Friday, November 06, 2015

5776 - In the Year of Hakhel

At the end of chapter 23, the Ba’al HaTanya in Igeret Hakodesh quotes Yirmiyah (33:16) and writes,

ובימינו - תושע יהודה וירושלם תשכון לבטח

This possuk refers to the Era of Ultimate Redemption by Moshiach soon to transform the world’s revelatory powers so God will be visibly evident to all.

This verse is interesting on two points, besides the Rebbe's imparted prayer that this phenomenon should happen now, in our days.

Firstly, the word “תושע” is the acronym of this 6th millennium’s Jewish year, 776. Also, the word “תשכון” has the same gematria as the former word. It’s as if “יהודה וירושלם” cozily nestle between these two words - which strongly suggests 5776 as the implicated year.

(As told to me by Chabad chassid, Reb Arye Prager.)

Just want to remind you what the Rebbe said in 1980 (here):
ובמוצאי שביעית בא משיח

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Clouds of Glory during Hakhel Year 5776

See how Hashem is tightening the screws to hasten the Era of Redemption. He stirs up an enormous hurricane (“Patricia”) to raise the specter of potential terror. Had the hurricane come well into land, much of Mexico would have been devastated. Suddenly we open eyes to the possibility that millions more refugees will now stream into America from the South. The porosity of America’s borders with Mexico will now send shudders into many more minds and hearts.

The decay of America socially, economically and morally seems well on its way. Universities are becoming anti-Jewish; Cities across America are becoming “refuge sanctuary” cities where crimes go ignored; Torrents of illegal migrants are making their way into the heart of the country; The morale and religious backbone of the country is in tatters; Christians are losing their prominence; and “Every Jew is fair game!” shout the mullahs and shmullahs.

But despite the rising threats of invasion and chaos, and despite America's apparent tailspin towards Sodomite values, Jews have every reason to rejoice. True the Redemption picture as of now looks like it's only collectively at work, as some individual lives fall as sacrificial lambs (ה׳ ישמור), the rumblings of the oncoming ultimate Redemption cannot be ignored.

For the very contrary of a broad misery that bleakens the world today is happening in the Jewish quarter. To Jews worldwide the prospect of imminent redemption is palpable. Everywhere Jews exist today they enjoy the freedom to observe their religion to a tee. No longer do Jews suffer persecution under government sanction. Today when police escort Jews, they do so to protect them. Not too long ago the escort of police meant Jews were being transported to gas chambers.

Just as in ancient days just prior to their redemption, Jews were surrounded with God’s “Ananei Shemaya” to protect them against the Egyptian military onslaught, so too - today - in this process of Final Redemption, Jews worldwide (this time) are again protected by God’s “Clouds of Glory”. These clouds may not appear physically as they did back then, but they exist today around every Jew, by divine providence of events wherein he finds himself. The Jew is protected against the rising worldwide evil as evil exposes itself worldwide and as evil itself then swallows evil.

By “tightening the screws” I refer to the phenomenon referred to by the Previous Rebbe, who indicated this was exactly how Geulah will unfold (link). Groups of Jews will be streaming towards the Holy Land. In the end, all Jews will become observant of God’s Torah, only some before others, and the worldwide change in demographics and politics is setting up for Jews just that landscape and avenue to Israel.

That article’s link above starts out like this: “A deep secret every intelligent person must find interest in concerns the final Jewish Redemption and, particularly, the logistics of departure from the diaspora.” I invite you to read it.

As for America, the Rebbe has said, in his booklet “קונטרס בית רבינו שבבל”, that the Beit Hamikdash will first adjoin 770 Eastern Parkway, in Brooklyn NY(!), and therefrom be flown by Clouds of Glory to Jerusalem (however that actually manifests). That scenario itself guarantees America shall remain a safe and powerful haven until Moshiach’s exposition, which bids well for a good future for America, despite the grim outlook as of now with what looks like a Muslim usurper/anarchist having snatched the reins of its highest office.

But it all bodes well for Jews and may this Hakhel year finally bring the march to Jerusalem with upright pride, for every Jewish man, woman and child.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In Support of Yad L'Achim

Modern Jew-Hatred in Spiritual or Physical Mode

Jew-hatred can manifest physically or spiritually. Jew-haters want to either physically harm and/or to cause Jews spiritual grief.

Take, for example, the Arab young man who seeks to marry a Jewish woman, and, as another example, a Christian (“Jews for J”) missionary who seeks to trap Jewish souls to get them to submit to Christian dogma. This parallel of Arabs marrying Jewesses and Christian missionaries fishing for Jewish souls demonstrates a striking resemblance.

A mall in the Jewish non-Jewish state
The Arab man who seeks to marry a Jewish woman loiters where Jewish girls intermingle freely in crowds of various persuasions, as in a university setting or in a mall. He keeps a lookout, and when he spots a good candidate who's hungry for companionship (usually because of a loveless home or because of some crisis situation), he sweet-talks her, makes believe he's Jewish, dates her for weeks and months ostensibly to demonstrate his “goodness”, only to later divulge his real identity, when the girl is already in love. By the time she discovers his true identity she's prone to brush aside such racial “trivialities” and accepts him wholeheartedly. He'll even tell her slyly he did not want to lie at first because he would be rejected for his religion, and therefore “had to” conceal his identity.

Why does the Arab young man do this? He does it out of his intense hatred for the Jew. He seeks to marry her because he hates her. All along he'll keep secret his final intent - to take her into a Muslim enclave where from she cannot escape, where then she can be made to feel worthless, while he can brag to his friends of his dominance over the Jewish soul. He'll marry other women – Muslim, who will regard the 1st wife as a slave. This is his manhood; This is his spirituality.

