Monday, May 30, 2016

The Times of Mashiach – What Is Going On in the World Today?

All about what is happening now:  Obama, Trump, Hillary, the state of the world and why now.
A new shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin - available to download as an MP3 file: click here

Fraudulently Obtained Wealth

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita 

It is written, “As the partridge broods over eggs that she did not lay, so is one who amasses wealth unjustly. In the midst of his days it will leave him, and at his end he will be considered a fool” [Jeremiah 17:11]

The Midrash states that the partridge takes the eggs of other birds and sits on them until they hatch. When the chicks hatch, they soon realize they are not of the same species and desert the partridge. Why does the partridge deserve this? Because it covered eggs that did not belong to it!

The Reshith Chochma writes in chapter Massa UMattan BaEmuna that a person who cannot be trusted in business will not rejoice in his lot. He who pursues wealth and struggles to acquire money dishonestly brings evil upon the world, as well as a tremendous amount of harm upon his body and possessions, as it is written: “One who is impatient to get rich will not go unpunished” [Mishlei 28:20]. A curse will suddenly come upon his possessions, and all his money will disappear. He will depend on others, and of him it is said: “As the partridge broods over eggs that she did not lay.” How much better and enjoyable is the little that is acquired honestly and justly, than the much that is acquired dishonestly!

In Kuntras Middot UMishkalot and Shem Olam, the Chafetz Chaim states that a person must realize that the wealth he amasses dishonestly and by fraudulent means will leave him in the midst of his days. In other words, either his wealth will be abandoned by him in the midst of his days, or he will be abandoned by his wealth in the midst of his days. This means that either a person’s money will pass away or the person himself will pass away. Sometimes this occurs through illness and tragedy (G-d forbid), and such a person will experience more pain than the joy he felt in accumulating his wealth. In fact when wealth does not originate from Hashem’s blessing, such as when it occurs because a person transgressed Hashem’s will, he will experience misfortune at the same time as his wealth, and the more his wealth accumulates, the more his misfortunes will increase. This can occur, for example, through illness, concerns over children, by being attacked or robbed, and by all other hardships that people experience. The result will be that such a person will derive no satisfaction from his wealth.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Unperturbed by the Challenges

The status of the Jewish people in exile is compared to that of being sold into slavery to non-Jewish masters [see Esther 7:4].  In such a difficult situation a Jew may argue: ''How can I possibly keep all the mitzvot when I have to live in a predominantly non-Jewish world?''

Nevertheless, just like the Jewish slave is required to keep all the mitzvot even in the house of his non-Jewish master, likewise, the Jewish people have been given the strength from G-d not to be perturbed by the challenges of the non-Jewish world, and to observe all of the mitzvot with pride.

Source: Lubavitcher Rebbe: Sichas Shabbos Parshas Behar  5725

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Lag B' Omer Round-Up

In honour of Lag b'' Omer, here are some videos and links, and all about coloured eggs.... 

Rabbi Alon Anava - Celebrating the Hilula of Rav Shimon Bar Yochai

A Lag B''Omer tish  - with Rav Dov Pinson in Flatbush last year.  [Tish means ''table'', fahbrengen means ''get together'']

What is the Chabad custom regarding eating browned eggs on Lag BaOmer? 

by Rabbi Levi Garelik -  an halachic authority in Brooklyn and Brussels who is also Dean of TheOnlineRabbi

1. In Sefer Haminhogim [page 43] it says that the Mitteler Rebbe would eat hard-boiled eggs on Lag Ba'omer. 

2. In "Lubavitch Vechayoleho" it says that the Rebbe Rashab would eat hard-boiled eggs on Lag Ba''omer, as well. 

3. In "Otzar Minhogei Chabad" it is written that "it is told" that the Rebbe would eat hard-boiled eggs on Lag BaOmer and that their shells were colored brown during the cooking process. However, he does not write any source. 

When I was a student in the Yeshiva, I had "heard" something about this but was never able to get to the bottom of this. [In those days no one spoke about customs in the Rebbe's home…]  However, when I merited to get married to the daughter of one of the Rebbe's secretaries, Rabbi Binyomin Klein, I was told that a year earlier, on Lag Ba''Omer, my father-in-law called home and told my wife and her sister to quickly prepare "the colored eggs for Lag Ba''Omer."   They had no clue what he was talking about and how do you "color" an egg?  

