Tuesday, November 30, 2010

B"H Rain Expected!

The Tefillot may have worked.  Israel is expecting rain on Sunday thru Monday, forecasters say.

Update from Arutz Sheva:
The Channel 2 weatherman reported Wednesday that the forecast for next week changed suddenly from "no rain" to "rain" and he noted the turnabout immediately followed a nation wide fast for rain requested by the Chief Rabbinate on Monday.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks After the Fact

What I wrote about Wikileaks was LeHat'chila - before the fact. You don't go around revealing secrets before the fact - unless you have a very good reason to do so. The reasons here don't seem justified enough to me.

That said, Bediavad, after the fact, we now are seeing information that justifies our thoughts that we knew all along. For example, that Ahmadinejad is like Hitler, ימח שמם וזכרם.  And that Iran sent Lebanon weapons via ambulances - of course against any moral standard.  Shirat Devorah guesses that this is a Geula sign. Arutz Sheva says that the leaked information is good for Israel.

Kikar Hashabat has an article that says that Rav Mordechai Eliyahu told Jonathan Pollard that he is the Tikkun for the sale of Yosef. Now, BeDavka in the middle of Parshat Miketz, the U.S., who has incarcerated Jonathan Pollard for 25 years for revealing secrets to a friendly nation, is getting what it deserves by having its state secrets revealed to any and every nation in the world, says the article.

Wikileaks Can Kill מנלן?

The Wikileaks documents are out and world news organizations are trying to find the best stories out of them to share with the world.

Before they were even released, they were being condemned by American leaders in the strongest terms:
Long Island Rep. Peter King told 1010 WINS the release of the information put “American lives at risk all over the world.”

“This is worse even than a physical attack on Americans, it’s worse than a military attack,” King said.

The Torah has lots to say about revealing secrets as well. This page on the Daat website has a plethora of information about the topic.  And the following information comes from that page.

Among the statements from Haza"l about revealing secrets, one at least shows that revealing secrets can kill. This is from an old Midrash (בית המדרש, שהוציא לאור א' ילינק, חלק ג, עמ' 126, מתוך 'מדרש גדול וגדולה' ) that says:
גדול כסוי הסוד, שכל המגלה סוד חברו, כאילו שופך דמים, שנאמר (ויקרא יט, טז): 'לא תלך רכיל וגו' [לא תעמוד על דם רעך]'. 
Great is covering up secrets for whoever reveals his friend's secret, it's as if he has spilled blood, as it says (Vayikra 19:16): 'Do not go as a peddler... [Do not stand on the blood of your friend]'.
The Menorat Hama'or explains this juxtaposition of verses:
כל המגלה לאדם דברים שדבר עליו אחר בסתר נקרא רכיל... ולא עוד אלא שיוכל להיות סבה לשפוך דם, לכך כתב סמוך לו 'לא תעמוד על דם רעך'. וכתיב (יחזקאל כב, ט): '(אנשי)[הולכי] רכיל היו בך למען שפך דם', אולי יהרוג זה לזה בסבת הרכילות.
Whoever reveals to a man words that another man spoke to him secretly is called a 'peddler'...And not only that, but it could be a reason to spill blood. Therefore, the verse is juxtaposed to it: 'Do not stand on the blood of your friend'. And it is written (Yehezkel 22:9) 'Those who walk as peddlers were among you in order to spill blood.' Perhaps, they will kill each other due to gossiping.
So, Rep. King isn't too far off.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kabbalists' Bodies Reburied Whole - 80 Years Later

According to Kikar Hashabbat, Moroccan Kabbalist brothers Ribbi Avraham Tangi and Ribbi Shelomo Tangi were reburied in Israel on Har Hamenuhot in Yerushalayim. Their families requested the reburial in Israel to allow for people to visit the graves of these saintly men. Hacham Ovadia Yosef eulogized them prior to their reburial.

The Hevra Kadisha in Morocco, who dug up their graves, were astounded to see that their bodies were intact.

According to the book Saint veneration among the Jews in Morocco
By Issachar Ben-Ami
, Ribbi Shelomo Tangi had a steady revelation of Eliyahu.
The wife of R. Shelomoh Tangi once peeked in and saw the rabbi studying with Elijah, the entire room glowing with light.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Mida Keneged Mida? President Obama Gets 12 Stitches on Lips

Washington Post:

A holiday hoops outing with friends and family on Friday turned a bit rough for President Obama, who ended the game with a visit to the White House Medical Unit for a dozen stitches in his lip.

