Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Blue Moon and the Festival of the Future Redemption

Photo: Priya Kumar, Oman, August 2012

This year on July 31 - which is also Tu Be'Av [15 Av] -  we will have a blue moon.... the second of two full moons in a calendar month is called a Blue Moon -  the moon was full on July 2, and it will be full again on July 31. An older definition of Blue Moon is that it’s the third of four full moons in a single season. 

A Moon that actually looks blue, however, is a very rare sight and depends on atmospheric particles from a dust storm or erupting volcano.


The 15th of Av is undoubtedly the most mysterious day of the Jewish calendar.

A search of the Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] reveals no observances or customs for this date, except for the instruction that the tachanun [confession of sins] and similar portions should be omitted from the daily prayers [as is the case with all festive dates], and that beginning on the 15th of Av one should increase one’s study of Torah, since at this time of the year the nights begin to grow longer, and “the night was created for study.” And the Talmud tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride.

And this is the day which the Talmud considers the greatest festival of the year, with Yom Kippur (!) a close second!

Indeed, the 15th of Av cannot but be a mystery. As the “full moon” of the tragic month of Av, it is the festival of the future redemption, and thus a day whose essence, by definition, is unknowable to our un-redeemed selves.

Click here to read more essays on Tu B''Av

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pollard: Key to Redemption.....

Jonathan Pollard's release is another indicator of Geula:

''Your release is tied up with the Moshiach Ben David's return to the Land." - quote from Esther Pollard's letter to Jonathan Pollard: Aug 1, 2010 

* * * * * *

''Over time, the Rav shared with us and with a few others who were very close to him that Jonathan’s release is the key to the redemption of all of Am Yisrael.

He taught us how Jonathan’s release is also the key to the release of all of Israel’s captives and MIAs. Once Jonathan is out, all the captives are all out!

Once they are all out, we are all in Geula! Perhaps most significant of all, the Rav always referred to Jonathan as the “Yosef HaTzadik shel doreinu” (The Yosef Hatzadik of our generation.)''

Source: Yeranen Yaakov

* * * * * *
Releasing Mashiach Ben Ephraim

* * * * * *

[video] Rabbi Glazerson's Torah Codes: Jonathan Pollard - Moshiach ben Yosef

Monday, July 27, 2015

In Sickness and In Health

"Watch yourselves very carefully...." [Va'Etchanan 4:15]

So much of physical health depends on spiritual health. If in olden days emphasis was placed on "mens sana in corpore sano" [a sound mind in a healthy body], in our days it is a matter of general conviction that even a small defect spiritually, causes a grievous defect physically; and the healthier the spirit and the greater its preponderance over the physical body - the greater its ability to correct or overcome physical shortcomings; so much so, that in many cases even physical treatments, prescriptions and drugs are considerably more effective if they are accompanied by the patient's strong will and determination to cooperate.

Note that Rambam stresses how "having a totally healthy body is among the paths of (serving) God", a point emphasized further by the Mezritcher Maggid.

Since physical health depends on spiritual health, if a person becomes ill, G-d forbid, he should search his past deeds to try to identify what shortcoming may have caused the illness. However, this approach should be taken only regarding one's own lack of physical health. When one sees that another person is sick, one should not think that this was caused by a spiritual shortcoming, since we are told "Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place" [Avos 2:4, see Tanya Ch 30]. One's first reaction to a sick person should be, to the contrary, that his sickness may well have been caused by spiritual health, as he may have weakened his body through fasting, in the process of doing teshuvah [see the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch].

The statement of the Zohar that "the weakness of the body is the strength of the soul" does not mean to say that a weakening of the body itself brings about spiritual growth. Rather, the intent of the Zohar is that the desire for physicality, for its own sake, is counter-productive to a person's spiritual growth.

Source: Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

As a youth, R' Yechezkel Abramsky was sent to Siberia. The cold was unbearable, and temperatures dropped to as low as 40 degrees below zero.

Wearing only light clothing, young Yechezkel stood in line along with the other Jews who had been exiled to that forsaken part of the world. They were all trembling from the cold.

"Listen Jews!" shouted the commanding officer. "Every morning you are to remove your shoes and run barefoot in the snow for the duration of an hour. Anyone who dares violate this order will be severly punished!"