So they called "Bubby Shusterman" [the wife of the Rebbe's "Baal Koreh" whose yahrzeit is in these days] who was a source of information. She explained that on Lag Ba''Omer it is customary to eat eggs that are colored, and that is done by boiling the eggs, and during the boiling process you insert in the water the shells of onions and this turns the eggs to the color brown.   

Basically, the eggs are colored because that symbolizes transforming [or "coloring"] darkness  - as eggs are a sign of mourning - to light. May we merit to celebrate this Lag Ba''omer, together with Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai!   

What's the reason or meaning of this minhag?   It's for the students/ talmidim of Rabbi Akiva and the eggs end up a kind of bloody color.   We do this davka on Lag BaOmer because it's the Hilulah [Yahrzeit] of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai [the Rashbi], who emphasized that the day of his death should be a day of simcha. 

Another reason for colored eggs is that eggs are for aveilus [mourning], and we ought to mourn the passing of the Rashbi, but because the Rashbi wanted the day to be joyous, we color the eggs. we were told as kids coloured eggs are to remember that no [coloured] rainbow occurred during the life of Rashbi. 

Mrs. Yehudis Groner told us last night that a good way to do this is with red onions!!! That is what the Rebbitzen ob''m used to do  for the Rebbe.....

Also see Moshiach's Rainbow and Lag B''Omer and An Inward Focus

דרך כוכב מיעקב אל תירא עבדי יעקב

And now, apparently, the sun is tilting.  That link takes you to the latest Steve Olson video, where he is talking about the apparent tilt of the sun, just as we are aware that the moon has already tilted, and the sun is now setting a few degrees further north-west, or south-west for me, than it should be for this time of year.    Steve  states that ''they'' are using technology to make the sun appear a certain way, but whoever ''they'' are in his mind, we all know that whatever is happening in the Heavens is being controlled by Hashem.

I have read on another blog some comments from readers who are terrified of Nibiru [the Kochav Yaakov] and its possible effects on earth.   We should not be scared, none of you should be worrying about any of the dreadful scenarios being bandied about.  Every motzei Shabbat, Jews around the globe sing zmirot, one of which is Amar Hashem LeÝaakov also known as ''Al  Tira Avdi Yaakov'' , and you can clearly see the words:  

דרך כוכב מיעקב אל תירא עבדי יעקב

''A star will emerge from Yaakov   Fear not, My servant Yaakov''

God said to Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
God chose Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
A star will emerge from Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
In Days to come Yaakov will strike roots / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
A ruler will arise from Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Remember these things for Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Delight will come with the salvations of Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Your tents are good Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
They shall teach your ordinances to Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
For there is no sorcery in Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
He perceives no wrong in Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Who can count the dust of Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
God made a vow to Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Please forgive the transgression of Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Bring back Yaakov from captivity now / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
God has redeemed Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Command salvation for Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
The voice is the voice of Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Sing and be joyous for Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
God has brought back Yaakov from captivity / Fear not, My servant Yaakov
Grant truth to Yaakov / Fear not, My servant Yaakov

And here is the video of it performed by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, if you have time to listen on Lag B'' Omer which begins tonight my time.  

Miracle Needed: Can YOU help ?

This blog reaches thousands of people around the world and so I am publishing this heartfelt plea from a reader who is begging someone to be the conduit for a miracle to ease her suffering.  Please read her story below and if you, or anyone you know, can help her, either forward the blog post to the relevant person or leave a comment below.   Iyar is the month of healing, with Hashem's Will, may it be so.

And everyone, please add the name CHAYA SHAINA CHANA BAS ITCHA to your prayer list, for a Refuah Shleimah immediately, and have her name added to all your Tehillim groups, and if possible, add it to the list of Misheberachs in your shule.  If you bake challah, add her name to your prayer list, give tzedaka in her name, do a good deed in her name, you can do something.   I want to storm the Heavens to get her a complete and immediate relief.  Thank you.

Autoimmune Cranial Neuritis caused by Big Pharma Antibiotics .....

I beg with tears for help please help Me! I need a decree to restore my health!! Please help me!! Rav Amram Vaknin, Rav Chaim Kanievsky , Rav Meir Shechter , Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz .... Please help me get to them!! Please I need to get help from a great Tzadik please!!!

I cannot feel my entire mouth throat or neck and burn on fire non stop causing paralysis! Please help me! Here is my story!!

