Wednesday, March 30, 2022

The Power of Words

Ilui nishmat Esther Rivka bat Moshe. 

Pharris Art

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

Source: Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

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

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

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

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Rav Chaim Kanievsky ZTL - A Living Sefer Torah

New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin given 28/3/22
[I removed the old shiur that I accidentally posted]

Monday, March 28, 2022

Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Israel, Angels and Mashiach


People are going crazy with what’s happening in America. You’ll notice this is very similar to what’s happened to Ukraine. Thank G-D, nobody’s having to run away from America because the enemy is not outside America--the enemy IS America. It’s Biden (his administration), the Democratic Party, the progressives, the liberals, wiping out America and they’ve got another three years to do more damage. 

We are watching tremendous decrees against the entire world because we are near the End. As we get closer and closer to the End, G-D has to “balance the books.” Ukraine, the U.S., and even Europe are all under indictment. Everybody’s walking around with an existential fear of death, waiting for WW3. They think WW3 is about to break out, or just one more mistake and the red button will be pushed. People are in real fear. That’s pachad maves--fear of death, a means for kappara--atonememt for the sins of mankind.

Click here to continue reading at Torah Thinking  [and it's highly recommended that you do]

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Tazria: Following Your Destiny, or Not

The Angel in charge of conception is called לילה / Leila. When Hashem wishes a human being to be born, He bids the Angel Leila "Bring me this neshama from Gan Eden". The neshama, though, resents being uprooted from its Divine source, and complains to the Almighty "I am pure and holy, linked to Your Glory. Why should I be degraded by having to enter a human body?" Hashem responds: "The world where you will live surpasses in beauty the one from whence you emanated. You were fashioned for the sole purpose of becoming part of a human being and being elevated by his deeds."

The meaning of this is that although in Olam Haba the soul enjoys undisturbed tranquility and bliss, nevertheless the present world, despite all its tribulations, is of greater beauty. Only as long as a person lives on earth does he have the opportunity to study Torah and fulfill the mitzvos, thus accumulating merits.

Hashem subsequently compels the soul to merge with the seed for which it was destined. Even before the fetus is formed, the angel inquires of Hashem "What shall be its fate?"

At that point, the entire future of the unborn child is pre-ordained. Hashem determines whether it is to be male or female, whether he or she shall be healthy or suffer from some sickness or handicap, his appearance, the degree of his intelligence, as well as all his mental and physical capabilities. Moreover, all particulars of his circumstances are already decided - whether wealthy or poor, what shall he possess, and who will be his future spouse.

We see that all details of a person's life are predestined. However, there is one exception. Hashem does not decree whether someone will become a tzaddik or a rasha. Each one decides how to fashion himself by means of the faculties and capabilities that were pre-ordained for him.

A person should not feel pride in his intelligence, strength or money, for these qualities are not of his own achievement, rather they were Divinely decreed for him before birth. There is only one field of endeavour in which accomplishment results from the individual's effort - whether and to what extent he will study Hashem's greatness by delving into His Torah and emulating His ways. To the degree in which he succeeds in this endeavour, he has actually accomplished something for himself.

While still in the mother's womb, the child is taught the entire Torah. He is shown a vision of both Gan Eden and Gehinnom, and the angel in charge of him entreats him "Become a tzaddik! Do not become a rasha!" When the child enters the world, the angel strikes his lips, causing all the Torah knowledge previously imparted to him to be forgotten. [Nevertheless, that knowledge was absorbed by his subconscious mind, enabling him to retrieve it during his lifetime].

Source: The Midrash Says

Friday, March 25, 2022

This is What You were Selected For

''Moshe then said to Aharon: ''Draw near to the altar'' [Shemini 9:7]

Rashi explains that Aharon was embarrassed and afraid to approach the altar.  Moshe therefore said to him ''Why are you embarrassed? This is what you were selected for.''

The Baal Shem Tov elucidated Rashi's words.  Moshe was saying to Aharon: Why are you embarrassed?  It is specifically due to the fact that you possess the character trait of humility and that you feel ashamed before Hashem that you were chosen to be the Kohen - ''This is what you were selected for!"

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Yarzheit: "The Rebbe of Rebbes"

"Today, in our bitter exile, there are people who receive ruach hakodesh more easily than in the time of the prophets." [Noam Elimelech]

Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk [known as "The Rebbe of Rebbes"]  was the student of Dov Ber of Mezerich, the brother of Meshulam Zushia of Anipoli. He was born in 1717, and died on 21 Adar in 1786  [ this year - Friday 24 March]

During the lifetime of Dov Ber of Mezerich he traveled widely with his brother all over Poland to spread Hassidism. After Dov Ber's death, Rebbe Elimelech settled in Lizhensk and attained great fame, thanks to his lofty life. During his lifetime, Lizhensk was turned into a center of Polish-Galician Hassidism. There, many famous Tzadikim and Hassidic activists of Galicia were educated and obtained their inspiration during the 18th century.

