Thursday, June 30, 2022

Prophecy Unfolding


                                 Photo: HaMashgiach HaRav Don Segal   (Photo: Shuki Lehrer) 

HT: Yaak

Source: The Yeshiva World

HaMashgiach HaRav Don Segal referred to current events during a sichah he gave over in his Beis Medrash on Rechov Givat Moshe in Jerusalem.

''The Gemara says in Sanhedrin: ‘Ben-Dovid will not come until the מלכות הזלה of Israel ends, like it says: ‘And he shall cut off the tendrils with pruning hooks.’ Rashi says: What is מלכות הזלה? Until Israel doesn’t even have a weak and poor government… and then the geulah will come.'” 

“We now have here, lo aleinu, such a weak government – it must be abolished before Moshiach. 

You see now what’s happening, the abnormality of it – meshugaim – they brought in the Arabs.”

“They’re saying that there will be 5th elections. I say: They don’t know how to count? Only up to 5? But what’s the direction? תכלה מלכות הזלה.

“It’s said in the name of the Chazon Ish that one day we’ll wake up and there won’t be a state anymore. I never understood how that could be. How could it be that suddenly there won’t be a state? But now it’s happening in front of our eyes. One election after another, the Arabs are partners, the state is being revoked.” 

“What’s the nafka minah? That we need to be mechazeik to use our time well. At the moment that the shofar of Moshiach is heard, our avodah is finished. Now avodah is still possible, we can be mechazeik in Torah, in yiras Shamayim, in midos tovos.” “!שנזכה כולנו לביאת משיח במהרה בימינו אמן

Gimel Tamuz 5782

                                                              Art Robert Kremnizer

Gimel Tamuz [3 Tamuz] is the yarzheit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
This year it will fall on this coming Shabbat.

Article written by Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski obm

Every person has a direct line with G-d, and we are not permitted to pray to intermediaries. Indeed, the propriety of prayers where we appear to be asking for blessings from angels or for their intervention on our behalf, is the subject of debate, and must be interpreted in such a way that does not violate our basic belief that we relate only to G-d as the One from Whom everything emanates.

Yes, there is also the concept of faith in a tzaddik, which is derived from the verse in Exodus [14:31] "They had faith in G-d and in Moses, His servant". The sages derived from this verse that believing in the leader of Israel is equivalent to believing in the Creator [Mechilta]. In addition, the Talmud states that if there is a sick person in one's household, let him go to a chacham [a wise man] to pray for his recovery [Bava Basra 116a]. Inasmuch as everyone has a direct contact with G-d and we do not work through intermediaries, why is the prayer of a tzaddik more potent that one's own prayer?

There are several ways in which we can understand the concept of faith in a tzaddik. First and foremost is that the opinion of a wise man, a tzaddik, as a Torah authority, must be accepted and followed even if we are in disagreement with it [Sifri, Deut 17:11].

There is also a concept of receiving a blessing from a tzaddik and this has its basis in a statement from G-d to Abraham "And you will be a blessing" [Gen 12:2] which the Midrash interprets to mean that G-d gave Abraham the power to bless people, and that gift has been given to other tzaddikim as well. Nevertheless, a person must understand that even though the tzaddik conveys the blessing, the origin of the blessing is G-d.

A woman once came to Rabbi Mordechai of Chernobel, pleading for a blessing to have a child. To the amazement of the bystanders, the Rabbi, who was exceptionally kind and benevolent, said brusquely to her "I'm sorry, I cannot help you". The woman left the room tearful and broken hearted.

Noting the bewilderment of his chassidim, Rabbi Mordechai said "Just wait a few moments, then go find the woman and bring her back here." The chassidim did as they were told and when the woman came back, the Rabbi asked her "What did you do when you left here?"

The woman replied "I turned my eyes to Heaven and I said "Dear G-d, the Rabbi refuses to help me. Now You are my only hope. Bless me that I have a child."

Rabbi Mordechai said to the chassidim "This woman believed that I had magical powers, and she was trusting in me rather than in G-d. When I refused her request, she placed her trust in G-d where it belongs. She will now be blessed with a child."

The primary function of a tzaddik is to assist people in the proper service of G-d, to help them recognize their character defects and show them how to do teshuvah.

