Monday, March 29, 2010

Pre-Pesah Links

Hag Kasher VeSame'ah!

VIN - Ads on Buses Calling to Build 3rd Beis HaMikdash In Place of Mosque

VIN - Police Make Arrests after Men and Women Bring Goats for Korban Pesach

Matzav - Video Flashback: Birchas Hachamah…One Year Later

Matzav - Erev Pesach Musings

Arutz Sheva - INN Editorial: The Freedom to Build in Jerusalem:
...

Perhaps all the Jews, even those living most comfortably in the Diaspora, expressed this truth subliminally when they sang “Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem” at the close of the Seder each year.

“Rebuilt Jerusalem”--

Those words once meant the exiles’ hope to return to rebuild the city, but after it was reunited in 1967 and the sounds of construction filled the air as Jerusalem grew and expanded naturally in all directions, it seemed to be happening in our time. Jews still sang those words hoping for the Redemption, when they could rebuild the Holy Temple in the “city in which King David settled”, as Jerusalem is called in a poem of longing and idealism written by Rabbi Avraham Yitschak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s first Chief Rabbi.

“Rebuilt Jerusalem” has taken on another level of meaning these past few weeks. It seems the joyous rebuilding of the past forty three years is not seen as natural growth by much of the rest of the world. The ancient words of the song now are an assertion of the Jewish people’s right to build everywhere in their holy city and a demand for it to be recognized as rightfully theirs.

Let us sing those words with redoubled fervor this year. Jews are building in their own land, as in days of yore. The other nations are mouthing the words attributed to Esau’s—not Ishmael’s-- descendants, Edom, said by our Sages to be “known to hate Jacob”, at the time of the Temple’s destruction: “Destroy, destroy, unto the very foundations” of Jerusalem (Psalm 137).

The psalmist tells G-d to “Remember what the sons of Edom did on the day of Jerusalem” in the previous verse. We too will remember. And we will keep on building, because we have come home.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shabbat HaGadol Shalom

Dixie Yid, quoting Reb Itchie Mayer Morgenstern:

Shabbos HaGadol

The Chasam Sofer taught that Shabbos HaGadol is particularly auspicious for the arrival of Moshiach. The K’sav Sofer explained that even though the Arizal taught that Eliyahu HaNavi will not come on Shabbos, nevertheless Moshiach will come before Shabbos and remain hidden until he is revealed on Shabbos. This Shabbos [before Pesach] is especially suited to the revelation of the concept of, “His Name is sure”—that the Jewish people have the ability to bring the redemption provided that they do not fall into doubts about the worthiness or effectiveness of their prayers. “His Name is sure”—we certainly can bring about the required salvation. In the merit of this faith, the redemption is drawn down.

This is the meaning of the haftarah of Shabbos HaGadol: that Hashem derives pleasure when a person connects with the holiness of prayer and doesn’t fall into the doubts of the world of Asiyah. Rather, the night of Pesach empowers him to attain clear and pure faith that Hashem hears ours prayers. This is why the redemption really depends on achieving a yichud in the world of Asiyah, which in turn strengthens us to beg for the redemption just as they cried out in Egypt. “And we will cry out to Hashem our G-d, and Hashem will hear our voices and see our affliction.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Interesting Articles and Posts

Tomer Devorah talks about a right-wing American calling for the deportation of left-wing Jews, and that this could lead to no distinction between any type of Jew.

Shirat Devorah gives a list of cause-and-effect sins and punishments given to those who harmed or tried to harm the Jews of Israel.

Ladaat.net talks about how ObamaCare is prompting American doctors to consider Aliya.

Hirhurim has an interesting post with a quote that contains some information that was new to me about the Hurva Synagogue.

Rafi links to an article and video of Rav Shmuel Eliyahu being interviewed by a Chabad rabbi and talking, in part, about Mashiah.

