Thursday, December 30, 2021

How to Bring Moshiach Now

 New audio from Rabbi Mendel Kessin

"We know, as the Torah shows us, G-D must press the "restart button.” We’re already at the end of the tikkun process, toward the end, so He won’t destroy the world. The 4000-year-long exile of the Jews produced so much suffering enabling the world to be redeemed despite the depth of its depravity. "What we experience now is nothing more than evil dominating the globe. Why?---same idea. It’s part of the prosecutions of the Satan in the Heavenly Court who, rightfully, argues, 'Wait a minute! It is I who have the justified right to dominate---not goodness, righteousness, holiness!’ and he’s right because of the world being at the level of the 49th Gate. "G-D will, therefore, bring Mashiach—that’s right! We are the generation that will see Mashiach, first Mashiach ben Yosef, and then Mashiach ben David. The world is being prepared for that."

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Finding Eli and Hannah

When two Jewish teenagers failed to return from a walk two days ago, hundreds of people from the community set out to look for them.  

They were found, having spent the night in a hut they built from moss and twigs.  Here is a video [no sound] of the Police finding Eli and Hannah.  

NSW PolAir : great job!

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Enough is Enough

"I believe G-D will begin the process before the end of the tikkun. He won’t be able to hold Himself back, so to speak. This is the rachamim gedolim for akabtzech---tremendous mercy that speaks to that “one second I will abandon you and with incredible mercy I will gather you.” It is that “tremendous mercy” which tells us that, even before the tikkun is completed, G-D will have said: 'Enough is enough. I’m the boss and I declare that it’s over,' and it’s over.

"This is what we await, when G-D has had enough of the sinning, the relentless rebellion of mankind going against His Will and against the Jewish people. That’s when it’s gonna happen. He’s gonna be fed up with the whole process and end it. He wants to end it now."

Excerpt from Rabbi Kessin's shiur below, transcript can be found here.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Yaakov's Secret

Art by Alec Levin

In Parshas Vayechi, Rashi explains that Yaakov wished to reveal to his sons when the end of Israel's exile would finally take place (ha'keitz), but the prophetic vision was closed off from him.

Rabbeinu Bachye elaborated on Rashi's words: Yaakov observed that the letters ח and ט do not appear in any of the brother's names. These are the two main letters of the word חט- sin. Yaakov took the fact that the brothers' names did not contain this word as an indication that they were clean of sin and worthy of being told when the future redemption would occur.

But then Yaakov noticed that the letters ק and ץ, which together spell the word קץ (keitz - the end of the exiles) also do not appear in their names. At that point Yaakov thought that perhaps his sons were not worthy of knowing this secret after all.

Because of his hesitation, Yaakov kept the secret closed and did not reveal the information to his sons.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Surely, if Yaakov would have indeed revealed the time of Moshiach's coming to his children they would have been totally devastated to hear that they had so long to wait.

When Yaakov's sons would hear that Moshiach was not scheduled to come for a long time, they would have realized that some considerable additional effort was needed to bring him sooner - as the Talmud states that through additional merit the Redemption comes earlier  [Sanhedrin 98a].  

Thus, Yaakov hoped that by revealing that ''the End of Days'' was a long way off it would motivate his children to add substantially in Divine Service, so as to bring Moshiach sooner.

Nevertheless, despite his good intentions ''the Shechinah departed from him'' and Yaakov found himself unable to reveal the ''End of Days''.  For, ultimately, God wants us to bring Moshiach through our own efforts, and not through the assistance of ''revelations'' from above.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe vol 20 pp228

Friday, December 10, 2021

Total Control

Related by Rabbi Zalman Shimon Dworkin a"h who heard it from Reb Shmuel Grunim a"h
by Rabbi Rafael Nachman Kahn, translated by Basha Majerczyk

A man once came to the Maggid of Mezeritch Rabbi Dov Ber and, before returning home, requested that the Maggid instruct him how to be a "baal habayis" - in full command and control of himself at all times.

"Go to Zhitomir" the Maggid told him, "and introduce yourself to my disciple Reb Zev. Tell him in my name to teach you how to be a baal habayis."

It was late one stormy night when the man arrived in Zhitomir and knocked on Reb Zev's door. There was no response, so he knocked again.  He finally peeked in through the window and saw, quite clearly, that Reb Zev was awake and about.  Still, he ignored the door.  Having no other option and being well after midnight by then, the man sat down on the doorstep to wait. He was soon drenched from head to toe.

An hour later the door opened and Reb Zev welcomed the visitor inside.  In response to his questions, the man explained that the Maggid had sent him to learn how to be a baal habayis. Reb Zev was silent and did not respond.

For a whole week the man was wined and dined by his host, but oddly enough, not once did Reb Zev mention the reason for his visit.  At long last the man could not contain himself, and asked Reb Zev why he failed to comply with the Rebbe's directive.

"Why, what do you mean?" Reb Zev replied in surprise. "I gave you a lesson the very first moment you arrived! A baal habayis only opens the door when he decides he wants to; when he doesn't, he keeps it closed."  The point was well taken. The guest understood that a person can prevent extraneous thoughts from intruding on his avodah.

[In another version, as related by the Rashag, a baal habayis is one who "stokes all the furnaces in his house early in the morning; in the evening he closes all the doors and latches his gate to prevent pigs from entering his domain".]

It is said in the name of the Alter Rebbe that when Moshiach comes, all Jews will be on the level of Reb Zev of Zhitomir.  Reb Zev will ascend to the level of the Baal Shem Tov, and the Baal Shem Tov will attain a level that completely transcends human understanding.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Aspects of Evil before Moshiach


My Father's Honour

Art by Alec Levin

"Therefore, tell my father of all the honor that is given me in Egypt" [Vayigash 45:13]

The Ohev Yisrael [R' Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apta] was travelling with his son, R' Yitzchak Meir, through the neighboring towns. Wherever he went, hundreds of Jews came out to greet him, the gadol b'Yisrael, and showed him great honor.

The Ohev Yisrael was distressed by the amount of honor that he was receiving and, because of his great modesty, he truly believed that he did not deserve it. He therefore turned to his son and asked: "My son, why is everybody honoring me so much, being that I am not worthy of it?"

R' Yitzchak Meir saw how distraught his father was, so he consoled him: "Do not let it worry you, Father. For these people have come to honor me."

"And why do you deserve such honor?" asked the Ohev Yisrael.

