Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ethiopian Aliya - Final Push Commences

Arutz Sheva:
A charter flight carrying approximately 240 new immigrants from Ethiopia is scheduled to arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport on Monday.

The flight is the first of a series of monthly flights planned as part of Operation Dove’s Wings, a government initiative to speed up the place of aliyah and bring the remainder of the Falash Mura, members of the Ethiopian Jewish community who were forcibly converted to Christianity during the 19th and 20th centuries, to Israel.

The Jewish Agency’s Ibim Absorption Center in the Negev is set to reopen in order to accommodate a number of the new immigrants. The rest will be spread among an additional 16 absorption centers throughout Israel operated by the Jewish Agency and the Absorption Ministry.

The 17.5-million-shekel operation is scheduled to be completed by October 2013.

Yeshaya 11:11, referring to the Kibbutz Galuyot in the time of Mashiah:
וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יוֹסִיף אֲדֹנָי שֵׁנִית יָדוֹ, לִקְנוֹת, אֶת-שְׁאָר עַמּוֹ--אֲשֶׁר יִשָּׁאֵר מֵאַשּׁוּר וּמִמִּצְרַיִם וּמִפַּתְרוֹס וּמִכּוּשׁ, וּמֵעֵילָם וּמִשִּׁנְעָר וּמֵחֲמָת, וּמֵאִיֵּי, הַיָּם
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord will set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people, that shall remain from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Note: Cush is very frequently translated as "Ethiopia", although there may be other interpretations, such as Sudan and India.

Next one on the list is Elam.  That one may be a bit more difficult.

News Items on How Sandy Destroyed Jewish Lives, Property, and Electricity

I wish not, but I'm sure there are more.  Can anyone add to this list?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Interesting Sandy Links and a Possible Sandy Meaning

  • Rav Shteinman Shlit"a suggests people accept upon themselves a strengthening of keeping the laws of Shabbat ahead of Hurricane Sandy. In particular, that the Eruv that they use is 100% Kosher.  (Update: More here)
  • Update: Rav Gershon Edelstein Shlit"a says that this storm - and every storm, even if thousands of miles away - is to awaken us to be stronger in Emuna and to rectify anything that requires rectification
  • Selihot for Behab, which ends Monday for those who have the custom of doing it, references a storm
  • Tomer Devorah has Yad Hashem and Double or Nothing?
  • Soul Mazal has his take
  • (For storms in general,) G-d's horse
  • In this week's Perasha, in the Akeida, we read:
     כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ, וְהַרְבָּה אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְכַחוֹל, אֲשֶׁר עַל-שְׂפַת הַיָּם; וְיִרַשׁ זַרְעֲךָ, אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו  that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

     וְהִתְבָּרְכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ, כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ, עֵקֶב, אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast hearkened to My voice.'

     וַיָּשָׁב אַבְרָהָם אֶל-נְעָרָיו, וַיָּקֻמוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ יַחְדָּו אֶל-בְּאֵר שָׁבַע; וַיֵּשֶׁב אַבְרָהָם, בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beer-sheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beer-sheba. {P}
    We learn about Avraham's descendants being blessed like the sand which is upon the seashore and his seed (i.e. Yaakov) inheriting "the gate of his enemies" (e.g. occupied Gush Katif). Why? Because he listened to Hashem's voice. When we don't listen to Hashem's voice, on the other hand, we lose out on our inheritance and not only that, but the sand(y) works against us - it causes our schools to be closed and normal life to be disrupted.

    Where were schools closed and normal lives disrupted? Be'er Sheva on Sunday due to rocket attacks coming from sandy Gaza which is on the seashore (but they were back to school Monday).  On Monday and Tuesday, the entire New York and much of the US East Coast is closed down due to Hurricane Sandy, including many schools.

    The Keli Yakar on verse 17 explains the difference between Israel being as numerous as the stars, the sand, and the dust of the earth. When all is good, we're like the stars. When our enemies are trying to destroy us, we're like the sand.  Just as the sand doesn't allow the waves to overflow onto land, so too Hashem won't let our enemies destroy us.  When we're at the lowest level, we're like the dust of the earth, but this level will be the catalyst for Geula.

    Right now, it seems like Hashem is trying to tell us that we're on the sand level - definitely not in peaceful times, but not yet in dire straits (אפס עצור ועזוב), and yet, we're being threatened with destruction from all sides. However, this status cannot last forever - it is soon coming to an end and we have a choice to make: we can either listen to Hashem's voice and merit Redemption immediately or ח"ו face a situation where we will be like the dust. Hashem promised that He won't destroy us, but damage can be done. The waves of Sandy and of our enemies can do damage if Hashem gives them free reign. It's up to us - ובחרת בחיים - we must choose life.

    May we not have to endure the lowest level in order to merit the Geula.  May we get there before it reaches that point.  The easiest way to achieve this is to listen to Hashem's voice.
May everyone stay safe and may Hashem protect His people and all good people from both Hurricane Sandy and the rockets coming from sandy Gaza.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

So, Where Are You on Shabbat?

