Friday, April 29, 2011

The Kabbalistic Potion that Saved Qaddaffi from Reagan's Attack

Kikar has an article that says that in the period before Reagan attacked Qaddaffi's compound in 1986, Rav Shimon Hayim Pinto, the current Chief Rabbi of Ashdod, gave Qaddaffi a potion for protection and success.  Included in the potion was leftover Matzah from the Afikomen, pieces of Etrog, and oil from Hanukka candles - all stuffed into a tube.

The rav told this over in a Shabbat Hagadol Derasha this year in Kiryat Malachi.  He said that he always carries a piece of Afikomen Matzah around with him as a Segula.  He then explained that 25 years ago, a representative of the Lybian government asked him for an amulet for success to give to Qaddaffi.  The rabbi first refused, saying that he doesn't deal with such things, but when pressed, he gave him this aforementioned vial of potion.  The representative passed it on to the leader's subjects, who inspected it in a laboratory. 

Weeks later, the representative returned to the rabbi, asking what was in the vial.  After the rabbi described the formula to the representative, the information was passed on to Qaddaffi's [all-female] security detail. 

The rabbi's students now say that it is this potion that Rav Pinto sent him which saved Qaddaffi from President Reagan's attack on his compound in 1986.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keep 2 Shabbatot, See the Beit Hamikdash

In Parshat Kedoshim (Vayikra 19:30):

אֶת-שַׁבְּתֹתַי תִּשְׁמֹרוּ, וּמִקְדָּשִׁי תִּירָאוּ: אֲנִי, יְהוָה.

Ye shall keep My sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the LORD.

A whole bunch of Darshanim want to take a hint from this verse to use it for the famous saying of Haza"l to say that it means: if the Jews would keep 2 Shabbatot, they will merit to see the Beit Hamikdash.

These Darshanim include:

The Sha"ch
The Shelah Hakadosh
Torat Shimon
Da'at Moshe

The obvious question is that תיראו means "You will fear" - not "You will see".

The Shelah Hakadosh wants to explain that this is similar to Hagiga 2a, where the word יראה is used both actively and passively. However, being that both of those are referring to sight - and not fear - whereas here, we're trying to learn sight from fear, I have not merited to understand the Shelah's holy words.

My only answer is אין מקשין על הדרוש.

May we all keep Shabbat holy and merit to see the third Beit Hamikdash built in its glory speedily in our days, Amen.

Syria Blames Shas Party for Protests

Arutz Sheva:

Syria: Shas Behind Protests

A report on Syrian TV Wednesday night points the finger at the “real” reason why there are demonstrations in Syria – it is all the fault of the “Jewish Shas” party. The report, broadcast on Channel 2, said that Shas, according to a senior Syrian official, “has an interest in upsetting Syria. No Arab or Muslim group has such an interest.” Israeli observers said that picking on Shas may be odd, but that the party is known in Syria as having Arabic-speakers in it, so Shas as the instigator of the anti-government activities.

Syrian officials also denied that some 400 demonstrators have been killed. The report quoted Syrian officials as saying that all the dead were from the ranks of security forces, not protesters, and that forces have been ordered not to open fire on protesters.

Kikar has the video too.

Not only is it the Joooooos, it's those darn religious Sephardic Jooooooos.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The New Song via Emuna



The Midrash enumerates the 10 songs sung throughout history:

...כנגדן אמרו ליה ישראל עשר שירות. הראשונה במצרים, שנאמר, השיר יהיה לכם כליל התקדש חג (ישע' ל כט). השנית על הים, שנאמר, אז ישיר משה. השלישית על הבאר, אז ישיר ישראל את השירה (במדב' כא יז). הרביעית אמר משה, ויהי ככלות משה לכתוב וגו' (דברי' לא כד). החמישית, אז ידבר יהושע לה' ביום תת ה' את האמורי (יהוש' י יב). הששית, ותשר דבורה וברק בן אבינועם (שופט' ה א). השביעית, וידבר דוד לה' את דברי השירה (ש"ב כב א). השמינית, מזמור שיר חנוכת הבית לדוד (תהלי' ל א).

...

שירה התשיעית של שלמה, שיר השירים. העשירית לעתיד, מזמור שירו לה' שיר חדש כי נפלאות עשה (תהלים צח א): 

We see that the last song will be sung in the future.

