26 February 2017

Candidates for Mashiah: Clarification or Confusion?

 30 Shevat 5777
Rosh Hodesh Adar Alef


(compiled by CDG. In case the links above don't work, R' Berland | Meir Ettinger )



[NOTE: The word "candidate" is NOT meant to imply that the office, post, or position of Mashiah is won by election, as are the many democratic countries' heads, whether presidents or prime ministers. Neither is it meant to state that it is a dictatorship that one person succeeds in imposing on his (or her) people.]

To summarize many, many sources as I understand them, Mashiah is a man, 100% a human being, a direct descendant of King David of the tribe of Yehuda (Judah), appointed by haShem and ratified by the Jewish people through a process that has us observe him completely fulfill the qualifications we have been given through our great sages of old. Please let me know if there's anything I've left out. Sanhedrin 20b of the Babylonian Talmud says a king must be appointed before we annihilate Amalek and build the Beit haMiqdash (HaShem's chosen house).

What the word "candidate" refers to in this post is the perception (I can't really say 'reality' yet) that we have at least two people living in Israel who are imminent possibilities for the role of Mashiah the descendant of King David. Both of them have leadership qualities, lead many people in one way or another, and have been in jail or are currently in jail; at least one of them has a name included in a list of King David's descendants' names (I don't know whether the other also does, or not.). And, last, but not least, both are being persecuted because of who the authorities think they might be. There are possibly more candidates; and some people here even claim they know for sure who he is. One, or neither, of the people I am writing about today could be the person the Jewish people have been waiting thousands of years for. But this is as far as it seems to have gotten so far.

No voting, please. We only must want Mashiah, whomever haShem might choose.

I am referring to these two possibilities: Meir Ettinger and Rav Eliezer Berland. I have written about them both, but am not the primary source for either.

Reb Dov Bear bar Leib of the End of Days/Years of Awe blog, commented the following on his blog post, Piercing (Pirtzah) the Darkness that is (Tzarfat) at the End of Days, Part One on learning that the Israeli General Security Services (Shaba"K) officially banned Meir Ettinger from teaching Torah (Hebrew):

 The odds of him being Mashiach ben David just jumped to at least 50%. They are so afraid of him that he is now not allowed to teach Torah.
He explains further, "OMyG-d, they are forbidding him from teaching Torah to talmidim. They are unbelievably afraid of him. This is a siman about whom they at the very least think he is. Would HaShem send Mashiach into the world so that the Yetzer HaRa would prevent him from teaching Torah?? In one way, the answer might be Yes. But if HaShem wants to trick the Satan like He did with David by making him have questionable Yichus because of Ruth's conversion as a Moaviyah, then the answer would be No. So the odds of him being Mashiach are 50/50."

>>UPDATE: Our colleague, Neshama, sent me (and apparently him) a link to the above report, and reported it herself. 

>>UPDATE 2: The Kol haYehudi article linked above has been translated to English by Myrtle Rising. See for yourself.

Rivka Levy, of Emunaroma, wrote the following concerning R' Berland recently:

...on one side, an ever-growing list of lamed vav Tzaddikim and undisputed leaders of the generation...telling us that Rav Berland is Kodesh kodeshim, completely innocent of any accusation, and that we need to be VERY careful to not even think a bad thought about him...And on the other… a bunch of hardcore, mentally-ill psychos.

As far as righteous people being in jail is concerned, or being constricted so that complete freedom is impossible for them as it is for the rest of us, whether Mashiah-in-waiting or not, this is absolutely a desecration of G-d's Holy Name and clearly evil. I don't have words and I cannot pretend to understand people who knowingly choose this path to give our lowly people breathing space and merit; I can only be grateful that we still have such individuals among us. The order these comments are written in has nothing to do with what I think about these two gentlemen; I have no preference or any special knowledge about these people, and I am not pitting them against one another. It is just what came up in my limited view of the world. But that this sort of thing is happening right now is extremely important. Great efforts are being made to keep effective Torah that could change the world from the masses of Jews in Israel! HaShem Yishmor!

It has been said of us that we are the most traumatized people on the planet. On top of that, like our ancestors in Mitzrayim (Egypt), we are short of breath due to hard work. We may not exactly be slaves nowadays, but most of us work long hours for low salaries and get paid monthly (I was shocked when I found out that, not only management, but EVERY Israeli employee gets paid monthly. In my admittedly limited experience, the "worker bees" get paid bi-weekly. Are Americans spoiled rotten, with the rest of the world getting paid as Israelis do? Or, is there a flaw in the image of Israeli prosperity? I don't have an opinion on it because I honestly don't know.).

