Geula-Related Recent Links

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Geula Update by Rav Fish - Tazria 5774

Brief summary of this week's newsletter (I left out 85% of his words):
  • Re: the Gra's statement "When Russian ships pass the Bosporus (and Dardanelles), expect the foot of Mashiah":
    • The Turkish Straits in Turkish is "Türk Boğazları" (with a ğ similar to an ע), thereby hinting to Boaz, the ancestor of David Hamelech.
    • Ahashverosh built the bridges that cross the straits.
    • Constantinople's role in the Geula process is mentioned in Targum Yonatan Bemidbar 24:19, 24 and in Ibn Ezra Daniel 19:36.
  • Russian Bear
    • Rav Chaim Brisker heard from his grandfather, who heard from the Talmidei Hagr"a, who heard from the Gr"a that Russia would strengthen before Mashiah comes.
    • He also said that Russia inherited the Kelipa of Persia - Dubiel.
    • We see that Russia today is allied with the Iranians.
    • "Dov" (bear) is hinted in the Russian Prime Minister's name: Medvedev (מדבדב)
    • Rav Avraham Veisfish explains that Persia has the aspect of a brown bear, while Russia has the aspect of a white bear.
  • Rav Shternbuch Shlit"a's speech
    • He brings down Rav Shternbuch's Purim speech about the tradition of the Gr"a about Crimea, (and added that it refers to the city of Kerch).
    • He notes that we see from Rav Shternbuch that he connects the 2 traditions from the Gr"a so the idea will start in Crimea and will continue through the Dardanelles to Istanbul.
    • קרים is the gematria of הדרדנלים plus the letters.
    • האי קרים is the same letters (using the י twice) as אמריקה, showing that America also has a Yenika (nurturing) from that place, and therefore could start a war there.
  • Computers and Mashiah
    • After explaining how computers and Internet are the Kelipa, he says that the greater the Kelipa, the greater the spark of holiness that is inside.  And the spark of holiness of computers is Mashiah - meaning, computers came to the world at the End of Days because they were needed to help with Torah learning with the coming of Mashiah - especially, Torah of Remez, which will soon spread in the world.
    • Therefore, מחשבים (computers) are the letters of בם משיח (inside them is Mashiah).
    • When Mashiah comes, all computers will be filtered from the filth.
    • R' Tzion David Siboni adds: מחשבים is the gematria of אליהו הנביא זכור לטוב.
  • Putin as the Le'umat Zeh of Pinhas
    • Pinhas was mocked as being "Ben Puti".
    • Just as Pinhas fought against Zenut in the Ma'aseh Zimri, Putin fights against To'eva rights in Russia.
    • Putin wanted the building of the Beit Hamikdash [while Pinhas served as Kohen Gadol in the Mishkan].
    • Pinhas entered the scene during a time of Halachic confusion, similar to today.
  • 5774
    • The gematria of ה' הוא האלקים is 129.  129x6 = 774.  This means that after this year, we're entering the 7th instance of ה' הוא האלקים, which hints to MBD.
    • Rav Avraham Veisfish explains that the verse והריקתי לכם ברכה עד בלי די hints to this year, where the עד hints to 5774 and the די hints to 2014.
      • [YY - Perhaps, based on this, you can say that we will soon only care about the עד "without the די" as the די will be totally meaningless.  והמבין יבין.]
  • Obama, 5775, and the Kings of Edom
    • The name "Obama" is hinted to in the kings of Edom.
    • R' Menahem Barhum adds: if you add up the gematria of the name of the first 7 kings plus the name of his city, you get a gematria of 5750, which is Hatzot Hayom of the 6th millennium, when the light of the Geula of Shabbat (the 7th millennium) started to shine.  Then, the verse goes to the 8th king, when his wife is mentioned since they are the Sod of the Olam HaTikkun during the time of the Redemption, as is mentioned in Idra Zuta.  In the following words, there is a hint to the number 25 [making a total of 5775]: Mispar Katan of his wife מהיטבאל, Mispar Katan of בת מטרד, and Mispar Katan of בת מי זהב.  Also, the name of the king and his city "הדר פעו" equals the gematria of ברק אובמה plus the letters and Kollel since he will be the last king of Edom, as he is hinted to in the 8th king.
    • Also, ברוך מרדכי, ארור המן, and ברק חוסיין אובאמה have the same gematria.
      • And in Purim, 5774, President Obama was embarrassed by the Russians in their takeover of Crimea.

