11 June 2019

"Just Do It!": Make Aliyah and Be Here for the Redemption!

8 Sivan 5779


This post started out to be the continuation of a previous post, Rainbow Flags: Gay Pride or Noahide? However, it goes beyond the same-gender-attraction theme to...well, possibly the end of the world as we know it. Not because of that alone, but in spite of all the efforts being made to keep it going. The current system seems to be failing from the inside and may never recover.

Am I exaggerating? I don't know yet.

First we have a video from R' Yehuda Richter, "Just Do It" - where he points out the cultural appropriation by Nike, the sneaker (plimsoll, for my British readers) manufacturer, of the concept behind the slogan. After all, people have been criticizing Jews for ages about our impulsivity, which started with our slogan, "Na'aseh v'nishmah!" (We will do [it], and [then] we'll hear [the explanation]!)



We did this during our time at Har Sinai because we knew, even back in those days of our exodus from Egypt, that when the Creator of the Universe offers something, it must be taken whole, without "checking it out" first. This is the TORAH, the Holy Word of G-d that believing Jews live by (including the prophets and the writers - Torah is the core and the rest is all encouragement to us to live by it), that we're talking about! Apparently the rest of the world didn't consider Who they were dealing with!

Secondly, we have a high-level explanation of the Israeli government's predicament.

Who knew that there would be so much trouble deciding who will rule over the Jewish State? Apparently a couple of Israel's greatest rabbis did, a fairly long time ago:

Over 40 years ago (1980) Harav Kaduri, zsk'l, has said...

 לפני שיבוא משיח הסימן הוא שיהיו בחירות ויהיה תיקו ולא יצליחו להקים קואלציה ואחר כך יבוא משיח !!!
One of the biggest sign of Moshiach's arrival there will be elections and the 2 main parties will receive similar votes but they will not be able to build a coalition.
And 
20 years ago, Harav Eliezer Abuchazera, zsk'l, said, "Moshiach will come when Israel will be unable to build a coalition"
“וּבְנֵי פָּרִיצֵי עַמְּךָ יִנַּשְּׂאוּ לְהַעֲמִיד חָזוֹן וְנִכְשָׁלוּ”
In the time of Moshiach, they will not be able to form a coalition and will fail
Nava of Dreaming of Moshiach there calculates the time from the dissolving of the 20th Knesset (the last successful Knesset) on 18 Tevet 5779 until the upcoming elections on 17 Elul, which turns out to be...9 months (266 days) of birth pangs...
***Many thanks to Devash for her two posts on 4 and 8 [later deleted - HDG] Sivan respectively.***

Meanwhile, a third factor has come up: our "cousins" who live among us plan on an uprising against US President Trump, taking it out on us as is their wont...and what is our leadership going to do about it? Can they even operate properly under these conditions?

And if not, will they realize that they don't deserve to govern AT ALL? That the whole system is set up to operate against the Jews and therefore ROTTEN TO THE CORE??? 
That the whole question is not whether Jews should come home to live in Eretz Yisrael, but how we should be governed here, by whom and under what kind of government?
(Parenthetically, the remark by MK Avigdor (Evette) Liberman that his party, Yisrael Beytenu, doesn't want a Halachic state in Israel, based on what words attributed to MK Betzalel Smotrich and admitted to have taken place IN A YESHIVA  (Mercaz haRav, no less) on Yom Yerushalayim to YESHIVA STUDENTS, may have precipitated all this, even though the decision to go to elections had already been made. (BTW, did you notice this in the previous link? Yisrael Beytenu wasn't the only one who refused; Kulanu was waiting for YB to join before signing the agreement they'd made...and so when YB didn't join, Kulanu's voters also wasted their votes...and all of us lost thereby.) 

We will see whether HaShem will show Himself now, in a time of favor for the Jewish People, for His own Name's sake. 
Ron Jager's article, "Religious coercion issue could weaken the Right in the coming election," and a lot of the results of searching for MK Smotrich's comments show how the shame of prominent Jews on both sides of the aisle about what HaShem really intends for us is what is generating all the lashon hara against us, including the accusations of racism. Let's stop it already, and consider what is really involved, as opposed to what is assumed. If we were to actually demonstrate what this is, the talk would stop.
Notice that in this video about Smotrich's statements, his remarks are not heard and translated, but just talked about. WHAT DID HE REALLY SAY? And won't the Xians who commented on this be shocked by what really happens...)