I was emailed this picture. Clever. If someone knows the source, let me know and I'll attribute it.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Recent Interesting Links - Lech Lecha 5773

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Midrash Morsels on Lech Lecha

Bereishit 13:9
הֲלֹא כָל-הָאָרֶץ לְפָנֶיךָ, הִפָּרֶד נָא מֵעָלָי:  אִם-הַשְּׂמֹאל וְאֵימִנָה, וְאִם-הַיָּמִין וְאַשְׂמְאִילָה
Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left.
However, this translation is incorrect according to Bereishit Rabbah. Rather, it means that Avraham Avinu told Lot, "Whichever way you go, you will be to my left. If you go left, I will go right. If I go right, you will go left."

In the Sod of the matter, explains the Nezer Hakodesh, the left refers to the female aspect. When Avraham and Lot were together, Lot had the same amount of holiness as Avraham. When Lot separated himself from Avraham, however, 99% of his holiness left him - only a few sparks on the left remained. Because of this, the halacha of מואבי ולא מואביה was enacted, as only the female side of Lot had some holiness. And we see this from Rut and Na'ama Ha'amonit, 2 women who would be great-great-...-grandmothers of Mashiah.

But what started the argument in the first place? Avraham's animals were muzzled, while Lot's were not. Lot claimed that he could keep the animals unmuzzled since the land belonged to him since he would inherit from Avraham since Avraham had no children at that point. The verse therefore shows the error of Lot by concluding that the Canaanites were still in the land to show that Avraham had not yet gotten the go-ahead to inherit the land.

Later on, Avraham complained to Hashem that Lot would be his inheritor (according to Ribbi Elazar). Hashem answered him that Lot would not be his inheritor as Lot Lita (Lot's name means "cursed" in Aramaic). 

Rather, he would have a son and when a son exists, the female side doesn't inherit.

--------

According to the Nezer Hakodesh, when Hashem said Yado'a Teda, Hashem was in essence telling Avraham about the Final Redemption.  We see this because the Midrash says "Yado'a that He will scatter them - Teda that He will gather them."  In Egypt, we were not scattered.  This proves that it refers to the Final Redemption.  Also, the Midrash talks about the 4 Malchuyot when discussing the previous verse and the next verse.

According to this, Avraham Avinu asked "Bameh Eida" - meaning, "How do I know that my children will inherit the Eretz Hahayim in the Future Redemption and not be destroyed by the exile?"  Not that Avraham Avinu ח"ו had a lack of faith in Hashem, but he was afraid that that maybe his children would give up hope from being redeemed and remove the yoke of Torah which will inevitably cause them to lose their merit of receiving the Eretz Hahayim as an eternal reward. 

On this, Hashem answered him that the redemption from Egypt will be signs and wonders for the Future Redemption since כימי צאתכם מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות so they will never give up hope.  However, it could be that even without the signs and wonders, we would have believed in the Future Redemption since we are believers - children of believers.  However, because Avraham Avinu opened his mouth to the Satan and said "Bameh Eida" because maybe we would not believe in the Redemption, Hashem had to make a sign and wonder, and it unfortunately needed to be preceeded by the Egyptian exile.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cool 2 Million ₪ For Apartment Above Rav Ovadia

Apparently, the apartment above Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a is going for 2 million shekel.

I'm interested.  Anyone got that amount to spare?

On second thought, if I find out that my kids running back and forth in the apartment is bothering Rav Ovadia from his Torah learning, I'd be mortified.

Well, it's too late anyways - it looks like a prospective buyer is closing in on the deal.

Oh, what could have been...

Friday, October 19, 2012

Google Translate Quirk That Should Be Fixed

Translating סעודת החג, I almost correctly get "The festive meal"

Translating לסעודת החג, I get "Christmas dinner"

Seriously?!?!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Priest's Kapparah

Incredible story in this week's Pahad David - p. 2 that I will translate  (Updated:  I mistranslated גימנסיה so all references to "gym" were changed to "high school"):

This story was publicized in the new volume of the book "Veha'arev Na", and it deals with a Jewish boy from Baltimore who was very far from Judaism, and wanted to be accepted to learn a profession in a certain high school.  Standing at the head of the high school was a priest, and when the boy approached him, the priest asked him if he was Jewish.  The boy thought to himself, "What should I answer him?  If I tell him the truth, maybe he won't accept me because I'm Jewish, and if I lie and say I'm not Jewish, maybe the truth will come out."  In the end, he decided to say the truth.

When the priest heard that he was dealing with a Jewish boy, he asked him, "Do you recognize the letters of the Hebrew alphabet - the Alef Bet?"  The boy answered, "No, I have no clue about them."  The priest told him that he was accepted to the high school  but on one condition: "that every afternoon, after you finish your lessons, you come to my office, and I will teach you the Alef Bet!"  The boy, who really wanted to be accepted to the high school, had no choice but to agree to the strange request.

At the end of the first year, the boy finished learning with the priest all the letters of the Alef Bet.  Then, the priest called him and informed him, "If you want to continue to learn in the high school next year, you will need to come to me and have a private lesson in Humash."  The boy had no choice and again agreed to the strange request.  At the end of the year, after the boy learned all of the 5 books of the Torah, the priest called him and told him that he could remain in the high school only if he comes next year to a private lesson - this time in Mishnayot.  The boy again agreed to the request and throughout the year, the priest and the boy dealt with learning Mishnayot.