This demonstrates the extent of his hate. He stalks to marry a woman he wants to hate.

It's much like an Arab mother who sends her child to commit a suicide bombing on the presumption that innocent Jewish victims can be killed as well. The difference is that Arab mother wishes on her enemies physical death, whereas the Arab lover seeks to perpetrate a spiritual, sacrilegious rape.

ימח שמם וזכרם
The Christian missionary who pushes the J figure upon naive Jewish souls also bears, like his Muslim counterpart, this spiritual hateful emotion. The amount of money plowed into missionary work is staggering. In Israel alone they have some 100 “communities”. They are cautious in their use of semantics and therefore call their churches “communities”. They connive even with the color of their blue and white t-shirts. Here too a (Christian) person sets out to deceive the Jew. He'll offer his “friendship” (like the Arab who professes his love to a Jewess), plenty of money, gifts and lodging if necessary, whatever it takes to get this Jew to participate with them. They would rather beguile and “convert” to Christianity one Jew, especially of Hareidi background but not necessarily, than convert the entire continent of Africa! We know this from the stories the "returnees" tell (e.g., link).

The Arab marries the Jewess out of hatred for her. The Christian missionary makes his lifelong preoccupation to subdue Judaism because he envies and begrudges the Jew's connection to God. He wants to provoke God with physical revenge against God's favorite people. Both jealousies are as intense as of those who seek to physically annihilate the Jews, only here the motive is to tear Jews away from God spiritually.

It goes to show, even to one unaware of his Judaism or to him who lacks pride in being Jewish, just how worthy Judaism really is – so much so that so many non-Jewish people actually preoccupy their whole lives stewing in this enmity.

We should be generous to organizations like Yad L'Achim who actively seek (and succeed - e.g., rescue story) to liberate such Jewesses and their children, and spiritually lost souls, from torment. Significantly, not stopping there, they also succeed in educating these repatriated souls with true Yiddishkeit.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Signs of Redemption - Early 5776

After a brief brush with annihilation only 75 years ago, remaining Jews (today’s grandparents) today still feel the heat of that inferno in the form of yet another threat - from the latest, powerful, big Jewish-hater, today’s archetype of the Persian Haman - among others.

But we Jews fear no more such threat of violence or intrusion into our private lives because the leader of this Jewish generation, the Rebbe of Lubavitch, gave us optimistic words that now resonate ever louder.

The word “prophecy” in Hebrew also spells “we will come”, as if the spoken words themselves attest to their own future encore.

From one of our holy sources, the Midrash, of Yalkut-Shimoni, (Isaiah, 499): “R’ Yitschak says, ‘The year in which Moshiach will be revealed ... a Persian king provokes an Arab king ... and says to them [God to the Jews] my sons, fear not, for all that I do I do for you, your era of redemption has arrived.’

The Midrash continues: “The time when King Moshiach comes, he stands on the roof of the Beit Hamikdash, wherefrom he tells the Jewish People, ‘Modest ones, your era of redemption has arrived!

Is it not strange for a king to proclaim good tidings from a rooftop?

The Rebbe explains halachically that a rooftop lacks the holiness its abode houses beneath it. By wording it this way the Midrash invokes the rooftop as the appropriate metaphor for an event to transpire outside the Holy Land (a place with less sanctity than Israel). The Rebbe elsewhere asks, similarly, why does the Rambam in his book of halachah say Moshiach will build the Beit Hamikdash “in its place”? Why not just say, “in Jerusalem”; Why the obscure “in its place” terminology? The answer of the Rebbe, again, is that the debut for the redemption begins in the exiled land (in its place) - outside the boundaries of the Holy Land.

Perhaps others will argue with Brooklyn, NY as the optimal venue from where Moshiach makes his announcements, but they too first must answer the above questions at least.

But whatever your belief here, open your eyes to see - that the Redemption is in gear, moving along. (Not as fast as we’d like, to be sure.)

You can see it in the irony playing itself out in Germany, for example. Where once Germany sought to expel an "other" people, they now have the opposite happening to them - an influx of an other people. And to further note God’s ironic hand in this, as it prophecises in Psalms(2:4), God is mocking them, Muslims, all of whom supported Hitler and his “final solution”, now have joined together with their German peers. Two peoples who agreed on Jewish extermination now have themselves for bedfellows.

Do you smell Redemption in the air yet?

Yes we haven’t yet been driven down far enough along this entire highway of Redemption because we still witness individuals falling as sacrifices, (חס ושלום), with Jews still made to suffer; But, a global Redemption landscape is clearly visible worldwide. What all can see is evil raising its ugly head, exposed on an internet of windows. We can see how one Jew-hater goes after another Jew-hater, as they swallow each other up. Meanwhile, as Redemption progresses, Jews today can calmly enough lock arms across their chest and sit back and watch. The world is watching evil vanquish itself.

That Iran’s Khamenei is today’s Haman - is obvious. That they both derive from Persia in itself is telling, as is the pronunciation of their names. Both wanted the total physical annihilation of the Jewish People. This is of course the final issue that all peoples of the world will have to reckon with anyhow one day, who is it that will inherit the Earth in the Era of Redemption? The Jews - that’s obvious, but the sectors of Gentiles that will also benefit in this Jewish utopia may well find they have come from fragmented nations.

How about America - how can we account for a stealth outsider who usurped the reins of power in the mightiest of all nations? How is it that Americans now find themselves much as would feel a king forced to cater to his slave? Perhaps it’s God’s way of removing from Americans their haughtiness? Can't be, because most American folk are decent folk, and when they gain wealth they remain modest, knowing God has graced them. I personally cannot figure this one out vis-a-vis Americans.