Also, from Shemot Rabba 23:6:

ד״א תשורי מראש אמנה עתידין ישראל לומר שירה לע״ל שנא׳ (תהילים צח) שירו לה' שיר חדש כי נפלאות עשה.
The Etz Yosef there quotes the Shelah Hakadosh, who explains that the verse from Shir Hashirim תשורי מראש אמנה tells us that as soon as we are informed that the Geula will be coming, we will immediately start singing before the miracles actually occur. This is in contrast to what happened at the Yam Suf, where they only started singing once they saw the Egyptians dead on the bank of the sea. Such will be our faith in Hashem's salvation at the time of just being informed about the Geula.  When it says "כי נפלאות עשה", it means that our faith will be such that we'll consider it as if the miracles were already done.

Back to some of the skipped part of the first Midrash:
ואין הגליות עתידות להגאל אלא בשכר אמנה, שנאמר, אתי מלבנון כלה אתי מלבנון תבואי תשורי מראש אמנה וגו' (שה"ש ד ח). ואומר, וארשתיך לי באמונה (הושע ב כב).
The exiles will only be redeemed through the reward for Emuna, as it says: "אתי מלבנון כלה אתי מלבנון תבואי תשורי מראש אמנה"  (Shir Hashirim 4:8) And it says "And I will make you betrothed to Me with Emunah" (Hoshe'a 2:22)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Pesah Calendar Stuff

We know that Pesah can only fall out on Shabbat, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday since לא בדו פסח.

We also know that the Siman for the Torah readings when Pesah falls out on Shabbat, Sunday, and Tuesday is (as mentioned in Megilla 31a) משך תורא, קדש בכספא, פסל במדברא, שלח בוכרא. When it falls out on Thursday, on the other hand, the Siman is משך תורא, פסל בקודשא, כסף במדברא, שלח בוכרא.

I haven't found a source for this, but it seems to me better to say "קדש בכספא, פסל במדברא" than to say "פסל בקודשא, כסף במדברא". The former could be explained to mean, "Sanctify Hashem with your money and only the Pesolet (waste) will be made Hefker (ownerless) in the desert." On the other hand, the latter could be explained to mean, "The holy things will become Pesolet and your money will be made Hefker in the desert." Obviously, the former sounds a lot better than the latter.

If this indeed is the correct explanation, it would seem to be more auspicious to NOT have Pesah fall out on a Thursday. (This is notwithstanding the well-known fact that Pesah fell out on a Thursday in the year of the Exodus itself.  There are ways of answering this difficulty.)

Here's a table of when Pesah had/will have fallen out from 5710-5810 (1950-2050):


19505710Su
19515711Sa
19525712ThFlood
19535713Tu
19545714Su
19555715Th
19565716Tu
19575717Tu
19585718Sa
19595719ThFlood
19605720Tu
19615721Sa
19625722Th
19635723TuDrought
19645724Sa
19655725Sa
19665726Tu
19675727Tu
19685728Sa
19695729ThFlood
19705730Tu
19715731Sa
19725732Th
19735733Tu
19745734Su
19755735Th
19765736Th
19775737Su
19785738Sa
19795739Th
19805740Tu
19815741Su
19825742Th
19835743Tu
19845744Tu
19855745Sa
19865746ThFlood
19875747Tu
19885748Sa
19895749Th
19905750TuDrought
19915751Sa
19925752Sa
19935753Tu
19945754Su
19955755Sa
19965756ThFlood
19975757Tu
19985758Sa
19995759Th
20005760Th
20015761Su
20025762Th
20035763Th
20045764Tu
20055765Su
20065766Th
20075767Tu
20085768Su
20095769Th
20105770TuDrought
20115771Tu
20125772Sa
20135773Tu
20145774Tu
20155775Sa
20165776Sa
20175777Tu
20185778Sa
20195779Sa
20205780ThFlood
20215781Su
20225782Sa
20235783Th
20245784Tu
20255785Su
20265786Th
20275787Th
20285788Tu
20295789Sa
20305790Th
20315791Tu
20325792Sa
20335793Th
20345794TuDrought
20355795Tu
20365796Sa
20375797Tu
20385798Tu
20395799Sa
20405800Th
20415801TuDrought
20425802Sa
20435803Sa
20445804Tu
20455805Su
20465806Sa
20475807ThFlood
20485808Su
20495809Sa
20505810Th

I marked any period of 4 or more years without a Pesah falling on Thursday a "Drought" and any period of 2 Pesahs falling on Thursday in a 4-year period or less a "Flood".  Notice that we're currently in the longest drought (10 years) in the century given, and we're in between 2 large floods.  This would seem to indicate an opportune time for a great Kiddush Hashem in the world.

