Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Metoch Shelo Lishmo Bo Lishmo, says NPR News!

I heard an interesting piece from the NPR Morning Edition today (link here). Tovia Smith was interviewing different professors and business people about whether it is better to give charity for the wrong reason or not give at all (unless you're doing it for the right reasons). The story said that these days it pays a lot more for companies to give to charity and that these days it's a must for most businesses!

Since the Torah has the same question about learning Torah, doing mitzovs and tzedaka, this piece caught my attention. The Talmud says that a person should learn Torah even when it's not for its' own sake in order that eventually he will come to learning Torah for its' own sake (lishmo). I once heard that chassidus says that the wording metoch shelo leshmo bo lishmo can be read as within (metoch) the shelo lishom is already bo lishmo meaning that even when a person does a good thing with the wrong intention inside, on a deeper level, he is really doing it with the right intentions also. Which brings me to the main point, the reporter said in the end of the piece:

"It may be increasingly hard to fool both consumers and college admissions officials, but it's also true that those who start out giving for the wrong reasons are often changed by the experience and end up wanting to give more for the right ones."

These are the Torah's sentiments. This really shows that the Torah has penetrated the deepest levels of society that also non-Jews understand these Torah values and ideals very well and speak about them. This shows, of course, that we have preapared the world fully down to the "lowest of places" for the revelation of God in this world, and are standing ready for the complete and final redemption. All we need now is for the King Messiah to come and redeem us all out of this dreamy state of exile that we are currently in.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chabad - the Closest Religion to Judaism by Adam Reiss

A friend of mine recently sent me an article about a rabbi in England who was arrested after a week long binge of cocaine and hedonism (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6924293.ece). A wealthy man, a prominent figure in the community. Something was upsetting enough about the story to make the international news circuit. Now, conspiracy theory set aside (that a latent or not so latent antisemitism in the media picked up the story to prove the hypocrisy of orthodox Judaism), there is something disconcerting about the fact that after the passing of his wife this fellow sank into a depraved life of drugs and women. In spite of all of his religiosity, or some may say as a consequence of it, something was missing and that something he tried to make up for by other means. But the question still remains, something is missing from many people's lives and their stories don't make it all the way into my email inbox. So what is so bothersome about this man, a rabbi, falling prey to his baser instincts?

The Chassidic movement of the Baal Shem Tov began as a revivalist movement about three hundred years ago with a conscious goal. The false messianism of Shabtai Tvi, the pograms of Tach v'Tat, and the European Enlightenment had left the Jewish world in shambles. Education was very possibly at an all time low. With all the best intentions the rabbis of the day forbade the studying of kabbalah because Shabtai Tzvi's movement validated itself on the basis of heretical interpretations of certain passages in the Zohar and the teachings of Isaac Luria. All of these factors combined to create an atmosphere of rampant poverty, both materially and spiritually. The rabbis conglomerated their power to keep Judaism alive in the face of its oppressors, and advocated an approach of the most limited observance and unflinching obediance for the peasant class. The vicious cycle begun, the fate of the simple folk to live in ignorance was all but sealed when the Baal Shem Tov arrived. The true mark of genius is that the paradigm shift it engenders appears after the fact as having been totally common sensical from the outset. Thus, to describe his message is difficult, because it was neither radical nor conservative, novel nor traditional. Like a sculptor chiselling away at a stone to reveal a new form the Baal Shem Tov did not innovate in the true sense of the word. His message, that the spirit of the law and the letter of the law are inextricably bound and that one cannot exist nor substitute for the other is the fundament of all of Judaism. That God communicates with man, and that his chosen method for doing so is through the Torah, and that through its proper observance man can achieve a contact with the Divine even unto the level of prophecy – that is the message of Abraham and Moses, David and Maimonides.

There was another time in Jewish history when similar problems threatened the Jewish people. Foreign occupation, ecclesiasticism, and false messianism. It is a time we don't like to think too much about, perhaps because it's problems are similar to our own. One solution which presented itself at the time was the total abrogation of the Torah. The Christian movement claimed that the spirit of the law was in contradistinction to the letter of the law, and at that point it ceased completely to be Jewish. Confronted with a Jewish world that looked much like the one leading up to the destruction of the Temple, the Baal Shem Tov offered a solution that the proper observance of the Torah requires more than the routine performance of empty rites. He offered this solution, however, only after recognizing that there was a problem.

A rabbi in England hooked on drugs, so-called Chasidim in Jerusalem throwing stones at their fellow Jews on Shabbos, and Jewish family men sitting in Federal prison for embezzlement – how have things come to this? Does it mean that the Torah is a lie and its exemplars hypocrites? How can it be that less than five hundred years after the redaction of the Shulchan Aruch we can ease our consciences by living in a manner which is externally flawless and yet completely out of touch with the sentiment that Yosef Caro took for granted we would have when studying and trying to live by his work? I hear many people joke that Chabad is the closest religion to Judaism. A joke being like a frog (when you dissect it you kill it) notwithstanding, I can assume that what they are driving at is with its departure from many of the popular customs of European and American Jewry and its strong Messianic leanings Chabad looks like something new. But the truth is often said in jest and they have a point. Chabad recognizes that there is a problem with rote and feelingless observance. As spiritual heirs of the Baal Shem Tov our solution to that problem is recognizing that the letter of the law needs the spirit of the law and vice versa—the beginning is wedged in the end and the end in the beginning—and that this is not something close to Judaism, that this is Judaism.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What Israel Can Learn From Obama's Nobel Speech

Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize- that’s right, the leader of a nation in the midst of two WARS won a PEACE prize. If you ask me, this all makes a lot of sense. Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Israel has a lot to learn from the commander-in-chief of the greatest army on the planet.
For one, some wars are Just. If an attack in New York can justify a war on the other side of the planet, certainly Israel can justify against an enemy much closer to home. Secondly, war is sometimes the only way. In the words of our President, “Negotiations cannot convince Al-Qaida's leaders to lay down their arms.” Let us all please do our part to convince our Israeli brothers and sisters that terrorists cannot be reasoned with, and that “Evil does exist in the world,” as Obama said. Thirdly, war as a preventative measure has been SUCESSFUL in bringing peace: “…the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.”
Indeed, one who pursues such a ‘Just War’ is worthy of receiving a PEACE prize because war can actually lead to peace. It may seem paradoxical, but you don't have to quote me! Obama has supported a war, won a peace prize for it, and was not ashamed to justify this war in front of the whole world. It is therefore quite fitting that Obama’s speech happened to occur so near to Chanukah, a celebration of a victorious Jewish war. May our Israeli brothers stand strong in what is most certainly a JUST WAR. And may the next peace prize go to the Israeli leader who has the guts to face the truth and make peace through war.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Moshiach Mystery

Can You Solve the Moshiach Mystery?

There has been a long standing mystery surrounding Moshiach, or Jewish Messiah: Does the King Moshiach have to perform miracles for us in order to prove himself? Doesn’t every Jew you ask on the street just know that Moshiach has to do miracles? Being that the Rambam is the accepted legal authority on the who, what, where, and how of Moshiach, the answer should be easy… yet here is where the real mystery begins:
In the Rambam’s legal magnum opus, he declares, ‘Do not think that the King Moshiach will make miracles, or create new things, or perform resurrections and the like. It is not so.”(Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, Chapter 11, Law 3) Ah, it looks like we have the answer: Moshiach doesn’t have to do miracles after all! But wait: when one reads the Rambams letters entitled, ‘Iggeret HaTeimani,’ the Rambam states that a certain man who was claiming to be Moshiach must not be the one because he has not performed any miracles. What is going on here? Is this the same Rambam? Must Moshaich perform miracles or not? I’ve seen Rabbi Velpo give a very satisfactory resolution to this mess in his sefer, ‘Yechi HaMelech.’ I shall do my best to give over his answer:
First of all, lets make one thing clear: the Mishneh Torah, where the Rambam states that Moshaich need not perform miracles, is the final and authoritative ruling on the matter. Therefore, Moshiach need not perform miracles. However, Moshiach must be victorious in the ‘Wars of Hashem,’ build the temple, and gather in all of the Jews to Israel. All this is stated pretty clearly by the Rambam. In other words, Moshiach is defined by his active pursuit of, and his ultimate victory in, the above stipulations. Therefore, Moshiach does not have to perform a miracle if and only if it is possible to fulfill the above stipulations by natural means. Being that Moshiach can come at any moment, then even in an era where it is impossible for one to build the temple without a miracle, Moshaich can still come in a supernatural manner. Or as the sages put, “If we merit, Moshiach will come riding the clouds of glory [now that’s a pimpin‘ ride!]. If we don’t merit, he will come riding a donkey [somewhat of a less cool way to roll].”
Now lets put ourselves in the Rambam’s shoes and ask ourselves, ‘Is it possible for someone to build the temple without a miracle in the historical period that he lived in? During the Rambam’s time, there was no significant Jewish presence in Israel. In fact, some sort of Sultan ruled over our land at that time. So while it is true that Moshiach does not have to perform a miracle, nevertheless, he does have to build the temple, among other things. Now, was it possible for any Jew at that time to build the temple without a miracle?? The answer, as all can see, is ‘No, it was impossible to build the temple without a miracle because there is a foreign king in control of the temple mount at this time, and the Jews have no army with which to drive him off our land.’
By contrast, during the time of Bar Kochba, the Jews had a large army, as the Gemara in Gittin states, and it was quite feasible, at that time, that Bar Kochba could have kicked out the Romans [which in fact he did for some years] and build the temple, all without performing any miracles. Therefore, being that Bar Kochba was poised to fulfill the stipulations required of Moshiach, he was not pressed to perform miracles. All he needed to do was encourage all Jewry to follow the Torah, defeat the enemies of the Jews, build the Temple, and gather in the exiles. All these conditions were within reach; no miracles were required for him to attain these goals.
In the Rambam’s times, however, things were quite different. Being that there were hardly any Jews living in Israel, and the Jews had no army, the only way someone could build the temple was through miraculous means. There simply was no way for anyone to conquer the land of Israel through a natural war. It just wasn’t possible at that time, in contrast to the time of Bar Kochba. Being that there was no other way, at that time in history, the Rambam required a miracle of anyone in his time claiming to be Moshiach. How else could Moshiach build the temple at that time?

Now, one may ask: in which type of period do we live in? Do we live in a period like the Rambam’s time, where it would take a miracle to gain control of Israel and, especially, the Temple Mount? Or, do we live in a time more like the era Rabbi Akiva lived in, where the Jews had a large presence in Israel, and a great army at their disposal? Right after the Six Day War, control of the Temple Mount was in Jewish hands. Furthermore, Israel’s army has had the reputation of being invincible, at various times.
Therefore, I say that we live in a time similar to the time of Rabbi Akiva, in this respect. Moshaich need not perform a miracle to gain control of the Temple Mount. Most people have a misconception that Moshiach is synonymous with great miracles. It is not so. In fact, Chassidus explains that if we truly merit it, Moshiach will come in a natural manner. May Moshiach reveal himself now and rebuild the Temple!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Truth and Life - a 19 Kislev Post.

Truth and Life are two things that a person wants by nature. If you were to offer somebody a perfect life on the condition that he would be put to sleep, he would be in a dream state for the rest of his life. He would have dreams and fantasies be put into his subconscious for the rest of his life. Who would ever agree to such a thing? Nobody. But why? it would be seemingly perfect. There are two problems with such an arrangement, it is not emes, truth, and it is not chaim, life. G-d is called both Truth and Life.