R' Abramsky, who was a weak and frail youth, was frightened by this cruel order. Back at his warm home, his loving mother had always tended to him, dressing him in warm clothing and scarves, but now he would have to run barefoot in the snow!

He lifted his eyes to Heaven and pleaded with Hashem: "Master of the World" he said, "you have exhorted us in Your holy Torah to "watch yourselves very carefully". In truth, man is usually able to take care of his health by wearing warm clothing, but here in this Siberian labor camp, we are unable to do so. We therefore cannot be held responsible for our health. I therefore beg of You, Master of the World, watch over and us and protect us!"

Amazingly, throughout his entire stay in Siberia, R' Abramsky did not get sick even once.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ayatollah Tweets Picture of Obama Suicide

Iran’s supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted a picture Saturday of President Obama committing suicide.

Mr. Khamenei tweeted “US president has said he could knock out Iran’s military. We welcome no war, nor do we initiate any war, but…”

Source: Washington Times

Friday, July 24, 2015

Share This: Mr Obama it's a damned stupid thing that you just did !

One of the best I've seen!  Must watch until the end.

 Col. Allen West speaking at a Times Square rally in protest of the appalling sellout of a "deal" made by the Obama administration for the Islamic State of Iran - which, incidentally, vows OUR destruction. Col. West knocks it out of the park.

Rewards from Unanswered Prayers

Photo: Luis Beltran

In his last address to the young people of Bnei Yisrael who were about to enter Eretz Yisrael, Moshe Rabbeinu retold the story of their parents' mistakes in the Midbar. 

When retelling the sin of the spies, Moshe says that they were punished and routed by the Emori in their effort to go to Eretz Yisrael without permission. After this defeat they came back to the Machaneh and began to cry. The pasuk says [1:45] "V'Lo Shama Hashem B'Kolchem" - Hashem did not listen to them. The next pasuk says that they stayed in Kadeish many years. Rashi says that they stayed there for 19 years without wandering around.

The Netziv says that we see from here that even when Hashem does not listen to our prayers and does not grant our request, the tefila still helps. While their prayers did not repeal the gezeira [decree] of staying in the Midbar for 40 years, it helped that they settled in one place and did not need to wander for 19 years. We can't always get what we want but we always get something!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Rabbi Lazer Brody on The End of Days [new video]

Rabbi Lazer presents an Emuna Picture of what we're to expect in the End of Days, which is the period of history which we're in today. This shiur was given in Ramat Beit Shemesh, Alef, Israel to a crowd of mainly English Speaking Olim! With his skillful artists brush, Rabbi Brody explains what we need to know and do until HaMelech HaMashiach arrives, soon and in our days, AMEN!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Emunah: A Lightness of Being

from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

"Eicha Esa Livadi Tarchachem U'Masachem V'Rivchem" - "How can I carry you alone, your bother, your load, and your quarrels" [Devarim 1:12]

Rashi says that Tarchachem means that they were nudnicks, and Masachem means they were apikursim [heretics] - Tarchachem clearly means tircha [bothersome], but how does masachem or heavy load come to apikursis?

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov answers that while intellectuals may consider people with emunah [faith] simple and naive, in a sense they are right.  With emunah  life becomes easier, as not everything must be explained and rationalized.  Emunah is a great tool to lift the weight from you.
However, an Apikores is constantly plagued by doubt and questions that nag him endlessly, leaving him no peace.  This constant state of turmoil eats at him and becomes a huge burden on his own shoulders.  This explains why Rashi says that masachem means apikursis, as there is no greater burden around. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

5 Av Yarzheit - The Arizal

Arizal Synagogue, Safed - Photo Steven Pinker

The Arizal [1534-1572] - Rabbi Isaac Luria was the most famous Kabbalist in the city of Safed, Israel who became known as the "Arizal" or ARI, an acronym for “The G-dly Rabbi Isaac of Blessed Memory.”

The Arizal passed away at the age of 38, and it was only during the last two years of his life that he met his foremost disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital. The Arizal himself never wrote any books, however all his words were faithfully recorded by Rabbi Chaim Vital in what is known as Kitvei Ari, the “writings of the Arizal.” The Kitvei Ari is the key to the secrets of the Zohar, and it was the Arizal who formulated the Kabbalah into a comprehensive system. Rabbi Chaim Vital writes in the name of the Arizal that, “It is a Mitzvah to reveal this wisdom.” Until the time of the Arizal, knowledge of Kabbalah was not known outside of the tightly knit circle of the tzaddikim.

