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Friday, May 30, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Naso 5774 IV

It's been quite a busy week.  It's been a while since I had 4 link posts in a week...

Geula-Related

Keeping the Rabbi’s Sermon Between Shacharis and Mussaf (makes a very valid larger point, but contains Geula-related material)

Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlit"a on Expanding the Boundaries of Yerushalayim (in order to eat Korban Pesah, Shelamim, and other Kodashim Kalim in Gilo, Ramot, Har Nof, Pisgat Ze'ev, etc., we'll need a king, prophet, Sanhedrin, and Urim Vetumim.)

Previous Shomrei Emunim Rebbe ZT"L: We will merit Geula in the merit of Torah (p. 1, left column)


Tefillat HaShela"h Reminders and Gatherings
(Sorry, I was a little late on this one, but if you are like me, you must have gotten at least 10 messages reminding you to say it anyways, such as the ones below.)



Open Orthodoxy

(Judging from articles and comments in the liberal Jewish media and even non-Jewish media, the Noviminsker Rebbe Shlit"a (who lived in Chicago for a short time) has now turned into Public Enemy #1.   I, for one, applaud him on his stance.)


Miscellaneous

 (some interesting info on the now-destroyed Eliyahu Hanabi Synagogue) כאב ודמעות על חורבן בית-הכנסת

Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas To Visit Vatican On June 8 To Pray (why oh why oh why??? - but cute comment #5 there)





Pollard Surpasses Sad Milestones in Prison

Source TimeAndDate.com

When we went from May 29, 2014 to May 30, 2014, Jonathan Pollard has officially surpassed the following milestones in jail:

  1. 250,000 hours
  2. 15,000,000 minutes
  3. 900,000,000 seconds
President Obama,

FREE POLLARD NOW!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rav Fish on the Papal Visit


The Visit of the Head of Tum'ah in the World to the Land of Israel on 26th of Iyar, 5774, Yesod Shebayesod