The Tribune talks about the case of a divorced couple where the father is Catholic, but the mother is Jewish, the daughter is Jewish, the father's lawyer is Jewish, and the judge is Jewish. The Jewish lawyer is pleading to the Jewish judge to allow the Catholic father to take the Jewish daughter to church. B"H, the judge has seichel and didn't allow it, but the case is both absurd and sad.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Daf Yomi About Oto Ish's Death Falls on Shabbat HaGadol

The Gilui Milta B'alma blog points out that the censored part of Sanhedrin 43 (compare the censored version with the uncensored version) that talks about Oto Ish's execution which was on Erev Pesah will be learned by Daf Yomi learners on Shabbat Hagadol, a mere 2 days before Erev Pesah.

Funny how these things turn out.
מקרה רק מה'

Just to be Yotzei LeChol HaDei'ot...

Arutz Sheva:
New Guinness Record: The World's Largest Matza

(IsraelNN.com) On Thursday in Jerusalem, the world's largest matzo will be presented to the Meir Panim chairty organization in the presence of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

At three meters on each side, the enormous matza sets a new world record.

Links You May Like

Elder of Ziyon: The World Wants to Kill Jerusalem

Mashiach's Wife: B'Yameinu

Geulah Perspectives: Jerusalem: Not For Sale

Hirhurim: Waiting for Mashiach II

Daily Zohar: Daily Zohar #267 - Break the Dam; flood the world... with light

Wall Street Journal (Opinion by Alan Dershowitz): Obama's Legacy and the Iranian Bomb

Scott Lee Cohen: Illinois Democratic Party Doesn't Like Jews

Scott Lee Cohen, whom I mentioned previously won the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, but subsequently stepped down under pressure, claimed anti-Jewish sentiment as one of the reasons he was pressured to quit.

Chicago Magazine:
What were the biggest lessons that you took away from all of this?
Well, I think there’re a couple of things. First of all, we don’t live in a democratic society. People’s votes don’t matter. The party, the career politicians, are afraid of an outsider.

Anything else?
Only how much of an effect my religion had on being part of the party. Listen, I’m Jewish. I’m only the third Jewish person to ever win the nomination for a statewide office. And I believe that that had some influence on the party not wanting me.

What gave you that impression?
The elected officials would never say that they don’t want me because I’m Jewish. But it did come up in chatter and in backroom meetings. And a lot of the papers kept using the word “pawnbroker.” You know, being a pawnbroker is predominantly a Jewish business. My opponents kept attacking, kept saying, “the millionaire pawnbroker,” which a lot of people took as saying, “the millionaire Jew.” Jewish people, you know, have been persecuted our whole existence, and again, this is 2010, and maybe I’m naive, but I don’t believe it was an issue with the people as much as it was with the party.

Clearly the voters didn’t think it was an issue; you won.
I won—211,000 votes.


(Hat tip: World Jewish Daily)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

We'll Be Redeemed in Nissan Even Without Shibud of All 70 Nations

Image comes from unrv.com. Click to enlarge.


Shir Hashirim Rabba 2:19:


ר' יודן ור' חוניא -
ר' יודן בשם ר' אליעזר בנו של רבי יוסי הגלילי
ור' חוניא בשם ר' אליעזר בן יעקב אומר:
קול דודי הנה זה בא
זה מלך המשיח.
בשעה שהוא אומר לישראל: בחדש הזה אתם נגאלין.
אומרים לו: היאך אנו נגאלין? ולא כבר נשבע הקדוש ברוך הוא שהוא משעבדנו בשבעים אומות?
והוא משיבן שתי תשובות ואומר להם:
אחד מכם גולה לברבריה.
ואחד מכם גולה לסמטריה.
דומה כמו שגליתם כולכם. ולא עוד, אלא שהמלכות הזאת מכתבת טירוניא מכל העולם,
מכל אומה ואומה. כותי אחד, או ברברי אחד, בא ומשעבד בכם. כגון: ששעבדתם בהם כל אומתם, וכאילו נשתעבדתם בשבעים אומות.
ובחדש הזה אתם נגאלין, הדא הוא דכתיב: החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים.

I wanted to post this to show that we are destined to be redeemed during the month of Nissan. And that is really the main reason why I'm posting this post.