So, to get back to the point, since Israel became self-ruling AGAIN in 5708/1948 (we were called Yehuda, or Judea, before, but both names are ours, as far as the world is concerned), we Jews have never had a chance to rest from our enemies and recover from our multiple traumas; and we need all the breathing space we can get and all the merit we can get; but if we are aware that people are taking a lot of our burden for us, we should try to help out, even if only a little. It is hard to think when one is trying to survive in a world where most of it is rooting for us to die; but we must make every effort to have calm, settled minds and never, never, never give up (thanks, Mr. Churchill, for that one).

Let's not be confused. The order of appearance in the post does not indicate anything about my preference because being Mashiah is a matter outside my hands, as it is for all of us; and will be a fact, rather than an opinion. The two do not mix. Either, or neither, could be haShem's choice.

May the chosen Mashiah, King of Israel, succeed at fulfilling all the qualifications, in whatever manner they may be completed, and be revealed and crowned imminently, whoever he may be!

***

Read my articles about:

Meir Ettinger:
Free the Jewish Political Prisoners Now! | Meir is Free. But. | Meir Ettinger: Worst Criminal on Earth? | On the freeing of Meir Ettinger... | Repost: More Are With Us than With Them |

R' Eliezer Berland:
"We are Character Witnesses..."

More about R' Berland; also here.

Hodesh Adar mevorah!

06 February 2017

Let's take responsibility and clean house!

10 Shevat 5777

Ofra before destruction. Photo Credit: Lior Mizrahi/Flash90


It surprised me somewhat to discover recently that the Israeli problem of throwing Jews out of their properties goes at least as far back as the prophet Yehezkel (Ezekiel). He conveys a very important message from haShem in perek 45, pasuk 9:


9 So said the Lord God: Enough, princes of Israel; remove violence and plunder, and perform justice and righteousness; take away your evictions from My people, says the Lord God.
ט כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה רַב לָכֶם נְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל חָמָס וָשֹׁד הָסִירוּ וּמִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה עֲשׂוּ הָרִימוּ גְרֻשֹׁתֵיכֶם מֵעַל עַמִּי נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יֱהֹוִה:



RASHI: take away your evictions: Take away [your practice] of evicting My people from their inherited property.



This, after describing how we are to take a portion of land from what we were given and, in the process of dividing it amongst the Twelve Tribes, setting aside a portion for Him and His sanctuary. Apparently, the separation of Holy Ground from the Jewish people is keeping us separated from haShem - which, of course, is what the enemies of Israel want with all their hearts!

The book Yechezkel, from the Artscroll Tanach series, comments further (pages 710-11):

Enough for you, princes of Israel!
This is a call to the former kings of Judah, who have been demoted to the level of princes by the Babylonian conquerors. The robbery and rapine (plundering -CDG) which you have practiced in the past must cease; instead, you must practice justice and righteousness (Metzudos).

Malbim offers an interpretation which looks to the future: You will have ample property, O princes of Israel...There is no need for you to practice robbery and rapine. My dispositions are such that you can practice justice and righteousness.

Desist from your evictions of My people [lit. remove your evictions from My people].
[Artscroll's translation -CDG]: Stop evicting My people from their properties (Rashi).

Radak and Metzudos hold that [the root letters -CDG] גרש can mean to throw or to impose. The meaning is: Desist from imposing [unfair] taxes upon My people.
How relevant this is today, both the taxes and the evictions! Israelis even refer to the gerush of Gush Katif. Hitnatkut (self-disconnection -CDG), the official designation for this event in 2005, which everyone knows by now was totally the wrong way to go, is far too sterile a term for us.

Amona was just the latest (and hopefully, the last) in a long series of summary evictions of Jews in Israel (or in the terms of the evictors, near Israel but in what they consider to be Palestinian territory, after many years of Arabs never reporting about it), which would not be tolerated anywhere else in the world.

It turns out that many factors were brought to bear in this latest tearing out of Jewish roots (and its upcoming continuation within Ofra, may it be erased. Can we make up our mind as to what we are doing?). Among these are:

1. The insistence of Israeli politicians and media that we must depend on military support, and therefore take orders, from the United States.

2. At least one leftist Member of Knesset asserts that our High Court of Justice (definitely not the right name for them!) makes laws rather than forming their judgments around laws made by proper lawmakers (in our case, the Knesset). Both of these factors are further discussed here.

