Thursday, March 31, 2016

Who Talks Lashon Hara About Me?

Who talks Lashon Hara about me, and how do I fix it?

Rabbi Alon Anava: the kabbalistic origins of lashon hara - try and listen to this video, it's well worthwhile.  He also discusses Gog U Magog and even mentions ''the planet'' - but that's all it is, a mention - @ 43:00 - and @57.30 where he says it is just one of the ways that Hashem may decide to bring the Geula.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Creating Angels

As soon as Purim is over, Pesach cleaning begins!

According to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, we create an angel whenever we do any cleaning for Pesach.

The following is written by R' Tal Moshe Zwecker

Once, when the Rebbe Maharash of Lubavitch was traveling through Berditchev, he saw a group of elderly Tolna chassidim carrying buckets of water and scrubbing the walls and floor of a little shul in preparation for a visit from their Rebbe the following day.

When the Rebbe asked them why they were doing all the work themselves instead of letting the younger chassidim help them, they answered, "We are doing this ourselves because we want to have healthy angels to assist the advocating angels who come out of the tekios, the blasts of the shofar."

"You know the Yehi Ratzon that is said after the tekios of Rosh HaShanah — the one that mentions 'the angels that are formed from the blowing of the shofar, and from the tekia, the shevarim, the teruah, and the tekiah, (kshr"k),' [the identifying letters of the Hebrew words that signify the various sounds of the shofar]?

Well, one Rosh HaShanah the holy Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev said: 'Sweet Father, compassionate Father! Just in case the angels that proceed from the shofar that Levi Yitzchak the son of Sarah Sasha has just blown are weak angels, let their place be taken by the holy, healthy angels that were created by the toil of Your people in preparation for Passover, as they cleaned their kitchen utensils in order to fulfill their mitzvah as perfectly as possible:

kratzen (scouring), shobben (scraping), rieben (rubbing), and kasheren (making kosher)'" — [for the initials of these four Yiddish words are also kshr"k].

[Likkutei Dibburim of the Rebbe Rayatz of Lubavitch, Vol. I p. 280]
Similarly we find in the holy sefer Kav HaYashar Part II Chapter 89:

It is proper to teach the women of Beis Yisroel to have the following in mind while they are kashering their utensils from Chametz for Pesach through hagalah and libun that [just as they are removing the Chametz ] so should the Holy One should remove and destroy the evil inclination, evil and wickedness from the land. And we trust in the Holy One to removed idolatry from our midst.

The minhag of Yisroel is Torah, that they have the custom to scrape clean tables, benches and chairs as well as the walls from any suspicion of contact with Chametz  and Hashem's watchful eyes gaze over all the actions of Bnei Yisroel His treasured people who are holy and the sons of the holy ones whose hard work and labor is all for the sake of removing and destroying chametz all the days of the month of Nissan, and so should the Holy One scrape away all the afflictions which come from the "other side" [which are found sunk in the walls of homes in this bitter exile] and any prosecutions against us and from their power they cause us suffering in this bitter exile."

Source and more at: Berdichev Org

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Secret of the Final Redemption

The following is from an essay by Rabbi Nachman Kahana

''The Gemara does not elaborate on the tradition stated by Melech Shlomo that only three victories over Amalek may be written in the TaNaCh, because herein lies the hermetically sealed secret of how the final redemption will come about, and when.

My premise is that the three victories over Amalek as recorded in the TaNaCh means that when Amalek will be defeated three times in the time frame of a 70 year life span, the final redemption of Am Yisrael will have arrived.

It has never yet happened in the history of nations that three evil empires fell in the short span of 70 years; since it takes hundreds of years for an empire to develop, to peak, become corrupt and then die. 

But it is occurring right now in our generation of 70 years! 

The 70-year count began sometime between 1945-47 and will conclude in 2015-17. 

In 1945 Nazi Germany, unmistakably Amalek, was defeated. Between 1945-47, ten of the German leaders – the same as the number of Haman’s sons – were sentenced to be hung; 9 were put to death by hanging with the tenth, Hermann Goering, escaping the gallows by committing suicide in his prison cell. 

