Monday, November 30, 2015

The Clock of Creation Explained in a Video

HT: Dov Bar Leib

This video explains the Vilna Gaon's concept of dividing up the 6000 years from Adam into six days/ 24 hour segments, and where we are right now ahead of the Geula.

King David's Segulah of Protection

There is a tradition brought down by the Chida that King David put the image of Tehillim 67 למנצח “For the Conductor” in the form of a menorah on his shield and all his enemies would fall before him. But what is the secret of the power of this prayer that it gave King David such power and protection?

Image: המנורה כתובה by Ba'al haKokhav, converted to vector art by Andrew Meit (CC0)

The Torah teaches us that all the peoples of the world are blessed through Avraham and his offspring the children of Israel. However, this blessing depends upon the children of Avraham doing the will of Hashem.

The kabbalistic tradition explains that when Jewish people allow the soul to rule over the body and the physical world is used to serve the higher will of Hashem and His Torah, then this blessing flows properly to the nations of the world and the desire of the masses of people for a peaceful life is fulfilled; then the evil desires of the powerful few are held in check.

However, when Jewish people do not follow Torah and the bodily desires rule the soul, then the power is given to the evil ruling few who desire war over peace.

Torah and Tefillah
Torah is the source of our power, tefilah brings this power into manifestation. When we are involved in Torah and tefillah we give power of soul to rule body and therefore to live like the tzaddik.

Click here to read

Yud Tes Kislev: The Rosh Hashanah of Chassidus

The Alter Rebbe - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi author of The Tanya
The 18th of Kislev [today] marks the completion of the annual cycle of daily readings from the Tanya. The 19th and 20th of Kislev are the "Rosh HaShanah of Chassidus".

On Yud-Tes Kislev we re-commence the annual cycle of daily readings in Tanya, as divided by the Rebbe Rayatz.

It is the anniversary of the release of the Alter Rebbe - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi [Hebrew: שניאור זלמן מליאדי], the first Rebbe of Chabad, who was informed upon by misnagdim in Russia and arrested on trumped-up charges of supporting the Ottoman Empire.

His informers pointed to the fact that he would urge his followers to send money to the Land of Israel as "evidence" of his alleged insurrectionist aspirations [in fact, the money was sent to support poor Jews]. At the time, the Land of Israel was a part of the Ottoman Empire, which was at war with Russia.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman was charged with treason, and released in the secular year 1798 on the Jewish date of Tuesday, 19 Kislev.

The 53 days of Rabbi Shneur Zalman's imprisonment are said to correspond to the 53 chapters of the first section of the Tanya.

19 Kislev is also considered to mark the day upon which Rabbi Shneur Zalman was conceived, for he was born exactly nine months later, on 18 Elul. [Shemu'os Vesippurim, Refoel Kahn, vol. 1, p. 39]

Rebbetzin Menuchah Rachel born [1798]

On the very day that Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi was liberated from prison, a granddaughter was born to him -- the daugher of his son Rabbi Dovber and his wife Rebbetzin Sheina. The girl was named Menuchah Rachel -- "Menuchah", meaning "tranquility" [Rachel was the name of a daughter of Rabbi Schneur Zalman who died in her youth].

In 1845, Rebbetzin Menuchah Rachel realized her lifelong desire to live in the Holy Land when she and her husband, Rabbi Yaakov Culi Slonim [d. 1857], led a contingent of Chassidim who settled in Hebron. Famed for her wisdom, piety and erudition, she served as the matriarch of the Chassidic community in Hebron until her passing in her 90th year in 1888.
The 19th of Kislev is also the yahrzeit of R. DovBer, the Maggid of Mezritch, who [as successor to the Baal Shem Tov] was the mentor of the second generation of the chassidic movement - from 5521 [1761] until his passing on the third day of the week of Parshas Vayeishev, Yud-Tes Kislev, 5533 [1772]. His resting place is in Anipoli.

Rabbi Dov Ber was born in Volhynia in 1710, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia, though other sources say his year of birth is unknown. Little is known about him before he became a disciple of the Baal Shem Tov. A Hasidic legend states that, when he was five years old, his family home burst into flames. On hearing his mother weeping, he asked: "Mother, do we have to be so unhappy because we have lost a house?" She replied that she was mourning the family tree, which was destroyed, and had begun with Rabbi Yohanan, the sandal-maker and master in the Talmud. The boy replied: "And what does that matter! I shall get you a new family tree which begins with me!"

How aptly those words described the role he was later to play; for the boy was destined to become the successor to the Baal Shem Tov.

Source: Chabad

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Russia, Turkey, Gog U Magog and the Prophecies of Geula

I copied this video from my favourite blog Yeranen Yaakov, who also has a Hebrew version.

To learn more about the Alter Rebbe's prediction of the year 5775 as mentioned in the video, click here.


Paving the Way for Moshiach

Art; Dena Ackerman

Rashi explains the simple reason why the Torah begins to speak of Yehudah in the middle of the story of Yosef.  ''To teach us that [Yehudah's] brothers demoted him from his high position.''

