Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Nice/Good Articles I Saw Today

Shirat Devorah - Miriam the Launderess

Kikar - What should we do to bring Mashiah now (Hebrew)

Matzav - The Greatness of Klal Yisroel and the Blizzard of 2010

Matzav - What being a Yid is All About

VIN - Shanghai Shidduch Results in Historic Wedding

Arutz Sheva - Iran: 'Harry Potter a Zionist Plot to Promote Devil Worship'

Muqata - What Israel should do with new gas find's revenue

Elder of Ziyon - How to Defame Israel - NPR edition

Arutz Sheva - The iKotel: Bringing the Western Wall to the iPhone

Shiloh Musings - No New Year, Just a Number

Going Home...To Yerushalayim - What does Hashem want from His children?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New 5771 Geula Predictions - Part 2

See Part 1 here. See also Parsha blog's rebuttal and Rabbi Katz's defense of his position from others.


Rabbi Katz has another Shiur on how the year 5771 is what was meant by Rashi in Daniel.

He again goes into the Rashi in Daniel 7:25, but this time, he also uses the Rashi in Daniel 8:14 to bolster his position.

Within the Shiur, he vigorously defends the idea of taking the words of the Rishonim not at face value and calls it "חשמל" - silent speech. At the end of the Shiur, he says that whenever the year "becomes holy", you can expect to find the "Peshuto" of Rashi.

In my learning experience, I had never learned Rishonim the way Rabbi Katz is learning them. Nor do I think he has a Kabbala for any of the Hiddushim he says. That said, I do applaud his efforts in this, and hope that his Heshbon is correct.

I happen to like 5771 for other reasons.

May the Geula truly come this year.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

G-d's Horse

Shemot Rabba Chapter 8 (taken from Parshat Va'era):
 דבר אחר מי הוא זה
 מלך הכבוד. למה קרא להקב״ה מלך הכבוד שהוא חולק כבוד ליראיו.
 כיצד מלך בשר ודם אין רוכבין על סוסו ואין יושבין על כסאו.והקב"ה השיב
 לשלמה על כסאו שנא׳ (דברי הימים א כט) וישב שלמה על כסא ה׳ למלך. והרכיב
 לאליהו על סוסו. ומהו סוסו של הקב"ה סופה וסערה שנאמר ה׳
 בסופה ובסערה דרכו וענן אבק רגליו וכתיב(מלכים ב ב) ויעל אליהו בסערה
 השמים.
Another explanation on "Who is the King of Glory?" Why does the verse call HKB"H "the King of Glory"? Because He distributes honor to those who fear Him. How so? A king of flesh and blood - one may not ride on his horse and may not sit on his throne. On the other hand, HKB"H sat King Solomon on His throne as it says, "Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king". And He had Eliyahu ride on His horse. And what is the horse of HKB"H? A whirlwind and storm, as it says, "the LORD, in the whirlwind and in the storm is His way, and the clouds are the dust of His feet." And it is written, "and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven."

Etz Yosef, quoting Toledot No'ah:
סוסו של הקדוש ברוך הוא סופה וסערה.  דבר זה הוא מסודות התורה.
The fact that the horse of HKB"H is a whirlwind and storm is one of the secrets of the Torah.

The מהרי"א refers you to a Zohar to understand this.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Diaspora Follows Israel Regarding Israeli Holidays

RCA website:
Dec 24, 2010 -- In many years, there is confusion about the proper dates for observing Yom Hashoa, Yom Ha'atzmaut, and Yom Yerushalayim is the Diaspora. After discussions and consultation with our Av Beit Din, Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, the position of the RCA is that Diaspora Jewry should celebrate and observe these days on the dates the Chief Rabbinate of Israel designates for them. The Chief Rabbinate publishes these dates on its website.

For 5771/2011, the corresponding dates are
Yom Hashoa should be observed on Monday, Nisan 28/May 2;
Yom Ha'atzmaut on Tuesday, 6 Iyar/May 10; and,
Yom Yerushalayim on Wednesday, 28 Iyar/June 1.

On the one hand, the reasons why Israel pushes off these holidays (to prevent Shabbat desecration) doesn't really apply to the diaspora, as no Shabbat desecration will take place (especially in regard to Yom Hazikaron, which is less-commonly commemorated in the diaspora). Therefore, it makes sense to keep the original dates for these holidays in the diaspora.

