20 January 2020

Israeli Leaders, be warned! "One shot will disrupt the ceremony..."

23 Tevet 5780



The media has been warning us recently of threats made by "Palestinian" leadership, first published as an opinion piece in the Palestinian Authority's Al-Hayat Al-Jadida daily. Jerusalem Post | Palestinian Media Watch

The money quote is:

“One shot will disrupt the ceremony and one dead body will cancel the ceremony”

Just in case you thought it was lost on us ordinary citizens, we see that high-stakes murder has been threatened here in our fair city, King David's Capital.

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and its commemoration is being held later this week here in Jerusalem. Yad vaShem

 I have a message for all Israeli politicians, rabbis, police, media and others who support Israel's current political system:

If you let any kind of "incident" happen because "the system" -- you know, the one that allows Arabs to go around freely in Jewish areas while we Jews get big red signs warning us to stay out of Arab areas due to danger to our lives -- "forces" you to hold back on our security, remember that March 2nd is coming whether or not there is an election on that day.

As you should, every day, whether world leaders are here or not. Need I add that it is your job to make sure Jews can live in safety here? Any failure sends us a huge negative message.

We Israeli Jews are watching how you handle this international event. Everyone else in the world may be watching as well, but we are the only people who matter (aside from HaQadosh Baruch Hu), should the election occur, when it comes to whether you keep your jobs, or whether you get to greet Mashiah "at the end of the day" as part of the transition of governance. It is by no means the only criterion, but it is a big one.

Thankfully, Yad vaShem has not published a detailed event program. Apparently, the world leaders have been invited to the World Holocaust Forum on Friday the 24th as well. Jewish Press


I, along with my fellow Yerushalmim and others who live and/or work in Greater Jerusalem, won't have freedom of movement as usual for the next few days. Those of us in Israel who have internet and who watch the news will have plenty of time to keep an eye on you. We're not going anywhere.


Transit arrangements in English: Municipality of Jerusalem Languages available onsite are Hebrew, English, Arabic, French and Russian. All others use Google Translate (at your own risk). | Hat tip: Devash



07 January 2020

Pharaoh – The Original Anti-Semite!

10 Tevet 5780 | Fast over the Siege of the Holy Temple in Yerushalayim

Roberts' Siege & Destruction of Yerushalayim


by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | I believe I'm the first one to publish this article! Also, see comments below in the text (that is, not in the comments section; although, they are welcome.). - HDG

There has been a rash of anti-Semitic attacks throughout Europe and the U.S.A. accompanied by vicious anti-Semitic tweets. But where did it all begin? The Torah states in Shemot 1:6-8 “Yosef died and all his brothers and that entire generation...And a new King arose over Egypt, who did not know of Yosef.”

My Rebbe, Rav Pam, often discussed the question of how Pharaoh and the Egyptian people, who were very respectful and cordial to Yaakov and his family suddenly became murderous anti-Semites so soon after Yosef’s death. How could the great accomplishments of Yosef as the Viceroy of Egypt, rescuing Egypt from a devastating famine, be so rapidly forgotten? How did the Egyptians become the cruel murdering taskmasters enslaving millions of Jews and drowning their infants in the Nile River?

The Beis Halevi explains that when Yosef and his brothers died, the new generation of Jews felt that the best way for them to survive and thrive in Egypt was to blend into Egyptian society so that they would not stand out for being “different.” Thus, the Jews first disregarded Brit Milah, which marks a physical differentiation between Jew and non‑Jew.