Rebbe Elimelech is the author of “Noam Elimelech” [Lvov 1798], a book of commentaries on the Pentateuch. In that book, the role of a Tzadik is set out and explained, and the doctrine of Hassidism is explained in greater detail. This book was subject to an intense investigation by the opponents of Hassidism. Many of his expositions are published in his work “Darche Tzedek”, and other works.

The Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a, a direct descendant of the "Noam Elimelech", stated that Rebbe Yisroel of Ruzhin said that 500 years before Rebbe Elimelech was born, the world received abundance in his merit. Now, after his death, even more so!

It is said that Rabbi Elimelech promised anyone who would visit his grave that they would not leave this world without teshuva.

Kever of Rabbi Elimelech in Lizensk, Poland [Photo: יהונתן וואקסמאן]

Ohel of Rebbe Elimelech, Lizensk Poland [Photo: יהונתן וואקסמאן]

After Rebbe Elimelech passed away, Rebbe Reb Zisha of Hanipoli was approached by his brother’s students to be their new leader. Rabbi Zisha declined and explained his reason with a parable. “The possuk in Bereshis 2:10 states “And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden and from there it split into four paths.”

The Torah is eternal and alludes to all events above and below for all generations. Eden alludes to our holy master the Baal Shem Tov. The river was his student the holy Mezitcher Maggid. The garden refers to my brother the Rebbe Elimelech.

This then is the meaning: a river flows from Eden to water the garden, the Torah flows as water from the Baal Shem Tov by way of the Mezritcher Maggid to the Rebbe Elimelech. From there it separates into four paths: they are :

1.The Holy Rebbe the Chozeh or Seer of Lublin;
2.The Holy Rebbe Avodas Yisrael the Koznitzer Maggid;
3. The Holy Rebbe Mendel Rimanover; and
4.The Holy Ohev Yisrael the Apta Rav.

Stories of Noam Elimelech

The Light of The Rebbe’s Prayer Sash
related by the Rabbi of Madin, grandson of the Ropshitzer
Rebbe Elimelech had a custom that after the afternoon Mincha service he would converse with his close followers. He would then proceed to a special private room to pray the evening Maariv service alone in seclusion, purity and sanctity.

Rabbi Naftali Ropshitzer, a student of the Rebbe always yearned to also be in that room. He constantly wished to see the deeds of his Rebbe and how he prayed at that time. Once he stole into the room unnoticed and hid beneath the bed. The holy Rebbe entered and closed the door behind him. He took his “gartel,” the traditional sash or belt used by Hassidim for prayer and preceded to fasten it about himself.

The first time he wound the sash about his waist the whole house was filled with an awesome unbelievable light. The second time he tied the gartel winding it around, the light grew in intensity until the Ropshitzer could no longer endure it. He grew weak and found himself fainting. He called out in a loud voice.

Rebbe Elimelech heard the cries of distress coming from his student and recognized their source. “Naftali my son are you here?” the Rebbe asked. “Fortunately, you did not remain here for the third and final time I wound the gartel. If you had remained your soul would have surely left your body from the intensity of the great light. Therefore leave now.”

An unusual guest for Tea
related in the name of The Shinover Rebbe

The author of the Hasidic work Maor va’Shemesh was a student of the Rebbe Elimelech. Once he asked the Rebbe Elimelech to be allowed to serve him, thereby learning directly from his Rebbe. Rebbe Elimelech conceded and asked him for a cup of tea. After preparing the tea, the student entered the room to give it to the Rebbe. Inside he saw the awesome figure of an old man sitting beside Rebbe Elimelech. He was overcome by fear, trembling and shaking so much so that he dropped the cup spilling the tea on the floor and ran out.

Later Rebbe Elimelech saw his student and asked him why he hadn’t given him the tea he requested. He answered that he had brought it but when he saw the figure of the old man he was so frightened he spilled the tea. The Rebbe then said to him in Yiddish “Oy vey iz das kind voos ken nisht kiken dem taten in poonim arayn: Woe is to the child who cannot look his own father in the face.” That old man you saw was none other than our forefather Avraham peace be upon him!

More information can be found at : JewishGen

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

A Sobering Thought

Art Rob Gonsalves

"Do not drink wine that will lead to intoxication, neither you nor your sons with you, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, so that you shall not die. [This is] an eternal statute for your generations..." [Shemini 10:9]

There is a view [see Rambam, Laws of Entering the Temple 1:7] that even nowadays a Priest [Kohen] may not drink a revi'is [86ml] of wine, for this is sufficient to cause some degree of intoxication, and since it is quite feasible that the Holy Temple will be rebuilt within the time it takes for him to become sober, the wine would thus render him unfit for service in the Temple.

