23 January 2019

A Sense of Humor Regarding the Israeli Elections? A discussion about Mashiah's arrival

light of 18 Shevat 5779

Today I am co-hosting - or co-posting (or whatever this is) with Neshama at Going Home...to Yerushalayim concerning three of her posts containing commentary on the notice that, according to R' Matityahu Glazerson, R' Chaim Kanievsky advised an American citizen who asked him whether he should take out Israeli citizenship so that he will be able to vote in the upcoming elections. The Rav told him: "It's unnecessary. The Mashiah will come before then." More of this conversation is quoted in English here. The original Hebrew is on video here. The Ask Project video post in between them is a compilation of interviews asking how we will know when the Messiah comes.

Blessed news indeed...if it turns out to be as R' Kanievsky replied to his interlocutor. I am more inclined to believe this conversation actually took place — as opposed to the many that were publicized falsely — because of the video from R' Glazerson that mentions it. I'm not close enough to the situation to have a better way of knowing or telling.

Two questions:
  • Does haShem have a sense of humor regarding the timing of the elections this time around? 
  • If Mashiah reveals himself or gets revealed before then, as posted above, what significance does this have for us? That post will have to wait until we see whether it materializes.
HDG (link added):


H's sense of humor is coming to the fore once again. Do you realize the elections come on the Tuesday between parashiot Tazria and Metzora??? ;-)

NESHAMA: Thanks for the comment. Ok, so elaborate on that for our readers!

HDG:  Well, parashiot Tazria and Metzora are about the metzora, a person who has a disease similar to, but NOT leprosy - it is often translated this way in English. In fact, it is a spiritual disease that occurs only in Israel, brought on by lashon hara (evil speech), that hasn't occurred in this exile. Only a kohen can diagnose it. The person with this disease is usually on a very high spiritual level. You can see more about tzaraat, and its relationship to Mashiah, here.

And this is when we're having our elections!!! Between these two parshiot, davka!

NESHAMA: So your reference is to Lashon Hara. However, it is not clear to me why you thought this. Maybe not clear to readers. What is the ikkar to your thoughts?

HDG: The funny thing is that tzaraat, of all things, surrounds our elections, which are full of lashon hara! Also, the references to Mashiah having it as well.

Sources from the About Moshiach site:
Tzaraat is a punishment for negative speech - Talmud, Arachin 15b
Hefty Criteria for Tzaraat - Likutei Torah 22b
The Torah enables purification of Metzora - Etz Hayim, Shaar Rachel and Leah, Ch.7

R' Sprecher has 3 videos on the subject as well.

from 2018

from 2017

from 2016

More sources, again from the About Moshiach site, on Mashiah as metzora:

Moshiach is a Metzora - Talmud, Sanhedrin 98a and 98b, Rashi
Concept of Tzaraat applying to the world at large - Sefer Hasichot 5751 Tzaria/Metzora Pt.2 p498

HDG: I hope that this will be taken, as you suggested later, as part of a primer for the elections. The funniest part, as I see it, is that the government chose 9 April, 2019 (4 Nisan 5779), the Tuesday (Yom Shlishi) between the two parshiot that discuss tzaraat, 10 days before Pesah, for the elections to take place. HaShem truly has a sense of humor.

I wonder, based on the hysterical actual opposition and (overt) assassination attempts, could DJ Trump be a METZORA (no, not משיח.) While I do not believe lashon hara applies to him, and he does not reside in Eretz Yisrael, he IS fighting against evil in the world and wants to right many wrongs of history. This is a gargantuan endeavor.

In fact, there might have been as many as 17 attempts (don’t quote me). Read this FICTIONAL STORY: YellowSubmarine, and remember it is FICTION. In any event, you HDG may have touched upon an important episode in the ongoing process of Geula.

HDG: I will not comment on DJT. Actually, I'm not sure a non-Jew, even with Jewish grandchildren, can get tzaraat. Maybe a zera' Yisrael (the closest thing to being "part Jewish" we get; the person so designated has Jewish blood but doesn't belong to the nation unless s/he converts) can, but I haven't studied that issue, so I can't comment on it.

Thank you for starting this conversation, and letting me be a part of it! We are living in great times now!

We open this discussion to all commenters! See Neshama's version here. Differences are because we agreed to show our different perspectives.

21 January 2019

Why Name Parshat Matan Torah after a GER?

15 Sh'vat 5779 | "T"u biShvat"

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | first posted here

The Nation of Israel Accepts the Torah. Source

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 and World 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 the GER 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. In fact, the most repeated Mitzva in the Torah is to love the GER. The Sefer HaChinuch in Mitzva 63 quotes the Talmud in Baba Mitzia that 24 out of 613 Mitzvot discuss loving and not mistreating a GER.