  • It's known that on every year, on the 26th of Iyar, we rectify in the Sefirat Ha'omer the attribute of Yesod Shebayesod.  
    • And it's amazing that כ"ו איי"ר is the Rashei Teivot of the verse that speaks of the birth of Yosef, who is the Yesod Shebayesod (Bereishit 30:25וַיְהִי, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָלְדָה רָחֵל אֶת-יוֹסֵף. 
    • R' S. Reiskin adds that the Six Day War broke out on the 26th of Iyar, 5727, symbolizing the victory of the Yesod of Yosef, to whom the number 6 corresponds.
      • R' Moshe Tzuriel adds that a large portion of the events of that war are tied to the number 6, and great battle victories occurred at 6AM and 6PM, etc.
      • And the secular year was '67, which hints to the connection of 6 to 7 - Yesod and Malchut.
        • And even today we talk about "the '67 borders".
    • And in 5774, we completed 66 years of the State of Israel.
      • "66" contains the number 6 twice - Yesod Shebayesod.
      • We entered the 67th year, 67 being the gematria of בינה, which symbolizes שמיני (the eighth) and the connection between 6 and 7, as mentioned.
      • And we brought down earlier that בן דוד is the gematria of 66 and 67 with the Kollel.
    • Also, כ"ו אייר is the gematria of רמז (hint), which symbolizes Yesod, 
      • As was brought down elsewhere that רמז contain the letters that precede the letters נחש, which is the gematria of משיח.  
      • It's also the letters of זמר, which hints to Geula, since יזמרו את הערלה ויזמרו להשם.
  • The head of the Vatican in Rome, who is the foremost representative of Esav in the world, came for a very rare visit to the Land of Israel on the 26th of Iyar, 5774.
    • And he's conducting his Avoda Zara on Har Tzion, with ציון being the gematria of יוסף (Yosef) in the holy building that is traditionally held as King David's Tomb, and also to visit the Kotel and other places.
      • This is because the Sitra Ahara feels that on this day and in these places, his end is coming near, as it says, "וְעָלוּ מוֹשִׁעִים בְּהַר צִיּוֹן, לִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-הַר עֵשָׂו [And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau]" and he wants to fight.
  • It comes out that the head of Tum'ah of Esav came on the most dangerous day for Esav, which corresponds to Yesod Shebayesod, and is coming to fight against the most dangerous place for Esav, which is Mt. Zion, and furthermore, he came on the most dangerous year for Esav, since now is the epitome of the era of MBY who reaches 66 years, like we mentioned.
    • Also, Rosh Hodesh Sivan will fall out on Friday and the month of Sivan is connected to ציון and to King David who was born and died on Shavu'ot.
      • And סיון and ציון are the same letters since ס and צ are interchangeable letters using the זסשר"ץ grouping.
      • Also, Yehuda, who is the root of Malchut, was born on the 15th of Sivan, as the Midrash brings down (Yalkut Shemot 162).
      • Also, the astrological sign for Sivan is תאומים, which is the gematria of מלכות.
  • Also, on the 26th of Iyar, they weren't able to [YY - from news reports, it seems they were able to, but not as many people attended as in previous years] go up to Har Hazeitim to visit R' Shlomo of Zhvil ZT"L whose yahrtzeit is that day due to the whole area being blocked because of the head of Tum'ah there.
    • And it's known that the day that R' Shlomo of Zhvil died on 26 Iyar, 5705, WWII stopped.
      • And he hinted many times before his death that he was going to be Moser Nefesh in order to stop the Holocaust, and it's obvious that every day that the end of the war was made earlier, the Tzaddik saved thousands of Jews.
  • Regarding the end of the Holocaust on the 26th of Iyar, we also find the merit of Lag Ba'omer and the Zohar, as is brought down in the book "Or Hazohar" in a letter by one of the students of the Ba'al Hasulam ZY"A:
    I remember in my youth that merited to hear from the Ba'al Hasulam himself the following: When the Rasha Yimah Shemo murdered 6 million Jews in Europe, I told everyone, "It's impossible to beat this Rasha, and this war will not end unless the Jews will get up and learn the Holy Zohar." Therefore, the Ba'al Hasulam sat and translated the Zohar to Hebrew so it would be understandable for simple Jews according to their level of understanding. And indeed at the end of his work, on the day he completed the translation of the Zohar, Hitler YM"S suffered a harsh military defeat, and a few survivors were saved. And via great miracles, the Land of Israel was spared from the claws of that Rasha - in the merit of the Holy Zohar. And as is known, the Rasha committed suicide on the eve of Lab Ba'omer, 5705, and the news about his death was publicized for the first time by the Germans themselves on Lag Ba'omer of that year. Also, in the Land of Israel, the news reached them during the lighting of the fire in Meron on Lag Ba'omer. And at that time, the Ba'al Hasulam was writing his commentary to protect Israel and to bring their redemption closer.
  • We brought down from the book "Leket Reshimot" from the late Mashgi'ah of Lakewood, Rav Nosson Wachtfogel ZT"L who quoted Rav Aharon Kotler ZT"L that at WWI, many asked the Hafetz Hayim if this was Gog Umagog, and he answered that after this war, there will be a break, followed by another war, followed by another break, followed by another war, and Mashiah will come with that war.  These words are also brought down in "Lev Eliyahu" by Rav Eliyah Lopian ZT"L at the end of vol. 1, quoting Rav Elchanan Wasserman HY"D, who heard it from the Hafetz Hayim.  He said, "The Hafetz Hayim said that the Gog Umagog War will be divided into 3 parts: the first was WWI, the second will be about 25-30 years later, and the 3rd war will come later, when the whole world will suffer, and afterwards, Mashiah will come."
    • We see that the Hafetz Hayim said that the Gog Umagog War will be divided into 3 wars.  WWI was the first of Gog Umagog, and Rav Eliyah Lopian added that WWII was the second of Gog Umagog.  It's clear that all 3 wars are 1 that is divided into 3.  And it comes out according to what we said that the ones who closed the door on Gog Umagog Part 2 and made sure it would no longer reopen were mainly Ribbi Shimon Bar Yohai and R' Shlomo of Zhvil ZT"L.  And we see from Shamayim that we are now standing before the continuation of that war - Gog Umagog Part 3 and the final installment.  Shamayim made it happen that on Lag Ba'omer in Meron, only a third of the normal attendance attended since the Erev Rav government made it difficult for those wanting to go up to stay at the Tziyun of Rashb"i.  And we also see that the head of the Tum'a of Esav made it more difficult for people to go up to the Tziyun of R' Shlomo of Zhvil ZT"L, who is on Har Hazeitim and [for the most part] blocked the entire area and [large numbers of] Jews couldn't go up his Tziyun - perhaps in order not to prevent the war.  Just like Par'oh raised Moshe on his knees, so too, they are bringing their end to themselves by their own hands.
  • And also, Parshat Parah, where we purify ourselves from Tum'at Met, hints to the end of Oto Ha'ish. 
    •  [The verse] וְכִי-יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ, חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט-מָוֶת--וְהוּמָת: וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ, עַל-עֵץ [And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree] and the Targum there says: ותצלוב יתיה על צליבא [vehameivin yavin].  
    • And also, the continuation of the verse says קללת אלקים תלוי hints to the curse that comes to one who pretends to be a god.
    • And from this Kelipa, we are purified via the Parah Adumah, which corresponds to the Kelipa of Edom, which is the Kelipa of Xtianity and Rome, and then, we will merit to the Haftara of Parshat Parah: וְזָרַקְתִּי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהוֹרִים, וּטְהַרְתֶּם: מִכֹּל טֻמְאוֹתֵיכֶם וּמִכָּל-גִּלּוּלֵיכֶם, אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם [And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.] which is the preparation for the Final Redemption and Pesah night, which is when Oto Ha'ish was hung.
      • And it's brought down in the Ramha"l (at the end of Otzerot Ramha"l) that the Parah Adumah is a Tikkun for the Kelipa of Xtianity, and that which the Xtians decreed to burn the Talmud is because there is no Parah Adumah.  This is because the burning of the Parah Adumah is the Sod that the Shechina - Kavayachol - gives itself up to be burnt for the Jewish people - just like the burning of the Beit Hamikdash when His anger was directed toward wood and stones.  However, when there is no Parah Adumah, they decreed to burn the Talmud.
    • Also, the the word for Pope (אפיפיור) is hinted in the word פרה.
      • R' S. Reiskin adds that the new Pope was elected on the second of Nissan, which is the day that the first Parah Adumah was burnt by Elazar Ben Aharon Hakohen.
      • And he's staying on Har Hazeitim - the place that the Parah Adumah was burnt.
      • And his name - Bergoglio - contains the word "Gog".
      • He's the first non-European (non-"Ashkenazi") pope in 1272 years, so he is "Sepharadi", from the root of the right side of the Kelipa (Ketz Hayamin), as opposed to all his predecessors, who were "Ashkenazim" from the left side of the Kelipa.
      • The "Sepharadi" who preceded him was Gregory from Syria, who also contained the word "Gog".
      • Also, the [former] Vatican spokesman, Tom Rosica, hints that they will be finished (תום - יתמו) and they will crumble (רוסיקה - יתרסקו).

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Naso 5774 III

Geula-Related




Yom Yerushalayim

Talmidim/Rabbonim Attacked at Shar Shechem on Yom Yerushalayim

MK Chetboun: Make Jerusalem Day a National Holiday

Yom Yerushalyim - It Still Stirs the Emotions

A Click Away from Yerushalayim: Largest Virtual Tour of Yerushalayim Launched (very cool)



(I linked to when they first damaged it 14 months ago.  Now, it's completely destroyed, R"L.)