However, Rashi does not explain why the entire account of Yehudah and Tamar was recorded here, leading up to the birth of Peretz and Zarach.

However, according to the explanation of the Midrash, we can understand that the account of Yehudah and Tamar was included here to explain the reason why Yosef was sold : because G-d was paving the way for Moshiach.

Thus, before we read of Yosef's enslavement, and the ensuing Egyptian exile, the Torah prefaces ''the cure before the disease'' informing us of G-d's inner intent.

Based on Sichos Shabbos Parshat Vayeishev 5751 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Friday, November 27, 2015

Three Rabbis Speak [video]

Signs that show ''We are in Moshiach's time'' / Gog U Magog / Don't blame the secular Jews

Rabbi Asher Vaknin [English]; Rabbi Mizrachi [English]; Rabbi Amrami [Hebrew]


An Orphan's Wedding in Jerusalem : Despair and Hope

Bride Sarah Litman and groom Ariel Beigel sing during the wedding ceremony at the Jerusalem International Convention Center on November 26, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

An Orphan's Wedding in Jerusalem 
Hours before a Wedding, a Conversation on Despair and Hope

By: Rabbi YY Jacobson

The Litman-Beigel Wedding
As these words are being written, I am watching a live webcast of the wedding of Techiya Litman with Ariel Beigel taking place tonight in Jerusalem. Like many in the audience, I shed a tear when the crowd under the chupah sung the melody “If I forget you Jerusalem…”

Their wedding was postponed after Palestinian terrorists murdered the bride’s father and brother less than two weeks ago. The bride’s father, Rabbi Yaakov Litman, and 18-year-old brother Netanel were shot dead in a November 13 terrorist attack while driving to a celebration in southern Israel to mark the imminent marriage. (Other family members in the car — the mother, a 16-year-old boy and three young girls aged 11, 9 and 5 — were lightly wounded, suffering mostly from bruises and shrapnel injuries.)

Sarah Techiya and Ariel were due to be married on November 16, just four days after the attack, but the celebration was postponed as the Litman family sat shiva (Jewish mourning period) for Ya’akov and Netanel. Now, the bride invited the “entire world” to her wedding. The public wedding invitation, which the couple posted on social media, begins with the biblical quote: “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy, for I have fallen but I have gotten up” [Micah 7:8].

And as I watched the wedding, I could not help but remember a story about another wedding, that took place some two millennia ago, in the same land.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Gog U'Magog and Geula

A Message from Rebbitzen Orit Riter      [HT: Yehudis]

November 25, 2015


Today’s daily dose of emuna is dedicated to the refuah shleimah of Chaya Leah Bat Baila and Baila Rachel Bat Chaya Leah, a mother and baby - both are experiencing serious complications after giving birth a few days ago. May Hashem send them a complete healing among all of Klal Yisrael who are sick and suffering b’mheira, b’rachamim, Amen.

In Parshat Toldot [25:28] the Torah describes Eisav: “… Eisav, for game was in his mouth.” The Torah teaches that one dominant character trait of Eisav’s was his deception. Though he shows one thing on the outside, he felt something else on the inside. 

The United Nations corresponds to the modern day Eisav, as they predominantly emanate from his lineage. Although the UN voted and passed a right for the Jewish People to establish the State of Israel, it nevertheless continues to side with the Palestinian right to establish a state on the same ground. By funding Israel’s enemies and painting Israel as evil wrongdoers, the UN are contradicting their original pledge and acting with deception.

The Divine master plan is unraveling, leading the world to the Final Redemption. B’H. The war of Gog and Magog is the final stage which will bring the Redemption to completion. There are five main reasons for the war:

All evil must be removed from the world in order for redemption to occur.

The entire world must openly come to know and serve Hashem and proclaim, Ata Hu HaMelech.

Hashem must avenge the suffering and blood of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people must receive their riches back, just as they did in Yetziat Mitzraim.

The war will spiritually refine those souls who merit witnessing the Geulah.

According to Masechet Brachot, this war of Gog and Magog will be different from all previous wars. The wonders and miracles will be indescribable and incomparable to any of those in the past. But we need to act now. We need to prepare now. We need to wipe away the falsehood now. And we need to daven for all the lost souls so that they too can merit experiencing the Geula.

Be proactive. Talk Geula. Think Geula. Prepare for Geula. 
Orit Riter

Small in His Own Eyes

"[My merits] have become small" [Vayishlach 32:11]

When G-d shows His kindness to a person, it brings that person closer to G-d, causing his feeling of self-importance to diminish, since "everything is like nothing before G-d".

Therefore, it was precisely due to the fact that G-d had been so kind to Yaakov that he became small in his own eyes - for the kindness brought him closer to G-d, and so he felt that he was not worthy of G-d's promise to be saved.