When the Jewish People stood at Mount Sinai and were prepared to accept the Torah, G-d defined our mission by telling us, "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 (A Kingdom of Kohanim). Surely the Jewish People will not all be Kohanim. The 12 Tribes were divided into Kohanim, Levi’im and Israelites. Most Jews are simply Israelites. So why does G-d say that the Jewish People in its entirety will become a "Kingdom of Kohanim"?

Yehudah Halevi answers that just as the Kohanim were to be the teachers and leaders for the rest of the Jewish People, so too we 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"(Shmot 19).

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!”

Rambam in Sefer HaMitzvot states that teaching the 7 Mitzvot of Bnei Noach to non-Jews is part of the Mitzva to love HASHEM.

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.

Happy T"u biShvat, everyone!

13 January 2019

"...We want Eretz Yisrael and not suicide."

7 Shevat 5779

Many thanks to Esser Agaroth for this picture (last posted here), and for making it possible not to have to rely on anti-Israel websites for pictures of "the occupied territories."
The picture above is Naftali Bennett's plan to take Yehuda and the Shomron piecemeal - pretty much the same as Arafat's Oslo II map. I don't think it has changed, even with his new party, the New Right. I'm happy to see that Women in Green is now looking at a more comprehensive solution.

Can Israel Annex The West Bank?
An Interview with Women In Green Co-Founder Nadia Matar
By Jewish Press Staff, January 3, 2019

Nadia Matar has been a fighter for Eretz Ysrael, Am Ysrael, and Torat Yisrael for the last 35 years. Along with her late mother-in-law, Ruth Matar, Nadia founded Women in Green in the 1990s, a grassroots movement opposed to any surrender of biblical Israel to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.

She was arrested numerous times and sat in jail on several occasions with her mother-in-law, resulting in a wonderful bond between the two. “I tell every girl that the best formula for a wonderful marriage is to go to jail with your mother-in-law, fighting for Eretz Yisrael,” she told The Jewish Press during a recent interview from her home in Efrat.

Today, she heads the Sovereignty Movement alongside Yehudit Katzover, whose heroism in 1979-1980 helped lead to the founding of modern Chevron and whose husband served as mayor of Kiryat Arba for 20 years.

The Jewish Press: What’s your background?

Matar: I was born to a non-religious traditional family in Belgium. On Shabbos we lit candles and made Kiddush and then ate non-kosher and watched TV. As I grew up, I started asking questions – how could we keep Yom Kippur one day and be mechallel Shabbos the next? – so I joined Bnei Akiva and started keeping Shabbos and kosher.

But then I couldn’t understand why people who were keeping these mitzvos were not also fulfilling “Vetechezeina einenu beshuvcha l’Tzion berachamim” and moving to Eretz Yisrael. I went to Eretz Yisrael for one year and came back because of kibud av va’eim. But my parents saw how miserable I was in chutz la’aretz, so they finally gave me their beracha to move to Eretz Yisrael.

JP: How did you become the activist you are today?

NM: I guess it was in my genes, and the upbringing I got at home. I was very involved in the struggle for Russian Jewry. But when I first got married, all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mommy. My first three kids were born with me as a housewife and mother.

JP: When and how did that change?

NM: In 1992, the Rabin-Peres government came to power with four promises: no talks with the PLO; no Palestinian state; no division of Jerusalem; and no retreat from the Golan Heights.

But almost immediately after the elections, we started hearing talks of giving up the Golan. So when my husband and I heard about a demonstration in Jerusalem against retreating from the Golan, we took our kids and went.

The next day, the media published a horrible-looking picture of a settler with a beard, peiyos, a gun, and two little kids. The caption read something like: “Settlers and religious Bnei Akiva youth demonstrate against giving away the Golan Heights.” My mother in-law, Ruth Matar, immediately grasped the full meaning of the headline: “They’re trying to delegitamize us and portray us as lunatics,” she said.

So we decided to organize, and that’s when Women in Green was born.

JP: Women In Green soon became known for its animated street protests. When did those begin?

NM: We were growing fast in the beginning, but we got no press coverage whatsoever. We were naïve and inexperienced and didn’t realize the press didn’t want the world to know there was opposition to the Oslo Accords.

So we decided if the press wasn’t going come to us, we would go to the press. Whenever there was a newsworthy event, we went. If the prime minister, for example, was talking somewhere, we went, made noise, held up provocative signs, and got the attention of the media.

And that’s when our troubles began. All of a sudden, the police — who previously had ignored us – started beating us, breaking our ribs, and arresting us on false charges.

Some of us forget how charged the atmosphere was in the 1990s with Israel ceding more and more land to the PA – despite vigorous protests — and only getting terror in return.

I speak to my kids and they don’t remember the terrible years we went through. Buses were being blown up. Every day we left our house not knowing whether we were going to come back or what funeral we were going to attend. We buried so many friends.