See a similar post from 2 years ago here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Egypt - Corrupt From Rakyon to Mubarak

There's an old joke that I heard (a variation of which I found here) from an Egyptian Jew about 20 years ago when the first President Bush was president.  In order to understand the joke, you should know that there is no letter "P" in Arabic.  It goes something like this:

Mubarak comes to America and sees that all the doors have the president's name on it (PUSH), so he goes back to Egypt and orders all doors to have the word "MUBARAK" on it.

Well, that's just a joke, but what's not a joke is that Egypt has just ordered Mubarak's name off of public facilities:
CAIRO – An Egyptian court on Thursday ordered the name of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his wife Suzanne removed from all public facilities and institutions — the latest step in dismantling the legacy of the former leader's 29 years in power.

The ruling will affect hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of subway stations, schools, streets, squares and libraries across the nation that over the years bore the name of the former leader or his wife.

In announcing the ruling, Judge Mohammed Hassan Omar said "people have uncovered Mubarak's journey of corruption that began at a parade stand and ended at Tahrir square."
This "journey of corruption" is nothing new to Egypt. In fact, a Midrash tells us that the very first Pharaoh, named Rakyon, came to power through corruption.

According to the Midrash, Rakyon was a pauper from the land of Shin'ar during the time of Avraham Avinu, and was advised to come to Egypt. Being that he was an intelligent fellow, he thought he could prove his wisdom to the king, who would undoubtedly hire him for something. Unbeknownst to him, however, the king at the time would only come out to rule the people one day a year, and the rest of the year, he would remain in the palace without seeing the people.

He tried starting a business, but was ridiculed and looted since he didn't know the customs of the land. Being destitute, he had to devise a plan. He decided that he would amass an army of 30 criminals by the cemetary and anyone who needed to bury their dead, he would levy a tax from them, saying that the king had decreed such. Eventually, Rakyon became enormously wealthy and bought horses and hired more mercenaries and became extremely powerful.

Finally, the day of the year that the king judges the people came. The people complained to the king about this decree that the king supposedly made. The king replied that he never made such a decree. He was then told about Rakyon and his men. The king got angry and ordered Rakyon to appear before him. Rakyon wisely decided to appease the king with gifts, which found favor in the king's eyes. From then on, the king loved Rakyon, and decided to call him "Par'oh" (פרעה) because he was paid (נפרעת) a tax from the dead. The Egyptians then decided to enact a law that stated that any king that would rule Egypt from then on would be named "Par'oh".

Mubarak, continuing in the tradition of the first Pharaoh, has, along with his family, amassed "wealth beyond their means".

It is no coincidence that both the first and last Pharaohs, Rakyon and Mubarak, have the word "Rak" - רק - in their names. The Par'oh of Yosef's time said "רק הכסא אגדל ממך" - only in the throne will I be greater than you. Perhaps, he meant, "You, Yosef, just came to power through honesty. I came to power and was named Par'oh because of the throne which I inherited from Rak - i.e., Rakyon, the first Par'oh, who came to power through corruption. Corruption is the reason why I am greater than you. I'm trusting you not to be corrupt like Rakyon so that you don't usurp the throne from me."

The name Mubarak can be transposed to read בא מִרַק - he comes from "Rak" - i.e., he comes from the culture of corruption of Par'oh Rakyon of old.

We are currently celebrating Zeman Heiruteinu - the time of our freedom - i.e., freedom from the culture of corruption that was and is Mitzrayim. We escaped from that culture just in time and ascended to the holiness we attained at Har Sinai.

