Friday, February 25, 2011

Qaddafi vs. NATO - Daniel 11?


מ וּבְעֵת קֵץ, יִתְנַגַּח עִמּוֹ מֶלֶךְ הַנֶּגֶב, וְיִשְׂתָּעֵר עָלָיו מֶלֶךְ הַצָּפוֹן בְּרֶכֶב וּבְפָרָשִׁים, וּבָאֳנִיּוֹת רַבּוֹת; וּבָא בַאֲרָצוֹת, וְשָׁטַף וְעָבָר.
 40 And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him; and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow, as he passes through.


מא וּבָא בְּאֶרֶץ הַצְּבִי, וְרַבּוֹת יִכָּשֵׁלוּ; וְאֵלֶּה, יִמָּלְטוּ מִיָּדוֹ--אֱדוֹם וּמוֹאָב, וְרֵאשִׁית בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן.
 41 He shall enter also into the beauteous land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall be delivered out of his hand, Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.

מב וְיִשְׁלַח יָדוֹ, בַּאֲרָצוֹת; וְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, לֹא תִהְיֶה לִפְלֵיטָה.
 42 He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries; and the land of Egypt shall not escape.

מג וּמָשַׁל, בְּמִכְמַנֵּי הַזָּהָב וְהַכֶּסֶף, וּבְכֹל, חֲמֻדוֹת מִצְרָיִם--וְלֻבִים וְכֻשִׁים, בְּמִצְעָדָיו.
 43 But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.


In light of recent developments, could the king of the north be NATO and Qaddafi be the king of the south?   Qaddafi was proclaimed and proclaimed himself King of Kings of Africa - which is "Negev" in both senses of the word - South and dry.
In 2008 a group of more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers proclaimed Gaddafi King of Kings of Africa.
and
On 29 August 2008, Gaddafi held a public ceremony in Benghazi in the presence of over 200 African traditional rulers and kings in which he proclaimed himself to be "King of Kings of Africa" as part of a grassroots effort to encourage African heads of state and government to join with Gaddafi toward a greater political cohesion.[79]
On the other hand, I don't see NATO entering Israel or Egypt so soon, but one never can count that out.

Anyways, looking at the Malbim on Daniel 12:7, he says:
ולפירוש רי"א שאז תכלינה ממשלות ישמעאל בעצמו, ודבר הנאמר בשבועה אי אפשר שישונה בשום אופן, כי הוא הזמן האחרון שמוכרחים להגאל אז, וכבר בארתי זמן הזה למעלה במה שכתוב עדן עדנים ופלג עדן.  א"ל אחר שיכלו מועד מועדים וחצי מן הזמן הכולל, ובעת שיכלה נפץ יד עם קדש, דהיינו זמן פיזור עם קדש ונפוצתם מה שאזלת יד ואפס עצור ועזוב, אז תכלינה כל אלה, והרי"א פירש שתכלינה ממשלות השרים העומדים על שפת היאור, כי אז תתחיל מלכות שמים, כמו שכתוב למעלה במחזה הראשונה וליה יהיב שלטן ויקר

It's unclear to me if יאור means the Tigris (like מצודת דוד says) or the Nile or both.

Translation upon request.

Update: I didn't have time to translate this before Shabbat.  So, I'll try to do it now to the best of my ability.  First of all, the verse is (Mechon Mamre translation):

ז  וָאֶשְׁמַע אֶת-הָאִישׁ לְבוּשׁ הַבַּדִּים, אֲשֶׁר מִמַּעַל לְמֵימֵי הַיְאֹר, וַיָּרֶם יְמִינוֹ וּשְׂמֹאלוֹ אֶל-הַשָּׁמַיִם, וַיִּשָּׁבַע בְּחֵי הָעוֹלָם:  כִּי לְמוֹעֵד מוֹעֲדִים וָחֵצִי, וּכְכַלּוֹת נַפֵּץ יַד-עַם-קֹדֶשׁ--תִּכְלֶינָה כָל-אֵלֶּה.
7 And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he lifted up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by Him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.