"That is obvious" replied R' Yitzchak Meir. "It is because I am the son of the Apter Rav."

The Rebbe smiled, and he said: "This, my son, is what Yosef meant when he stated "Therefore, tell my father of all the honor that is given me in Egypt - for all the fame and honor that I receive in Egypt is only thanks to my father's merit!"

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Mikeitz: At the End of Days


Text Source: Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

The word Mikeitz means "At the end" as in the saying "the end of days" [Daniel 12:13]

In Aramaic the word "days" is almost identical to its Hebrew equivalent, but the last letter switches from a mem to a nun    ימים = ימין

The Zohar notes that this Aramaic word  ימין is identical to the Hebrew word  ימין , meaning "right" and on this basis, the Zohar concludes: There are two 'ends', one on the spiritual 'right' and one on the spiritual 'left'.

In Jewish mysticism, "left" represents the side of evil.  So, the 'end of the spiritual left' refers to the day when evil will cease to exist, with the end of exile, i.e. "the end of days" (קץ הימים).

"Right", on the other hand, represents goodness and holiness.  Thus we refer to the "end of the right" to indicate that there is no dilution of values in the realms of holiness, so the end is as good as the beginning.  The term קץ הימים ("end of the spiritual right") is thus an allusion to the final redemption, when good will triumph over evil, and we will see how good is found consistently throughout the entire world.

We are thus left with the question: Which "end" does the word Mikeitz refer to - the "end of the left" or the "end of the right"?

In fact, both could be argued:

a) At the beginning of our Parsha, Yosef is released from jail.  This was the end of Yosef's exile, i.e. the "end of the left".

b) On the other hand, we then read how Yosef suddenly rose to power and became ruler over Egypt - his redemption, represented by "the end of the right".

How could the two opposite concepts of exile and redemption be alluded to by the same expression?

Chassidic thought explains that the inner purpose of exile is that the Jews should be scattered around the world in order to "rescue" sparks of holiness which had been lost in physicality.  Thus, redemption is not the elimination of exile, but rather, it is the goal of exile.  And therefore, both concepts are hinted to by the same word.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

L'Shem Shamayim [In the Name of Heaven]


                                        Art "The Merchant" Michoel Muchnik

Tehilim Perek 49: Beis Yisroel of Ger - Even Some Mitzvos Won't Go With You 

Dovid HaMelech tells us in Tehilim (49:18) כִּי לֹא בְמוֹתוֹ יִקַּח הַכֹּל, when you die you won't take everything with you. The Gerrer Rebbe the Beis Yisroel asks, the word "everything" implies that some things you will take with you after death. But not everything. 

This being the case, the pasuk cannot be referring to material objects, since you can't take "any" of your material items with you. Therefore he deduces that Dovid HaMelech is telling us we can't even take all our mitzvos with us. This seems strange. Why can't we take all of our mitzvos with us to Olam Haba? Why are they left behind in the material world? 

The Gerrer Rebbe says the next few words of the pasuk reveal the answer. לֹא יֵרֵד אַחֲרָיו כְּבוֹדוֹ, his honor will not follow him to the world of truth, the eternal world. Any mitzva that was done for the sake of Kavod has no place in Shamayim, and will not go with you. These mitzvos will be left behind in the world that reveres Kavod. A world suited for them. You did it for the sake of benefiting in the material world, and in the material world they will remain forever.

Source: Revach

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Transcription: Rabbi Anava's lecture

I began typing up an edited version with the main points of Rabbi Anava's latest shiur 'What is Waiting for us before the coming of Moshiach', and here is what I have done so far.  Any numbers in [..] refer to the time on the video if anyone wants to check to see what he actually said.   The things that Rabbi Anava is saying here are the same things Geula Bloggers have been writing about for the past 15 years, but now we are much closer to the Geula, everything has become far more obvious.

When I have some extra time I will hopefully manage to complete the transcribing.

Transcription follows.

Right now, Hashem has given control of the world to the Satan.  [Known as the ''Samech Mem" which is an abbreviation for s-a-m-a-e-l, a name we don't say.] That doesn't mean Hashem is not ultimately in control, but right now evil is ruling the world, but there are conditions... and one of the conditions is that the evil regime must announce what they are doing.  So you just need to listen to what they are saying. They are telling us Hashem's agenda, Hashem has a Plan and He's telling us His plan thru his world government.  It is clear as daylight that we are in the days before Moshiach.

We are controlled by an evil regime who think they run the world, and for now Hashem is allowing them to. They are like the axe in the hand of the woodchopper. Everything that is happening has the stamp of approval of the Master of the Universe.

Talmud Sanhedrin 97a

In the generation in which Moshiach will come Torah scholars will decrease, and the rest of the people their eyes fill with sorrow and grief. And troubles increase, and the harsh decrees will be introduced, before the first passes the second quickly comes.  In the week Moshiach comes [week refers to the Sabbatical cycle, 7 year cycle]:

In the first year I will cause it to rain upon one city, and not rain upon another city.

In the second year, arrows of famine will be shot.

In the third year, huge famine. Many people will die, women, men, children. The pious men and men of action [those who study Torah] will die and Torah is forgotten.

In the fourth year, there will be plenty, but not plenty.  [there will be a lot, but we'll get nothing from it... deception again]

During the fifth year there will be great plenty and everyone will eat and rejoice and the Torah will return to those who study it.

In the sixth year, Heavenly voices will be heard, trumpets, announcements of Moshiach.

In the seventh year there will be a big war [Gog u Magog] and motzei shevi'it [after the seventh] ben David [the son of David] will come.  [42.00]

Rabbi Yehuda says something different.  He says: In the generation that Moshiach comes the Hall of Assembly of the Sages will be designated for prostitution.  The Rabbinical establishments will become corrupted. There will be no rabbinical control over the Torah. The corruption that you can find today in the Batei Dinim is beyond imagination, in any subject.... conversions, divorce, kashrut.... all corrupted. [45.00]  Many appear to be pious and great men, but soon we will see the corruption for ourselves.  Hashem is going to expose all the junk.   Rabbis will sell the Torah for power, control, status... just as  prostitutes sell their bodies.  

The Galilee will be destroyed.  [The Galil used to be the centre of great Torah, now those Sages are buried in the kevarim around Tsfat, and everybody is fighting with each other today]  and Gavlan will be desolated. 

When a Rabbi disagrees with a part of Torah because he doesn't agree, he will lose everything. Rabbis cannot pick and choose.

The internet is full of rabbis talking nonsense, you need to be careful who you are listening to.  There are many fake rabbis out there. They are speaking things that have nothing to do with the Torah, and they have thousands of followers.  So we can see that the Torah became merchandise.... like prostitution.  They will give you 90% truth and 10% lies.  The amount of followers they have doesn't mean anything.  Simple people don't know where to go... that's why it says they'll be running to and fro.

Kabbalah has become a factory for money.  Most of these people don't know what they are talking about.  Be careful who you learn ''kabbalah" from.   

The residents of the border who flee the neighboring gentiles will search from city to city and receive no sympathy.  

It's almost impossible to make Aliyah now.

The wisdom of the scholars will diminish.  Sin fearing people will be despised.  In Israel the secular despise the orthodox.  And now we have another problem: vaccinated or non-vaccinated.   A person can be a Torah genius but if he's not vaccinated, no-one wants to listen to him. [1:11:00]

The face of the generation will be like the face of a dog.  [the masks]

They won't be embarrassed by anything. We can see that clearly now.  

When you walk with a dog it appears that the dog is leading you, but the reality is that you are leading the dog.  Reality is that our leaders are not leading us at all.

The Chofetz Chaim says when you hit a dog with a stick, the dog doesn't bite you, he bites the stick because he thinks the stick is hitting him.  Right now we are all getting hit by the stick which is from Hashem, but we think it is from the government, or an employer, or someone else.  All the slaps we are getting are coming from Hashem. 

The truth will not be found.  The Talmud says that in the generation that will look like the face of a dog, truth will be lacking and he who will turn away from evil will be considered mad. [1:17:38]

People who seek truth will have to find refuge in the desert.

Anyone who deviates from evil is deemed insane by the people, the world will call him a fool.

People need to check themselves whether they are truly honest or not.  Hashem hates deception. If you want to be close to Hashem for all eternity, do not tell lies. It's all about the Truth. The world above us is called 'The World of Truth'.  If you lie, your prayers will never be heard, you will bring upon yourself all the worst things in the world.  Just tell the truth. Start working on your truthfulness. 

[1:28:00] Another Sage says, in the generation that ben David will come, youth will humiliate elders, and the elders will stand in deference before the youth.  A daughter will rebel against her mother, and a bride against her mother-in-law, and a son will not be ashamed before his father.  

Another Sage says: arrogance will proliferate and the cost of living will corrupt people so they will engage in deceit. The cost of living will be very high. Distinguished people will be crooks and will deceive. And the vine will produce it's fruit but the wine will be expensive.  [we can see the prices of food today are increasing even though there is an abundance.... farmers are throwing their produce into the garbage to keep the prices high]

And the entire monarchy will be converted to heresy.  Monarchy = regime/government.  We can see governments are not religious at all.  There will be no inclination among the people to accept rebuke.  ben David will not come until the entire Kingdom will be converted to heresy. [example: same sex marriage is heresy]

[1:36:00] Devarim 32:36 When the Lord will judge His people, and will reconsider His servants, when He sees that the power is increasing, and none is controlled or strengthened. The explanation says instead of following the Torah, they come out with new traditions. And in Israel the deception is the worst. It is all one big deception and slowly they go against the Torah.

The son of David will not come until the traitors will overcome.  People will start to inform on others. Here we can see with the vaccines, people may start informing on others. 

ben David will not come until the students will diminish.  How many people today are sincerely making people do teshuva?   The ones who are genuinely rebuking will diminish.  We can see this now. Rabbis no longer tell people not to drive to the shul on Shabbat etc.

The son of David will not come until there is not a penny in the pocket. It will be very hard financially.  We are also working towards a cashless society, digital currency, we won't have money anymore and it will all be digital.

ben David will not come until they despair for the Redemption. People lose their faith and will give up on Moshiach coming.

Eliyahu haNavi is talking to R. Yehuda and Eliyahu says there needs to be a certain amount of Jubilee [Yovel] cycles before Moshiach comes, and only at the end of a Jubilee year Moshiach will come.  Eliyahu did not know whether it would be at the beginning or the end of the Yovel year. He says there needs to be a minimum of 85 Jubilee cycles in the world.  We are way past that.  But he says that Moshiach will come in a Jubilee year - "during the last Jubilee year Moshiach will come".  2029 on the Gregorian calendar will be a Jubilee year. [Ed note.... some say this year is the Jubilee, but we have lost count] [1:48:16]

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Transforming Enemies

from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

At the beginning of the portion Vayishlach, the Torah relates how Ya'akov sent emissaries to his brother Esav. He instructed them that, when speaking to Esav, they should refer to Ya'akov as "Esav's servant" and to Esav as "Ya'akov's lord." Later on in the portion, we find Ya'akov bowing down seven times before Esav, calling him many times "my lord" and referring to himself as "your servant."

Ya'akov's extreme obsequiousness seems hard to fathom. In fact, the Midrash states that Ya'akov was punished for sending emissaries to Esav and for calling him "my lord" - his profuse obeisance was considered sinful.

Especially so since G-d had already told Rivkah that "the older one will serve the younger" and moreover, in Yitzchak's blessing to Ya'akov, he specifically stated "you shall be a lord over your brother."

What was the reason for Ya'akov's servility?

Since the Patriarchs were wholly dedicated to G-d's will, evil could not have been part of their makeup, and thus, for them to commit gross sins was an impossibility; those actions that appear to be "sins" cannot be construed as such in the simple sense, Heaven forbid.

The proof that this is indeed so can be derived from this very incident. Although Ya'akov was punished for his actions, we nevertheless learn from his behavior that "it is permissible to flatter the wicked ... for the sake of peace." Were Ya'akov's conduct to have been considered a true sin rather than a mere failing, we would never have derived a lesson from it. What then was the purpose of Ya'akov's behavior?

Chassidus explains that Esav's spiritual source was loftier than Ya'akov's; by elevating Esav, Ya'akov was able to draw down an additional measure of spirituality from his brother's spiritual origin. Ya'akov's bowing before Esav, calling him "my lord," etc., was thus primarily directed at Esav's lofty source rather than at Esav himself.

But the fact remains that Ya'akov was totally subservient before his brother, and was punished for it. How was this befitting Ya'akov's spiritual quest?

There are two methods by which evil can be vanquished and refined: One is to draw down a great measure of sanctity upon the object one wishes to refine. This has the effect of pushing aside the evil within the object and elevating the rest to holiness.

The second approach involves the descent of the individual, bringing about the purification to the level at which the unrefined object exists. By thus coming into intimate contact with the object, he is able to transform it from evil to good.

Each of these methods has unique advantages. With regard to the person doing the purification, there is obvious merit to drawing down an infusion of holiness, inasmuch as the person himself does not have to undergo a personal descent in order to purify and elevate an object.

For the object involved, however, it is better if the person bringing about its purification actually descends into the object's realm, for then, rather than having the evil within it simply shunted aside, the object actually becomes holy, and ceases to act as an entity that conceals G-dliness.

The prime goal of Torah service is to bring peace within the world and true peace comes only when one's enemy is transformed into a friend. To bring peace "within the world" thus means that one is ready to get "down and dirty," as it were, clothing oneself in worldly garments in order to transform the material world into a holy entity.

In order for Ya'akov to truly transform his sibling, it was necessary to descend to the level of Esav as he found him. By doing so, he was able to transform Esav so that Esav said: "Let what is yours remain yours" thereby admitting that Ya'akov was entitled to Yitzchak's blessings, including the blessing of "You shall be a lord over your brother."

Thursday, November 11, 2021

It's All Good

Dovid HaMelech in Sefer Tehillim [Psalms 25:18] makes the following request of Hashem: “Look at my affliction and toil and bear all my sins.”

The seventh bracha of the Amidah, “Re’ah [Na] V’anyenu” ["Look… at our afflictions"] closely parallels this passage in Tehillim, and it is, in fact, the only bracha in the Amidah where we ask Hashem to “look” at something for us.

It is said in the name of the Apter Rav that if a person is suffering, he should affirmatively acknowledge and state “may my pain and suffering be a kapara [atonement] for all of my sins”. In this way, a person acknowledges that the purpose of his suffering or affliction is not meaningless or some kind of torture, but to achieve redirection and/or atonement. With this affirmative acknowledgement, the kapara is achieved.

"Gam zu le'tova" : this too is for the best

"Zol zein a kapara" : it should be accepted as a recompense for punishment.

Rebbe Nachman said : "There are sins whose punishment is debt. One who is punished for such a sin is constantly in debt. All the merit in the world does not erase his punishment. He can do every possible good, still he must remain in debt.

These sins can even cause others to fall into debt. When such transgressions become common, there are many debtors in the world.

The remedy for this is to repent in general for all your sins. Even though you do not know what sin is causing these debts, repent in general and ask G-d to also save you from this particular sin.

If the Torah were written in order, we would know the precise reward and punishment for each commandment."

[Rebbe Nachman]

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Taking Yaakov out of Be'ersheva

Art: Evelyn Taylor

Yaakov left Be'er Sheva and headed toward Charan [Vayeitzei 28:10]

Rashi comments that the verse could have just read "And Yaakov went to Charan" - why does it mention his departure? It is teaching us that the departure of a righteous person from a place makes an impression. For at the time that a righteous person is in a city, he is its magnificence, he is its splendor, and he is its grandeur. Once he has departed from there, its magnificence [hodah] has gone away [panah], its splendor [zeevah] has gone away, and its grandeur [hadarah] has gone away.

Rashi's words are alluded to in the verse by way of gematria: If we take "Yaakov out of Be'er Sheva" - that is, if we subtract the numerical value of the word Yaakov [182] from Be'er Sheva [575], we are left with the number 393 - the exact numerical value of the words: panah hodah zeevah u'hadarah - "its magnificence, splendor, and grandeur have gone away."

Written by Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Monday, November 8, 2021

If You Lose, I Also Lose

Concept by Mordechai Becher    Illustration by Rafi Mollot

The Battle of the Stones:  If You Lose, I Also Lose

By: Rabbi YY Jacobson

The Shouters
The Yeshiva decided to field a rowing team. Unfortunately, they lost race after race. They practiced for hours every day but never managed to come in any better than dead last.

The Rosh Yeshiva [the Yeshiva head] finally decided to send Yankel to spy on the Harvard team. So Yankel schlepped off to Cambridge and hid in the bullrushes of the Charles River, from where he carefully watched the Harvard team as they practiced.

Yankel returned to Yeshiva, and announced: "I have figured out their secret."

"What? Tell us," they all wanted to know.

"We should have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting."

The Quarrel
The rabbis in the Talmud focus on an apparent grammatical inconsistency in the portion of Vayeitzei.

When Jacob journeys from Beer Sheba to Haran, stopping on the way to rest for the night, the Torah tells us, “He took from the stones of the place, arranged them around his head, and lay down to rest.”

But in the morning when he awakes, we read a slightly different story: “Jacob arose early in the morning, and took the stone he placed around his head and set it up as a pillar.”

First we read of “stones,” in the plural; then we read of “the stone,” in the singular. Which one was it? Did Jacob use a single stone or did he employ many stones?

A lovely Talmudic tradition, laden with profound symbolism, answers the question thus: Jacob indeed took several stones. The stones began quarreling, each one saying, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head.” So G-d combined them all into one stone, and the quarreling ceased. Hence, when Jacob awoke, we read, he “took the stone” in the singular, since all the stones became one.

What is the symbolism behind this imagery? What is the meaning of stones quarreling with each other and then reaching a state of peace by congealing into one?

One more obvious question: How did the merging of diverse stones into a single entity satisfy their complaint, “Upon me shall this righteous person rest his head?” Even after the stones congealed into a single large stone, the head of Jacob still lies only on one part of the stone. (Your mattress is made of one piece, yet your head can only lie on one particular space on your mattress). So why didn’t the other parts of the stone [Jacob’s “mattress”] still lament that Jacob’s head is not lying on them?

We Are One
The Lubavitcher Rebbe once explained it with moving simplicity and eloquence:

The fighting between the stones was not caused because each one wanted the tzaddik's [the righteous man's] head; it was because they were separate stones. When the stones become one, the fighting ceases, because when you feel one with the other, you don’t mind if the head of the righteous one rests upon him. His victory is your victory; his loss is your loss. because you are one.

The episode with the stones, then, reflects a profound spiritual truth about human relationships. Much conflict — in families, communities, synagogues, organizations, corporations, and movements — stem from everyone’s fear that someone else will end up with the “head,” and you will be “thrown under the bus.”

But we can view each other in two distinct ways: as “diverse stones” and as a “single stone.” Both are valid perspectives, fair interpretations of reality. The first is superficial; the second demands profounder reflection and sensitivity. Superficially, we are indeed separate. You are you; I am I. We are strangers. I want the head; you want the head. So we quarrel.

On a deeper level, though, we are one. The universe, humanity, the Jewish people — constitute a single organism. On this level, we are truly part of one essence. Then, I do not mind if you get the head, because you and I are one.

It is hard for many people to create room for another, and let them shine brightly. We are scared that they might “get the head” and we will end up with the leg. Some of us spend years to ensure that others don't succeed. They feel that their success necessitates the failure of others.

What is needed is a broadening of consciousness; a cleansing of perception, a gaze into the mystical interrelatedness of all of us. Then I will not only allow, but will celebrate, your emergence in full splendor. Your success will not hinder mine, because we are one. Instead of thinking how can I cut you down I ought to think: How can I help you reach your ultimate success? Different “stones” may need to have different positions, yet here is no room for abuse, manipulation, back-stabbing, mistreatment and exploitation, because we are one.

Jacob, the father of all Israel, who encompassed within himself the souls of all of his children, inspired this unity within the “stones” around him. Initially, the stones operated on a superficial level of consciousness, thus quarreling who will get to lie under Jacob’s head. But Jacob inspired in them a deeper consciousness, allowing them for that night to see themselves as a single stone, even while they were in different positions.

In our night of nights, we need Jacobs who know how to inspire the stones around them with this state of consciousness. For me to win, I need you also to win. If you lose, I truly also lost.

A Tale of Three Matzahs
A story [related to me by my friend Dr. Yisroel Suskind]:

Rabbi Eliezer Zusha Portugal [1896-1982], the Skulener Rebbe, was a Chassidic master from a small town, Sculeni, in northeastern Romania. Toward the end of the Second World War, in March of 1945, he found himself along with other holocaust survivors and displaced persons, in the Russian-governed town of Czernovitz, Bukovina. [The Russian army liberated Bukovina in April 1944 and completed the expulsion of the Nazi’s from most of Eastern Europe by January 1945, at which time the Russians entered Budapest, Hungary.]

Passover, beginning that year on March 29th, would soon be upon them. Some Passover foodstuffs might well be provided by charitable organizations. Nonetheless, the Skulener Rebbe sought to obtain wheat that he could bake into properly-guarded and traditionally baked matzah. Despite the oppressive economic situation of the Jews, he was able to bake a limited number of these matzahs. He sent word to other Chassidic leaders in the area who would conduct larger Passover seders, offering each of them no more than three matzahs.

One week before Passover, Rabbi Moshe Hager, the son of the Seret-Vizhnitzer Rebbe, came for the matzahs that had been offered to his father, Rabbi Boruch Hager. After being handed the allotted 3 matzahs, he said to the Skulener Rebbe: “I know that you sent word that you could give only three matzahs, but nonetheless my father, the Seret-Vizhnitzer Rebbe, told me to tell you that he must have six matzahs”. The Skulener Rebbe was unhappy to part with this precious food that was so scarce and was in high demand by so many other Jews. But he felt that he had no choice but to honor the request, albeit reluctantly.

On the day before Passover, Rabbi Moshe Hager returned to the Skulener Rebbe. “What can I do for you?” asked the Skulener Rebbe. Rabbi Moshe answered, “I want to return three of the matzah’s to you”.

“I don’t understand”, replied the Skulener, ”I thought your father absolutely had to have six matzahs?”

“My father said to ask whether you had saved any of the matzah for yourself?”

Embarrassed, the Skulener Rebbe replied, “How could I, when so many others needed matza for Passover?”

“My father assumed that this would happen”, explained Rabbi Moshe. “That is why he requested an extra three matzahs to hold them for you.”

This is how you behave when you are “one stone.” This is what we call living a life of dignity, where you are really able to be there for another human being.

To post a comment on this article, or to view the footnotes, please click here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Teshuvah: Returning to God

 New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Torah from Shamayim

Photo: Debra and Dave Vanderlaan

Listen, heavens...and I shall speak  [Ha'azinu: Devarim 32:1]

This can be explained based on a statement found in the holy Zohar "When the righteous Moshiach will come, speedily in our days, Moshe Rabbeinu will come along with him and teach the Jewish people Torah. He will reveal to them the secrets and explanations of the Torah."

Moshe said to the people "Listen, heavens" - calling the people "the heavens" because those who study Torah are called "shamayim" - heavens. Moshe commanded them that when they reveal novel original ideas on the Torah, they should do so in a manner of "listening". They should hear those ideas from above, for when they learn, the holy light shines upon them from above, and then they open their mouths to speak and say over the idea they receive.

Through their Torah learning, they can hasten the redemption, as Moshe implies with the words "I shall speak". When you learn Torah by being open to receiving ideas from above, then, says Moshe, you will be able to hear the secrets of Torah from me as in earlier days. You will be the direct cause of Moshe speaking with you in the future by learning in the manner described and thus hastening the redemption, may it be speedily in our days, Amen.

Source:  Mipeninei Noam Elimelech  Translated by Tal Moshe Zwecker

Monday, September 13, 2021

Yom Kippur Thoughts

When we ask forgiveness from Hashem we need to remember that Hashem cannot forgive us for something we have done to someone else.  That is why you need to ask and/or receive forgiveness before Yom Kippur for anything we may have done that caused someone else to suffer.

If I have caused any distress over anything written on this blog I apologise and ask your forgiveness.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Measure for Measure


Whoever shames his friend in public to the point of making him turn pale is as if he sheds blood...for we see that the red drains out of his face and is replaced by white.  [Ben Ish Chai]

A pious man was once insulted in the synagogue.  When he came home, he sent the insulter a basket of grapes as a gift, with the following message: "You have presented me today with a basketful of your mitzvot.  I, too, present you with a laden basket".

Why, if Reuven insults and embarrasses Shimon, do Reuven's mitzvot go to Shimon and Shimon's sins go to Reuven?

Red represents sins, and white represents mitzvot, as in: "Though your sins be as scarlet, they will become white as snow" [Isaiah 1:18].  When Reuven shames Shimon, he replaces the red in Shimon's face with white.  Measure for measure, the red of Shimon's sins will replace the white of mitzvot in Reuven's soul.

Source: from the writings of the Ben Ish Chai

The First Stage of Geulah

 New shiur by Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Monday, September 6, 2021

5782 The Year of Moshiach iy"H

 In one of his recent shiurim, Rabbi Mendel Kessin also mentioned this concept.  Im yirtze Hashem.....

Thursday, September 2, 2021



Text by Rabbi Benjy Simons

A young man named George received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's' mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. George tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary. Finally, George was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. George shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. George, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed...then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. 

Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, George quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto George's outstretched arms and said "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behaviour. George was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behaviour, the bird spoke-up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?" 

As we approach the end of the Jewish year it seems quite apt that this Parsha contains the concept of Teshuva (Ramban, Baal HaTurim and Rabbeinu Yonah to Devarim 30:11) as we take a stocktake of our actions from the previous year and work to become better individuals. Unlike in other religions, Judaism finds greatness in people who despite making mistakes are constantly working on correcting them and thus we look to correct our misdeeds and resolve to not return to such behaviour. This is also reinforced by the Elul acrostic of אֶת לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת לְבַב (Devarim 30:6) which is connected to repentance (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 128:1), as Elul is the time to be refining oneself and working to improve oneself for the coming year. 

The Rambam (Laws of Teshuva 1:1, 2:2) codifies that repentance involves confession before Hashem together with remorse of past misdeeds and resolutions for the future. Obviously, one must be sincere when mentioning one’s misdeeds, which involves recognising that the action was wrong, that one is entirely responsible and thus in theory deserving of punishment (Rabbeinu Bachya). To verbalise one’s misdeeds without a resolve to abandon such behaviour is akin to immersing in a Mikveh while holding a rodent (the source of impurity) (Rambam ibid. 2:1). 

Incidentally there is no blessing on the Mitzvah of Teshuva and Rabbi Aharon Lewin suggested this is because we may do it incorrectly and thus it may not be accepted (i.e., a blessing in vain). Yet at the same time we are told that repentance and resolve can be done in a moment (see Kiddushin 49b) if one comes before Hashem with sincerity and regret. 

Perhaps therefore Yom Kippur is called the day of Atonement, for it is a contraction of the word ‘at one moment’ which is all it takes to turn one’s life around.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

How We'll All Know Moshiach Is Here

New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin, which is actually Part 2 of last week's shiur which you can find here.

Many think the Times of Israel or J'lem Post will inform them that Mashiach has been spotted on Mt. of Olives on a white donkey. In truth, your heart will be circumcised, that organ that relates to the ruach portion of your neshama. When that happens, you will access olam Yetzira and you, within your own soul, will KNOW he is here. He will BE KNOWN. Yetzira will have come down and have integrated into the physical world. [thank you Rahel for the summary]

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Chai Elul

"Chai Elul" -- the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Elul -- is a most significant date on the Chassidic calendar. The founder of Chassidism, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, was born on this date, in 1698. It is also the day, 36 years later, on which the Baal Shem Tov began to publicly disseminate his teachings, after many years as a member of the society of "hidden tzaddikim" during which he lived disguised as a simple innkeeper and clay-digger, his greatness known only to a very small circle of fellow mystics and disciples.

The following is a true story of the Baal Shem Tov.

It was revealed to the Baal Shem Tov that if the two great lights of the world were to meet, they together could bring Moshiach and the Final Redemption. From that time, the Baal Shem Tov desired greatly to go to Eretz Yisrael to meet the great Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh [Rabbi Chaim ben Atar].

In the year 5503, the Baal Shem Tov set out to travel to Eretz Yisrael to fulfill his long held desire to be in the Holy Land and to meet the great Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh. By Pesach, he arrived in Istanbul. There he prayed at the gravesite of Rav Naftali, a tzaddik who had attempted the same trip at an earlier time, but had only managed to reach this far.

That night, Rav Naftali appeared to the Baal Shem Tov in a dream. “Reb Yisrael, it has been decreed in Heaven that you are not destined to dwell in Eretz Yisrael. If you are stubborn and attempt to continue your journey, you will die here as I did. Return home.” The Baal Shem Tov accepted the decree and embarked upon a ship and headed homeward.

His ship was captured by pirates, who let him off at the port of Kilya, from where he continued his journey to Medzibush. Three months later, during the Seudah Shishlit meal on the Shabbat of Parshat Pinchas, immediately after washing his hands and eating a bite of challah, the Baal Shem Tov said with a sigh, “The Western Light has been extinguished.”

At the Melave Malkah (meal following the departure of the Shabbat Queen) on that Motzoei Shabbat, the chassidim gathered their courage and asked, “Rebbe, what did you mean when you said that ‘The Western Light has been extinguished?’” The Baal Shem Tov replied, “The Ohr HaChayim HaKadosh has died. He was known in Heavenly realms as the Western Light.” “How does the Rebbe know that?” one chassid boldly asked.

The Baal Shem Tov answered, “There is a particular kavanna (intention) for the recitation of the blessing for washing hands which I have always wanted to know. However, this kavanna was hidden from me since only one person in each generation can know it, and the Ohr HaChayim had preceded me. This afternoon, as I washed my hands for Seudah Shishlit, I suddenly became aware of a new kavanna. I immediately understood that the Ohr HaChayim had passed from this world and now I become the guardian of that kavanna.”

Another time, the Baal Shem Tov told his Chassidim of another incident related to the Ohr HaChayim. On the Shabbat that the great Ohr HaChayim departed from this world, his friend in Tiberias, Reb Chayim Abulafia, mysteriously fainted, and remained unconscious for half an hour. When he finally was revived, he announced to his students "Today the Ohr HaChayim left this world. I accompanied him until the Gates of Gan Eden." “What Reb Chayim of Tiberias did not know,” the Baal Shem Tov told his chassidim, “was that the Ohr HaChayim’s saintly neshamah [soul] remained in Gan Eden only for the duration of Shabbat. The next day it descended once more to this world.

The souls of tzaddikim,” he explained, “receive greater satisfaction from being in this physical world than by being in Gan Eden. Here the soul can serve the Almighty on the lowest physical plane, through performing mitzvot and good deeds which brings far greater benefit to this world, and is far more pleasurable to the soul than being in Gan Eden. When Moshiach arrives, and Godliness will be seen and felt by even the most common man, we will yearn for the days previous when we were able to serve the Almighty on the lowest level of the physical.”

The death of the Ohr HaChayim occurred just two days before Reb Leib Sorahs’ Bar Mitzvah. It was years later however, that the chassidim understood that it was the Ohr HaChayim’s soul that he received at the time of his Bar Mitzvah, from the Rebbe Reb Dov Ber [The Mezritcher Maggid]. And so it was.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Last Era of This World - How to Survive Through Gog uMagog

 Another new shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin, given 16 August 2021

The Evaluation of Your Tikkun Standing

 New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Blame it on the Tree


When Rav Moshe Cordovero [the Ramak] was niftar [deceased] in Tzfat, he was the leading kabbalist of his generation, and he had many students. He authored many seforim [books] on Kabalah including the classic Mussar Sefer Tomer Devorah.

Before his passing, his talmidim asked him who they will learn with after he passes on. He said the person who sees a pillar of fire above my Aron, he is the one who will lead you. That person turned out to be a little known recent immigrant from Mitzrayim named Rav Yitzchak Luria, better know as the Arizal. 

After realizing that the Arizal saw the pillar, the people asked him to say a hesped [eulogy] on the niftar.  The Arizal said that the pasuk says [Ki Teitzei 21:22], ''וְכִי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ" And if a man commits a sin worthy of death, he is put to death, and you should hang him on a tree." 

The Arizal explained that the word ''Ish'' means a tzadik. The word "Chait" means lacking. In other words if there is a tzadik whose actions do not warrant him to die because he has no aveirot [sins], yet he dies anyway - וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ - blame it on the tree. His death was only because Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz HaDaas [Tree of Knowledge]. For if not, this tzadik would have lived forever.

Monday, August 16, 2021

The Climate of the Messianic Era

Obviously we are all living in a time of great upheaval, all over the world.  Most people do not understand what is really going on, but thankfully we have Rabbi Mendel Kessin who explains it to us.  

Last week he uploaded a shiur entitled ''The Climate of Yemos HaMashiach'' which you may have listened to.

That shiur is now available as a transcript and you can find it here at Rabbi Kessin's new site 

Sunday, August 15, 2021

The Unconscious Mitzvah

Art Gerhard Nesvadba

''....when you forget a bundle in the field...'' [Ki Teitzei 24:19]

Why should a person be blessed for performing a mitzvah if he unwittingly - and even unwillingly - drops money on the floor, which is later found by a poor person? [see Rashi v.19]

Chassidic thought explains that every Jew, regardless of his status and station, is essentially willing to do all that he is commanded to do by our Torah.  The fact that he might sometimes be influenced to do otherwise is because  his conscious state can be affected by external pressures that induce states of mind and even behaviour which is contrary to his essential nature [Rambam, Laws of Divorce 2:20]

Therefore, if he performs a mitzvah which was not consciously intended, it is nevertheless an act that is consistent with his inner, subconscious desire.  In fact, what has actually occurred here is that his subconscious mind has been able to influence his actions directly, without passing through the conscious state.

So, if a person drops money which is later found by a poor person, he has done an action which is commensurate with his true, inner desire to serve G-d, and therefore he is blessed because of it.

Based on Sefer Hama'amarim Mehukat vol 5 p 50 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

3 Elul - Yarzheit Rav Kook

It was the first of Elul, 5695 [1935], when Rabbi David Cohen [known as ‘the Rav HaNazir’] arrived at the guest house where Rav Kook was staying in Kiryat Moshe.

Exactly twenty years had passed since their first transformative encounter in Switzerland. This time he held in his hands a special document to show his dying master.

For twelve years, the Rav HaNazir had labored to organize Rav Kook’s writings into a systematic, comprehensive work. As his revered master lay on his death bed, he showed him the beginning fruits of his labor - the title page of the first volume of Orot HaKodesh. Rav Kook rejoiced; and he shed tears.

On the day of his death, Rav Kook motioned to his son, Rav Tzvi Yehudah, to come close. “Please pay off any outstanding debts. I do not want to owe anyone, not even the smallest amount.” He then made a second request: “Please prepare my writings for publication. But take care that the only title given to me is ‘rabbi.'”

With great effort, Rav Kook turned his face towards the scholars in the room. When it became clear that his soul would soon depart, the people cried out, “Shema Yisrael!” Rav Kook whispered after them, “Shema Yisrael,” breathing his final breath with the word echad - one. “The Eternal is one.”

The Rav HaNazir wrote:
“When the Rav passed away, We heard a heavenly voice. The voice called out, “Haim, ad olam!” ‘Life, forever!’ Even after completing life in this world, the soul continues, and it grows even stronger, with blessing, in eternal life.”

[Stories from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Malachim Kivnei Adam, p. 420; preface to Orot HaKodesh, pp. 24, 30.]

Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook was born on the 16th Elul 5625 (September 1864). On the day of his bris, he received a kippah as a gift. From that day on, his parents always kept a kippah on his head. Even while he was sleeping, Avraham Yitzchak's parents did not take the kippah off his head so that he should not be bareheaded - not even for a minute. The little boy would not fall asleep without his kippah. When he turned over and it fell off, he immediately woke up.

Avraham Yitzchak was four years old when he was brought to the cheder (school) in his home town of Geriva, to learn to read. The teacher offered him a siddur and turned to the page with the alef-bet. The child stubbornly refused to learn.

"Why won't you study?" asked the teacher.

"I want to learn from the big books" replied Avraham Yitzchak shyly.

"Which big books?" asked the teacher.

Avraham Yitzchak did not know how to answer. Instead he ran home and brought back a Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law, and another large heavy book. The teacher smiled and said to the child: "If you want to be able to learn from the big books, you must first study from the small books." Avraham Yitzchak understood and began to read the alef-bet from the siddur.

In the same cheder, there was a class of older children who were studying Torah. Every Friday, these children were tested on the material they learned all week. One Friday, an interesting thing happened. One of the older children did not know the answer. There was silence. Sudddenly, the voice of a small boy from the youngest reading table was heard. It was the answer, spoken clearly and correctly. Avraham Yitzchak had been listening to the lessons of the older children and had understood them.

Little Avraham Yitzchak invented an unusual game to play with his friends in cheder. He arranged the children in rows. Each child had a knapsack on his back, as if they were getting ready for a long journey. Avraham Yitzchak was their guide. The small soldiers asked: "Where are we going?"