Forty-six years later, in 1991, the leaders of the evil Soviet Union, also sons of Amalek, together with their anti-Semitic ideology, were discarded into the trash bin of history. 

In the time frame between 2015-17 the destruction of the third and last Amalek power will have begun or will begin. Who will it be? 

Perhaps it will be the Haman of the Koran spinning his hatred from Persia-Iran; or perhaps world Christianity or Islam; possibly both. 

What makes this projection even more interesting is the fact that the year 2015 was a Shmitta (Sabbatical) year corresponding to our calendar year of 5775 תשע”ה which means salvation. 

I submit this in full knowledge that, at the end of the day all human calculations could be proven false in the face of what HaShem has in store for us - 

The entire article may be read at NachmanKahana

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Did You See the Red Moon on Purim?

The moon was red on Purim.  I personally didn't see it, but a close and reliable friend of mine did see it, and there is talk on the internet about it.  She saw a red moon as it rose in the sky soon after sunset in Sydney Australia.  When I looked at the full moon much later [around 2am] it was a normal colour.

Seems that the moon is appearing red quite often lately...  all the dates listed below, and now an extra date of Purim 5776.  However, the only people talking about it on the internet are the Xtians and I don't feel like linking to their videos.

I am thinking that the reason the moon appeared to be red on Purim was because there is a red planet [Nibiru] near the sun, and this is what is causing the moon to appear red.   If you think this is nonsense please let me know, I'm just guessing.  If you saw a red moon, let us know where you live and when you saw it.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Love Not Fear

Once again American Jews are being warned of danger.  I do not endorse these warnings, but as I can see that many of my readers are also reading these warnings on a blog I link to, I do feel the need to comment.

Firstly, most of my family live in the US.  If I really believed these warnings, I would be the first to tell them to get out now.

On this subject, as with everything else, I turn to the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  There are hundreds of Chabad Houses throughout America, as there are in every other part of the globe.  The Rebbe himself did not leave America in his lifetime, as he felt it was more important to m'karev the Jews in the diaspora.  Just as a captain would not desert his ship, so to Chabad will not leave until all possible Jews have been brought back to their faith.

If you listened to Rabbi Kessin's shiur the other day, at 31:15 on the video, and onwards from there, he is talking about teshuva through love not fear.  Teshuva done through fear, as with anything else done through fear, is not complete.  That is why the Rebbe and the teachings of Chabad approach Jews through love.  The word ''Lubavitch'' literally means '' city of brotherly love''. And for the record, Rabbi Kessin is NOT a Lubavitcher.

Whilst I don't normally write a blog post which goes against another blog I link to, I do feel it appropriate at this point as I am aware that many Jews in America are panicking over what the future holds.   Just because a blogger writes it, it doesn't mean it's a fact. I can already predict that someone will tell me I am aiding the destruction of thousands of Jews by writing this, and I reject that as well. As with all major issues, consult your local orthodox rabbi, or someone else whose opinion you trust, not a blog on the internet, and don't spend your life worrying about things that may never happen. 


Art: Harry Watrous
''An earthenware vessel in which it is cooked shall be broken.....'' [Tzav 6:21]

An ''earthenware vessel'' represents the body of man, which was formed from the earth. Just like an earthenware vessel that absorbs a prohibited substance must be broken, so too, if a man's body participates in a sin, it can be atoned for when his heart becomes ''broken'' through true repentance.

