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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Minha Gedola of Elef Hashishi

Shirat Devorah quotes a commenter on
According to Chazal, the world is six thousand years, and then one thousand years of Olam Haba. This compares to six days of the week, with the seventh day as Shabbos.

Yemos Hamashiach would be the end of the “six days of the week”, or Friday afternoon, as we prepare for Shabbos. Yemos Hamashiach would be Olam Hazeh, yet on a platform very close to Olam Haba. So too, Friday afternoon, it is still weekday, yet we are almost Shabbosdik.

If we were to figure out each year of “Elef HaShishi”, and where it corresponds to the hour of the day on “Friday”, divide 1000 by 24, you get 41.66 This means that every 41.66 years corresponds to one hour on the Seven Day anology.

The sun begins to set one half hour after Chatzos (according to Halacha). So Friday afternoon, one half hour after Chatzos, we are beginning the countdown to Shabbos. One half hour after Chatzos is 18.5 hours after the beginning of Friday (Shkiah Thursday night).

Follow me…….. As we said, every 41.66 years corresponds to one hour. 18.5 hours on Friday corresponds to 770 years in the Elef HaShishi. (18.5 x 41.66 = 770.83) Which means that 5,770 is when we begin “Friday afternoon one half hour after Chatzos”, or the countdown to Olam Haba, or Yemos Hamashiach.

Watch for fast moving events on the world stage in the coming months.
770.83 years - assuming the world was created in Tishri - would correspond to Rosh Hodesh Av of this coming year.

One half-hour after Hatzot is the time for Minha Gedola. The Shulhan Aruch brings down a Mahloket whether the admonition of doing work on Erev Shabbat ("one who does so will not see a סימן ברכה from that work") is from Minha Gedola on or from Minha Ketana on. Even though most Aharonim hold that it's from Minha Ketana on, many great Rishonim and Aharonim (like the טור and the ב"ח) hold that it's from Minha Gedola.

If we apply it to the 6000 years, we can say, perhaps, that the aura of Shabbat is approaching starting from Rosh Hodesh Av, 5770. Therefore, one who thinks that we can still conduct ourselves as "business as usual", will not see a סימן ברכה from such conduct.

גילוי has an interesting take on this whole concept from the Kol HaTor. He says that there is a 24-hour counting and a 12-hour counting. He made a spreadsheet that shows this. According to the spreadsheet's 12-hour counting, Rosh Hodesh Av, 5770 would be smack in the middle of Adam's getting paired with Havah. What this means is open to interpretation, but גילוי says it has to do with the Nesirah that he explains at the end of that post.

IOC, ABC (Anywhere But Chicago)

I'm rooting against holding the Olympics in Chicago in 2016.

The only reason to root for it is because it puts a spotlight on the great city of Chicago.

And that's exactly the reason to root against it - because it puts a spotlight on the great city of Chicago. We don't need international attention and everything that comes with it - terrorism attempts, beefed-up security requirements at all Jewish institutions, strange people from countries that are not friendly to the U.S. or Israel descending upon the city, etc. As a resident here, I would be very concerned about these issues.

And that's not to mention the higher taxes which are sure to come as a result. Mayor Daley pretty much promised that he'd pay for any leftover costs. How? Taxes, of course. Our city + county + state taxes are already among the nation's highest, if not the highest. The Olympics would make those numbers astronomical.

I hope Mashiah will come by then, but if ח"ו, he does not, we can ill-afford this hullabaloo called the Olympics.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Halacha in the News

  • Organ donation - Rabbanut vs. Rav Vosner
  • My kids wore crocs on Yom Kippur despite the suggestion by Rav Elyashiv not to do so. כבודו במקומו מונח, I have other rabbis I can rely upon - plus, I doubt Rav Elyashiv was issuing a straight-out Issur.
  • Regarding Shabbat elevators, Rav Nissim Karelitz and Rav Chaim Kanievsky have forbidden the use of Shabbat elevators on Shabbat, and Rav Elyashiv apparently agreed. However, YWN clarified Rav Elyashiv's statement. Rav Yisrael Rozen, admitting that he's not a bar plugta of these great rabbis, nevertheless disagrees and wants to get together with them and explain his reasoning why they should be permitted.
  • Lulavim in Israel may be coming from Hamas-controlled Gaza in order to keep prices down. One of those no-win situations.
  • Not really contemporary halacha, but the whole process/ceremony of Motzi Shem Ra in the Torah may need further analysis by the beit din of 23 (when Dinei Kenasot/Dinei Nefashot will be reestablished בב"א) due to Chinese technology. Even if ופרשו השמלה and ואלה בתולי בתי are figurative, at least it needs further inspection according to ר' אליעזר בן יעקב's view (who says שמלה ממש).