The Malbim says (my translation):

And according to the explanation of Ribbi Yitzhak Abravanel, then the kingdoms of Yishmael himself will be finished, and something that was said as a vow cannot be changed in any way - because that is the final time that we will be then be required to be redeemed.  I already explained this time period earlier [Daniel 7:25] in what it says "a time, times, and a half a time".  It's possible to say that after a time, times and a half will be finished from the inclusive time period, and at the time "when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people", which is the scattering of the holy people and their dispersion is [due to the fact] "that their stay is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or left at large", then all these things will be finished.  And Ribbi Yitzhak Abravanel explains that the kingdoms of officers who stand on the bank of the river will be finished because then is when the Kingdom of Heaven begins, as it says earlier [Daniel 7:14] "And there was given him dominion, and glory".


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rav Yehuda Deri on Miracles and the Matzav

This comes from an interesting article on Kikar. After a rocket hit Be'er Sheva yesterday, its chief rabbi, Rav Yehuda Deri, talked about the miracle that occurred.  He said, "We had a supernatural miracle here.  2 homes sustained great damages.  Everything around the mezuza was destroyed, except for it.  The mezuza remained whole despite everything that occurred."

He also talked about the regional Matzav going on in the Arab world.  He said, "There are signals here and more than that, this is a real earthquake.  Who would have ever thought that Mubarak would be out of power in Egypt?"  He added, "Whoever has Emuna in Hashem will be protected.  We trust in Hashem who protects us."  On the other hand, the rabbi explained, that one who does not see this and is lacking Emuna is bound to be harmed from world events.  "There is no doubt that we are in the time of Hevlei Mashiah.  We find ourselves in a new period and need to awaken," he added.

Put Relies on Brother Kush to Stay Relevant - For Now

As Qadaffi's power is winding down, he still remains in power not because of his own army.  They've for the most part deserted him.  Rather, he hired mercenaries from Sudan (among other places) to help quell the protest.

However, Gaddafi’s hired thugs and mercenaries from Chad, Sudan, and Nigeria, still roam the streets of Tripoli looking for any remaining protestors.
Bereishit 10:6:

 וּבְנֵי, חָם--כּוּשׁ וּמִצְרַיִם, וּפוּט וּכְנָעַן.
And the sons of Ham: Cush, and Mizraim, and Put, and Canaan.

Bereishit Rabba 37:2:

אמר רבי שמעון בן לקיש היינו סבורים שנתבלעה משפחתו של פוט בא יחזקאל ופי' כוש ופוט ולוד וכל הערב וכוב ובני ארץ הברית אתם בחרב יפולו.   
Said Ribbi Shimon Ben Lakish: We would think that Put's family was swallowed up. Came along Yehezkel (30:5) and specified, "Ethiopia, and Put, and Lud, and all the mingled people, and Cub, and the children of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword."

Says the Nezer Hakodesh:
ומה שלא נתפרסם שמם לדורות צריך לומר הטעם לפי שהיו ממלכה שפלה והיו נטפלים לבני כוש אחיהם כענין שנאמר שם כוש ופוט.
And the reason why their [Put's] name was not publicized for many generations must be because they were a lowly kingdom, and they were secondary to the children of Kush their brother, as it says, "Kush and Put".

According to Wikipedia, Kush is not what we call today Ethiopia, but rather, Sudan:
The Kingdom of Kush or Cush was an ancient African state centered on the confluences of the Blue NileWhite Nile and River Atbara in what is now the Republic of Sudan.
According to another Wikipedia article, one of the names being considered for South Sudan was The Kush Republic.

So now certain mercenaries from Kush are helping younger brother Put.  Of course, Kush and Put have had a tumultuous relationship.  And Kush's leadership put out a vague condemnation of what Put's leader is doing.  It seems that despite Kush's help, Put will be leaderless quite soon.

But we know that Put as a nation will continue to exist until Gog Umagog.  I only wonder how far away that really is.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rav Kanievsky: Probable That Unrest Shows Mashiah is Coming

VIN, quoting YNet:
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, an unconventional Lithuanian leader who is believed to have mystic powers, offered a different explanation. “It is evident that many unnatural things are happening,” he said. “People have come to me and said that it’s ‘Gog and Magog’ (Armageddon). We cannot know. But it’s probable that any unrest that God creates shows that the Messiah is coming, and that we must begin to prepare for it and become stronger.”

Also, see Cool Jew, who summarizes recent Mashiah predictions.

Another sign of Mashiah coming is Rav Wosner's (Shlit"a) visit to Rav Ovadia (Shlit"a).
May we see Mashiah's coming very soon with mercy.

