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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kitzim, Kitzim, and More Kitzim

I recently attended a Shiur about the End of Days by a certain rav mekubal who was visiting my city and he pointed some information that I was aware of and also some
information that I was not aware of.

  • He talked about how 1000 years is like 1 of Hashem's days, and how the Ramban goes through each millenium and how it fits into each day, and if you divide the last 1000 years of the 6000 years of history into 24 "hours", and take the last 12 hours and divide it by the hours mentioned in Sanhedrin 38b, it comes out that just as Adam Harishon was עמד על רגליו on the 5th hour, the State of Israel was born on 5 Iyyar, 5708. And just as on the 6th hour, Adam Harishon was קרא שמות, so too the first Gulf War was starting to shape up in 5750 and people were scared and started doing Teshuva (I forgot how he tied it into קרא שמות, though)

  • He also mentioned the Hesed Le'Avraham's 5760 prediction, which is the same number as the minimum amount of beitzim in a kosher mikveh.

  • He also mentioned the Ra'avad's prediction of 5768. (Although he didn't mention the Imrei Bina by name - maybe another sefer written by him - See the first bullet here, this from Nava and this from גילוי). The Ra'avad apparently said that in 5768, the first thing to be punished is the money, followed by children, followed by the body (apparently, similar to Iyov's suffering). This is why the financial collapse began in 5768. Unfortunately, I couldn't find this source on the web anywhere.

  • Incidentally, he also said that the reason why the financial collapse hit the USA first is because the Jews are the source of Beracha in the world. When the country with the most Jews in the world was the USA, then the USA was blessed with money. Now, that Israel has overtaken the USA in population of Jews, the USA doesn't have the merit any longer. Thus, the financial crisis.

  • He also mentioned the statement of the Ostrovster Rebbi that the first 2 Birkat Hahamas to fall out on the 14th of Nissan happened at Yetziat Mitzraim and with Mordechai and Esther, and the last will be right before Mashiah's arrival. (I had some issues with this statement before, Bimhilat the Rebbi - Lo Zachiti Lehavin.)

  • He also mentioned the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, which he said showed that even the non-Jews knew about this time period being special. I personally don't care for this because once you start bringing non-Jewish proofs, you're getting into dangerous territory.

  • He also mentioned 5774 being mentioned by the Sefer Karnayim and its Peirush - the Dan Yadin over 300 years ago.

May we forget about all the kitzim and merit the coming of Mashiah without delay.

Monday, December 29, 2008

More War Casualties - Bitul Torah

We've heard of the terrible news of people getting killed today from Kassams or Grad rockets in Ashdod and Nahal Oz. הי"ד - may Hashem avenge their blood. We've heard of the numerous injured in those attacks as well. May they have a Refu'a Sheleima soon. And may Hashem protect all the soldiers that fight to protect the land of Israel for the Jews.

In addition to physical tragedies occurring, there is also a decrease in Torah learning going on as well. Schools within a 13-mile radius of Gaza are being closed and parents of these children need to stay home with them.

Plus, it seems that 2 southern Yeshivot are making other arrangements for their Bahurim. As reports, the Belz and Gerrer Yeshivot in Ashdod told students not to come, but to rather go to other Yeshivot around the country. As I personally experienced, learning in Yeshiva during war-time is devastating to the level of Torah learning. I can only imagine that it's 100 times worse for a Yeshiva in exile.

Torah learning is extremely important even during war-time. We know this from the angel chastising Yehoshua Bin Nun for the cancellation of Torah learning (Megilla 3a) before the war. Let's try to increase our Torah learning and Hessed during this difficult time.

Olmert's Reign Extended?

Due to the war against Gaza, PM Olmert may remain in power a while longer if the war keeps going and an emergency government is established.

If what I posted 5 months ago is accurate, then this news just delays the geula, but it may just be the means by which this scenario can come about.

Israel at War - On the Iraqi Front

One of the strangest news items of the day comes from Iraq, where...
A suicide bomber on a bicycle blew himself up Sunday amid a crowd of demonstrators in northern Iraq who were protesting Israel's airstrikes on Gaza, killing one demonstrator and wounding 16 others, Iraqi police said.

Apparently, these Al-Qaeda in Iraq guys just like to kill - it doesn't matter that they kill demonstrators against Israel. I can tell you that I won't be shedding too many tears for those killed and wounded, though.

Anyways, we could expect the usual rhetoric...
"The ones who targeted our brothers in Gaza are the same who targeted us in Mosul today. They are agents of Israel," Mahjoub said.