3. The demonization of the settlers of Yehuda and the Shomron - making settler a dirty word; in the words of former US consul in Yerushalayim Phillip Wilcox, Jewish settlers are niggers (longtime investigative journalist David Bedein's recently-published interpretation) with no human rights (see there for the exact quote, from 1990.). There, I've written it. (It's the first time I've used this highly pejorative term in more than 50 years. We don't like it any more than black people do!)

4. The established fact that the above-mentioned High Court places anti-settlement justices in charge of settlers' cases in order to prejudice the outcome.

5. We have been internalizing everyone else's narratives that we forget we are even a nation.

6. We have spent so much time fighting for our survival in little communities, ghettos and mellahs as well as in the big cities of just about everywhere, outside our land. We can't internalize what real sovereignty means, for us. To make it worse, our government, particularly the High Court, indulges in political warfare against a certain segment of Israeli society: the settlers (who actually prefer the term mitnahalim, inheritors).

7. We are easy to divide and conquer. No need for links on this one. I think we all know it; we have a term for it: sinath hinam, literally hatred of those who are free (and thus, our own freedom). The questions are: Why? and How do we stop it? Do we dare NOT trust HaQadosh Barukh Hu???

I agree with many others greater than I that we must dare to trust Him. It is the only way out of the morass we have been living through these last couple of thousand years. As Moshe Feiglin, whose new party Zehut focuses on life with Jewish identity, says, ultimately it isn't the fault of the High Court or the Left — it is we ordinary citizens who must divest ourselves from our ongoing dysfunctions that we have become so used to that we can't recognize when we are giving in even when we don't have to (my words, but see here - video, 11:52. If you don't understand Hebrew, turn on Closed Captions for English. Here is another opportunity to identify some of the points listed above). Internal corruption also plays a prominent role, as the program there points out. And so far, we haven't been able to stop the calling of the Jewish desire to simply survive as Jews an extremist view! What happened to "live and let live"?

But, Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher says, in the video below, that the High Court (he calls it the Low Court 😉) are for the most part Erev Rav; they showed it most recently by fighting the government itself for the destruction of Amona, and they show it every time they arrogate to themselves the right to make up law as they go.

Take courage, faithful Jews! Geula is almost here!

Current Events in the Haftarah: Bo 5777


Even more reading & listening:

BULLETPROOF: What will happen now to the Residents of Amona? | The Most Heroic at Amona - The "Violent" Youth | Whoever Strikes a Jew Strikes G-d | Jeremy Gimpel's son Lavi is planting 1,000 trees in Gush Etzion for his Bar Mitzvah |



15 January 2017

First, throw all the bums out!

17 Tevet 5777

BS"D

Note the Jewish star (blue) and the Xian cross (red) embedded in the green cage. Is this picture worth 1,000 words, or what? Source


As the 70 nations meet today in Paris (we in Yerushalayim are still, and always, an hour ahead of them, so I might still be ahead - I started writing this before Shabbat!), I must clear up some things I said in my last post. Even though no one wrote to tell me, I do have my own reasons for thinking that some might actually think I am saying something I'm not.

When I wrote, "we must be actively happy for [the nations'] material success," I assumed it would be understood that I meant this success would occur in their own lives, having to do with people going about their business and doing well in it. The context I am thinking of, as well, is that others would reciprocate, and l'fargen us, while leaving us alone to mind our own business; and they, theirs. That would be in a functional world.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a functional world. Reality dashes my happy thoughts and tells me that today (on the Jewish calendar), a highly symbolic number of nations, with lots of support from their people, is meeting (maybe this minute, as I finish up) in Paris. They really do not regard Israel well in a truly dysfunctional way, and have put a lot of thought into how they would say it so that we would be deceived as to what their goals are. However, we can read the bottom line: As one sign I saw put it, "Israel, your days are numbered." While it seems that they are demanding on both sides of the "Palestinian"-Israeli divide, actually they have gone out of their way to bind, gag and even strangle Israel to death.

Only G-d can save us now. He promised us He would, and He will. The only question is how.

Even though the US presidency is in the process of transition, I personally have no hope in it. I met the gentleman in charge of Trump's campaign here in Israel last week and spoke with him. He said that Trump plans to give Gaza to Egypt. I said, "NO! You can't do that!" -Why not? -"Because only the Jews can grow food there. The Arabs still can't; that's why we ship food to them on a daily basis. That's the sign of Geula Shleimah [complete redemption], the desert blossoms as a havatzelet1!" His wife agreed with me. We'll see what happens. I hope that Mr. Trump can even begin to understand where Israel stands, even though when you get two Jews together, you get three opinions, as the saying goes. He might want to benefit from Joe Biden's experience, as former senator of Delaware. But then again, it might just confuse him more. A more salient direction for Mr. Trump would be to take another look at everything he has ever heard and read about the Bible and the Jews. Start over, is more like it.