Qom to Think of It...

My last post explained how the Iranian city of Qom may be derived from בקום עלינו אדם.

I'm now going to milk this for all its worth.

Over Yom Kippur, I found a couple more Pesukim that have the Qom-קום connection:

This one applies to today:

Yonah 1:6:

מַה-לְּךָ נִרְדָּם; קוּם, קְרָא אֶל-אֱלֹהֶיךָ

Why are you sleeping, O world? Qom is being built! Go call out to your G-d!

The next one will be a hopeful headline for the future.

Tehillim 36:13:

שָׁם נָפְלוּ, פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן; דֹּחוּ, וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ קוּם

There the workers of iniquity have fallen. They have been thrust down, and they were not able to build weapons at Qom.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

This Yom Kippur, Qom Back to Hashem

The Gemara in Megilla 11a:

רב נחמן בר יצחק פתח לה פתחא להא פרשתא מהכא (תהילים קכד) שיר המעלות [לדוד] לולי ה' שהיה לנו יאמר נא ישראל לולי ה' שהיה לנו בקום עלינו אדם אדם ולא מלך

When Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak started to lecture on Meglilat Esther, he would always use the following verse when opening his lecture: (Tehillim 124) A Song of Ascents; of David. 'If it had not been the LORD who was for us', let Israel now say; If it had not been the LORD who was for us, when men rose up against us - man, but not a king.

As Rashi there points out, this is referring to the non-king Haman, who rose against us trying to wipe us off the map - להשמיד להרוג ולאבד את כל היהודים מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים - as we say in Al HaNisim.
On Yom HaKipurim, 5770, the day that is "like Purim", Haman's spiritual descendant will be רחמנא לצלן conducting war games, whose sole purpose is (בר מינן that such a thing should happen) להשמיד להרוג ולאבד את כל היהודים מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים. And he is no king - he didn't even win his own election!

It's interesting to note that Iran's new nuclear facility (that the U.S. and Europe accuse that its sole purpose is for nuclear weapons and not for civilian purposes) is located in the city of Qom. Perhaps, this is the meaning of:
קום עלינו אדם" A non-king guy is going against us - threatening us with Qom.

But don't forget about the first half of the verse - לולא ה' שהיה לנו - Hashem is rooting on our side. He's rooting for our Teshuva - especially during the Aseret Yemei Teshuva - and especially on Yom HaKippurim, the culmination of these days.

And on that note, I hope that if I offended anyone בין בגלגול זה ובין בגלגול אחר - בין בבלוג זה ובין בבלוג אחר - that I am truly sorry and I hope that you find it in your hearts to forgive me.

I wish everyone an easy and meaningful fast, and Gemar Hatima Tova.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Ha'azinu and the Holocaust

The Holocaust made international headlines a lot lately, with Mr. I'llGetDinFromGod denying it existed again, and Israeli PM Netanyahu showing the world how stupid the Iranian president really is.

Of course, nothing is a coincidence. According to Rav Noigershal's Holocaust shiur (in Hebrew), many of the events of the Holocaust were mentioned in the Torah - in Parshat Ha'azinu. (This makes up the first half of the video. The second half of the video talks about the famous "PurimFest 1946".)

Shabbat Shalom and Gemar Hatima Tova. Yom Kippur Message

Cute and pointed.
Having embedding issues - but here's a link to it.
Update: Here it is from WeJew:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fear Before Judgement

When I was in Yeshiva in Israel, my Rosh Yeshiva would always give a "shmuez" before Rosh Hashana with the same theme. The theme is that every year, Hashem does something in the world immediately before Rosh Hashana that strikes fear in the world, and thus, we say ...ובכן תן פחדך. This also is used as a catalyst for Teshuva, he says.