Rav Mordechai Piron A"H



Miscellaneous

Crossing a Line


Knesset Speaker To MKs Heading To US: Deliver Letter Calling For Pollard’s Release To President Obama

Comments about the Pope's visit (video)

Rectifying Past Lives

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rav Yitzhak Yosef Shlit"a in Merkaz Harav: My Father ZT"L Prayed That They Wouldn't Return Territories

Kikar reports that Rav Yitzhak Yosef Shlit"a, the Rishon Letzion, spoke at a Yom Yerushalayim gathering in Yeshivat Merkaz Harav.  He first praised the Rosh Yeshiva - Rav Yaakov Shapira Shlit"a - and said that whenever he hears praises about a certain Dayan, he guesses and asks, "Did he learn in Merkaz Harav?" and they tell him, "Yes."

Regarding the Six Day War, he said:
I was a boy, but I remember how scary it was.  They thought that there would be thousands of corpses, Has Veshalom.  What miracles and wonders we had!

They were shelling Yerushalayim.  I was with Maran Abba A"H.  Our building got shelled and it shook the building.  Abba was sitting below and said, "We need to pray for the success of our soldiers."  He learned with Hacham Ben Tzion Abba Sha'ul A"H as a Havruta.  Rav Ben Tzion would briefly stop and was afraid that there was a shelling.  Abba grabbed him and would tell him, "Come on, let's continue."

When the Kotel was captured, I went together with Maran Abba ZT"L to the Kotel.  Abba arrived and prayed, "Master of the universe, give strength to our leaders that they will withstand the tests not to return the captured territories."  Maran Abba knew that the day will come when all different types of groups will come, from the Geneva Initiative, and will want to return all types of territories.  He stood and prayed that they will withstand these tests.
Whenever we see anything that shows that Rav Ovadia believed that giving up territories was the correct move, such as this recently publicized handwritten note by Rav Ovadia, it was always in the context of saving lives and not as a general principle.  If it is necessary to save lives, such as the peace accord with Egypt, it is permitted.  Otherwise, such as the Disengagement, which Rav Ovadia was vehemently against, it is forbidden.  In cases like the Oslo Accords, Rav Ovadia initially backed it based on the advice of generals and the information he had at the time, thinking that it would save lives.  When he realized it wouldn't and would do just the opposite, he admitted his mistake and rescinded his support for it.

So, the next time someone tells you that Rav Ovadia ZT"L was a leftist (and I've unfortunately heard this lie many times), you can explain the truth to that person.  May Rav Ovadia's prayer be realized and may the full reunification of Yerushalayim - including Har Habayit - come to us speedily in our days, Amen.

Interesting Recent Links - Naso 5774 II

Geula-Related

Time's Running Out (Rabbi Eli Mansour)

Geula Update from Rav Fish - Bemidbar 5774


Papal Visit

For Shame, Pope Francis

A Slap in the Face

Facebook Status of the Day: Hadarat Nashim and the Pope


Miscellaneous

The incredible lesson learned from Shevet Levi's reward for "shouldering" the Suffering of their fellow Yidden in Mitzrayim

Happy Yom Yerushalayim!!

How come the 2 non-Jewish colleges I attended now both back BDS?  For shame.

Lapid to Chareidim: You Will Accept Our Values

הרב יצחק יוסף: ספרדי שמרגיש חיזוק מהוצאת הציציות - שיוציא
(Rav Yitzhak Yosef Shlit"a: if a Sepharadi feels Hizuk by keeping his Tzitziot out in an Ashkenazi Yeshiva where everyone else is doing so, he may do so until marriage.)

(Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue Being Rebuilt!  Perhaps, this falls under "Geula-related".)

מרכז מורשת והנצחת הרב כדורי יוקם בעיר עכו
(A Rav Kaduri Heritage Center being built in Acco)

ערבים תקפו תלמידי ישיבה, תיעדו והעלו לאינטרנט
(A video of a knockout-style attack by an Arab on Porat Yosef Yeshiva students.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Naso 5774

Ladino-speaking Jews have an expression when Parshat Naso comes along: "Naso - ya me canso", meaning, "Naso - I'm already tired."  This is because the longest Perasha in the Torah can make one pretty tired.  From the events of the past 2 days and the days leading up to it, I'm already tired from the hoopla.  Add that to an anti-Semitic terrorist attack in Brussels to add to the crazy week, which isn't even half-way over.   Hopefully, the force of Yesod Shebayesod of the 41st day of the Omer will counteract any force gained by the Avi Avot Hatum'a being in E"Y.

Papal Visit

Rav Ades is Escorted by Police from Upstairs of Kever David Days Before Pope Came (0:58 of the video)

Exclusive! Two Arrested for Suspicion of Posting Posters in Protest of the Pope's Visit

26 Arrested at Kever Dovid HaMelech
Police Violence at King David's Tomb!

This is a Sad and Tragic Day in Israel

Some Chief Rabbinate Council Members Boycotted Papal Visit

PHOTO: Pope Francis Meets With Chief Rabbis

Message from Binyamin: Excerpt on Catholic Church

Pope Prays Beside Graffiti Comparing Bethlehem to Warsaw Ghetto, Jewish Group Calls for Reflection at Yad Vashem


(I like the joke in one of the comments there:  Yair Lapid met the Pope.  The Pope said, "Dear Yair, I'm sorry about the crucifix - I know that it is not your style."  Yair Lapid said to him, "The crucifix doesn't bother me at all - what pains me is the Kippa on your head!")

Rosh Yeshivat Porat Yosef: Seeing the Pope is Metamei


Rav Shmuel Eliyahu Shlita on Pope Francis' Visit
R. Shmuel Eliyahu on the Pontiff

Send the Pope Packing!

