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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mashal Lemah Hadavar DOMA

Arutz Sheva has an article and video below showing Rav Schoenfeld from Queens blasting the Supreme Court decisions:



See also:

End of Days
Lemon Lime Moon
אחרית הימים פורום
Statement by the OU
Statement by the Agudah
Statement by Young Israel
Hamodia Op-Ed
YWN: United States of Toeiva

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tikkun Hatzot During the 3 Weeks

There is an established Minhag to recite Tikkun Hatzot after midnight throughout the year.  This is especially true during the three weeks.  In addition, during the three weeks, there is another Minhag to recite the Tikkun Rahel portion of Tikkun Hatzot after mid-day (except for Fridays, Shabbatot, and Rosh Hodesh).  Ideally, it is to be recited while sitting on the floor.

WikiText Link to Tikkun Hatzot

Due to Daylight Savings Time, Hatzot begins very late in the lunch hour.  For example, in Chicago right now, it's at 12:53.  Due to this and other factors, I find that it is not an easy task to do.  Even though Tikkun Rahel is relatively short, I try not to rush through it, since I believe that doing so defeats the purpose.  Furthermore, I try to do it on the floor.  There were times that I needed to recite Minha by myself at work, but an empty conference room is much easier to come by later in the day.

Those who are able to say Tikkun Hatzot day, night, or both, Hazak Uvaruch and Kol Hakavod.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hockey Break - Chicago Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup for Second Time in 4 Years

After the Blackhawks ended their 49-year drought three years ago, the Blackhawks did it again tonight in spectacular fashion, beating the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Down 2 to 1 with 1 minute and 16 seconds left in the game, Bryan Bickell tied it up to make it 2-2. Then, with only 59 seconds to go - 17 seconds later - Dave Bolland shot the game-winner to put the Blackhawks up for good in front of the stunned Boston crowd.

Hmmm... 2 goals in 17 seconds on the 17th of Tammuz... but I digress.

And another thing: why ice hockey, a winter sport, is even being played on the 17th of Tammuz is a Peleh... but I digress.

Anyways, congratulations to the Blackhawks on this great win in the shortened hockey season.

The lesson we can possibly learn here is ישועת ה' כהרף עין - the Blackhawks were 76 seconds away from being resigned to losing the game and having to go to a game 7. No one thought they could score 2 goals in 17 seconds to come away with the win. Hashem, however, had other plans.

The same with the Jewish people. We seem so divided today that everyone says, "I can't imagine Mashiah coming when there is so much disunity among our people." However, Hashem doesn't always see it the way we see it. As it says in Yeshaya, כִּי לֹא מַחְשְׁבוֹתַי מַחְשְׁבוֹתֵיכֶם - For My thoughts are not your thoughts. We will see what Hashem has in store. We must do our part to foster Torah-based unity, but Hashem is ultimately in charge.  This is a lesson we can learn going into the three weeks.

Just like the 17 seconds of fortune on the 17th of Tammuz turned into great joy for the Blackhawks, may all the fasts turn into joyous occasions and holidays for the Jewish people, as it says:

כֹּה-אָמַר יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, צוֹם הָרְבִיעִי וְצוֹם הַחֲמִישִׁי וְצוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְצוֹם הָעֲשִׂירִי יִהְיֶה לְבֵית-יְהוּדָה לְשָׂשׂוֹן וּלְשִׂמְחָה, וּלְמֹעֲדִים, טוֹבִים; וְהָאֱמֶת וְהַשָּׁלוֹם, אֱהָבוּ

Thus saith the LORD of hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth, and the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness, and cheerful seasons; therefore love ye truth and peace.

Monday, June 24, 2013

RCA - Rav Ovadia Update

Someone on the YWN Coffee Room posted:
I spoke with my Rav (who's an RCA member) about the letter over Shabbos.

He said the membership of the RCA was never consulted about the letter, and the first they heard of it was when it was leaked. He said the internal message board for RCA members was the busiest he'd seen it in a long, long, time - and none of it was positive. Most members were furious with the 3 people who wrote the letter, and they let them know about it!

