12 September 2017

If You Build It, Will They Come? - by Shmuel Sackett

21 Elul 5777

This post marks our 10th anniversary in Eretz Yisrael, B"H! UPDATE BELOW.

from http://www.zehutinternational.com/single-post/2017/08/23/If-You-Build-It-Will-They-Come

One of my favorite movies is “Field of Dreams”, a 1989 classic starring Kevin Costner. In this movie, Costner plays an Iowa corn farmer named Ray Kinsella. Costner’s character is a huge baseball fan who keeps having dreams, with the line “If you build it, they will come”. He interprets this to mean that if he turns his corn farm into a baseball field, the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago White Sox (who were accused of cheating) would play one more game.

As unbelievable as it sounds, he does exactly that! He cuts down his corn, uproots everything that had been planted and plows his field into a real, major-league baseball field. The entire time, with everyone against him, his sole motivation is that one simple line; “If you build it, they will come.” This guides him, motivates him and is at the core of everything he does.

Since the movie is almost 30 years old, I won’t mind ruining the surprise for you. Yes, they come. Ray Kinsella may no longer have a corn field, but he did manage to bring his dream to fruition. Against all odds, he built it and – just like they said – they all came and played that final game.

I think of this movie every year at this time, in the weeks following Tisha B’av. We currently find ourselves in the period called “The 7 Weeks of Comfort” when our Rabbis chose very special sections to read for our weekly Haftorah, which focus on comfort and consolation, after the horrific destruction of the Temples. These are also the days when we celebrated one of the most festive days of the year, known as Tu B’av (the 15th of Av). Many wonderful things happened on that day, which made it so joyful, but I want to focus on just one of those things… because it has a deep connection to Kevin Costner’s movie.

We are all familiar with King David and the successor to his throne, his son, King Shlomo. What very few people understand is what happened next. When King Shlomo died, his kingdom was tragically divided. The tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin were led by Shlomo’s son – and the rightful ruler – Rechav’am. It was known as the Kingdom of Yehuda and was based in Jerusalem. The remaining ten tribes were led by Yeravam ben Nevat and was known as the Kingdom of Yisrael. Yeravam made the center of his kingdom in northern Israel. This happened in the year 2964 (over 2,800 years ago).
For the first three years (2964-2967) the Jews from all over the country continued to make pilgrimages to the Bet Ha’Mikdash in Jersusalem. This angered Yeravam very much as he felt it strengthened Rechav’am.

Finally, he did something very drastic. In the year 2967 Yeravam set up border guards to physically prevent the Jews from going to the Bet Ha’Mikdash. As unbelievable as it sounds, this horrific policy continued for 220 years!! Imagine that; Jewish kings preventing fellow Jews from bringing the Korban Pesach, from witnessing the awesome service of the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur, from bringing personal sacrifices, from dancing on Sukkot in the Temple courtyard... incredible!

This lasted for 220 years until the 15 of Av 3187 when the northern king, Hoshea ben Elah, removed the guards and became the first king of Yisrael to allow the ten tribes to go to the Bet Ha’Mikdash! (See Talmud Gittin 88a and also Ta’anit 30b-31a) What a happy day that was… Tu B’av!!

That’s the good news. Fast forward 9 years and you will see that during the reign of this same king Hoshea ben Elah, all ten tribes of Yisrael were exiled! To this day we do not know where they are and they are known as “The Lost Tribes”. How tragic was that?? 10 of Am Yisrael’s 12 tribes lost. How many Jews would there be in the world today if we had all 12 tribes? While many studies have been conducted over the years, and various scholars claim to have discovered some of these lost Jews – such as the B’nei Menashe (from the tribe of Menashe) – these are just a handful when compared to hundreds of millions of lost Jews. That’s the bad news.

Rabbi Nachman Kahana, Talmudic scholar and author of the “Mey Menuchot” commentary of Tosafot, asks a very serious question; Why did the exile of the 10 tribes happen during the days of Hoshea ben Elah? After all, he did a good thing!! As stated above, the Talmud says that his actions – of removing the border guards – resulted in Jews being able to come to the Bet Ha’Mikdash! We dance to this very day on the 15th of Av to celebrate that great event… and yet, during his reign the 10 tribes were expelled, exiled and disappeared?? How can that be??