More about the Arizal at Ascent of Safed or click on the label "ARIZAL" below to read more of his teachings.

Judgments: Above and Below

"When there is no judgment below, there is judgment above". [Devarim Rabbah 5:4]

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your fellow man. And do not bear (lo tisa) sin on his account."  [Leviticus 19:17]

Reuven scoffed and cursed a Torah scholar.  The following day the scholar went to the rabbinic court to sue.  Reuven's friends asked the scholar to forgive Reuven, but he refused.

The peacemakers said: "You have already renounced your claim against him three times."

"When did I renounce my claim?" asked the scholar, "and before whom?"

"Before Hashem" said the peacemakers.  "In the prayers of Mincha, Arvit and Shacharit, which you prayed since yesterday's unfortunate incident.  At the end of the Amidah you said "To those who curse me, my soul will be silent".  After such a declaration how can you speak in court against someone who cursed you?"

"You have spoken well" said the scholar, "but allow me to explain the true meaning of this prayer.

"There are two ways to lodge a complaint. Either the soul can speak in the Heavenly Court when it ascends each night, or the body can speak in the earthly court.

"The prayer says "To those who curse me, my soul will be silent".  I am still entitled to lodge a complaint in the earthly court.

"Woe to the victim who cries out, more than to the one who wronged him." [Bava Kamma 93a]

A victim calls upon G-d to punish the one who wronged him - and Heaven treats the victim more severely!  Why?

Let's say Reuven called on G-d to judge Shimon for doing him a grave injustice. Shimon will not be punished until the Heavenly Court judges him.  But Reuven himself probably wronged others at some point in his life - and for him, judicial procedures can be dispensed with.  He himself admitted that such sins warrant severe punishment!
Source: from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Dictator

Apparently the Prime Minister of Israel has asked that everyone share this video.  It is the opening scene from Sacha Baron Cohen's  ''The Dictator''.   Watch and you will understand.


Shofar Sounds in Israel 5775

HT: Greg

In the sixth year, there will be voices [that Ben David is coming; alternatively, Shofar blasts]. In the seventh year there will be wars. The following year, Ben David will come.  Sanhedrin 97


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Obama, Iran and the Yalkut Shimoni

If you listened to Rabbi Kessin's shiur yesterday, you will have heard him speak about the dreadful deal which Obama was/is planning with Iran.  Coincidentally, at around the same time that I published that shiur, [which was recorded back in April] Obama signed off on the Iran nuclear deal.

Rabbi Kessin quoted the Yalkut Shimoni, which touches on many future scenarios both for the nation of Israel and for the world. In its section on the biblical Book of Isaiah and the prophecies contained therein, a rabbi cited by the Yalkut Shimoni states: “In the year Moshiach comes all the nations of the world will provoke each other and threaten with war. The king of Persia (Iran) will provoke the King of Arabia (Saudi Arabia) with war. The King of Arabia goes to Edom (The Western Countries, headed by USA) for advice. Then the King of Persia destroys the world (and since that cannot be done with conventional weapons it must mean nuclear which can destroy most of the world). And all the nations of the world begin to panic and are afraid, and Israel too is afraid as to how to defend from this. G-d then says to them “Do not fear for everything that I have done is for your benefit, to destroy the evil kingdom of Edom and eradicate evil from this world so that the Messiah can come, your time of redemption is now.”

I always come back to that quote in Sefer Daniel: ''we will be given over to his hand for  a time, and times, and a half of time'', which has been presented as referring to the reign of Obama.  Does it mean he will disappear before the eight years are up? - according to my own amateur calculations, he should be gone by January 2016.

Today I read Yaak's post Rav Fish on Iran and noted the quote from Yechezkel: ''And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will cause to rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.''

I believe we are starting to see all the pieces in the puzzle.  Would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Footsteps of Mashiach: Rabbi Mendel Kessin [video]

Rabbi Kessin gives a fascinating shiur, highly recommended [by me] :)


Who Will Build the Third Temple, Man or G-d?