Obama and his basketball crew, which included presidential aide (and former Duke University forward) Reggie Love and family in town for the Thanksgiving holiday, arrived early Friday at Fort McNair for a full-court game. On his return to the White House a few hours later, Obama headed for the doctor's office located on the ground floor of the White House, where he was sewn up.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, "After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the President received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit."

The statement didn't identify the player.

The medical staff that treated Obama used a finer filament than usual, allowing for more numerous and tighter stitches and, as a result, a smaller scar. Obama received a local anesthetic while he was being stitched up.
His lips - for the way he talked against Eretz Yisrael.

12 stitches - 12 Shevatim. It has potential.

(Hat tip: YWN)

Update: See also Shirat Devorah's take.

Update 2: Interesting comment from Machlouf:
12 is the gematria of Gog. With two years left in his presidency, and nothing to lose, Obama is about to turn into the famous Gog. The war of Gog UMagog is about to start on the Korean peninsula. And after failed Israeli-PA peace talks, Obama will attempt to take over Jerusalem by force. We all know the outcome of that endeavor.

Still More Rain Prayers

Article and video on the Kinneret prayer-filled boat ride mentioned previously.

Article and video on prayers for rain from a hot-air balloon.

Article and pictures on the chief rabbis praying and blowing shofar by the grave of Honi Hame'ageil.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Prayers for Rain

While I wish I could have passed the rain we had here yesterday onto Israel, religious Jews in Israel are doing their part to try to get the precipitation coming again.

Arutz Sheva:
In light of the continuing drought in Israel, Chief Rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger have declared next Monday as a second day of prayer and repentance, in which Israelis will be asked to fast and hold special prayers for rain. The Chief Rabbis called on everyone who is able to fast on Monday. Individuals who plan to fast should accept the fast upon themselves when praying Mincha on Sunday. The fast will begin at dawn Monday, and end at sunset.

The Chief Rabbis will participate in special prayers at the Kotel on Monday afternoon at 3:30 PM, and they called on those unable to get to the Kotel to hold prayers of repentance in their local synagogues. A similar day of fasting and prayer was held last Thursday.
Also, Ladaat has an article that says that a bunch of rabbis will be gathering at Kibbutz Ein Gev, praying Minha in the synagogue there, and then taking a boat-ride in the Kinneret with more Tefillot and Shofar-blasts to plead with the Master of the Universe to bring rain.  May they be successful.

Update Arutz Sheva has it now:
(Israelnationalnews.com) With no rain clouds on the horizon, rabbis from the Jordan Valley region are planning a mass prayer rally for rain in the heart of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), Israel's largest single water reservoir. More than 100 people will set off Wednesday from Kibbutz Ein Gev, near the Kinneret, for the special prayer session. 

Worshippers will take part in afternoon prayers (Mincha) at the synagogue at Ein Gev, and at 4 p.m. will set sail on the Kinneret, where they will pray again, this time with a specific plea for rain. Upon their return, they plan to take part in the evening prayer service and then complete the study of the Talmudic book Ta'anit, which deals with the laws of fasting. 

Among those who plan to take part are Rabbi Shlomo Didi, the Chief Rabbi of the Jordan Valley region, and Rabbi Simcha HaCohen Kook, Chief Rabbi of Rechovot. 

In addition, a second fast day has been announced. Many Jews fasted last Thursday and prayed for rain; as rain has yet to come, another dawn-to-dusk fast will be held Monday. 

Israel's chief rabbis are calling on those who can fast for the full day to do so, and for those who cannot fast a full day to attempt to fast until midday. 

A special prayer session will be held at 3:30 p.m. Monday at the Western Wall (Kotel) asking for rain. The general public is asked to join in by praying for rain on Monday afternoon, whether or not they are at the Kotel.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rav Mutzafi: Whoever Can Help Free Pollard and Doesn't, It Is Like He Spilled Blood

Rav Mutzafi is very strong about our obligation to free Jonathan Pollard.  We should mention his name every time we pray and every time we learn Torah, he says.

