Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Completely Different Lens on Anti Semitism

I've been following this guy on FB [The Nation of Israel] and he is making a lot of sense.

Please listen - 17 mins

Monday, December 30, 2019

Newborn Stars

I think this is so beautiful.... NASA's photo of newborn stars in space

Rabbi Jacobson on Anti Semitism in America

''It starts with the Jews, but doesn't end with the Jews. We must keep Torah values among ourselves and the rest of the World.''

Friday, December 27, 2019

A Time of Favour

The Be'er Hachaim [Chanukah, p 125] writes:  ''The Zohar [206a] teaches that whenever the Aron HaKodesh is opened it is an Eis Ratzon [a time of favour].  We have a direct kabbalah from the Tzemach Tzedek, who heard from his grandfather the Ba'al HaTanya, who heard from . his Rebbe, the Maggid of Mezeritch, who heard from his own Rebbe, the Ba'al Shem Tov, that all prayers and supplications that are uttered when the Aron is open will be fulfilled in part or in full.

Many students of the Ba'al Shem Tov testify that at that moment the gates of compassion are opened and great things can be accomplished.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Preparing For Redemption: Perspective On Current Events

Making sense of life is not always easy to do. There are times that we know G-d is talking to us on an individual or collective level through events or patterns that replay themselves. The question that is hard to answer: What is G-d’s message to us? How am I supposed to understand what G-d is trying to tell me? 

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a luminary and scholar of Torah wisdom gives us The Equation Of Life through which we can gain new clarity and perspective on understanding our lives and the events therein. To gain more wisdom from Rabbi Winston and learn about his many books check out his website thirtysix.org

Monday, December 23, 2019

Life is but a Dream

Art: UKTara

"At the end of two years, it happened that Pharoah was dreaming....." [Miketz 41:1]

Pharoah's dream is the very beginning of the story of Egyptian exile.  The dream predicted a famine which eventually caused Yaakov and his family to settle in Egypt where, a generation later, they were enslaved.

In the times of exile, the Jewish people are forced to withstand the fluctuation between two contradictory modes of life: love of G-d at the time of prayer, and then total immersion into the physical world during one's business and private affairs the rest of the day. 

Chassidic teachings compare this situation to a dream, because in a dream two opposite, contradictory phenomena can co-exist simultaneously.

In order to hint to this idea, the precursor of the Egyptian exile - our current story - was recorded in the Torah as a dream.

Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe vol 15 p.346

Friday, December 20, 2019

Why Bother

R' Yechiel Meir Lifshitz of Gostynin once rebuked a store owner for exploiting the poor and unfortunate people that resided in his town. Instead of showing them mercy, he cruelly charged exorbitant prices for his goods.

R' Lifshitz said to him: "What you are doing is hinted to in a verse. The Torah states: "What gain [betza] will there be if we kill our brother?" [Vayeishev 37:26].

"The acronym of the word "betza" is boker [morning], tzaharayim [afternoon] and erev [evening] - the three periods of the day when a Jew is required to pray to Hashem.

"Now tell me" concluded R' Lifshitz, "mah betza" - why bother [praying three times a day] - "if we kill our brother" - if at the same time we are busy cruelly exploiting our poor and needy brethren."

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Vayeishev - Expression, blinders and the future

Text by R. Yosef Serebryanski

 *** May these brief words be enough to open you up to the truth of what is deep in your heart. *** May you develop the strength to overcome the course of disruptions and/or disturbances that happen along your journey…

Colors are an amazing part of our lives. In school we are taught basic colors. As we progress through life we learn of their many variations. Yet how often do we sit to contemplate either the depth or the brevity that they reflect? In reflection we find that we are affected in different ways by fluctuations in color.

Color affects people’s states of mind. Feelings or expressions of jealousy, anger, happiness and moodiness are all reflected by color. These are external manifestations. White and black are reflections of the internal. Sometimes color is used as part of the healing process in order to generate or change moods; i.e. to “open” or “close” people as is called for by the situation.

We are often blinded by love, anger and/or jealousy. Since all of us are imperfect, we must retain this awareness in order to be able to accept our limitations and blind spots. When we get beyond the need to see ourselves as perfect, we will no longer have to define ourselves as being imperfect. Then we can all truly be whoever we are.

Through the medium of light, white is a combination of all color and black is the lack of all color. Through the medium of pigments, white is the lack of all color and black is a mixture of all colors. Either way white or black reflect a higher or deeper state of consciousness. Colors are used to reflect spiritual expressions, yet the spiritual realm itself does not have colors.

Jacob made a multi-color coat for Joseph. His brothers saw that the father loved him more than all the brothers and they hated him, and they could not speak about or with him in a peaceful manner [Genesis 37:4]. They looked for a way to rid themselves of him. This was a reflection of their personal issues.

In our society whenever a person is different, they are shunned and judged poorly. When the differences between that individual and society are too dissimilar, a person may be drugged in an attempt to “normalize” his/her behavior. These actions safely identify and separate a person from normal society. In the most extreme cases, individuals are institutionalized — some in order to protect themselves and others, and some simply because their differences provoke uncomfortable guilt to others. History is full of stories about political and spiritual people who were jailed or institutionalized in order to prevent them from spreading their so-called illness to others.

