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Monday, May 31, 2010

Did Someone Order a Tortilla?

The IDF repeatedly warned the members of the Insane Yordim Who Make Coffee to keep their tortilla far away from Gaza because it causes stomach aches, but they didn't listen. The tortilla members have planned a lynch of IDF soldiers should they be confronted all along.

The IDF asked them to move to Ashdod, whose stomach can handle the tortilla and its contents, but they didn't listen.

The IDF moved onto the tortilla and dug in, at which point members of the Insane Yordim Who Make Coffee started shooting, stabbing, and taking away weapons from the IDF, causing injuries. The IDF had no choice but to shoot back with live fire to protect its soldiers, causing deaths.

This is how I see what happened, somewhat.

What this could lead to? קודשא בריך הוא יודע

Friday, May 28, 2010

Yom Tov in Yerushalayim

R' Pinchos Lipshutz describes his experience of celebrating Shavuot in Yerushalayim, and concludes:
At the same time, however, signs of what could be, and once was, are all over. There are so many people whose families came to the country clinging to ancient beliefs and traditions and have lost all connection with them. There is poverty and depravity all over. When you see a car traveling down a road on Shabbos, you know that it is your brothers and sisters driving by. The sight stabs you right in the heart as you ponder what could be and what is. When you observe and read about the vilification of the religious community in the Holy Land, and experience the hatred and awful cynicism to things holy, you feel profaned and hurt. You pine for the day of veheishiv lev avos al bonim.

When you stand at the Kosel and hear the symphonious melodic prayers, you recognize that while it sounds beautiful to you, those disparate sounds are actually signs of exile and destruction. When the Bais Hamikdosh stood, we all prayed with the same voice, inflection, dialect and accent. When you walk to the Kosel on Shavuos and think that it resembles aliyah leregel, you realize how far removed we are from the real thing.

We don’t have kohanim performing the avodah, or leviim singing shirah, or Yisroelim walking up to the Holy City with their shepselach in tow. There are no bikkurim-laden baskets, no terumah for the kohanim and maaser for the leviim. We stand at the Kosel, the lone remnant of what was once the most imposing building ever constructed, laid to waste by the Romans 2,000 years ago.

The closest we can get to the site of the Bais Hamikdosh is to climb to the roof of a home in the Rova HaYehudi and peer out as shualim strut about on the Har Habyis.

There is no nevuah and the Urim Vetumim is dark and in hiding along with the klei haMikdosh. Reviled, we live under the rule of agnostics and are spread across the world far from the nexus of kedushah.

We drive up Har Hazeisim to visit kevorim and realize how many leaders and loved ones we have lost. We peer down towards the makom haMikdosh and hope for the time when the Shechinah will return to this very mountain at the End of Days and herald techiyas hameisim and the ultimate redemption.

May we merit its occurrence speedily, in our day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More on the Frogs

The Mishna in Eiduyot 2:10 says that the Makkot lasted 12 months. The Tosefot Yom Tov there quotes the Seder Olam Rabba (chapter 3) that implies that the Makkot started in Iyyar and ended in Nissan. The Tiferet Yisrael there says that each Makka was a little more than a month long.

Let's see: The oil rig blew up on April 20th, which was the 6th of Iyyar. The frogs started closing the highway on May 26th, which was the 13th of Sivan. We start to see the 1 month and 1 week interval.

Iyyar 6Dam
Sivan 13Tzefardei'a
Tamuz 20Kinim
Av 27Arov
Tishri 4Dever
Heshvan 11Shehin
Kislev 18Barad
Tevet 25Arbeh
Adar 2Hoshech
Nissan 9Makat Bechorot

Only off by 6 days. Hmmm...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Prayers for Rav Mordechai Eliyahu

According to Arutz Sheva and Ladaat, it seems that there has been a worsening of the condition of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Shlit"a, and that prayers are needed for him.
Three prayer sites have been organized in Israel: the Kotel, Meiron, and Baba Sali's grave. The prayers begin at 6PM Israel time on Thursday. For those who cannot make it to the 3 locations, people have been asked to pray wherever they are at 6PM Israel time on Thursday.

Please pray for הרב מרדכי צמח בן מזל.

Are the Violent Demonstrators Considered Haredim?

Two separate articles I just read answer that question with a resounding "NO!".

In a Matzav editorial:
What bothers me as much was a quote sent in by A. Steier, a reader of this site. The quote, from a frum online media outlet, stated, “What used to be an oxymoron, ‘chareidi hooligans,’ is now a reality.”

I take umbrage with that. Those who engage in such behavior may be hooligans, but not chareidi hooligans. They don’t represent us or our views. They don’t represent us any more than those people dressed like Jews who meet regularly with our generation’s Hitler from Iran.

In addition, Ladaat quotes a Yom LeYom article that says, in part:
כי חרדי הוא מי שחרד מאלוקים ועושה את דברו, וכדי לדעת את נכונות דברו והבנת מצוותיו והנהגותיו קבלם משה רבנו בהר סיני והעבירם לתלמידו והוא לתלמידו וכך איש מפי איש עד דורנו אנו. כך היה בכל הדורות שגדולי ישראל ידעו דעת עליון ובהתאם הנהיגו את עדתם החרדים לדבר ה'. מי שאינו כרוך בשושלת הזו אינו חרדי. מי שאין לו רב ואינו מכיר ומוקיר את התובנה המוענקת לו מאת גדולי ישראל, אינו חרד לכלום.

So, if they're not considered Haredim, what should we call them?

אספסוף from this week's פרשה comes to mind. Or perhaps, בריונים like before the חורבן. Or perhaps, the ערב זעיר.

Jewish Devon Avenue

The Chicago Tribune tells how almost all Jewish businesses have left or are leaving Devon Avenue in Chicago.

Rafi also blogged about it.

I saw this article earlier today and sent the article in an email to a few people with the comment that Jews have heeded the call in Devarim 2:3:
רַב-לָכֶם, סֹב אֶת-הָהָר הַזֶּה; פְּנוּ לָכֶם, צָפֹנָה.

'Ye have compassed this mountain long enough; turn you northward.

One of the people I emailed replied that this was only after the Jews heeded the call to go there in the first place in Bamidbar 33:45:
וַיַּחֲנוּ, בְּדִיבֹן [גד]

Now, it's time for the next verse:

וַיִּסְעוּ, מִדִּיבֹן [גד]

Frogs Here, Frogs There, Frogs Were Jumping Everywhere

After hearing about how the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is like the plague of blood, you'd figure that there would be a continuation of the plagues in Egypt.

Foxnews reports:
THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — Greek officials say a horde of frogs has forced the closure of a key northern highway for two hours.

Thessaloniki traffic police chief Giorgos Thanoglou says "millions" of the amphibians covered the tarmac Wednesday near the town of Langadas, some 12 miles east of Thessaloniki.

"There was a carpet of frogs," he said.

Authorities closed the highway after three car drivers skidded off the road trying to dodge the frogs. No human injuries were reported.

Thanoglou said the amphibians probably left a nearby lake to look for food.

VIN even calls it by its biblical name: 'Tzfardei'a'

כימי צאתכם מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות

In related news, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, maker of Rid (the shampoo that removes lice) is up today 0.93%.

Update: This didn't just happen once - it happened again!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Geulah 5770

Check out this great post from Geulah Perspectives.

Couple that with Shirat Devorah's post and you have some interesting stuff going on.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Rav Shmueli on Mashiah

Rav Benayahu Shmueli talks about Mashiah again here (in Hebrew) starting at the 31:00 mark.

He has some very nice tidbits, such as this one:

The gemara says in Sanhedrin (that was just learned in Daf Yomi) that R' Yehoshua Ben Levi asked Mashiah when he's coming and he answered "היום" (today). When he didn't arrive that day, R' Yehoshua Ben Levi questioned him about it, and he answered היום אם בקולו תשמעון (referring to the verse that says "Today, if you will listen to His voice").

Regarding Sisera and Yael, the verse says:
מַיִם שָׁאַל, חָלָב נָתָנָה

Sisera asked for מים (water), which stands for מתי יבא משיח (when will Mashiah come?).

Yael gave him חלב (milk), which stands for חייבים לחזור בתשובה (we need to repent). In other words, Mashiah will come when we do Teshuva.

