Sunday, April 30, 2017

Iyar: The Month of Healing

The Sefer Ta’amei HaMinhagim writes that our new month of Iyar is tried and tested as a time for refuah, healing, from the ailments and pains that may affect a person. Why is this so? He brings the B’nai Yisaschar, who teaches that most weakness and illness come from foods which do not comport with the person’s nature or composition.  Read full article at: Days of Mashiach

There are a couple of ways to assist in your own healing, and that is by saying the Unique Healing Prayer [but you have to do it properly and say every chapter relating to your [Hebrew] name, instructions are at the site].... and the other thing to do is to change your eating habits for the following reason:

"The reason a person's health returns through taking medicines is that his soul sees that he is able to control himself and to act contrary to his physical desires and habits. Perhaps he is accustomed to eating bread and other foods, but now he curbs his desires and submits to a medical regime, taking bitter medicines for the sake of his health. His soul sees that he has the power to control his impulses in order to achieve a certain goal, and she therefore comes back to him in the hope that he will curb his desires for the sake of the true purpose - which is to carry out the will of the Creator" [Likutey Moharan I, 268].  

Do we recite a Blessing on Medication?  Rabbi Eliezer Posner says:

If the medicine has a good taste, such as flavored chewable pills, recite the Shehakol blessing. [Seder Birchat Hanehnin 7:8] Flavorless medicine, such as pills that you swallow, do not require a blessing—but we do say a prayer that the medicine should take effect:

"May it be Your will that this medicine shall bring healing."

No blessing is recited on water that you drink to swallow down the pill. If you are swallowing it down with a beverage other than water, then you do recite the appropriate blessing on that beverage. [Tip: recite the blessing, take a sip, swallow the pill and then drink it down with the rest of the beverage.]

Friday, April 28, 2017


''A person who seeks recognition is much like a goat that wears a bell around its neck to announce its whereabouts."

Source: Rav Mendel of Kotzk zt'l

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Do Jewish Sources Predict a North Korean Threat in the End of Days?

Fake weapons 

Listen to Tamar Yonah interviewing  R' Dov Bar Leib from the Years of Awe blog

Do Jewish sources predict a North Korean threat in the End of Days?  Tamar takes a spiritual look and then a more factual geo-political look at the North Korean threat.

Tamar also speaks to Dr. Mordechai ben-Menachem, author of the book Muslim Winter.  Click here to listen: The Tamar Yonah Show

The Power of Words

Pharris Art

These parshiyot – Tazria and Metzora tell about the metzora. Chazal say that the word “Metzora” is a combination of the word “motzi ra – one who emits slander” [lit. spreading negative information], implying that tzara’at is retribution for one who slanders, since he spread derogatory information. But there is another meaning to tzara’at that a metzora suffers, as it is stated in Gemara about tzara’at [Berachot 5b]: It is nothing else but an altar of atonement. Suffering purifies a person from all evilness, since through suffering he is cleansed from all sin. This is the reason for the juxtaposition: “If a woman conceives … and on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” and following this is parashat Metzora, which signifies that just as through the mizvah of Brit Mila [circumcision] the child connects to the Covenant of Avraham Avinu, so too the suffering and pain that a person experiences because of his tzara’at removes all evilness from him and connects him to Hashem, since suffering is for the benefit of man and he should not despair when it comes upon him.

Source: Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara'ath, on the day of his cleansing: he shall be brought to the kohen. [Metzora 14:2]

People have a tendency to make light of the sin of loshon hara, said the Dubno Maggid.  They say to themselves:  ''What are mere words? I am not harming my friend in any way by simply speaking about him.''

The Torah therefore requires that the metzora be brought to the Kohen, in order for him to witness what man's speech is capable of doing.  With one word, the Kohen defines the status of the metzora, making him either pure or impure - such is the power of man's words!

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dreams are Always Revealing

HaRav DovBer Pinson on dreams and how they always contain either prophetic or subconscious revelations. You'll need to have a very quiet space and turn up the volume to hear him, he's talking very quickly.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Holding On

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day [Yom HaShoah] 2017 in Israel

Story by Yaffa Eliach from "Hasidic Tales of the Holocaust", based on a conversation between the Grand Rabbi of Bluzhov, Rabbi Israel Spira and Baruch Singer: January 3, 1975.

It was a dark, cold night in the Janowska Road Camp. [The Janowska Road Camp was situated near the cemetaries and sand mountains outside the city of Lvov, in the Ukraine]

Suddenly, a stentorian shout pierced the air: "You are all to evacuate the barracks immediately and report to the vacant lot. Anyone remaining inside will be shot on the spot!"