The Rebbe Rashab wrote "the 19th of Kislev...is a festival on which "He redeemed our soul in peace," and our soul's illumination and vitality were given to us, this day is Rosh Hashana for Chassidus bequeathed us by our sacred forebears, identical with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov."

Light (Ohr) and liveliness (chayus).

Chassidus is that which gives us light which illuminates for us the truth of the world.
Chassidus also gives us liveliness (chayus) to live a life full of vitality.

Happy Yud Tes Kislev.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

nervous about economy - nervous about fulfilling mitzovos

nervous about economy - nervous about fulfilling mitzovos

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lamplighters by Moshe Hecht (audio)

Lamplighters by Moshe Hecht

A nice song about people who go around lighting other people's lamps (souls).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A great newly heard Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg story.

A great new Holtzberg story was heard recently from the shliach who took over the Chabad House for the Holtzbergs. A woman asked the Holtzberg for help, she had been asking her estranged husband for a get (bill of divorce) for 20 or 25 years and he wouldn't give one. The man was living in India. He was living in a very far away place in India which was very hard to get to. So Rabbi Gavriel  Holtzberg went with another man to find the man. They traveled for many hours and it was hard to get it and they had to walk for a while. They got to a place which was well secured and finally found the place where the the man was whom they were looking for. They came in and the man pointed a gun straight at them and said that he knows why they are here and that its not going to happen. Holtzbergs friend found a way to run away from the man. Holtzberg stood there without moving and said back to the man with the gun the story of the Freidecher Rebbe when he was in prison. This gun he said can scare a person who believes in one world and in many gods but not one who who believes in two worlds and one G-d. The man was very impressed and after speaking more with Rabbi Holtzbers he eventually signed the get.
The new shliach also commented that Rabbi Holtzber's shoes are not easy shoes to fill.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Jerusalem Stone and the Genocide of Titus

Jerusalem Stone and the Genocide of Titus

"But now Obama has done the quarrelsome Israelis a favor...sort of. Ninety-six percent of the Israeli population believes that Obama is a threat to their survival. Israel is uniting against a common threat. Thank you, Mr. Obama"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Historic videos of Yidden singing Yechi to the Lubavithcher Rebbe in 770 in the early 1990's.

Historic videos of Yidden singing Yechi to the Lubavithcher Rebbe in 770 in the early 1990's. Some people probably have a hundred and one opinions on what this means or doesn't mean. But it's good to see what happened as recorded on these videos, this way most people won't claim that it never happened.

Also Mazel Tov on God-World's 100s blog post!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries

International Conference of Chabad Lubavitch Emissaries

Friday, November 13, 2009

Torah in Brief: Chayei Sarah

This week's Torah portion is "Chayei Sarah" -- "The Life of Sarah" -- which opens with the passing of the first Matriarch. "The life of Sarah was one hundred years, twenty years and seven years; the years of Sarah's life." Rashi comments that the odd language teaches us that at age one hundred, Sarah was as innocent and as beautiful as a young girl. Her death immediately follows the Binding of Isaac. Rashi explains that this is because she heard "the news that her son was readied for slaughter and was nearly slaughtered." There are two ways of understanding what Rashi meant. According to one opinion, this means that Sarah was so distraught over the news that her son was about to be slaughtered, and then so overjoyed that he was rescued, that her soul "flew from her body". According to another interpretation, she had faith that her husband wouldn't do such a thing unless commanded by G-d, but then erroneously inferred that her husband had failed to carry out his divine mission and so she passed away.

After his wife's death, Abraham sought to purchase a certain cave for her, the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron (a.k.a. -- Kiriath-Arba). This holy site was the burial place of Adam and Eve, and would later serve as the resting place of all the Patriarchs and Matriarchs but for Rachel. Abraham said to the Hittite chieftains in his area, "I am an alien and a resident among you; grant me an estate for the burial with you, that I may bury my dead from before me." (Gen. 23:4) The seemingly contradictory terms "alien" and "resident" demonstrates the duality of a Jew: while a Jew should be a loyal citizen who prays for the welfare of his nation of residence, his primary allegiance is always to G-d; "G-d and country" in that order.

Though Ephron the Hittite offered the land for free, Abraham insisted on paying full price. Abraham didn't want there to be any dispute as to the true ownership of the land. Likewise, King David purchased the threshing floor of Aravna at full price, even though Aravna offered to give the land for free and the king could have taken it by right (I Chronicles 21:24, II Samuel 24:24). On that site, King David built the altar around which his son, King Solomon, built the First Holy Temple. (It's sad to note that these two indisputably Jewish holy sites have since been conquered by others who deny their true history and ownership.)

After Abraham buried Sarah, he tasked his trusted servant, Eliezer, with finding a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham had Eliezer take an oath that he would not allow Isaac to marry a Canaanite girl, but charged him to find Isaac a wife from among his relatives in Haran. According to Rabbi Sampson Rafael Hirsch, this wasn't merely because the Canaanites were idolatrous, for so were Abraham's relatives; rather, the inhabitants of Canaan were morally degenerate. Eliezer swore to his master, and set out for the city of Nahor.

Upon arriving, Eliezer asked G-d to send him a sign. He decided to stand by a well and wait for a girl to approached to draw water, then he would ask her for a sip. If she would agree and even offer to water his camels, this would prove that she possessed the necessary compassion and moral character to marry Isaac. Eliezer had not even finished praying when Rebecca approached, carrying a water jug. Sure enough, when asked for a sip, she even offered to water his camels. Overjoyed, Eliezer gave her a ring weighing a beka, two bracelets, and ten gold shekels (coins), symbolizing the future annual donations to the Temple (which weighed a beka), the two Tablets, and the Ten Commandments.

Eliezer then inquired as to the girl's family, and she brought him to her home. Excited about Rebecca's new jewelry, her brother Laban ran to greet the strange visitor and offered him a place to stay. The Bible then records Eliezer's recounting of this entire episode, spurring the Amora (Sage of the Talmudic era), Rabbi Acha, to comment, "The conversation of the servants of the Patriarchs is more pleasing before the Omnipresent than the Torah of their descendants, for the episode of Eliezer is doubled in the Torah, while many essential elements of the Torah were given only by allusion."

