Saturday, January 31, 2009

Chief Rabbis: Beshalah Designated for Praise for Recent Miracles

Hat tip to Jameel who got this from a PDF on Rotter.net. It's also on Arutz Sheva's Hebrew site. The Chief Rabbis of Israel have issued a letter to designate Beshalah as a Shabbat of praise to Hashem for the miracles of the recent Gaza War. Here is my translation of the letter:
O come, let us sing unto the LORD; let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation

For the miracles and for the salvations which happened to our soldiers and to our citizens in Operation "Cast Lead", which came after patience and tolerance for years, that which was not done in any place in the world - where they throw rockets and Kassams on populated cities, until the lives of myriads of thousands of Jews could not take it any longer, and they outstretched a hand for peace and tranquility to them, but they did not want to listen, and Hashem saw the oppression of His sons and His daughters, and He stood from the throne of unmitigated justice and sat upon the throne of mercy, and numerous miracles He performed for us with the revelation of the Shechina, which protected our soldiers - As an eagle that stirreth up her nest, hovereth over her young, Hashem stood up and placed His redemption upon the head of His nation and His inheritance to save them to relieve them with grace, with kindness, and with mercy. Also, a pure heart G-d has created for us to tie us with a trusted knot - to make us into one unit with one heart and with great love, and the matter became as a wonder and a sign.

And for all these things, we are obligated to thank, to exalt, to praise and to glorify our creator, He Who formed us, the King of the world, with humility and with total subjugation. Let them give thanks unto the LORD for His mercy, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! And declare His works with singing and to serve Him with happiness, with joy and singing from unity and brotherliness. And therefore, many and good [Rabbis] have suggested to establish "Shabbat Beshalah", which is the eternal Shabbat of song for all generations, that the entire nation of Hashem which is in all places [in the world] should tell over the actions of Hashem with joy and relate all of His wonders. And all who do more to tell over the kindnesses of Hashem, he should be praised. And at the time of the opening of the ark, one should say chapters of Psalms - A Psalm, a Song. For the sabbath day, A Psalm of thanksgiving, and 'O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good. And the esteemed rabbis should lecture about the topic of the day to increase the honor of Hashem in His world - so that future generations should know that Hashem is G-d, and He conducts His world with personal and designated Divine providence. And especially in the land of Israel, where the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, and there Hashem has commanded the blessing.

And there is no doubt that the happiness and thanksgiving to Hashem together with the strengthening in learning Torah and service of Hashem will bring our redemption and the emancipation of our soul closer, speedily in our days, Amen.

Those who are expectant of Hashem's salvation,

[Rabbi] Shelomo Moshe Amar
Rishon Letzion
Chief Rabbi of Israel

[Rabbi] Yonah Metzger
Chief Rabbi of Israel

Friday, January 30, 2009

Cool Calendar Stuff

In honor of החדש הזה לכם:

When displaying a monthly calendar (using the non-Jewish months), a month will usually span 5 or 6 weeks, or rows in the calendar display.
Very few times will it display only 4 rows. This could only happen in February in a non-leap year, when it only has 28 days.
The pattern of year intervals when this happens is 6,11,11,6,11,11,etc.

It turns out that 2009 is one of those years.

So, here are the years that this happens on:

1981
1987
1998
2009
2015
2026
2037
2043
2054
2065
2071
2082
2093
2099

I thought this was interesting, but if you're asking "Who cares?", here's something that should interest you more:

Gilui's book on Birkat Hahama

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

מְהָרְסַיִךְ וּמַחֲרִיבַיִךְ, מִמֵּךְ יֵצֵאוּ

It says in Yeshaya:

מְהָרְסַיִךְ וּמַחֲרִיבַיִךְ, מִמֵּךְ יֵצֵאוּ



Ahmedinejad comes from Jews?

That's what this A7 article says:
Charge: Ahmadinejad Rants to Hide His Jewish Roots

by Hillel Fendel


(IsraelNN.com) The son of a leading Iranian authority accuses the Iranian President of changing his Jewish name.

Several Iranian media sources are quoting Mahdi Khazali – the son of a leading supporter of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – as having written in a blog that the president has Jewish roots. So reports the Hebrew-language Omedia website and Radio Free Europe.

Khazali, son of Ayatollah Abu Al-Kassam Khazali, says that Ahmadinejad changed his Jewish name on his ID card in order to hide his roots. Khazali the son says that the president hides his Jewish roots by attacking Israel and the Jews, and by expressing strong Muslim religious beliefs.