On the other hand, ruling to keep the original dates divides the Jewish people more than a Yom Tov Sheni does - in that the first days of the holidays are celebrated/commemorated on two different days. Rabbi Schwartz's ruling, therefore, unifies the nation.

Yehezkel 37:22 comes to mind:

וְלֹא יהיה- (יִהְיוּ-) עוֹד לִשְׁנֵי גוֹיִם, וְלֹא יֵחָצוּ עוֹד לִשְׁתֵּי מַמְלָכוֹת עוֹד
and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all;

Chief Rabbis: Pray for Pollard's Health ASAP

Ladaat.net:
הרבנים הראשיים לישראל יוצאים היום בקריאה מיוחדת ונרגשת לציבור היהודי בעולם, ומבקשים להתפלל לרפואתו של יהונתן פולארד, בטרם יהיה חלילה מאוחר.

את ההודעה הוציאו לאחר שבשבוע שעבר נותק הקשר עם פולארד שהיה נוהג להתקשר למשפחתו. בשיחה עם אתר לדעת.נט, סיפרה בשבוע שעבר אשתו אסתר, כי בעלה לא יכול היה להחזיק את מכשיר הטלפון מרוב חלישות.

את הדברים היא אמרה לכתב האתר, שעה שיצאה מפגישה עם ראש הממשלה נתניהו. רק יומיים לאחר מכן התברר כי מצבו של פולארד כה רע, עש שאושפז ואף עבר ניתוח.

בעקבות ההתדרדרות פנו הרבנים הראשיים בקריאה נרגשת לנשיא ארה"ב, בבקשה ובקריאה לשחררו באופן מיידי, על מנת שיוכל לצאת מהכלא כשהוא עדיין מסוגל לעמוד על רגליו. במקביל פנו הרבנים הראשיים אל הציבור בקריאה נרגשת להתפלל ביחיד וברבים לשלומו ולשחרורו.
The Chief Rabbis of Israel are asking the public to please pray for Jonathan Pollard to be healthy as his health situation has taken a turn for the worse. His wife Esther related that Jonathan couldn't even hold a telephone due to his weakness.

They are also asking President Obama to free him immediately so he can leave prison on his own 2 feet.

Note what I wrote almost 2 years ago that from this week's perasha "שלח את עמי ויעבדני", the words "את עמי" is the same gematria as "יהונתן". We ask that he be sent out from his prison so he can get better and serve Hashem at home with his family.

Please pray for יהונתן בן מלכה and do what you can to free him. The time is now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Rabbanit Eliyahu: Don't Work on Shabbatot of Xmas and New Years to bring Mashiah

Life in Israel:
The upcoming Christian and secular holidays, Christmas and New Years, fall out on two consecutive Saturdays. I don't know how often that happens, and I doubt Torah Tidbits will give us the stats and the probabilities for such a sequence.

Rabanit Tzviya Eliyahu, the wife of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l, realized the opportunity this would present in the sense that on two consecutive Shabbos days Jews will not have a need to go to work. She saw the opportunity presented that it would therefore be easier to encourage people to keep shabbos, thus presenting the opportunity have all or most Jews keep two Shabbatot in a row thus guaranteeing the immediate arrival of Mashiach, as per the dictum of the Gemara.

She got a team together and they promoted their message in a number of countries. They say the response has been tremendous. Obviously not every Jew is going to keep Shabbos completely, but perhaps enough will, the one Jew who will tip the scales will be keeping Shabbos in some way, and Mashiach will come.

The Rabanit says that before her husband died he said that the time is ripe and all the conditions have already been met and all we need is just the one Jew who will tip the scales, and the redemption will be immediate. He said, everything happened already, including the war of Gog and Magog, and we have experienced everything we need to experience. We are ready.

Additionally, according to the YNet article, she said that people who are excited about this were calling her constantly, asking what is permitted and what is forbidden. Religious families will be hosting non-religious families to make it easier for them. She said that the chief rabbis of France and England told her that they will publicize this idea to their respective constituents.

She was asked, "So there is a situation that on Sunday in two weeks there will be Mashiah here?"

She answered, "Definitely.  According to our recruitment and the telephone calls that we're receiving, it's tangible.  I am working all the time on the one Jew who will tip the scales in our favor.  I see this happening.  It's enough to have one Jew raise himself up and in 2 weeks, we will all sit down and eat from the Shor Habar.

"When I read the news, I'm doing this in order to know how we are proceeding toward the Geula according to the prophets. Everything that happens here is connected to prophecies. We're not Meshichists, but we believe in the coming of Mashiah and we're expecting something good."

May her idea be successful.

Update: Arutz Sheva (Hebrew) has an article and an audio interview with the Rabbanit. Also, Rav Shemuel Eliyahu has an article there about the concept and about Shemirat Shabbat in general.
Update 2: Now in Arutz Sheva English.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Asara BeTevet - Could be At'halta deGeula

I'm sorry I hadn't done so earlier, but the past few weeks, I started listening to Rabbi Sitorsky's shiurim.  They are phenomenal.  Thanks to Tomer Devorah for introducing me to them.

He talks a lot about Mashiah in the one for Vayehi.

He says (near the beginning and again at about the 40:00 mark) that according to the Hatam Sofer, just like Asara BeTevet was the At'halta dePuranita (the beginning of the punishment for the Jewish people as it was during the days of Nevuchadnetzar), in the future, it has the potential to be the At'halta deGeula (the beginning of the Final Redemption).  The Hatam Sofer says that the verse סמך מלך בבל אל ירושלם means בבל=34 + ירושלם=586.  So 586+34=620.  That could either be כרת (excommunication) or כתר (crown).  Asara BeTevet can go either way - it could be an At'halta dePuranita or an At'halta deGeula - it's up to us. 

He also says that Sefarim say that we are judged on Asara BeTevet on whether or not Mashiah will come this year or not.  Being that Asara Betevet is on a Friday this year can only help in that regard, he says.

In addition, he Devar Torah on Reuven is beautiful.

Listen to the whole thing.

More Geula Speculation

R' Dov Bar Leib posts on his site and on Mystical Paths some interesting Geula speculation.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Example of Ahdut and Lack Thereof

I've many times blogged about the Ahdut we need before the Final Redemption.  This is known to us primarily from the verse in Vayehi:

וַיִּקְרָא יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-בָּנָיו; וַיֹּאמֶר, הֵאָסְפוּ וְאַגִּידָה לָכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-יִקְרָא אֶתְכֶם, בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים
And Jacob called unto his sons, and said: 'Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the end of days.
2 articles in the Kikar Hashabat website shows the contrast of Ahdut and the antithesis of Ahdut.

Let's start with the negative.  According to Kikar, The Neturei Karta came to Beit Lehem - not to pray that Jewish sons should return to their borders - but rather to give advice to Abu Mazen Harasha how to fight against Israel.  At the International Conference for the Return of Palestine to Arab Rule, the Neturei Karta leader said in Hebrew, "The Zionists are the Antisemites, and the Zionists will be driven out of the Holy Land with G-d's power."  He also said, "The proper step of our honored beloved president [Abu Mazen] must be on the basis of a unilateral declaration alone in order to complete the conquest [of the Zionists]."  There is no example of lack of Ahdut (let alone sedition and treason) worse than this.

On the positive side, there was a story of a plane that got delayed in Switzerland due to snow, and was scheduled to land very close to sundown on Erev Shabbat - at 4:10 PM.   The passengers will have hopefully gotten off the plane in time, but will be required to spend Shabbat at Ben Gurion Airport.  (I'm writing this after the fact, but it's not clear what actually happened.)  Askanim from Kfar Chabad and Bnei Brak are working together to provide meals for the passengers who were to be stranded there.  This is a beautiful example of Ahdut.

May we continue to stay far away from division and closer to Ahdut so that we can bring the Ge'ula Shleima Bimheira Veyameinu, Amen.

Updates: According to Ladaat, the plane arrived at 3:45 so most of the passengers rushed home in time - only 15 passengers needed to stay in the airport on Shabbat.
VIN now has an article on the Neturei Karta speech.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New 5771 Geula Predictions

Hat tip to Shirat Devorah, who referred me to this shiur.  Rabbi David Katz has a shiur on TorahAnytime (listen here) where he takes the Zohar, Rashi, and the Ramban - and uses their wording to show how they all predict a 5771 Geula.  I hope I understood the shiur correctly - if anyone understood it differently than I present it here, please let me know.  Note that much of what he says is not the literal meaning of their words, but he claims that this could be an intended meaning of their words, al derech drush.

Before he does that, he notes 2 Gematrias:

1) Daniel 12:12 אשרי המחכה ויגיע - the word המחכה ("he that waits"can be reconstructed as 5770 in the following way:
  • ה - stands for 5000
  • כה - the 25th letter of the alef bet is ן with a gematria of 700
  • מח - in א"ת ב"ש is יס, which = 70
2) The word הכרמל (the Carmel) can also have the gematria of 5770 as follows:

  • ה - stands for 5000
  • כ - really is ך, which = 500
  • רמל - which = 270

He further notes that being off by a year is OK in year calculations, so any calculations for 5770 can also mean 5771.

Back to his dealing with the sources.  He says that the Hurban of the second Beit Hamikdash occurred in 3830 (unlike many Jewish sources which say it occurred in 3828, but he is taking the secular date of 70 CE).




ודע, כי חכמי המשנה מעידים בביאור, כי רומה תפסה מלכות על [אנשי] בית שני, בנצחם את היונים, מזמן
 מאתים ושש שנה קודם החרבן, וכשתוסיף המספר הזה על
 אלף של״ה, שהוא קץ גאלתנו השלמה, נמצא שעמדנו תחת
 יד רומה ושכניה, אשר מכרה אותנו להם, אלף תק״מ שנה
 כי שנת אלף של״ה בה תהיה גאלתנו שלמה. אשרי המחכה
 ויגיע אליה.


So you add 3830 + 1335 (years in Daniel 12:12) + 206 (years Rome ruled before the Hurban) = 5371

 Then, he takes the Ramban in the end of Sefer HaGeula:

 ואולי הרמז אשר יעדנו לו בתחלת
דברינו מפרשת 
כי תוליד בנים, הוא מפסוק: בצר לך
 ומצאוך כל הדברים האלה באחרית הימים ושבת עד ה׳
,אלהיך וגו׳ 
 כי אם תספור לך ומצאוך כל הדברים האלה
,באחרית הימים יעלה בידך לחשבון הגימטריא, אלף רצ״א
 כמספר, אשר מן החרבן השני הנרמז בפרשה 
עד ביאת
 הגואל הראשון משיח בן אפרים
 where he takes the word כמספר which itself has the gematria of 400.  So, 5371 + 400 = 5771.

  • Next, he discusses the Vilna Gaon, who many wrongly predicted a 5750 Geula from his words.  Rabbi Katz says that the Vilna Gaon wrote it in 5520 - not in 5500 - so when the Vilna Gaon divided the last 500 years of history in half, he claims it should be pushed off by 20 years, bringing us to 5770.
ואי תימא דלע׳ תחיל ולב׳ שנין אולידת, בתר אלף ומאתן
 בחושבן רע״ב

Partially based on the Sulam, Rabbi Katz explains that 3830 + 1200 = 5030.  Add another 200 as the Sulam says = 5230.  Add another 200 (I don't know where Rabbi Katz gets this from) = 5430.  Add 70 = 5500.  Add the 272 = 5772, but since we're in the 272nd year, we can say this equates to 5771.
  • Next, he takes the Zohar Vayera 119a and Zohar Pinhas 252a and the Haza"l that 2 years were subtracted to ונושנתם, which means that 2 years will be subtracted from the final Geula too.  He then does a calculation based on the word שש equaling 600 to come to 5771.  (Too technical to get into the calculation.)

עד עידן ועידנין ופלג עידן - קץ סתום הוא זה כאשר נאמר לדנייאל סתום הדברים וחתום ודרשוהו הראשונים איש לפי דעתו וכלו הקצים ויש לנו לפותרו עוד כאשר ראיתי כתוב בשם רב סעדיה הם אלף וג' מאות ול"ה שנים האמור בסוף הספר אשרי המחכה וגו' ופי' המועד עד עת שני עתים וחצי עת ואמר שהעתים הם ד' מאות ופ' שמיום צאתם ממצרים עד שנבנה הבית, וד' מאות ועשר ימי מקדש ראשון הרי תת"ץ ועוד חצי העת הזה תמ"ה הרי אל"ף של"ה את אלה חשוב מעת הוסר התמיד עד שוב זבח התמיד אל מקומו והוא הוסר שש שנים לפני החורבן ויש קצת ראיה בספר זה, ועוד יש מביאין ראיה לחשבון זה הסתר אסתיר פני הסתר אסתיר בגי' אלף ושל"ה

Rabbi Katz says that לפני החורבן means at the Hurban, you are looking ahead of you.  He also says that בספר should be read Bisfar (i.e. in the number).  He further says that the underlined word שש equals 600 in gematria  + ויש קצת means take the literal word שש which is smaller to mean 6.  So, 3830 + 1335 + 606 = 5771.

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

Now, all this is a stretch as I said - it is definitely not the literal meaning of these sefarim.  Rabbi Katz will likely say that the words were purposely coded to not allow their meaning to be revealed until it is close to the Geula.  Whatever it is, it is a nice Drush on their holy words.  Whether it is Emet or not, time will tell.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some Calendar Stuff

R' Ari Enkin at Hirhurim tells us that we hadn't had a Friday 10th of Tevet in 10 years (5761).  He mentions the years that we will next be commemorating Asara BeTevet on a Friday as being: 5771, 5774, 5781, 5784, 5785, 5795, 5798.

There is another rare occurrance that happens about the same time of year: i.e. A Shabbat Parshat Miketz that does NOT fall out on Hanukka.  This too last happened 10 years ago (5761), and this will not happen again for another 10 years (5781).  5781 is on the list for a Friday Asara BeTevet. 

So, I was wondering if the list of Shabbat Parshat Mikketz not falling on Hanukka is a subset of the list of Friday Asara BeTevets. This theory seems to be correct. See the table below.

May we soon not have to fast on Asara BeTevet any longer.

YearAsara BeTevet FridayShabbat Parshat Miketz NOT on Hanukka
5757YesYes
5758NoNo
5759NoNo
5760NoNo
5761YesYes
5762NoNo
5763NoNo
5764NoNo
5765NoNo
5766NoNo
5767NoNo
5768NoNo
5769NoNo
5770NoNo
5771YesNo
5772NoNo
5773NoNo
5774YesNo
5775NoNo
5776NoNo
5777NoNo
5778NoNo
5779NoNo
5780NoNo
5781YesYes
5782NoNo
5783NoNo
5784YesYes
5785YesNo
5786NoNo
5787NoNo
5788NoNo
5789NoNo
5790NoNo
5791NoNo
5792NoNo
5793NoNo
5794NoNo
5795YesNo
5796NoNo
5797NoNo
5798YesNo
5798NoNo
5799NoNo
5800NoNo
5801YesYes

Fifth of Tevet Update

For those of you keeping up with the promise of rain on the 5th of Tevet, yes, it B"H rained again in Israel on the fifth of Tevet.

Thanksgiving prayers were said by Rav Ovadia and separately, by hundreds of kids.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Learning from Yissachar

Bereishit Rabba 98:17 according to the Nezer Hakodesh::
ויהי למס עובד
ר' אלעזר ור' שמואל בר נחמן ר' אלעזר אומר כל השבטים
הניחו יתירות ושבטו של יששכר לא הניחו יתירות רשב״ן
אמר אף שבטו של יששכר הניחו יתירות אלא שהיו בעלי
מסין א"ר אסי הם מעלי מסין היה כמו שנשתעבדו
[In his blessing to Yissachar, Yaakov Avinu blesses him that] he "became a servant under task-work".  Ribbi Elazar and Ribbi Shemu'el Bar Nahman [disagree as to what this means].  Ribbi Elazar says that all the tribes left over extremities [i.e. other nations that lived along with them, which they did not wipe out as they were commanded], but the tribe of Yissachar did not leave over extremities [as we see in the first chapter of Shofetim, all West-of-Jordan tribes were mentioned leaving over Canaanites in their midst with the exception of Yissachar (even though Dan is also not mentioned as leaving Canaanites, they did take Layish after Yehoshua died, so it's as if they left over a city originally.  Yissachar, however, left no cities not captured).  He therefore "became a servant under task-work" in how much he troubled himself to capture all his enemies(Etz Yosef).  This is how וירא מנוחה כי טוב ואת הארץ כי נעמה - For he saw a resting-place that it was good, and the land that it was pleasant - by inheriting the entire land.]  Ribbi Shemu'el Bar Nahman says that even the tribe of Yissachar left over extremities, but they were those who paid taxes.  Ribbi Assi said they paid taxes just as when they were [first] subjugated.  [In other words, the tribe of Yissachar left over his enemies too, but instilled fear in them so much that they continued to pay taxes and be subjugated to them.  Whereas the other tribes at first had their enemies paying taxes to them, but after time, their enemies started rebelling, the tribe of Yissachar instilled enough fear into their enemies that they would not rebel.]