MBY in Today's Daf Yomi

Today's Daf Yomi is Sukkah 52, which includes the sole reference in Shas to Mashiah Ben Yosef.  Nevertheless, references to MBY are found in many other Ma'amarei Haza"l, Zohar, Rishonim and Aharonim.

See more about MBY at

See Mashiach's Wife for an interesting perspective on MBY.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Oldest Man in America Fulfills Mitzvot of Tefillin, Mezuzot

At 111, Alexander Imich has been officially verified as the oldest man in America and the second oldest in the world. A resident of Manhattan who lives on the Upper West Side, he had the honor of being congratulated by the New York State Senate last year, on his 110th birthday.

But recently, he received some more attention, as well as some unexpected help—putting on tefillin for the first time in almost 100 years, getting a mezuzah for his apartment door, receiving replacements for the much-needed hearing aids he had lost, and having round-the-clock home attendants to help care for him and new people to keep him company.

All of this was the result of a recent hospital visit by Rabbi Pinny Marozov, co-director of Chabad of Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife, Chaya. The 30-year-old rabbi found out about Imich while in Seattle seeing family. A Shabbat guest suggested that he pay the elderly man a visit, though neither of them realized at the time quite how old he was, recalled Marozov.

On his return to New York, Marozov dropped in on Imich, who was in Roosevelt Hospital being treated for a fall in his apartment. Imich celebrated his 111th birthday there, on Feb. 4. He had lost both of his hearing aids at the hospital, which made communicating difficult; nevertheless, the two men connected.

He also helped Imich wrap tefillin. Marozov said he didn’t think Imich had put on tefillin since his Bar Mitzvah—nearly 100 years ago—in Czestochowa, Poland.

The rabbi returned for another visit once Imich was back home. While there, Marozov helped Imich put on tefillin once again and also affixed a mezuzah to the door leading into Imich’s apartment, where he has lived—these days, alone—since 1965.
See also the Jewish Press from last month.

Rav Schick Shlit"a: My Keitz is Getting Closer

Rav Eliezer Shlomo Schick Shlit"a, the Tzaddik of Yavne'el, the person that Rav Kaduri ZT"L hinted was the Mashiah, called for an emergency gathering in his town of Yavne'el, says Kikar, and addressed the following issues:

  1. He reiterated his opposition to smartphones, again calling them "Ba'al Pe'or of today", and added that people who carry them around should not be Hazanim or receive Aliyot.  [YY - I may not subscribe to this view exactly, but I do see where it comes from.]
  2. He says that Binyamin Ben-Eliezer deserves the support of the community for President of Israel as Hakarat Hatov for previous city projects.
  3. Regarding the Draft Law, he promises that in a short while, everything will change for the better - the coalition Ahdut will fall apart and all will be good.  HKB"H is just testing us to see if we're holding strong.
  4. Regarding his health, he said, "My end is near (קיצי מתקרב) [YY - which can also be interpreted as, "My Keitz is getting closer"].  After the heart incident that occurred 2 years ago, I'm no longer the same man - I'm barely alive.  I request that you pray for me."  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

When Nissan Approaches, Geula-Blogging Increases

Here are a few recent Geula-related posts going on:
  • The Mashiach is Coming blog quotes Kikar [text in brackets added by me]:
    Kikar Hashabat reports on a number of businessmen from Ukraine who went to the Bnei Brak residence of the mekubal Rav Dovid Chaim Stern, asking him for advice due to the precarious situation in their country.

    The mekubal gave them three tips: to recite Tehillim, to refrain from idle talk in the synagogue and long to move to Israel. He said that we are in the footsteps of the Mashiach [and the main longing and prayer is to live in the Holy Land, especially since according to natural means, there could Halila be a danger where you live]. We have to remember "שאין עוד מלבדו יתברך" - that there is nothing but Hashem.
  • Rabbi Lazer Brody had a video shiur 3 weeks ago called "The Megilla of Geula", where he said that all the events occurring today will come together in one big Megilla that culminates in our Final Redemption.  Today, he notes that the Gerrer Rebbe said the same thing:
    This morning, I heard from a close friend and a Gerrer Chassid who was with the Gerrer Rebbe shlit'a (image, left) on Purim, that the Gerrer Rebbe (Rabbi Yaakov Aryeh Alter shlit'a) said that we our now in the midst of the Megilla of Geula: in the original Yiddish, he said, Mir halt mit arein in di Megilla fun Geula.