The power of a tzaddik is in his strong belief in G-d, and anyone who has that strong a belief can bring about similar results. When the tzaddik prays for a sick person, for example, and says that G-d is the healer of the sick, his belief is so strong that it actually brings down the Divine healing upon the person. In fact, said Rabbi Mordechai, the prime reason for having a relationship with a tzaddik is to learn how to perfect one's belief in G-d.

Extracted from "Not Just Stories" by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski MD
Published by Shaar Press

The Lubavitcher Rebbe would often answer requests by saying that he would pray for the person at the grave of his father-in-law, the previous Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Why Moshiach May Arrive on a Donkey

Art by Elhanan Ben-Avraham

Moshe complains about the accusations hurled against him and says "Lo Chamor Echad Meihem Nasasi" -  I didn't even take a single donkey from them [Korach 16:15]. Rashi says this refers to when he came down to Mitzrayim to redeem them on a donkey, and he paid for it from his own money. Rav Shimon Schwab asks, why would Moshe think that he should have taken the money from Bnei Yisroel?

Rav Schwab answers that the gemara in Sanhedrin [98a] says that when the Geula comes, if we are zocheh [if we merit it] Moshiach will arrive on clouds, if not then Moshiach will come come as a pauper on a donkey. Why? 

The whole world needs to know that Hashem is bringing the Geula and Moshiach has no power by himself. If Bnei Yisroel are Maaminim [believers] and Ovdei Hashem [servants of Hashem] then Moshiach can come in grand fashion and we will all place thanks in Hashem and not Moshiach. But if we do not recognize Hashem's hand, then Hashem will need to send a Moshiach who is powerless and destitute to show that it is not his charisma, brains, or money that will release us from the galus.

Moshe was the Goel in Mitzrayim.  Bnei Yisroel was not Zocheh and Moshe came riding into town on a donkey lacking any pomp or grandeur. He came with the stick in his hand and the shirt on his back. To show his poverty he should have asked Bnei Yisroel to pay for his donkey. Even then he did not, since he did not want to take anything from any member of Klal Yisroel.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

The Path of Moshiach

 HT: Sherry

Rav Shimon Kessin Live at the Lighthouse Project June 21 2022

Monday, June 20, 2022

To Remain in the Desert

''You will not come to the Land...'' [Shelach 14:30]

G-d does not issue a punishment to bring revenge on the sinner.  Rather, the ''punishment'' is a form of spiritual ''medicine'' aimed at correcting the spiritual deficiency caused by a sin.

With this in mind, the ''punishment'' given to the Jewish people here is difficult to understand.  Their sin was that they did not wish to enter the Land because they desired to remain in the desert where they could serve G-d without distraction; and yet, their punishment was to receive what they wanted: to remain the desert [for forty years!]  How would this ''correct' their sin of not wanting to enter the Land?

In truth however, the sin of the spies was not that they were too spiritual, but rather they were not spiritual enough.  To be involved with the physical world and remain spiritually attuned demands the highest degree of attachment to G-d.  So when the generation showed that they were lacking this level of dedication, they were given 40 more years of unrestricted Divine worship, enabling them to reach the level where they would be ready to engage in the world.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Vol 33 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Monday, June 13, 2022

Poverty and Scarcity

                                        Green beans $39.99 a kilo. See News for more on this

How are the prices near you?  The reason for the high price of the beans is the scarcity of them due to our recent floods.  But that's just one example of what is happening around the world, for various reasons including the war in Ukraine.

Text by Rabbi 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


1. Pesachim 54b; Midrash Tehilim 9:2. See Zohar Chadash, Bereishit, 8a.

2. Midrash Tehilim 45:3. See Ma’amarei Admur Hazaken-Ethalech, p. 103f.; and Besha’ah Shehik-dimu-5672, vol. I:p. 551; relating this to the principle (Midrash Tehilim 22:4; Zohar II:46a) that the darkest moments of the night are immediately before daybreak. Cf. Zohar I:170a. For this analogy see also the comment of R. Elijah, the Vilna Gaon, cited in Even Shelemah, ch. 11:5.