A Building of the Heavens or of the Earth 

There is a classic difference of opinion between our Rabbis regarding the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash. The Rambam states [1] that the Beis HaMikdash will be built by man, more specifically by Mashiach. Indeed, its construction will be one of the signs of Mashiach’s advent.

Rashi, [2] by contrast, explains that the Beis HaMikdash has al­ready been constructed by G‑d and exists in the Heavenly realms, waiting for the time when it will descend to the earth. For the Third Beis HaMikdash will be “the Sanctuary of G‑d, established by Your hands.” [3] When the setting within the world is appropriate, this Heavenly structure will descend and become an actual reality within our material world.

Each of these views is based upon sources in the works of our Sages. [4] There is, however, a unique historical point which supports the Rambam’s position. Our Sages relate [5] that in the era of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chananiah, the Romans granted the Jews permission to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash. Joyous at the opportunity they were granted, our people rushed to begin the preparations for building only to have the project thwarted by the intervention of the Samaritans. What is significant, however, is that they planned to build the Beis HaMikdash through their own efforts; they did not wait for it to descend from the heavens.

Will We Be Worthy?

This account can, however, be reconciled with Rashi’s view. To explain: Our Sages [6] note the apparent contradiction between two verses describing the coming of Mashiach. One verse states:[7] “Behold, one like a son of man came on the clouds of heaven.” It is, however, also written: [8] “Your king will come... like a poor man riding on a donkey.” In resolution, our Sages explain that if the Jews are found worthy, Mashiach will come “on the clouds of heaven”; if they do not merit, he will come “like a poor man riding on a donkey.” Similarly, in other contexts, our Sages de­scribe one course for the Redemption if the Jews’ conduct is meritorious, and another, if, heaven forbid, such merits are lacking. [9]

In the present context as well, it can be explained that the ultimate conception of the Beis HaMikdash is a Heavenly struc­ture to descend from above. If, however, the Jews are not wor­thy of such a sanctuary, the Beis HaMikdash will still return in the Era of the Redemption. It will, however, be a structure built by man, and not by G‑d.

On this basis, we can also resolve the difficulty cited above. When the Romans granted the Jews the opportunity to rebuild the Beis HaMikdash, the people must have been somewhat dis­appointed that the Beis HaMikdash did not descend from heaven. Nevertheless, the realization that they had not been found worthy of a heavenly structure did not dampen their en­thusiasm for building a sanctuary to the fullest extent of their human potential. [10]

Concrete Elucidation of Yechezkel’s Prophecies

Another possible resolution can be offered based on the Rambam’s statements shortly after the beginning of Hilchos Beis HaBechirah: [11]

The structure which Shlomo built is already described in the [Book of] Melachim. Similarly, the structure which will be constructed in the future era [is described in the Book of] Yechezkel. Nevertheless, the description there is not explained or elucidated.

[Therefore,] the people who constructed the Second [Beis HaMikdash] in the time of Ezra, built it according to the [basic] design [employed by] Shlomo, incorporat­ing the elements which were explicitly detailed by Yechezkel.

It can be explained that Mashiach will lead the people in the construction of those dimensions of the Beis HaMikdash which can be grasped by human intellect. Afterwards, since the dimensions of Yechezkel’s prophecies which we cannot com­pre­hend will be left incomplete, they will be revealed from Heaven by G‑d.

When That Which is Hidden Will Emerge

Another approach to rec­oncile Rashi’s view and that of the Rambam is based on our Sages’ interpretation of the verse, “Her gates sank in the earth.” [12] Our Sages relate [13] that the gates of the Beis HaMikdash were fashioned at the order of King David. This endowed them with an eternal invulnerability. [14] When the Babylonians laid waste to the Beis HaMikdash, the gates were not destroyed. In­stead, they were swallowed by the earth.

In the Era of the Redemption, the entire Beis HaMikdash will descend from the heavens with the exception of the gates, which will ascend from the earth. Mashiach will then connect the gates to the Beis HaMikdash. Our Sages explain [15] that con­necting the gates to a building is considered as equivalent to the construction of the entire edifice.