As a matter of fact, this is exactly what the world takes advantage of, and what made the Paris conference possible. Too many Jews, particularly in leadership, whether heads of JCCs in foreign lands or here at home in government positions, do not take our sovereignty, or our right to it, seriously; and it shows in the decisions that are made in our name. The Oslo Accords in 1993 and giving up Gush Katif almost 12 years ago come to mind. So does the current proposal to declare sovereignty only in Area C, even as our presence in all of Yehuda and the Shomron is being threatened. Are we not aware that our presence in all of Israel is next?


We also must remember — and not forget — the most important "element": the Creator of the Universe, who gave us this land in the first place. It is not by our strength alone, or even at all. When we act on behalf of our homeland, and thus ourselves, we must come from a place of choosing to follow HaShem's will. Otherwise it is in vain - see Psalm 127; it is as true now as it was when David haMelekh wrote it for his son, Shlomo.

Maybe the conference will flop. Maybe the sky will fall in on them (with G-d's help, may it be so!). But we won't know until it's over. One thing we must do, whether they succeed or fail: Disregard and, if we can, throw out the bums in our leadership who support capitulation to the nations, and the organizations that work tirelessly toward our surrender. There will still be plenty of people left in Israel to have a country. No matter how much they have threatened us that they will leave, just let them go.

B'Tselem, Peace Now, and J Street must go; Meretz and Labor (or whatever its latest new name is and ally(ies) is (are)) must go. Leave Israel...and take the other Israel-hating NGOs and supporters with you! None of your organizations and their lackeys have to be here if they don't like being in a country that specifically protects the Jewish Nation for its own sake. We do it because it is no one else's job, but G-d's will that we take our part in our own care; it's as simple as that. We don't need you to tell us how to do our job. No more videos with the sound turned off! That's blatant cheating, and it has already led to disaster, thanks to B'Tselem.


It is up to the Hebrew people of my beloved country to decide to say, NO MORE. If we want to have anything to hand to Mashiach when he is revealed and crowned, we must get rid of the enemy within our midst before getting rid of the terrorists and their supporters among the Arabs. Or, maybe they can all go together.

I have always found it odd that davka the Ashkenazim who have ruled our country since before its beginning really have never had any idea of the Arab mindset, treating them as though they were Xians (which some of them are, but most, including the leadership with the occasional exception, are Muslim these days. Even their Xianity is informed by their Arabic culture as well...) and not knowing what dhimmitude is; this is how we have arrived at the place where we are under national dhimmitude along with the European nations!

Never mind that they have Jewish mothers and are Israeli citizens. They avidly serve outside interests, and those interests are that Israel no longer be a country, nor the Jews a nation. Since they fail to identify with the suffering of their own, they don't deserve to participate in our glorious future.

Let the two-state solution die the ignominious death it so richly deserves. I hope this is more likely to be the outcome.

See the following psukim: Tehillim 83 תהילים פ"ג | Yehezkel 36 יחזקאל ל"ו | Yehezkel 37 יחזקאל ל"ז



1Mostly translated as "rose," havatzelet is its own flower. See this post.


10 January 2017

An "I've found it!" moment?

12 Tevet 5777

I hope I'm presenting a real gem today! Credit
 
The day after Tzom Asarah b'Tevet (the sunup-to-sundown fast of the 10th of Tevet) I listened to a video (see below) by Rav Alon Anava, "The Secret to Bring Mashiach," and I found a gem in there even he might not have anticipated: The main thing we as a people must do to: 1) make teshuva appropriate to that fast and 2) create unity among the people. Many thanks to Shirat Devorah for posting it first (as far as I know).

R' Anava laid it out clearly enough at the personal level (starting at 21:10 minutes in), but that was enough of a hint that, generalizing a specific point, made a lot of sense to this Israelit. What I derived is:

We, the Jewish People, must stop being envious of the nations of the world over the fact that they have more freedoms, less responsibility and fewer obligations in this life than we do; instead, we must be actively happy for their material success. Then, we must go on with our national life and mission according to Torah.

If you think this is too elementary and well-known, you need read no further. It will only bore you. The rest may continue.