Source: based on Tanya Igeres Hakodesh ch.2

How could Yaakov the patriarch fear that "perhaps... I have become soiled with sin" [Rashi v. 12] when surely he was aware that he had not sinned?

A tzadik is not static - he constantly grows spiritually from one level to the next.  After reaching a higher level, his previous actions are spiritually deficient compared to his current standing. They are thus considered as "sins", metaphorically speaking. [The Hebrew word for sin - chet - can also mean ''deficiency'' [see Kings 11:21]  Thus Yaakov was worried that perhaps due to such ''sins'' he was not worthy to be saved.

Source: based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

An Eighth of an Eighth

"I have become unworthy through all the acts of kindness" [Vayishlach 32:11]

The Vilna Gaon was once asked to explain Chazal's statement [Sotah 5a]  "Said R'Chiya bar Ashi in the name of Rav: A Talmid chacham must have one-eighth of an eighth [of haughtiness]".  

Rashi explains that it is essential for a talmid chacham to possess this minute amount of pride in order to prevent those who are ignorant in Torah learning from making light of him and his words.  Why did Chazal choose specifically the measure of one-eighth of an eighth?

The term "one eighth of an eighth" answered the Gaon, is not a reference to a particular measure. Rather it is hinting at the eighth verse of the eighth parsha of the Torah.  The eighth portion in the Torah is Parshas Vayishlach, and the eighth verse of the parsha [32:11] begins with the word "katonti" - "I am very small".

While a talmid chacham must possess a certain amount of arrogance, it must be a "very small" amount.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Moshiach: What's going to happen ?

A video from Rabbi Alon Anava on events before and after Moshiach.  ''It's coming very soon''. 
Also contains vital information regarding prayer for pulling loved ones out of kelipah.


Reuven: The First Ba'al Teshuvah

Art: Xetobyte
''Reuven moved the bed of Yaakov....'' [Vayishlach 35:22]

The midrash refers to Reuven as "the first one to repent'' for his sin [of moving his father's bed].  G-d said to him ''No man has ever sinned before me and repented. You have opened the path of teshuvah.'' [Bereishis Rabah 82:11, 84:19]

Even though we find that Adam and Kayin repented before Reuven, nevertheless they did so out of fear of Divine retribution.  Reuven however was the first one to truly return to God, because he realized that his sin was wrong.

For this reason, Yaakov is said to have a ''perfect complement'' of children, for not only did he have sons who were tzadikim [perfectly righteous], he also had a son who was a genuine baál teshuva.

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe, Sefer Hasichos 5750]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Domestic Abuse : Torah Advice from Rabbi Mizrachi

If you are a Jewish woman in a physically abusive marriage, if you are searching online for Torah guidelines on Jewish domestic abuse, if you have been given bad advice by someone and told to keep quiet about it for the sake of ''Shalom Bayit'', if you are in any way doubtful of whether you should go to the police or not, then please watch this very short video from Rabbi Mizrach. The Torah does not condone violence by a husband.
And to anyone who wants to comment that in this day and age people should know this..... I'm here to tell you that they don't.  Thank you Rabbi Mizrachi for speaking up.

Mamash Angels

We've been told that the way to avoid the chevlei Moshiach [birthpangs of Moshiach] is by learning Torah and doing good deeds. The other advantage of both these things is that when you do them, you create [good] angels for yourself, as Yaakov does in this week's Parsha.

"And Yaakov sent angels ahead of him to Eisav" [Vayishlach 32:4]

Rashi comments: "And Yaakov sent angels -  literally [mamash] angels".

R'Meir of Premishlan explained Rashi's words with the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos [4:13] : "He who fulfills one mitzvah gains one advocate for himself". When an individual performs a mitzvah, he creates an angel that speaks favorably on his behalf in Heaven.

The verse tells us that Yaakov sent angels as messengers to Eisav. Which angels did Yaakov send? Those angels that had been created through the mitzvos that he had performed.

This is what Rashi is alluding to when he says: "mamash angels".  For "mamash" is the acronym of the words "malachim me'mitzvos sheásah" ["angels from the mitzvos he performed"].

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pollard and Moshiach ben Yosef

The release of Jonathan Pollard is imminent, and we will be one step closer to Geula.  The great mekubal Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt''l added the letter hei to Jonathan's name because he saw that his soul contained a spark of Moshiach ben Yosef [first video].

Also some discussion here from Dov bar Leib in the comments : Gog U Magog Just Crossed Over the Threshold 

See POLLARD label below for more.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Putin Explains ISIS [video]


The Midrash describes the Jewish people as G-d's "sheep" [Shir HaShirim Rabah 2:16], as an expression of their total dedication to G-d, like sheep that follow their shepherd unquestioningly.

Yaakov exemplified this level of dedication while he worked for Lavan, remaining loyal to G-d's commands despite the spiritually alien environment.  Thus, to hint to Yaakov's dedication, G-d rewarded him with wealth that came about through amassing sheep.