After the Disengagement in 2005, many people gave up and said, “What’s the point?” But we felt that if we didn’t succeed in preventing the Disengagement it was only because we didn’t work hard enough.

JP: Today, you are one of the leaders of what’s known as the “sovereignty movement,” which essentially calls on Israel to annex the West Bank. How did that start?

NM: We realized that demonstrations and vigils were not going to save Judea and Samaria. I always compare it to an aquarium. You can kill the fish in two ways: either by taking the fish out of the aquarium or by making a small hole in the aquarium. The fish continue to swim, but little by little the water disappears.

That’s exactly what’s happening today. What is the water? The water is the land in Judea and Samaria. You have Jewish communities and Arab villages there, but in the middle there’s a lot of empty land. The Arabs, very smartly, said, “Let’s take over those empty lands and choke the Jewish communities.”

And that’s what they’ve been doing, completely unhindered by the authorities because the Civil Administration here in Israel, unfortunately, is very left-wing and doesn’t care. They say, “Judea and Samaria is not ours, so what do I care if the Arabs take over Area C with illegal construction, illegal agriculture, and illegal takeover of abandoned army bases?”

JP: What’s your solution?

NM: Sovereignty! Apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria – which is what we should have done the day we won the Six-Day War. At the time, the government was in such shock that we won that they didn’t know what to do with those areas, so they created something called the “Civil Administration” and thought that within a few months they’ll decide what to do with the land.

But those few months turned into 50 years, and we now have this weird situation where a Jew living in Judea and Samaria has a different status than a Jew living in Raanana, Tel Aviv, or Ashdod.

JP: Why is applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria so significant?

NM: Because when Israel didn’t apply sovereignty, the world started asking questions. “Wait, if it’s yours, why don’t you include it?”

It’s like the famous story of King Solomon and the baby. If somebody else is saying it’s his and you’re not saying it’s yours, and you’re even willing to give parts of it away, then maybe it’s not yours. In other words, all the complaints of the world that we are occupiers we can at least partially blame on ourselves.

JP: People argue that you can’t declare sovereignty over the West Bank because then you would have to give the Arabs living there the right to vote.

NM: That’s not true. There’s legal backing to prove that. The best example is the Jerusalem Arabs. There are 300,000 Arabs in Jerusalem, who have no voting rights for the Knesset. They are residents, not citizens, and the sun is still shining every morning.

JP: People argue that if Israel doesn’t give all residents voting rights, it can’t be considered a democracy.

NM: We are saying that democracy has different definitions. First of all, every democracy has to defend itself. It cannot be suicidal in giving tools to a minority within its borders to take over the democracy and turn it into an Arab dictatorship.

There is something that we call “Zionist democracy,” which means that you give everyone basic human rights but no voting rights. In Puerto Rico there are no voting rights and nobody makes an issue out of it.

JP: You have an urgency in your voice.

NM: Yes, because there is no other alternative to sovereignty. The alternative is a two-state solution, which is suicide. And the status quo is impossible because every minute that we are on the phone the Arabs have taken over another hill. They do it all the time. Everyone who lives in Judea and Samaria sees it, and if we don’t act fast we will have no more land left.

JP: What are the chances, practically speaking, that the Knesset will apply Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank?

NM: Let’s start with applying sovereignty over the existing Jewish communities in Area C where there are hardly any Arabs. Or at least let’s apply sovereignty over the Israeli communities. There should be no opposition to that at all. There is not one Arab in any Israeli community, so that is practical.

The Likud actually voted for this unanimously in December. It’s now in the official platform of the Likud party.

JP: So why didn’t the Knesset, which was led by Likud in recent years, do it?

NM: There is only one answer: Bibi Netanyahu.

JP: Why is he against it?

NM: He’s not saying. But we know one thing: We have to increase the pressure. It’s going to happen in the end, whether it’s with Bibi or somebody else. Bibi is not the Messiah.

JP: People sometimes say that if Israel is too hawkish it will lose the support of America. What’s your response?

NM: G-d arranged it that we now have an administration that told us from the very beginning that America will respect what Israel wants. So we are here to tell them that the majority of the Jewish people wants sovereignty and not a Palestinian state – that we want Eretz Yisrael and not suicide.

JP: President Trump is supposed to soon unveil his peace plan, which allegedly calls on Israel to make concessions of various sorts to the Arabs. Are you going to fight him?

NM: From what we understand, the Trump plan is something they’re going to suggest – not impose. The Trump Administration people are smart and know about our Biblical right to this land. They know that the Palestinian Authority are basically terrorists who want all of Israel. They don’t want peace. They want piece after piece after piece.

It’s very hard for me to believe that anyone who is smart will try to impose on us concessions that are against Israel and against simple logic.

I hope and pray the Trump plan calls for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria because that will bring real peace and good life for the Jews and the Arabs.

JP: But what if it calls for a two-state solution. Will you fight it?

NM: We will oppose it and bring down any government or prime minister who will agree to a two-state solution just like we did till now.

For some humor — It's funny even though it's true! — read this article from Honest Reporting!

On a more serious note, it seems as though our "experts" claimed last year that Israel's Jewish population growth rate is unsustainable. I'd like to make Leonie Ben-Simon my newest best friend for writing: Overpopulation in Israel. Really?

Absolutely no one has the right to demand that Jews stop contributing to "overpopulation" of our planet, since we comprise far less than 1% of it. Taking back our land in YEHUDA (where the word JEW comes from) and SHOMRON (that a king of Israel took a long time before there were Palestinians) will help a lot, and filling up the land we already fully possess will help even more!

Also, I stumbled on a video last night (it was presented as a comment to an article it had nothing to do with), called Caesar's Messiah. It proposes that Christianity is an invention of the Romans for the purpose of controlling the populations they governed, and for scattering the Jews and bringing us "to heel." I don't agree with the solutions it suggests, but I think it explains how the Esavians have been ruling the earth for 2,000 years — with HQB"H's permission, of course. I believe they don't have much more time.

Despite all this, committing national suicide is neither in our plans nor in the Jewish destiny according to our prophets, and I'm not at all sorry for saying so. See my Time of Jacob's Trouble series for more on that.

In case I don't post next week, have a blessed T"u b'Shevat!

If you happened to stop by this post, you should read this one by R' Steven Pruzansky...

06 January 2019

Yosef’s Brothers & the Blood Libel

the light of Rosh Hodesh Shevat 5779

About 5:00 on the yolk: The last time I found a blood spot in an egg, Hanukkah 5778 - HDG
I threw the whole egg out, but saved this picture to show my readers just how much Jews abhor eating blood.

by Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher | first published here

We Jews have been accused of various heinous crimes throughout our long and tragic history. Perhaps, the most devastating accusation we have faced is the Blood Libel - murdering Christian children and then using their blood for baking Matzoh on Pesach. Of course, this vile accusation is absolutely ludicrous and false.

The Torah warns us numerous times never to taste any blood. We are halachically obligated to soak and salt chicken and meat to ensure that all the blood is drawn out before we take a morsel into our mouths. We even check eggs for bloodspots to make sure that we don't ingest even a drop of blood.

Nevertheless, our enemies continue to make this false, slanderous and vile accusation against us.

These charges have not ended since the time of medieval Europe. The Arab world has now adopted this canard from the Christians. There have been many books and dozens of newspaper articles published in the Arab press and media accusing Jews of murdering Arab children to use their blood.

A few years ago, a series of articles appeared in a Saudi Arabian newspaper with a new twist – Jews don't just use blood of Arab children on Pesach for Matzos, but also use Arab blood on Purim for our hamantaschen!

How did we become the subjects of such an absurd and horrible accusation that runs so contrary to our basic beliefs as Jews?

Rav Elchanan Wasserman HY”D explains this bizarre accusation with the concept of "MAASEI AVOT SIMAN L'BANIM" (The deeds of the Forefathers are a sign to the children). The traits and deeds, instilled into Am Yisrael by our forefathers, work both in the positive and negative sense. The Torah in Bereshit 37 tells us about the internal strife and hatred of Yosef and his brothers.

The Zohar explains that the Sinat Chinam that has plagued our nation since its inception, causing the Second Beis Hamikdosh to be destroyed, had its root in the hatred of the brother's behavior toward Yosef.

This is a frightening phenomenon. Once the seeds of hatred and strife were planted into the history of our nation by Yosef's slander of his brothers and their bitter revenge, it continues to affect us throughout the centuries. Thus, internal hatred is a problem that Jews will have to deal with until Moshiach comes.

Rav Elchanan Wasserman HY”D takes this concept one step further. After the brothers sold Yosef, how did the brothers explain Yosef's disappearance to Yaakov? "They took Yosef's coat, slaughtered a goat and dipped the coat in the blood." (Bereshit 37:31) Then they showed Yosef's bloody coat to Yaakov, who then assumed that Yosef had been torn apart by a wild animal.

By using blood to cover up their crime, says Rav Wasserman, the brothers sealed the fate of Am Yisrael. Yosef's brothers use of blood to deceive their father has caused us to suffer from deceitful blood libels until this very day - Midah K'Neged Midah (measure for measure).

NOTES: I've written about Yosef and his brothers here – I had a she'elah during its writing about which I consulted with R' Sprecher. The above video also reveals some interesting information, including a possibility that Yosef had doubted his father's love for him during the separation period.

חודש שבט טוב! Happy Rosh Hodesh Shevat!