Rahm Al Kol Goyim in Chicago

This question is answered positively.  Is having a Jewish mayor a positive thing?  Is having Rahm as mayor a positive thing? We will soon see.  Perhaps, this will keep him away from foreign relations.  So for that, I wish him Mazal Tov.

For 50th Ward Alderman, there was a particularly nasty race going on between 2 Jews which split the Orthodox Jewish community and has still not been decided.  I don't remember getting so many positive and negative ads in my mailbox before.  With 97% reporting, incumbent Bernard Stone got 37.2% and Debra Silverstein got 33.8% of the vote.  A runoff will decide the winner on April 5th.

The Tribune reports (link inside the article is added):
Ald. Bernard Stone, 50th, the council's second-longest serving member who narrowly won in a runoff contest four years ago, was locked in another tight election battle with a new opponent, Debra Silverstein. She's a CPA, political worker and neighborhood volunteer who is the wife of the ward's Democratic committeeman.
"It's been a tough fight," said Stone, who was flanked by members of his family. "According to the totals that we have so far, it would indicate that it's going to be a runoff in April, but we faced that twice before (and) we were victorious."
Silverstein said by phone Tuesday night that she was proud of the results and looking forward to running against Stone in the runoff.
"I am confident we are going to be victorious," Silverstein said. "I'm completely confident that I am qualified to be the ward's next alderman."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Links I Liked and Libya is Losing It

Rivka Levy on Breslev.co.il talks about Moshiach Now - The Easy Way

Shirat Devorah and Rucho Shel Mashiah talk about the earthquake that occurred at the Suez Canal.  Also, Shirat Devorah quotes a Debka report that US Warships Plan to box the Iranian vessels in.  Meanwhile, Tomer Devorah warns us that Everything is moving so fast!  Update: R' Lazer Brody tells us What to Expect in the Middle East.

Jewish End of Days makes the case why there's no reason to thank the US for vetoing the UN Security Council Resolution that is anti-settlements.

Elder of Ziyon on NewsRealBlog lists the Top 13 Zionist Animal Conspiracy Theories

While the entire North Africa is in turmoil, the most brutal crackdown we've seen so far has been from Qadaffi in Libya.  Despite the crackdown, Qadaffi's days look numbered.  While some report that he, like Matilda, "take me money and run Venezuela", the Venezuelans themselves deny that claim.  Anyways, even Shimon Peres noticed the irony (aka Yad Hashem):
that Gadhafi had recently expressed his desire for “a Middle East without Israel,” but that it now looked like “there will be a Libya without Gaddafi,” Peres said at the start of a four-day visit to Spain.
Wikipedia's entry for Head of State has this:
World's longest serving current republican head of state: Leader and Guide of the Revolution Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya (since 1 September 1969: (41 years, 173 days)).


It's likely that this will soon be changed.  And despite the possibility of him being a halachic Jew, I say באבוד רשעים רנה.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Dove Comes to Learn Torah - Again

VIN, YWN, and Matzav all have a YNet article on a dove that came to learn Torah.

See this old post where a dove came to visit Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a, and how he handled it.  Maybe the Yeshiva boys can learn what to do with it from that post.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The 2 Nations Left at the End of the World - Edom and Paras

The events that are occurring throughout the Middle East show that nationalities are disappearing in favor of democratization and Islamization.  They are either influenced by the West or by Iran.  The people of these nations will have to decide between these two sides.  There will be no more middle ground.  Nationalities will be nationalities by name only.

Iran has been making alliances throughout the world, including South American countries, like Brazil and Venezuela.  North Korea and China are its allies as well.  It seems amazing that the leader of Iran can talk the way he does about destroying Israel, and then continue to make friends and wield its influence throughout the world.  However, logic doesn't have to come into play when dealing with things that are decreed Above. 

The gemara in Avoda Zara 2b says that Edom and Paras will be the last ones standing before Mashiah.  The gemara in Yoma 10a says that they will fight each other and one will win, and then, Mashiah can come.  The Yalkut Shimoni and Pesikta Rabbati have Paras threatening to destroy the world while the Arabs ask Edom for help.