He said that Friday afternoon, an internal letter was sent to RCA members from the 3 writers, apologizing for claiming that they spoke for the membership of the RCA, when they had never discussed the issue. He did not know if they will also be apologizing to Chacham Ovadia.
I have inside sources (a senior RCA member) who could not divulge everything written in the RCA forums, but did tell me a few things that could be - and apparently already were - made public:

1) Rabbi Leonard Matanky from Chicago, who is one of the 3 signers of the letter, believes that the letter was very poorly written, and should not have Has Veshalom implied that the quote mentioned was directed against Rav Ovadia Shlit"a.  Rather, the letter was directed toward those who attacked Rav Stav at the Kotel Rav's daughter's wedding.

2) Rabbi Matanky, who is currently in Israel, along with R' Reuven Tradburks (Executive Director of RCA Israel) went to Rav Ovadia's shul to personally apologize to him.  He wasn't there, as he is in severe pain and was recently hospitalized (Refu'ah Sheleima to Rav Ovadia Yosef ben Gurjia).  Instead, they conveyed their apologies to his son, Rav David Yosef Shlit"a.

3) As is known, the letter was not intended to be made public at all.  Before Rav Stav even saw the letter, someone on his staff posted it to Facebook.

4) A letter of clarification from the RCA should be forthcoming soon.

-------

I hope this clears the air somewhat.  I hope this letter of clarification is written very soon, but I wish it would have been written earlier.

I tried to stay positive throughout this ordeal, and I hope I didn't transgress בצדק תשפט עמיתך in my writings.  I knew and continue to believe that the RCA is an honorable organization.  Apologies offered to those who were slighted by my posts on the matter.  My intent is Lesheim Shamayim.

Still awaiting the public clarification...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Rescuing Mashiah

The classic way of explaining Mashiah coming is him arriving unexpectedly - either on clouds or on a donkey, depending on whether we are deserving or not.

However, one obscure Midrash presents another way that he comes.  I was browsing the Torah Sheleima by Rav Kasher on Balak, and I came across this Midrash Lekah Tov, which is somewhat lengthy and says a number of interesting things, including:

1)  A star in the East that is to last for 15 days - and if it lasts longer, it is a sign for Israel's benefit - in the 5th year of the Shemitta cycle before the coming of Mashiah (another Midrash mentioned on earlier pages said that this is on the sixth year).
2) It talks about a brazen king making decrees against Jews - while a different Girsa refers to a brazen king in Damascus
3) Mashiah comes by a Jewish army going to Rome, surrounding it, its walls come tumbling down after Shofarot are blown (like during Yehoshua's time), the Jewish army finding its inhabitants dead in the streets, and the Jewish army taking the spoils of the city.  Then, the Jews will request their G-d and David their king.  Immediately, Mashiah will appear to them and announce, "I am the King Mashiah for which you have been awaiting."  And he tells them to carry the gold and silver.  They do so and go up to Israel.

There are a lot more details in that Midrash.  Check it out for those who read Hebrew.

Either way he comes, may he come today!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Balak 5773