Rav Yitzchak Goldstein and The Papal Visit

Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh: A Call to the Nations of the World, Religious Leaders, and the Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis


Miscellaneous

Friday, May 23, 2014

Yerushalayim is Not For Sale

Recent events remind me of another event that took place 30 years ago, when MBD (the singer, not the redeemer) wrote this protest song.  Just change around a few lyrics and the same song is applicable today too.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Bemidbar 5774

Kever David, Papal Visit, etc.

We Can Only Hope

Pope to Visit Palestinian Authority Mufti Who Endorsed Extermination of Jews

Unity Concert for Mount Zion

Minister: Kever Dovid HaMelech Will Not Be Given to the Vatican

Save Mount Zion!! King David's Tomb Must Remain Jewish-Israeli


Tnuva Bought By Chinese Firm

China’s Bright Food Buys Tnuva



Jacob Ostreicher and Sean Penn Hug at Dinner


Yanky Ostreicher Recalls Sean Penn’s Rescue Mission In Presenting Him Champion of Jewish Justice Award


The Unfortunate Forced Hillul Shabbat Before Lag Ba'omer

R Eisenman: Why I Was Sad on Lag B’Omer (h/t Hirhurim)



Maccabi Tel Aviv Wins Euro Championship

Is patriotism worthless?


Quote of the Day


Nahal Haredi soldier and Xtian Mother Reunite

Nahal Haredi soldier reunites with his Christian mother (video)

Nachal Chareidi Soldier Meets His Christian Mother

VIDEO and PHOTOS: Nachal Chareidi Soldier Meets His Christian Mother


Turkish Anti-Semitism




Miscellaneous

R’ Shteinman Shlita: Increased Hatred Towards Chareidim a Gezeira from Shomayim

Chicago Celebrates Summers Arrival with Snow

"Maybe He'll be Prime Minister," No Longer a Blessing

Lebanese Shul Scheduled to Reopen Following Extensive Renovations

Orthodox Jewish Boxing Star Yuri Foreman, First Ever Israeli World Champion, Announces Shock Retirement

Punishing American Learning in Israel


The End of the Begin-ing


Would they rather they did the alternative?

Rav Zilbershtein Shlit"a Decides Aliya Allocation by Lottery

Kikar reports that two Shaharit attendees were vying for the Shelishi Aliya on Thursday morning's Hanetz Hahama Minyan in Bnei Brak.  One was the father of a baby boy having his Berit Milah that day.  The other was the Sandak of a different baby boy having his Berit Milah that day.  The Gabbai was in a quandary as to whom to give the Aliya, so before Keriat Hatorah, he asked Rav Zilbershtein Shlit"a, who is the synagogue's rabbi  as to which person should receive it.

Rav Zilbershtein weighed both sides of the issue:

On the one hand, the father of the baby should have preference over a Sandak, as most Poskim say.
On the other hand, other Poskim say that the Sandak has preference. In addition, the Sandak is a regular at the Minyan while the father of the baby is not.

Rav Zilbershtein decided to use a lottery to decide the issue.  The last name of one was הנדין ("Hendin") and the name of the other was קופרמן (Cooperman).  Rav Zilbershtein asked for a Humash, and said that whatever page he opens to, we look at the first letter of the page on the right side.  If it is a letter from א until כ, then we give the Aliya to Rav Hendin, whose name begins with a ה that is in between those 2 letters.  If it is a letter from ל until ת, then we give it to Rav Cooperman, whose name begins with a ק that is in between those 2 letters.

In the end, the first letter on the page was the letter מ, so Rav Cooperman got the Aliya with Rav Hendin's blessing, while Rav Hendin got Gelilah as a consolation prize.

------

My question is the same as comment #5's question: Since he knew it would be an issue before Keriat Hatorah, why couldn't the Kohanim leave to keep the peace before he called the Kohen and give either Kohen or Levi to one of the Ba'alei Simha?  Unless, perhaps, a Kohen needed an Aliya too...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rav Yaakov Ades Shlit"a Delivers Stinging Attack Against the Pope and Xtianity

In this amazing 45-minute video, Rav Yaakov Ades Shlit"a pulls no punches against Xtianity (in Hebrew):



Hat tip: Rafi, who wrote:
Rav Addes gave a shiur in which he dealt with the coming of the Pope (to Israel).. in his shiur (click below), he says that people should not go to see the Pope, and anybody who does see him should immerse in a mikva. As well, people should not watch him on the television or other media either. It is all prohibited under the passuk of not turning to their gods (אל תפנו אל אלילים).. listen to the shiur. he has some interesting things to say about the whole thing, the visit, christianity in general, etc.

I don't think Rav Addes is a posek, but he is considered a mekubal and a man seriously connected to kedusha...
In addition, Rav Ades talked about the following topics:

  • How it's a terrible shame and irony that the Pope will come visit the place that the Romans destroyed. 
  • How the Ramban won his disputation, and unlike all other disputations, the Ramban was able to say everything he wanted to say without fear of retribution.  In the end, he needed to flee anyways.
  • How Judaism is based on faith and logic while Xtianity is based solely on blind faith.
  • How a Xtian hospital worker, who was taking care of him, tried to convert Rav Ades when he was injured laying in a hospital bed.  Rav Ades wouldn't hear any of it, but told him that there was one special thing about Xtianity over any other religion.  The hospital worker's ears perked up.  Rav Ades said it's the only religion whose roots are not only false, but are also disgusting.
  • How (like I mentioned last year with a follow-up) Rav Ades's book - that, in part, attacked Xtianity - was translated to Italian and was sent to the previous pope, who sent him a positive note back saying that he learned from it.  Not long afterwards, the pope resigned.  He said that he was going on to doing "better things".  Not only that, but the first thing he did after resigning was to undergo a Berit Milah. (I have not seen this last part anywhere else.  Can anyone verify this with an outside source?)
  • How some people came to him and wanted to counter the movie made that made terribly false claims against Rav Kaduri ZT"L.  He mentioned how Rav Kaduri specifically did Kabbalistic things to spiritually weaken Xtianity.
  • How Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L said that he heard from a Xtian leader that there is no competent person in the entire world that believes in Xtianity.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pope Gog Coming to Israel?

