Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nahamu Nahamu Ami

The beginning of this week's Haftarah:

נַחֲמוּ נַחֲמוּ, עַמִּי--יֹאמַר, אֱלֹהֵיכֶם דַּבְּרוּ עַל-לֵב יְרוּשָׁלִַם

The Milui (Hayudin) of this is:
נון חית מם ויו
נון חית מם ויו
עין מם יוד
יוד אלף מם ריש
אלף למד הי יוד כף מם
דלת בית ריש ויו
עין למד
למד בית
יוד ריש ויו שין למד מם

The gematria of this is 5737. Add the 35 Pashut letters and you get 5772.

If true, Nahamu Nahamu Ami indeed.

Rav Elbaz at Teddy Stadium Talks Geula

Rav Reuven Elbaz said at Teddy Stadium:

"קודשא בריך הוא עומד להכנס לכאן בחזרה, השכינה עומדת לשרות בעם ישראל, אין דרך אחרת.. רק זו הדרך בלבד, דרך התורה דרך הישיבות, דרך הדף היומי, דרך ההלכה, היא תביא את הגאולה בקרוב".

HKB"H is about to enter here again.  The Shechina is about to dwell among Am Yisrael, there is no other way... only this path alone - the path of Torah, the path of Yeshivot, the path of Daf Yomi, the path of Halacha - that is what will bring the Redemption soon.

See the text and the video there at Kikar.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Eytan Kobre of Mishpacha Magazine reminds us of something that I recall was going around the blogs over 7 years ago:
As the Siyum HaShas approaches, I want to recall for readers something that came to light after the last siyum in 2005. I quote here the words of Rabbi Josh Spinner of the Beit Midrash of Berlin, written in May 2005, concerning the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe that had then just opened in Berlin. The memorial consists of 2,711 concrete rectangular pillars, or stelae, with heights varying from less than a meter to four meters. Rabbi Spinner wrote:
I attended the opening of the Berlin Memorial yesterday, and asked the architect, Peter Eisenman, whether indeed the number 2,711 was incidental. He responded that it was not only incidental but accidental. The number of columns intended at the site was much higher, but was reduced due to various considerations. He was shocked and amazed when I told him that the number of pages in the Talmud is none other than precisely 2,711. He asked for verification. I rushed to the business center of a nearby hotel and printed out several articles about the recent Siyum Hashas and gave them to Eisenman.…

Some five kilometers away from the Berlin Memorial, in a corner of the Beis Midrash of our Yeshiva, late in the evening after night Seder (study session) and Maariv (evening services), a small group joined the new cycle of Daf Yomi a few weeks ago. This is the first Daf Yomi chabura in Berlin in…, well, we all know in at least how many years.
The numerical correspondence is, of course, astounding enough. ...
See the rest there.

Interestingly, 2711 years ago was the year 3061, which, according to this pdf (which is ironically on the dafyomi.co.il site), was the beginning of the reign of King Yehoash.  King Yehoash was the last remnant of King David's descendants not killed by the evil Queen Ataliah, saved miraculously by hiding in the Kodesh Hakodashim.  Make of that what you will.

Friday, July 27, 2012

More Recent Interesting Links - Devarim 5772

Shabbat Shalom.
And if we are still required to fast, may everyone have an easy fast.

Zohar on Crying for the Beit Hamikdash

Yeshaya 52:8:
קוֹל צֹפַיִךְ נָשְׂאוּ קוֹל, יַחְדָּו יְרַנֵּנוּ
Hark, thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing

Zohar Beshalah 55b:
 ר׳ יהודה הוה יתיב קמיה דר׳ שמעון, והוא קארי, כתיב קול צופיך נשאו קול יחדיו ירננו. קול צופיך, מאן אינון צופיך. אלא אלין אינון דמצפאן, אימתי ירחם קב״ה, למבני ביתיה. נשאו קול, ישאו קול מבעי ליה, מאי נשאו קול. אלא, כל בר נש דבכי, וארים קליה על חרבן ביתיה דקב״ה, זכי למה דכתיב לבתר יחדיו ירננו. וזכי למחמי ליה בישובא בחדוותא.
Ribbi Yehuda was sitting in front of Ribbi Shimon, and he was reading:  It is written: "Hark, thy watchmen! they lift up the voice, together do they sing."  "Hark, thy watchmen!" - Who are your watchmen?  Rather, they are those who are expecting: When will HKB"H have mercy to build His house?  "They lift up the voice"  - It should have said "They will lift up the voice"!  What does "They lift up the voice" mean?  Rather, any person that cries and lifts up his voice over the destruction of the house of HKB"H will merit to what is written afterwards: "Together do they sing".  And he will merit to see it settled with joy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Recent Interesting Links - Devarim 5772

  • Rav Fish's latest
  • Shirat Devorah has a link to Rav Fish's latest English essay.
  • Kol Emunim - the Shomrei Emunim's newsletter - tells how Tish'a Be'av (in general) is an auspicious time for Geula (p. 1, left column)
  • Kol Tzofayich - the newsletter put out by Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlit"a - has stories on the last page of how Rav Mordechai Eliyahu ZT"L longed for the Geula
  • Rav Shmueli's newsletter has some Tish'a Be'av-related material.
  • Rav Ovadia Shlit"a relating to Rav Elyashiv ZT"L's passing, along with some history
  • Rav Pinchos Lipschutz talks about the loss in the passing of Rav Elyashiv ZT"L
  • Neshama has R' YY Jacobson's "The Truth About Israel"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Hint For This Year

Eicha 5:20-21:

לָמָּה לָנֶצַח תִּשְׁכָּחֵנוּ, תַּעַזְבֵנוּ לְאֹרֶךְ יָמִים.
הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ יְהוָה אֵלֶיךָ ונשוב (וְנָשׁוּבָה), חַדֵּשׁ יָמֵינוּ כְּקֶדֶם.

Perhaps, one can say the following:

When it says תעזבנו לארך ימים, the word ימים means "days" and the minimum of days is 2. A day of HKB"H is 1000 years so 2 "days" equals 2000 years. We are asking Hashem why he has forsaken us for the ארך ימים - length of 2000 years. The next verse starts השיבנו ה' אליך - we split the word השיבנו into 2 parts to make it השיב נ"ו - meaning "return 56". Since the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash occurred in the year 3828 (68 CE), that means that it has been 1944 years since the destruction. We know that the exile is supposed to last 2000 years from the verse לארך ימים, so we are asking Hashem to return 56 of those years (השיב נ"ו) so that we can be close to Him once again (ה' אליך ונשובה) and He will restore our days of old (חדש ימינו כקדם).

May we merit to see this fulfilled speedily.

Not Just The Children Are Ready

I've seen this video on a whole bunch of blogs. I love the message, but I would go further and say that the adults who act as the children of Hashem are also ready.

Meanwhile, Arutz Sheva reports that the video has gone viral.

Also, Elder of Ziyon and Matzav report that the Egyptians think that Morsi is being insulted in the video. Unbelievable.

Update: Arutz Sheva reports that the Temple Institute, who made the video, said that Morsi being in the video was unintentional.  I guess we care what Egypt says, like in Shemot 32:12.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Stories of the Ariza"l

Today, the 5th of Av, is the Yahrtzeit of the Ariza"l.

The newsletter put out by Rav Shmueli's Yeshiva has about 10 pages worth of stories from the Ariza"l's life (p. 19-28 of the pdf). If you know Hebrew, it's worth checking out.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Riddle Not for the Times

Here's a riddle I heard many many years ago:

How is it totally permissible to eat בשר בחלב בתשעה באב?