Now, according to Jewish law, intoxication caused by a revi'is of wine can be removed by either a short sleep, or by waiting the time it would take to walk a mil. (There are different views as to precisely how long this is: either 18 or at most 24 minutes).

From here we see a remarkable ramification of the above principle: that Jewish law takes seriously into consideration the fact that it is possible for Moshiach to come, with a completed Holy Temple, within a maximum of 23 minutes and 59 seconds, thus requiring the Priests to be ready for service immediately!

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe [Gutnick Chumash]

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Death of a Tzaddik Atones for Us All

From Rabbi Mendel Kessin:  

The passing of R Kanievsky zt'l indicates that galus is ending because, throughout galus,  Ha'Shem always made sure we had gedolim, like lifesavers or lifeboats in a turbulent ocean. Now that the last is gone, exile is ending. His death is also a kapporah we need.


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.

The levaya for Rav Kanievsky will be live-streamed on


Friday, March 18, 2022

Purim: Russia Vs. USA ; Is This The Final War?

HT: Yisroel 

Rabbi Daniel Glatstein

Probing the Historic Tradition of the Vilna Gaon

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Purim and Putin

The Hidden Story: What Purim Teaches Us Today

Rabbi Simon Jacobson

For Such a Time as This


What will Purim bring this year?.... we were all born for such a time as this. [not making a prediction, just being hopeful]
Chag sameach to all Geula anticipators and all readers.

......and who knows - for such a time as this, you became Queen.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Purim Code

My annual Purim post.... it never disappoints.

[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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Queen Esther, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, & the Chabad Shluchim in Ukraine

Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson

In this lecture, around the 17:40 mark, Rabbi Jacobson speaks about the Rebbe's last talk

which I blogged here: The Rebbe's Eerie Prediction

and a new Rabbi Mendel Kessin shiur: Purim and the Power of G-d 

Excerpt: Going to that king’s feast was their (the Jews’) display of loyalty to Persia. Why kill them? Obviously, they were loyal to Persia…were good citizens, so how could they, because of some Grand Vizir, due to his evil, how do they decide to kill the Jews? Imagine you awaken one day and you discover that the Congress decided to kill all American Jews. You’d go into shock…how could a nation that prides itself on just laws, do this? 

That’s exactly what the Jews felt. What they saw for the first time was that the laws of the nations of the world are bankrupt. Nations makes laws because of their self-interest. It serves them to have such laws. The Jews realized that the laws are based on what?--legality, NOT justice. If you violate the law, you’ve done something that violates law but, by violating the law, you may be exercising justice.

The Clothes Have No Emperor

Art: Vladimir Kush

Death of a queen

The opening chapter of the Purim Megilah is strikingly enigmatic.

Here is the story in brief: The Emperor of Persia, Achashverosh, throws a party in his capital city, Shushan, to celebrate the firm establishment of his kingship. On the seventh day of the feast, "when the heart of the king was merry with wine," he orders seven of his chamberlains to bring Queen Vashti before him, "to show off her beauty."

Vashti refuses to appear. The king becomes furious and he has her executed.

Why did Vashti refuse to appear before the guests? The Talmud explains [1], that when Achashverosh offered to show them his wife's beauty, the guests insisted that she appear without any clothes. Vashti, a wicked queen who found special glee in torturing and violating Jewish girls and women on the Sabbath day, was punished with leprosy on her skin. Under such conditions she naturally refused to expose her body.

But if so, why did Vashti not send a private message to her husband explaining that it would be humiliating for her and him if she were to expose herself before the guests. Though the king was intoxicated, it is hard to imagine that he would bestow a death sentence on a wife who has just spared him tremendous shame [2]!

Also, why does this story occupy the entire first chapter of the Megillah? Though it is a prelude to understanding how Esther, the hero of the Purim story, became the queen of Achashverosh, nonetheless, the detailed description of the event that brought about Vashti's execution seems superfluous in the story of Purim.

The power of evil

In the Kabbalah, where all biblical figures and episodes are depicted as parables for metaphysical realities, Achashverosh, the mighty monarch of a world power, serves as a parable for the King of Kings, the Creator of the universe [3]. Vashti, the wicked queen of Persia, symbolizes the reign of evil in the world [4].

Naked evil has no appeal or power to attract. In order for evil to gain popularity among the masses, it must be "packaged" well; it must be "dressed" in nice garments that will cover up its true identity.

The two evil monsters of the last generation, Hitler and Stalin, presented their colossal murderous strategies as moral and noble programs dedicated to healing the world of its diseases. This was true throughout history. The inventors and implementers of bloodshed and violence usually presented their schemes as ethical and humane endeavors.

This is valid concerning the evil we perpetrate in our personal lives as well. We embrace many of the destructive and immoral temptations we feel in our heart only because they package themselves outstandingly well. The glittering veneer of comfort and happiness that these temptations display lure us into their trap. If every unhealthy craving we experience presented itself without any masks, we would immediately cast it away.