However, when Yaakov returned to confront Eisav, he did not stress sheep as his most important acquisition, but rather, oxen [Vayeitze 32:6].  Yaakov was hinting: "Because I am dedicated to G-d like a quiet sheep, therefore I have G-d's might behind me, so I will be as strong as an ox against you."

This teaches us that, in our observance of mitzvos we should be utterly humble towards G-d like a sheep; but when fighting the forces that oppose Judaism in the outside world, we cannot stand by sheepishly and watch Jews be drawn away from their heritage. Rather, we must fight for Jewish values with the strength of an ox.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Gutnick Chumash

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Leah and Rachel

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1855

Leah's eyes were tender, but Rachel had beautiful features and a beautiful complexion. [Vayeitzei 29:17]

Rachel represents the approach of tzadikim [righteous individuals] whose lives are totally holy, and Leah, the approach of ba'alei teshuvah [penitents] who elevate the secular world to holiness.

Thus, Rachel was naturally attractive:  ''Rachel had beautiful [facial] features and a beautiful complexion'' - like the tzadik whose character is flawless; whereas Leah cried profusely [see Rashi] alluding to the process of teshuvah.  She was also naturally outgoing [see Rashi 34:1], a talent which helps a person to bring the outside world to the realm of holiness.

''Yaakov was an honest person, dwelling in tents'' [Toldot 25:27], i.e. he busied himself only with matters of holiness - the approach of tzadikim.  Therefore, people said that Yaakov was destined for Rachel, since their characters matched.  Eisav, on the other hand, was an outgoing ''man of the field''. Therefore people said that he would be a good match for Leah, for only the talented, outgoing Leah would have the ability to make Eisav do teshuvah.

Based on Likutei Sichot Lubavitcher Rebbe vol 35 p. 152-3

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Untold story of an Empty Wedding Hall

Left: Netanel Litman, 18, right: Rabbi Yaakov Litman.

This is the story of the heinous double-murder of Rabbi Yaakov Litman and his 18 year-old son, Netanel.

The car was filled with various members of the Litman family, seven all told. They were on their way to Metar, where their daughter Sarah’s groom to be, Ariel Biegel, the rabbi’s son, would be called to read from the Torah on his last Shabbat as a single man. Candies would be thrown at him by the joyous congregants, wishing him a long and sweet life with his bride. There would be singing, and two families getting to know each other over shared meals, and lots and lots of mazal tovs. 

But it was not to be. The car was set upon by Arab terrorists who laid in wait for Jewish prey, in a car by the side of the road. The terrorists sprayed the car filled with Litmans, taking out father and son, leaving a mother and various other family members wounded and grieving.

Read it all here:  The Litman Murders: The Untold Story Of An Empty Wedding Hall

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Why is Paris Burning? France, Napoleon, Islam and Alter Rebbe


Video from Jan 14, 2015 but relevant now

Why is Paris Burning? France, Napoleon, Islam and Alter Rebbe
a shiur by Rabbi Simon Jacobson

Note: for those who have limited time to listen, start at the one hour mark where it starts to get very interesting, although I strongly recommend hearing the entire shiur.  Also discusses the fall of Yishmael before Moshiach.

Beyond the immediate tragic events happening in Paris -- and the imminent threats around the world to Jews and all good citizens -- is there something bigger transpiring here? The best way to understand the here and now is to step back, lift ourselves above the fray, and take a birds' eye view of the unfolding drama. As always, placing things in the sweep of historical context, looking at the big picture, provides us with critical insight into the current frame and chapter, allowing us to forge a strategy and chart a direction going forward.

France and the Jewish people have a long complicated and tenuous relationship. The one time France is mentioned in the Torah is in the Book of Ovadiah [1:20], where it tells us how the Jews exiled in "Tzorfas" (France) will, at the end of days, prevail over their enemies and the ones that remained silent in face of their suffering, and how they will return to Zion. But until that happens, over the years, France has not treated Jews well. Some of the greatest Jewish massacres in the Middle Ages took place in France. In the 13th century King Louis IX expelled the Jews.

Then, during the Franco-Russian War of 1812, Jewish leaders disagreed about which side would be better for the Jews, with the Alter Rebbe supporting Czar Alexander I of Russia, because his victory would assure that the spiritual integrity of Jewish life would be preserved. Though Napoleon would provide Jews with greater freedom, emancipation and material comfort, France would also introduce a secular, self-made, anti-G-d attitude, which threatened to assimilate and all but destroy the soul of the Jews unprepared for the challenges of the modern world. Indeed, Alexander vehemently denounced the liberties given to the Jews by the French and demanded that the Orthodox Church protest against Napoleon's tolerant religious policy. He referred to the Emperor in a proclamation as "the Anti-Christ" and the "Enemy of God." Yet, the Alter Rebbe still supported Alexander! That was then; today, 200 years later, as France and the West became more refined, the Rebbe made it clear (in a talk delivered at the end of 1991), that we can now indeed engage, benefit from -- and transform -- the freedoms of modern society and thrive as Jews. And thrive we did. France has proudly experienced a renaissance of Jewish traditional life. Yet, the tenuous relationship remains. And now comes the latest Muslim insurgence into France and Europe, with the most recent attacks against French Jews and French citizens. What are we to make of all this? And what happens in France, history shows, affects the world. France clearly plays a central role and reflects the overall European Western world.

