27 April 2015

The Message of the Nepal Earthquake

8 Iyyar 5775
Day 23 of the Omer

It's easy to see that the Hebrew letters which spell out Nepal (נפל) are the same letters which spell the Hebrew word meaning "fall". According to Morfix: "to fall, to stumble; to drop, to decline; to collapse, to be defeated, to surrender, to be conquered; to be killed; to fall by the wayside (a proposal, plan); (colloquial) to fall on (a day, date); to descend...."

In the case of this devastating earthquake, all of the above would apply. But, beyond the message that the whole world is poised to fall in the same way that Kathmandu has fallen, I found a deeper message in a CNN report about the earthquake - a video essay called "Why was Nepal unprepared?"

"...In Nepal, people always talk about this 'impending'  earthquake. So, the experts had always warned that every 60-70 years there will be a major earthquake in Kathmandu. Now, the last major one, a magnitude about 8.4 on the Richter scale, that was back in 1934. So, an earthquake was almost overdue. Even though Nepal and Nepalese have been aware of this so-called 'impending' earthquake, no one actually believed that it would happen...."

(Yeshayahu 2:11-19)
...The haughty eyes of man will be humbled, and the height of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted on that day. For the Lord of Hosts has a day over everyone proud and high, and over everyone exalted, and he shall become humble. And over all the cedars of the Lebanon, high and exalted, and over all the oaks of the Bashan; And over all the high mountains and over all the exalted hills; And over every lofty tower and over every fortified wall; And over all the ships of Tarshish and over all coveted floors. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the Lord alone shall be exalted on that day. And the idols shall completely pass away. And they shall come into the caves of the rocks and into the hollows of the earth, because of the fear of the Lord and because of the splendor of His pride, when He rises to break the earth.
Believe it. 

Erev Rav Review

8 Iyyar 5775
Day 23 of the Omer

In his introduction to Mesilat Yesharim, the holy Ramchal says that he is not about to teach something new, but things we already know, but need to be reminded about. Furthermore, he suggests that his book should be read over and over again, In other words, we need constant reminding in order to stay on track - on the true path.

This is also true of the subject of the Erev Rav who rule over us at the End of Days. Especially where it concerns the Erev Rav, if you are not part of the solution, you are definitely part of the problem. Hence, this review.
(Excerpts from Part 4 of The War at the End of Days)
...Those original Erev Rav souls became intermingled with the authentic Jewish souls. We still have the Erev Rav with us, but today, they can be born into the best families, have the highest pedigree, and be the most (externally) pious and 'frum' people you'd ever care to meet.
...the Erev Rav are brazen, which means that they won't accept any suggestion that they are doing anything wrong (Ex.), and they will justify their evil deeds with any amount of lies, evasion, intimidation and other manipulative behaviours.
..If we don't actively fight against their evil influence and ideas, then we end up helping them, and the Vilna Gaon tells us it would then have been better for us if we hadn't been born in the first place.
...Rabbi Simcha Issaschar Ber Halberstam, the Divre Simcha, explains that even the 'good' that the Erev Rav do has to be rejected.
Rav Halberstam is teaching us that prior to Moshiach coming, one of our main jobs will be to split off from, and reject, the Erev Rav, even if they are apparently doing 'good' things.
In particular, the Erev Rav are obsessed with 'making peace' at any price, and will bully others mercilessly to get them to acquiesce to their plans.
And "making peace" does not just refer to deals to trade land for 'peace' with the Arabs, but even more perniciously to make 'peace' with Christianity (Shlomo Riskin and his students) and Islam (like the late Menachem Froman).

See the best resource on this subject: The Modern Erev Rav

26 April 2015

Binyamin: "He's the Last" - Part 2

7 Iyyar 5775
Day 22 of the Omer

Communication with Binyamin and Aharel'a
Jerusalem, 17 Nisan, Chol HaMo'ed Pesach 5775

[Excerpt: Regarding the petirah of Rav Wozner, ztz"l]

...HaRav Shmuel, HaTzadik HaGadol, ztz"l, he was really a Jew 'above and beyond', he didn't get into any arguments, he ruled on what he was sure was true and didn't get into a dispute with anyone. He remained within his dalet amot of the Torah and didn't go out and didn't get mixed up with the politics between the hareidim. He didn't take one side against another. He simply gave his ruling. He ruled - and that's it. He ruled without the influence of askanim. He ruled the truth that he believed in, based on his closeness to HKB"H and his tremendous knowledge of the Torah and his love for Am Yisrael. The moment that he ruled, that finished the business.

But, he remained at the end. He remained the last of this generation and passed away from the world. He remained the last who was actually loved by everyone, the Litvak-Ashkenazim as well as the Hasidim, as well as the Sefaradim. And even the seculars gave him honor, why? Because he did not go down to their level, he didn't occupy himself with their politics. He closed himself within the dalet amot of the Torah and didn't take himself out at all into the dirty street. And therefore, he was the last that Hashem is taking back before the enormous troubles that are waiting for this world, the tremendous destruction and death that is about to be for us in the near future. He's the last. He can no longer cover us or keep the accusations in Shamayim from speaking against us. He's there with all the tzadikim....