Vis-a-vis Israelis I do see a clear sign. Israelis for so long have clamored they “need America”, be it for its generosity or culture, so God says “Enough!” because He wants to show the Jews they need rely only on Him and Torah, so He places a despot into the seat of highest USA office, to put a halt to all help to Israel, (significantly - while keeping all the good public of Americans pro-Israeli!). It’s Redemption time Jewish folk, and it’s about time you evidence God’s Hand manipulating the world to this dear end.

Still, if you come from a well-seasoned "naturalist" perspective, you're still seeing Redemption behind a vague curtain. You do not know of the Rebbe's assertions in 1980 that the final war, the one Messiah will fight and is fighting, will be a world war that cannot and will not infringe upon Jewish soul or body. The wars that will rage will be “about Jerusalem” - but Jews will have no concerns of invasion. (link)

Those waiting to see these words exemplified in amplification will soon enough get to see more of that too, because that’s what the Rebbe forecasts.

I take this tzaddik’s word for what it is, words of a prophet, words of the leader of this generation, words by him who represents all his predecessor Rebbes wrapped into one, and, significantly - of King Moshiach!

He created an army of believers spreading the word of Moshiach worldwide. These are his foot soldiers.

During the 6-Day War the Rebbe stood alone and declared Jews will win. In ’73 he told us too. Before the Persian Gulf War he urged that Eretz Yisrael is the safest place for a Jew, and all the bombs that fell caused nothing but concrete to bite the earth. He invoked the Yalkut Shimoni Midrash and introduced the conflict that had the Middle-East riled up then as the debut of the Era of Redemption, telling Jews their time for redemption has arrived and telling them they have nothing to fear.

Just as Abraham began by standing as one alone in the world, so too Moshiach is alone, now, a lone general fighting our battles for us.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Shannah Tova l'Am Yisrael 5776

In light of what I spoke of in the prior post, of wealth soon to bedeck the Jews in light of the soon-to-be-here Messianic Era, I wish Am Yisrael an ultimately redemptive 5776! Got this from friends at Shefa Yamim in Eretz Yisroel, and I pass it along to you:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ruminating in Elul 5775

From a Redemption-slanted mindset, one may well associate the recent surge in fame of prospective presidential candidate Donald Trump with what the Rebbe said often regarding the state of Jews before the Final Redemption. He said all Jews, now as Redemption unfolds, deserve to be filthy rich (my words), just as the Jewish nation, when it first became a nation in its deliverance from ancient Egypt, also - then - became filthy rich (in a matter of hours) at the start of their redemption.

Remember when the Jews still feared Egyptians were chasing at their heels, God wrought a further miracle and washed up to shore all the dead Egyptians to placate Jewish fears. With all Egyptian military dead before them, the Jews entered Ba’al Tzefon and emptied Egypt’s treasury, which then held all the world’s money which Joseph accumulated during the years of hunger, right there near the Reed Sea shore. By the time they completed their 3rd of 42 voyages, every Jew had a slew of donkeys carrying his own personal fortune.

The devil in office today is also a godsend, of course, without which good and evil could still be obfuscated, without which no two clear perspectives diverge and force people to choose sides, and without which secular Israelis could not be weaned off their misjudged reliance on America instead of reliance on God alone. It is under this devil’s guard that the delineation and clear choice is now given to everybody - to choose between good and evil - between Jews and Jew-haters, a decision plastered across the world’s media for all to see, for it bears upon everyone. Everyone will have to take a side.

So onward Mr. Trump, and may Jews break through all natural barriers to great wealth - as they truly deserve as per the Rebbe - if for no other reason that these Jews comprise the generation that debuts in the Era of Ultimate Redemption.

And just to keep this wealth issue represented by Trump now stay afloat, God makes sure the other side, that of evil, implodes, just as happened to the Soviet Union that evaporated overnight without one shot fired. This is probably why the Clinton wench remains adamant and doesn’t resign in the face of mounting scandals. We are reminded how God hardened the heart of Pharoah.

The forceps-industry horrors of Planned Parenthood are also there for all to see. They wrought a silent holocaust. Evil ensues when human sanctity is scorned. It’s there for all to see; how forceps separate wrist from arm, or intact brain from a sliced-open face... These people care nothing for their own life, let alone those of others. They live as a one-generation bunch of parasites, not caring for the development of further generations, because they have no good family ties ingrained to model after.

Trump, of course, is good for the Jews. An indication of this is simply that his daughter married the Jewish son of another real-estate tycoon, and converted herself. They live as orthodox Jews (maybe a bit on the “modern” side). So Trump cannot really be a Jew-hater, thank God, as his would-be predecessor exquisitely is.

Recently we see how quickly the course taken by B Hussein O can tailspin America into a Sodom. We see God’s Hand in reversing this abysmal target to one of renewed and strong hope. We note the good disproportionately advancing despite the growing horrors of evil as they become revealed before us, for the split must happen to separate out these two diverse and opposite trends.

The prophet Daniel spoke to these times of distillation of good from evil, and the Rebbe his whole lifetime has been trumpeting this imminent Era of Redemption whose threshold we’ve already passed.

Back some 70 years ago the world could not see the multi-millions of Jews and others that were enslaved, gassed, burned and murdered. Evil had curtains to hide behind. No more today. It's there for all to see. A clash of contrasts one must take sides with. For, to refine humanity, the unrefined remnant must be swept clean away. It's the scapegoat's turn to finally enjoy revenge.

Signs of Redemption abound around us. We just need stay focused to keep seeing God’s Hand shape our sweet future, with Beit Hamikdash and utter joy in Jerusalem.

