Friday, April 30, 2010

Links to Like

Chabad.org - The Authenticity of the Zohar - 5-part Article (via V=I·R)

Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblum on how the volcano should have us Thinking Jewishly.

Dixie Yid has a great short story from the Satmar Rav Zt"l.

Matzav on how to obtain a Kosher Haircut Guide poster.

YWN on Rav Amsallem from Shas' desire to have better access to the Kotel. Of note is the reason he gives:
“The Kosel is the remains of the Beis HaMikdosh, the holiest place for Am Yisrael. It is a place of daily tefilos. It must become the most accessible place”. Towards achieving this goal, he is seeking a plan that would involve numerous agencies, insisting roads accessing the Kosel must begin at the entrance to the city. These roads must lead to extremely large parking facilities located near the Kosel. He acknowledged there are problems, antiquities in the entire area, but this must be the goal nevertheless. These historic sites mustn’t be destroyed, “but we know if there is a will, there is a way”.

“We pray for moshiach’s arrival daily, when Am Yisrael will visit the Old City, and it appears the ministries responsible for such preparations are simply not addressing the matter today”.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pharaoh Summons Religious Jew to Palace

Arutz Sheva:
After blaming him personally for derailing talks with the PA, U.S. President Barak Obama has made an about face and taken the unprecedented step of inviting a junior minister of another country, Shas Party Chairman, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, on an official White House visit. The invitation was transferred to him by Dan Shapiro, deputy to George Mitchell, Middle East envoy for the Obama Administration.


Let's try to remember the last time Pharaoh called upon religious, G-d-fearing Jewish leaders to his place of residence:

During the plague of frogs
During the plague of wild animals
During the plague of hail
During (or perhaps right after) the plague of darkness
Right after the plague of the death of the firstborn in the middle of the night

Each of these meetings was followed by deception on Pharaoh's part. Each deception, in turn, was followed by terrible hardships for Pharaoh.

The muqata is right - there's nothing gained from going, but if forced to out of diplomatic necessity, and a deceptive deal is struck, Pharaoh better watch out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Rav Shmuley Meets the Pope

והבוטח באפיפיור שקר יסובבנהו

Arutz Sheva:
Rabbi Shmuely Boteach met with the Pope in St. Peter’s Square and gave him a watch as a gift. This is what ensued.

Rabbi Boteach said that the Pope remarked: "It has two faces on it" and, the Rabbi continued, "this was the perfect introduction for me to share the issues I had prepared. I said, ‘Pope Benedict, it’s an honor to meet you. This watch has the times of Rome and Jerusalem on it, signifying the eternal friendship between our two faiths. I also hope that when you wear it the future of the Jewish people will always be on your mind, as Israel struggles with existential threats, like Iran, who threaten to wipe it off the map. Your voice against these threats is essential, Your holiness.’

He said ‘Yes,’ nodding his head in agreement.”


This is how I wish the meeting would have gone:
Rabbi Shmuely Boteach met with the Pope in St. Peter’s Square and gave him a watch as a gift. This is what ensued.

Rabbi Boteach said that the Pope remarked: "It has two faces on it" and, the Rabbi continued, "this was the perfect introduction for me to share the issues I had prepared. I said, ‘Pope Benedict, it’s an honor to meet you. This watch has two faces on it, signifying the two faces of Edom throughout history. Sometimes, they act as our brothers and sometimes they act as our enemies. However, even when they act as our brothers, we know it's just a face. Our forefather Jacob prayed to G-d to be saved from these two faces. I also hope that when you wear it you will know that the prophecies that talk about the destruction of Edom refer to you and the Vatican. Your only hope for survival is to truly help the Jewish people and Israel struggle with existential threats, like Iran, who threaten to wipe it off the map. Your voice against these threats is essential for your survival.’

He said ‘Yes,’ nodding his head in agreement.”

Tefillot for Rubashkin

I went to this event.

It was standing-room-only and a great show of Ahdut among many groups of the community.

May Hashem, on this Pesah Sheni, on the 29th day of the Omer, which is symbolized by חסד שבהוד, show true kindness to the Hod of Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin. (Hod is the attribute of Aharon Hakohen, who loved peace and pursued peace. Sholom Mordechai's father is Aaron, who founded the company, and peace is Shalom. We hope that the kindness of Hashem is shown to Hod - the Rubashkin family - on this day of all days.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More Volcano Stuff



Fox News reports that Italy is warning about Ischia, the island volcano right next to Naples, that it may erupt soon. It is also in close proximity to Mt. Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii, and also next to Naples.