Unfortunately, we Jews are not corruption-free ourselves. It's not cultural, like in Egypt, and most of us are very honest, but we still have what to improve upon. And unfortunately, the rest of the world likes to point out the exceptions to the rule way too often. These few have not yet learned the lessons of Yetzi'at Mitzrayim. May we use this time of Sefirat Ha'omer to continue our elevation from Mitzrayim and act more like Yosef Hatzadik than Rakyon and Mubarak.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pesah 5771 Thoughts

As Arutz Sheva points out, this year is 3323 years since Yetziat Mitzrayim.  I checked gezageza (which some antivirus apps won't let you into) and the following verse that talks about the Gog Umagog war has the gematria of 3323:
והתגדלתי, והתקדשתי, ונודעתי, לעיני גוים רבים; וידעו, כי אני יהוה
Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
This expression of "וידעו, כי אני השם" is mentioned often in Yetziat Mitzrayim too (e.g. here), but it refers to only Egypt getting that knowledge.  This time, the whole world will be educated with this knowledge.  While there was worldwide trembling in Yetziat Mitzrayim (אז נבהלו אלופי אדום), it will not be on the same level as the education the nations will receive in the future.

The Hagadda says:
 ובמורא גדול--זה גילוי שכינה, כמו שנאמר "או הניסה אלוהים, לבוא לקחת לו גוי מקרב גוי, במסות באותות ובמופתים ובמלחמה וביד חזקה ובזרוע נטויה, ובמוראים גדולים:  ככול אשר עשה לכם ה' אלוהיכם, במצריים--לעיניך"

How does the verse of או הניסה prove revelation of the Shechina? Perhaps, any time a nation is taken out of another nation, it implies revelation of the Shechina.

We are seeing the Jewish people coming out of Edom and returning to our homeland of Eretz Yisrael slowly, but surely - little by little - קימעה קימעה, as they say. Because it is going so slowly, the other nations don't call it "a miracle" - they consider it natural. However, when Mashiah comes and everyone will be gathered, that's when it will be called "a miracle" by all. Then, it will be "או הניסה". Then, it will be "ככול אשר עשה לכם ה' אלוהיכם, במצריים--לעיניך". Then, it will be truly be a revelation of the Shechina.

May we merit very soon to have the nations know Who Hashem is. May we merit to skip the troubles of the Gog Umagog war and go straight to והתגדלתי, והתקדשתי, ונודעתי, לעיני גוים רבים; וידעו, כי אני יהוה.  May we merit very soon to witness the miracles that we saw in Egypt 3323 years ago, as it says:

כִּימֵי צֵאתְךָ, מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם, אַרְאֶנּוּ, נִפְלָאוֹת.
As in the days of thy coming forth out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvellous things.

Bimhera Veyameinu, Amen.

Dip Twice to Show you Care

From YWN's Parsha Potpourri - Pesah Edition
L’shana HaBa’ah B’Yerushalayim (Haggadah Shel Pesach)

The Pesach Seder begins with a prayer: this year we are here, next year we should be in the land of Israel. The Haggadah also ends with this same theme, next year in Jerusalem. This is somewhat unusual, as we don’t find such an emphasis on praying for the redemption on other festivals. The reason that we do so on Pesach is that a complete Seder must include the consumption of the Korban Pesach, which can only be offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, which is currently in ruins.

However, once we are focusing on our desire for the speedy rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash, it is surprising that nowhere in the Haggadah do we discuss why we in fact presently lack the Temple and work on rectifying the sins which brought about its destruction. The Gemora teaches (Yoma 9b) teaches that the second Temple was destroyed because of the sin of baseless hatred, and it will not be rebuilt until we correct the problem of fighting and divisiveness. In light of this, it would seem appropriate to address this sin at some point and to help us take corrective action to atone for it.

The Ben Ish Chai suggests that this concept is in fact found in the Haggadah. It is alluded to by the question in which we point out that on all other nights, we do not dip even one time, but tonight we dip twice. He explains that the first dipping at the Seder, in which we dip the vegetable into salt water, is intended to remind us of the first time that dipping is mentioned in the Torah, when Yosef’s brothers dipped his clothing into blood in order to deceive Yaakov into thinking that he had been killed by a wild animal. This act represents the sin of baseless hatred which led to our enslavement in Egypt, and from which we have suffered as a nation throughout the generations.

The second dipping that we do at the Seder, dipping the maror into the charoses, corresponds to the second act of dipping that we find in the Torah. In Parshas Bo (Shemos 12:22), Hashem commanded the Jewish people to take a bundle of hyssop – and dip it in the blood of the Passover-offering, which they then placed on their doorposts in order to protect themselves from the plague of the slaying of the first-born.

The Ben Ish Chai points out that in discussing this second dipping, the Torah uses the term “agudah,” which refers to a bundle that is bound together. This symbolizes the concept of Jewish unity, and it was precisely this sense of togetherness which rectified the sin of the original dipping of Yosef’s brothers, and which therefore enabled them to be freed from their bitter servitude in Egypt.

As we go through the Seder, it is critical that we reflect upon and internalize the message of the two dippings. Just as we were enslaved in Egypt due to the jealousy of Yosef’s brothers but were freed when we united and came together as one nation, so too the only way for us to be redeemed from our current exile, which was also brought about through the sins of hatred and divisiveness, is to promote peace and harmony among all Jews. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that we begin the Seder by saying, “whoever is hungry, let him come and eat,” as we express our desire to bring everybody together to eat the Passover-offering together with us, which we should all merit to do this year.

...

© 2011 by Oizer Alport

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Pesah Version of Wavin' Flag



hat tip: Cool Jew

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Links I Found Interesting

Mashiach Awareness posts 2 Matzahs - 2 Mashiachs

Helen Thomas (ימ"ש) is to speak at my alma mater tonight. (h/t EoZ)  I wish I had time to protest.

EoZ also points out that the Italian "peace activist" that was kidnapped had written a blog post complaining that the French Foreign Minister expressed solidarity with Gilad Shalit. Mida Keneged Mida? Update: He was found dead.

Rucho Shel Mashiach gives us updates on the the condition of Daniel Viflic, the boy who was critically injured in the terrorist attack involving an anti-tank missle shot from Gaza hitting a school bus in Israel.  He also notes that an emergency fund was set up.  Rafi points out that a Tehillim ring was established for him too.  Please continue to pray for Refael Daniel Aryeh ben Tamar.

Shirat Devorah posts an article from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis - The Birthpangs of Moshiach

According to Arutz Sheva, Netanyahu's upcoming speech in Congress is not going to be pretty.

Geulah Perspectives has some interesting insights into leap years and Mashiah ben Yosef.

Kikar has a Mishpacha article on Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a, that dispels the myth that he has a photographic memory.

Tomer Devorah has a series of posts about Jonathan Pollard's early years that are excerpted from Territory of Lies by Wolf Blitzer: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Shirat Devorah on Prophecies Unfolding

The Forward on R' Glick's hopes for the Korban Pesah (h/t VIN)
The arrival of the Messiah isn’t Glick’s only hope for facilitating the sacrifice. He cites a minority rabbinic opinion, contending that the Passover sacrifice should take place with or without the Temple as long as Jews have access to Temple Mount. He is requesting permission to hold the sacrifice there, a request that, until now, the Israeli authorities have denied — apparently fearing an inflammation of Jewish-Muslim tensions.
Meanwhile, Rav Amar allegedly called bringing the Korban Pesah without Mashiah "Shtuyot", according to Rafi at Life in Israel. Akiva also weighed in, adding that there are guards at Sha'ar Yafo inspecting for goats. It seems to me that if Rav Amar did say this, he was trying to enforce the no going onto the Har Habayit nowadays ruling that he signed onto.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Islamic Jihad Names Website After Eventual Destroyer

Israel Rising just posted on the connection between the Pelishtim of old and the Palestinians of today. The spiritual connection is definitely there. The verse in Ha'azinu ואני אקניאם בלא עם seems to apply very well.

In addition, Elder of Ziyon has a post where he quotes the Islamic Jihad's website "Saraya".

As mentioned previously, Seraya is the name of the warrior from Shevet Dan in the End of Days who will destroy our enemies.

It's not clear which enemies he will destroy, but since Seraya is the warrior who will eventually replace Shimshon HaGibor, who died, it makes sense that he will destroy the Palestinians, just as Shimshon destroyed the Pelishtim. Of course, he won't destroy all the Palestinians. Those who wish to live peacefully with us can live. He will destroy those like, um, um, the Islamic Jihad, who wish us all dead.

