Tuesday, August 31, 2010

4 Jews Murdered by Hamas

Ames Family (picture from VIN)
Hashem, how much longer to this Galut? This week's Perasha says:
ואנכי הסתר אסתיר את פני ביום ההוא
How much longer can we live in this age of הסתר פנים?

Today, 4 Jews were murdered near Kiryat Arba by Pirei Adam.

  • Yitzhak and Talia Ames
  • Kochava Ben Chaim
  • Avishai Shindler
See Akiva's angry reaction with a lot of relevant data on how many "peace" concessions took place recently.

Very disturbing was the news that one of the victims had his license for a weapon suspended recently.

Particularly sad was the news that a Zaka volunteer, responding to the incident, found his wife's body among the dead.
Jerusalem - ZAKA volunteer Momy Ben-Haim was dispatched to the scene of the terrorist attack with his colleagues, where to his horror he discovered his wife’s body among the dead.

“We saw a crying volunteer, and at first we did not understand what was happening - he has seen many disasters before,” Zaka volunteer Isaac Bernstein told The Jerusalem Post.

“Then he started shouting, ‘That’s my wife! That’s my wife!’ We took him away from the scene immediately,” Bernstein added.

Ben-Haim was taken to his home in Bet Hagai by his colleagues.
I don't cry often, but I cried after reading this.

Ribono Shel Olam, Ad Matai?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Whom do You Have in Mind When Saying שיתמו?

Just about everyone in the media is blasting the פאר הדור - Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a for a statement he said against "Abu Mazen and these Palestinians". Unjustifiably, in my opinion.

(Click here to hear the audio of the "offensive" line.)

Can everyone take a step back for a second and realize what exactly was said?
Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a, was giving a Shiur in Halacha regarding the Simanim on Rosh Hashana.  No less than three of the Simanim on Rosh Hashana deal with getting rid of our enemies:
The Yehi Ratzon for dates is:
יהי רצון...שיתמו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should cease to exist.
The Yehi Ratzon for leek is:
יהי רצון...שיכרתו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should be cut off.
The Yehi Ratzon for "Silka" (beets or spinach) is:
יהי רצון...שיסתלקו אויבינו ושונאינו וכל מבקשי רעתינו
May it be Your will....that our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm should be removed [from the world].

Now, let me ask you a question:
Who in the world would be considered "our enemies and haters and all those who seek us harm"?
I could think of many nations, but one close one in particular who has been at the forefront of seeking us harm in the past century is the Palestinians and their leadership.

Abu Mazen, an unrepentant Holocaust-denier and unrepentant former terrorist should be near or at the top of the list. His willingness to conduct "peace negotiations" doesn't mean a thing. He has yet to recognize Israel, which should be a sign to all that he still dreams of its destruction, ח"ו.

Back to what Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a, was saying, he was giving us an example of what intent we should have when reciting these Yehi Ratzones. Other examples might include Nasralla, Ahmedinejad, and Meshal ימש"ו. That was Rav Ovadia's point. Is it more PC in G-d's eyes to ask for the destruction of Ahmedinejad than that of Abu Mazen? Hashem knows that the goal of both is the same - one is more open about it than the other in this world, so some people get offended by Rav Ovadia's statement, but in the Olam Ha'emet, Hashem knows that they both share the same goals - the destruction of Israel ל"ע. Rav Ovadia is more connected to the Olam Ha'emet than we are, so he's not worried about what's PC and what's not.

Regarding his asking for the destruction of "these Palestinians", he wasn't, of course, asking for the destruction of all Palestinians. The only nation we want eradicated is Amalek. Rather, he was referring to the Palestinians who were connected to Abu Mazen and his cronies. This is clear from the context for all who actually heard the audio.

There are those who agree with Rav Ovadia, but disagree with the fact that he said it publicly. To these people, I say: he was giving a halachic shiur, and in the course of halachic discourse, examples often need to be used. Would you have been so upset if he used "Ahmedinejad" instead? If not, see what I just wrote above why there is no difference. Perhaps, he was even using Abu Mazen as the bigger Hiddush (לאפוקי those with a PC-bent).