See here.



I already mentioned that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano is close to the Hekla volcano.

The last time Eyjafjallajökull erupted was 1821 and the last time Ischia erupted was 1302, both relatively infrequent.
Their larger counterparts, Hekla and Vesuvius, erupted last in 2000 and 1944 respectively, which is much more recent and they erupt much more frequently. I noted in the earlier post that they are 2 of the volcanoes that Rav Yaakov Emden called the openings of Gehinnom.

Another news item today is that a Guatemalan volcano spread ash all over the western part of the country.

What all this means is open to interpretation, but along with all the other earthquakes that have been happening recently, is likely a sign for all of us to take heed and do Teshuva.

Who's the 71st Nation With Gog?

We know that גוג ומגוג has a gematria of 70 that corresponds to the 70 nations. With Togarma, one of Gog's cohorts, getting unfriendlier by the day, this prophecy is shaping up. However, one Midrash seems to imply a 71st nation.

The Midrash Vayosha says that there will be a 71st nation that goes along with Gog. Who is this 71st nation?

The footnote (the Eishel Hayim) first says that he thinks the correct girsa is 70 nations - not 71. He then gives an alternative explanation that the 71st nation refers to the Jews of Yehuda who will be taken captive by Gog and brought to Yerushalayim (see the first few Pesukim of Zecharia 12, Rashi there, and Midrash Soheir Tov on Tehillim 118).

Alternatively, the explanation that makes the most sense to me based on the world's current situation is that the 71st nation is Yishmael, who is not included in the other 70.

Monday, April 26, 2010

R' Avraham Yosef on the Holyland Accusations

YWN:
The rav explains that “perhaps one can understand the words of the person who released the baseless accusation, seeking to assist his client” but he went on to lash out at the media, explaining we have become “Sodom and Gomorra, where any statement released by any fool makes its way to the headlines”.

The rav went on to explain there is no filtering and no responsibility, as if “we have become a society that pulls along any trash that fools release publically. We are not compelled to respond to every foolish statement, and this accusation is not worthy of a response”.

Links of Interest

Matzav reported about an Arutz Sheva article on how the Biblical promise of keeping Shemitta was fulfilled for a certain vineyard. Now, the wines have won awards. (Unfortunately, the A7 link is no longer valid so I don't know if there was a problem with the story or not. This story is now working correctly at A7. Meanwhile, Rafi and Cross-Currents got the story too. Rafi got it from here.)

Nava has an incredible story of how the Icelandic volcano saved the life of a transplant recipient. Original story in Hebrew here.

Neshama posted a new video showing how ridiculous it is to suggest life in prison for Sholom Rubashkin.

Devorah posted a guest post from Daniel S. on the Pharaoh-Obama connections.

Also, she posted a transcribed summary of the last few minutes of a certain rabbi's lesson, part of which was posted here too. This is very much worth checking out.

YWN reports that the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe has some interesting things to say about the volcano (among other things).

Elder of Ziyon brilliantly lists all the condemnations made by the Obama Administration. As the Sesame Street song goes, "One of these things is not like the other..."

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rav Yaakov Emden: An Icelandic Volcano is One of the Openings of Gehinnom


Thanks to Shirat Devorah for pointing me to a blog called AJNWatch, which posted the image above.

In it, Rav Yaakov Emden in Migdal Oz (another version of which you can find here) quotes the Gemara in Eiruvin 19a that says that there are 3 openings to Gehinnom: 1 in the desert, 1 at sea, and 1 in Yerushalayim. He tries to reconcile this with the Zohar that says that there are really 7 openings to Gehinnom. He therefore says that there are really 3 categories of openings to Gehinnom. There are 3 at sea: Hekla, Etna, and Vesuvius. (He goes on to say that there are 2 more on each side of India, plus 1 in the desert and 1 in Yerushalayim.) He specifically refers to Hekla (which Wikipedia says is the most active volcano in Iceland) as one which constantly spews fire like a river of sulfur, and near it, one can hear a wailing sound and a great roar.