Back in Shevat (late January 2019) we heard that Mashiah would be revealed before the elections. Now that elections are on again because no coalition was formed, it could still happen — not between Tazria and Metzora, but possibly between Ki Tetze' and Ki Tavo'.

Remember, R' Kanievsky never said which parshiot would be involved. I did, based on the timing of the elections then as well as now. I'm no prophet or great rabbi, and I never claimed to be. Just an observer in my homeland who wants The Forever Geula already. That's why I've been here - and why you should come too, if you're not already here.

And if geula doesn't happen according to this schedule (as hasn't happened in the last 2,000 years), don't worry. It will happen and we will wait for it! I don't know about you, but I'd rather be here in any case.

May my readers be blessed.


07 June 2019

Rabbi Sprecher: Two Shavuot Articles

in honor of Shabbath Naso and Shavuoth 5779




Ruth – Transforming Vice to Virtue
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

How can we understand the fact that our Mashiach, King David, descends from sullied and problematic lineage? His paternal ancestors, including his great grandfather Boaz, were the result of an act of incest between Yehuda and his daughter-in-law Tamar. She deceived Yehuda by posing as a harlot in order to have his child. Yet Yehuda is the father of the tribe from whom the Mashiach will emerge (Bereshit 38-39, Ruth 4).

On King David's maternal side, was a convert to Judaism, Ruth. She was a Moabite princess, and although the Torah prohibits Moabite converts to marry into the Jewish People (Devarim 23), the Beth Din of Boaz ruled that this prohibition applies only to male Moabites and not to females. Moreover, Moab, Ruth's ancestor, was the result of incest between Lot and his daughter (Bereshit 19). Therefore Ruth, the great grandmother of the Mashiach, descends from a very problematic past.

What is Judaism teaching by having the Mashiach descend from incestuous acts? The Midrash states that this Messianic ancestry was purposely designed, the proof-text being the strange use of the word ZERA (seed) rather than BEN (son), in reference to Boaz and Lot.

When Boaz married Ruth, the Jews blessed the couple at the gates of the city of Efrat, saying, "May your house become like the house of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Yehuda, from the ZERA (seed) which G-D gives you from this NA'ARA, (young woman)" (Ruth 4).

It is strange for the text to refer to Ruth, a widow for at least a decade as a NA'ARA, and the reference to Lot's act of incest with his daughter which seems like a bizarre blessing. Based on this verse in Ruth, the Midrash interprets the verse in Bereshit 19, "And the elder daughter said to the younger, 'Come let us make our father drunk with wine and let us be with him, so that we may enable our father to give life to his ZERA (seed)." The Midrash continues that this ZERA in the Book of Ruth is the SAME ZERA that comes from Lot and his daughter (Midrash Ruth Zuta).

The idea that good can emerge from evil is built into the Jewish concept of the Mashiach. Just as the grand-daughter of the cruel and immoral King of Moab could become the loving, modest, and gracious Ruth, all sinful people can rehabilitate and re-Jewvenate themselves and bring the Mashiach. As the Mishnah in Avot states, “According to the effort and the pain is the gain.”

Rav Soloveitchik understood this idea from this Midrash. The Rav explains that this idea is precisely the lesson that Lot's daughter wanted to impress on her younger sister in Bereshit 19, "The elder sister said to the younger, 'Our father is old and there is no man on earth to come to us in the manner of all societies.'" The Midrash Bereshit Rabba states that Lot’s daughters believed the entire world had been destroyed as in the days of Noach's Flood.

Thus, Rav Soloveitchik explains, the elder daughter suggested that they each deceive and seduce their father through intoxication, so that they could repopulate the earth. The younger daughter hesitates at the act of incest, and she sees no point in attempting to restart the world. After all, G-D attempted to establish a perfect world, first in Eden with Adam and Chava and again with Noach and the Covenant of the Rainbow (Bereshit 9). Both ended in failure, for humanity sank repeatedly into immorality and corruption. This daughter felt it would be absurd and in this case of incest, immoral, to begin humanity once again.

The elder daughter would not give up, said Rav Soloveitchik. She argued that G-D would never have created the human being in the Divine Image if evil were to triumph, and if human civilization would destroy itself.

No, she insisted, there must be a way to transform Vice into Virtue. Because we must have faith in the possibility and the awesome power of Teshuva. As the verse in Mishlei states, "The Tzaddik will fail and fall 7 times, but he keeps rising up." The Baal Shem-Tov explains this verse as ONLY after a person fails and falls 7 times, and doesn't give up, but continues to try to better himself, only then is he a Tzaddik!