The examples he used at the time were Saddam's invasion of Kuwait along with hurricanes and other world events. It wouldn't take much guessing to guess what he chose as the fearful event that occurred before Rosh Hashana 5762.

This year, barring something occurring on Erev Rosh Hashana itself, we have more of a worry of the future than fear caused by a major world event. We have a worry of:

All these worries are nothing compared to the fear we need to have of Hashem before our yearly judgement, but they're used to put us into a fearful mindset to help us do Teshuva before the Yom Hadin. Once Rosh Hashana comes, however, we should not worry or be afraid. We need to dress in our best clothes to show confidence that we will come out meritorious in judgement. והבוטח בה' חסד יסובבנו.

May this year of תש"ע stand for תהא שנת עשירות and not ח"ו stand for עניות.
May this year of תש"ע mean either "You will save" or "You will accept our Avoda" as in וַיִּשַׁע יְהוָה, אֶל-הֶבֶל וְאֶל-מִנְחָתוֹ
May this be a year of ישועות for all of כלל ישראל, including the ישועה - meaning the coming of Mashiah Tzidkeinu, as we sing on Rosh Hashana:

וֶאֱמֹר לְצִיּוֹן בָּא זְמַן הַיְשׁוּעָה יִנּוֹן וְאֵלִיָּה אֲנִי שׁוֹלֵחַ

Wishing everybody: תזכו לשנים רבות נעימות וטובות and a כתיבה וחתימה טובה and a Shana Tova!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do you do Melacha Between Candle-Lighting and Sheki'ah?

One major difference between Sepharadim and Ashkenazim is whether lighting candles Friday night is an automatic acceptance of Shabbat or not.
Another major difference that is related to this is how to light candles - do we say the beracha before or after lighting candles?

Ashkenazim hold that the acceptance of Shabbat is immediately upon candle lighting - and not only that, but the acceptance occurs at the recitation of the Beracha. Therefore, Ashkenazic women who light candles may not do Melacha following candle-lighting. Also, Ashkenazic women light the candles, cover their eyes, and then recite the Beracha so as not to do the Melacha of lighting the candles when Shabbat has already been accepted upon reciting the Beracha.

Sepharadim hold that the acceptance of Shabbat is at Sheki'ah - not when the candles are lit. (I've read elsewhere that this is only if she lights at or around the normal time, but if she lights a lot earlier than the normal time, then she is showing that she accepts Shabbat earlier from her actions.) Therefore, Sepharadim may do Melacha after candle-lighting. Also, Sephardic women say the Beracha and then light candles, just like every other Birkat Hamitzvot, which are said עובר לעשייתן. (BTW, the Ben Ish Hai holds differently in this matter.)

However, Rav Ovadia Yosef says that it's "טוב" (good) for Sephardic women to be concerned about the other viewpoint, so women should make a verbal תנאי (stipulation) once a year that they are not accepting Shabbat upon the lighting of the candles.

Sources: here and here.

I've read that the ideal time for women to make this תנאי is Erev Rosh Hashana.

As with all halachic posts, ask your LOR for what you should do.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Bunch of Stuff

  • Arutz Sheva reports of a big Kiddush Hashem that Yeshiva boys did not take money they were offered for footage of Asaf Ramon ע"ה's plane crash.
  • Jpost reports about a new organization called Hiddush formed to break the Orthodox "monopoly" in Israel. I wish them the best of failures. As the חת"ם סופר says: חידוש אסור מן התורה (or close enough)
  • Tomer Devorah points out a new Mashiah blog called "Jewish End of Days".
  • I don't know how long this has been out, but I just noticed it: The halachot from the book Yalkut Yosef

Simana Milta for Everything we Eat

The custom of many Jews is to have different foods on the table for the Rosh Hashana night meals (and some do this even for day meals) that show a good omen for that year. 2 different gemarot talk about it - 1 says to see the foods, while 1 says to eat the foods, so us being Jews, how can we see food and not eat it? So we're "Mahmirim" to eat the food like the second gemara.

The main foods mentioned in the gemara are:
  • dates
  • leek
  • beets or spinach
  • black-eyed-peas or beans
  • zucchini or gourd

Others that have been traditionally added:
  • fish
  • fish head (or, for the brave, Rosh Keves)
  • pomegranates
  • apples dipped in honey or sugar
Various communities have other foods as well.

