohen heeded his wife's profound words and remained at home.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Iranian Video: "Mahdi is Near"

New evidence has emerged that the Iranian government sees the current unrest in the Middle East as a signal that the Mahdi--or Islamic messiah--is about to appear.

CBN News has obtained a never-before-seen video produced by the Iranian regime that says all the signs are moving into place -- and that Iran will soon help usher in the end times.

While the revolutionary movements gripping the Middle East have created uncertainty throughout the region, the video shows that the Iranian regime believes the chaos is divine proof that their ultimate victory is at hand.

'The Coming is Near'

The propaganda footage has reportedly been approved at the highest levels of the Iranian government.

It's called The Coming is Near and it describes current events in the Middle East as a prelude to the arrival of the mythical tweflth Imam or Mahdi -- the messiah figure who Islamic scriptures say will lead the armies of Islam to victory over all non-Muslims in the last days.

Full article at: CBN News  [Hat tip: Moriah]


"He should be brought to Aharon the Kohen..." [Tazria 13:2]

The Kohanim (priests) were people of inherent kindness who blessed the Jewish people with love.  Therefore, when it came to declaring somebody with the severe condition of tzara'as, which required total isolation from the Jewish camp, it was imperative that this harsh judgment be done out of love, so the Torah required it to be done by a Kohen.

From this we can learn a powerful lesson: that if one feels that another person has acted disgracefully and one wishes to chastise him, one must first examine one's own motives to see if one's desire to rebuke another is truly being done out of love.

Source: Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's All Good

Always look for the good in yourself.
Focus on that good, highlight it, and turn even depression into joy.

from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Brave New World

Art by Schnette
Essay: Stress Before Redemption by Roy (Yisroel) S. Neuberger   Hat tip: Devorah Designs

Dear Friends:

During our Biblical Redemption, the foundations of Egypt crumbled. We don't have to imagine what that means; the world has witnessed it in Japan.

"Several times I heard from the holy Chofetz Chaim that we can learn about the end of our exile from what happened at the end of our exile in Egypt, as it says [Micha 7:15], 'As in the days of your leaving Egypt, I will [in the Final Redemption] show wonders.'" [Rabbi Elchonen Wasserman zt"l as quoted in Redemption Unfolding by Rabbi A. A. Mandelbaum]

Egypt, the world's most powerful country in Biblical times, crumbled like the World Trade Center crumbled on 9/11. But the Final Redemption may take place on an even larger scale. Since the Jewish People are now spread all over the world, our future Redemption will have to be correspondingly gigantic. Do we not ask G-d to gather us from "the four corners of the earth"? During the Final Redemption the entire world structure as we know it may be dismantled, just as the structure of Egypt was dismantled in ancient days.

Redemption does not have to be violent. All decent people hope that Moshiach will come peacefully. But that, after all, depends on us! If the Children of Israel do teshuva, all will be well!

If not ....

One thing should be clear: following the Final Redemption, the world will look completely different. The Maharal writes, "a complete change will come over the world, to the extent that the world of Moshiach will be considered a new creation in comparison to the world as we know it." [Netzach Yisroel, Ch.47] The direction of world affairs will be the Torah! "Ki Mitzvion taitzai Torah u'dvar Hashem miYerushalayim... From Zion will come forth Torah and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem." [Yeshaya 2:3] G-d will be One and His Name One.

The process has already begun. Every area of life is in crisis. As a result, we are exposed to enormous stress, be it financial, medical, psychological, family, children ... the list goes on and on!

"Maase avos siman l'banim... The actions of the Fathers are signs for the Children."

In Egypt eighty per cent perished during the Plague of Darkness because they "did not wish to depart [from Egypt]" [Rashi on Exodus 10:22]. The stress in Biblical Egypt was enormous. So strong was the pull of the surrounding culture that a huge percentage of the Children of Israel were unable to extricate themselves from its influence! This is a message for our contemporary world!

Today, people are under enormous strain. You see it in hair-trigger tempers. You see it in aggressive driving. You see it in lack of proper behavior, as people rush to put themselves first. You see it in desperate attempts to acquire money. You see it in lavish expenditures on vacations and luxuries, attempts to find peace in a world in which there is no peace!

"Moshe spoke to the Children of Israel, but they did not heed him because of shortness of breath..." [Exodus 6:9]. In Egypt, the stress was so great that many of the Children of Israel did not listen to the voice which would have saved them if they had listened. The same danger exists today. We are so panicked that we are not behaving rationally. If we hold on to the unreality of the surrounding culture, G-d forbid, that "support" will break like a flimsy reed and we will perish when that culture goes under! But if we grasp onto the Torah -lehavdil! - we will live forever!