One of the Rambam’s 13 Principles of Faith is belief in the coming of Mashiach. Rav Soloveitchik explained that this faith and belief in Mashiach is based on faith and belief in the power of Teshuva! 


06 June 2019

Rainbow Flags: Gay Pride or Noahide?

3 Sivan 5779
the day of the GP Parade...just before the celebration of Matan Torah...

I took this picture the other day from a bus I was riding on. Note flag. - HDG


My gentle readers may remember my participation in the protest against the "gay pride" parades in Yerushalayim and the rest of Israel last August. This year it's in June...today...just before Shavu'oth, the third major holiday in Judaism.

Although this is a major issue, there is more to it than that. We are all becoming disgusted with the rainbow-designed flags flying in our cities, including Jerusalem, because of who and what they represent, rather than their substance. In a generation where "cultural appropriation" is forbidden and condemned, I want to raise a question: Was there a date before which one could do so with impunity? Meaning, "getting away with it."

In the case of the advocacy of same-gender attraction (SGA for short), the time seems to have begun in 1968 or thereabouts. I was in 7th grade (junior high school in those days; today, Americans call it "middle school") and, as young teenagers were wont to do in my day, there was a sorting out of behaviors due to the impact they would have on how we would be seen, gender-attraction-wise. Because at the beginning of that school year, I was still holding hands with my girlfriends, I was asked whether I was a "lezzie" by one of my classmates. I was not altogether familiar with the vocabulary then, but by the look on her face, I knew I had to think about it quickly. I realized that it meant "do you "like" girls?". I said no, and that was the last time I did a thing like that. We were no longer children — but not quite adults, either.

Since then, "homo" has been replaced by "gay." And "lezzie" (lesbian) has remained. And now an answer to my question (you may have more, and better, ones):

How many of my readers know that "gay" has long-standing earlier meanings having nothing to do with SGA? According to Dictionary.com, it holds a definition rendered "older use" as a result: having or showing a merry, lively mood, and there are several other "older use" and "obsolete" definitions. Click on the "see more" link there to see all of them.

In fact, Gay is still a girl's name! (Here's another link just because you should be aware. A comment pertinent to this post is: "This name is almost never given anymore, as the meaning of the word "gay" has shifted in the past 40 years to mean "homosexual" in mainstream speech." (my emphasis - HDG)) But now the search engines want to show you what a "gay" girl's name should be. I had to use the search phrase "a girl named Gay" to get the links in this paragraph. Little did I know that it's been a man's name too. But nothing to do with SGA, any more than Robin, Pat or Chris.

And let's not go into the British names like Beverly, Evelyn, etc...that started out as men's names. If you're curious, look at the prominent men named Evelyn here. The earliest prominent woman on the list above it was born in 1855, where the earliest man was born about 1655. It was normal back then, I suspect, probably more among royals.

In Hebrew, Sharon (pronounced shah-rón) is a man's name, but I know at least two women with that name off the top of my head. We have plenty of other names like that in Israel.

There was a song when I was young that included the words, "happy and gay" and I defy you to find a link to SGA in it. Warning: qol ishah. I Feel Pretty! from the movie West Side Story (1957). Warning: qol ishah.

Could this mean that over the last 40 years the SGA community committed a crime of a kind of appropriation? Could this be a euphemism for "stealing"?

And now, to the big appropriation crime of the millennia and the topic of this post: The rainbow as a symbol, and its use in a flag.

Yes, I mean the millennia - since the time of Noah, the current father of all the nations. See Genesis/Beresheet, parashath Noach.

The rainbow was the symbol G-d gave to Noah to let him know that He would never destroy the world by flood again. And now, it's been appropriated — er, stolen, from the whole world by a small group of people who want to force us to accept them as worthy of normal — no, special — consideration. Do we want to get used to being disgusted by rainbows because of this? Or do we want to take the rainbow back and place it in its proper context among the vast majority of human beings?

Think about that for a while.

Next time I see rainbow flags, I hope the sight will be due to a celebration of Noah, the father of all the nations (yes, including Jews as well! Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are his descendants too.). The whole world will have the choice — and the right — to celebrate.

And rainbow flags will be beautiful for everyone.

Coming up in the month of Heshvan 5780, be"H!



02 June 2019

Ari Fuld v. Sarah Tuttle Singer, Jerusalem Day 2016: The Case of the Disappearing Video

Yom Yerushalayim 5779...