From Rav Fish's latest:
  • 5 Iyar
    • He proves that the story of the Mekalel took place on 5 Iyar.  ע"ש.
    • [YY - Note: I don't agree with his Hashkafa here.]
  • Paras
    • Avuderaham on Minha of Shabbat says that we say צדקתך כהררי אל משפטיך תהום רבה corresponding to the birthpangs of Mashiah when Hashem will uproot the Kingdom of Paras. [Note: this may have been censored to say "Paras" as other versions of the Avuderaham say "הרשעה".  Although, it's possible that "Paras" was the original and "הרשעה" was the amended text.  צ"ע.]
    • The new leader's name is רוחני, hinting to a spiritual process of Teshuva, which will result due to them.
      • [YY - The leader's full name is חסן רוחני, which could mean "a spiritual strengthening" or could mean "spiritual innoculation".  Both are meaningful.]
  • "Keitz" Gematrias
    • [After explaining how the Redemption process started in the year 5700,] Rav Tzion David Siboni adds that the word נאצים is the gematria of קץ [plus the Kollel].
    • Rav Yosef Morsiano adds that עת קץ הימין is the gematria of תשע"ה.
  • North Korea
    • [After comparing the name of the place of the Final Solution and the name of the North Korean's nuclear reactor:]  It was recently publicized that Kim Jong Un was handing out copies of Mein Kampf as party favors for his birthday.
  • The Owl and Rav Neuwirth ZT"L
    • [YY - see here first.]
    • [Rav Fish said a while back that the word ינשוף - owl - hints to the holy name שפ"ו.]  The name יהושע ישעיה is the gematria of 2x the name שפ"ו plus י"ה, which symbolizes the side of holiness of the name שפ"ו with the aspect of (when Moshe added a Yod to Yehoshua's name): י"ה יושיעך מעצת מרגלים. 
      • Also, Rav Neuwirth lived 86 years, which is פ"ו שנים.
    • Also, the word ינשוף is the same letters as וינפש, which is said about שבת קדש, and Rav Neuwirth dealt with Hilchot Shabbat, as is known.
      • We also find in Bei'ah (16a) the derasha on וינפש - once a person already went through Shabbat, ויי אבדה נפש - woe, he has lost a soul [referring to the extra soul of Shabbat, but also] hinting to the death of the Tzaddik.
      • Rashi on Shemot 31:17 says that וינפש comes from נפש since every word נופש comes from נפש - and we know that נפש symbolizes מלכות, which is a female aspect.  And when it has a Yihud - like on Shabbat - and accepts the male, which has the aspect of the letter ו that enters the נפש, there is then נופש - tranquility.  This is the Sod of וינפש on Shabbat.  Therefore, the name שפ"ו is hinted to in the word נופש since נופש symbolizes a status of completeness in Malchut - when it has a Yihud and accepts the influence from the 50 gates of Binah.  And that is the Sod of נופש, which has the letters שפ"ו accepting from the Nun.
  • DNA
    • Rav Avraham Feldman adds that the name DNA refers to the system of individual blood and bones of each person - meaning that after DNA testing, one can identify dead bodies or limbs to know to whom they belong since everyone has their own personal DNA that doesn't belong to anyone else in the world.  The English acronym, when transliterated into Hebrew, is דִּי אֶנ אֵיי. Those letters produce the name of Hashem אדנ"י.  We can explain that since all souls were born from the name אדנ"י, which symbolizes Malchut, everyone has their own individualized name of אדנ"י, which is where his root in the Sefira of Malchut resides.  And from there, his individualized DNA was brought down into physicality.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

RCA, Apologize to the Gadol Hador Already!

As noted in an earlier post, the Rabbinical Council of America leadership has done a great disservice to itself and its reputation by saying nasty things about Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a. Things that I would have likely found in the talkbacks on a YNET article or on a Shmarya Rosenberg post, I found surrounded by their letterhead and signitures.

Sadly and shockingly, the head of the organization stands by his words:

According to Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, president of the RCA and one of three people who signed the letter, the missive was written to support Rabbi Stav during a potentially difficult period.

“This was sent by the leadership of the RCA to encourage him in the face of what we felt was an unwarranted attack,” Rabbi Goldin told VIN News. “The RCA has not taken a public position on the race for chief rabbi, nor will we. This letter was never meant to be made public. Nevertheless, we stand by it.”
This is truly shocking for an organiztion for which I have much respect.

Here is how R' Pinchos Lipschutz puts it:
A member of Yair Lapid’s team has carved a niche for himself, using his black velvet yarmulka as a fig leaf to cover his participation in a party whose banner is the destruction of Torah and halacha in the Jewish state. This charade has earned him a top speaking slot at the RCA convention and at other Orthodox venues.

That same rabbinic organization has now written a letter supporting the man Lapid and Naftoli Bennett are pushing, because if elected as Israel’s chief rabbi, they are confident that he will further their anti-halachic agenda by compromising the Israeli rabbinate.

In their letter, they mock Chacham Ovadiah Yosef, a most brilliant, classic talmid chochom, posek and leader, whose long life has been wholly devoted to Torah and Am Yisroel.

If this is what they do to assist a hypocritical charlatan, what does that say about them and their entire organization?

Their keynote speaker, whose yarmulka covers his hubris and callous disregard for the enabling role he plays, prides himself that he learns Mesillas Yeshorim every day before he begins his Knesset work. He says that his colleague, Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron, whose mission is to destroy yeshivos, begins his work day with the Igeres HaRamban.