On the personal level he said that I need to stop being envious over my friend's husband's income-earning ability, her house, children, job, clothing...whatever, and actually l'fargen her (to actively be happy for her success and possessions, from Yiddish — I'm applying what he said to myself, not quoting the Rav.). But I realized that the reason we are stuck with the lousy government we have in Israel, that favors the Gentiles (Muslims and Christians alike) among us over us Jews — among many, many other things — is because we ourselves as a people have a giant root of envy that even affects the best tzaddikim and tzaddikayot among us, even if they have conquered it; and it is an Erev Rav trait that connects us to the evil people and deeds among the nations in a negative way, causing us to have all kinds of mixed feelings about them, obsess endlessly over what they think of us and even be brought all-too-close to the suffering we wish were not ours to bear. We wish we were not always obligated to pray three times a day, study Torah, make aliyah to a land we must work on in order to make it grow (not to mention have tiny apartments for outrageous prices while Arabs build entire mansions freely even though it's supposedly illegal...and so on), being picked on and sought out for genocide...and it could go on forever! We should l'fargen them and then go on with our mission.

We all must do our part to conquer it, from the greatest to the least religious among us...any Jew who thinks it has nothing to do with him or her.


I remember reading an article (sorry, can't find a link to it) some years ago featuring a yeshiva student who had found out that he was not a Jew after all. It was his decision to stay and become a Jew or leave and live out the rest of his life as a non-Jew. He decided the latter. All the rest of the class looked at him with obvious enough envy that the moreh was prompted to take a raised-hand vote as to how many would follow after him if they could. Every hand was raised.

That teacher realized, right then, that something was very wrong with Jewish education.

On a personal level, I myself am a big ba'alath kin'ah, my first awareness of it being when I was about 5 or 6 years old, watching Romper Room on TV (yes, I know I'm dating myself...) and hearing the names of children being read out over the air: I wanted to be one of them. And, how I wanted to look through that magic mirror!

I also underwent experiences that not many other children see, which I envied others for not having had. Don't try to guess what they were; I will not share them at this time, and I have also been spared some of the very worst a young girl can go through; so, for that, I am thankful: The main point is that I recognize envy in myself and what it did and does to me, and can see the connection between the desire for the love and respect of the nations and my own wish to be like other children (and now, women) around me.  Not having been raised in an observant home, I was not aware of Judaism as I am today, so the anti-Semitism I found as a child was totally inexplicable; and I wanted so badly NOT to be a Jew because of it. It took me many years to fully understand why I should thank G-d for making me a Jew!

The main takeaway today is: Even, and especially, the most precious, beautiful jewel requires careful and skillful cutting and polishing. Take too much off, and it won't be so precious or unusually beautiful; take too little off and you won't see its brilliance or appreciate its color spectrum. It could also be that our eyes are insufficient, may G-d help us, to completely appreciate a perfectly beautiful stone!

I'm adding the two shiurim from R' Sprecher that I attended on Asarah b'Tevet as well as R' Anava's video. Maybe one of my readers or fellow bloggers will garner for him/herself a gem like this one!




May we finally, finally, FINALLY merit to receive Mashiach, annihilate Amalek and see the Beit haMiqdash this year, speedily and in our days! Amen!!!


04 January 2017

From the river to the sea, Eretz Yisrael will be free!

6 Tevet 5777
BS"D


This little gem fell into my hands maybe 2 months ago. Who knew?


Nahalah (Inheritance/Heritage) raises money, rather like the Jewish National Fund used to (shame on them now!), to build the Land of Israel and I happened (only from HaShem) to get the winning lottery number.  Now I'm sharing. ;)

The Jewish nation must not let the battle lines be drawn for us — or worse yet, let ourselves be put like fish in a barrel, to be shot to death at the whim of the whole world.

And for those who live outside Israel, don't think that just because you don't live here that it won't affect you. We are one people whether you like it or not, and you will share our fate whether good or bad. The Tana"kh assures us of a good future in the end; the decision is yours alone whether you want to contribute to it and be part of it, or not. With G-d's help, and only thus, will we succeed together.

The United Nations is certainly not taking half-measures with half a heart against us. They want to make sure that we Jews get put down like the dogs they aggress (I feel the words "assert" and "say" are not strong enough) we are. This is no "micro-aggression," as college students call it these days. It is a full-on attempt at a knock-out punch to the gut and a stab to the head and heart. I, for one, firmly believe that murder — a final Holocaust — is in their minds and in their hearts. The sustained applause at the end of the declaration of UNSC Resolution 2334 tells us nothing less. We must put the kibosh on this resolution before it gets turned into a binding document. That's next, don't you know!

From the greatest among us to the least, as one we must reply precisely in kind; nothing less will do. We cannot just annex Ma'aleh Adumim, but must take the whole thing in one fell swoop. The teshuvah will do us good in the long run. Anyway, we now have no choice in the matter.