I have an autoimmune disease set off by Keflex 29 years ago and biaxin for a tooth infection in February 2015 that threw me under the bus!

My body is attacking my trigememinal and glossopharngeal nerves (cranial nerves) vagus too, neck into my spine in neck down back! My entire mouth throat palate tongue sinuses cheeks occipital (I can feel the swelling of all the nerves in brain and brainstem! I have atrophy in my face from the nerves inside my mouth and swelling near my ears and atrophy with my ears as well! Please help me stop the auto-antibodies from attacking my central nervous system (cranial nerves and spine)! 

I need a miracle now please HaShem!! I cannot do this anymore! I'm suffering so much!! Help me now! Answer me now and send me my messenger now and do not forsake me please! I beg with tears for your help! I need to live!! Too much to do!! I want to save lives and help everyone!! Help me please!! Save me now and send my miracle of health completely now!!! Send Moshiach for the entire living world now please!! Peace and health for all life on earth!!

Chaya Shaina Chana bas Itcha

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Introduction to Tikun haMidot Part 2

Part 2 of Rabbi Alon Anava's Tikun HaMidot

[Refinement of Character] From a Kabbalistic point of view, this “refinement of character” called Tikkun HaMiddot is very much part and parcel of the Divine purpose in creation. Even small improvements are vastly appreciated by G‑d. Every individual “refinement” or “correction” contributes to the general “World Refinement” [Tikkun Olam] which will be precipitated when Mashiach will come.

At 21:00 on the video he explains why it is bad to hold your hands in a certain way, with the fingers interlocking the hands together.  I blogged this many years ago, but never had the full explanation of why.  Now I do!

Part 1 can be found here

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Secret to Success - Kill Your Ego


Art: Pat Harrison

One of the reasons for the Sabbatical year is to allow the land to rest for a year, to enhance its fertility [Guide for the Perplexed 3:3]  From this it follows that after six consecutive years of intensive agriculture, the land is at its least fertile point in the seven year cycle.  So the Torah's promise that the land ''will yield produce (sufficient) for three years'' in the naturally infertile sixth year, is totally irrational, and requires a person to accept an authority which is higher than his mortal understanding.

The Talmud [Sanhedrin 97a] compares the six agricultural years to the six millenia of this world, and the Sabbatical year to the seventh millenium [when the Geula will have arrived].  

Since the Jewish people suffer from a gradual regression in spiritual stature as the generations pass, a person might ask ''How could the efforts of the spiritually weak and ''infertile'' sixth millenium bring the true and complete redemption?''

The Torah answers:  It is the super-rational self-sacrifice and commitment to Judaism of the final generations of exile that will bring the blessings of the Redemption.

Source: Lubavitcher Rebbe Likutei Sichos vol 27 pp 189-190

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Self Reflections

"No man among you may mislead his fellowman, and you shall fear your G-d" [Behar 25:17]

According to the simple meaning of the verse, remarked R' Simchah Bunim of P'shischa, the Torah is only prohibiting an individual from deceiving his fellowman.  An individual of true piety, however, will go beyond the letter of the law and refrain from deceiving himself as well.

Friday, May 20, 2016

About Moshiach and Geula

I published this in 2011, and thought it worthy of re-publishing now.  

Author: SG

1. If the Geula and Moshiach are here, why is everything getting worse?

Moshiach is not synonymous with the Geula; rather, Moshiach brings the Geula to completion.

Moshiach is here, but the full Geula is not here; because there are many stages to the Geula. It is a process that develops over time.

The temporary bad is for the ultimate, eternal good.

The Geula process started in 1991, when we entered the stage of Yomos HaMoshiach [the days of Moshiach].

The stage we are in now is still a hidden stage, which contributes to still having free-choice. 
Free-choice increases, as the darkness gets greater.
Things happening now are counter-intuitive.

One would think that things should get progressively better as we get closer to the Geula, and then Moshiach and Hashem are revealed. But that is not how the Geula comes.... Just the opposite occurs; things get progressively worse... [although some things do get better].

“There are no atheists in a foxhole.”   When things are good, human nature is to forget about G-d; but when the chips are down, people then scream out to G-d, to help them.

Also, the soul has many levels: Pressure squeezes out the deeper levels, allowing us to access them.

G-d wants things to happen in a natural manner, seemingly happening by themselves.... although gigantic miracles will take place along the way - the greatest miracles that mankind has ever seen.

2. Why do things get worse?

Because the level of Hashem that is being revealed now in the world, was never able to be revealed before. It is totally different to anything that has happened in the past. 

This is the level of Etzem, that totally transcends all other levels of revelation in the past; including all the miracles and revelations to Tzadikim and the prophets.

Etzem - by definition - is hidden. But as it, and we, sink lower into the creation, Etzem then openly comes into revelation.

Etzem is not found in the upper spiritual worlds, where angels and Gan Eden are found; because only a ray of G-d is revealed there. But specfically in this physical world, is the Etzem of G-d to be found and revealed.

This is why, at the time of Techias Hamasim [revival of the dead] both the body and soul will become alive. Since the body's source is higher than the soul.

Also, the Lubavitcher Rebbe quoted the Yilkat Shmonei Midrash many times; but the Yilkat says that the whole world is scared, and Moshiach comes but does not stop the war  -  he just says, don’t be scared!

None of the sources that talk about the Geula [including the Gemorrah] say that good things happen. But the Rebbe said that we should realize that the negative occurrences are a positive sign of the imminent Geula.

3. What are the stages of Geula?

First there is Galus, then Yomos HaMoshiach [the end stage, being the open Geula], then Techias Hamasim, with each stage having many ascending levels.

Galus: the period before 1991.
This period is compared to the time of pregnancy:  A pregnant woman carries on with her life as before; but inside, on a hidden level, the baby is continually growing. The baby is compared to Moshiach; and the woman’s body is compared to the creation.

A pregnant woman’s body continually changes, in preparation for the birth; so too, the world has been continually changing [being refined] in order to get ready for the birth- the revelation of Moshiach; who then brings the Geula.

4. What is Geula [redemption]?

Geula comes from the word Gelui – to reveal.

Geula is considered as Labor: the process through which the baby is born [revealed].
The baby [Moshiach] is now fully grown [only hidden]; labor’s purpose is to push the baby out - birth.

The end goal, [after Techias Hamasim] is when the highest level of Hashem, called Etzem, is revealed permanently, in the entire creation.

There are many stages in between.
Moshiach will be openly guiding world events.

Moshiach's greatness and wisdom at this time will be even greater than in the time of King Solomon. King Solomon’s wisdom was respected worldwide, and many leaders and people came to learn from his greatness and knowledge.

The Jews, through the Torah, will be followed worldwide; when the Creator – G-d - reveals Himself worldwide; and all people will realize that He runs the world..... And that the way to survive and exist, is to follow His will, as revealed in the Torah, and Jewish Halacha [ways of conduct].  

Jews will then only be occupied with growing closer to G-d; through understanding the deeper levels of Torah that will be revealed at that time.

There will no longer be competition between people for: power, money, honor, etc. It will be a time of eternal peace and no war.

Physicality will directly connect to its source, so food and other things will be plentiful.

[In our current existence, the flow of life from G-d to the world has to first pass though many filters in order to come down into the world, but in the future, these filters will be removed, and everything will grow exponentially faster and larger in size.  So there will be no need for war, since everyone will have everything that they need.]

All levels of the creation will be elevated:

Inanimate and plant life will begin to communicate with humans.

All animals will become herbivorous (eat only plants) i.e. "the wolf will lie with the lamb” - not because the wolf will control his instinct to eat the lamb, but rather, his instincts will be transformed, and he will not want meat anymore.  

Mankind will all serve G-d together.

5.  What is Etzem?

Etzem is a level of G-d that is the source of everything, therefore, it includes everything. Here, there are no contradictions, or paradoxes, everything is unified.

Since Etzem is the source of everything, it is higher than all things, and can therefore unite them.  

Etzem unites two paradoxes, two opposites: the body and the soul, the physical and spiritual worlds, finite and infinite, etc.

Previously only Geluim were revealed into the world, but now Etzem is being revealed.  Geluim are things that we can relate to, as limited human beings: miracles, the Shechina, holiness, etc.

The problem is, in order for us to be able to handle these revelations, they had to be brought down to our level; otherwise, the creation would not be able to contain these revelations and they would disappear.  [This happened at Mount Sinai: when the Jews heard the first two commandments directly from G-d, their souls flew out of their bodies.The next eight commandments had to be told to them through Moshe, who could handle these great revelations.  So too now, regarding Moshiach.]

But now, after thousands of years of refinement, the world is now ready to receive the greatest revelation of all - Etzem.

6. What is the delay?

Period of refinement.
The initial refinement is over, this was needed to bring the Geula; but now there is a different refinement/ preparation needed, to reveal the highest level of Hashem totally into the world: Etzem.

Moshiach has to come willingly, not by force.
Kings in the past were more like dictators - their every desire, and whim, had to be fulfilled.
But Moshiach is the polar opposite, he is a public servant. He has no other desires than to do G-d’s will, in order to guide all mankind to fulfillment.

Everyone on the planet now, has to be able to understand this, with their physical intellect, and then to want this to occur, realizing that this will be the best thing for all mankind. [The world will have changed enough in the meantime for this to occur.]

7. Why did the Lubavitcher Rebbe say that the Geula is here, and we just have to open our eyes? Also, that all the Avodah [G-dly service] needed to bring the Geula, has been done?

Even though the process of Geula has started, we still have to view world events in the light of Moshiach - “to open our eyes” - since the Geula is still hidden from our eyes.

The Avodah needed to bring the Geula has been done, but now we have to reveal this hidden light into the open.

8. What should I do to bring the Geula faster?

1. Chitas - learn selected portions of the day in: Chumash [Moshe], Tanya [Alter Rebbe], and Tehillim [King David].  Not in order to learn, but rather, in order to bring the Geula. 

2. Learn Rambam: one or three chapters a day. This is the summation of Halacha [Jewish law- G-ds will]. By finishing the total fourteen volumes, we then have brought G-d’s Will into the world.

4. Learn Chassidus 

5. Learn Torah - and do Hiddur Mitzvahs [do Mitzvahs in the most exceptional manner possible in an expansive, beautiful manner; and be exacting, and have Kavana [doing them with the brain and heart - understanding and feeling].

6. All non-Jews should learn about the “Seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach .” And do them because this is as G-d commanded Moses at Mount Sinai.

7. Live a Moshiach life.

8. Give a lot of charity.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Halos and Seasonal Anomalies

It was so hot the other day that when evening came around, the cicadas started singing.  This would not be surprising, except for the fact that here in Australia it is the autumn season, and cicadas normally do not sing at this time of year, as it is too cold.  Flowers that normally do not blossom in the winter are also confused and are growing nicely.  We all think it's summer, and obviously the plants and animals do too.

I mention this because I just watched Steve Olson's latest video, where he mentions this phenomenon worldwide.  You can safely watch the entire video except for the last 10 secs where he mentions JC. 

The video also begins with a photo of the halo around the sun [@0.25secs]....   It reminds me very much of the photo I blogged of the moon on Pesach [photo below]: the same colours around the clouds.  The moon is reflecting this giant halo around the sun..  The colours are from the various planets/bodies that are now being found near the sun.   If you're skeptical, I can promise you that the photos are not photo-shopped, I saw it with my own eyes,  and I urge you all to take a look at the moon regularly, especially now that it is getting to be full again, and you may also see this phenomenon.

Photo: Ross Thompson

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Retroactive Merits

''And the son of the Israelite woman pronounced the [Divine] Name and cursed. So they brought him to Moses. His mother's name was Shelomit the daughter of Dibri, of the tribe of Dan.'' [Emor 24:11]

Why does the Torah ''praise the Jewish people'' at the expense of incriminating Shelomit? [see Rashi]

This could be compared to the principle that if a person does a profound teshuvah, his ''transgressions become for him like merits'' [Yoma 86b].  For since the person's sins made him feel distant from G-d, they were ultimately the inspiration for his return.  Thus, retroactively, we perceive them as merits.

So too in the case of Shelomit: when her example inspires other women to behave modestly, her transgression will be rendered retroactively as a merit for her.  Therefore, it is publicized here.

Based on Likutei Sichos Vol 37 - Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Blue Skies and The Sun

We are having amazing weather right now.  It's the hottest autumn ever in Sydney, and we are loving the blue skies and sunshine.

Sod1820 has an article about the sun before Moshiach - I used Google translate and could establish that it was talking about the study of kabbalah being the ''screen'' necessary to shield yourself from the sun.  This blog is full of kabbalah and chassidus [which is kabbalah brought down to the level of the people].  Click on the labels at the end of this post to access a wealth of knowledge.

 “The day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and the evildoers will be like straw and Hashem will burn them up and totally consume them. But a sun of righteousness and healing will shine for those who fear my name, with healing in its rays…” [Malachi 3:19-20]

The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. [Isaiah 30:26]

See Daf Yomi Review for more on this.

''Pleasure Gardens'' Vaucluse House Sydney

Ahavat Yisroel Will Bring Moshiach

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Reward

Art: Boris Dubrov

''And you shall take for yourselves on the first day, the fruit of the hadar tree...'' [Emor 23:40]

The Vilna Gaon had a great love for the mitzvah of the four species.  Year after year, Vilna's vendors streamed to the Gaon's house with choice etrogim, and he would select the one he thought was the nicest.

One year, a vendor showed the Gaon an exquisite etrog.   The Gaon was very impressed and was willing to pay its full price.

''I do not wish to sell the etrog for money''  responded the vendor.  ''Rather, I desire the reward that you will garner for performing the mitzvah of the four species.''

''I readily agree'' said the Gaon.  ''I will take the etrog, and you will receive my reward.''

All those who visited the Gaon that Sukkot saw him savoring his beautiful etrog to a far greater degree than in previous years.

To calm their curiousity, the Gaon explained: '''Throughout my entire life, I have yearned to fulfill the words of our Sages [Pirkei Avot 1:3] ''Be like servants who serve their master, not for the sake of receiving a reward.''  A person must not serve Hashem simply in order to receive a reward.  This is extremely difficult, however, as we are constantly aware that we will receive a reward each time we perform a mitzvah,  But this year I was given the opportunity to perform a mitzvah with the knowledge that I would not be receiving any reward for doing so!''

''I am so fortunate to have merited such an opportunity.  This is why you find me so overjoyed.''

Source: Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Forbidden Marriage of the Kohen

"They may not marry....." [Emor 21:7]

Letter from the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l

By the Grace of G-d
19th of Sivan 5717
Brooklyn N.Y.

Greeting and Blessing

This is in reply to your letter in which you write about the case of the Kohen who is contemplating marrying a divorcee. I am surprised that there should be any doubt on the part of any Jew about the strict prohibition of such a marriage, inasmuch as it is emphatically prohibited, both in the Written Law as well as in the Oral Law. So strict is the prohibition, that a kohen who violates this law desecrates his sacred calling, which is his heritage of countless generations.

The point I do wish to emphasize here is that in all matters of matrimony, the happiness of two partners is involved, and if there is any issue, the happiness of children and future generations is at stake. Obviously a marriage which has been prohibited by the Creator and Master of the Universe is one that cannot possibly be a happy one, and is certain to be harmful to both parties concerned.

In other words, if the said kohen has any feelings for the divorcee in question, he should realise that his marrying her would expose her to untold harm, not only in the afterlife and in a spiritual sense, but also in this life, and even in a physical and material sense. The fact that this may be beyond one's comprehension is immaterial, for it is certain that the Creator of the world knows best what is good for His creatures, and since He has so strictly prohibited such a marriage, there can be no doubt that it is harmful. Therefore, even on humanitarian grounds, the said kohen, if he has any feeling for the said divorcee, should give up the idea and avoid causing himself and her irreparable damage, physically and spiritually.

I trust that you will find the suitable words to explain the seriousness of the matter to the person in question, which no words can really overemphasize.

With blessing.....

Also see: Kohanim and Forbidden Marriages

Friday, May 13, 2016

Introduction to Tikun Hamidot

Introduction to Tikun Hamidot [Refinement of character] - By Rabbi Alon Anava

From a Kabbalistic point of view, this “refinement of character” called Tikkun HaMiddot is very much part and parcel of the Divine purpose in creation. Even small improvements are vastly appreciated by G‑d. Every individual “refinement” or “correction” contributes to the general “World Refinement” [Tikkun Olam] which will be precipitated when Mashiach will come.

Part 2 can be found here.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Fifth Year

Arbol de higo (fig tree) by  Ivette Guzmán-Zavala

"In the fifth year, you may eat its fruit" [Kedoshim 19:25]

While the fruits of a tree's fourth year are holy, and may be eaten only in Jerusalem, the fruits of the fifth year may be eaten anywhere.

According to Chassidic thought, the fruits of the fifth year actually correspond to a greater degree of spirituality than those of the fourth year. This is because the ultimate expression of spirituality is not that which must remain confined to a certain holy place (such as Jerusalem). Rather, the greatest holiness is that which permeates the mundane fabric of everyday life, so that even the lowest parts of this physical world are devoted to the "praise of G-d".

Based on Likutei Sichos, Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Way of Truth

Art Michoel Muchnik

''You should sanctify yourselves [by separating from idolatry] and be holy'' [Kedoshim 20:7]

To receive sustenance from the forces of holiness, it is essential for a person to strive to be in a state of submission to a Higher Authority.  Those unwilling to make this effort follow the path of idol worship, which does not require any compromise of the ego.  In this vein, the verse testifies that ''we ate in Egypt for free''. [Bamidbar 11:5]

A further reason why individuals choose to receive their sustenance by means of idol worship, is because the short-term benefits are greater.  This is because the sustenance of the forces of evil is rooted in the transcendent realm of Godliness beyond reason and logic, so energies are bestowed even without the appropriate effort.  

Nevertheless, despite a] the difficulty of obtaining sustenance from the side of holiness, and b] the reduced immediate reward, the Jewish people still opt for a life of Torah and mitzvot since it is the way of truth, and lasts forever.

Source: Biurei HaZohar, Tzemach Tzedek, Sefer HaMa'amorim 5660

Monday, May 9, 2016

Nibiru's Orbit

Here is an interesting video, showing Nibiru [the winged planet] and its orbit, along with all the other planets and comets.

He also states in the video [at 5.00] that he expects Nibiru to ''arrive'' August/September 2016.  This ties in with the date given to us by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero [the 25th day of the sixth month - Elul] which you can read again here.

I am not making any predictions here, just offering the information for those who are interested. Note: there is no Xtian stuff on this video.

If you're interested, he has a lot of other interesting Nibiru videos on his YouTube page.

The Route to Holiness

Digital Photo by David Pasillas

''You shall be holy'' [Kedoshim 19:2]

There is a principle in Chassidic thought that ''the higher something is, the lower it falls''.

For this reason, a person reaches the highest levels of spiritual greatness, not through intellectual endeavours alone, but by involving himself in the physical world, observing the mitzvot and helping others to do likewise.

Thus, at the literal level, one actually fulfills the command ''You shall be holy'' by refraining from the lowest and most debased acts [i.e. forbidden relations - see Rashi v.2].  For the route towards the highest degree of holiness, becoming holy like G-d [''You shall be holy, because I, your G-d, am holy''] is through refraining from the lowest of acts, because ''the higher something is, the lower it falls''.

This also explains why, at the minchah prayer on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year - before beginning the Ne'ilah prayer, the climax of the day - the Torah portion that is read discusses forbidden relations.  For it is through restraint from the very lowest of acts that one reaches the very highest degrees of holiness.

Source: Lubavitcher Rebbe: based on Sichas Shabbos Parshas Kedoshim 5725

Friday, May 6, 2016

Planet X Nibiru - Rabbi Yuval Ovadia [video in English]

This was originally posted in Hebrew, now translated.  HT: Andrew

Torah Codes say President Hillary

HT: Yaak

[Apparently] an orthodox yeshiva student was trying to see what the outcome of the US elections would be through the Torah codes and was looking for President Trump, but was surprised to discover the words "President Hillary".

Source: Kikar

Hillary as President would be ''a time of terrible distress'', according to Joel Gallis a''h and Dr Robert Wolf from their article written in 2009.  Read it here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Text by Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

''Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons'' [Acharei 1:1]

Why, asks Rashi, does the verse state ''Hashem spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons''? Why not simply say ''Hashem spoke to Moshe''?

To answer the question, Rashi quotes R' Elazar ben Azaryah's parable:  A sick man called for a doctor.  The doctor instructed him ''Do not eat cold food, and do not lie in a damp chilly place.''

Then a second doctor came and told the man ''Do not eat cold food, and do not lie in a damp chilly place, so that you will not die like so-and-so did.''

By alluding to somebody who died as a result of not taking these precautions, the second doctor was more successful than the first in rousing the man to take care of himself.

This is why, explains Rashi, the verse states ''after the death of Aharon's two sons''.  It was in order to give Aharon an extra measure of motivation to keep the laws enumerated in this portion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to help kids with ADD and ADHD

I have a son who used to have ADHD, so whenever I heard a rabbi speaking about this topic, I tuned in.  However, to date, not one of these rabbis has ever had anything sensible to say about it, and to my horror some have even made fun of the problem, or denied that it even exists !  Finally Rabbi Alon Anava has once again come to the rescue.  He explains the spiritual reason, according to Kabbalah, although as he points out, if you want to really understand the process you would need to spend three years in a Yeshiva - but he does give us some great insights.  This is really something to think about, and if you are one of those people who ridicules the very real problem that exists, think again.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Even Today

[This should be sub-titled ''Geula Watch 5408'' !]

by Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

''With this shall Aharon come into the Sanctuary''  [Acharei 16:3]

The Jewish nation was ravaged with brutal and horrible pogroms in the year 5408 [1648 - the year commonly referred to as ''tach'' the numerical equivalent of 408].  Jews all over the world shook the Heavens with their prayers for an imminent redemption.

''I am quite certain'' remarked the great kabbalist R' Shimshon of Ostropoli, ''that we will indeed be redeemed this year, for the verse states: ''With this [b'zos] shall Aharon come into the Sanctuary.'' The numerical value of ''b'zos is four hundred and eight: ''tach'' !

When the year had passed and the redemption had not arrived, R' Shabsai Cohen [known as the ''Shach''] sent out a proclamation which stated:  ''The verse says 'This emanated from Hashem; it is wondrous in our eyes. This is the day Hashem has made' [Tehillim 118: 23,24].  ''This [zos] emanated from Hashem'' - the year tach was destined by Hashem - ''it is wondrous in our eyes'' - to be the year that we would witness the wonderful redemption of the Jewish nation.  However, ''Today is the day Hashem has made'' - we failed to repent as hinted to by the word ''today''.  

For Chazal recount in Maseches Sanhedrin [98a] that R' Yehoshua ben Levi asked Eliyahu HaNavi ''When will Mashiach come?''  ''Today!'' replied Eliyahu.  Later, Eliyahu explained that he was referring to the verse ''Even, today, if we but heed His call''.  When we repent wholeheartedly, we will be worthy of redemption.

''In our time as well'' concluded the Shach, ''we lacked the merit of repentance, which would have enabled us to have been redeemed this past year !''

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Prohibition of Eating Blood

Why is the prohibition of eating blood so severe that it causes G-d to ''make Himself free'' from all his affairs, and deal with the guilty person?  And why does Rashi not address this obvious question?

Rashi did not need to explain why the prohibition of eating blood is so severe, because the Torah states the reason explicitly: ''Because the soul of [every creature's] body [depends on its] blood''.

Furthermore, the reader will remember that, after the Flood, G-d told Noach: ''Every moving thing that lives shall be yours to eat.  Like the green vegetation [which was all that man could eat before] I have [now] given you everything'' [Noach 9:3].  Rashi [ibid] comments:  ''I did not permit Adam, the first man, to eat meat, but only vegetation.  But, for you, like the green vegetation which I allowed Adam [before], I have [now] given you everything''.

Why did G-d forbid Adam to eat meat and then permit it to Noach?

Rashi did not explain this matter as he held it to be self-evident.  G-d forbade Adam to take the soul from a living creature merely for the sake of eating it.  But after the Flood, there was a weakening of the physical makeup of man requiring the additional nutritional value of meat, and therefore G-d permitted man to eat meat.

Nevertheless, even after G-d permitted man to eat meat, He imposed certain restrictions.  To non-Jews He prohibited eating meat which had been detached from a living animal [Noach 9:4] and to Jews he also prohibited the consumption of the animal's blood.  For while a dispensation had been granted to eat meat, it was nevertheless not absolute.  So, while it became necessary [for nutritional reasons] to allow man to eat the flesh of the animal, it remained prohibited to eat its blood, which contains the very life and soul of an animal.

Based on Sichos Shabbos Parshas Acharei 5746 - Lubavitcher Rebbe

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Why Me

"...You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood...." [Kedoshim 19:16]

The Baal Shem Tov taught that everything that a person sees is orchestrated by G-d as a specific message to him. 

This is the inner significance of Rashi's comment to verse 16: The fact that you see someone whose life is in danger proves that "you are able to save him".  For the fact that G-d allowed you to witness this event must surely be for a practical reason - namely that you, of all people, have the ability to save this person.

Likewise, if one sees a person "drowning" spiritually, it is a sign from Above that one has the ability to draw him back to the fountains of living Judaism.

[Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe]