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Friday, January 29, 2010

10 Miracles at the Yam Suf

Pirkei Avot 5:3 (some say 5:4):

עשרה ניסים נעשו לאבותינו במצריים, ועשרה על הים; עשר מכות הביא הקדוש ברוך הוא על המצריים במצריים, ועשרה על הים.

10 miracles were performed for our forefathers in Egypt, and 10 at the sea; Hashem brought 10 plagues upon the Egyptians in Egypt, and 10 at the sea.

Ribbi Ovadia MiBartenura explains that the 10 miracles in Egypt were the fact that the Israelites were saved from the 10 plagues.
Regarding the 10 miracles at the sea, he enumerates the 10 miracles like this:
  1. The water split
  2. The sea became like a tent and the Israelites entered therein
  3. The ground of the sea was totally dry - there was no mud
  4. The same ground became muddy for the Egyptians
  5. The water that froze didn't freeze as 1 chunk, but rather as patterned bricks
  6. The frozen water became as hard as a rock
  7. The sea split into 12 paths - 1 for each tribe
  8. The walls of frozen water were transparent so the tribes could see each other
  9. Sweet, drinkable water came out of these walls
  10. After they each drank enough, the leftover water would freeze up into piles

The 10 plagues at the sea correspond to the 10 "downfalls" mentioned in the Shirat Hayam:
  1. רָמָה בַיָּם hath He thrown into the sea
  2. יָרָה בַיָּם hath He cast into the sea
  3. טֻבְּעוּ בְיַם-סוּף are sunk in the Red Sea
  4. תְּהֹמֹת יְכַסְיֻמוּ The deeps cover them
  5. יָרְדוּ בִמְצוֹלֹת they went down into the depths
  6. תִּרְעַץ אוֹיֵב dasheth in pieces the enemy
  7. תַּהֲרֹס קָמֶיךָ Thou overthrowest them that rise up against Thee
  8. יֹאכְלֵמוֹ, כַּקַּשׁ it consumeth them as stubble
  9. כִּסָּמוֹ יָם the sea covered them
  10. צָלְלוּ, כַּעוֹפֶרֶת they sank as lead

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rabbanim Meeting

Rav Shteinman meets Rav Amnon Yitzhak

Rav Batzri gets the KKL to plant a Shiv'at Haminim Forest

Shas' Council of Torah Sages meets again regarding joining the WZO

Monday, January 25, 2010

Primary Elections Coming Up

I'm not big on endorsing candidates, but if anyone lives in Illinois' 10th Congressional District, Dr. Arie Friedman looks interesting. He's a war-vet and doctor, but I especially like his Israel Position Paper. He sounds like he could be in the National Union if he lived in Israel.

Lamnatzei'ah Mizmor LeDavid - Musical Interlude

Here's a song I made up (not the words obviously, but the tune) and enjoy singing. It comes from Tehillim chapter 20.

I decided to share it with the blog readers.

Admittedly, too many oyoyoys near the end of the song, but you may like it anyways.

This chapter of Tehillim is recited daily when Tahanunim are recited, and is also generally recited during times of distress for Am Yisrael. Let's hope that we have no more such times and that Mashiah Tzidkeinu comes immediately.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

6 Days of Hoshech

Paraphrased from the Ben Ish Hai Sephardic Haggada, which quotes the Ben Ish Hayyil, vol. 3, derushim on Shabbat Hagadol, Derush 3 (which I don't own and unfortunately only has the first 2 volumes, so I couldn't verify)

The midrash says that first 3 days of darkness were dark, but the next 3 days of darkness contained palpable darkness, where no one could even move.