Please join Rabbi Jacobson in this eye-opening France/24 Tevet/Vaeira workshop and discover the hidden choreography behind today's events. Learn a fascinating Zohar (at the end of this week's portion) how at the end of days Ishmael will attack Esau (France and the West), and how it will impact the Jewish people. This and other inside "secrets" provides perspective to today's events in France -- and the world -- illuminating for us: why is Paris burning? Why is it, of all places, at the forefront of today's upheavals? And above all: After a long history of tension with its Jewish citizens, which of the two options will France -- and Europe -- choose: To make its peace with G-d and the Jews or to capitulate to the forces of Ishmael? The end, as Ovadiah assures us, will be victory. The only question is this: how will we get there and who will be on board?

Moshiach Hints in Paris Terror

France -  צרפת - is gematria 770 which is also the gematria of פרצת parazta - ''breaking out from all boundaries'' - and the gematria of בית משיח ''Beit Moshiach''

The great numbers of Jacob’s progeny are referred to as דור ישרים - a “generation of straight [individuals],” an idiom whose numerical value is also 770

Seven consecutive attacks in Paris

Seven years since the Mumbai Massacre on R''H Kislev 5769
Seven of the terrorists blew themselves up

These are just my thoughts.  Please add yours in the comments.

Video: Rabbi Glazerson Torah Codes ''The Massacre in Paris Daash 5776''

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Terror in Paris

Friday night in Paris saw seven consecutive terror attacks across the city. More than 128 people have been killed and hundreds injured.
Lights off on the Eiffel Tower for the first time
since 1889.

The local Jewish community is waking up to hear the news of Friday's atrocities - many were observing the Shabbat until this morning and did not realise their neighbourhood had been targeted by the gunmen.  Read more here

It is exactly seven years since the Mumbai Massacre on Rosh Chodesh Kislev 5769.

France has declared a state of emergency, closed its borders and sent 1500 troops to Paris.  

Chevlei Moshiach.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Storms over the weekend here. Photo shows Bondi Beach one hour ago.  Shabbat Shalom to all.

Rabbi Rules on Moshiach

Rabbi Shlomo Amar, former Chief Rabbi of Israel who now serves as Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, made a ruling that Hashem must hasten the coming of Moshiach and the ultimate redemption. He did so at the request of Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar during a late night farbrengen gathering at the small shul of 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, on Sunday night.


Also see:  Geula Update from Rav Berger

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Collapse of Yishmael and the Rise of Moshiach

This was recently discussed on a recent blog post, here is Rabbi Mizrach's latest shiur which includes the topic of the collapse of Yishmael and the rise of Moshiach.


Kislev: The Month of Dreams

The Month of Dreams

Keshet [bow] is the Hebrew name for Saggitarius. At dawn during Kislev a constellation reminiscent of a bow appears on the horizon - the Keshet, identified by our Sages as the sign of this month.

The bow was used in the past to shoot missiles, such as arrows, at the enemy. In the Midrash, the bow symbolizes the projection upwards of the scorpion from the brambles into which it had been cast. Projection implies shooting upwards from below. In the words of R' Bachyei:

"After the soul has received its judgment in purgatory, it will be projected up from there much like an arrow from the bow. That is the reason for the proximity of Akrav [Scorpio] to Keshet, as alluded to by our Sages who said "They descend to Gehinnom yelling and crying... and rise".

Source: Gad Erlanger "Signs of the Times"

The Month of Kislev according to The Book of Formation [Sefer Yetzirah] - Kislev is the ninth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.

Kislev is the month of Chanukah--the only holiday in the Jewish calender which spans, and hence connects, two months: Chanukah begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev and concludes in the month of Tevet [either on the 2nd or 3rd, depending on the number of days in Kislev].

The name Kislev derives from the Hebrew word for "security" and "trust." There are two states of trust, one active and one passive, both of which are manifest in the month of Kislev. The miracle of Chanukah reflects the active trust of the Maacabim to stand up and fight against the Hellenistic empire and its culture. Kislev's sense of sleep reflects the passive trust that G-d's providence always guards over Israel.

In the tradition of Chassidut, the 19th day of Kislev, the day of the release and redemption of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, the author of the classic text of Chassidut, the Tanya [the disciple of the Magid of Mezerich, the successor of the Ba'al Shem Tov] from prison [where he was placed for the dissemination of the innermost mysteries of the Torah] is referred to as "the New Year of Chassidut" (implying that it is through the spiritual channel of this day that the inner wisdom of Chassidut and the power to integrate this wisdom into one's daily life is brought down into this world).