Adding Divine Perfection to Human Effort

Moreover, it can be ex­plained that the two concep­tions are, in no way, contradic­tory. Building the Beis HaMik­dash is a mitzvah incumbent on the Jewish people. [16] In the Era of the Redemption, when it will become possible to fulfill all the mitz­vos, we will also be obli­gated to rebuild the Beis HaMik­dash. Within that structure which man will erect, however, will descend and be enclothed “the Sanctuary of G‑d,” which is waiting in the heavens.

Mankind is obligated to create a Sanctuary for G‑d within the context of our material world. After that is completed to the fullest extent of our human potential, the inner essence of the Beis HaMikdash will be revealed — that it is “the Sanctuary of G‑d,” possessing a dimension of perfection which utterly sur­passes any possible work of mortal man.

* * *

May we witness the actual resolution of this issue in the immediate future, with the coming of the Redemption and the rebuilding — or the descent — of the Beis HaMikdash. “And then, the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to G‑d, as in the days of old and as in bygone years.”[17]

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, Vol. XI, p. 98; XVIII, p. 418-419; Vol. XXVII, p. 205.

1. Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:1,4.
2. Sukkah 41a, Rosh HaShanah 30a. See also Tosafos, Sukkah, loc. cit.
3. Shmos 15:17.
4. The Rambam’s view appears based on the Jerusalem Talmud, Megillah 1:11, Pesachim 9:1, Vayikra Rabbah 9:6, and Bamidbar Rabbah, 13:2. Rashi’s view has its source in the Midrash Tanchuma, Pekudei, sec. 11, the Zohar I, 28a, and other texts.
5. Bereishis Rabbah 64:10.
6. Sanhedrin 98a.
7. Daniel 7:13.
8. Zechariah 9:9.
9. See the essay “Two Periods Within the Era of the Redemption,” in the text I Await His Coming, which discusses this issue at length.
10. Significantly, in the era of Rabbi Yehoshua, there was no particular individual dis­tinguished as Mashiach. Nevertheless, the people planned to build the Beis HaMikdash. It was only in a later generation that it was revealed that it would be Mashiach who would build the Third Beis HaMikdash.
11. Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:4. See the essay “How We Can Build the Beis HaMikdash” which elaborates on this concept.
12. Eichah 2:9.
13. Bamidbar Rabbah 15:13, Eichah Rabbah on the verse cited.
14. Sotah 9a.
15. See Bava Basra 53b; see also Shaarei Zohar to Sukkah 41a.
16. Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 1:1. See also the conclusion of the discussion of the positive mitzvos in Sefer HaMitzvos, which states that building the Beis HaMikdash is an obligation incumbent on the Jewish people as a communal entity.
17. Malachi 3:4.

Original Article:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How to Merit Miracles

Art: Peter Seminck

“Lo Yachel Devaroi, K’Chol HaYotzai MiPicha Yaaseh”, do not profane your words; do as your mouth spoke. The Torah tells us that we must keep our word and not violate it. Rav Levi Yitzchok MiBerditchev in the Kedushas Levi makes a play on the words to explain how mortal people can perform miracles.

He reads the words as follows. If “Lo Yachel Devaroi”, you do not profane your words, then they will be holy and meaningful. Therefore, “K’Chol HaYotzai MiPicha Yaaseh” whatever comes out of your mouth will happen. This is the concept of “Tzadik Gozer, VHaKadosh Boruch Hu Mikayem”, a tzaddik decrees and Hashem makes it happen.

He further explains that this why the Parsha is called Matos. Matos also means to turn (Netia). When a person watches his mouth, Hashem turns the Midas HaDin into Midas HaRachamim.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Remedy for an Evil Eye

The evil eye, also known in Hebrew as the ayin hara, is usually seen as a mysterious external force, lurking around, waiting to pounce on innocent victims. Some of us are familiar with phrases such as bli ayin hara or k'nayna hara, which are said in an attempt to ward off the influence of the evil eye. Other protective measures against the evil eye include the wearing of special amulets or visits to those who perform various practices using oil, mercury or eggs in an attempt to shatter the effects of the evil eye. On the other hand, many of us understandably relegate any discussion about the evil eye to superstition and irrationality. However, there is another dimension to the story of the evil eye, which can dramatically transform our relationship to others and the world in general.