The normal way of reading the riddle is "How is it totally permissible to eat milk and meat together on Tish'a Be'av?"  However, the simple reading is what tricks you.

The answer is:

חלב is not milk, but rather Aleppo, Syria, and Tish'a Be'av is a Nidheh, so the person is eating meat in Aleppo on the ninth of Av which falls on Shabbat, which is totally permissible.

This year is one of those years that Tish'a Be'av falls on Shabbat. However, we're hearing news that the rebels are beginning to fight in Aleppo.  So, I'm not sure it would be permissible nowadays to be in Aleppo, let alone eat meat there, due to the prohibition of placing oneself in a place of danger.  (Not that it was much better there for a religious Jew 14 years ago - the last time Tish'a Be'av fell on Shabbat - but the danger is clear this year.)  So, barring unforseen circumstances, the riddle doesn't work this year.  Oh well.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Lipa Sings to Rav Elyashiv ZT"L

Kikar has a video of Lipa Schmeltzer singing a gramen to Rav Elyashiv ZT"L right before his 98th birthday.  My Yiddish is a very shvach, but it seems like he was saying that Rav Elyashiv should live long enough to see Mashiah.  Rav Elyashiv on the video answers "Ken Yehi Ratzon" (may it be Hashem's will).

Perhaps Ad Velo Ad Bichlal?

About That Tefillin Picture

In the post where I posted the picture of the Zaka member picking up Tefillin from the ground in the Bulgaria terrorist attack, Arutz Sheva has more about that:
A team of volunteers from the ZAKA emergency response organization was in Burgas, Bulgaria last week to clear the scene of the attack and ensure that those killed would have a proper burial. The group found a set of tefillin [phylacteries, ed.] that was undamaged in the blast.

A member of the team said finding the tefillin was an emotional experience. “Reuven lifted them and kissed them… In painful situations like that, when you see unbearable things, to suddenly see something positive, that’s what breaks you,” he said. “It’s something that gives strength in the midst of tremendous pain.”

“It’s not joy,” he added. “But it does something. Your eyes start to tear up.”
Also there:
A young Israeli man who survived last week's murderous terrorist attack in Bulgaria was pictured saying a prayer upon returning to Israel. The man, 21-year-old Matan Sabah of Be’er Sheva, covered his eyes and said the “Shema Yisrael” prayer.

The ancient “Shema Yisrael” proclaims God’s unity. It's words are "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One.". It is part of the daily prayers, but also said when in danger and as a reaffirmation of faith.

The photo of the wounded Sabah praying at Ben-Gurion Airport grabbed attention worldwide. Many media outlets ran the picture in their coverage of the attack.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Latest Posts on the Whole "Mashiah in Av 5772" Concept

The Absolute Truth wrote that he verified the whole concept with the wife of Rav Zaccai - the Havruta of Rav Kaduri ZTVK"L.

On the other hand, Geulah Perspectives has a podcast that says:
1) (31:30) We cannot guess that Mashiah will come in Av 5772
2) (36:15) If we say Mashiah will come in Av 5772, we can be assured that he will not come at that time.

Time will tell.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Al Eileh Ani Bochia

L to R: Maor Harush HY"D, Amir Menashe, HY"D, Elior Priess, HY"D,
Kochava Shriki, HY"D, Itzik Kolangi, HY"D
Source: Jpost and Channel 10, slightly edited

Arutz Sheva:
Itzik and Gilat Kolangi were on their first holiday since their daughter, Noya, was born four months ago. Itzik was born and raised in Petach Tikva, and his family members say he was full of the joy of life and always ready to help others out.

Itzik and Gilat had gone on holiday with another couple, their good friends Amir and Natali Menashe. Amir, too, was killed. Members of Amir's family spoke with Natali, who said that the men were placing the bags in the luggage compartment when the bomb went off.

Amir married Natali 18 months ago. Ten months ago, a son was born to them – Rom. "They had waited for this trip, to go with their good friends," Amir's brother said. "The last time I spoke with him was when he was at the Duty Free. Amir was a good boy, he liked life and liked to party."

Kochava Shriki of Rishon LeTzion had become pregnant after years of fertility treatments and was expecting her first child at age 44. She wanted to take advantage of the holiday she went on with her husband, Yitzchak, for some rest. Five minutes before the flight, she spoke with her sister, Yael Morad, and told her she was pregnant. She said she and her husband were very happy.
Update: YWN adds:
Eyewitnesses later reported that Kochava could have been saved if she would have jumped from the bus like others did but she was too afraid of harming the fetus, opting not to take the chance.

So sad.  Eicha 4:10 comes to mind.

Recent Interesting Links - Matot/Mas'ei 5772

  • Kikar reveals the unknown connection between Rav Elyashiv ZT"L and Mezuza-reader Rav Moshe Ben Tov ZT"L
  • R' Alexander Lipshitz in Kikar notes the connection between mourning for the Beit Hamikdash and for Rav Elyashiv ZT"L.
  • R' Lazer Brody, in a similar vein, has The Nine Days and Licking Our Wounds.
  • Rav Shteinman Shlit"a asked Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a if he should say the blessing of Dayan Ha'emet with Shem and Malchut.  Rav Kanievsky answered in the affirmative.  See the article for the reason.
  • Jpost via VIN quotes Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman after his bill to get equal burden for Yeshiva students in the army failed miserably:  "I hear that reporters expect us to leave the coalition. They’ll be just as successful waiting for the Messiah," Liberman quipped.
  • Speaking of the Foreign Minister, here he was speaking about the horrific Bulgaria bombing: "According to Liberman, Israel’s information identifies with certainty and beyond all doubt the Iranian fingerprint on the attack, but did not specify further."
  • Zaka has some pictures (some graphic) from the bombing.  Here's one of them:
  • Meanwhile Elder of Ziyon and Israellycool have information on the Rasha Merusha bomber - a Swede freed from Gitmo, who once was helped by the Swedish government to sue the U.S.  Update:  This information is being denied by both Sweden and Bulgaria.
  • Shirat Devorah on The Battle for Damascus (and be sure to read the comments there too)
  • Shirat Devorah also notes how the phrase ויוקר יאמיר is very applicable today
  • Shirat Devorah on Moshiach Comes/Av
  • Rav Pinchos Lipschutz has Connections
  • Names of Bulgaria victims: Yitzchak Kolangi, 28, of Petach Tikva; Amir Menashe, 28, of Petach Tikva; Maor Harush, 25, of Akko; Elior Preis, 26, of Akko; and Kochava Shriki, 44, of Rishon LeTzion.
  • Rav Shteinman instructs Bnei Yeshiva to tear Keriah

16 Things You Might Not Know About Rashi

Today is Rashi's 907th Yahrtzeit.

7 years ago, for Rashi's 900th Yahrtzeit, I translated something from the ShofarNews website (which no longer exists) which people seemed to like as even blogs that don't normally share my views had linked to it.  It is basically a list of 16 things you might not know about Rashi.

Check it out (along with some equally interesting comments).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More on Rav Elyashiv ZT"L

From Rav Aviner's English website, talking about Rav Elyashiv:

The True Gaon since he respected every Torah scholar even if there were differences of opinion.

[For example, in his relationship to Maran Ha-Rav Kook. His connection with Ha-Rav Kook already began with his grandfather, Ha-Gaon Ha-Gadol Ha-Mekubal, Ha-Rav Shlomo Eliyashuv, the author of "Leshem Shevo Ve-Achlama," from whom Rav Kook learned. And Rav Eliyashuv great respected his student. He once said: There are different ways in Kabbalah: Ha-Ra'avad and Ha-Ramban, Ha-Ramak and Ha-Ari, Ha-Rama Mi-Pano and Ha-Ramchal, Ha-Gra and others, but Ha-Rav Kook includes all of them, no hidden teaching escapes him.

