Friday, October 30, 2009

How many stars are in the universe?

Answers.com answers:
Based on current estimates, there are between 200 - 400 billion stars in our galaxy (The Milky Way). There are possibly 100 billion galaxies in the Universe. So taking the average of our galaxy, gives approximately 3 x 1024 stars. So about 3 septillion. This has been equated to the same number of grains of sand that are on Earth.

One source (BBC) stated that there are 1,000 stars to every grain of sand on Earth!!
There are an estimated 100 to 200 billion galaxies.

So taking a conservative number of 100 billion stars per galaxy, gives an approximate total of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars. (which is 10 sextillion)

Hashem told Avraham:

וַיּוֹצֵא אֹתוֹ הַחוּצָה, וַיֹּאמֶר הַבֶּט-נָא הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וּסְפֹר הַכּוֹכָבִים--אִם-תּוּכַל, לִסְפֹּר אֹתָם; וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ, כֹּה יִהְיֶה זַרְעֶךָ

And He brought him forth abroad, and said: 'Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to count them'; and He said unto him: 'So shall thy seed be.'


We further find these verses in Devarim:

יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, הִרְבָּה אֶתְכֶם; וְהִנְּכֶם הַיּוֹם, כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב
יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵכֶם, יֹסֵף עֲלֵיכֶם כָּכֶם--אֶלֶף פְּעָמִים; וִיבָרֵךְ אֶתְכֶם, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לָכֶם

the LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.--
The LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times so many more as ye are, and bless you, as He hath promised you!--

Rashi first asks that 600,000 doesn't even come close to the amount of stars! He answers that the verse means that we're compared to the sun and stars only in that we will exist forever just as they do. However, the רא"ם on that Rashi says that that's true in Moshe's time, but in the future, we will actually be as numerous as the stars, as is hinted to by the word "לָרֹב".

On the next verse, Rashi says:

מהו יוסף עליכם ככם אלף פעמים . מהו
שוב ויברך אתכם כאשר דבר לכם אלא אמרו לו למשה אתה נותן קצבה לברכתנו כבר הבטיח הקב״ה את אברהם (בראשית יג) אשר אם יוכל איש למנות וגו׳ אמר להם זו
משלי היא אבל הוא יברך אתכם כאשר דבר לכם


which means that instead of 10 sextillion, Moshe's promise will make us 10 septillion, according to the conservative estimates. According to the other estimates, instead of 3 septillion, we'll be 3 octillion. And that doesn't include Hashem's additional Beracha, which makes it unlimited.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things Found on the GBlogosphere

(that's the Goyish Blogosphere)

  • My Life is Average has this to say:
    Today I realized that indigo isn't part of the rainbow, Pluto isn't a planet, Dora the explorer is now a teen, and the cookie monster likes veggies. How much more can they ruin childhood?
  • The Unapologetic Mathematician shows a still from the movie A Serious Man, which, I heard Michael Medved say, is based on the Book of Iyov. Anyways, this still shows a gigantic chalkboard with math problems, but in the middle, you see Hebrew lettering. Is there actual mathematics that uses Hebrew lettering or is this just Hollywood at work?
  • Keep on refreshing the page at Easiertounderstandthanwave.com

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

U.N. מן התורה מנין?

From Dry Bones blog via Shiloh Musings


Also, I mentioned something 3 years ago in the name of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu (who should have a Refu'a Sheleima) via Hashem1.net:
Hashem1.net quotes Rav Mordechai Eliyahu as saying that we read in last week's Perasha of Moshe Rabbeinu telling the people:

לֹא תִּירָאוּם כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, הוּא הַנִּלְחָם לָכֶם


Ye shall not fear them; for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you.

Rav Eliyahu says to separate the word תיראום into 2 words: תירא או"ם. In other words, don't fear the U.N. Only fear Hashem since only Hashem will fight for us.

I Just Found Out I'm Really a Muslim

I just found out from this flowchart (Caution - strong language) that I'm really a Muslim.

Can I go pray on Har Habayit now, O Wakf people?

מעשה לסתור

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Meetings on Tuesdays - Ki Tov

Tuesdays are a special day because the Torah says "Ki Tov" twice on that day.

Lifehacker reports that according to the meeting planning website "When Is Good" (!!!), Tuesdays at 3PM are the most agreeable meeting time. Here is their statistical analysis.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Getting in the Zone of the Rishon LeTziyon

I am honored to BE"H be in the presence of the Rishon LeTziyon Rav Shelomo Moshe Amar Shlit"a for a considerable amount of time this Shabbat and Sunday (and later as well) since he is making his second appearance in our area. The main purpose of his visit is for the Hachnasat Sefer Torah, Hanukat Habayit, and dedication dinner of the Ohel Shalom Torah Center.