NOTE: A very controversial conversation took place 3 years ago between Ari Fuld, HY"D and Sarah Tuttle-Singer...Judean Rose, the author of this post documenting the conversation, is concerned that Ari's voice will continue to speak, and I am concerned because this post went away from its original site because of other people's baseless accusations (now you don't see it anymore!).

This post is reprinted by permission.

***
It’s not that Ari Fuld was a prophet, it’s that he was speaking the truth. That’s how I look at the confrontation between Ari and Sarah Tuttle-Singer that happened on Jerusalem Day, 2016. Tuttle-Singer wanted to know why Jews only come to the Arab section of Jerusalem on Jerusalem Day, “davka.” She saw the Jerusalem Day parade as a provocation.
Ari explained that it’s dangerous for Jews to go there on regular days, because “they’re looking to stab.” That Ari was, himself stabbed, proves the point she denied. That a video of the confrontation disappeared off the face of the earth after Ari’s murder, suggests that Sarah Tuttle-Singer or perhaps her followers, don’t want to take any chances that you will come across this truth.
That was my conclusion after I went digging for the three-year-old video. We’d spent Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, at the home of close friends. As often happens, we got to speaking of Ari Fuld, HY”D, who was stabbed to death 8 months ago while speaking on his phone at the Gush Etzion shopping center. Ari was a friend and warrior for Israel. The pain of his absence still feels way too keen and fresh.
Our friend mentioned that she’d never seen the much-talked-about Jerusalem Day video in which Ari confronts Sarah Tuttle-Singer, the leftist new media editor at the Times of Israel. STS, as we call her for short, had happened by as Ari was filming a spot about the celebrations in “East” Jerusalem, a part of Jerusalem that is for the most part, populated by Arabs. Ari debated Jewish rights to the land of Israel with the popular blogger until she said she didn’t want to be on camera “like this.” At that point, always the gentleman, Ari immediately stopped rolling. You see a brief fade out and then the film moves on to something else.
I promised I’d find the video for my friend and send it on. Some time elapsed until I remembered my promise. I then went to Google and searched “Ari Fuld confronts Sarah Tuttle-Singer.”
There were three videos, none of them the one I sought, then a Jewish Press article which I knew was the right one. The title was “Confronting the Left at the Jerusalem Day Parade [video].” I thought “Bingo!” but when I opened the link, the video was gone. Inside the piece, Ari had also linked to his Facebook post of the video, but when I clicked on the link, I got the error message: “Sorry, this content isn’t available right now.”

I had only watched that video a month or so ago, and now? Poof! It was gone.  
I knew what I think happened. STS or her minions had reported the video and Facebook had removed it.
Some background is appropriate here: Ari expressed to me that felt hounded by STS and her followers in the last several months of his life. He told me he was gathering information on STS, creating a dossier. Ari said that STS had written to his employers at the news station where he worked, accusing him of disgusting things I'd rather not write here. He said he had the email. His impression, as he expressed it to me, was that she was going for the throat, attempting to cut off his livelihood to make it difficult for him to support his family.
Why haven’t I shared this information before? Because Ari told me these things on Facebook Messenger, and this account, one of many Ari was forced to create, was “disappeared” by Facebook, pending "verification” that the account was real. As a result, I can no longer see the messages he sent me.



The "Ari Y Fuld" account and the vestiges of our correspondence as in this photo, are now gone.

I wrote Facebook support several times, telling them that Ari was real, had been murdered by terrorists, that his messages were dear to me and important, but all I received in return were rote replies that let me know that Facebook didn’t care and wasn’t listening. 
Ari was constantly in Facebook jail the last few years of his life. He’d no sooner set up a new account than it would be reported as a fake and taken down. The left very much wanted to silence him. And with the disappearance of  the video of Ari confronting Sarah Tuttle-Singer on Jerusalem Day 2016, it appears that the left had finally succeeded in this task.
I was wrecked at the thought that Ari had been persecuted and silenced even after death, so I dug further. I posted queries on Facebook groups dedicated to Ari’s memory, asking if anyone still had a copy of the video. Those who attempted to respond found that they too, could no longer access the clip as it had been removed by Facebook.