Upon hearing Eliezer's words, Rebecca's family is convinced that it is divine providence that she marry Isaac. Eliezer prepares to take her back to Isaac, but her family requests that she stay for a year or at least ten months. Eliezer insists that he return immediately, so they ask Rebecca her opinion, and she states, "I will go." Rashi cites a Midrash stating that this teaches that we may not marry off a woman without her consent. With that, her family blessed her and she went with Eliezer.

They arrived home just as Isaac was finishing his afternoon prayers in the field. Rebecca noticed Isaac and inquired of Eliezer about him, then took her veil and covered herself out of modesty. Eliezer recounted to Isaac all that had happened, then Isaac brought Rebecca into the tent of his mother, Sarah. During Sarah's lifetime, three miracles took place in her tent: a candle burned from Sabbath to Sabbath, her dough was blessed, and a cloud provided shade over the tent. These miracles had ceased when Sarah died, but they returned upon the arrival of Rebecca, proof that she shared her predecessor's righteousness. Isaac "married Rebecca, she became his wife, and he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother." (Gen. 24:67)

The final section discusses Abraham's other children, whom his wife Keturah bore to him. According to tradition, this was Hagar's second name, which was given because her deeds were beautiful like the incense (ketores). Abraham "gave all that was his" to Isaac, but he sent his other sons to the East with gifts. Noting the apparent contradiction (if Abraham gave everything to Isaac, what "gifts" were left for his other children?), the sages explain that Abraham gave his other sons spiritual gifts, hidden wisdom which grew into the Eastern religions. The covenant, however, passed through Isaac.

At 175 years old, Abraham died "at a good old age, mature and content, and he was gathered to his people." (Gen. 25:8) His sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him with Sarah in the cave of Machpelah. Ishmael repented in his later years, and he passed away at 137 years old.

written by Yehoshua Jason Bedrick, chosid of the Rebbe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Economic Collapse and a Torah Solution

Torah can help guide our financial system

By Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan

The financial crisis is absorbing the attention of the country. How will the crisis unfold? What will the solution be? Who will be the winners and the losers?

Where the crisis originated and what is the root cause is receiving scant attention, and that is what I want to address.

In human economic affairs, there is a built-in paradox. On one hand, if economic activity is tightly regulated and controlled by the government, as in the communist module, then all initiative, energy and drive is sucked out of the system and it ultimately collapses, as we witnessed in the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

On the other hand, if we do not have any (or only minimal) regulation and permit an unfettered free market, then greed becomes the dominant drive in the system, which ultimately is also doomed to fail, as is happening before our eyes in the U.S. today.
read more here

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Peace in Israel Short Video

so many problems in the world and the world just insists on focusing on Israel as if it's the main problem. when will they just let us live?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Torah in Brief: Vayeira, Part I

This week's Torah portion, Vayeira, contains some of the most well-known stories in the Bible. The portion opens with G-d visiting Abraham before three angels disguised as humans arrive to inform him that Sarah will give birth to a son in one year. Afterward, G-d informs Abraham that he intends to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham pleads with the Supernal Judge to do justice, sparing the cities for the sake of any righteous people within them. The Bible continues with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife turns to a pillar of salt, Lot's folly, Abimelech's abduction and release of Sarah, the birth of Isaac, the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael, a covenant between Abraham and Abimelech, and finally the binding of Isaac.

Each of these stories is rich in lessons for us, but I won't be able to give each its due. There are many perplexing occurances as well which require detailed explanation. Feel free to ask me anything about the sections I've glossed over as well as those I discuss below.

Psalm 128:1 says, "Blessed is the one who fears the L-rd, who walks in His ways." Yet how can we possibly follow His ways? Isaiah 55:8 states: "your ways are not My ways"! The sages teach us that we must emulate G-d's acts of kindness. For example, we must clothe the naked just as G-d clothed Adam and Eve after He expelled them from the Garden of Eden, and we must bury the dead just as G-d buried Moses.

In the opening verses of Vayeira, G-d appears to Abraham. Rashi explains that this was the third day after his circumcision, and G-d had come to comfort him, serving as a model for us to visit the sick. Just then, three travelers arrive at Abraham's tent, which was open on all four sides so that travelers approaching from any direction would feel welcome. Abraham took leave from G-d to greet the guests, demonstrating that "the mitzvah of housing travelers is greater than greeting the Divine Presence."

Not knowing that these guests were really angels who don't require food, Abraham set about making a great feast for them. It was Abraham's practice to feed guests, then teach them how to pray to G-d in thanksgiving. As we've discussed previously, anything our patriarch's did was a portent for future generations. Just as Abraham served his guests bread and meat, G-d fed the Israelites manna and quail in the desert. Just as Abraham sent a servant to serve them water, G-d sent Moses to bring forth water from a rock. And just as Abraham escorted his guests as they left, G-d escorted the Israelites through the desert as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

One angel had come to inform Abraham and Sarah that she would bear a child. The other two went to Sodom. G-d informed Abraham of that He intended to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah "for their sin is very grave" (Gen. 18:20) and Abraham vigorously protested. "Shall the Judge of all the earth not do justice?" (Gen. 18:25) However, only Lot's family was worthy of being saved.

When the two incognito angels arrived in Sodom, Lot offered to take them into his home. Soon, a large mob of Sodomite arrive, demanding that Lot send out his guests "that we may know them" ("know" in the biblical sense). Lot protests, heroically risking his own life... then he does something perplexing and horrific: he offers the mob his own virgin daughters instead. Fortunately, the crowd rejects this offer and as they break down the door, the angels strike them with blindness. In the Tanchuma, G-d rebukes Lot for this sin, which directly leads to a second sin with his daughters.