Monday, June 08, 2015

The Rebbe’s 1980 Striking Prophecy on Gog & Magog, and Moshiach

The Rebbe MH”M speaking on Pesach Sheini תש׳מ, explains a passage of our sages - where they assess - from King David’s prophecies the Jewish prospects during the final world war, that of Gog and Magog. Despite the conceived threat this war might pose on the Jewish people (as expressed in Tractate Sanhedrin and many other places), this particular expose of King David's prophecy to the contrary is particularly timely today, when horrible human tragedy plagues the Muslim Middle-East and a war-mongering Iran ominously approaches nuclear potential.

In Psalm 2, King David relates the pain he felt when his own son rebelled against his sovereignty. On the other hand, in Psalm 3, when King David alludes to the final world war, that of Gog and Magog, he omits all reference to pain. Why is that? The answer is - because no conceived harm to the Jewish people was warranted!

Our sages teach us, as the Rebbe explains, that this war cannot violate Jewish life; The Jewish people will be completely immune against any of this war's repercussions. As for those who decry that Jewish lives will be at stake - he says why those concerns are “for naught” (Psalm 2:1).

The nations will be in turmoil, accusations will surely target Jewish scapegoats, but the Rebbe emphasizes over and over that, despite the agitation Gentiles will to bring upon the Jews, in actuality it ought not provoke Jewish concern because all concern over this issue illusory.

The Rebbe shows how God mocks such a perspective; And why? Because, “He Who dwells in Heaven has enjoyment from it; the Lord mocks them.” (Psalm 2:4)

[They are a mockery, are they not?]

God’s “I will incite Egyptians against Egyptians” has nothing to do with Jews. [It has to do only with how the rest of the verse reveals, ונלחמו איש באחיו ואיש ברעהו עיר בעיר ממלכה בממלכה, "... and brother will smite his brother, man will smite his friend, city will fight another city and one kingdom will fight against another." Do we not see exactly this happening presently?]

This thing about Afghanistan, or about something elsewhere or wherever, and this other opinion of x and that opinion of y, ... all of it is wasted breath, all these details are trivial because they ought not concern us - because they can't touch us (!), says the Rebbe.

All this is happening not because Jews have any superior strength or intellect, but simply because “He Who dwells in Heaven has enjoyment from it.”

Take note how the Rebbe explains the term "around", מסביב, in that the worldly-related events taking place, as often cited, are "around Jerusalem".  Around indeed says the Rebbe, meaning to imply only around but NOT within! The war will not touch Jerusalem; Around Jerusalem, yes, but not IN Jerusalem.

Then too take special note and listen how the Rebbe suddenly injects the teaching that Redemption will happen in the the post-Shmittah year, in which Moshiach will finally reveal himself.  Whether this too is what Rav Yochanan said in the name of the Rashbi, I couldn't make out.

If your Yiddish is better than mine, you’ll enjoy hearing the Rebbe.

This must-see video - is here!
(UPDATE: Thanks to a commenter, this video can now be seen with English subtitles - here!)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Just Launched -

Although it's always in development, I'm real pleased to announce my new website just launched.

I hope it'll spark your interest. It’s a GEMATRIA (and other “fun stuff”) program, made real simple to glide with. It’s well enough now to be up and functional. Hope you like it, and find something remarkable to tell the world about too.
Please visit:
and thanks!

There's hardware; There's software; 
And then there's toraware!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Imminent Fall of Damascus

It’s hard not to see Redemption creeping up on us.

Firstly, every Jewish circle seems convinced of it. Even goyim, להבדיל, or “klipah”, acknowledges it, and because the timing is ripe, they strongly promote their version of the prophecy (in an attempt to forestall God’s agenda).

We take the Land of Israel for granted, but this too is a relatively recent phenomenon. Actually it's part of the same phenomenon - Redemption. Years earlier, Israel was only a concept. And we see too in every war we fight with our enemies how God orchestrates it with so many miracles.

Regarding current Middle East upheavals we sense a deja-vu with in Biblical context as well. For example, the Rebbe, quoting many Zohar sources, says (see video hereJerusalem will rise only when Damascus falls! We note a supportive linguistic prop too - that דמשק and מקדש comprise the same letters.

Meanwhile, surrounding the Land of Israel, her avowed enemies are devouring each other. Enemy countries must now funnel resources and energies to maintaining inner stability rather than allocate capital to wipe out the little Jewish land.

The world at large now recognizes the utter evil that reeks from Israel’s haters and the muslim population. The world now has open windows to view for themselves the cruelty these enemies inflict even upon their own kind. They see, as divine providence would have it, what happens to anybody who stands in the way of their petty whims.

We see how anti-Semitism across the world again raises its ugly head. Why? Because, as the Redemption unfolds, people will have to choose what side they are on, either on the side of the Jews, or on the side of their haters. The world being swept in that direction involuntarily.

We note that practice of the Jewish religion is - amazingly, if history is to serve as a barometer - free in almost all places where Jews live - a phenomenon that Jews never merited in their long history in the diaspora.

We see too in Israel, despite its being a juggernaut of secular culture, even though public Israeli education frowns on religiosity, the population there remains more on the right than on the left, no matter how hard the media, courts and other powerful leftist circles try to shape opinion. For example, the only way Bibi could win his last election was to talk the talk of the right, although he continues to walk the walk of the left.

Even though Israel’s secular public adores and idolizes America, seeking hard to mimic American culture, divine providence has - thankfully - intervened and placed a rabid Jew-hater into the White House in order to wean Israelis off this reverence for “America the great”. Instead of awe for the mythical giant, Israelis will now begin to appreciate all that is Jewish, rather than be taken by the temporary glitz of America.