What does this have to do with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano? Well, 2 things: 1)some scientists say that Hekla may follow and 2) it's close to Hekla.

This article says that R' Yaakov Emden is not the only one that calls it the "Gateway to Hell":
Eyjafjallajokull volcano recent volcanic activity in Iceland that caused a disaster in Iceland and almost the whole of Europe, the scientists are baffled about the eruption status of Hekla too.

Eyjafjallajokull is situated in close proximity of Hekla. According to Geological reports it says that volcanic activity has occurred in and around the Hekla volcano for at least twenty times in the past. For that reason the locals call it as the “Gateway to Hell”. One can estimate the level of activity of this volcano by knowing that the surface of Iceland is covered with the volcanic product, tephla, of which almost 10% has been produced due to volcanic activity of Hekla and the rest by other volcanoes in Iceland in past hindered decades.

In 1980 and 1991 eruptions, the Hekla erupted in 2000. It’s been dormant since then. People are starting to get worried because the general rule is that the longer it remains calm, the more violent will its next eruption be. It’s been ten years since last eruption and the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull tells that the chance of nearby eruption in the “Gateway to Hell” is high.

The ash cloud covering the sky which disturbed the life in whole Europe was a result of the recent Eyjafjallajokull eruptions. That volcano was much less fearful and threatening than this one. Only time can tell what will happen if this volcano goes off though the consequences might well be shocking.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

London 1940 - London 2010

It's amazing the contrast of 70 years.

Almost 70 years ago, the people of London were begging for an end of the airplanes overhead.

Today, the people of London, including the mayor, are begging for a resumption of airplanes overhead.

Linksarama

Harry Maryles says: Eisav - except for post-Holocaust America - Sonei LeYa'akov.

Akiva posts a post that seems to contradict this exception.

Elder of Ziyon found that a Top PA official says Israel doesn't want peace - while dedicating Abu Jihad Street

Mashiah is Coming found a Daily Mail article about a 3-year-old's near-death experience and what he saw in Shamayim.

Rafi tells about how the Gr"a considered the 20th and 42nd days of the Omer important days. Gilui expanded on this and quoted the text in its entirety.

Mystical Paths on The Zionists or the Exile? - Part 1

Monday, April 19, 2010

The State of Israel was Predicted and was a Step in the Process

Interesting tidbits that I gathered that show that the quasi-sovereignty that the Jewish people have over the Land of Israel has its place as part of the Geula:
  • I found the Malbim on Yirmiya 31:6 quoted on this site:
    "וצהלו בראש גויים", שבאחרית ימי גלותם יוסר מעליהם השעבוד, ויצהלו כי יהיו בראש הגויים, שהגויים יתנו להם כבוד ויהיו בראשם, תחת שהיו תחילה נבזים ושפלים ביניהם. והנה יעקב הם המון עם והפחותים שבהם, וישראל הם הגדולים. והשמחה הזאת שיצהלו בראש הגויים יהיה רק ליעקב, לא לישראל, שהם ירצו שישיב שכינתו לציון. אבל אז בעת ההיא השמיעו והכריזו בפרסום, והללו את ה' על ידי מה שתאמרו הושע ה' את עמך הצדיקים, את שארית ישראל. שהם רוצים בתשועה האמיתית מקיבוץ גלויות ושיבתם לציון. וכן יהיה אז, כי ה' ישיב להם הנני מביא אותם וכו"'.

    This means that the Malbim, who lived in the 19th century, predicted that at the end of the exile, serving other nations would be lifted and the other nations would give the Jewish people honor. However, the jubilation was only for Yaakov - not for Yisrael, who knows that the process is not over.

  • Ari from Geulah Perspectives linked to an awesome Kuntres written in English by R' Daniel Krentzman. The whole thing is great, but here is what he writes on Micha:

    "...בת ציון עדיך תאתה ובאה הממשלה הראשנה ממלכת לבת ירושלים"

    “..daughter of Tzion, they will come back to you; and the first kingdom will arrive, the kingdom of the daughter of Yerushalayim” (Michah 4:8)

    Malbim explains that Michah is describing the future period of the “End of Days”. In the first part of the verse above, “they will come back to you” refers to the ingathering of the exiles, from the time of the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash until today. These are the tribes of Yehudah and Binyamin, who will return to Eretz Yisrael and Tzion.

