Tuesday, May 29, 2007

March For Adultery and Incest!

The following news report didn't happen. It is totally fictional. However, if you see very little difference (or none at all) between this made-up news story and events happening today, you understood the message.

Adultery and Incest Group Plans Jerusalem March
by the A So-Created Mess

The alternative-lifestyle group CAIR (The Committee for Adulterous and Incestuous Relationships) said today that it wishes to hold a march in downtown Jerusalem, Judaism's holiest city, sometime in the summer. The police said that they will grant them a permit for the march.

CAIR plans on displaying its ideas with banners and floats promoting the ideas of adultery and incestuous relationships throughout the streets of Jerusalem. A spokesperson for the group, Mr. I. M. A. Mamzer, called on men, women and children to come and watch the celebration of pride in this way of life.

"The public should know that we exist, and that we are proud of who we are," he said. "We plan on recruiting new members, too", he added.

Another member of the group, Mrs. Debra Jackson-Johnson-Jones, who took the names of her 3 living "husbands", described her views. "I believe in Leviticus Chapters 18 and 20 as much as I believe in the Tooth Fairy," she says.

Religious groups are outraged at this public display of perverseness.

In a joint statement, Chief Rabbis Rabbi Shelomo Amar and Rabbi Yona Metzger, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, and Rabbi Avraham Shapira signed a letter condemning this show of "public anti-Torah incitement", and called on the police to deny the permit for this at once.

CAIR responded to the letter by reiterating their purpose. "We just want to be accepted as an alternative lifestyle," Mamzer said.

Meanwhile, another group, CAB (The Committee for Advocating Bestiality), is planning their Jerusalem march to coincide with Yom Kippur.

Rav Eliyahu on Eliyahu Hanavi and Watches

Nava translated an article in NFC which describes a recent Shiur by former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu on the task of Eliyahu Hanavi and about the watches that Rav Eliyahu received.

Check it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Im Lo Beriti Yomam Valayla

The Pasuk says:

ואמר לך בדמייך חיי ואמר לך בדמייך חיי

I've heard that this refers to the blood of Milah and the blood of Pesah, which even the most unaffiliated Jews tend to keep. These 2 Mitzvot are what keep us "alive" as Jews.

Unfortunately, the Tribune reports, that anti-circumcision-trends are starting to grow. Even though the numbers are still small, we need to stem this tide before catastrophe breaks.

What catastrophe am I referring to? The Midrash says that from the verse אם לא בריתי יומם ולילה חקות שמים וארץ לא שמתי, we know that the Mitzvah of Berit Milah is what keeps the world going. (Another interpretation says that it refers to the Torah itself.)

As the article alludes to, the word "ברית" has a gematria of 612, to teach you that it is equivalent to the other 612 mitzvot.

On this Shavu'ot, let's actually accept the Torah upon us, and not give in to our own whims of what's "moral". There is no morality outside of the Torah.

Hag Same'ah!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sderot: A Synagogue's Story

<-- Photo: Reuters


Photo: Tsafrir Abayov -->


A synagogue in Sderot


From joy...
...to sorrow


(Both pictures via Ynet)

(Notice how the pictures of the Gedolim stayed on the wall.)

B"H, the Hachnasat Sefer Torah was winding down before the rocket hit.
Arutz Sheva reports:

A rocket fired from Gaza slammed into a synagogue just minutes after some 300 celebrants had left after the hours-long ceremony bringing the Torah scroll to its new home.
...
The house of prayer was damaged and those who had remained to tidy up after the joyful dancing, left the synagogue in tears, many suffering shock.
Some pointed to the Divine protection that had shielded the hundreds of dancing and singing Jews who had left the building just moments before. “If people had not gone home,” said Moti Shitrit,” many would have been killed. G-d rescued us.” Mr. Shitrit was one of those who had stayed to clean up.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ramha"l's 300th Birthday

Today is the Ramha"l's 300th birthday.

Lada'at.net says that they're having a tribute to him in Binyanei Ha'uma in Yerushalayim.

If you cannot make it there, it may be a nice idea to open up a Mesilat Yesharim and learn a bit of mussar from it.
Or, for those Redemptionally-inclined, read his Ma'amar HaGeu'la that can be accessed here, translated by R' Yaakov Feldman.