“If you build it, they will come”, said the voice in Kevin Costner’s dream in the movie. So he built it… and they came.
“If you remove the security guards, they will come (to the Bet Ha’Mikdash)”, said the voice in Hoshea ben Elah’s dream but tragically… they never came.

Rabbi Kahana explains that for 220 years the Jews in northern Israel were not punished because they physically could not come to the Bet Ha’Mikdash! There were guards, walls, fences and the gate was shut. There was literally no way of going from northern Israel to Jerusalem. It was simply impossible. But when Hoshea ben Elah removed those guards and opened the gates, the excuses were gone. Jews could travel freely to Jerusalem yet… they didn’t come. As their leader, Hoshea ben Elah was punished. Yes, he did a wonderful thing by removing the guards but by not making sure that the people actually went to the Bet Ha’Mikdash – even though they could at any moment – both he and the people were punished and sent into oblivion. They disappeared… maybe forever.

The message for our day is crystal clear. For hundreds of years Jews could not travel to Israel. The roads were dangerous, there were horrible diseases in the land and there was little chance of making a living. We all dreamed of the land and said to Hashem; “If You build it, we will come”. We begged, cried and pleaded with Hashem to rebuild the land and make it possible for us to come.

Well, Hashem listened. Thanks to His holy helpers - tens of thousands of hard-working pioneers and brave soldiers - the land has been built. Nothing is lacking. You can fly to Israel in comfort while watching movies and eating glatt kosher food. There are amazing places to live in Israel, incredible educational opportunities, good jobs for men and women and the chance to do what has not been done in close to 2,000 years!

Our job now is to learn from Hoshea ben Elah. Everything is ready and the guards have been removed. We need only one thing: The Jews to come home.

If you build it, they will come… Attention fellow Jews: It has been built. Time to come home.

Amen! It is a key to complete redemption. Even though you "may not make it" just by coming and living here, it is an important first step.

Don't underestimate it.

Shanah tovah!

UPDATE: If you need help and you aren't getting enough from Nefesh b'Nefesh or the Jewish Agency, you might want to try Keep Olim.

08 September 2017

Dhimmitude, Sovereignty, or HaShem's Kingdom?

17 Elul 5777

Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90

What happened at Har haBayit back on the 20th of Tammuz/14 July and its unfortunate reversal (temporarily, please G-d!) highlights an underlying dynamic in Israeli society: the lack of understanding of how Muslims treated Jews when we were subject to them, didn't have possession of our own homeland, or could not get here after we did; how they greeted the news when we finally came home; and how they are cooperating with other nations to make sure we don't keep the Land of Israel to pass on to our children and other descendants.

A hint, if you go to that last link: "pro-jihadi" means anti-Israel – and anti-everyone else the Muslims hate as well.

The Ashkenazic leadership never lived with Muslims ruling over them, as they did the Christians. Kindly note that there has never been a prime minister in Israel who is (even appears or acts as if he is) aware of this history. I hope they don't wait until the last living survivor of dhimmitude passes away (my own maternal grandparents were survivors, but left this world long ago. I was two years old at the time and never got to meet them.). We all need the feedback from those who remain, to hear their story; just as we encouraged Holocaust survivors and their children to speak out, it is vitally important to encourage those who came out of dhimmitude and their descendants to express themselves as well!

Back to the Ashkenazim: They think that Islam treated the Jews better than Christianity did. Of course, the Muslims would like the entire world to believe that. Don't confuse them with the facts! Unfortunately, their lack of knowledge informs their attitudes concerning our most confrontative enemies and makes world Jewry all the more vulnerable. While this is especially applicable in Israel, Jews elsewhere should not think themselves safe from Islamic plans and depredations.

The Muslims expected our subservient behavior because in their mind we are inferior to them (but then, isn't everyone supposed to be submissive to them?). I have long suspected that they don't even want us as dhimmis because the State of Israel — let alone the Kingdom of Israel to come, with the help of G-d, speedily within our lifetime! — is an unforgivable affront to them. Why do you think, dear reader, that they went straight to the war cry of "Slaughter the Jew!"? The Three Noes of Khartoum back after the Six-Day War meant essentially the same thing:

Every. Jew. Dead.

Most Israelis know better by now that giving in doesn't work. But we must also accept our destiny. Can we? Do we want to survive or not, as the Jewish People?

