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Monday, November 30, 2009

Yaakov Avinu: I have MBY & MBD to Fight You, Eisav

Bereishit 32:6:

וַיְהִי-לִי שׁוֹר וַחֲמוֹר, צֹאן וְעֶבֶד וְשִׁפְחָה; וָאֶשְׁלְחָה לְהַגִּיד לַאדֹנִי, לִמְצֹא-חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ

And I have oxen, and asses and flocks, and men-servants and maid-servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favour in thy sight.'

Bereishit Rabba 75:6:

רבנן אמרי שור זה משוח מלחמה שנאמר (דברים לג) בכור שורו הדר לו חמור זה מלך המשיח שנאמר (זכריה ט) עני ורוכב על חמור וגו'

The midrash tells us that Yaakov Avinu basically told Eisav that I have Mashiah ben Yosef and Mashiah ben David, so don't mess with me.

The Nezer Hakodesh explains why they are given the names of ox and donkey. He quotes the Zohar who says in many places that ox corresponds to the left, while the donkey corresponds to the right. However, the ox and donkey on the side of evil correspond to Eisav and Yishmael respectively. When Eisav married Mahalat bat Yishmael, he combined the forces of evil to make one powerful force against Yaakov. (This is why the Torah forbids us to plow with an ox and donkey together - corresponding to the evil forces of the left and right, who, if combined, will destroy the world.) To this, Yaakov Avinu countered by saying ויהי לי שור וחמור - I have the power of the ox and donkey on the side of good [i.e., MBY and MBD] to counteract the ox and donkey on the side of evil [i.e. Eisav and Yishmael]. Proof that it refers to future times is the fact that it says ויהי לי שור וחמור instead of יש לי שור וחמור. This signifies future events similar to ויהי לי לישועה.

Hurva Synagogue Rededication in Nissan - Beit Hamikdash Connection

Everyone seems to be talking about an article in Haaretz about how the Hurva Synagogue will be rededicated on March 15th - and how the Vilna Gaon predicted its third construction is linked to the construction of the third Beit Hamikdash.

I talked about this a couple times already, and connected this idea to a gemara in Sanhedrin 98.

The Hiddush here is that the headline of "If the Vilna Gaon was right, the 3rd Temple is on its way" is so prominent in a secular website like Haaretz.

Perhaps, we're approaching the time when this verse will apply:

שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא-יַעֲשׂוּ עַוְלָה, וְלֹא-יְדַבְּרוּ כָזָב, וְלֹא-יִמָּצֵא בְּפִיהֶם, לְשׁוֹן תַּרְמִית: כִּי-הֵמָּה יִרְעוּ וְרָבְצוּ, וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bai, Bai, Miss American Pie

The two big news items of the day (in my mind) have to do with Mumbai and Dubai.

The first is an article from the Times of India which speculates that David Coleman Headley ימ"ש, who possibly pretended to be Jewish while gathering information about the Chabad House in Mumbai, and was recently arrested in Chicago, was really a CIA agent who turned rogue.

The second comes from Dubai, UAE, where the government investment company cannot pay their debts. This caused havoc in many global markets, but Wall Street didn't fall as much as expected. We'll see how this plays out next week.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dybbuk Exorcism via Skype has an article and a video of the Kabbalist Rav David Batzri Shlit"a getting rid of a Dybbuk via computer to someone across the Atlantic Ocean (it's unclear where exactly).
The article says that it took a number of hours, and he was finally successful at 11 PM.

The article warns you not to use the video, including its audio.

Very interesting.

The Power of Nines

A few articles and blogs have been talking about this.
I first saw this on Ynet, quoting Rav Metzger - the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel:
The chief rabbi noted that, according to Kabbalah, the 13 minutes between the hours of 1:43 pm and 1:56 pm on Thursday have unique qualities. He called upon the public to take advantage of this occasion to read psalms for Gilad's rescue. "With the power of prayer, we can open the heavens and be worthy of our heart's wishes being granted – that Gilad will light the Hannukah candles with his family."

Shirat Devorah quoted the Ynet article.
Bluke noted a Kupat Ha'ir poster about the concept. Josh Waxman notes this and links to the source of this idea - the Berit Menuha, bringing information about its author.
Nava adds that the Hesed LeAvraham and the Ramban have mentioned this idea too.

The idea is that the 9th year of the Yovel, the 9th month, the 9th day, and the 9th hour of the day is the choicest time, and this is a good time to pray when prayers would be most accepted.
The Berit Menuha explains Kabbalistically (I'm not saying I understand it fully) that there are 3 Shabbatot: the lower Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 7, the middle Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 8, and the upper Shabbat - which corresponds to the number 9.
Also, the ninth hour is when Eliyahu Hanavi prayed.
The Berit Menuha adds that if someone is born at this hour, he will undoubtedly merit kingship:

על כן כל איש שנולד בשנה הט׳ ליובל בחודש הט׳ ביום הט׳
בשעה הט׳ ושיתחיל לצמוח הוא כמו צומח של כל אלו הרי זה
עולה למלוכה בלי ספק

Left vs. Right and Binyamin's Role

The following was based on the נזה"ק על ב"ר פ' עג אות ה
Mashiah Ben YosefMashiah Ben David

Mashiah Ben Yosef will rule over Eisav, while Mashiah Ben David will rule over Yishmael.