In the year 5682, Ha-Rav Kook attained permission for Ha-Rav Eliyashuv to make Aliyah, and his grandson, our Rabbi, made Aliyah with him. Rav Eliyashuv and Rav Kook also learned many nights together in Yerushalayim. When zealots spoke against Rav Kook. Ha-Rav Eliyashuv silenced them: You can't tell me who he is. We have spent nights learning together.

R' Aryeh Levin once spoke with Rav Kook about his sorrow that there was a wonderful, righteous, young Torah scholar who would be a great match for his (R' Aryeh's) daughter, but the young man did not respond favorably to his suggestion (either because he thought he had better options or because he was not ready to marry). Rav Kook asked for the identity of the young man, and was told that is was our Rabbi. Maran Ha-Rav called for the young man and spoke to him. The younger Rav Elyashiv then accepted the proposal and the couple married. Rav Kook served as the Mesader Kiddushin. Ha-Rabbanit Sheina Chaya ztz"l shared her husband's respect for Rav Kook, and when she once saw from the window how people were scorning him on the street and trying to knock off his hat, she was incapacitated for months.

It once happened that one of the editors of the "Otzar Mefarshei Ha-Talmud" (Treasury of Talmudic Commentators) refused to include Rav Kook's teaching on the Gemara, and was therefore fired by the chief editor. The editor did not accept his decision, and they went to our Rabbi. Ha-Rav Elyashiv was shocked and said to the editor: "Did you know Ha-Rav Kook?! You should know – he was holy. I would have fired you too." And this happened with other books as well.]

Rav Elyashiv ZT"L with YBLTV"A Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a and others as Dayanim (Source: Kikar)

Also, according to this write-up on the life of Rav Ovadia Shlit"a, it was Rav Elyashiv ZT"L who convinced a hesitant Rav Ovadia to be a candidate for the position of Chief Rabbi of Israel.

Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, ZT"L

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet - the great Posek and leader of the generation Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv has passed away at the age of 102.  The sadness of the day is felt by all of Kelal Yisrael.

Some links:

Arutz Sheva

and more. 

Also at Kikar:

Secret stories about Rav Elyashiv
Selihot of Rav Elyashiv video
Statements by government officials on his passing (also in English at Arutz Sheva)
Pictures from his life

and more.

Our nation has suffered a great loss today. Hashem should help us through it.  The gemara in Bava Kamma explains how Tzadikim die before bad things start to happen, as it says כי מפני הרעה נאסף הצדיק, and already, some bad things started happening.  Hashem Yishmor.  May we experience no more sorrow.

Rav Fish just sent out an email, saying the following (my translation):
We have previously brought down from Harav Hagaon Rav David Abuhatzeira Shlit"a in his eulogy for his brother Harav Hagaon Rav Elazar ZT"L, who went up in a storm to heaven in Parshat Mas'ei on the 27th of Tamuz, 5771 that the Rashei Teivot of אלה מסעי בני ישראל is the same as משיח בן יוסף because his brother had a spark of Mashiah ben Yosef. And it is also brought down in "Seder Hadorot" in the name of "Shalshelet Hakabala" that the day of the death of Yosef was the 27th of Tamuz. And it is also brought down from the "Hakal Yitzhak" of Spinka HY"D that "Mashiah ben Yosef will be the first redeemer and he will come first to rectify the eyes." And he connects this idea there to the months of Tamuz and Av, which have the aspect of the eyes as is known [YY - see Ben Ish Hai, Year 1, Devarim].

And on the day of the 28th of Tamuz, 5772, again נצחו אראלים את המצוקים in Parshat Mas'ei, and Maran Hagaon Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ZTVK"L, who was a spark of Mashiah Ben Yosef, was taken from us. We brought earlier from his grandfather ZT"L, the author of the Leshem (Hakdamot Ush'arim, pages 88-89) that the period before the Atara reaches bottom is the period of Mashiah Ben Yosef, and when the Atara reaches bottom, this begins the period of Mashiah ben David. And the period of Mashiah ben Yosef ended in the end of Tamuz, 5771 or the end of Tamuz, 5772, depending on various opinions on how we count the years. And about this period, the Leshem writes (Hakdamot Ush'arim, page 106):
The verse assures us that the period of the entire Be'itah will not drag on, but rather, the time of redemption will be hastened, and both will be fulfilled - Be'itah and Ahishena. And that is also what the verse says "because it will surely come, it will not delay" - that he will not delay until the end of the entire period of Be'itah, Has Veshalom, but rather, there will be an Ahishena [hastening] also. But all this is only when the Atara reaches its bottom.
The Leshem hints to the bottom (שיפול) of the day - when the shade leans toward the west, after 6.5 hours, as we brought earlier from the Zohar about the end of Tamuz, 5771 or the end of Tamuz, 5772 according to the second opinion. Rav P. Shlit"a adds that the verse בעתה אחישנה is the Rashei Teivot of אב.
May Rav Elyashiv ZT"L be an advocate on high for all of Kelal Yisrael, Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Kappara for Qaddafi

The gemara (Berachot 10b, Pesahim 56a, Sanhedrin 47a, Makkot 24a) talks about King Hizkiya dragging his wicked father Ahaz's bones in a bed of ropes as an atonement for his sins, and this act was sanctioned by the rabbis.

Former Libyan leader Qaddafi was recently confirmed Jewish for the umpteenth time, but this time, by a top advisor.  Also recently, a video of his body "being used by rebels as ghoulish ventriloquist's doll" has surfaced

We don't know the workings of Shamayim, but it seems to me that this man received at least a partial atonement for his numerous sins.  The juxtapostion of the revelation of these 2 stories seems to lend credence to this idea.  Only Hashem knows.

High-Profile Bike Deaths in the News Lately

Picture: Reuters

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" author dies
SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling motivational book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," died on Monday at an Idaho hospital from injuries he suffered in a bicycle accident in April, family members said in a statement. He was 79.

Picture: Hebrew U.

Neuroscientist Shlomo Bentin killed in bike accident

Friday’s bicycle accident on Bancroft Way resulted in the death of 65-year old Shlomo Bentin, a globally recognized expert in cognitive neuropsychology, who was in Berkeley as a guest lecturer at the university.

Bentin was injured in an apparent collision between his bicycle and a dump truck on Bancroft, just west of Fulton, at 3:38 p.m. on Friday. He was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Berkeley police are still investigating the accident.

Bentin received the prestigious Israel Prize on Israel Independence Day this April, in a ceremony attended by Israel’s president, prime minister, Supreme Court president and other national leaders. The prize cited Bentin’s “important scientific contributions to the field of psychology and the science of neuropsychology in particular”.

Bentin, who was Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Neural Computation at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, contributed to the study of the functional differences of the brain’s hemispheres, and was considered one of the leading researchers of reading in Hebrew. His work had “vastly influenced the evolution of reading instruction in Israel,” according to the Israel Prize Committee.

Agent Who Nabbed Vanunu Killed in Accident

Giora Weiss-Tzahor, who headed the Mossad operation that located nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu so he could be brought to justice, was killed in a bicycle accident Monday. Tzahor, who was 70, was crossing a road between two agricultural fields on his mountain bicycle when he was hit by a truck. He was taken to Hillel Yafe Hospital in Hadera where efforts to save him failed.

Israeli newspapers are not publishing his photograph even after his death.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tzanzer Rebbe Also Calls for 3-Day Round-the-clock Learning

According to Kikar, the Tzanzer Rebbe is the latest leader after Rav Shteinman to call for a 3-day-straight round-the-clock learning to avert the decree. 