Reading Headlines Backwards

Headline from the Jerusalem Post:

Tshuva plans $5 billion Las Vegas project

Headline from the future:

Las Vegas plans $5 billion Tshuva project

If Fishman were Israeli PM

Here

A modern-day Yoshiyahu Hamelech.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's Raining Kassams

Check out Mystical Paths which has a video from Shlomo Wollins, who videoed the first part of a Kassam hitting, and rockets were falling as Akiva was IMing him. Shlomo also has an interview about this on the Tovia Singer Show.
Jameel wonders why no one is defending the residents there.
Rafi G. says Sderot residents themselves should fight back.

Apparently, the IDF did just airstrike Gaza, and killed 4 people in a Hamas building. However, MUCH more is needed. And fast.

Can Gaza be recaptured in 6 days?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sha'ul Hamelech, Shemuel Hanavi, and 2883

Iyyar 28, besides being the day of Yom Yerushalayim, is also the day that Shemuel Hanavi died.
According to this site, Shemu'el Hanavi's death occurred in the year 2884. If that's true, this makes Shemu'el Hanavi's death the midpoint of the existence of this world.* It's not the actual midpoint since his death will become the actual midpoint 8 months from now (just as there are 8 months from Rosh Hashana until Iyyar 28)**.


Creation Death of Shemu'el Today
-------- ----------------- -----
Yr 1 --2883 yrs-- Yr 2884 --2883 yrs-- Yr 5767


What is the significance of 2883? (Thanks to gezageza) In Shemu'el Alef 31:6, this entire Pasuk has a gematria of 2883. It describes the death of Sha'ul Hamelech.


וימת שאול ושלשת בניו ונשא כליו גם כל אנשיו, ביום ההוא יחדו


Sha'ul died 4 months after Shmu'el died, per Tosafot in Temura 15a, so this means that he likely died the same year as Shemu'el (although, it's borderline to the following year).
Another phrase that has the gematria of 2883:


לבא לרשת את הארץ אשר יהוה אלהיכם נתן לכם


Let's hope that 2883 years after Shemu'el and Sha'ul's death will sprout a rebirth of inheriting our land with the coming of Mashiah במהרה בימינו אמן.

-----
*A similar idea was expressed a couple years ago in Hashem1.net, in the fact that אדם stands for אדם, דוד, משיח - and David Hamelech started his reign in the midpoint of history 2 years ago.

** See the Wikipedia entry on the "Missing 165 years", which (besides refuting the whole premise here since the second set of 2883 years would have expired 165 years ago) says that we really should start counting Adam Harishon's first year from either Year Zero (according to Seder Olam's dating) or Year Two (according to modern dating) - not Year One. If this is the case, and we ignore the missing 165 years as we do today, and we assume the modern dating system, we can still say the following:
1)Adam Harishon was created in year 2.
2)Sha'ul Hamelech died close to Rosh Hashana, 2885.
3)2885 + 2883 = 5768, which would make close to Rosh Hashana, 5768 the moment which makes Sha'ul Hamelech's death the midpoint of the existence of the world. Shemu'el Hanavi's death, then, would have been the midpoint 4 months ago.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Warnings from Hashem

Picture of the remnants of Greensburg, Kansas by Jaime Oppenheimer/The Wichita Eagle

This week's Perasha:
וְהָיְתָה אַרְצְכֶם שְׁמָמָה, וְעָרֵיכֶם יִהְיוּ חָרְבָּה

(The point here is not that the tornado in Greensburg was a punishment for not keeping Torah. That may or may not have been true. The point here is to show how Hashem warns us in the Torah to keep the Mitzvot via a punishment for not keeping it, and gives us an example of this in real life, as a "visual aid".)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Will someone please buy their house?

The window of opportunity for them to walk for Israel is quickly fading.

More about this from Me'ir Panim's Newsletter:
Texas residents Shlomo and Chava ben Avraham are putting their home and belongings up for sale, resigning from their jobs, and heading east. The couple will walk the 2,173 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, leaving May 1st and expecting to arrive by October 1st. Their efforts will benefit Meir Panim.

Shlomo and Chava, who are approaching their respective 50th birthdays, felt an urge to do something worthwhile. The Texas Jewish Post quoted Shlomo saying: “We want to make a difference and this seemed like a way to do that, to have meaningful time together and to share an adventure. We both enjoy walking, and when we learned of Meir Panim everything seemed to connect”.

Like Meir Panim, Shlomo and Chava believe that tzedakah can create a bridge of tolerance and understanding among all types of people.

They have already begun intensive training, and plan to walk an average of 16.7 miles each day in order to complete the trail in five months. They will sleep in sleeping bags, in a tent, and hike six days a week, resting on Shabbat.

The couple is hoping, through their walk, to raise $250,000 to purchase five trucks that are in great need by Meir Panim. For more information and updates, visit the couple’s weblog at www.walkingforisrael.com.