How about Binyamin?
On the one hand, he's from Rahel, and is destined to destroy Eisav, as Binyamin is the tribe that twice won over Amalek. (He is not as powerful as Yosef for ruling over Eisav though.)
On the other hand, however, Binyamin pretty much clung to Yehuda when the 10 tribes split off. Also, he was called בן ימין for a reason. (Also, Yaakov Avinu was able to confront Eisav without Binyamin.)

Really, Binyamin is a mixture of both. He's part of the left, but has a foothold in the right.
(Also, see this Ge'ulah Perspectives post which suggests that Sha'ul could have been MBY had he not kept Agag alive.)

Any comparisons to Binyamin Netanyahu and his fateful mission of destroying the Amalek of our time who is clothed in Yishmael are purely coincidental. ;-)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How Many Jews Will There Be for the Geula?

Well, there are many opinions about this, but the נזר הקדש on the Midrash of this week's Perasha, quoting the Yalkut Shimoni in Micha seems to say 1,207,100.

The verses in Micha (2:12-13) say:

יב אָסֹף אֶאֱסֹף יַעֲקֹב כֻּלָּךְ, קַבֵּץ אֲקַבֵּץ שְׁאֵרִית יִשְׂרָאֵל--יַחַד אֲשִׂימֶנּוּ, כְּצֹאן בָּצְרָה: כְּעֵדֶר בְּתוֹךְ הַדָּבְרוֹ, תְּהִימֶנָה מֵאָדָם.

12 I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will render them all as sheep in a fold; as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men.

יג עָלָה הַפֹּרֵץ, לִפְנֵיהֶם--פָּרְצוּ וַיַּעֲבֹרוּ, שַׁעַר וַיֵּצְאוּ בוֹ; וַיַּעֲבֹר מַלְכָּם לִפְנֵיהֶם, וַיהוָה בְּרֹאשָׁם.

13 The breaker is gone up before them; they have broken forth and passed on, by the gate, and are gone out thereat; and their king is passed on before them, and the LORD at the head of them.

Bereishit Rabba 73:11 says:

ויפרוץ האיש
ר' שמעון בר אבא אמר: מלמד, שנפרצה לו פרצה מעין דוגמא של עולם הבא, היך מה דאת אמר (מיכה ב): עלה הפורץ לפניהם.

רבי אבא בר כהנא אמר: מאה ותרתין רבוון, שבעה אלפים מאתן עדרין, הוו ליה לאבינו יעקב.

And the man increased.
Ribbi Shimon Bar Abba said: This teaches us that an opening was opened for him similar to the World to Come. This is what is meant by the verse (Micha 2:13) The breaker is gone up before them.

Ribbi Abba Bar Kahana said: 1,207,100 flocks of sheep Yaakov Avinu had.

The Yalkut Shimoni on the verse in Micha (Remez 551) says:

אמר רבי תנחומא בר אבא מאה ועשרים רבוא של צאן היו לו שנאמר ויפרוץ האיש מאד מאד, וכתיב וירב העם ויעצמו מאד, מה להלן ששים רבוא וכתיב מאד אף כאן ק"כ רבוא דכתיב מאד מאד, ולעתיד לבא אני פורץ אותן לבניו שנאמר עלה הפורץ וגו':

Said Ribbi Tanhuma Bar Abba: 1,200,000 [flocks] of sheep had he, as it says "And the man increased exceedingly". And it is written [regarding the Israelites in Egypt], "And the people multiplied and they became very strong". Just like there, there were 600,000, and it says "מאד", so too, here, 1,200,000, since it says "מאד מאד". And in the future to come, I open them up to his children, as it says, "The breaker is gone up before them."

The Nezer Hakodesh explains this to mean that this, or more precisely, 1,207,100, will be the number of Jews in the time of the Geula.

If there are 13.2 million Jews in the world today, even if the 1.2 million figure only includes men from 20-60, the outlook is scary.