I didn't even mention the fact that the secular media is constantly watching Rav Ovadia "to see what he's going to say next" to try to break the next negative story against him. This is a given. Sometimes, Rav Ovadia gives them what they want to hear. The more PC your mindset is, the more of a shock his words will be to you, but know that his words are always rooted in Torah Hashkafa. If it shocks you, maybe you need a higher dose of Torah.

Update: See also Elder of Ziyon.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yom Hadin is Coming. Be Prepared.

With Rosh Hashana coming up in less than 2 weeks, the Boy Scouts' motto seems very apropos.

Taken from JewishCartoon.com.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Conquest of Yishmael

Everyone should read William Federer's article on the timeline that shows how often Yishmael has conquered former houses of worship of other faiths and turned them into mosques.

Some of these on the list, I'm not complaining too much about, since they are fulfilling להעביר גלולים מן הארץ והאלילים כרות יכרתון, but all of the instances on the list show what their real intent is near Ground Zero, which, although not a house of worship, nevertheless has religious symbolism in their eyes.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 Hours to Make a Berit Mila

Ladaat has a nice story where doctors told a father of a baby boy on the eighth day from his birth - 2 hours before sunset - that the baby was OK to have a berit.
The father got a lot of help from his friends and pulled off getting all the food arranged in under an hour, and the baby was circumcised before sunset.

A commenter on the story makes a good point that all you needed to get before sunset was the Mohel, while the meal could have been eaten at night. But it's a nice story anyways.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Symbolism in Recent Articles

A recent AP story is full of symbolism:
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. – A woman identified as an anti-war protester hit U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie during the Armed Services Committee chairman's meeting with constituents in northern Michigan, authorities said Monday.

The senator took a question near the end of the Monday morning meeting in Big Rapids from a man who said he was a student, Levin's office said in a news release. The man read a long statement, then a woman came up and hit Levin with a pie.

Big Rapids police arrested Ahlam M. Mohsen, 22, of Coldwater on a felony charge of stalking, as well as misdemeanor counts of assault and disorderly conduct. She has no listed telephone number in Coldwater.

Mohsen told the Big Rapids Pioneer she hoped "to send a message that liberals and Democrats are just as implicated in the violence (of war) as the Republicans."

Mohsen was one of three protesters arrested in January 2009 after a sit-in at Levin's office in Lansing, according to Michigan State University's campus newspaper. She told the newspaper then that the group wanted the United States to begin cutting military and other support to Israel and call for an investigation of Israeli war crimes.

The earlier arrest, plus the escalation to a physical assault, formed the basis for the stalking charge, Officer Erik Small told The Associated Press. He said Mohsen was being held without bond and was expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

Police said the man who read the statement before Mohsen hit Levin with the pie and a woman who videotaped the attack also could face charges. Police do not have the videotape, Little said.

Levin appeared to take the pie toss in stride.

"They didn't hurt me, but they hurt their cause even more than their own extreme words had already done," he said in a statement.

The constituent meeting was sponsored by the Mecosta County Democratic Party. The city of about 10,000 is 50 miles north of Grand Rapids and 150 miles northwest of Detroit.


So, we have a woman from the nation of Yishmael using the symbol of America - apple pie - to hit a Jew. Yishmael loves symbols - the World Trade Center was not chosen as their target for no reason. The apple pie may have been chosen deliberately too. It is to show that America can be forced to listen to Yishmael against Yisrael.

The woman comes from Coldwater - perhaps, to symbolize that we are being punished because we have gone cold in our Torah learning, Torah being represented by water.

It happened in Big Rapids, MI, perhaps, to show that big things are occurring in the world at a rapid pace.

Here's another symbolic event (also from AP):

AMSTERDAM (AP) — A shoot growing from the splintered trunk of a chestnut that cheered Anne Frank during her time in hiding could give the tree a new lease of life after a storm toppled it, a spokeswoman for a group that campaigned to save the tree said Tuesday.