Based on Sichas Shabbos Parsha Tzav 5736, Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Truth About Purim [video]

Rabbi Mendel Kessin


Giving Thanks

''If he is bringing it as a thanksgiving offering... ''[Tzav 7:12 ]

Rashi comments on when a thanksgiving offering is brought:

To give thanks to G-d for a miracle that had happened to a person. For instance:
1. those who made a sea voyage, or
2. journeyed in the desert, or
3. those who had been in prison, or
4. a sick person who recovered.
All these are required to give thanks to G-d since regarding them, the verse states ''They will give thanks to G-d for His kindness and for His wonders to mankind, and they will slaughter sacrifices of thanksgiving.'' [Psalms 107:21-22]

Chassidic thought has a further sequence of the four cases that require a thanksgiving offering, corresponding to the process by which the soul descends into the world:

1. Sick person: When the soul leaves its source beginning its journey down into this world, the intense love for G-d which is experienced previously is weakened. So the soul becomes ''sick'' with its desire to regain its lost love.

2. Imprisonment: As the soul descends further downwards, it becomes affected by the progressive confinement of the spiritual and physical worlds, until it is eventually ''imprisoned'' in a body.

3. Sea voyage: While the soul is living in this world, there is the danger that it will ''drown'' in the turbulent waters of worldliness and physicality.

4. Desert: The soul may regress further, G-d forbid, to the point that the person lives a life devoid and barren of any spiritual meaning whatsoever.

And since these challenges are great, the soul is made to swear an oath before it leaves its source - ''be righteous and don't be wicked'' - giving it the strength to prevail against all odds.

Based on Sefer HaMaámarim 5737 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Monday, March 21, 2016

Huge Prayer Rally

Huge prayer rally! A positive commandment from the Torah To cry and shout about any calamity that comes upon the public [Rambam Hilchot Ta’anit, Chap. I; and Mishna Brura #5076]

In these crazy days when the degree of judgment [Midat Hadin] is overstretched and a sword hangs over us from without, when they sow fear among us and there is not one moment without harm, and when our troubles increase day by day, and we have no power except for prayer. Therefore, at the order of the great leaders of our generation [Gdolei Hador] it is a holy obligation for every man and woman to gather and  stand together for the sake of our souls, in prayer.

Erev Ta’anit Esther, Tuesday evening, March 22nd The day when we say “v’Nahafoch hu” [things are turned upside down] and on which the primary miracle occurred and the hour of salvation and mercy occur at midnight, [we will gather].

At the graves of our holy fathers At the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron To recite Tehillim and Slichot and to accept the Yoke of Gd with a great audience and unity to sanctify Gd’s name with repentance and love for Israel.

Buses at low cost will be dispatched from all over the country. Generous amounts of refreshments and drinks will be available until dawn. National information number: 077-229-2222 Volunteers are needed to help publicize and distribute this information in their places of residence: 052-713-0094

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Powerful Prayer Day

Many classic sources tell us that Purim represents a special opportunity for one’s prayers to be answered.

The Sefer Kav HaYosher says the following: Taanis Esther is a day that is very auspicious for one’s prayers to be answered in the merit of Mordechai and Esther. Whoever needs mercy for any particular needs should put aside time for themselves and do the following: First, recite Chapter 22 in Tehilim. Then, pour out your heart to Hashem and ask for all your needs and mention the merit of Mordechai and Esther [whose merits saved us from Haman]. The Gates of Mercy will be opened and your prayers will be accepted beratzon. 
More segulot for Purim at Zchus Avos

The Ritv”a in his commentary to Megillah 7a quotes the Talmud Yerushalmi which explains regarding the fulfillment of the obligation to give matanos la’evyonim [gifts to the poor] on Purim, that kol ha’posheit yado leetol yitnu lo - we give to anyone who extends his hand to receive”. This is to say that on this festive day we give money to everyone who asks, without first checking to see if they truly are poor and worthy of receiving tzedakah funds. The Chasam Sofer writes that just as we are not particular if the people to whom we give charity on Purim are truly deserving, and whoever extends his hand gets helped, so, too, does G-d listen to all our prayers on this special day, and kol ha’posheit yado leetol yitnu lo – He gives to anyone who extends his hand to receive.

Also see: Purim's Golden Opportunity

Friday, March 18, 2016

Elijah's Mission

Source: Ben Ish Hai

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. [Malachi 3:23]

Elijah comes... only to distance those who were drawn near... and to draw near those who have become distanced... [Eduyot 8:7]

Nowadays, most of the world adheres to falsehood and its accompanying wickedness; "all mankind is deceitful" [Psalms 116:11]. 