For the fourth year, the priest called the boy and told him, "If you want to continue your studies with us, you will now need to learn Gemara, but not here - in Yeshivas Ner Yisrael of Baltimore - which was not far from the high school.   Rav Ruderman is the Rosh Yeshiva.  He will teach you Gemara.  After you learn Gemara there for a number of months, you can then return and learn in our high school."  Leaving him no option, the boy again agreed, and approached Yeshivas Ner Yisrael to Hagaon Rav Yaakov Yitzchak Ruderman ZT"L to learn Gemara.

The boy entered the Yeshiva and looked for Rav Ruderman.  When he found him, the rav asked him what he wanted.  He answered, "I came to learn Gemara."  The rav was very amazed since the boy didn't even look like he was Jewish.  "Are you Jewish?" he asked.  The boy answered positively.  The rav told him that he cannot now teach him Gemara - "You first need to learn Alef Bet and reading."  "I already know them - also, I already learned Humash and Mishnayot," the boy said.  The rav tested him and he was proven correct.  "Where did you learn Torah?  Who sent you here?" wondered the rav.  "The priest at the high school," answered the boy.

Rav Ruderman accepted him to the yeshiva, and already after a few weeks, the boy started changing his ways.  The light of Torah had influenced him and brought him toward good.  He got better and better until he became a true Ben Torah.  After a half a year of tiring learning in the holy Yeshiva, he was tested on a complete Mesechet, and after he passed with flying colors, he received a certificate saying that he succeeded in the test on a complete Mesechet.  He ran to show the priest.

The boy thanked him since it was in his merit that he returned to the source and grew in the yeshiva.  "But I want to know one thing: why did you do this for me?"

The priest broke out crying and after he calmed down, he told the boy a story:

"Many years ago, I received a sabbatical from work and I didn't know how to spend the year.  I heard about a group of priests who were traveling to the Land of Israel for a week and decided to join them.

"On Friday night, I got to the Kotel and when I heard Friday night prayers, I very much enjoyed them.  I waited there until the end of prayers.

"At the end of the prayer, a Jew approached me and asked me if I have a place to eat on Shabbat.  I replied negatively, so that Tzaddik gathered me into his home.  After the meal, he asked if I would accompany him to an exciting Mussar talk by Rav Noach Weinberg and I happily agreed.  I was very impressed by the talk.  I decided that there is something for me to do on my sabbatical year - to remain in Yeshivat Aish Hatorah, headed by Rav Weinberg.  I informed my peers that they should go on their way and that I would be remaining a bit longer in the Land of Israel.

"During the year, I had the chance to learn Alef Bet, the 5 books of the Torah, and Mishnayot.  At the end of the year, I approached the rav that taught me and told him that my sabbatical is over and that I must return to my job.  The rav tried to convince me to stay, saying, 'After you learned so much, it would be a shame for it all to go to waste,' but his persuasion did not help.  He requested that we approach Rav Weinberg in order to hear his advice.  Rav Weinberg also said that I should stay, and it would be a shame that I should leave after I was doing so well during the year. 

"Finally, I decided to confess.  'I am going to tell the Rosh Yeshiva the truth.  I am a Goy and serve as a priest, and I now need to return to my work.'

"Shaken, Rav Weinberg heard this and responded sharply, 'I do not forgive you for the entire year that you wasted for us!  We invested so much in you for nothing!' 

"I was stunned and started crying like a baby.  I asked that he forgive me, but he resolutely said, 'There is no forgiveness for you, not in this world or the next world!'  Eventually, he said, 'Maybe, you can get atonement if a Jew will by chance come to you and you will transmit to him everything you learned in the Yeshiva.  Only then would it be retroactively clarified that your learning here wasn't totally for naught...'

"And now," concluded the priest his awesome story, "after years that I waited that a Jew should fall to my hands whom I will be able to teach, you came here.  And in order to fulfill my promise, I tried my utmost to transmit to you everything that I learned in Yeshiva..."

Ladaat.net Was Hijacked so it Moved to Ladaat.info

People (like myself) who tried getting to Ladaat.net were shocked to learn that the domain was hijacked and redirecting users to another site with Haredi news - shtieble.net. 

There are unverified rumors (h/t email from Rafi) that due to human error, the owners forgot to renew the domain name with GoDaddy and someone waited for the day of the domain to expire to pounce on it and buy it up. 

Shtieble.net - for a few hours yesterday and today on the side of their home page - had a notice that they were interested in selling the domain name ladaat.net (but they misspelled it as laadat.net).  I looked again recently and the notice is now gone.

Meanwhile, Ladaat.net has moved to Ladaat.info and explained (with the headline of "מעשה נבלה") how they want to initiate legal action against those responsible.  They are asking users to only go to ladaat.info and not the other site.