A storm that buffeted Amsterdam on Monday snapped the towering chestnut and sent it crashing to the ground in a garden behind Anne's secret wartime hideaway.

Helga Fassbinder of the Support Anne Frank Tree foundation said the remains of the trunk will be left in the ground so that a shoot growing out of healthy wood on one side can grow.

She said using an existing shoot on the trunk should provide a swift replacement for the chestnut.

The obvious idea that this symbol represents is that of the Jewish people - when we fall during terrible tragedies - including the Holocaust, when this tree cheered up Anne Frank - we nevertheless rise up again.

An even better idea of what it represents is that of the Davidic Dynasty. Yishaya 11:1

וְיָצָא חֹטֶר, מִגֵּזַע יִשָׁי; וְנֵצֶר, מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה

And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a twig shall grow forth out of his roots.


במהרה בימינו אמן

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Prediction for New Year - Not So Good

I know no one wants to hear this, but the קולמוס blog, based on the Targum Yonatan on the 42 travels of the Israelites in the desert, predicts a year of fear.

Let us hope that this prediction is wrong or can somehow be altered for the better.

Gush Katif and Katrina - Even 5 Years Later - Inseparable

The emotional toll of the victims of the Disengagement was, and still is, extremely high - years after it took place. Just look at this study that underscores this. The study was done in 2008. I doubt much has changed.

The emotional toll on Hurricane Katrina victims is also still very high, according to Fox News.
NEW ORLEANS – A startling number of Gulf coast area children displaced by Hurricane Katrina still have serious emotional or behavioral problems five years later, a new study found.

More than one in three children studied — those forced to flee their homes because of the August 2005 storm — have since been diagnosed with mental health problems. These are children who moved to trailer parks and other emergency housing.

Nearly half of families studied still report household instability, researchers said.

"If children are bellwethers of recovery, then the social systems supporting affected Gulf Coast populations are still far from having recovered from Hurricane Katrina," the researchers said.

The study was published online Monday in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.


See here where this was discussed before.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Silver Lining in Geula Delay

The Haftara we read this week says:

כי מי נח זאת לי אשר נשבעתי מעבר מי נח עוד על הארץ כן נשבעתי מקצף עליך ומגער בך


The Radak points out the variant text of כימי נח - meaning "like the days of No'ah".

The gemara (Sanhedrin 99a) brings a host of opinions as to how long the "Days of Mashiah" will last. One of the opinions is that of Rav Nahman Bar Yitzhak:
רב נחמן בר יצחק אמר כימי נח עד עכשיו שנאמר כי מי נח זאת לי אשר נשבעתי

on which Rashi comments:
כי מי נח. כמו כימי נח
כחשבון השנים שנמצא בידו לאותו זמן
שנשבע ה׳ מעבור מי נח עוד על
הארץ כן נשבעתי כפי אותו חשבון
נשבעתי מקצף עליך ומגער כך שלא
אחריב את עולמי לאחר שיבא משיח
עד שיכלה זה הזמן:

which means that the "Days of Mashiah" will last from the time of Noah's Flood until Mashiah begins. Hashem promises not to destroy the world until that time.

This doesn't really help us now, but if Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak is correct, it will help our descendants. If Mashiah comes this Sunday, then the world won't be destroyed until the year 9882. Imagine if Bar Kochba was Mashiah - then the world would be destroyed in the year 6132.

כל מאן דעביר רחמנא לטב עביד

Everything Hashem does is for the best.

Nevertheless, we still must pray for his coming as soon as possible since we need to worry about now. Let Hashem take care of the distant future.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Esther Pollard's Letter to Her Husband

For reference, also see here, where these ideas were mentioned previously.

Here's the interesting excerpt - as found on Arutz Sheva and Lazer Beams:

You are not a private person. This case is not just about you. Your suffering is not just about you. Your anguish and your misery is not just about you. Nor is it about me.