One need not be a genius to understand how we need to learn from Yissachar nowadays so that those who live among us do not become as thorns in your eyes, and as pricks in your sides.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Fire as One of a Series of Warnings

Found this comment on Ladaat.net:

המדרש לקמן מתפרש ממש שלב שלב על הקורה בעולם בשנים האחרונות. תנחומא בהר סעיף ג': ודעו מה הקדוש ברוך הוא מנסה את ישראל לדעת אם יעשו תשובה. תחילה מביא פורעניות על האומות, שנאמר, הכרתי גוים נשמו פנותם וגו', אמרתי אך תיראי אותי תקחי מוסר (צפני' ג ו-ז). חזרו, מוטב. ואם לאו, מפסיד ממונם, שנאמר, אכלו זרים כחו וגו' (הושע ז ט). אם חזרו, מוטב. מוסיף המלקט, פורענויות על האומות אלו כוללות, הצונאמי לפני שנים מספר, רעידת האדמה בטהיטי, הר הגעש ששיתק את אירופה לפני מס' חודשים והשריפות ביוון וברוסיה בסמוך. ואצלנו היו מלחמות בלבנון ובעזה. הפסדי הממון היא המפולת באמריקה שעדיין לא ברור אם יצאו ממנה. ועדיין לא שמנו אל לב שהקב"ה עשה כל אלה, כלשון המדרש, לדעת אם יעשו תשובה. ולכן התקיים בנו שבוע זה המשך המדרש בדיוק מפתיע, פרטי פרטים, וזה המשך המדרש: ואם לאו, הקדוש ברוך הוא מביא רעה על אחת מערי ישראל, שנאמר, ותלהטהו מסביב וגו' ותבער בו (ישעיה מב כה). אם ישובו, מוטב. ואם לאו, מה כתיב, במדבר הזה יתמו ושם ימותו (במד' יד לה). ואל יאמר אדם, לא למעני תבא רעה. יהיה יודע שימות, שנאמר, ימותו כל חטאי עמי האומרים לא תגיש ותקדים בעדינו הרעה (עמוס ט י)].
My translation:

The Midrash later explains exactly step-by-step what happened in the world during recent years.  The Tanhuma Behar, Se'if 3:
And know - why does HKB"H test Israel? To know if they will do Teshuva. First, He brings punishments to the nations, as it says, "I have cut off nations, their corners are desolate... I said: 'Surely thou wilt fear Me, thou wilt receive correction...'"(Tzephania 3:6-7). If they repent, good, but if not, they will lose their money, as it says, "Strangers have devoured his strength..."(Hoshe'a 7:9). If they repent, good...
The compiler adds: the punishments to the other nations include the tsunami a number of years ago, the earthquake in Haiti, the volcano that silenced Europe a number of years ago, and the recent fires in Greece and Russia. And by us, there were wars in Lebanon and Gaza. The loss of money is the recession in America, which is still not clear that they got out of. And we still didn't pay attention that HKB"H did all this, as the wording of the Midrash, "To know if they will do Teshuva." And therefore, this week, the continuation of the Midrash was fulfilled upon us with surprising accuracy, with exact detail. Here is the continuation of the Midrash:
...but if not, HKB"H brings bad punishments upon one of the cities of Israel, as it says, "and it set him on fire round about, yet he knew not, and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart." (Yeshaya 42:25) If they will repent, good, but if not, what is written? "in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die" (Bamidbar 14:35). And one should not say "It is not because of me that the bad punishments come". He should know that he will die, as it says, "All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, that say: 'The evil shall not overtake nor confront us.'"

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

RoboRebbe and Moshe Discuss the Geula



Some concepts discussed here and here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sources for Selling to Non-Jews in Israel

Rambam and relevant Peirush

Shulhan Aruch

Rav Herzog Zt"l held that it doesn't apply in a democratic country, and the Tzohar rabbis agree.