Do we care enough to pick up our heads and look around to see what's happening? Or are we so busy hating fellow Jews that we feel that they — and therefore we — are unworthy of better?

Then there's the issue of sovereignty under the present system. While I think that the drive for Jewish sovereignty is admirable, it does not seem certain whether the goal is possible to achieve while the current government system is in place, even when supported by religious Jews.The powers-that-be here seem to want to have it both ways: The fact that it took the 10 years following the destruction of Gush Katif for them to realize that it was a bad decision should tell us something; but, too late now. Are they going to go ahead with the abandonment of Yehuda and the Shomron anyway? Do they really think it might be a better choice to abandon Jews to the tender mercies of the Esav-supported Yishmaelim? Or, are they going to stick by the progress, recently made, of upgrading vital places within that portion of Eretz Yisrael (i.e., Hevron)? Official Israel cannot say "the land is ours" and "we're willing to give it up" at the same time, whether for "peace" or for some other excuse. I hope the matter becomes clear which side they've decided to be on, soon. They must not be stuck on this issue while something much bigger is breathing down our neck, anxious to make the "bone in our throat" choke us and thus achieve their goal of "Let us destroy them from being a nation, and the name of Israel will no longer be remembered" — may it never be, h"v.

One suggestion: Instead of assuming that we know what it takes to survive (this would be those who don't take G-d into account) or what G-d expects of the Jewish people (those who take Him into account), maybe all of us need to study. It will take learning basic Hebrew and then examining more closely the words we do not know — instead of relying on translations to languages we are comfortable with and, therefore, think we know what the Tana"kh (not to mention the Talmud, Torah's "other half") is saying.

(I am speaking as much to myself as to my gentle readers on this point. Not being a native Hebrew-speaker, reader or writer makes elucidation of the issues difficult, for me as much as for my readers. My only advantage now is my 10 years here (this very month, yay!), going to beit-knesset — synagogue — regularly and forcing myself to be engaged with Hebrew-speakers as much as possible.)

In addition, we might be better enabled to make informed decisions as to whether we should remain under the dhimmitude of the nations, spearheaded by the Muslims (the spiritual, if not the physical, descendants of Yishma'el) around us, supported by.the Europeans (including Russia -"we can't help you when your worst enemy is 10km from you") and Americans, the spiritual, if not the physical, descendants of Esav.

If our government is incapable of throwing off these shackles, maybe we would actually be better off without a government at all, crazy as this sounds, whether Mashiah steps in or not (best, of course, if he does; may it be so!)! Either way, though, we must act with faith, relying on HQB"H to come through for us.

May we make full use of the Hebrew month of Elul to make full teshuvah, before the Yamim Nora'im.

Rosh HaShana - Strict Judgement, or Let's Make a Deal? - R' Ephraim Sprecher

As followup to a topic I posted recently, I also note that the Xians at One for Israel Ministry have revealed that Theodor Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl had a Christian mentor (rather like "behind every great man there is a woman..."). Normally, I don't read these articles, but I had to go there this time and find out who he was, only because I have never read any of Herzl's works: William Hechler, born in Germany and raised in the UK.

Apparently the information came out of Herzl's writings; but, as noted above, I cannot confirm it. If this revelation has been passed along among Israelis, I cannot wonder that many Jews in Israel have been, and are now, enamored with "Christian Zionists." Particularly if my fellow Jews already knew this information, but I didn't until now. If you decide to go there and read it, it might become evident how the Xians claim to have victory because of it.

Our obsessive need to give thanks to everyone who seems to do us a favor, even if it is meant to be against us, their end being to rob us of our hold on the land — not to mention our confidence in what we know G-d wants of us — has us by the throat. It seems to me that it is a very fine line that separates our true friends from those who wish to trap us through appearing to be true. Do we really need a prophet or ruach hakodesh to tell us which is which? Or do we have any real friends at all?

On a personal level, I want to apologize now for having possibly offended or hurt readers who have not deserved my wrath, insult or opprobrium. It is the behavior, not so much who the people are, that incurs harsh commentary on my part at times. At least we can all repent of the behavior that hinders our progress, and head towards our ultimate goal with that stiff-necked determination we're so famous for. Yes, even I. 😉

I'll leave you with a look at a Talmud prophecy fulfilled (in part at least) concerning the generation when Mashiah will come...It's part of Sanhedrin 97a:4 in the Bavli (Babylonian) version. The bold text on the linked English page is translated from the original Hebrew/Aramaic text, both within the grey highlighting. Hamevin yavin.