The foundation of the way of Chassidut is absolute trust and faith in G-d's omnipresence and the omnipotence of His Divine providence.

Color: Blue-Violet

Letter: samech

The word samech means "to support". The experience of feeling supported corresponds to the trust and confidence in Divine providence associated with the month of Kislev, as described above. So do we find expressed in Psalms: "G-d supports (somech) all the fallen and lifts up all the bent over;" "Even when he falls he will not be let to fall to the ground, for G-d supports (yismoch) his hand."

The shape of the samech is a circle, which represents the all-encompassing omnipresence of G-d and His providence. The "great circle" of G-d's Infinite light is explained in Kabbalah and Chassidut to reflect His "right arm" which embraces (and supports, from beneath) with great, infinite love all of reality, as is said: "And from beneath, the arms of the universe."

Mazal: keshet [Sagittarius--Bow]

The bow of Kislev is the bow of the Maacabim. It symbolizes their active trust in G-d to fight against the empire and culture that then ruled the earth. Though the Chashmonaim themselves were from the Priestly tribe of Israel, the "art" of the bow is ascribed in the Bible to the tribe of Benjamin in particular, the tribe of the month of Kislev.

The Kohanim [and Leviim] are not considered as one of the twelve tribes in the correspondence of the tribes to the months of the year [according to the Arizal]. As an all-inclusive manifestation of the Jewish soul, the Kohanim contain and reflect the spiritual source of each of the twelve tribes of Israel. This is especially so with regard to the tribe of Benjamin, for in his portion was the holy Temple wherein the Kohanim served. Thus the relation of the Kohanim to Benjamin is similar to that of soul to body. The Kohanim fight the holy war embodied in the bow of Benjamin.

The bow of war of Kislev is actually projected [shot] from the bow (the rainbow; in Hebrew both "bow" and "rainbow" are identical--keshet) of peace [between G-d and Creation] of the end of the previous month of Cheshvan, as explained above. The two bows [semi-circles] unite together to form the complete circle of the samech of Kislev.

Tribe: Benjamin

Sense: sleep

The sense of sleep is the tranquility and restfulness that comes with trust and security in G-d and His Divine providence. So do we find in the blessings at the end of Leviticus [26:5-6]: "And you shall dwell securely in your land. And I shall give peace in the land, and you shall lie down without fear...."

As the word "sense" [chush] is cognate to "quick" [chish], the sense of sleep implies the ability to sleep well but quickly [as is told of great tzadikim who required very few hours of sleep per day].

The very talent of Benjamin to shoot straight at his target depends upon a most tranquil inner spirit. He shoots and hits almost asleep. G-d carries his arrow to its intended destination. A tranquil personality is one with little inner friction and tension. The sense of sleep entails the ability to release stress, confident in the support of G-d.

The sense of sleep entails as well the sense of dreaming. In accord with our faith in Divine providence, especially manifest in relation to the connection between the weekly Torah portions and the annual cycle of months and their events, all of the dreams of the Torah are contained within the portions that are read during the month of Kislev.

When one possesses complete trust in G-d one dreams good dreams of the future. Good dreams at night reflect good thoughts throughout the day, especially the optimistic attitude and consciousness taught by Chassidut [whose New Year is the 19th of Kislev]: "Think good, it will be good."

Source: HaRav Yitzchak Ginsburgh

Also see:  Kabbalah of Dreams

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Women, Tehillim, King David and Rosh Chodesh

A shiur for Rosh Chodesh Kislev - although this shiur was made six months ago, and his references to the month and parsha are not current.

Women, Tehillim, King David and Rosh Chodesh - what's the connection?   [HT: Moriah] 

Amazing class by Rabbi Alon Anava about the virtues of reading Tehillim [Psalms of King David] and why it is so special reading Tehillim in a group.  Also the connection of Tehillim to Rosh Chodesh and the connection of women reading Tehillim before Rosh Chodesh and much more.

Good Advice

A handwritten note at the end of a letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. 

Don't worry so much about business.
More bitachon - more parnassa.

Bitachon ["confidence" and "trust"]: the feeling of confidence in one's God-given power to take initiative and succeed in one's mission in life; the feeling that God will orchestrate events in accord with the greatest revealed good.

Parnossa : income.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Toldot Tikkunim

According to kabbalistic teachings, Yitzchak corrected the spiritual damage caused by Adam's sin.

Therefore, just like Adam had been led by the ingenious plot of the serpent, the correction of Adam's sin had to come through ingenious trickery: ''Your brother came ingeniously and took your blessing''.  [Toldot 27:35]

Source: Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

The B’nei Yissachar takes this concept one step further. A number of commentators are bothered by the fact that Yaakov had to resort to such deceit in order to receive his father’s blessings. As the legitimate inheritor of Yitzchok’s spiritual legacy, shouldn’t Yaakov have been able to receive what he deserved in a more straightforward manner? 