Many other rabbis don't agree with that Heteir.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Searching for Meaning of the Fire

B"H, the fire was put out with the help of HKB"H, who sent many nations to help the Jewish people in our time of need.

While the fires were raging, Rav Amar issued a Pesak Halacha that Hashem should annul the decree of the fire.  This eventually was successful.  But people want to know why it happened to begin with.

As Batya says:
It is all so clear to me that this fire is part of G-d's punishment because of how we, as a nation, country, people are sinning.
But punishment for what?
 
Rav Ovadia Yosef quoted the gemara that said that fires are due to Shabbat desecration and that those who live in the affected areas should do Teshuva - especially in the area of Shabbat observance.
 
Rav Lefkowitz said:
It's written in Eicha "He poured out His wrath and ignited a fire". When Am Yisrael isn't awakened from the stoppage of rain, HKB"H brings wrath of fire. This happened in the middle of the days of Hanukka, which testifies to the will of Hashem that Am Yisrael should give over their souls and stand steadfast against all the decrees that are being renewed against those who learn Torah.
Rav Shteinman said:
In recent days, we saw how the heads of the state were helpless against the forces of nature.  It is incumbent upon us to strengthen our Emuna and to understand that "Ein Od Milevado" - there is nothing else besides Him - especially during these days of Hanukka.

Rav Edelshtein (Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh) said:
(After quoting the Gemara that fires only come from desecration of the Shabbat, he said:) We must strenghten ourselves, especially with Torah learning on Shabbat.  Anything that occurs in this world, its purpose is to awaken Am Yisrael.
Some want to attribute it to the Golden Calf Festival in Ein Hod, one of the worst-affected towns of the fire.

Rabbi Lazer Brody quotes a Midrash that talks about a fire outside Haifa before the End of Days.  (I translated this Midrash in the comments of the previous post.)  See Josh, Devorah, and Akiva on this, however.

See what Nava says too.

Now, one blogger doesn't think anyone should point to anything specific when a disaster occurs.  To each his own.  I'll stick with the Gedolim.

Update: I received an email that Esther Pollard spoke at an event saying that the main tragedy of the fire was near a prison - where prison guards were trying to rescue prisoners.  This is perhaps to remind us of our own prisoner - Jonathan Pollard - who was abandoned by the State of Israel, she said. Update: see here.

Update 2: CosmicX has some more here:
Rabbi Dov Lior writes that the fire was Divine punishment for giving away parts of the land of Israel to terrorists.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu calls for soul searching on the individual and national level.

Rabbi Uri Sherki says that the fire was "yissurim shel ahava", and that it was in place of a potentially greater disaster.
Kikar has more rabbis' opinions on the matter:
  • Rav Elyashiv said similar to Rav Ovadia that it had to do with Shabbat desecration.
  • Rav Kanievsky said that it was due to "a great sin", but refused to elaborate.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Tragic Ironies of the Terrible Fire Today

In such a horrible day in Israel, where at least 40 people ר"ל lost their lives, a forest is being destroyed, and thousands are being evacuated, I would like to take a look at some of the tragic ironies that just occurred.
  1. Before today, when I thought of a fire in the Carmel, I think of Eliyahu Hanavi getting the people to say ה' הוא האלקים ה' הוא האלקים.  After today, we still need to say ה' הוא האלקים, but the reason for saying it is more hidden.  The fire then was a fire of blessing - this is just the opposite.
  2. Today is the first day of Hanukka, where we should be celebrating our victories over the Greeks.  Instead, we need to ask Greece (among others) for help to put out the fire, and they are sending helicopters.
  3. We light Hanukka flames with the hope that the flames in the Carmel Forest are put out.
  4. There was just an article about firefighters warning people about house fires before Hanukka.
The Mashiach Is Coming blog notes a verse in Tehillim 89:47:
עַד-מָה יְהוָה, תִּסָּתֵר לָנֶצַח; תִּבְעַר כְּמוֹ-אֵשׁ חֲמָתֶךָ

47 How long, O LORD, wilt Thou hide Thyself for ever? How long shall Thy wrath burn like fire?
and notes various Tehillim gatherings due to the blaze.  
 
Tehillim were also said at the Minha minyan I attended today.
 
May Hashem speedily turn the Aish of destruction into an Aish of building, as we say:
באש הצתה ובאש אתה עתיד לבנותה