He explained the verses:
For, lo, Thine enemies are in an uproar; and they that hate Thee have lifted up the head.
They hold crafty converse against Thy people, and take counsel against Thy treasured ones.
They have said: 'Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.'

by saying: "Kelal Yisrael throughout all the years of exile were afflicted with suffering.  Sometimes, the main suffering was from Jewish evil-doers who had removed the yoke [of Torah] who tried to convert to another religion, Rahmana Litzlan.  And in the time of the End of Days, in the Ikveta dimshiha, Assaf [the author of Psalm 83] saw with his Ru'ah Hakodesh that the troubles will be doubled - both from the inside and the outside."

The Rebbe went on to mention Rav Shteinman's call of 3-day non-stop learning, and noted that a previous Rebbe did the same during the Six Day War, which resulted in great miracles. 

He said that the learning shifts should be 4 hours long with at least 10 people per shift.  He called upon all Tzanz Yeshivot and Kollelim to implement this.

The Rebbe also explained the verse "and it is a time of trouble unto Jacob, but out of it shall he be saved".  He said that Yaakov is the pillar of Torah, so when there is a time of trouble for Yaakov - meaning when people are threatening those who spend their days learning Torah, the way to resolve the problem is by learning Torah itself, and that is the idea of "but out of it shall he be saved".

He added that this is good advice for any type of trouble we may face - all the more so when the trouble is a threat to Torah learning itself.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

3324 Again

As we are in the week of Matot/Mas'ei and 3324 years from Yetziat Mitzrayim and the Het Ha'egel, I'll just reiterate what I wrote a few months ago:
Then, amazingly, both the first verse of Parshat Matot and the first verse of Parshat Mas'ei have the gematria of 3324:

First verse of Matot:

וַיְדַבֵּר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-רָאשֵׁי הַמַּטּוֹת, לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר: זֶה הַדָּבָר, אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה

First verse of Mas'ei:

אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֲשֶׁר יָצְאוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם--לְצִבְאֹתָם: בְּיַד-מֹשֶׁה, וְאַהֲרֹן

The latter one is especially interesting as it depicts the travels of the Israelites after they left Egypt - 3324 years.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why don't Haza"l say Eliyahu Hu Pinehas?

My translation of the Hida in Midbar Kedemot:
Eliyahu Hanavi Zachur Latov originally was an angel.  And at the time that HKB"H wanted to create the world, He said to Eliyahu and to the other angels, "Let us make man." He [Eliyahu] said before Him, "If it is good [to create man] before You, all the more so, before me [it is good]. If it is good in Your eyes, I will go down and serve before him..." He went down later on and made it so that the world would believe that Hashem is G-d. And a few days after they believed this in the world, he was brought up to the heavens, and HKB"H said to him, "You are the guardian over My children forever..." - Yalkut Reuveni on the verse "Let us make man" in the name of Sefer HaPardes.

And according to this, how sweet are the words of our rabbis z"l, who say, "Pinehas is Eliyahu," and they were careful with their wording because they should have said, "Eliyahu is Pinehas". But with this understanding, it makes sense because Eliyahu came first because he  was an angel.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Rav Mutzafi on Charlatans

From his website:

שאלה - 97526

שלום כבוד הרב, רציתי לשאול האם זו בעיה כששני בני זוג (או הורה וילד) שמותם מתחילים באות נו"ן.תודה.


תודה לך, אין בעיה. אך הייתי רוצה להביע את שיחי, על המתרחש אתנו זה שנים אחדות, אנחנו עם הבחירה, בני השם יתברך, קיבלנו תורה אלהית עם מצוות מעשיות, הרבנים שלנו אמונים על שמירתם ועל לימודם לעם ישראל כולו. איך וכיצד קרה שהסתננו לתוכינו מתחזים ושרלטנים, עמי ארצות מובהקים שאינם יודעים לפרש פסוק אחד בתורה, ולא סעיף בשלחן ערוך, והם עובדי אלילים, אחד פותח בגורלות, שני במזוזות, שלישי קורא בכתובות, רביעי בסוליות, וחמישי בבוץ של הקפה, שישי משבץ אותיות בלגו, והרשימה ארוכה. כולם עובדי אלילים, המייחסים לכוכבים למזלות למספרים לאותיות כוחות, רק לא לתורה ולא לבורא עולם, כאילו אם הבורא רוצה לא יכול לשנות מזלו של אדם אפילו היה מזל רע. כי אם כדבריהם למה לחזור בתשובה? הרי מחליפים אות או איזה שטות אחרת ופותרים את כל הבעיות. איך קרה שעזבנו את גדולי התורה, החכמים, הגאונים, הצדיקים והצנועים, אשר אין להם לשכות ומשרדים, רכבים ומשרתים, המסתפקים במועט ולומדים תורה, פנינו עורף אליהם, וכולנו רצים אחרי בעלי תאווה מגודלי זקנים המתגוררים בארמונות פאר, מוקפים בריונים, חומות בצורות ומגדלי שן, שמתפארים בחשבונות בנק מפולפלים, והם מימיהם לא עבדו, ולא הזיעו, וגם לא למדו תורה, ולא לימדוה, והם מתפרנסים מכספם ומדמם של עניים ואביונים, חסרי כל, חולים ומיואשים, עזובים ומוזנחים, מטופלים בתינוקות, אשר גוזלים פת לחמם מתוך פיותיהם הפעוטות והעטופות ברעב של תינוקותיהם ותורמים את כספם לעוד טיסה במחלקה ראשונה של אותם מושחתים. ואתם מאמינים בהם שהם יושיעו אתכם. תתעוררו, חזרו למקורות, ואל תחקו את הנוצרים ואת עובדי האלילים. אוהבכם מאוד וחס על חייכם ועל ממונכם.

My translation:
Question 97526

Hello, honored rabbi. I wanted to ask: is there a problem when the names of 2 spouses (or a parent and child) both start with the letter nun? Thank you.


Thank you - there is no problem. However, I want to express my opinion about something that is happening with us for the past few years. We are the chosen people, the children of Hashem Yitbarach. We accepted the G-dly Torah with actionable Mitzvot - our rabbis are trusted over keeping them and teaching them to the entire nation of Israel. How could it happen that impostors and charlatans have infiltrated among us - total ignoramuses who don't know how to explain one verse in the Torah or a Se'if in Shulhan Aruch. They are idol-worshippers: one draws lots, a second opens Mezuzot, a third reads Ketubot, a fourth - the soles of shoes, a fifth - the coffee mud, a sixth - letters with Lego, and the list is long. They are all idol-worshippers, who attribute to the stars, constellations, numbers, and letters powers - just not to the Torah and not to the Creator of the world, as if to say that if the Creator wanted to, He could not change the Mazal of the person, even if he had bad Mazal [ח"ו]. Because if it is like them, why do Teshuva? They could just change a letter or some other idiocy and solve all the problems. How did it happen that we left the Torah giants, the Hachamim, the Geonim, the Tzaddikim, and the modest - and we all are running after those with desires who have beards and live in beautiful mansions, surrounded by bodyguards, fortified walls, and ivory towers, who are proud of their sophisticated bank accounts, while they never in their lives worked or sweated, and also never learned Torah or taught it, and they support themselves from the money and the blood of the poor and indigent who have lost everything, the sick and those who gave up hope, the forsaken, those who care for babies, who steal the bread from the mouths of their toddlers and infants while their babies are hungry and donate their money toward a first-class flight of those corrupt individuals? And you believe them that they will save you?! Wake up, return the the sources, and do not imitate the Xtians and idolaters. I love you very much and I care for your lives and your money.

