Thursday, September 29, 2022

Filling the Waters

We've all heard about the Nordstream pipeline sabotage - if you don't know what I'm talking about click here

I don't want to talk about who is responsible, but I do want to mention that apparently a gas pipeline to Crimea in the Kherson [Ukraine] has now been destroyed and is burning.  This pipeline sabotage is gaining popularity and it's taking us one step closer to Geula.

Gemarah: "Moshiach will not come until that day, when the waters will be filled with oil, and no fish will be found to feed the ill - as it's stated: "then I will fill their waters will oil".

Rashi comments: When the waters will be congealed and fish cannot swim in such waters.

Note that it says "oil" and "congealed" - it doesn't say "gas". 

But it seems we are just getting started with this particular type of sabotage and I'm thinking that perhaps it won't be long before it is oil as well as gas being targeted.

Bad for the fish, but good for Geulah.  Is it time to stock up on canned tuna again? 

Talmud Sanhedrin 98a

Above is the relevant page of the Talmud: translation - "Mashiach ben Dovid will not arrive until someone seeks a fish for a sick person and cannot find one."

Return to Source

Hebrew with English subtitles.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

The Fundamental Processes of Human History: The Two Moshiachs

Rabbi Shimon Kessin, new shiur

Why are we focussed on the two Moshiachs.  This is a fascinating shiur, highly recommended.

Monday, September 19, 2022

24 Elul Yarzheit Chofetz Chaim


1838-1933 [5598-5693]

Rabbi Israel Meir HaCohen Kagan is commonly known as the "Chafetz Chaim," the name of his famous work on guarding one's tongue.

Born in Zhetel, Poland on February 6, 1838 [11 Shvat 5598], he was taught until age 10 by his parents and then moved to Vilna to further his Jewish studies. Refusing the pulpit rabbinate, the Chafetz Chaim settled in Radin Poland and subsisted on a small grocery store which his wife managed and he did the "bookkeeping"-watching every penny to make sure that no one was cheated. He spent his days learning Torah and disseminating his knowledge to the common people.

As his reputation grew, students from all over Europe flocked to him and by 1869 his house became known as the Radin Yeshiva. In addition to his Yeshiva, the Chafetz Chaim was very active in Jewish causes. He traveled extensively (even in his 90's) to encourage the observance of Mitzvos amongst Jews. One of the founders of Agudas Yisrael, the religious Jewish organization of Europe and later the world, the Chafetz Chaim was very involved in Jewish affairs and helped many yeshivos survive the financial problems of the interwar period.

Exemplifying the verses in Psalms 34:13-14, "Who is the man who desires life...? Guard your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit," the Chafetz Chaim passed away in 1933 at the ripe age of 95.

The Chafetz Chaim's greatest legacy is the 21 sefarim [holy books] which he published. His first work, Sefer Chafetz Chaim [1873], is the first attempt to organize and clarify the laws regarding evil talk and gossip. He later wrote other works, including Shmirat HaLashon, which emphasized the importance of guarding one's tongue by quoting our Sages. The Mishnah Brurah [1894-1907], his commentary on the Daily Laws of a Jew [his first series in the Shulchan Aruch], is found in many Jewish homes and is accepted universally to decide Halacha.

Firmly believing that he was living right before the time of Moshiach and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the Chafetz Chaim wrote a work that stressed the learning of laws concerning sacrifices, the Holy Temple, and related topics. He also published seforim to strengthen certain aspects of Jewish life including kashrus, family purity, and Torah study.

More on the Chafetz Chaim click here

Sunday, September 18, 2022

This Thing is Very Near to You

Rather, [this] thing is very close to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can fulfill it.''  [Nitzavim 30:14]

At first glance, the statement that ''this thing is very close to you... in your heart'' appears to be contrary to our experience [and yet the Torah is eternally relevant], that it is simply not a ''very near thing'' to transform one's heart's desires from wanting worldly pleasures to a sincere love of God.