Citing the Zohar HaKadosh, the B’nei Yissachar explains that Yaakov represented the tikkun [refinement] of Adam and his sins. Yaakov’s arch-nemesis was his wicked twin brother Eisav, who is described by the Torah [25:27] as a “yodeah tzayid” – hunter. The Targum Onkelos renders this phrase “gevar nachshirchon,” hinting that Eisav represented the nachash – serpent. Because the serpent enticed Adam and Chava to sin through tricky, underhanded methods, Yaakov had to rectify its previous triumph by successfully taking the blessings away from Eisav using similarly devious tactics.

The Arizal teaches that Rivkah was a gilgul [reincarnation] of Chava, the first woman. One of the purposes of reincarnation is to give a soul the opportunity to rectify the sins that it committed in an earlier lifetime. In what way did Rivkah correct the sin of Chava and atone for its consequences?

After the serpent convinced Chava to eat from the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, she immediately gave some to Adam to eat. Rashi explains that she did so out of a fear that after her death, Adam would remain alive and would find another mate. As a result of his sin, Adam was cursed with death and with the pain and difficulty of sustaining himself.

Because Chava ensnared Adam in sin when he listened to her, her descendant Rivkah learned from her mistakes and rectified her sins. In contrast to Chava who caused Adam to eat something forbidden, Rivkah saved Yitzchak from eating from the food that Eisav brought him which was not properly slaughtered, and according to some opinions was dog meat [Targum Yonason ben Uziel 27:31].

Source: ShemaYisrael

Monday, November 9, 2015

''Many will run to and fro''

And you, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book until the time of the end; many will run to and fro......  [Daniel 12:4]

I'm not too sure exactly what the Prophet Daniel was referring to, but I know that right now people are running to and fro - to and from hospitals !   So many people sick, and with dreadful illnesses. The rest of us are being kept busy, running to and fro, hospital visits, making and bringing food, picking up other peoples' children from school because someone in the family is very ill....  A time of trouble indeed !

Here's to a refuah shleimah for some special people:  Libby Chava Leah bat Sharonne Rivka and Yetta Golda bat Alter.  

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing." "A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

When Yishmael Will Fall

The end of last week's Parsha finishes with the words, "Al Pnei Kol Echov Nafal" - "Over all his brothers he [Yishmael] shall fall". 

This week's Parsha starts with the words, " ViEileh Toldos Yitzchak" - "And these are the offspring of Yitzchak". 

Baal HaTurim explains the connection. "Al Pnei Kol Echov Nafal" - when Yishmael - [the Arabs] will fall, then, "ViAyleh Toldos Yitzchak" - Mashiach Ben David will come from the descendants of Yitzchak. 

The fall of Yishmael is a prerequisite for the coming of the Mashiach.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Power To Change

Art: 'Triple Self Portrait' by Norman Rockwell

And the children struggled within her, and she said, "If [it be] so, why am I [like] this?" And she went to inquire of the Lord. [Toldot - Genesis 25:22]

Why did the children "struggle inside her"?

How could Yitzchak, our righteous patriarch, have a son whose very nature even in the womb was inclined towards idol worship?

G-d can either make a person's disposition naturally good or naturally bad.  But, even if a person has a natural inclination to evil, that does not mean that he is evil per se, for he is given free choice.

Rather, the reason why he was given such an inclination was to rise to the challenge and overcome it.  Thus, Eisav was given a natural tendency to evil so that he could excel in the Divine service of "quashing" the evil inclination.

Even though he failed in his task, we can nevertheless learn from Eisav that if a person has strong desires to do something bad, it means that he has been given the special Divine mission of overcoming his inclinations.

Source: Gutnick Chumash: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Waiting for Moshiach

HT: Yaak

by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz

Rav Segal closed with a story about a group of Polish soldiers who were told to prepare for a visit from the general.

Garbed in their uniforms, shoes polished and guns gleaming, they stood at attention. It was a hot day, and as they waited beneath a scorching sun, a few of them started to grumble. The morning dragged on with no sign of the general and the soldiers felt their resolve weakening. “Wait a bit longer. I’m sure he’ll come soon,” the commander urged them, but as morning gave way to afternoon, the general was nowhere to be seen.

Finally, the tired soldiers gave up and many of them flopped to the ground, exhausted. At that moment, the general appeared. Those who sat on the floor were humiliated, while those who had remained standing were promoted to a higher rank.

The Chofetz Chaim would retell the story and say, “He’s about to come. Don’t give up now. Stand tall and wait. He’s about to arrive.”

We are at the end of the day and have been waiting so long. The wait is getting progressively more difficult. Only a few remain standing.

In this, too, we look to our neshei chayil to inspire us. The Gemara in Maseches Brachos (17) says that women attain merit through waiting for their husbands to return home from the bais medrash.

Thus, one of the sacred responsibilities and mandates of the woman is to wait. They teach the rest of us how to wait. Now is their time. Now, as a lonely nation awaits Moshiach’s arrival, we look to the women to inspire and teach us how not to lose focus. Together, we wait for the day when the world will once again be filled with light and we will all be comforted.