As we know, one of Hashem's days correspond to 1000 years. The Ben Ish Hai writes that the first 2 millennia were full of palpable darkness. Then, in the third millenium, Avraham Avinu taught the world monotheism, and the darkness wasn't as thick and palpable. Hashem's presence was felt throughout this period - the darkness was no longer felt. This not-so-thick darkness lasted throughout the third millennium (which contained the giving of the Torah and the building of the first Beit Hamikdash), the fourth millennium (which contained both Batei Mikdash and the Tannaic era) and the fifth millennium (which contained the Amoraim, Geonim, and early Rishonim, including Rashi and Rambam). In the sixth millennium, however, the darkness became thick again, as only few (like the Ariza"l and others) had the divine inspiration that made Hashem's presence felt constantly. So, millennia 1,2, and 6 have the thick darkness, while millennia 3,4, and 5 had not-such-thick darkness.

In the darkness, we are blinded to think that material possessions have value. When Mashiah comes, however, ולכל בני ישראל היה אור במושבותם - to the Jewish people, there was light in their dwellings - we will be guided by Hashem's light to know what we should truly be valuing.

I remember a devar torah I heard as a kid that the letters that come before the letters that comprise the word וימש (from וימש חשך) spell out הטלר Hitler, ימ"ש. With the Ben Ish Hai's derasha in mind, we can see how the Holocaust was the epitome of palpable darkness of the sixth millenium. It's taken 65 years for the sun to rise. Let's hope that the full sunrise occurs soon.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti and the 10 Plagues

(Updated with translations - thanks to the commenters)

Dam (blood) - It says: וְלֹא-יָכְלוּ מִצְרַיִם, לִשְׁתּוֹת מַיִם מִן-הַיְאֹר and the Egyptians could not drink water from the river
There is a major water shortage in Haiti

Tzefardei'a (frogs) - It says: וְעָלוּ וּבָאוּ בְּבֵיתֶךָ, וּבַחֲדַר מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְעַל-מִטָּתֶךָ; וּבְבֵית עֲבָדֶיךָ וּבְעַמֶּךָ, וּבְתַנּוּרֶיךָ וּבְמִשְׁאֲרוֹתֶיךָ which shall go up and come into thy house, and into thy bed-chamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading-troughs.
The earthquake spread to indoors, which is where it caused the most damage.

Kinim (lice) - It says: וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּם אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh: 'This is the finger of God'
Everyone (especially insurance companies) admits that an earthquake is an act of G-d.

Arov (wild animals) - It says: וְשַׂמְתִּי פְדֻת, בֵּין עַמִּי וּבֵין עַמֶּךָ And I will put a division between My people and thy people
Israel was singled out as doing the best work and made a huge Kiddush Hashem

Dever (pestilence) - It says: וַיִּשְׁלַח פַּרְעֹה--וְהִנֵּה לֹא-מֵת מִמִּקְנֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל, עַד-אֶחָד And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the cattle of the Israelites dead.
Par'oh (Pharaoh) tried to find Hashem's words to be false, so he sent messengers to check out if any of the Israelites' cattle died. Similarly, the nations try to find fault with Israel's actions in Haiti, but are just grasping at non-existent straws.

Shehin (boils) - It says: וַיְהִי, שְׁחִין אֲבַעְבֻּעֹת, פֹּרֵחַ, בָּאָדָם וּבַבְּהֵמָה and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast.
The infections were spreading, and unless people went to Israel's hospital, they didn't get the needed amputations.

Barad (hail) - It says: כָּבֵד מְאֹד--אֲשֶׁר לֹא-הָיָה כָמֹהוּ בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, מֵאָז הָיְתָה לְגוֹי very grievous, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
This is turning out to be the deadliest earthquake in the Western Hemisphere (with 1970 Peru having 66,000 deaths).

Arbeh (locusts) - It says: וַיֹּאכַל אֶת-כָּל-עֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ וְאֵת כָּל-פְּרִי הָעֵץ, אֲשֶׁר הוֹתִיר הַבָּרָד; וְלֹא-נוֹתַר כָּל-יֶרֶק בָּעֵץ וּבְעֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה, בְּכָל-אֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; and there remained not any green thing, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
There is a major food shortage in Haiti.

