Friday, August 29, 2008

During Obama's Speech, I Screamed In Joy

During Obama's speech, I screamed in joy.

Yes, it's true.

I was screaming with thousands of fans.

I was excited.

I was enthralled.

I jumped out of my seat in elation.

I clapped for the hero of the moment.

I knew right then and there that this contest is over, and there is nothing the other side can do about it.

Yes, of course, I'm talking about Aramis Ramirez's grand slam in the 8th inning that put the Cubs up 6-4 over the Phillies.

As for Obama, he thinks the Cubs fans don't watch the game and "it's not serious". Another reason not to vote for him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kipenei Hakelev

Another sign from the Gemara in Sotah 49b on the footsteps of Mashiah is פני הדור כפני הכלב (the face of the generation is like the face of the dog).

There are no words to describe the recent Bark Mitzvah that took place in New York.

You need to laugh and cry and laugh when watching it. First, laugh because it was somewhat amusing. Then, cry to show how far we have fallen. Then, laugh again, as did R' Akiva in the end of Massechet Makkot (if the gemara in Sotah was fulfilled, then we know the good prophecies will be fulfilled as well - may they come speedily in our days).

In the meantime, all I can say is the end of that Gemara in Sotah:

ועל מה יש לנו להשען על אבינו שבשמים

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rav Shmueli Mentions the Dream

This news is about 3 weeks old, but I'll mention it anyway since I just noticed it.

Rav Shmueli Shlit"a of the kabbalistic yeshiva - Yeshivat Nehar Shalom - mentions the dream where the Hafetz Hayim announces that the Ge'ula is close. He started off his Zohar Shiur about Tish'a Be'av talking about it.

You can see the whole shiur by clicking here.

Hat tip to Hashem1.net, who mentions this in a blurb on the top of the home page (first update in a while), and provides his own link to the video.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Internet Prozbol

Halacha Yomit is currently discussing the laws of Shemittat Kesafim (loans being automatically erased at the end of the Shemitta year) and Prozbol (the document that was instituted to not erase them).

At the end of each Halacha, there's a message with a link to a page with a form you can fill out to have your Prozbol done for you.

Translated, the message says:

Optimally, it is much better that each man will worry for himself to write a Prozbol as is proper according to the Jewish religion. However, for the needs of those for whom such a thing would be hard to do, and on the basis of a halachic decision of Maran Rabbeinu Hagadol Shlit"a [Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a], we are allowing - by way of the Halacha Yomit website - that anyone can sign their name and personal information for the purpose of appointing the rabbi who writes the halachot on the website as an agent - so that he will write a Prozbol for them.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tis the Generation

One of the signs of "Ikveta Demeshiha" mentioned in Sota 49b is "בת קמה באמה" - a daughter rising up against her mother. We see this often enough while the mother is alive - but now we even see it when the mother is dead.

See what Snopes.com said about this obituary in the Vellejo [California] Times-Herald.
Dolores Aguilar 1929 - Aug. 7, 2008

Dolores Aguilar, born in 1929 in New Mexico, left us on August 7, 2008. She will be met in the afterlife by her husband, Raymond, her son, Paul Jr., and daughter, Ruby. She is survived by her daughters Marietta, Mitzi, Stella, Beatrice, Virginia and Ramona, and son Billy; grandchildren, Donnelle, Joe, Mitzie, Maria, Mario, Marty, Tynette, Tania, Leta, Alexandria, Tommy, Billy, Mathew, Raymond, Kenny, Javier, Lisa, Ashlie and Michael; great-grandchildren, Brendan, Joseph, Karissa, Jacob, Delaney, Shawn, Cienna, Bailey, Christian, Andre Jr., Andrea, Keith, Saeed, Nujaymah, Salma, Merissa, Emily, Jayci, Isabella, Samantha and Emily. I apologize if I missed anyone.

Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing. Her family will remember Dolores and amongst ourselves we will remember her in our own way, which were mostly sad and troubling times throughout the years. We may have some fond memories of her and perhaps we will think of those times too. But I truly believe at the end of the day ALL of us will really only miss what we never had, a good and kind mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. I hope she is finally at peace with herself.