May we all find our Father, our King in the field during the remainder of Elul.

18 July 2017

Har haBayit Boycotted by the Arabs. Now What?

24 Tammuz 5777

Will we accept HaShem's precious gift this time? Where I got this from | Original Source


For the first time since 1967, the Temple Mount has been abandoned by the Arabs who have dominated the site since General Moshe Dayan "gave the keys" to them after the Six-Day War. This is due to the murder of two Druze police officers, whom Arabs killed there last Friday, and our response — which was to place metal detectors on the site shortly thereafter.

Riots have been taking place over our security measures, and as of yesterday, the Arabs have been boycotting their "third most holy site."

Best yet, Jews have been allowed to ascend freely. If you (a Jew or Jewess) wish to do so, here are some instructions from Reb Dov Bear bar Leib in a comment:

Ascend the Mountain of the L-rd, but do not turn toward the Center of the Complex up there that is do NOT turn toward the Golden Dome. There is only kares [spiritual death or excision - CDG] if you cross over the Chiel separating the Southern Ct. of the Gentiles from the East West line which contains within its borders the Ezrat Kohanim, the Ezrat Yisrael, and the Ezrat HaNashim. In order to stay on the Southern Court of the Gentiles when entering through the Mughrabi Gate, either walk straight ahead or turn right toward the Al Aksa Mosque. Go up with a Guide to make sure that you do not err. Also separate from your spouse for three days prior, and go to a mikveh, kosher for the removal of niddah tumah, the night before ascending. 

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher also adds: Even men must clean themselves thoroughly first before immersing in the mikvah, just as a woman does before she immerses and is permitted to her husband (this is from a class I attended approximately two years ago). Consult your mikvah-going wife if you have questions. 😉

We don't have the Parah Adumah (Red Heifer) yet, so heed carefully the warnings above.

"Thou shalt not murder" is the 6th of the 10 Commandments. Thank G-d that the clamping down was swift this time; and may the status quo be changed irrevocably.

Who knew it would be that easy to empty Har haBayit of those who defile it and would keep the Jewish People from its destiny! May Mashiah be revealed, even before the 9th of Av!

The big questions are: When HaShem clears the way this time, will we reject, or accept, His gift of Har haBayit and know what to do with it? Will Mashiah be able to enter the area and reign there when he is revealed and crowned (may it be now)?

UPDATE: I have been remiss in not thanking G-d immediately, directly, for the miracle written about here. THANK YOU, HQB"H AVINU MALKEINU, FOR THE CONTINUING MIRACLE OF THE CONTINUED ABSENCE OF NON-JEWS ON HAR HABAYIT as of 4 Av 5777 / 27 July 2017. May it continue! WE WANT YOUR PRESENCE AMONG US!

More reading:
Har Habayit: Hashem Working in Mysterious Ways | One of the Most Serious Sins to Repent and Correct | Moshiach: A Discussion | [VIDEO] Did a Rabbi's Humility Destroy the Temple? |

09 July 2017

Some Insights on the Sneaky Enemies of the Jews of Eretz Yisrael

16 Tammuz 5777

One of my life goals is to stop "looking westward" (meaning, depending on the lands thereof for my livelihood) and start focusing my energy and time here in Israel, where I live, after all.

A very important issue that has always been a part of my looking homeward (towards E"Y) is the infiltration by Xians, both Gentiles and Jews who "converted out", in order to convert Jews to worship of their mangod, J****, using the strategy of bonding closely with Jewish "non-believers" and then presenting it to them as though it is part of Jewish mesorah (passing down, tradition).

They present it as though the Sages were divided on whether Xians are true idol worshipers, or their religion is merely a lesser form of idolatry, or even not-quite-idolatry. But the Noahides, according to at least one I know of thanks to Devash, are clear that it IS idolatry. Why be on the negative side when you can be on the positive side of G-d's ledger? And I tend to believe the Noahides and gerim more on this issue because it seems to me that they are closer to it than born Jews are. I'll even bet that the spiritual ancestors of the former Xians among them, while they were "redacting" (fancy word for editing and censoring) many of our Talmud passages that formerly fearlessly denounced Xianity back in the Middle Ages, also inserted the "controversy."