אָרוּר, מַסִּיג גְּבוּל רֵעֵהוּ; וְאָמַר כָּל-הָעָם, אָמֵן

UPDATE:  The following is now posted on Shtieble.net's website for 15 seconds before you get to the site:


הבהרה חמורה

שלום לכלל הגולשים. בעקבות עשרות טלפונים והודעות המתקבלות במערכת של שטיבל החלטנו לפרסם את הסיפור במלואו לפי הידוע לנו.
בשעות האחרונות מסתובבות הודעות למינהם בקשר לאתר שטיבל. שכביכול לקחת את הדומיין לדעת.נט מתחת לידיו של הבעלים.
הסיפור אינו כך, ואף הרבה יותר עמוק מזה.
בחברת אחסון הדומיינים שלדעת.נט השתמשו בו יש נוהל של חידוש דומייןבמקרה והדומיין לא חודש הדומיין מועמד למכרז פומבי.
במשך שבועות מספר התחרו על הדומיין לדעת.נט 7 אנשים שונים (וכך מאשר החברה) כשלדעת.נט לא היה אחד מהמתחרים וגם לא חידש את הדומיין.
הדומיין בסופו של דבר הועבר למרבה במחיר שהינו עו"ד שאינו קשור ללדעת.נט או לשטיבל.נט
בנוסף לכך, במשך שבועיים ימים ואף 7 ימים לאחר מכן יש עדיין ללדעת.נט את האפשרות לרכוש את הדומיין מחברת האחסון וביטול המכרז אך לא כן נעשה
ואף לא נעשה שום צעד מטעם לדעת.נט לחדש או לנסות לחדש את הדומיין.
אתמול בשעות הערב, הדומיין הועבר סופית מאתר חברת הדומיינים לעו"ד שבמדובר.
הודמיין לדעת.נט עמד שומם כשבעת הכניסה לדומיין הוצג דף לבן ריק ובעת כותר 404 - האתר לדעת.נט והקבצים הרלוונטים לא נמצאו בשרת.
הדומיין הוצע ע"י העורך דין למכירה חזרה לבעלים של לדעת.נט אך הבעלים סירב לקנותו בחזרה במחיר העלות ולא באגורה נוספת
במקביל הדומיין הוצא לשטיבל חדשת ע,מ שלא יעמוד ריק וולא תוכן לגולשים, שטיבל קיבל את ההצעה והסכים לעו"ד להפנות את הדומיין לשטיבל חדשות.
יש להבהיר כי הדומיין הוצע גם כן למכירה לאנשים נוספים אך שטיבל סירב לקנות את הדומיין.
בנוסף הדומיין לדעת.נט לא נמצא בבעלות שטיבל
אנו מבהירים באופן חד משמעי כי שטיבל לא פעל במרמה או דומה כדי להשיג את הדומיין לדעת.נט
וכל המתפרסם אחרת הינו שקר וכזב. בנוסף ישנם אנשים המנסים להתקיף את אתר שטיבל בעזרת התקפות מניעת שירות ובעזרת תוכנות זדוניות אשר אסורות ע"פ חוק.
אתר שטיבל פועל על חברת אחסון מצויינת ונמסרה לנו רשימה של הכתובות המתקיפות ןיתירה מכך שרתי הפרוקסי מסרו את כתובות הip המתקיפים האמתיים.
צר לנו מאד אך העניין נמסר לטיפול וחקירת המשטרה ולטיפול ספקיות האינטרנט בארץ.
בנוסף לאחר שימצאו החשודים בנעשה נמצא את הדין בדין תורה.



תודה על הקריאה וההבנה
שטיבל חדשות


Ahdut of the 3 Alefs

Source: Kikar
Mazal Tov!  Shas is united after 12 years.  This is a good thing.  Despite people's fears, I only see good coming out of Ahdut like this, especially when sanctioned by Rav Ovadia Shlit"a and his Mo'etzet.

אלי אריה אריאל

It's interesting that Ariel Attias said himself that his job was to join them together:
התפקיד שלי היה רק לחבר ולערבב את הדבר הזה יחד, ואני שמח ומודה להם כל כך
and that the name אריאל is a contraction of the name אריה and אלי.





Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Aleppo's Great Synagogue and Mashiah

I'll admit that there are a lot of holes in my theory, but just hear me out on this one and you can be the judge.  I expect refutations, but before they come, please keep an open mind.

Times of Israel:
In the midst of the immense destruction reported in Aleppo, Syria, lies one of Judaism’s most important historic buildings — the Great Synagogue of Aleppo, the fate of which is currently unknown.

...

This week, reports emerged that the 12th-century Ummayad mosque in Aleppo, used as a base by government troops, was badly damaged. The Citadel, the fortress that dominates the Old City, has also been harmed. A large fire consumed swaths of the medieval souks. But there has been no news of the Great Synagogue, a structure that dates back 1,500 years and was as recently as two decades ago the world’s oldest continually functioning Jewish house of prayer. For the Jews of Aleppo, it was the traditional center of communal life and a symbol of their unique continuity in this Syrian city.

...

The oldest part of the Great Synagogue, a basilica, dates to the 5th or 6th centuries CE, when the city was under Byzantine rule. Jews are thought to have been in Aleppo for 800 years or more by that time. Local traditions claimed the building’s foundations had actually been laid by Yoav, King David’s general, who captured Aleppo — known in Hebrew as Aram Tzova — in an episode briefly mentioned in the Bible.

Over the years, the synagogue was expanded several times. It was repaired after a Mongol invasion and massacre, and again after a later earthquake devastated the city. Beginning in the 14th century, the synagogue housed the Aleppo Codex, the most accurate copy of the Hebrew Bible and Judaism’s most important manuscript.