Here’s another nugget from current events to support the notion that Redemption quickly approaching. ISIS just conquered Palmyra - known in Hebrew as “Tadmor”. Among the legions that joined in destroying both our Holy Temples in Jerusalem were tens of thousands of archers from Tadmor, a city built by King Solomon (Divrei Hayomim II, 8:4). Palmyra’s conquest opens up for ISIS a quick highway to Damascus as well as access to a strategic airstrip. We should be happy to see the downfall of Palmyra, as foretold by Reb Yochanan (see here):
אשרי מי שראה במפלתה של תדמור
Interestingly, the gematria of this phrase has its equivalence to only one possuk in all of Torah:
והנה דבר יהוה אליו לאמר לא יירשך זה כי אם אשר יצא ממעיך הוא יירשך
... where God assures Abraham (Lech Lecha 15:4) that his servant “Damascus Eliezer” will not inherit what belongs to Abraham, but rather to one his own children (ie, Jacob) shall this heritage be bequeathed.

Another Midrash source reads (the reason for happiness) slightly differently:
אשרי כל מי שהוא רואה במפלתה של תרמוד
This has the following possuk (Beshalch 14:19) for numeric equivalence:
ויסע מלאך האלהים ההלך לפני מחנה ישראל וילך מאחריהם ויסע עמוד הענן מפניהם ויעמד מאחריהם
... where God leads the Jewish nation to Redemption and protects them in the process!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Working the "Burning Man Festival" in Israel

Poor secular Israelis need some form of release and seek to mimic their idolized Gentile peers in the USA. Thus they came up with “festivals”, a throwback to the 60’s festivals of “hippie” days, where they would gather a few days at a time away from ordinary venues, to leisurely amuse themselves off the ordinary track. Each festival has its “theme” to characterize and label it.

One such recent festival was the “Burning Man Festival”, held in a desert near Kibbutz Sdeh Boker, a few kilometers south of Be’er Sheva. The event mimics its American counterpart, a yearly event in Nevada that’s “dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance”.

The website explains how it works: “They knock together an improvised wooden figure and drag it down to Baker beach .... They light it up, and a curious crowd gathers to watch it burn.”

The holes Israelis crawl into to get to their fun is mid-boggling.

Anyhow, in the thick of secularity, in the middle of all that is devoid of any sanctity, one fearless Chabad emissary (self-appointed soldier) of the Rebbe plies his reach-out agenda to try and influence secular Jews to taste Torah observance.

He’s Michael Kedelburg, a quiet, unassuming fellow, but geared up with immense willpower to accommodate the Rebbe’s wish to reach out to fellow Jews, especially those “kidnapped from birth” by their entirely foreign (Israeli!) culture, to taste Yiddishkeit and participate in a mitzvah or two, for their own sake.

I bumped into him on a visit to Israel last week in Kfar Chabad where he keeps a ship’s container where he stores much of his gear. He told me about his next “festival”. I gave him a few dollars, in addition to that which he got from me on his last trip to America he made months ago to collect for his mission. Just renting a huge tent (see pictures below) cost him $1,000.

Well, since then he wrote me back and sent some pictures. He writes, “The conditions were oppressive; Tremendous heat, a paucity of water and electricity, constant sand storms, chemical toilets, lack of showers, etc.

“Despite the harsh conditions, the activity began Wed. night and continued through the holiday of Shavuot, until Mon. night - five successive days!

“We were kept busy 20 hours a day! Thousands visited our tent, the 'Tent of Israel'. We held classes and get-togethers until dawn. We held private discussions, donned tefillin, handed ladies Shabbat and Holiday candles, had festive meals on Shabbat and Shavuot, ran prayers and, of course, many heard the reading of the Ten Commandments.

“We felt the spiritual thirst many of these travelers were yearning for.”

You can reach Michoel at 0528651551. Here are pictures he sent:

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Keeping Mitzvot Saves Lives - A Miracle Story

I stopped blogging because many others have more inspiring things to say than I do, and they say it better. Especially Harav Yitschak Ginsburg. He speaks of this year, 5775, as the propitious year for the Ultimate Redemption to happen and I figured to give this year its chance to materialize in said way, without diluting this blog’s last post of the Rav and his powerful inspiration.

But I heard this miracle story I wanted to share with you nonetheless concerning the terrorist activity shown on Youtube (link) around the start of the Hamas Tunnel War in 2014 ("Operation Protective Edge" last summer).

A group of Jews of the chareidi variety were concerned about kosher sources of food for the oncoming two years of Shmittah and Yovel. So off they went to search all over Israel to locate wheat fields they can harvest to last them for these 2 years. They found large fields near the Gaza area where the wheat stalks were nice and high and still very green. When they went to the owners to negotiate a price for the harvest, the owners began offering selected portions of the area. In response the group said, “We’ll buy all of it!”, and so they did.

Soon after the war started with Hamas and their underground tunnels, these chareidis harvested their crop and stored away their cherished produce. They left the fields, once sprouting with high outgrowth, shaven.

That’s when Hamas happened to erupt from their underground tunnel, more than a dozen terrorists heavily armed, as a surprise tactic, in the middle of a field inside Jewish territory. We remember the video clip shown by Tzahal: Tzahal successfully spotted them by radar, emerging from the mouth of the tunnel by night, and bombed them, killing those that did not scurry back and disappear into their hole.

Those stationed for Tzahal at the radar desks were girl soldiers, who apparently have better concentration abilities than men for this job. When one of the girls noticed the unusual activity, she took action. It took all of 90 seconds before Tzahal targeted the infiltrators.

Had the chareidi group found their harvest in some other fields, this Hamas tactic could well have spread horrible tragedy, God forbid. Had this wheat not been harvested, its long stalks would easily have camouflaged the terrorists and prevented their detection.