    When the exiles return to Eretz Yisrael in the “End of Days”, “the first kingdom will arrive”. Thus refers to what the Malbim calls a:

    "ממשלה קטנה", a “minor sovereignty”, which will possess a measure of power and control over the nation and the land, similar to the period of the Shoftim, before there was a kingship over Yisrael. During that time, the people will have temporary leaders as in the days of the Shoftim.

    Then, this minor and temporary sovereignty of the Jewish people progresses into “the kingdom of the daughter of Yerushalayim”, which is the fixed and everlasting kingship of the house of David, with Mashiach ben David.

    According to the Malbim, the sovereignty of the kingship of Mashiach ben David will develop from a minor state to a prominent one, where at first, Mashiach ben David will lead on the level of a Shofet, slowly gaining influence until Hashem’s sovereignty is fully manifest through his kingdom.

    This is Michah’s vision of the future return of the exiles, their re-established sovereignty in the land, and ultimate establishment of the kingdom of the house of David.

    May it be fulfilled soon.

  • The song that is found in the Nirtza section of many Ashkenazic Hagadot is called ויהי בחצי הלילה - which tells of all the miracles that occurred on the night of the 15th of Nissan. However, the last stanza gives a prediction for the future that starts like this:

    קָרֵב יוֹם אֲשֶׁר הוּא לֹא יוֹם וְלֹא לַיְלָה

    The day that is not day and not night is near. This is based on Zecharia 14:7
    וְהָיָה יוֹם-אֶחָד, הוּא יִוָּדַע לַיהוָה--לֹא-יוֹם וְלֹא-לָיְלָה; וְהָיָה לְעֵת-עֶרֶב, יִהְיֶה-אוֹר

    And there shall be one day which shall be known as the LORD'S, not day, and not night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light.

    There seem to be many interpretations of this verse, but Rashi on that verse is very interesting:
    והיה יום אחד - והיה הדבר הזה יום אחד מיומו של הקב"ה הוא היום ידוע שהוא להכנת ישעו של הקב"ה
    לא יום ולא לילה - לא אור נוגה באור של עולם הבא שנאמר (ישעיהו ל) ואור החמה יהיה שבעתים כאור וגומר ולא לילה ולא עת צרה כצרת שיעבוד גליות שמקודם שימי משיחנו יהיו ואין בהם שיעבוד
    והיה לעת ערב - קודם שיגמרו אלף שנה יהיה אור הנוגה וכל הטוב האמור על ישראל וכן ת"י לא כנהור יומא ולא כקבל ליליא

    Rashi seems to say that the preparation for Mashiah's arrival will last 1000 years, during which it will not be a time of servitude, but will not be a time of complete redemption either. This seems to be the situation we're in now, but we hope that the 1000 years is untrue - it cannot be true before the year 6000 anyways. We can still say פלגינן דיבורא - we agree that this period exists, just not for 1000 years.

  • The "famous" (at least to me) Midrash in Shir Hashirim Rabba 6:16 on how the Redemption is first Kim'a Kim'a - it starts very minute and eventually, gets bigger as time goes on.

  • R' Gil Student's essay on Religious Zionism, p. 12


I'm sure there are other proofs to this. Please let me know others if you have them.

Or HaHayim on Metzora

The Or HaHayim on Parshat Metzora (Vayikra 14:9) explains the purification of the Metzora as a hint to the Final Redemption. The 2 birds hint to the 2 Meshihim (Mashiah ben Ephraim and Mashiah ben David).
For those who can read it, it's here on the left column, starting on the second line, where it says "ובדרך רמז".

Is a Metzora a Sinner?

Is a Metzora a sinner?

The obvious answer is yes - he is a sinner. The Mishna in Shekalim 5:3 aludes to the fact that he's a sinner. Not to mention the Gemara in Arachin 16a that tells us the 7 sins that are punishable by Tzara'at.

If so, we have a difficulty. The Mishna in Menahot 9:6 say that the Korban Hatat and Asham of a Metzora both require Nesachim (libations), even though every other Hatat and Asham do not. The Bartenura there explains the reason for this: "because they do not come for a sin like other Korbanot Hatat and Asham. The Hatat of a Nazir does not require Nesachim because a Nazir is a sinner - as it says מאשר חטא על הנפש - because he caused himself pain from [not drinking] wine."