"Moshe said to the people, 'Do not fear! Stand fast and see the salvation of Hashem that He will perform for you today!" [Exodus 14:13]

Let's learn from this! The Torah is telling us what happened in Egypt so that we may survive during the events of the Final Redemption. Our Rabbis have explained: "In the final war before the coming of Moshiach, all the Jews who fear Hashem will survive. Hashem will say to them, 'All those who are removed from the secular, worldly culture ... you are Mine.'" [Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein zt"l, Leket Rishimos]


King David's life was in constant danger. How did he survive? He visualized himself as standing constantly before the Presence of G-d. "Shivisi Hashem l'negdi samid... I have set Hashem before me constantly." [Psalm 16]

When we pray, do we envision the Holy Temple? Soon B"H the Presence of G-d will return to Zion, and the HolyTemple will stand before our eyes. If we envision this future event, then we have an "anchor" by which we can steady ourselves as the chaos whirls around us.

Our Rabbis spoke words to sustain us.

"Hashem is with me; I have no fear! How can man affect me?" [Psalm 118]

"Ani maamin be'emunah shelemah ... I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come." [Rambam, Principle 12]

May we all soon "hear ... for a second time ... in the presence of all the living ... 'I am Hashem your G-d.'" [Shabbos Mussaf Kedusha]

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Whiter Shade of Pale

"If he has turned completely white, he remains pure" [Tazria 13:13]

R' Yochanan in Maseches Sanhedrin [98a] taught: "Mashiach, the son of David, will only come to a generation that is either entirely meritorious or entirely guilty".

This statement is difficult to understand, noted the Chasam Sofer (R' Moshe Sofer).  For while it is easily understood why a generation that is entirely meritorious would be worthy of receiving Mashiach, on what basis would a thoroughly guilty generation receive him?

We find a similar difficulty in the verse: "If he has turned completely white, he remains pure".  If a small affliction is considered impure, why is it considered pure when it covers the metzora's entire body?

We can answer both questions with one answer. Skin afflictions come upon an individual in order to inspire him to repent for his misdeeds.  Now, if his entire body has turned white, he will definitely be humbled to repent completely and sincerely. There is therefore no need to declare him impure.

The same applies to a generation that is completely guilty.  The way to awaken a generation that is full of sin is not with reproach but by sending them Mashiach ben David.  Then they will return to Hashem in complete repentance.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein
The Talmud states: "The son of David [Moshiach] will only come when every government becomes heretical".

Rabah said: "Where do we see [an allusion to] this in Scripture?  From the verse: "he has turned completely white, he is ritually pure." [Sanhedrin 97a]

Rashi explains: "Just like when the affliction has spread throughout the entire skin the person is ritually pure, so too when all the governments have become heretical, the redemption will come."

This sign of redemption could be seen as either:

a) A negative sign, that people have become so corrupt that G-d is forced, so to speak, to save the world and bring redemption.

b) A positive sign, that the world has become so refined that it is clear to everybody that any regime or government which is not based on Torah is heretical and corrupt.

This parallels the two views expressed above:

a) If the corruption of governments is a negative sign, it follows that G-d is "forced" to bring the redemption, so to speak, despite the world.  This corresponds to the view that the law ("he has turned completely white, he is ritually pure") is a super-rational decree of scripture, which is followed despite the fact that it is illogical.

b) But if the corruption of governments is a positive sign, it follows that G-d is bringing the redemption because the world has become good. This corresponds to the view that the law is logical.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

First Libya, then Israel .....?

Quoting Frank Gaffney Jr. "Particularly concerning is the prospect that what we might call the Gaddafi Precedent will be used in the not-to-distant future to justify and threaten the use of U.S. military forces against an American ally: Israel."

Full article here: UN intervention into Libya an ominous precedent for Israel

Glenn Beck sets it all out for us in these two videos: [Hat tip Moriah]

Friday, March 25, 2011

Revisiting the Prophecies in Psalm 93

Guest post, received via email, published with permission:

Regarding the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe’s prophecy [written in approx. 1943, in a publication called Keriah VeKudusah, explaining Tehillim 93].

[The Arizal says that our generation is a reincarnation of the generation that was in Egypt over 3,000 years ago. Also, the way in which the Geula will happen now will be similar to the way it happened in Egypt; as explained in the Hagaddah. Therefore, just as in Egypt, there were ten ways nature was changed in order to prove to the nations that G-d runs the world; so too now.]