In the future, Elijah will change that.  He will distance falsehood - שׁקר - [whose letters are close together] and expel it from the world; and he will draw truth - אמת - [whose letters are far apart] near so that the entire world will adhere to it.

א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ת

Thursday, March 17, 2016

R' Mendel Kessin: Amalek - The True Story in Relation to Current Events

A new shiur from one of our favourites, Rabbi Mendel Kessin. I haven't listened yet, but am looking forward to doing so.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Achieving Great Heights

by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

וַיִּקְרָא  "Vayikra - He called" [Vayikra 1:1]

Why is the word "Vayikra" written with a small alef? asked R' Simchah Bunim of P'shischa.

The verse comes to teach us, answered the rebbe, about the extraordinary humility of Moshe Rabbeinu. Even when he was engaged in conversation with Hashem, the King of the entire world, Moshe remained the most humble of men.

To what can this be compared? asked the rebbe.  To a man who had scaled an enormous mountain and looking about, he could get the impression that he towers over all those around him.  However, if he is a wise man, he will realize that he is not tall at all, nor does his elevated position point to any personal greatness.  For it is the mountain upon which he is standing that is tall. He knows that he has not grown any taller and that he is still small compared to all the mountains around him.

This is the secret to Moshe Rabbeinu's humility, explained the rebbe. For even though he had achieved great heights, so much so that Hashem was calling him in order to speak with him, he nonetheless remained humble, as he did not attribute any of his greatness to his own personal strengths.

There is a commonly asked question regarding the word וַיִּקְרָא in this parshah: Why is it spelled with a small alef?

The word Vayikra begins the sefer that deals with sacrificial offerings. The main purpose of bringing sacrifices is to bring atonement to a person who sinned. But that is only accomplished if the person regrets his previous misdeeds and repents wholeheartedly for what he has done.

The mussar masters have taught us that the trait of haughtiness lies at the root of all sin. A humble and subdued person does not sin easily, but one whose heart is filled with pride and arrogance pays little heed to rebuke, so he will inevitably succumb to sin.

The letter alef stands for the word ani - I. "Vayikra" is spelled here with a small alef to teach us that if we make our ani small - if we make ourselves small and act with humility - then we will avoid sins and we will have no need to bring sacrificial offerings.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Divorced, but still Married

Please forward this blog post to anyone you know who is in this situation. It could literally save their life !

There are, unfortunately, a lot of Jews out there who have divorced under the civil law, but not according to Jewish law - that is, with the husband writing out a  gett [Jewish bill of divorce] for his wife.  Actually, he doesn't write it, the rabbi does, but he has to hand the document to her.  The original ketubah [marriage certificate] is then torn up, and the couple are formally divorced.  If this hasn't happened... then they are still married, both according to Jewish law and according to Heaven, and all the laws of a married couple are still applicable. 

Jews who divorce without a gett cause themselves a multitude of problems: not the least of which can be a rapid descent into poverty for them both or singly, or even severe illness. This is because they are still married under Heaven's eyes, and their living arrangements as "divorcees" are not in accordance with their halachically "married" status.  Every day they continue in this manner, they are bringing more and more judgments upon themselves.

The following is written by Rabbi J. Forsythe (c) 2002

When a Jewish married couple decides that they are no longer able to live together as husband and wife, Jewish law requires that they separate from each other promptly and, in a reasonable period of time, terminate the marriage with a document of divorce, called in Hebrew, a "get." This applies whenever a Jewish man and Jewish woman have entered into marriage with each other.