This would imply that a Metzora is not a sinner!

However, the Tosefot Yom Tov there resolves the difficulty by saying that what the Bartenura means is that a Metzora is definitely a sinner - just his Korbanot Hatat and Asham are not brought because of a sin.

My question is that if they are not brought because of a sin, why are they called Hatat and Asham?

(Note that the Ramban on Vayikra 14:18 seems to suggest sins for what each of the Korbanot of the Metzora atone. I wonder if we're forced to say that he argues on the Bartenura's explanation of the Mishna.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is the Icelandic Volcano Midda Keneged Midda for the Israeli Tourism Ad Rejection?

Is the Icelandic Volcano (that's causing havoc in not allowing airplane travel throughout England) Midda Keneged Midda for the Israeli Tourism Ad Rejection?

R' Lazer Brody thinks so.

A commenter on The Muqata called "Suzy, Grounded, UK" thinks so too.

We still have to figure out the sins of Scandinavia though. With some of those countries, it shouldn't be too difficult.

Angels See Life and Death


I just recently learned the Me'am Lo'ez about the היכלות (palaces) and that the third palace has an appointed angel with the Angel of Life on his right and the Angel of Death on his left.

The Los Angeles Angels have had quite a week. First, a couple of Angels see a man commit suicide, falling to his death in Manhattan. Then, they see Rabbi Avi Weiss's wife saved from choking by an Iraq War vet at an Angels-Yankees game in New York. Well, I don't know if the Angels saw it, but apparently, many people did.
As the choking woman began to turn blue, the attention of fans turned from Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez to the rescuer in a Don Mattingly jersey performing the Heimlich maneuver in the stands.

Rabbi Weiss was very appreciative, and referred to another angel:
Rabbi Weiss said other people rushed to help his wife. "People tried very hard to do the Heimlich maneuver, but it just wasn't working and it was getting desperate," he said. "Suddenly this kind of Elijah figure appeared from nowhere. He knew exactly what to do."

Eliyahu is the Malach Haberit - the angel of the covenant (of circumcision). Hashem sent His Mal'ach (messenger/angel) to do His will.

Update: VIN reports:
Rabbi Weiss' Rebbetzin Reunited With Her Angel

...

She insisted that Stone was heaven-sent.


"God sent me an angel," said Weiss, noting that her unassuming hero was blushing over the praise.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Syrian Scuds to Hizballah

Did you hear about Nefesh B'Nefesh's new ad campaign?

Go North - because Hizballah can now get you pretty much anywhere anyways.


Think living out of Israel is safer? Check out this poll.

It is unscientific, beyond rationality, but based on Torah.


Yalkut Shimoni and Pesikta Rabbati:

להיכן נבוא ונלך? להיכן נבוא ונלך?
ואומר להם: בניי, אל תתיראו! כל מה שעשיתי, לא עשיתי, אלא בשבילכם! מפני מה אתם מתיראים? אל תיראו, הגיע ימי גאולתכם!



Update: Syria denies it. Typical.

Halachic Responses to BioTerrorism

I wonder what this lecture will talk about.
I may just need to go to find out (BL"N).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using Technology in the Third Beit Hamikdash

Arutz Sheva:
The Temple Institute, engaged in education, research, and development towards the Holy Temple in accordance with Biblical law, recently held its 29th annual Temple Institute Passover Symposium, under the banner of "Integrating Modern Technology into the Holy Temple." Issues discussed included questions such as, “Will massive digital screens allow worshippers to observe the work of the High Priest from a great distance? Will computers be used to keep track of the sacrifices, public and private? Will special impurity-proof buses be used to transport Passover pilgrims and their Paschal offerings?”

Here's a link to the article on the Temple Institute's site.

These are interesting questions indeed. However, would the use of such technology minimize the miraculous nature of the third Beit Hamikdash? Would the use of such technology minimize the serenity and holiness of the third Beit Hamikdash?