Yeah, right, like Israeli agents conduct suicide bombings at all, let alone those targeting civilians.
Oh, and Mosul - isn't that Nineveh? The city whose destruction was barely averted by a last-minute Teshuva spree? The city whose destruction is predicted in part of Tzephania and all of Nahum?

What other rhetoric do we hear from other parts of Iraq? This one:
Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said condemnation didn't go far enough.
"Expressing condemnation and denunciation for what is going on against our brothers in Gaza and expressing solidarity with them by words only doesn't mean anything in the face of the big tragedy they are facing," he said in a statement released by office in Najaf.
"Now more than at any other time, both Arab and Islamic nations are required to take a practical stance for the sake of stopping this repeated aggression and to break the unfair besieging of these brave people," the statement said, without giving details of the proposed stance.

This cleric's dream of a united Yishmael against Yisrael using a "Practical stance", which days ago seemed far-fetched, seems a lot closer to reality now, despite the recent suicide bombing. And it is a scary one. We need some major Teshuva to battle against it as Yishmael has merits of its own. We're waiting for the time mentioned in the Zohar (second-to-last page here): עד דאשתלים ההוא זכותא דבני ישמעאל.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

חשוף זרוע קדשך וקרב קץ הישועה

A new song for the Kedoshim of Mumbai taken from the Ma'oz Tzur song.

Hat-tip to Life-of-Rubin for this song, where you can also find background info about the song and its singers.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rav Winston on Miketz - Must Read

Click here

Rumors Dispelled reports:
A number of rumors have circulated over the last couple of weeks in the frum world, attributing statements regarding the economy and the state of politics to Rav Chaim kanievsky. The rumors included a statement that a war will break out during Chanukah and that the prices of apartment in Eretz Yisroel will drop dramatically at that time. Based on these rumors, a number of bochurim have even cancelled trips abroad and others have pushed off purchasing homes in anticipation of a drop in prices.

The excitement even reached the ears of chareidi journalists who tried to clarify if the rumors are in fact true. A number of people actually went to Rav Chaim’s home in Bnei Brak to ascertain the veracity of the rumors.

Rav Aryeh Kanievsky, a grandson and confidante of Rav Chaim, denied the rumors and said that Rav Chaim never said any of the things being attributed to him.

To those who ask, Rav Chaim responds that every day he waits for Moshiach, whenever he will come. As for purchasing apartments, Rav Chaim said that the opposite of what is being said is true. He said that it is best to buy apartments as soon as possible and not to wait.

{Yair Newscenter}

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sar Shel Eisav's Last Stand II - Xmas in Israel?

I always thought that one of the big advantages of making Aliya would be to never have to see a tree for the holiday that falls out on December 25th.

Alas, it seems that that dream may be fading. Jpost has an article on how Xmas is becoming more "mainstream" in Eretz Yisrael (Rahmana Litzlan):
Perhaps the most blatant example is a major fair slated to begin Tuesday in Tel Aviv's Nahalat Binyamin neighborhood at a huge mansion called Beit Amudim.

Billed as an end-of-the-year sale "in the style of many large cities throughout the world," the fair will market clothing, food, wine, toys and various gifts.

A mishmash of Jewish and Christian symbols - Judah Macabee and Santa Claus, Christmas trees and hanukkiot - will greet shoppers.

"The idea is to start a tradition here in Israel like Europe and America," said Na'ama Salomon, who is producing the event. "As the nights get longer you find among cultures of the world a holiday of lights. We Israelis can decide to ignore the world or we can embrace other cultures along with our own.

"I think a lot of people here want more openness. You see the same sort of thing with Jews in America who decide to decorate a Hanukka bush."

And then, I see this post from Jameel, where he quotes someone from an email list:
Hi List!

My wife's hairdresser told her that there will be a Christmas carol service in Park Anabe [in Modi'in] on Wednesday night. Does anyone know what time it starts ?

Happy Holidays Y'all

The Sar Shel Eisav is running on all fours now.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ben Yehoyada on Our Times?

The Ben Ish Hai in Ben Yehoyada on Sanhedrin 98a makes a comment on the gemara that says:

אמר רבי חנינא אין בן דוד בא עד שיתבקש דג לחולה ולא ימצא שנאמר אז אשקיע מימיהם ונהרותם כשמן אוליך וכתב ביום ההוא אצמיח קרן לבית ישראל

that it's not normal to serve fish to one who is sick - rather, it's normal to serve him meat or chicken. However, the case here is that there is no meat or chicken to be found, and out of desperate hunger, they try to find fish for him, and can't even find that, even though fish is found for free in the rivers.