Worldwide Tefila from the Kids

As mentioned, Rav Shteinman Shlit"a and Rav Wosner Shlit"a were working on a kids' (Tinokot Shel Beit Raban) Tefila to counteract the decree against the Yeshiva boys.  According to Kikar, they now came up with the following wording (my translation):

A holy calling from our teachers and rabbis the Gedolei Hador Shlit"a


To the principals of the Heders and schools of Jewish kids in Israel and the Diaspora and Gabbaim of synagogues, Hashem should allow them to live!

As is known, Hashem's attribute of strict justice is stretched upon us and the entire existence of Torah is dependent upon it - that they want to nullify the Torah from Israel, Hashem should spare us.  And today, the holy Torah is turning to us - beseech and increase the requests before the Rock, Who is revered with holiness - the giver of the Torah.  And the power of schoolchildren - the holy children of Israel - who have not tasted the taste of sin is well known.

Therefore, we are here to request that all children of Israel, wherever they may be, will stand in prayer on Friday, Erev Shabbat Kodesh, Parshat Pinhas for approximately 20 minutes - to request and beseech - and every place should do according to how they feel proper as far as the appropriate time.

Our power is only in our mouths[, as it says,]  "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will make mention of the name of the LORD our God."  And we should tear open the gates of heaven as we put our souls into our request.  "They are bowed down and fallen; but we are risen, and stand upright."

And Hashem Yitbarach should listen to the sound of our cries and He should hasten for us the redemption of our souls.

[Harav] Shmuel Halevi Wosner           [Harav] Aharon Leib Shteinman

Update from YWN:

In addition, the gedolei hador shlita have called upon the tzibur to recite the following chapters of tehillim. 13, 20, 77, 121, 130, 142.

Special tefilos are being arranged around the world for this coming Thursday, erev rosh chodesh Menachem Av.

Rav Shteinman: 3 Days of Round-the-Clock Learning to Cancel the Decree

Kikar is reporting that Rav Shteinman Shlit"a is calling on Yeshivot to implement a program of different shifts of round-the-clock learning for 3 days straight as the Ramha"l suggested.  This is in response to the expected draft bill to draft 80% of Yeshiva boys into the army.

As the pictures over at Kikar show, the Mir Yeshiva already shows sign-up sheets for Bahurim to sign up for various learning times.  The instructions emphasize that those who sign up should not miss Tefila Betzibur.

Rav Shteinman Shlit"a and Rav Wosner Shlit"a are also looking into a world-wide kids' Tehilim recitation at a certain time of day to also counteract the decree.

Meanwhile, the Eda Haharedit has already planned a kids' Tefila for Monday evening.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The 3 Weeks in Halacha and Aggada

I noticed a very nice pdf file (in Hebrew) that explains the 3 weeks - both its Halachic laws and the stories behind it.

You can find it here.

The Aggadic portion tells the detailed story of the destructions of both Batei Mikdash in story form.  It later talks about the destruction of Betar and the story of the 10 martyrs.  It even has a chapter about Yemot HaMashiah (pages 54-60).  Finally, it contains Megilat Eicha with a simple commentary.

This is followed by the laws of the 3 weeks, 9 days, Shavua Shehal Bo, and Tish'a Be'av.

If you read Hebrew, check it out.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prayer and Torah Learning Protect Us

Various Ma'amarei Haza"l about how Torah study and prayer protect the Jewish people:

Vayikra Rabba 25:1:
אמרי רב הונא בשם ר' בנימין בן לוי אמר משל למלך שאמר לבנו צא לפרקמטיא אמר לו אבא מתיירא אני בדרך מהלסטים ובים מפני אפורטין מה עשה אביו נטל מקל וחקקו ונתן בו קמיע ונתנה לבנו ואמר לו יהי המקל הזה בידך ואי אתה מתיירא משום בריה אף כך אמר הקב"ה למשה אמור לישראל בני עסקו בתורה ואין אתם מתייראים משום אומה
They say that Rav Huna said in the name of Ribbi Binyamin Ben Levi: It is a parable to a King who told his son to go out for business. He [the son] said, "Father, I am afraid of thieves on the road and pirates at sea!" What did his father do? He took a staff, made an engraving in it, and put an amulet inside and gave it to his son and told him, "Let this staff be in your hands and you will not fear any creature." Similarly, HKB"H said to Moshe, "Tell Israel: My children: busy yourselves with Torah and you will not fear any nation."

Sota 21a:
א"ר יוסף מצוה בעידנא דעסיק בה מגנא ומצלא בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא תורה בין בעידנא דעסיק בה ובין בעידנא דלא עסיק בה מגנא ומצלא מתקיף לה רבה אלא מעתה דואג ואחיתופל מי לא עסקי בתורה אמאי לא הגינה עלייהו אלא אמר רבא תורה בעידנא דעסיק בה מגנא ומצלא בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא מצוה בין בעידנא דעסיק בה בין בעידנא דלא עסיק בה אגוני מגנא אצולי לא מצלא
Rav Yosef said: A mitzva, while you are busy with it, protects [you from suffering - Rashi] and saves [you from the Yetzer Hara - Rashi]. While you are not busy with it, it protects, but does not save. Torah, while you are busy with it or not busy with it, protects and saves. Rabba attacked this statement: If that were true, Do'eg and Ahitofel, did they not busy themselves with Torah? Why did it not save them [from their Yetzer Hara - Rashi]? Rather, Rava says: Torah, when you are busy with it, protects and saves. When you are not busy with it, it protects, but does not save. A Mitzva, while you are busy with it or not busy with it, protects, but does not save.

 ויש אומרים, שלשת אלפים מכל שבט ושבט. שנים עשר אלף חלוצי צבא, ושנים עשר אלף לשמור את הכלים, ועליהם הוא אומר, שניך כעדר הקצובות וגו' (שה"ש ד ב). ושנים עשר אלף לתפלה. ומנין. שכך כתיב, אלף למטה אלף למטה, הרי שני אלפים. וימסרו מאלפי ישראל. מהו וימסרו. שהם נמסרין זוגות זה לזה.
And some say 3000 [men went to war against Midian] from each tribe. [Altogether,] it is 12,000 soldiers and 12,000 men guarding the armaments, and upon them, it is said: שניך כעדר הקצובות וגו' (Shir Hashirim 4:2). And 12,000 for prayer. And how do we know this? As it is written, "1000 per tribe, 1000 per tribe" - that's 2000. "So there were delivered, out of the thousands of Israel, [a thousand of every tribe]" [- adding another 1000 per tribe to make 3000.] What does it mean, "So there were delivered?" That they gave themselves up to pair up one for the other.

Soheir Tov 27:4:
אם תחנה עלי מחנה, אומות העולם לא יירא לבי, ואם תקום עלי מלחמה בזאת אני בוטח, בתורה שנקראת זאת, שנאמר זאת התורה
[It says:] "Though a host should encamp against me" - of the nations of the world - "my heart shall not fear" and "though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident." With the Torah that is called Zot, as it says, "Zot Hatorah...".

Gittin 7a:
...דום לה' והתחולל לו דום לה' והוא יפילם חללים חללים השכם והערב עליהן לבית המדרש והן כלין מאליהן
...[It says]: "Resign thyself unto the LORD, and wait patiently for Him." Resign yourself to Hashem and He will cause [your enemies] to fall as many corpses. Get up early and stay up late against them in the Beit Midrash and they will be destroyed automatically.