Atrocity was averted all because some Jew tried to keep God’s commandments. Jews that learn and keep Torah, just as their soldiering peers, participate in Hashem's army, in one miraculous way or another.

As we just read in last week's Torah portion (Lev.18:5),
ושמרתם את חקתי ואת משפטי אשר יעשה אתם האדם וחי בהם
"Keep my commandments ... and you will live by them" - can be taken literally!

Just another little miracle among so many God does for us in all our wars and, indeed, every day and every moment of our lives.
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UPDATE (8/27/15):
Just found this video that tells the above story in more and accurate detail! HERE

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Has the Time for the Redemption Arrived?

From Harav Ginsburgh’s address to the Derech Chaim Movement Conference, 6th Tishrei 5775:

Has the Time for the Redemption Arrived?

Published: November 10th, 2014

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, dean of the Yitzhar Yeshivah
Photo Credit: Yitzhar Yeshivah
Can We Calculate the Date of the Final Redemption? The question of when Mashiach will come is one that has accompanied the Jewish People throughout its history, especially during times of exile, war and anti-Semitism. Is there any calculation we can do to help us discover when all this will come to a happy end and Mashiach will finally arrive? In the Bible itself we already find hints to the elusiveness of the date of the final redemption. The sages relate that before his passing, Jacob prophetically saw the date of the final redemption and wanted to reveal it to his sons, saying, “Gather around and I will tell you what will happen to you at the end of days,”[1] however, as soon as he said that, the end was concealed from him and he was not able to reveal it.[2]
Of all Biblical figures, Daniel is the one who stands out the most in his wish to know “the secret end”[3] but, the answer he receives is in the form of a cryptic riddle and he says, “These things are closed and sealed until the time of the end of days.”[4] The sages even warned against trying to calculate the date of the redemption with the sharp statement, “Those who calculate ‘ends’ should breathe their last breath!”[5]

Nonetheless, many great sages throughout Jewish history have occupied themselves with this “dangerous” occupation. An example of a sage who was opposed to such calculations is Maimonides who explains in his writings why it is not necessary to calculate the date of the final redemption, and might even be detrimental to do so, because it encourages false messiahs and may result in dismal disappointment. Nonetheless, in that very same treatise Maimonides offers his own calculation of the date of the final redemption, as if he just couldn’t help himself… From the opposite perspective, knowledge of when the redemption will arrive can be encouraging and strengthen our faith and our anticipation of better times, and can motivate us to make a proactive effort to help it happen more quickly.
Many such predictions of the date of the final Redemption have already been and gone, and we have arrived at the 5775th year since the world’s creation and Mashiach has not yet come. But, if we do things right, this year could be a very auspicious one. It might even be the year of the final redemption!
Generally speaking, there are a number of Kabbalistic and Chassidic writings that claim that there are verses in Exodus that allude to the date of the final redemption. However, particularly remarkable for us this year, is the tradition that Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi (over two centuries ago) said that this verse alludes to this year, 5775.
The verse states, “And out of the one thousand seven hundred and five and seventy [shekels], he made hooks for the pillars; and he covered their tops and banded them.”[6] How does this verse relate to the date of the final redemption?
The way this allusion is deciphered is as follows: the number that appears in the verse, 1775, relates to the millennium that followed the destruction of the Second Temple (which took place in the fourth millennium, in year 3828). The Zohar states clearly that this millennium—years 4000 to 5000—is one thousand years in which the Jewish People is “in the dust.”[7] Adding another 775 years to this calculation, we reach this year, 775 years into the sixth millennium, 5775.
From our position at this stage in time, it becomes clear retroactively how the irregular order of the numbers in the verse are perfectly aligned with our history: first comes “The one thousand”—the first millennium of exile (4000-5000); then “and seven hundred,” another seven centuries until the year 5700 (1939-1940) in which the terrible holocaust began; “and five”—alluding to the five years of the holocaust (5700-5705), which was a time when God concealed His providence for the Jewish People; “and seventy”—these are the seven decades since the holocaust to our present day (5775), which with God’s help should be the year of redemption. All that is left to say is “Amen! May it be God’s will.”
The truth can be said that it is not our custom to occupy ourselves with calculating possible dates for redemption, because we are commanded to “Be sincere with Havayah, your God,” as Rashi interprets, “Walk with Him in sincerity and anticipate Him and do not research the future.”[8] Nonetheless, since such a clear allusion has come our way, we can certainly relate to this allusion to discover what it means to us, and what we can learn from it. In order to do so, we need to look at the original context of the above mentioned verse.
In the verses that precede this verse, Moses gives his account of what he did with the contributions that were donated for building the Tabernacle. Each of the Jewish People gave a coin that weighed one half of a shekel (a Biblical measure of weight), and all the silver that was collected was used in the construction of the Tabernacle. The half shekels of 600,000 people totaled one hundred talents (each talent weighed 3000 shekels) from which the silver sockets for the pillars of the Tabernacle were molded. But, the exact census of Jewish People was 603,550, so there remained another 3550 half shekels, i.e., 1775 shekels, from which Moses made the silver hooks at the top of the pillars and coated the tops of the pillars and their bands, as mentioned in the verse. What is the inner meaning of this?