3. Sotah 49b

4. Sanhedrin 97a; Shir Rabba 2:29.

5. Sanhedrin 98a

6. Bereishit Rabba 42:4. Note Pesikta Rabaty 37:2 (ed. Friedmann, ch. 36)!

7. Sanhedrin 98b

8. Ibid. See also Zohar II:7aff.

9. Sanhedrin 98b

10. Sanhedrin 97a; Shir Rabba 2:29.

11. Ibid.

12. Zohar I:117a

13. Zohar I:118a. See Zohar Chadash, Tikunim, 96c; and Mayanei Hayeshu’ah, I:2. Cf. below, note 84. Note also Igeret Teyman, ch. 3, that prophecy shall be restored to Israel prior to the coming of Mashiach.

14. Zohar II:8a

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Do Good

To serve God, one must both ''turn away from evil'' and 'do good''.  But which of these steps is the most important? And which must be prioritized first of all? [Naso 4: 1-28]

The sequence of Kehos' and Gershon's descendants in the Torah provides the key to answer these questions.

Gershon is related to the Hebrew word Gerushin, meaning ''divorce'' alluding to the process of turning away from and ''divorcing'' oneself from evil.  Kehos means ''gathering'' [as in '''He will gather [yikhas] the people'' [Bereishis 49:10], alluding to the accumulation of good deeds - ''doing good''.

Gershon was the firstborn, indicating that at the outset, when one is just beginning to serve God, a person should stress the path of turning away from evil.  This is in order to thoroughly cleanse oneself from negative traits before one can begin to sanctify oneself properly with good deeds.

However, in the Torah, Kehos' descendants are placed before Gershon's descendants [see Midrash] to indicate that, ultimately, ''doing good'' is the ultimate goal which actively brings a person close to God, and makes this world a ''home'' for Him.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos Vol 13 p. 9 Lubavitcher Rebbe

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

The Tzaddik Decrees and Hashem Fulfils

Written by Benjamin A Rose

"...and he struck the rock with his staff, two times..." [Bamidbar, 20:11] 

Rebbe Shaul Yedidya Elazar says we find that on the second day of Creation, Hashem did not use the words "ki tov", and it was good. Our Sages in the Midrash tell us that this was because the work of creating the waters (of earth), although begun, was not yet complete. Moshe Rabbeinu was suited to complete this work, as it says about him [Shemos, 2:10], "for I have drawn him out of the water." In addition, the words "ki tov" were used to describe Moshe [Shemos, 2:2]. Both of these occurred while Moshe was an infant. During the creation of the waters, the verse says, "And G-d said, 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, which should separate between water and water'...And G-d called the firmament "Shamayim" (Heaven)" [B'reishis, 1:6-8]

Rashi explains that the Heavens were actually created from a mixture of fire and water [aish u'mayim = Shamayim].

Moshe Rabbeinu sought to achieve the completion of the creation of the waters, in a similar vein - by combining fire and water. Just as Adam HaRishon discovered that fire could be formed by striking two stones together, Moshe wished to do the same. That is, since Hashem commanded him to draw water from the stone, Moshe wished to add "fire" to the equation, by striking the stone with his staff of stone, bringing out fire.

What then, was his mistake - where was his sin? Hashem wished to demonstrate the power of the tzaddikim. Just as in Creation, the Heavens were created with speech: as it says [Iyov, 26:11], "The pillars of the Heavens trembled, and stood in wonder at his scream." So it is that the tzaddik has the power, with speech alone, to create Heaven - fire and water - because "the tzaddik decrees and Hashem fulfills (his decree)" [Gemara Kesuvos, 103b].

It was for this very reason, says Reb Shaul, that the waters weren't completed in the first place - to demonstrate the creative powers of the earthly beings, by achieving a level of holiness. When our Sages say [Pirkei Avos, 5:1], that the Creation was made with ten utterances (instead of one) in order "to reward the tzaddikim who uphold the world that was created with ten utterances," Reb Shaul tells us that this indicates that the tzaddikim have the power of these ten utterances.

Finally, Reb Shaul explains the tefilla that we say in the blessings before the morning Shema in this light. We praise Hashem as the One Who, "in His Goodness, renews constantly, every day, the act of Creation." We then say, "ka'amur" (saying) - this refers to the speech of the tzaddikim. "He Who has formed the great lights" - another reference to the tzaddikim. "His Goodness is eternal," Amen

This is one of the reasons a person who really needs something is encouraged to go to a great tzaddik, either living to ask him for help or a grave [ohel] of a past Tzaddik to daven. If we daven with enough kavannah our prayers will be answered, because as the Gemara in Kesuvos says "the tzaddik decrees and Hashem fulfills (his decree)"