Paraphrase of Yehezkel 38:18:
 וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, בְּיוֹם בּוֹא ברגוֹגליו עַל-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
And it shall come to pass in that day, when BerGogLio shall come against the land of Israel

The Pope is coming to Israel and is already starting trouble:
Palestinian Authority (PA) and Arab Christian sources are already celebrating Pope Francis's visit to Israel starting next Sunday, saying his choice to begin the trip directly in PA-held Bethlehem is meant to "recognize Palestine" and "oppose the occupation."

"He is taking a helicopter directly from Jordan to Palestine - to Bethlehem. It's a kind of sign of recognizing Palestine," Father Jamal Khader of the Latin patriarchate in Jerusalem told AFP.

The claims that his trip will begin in a "recognition of Palestine" comes amid reports from February by Rabbi Sergio Bergman, a member of the Argentinian parliament and close friend of Pope Francis, who said that the pope intends to define himself as the "Che Guevera of the Palestinians" and support their "struggle and rights" during his visit.

In Bethlehem the pope is to travel in an open-top car and meet with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, holding "mass" prayer services there instead of in Jerusalem in what has been called a show of support for the PA.

It has been noted that the pope has been remarkably tight-lipped over the violent persecution of Christians in Bethlehem, instead choosing to condemn alleged Jewish "price tag" vandalism.

After the "mass" services, the pope is to visit a nearby "refugee camp."

"Knowing who he is, and his sensitivity for all those who suffer, I am sure that he will say something defending all those who are suffering, including the Palestinians who live under occupation," Khader said.

...

And voices of dissent are being silenced:
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute, told Arutz Sheva that in recent days he received a letter from security sources requesting that he not "disturb the quiet" near King David's Tomb during the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, starting next Sunday.

"This Shabbat there will be a prayer rally in the David's Tomb Compound," said the rabbi, adding "unfortunately I got a notice from the Defense Department. They're trying to frighten me like this was Russia."

"They told me they don't want problems in the area of David's Tomb. Soon they'll tell me that I'm forbidden to breathe," commented Rabbi Ariel.

While the Minister of Public Security, the Chief Sephardic Rabbi and Israel's Ambassador to the Vatican have all denied reports that the government has plans to transfer to the Vatican parts of the Compound, which contains the room Christian's believe held Jesus's "Last Supper," Rabbi Ariel maintains various plans are afoot.

"They're coming up with all kinds of legal formulas to allow the Christians to have lots of prayers," said the rabbi, confirming plans reported by Arutz Sheva that would dramatically increase the number of days on which Christian services are held at the compound, from one day per year to 60.

Rabbi Ariel reported "already today, the Old City and the area of David's Tomb are full of Christians with big crosses on their shoulders. And precisely now, the eve of Jerusalem Day (next Wednesday), 47 years to the liberation of the city, the state of Israel strengthens the Christian rule of Jerusalem."

...

Being that his last name before becoming pope was BerGOGlio and his mother's maiden name is GOGna, are we to expect differently?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Why Is It Called Lag Ba'omer if it Should Really Be Called Lag La'omer?

The Kuntras "Hod Shebehod" (p. 26), asks the following question (summarized):

Question: For those who follow the Ariza"l and insist on saying "La'omer" when counting, why is the 33rd day called "Lag Ba'omer"? Shouldn't it be called "Lag La'omer"?

The following various answers are presented (summarized):

Rav Moshe Tzuriel Shlit"a: Really, the Sephardic way to say it (La'omer) is correct, but since Ashkenazim ruled over most of the institutions, their way won out in the end.

Rav Eliyahu Maman Shlit"a: Sepharadim in fact do say "Lag La'omer". [YY - I can attest that in some circles, this is 100% true.]

Rav Yisrael Chaim Blumenthal Shlit"a: The 18th of Iyar is the Rema's Yahrtzeit, so we follow his opinion on this day only and call it Lag Ba'omer.

Rav Uriel Shalmoni Shlit"a: The Shulhan Aruch never mentioned "La'omer" - in parentheses, they added "Ba'omer" and see the Mishna Berura S"K 8, who says that many say "La'omer", but obviously, it doesn't prevent you from fulfilling the Mitzva either way.  So it appears that the holiday was called "Lag Ba'omer" by those who said "Ba'omer" and everyone was dragged along after them, but we don't need to start looking for reasons.  (There's a Remez: ל of La'omer + the ב of Ba'omer + the Kollel = 33.)

Rav Gamliel Hakohen Rabinowitz Shlit"a: I thought about this question in the past and I'll need to look for what I thought about this.  But now, I thought about a Hiddush in Halacha: that according to those who say "La'omer", if he tells his friend on Lag Ba'omer night, "Tonight is Lag Ba'omer," he may still say a Beracha according to all opinions since by saying "Ba'omer", he is revealing his intention of not fulfilling his obligation with that statement.  וצ"ע. [The footnote on the page, however, says that according to Rav Avraham Halevi Lifschitz Shlit"a, there is no difference between whether one says La'omer or Ba'omer.]

