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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

5771=Year of David/Hoshana Rabba

Anyone here remember R' Dov Bar Leib's Cosmic Clock post?
Well, according to that post, we are currently in the year of Hoshana Rabba, which corresponds to David.
YearDay of SukkotUshpizin Member
Take it how you want.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Rav Ovadia Shlit"a's 90th Birthday Links

Hacham Ovadia Yosef Shlit"a recently had his 90th birthday (mashala), and there was no scarcity of articles about the occasion.  I'll just mention a few that I saw:

Arutz Sheva, Kikar, and Ladaat give a brief biography of his life so far.

R' Aryeh Deri recalls: In 5744, when the Shas party first won seats in the Knesset, Rav Ovadia was learning in his living room, and I mentioned to him that they had unexpectedly won 4 seats.  Rav Ovadia said, "Ah, thank G-d."  We asked ourselves, "Isn't the rabbi emotional?"...Immediately, the rabbi said, "Good.  That's all.  I need to continue learning."...

Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger: Normally you call a Gadol the "Gadol Hador".  I think you can call Rav Ovadia the "Gadol Hadorot".

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shelomo Moshe Amar:
The greatness of Rav Yosef is such that one cannot even hope to be like him.  His greatness is unique in our generation and there is simply no one else like him.
Rav Ovadia cried when people started singing "רבינו עובדיה אנחנו אוהבים אותך". (video)

BeHadrei has an absolutely amazing assortment of pictures of him, new and old. I love the ones:
  1. with R' Moshe Feinstein
  2. with R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach
  3. with Rav Shach
  4. with Rav Ben-Tzion Abba Shaul
  5. being at the Mizrahi/Hapoel Hamizrahi event
  6. being with what appears to be IDF soldiers
  7. posing at the airport with some people who don't look the part of people that would be around him
  8. posing with a bunch of other people with hats and he is the only one with a beard.
Many more, Rav Ovadia, many more.

What is the "Sukkat David"?

One of the "Harahamans" added for Sukkot (for Ashkenazim, the only Harahaman added for Sukkot) is:

הרחמן הוא יקים לנו את סוכת דוד הנופלת
We pray that The Merciful One will reestablish for us the Sukkah of David that is fallen.

This prayer is taken from the verse in Amos 9:11 (no connection to 9/11/01, but I can understand those who want to make such a connection):
בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, אָקִים אֶת-סֻכַּת דָּוִיד הַנֹּפֶלֶת; וְגָדַרְתִּי אֶת-פִּרְצֵיהֶן, וַהֲרִסֹתָיו אָקִים, וּבְנִיתִיהָ, כִּימֵי עוֹלָם
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof, and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old
Yeshivot Bnei Akiva has a nice article (in Hebrew) on the various interpretations of this verse.  Some say it refers to the Beit Hamikdash.  Others say that it refers to the Davidic Dynasty.  You can see some of these interpretations inside here.

The last opinion mentioned in the article is that of the Malbim.  The Malbim agrees that it's referring to the Davidic Dynasty, and adds that the Davidic Dynasty fell in two hops:
  1. At first, we had the real Davidic Dynasty in its full glory - the descendants of King David were kings.
  2. When the first Beit Hamikdash was destroyed, we no longer had kings from King David, but only Nesi'im that came from King David.  The kingdom was like a Sukkah - in a temporary phase.
  3. In the past 1000 years, there is no authority to King David's descendants whatsoever as we don't even know who is from King David any longer.
The rebuilding of the kingdom will need to be done in three stages (the article uses the parts of the verse a bit differently, but I think this is what the Malbim means):
  1. At first, Hashem will establish a Nasi for us to lead us in a temporary way like a Sukkah (אָקִים אֶת-סֻכַּת דָּוִיד הַנֹּפֶלֶת), but the Sukkah is still in ruins
  2. Then, that leader will return people toward Hashem, thereby repairing the breaches and restoring what is broken (וְגָדַרְתִּי אֶת-פִּרְצֵיהֶן, וַהֲרִסֹתָיו אָקִים)
  3. Finally, that leader will become a more permanent leader.  Namely, the King Mashiah.(וּבְנִיתִיהָ, כִּימֵי עוֹלָם)
The Malbim brings another verse to support this idea.  Yehezkel 34:23-24:
הוּא יִרְעֶה אֹתָם, וְהוּא-יִהְיֶה לָהֶן לְרֹעֶה...
 וַאֲנִי יְהוָה, אֶהְיֶה לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים, וְעַבְדִּי דָוִד, נָשִׂיא בְתוֹכָם
First, he will be their leader.  Then, when he repairs the breaches and people start keeping the Torah, he will be accepted by the people as a leader.  Later, when the Kingdom of Heaven is revealed to all, the King Mashiah will reign as a permanent leader.