For the first question, I'll provide 2 reasons why it does not:
1)The very use of such technology is miraculous in and of itself if you compare it to years past.
2)We can say that we do what we need to do - let Hashem do what He needs to do. Other - even greater - miracles will occur. Technology wouldn't be to minimize the miracles - it would be used to help Kohanim keep track of Korbanot, which is something we need nowadays in our lower state that we did not need 2000 years ago. If Hashem provides a miracle that makes the use of computers obsolete, I'm all for that!

Regarding the second question - would technology minimize the serenity and holiness of the Beit Hamikdash - this is a matter of taste.

We use technology in our Mikdeshei Me'at nowadays - we have atomic alarm clocks to tell us when HaNeitz HaHama is, we have electronic signs telling you when to say Mashiv Haru'ah, etc. Some may argue that when we have our real Beit Hamikdash, it should be no different. After all, we're not Amish.
Others, however, may contend that the Beit Hamikdash should be a place free of anything worldly. Shoes cannot even be worn - how can we display computers and video screens? It will make the place look like a cross between a slaughter-house and a business office - not the holiest place in the world.

It will be interesting what will be decided. May it be rebuilt soon - במהרה בימינו אמן.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mishnayot for Saba

An incredible story occurred to me on Shabbat Hol Hamo'ed Pesah that I feel compelled to share.

I was in my living room on Shabbat morning before Shaharit and my son asked me out of the blue, "How many mesechtot are there in Shas?"

I've learned Torah Shebe'al Peh all my life, but I still didn't really know the exact answer, but doing a quick calculation in my head, I replied to him, "There must be about 60 or 70."

Later, I go to the synagogue, we pray, and I go to Kiddush (we're one of the few synagogues that actually has a Kiddush on Pesah). At the Kiddush, a 20-something-year-old man asks me the same question, "How many mesechtot are there in Shas?" I tell him that it's funny that he should ask that since my son just asked me that same question that very morning. I told him that there must be about 60 or 70. Another man who hears this tells me "No, there are exactly 60*." I replied something like, "Oh, I didn't know that - thanks." (It turns out that the one who asked really wanted to know how many Mesechtot were in Talmud Bavli - but that didn't really matter.)

Afterwards, on Motza'ei Shabbat, I'm reading my Google Reader and among the articles is this one from Daily Zohar.com, where it quotes Tikunei Zohar 21-15 (which you can also see on page 5634 here) that talks about the סלע (rock) that Moshe Rabbeinu hit being composed of the letters "על ס" (on 60) meaning the 60 Mesechtot in Shas.

When I saw that, I almost hit the floor. What are the chances that I would get 3 separate messages coming to me from 3 different sources about the same issue - all on the same day? It seemed very odd to me - especially since I don't remember hearing that question before in my life.

But then it hit me.

My grandfather's first yahrtzeit was coming up on Shabbat Parshat Shemini, and I had written down that I would learn Mishnayot for his Neshama before the 12 months are up - Mesechetot Zevahim and Menahot. Being the procrastinator that I am, I hadn't even started. I needed to do it all in a week.

This was it. This must have been the message to me. I was getting the message that 60 mesechtot needed to be completed and I wasn't pulling my weight.

I immediately got down to work. It was almost 3:00 AM before I decided to stop after the first 3 Perakim of Zevahim. I used the free afternoons of the 2 days of Yom Tov and the following Shabbat plus other times as well to learn it. I owe my wife a great deal of Hakarat Hatov for letting me do it. Finally, with an hour to spare before Minha on Shabbat afternoon, I learned the very last Mishna of Menahot, which says אחד המרבה ואחד הממעיט ובלבד שיכוון אדם את דעתו לשמים - whether one does a lot or a little, as long as one's mind is directed toward heaven, it's considered sweet-smelling to Hashem.

Now, the point of all this is not to toot my own horn, especially since if you would test me on what I learned, I probably wouldn't do so well (I definitely need to review). The point is to show that heavenly messages are coming down to earth if you just know where to find them.

--------
* There are really 63 mesechtot, but as the Wikipedia article says, "(The current total is 63, but Makkot was originally part of Sanhedrin, and Bava Kamma, Bava Metzia and Bava Batra may be regarded as subdivisions of a single tractate Nezikin.)"

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Return of Ephraim

There's a new product that helps you in Torah and Haftara reading called the "Magic Yad". Matzav quoted a JWeekly report on it and showed a video of its creator using it to chant a Haftara.