I went back to Google and hunted some more until I found a single, very poor copy of the original film. I shared it on Facebook. And then I downloaded it for posterity. Twice. My husband downloaded it, too.
We did this quickly. Because evil works fast. You always have to take that screenshot, something I should have done with what Ari told me in that Messenger conversation. I failed him then.
But now there are three copies of the Jerusalem Day video in private files belonging to me and to my husband. No one can take them from me, from us. No one can silence Ari. Or the truth.
Here is one of those copies [interview with Sarah Tuttle-Singer begins @0:45 - HDG]:


What did he say, what did she say that was so frightening to the left that they campaigned to disappear the video? It was this:
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: How often do you think that the people who march through here go and, and, buy things, buy um, you know, eat at these restaurants, talk to the shopkeepers?
Ari Fuld: That is a great question and I’ll answer you.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Okay.
Ari Fuld: Number one: not too many times because the food’s not kosher, one. In terms of buying things, personally, I bought a lot of stuff in Bethlehem until the Oslo accords happened.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Okay.
Ari Fuld: But you just can’t walk through because it’s dangerous.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: I do all the time.
Ari Fuld: Well, you don’t exactly look like a Jew.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Well, sometimes I do and sometimes, I mean--
Ari Fuld: Well, it doesn’t matter. As of right now, you look like a tourist.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Do you know what language I speak to the shopkeepers?
Ari Fuld: Completely irrelevant. You asked me a question, I’m answering it.
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Sure, I understand, but--
Ari Fuld: The reason that Jews don’t walk through here is ‘cause it’s dangerous. Because the Muslims who are here are looking to stab. If it were not dangerous--
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: No they are not. They are not looking to stab.
Here is the one case where I wish that Sarah Tuttle-Singer had been right. That they were not looking to stab. Because had she been right, Ari would not have been stabbed and murdered. He would still be alive. His wife would have a husband, his children a father. And Israel would still have its warrior.
But Sarah Tuttle-Singer was wrong. Many of the Muslims here were/are indeed, looking to stab, and they stabbed Ari Fuld to death. This is the truth that someone so desperately wanted to hide that they reported every single copy they could find. Perhaps this copy escaped notice, or perhaps the quality is so bad, they didn't think it could hurt them. 
It isn't just her contention that it isn't true that they are looking to stab and the subsequent stabbing murder of Ari that would be bothersome. It would also be this admission by Sarah Tuttle-Singer, captured on film, that Jews did not steal Arab land:
Ari Fuld: Did we take Palestine from the Arabs?
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: I don’t think so. I think this is my home.
Ari Fuld: That’s not what I asked you. Historically, did we take Palestine from the Arabs?
Sarah Tuttle-Singer: No.
Where that quiet “no” is pronounced, STS looks unhappy. Ari had cut through the bull and gone straight to the facts. She'd been caught up short, ensnared by logic:
“Did we take Palestine from the Arabs?”
“No.”
The truth was, is, and always will be as simple as that. Nothing else really matters.
Ari had demonstrated that "facts don't care about your feelings." You want to be an empath? Fine: show empathy for your own. Because Western notions of social justice are not Jewish and certainly not Tikun Olam. Because supporting the other side out of sympathy for the underdog is wrong. Because their narrative is a lie and demonizes our people. And because all too often, they're looking to stab and murder Jews like Ari Fuld. 
Here is what someone knew that people would take away from this clip: when you support the Arab narrative, you not only support a lie, but undermine Jewish rights and threaten the very existence of the Jewish people.
In the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t disappearing video, Sarah Tuttle-Singer was caught up short by the truth. Something that Ari stood for. But the left doesn’t like the truth. And that is why the left tries so hard to silence Ari’s voice, even as it calls from the grave.
The truth messes with the left’s image of themselves as the ones who dole out empathy to the disenfranchised. They don't care that in so doing, they disenfranchise themselves and their own people. They figure the Jews are privileged, we can take it. We’re the ones with the stronger position, the ones who are sovereign.
But what happened to Ari proves that this is a lie. He was made of flesh and blood, and flesh and blood is no match for cold steel. Which shows that when you empathize with those who lie, you strengthen the hand of hate: the hand that takes Jewish lives.
At the moment that the knife took Ari’s life, who deserved the left’s support? Was it those who claim the Jews stole their land? Was it the terrorist who murdered Ari? Or was it Ari, the one who insisted on spreading the truth? And before he was murdered? Who deserved the left's support then, in the time leading up to the dreadful event?
I think we know. I think Sarah Tuttle-Singer knows, though she may be loath to give in and face the simple truth in black and white: Ari was right. He was right all along.
But it takes courage to be like Ari, to display the strong courage and conviction that is so lacking in the left. In today’s world, you need to be brave to speak out against the lies that drive the hands that wield the knives. It’s a lot easier, more familiar perhaps, to hide the truth and go on as usual. 
It’s so much simpler to write to Facebook support and report a video, to hide the evidence from view. Especially ... as a lone truth-teller bleeds out on a shopping plaza in the Gush.

