Sunday, October 31, 2010

Why didn't Yitzhak marry Bakol and Why is Bakol Mentioned Here?

The gemara Bava Batra 141a and Bereishit Rabba 59:10 bring down an argument regarding whether Hashem blessing Avraham "Bakol" means that he had a daughter or that he didn't have a daughter.

Tosafot in Bava Batra (ד"ה בת היתה לו) ask why Yitzhak didn't marry Bakol according to the opinion that he had a daughter since a Ben No'ah is permitted to marry a sister.  He answers either that she was a Ketana (a minor) at the time or that she was the daughter of Hagar, which was undesirable.

The Maharam on that Tosafot is implicitly bothered by Tosafot's first answer - Rivka herself was a minor as she was 3 when Eliezer went to find her, and Yitzhak ended up marrying her, so why the double-standard?  He answers that he must follow the alternate opinion that says that she was 14 when she got married, and he directs you to Tosafot in Yevamot 61b (ד"ה וכן הוא אומר) who explain this alternate opinion.

The נזר הקדש (left column, 17 lines from the bottom) asks why this verse (of וה' ברך את אברהם בכל) is brought here right before sending Eliezer out to find Yitzhak a wife.  According to the opinion that "Bakol" means that he didn't have a daughter, we can easily answer that it was brought here to teach that Avraham had no daughter for Yitzhak to marry and he therefore needed to send Eliezer out to find him a wife.  However, according to the opinion that "Bakol" means that he did have a daughter, why was this brought down here specifically?

He answers this nicely.  The Midrash later says (by the same author who holds he had a daughter himself - ר' יודן) that Avraham getting his son married first and then marrying himself teaches us Derech Eretz - that if a man has older children, he should marry them off first, and then get married himself.  However, this idea only applies if the man had already fulfilled the Mitzvah of Peru Urvu, but if he hadn't yet, he should get himself married first.  Only now that Avraham had had a daughter to add to his 2 sons could we say that he fulfilled the Mitzvah of Peru Urvu.  So, only now should he be busy in getting his son Yitzhak married off.  This is why this verse is mentioned here.

(So now why according to the opinion that holds he didn't have a daughter didn't Avraham get married first since he didn't fulfill the Mitzvah of Peru Urvu yet?  Perhaps, since ר' יודן is the author, and he holds that Avraham had a daughter, we could possibly say that ר' נחמיה (who argues and says that he didn't have a daughter) doesn't hold of the concept at all since according to him, it makes no difference who gets married first, and there's no Derech Eretz involved at all.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Tidbits

  • Condolences to the family of JBlogger RivkA
  • Please continue to pray for Shabty ben Miriam, who is in a coma, last I heard.
  • I hope to still have a restful Shabbat, despite hearing that the intened target of suspicious packages on cargo planes was synagogues in Chicago.
On a lighter note,
As far as the upcoming elections:
  • I endorse Joel Pollack for the 9th congressional district of Illinois for every reason I can imagine.
  • As far as the senate goes, Mark Kirk has a pretty good record on Israel, so I like him, especially in a close race.  If the race were not as tight, I might have voted for Avner Nagar as a write-in (who, by the way, has a great voice as a Hazan!).
  • As far as governor of Illinois, despite an email campaign from frum machers in the city to vote for Quinn, I'll probably stick with Brady.  I hope I don't regret it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jewish Man Burglarized, Savagely Beaten, In Critical Condition

ChicagoBreakingNews:
The 57-year-old owner of a Loop jewelry supply business was savagely beaten in a Wednesday night home invasion of his Sauganash residence, police said this morning.

Two armed men stormed into the house on the 6300 block of North Kildare Avenue on the Northwest Side about 9:20 p.m. and bound Shai Miller with duct-tape before beating him, police said. They also tied up his 14-year-old son, who was not otherwise harmed.

Miller was taken in critical condition to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where he was in intensive care with a brain hemorrhage early this morning.

According to preliminary police reports the men fled with jewelry, silverware and a painting.

According to state records, the victim is the owner and president of Miller's Jewelry Supply Inc., 5 S. Wabash Ave. on Jeweler's Row, a company that supplies jewelers with display cases and jewelry making equipment.

I received an email from the shul that he goes to to pray for Shabty ben Miriam.

Yishmael Links

In case you missed it last year, I had a whole series of posts about Yishmael.  In honor of Parshat Hayei Sarah, I'll link to them this year:

Also, see:
I just happened to find:
and also see:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tariq Aziz's Death Sentence

Tariq Aziz was sentenced to death today
I distinctly remember Mr. Aziz and his failed attempt at diplomacy with Secretary of State James Baker during the Geneva Peace Conference - the last meeting before the first Gulf War six days later.

Just reading about that conference shows how much of a Sonei Yisrael Tariq Aziz is.  He's willing to have his country demolished in a war just so Israel would pay a price.