The synagogue, with its dark grottoes, interlocking chambers, seven arks of the Torah, and sunlit courtyard where prayers were held in summer was the scene of many of the stories and legends recounted by local Jews. One of the more popular ones involved a mythical snake which lived inside a walled-off niche known as the “Sealed Ark,” and which was said to emerge to protect the community in times of danger.

After the United Nations vote on November 29, 1947, to partition Palestine, mobs in Aleppo attacked the Jewish community. The rioters burned stores, schools, homes, and 18 synagogues, according to contemporary reports. The Great Synagogue was torched. The Aleppo Codex disappeared, resurfacing mysteriously in Jerusalem ten years later. The riot marked the beginning of the end for Aleppo’s Jews, who began fleeing Syria for Israel or the West. Most were gone by the mid-1950s, part of a great exodus of Jews from Islamic countries in those years. The synagogue fell further into disrepair.

It was renovated in the 1970s with the help of Aleppo Jews abroad, and remained in sporadic use until the Assad regime allowed the last Jews to emigrate to the US in the early 1990s.

...

See also Wikipedia, which has some slight variations regarding when it was first used and when it was last renovated.

Sanhedrin 98a (Daf|Text|English):

שאלו תלמידיו את רבי יוסי בן קיסמא אימתי בן דוד בא אמר מתיירא אני שמא תבקשו ממני אות אמרו לו אין אנו מבקשין ממך אות א"ל לכשיפול השער הזה ויבנה ויפול ויבנה ויפול ואין מספיקין לבנותו עד שבן דוד בא אמרו לו רבינו תן לנו אות אמר להם ולא כך אמרתם לי שאין אתם מבקשין ממני אות אמרו לו ואף על פי כן אמר להם אם כך יהפכו מי מערת פמייס לדם ונהפכו לדם
The disciples of R. Jose b. Kisma asked him, 'When will the Messiah come?' — He answered, 'I fear lest ye demand a sign of me [that my answer is correct].' They assured him, 'We will demand no sign of you.' So he answered them, 'When this gate falls down, is rebuilt, falls again, and is again rebuilt, and then falls a third time, before it can be rebuilt the son of David will come.' They said to him, 'Master, give us a sign.' He protested, 'Did ye not assure me that ye would not demand a sign?' They replied, 'Even so, [we desire one].' He said to them. 'if so, let the waters of the grotto of Paneas turn into blood;' and they turned into blood.

Rashi on the Daf says that Ribbi Yosi was in Rome (רומי). Some (see all the commentaries cited by Hashem1.net) interpret that to mean "little Rome", which is a town in the Galilee. (BTW, in another post, Hashem1.net says that the Gra's statement regarding the Hurvah Synagogue reminds him of this gemara.)

Very interestingly, if you look at the Ein Yaakov, the girsa of Rashi is that R' Yosi Ben Kisma was in Aram (Syria) when he made this statement!  (Perhaps even Aram Tzova - Aleppo.)  And all the commentaries that follow (Maharsha and Rif) say the same!  Although it's very likely to be a censor's doing - as many references to Edom are switched to say "Aram" - nevertheless, it's interesting that references to Romi on the right column of that page in the Ein Yaakov are left intact as "Romi". (ויש לישב - I can see some reasons why there is a difference, but it still seems strange why these were left intact.)

Perhaps, one could also say that the אות that he told them - that the water of Banyas will turn to blood - only makes sense if he was traveling from the north like from Aleppo to Israel. He first passed through Aleppo and pointed out this gate. While there, he mentioned that the אות would be known when they travel to Israel, in which they would be passing through Banyas - and that's when they checked the אות to see if it is true and it was. The gemara then talks about his deathbed, so since he was buried in Meron (see picture here), he was traveling south the whole time. Perhaps.

Now, the article above says that the synagogue was already destroyed 3 times: by an earthquake (in 1138?), by the Mongols in 1400, and by the Arabs in 1947. However, Wikipedia doesn't mention the earthquake as a cause of the synagogue's destruction. The Times of Israel article mentions "a later earthquake", which implies after the Mongols, so not the one in 1138, but when?  It's confusing.  If I can be so bold, I want to say that the earthquake doesn't count anyways because לכשיפול implies falling into some other nation's hands while being damaged - earthquakes not included.  This means that all we care about is that it fell in 1400, was rebuilt, fell again in 1947, and was rebuilt.

Of course, Ribbi Yosi was standing in the Tannaic period, and saying that a certain gate will fall, so if it wasn't built until the fifth century at the earliest, how could he be referring to this gate?  Perhaps, we could say that he wasn't pointing to the actual gate, but to the foundation that Yoav set up, as per the tradition, and referring to a future gate that will be built there. 

The gemara's words "ואין מספיקין לבנותו" is better translated as "we will not get an opportunity to build it". This seems very likely nowadays as:
Currently (as of 2012), no Jews live in Aleppo.
If all this is true and Ribbi Yossi Ben Kisma was standing in Aleppo (and I'll admit that it's a bit of a stretch, but plausible), then if the Syrian rebels or the Syrian army destroy the building again (which may have already happened), we should expect Mashiah soon.

Please Say Tehillim

Lakewood Scoop:
TEHILLIM: Toddler Flown To Hospital After Suffering Severe Burns

Oct 15 2012 11:00 am

A toddler was flown to the hospital this morning after suffering severe burns on her body, officials say. The 2 year old was reportedly burned by hot water and suffered burns on her arms, chest and face.

