Tuesday, January 31, 2017

4 Shevat: Yahrzeit Baba Sali

Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah - The Baba Sali
Born: Tafillalt, Morocco,1890
Died: 4 Shevat, Israel, 1984

Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeirah was of a well-known rabbinical dynasty. His grandfather was the famous tzaddik, Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeirah. He had great skill in Talmudic interpretation and many of his halachic decisions were accepted and took root among his followers. He was regarded as someone who possessed the Ruach Hakodesh or "Divine Spirit".

Although still very young, people flocked to R' Yisrael for blessings for their parnassa (income), family, and health. Consequently he became known as "Baba Sali," (our praying father) because of the prayers that he would invoke on behalf of those who sought out his guidance.

One day, young Yisrael's father told him, "My child, you have a great power to bless people which you cannot measure. Your words can bring great help to men. From now on, you must use this power to say good things about others and to bless them."

Young Yisrael gave his word. Soon it became known that the blessings of this young child brought miraculous results. He became famous as Baba Sali. A master of the Kabbalah and a great Torah Sage, he took over his father's position as head of the yeshiva and Rabbi of the community. Although he regularly gave many lectures in Torah and kabbalah, he did not permit his students to write them down because he wanted his scholarship to remain unknown. Nevertheless, his fame as a holy man and a righteous Tzaddik continued to draw Jews to him from all over. Even Arabs came to receive his blessings and the coins he gave for charity.

At 19 he was inducted as the Rosh Hayeshiva, after his father's death. After an extended one year trip to Eretz Yisrael he returned, and was compelled to take the position of Rav of the community after the murder of his brother by an Arab. He gave daily lectures, served as a judge in the beit din (rabbinical court), and set the tone for the kehilla. The community appreciated that nothing escaped his holy, penetrating eyes. From throughout Morocco, people converged on his home for his blessings, his counsel, and his encouragement.

In 1964 when Baba Sali noted that much of Moroccan Jewry had emigrated to Eretz Yisrael, he followed them to fulfill his dream of settling there. Baba Sali chose Yavne as his home because many of his followers had settled there.

In 1970 he moved to Netivot where he was steadily visited by Chassidim, Ashkenazim and Sephardim who sought his unique counsel. He stressed emunah (faith), humility, ahavat Yisrael (love of fellow Jews) and kiyum hamitzvot (fulfillment of mitzvot). His phenomenal memory allowed him to access information at will, whether it dealt with law, Talmud, Kabbalah,etc.

He was very humble and did not want to attract attention, however, his prophetic powers and his miraculous prayers soon became renowned. Thousands of Jews from all over the world would come to seek his advice and blessings for children, health, and livelihood. Baba Sali was very close to other great Torah scholars, especially the Lubavitcher Rebbe, whom he referred to as "the Great Eagle in the Heavens." He strongly encouraged the Rebbe's Mitzvah campaigns, especially urging young girls to light candles for Shabbat and Yom Tov.


Young and old, men and women, observant and secular, Sephardim and Ashkenazim of every stripe, all streamed to the door of the great kabbalist and tsaddik, Baba Sali, in Netivot, seeking his blessing and help. Everyone, without exception, held him in the highest esteem.

Once a man from Holon, Eliyahu, was scheduled to have his legs amputated. His spinal cord had been damaged by a bullet in the Yom Kippur War. He had already spent much time in the hospital, and so was reconciled to his fate. The procedure was to take place on Friday.

That Thursday, an elderly woman acquaintance suggested that he receive a blessing from Baba Sali before the operation. She said that she knew of someone who had been paralyzed, yet was healed through Baba Sali's blessing. Although Eli was not at all observant, he decided to try it anyway, in desperation. Maybe, maybe....

It would have been impossible to get permission to leave the hospital the day before the operation, so Eli snuck out. He didn't even disclose his intention to see Baba Sali to his concerned family.

Eli sat on a chair in the waiting room near the entrance to the tsaddik's room. After many hours, finally his turn came. The custom was, before anything, to approach Baba Sali on his couch and kiss his hand, but because of the advanced thrombosis of his legs and the crippling pain that accompanied it, Eli was unable even to rise to enter the room.

Following Baba Sali's instruction, Rabbanit Simi, his wife, approached Eli and asked, "Do you put on tefillin?" Do you keep Shabbat? Do you say blessings?

"No," admitted Eli, and burst into sobs.

Baba Sali seemed to be moved by Eli's suffering and his sincerity. He said to him, "If you do my will and observe the Shabbat and repent completely, then G-d, too, will listen to my will."

With great emotion, Eli promptly cried out, "I accept upon myself the obligation to observe the Shabbat in all its details. I also promise to do full tshuvah, to 'return' in repentance all the way."

At Baba Sali's directive, Eli was served tea. After he drank it, the Rabbanit suggested that being that the Rav had blessed him, he should try to get up, in order to go and and kiss the Rav's hand.

After much effort and pain, Eli managed to rise. He couldn't believe it-his legs were obeying him! Shakily, he walked over to Baba Sali and kissed his hand! By then nearly delirious with shock and joy, he began to thank Baba Sali profusely. The Rav interrupted him, saying with a smile, "Don't thank me. Just say: 'Blessed are those who sanctify His name publicly!'"

As if in a dream, Eli stumbled out the door and descended the stairs. He experimented, walking this way and that. He had to know: Was he really awake? Could this truly be happening? With each step, his legs felt better.

On his "new" legs, he went over to Yeshiva HaNegev, not too far from the home of Baba Sali. When the students realized they were seeing the results of a miracle that had just occurred, they surrounded Eli with happy dancing and singing, and words of praise and gratitude to G-d.

Rejoicing in his new-found ability to walk, Eli returned to the home of Baba Sali to say goodbye properly and to thank him again. He also expressed his fear that his legs would relapse to their previous weakness and disease. Baba Sali calmed him, saying cheerfully, "Don't worry. In the merit of your oath to 'return' and repent, and especially that you promised to observe Shabbat according to its laws, which is equal to all the commandments, G-d has done this miracle and nullified the decree against you. Now it is up to you to fulfill your words."

Leaving Baba Sali's house again, Eli telephoned his mother. "I'm all better!" he shouted, without explanation. She figured that fear of the surgery had caused him to loose touch with reality. "Are you coming home?" she asked with concern. "Or will you go straight to the hospital?"

Eli then told her what he had promised Baba Sali, the blessing that he had received from the tsaddik, and the miraculous improvement that had already occurred. As soon as he hung up, he called his doctor at Achilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and informed him of his cure. The doctor told Eli to be back at the hospital the following day, and to "stop acting crazy!"

Eli did go to the hospital the next day. The doctor was barely able to accept the evidence of his eyes. After a few days and many tests, Eli was released. The first thing he did was to return to Netivot, to thank Baba Sali again. The Rav requested of his household that a seudat hoda'ah, a meal of thanksgiving to G-d in honor of the miracle, be prepared and served. At the end of the meal, Baba Sali blessed a bottle of water and told Eli to deliver it to the hospital so that his doctor could drink l'chaim from it. "And tell him," added Baba Sali, "not to be so hasty to cut off legs."

Baba Sali's gabbai (attendant) during most of his years in Netivot, Rabbi Eliyahu Alfasi [who witnessed much of the story and heard the rest of the details from Eli of Holon], reports that he once asked Baba Sali how he performed this great miracle. The tzaddik answered him innocently, "Believe me, Eliyahu, all I did was tell him 'Stand up!'"

Monday, January 30, 2017

Midnight: The Threshold

At the dividing point of the night, I will go out into the midst of Egypt... [Bo 11:4]

Rashi comments: At the literal level [p'shat] Moshe informed Pharoah that the plague would start at midnight precisely.

A non-literal [agadic] interpretation is that G-d told Moshe the plague would start at precisely midnight, but Moshe decided not to tell this fact over to Pharoah because he feared that the Egyptian astrologers might err in their calculations of the exact time of midnight. Then, when the plague failed to come at the time they expected, they would come to the conclusion that Moshe had spoken falsely. Therefore, Moshe told Pharoah that the plague would start at 'around midnight'.

Mizrachi comments: The Torah states that Moshe told Pharoah the plague would begin כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה. Literally, this means 'around midnight'. However it is unthinkable that G-d should express Himself in such an uncertain manner. Therefore, Rashi understood that כַּחֲצֹת means precisely midnight. This unusual translation was achieved by rendering the word not as a noun but as a verb: ''when the night divides''.

The second agadic interpretation of Rashi solves this problem by explaining that G-d did indeed express Himself in precise terms, but Moshe chose to use a more ambiguous expression, for fear of being misjudged.

Ibn Ezra: The term כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה could be rendered 'after midnight' i.e. in the second half of the night [as in Ruth 3:8]

Ramban: Moshe was clearly not trying to tell Pharoah the exact timing of the plague at all, for he did not mention which day the plague would occur. Rather, Moshe was hinting generally that the next plague would cause Pharoah and his servants to arise in the middle of the night.

Perhaps we could argue that Rashi accepted the problem presented by Ramban that the warning of a precise time seems totally superfluous here, as Pharoah was in any case not informed of the date.

Furthermore, we do not find that most of the other plagues were associated with a specific time. Even in those instances when the dates were specified [e.g. before the plagues of death of cattle and hail] the time was not. So, why do we find that in this final plague, an exact time was given?

[One exception to this rule was the plague of hail. Rashi explains that Moshe drew a line on the wall and said that when the sun would reach the line, the hail would fall [Vaera 9:18]. But in that case, there was a reason for giving a time, so that those who ''feared the word of G-d'' [Vaera 9:20] would be able to put their slaves and cattle under shelter before the plague started. In our case, however, there is no practical reason to mention the time.]

Since the time appears to be of no relevance here, Rashi concluded that the reference to midnight was primarily a descriptive statement which conveyed the unique quality of the impending plague.

We are therefore left with a question: the distinctive feature of the plague of the firstborn is that it was carried out by G-d Himself, as verse 4 states: ''I will go out into the midst of Egypt''. But if we would follow the usual translation of the word כַּחֲצֹת [around midnight] then how would the verse convey the unique quality of this plague, that G-d was involved personally? Surely, one would expect G-d Himself to be of the utmost precision?

[In fact, we find that the plague of hail was enacted with extreme precision. So, it would be unreasonable to suggest that the plague which G-d enacted personally would be around a certain time, and thus less accurate than one of the previous plagues in which He was not directly ''involved''.]

Therefore, Rashi was forced to conclude that, at the literal level, כַּחֲצֹת הַלַּיְלָה must be rendered [not as 'about midnight' but] as ''precisely midnight'' i.e. even though this is an unconventional [and thus apparently non-literal translation] it is nevertheless necessary to preserve the basic implication of the text, that the plague occurred at a specific time to express G-d's personal involvement.

However, since this interpretation resorted to an unconventional translation, Rashi felt it necessary to bring also a second interpretation from agadic sources.


Midnight as an Expression of Infinitude

It was explained above that Pharoah was informed of the time of the plague of the firstborn primarily as an expression of G-d's personal involvement. This is highlighted by the comment of Rabbi Yehudah ben Basaira in the Mechilta that midnight is not a definitive moment in time, but rather, a threshold. Thus G-d's revelation at ''midnight'' expresses His true infinitude, how He can be simultaneously revealed in our world that is bound by time, and yet, remain aloof from it.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Vol 21 Lubavitcher Rebbe - Gutnick Chumash

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Edom vs Yishmael

''This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - in other words, ISIS.  I think it's going to be very successful....''

And so said President Trump as he signed the Executive Order an hour ago.

It calls for the Pentagon to give President Trump, within 30 days, a plan to defeat ISIS.

''and that's big stuff....''

It sure is !

Friday, January 27, 2017

Three Prayers, Three Goals

Art by Andreas

by Rabbi Chanan Morrison, adapted from the writings of Rav Kook

The Sages established three daily prayers: Shacharit in the morning, Minchah in the afternoon, and Arvit [Ma’ariv] in the evening. Why do we need three prayers?

Rabbi Helbo taught: One should always be careful regarding the Minchah prayer, for Elijah was only answered in this prayer.

Rabbi Yochanan said: Also with the evening-prayer, as it says, “May my prayer be like an incense-offering before You, as I lift my hands in the evening offering” [Psalms 141:2]. Rabbi Nachman bar Yitzchak said: Also with the Shacharit morning-prayer, as it says, “God, hear my voice in the morning. In the morning I will arrange my prayer to You and wait expectantly” [Psalms 5:4].” [Berachot 6b]

This Talmudic discussion is peculiar. It starts by stating that the Minchah afternoon-prayer has advantages over the other prayers and requires special attention. Then the rabbis note that the morning and evening prayers are also special. If so, all three prayers are equally important. What does this mean?

Distinct Purposes

Some organs in the human body, like the kidneys, are doubled. This is not because we need two in order to live, but in case one should stop functioning, we can rely on the second as a backup.

One might think the same holds true for the three prayers. We pray three times a day in the hope that at least one prayer will be sincere and inspiring. The Talmud, however, rejects this idea. The rabbis note that each of the three prayers has its own special value. Each prayer meets a particular spiritual need.

What then is the purpose of each of these prayers?

Restoring the Spirit

Our major spiritual need is to counteract negative and corrupting influences. During the working day, we encounter all types of people, including some who are crass and unprincipled. These social interactions affect us, and not for the good. They can reinforce negative traits and lead us to frivolous and empty goals.

Prayer comes to restore our spiritual purity. We pour out our hearts to God, and the words of prayer lift us to pure and holy aspirations. Prayer washes away the superficial attraction of falsehood and the temporary loss of our moral compass.

This spiritual restoration is the purpose of the Minchah prayer. It is prayed in the middle of the day, when we have the greatest involvement with society.

Now we can understand why Rabbi Helbo brought proof to the importance of Minchah from Elijah. The prophet’s midday prayer was pivotal in his victory over the false prophets of Ba’al. In his prayer, Elijah sought Divine assistance to overcome the evil and idolatrous beliefs rampant among the numerous followers of Ba’al. Our Minchah prayer is a similar plea for help to overcome false and corrupting influences.

Repairing Thoughts

What is the purpose of the evening prayer? Why is it compared to an offering of ketoret-incense?

The ketoret offering was not performed publicly. The incense was burnt within the inner chamber of the Temple. The Sages taught that the incense atones for sins that are ‘hidden’ - private thoughts of malice and hatred and surreptitious slander [Yoma 44a, Zevachim 88b]. The inner service of incense was a source of inspiration to cleanse malicious thoughts lurking in the heart’s inner chambers.

The evening prayer is recited at a time when we have withdrawn to the solitude of our homes. The root-cause of social sins is the corruptive influence of an egocentric self-love. Like the inner service of ketoret, the goal of the night-time Ma’ariv prayer is to elevate the spirit and prevent our souls from being sullied in selfish and petty thoughts.

Awakening the Spirit

What about the third prayer, the morning-prayer of Shacharit?

When we first rise in the morning, the soul’s powers have not been corrupted by external sources. But they lack vitality and strength, having been dormant while sleeping. Therefore it is necessary to awaken these spiritual powers. We must arrange them so they will be ready to contemplate elevated matters - justice and integrity, awe and love of God. This spiritual preparation is the goal of the morning-prayer.

For this reason, the verse categorizes the morning-prayer as a time when “I arrange my prayer to You and wait expectantly.” It is the hour when we direct the aspirations of the heart and order the powers of the soul. After this preparation at the start of the day, we anticipate God’s assistance to gain spiritual fortitude. As the Sages taught, “Those seeking to purify themselves are granted assistance from Above” [Yoma 38b].

[Adapted from Olat Re’iyah vol. I, pp. 17-18 [introduction]; Ein Eyah vol. I, p. 27]

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Life After Life: Where Does the Soul Go?

One of - if not - the most timeless questions we all ask is: What happens to the soul after death? Where does the soul go to? But is the very premise of this question presumptuous? Our life experiences are mostly limited to the physical and the empirical, defined by our senses which serve as our primary tools. How then can these limited instruments grasp supra-sensory experiences, let alone soulful ones?! How can we expect that they define dimensions of reality that are outside of their narrow scope? So then how can we speak about the soul and the ethereal in any meaningful way?

Please join Rabbi Simon Jacobson in this monumental discussion -- essential to anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of the soul and its journey on earth and beyond.

A Message from Thalia a''h

Yesterday, Thalia Hakin a''h was laid to rest in a moving ceremony.  10 year old Thalia was killed by a maniac who randomly ploughed his car into a crowd of people in central Melbourne last week.

The funeral was held yesterday and you can read about that here, but that is not the point of this blog post.

Two years ago, Thalia wrote a letter for a class assignment, which has now been published.  

She wrote:  ''Now the world is dark but soon to be bright for us......and Hashem...... Moshiach will come.''

The Severity of the Sin

Art by Nick Gustafson

Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs that He had brought upon Pharaoh....And the Lord did according to Moses' word, and the frogs died .... [Va'eira 8:8-9]

Why is it, asked the Chofetz Chaim, that at the Plague of Frogs, Hashem accepted Moshe's prayer as soon as he uttered it and immediately stopped the devastating plague, yet when the Jews were in the wilderness and were attacked by fiery serpents, Moshe's prayers did not have an immediate effect?

For, in that case, Hashem told Moshe: ''Make yourself [the image of] a venomous snake, and place it on a pole.'' [Bamidbar 21:8]   Only by gazing at the copper ''snake'' did those who were bitten survive.

Why was it necessary for Moshe to perform an action here in order to save the Jewish people in the wilderness, yet in Egypt, no additional action was required?

This is meant to teach us, answered the Chofetz Chaim, the severity of the sin of speaking lashon hara.

As a rule, prayer is effective for removing all misfortunes and calamities.  Therefore, when Moshe beseeched Hashem to remove the frogs from Egypt, Hashem accepted his prayer and instantly stopped the plague.  However, the fiery serpents were sent to attack the Jewish people as a punishment for speaking lashon hara.  

Since they had committed a sin which the Heavenly Court judges with exactitude, Moshe's prayers were not immediately effective.  Instead, Hashem instructed him to make an image of a venomous snake for the people to gaze at.  This way, each Jew would think of his Father in Heaven and personally repent for his sin.  Each Jew would then be forgiven and granted life.

Source: Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rabbi Kessin: US Politicis and Messianic Process

I've been hanging out for Rabbi Kessin to do a new shiur......  and here it is.

Shiur #14 in the Current Event series.  He talks about the UN Resolution against Israel and Gog u'Magog.  The UN is Magog and Obama is Gog.

When an audience member asked if there would be a big war, Rabbi Kessin answered that he believes the Holocaust fulfilled that part of the prophecy - and in saying that, Rabbi Kessin is in agreement with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who also said that the Holocaust was the last major war.  [As for all the prophecies of dreadful wars, they do not necessarily have to happen as any prophecy of a negative occurrence is not a definite actuality, and Hashem can avert it.  Only good positive prophecies can be relied upon to actually occur.]

This shiur is a celebration!

And here is the video Rabbi Kessin mentioned =  the 2011 Correspondents' Dinner where Obama mocked Donald Trump.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yechi !

I was going to do a post about the name Jared, but Neshama already did a great one - check it out here.

When a couple marries, there is a kabbalistic tradition of combining the first initials of both of their Hebrew names and making a word out of these initials.  In the case of Jared and Ivanka Kushner, their Hebrew names are Yoel Chaim and Yael.   Without even mixing up the first letters of each of these names, it spells יחי Yechi - as in Yechi Adonainu Moreinu V''Rabeinu..... Melech HaMoshiach .....
which is the song sung by Lubavitchers to welcome Moshiach.

Another hint to Geula in this new Presidential family.

And here is the Torah Code of  ''Yoel Chaim'' [Jared] Kushner

The Miracle Within a Miracle

''There was hail and fire flaming amid the hail'' [Va'eira 9:24]

The Midrash states that the Plague of Hail was a miracle within a miracle: the hail did not extinguish the fire and the fire did not melt the hail.  Rather, both elements joined forces in smiting the Egyptians.

R' Acha compared this to a king who had two very powerful legions of soldiers. To find greater favor in the king's eyes, each legion tried out-doing the other when they went out to war. The competition between the two legions escalated to the point that they hated one another.

This hatred continued for some time until a major war threatened to break out in the king's land. The king summoned both legions to appear before him, and he told them the following:

''I know'' said the king, ''that you are both very powerful and dedicated to my service. I usually send only one of you at a time to the battlefront. But now a major war looms on the horizon, and I need assistance from both of you. But what shall I do about your mutual hatred? You must make peace between yourselves and go out to war united. Then we will be victorious!''

So it was with the Plague of Hail. Hail and fire cannot co-exist because the nature of fire is to melt hail and the nature of hail is to extinguish fire. But in this instance, Hashem made peace between them and together they struck at the Egyptians.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, January 23, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles

Always remember: You are never given an obstacle you cannot overcome. [Rebbe Nachman of Breslov]

The Rebbe Maharash innovated the concept of "L'chatchila ariber".  The approach of l'chatchila Ariber teaches that if we come upon an obstacle to a task we are involved in, or an obstacle to a mitzva or project or good deed which comes our way (or we pursue), we should overcome the obstacle in the most direct manner. The Rebbe Maharash explained that while some people propose that when confronted with an obstacle the best route is to go around, or under it -- and the Rebbe Maharash says: "And I say one has to go l'chatchila ariber [from the start, go over it]."


When You Carry Valuable Merchandise

The Ohr HaMeir says that in life there are certain people who have it easy. Everything goes smooth for them and no obstacles stand in their way. They think that they have reached perfection, they are on top of the world. On the other hand some people cannot catch a break. Every time they make a move something goes wrong. Are they traveling on the wrong road?

The Ohr HaMeir explains with a Mashal. If someone is traveling on the road carrying a sack of wheat husks, his trip is easy. He can travel wherever he wants, for as long as he wants, feeling secure and knowing no one will rob him of his goods. However, if he is carrying a satchel of precious stones he sweats every step, knowing that he is a hunted man.

Dovid HaMelech says in L'Dovid Hashem Ori [Tehilim 27:3] "Im Takum Alai Milchama B'Zos Ani Botei'ach" - if the enemy is constantly attacking me, in this I find confidence. Why? If my path in life was devoid of any value I would not encounter constant resistance from the Yetzer Hara. The fact that there is an obstacle in my path at every turn is a sign that I, my actions, goals, and ambitions are very valuable. So valuable that the Yetzer Hara is throwing all his resources at me to stop from accomplishing my dreams.

Source: Revach L'Neshama

Friday, January 20, 2017

Vertical Clouds

This photo on Instagram taken by a friend of mine in Israel shows vertical clouds - perhaps the same kind that Rivka wrote about in More Weird Things in the Sky - ''There were a lot of thin, wispy clouds that were placed vertically in the sky, like figures with arms, instead of the more usual horizontal layout.''

Looks like Hashem is using a paintbrush.

Anyone else seen these kind of clouds?

Photo: DLea


If you read the Geula blogs, then you probably have it.  OCMD.  Obsessive Compulsive Moshiach Disorder.  I certainly do.  I've had it for over ten years now, and there is no known cure, or medication available.  You are obsessed with the coming of Moshiach and Geula.  Once you have it, you will probably always have it, because even though you've been let down several times and you may try and remove yourself from it and focus on other things, you will find that it comes back again because any alternative is not sustainable.  To NOT anticipate Moshiach is far worse, because the world is so unbearable without the hope of Redemption.

The inauguration of D. J. Trump is bringing us a lot closer... you know that guy, the one with the gematria of Moshiach ben David.  That in itself is a big hint.

Now I happen to think that Trump himself will do the best he can and will be a great President, but the trouble may come to the Jews simply because he is doing the best he can.

Yesterday I read something written by someone I highly respect, even if we don't share the same political views.  First she linked to this article Twenty-seven Jewish Centers Across U.S. Evacuated Amid New Wave of Bomb Threats  and commented that ''Racists are emboldened because of his election. It's a green light for homegrown racists and white supremacists. It is an unfortunate but common mistake to assume that terrorism aimed at Jews must come from Muslims. In America, terrorist threats towards Jews are much more likely to be from white supremacist groups and homegrown racist nutjobs.''

Add to that the fact that Trump is surrounded by Jews, including his own family, and you have a recipe for a mass anti-semitic uprising, G-d forbid.  There are certainly enough Americans already who ''refuse to accept him as President'' and it won't take much for them all to blame the Jews.

I believe [as Dov Bar Leib informs us] that we are in the final nine months before Moshiach - this process began on January 15 at Paris, when they kicked off the war of Gog u Magog.  I just hope my OCMD is not deluding me again.

Artist Unknown

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sunglasses at Night

Did you read More Weird Things in the Sky ?  

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]

‘Gog and Magog’ …Now It’s G-d’s Turn

H/T Yaak

Is the political stage being set for the war of Gog & Magog? Tamar Yonah’s guest Rabbi Menachem Kohen, author of the book ‘Prophecies For The Era Of Muslim Terror: A Torah Perspective On World Events’ says we have already seen many prophecies and miracles come true, and that perhaps we have already witnessed the war of wars, and now…. it’s G-d’s turn. A fascinating show! 

 The Tamar Yonah Show 16Jan2017 – PODCAST - click here to listen

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Within Reach

"She sent her maidservant and she took it" [Shemot 2:5]

Chazal inform us that the basket carrying Moshe was too far for Pharoah's daughter to reach from where she was standing. Still, she stretched out her hand (amasah) in the direction of the basket and Hashem miraculously lengthened her arm for her.

R' Meir Shapiro, the rosh yeshivah of Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, called for an emergency meeting of the leaders of Lublin to discuss a certain person whose life was in danger.  R' Shapiro demanded of them to do something to save his life.

"This matter that you speak of" responded one of the leaders, "is beyond our capabilities.  We regrettably do not believe that we can carry it out."

"In this week's parsha" replied R' Shapiro, "the Torah states: "And she sent her maidservant".  Chazal teach us that the arm of Pharoah's daughter was miraculously lengthened in order for her to take hold of Moshe's basket.

"I wonder" continued R' Shapiro, "why did Pharoah's daughter even attempt to retrieve the basket in the first place?  After all, if it is obvious to an individual that something is not within his reach, does he waste his energy trying to obtain it?"

"We see from here" concluded R' Shapiro, "that when a person is expected to accomplish something, he should not deliberate whether or not he is capable of succeeding - he must try! Let him first make an effort, and then Heaven will assist him."

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Results of the Declaration on Israel by the 70 Nations at the UN

by Aaron Klein

Instead of convening a summit on the ongoing civil war in Syria, or the migrant crisis threatening Europe, or the rampant anti-Semitism plaguing its own country, France on Sunday held a convention attended by over 70 nations to affirm the international community’s commitment to creating a Palestinian state. 

At the end of the farcical display, and with neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority in attendance, the Paris summit representatives released a brief concluding declaration unanimously agreed to after negotiations between the countries.
  1. The text draws a moral equivalency between “violence,” which would include Palestinian terrorism targeting civilians, and “settlement activity,” meaning Israelis building homes in the West Bank or eastern sections of Jerusalem.
  2. The declaration calls for Israel to “fully end the occupation that began in 1967,” language that seems to mean that Israel would need to withdraw from the entire West Bank and eastern Jerusalem and thus shrink the country to indefensible borders.
  3. The declaration patronizes Israel by calling on both parties to “restate” their commitments to the two-state solution.
  4. The declaration gives credibility to the so-called Arab Peace Initiative, which threatens Israel’s security.
  5. The Paris declaration “welcomed” UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which passed last month when the U.S. abstained and refers to the entire West Bank and eastern Jerusalem as so-called occupied Palestinian territories while demanding a complete halt to all Israeli construction in those areas.
To read the full article go to Five Anti-Israel Offenses In Paris ‘Peace’ Summit Final Declaration 

70 is a Recurring Theme this month

This month, where the 70 nations of the world vote at the UN... the number 70 rules.

The Month of Tevet: Capricorn

The zodiacal sign of Teves is gedi, the goat [Capricorn]

Colour: Blue
Letter: Ayin - ע -  gematria 70

Tribe: Dan

Sense: Anger

The goat is given other names in the Torah, such as se'ire and eiz. Both of these names are highly significant for Teves, as it relates to Eisav and Rome.

Yaakov said to his mother Rivkah: "But my brother, Eisav, is a hairy man [ish se'ir] and I am smooth-skinned. Suppose my father feels me - I will appear to him as an imposter!" [Bereishis 27:11-12] Se'ire means "hairy" and refers to goats, which are extremely hairy. But we are also being told here that the goat itself is a metaphor for Eisav. The goat is also a metaphor for Yavan (Greece) as it appeared in Daniel's vision: And the rough goat is the king of Yavan. [Daniel 8:21]

In which way does the goat represent Yavan and Rome? One aspect is in the name itself - eiz - which means azus. The goat is not known for its tractability. It possesses the brazenness that is the hallmark of Yavan and the legacy of Eisav and Rome.

The goat is the brazen one of the domesticated animals. [Beitzah 25b]

There is another aspect of the goat which relates to Yavan and Rome:

Why do goats go out [to pasture] first, and only afterward sheep?... It is like the creation of the world: first was darkness, and then came light. [Shabbos 77b]

Rashi explains that goats are usually black (and sheep, of course, are white). Thus the goats, which push ahead to be first, symbolize the primal darkness, and the sheep which follow are the light which follows the darkness.

The goat, which represents Yavan, also echoes the darkness, the concealment, which is so fundamental to Yavan's outlook. It is this reign of darkness that always comes first. At the time of creation of the world, there was first darkness over the face of the deep, and only then did Hashem create light.

The irate anger of the goat is termed rogez, and the Sefer Yetzirah states that rogez is the dominant emotion of this month. Rogez refers to a trembling feeling. We find that one can tremble in rage or tremble in fear.

Rogez is a term frequently used to describe violent weather conditions.

Teves is the beginning of all destruction. This means that Edom (Rome; Western civilization) has its power rooted in this month. Furthermore, we see that many of our problems with Yavan took place in this month (such as the translation of the Torah). Greece is considered the origin of the Roman empire, for with Alexander's expanding Greek empire came the eventual spread and triumph of Rome. The month of Teves is therefore associated with Eisav, otherwise known as Edom.

The month of Teves is extremely harsh for the Jewish people. The fast day that was instituted on the tenth of the month commemorates the tragic events that took place on that day and the preceding two days:

* On the 8th of the month, Ptolemy, ruler of Greece, forced the Sages to translate the Torah into Greek [the Septuagint - which means seventy in Latin]. This was part of the threat to Jewish identity that Yavan (Greece) represented. We are told that when this took place, three days of darkness descended on the world.

* On the 9th of the month, Ezra and Nechemiah died. Also on this day the leader of Christianity was born [Megillas Ta'anis, Tosafos Chadashim, citing Kol Bo]

* On the 10th of the month, Yerushalayim was attacked by Nebuchadnetzar, king of Bavel. He laid a siege on the city, which resulted in the walls being breached on 17th Tamuz, three years later.

Although the actual destruction of the Beis HaMikdash took place on 9th Av, the 10th of Teves is of significance in its being the time when the process of destruction began.

Our sages teach us that at the age of ten (an allusion to the tenth month, the level of ten in general) a child "jumps like a goat." [Midrash Kohelet] The playful nature of jumping up and down "like a goat" reflects an important stage in the growing-up process. The month of Tevet, the month of the tribe of Dan, relates to the growing-up process, from a state of immaturity to a state of maturity.

Immaturity is characterized by the "evil eye," while maturity is characterized by the "good eye." Gedi = 17 = tov, "good" (the "good eye"). One must play (and jump up and down like a goat) in order to rectify and sweeten the anger latent in ones animal soul.

Tribe: Dan

The tribe of Dan represents the initial state of immaturity in the soul that "grows-up" during the month of Tevet. Dan means "to judge." Initially, he judges reality and others critically, with severe judgment (the "evil eye"). This is the nature of one who is spiritually immature. Dan is likened to a snake, who bites with the venom of anger. The "evil eye" is the eye of the snake.

The rectification of Dan is his engaging in the battle of holy anger against evil anger. Our sages teach us that only one from the soul-root of Dan can spontaneously jump up and kill the evil snake--"one like him, killed him."

Nachash ("snake") = 358 = Mashiach. The holy power of Dan reflects a spark of Mashiach. In the Zohar we are taught that the commander-in-chief of the army of Mashiach will come from the tribe of Dan.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Torah Codes Confirm Gog U'Magog - 70 Nations - Paris

''The Conference in Paris for Palestinian State''
''When Jews do not follow the Torah, our enemies will judge us.''  

The names Barak [Obama] and [John] Kerry are combined in this Torah Code, with both sharing the letter ק
The year 5777 and also the word Moshiach is found in this Code, as well as the words ''Moshiach will take revenge on the enemies''.

The following is from Rabbi Glazerson's book ''Above The Zodiac''

According to Rabenu Bachaya the nation associated with the sign of the month of Teves [Capricorn] is the Philistine nation.  For this reason Shimshon [Samson], from the tribe of Dan, gave his Philistine wife a goat as a gift.  He wanted to purify the evil influence of the Philistine at the root.  The Philistines were always a problem for the Jewish people and as is stated in the books of Joshua and Judges, when Israel did evil in G-d's eyes they were delivered into the hands of the Philistines.

The Power of stern Judgment within the Philistines is indicated in the numerical value of their name - Pelishtim - 860 - which is ten times the Divine Name Elokim [86] - the name that denotes Judgment.  Corresponding to this stands the tribe of Dan, with Shimshon at its head, who wanted to put an end to their evil influence.  However the time was not yet ripe, for Israel had not yet achieved a high enough spiritual level.  Perhaps the problems that Israel has currently with the Palestinians are a carry over of the previous problems with the Philistines.  [It is interesting to note that the PLO was founded during the month whose sign is Capricorn - Teves].  The solution to this problem is assured only by the return of the Nation of Israel to walk in the ways of G-d and observe the Torah.  Thereby the negative influence of Capricorn will be transformed to the realm of holiness.

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Demands of the 70 Nations Against Israel

And so it begins....

At the Paris Conference of the UN on Sunday 15th January, the terms that will be demanded by the delegates include :

  • It makes a clear commitment to “two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security
  • It insists that there must be an end to “the occupation that began in 1967”.
  • It calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to publicly renew their commitment to a two state solution.
  • It also calls on Israeli and Palestinian leaders to publicly renounce any of their officials that do not support a two state solution.
  • It states that the 70 nations gathered in Paris only recognize the June 4th, 1967 borders, and that the only future changes to those borders they will recognize will come as the result of negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And just like UN Security Council Resolution 2334, Jerusalem is specifically mentioned. So according to this document, Israel does not own the Wailing Wall, the Temple Mount, a single inch of the West Bank or a single inch of East Jerusalem.
  • The summary statement will also call on all countries to clearly distinguish between the State of Israel and territories that would belong to the Palestinians based upon the 1967 borders in all of their dealings.
Note: the parsha will be Shemot.  In this parsha the children of Israel multiply in Egypt. Threatened by their growing numbers, Pharaoh enslaves them and orders the Hebrew midwives, Shifrah and Puah, to kill all male babies at birth. When they do not comply, he commands his people to cast the Hebrew babies into the Nile.....G‑d appears to Moses in a burning bush at the foot of Mount Sinai, and instructs him to go to Pharaoh and demand: “Let My people go, so that they may serve Me.” .....Moses’ brother, Aaron, is appointed to serve as his spokesman. In Egypt, Moses and Aaron assemble the elders of Israel to tell them that the time of their redemption has come. The people believe; but Pharaoh refuses to let them go, and even intensifies the suffering of Israel....Moses returns to G‑d to protest: “Why have You done evil to this people? G‑d promises that the redemption is close at hand.
Source: Chabad

The Codes of Arrogance

by Dr Robert Wolf and Joel Gallis a''h

from the book "Between the Lines: Secrets of the Torah Codes"

A Torah Code analysis of the word גאוה [guyva - arrogance] uncovers startling connections between the occurrence of this word in code and events in the Torah which illustrate this trait. This Torah Code analysis also reveals the major causes of arrogance.

The first appearance in code of the word גאוה is in [Bereishis 1:16-20] where Hashem creates the two great luminaries, the sun and the moon. The Midrash tells us that the moon and sun were originally equal in size until the moon arrogantly protested "It is impossible for two kings to share one crown". Because of the moon's גאוה , the Midrash says that Hashem decided to diminish the size of the moon.

The second appearance of גאוה in code in the Torah is in [Bereishis 3:12]. In these verses, Adam arrogantly blames Eve for eating from the Tree of Life: "She gave me of the tree and I ate". Adam initially does not accept responsibility for his own act, but chooses to try to stay blameless at the expense of Eve.

The word גאוה also falls in code in [Noach 11:1-3] at the initiation of the building of the Tower of Babel. This tower was to be built, according to many commentators, to ascend to Heaven and to wage war against Hashem. Interestingly, Nimrod is cited as the leader of this incredibly arrogant effort. The word גאוה also falls in code in [Noach 10:8-9] where the birth of Nimrod is described.

Another word חצפה [chutzpah] is often used interchangeably with גאוה and is seen as having very similar meaning. At odds that are impossible to calculate, the words גאוה and חצפה overlap in code in [Tzav 8:2-9]. The letters from each of the two words occur in the exact same verses between [2-9] with the same space interval between each of the letters.

Furthermore, an analysis of the four words in which the letters from גאוה fall in Tzav 8 above, reflects what our sages have agreed are among the major cause of גאוה .

The ג in גאוה falls in the word הבגדים [the clothing]. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 3:3 suggests that we should not dress in extravagant clothing because such acts bring a person to גאוה.

The א in גאוה falls in the word ויאמר [he spoke]. The Talmud in Yoma [86a] suggests that a man should also speak gently with his fellow man. R. Chayim Luzzatto in Mesillat Yesharim suggests that to feel humble and free of גאוה, "our words must be words of honour" and adds that we must generally conduct ourselves with a lowliness of speech.

The ו in גאוה falls in the word עליו. This refers to the arrogant person's focus "upon himself" and upon only his needs, wants and desires and not on the needs of anyone else or the Jewish people.

Finally, the ה in גאוה falls in the word הזהב [the gold]. In relation to this, R' Chayim Luzzatto in Mesilat Yesharim notes that "among the deterents to humility is an abundance of goods of this world". Additionally, the Talmud in Berachot [32a] says that "A lion does not roar over a basket of straw, but over a basket of meat".

Thus, the Torah Codes affirm what our Sages have taught us regarding the causes of arrogance and point us along the pathway to humility.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gematria for Beginners

In this video, Rabbi Simon Jacobson explains gematria [numerology of the Hebrew letters].

Vayechi: When Great Souls Err

by Rabbi Chanan Morrison from the writings of Rav Kook

Shortly before his death, Jacob blessed his sons. Some of these blessings, however, were more like reprimands:

“Reuben, you are my firstborn... first in rank and first in power. [But since you were] unstable as water, you will no longer be first, for you moved your father’s beds.” [Vayechi 49:3-4]

According to some opinions, Reuben did not actually interfere with his father’s sleeping arrangements.[1] He intended to do so, indignant at what he saw as a slight to his mother’s honor and her position in the household. But at the last minute, Reuben restrained himself.

How did Reuben succeed in overcoming his intense feelings of injustice and dishonor?

Reuben’s Fear of Punishment

One scholar inferred the method Reuben used to master his anger by reversing the letters of the word ‘פחז’ (“unstable”) to ‘זחפ’ and reading it as an acronym:

זָכַרְתָּ - You reminded yourself of the punishment for this act; חָלִיתָ - you made yourself ill over it; and פֵּירַשְׁתּ - you avoided sin” [Shabbat 55b].

This explanation is surprising. Was Reuben motivated by the lowest form of yirat Shamayim (awe of Heaven) - the fear of punishment? Was this the only way the tzaddik could prevent himself from wrongdoing? Could such a great individual not take advantage of more lofty incentives, evoking his natural love and awe of God in order to avoid sin?

The Achilles’ Heel of Great Souls

Some people are blessed with such nobility of soul that their traits are naturally virtuous and good. Yet even these tzaddikim need to recognize their limitations as fallible human beings. They too may be misguided. Precisely because they rely so heavily on their innate integrity, they may more easily fall into the trap of deluding themselves and making terrible mistakes, inflicting great harm on themselves and those around them.

Truly great souls will avoid this mistake. They carefully examine the source of their moral outrage. Further examination may indeed reveal that their zealous response comes from a sense of true injustice. But if they have any doubts as to the source for their powerful emotions, they can adopt a different approach. Instead of examining the matter in terms of ideals and lofty visions of the future, they will take into account more commonplace moral considerations. Such unpretentious calculations are sometimes more effective than nobler considerations.

Reuben reminded himself that he would be held accountable for disrupting the delicate balance in the family and temporarily usurping his father’s position. The simple reminder of the personal price to be paid helped Reuben clear his mind. He was then able to analyze more accurately his true motivations and arrive at the correct moral decision.

The resulting inner turmoil was tremendous. Reuben was accustomed to following the dictates of his innate integrity. The conflict between his sense of injustice and his awareness of the correct response was so great that he felt ill - emotionally, and even physically: “You made yourself ill over it.”

This too indicates greatness of soul: the ability to acquiesce to moral imperatives. Truly great individuals are able, like Reuben, to rein in all of the soul’s powers when necessary. They recognize the absolute justice of the Eternal Judge, before Whom there are no excuses and no exceptions. They follow the dictum that even if the entire world - your entire inner world - tells you that you are righteous, still consider yourself fallible [see Niddah 30b].

Much good can result from recalling the punishment for wrongdoing, even if this motivation may appear beneath one’s spiritual stature. This simple reminder can overcome all the sophisticated calculations - calculations which may mislead even the noblest souls. In this fashion, Reuben succeeded in avoiding sin and retained his moral integrity.