However, the words ''so that you can fulfill it'' at the end of the verse, qualify what is written at the beginning of the verse - that we are speaking here merely of a love which is sufficient to bring about the practical observance of the commandments....even if it is not palpable in his heart, like a burning fire.

And this is indeed ''very near'' and easy for any person who has a brain inside his skull, since a person's mind is under his control, and he is free to think about whatever he pleases, on any subject. So when he will use it to think about the greatness of God, he will inevitably generate - in his mind, at least - a love of God [sufficient to make a person want] to cleave to Him though the performance of His commandments and the study of His Torah.

Source: Gutnick Chumash: Excerpt from Tanya Chapter 17

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Motzei Shevi''it

I have had a version of this blog post sitting in my drafts for over 10 years.  In 5772 [secular  year 2012] we all expected Moshiach. Even the Mayan Calendar ended in December 2012.  

Vilna Gaon

It is a tradition from the Gra [Vilna Gaon], although he did not put it in writing, that the Geula will begin 5772.  It is thought that Hashem may have delayed the Geula by ten years, bringing us to now: 5782.

The Vilna Gaon quotes the Gemara Sanhedrin 97A  that Moshiach will come Motzei Shevi'it - which means "after the seventh".

The Zohar, in its description of this year, refers to it as being motzei shevi'is [after the seventh] - the shmittah and the Yovel -  [Zohar Chadash Beis, Parshas Balak]

But 5772, the Gra's first choice for Redemption, was not "motzei shevi'it".  So perhaps the Gra also knew that the Geula would be delayed by ten years. [I don't know I'm just speculating]

There is a principle that Hashem loves all sheviís [the seventh] - all sevens are special.

We see from Tikkunei Zohar 28b that HKB"H will destroy the Erev Rav between the 6th and 7th hour, which is the time that they sinned with the golden calf - because that is when the Redemption process begins. And that began at the time of 6.5 hours of the day, during Minha Gedola.  Source: Yeranen Yaakov

We are currently in the 7th hour of the sixth day 12pm-1pm: 12.46pm actually, if you look at the Cosmic Clock in my left column.

The Zohar even states that it is not God’s will to reveal the arrival date of the Moshiach, but when the date draws near, even children will be able to make the calculation [Bereishis 118a]. According to the Vilna Gaon, there seems to be little problem making the calculation from his commentary, but one who does must promise not to reveal his finding to another: “And from here [what I have just written] you can calculate the time of the Final Redemption if, God forbid, we do not merit [to bring it earlier]; however, I have imposed an oath, in the name of the God of Israel, on the reader of this that he should not reveal it.” [Biur HaGra, Sifra D’Tzniuta, Chapter Five]
Source: Rav Shalom Yehuda Gross

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Signs? Coincidences?

All of this is speculation. 

This photo was taken over Wembley in London and people think it shows the Queen riding on her horse .... or maybe it's showing a man riding a donkey... The prophet Zechariah describes Moshiach as "a pauper, riding on a donkey."  

This is a beam of light over the Queen's coffin.... but look to the left and you'll see a shopfront awning that says "The World's End".  If you're on a phone you can easily enlarge the photo to see it.

This is the Hebrew word "mitzvah"
The middle two letters צו have a gematria of 96 - the age of the Queen
the outer letters מה have the gematria of 45 - Geula

A Deeper Insight Into the Death of Queen Elizabeth

 Rabbi Mendel Kessin

"Before Moshiach there will be a double rainbow"  [see The Queen's Rainbows]

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Debt Jubilee

Thank you to EnricoAriel for sending this to me - 

What The Bible Says About 50 Years of Fiat Money, Debt Jubilee

Monday, September 12, 2022

A Blessing in Reverse

Art: Debi Payne

by Rabbi David Pinto Shlita

It is written, “Your ox will be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat from it. Your donkey will be robbed from before you, but it will not return to you. Your flocks will be given to your enemies, but you will have none to save you” [Ki Tavo 28:31].