    The Gerrer Rebbe shlit'a is a tzaddik of very few words.

    Someone then asked the Rebbe, velechen perek, which chapter are we? The Rebbe didn't answer.

    Anyone in Israel that can't smell the imminent Geula and the coming of Moshiach needs an ear, nose and throat checkup. Very big things are about to happen, as we see that the world is changing all around us.
  • Soul Mazal: The Putin Spiral
  • Tomer Devorah: Message from Daniel: "NO FURTHER" (Part 2)
  • Absolute Truth: Pay Attention -- Messages from Hashem
And on my blog, there are a few recent Geula-related posts that quote the following Gedolim:

...not to mention all the Rav Fish Shlit"a posts.

May we merit the Geula to come very speedily in our days with mercy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rav Povarsky Shlit"a and Rav Amar Shlit"a on the Draft Law Approvers

Rav Baruch Dov Povarsky Shlit"a, the Rosh Yeshiva of Ponovezh, said at a Yarhei Kallah that every generation has an Amalek and Lapid and friends fit the bill in our generation - as they pursue the Torah learners under the guise of wanting to help them.  He said that they claim that they are the brothers of Torah learners, to which one can reply, "Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau."  He continued:
The one thing that can help against them is strengthening ourselves in Torah learning, and that is what can bring Mashiah closer.  We're sure that we're near the end, and only this will help. ...

Rav Amar came to the same conclusion regarding our obligation to Torah, but not quite about how we are to relate to those approved the Draft Law:
We need to increase Torah study.  And I request that we pray - with everything that is hurting us - to pray for them, that Hashem should place understanding in the heart of those who err.  To pray for their benefit - not to pray for our own benefit.

We're not afraid.  We're not concerned.  We have gone through worse than them.  What have we not gone through?  We're not afraid at all.  But I request and plead that everyone prays for them, those poor fellows.  The heart really aches for them so that they will understand what Torah is - and that they themselves will learn Torah.  This is just a Ru'ah Shetut (lit. spirit of foolishness) that is passing through.  We need to strengthen Torah learning.

OK - Poll question:

Whose approach toward those who voted for the draft bill resonates with you?

a) That of Rav Povarsky Shlit"a
b) That of Rav Amar Shlit"a
c) That of Rav Ronsky Shlit"a who claims to have more in common with Lapid than the Haredim
d) Other ______________

Please answer in the comments.

Google Suggests an Issur Karet When Searching for Advice on How to Deal with the Crooked

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rav Shteinman Shlit"a: Recent Troubles are Hevlei Mashiah

Mashiach is Coming blog:
Chadrei Charedim report and KikarHashabat report that Harav Shteinman Shlit"a addressed family members and close associates before Maariv this Motzaei Shabbat and said that the tragedies that people are experiencing are part of "chevlei Mashiach" and that we are already seeing the light. The Rav called on people to take something upon themselves, even something small. The Rav asked that people should strengthen themselves in Torah and fear of G-d and in this merit we will see the redemption soon.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Shemini 5774

Pondering the Prayer Gathering

The Matzav Shmooze: Protests Do More Harm Than Good (very well-said)

Petira Of Hagon HaRav Yosef Levi ZATZAL; Mechaber Seforim ‘Minhag Yisroel Torah’

(Rav Schick Shlit"a goes after iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries equally at least.  Apple shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the ban alone - even though איפון is the same letters as ניאוף.)

Chief Rabbis Speak Out Against Government Giyur Bill

Purim Pride - R' Pinchos Lipschutz this week

Israeli Conversion Bill Approved For Second And Third Readings

Search Continues for Peretz Sontag

MK Yoni Chetboun to Ami: “The Torah’s Values Take Precedence”


And don't forget that this is the first year of the current Ki-Tisa/Parah drought mentioned here (and followed up last year here).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rav Shternbuch Shlit"a on Israeli and World Events and Mashiah

Kikar has the text and an audio of the words Rav Moshe Shternbuch Shlit"a spoke at a speech on Purim (and YWN has a PDF of it too - linked from here).  The following is a summary:

  • He says that newspapers confuse people into thinking that everything that happen in the world happens naturally and that Hashem's hand is not involved at all.  Therefore, look at newspapers only a little to see what is going on, but not so much that you'd think that everything is purely "nature".
  • He bemoans the fact that everyone is up-in-arms about the Draft Law, but no one is protesting the Giyur Law.  It's because to save themselves from jail, they need to protest the Draft Law, but the Giyur Law, which is a protest against Heaven, no one bothers.  This is wrong.
  • Similarly, about those who protest against the non-Jewish graves from the time of Terah and earlier and they go to pray by these graves for mercy, but don't protest the Draft Law or Giyur Law.
  • [YY- Updated the text.  Thanks commenter Jacob.]  There was a big deal made in the world about the capture of Crimea. According to a tradition we have from the Gr"a, this is a sign of the "bells footsteps of Mashiah".  We really don't know what these "bells footsteps of Mashiah" are, but it's definitely a sign that the Geula is close, and perhaps, he means פעמי is like פעמון - it's like a bell to awaken us to prepare for Mashiah.
  • The prerequisite for the coming of Mashiah is the war against Amalek, and in our days, we already in the midst of a war against Amalek, as the government here is Amalek Mamash by chasing after religion and wanting to totally uproot anything that has a semblance of religion, and they found for themselves some Amalekim who dress up as religious people to assist them.  So now, we are in a situation of the prerequisite for the coming of Mashiah.
  • We can now go back to what I first talked about - that if we entrench into our hearts very well on Purim day that HKB"H controls all nature, that would bring a great downfall for Amalek.  Therefore, we should announce all together, "I believe with complete faith that there is no nature or coincidence in the world at all."  Now, that we said this, we dealt a great blow to Amalek since we made an announcement that goes against their opinion that there is no Creator of the world.


The PDF has more info about this:
 והנה פורים הוא זמן שמגלים סודות, ויש אצלי הרבה סודות שלא אוכל לגלותם ולכן אני לא אשתכר, אמנם לפעמים אני משתמש בהיתר של המהרש"א (ב"מ כג:) שפירש את מאמר הגמ' שם שמותר לשנות במסכתא פוריא ואושפיזא שב"פוריא" הכוונה היא שבפורים מותר לומר על עצמו שהוא שיכור אפילו אם למעשה לא השתכר, אבל אני איני מחפש  התרים ואין דעתי נוחה לעשות כן ולכן לא אשקר לומר שאני שיכור. אמנם אע"פ שהבטחתי שלא אגלה סודות מ"מ אני מוכרח לגלות סוד אחד מפני שכבר גילה אותו ר' יצחק חבר זצ"ל תלמידו של ר' חיים וואלזי'נער זצ"ל ששמעו איש מפי איש עד אא"ז הגר"א זיע"א שגילה סוד זה סמוך להסתלקותו - וכה אמר: כאשר תשמעו שהרוסיים כבשו את העיר "קֶרִים" אז תדעו שמתחיל כבר פעמי הגאולה, וכאשר תשמעו שהרוסיים הגיעו לעיר קונסטנטינופול (הלא היא איסטנבול שבטורקיה דהיום הזה) אז כבר תלבשו בגדי שבת ואל תפשיטו אותם כיון שבכל רגע המשיח עומד לבוא, עכ"ד.

 גילוי פעמי משיח בזמנינו 

והנה בשבוע האחרון הרוסים כבשו את העיר "קֶרִים" ובכל העולם ישנו רעש גדול סביב לזה, ולפי המסורת שיש בידינו מאא"ז הגר"א זיע"א הרי זהו סימן ל"פעמי משיח", והן אמת שאין אנחנו יודעים בדיוק מהו הכוונה "פעמי משיח", אבל וודאי שזהו סימן לגאולה הקרובה, ואפשר שכוונתו שזהו כמו "פעמון" שמעורר אותנו להתכונן לביאת המשיח

We see that this tradition that the Russian capture of Crimea is a sign of the "bells of Mashiah" comes from the Gr"a ZY"A, who revealed it close to his death to Rav Hayim Volozhin ZT"L, who revealed it to Rav Yitzhak Haver ZT"L.

I'm a little unsure on why it's called עיר - a city - while it's really a peninsula. One small issue, but this is pretty big.


I just noticed that Rav Fish from this week has this too and wrote the wording slightly differently:

The Gr"a before he died, said to the Rada"l (Rav David Luria) ZT"L:

"On the day that the Russians will overpower the country of Crimea, and especially the great fortification of Kerch, look for the foot of Mashiah."