He also says that there's a minhag to have a cup of milk (כוס חלב) every day after prayers. The word כוס stands for "ויאמר סלחתי כדבריך" (And He said "I have forgiven like you spoke"). However, Hashem won't forgive without us doing our part - חלב stands for חייבים לחזור בתשובה (we need to repent).

(Then, he mentioned tongue-in-cheek that we should also have a cup of whiskey every morning since וסכי is ויאמר ה' סלחתי כדבריך.)

Afterwards, he goes through the incredible stories that make up the lineage of Mashiah, from Haran to Lot and his daughters to how Leah almost went to Eisav instead of Yaakov to Yehuda and Tamar to Boaz and Rut to Yishai and Nitzevet.

I updated this post to add the story of Yishai and Nitzevet, which can also be found in R' Moshe Shternbuch's Moadim Uzmanim.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oil/Volcano Drush

I'm taking a very liberal artistic license here for a drush on these pesukim. I was actually nice to the President here to make it fit. It assumes he will be nice back, which is a big assumption, so just how accurate this drush will be remains to be seen.

Devarim 33:24-29:

וּלְאָשֵׁר אָמַר, בָּרוּךְ מִבָּנִים אָשֵׁר; יְהִי רְצוּי אֶחָיו, וְטֹבֵל בַּשֶּׁמֶן רַגְלוֹ

And to Barack Hussein Obama, whose gematria of ברק חוסיין אובאמה equals that of Asher, 501, he said: Blessed from all the other non-Jewish nations is your nation, Barack Hussein Obama. It shall be the most favored of all its non-Jewish brethren. However, his foot-shaped state, Louisiana, will dip in oil from a devastating oil spill.

בַּרְזֶל וּנְחֹשֶׁת, מִנְעָלֶךָ; וּכְיָמֶיךָ, דָּבְאֶךָ

You will be trapped not by olive oil, but rather crude oil, the type of oil which contains iron and copper
The hydrocarbons in crude oil are mostly alkanes, cycloalkanes and various aromatic hydrocarbons while the other organic compounds contain nitrogen, oxygen and sulfur, and trace amounts of metals such as iron, nickel, copper and vanadium.
However, like the days of your youth, Barack Hussein Obama, America will still be strong (for the purpose of which we will note later).

אֵין כָּאֵל, יְשֻׁרוּן: רֹכֵב שָׁמַיִם בְּעֶזְרֶךָ, וּבְגַאֲוָתוֹ שְׁחָקִים

There is none like G-d, Oh Yeshurun, Oh Israel. He made the ash-cloud, which is riding the heavens to help you - not hurt you, and it proudly rides the skies...

מְעֹנָה אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם, וּמִתַּחַת זְרֹעֹת עוֹלָם; וַיְגָרֶשׁ מִפָּנֶיךָ אוֹיֵב, וַיֹּאמֶר הַשְׁמֵד

...which is the abode of the G-d Who has been there since eternity. And underneath are airplanes, which are considered the "arms" of the world as they carry people from one place to another. The ash-cloud exiled all the airplanes from before You - meaning Your abode, Hashem, which is the heavens - that belong to the enemy, meaning the anti-semitic Europe. And he, the EU countries, were confused and asked (with the ה השאלה), "Will it destroy airplanes that fly through it?"

וַיִּשְׁכֹּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בֶּטַח בָּדָד עֵין יַעֲקֹב, אֶל-אֶרֶץ דָּגָן וְתִירוֹשׁ; אַף-שָׁמָיו, יַעַרְפוּ טָל

But, as for Israel, it alone will dwell securely with the fountain of Ya'akov, which spews goodness to the land, such as grain and wine. Even the heavens drip with dew only upon Israel - no volcanic ash on their cars along with the dew.

אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל מִי כָמוֹךָ, עַם נוֹשַׁע בַּיהוָה, מָגֵן עֶזְרֶךָ, וַאֲשֶׁר-חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ; וְיִכָּחֲשׁוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ לָךְ, וְאַתָּה עַל-בָּמוֹתֵימוֹ תִדְרֹךְ

You are fortunate, Oh Israel, who is like you? A nation saved by Hashem, the Shield Who helped you. And as for Barack Hussein Obama, his sword will be your pride by fighting your wars for you so your enemies will dwindle away before you, and you will tread upon their high places.

Friday, May 21, 2010

On Predicting the End 2

I gave a talk Shavuot night about the idea of calculating the Keitz, and whether or not it is permitted to do so - not as psak halacha, just to analyze the sources. The sources I used or wanted to use are listed below:

Pacino Shuckles

Wall Street Journal via YWN:
Al Pacino, preparing for the role of Shylock in the Public Theater's upcoming production of "The Merchant of Venice," took his research into Brooklyn this week, visiting a Hasidic synagogue in Borough Park.

The actor made the trip with Barry Edelstein, director of the Public's Shakespeare Initiative, to observe religious Jews in prayer and learn about the community.

Mr. Pacino, dressed in a dark suit and hat, stood at the back of the synagogue and went unrecognized as he observed the morning prayer, said Mr. Edelstein, who wouldn't name the synagogue at the request of the friend who took them there.

As worshipers swayed in prayer, known as shuckling, Mr. Edelstein said he saw Mr. Pacino slowly rock back and forth with them, observing their movements.

"It was done with complete respect and a true sense of empathy," said Mr. Edelstein.

What the article doesn't say is how Mr. Edelstein introduced Mr. Pacino to the daveners:

"Say Shulem Aleichem to my little friend."


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Have a Happy and Informative Shavuot!

Geulah Perspectives has a podcast called Shavuos and redemption

Going Home...To Yerushalayim talks about the Baal Shem Tov's 250th yahrtzeit on Shavuot.

Matzav has a whole series of interesting articles on Shavuot.

Remember, Torah study is a prerequisite for Ge'ula, as the verse זכרו תורת משה עבדי immediately precedes the verse הנה אנכי שולח לכם את אליה הנביא

May the merit of our Torah learning this Shavuot bring about our Geulah Sheleima Berahamim.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Does Unity Start With?

The gif file may be primitive, but the message is eternal.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In Honor of Yom Yerushalayim

(On this 43rd year after Yerushalayim's liberation on the 43rd day of the Omer, signifying the start of Malchut)

Listen to this version of שמחתי באומרים לי, which is the version our synagogue's Hazzan sings often on Shavuot, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret.

Why Christianity and Islam Exist For the Time-Being

We just read the Haftara of Behukotai which starts off by saying:
יְהוָה עֻזִּי וּמָעֻזִּי, וּמְנוּסִי--בְּיוֹם צָרָה; אֵלֶיךָ, גּוֹיִם יָבֹאוּ מֵאַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ, וְיֹאמְרוּ אַךְ-שֶׁקֶר נָחֲלוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, הֶבֶל וְאֵין-בָּם מוֹעִיל.
O LORD, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge, in the day of affliction, unto Thee shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say: 'Our fathers have inherited nought but lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit.'

The Rambam, in the censored part of Hilchot Melachim chapter 11, writes:
י אף ישוע הנוצרי שדימה שיהיה משיח, ונהרג בבית דין--כבר נתנבא בו דנייאל, שנאמר "ובני פריצי עמך, יינשאו להעמיד חזון--ונכשלו" (דנייאל יא,יד). וכי יש מכשול גדול מזה: שכל הנביאים דיברו שהמשיח גואל ישראל ומושיעם, ומקבץ נדחיהם ומחזק מצוותן; וזה גרם לאבד ישראל בחרב, ולפזר שאריתם ולהשפילם, ולהחליף התורה, ולהטעות רוב העולם לעבוד אלוה מבלעדי ה'.

יא אבל מחשבות בורא עולם--אין כוח באדם להשיגם, כי לא דרכינו דרכיו ולא מחשבותינו מחשבותיו. וכל הדברים האלו של ישוע הנוצרי, ושל זה הישמעאלי שעמד אחריו--אינן אלא ליישר דרך למלך המשיח, ולתקן את העולם כולו לעבוד את ה' ביחד: שנאמר "כי אז אהפוך אל עמים, שפה ברורה, לקרוא כולם בשם ה', ולעובדו שכם אחד" (ראה צפניה ג,ט).

יב כיצד: כבר נתמלא העולם כולו מדברי המשיח, ומדברי התורה ומדברי המצוות, ופשטו דברים אלו באיים רחוקים, ובעמים רבים ערלי לב; והם נושאים ונותנים בדברים אלו, ובמצוות התורה--אלו אומרים מצוות אלו אמת היו, וכבר בטלו בזמן הזה, ולא היו נוהגות לדורות. ואלו אומרים דברים נסתרות יש בהם, ואינן כפשוטן, וכבר בא משיח, וגילה נסתריהם.

יג וכשיעמוד המלך המשיח באמת, ויצליח וירום ויינשא--מיד הם כולן חוזרין ויודעים ששקר נחלו אבותיהם, ושנביאיהם ואבותיהם הטעום.

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Geula-Related Stuff

Rav Zwiebel from the Aguda, speaking at their annual dinner:
Making clear from the start that it is imperative to take steps to ensure that the law of the land is respected by members of the Orthodox community – and noting Agudath Israel’s “numerous concrete steps” of late, specifically a series of dina d’malchusa dina symposia in the New York areas and across the country, “to bring about improvements in this area” – the Agudath Israel leader asserted that “distancing ourselves from criminal activity does not mean distancing ourselves from the plight of a precious member of Klal Yisroel… who has been pursued by the government in this particular case with a zealousness that borders on vindictiveness, with a harshness that borders on viciousness.”

After cataloguing some of the outrages in the Rubashkin saga – which would be covered in even more detail by Mr. Cook later in the program – Rabbi Zwiebel noted how no less than seven former Attorneys General of the United States, representing a broad spectrum of political views, “wrote a letter to the judge expressing their horror at the prospect that Sholom Rubashkin would be sentenced to life in prison.”

“If they can speak out,” intoned Rabbi Zwiebel, “can’t we? Shouldn’t we? Mustn’t we?”

The Agudah executive vice president lamented that “One gets the sense that things are changing, in a dangerous direction. Even here in this benevolent malchus shel chesed, dark clouds are beginning to hover on the horizon.” And he extended that observation to U.S.-Israel relations.

“When our governmental leaders,” he observed, “at the highest levels, make an international incident out of a mid-level bureaucratic approval of plans to proceed with building housing units in Ramat Shlomo, an almost exclusively Charedi stronghold, there’s something troubling afoot.”

Geula Perspectives issued part 6 of his supercommentary.

Rabbi Lazer Brody warns us with some scary news and how to counter it.

Geula-Related Stuff

Rome is crumbling - now the Colesseum is falling apart after its neighbor, Nero's Palace, had some issues 6 weeks ago. Italy in general is not having good Mazal lately. Interestingly, the countries called PIIGS are very much tied to Edom, who is represented by a pig.

Geulah Perspectives continues his excellent super-commentary on the Gr"a's Even Sheleima.

Shirat Devorah has a nice guest post by Daniel S. who applies Pesukim, Midrashim, and Zohar to the current situation we're in.

Shirat Devorah also on the first plague.

Mystical Paths looks at our current matzav and notes that we seem to be living in a time that fulfils Biblical and Talmudic prophecy.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Articles of Interest

  • The Toldos Aharon Rebbe went to Meiron in a box due to Tumah concerns

  • Speaking of graves, there's a new proposal to put the new Barzilai Hospital wing under the graves

  • From Parsha Potpourri, talking about the Pesukim in Behar that deal with being sold as a slave:
    The Chofetz Chaim derives an inspiring lesson from these seemingly mundane and complex laws. A Jew living today who is told to yearn for the coming of Moshiach could easily despair and wonder how he will merit seeing something which was denied to so many righteous individuals in previous generations. However, we learn from these laws that the closer a slave gets to the predetermined time of his release (the Yovel year), the less money will be needed to purchase his premature freedom because of all of the work he has already performed.

    Similarly, upon creating the universe, Hashem decreed a preordained time for the final redemption. However, He stipulated that with sufficient merits, it would be possible to bring Moshiach before this time. In order to cause his arrival centuries in advance of the prearranged time, tremendous merits were necessary, something that even our most pious ancestors weren’t able to accumulate. As the time for the ultimate redemption draws ever nearer, however, the remaining “balance” dwindles ever smaller, a balance which we are indeed capable of “paying off” if we only allow ourselves to serve Hashem to our maximum potential.

  • Nigeria's new acting president's name: Goodluck Jonathan. I know Sepharadim have the female name of "Mazal Tov", but somehow, it sounds funnier in English.

  • A troubling trend toward secularism in a recent poll, and R' Aryeh Deri blames it on a lack of Ahdut in Am Yisrael.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

On Predicting the End

Also interesting from Rabbi Winston's article linked to in yesterday's post is this:

The Talmud records:
Rabbi Shmuel ben Nachmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonaton: "May the spirit of those who calculate the end expire. For they say, "Since the pre-determined time has arrived, and [Moshiach] has yet to come, he will never come!" (Sanhedrin 97b)

Whoever forecasts the date of Moshiach's arrival has no place in the World to Come. (Derech Eretz 11)

We see that the Talmud is concerned about making calculations regarding the precise day for Moshiach's arrival, since errors in such calculations usually result in national disappointment, and perhaps, revelations of false messiahs. Furthermore, the Talmud states:
When Rav Zeira happened upon scholars who were engaged [in calculating the date of Moshiach's arrival], he told them, "I beg you! do not postpone it ... for it has been taught, 'Three things come when the mind is occupied otherwise: Moshiach ...'" (Sanhedrin 97a)

Additionally, there is the concern that believing in a specific date will prevent a person from expecting Moshiach earlier than that date, a violation of the principle of "anticipating him any day." Failure to believe this, says Mamonides, can give such a Jew the status of a heretic (Laws of Kings 11:1).

Yet we see that great rabbis over the ages did attempt to predict the precise date of Moshiach's arrival. This is because the prohibition has been interpreted differently by many rabbis throughout the ages, as follows:

According to the Abarbanel (15th century Spain), it is only forbidden to make calculations based on astrology, however it is permissible to calculate the date of Moshiach;s arrival based on Biblical sources (Maayeni HaYeshuah 1:2).

Nachmanides says that the prohibition applied only to earlier generations, and now that we are on the eve of redemption (he was writing in the 13th century!), there is no prohibition (Sefer HaGeulah, Ma'amer 4).

Signs all around us foreshadow redemption.The Malbim (19th century Europe) provides an analogy of a father and son traveling a long distance. As they start out, the son begins to ask when they will arrive, and of course the father does not answer. However, as they near the town, the son asks the same question, and this time the father readily answers that it is only a short while before they reach their destination. "So too, as the time of redemption is clearly approaching, we cannot help but notice the signs all around us that foreshadow that redemption. As the end grows nearer, doubts will become smaller, and at the very end, all doubts will be removed... As the time grows closer, uncertainty recedes in the wake of increasingly abundant wisdom" (Introduction to the Book of Daniel).

The Vilna Gaon (18th century Lithuania), whose commentary offers a formula for calculating the end, entreats those who understand the formula not to reveal it to others:
"...And from here [what I have just written] you can calculate the time of the Final Redemption if, God forbid, we do not merit [to bring it earlier]. However, I have imposed an oath, in the name of the God of Israel, on the reader of this that he should not reveal it." (Biur HaGra, Safra D'Tzniusa, Chapter Five)

There is a very interesting appendix to the Rambam's Iggeret Teiman written by דוד האלוב in 5634 (1874) that details all the calculations done by various rabbis throughout the centuries. Just to give you an idea who he is - he seems to be an anti-Kabbalist, and even calls R' Moshe de Leon "המזייף הגדול - the great forger". He gets into this topic of Ketz calculations because of the Rambam's tradition from his ancestors mentioned in Iggeret Teiman that the year 1212 (or 1216) is when prophecy would return (but never really said that Mashiah would come at that time).

He seems to be against the idea of calculating the Endtime so much so that he said that ה' ילעג למו - Hashem takes the date predicted and turns it into a tragedy for the Jewish people. As examples of this, he gives the predictions of 1146, 1490, and 1648, which were years of terrible tragedy for Jews.

He then talks about a prediction made by Don Yosef ibn Yahya from Florence in 1528, who gave a Ketz for 1940 and later says it could happen - not that it will be the final Ge'ula, but the hallway to the final Ge'ula, through which we will be able to return to Israel from all the places where we were scattered.

Now, I'm of mixed opinion about this. First of all, didn't he just say that such calculations end up in tragedy? וכך היה - the year 1940 was terribly tragic for the Jewish people!
On the other hand, if he meant the decade that starts in 1940, he's right on the money - in 1948, the State of Israel was established, which was not the final Ge'ula, but like a hallway toward it, and it helped to gather in the exiles.