Before I quote the Ben Yehoyada, it's important to know that sometimes the word "אדום" (Edom) in the words of Haza"l is called "ארם" (Aram).  The Ben Yehoyada on Avoda Zara 2b says that the 2 nations of ארם and פרס have Rashei Teivot of אף (anger) - this is a bad sign for the rest of the nations.  Also the Sofei Teivot is מס - this is also a bad sign for the other nations, as they are melting away (המסה).  The middle letters make up ר"ר, whose gematria equals 400, which are the powers of the Sitra Ahora, just like Eisav had 400 men with him.  This is also a bad sign for the other nations as this is from the the expression in the Torah רר בשרו - saying that they will continue to melt away when the good parts of those nations will be filtered out of them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Arizal on Egypt

From the Arizal's סימני רעשים ורעמים וליקוי המאורות (hat tip Cool Jew and Shirat Devorah):
 אם תלקה החמה מלך מצרים ימות ובלבולים גדולים במצרים ואיש ברעהו ילחמו ומלך תוגר ילך ויכבשם:
If there will be a solar eclipse [in the month of Tevet], the King of Egypt will die, and there will be great anarchy in Egypt, and man will fight his friend, and the King of Turkey will go and capture them.
There was a solar eclipse on January 4th, which corresponds to the 28th of Tevet.

Still Shetufei Zima in Mitzrayim

CBS reporter Lara Logan sexually assaulted in Cairo

Update: They yelled "Jew! Jew!" at her at the time (even though she is not Jewish).

A Fierce Dictator Calls it Quits

No, I'm not referring to what has happened in Tunisia and Egypt.  I'm not even referring to what could happen in Yemen or what will Be'ezrat Hashem happen in Iran.

I'm talking about Chicago's Mayor Daley.  Yes, the Melucha is over.  First, it was Richard J. Daley, who was mayor from 1955-1976.  As the Wikipedia entry for Chicago Democratic Machine puts it:
Worried about the power of the reform movement, the organization turned to Richard J. Daley, who brought the Cook County Democratic Organization to the height of its power and notoriety. Daley took the reins of the machine in 1955, and successfully put himself on the machine's slate for mayor. He won election fairly easily, and ruled the city and machine for the next twenty years.
We then had a 13-year Daley hiatus, consisting of "I don't know how to get rid of the snow" Bilandic, "I only won because of the snow" Byrne, "I only won because Byrne and Daley split the white vote" Washington, and "I only won because the city council elected me after Washington died" Sawyer.

Then, in 1989, we were back to Daley - namely, Richard M. Daley, the son of Richard J. Daley.  While the mayor is likable - his personality seemed to get him elected many times - his style, like his father's, were arguably dictatorial.  His middle-of-the-night closing of Meigs Field (a lakefront airport) by having bulldozers putting Xs on the runways and his unpopular decisions of leasing out the Skyway and parking meters come to mind as decisions that sealed his fate as ruler of the land.

The Daley Dynasty may not be over after the upcoming Chicago mayoral election, though.  The mayor's brother, William Daley, is President Obama's Chief of Staff, replacing Rahm Emanuel, the candidate most likely to become Chicago's mayor.  (Gotta love it.)  And the Daley legacy - Chicago's Democratic political machine - got Emanuel himself back on the ballot, some say.  But, with Mayor Daley about to retire, we can now hope for a Chicago that is led by people with democratic values, not Democratic values.



And while we're talking about the election, here are 3 of the leading mayoral candidates talking to the Chicago Jewish News:

Rahm Emanuel
Gery Chico
Miguel del Valle

Monday, February 14, 2011

Are Egyptians the Same Egyptians as in Biblical Times?

Anonymous commented on my previous post: "the Egypt the Torah is saying is gone forever, the actual egyptians are completely a different race of people."



Are Egyptians the same Egyptians as in Biblical times or are they completely different?

It seems to be a Mahloket Tana'im and a Mahloket Rishonim.
Tosefta Kiddushin 5:4 quotes Ribbi Akiva who (unlike Ribbi Yehuda) says that they are not the same, and they were dispersed by Sanheiriv (really, Nevuchadnetzar - see Tosafot Megilla 12b ד"ה זיל).  And since the majority of the world is non-Mitzri, we'll apply the law כל דפריש מרובא פריש and allow them.
On the other hand, Tosefta Yadayim 2:8, which talks about the Mitzri side of the Mishna Yadayim 4:4 (see Tiferet Yisrael there), says that since the Egyptians were given a set time to return (40 years - see Yehezkel 29:13), they are different than Ammon, which were given an indefinite return date.  Therefore, they returned already.
The Tur (Even Ha'ezer 4) brings down the Rambam, who agrees with Ribbi Akiva, but also brings down his father, the Rosh, who says that the Egyptians are the same.  The Magid Mishneh says that the Ramban agrees with the Rosh.  (At issue is whether one may marry a first- or second-generation Egyptian convert nowadays.)  The Ba"h agrees with the Rambam.
The Shulhan Aruch (Even Ha'ezer 4:10) also brings down both opinions.  See the Ba"sh and the Gr"a there.