You are the personification of a living, breathing, on-going vital chapter in Jewish History. You are a cosmic key to the redemption of the Jewish people. You are, like it or lump it, the one! Your survival causes us all to survive. Your wholeness intellectually and spiritually saves us daily as a People. Your physical and emotional suffering reflects the disintegration of the State and its Erev Rav elite, the way it is coming apart at the seams, and your suffering is atoning for the People.

Because it is all cosmic, it can and will end any second that HaShem chooses. It can and will end, as a Kiddush HaShem, not because of any earthly logical reason. In fact it will end in spite of all earthly logic and reason! Your release is synonymous with the release of the Shechinah from galut. Your release is tied up with the Moshiach Ben David’s return to the Land. Your release is bound to the redemption of the land and people of Israel. You do not need me to enunciate all the Mekubalim who have agreed with the Rav’s passkining on this matter. You can see it and feel it for yourself. So many people see it and feel it, and they write to you, and you know in your heart that what they write is true.

As wretched as you feel for the moment, you know who you are, and you know that you have a bright, long, good, important and critical Jewish future ahead of you. You KNOW that your release is critical to the continuation of Jewish History according to the Prophesies, according to the Torah of Moshe and the wisdom of our sages. The Gematriot uphold this. The terrible, terrible times, which we are living through, were also predicted with the same impeccable divine accuracy. It is all just a question of time. And because it is cosmic time we are talking about, every minute brings new hope. Yeshuat HaShem K’heref Aiyn! (Salvation from HaShem occurs in the wink of an eye!)

And so, my beloved sweetheart, love of my life, dear soul mate, Yehonatan ben Malka Halevy, for all these reasons and more, I continue to await your arrival, every single minute of every single day, here in the Land.. I don’t know where the Medina is heading. I know it isn’t going our way. But I am here, in the Land, which is eternally ours, and eternally strong, waiting for you.

In spite of the pain, the waiting, the anguish, I know in my heart that you, along with the Shechinah and Moshiach Ben David, will soon return home, to our joy and to the relief of those who love HaShem’s Torah and His Land. What we have lost will be returned; what was broken will be fixed, what was impaired will be restored, what was diminished will be increased, and we will have the love and the life we have so desired, together, here in the Land, G-d willing, in the wink of an eye, and soon.

...

“My point is that if the Rav repeatedly said that you are the Yosef HaTzadik of our generation it was not intended as a compliment, nor a balm for your tired soul. It was meant as a statement of truth, as a fact. It was meant for you to understand the degree to which you are participating in Jewish history. It was meant for others to understand how critical your redemption is to the redemption of the Jewish people as a whole. Those who ignore this, ignore at their own peril.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Kiddush Hashem and Tzidduk HaDin in the Wake of Tragedy

After such a tragedy as was seen in southern Israel last week, where 7 members of one family were ר"ל killed in a train/minibus accident, it would seem to an outsider to be hard for the family of the departed to forgive the driver, who appeared to be responsible for the accident.

This was not the case at all.

R' Chaim Gottstein, the father of the sole-surviving family member, Dovid Gottstein, who lost his grandson and daughter-in-law, said, after being asked if he's angry at the driver (with my loose translation):
"אי-אפשר לומר שאנחנו כועסים. אין טעם לכעוס. הקב"ה מנהיג את העולם ואין טעם להכניס מישהו באמצע כאן, כאילו שהוא אשם".

"It's impossible to say that we're angry. There's no reason to be angry. HKB"H runs the world, and there's no reason to bring anyone in the middle here, as if he's responsible."


Dovid Gottstein himself, who lost his wife and son and needs a Refu'ah Sheleimah (דוד צבי בן בת שבע), said:
"אני לא כועס על אף-אחד. הוא היה ´שליח רע´, זה מה שהשם רצה. אין מה לעשות".

"I'm not angry at anyone. He [the driver] was "an agent for bad". This is what Hashem wanted. There's nothing to do."
See the video there.

The driver's family recently went to visit the mourning Bernstein family. The grandfather of the departed told the family of the driver, "אתם כמו המשפחה שלי" "You are like my family." "מה שנגזר נגזר מן השמים" "That which was decreed was decreed from heaven." See the video there.