The number 600,000 symbolizes the wholeness of the Jewish People and therefore was emphasized at the Exodus, at the Giving of the Torah, and at the entry into the Holy Land, which took place while this was the total of the census. From a Kabbalistic perspective, this number reflects the soul roots of the Jewish People throughout history, and even though today there are millions of Jews around the world, thank God, and may there be ever more, nonetheless the basic number remains 600,000 soul-roots, which divide into branches and sub-branches. Jewish souls have a close connection with the Torah, as the Zohar states, “Israel are connected to the Torah and the Torah is connected to God.” Just as there are 600,000 Jewish souls, so too “There are 600,000 letters in the Torah” (יש ששים ריבוא אותיות לתורה), a fact that itself alludes to the connection with the Jewish People, since the initial letters of the Hebrew phrase spell out the name “Israel” (ישראל). So, every Jew has their own letter in the Torah (and this is where Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, drew the inspiration for the wonderful idea of writing a Torah scroll for the entire Jewish People, in which every Jew can buy their own letter.)

But, what about the remainder? Those 3550 remaining souls who we don’t usually pay much attention to? There is an amazing Midrash[9] which relates that when Moses gave his account of how he had made use of all the donations, when he reached this remainder, he couldn’t remember how he had made use of it! Moses was so worried that the skeptics would think that he had desecrated their heartfelt donations by using the silver for his own use, God-forbid, that he was miraculously reminded of how he had used them. 

Moses gave the Torah to the People of Israel and as such he saw in the Torah the letter associated with each Jewish soul, but why did these Jews slip his mind? Rabbi Moshe Sofer (author of the Chatam Sofer, a great teacher of Jewish law) said that those 3550 “surplus” souls don’t have a corresponding letter in the Torah scroll! Can this mean that there are some Jews who have no connection to the Torah and are so distanced from the Torah, that there is no hope for them, God forbid? Although it might seem to be this way from a superficial perspective, contemplating those souls more carefully we discover that when even Moses could not remember how they were connected to the Torah, it was God Himself who reminded Moses where their contribution to the Tabernacle was located. This means that these special souls have a direct connection to God that bypasses the connection with the Torah and can suddenly be revealed in them when God Himself gives them a personal reminder of their Divine soul-root.
When we connect this idea with the fact that the verse that alludes to these souls also alludes to the date of the final redemption, it becomes clear that the secret of the redemption is hidden in those very same Jewish souls!
True, our regular relationship with God flows via the Torah and the commandments, and someone who does not keep the Torah detaches themselves from this veritable lifeline to God—however there is another innate, hidden relationship that manifests in the direct connection between these Jewish souls and God. This unique channel of communication operates even when it bypasses the official relationship via the Torah (this is because the highest and most innate source of Jewish souls is higher than the source of the Torah). This is the relationship that is revealed by Jewish individuals who are suddenly “turned on” to Judaism at some later stage in their lives to become full-fledged ba’alei teshuvah (returnees to God and His Torah). Their souls are “reignited,” as it were, from the point of their most profound connection to God. Once the connection has been reestablished, the individual can begin to nurture their relationship to God via the Torah (a relationship that it is forbidden to abandon!)
The power of these ba’alei teshuvah is that which will arouse and inspire us all and transform us all into ba’alei teshuvah on the public scale and: “The Torah has already promised us that the Jewish People will eventually do teshuvah at the end of their exile and immediately be redeemed.”
This means that this year—5775—is an excellent opportunity for us to bring the redemption. The fact that a calculation of the final date of redemption exists for this year should arouse us to make every deed we do count. In practice, it is our task to take a proactive stance, doing all we can to reach out and “turn on” as many Jews as we can to return to their soul root and, moreover, we need to achieve teshuvah not only on the personal level but also on the public level, in a way that will allow for the Jewish People to conduct a Jewish life in their own land. This is the type of teshuvah that will bring the redemption closer.
So, when will Mashiach come? The calculations allude to this year, with God’s help.
However, Mashiach himself has already answered the enigma more precisely, “Today, if you listen to His word.”[10]
  1. Genesis 49:1.
  2. Ibid, Rashi ad loc.
  3. Daniel 12:6.
  4. Ibid vs. 9.
  5. See Sanhedrin 97a.
  6. Exodus 38:28.
  7. See Zohar I 116b.
  8. Deuteronomy 18:13; Rashi ad loc.
  9. Shemot Rabah 51:5;
  10. Tanchuma Pekudei, 7.
(Original links are here or here.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Secret of Jericho

Mechanisms in place can elevate the level of a Jew’s soul. He can do so two ways; He can mend his emotive constitution; And he can correct the way he thinks, speaks and acts.

Thought, speech and action are entirely under a person’s control! On the other hand, changing one’s emotional instincts takes inordinate efforts and cannot be relied upon.

This is why G-d did not command Moses to spy on the Land of Israel. Moses sent spies on his own accord. Only before Joshua would  take the Jews into the Holy Land, only then did G-d command that he send spies, and then - only that they spy on the city of Jericho - not the entire country. Jericho was the key to unlocking Israel!

Why only Jericho and not the entire country?

Spying out Jewish territory implies, as every commandment in Torah is eternal, always inspecting one's resilience to follow Hashem's dictates. The Jew's soul is his personal Holy Land. Spying out the entire Jewish land means spying out one’s personality, temperments and behavior, to see if they operate in sync with divine demands. Conquering the land of the Cana’anites means to overhaul the entire terrain, both emotive and behavioral. But the conquest of Jericho, which reflects only the behavioral component, can certainly be relied on.

This is why G-d commanded that only Jericho be spied out, be investigated to see if one’s own “Jericho” subserves G-d’s wishes. Jericho, which in Hebrew comes from the word “odor”, relates to smell in that just as smell affects us but leaves no imprint, so too thought, speech and action do not reside within us.