Hoshech (darkness) - It says: לֹא-רָאוּ אִישׁ אֶת-אָחִיו, וְלֹא-קָמוּ אִישׁ מִתַּחְתָּיו--שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days
People were trapped under the rubble for days in the darkness.

Makat Bechorot (plague of the firstborn) - It says: וַתְּהִי צְעָקָה גְדֹלָה, בְּמִצְרָיִם: כִּי-אֵין בַּיִת, אֲשֶׁר אֵין-שָׁם מֵת and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
There is a tremedous amount of dead and mourning for the dead. Practically every household was affected.

Just as Yetziat Mitzrayim occurred immediately after the plagues, may the Ge'ula Sheleima be close at hand.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mashiah Message from Baba Sali

Rafi G. brings us the following from בחדרי חרדים:
Baba Baruch then says that the Baba Sali appeared to him in a dream less than 2 weeks ago. In this dream the Baba Sali told him that Mashiach will come this year, and that we should prepare and be prepared for his arrival.
May the dream come true.

Earthquakes, Dybbuks, Mashiah, Oh My!

Yochanan Gordon has this to say and more about recent events:
It seems that people among us are forever finding excuses why G-d can’t bring Moshiach and why there can’t be a dybbuk and I believe this attitude causes more pain and anguish to G-d than anything else.

And he concludes with this:
We should be personally moved by the events that have been transpiring of late. They are meant to arouse us individually and collectively to recommit ourselves in areas that we may have been neglecting and to continue to build upon those areas that we have been observant in. But above all, why should G-d want to bring Moshiach if no one wants him? It is time that we open our eyes and ears and acknowledge the message that has been sent our way and in a showing of global unity finally call it from the depths that we have had enough and G-d will respond in kind - because that is all He is waiting for.

Check out the whole article.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Fascinating Limud Zechut for ZAKA

I was looking at the comments here and here.

Apparently, there are some people who are upset about ZAKA's desecration of Shabbat for the non-bnei-berit in Haiti since mishum eiva is only a heter for a shevut.
Some want to be melameid zechut by quoting poskim that they can rely on - namely the Hatam Sofer, who says that mishum eiva applies to de'oraitas and the me'iri, who says that piku'ah nefesh applies to benei no'ah too.

But some of the most innovative and fascinating Limudei Zechut that I found in the comments are to follow.

This one I found on comments 94, 100 and 103 in the VIN site (links added and some typos corrected):
Yesterday at 08:46 PM
Geshmak Says: I think the Haitians are from the Aseret Hashvatim.
Anonymous Says: Reply to #94 Show Quote

on what basis do you say that?
Anonymous Says: Reply to #100 Show Quote

The Igbo tribe of Nigeria,among which lived a number of jews, were among the african tribal groups who originally populated what is now Haiti over a thousand years ago, The igbo jews have claimed descent to several of the shafatim inlcuding Ephraim, Naphtali, Menasheh, Levi, Zevulun and Gad.

And here's another one - comment 28 from the Matzav site:

28. Comment from sg
Time January 17, 2010 at 6:12 PM

Unfortunately, hardly anyone commenting here, understands Halacha, that goes for both those who decry and those who are Melamed Zchus on Zaka. The bottom line is Zaka, just like Hatzola is a great organization, doing tremendous work and being Mekadesh Shem Shomayim. Zaka, certainly has a top notch Posekim who have already given it guidelines of exactly what it can and cannot do under the various circumstances that arise. The comment about Reb Moshe’s Heter is not correct or germane. I cannot spell out the entire Halacha here, but I will leave you with one historically based thought on the Halacha. When the French ruled Haiti in the 18th Century, it was all plantations with black slaves. The slaves revolted and made their own country about 1800. Some of the plantation owners were Jewish, of course they treated their slaves much better than the Goyim, and when the slaves revolted, they killed their Goyish owners, however, the Jewish owned slaves saved many of their owners from the mobs. Since it was a revolt (which Neapolitan later sent troops to suppress) it can be assumed the Jewish owned slaves were not Meshuchrarim and thus their decedents remain Avodim Canaanim, Ad Hayom. Assuming they have no knowledge of this and certainly they were never taught the Mitzvos for which they are technically obligated in, we would be required to be Mechalel Shabbos to save them as noted in Halacha that for Pikuach Nefesh an Eved Canaani has the din of a Yisroel. Thus even if 1 in 1000 Haitians descends from those Avodim Canaanim we are required to be Mechalel Shabbos to dig them all out.(Rambam Shabbos 2:20)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Headline of the Day