Rav Shmuel Baruch Ganot Shlit"a: [He doesn't really answer the question, but poses another related question.]  The Tzemah Tzadik (of Vizhnitz) asks: "Why do we call it ל"ג "Lag"? Since we count with the smallest number first, e.g. "Today is 3 and 30 days", [it should be called ג"ל "Gal Ba'omer"!]  Perhaps, we can say that the main idea of Sefirat Ha'omer is to purify physicality and thereby have the aspect of מה, since the intent of the Sefira is with שם מ"ה as is known.  And then, on Shavu'ot, he will merit to come to day 50 which corresponds to the gates of Binah.  With this, we can explain the gemara (Berachot 56b) that says that one who sees reeds (קנים) in a dream should expect Binah because in Ta'anit 20a, it says that a person should always be soft like a reed (קנה) and 2x 155 (gematria of קנה) equals 310 = עמר (Omer), so one who sees reeds in a dream should expect Binah.  Therefore, we call it ל"ג בעומר Lag Ba'omer because the letters between the ל and the ג [when you continue from the end to the beginning] is מנסע"פ צ"ק רש"ת א"ב, which is the gematria of 1393, the gematria of כת"ר שב"ת הוי"ה מ"ה, since this is the main intent of the Sefira - to merit the כתר שבת only for Hashem's sake - by having the aspect of מ"ה which is hinted to in the Sefira.  And only then will he merit ג"ל - meaning, the letters between ג and ל [which are דה"ו זחטי"כ] whose gematria is 69, which is the gematria of חיים with the Kollel since it draws life from the Tree of Life.  Altogether, 1393 + 69 = 1462, which is the gematria of 5x גבורה [???] which is sweetened with the 5x חסד [x4], whose gematria is 1440.  There are 22 left over, hinting to the 22 letters of the Torah, and that explains Tehilim 118:18 ג"ל עיני ואביטה נפלאות מתורתך."

Rav Kfir Baruch Mevorach Dadon Shlit"a: The first Rishonim to mention Lag Ba'omer are Ashkenazim: the Sefer Hamanhig, the Maharil, etc.  So since they mentioned the holiday first, the name stuck.

Rav Sha'ul Gordon Shlit"a: To honor the Rema, whose Hilula it is, who said "Ba'omer" (brought down in the pamphlet "Damesek Eliezer" by Rav Alexandar Eliezer Knopfler Shlit"a, Behar, 5774)

Rav Moshe Wolf Rosenberg Shlit"a: I saw in the pamphlet "Ner Hahaftarot" who brings in the name of the Satmar Rebbe ZY"A that we do so to honor the Rema on his Hilula day.

Rav Mordechai Almakiyas Shlit"a: 1) Because the main people who went to Meron were Ashkenazim.  2) Rashei Teivot of ל"ג בעומר is לב, meaning that on this day, holiness and enthusiasm enters man's heart.  3) Those same Rashei Teivot are the letters that begin and end the Torah, hinting that Lag Ba'omer is like a Matan Torah of Nistar.


See there for other interesting Lag Ba'omer questions.

[See lyrics of songs for Lag Ba'omer here and here.  See Piyut's versions of some of these songs here.]

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Does Jupiter's Great Red Spot Shrinking Tell Us Anything?

Source: Wikimedia
Source: Hubble/NASA - Click to Enlarge

Hubble:
Jupiter's trademark Great Red Spot — a swirling storm feature larger than Earth — is shrinking. This downsizing, which is changing the shape of the spot from an oval into a circle, has been known about since the 1930s, but now these striking new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope images capture the spot at a smaller size than ever before.
Jupiter's Great Red Spot is a churning anticyclonic storm [1]. It shows up in images of the giant planet as a conspicuous deep red eye embedded in swirling layers of pale yellow, orange and white. Winds inside this Jovian storm rage at immense speeds, reaching several hundreds of kilometres per hour.
Historic observations as far back as the late 1800s [2] gauged this turbulent spot to span about 41 000 kilometres at its widest point — wide enough to fit three Earths comfortably side by side. In 1979 and 1980 the NASA Voyager fly-bys measured the spot at a shrunken 23 335 kilometres across. Now, Hubble has spied this feature to be smaller than ever before.
"Recent Hubble Space Telescope observations confirm that the spot is now just under 16 500 kilometres across, the smallest diameter we've ever measured," said Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA.
Amateur observations starting in 2012 revealed a noticeable increase in the spot's shrinkage rate. The spot's "waistline" is getting smaller by just under 1000 kilometres per year. The cause of this shrinkage is not yet known.
"In our new observations it is apparent that very small eddies are feeding into the storm," said Simon. "We hypothesised that these may be responsible for the accelerated change by altering the internal dynamics of the Great Red Spot."
Simon's team plan to study the motions of these eddies, and also the internal dynamics of the spot, to determine how the stormy vortex is fed with or sapped of momentum.
This full-disc image of Jupiter was taken on 21 April 2014 with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).

Regarding its reddish color, Wikipedia clues us in:
It is not known exactly what causes the Great Red Spot's reddish color. Theories supported by laboratory experiments suppose that the color may be caused by complex organic molecules, red phosphorus, or yet another sulfur compound. The GRS varies greatly in hue, from almost brick-red to pale salmon, or even white. The higher temperature of the reddest central region is the first evidence that the Spot's color is affected by environmental factors.[80] The spot occasionally disappears from the visible spectrum, becoming evident only through the Red Spot Hollow, which is its niche in the South Equatorial Belt (SEB). The visibility of GRS is apparently coupled to the appearance of the SEB; when the belt is bright white, the spot tends to be dark, and when it is dark, the spot is usually light. The periods when the spot is dark or light occur at irregular intervals; as of 1997, during the preceding 50 years, the spot was darkest in the periods 1961–1966, 1968–1975, 1989–1990, and 1992–1993.[86]
(What happened in 1967 that the spot became lighter???  But I digress...)