I welcome comments from those who have more halachic knowledge about this subject.

Interesting Egypt Gematria

Shemot 14:13:

 וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם, אַל-תִּירָאוּ--הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת-יְשׁוּעַת יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶׂה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם:  כִּי, אֲשֶׁר רְאִיתֶם אֶת-מִצְרַיִם הַיּוֹם--לֹא תֹסִפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עוֹד, עַד-עוֹלָם.
And Moses said unto the people: 'Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you to-day; for whereas ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.


The gematria of the large words is 3322.  Add that to the year of the Exodus (2448) and you get 5770.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mubarak Steps Down - A Few Things About Egypt

  • Mubarak steps down
  • I updated my Egypt's Punishment in the End of Days post with a couple more sources.
  • Pesukim that might hint to Mubarak's 32-year reign:
    • Bereishit 45:26:
      וַיַּגִּדוּ לוֹ לֵאמֹר, עוֹד יוֹסֵף חַי, וְכִי-הוּא מֹשֵׁל, בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם; וַיָּפָג לִבּוֹ, כִּי לֹא-הֶאֱמִין לָהֶם.
    • Shemot 7:3:
      וַאֲנִי אַקְשֶׁה, אֶת-לֵב פַּרְעֹה; וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת-אֹתֹתַי וְאֶת-מוֹפְתַי, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
    • Shemot 14:8
      וַיְחַזֵּק יְהוָה, אֶת-לֵב פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם, וַיִּרְדֹּף, אַחֲרֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, יֹצְאִים בְּיָד רָמָה
  • Zecharya 10:11:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Return to Egypt

My liberal drush on the last 3 Pesukim in the Tochaha of Parshat Ki Tavo:

וְהָיוּ חַיֶּיךָ, תְּלֻאִים לְךָ מִנֶּגֶד; וּפָחַדְתָּ לַיְלָה וְיוֹמָם, וְלֹא תַאֲמִין בְּחַיֶּיךָ

Your life will appear to you to be dependant on Ahmedinejad, and you will fear night and day, and you will not have the Emunah in Hashem's promise of the Jewish people's survival.

בַּבֹּקֶר תֹּאמַר מִי-יִתֵּן עֶרֶב, וּבָעֶרֶב תֹּאמַר מִי-יִתֵּן בֹּקֶר--מִפַּחַד לְבָבְךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּפְחָד, וּמִמַּרְאֵה עֵינֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר תִּרְאֶה

In Europe (בקר = 302 = אירופה), you will say, "I wish I could live among the Arabs (עֶרֶב could also be read "Arav")", and while among the Arabs, you will say, "I wish I could live among Europeans," from the fear of your heart, which you will fear (i.e. fear of the unknown), and from the sight of your eyes which you will see (i.e. fear based on past experience).

וֶהֱשִׁיבְךָ יְהוָה מִצְרַיִם, בָּאֳנִיּוֹת, בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי לְךָ, לֹא-תֹסִיף עוֹד לִרְאֹתָהּ; וְהִתְמַכַּרְתֶּם שָׁם לְאֹיְבֶיךָ לַעֲבָדִים וְלִשְׁפָחוֹת, וְאֵין קֹנֶה

Hashem will return you to battle Egypt with ships - in a way which you thought you would never have to do after the peace treaty with Egypt, and despite all this, you will be forced to give up concessions to your enemy as you are servants and maidservants to foreign nations, and you will get nothing in return.

Note that the Zohar Hadash explains this Tochaha as referring to our current exile, but interprets the Pesukim much more positively. For example, the last Pasuk that talks about a return to Egypt is interpreted as a return to the miracles that occurred in Egypt during the Geula.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Can We Be Redeemed from Democracies?