It is bad enough for Xians and "Messianic Jews" / "Jews for Jesus"  to preach to and convert other non-Jews to their religion, and even Jews outside Eretz Yisrael. It is quite a bit worse to do this within the Land of Israel; and even worse than that, to pose as Jews (just Google "Ephraimites" and "Hebrew Roots Movement" and see what you get there!). No matter what one thinks of their right to free speech and public assembly and all the rest of it, they have crossed a line with G-d that cannot, and must not, be ignored.

Interestingly enough, the Xian site "Got Questions?" criticizes Ephraim in the following manner:
  • "While God gifted the tribe as warriors and valiant fighters (1 Chronicles 12:30), Ephraim failed to follow God’s order to remove the Canaanites from the Promised Land (Exodus 23:23–25; Judges 1:29; Joshua 16:10)."
  •  "During the time of the judges, the Ephraimites became angry with Gideon because he had not initially called for their help in battling the Midianites (Judges 8:1). Gideon wisely displayed godly kindness and extolled the tribe’s commitment and willingness to serve the Lord, thus diffusing what could have become an ugly situation (Judges 8:2–3).

    "However, ugliness did arise later, and again it can be linked to Ephraim’s pride, jealously, and self-centeredness. When Jephthah [Yiftah - CDG] chose to fight (and defeat) the Ammonites without the aid of the proud Ephraim warriors, a civil war erupted, and 42,000 warriors from Ephraim were killed."
Would the so-called Ephraimites, coming to Israel to help the Jews of Samaria (and possibly Judea as well) harvest their grapes for wine and donate food for our needy religious communities in order to earn our trust and thereby gain the opportunity to grab our land out from under us, recognize these traits in themselves? The contempt they show "their brother" Yehuda (meaning the Jews who live here) when they say they must take J with them and continue to worship him is no better than their own comments above. whether they "evangelize" us or not. They should remember that, as the article I quoted above also states, "We see Ephraim turning away from God and doing wicked things (Isaiah 28:1–3), yet we also find the tribe recognizing the need to repent and obey by following the prophet Oded’s instructions (2 Chronicles 28:12)." The tribe indeed acted wickedly and repented, but these who claim to be their descendants have not. 

Man cannot be G-d, and G-d will not be man. He had a hard enough time before the Xians came along, teaching people the difference between idols and Himself. Why would He choose to turn Himself (or part of Himself, as if there were such a thing) into a man, and confuse mankind all over again?

Note: The Tana"kh (they call it the "Old Testament") links connected with quotes to their article above came with the text. I highly recommend that you also search the Chabad web site for a better translation from the Hebrew, as well as the original language itself. Rashi's commentary is invaluable here too.

For the last two or three months, Tomer Devorah has been liveblogging the progress of various  Xian and Ephraimite groups here in E"Y. Her "Waller-War" series (begins here) is the beginning of the most recent news. From there, you can read the incredible amount of material Devash has compiled and commented on.

I believe that we Jews must rectify the world, as we are told; however, we cannot really do that effectively without first fixing our own land, and ourselves within our land. I see the Ephraimites/Joes/Hebrew Roots movement (1) as both an offshoot from the Messianic Jewish Movement (hereafter MJM) and an answer to a problem within the MJM. This non-Jewish version of the MJM uses many, if not all, of the same tactics and strategies the "Messianics" do regarding approaching "non-believing" Jews dressing as they think Jews dress, using Hebrew terms they basically made up from whatever Hebrew knowledge they have, with help from Jews who might actually have such knowledge. Having grown up non-Jewish and not knowing the difference between Torah-true Jews and secular Jews, perhaps never having lived among believing Orthodox Jews (who believe in HaShem, and not the trinity), they don't know the culture from inside. Even those who did grow up Orthodox perhaps missed some points.

But enough about the Jews among them for now; the real problem is the government, anyway: allowing our enemies free access to us, no different today than when R' Meir Kahane, zz"l, wrote about this incident in May 1989. My focus is on the Gentiles who took to themselves leadership of a sort outside the framework of the MJM, and decided to use the framework of Jewish externals -- dress, language, and cherry-picked customs -- and exploit the needy among us, making sure to proclaim that these are CHRISTIANS doing all this wonderful work for them, leading to the necessity for Devash and a number of others to expose them.

I hope this post is a bit helpful in connecting dots between the MJM and the so-called Ephraimites/"Joes."  It ties into last week's parasha, Balak, which looks at two kinds of enemies of the Jewish people: Balak, king of Moav, who openly hates the nation of Israel who is camped out near his people; and Bil'am the sorceror, who has been hired by Balak to curse this people before the Moavim dare go out to battle against us. Most interesting are the comparisons between Balak and Bil'am: Balak, being more open about his anti-Hebrew stance, is more like the Muslims of today, and so we understand who and what he is; while Bil'am shows a smiling face and speaks pretty words, but after failing to overcome us as he was asked to do, he advises Balak on how to deal with us so that haShem ceases favoring us long enough to kill a significant number of us (largely from the tribe of Shimon) in the next parasha - thus, the "sneaky enemy" of the title. This is more like the Xian approach: They are working to change our attitude towards Jesus, have us call him the Hebrew Yeshua, and normalize him in our eyes, so that we would be more easily led to accept him as our savior and lord, and believe that he is one and the same as the G-d of Avraham, Yitzhak and Yaa'qov. This is more like the approach of Esav. What will happen, if we don't make them leave our blessed land, is also an approach of Esav. Remember the 400 men he took with him when he met Yaaqov...

May our G-d, Avinu sheh-ba-shamayim, deliver us from Esav, from "our brother," no matter what approach he may take toward us.

And, may all those who are captured by him and his religion who do not wish to remain in error, be freed from it with the help of the Almighty as they set their hearts and minds toward the truth.

You might want to take a look at two new sections on my sidebar: Anti-Missionary Activists and Missionaries in Israel and Their Supporters - Beware! I hope to add more to each of them.

Stay tuned.

P.S. An interesting article on the Brit Am/Hebrew Nations site exposes the Ephraimites too. I won't give either of them any credibility unless they are confirmed by Mashiah Tzidqenu, and only to the extent that he does so.

Here's some relief from R' Ephraim Sprecher. May my readers be blessed and protected during the Three Weeks, starting Tuesday.

Bilam's Legacy: Belief in Moshiach

Also see this 3-part video series by R' Yehuda Richter over at Tomer Devorah: Why Shouldn't Jews Praise the Christians?

(1) They're all the same movement, with different names; it is mainly a Gentile movement trying to pass themselves off as Jews descended from Joseph, specifically his son Ephraim.

24 June 2017

Don't Confuse Us With the Facts! - R' Binyamin Kahane, zz"l

1 Tammuz 5777
Hodesh Tov uMevorah!

Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Binyamin Kahane- Parshat Korach

R' Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane, zz"l. Wikipedia
 Edited by Barbara Ginsberg
published by permission
[Editor's Note: Please remember to pray for Rabbi Meir Kahane hy”d and Rebbitzen Libby Kahane’s daughter (and R' Binyamin, zz"l's sister - CDG), Tzippora Feige bat Liba.  She had a stroke and is in a coma and on a respirator.  Please pray for a complete recovery and pray with all your heart.

CDG Note: You can pray Tehillim b'tzibur for her neshama here and here.]

UPDATE: Shortly after posting, I received the following message:  
Baruch Dayan HaEmet....Dear friends, it pains me deeply to inform you that Tzippy Kaplan [Tzippora Feige bat Liba - CDG] passed away in hospital... Funeral is tonite ...
I will post shiva details as I receive them.
May the memory of this righteous Bat Israel be a great comfort to her grieving family and to all who knew her.... 
So, this post is now dedicated to the rising to Shamayim of her neshama. We can still pray Tehillim, whether alone or as above.

 with light editing, linking and emphasis -CDG
In the introduction to Eim HaBanim Semeichah, a book written during the Holocaust by one of Hungary's great rabbis on the obligation to live in Eretz Yisrael, the following disclaimer appears:
"My words in this book are intended only for those who wish to know the truth the way it really is; they will lend an attentive ear to the words written here I am not declaring, 'Accept my views'...Rather, whoever would like to refute what I say, let him refute it, but only with direct proofs from the words of our Rabbis like I have done. Only then will I debate him, with the help of G-d."
Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal, the author of this book, was caught in a strange situation. His efforts to persuade religious (!) Jews to move to Eretz Yisrael met with failure. His lack of success was not due to a shortage of proofs or convincing logic, but rather to the fact that people simply did not want to confront his arguments.
That is why he prefaced his book by saying that his words are intended "only for those who wish to know the truth." We generally assume that everyone wants to know the truth -- the only argument being what the truth is. However, this is not so. There are some people -- and many times they comprise the majority -- who do not want to be convinced.
Korach was one such person. Our Rabbis state, "Korach was prudent. What, then, caused his folly?" The famous answer is that "his eye deceived him" (see Rashi to Numbers 16:7). However, the Midrash gives another answer. It states, "You do not find Korach answering any of the arguments Moses presented to him. This is because he was clever in his wickedness. He said, 'I know Moses is a wise man, and if I debate him I will lose and be forced to agree with him. Better that I not talk to him.' When Moses saw there was no point, he separated himself from him" (Tanchuma, Korach 6).
This Midrash is both amazing and shocking. Korach knew that if he talked to Moses, he would soon realize the error of his ways. He therefore avoided speaking to him. His need for honor burned in him so strongly that his greatest fear was being convinced he was wrong since it would force him to abandon his dream of taking power.
One may think that such an attitude is unusual and only characteristic of the extremely wicked. However, deeper reflection will reveal that it is actually very common. Very often a man sins and is well aware that his behavior is wrong, but he represses this knowledge so that it won't interfere with his everyday life. He knows that if he listens to someone -- even to his own inner voice -- he is liable to be convinced. Therefore, he clogs all his senses and continues on his merry way.
This is the sickness our Rabbis referred to when they said that "truth will be absent" in the days preceding the Messiah's arrival (Sotah 49b). It is important to realize that they did NOT mean that the truth ITSELF will be absent. G-d forbid!!! The truth will EXIST and will be ACCESSIBLE. What the Rabbis meant is that we will create a world WITHOUT TRUTH -- by ignoring it, concealing it, mocking it, and banning it from being heard by the masses....
Never before in our history was there a period of time when the truth was so obvious and necessary, yet at the same time so absent. This is because our leaders are terrified of it. It is obvious to them that if the truth were heard, it would conquer the hearts of the masses. Those in power, therefore, exercise all measures necessary to silence the truth. Disqualification, mockery, defamation, harassment, and imprisonment. With these tools, they avoid the painful truth so as not to get "confused by the facts."
"When Moses saw there was no point, he separated himself from him." The moment Moses saw that the problem was not Korach's error but rather his WILL to be in error, he left him alone and let the ground swallow him up.
But people do not always wish to remain in error. Sometimes a person harbors false beliefs and attitudes due to his education and environment but is willing to listen and learn. He has no special interested in remaining mired in falsehood. For such a person, there is hope!

Darka Shel Torah 1998
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov!
The last paragraph above, which I emphasized, is highly appropriate for introducing my next post, which I hope will be ready soon. -CDG

21 May 2017

Pray for the Complete Redemption Tomorrow!

25 Iyyar 5777
40th Day of the Omer

UPDATE: English Below!
The text of the prayer (much larger if you click here).

To anyone who can do this tomorrow, the 26th of Iyyar (22 May) beginning at 5PM, my heart, thanks and blessings go out to you.

From the Sod 1820 site (translation mine, with the help of Google):

We are organizing a World Day of Prayer concerning the Final Redemption on the day of the passing of the RaM"Hal (Rav Moshe Hayyim Luzzato, zz"l) this coming Monday, the 26th of Iyyar. Attached here is the text of the prayer [in Hebrew - CDG], and we ask everyone to say it 13 times, beginning at 5PM on Monday.
This makes it close to the 42nd Day of the Omer Count. I will be working tomorrow at that time and I pray slowly! So I guess that if I start at 5 in the afternoon, it doesn't matter how long it takes. And I don't know whether it means 5 here in Israel or 5 your time, wherever you may be in the world.

UPDATE: But pray, anyway and either way. I believe they really want as many people beseeching haShem as possible throughout the 42nd Day of the Omer! And why not pray it more if you can? And afterwards as well, until we see results?!