Source: Rav Kook: Sapphire from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. IV, pp. 48-49

1 After Rachel’s death, Jacob moved his bed to the tent of Rachel’s handmaid. Reuben, deeply disturbed by what he saw as an affront to his mother’s honor, moved his father’s bed to Leah’s tent [Shabbat 55a].

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Power of the Month: Tevet and Kislev

Every month on the Jewish calender has it's own energy and power. The month in which you are born can tell you a lot about yourself.  Rabbi Anava explains the power of the month of Tevet [anger management], and below the month of Kislev.  Also see Jewish Astrology.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Secret to Bring Moshiach

I have not listened to this, but obviously the title of the video is enough to merit a blog post.  Rabbi Alon Anava speaks about the fast of the 10th of Tevet.

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Art: Jacob Taanmann

Yarzheit: 11 Teves - In memory of two great teachers: Ze'ev Yosef ben Sholom a"h and Rochel bas Mordechai a"h  who tragically left this world on December 20, 2007 - we miss you and think of you every day.

Tzadikim never die, their light continues to shine forever.

"Teach them thoroughly to your children" [Devarim 6:7] - "your children" refers to your students. [Sifrei]

"Whoever teaches another man's son Torah is considered as if he had borne him." [Sanhedrin 19b]

A talmid once approached R' Chaim Shmulevitz to relate a chiddush (original Torah thought). R' Chaim listened to the student in amazed silence. The "chiddush" was, in fact, an idea which R' Chaim himself had offered in a shiur (lecture) which this student had attended.

R' Chaim was certain that the student was not trying to deceive him. There could only be one explanation. The student had absorbed R' Chaim's lecture well, but after a period of time, had forgotten having attended it. Later, when reviewing the relevant material, the student had thought of R' Chaim's chiddush, thinking that it was his own.

R' Chaim later remarked: "I then realized that here was a real talmid, assimilating my chiddushim in his thoughts as if they were his very own! It was the happiest day of my life!"

Ever Mindful

When still active as Rosh Yeshivah of Mesivta Torah Vodaath, R' Yaakov Kamenetzky once visited the home of his son R' Shmuel. Late at night, R' Shmuel heard his father leave his second-floor bedroom and go downstairs.

Concerned, R' Shmuel made his way downstairs, only to find his father jotting something down in a pocket notebook. R' Yaakov explained: "A certain bochur in yeshivah has been having some problems. I just thought of a way to help him. I jotted it down in my appointment book to make sure that I won't forget."

How Can I Leave?

The weddings of his talmidim were of particular importance to R' Moshe Feinstein. One Friday morning, someone met him in New York's Port Authority bus terminal, waiting to board a bus to the annual convention of Agudath Israel.

It seemed hard to believe that a car had not been provided to take R' Moshe to the convention. R' Moshe's companion explained: "Certainly a car was provided. The Rosh Yeshivah was to be driven to the convention last night, following the chuppah at a talmid's wedding. The car was waiting after the ceremony ended, but the Rosh Yeshivah said: "How can I leave without first dancing with the chassan?" He insisted that the car, which was to pick up other Roshei Yeshivah, not wait for him, and he would not trouble anyone to come for him a second time."

For a Student's Honour

R' Eliyahu Moshe Shisgal (late son-in-law of R' Moshe Feinstein) was a revered and beloved Rosh Yeshivah. Once, during a lecture, a student disputed a point that R' Shisgal had made. The student's remarks seemed so ludicrous that the rest of the class burst into laughter.

R' Shisgal chastised his students. "Why do you laugh? Is this the proper way? Besides, how can one be sure that what he suggested is wrong? Perhaps it is we who are in error?"

Having spoken, R' Shisgal excused himself and left the room, returning a few minutes later with a gemara that he had climbed two flights of stairs to get. He read aloud a passage from the commentary of Rashi and concluded "It is apparent from Rashi that our explanation is correct." The student who had posed the question no longer felt chagrined.

Source: Rabbi Shimon Finkelman "For Love of Torah"

Friday, January 6, 2017

Confronting the Truth

Parshas VaYigash: Rav Moshe Shternbuch -

The Medrash says that when Judgement day comes, we will not be able to stand up to the "Tochacha" - the rebuke from Hashem. We learn this from the Shvatim who couldn't bear the embarrassment of learning that Yosef was alive. 

Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that we see from here that the most painful rebuke is not a good screaming at, but rather being forced to confront the truth. Yosef did not scream or threaten, rather he softly told them that he is their brother whom they tried to destroy. 

Upon seeing how wrong they were, they experienced the worst embarrassment of their lives.

Similarly says Rav Shterbuch in the name of the Baal Shem Tov HaKadosh,the pasuk in Tehilim says, "Kel Nekamos Hashem". At the end of time Hashem will avenge those who have sinned against him. How? 

The pasuk continues "Kel Nekamos Hofia". Hashem's revenge is simply to appear! 

After all of history when Hashem finally reveals Himself openly to the entire world, everyone will be be mortally embarrassed when they grasp the lowliness for each and every one of their sins.

Source: Revach

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Moon and Venus - Wow

Photo: Pete Lawrence

Photo: Pete Lawrence

70 Nations Gathering Against Israel

As we know, Gog u Magog represents the ''70 nations'' of the world against Israel.  On January 15th 70 Nations Will Gather In Paris To Discuss The Creation Of A Palestinian State.

So they will meet in Paris..... and coincidentally I am halfway through Sarah's Key..... the story of a young Jewish girl caught up in the Vel' d'Hiv Roundup -  a Nazi directed raid and mass arrest of Jews in Paris by the French police, code named Opération Vent printanier ["Operation Spring Breeze"] on 16 and 17 July 1942.  The French already have a lot of atoning to do.

Just as the UN vote occurred on Chanukah, to hint that we are going to be victorious and experience miracles, so too the venue for the ''Gathering Against Israel'' contains hints to the Moshiach.

The Hebrew for France is צָרְפַת which has a gematria of 770:  770 is gematria PARATZA, as in “and you shall burst forth - PARATZTA - westward, eastward, northward and southward” [Genesis 28:14]. PARATZTA [770] is Mashiach, as in “the one who breaks forth has gone up before them” [Micha 2:13]. Rashi: “This is their savior”.  See: Vision of Geulah