May both verses come to fruition speedily in our days.

Friday, September 17, 2010

JBloggers' Al Heit

Al Heit that we Admonished another blogger or commenter wrongly.
Al Heit that we Blogged at times that we shouldn't have.
Al Heit that we Commented on a post too harshly.
Al Heit that we Discussed topics that we should have evaded.
Al Heit that we Evaded topics that we should have discussed.
Al Heit that we Found fault in other blogs improperly.
Al Heit that we Guessed future events that didn't occur and led others to believe us.
Al Heit that we Had been impatient with certain comments.
Al Heit that we Inferred things from the Torah improperly and blogged about it.
Al Heit that we Jumped to conclusions in our thinking.
Al Heit that we Knocked down other correct opinions so callously.
Al Heit that we Leaked information that should have been kept secret.
Al Heit that we Misunderstood ideas and passed those ideas on to others.
Al Heit that we Noticed an inspiring article and didn't blog about it.
Al Heit that we Opined about a topic when we should have kept our mouths shut.
Al Heit that we Plagiarized from others without attribution.
Al Heit that we Questioned the actions of Tzaddikim and Gedolei Yisrael improperly.
Al Heit that we Remembered the bad and forgot the good in those we disagree with.
Al Heit that we Showed too little sympathy for Gilad Shalit, Jonathan Pollard, and all the Shevuyei Yisrael.
Al Heit that we Tweeted, texted, emailed, or posted without thinking of the laws of Leshon Hara.
Al Heit that we Underestimated the power we hold when blogging.
Al Heit that we Vented our anger on our blogs improperly.
Al Heit that we Wasted our blogs on silliness and vanity instead of Torah topics.
Al Heit that we Xeroxed the words of others without linking to them.
Al Heit that we Yearned for a better tomorrow on our blogs via politicians and not via Mashiah.
Al Heit that we Zeroed in on our blogs while ignoring our families and jobs.

May we all become better jbloggers in the coming year and may our Teshuva inspire others to do Teshuva as well.  And when we do national Teshuva, may we merit the coming of Mashiah this year.  Amen.

Gemar Hatima Tova to all, and have an easy and meaningful fast.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Observe the Moon Night" Coincides with Birkat HaLevana

Commenter HaSepharadi pointed out to me that this Motza'ei Shabbat/Motza'ei Kippur, while we will hopefully be saying Birkat HaLevana on an empty stomach if the skies are clear, the rest of the world will be watching the moon as well as part of "International Observe the Moon Night".
"One of the primary goals of the night is just to get people exposed to what's happening at the moon," Noah Petro, a lunar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and an associate project scientist for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission, told "We want to get people talking about current U.S. and international missions, why the moon is important and what we do and don't know about the moon."
Here's a good time to remind people that unlike what the rest of the world may be doing, we do not stare at the moon, but rather, we merely glance at it right before the blessing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Links I Liked

  • Why 4 out of next 5 years begin with 3-day YomTovs - from SabaHillel via Shiloh Musings
  • Message from your Yetzer Hara - from Mashiach Is Coming
  • Gevalt!!!!! OMA!!!!!  Image of Koran translated into Yiddish - from Elder of Ziyon
  • Brides and Grooms with signs to Hillary reading: "Don't Freeze Us!  Would you freeze the home of Chelsea and Mark?" - from Ladaat
  • Rav Amsalem defends Kapparot with chickens, and calls it "very dangerous" to protest against Jewish Minhagim so flippantly.  Meanwhile, his rav, Rav Mazuz, does it with money since he doesn't have the Ko'ah. - from Kikar HaShabbat
  • On 09/11/10, Yishmael won - from Mystical Paths
  • Video of trip to Uman and other Kivrei Tzadikim - from Dixie Yid

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rav Ovadia: They all hate us (almost)

Rav Ovadia Shlit"a came out against all the nations that surround Israel, saying that they all hate us, and mentioned most by name.  He listed Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and even Jordan by name.  Of course, the Palestinians were mentioned in a previous speech.  But there was one glaring omission.

I'll translate the quote from Rav Ovadia from the Ladaat article:
We are in exile. We are presently in exile. What is there? The State of Israel? What is the State of Israel? Some of those that surround us hate us around Jerusalem. Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan - all these hate us. They all hate us...

What are we? We only hope to HKB"H. He, may His name be praised, with His hard hand, will redeem us with an outstretched arm. With great judgements, He will redeem us.  Everything is in His hands, may He be blessed.  But this is dependent upon us, that we should come closer to the Shechina, we should come closer to Torah.  "Return to Me and I will return to you."

The one nation that he did not mention was Egypt.  Is it because they have a peace treaty with Israel?  That cannot be it as Jordan does too.  Is it because they don't hate us?  That's not it either as the vast majority of them do.  Why wasn't Egypt mentioned?

The verse says:
לא תתעב מצרי כי גר היית בארצו

thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.
Although this prohibition does not apply for everyone for the present-day Egyptians, the rationale behind this Mitzvah can be used to explain why Rav Ovadia omitted Egypt from the list and why he called Mubarak to wish him well.  Rav Ovadia used to live in Egypt and was a rabbi there for many years.  I'm guessing that he doesn't feel it proper to bite the hand that once fed him based on this verse.

Regarding what he said, let us heed his words of coming closer to Torah during these Aseret Yemei Teshuva, so Hashem will use His outstretched arm against our enemies and redeem us במהרה בימינו אמן.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Rosh Hashana 5771

Wishing all my readers all of the following wishes:
שנה טובה
כתיבה וחתימה טובה
תזכו לשנים רבות - נעימות וטובות
לשנה טובה תכתבו ותחתמו לאלטר לחיים טובים ארוכים ולשלום

  קָרֵב לִי שְׁנַת גֹּאֵל, וּפְדֵנִי

 וֶאֱמֹר לְצִיּוֹן בָּא זְמַן הַיְשׁוּעָה
יִנּוֹן וְאֵלִיָּה אֲנִי שׁוֹלֵחַ

May this be a year blessed with true peace upon all of Israel.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Minha Gedola and Tzel Part 4

If you haven't read the previous installments of this, here are the links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 - if you haven't read the update to this part, please do so. It's enlightening.

In the update to our previous post, we quoted the Mikdash Melech, who understands the Zohar which says "שית קמצין ופלגא" to mean 6.5 hours, albeit using a 12-hour day instead of a 24-hour day  (See Gilui's post how both counting systems are דברי אלקים חיים).  The Mikdash Melech says that קמצין literally mean "Tefahim", but in this context, mean "hours".  If you look at the Mikdash Melech inside, he refers to the beginning of the fifth Perek of Pesahim (58a). The Mishna there says that when Erev Pesah falls out on Friday, the Korban Tamid of the afternoon is slaughtered at the 6½ hour (i.e. Minha Gedola). The gemara explains that biblically, that is when it should be slaughtered every day, but since the Tamid must be the last Korban brought, to allow more time for Nedarim and Nedavot (private voluntary offerings), it is normally pushed off by 2 hours. On an Erev Pesah that falls on Friday, however, since you need to allow for the time to both bring the Korban Pesah and roast it after the Tamid is brought, the rabbis pushed the Tamid's time up back to the 6½ hour.

Interestingly enough, the expression the Gemara uses to denote the biblical time for bringing the afternoon Tamid being at the 6½ hour is the following:
אלא אמר רבא מצותו דתמיד משינטו צללי ערב
which is a paraphrase of the verse in Yirmiya that is brought down by the Zohar. To me, this is strong evidence that the Zohar means the 6½ hour (Minha Gedola). And the Mikdash Melech agrees.

The way I see it, we are in Erev Pesah (i.e., the eve of the Final Redemption according to the great rabbis of our time) that falls out on Erev Shabbat (i.e., the 6th millennium) and we're quickly approaching Minha Gedola of that "day".

Ribbono Shel Olam, we need the time to serve You properly before the millennium is over - there is so much to do - so much Torah to learn, so much growth in Yir'at Shamayim to achieve.  It's too difficult to do in Galut.   Minha Gedola of the sixth millennium is coming up this Rosh Hodesh Av, 5771. On the eve of Rosh Hashana, 5771, we humbly request that You have mercy on Your Shechina and Your nation, and that the Ge'ula come this year with mercy.

Friday, September 03, 2010

More on Minha Gedola and Tzel

Josh commented with tongue-in-cheek 2 posts ago that he predicts that "in the coming year, people will kvetch sources and err in their calculations so as to predict with absolute certainty that THIS is the year".

Not to disappoint, I will be the first to kvetch a source - even before the year begins!  Just for the record, I say nothing with absolute certainty, and it's very possible I might err too.

The commenters on my last post on the subject convinced me that Minha Gedola of the sixth millennium will occur in Av of 5771 - not 5770 as originally thought.
If you recall in that last post, we used the verse ימי כצל נטוי ואני כעשב איבש and showed how the shadow starts to lengthen at Minha Gedola.

I found an interesting Zohar that seems to have relevance.  The Zohar in Va'et'hanan (p. 270) says:
ומדשארי צל למעבד בשירותא דיומא אחרא, כמה בזמנא
דאתחריב מקדשא הוה, ונטה צל למיעל, הה"ד, אוי לנו כי פנה היום כי
ינטו צללי ערב. יום וצל, הוא סוף גלותא. ושיעורא דהאי צל, שית קמצין
ופלגא. ובגודל דמשחא דבר נש, גבר בין גוברין. ודוכרנא דהאי רזא דבין
חברייא, דכתיב כי תמול אנחנו ולא נדע כי צל ימינו עלי ארץ. כי תמול
אנחנו בגלותא, ולא הוינא ידעי כי צל ימינו עלי ארץ, לאשראה לון קב״ה
עלי ארץ.
Although it says בשירותא - which seems to mean the beginning of the millennium - it possibly could mean the beginning of the evening shadow, which is at Minha Gedola.  The reason to say this is because the Zohar compares it to the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash, in the year 3828 - only about 50-60 years after Minha Gedola of the 4th millennium.  It also uses the verse in Yirmiyah 6:4.  Here is the full verse:

קַדְּשׁוּ עָלֶיהָ מִלְחָמָה, קוּמוּ וְנַעֲלֶה בַצָּהֳרָיִם; אוֹי לָנוּ כִּי-פָנָה הַיּוֹם, כִּי יִנָּטוּ צִלְלֵי-עָרֶב
'Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon!' 'Woe unto us! for the day declineth, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out!'
Here again, we have the words נטה and צל.  We can again use Rashi in Shabbat 9b to show that Minha Gedola is when the sun is נוטה toward the west.  And from this verse, it seems to be a time not far after צהרים - noon.  What this Zohar might be saying is: Just like the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash is sometime after Minha Gedola, similarly the end of Galut will be at the beginning בשירותא of the time after Minha Gedola where the shadow starts to lengthen.  The word בשירותא modifies the whole phrase "דיומא אחרא, כמה בזמנא דאתחריב מקדשא הוה, ונטה צל למיעל".