Now, another long-standing Sonei Yisrael - the Vatican (yes, the same one that "unchose" the Jewish people despite an explicit verse showing that this is not possible) wants his life spared.

Those two deserve each other.

I'm waiting for the time when the Vatican will be sentenced to death.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chernobyl Rebbe Allows Himself to be Photographed to Help a Ger's Parnassa

Based on a Kikar article:

A Hasid of the Chernobyl Rebbe told the Rebbe that his financial situation was not good.  The Rebbe asked him what his profession is.  The Hasid replied that before he became a Hasid, he was a professional photographer, but afterwards, it was too hard making a living since there is very little demand for professional photography in Hareidi circles, let alone in Hasidic circles.

Now, picture-taking is normally shunned upon in Chernobyl Hasidut, just as it is with many other Hasidic groups.  So, the Rebbe's response was surprising: "Take my picture.  Maybe this can help with your Parnassa."  Taking the Rebbe's picture involved an hour of his time in a studio, but to help out the parnassa of a fellow Jew, he was willing to do it.

Comment #9 there said that the photographer is a Ger Tzedek, and as someone who knows the Rebbe, he can attest to the fact that for the Rebbe, being photographed is [spiritually] painful for him and to spend an hour in the studio is not befitting his time.  What the Rebbe did is therefore no small thing and shows us a Mussar Haskeil.

Friday, October 22, 2010

How Many US Jews - 5.3 Million or 6.5 Million?

After the Akeida, Hashem promises Avraham:
 כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ, וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְכַחוֹל, אֲשֶׁר עַל-שְׂפַת הַיָּם

that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore
A new report claims that there are more Jews in the US than in Israel.  It says that there are (Beli Ayin Hara) 6.5 million Jews in the US.  Earlier reports have stated that Israel had surpassed the US in the number of Jews as there are only 5.3 million US Jews.  Israel has a reported 5,660,700 Jews.

Why the discrepancy?  The article explains:
The difference is in the methodology.
“While the World Report uses national studies for its estimate, the U.S. Report sums up estimates of the Jewish population in over 1,000 local Jewish communities to develop a national estimate,” said Sheskin.

Some commenters have suggested that one report counts Jews who are not halachicly Jewish, while the other does not.  Also, I don't know if there's double-counting going on or not.  Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, all we know is that we really don't know.

This is a shame because for Geula-watchers (like me), these numbers are important.  There was a lot of excitement when Israel supposedly surpassed the US's Jewish population.  It meant that we were getting closer to the time when the majority of Jews of the world would be living in Israel.  That milestone, when it happens, carries with it a number of halachic and nationalistic ramifications.

The new report throws a monkey wrench into the idea that this will happen by the year 2030, as this article predicted.  Let us hope that the ultimate Aliya catalyst will speed things up dramatically.  No, I'm not talking about Obama winning again in 2012.  I'm talking about the coming of Mashiah Tzidkeinu - it should happen speedily in our days.  Amen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kahane Comics

Kikar Shabbat has images from a comic book geared toward the young to teach about the life and ideology of R' Meir Kahane ZT"L.

Some of the parts that were interesting to me:
  • R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L holding his clenched fist up in the air, supporting R' Kahane.  (The comments on the article said that this was documented in a book and that this was Rav Auerbach's known view.)
  • R' Mordechai Eliyahu ZT"L giving a Hesped praising him at his funeral.
  • R' Meir Yehuda Getz ZT"L (the former rabbi of the Kotel) saying that he had a dream that Mashiah Ben Yosef was murdered in the USA, and he couldn't sleep that night.  In the morning, he heard on the news that Rav Kahane was murdered.
(Hat tip: CosmicX)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Textbook: Mayan Calendar is Way Off

Fox News:
A new critique, published as a chapter in the new textbook "Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World" (Oxbow Books, 2010), argues that the accepted conversions of dates from Mayan to the modern calendar may be off by as much as 50 or 100 years. That would throw the supposed and overhyped 2012 apocalypse off by decades and cast into doubt the dates of historical Mayan events.
The Jewish calendar is also off by over 160 years.  While their "apocalypse" has already past, the final date for the Geula is closer than we think.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Interesting Articles

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Haveil Havalim at CosmicX

Check it out!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ahmadinejad Prophesied, But Knew Not What He Prophesied

The expression "ניבא ולא ידע מה ניבא" (he prophesied, but knew not what he prophesied) comes up often in Haza"l and commentaries describing people saying things that will end up happening in the future, but not the way they're thinking of.

One example of this is Moshe Rabbeinu saying תבאמו ותטעמו, using the suffix meaning "them", unwittingly prophesying that he will not enter the land.  Rashi on Bereishit 45:18 brings another example of this.