Now, what are the chances that the Islamic Jihad would name their website after their eventual destroyer?

You gotta love it.

Doreish Tov Le'amo on Pesah Le'atid Lavo

Translated from here, from a Shabbat HaGadol Derasha by R' Shmuel Tuvia Stern of Miami Beach in 5748:
...So, since everyone must show himself as if he left Egypt, he thereby brings himself to the Pesah of Egypt - in other words, the Pesah of Egypt, the Pesah of later generations and the Pesah of the future is all one thing. This is because if we look carefully into the verses of the Torah, we find in the Parsha of Pesah 3 times in Parshat Bo. First, it says:"Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying:"..."and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it". Later, it says: "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them: 'Draw out, and take you lambs according to your families, and kill the passover lamb.'" Later, it says: "And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron: 'This is the ordinance of the passover'". We find, first of all, that it only says "לאמר (saying)" in the first Parasha of Pesah, which is "unto all the congregation of Israel" - that is the Pesah of the future, but it does not say לאמר for later generations - neither by the elders of Israel nor by Moshe and Aharon. We now have 3 categories of Pesah - Pesah to all the congregation of Israel, Pesah to the elders of Israel, and Pesah to Moshe and Aharon - and one can say that they represent Pesah of Egypt, Pesah for later generations, and Pesah of the future. There is an opinion that only Moshe and Aharon ate from the Pesah of Egypt originally, and only after they were circumsized and dipped did all of them eat. The reason is because Moshe and Aharon were of the redeemers - not those being redeemed - so they merited to eat the Pesah before the time of redemption since the redemption was only done at midnight and the Korban Pesah was eaten before midnight. The Pesah of later generations was to the elders - in other words, it was given over to the Sanhedrin, who are the elders, and they make leap-years and sanctify the new moon, so Pesah can only be celebrated through them. But in the future, Pesah will be for the entire congregation of Israel and that is why it is written in this Perasha to show us that in the future, there will not be anyone uncircumsized or unclean or on the road because in the future, Yerushalayim will spread throughout the Land of Israel, as we say "ולירושלים בית מקדשך (and to Yerushalayim, Your Beit Hamikdash)". In other words, all of Yerushalayim will have the aspect of the Beit Hamikdash and all of the Land of Israel will have the aspect of Yerushalayim and the entire world will have the aspect of the Land of Israel.

And it is not for nought that our enemies want us to revert and return areas from the Land of Israel which were sanctified with the sanctity of Ezra, which is never cancelled and is sanctified forever. And if we Has VeShalom do revert, we are denying the future to come. Any return from the Land of Israel, which was captured with "Damim Yekarim" ("Damim" - with the singular connotation of the blood of our bretheren, the children of Israel), contains, Heaven should save us, a lacking in the complete Emuna of the future to come soon in our days, and with this, we delay and prevent the Redemption. This is because instead of expanding the Land of Israel, we are contracting the borders of the Land in the returning of territories. This goes against the prophecy that Yeshayahu prophesied: "Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes. For thou shalt spread abroad on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall possess the nations, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited."

And in the future to come, HKB"H will gather the dispersed of Israel through Mashiah Tzidkeinu, and will not leave over anyone in exile. Therefore, there will be a complete Redemption with the completeness of redemption, completeness of the nation, completeness of the Torah, and completeness of the holy land. One can find a hint to the 4 "completenesses" in the 4 expressions of redemption in the hint of תרי"ג, which is an acronym of תשובה Teshuva - complete repentance, רפואה healing - complete healing, ישראל Israel - complete Land of Israel, and גאולה redemption - complete redemption. And all is through the holy Torah and the תרי"ג or 613 Mitzvot. And these correspond to the 4 expressions of redemption: ת hints at תורה, which corresponds to ולקחתי, as it says "כי לקח טוב נתתי לכם תורתי אל תעזבו". The letter ר hints at רפואה, which corresponds to והצלתי, which is separating between death and life, as it says "ואת בתינו הציל". The letter י hints at ישראל, which corresponds to והוצאתי, as it says "והוצאתי את עמי ישראל". The letter ג hints at גאולה, which corresponds to the Land of Israel, as it says "גאולה תתנו לארץ". These are 4 complete cups since every cup needs to be complete - the completeness of the cups hint to the completeness of the redemption because in the Pesah of the future, we will merit an eternal freedom, and we will soon in our days hear the Shofar of Mashiah when our prayers will be fulfilled when we say, "תקע בשופר גדול לחירותנו"...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Believing in Mashiah's Coming Every Day