What can we do? Make sure we're one of them. Teshuva is the answer.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rav Shmueli on the Perasha

Some of the interesting things from Rav Shmueli's latest Shiur.
  • In the first 6 minutes or so, he tells over something he heard from Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a, that we know that the Berachot given to Yaakov Avinu by Yitzhak Avinu were meant for the final generation - i.e., our generation. (He elaborated more on this idea in last week's shiur.) If so, the prosecuting angels can claim that if the Berachot were actually meant for Yaakov Avinu, then it would make sense since he deserves it, being the Tzaddik that he is. However, our generation has all kinds of people, including Beinonim and Resha'im. How is it possible that we deserve these Berachot? The answer is that Yitzhak Avinu thought that Eisav was receiving the Berachot - and he's a Rasha - and Yitzhak Avinu gave them to him anyways, so we can claim that we deserve the Berachot too.
  • At about the 57:20 mark, he talks about how we know that many Sephardic women have the custom of ululations, which somewhat sounds like "lalalalalalalalala" during weddings and other semahot. He says that the source of this custom is from Yaakov Avinu marrying Leah instead of Rahel. Everyone was saying "היא לאה היא לאה היא לאה" to loudly hint to him that it was really Leah, but Yaakov Avinu didn't hear this loud hint.
  • Right after that, he says that the verse לֹא-יֵעָשֶׂה כֵן בִּמְקוֹמֵנוּ can mean that in our language and place, "No" becomes "Yes" - this was Lavan's crooked defense.
  • At about the 1:01:00 mark, he told a story I heard before, but is great to hear again. The אלשיך was giving a derasha on פרשת ויצא and the Ariza"l was in attendance. He started to expound on all the 100 ways that Lavan cheated Yaakov Avinu (עשרת מנים). The Ariza"l started laughing in the middle. Later, people asked him why he was laughing. He explained that angels brought Lavan into the room to hear the derasha, and for every one of the ways that Lavan cheated Yaakov Avinu, the angels asked him, "Did you do this?" He answered, "Yes, I did", and for that, he was given a whack. When the אלשיך mentioned one of the ways, however, and Lavan was asked if he did it, he said, "No, I didn't do that, but if I would have thought of it, I would have." The Ariza"l laughed each time Lavan was whacked for his trickery.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rav Salomon's Mashiah Dream
On Sunday, at what was the largest Hachnosas Sefer Torah event in the history of the Ihr HaTorah of Lakewood, some 6-7,000 men, women and children took part, together with the roshei yeshiva and mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, as well as rabbonim and poskim from throughout the town, for the pesichah of the Kleinman Family Campus of BMG and a Hachnosas Sefer Torah dedicated by the Kleinman family.

Following the Hachnosas Sefer Torah, guests gathered for a seudas mitzvah in a tent behind the new Forest Avenue-Eleventh Street bais medrash. At the seudah, the crowd was addressed by several speakers, including the mashgiach of Beth Medrash Govoha, Rav Matisyahu Salomon, whose remarks have been quoted (and misquoted) and have been making the rounds in frum circles.

In his speech, Rav Matisyahu spoke about a dream that he had this past summer. The mashgiach’s rebbetzin was very ill at the time, and he dreamt that the rosh yeshiva, Rav Aharon Kotler zt”l, appeared to him, looking exactly the way he remembered him from when he saw the rosh yeshiva as a bochur in Gateshead Yeshiva. The rosh yeshiva told him that if he’s mekabel to remain in Lakewood, then his rebbetzin will have a refuah sheleimah and both he and his rebbetzin will merit to greet Moshiach. He was mekabel that, and the rebbetzin has been zocheh to a miraculous recovery.

The mashgiach commented that we’re living in Moshiach’s times and it’s incumbent upon every person to realize that.

{Dovid Newscenter/Yated Ne’eman contributed to this report.}

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

כל אשר תאמר אליך שרה שמע בקולה

OK, maybe not "everything", but you gotta love what she says here.

ABC News:

"I disagree with the Obama administration on that," Palin told Walters. "I believe that the Jewish settlements should be allowed to be expanded upon, because that population of Israel is, is going to grow. More and more Jewish people will be flocking to Israel in the days and weeks and months ahead. And I don't think that the Obama administration has any right to tell Israel that the Jewish settlements cannot expand."


Monday, November 16, 2009

Rubashkin Trial is an Example of Eisav-Yaakov Relations

The Rubashkin trial and its outcome is a microcosm of the Jewish presence in Galut Edom. Eisav acts friendly to us until the right moment when it pounces, and it pounces hard.

This verse in this week's Perasha is most notable:

וַיִּשְׂטֹם עֵשָׂו, אֶת-יַעֲקֹב, עַל-הַבְּרָכָה, אֲשֶׁר בֵּרְכוֹ אָבִיו; וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו בְּלִבּוֹ, יִקְרְבוּ יְמֵי אֵבֶל אָבִי, וְאַהַרְגָה, אֶת-יַעֲקֹב אָחִי.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. And Esau said in his heart: 'Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.'

We have a halacha that must be treated like a halacha: Eisav hates Yaakov. He hides it well until the right moment. Eisav waits for such a moment, as the above verse shows.
The Rubashkin trial, its verdict, and its aftermath shows this in clear form. And there's another trial yet to come. Eisav found his moment.
I'm not saying that mistakes weren't made by the company. There clearly were. But to convict this man on so many counts, and railroading an innocent and honorable man to jail, can only be described in supernatural terms as Eisav finding his moment.
And the trial is not the worst of it. It's about to be getting a lot rougher for Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin. Some websites report that he was already treated badly. Eisav has found his moment.
And, if you think they're not out after you too, you're wrong. We need to be as Yashar in our dealings as possible, but even if we are, if they want you, they can get you. It started with FBI raids in New York/New Jersey and continues in Iowa/South Dakota. Eisav has found his moment.

