31 May 2018

The Supremacy of Divine Reason by R' Ephraim Sprecher

the light of 17 Sivan 5778

Further thoughts from R' Ephraim Sprecher on "Naaseh v'Nishma". This week's video, on Parashath Beha'alothkha, is at the end of this article.


The Talmud (Shabbat) states that an apostate said to Rava, "You are an impetuous people for you put your mouths before your ears!"

Our mouths before our ears?!! What the apostate referred to was "Naaseh v' Nishma", the famous phrase uttered by the Jewish People when we stood at the foot of Mount Sinai and G-d asked us if we would accept the Torah. "We will do, and then we will hear," we replied enthusiastically. As our response implies, we committed ourselves to follow the Torah's Mitzvot without first asking what responsibilities this commitment would entail.

"You should first have asked what was in the Torah," the apostate continued. "If you felt able, then you could accept the Torah. If not, you could then refuse it."

Our first impulse might well be to sympathize with the position of the apostate rather than that of Rava. Why did we not first inquire from Moshe about the Torah? Then we could have responsibly weighed the obligations that the Torah would impose on us. Does Judaism call upon us to serve G-d unquestioningly without asking for explanations or seeking reasons?

Are we to assume that Torah Judaism views faith and rational thought as mutually exclusive?

We have all learned that the world is made up of atoms. In fact, no one alive has ever viewed an atom only the energy trails left behind by elementary and subatomic particles. In the absence of any better hypotheses, we assume the existence of atoms.

We have all learned that the universe began with the Big Bang. Scientists tell us that before this great cosmological cataclysm occurred, neither time nor space existed. But what exactly does that mean?

The science believer claims a rational faith, a faith in observation and experimentation. Rational faith serves every one of us every day of our lives. If a physician tells a patient that he needs an operation, the patient will probably rely on the doctor since the patient recognizes that he doesn’t know enough to diagnose himself.

The faith, demanded by Torah Judaism, is no less rational for it is built upon sound and logical evidence available to anyone who is honest enough to examine it. Therefore, if G-d tells me that observing the Mitzvot of the Torah is to my benefit, I will certainly take His advice, for He created me; He knows me even better than a parent knows her child.

So there was nothing impetuous about Israel's acceptance of the Torah sight unseen, for we did not accept the Torah on faith at all. We accepted it on trust, a trust more solid than the most compelling scientific truth.

However, trust is only the first step. "Naaseh V'Nishma," the Jewish People said. The Hebrew word, "NISHMA", implies much more than hearing the Mitzvot. It implies studying them diligently, laboring to develop an understanding of them and to discover meaning and relevance within them. That which we originally accepted based on trust, we can then accept based on knowledge.

Thus, the Midrash Tanchuma in Parshat Shemini states, "You must not allow your Yetzer Hara to mislead you saying, ' G-d prohibits Israel from partaking and enjoying the good things in life.' ''

"G-d replies to Israel, 'Whatever I have prohibited to you, I have offset it by other things that I have permitted you. For example, I have prohibited you to eat blood, but I have permitted you to eat liver which is full of blood. I have prohibited you from eating pork, but I have permitted you to eat the fish known as Shirbot which tastes similar to pork. I have prohibited you from having sexual relations with another man's wife, but I have permitted you to marry a divorced woman, who was once another man's wife. I have prohibited you to wear shaatnez, but I have permitted you to wear a linen garment with wool tzitzis. I have prohibited you from eating the fat of a domestic kosher animal, but I have permitted you to eat the fat of a wild kosher animal.'

This trust in G-d has enabled us to survive as a nation since that first Shavuot, 3,330 years ago. Always confident in the Supremacy of Divine Reason, we stand assured in our faith and trust in G-d!


Current Events in the Parashah & Haftarah: Beha'alothkha

25 May 2018

The Menora – Symbol of Israel’s Eternal Flowering by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher (Parashat Naso, part 2)

11 Sivan 5778

The Menora – Symbol of Israel’s Eternal Flowering
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

Moriah plant (pronounced mohr-ee-AH). Note the resemblance to the 7-branched menora that we were asked to make in the desert, especially evident in the picture to the right. (Source) - CDG

This week's video is posted below the article.