Hatzolah BLS and ALS units transported the child to the parking lot of the John Patrick Sports Complex, from she was flown to the Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ.

Please take a moment to be Mispallel for Shoshana Bas Devorah Raizel.
The toddler is a daughter of my wife's first cousin.  Thank you for your Tefillot.

Shabbat Goy Found to be Jewish

Have you checked your Shabbat Goy's Yihus lately?

According to Ladaat, "Boris" is a man used for years by the Nadvorna Rebbe ZT"L as a Shabbat Goy to turn on the lights when they went out.  He then went to Romania for 3 years and returned to the Seret Vizhnitz community in Haifa again as a Shabbat Goy. 

During this time, Hasidim overheard him saying that his mother lit candles Friday night, but this was dismissed as an excuse to be able to make Aliya to Israel.  However, suspicions really started flying when he was overheard humming and singing Jewish songs that he heard in his youth.  Askanim started investigating and decided to bring it to the Rav of the community.

Last week, the community's rabbi - Rav Zoldan - sat with Boris, and after a thorough investigation, declared him to be a Jew and publicized it in the Beit Midrash.

Meanwhile, the Seret Vizhnitz community is now using Boris's son's friend, who seems to be a definite Goy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dr. Kedar on Gog Umagog

Jewish Press:

Recently, on this stage we have dealt with the increasing tension between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites in the Middle East. The coalitions, which are hostile to each other, reflect this inter-ethnic tension: on one side is the Shi’ite coalition that comprises Iran, Iraq and Hizb’Allah, which support the bloody, Shi’a-aligned Alawite regime, and on the other side is the Sunni coalition whose members are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as a few other countries who offer background support, principally Jordan and Egypt. The war of Gog the Shi’ite against Magog the Sunni has been in progress since March 2011 on the soil of Assyria, modern Syria.

...
Continue reading his analysis.

Interesting, but is it backed up by Torah sources? I'm not sure.

By the way, Hashem1.net notes that there is an opinion that Gog and Magog are 2 separate nations (see the last few paragraphs here). 

Face Falling

So it was late Friday night and I was at my dining-room table, trying to do שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום (which is allowed on Friday night when pressed for time - see סעיף ט here), but when I got to the middle of Revi'i, I started dozing off and put my head to the table.  I woke up a few minutes later and I was considering calling it a night since I was very tired. Then, I noticed what verse I was on:

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-קָיִן:  לָמָּה חָרָה לָךְ, וְלָמָּה נָפְלוּ פָנֶיךָ

Needless to say, I continued until the end of the Parsha.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Bereishit 5773

From Rav Fish's latest:
  • אמריקה is the gematria of פרעה (+ the Kollel), who is the head of the 70 nations.  Obama looks like פרעה in the pyramids.
  • Obama's name is hinted to many times in the following verses (Zecharia 14:3-4):
    וְיָצָא יְהוָה, וְנִלְחַם בַּגּוֹיִם הָהֵם, כְּיוֹם הִלָּחֲמוֹ, בְּיוֹם קְרָב וְעָמְדוּ רַגְלָיו בַּיּוֹם-הַהוּא עַל-הַר הַזֵּיתִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם, מִקֶּדֶם
    קרב has the letters ברק, the word אשר is the gematria of ברק חוסיין אובאמה, and the last 3 letters of the word מקדם are the gematria of חוסיין.
  • אירן (Iran) is the Rashei Teivot of part of a verse dealing with Mashiah Ben Yosef:
    הֲבֵן יַקִּיר לִי אֶפְרַיִם, אִם יֶלֶד שַׁעֲשֻׁעִים--כִּי-מִדֵּי דַבְּרִי בּוֹ, זָכֹר אֶזְכְּרֶנּוּ עוֹד; עַל-כֵּן, הָמוּ מֵעַי לוֹ--רַחֵם אֲרַחֲמֶנּוּ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה
    Rav Shlomo Reiskin adds that Iran also is hinted to in verses having to do with Yosef's authority over the nations:
    וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה, אֶל-יוֹסֵף: רְאֵה נָתַתִּי אֹתְךָ, עַל כָּל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם
    וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה, אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, רְאֵה נָתַתִּי בְיָדְךָ, אֶת-יְרִיחוֹ וְאֶת-מַלְכָּהּ--גִּבּוֹרֵי, הֶחָיִל
  • It's brought down in the Netivot Halevi [YY- he probably means Netivot Raboteinu LeBeit Halevi Brisk] p. 258 that Rav Meir Soloveitchik Shlit"a [YY - the one in the center of this family tree - not the one on the far right of the family tree whom I quoted recently] asked his father the Brisker Rav about the 70 years of Hevlei Mashiah and his father replied that we are already in the middle of them.  [YY - the Brisker Rav died in 1959.]
  • The Arab Spring began in Nissan, 5771, which began the 2 years of the "birth of Mashiah" according to the latest viewpoint.  And we already brought down from the Shomrei Emunim Rebbe ZT"L who considered the Arab Spring to actually be works of Mashiah coming.  And I also heard from one of the Mekubalim Shlit"a who said that in Nissan, 5771, when the Arab Spring began, we need to wait 2 years in order to see the actual Redemption.
  • Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz Shlit"a adds that the following phrase of the verse in Psalm 83 that deals with Gog Umagog has the gematria of אירן (Iran):
    כִּי-הִנֵּה אוֹיְבֶיךָ, יֶהֱמָיוּן
  • The nuclear power plant Bushehr (בושהר) should turn to good news בשורה in the form of קול מבשר מבשר ואומר.
  • It's brought down in the Sefer Hapeliah [YY - I couldn't find it here.  Can someone find it?] that the Xtians have a belief about the "End of the World" and according to the Sefer Hapeliah, this belief is their real end of the world and a time of Redemption for Kelal Yisrael.
  • Rav Shlomo Reiskin Shlit"a adds that ניו יורק (New York) is hinted to in a 15-letter skip in these verses in Yehezkel:
    וְלֹא-תָחוֹס עֵינִי עָלַיִךְ, וְלֹא אֶחְמוֹל: כִּי דְרָכַיִךְ עָלַיִךְ אֶתֵּן, וְתוֹעֲבוֹתַיִךְ בְּתוֹכֵךְ תִּהְיֶיןָ, וִידַעְתֶּם, כִּי-אֲנִי יְהוָה
    כֹּה אָמַר, אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה: רָעָה אַחַת רָעָה, הִנֵּה בָאָה
    קֵץ בָּא, בָּא הַקֵּץ הֵקִיץ אֵלָיִךְ; הִנֵּה, בָּאָה
  • And I also heard that every year, Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a wishes his Shofar blower, "I'll see you next year!"  This year, however, he said, "I'll see you next year in the Beit Hamikdash!"
  • The Targum on the verse in Kohelet רָחוֹק, מַה-שֶּׁהָיָה; וְעָמֹק עָמֹק, מִי יִמְצָאֶנּוּ says [translated]: "It is already far off for people to know all that occurred from the days of the [Creation of the?] world, the secret of the day of death, and the secret of the day that the King Mashiah will come."  Rav Yosef Sheinberger made an inference to say that only the exact day is not known, but the approximate year is possible to know.  [YY - See also Pesahim 54b where one can have further discussion about this.]