My family drove to Seattle this past summer, and we stopped in Sioux Falls to pray Shaharit. I was not privy to the fact that the trial of a religious Jew would be taking place there soon thereafter. If I had only known about the trial that was supposed to take place there a mere few months later, I would have prayed much harder. I don't know if it would have helped or not - only Hashem knows.

The Rubashkin family has gone through a hard year, and they need our Tefilot.
No matter what your opinion is on whether he is innocent or guilty, our attitude CANNOT be "Oh, well, you do the crime, you do the time." NO! An honorable Jewish soul is in the Beit Ha'asurim! We must pray for his release.

Tehillim 37:32-34:

לב צוֹפֶה רָשָׁע, לַצַּדִּיק; וּמְבַקֵּשׁ, לַהֲמִיתוֹ

32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.

לג יְהוָה, לֹא-יַעַזְבֶנּוּ בְיָדוֹ; וְלֹא יַרְשִׁיעֶנּוּ, בְּהִשָּׁפְטוֹ

33 The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor suffer him to be condemned when he is judged.

לד קַוֵּה אֶל-יְהוָה, וּשְׁמֹר דַּרְכּוֹ, וִירוֹמִמְךָ, לָרֶשֶׁת אָרֶץ
בְּהִכָּרֵת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה.

34 Wait for the LORD, and keep His way, and He will exalt thee to inherit the land; {N} when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Age of Yishmael When He Died - 137

Just thought about this:

The Torah says that Yishmael died at age 137. Multiply by 10 and you get 1370.

Muslim Arabs conquer Yerushalayim in 638 CE.

2009 - 638 = 1371.

(OK, I haven't thought of a good reason for multiplying by 10 yet, but I'm working on it.)

Update: See this Keitz Meguleh post for a different take on this which takes the Crusader era into account.

Galut Yishmael

The following was written in Hebrew by Rav Yoel Schwartz in his book דבר בעתו. I'll do my best to translate it.

"There is nothing as harsh to Israel as the Exile of Yishmael" (Zohar Shemot 288)

"Why is his name called Yishmael? Because in the future, HKB"H will hear the sound of the cries of the people from what the children of Yishmael will do in the future - therefore, his name is called Yishmael" (Pirkei deRibbi Eliezer Ch. 33)

The Exile of Yishmael, according to Rabbeinu Sa'adia Gaon (on Daniel 2:41), is a portion of the Exile of Edom. And this is what Nevuchadnetzar saw in his dream, that the idol had feet - some made of iron and some made of earthenware. The iron represents the Kingdom of Edom, while the earthenware represents the Kingdom of Yishmael. On the other hand, the Mahara"l's opinion in the book Netzah Yisrael (Ch. 21) and in his work Ner Mitzvah is: "...It appears that we can say that Yishmael is included in the Kingdom of Paras (Persia), and it's included in a second kingdom, as their conduct and deeds are similar. And it's a known fact that the Kingdom of Paras and the Kingdom of Yishmael are alike and similar in their matters and their conduct."

The Kingdom of Paras-Yishmael will last until the Days of Mashiah, just like Edom (Avoda Zara 2b). Indeed, the Kingdom of Yishmael in our days is still powerful, and is not like Christianity, which is in a clear decline. However, also Islam - its expansion is mainly among the fundamentalists - and not among the moderates. In our days, the Arabs attack not just the existance of Zionism in the land, but also the Jews - just like the Syrian President - Bashar Assad and others - they attack Judaism on their Internet sites with words of heresy, Rahmana Litzlan.

The war in our days with the Palestinians - awakens all the Arabs in the world against the Jews. And perhaps, it's more proper to say that the Palestinians are the agents of all the Arabs in the world against the Nation of Israel.

In the Zohar (Parshat Balak, p. 198) it's explained that the verses (Tehillim 60:10) "עָלַי, פְּלֶשֶׁת הִתְרוֹעָעִי - Philistia, cry aloud because of me!" and (Tehillim 108:10)עֲלֵי-פְלֶשֶׁת, אֶתְרוֹעָע - over Philistia do I cry aloud" are just like the phrase that precedes them in the verse "עַל-אֱדוֹם, אַשְׁלִיךְ נַעֲלִי - upon Edom do I cast my shoe". The Zohar explains that this is said for a faraway time, which implies the End of Days. And similarly, the verse regarding the Philistines is said for a faraway time. And we see an amazing thing - the Arabs who constantly opposed being called "Palestinians" - the same as Philistines - today call themselves "Philistines". The Zohar adds and says, "And what is required for this? A Teruah, as it says (BaMidbar 10:9) וְכִי-תָבֹאוּ מִלְחָמָה בְּאַרְצְכֶם, עַל-הַצַּר הַצֹּרֵר אֶתְכֶם--וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם, בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת; וְנִזְכַּרְתֶּם, לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם, וְנוֹשַׁעְתֶּם, מֵאֹיְבֵיכֶם - And when ye go to war in your land against the adversary that oppresseth you, then ye shall sound an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies." And behold, the Intifada took place inside the land, and the enemy is found among us - something that didn't exist at any time until the Intifada.