In the Sefer לא אמות כי אחיה, the author analyzes the juxtaposition of והיא שעמדה and צא ולמד in the Haggadah.  He asks what the connection is between the two paragraphs.  The following is how he answers the question:

Many say that the whole reason for mentioning Yetziat Mitzrayim is to strengthen our Emuna in the future redemption.  Some may, then, question how we learn a future redemption from Yetziat Mitzrayim if Mitzrayim had a king - and Hashem controls the hearts of kings, whereas nowadays, we live in democracies which are controled by free choice, which is something with which Hashem chooses not to interfere.  However, this is not true - Hashem will still redeem us from democratic governments. 

The proof to this is from Lavan.  Hashem came to him in a dream and told him not to harm Yaakov Avinu.  Lavan later told Yaakov Avinu, "I have the power to do bad things to you, but Hashem warned me not to do so."  He said that he had the power to do bad things to Yaakov Avinu since he had free choice, which is the hands of man.  Nevertheless, he made the choice not to because Hashem warned him not to do so.  Lavan was not a king and had his free-will intact, but still, Hashem found ways to redeem Yaakov Avinu from him.

So, in והיא שעמדה, where it says שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלתינו, the "אחד" refers to a king, as it says by Avimelech "כמעט שכב אחד העם את אשתך".  This means that not just the King Par'oh stood up against us to destroy us, but in every generation, even those who were not kings stand up against us to destroy us, but Hashem saves us from their hands.  This means that even in democracies, where there are no kings, Hashem will save us.  However, where do we know this from?  צא ולמד - the proof is from Lavan, who is not a king, and is a man of free choice, and still Hashem prevented him from harming Yaakov Avinu.  Similarly, will Hashem save us and redeem us Bimheira Veyameinu, Amen.

(I'll just add that now that we seem to be on the eve of the first ever democratic government of Egypt's long history, and it too seems to be a nation that wants to destroy us, this teaching comes full-circle.  The שלא אחד בלבד and the שבכל דור ודור עומדים עלינו לכלתינו could be referring to the same country.)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Our Strategy and Goals

Elder of Ziyon has a great article that may be eye-opening for some.  He talks about Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and asks a simple, but overlooked question:
The question that Western observer need to be asking is: what are their goals?

They are very explicit in answering that question. Their main goal is to restore the caliphate, creating a single state run according to Islamic precepts that would stretch from Spain to Indonesia.
He adds:
To Islamists, the Crusades were an unfortunate century or so, which they rectified. They look at Israel the same way - as an anomaly that will inexorably be destroyed in the coming decades, due to their current strategy of picking away at it piece by piece and enlisting clueless Westerners to rally to the cause in the name of "international law" and "human rights" that the Muslim world itself utterly rejects. Their patience and ability to take the long view is their strength.

The important word is "strategy." The Islamists have one - a long term plan - and the West does not.
He makes crucial points in how to deal with Yishmael. However, when he says "the West does not", does that include us? Do we have goals? Do we have a strategy?

Those who do not believe in the coming of Mashiah can be lumped in with the rest of the "West".  There is no difference.  These people have no real goal, nor do they have a viable strategy.

To those of us who believe in the coming of Mashiah, our goals are clear. We strive for the building of the Beit Hamikdash, the coming of Mashiah, and a rectified world. These goals are what unite us all.

Our strategy of reaching those goals, on the other hand, are what divide religious Jews most prominently. We cannot seem to reach a consensus on fundamental Hashkafic matters.  This wouldn't be a problem if we would be tolerant of each other's viewpoint, but, alas, this ideal seems distant.

If we want to be able to defeat Yishmael, the world's biggest challenge of our day, we need 2 things:
1) more Jews to get on board with our goals
2) a more unified strategy

The Muslims have many divisions too.  However, they decided long ago that if they unite under a "Brotherhood", the caliphate can take over the world.  Our goal is similar, but not quite.  Actually, we want Hashem to take over the world:

וְהָיָה יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ; בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד--וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד
And the LORD shall be King over all the earth; in that day shall the LORD be One, and His name one.
Our strategy must be that those who share our goals should form our own "Brotherhood", as it says:
הִנֵּה מַה-טּוֹב, וּמַה-נָּעִים--    שֶׁבֶת אַחִים גַּם-יָחַד
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
As my father often says, "Unity need not mean uniformity," but it must mean tolerance of one another's Torah-based viewpoint.  This is our best strategy of defeating Yishmael, and it looks like it will be a crucial one in the days ahead. 