Read the full blog post here

And The Water Rose Toward Her

Art: William Adolphe Bouguereau

"The servant ran toward her" [Chayei Sarah 24:17]

Rashi comments: "Because he saw that the waters went up toward her".

Where does the verse indicate, asks the Ramban, that the waters actually went up toward her?

Later on, answers the Ramban, the verse states:  "She drew for all his camels" [24:20].  In this verse, however, we find no mention of Rivkah "drawing" any water.  This teaches us that Rivkah, in fact, had no need to draw water for the water rose up toward her.

Yet, asked R' Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev, why did the water not rise for her when she drew water for Eliezer's camels?

Initially, Rivkah had gone to draw water for her own personal needs.  In order that the tzaddekes should not have to burden herself with the task of drawing water, the water, instead, rose to her.  However, when Rivkah went to draw water for Eliezer's camels, she had undertaken to perform a mitzvah.  Heaven wanted Rivkah to earn as much merit as possible for her act of kindness, so, this time, the water was not allowed to rise for her.  In this way, Rivkah would receive maximum merit for performing this mitzvah, for as Chazal teach us, "According to the exertion is the merit". [Avos 5:26]  Thus the more she exerted herself, the more merit she would receive.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Water from the Kotel - Sign of Redemption - video

Once again, water is starting to flow from the Kotel.  Seems to be just a trickle right now.  Maybe it's just crying.

"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 entrance 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]

The NDE of the Young Boy in Israel [English subtitles]

End of Days Scenario as envisioned by the 15 year old Israeli boy during a Near Death Experience.

Thank you to all the people who emailed me this link, and acknowledgements to Yaak who also blogged it, and to Devash who originally blogged the Hebrew version. Just putting this up here for all my readers.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Did Abraham Teach his Children Black Magic?

Abraham's Gifts to His Other Sons
by Baruch S. Davidson


The Torah records that Abraham gave presents to the children he had with Hagar. Rashi says that they were filled up with tumah (dark spiritual forces). Why would Abraham do that? Why not just throw it away and give something good to them?


The verse you're referring to is in Genesis 25:6:

And to the sons of Abraham's concubines, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from his son Isaac while he [Abraham] was still alive, eastward to the land of the East.

The actual words of the Talmud [Sanhedrin 91a] about these gifts are "he gave them the name of tumah." Simply understood, this implies that he gave them impure powers. However, there are obvious difficulties with this. First, as you asked, why would he want give them something evil? Second, the Torah forbids the use of black magic—how could Abraham encourage it?

This question was asked by several of the commentators of the Torah, particularly of note, are the following answers given by the 12th century Tosafists.

Some explain this Talmudic statement to mean that he gave them the right to use the name of G‑d even when in a state of physical impurity. This explanation, too, raises a difficulty. If Abraham saw them as unfit to carry on his legacy, why would he teach them and give them abilities to say the holy name of G‑d?

Therefore, most others explain that this means that he taught them how to protect themselves from the forces of tumah such as demons. This is referred to as "the name of tumah" because by knowing the names of theses negative energies they would be able to instruct them to do their will and remove them.

However, the following explanation brought in the commentary of Riva [Rabbi Isaac ben Asher II] on the Torah, is the one I found most fascinating. He points to Genesis 4:26 where the verse states that in the generation of Enoch "it became common to call by the name of the L‑rd." This is explained by the Midrash to mean that, "they would name people and idols with the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, to make them idols and to call them deities." Therefore, Abraham taught his children "the name of tumah"; i.e. he taught them names for their idols that would connote the tumah associated with them, instead of calling them with names used for the one true G‑d.

There is an intriguing oft-quoted passage in the Zohar [Vol. 1 pp. 99b -100b] that sheds much light on these gifts and their relationship to the "land of the East," which may well be the Indus Valley. You can find that on our site at: Kabbalah and the East and Abraham's Presents to the East - The Zohar. From that passage, it would seem that the gifts were originally wholesome wisdom, but were later diverted to negative and impure uses.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Body and Soul

Art: C. Schloe

The Zohar teaches that Sarah represents the body, whereas Avraham represents the soul.  Even after death, the soul still remains related to the body, thus "Avraham - the soul - came to eulogize Sarah - the body - and to weep for her"  [Chayei Sarah 23:2]

Chassidic teachings emphasize the importance of the body as a tool in the service of G-d.  Since the ultimate purpose of creation is to sanctify the physical world, the body has a distinct advantage over the soul, in that it is the means by which G-d's Will is enacted.  Therefore, G-d told Avraham [the soul] "Whatever Sarah - the body - tells you, listen to her voice" [21:12], indicating that there is an inherent superiority to the body, over the soul.

Although the soul is incomparably more refined than the body, nevertheless, in the times of Moshiach we are promised that the superiority of the body will be revealed such that "the soul will be animated by the body".

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe