Friday, February 26, 2021

The Purim Codes

I used to blog this every year on Purim, here it is again after a few missing years, for those who have never seen it. It never gets old.  
Chag sameach !

[adapted from Keeping Posted with NCSY, Fall 1999 edition and also from article by Rabbi Dovid Rosenfeld]

There is a famous "code" in Megillat Esther :- towards the end of the story, King Ahashveirosh allows the Jews to avenge themselves of their enemies on the 13th day of Adar. In Shushan, the capital, the Jews kill 500 men and hang Haman's ten sons on a gallows. Queen Esther then approaches the King with an additional request: "...allow the Jews who are in Shushan to do tomorrow as they did today, and let the ten sons of Haman be hanged on the gallows" [Esther 9:13]. It's curious that she would request the hanging of Haman's already slain sons. Nevertheless, the King complies.

The Hebrew word for "tomorrow" ["machar"] occasionally refers to the distant future. Further, the Sages tell us that whenever the word "king" appears in the Megillah it alludes to the King of kings as well. Thus, the verse could be understood as a request by Esther to G-d to again hang the ten sons of Haman at some point in the distant future. Now, when the Megillah lists the ten sons of Haman during their hanging [Esther 9:7-9] there are a number of unusually-sized letters. [There is a tradition to write certain letters in the Torah larger or smaller than the standard size.]

According to the most accepted tradition, there is a large 'vav' [numerical value = 6] and a small 'tav' [400], 'shin' [300] and 'zayin' [7]. The following suggestion has been made: The large vav refers to the sixth millennium [of the Hebrew calendar]; the small letters refer to year 707 of that millennium. The meaning, then, is that G-d agreed to hang Haman's ten sons again in the year 5707 = 1946-7.

When listing the ten sons of Haman who were hanged [Esther 9:6-10], three letters, namely Taf, Shin, and Zayin, are written smaller than the rest [most printed texts reflect this; if yours doesn’t, look in another]. The commentaries offer no explanation for this other than that it is a prophecy. The letters "Taf-Shin-Zayin" represent the Hebrew year 5707, corresponding to the secular year 1946-47.

On October 16, 1946 (21 Tishrei, 5707) ten convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged in Nuremberg. (An eleventh, Hermann Goering, a transvestite, committed suicide in his cell. The Midrash tells us that Haman also had a daughter who committed suicide.) As if the parallel were not obvious enough without further corroboration, Nazi Julius Streicher’s last words were: "PURIM FEST 1946!". [In case you question the accuracy of Streicher’s last words, they are are well-documented; they appeared in Newsweek, October 28, 1946]

It is fairly safe to assume that (a) Streicher did not know about the three small letters in the Megilla, (b) he did not know that these letters corresponded to the year in which he was being hanged, and (c) even had he known, he would have had no motivation to reinforce the validity of Jewish texts, traditions, or prophecies. One could not ask for a more independent confirmation of the all encompassing knowledge to be found in the Sifrei Tanach.

Rabbi Weissmandl - a great Hungararian scholar and holocaust survivor - made a number of findings concerning Megillat Esther using skip distances of 12,111 letters - the exact number of letters in Megillat Esther. If one starts with the first regular mem [as opposed to the "final mem"] in Bereishis 4:14, where the name Esther [vocalized differently] appears for the only time in the Torah, and count at intervals of 12,111 letters, one finds spelled out the phrase "Megillat Esther." Coincidence? I think not.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

A Mysterious Guest's Purim Secret

Rav Chaim Volozhin's Purim Secret From A Mysterious Guest

One Purim an old man appeared at Rav Chaim Volozhin's Purim seuda. Rav Chaim gave him a coin for tzedaka. The old man then said that if he gives him another coin, he will tell him a Chiddush in the Megila. Rav Chaim agreed and the old man asked a question.