Very Interesting End-of-Days Info

From R' Winston:

A Matter of Soul: Chapter 10

A Matter of Soul: Chapter 11

Emuna Boosters From the Parsha

I posted on this last year and so did R' Yaakov Nathan but it bears repeating that those who want an Emuna-booster should read the Or Hahaim on Vayikra 25:25-28.

The other obvious Emuna-booster - this from Behukotai - is from the verses in Vayikra 26:44-45.

וְאַף-גַּם-זֹאת בִּהְיוֹתָם בְּאֶרֶץ אֹיְבֵיהֶם, לֹא-מְאַסְתִּים וְלֹא-גְעַלְתִּים לְכַלֹּתָם--לְהָפֵר בְּרִיתִי, אִתָּם: כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָה, אֱלֹהֵיהֶם.

And yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break My covenant with them; for I am the LORD their God.


וְזָכַרְתִּי לָהֶם, בְּרִית רִאשֹׁנִים: אֲשֶׁר הוֹצֵאתִי-אֹתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לְעֵינֵי הַגּוֹיִם, לִהְיוֹת לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים--אֲנִי יְהוָה.

But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God: I am the LORD.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Hezbolla: We Want Mashiah Now!!!

This is just too funny to pass up.

Nava writes:
Balloons released by kids participating the Lag BaOmer parade organized by Chabad of Kiryat Shmona, landed on territory occupied by Hezbollah in the nearby Lebanon. The balloons inscribed with the words, "We Want Moshiach Now", were given to children participating the parade organized by the Shliach, Rabbi Yigal Tzippori.

The Arab television station ‘El Manar’ showed Hezbollah guerrillas proudly displaying their captured ‘loot’ which the station was reporting to be sophisticated Israeli recon equipment. The report was later pulled when they finally figured out what was actually written on the balloons!


Below is a clip from Israel's Channel 10 about this:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Yom Yerushalayim - 40 Years - Essay Question

This year, on Yom Yerushalayim, we will be celebrating 40 years of Jewish sovereignty over the holy city of Jerusalem.
I did a search through Tana"ch, and here is a list of occurrances that the Torah mentions "ארבעים שנה":
  • Yitzhak's age when he married Rivka
  • Eisav's age when he married
  • Duration of Israelites' journey in the desert
  • Duration of Otni'el's reign as judge
  • Duration of Devorah Haneviah's reign as judge
  • Duration of Gideon's reign as judge
  • Duration of the Israelites in the hands of Pelishtim before Shimshon
  • Duration of Eili Hakohen's reign as judge
  • Ish Boshet's age when he became king
  • Duration of David's reign as king
  • Beginning of Avshalom's rebellion (Shemu'el II 15:7)
  • Duration of Shelomo's reign as king
  • Duration of Yeho'ash's reign as king
  • Duration of Egypt's desolation (Yehezkel 29)

Which one of these resembles the last 40 years, and why?

(Please provide your answer in the comments.)

Moped Accident - Geula Sign?

Ynet reports and shows a video that Rafi links to of a tragic traffic accident where moped driver Moshe Hai Yisraeli, ע"ה, tried to bypass a truck, and was hit by one. What happened next was even more shocking - no one stopped to help - for about a minute drivers drove past the "obstacle" on the road, as Ynet put it, and let him bleed to death.
Despite Cosmic X's downplaying the incident, it seemed to make an impression on many people, religious and non-religious alike, according to the article.
The Mishna in Sotah 49b, which talks about the generation of the "Footsteps of Mashiah", lists many signs of that generation. One of the signs is:
ואנשי הגבול יסובבו מעיר לעיר ולא יחוננו
And the men of the border will go around from city to city and they will not have mercy

This sign has, in the past, been used to refer to many things, including the Disengagement from Gush Katif. However, another possible explanation is the people who are going around (as in going around the "obstacle" on the road) from one city to another, minding their own business, and not caring about helping others.

Now, the truth of the matter is that we are a caring people. A very caring people. More than any other people. We are רחמנים בני רחמנים, we say. This includes Shomerei Torah Umitzvot and otherwise. However, I speak for myself too when I say: there's always room for improvement. If we want to be the standard for others to follow, we have to strive for perfection. Anything less, the Mishna will denote as "ולא יחוננו".
When we will have mercy on others, BE"H, Hashem will have mercy on His children, and we will merit the complete Redemption, may it come speedily in our days, Amen.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai in the Cave

Shechem.org hosts the gemara of Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai in the cave along with the explanation of Rav Kook, Zt"l.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A New Reason To Forbid Halav Stam

There may be a new upheaval in the world of Kashrut. Ladaat.net, after reporting about the International Kashrut Conference taking place in the Renaissance Hotel in Jerusalem, now reports on a major development stemming from the conference: prohibiting Halav Stam in Hutz La'aretz - specifically, the U.S.