After Lot escapes with his family, the fire and brimstone rain down upon Sodom and Gomorrah, utterly destroying them. Against the command of the angels who saved them, Lot's wife looks back at the destruction of the cities and turns into a pillar of salt. According to some commentaries, she was pining to return to the wicked cities. Alone in a cave after the destruction, Lot's daughters mistakenly believe they are alone in the world, just as Noah's family after the Flood. In a striking parallel to Noah's being disgraced after falling into a drunken stupor, Lot's daughters give their father wine until he is utterly inebriated, then they sleep with him and conceive. The older daughter calls her son Moab (meaning "from my father") and the younger daughter gives birth to Ammon; the two sons lead tribes bearing their names which dwell in Canaan until the era of kings.

In Part II, we'll pick up with the abduction of Sarah and the birth of Isaac!

by: Yehoshua Jason Bedrick

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Interesting Naohides video

saw this link on the Beis Moshiach website.

Monday, November 2, 2009

General Eisenhower Warned Us

Got this in my in box today;

It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied
Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he
ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people
from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to
bury the dead.

He did this because he said in words to this effect:

'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses
-because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get
up and say that this never happened'.

This week, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school
curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never
occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent
of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is
giving into it.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europeended.
This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, 6 million
Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic

Who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beat, experimented on and
humiliated' while the German people looked the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to be
'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.

This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people! Be a link in the
memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center .


because it offends some Muslim in the U.S.???

Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this
along to another 20 or 30 or more.

We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.
-Sir Winston Churchill

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Torah in Brief: Lech L'cha.

by Yehoshua Jason Bedrick

Our weekly Torah portion opens with G-d's command to Abram (Abraham's original name) to leave his homeland, and His promise that He will bless him and make of him a great nation:

"Go for yourself from your land, from your relatives, and from your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation; I will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you, I will curse." (Gen. 12:1-3)

Abram takes his wife, Sarai, and nephew, Lot, to the land of Canaan. They also travel with "the souls they made in Haran" which is often interpreted as their slaves, though some sages say it refers to the converts they made.

Even in Canaan, Abram lives a nomadic life, constantly pitching his tent further and further south in the land. At one point, there's a famine in the land, so Abram briefly descends to Egypt. Fearful that the immoral Egyptians will kill him and take his wife, they pretend that they are siblings. Pharaoh treats Abram well on account of his "sister", whom he takes into his own home. G-d then afflicts Pharaoh's household with a severe plague, which tips off Pharaoh that something is amiss. He discovers that Sarai is already married, and he sends the couple away.

Abram returns to Canaan and flourishes, but his shepherds quarrel with Lot's shepherds. Abram offers to part ways to make room for each other, so Lot moves to Sodom. Once again, G-d promises the childless Abram that He will make a great nation of him in this land, as innumerable as the dust of the earth. Abram then builds an altar in Hebron. Though the Jewish people was never so large at any given time, their incredible longevity fulfills this promise. The Midrash notes that just as dust outlives all who tread upon it, so G-d promised Abraham that his offspring would outlive all the nations that would persecute them.

At one point, five local kings go to war with four other kings. Caught in the crossfire, Lot and his family are taken captive. A fugitive informs Abram, who immediately springs into action and rescues his kinsman and many others with a small force of a few hundred men. After Abram's success, Malchizedek, King of Salem (a.k.a. - Jerusalem), a priest of G-d, greets Abram and gives him bread and wine, an allusion to the sacrificial offerings Abram's descendants would offer there. Abram then tithes to Malchizedek. The king of Sodom offers Abram all of the loot, but Abram refuses, taking only supplies for his servants. Abram did not want anyone to mistakenly conclude that the wicked king of Sodom had made him wealthy; his good fortune was entirely a divine blessing.

After these events, G-d reiterates his promise to Abram. Abram protests that he remains childless, and G-d responds with a specific promise that he will bear children. G-d sent Abram outside and tells him to gaze into the heavens, promising that his descendants will be as innumerable as the stars. Rashi comments that G-d was also telling Abram to ignore the astrology by which he had determined that he was destined to remain childless.

They then seal a covenant with an animal sacrifice. Afterward, Abram falls into a deep sleep, and G-d continues to speak to him. G-d reveals to Abram that his descendants will live in exile for 400 years, that they will be oppressed by a foreign nation, but that they will be redeemed and leave with great wealth. (See: Book of Exodus. G-d, however, showed mercy in calculating the exile from the time of Isaac's birth -- the exile in Egypt was commuted to 210 years.)

Sarai, frustrated at her barrenness, asks her husband to bear a child through her maidservant, Hagar. Hagar conceived and began acting haughtily to her mistress. Sarai complains bitterly to Abram, who grants her permission to treat Hagar as she sees fit. Sarai disciplines Hagar, who then flees. An angel appears to Hagar and directs her to return to submit herself to Sarai. He also reveals to her that she will bear a son, Ishmael. There is a concept in Torah study that everything written about our ancestors applies to us as well. Of Ishmael, ancestor of the Arabs, the angel tells Hagar: "He shall be a wild ass of a man; his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him."

Abram was 86 when Hagar bore Ishmael. When Abram was 99, G-d sealed another covenant with Abram. G-d changed his name, Abram ("father of Aram") to Abraham ("father of a multitude"). G-d seals this "everlasting covenant" in Abraham's very flesh, commanding him to circumcise himself, and commanding that all his male descendants be circumcised at the age of eight days.

The circumcision is called both "My covenant" and "the sign of the covenant." According to Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, this expresses a fundamental principle. The Artscroll Chumash summarizes his view: "A commandment consists of two parts: the physical act and its underlying moral or spiritual teaching -- and neither is complete without the other."