Bereishit and Geula - The Connection

Read Rabbi Krakowski this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Turkish Hypocricy

Turkey was absolutely right to intercept and confiscate military equipment from a plane traveling from Moscow to Syria.

In the words of the Turkish foreign minister:

"We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our airspace," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Now, let's take a walk down memory lane 2 years ago when the flotilla incident to Gaza occurred.

We are determined to control weapons transfers to a regime that carries out such brutal massacres against civilians. It is unacceptable that such a transfer is made using our territorial waters," Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman could have said.

And Turkey keeps insisting on an apology? Such hypocrisy. (And I'm not even going to mention Armenia.)

Last year, Turkish-Iranian relations were good, as they joined forces against the Kurds. Now, Turkish-Iranian relations are in the dumps since the Iranians allied with Syria. Now, the Iranians are helping the Kurds against the Turks.

Last year, Turkish-Israeli relations were in free-fall. This year, despite being more anti-Iran, it's not much better, and won't be any time soon.  This Jpost article explains why.

To better understand this, it may help to understand Turkey's vital role in Gog Umagog.  In the end, Turkey cannot be the Amalek-like Iran, but it cannot be the relatively-friendly U.S. either.  It insists on being the neighborhood bully while claiming to have the moral high-ground.  Well, Turkey, your hypocrisy is showing for all to see.

Rav Azriel Auerbach To Marry Another Elyashiv

Rav Azriel Auerbach Shlit"a must like marrying those with the last name Elyashiv (who wouldn't?) because he is getting married to Mina Elyashiv, the widow of Rav Avraham Elyashiv ע"ה, who is the grandson of Rav Elyashiv, according to Kikar and Behadrei.  Rav Azriel's first wife, Rabbanit Leah, the daughter of Rav Elyashiv ZT"L, passed away about 4 years ago.  Rav Shmuel Auerbach Shlit"a will be Mesader Kiddushin.

I made a crude partial family tree to help you figure this out:

Mazal Tov!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aryeh Deri's Return to Shas Gematria

See here (Hebrew) and here (English) for this still-developing story.  I, for one, am pleased.

Meanwhile, here's a gematria you may find interesting:

בכ"ד בחודש תשרי התשע"ג
=
2034
=
אריה דרעי חוזר לש"ס בברכת רב עובדיה

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Rav Ganut (and Rav Chaim Kanievsky) on the Matzav

Rav Shmuel Baruch Ganut Shlit"a wrote an article that appeared in AnashNews on 9/28 (between Yom Kippur and Sukkot).  Even though it's already a few days old, I'll translate it.  Compare with Rav Dovid Soloveitchik's view.

With Hashem's help, we have merited atonement, pardoning, and forgiveness, and behold, we are ready to enter the Sukkah, as is the will of Hashem - our G-d, our Father, our King.  The president of Iran this week expressed scary declarations, as was his custom in recent years, regarding the physical destruction of the inhabitants of the Land of Israel.  And behold, we are not concerned, we are not worried.  Why is this?  Because we are presently in the midst of the best security possible - the missile protection program of HKB"H in His glory and His essence Himself.