We are to be impressed with their tzidkus. Like Bilam, they cloak their agenda in religious terms, thinking they can fool their victims into willing submission.
I won't go so far as him since I know that their organiztion does a lot of wonderful work. However, I reiterate my demand for an apology to Rav Ovadia. This is utterly anti-Torah and will not be stood for. If they ever want to be respected by the non-Modern Orthodox world in any way, shape, or form, an apology must be forthcoming.  And the sooner, the better.

I urge everyone - and especially RCA members - who value Kevod Hatorah to comment below in support of an apology by the RCA leaders.  No matter what you hold about Rav Stav, we all should agree that saying nasty things about Rav Ovadia, the greatest Posek alive today, is way, way, way beyond the pale.

I will, Beli Neder, be posting on this topic every week throughout the summer until I am made aware of an apology from the RCA leaders to Maran Rav Ovadia, Shlit"a.

Is a Mehitza at a Wedding Obligatory?

See Halacha Yomit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Balak vs. Shabbat

See the beautiful Shvilei Pinches here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The End of the Telegraph

The world's last telegram will be sent in India on July 14th (2 days before Tish'a Be'av).

Here are some areas of Halacha on HebrewBooks.org that had to do with telegraphs (not necessarily Halacha Lema'aseh - consult your LOR):
  • Can one accept testimony via a telegram that a woman is divorced ?  See here.
  • How about testimony about when an animal was slaughtered in order to know until when salting can be performed?  See here.  (Talks about the previous case too.)
  • Is sending a telegram on Shabbat a biblical or rabbinic prohibition?  See here.
  • If someone was notified of a relative's death via telegram, when does Aveilut begin?  See here.
  • Can one use telegraph wire as part of an Eruv?  See here and here and here.
  • Can you perform the Mitzvah of Pidyon Haben via telegram?  See here.
I'm sure there are more, but you get the drift - it has taken its place in halachic discourse, and we see that it's the end of an era.  Perhaps, though, the era of the telegraph is more important than first thought.
Samuel Morse conducted the first successful experiment with an electrical telegraph in 1837Cooke and Wheatstone developed the first commercial telegraph in 1838-39.  In 1844, Morse sent the verse  from this week's Perasha (Balak) "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT" as the first telegram from the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. to Baltimore.  (This verse has Mashiah-related importance, as we find in the Yerushalmi Shabbat 6:9 and Iggeret Teiman.)

All this was going on about the same time that the Zohar explained that in the year 5600 (1840), all the gates and wellsprings of wisdom will open up.  As I translated from Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlit"a:
And really, it's amazing to see how all the great inventions of the world began from the year 5600: the industrial uses of coal and oil, electricity and all the technology that depends on it, the paving of roads and the invention of cars, motors and airplanes - all this started around the year 5600. All this development which is called the "Industrial Revolution" brought the world out of its ignorance and changed its life. All of it is a preparation for the days of Mashiah, which as is known, will change the face of all of humanity and not just the nation of Israel.
Rav Eliyahu also quoted the Gr"a and the Be'er Yitzhak that Ikveta Dimshiha started in 5600.  Also, Rav Fish mentioned that עקבתא has the root of עקב, with a gematria of 172.  This implies that the end of this era is about now.  He also mentioned the Targum Yerushalmi that talks about Mashiah coming after 172 "days".

Bye, bye, telegraph.  Hello, Mashiah.

May it be so.

Has the RCA Leadership Lost Its Way?

I'm not usually the type of blogger who criticizes everyone and everything around.  There are countless other blogs where one can go for that.  I feel I must make an exception here.

The RCA is a well-respected organization that has done a lot of good for Kelal Yisrael over the years.  Its membership is quite diverse, and it almost always attracts rabbis with whom someone or another won't agree.  Putting a large mix of people and viewpoints under one umbrella and keeping the umbrella intact is not an easy task, and I give them a lot of credit for doing so.  Without this organization, it may lead to איש כל הישר בעיניו on a wider scale than what the fringe-left of it is doing currently, so I applaud much of what the RCA does.

However, two recent actions taken by the RCA leadership have me quite troubled.  (I must say that I am nowhere near worthy of giving rebuke to anyone - let alone knowledgeable rabbis whom I respect - but I'm speaking as someone defending the sensibilities of others who don't have a blog to speak for themselves.)

The first is the recent invitation to an Orthodox MK - for a party whose platform goes against everything for which Torah Judaism stands - to speak at the RCA Convention.  This figure has made numerous cringe-worthy statements, and that doesn't even include the blasphemous ones.  Even if some of the RCA rabbis agree with this person, it is still unconscionable that such a person should be invited since he talks and legislates so cruelly to a large portion of the frum public.  Inviting Jonathan Rosenblum (who himself has similarly criticized the original invitation, to which the MK responded, but mostly insufficiently) for balance doesn't forgive the misdeed of inviting the original person in the first place.  The RCA should know better.

The second is the letter of support for Rav Stav, which, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.  They have a different view from the Haredi and much of the Dati Leumi public, and that's understood.  However, the way it was said - as if they have the right to rebuke Maran Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a - is absolutely disgusting and sinful.  The letter should be retracted immediately with an apology to Rav Ovadia Shlit"a.  Rav Ovadia, being the Gadol Hador, has the right to criticize another Rav - even harshly, if necessary.  The RCA does not have the right and should not have the audacity to criticize the Gadol Hador, especially in such a tone.  Now, from the letter, it is not clear if the words אוי לו לפלוני שלמד תורה אוי לו לאביו שלמדו תורה אוי לו לרבו שלמדו תורה פלוני שלמד תורה ראו כמה מקולקלים מעשיו וכמה מכוערים דרכיו" were directed at Rav Ovadia or at the Yeshiva boys who shouted bad names at Rav Stav at a wedding.  Either way, the impression was left that it was in part directed at Rav Ovadia, and Kikar rightly takes offense at these words.  And, I repeat, the words should be retracted and an apology offered.

I am normally a big fan of the RCA, and I criticize only as an admirer hoping to better improve the organization.  I hope that these 2 incidents are not part of a new trend, but aberrations from the normally-good work the RCA has done and continues to do.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Hukat 5773

From Rav Fish's latest:
  • 5775
    • It's brought down in the book "She'al Lecha Ot" that he found in a very old book that the Keitz of Mashiah is hinted to in the verse (Shemot 38:28) וְאֶת-הָאֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע הַמֵּאוֹת, וַחֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁבְעִים, עָשָׂה וָוִים, לָעַמּוּדִים [And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars].  The hint is:
      • ואת האלף - which is Rashei Teivot for ואם תמנה ה' אלף - and if you will count 5000
      • וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת וְשִׁבְעִים וְחָמֵשׁ - and 775
      • [Verse 25's version has the word] שקל - which is Rashei Teivot for שנת קץ לישראל - and year of the Keitz for Israel
      • This year should be a year of salvation - תְּשֻׁעָה - for Israel
    • It's brought down in the "Kovetz Beit Aharon Veyisrael" (year 17, volume 5, p. 152) in the name of the Ba'al Haturim that was printed in Vienna in 5554, but is no longer extant, that he writes at the end of the Tocheha in Parshat Ki Tavo that there are 775 (תשע"ה) words in the Tocheha, which equals the gematria of יין תרעלה, which is a cup of punishment.  It comes out that the exile, which is compared to the cup of punishment, will last until the year 5775, and that's when the curses of the Tocheha will end.  (When doing a computer search, it comes out exactly as he wrote.)  He also brings down in the name of the Roke'ah that in the 15 Shir Hama'alot [psalms], there are 775 words.  (However, when doing a computer search, it comes to 811 words.)
  • Protests
    • The Rama"z adds that the reason the big protest against the draft was opposite the Draft Office at the entrance to Yerushalayim because it is brought down in the book "Kol Hator" that the war against the Erev Rav will take place at the gates of Yerushalayim.
    • The street where the protest took place is named after Rav Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky ZT"L because according to him, the end of the area of Yerushalayim in regard to reading the Megilla - is there.
  • Holocaust and Six Day War
    • It's brought down in the book "Asot Peri" that the Holocaust broke out in the year תרח"ץ [the year 5698], which was בקר [equalling 302] years before the end of the millennium.  The Six Day War broke out ערב [equalling 272] years before the end of the millennium.  Upon this, it could be said: בַּבֹּקֶר תֹּאמַר מִי-יִתֵּן עֶרֶב [In the morning thou shalt say: 'Would it were even!']
  • Punishment to the Nations
    • It's brought down in Rabbeinu Yona on Avot (chapter 1) that Hashem said about the Exodus דן אנכי and many plagues came due to this.  All the more so is this true in the Final Exile, where many Parshiyot were written about the salvations and consolations, neither hath the eye seen a God beside Thee, who worketh for him that waiteth for Him.  R' Y. G. explains that although Rabbeinu Yona is speaking about the good part of the salvation of Israel and its consolation, still the verse of דן אנכי speaks of Hashem's vengeance against the nations, and especially Edom, about whom whole prophecies were written, like וְהָיָה אֱדוֹם יְרֵשָׁה, וְהָיָה יְרֵשָׁה שֵׂעִיר--אֹיְבָיו and וְלֹא-יִהְיֶה שָׂרִיד לְבֵית עֵשָׂו and like Tosafot (Avoda Zara 2b, top) says that Edom's fate was sealed [during the killing of the Asara Harugei Malchut] and we are awaiting its enactment.  Also, Ovadia prophesied: כַּאֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ יֵעָשֶׂה לָּךְ, גְּמֻלְךָ יָשׁוּב בְּרֹאשֶׁךָ.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Bayit Vegan Owl and Rav Neuwirth ZT"L