Edom is often compared to Mars for various reasons. Besides the fact that the word Edom is related to Adom - red, the color of Mars, Mars is named for the Roman (Edomite) god of war.
However, there is another strong comparison. If you take the concept of the שבעה כוכבי לכת (loosely, seven heavenly bodies), you have the following list, using the Rambam's order:

No.Hebrew NameEnglish Name
1ירח\לבנהMoon
2כוכבMercury
3נוגהVenus
4חמהSun
5מאדיםMars
6צדקJupiter
7שבתיSaturn

We see that מאדים - Mars is 5th in the order while צדק - Jupiter is 6th in the order.  We could possibly say that they correspond to millennia and Sefirot.  Mars corresponds to הוד (Hod), which corresponds to the 5th millennium (כל היום דוה, as Sefarim say).  The 5th millennium was when Edom was at its greatest power.  Jupiter corresponds to יסוד (Yesod), which corresponds to the current 6th millennium, and that is why it's called צדק, similar to צדיק, as in צדיק יסוד עולם.

Perhaps, when we entered the 6th millennium, Mars became irrelevant and Jupiter took over in relevancy.  At that time, perhaps the Great Red Spot was formed on Jupiter, showing that Edom is still around and powerful in gas form.  And it was massive then.  The recent shrinkage of the Great Red Spot is then perhaps a sign that Edom is losing its grip in the world and will soon shrink to nothingness.  

Ovadia 1:4, talking about Edom:
אִם-תַּגְבִּיהַּ כַּנֶּשֶׁר, וְאִם-בֵּין כּוֹכָבִים שִׂים קִנֶּךָ--מִשָּׁם אוֹרִידְךָ, נְאֻם-יְהוָה
Though thou make thy nest as high as the eagle, and though thou set it among the stars, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the LORD.
May it happen speedily in our days.

Interesting Recent Links - Behukotai 5774

Kever David News


Rav Yitzchak Yosef Rejects Reports of Israel Giving Away Kever Dovid

Photo Essay: Atzeres Tefillah At Kever Dovid HaMelech In Light Of Possible Giveaway To Vatican [Photos News 24]

FM Lieberman on Kever Dovid HaMelech

Protect Our Future, Protect Kever David

Israel Continues to Deny Sovereignty Deal With Vatican On Kever Dovid

Jews Raising Awareness Over Intended Transfer of Kever of David HaMelech

'Vatican to Gain More Control Over David's Tomb'


Har Habayit News




Geula-Related



Rav Yitzhak Yosef's NY Visit


Gender Separation in Schools

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Beit Guvrin, Botzrah, and Mashiah

UPDATED

Yalkut Shimoni, quoting Midrash Avkir [text | inside]:
אדוני יודע כי הילדים רכים א"ל יעקב אני רואה שיסורין עתידין לבוא מבניך על ילדי אלא נהוג אתה בשררותך ושמש בכתרך עד שיעמוד משיח מחלצי ויקבל המלכות ממך שנאמר יעבר נא אדוני לפני עבדו עד אבוא אל אדוני שעירה זה בית גוברין. דרש ר' אחא עתידין כל אומות העולם לבגוד במלכות הרביעית ולפנותה מבינם ואין מניחין לה לא כרך ולא מדינה ודוחין אותה מאומה לאומה עד שמגעת לבית גוברין ומוצאה שם מלך המשיח ומשלים לו המלכות ומנהן הוא בורח לבצרה ונגלה עליו הקב"ה להרגו והוא אמר ולא צוית ונס אל אחת הערים האל וחי והקב"ה משיב לו לא קראת מה כתיב בצדו גואל הדם הוא ימית את הרוצח. וכתיב בני בכורי ישראל וכתיב אחי ורעי וכתיב לבני ישראל עם קרובו וכתיב דודי צח ואדום וכתיב או דודו או בן דודו יגאלנו. מיד הקב"ה תופס לשרו בציצת ראשו ואליהו שוחטו ודמו נתז על בגדיו בחזרתו משם אומר מי זה בא מאדום וגו':

This Midrash tells us that the King Mashiah will receive the kingship from Edom when its ministering angel runs away to Beit Guvrin. It later runs away to Botzra, where Hashem grabs it and Eliyahu slaughters it.

Where is Beit Guvrin and where is Botzra?

Beit Guvrin

Beit Guvrin is an ancient city in Judea a few miles northeast of Hevron. It was an Arab village before 1948 called "Bayt Jibrin". Currently, there is a Kibbutz near the ancient site. The Roman Emperor Septimus Severus called it "Eleutheropolis", meaning "City of the Free".  Bereishit Rabba 42 identifies the Horites (from Bereishit 14:6, 36:20 and Devarim 2:12,22) with Eleutheropolis (the Girsa'ot that say "Metropolin"[like this oneseem to be in error, say the Aruch and Tevu'ot Ha'aretz) as they lived in Se'ir until Edom conquered them.  Some want to say that the name that means "City of the Free" is related to the word חורי, as in חירות.  Others reject that and say that the word חורי is so-named due to the caverns in the area.  Regarding the name בית גוברין, The Tevu'ot Ha'aretz suggests it could be that just like Hevron, giants lived there.  Hence, the name Guvrin (strong).  Targum Yerushalmi on "Hevron" (Bereishit 23:2) says "בקרייתהון דגובריא". Bereishit Rabba 67:6 explains Yitzhak's blessing to Esav: "Behold, of the fat places of the earth shall be thy dwelling" refers to Italy. "And of the dew of heaven from above" refers to Beit Guvrin.(See Erech Milin, who has a lengthy discussion on the city.)