One of our city's important Avreichim, Harav Hagaon Y.S. Shlit"a, sent a letter to my master and rabbi - Rabbeinu Maran Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a, whereupon he wrote that he has the possibility to prepare British passports for his family since his parents are British citizens.  His question was: due to the Iranian threat, is it advisable to do so because of the frightening danger that is coming from the direction of the Yishmaelim?  Maran Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a replied in a letter using the following words: והיא שעמדה לאבותינו ולנו שלא אחד בלבד עמד עלינו לכלותינו והקב"ה מצילנו מידם.

Also, Haza"l in Yalkut Shimoni said:
Ribbi Levi said: anyone who fulfils the Mitzvah of Sukkah in this world, HKB"H says, "He fulfilled the Mitzvah of Sukkah.  I will protectively cover him from the heat of the day that is to come. ... In the future, the nations of the world are destined to enter the Land of Israel and wage war against them, as it says, 'For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle.'"  And what does HKB"H do?  He goes out and fights against the nations, as it says, "Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fighteth in the day of battle." This means: as in the day of Par'oh.  And what does He do?  He protectively covers the heads of Israel, as it says, "Who hast screened my head in the day of battle."
And it says in the Pesikta (Parsha 15) and it is also in the Yerushalmi (Rosh Hashana 1:3):
On the verse "This month shall be unto you" - it will be given over to you.  Ribbi Yehoshua Ben Levi said: [This is compared] to a king who had time-pieces and when his son grew up, he gave him his time-pieces.  Ribbi Yosi Bar Hanina said: [This is compared] to a king who had a vineyard watch-tower hut and when his son grew up, he gave him his vineyard watch-tower hut.  Ribbi Aha said: [This is compared] to a king who had a ring and when his son grew up, he gave it to him.  Ribbi Yitzhak said: [This is compared] to a king who had treasuries and when his son grew up, he gave him the keys.  Ribbi Hiya Bar Abba said: [This is compared] to a king who had a professional tool ... The rabbis say: [This is compared] to a doctor who had a bag of cures and when his son grew up, he gave it over to him...
And the Arvei Nahal writes:
And we need to understand the idea of these parables.  Because regarding the time-pieces, it is possible that it is analogous to Kiddush HaHodesh, which has to do with time.  But what is analogous to the vineyard watch-tower, ring, keys, professional tool, and bag of cures?  Rather, the idea is like what it says (Mishlei 13:12) "but desire fulfilled is a tree of life", which refers to the words of Torah, i.e He gave over to Israel the statement of "This month shall be unto you" and said that He gave over the vineyard watch-tower.  This is similar to the statement we say: "We are Your vineyard and You are our guard" - i.e that Hashem Yitbarach is guarding Israel, as it says כִּי יִצְפְּנֵנִי, בְּסֻכֹּה [For He concealeth me in His Sukkah] ... where Kevayachol, Hashem Yitbarach is sitting in a Sukkah - a Sukkah for guards.
For indeed it is true - on the one hand, we are obligated to increase our prayers - to scream and shout - and also to go through the proper Hishtadlut via the state and the military in order to preempt the face of the Iranian evil.  However, on the other hand, we have to review and remember that "For He concealeth me in His Sukkah in the day of evil; He hideth me in the covert of His tent; He lifteth me up upon a rock" - that HKB"H in His glory and His essence Himself, our merciful Father, is guarding us, cares about each and every one of us, and will save us from their hands - in the merit of our great joy in fulfilling His Mitzvot, in the merit of the Sukkah, which surrounds us with strong and wonderful fortifications of protection, which will easily defeat the bad winds of war and bad dew.

Menahot 62a, Sukkah 38a:
Rav Hama Bar Ukva said in the name of Ribbi Yosi Bar Ribbi Hanina: [one waves a Korban] to and fro in order to stop the bad winds; up and down in order to stop the bad dew.  Ribbi Yosi Bar Ribbi Abin said: this proves [that even] remnants of a Mitzvah can prevent punishments because waving [the Korban] is merely remnants of a Mitzvah and it stops bad winds and bad dew.  Rabba said: And the same applies to the Lulav.
A Kosher and joyous holiday of Sukkot!

Cute Quip from Rav Meir Soloveitchik

Matzav:
Rabbi Meir Soloveichik opened his Shabbos Shuva drasha two weeks ago as follows:

“I flew to Tampa, Florida a few weeks ago for the Republican National Convention.

When I arrived, I was escorted into a large room where all the Convention speakers of the day gathered along with Congressman, Senators, Governors and other politicians.

“A woman approached me, stared at me, and then asked ‘Who are you?’

“I responded politely, ‘I am Meir Soloveichik.’

“‘Are you from Florida?’ she asked.

“‘No,’ I said, ‘I am from New York.’

“She looked puzzled and confused, which I found confusing, since I figured most people knew there were a lot of Jews who lived in New York. Anyway, she smiled and walked away. She then approached me again just a few moments later with her husband. She said to me, ‘Meir Soloveichik, I’d like to introduce you to my husband, Congressman Walker.’

“The Congressman and I shook hands.

“Then the woman asked, ‘Can you please tell me what city in New York you are the Mayor (Meir) of?’

(After the KJ Congregation roared with laughter, Rabbi Soloveichik continued as follows…)

“And that, Ladies and Gentleman, was the first time in my life that a person was more impressed with my first name than my last name!”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}