As our teachers have said in the holy Zohar, all the curses conceal blessings.

In his book Nachal Kedumim, the Chida writes that this verse, read in the reverse sense, becomes a blessing:  “You will be saved, and your enemies will have nothing. Your flocks will be returned, and your donkey will not be robbed from you. You will eat the meat of your ox, and it will not be slaughtered before your eyes.”

Friday, September 9, 2022

The Queen's Rainbows

                                                          Rainbow over Windsor Castle

                                Double rainbow outside Buckingham Palace

Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II has passed, and Hashem has given the world rainbows.
One incredible rainbow over Windsor Castle for a few minutes, and then it was gone.
Then a double rainbow over Buckingham Palace as mourners came to pay tribute.

What are the rainbows telling us?  It's a sign from Hashem, hopefully that Moshiach is close. Click the Rainbow label below this post for more on rainbows.

For more on the Queen and the rainbows see:

Evil's Place in This World

 Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Thursday, September 8, 2022

13 Elul - Yarzheit Ben Ish Chai

The Ben Ish Chai
Chacham Yosef Chaim of Baghdad

To read some of his teachings and connect with his soul on his yarzheit, click on the BEN ISH CHAI label below this post.

by Chana Lewis

Chacham Yosef Chaim (1832-1909), known as the Ben Ish Chai, was a highly-revered Torah scholar and master of Kabbalah. Based in Baghdad, Iraq, he was recognized by the Sephardic community both locally and abroad as an eminent Halachic authority.


Yosef Chaim was born on the 27th of Av, 1832, into a long chain of rabbinic figures renowned for their spiritual influence on the Baghdad Jewish community over the centuries. His father, Chacham Eliyahu Chaim, the son of Chacham Moshe Chaim, was the head rabbi and leader of Baghdad's Jewish community.

At the age of seven, Yosef Chaim fell into a deep pit in the courtyard of his home while playing with his sister. He was eventually saved by a miracle, and in gratitude to G‑d he decided to devote his life to the study of Torah. As a young boy, he spent many hours absorbing Torah from the books in his father's extensive library. He went on to attend Beit Zilka, the Jewish seminary of Baghdad, headed by Rabbi Abdallah Someich.

When Yosef Chaim was fourteen years old, a question arrived for his father from Rabbi Chaim Palag'i, the chief rabbi of Turkey. His father was very busy and unable to answer for several days, so the young Yosef Chaim answered the question in his father's stead. The Turkish rabbi was so impressed with the boy's response that he predicted he would be a great sage. In a letter to Yosef Chaim's father, he enthused: "Your son, dear to your soul, has already preceded you and decided this case. May his father rejoice in him…"

In a special room secluded for study, Yosef Chaim continued to strive toward spiritual perfection, studying all of the Torah day and night. At midnight he would rise to recite the Tikkun Chatzot, lamenting the destruction of the Holy Temple, and at sunrise he would recite the morning prayers. For six consecutive years, he fasted by day and ate only at night, to weaken physical drives that could interfere with his Divine service. He built a mikvah, a ritual bath, in his home, so he could purify himself at any time.

At the age of eighteen, he married Rachel, the daughter of Rabbi Yehudah Someich, a relative of his teacher. Together, they had one daughter and a son. Yosef Chaim was known for the attention he showered upon his children, teaching them Torah and conversing with them, despite his demanding schedule. He often composed little riddles and puzzles to entertain them, some of which are recorded in his book Imrei Binah.

Leader of the Baghdad Community

When Yosef Chaim was twenty-five years old, his father passed away, and he became the unofficial leader of the Baghdad community. The title chacham – "wise one," the traditional Sephardic title bestowed upon rabbis – was appended to his name. Despite his young age, he was highly respected, and one of his disciples, Rabbi Dovid Chai Hacohen, testified that if Rabbi Yosef Chaim had lived during the time of the Temple, it would never have been destroyed. For unlike then, when the Jews disregarded the admonitions of the prophets, the entire Baghdad community lovingly obeyed every word uttered by Rabbi Yosef Chaim. During his lifetime, per his influence, all the Jews of Baghdad observed Shabbat and Torah law. Chacham Yosef Chaim refused a salary for his public service. Instead, he supported his family by partnering in his brother's business. He personally funded the publishing of his books, refusing sponsorship or charity, and any income from these books would be distributed to the poor. He was also known to donate his books for free to Torah scholars.