As for the rest of us left behind, I hope this is the beginning of a time of healing and learning to be a family again. There will be no service, no prayers and no closure for the family she spent a lifetime tearing apart. We cannot come together in the end to see to it that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren can say their goodbyes. So I say here for all of us, GOOD BYE, MOM.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Gog Identification & Other Links

Tomer Devorah brings reasons why she claims the current President of the United States is Gog.

Vision of Geulah cites a Me'am Lo'ez on Gog's current whereabouts.

Hakeitz Hameguleh says that trying to identify Gog is not productive, but cites different opinions on the 3 wars of Gog Umagog.

In other news:

Mystical Paths points out that Mishpacha Magazine interviewed the rav who saw the Hafetz Hayim in a dream, and he confirmed the story.

Dreaming of Moshiach has 2 great posts (including an embedded video) on how various prophecies have been fulfilled in our day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Power of Prayer

In the first Pasuk of this week's Perasha, we find that Moshe Rabbeinu prayed 515 times (the gematria of Va'et'hanan) to enter Eretz Yisrael, but was denied. Hashem told him not to pray again for if he did, kevayachol, Hashem would have to grant his request.

When we pray, although our prayers are not as powerful as Moshe Rabbeinu's, nevertheless, depending on our spiritual levels, an imprint is made in heaven. Sometimes, our prayers are granted right away. Sometimes, Hashem denies the request as He knows what is truly best for us. There are other times when our prayers don't get answered until many years later.

I found this on Arutz Sheva:


9 Year Old Who Wrote to Begin will Get Reply at Age 38

(IsraelNN.com) When Reut Naveh was 9 years old, she wrote a letter to Menachem Begin, who was then the Prime Minister, asking for an autographed picture. Begin's reply is about to reach her, 30 years later.

The staff at the Begin Memorial Center, who are making preparations for a study day marking the Herut movement's 60th anniversary, were sifting through their archives Thursday when they found a sealed envelope containing a letter to Reut from Begin's Bureau Chief Yechiel Kadishai and a signed photograph of Begin. They located Naveh, who now works as a nurse at Asaf HaRofeh Hospital.

She will receive the letter next week in a special ceremony.


Just as Reut got her wish many years later, Moshe Rabeinu's prayers to enter the land will not go for waste. He will be one of the 7 shephards mentioned in Micha 5:4:

וְהָיָה זֶה, שָׁלוֹם; אַשּׁוּר כִּי-יָבוֹא בְאַרְצֵנוּ, וְכִי יִדְרֹךְ בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֵינוּ, וַהֲקֵמֹנוּ עָלָיו שִׁבְעָה רֹעִים, וּשְׁמֹנָה נְסִיכֵי אָדָם.


as the Gemara in Sukkah 52b says:

מאן נינהו שבעה רועים דוד באמצע אדם שת ומתושלח מימינו אברהם יעקב ומשה בשמאלו



We see that our prayers sometimes take time to be answered. Let's hope that the prayers of all the generations for the coming Redemption will be set before the Kisei Hakavod now and Hashem will actualize it soon, so we can have a true consolation on this Shabbat Nahamu. Amen.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Teimanim Be'eretz Teiman

CNN has an interesting video on the Yemenite Jews still in Yemen.

Hat tip: Matzav.com

Yeshaya 43:6

אֹמַר לַצָּפוֹן תֵּנִי, וּלְתֵימָן אַל-תִּכְלָאִי; הָבִיאִי בָנַי מֵרָחוֹק, וּבְנוֹתַי מִקְצֵה הָאָרֶץ

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hevlei Mashiah Bizmaneinu & the Russian-Turkish Connection

The book חבלי משיח בזמננו was written by רפאל הלוי איזנברג in the 1970s and its revised edition was in 5741 (1980-81), so it was written in the midst of the Cold War. The book promotes the idea that Russia is Gog.

Some interesting things found in the book (p. 134 - translation is mine):

קבלה בידינו מתלמידי הגר"א בשם הגאון: "אם הספינות של מלכות רוסיא יחצו את מיצר "בוספורוס" (ה"דרדנלים") צריכים ללבוש בגדי שבת" לומר לך, שהשעה קרובה אז לביאת המשיח. ודע כי רוב הספינות מרוסיא לארץ ישראל באות בזמננו דרך טורקיה בים השחור מבעד למיצר ה"בוספורוס". כמ"כ בידוע שלאחר חורבן מערב רומי עם בירתה בידי הגרמנים ימ"ש נותרה קוסטנטינא לבדה בשם "מזרח רומי" ומיום שמלך מרוסיא נשא בת המלך האחרון מקוסטנטינא הריהם מחשיבים את עצמם כיורשים של מלכות מזרח רומי ונושאים בדגליהם את סמל הנשר הכפול של קוסטנטינא



We have a tradition from the students of the Gr"a in the (Vilna) Gaon's name: "If the ships of the Russian government will cross over the Bosporus Strait ([and] the "Dardanelles"), we need to wear clothes of Shabbat" to tell you that at that time, it will soon be the coming of Mashiah. And know that most of the ships from Russia to Israel come nowadays by way of Turkey in the Black Sea using the Bosporus Strait.

Similarly, it's known that after the destruction of Western Rome with its capital by way of the Germans - Yimah Shemam - Constantinople was left by itself with the name of "Eastern Rome". And from the day that the king of Russia married the daughter of the last king of Constantinople, they considered themselves as inheriters of the Eastern Roman Kingdom, and they carry on their flags the symbol of the doubled eagle of Constantinople.


Also, this (p. 142):

באחרית הימים יתמנה "גוג" נשיא לשאר בני יפת בגבולות ממשלת רוסיא
יחזקאל לח,ב: "גוג ארץ המגוג נשיא ראש משך ותובל". ובספר בראשית (י,ב) משמע שהם שלושת בניו האחרונים של יפת - תובל,משך ותירס

יומא דף י': "תובל" - זו בית אונייקי "משך" - זו מוסיא "תירס" - פליגי בה ר' סימאי ורבנן, חד אמר זו בית תירייקי, וחד אמר זו פרס

פירוש "תורה תמימה" לבראשית, שם: "תובל" - זו בית אונייקי. בירושלמי מגילה (פ"א ה"ט) ובמדרשים גירסאות שונות בזה, ובמקום "בית אונייקי"הגירסא "ביתוניא". ואמנם נמצא היום חלק ארץ באזיא הקטנה, אצל הים השחור (כלומר ברוסיא), בשם ביתיניא. "משך" - זו מוסיא, היא ארץ מוסיא שבאזיא הקטנה סמוכה לארץ ביתיניא (ברוסיא). א

יוסיפון, קורות ישראל, ספר א' פ"א: "תירס" הם רוסיש (רוסלאנד) רוסי, חונים על נהר בירא השופך בים גורן, עכ"ל

רב חסדאי אבן-שפרוט כתב למלך הכוזרים - אשר מלכותו היתה במדינת רוסיא - "נשיא ראש משך ותובל" - מפני שהיה בזמן הגאונים וקבלה בידיהם שמדינות האלה הם הם אשר יחזקאל אמר עליהם

שהם נממשלת "גוג". א

In the End of Days, "Gog" will be appointed leader to the other sons of Yefet in the borders and surroundings of the government of Russia.

Yehezkel 38:2 - Gog, the land of Magog, the leader of Rosh, Meshech and Tuval. In Sefer Bereishit (10,2), it's implied that they are the 3 last sons of Yefet - Tuval, Meshech, and Tiras.

Yoma 10 - Tuval - this refers to Beit Onayki. Meshech - this refers to Musia. Tiras - R' Simai and the rabbis disagree about it. One opinion says that this refers to Beit Tirayki, and the other says that this refers to "Paras".

The Torah Temima commentary to Bereishit (10,2) says: Tuval - this refers to Beit Onayki. In the Yerushalmi Megilla (1:9) and in Midrashim, there are various versions of the text, and instead of "Beit Onayki", the textual version is "Bitunya". In fact, there is today a portion of Asia Minor by the Black Sea (i.e. in Russia) by the name "Bitunya". Meshech - this refers to Musia, that is the land of Musia that's in Asia Minor, close to the land of Bitunia (in Russia).

Yosifon, in Korot Yisrael, book 1, chapter 1: "Tiras" is Rusish (Rusland) Russia, encamped on the Bira River that pours into the Goren Sea.

Rav Hasdai Ibn Shaprut wrote to the King of the Kazars - whose kingdom was in Russian territory - "Leader of Rosh, Meshech and Tuval" because he lived in the time of the Geonim, and there was a tradition that these countries are the ones that Yehezkel referred to as the kingdom of "Gog".


I originally wanted to say Bitunia may refer to the city of Batumi, a city in Georgia by the Black Sea. This would be somewhat consistent with the חבלי משיח בזמננו's adding the word "BeRussia" in parenthesis - not found in the Torah Temima itself. However, I couldn't find anything resembling Musia near it.
Lefi Aniyut Da'ati, Musia (Meshech) and Bitunia (Tuval) are not in Russia, but in Turkey. I found this map:

where Bythinia and Mysia are clearly what the Torah Temima refers to. These regions are next to the Bosporus Strait. So, perhaps what the Gr"a means is that if Russia (Rosh a.k.a. Tiras) and Turkey (Meshech and Tuval) come together under Gog, expect Mashiah soon.

Of note is Caroline Glick's latest article on Turkey, where she compares it to Russia:
Like Russia under Putin, Turkey under Erdogan's leadership has masked its rapid transformation from a flawed but pro-Western democracy under its previous governments into an anti-Western - and in Turkey's case Islamist - regime by paying lip service to the West even as it has taken steps to purge its power structure of pro-Western voices. Just as Putin's popular government has taken brutal action against his political, intellectual and financial foes, so too, Erdogan's popularly elected Islamic fundamentalist regime has worked steadily to discredit, criminalize and intimidate its pro-Western rivals.

...

Like Russia, Turkey's anti-Western regime is promoting itself to the West by pretending not to be anti-Western. And as was the case with Russia up until it decided to invade defenseless Georgia over the weekend, the US and its allies have been willing to endanger their strategic interests to believe this lie.


Note 1: I'm not claiming this to be the only scenario. Others may exist.
Note 2: I'm not overlooking the fact that Russia may be Edom and Turkey may be Yishma'el, about whom the Mefarashim on Tana"ch say will fight each other. Possibly, they fight first and then, Gog leads all of them. Alternately, Iraq and Afghanistan fulfilled that already.
Note 3: When Yosifon says Russia is on the sea, it possibly means the Black Sea, which could refer to Russia proper or to Georgia. (Incidentally, some of the
Georgian kings have interesting names like "David", "Solomon", "Jesse", "Queen Tamar", and of course "George".)

Monday, August 11, 2008

War as At'halta deGe'ula Links

While the Russians and Georgians are fighting each other, the Ge'ula scenarios have been reshuffled, as Hashem does from time to time to keep us guessing.

Nava says that this may be what the Gemara means by בשביעית מלחמות. (It's ironic that I just learned that Gemara in מסכת מגילה this past Wednesday night.)

Akiva and Reb Nati say that Gog may be Russia after all.

שירת דבורה says that "soon this war will involve Israel (America & UK) and Iran", providing this map.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Strive to be a Learner - Yearner - Earner

(sorry girls, I'm married :-) )

Another hat-tip to Dixie Yid for posting links to Shiurim on yearning for Mashiah.

The shiurim were given by "Reb Yerachmiel" as part of a Tefilla Habura. The topic is the 10th beracha of the Amida - Teka Beshofar and how we need to yearn for Mashiah's coming.

Very inspiring!

Listen to Part 1
Listen to Part 2

(The title of this post comes from the beginning of Part 2)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Mourning for the Beit Hamikdash

Updated
Dixie Yid has a nice series from a booklet by Rabbi Chaim Morgenstern on how and why we mourn for the Beit Hamikdash.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Update:Part 4

Recommended reading.