G-d also changes Sarai's name -- "my princess" -- to Sarah, signifying "princess over all nations". Previously, her greatness was only attached to her husband's, but now her limitations were removed. G-d informs Abraham that he will bear a child with Sarah named Isaac, and that the covenant would pass through him, though Ishmael would also become a vast nation.

Abraham then circumcises himself, his 13-year-old son Ishmael, and his entire household.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Torah in Brief: Bereishis

By Yehoshua Jason Bedrick

I'm going to try to write a short synopsis of each week's Torah portion, with a little bit of commentary along the way (in addition to a more in-depth analysis of one concept). Your questions or comments are welcome and appreciated.

Last week's Torah portion, Bereishis, is the first portion of the Torah (Gen. 1:1-6:8). Genesis famously begins "In the beginning, when G-d created the heavens and the earth..." The first chapter details the six days of Creation and ends with the seventh day, upon which G-d "rested".* In his commentary, Rashi wonders why the Bible opens with the creation of the world (as opposed to a commandment, which would be expected since the Torah is not primarily a history book, but an "instruction manual"). Rashi then explains that this is because people would one day accuse the Israelites of stealing the land from the Canaanites, but Genesis allows them to retort that G-d created the world and therefore He may give it to whomever He sees fit. (There are echoes of this ancient accusation in the modern claim that the Israelis are "settlers" on native Palestinian land -- despite thousands of years of Jewish residence in the Holy Land.)

The second chapter details G-d's creation of Adam and Eve. The Talmud explains that G-d created only one man at first so that we should know that if we save one life, it is as though we saved the entire world. Noting that "it is not good for Man to be alone," G-d created an "ezer k'negdo" for Adam -- literally, "a helper opposite him." Rashi comments that if the man is worthy, his wife will be a "helper" but if he is unworthy, she will be "opposite him". After Adam finds Eve pleasing in his eyes, the narrative concludes: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh."

The third chapter depicts their subsequent fall after eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. G-d punishes them and expels them from the Garden of Eden, but He makes them warm clothes before He sends them away, a sign that He still loves humanity.

The fourth chapter opens with the birth of Cain and Abel. Cain becomes a farmer and Abel a shepherd, but G-d accepts Abel's sacrifices while rejecting Cain's. In a fit of jealous anger, Cain murders his brother. When G-d inquires about Abel, Cain infamously asks: "Am I my brother's keeper?" G-d curses Cain, but allows him to live seven generations, albeit with the "mark of Cain". The chapter concludes with details about Cain's descendants and the birth of Adam and Eve's third son, Seth.

The fifth chapter is the list of Adam's descendants through Noah. While many people prefer to skip over the "begot" sections ("And Enoch begot Methuselah..."), these sections are filled with meaning. Here's an example I learned from Rabbi Daniel Lapin: Keinan begot Mehallalel, who begot Jared (Yered). Their names mean, "acquired", "praised gods", and "descent" respectively. Each represents the trend of their generation: an acquisitive and materialistic generation (Keinan) is followed by a generation which seeks spirituality in all the wrong places (Mehallalel) which is then followed by a generation of decline.**

Parshas Bereishis concludes with the first part of chapter six, which describes the descent of humanity into depravity. G-d decides to destroy all of humanity, but the Torah portion ends on a positive note: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of G-d."

With G-d's help, we'll continue with Noah and Parshas Noach later this week!

*The chapters commonly used are of Christian origin and include the seventh day at the beginning of the 2nd chapter, but it is included as a part of the first "aliyah" in the Jewish reckoning.

**For greater depth on this point (and a whole lot more), pick up a copy of Rabbi Lapin's "The Gathering Storm: Decoding the Secrets of Noah".

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Got God? In New York City?

God in New York City
They gave out these newspapers in New York City yesterday and there I was to pick one up and read it. They are putting ads in the subway systems which claim that one million new yorkers are okay with out God. The paper says that they take their numbers from a survey done a few years back in which 15% of people answered not affiliated to some sort of religious serve. Now I haven't seen the survey but I don't think that a person who checked unaffiliated necessarily means he doesn't believe in God. It could just mean that he is not affiliated with any formal religion but he does believe in the One, Transcended God, which would probably make him a Noahide of some sort. Well whatever the story is I love the picture and headline.

Btw, its parshas Noah! All is by Divine providence all the time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Hidden messages are found in NYC parking signs

by Yosef Aaronsohn

An administrative law judge found last month in a ruling on September 11, 2009 that there is a hidden message in one of the parking signs posted on many of the New York City streets. Even more curious is that all drivers are supposed to know what that message means. The mysterious sign in question has a blue background with white lettering that states: "NYC Parking Cards Available". There is a picture of three choices of parking cards to choose from. At the bottom of the sign it says: "For information visit wwv.nyc.gov or call 311".

So, what is the hidden message in that sign?

I had no idea what the message was when I parked by it. I've shown the picture of the sign to several people since and no one fully got what the sign was about.

People who are familiar with NYC parking believed that the sign means that you need to pay something if you want to park there. People who are unfamiliar with parking in NYC only read that some kind of a parking card is available and you can visit a website or call a number if you want more information about acquiring it. None of those questioned had ever heard of a parking card. Maybe part of what the city is trying to do by posting it is to inform people that these cards are available.

The hidden message according to the young administrative law judge that heard my case is that you need to pay at a muni-meter for the right to park in the area of that sign.

He stated in his decision:

"Claim signs were not clear as the sign in front of Respondent's vehicle stated NYC parking card available, however further down the block there was a clearer sign stating pay at muni meter with arrow showing such and photo displayed as well is not a valid defense that sign was not clear, since as long as there is 1 legible sign on the block that is sufficient restriction in effect on the entire block. Guilty."

I was expecting the judge to recognize that there was no mention of a muni-meter on the sign by my car and since there would be no way for me to know about a muni-meter he would reverse the decision and remove the $65 fine. What I didn't consider is that a ruling in my favor would be admitting that the city inadvertantly left out an important piece of information on one of their signs. This could turn out to be an expensive ruling for the city. It was easier to pass the responsibility on to someone else instead of jeopardizing his name being attached to such an unnecessary expense to the City of New York.