May Geulah Shlemah come swiftly and may haShem defeat the plans of our enemies, amen!

Many thanks to Chaya Shaina Chana bat Itcha, who sent me the link; thus, in her merit I am posting. May every blessing of healing and redemption be on you, my dear (please see the link I have on the right sidebar above for her - I thank G-d she still lives)! 
UPDATE: She also helped by providing a smoother translation (now below) from someone she knows.

Rough Smoother English Translation:

"May it be Your will, Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, that You will accept with favor the prayers of Your nation Israel who have prayed to You in all generations, in every place in the world, and especially in the holy Land of Israel.  And in the merit of these prayers, may You tip the scale to redeem Your nation Israel as a complete redemption with kindness, with mercy, with miracles, and with wonders.  

"And subjugate underneath You the blood - which is the Kingdom of Edom - and the fat - which is the Kingdom of Yishmael. 

"In the merit of all the truly righteous people who lived until today, and in the merit of all the truly righteous people who are among us today, and in the merit of the hope that we hope to see Your complete redemption, and in the merit of Your mercy and kindness, please Hashem, send to us immediately Eliyahu Hanavi Your servant, and reveal to us the King Mashiah, and make him king over the nation of Israel and over the entire world.

"Please Hashem, do not return us empty-handed from before You because we rely upon You.  Answer us and do not delay.  It is toward Your salvation that I hope.

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favor before You, Hashem, my Rock and my Redeemer."

Many thanks to one of my precious readers, who wishes to remain anonymous, for prompting the translation.

12 April 2017

The First Son: Why Wise, and not Righteous?

16 Nisan 5777
1st Day of the Omer

Featuring the top 2 in this picture. Thanks to Yaakov Kirschen.

Last night, Erev Pessah, my husband and I were seated across from a couple who were the son and daughter-in-law of our gracious hosts, along with their lovely children. The husband of this couple gave over an interesting question from The Rebbe concerning the Four Sons of the Seder.

A little background: The family we ate with is a large Halabi Syrian Hebrew-speaking (and Arabic-speaking, at least for the Seder), with Sepharadi origins and Mizrahi practice. At least two of their many sons have aligned themselves with Chabad, that I know of. The elder of these two is the one whose rendition, given in Hebrew, I am writing about today. It is more a transfer of thought, which is probably as much as I can expect from myself, than a translation.

Disclaimer: I have never read anything this question in Hebrew or English, and I find it difficult to find search terms on the Internet in Hebrew or English that would reveal it; so, my understanding of it comes from this d'var Torah. Any failure to give this over properly is mine.

And a reminder that in Israel we have only one night of seder. It is now hol hamo'ed — weekday during a holiday — for us.

The original was, of course, not recorded because we don't record on Hag. Therefore, it is hard to tell the difference between my thoughts and what the Rebbe said. My Hebrew, both understanding and speaking, is improving but isn't perfect. Perhaps when haShem flips the switch to give us all a common, clear language as He did when He confused the languages...😉

So...The Rebbe asked: Why does the Haggadah call the first son the Wise Son (hakham חכם) and not the Righteous Son (tzadiq צדיק)?

[After all, if one were to make a list of opposites, Wise would go across from Foolish, and Righteous would go across from Wicked. But in this case, Wise is across from Wicked (rasha' רשע). Which is why I think the Rebbe is asking the question; it intrigues him.]

The Rebbe's answer: The Righteous Son would always be correct in everything he said. But not everything he said would be listened to, because, while he is smart and knows all the answers, he doesn't know how to say what he needs to say because he does not understand the Wicked Son's need for a frank, uncompromising, real answer.

The Wise Son knows how to deal to everyone at the table. He knows to ask his parents questions, when to speak and when to keep silent. He knows how to deal with everyone, even (and especially) to his brother the Wicked Son. He even understands the Wicked Son because he has a little of him inside — but he knows how to handle himself so that he doesn't have to give in to it. [How did he get there? Maybe he decided that leaving himself out in the cold when it comes to the Jewish People's destiny is not a good idea.]

May Eliyahu haNavi (Elijah the Prophet) come to bring the good news of Mashiah's revelation and our complete redemption swiftly in our days!

Happy Festival of Freedom to all ! חג חירוטנו שמח לכולם