Many people don't drink Halav Stam anyways, but Rav Moshe Feinstein Zt"l has given a Heteir to allow it. Now, a new reason was found for the prohibition - one that didn't exist in the days of Rav Moshe. Apparantly, due to new technology, if a Jew is not watching, the cows could possibly undergo a new type of operation of the stomach, which renders the animal a Tereifah. So says Rav Ze'ev Vitman, the rabbi of Tenuva.

I hope to have more on this to come.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

34 In The News

The number 34 has been coming up a lot lately, both personally and in the news. Personally, I'm waiting for day 34 of the Omer, as the Sephardic custom is to not take haircuts until the 34th day of the Omer. However, the number has also come up a lot in the news, having to do with war:
  • The Winograd Commision's Interim Report on the Second Lebanon War, which lasted 34 days.
  • Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. is saying that he's seeing levels of preparedness from Syria that he hasn't seen since the Yom Kippur War - almost 34 years ago.
I'm reminded of a number of verses:

אשרי משכיל אל דל ביום רעה ימלטהו ה'

פלטו דל ואביון מיד רשעים הצילו

מקימי מעפר דל מאשפת ירים אביון

ושפט בצדק דלים והוכיח במישור לענוי ארץ והכה ארץ בשבט פיו וברוח שפתיו ימית רשע

If war does break out soon, may these verses apply to us.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tenet: How I Didn't Let Pollard Go

George Tenet, in his new book, discussed how he foiled Pollard's release as part of the Wye debacle. Tenet apparently told President Clinton "If Pollard's out, I'm out".

Lovely. Just lovely. This is what you brag about in your book??? Lovely.

During Sefirat Ha'omer, we should probably add another Sefira:

השנה שנת שלושה ועשרים שנים לחיבוש יהונתן פולרד שהם שלושה שבועות* ושתי שנים

* in the Shemitta cycle sense

Pesah Sheni if Mashiah Comes Prior To It?

The Hid"a Ztvk"l was asked: If Mashiah comes between Pesah and Pesah Sheni, do we bring the Korban Pesah on Pesah Sheni?

His answer: Since it's Talui BeMahloket, we'll have to ask Mashiah!

Source

הרב ברכ"י (בספרו יוסף אומץ) דן בשאלה, מה דין קטן שהגדיל בין פסח ראשון לשני לענין קרבן פסח, וכגון שנולד בר"ח אייר - האם בי"ד אייר (פסח שני), הוא חייב לעשות פסח שני או לא? וכתב שם, שאם אביו מנה אותו על הקרבן שלו, אזי אותו קטן פטור מלהקריב פסח שני, אבל אם לא היה כן - חייב הקטן לעשות פסח שני. ויש שחולקים ואומרים שאם הגדיל בין פסח ראשון לשני אינו חייב להקריב פסח שני, כיון שפסח שני הוא תשלומין לראשון, ובראשון הוא היה פטור, לכן גם בפסח שני הוא פטור. ועל סמך זה אומר הרב חיד"א, ישבו כמה רבנים בחול המועד ונפלה שאלה בבית המדרש, מה הדין אם יבא המשיח בין פסח ראשון לשני - האם חייבים להקריב פסח שני, או לא מכיון שהוא תשלומין לראשון? וסיים שם, והלכתא למשיחא - כשיבא המשיח נשאל אותו.

Nahal Haredi Recruits Foreigners

According to JTA,

...Nahal Haredi, plans to launch an advertising campaign this summer in major Jewish newspapers in the United States and Britain seeking more foreign recruits.
...
"Nahal Haredi has the highest proportion of Diaspora volunteers of any Israeli unit," Klebanow said. "They come to us with high motivation, and many subsequently make aliyah. Sometimes they are more Zionistic than native-born Israelis."


The Nahal Hareidi website, talking about its "MaHaL" (foreign volunteer) program, says:
MaHaL soldiers also benefit from the Nahal's daily shiurim as well as an Ulpan course during the training period, one-on-one learning sessions during active duty and the inspirational Shabbat programming and special events that lend a religious dimension to the intensive military regimen.


Here's an application

Definitely an option for religious boys who cannot learn in Yeshiva all day.