Rav Fish notes that the first place the Russians took over was Kerch.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

עמך וצאן מרעיתך

Fox News:

Deaths of bighorn sheep in Arizona spark controversy over conservation effort

The first phase of a three-year plan by Arizona wildlife officials to bolster herds of bighorn sheep has resulted in the death of half the population, after the 31 sheep were transplanted at a cost of $150,000 into the Catalina Mountains where mountain lions killed 15 of the protected species within a few months.

Some animal welfare groups are pushing for an end to the project, but wildlife officials say the conservation effort is not a failure and expect the projected $600,000, three-year plan to result in greater numbers of bighorns in an area where they once co-existed with mountain lions for centuries.

The issue, say Arizona wildlife officials and biologists, is a complex one.

Bighorn sheep, a gregarious, herd-forming species, once thrived in large numbers across the western U.S. until their population dropped dramatically over the past 100 years -- for reasons biologists continue to study, such as disease, fires or loss of water source. Wildlife officials in Arizona estimate the current count to be around 6,000 in the state, and they are working with conservationists to rebuild a herd that disappeared from the Tucson range in the 1990s.

Last November, the Arizona Game and Fish Department implemented the first phase of a three-year plan to transplant the creatures from the Yuma area into the Catalinas, where they once lived. Wildlife officials in the state said they spent $150,000 -- none of which was taxpayer money -- to catch 31 bighorns by helicopter, place satellite transmitter collars on them and transport the herd to the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of Tucson.

Four months later, 15 of the bighorns had been killed by mountain lions that thrive in the area -- leaving some animal welfare advocates to question whether such a plan was prudent on the part of an independent panel formed by state wildlife officials.

The Catalina Bighorn Advisory Committee -- comprised of groups such as the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society, the Wilderness Society and the Center for Biological Diversity — had recommended that officials not kill any mountain lions prior to the transplant of bighorns.

After nearly half the bighorn herd was killed, state wildlife officials in turn killed two mountain lions -- leading to protests by individuals who claimed the big cats should not be targeted for acting as natural predators in the wild.

 Hmmm... Any comparisons to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?  Just thinking out loud...

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Great Limud Zechut for Jews is that We Know How to Party

The fact that this year Shushan Purim coincided with St. Patrick's Day should make us grateful that no one is calling it ShushanPatrickurim or something crazy like that.  Unlike Thanksgivvukah, there is nothing in common between the two holidays.

One might want to compare the two in that they are both drinking holidays.  But there is much folly in that logic.

The gemara (Megila 12b [Daf | Text | English]) contrasts the ways Jews party and the ways non-Jews party.  When Jews eat, drink and party, we speak praises to HKB"H for His constant kindness to us.  When non-Jews eat, drink, and party, they speak words of frivolity - the kind of frivolity that would cause Ahashverosh to call for his queen to appear naked.

The Midrash, when quoting this piece, goes further and says that this is a "כפרתן של ישראל" - literally, an atonement for Israel.  The Maharzu explains that it is a Limud Zechut for Israel that this is so.  The Tiferet Tzion elaborates and says that the fact that the Jews acted in this way was the merit for the entire salvation and redemption in the Purim story.

Anyone who has attended a Purim Seudah with G-d-fearing Jews knows that our kind of party is one of holiness.  The wine elevates us to praise HKB"H for His benevolence to us.  We also say words of Torah to further enhance the sanctity of the party.

And furthermore, the party is not performed in a vacuum.  The party is held as a culmination of the other Mitzvot of the day.  We first read the Megila to make sure we understand why we are partying.  We then spend much of the day giving to the poor and giving food items to others, infusing us with a spirit of benevolence ourselves.  We then can enjoy the party with the proper holiness in which it was intended by our sages.

On the other hand, among the ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day is by kissing the opposite gender and pinching those who do not wear green.

All I can say is ברוך אלקינו שבראנו לכבודו והבדילנו מן התועים...