The Menora in the Mishkan was not just a candelabrum to provide light. G-d does not need our light, He is the Light of the Universe. The Menora symbolizes the Eternal Covenant between G-d and the Jewish People. Representing spiritual light, the Menora is a symbol of the unique mission of the Jewish People, as the Prophet Yeshayahu states, “We are to be a Light unto the nations”.

Rabbi S.R. Hirsh writes in his commentary on Parshat Terumah, “The Menora made completely of pure gold, symbolizes the timelessness which, as indicated by the Menora’s form, is to blossom and develop in the Mishkan of G-d through the spirit of G-d’s Torah…the Menora symbolizes eternal goodness and truth.”

According to the Zohar, the Menora represents and symbolizes the “Tree of Knowledge of good and evil” in Gan Eden. This is a remarkable statement in the Zohar because the description of the Menora in Parshat Terumah is completely in botanical terms. For example, the Torah describes the Menora as made of branches, flowers, petals, and cups. (Shmot 25:31-36) According to Kabala, there is a direct relationship between the Menora and a specific plant which grows in the Land of Israel.

In fact, there is a plant native to Israel that bears a striking resemblance to the Menora. The plant is called MORIAH in Hebrew. Different species of this plant grow all over the world, but the species found growing in Israel remarkably resembles the Menora, with seven branches!

The 7 branches of the Menora represent the 7 branches of wisdom and learning. The symbol of the plant as the Menora represents the belief that the Jewish People will not only survive, but we will continue to blossom and prevail forever.

The Menora and the Olive Tree as symbols of peace are seen in the vision of the Prophet Zecharia. Zecharia saw a Menora flanked by two olive trees pouring their oil into the 7 lamps of the Menora. In the 7 flames of the Menorah flickered 7 words which the Angel helped Zecharia to read “LO  B’CHAYIL  V’LO  B’KHOACH  KI  IM  B’RUCHI” “Not by might, nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT!” (Zecharia 4:6)

 Current Events in the Haftarah: Parashat Naso

23 May 2018

MY WAY! by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher (Parashat Naso, part 1)

...the light of 10 Sivan 5778

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

In Parshat Naso, each tribal leader presents gifts and sacrificial offerings for the dedication of the Alter in the Mishkan. And although the offerings of the tribal chiefs were all identical, the Torah enumerates and repeats each one 12 times over. This is despite the fact that there is a general rule that the verses of the Torah are written with the upmost brevity. There are exactly 304,805 letters in the Torah. There is not even one extra letter. So what does this lengthy repetition come to teach us?

Superficially each of the 12 offerings of the tribal princes was identical in nature. However, each tribal leader presented his particular offering in his own unique manner, with different measures of enthusiasm, love, joy, and awe, from the other tribal heads.

Additionally, these eternal, hidden, emotional distinctions between the tribal prince’s offerings are actually more important to G-d than the actual physical content of what they donated. G-d does not need our gifts or offerings as He clearly states to the Prophet Yeshayahu. What G-d DOES desire from us is our total love and devotion to HIM.

Thus, in the Amidah prayer, we recite the words, “G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzhak, and G-d of Yaakov”.

Why the repetition? Did not all the Avot serve the same G-d? Yet they all did serve G-d each one in a different manner, that reflected their uniqueness and their individual roles and missions in the world.

We too, must seek out our own individual and unique paths in our service of G-d, and not try to be the carbon copy of the service of others. G-d has given each and every one of us unique special talents and capabilities, in order to bring every one of us to our individual spiritual fulfillment and purpose.

As Frank Sinatra sang in his beautiful number one hit song, “NO ONE CAN DO IT MY WAY!”

And here's Frank, doing it his way...l'havdil...

18 May 2018

Shavuot – What’s in a Name? by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher - and video by a REAL anusah

4 Sivan 5778
48th Day of the Omer

Shavuot – What’s in a Name?
by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher


 Why is the Yom Tov of Matan Torah called Shavuot? (Weeks) In Judaism, the name of the Yom Tov defines what took place on that particular Festival. For example, Passover commemorates G-d’s passing over the Jewish first born when He killed the Egyptian first born. On Sukkot (booths) we thank G-d for supplying us with both physical booths and the Clouds of Glory which surrounded us like booths. But what does “Weeks” have to do with Matan Torah?