 NOTE FROM EOZ [original site owner and moderator - HDG]: I edited this article to ensure that there is no direct accusation of Tuttle-Singer being behind the removal of the video, since there is no evidence of that.

UPDATE: Varda and Sarah Tuttle-Singer (and I) had a lengthy discussion on Twitter about this article.  Sarah vehemently and repeatedly denied having had anything to do with Ari's being fired, saying she never sent an email nor asked anyone to send an email to his employer.

https://twitter.com/TuttleSinger/status/1134187676867993600
***

The original post was taken down on Friday afternoon. Thank G-d I got it all except the accompanying commentary. Commenting on this copy of the post is not allowed due to the commenters' part in the original controversy, resulting in its takedown. Again, my main concern, joined with that of Judean Rose, is that Ari Fuld's voice be heard because he can no longer defend himself in THIS WORLD. 

Happy Yom Yerushalayim -HDG




31 May 2019

The Day the Old City Gates Spoke

In honor of Yom Yerushalayim 5779...בכבוד יום ירושלים ה"תשע"ט



I hope we will be greeting Mashiah soon, here in Yerushalayim! The Rav will be able to serve in the Third Holy Temple, along with my husband, a Levi. (Can't find the source. Sorry.)


BS”D Yom Yerushalayim 5779 | Rabbi Nachman Kahana
reformatted slightly by HDG

IN HONOR OF THE 52nd YEAR OF RE-UNIFICATION OF YERUSHALAYIM – YOM YERUSHALAYIM

The following is a translation of a composition by Mr. Yitzchak Navon, in honor of Yerushalayim, written when he was serving as our 5th president.

In June 1967, the Six Day War broke out.  Israel’s soldiers fought bravely and won many victories. Soon they reached the Old City of Jerusalem. They prepared to fight for it, and to take it back from Jordan.  But they did not know through which of the seven gates to enter.  As they tried to decide what to do, each gate begged, one louder than the other, “Enter the Old City through me. Enter the Old City through me.”

Their voices reached heaven, but God and his angels could not decide which gate deserved to be the one through which the soldiers would enter.  Then the angel Michael spoke. “God in Heaven, All the gates are beautiful, and each deserves to be the one through which the soldiers will enter the Old City.  Let each gate speak and explain why it should be chosen.  Then You will decide which gate is most worthy.

God thought this was an excellent idea and asked each gate to speak for itself.  Sha’ar Yafo, the Jaffa Gate, spoke first.
 Two important roads go out from me.  One leads to the city of Yafo and to the Mediterranean Sea.  The other goes to Hevron where our ancestors Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivkah, and Ya`akov and Leah are buried in the Me’a-rat Ha-mach-pe-lah.  Near me stands the Tower of David.  I will make sure that the soldiers of Israel enter the Old City safely.

Then Sha’ar Sh’khem, the Damascus Gate, spoke out in a loud voice and said:
I am the biggest and most beautiful of all the gates.  All roads leading north from Jerusalem start here with me.  Let the soldiers of Israel enter the Old City through me.

Sha’ar Tzion, the Zion Gate, was the next to speak:
God in Heaven, I am named for your holy city—Tzion.  Look at me.  I am bruised and broken from all the fighting around me.  It is only right that victory should come through me.  Choose me, choose me.


Raising its voice, Sha’ar HaAshpot, the Dung Gate, said:
Dear God, look at me.  I am miserable and ashamed.  For centuries, Jerusalem’s garbage was dumped on me.  Now don’t misunderstand, I would rather be covered with the garbage of Jerusalem than with all the precious jewels in the world.  Every day, I try to comfort the Kotel, which is right next to me.  It is sad because Jews cannot pray there now.  Make us happy and let Israel’s soldiers enter the Old City through me.

It was then the turn of Sha’ar HaPerahim, the Flower Gate:
It would not be right for the soldiers of Israel to enter the Old City through the dirty Dung Gate.  Let the soldiers of Israel enter through me and I will give them wreaths of flowers.  It should be through me, through me.

Next the voice of Sha’ar HeHadash, the New Gate, was heard.
I am the smallest and newest of the gates.  I am so new that I am not even counted as one of the seven gates.  I am near the Israeli side of the city, and every day I watch as Israel’s enemies fire upon her. I try to protect Israel, but I cannot.  Please let Israel’s soldiers enter through me.

Next in line to speak was Sha’ar HaRahamim, the Golden Gate. Its voice was muffled because it was closed in on both sides.
Master of the Universe.  For years my entrance has been sealed shut.  The other gates open and close, but large stones block me up. You promised that the Jews would return to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash through me, and that is why Israel’s enemies sealed me shut.  It is only right that the soldiers of Israel enter through me.

Only Sha’ar Ha’Arayot, the Lions’ Gate, was left to speak.  God pointed to it, but it remained silent.  Finally, it began to speak in a soft voice:
God in Heaven.  From all directions I see soldiers fighting and being wounded. My heart is breaking, and I cannot bear to watch any longer.  It doesn’t matter through which gate the soldiers enter. Just make the fighting stop.

God and the angels heard these words and whispered among themselves.  Then God turned to the Lions’ Gate and said:  All the other gates are interested in their own honor. But you care more about the soldiers of Israel than about yourself. Therefore, we have decided that the soldiers of Israel will enter the Old City through you.  Let them enter through the Lions’ Gate.  Their armored cars swept through the alleyways, and they set the city free.  At the Western Wall they blew a great blast on the shofar.  The blast was heard throughout the land and everyone knew that the gates of the Old City were once again open to Jews.  A miracle had occurred.  Jerusalem was united.

Dear Friends:
Chag Samayach to the entire House of Israel on the anniversary of one of the greatest miracles to ever have been performed by our Father in Heaven – and this in our own time – the re-unification of Yerushalayim. We are now sovereign over the holy city for the first time in over 2000 years, and it will never be taken away from us – be’ezrat HaShem

Shabbat Shalom | Nachman Kahana | Copyright © 5779/2019 Nachman Kahana

26 May 2019

Lag B’Omer – Light My Fire!

21 Iyyar 5779 / a little late for La"G ba'Omer ;-(


Fire Safety for Lag BaOmer - Hidabroot (read the source! Great for years to come...)

 [Note RE: the first paragraph: R' Sprecher told me today that he was told that Robbie Krieger of the former Doors had visited Israel and Diaspora Yeshiva in the late 1960s, several years before the Rav had himself arrived. I could find no independent corroboration on line or anywhere else (wouldn't it have been cool to have a link?). Please let me know if you met him here, or heard about it, at my blog email or as a comment below. -HDG]


by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | links to sources by HDG


The Doors had a number one hit song called "Light My Fire" in 1967. This song was written by band member Robby Krieger who visited Diaspora Yeshiva in the 1960s. Perhaps Krieger was inspired by the Lag B’Omer fires that he saw in Israel. Why does everyone in Israel get so "fired up" on Lag B’Omer?

There are two main historical events connected to Lag B’Omer. First, the Talmud Yevamot 62[b] states that during the time of Rabbi Akiva, 24,000 of his students died from a Divinely sent plague during the days of the counting of the Omer between Pesach and Shavuot.

The Talmud goes on to say that this was a punishment because Rabbi Akiva's disciples did not show love and respect to each other. They were jealous and begrudged each other's spiritual levels and achievements.

We celebrate Lag B’Omer as the traditional day that this plague was suspended and Rabbi Akiva's students stopped dying.

The Zohar gives another reason for Lag B’Omer. It recounts that the great sage, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai died late in the day on Lag B’Omer, and the sun miraculously did not set until he died, when a Heavenly Pillar of Fire appeared over his body. Thus, there is the Kabbalistic tradition of lighting candles and bonfires on Lag B’Omer. Also, customs of mourning for Rabbi Akiva's disciples, held during the days from Pesach till Shavuot, are suspended and stopped on Lag B’Omer.

But what does Lag B’Omer mean today? What is the message for us in our daily lives?

Perhaps these two ideas, the mourning for Rabbi Akiva's students and the lighting of bonfires for Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai's Yahrzeit are connected.

Think of a camp fire or a bonfire. It provides a warm glow. You can roast marshmallows and hotdogs around the camp fire, gather around and bond with other people. Everyone is attracted to a fire. Throughout the Torah, G-D always appears to human beings in a fire. For example, G-D appeared to Moshe as a flame in the Burning Bush and to the entire Jewish People as a Devouring Fire on top of Mount Sinai (Shemot 24). Thus, a bonfire or campfire bonds and brings people together.