May we learn the lesson well that partying like a Jew is our great defense against Heavenly prosecution and even causes Redemption to occur.  במהרה בימינו אמן.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Interesting Recent Links - Purim 5774

  • Rav Fish on Purim and a Geula Update:
    • See pp 17-18, where he says that the bold letters from the verse:
      וַיֹּאמֶר, לֵךְ דָּנִיֵּאל:  כִּי-סְתֻמִים וַחֲתֻמִים הַדְּבָרִים, עַד-עֵת קֵץ
      equal תשע"ד and he explains why the final Mem is significant.
    • He later (p. 26) explains why Russia is mostly Amalek, quoting from Rav Chaim Soloveitchik ZT"L and Rav Itzele of Volozhin ZT"L. The Ukrainians don't get off easy either - they've proved their Amalekness during Khmelnitsky and the Holocaust.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Rabbi Hoffman Responds to Rabbi Slifkin on Full-Time Torah vs Army

Rabbi Hoffman's Initial Article

Rabbi Slifkin's Response to Rabbi Hoffman

Rabbi Hoffman's Response to Rabbi Slifkin  (ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON)

For more on the general subject at hand, see:

Hamodia Op Ed- What Is the Real Issue in Israel?

Arutz Sheva Op Ed - Unraveled Knit Kippot

Dixie Yid - Rav Moshe Weinberger's Drasha on Parshas Vayikra - Also Addresses Atzeres Tefilla Gatherings/Chareidi Draft Issue

sʞuıן ɟoods ɯıɹnd

Forward - Chaldeans Apologize, Urge Jews To Return and Offer Citizenship

¡ɯıɹnd ʎddɐɥ
¡ǝɹƃǝןɐ ɯıɹnd
¡ɥɐ,ǝɯɐs ɯıɹnd

(Upside down letters generated here.)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Connection Between Draft Law and Rockets?

This is a big "I don't know".

I can tell you where it's being discussed:

1) Israeli Yated Ne'eman headline

2) Kol Berama radio (from YWN)

The bill passed three readings and it is law so let’s deal with the reality. I am on my way to Sderot after 60 rockets fell there.

Kol Berama:

Amazing that it occurred today. Wouldn’t you agree?


Avi please, ...
3) As a comment on Rafi's blog 

Again, I don't know, but I do know that after a cease fire, the rockets have continued.

May Hashem protect His people with the Zechut of continued Limud Hatorah and via the IDF.

Shas Kedem - A Sephardic Shas

Source: Community

Everyone seems to agree that there are more Sephardic Rishonim than Ashkenazic Rishonim.  But when it comes to Aharonim, Ashkenazim have Sepharadim beat hands down, right?  Not so fast.

When my father was younger, he was once told by Rav Chaim Zimmerman ZT"L that there were more Sepharadi Aharonim than Ashkenazic ones.  It was a quite a surprising statement to my father at the time, but when my father did research later in life, he agreed that it is true.

Community Magazine tells us about Shas Kedem - a new Shas that is to have Sephardic sages' commentary printed alongside the Daf.  The article explains why no one has ever heard of most Sephardic Aharonim:
In Sephardic communities, by contrast, both in Asia and Africa, complete editions of the Talmud were never printed, with the exception of the communities in Turkey and Greece, where numerous prominent Jews operated printing houses.

This reality explains why Sephardic Talmud commentators are grossly under-represented in all standard editions of the Shas (Talmud). All the editions produced in Russia and Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania, Slavita and Zhitomir, were printed with the novella, redaction and revisions of numerous Ashkenazic scholars, but with scant few Sephardic commentators. In the famous Vilna edition of the Talmud, the forerunner of all subsequent publications of Shas, which have adopted its format, 124 commentaries, annotations and novella are printed either alongside the text or at the end of the volume, only five of which were written by Sephardic sages. Due mainly to the geographic distance separating the Ashkenazic and Sephardic worlds, printers simply did not have access to a large corpus of Sephardic works as they did to Ashkenazic commentaries, which were thus naturally included in the publications. And even the small handful of Sephardic commentaries which were included – such as those of the Rif (Rabbi Yitzhak of Fez) and the Ran (Rabbenu Nissim of Gerona) – appear in the back of the volumes, after the text of the Gemara. Alongside the text one finds only the commentaries of Rashi and the Tosafists, who represent the Ashkenazic scholarly tradition.

As a result, many treasures of Sephardic Talmudic scholarship received little or no exposure beyond their own countries or circles of followers. Their incisive questions, creative answers, and illuminating comments were mainly transmitted through oral tradition from teacher to student, and thus only a small fraction of their wisdom was preserved.
There will now be a Shas called "Shas Kedem" made jointly by the Kedem Institute and Oz Vehadar that hopes to change all that.   It will bring all the commentaries of the Sephardic sages on the page without having to go to the back.  They are going through the tedious process of collecting information from old books and even manuscripts and categorizing them.  They have already published its version on Messechet Makkot.

It's being dubbed "The Shas of the future."  I wish them much Hatzlaha.

Latest Purim Costume Idea - A Million Man Atzeret Attendee

Pictures from Ladaat:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Zecher LeMahatzit Hashekel for 5774

Halacha Yomit says:
The appropriate sum that one should donate in commemoration of the Half-Shekel this year (5774) is approximately $6 (USD) per person(For those residing in Israel, based on the fluctuating price of silver and dollar-to-shekel conversion rate, the sum this year is approximately 25 NISper person.)
The way to calculate this sum is as follows: A troy ounce of silver consists of 31.1 grams. Thus, the price of one troy ounce of silver [recently approximately $21.25 USD] must be divided by 31.1 and then multiplied by nine in order to find the updated price of nine grams of silver, which is the value of actual Half-Shekel coin, as we have mentioned in past years. There is a disagreement among the Poskim whether or not the price per ounce of silver should be calculated including applicable taxes. Halachically speaking, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l has instructed us that one may be lenient and calculate this sum excluding tax. However, if one is stringent to donate a larger sum for charity, he shall surely be blessed from above.
The amount of the donation for the commemoration of the Half-Shekel for small children is a coin which is a half of the local currency. Example: In the United States this would be a half-dollar coin. (In Israel, this would be the Half-Shekel [NIS] coin.)
When going to this silver calculator, and entering "9" in the "Total weight in grams" box, I get $6.1662 so that is the amount to pay per adult (unless the price fluctuates drastically in the next day or so).  To be sure, enter "9" in the calculator right before giving the Zecher LeMahatzit Hashekel.

(Note that previous versions of Halacha Yomit put 10 as the multiplier.  It seems that they changed it to 9 as it says in Sefarim.  See also last year and 3 years ago.)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Storm "Vulcan" Coming

Winter Storm Vulcan: Midwest, Northeast to Get Another Round of Snowfall

A storm moving across the central plains is expected to hit the Chicago area with up to 8 inches of heavy snow, "near blizzard conditions" in some places and even a few bouts of thundersnow before it all ends late Wednesday morning.


This winter is the fourth snowiest on record but could move into third place after the storm, maybe even second.

A total of 75.5 inches of snow has fallen so far this season, behind the 77 inches of 1969-70, the 82.3 inches of 1977-78 and the 89.7 inches of 1978-79.
Anyone out there who is affected, live long and prosper.

Kol Hakavod to Yoni Chetboun

The one real Yehudi in the Bayit Shel Goyim has spoken out against the draft law and said that he will vote against it.

It is a first crack in the Lapid-Bennett armor.  I wish more would join him.

The Sign I Would Have Carried at the Prayer Rally

See also Rabbi Yair Hoffman.

Amazing Shemirat Shabbat and Malaysia Air Flight 370 Story

Dan's Deals, ColLive and YWN report on an amazing story of someone who was saved from Malaysia Air Flight 370 by keeping Shabbat.

We know that the Shabbat defended Adam Harishon to Hashem to save him from death.  And as Ahad Ha'am said: "More than the Jew has kept the Shabbat, the Shabbat has kept the Jew."

Friday, March 07, 2014

Manhattan Atzeret: Were these streets picked on purpose?


Men go to Water Street, as it says הוֹי כָּל-צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם

Women go to Pearl Street, as it says יְקָרָה הִיא מִפְּנִינִים

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Rav Daniel Moscowitz, BD"H

As seen on various websites (h/t MIC), Rav Daniel Moscowitz, the head of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois and former president of the cRc passed away today tragically.

May our community know no more sorrow.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Nevu'at Hayeled on Russian Invasion of Crimea?

Nevuat Hayeled says:

מדון ומנצור,
לאומים יעצור,
אלוף כבודה מלך
ושמו מנצור.

נסיכי קדר,
ידרוך באדר,
וביעתהון גדר,
בקוצין ודרדר.

This past summer, I posted how these 2 stanzas and the one following can be referring to the recently appointed interim President of Egypt, Adly Mansour. With the upcoming elections for president in Egypt ( which Wikipedia says: "Egypt is expected to hold a presidential election between 17 February and 18 April 2014,[1] though it may take place later.[2]"), he will no longer be president.

I want to therefore tentatively propose that the second stanza that I quoted is unrelated to the first, but just follows chronologically since the first stanza's event will soon be completed.