Some people do not realize that their marriage remains fully intact as long as there is no get. A get is mandatory and inescapable to end a Jewish marriage. The Torah makes very clear that once a Jewish marriage has been created, only a kosher get, executed by a kosher bais din [Torah court], can undo it. The Torah refers to the get as the husband giving a "document of cutting off." The choice of words teaches 1. that the marriage is not at all terminated until this document is given by the man to the woman as the conclusion of the divorce procedure and 2. by the Torah's not using the literal name of the document ["get"], we should strive to refrain from ending a marriage [i.e. avoid coming to a get, just as the Torah avoids saying the word "get"] and we should consider it painfully sad when a marriage has to die and divorce has to come.

This is something which is not affected at all by a person's religious affiliation, philosophy, observance-level or marital-strife level. A civil divorce or agreement to be unmarried is not enough. Without a kosher get, executed by an authorized bais din, there has been no removal at all of the marriage status.

If a woman is separated from her husband, or has a secularly legal divorce, she might MISTAKENLY consider herself free to have a relationship with a man other than the husband with whom she had a Jewish marriage. However, THIS WOMAN IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER WOMAN MARRIED UNDER JEWISH LAW and her involvement on any level with any other man is adulterous. She may not be alone with another man, may not have physical contact with him, may not be without her body covered thoroughly by modest clothing or without her hair covered when in his presence, and she certainly may NOT have any intimate relations. A child born from such a union is a "momzer" which is an uncorrectable taint and distortion (on the soul of the child born from this union), which will be continued and passed on in all offspring through all generations. A "momzer" may not marry a "regular Jew," and his or her descendants will never be able to marry a "regular Jew" till the end of time.

If you know someone whose religious commitment is not strong, or who is not religious; whose marriage is essentially over but the couple is without a get, it is crucial that you bring to bear any influence or assistance to have the couple execute a KOSHER GET FROM AN AUTHORIZED ORTHODOX BAIS DIN WHICH IS UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED BY TORAH LAW AUTHORITIES. Generations are at stake - not just the couple. A Jewish marriage is holy and is in "rumos shel olam (the heights of creation)." Its violation; no matter how antagonistic or alienated the relationship is; is serious and treasonous trampling on the sacrosanct, is punished by premature death and is, in many ways, "playing with fire."

This is just a small extract; the entire article can be found here: Shalom Bayis Issues

More information can be found at Kol-Isha

Monday, March 14, 2016

Incredible Story of Divine Providence

For more info see:  The Untold Story of an Empty Wedding Hall

The Poor Man's Offering

Art: Roxana Muchnik

And if a [poor] person brings a meal offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. He shall pour oil over it and place frankincense upon it. Vayikra 2:1

Unlike a wealthy person, who is able to give voluntary offerings in the Temple from expensive animals and birds, the poor man is only able to offer flour. Nevertheless, the Torah attributes more significance to the poor man's offering, as Rashi writes "I consider it as if he has sacrificed his very soul!"

This is because the wealthy man's offering is inevitably connected with a certain amount of self-satisfaction, at the thought of bringing one of the most expensive and impressive sacrifices. The poor man, however, could not possibly be proud of his meagre offering, so his is the most genuine offering of all, dedicated to G-d amidst feelings of humility. Thus, to him, G-d says ''It is as if he has sacrificed his very soul!"

Source: Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Journey of the Soul: from beginning to end

We all want to know where we came from and where we're going to end... This lecture covers the general idea of the journey of the soul

Rabbi Alon Anava

Parts 1, 2 and 3

Purim 2016

Just uploaded, a new shiur from Rabbi Mizrachi.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Secrets of The World

Art by Mel

The Mishkan is called the Mishkan HaEidus, the residence of testimony. The Medrash says that the Mishkan is testimony to the fact that Hashem created Heaven and Earth. 

The Sfas Emes [Rebbe Yehudah Leib Alter] explains that in this world Hashem is hidden. We cannot see Him or His greatness in every part of creation. We don't know why things were created or their connection to Hashem.

The Mishkan is the link between Shamayim and Aretz [Heaven and Earth]. Each part of the building of the Mishkan and its Keilim [vessels] represent things in this world and reflect the face of Hashem hidden behind them. 