Beit Guvrin was an administrative center for the District of Edomea during the time of Hurdus (King Herod).  It was later captured by the Romans.  The Tevu'ot Ha'aretz identifies it with the "Eilat" mentioned in the Mishna in Ma'aser Sheni 5:2.    It was exempt from Shemita prohibitions, said Ribbi (Ribbi Yehuda Hanasi) in Yerushalmi Demai 2:1.  The commentaries there explain that those who came up with Ezra from Bavel didn't take hold of the city as a Jewish stronghold.  Despite it not being necessarily a Jewish city, there were a number of Tanna'im and Amora'im that lived there.

The 16th century former converso Rav Shelomo Molcho interpreted the above Midrash Avkir as saying that the Beit Guvrin referred to is actually Italy (and not the known city in Judea).  He believed in the imminent arrival of Mashiah based on this.  He therefore went to Rome and told this to the Pope, who thought he meant a second coming of their messiah, so they liked what he said at that time.  While his interpretation of the Midrash worked well for him, it doesn't seem to be its simple explanation.

An author named Moshe Sharon, based on Arab sources, wants to identify Bein Guvrin with the Beer Sheva of the Avot.

Botzra

Much has been written on Botzra.  Botzra is mentioned all over Tanach as a city of Edom.  The most famous reference to Botzra is from Yeshaya 63:1 depicting the demise of Edom at the hands of HKB"H Himself.

Botzra has famously been interpreted by the Lubavitcher Rebbe ZT"L as referring to the First Gulf War where there was a battle in Basra, Iraq that has the same Hebrew name of בצרה.  While it is a nice interpretation, there are 3 other Botzras to consider:

A) There is the typical Botzra of Edom, just southeast of the Dead Sea.
B) There is Betzer (Devarim 4:43), one of the cities of refuge in the portion of Reuven.
C) There is Bosra, Syria, near Daraa.

While it would seem obvious to use interpretation A for this Midrash since it refers to Edom, there are good reasons to use B and other good reasons to use C.

We may want to use B since the Midrash specifically mentions that the Sar of Edom considered Botzra a city of refuge.  [UPDATE - See Makkot 12a where this is exactly one of the mistakes of the Sar of Edom - going to Botzra instead of Betzer - so B should not be a possibility.  See also Avoda Zara 58b where Reish Lakish makes the same error.  Thank you commenter Od Chazon Lamoed, who pointed to the last footnote here.]

We may alternatively want to use C for historical reasons.  The Midrash may have been written at the same time that Sefer Zerubavel was written - in the seventh century CE.  In the year 634, the Battle of Bosra took place, when the Islamic armies defeated Heraclius and the Byzantine army.  It seems that right beforehand, another Islamic army defeated Beit Guvrin.  This may be the reasoning behind the Midrash, as it wanted to connect it to current events of the time.  After the Muslims would get it, the theory goes, it would soon afterwards, hoped the Midrash, be given to the Jewish people.  This is just a theory, and even if the theory is true, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is not connected to future events as well.

May the King Mashiah take the kingdom away from Edom speedily in our days, Amen.

Rav Shternbuch Reiterates His Sign for Mashiah

Kikar posted a video (beginning until 1:15 mark) of Rav Moshe Sternbuch Shlit"a reiterating what he said previously that Russian actions in Crimea and elsewhere are a sign of Mashiah.

Speaking at an event for Rav Abergel Shlit"a's Kol Rina - Rav Pa'olim Kollel institutions in Netivot, he said the following:
We see the strengthening of Russia, who captured the Crimean Island [sic].  It is a tradition from the students of the Gr"a, [directly] man from man, who said before his passing that this is a sign for the feet of Mashiah.  The Ga'on, Rav Simha Zleig also had a tradition from the students of the Gr"a that Russia will strengthen before the coming of Mashiah, and the nations will fear them.

Constantly, when Russia becomes more powerful and strengthens, it is a sign of his soon coming.  The Mashiah "standeth behind our wall...he peereth through the lattice".  When will he be able to come?

According to legend, Rav Hayim Brisk said, "The strengthening of Russia is a sign of the strengthening of the Kelipa that precedes Mashiah."  The intent is not that Mashiah will definitely come, but rather, it's an auspicious time to work toward the coming of Mashiah.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Rav Yitzhak Yosef Plans to Wear His Father's Luhot Chain for Pope Visit

Source: Kikar

The Rishon Letzion Rav Yitzhak Yosef plans to wear a Luhot chain when he meets the pope later this month.

Kikar explains that the chain was given to Rav Ovadia ZT"L when he was appointed chief rabbi of Israel.  Rav Ovadia wore the chain whenever he needed to meet Xtian representatives, including the pope.  He would wear it in response to the cross worn by those representatives.

Rav Ovadia gave the chain to his son a few weeks before his passing - when Rav Yitzhak was appointed chief rabbi.

In a later Kikar article, a video can be seen of Rav Yitzhak speaking at Magen David in Flatbush (where he is currently visiting) and talking about the chain and how he received it.  He mentioned that he already wore the chain once at an interfaith conference.  He added that his father received the golden Luhot from the Jewish community of Turkey.

That article concludes that Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi David Lau also plans on wearing a similar chain when he meets the pope.


Update:

YWN has the story too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Mashiah on the Doorway - Torah Code

By Rav Glazerson...

(related to this)

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

More Yom Ha'atzma'ut Links and More Interesting Recent Links

Yom Ha'atzma'ut

Reflections on Israel Independence and Memorial Day

Restored-Jewish-Sovereignty-in-the-Land-of-Israel Day

Maran Rav Ovadia On Independence Day: This is a Day of Torah Learning



Yom Hasho'ah




Heter Iska Removal


Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu Wants Banks Without Interest


Baseball Jews

At Wrigley Field, Orthodox vendors going the way of Cubs wins (I know lots of these guys quoted and actually interviewed for this job once.  Long story.  Anyways, for sure read the last 3 paragraphs.)


Miracles




Sefirat Ha'omer on the Bus



Miscellaneous