In the Family First supplement of Mishpacha Magazine, there was an interesting article in the fiction section called "The Critical Countdown".  It told a fictional story about how a select group of people "knew" that Mashiah was coming today and how they started spreading the word to more and more people.  He would only come when 600,000 people believed in his coming that day. 

I don't know of any source to this concept of 600,000 people believing in one day, which is likely why it's in the fiction section.  Nevertheless, I liked the article and thought it was a cute way of making an important point.  The point of the article, I believe, is to spread awareness of the obligation to believe in Mashiah's coming any and every day.  As the Rambam writes, whoever doesn't expect his coming, not only denies the validity of the prophets, but even that of the Torah and Moshe Rabbeinu. 

Even though we expect his coming every day, we are further encouraged from signs and messages that are delivered to our world.  Along with other world events, dreams seem to be a common delivery method.  The HaMikdash blog just posted one, where the deliverer is a direct descendant of David Hamelech.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rav Mutzafi on the Symbolism of Had Gadya

Rav Mutzafi has a video (in Hebrew), where the first 30 minutes of it explain 4 different explanations for the symbolism of Had Gadya.

He quotes the Gr"a, the Hatam Sofer, Rav Yaakov Emden, and Rav Yonatan Eybeshutz.

The 4 explanations start off:

1) Gr"a: Had Gadya + Had Gadya (we say it twice) = 2 kids that were used by Yaakov Avinu to get the blessings from Yitzhak Avinu (which by tradition occurred on the night of Pesah).  This caused anti-semitism in the world, which sparks the rest of the events.
2) Hata"m Sofer: The Gadya is Korban Pesah and the rest of the events describe what occurs to the Korban.
3) Rav Yaakov Emden: The Gadya is the Neshama that is being bombarded constantly by the Yetzer Hara
4) Rav Yonatan Eybeshutz: The Gadya is Yosef Hatzadik who was sold by his brothers.

Note that according to opinions 1 and 4, the "Tora" (ox) is Rome and the "Shohet" is MBY.

Watch it here.

Mayor-Elect Emanuel to Recite Asher Ge'alanu at Mock Seder

I got an email from the Kfar Center that talks about a mock Seder that will be performed by the who's who of Chicago's non-Orthodox Jews.

The email said, in part:

Join us as Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel leads the blessing on the 2nd Cup of Wine!

with a link to this event.  (I'm in no way endorsing this event.)

Here's the text to the blessing on the 2nd cup of wine (aka Asher Ge'alanu) according to the Rambam:

ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם, אשר גאלנו וגאל את אבותינו ממצריים, והגיענו ללילה הזה לאכול בו מצה ומרורים. כן ה' אלוהינו ואלוהי אבותינו, יגיענו למועדים ולרגלים אחרים הבאים לקראתנו לשלום, שמחים בבניין עירך וששים בעבודתך, ונאכל שם מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים שיגיע דמם על קיר מזבחך לרצון, ונודה לך שיר חדש על גאולתנו ועל פדות נפשנו. ברוך אתה ה', גואל ישראל.


Will he mean what he says when he says שמחים בבניין עירך (happy with the building of Your city [Jerusalem])?


Is Mr. Emanuel really happy with the building of Jerusalem?  Last I heard, he wasn't.
 
I hope he has changed his stance since then.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Three Batei Mikdash in Parshat Metzora

Vayikra 14:34

 כִּי תָבֹאוּ אֶל-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לָכֶם לַאֲחֻזָּה; וְנָתַתִּי נֶגַע צָרַעַת, בְּבֵית אֶרֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶם. 
When ye are come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;

...