[Author's footnote: The Gematrias of the verses are interesting. The word אֶתְרוֹעָע from Chapter 108 equals [5]747, or תשמ"ז and the word הִתְרוֹעָעִי from Chapter 60 equals [5]761, or תשס"א. They were both Shemitta years. One was the eve of the first Intifada, which broke out on the 40th anniversary of the declaration of the State of Israel in the United Nations., as it says in Tehillim 95" אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, אָקוּט בְּדוֹר-- וָאֹמַר, עַם תֹּעֵי לֵבָב הֵם; וְהֵם, לֹא-יָדְעוּ דְרָכָי. אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי בְאַפִּי; אִם-יְבֹאוּן, אֶל-מְנוּחָתִי - For forty years was I wearied with that generation, and said: It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My ways; Wherefore I swore in My wrath, that they should not enter into My rest." 5761 was the year of the second Intifada, which broke out in the final hours of the year 5760, the afternoon of Erev Rosh Hashana, 5761.]

And the Ba'al HaTurim wrote (at the end of Parshat Hayyei Sarah) on the verse: "על פני כל אחיו נפל - over against all his brethren he did settle (or fall)", and next to that verse is "וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק, בֶּן-אַבְרָהָם - And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son". When Yishmael will fall in the End of Days, then the son of David, represented by Yitzhak, will sprout.

Yishmaelpalooza Continues - The Root of the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The following was written in Hebrew by Rav Eliyahu Shlesinger in his book אלה הדברים. I'll try my best to translate it.

אֵלֶּה הֵם בְּנֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל, וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹתָם, בְּחַצְרֵיהֶם, וּבְטִירֹתָם--שְׁנֵים-עָשָׂר נְשִׂיאִם, לְאֻמֹּתָם

These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their courtyards, and by their encampments; twelve princes according to their nations. (Bereishit 25:16)

בְּחַצְרֵיהֶם "by their villages" - cities that have no wall. And the Targum says בפצחיהון since they are open, an expression of opening, just as יפצחו ורננו (Rashi)

I saw a deep idea of Rav Yitzhak Hutner ZT"L that is fitting to publicize.

In the calculation of the families of Yishmael, we find an expression of "נְשִׂיאִם לְאֻמֹּתָם - princes according to their nations", whereas by Eisav, it has an expression of "chiefs" - "אלופי עשו - chiefs of Eisav" (Bereishit 36:15) The difference between them extends throughout every stage of history, and serves as a source and root for the difference between Yishmael's relations with the Jewish people and those of Eisav. The explanation is according to what Haza"l set up as the definition of "Aluf - chief" as מלכותא בלא תגא - a king without a crown (Sanhedrin 99b). Eisav really merited kingship "ולאום מלאום יאמץ - and the one people shall be stronger than the other people" (Bereishit 25:23). However, his kingship is limited, and will only continue until the period of "ועלו מושיעים בהר ציון לשפוט את הר עשו - And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau" (Ovadia 1:21).

The crown really belongs to Yaakov. However, Yishmael only has princes - an expression of honor and greatness, but without the power of kingship.

This is the difference between Yishmael and Eisav: Eisav is an actual inheritor. "וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת-הַר שֵׂעִיר, לָרֶשֶׁת אוֹתוֹ - and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it" (Yehoshua 24:4) " כִּי-יְרֻשָּׁה לְעֵשָׂו, נָתַתִּי אֶת-הַר שֵׂעִיר - because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession" (Devarim 2:5), whereas regarding Yishmael, it says the opposite: "גָּרֵשׁ הָאָמָה הַזֹּאת, וְאֶת-בְּנָהּ: כִּי לֹא יִירַשׁ בֶּן-הָאָמָה הַזֹּאת - Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir" (Bereishit 21:10). Eisav, as the role of an inheritor, gets the power of inheritance - with a specific limitation - from our forefathers. Anyone who has a listening ear to the tones of Scripture will be able to distinguish with the minutest difference between what was said by the calculation of the lineage of the chiefs of Eisav "אֵלֶּה אַלּוּפֵי אֱדוֹם, לְמֹשְׁבֹתָם בְּאֶרֶץ אֲחֻזָּתָם - These are the chiefs of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession" (Bereishit 36:43) and what was said regarding the princes of Yishmael "וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹתָם, בְּחַצְרֵיהֶם, וּבְטִירֹתָם - and these are their names, by their courtyards, and by their encampments" (Bereishit 25:16).

What kind of term of identification of the dwelling-place of the princes of Yishmael is בחצריהם - in their courtyards?!?! However, that's exactly the point! Eisav is an inheritor, and he has his own dwelling and his own place. However, Yishmael is not an inheritor and does not have his own place. Regarding this, it says "בְּחַצְרֵיהֶם, וּבְטִירֹתָם - by their courtyards, and by their encampments", which are more temporary concepts than a dwelling-place and inheritance.

Eisav, who is his own inheritor and got his inheritance, cannot go and claim [Eretz Yisrael] as a portion of his inheritance. However, Yishmael comes with his full jealousy and anger over Eretz Yisrael: "It's mine". And this is the rage of someone who does not have an inheritance, since he was excluded from an inheritance, and he's coming to take the portion of inheritance of the inheritor from his family member. And this is the foundation of all the murder and anger that we have seen with our own eyes in our days of the children of Yishmael over the inheritance in Eretz Yisrael...

These words were said [by Rav Hutner] in the year 5730. And how beautiful and enlightening they are for our own days.

And from one idea to another idea within the same idea - the inheritance of the land.

The first person that identified the irrational and non-understandable behavior of Yishmael was Sarah Imeinu, A"H, who, immediately after the birth of her son Yitzhak, saw the son of Hagar "מצחק - playing around".

Hazal said in Bereishit Rabba: "This is not an expression of fooling around, but rather, an expression of inheritance, since at the time that our father Yitzhak was born everyone was happy. Yishmael, however, told them: 'You are fools. I am the first-born and I get a double-portion.' Because you learn this from the answer that Sarah gave Avraham: 'for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son...' " We see that Yishmael in all generations believed with all his heart that he is the inheritor, that he deserves the land due to its spiritual blessings. And therefore, in all generations, Yishmael tries to kill Yitzhak, who is his greatest arch-enemy.

It's brought down in Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 52:15): "Yishmael said to Yitzhak: 'Let's go and see our portion in the field.' So Yishmael would take his bow and arrows and shoot toward Yitzhak, and pretend as if he's מצחק - playing around." Please look at what Yishmael said "Let's go and see our portion". Already then, Yishmael is hiding knives in his pocket and is waiting for the right moment in order to attack and kill Yitzhak - because Yishmael has a general rule: "the ends justify the means". The ends are the land of Eretz Yisrael. The means are "ידו בכל - his hand is in everyone". And with his great hatred of Yitzhak, he doesn't loathe any means in order to reach the ends [of taking Eretz Yisrael from those] to whom it is an inheritance and belongs only to them. This hatred continuously gets stronger, and perhaps will never be extinguished. Ribbi Moshe Cordovero (on the Zohar, Parshat Vayeira) expressed this properly: "The children of Yishmael will in the future - at that time - awaken together with all the nations of the world to come to Yerushalayim... and all the nations will gather and make a peace treaty between them, and they will turn against Israel to destroy... and it will be a time of trouble for Yaakov. However, they will not come to break [us] - rather, from it, he will be saved."

How does this blood-battle end? And when will we merit that this land will quiet down for not just 40 years - but forever?

For this, the Torah concludes (Bereishit 25:8-9)"וַיִּגְוַע וַיָּמָת אַבְרָהָם בְּשֵׂיבָה טוֹבָה וכו' וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ יִצְחָק וְיִשְׁמָעֵאל, בָּנָיו, אֶל-מְעָרַת, הַמַּכְפֵּלָה - And Abraham expired, and died in a good old age...And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah." Rashi explains, quoting the Midrash, "From here we see, that Yishmael did Teshuva, and had Yitzhak go in front of him, and that is the 'good old age' that is said about Avraham." In other words, there will come a day that Yishmael will recognize his mistake and understand that the first-born rights go to Yitzhak, as even the Torah had Yitzhak first "וַיִּקְבְּרוּ אֹתוֹ יִצְחָק וְיִשְׁמָעֵאל, בָּנָיו - And Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him." He will understand that Eretz Yisrael is given to the descendants of Yitzhak in order to concretize the Torah of Avraham Avinu A"H on its land. And this is how the long blood bath will end - Yishmael will do Teshuva.

And about the question we asked - when will this occur? We have no answers. The Rambam already wrote about the era of the days of Mashiah "For we will not know how it will be until it happens." Nevertheless, there is a hint to this at the end of the Perasha: "על פני כל אחיו נפל - over against all his brethren he did settle (or fall)" (Bereishit 25:18). And the beginning of the next Perasha is "ואלה תולדות יצחק - And these are the generations of Isaac". Regarding the juxtaposition of these Parshiot, the Ba'al HaTurim says, "When Yishmael will fall at the End of Days, then the son of David - who comes from the generations of Yitzhak - will sprout." From here we see that Yishmael will do Teshuva, and this will occur after he falls, after his military might will be broken, and his empty pride will disappear, and then, we will merit "And the redeemer comes to Zion."

Monday, November 09, 2009

I Stopped Watching Sesame Street When...

1) Snuffleupagus became visible to all
2) Mr. Hooper got voted off the show
3) We saw more and more of Elmo and less and less of Super Grover
4) Cookie Monster started eating veggies instead
5) I realized I couldn't make things appear by saying "A la peanut butter sandwiches!"
6) Lightning didn't appear when I counted to any number
7) I turned 11 and my friends started making fun of me

Happy 40th Anniversary, Sesame Street!

Yishmael and Zimah

The connection was known to Haza"l and is known to us today.

Kiddushin 49b

י' קבים זנות ירדו לעולם תשעה נטלה ערביא ואחד כל העולם כולו

Also coming to mind is the famous Midrash on וזרח משעיר למו הופיע מהר פארן that says that Hashem asked the nations if they want the Torah, and they refused for various reasons. Many versions have it that Hashem asked Yishmael to accept the Torah. They asked, "What's written in it?" The reply was לא תנאף (Thou shalt not commit adultery). They replied that they don't want the Torah in such a case.

2 recent articles (among many) promote this idea:

Elder of Ziyon: Arab report: Extremists use sex to recruit suicide bombers

Fox News: Alleged Fort Hood Shooter Frequented Local Strip Club

And here's another especially disturbing one from this past summer.

Friday, November 06, 2009

20 Heshvan Geula Links

Shirat Devorah

Tomer Devorah

Mystical Paths

This may tie into it too.

Also, don't forget about the Zohar Hadash in Balak (Ma'amar Darach Kochav MiYa'akov), which you can find on page 35 here or here:

ובירחא דבול, יפולו שנאיהון, ויתעברון כל אינון גילולין דישתארון בארעא קדישא. ומתמן יהכון ויתערון קרבין על עלמא. ובעוד דאינון יגיחון קרבין עם כל בני עלמא, יתכנשון בנוי דאדום על ארעא קדישא, ויתפסון לה, וישלטון עלה תריסר ירחי

which translates to Hebrew as

ובחודש בול [שהוא מרחשון] יפלו שונאי ישראל, ויעברו אלו הגילולים שיישארו בארץ הקדושה, ומשם ילכו [ישראל] ויעוררו מלחמות על העולם, ובעוד שאלו יעשו מלחמות עם כל בני העולם, יתקבצו בניו של אדום על הארץ הקדושה, ויתפשו אותה, וישלטו עליה י"ב חודשים.

which doesn't start out as the rosiest scenario, but it shows that Heshvan is an important time in the Geula process.
Shabbat Shalom.

Never Thought I'd Say This: Today, I'm a Mets Fan

Despite what may have happened in 1969, I am now proud to be a Mets fan (for a few days anyways).

Eleven organizations from the US and Israel have tried to persuade the New York Mets to cancel a November 21st dinner at the Caesars Club at Citi Field for the Brooklyn-based Hebron Fund. The dinner is a fundraiser for the Jewish community in the city of Chevron.

In a letter sent to the Mets on November 3rd, the groups said, “The New York Mets will be facilitating activities that directly violate international law and the Obama administration’s call for a freeze in settlement construction, and that actively promote racial discrimination, and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes in Hebron.”
The New York Mets, however, have not backed down at all due to the intimidation tactics and the anti-Israeli propaganda.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Rav Shmueli: Yishmael's Reign Ending "Now"

At the end of Rav Shmueli's latest Shei'ur (at approx. the 1:05:45 mark until the end), he said that Rav Mordechai Sharabi's Yahrtzeit is 20 MarHeshvan, which falls out on Shabbat this year, and they plan to have a memorial on Thursday night and a special Shabbat in his Yeshiva, with special Derashot, Tefillot and a special Se'udat Shelishit. All for the purpose of bringing the Redemption closer.

He then said that although Yishma'el had the merit of Berit Milah to allow them to stay in Eretz Yisrael for (300)[1300] years, their reign will "now, now, now" come to an end. Just like right before a person dies, he gets stronger (as the Ariza"l says that his נרנח"י all come together to accept the punishment of death), so too, even though we see Yishma'el getting stronger, it's a sign of his imminent demise.

Monday, November 02, 2009

4 Kings vs. Mashiah Part 3

דבר אחר ויהי בימי אמרפל מלך שנער זו בבל
אריוך מלך אלסר זו יון כדרלעומר מלך
עילם זו מדי ותדעל מלך גוים זו מלכות אדום שהיא
מכתבת טירוניא מכל העכו״ם אמר רבי אלעזר
בר אבינא אם ראיתה מלכיות מתגרות אלו באלו צפה
לרגלו של משיח תדע שכן שהרי בימי אברהם ע"י שנתגרו
המלכיות אלו באלו באה הגאולה לאברהם

The end of the Midrash tells us that if nations start up with each other, you can expect Mashiah soon just as a Ge'ula came to Avraham when nations started up with each other. The Nezer Hakodesh explains it like he said earlier that Mashiah was saved for the final Ge'ula when Avraham saved Lot.
He then gives a more Kabbalistic explanation by saying that Mashiah's soul is hidden deep inside the outer forces, which are controlled by the angels of the nations. Because of this, it's impossible to free his soul from there and bring the Ge'ula closer. However, when wars are going on, the nations' ministering angels are distracted from Mashiah's soul, and he's able to free himself to bring the Ge'ula closer.

However, the beginning of this Midrash is also interesting, especially the idea that תדעל מלך גוים represents Edom. Rashi in Humash brings down a prior Midrash that says that "גוים" means that a bunch of people got together and they made a king from among themselves. In other words, it was the first country where the monarchy was not inherited, but it was similar to a democracy of sorts. This is similar to the Edom that we live in today.
President Obama wants to not just be the President of the United States - he wants to be the President of the World. In other words, he wants to be מלך גוים - a king over nations.
Much has been said about the gematria of ברק חוסיין אובאמה being 501, which is the same as ראש and ישמעאלים. However, if you use the 3 words of his name to add the כוללים, you get 504, which is the gematria of תדעל.

So, תדעל מלך גוים, aka President of the World - Barack Hussein Obama, is trying to destroy Avraham, aka the Jews of Eretz Yisrael by splitting up their land. However, he cannot get to them (although he keeps trying), so he captures the Jews of the Diaspora, by convincing almost 80% of them to vote for him, and meeting with "Peace" groups, like JStreet. Obama may know that Diaspora Jews are like Lot in that they hold the key to Mashiah's arrival in some hidden way (see the Kabbalistic explanation above). However, his plan is now being foiled by the Jews of Eretz Yisrael, who were against Obama from the start, and are showing the Diaspora Jews that Obama is not worth their support, thereby "saving" them from his clutches.

We will have to wait and see if he's going to further his battle against the Taliban, or start something with North Korea or Iran, but if he does, expect Mashiah to come soon thereafter.

Update: See אמת עכשיו who has a different opinion about this.

4 Kings vs. Mashiah Part 2

א"ר אבון כשם שפתח בד' מלכיות כך אינו חותם אלא בד' מלכיות את כדרלעומר מלך עילם ותדעל מלך גוים ומרפל מלך שנער ואריוך מלך אלסר כך אינו חותם אלא בד' מלכיות מלכות בבל ומלכות מדי ומלכות יון ומלכות אדום

The Nezer Hakodesh explains this Midrash to say that just as the first war in history was with 4 kings, so too the last war in history will be fought against the 4 kingdoms of Bavel, Madai, Yavan, and Edom - since Edom encompasses the 3 previous kingdoms as well. And that will be the war that ends all wars, as we know from לא ישא גוי אל גוי חרב.

The Midrash continues that there's a verse in Micha (4:12) that is clearly speaking of the war of Gog Umagog, which says that the armies of all the countries that fight against Yerushalayim will not know what Hashem's plan is for bringing them all there in that one spot of the world. They're only interested in getting the spoils of war. The verse says that they will be trampled on like the sheaves on the threshing-floor. This is exactly what happened to the 4 kings with Avraham - Hashem put them into Eimek Hasidim to be destroyed by Avraham and his army. מעשה אבות סימן לבנים.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

4 Kings vs. Mashiah Part 1

Bereishit Rabba 42:1

ומצאו יושב ודורש...
הפסוק הזה חרב פתחו רשעים וגו' זה אמרפל וחביריו
להפיל עני ואביון זה לוט לטבוח ישרי דרך זה אברהם
חרבם תבא בלבם ויחלק עליהם לילה הוא ועבדיו ויכם

The Nezer Hakodesh ד"ה להפיל עני ואביון explains this Midrash to say that the main purpose of the 4 kings attacking the 5 cities of the plain was to attack Avraham and Lot, even if the original purpose of the war was to quell the rebellion - it quickly turned into a fight against Lot and Avraham. So they captured Lot and they knew that Avraham would go after him, so that's how they were to get both of them.
The Nezer Hakodesh asks 1) how they knew that Avraham would go after him, and 2) in fact why did Avraham go after him if Lot was such a Rasha that his shephards were thieves? Also, the Zohar says that Lot had an appearance similar to Avraham's so by taking Lot, they were satisfied and left Sedom, but 3) how is taking someone with Avraham's appearance good enough for the 4 kings if they really wanted Avraham?
The Nezer Hakodesh answers these questions by saying that since Amrafel was really Nimrod, he was very intelligent in כח הטומאה - the dark forces. He knew that Avraham's descendants would hold the key in destroying these dark forces, and that's why Nimrod wanted Avraham dead so badly. However, Nimrod also knew that the final Tikkun against the dark forces would only come via Mashiah, who came from Lot (via Mo'av -> Rut -> David). This is why Avraham went after Lot to save him, and how they knew that Avraham would go after Lot to save him. Also, if a person is similar to another in appearance, it means that their spiritual souls are similar as well. Even though Lot was no Avraham, but hidden within him was the potential for a later generation to be Mashiah, and that's why his appearance was similar to Avraham's. This is what Nimrod saw as well, and that's why he was satisfied with Lot being taken.