Pandemonium broke out in the barracks. People pushed their way to the doors while screaming the names of friends and relatives. In a panic-stricken stampede, the prisoners ran in the direction of the big open field. Exhausted, trying to catch their breath, they reached the field. In the middle were two huge pits. [The vicinity of the Camp was scarred with bomb craters from WW1. The huge pits were used as torture sites and mass graves.]

Suddenly, with their last drop of energy, the inmates realized where they were rushing, on that cursed dark night in Janowska. Once more, the cold healthy voice roared in the night: "Each of you dogs who values his miserable life and wants to cling to it must jump over one of the pits and land on the other side. Those who miss will get what they rightfully deserve - ra-ta-ta-ta-ta." Imitating the sound of a machine gun, the voice trailed off into the night followed by a wild, coarse laughter. It was clear to the inmates that they would all end up in the pits.

Even at the best of times it would have been impossible to jump over them, all the more so on that cold dark night in Janowska. The prisoners standing at the edge of the pits were skeletons, feverish from disease and starvation, exhausted from slave labor and sleepless nights. Though the challenge that had been given them was a matter of life and death, they knew that for the S.S. and the Ukranian guards it was merely another devilish game.

Among the thousands of Jews on that field in Janowska was the Rabbi of Bluzhov, Rabbi Israel Spira. He was standing with a friend, a freethinker from a large Polish town whom the rabbi had met in the camp. A deep friendship had developed between the two.

"Spira, all of our efforts to jump over the pits are in vain. We only entertain the Germans and their collaborators, the Askaris. Let's sit down in the pits and wait for the bullets to end our wretched existence." said the friend to the rabbi.

"My friend," said the rabbi, as they were walking in the direction of the pits, "man must obey the will of G-d. If it was decreed from heaven that pits be dug and we be commanded to jump, pits will be dug and jump we must. And if, G-d forbid, we fail and fall into the pits, we will reach the World of Truth a second later, after our attempt. So, my friend, we must jump."

The rabbi and his friend were nearing the edge of the pits; the pits were rapidly filling up with bodies. The rabbi glanced down at his feet, the swollen feet of a 53 year old Jew ridden with starvation and disease. He looked at his young friend, a skeleton with burning eyes. As they reached the pit, the rabbi closed his eyes and commanded in a powerful whisper, "We are jumping!"

When they opened their eyes, they found themselves standing on the other side of the pit. "Spira, we are here, we are here, we are alive!" the friend repeated over and over again, while warm tears steamed from his eyes. "Spira, for your sake, I am alive; indeed, there must be a G-d in heaven. Tell me Rabbi, how did you do it?"

"I was holding on to my ancestral merit. I was holding on to the coat-tails of my father, and my grandfather and my great-grandfather, of blessed memory," said the rabbi and his eyes searched the black skies above. "Tell me, my friend, how did you reach the other side of the pit?"

"I was holding on to you" replied the rabbi's friend.

Memorial Sign for Jews killed in Lviv Janowska Concentration Camp

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Chasidah Bird

The Chasidah [white stork]

 וְאֵת הַחֲסִידָה  "The chasidah" [Shemini 11:19]

Why is its name chasidah (literally meaning "kind one") asks Rashi. "Because it does kindness with its companions with food."

According to the Ramban, said the Chiddushei HaRim (R' Yitzchak Meir Alter of Gur), the reason why the nonkosher birds are not kosher is because of their cruel nature.  If so, the chasidah should have been a kosher-type bird; after all, it bestows kindness upon its companions!

The chasidah acts kindly towards its companions, answered the rebbe, but it does not act kindly toward anyone else. This is why it is considered not kosher.

Friday, April 14, 2017

How to Receive Ruach haKodesh

Ruach HaKodesh literally means ''breath of the Holy'' or more simply Divine Inspiration - it is what we call intuition, knowing something that you could generally have no way of knowing.  Although similar, it's not the same thing as Prophecy, as explained here.

Rabbi Pinson explains why most of us do not have this ability now, and how we can try and get it back.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Month of Open Miracles

The first mention of the name Nissan is in Megilat Esther when Haman draws lots to decide which day of the year he will kill the Jews. This event, says the Megila, took place in the month of Nissan. The Bnei Yisaschar says the name Nissan is for “Nissim” miracles. It is a month of open miracles where Hashem turned the natural world on its head to rescue His beloved nation. The Torah tells us this special time was planned from the creation of the world and will always be a time of miracles and redemption for Am Yisroel for all generations.

The following is written by Rabbi Chaim Avihau Schwartz

Rabbi Yehoshua contends that in Nissan the universe was created... in Nissan the Jewish People were redeemed, and in Nissan they will be redeemed once again. [Talmud, Rosh HaShannah 10b]

Rabbi Yehoshua believed that the universe must have been created in Nissan, for Nissan is the first of the months of the year. Being the first month it is closer to the ultimate cause, closer to that heavenly source that lies above and beyond time. This is the nature of Nissan's unique holiness - a holiness by virtue of which it is closely bound to the Almighty. Nissan is separate and distinct from the rest of the months of the year. Compared to Nissan the rest of the months represent ordinary mundane existence. True, we count the years since creation from Tishrei, but from the deeper perspective of the Nation of Israel the year begins in Nissan. That is, the true point of connection, the true bond between the new year and its Divine source is in Nissan. From the human perspective, a Jew is capable of sanctifying himself at any time through the study of Torah, self sacrifice, etc. But from the loftier perspective of Divine affinity and willingness, Nissan is the choicest time of year for approaching and cleaving to God. That is, the possibility of our clinging to God is greater in Nissan than in any other month of the year.

The word "Nissan" can be understood in Hebrew to mean "our miracles." Because of its unique holiness Nissan is a perfect time for overt miracles. This is because Nissan constitutes a bond, as it were, between time-bound existence and the realm that transcends time. Throughout history many miracles have taken place in this month. Even the bread that we eat in Nissan - Matzah - is Holy. Matzah contains none of the leaven that represents the evil inclination. It is bread that possesses Divine holiness. It is impossible to subsist without bread, but in Nissan the bread is Divine. The difference between ordinary leavened bread and Matzah is the amount of time involved in its preparation. Once again we see that the month of Nissan constitutes the height of attachment between natural existence and the Divine source. Therefore it is singled out as a time of redemption - "In Nissan the Jewish People were redeemed, and in Nissan they will be redeemed once again" - speedily in our days, Amen.

This is an extract only, read the entire article at: Yeshiva

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Mystical Secrets of Seder Night

Rabbi Alon Anava

Holy Matzah

Many communities, chassidic ones in particular, have the custom to refrain from eating gebrokts on the first seven days of Passover. Gebrokts is a Yiddish word that refers to matzah that has come in contact with water.

It literally means “broken,” and it has come to mean “wet matzah” because matzah is usually ground or broken up into crumbs before it is mixed with water.

Those who refrain from eating gebrokts on Passover do so for fear that during the baking process there may have been a minute amount of flour that did not get kneaded properly into the dough. Upon contact with water, that flour would become chametz.

The custom of not eating gebrokts gained prominence around the end of the eighteenth century. At that time, people began to bake matzahs much faster than halachically mandated, in order to be absolutely sure that the dough had no chance to rise before being baked. The flip side of this stringency is that the matzah we eat today is not as well kneaded as matzah used to be, and it is very possible that it contains pockets of flour. [1]

The stringency of not eating gebrokts applies to matzah and water only—not to matzah and pure fruit juices or other liquids, [2] which don’t cause flour to become chametz.

Those who are careful with gebrokts don’t eat matzah balls, matzah brei, [pronounced matzah bry] or matzah anything; in short, they do not cook with matzah at all. Also, when there is matzah on the table, they are very careful to keep it covered and away from any food that may have water in it. Drinks, soups, and vegetables that have been washed and not thoroughly dried, are all kept far away from the matzah.

A situation in which this stringency comes into play is during the Korech step of the Seder. This step requires that we take maror—lettuce and horseradish—and put it between two pieces of matzah to make a sandwich. Because the lettuce will actually be touching the matzah, it must be absolutely dry. Many families spend much time carefully washing the lettuce and then very meticulously drying it in preparation for the Seder.

On the eighth day of Passover, which exists only outside the Land of Israel, the gebrokts stringency doesn’t apply, and all feast on matzah balls and matzah brei, and dip their matzah into soups and salads. In fact, many have the custom to try to eat their matzah with as many liquids and wet foods as possible. [3]

The simple reason for this is that the celebration of the eighth day is of rabbinic origin.

But there is also a spiritual reason given for eating gebrokts on the eighth day:

The last day of Passover is connected with the future redemption [see Remembering the Future], a time when no evil will befall us. We reflect this reality by going out of our way to eat gebrokts on this day, without fear that the matzah may become chametz. [4]

Alternatively, Passover celebrates the Exodus, a time when we were (and are) spiritually immature. At this time, we need to be constantly on guard for the slightest bit of chametz (i.e., pride and ego), lest we be adversely affected. Fifty days after Passover, and after the seven weeks of character refinement we undergo with the Omer counting, we have spiritually matured and are fully immunized against the harmful side effects of chametz. We are then ready as a nation to receive the Torah. Thus, on the holiday of Shavuot, one of the communal offerings brought in the Temple was specifically made of chametz. [For further elaboration on this idea, see Chametz: What Would Your Psychologist Say?]

On the last day of Passover, we have already completed the first of the seven weeks of the counting of the Omer. We are not quite ready for chametz, but we are a bit more secure. For this reason we eat our matzah with liquid, without fear.5

For a lengthier treatment of the spiritual implications of gebrokts on the last day of Passover, see A Speck of Flour.


Responsa of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, no. 6.

Provided that one can be absolutely positive that the liquid contains no water whatsoever. Practically, this applies to wines or juices squeezed or produced in-house.

All these gebrokts foods should be prepared after nightfall of the last night of Passover (unless that day is Shabbat, in which case it would be permitted to prepare the matzah balls or other gebrokts foods on Friday, provided that one has made an eruv tavshilin before the holiday).

Talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, Acharon Shel Pesach 5744.

Talk by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Acharon Shel Pesach 5727.

Source: Chabad

Saturday, April 8, 2017


As we already knew, Donald Trump was 70 years, 7 months and 7 days on his first full day in office, and won by 77 electoral votes....   and now we learn that it was on his 77th day as President that he kick-started WW3.

How could all these sevens be coincidental? How could they not be Hashem's gigantic hints to the current year 5777 being THE year ? 

Just as an aside, apart from being the 100th anniversary of WW1, it was also the 115th birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe [who passed in 1994] - his birthday is still widely acknowledged by Lubavitchers and Yud Alef Nissan is regarded as a very special day. Seems the Rebbe is still majorly spiritually connected to the world, and to the current White House family, noting the Kushners choice of a Chabad shul in Washington.   And of course the Rebbe's address was 770 Eastern Parkway..... there's those sevens again.

So now the world takes sides, and we continue to wait and see. 

See what? What do we think we're going to see? Rainbows and unicorns, peace and love and hearts in the sky? How do we know what the Geula looks like?  What does the Geula look like?  Find out what will actually happen by listening to this shiur by Rabbi Shimon Kessin,  and prepare to have your mind blown.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

What does The Geula Look Like

HT: Rahel

This video was from last year, but it was brought to my attention by Rahel on FB :

Rabbi Shimon Kessin - [brother of Rabbi Mendel Kessin]  ..."What does the Geula look like when it starts---at the moment of initiation"? In order to answer this question, he discusses a concept called "Bread of Shame."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Forgotten Miracles

One of Rebbe Nachman's followers once came to him. He had a serious ailment in his arm and was in such great pain that he could not move it at all. He had his arm in a sling and was totally unable to lower it.

The Rebbe's followers told him that this cripple was very poor and could not afford the expensive salts and other remedies that he needed for his arm.

The cripple was sitting at Rebbe Nachman's table for the Sabbath noon meal. The Rebbe remarked that the cripple certainly had faith, and all those sitting there agreed. He discussed this a while and then repeated himself, asking again if this cripple had faith. Those present again answered "yes".

Suddenly the Rebbe commanded the cripple "Lower your hand!"

The cripple stood there amazed, and everyone else was also very surprised. What was the Rebbe saying? The man had been afflicted for a long time, and it was absolutely impossible for him to move his arm. Why was the Rebbe telling him to do the impossible?

But as soon as Rebbe Nachman gave the order, "he decreed, spoke and it became fulfilled".

His follower removed the man's sling and he instantly lowered his arm. He was totally healed and it was an obvious miracle. He regained full use of his arm, and it remained healthy for the rest of his life.

Many awesome miracles like this occurred from time to time. The Rebbe, however, was compelled to minimize them.

I saw the Rebbe soon after he healed the cripple and spoke to him about it. It was obvious that he was not feeling well. He said "Whenever I am involved with miracles, I always suffer from it. Whenever I do anything like this I pray to G-d that it be forgotten." [This may be the reason why so few of his miracles have ever been recorded]

from "Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom" by Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan z"l

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Did You Know......?

Artist Unknown

When you speak lashon hara you give your merits to the one you're slandering and take their transgressions.

[Chofetz Chaim; sefer Shmiras Halashon]

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spreading The Light

A continuous fire shall burn upon the altar; it shall not go out. [Tzav 6:6]

There were two types of fire in the Sanctuary and Holy Temple: one that burned on the outer altar, and one that burned in the menora inside. 

The priest whose job it was to light the menora did so with a flame taken from the outer altar. 

This teaches an important lesson: The outer altar is symbolic of our Divine service with other people; the kindling of the menora alludes to Torah study, as it states in Proverbs, "The Torah is light." 

Thus in order to merit the Torah's light it isn't enough to concern oneself with one's own spiritual progress; the concern should be extended to others as well.

Source: Likutei Sichot Lubavitcher Rebbe