VIN: Jerusalem - Israel is Due, and ill Prepared, For a Major Earthquake

This headline is נוקב ויורד עד תהום - both figuratively and literally.

Zecharia 14:4:

וְעָמְדוּ רַגְלָיו בַּיּוֹם-הַהוּא עַל-הַר הַזֵּיתִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַם, מִקֶּדֶם, וְנִבְקַע הַר הַזֵּיתִים מֵחֶצְיוֹ מִזְרָחָה וָיָמָּה, גֵּיא גְּדוֹלָה מְאֹד; וּמָשׁ חֲצִי הָהָר צָפוֹנָה, וְחֶצְיוֹ-נֶגְבָּה.

And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleft in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, so that there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Due indeed. Ill-prepared indeed.

May we prepare and merit salvation.
May salvation even come to those who are not prepared.

Hatzalah is Coming to Chicago

It was only a matter of time before there would be a Hatzalah organization in the Chicago area.

They are now starting one up and looking for volunteers - see for more information.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti and the Jews has a nice perspective on the Haiti earthquake.

The Matzav article, however, only quotes the gemara in Yevamot 63a:

א"ר אלעזר בר אבינא אין פורענות באה לעולם אלא בשביל ישראל שנאמר (צפניה ג) הכרתי גוים נשמו פנותם החרבתי חוצותם וכתיב (צפניה ג) אמרתי אך תיראי אותי תקחי מוסר

Indeed, I just heard the audio of a very recent shiur given by someone who had discussed the earthquake in Haiti. He said that the Hafetz Hayim was once informed of the Mississippi River overflowing. He replied that we must do Teshuva for this.

What do the people in the town of Radun have to do with the Mississippi River?

Yes, the world revolves around the Jews.

The gemara in Shabbat 139a says however:

תניא רבי יוסי בן אלישע אומר אם ראית דור שצרות רבות באות עליו צא ובדוק בדייני ישראל שכל פורענות שבאה לעולם לא באה אלא בשביל דייני ישראל שנאמר (מיכה ג) שמעו נא זאת ראשי בית יעקב וקציני בית ישראל המתעבים משפט ואת כל הישרה יעקשו בונה ציון בדמים וירושלים בעולה ראשיה בשוחד ישפוטו וכהניה במחיר יורו ונביאיה בכסף יקסומו ועל ה' ישענו וגו' רשעים הן אלא שתלו בטחונם במי שאמר והיה העולם לפיכך מביא הקב"ה עליהן ג' פורעניות כנגד ג' עבירות שבידם שנאמר (מיכה ג) לכן בגללכם ציון שדה תחרש וירושלים עיין תהיה והר הבית לבמות יער ואין הקב"ה משרה שכינתו על ישראל עד שיכלו שופטים ושוטרים רעים מישראל שנאמר (ישעיהו א) ואשיבה ידי עליך ואצרוף כבור סגיך ואסירה כל בדיליך ואשיבה שופטיך כבראשונה ויועציך כבתחלה וגו

which seems to say that we should blame the Jewish judges, not all Jews.

So, which is it - all Jews or just Jewish judges?

I'll answer that it's no contradiction: Any judge who acts improperly is to blame. In addition, any other Jew who thinks that he can act like a judge and judge other Jews unfavorably without knowing all the facts involved first is also to blame. הוי דן את כל אדם לכף זכות, it says in Pirkei Avot.

Introspection and Teshuva are therefore definitely in order for almost everyone.