Perhaps, he meant that one should not make preditions, but once made by someone, one can be overly hopeful at that time.

Anyways, from this appendix, we see that making predictions is a bad thing and could lead to tragedy at the time predicted. Nevertheless, we have the opinions mentioned above that allow it for various reasons.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

WWIII Starting to Look A Lot Like WWI

Iran's ties with other nations is increasing. Unlike the reclusive North Korea, Iran enjoys support by a whole range of nations, from Venezuela to Indonesia, and many in between.

Two of its allies are eerily nations that were superpowers 100 years ago and heavily involved in World War 1:

Turkey and Austria

Rabbi Pinchos Winston writes on
The events of the 20th century were put into perspective by the greatest Sage of our time. Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian wrote:

heard in London from the holy Rabbi Elchanan Wasserman, quoting the Chafetz Chaim, that the Sages say the war of Gog and Magog will be threefold. After World War One, the Chafetz Chaim said that this was the first battle of Gog and Magog, and in about 25 years (1942) there would be a second world war, which would make the first one seem insignificant. And then there would be a third battle...

Rav Elchanan concluded that one must suffer the pangs of Moshiach, but the wise man will quietly prepare himself during that time -- perhaps he will be worthy of seeing the comforting of Tzion and Yerushalayim." (Leiv Eliyahu, Shmot p.172)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Ge'ula Watch Now Says 12:02

I don't know the meaning of this, but apparently, the Ge'ula watch given to Rav Mordechai Eliyahu by the Baba Sali now says 12:02.

This is according to Rav Eliyahu's wife, according to posters on the Moshiach and Geulah Forum. You can hear her being interviewed on Radio Moreshet.


A verse in Behukotai says:
וְזָכַרְתִּי, אֶת-בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקוֹב; וְאַף אֶת-בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק וְאַף אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם, אֶזְכֹּר--וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכֹּר

The Pesikta Zutrata says:
ביעקב לא נאמר בו אף לפי שהיתה מטתו שלימה

meaning that the word "Af" was not said regarding Ya'akov Avinu since his bed was perfect. No Yishma'el or Esav descended from him, which would be a cause of "Af" (anger) before Hashem.
The midrash is saying that even though the word "Af" here is being used to mean "even", the second meaning of the word "Af" - anger - is considered to be so bad that Yaakov Avinu's name should not be associated with it due to the perfection of his seed.

We find a similar idea in the Sephardic Birkat Hamazon. In the "רצה והחליצנו" prayer that we say on Shabbat, early Nus'ha'ot would have:
ואף על פי שאכלנו ושתינו חורבן ביתך הגדול והקדוש לא שכחנו

Later editions did not want to have the word אף (or any final-phey for that matter) in the Birkat Hamazon, so the Nusah was changed to:
והגם שאכלנו ושתינו חורבן ביתך הגדול והקדוש לא שכחנו

The Zohar says that "Af" is associated with one of 4 Kelipot we try to keep away from our prayers. See p. 165 here.

More Links to Like

Rafi on The Definition of Kibbutz Galuyot

Rafi again on Anti-Haredi Sentiments Growing

Ari Goldwag has the Gr"a on the Redemption Process

Jewish End of Days shows a possible connection between the recent volcano and the oil spill in A Volcano of Oil

VIN on the Bible Lands Museum's exhibition on Segulot with an unfortunate exhibit title

Ladaat on a "Beit Hamikdash" built in Antwerp

Sunday, May 02, 2010

State-by-State Shabbat and Lag La'Omer News

12 out of 50 states had some major news:

New York - Terror in Times Square

Massachusetts - 'Catastrophic' water main break forces boil order to Boston and surroundings

Tennessee - Deadly flooding

Arkansas - Deadly Tornadoes

Louisiana - Oil spill could reach Mississippi, Alabama and Florida by Monday

Pennsylvania - A company recalls many famous brands of children's medicine

Arizona - Deputy was shot, and during manhunt, 17 illegal immigrants were caught

Texas- Bull shot on Interstate 30 after charging animal control worker

Minnesota - Cop was killed, triggering a manhunt in which police killed one suspect and captured another