Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gog, Leader of the Free World (aka Eretz Edom)

Eisav Harasha, our sages tell us, tried to trick his father into believing how religious he is. "How much do I tithe on salt?", he'd ask. Eisav is Edom.

President Bush gave a speech fit for a right-wing MK, adding in religious themes, but if you read between the lines, you see what he really wants.

See also Nava's posts: Part 1 Part 2

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

II Samuel 1:20

II Samuel 1:20

אַל-תַּגִּידוּ בְגַת, אַל-תְּבַשְּׂרוּ בְּחוּצֹת אַשְׁקְלוֹן: פֶּן-תִּשְׂמַחְנָה בְּנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים, פֶּן-תַּעֲלֹזְנָה בְּנוֹת הָעֲרֵלִים


Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.


Jpost:
15 people were wounded Wednesday evening, including a mother and her three-year-old daughter, when a Grad rocket fired from Gaza hit the Hutzot Shopping Center in Ashkelon.


May the wounded be sent a Refu'a Sheleima from Shamayim.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Birkat HaHama & Geula - Fact & Fiction

As mentioned earlier on this blog, Birkat HaHama will be recited on Erev Pesah, 5769.

I had later linked to an article by Rav Winston, who mentioned something that is quickly becoming famous among Yeshiva students and others:
...This is interesting, because what I have seen this year I did not see the last time the Sh’mittah year came around. Someone from Montreal knew about it, faxed it to a friend of mine in Eretz Yisroel, who recently passed it on to me. It is from a sefer called, “Meir Einei Chachamim”, based upon the teachings of the Ostrovster Rebi. The following piece was said over in 1925, or the Jewish year 5685, the year of Kiddush HaChamah—the blessing over the sun that has returned to its original position at the time of Creation. He said:

From the time of Creation, there are three times that Kiddush HaChamah falls on Erev Pesach: the year they left Egypt—it is mentioned in the Talmud that Kiddush HaChamah happened on Erev Pesach on a Wednesday—and the second time was in the year of the redemption of Mordechai and Esther, who then fasted on the 14th, 15th, and 16th [of Nissan]. The third time Kiddush HaChamah occurs on Erev Pesach, not much time will pass before the redemption comes, God willing.

If so, then that is good news, VERY good news. For, the third time that the sun finds itself back in its original position on an Erev Pesach, which has to be on a Wednesday, the day on which it was put in its place during the week of Creation, will be in 2009, or 5769—the eighth year of THIS Sh’mittah cycle! What an amazing coincidence...


Now, I hate to throw cold water on this, BUT, there are a few problems with this:

1) Birkat HaHama in 1925 WAS on Erev Pesah, as many have mentioned in the comments.

2) There is a blog (see here and here) that tries to mathematically prove that it occurred more often.

See also here.

Now, for the warmer water.

I can't explain the Ostrovster Rebbe, but I'm sure his idea is that it's an auspicious time for the Ge'ula. Of course, every Birkat Hahama year is Motza'ei Shevi'it, which already makes it auspicious (see Sanhedrin 97). That, plus the fact that the heavens are aligned the same as in Ma'asei Bereishit, and we bless "Oseh Ma'aseh Vereishit", we are showing an awakening from below that we want Hashem Ehad Ushmo Ehad, as was the case during Creation. That, plus the fact that we are saying it on Erev Pesah, a day that we slaughtered the god of the Egyptians - a day designated for Ge'ula. That, plus the fact that ALL rabbinic leaders say we're currently Be'Ikveta DeMeshiha - all this combined makes this one special.

Is the timing absolute? Of course not, but auspicious - it is. Will I cry if Mashiah doesn't come by then? I'm saddened every day Mashiah doesn't come.

As an aside, for the first time in a while, we said the long Tahanunim today. Although it makes Tefilla longer, I nevertheless felt like I needed to say the following prayer which I missed during Nissan :

עד מתי עזך בשבי ותפארתך ביד צר


May the Geula come as quickly as possible without delay.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Yehoshua Bin Nun

The 26th of Nisan is the anniversary of the death of our great leader Yehoshua Bin Nun. He was buried in Timnat Heres, which is currently located in an Arab village.

Being that it was the anniversary of his death, many people went last night to visit his grave, along with the graves of his father Nun, and of Calev Ben Yefuneh. (See this post at Life In Israel and this video up at Arutz Sheva.)

Every Wednesday night, I learn Gemara with a group of people, and we're currently learning Massechet Megilla. Last night, the 26th of Nissan, we just "happened" to be learning the bottom of page 14b, which talks about Yehoshua Bin Nun, and how he married Rahav, and that Hulda and other prophets descended from him. The proof that Hulda descended from him is from a Gezeira Shava mentioned in this line:

אמר רב נחמן חולדה מבני בניו של יהושע היתה כתיב הכא (מלכים ב כב) בן חרחס וכתיב התם (יהושוע כד) בתמנת חרס



The burial place of Yehoshua was mentioned in the gemara that I was learning.

But wait, this gets better. This morning, at the synagogue, it happened to also be the first anniversary of the death of a man who was a big Gomeil Hessed to people in our community. He performed Hassadim for the living (by preparing breakfast for all who prayed each morning after Shaharit) and for the dead (by taking care of cemetary arrangements - a Hessed Shel Emet). His name: Yehoshua.

I just installed Psuko Shel Yom on my computer. When turning on my computer this morning, the verse of the day was:

גומלי חסדים זוכין לחסות בצלו של הקדוש ברוך הוא


Those who perform kindnesses merit to be protected in the shade of the Holy One, blessed be He


Thank you, Hashem, for showing me a glimpse of Your ways.