Another explanation he gives is that we know from the gemara that says:

אל"ף בי"ת אלף בינה גימ"ל דל"ת גמול דלים מ"ט פשוטה כרעיה דגימ"ל לגבי דל"ת שכן דרכו של גומל חסדים לרוץ אחר דלים ומ"ט פשוטה כרעיה דדל"ת לגבי גימ"ל דלימציה ליה נפשיה ומ"ט מהדר אפיה דדל"ת מגימ"ל דליתן ליה בצינעה כי היכי דלא ליכסיף מיניה

that if you are listing the alef-bet in order, then you have ג"ד which is how צדקה is supposed to be given (giver chasing taker and privately). However, if you list it in the reverse order, then you have ד"ג where the taker is chasing the giver, which is not the ideal way that צדקה should be given. However, before Mashiah comes, צדקה will be so sparse that you can't even find צדקה being given with the taker chasing after the giver!

Hmm... meat and chicken not found....tzedaka hard to come by....does this remind you of anything recently??

Rav Ovadia and Rav Scheinberg video

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rain and Economy Prayers

Arutz Sheva:
( A prayer rally will take place at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Western Wall. The prayer rally has been called because of the low amount of rain this winter and the difficult economic situation.

Rabbi Mordechai Eilyahu and Rabbi Dov Lior called on the public to attend the rally. Rabbi Benayahu Shmueli and Rabbi Eliyahu Abergil will attend the prayer rally.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sign of the Times

Also from the Kuntrus מצפים לישועה:

I heard from the holy rabbi Rav Menahem Mendel of Kotzk Zt"l who was saying how the Geonim wanted to bring Mashiah in a certain way, but were not successful. Afterwards, the Ba'alei Tosafot wanted to bring Mashiah, but were not successful. Afterwards, the Poskim also wanted to bring Mashiah, but were not successful. Afterwards, the [mussar] preachers and tzadikim wanted to bring him in a certain way, but were not successful. He concluded by saying: "It appears to me that Mashiah will come at a time that the Jewish people will be very busy in thought due to worries about their livelihood and their brains will be confused - that's when Mashiah will come."

Dvar Torah for Vayeishev (or Vayehi or Shemot)

I found this in Hebrew in מצפים לישועה by ישראל זינגער and I'll do my best to translate it.

The writer said: I found in קדושת ישראל a nice idea about our topic [the Geula] of which it is fit and proper to "place it on the king's table" [i.e. give it prominence] and this is what he said: I'm copying here something nice that I saw in יסוד העיקרים in שער כ"ג בתבנית יד, and this is what he said:

Haza"l said (Pesahim 56): Yaakov wanted to reveal the קץ - End time to his children and the Shechina was removed from him. He said, "Perhaps Has Veshalom there is a defect in my descendants?" His sons [then] said "Shema Yisrael". Yaakov Avinu opened and said, "ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד".

I saw from one wise man who explained this based on what's explained in the writings of the ARIZA"L - that the Egyptian exile was due to the sin of the selling of Yosef, and the [brothers caused a] defect in the name "אהי-ה", whose gematria is 21 - and there were 10 tribes - 10 x 21 = 210 [the number of years the Israelites were in Egypt]. The verse says [by the episode of the burning bush] "וירא ה' כי סר לראות" [and Hashem saw that he had turned to see] - since Moshe Rabeinu ע"ה thought that their sin was in the Tetragrammaton, whose value is 26, and 10 x 26 = 260 [the gematria of סר] because Moshe Rabeinu did not know the name "אהי-ה" yet, and so he thought that their time to be redeemed had not arrived yet. So Hashem told him "אהיה אשר אהיה", which means that Hashem saw that he "turned (סר) to see" [which means] he [Moshe Rabeinu] saw that they should be in Egypt for 260 years. That's why Hashem informed him of the name "אהי-ה" and that's the name in which they made a defect - and that time [of 210 years] has already arrived.

However, there's a difficulty: only 9 tribes took part in the sale of Yosef since Re'uven wasn't there at the time. So, according to this [what we said above], 9 x 21 = 189 and they should have been redeemed in the year 190!

The answer is based on the Tanhuma and the Zohar that they [Yosef's brothers] joined the Shechina with them in this act so we count an additional 21 years because of Him כביכול - so now we nicely have the number 210.

This is the idea of the עשרה הרוגי מלכות who were [punished] due to the sale of Yosef. Hashem brought one because of Him, similar to the statement, "Bring upon Me an atonement." The Kabbalists say that each one of the עשרה הרוגי מלכות was a spark of another tribe, but Rabbi Akiva was because of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. And this is what was meant by Haza"l's statement, "שיצאה נשמתו באחד" [of which the simple explanation is that R' Akiva's soul departed at the word "Ehad" of the Shema] - because of The One - that is Hakadosh Baruch Hu. And that is the Kabbalistic meaning of the verse [talking about tithing animals] "העשירי יהיה קדש להשם" [the tenth will be holy for Hashem] since the tenth of the עשרה הרוגי מלכות was holy to Hashem.

And it appears to me that this is the intent of Haza"l who said about R' Akiva that the combed his flesh with iron combs, and the ministering angels said to Hashem, "This is Torah and this is its reward?!", whereby Hashem said to them, כך עלתה במחשבה לפני "Such has entered My thought before Me." This is an unbelievable [answer that Hashem answered them] since we could ask the same question on this statement itself "This is Torah and this is its reward?!" We could answer by saying that the angels only knew about the 9 tribes - they didn't know that the tribes joined [the Shechina] together with them - so they were wondering "Why was R' Akiva chosen since he was not from them or their descendants [as he is a descendant of converts]?!" To this Hashem answered כך עלתה במחשבה - such has entered My thought - that this will be a rectification לפני - before Me - for the fact that they joined Me also into their sale.

And this is what Haza"l said by Yaakov Avinu - since he knew that the defect was made in the name "אהי-ה" and he thought that they would be in exile for 189 years since Re'uven was not in their sale, and he didn't know about their joining the Shechina together with them. So he wanted to reveal the קץ - End time to them - that is, that they'd be redeemed in the year קץ which is the gematria of 190. However, when he saw in a heavenly vision that they would suffer some more until the year 210, he suspected that [his sons] had some other sins [not accounted for]. That's why he told them, "Perhaps you have a defect besides this?" The tribes then answered him in one voice and revealed to him the secret of joining the Shechina together with them. So, the elder [Yaakov Avinu] gave praise and thanks to Hashem for His humility, since [Yaakov Avinu originally] blamed himself as if he caused a defect like [his sons] that would require a rectification.

So this is the explanation of the statement of Haza"l: Yaakov wanted to reveal to his children that they would be redeemed in the year 190 [קץ] since he thought that 9 x 21 = 189 [is the length of the exile], and he didn't know that the Shechina was joined together with them. And that's what it means "ונסתלקה ממנה שכינה" that the Shechina was removed from him - the explanation is that the idea that the Shechina was together with them at the time that they made the vow - that was hidden from him. So when he saw that they would be enslaved more [than 189 years], he said "Maybe there's another defect." So the sons answered "Shema Yisrael - Listen, O father, the root of the matter - Hashem, our G-d was joined in on the act since we joined Him together with us. Therefore, you must add 21 years for Him too. Then, Yaakov Avinu saw that the calculation was exact so he gave thanks to Hashem for His humility for joining with them as a partner in their act, and said "ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד" that it's fit to bless His holy name for his kingship and the honor of His glory.

And this is the expression of the Tanna in the Haggadda, ענו במלוכה פודה כהלכה - an explanation is since He is humble by joining Himself together with the Minyan of tribes, to count Him too, similar to the statement, "Bring upon Me an atonement," and the calculation nicely comes out to 210, and that's פודה כהלכה that the time of redemption is Kahalacha. This is because צדיקיו יאמרו לו His tzadikim will tell Him "לך ולך" - this is Yaakov, the chosen of the forefathers, who said "אף לך" - even to You and because of You did You calculate the redemption time, so there is no other sin, and therefore, the calculation is exact. לך ה' הממלכה to You, Hashem is the kingdom - to You it is fit and there is none like You.

He then quotes the sefer גאולת ישראל, who says a similar thing and fills in more details, ע"ש

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sar Shel Eisav's Last Stand

The Sar Shel Eisav seems to be working overtime to prevent its own demise. It keeps hitting the thigh of Yaakov, wounding him, but not more than that. It knows that it soon will be destroyed, but is willing to take as many of Yaakov as it can along with it. הצילני נא מיד אחי מיד עשו.

To see what I'm talking about, see the following:

But the Sar Shel Eisav has some competition. The Sar Shel Yishmael also wants in on the action. We know that the nation (or perhaps the archangel) of Yishmael rejected the Torah because לא תגנוב is written therein. The nation whose motto is ידו בכל cannot possibly follow this Torah precept. And yet, possibly the biggest חילול השם involving גניבה in our lifetime has just taken place involving one of us. (The big נס is that the Blago coverage has overshadowed this news - at least in my area of the world).