The last time he came, 2 years ago, I had posted:
After he left, I heard from someone who spoke with him that he will BE"H try to make a another, more prolonged visit to the city in the future.

Baruch Hashem, that time has arrived.

Mashiah Links You Might Like

Parshablog: Is there a ketz for life on Earth?

Shirat Devorah: Stages of Moshiach

We Want Mashiach: Debunking Mashiach Rumors

Emet Achshav: Midrash HaKeitz

Jewish End of Days: The Erev Rav's Two Big Problems

Matzav.com: Rav Brazil On Parshas Noach

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rabbeinu Bahye's Keitz

Rabbeinu Bahye gave his Keitz prediction in Parshat Bereishit 2:2, along with a somewhat lengthy explanation. He reiterates this prediction in Parshat No'ah 11:11.

He said that Mashiah would come in 5163, and no later. Unfortunately, it's 607 years later.

...ואף על פי שיתמהמה עם כל זה אחכה לו

770


My Chabad readers will like this.
The last post had Rav Tovia Singer talking about how this year is 5770, and how they'd love it in Kfar Chabad.
It turns out that my last post was my 770th post!
Totally by accident. Really.

Length of Galut (short video)

Jeremy and Tovia - gotta love these guys:



Monday, October 19, 2009

Yeshiva World News Tries Its Hand At Mashiah-Blogging

Hey, the more, the merrier!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Keini, Kenizi, & Kadmoni

Today's Daf Yomi in Bava Batra 56a brings down a Mahloket as to what the Keini, Kenizi, and Kadmoni lands are. As you may recall, Avraham Avinu was promised these lands, but we were not to acquire them until the future.
The gemara says:

אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל כל שהראהו הקב"ה למשה חייב במעשר לאפוקי מאי לאפוקי קיני קניזי וקדמוני תניא רבי מאיר אומר נפתוחא ערבאה ושלמאה רבי יהודה אומר הר שעיר עמון ומואב רבי שמעון אומר ערדיסקיס אסיא ואספמיא

Said Rav Yehuda in the name of Shemu'el: Any [land] that HKB"H showed to Moshe is obligated in Ma'aseir. What does this come to exclude? [It excludes the lands of the] Keini, Kenizi, and Kadmoni. We learned in a Beraita: [What are these lands?] Ribi Me'ir says: Naftuha, Aravia, and Shalma'a. Ribi Yehuda says: Mount Se'ir, Amon, and Mo'av. Ribi Shim'on says: Ardiskis, Asia, and Aspamia [Spain?1]


It turns out that Bereishit Rabba (the end of Parasha 44) also weighs in on this:

רבי דוסתאי בשם רבי שמואל בר נחמן אמר: לפי שאינו מזכיר כאן החוי, לפיכך הוא מביא רפאים תחתיהם.

רבי חלבו בשם רבי אבא בשם רבי יוחנן: כך עלה בדעתו של מקום להנחיל להם לישראל, ארץ עשרה עממים : את הקיני,ואת הקנזי, ואת הקדמוני,

ולא נתן להם, אלא ז': את החתי,
ואת הפרזי, ואת הרפאים, ואת האמורי, ואת הכנעני, ואת הגרגשי, ואת היבוסי, הרי שבעה. ולמה נתן להם שבעה? (פירושן לעיל) ואיזה הם הג' שלא ניתן להם?

רבי אומר: ערביה, שלמייה, נוטייה.
רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר: דרמוסקוס, ואסייא, ואספמייא.
ר' אליעזר בן יעקב אמר: אסיא, ותרקי, וקרטגינה.
רבנן אמרי: אדום, ומואב, וראשית בני עמון, הם הג' שלא נתן להם בעוה"ז.
אדום, שנאמר (דברים ב): כי לא אתן לך מארצו ירושה, כי ירושה לעשו נתתי את הר שעיר. ובמואב, כתיב (שם): אל תצר את מואב ואל תתגר בם מלחמה.
קנזי, הוא מעשו.
קיני וקדמוני, הוא מעמון ומואב.
אבל לימות המשיח יחזרו ויהיו לישראל, כדי לקיים מאמרו של הקב"ה. אבל עכשיו שבעה נתן להם, שנאמר (שם ז): שבעה גוים רבים ועצומים ממך.