To paraphrase:

There are two parts to the Prophecy:

1. Hashem wants the entire world (not just the Jews) to know that He runs the world; but simultaneously, He wants everyone to have free-choice.

How does He accomplish this, as well as the second part of the Prophecy [see below]?
Answer: Through flooding.

The flooding will reach to such an extent, that it will become obvious that these are not natural events.

2. The second part of the prophecy has not happened yet.

The Previous Rebbe says that a certain country will be either totally, or almost totally, inundated by flooding.

This will reach to such an extent that everyone will realize that this is a punishment from G-d; and the world’s political structure will change accordingly.

As explained in the talks from 1991-1992, as opposed to previous miracles that were mainly for Jews, the current changes will be visible to the entire world.

[As long as the wizards in Egypt could tell Pharaoh that they could duplicate Moshe's miracles, the Egyptians thought that Moshe was just a great wizard.]

So too now, as long as people can say that current events happen once every hundred years, or are due to natural causes; these events have not achieved their goal.

To say that these events happen once a century could be considered justified - if only one or two events were occurring - but when multiple events happen across the globe, how can they all be seen as happening once every one hundred years?

From the Previous Rebbe’s words it would seem that there is a land-locked country that will be entirely flooded.

It will not be near an ocean, so that we can’t say it is a tsunami; or in an earthquake or flooding zone, so that we can say it was nature.

And somehow the world will realize that G-d did it, in order to bring the Geula to the world.

In the Days of Moshiach.....

  Rainbow at North Poorton, Dorset - Photographer Kris Dutson Daily Mail UK

Question:  When Moshiach comes, the primary branch of Torah study will be the mystical dimension, which deals with knowledge of G-d’s attributes and qualities. However, if this is the case, how we know how to observe the mitzvot?

Answer:  Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi raises this question, and explains that in the future there will be no lapses of memory. Once we learn something, it will be imprinted in our memory forever. Memory loss is a manifestation of impurity and evil spirit, which will evaporate when Moshiach comes. Furthermore, any memories that we might have lost before Moshiach comes will be restored to us. Therefore, we won’t need to dedicate as much time to memorizing the details of the Law, and will be able to spend the bulk of our time studying the inner dimensions of Torah.

Additionally, Rabbi Schneur Zalman explains, in the Messianic era we will be granted an extra level of understanding, and from our study of the Torah’s mystical dimensions, we will be able to infer all the practical laws of Jewish observance.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe adds a unique interpretation: When Moshiach comes, our evil inclination will be removed, and our nature and instincts will be transformed. Just as a young child instinctively draws his hand away from fire, we will have a natural aversion to those things forbidden by the Torah, and a natural inclination to do the things the Torah requires. The details of Jewish Law will be hard-wired into our system, and will not require as much time for us to master.

[Igeret Hakodesh, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, ch. 26; Hilchos Talmud Torah, 10:2; Likutei Sichos, vol. 25, p. 263]

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Sobering Thought

Art Rob Gonsalves

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. [Rebbe Nachman of Breslov]

"Do not drink wine that will lead to intoxication, neither you nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, so that you shall not die. [This is] an eternal statute for your generations..." [Shemini 10:9]

There is a view [see Rambam, Laws of Entering the Temple 1:7] that even nowadays a priest [kohen] may not drink a revi'is [86ml] of wine, for this is sufficient to cause some degree of intoxication, and since it is quite feasible that the Holy Temple will be rebuilt within the time it takes for him to become sober, the wine would thus render him unfit for service in the Temple.

Now, according to Jewish law, intoxication caused by a revi'is of wine can be removed by either a short sleep, or by waiting the time it would take to walk a mil. (There are different views as to precisely how long this is: either 18 or at most 24 minutes).

From here we see a remarkable ramification of the above principle: that Jewish law takes seriously into consideration the fact that it is possible for Moshiach to come, with a completed Holy Temple, within a maximum of 23 minutes and 59 seconds, thus requiring the priests to be ready for service immediately!

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe [Gutnick Chumash]

The Test of the End of Days

from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Great disbelief will spread throughout the world.

Fortunate is the person who will strengthen himself with faith in those times.

This warning will not help.

There were others, such as Daniel, who foretold that before the coming of the Messiah, many will be tested and refined, that the evil will worsen while the wise will keep their understanding.

Many will have their faith tested. The person who will pass the test and retain his faith will be fortunate and will attain all the good that is destined to come (may it be soon and in our days) about which the prophets and wise men prophesied.