"To Israel, to Eretz Yisrael..."


After many years of diligent study, Rav Kook was appointed as the rabbi of Zoimel, one of the small villages in Lithuania. After serving as rabbi of the town of Zoimel, Rav Kook was appointed the rabbi of a large city, Boisk. In Boisk, the Rav could sit and learn Torah for many hours each day. There was a time when he would learn 50 or 60 pages of Talmud in one day.

Many years passed before the Rav went to live in Eretz Yisrael. When the possibility of becoming the Rav of Jaffa arose, he refused all other appealing offers which came from European Yeshivot which asked him to be their Rosh Yeshivah or from great cities abroad, whose congregants wanted him to be their rabbi.

In addition, the congregation of Boisk refused to allow their rabbi to leave, until the Jews of Jaffa wrote to them explaining that the mitzvah of yishuv Eretz Yisrael, settling the land of Israel, takes precedence over everything else.

On Friday 28th Iyar 5664 (10 May 1904) Rav Kook went to live in Eretz Yisrael. He was received at the port of Jaffa with great honours and began his term as Rabbi of Jaffa. At that time, Israel was under Turkish rule and Jewish settlements were first being established. Jaffa was one of the main centers of Jewish settlement.

Hundreds of people from Jerusalem, Rishon LeZion, Rehovot and Petach Tikvah came to welcome the Rav and to form their own impressions of this unique figure, and his wife the Rabbanit Raiza Rivka.

The first World War broke out. The Rav had gone to Europe on shlichut, as an emissary for Eretz Yisrael, and could not return to his home in Jaffa because of the war. He stayed in London and served as a rabbi of the city. But he was constantly worried about the fate of his community in Jaffa and the hardships facing Jews in Israel which was then in a state of siege and famine.

After the war ended, the Rav returned to Eretz Yisrael. The Jews of Jaffa wanted him to continue as their rabbi. At the same time, the community of Jerusalem asked him to become their rabbi. The Rav debated this dilemma for quite some time. He knew that a small part of the Jewish community of Jerusalem did not want him as Rabbi. He did not want to be the cause of fights and arguments in the Holy City. On the 3rd Elul 5679 (29 August 1919), the Rav came to Jerusalem and only after a while did he bend to the will of the community, and become the rabbi of Jerusalem.

Here he established the centre of the world-renowned Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav, the "Centre of the Rav". Later, along with Rav Yaakov Meir Charlop, he instituted the Chief Rabbinate of Eretz Yisrael, with both rabbis acting as Chief Rabbi. All his time and effort was dedicated to the Rabbinate, the affairs of the community, and to the learning of Torah.


The author, Tikvah Sarig, tells the following story about Rav Kook:

On the first Yom Kippur eve, after my father passed away, I was not yet five years old. Every morning since his death, my mother would wake me before dawn and wipe the sleep from my eyes with the same words: "Get up, my daughter, my neshama, my soul, to pray for the memory of your righteous father, the tzaddik".

What a tzaddik was, I did not know, but I imagined he looked like this: a kippah on his head, his beard long, his eyes warm and good, the palms of his hands soft, and his voice, melodic. Just like my father who was taken from me.

It was erev Yom Kippur. After the pre-fast meal, my mother took me to the house of Rav Kook. The sun was about to set. We marched quickly to the Rav's house. The streets were filled with worshippers, clad in white, hurrying to the synagogue to hear Kol Nidre, the opening Yom Kippur prayer.

Opening the door, we were welcomed by the fragrance and warmth of burning candles. Rebbetzin Kook and her daughter opened their arms to us and began to cry. My mother patted my head.

"Soon you will go into the Rav's study to receive his blessing" said the Rebbetzin.

With her words, my fear grew. I sighed loudly. Just then, the great door opened and from within, a righteous man, a tzaddik, came out. He was all dressed in white, his gartel was embroidered with gold. On his head he wore a white kippah; his beard was long. His eyes, warm and good, were looking at me with pity and kindness.

"Aba! Daddy!" I cried and clung closely to my mother, hiding my face in her dress, my limbs trembling. I heard my mother's voice through my tears: "Go my child. Receive a blessing from the honoured Rav!"

She led me a few steps towards him. The Rav took my small hands into his warm, soft ones.

"Do not cry, my child" he said, placing his hands on my head. "Do not be afraid of me. I was a friend of your father. Come here and I will bless you on this holy day."

The Rav's hands were soft and warm - just like my father's. His voice was melodic - just like my father's. I felt as if a river of kindness and warmth washed all over me - from my head to my toes - just like when I used to sit on my father's lap.


Rav Kook was so righteous that he always forgave his enemies and even loved and blessed them.


In his last days, the Rav became very sick. He suffered in terrible pain. It was difficult for him to learn, and it was difficult for him to hide his anguish from his students and relatives.

On the morning of the 3rd Elul, his condition became worse. Even though speaking was very hard for him, he strained himself and demanded of his family and students not to add any titles to his name on the cover pages of his books, not to eulogize him, telling them (do not call me) "Rabbeinu, our Rabbi, and not the "Chief Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael" - "Simply HaRav - the Rav".

A large crowd stood outside the house, where the Rav lay on his deathbed. He raised his eyes to the window in his room. Everyone in Eretz Yisrael knew that a great leader, a teacher, a man of wisdom, was about to leave the land he loved so much.

The Rav grew weaker by the hour. His family, relatives, and a number of his students gathered around his bedside. In his last hours, the Rav's face was turned towards the wall. His students knew that it was written in the Talmud: "If a man passes away with his face towards the wall - it is a bad sign, and if his face is turned toward the people, it is a good sign". With his remaining strength, the Rav struggled and turned himself to face the people. At the last moment, all those who were standing around the Rav broke out saying "Shema Yisrael".

At sunset, on the third day of Elul 5695 (Sept 1st, 1935) the Rav passed away. The news flashed through the Jewish nation with the speed of lightning. The backbone of the Jewish nation was broken. The Rav of the generation was gone, the Rav of the era, the Rav of Eretz Yisrael at the time of her rebirth.

Exactly 16 years (3rd Elul) after Rav Kook ascended to Jerusalem, he ascended to Heaven.

Source: Reprinted from "Stories from the Life of Rav Kook" edited and translated by Masha Fridman

More on Rav Kook at Rav Kook Torah