A record of the name change still appears on the president’s ID card, however, says Khazali. His old name was Saburjian, and he hails from the Aradan region of Iran. The accusations appear in an article Khazali wrote entitled, “The Jews in Iran.” He says the time has come to “reveal the truth” about the Jews’ role in Iran.

Ahmadinejad's relatives once told the British paper "The Guardian" that the family had changed its name for "a mixture of religious and economic reasons."

Ahmadinejad will be running for re-election five months from now.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Shas's new Election Site

The Shas party has a new election website, and its regular site redirects you there automatically.

Here's a video that appears on the site:




It also has a youtube channel with other videos. They learned that the power of the Internet is key to gaining seats. Let's see how it works.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Starting a new party called "National Shas"


I just took this online poll (that I saw on Rafi's blog who saw it on JoeSettler's blog) which shows you to which Israeli political party you are closest.
As you can see from the results, I'm more hawkish than Shas and Jewish Home and more religious than National Union. However, I'm even with Shas in religion and with National Union in security.
I should start a new party called "National Shas".

I also see I'm just as religious as Ra'am-Ta'al. Although, I must concede that they win there. Those guys take frumkeit to the next level. They daven 5x a day as opposed to my 3, some of their members die al-kiddush Allah even when no one forced them to do so while taking others (such as Yeshiva boys) with them, they're very makpidim on ואהבת לרעך הערבי כמוך by siding with Palestinians and Hizbollah in every war - so they win hands down!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rahel Imeinu is Doing More Than Crying

A couple weeks ago, R' Lazer Brody told over how a certain lady prevented soldiers from entering certain homes in Gaza that were booby-trapped - and that the lady was none other than Rahel Imeinu.

An email about this quickly spread, and a couple other blogs (maybe more) picked it up from the email.

I resisted posting this until I got further confirmation. It seems the confirmation comes from Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Shlit"a in the following Arutz Sheva article:

Chief Rabbi Confirms Gaza Miracle Story

by Hillel Fendel


(IsraelNN.com) Former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, recovering from a life-threatening disease, prayed several times at the Tomb of the Biblical Matriarch Rachel before the recent war in Gaza. Informed that an “old woman” saved IDF soldiers’ lives in Gaza, he said, “Did she mention that I sent her?”

The story was first told by Rabbi Lazer Brody, a rabbi in Ashdod who “devotes his time to spreading faith around the globe via Breslov Israel and the Emuna Outreach organization” that he founded. Rabbi Brody told Israel National News that he receives many phone calls in the framework of his work – including a particularly noteworthy one about two weeks ago. “The caller, an Israeli man, was clearly knowledgeable about how IDF infantry troops operate,” the rabbi and former IDF special-unit veteran said, “and this is what he told me:”

‘My son is in the Givati Brigade, and his unit’s job is to clean out areas around Gaza City. Outside one house, a woman dressed in black appeared and started yelling at them in Arabic, ‘Ruchu min hon – Get out of here! It’s dangerous!’ The troops thought she might be trying to protect her family, but they didn’t want to take chances; the company commander called the regiment commander, and they went on to their next target. There, too, the same woman appeared and gave the same warning. The soldiers thought she probably came somehow through the tunnel network that Hamas had set up between houses, and one of the soldiers even yelled at her… Then they went to a third house – and the same woman appeared again. This time, all the soldiers froze.

‘The soldiers then hooked up with a Golani Engineering force whose job it was to blow up houses that were found to be booby-trapped. My son’s unit asked them to check these three houses – and they found that all three of the houses that the woman had warned them away from had been booby-trapped.”

The story did not receive high-level confirmation, though it made the ranks of the rumor mills - and many dismissed it as just that. Then, on Monday night of this week, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat and son of former Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu, was teaching students in Machon Meir in Jerusalem about the sublime level of soldiers fighting on behalf of Israel. In this connection, he said:

“There are soldiers who have been telling that in some places where they went in, there was a woman who told them not to enter certain buildings because they were booby-trapped, and that she said her name was Rachel... I asked a certain Yeshiva dean about this story, and he told me that it wasn’t a ‘made-up story,’ but that he actually knew one of the soldiers involved, and he told me his name.

Click here to hear Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu telling the story in Hebrew

"Then the Yeshiva dean asked me if it was in any way connected with the fact that my father, Rabbi [Mordechai] Eliyahu, had left the hospital before the war and went to pray not once, not twice, but three times at Rachel’s Tomb, and went nowhere else to pray? I told him I didn’t know, but that I would ask.