If so, everyone should take care to remain strong in his faith. Since this prediction is already common knowledge, there will be no test.

But it will still be a great test.

Many will do evil. "The wicked will act wickedly" [Daniel 12:10]

I am telling you this for the sake of those few good people who will be strong in their faith. They will have great internal  battles. But my words will console and strengthen them, for they will see that someone already predicted this. - Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to get your prayers answered

There is a very simple way to have prayers answered.  It's so simple, and yet most people haven't yet managed to achieve it.  Hashem is giving people a shove in the right direction, by making things very difficult for many of us, with no help to be found in this generation with the face of a dog.

The way to do it is to come to understand that there is nothing and no-one who can supply what you need, but Hashem.

As Rabbi Yigal Haimoff explains in his shiur Depend Only On Hashem :

Moshiach will not come until all Jews have come to the realization that there is no-one to depend on, no-one to ask, but Hashem. 

But we're not there yet.

Because even while we are praying to G-d, we are also thinking that other people can help us as well. 
Until we get to the point where we are like a newborn baby, solely dependant on its mother for sustenance and survival, our prayers will not achieve what we want them to.

The more a person is solely dependant on Hashem, the more likely it is that he will get whatever he's praying for.   But if Hashem sees that a person also relies on someone else to rescue him, G-d will say ok, that person can help you, you don't need Me yet.
To watch the video shiur: Click here

Humble Origins

Art Tim Gagnon

  וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל אַהֲרֹן קְרַב אֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ
"Moshe then said to Aharon "Draw near to the altar" [Shemini 9:7]

Rashi explains that Aharon was embarrassed and afraid to approach the altar.  Moshe therefore said to him "Why are you embarrassed? This is what you were selected for."

The Baal Shem Tov elucidated Rashi's words.  Moshe was saying to Aharon: "Why are you embarrassed? It is specifically due to the fact that you possess the character trait of humility and that you feel ashamed before Hashem that you were chosen to be the Kohen - "This is what you were selected for!"

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein


Art: Kjherstin
Even though Moshe received the Torah from its Heavenly source and transmitted it to the people below, Aharon actually caused the Divine Presence to come down to earth.

Smilarly, in these final moments of exile, it is the approach of Aharon - bringing the Jewish people closer to observing the Torah [Avos 1:12] - which will bring the Divine Presence back to earth once again.  For, in this respect, the approach of Aharon is even greater than that of Moshe [Torah study].

Source: Based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Shemini 5732 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Chasidah

The Chasidah [white stork]

 וְאֵת הַחֲסִידָה  "The chasidah" [Shemini 11:19]

Why is its name chasidah (literally meaning "kind one") asks Rashi. "Because it does kindness with its companions with food."

According to the Ramban, said the Chiddushei HaRim (R' Yitzchak Meir Alter of Gur), the reason why the nonkosher birds are not kosher is because of their cruel nature.  If so, the chasidah should have been a kosher-type bird; after all, it bestows kindness upon its companions!

The chasidah acts kindly towards its companions, answered the rebbe, but it does not act kindly toward anyone else. This is why it is considered not kosher.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Decoding Psalm 93 - The Era of Redemption

Psalms Chapter 93
1. The Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, with which he has girded himself; the world also is established, that it cannot be moved.
2. Your throne is established of old; you are from everlasting.
3. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring.
Friediker Rebbe, R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn
4. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.
5. Your testimonies are very sure; holiness becomes your house, O Lord, for length of days.

Psalm 93, authored by Moses [B. Basra 14b; Rashi], contains a prophecy relevant to our days. That is to say, 3,300 years ago, the world's greatest prophet foretold how the pre-Messianic era, our present period (as per The Lubavitcher Rebbe), will unfold. The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe [Friediker Rebbe, R. Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn], in August 1944 [הקריאה והקדושה], deciphered this Psalm's explanation - and added his own prophetic details of the events to take place. The brevity of these 5 verses is inversely proportional to its profundity.

In outline: The first third of the article nails down our current era as the period in question. The middle third predicts the sort of events we will witness, with specificity added by the Rebbe. The final third of the Psalm takes us further in time - into the Era of Redemption.

Continue reading at: Current World Events in Bright Perspective - Psalm 93 Prophecies

The 11th Hour

The eleventh hour is a colloquial expression meaning "a time which is nearly too late".  So says Wikipedia.... but there are some other origins of this expression, notably:  This expression comes from the Bible. The 11th hour is the last hour before the end of the world.