May this Kiddush Hashem and show of Ahdut among Jews during Elul bring Hashem closer to us.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The NBA's Starting חמש

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Malbim's Peshat on Yonah 2:4 Confirmed?

R' Yair Hoffman (5TJT/VIN/Matzav) found a "scientific proof" for the Malbim's explanation on Yonah 2:4 from a Daily Telegraph article that shows that scientists discovered a river flowing on the sea bed.

From the Five Towns Jewish Times article:
The results are striking. The reader is urged to see the Malbim with his or her own eyes. The term utilized by the Malbim - “Levav Yamim” clearly means sea bed.


Let's look at this inside. The verse in Yonah is:

וַתַּשְׁלִיכֵנִי מְצוּלָה בִּלְבַב יַמִּים, וְנָהָר יְסֹבְבֵנִי; כָּל-מִשְׁבָּרֶיךָ וְגַלֶּיךָ, עָלַי עָבָרוּ.

For Thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, and the flood was round about me; all Thy waves and Thy billows passed over me.


Mechon-Mamre translates נהר as "flood" instead of its common meaning of "river".

The Malbim explains (my translation):
...שתחלה השלכת אותי מצולה בלבב ימים שהוא מה שהשליכו אותו מן האניה אל הים ,ונהר יסובבני, שם נהר בא אל המים המושכים, ומובדל מן הים שהמים שבו עומדים ונקוים , אבל אז שהסערה שהתחוללה בים היה מן התהום שמי הים עצמו התרגשו ונשאו דכים למטה , נקרא נהר , כי אז לא עמדו המים רק נמשכו בעיגול סביב עצמם, וסבבוהו סביב סביב


...because at first, Thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas - that is when they threw him from the ship to the sea, and the flood was round about me - the name "נהר" comes to [denote] flowing water, and it is separated from the sea since the water in it [the sea] stands still and gathers together. However, then [during Yonah's story], that the storm which took place in the sea was from the deep since the water of the sea itself was agitated and "lifted their roaring" downward, it was called a "נהר" because then, the water didn't stand still - rather, it was drawn in a circle around itself, and it surrounded him [Yonah] all the way around.


I'm usually the first to shout "Wow!" from the rafters, but unfortunately, I don't see it here. "Levav Yamim" is the term used by the verse itself not having much to do with the bottom of the sea. Later, he does mention תהום - the deep - but not saying that there's a river in the deep, but rather, we can call moving water a "נהר" - a river whenever it's moving.

I see that comment #13 on VIN also was not impressed.

I now see that my cousin Josh beat me to this. ברוך שכוונתי.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Slippery Slopes Start Schism

Check out this article about left-wing Orthodox Jewry at Cross-Currents. Lengthy, but easy to read, and right on target.

(P.S. Try saying the title of this post 5 times fast.)

More War Predictions

Kikar (Hebrew), Matzav (an English translation of the Kikar article), and Rafi all talk about war predictions by Rav Amnon Yitzhak.

Let us pray that Hashem saves us from these predictions.

Also added by Matzav (and Kikar):
In recent days, Rav Mordechai Genut, author of the “Dovor Be’ito” luach, said that “Based on the stars, war will break out next month.”

I'm having a hard time with this one since we know אין מזל לישראל. If someone has a good explanation, please let me know.

Haman Escapes Mordechai & Esther - This Time

Arutz Sheva:
Arab sources reported Wednesday that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escaped an assassination attempt in the city Hamadan and that several people were wounded.

The Arabic-language Arabiya website, which is considered responsible and has published several articles against Ahmadinejad, reported that the “Iranian presidency confirms that President Ahmadinejad escaped an assassination attempt as his procession was targeted by a bomb.” Iran has not commented.


Arabiya said that Ahmadinejad’s procession was targeted by a bomb. Other sources said only that “an object," possibly a grenade, was thrown at the convoy. After the reported attempt, Ahmadinejad continued with his schedule and addressed a crowd.


