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.

UPDATE 3: It looks like both of these gentlemen are direct descendants of Melekh David (but then half or more of the Jewish world is; so, haShem has all that many more to choose from.).

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 |