Even former Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein is calling on the US to free Pollard.

Even President Reagan's Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb says it's time.

25 years is way too long already.  Enough is enough.

Abravanel's Peshat on Shi'bud Malchiyot Bilvad

Shemuel's famous statement all over Shas (e.g. Shabbat 151b, Pesahim 68a):
אין בין העולם הזה לימות המשיח אלא שיעבוד מלכיות בלבד
There is no difference between this world and the days of Mashiah except for the servitude of the nations alone.
The simple explanation of Shemuel's statement is that finally the Jews will not be subjugated by the other nations, and nothing else will be miraculous.

The Rambam brings Shmuel's opinion down as Halacha, and explains that miraculous ideas mentioned in Nevi'im are allegorical.


However, the Abravanel takes issue with this explanation since the words "ימות המשיח" by definition mean freedom from the other nations, and furthermore, we had autonomy from other nations in the past, so what makes Yemot Hamashiah different? 

He therefore explains that the statement of Shemuel is interpreted to mean that in the Yemot Hamashiah, all the other nations will now be subjugated under Jewish rule, which is something that never occurred before.

In addition, he says that Shemuel is not denying the existance of miraculous occurrances (like the wolf living with the lamb) happening at all - rather, he says that this will not happen during the "Yemot Hamashiah", but will happen at a later period - during the time of Tehiyat Hameitim.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Teddy Kollek on Israeli-Arab Relations 8/31/1950

I was never a huge Teddy Kollek fan, but as Rafi points out, he did build up Yerushalayim.  Further, I love this piece below that I found on pdf page 330/document page 987 here.  The person asking him questions is Mr. Rockwell, who was apparently in the US State Department, whose title was the Officer in Charge of Palestine, Israel, and Jordan Affairs.  Why what he says is no longer obvious to all, I don't know.

Click to enlarge
Hat tip for the document link to Elder of Ziyon, who points something else out from this document.

Rav Lior, Netanyahu, and Geula

Arutz Sheva:

Rabbi Dov Lior, the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and one of the leading religious-Zionist rabbis, called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stand firm in the face of pressure of those who demand a continuation of the freeze on construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rabbi Lior wrote: "You have merited the task of representing our nation in one of the most difficult periods in the process of our nation's redemption, and therefore you are obliged to stand as a rock in the face of all of our enemies who seek to hurt us.

"In this difficult hour for the State of Israel, which is facing harsh pressure from the nations of the world, and especially from the 'western power,' to give up our right to our historic homeland, I am taking the step of wishing you 'chazak ve'ematz' (be strong and firm) from the heights of the Judean Mountains, the birthplace of the Kingdom of Israel, the place where our holy Forefathers rest, and the location in which Israel's greatest leaders lived and acted in the past.”

Rabbi Lior wrote of the spiritual fortitude of Israel's forefathers, and wished the Prime Minister “that you will merit to take in from the greatness of these people the mental strength and ability to stand firm.

"I have no doubt that if you exhibit resolution, the nations' wickedness will subside and G-d, the Lord of Israel's Hosts, will help you find your way out of this whole entanglement and you will merit to sanctify the Name of Heaven throughout the entire world.

“There is a G-dly commandment in the Torah not to fear or tremble during wartime."

See also R' Dov Bar Leib's comment on a recent post of mine.
See also this post from almost 2 years ago.
See also this post from last year.
See also this recent Geula Perspectives post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Follow-Ups and More

  • The pictures of the Chernobyler Rebbe that I mentioned were to be taken of him can be seen here and here.  See also Matzav.
  • The dybbuk story from last year was shown to be a hoax after the Brazilian admitted so and begs Mehila from Rav Batzri.  I've come to the conclusion that there are 5 groups of people who comment on this:
    1. Those who believe this last report is a lie and believe that Rav Batzri was working with a real dybbuk
    2. Those who believe that dybbuks can exist nowadays, but this wasn't one of them
    3. Those who believe that dybbuks existed in the past, but stopped existing circa 70 years ago.
    4. Those with a rationalist bent, who believe that dybbuks never existed, and respectfully disagree with those who do
    5. Those with an ultra-rationalist philosophy, who believe that dybbuks never existed, and think that those who do are a bunch of morons
    Count me among #2. See here for other dybbuk posts.
  • Pray for rain and fast (if you can) this Thursday. Here are Tefillot to say. The farmers even asked the rabbis to pray. Rafi has a video of rabbis and imams both praying for rain. Note that the (מעם לועז (בראשית פרק ח says that the one thing that Jews and Gentiles can agree that it's good for everyone is rain.
  • The nines are back again, but without the Yovel condition. Ask your Poseik to make sure this is not Lo Te'Oneinu. Josh and I discussed it last time in the comments there.
  • I'm not going to comment on the 2 big things going on with the Shas party right now. I trust Rav Ovadia and his Mo'etzet will do the right thing in both issues.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Romi and Paras Getting Friendly With Each Other