However, I got stuck on trying to figure out the names of ברבריה and סמטריה

ברבריה could mean any Barbarian people, which according to Wikipedia in English could really mean anybody. Wikipedia in Hebrew says that Barbarians to ancient Rome refers to either Germanic tribes, Celts, or Slavs.
The other possibility is that it refers to the Berbers, who come from North Africa. Perhaps, Numidia, but Numidia was gone in 46 BCE. However, the Berber people remain.

סמטריה - the רד"ל says is really סרמטיה, which is Sarmatia, which encompassed present-day Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine.
He also gives the Girsa of the Pesikta Rabbati and Yalkut Shimoni, which says Brittania, or Britain. (Interestingly, one of the theories for the historical basis for King Arthur is that the Roman Emporer brought Sarmatians to Britain. But I digress.)

I was thinking:

If סמטריה is really Sarmatia and ברבריה are really Berbers, then it really tells you the two main population centers of Jews in the 19th century, namely, Poland/Russia and North Africa.

Then again,

If Sarmatia should really be Brittania, or Britain, then, by extension, it could mean America and all parts of the British Empire, like Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, etc.
If Barbaria should mean European countries, then this would include France, Germany and Russia.
These are the present-day population centers of Jews outside the Land of Israel.

However, אח"כ ראיתי the footnote in the Buber Edition of Pesikta deRav Kahana, where he is pretty lengthy on the identification of these countries. He comes out that ברבריה is definitely North Africa and if the Girsa is סמטריה, then it is Sarmatia, and quotes the Aruch who describes Barbaria and Sarmatia as אומות בזויין.
The Buber Edition also says that for those Girsa'ot that say בריטניה, it should really be מורטניה, which is the country of Mauritania (which still exists as a country). He brings proofs to this from other places where Barbaria and Mauritania are mentioned together - namely, Yevamot 63b and the Sifri on Ha'azinu. He says that according to one opinion (Mar Zutra) in Sanhedrin 94a, all 10 tribes went to Africa, which could be the explanation of our Midrash.

But, knowing how "Barbaric" the Germans, Poles, and Russians were, I still like my Pshat.

Hodesh Tov to all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

US-Israeli Relations' Downward Spiral

What I wrote here is even more true now than it was 9 months ago.

Here are some great posts on the subject:

Akiva
Akiva again
Devash (This one is not really about this issue per se, but I liked it so I added it in.)
Devash again
Mashiach's Wife
Cosmic's roundup

Correction for Mr. Dahlan

Arutz Sheva:
Dahlan Says Churva Built on 'Ruins of Mosque of Omar'

Reported: 13:33 PM - Mar/15/10

(IsraelNN.com) Attempts to stir up Arab riots in Jerusalem in advance of the dedication of the Churva synagogue are under way. The Voice of Palestine reports that Senior Fatah member Mohammed Dahlan has “warned” the Fatah Central Committee that the Israeli actions in Jerusalem are aimed at control of the Al Aqsa Mosque and that the Churva Synagogue is built on the "ruins of the Mosque of Omar".

The Churva Synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City over three hundred meters west of the Western Wall, the Temple Mount compound and the al-Aqsa Mosque.

Um, Mr. Dahlan...excuse me...forgive me for interrupting, but I think you may be mixing up a few buildings there.

The Hurva is not on the ruins of the Mosque of Omar. The Mosque of Omar is (unfortunately) still standing. However, the Beit Hamikdash (Temple) will be on its ruins. Oh yeah, I almost forgot...and your Allah is going to make that happen, too.