Some of the people who are perceived as being abnormal may carry within them messages that the rest of us would do well to heed. When a person has deep insight, it is an overwhelming and awe-struck experience that might well detach him/her from others. It simply reminds us that enhanced forms of knowledge do not simply emerge without cost to the users. The prophecies and dreams that most people have about the future are generally things that will not happen. By and large they often are perspectives that have been created or “joggled” by events in the past.

People who do not want to deal with their shortcomings often resort to artificial comforts in order to hide from those things that they dislike in themselves. Utilizing any method to run away from truth results in a form of slavery, whether it is to a pact made with enemy protection, drugs or alcohol usage. For the short term life becomes a honeymoon of sorts, with the individual actually believing that life has improved. However, in the long run, when the friendly advances of the enemy, be it a person or a substance, have “hooked” the individual, the party is over. No longer is there any reason to play a game. The kindness disappears, the good feelings are replaced by addiction, and the misery of running away from the truth settles in for what it truly is. There are no paths around the truth that lead to the truth. Whatever you send out into the world and universe eventually comes back to you. This applies to both good and to evil. People orchestrate things in an attempt to make themselves look good or feel powerful. This is the kind of short-term vision that is typical of the leadership that exists in the world today. They operate on a system that gives them instant gratification without considering the consequences for future generations.

These are the kind of people to whom society assigns power. Then they do not understand when the results they hope for are never achieved. People have become so comfortable with living their lives in a form of “imprisonment” that they have lost the ability to discern enemy from friend, right from wrong, and goals that benefit the greater good from those based upon greed. They willingly accept the abuse that is a byproduct of hate, rather than love, by those who were entrusted to protect them.

Meanwhile much change is happening. The sensitivities within people’s hearts and bodies are beginning to stir simultaneously. A Temple is coming together on a higher spiritual plane. The lower spiritual levels are a confusion of movements, but the higher plane is simple and clear.

When this Temple becomes complete it will manifest itself into this realm, causing an instantaneous change of reality. Then the only thing people will be able to do is to completely open the doors of their hearts and minds.

This manifestation will remove all fear, doubt, impurity and purity, bad and good, right and wrong, etc. In the resulting open space, each individual will understand exactly what to do with each thought and feeling. There will no issues of personal ownership, no jealousy or fighting. Everyone will see and understand that we are all one.

It will not be a spiritual or physical world. Rather it will be an integrated existence. The inner oneness will shine and the outer oneness will do the same. People ask what will the future be like. Yet to describe it is far beyond their comprehension.

Until the proper time arrives, please do your best to join others in love and oneness while the world moves on its journey. Get ready for that instantaneous transformation that awaits all of us.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Acquiring Purity

''Since he was a son of his old age'' [Vayeishev 37:3]

The acronym of the word ''zekunim'' - זְקֻנִים - [old age] says the Baál HaTurim, alludes to the five orders of mishnayos that Yaakov taught Yosef:  Zera'im, Kodshim, Nashim, Yeshu'os [Nezikin] and Mo'ed.

On this comment by the Ba'al HaTurim, the Imrei Emes [R' Avraham Mordechai Alter of Gur] asked the obvious question: There is one more order of mishnayos that the Ba'al HaTurim ignores - Taharos [purity]. Why did Yaakov not teach Yosef Taharos?

Seder Taharos, answered the Rebbe, cannot be taught.  Purity can only be acquired after an individual strives and exerts himself to achieve it on his own.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Friday, December 13, 2019

The Essence of Chanukah

Rabbi Kessin from 2017

Financial Advice from Yaakov Avinu

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"So he divided the people with him, and the flocks, cattle, and camels, into two camps" [Vayishlach 32:8

Ya'akov Avinu a"h prepares himself for a meeting with Esav with a three-pronged strategy - gifts, prayer and battle.

In preparation for the battle that awaits him, he divides his wives and children, livestock and all his possessions, into two camps. In this way, if Esav smites one camp, then the remaining camp will survive.

The sefer 'Eved Hamelech' points out an important foundation: The Torah uses this incident to teach us a strategy for life. A person should not invest all his money in one place. From whom do we learn this? From Ya'akov Avinu as it says, "So he divided the people with him".

This guidance on protecting one's assets also appears in Chazal [Baba Metzia 42a]: "A person should always divide his money into three, a third in property, a third in business and a third he should keep in his possession."

Ya'akov Avinu's approach imparts a practical lesson on how to protect one's possessions. If one divides one's belongings, with each part being guarded in a different way and different place, then if he loses one half, or it disappears or is stolen, he will still be left with the remaining half.

In connection to this idea, Harav Munk shlita, in his sefer 'Darkei Noam', quotes a wonderful story that is brought in Chazal, about the shrewdness and wisdom employed by one who was exploited, in order to retrieve his money:

A certain merchant traveled to a distant place and took with him a considerable amount of money. He debated what to do with this sum. On one hand, he was afraid to walk around with such a large amount, but on the other hand, he was afraid to entrust in the hands of someone he hardly knew.

In the end, he decided to dig a pit in the ground and he hid his money in that pit. But what he didn't realize was that a pair of envious eyes was watching his every move from the house next door…

As soon as he left, the neighbor discreetly dug up the money.

Sometime later, the merchant returned to the place where he had hidden his money yet to his dismay – the money was no longer there!

He looked all around and noticed that there was a hole in the wall of the neighboring house, from which one could observe the entire area, including this part of the ground where he had hidden his money… He hurried over to the house and poured out his 'predicament' to the owner:

"My dear acquaintance, I recently came to stay in this area and I am still not familiar with the local people. I possess two wallets, one contains five hundred zehuvim and the second one contains one thousand zehuvim. I hid the first wallet in a secret place, and now I am debating what to do with the other wallet. Is it worth hiding it in the same place as the first wallet, or is it better that I give it over to one of the locals for safekeeping?

"The best thing to do," advised the owner, who was already picturing one thousand zehuvim falling into his hands, "is to hide it in the same place as the first wallet."

As soon as the merchant left his house, the neighbor realized that his advice would not serve him at all. In just another moment, the merchant will uncover the hole and discover that all his money has disappeared! Then he will certainly not hide his second wallet in the same place!

He came up with a grand idea…

He took out the wallet which was still full of money and quickly replaced it in its original hiding place. The merchant, who was waiting for this to happen, then approached the pit, took the wallet that had been returned and hurried home…

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Trump Signs Order Targeting Anti-Semitism

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to interpret Judaism as a nationality, not just a religion, that allows the Education Department to withhold federal funding from colleges and universities if they fail to combat anti-Semitism. He made the remarks at a White House Hannukah reception, flanked by first lady Melania Trump.

An Eighth of an Eighth

"I have become unworthy through all the acts of kindness" [Vayishlach 32:11]

The Vilna Gaon was once asked to explain Chazal's statement [Sotah 5a]  "Said R'Chiya bar Ashi in the name of Rav: A Talmid chacham must have one-eighth of an eighth [of haughtiness]".  

Rashi explains that it is essential for a talmid chacham to possess this minute amount of pride in order to prevent those who are ignorant in Torah learning from making light of him and his words.  Why did Chazal choose specifically the measure of one-eighth of an eighth?

The term "one eighth of an eighth" answered the Gaon, is not a reference to a particular measure. Rather it is hinting at the eighth verse of the eighth parsha of the Torah.  The eighth portion in the Torah is Parshas Vayishlach, and the eighth verse of the parsha [32:11] begins with the word "katonti" - "I am very small".

While a talmid chacham must possess a certain amount of arrogance, it must be a "very small" amount.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Prayer for Rain

Prayer: via Rabbi C. Ingram
Video: HT Dudi


Heavenly Father, Creator of Heaven and earth:
You form the clouds and gather them one by one.
Please, in Your mercy, send rain of blessing and goodwill to speedily moisten and revive the parched earth of rural Australia.
May the fields of our fair island again be adorned with healthy crops and green vegetation.
May those who work the soil not become destitute for lack of produce.
Satisfy us all with Your goodness!
May all the inhabitants of this blessed land know that You are G-D who sends relief to the ailing. May the earth be filled with the knowledge and the glory of G-D as the waters cover the sea bed! Amein

Imposter Sydrome

Disgraced Prince Andrew's daughter, Princess Beatrice, has spoken about her  'imposter syndrome'  which apparently is a psychological disorder defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.  ''Imposters'' suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.  I must admit I had never heard of this particular syndrome before now, but it rang a few bells for me.

I often think I'm an imposter, and I shouldn't be on the internet at all.  To remedy this, I immediately put up another blog post.  Of course, I believe it is the yetzer hara trying to prevent me blogging about Moshiach.   Now I have another name for it.... 'imposter syndrome'..... I guess there's a term for everything these days.

You need a thick skin to be a blogger with a wide audience, and I don't have a thick skin, I am extremely sensitive.  I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to delete my blog, or just turn it off and keep it for myself only, use it as a filing system [which is actually how it began - it was my virtual filing cabinet where I would post any article that I wanted to refer to later, which had a relevance to my life].

There are some very disturbed people out there, some just leave nasty comments and others have their own blogs where they attack from the safe comfort of their own site.  I  generally don't read these blogs, but occasionally when I have some waiting time and I check them out, I never fail to be amazed that they are still ranting about the same stuff over and over again, attacking others and getting facts wrong.... deliberately mis-reading and or mis-quoting and sticking a knife into their rival bloggers' latest post.

I used to publish every comment I received, with the exception of the obvious scammers or Xtian links, but over the past six months I've been deleting quite a few because they are cruel.  I guess some of these people have issues with themselves and are venting at the nearest outlet that touches a nerve.... hopefully they will get the point and move on, as their bitterness is not welcome here.

Disagree with me all you like, that's fine, but please do it kindly and I'll publish you. I'm not really sure what I write that needs disagreements anyway, I steer clear of controversy for that reason.  

Imposter syndrome.... a new term for the yetzer hara or, as I choose to think of it, a new term for hateful bloggers and commenters... they are im-posters.

Messianic Headlines We See Today

Rabbi Lazer Brody on the Tamar Yonah Show.

It’s human nature to believe that we control the world. However, as hard as we may try, the Creator of the universe reminds us that He controls all. As Israel faces a possible third election, possibly even held on the Purim Holiday, it looks like G-d will have the last laugh! So what’s really going on in the news that’s happening and affecting us all? What lessons do we need to learn, and what do we have to do in order to bring about a pleasant arrival of the Messiah? Rabbi Lazer Brody joins Tamar and tells us what we all need to do, and what we might see in the future!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Small in his own Eyes

"[My merits] have become small" [Vayishlach 32:11]

When G-d shows His kindness to a person, it brings that person closer to G-d, causing his feeling of self-importance to diminish, since "everything is like nothing before G-d".

Therefore, it was precisely due to the fact that G-d had been so kind to Yaakov that he became small in his own eyes - for the kindness brought him closer to G-d, and so he felt that he was not worthy of G-d's promise to be saved.

Source: based on Tanya Igeres Hakodesh ch.2

How could Yaakov the patriarch fear that "perhaps... I have become soiled with sin" [Rashi v. 12] when surely he was aware that he had not sinned?

A tzadik is not static - he constantly grows spiritually from one level to the next.  After reaching a higher level, his previous actions are spiritually deficient compared to his current standing. They are thus considered as "sins", metaphorically speaking. [The Hebrew word for sin - chet - can also mean ''deficiency'' [see Kings 11:21]  Thus Yaakov was worried that perhaps due to such ''sins'' he was not worthy to be saved.

Source: based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Were You Ever Despised or Treated as Inferior?

I've linked to this post in the comments of another blog post, but it actually deserves it's own blog post as I know some people don't see the comments.

This amazing post at Myrtle Rising is like a gift.  Please go there and read it.

Were You Ever Despised or Treated as Inferior? Then You Need to Read Rav Avigdor Miller's Dvar Torah for Parshat Vayetzei

Eliyahu Ha Navi and the Death of the Satan

The title sounds like a Rabbi Kessin shiur, but it's actually Rabbi Yehuoshua Zitron.  Part 20 in his Moshiach video series.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Leftover Sparks

".... Lavan was informed that Yaakov had fled. He took his relatives with him and pursued him" [Vayeitze 31:22,23]

The Maggid of Mezritch taught: "Yaakov had left behind letters from the Torah which he had not yet extracted from Lavan. This is why Lavan pursued him - to give him the letters which remained with him.  An entire chapter was added to the Torah by these letters."  [Ohr Hame'ir, beg. Parshas Vayeitzei, see Ohr HaTorah vol 5, p.869a]

The "letters of the Torah" which Yaakov left behind were "sparks" of holiness.  In fact, Yaakov had spent twenty years in Lavan's house extracting whatever sparks of holiness he could find there, and when the process was complete, he left. At least he thought it was complete....

In truth, however, Yaakov had left some sparks behind, so Lavan chased Yaakov to give them to him.

Why did Yaakov leave sparks behind?

Chassidic teachings explain that, while most of a person's achievements in life come through his own conscious efforts, there are some "super-conscious" achievements that are so lofty they cannot occur intentionally.  So, while we are usually the ones that choose our own paths in life - to find the sparks which we are destined to elevate - sometimes our "sparks" pursue us, because they are too sublime to be "extracted" solely by our own endeavors.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Sydney's Orange Moon

I wish I had a photo.... but there aren't any on the internet right now and I don't have a good enough camera, but tonight's moon here in Sydney is bright orange, due to all the bushfires and smoke in the air turning everything orange.

This is what the sun and the sky looked like today.

Camden, near Sydney

Fires are burning all around Sydney, fortunately not where I live.

Air quality is pretty bad here right now.  We're all praying for rain.

And this stunning photo of the red sun over grape vines

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

The Purest

A number of young children in a particular community died under tragic circumstances.  Their parents feared that this was punishment for bad deeds they had committed.  They went to the Lubavitcher Rebbe seeking a Tikkun, a spiritual  rectification.

''A Tikkun?'' the Rebbe replied.....  "You must know that you've done nothing wrong.''

The Rebbe continued:  "It is the way of our world that when a slap is given, it is given to the face. Not because the face committed a greater wrong, but because it is the purest representation of the whole individual. The ones who take the hit are the purest.''

Source: Living Torah

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Rabbi Anava's Miraculous Recovery [video]

Rabbi Anava is sharing what he went through and the message behind it. Rabbi Anava had a series of issues that started with a severe infection in his leg that developed to cellulitis and as a result was hospitalized so he could be treated with antibiotics straight into his blood. But very soon after it developed to sepsis and from there developed to a blood clot that traveled to his lungs and caused Pulmonary Embolism with a massive blood clot in the main artery of the lungs that nearly killed him.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

The Two Mashiachs: ben Yosef and ben David

Rabbi Yehoshua Zitron

The Why, Where, When How:  Mashiach Ben Yosef and Mashiach Ben David

Friday, November 29, 2019

Miraculous Recoveries x 2

In 1977 the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneersohn suffered a massive heart attack on Shmini Atzeret. He had a miraculous recovery and returned home on Rosh Chodesh Kislev.

This story is all over the internet on Chabad sites, here is just one link to Wikipedia if you want to read about it.

This year, Rabbi Alon Anava was hospitalized on or around Shemini Atzeret and history has repeated itself, as on Rosh Chodesh Kislev he got up and lectured again about his second near death experience.

One Rebbe, one rabbi and two miraculous recoveries on the same dates.

Rosh Chodesh Kislev is a very auspicious date for the coming of Moshiach.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe was thought to be the Moshiach of his generation.  Rabbi Anava is definitely a candidate for ours.

Photo of Rabbi Alon Anava at Be'er Miriam during a Rosh Chodesh breakfast speaking about his recent illness and miraculous recovery - his second life after death experience!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Trump & Netanyahu – Why is this happening to them?

Apologies for the wrong link yesterday, here is the interview with Rabbi Kessin on the Tamar Yonah Show recorded on November 27.

Tamar speaks with Rabbi Mendel Kessin about the Messianic era we seem to be in. He gives the reasons why U.S. President Donald Trump and PM Binyamin Netanyahu are going through these trials and tribulations, and gives his take on what he thinks might happen in the future which will permit, and set the stage, for the Messiah to finally come. A fascinating show you are going to want to share!

Click here to listen

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Power to Change

Art: 'Triple Self Portrait' by Norman Rockwell

And the children struggled within her, and she said, "If [it be] so, why am I [like] this?" And she went to inquire of the Lord. [Toldot - Genesis 25:22]

Why did the children "struggle inside her"?

How could Yitzchak, our righteous patriarch, have a son whose very nature even in the womb was inclined towards idol worship?

G-d can either make a person's disposition naturally good or naturally bad.  But, even if a person has a natural inclination to evil, that does not mean that he is evil per se, for he is given free choice.

Rather, the reason why he was given such an inclination was to rise to the challenge and overcome it.  Thus, Eisav was given a natural tendency to evil so that he could excel in the Divine service of "quashing" the evil inclination.

Even though he failed in his task, we can nevertheless learn from Eisav that if a person has strong desires to do something bad, it means that he has been given the special Divine mission of overcoming his inclinations.

Source: Gutnick Chumash: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Friday, November 22, 2019

Abraham's Gift of the Name of Impurity

by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh

“And to the children of the concubines of Abraham, Abraham gave gifts and he sent them from upon Isaac his son while he was still alive, to the east, to the land of Kedem.” [Chayei Sarah 25:6]. Rashi explains that the gifts that Abraham gave the children of the concubines were “the name of impurity”.

This is the root and source of all the eastern religions, “the land of Kedem”. If we travel to India, for example, we encounter abundant idolatrous impurity – a far cry from Abraham, who shattered the idols. Nevertheless, a holy spark that comes from Abraham is captive within the impurity. It is no coincidence that the highest caste in India is called the Brahmin, a clear allusion to Abraham.

What is this name of impurity? On one hand, a name of impurity sounds very bad. But on the other hand, a gift is supposed to be something good, something that is given with a loving eye and abundance. This is certainly the case if the giver of the gift is none other than Abraham, the great personification of love!

The explanation is that the “name of Impurity” is one of God’s Holy Names. There is a possibility, however – and in some cases permissible – for the nations that have not yet merited the light of the pure faith of Israel to use it while in impurity.

Apparently, the name of impurity from Abraham that reached the East is OM. This is the central mantra in eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism and more). The holy source of OM is from the “Name of seventy-two letters” (which is also mentioned in the Talmud). Actually, this Name is 72 permutations of three letters, and this name (spelled with three letters in Hebrew, אום,) is one of them.

OM is like the seal of Abraham himself. Both Abraham’s name and the word OM begin with the letter alef and end with the letter mem. This seal also appears in the expression that explains the meaning of the name Abraham. In Hebrew, this expression is אב המון גוייםthe father of a multitude of nations. The first, middle and last letters of this expression spell OM.

The meaning of OM is further revealed by its gematria, its numerical value. OM (אום) = 47, the same numerical value as bitul, self-nullification. Abraham taught that the entire reality of the world is null to the Creator and that man must also nullify himself to the will of God. Eastern religions mention this nullification, but in a different way that also manifests in a garment of impurity. Nevertheless, a holy spark hides inside the impurity – a point of nullification to the concept of God. Ultimately this spark will emerge from its impure garment and return to its source, as will take place soon, with God’s help.

If so, the rectification for this name of impurity is to recognize and internalize the Holy Name at its source, to reach a true level of self-nullification to God. It is not necessary to travel to India to look for gifts there. You can go straight to the source. Ultimately, everybody will get there.

Source: Inner

Body and Soul

Art: C. Schloe

The Zohar teaches that Sarah represents the body, whereas Avraham represents the soul.  Even after death, the soul still remains related to the body, thus "Avraham - the soul - came to eulogize Sarah - the body - and to weep for her"  [Chayei Sarah 23:2]

Chassidic teachings emphasize the importance of the body as a tool in the service of G-d.  Since the ultimate purpose of creation is to sanctify the physical world, the body has a distinct advantage over the soul, in that it is the means by which G-d's Will is enacted.  Therefore, G-d told Avraham [the soul] "Whatever Sarah - the body - tells you, listen to her voice" [21:12], indicating that there is an inherent superiority to the body, over the soul.

Although the soul is incomparably more refined than the body, nevertheless, in the times of Moshiach we are promised that the superiority of the body will be revealed such that "the soul will be animated by the body".

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

The Mysterious Sinai Rocks

There is a legend or possibly Midrash that states the rocks of Mount Sinai were imprinted with an image of a bush to commemorate Moses' encounter with the burning bush.

I once heard an explanation in the name of a Midrash: "When G-d sent Moses to Egypt to report to the Jews about the redemption and then to come back to Mount Sinai, Moses asked G-d: 'how will I be sure which mountain to return to?' (since at first, G-d spoke to Moses only from Mount Sinai). G-d made a miracle and all the rocks from Mount Sinai became engraved with the 'burning bush'".

Now, we cannot be 100 percent sure where Mount Sinai is, but there is such a mountain in the Sinai peninsula where all its rocks have fern-like patterns on its sides. Local Bedouins maintain no such autograph appears in any other mountain in the Sinai peninsula.

I have personally seen stones from there and they indeed have this pattern. Some want to "debunk" this Midrash by saying such a phenomena exists elsewhere, i.e. although it is rare, there exists similar patterns on the surface of rocks elsewhere in the world, such as in India and California. The phenomena is called "crystal dendrites". 

However, just because it exists elsewhere does not mean the Midrash is not correct. Perhaps G-d chose a natural phenomena to occur at that particular place. As is known, G-d runs the world in such a way that miracles are minimized.

Read more at Daf Yomi Review

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Blessing the President

Rabbi Y. Y Jacobson makes a bracha on President Trump at a NY Fundraiser.

HT: Yaak

Read more at YWN

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Enough Merit

"[Avraham] looked up and saw: And behold! three men were standing near him" [Vayeira 18:2]

Rashi explains that the three "men" were actually angels that had been sent to carry out specific missions. One angel was to inform Sarah that she was going to bear a son, another angel was sent to destroy Sodom, and yet another one was sent to heal Avraham. Each angel was to perform only one task, as an angel is never sent to carry out more than one mission at a time.

Rashi goes on to inform us that the angel that healed Avraham subsequently travelled to Sodom in order to save Lot.

Soon after being appointed as rabbi of Brod, R'Shlomo Kluger was given the honor of being the sandak at the bris milah of one of the distinguished members of the town.

However, when he arrived at the shul where the bris was to be held, he noticed that everyone there seemed downcast and dispirited. R' Kluger approached one of his congregants and asked him what was the matter.

"The father of the infant is deathly ill." responded the man. "Being that his end is near, the family decided to delay the bris so that they could name the child after his father."

"Hurry" exclaimed R' Kluger, "bring the father here and perform the bris immediately!"

The father was brought to the shul and the bris was performed.  Amazingly, as soon as the bris concluded, the father's medical condition improved!  The father's life was, miraculously, no longer in danger. News of the miracle brought about by the new rabbi spread quickly throughout the town.

R' Kluger, however, dismissed the rumors about his "miraculous powers".  "It wasn't a miracle at all." he insisted.  "I learned to do so from the words of Rashi in Parshas Vayeira.  Rashi there explains that the angel that cured Avraham later went on to Sodom to save Lot.  But this is perplexing..." continued R' Kluger.  "Were there not enough angels available that one had to be sent to carry out two missions?"

"Rather", he answered, "Lot's zchus [merit] was not great enough to earn him an angel that could be sent specifically to save him, so the angel that was sent to cure Avraham was then sent to save Lot.

"It occurred to me," concluded R' Kluger, "that in all likelihood the father's life was being weighed at that very moment.  But I was concerned that perhaps the father would not have sufficient merit to deserve a special angel to cure him.  But since Eliyahu HaNavi, the angel of the bris, is present when the infant is circumcised, it was possible that he would bring about a recovery for the father as well."

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Monday, November 11, 2019

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Tzaddik Decrees

Art: Fenna Moehn-Hummel
It once happened in the times of Rebbe Elimelech that there was a terrible decree issued against the Jews. All the people's eyes were trained on the Tzaddik, looking to him to pray that the decree should be nullified.

The Rebbe answered them thus: "I am from the World of Truth and no secret is hidden from me. I know the reason behind all things, and I, too, have agreed to this decree. How can I go back and pray for a decree, that was issued with my consent, to be nullified?  You should instead look to a Tzaddik who doesn't know the reasons behind this decree, since this decree was issued without his knowledge or consent.  Such a righteous Tzaddik can call out and pray to Hashem, and maybe his prayers will be answered."

Source: Mipeninei Noam Elimelech: translated by Tal Moshe Zwecker

Monday, November 4, 2019

The Rehabilitation of the Jews at the End of Time

Rabbi Mendel Kessin -new shiur

The Foundation of the Entire Torah

Art Vladimir Kush

by Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein

"He trusted in Hashem, and He considered this for him as an act of righteousness" [Lech Lecha 15:6]

Why, asked the Chofetz Chaim, was Avraham's trust in Hashem considered "righteousness" - as though it was something above and beyond what was demanded of him?  After all, Avraham fulfilled every commandment in the Torah; what was so unique about his trust in Hashem?

We see from here, answered the Chofetz Chaim, that trust in Hashem is more than just another mitzvah - rather, it is the foundation of the entire Torah.

To what can this be compared?  To a man drowning in the sea who suddenly sees a tree extending from the shore.  Which part of the tree will he attempt to grab? Not the branches, for they can easily be broken; rather, he grabs hold of the roots.

So too, concluded the Chofetz Chaim, is trust in Hashem.  Trust in Hashem is comparable to the sturdy roots of a tree, which serve as a foundation and a base for the entire tree.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Burden of This World

The Alter Rebbe
For the Refuah Shleimah of Alon Yehuda Yosef ben
Chana Miryam

Reb Noah was a devoted disciple of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, who lived in 18th century Russia. Among the Lubavitcher Hasidim, Reb Schneur Zalman is known as the Alter Rebbe because he was the first in the line of seven Lubavitcher Rebbes.

Reb Noah's son eventually married the Alter Rebbe's daughter and from that union came the Rebbe who was known as the Tzemach Tzedek. To this day, the memory of Reb Noah is well honoured amongst Lubavitchers, who tell this story about him.

After Reb Noah died and came before the Heavenly Court, they looked into his case and found that he had been a very good Jew. All his life he had observed the commandments as best he could and never missed any opportunity to perform an additional mitzvah.

Now, as is wellknown amongst the Hasidim, when a Jew says the appropriate blessing before doing a mitzvah, then a holy angel is born from that very act. These angels, it is said, will come to testify on behalf of the soul after death. And so it happened that when Reb Noah stood before the Heavenly Court, thousands upon thousands of luminous mitzvah angels came to his trial, saying "I was born from such-and-such a good deed performed by Reb Noah when he was alive on earth".

The Heavenly Court was very impressed by the testimony of all these mitzvah angels and was about to decide that Reb Noah should go immediately to Gan Eden. But suddenly another angel appeared, which was not very luminous at all. In fact, this angel was dull and lacking in light. The darkened angel stood before the Court and said "I was born from a sin that Reb Noah committed during his life on earth." Then the angel revealed to the Court exactly what the sin had been.

The three judges who sit on the Heavenly Court deliberated long and hard. On the one hand, Reb Noah was a holy man who had led a basically righteous life, so he deserved to go to Gan Eden. But on the other hand, he had committed the sin. Just as no good deed every goes unrewarded, so does no sin ever go unpunished. At long last, the Court decided to give Reb Noah two choices: he could spend a half-hour in Gehenna now, to atone for the sin, and then go straight to Gan Eden. Or, he could avoid the pain of purgatory by reincarnating on earth once again and atoning for the sin there.

Reb Noah answered: "With all due respect to this Court, I would like to consult with my Rebbe, Reb Schneur Zalman, before I make a decision. All my life I never did anything concerning my spiritual life without first asking the Rebbe's advice. And so I would like permission to ask the Rebbe about this now."

The Court consulted the Heavenly Records and found that it was indeed true. Reb Noah never did anything important without first asking the Rebbe's advice. "Very well" the Court replied, "you may return to earth in the spirit and consult with the Alter Rebbe about your decision".

Back on earth, Rabbi Schneur Zalman was sitting at the table as usual, learning Torah with his Hasidim. Then the soul of Reb Noah appeared to him in the spirit and posed the question: "Earth or Gehenna?" The Rebbe turned to his Hasidim and said "Reb Noah is here right now, and he is asking what judgment he should choose: a half hour in hell or to be reborn in this world another time."

The Hasidim said nothing. What could they say? If the Rebbe didn't know, how could they presume to decide for him? So they sat there in silence, waiting to hear what the Rebbe's answer would be.

The Alter Rebbe put his hand on his forehead, then rested his elbow on the table and concentrated very deeply. For a long long time he just sat there in silence, turning the question over in his mind, weighing all the consequences. Then came the answer: "Gehenna - to purgatory!"

As soon as the Rebbe had said the word "Gehenna", the Hasidim all heard a voice cry out "Oy, Rebbe!" At the same moment they saw, burned into the wall by the door, the outline of a human hand. It had been made by Reb Noah's soul as it entered Gehenna.

From this the Hasidim understood what a burden it is to come to this world. Better to spend half an hour in the fires of purgatory than a whole lifetime on earth once again!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Prayers for Rabbi Anava

Interrupting my own break to ask you to pray for the Refuah Shleimah for Rabbi Alon Anava who is currently in intensive care in Israel due to an infection in his blood.  He is now in a life threatening situation.  Please pray for Rabbi Alon Yehuda Yosef ben Chana Miryam.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

To everyone who has written to me, thank you for your emails.  I am taking an extended blogging break, I don't want to say I won't be back because i usually change my mind, but at this point I'm still enjoying the break and desperately needed to get away from things for a while.  I have blocked comments for the moment.  I'm still here, reading other peoples' blogs.... and doing other things and enjoying the spring weather.  

Friday, September 27, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Moshiach ''Standing by the Door''

The Satan is dying.  Moshiach is coming and the Satan knows his time is almost up, and he's fighting to hold on and everyone is doing their darndest to remove the President.  Rabbi Kessin has told us this for many years now.  

As we rapidly rush towards 5780, there is an item that has gone viral all over the internet, and that is the story of Rabbi Kaduri and the Israeli election. [which I told you about back in June] But there's more to this story, if you have not yet seen it somewhere else.  

A report in Israel's daily Yisrael Hayom this week addressed a report that's been spread recently on WhatsApp groups and social media that Rav Yitzchak Kaduri zt''l predicted the current situation of the deadlock between Likud and Blue and White and the fights between the right and left. 

The message on social media says that a ''sefer named U'Shevuato L'Yishchak'' which Rav Kaduri wrote in his youth, was recently found in the yeshiva of mekubalim Nachlas Yitzchak.  A prediction was found in the sefer saying ''On the eve of the year 5780, the Year of Tikkunim, there won't be a government in Israel for an extended period of time.  The camps will quarrel greatly with each other without reaching any decision.  And then, on the day of Rosh Hashanah, the sitra achra [literally the other side - evil] will fight with the sitra d'kedusha [side of holiness] in Shamayim [Heaven] and HaKodesh Baruch Hu and His Legions will decide between them.  This is all I can reveal, and from herein on I swore not to reveal more secrets.''

The report adds that ''In the ancient sefer ''The Bris of the Persimmon'' written by the mekubal R' Sasson Chai Shoshani who was called the ''Navi from Mitzrayim'', there is a wonderful quote which has special meaning during these days:  'The day will come that two ministers will win the government in Israel.  The name of both will be Binyamin and neither will succeed in establishing a government.  On that day you should know and understand that Moshiach is already standing by the door and on the Shabbos afterward, He will come and reveal Himself.'

Yisrael Hayom spoke to Moshe N, who is the assistant of R' Yosef Kaduri, Rav Yitzchak Kaduri's grandson, and the Rosh Yeshivah of Nachlas Yitzchak.  ''In the yeshiva, there's all types of handwritten documents from Rav Kaduri with holy names and similar things that we keep in the safe' Moshe said.  'These are passed down from generation to generation, secretly - only between the mekubalim - and it's forbidden to reveal them.'

'In writings based on the kaballah of R' Sasson Chai Shoshani, Rav Kaduri speaks about the Geula and that before Moshiach comes they won't be able to form a government.  So what was publicized [on social media] is very close to what is written in the documents, but the wording of the published report is not exact.  The chavrusa of Rav Kaduri, Chacham Menachem Menashe, the author of Ahavas Chaim, wrote similar things.  He wrote in the name of R' Sasson Chai Shoshani in Parshat Ki Tavo, the parsha we read this past Shabbat, on what will be at the end of days, how there will be a war with the Erev Rav about Shabbat and how the Erev Rav will have the majority.'

'The documents of Rav Kaduri say something similar but it's written in a more detailed way and it speaks specifically about this year as a year that can turn into a  year of Geula.  It doesn't say ''elections'' - that's an intepretation - but it writes about the fight between two different sides in Am Yisrael, that this is a stop on the way to Geula and one of it's signs.  Ultimately, the Geula is dependent only on us, Am Yisrael.'

[YWN Israel Desk - Jerusalem]

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tamar Yonah talks Elections with Rabbi Kessin

Who will/should lead after the elections?

Tamar Yonah interviews Rabbi Mendel Kessin Sept 24

Click here to listen [scroll down the page]

Monday, September 23, 2019

When Silence is Deafening

"The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us and to our children forever: that we must fulfill all the words of this Torah." [Nitzavim 29:28]

[Written by Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein]

Rashi explains that a Jew is not expected to offer his friend rebuke for the sins that lie hidden within his heart, for how can he possibly know what another man is thinking?  Therefore, in the case of hidden sins, Hashem exacts retribution from the sinner alone.

On the other hand, a Jew is expected to rebuke his fellow man for the sins he does openly.  Consequently, when Jews overlook other people's misdeeds, Hashem's anger is brought upon all of them.

A terrible dispute broke out in Radin, the Chofetz Chaim's hometown. Though the Chofetz Chaim was by now in his later years, he rushed to the shul and approached the bimah.  From there, he addressed the community.

"My dear brothers!" began the Chofetz Chaim.  "If someone would have offered me 2,000 rubles to deliver a derashah in shul, I would not have accepted it! I am not willing to sell my precious time for money.  However, because of the situation, I am forced to speak.  We must know that there will come a time when each and every one of us will be required to stand before the Heavenly Court and give an account of all the deeds that he performed over the course of his life.

"You must be aware that strife is a very serious matter!  A person may have performed scores of mitzvos in his life, but if he was guilty of causing or involving himself in matters of dispute, then he is like a person who tried filling a bag that had a large hole at its bottom - all the mitzvos he performed will be lost.

"I have no doubt that when the individuals from Radin who were involved in the dispute come before the Heavenly Court, they will attempt to clear themselves by stating the following:

"We cannot be held accountable! For in our city there lived an elderly Jew, by the name of Yisrael Meir, whom we deemed to be a talmid chacham.  He saw all that was transpiring, yet he remained silent."

"Therefore, my dear brothers" concluded the Chofetz Chaim in a voice filled with emotion, "I beg of you - do not mention my name before the Heavenly Court!"

As these words left the mouth of the Chofetz Chaim, he broke down and wept bitterly, and his frail body trembled. This sight made a very powerful impression on the people of Radin, and the dispute was resolved immediately.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. .... Edmund Burke
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.....Elie Wiesel