Elder of Ziyon has a funny post that can be yet another example:
Lebanon's Naharnet has been putting up short snippets of Ahmadinejad's speech in Bint Jbeil as it was happening, and here is their entry for 6:02 PM:
Today, the occupier Zionists have no choice but to return to their original homelands.
Well, there's only one original homeland for Jews, and the Zionists in Israel are already there. He must be talking about the Zionist Jews who occupy space in the US, Europe and elsewhere, and calling on them to make aliyah and return to their original homelands.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shvartzewolf

My favorite R' Shlomo Carlebach audio of all time (16 minutes).  I was very happy to find this on wejew.

Ahmadinejader Hasidim (aka Neturei Karta) Plan to Throw Their Own Stones

It's unclear whether Iran's president will be throwing stones against Israel or not, but the Neturei Karta plans to throw stones against Israeli government offices.

By the way, part of our redemption entails getting rid of the stones:
סֹלּוּ סֹלּוּ הַמְסִלָּה סַקְּלוּ מֵאֶבֶן, הָרִימוּ נֵס עַל-הָעַמִּים
cast up, cast up the highway, gather out the stones; lift up an ensign over the peoples.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Minha Gedola Part 5 - Hatam Sofer's Question on the Ramban

Part 1
Part 2 (which alludes to this Hatam Sofer)
Part 3
Part 4
Spreadsheet
 
The famous Ramban on Bereishit 2:3 posits that Mashiah should come by the year 5118 (1358).  Besides making a calculation of 1290 years after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, he also explains that it should happen about 1/10th of the way into the millennium since sunrise is 1/10th of the way into the day, and it says:
וְכִסְאוֹ כַשֶּׁמֶשׁ נֶגְדִּי
and his throne as the sun before Me
referring to the throne of Mashiah.

The Hatam Sofer asks on the Ramban, saying that a day should really be 24 hours since day follows night.  Therefore, the first 500 years of the millennium are the years of "nighttime".  Furthermore, he says, that "כשמש נגדי" (like the sun opposite Me) is not referring to Haneitz HaHama, but sometime afterwards.

The Hatam Sofer wrote his holy words in the year 5563, which is 13 years after 1/10th of the daylight hours.  He had his own calculation (of אחרי נמכר גאולה תהיה לו, mentioned here, but detailed elsewhere) which didn't pan out.  However, perhaps, one (=yaak) could say that once it's pushed off from sunrise, it's pushed off much later to a known halachic time.  One can very well say that "opposite Me" means when it starts heading toward the West (opposite Hashem) enough to see the shadows.  This time begins at Minha Gedola.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Geula-Related Links

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ahmedinejad = Kedorla'omer?

In the past, I've compared the current president of Iran with Haman Harasha. The reasons for making such comparisons are too many to enumerate.

A more obscure comparison, but one that might also be utilized, is a comparison to Kedorla'omer. Kedorla'omer was the king of Elam, which was located in modern-day Iran. He was one of the 4 kings that Avraham fought to rescue Lot.

The Tanhuma says:
אל תירא אברם......ממי היה מתירא משם בן נח שהרג את
בני עילם שלשה בנים היו לו וכתיב בני שם עילם ואשור (בראשית י') והרגו והיה מתירא
לומר שהרגתי בנו של צדיק עכשיו יקללני ואמות. אמר לו הקב"ה אל תירא לא דייך שלא
יקללך אלא יצא לקראתך בדורון ומברכך שנאמר ומלכי צדק מלך שלם וגו׳ ויברכהו ויאמר
וגו׳ וברוך אל עליון אשר מגן צריך מהו מגן מנגנא עשה הקב"ה ומסרן בידך

Shem knew how dangerous Elam was and didn't seem to care that his first-born was killed.  (This Midrash implies that Kedorla'omer was synonymous with Elam himself.  Also, see how the Torah Sheleima quotes the Midrash.)  Not only didn't he care, but he gave Avraham presents for doing so.  The rest of the world - even the Arab world - is doing all it can to get Israel to fight against Iran.

Notice from the Midrash quoted above how Elam=Kedorla'omer has 3 sons.  Wikipedia says Ahmedinejad ימ"ש has 2 sons and a daughter.

Using the Ashkenazic usage of Hebrew transliteration:

אחמעדינעדזשאד = 569
כדרלעומר = 570


But putting all that aside, we know that the first leader of the 4 kings was Amrafel, the King of Shin'ar.  Shin'ar is Bavel and Amrafel is Nimrod.  Nimrod started the whole war just to get to Avraham.  But Nimrod/Amrafel later became secondary to Kedorla'omer, who took over the reigns as leader.  The Midrash explains this as "בעל קורה טעין בעוביה" (the owner of the beam carries the thick part).
Similarly, Babylonia and its leader Nevuchadzetzar was the leader of nations against the Jewish people until they were defeated by the Persians.
Similarly, Saddam Hussein ימ"ש was the leader of nations against the Jewish people 20 years ago until he was defeated twice by the U.S.  Now, Iran has taken over as our biggest nemesis.