Therefore seeing the Mishkan and understanding the purpose of it, is the greatest testimony to the fact that Hashem created a very spiritual world hidden behind seemingly mundane objects of nature.


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Misplaced Anger of Israelis

by Dr Rivkah Lambert Adler

Five terrorist attacks in one bloody day. My Facebook newsfeed is full of anger.

Demand the world take action against Palestinian terror!

Expel the Arabs!

What is wrong with our government?! We’re getting slaughtered in the streets.

Joe Biden, go back. We don’t want you here!

I get it. Really I do.

At the same time, looking at the big picture, I’m convinced that, spiritually, this anger, while understandable, is woefully misplaced.

We are in the period of Jewish history known as the End of Days. We can feel the breath of Moshiach (the Jewish redeemer) on the back of our necks. This time, immediately before our final redemption, is referred to as the Ishmaelite Exile by our Sages. It’s the last exile of the Jewish people, and it has a very specific purpose.

The Hebrew expression kochi v’otzem yadi means “my strength and the power of my hands”. It comes from the Book of Devarim (Deuteronomy 8:17).

As a nation, we’re still stuck in the illusion of kochi v’otzem yadi. We still believe that human efforts are sufficient to solve the problem of Muslim terror. As long as we think there is a diplomatic, military, economic or political solution, we have failed to learn the lesson this stage of history is trying to teach us.

We haven’t learned to turn to God.

We still believe in and rely upon our human prowess too much. So God sent us the problem of Muslim terror, exactly because the kind of terrorism that Israel suffers from is a problem we will never be able to solve on our own.

Anger at the government, anger at the Arabs, is missing the point. God is running the world. And He’s turning up the heat, so to speak, pleading with us to recognize that we need Him. To save precious lives, to prepare us for Moshiach, we need, very quickly, to come to the understanding that Ain Od Milvado – there is truly nothing besides God.

Everything we are living through is intended to increase our faith, to prepare us for the final redemption. We are being called upon to recognize that we are absolutely helpless. Only God can destroy this enemy.

We need to take reasonable security precautions on a human level. Of course we do. But we must open our eyes and understand that the most crucial task before us is a spiritual one.

We must learn to recognize the limits of our capabilities. We must learn that it is time to live our lives according to the last Mishna in Tractate Sotah which teaches, “We have no one upon whom to rely, except our Father in heaven.”

Source:  Israel NewsTalk Radio

Failed Suicide - Great Yichus

Another great lesson from Rabbi Alon Anava. He discusses topics that other rabbis don't really speak 
about.  Only Hashem decides who will die, and when.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How To Get Rid of Bad Thoughts

All day long we have unwanted thoughts in our mind. Where do they come from and how can I block them and/or get rid of them?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Date With Nibiru

It is a fact that Rav Moshe Sternbuch has said it is too early to speak about Nibiru [see video here by Rabbi Daniel Travis] and also Nir ben Artzi, when asked about Nibiru, replied that he is aware of it, but did not have any information to add, therefore he does not discuss it yet [see comments here].

I find it quite strange that if Nibiru is indeed going to show itself on or around Purim, that Rav Sternbuch would say it is too early to speak about it.  So I began to think that the proposed date of Purim, or even Pesach, would not necessarily be correct.

This comment was just posted on Nibiru: You Will Lift Up Your Eyes to the Sky and I am re-publishing it as a blog post, below, as it makes perfect sense.  The author of the text below is ''Daniel'', and the highlighted links are my own additions for clarification.  Thank you Daniel.

''Rabbi Travis the Tzadik did leave out some very important mekoros regarding "Nibiru" as the world calls it [Xena according to NASA] that explains it more fully including why the date of March 26 is completely false and will be altered soon.

It was all forecast 3,300 years ago by Bilaam the gentile prophet in Parshas Balak. דרך כוכב מיעקוב -- "When the star of Yaakov is on its pathway towards the earth" -- is that exact prediction. When the star of Yaakov is en route...then קם שבט מישראל... Mashiach Ben Yoseph will rise up.