The sign further down the block did state clearly to Pay at Muni-Meter but that was not the sign closest to my car. The sign closest to my car had a sign indicating that you can park on the street for up to one hour from 9 AM to 7 PM except Sunday. Which I did. I parked between 4 PM to 5 PM on a monday.

The blue sign was found just below the one-hour parking sign. The city actually wants you to make the connection between the blue sign and the muni-meter supposedly in place to govern the block. These were the only two signs posted on that particular signpost.

I contested the $65 penalty for failing to display a proper muni-meter receipt on my dashboard. The judge applied a well known rule called the one-sign-in-a-block rule. Enough people have been found guilty based on this one-sign-in-a-block rule that it has become a commonly known rule among drivers. I think this rule was incorrectly applied to my situation.

The one-sign-in-a-block rule basically states that if there is an unreadable sign near where a car is to be parked (and obviously if there is no sign at all) then it is the driver's responsibility to check the entire block for a more readable sign before assuming that it is okay to park there. This makes sense for governing the roads. One sign is enough to rule the whole block and nobody has to go past the end of the block in order to figure out what the restrictions are for parking.

But after you see a readable sign on a block and it aparantly applies to the area where you are parking, it's not the responsibility of the driver to check for more restrictive or conflicting signs all the way up and down the block (or at least it shouldn't be). The one-sign-in-a-block rule is only if you are faced with an unreadable or missing sign. Then you need to look further. And as long as there is one authorized regulatory sign describing what the parking situation is, you cannot later claim to a judge that the signs were not clear.

In the case of the mysterious blue sign that mentions nothing about a muni-meter, directly under a sign saying when it is acceptable to park, there is no reason to check further. When I parked by this sign I was glad there was no cost for parking at this location but was bothered that I could only stay for one hour. I looked up and down the block and saw cars parked in every space. There were no parking meters at all on the block and there was no fire hydrant within 15 feet of my spot. When I checked for a hydrant I noticed that just ahead of my spot were two short poles protecting a large box. This looked like an electrical box or the kind of box that Cablevision uses so I didn't concern myself with it. I assumed the poles were there to protect the box from a veering car. As long as there was no meter by my spot and no fire hydrant close by I parked according to what the sign said. I parked for an hour.

The City is assuming that people understand the blue sign to mean "Pay at Muni-Meter" (that is the hidden message). The other two signs on the block say this explicitly. I happened to park right at the one sign that did not say "Pay at Muni-Meter". The city probably left it out because it was so close to a muni-meter that they didn't know how to point to it. Instead of leaving out the arrows they left out the whole phrase. Since I never had the occasion to use a muni-meter before I would not have known what it looked like. It could have been right next to my car and it would have gone unnoticed because there is no obvious marking on the side that faces the road to indicate that it is any different from other utility boxes often seen by the curb. You have to already be looking for a muni-meter before you find it. And there's no reason to look for it unless the sign governing the parking spot says to look for it.

This logic was missed by the young administrative law judge who heard my case. He stuck his hand out when I plead not guilty and said, "Do you have a receipt?"

I said, "No" and handed him a picture of the sign. "But the sign that I saw didn't say anything about a muni-meter. There was no way for me to know from this sign that I needed to pay money at a muni-meter."

He went ahead and typed up the rather unclear statement of his decision: "Claim signs were not clear..."

I have to wonder if the judges are instructed to write everything they want to say about the decision in one long run-on sentence. Or was it just the style of this judge. I was amazed at his use of the two fingered method of typing. I was very impressed with the speed of his two fingered typing. But unimpressed with his last sentence: Guilty. I was disappointed that he justified his decision of guilty with the one-sign-in-a-block rule. It seemed to make his day to be able to pull this rule out the hat and apply it to this case. Guilty.

As I got up to leave I asked him how I was supposed to know about the other signs. He said, "That would be a good thing to mention in an appeal."

I followed up with an appeal. The two or three minutes spent with this judge seemed long compared with the length of time the two judges must have spent on scribbling out the notice upholding the judges decision on appeal. The form letter sent back to me had a mark next to the line saying: Upon review of the entire record before us, we find no error of fact or law. The Judge's decision is upheld.

There was wavy line passed through the other choice which reads: Upon review of the entire record before us, we find error. The decision is reversed and the prior payment will be returned. I get the feeling that this line gets crossed out most of the time.

So now I have three judges that signed on board agreeing that the decision to charge me $65 was not in error.

The New York City government would like drivers to simply know that a muni-meter is in effect whenever they post the blue sign with the parking card information on it. They evidently don't care that it doesn't explicitly say that a fee is required. The most disturbing part of this is how submissive New Yorkers have become when they are presented with a half a story. They have become trained to accept an incomplete sign and take for granted what the city wants them to believe about it. Even when it makes no logical sense.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moses looking out over Eretz Yisroel.

Video of google earth showing Moshe Rabbeinu looking out over the land of Israel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Philosophy vs. Chasidus

In the summer of 5688 my father was in Marienbad. One of the elders of the "Enlightenment" was staying there s well and he came to visit my father. Hes asked my father about some profound subject and my father replied with an explanation according to chasidic doctrine.

The elder was pleased with answer and explanation and he said, "This is Chasidus?! It seems like a deep philosophical concept. What, then, is the difference between the logic of philosophy and that of Chasidus?"

My father replied: "My brother, Rabbis Zalman Aaron , once gave the following answer too that question. 'When a person studies philosophy, he ultimately sheds his tallis kattan and hat. And when a person studies Chasidus, he ultimately puts on a gartel and a yarmulke'.

"This is the truth.. Everything depends on the introduction and preparation for study. Philosophy is generally studied in a spirit of cynicism born of a desire to cast off the yoke of heaven. But Chasidus is studied in a spirit of warmth born of belief and acceptance of the yoke of Heaven and an awe of Heaven.