The Ramban explains that the word Shavuot in Hebrew besides meaning “Weeks”, also means “Vows or Oaths”. That’s exactly what took place on the Festival of the Giving of the Torah. We swore our eternal love and devotion to G-d with those magic words “We will do and then we will listen.” And G-d swore His eternal love and devotion to us, “And you shall be to Me, My most beloved and precious treasure from among all nations”. (Shmot 19:5) So the name Shavuot DOES describe what took place on Chag Matan Torah!

Pesach and Succot have their own sections in the Shulchan Aruch. But where is the section called "Hilchot Shavuot" in the Shulchan Aruch? In fact, Hilchot Shavuot DOES NOT appear. Instead, the last chapter of Hilchot Pesach is called, "Seder Tefillat Chag HaShavuot", and it contains just 3 short sentences. The Shuchan Aruch simply lists the order of davening for Shavuot, and which Torah portions are read, and the prohibition of fasting on the Yom Tov.

What is obvious is the lack of any specific Halachot for Shavuot. There is no Matzah, no sitting in a Succah, no shaking a Lulav, and no blowing of the Shofar. There is nothing that marks Shavuot as a unique Yom Tov from the Halachic prospective of the Shulchan Aruch. The Rama adds some Shavuot customs but not Halachot. The customs that he mentions is putting out plants in the Shuls and houses and eating dairy foods. Even staying up all night on Shavuot is only a custom but not Halacha.

What is responsible for this odd situation on Shavuot? Where are the missing Mitzvot of Shavuot? The Shtei HaLechem and Bikurim were ONLY brought during the time of the Beit HaMikdash. Why are there so many Minhagim on Shavuot? What makes this Festival different from all others? MA NISHTANA?

The Talmud in Pesachim 68, discusses the best way to celebrate Yom Tov, and quotes a dispute between R' Eliezer and R' Yehoshua. R' Eliezer says that Yom Tov should be spent either KULO LAHASHEM, entirely praying to G-D and learning Torah, or KULO LACHEM, entirely as a day of eating and drinking and other physical enjoyment. R' Yehoshua says that the Festivals should be divided in half, CHETZYO LAHASHEM V'CHETZYO LACHEM, half for G-D and half for us.

But even R' Eliezer agrees that Shavuot must also include physical enjoyment thru feasting, because it is the day on which G-D gave us the Torah. Rashi there explains that we need to show that we are still joyful that we accepted the Torah, and therefore we need to celebrate in a physical way by eating and drinking. Thus when we make the Birkat HaTorah we don’t say Natan HaTorah, that G-d GAVE us the Torah, but we say NOTAIN HATORAH, that G-d GIVES us the Torah. Matan Torah began 3,330 years ago but G-d continues to give us the Torah DAY-BY-DAY.

So where are the Halachot and Mitzvot of Shavuot? We can say that Shavuot can't be only a day of ritual Halachic structure. In order for us to demonstrate our joy and happiness for accepting the Torah, Shavuot must include our human input and feedback.

The part of Shavuot meant for physical human enjoyment is described in the Talmud as being for eating and drinking. In fact, the TORAH states that at the celebration of Matan Torah the Jewish People ate and drank! (Shmot 24:11) It seems that this concept on Shavuot has expanded, as generations of Jews have added customs to the celebration of MATAN TORAH.

To show our joy and love for the acceptance of the Torah anew every year, we instill this Festival with delicious new meaning, such as eating cheese cake, cheese blintzes (my favorite), and decorating the Shul with flowers. These customs demonstrate our love and joy for the Yom Tov when G-D GIVES us His Holy Torah.


If you read my most recent posts, you probably saw the following:

"An interesting aspect Devash explained to me [in a comment, here] is that many Christians, like those she mentioned in her part 1, will claim to be of Sephardic heritage."