Thank you for your time, and you can now go on with your incitement to violence.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Latest Hurva Links

Arutz Sheva: Video: First Visit to the Rebuilt Hurva Synagogue

Wall Street Journal:In the Holy Land, a Rebuilding for the Generations

Arutz Sheva: Hurva to Reopen After 62 Years – Without Netanyahu

Elder of Ziyon: PalArabs seething and inciting over Hurva Synagogue

Sky News: Israel Seals Off West Bank Amid Riot Fears

Update:

Arutz Sheva: Rabbi Rabinowitz Ask Muslims Not to Riot at Hurva Event

Kikar Shabbat has a bunch of pictures from the Hachnasat Sefer Torah (hat tip: Rafi)

Another Idea for Expecting the Geula At All Times

Besides preparing for the Korban Pesah, the Mashiach is Coming blog reports:
An article by Yehuda Marks in this week's Hamodia discusses the mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh - sanctifying the new month.
He writes that "Until 1700 years ago, the beis din sanctified every Rosh Chodesh on the basis of evidence supplied by two witnesses who saw the new moon."
Furthermore, the author writes that this practice will be adopted at the time of the coming of Mashiach, when the Sanhedrin is once again established.
It is to this end that the Israeli New Moon Society has been formed to educate its members on how to spot the new moon.
The initiator of the project, as well as the Society members, can respond in the affirmative when they are asked, "Tzipita liYeshuah? — Did you hope for salvation?"
May we merit seeing a return to the sanctification of the new month based upon the testimony of two witnesses bimhera beyamenu.

Meshulahim

From JewishCartoon.com

Click to enlarge

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More on the New Korban Pesah Initiative

Regarding the new effort to bring a Korban Pesah this year that I mentioned in the previous post:

I see that besides Rav Kanievsky's Haskama to this initiative, we also have Rav Benayahu Shmueli signed onto it, along with Rav Kook, Rav Neventzahl and many other gedolim.

This initiative differs from other initiatives that I've seen in the past few years in that:
a) it seems to have broad Haskamot and
b) they've done their homework

Maybe this is the Shuvu Eilai that we need for Hashem to say "Ve'ashuva Aleichem".

Update: I realized I'm leaving out a major difference:
c) Some of the previous initiatives (like this one) call for bringing the Korban Pesah without a Beit Hamikdash and before the Geula occurring. This one is simply preparing for the Ge'ula and not getting caught off-guard.

Links of Interest

  • Bones from Tzippori that were dug up through an archaeological dig are being reburied on Har Hazeitim. Although at first glance, this does not seem like a good thing to have bones dug up, perhaps, after the fact, we can say that there is a good reason to have these bones of Tana'im and Amora'im on Har Hazeitim in time for the final Ge'ula.


  • R' Yair Hoffman gives the reasons for Kos Shel Eliyahu, and adds a Hiddush of his own.


  • Matzav.com reports:
    A new effort to prepare Yidden for the coming of Moshiach in time for Pesach 5770 has received the approval from gedolim. The project is aimed at having Yidden organized in chaburos, with animals inspected and ready to be used for the korban Pesach upon Moshiach’s arrival prior to the Chag Hamatzos this year.

    “We have to live with the reality of the geulah,” said an organizer. “We have to believe and act as if it is imminent. Preparing properly for the korban Pesach ahead of the upcoming chag is a part of this effort.”

    ...
    Check out the whole article

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

What Happened to Ahdut?

I hate to mimic a liberal mantra, but why can't Kelal Yisrael just get along?

I haven't seen as much Peirud as in the past couple weeks. Purim should have been a holiday that generates Ahava among Kelal Yisrael, but since then, alas, all I've seen is Sin'ah.

  1. Jewish website A gets an interview with someone who smashes computers.

  2. Jewish website B rants about this.

  3. Jewish website A published an op-ed which is not-so-flattering to Jonathan Pollard.

  4. Jewish website B published an op-ed (currently offline) which is not-so-flattering to Dr. Lander.

  5. Jewish website B considers removing comments (in an article that generated 115 comments) because of the previous op-ed.

  6. Jewish website C publishes an op-ed that decides to blast both Jewish website A and Jewish website B because of #3 & #4 above.

  7. Jewish organization X makes an agreement with Rabbi W not to give further semicha to female rabbis

  8. Jewish organization Y decides to blast Jewish organization X for this agreement and calls it a capitulation.


Don't get me wrong. I'm all for making a Meha'a when necessary. And in some of these cases, I agree that some of the ideas being protested are ill-conceived.

However, where is the Ahdut???!!!