With G-d's Help: From the river to the sea, Eretz Yisrael will be freed for us!  The Jewish people had light, joy, gladness and great importance - let us have it too, Abba!
בע"ה: מהירדן עד הים בארץ ישראל ישוחררו אלינו! ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ועיקר - כן תהיה לנו, אבא!


More reading:
JPOST: Cognitive bias and USNC Resolution 2334 | Institute for National Security Studies: Security Council Resolution 2334: The Legal Significance | The Globe and Mail: Ignore the political theatre, Resolution 2334 has global support | The Algemeiner: Resolution 2334 and the Feral Pack | Evelyn C. Gordon: The UN Vote Mocks the Law and Build, Baby, Build | Abu Yehuda: The "international community" and its Israel problem and Q&A about UN Security Council Res. 2334 | Relevant Excerpts from The Hamas Covenant and the PLO Charter for comparison to Res. 2334 | Women in Green: 2017: Year of Jewish National Consciousness |


25 December 2016

My Rebbe and My Mentor...by R' Ephraim Sprecher

26 Kislev 5777
2nd Candle of Hanukkah

R' Goldstein, right - speaking at the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion. Photo credit: Ben Bresky.

 My Rebbe and My Mentor...by R' Ephraim Sprecher


It is with great sadness that I write about the passing of Rabbi Mordechai Goldstein zz"l, Rosh Yeshiva of the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. Despite being extremely ill these past three and a half years and being confined to a wheelchair, he continued to give outstanding shiurim in the Yeshiva.

An early Talmid of Rav Aharon Kotler in Lakewood and Rav Henoch Liebowitz at Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, Rabbi Goldstein was the first pioneer of the contemporary Ba'al Teshuvah movement in Israel. In 1965, before there was a concept of a Ba'al Teshuvah Yeshiva, Rabbi Goldstein established the Diaspora Yeshiva in Jerusalem, which was opened to one and all. He loved and accepted all Jews without being judgmental. After the 1967 Six Day War, the Diaspora Yeshiva moved to Mount Zion, the site of King David’s Tomb. The Lubavitcher Rebbe told Rav Goldstein zz"l how privileged and fortunate he is to have King David as a next door neighbor.

I was a student in the Yeshiva in 1970 when I was twenty years old. One morning as I lay in bed, Rabbi Goldstein sat down on my bed and shook me gently and with love in his eyes told me, "Ephraim, it’s time for Shacharit, G-d is waiting for you." When I made Aliyah in 1994, Rav Goldstein zz"l invited me to teach in his Yeshiva. He told me that I was to be his spiritual fireman. My job was to put out the fires of assimilation and secularism which are threatening to consume many lost Jewish souls.

The prophet Malachi states, “The lips of the Kohen-Rebbe imparts knowledge, and Torah you shall seek from his mouth, because he is an Angel of G-d.” The Talmud in Chagiga explains this verse, that if your Rebbe is like an Angel of G-d then study Torah from him, but if not, don’t study from him. This is a strange statement because Kohelet teaches “There is no Tzaddik on Earth who does only good and never sins.” Every person sins! So according to the Talmud we should not study Torah from any Rebbe? But the explanation is, that the difference between an Angel and a person is that an Angel can’t move forward and cannot progress spiritually. Unlike a person who can move forward, grow, advance and progress spiritually. So the Talmud means that if your Rebbe is willing to give up his own spiritual growth and progress for his students, that’s the type of Rebbe you should seek out.

This was exactly Rav Goldstein zz"l who was willing to sacrifice his own spiritual growth and advancement in order to teach Ba'alei Teshuvah who were ignorant of Judaism. He loved all his students like his own children. Rav Goldstein zz"l knew how to push everyone’s spiritual buttons to motivate them to realize their full potential. He was not just my Rebbe and Mentor but also my dear friend who helped me through the difficult times in my life. I will miss him sorely. May his memory be a blessing to his family and all of Israel.