May Hashem eradicate the S"M and Sar Shel Yishmael from among us speedily in our days.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

What is a day?

In a previous post dealing with the Midrash that deals with Eisav selling "1 day" to Yaakov Avinu, I took the assumption that 1 day is 1000 years, as that is mentioned by the commentaries on the page.

Others left interesting comments in the comments section there, ע"ש.

Another alternative explanation, which I have no source or Mesora for (and please let me know if it's Emet or even Sheker - I won't be insulted), is the following:

We know that שית אלפין שנין הוי עלמא - the world is 6000 years in its existence. We also know that there are 176 verses in תהלים קיט (Psalm 119 - also known as תמניא אפי). I contend that each verse of this chapter corresponds to 1 "day". (What's the significance of 176 days? I don't know. Perhaps, something to do with פלג עדן. Or perhaps not. I don't know.)

Note that the statement of the תורה that talks about the sale of the first-born rights to Yaakov Avinu is מכרה כיום, with a כף הדמיון, which means that the sale is approximately a day (as in כחצות הלילה) - not exactly a day.

If you divide 6000/176, you get 34.090909, or 34 and one-eleventh - pretty close to 34. Yaakov Avinu was away from Eisav right after the ברכות were given - for 34 years: 14 years learning in Yeshivat Eiver, 14 years working for his wives, and 6 years working for the sheep. This is the "1 day" that was sold to him - 34 years of שלוה without Eisav around. These 34 years encompass the entire Parshat Vayeitzei.

A possible remez to this idea that the תמניא אפי alludes to the 6000 years of history can be found in the fact that we have a סימן for the 8 times in the chapter the word עדותיך has its vav pronounced. The סימן is "דמה בן פרץ" - standing for the starting letters of the 8 verses where this is true. This could be a hint to the fact that throughout history, we've been waiting and hoping for "Ben Peretz" - i.e., the Mashiah. (I saw this explanation for דמה בן פרץ somewhere, possibly the Hatam Sofer.)

Some interesting outgrowths of this idea:
  • The gemara says that a Talmid Hacham needs שמינית שבשמינית (eighth of an eighth) of ga'ava. The simple explanation is that 1/64th of ga'ava is acceptable. However, there are 2 somewhat well-known alternative explanations. The first is that it refers to the eighth verse of the eighth perasha of the Torah, namely: קָטֹנְתִּי מִכֹּל הַחֲסָדִים, וּמִכָּל-הָאֱמֶת, אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ, אֶת-עַבְדֶּךָ. The second is the eighth verse of the eighth set of verses in the תמניא אפי, namely: חַסְדְּךָ יְהוָה, מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ; חֻקֶּיךָ לַמְּדֵנִי, the 64th verse of the chapter. If you take 34 1/11 * (64 - 1), you get 2147. So, from the year 2147 until the year 2181 are the 64th "day". This is exactly the same period in which Yaakov Avinu got the blessings from his father (2171), which started the period of "כל החסדים" that he said "קטנתי" on. This could also be why the verse first states חסדך ה' מלאה הארץ - referring to the kindness of the blessings, which is about מטל השמים ומשמני הארץ. Then, Yaakov went to the Yeshiva of Eiver - thus, חקיך למדני.
  • The gemara says that the letter ת symbolizes אמת. In the תמניא אפי, the letter ת starts out with the verse תִּקְרַב רִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ יְהוָה; כִּדְבָרְךָ הֲבִינֵנִי, which is very apropos since it can possibly be translated as "Let my rejoicing approach before You, Hashem". Why is this significant? This verse is the 169th verse of the chapter. 34 1/11 * (169 - 1) = 5727, the year of the six-day war. The next verse תָּבוֹא תְּחִנָּתִי לְפָנֶיךָ; כְּאִמְרָתְךָ, הַצִּילֵנִי is more of a supplication, and asking Hashem for salvation. This is because 34 1/11 * (170 - 1) = 5761, the year of September 11th. The אמת started at the six-day war, but had soon disappeared afterwards during this period of עקבתא דמשיחא, as it says "והאמת תהא נעדרת". Let us hope that the הצלה will arrive soon, as Hashem had said.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Victims' Family Funds

I've seen 3 so far over the Internet (if I'm alerted to more, I'll BE"H post them):

  • To help the family of R' Leibish Teitelbaum (HY"D), click here.
  • To help the family of R' Bentzion Kruman (HY"D), click here.
  • To help the family of R' Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg (HY"D) and rebuild Chabad of Mumbai, click here.
  • Updated:To help the family of Norma Shvartzblat-Rabinovich, click here.