Interesting...that number Eleven  again ....even more so when you listen to Rabbi Winston's shiur about Moshiach and the 10th Hour.  (I know a lot of you don't have the time, so I've typed up the relevant bits)

Disclaimer: Any mistakes are mine, not his.

[the following is taken from Rabbi Winston's shiur with a few added clarifications from me in blue]

5750 was a major turning point in Jewish history, as the Vilna Gaon explains:

Each 1000 years represents one day of Creation. The first thousand years represent Day One of Creation, the second millenium is Day Two.... and so on. Therefore this current millenium represents Day Six, the eve of Shabbat. And we know that Moshiach needs to come before Shabbat, before the end of 6000 years. 

History Repeats
Everything that occurred at the time of Creation is going to have a corresponding reality in each millenium....each event will present itself again, in some way, every thousand years. History literally repeats itself - on a different level - during each "day" (a "day" being a thousand years).
Knowing this, we can actually calculate the time Moshiach will arrive, so to speak, even though we are not permitted to calculate the date of His arrival, we can come close. {The Zohar says that as we come closer to the Geulah, even children will know how it will be.}

Moshiach's arrival is about tikkun - rectification. Therefore, Moshiach's arrival will correspond with the ideal time for tikkun as set out at the time of Creation.

The only reason we are all here is to rectify the original sin of Adam HaRishon in the Garden of Eden - the eating of the forbidden fruit. Adam ate from the tree of knowledge at the time of the 10th hour of day six of creation.

The gemara explains that during the 9th hour he was warned, and during the 10th hour (just before Shabbat) he ate the fruit.

The ideal time for tikkun/Moshiach will be in the period in history that corresponds to when he ate the forbidden fruit. 5750 was when the world entered that period of time - the time that corresponds to the 10th hour of the sixth day of creation. (see Rabbi Winston's books at his website for all the details) 5750/1990 was the turning point, and the 10th hour lasts for 83.6 years (from 1990). What happened in 1990: as a starting point, Russia imploded, Jews were allowed to leave: some went to Israel, some to America.  Soon after in 1991 we had the Persian Gulf War. 10 years later, Y2K and then 911 when the world really did change for all to see.

The book that can change history
The one book that tells us what we're supposed to do at the end of history is Kol HaTor (The Voice of the Turtledove) based on the manuscripts of the Vilna Gaon and passed down through his talmidim until today. People don't talk about it, it gets pushed to the side, but that's the book that can change history.

The Zohar tells us that Techias Hamaisim - the revival of the dead - takes place 210-214 years in advance of the year 6000, and the Zohar further says that Techias Hamaisim takes place AFTER the 40 years of the ingathering of the exiles. So according to the Zohar, history has to wrap itself up within 15 years from now. Techias Hamaisim is within 15 years. Hashem is bringing the end very fast.

I'm sure Moshiach ben Yosef has already come and gone, and there's reasons for that opinion - the Gra says that the job of Moshiach ben David is to conquer Yishmael - and this is the age of Yishmael - when Moshiach comes, Yishmael will go down. Before then, there are gevurahs (strict judgments) which have to be rectified (sweetened). For example...last week's murder of the Fogel family in Itamar represented a bucket-load of gevurah.

The Gra says ultimately it depends on what we do.   We should be talking about Moshiach, informing people... and reading Kol HaTor.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Purim Torah Codes

[adapted from Keeping Posted with NCSY, Fall 1999 edition and also from article by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld]

There is a famous "code" in Megillat Esther :- towards the end of the story, King Ahashveirosh allows the Jews to avenge themselves of their enemies on the 13th day of Adar. In Shushan, the capital, the Jews kill 500 men and hang Haman's ten sons on a gallows. Queen Esther then approaches the King with an additional request: "...allow the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow as they did today, and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows" [Esther 9:13]. It's curious that she would request the hanging of Haman's already slain sons. Nevertheless, the King complies.

The Hebrew word for "tomorrow" ("machar") occasionally refers to the distant future. Further, the Sages tell us that whenever the word "king" appears in the Megillah it alludes to the King of kings as well. Thus, the verse could be understood as a request by Esther to G-d to again hang the ten sons of Haman at some point in the distant future. Now, when the Megillah lists the ten sons of Haman during their hanging [Esther 9:7-9] there are a number of unusually-sized letters. (There is a tradition to write certain letters in the Torah larger or smaller than the standard size.)