Interestingly, the Haftara chosen to demonstrate the product in the video was from Haftarat Aharei Mot (according to the Ashkenazic practice), where Amos is read. The phrase used most often in the video was והשמדתי אתה (meaning "And I will destroy it"), coming from Amos 9:8. All the commentaries say that it refers to the Northern Kingdom of Israel - i.e., that of Ephraim. Amos was prophesying the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the hands of Sanheriv.

Now, we're at the end of time, and the destruction is being reversed. Arutz Sheva reports:
More than 10,000 Jews prayed at Joshua's Tomb in Samaria on Thursday night to commemorate the anniversary of the Jewish leader's passing. Joshua, a prophet, took over the position of leader of the Jewish people from Moses, and led the Jews into Israel.

Of course, Yehoshua Bin Nun (whose yahrtzeit I mentioned 2 years ago and Rafi has a series of posts about visiting his grave) is from the tribe of Ephraim.

His latest yahrtzeit brought together a good mixture of people:
Organizers noted that participants in Thursday's prayer session included all types of Jews: men and women, Israelis and visitors from abroad, secular, traditional, religious and hareidi-religious.

And who took care of the security concerns?
Participants were guarded by the IDF's Ephraim Brigade.

Now, what did we (in Hutz La'aretz) just read on the 8th day of Pesah?
יג וְסָרָה קִנְאַת אֶפְרַיִם, וְצֹרְרֵי יְהוּדָה יִכָּרֵתוּ: אֶפְרַיִם לֹא-יְקַנֵּא אֶת-יְהוּדָה, וִיהוּדָה לֹא-יָצֹר אֶת-אֶפְרָיִם.
13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and they that harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

What a great show of unity at the tomb of the מכניס - Yehoshua Bin Nun, who brought us into Israel. May this display of unity be a merit for all Jews - from Yehuda and from Ephraim - to be unified once again in the Land of Israel, and may Mashiah ben Yosef come to fight our fights and be saved from any harm. Amen.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

based on the Alshich's commentary on the first verse of Shir Hashirim

A wise king saw a beautiful and kind princess and loved her dearly. He fought against her enemies and saved her from all of her troubles. She too loved him and desired him. Eventually, there is a marriage where the king brings her close to him, and he hugged and kissed her.

However, as time passed, she started to befriend one of the king's servants. This got the king angry and he decreed to kick her out of his house for a designated number of years, but didn't completely sever ties with her. She then wandered from place to place, never really finding stability anywhere she went. She then regretted her actions and bemoaned the fact that she is away from her husband, the king. She hoped that she can one day come back to him.

The king, too, remembered his wife, and saw that she regreted her actions, so he saw that the time has come to take her back. He took her back, built her a house, and lived with her as before, while his wife promised never to sin as she sinned before.

However, this time, the woman took on some bad character traits, and the king despised her because of them. He again expelled her and forced her to endure terrible hardships - the lions, tigers and bears trampled her and the snakes bit her. This time, the king did not specify a time-limit for her time away due to the wickedness of her ways. However, he nevertheless still loves her and did not choose any other wife in her stead. He is longing every day for the time that she will mend her ways and be close to him again. Every other woman pales in comparison to her, even with her bad traits. She too longs for the day that she can come back to her husband, the king, so things can be like they used to be.

A foolish man tried to keep them away by speaking evil against the wife, saying that she is still following her evil ways. He tries to convince the king to forget her and move on.

A wise man then composed a love song that proves that the king still loves her even after he sent her away, and that he still loves her and will not choose another wife. In addition, he will eventually take her back under his wings as before.

---------------

When we were in Egypt, we were like a princess who was captured by robbers. Hashem, in His great love for us, took us out of Egypt, split the sea, and "married" us at Har Sinai. He "kissed" us with the words of Torah and Mitzvot, brought us into His land, the Land of Israel, and built the Beit Hamikdash.

However, when we sinned with other gods, He was angry with us, and kicked us out of His house for 70 years. Afterwards, he brought us back, as Hashem said that the Mighty could only be jealous of other mighty ones, unlike these other gods that were worshipped. So, Hashem brought us back and built the second Beit Hamikdash.