Using this idea, we can connect the following 2 signs for Mashiah's arrival:

אמר רבי שמלאי משום רבי אלעזר בר"ש אין בן דוד בא עד שיכלו כל שופטים ושוטרים מישראל

אמר רבי יוחנן אם ראית דור שצרות רבות באות עליו כנהר חכה לו שנאמר (ישעיהו נט) כי יבא כנהר צר ורוח ה' נוססה בו וסמיך ליה ובא לציון גואל

The tzarot rabbot of this generation will hopefully be a wake-up call to be חכה לו - wait for us to get rid of our judgemental feelings, and this will get Ben-David to come, בב"א.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aliya Stuff

In honor of my parents' plans to fulfil their life-long dream, which is to BE"H make Aliya next month, here are some recent posts and articles I saw about Aliya: Why Make Aliya?

Artzeinu: 100 Tips for Succesful Aliyah & Klita

Tamar Yonah Blog: History Won't Wait For You - Sell & Get Out Now

Tomer Devorah: Aliyah

On the other hand, here's a post that makes very valid points:

Jewish End of Days: Dangerous Overconfidence

Comments are welcome, but comments that ask "Nu, when are you coming?" will not be replied to. My family will come when the time is right.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Dybbuk Story 2

Dybbuk Story 1

Click to enlarge.

This was taken from Otzar HaHochma's scanned copy of האמת היחידה, written by יוסף שלום שעשוע, which took a copy of an article printed in השבוע, published in Parshat Aharei-Kedoshim, 5758 (a mere 12 years ago). I'm not going to translate this one, but it tells of a dybbuk story in the United States that occurred a few months earlier.

An interesting side-note: the story says that this seems to be the first exorcism of a dybbuk done via technological wonders (in this case, the telephone). Now, 12 years later, they tried it with Skype.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Dybbuk Story

This story is brought down in Hebrew in לב אליהו on Sefer Bereishit, pp. 28-31 by the students of R' Eliyahu Lopian Zt"l, compiled by R' Sholom Schwadron. The first person in the story, I believe, is R' Schwadron. I will translate it as best as possible.

Now, we will relate an amazing story, which also Maran [R' Lopian] was involved with, as we will see later, G-d willing. This story has an important foundational message and a great Mussar idea. I heard it from Moreinu VeRabbeinu Hagaon Hatzadik R' Eliyahu Hakohen Dushnitzer, Z"l, who was the Hebrew principal of the Lumza Yeshiva in Petah Tikva. I need to introduce a few items first.

It's known that Moreinu VeRabbeinu R' Dushnitzer was one of the 10 Kollel men who learned Seder Kodashim in Radin, where the Hafetz Hayim Ztvk"l sent them to exorcise a dybbuk from a woman who was brought to the Hafetz Hayim so save her... It's also known that R' Elhanan Wasserman would relate the story every Seudat Purim in front of the Benei Yeshiva, and would be lengthy with this for 2 hours. Therefore, when I got the chance once to ask [R' Dushnitzer] about the Dybbuk and asked him to tell me, he answered me "What will you get out of such a story? It's just a story... (I understood from his words that he didn't want to tell me because he would have had to tell me also what the Dybbuk said about him, as is known.) However, I will tell you a story similar to this that has a Mussar lesson."

This is what he told me:
"This story - you can and should tell publicly, and you can preface it by saying that I told this to you, exactly as I heard it from the known Gaon in Israel - Moreinu Harav Elazar Moshe Z"l from Pinsk, and you know me that I don't lie, חס ושלום, and I don't exaggerate or add anything with this - I am rather relaying word for word as I heard it from the aforementioned HaGaon R' Elazar Moshe.