The idea of Lag B’Omer and the lighting of fires is to bring us together. Rabbi Akiva's disciples grew apart, the bonfires of Lag B’Omer are supposed to bring us together. We should illuminate each other with the Light of Torah and perform our Mitzvot with fiery enthusiasm. Our goal as Jews is to kindle each other’s Eternal Flame.

It's strange, but in today's age, although we are more connected to each other than ever before thanks to technology, we seem to be more disconnected from the people around us. We see people sitting together but instead of talking to each other, each one is engrossed in texting someone else through their smart phone and WhatsApp.

So on Lag B’Omer, for one night a year, we should put away our smart phones and dumb phones and show respect and love for each other by reconnecting to those close to us.

This can be the Tikkun for Rabbi Akiva's disciples, who had no respect and love for each other.
 ***

NOTE: The municipality of Jerusalem did not allowing fires to be lit on La"G ba'Omer because of the hot, dry summer-like weather - readers may be aware that there were fires, not only from the bonfires, but from our "cousins" as well. -HDG


17 May 2019

A little good news amidst the bad...

12 Iyyar 5779
Erev Shabbat BeHar Sinai


Every time I try to put a post together for the past month or so, I find I'm not ready soon enough, so I keep deleting idea after idea and post after post.

Too much is going on for my slow-working mind to grasp quickly enough to be timely. That's why this blog will never carry "breaking news" unless the timing happens to be just right. Or, maybe I'll be ahead by too much.

I'm more of an analyst - who knows, maybe I'm here to correct part of the Sin of the Spies. After all, the spies were the tribal leaders of the then-new nation of Israel when they discouraged the people from going up to the Land because "the land eats its inhabitants" among other reasons.

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher says this is because they analyzed the situation, rather than trusting their Creator's word, and came to the wrong conclusion, thus bringing death and disaster upon us before we would be ready to ascend.

R' Sprecher explained to us yesterday that the two parashioth Yitro (Exodus chapters 18-20 / שמות פרקי י"ח-כ) and Sh'lah Lekha (Numbers chapters 13-15 / במדבר פרקי י"ג-ט"ו) are in chronological order as I listed them here, even though they are not thus in the Torah, because Yitro, the great former religious leader of Midian and then-new convert to Judaism, influenced the tribal leaders to believe that one didn't have to live in Eretz Yisrael in order to be a good Jew. So, next thing you know, the tribal leaders — all except for Yehoshua and Kalev — found reasons to discourage the people from coming up here. This is compared with the great-grandmother of Mashiah, the Midianitess convert Ruth, who said, "Wherever you go, I will go...wherever you lodge, I will lodge..."

The Rav went on to suggest that this is why Jewish families name their daughters Ruth, while we don't name our sons Yitro (or Jethro). (The video is at the end of this post.)

Some hidden-in-plain-sight news follows:

1) US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman "fires back at the NY Times" for criticizing him for stating that Israel is on the side of G-d.

“So where am I off in saying that God is on the side of Israel?” Friedman asked. “The fact that God has fulfilled his prophecies and delivered the people of Israel to their land is demonstrably true.”

It is as much a great miracle that Ambassador Friedman actually included HQB"H in his original comment as it is for him to defend it to the Times! May there be more like this!

2) A great mercy: Gaza border protest canceled due to heat, Ramadan and Eurovision

Yes, Eurovision. The money quote is:

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Gilad, former head of the Defense Ministry's security-policy headquarters said on Army Radio that "Hamas is quieting the demonstrators so that Eurovision will pass calmly."

 I can't believe it myself, since I'm against the great hillul haShem this represents and I'm proud that the highly popular Israeli band Shalva quit early on because they didn't want to perform on Shabbat.

Also, the link just above goes to the notice that Chief Rabbi of Israel David Lau calls us to stop work at least 10 minutes before Shabbat and 10 minutes after the end of Shabbat.

"This Shabbat will be a mass desecration of Shabbat," he said. "Unfortunately, this is not the first time but this time it will be before the eyes of the entire world."

Despite this, could it mean that our collective merit is, or will be, greater than our demerit? 

Is that even possible?!?!?!?! As remote as the possibility might be, or even if not, G-d forbid, THANK YOU, HaQADOSH BARUCH HU for Your tender mercies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!