14:42-43

וְלָקְחוּ אֲבָנִים אֲחֵרוֹת, וְהֵבִיאוּ אֶל-תַּחַת הָאֲבָנִים; וְעָפָר אַחֵר יִקַּח, וְטָח אֶת-הַבָּיִת.
And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house.

 וְאִם-יָשׁוּב הַנֶּגַע וּפָרַח בַּבַּיִת, אַחַר חִלֵּץ אֶת-הָאֲבָנִים, וְאַחֲרֵי הִקְצוֹת אֶת-הַבַּיִת, וְאַחֲרֵי הִטּוֹחַ.
 And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that the stones have been taken out, and after the house hath been scraped, and after it is plastered;
...

14:48-49

 וְאִם-בֹּא יָבֹא הַכֹּהֵן, וְרָאָה וְהִנֵּה לֹא-פָשָׂה הַנֶּגַע בַּבַּיִת, אַחֲרֵי, הִטֹּחַ אֶת-הַבָּיִת--וְטִהַר הַכֹּהֵן אֶת-הַבַּיִת, כִּי נִרְפָּא הַנָּגַע.
And if the priest shall come in, and look, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered; then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed

 וְלָקַח לְחַטֵּא אֶת-הַבַּיִת, שְׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים, וְעֵץ אֶרֶז, וּשְׁנִי תוֹלַעַת וְאֵזֹב.
And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop.


Hakal Yitzhak (quoted in Yalkut Mashiah Ug'ula) says that וְנָתַתִּי נֶגַע צָרַעַת, בְּבֵית אֶרֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶם (verse 34) refers to the first Beit Hamikdash and וְלָקְחוּ אֲבָנִים אֲחֵרוֹת (verse 42) refers to the second. As is known, the first Beit Hamikdash is in Avraham's merit, the second in Yitzhak's merit, and the third in Yaakov's merit. When it says וְעָפָר אַחֵר (verse 42), the word "ועפר" refers to Avraham (ואנכי עפר ואפר), while "אחר" refers to Yitzhak (similar gematrias). If the plague comes again (verse 43), then eventually comes וְאִם-בֹּא יָבֹא הַכֹּהֵן (verse 48) - Eliyahu Hanavi, the Kohen (acc. to the opinion that he is Pinhas), who will come to purify the third Beit Hamikdash, which is called a "Bayit" in the merit of Yaakov. Then, he will take the 2 birds (verse 49) - Mashiah ben Yosef and Mashiah ben David - to cleanse the Beit Hamikdash.

May it happen very soon.
בניסן נגאלו ובניסן עתידין להגאל

Monday, April 04, 2011

Which is the Biggest Sign of Mashiah Coming?

From Newsweek's cover, which of the following do you consider the biggest sign that Mashiah is coming?

a) Tsunamis
b) Earthquakes
c) Nuclear meltdowns
d) Revolutions
e) Economies on the brink
f) The fact that a major magazine thought it appropriate to use a bleeped-out swear word on its front cover

I go with "f".

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Links You May Like

Judge Goldstone - Getting Feathers Back in the Pillow

Judge Goldstone issued a partial retraction to his infamous report.  Included in his retraction:
Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.
Anyone who had a Hava Amina that Hamas would curtail its attacks is living in a fantasy world, which is exactly where the original report's findings reside.

But I must give credit to him for his attrition and at least partially admitting his errors. Just last week, I translated Eli Yishai's letter to Judge Goldstone, asking him where his condemnation of the Fogel murders was. I don't know if his article is in response to that letter, but Judge Goldstone has obliged:
In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.
In response, Eli Yishai was surprised by the article and wrote another letter to Judge Goldstone, saying, in part (as translated by the Rucho Shel Mashiach blog):
Your words today surprised me as well, and indicate your ability to come out with courage and admit your error, and for this you deserve appreciation. The Jewish tradition places a special value on those who acknowledge their mistakes.
On the other hand, R' Yitzhok Adlerstein writes:
Like the feathers released from the pillow in the Chofetz Chaim’s famous mashal, it is impossible to know how many lives were lost because of the report, and how many are still in jeopardy because he gave our enemies all the ammunition they could have asked for.
Let us all do our part in disseminating the Washington Post article to the world so that we can get as many feathers back in the pillow as possible so that the Teshuva of Judge Goldstone can be maximized.