When G‑d saw this, “He turned the hearts of the Egyptians to hate His Nation, and to plot against His servants.” (Tehillim 105:25) There arose a deadly, furious reaction from the Egyptians to the attempts by the Jews to assimilate in Egypt and become as one nation with them. This, says Beis Halevi, was the way G‑d forced the matter in order to fulfill the concept of, “I (G‑d) have separated you from all the nations to be Mine.” (Vayikra 20:26) This is also what G‑d meant when He told Ezekiel “As for what enters your minds – it shall not be! As for what you say, ‘We will be like all the nations, like the families of the Earth’…as I live - I, G‑d swear I will rule over you with a strong hand and with outpoured wrath and fury.” (Ezekiel 20:32-33)

My Rebbe Rav Pam always stressed that we see time and again that when Jews attempt to assimilate to the non-Jewish society around them, a vicious and violent backlash occurs, with tragic repercussions. The roots of the Egyptian exile serve as the prototype of all future exiles, and it is only our separation from the gentiles that assures our survival as a People.

The Abarbanel states that this is the way that G‑d assures the eternity of the Jewish People, by forcibly keeping us separate from the gentiles. As soon as we try to assimilate and adopt gentile customs and behavior, there is an vicious and violent Anti-Semitic reaction.

This is what the evil Bilam means “A Nation that MUST dwell in solitude and never to be reckoned among the other nations of the world.” (Bamidbar 23:9)

The saga of Jewish life in Egypt was only the first in a 3300 year chain of gentile reaction to Jewish failure to uphold our separate and unique Jewish identity.

***

 A Reader's Comment:

From Shmayah, 6 January 2020

K'vod HaRav Sprecher, shalom u'vracha

Kol hakavod and yashar kochacha to you on your article
just received and read "Pharoah - The original Anti-Semite".

I have been saying this ever since I can remember.
Hashem sends Amalek in order to maintain us as a People.
It is actually a bracha, and I think you once said that in the past at a shiur on video.

What is disturbing is that too many of our people keep repeating the same mistakes of assimilation over and over again. It is sheer stupidity, and asking for trouble, asking for Amalek, asking for anti-semitism. A wise man once said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

You put together a marvelous article, it is a gem. Your article needs to be disseminated WIDELY. Keep up the great work !

With great respect and admiration,

Most Sincerely,

Shmayah


***
 I also have a comment. Most people who write about this subject somehow forget to bring up the place the Land of Israel holds for us. We have a much better chance of survival today, as a People and as individuals, if we insist on having our Land and fight for her!

If we neglect this important step, Jewish people will not have a place to live in the near future. Think about it: If the nations drive us out from among them AND insist that we are merely "occupying" and "colonializing" the land the country of Israel sits on, thus taking it upon themselves to drive us out of here and letting the Arabs take it over, they give us no place to go

Those of us who are older remember: Even when there wasn't Israel in the past, until the Holocaust, there was always someplace we could go. No longer. This can mean only one thing: ELIMINATION OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE FROM OFF THE PLANET. That is: MURDER BY GENOCIDE.

We are now living the very definition of the "time of Jacob's trouble"  (Jeremiah 30: 5-7) - nowhere to run, nowhere to hide in a small world.

 



(source)

We need to trust in the Almighty G-d and look to Him for salvation - that means that we must act as though we are in the right, and Israel is our home. The nations will certainly be judged for the evil they have been doing, and it won't be long now!

Wake UP, people, and COME HOME!!!
-HDG 

That includes you, too, Laura Loomer! (Here's her video warning us of trouble to come - she was banned on social media long before our troubles became noticed, and has been slandered and libeled all over the place. Interview with Avi Abelow.)





30 December 2019

The Maccabees started out like most of us...

1 Tevet | 7th candle of Hanukkah 5780

I couldn't find any pictures of Hanna in front of her family, so here's a picture of my Hannukiah. - HDG


The Hasmonean family, known as the Maccabees, started our like most of us. They were under siege by the Syrian Greeks, who more than anything else wanted to crush the Jewish spirit. They were outnumbered, out-gunned (pardon the anachronism; the right word, probably "out-arrowed," doesn't work according to our modern-day online dictionaries), and scared. But they had one thing going for them that, in the end, would win the day: They were zealous for the ways of HaQadosh Baruch Hu.