According to the most accepted tradition, there is a large 'vav' [numerical value = 6] and a small 'tav' [400], 'shin' [300] and 'zayin' [7]. The following suggestion has been made: The large vav refers to the sixth millennium (of the Hebrew calendar); the small letters refer to year 707 of that millennium. The meaning, then, is that G-d agreed to hang Haman's ten sons again in the year 5707 = 1946-7.

When listing the ten sons of Haman who were hanged [Esther 9:6-10], three letters, namely Taf, Shin, and Zayin, are written smaller than the rest (most printed texts reflect this; if yours doesn’t, look in another). The commentaries offer no explanation for this other than that it is a prophecy. The letters "Taf-Shin-Zayin" represent the Hebrew year 5707, corresponding to the secular year 1946-47.

On October 16, 1946 (21 Tishrei, 5707) ten convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremberg. (An eleventh, Hermann Goering, a transvestite, committed suicide in his cell. The Midrash tells us that Haman also had a daughter who committed suicide.) As if the parallel were not obvious enough without further corroboration, Nazi Julius Streicher’s last words were: "Purimfest 1946". (In case you question the accuracy of Streicher’s last words, they are are well-documented; they appeared in Newsweek, October 28, 1946.)

It is fairly safe to assume that (a) Streicher did not know about the three small letters in the Megilla, (b) he did not know that these letters corresponded to the year in which he was being hanged, and (c) even had he known, he would have had no motivation to reinforce the validity of Jewish texts, traditions, or prophecies. One could not ask for a more independent confirmation of the all encompassing knowledge to be found in the Sifrei Tanach.

Rabbi Weissmandl - a great Hungararian scholar and holocaust survivor - made a number of findings concerning Megillat Esther using skip distances of 12,111 letters - the exact number of letters in Megillat Esther. If one starts with the first regular mem (as opposed to the "final mem" ) in Bereishis 4:14, where the name Esther (vocalized differently) appears for the only time in the Torah, and count at intervals of 12,111 letters, one finds spelled out the phrase "Megillat Esther." Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rabbi Winston on Current Events [video]

Rabbi Pinchas Winston speaks on why the world seems to be falling apart, why we should not be worried, and why Moshiach is not very far away.

Also see: The Eleventh Hour

Everything happens for a reason

Source: Malbim's commentary on Megillat Esther, translated by Jonathan Taub

Before recounting the troubles that befell the Jewish people, we are told that "the cure preceded the wound". We are taught that the Almighty only strikes us in order to heal us. This is the meaning of the verse: "All the diseases which I brought on Mitzrayim I will not place upon you, because I am Hashem Who Heals You." [Shemos 15:26]
When the messengers sent by Hasach gave Esther's instructions to Mordechai, Mordechai told them to reply to Esther: "Do not think to yourself that you can escape in the king's house more than all the Jews." [Megillat Esther 4:13]

Why did Mordechai say "Do not think to yourself" when "Do not think" would have sufficed?

Mordechai informed Esther of several fundamental principles:

1) Any time something unusual and extraordinary occurs, we must realize that the Almighty has brought this about as a means to achieving some important providential end.  Esther's remarkable elevation to the position of queen was clearly Divinely determined for some significant purpose.  With the revelation of the decree to annihilate the Jewish people, it was now obvious that Esther was intended to help save the Jews.

2) For any tragedy that befalls the Jews, there is a specific time and day ready for their deliverance by certain prepared means. If these means are not actualized, then the Almighty will prepare other means to save them.

3) Anything that does not exist for itself, but to help something else, has its entire existence dependent on what it was destined to help.  For example, if a gardener wants to plant certain flowers in the winter, he will construct a special greenhouse with a heating system to help these flowers grow.  If he changes his mind and wants the flowers to flourish in the summer, when there is an abundance of natural light and heat from the sun, he will dismantle the greenhouse, for it is no longer required.

Mordechai was telling Esther that her position in the royal house was not for her own benefit, but for the sake of the Jews.  If Esther decided not to help rescue them, the Almighty undoubtedly had other means and methods of bringing about their redemption, regardless of how improbable they might seem.

Since Esther was granted her position as queen only in order to help the Jews, and since the date for their salvation had already been determined, if she did not act immediately she might miss the appointed time and the Almighty would use other agents to affect their deliverance.

This was Mordechai's warning to Esther.  Do not think that your elevation to royalty is to yourself, for your own benefit, so that you can escape in the king's house, rather than for saving the Jewish nation.  The opposite is true: it is only to enable you to rescue the Jews.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Appearances can be Deceptive

A Purim Vort

Why did Vashti refuse to appear naked before the King?  The Ohr HaMeir says in the name of the Baal Shem Tov:

Vashti is klipah and Esther is Kedusha. "The King" is obviously in reference to Hashem, the True King.