“In truth, I was a little bit afraid to ask him, because he usually dismisses these kinds of stories… But I decided to go, and I asked him, ‘Do you remember that you told us one time about Rabbi Shalom Mutzafi, of blessed memory, during World War II, when the Germans seemed about to enter the Holy Land, and he prayed at Kever Rachel against the decree, and he said that he actually saw Rachel praying. [My father] said yes, he remembers.

“So I told him about this story that I had heard, and I asked him, ‘Should we believe it? Is it truth?’ And he said, 'Yes, it’s true.’ I asked him to explain, and he said - in these words: 'I told her: Rachel, a war is on! Don’t withhold your voice from crying [based on Jeremiah 31,14-16]! Go before G-d, and pray for the soldiers, who are sacrificing themselves for the Nation of Israel, that they should strike - and not be stricken.'

"I told him, “Well, you should know that she really did that.” So he asked, “Did she mention that I sent her?”

“Everyone should then make his own calculation,” Rabbi Eliyahu the son then continued. “If this is the great level of the soldiers, and if this is the great power of prayer, then how can anyone say anything against them?...”


Update: Ynet quotes Rav Aviner as being skeptical. However, it seems that the statement from Rav Aviner was before the verification from Rav Eliyahu or before he knew about it, and it's possible that Rav Aviner would now agree to its veracity.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Crunch-Time for Pollard

Only a couple days are left until Jonathan Pollard's sentence can be commuted by President Bush.

Before the plagues of blood, frogs, pestilence, and hail, Moshe Rabbeinu tells Par'oh a message from Hashem - שלח את עמי ויעבדני - "Send My people so they may serve Me".

If you take the words "את עמי", its gematria is 521.
If you take Jonathan Pollard's first name, יהונתן, its gematria is 521.

We pray to Hashem that President Bush will send away Yehonatan Pollard so that he may serve Hashem in freedom. The alternative mentioned in the Parsha doesn't end pretty.

לב מלכים ושרים ביד השם

אם לא עכשיו אימתי

Now is the time to pray.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sheep and Shepherd

Am Yisrael is compared to sheep, as it says וַאֲנַחְנוּ עַמְּךָ, וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתֶךָ.
Moshe Rabbeinu is called רעיא מהימנא - the trusted shepherd. We also know it from the verse in this week's Perasha:

וּמֹשֶׁה, הָיָה רֹעֶה אֶת-צֹאן יִתְרוֹ חֹתְנוֹ--כֹּהֵן מִדְיָן; וַיִּנְהַג אֶת-הַצֹּאן אַחַר הַמִּדְבָּר, וַיָּבֹא אֶל-הַר הָאֱלֹהִים חֹרֵבָה.


I read in צהר לתיבה that if you take the letters that immediately follow מדבר, (i.e. "אחר המדבר") you get נהגש - the same letters on the dreidel, and the gematria of משיח.

Moshe Rabbeinu led us out of Egypt, but could not enter Eretz Yisrael. This time, however, he will be able to enter Eretz Yisrael. The Zohar Hakadosh holds that the גואל ראשון is the גואל אחרון. See אור החיים הקדוש on the verse אסרי לגפן עירה below (click to enlarge).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Rav Shmueli on the Geula Again

Rav Benayahu Shmueli talks more about the Ge'ula based on the Zohar in Shemot. He also has some nice Gematrias about Shovavim.

I wish I had the time to translate or summarize it into English, but I don't. Anyone who wants to, feel free to do so in the comments, and I may update the post with your comments.

To view the video, click here (Hebrew).

-------
Update: Anonymous posted a partial summary:

The Rav emphasized that this time of year, Parshiyot Shovavim (Shmos Vayera Bo B'shalach Yisro Mishpatim) has a special power to fix sexual transgressions,which caused the turnover of "holy sparks" to evil forces that cause us all kinds of problems with parnassah and many other problems. He recommended being strong in saying Krias Shmah Al HaMitah which can take the "holy sparks" back from the evil. Also ,learning Zohar to help bring the Geulah.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hillula for Ribi Yaakov Abuhatzeira Canceled

The annual pilgrimage to the grave of Ribbi Yaakov Abuhatzeira near Alexandria, Egypt has been canceled for the first time ever due to the Gaza War and the dangerous security situation right now, reports Ladaat.net.

The hillula will take place at other places around Israel for his Yahrtzeit on Tevet 20.

Also, many will go to the Rambam's grave in Tiveria, whose Yahrtzeit is also Tevet 20, with a special prayer service to annul the harsh decrees of war and lack of rain.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Antisemites Display חמס in Chicago

The Sun-Times reports:
Vandals spray-painted the words “Death to Israel’’ on two synagogues and a Jewish school early Saturday in three separate incidents police say could be linked and are being investigated as hate crimes.

In each case, the vandals — at times donning masks — used orange-colored paint, also shattering glass windows with bricks and rocks at two of the buildings.

A witness and security cameras identified the perpetrators as two men.

Moshe Perlstein, rabbi at Lubavitch Mesivta of Chicago, said cameras captured video of the men damaging his rabbinical school at 2756 W. Morse starting at around 4:40 a.m. The footage shows one man spray-painting the side of the building while the other ran around to the front and threw rocks at the front door, breaking a glass window, he said. The video has been turned over to police.

Similar graffiti was found at Anshe Motele Congregation, 6526 N. California, rabbi Alan Abramson said.

Lincolnwood police said vandals also scrawled “Death to Israel’’ and “Free Palestine’’ on the outside walls of Lincolnwood Jewish Congregation, 7117 N. Crawford. Mitchell Sandler, past president of the congregation, said they threw at least two bricks at the front doors, damaging four windows.

Lincolnwood Police Lt. Mark Brines said police were notified at 6:10 a.m. that a caretaker in the building heard a brick crash through a window at the temple. The caretaker saw “two unknown males running from the scene,’’ Brines said.

Because all three buildings were used by orthodox Jews, Sandler said it appeared the men were targeting more devout Jews.

“This was a cowardly act in the middle of the night,’’ Sandler said. “Obviously there is dismay because of what’s been happening in the Middle East.’’

Local Jewish leaders were alarmed by what they see as a “rash’’ of incidents targeting Jews.

“It’s disturbing,’’ said Jay Tcath, senior vice president of the Chicago Jewish Federation.

The incidents come a little more than a week after Ida Crown Jewish Academy, at 2828 W. Pratt, received a mailed bomb threat that also made reference to other Chicago-area Jewish institutions and day schools, said Jay Tcath, senior vice president of the Chicago Jewish Federation.

And police said they are investigating as a hate crime a Dec. 29 incident in which a man hurled a Molotov cocktail at Temple Sholom of Chicago, 3480 N. Lake Shore Dr., after making “derogatory comments’’ to a passerby.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been notified, police said.

No arrests have been made.


I was informed of another incident where the Young Israel of West Rogers Park had bricks thrown through its windows as well on Friday night.

Hashem Ya'azor!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Rav Shmueli on the Geula

Rav Benayahu Shmueli, in his weekly shiur for Parshat Vayehi gives an amazing shiur (in Hebrew) that talks about Mashiah, our times, and more.

(Note that he mentions this devar torah, and mentions that "האספו" is an expression of Ahdut [I saw something similar in the Eitz Yosef, quoting יפ"ת in Bereishit Rabba] that must precede Mashiah. He also mentions a few of the reasons why this year is special for the geula, and talks about Galut Yishmael. He then gives practical advice on what we should be doing to help bring Mashiah. There's much more that I didn't mention.)

At the end of the video, he says a special Tefilla for the soldiers fighting in Gaza.

To view it, click here.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Hakol Kol Yaakov

Contrast the weapons of Hamas children...
(כלי חמס מכרתיהם)




...with the weapons of Jewish children

Click Here

Gaza War Links 2 - The Good, The Funny, and The Scary

The Good

  • R' Lazer Brody gave a great shiur that you can see by clicking the links at his blog
  • Jpost talks about the spiritual morale-boosting of the soldiers. Quoting from a Torah pamphlet given to soldiers, the article states:
    According to the elder [Rav] Kook, in his book Orot, "When there is a great war in the world the power of Messiah is aroused…the wicked perish from the world and the world is invigorated and the voice of the turtledove is heard."
  • Updated:Nava has a list of quotes from contemporary Gedolim on the situation. Some very interesting ones!

The Funny
  • Joe the Plumber will report on Gaza - huh?
  • A7:
    Hamas Accidentally Telecast Pornography
    Reported: 07:55 AM - Jan/08/09
    (IsraelNN.com) A Hamas technician apparently got bored and viewed an erotic satellite channel, which accidentally was aired on the terrorist organization's Al Aqsa television station, according to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

    The erotic channel was from Poland, and the images were telecast for six minutes on Wednesday until it was taken off the air.

    Yishma'el is already guilty of Shefichut Damim. Now Gilui Arayot too? Their Zechuyot are dwindling by the minute.

The Scary

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Ahdut Before Ge'ula

I've mentioned this idea before, but it bears repeating.

The entire sefer Bereishit deals with infighting between brothers. It begins with Kayin against Hevel, Ham against Shem and Yafet, Yishmael against Yitzhak, Eisav against Yaakov, and finally, the brothers against Yosef.

As the verse says הנה מה טוב ומה נעים שבת אחים גם יחד. Why does it say "גם יחד"? This teaches you that it's a חידוש when brothers show togetherness.

Finally, in Vayigash, the brothers and Yosef make up with each other. But even more so, in Vayehi, we find 2 brothers that had no problems with each other at all - Ephraim and Menashe. Menashe was not jealous of Ephraim for getting the right-hand of Yaakov Avinu. This is why we bless our children with the verse that Yaakov Avinu uses: ישמך אלקים כאפרים וכמנשה.

And notice what comes right after he blesses Ephraim and Menashe:
ויקרא יעקב אל בניו ויאמר האספו ואגידה לכם את אשר יקרא אתכם באחרית הימים
He starts to want to talk about the End of Days.

The Ahdut of Ephraim and Menashe is the Ahdut we need during the time before the Final Redemption.

(See this video by R' Chaim Richman which also mentions this same concept.)

Notice that Akiva posted on how the whole of Israel is coming together during the war:
Radio stations, secular radio stations (!!!), are saying tehillim (psalms) on the air. Holy congregations are praying for the soldiers welfare and success. Chesed organizations (charities) have swung into action - preparing care packages for soldiers, preparing relief options for shell shocked southern residents under constant bombardment. Internal divisions have fallen away, all are taking steps to support and prepare.

...

Israel is standing together. Nervous, expectant, together. We may bicker and pick at each other. But like a family, it's all in the family and when in trouble we stand together.


May this Ahdut continue so that we may merit the Final Redemption.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Gaza War Links

  • Rabbi Lazer Brody's Spiritual Contingency Matrix

  • Rabbi Reisman's video shiur on the situation

  • Updated - Agudah of America posts a statement on Tefilot for the situation

  • War Miracles:
    1. Jpost:
      "We saw the shrapnel they took out of his chest," said Nathan's sister, who stood nearby and showed an imaginary metal fragment with her fingers. "They said it was over 2 cm. long."

      "They also said it was 1 mm. away from hitting his windpipe," Haim added. "One millimeter over and, well...the doctor said it was a miracle."

      But Nathan's wasn't the only miracle at Soroka on Sunday. All but one of the soldiers who had been hit by the mortar round were being treated for various shrapnel wounds listed as "light" and were expected to make full recoveries.

    2. A7:
      One rocket exploded in a populated area of the port city of Ashdod, causing a fire to erupt. One woman was injured from smoke inhalation and shock. Firefighters raced to the scene and worked to extinguish the fire.


      A listener in Ashdod called in to Radio Darom (Radio of the South) shortly after the attack to say that he had watched as a missile had come hurtling towards a group of four houses in his neighborhood. When he emerged from his shelter, he realized that the houses were still standing intact and there was no damage, and wondered why. Walking over to inspect the site, the listener said he saw that the missile had miraculously gone straight into the sewage manhole located between the four buildings, and exploded underground -- wrecking the plumbing, but leaving the buildings and their occupants safe from harm.

    3. More from A7:
      (IsraelNN.com) A long-range Grad-type Katyusha rocket landed in the schoolyard of a kindergarten in a northern Ashdod neighborhood at approximately 3:20 Monday afternoon -- but miraculously, only two people were lightly wounded, one by flying shrapnel. Thirty children are normally in the classroom during the day, when the missile struck, but due to Home Front Command instructions, the building was empty at the time.
      ...
      Ashkelon was also hit by two Grad-type Katyusha rockets at about 10:30 a.m.

      "Another miracle," said the announcer on Radio Darom (Radio of the South), as a listener described how one of the missiles landed right on the sidewalk of the main street in Ashkelon. "No one injured, and it landed right on Main Street. Unbelievable!" he exclaimed. The second missile exploded in an open area on the northern outskirts of the city. There were no reports of injuries in either attack.

    4. More from A7 - "Hamas Rockets Miss Mark on the 'Land of Miracles'"

    5. Israellycool:
      Meanwhile, the palestinians have continued to fire rockets into Israel, firing at over 31 at places such as Ashkelon, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Netivot, and the Eshkol region. Thankfully, no-one was killed, although some people were injured, including a woman after her house suffered a direct hit. I’m telling you, if you don’t see the miracles here, you are living in denial.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goshna

See the Benai Yissaschar on the verse ואת יהודה שלח לפניו אל יוסף להורות לפניו גשנה