The Ramak, Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, classically and clearly explains the Zohar on this key pasuk [Balak 212b] in such detail that he even draws a picture of how the star will look. Remember we used to play with Jacks? That's precisely what he drew. A star with several smaller bodies surrounding it with 70 rays of light streaming out of [Nibiru] connecting itself to each body surrounding the star. 
[and we can almost see this from Devash's photo here]

This display will be seen above the earth when he states that all will marvel at the following event: The rays of light will gradually [over 70 days] swallow each of the seven smaller bodies that will be absorbed into this Star [I believe this represents the seven continents]. 

The whole world will see this happen and will indeed panic but know this is from Hashem who is arranging this display because of us - Yaakov [Yisroel] since he had a family of 70 vs. the 70 nations of the world. 

I believe scientists and astrologers may attempt to explain it away as a "natural phenomena" saying it is either turning into a black hole or going supernova - but they will try to explain it away when it is anything but a "natural " occurrence. 

Immediately after this they will be overcome by Mashiach -- the True Star after the 70 days of viewing this heavenly display. 

The Ramak even gives the date: the 25th day of the six month כה׳ אלול  [Elul 25 -  since that was the date of creation, so HASHEM will begin this display just prior to a briah chadasha - new creation coming.''

Friday, March 4, 2016

Grandfather's Demand in a Dream

After a retired Mohel declined to perform the bris, the boy's late grandfather appeared in a dream and gave a chilling motivator.

A full crowd filled the main hall of Chabad's Jewish Russian Community Center of Montreal to participate in the bris milah ceremony for the son of Lubavitcher couple R' Simi and Chana Wenger.

The celebration on Sunday was especially joyous, in addition to being held in the month of Adar, in a year of Hakhel gathering and the fact that a new child would be entering the covenant of Avraham Avinu.

Unlike most bris milahs, this child was older than 8 days old. In fact, the boy was 2 months old, having been hospitalized since his birth on the 7th of Teves 5776. He has been connected to machines and receiving close medical attention due to health complications.

"Can you write to say Tehillim for my baby," the father asked to post a public Tehillim request on Rosh Chodesh Adar I. The name given for prayers was simply tinok ben Esther Chana (child son of Esther Chana, the mother).

On Friday, Simi Wenger already had good news to share. "Baruch Hashem, our baby came home Wednesday night," he updated COLlive.

"We wanted to thank everyone who said Tehillim and had the baby in mind," he wrote. "He went from being on a ventilator and fully sedated to being home 2 weeks later. We should all hear only good news."

Following the circumcision, the child was finally given his own name: Ori Yosef Wenger. He was named after his great-grandfather, Rabbi Ori Shonthal OBM, the long-time Director of Ecole Primaire Beth Rivkah, a Lubavitch girls school in France.

If that wasn't enough of a cause for celebration and joy, then came a chilling speech at the festive Seudas Mitzvah meal that followed. The speaker was Rabbi Pesach Sperlin, Director of Mesivta Ateres Menachem of Montreal and Shliach of Chabad Montreal West center, who performed the bris.

Rabbi Sperlin candidly told the crowd that when Simi Wenger first approached him to do the bris, he immediately declined. "I stopped doing brisim to focus on the Mesivta and the Chabad House," he said. "If I make an exception now, it will be difficult for me to refuse others in the future."

So what made him agree to perform the bris, after all?

Rabbi Sperlin said that a few nights later he had a dream about the child's late grandfather, Rabbi Eliezer Wenger, the noted teacher, author, and publisher of works on halacha, who passed away on 22 Adar 5770.

"Rabbi Wenger, olov hashalom, was visibly very happy and asked me to wish him a Mazal Tov. I asked him what is the occasion and he replied that Simi had a son. So I wished him a Mazal Tov," Sperlin told.

He continued, "Rabbi Wenger then asked him to do the bris. To show me that it was not just a dream, he told me to look in the middle drawer of my desk."