The stanza starts: נסיכי קדר - the princes of Kedar. Who is "Kedar"? The simple answer is Arabian nomads. But that may not be accurate. There are numerous sources that קדר refers to Crimea! For example, see the English and Hebrew versions of the Wikipedia entry for "Karaim Language", where Crimea is referred to as ארץ קדר and its language as לשון קדר. Another proof can be found in the "Travels of Rabbi Petachia of Regensburg" (p. 2-3, see footnote 1) where Crimea is referred to as ארץ קדר - the land of Kedar. Furthermore, according to the commentary to Nevu'at Hayeled, Kedar refers to the Tartars - some of whom were Crimean - not Arabs.  As of 2001, the Crimean Tatars make up 12.1% of the population and are predominantly Muslim.  They have historically been persecuted by the Russian Empire and the Soviets.

The very next line says: ידרוך באדר - he will trample "באדר", which the commentary translates as "mightily", but can very well mean "In Adar"! And not just in Adar, but exactly when Adar I meets Adar II, which is the midpoint of the complete Adar!  And the subject "he" refers to Russia whose troops trampled into Crimea without firing a shot.

The next line says: וביעתהון גדר בקוצין ודרדר - which the commentary says means that he fenced in with thorns and thistles either their houses of worship or their houses of joy.  What Russia plans to do with Crimeans - and especially the mostly-Muslim Crimean Tatars - is up in the air right now.  We will have to wait and see.

[As a side note, I'm also wondering about the connection to the verse in Tehillim:
אוֹיָה-לִי, כִּי-גַרְתִּי מֶשֶׁךְ;    שָׁכַנְתִּי, עִם-אָהֳלֵי קֵדָר.
Woe is me, that I sojourn with Meshech, that I dwell beside the tents of Kedar!
While Meshech is commonly translated as "Moscow" (or perhaps Khazaria - see footnote 77 here) and Kedar is commonly translated as "Arab lands", perhaps we should adjust that translation as well to mean Crimea, a place much closer geographically to Meshech.  And perhaps it's referring to the Karaites who lived in Crimea and surrounding areas for centuries.  Perhaps, David Hamelech is bemoaning the lack of Torah Shebe'al Peh in these places for years.  Just a thought.]

Draft Rally - Dovid Hamelech and Limud Hatorah

Guest Audio Post by Yisrael Killian
from Torah Media Atlanta

(You may need to click "Download" on top after clicking the link.)

Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlit"a to Kiruv Worker: Return from Odessa Immediately, Mashiah is on the Way


Kikar reports (my translation):

In Odessa, a port city and the fourth largest in population in Ukraine after Kiev, Kharkov, and Dnepropetrovsk, live dozens of Jews.  Since the riots in their country, the concern is growing among the community members of a crisis in the security situation.

Yesterday (Sunday), one of the members of the community who is considered a famous Kiruv worker in Odessa, requested from a special messenger in Israel to approach Maran Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky and ask in his name whether to return to Israel due to the riots occurring in Ukraine.

The rav answered adamantly that it is incumbent upon him to pack his things and return back to Israel.  The messenger explained to the rav that we're dealing with a Jew whose entire mission is to bring people back to Teshuva.  However, Rav Kanievsky repeated his answer again and added, "The Mashiah is at the doorstep.  On the way, there will be other harsh things.  It is incumbent upon you to return immediately back to Israel." [UPDATED BASED ON KIKAR CHANGING RAV KANIEVSKY'S WORDING] "For already many years, I think that all Jews need to be in Eretz Yisrael because Mashiah is on the way.  Therefore, regarding your question, if you say that there is a danger there, Kal VaHomer you need to return to Israel."

That rav - the Kiruv worker from Odessa - packed his things and at 7PM Israel time, boarded a plane on his way to Israel, as he moved to the Land of Israel.


Rav Shteinman seems to say differently.

My Favorite Atzeret Pics

All courtesy of Kikar, YWN and Matzav.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

The Prayers that will be Recited at the Rally

According to Kikar, the following will be recited in this order:



Tefilat Hashelah

Yisrael Nosha BaHashem Teshu'at Olamim (scroll down about half-way)

13 Midot

Aneinu Avinu Aneinu

Adon Haselihot

Elokeinu Shebashamayim

Kabbalat Ol Malchut Shamayim (video)

(For those wondering how Selihot could be said on Rosh Hodesh, Rav Wosner Shlit"a allowed it for this occasion.)