24 April 2015

Binyamin: "He's the Last"

5 Iyyar 5775
Day 20 of the Omer

Communication with Binyamin and Aharel'a
Jerusalem, 17 Nisan, Chol HaMo'ed Pesach 5775

[Excerpt: Regarding the petirah of Rav Wozner,ztz"l]

...This is the sign that we are at the beginning of the greatest decline before the geulah shleimah. And it will go fast, it will go really fast. The descent - sharp, and in every sharp descent there is great speed. Therefore, I warn everyone, warn everyone, to take a deep breath, and make a very strong connection to HKB"H, because if not - this fall will frighten you and drive you crazy, and you won't even be able to breathe, or even to think how to save yourselves. Whoever prepares now - won't be afraid, they will know that they are, so to speak, in the hands of HKB"H and they won't be afraid of this sharp descent.

You have, of course, been through, here and there, a sharp physical descent. I'm not speaking about an emotional aspect, I'm talking about like a roller-coaster. It' s the feeling of going up high and when you're going down - your stomach goes up in your throat... and it's a terrible fear, even when you know it's only 'like' [falling]. But, now, it's not 'like', now it's for real. When we begin to descend below, then it will really be scary if you're not ready.

It's possible to stop this very-not-nice feeling, it's possible to stop the danger, if we will hold on to the spiritual rope that connects us to HKB"H.   

The whole time that we are holding onto this rope - it's impossible to go down and with this rope Hashem will pull us up, up and we won't go down. We will hold on to the rope, everyone will go down - and we will go up. Just hold on to the rope. But, it's not so simple to hold on to this rope, we need to believe, we need to want to be with HKB"H, not just to save ourselves, but first and foremost to be with HKB"H more than anything in the world, more than any connection in this world, only this we want, and He will pull us up with this rope. 

[To be continued, iy"H...]

23 April 2015

Always Fact-Check Everything You Read

5 Iyyar 5775
Day 20 of the Omer

These days, we are often overloaded with information and much of it is misinformation and disinformation - even on so-called "Jewish" and "religious" newsites. We have to be very careful and fact-check everything.

A case in point - a short time ago I read this in reference to a report about the killing of American-Islamic-Convert-Jihadist Adam Gadahn: "Born Adam Pearlman to a Jewish family which converted to Christianity,...."

When I started fact-checking, I discovered that 1) his mother was a Catholic from Pennsylvania and 2) while his father's own father was Jewish, his mother was also Christian-born. Both Adam's father and paternal grandfather intermarried with Christian women.There is no way this statement about being "born to a Jewish family" is correct. 

It used to be that news sources were very careful about fact-checking their reports before publishing them, but no more! We have to do it ourselves, which thankfully, the internet makes possible. If you don't have the time to do that, at least, please don't pass on information that you read before checking it out for truthfulness. I usually try to be careful, but even I need reminding from time to time.

"Tsipitah Hayeshuah?"

4 Iyyar 5775
Day 19 of the Omer

It is said that one of the questions they will ask us in Shamayim when we come to the end of our 120 years in this world is: "Tsipitah Hayeshuah? Did you anticipate the redemption?" 

Rabbi Eliyahu Kin says there is a big difference between awaiting and anticipating redemption. I've written the following little story in the hope of illustrating this idea. 

Awaiting vs Anticipating

An elderly man was sitting on his front porch enjoying the afternoon when the strange actions of the boy across the street caught his attention. He was busy at some project in his front yard, but every so often he would glance up from his work and gaze down the street in both directions. Every time a car or truck engine could be heard, he dropped whatever tool he had in his hand and ran for the curb, lifting a hand to shade his eyes, the better to see what was coming. When the vehicle got close enough to see, he would invariably drop his hand to his side and amble dejectedly back to work - clearly disappointed. And yet, he never ceased looking up from time to time to concentrate his gaze into the distance, clearly looking for something he was keenly anticipating.

The old man's curiosity got the better of him and the next time the boy ran to the roadside to get a good look at what was making its way through the neighborhood, the old man decided it was a good time to check for his mail. As he walked to the end of his sidewalk and reached to lower the door on the rural box, he glanced over to the boy and asked casually, "You expecting a visitor today, young man?"

The boy looked over at the old man and grinned broadly. "My grandpa's coming to visit," he beamed, his face alight with anticipated pleasure. 

"That's nice," replied the old man. "Enjoy your visit." 

He returned to his porch as the boy went back to his project. He marveled at the boy's persistence and observed for a little while longer before, feeling the pressure of time, he got up to attend to his chores. Hours later, he glanced out the window and was surprised to see the boy still going through the same motions as before.

The sun was going down and evening was coming on with a bit of a chill in the air. The man stepped out onto his porch just as the boy made what must have been his hundredth trip to the curb since morning. He was looking hard in the direction of the sound of an approaching car, but it turned the opposite way at the last minute. 

Seeing the disappointment mirrored in the boy's face, the man yelled over, "You going to stay out all night? Maybe he changed his mind!"

The little boy stopped and turned towards the old man and said with great confidence, "When my grandpa says he's coming, Mister, then he's coming. I'll watch for as long as it takes." 

A bit perturbed, the old man replied, "Well, can't you wait inside at least? Maybe watch some tv to make the time pass faster?" 

The little boy, with a beatific smile, shook his head, "I can't wait. I wouldn't be able to concentrate on tv. I don't want to miss out on the very minute my grandpa's car turns the corner!"

This is how geulah bloggers feel every day. Despite the calls by well-meaning commenters to cease and desist from yelling out "Maybe that's him!" - yet again - and running for the curb to see if it's his car coming - yet again - we will continue to do so, because, very simply, we can't do otherwise. We are anticipating the redemption!

( h/t to R. Yaak for the example.)

22 April 2015

Baruch Hashem for the Shell Which Houses the Egg!

4 Iyyar 5775
Day 19 of the Omer

Like a chick developing within the protection of its shell, so is the Kingdom of Israel slowly, slowly developing and maturing within the klippah of the secular "western democratic" State of Israel.

Without 67 years of the State of Israel, we would not be anywhere close to the complete redemption today. There must be a body before a soul can descend to this world. In this case, there had to be a State before it can become a Kingdom again.

(Excerpted from "Who is the Messiah?" by Rabbi Aryeh Carmell)
...the first to predict the rise of a secular Jewish state as prelude to the coming of the Messiah is Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel of Prague (1525-1609) known as "Maharal", in his discussion of the rise of "the Kingdom of the Messiah".

Maharal affirms that the coming of the Messiah is not, as often thought a sudden event; it is a process. The "Holy kingdom of Israel" - Maharal's term for the reign of the Messiah will emerge from an earlier, non-holy kingdom.

The Midrash states: Just as Moshe, who was destined to break the power of Pharaoh, was brought up in Pharaoh's palace, so the Messiah, who is destined to settle accounts with Edom, will live with them in their city. The ultimate failure of the empire of Edom will give rise to a new and different kingdom- the Kingdom of the Messiah...

This is why Yaacov was born holding on to the heel of Esav (Bereshit 25:26).

Now, "the kingdom of Edom" refers to the last of the four empires of the world foreseen by Daniel (chapters 4-5): Babylonia, Media, Greece, and Rome. Rome, as world power, is long since dead and gone. But its heritage, Western Civilization, rules the world. Our Rabbis indicate that the kingdom of the Messiah will grow up in the context of Western civilization. Indeed, the parable of "the heel of Esav" signifies that the spiritual failure and moral bankruptcy of that civilization will be the catalyst for the coming of the Messiah.

2. So far Maharal - properly understood - has described how the kingdom of the Messiah emerges from the break down of Western civilization.
But this is not all. Maharal's vision is guided by veiled hints in the Midrash: the "Kingdom of Israel" itself undergoes development. In its immature stage it forms part of the Fourth Empire, and only when it reaches maturity does it throw off this attachment and emerge as "the holy kingdom of the Messiah". (Kingdom is, of course synonymous with "state".)

Maharal continues:
So long as the kingdom of the Messiah has not yet reached perfection, the kingdom of the Messiah is attached to Edom (nigar el Edom) ...The holy kingdom of Israel... must grow out of the non-holy kingdom that preceded it.
Maharal, in a telling parable, describes the relationship between the embryonic "kingdom of Israel" and its "Edomite" environment: Fruit grows within a husk; when the fruit ripens the husks falls off... So it is with Israel. Their kingdom emerges and grows from within the kingdom of the nations i.e., from the existential power of the kingdom of the nations, and from their level, it raises itself to a higher level. And when the kingdom of Israel reaches complete maturity the kingdom of nations is removed, just as the husk is removed, and falls off when the fruit reaches its perfection.

The Messianic revolution will take place in the hearts and minds of the people. The "falling off of the husk" does not refer to a political or military event, nor does "kingdom of the nations" refer to a political entity. The husk refers to the value system of the Western world. The falling off of the husk signifies the victory of spirituality over materialism, faith in G-d over unbounded trust in one's own power, and awareness of divine providence over belief in blind chance.

Yet it appears that the "kingdom of Israel" in its infancy (and here "kingdom" means both state and cultural entity) is still definitely "attached to Edom". Could Maharal, from his 16th century vantage point, be referring to the reality of the State of Israel today?
We are far from "independent." Either we are dependent on other nations or we are dependent on HKB"H. I and my house choose HKB"H! He never lets us down. With G-d's help and if He wills it, we will soon see the breaking forth of the renewed Kingdom of Israel and the secular State's purpose would have been served. Baruch Hashem!!

21 April 2015

Everyone Is Looking for a Sign

3 Iyyar 5775
Day 18 of the Omer

Double, Quadruple Rainbows Spotted On LI Following Stormy Weather
Stormy, rainy weather across the Tri-State area Monday into Tuesday brought about a magnificent sight this morning.
Double and even quadruple rainbows could be seen on Long Island as well as a rainbow arching over a NYPD Highway Patrol precinct.
If I'm not mistaken, according to our tradition, a rainbow is not a good sign. It means our behavior is such that Hashem must remind Himself that He promised not to destroy the entire world again with water. So four reminders???? Not good.