Also, the Yerushalmi Shevi'it 6:1 brings down similar Shittot:

מה מקיים ר"א מאבותיך פתר לה לעתיד לבא דאמר רבי חלבו שמעון בר בא בשם ר' יוחנן אבותיך ירשו ארץ של שבעת עממין ואתם עתידין לירש של עשר עממים תלתי חורנייתא אילן אינון את הקיני ואת הקניזי ואת הקדמוני ר"י אומר ערביי' שלמייא נבטייא רבי שמעון אומר אסיא ואספמיא ודמשק ראב"י אומר אסייא וקרתיגנא ותורקי רבי אומר אדום ומואב וראשית בני עמון מאבותיך אבותיך אע"פ שנגאלו חזרו ונשתעבדו אבל אתם משאת' נגאלים עוד אין אתם משתעבדין מה טעם (ירמיהו ל) שאלו נא וראו אם יולד זכר כשם שאין הזכר יולד כך אתם משאתם נגאלין עוד אין אתם משתעבדין


The Yerushalmi Kiddushin 1:8 is almost the same as the Yerushalmi in Shevi'it, but slightly different:

מה מקיים רבי לעזר מאבותיך פתר לה לעתיד לבוא דאמר רבי חלבו שמעון בר בא בשם רבי יוחנן אבותיך ירשו ארץ ז' עממים ואתם עתידין לירש ארץ של עשר עממים תלתי אחרנייתא אילין אינון (בראשית ו) את הקיני ואת הקניזי ואת הקדמוני רבי יודה אמר שלמאה שכייה נכטייה רבי שמעון אמר אסייא ואסטטיה ודרמשק רבי ליעזר בן יעקב אומר אסייא וקרתיגנה ותורקי רבי אומר אדום ומואב וראשית בני עמון מאבותיך אבותיך אף על פי שנגאלו חזרו ונשתעבדו אבל אתם משאתם נגאלין עוד אין אתם משתעבדין מה טעמא (ירמיהו ל) שאלו נא וראו אם יולד זכר כשם שאין זכר יולד כך אתם משאתם נגאלין אין אתם משתעבדים.



1The רד"ל says that this cannot be Spain since it would be too far from Israel, so he wants to change the Girsa to אפמיא, which is part of Syria (see the very last Mishna in Messechet Hala)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Runaway Balloon Scare

The boy, who was thought to have been on a runaway hot air balloon, was found safe at home, B"H.

I don't know about you, but I hadn't been as emotionally involved in a news story since Mumbai.

It didn't matter that this boy was not Jewish - this one gripped me.

A Unifying Force for Rav HaRashi of Yerushalayim

Good news from Jerusalem.
The Yeshiva World reports:
According to reports appearing in Ynet and elsewhere, Migdal Ha’emek Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Dovid Grossman Shlita is expected to formally announce his candidacy for the post of Ashkenazi chief rabbi of Yerushalayim. By most accounts, such an announcement would result in a total shift in the election since the rav crosses the borders of all camps, a personality who is accepted to the chareidim and dati leumi alike, a man who over four decades in Migdal Ha’emek managed to remain apolitical and unaffiliated, doing Hashem’s work with mesirus nefesh. It was not that long ago when the rav was approached to consider becoming a candidate for chief rabbi, but at the time, his late father zt”l instructed him to decline, and he told reporters honoring his father’s instructions compelled him to decline, and so he did.

When his father was alive, his objections to the center spotlight remain clear to the rav today, and some believe this weighs heavy on his decision not to enter the race until today. On the other side, the late Rebbe of Lelov zt”l, who was niftar a short time ago, told Rav Grossman on numerous occasions to enter the race, promising him success should he decide to run. There are conflicting reports as to the late Rebbe’s words, but all agree the Rebbe told him it is time to move to Yerushalayim [where the rav was raised].

Chareidim report that sources in Lelov confirmed the late Rebbe’s instructions, telling the rav he must serve as the chief rabbi of the capital.

There are also reports that Rishon L’Tzion Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef Shlita called on Rav Grossman to run in the race, explaining he personally heard his late father’s instructions, which only referred to serving as chief rabbi of Israel and not Yerushalayim.

(Yechiel Spira - YWN Israel)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Patience in Ge'ula

As seen on A7, a memorial book for the bahurei yeshiva slain in Merkaz Harav has been completed, through the direction of blogger Dan Illouz. Among the great articles in the book, which mainly focus on Ahdut, Rav Ronen Neuwirth has a very insteresting one on page 99 in the book (page 101 in the pdf doc) that discusses how we need to be patient in expecting the Ge'ula, despite the many negatives that we see daily.

Excerpt:
We do not expect for one second a simple path.
Let us compose ourselves, collect our spiritual energies
and lead the nation of Israel to the end of redemption,
to spiritual redemption from deep understanding, rather
than from bitterness and despair.
Check it out here or here (pp. 99-105).

Handwriting on the Wall for Hamas?

Elder of Ziyon has the following translation of a Firas Press article:
A member of the Qassam Brigades told those close to him the details of the vision he saw in a dream, that soon there will be a fierce battle with the occupation in which thousands of martyrs will fall, and thousands of homes destroyed, and that the [Hamas] army will be bulldozed and there will be destruction of entire regions off the face of the earth.

This vision has spread among the elements of the Qassam Brigades like wildfire, and became a hot topic at their meetings and gatherings. The vision has had a clear negative impact on the morale of al-Qassam Brigades and Hamas members, prompting their leaders to discuss the vision at the highest levels.

They are forming a commission of inquiry to uncover the circumstances of the vision, considering that it may have security implications, and that Israeli intelligence may be behind the promotion of this vision.

The group has also distributed several internal memos on this matter, demanding that the elements of al-Qassam to not spread such stories, and saying there was no signs on the horizon of the next war, and Israel has learned a hard lesson after the recent war in Gaza.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Heshbonot HaGe'ula

I was browsing some Mashiah forums in Hebrew, and I came across this forum which 1 forum participant linked to the book called חשבונות הגאולה. This book, written by חיים שבילי in תשכ"ד (the year 1964), is a fascinating read. It details how the Ge'ula will occur in his vision - in 1964 terms.

Although most of his predictions didn't occur at the time that he predicted, these predictions still have much relevance to today, I believe.

Here is a link to download the original PDF in Hebrew.

Here's a translation of the relevant Table of Contents (excluding the final section that talks about the age of the universe):

     א
1. Introduction
2. Preface
3. The 6 calculations in Daniel
4. The claims of "scholars" against the Book of Daniel
5. Proofs that the Second Temple stood for 600 years and not 420 years
6. The 190-year mistake in the Jewish calendar

     ב
7. Brief contents of the first chapters of the Book of Daniel
8. The order of the Persian kings
9. Chapter 7 of the Book of Daniel, its Hebrew translation
10. Interpretation of the calculation "עידן ועידנין וחצי" (a time, times, and half) referring to the Balfour Declaration, the expulsion of the Turks from Israel, and the beginning of Aliya.
11. The calculation of "זמן ועידן" reaches 5728 - a world-wide nuclear war in the years 5728-5730?
12. Daniel, chapter 8, the calculation of 2300 - what is it? It will reach the year 5727 (1967).
13. Daniel, chapter 9, an interpretation of the calculation of 70 "weeks".
14. Daniel, chapters 11 and 12 on the war of the East and the West?
15. The calculation of "מועדים וחצי"
16. The calculation of 1335 days will reach 5730-5733 (1970-1973).

     ג
17. The calculation of the Gr"a and the Ariza"l about the year 5708-5709 (1948) as the beginning of the Ge'ula. The establishment of the state and the recognition of the nations of the State of Israel.
18. Amazing Kabbalistic ideas of the sixth hour of the sixth millenium, which began in the year 5708 and ends [ended] in the year 5750.

     ד
19. The vision of the 4 beasts of Daniel, and their reincarnations today as the "4 powers": America, Russia, Britian, and France
20. The capture of old Jerusalem and the western part of the Jordan River, after which occurs the war of Gog Umagog over Israel
21. Who is Gog Umagog - a thorough investigation
22. Proofs from the Book of Yehezkel 38-39 that Gog Umagog is Russia and those dragged along with it
23. The great earthquake in Jerusalem in the war with Gog, and its aftermath: the destruction of the Old City and its "holy" places, and geographic changes
24. The capture of Jerusalem by the enemy, and his downfall via Mashiah Tzidkeinu
25. The fifth kingdom of Mashiah Tzidkeinu, his personality, and when he is destined to be revealed - his world domination, and the end of all the Ge'ula steps until the year 5750, after which is the rectification of the world and the resurrection of the dead
26. Healing harsh illnesses in the Beit Hamikdash
27. Verses from the prophets about nuclear war

Replica of Beit Hamikdash Being Built

Arutz Sheva reports:
(IsraelNN.com) Jews in the town of Mitzpe Yericho are taking practical steps to prepare for the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, by preparing descendents of Cohanim (priests) and Levites for service. At the Mitzpe Yericho school, Temple priest hopefuls learn exactly how to conduct the daily Temple service and offer the required sacrifices.





"Today is really a historical event for the Jewish people,” organizer Levi Chazan said as another part of the school was completed. “It is the beginning of the work for the Third Temple.”

The school will include an exact replica of the Temple. The latest addition to the replica was the area in which priests offered wine and water libations. The water offering was traditionally given on the Sukkot holiday, which was celebrated last week.

Festivities accompanied the completion of another step in the school's construction. Among those present was Baruch Marzel, long-time Land of Israel activist and parliamentary aide to MK Michael Ben-Ari. The timing of the work on the school is particularly appropriate due to recent Muslim riots against Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, Marzel said.

Is Using Mayan Calendars for the Keitz Avoda Zara?

Unfortunately, many of the Sukkot Ge'ula predictions have not come to pass. We hope and pray for Mashiah's arrival every day despite prior disappointments.

Not too long ago, I told about a certain rav who gave a shiur about certain Ge'ula predictions, and among the other Kosher sources, he mentioned the Mayan calendar ending in 2012.

I mentioned at the time that I wasn't too keen on the idea, but could using such sources actually be Avoda Zara?

I'm not sure, and I certainly don't want to accuse anyone of this, but here's a quote from Fox News in a recent article that may provide a possible answer to that question:
But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials such as one on the History Channel which mixes "predictions" from Nostradamus and the Mayas and asks: "Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?"

It may sound all too much like other doomsday scenarios of recent decades — the 1987 Harmonic Convergence, the Jupiter Effect or "Planet X." But this one has some grains of archaeological basis.

One of them is Monument Six.

Found at an obscure ruin in southern Mexico during highway construction in the 1960s, the stone tablet almost didn't survive; the site was largely paved over and parts of the tablet were looted.

It's unique in that the remaining parts contain the equivalent of the date 2012. The inscription describes something that is supposed to occur in 2012 involving Bolon Yokte, a mysterious Mayan god associated with both war and creation.

However — shades of Indiana Jones — erosion and a crack in the stone make the end of the passage almost illegible.

Archaeologist Guillermo Bernal of Mexico's National Autonomous University interprets the last eroded glyphs as maybe saying, "He will descend from the sky."

Again, I'm not ח"ו accusing anyone of Avoda Zara - I'm just saying that we should perhaps be more careful in the future about using this concept.

Turkish Jews: Our Minyan Must Not Use Nigunei Carlbach

Or did I misread this headline?

Sorry.

:-)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Hoshana Rabba Moon "Bombing"

Shirat Devorah makes an interesting connection between Hoshana Rabba and the moon "bombing" by NASA that is supposed to take place on that day. The moon "bombing" is scheduled for 7:30 EDT on Friday, which is right when my KeVatikin minyan is supposed to begin. She quotes from KosherTorah.com, who also mentions the Minhag HaTzeil - the (controversial, and largely abolished) custom of looking at your shadow naked in the moonlight to see if you are going to live out the year or not. I mentioned this at the end of my last post, referring to the Kaf HaHayim. The Kaf Hahayim refers you to the Matei Moshe, who has a lot of info on this Minhag. Even the Ramban on Humash talks about it.
What's interesting is that the purpose of NASA's mission is to look for water. However, we know the real Source of water.
The reason for the Minhag Hatzeil is given because:

אמנם הטעם בליל הושענא רבה יותר משאר
הלילות הבנתי מדברי הרוקח כי בחג
נדונים על המים. והוא יום אחרון שבחג שאז
נחתם לחיים כי כפי צורך החיים כך המים באים
לעולם


Here's the רוקח inside for those who want to see it:

לפי שבחג
עת המים והוצרכו בלילה שלפניו לראות כמה קרקפתא דגברי צריכין לפרנסה ומראין
בצל ואומרים המלאכים פלוני לא יחיה הרי אינו צריך למים ולפרנסה סר צילם מעליהם
וה׳ אתנו סר צלם מעליהם בגימטר׳ ס״ר שנ״ה למי שסר צילו לא יחיה שנה לפי שכתוב
בצל ידי כסיתיך ובצל כנפיך תחסה והשדים מצויין אצל צל של לבנה כדאמרינן בפרק
ערבי פס׳ (דף קא) [דף קיא] אצל הצל עוברים על לא תשיג גבול רעך ואותם מזיקים הם
של אש וברד
...


The way I understand it is that we are judged for water and Parnassa on Sukkot, and Hoshana Rabba is the conclusion of that judgement. The angels need to count out how much water to provide for the world, so if the angel sees the shadow's shadow of the person, then it knows to provide water for that person that year. Otherwise, it knows that such a person will not live out the year, and does not need water.
The gematria of סר צלם מעליהם = 615 = סר שנה.
And demons frequent moonlight shadows, as it says in Arvei Pesahim, which is why this test must be done in the moonlight itself - where there is an abundance of light - since only then would we be in the Tzel of Hashem, where we could see the shadow of the shadow.

So, by NASA "bombing" the moon, they are trying to see if the moon is inhabitable by looking for water sources. However, there is only 1 Source of water, and He determines the year's water supply on Hoshana Rabba - not NASA. The moon is not a source of water - it is merely the means by which we can determine if life and water will be provided for each person individually.

According to the Kaf Hahayim, this test works best when לבנה is the "planet" that rules that hour. The only area of the world that is still night during the hour that לבנה rules (according to the chart here) that occurs the same time that NASA is "bombing" the moon is Hawaii and its surrounding area and the Aleutian islands (assuming we go according to secular International Date Line standards - otherwise, it's possible that it's already Shemini Atseret there).

What does this all mean? Nobody knows until it happens.

(Just so I'm clear, no one should actually perform this Minhag Hatzeil unless you have a tradition to do so, and your local Orthodox rabbi approves it. Otherwise, it's best to follow the Rema, who says not to do it. As with all posts, this is not Le'ma'aseh.)

Various Unrelated Mashiah Things

  • I previously mentioned the book גליא רזא. I just found the reference to 5760 in HebrewBooks.org here in the right column.
  • Rav Paysach Krohn recently came to our בית כנסת to speak - he didn't say this there, but he said it on a CD I bought in the name of R' Zelig Epstein, who said it in the name of R' Shimon Shkop. In Pesahim 117b, it says:

    א"ר שמעון בן לקיש (בראשית יב) ואעשך לגוי גדול זהו שאומרים אלהי אברהם ואברכך זהו שאומרים אלהי יצחק ואגדלה שמך זהו שאומרים אלהי יעקב יכול יהו חותמין בכולן ת"ל והיה ברכה בך חותמין ואין חותמין בכולן

    Said R' Shimon Ben Lakish: (Bereishit 12) "And I will make you into a great nation" - that's what people say [in the Amida] "The G-d of Avraham". "And I will bless you" - that's what people say "The G-d of Yitzhak". "And I will make your name great" - that's what people say "The G-d of Ya'akov". I may think that they will conclude the blessing with [mentioning] all of them. Therefore, the verse tells you "And you will be a blessing" - [meaning that] they will conclude [the blessing] with you [i.e. Avraham] and they will not conclude [the blessing] with all of them.

    So, he says that the word "חותמין" (they will conclude) can be referring to the conclusion of time. When it's time to finish off time before the coming of Mashiah, we won't be like Yitzhak, who had a father to teach him how to be a tzaddik, nor will we be like Ya'akov, who had a father and a grandfather to teach him how to be a tzaddik. Rather, we will be like Avraham Avinu, whose father was an idol-worshipper, and was still able to come to the realization of the Master of the Universe on his own. We are a דור יתומים - and generation of orphans, a generation of Ba'alei Teshuva - just like Avraham, and that is how Hashem will be חותם the world before Mashiah's arrival.

    I saw a similar idea on a Modzhitz website quoting the Kozmir Rebbe - he says that Hashem will be חותם the world when we perform acts of kindness with each other - the character trait of Avraham Avinu.

  • I was looking at the Minhagim of Hoshana Rabba (in Hebrew) from Wikipedia and it mentions an old Minhag of circling Har Hazeitim 7 times (likely having to do with the Haftara we read this past Shabbat). (Also, see there about the fascinating Minhag of seeing your naked shadow in the moonlight, which was an abolished Minhag due to "Tamim Tihye". See the Rema here and the Kaf Hahayim's explanation here (אות ח"י וי"ט).)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sukkot Ge'ula?

Read here and here for some reasons why some have predicted a Sukkot Ge'ula.

The Mishna Berura 663:10 says that we read about Gog Umagog on Shabbat Hol Hamo'ed Sukkot (which doesn't occur this year - maybe because we will experience Gog Umagog instead) since Gog Umagog is destined to occur in Tishri.

May Hashem be מקים לנו את סכת דוד הנופלת.