The Medrash says that after the gezeira of Haman, Moshe Rabbeinu told Eliyahu HaNavi to go tell Mordechai to daven on earth while they will daven in Shamayim. Eliyahu told Moshe that he already saw that the gezeira was signed and sealed in Shamayim so there was no chance of salvation. Moshe asked, was the seal made out of earth or blood. Eliyahu said it was out of earth. In that case said Moshe Rabbeinu there is still hope.

Where, asked the old man, do we see in the Megila that the seal was not from blood? Rav Chaim didn't answer and the old man continued. The Megila says that Haman plotted to destroy the Yehudim, "U'Liabdam". If you break the word U'Liabdam into two words it says "V'Lo B'Dam", the decree was not sealed in blood.

Rav Chaim was so excited about this answer that when he went to visit his Rebbi the Vilna Gaon, he repeated it to him. The Vilna Gaon also became emotional upon hearing this and told Rav Chaim that the "old man" was none other than the old man who revealed this secret over 2,000 years ago during the story of Purim. It was Eliyahu HaNavi himself.

Women's Tehillim United Teleconference


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

New Shiur: The Essence of Purim

 Audio from Rabbi Shimon Kessin - shiur given Feb 21, 2021

Powerful Prayer Day

Many classic sources tell us that Purim represents a special opportunity for one’s prayers to be answered.

The Sefer Kav HaYosher says the following: Taanis Esther is a day that is very auspicious for one’s prayers to be answered in the merit of Mordechai and Esther. Whoever needs mercy for any particular needs should put aside time for themselves and do the following: First, recite Chapter 22 in Tehilim. Then, pour out your heart to Hashem and ask for all your needs and mention the merit of Mordechai and Esther [whose merits saved us from Haman]. The Gates of Mercy will be opened and your prayers will be accepted beratzon. 
More segulot for Purim at Zchus Avos

The Ritv”a in his commentary to Megillah 7a quotes the Talmud Yerushalmi which explains regarding the fulfillment of the obligation to give matanos la’evyonim [gifts to the poor] on Purim, that kol ha’posheit yado leetol yitnu lo - we give to anyone who extends his hand to receive”. This is to say that on this festive day we give money to everyone who asks, without first checking to see if they truly are poor and worthy of receiving tzedakah funds. The Chasam Sofer writes that just as we are not particular if the people to whom we give charity on Purim are truly deserving, and whoever extends his hand gets helped, so, too, does G-d listen to all our prayers on this special day, and kol ha’posheit yado leetol yitnu lo – He gives to anyone who extends his hand to receive.

Also see: Purim's Golden Opportunity

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Torah is Light

''To light up the lamp continuously'' [Tetzaveh 27:20]

The Ner Tamid  [perpetual candle] which the Kohen Gadol kindled in the Beis HaMikdash symbolized the Torah, as the verse states: ''The Torah is light'' [Mishlei 6:23]

In the same way that the Ner Tamid was never extinguished, and its light was a constant source of illumination, so too, the radiance of the Torah will always shine upon the world and its inhabitants.

Each and every individual is commanded to fulfill the precept of ''You should contemplate it day and night'' [Yehoshua 1:8].  By upholding this commandment we ensure that the Torah's light continuously shines and illuminates the world.

The Vilna Gaon's diligence in Torah study was legendary. His days were spent in his room, delving into the depths of the Torah with every ounce of strength that he possessed.

On one occasion, the Gaon's sister arrived from a distant land in order to pay him a visit.  This was by no means a minor event, as the two had not seen each other for some fifty years !

The Gaon went out to greet his sister and, as the halachah dictates, recited the blessing that is said upon seeing an acquaintance that one has not seen for a long time - ''Blessed are You, Hashem... Who resuscitates the dead.''

After concluding the blessing, the Gaon said to his sister: ''My dear sister. I know that we have not seen one another for quite some time. However, when I leave this world and am called before the Heavenly Tribune, I will be asked to give an accounting for every single second of my life.  Each moment of time will be scrutinized and judged on whether or not it was utilized studying Torah and performing Hashem's mitzvos.  How, then, can I waste away the precious time that I have been allotted, by engaging in trivial conversations?''

''I therefore beg your forgiveness, but I must return to my room and resume my Torah study.''

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Lesson of the Tachash


by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

"Tachash skins, acacia wood" [Terumah 25:5]

Chazal say (Shabbat 28b) that the tachash was a beautiful, multi-colored animal that was created for the purpose of building the Mishkan and then disappeared and is no longer found. So the entire reason for its creation was only for a specific time. The question is, why did Hashem create a special creature at the time of the building the Mishkan and then conceal it? Seemingly He could have made it a permanent creation so that it would be ready for its use in the Mishkan. And if the goal was that it should be a rare, unique creature that would be sighted only at the time of building the Mishkan, Hashem could have hidden it away in the distant forests and revealed it only when it was needed for the Mishkan. What lies behind this special act of creation specifically for the sake of the Mishkan? 

It seems that one can derive the following lesson from the creation of the tachash. Hashem wished to teach us that just as the Mishkan required a specific item, the skin of the tachash which was unavailable in the world, and therefore Hashem fashioned a special creation, so too man who is comparable to the Mishkan, (his mind is compared to the Aron HaBrit, his eyes to the Menorah, his mouth to the Shulchan etc.), must create and form within himself renewed strength to elevate himself in his service of Hashem. Even if his strength is waning, he should not give up but should toil with his last remaining strength, as it says in Mishlei (2:4-5), "If you seek it as [if it were] silver, if you search for it as [if it were] hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of Hashem, and discover the knowledge of G-d". This implies that if a person wants to understand the extent to which he must toil to acquire Yirat Shamayim and understanding of the Torah and what strengths he possesses for this, he should try to create a visual picture of the strength he would invest to search for silver and hidden treasures. 

Let us picture an extremely tired man who is long bereft of strength and since he is overcome with tiredness he leaves everything and lays his head down to rest somewhat. It is quite clear to all that if this person would suddenly receive a phone call announcing that he had won the lottery, he would immediately jump up like a lion, forget his tiredness and run to claim his prize because he is afraid of missing the chance. How sad it is that there are people who run after money and work the entire day but when the time comes for them to immerse themselves in Torah study, suddenly their tiredness overwhelms them and they cannot keep their eyes open to learn. 

This requires much work on one's middot, to create renewed strength for the sake of studying Torah which is more precious than gold and pearls. Since Hashem wanted to teach man that he must create new strengths when it comes to Torah study, even in a situation when it seems like a truly new creation of something from nothing, He therefore, did not create the tachash during the Six Days of Creation but singled out its creation for the time of the building of the Mishkan. Man, who is like a miniature Mishkan, should know that he must cleave to Hashem's ways and renew his strength when it comes to studying the Torah and fulfilling its mitzvot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Terumah: The Tachash and the Erev Rav

by Rabbi Chanan Morrison

The Talmud gives an account of the enigmatic Tachash, a mysterious creature whose beautiful multicolored hide was used as a covering for the Tabernacle:

“The Tachash that lived in the time of Moses was a unique species. The Sages could not determine whether it was domesticated or wild. It only appeared at that time for Moses, who used it for the Tabernacle. Then it vanished.” [Shabbat 28b] What is the significance of this unique animal? What was its special connection to Moses, that it made its appearance only during his lifetime? And why did Moses incorporate the colorful Tachash in the Tabernacle, albeit only for its outermost covering?

Mixed Blessings from Mixed Multitudes
The Tachash is said to have had one horn, this picture is
for illustrative purposes only, and not a real Tachash

In Aramaic, the Tachash is called Sasgona, for it was proud (sas) of its many vivid colors (gona). According to Rav Kook, the multihued Tachash is a metaphor, representing Moses’ desire to include as many talents and gifts as possible when building the Jewish people - even talents that, on their own, might have a negative influence upon the people. The metaphor of the Tachash specifically relates to Moses’ decision to allow the Erev Rav - “mixed multitudes” from other nations - join the Israelites as they left Egypt.

The Erev Rav were the source of much grief. They instigated the Sin of the Golden Calf and other rebellions against God in the wilderness. And their descendants throughout the generations continued to bring troubles upon Israel. Nevertheless, at the End of Days, all the troubles these difficult and diverse forces caused will be revealed as having been for the best, as the absorption of the Erev Rav served to enrich the Jewish people.

One disturbing aspect of the Erev Rav is the phenomenon of many dynamic forces abandoning the Jewish nation during its long exile among the nations. Yet this is not a true loss, since only that which was foreign to the inner spirit of Israel is cast off. These lost elements of the Erev Rav were ultimately incompatible with Knesset Yisrael, the national soul of Israel; thus they were unable to withstand the pressures and hardships of exile. It saddens us to lose that which we thought was part of Israel, but in fact, they were never truly assimilated within the nation’s soul.

This outcome benefits the world at large. As these ‘fallen leaves’ join the other nations, they bring with them much of what they absorbed from the holiness of Israel. As a result, other peoples have become more receptive to Israel’s spiritual message.

Could the Tachash be Domesticated?

The Sages were in doubt as to the ultimate fate of the multi-talented Erev Rav. Would they be truly absorbed within Israel, enriching the people and remaining forever a part of it? Or would they only serve as a positive influence on the world, outside the camp of Israel?

The Sages expressed this uncertainty by questioning whether the Tachash was a domestic creature. A wild animal cannot be trained and will not permanently join man’s home. It can only be guided indirectly. A domesticated animal, on the other hand, is completely subservient to man and is an integral part of his household. Would the Erev Ravultimately be rejected, like wild animals which can never be truly at home with humanity? Or would they be domesticated and incorporated into the house of Israel?

Moses and the Tachash

Just as the Tachash only made its appearance in Moses’ time, so too, this absorption of foreign talents was only possible in Moses’ generation. No other generation could have taken it upon itself to accept alien forces into the nation. Once the contribution of the Erev Rav to Israel is complete, the nation’s spiritual restoration requires that they will be purged from the Jewish people. “I will purge your dross... and then you will be called the city of righteousness, faithful city” [Isaiah 1: 25-26].

We usually avoid destructive forces which may delay and hinder the ultimate good. However, a far-reaching vision can detect the underlying purpose of all human activity, as all actions ultimately fulfill the Divine Will. The great hour of Exodus resonated with the highest vision; the first redemption of Israel initiated the historical process that will culminate with the final redemption. Moses, the master prophet, “the most faithful of all My house,” saw fit to include those varied forces that ordinarily would be rejected. And yet, like the skins of the Tachash, they were only suitable for the most external covering.

“The new heavens and the new earth which I will make are standing before Me.” [Isaiah 66:22] All of the wonderful forces of the future - “the new heavens and the new earth” - are not really new. They already exist. Even now, they are “standing before Me.” By accepting the Erev Rav, Moses planted these diverse gifts within the Jewish people. Like seeds, they decay in the ground; but ultimately they will sprout and bring forth new life. The brilliant future light, with all of its spectacular colors and breadth, is not new; it was secreted away long ago. This resplendent light is hidden, like the multi-hued Tachash, until the time will come for it to be revealed once more. [Sapphire from the Land of Israel. Adapted from Ein Eyah vol. III, pp. 105-107]

Sunday, February 14, 2021

The Battle of the Last War....

 ...are you programmed

New shiur from Rabbi Alon Anava whose videos can now be found at

Wonderful lecture, everything is explained here, highly recommend this shiur.

The battle of the last war - Are you Programmed? from Rabbi Alon Anava on Vimeo.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Kochav Yaakov in Adar ??

Back in 2016 I published a blog post about ''Nibiru'' [the Star of Jacob] which was predicted by the Ramak to appear on the 25th day of the 6th month, which generally speaking is Elul.  See A Date with Nibiru

Another rabbi is saying that we will see the Kochav Yaakov in Adar this year: if you count the months beginning at Tishrei, then Adar IS the sixth month: see Major Kabalistic Leader predicts Star of Jacob as early as Adar

It seems to be that Adar is the month we have been waiting for, on so many levels.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Why the Entire World is being Attacked by CoronaVirus

 I'm re-listening to this shiur, which was given in March 2020 by Rabbi Anava who has been unwell and hopefully will return to the video scene very shortly.  Anyway, I found that the re-listening one year later was quite interesting.

Pray for Others


Friday, February 5, 2021

The Melave Malka and Moshiach Connection

 by Rabbi Benjy Simons

In this week’s Parsha [Yisro] we have the seminal section of the Ten Commandments together with the Sinai revelation. As last week we delved into the concept of the third meal on Shabbos, I thought it would be prudent to share some insights regarding the final meal associated with Shabbos and done after Havdalah known as the Melava Malka. According to the Rambam (Laws of Shabbos 29:1) the 4th Commandment of Remembering the Shabbos includes marking Shabbos both as it enters (which we do through Kiddush on Friday night) and when it concludes (which we do through Havdalah when Shabbos ends). 

We thus create a sense of balance of beginning the Shabbos with Kiddush with an associated meal and conclude the Shabbos with Havdalah and a light dinner. Interestingly, at both meals it is customary to wear our Shabbos clothes, light candles and even recite Shir HaMalos in Birchas HaMazon. In doing this we are symbolically honouring an important dignitary (i.e. the Shabbos) as he enters and leaves our home every Shabbos (Rashi). 

The Talmud (Shabbos 119b) mentions that having hot bread or hot water has medicinal purposes when consumed at the Melava Malka as well as long term benefits of sustaining a certain bone in the body (Luz) which is instrumental for the final resurrection. It is also encouraged to have meat at this meal, though many are lenient like the third meal on Shabbos to simply have a cooked dish or fruit together with a hot drink. 

Traditionally this meal is associated with King David as he used to make a celebratory meal each week following Shabbos. The Gemara (Shabbos 30a-b) mentions that King David implored Hashem to know when he would pass away (see Psalms 39:5 and Pesachim 54b). Although he was denied this request, he was told that he would pass away on a Shabbos and hence each Motzei Shabbos he was relieved and confident that he was protected for a following week. 

An additional reason of why this meal is connected to King David, is also connected to the Messianic redemption to which the Gemara (Eruvin 43b) mentions that Moshiach (a descendant of King David) can’t come on Shabbos and hence after Shabbos we fervently pray for the possibility that Moshiach come. It is therefore customary to sing songs associated with Eliyahu HaNavi and share stories about our righteous ancestors in the hope and merit that we should be able to usher in the final redemption, may it happen speedily in our days.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Rabbi Yuval Asherov

I've been confused about the vaccine I must admit, but I just listened to Rabbi Yuval Asherov and I learnt so much from him.

His first video is below, and the follow up is at Israel National News, the english subtitles came up automatically for me.  

Monday, February 1, 2021

Why Tzaddikim Atone for Us All

 by Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

Question: How can the death of a Tzaddik become a Kapparah [atonement]?

Answer: The Tzadik is not a personal individual that has an impact only on himself, he is a public figure who impacts on all those around him; the loss of a Tzadik is therefore a public loss, not an individual or family one. The Tzadikim are here not for themselves, rather for others - that is how they live their lives and that is how they also die; Just as the death serves as atonement to the deceased himself, so the departure of a Tzadik does to his community.



What a sad day for Klal Yisrael.