The evil eye is synonymous with greediness, not being satisfied with one's portion, jealousy and begrudging others their good fortune. Someone who has an evil eye possesses these attributes as part of their personality. These characteristics can be manifested in a person quite openly, or sometimes in a much more hidden and subtle way. The potential damaging influence arises when someone who harbors these types of feelings against us, looks upon us, or our good fortune, including our children and our possessions. The negative force only has power over that which can actually be seen by the physical eye. This is one of the reasons that it can actually be a blessing to not be so noticeable in the public eye.

But wait... before you start glancing nervously over your shoulder, let's turn this entire idea upside down. Rebbe Nachman writes that we have to pray a lot in order to be saved from the evil eye [Likutey Moharan 54]. Which evil eye? Our own evil eye! Here is the secret principle: The evil eye only has power over us to the extent that we ourselves have the evil eye. According to Rebbe Nachman, there are two types of evil eye. The first type of evil eye is when we see our friend enjoy some elevation or greatness and wish it wasn't so. The second type is when we have an evil or begrudging eye towards anything else about our friend. The remedy for this potentially harmful situation is to develop a good eye, an ayin tova, towards everyone. This means sincerely wishing the best for them at all times, and being genuinely happy for their success.

Rebbe Nachman does point out that one also needs to pray a great deal in order to be saved from the evil eye of another, yet the primary responsibility for avoiding the evil eye lies with ourselves. If we feel that we don't have the strength to withstand the evil eye of someone else, for whatever reason, we should stay clear of that person until we have strengthened the power of our own good eye. 

Rebbe Nachman also teaches another benefit to a good eye: By finding merit, in even a wicked person, one is saved from the evil eye. This means not engaging at all in the negativity of another who wishes you harm. Respond only positively and pleasantly, emphasizing the good point that can be found in anyone or any situation. Respond to a curse with a blessing, no matter what! Then, the bad has absolutely nothing to grab and hold onto. This brings good into the world, subduing and eventually eliminating the bad completely.

Some of us may still insist on using amulets and other practices aimed at breaking the influence of someone else's evil eye upon us, but we need to be aware that, at best, the relief will only be temporary if we don't develop the power of our own good eye. By developing the power of our good eye through a little effort and revision of our habitual responses, we can shift our whole outlook towards the world and those around us. We have the ability to be channels for good to flow into the world; it all depends upon our desire. Not only can we wish good for others, but we can actually pray to God that the entire Creation itself be successful [Rav Ephraim Kenig]. In this way, we are restored as partners with God to repair and heal the world.

Source: BreslevTsfat
Also see: The Power of Vision

Friday, July 10, 2015

''A Great Shaking Is Coming''

''A great shaking is coming to our world, and life as we know it is about to change in a major way.''

That could be a quote from one of the Autistics, except it isn't.

It's from the Economic Collapse Blog.

A global stock market crash has begun. European stocks are crashing, Chinese stocks are crashing, and commodities are crashing. And guess what? All of those things happened before U.S. stocks crashed in the fall of 2008 too. In so many ways, it seems like we are watching a replay of the financial crisis of 2008, but this time around the world is in far worse shape financially. Global debt levels are at an all-time high, the 75 trillion dollar global shadow banking system could implode at any time, and there are hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivatives that threaten to wipe out major banks all over the planet. The last major worldwide financial crash was almost seven years ago, and very little has been done since that time to prepare for the next one. If global markets do not calm down, we could see carnage in the months ahead that is absolutely unprecedented.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Parshas Pinchas: The Lonely Road

Art Jeannette Woitzik

The two Parshiot before Pinchas - Chukat and Balak - are often read together [in Eretz Yisroel only]. The two parshiot afterwards - Matot and Maasei - are almost always read together. 

Pinchas, which is between these parshiot is always alone. Why?

This teaches us that when you are Kana'i [zealous] you should be prepared to spend your life alone. People do not have the courage to fight for what is right and even if they start out behind you, by the time you turn around they will be gone.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Should Jews Leave America?

Stuck at home waiting for a repairman, I sat and listened to a shiur, where Rabbi Mizrachi is talking about the recent gay marriage ruling in America and the ramifications of it.