He attempted to bridge the gap between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi communities, who often followed widely differing practices, by referencing his contemporaries abroad, and reflecting on their approaches in his own writings. He felt strongly that Torah scholars needed to show mutual recognition for one another, even when they disagreed, lest their names be forgotten with the passage of time.

Though his legal decisions carried weight primarily amongst Sephardi populaces, his Ashkenazi counterparts recognized his genius, held him in high esteem, and often quoted his rulings.

For fifty years, from his appointment until his death, he lectured for one hour daily on Torah law and aggadah (historical and anecdotal material) in the Tsallat L'ziri, "the small synagogue." Four times a year, he lectured at the Great Synagogue of Baghdad, built with dirt from the land of Israel.

Chacham Yosef Chaim understood that cut-and-dry Torah law would not appeal to many, so the bulk of his discourses were coupled with Kabbalah and Aggadah. He helped his followers make associations between Biblical lore and the law, so their hearts would be drawn to the wisdom of Torah, and they would remember it.

His seminal work, the Ben Ish Chai, is based on the three-hour classes he presented each Shabbat. He'd begin each lecture with a Kabbalistic interpretation, in simple language, of the Torah portion of the week, and then present a selection of related practical laws. Two important figures guided his work: Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar, and Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Arizal.

His approach was based on preservation of local traditions, even in Halachic rulings. He would not recommend a change in local tradition unless there was compelling reason to do so. His rulings testify to his innovative approach which gave credence to local tradition, and to Ashkenazi and Sephardi rulings alike.

The Ben Ish Chai became the standard reference book for Torah law among Sephardim. It appealed to a wide audience, scholars and commoners alike, including women, who were usually not provided a religious education. Due to its widespread popularity, Chacham Yosef Chaim came to be called by the name of his book.

Many stories testify to his greatness. On one occasion, a scholar from Baghdad visited a great rabbi in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yaakov Shaul Elishar, to request his blessings. The elderly sage responded, "Why have you come to me? You have Chacham Yosef Chaim in Baghdad. There is no one like him in the world."

Chacham Yosef Chaim deeply loved the Land of Israel. He supported the Jewish settlement by printing all his books there, and throughout his life, gave money to the messengers from Israel who came to collect for the poor. In 1869, he journeyed to Israel where he visited the gravesites of numerous holy figures in Jerusalem and Hebron, and met with eminent Kabbalists. Though offered a rabbinical post there, he decided to return to Iraq. He brought back with him a large stone to be placed at the entrance to the synagogue where he lectured.

Days before his death, on the 8th of Elul, Chacham Yosef Chaim went on a pilgrimage to the grave of the prophet Ezekiel, and he became sick shortly after. On the 13th of Elul, 1909, he died and was buried that same night. He was deeply mourned, his funeral attended by over ten thousand people—Jews and non-Jews alike. Years after his death, Jews still made it practice to visit his gravesite every Friday.


Despite his passing over 100 years ago, his legacy is very much alive in the hearts of those who continue to live by his seminal work, the Ben Ish Chai. Many of his disciples became great Jewish scholars who continued to disperse his teachings.

The extensive work of Chacham Yosef Chaim encompasses all aspects of Judaism: Torah law, Kabbalah, Q and A's, sermons, parables, proverbs, and prayers, liturgics and poetry for Shabbat and holidays. His work reflects simultaneously broad knowledge of the sciences, medicine, astronomy, physics and economics. His approach to Torah, though stringent, is imbued with love for its practice, and his followers, whose numbers continue to grow even today, revere his commitment to Torah law and the inspiration he brought to it.