Here is the video story of a REAL anusah: a woman whose family, from Spain (the source of the place, Sepharad and its adjective, Sephardic) long ago, was outwardly Christian, but held many, many secrets from her and demanded a great deal of compliance from her with no explanation whatsoever, until she ferreted out the truth for herself:  They were secret Jews, afraid of being caught by the Spanish Inquisition and executed for living their faith in the One True G-d. No joke: the Alhambra Decree was only revoked at the end of 1968.

This kind of history cannot be faked or dismissed; you have to have lived it. My beloved fellow Jews, do not be fooled by Christians who claim this heritage, but still forcefully insist that only accepting jesus the mangod as your savior will bring you salvation. They obviously have not felt this accumulated extremity of pain or suffered the protracted journey the Anusim, through their generations, have traveled to get to the days prior to geula shlemah; or this would be the last thing they would dare think of.

Only HaQadosh Barukh Hu is the source of everything, including salvation and redemption for the whole world; may it come speedily in our days: Amen.

 Shabbat Shalom and Hag Sameah!

14 May 2018

On the establishment of the US Embassy in Yerushalayim

29 Iyyar 5778
"US Embassy Day"
Yom Kippur Qatan

US Consulate Annex, to become the US Embassy today (source).

On the establishment of the US Embassy in Yerushalayim
Christians: Don't take this opportunity to preach the gospel to Jews and steal more Jewish heritage!

I have been thinking about you dedicated Christians who claim to have Sephardic (meaning, Jewish-from-Spain-and-Portugal) heritage, or descend from any of the Ten Tribes, whether here in Israel or elsewhere - or whatever - in order to live among, and relate to, Jews in Israel. The ones who follow the Wallers, the RiverWinds and all the rest (see the following from the Tomer Devorah series Meet the Missionaries - part 3 | part 4 | part 5 (FoZ) and I'm not sure it's over yet...). If you are indeed true Christians, I expect you to consider seriously the following. The rabbis you have access to, I assure you, won't tell you these things. They know a lot, but have been cut off from saying what needs to be said.

In contrast, I'm a lowly am-haaretz (ignoramus). What do I know?

It is frankly insulting and disgusting to push your mangod on Jews especially if you think of them as your fellows, your brothers and sisters. After all, even though you may truly believe in your religion, or your relationship with god through jesus, or whatever you call it these days -- your power to do so came to you through the shedding of Jewish blood, and not that of jesus either. It came through the murder of ordinary Jews all those years ago, and even continued for a long time, and who can be sure it ever stopped? - and you should be hearing your hearts and souls crying out and rending the heavens in endless pain over it. You should be doing everything you can to retrieve the heritage that was ripped from you by the very servants of the mangod you yourselves serve. Do you have Stockholm Syndrome, or are you just wolves in sheeps' clothing? Only you have an answer to that.

The very fact that many of you come here, to the home of the Jews, insisting that you must keep your mangod and that in exchange for your free labor in our vineyards we must accept him even though you want to be one with us, means you are not sons of Jacob, from any tribe, at all. You can sing all your praise to Yoshke in the vineyards of Yehuda and the Shomron, put on your best Orthodox Haredi costume in order to speak with (or preach to) Haredim in Meah She'arim, keep Shabbat and holidays in your "inimitable" way (as if we'd want to), sit around the tables of our leadership in the Knesset building and learn (or presume to teach) Torah, Writings and Prophets with/to them, and give all the food to our hungry and poor all you want, but ALL THIS WILL NOT MAKE YOU ONE OF US. AND IT WILL NOT MAKE US WANT TO BE ONE WITH YOU. You promote the fact that you do these "kind" deeds like a pig that puts out its split hooves when it goes to sleep, to show its kashruth - but they are not kosher, and neither are you.

I'll repeat myself from my 2nd prior post: There is NO such thing as a man who can be G-d. Not even Mashiah. We, the ordinary people among Israeli Jews, will not be deceived, even if our politicians (and rabbis) are.

There is a reason we call you the children of Esau. This is not name-calling, but telling the truth. Esau's children are still steaming over the fact that Jacob's descendants have the birthright that was sold to him, and they will do anything to cause Jacob's children to stumble and lose the merit that previous generations laid up for their children, who wish to continue to accrue Torah, mitzvoth, good deeds, common decency AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL for the next generation. Just what do you think you are doing, if you also claim to be Jacob's children in order to "make aliyah" to the Land of Israel?!

I wrote the preceding as I contemplated the upcoming dedication of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem. I may have posted after that, since Shabbat was coming quickly upon us, and after that, Yom Yerushalayim; nevertheless, you must hear me well: ESAU OWES HAQADOSH BARUCH HU (G-D) PROPER RECOGNITION OF THE JEWS AND THE STATE OF ISRAEL, and is only now giving it. We owe the Christian, the Esavian, nothing - whether "born again", "Ephraimite" or Catholic, or anything in between - they have been nothing but dirty rotten thieves, liars and murderers for hundreds of years, if not thousands! Their gifts, as great as they may seem, are given only to divert our attention from their sleight-of-hand. What they offer is not salvation, but exactly the opposite!

It has been publicized that there are great expectations of us Israelis to thank you "Christian Zionists" for your role in bringing the Embassy to Yerushalayim. Have I got news for you! The One who expected this of you is not us; rather it is none other than HaQadosh Barukh Hu (that is, the One True Holy G-d, Blessed be He)! HE is the one Who chose my fair city to be the capital of Israel, of the Jewish People. In our desire and striving for this goal we have only ever obeyed Him. Down the generations, ever since the Romans exiled us from our land and our capital, my people has been longing for, praying for, and expecting only Him to grant us our request for His Great City. It is not a favor to the Jews that you have performed; rather, it was the job of the nations of the world to recognize the choice G-d made here, in this world.

And, if you expect us to thank you for your part in bringing the US Embassy to Yerushalayim, then you must also expect thanks for the following (it would take too long to put in all the links, which I'm sure you've seen before. I've limited myself only to what I suppose you haven't seen):

  • a long history of persecution, over-punishment (think Jonathan Pollard, for example) and murder of our people at least ever since we were exiled by the Romans
  • the dhimmitude laws of the Muslims, which were derived from how you treated us in the first 600 years of your religious existence, and which were applied to those of you who live(d) in the Middle East, as well as to us [the above link notes: At least six of these laws were taken over from earlier Christian laws against infidels.] Also: this analysis of the Pact of Umar which doesn't seem to have been written by Muslims.
  • "redaction" or, put more truthfully, censorship of our Talmudic sources during the Middle Ages, with the threat of punishment, including death, if we didn't submit
  • gross mistranslations and misinterpretations of Biblical texts (you couldn't help that, since it is not your root language, even when taught by Jews; still, couldn't your spiritual ancestors have refrained from such mischief?)
  • the distortion of our scholars' Torah knowledge and thinking from that time until the present day due to the previous two points - THANKS A WHOLE LOT FOR THAT! 
  • I can only thank G-d for not letting you get your hands on the Talmud Yerushalmi.
  • And, oh, thanks so very much for not protesting our MKs not being invited to the ceremony. You study Tana"kh with them, right? But it seems you can't, or won't, stand up for them when it's entirely appropriate.
  • and lots more that I can't think of right now.

So, if you claim also to be Jews or other sons and daughters of Jacob, you must choose. You cannot be both, and you should not want to be both. We must not allow idolatry on our Land, because our G-d, Almighty King of the Universe, demands it in His First Commandment. You found your mangod outside the Land; now you must leave him there.

Do you see the predatory pattern here? If what you're saying is true, some of your ancestors were Jews, then someone came along and forced them to give up their Jewishness; then, many (hundreds or thousands of) years later you come along, are not Jewish but with Jewish ancestry, trying to convince Jews to give up their Jewishness by taking on idolatry. Will the pattern continue? It's up to you.

Yes, we know what it says in your book. Enough of us have been there, done that, come back and told us. Is there any truth in it, or is it all "fake good news"?


P.S. You should also know that some of us see dark days ahead as a direct result of your "favor" to us. Whether that becomes many or not, remains to be seen, unless Mashiah is revealed before it has a chance to manifest itself. And, if the Israeli taxpayer has to bear the cost of the embassy move, as seems to be threatened suggested, that cancels your favor completely.

12 May 2018

Why was Matan Torah NOT in Jerusalem? - by R' Ephraim Sprecher

The light of 28 Iyyar 5778
Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day


Yom Yerushalayim, which is actually first mentioned in Tehillim 137:7, is just a few days before Chag Matan Torah. So wouldn’t it have been appropriate for G-d to give us the Torah in His Holy City of Jerusalem, DC (David’s Capital). As Yeshayahu chapter 2 states, “The Torah shall go out from Zion and the Word of G-d from Jerusalem.”

Thus, why did G-d give the Torah in the Sinai Desert rather than in the Holy Land? The Talmud explains that G-d wanted to demonstrate that the Torah didn't belong to one nation alone or even to one country. A desert is halachically designated as a MAKOM HEFKER (an ownerless place). The Torah was not given in the Land of Israel for that would have meant that it was to be uniquely for the HOLY LAND.

The Torah was given in a space and place accessible to all humanity. The purpose of The Revelation at Sinai was to turn a world without Torah, which by definition is a barren desert, into a blooming and productive place for human existence.

Yitro, Moshe's father-in-law, is the name of the Parsha in which we read the account of the most important event in Jewish history, the Giving of the Torah. It is remarkable that this Parsha has as its title, the name of someone who was not even born a Jew. Yitro was a pagan idol worshipper, but only later in life abandoned his paganism and recognized the One, True G-d.

Why was Yitro chosen to have the Parsha of MATAN TORAH named after him?

It is because Yitro is the greatest illustration of what the Torah is meant to accomplish. The Torah's goal is to transform idolaters into believers and pagans into the worshippers of the One True G-d. Judaism is not a restrictive club for born Jews only. Any non-Jew who sincerely desires to embrace Torah true Judaism is welcome.

When the Jewish People stood at Mount Sinai and were prepared to accept the Torah, G-d defined their mission by telling them, "If you will listen to My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own, special treasure from among all nations, for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a Kingdom of Kohanim and a Holy Nation" (Shemot 19).

Yehudah Halevi wonders about the phrase MAMLECHET KOHANIM. Surely the Jewish People will not all be Kohanim. The 12 Tribes were divided into Kohanim, Levites and Israelites. Most Jews are simply Israelites. Why does G-d say that the Jewish People in its entirety will become a "Kingdom of Priests"?

Yehudah Halevi answers that just as the Kohanim were to be the teachers and leaders for the rest of the Jewish People, so too the Jews have to become the leaders and teachers of the rest of the world. That is the meaning of "… You shall be My own special treasure from among all nations…" (Shemot 19).

We are to be the Kohanim, who will insure that all nations eventually will acknowledge the One True G-d. That's why G-d says "…for all the earth is Mine".

We Jews perform our G-d given task in 2 ways – Judaism for Jews and those who want to sincerely convert to Judaism, and the Torah's 7 Noahide Laws for the gentiles. Our motto to non-Jews is "Keep the 7 and go to Heaven!”

This Divine Plan is used by the Talmud to explain why Jews throughout history have been exiled around the globe. The Talmud offers the rationale that the punishment of our exile may have a totally different purpose. "G-d did not exile Israel among the nations but only so converts might join them, as is written, 'And I, (G-d), will plant her for Me in the land'… (Hoshea 2:25). "Surely a man plants a SEAH (a biblical measure) in order to harvest many KOR" (an even greater measure). (Pesachim 87b).

Our mission as Jews is to spread the knowledge of the One True G-d, as the prophet Yeshayahu says, "We are to be a light unto the nations". But before we can be a light unto the nations, we must first be a light to each other. As Debbie Boone sang in her number one hit song, “You light up my life!”

The video I promised (without a vow):

"Jerusalem: A Tale of Two Cities"

08 May 2018

Geula and more geula, part 3

light of 24 Iyyar 5778
yesterday was the 38th Day of the Omer...

You could ask whether there will be the Great War or Geula Shlemah this week, depending on where you read. Possibly both at once and even more!

R' Lazer Brody sees "an amazing convergence of events - happening at lightning speed...like a noose that our neighbors want to tighten around our necks." Whatever could they be? Caution: Geula Under Construction.

Will this week change the world as we know it? David Mark of Israel Rising explains why this week could be it.

It would seem that in this prelude to geula, communications have changed so much that in some circles, knocking on someone's door and calling someone directly by phone are considered impolite. One must text or email first. Really??!! I hadn't heard this startling news until R' Steven Pruzansky wrote about it. I hope it never comes to Israel!

Meanwhile, meet the missionaries in Israel, whose aim is to convince Jews to believe in a false god, uncovered by Devash at Tomer Devorah. Part 1 | Part 2 and there may be more. In an earlier article, she asks, "The Midianites tried it, the Hellenists enforced it, the Christians have perfected it, for how long are the Jews going to continue to fall for it???"

It's simple, my gentle readers. There is NO such thing as a man who can be G-d. Not even Mashiah. Israeli Jews, let us not be deceived, even if our politicians (and rabbis) are!!!!!

 (An interesting aspect Devash explained to me is that many Christians, like those she mentioned in her part 1, will claim to be of Sephardic heritage.)

My response, here: Especially those who claim to be anusim, people whose ancestors were forced to convert to Xianity, commit an egregious crime against their ancestors (if their story is even true) by willingly remaining in the false religion whose followers ostensibly forced the conversion in the first place! Real anusim have kept their mesorah, albeit in secret, for hundreds of years and will do anything to retrieve what they lost along the way. Not preaching that people, especially Jews should be "saved by the mangod" Yeshu, yms"v.)

The above and much, much more is why R' Pinchas Winston revived his Geulah b'Rachamim project. 

And, I'm sure, there's lots more to be said. I don't claim to see from one end of the earth to the other. I'm still wondering what the deaths of 10 youth in flash floods here means. Rabbi Sprecher takes it on in the following video.

Are All Deaths Decreed by G-d? - R' Ephraim Sprecher

Let us keep our eyes open and our hearts on HQB"H! Hold on tight...

03 May 2018

Sefirat haOmer – STEP BY STEP! - R' Ephraim Sprecher

18 Iyyar 5778
La"G la'Omer

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher

As R' Sprecher writes, the Sapphire is related to the word sefirah. Source

Jonny Maestro and the Crests had a hit song in the late 50’s called STEP BY STEP. Were they singing about Sefirat HaOmer? Counting the Omer is all about a process, a gradual STEP BY STEP spiritual development. The Zohar in Parshat Yitro states, when we were in Egypt we defiled ourselves with all kinds of impurities, until we were mired under forty nine levels of impurity. Still, G-d rescued us from all those impure powers and delivered us to the corresponding forty nine gates of wisdom and Kedusha.

This was above and beyond what G-d promised to Avraham, which was simply to take us out of the physical bondage of Egypt. For this reason the Torah mentions the Exodus from Egypt 50 times, to demonstrate to us God’s loving kindness, by extricating us from the 49 levels of impurity and bringing us to the 50 levels of Kedusha. This is why we begin to count the days and weeks between Pesach and Shavuot.

Since the awesome event of the Exodus, 3,330 years ago, we commemorate that seven week journey, one day at a time, or Day by Day. Sefirat HaOmer teaches us that no challenge or obstacle is so great that it can’t be overcome, IF it is only broken down into manageable pieces. There was no way that Israel, just liberated from physical and spiritual slavery, could immediately achieve the level needed to accept the Holy Torah from the “Mouth” of G-d Himself. But the secret is, gradual STEP BY STEP spiritual growth, the achievements of each day become a resource for the spiritual challenges of the next day.

What I achieve today, gives me the spiritual capacity to do even more tomorrow. When Shlomo HaMelech dedicated the Beit HaMikdash, he prayed “that G-d would judge His people DEVAR YOM B’YOMO – to judge us, but each day, DAY BY DAY.” (Kings 1, ch 8) The message of Sefirat HaOmer is that living and progressing one day at a time, is a year-round success formula for facing and confronting the difficult challenges of life, and achieving spiritual growth. The motto is, today, is the first day of the rest of your life!

Sefirat HaOmer teaches us to make time count. We count each and every day, to make each and every day count. The word SEFIRA – to count, is also related to the word SAPIR – Sapphire. The lesson is that each day should be cherished, treasured, and unwrapped like a precious sapphire jewel!


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