We know that the 4 kings are compared to the 4 kingdoms into which we were exiled.  Just as the 4 kings were defeated by Avraham Avinu, the 4 kingdoms will be defeated by Mashiah.  מעשה אבות סימן לבנים.  When it says (while Avraham was winning the war against the 4 kings) "ויחלק עליהם לילה", half of the night was for Yetzi'at Mitzrayim, while the other half was for the future redemption. May that day come speedily in our days.  Amen.

(See also here and here.)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Berit Mila Decision Miraculously Saves a Life

Here's a nice story for Parshat Lech Lecha.

Ladaat and Kikar both report about a Jewish guy who lives in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, who was diagnosed with a very serious heart condition.  He went to his rabbi, Rabbi Sha'ul Halevi Horowitz, who suggested to him to undergo a Berit Mila.  He decided at that moment to do so.
After a few checkups, the felt better, and soon afterwards, his doctors gave him a clean bill of health.  Not long afterwards, he underwent a Berit Mila and was given the Jewish name of David.

Mazal Tov!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Yemot HaMashiah Inverse of Dor HaPelaga

Based on and translated from the end of R' Elchanan Samet's article.

The Dor HaPelaga (Generation of Dispersion) had arrogance and idolatry as its two main sins.  Idolatry causes multitudes - a multitude of gods, of places of worship, and ways of worshipping.  When they were punished, their dispersion and linguistic and cultural separation was really a reflection of their idolatry.  This is how the arrogance of those who are united for an evil purpose is broken, and this is how the technological advancements of that generation was diminished.  From then on, nations will be separated in language and culture, and they will struggle and fight each other with weapons of destruction. 

Only when  society will turn toward Hashem will Ahdut prevail.  Both in terms of language:

כִּי-אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל-עַמִּים, שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה, לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה, לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד.
For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.

and in terms of centralizing around one high place that will serve all who are scattered in the earth:
וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים, נָכוֹן יִהְיֶה הַר בֵּית-יְהוָה בְּרֹאשׁ הֶהָרִים, וְנִשָּׂא, מִגְּבָעוֹת; וְנָהֲרוּ אֵלָיו, כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם.
וְהָלְכוּ עַמִּים רַבִּים, וְאָמְרוּ לְכוּ וְנַעֲלֶה אֶל-הַר-יְהוָה אֶל-בֵּית אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב, וְיֹרֵנוּ מִדְּרָכָיו, וְנֵלְכָה בְּאֹרְחֹתָיו: כִּי מִצִּיּוֹן תֵּצֵא תוֹרָה, וּדְבַר-יְהוָה מִירוּשָׁלִָם.
And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many peoples shall go and say: 'Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

and then, the technological talents of man will return to its original purpose:
וְשָׁפַט בֵּין הַגּוֹיִם, וְהוֹכִיחַ לְעַמִּים רַבִּים; וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבוֹתָם לְאִתִּים, וַחֲנִיתוֹתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֹת--לֹא-יִשָּׂא גוֹי אֶל-גּוֹי חֶרֶב, וְלֹא-יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.
And He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

Ahavat Yisrael for the Young

Nice guest post at Cross-Currents by someone with whom I went to Yeshiva many years ago.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Rahm Al Kol Goyim?

Rahm Emanuel wants to become mayor of Chicago.

Well, that seems to be better for both him and for Israel than the job he took for the past 21 months.

Nevertheless, some Chicago Jews won't let him forget his antagonism for nationalistic Israel, and will not vote for him even though foreign policy is not relevant as Chicago mayor.  (I happen to know a couple of the people mentioned in that article.)  I'm one of those whose son was a patient of his father, but after what he did in Washington, he won't be getting an automatic vote from me just for being a Jew or for being his father's patient's father - I can tell you that.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Rav Yehuda Mualem, ZT"L

The Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef, Rav Yehuda Mualem, has passed away over Shabbat.

Here are some links:

Pictures of him

Ladaat calls him a hidden Kabbalist, who learned Kabbala with Rav Kaduri ZT"L.

Kikar has his Hesped of Rav Yehuda Tzadka ZT"L 19 years ago.

Pictures and more pictures of the tens of thousands at his funeral.

Part of the funeral video from Kikar.

Kikar says that since he got married, he never just made a cup of coffee for himself without making one for his wife as well.   Also, how Rav Ovadia להבלחטו"א sent a woman who wished to conceive to get a blessing from him, which worked.  Also, how when Rav Ben Tzion Abba Sha'ul died, Rav Ovadia said, "Who is left for us in this generation, besides Hacham Yehuda Mualem?"

ברוך דיין האמת