Thus, the Kabbalah teaches [5] that man's daily challenge in life consists of choosing substance over packaging, inherent value over good PR. When one feels an urge to eat something, to engage in a certain intimate act or to say something, he or she ought to reflect whether this is an inherently healthy and moral thing to do, or is indeed hollow and empty, merely exhibiting itself as promising and enjoyable.

The hallmark of a spiritual life is one that always seeks to be in tune with the true essence of things, and not merely with their external appearance.

Removing the masks

This is how Jewish mysticism understands the symbolism behind the opening story of the Meggilah: Vashti, symbolizing the power of evil, can only retain her power and glory if she is garbed in garments that conceal her real identity. If Vashti removes all her masks, she instantaneously loses all of her appeal and charm.

Therefore, when the King of Kings insists that Vashti appear at His feast in her bareness, she must refuse Him. Because the "clothes" of evil have no "emperor" within them.

This brought about the end of the Vashtinian rule. When evil is called on its nakedness, its nothingness is exposed and its power lost [6].


1. Megillah 12b.
2. The Talmud (ibid. Quoted in Rashi to Esther 1:12) explains, that Vashti sent her husband humiliating messages, thus kindling his wrath to an extreme. What follows is the mystical interpretation of the story, as it is presented in the writings of Chassidism.
3. Midrash quoted in Meoray Or 1:182. Cf. Rikanti to Genesis 29:10, quoted in Mechir Yayin to Esther 1, 12:13. Erkay Hakenuyim under the entry of Achashverosh.
4. See Or Hameir Megiilas Esther. Likkutei Levi Yitzchak Megillas Esther p. 79. Toras Levi Yitzchak p. 17.
5. See Tanya chapter 16.
6. See Tanya chapter 29.

The nucleus of this explanation was presented by the Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760, founder of the Chassidic movement). It is quoted in his name by Rabbi Zee'v Wolf of Zhitamir (a disciple of the Maggid of Mezrich, heir to the Baal Shem Tov) in his Chassidic work Or Hameir on the Meggilah. Reference to it is made in Or Hatorah (by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch, the Tzemach Tzedek, 1789-1876) Megilas Esther p. 72.

Monday, March 14, 2022

Rabbi Yochanan quotes Shimon bar Yochai on Gog u Magog

Transcription of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's talk on the war of Gog u Magog, taken from this video.

Rabbi Yochanan quotes Shimon bar Yochai regarding the war of Gog u Magog.  

It seems like it is a terrible tragedy for the Jews but as it says in Sanhedrin and other sources : Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said 'King David ran from his son Avshalom, and he exclaimed 'Ma raba tzorei' [how big are my problems]. Whereas on the passuk "Why do nations gather and people speak futility" he doesn't say "how big are my problems", but the opposite. 

On "yehugu rik" - speaking futility - Rashi and other commentaries explain that it's not tzorei/tragedy, it's Rik vehevel - futility. It has no meaning for the Jews. 

Goyim are fighting between themselves, gathering and talking, but it's all ineffective. Why?  Because He who sits in Heaven laughs and mocks them. 

Hashem is instigating Egyptians amongst themselves, and different nations between them.  

Then comes the question: how should a Jew view this?  We have the decree from the Torah that even though nations are gathering and talking negatively, still for the Jews it has absolutely no meaning. But not because of our own strength G-d forbid, but because He who sits in Heaven laughs and mocks them.  And that's why it's not affecting the Jews.

They call it tragedy? G-d forbid! The nations come up with different ideas, but it's all Hevel Larik - futility. Why? Because Hashem is with us.

The fact that they are gathering.... Jewish people know it is all pointless. Because He who sits in Heaven laughs and mocks them.

He is not just notifying but he is mocking and laughing at them.

As it says "He who touches them, he is touching the apple of My eye" 

That's what Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is saying about the Seventh Year. He's talking about the year of the coming of Moshiach. Right at the end of the seven years of wars Moshiach comes. Which wars? The ones where nations gather and speak futility.

The story of Egypt, the story of Afghanistan. Another story, that fight, another fight. But in relation to Jews the Guardian of Israel "neither slumbers nor sleeps".  Why? Because Jews are connected with the Guardian of the Jews.

Then he sees in a revealed way, that Hashem in Heaven laughs and mocks them. And the war of Gog  u Magog is not affecting the Jewish people. Gog is fighting with Magog and it says in Tanach that it will be in Jerusalem, but that has nothing to do with the Jewishness in Jerusalem, and not in the city of Jerusalem, rather it's around Jerusalem. The Jews are standing strong because Jerusalem is a city where King David lived and the name Yerushalayim comes from the words "Yiras Hashem shleimah" which means "complete fear of G-d".

And Jews who are complete G-d fearing people bring it into actuality, and the city of Jerusalem will stay untouched. 

The nations are "utsu eitza" - contriving a scheme - but when the Jewish children behave in a manner of "ki imanu kel" - "G-d is with us" - then "dabru davar velo yakum" - their conspired plot will not be materialized.

Megilla 2022: Understanding the Madness

HT: Rahel

Rabbi Lazer Brody has an interesting Podcast/video up [recommended listening if you want to understand a few things]

"We are in the final stages of Redemption.... this is so exciting...."

click here to listen

Sunday, March 13, 2022

A Message from Russia

This was written by I.S. in Russia, I am not posting his full name because I don't want to cause anyone any problems.

It was posted to FB by D.V. and I received it from Rahel.

Most of you probably know that 8 months ago we relocated to Russia. Like everyone else, I am following the instructions on the situation in Ukraine and reading the news in Russia, USA, Europe and of course also Israel. In recent days I have received quite a few requests to explain the situation in Russia as someone who lives there in these complicated days. 

First of all, it's important for me to clarify three things: the first thing is that I do not support any of the sides regarding the war, not Putin, not Zelensky, not Russia and not Ukraine - for the simple reason that it is impossible to really know the full picture that led each of the sides to their political decisions and actions. Sea. [sic]

The second thing is that I'm against wars and definitely against innocent civilians that unfortunately get killed these days from both sides for nothing. I wish such disputes were resolved in talks around the table instead of going to war. 

The third thing is that the reason I'm writing this post is to present the story from the other side as well (again, not because I'm for or against the other side) so that people can understand a little more the considerations that led Putin to war (at least according to the data I've seen) and the current state of Russia in terms of sanctions that is not a match to the lies that I have seen that appear everywhere in the international news. 

So like that, first of all I can tell you that already a month and a half ago I saw on the news quite a few times Putin asking Ukraine not to allow NATO to enter Ukraine because this will allow an enemy country to deploy its forces right on the border of Russia. The answer Putin received time and time again is "They will only train here, it's something temporary". Because NATO is a toy of the United States and because the political situation between the United States and Russia is 'nothing' - it began to bother Putin a lot, and rightly so. Imagine that Jordan, which is on good terms with Israel , but at the same time a company of "enemy countries" will suddenly allow Syria to enter Jordan and place Syrian troops and bases along the Jordanian border with Israel.

I am sure that Israel would have gone out of control even in less time. Putin took at least a month and a half if not more. I wonder what would have happened if he had obeyed his demands and not allowed NATO forces to connect to Ukraine. It is possible that this war never happened at all. But someone decided that it was okay even if war happens, and this person must have a lot of interests behind this decision. 

Within Ukraine there is a split that has lasted for many, many years. One side wants total disengagement from the rule of government and wants a state of its own (one side supports Russia and is even happy that Russia entered Ukraine), while the other side takes an extreme approach of 'purification of Ukraine' in methods very reminiscent of the dark period of pre-WWII: neo-Nazi groups that call for the purification of the state and even banned Citizens to speak inside Ukraine in Russian language. The conflict between the two sides resulted in a fierce war in the Donbas in 2015 when western Ukraine bombed eastern Ukraine. In these bombings many civilians were killed, among them about 300 children whose memory was established the "Alley of Angels". 

When Russia entered Ukraine a little over a week ago, Putin stated that he was simply 'tired up' of the racism of the neo-Ukrainian nazi that is happening in Ukraine against those who are not Ukrainian at all and against Russians in particular, as well as the 'innocence' that Ukraine plans to allow Russian enemies to disperse along its border with Russia. And these are the reasons why he decided to enter the country. Apparently, in addition to these reasons, he has other reasons that we may find out later. 

From the moment the war started the whole world stood with Ukraine. Behind this support is a worldwide marketing propaganda that has only one goal: to present Ukraine as the "good and poor" and Russia as the "bad and cruel". 

This reminded me of what happens to us in Israel every time there is an operation in Gaza. People all over the world are protesting against cruel Israel and "horrible war crimes", waving Palestinian flags, burning flags of Israel and more. Each time anew we explain to our friends abroad that "it's not exactly like that. It's complicated. This is different from how they put it on the news. "And indeed, our story is complex. There are really no innocents on either side: both on the Israeli side and on the Hamas side. Although the media presents Ukraine as a weak and poor victim, nevertheless, it is the country that has been the most cruel to Jews in the second time, that received the views of Nazism with open arms and did nothing to eradicate this evil from its country. 

What is sad is that the one who pays a high price is always the ordinary citizen who has no desire for wars. So are hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing from Ukraine these days and so are Russian citizens who lost their jobs and businesses due to the harsh sanctions imposed by many countries in the world on Russia, kindergartens that are closed due to a terror alert and shopping centers that are all asked to go out because of a suspicious object. D. A. 

But no one talks about this - although it is citizens who are not connected to the war, most of them are also against the war and all they want is to live in peace with their Ukrainian friends. Why don't they talk about it in the media? Because it contradicts the agenda that Russia is the "bad". 

In the last two days, articles in the news began to come up: "The Iron Screen has come down on Russia", and "Facebook and YouTube were blocked to Russia". However, it seems that the world itself has dropped its own iron screen: the fake news screen. 

I can tell you from personal experience that most reported sanctions on Russia are false or leaked. I am writing you this post from my Facebook from Russia.

Swift transfer option was blocked only in 5 specific banks in all of Russia. In the rest of the banks Swift works as usual. 

Oh, yes, I also continue to pay in stores with Apple Pay! At the same time, everyone here knows well about the situation from all media outlets (Russian and world alike) and most citizens are shocked by what is happening in Ukraine. Many Russians have Ukrainian friends and they don't know how to look them in the eye. A lot of people here are sad about everything that is happening. 

While all of Europe is blocked in terms of flights to Russia, there are direct flights from Israel without problems and there are even flights from... Wait for it... U.S.A  !!! With Boeing company that refused to impose sanctions on Russia. 

On the other hand, while the media reports on the shutting down of all flights to and from Russia, it's about sanctions only on Russian airlines. Other airlines operate as usual and there are flights to and from Russia like every day of the year. 

Here's another piece of truth that I haven't seen on any news channel in the world: about 100,000 Ukrainians fled the war and crossed the border to... Wait for it... RUSSIA! 

Let's just say that when Germany turned into a Nazi in the Russian Federation and attacked the Jews, the Jews fled to the other side of the world. My family for example fled to Argentina. The last place Jews thought of as a safe place was Germany itself. 

Now, admit it's strange that such a number of Ukrainians fleeing the war to Russia, received from the Russian government 10,000 rubles at the border crossing so they could start getting settled, clothes, food and transportation from the Russian volunteers just like in the other border crossings in other countries - and no one is covering it on the news. Why? 

And if Russia is the enemy - why do Ukrainians seek shelter with it? The answer is that it is much more complex than the world understands, and as we do not like to be judged easily in the world when it comes to our dispute in Israel, so maybe we should not easily judge the dispute that is now taking place between Ukraine and Russia, and certainly not give room to the baseless hatred of citizens of both countries. Sides not directly related to war This one.[sic] Give space to independent thinking and don't "swallow" everything as the real truth. 

Understand that everything they show you on the news is well planned for a certain agenda, and there is a deeper reason why the whole world is suddenly pro Ukraine and against Russia. Someone out there has planned this black propaganda campaign well and I don't think I want to know what the reason is, but something tells me that we will soon know...

Ikvot Meshicha: The Time Immediately Before Mashiach


by J. Immanuel Schochet

The time appointed by G‑d for the Messianic redemption is a closely guarded secret.1 Nonetheless, we are offered many hints to recognize its proximity: when certain conditions come about, await the imminent coming of Mashiach. 

Most of these conditions are quite disturbing, clearly displaying a situation of the very “bottom of the pit.”2 One major source describes the world-condition in those days as follows: increase in insolence and impudence; oppressing inflation; unbridled irresponsibility on the part of authorities; centers of learning will turn into bawdy houses; wars; many destitutes begging, with none to pity them; wisdom shall be putrid; the pious shall be despised; truth will be abandoned; the young will insult the old; family-breakup with mutual recriminations; impudent leadership.3 

Other sources add: lack of scholars; succession of troubles and evil decrees; famines; mutual denunciations; epidemics of terrible diseases; poverty and scarcity; cursing and blaspheming; international confrontations nations provoking and fighting each other.4 In short, it will be a time of suffering that will make it look as if G‑d were asleep. These are the birthpangs of Mashiach, bearable only in anticipation of the bliss that follows them. 

“When you see a generation ever dwindling, hope for him… when you see a generation overwhelmed by many troubles as by a river, await him.”5 “When you see nations fighting each other, look toward the feet of Mashiach.”6 

Little wonder that some sages expressed apprehensions about those days in terms of, “Let [Mashiach] come, but let me not see him.”7 The prevailing attitude, however, is to await his coming in spite of all, even if thereafter we shall merit no more than sitting “in the shadow of his donkey’s dung!”8 

The troubles and agony of chevlei Mashiach (birthpangs of Mashiach), however, are not unavoidable: 

“What is man to do to be spared the pangs of Mashiach? Let him engage in Torah and acts of loving-kindness!”9 

Moreover, there are also good and happy signs indicating the imminent coming of Mashiach: a good measure of prosperity;10 a renewal of Torah-study;11 and opening of the “gates of wisdom above and the wellsprings of wisdom below,”12 evidenced also by scientific and technological discoveries and advances; a manifestation and propagation of the mystical teachings of the Torah;13 and also “In the time that Mashiach will awaken, many signs and miracles will occur in the world.”14

Friday, March 11, 2022

Soaring Inflation

One of the many signs given that will occur in the days before Moshiach are the soaring prices, and as you can see we have sky-rocketing inflation in some places, and gradual rises in others:

Inflation around the world 
Russia: 9.2% 
United States: 7.9% 
Spain: 7.4% 
Mexico: 7.3% 
New Zealand: 5.9% 
Australia: 3.5% 
China: 0.9% 
Japan: 0.5%

Source: News

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Don't Forget to Remember

Text by Rabbi Benjy Simons

Parshas Vayikra and Zachor

If Alcohol can damage-your short-term memory? 
Imagine the damage Alcohol can do. 

There is a popular adage that goes, ‘everyone is born with a photographic memory, we just don’t bother developing the film.’ As we begin the complexities of the book of Vayikra, it is interesting to note that Rashi highlights an interesting titbit of information when it comes to how Moshe learnt Torah. He explains that in the Torah, there is often spacing and paragraphing which actually reflects not just separate ideas throughout the Torah, but also how the Torah was communicated to Moshe in that it represents a specific pause for contemplation and reflection before the following idea was transmitted. This concept has been often called ‘study breaks’ to facilitate further learning, focus and retention while preventing study fatigue. 

At the same time, the importance of reviewing that which one has learnt on a regular basis must also be emphasised . The Talmud [Sanhedrin 99a] likens reviewing learnt material to harvesting that which is planted, which the Maharsha explains enables a person to refine the information learnt and gain a level of mastery of the subject. 

The level of reviewing the subject material will often depend on how well the information was learnt in the first place. To maximise one’s memory retention it is encouraged to learn audibly [Eruvin 54a] and many move in a rhythm which too improves neural connections and offers a variety of health benefits. Music also activates both hemispheres of the brain which improves one’s recollection [Tosfos to Megillah 32a] and also is associated with creating a happier disposition which encourages learning [Chida]. 

The Yerushalmi [Berachos 5:1 54a] further encourages one to toil over one’s studies in a Shule or Beis Midrash and the importance of learning from within a book and as mentioned, taking regular intervals to ponder and digest what one has studied. The Talmud [Eruvin 54b] also advises one to chunk information or create mnemonics and acrostics to combine multiple units of information by recoding them into smaller bits of data. 

The Rambam [Laws of Studying Torah 3:12] stresses the importance of diligence and persistence in one’s learning to the extent of straining one’s body and not learning amidst physical indulgence. The Talmud [Eruvin 54a] further stresses the importance or having refined social attributes that contribute to one’s memory retention and the Chasam Sofer would urge one to write down their learning and novel ideas. 

The Gemara [Bava Basra 10b] writes that it is said in the next world that happy is the individual who reaches the next world with his learning in his hand. As we further have Parshas Zachor this week as we recall the actions of Amalek in the lead up to Purim, may we merit to always carry our learning with us and grow with our Torah studies.

If you would like to receive Rabbi Simons' weekly email on the Parsha, click here.

Worldwide Tehillim for Geula

 HT: Myrtle Rising

Please share this post. FB has banned my blog but you can copy the picture and send it to your contacts or just upload it to FB or any other social media.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Ukraine's Komarna Rebbes

This is a re-blog from 2011. Ukrainian history.  This is a familiar map to us now, back in 2011 perhaps not so familiar to most of us.

Komarno is near the city of Lviv

Source: Yitzchak Yaakov Rosenbaum HaLevi - as heard from the Komarno Rebbe Eliezer Tzvi Safrin shlita

[Interestingly, all of the previous Komarna Rebbes passed away during the time of the Omer]

After the collapse of communism in 1990, the chassidim of the Komarna dynasty travelled to search for the graves of their Rebbes which had been destroyed by the Nazis.

They arrived in Komarno [Ukraine] and asked many people where they could locate the part of town where the Jews had lived. Here they found an old farmer and questioned him regarding the whereabouts of any Jewish graves.

The farmer had no idea, he couldn't help them at all.... but the chassidim continued to question him and ask him if he could think of anything that could help them....... suddenly the farmer remembered that there is a certain paddock, about a mile from the town of Komarno, where they take the cows and sheep to graze. The animals would always stop at a certain point and refuse to go any further. They would only eat the grass on one side of the paddock.

Ohel of Komarna Rebbes
The farmer took the chassidim to the paddock and showed them the area that the cattle refused to graze in. The chassidim began to gently dig at the grass and discovered the graves of their Rebbes. Although the headstones had been destroyed by the Nazis, the graves were lying untouched beneath the grass.