When Rabbi Sperlin woke, he rushed over to the desk in his home and rummaged around a little. To his astonishment, he found a photo of himself standing alongside Rabbi Wenger and reciting the Birchas Kohanim at the Chuppah of Simi and Chana Wenger, the child's parents.

Agreeing to do the bris was not a question any more...

Source and more photos at: COLLive

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Past Life Sins

Art: K. Madison-Moore

In his commentary on the Book of Yonah, the Vilna Gaon writes 

“The main thing [to keep in mind is that the purpose of reincarnation] is to effect the repair of a [negative] influence originating in a previous lifetime... [One way] to discern exactly what that negative influence is is to reflect upon the type of wrong your soul yearns after the most in this lifetime. That which you yearn after most is likely something you became habituated to in a previous life. And therefore pay attention to your vices. [They tell you exactly what you have to work on in this lifetime.] ...The main thing is to repair that which one stumbled in in a previous [life] ... How can one know what one stumbled in during a previous life? ... [Pay attention] to that particular sin one’s soul longs for greatly (for it was emblazened into the soul as a habit in the previous life). That’s why some people are drawn after one type of sin more than another. And that’s also why our Sages say that one must continually judge himself and weigh his actions..."

Note the subtle difference here between culpability and character improvement [tikkun]. Consider yourself not responsible for any sins you may or may not have done in a previous life, if you even had one (and/or know about it). Nevertheless, since in principle, at least, a previous life may be impacting on your present life circumstance, pay attention to your vices. Rather than limiting your free will, this information can, in theory, help it. For instance, you may feel you have no chance to overcome your lust for cheeseburgers. You may tell yourself you were born with this lust. It’s genetic. You feel you have no free will to oppose it. Every time you pass a McDonald’s you have to go in there and order a Big Mac.

However, if you take the Vilna Gaon’s teaching to heart, you may then come to realize that, although you are not now responsible for the sin of eating cheeseburgers in a previous life, you have this great lust as an opportunity for tikkun. Had it been just a regular lust for cheeseburgers your overcoming it may not be metaken (fix) the original weakness emblazoned into your soul. You don’t want this weakness when you are given your place in Eternity. So you were sent back here for the opportunity of eliminating the weakness; indeed, turning it into a strength. Overcoming this extra-powerful lust in this world turns your soul into a “body-builder’s” soul; perhaps even a “Mr. Universe” soul. It’s now stronger than it ever was. In any event, the point is that knowledge or even intuition about a past life can be a powerful aid to free will in this life.

Granted, it can theoretically create the opposite effect. A person may think, for example: What the heck; I’ll get it right in the next life. Or: If I didn’t get it right in the past what’s the point in trying in this life etc. The latter fear is the reason I believe the doctrine was restricted to Kabbalah, which ideally is reserved for select individuals of a higher spiritual standing to begin with.

Source: Jewish Soul Searching [unfortunately that site no longer exists]

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Art Erik Johansson
It happened in a far-off country that there was a Tzaddik who used to shut himself up in his house in total seclusion. He spoke to no-one but just sat, wrapped in his tallis and tefillin all day, completely separated from the outside world. He sat and learned Torah in this manner day and night. One day, he heard about the illustrious Rebbe, the holy Rebbe Elimelech of Lizhensk, of his miraculous wonders and his amazing powers of ruach hakodesh, and he set out to see the Rebbe.

When he was about to enter the Rebbe's beis midrash, Rebbe Elimelech, who already knew with his ruach hakodesh of the visitor, came out to greet him. He welcomed the traveller and said to him "Im yesaser ish b'mistarim v'lo arenu ne'um Hashem" - "Shall a man hide and think that I do not see him? says G-d".

The Rebbe was implying that "if a man shall hide himself, I shall not look upon him" says Hashem. The Tzaddik understood that the Rebbe had rebuked him for going into seclusion and he wondered how the Rebbe could have known this about him. Amazed and inspired, the traveller became one of Rebbe Elimelech's greatest students and followers.

Source: Mipeninei Noam Elimelech translated by Tal Moshe Zwecker