Berachot 7b:
ואמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי כל הקובע מקום {לתפילתו\לתורתו} אויביו נופלים תחתיו...
And Ribbi Yohanan said in the name of Ribbi Shimon ben Yohai: Whoever sets a place for his {prayer/Torah study}, his enemies will fall below him...

Lemaan Shemo Be'ahava website:
ונאמר בתהלים (קי"ח, י') "כל גוים סבבוני בשם ה' כי אמילם, סבוני גם סבבוני בשם ה' כי אמילם, סבוני כדבורים דעכו כאש קוצים בשם ה' כי אמילם".
ידוע בשם ה' שמדובר בלימוד התורה, כפי שהגמרא בברכות (כ"א) למדה מהפסוק "כי שם ה' אקרא הבו גודל לאלוקינו". מכאן לברכת התורה לפני שלומדים תורה, שכל התורה היא שמותיו של הקב"ה, ומהפסוקים הללו למדנו היאך להתגבר על שונאינו ומבקשי רעתנו, שזה בלימוד התורה.
And it says in Tehillim (118:10) "All nations compass me about; verily, in the name of the LORD I will cut them off.  They compass me about, yea, they compass me about; verily, in the name of the LORD I will cut them off.  They compass me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns; verily, in the name of the LORD I will cut them off."  It is known that "in the name of the LORD" is speaking about Torah study, as the gemara in Berachot 21a learns from the verse "For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe ye greatness unto our God."  From here, we learn that we must recite Birkat Hatorah before we learn Torah because the entire Torah is the names of HKB"H, and from these verses, we learn how to overcome our enemies and those who seek to harm us - through learning Torah.

See more from Rabbeinu Bahye on Pirkei Avot starting here.

More about the importance of Torah study from Wikipedia:
  • The study of Torah is considered to outweigh a number of mitzvot, such as visiting the sick, honouring one's parents, and bringing peace between people (Shabbat 127a). This paragraph was incorporated in the daily prayer service.
  • A number of Talmudic rabbis consider Torah study as being greater than the rescue of human life, than the building of the Temple in Jerusalem, and than the honor of father and mother (Megilah 16b), provided that the individual's life will be saved by someone else.[citation needed]
  • According to R. Meir, when one studies Torah for its own sake (Torah Lishma - תורה לשמה) the [the creation of] entire world is worthwhile for him alone, and he brings joy to G-d (Avot 6:1).
  • As the child must satisfy its hunger day by day, so must the grown man busy himself with the Torah each hour (Yerushalmi, Berakhot ch. 9).
  • Torah study is of more value than the offering of daily sacrifice (Eruvin 63b).
  • A single day devoted to the Torah outweighs 1,000 sacrifices (Tractate Shabbat 30a; comp. Tractate Menachot 100a).
  • The fable of the Fish and the Fox [1], in which the latter seeks to entice the former to dry land, declares Israel can live only in the Law as fish can live only in the ocean (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 61b).
  • Whoever learns Torah at night is granted grace during the day and whoever neglects it will be fed burning coals in the World to Come. (Avodah Zarah 3b).
  • God weeps over one who might have occupied himself with Torah study but neglected to do so (Tractate Hagigah 5b).
  • The study must be unselfish: one should study the Torah with self-denial, even at the sacrifice of one's life; and in the very hour before death one should devote himself to this duty (Tractate Shabbat 83b).
  • All, even lepers and the ritually unclean, are required to study the Torah (Tractate Berakhot 22a).
  • It is the duty of everyone to read the entire weekly portion twice (the law of shnayim mikra ve-echad targum, Tractate Berakhot 8a).
  • According to R. Meir, a Gentile who studies the Torah (for the purpose of finding out about the Noachide Laws) is as great as the High Priest (Tractate Avodah Zarah 3a).
  • According to R. Yehudah, God Himself studies the Torah for the first three hours of every day. (Tractate Avodah Zarah 3b).

Pinehas - Guardian of the Berit

Translation of Mahsof Halavan on Pinehas (right column, middle paragraph):
Or else, one can hint that the word פינחס contains the letters of נח and יוסף sans the vav. And the meaning is that Noah was called a Tzaddik and Yosef was also called Yosef Hatzaddik. And the reason is because they guarded the sign of the holy Berit properly since one who guards the sign of the holy Berit is called a Tzaddik. And even though Yosef was tested and passed the test whereas Noah was not tested, nevertheless, since all the people of his generation blemished the Berit while he himself guarded himself, there is no greater test than this.

And behold Pinehas, since he was zealous for the blemish of the Berit, HKB"H considered it as if he was tested with the Berit and withstood the test. And for this reason, Yosef and Noah are hinted to in his name to say that just as they were called Tzaddikim because they guarded the Berit, so too he is called a Tzaddik because he was zealous for the Berit, as there is no guarding greater than this.

And behold פינחס, plus the Kollel is the gematria of הצדיק [value of 209] to show that the verse considers it as if he himself was tested with the Berit and withstood the test. And he was called a Tzaddik similar to Noah and Yosef, who are engraved in his name. And also, this works well [what the first Midrash on Parshat Pinehas says that] "He rightly takes his reward", which is an additional reward of being tested with the Berit, similar to Noah and Yosef, who are engraved in his name.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Recent Interesting Links - Pinehas 5772

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Rav Ovadia: Cancel Bein Hazmanim and Recite Avinu Malkeinu Twice Daily

Arutz Sheva:
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef urged yeshivas to cancel summer vacation so students can continue to learn Torah in response to the move to draft them.

Torah sage Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of the Shas Sephardi hareidi religious party, urged yeshivas Saturday night to cancel summer vacation so students can continue to learn Torah in response to the move to draft them into the army.

In his weekly lecture, Rabbi Yosef, known as Rav Ovadia, also called for a special prayer to be recited for spiritual help against an attempt to put an almost complete end to the tradition of continued Torah learning, which he said, has been a condition for the existence of the State of Israel.

“We are in deep trouble. There are those who want to lessen the honor of Torah and learning Torah,” said Rav Ovadia.

He said that after morning and afternoon prayers on Sunday, a fast day that introduces the “three weeks of mourning” of the desecration and destruction of the Holy Temples, the prayer “Aveenu Malkeinu” should be recited. Rav Ovadia urged that the prayer be recited every day for a period of time during the three weeks, which concludes with the Fast of Tisha B’Av.

“I also ask our brethren in the Diaspora…to participate and pray” to HaShem to reject the aim to draft all yeshiva students.
Behadrei and Kikar have the audio.

Friday, July 06, 2012

And Do You Know What Else Rav Kaduri Said?

Now that I got your attention, this post really has no new information from Rav Kaduri ZTVK"L. I'm just employing the tactic of Kalev Ben Yefuneh to get people's attention.

Unfortunately, there are those in the Xtian and messianic community who are lying to themselves by what they think is a handwritten letter by Rav Kaduri that "proves" that the name of Mashiah is their human deity. What baloney! Has Veshalom! He allegedly spelled it יהושוע which is most definitely NOT the same as their deity (see here how they distorted the name in translation and also see parshablog's explanation on Rav Kaduri's note).

Also unfortunately, many Xtian and messianic websites, including a few youtube videos (please don't go searching for them), have linked to my post about Rav Kaduri to show that he is predicting bringing back their deity as the messiah. אוי לנו מיום הדין if my blog contributed to anyone thinking such nonsense. I hereby protest the use of my blog for such nefarious purposes.

While we're talking about Oto Ha'ish, there is an interesting Yalkut Shimoni that is only found in the original printing of Yalkut Shimoni in Salonika (but later also in the Mosad Harav Kook edition) that can be viewed on the Hebrew University website at this link on page 335 if you have the DJVU plugin installed. It was censored from subsequent versions of the Yalkut Shimoni.