This Zohar then says the Galut will last יום וצל - a day and a shadow.  "Day" refers to the 5th millennium.  "Shadow" refers to a portion of the 6th millennium.  It mentions the measurement of this shadow being 6.5 Kamtzin.  What is a Kamtza?  The Sulam seems to say it's the measurement of man.  I saw another explanation that says that it's a Tefah.  לולי דמסתפינא, could a Kamtza be a daylight hour?  That means 6.5 daylight hours, which is exactly Minha Gedola.  And knowing that an hour is 41.666666 years, Minha Gedola will be Av, 5771.  That would make sense as the measurement of צל since that is when the shadow starts to lengthen.

And it only starts to lengthen then when you have ובגודל דמשחא דבר נש, גבר בין גוברין - an average man's height.  A shorter man's shadow may not be recognizable until later.

OK, it's a kvetch, but I like it.

May we merit to see Mashiah come even today.

Update: I am very excited to find a Sefer (the Bechorei Yaakov, quoting the Mikdash Melech) who agrees with me in saying that קמצין means "hours". He seems to say it in regard to Mashiah coming in 5541 since 1000 / 12 * 6.5 = 541.67. If we use a 24 hour day instead of a 12 hour day, however, we will get to 5771 since 5501 + (500 / 12 * 6.5) = 5771. ברוך שכוונתי. Maybe it's not such a Kvetch after all...

We're in the Century of Nitzavim-Vayelech

From YWN's Parsha Potpourri by Oizer Alport:
V’shavta ad Hashem Elokecha v’shamata b’kolo k’chol asher anochi m’tzav’cha hayom atah u’banecha b’chol l’vav’cha uv’chol nafsh’cha (30:2)

Since the Torah is the blueprint for the entire Creation, it inherently contains within it allusions to everything which will ever exist or occur in the universe. The Vilna Gaon explains that the Torah’s recounting of the episode of Creation contains the events which transpired in the first 1000 years of history, with the second 1000 years hidden in the remainder of Sefer Bereishis, the third 1000 years in Sefer Shemos, the fourth 1000 years in Sefer Vayikra, the fifth 1000 years in Sefer Bamidbar, and the final 1000 years in Sefer Devorim.

Since Sefer Devorim contains 10 parshios (counting Nitzavim and Vayeilech as one, as they are often read together as a double portion), each portion hints to the events of one century of the sixth millennium. Based on this explanation of the Vilna Gaon, it has been noted that the early years of the Holocaust, the greatest national tragedy in modern history, fall out in the century which is hinted to in Parshas Ki Savo, which contains words of rebuke and hair-raising threats of terrible suffering which will befall the Jewish people.

However, consolation may be found by recognizing that we are currently living in the century which corresponds to Parshas Nitzavim-Vayeilech, which is commonly referred to as the portion of repentance. Not surprisingly, the years since World War II have seen an extraordinary wave of uneducated Jews returning to their roots on an unprecedented scale, precisely as predicated by the Torah.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pesukim with Gematrias of 5771

I typed "5771" into the GezaGeza Gematria application, and it came up with 2 Pesukim:

The first comes from Melachim I 7:24

ופקעים מתחת לשפתו סביב, סבבים אתו:עשר באמה, מקפים את הים סביב; שני טורים הפקעים, יצקים ביצקתו.
And under the brim of it round about there were knops which did compass it, for ten cubits, compassing the sea round about; the knops were in two rows, cast when it was cast.

The second comes from Divrei Hayamim II 20:25
ויבא יהושפט ועמו, לבז את שללם, וימצאו בהם לרב ורכוש ופגרים וכלי חמדות, וינצלו להם לאין משא; ויהיו ימים שלושה בזזים את השלל, כי רב הוא.
And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches and dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much.

What do these Pesukim mean for the year ahead?

I really don't know, but here's a guess if I were to expound on this gematria:

The first Pasuk describes the Yam Shel Shelomo - the "Sea of Solomon" - a brass circular tub, which was used for the Kohanim to purify themselves (see Divrei Hayamim II 4:6).  This signifies the fact that Hashem wants us to purify ourselves during the next year.  If we do so, we will receive the blessing of the next Pasuk, which deals with the Judean people collecting the abundant spoils from a war that Hashem fought for them without them lifting a finger.

May we merit to receive this blessing speedily.  Amen.