But, back to the events that preceded the victory. Above all things, our enemies hated our holy practices. So, one of the things they did was insist that every Jewish bride sleep with a Greek regional governor the night before the wedding, spoiling the holiness of that woman for her husband-to-be.

When Hanna, the sister of the Maccabees, was about to get married, she did something so shocking that her family was about to kill her. I like the way Tamar Yonah tells the story here in her inimitable fashion.

Hanna only avoided death at her brothers' hands by shaming them: You would let me be taken by the filthy Greek governor, but you want to kill me for my "shameful" behavior? In the process, she caused them to turn on their enemy, the Greek occupiers of the Jewish nation.


How do we Jews of Israel apply this today? Is there any issue similar to this one in our day?

Allow me to propose that there is at least one: the Land of Israel itself. Or, herself, if you will. It seems that we as a whole are ashamed to come out politically for the possession of the Land in her entirety, and this may be the biggest issue in the upcoming elections, if they take place (many individuals are not ashamed, but for whatever reason we are not taken seriously.). I may elaborate on this later, with the help of G-d. This is not to be taken as a promise or a vow.

I leave you with this thought, for now: The current surge in antisemitism, and its solution, is related to our ability to take back what land we can here in Eretz Yisrael so that the escaping Jews can settle in it. Yes, I said SETTLE. The goyim have made it a dirty word so that we would be ashamed to take more than a postage-stamp sized country, even when we are chased with bombs, incendiary balloons, knives, swords, guns and even machetes, even while they deny Jews the right to live in Judea (or JEW-dea) with the threat of putting us on trial for war crimes.



22 November 2019

Rivka’s AYIN TOVA

24 Heshvan 5780


Observing Rivka at work using her ayin tova (source)
 
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | first published here

Both Yaakov Avinu and Moshe Rabeinu found their spouses at a BE’ER (a well). Eliezer, Avraham’s servant, also met Rivka, Yitzchak’s future wife, at a well. At that event, the Torah first calls the well a BE’ER (Bereshis 24:11). However, in Bereshis 24:42 the Torah calls the well where Eliezer met Rivka AYIN. Why the switch?

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim informs us that the word AYIN has several different meanings. Sometimes, AYIN means a well, like in our verse about Eliezer and Rivka. In other places AYIN means an eye as in “Leah’s eyes were soft” (Bereshis 29:17).

The word AYIN also means caring and paying attention. As the Torah states, “G‑d’s Eyes are directed to it (Eretz Yisrael) constantly from the beginning of the year until the end of the year” (Devarim 11:12). The Rambam tells us that the word AYIN can also mean to focus, as the verse states, “Everyone’s eyes focused their hopes on You” (Tehillim 145:15).

The Talmud in Tanit 24 states that once a person has determined that a bride’s eyes are appealing, it is unnecessary to investigate anything else about her. What a strange Talmudic statement! The Kli Yakar states that this Talmudic passage cannot be understood literally. For one thing, it is not always true. People can have nice looking eyes and yet not be good looking. Furthermore, is the Talmud really telling us that physically good looking eyes are an indicator of a good moral character??

Therefore, the Kli Yakar explains this perplexing Talmudic passage according to the lesson taught to us by Eliezer. Eliezer needed to find a proper and righteous wife for Yitzchak, someone who possessed the noble character traits fitting to become the Mother of the Jewish People.

So he devised an Eye Test. He rested his camels at the AYIN (well). If the young, perspective bride for Yitzchak would display great CHESED and generosity, it would show that she possessed an AYIN TOVA (a good eye). This means a wise, loving, and generous spirit. Rivka displayed wisdom and incredible grace while selflessly giving of herself for Eliezer and his camels.

Once Eliezer saw that Rivka possessed such an AYIN TOVA at the AYIN (well), he had no need for further investigation into her gracious and wonderful character traits. Thus, the Mishna in Avot 2 states that AYIN TOVA is one of the best paths in life.

Eliezer found that Rivka passed his AYIN test with flying colors! Therefore, he gave Rivka gifts that represented her destiny, to become the Mother of the Nation of Israel, who would receive the Torah. As the verse in Mishlei 22 states, “One who possesses a good AYIN (eye) will be blessed.”

Eliezer, Avraham's servant, praises HQB"H for showing him Yitzhak's future wife (source)




***

*Rivka = Rebecca/Rebekah in Hebrew! Also see here.


12 November 2019

Prayer – The ORIGINAL Soul Food

14 Heshvan 5780


UPDATE: SOMETHING TO PRAY ABOUT: 
MISSLES ALL OVER THE WEST COAST OF ISRAEL | LIVE BLOGGING HERE
yes, we hit them where it hurts most! - how long did you expect us to keep taking murders, beatings, BDS and other attempts to WIPE OUT THE JEWISH PEOPLE in silence??? h/t NESHAMA
Jewish girls & women having their soul food! Source

 by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher
first posted here

The Talmud (Berachot 26b) says, "Tefilot Avot Tiknum" – "Prayer was established by the Avot." The Talmud then uses the following verse (Bereshis 19:27) to prove how Avraham established Prayer: "Vayaskem Avraham baboker el hamakom asher amad sham et pnei Hashem" – "And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before G‑d."

The connection here is in the word "AMAD" – "Stood" and its association with the Amida Prayer. Strangely though, the Torah relates, just one chapter later (Bereshis 20:17), "Vayitpalel Avraham el Ha'Elokim" – "And Avraham prayed to G‑d." The word "VAYITPALEL" is directly related to "TEFILA" - "Prayer." When proving that Avraham established Prayer, why didn't the Talmud use this verse?

Furthermore, in the case of Avraham's Tefilah, G‑d answered his prayer and miraculously healed Avimelech, the King of the Plishtim, and his entire household. Why isn't this clear, explicit and successful Prayer our foundational model?

The Talmud's first proof text for Prayer offers us a profound lesson. Let's take a deeper look at our original proof text: "And Avraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before G‑d." What's so special about this place? This place was of deep significance to Avraham. It was the place where he stood, argued and confronted G‑d before the destruction of S'dom and A'mora.

This is the place where Avraham stood alone, face to face with the Creator of the Universe, mustered all his courage to demand (Bereshis 18:23), "Hashofet kol haaretz lo yaaseh mishpat?" – "Shall the Judge of the entire earth not do justice?" And Avraham continues to challenge G‑d, "Chalilah Lecha l'hamit tzaddik im rasha?" "How dare You kill the righteous together with the wicked?"

By using this verse as a foundation for Jewish Prayer, the Talmud teaches us that the place of Jewish Prayer is NOT centered on miracles or good fortune. Rather, Prayer is the place where we confront G‑d for what seems to us to be unfair and unjust. Prayer is the place where we struggle and argue with G‑d Who loves righteousness and justice but allows suffering, pain, and death of innocent children. Prayer's place is where we, like Avraham, stand and see the distance between the world as it is and the world as it could be.

This is where our Prayer begins. In our daily AMIDAH in the paragraph beginning with Shema Kolenu, one should add his personal pleas and petitions. The Yaaros D’vash emphasizes that such personal prayers may be in any language or style, for our feelings and devotion are more important than the form of the prayer! This is where hope begins, and where redemption begins. We have a lot of work to do. Let's get started by having a daily conversation with G‑d and telling Him our troubles. He yearns to hear from us. It's the best therapy there is, and it's free! Prayer is the ORIGINAL Soul Food!

Through Prayer, we become G‑d's partners and messengers to demonstrate how to handle life's difficult tests. We show our family and friends how to have Emunah and Bitachon (Faith and Trust in G‑d), despite our pain and suffering.

How does Emunah (Faith) differ from Bitachon (Trust)? Emunah means to believe that whatever happens to us, good or even G‑d forbid, tragedies, ALL comes from G‑d. Bitachon (Trust) is a higher level than Emunah alone, for even in the tragic events in life, I TRUST G‑d that somehow these happenings are also part of G‑d's Plan for the Ultimate Good.

***


27 October 2019

The Longest Engagement in History...

the light of 29 Tishrei 5780



I hope you had a wonderful High Holidays season!

Succoth and Shemini Atzeret/Simchath Torah (two days if you are outside Israel) are the part of the High Holidays where we get the closest to HaQadosh Barukh Hu that we get every year, after purifying ourselves through the spiritual courtroom of Rosh HaShana, the sin-purging stage of the Ten Days of Return (and if you were really alert and aware, all of Elul as well. It's not just for Sepharadim...), and the fasting and prayer of Yom haKippurim. We virtually become new people every year through this process, and thus we can begin to renew our relationships with G-d and each other.

And we also get closer to our ultimate goal: Final Redemption — the real marriage between G-d and Israel — and beyond.

What we have to remember is that we are still in the engagement stage, not in the full-on married stage. It can get pretty frustrating, including feeling like He doesn't love us. He's more often angry (or at least frustrated) than happy with us. Prayer is more formal and even simple time spent alone with Him (which in Hebrew is called hitbodedut) has guidelines.

For instance, it started raining just as Hol haMoed Succoth began (right after the initial holiday, in Israel), and a young religious man perished due to electrocution on a beach soon after; other members of his family were also injured. These are signs of disfavor for those of us who live here and celebrate the holiday which is the epitome of the holidays on which we are commanded to be happy! And there are so many things where we are holding Him back with regard to the progress of redemption (geula) regarding the state of our nation (meant at least two ways.). Which one of these triggered this display of disappointment? It is hard for us to have any idea. We are, frankly, overwhelmed. We need a place to start. How about here?


G-d has some pretty thick boundaries, doesn't He? But most of them are in our best interest, if we think about it. (I only say "most" rather than "all" because His priorities are first and foremost! Definitely not because He's rejected us, as some others would say.)

All that doesn't justify us going and fooling around, so to speak, with the competition. In this relationship, this refers to other gxds and cultures that really shut G-d out, whether they know it or not. (In Judaism, once a woman is engaged to a man, she is basically married with regard to her relationship with other people. It used to be adhered to more in former times, but not so much now, except among observant Jews. But when it comes to our everyday relationship with HQB"H, this rule still holds, even though we don't enjoy intimacy, joint decision making, and other benefits of marriage, just yet. And I have no idea what this actually entails, so no naughty thoughts, please. 😇)

We still have to keep all this in mind when relating to Him. After all, He created everything — the entire physical environment, both internal and external, that we live in, as well as the spiritual worlds above it. He has the right to set any rules He wants!

Including the right to expect more of Jews than of anyone else. Remember, though, that it's like parents who expect more of their eldest child than the rest of the children. When he, or she, is rebuked or chastised in front of the rest, they are not supposed to chime in and gang up on him or her! We'd like to see these younger ones do better, but we'd be sorely disappointed.

Right now, it seems our national challenge is to give up democracy as a system of government and retake what was revealed to us to be our native system: A three-branched Monarchy based on King David's line, with the Kahuna ("priesthood" sounds so Catholic to me) and the Men of the Great Assembly. Here's a good reason for the change: It's because of democracy that we have to accept the possibility that our thirsty-for-our-blood enemies might win their war against us, using the democratic rules we were bound (and gagged) to by the international bodies (League of Nations and United Nations).

G"D FORBID!!!

You can see that G-d has some pretty thick boundaries. But He'd rather have us within them than outside, for our own good.



***

***
And here's some insight about a connection rarely talked about: that between Shemini Atzeret and Parashath Bereshith, by R' Nachman Kahana.


Wishing a healthy winter to all my readers!