This is the story:

There was a man in Kelm who was a merchant and Torah-knowledgeable whose name was R' Neta (they used to call him R' Notil), and he had one daughter. He married her off to a Yeshiva Bahur who excelled and was a Talmid Hacham, and gave him a dowry of many thousands of rubles along with many years of eating at his table while the son-in-law would sit and learn Torah. When the allotted time was up, and the couple could no longer eat at his table, the daughter started claiming, "What will we eat?!" The husband answered her that he cannot leave Torah and do business and throw all his Torah to the sea... Until she gave him the advice and said: "We'll take the dowry money and open a store and I will stand there all day long except for 2 hours of the day, when you will stand there [to man the store] so the rest of the hours of the day you can use to continue learning Torah as before." The husband agreed, and that's what they did.

For the first 3 months, this was how it worked, but afterwards, the 2 hours turned into 4 hours, and then 8, etc., etc. until he was fully engrossed in the business... and he didn't even have time to open a Gemara...

One Motza'ei Shabbat after midnight, where there was a huge snowstorm and blizzard, (I am relating this like the language and form that I heard it from Moreinu VeRabbeinu Z"l) this woman went outside to pour a barrel of unclean water out, and she returned home as if she was choking and could not speak... Her husband ran immediately and quickly got a doctor to come to his house, and he did not know what to do, and the next day too... he went with her and sought [the advice of] many doctors and they also traveled to the city of Vienna, without success. They started talking in the town that maybe this is a Dybbuk..

They traveled to the city of Shtuchin, where there was a Mekubal by the name of R' Mendel Z"l, to whom people traveled for such cases. When they came before him, he asked the Dybbuk some question, and he heard a voice answering, and as is known, when a Dybbuk speaks, the ill host's stomach is raised up, but the lips do not move, and a voice comes out (these were Moreinu VeRabbeinu Z"l's words), and then, all those who heard were astounded and said, "Aha! It's a Dybbuk..." However, the Tzaddik R' Mendel said that he doesn't know yet if it's true, so he asked it, "Who is going with you (i.e. the transmigrating soul)?" It replied, "5 destructive angels." He asked it, "What are their names?" It replied with the names of the angels... Then, R' Mendel said that it's true - this is a true Dybbuk.

He started to ask it questions, for example, "Who are you?" It said to me that he was a Bahur in Brisk dozens of years ago (I don't remember exactly how many), and then went to Africa, and his friends corrupted him there, and he Rahmana Litzlan transgressed the entire Torah, and then traveled on a wagon, which he fell off and was killed. And that is how he is - he is transmigrating continuously in the world until now. He told it, "Why did you not do Teshuva right before you died?" It answered him that because of the fear and craziness at the moment he fell from the wagon, he forgot to do think Teshuva [at that time].

Afterwards, he asked it, "What do you have against this woman that you caused her such terrible suffering?" It started laughing out loud and said, "This girl's mother and her husband's mother (both of whom already had passed to the next world) had strenghtened themselves with supplication up above in heaven that I should enter her and cause her this suffering, since if it were not for this, she wouldn't have what to stand on in this world or the next world! This is because she took her husband away from being busy learning Torah!..."

Once they heard this, R' Mendel said to the husband that he should promise to return to Torah, and he promised. R' Notil similarly promised to learn Mishnayot for the uplifting of the soul of the Bahur - the Dybbuk and also a certain amount of candles to be lit in the synagogue for him. Afterwards, R' Mendel gathered a minyan of 10 men into his room and they said Tehilim, and he stood behind them and he said what he said, while he put the woman on a chair in the middle of the room. Suddenly, she rolled from the chair to the floor and a powerful voice came out from her [saying] "Shema Yisrael..." - the entire town of Shtuchin heard this voice. Afterwards, the fingernail of the pinky of one of her hands burst open, and one glass from the window was broken, and she became quiet...

Until here is what Moreinu Harav Eliyahu Hakohen Dushnitzer told me. He repeated his words again and said that you may retell this story in my name, and you know me that I don't lie Has VeShalom and I also do not exaggerate - I have only related to you exactly as I heard it from the mouth of the Ga'on R' Elazar Moshe Z"l.