Wish At The Wall

My neighbor, Rabbi Shlomo Crandall, is featured prominently in the video below, found also at Arutz Sheva.  Very impressive.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Sam's Club Diapers Segula (satire)

I saved this post for Adar.  It's satire, but "accident"ally worked.

Apparently, there is a newly created Segula to get your 2-year-old to be toilet-trained.  If you're concerned about your little one getting into a preschool that requires him or her to be toilet trained, this Segula may (or may not) be for you. 

This segula involves buying a package of Sam's Club Diapers (containing at least 156 diapers) for the first time when your child is over 2¾ years old and not yet toilet-trained.  Next, you must open the package, using at least one diaper -  rendering the package unreturnable.  You will see that your child will be toilet-trained in no time! 

This segula is Baduk Umnuseh (checked and positively tested) by at least one family - mine.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Edom Before Hatzot, Yishmael Before Minha Gedola

Edom had their revolutions before Hatzot Hayom (12:00 noon) of the cosmic clock.

Yishmael is in the midst of their revolutions before Minha Gedola (12:30 PM) of the cosmic clock.

A possible explanation:

Edom is Eisav, who rivals Yaakov Avinu.  Yaakov Avinu instituted Arvit, the evening prayer.  Its power is at Hatzot Halaila (midnight).  Edom became less extreme via their revolution, and they no longer wanted to confront Yaakov Avinu head-on as in the past.  They therefore had their revolutions before Hatzot Hayom, which is the furthest you can get from Yaakov Avinu's power.

Yishmael, on the other hand, rivals Yitzhak Avinu.  Yitzhak Avinu instituted Minha, the afternoon prayer.  The earliest time one may pray Minha is at Minha Gedola (12:30 PM on an equinox day).  The revolutions in the Arab world, from the looks of it, are making them more extreme, and they want to confront Yitzhak Avinu head-on more than in the past (see here).

May Hashem save us from both Edom's decreasing extremism and Yishmael's increasing extremism.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blizzard!

Strong warning from the National Weather Service for Chicago:

1 TO 2 INCHES PER HOUR
...
POSSIBLE LOCALIZED TOTALS UP TO TWO FEET
...
GUSTS OF 40 TO 50 MPH LIKELY TONIGHT
...
EVEN STRONGER WINDS ARE LIKELY NEAR THE IMMEDIATE LAKE SHORE WITH SUSTAINED WINDS OF 30 TO 40 MPH WITH GUSTS BETWEEN 50 AND 60 MPH
...
VISIBILITIES TO NEAR ZERO AT TIMES
...
ISOLATED SNOW-PRODUCING THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP TONIGHT... RESULTING IN LOCALIZED INTENSE SNOWFALL RATES. IT IS NOT UNCOMMON FOR SNOWFALL RATES TO EXCEED 4 INCHES PER HOUR IN THUNDER SNOW MAKING TRAVEL NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE
...
PLAN ACCORDINGLY FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A PROLONGED DISRUPTION IN COMMERCIAL POWER.

* OTHER IMPACTS... THE HEAVY NATURE OF THE SNOW WILL MAKE SHOVELING VERY DIFFICULT... AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY. DURING AND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE BLIZZARD OF 1999 OVER 40 PEOPLE IN THE CHICAGO AREA ALONE LOST THEIR LIVES TO HEART ATTACKS WHILE SHOVELING THE HEAVY SNOWFALL. TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS INDOORS AND DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE TASK AT HAND WHEN SHOVELING.
...
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WITH STRONG WINDS AND POOR VISIBILITIES ARE LIKELY. THIS WILL LEAD TO WHITEOUT CONDITIONS... MAKING TRAVEL EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. DO NOT TRAVEL! IF YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST TRAVEL... HAVE A WINTER SURVIVAL KIT WITH YOU. IF YOU GET STRANDED... STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE.
...
... DANGEROUS MULTIFACETED AND LIFE THREATENING WINTER STORM...

I remember the 1999 blizzard (it was over Shabbat).  I even slightly remember the 1979 blizzard (I walked to someone's home across the street with snow up to my chest).  I don't remember the 1967 blizzard, but I heard it was bad.  Many are saying that this is going to be the worst ever.  Hashem Ya'azor.
I don't know if this has to do with the recent decision by Governor Quinn to allow same-gender civil unions, which is known to cause punishments.  It seems that other states are getting hit too, so only Hashem knows the reason.

Regardless, stay safe out there wherever you are.