There is a dispute whether Hamadan is actually Shushan Habira or just a city close to it. There is also a dispute about the "Tomb of Mordechai and Esther" that is there - whether it is really their tomb. Another version has them buried in Israel.

However, whether they are buried there still or not, and whether it is the right city or not, it is at least mighty close to the city that they once lived.

If I were the Iranian president, I would not be coming back to Hamadan any time soon.

Update: See We Want Mashiach's nice enhancement on this.

The jPhone

Maybe some היסח הדעת might do us some good...

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

R' Lazer Brody: Latest Violence Due to To'eiva Parade

Lt. Col. Dov Harari HY"D (picture from IDF Spokesperson)


R' Lazer Brody:
Only a deaf, dumb, and blind mummy could fail to make a connection between last Thursday and the subsequent days of violence.

Monday, August 02, 2010

What Me Warry?

A month and a half ago, I blogged about Rav Berland's prediction about war breaking out on the 22nd of Av.

Some blogs that I respect are skeptical about this.

I don't know whether the last few hours of the day will produce a war or not. I just found the following very interesting.

Grad Katyusha rockets were fired at Eilat and Aqaba, killing a Jordanian and injuring a few more. No one knows where they came from. Israel thinks they came from Sinai. Egypt vehemently denies this.

Meanwhile, Debka (h/t EoZ) says that they came from the Edom Mountains. And it hit a city called Aqaba, which, in Hebrew, is spelled עקבה - the main letters in the name יעקב.

I don't know if this report is true, but if so, it could symbolize the way Edom has treated the Jewish people throughout the centuries. Some Pesukim that explain what eventually happens to Edom for the way it treated the Jewish people come to mind, mentioning the "mountain of Esav". Ovadia 1:8-10,21:

ח הֲלוֹא בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, נְאֻם-יְהוָה, וְהַאֲבַדְתִּי חֲכָמִים מֵאֱדוֹם, וּתְבוּנָה מֵהַר עֵשָׂו.

8 Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and discernment out of the mount of Esau?

ט וְחַתּוּ גִבּוֹרֶיךָ, תֵּימָן, לְמַעַן יִכָּרֶת-אִישׁ מֵהַר עֵשָׂו, מִקָּטֶל.

9 And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one may be cut off from the mount of Esau by slaughter.

י מֵחֲמַס אָחִיךָ יַעֲקֹב, תְּכַסְּךָ בוּשָׁה; וְנִכְרַתָּ, לְעוֹלָם.

10 For the violence done to thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

כא וְעָלוּ מוֹשִׁעִים בְּהַר צִיּוֹן, לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-הַר עֵשָׂו; וְהָיְתָה לַיהוָה, הַמְּלוּכָה.


21 And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S.

Years Corresponding to the Sefirot

In the middle of his Mussar-filled Shiur talking about making a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly Heshbon Hanefesh, Rav Shmueli mentioned an interesting concept having to do with the year we're currently in.

At approx. the 33:00 minute mark, he said that the six millennia correspond to חסד גבורה תפארת נצח הוד יסוד, which means that we're in the millennium of יסוד.

In addition, each millennium can be divided into 10 centuries, corresponding to the 10 Sefirot, which means that since we're in the 8th century of the 6th millennium, we're in the century of הוד.

Furthermore, each century can be divided into 10 decades, also corresponding to the 10 Sefirot, which means that since we're in the 7th decade of the 8th century of the 6th millennium, we're in the decade of נצח.

Finally, each decade can be divided into 10 years, also corresponding to the 10 Sefirot, which means that since we're in the 10th year of the 7th decade of the 8th century of the 6th millennium, we're in the year of מלכות.

(Sorry to get Had Gadya-like on you.)

In summation, we're in the year of: מלכות דנצח דהוד דיסוד.

We hadn't had a year that corresponded to each of the last 4 Sefirot since 5697 (1937), which was הוד דמלכות דנצח דיסוד. However, the year we are in currently seems more "in order" since נצח הוד יסוד often go together, so to have them in order seems to be a better permutation.

What it means requires a Kabbalist to interpret.