Moreinu VeRabbeinu Z"l [Rav Dushnitzer] added these words, and I quote, "However, I recently heard that this aforementioned couple who are already elderly - coming in age - they came to Eretz Yisrael and they live in Tel Aviv, and they have a large family here of children and grandchildren. You also know them. However, I will not tell you their names because it can harm them for Shidduchim... On one Motza'ei Shabbat, I traveled from Petah Tikva to Tel Aviv and I stayed at their house, and they themselves told me the entire story, just as I heard it from the Ga'on R' Elazar Moshe and as I related to you." Endquote from Moreinu VeRabbeinu Z"l [Rav Dushnitzer].

Now, when Maran [Rav Eliyahu Lopian] came to Eretz Yisrael, and afterwards, when we got close to him and we once sat in his room - I and another fellow in Yeshivat Kamenitz - and I told this story in front of him, he had asked me, "Have you finished talking?" (This was his custom always and this was the custom of everyone from Kelm, in order not to enter the words of one's fellow.) When I answered, "Yes," he told us in this wording:
I heard this story from the father of the mentioned woman - R' Notil Z"l in Kelm on the fence of the courtyard of the Talmud Torah, and just as you had told it. However, with 2 changes: 1) that he didn't fall from a wagon, but rather, traveled on a boat and drowned at sea. 2) that the Dybbuk would cry sometimes (near R' Mendel there) with loud sounds and with fearsome frights, that all who heard it were afraid and shaken up. He would say that the destructive angels were waiting for it to exit the woman's body and they would tear it up into pieces...(since destructive angels do not have permission to touch a Rasha's soul as long as it is found inside a living body). After a few seconds passed, it started speaking words of mockery and profanities in a very vulgar way - until all who heard it would close their ears in order not to hear its profanities. They asked it [the dybbuk], "Is it possible?! A few seconds ago, you cried with great frights 'Gevalt!' in a foreign language, and now you are speaking words of profanities and mockery?!" He answered them with the following wording, "You should know that if one does not do Teshuva and does not become clean from sin, then the soul above desires evil just like when it was down [on earth]..." These were the words of the Dybbuk.

Maran [R' Lopian] added and said:
From here we see the power of desire - it's scary! That even the tremendous fear of the 5 destructive angels that it saw (of course for a soul, "seeing" with eyes is not applicable, but he must be saying this to make it palatable) and was so scared of them, but nevertheless couldn't help itself from bringing his desires into fruition to speak profinities and mockeries that it was used to when it was alive. Hashem should guard us and save us from sin.
Until here are the words of Maran Z"l [R' Lopian]. Someone who heard this added that one can claim this [is an insight] in the saying of Haza"l who said [that whoever commits one sin,] it is tied to him like a dog.

Friday, January 08, 2010

צ צ

Remember this post from 3 years ago the next time you say:

את צמח דוד עבדך מהרה תצמיח

Rashbam Encodes Message in Atba"sh

The Rashbam in this week's Perasha encodes a message in Atba"sh having to do with Hashem's name. (I'm purposely being vague here.)
Many explain that a verse that supports this is:

והיה ה' למלך על כל הארץ ביום ההוא יהיה ה' אחד ושמו אחד

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Please Send Through Whom You Will Send

Targum Yonatan says that this refers to Pinhas, who is Eliyahu, who will be sent at the End of Days.

Pirkei DeRibbi Eliezer (Chapter 40) also says similarly:

אמר לו לך ואשלחך אל פרעה. אמר לפניו רבון כל העולמים שלח נא ביד תשלח ביד אותו האיש שאתה עתיד לשלוח. אמר לו לא אמרתי לך לך ואשלחך אל ישראל אלא לך ואשלחך אל פרעה ולאותו האיש שאתה אומר אני שולח לעתיד לבא אל ישראל שנאמר הנה אנכי שולח לכם את אליה הנביא לפני בא יום ה

Although this is not the way the רד"ל explains it, but perhaps, Moshe Rabbeinu was asking for the complete redemption at this moment by asking for Eliyahu (or Pinhas) to be the one sent. Therefore, Hashem told him that I am only sending you to Par'oh - the Jewish people will be redeemed from this one exile, but this will not be a complete redemption. Eliyahu's turn will need to wait for a later date.