From 0:25:00 until approx 0:44:00, he asked the question whether Jews should remove themselves from America because of this situation.  The answer is not what you may have thought it would be. Keep listening - @ 0:44:00 he then discusses Greece.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Motives of a Critic

Art: Norman Rockwell

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos, Lubavitcher Rebbe
Parshas Pinchas

The tribes appeared to have convincing proof that Pinchas' motives were not pure [Rashi] but they were mistaken. This teaches us a powerful lesson whenever we are tempted to find fault with another person's good deeds and question their motives.  One can never know another's true intentions.  So long as a person is doing good, he should not be put down or mocked, even if one has a "solid" proof that the person is insincere. And in any case, even if it were true, and the person indeed had ulterior motives, we are taught always to study Torah and perform mitzvos even for the wrong reasons, since in this way one will eventually come to have pure motives.

A deeper question here is: Where does the desire come from to find fault in people who are doing something good?  In our case, the tribes appeared to have holy intentions: they were concerned that Pinchas had slighted the honor of Moshe by taking the law into his own hands.  Similarly, a person may imagine that he has a low tolerance for other people's bad intentions because he himself is humble, and thus he finds the pride of others distasteful.

In truth, however, the reverse is likely the case.  The fact that a person criticizes the good deeds of another is probably because the critic himself is proud and does not like the idea that somebody else accomplished something that he did not.  Of course, he will not admit this, even to himself, because his pride makes him lazy, and recognizing that somebody else has accomplished something makes it more uncomfortable to remain lazy.  Therefore, his arrogance leads him to put down the other person's good deeds, so they do not wound his pride or inspire him to be a better person, which would require effort.

Furthermore, even if somebody's mitzvah observance does have overtones of haughtiness, the critic's pride is nevertheless more distasteful.  For, ultimately, the person who "showed off" with his mitzvah was at least honest about his pride, and did not attempt to conceal it.  The critic, however, cannot tolerate the truth that he too is proud, and he thus stoops to dishonesty, veiling his pride in a "cloak" of humility and righteous indignation.

The lesson is obvious: It is much wiser to be an activist than a critic.  For a little pride can make criticism destructive, rather than constructive, but a good deed always remains good, regardless of the intention.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Purpose of Life

New two-and-a-half hour video from Rabbi Mizrachi.


Coming Back for More

"V'Anshei Damim U'Mirma" - men of blood and deceit [Tehilim 55]. The Mishna in Pirkei Avos [5:19] says that this pasuk refers to Bilam HaRasha. Why, asks the Ben Ish Chai does it use the plural form of Anshei - multiple men - when Bilam is only one person? 

The Ben Ish Chai quotes the Arizal who says that Bilam was a Gilgul [reincarnation] of Lavan HaArami. Bilam had two spirits in him, his own evil spirit and that of Lavan. 

We know from his dealing with Yaakov that Lavan was the world's greatest swindler. We also know from the Hagadah that he tried to annihilate Bnei Yisroel. Bilam himself also tried to destroy Bnei Yisroel. Therefore within Bilam lay Anshei Damim U'Mirma, two of the most blood thirsty and deceitful villains in history.


Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and some of his followers were standing by the window one morning, when a funeral procession went by. As was the custom, the people in the procession were following the coffin, weeping and wailing for the loss of the deceased.

Rabbi Nachman turned to his followers and said "More than likely, the soul of the dead man is laughing his heart out over the big scene they are making out there. When somebody dies, everyone always weeps over him as if to say "How nice it would have been if you had remained in this world a little longer, so you could endure even more suffering and hardships here!"

Reb Nosson, the Rabbi's closest disciple, was deeply puzzled by this strange statement. "But what about Gehenna?" he asked. "Even in the next world, he won't be entirely free from suffering, because he was not righteous enough to escape the torments of Gehenna. So he will have to suffer in the afterlife also."

"But at least when he gets out of Gehenna, his suffering will be over forever!" Rabbi Nachman replied. "Once he has been purged of his sins in Gehenna, his soul will be purified, and he will enjoy the reward for the good deeds that he performed in this world."

"But what about reincarnation?" Reb Nosson asked. "If he has to be reincarnated again, then what is the point of leaving this world and its troubles behind, only to return here again and again?"

"When he gets to the Heavenly Court," Rabbi Nachman replied, "he can put up a stubborn argument on his own behalf, and refuse to be reincarnated in any way, shape or form."