That is to say, these 3 behaviors do NOT belong to the person. They come from an outside source directed for our use - but they do NOT belong to us as being part of our being, as do our emotive facets. To be sure - we need them also to exist, but they are not a fixture of our constitution; They are replaceable as such with other "ropes" also at our behest.  We here have choice under full control. We can climb these ropes to draw ourselves higher. There are also other ropes, also of higher source, only these, were they to be used, can take the Jewish soul to lower than original depth.

For lack of a better illustration, think of the car. The car will not function unless gas “from the outside” is fed into it. Similarly, our “car souls” need to feed on thought, speech and action that we draw in, as the lung needs oxygen, from another divine source, to function.

These 3 behaviors interface with the soul to give the soul existence. Because they derive from a loftier source that the soul itself, they can raise the level of the soul to guarantee it attains a higher perch from which to experience future revelations of divinity in the world-to-come. Why else was the soul sent down here into the nethermost of all worlds - if not to improve its lot?

We spoke earlier of sources of divinity, how one is higher than the other (see here). (By the way, this conceptual construct of higher and lower is the spiritual analogue of the physical 3D world of space, because spiritually there is no “space”, only the “higher and lower” paradigm from which the physical phenomenon itself derives.)

This is why, in fact, a person can better himself. He has full control of his Jericho - his thoughts, speech and actions. Like a circus acrobat who swings from rope to rope to reach a higher landing, so too the soul, by grabbing on to the right 3 “garments” of the soul, can lift himself higher from where he initially stood. We speak here of the Divine Soul.

Of course, the corollary of this configuration is that the person can also climb steeply downwards. For just as he can choose to deflect bad thoughts and change bad speech and behavior in favor of good ones, so too, by choosing the 3 garments purveyed by the Bovine Soul, his Divine Soul can be dragged to a level far lower from where it originated.
(adapted from ma'amorim of the Rebbe MH"M)

Open Your Eyes

If we’ve crossed into the Era of Redemption, as the Rebbe announced in 1991, we’re told by the prophet Michah that G-d will show us the most awesome miracles. We’ll SEE these with our very eyes, he says, “אראנו נפלאות”.

Since Redemption is a process and not an event, the degree of revelation we’ll SEE over time shall increase - until Redemption reaches full blossom.

But now, rather early into this era, miracles must be seen not so much with the naked eye but with our mind’s eye.

This most probably is why the Rebbe urged us to “open your eyes” - your mind’s eye.

So, what do we see? We see that Israel once again rose from the ashes, exists, thrives, and stands strong. Moreover, we see how genuine Torah spirit remains the bulwark against the breakdown of social values promoted by secular or "Westernized" elements.

That people speak of this or that that the Prime Minister said or did, or how X and Y reacted to what Z did, may seem like meaningful political chatter, but, if truth be told, all it really does is hinder the pace of revelations, for only Torah and Mitzvot have significant impact on our lives and on the world. Were we able to shut our eyes to political drama and stuff our ears to this inherently futile diversion, we’d much sooner sense the amazing transformation that now chugs along at snail’s pace.

Alas we are but made of human fabric and it’s hard to overhaul our psyches. And this and nothing else is why it seems foolish to expect Moshiach’s full revelation to happen overnight.

The miracles that we will see will come as Nature itself transforms and raises the level of our consciousness to new heights of perception. We’ll see details with better resolution. We’ll see divinity as it is invested in everything around us.

But until then all we can do is look for the signs of Geulah introspectively.

Is that so hard? Not if that’s what the Rebbe wants us to do. He doesn’t expect us to thread elephants into keyholes.

Well then, what do you see now? Do you not see how all of those siding against Israel, like crap in water, are floating to the top? Do you not see how an eddy of murder, torture, mutilation and insanity creates a powerful vaccuum that is sucking all these evil elements into their abysmal annihilation? What’s more, do you not see that Israel, let alone the individual experiences of normal mortality counts, may as well simply folds its arms across her chest and watch how all her enemies that surround her are being flushed down that sewage trap?

Do you not see how every war Israel ever fought abounded in miracles? Do you not see, for example, how Hizbullah, much much more powerful than Hamas, sitting on Israel’s border, is also being sucked away and into the black hole?

The worriers may continue to worry and bite their nails, but those of us that believe in the holy Rebbe’s words, while we do not trivialize the worriers’ worries, for individual sacrifices still mask the final and true redemption, find relief is SEEING and WATCHING how the Era of Ultimate Redemption is forging its way - to make this universe the utopia it was created for in the first place.

Redemptionists Chasing Their Tails

See how they paint their blogs “Redemptionist”. See how they desperately jump on clues when Moshiach will show up. See the breadth of scholarship they apply.

These people cannot get it through their skulls that seeking signs is futile because Moshiach will likely not show up in a bang. The Rambam says the world shall function “ordinarily” in Moshiach’s time (initial period).

Another reason signs never work is because humans are creatures of habit. The passage of time programs people to bide their time, to keep doing what they’re doing. Unless Moshiach parachutes in from outer space they’ll keep chasing their tails looking for that year during which he’ll pop in.

Well hear this sign-seekers: You’ll continue your hungry searching - all while it’s right there in front of you - under your noses! Moshiach already made his appearance! The Moses of the generation has already announced to the Jews the time of their ultimate redemption has begun! He also prophesied "הנה זה משיח בא"!

So for just what aspect of Moshiach are they so hungry in search of? Do they seek the end date of this gradual unfolding of the Redemption period? Are they after the retroactive start date?

Need signs? Then look at the halachic signs of how to identify Moshiach. Now here you have plenty - nay, ALL - signs that the Rebbe qualifies as Moshiach!

They need seek no more. They need to set aside the ego, set aside the smarts, and pour over the Rebbe’s teachings, especially since he invoked the midrash's prophecy, "The time of your Redemption has arrived, humble ones!"