However, many years later, we developed a baseless hatred for each other, and because of this, we were expelled from His house once again. We went from city to city and country to country among the nations not knowing when Hashem would return the Jewish people back to His house. But even with Hashem's face hidden, His face is only hidden for brief moments of anger while Hashem's right hand brings us closer. We also are longing for the day that Hashem will take us back under His wings.

Lest anyone say that Hashem has forsaken us Has VeShalom, Shelomo Hamelech composed Shir Hashirim for our current exile to show how Hashem still loves us and that He too wants us to come back to Him. The builder of the first Beit Hamikdash is consoling us regarding the final Beit Hamikdash.

So, the answer is:

Yes, the marriage will be saved - במהרה בימינו אמן.

Post-Pesah Posts, Articles & Video

Iran threatens.

Turkey threatens.

Jordan talks tough.

Egged removed the Third Temple ads and now, A7 reports:
The Citizen's Rights Committee has condemned a decision by Egged to remove ads expressing hope that the Third Temple will be rebuilt. Dr. Dan Yakir, head of the Committee, “even if these ads do bother some people, the are within the legitimate bounds of free speech in a democracy.” Egged removed the ads when several people complained that the construction of the Third Temple would mean that the mosques currently occupying the Temple Mount might have to be moved.
Um, yes, they might have to be moved.

Shiloh Musings has a guest-post with a fantasy of the 10 plagues attacking the Obama White House.

Geulah Perspectives on Esav, the pope, and the president

Shirat Devorah on all the earthquakes happening being birth-pangs of Mashiah.

Mashiach's Wife on Arutz Sheva's report of 600,000 people visiting the Kotel.

VIN: Rabbi: Make Foreign Workers Accept Laws of Noah

From Latma (hat tip Jameel):

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Nero's Palace & the Beit Hamikdash

Nero's palace is falling apart, according to news reports.
Part of the ceiling over the palace of the Roman emperor Nero has collapsed in Rome, prompting fresh concerns over the stability of the ancient complex.

But then again, take a look at when it was built:
Completed in AD68 - the year Nero committed suicide - the sprawling palace was called the House of Gold because of the amount of gold leaf which adorned much of it.

That year 68 sounds familiar. Oh, yes, it's the year of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. (The fact that Nero himself later became a Ger is irrelevant here - as the palace was kept as Roman.)

I'm reminded of the Rashi on וּלְאֹם מִלְאֹם יֶאֱמָץ. Rashi says (my translation):
מלאם יאמץ - לא ישוו בגדולה כשזה קם זה נופל וכה"א אמלאה החרבה (יחזקאל כו) לא נתמלאה צור אלא מחורבנה של ירושלים
[Yaakov and Eisav] will not be equal in greatness. When one rises, the other falls. And it similarly says (Ezekiel 26) "I shall be filled with her that is laid waste" [, which is expounded to mean that the alias for Edom called] Tzor is only filled up from the ruins of Jerusalem


Of course, it works both ways - when Edom is in ruins, Jerusalem will be built. We are already seeing this with Nero's palace crumbling and the Hurva synagogue restored. And with Hashem's help, the Beit Hamikdash will follow suit במהרה בימינו אמן.

Obama's Seder - Just Plain Weird

Obama apparentlly had a traditional Seder.

I'm trying to imagine the absurdities in Obama's Seder.

הא לחמא עניא דאכלו אבהתנא בארעא דמצרים - did the president's ancestors eat poor man's bread in Egypt. I know Kenya's not far away, but come on...

עבדים היינו לפרעה במצרים - can the president really say that he was a slave to Par'oh in Egypt? It would be much more appropriate for all other US citizens to say עבדים אנחנו לפרעה באמירקא - especially after the healthcare bill passed.

The whole Dayenu, which the article says they sang doesn't make sense to him (הוציאנו ממצרים, נתן לנו את התורה, etc. don't apply to him.)

The article says:
We concluded with the cup for Elijah and singing 'Eliyahu Hanavi.'


Mr. Obama, do you even know what you're singing? "Bimheira Yavo Eileinu Im Mashiah Ben David." You are clueless as to what this really means. With Mashiah comes a Beit Hamikdash in a unified Jerusalem (something you despise), along with the downfall of Edom (of which you lead).

Your trying to show how pro-Jewish you are just shows how clueless you are.