AMEN
***
Blogger's note: Our own Diaspora Yeshiva connection began with R' Mordechai's son, R' Avraham Goldstein, who visited us in our diaspora city and even gave a shiur in our house. R' Avraham became the Rosh Yeshiva of Diaspora when the Rav became ill. After I made aliyah and finished ulpan, I spent almost 2 years learning with the Rav's wife, Rabbanit Mollie Goldstein, at Machon Roni, Diaspora's Torah Seminary for women (también Midreshet-Roni enseña a las mujeres en español. Yo creo que la Yeshiva también enseña a los hombres; pero, a mi pesar, no encontré ninguna página con que enlazar.). My husband began studying with R' Sprecher at Diaspora Yeshiva some six months after our arrival, and is still learning with him more than 9 years later.
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More Diaspora Yeshiva: Diaspora Yeshiva's Pre-1967 History, The Vatican and Mount Zion (featuring a 2013 audio interview between the Rav's son R' Yitzhak Goldstein, now Diaspora's Rosh Yeshiva, and Judy Simon, Arutz 7) | Facebook | Diaspora Yeshiva Band | About the Yeshiva

09 December 2016

Motherhood and Amona - R' Nachman Kahana

9 Kislev 5777
Erev Shabbat Vayetze'

UPDATES ON AMONA BELOW

BS”D Parashat Vayaitzai 5777
Rabbi Nachman Kahana

The Ultimate Joy of Motherhood

Normal people place great value on having children. But in our parasha the desire for children and the joy and delight exhibited by our grandmothers Rachel, Leah, Bilha and Zilpa upon the birth of their children go beyond the natural feeling of motherhood.
Their delight was in the knowledge that they were chosen to be a major part in the biggest saga in human history – they were to bring into this world the beginning of the 12 tribes which would comprise Am Yisrael.

Ya’akov, undoubtedly, made them aware of the dream he experienced on the Temple Mount, where HaShem promised that his children would be the chosen of all nations to receive the Torah, inherit the Land and enjoy eternal life. Each child was a world unto himself. The characteristics of Reuven were radically different than those of Shimon; and Levi was a world apart from all the others.

To this day, every halachically born Jewish child brings with him and her a holy soul from the upper realms of the spiritual world (converts are pure Jewish souls who for reasons unknown to us had to go through the conversion process).

My grandmother Leah (being a Kohen, I am from the tribe of Levi, Leah’s third son) was overwhelmed with joy when her sixth son Naftali was born, because with his birth she brought forth half of the tribes of Am Yisrael.

Rachel was devastated when Ya’akov’s other three wives gave birth to children while she was barren, until HaShem blessed her with the 11th and 12th tribes – Yosef and Binyamin. Rachel had the unique privilege of giving birth to Binyamin in Eretz Yisrael; the only one of the tribes born in the Holy Land. And while Binyamin’s soul was descending from heaven, his mother’s soul was ascending to the highest realm of the shamayim, as she passed away just after naming the boy.

Bringing Jewish Children into the World

The Jewish nation has the questionable distinction of being one of the numerically smallest in the family of nations. To number around 10 million (halachic Jews) after being in the world close to four thousand years tells the whole story of the price we have paid to survive in a world that rejected HaShem’s Torah in search of more “user friendly” religions which permit the hedonistic desires of the human race to sin and yet feel holy about it.

A Jewish child is a perfection that passed the inspection of the Almighty Himself. The Gemara (Nida) reveals that every Jewish child while being conceived is given an angel who teaches the soon to be born soul the entire Torah. At birth the knowledge of Torah is deposited in the inner recesses of the child’s consciousness – but it is not forgotten. So that in effect when we learn Torah we are not attaining new information but retrieving what we already knew from the recesses of our inner selves.

This answers a question regarding the lovely song at the end of the Pesach Seder – echad mi yodai’ah (Who is aware of the “One”).

The song contains 13 stanzas, each dealing with a number beginning with one till 13.
1 is our God
2 are the Holy Tablets
3 our fathers: Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov
4 our mothers: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah
5 books of the Torah
6 books of the Mishna
7 days of the week
8 days until a brit mila
9 months of conception
10 Commandments
11 stars in Yosef’s dream
12 tribes
13 attributes of HaShem

All the numbers in the song relate to issues which are totally Jewish except for number 9 which is universal: The nine months of conception. Why?

In fact, there is no exception. Because the author was referring to the nine months of conception of a Jewish child, which as stated above is different than all others of the human race. These are the 9 months of Torah study from an angel – one on one.

To be blessed with a Jewish child is to expand the boundaries of Gan Eden to make room for one more holy soul.

(Judaism and the concepts stated above have nothing in common with what is commonly called racism. Race is a situation one is born into and cannot change. Just as a mouse cannot turn into an elephant, a member of the black race can never turn into a Caucasian and visa versa. However, one who was born a gentile can become a Jew and attain a Jewish neshama as if he were a newborn, hence Judaism is not racist.)