A visitor to the ohel reported a newly-lit candle burning in the corner. He wondered who had been there and left it - he went outside and asked the children playing there who it was who had just visited and left the candle. The children said that no-one had been there at all, and that he was the first visitor that day.

Pirkei Avot [ch.2] states: "Weigh the loss from a mitzvah against its reward." This is an admonition to the leaders of the community, said Komarno Rebbe Eliezer Zvi Safrin [1830-1898] zatz'l, that they should be willing to sacrifice their personal spiritual gain in order to raise the level of others. Even if a person must interrupt his own learning or growth in order to engage in kiruv (bringing others closer), this loss is insignificant compared to the rewards.

Rav Safrin -- known as the "Sar Bet Hazohar" [Master of the Zohar]: Regarding this the Zohar [II:128b] says that if one helps another overcome his yetzer hara, it is as if he has created a new person. Moreover, there is no greater honor to Hashem than this, the Zohar says. If one holds the hand of a rasha and tries to lead the rasha on a new path, he accomplishes three things: he helps to crush the yetzer hara, he brings honor to G-d, and he causes the world to endure. Such a person will merit to see children and grandchildren, and about him it says "Mighty in the land will his offspring be, a generation of the upright who shall be blessed." [Zekan Beto]

Monday, March 7, 2022

Purification Requires Agitation and Confusion

Rebbe Nachman explains how a person is purified.  So too, the world, which is being purified, also requires agitation and confusion.

from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

When one begins to attach to a great tzadik and truly serve G-d, he is often filled with great confusion and evil thoughts.

The evil was always there, but only now it is surfacing.

A pot of water may seem perfectly clear. But when it is placed on a fire and begins to boil, all its impurities are brought to the surface. One must stand by and constantly remove these impurities.

The original purity is merely an illusion. With a little heat the impurity surfaces. But when these impurities are removed, the water is truly pure and clear.

The same is true of a person. Before he begins serving G-d, good and evil are completely mixed together within him. The impurities are so closely united with the good that they cannot be recognized.

But then this person comes close to a true Tzadik and begins to burn with great feeling toward G-d. He is touched with the heat of purification, and all the evil and impurities come to the surface. Here again one must stand by and constantly remove the dirt and impurities as they appear. In the end the person is truly pure and clear.

Purification requires this period of agitation and confusion.

In the beginning a person is totally immersed in the material. He then begins to come close to G-d.

It would seem possible to remove this dirt and impurity at once. But his mind is completely intermingled with this mire. Were it to be removed immediately, his mind would be drawn out with it.

Therefore, one must be purified little by little, in gradual stages.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Ukraine's Moshiach Hint

I just noticed that the colours of the Ukranian flag are the same colours as the Moshiach flag.


It's all coming together: We are heading for the Coronation of Melech HaMoshiach
may it come speedily!

The Rebbe's Eerie Prediction

On 23 Adar 1, 5752 -  30 years to the day of the invasion of Ukraine - 23 Adar 1 5782 - the Lubavitcher Rebbe spoke about an ingathering of the exiles, saying that there still remain one or two nations where the Yidden have to flee in a way that is “farbunden mit sakonah”. [laden with danger]

If you understand Yiddish you can hear what the Rebbe said by clicking here

Friday, March 4, 2022

Russia is Gog? and Ukraine is....?

HT: Yosef

It is brought in the sefer “Tzfiras Chen” by the mekubal R’ Noach Gad Weintraub that Russia is Gog u-Magog. In another sefer, “Hadras Chen”, he says that the Ukraine derives its name from “Ekron”, one of the five cities of the Plishtim (Philistines), and that the people themselves descend from Plishtim who migrated there. Regarding “Ekron”, the verse states that in the days of Moshiach “Ekron will be uprooted.” [Tzafanya 2:4]

Australia's Biblical Rain Bomb

          My early morning Shabbat shopping rewarded me with a rainbow in the carpark.

It's been raining here for so long, it feels like 40 days and 40 nights [it hasn't been, but it does feel like it].  

It's being called a "Rain Bomb" and over half a million people on the east coast of Australia have had to flee their homes.  

Whilst Australia is known as the "land of droughts and flooding rains", we've ever seen anything like this before.  Biblical times, to be sure.

It's still coming down, and no end in sight yet.  

Photos can be seen here - and although the Daily Mail is not exactly my news outlet of choice, they do publish a lot of photos.

Between the rain bomb and the Ukraine crisis, everyone's forgotten about Covid, apart from our PM who has a dose of it and thankfully has been temporarily removed from speaking his usual nonsense. Perfect timing to shut him up before he aggravates Putin so much that Russia will attack us as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Zelensky Tweets Holocaust 2.0

HT: Yosef

"Russia has launched a missile attack on the territory where the Babyn Yar memorial complex is located. These villains are killing Holocaust victims for the second time." [Source: JPost]

Tuesday, March 1, 2022