Fox News:
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the discrimination and violence Catholics suffer in the Mideast and said he hopes relations between the local churches and authorities can improve.

The Vatican released the text of a letter Benedict wrote Ahmadinejad after receiving a letter from the Iranian leader last month. Ahmadinejad had thanked the pontiff for opposing a Florida pastor's threat to burn the Quran on the Sept. 11 anniversary.

In his letter, dated Nov. 3 but released only Thursday, Benedict noted that a recent meeting of Mideast bishops had decried the discrimination many Catholics face in the region. He said he hoped a bilateral commission would help address the legal status of the Catholic Church in Iran.
The full text of the letter can be found here, where it starts like this:
To His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr President,

I am writing to acknowledge the courteous words of greeting and the reflections that Your Excellency kindly sent me by the good offices of His Excellency Mr Hojjat ol Eslam Haj Sayyed Mohammed Reza Mir Tajjadini, Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

...
The spiritual arm of Romi is getting friendlier with Paras, while the physical arm of Romi is still mostly at odds with it.  This makes for an interesting scenario in the future.  See Yoma 10a.

Perhaps, when the gemara brings down the 2 opinions of Romi falling in the hands of Paras and Paras falling in the hands of Romi, they are really not arguing.  Perhaps, Romi falling in the hands of Paras refers to the spiritual battle as we see the Islamization of Europe and the Pope kowtowing to an evil man.  And Paras falling in the hands of Romi refers to the physical battle that always seems to be on the horizon.

Alternatively, Romi falling into the hands of Paras refers to Europe, whereas Paras falling into the hands of Romi refers to America, where Islam is having issues.

Note how the Tosefot Ri"d and Mahara"l include Yishma'el in "Paras" here.  (See this post.)

I noticed that Abravanel wants to say that the two opinions can both be true, but in a slightly different fashion.  He says that Paras, which could mean Turkey (see also this post), will capture Italy, while Romi will then take revenge in the land of Paras.

Anyways, as I hinted to, it's possible that Romi's spiritual arm getting friendly with what we know as Paras (Iran)  might be a catalyst - not a hindrance - to the Geula.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Few More Links

Monday, November 08, 2010

A Few Links

  • Joel Pollak lost the election, but he keeps on fighting for the good guys.  Take a look at his latest piece. (h/t WorldJewishDaily)
  • Those who talk on cellphones in the synagogue should be peppersprayed, according to this cute video.  I agree with the overall message despite the last line.
  • Interesting paper on the Jewish presence on the Internet, which includes blogs. (h/t Hirhurim)
  • According to statcounter, I got my 400,000th pageview recently since I started keeping records a little more than 5 years ago.  I know it doesn't seem like much compared to some of the more popular blogs, but it does to me.  Thanks to those who come here and read the blog.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Daf Yomi Starts Kodashim Soon

Those learning Daf Yomi will start learning Zevahim - the first Masechet in Kodashim - this coming Erev Shabbat .  The Hafeitz Hayim has implored us (especially Kohanim and Talmidei Hachamim) to learn Kodashim so that we will be ready for the Geula and not be caught off-guard.
Eliyahu Hanavi will only answer the difficult questions, not those we could have learned on our own, he says.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Cholent Picture

Received via email and spotted at the Kosher section of a Jewel store...

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rashi and Penei Yehoshua on Hashem's Day

2 years ago, for Parshat Toledot, I had a post about Bereishit Rabba saying that Eisav sold 1 day to Yaakov Avinu.  I mentioned in the post that it was certain that one day means 1000 years.  I mentioned some explanations and some commenters pointed out some other nice explanations.  It turns out that it's not so certain that one day means 1000 years.

I commented in the comments there that I found the Penei Yehoshua on Gittin 88a who quotes Rashi in Tehillim 90:4.

The verse says:
כִּי אֶלֶף שָׁנִים, בְּעֵינֶיךָ-- כְּיוֹם אֶתְמוֹל, כִּי יַעֲבֹר; וְאַשְׁמוּרָה בַלָּיְלָה

Rashi suggests that the Yom (day) of Hashem is 930 years (the same amount of years that Adam Harishon lived), while the "Ashmura" of the night will complete the rest of the 1000 years.  This means that one Ashmura/Mishmar is 70 years.

The Penei Yehoshua gives his day calculation based on this Rashi and explains how the 852 (ונושנתם) minus 2 years that the Jewish people ruled over the land of Israel can be calculated from it to work with this Midrash.

I (=yaak) want to suggest the following:

The gemara in Berachot 3b has a Mahloket how many Mishmarot there are, but the gemara on 3a indicates that we hold that there are 3 Mishmarot in the night - not 4.  The Shulhan Aruch codifies this in Orah Hayim 1:2

If there are 3 Mishmarot in the night, and one Mishmar of Hashem = 70 years, then the total amount for the night is 210 years.  If you add 210 of the night to 930 of the day, each 24-hour day = 1140 years.

Jewish history is therefore like this:

Period
Years
Night #11-211
Day #1211-1141
Night #21141-1351
Day #21351-2281
Night #32281-2491
Day #32491-3421
Night #43421-3631
Day #43631-4561
Night #54561-4771
Day #54771-5701
Night #65701-5911

Notice that it's very fitting to start Day #3 at about the time the Israelites entered the Land of Israel.  Also, notice that Night #6 started during the Holocaust.  Since we said that an Ashmura/Mishmar lasts 70 years, we are currently at the end of the first Ashmura/Mishmar of the sixth night.

The gemara in Berachot 3a also says:
 אמר רב יצחק בר שמואל משמי׳ דרב ג׳ משמרות הוי הלילה ועל כל משמר ומשמר יושב הקב״ה ושואג כארי ואומר אוי לבנים שבעונותיהם החרבתי את ביתי ושרפתי את היכלי והגליתים לבין אומות העולם

Said Rav Yitzhak bar Shemuel in the name of Rav: The night has 3 watches, and upon every watch, HKB"H sits and roars like a lion and says, "Woe to the children whom with their sins, I destroyed My house and burned My sanctuary and exiled them among the nations of the world."
The gemara earlier on the page says that at the end of the first watch, חמור נוער - a donkey brays.  Perhaps, it means עם משולים לחמור. 

May Hashem, with His roar of the lion, overpower the braying of the donkey and end our exile once and for all.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Marco Rubio, you just won Florida's senate seat. What are you going to do next?

"I'm going to Israel!!!!"

(For those who don't understand this post, see here.)

More Tidbits

  • Unfortunately, I was informed that Shabtai Miller passed away.  ברוך דיין האמת.
  • A community-wide gathering will take place due to recent tragedies.
In politics:
  • Joel Pollak lost in this ultra-liberal district we live in, which includes Northwestern University, but I applaud his effort.  VIN has his concession speech.
  • I learn from Kikar (of all places) that Chicago Jews still like Obama.  Funny.  99% of the Jews I associate with can't stand the guy. 
  • For Illinois governor, Brady just can't get an easy win or loss - he won the primary by just 194 votes and is losing the general election by 9,774 votes - pending the counting of over 25,000 absentee ballots.
  • The pro-Israel Mark Kirk won for senate, helping the Republicans regain Peter Fitzgerald's senate seat...er, I mean Barack Obama's senate seat...er, I mean Rolland Burris's senate seat...er, I mean the people's senate seat.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Cargo-Terrorist's Name Foiled His Own Plot

The name of the Al-Qaeda terrorist who is the prime suspect in the Yemen-Chicago cargo bomb plot is:

Ibrahim Hassan Al-Asiri.

I read that as:

Avraham Avinu stored the merit of his 10th test - Akeidat Yitzhak - for the Jews of all generations.