Klipah is the outer shell - it encases that which is in it, in essence holding what is inside it prisoner. Kedusha is holiness.

The only advantage that klipah has over kedushah is that it is beautifully clothed. The klipah appears to be attractive. But as soon as you remove the levushim (robes) - the klipah has nothing to hang on to and it vanishes completely. Thus, the klipah cannot come before the King.

Anything in this physical world that entices us that is not Kedusha will be nothing in the future: it will cease to exist, because klipah cannot stand before the King "unclothed".

Purim begins this Saturday night.  At that time we will see the Super Moon - the moon will appear huge because it will be very close to the earth -  356,577km away.  The moon represents the Jewish people... so it's a good sign.

The Prophetic Words of the (Previous) Lubavitcher Rebbe

The moment the tsunami hit Japan

Before Redemption: A Tremendous Flood
[originally published at by R. Yaakov Nathan]

The prophectic words of the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe  (Tammuz, 5704/1944)

Psalm 93
The rivers have raised, O Lord, the rivers have raised their voice; the rivers raise their raging waves.
More than the sound of many waters, than the mighty breakers of the sea, is the Lord mighty on High.
Your testimonies are most trustworthy; Your House will be resplendent in holiness, O Lord, forever.
This chapter of Tehillim was composed by the G-dly poet regarding Yemos Ha’Moshiach (the Messianic days). He hints briefly at the events which will take place before the geula. The central theme of the chapter is that the Jews living at that time will understand by means of these events, that the galus is over and geula has begun.....

"..... the roaring rivers will bring great changes to the world; for example: they will drown an entire nation or at least a great portion, and this natural disaster will cause a revolution in man’s perspective. They will see this as a G-dly punishment. It’s also possible that this natural disaster will change the world political map by a chain of events which will begin with that nation that drowns."

To read the entire article go to: Before Geula a Great Roaring of Water

Water gushing from Kotel

Received via email:

My sister in law is a kalla and her wedding is tonight. She just went to the kotel to pray and asked to go into the tunnels where there is a spot that is next to the kodesh K'dashim. She was told that it is closed because a lot of water came gushing out from Har Habayit and a wall collapsed there.

The prophet Ezekiel prophesied about the water which would go out from the Temple Mount in the end-times which will be a sign of the redemption of the people and land of Israel.

And from an old Lazer Beams posting (which I could only find quoted on google) "By our own tradition, the moisture at the Western Wall of the Holy Temple indicates the impending redemption of the people and land of Israel, the rebuilding of the Temple and the coming of Moshiach ben David, speedily and in our time, amen."

Gemara [Yoma 77b-78a] :
R' Pinchas said in the name of Rav Huna of Tzippori: The spring that issues from the Holy of Holies initially resembles the antennae of locust. Once it reaches the entrace of the Sanctuary it swells and becomes as wide as the thread of the warp. Once it reaches the entrance of the Antechamber, it becomes as wide as the thread of the woof. Once it reaches the entrance of the Courtyard it becomes as wide as the mouth of a small flask. And this is the meaning of what we learned in the Mishna (Middos 2:6) R' Eliezer Ben Yaakov says: By this gate a stream of water, as wide as that which issues from a flask, will emerge from under the threshold of the temple. From here onward [the stream] will rise unabatedly until it reaches the entrance of the house of David (i.e. Har Tzion, Mount Zion in Jerusalem - Rashi). Once it reaches the house of David it becomes a swiftly flowing stream, in which zavin, zavos, niddos, and childbearing women will immerse and cleanse themselves from their tumah. As it is stated: On that day there will be a spring opened up for the house of David and for all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for cleaning and for purification. [Zechariah 13:1]

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Tsunamic Deluge

Article below by Laibl Wolf, Dean, Spiritgrow - The Josef Kryss Wholistic Centre, Australia

You have been away for some weeks, maybe months, travelling or visiting. You finally come home. And it feels so good, so secure, so familiar. You sit yourself down in your favorite lounge chair and look around and mentally whisper, “It’s just great coming back home.”