Translated, it reads:
How much was the sound of Bil'am? Ribbi Yohanan said: 60 Milin. Ribbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: 70 nations heard the voice of Bil'am. Ribbi El'azar Hakefar says: Hashem put power in his voice and it would rise up from one end of the earth to the other end - because he foresaw the nations bowing down to the sun and to the moon and to the stars and to wood and to stone. And he foresaw that there was a man, the son of a woman, who in the future will rise because he wants to make himself a god and to cause the entire world to stray. Therefore, He gave power in his voice that all the nations of the world would hear. And he would also say, "Pay attention so as not to stray after that man (Oto Ha'Ish), as it is written, "God is not a man, that He should lie," and if he says that he is a god, then he lies. And he is destined to lead people astray and say that he is going away and coming back at the end times. [For this, it is written,] "When He hath said, will He not do it?"  See what is written, "And he took up his parable, and said: Alas, who shall live after God hath appointed him?"  Bil'am said, "Alas, who shall live from that nation that followed after that man (Oto Ha'Ish) who made himself a god?"
See also Wikipedia's entry on Bil'am which has this text as well.

Also, Rabbeinu Bahye brings down this Midrash.  Later versions of Rabbeinu Bahye like this substitute the word אלוה (god) with נביא (prophet) and add the word בישמעאל - also done by the censors.  Some versions have whitespace where this text was.  And then there is this bad job of censorship where the word אלוה is pretty clear.

Despite Bil'am's prophecy against such a future figure, there are some interesting similarities between Bil'am himself and Oto Ha'Ish:

  • The gemara in Gittin 57a has Onkelos asking both Bil'am and Posh'ei Yisrael (which is widely interpreted as Oto Ha'Ish) whether to join the Jews.  That gemara describes the punishment for both Bil'am and Oto Ha'Ish - the former in boiling semen and the latter in boiling excrement.
  • Both were known to fly and both had Jewish adversaries who also flew and caused them to lose their flying power.  Regarding Bil'am and Pinhas, see here.  Regarding Oto Ha'Ish and his Jewish adversary, see here.
We are awaiting the day when the real Mashiah will come when it will be known to the entire world that it will be a pious Jew (and of course not Oto Ha'Ish) - when יהיה ה' אחד ושמו אחד.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rav Yosef Toledano ZT"L

Arutz Sheva:

Rabbi Yoseph Toledano, who led the Ateret Baruch congregation of Bnei Brak for many years, passed away, Thursday afternoon, at the age of 99. His funeral was scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m.

Toledano was the son of kabbalistic Rabbi Raphael Baruch Toledano and the uncle of recently-deceased Rabbi Nissim Toledano. He was known for his righteousness and teaching. One student called on the public to study Mishnayot and recite psalms on behalf of the rabbi's soul.

Rav Toledano was the son of Rav Refael Baruch Toledano ZT"L, the author of the Kitzur Shulhan Aruch Hashalem and the composer of the famous song Ashorer Shira.

Kikar notes that at the funeral of his nephew Rav Nissim Toledano 30 days ago, Rav Nissim was eulogized by his uncle Rav Yosef Toledano. While in tears, he remarked, "The Angel of Death made a mistake. They were supposed to take me and by mistake, they took Ribbi Nissim."

Update: Matzav adds:
Rav Toledano was renowned for his comprehensive shiurim and the inspiration he imparted to the masses. One of his popular shiurim was on the pirush of the Ohr Hachaim, on whose yahrtzeit he was niftar.

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Balak 5772

From Rav Fish's latest:
  • It was brought down to the physical world that the Iranians made a military exercise and called it, "Great Prophet Seven".  Even though they definitely meant their people of the Kelipa, from Shamayim, it is being hinted to us about Mashiah, who is called "the seventh prophet".  As it is brought down in the gemara Sukka 52b
    [It says:] "Then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight princes among men". Who are the seven shepherds? David is in the middle. Adam, Shet, and Metushelah to his right. Avraham, Yaakov and Moshe to his left. And who are the eight princes among men? Yishai, Sha'ul, Shemuel, Amos, Tzefania, Hizkiyahu, Mashiah, and Eliyahu.
    It is also brought down in the name of Rav Benayahu Shmueli Shlit"a who said about the downfall of the nations of Yishmael in recent years that the name "Arab Spring" came down to the physical world, so we are being hinted to from Shamayim about the Redemption which has the Sod of Pesah, which is called "the holiday of the spring".
  • I heard in the name of Rav Nahmani ZT"L that the nation from the end of the world that will fight Edom is North Korea [in Hebrew צפון קוריאה], which is the Rashei Teivot of ק"ץ.  Rav Shelomo Reiskin Shlit"a adds that the name of the leader there is Jung [in Hebrew ג'ונג], which hints to Gog [גוג].
  • [In a post on Tuesday, I wrote:
    A similar idea that is based on a verse in Parshat Balak is found in the Yerushalmi in Shabbat at the end of the 6th Perek, where the return of prophecy is predicted to come in double the time since the time of Bil'am. The Rambam makes use of this Yerushalmi in his Iggeret Teiman and said that prophecy should return in the year 4972 (1212 CE or 1216 CE - see the footnote there). However, this did not come to pass due to our many sins.
    and this is based on the word כעת.]  Rav M.Z. Shlit"a suggests that perhaps this derasha on כעת [is not referring to double the time of Bil'am's time, but rather] is referring to the Davidic Dynasty, which will return after the same amount of years as there were before it started. [YY -This is an interesting way of explaining the source of the doubling theory.]
  • Rav M.Z. adds that the phone number country code for the State of Israel is 972, which hints to the year 5772.  The number תשע - [Hebrew for 9] in hinted to in תשע"ב, plus the number "72" makes תשע"ב, as this year is the end of the kingdom of the Kelipa and the beginning of the kingdom of holiness that will replace it.
  • It appears that there is a hint in the [very first] Mishna מאמתי קורין את שמע בערבית.  The word מאמתי is a Notrikon of משיח אליהו מתי [Mashiah, Eliyahu, when?]  In other words, the Mishna is asking, "When will Mashiah and Eliyahu come so that they can all read Keriat Shema and accept upon them the yoke of the kingdom of Shamayim?"  The Mishna answers, "In Arvit [evening]," when the time for ערב arrives [either it means 272 years after the morning of the sixth millennium or it means when the sun begins to set - at Minha Gedola].  Also, שמע is the gematria of אליהו משיח. (Rav M.P. helped with this explanation.)
  • It was also publicized recently that on the 17th of Tammuz, 5772 will be the 296th anniversary of the United States government, the gematria of צור.  And it is brought down in Rashi (Bereishit 25:23) that "When one rises, one falls ... Tzor only filled itself from the destruction of Yerushalayim."  There is a hint here that Tzor will only fill itself from the destruction of Yerushalayim for the amount of years as the gematria of צור and no more.  אכי"ר.  [YY - This gives new meaning to President Obama's oft-repeated statement, "the bond between our two nations is unshakeable".] Update This was written in error by Rav Fish, as the U.S. is really 236 years old - not 296. I apologize for not catching that earlier.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The State of Israel and the End of Days

Yahadoot.net has a very nice 1 hour 15 minute video (in Hebrew) by Rav Menashe Ben Porat who speaks about many things having to do with the State of Israel and Mashiah.