"Can he really do that?" Reb Nosson objected, "How can he refuse to accept the ruling of the Heavenly Court? Will it really help him if he refuses?"

"Of course it will help him" Rabbi Nachman replied. "He can stand before the Court and insist "Do whatever You want with me here in the heavenly realms - send me to Purgatory for every last detail of my sins if you must - but don't make me go back to the physical world again. Just get it over with here." If he is very, very firm in this, if he remains stubborn and does not move from his position, then it certainly will help him."

Reb Nosson took this lesson very seriously, and made a special point of fixing it in his mind. He prayed that, when his time came to go to the Other World, he would be able to remember this teaching and make the same plea before the Heavenly Court. in order to be saved from reincarnation. "No matter what might happen to me up there," he would say, "it would still be better than having to return to earth and be exposed to all of the dangers and temptations of material life again."

Nevertheless, after Rabbi Nachman died of tuberculosis in 1810, and it became the custom for Breslover Hasidim to gather at the Rebbe's grave in Uman on Rosh Hashanah, Reb Nosson also said: "If I knew for certain that I would merit to travel to my Rebbe's grave even once in a lifetime, then I would choose to reincarnate."

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Moshiach’s Donkey: A Drama in Four Acts

A Tale of 4 Donkeys: The One of Bilam, Avraham, Moshe and Moshiach

by Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson

click here to listen

Summary: Why does the donkey hold such prominence in the story of Bilam and in Jewish history? Bilam’s donkey was apparently created on the first Friday of history. Then, we are taught, that Moshe used the same donkey once used by Avraham. And that Moshiach will come riding on that same donkey! Moshiach's donkey has a long, prestigious history. But why is it the donkey that features so prominently? What is the symbolism?

Time and again the donkey makes its appearance through the generations, surfacing at key junctures of the messianic process. Each time we see it fulfilling the same function, but in a slightly different manner -- reflecting the changes our world undergoes as it develops toward its ultimate state of perfection.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Coming War and Obama's End

And he shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he shall think to change the seasons and the law; and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time." Daniel 7:25

 In January this year I wrote  ''I would like to suggest that ''a time'' equals two years. Therefore, a time [2], times [4] and a half of time [1] gives us a total of 7 years. The Presidency of Barack Obama began at noon EST on January 20, 2009 when he became the 44th President of the United States. Based on the prophecy in the Book of Daniel, I expect his Presidency to last no longer than January 2016.''

Below I have copied Reuven Kossover's english synopsis of a video posted at
As you can see from #5 below, Obama's destiny matches my own theory.

The following was translated by Reuven Kossover from the video below:

This video is what the authors believe the War of Gog and Magog will look like, based on gematria and quotes from the Tana"kh. Unfortunately, it is all in Hebrew. I wish this had been in English. I think I understood the essence. My son helped me out with this, and some of the credit deservedly goes to him. THE MAIN POINT IS THAT THE WAR OF GOG AND MAGOG WILL TAKE PLACE TOWARD THE END OF THE RABBINIC YEAR 5775 - (2015)

1. Europe, Iran and the Arab countries will attack Israel around mid July, 2015 (Av, 5775) OR BEFORE. They will have a good level of success.

2. There will be attacks on major cities (in the video, New York and Paris were shown being destroyed) in the countries that come against Israel world-wide by meteor showers - one of the works of G-d to rescue Israel.

3. Obama and Khamenei will work together against Israel. Their ages, together, equal one of the satanic names.

4. We will go to war against our neighbors in the region - and kick all their butts (with a lot of help from G-d).

5. The 'Pharaoh' (Obama) will die in the month of Elul, 5775 (August - Sept. 2015).

6. JEWS are expected to do FOUR THINGS IN PREPARATION. This is what they are.
a. Help other JEWS.
b. Study the Torah lessons, weekly.
c. Wrap t'fillin, wear tzitziyot (this for men only), say prayers, KEEP the Sabbath and keep Kashrut (earlier, the video warns that communities in Israel that insist on violating the Sabbath will get hit hard by the enemy). For women, there is dressing modestly (not like frumps, but modestly), and acting modestly.
d. Finally, show this video far and wide, for it is a warning, and the clock is ticking down to the war of Gog and Magog.

Here is the video for those that understand Hebrew: