Friday, December 30, 2016

Obama and the Evil at the End of Days

This article was first published in 2008. It seems appropriate to publish it again.  I still believe that Obama is Gog.

IDENTIFYING THE EVIL AT THE END OF DAYS - by Joel Gallis a"h and Dr. Robert Wolf

Yaakov [Jacob] called for his sons and said, האספו , gather and assemble yourselves. That is, unify and become a single nation with לב אחד , one heart, and I’ll tell you about your descendants' redemption at the end of days. When you have a לב אחד , [gematria of 45], then you will have a גאולה, a redemption, [gematria of 45] at the end of days. But there was no unity among the brothers. There still were bad feelings and finger pointing among them. They did Tshuvah with respect to their brother Yosef, but with respect to each other, they were separate tribes. And so, Yaakov could not reveal to them what would befall their descendants at the end of days. He thought that perhaps one of his sons had sinned. He then searched the names of each of his 12 sons to see if the letters ח or ט, the main letters of the word for sin, were present in any of his son’s names. He was relieved when he realized that these letters were absent from their names. He then thought that perhaps their lack of achdus was worse than he imagined. If so, their merit to learn about the future final redemption was lost. Yaakov then searched their names again to see if the letters ק and ץ from the word קץ [end] were present in any of their names. Once again these letters were absent from all 12 names.

Yaakov then realized the extent of their disunity and began to give them various brochos. Although he was not allowed to tell about events affecting the Jewish People thousands of years in the future, Yaakov had already hinted at the identity of the evil that would befall their descendants at the time of the end. He also hinted that the lack of unity that they possessed would continue until the final days. For the gematria of האספו is 152, and that is the same as the phrase עד היום הזה [until this day]. For until this very day, there still has not been achdus, or unity, among the Jewish People.

However, there was one brief period of time of a לב אחד , at Mount Sinai when the Jewish People received the Torah. This unity lasted until Moshe’s death, and because of it, Moshe was able to tell the Jewish People before he died what will occur to their descendants at the end of days. He said that the Jewish People would stray from the path of Torah, and that if they angered Hashem through the work of their hands, במעשה ידיכם  then evil would befall them, וקראת , at the end of days. The only other time this word וקראת is used in the 5 Books of Moses, is when Hagar was told that she would have a son, and she should call him וקראת , by the name Yishmael. This word, וקראת , which normally is connected to proclaiming and voicing something, is surprisingly used here to tell us that when evil befalls the Jewish People, it was proclaimed in heaven and does not happen by chance. So just what is the connection between Yishmael and the end of days? The connection is that the descendants of Yishmael are the evil that will befall the Jewish People at that time. We will anger G-d through the work of our hands, במעשה ידיכם [a gematria of 501], and the evil of the ישמעאלים [also a gematria of 501] will befall us.

So what could we have possibly done with our hands that would anger Hashem? With our very own hands, we finance and work to put the wrong people in power over us. This action results in our downfall. By putting into power leaders in Israel who don’t believe in G-d, we help bring about a spiritual collapse. And by electing dangerous leaders in America and other countries, we assist in bringing our physical and moral downfall. We vote for these people, we put them in power, and we raise money for them. This inappropriate work of our hands will bring evil upon us in the form of Yishmael.

For not only is 501 the value of במעשה ידיכם [the work of our hands], and our punishment, the ישמעאלים , but it is also connected to the next President of the United States that we are helping put in power through Jewish efforts. For 501 is also the gematria of ראש - representing the new head, or leader of America.

So who will be the new ראש of America? Our readers probably will be shocked to learn that 501 is also the gematria of ברק חוסיין אובאמה - Barack Hussein Obama. Hashem watches as countless Jews, especially in Hollywood, California, rush to send their money to Obama’s campaign chest. And so, with our own hands we are in the process of taking a descendant from Yishmael and placing him as our Rosh in the White House, just 7 years after 9/11. He is indeed the evil that will befall us at the end of days, the evil that Moses spoke to our ancestors about. But there are those who argue that Obama is youthful and energized in his appearance and his ideas. Why shouldn’t we believe him when he says the magic words that he is a friend of Israel? How do we really know he’s dangerous to us? Not only is his name the same gematria as Yishmaelim, evidencing that he is a Muslim although he denies it, but it also has a further connection to a wave of impending evil against the Jews and the rest of the world. At our Passover seders we spill a drop of wine when we mention each of the 10 plagues, and also when we mention the abbreviation of those plagues by saying דצך עדש באחב . Well this abbreviation of the 10 plagues also has a gematria of 501, the same as Barack Hussein Obama and the Yishmaelim.

Obama and radical Muslims will bring as much havoc, destruction, and confusion to the world as all the 10 plagues together brought to Egypt. It’s interesting how Rabbi Yehudah, who made the acrostic or abbreviation of the plagues, took the first Hebrew letter of each plague. However, with respect to the last plague, מכת בכרות , the killing of the first born, he took the bais [the first letter of the 2nd word of the plague], rather than the mem [the first letter of the first word]. Perhaps he knew that in the future, during the end of days, there would be an Obama. Perhaps his message is a warning to us that has been encoded in the Haggadah for nearly 2 thousand years until today.

The foreign minister of Hamas has recently endorsed Obama for president. The Los Angeles Times devoted a lengthy front-page story headlined, “Allies of Palestinians see a friend in Barack Obama.” Ali Abunimah, a resident of Obama’s district, claims that Obama said several years ago when running for the Senate, that he was sorry he couldn’t talk more about the Palestinian cause since his primary campaign had constrained what he could say. Daniel 7 [25] deals with the last king of the 4th beast of exile who will humble 3 other kings. Rav Saadia Gaon stated that the 3 kings or leaders who will be humbled, are from Israel, Greece [representing Europe], and Yishmael [representing the Arab nations]. This haughty, arrogant king will speak words against G-d and the Jewish People, and he will try to change the times and the law. How interesting is it that this very word, change, is the key word used by Obama in his campaign?

The coded, end of days message that Yaakov gave over to his sons was not deciphered by them. But our generation, the generation alive at the end of days, can understand the clues and break the code. In Yaakov’s statement there are four words אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית [that will befall you in the end]. The word אשר that describes the identity of the evil has a gematria of 501 the same as Barack Hussein Obama. And if you look at the word באחרית , in the end, the first 3 letters contain the initials of Obama. The bais is for ברק Barack, the aleph is for אובאמה Obama, and the ches is for חוסיין Hussein. May Hashem protect us from this evil and bring Mashiach speedily in our days.

In the verses below, starting from the א of the first נשיא [President], every 7 letters spell out the name Obama in Hebrew:

א ויהי דבר-יהוה, אלי לאמר. ב בן-אדם, שים פניך אל-גוג ארץ המגוג--נשיא, ראש משך ותבל; והנבא, עליו. ג ואמרת, כה אמר אדני יהוה: הנני אליך, גוג--נשיא, ראש משך ותבל. ד ושובבתיך, ונתתי חחים בלחייך; והוצאתי אותך ואת-כל-חילך סוסים ופרשים, לבשי מכלול כלם--קהל רב צנה ומגן, תפשי חרבות כלם.

[Translation] And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying
Son of man, set thy face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
and say: Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;
and I will turn thee about, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them handling swords:

Australia Proud to Support Israel

Australia has broken ranks with the United States and New Zealand over Israel, indicating that it would most likely have opposed the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In a statement released on Thursday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australia was not currently a member of the Security Council and was not eligible to vote on the resolution.

However, she said, "in voting at the UN, the Coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel".

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Body, A Soul and the Future World - Rabbi Kessin

Rabbi Mendel Kessin - the beginning of this shiur is really a continuation of the 21st Century shiurim, speaking about Trump and the ''future world''.  He then talks about what happens to us and the resurrection of the dead after Moshiach comes. As usual, a brilliant lesson from the best!

Zohar on Parshat Miketz

Rabbi DovBer Pinson

Monday, December 26, 2016

Not Just Toys

by Rabbi Aron Moss

Toys don't play a major role in Jewish tradition. I can only think of two Jewish toys that are used religiously [unless you count iphones]. On Chanukah we spin the dreidel, and on Purim we shake the gragger. The dreidel is a spinning top used in a game of chance. The gragger is a noisemaker that serves to heckle the wicked Haman, the enemy of the Jews, every time his name is mentioned in the Purim story

But even toys have deeper meaning in Judaism. The dreidel and the gragger encapsulate the difference between the miracles of Chanukah and Purim.

When Haman stood to annihilate the Jewish people, it caused a mass stirring of emotion and spiritual introspection. The Jews knew that such a decree could only be averted if they changed their ways. And so they prayed, fasted, and recommitted themselves to Judaism. This awakening was the catalyst for the miracle that followed, with Haman's downfall and the Jewish victory over their adversaries.

In the story of Chanukah things were very different. The threat posed by the Hellenists did not inspire mass repentance among the Jews. On the contrary, many Jews of the time welcomed the Syrian-Greek occupation of their land and were happy to assimilate into their culture.

Only a small band of rebels stayed true to their beliefs and fought the foreign invasion. And yet, a miracle occurred for the Jewish people, totally undeserved, not earned, a gift from above, and the Hellenists were routed from the Land of Israel.

So Purim is a miracle that was initiated from below, from the people and their spiritual turn around. Chanukah was a miracle that the people had not earned but came completely from above, from G-d.

And so on Chanukah we play with the dreidel, which we spin from on top, symbolizing the divine hand that intervenes from above to spin the wheels of history. On Purim, the miracle we earned from below, we shake the gragger, which is grasped from below.

This is the power of Chanukah, the miracle we didn't deserve. Chanukah is a time where G-d's light can reach the darkest of places, and we can all be blessed, worthy or not. Because sometimes G-d rewards us for the good we have done, and at other times He blesses us for the good we will do. G-d is spinning the dreidel, and on Chanukah we know it will fall in our favour.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Chanuka: Rabbi Anava

Chanuka - Fighting Klipat Noga - Powerful Tikun at the end of the video

Klipat: Literally, shells or husks. Singular: Klipa. Used to describe forces that obstruct the divine light. Klipat Noga is a translucent shell—a form of klipa that can be inducted to the service of good.

The war with Yavan (Greece) - Then and today

The Hidden Inner Light

If one would look deeply enough into the dark, one will see a light. It is the inner light, the soul of man.

"The candle of the Lord is the soul of man, exploring all of the inner chambers" [Mishlei 20:27]

This is not meant as fanciful poetry or empty words. Those who have experienced the inner glow know that its radiance is very real, very meaningful... it comes in flashes of truth and self-knowledge. And it is, indeed, a very splendid thing.

Our codifiers also recognise the validity of flashes in the dark. The Rambam teaches [Hilchos Talmud Torah] that although one is obligated to study the Torah at all times, the major portion of a person's wisdom is acquired in the still of the night. Torah study is, among other things, an exercise in self-discovery and improvement, and it should be studied in undisturbed nocturnal atmosphere. This inner light is very sensitive and must be carefully preserved: "A hasty step reduces the light of a person's eyes... This light may be regained at the Kiddush" [Shabbos 113a]

The man who is engrossed in the frantic pursuit of all that he sees around him is doomed to lose sight of the candle that burns within him. Only the serene sanctity of the Shabbos, its tranquil cessation of activity and hot pursuit, can restore to man his awareness of the precious inner light of his vision and his soul.

No Jewish holiday so lends itself to the challenges of the Age of Illumination as does the holiday of Chanukah, the festival of lights. If in doubt as to which lights are being celebrated, the outer or the inner - one need only to consult our sacred literature and find that these eight days are dedicated specifically to these latter lights, the internal illumination that brightens the soul.

The Rokeach, Rabbi Eliezer of Worms, a noted medieval scholar and authority, pointed out that a total of 36 candles are lit during the eight days of Chanukah. This corresponds to the first 36 hours of creation when a special unearthly radiance lit the universe. This spiritual light was quite different from any light we know now. But its potency was too intense to serve man's everyday, earthly needs and G-d hid it from view. Yet that light still exists - in the Torah - and it is for this reason that the Aramaic term for Torah is Oraisa - source of light.

One may wonder - if it was destined for concealment why did G-d ever create this advanced form of light? The answer to this is classically Jewish - better a hidden light than no light at all. For even though it was hidden, the light does exist and can be revealed to anyone who sincerely strives to find it. Those few who have succeeded in perceiving this light are the legendary lamed-vav 'niks - the 36 righteous men concealed from recognition in every generation.

Actually, one need not be a lamed-vavnik to uncover at least a portion of this hidden light, for anyone who studies Torah with sincerity may discover its splendour.

Source: "Seasons of the Soul" edited by Rabbi Nisson Wolpin

Friday, December 23, 2016

Three Suns in Brazil

This video of sunset in São Thomé das Letras, Brazil was posted on Facebook by Arnaldo Costajr Redeluz: recorded on December 12 - I did try to blog it last week but couldn't find the YouTube.... today I searched for it under the Brazilian town name and found it. Thank you Moriah for reminding me.

Rabbi Kessin: Chanukah 5777

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Dreams and Their Interpretation

A very interesting lecture by Rabbi Kin on the interpretation of dreams as expounded on in the Talmud and Kabbalah. 

For Every Action There is A ReAction

Torah portion of Vayeshev. Action and Reaction. Learning to be Patient.
Rabbi DovBer Pinson

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Judging Others

 וַיְהִי אַחַר הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה  - And it came about, after these words....  [Vayeishev 40:1]

The "words" that are referred to here are those of Potifar's wife, who bad-mouthed Yosef throughout Egypt.

From the actions of Potifar's wife, we can learn a powerful lesson about judging other people:

At first glance, Potifar's wife's actions appear to have been utterly evil.  Not only did she cause Yosef to be sent to prison, but furthermore, she spoke badly of him so that his name was blackened throughout Egypt.

Rashi however enlightens us to the truth, that even these actions were intended for the sake of Heaven! Despite the fact that she was brought up in the corrupt, idolatrous atmosphere of Egypt her intentions were pure, to the extent that our sages compared her to Tamar, the mother of "strong ones and righteous ones" [Rashi]. 

From this we can learn the importance of not judging other people by their first appearances.

Source: Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Art: Abraham Leon Kroll

Monday, December 19, 2016

Who Am I? A Tale of Two Souls

Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson's famous series "a journey through the fundamentals of chassidus''.  This is just an introduction to the entire series, if you are interested, you can learn the entire Tanya with Rabbi Jacobson by downloading all the MP3s at this link.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Yud Tes Kislev

The Alter Rebbe - Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi author of The Tanya
The 18th of Kislev 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

Five Life Lessons

The Alter Rebbe: Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi
[1745-1812] The Founder of Chabad

Written by Rabbi Dov Greenberg

Five Life Lessons from one of the greatest Jewish mystics: the Alter Rebbe

1. Don't worry about the state of someone else's soul and the needs of your body,
    Worry about the needs of someone else's body and the state of your own soul.

2.  The bite of the snake doesn't kill you, it's poison does.
     The bite is the sin itself; the poison is that voice inside us that whispers ''You are a loser''.
     Ignore that voice and move on.

3.  Having faith in G-d means having faith in other people, and the measure of our righteousness
     lies in how many people we value, not in how many we condemn.

4.  A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.

5.  Heaven is nice, but on the best things like acts of loving kindness, earth has exclusive rights.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rebbe Nachman's Tikkunim

Art by Ben Goossens

Rebbe Nachman said he knew the roots of every Jewish soul. At first he said that he knew them in the written Torah, but not in the Oral Torah. He later said that he knew the root of each Jewish soul in the Oral Torah as well. He knew how to provide each person with a remedy [tikkun] based on the place where his soul was rooted.

There were many things he told us to do. These did not involve deep intentions or the unification of the transcendental worlds through Yechudim. The things he told those close to him to do were simple acts of piety.

Rebbe Nachman told his followers not to fast at all unless he prescribed it. He might tell one person to fast for a certain interval. He might tell another person to stay awake one night and abstain from eating animal products for 24 hours. There were many whom Rebbe Nachman told to fast on erev Rosh Chodesh. He told many people to study 18 chapters of Mishneh every day. He prescribed many courses of study, a different one for each person.

There was one course of study, however, that he prescribed for all, and that was the daily study of the codes. Rebbe Nachman said that even when one has no time, he should still study at least one law in the Sulchan Aruch each day, no matter where that law might be. He said that this is an important obligation for every Jew.

Another practice that he universally prescribed was for us to seclude ourselves in prayer each day [hitbodedot]. He told us to express our thoughts before G-d and ask that He have mercy and allow us to achieve true devotion. This secluded prayer was to be in the language we normally spoke.... This is already discussed at length in Rebbe Nachman's printed works.

Rebbe Nachman would look at the root of a man's soul and prescribe the practice necessary to correct each blemish. Each person then required a specific practice. Most of the practices seemed very simple. However, they were all prescribed on the basis of awesome hidden mysteries and were very far from simple in their effect. Rebbe Nachman did not reveal any of these mysteries. He simply prescribed a routine and did what was necessary with it. He said "Everything I prescribe is helpful as a remedy both for the past and the future, as well as after death, in the Messianic Age, during the resurrection, and in the Future Life."

Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom
translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Chazak u'Baruch - Strength and Blessing

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

Previously, we expanded on the enormous reward in store for one who answers Amen, as presented in the words of Chazal and in the Midrash, that He opens the gates of heaven and brings down an abundance of spiritual and material blessings. Consequently, the reward for one who answers Amen is like the dividends, since his reward is guaranteed also in this world, aside from the principal, which is reserved for the World to Come, eternally.

There is an amazing story that took place in Baghdad in the days of Rabbi Yosef Chaim, zya”a, the Ben Ish Chai:

There were two partners who lived in Baghdad who dealt with old clothes. Once, they heard of a gentile family offering old clothes for sale, and they went together to purchase them.

On the way they passed by a Beit Haknesset where they sought a tenth man to fill the quorum in order to say Kaddish. One merchant replied that his time was short and he separated from his partner. However the other one abided by the words of Chazal who say “A mitzvah that comes your way, do not delay performing it.” He entered the Beit Haknesset and answered the Amens after the Kaddish and immediately continued on his destination. When he arrived, he discovered that his fellow had already bought most of the clothes, besides for some tattered rags. Nevertheless, in order not to return empty-handed, he bought the rags and left.

A surprise awaited him at home. Among the tattered rags there was an old pillow. When he tore open the seams to remove the feathers, he found a precious gem inside. Immediately he ran to the jeweler who estimated that it was worth fifty gulden, and he gave him the money for it in cash on the spot. But, when the merchant’s wife heard about this, she began to persuade her husband that the jeweler had swindled him, since the gem was worth a lot more, and he should fight to get the jewel back.

The merchant decided to consult the “Ben Ish Chai,” zt”l. When the Rabbi heard the entire story, he replied: According to Chazal [Chulin 87a] it seems that the reward for every Amen is worth ten gulden. If so, when you heard a half Kaddish and answered five Amens, according to the letter of the law, you deserve fifty gulden in this world, while the principal is reserved for you in the World to Come. Therefore, do not appeal the bargain you made!

Omitting Amen reflects a lack of faith

On the other hand, we should note the inspiring words of the “Moreh Mikdash” in the name of the Mahara”m Schiff, zt”l:

Every Jew must be aware of the magnitude of the prohibition of speaking mundane matters in the Beit Haknesset. In the holy Zohar it states that one who speaks [idly] in the Beit Haknesset, causes division – since his soul does not bond to the G-d of Israel, and also he harms his faith; meaning, that since he is engaged in chatter, he is not careful to answer Amen because he does not pay attention to the conclusion of the blessing. And even if he does pay attention, ultimately he does not know for what he is answering Amen (especially by the repetition of the Chazzan, if there are not ten men to answer Amen, then it is a blessing which is in vain). Since the one who answers Amen is called “guardian of faith – שומר אמנים”, then one who is not careful with this harms his faith.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

What is Going on with the Moon ?

This guy is posing the same questions that I have.  What exactly is going on with the Moon lately?  It is too bright, it has a large aura around it that is also very bright, and we keep seeing these blood moons.  The moon talk is at the beginning of the video, for the first 4 minutes approx.  I wouldn't bother with the rest of the video.

If you don't like Steve Olson, then don't watch this, but please don't complain about it either, unless you can explain the moon's weird positions and appearance - in which case I'll happily replace Steve with you !

Obama, Trump and the Messiah [audio]

Dov Bar-Leib joins Tamar Yonah and tells her that if Obama goes to the UN in order to ‘abstain’ on a UN Sec Council resolution recognizing and establishing a Palestine state, and he does this during the Hebrew month of Tevet [Dec/Jan] it could start the 9 month count-down to the war of Gog and Magog, and the arrival of the Moshaich.

He gives interesting possible links to past Biblical characters that he thinks could link to Obama and Trump.

Click here to listen.

Noahides and Conversions

I get quite a lot of emails, and some comments, from Noahides who want to convert or don't know whether they should convert.

The thing is, I don't know either.  I am totally unqualified to give advice on this issue.

If you have any useful information  or  you can recommend a good website that could help other Noahides, please leave a comment below.   

I definitely do not want to be giving out advice on something I know very little about.

If you do leave a comment, please also explain how this Rabbi or website has helpful to you.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Self Sacrifice

Serving G-d requires us to have Mesirut Nefesh [Self sacrifice] even for the smallest thing. In this video Rabbi Anava explains it in depth.

Monday, December 12, 2016


from the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

Faith is a very strong thing, and it can greatly fortify your life.

If you have faith, then you have a source of comfort and inspiration even when troubles strike. You realize that all troubles are ultimately for your good and are an atonement for your sins. You know that G-d will be good to you in the end, both in this world and the next.

The faithless skeptic, on the other hand, has nowhere to turn when troubles strike. He is utterly alone, without comfort or inspiration.

It is impossible to put everything into writing, but an intelligent man should be able to build upon this himself.

The main thing is innocent faith. With it, one can have a portion both in this world and the next. Happy is he who has such faith, for he shall never be moved.

There are souls conceived in absolute holiness. When such a holy soul comes down to this world and is not tainted with sin, it results in a person with perfect faith. Such a person never has any doubts.

Others can express their skepticism in such a man's presence, but his faith is no way disturbed. He is totally oblivious to all doubts. His ears are deaf to all their speculation and confusion.

Even one who is not endowed with such an extraordinary soul can realize that the average person's questions are mere foolishness. Upon close examination, their questions turn out not to be questions at all.

Many people are disturbed by questions for years, not realizing that their questions are actually answers. It is only their lack of intelligence that makes them seem like questions in the first place.

They have questions like those one might ask a child: "If we have a broken window, why replace it with a pane from the next window if a bird can then fly through the remaining empty frame?"

Such a question actually includes its own answer. But a child does not realize this and considers it a very difficult question. He will ponder it and not know what to reply.

But the question itself is really very foolish. The question about the bird is really the answer to the first foolish question. The reason why we do not use the adjacent pane is precisely because it leaves a space through which a bird can fly.

A young child does not have enough intelligence to realize that the answer is included in such a question. For this very reason, the question seems very difficult to him.

The same is true of many people. A foolish question enters their mind, and they have no idea that this question actually includes its own answer. It seems like a difficult question, but only because of their lack of intelligence. Understand this well.

Consider all this and be strong in faith. Flee from this foolishness and confusion, and cast all questions and doubts from your mind.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

''The Light of the Sun Shall be Sevenfold''

And the light of the moon shall be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of the seven days, on the day the Lord shall bind the fracture of His people, and the stroke of their wound He shall heal. [Isaiah 30:26]

I know some of you do not like it when I post videos from Steve Olson, who talks about the approach of Nibiru and the changes we are seeing in the skies, but I could not resist this one.

Apart from the fact that Venus is now blue - with a hole in the centre - the sun is apparently ''picking up extra electrons from the iron dust around it, causing it to burn helium instead of hydrogen'' - which will have the effect of the sun's brightness being increased SEVEN times, as described in the prophecy of Isaiah above.

The relevant part of the video begins around 3:45 mins.  This is Steve Olson's new You Tube channel, he was evicted from his old channel but has re-appeared here.

A Tzaddik Sees both the Past and the Future

Story source: COLLive

Do you believe in coincidences? Do you think the world is run by random forces, without any meaning or purpose? Then please read this.

Exactly 28 years ago, in the Hebrew month of Kislev, of the year 5749 (1988), R’ Aron Amzalak of Sydney Australia was in New York. He had come for the engagement of his daughter Miriam to a young man from Venezuela, Moshe Moskowitz.

On the day they got engaged, Thursday 22 November, Amzalak went to inform the Rebbe of the good news. Thousands of people of all walks of life would line up to see the Rebbe, receive a blessing and a dollar to distribute to charity. In the brief moment that each person had with the Rebbe they could ask a quick question or make a short request, and the Rebbe would respond, as the line of people moved forward and the next person would have their turn.

As Amzalak comes before the Rebbe he tells him with a beaming smile, “My daughter became a Kallah (a bride) today.” The Rebbe gives him a dollar and blesses him that the wedding should take place at an auspicious time.

Amzalak continues walking and the next person in line, R’ Mendel Itkin of Los Angeles, comes before the Rebbe. But the Rebbe calls Amzalak to come back to him. He is holding another dollar that he wishes to give Amzalak in honour of his daughter’s engagement. But Amzalak does not hear this, and so there is a moment of confusion: the Rebbe is standing with dollar in hand, the line has stopped, Mendel Itkin is waiting in limbo, watching the Rebbe and trying to call Amzalak back.

In the commotion, the dollar that was going to be for Amzalak is given to Itkin instead. A moment later Amzalak returns to the Rebbe, who gives him another dollar, saying “This is for the bride.” Then the Rebbe takes another dollar and says to Amzalak, “For the groom.” But before giving the dollar to Amzalak, the Rebbe takes yet another dollar and gives both to Amzalak, asking him, “Kest?” a Yiddish word that means “dowry,” financial support that a father-in-law provides his son-in-law.

Amzalak smiles and receives these additional two dollars, then moves on. At this point the Rebbe seems to laugh and say, “He doesn't know what kest means!”

What is going on here? The Rebbe gave Amzalak four dollars, one for himself, one for his daughter, and two for his son-in-law. And a fifth dollar that the Rebbe had intended to give to Amzalak instead went to some guy from Los Angeles.

This mysterious exchange makes sense when we fast-forward 13 years. In 2001 that guy from Los Angeles, Mendel Itkin married Amzalak’s other daughter Aviva.

So the dollar that was meant for Amzalak’s daughter went to his other daughter’s future husband, who out of the thousands of people there that day just happened to be next in line. And the extra dollar “for the groom” was because another groom was being arranged for the Amzalak family that day.

And the Rebbe can’t help laughing, because indeed, at the time nobody knew what this all meant.

But there’s more. This is all captured on video but the characters in the story knew nothing about it until two weeks ago.

In yet another one of those accidents, someone stumbled upon the video on You Tube, recognized Amzalak and sent it to him. The family was amazed to see that future father-in-law and son-in-law had stood next to each other without knowing it, and the Rebbe had made the match so many years in advance.

And the timing of this discovery couldn't have been better. Because Mendel Itkin is right now battling for his life with a terrible illness. He needs our urgent prayers. But he just received that dollar and blessing from the Rebbe all over again. And we have all received a reminder that there are no accidents.

Update: Minutes after I blogged this, I heard of the passing of Mendel Itkin BDE

Friday, December 9, 2016

Moshiach will be revealed from the Epitome of Sheker

What is Sheker? שקר  Sheker is lies, deceipt.    Even the letters are out of order from their correct listing in the alef bet [ק-ר-ש].

“And that’s how Moshiach is going to be revealed. Moshiach needs to be revealed from the epitome of sheker, Moshiach and his people. They’re not going to be pulled by the sheker. The sheker wants to take everyone. The sheker says: ‘I didn’t say enough sheker. Maybe I’ll say a little bit more, maybe I’ll succeed in saying something else, a different way.’  - “The more falsehood there is, the more truth will be revealed in a clearer way”

These days you need to search very hard to find your own truth.  There is an abundance of Rabbis Impeding the Redemption.  There is an abundance of sheker.

I heard from my teacher and father-in-law, who was the chief disciple of Rebbe Yechiel Michal of Zlotchov, that once when the Baal Shem Tov was traveling on the road, he stepped into a wooded area to pray the afternoon prayer. His disciples were dumbfounded to see him hitting his head against a tree, crying and screaming. Afterward, they asked him what had happened. He explained that he had seen, with divine inspiration, that in the generations before the coming of the Moshiach there would be a multitude of rabbis, and that they would be the very ones who would impede the redemption. [Otzar Chayim]

In Defence of Rabbi Mizrachi

Once again, a band of angry people have publicly come out to condemn Rabbi Mizrachi.  This time, it is a group of wellknown and respected Rabbis who are doing the condemning.   I do not agree with them, and am therefore publishing Rabbi Mizrachi's response below, which was kindly translated by blogger Yeranen Yaakov.

Translation of the response from Rabbi Mizrachi:

Rabbi Mizrachi sent in response: Again and again, those zealous, fight-inducing people are expending efforts to harm the Teshuva campaign that embraces the world which I have been successful in building for 23 years of back-breaking work. It does not interest them that every year, there are many thousands of Ba'alei Teshuva in Israel and the world. As far as they're concerned, all of them would be lost forever - the main thing is their claims about what I said in its time many years ago regarding the terrible assimilation that preceded the Holocaust and caused many people with Jewish names not being Jewish according to Halacha and the Torah, something that anyone with a brain and truth knows - and that is exactly the situation in the US today.

Every time before I come to a speaking tour in Israel, whereby thousands of Jews are strengthened, amazingly those claims again start tweeting. Baruch Hashem, I work for Hashem and not for them, and we continue to grow every month Baruch Hashem just like it was from the day I started working. On the day that they will stop inventing lies and accusations against me, I will know that I have finished my mission for Am Yisrael.

Another article at Kikar adds how he received approbations from Dayanim in New York - see photo above - as well as receiving dozens of letters of support from Rabbanim Hashuvim after the original letter went out.

Due to the volatile nature of this issue, comments are closed.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Has Chabad Quietly Revolutionized the Role of Rebbetzin?

by Rabbi Efrem Goldberg

The orthodox world has been rigorously debating women’s roles in Jewish communal leadership and whether women can formally serve as rabbis. Meanwhile, though it has no stated progressive agenda or goals, Chabad has quietly revolutionized the role of women in leadership. Chabad rebbetzins may not have the title of rabbi, but in most cases they are involved in, and empowered with, setting the vision of their community and executing the leadership necessary to make it a reality as much as their husbands are. They design programming, lead meetings, teach, give support at lifecycle events, play very public roles and are often listed as co-directors, equal with their husbands.

At the opening I attended, it was the rebbetzin, not the rabbi, who served as the master of ceremonies. The rabbi gave a wonderful dvar Torah and speech, but it was the rebbetzin who welcomed hundreds of people, offered expressions of gratitude to the list of dignitaries, gave her own dvar Torah, and charged the community with a vision of where they are going next.

The contemporary Chabad rebbetzin is functioning in a significantly different way than her predecessors and many of her peers in the orthodox world. And yet, one doesn’t find people questioning her motives, her commitment to halachik norms, or her respect for rabbinic authority.

Read the whole article by clicking here

Superficial Honour

"Yaakov has taken everything that belongs to our father, and from what belongs to our father he has amassed all his wealth" [Vayeitze 31:1]

The following question was once posed to the Vilna Gaon: The Midrash Rabbah states in relation to the abovementioned verse:  "There is no honor except for [that accrued by] silver and gold".  Yet, in Shemos Rabbah [ch 38] it states: "There is no honor except for [that accrued by] Torah, as the verse states: "The wise inherit honor".  The question is, is it the Torah or one's wealth that brings a person honor?

Wherever we find the word kavod [honor] spelled without a vav, answered the Gaon, we are meant to apply Chazal's statement "There is no honor except for [that accrued by] silver and gold".  For that type of honor is superficial and false.

However, continued the Gaon, when kavod is spelled in its complete spelling - with a vav - Chazal's statement "There is no honor except for [that accrued by] the Torah" applies.  For the honor that comes from the Torah is genuine and full.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

5777: The Year of the Olive Branch and Eternal World Peace

Art Barbara Harmer

by HaRavi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

Today we're going to devote our thoughts to the coming year. The number of the year has many allusions. This coming year is 5777, according to the Jewish calendar, the number of years from creation. The way we usually count it is as 777, the 5000 being set apart. It is customary to create an acronym out of the letters that spell the 777, which are תשעז .The acronym which is customarily given starts with the two words, "May this be a year of…" [תַ נְ שׁ אֵ הֵ תּ ]And what we are asking for is to interpret the two final letters, which in our case are עז .So the full acronym depends on what the letters עז stand for.

Storm Season

According to the weather reports, we are expecting some massive storms this summer.... here is a photo of yesterday's storm as it blew in over Bondi Beach - I'm not complaining, storms are my favourite thing... and yesterday's thunder was just incredible.

Photo BobBBaker

Monday, December 5, 2016

Amen: A Wonderful Segulah

Art Baruch Nachshon

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

In this week's parashah Vayeitzei we find a hint and wonderful inspiration about answering Amen after a blessing:

The influential Rabbi Eliyahu Roth once told his audience:

It is important to know that answering Amen properly has a positive effect on us both physically and spiritually, and it prevents sickness from visiting our homes. Each person must contemplate, what is more important to him; is it to go visit doctors, or to answer Amen loudly, which is a wonderful segulah to be saved from all these and bring salvation and success in all matters.

It is written in the sefer “Meorot Hadaf Hayomi” [Bechorot 43a] in the name of Rabbi Yitzchak Zilberstein:

As we know, one hundred blessings were instituted in order to save people from the curses that are written in the parashah of Reproof. If so, we can conclude that a reason for answering 90 times Amen each day is in order to be saved from the 90 bodily blemishes that disqualify a Kohen, as listed by the Rambam [Hilchot Biyat Mikdash 8:1]. Indeed, proof supporting this is found by the fact that the word “המום – blemish” has the same numerical value as אמן – Amen!

Causing Abundance to Shower from Heaven

Rabbanit Meislish, shetichye, who inspires large audiences about this important matter, relates:

My father, the Admor of Bobov, ztk”l, who lived in New York, used to celebrate Purim also on the fifteenth of Adar, in order to rejoice with the Jews living in Eretz Yisrael.

One year, amidst the celebration, my father was offered “brandy” and he recited the blessing “Shehakol nihiye bidvaro.” Afterward he began to recite the blessing “Borei nefashot,” while the Mashgiach of the yeshiva stood by his side. The Mashgiach was married for eight years but was still childless, and he sensed that this was an opportune time of grace. He therefore answered Amen with great concentration after the blessing of “Borei nefashot,” contemplating the meaning of the words “Borei nefashot.” This was his heart’s desire, to merit nefashot – souls.

At the same time, one of the gabaim was also present who had only one son and he wished to have more children but had not met with success. He turned to my father and said: “I too yearn to have a child.” My father closed his eyes and replied: “Borei nefashot – creates souls” is in the plural form.” The Gabai and the Mashgiach shouted together: Amen! Exactly ten months passed since that day and the wife of the Mashgiach, after having been married for nine years, gave birth to a girl, whereas the wife of the Gabai gave birth to a boy. Twenty years later the two children got married and built a home together.

And for her it is not at all surprising. This is stated explicitly: “פתחו שערים ויבוא גוי צדיק שומר אמנים – Open the gates, so the righteous nation, keeper of the faith [lit. Amenim], may enter,” since the power of answering Amen opens the gates of Gan Eden and showers down upon us abundance from the Supreme Source. It is amazing how one small word “Amen” can bring about supernatural salvation.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The War of Thoughts

Everything starts in the spiritual world and then it manifests down to the physical world.

The Zohar says that at the time of Gog u Magog, we are going to be controlled by our thoughts.  It is ''Milchement Giggim'' - the war of thoughts. [click here to see video of Rabbi Anava on this topic: from 29 mins onwards]

In every generation there is a ''Haman'' who comes to destroy us.    Haman is a descendent of Amalek - Amalek is a nation, but it is also a kelipa, a spiritual impurity caused by a negative act, which comes like a virus to attack you. When the Jews left Mitzrayim, Amalek came to attack them straight away. It came from the rear, to cool them down.  The gematria of the word Amalek is the same as the gematria of the word ''safek'' - doubt.  Amalek comes to cool you down and make you doubt the truth.

Rabbi Anava says that these days it is the war of the screens, and we are controlled by our screens: our computers and our phones.

So here we all are, on the internet, where everything is available in an instant, and while we can choose what to look at, in the process we may get side-tracked and end up reading something that causes us to doubt the truth.  This is the spiritual side of the war of Gog u Magog, the spiritual Amalek causing us to doubt.  Ten minutes ago we were excited about some new Torah we had learnt, and then we read a comment from an Amaleki which causes us to doubt that same thing.

We need to be extremely careful who we listen to, and what we read.   Amalek is always there, waiting to pounce on us from behind.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

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


by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto Shlita

It is written, “Vayikra [And he called] his name Jacob” [Toldot 25:26]

Who called his name Jacob?

According to the Ohr HaChaim, the term vayikra refers to the Holy One, blessed be He, Who personally named the newborn child. Other commentators believe that Jacob’s name was given to him by his grandfather Abraham. For Rabbi Avraham Ibn Ezra, the identity of the name-giver has no particular importance.

The situation is entirely different for Esau, whose name was given to him by the people, as clearly evidenced by the expression: “They called his name Esau” [Toldot 25:25]. In other words, everyone recognized his character and specific traits, and thus his name was in accordance with his deeds and characteristics.

The name given to a child at the time of his circumcision constitutes somewhat of a spark of Ruach HaKodesh, a spark that manifests itself for a few moments in the hearts of the parents when they decide upon the name that will accompany their child for his entire life.

(It is said that the Gerer Rebbe, Rabbi Yisrael Alter, was once asked by one of his chassidim to choose a name for his newborn son. With surprise accompanied by a smile, the Rebbe replied: “The little Ruach HaKodesh that you have, you want to give it to me?”)

Influencing a Person’s Life

In ancient texts we find, “Tell me your name, and I will tell you who you are.” A person’s name encapsulates his personality, virtues, and potential, as well as the role assigned to him in this world.

After 120 years on earth, when a man arrives before the Celestial Court, he will be asked to present himself by name. Hence the famous custom, at the end of Shimoni Esrei (before saying Yiheyu le’ratzon imrei phi [“May the words of my mouth”]), of reciting a verse whose first and last letter are the same as the first and last letter of the person’s name. This is a segula for not forgetting one’s name before the Celestial Court.

At a somewhat deeper spiritual level, we find that a person’s life unfolds according to the letters that form his name, especially in light of the possible combinations of these letters. A person’s name can influence his destiny and future for good or bad, as emerges from the Zohar: “[T]he name is of great significance and potency, and the combination of letters with one another works either for good or bad. Connected with this mystery is the combination of the letters of the holy Names, and even the letters in themselves can be made to reveal supreme mysteries” (Zohar II:179b).

The Midrash also warns us in this regard by stating: “We should always be extremely careful about the names we give to our children, for sometimes a name can have a good or bad influence, as we see with the spies” (Tanchuma, Ha’azinu 7).

This warning and advice are quite useful for someone who is well-versed in the deep mysteries of the holy letters, someone who knows how to combine the letters of a name in a positive way. Yet what can be said for us, we who have no knowledge of the secrets of the letters? How should we choose names for our children?

The holy Tanna Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel already looked into this question and said, “The Ancients, because they could avail themselves of Ruach HaKodesh, named themselves in reference to [forthcoming] events. Yet we, who cannot avail ourselves of Ruach HaKodesh, are named after our fathers” [Bereshith Rabba 37:7]

This means that we name our children after our holy ancestors, having faith that just as the names of the Ancients helped them to succeed, these holy names will also help our children to succeed in life.

A Segula for Longevity

As we have said, a person’s name testifies to his character and inner nature. In the Gemara we find that Rabbi Meir would commonly examine each person according to his name. After a certain incident, Rabbi Yehudah and Rabbi Yossi were also careful to evaluate each person according to his name, just like Rabbi Meir. From this comes the custom of naming a child after one of his holy ancestors, people who were righteous, pious, and holy.

In halachic literature, we find several customs in regards to this issue. For example, in Chochmat HaNefesh the Rokeach cites his teacher, Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid, who in his testament warns against naming one’s son Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or even Moshe, for otherwise he may die, fall ill, lose his mind, or other things of this nature. However the book Brit Avoth believes that what he meant is that one must not give his three sons the names Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, although he does not know if it means that these names must not be given in succession, meaning one after the other. Whatever the case, in Responsa Minchat Yitzchak we find that if a person does not heed this warning, then of him it is said: “Hashem protects the simple” (Tehillim 116:6).

The book Brit Olam discusses the custom of not naming one’s son after oneself. It also mentions a custom practiced by the Sephardim of Jerusalem, who regard it as a segula for longevity for a father to name his son after himself. This custom is also cited in the book Even Sapir, which states that in Yemen, when a man has had sons who died in their youth, it is considered a segula to name his next son after himself.

An extraordinary story is told about Rabbi Yaakov of Lissa, the author of Netivot HaMishpat, who carried the name of his father while his father was still alive. After Rabbi Yaakov was born and it came time for his circumcision, his father, who was known for his great diligence in Torah learning, was completely immersed in a difficult sugia. When the mohel reached the words, “His name in Israel shall be,” his father believed that he was being asked for his own name, and so he said “Yaakov.”

Each time that the author of Netivot HaMishpat was called up to the Torah, and the shamash summoned “Rabbi Yaakov ben Yaakov,” the congregants tried hard to understand how this had happened. They were then told this unusual story regarding the great diligence of Rabbi Yaakov’s father.