And the tradition is to say (as the Ladino-speaking Jews call them) the "Yehi Ratzones" - a special Yehi Ratzon for each food item we eat that blesses us, based on a play-on-words with the name of the food item we're about to eat. So, for example, when we eat dates (תמרים), we ask that our enemies be destroyed (שיתמו אויבינו...). The same with all the foods.

Later, some interesting variations of this practice have evolved. For years, we've always been amused by the De Sola Pool Rosh Hashana Mahzor's English "translation" of the Yehi Ratzon for leek:
Like as we eat this leek, may our luck never lack in the year to come.

There's also the semi-famous joke to eat lettuce, half of a raisin and celery altogether, and to recite: "Let us have a raise in salary."

However, I just heard a practice that I never heard before. That is, that on every food that you eat on Rosh Hashana, you should say a Yehi Ratzon on that, if you can come up with a fitting one. For example, if you have meat (בשר), you should say: יהי רצון...שנתבשר בשורות טובות. Or, if you have couscous, you should say שיסתכסכו אויבינו (or maybe he means שיתקשקשו אויבינו). So said Rav Shmueli in his latest Shiur (at the 57:24 mark).

Friday, September 11, 2009

Avodah Zara Bizmaneinu

Norman Podhoretz in WSJ (hat tip: Mashiach is Coming):
The upshot is that in virtually every instance of a clash between Jewish law and contemporary liberalism, it is the liberal creed that prevails for most American Jews. Which is to say that for them, liberalism has become more than a political outlook. It has for all practical purposes superseded Judaism and become a religion in its own right. And to the dogmas and commandments of this religion they give the kind of steadfast devotion their forefathers gave to the religion of the Hebrew Bible. For many, moving to the right is invested with much the same horror their forefathers felt about conversion to Christianity.

All this applies most fully to Jews who are Jewish only in an ethnic sense. Indeed, many such secular Jews, when asked how they would define "a good Jew," reply that it is equivalent to being a good liberal.

which clarifies why we are in the state we're in today:

Parshat Vayeilech:

וְאָנֹכִי, הַסְתֵּר אַסְתִּיר פָּנַי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, עַל כָּל-הָרָעָה, אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה: כִּי פָנָה, אֶל-אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים

And I will surely hide My face in that day for all the evil which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods.

Also, see R' Elchonon Wasserman's עקבתא דמשיחא (p. 16 in the pdf) for a similar idea.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Rav Ovadia: Mashiah Will be Poseik Like Sepharadim

According to VIN News and YNet, Rav Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a said that Mashiah will rule like the Sepharadim and all will follow the Minhag of the Sepharadim when Mashiah comes. (You can see the video here at about the 50:00 minute mark.)

This is, of course, something that is obvious, and should be known to all already.

But for all you non-believers out there, let me attempt to prove it to you.

(הספרדי = 359 = משיח (עם הכולל
אשכנזי = 388 = למשיח (meaning the Ashkenazi will go to Mashiah, for the Sephardic Psak Halacha)

מלאה הארץ דעה את ה' = 878 = כמרן בית יוסף

But seriously, anyone who faults Rav Ovadia for this statement (besides the foolishness of faulting a Gadol Hador) is only fooling themselves. There is not one single Jewish group that thinks that the Psak that they currently follow will not be the Psak that will remain after Mashiah comes (barring, perhaps, some Ashkenazi Kitniyot-on-Pesah-eater-wannabes). Everyone thinks that their own particular minhag will remain. Otherwise, why would you hold that way now if you know that it will be changed later? Therefore, what he said is no different than what everyone else imagines in their heart, and has probably said from time to time.

(Also, even though there is a famous Haza"l that says we'll follow Beit Shamai's ruling in the future, I'm guessing that that will not happen immediately upon Mashiah's arrival.)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Impressive Wedding writes about (and shows pictures of) the wedding of Rav Ovadia's granddaughter (daughter of Rav Yitzhak Yosef - who is the author of Yalkut Yosef) and the son of Rav Yehuda Deri, the chief rabbi of Be'er Sheva.
The list of Kibbudim is very impressive, and the fact that both the bride's and the groom's fathers published a sefer each to hand out in honor of the occasion makes it another "I wish I were there" moment.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

More Links of Interest