Mashiach Is Coming points us to a Behadrei article about an owl perched on top of the Aseret Hadiberot that's over the Aron of the Gra Shul of Bayit Vegan.  All efforts to remove it failed.


A congregant of the shul made a poster that he claims shows the connection between the owl's appearance and Rav Neuwirth ZT"L, who just passed away this week and used to give Shiurim in this shul, using gematrias and Rashei Teivot.


Kikar also has an article about it and adds another intersting tidbit.  One of the doctors who was caring for Rav Neuwirth ZT"L, had a dream 3 hours before he passed away that he was alarmed to take care of Rav Neuwirth, but was unable to due to a snake that was close to his bed.  After he woke up, 3 hours after the dream, the doctor's telephone rang to inform him of the worsening of Rav Neuwirth's condition.

I personally would have a halachic question whether it is permitted to bow down during prayers in this shul with a live animal that's situated right above the Aron Kodesh.  I don't know the answer, but it seems that this didn't bother those attending the shul or its rabbi.


See also here and here for stories about doves coming to learn Torah.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Some Very Cool Predictions Come True

Over at Absolute Truth

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It's Hamas vs. Hizballah in a Steel-Caged Death Match!

Well, not quite, but it's starting to look that way, according to Debka.
Hizballah forces helping Syrian troops capture the key Syrian town of al Qusayr from rebel hands last week caught five armed members of the radical Palestinian Hamas fighting with the rebels, debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose. Within hours of this discovery being reported to Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah, the order to shut down Hamas offices in the Shiite Dahya neighborhood in Beirut went down the Hizballah chain of command. 
See the rest there.


Yeshaya 19:2
וְסִכְסַכְתִּי מִצְרַיִם בְּמִצְרַיִם, וְנִלְחֲמוּ אִישׁ-בְּאָחִיו וְאִישׁ בְּרֵעֵהוּ, עִיר בְּעִיר, מַמְלָכָה בְּמַמְלָכָה
And I will spur Egypt against Egypt; and they shall fight every one against his brother, and everyone against his neighbour; city against city, and kingdom against kingdom.

As I mentioned earlier here and here:
It's brought down in "Yalkut Ohev Yisrael" that R' Mordechai of Slonim said in the name of the Apter Rebbe that at the End of Days, the nations of the world will want to fight against each other, but they will think and contemplate that the outcome of such fighting will only be good for Israel. So, they will all gather together to smooth out the differences between them so that they won't need to fight. However, this will not help them, and they will end up fighting each other until they reach their demise. He concluded that it's permissible to say this over in his name as if one had heard it from a prophet.
Re: Hamas and Hizballah, I wish them both much Hatzlaha!

Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth ZT"L

Today, we mourn the passing of Rav Yehoshua Neuwirth ZT"L, the author of Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata, and a main student of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L.

See:
Matzav
YWN
VIN
Arutz Sheva 1, 2
Jewish Press
Kikar 1, 23
Ladaat 1, 2
Behadrei 1, 2, 3 (See the last link where his great-grandson had a Berit Mila on the day of his funeral - one for which Rav Neuwirth ZT"L was scheduled to be the Sandak - and was, understandably, named after him.)

Baruch Dayan Ha'emet.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Interesting Recent Links - Hukat 5773

The Mysteries of the Sambatyon River Part IV

Video Tribute to R' Yehiel Kalish (a friend of mine who has done some great work in Far Rockaway, and earlier, in Chicago)

Matzav: A Picture of Hasmadah: Chacham Ovadiah (includes a nice story)

RCA Condemns Ultra-Orthodox Anti-Israel Rally

Ladaat: Watch the video as the idiot who protested against Rav Shteinman Shlit"a is taken away by police

Matzav: Lakewood's Protest Against the Draft [Update: Matzav removed the link, but basically, it was an article that consisted of a picture like this]

Srugim: Rav Druckman Cancels His Makor Rishon subscription after the newspaper goes anti-Rabbanim

Debka: Moscow Sets Up Russian Golan Brigade

YWN: Haredim were blocked from the Kotel on Rosh Hodesh just so WoW could have their get-together  and now, MKs are asking why

A new commenter on my old "Will the real Hafetz Hayim please stand up?" post linked to this 1917 picture from Encyclopedia Judaica and claims that the rabbi seated second-from-left is the Hafetz Hayim.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Tacoma

I saw this story in this week's Mishpacha magazine, but found an online version of the story at CrownHeights.info:

by Rabbi Meir Kaplan, Chabad of Vancouver Island
Last week we took the children for a two day trip to the mainland. We started in Tacoma, Washington, where we saw the new beautiful Chabad Center. While touring the magnificent Shul, Rabbi Zalman Heber told us the story of the beautiful candelabras in the front of the Synagogue, a story I’d never hold back from you.
“When we announced the building of a new Shul” Rabbi Heber began the story “a family in the city told me that they would like to donate a special gift to the new house of prayer and asked if I’d come to see them”.
“When I came to their home they presented to me two very old looking candelabras.’They were from a synagogue in Amsterdam in the 18 hundreds, it was passed through the family and we feel that Chabad of Tacoma is the perfect home for it’”.
“I held these beautiful pieces with great emotions and thanked them on behalf of the community for this remarkable gift. In front of the candles were the original plaques with Hebrew words. I quickly got a cloth to clean them and saw the dedication of the donor. They were right, it was donated to the synagogue in Amsterdam in 1791, but when I saw the way it was written I nearly fell in amazement: שנת תקומה. The Jewish year is written many times with the Hebrew letters representing the numerical value of the year. The word they chose for the year was “Tkuma” which means “rebirth”, but the same letters can also be read as “Tacoma”, the city which is now the new home for the candelabras.
“I explained it to the family who was astonished at the divine providence, yet filled with joy that they had done exactly what was meant to be.
“And for me” continued Rabbi Heber, “It gave exactly the strength I required. We were going through financial difficulties to complete the project and I got the sign I needed. It may be a great effort to pull it all together, but it is more than worthwhile. Our Shul is part of the long history of our people; a rebirth of the Amsterdam Synagogue in Tacoma”.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Russians Might Be Coming, The Russians Might Be Coming!

Updated

Debka: Putin Offers Russian Troops in Lieu of Austrian Golan Peacekeepers

Just 24 hours after Austria decided to withdraw its 380-strong contingent from the UN force policing the Golan separation zone, President Vladimir Putin stepped forward Friday, June 7, with an offer of a Russian force to take its place on the highly sensitive Syrian-Israeli border. Thursday, two peacekeepers were injured by falling ordnance from a battle between Syrian and rebel troops around Quneitra.

debkafile: The Russian president saw his opportunity to pluck the fruits of Moscow’s success in backing the Syrian-Hizballah forces’ advances in major battles against rebels, notably at al Qusayr, and position Russian troops face to face with the Israeli army. They would constitute a barrier against any military intervention being mounted against the Assad regime from Israel.

UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Hak said: "The UN would welcome Russia’s contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the region."

Our military and intelligence sources doubt whether the Israeli government will be enthusiastic about Russian troops policing the Golan sector separating Israeli and Syrian forces. Jerusalem may be expected to seek advice from Washington in order to get the Russian contribution disqualified on the grounds that Moscow can hardly claim to be a neutral party when it is so heavily committed militarily to one side of the Syrian conflict.

...

4. Some of the Russian contingent may be assigned to gather intelligence on Israeli military movements in the north of the country. There is no way to stop them handing those secrets over to the Syrian and Hizballah.
The Malbim on Sanhedrin explains that Gog Umagog will be a war between the strongest at sea (represented by the Livyatan), which is America (the male) and England (the female) against the strongest on land (represented by the Shor Habar), which is Russia (the male) and Germany (the female) and this war will be close to Yerushalayim.  (See more about these designations of countries on his Hidushim to Perek Hasefina [which continues on for a few pages].)

UPDATE:  The UN said that it cannot accept the offer due to longstanding agreements.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

WoW/W4W News

Being that the first of Tammuz is this Sunday, things are getting interesting with the WoW and W4W issue:
Money quote:
"If they are Jewish women and not an erev rav of all stripes and colors, then let them come and pray like everyone, but without tallit and tefillin,” she said.
What is more interesting is that according to Kikar, the original answer given is that we cannot do this nowadays because we don't have a Sanhedrin.  The rav changed his answer to a more PC one after a firestorm.
Well stated and definitely worth reading!

Money quote:
It’s their desire to be subversive, to destabilize, to change our beliefs. That is why they’re not interested in praying in a way or in a place that won’t offend others – on the contrary. They want to shock, offend, and ultimately to subvert traditional women. Need we elaborate upon how outrageous and offensive this is?

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Korah 5773

From Rav Fish's latest:
  • The fiscal policies of the new government are hinted to in the verse (Devarim 15:9):
    הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-יִהְיֶה דָבָר עִם-לְבָבְךָ בְלִיַּעַל לֵאמֹר, קָרְבָה שְׁנַת-הַשֶּׁבַע שְׁנַת הַשְּׁמִטָּה, וְרָעָה עֵינְךָ בְּאָחִיךָ הָאֶבְיוֹן, וְלֹא תִתֵּן לוֹ; וְקָרָא עָלֶיךָ אֶל-יְהוָה, וְהָיָה בְךָ חֵטְא
    Beware that there be not a base thought in thy heart, saying: 'The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand'; and thine eye be evil against thy needy brother, and thou give him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin in thee.
    • The word השמר has the same gematria as ביבי נתניהו
    • The words לך פן יהיה דבר are Rashei Teivot לפיד
    • The words השבע שנת השמיטה - the second-to-last letters spell בנט.
  • It's brought down in the book "Ba'eish Uvamayim" by Rav Chaim Kenigsberg Shlit"a, who attended to the hidden Tzaddik called "The Sandlar" - Rav Moshe Rabikov ZT"L - from Tel Aviv, that he heard from the Sandlar numerous times that he had clear signs that the Gog Umagog War will begin in the Far East.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Gematria of Samantha Power

President Obama has stuck it to Israel again by choosing Samantha Power as UN Ambassador.

See Arutz Sheva, Fox News, The Blaze, and comments at Dov Bar Leib's blog to see who this woman is and what she has said about Israel in the past.

Wikipedia spells Samantha Power's name like this:

סמנתה פאוור

The gematria equals 848.

848 is also the gematria of:

תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי

If America forgets thee, O Jerusalem ...

Monday, June 03, 2013

Modern Reading of Rosh Hashana 2:2

Loosely based on this:
בראשונה היו משיאין משואות. משקלקלו נשות הכותל, גולשין בכל אתר חדשות באינטרנט וכל העולם יודעים מתי הוא ראש חודש.

If these people have any merit whatsoever, this may be it.