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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rav Ovadia and the Dove




A white dove entered the Beit Midrash of Rav Ovadia at 10:00 AM on Erev Rosh Hashana, and landed on Rav Ovadia's Shtender. People tried chasing it away unsuccessfully. Eventually, one learner in the Beit Midrash took the dove and let it go out the window. To everyone's amazement, the dove returned to the same place it was originally - to Rav Ovadia's Shtender, as if it were waiting for him alone. This even happened again - someone took it out, and the dove returned to that exact same spot. It was there until a few minutes before Minha, when Rav Ovadia came to the Beit Midrash, and went to his place. He gently and very mercifully held the dove, caressed it, looked straight at it, and said the following words:

יונה מה תהגי ומה תהמי. נדרך שלמי יען כי אני ה'. וישלח את היונה ולא יספה שוב אליו עוד. עשית שליחותך לכי לשלום אמן כן יהי רצון

With that, the dove flew out the window, and never returned.

The words said to the dove come from an ancient poem of R' Yehuda Halevi and from Parshat No'ah.

Rav Ovadia explained afterwards that these types of occurrances deal with the Neshamot of Tzadikim, who go down to our world to give us a message.

Update adds some interesting information by telling us that the Zohar relates a story involving R' Shimon Bar Yohai where he too receives a message from a dove.
He also mentions that the sending away of the dove by No'ah was also done close to Rosh Hashana.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Gog Coming to Israel?

Yehezkel says:

וְהָיָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, בְּיוֹם בּוֹא גוֹג עַל-אַדְמַת יִשְׂרָאֵל

Arutz Sheva reports:

Bush Considering November Tour of Middle East
19:55 Sep 26, '06 / 4 Tishrei 5767

( U.S. President George W. Bush is considering a tour of the Middle East, according to a report by the Haaretz news service. If the president decides to visit, senior sources in Washington said it would be after mid-term elections in November.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced last Thursday that she is planning a trip to the region but would not be more specific, other than to say that her trip would be a continuation of the shuttle diplomacy she has been carrying out for much of this year. "The President has instructed me to work with the moderate leaders in the region and help the parties solve their differences," she said.

The announcements come in the wake of concerns expressed by moderate Arab nations over the growing internal unrest in their countries, fueled in part by the rising popularity of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Bush has said he wants to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward and that he is “serious” about supporting a diplomatic initiative to that end.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Shofar News

No, not this.

What I meant was that there are 2 somewhat-shocking Shofar-related items in the news.

1) A Jew was arrested when trying to blow the Shofar on Rosh Hashana at the Kotel.

2) The Sanhedrin started blowing the Shofar on Shabbat, says Rafi G. See Josh Waxman's explanation.

Tornado Fears Erev Rosh Hashana

It was Erev Rosh Hashana, and we were almost ready to go to the בית כנסת, when the sky was getting darker. The rain started pouring down and the wind started howling. It also hailed. The sirens were heard in the distance. No, these were not police or ambulence sirens - these were distinctly tornado sirens - used to indicate an imminent tornado approaching the area. My ever-cautious son wanted to go to the basement. We almost did. Then, after a few minutes, the winds died down B"H, and it was only raining moderately, and we were able to go to the בית כנסת.

In our Rosh Hashana prayers, we say:

ובכן תן פחדך ה' א-לוקינו על כל מעשיך

And so, Hashem, our G-d, place Your fear over all those You have made

What a way to end off 5766!

Monday, September 18, 2006

End of the Year Post

We interrupt this Elul-induced blogging break to keep up with some of the latest events happening out there:

Rav Ovadia Yosef, Shlit"a, is recovering from a cardiac catheterization procedure that he underwent on Monday morning. There were posters for Tehillim and a Ta'anit Dibbur (fast from speaking) in addition to a Kotel prayer-rally aimed at his speedy recovery. I saw 2 different versions of his mother's name - either הרב עובדיה יוסף בן גוּרגִ’יָה or הרב עובדיה יוסף בן ג'ורג'יה.

Edom and Yishma'el are going at each other again due to the statements of the Pope. Let's hope the Jews can stay on the sidelines for this raging battle.

2 earthquakes in 8 days. Hmmm...

Those trying to make a To'eva-parade in Yerushalayim don't give up. The new date is scheduled for Nov. 10th. Hashem Yerahem.

Let's hope this coming year of 5767 will truly be a year of ונשאתי לכל המקום בעבורם as Rav Shmueli said.

תכלה שנה וקללותיה
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