Many schools, particularly in Israel, have been built in his name. Thousands continue to glean from the wisdom of Chacham Yosef Chaim, studying his books, but more importantly, living by them.

Source: Chabad

Video below: Rabbi Alon Anava: Parshat Ki Teitzei: Ben Ish Chai: How To Win Your Battles

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

The Most Difficult


"When you go out to war against your enemies" [Ki Teitzei 21:10]

"The most difficult war of all" remarked the Chofetz Chaim, "is man's war against his yetzer hara."

In his youth, R' Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky [the Steipler Gaon] was conscripted into the Russian army.

It was not easy serving in the Russian army. He was surrounded by numerous anti-Semites and he often had to stand guard in sub zero temperatures. 

Despite the difficult circumstances, the Steipler used great cunning and devised various strategies that enabled him to observe the Sabbath.

It was so cold outdoors that whoever was on guard duty was given a special, thick coat to wear during his shift. But there was only one such coat, so the soldiers took turns wearing it.

One Shabbos eve, when the Steipler came to do his guard duty, the soldier who was wearing the coat took it off and, instead of handing it to the Steipler, hung it on a tree.

The Steipler now stood trembling in the freezing cold, and he was unsure as to what he should do. It was already Shabbos, and removing an item from a tree on the Sabbath is forbidden. On the other hand, without his coat he would freeze.

Five minutes, he thought. Let me see if I can bear not wearing the coat for just five minutes. If, after five minutes, I feel as if I simply cannot stand the cold, then I will retrieve the coat; after all, this is a life-threatening predicament.

Five minutes passed, as the Steipler stood shivering in the bitter cold. Another five minutes, he thought. I'll wait five more minutes and then I'll get the coat.

Another five minutes passed, then another, and yet another, until the night had passed and the guard on the next shift came to relieve him.

The Steipler had not moved from his place the entire night, nor had he transgressed any of the holy day's sanctified commandments.

The war against one's yetzer hara is a most difficult one. The way to emerge victorious is by devising clever strategies. Yet one should not attempt to overcome his yetzer hara all at once, for that will prove to be too difficult. Rather, he should progress gradually, taking a step-by-step approach, as the verse states: "Thoughts conceived in counsel will be firm; wage war with strategies" [Mishlei 20:18]

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein 

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Praying for Rain

Many countries worldwide are suffering from a severe lack of rain.  That is definitely not the case in Australia where for once we have it in abundance, and Pakistan is drowning in it.

Photo Kaycee Kennedy

"You shall have complete and accurate stone weights"
[Ki Teitzei 25:15]

Throughout the generations, gedolei Yisrael scrupulously kept the mitzvah of maintaining accurate weights and measures.

In a certain city, the sages decreed that a fast day be held on account of the lack of rain. The entire city fasted as the sages had ordained, but rain still did not fall.

That night, the Rav of the city had a dream. In it, he was told that if a particular storeowner would lead the community in a prayer for rain then rain would, indeed, fall.

The next day, the Rav gathered the entire community to pray together for rain. To everyone's surprise, he asked the storeowner to lead the services.

The storeowner declined, claiming that he was but a simple man and unfit to lead the prayers. The Rav, however, did not relent, and he explained that it was specifically the storeowner who could come to their aid and no-one else.

The storeowner left the shul and returned holding a pair of scales that he used to weigh his merchandise.

He approached the bimah and cried out "Master of the Universe! The two pans of these scales parallel the two heis of Your Great Name! The bar parallels the vav, and the handle parallels the yud.

"Master of the Universe! If I have used these scales dishonestly and thereby desecrated Your Holy Name, I hereby accept upon myself whatever punishment I deserve! But if I have acted in an upright manner, then I pray that You send us rain of blessing!"

As soon as the storeowner finished his words, the sky filled with clouds, and it began to rain.

Source: Rabbi Yisroel Bronstein