The fifty foot wave carries everything in its path along miles of wave front, frothing angrily at all in its path. Effortlessly it sweeps houses off their foundations, carelessly catapults container ships ashore, drags hundreds of cars like plastic toys through towns and fields, crashing and crushing bridges, refineries, and shopping centres. The roar of destruction is awesome, terrifying. Bodies bob up and down but soon cease to feature in the macro sweep of titanic garbage that makes up the jetsam and flotsam of civilization that ceases to be – drowned by cataclysm and vis major.

Our home is our castle. Every nook and cranny triggers a memory – a piece of our life. The house is as intimate with our soul as is our body. It snuggles us in its womb, extricating us from the demons outside, from a world of thrust and parry. It encompasses us in a warm blanket of security fending off the lurking dangers of a world no longer safe.

It arrives so suddenly – a deafening crackle of crunching tectonic plate sheering a few more centimeters of its opposite number, and all too suddenly the Pacific Rim is the setting for topographical mayhem. A mere rubbing of subterranean shoulders, and life on the surface of the green planet is turned upside down. New Zealand and Tokyo join a modern history of quakes that rudely destroys landscapes of earth and lives alike.

Our comfort zone is more than a house. It is a state of mind. It accepts the high predictability of tomorrow’s normalcy and continuity. It anticipates the newspaper on the front porch, the neighbour’s dog barking, the good-morning kiss of our child, the familiar face on the bus, and the setting of the afternoon sun. Change is uncomfortable. Transformation is painful. Destruction is soul destroying.

The plume of nuclear cloud floats away ominously from the cracked nuclear plant torn asunder by forces far stronger. We breathe the air of our city and wonder. The unspoken sense of personal security is hesitant and thinly veiled. Our sense of tomorrow is no longer a given, a bedrock of assumption, an axiom of life’s continuity. Our complacency is undressed and the veneer of self-assurance cracked wide open.

Is there rhyme or reason? Or are we dry leaves driven by powerful and wanton winds of arbitrary change?

I think not. I believe not. To a world of moderns who exult themselves in their political and physical capacity to rule and over-rule, to control and defeat, to invade and subjugate, to maim and murder – comes a message, a correcting mechanism, a reminder: you are but ants to be stamped out at Will. And as the Torah notes: when the angel of death is given permission, it doesn’t discriminate between the good and the bad. Rough justice for human sensibilities!

We are witnessing a cosmic lesson in humility. The animalistic tendency of man is being checked and subdued. A force far greater is reminding us of the higher purpose of creation: “And it was good.” When we make it less good, it comes to bite us. ‘ The Kabbalistic teachings describe the physical features of life as shards of a broken Divine container that humans have been given the privilege to raise up and restore. And not just a privilege – but an absolute duty, loosely described as Tikkun Olam – the 613 Mitzvot that repair the world.

Jewish people have a 3500 year tradition of response to supreme adversity. It is called Teshuva – returning to the norm. In the place of fear and repair, the onlooker of tragedy has to visit his/her own heart and commit to a life of high values, true Hessed (compassion), real nurture of family and friendship, meaningful contribution to the welfare of others and community, and expression of real love – even for the stranger.

Read the signs well and make a change in your life. The tsunamic flood seeks a Noachide response of principle and brotherhood - Ahavat Yisrael.
Source: Spirit Grow

Women Unite for Fogel Family

A Jewish response to tragedy is to add light to this dark world. Women around the world are uniting to light candles for this coming shabbat, March 18, in merit of the holy souls of members of the Fogel family murdered mercilessly. Please check your local Shabbat candle lighting time and make this your status. May Hashem have pity on his children.

Guys, please remember if you live on your own, you can also join in by lighting the candles for shabbat or you can get family and friends to do so!

Please note that if you already light shabbat candles, it is better not to add extra candle in their memory, but rather invite a friend who does not light to do so. If you keep shabbat you may choose to light the candles a little earlier.

May Hakodosh Boruch Hu inundate our world with his light and the light of peace and may the holy neshamot (souls) of these special people who lived for Israel and for peace enjoy eternal life and be our emissary in asking G-d for peace...

Click here for Facebook page and add yourself to the 11,000 plus names already there.

"A small amount of light dispels a great deal of darkness" [Tanya Ch. 12]

Monday, March 14, 2011


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? And why is that number being drawn to our attention again and again this year, with the major events all falling on the 11th day of the month, in the year of 2011 ?
1.11.11 -  Australia Hit with Massive Flooding - Parts of the country disappear under water
3.11.11 - Japan quake, tsunami  
According to some people, 11/11 is a portal opening, a time when we can expect change.  Going by the events so far this year, it certainly seems to be the case !

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)."
"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."


"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

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)."

Update:  See the bigger picture