May that date come soon.

Dybbuk Exorcism via Skype 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 reports that it was still unsuccessful, despite trying it live.
Hundreds of onlookers showed up to watch.
Included in the link is a small audio clip that was used along with some pictures. has a couple videos of the event too.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Dybbuk Exorcism via Skype 3

Part 1
Part 2 says that Rav Batzri will be trying again to exorcize this dybbuk from the Brazilian man - this time live. Hashem should help him.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Suffers to Bring Mashiah

Update: My translation, lightly edited, can now be seen on

An anonymous commenter brought an article on Arutz Sheva's Hebrew site to my attention. I will try to translate it correctly.

In a special interview with the weekly "Mayenei Hayeshua" which will be publicized in the upcoming Shabbat (Vayehi), Rabbanit Tzivia Eliyahu, the wife of Maran, the Rishon Letziyon [Rav] Mordechai Eliyahu Shlit"a, and the rabbi's daughter, Meirav, talk about their correspondence with the rabbi during his stay in the hospital and the messages that he passed to her. Among them, he said that his sickness comes as an atonement for Am Yisrael.

In the framework of the many hours in the hospital, the sons and daughters of the Eliyahu family introduced themselves to ill patients and they tell many stories about the rabbi's intervention.

Meirav said, "A woman became pregnant with triplets. The doctors told her that since 2 daughters were in the same placenta, one was taking strength from the other, and therefore, 1 or 2 of the girls will not come out OK. 'They will have a problem with a big defect,' the doctors proclaimed. The pregnant woman cried a lot and felt that she will not be able to raise a child with such a big defect. She went to the rabbi, and the rabbi told her, 'I promise that all the girls will be fine, and if something is not fine, bring me the girls. I only have 1 daughter...' After many months, she gave birth to complete, healthy girls. The doctors couldn't believe it."

The Rabbanit told over the following, "After the rabbi blessed another man who was about to die, I turned to the rabbi and asked, 'There is someone that looks like he has 2½ legs on his way to the next world, while by contrast, you look healthy. Why don't you pray for yourself?!' The rabbi said, 'No, no. I need to cancel the decrees.' The next day, they found the ship with 500 grad missiles.

"When I told him, 'Enough! get out of this situation! You could free yourself!', he signaled 'no' with his hand and whispered, 'thousands could be killed, thousands could be killed'," described the Rabbanit.

"I asked him, 'Maybe all this suffering is because of me, maybe because of the children or the grandchildren or daughters-in-law - one of us did something [wrong]?! Master of the universe!' He said, 'No, no, because of Kelal Yisrael'. I asked him, 'At least you could tell me what this process will bring?' He wrote, 'Mashiah'. [She asked,]'Nu, when?' I wrote [this] with 3 signs of questioning [?], but the rabbi did not answer me. I asked, 'What do we need to do?' The rabbi wrote, 'Teshuva'. I asked, '[Teshuva] in what?' The rabbi answered, 'ואהבת לרעך כמוך' - what is hurtful to you, do not do to your friend. Even during the time of [King] Ahav, they worshiped idols, but there was not baseless hatred there, and there was no war for 40 years. Because there was unity in Am Yisrael, there was no war. So, we should be concerned that everyone should accept this upon themselves. The community has an important job," explained the Rabbanit. "The rabbi will not nullify what he took upon himself. He suffers because of Kelal Yisrael and Kelal Yisrael needs to act for him. He told me explicitly, 'I will not pray, the community should pray.'"

Vayehi Geula Links

Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz - Existing in Exile

Mashiach is Coming - Vayechi Yaakov

Shirat Devorah - Suddenly Moshiach

Geulah Perspectives - Vayechi - Efraim, Yosef and Fruitfulness

Me, last year - Ahdut Before Ge'ula