An ugly practice has entered into the mainstream of many Jewish communities in the galut and has started to trickle into our holy land. People are getting married later in life – into their thirties, rather than in their early twenties, as was the norm when I was a young man. Without going into the many negative aspects from a halachic and moral viewpoint, these individuals will in the best case bring but 2 or 3 children into the world.

Sexual perverts not only sin against HaShem, for which they will be severely punished, despite all the rhetoric justifying their right and need to be accepted; they betray the future of our nation. For any such couple will not bring a Jewish child into the world.

Late marriages, perverted sexual preferences and just regular non-orthodox families who have two children (and a dog) will eventually disappear, and the Jewish nation will be comprised of orthodox God-fearing families who fulfill the first mitzva in the Torah “pru u’re’vu” – multiply and be fruitful.

Part Two

The Settlement of Amona

[UPDATES BELOW]

In the parasha, Ya’akov rests for the night on Mount Moriah, the future Temple Mount. There he sees the dramatic vision of the angels who guarded him in Eretz Yisrael ascending the ladder to return to heaven, to be replaced by lesser angels who were sent to guard him in the profane galut.

And HaShem appears to Ya’akov saying:
הארץ אשר אתה שוכב עליה לך אתננה ולזרעך
The ground you are lying on I will give to you and to your descendants
The Gemara (Chulin 91b) records the explanation of this phrase by Rabbi Yitzchak:
מלמד שקפלה הקדוש ברוך הוא לכל ארץ ישראל והניחה תחת יעקב אבינו, שתהא נוחה ליכבש לבניו
This comes to teach that HaShem folded (as it would be) all the land of Yisrael placing it under Yaakov, so that it would be easy to liberate and settle the land in its time.
Rabbi Yitzchak was expressing the idea metaphorically, that in the future Yehoshua Bin Nun at the head of the Jewish army would liberate the Land without sacrifice.

I submit that the phrase is telling us that just as a human being comprises a single indivisible entity, so too will the holy land be from this moment on an indivisible entity belonging exclusively to Ya’akov’s descendants.

International law has classified the State of Israel as a “military occupier” of the West bank and the Golan.  Six UN committees have taken an even larger step towards the muck and mire of political insanity when they declared that the Jewish people have no historic or religious connections to the Temple Mount or to the Kotel.

The Israeli High Court ordered the destruction of the Amona settlement after being in place for 20 years. The court sees itself as being subordinate to international law rather than to Jewish, tradition and history.

One cannot be an occupier in one’s own land. Yehuda and Shomron are the heartland of Eretz Yisrael which was presented to the Jewish people by the Creator. However, when one denies the Torah, it is just a short ideological distance to adopting a gentile orientation and the desire to be accepted by the gentile world.

To uproot the Amona, just as was the uprooting of Gush Katif and giving the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt by Menachem Begin, is a “slap in the face” of the Creator and a denial of our own history.

The highest goal of this generation is the return of our people to the holy land. It overrides any claim to private property some gentile might have, as in the words of Eliyahu the prophet to King Achav when he murdered Naot in order to attain his vineyard:
רצחת וגם ירשת
You have murdered and then taken possession of the victim’s property.
The Romans murdered our people 2000 years ago and the gentiles who came in their wake stole our land.

Amona will be taken down, because of the High Court’s coercive police power. But let it be recorded in the protocols of the Medina, that just as we today have to accept the court’s judicial order, that when the time comes and the law of the land will be the Torah, all people in the Medina will have to comply.

Shabbat Shalom,
Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5777/2016 Nachman Kahana
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 The video below is a very rare and raw look (yes, it was very bloody and it looks like some people nearly died!) at what happened in Amona 10 years ago, from Honenu. I am afraid that by declaring that they would not oppose the government forces this time, they may have invited themselves to be punished now just as they were then (may it never be. I hope to haShem that I'm wrong!), because whether or not they opposed the evacuation, THE GOVERNMENT'S PURPOSE THEN WAS TO PUNISH THEM, PERIOD. The evacuation takes place tomorrow night, Motza'ei Shabbat.


Let us have the active emunah (אמונה) to support the villagers of Amona (עמונה) this time, however we can! HaShem is with us, especially when the world is not!

Shabbat Shalom!

Some history on Amona

UPDATES on AMONA

State to request delay of Amona evacuation
Ari Fuld discusses the legal issues surrounding Amona with Simcha Rothman, legal adviser  of Meshilut (the Movement for Governability and Democracy - no Web site yet) on his radio show Bulletproof.
The Complex Nature of the Land
Amona
The Regulation[1] Law: Historic Achievement or Farce?


[1] Hasdarah הסדרה, or Resolution in Hebrew -CDG