What happened to Ve'ahavta LeRei'acha Kamocha?
What happened to the Ahava for each other that we had on Purim, where we accepted the Torah from Ahava, and we gave Mishlo'ah Manot and Matanot La'evyonim to our bretheren? Where is this?

Do we contemplate that we're coming to the month of Nissan, which is a month that we were redeemed and destined to be redeemed? One of the prerequisites of Ge'ula is Ahdut! Can we not understand this?

Yes, a Meha'a is necessary sometimes, but Kelal Yisrael, methinks thou dost protest too much.

These petty arguments are not bringing the Ge'ula. Ahdut will.

Update: This is a positive development.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Hebrew Gog Umagog Video Shiur

Rav Daniel Zer talks about Gog Umagog in his latest Shiur, a topic he has discussed often. Although Paras is supposed to rule Israel for a year, it's really up to us, he says. It's up to whether we do Teshuva or not.
A major part of the shiur talked about the Geula being dependant on learning Torah and not neglecting it.
At the end, he talked about how earthquakes, like the recent one in Chile, exist just so that we do Teshuva. The earthquake that is prophecied to occur on Har Hazeitim is the same.
May we be saved from this event.
In the end of the war, Hashem says, "ולא-אסתיר עוד פני מהם" - we will no longer live in a world of Hashem's face hidden.
May this time occur very soon.

Update: Also, check out Ari Goldwag's latest podcast on Gog Umagog.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Ki Tisa & Parah - End of Flood

This is the last year of the flood.

See what I wrote last year to see what I'm talking about.

Dubai Police Chief Incorrectly Expounds Pasuk

Lt. Gen Dahi Khalfan Tamim, the police chief of Dubai, who is investigating the alleged Mossad assassination of terrorist Mahmoud Mabhouh, has incorrectly expounded the following verse in Devarim 18:13:

תָּמִים תִּהְיֶה, עִם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ



Rafi and Elder reported that Lt. Gen. Tamim said that he has the ability to infiltrate the office of the head of the Mossad. Obviously, he must be using this verse as his source for this. He thus interprets it like this:

Lt. Gen. Tamim, you will be with Hashem, your G-d by being able to infiltrate the Mossad.

However, the real interpretation is:

Lt. Gen. Tamim, you will be with Hashem, your G-d by being nice to the Jewish people and stop accusing them for your own inadequacies.

(Someone, please tell me that Purim's over!)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Rambam Synagogue

The Hurva is not the only synagogue being redidicated this month. According to the New York Times, the Rambam Synagogue (aka "Rav Moshe") in Cairo is being rededicated next week.

The synagogue is said to have healing powers:
But this was not just any synagogue. Rav Moshe was considered to have special healing powers. One elderly Egyptian Jew now living in Europe told me how his childhood stuttering disappeared after his mother made him spend the night there. His miracle cure was a commonplace experience for many of Cairo’s Jews who sometimes called it the “Jewish Lourdes.”

Not only Jews came to Rav Moshe. King Fuad, who ruled Egypt from 1917-1936, found relief for his ailments after spending a night at the synagogue, although the plaque attesting to his visit has long since disappeared.

I wonder what the Rambam himself would think of this. I wouldn't imagine he'd be too impressed with these healing powers. Or would he?

Jewish Spiderman Theme Song


Hat tip for this picture to Rafi and Jameel.

With apologies to the real lyrics:

Spiderman,
Spiderman,
Got caught praying
On the Kotel Cam.
Among Hasidim
He stands out.
Red and blue
There's no doubt.
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman.

Is he ours?
Listen bud-
He's got authentic
Jewish blood.
Can he daven
worth a lick?
Take a look
at the pic.
Hey there! There goes the Spiderman.

In the glare
of the day
At the stones
of the wall
He gives a kiss
As if to say
Hashem will lift us
From our fall

Spiderman,
Spiderman,
Friendly Frum Jewish Spiderman
May look different
May web-spin
Has the heart
Of a Ma'amin
To him,
The Yetzer's walls that are found
Should be scaled or swung around
That's why he's Spiderman!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Post-Purim Posts