I'll translate the list of topics discussed in the video that are listed at the link above:

The State of Israel in the past - the miracles of the State of Israel
  • The amazement of an officer from Singapore [who is an expert in war strategies, but cannot learn anything from Israel, as it doesn't make sense how Israel wins its wars].
  • An incident where 260 rockets fell on Israel in 2 days and only one mare was killed.
  • A story of a miracle in Be'er Sheva where the rockets scored a direct hit, but didn't explode
  • The miracles of the War of Independence and the establishment of the state.
  • The miracles of the Six Day War
  • The story of Yisrael, the taxi driver from the paratroopers with a half-track
The State of Israel in the present - the reason for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • The secret of the Intifada
  • The exact date of the beginning of the Intifada
  • Scary quotes from the Hamas Charter
  • The story of an officer about the miracles of Cast Lead
Where is the State of Israel going? - Geula and the End of Days
  • The End of Days
  • Obama looks similar to Par'o - what is the meaning?
  • Rav Kaduri reveals the date of the Geula*
  • Words of Haza"l about the Iranian threat, the Strait of Hormuz, Syria, and Assad

* Starts at 52:15 in the video.  Rav Ben Porat stresses that no person in the world knows when Mashiah is coming - Rav Kaduri merely pointed out an auspicious time for his arrival.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Doubling of History Theory

The Doubling of History Theory is a name that I just made up, but a concept that I didn't.  It states that when there is good reason to say so, history doubles itself such that the same events that took place exactly year n/2 will take place in year n.

Many have employed this theory in blogs.  For example, see here from me a few years ago and here from Rav Fish and here and here from Gilui.

As Rav Fish pointed out, the idea behind this theory in use during the most recent years comes from the Ariza"l, who says that the Rashei Teivot of אד"ם stands for אדם - דוד - משיח.

(A similar idea that is based on a verse in Parshat Balak is found in the Yerushalmi in Shabbat at the end of the 6th Perek, where the return of prophecy is predicted to come in double the time since the time of Bil'am. The Rambam makes use of this Yerushalmi in his Iggeret Teiman and said that prophecy should return in the year 4972 (1212 CE or 1216 CE - see the footnote there).  However, this did not come to pass due to our many sins.)

Getting back to our days, as was already mentioned by Rav Fish, 5772/2=2886.  David started to rule in Hevron in the year 2884 for 7.5 years, at which point he started to rule in Yerushalayim after the death of King Sha'ul.  When and for how long Ish Boshet ruled is at a major argument - here's what I found with minimal research (there may be more opinions):

#OpinionWhen and for how long did Ish Boshet rule?
1Seder Olam Ch. 13Only 2 years - there were 5 five years w/o a king over Israel
   1aRashi Sanhedrin 20aThe 5-yr break occurred after Sha'ul's death, followed by 2 years of Ish Boshet, followed by another half-year break
   1bTosafot Sanhedrin 20aHalf-year break after Sha'ul's death, followed by 2 years of Ish Boshet, followed by the 5-year break
2Metzudat David on Shemuel Bet 2:10For 5 years, he only ruled over a few territories, but for his final 2 years,  he ruled over everyone (besides Yehuda)
3Malbim and Ralbag thereThe first 2 years, he was king over everyone (besides Yehuda), but his rule slowly declined in the next 5 years to the benefit of King David

According to Rashi and Metzudat David, 2886 is insignificant.  According to Tosafot, on the other hand, 2886 signifies a time when King David was the only game in town, albeit in a limited area.  And according to the Malbim and Ralbag, it signifies the beginning of the growth of King David's kingdom.

Just like King Sha'ul and Ish Boshet were from the tribe of Binyamin, Israel is lead by Binyamin Netanyahu.  What King Sha'ul was to Agag is what Netanyahu was to Arafat.  Ish Boshet represents Netanyahu's second chance at power even though it is not expected to last.  It is to be replaced by a descendant of King David speedily in our days, Amen.

Timbuktu's "End of the World" Gate Breached


World cultural body UNESCO was set to create a special fund to protect Mali's heritage on Tuesday after al-Qaida-linked Islamists attacked historic and religious landmarks in the city of Timbuktu for a third day, breaking down the door to a 15th century mosque that -- according to legend -- had to remain shut until the end of the world.

A UNESCO committee also called for a mission to go to Mali to work with local and national leaders to stop what it called "wanton destruction."

"In legend, it is said that the main gate of Sidi Yahya mosque will not be opened until the last day (of the world)," Alpha Abdoulahi, the town imam, told Reuters by telephone.

Yet Islamists intent on erasing traces of what some regard as un-Islamic idolatry smashed down the door to the mosque early on Monday, saying they wanted to "destroy the mystery" of the ancient entrance, he said.

"They offered me 50,000 CFA ($100) for repairs but I refused to take the money, saying that what they did is irreparable," Abdoulahi added.

In a statement emailed to msnbc.com Tuesday, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee called for a series of measures to help save Mali's ancient sites and condemned the "repugnant" destruction of Timbuktu's mausoleums.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has appealed for a halt to the attacks.

"There are mausoleums, there are mosques, there are manuscripts which represent enormous value for humanity and it is totally unacceptable what is happening there," Bokova said on Monday.

The U.N. body seeks to protect places around the world it classifies as world heritage sites, arguing they are of special cultural significance and should be preserved for posterity.

Mali's government in the capital Bamako about 630 miles south has condemned the destruction, but is powerless to halt them after its army was routed by rebels in April. It is still struggling to bolster a return to civilian rule after a March 22 coup that emboldened the rebel uprising further north.

The attacks have been widely condemned inside Mali as well.

"The 333 saints would be turning in their graves," the country's Les Echos newspaper wrote on Monday, referring to 333 revered Sufi imams, sheiks and scholars buried in Timbuktu.

"Today there are old women, old people in Timbuktu who say that maybe it is the end of the world," entrepreneur and former Timbuktu resident Male Dioum told Reuters.

Islamists of the Ansar Dine group say the centuries-old shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam in Timbuktu are idolatrous. They have so far destroyed at least eight of 16 listed mausoleums in the city, together with a number of tombs.


70 Years and Mashiah

The concept of 70 years is a recurring theme here on this blog.

R' Ari Goldwag has a podcast that explains this concept beautifully.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Length of Galut Edom was Shown to Dor Hamidbar

Bemidbar 21:4:
וַיִּסְעוּ מֵהֹר הָהָר, דֶּרֶךְ יַם-סוּף, לִסְבֹב, אֶת-אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם; וַתִּקְצַר נֶפֶשׁ-הָעָם, בַּדָּרֶךְ.
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became impatient because of the way.

The Ba'al Haturim notes the following:
וַתִּקְצַר נֶפֶשׁ-הָעָם - מלמד שראו כל הצרות שיבאו עליהם בגלות אדום ואיך ימשך הגלות
My translation:
This teaches us that they saw all the troubles that will come upon them in the Exile of Edom and how the exile will last long.
We also find a similar statement in Eicha Rabbati 5:10 and Shir Hashirim Rabba 3:3 that they were able to smell a little of the troubles of all four exiles based on this verse.

At this point of the Torah, they were in the year 2487.  If this verse is hinting to us about our travels through our final exile of Edom, then we can perhaps use this verse to see how long it will last from the time it was foreseen.  We can exclude the first four letters from the first word since that is the minimum amount of letters to tell us that the nation traveled.  Perhaps, to find out how long this travel takes place, we'll get the gematria of the rest of the verse, shown in red:

וַיִּסְעוּ מֵהֹר הָהָר, דֶּרֶךְ יַם-סוּף, לִסְבֹב, אֶת-אֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם; וַתִּקְצַר נֶפֶשׁ-הָעָם, בַּדָּרֶךְ.

The gematria is 3285.

3285 + 2487 = 5772.