"This," my father concluded, "its the fruit of the devotion of the early chasidim to Chasidus. they bequeathed to their children and their children's children some spiritual lachuchis (moisture)(referring to an intuitive sense and warm regard for Chasidus.) so that a chasidic concept stick to them. A chasidic axiom is absorbed well by them and places them on the path of truth."

Taken from The Chasidic Heritage Series The four Wolds a letter by Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn of Lubavitch. Kehot Publication Society.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Moshiach will build the Beis Hamikdash in its place.

One mights suggest that this idea that the Beit Hamikdash will begin its return to Jerusalem from its place in exile is alluded to in Maimonoide’s description of Moshiach: ”If he…built the Beit Hamikdash in its place…. he is definitely Moshiach.” Why are the words “in its place” necessary? And if they are necessary, why does Maimonides not name the place explicitly by saying, “if he… built the Beit Hamikdash in Jerusalem?”

The answer is that since, grammatically, “in its place” can also be read as “in his place,” it is an allusion to Moshiach’s place in exile* – that is, before he achieves the status of Moshiach vadai (Definite Moshiach). While still in exile, Moshiach builds a Small temple – a microcosm and a model of the Beit Hamikdash. This is a preparation for the future Beit Hamikdash. This Small Temple will be revealed first there, in exile, and will then return (with G-d and the Jewish people) to Jerusalem.

*On a simpler level, Moshiach's knowledge of the precise location of the Beit Hamikdash is one of the things that prove he is Moshiach Vadai (the Definite Moshiach). (See footnote in Likkutei Sichot, vol. 8, p. 362. See Also footnote in Likkutei Sichot, vol. 24, p. 652.)

From the book: Kuntres Beis Rabenu Shebebavel (The Holy temple In Transit) By the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Translated by Rabbi Alexander Zushe Kohn.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A sheep is safe amongst seventy wolves - the sheep has a Mighty Sheperd.

It's curious to me that i find on the blogosphere (and not really anywhere else) talks that there will be a destruction of Jewry especially in America G-d forbid. I think that this line of thinking is a tremendous mistake. The non-Jews in America are in the geder of the righteous amongst the nations of the world. They support and uphold justice, fight evil, give more to charity than other nations. I think that these thoughts about the opposite of good in America is a total misrepresentation of the facts on the ground. There has been no oppression or signs of oppression towards Jews, G-d should protect us always from such things.

It seems to me that the reason why a Jew might feel this way is because Jews are accustomed to feel that they are in exile and oppressed and that we must look over our shoulders to make sure no enemy is coming from behind.

The reality is that the nations of the world are ready for the imminent redemption and are simply waiting for us Yidden to open our mouth and tell them that the redemption has arrived. So the world stands ready for geuala and we are still looking around and feeling that we are in exile. It is my belief that fears over our safety, Hashem saves us from such thoughts is coming from a deep inner and a personal golus. A golus heart, a golus mind and a golus mentality.

Wake up yidden and realize that the world is not what it was, is not what it used to be and it's not going back to the old world order. You are living in the days of the redemption and no evil will ever befall the Jews, for God is with us and we shall not fear.

The same holds by the land of Israel, as soon as Jews decide to open their mouths and declare to the world that Israel is a Holy Land and it belong to Jews and that we are ready to defend it with our military might, the nations will have no more claims against us. The claims only come when we are ready to negotiate. But the land is not something which is negotiable, it is G-d's gift to the Jewish people.

I have seen that under American presidents who are very "pro Israel" and American Presidents who are not so "pro Isreal", Isreal acts the same way. Meaning it doesn't help Israel what the American president thinks. The only thing that can help Israel is what the Yidden in Isreal and all over think and what Israel's politicians speak and put in as policy in Isreal.

We should all have a gmar chasima tova and celebrate Yom Kuppur with The Lubavitcher Rebbe Melech Ha Moshiach in Jerusalem.

This is a picture of 770 Eastern Parkway, Beis Rabbenu in exile.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

A generation completely righteous or completely not righteous.

i heard a nice vort the other day. it says somewhere that Moshiach will come in a generation which is completely righteous or a generation that is completer wicked. so the question is how can Moshiach come now its not completely to one side either way.

So really you can say that if you compare us to the past generations we are completely wicked. Our learning compared to them is nothing. Our good acts are self motivated. Our davening is superficial and so on and so forth. And behlal look at whats going on out there with the hefker velt attitudes.

On the other hand look at how the world is. And look at how much troubles and pains the Yidden have gone truth rahmona litzlan and besides it all look at us! We are davening and learning and going out on Mivztoim to bring fellow yidden closer to Torah and Mitzvos. So when we look at at in this way we see that in reality every Jew is completely righteous and meritorious and Moshiach can come right now problem

This was based on a teshuva of Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl.

Every Jew and non Jew should be blessed for a Good and Sweet year, and we should have the main blessing of the complete revelation of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach!!!

Yechi Adonenu Marenu Vrabenu Melech Hamoshiach Leolam Voed.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Monday, September 7, 2009

May the Real Moshiach Please Stand Up.

I heard a conversation recently between two friends. One said that President Obama is ruining the economy and the country, and turning America into a dictatorship. The other said look at the bright side: the American people were fooled into voting for him because they expected him to be the Messiah. Well he's not exactly the Messiah but that's why the American people voted for him. America is ready for the real Messiah to come, they just don't know exactly who he is yet so they were fooled into thinking that the President of America could be Moshiach. Anyhow, President Obama promised change and hope and basically redemption from the old worldly culture.
All this shows that the world is one small good deed away from the real redemption, so may the real Moshiach please stand up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Funny Moshiach Video

Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mashiach the son of David will not come until the pocket will be empty of even the smallest coin

וזהו שאמרו רז״ל: אין ישראל נגאלין אלא בצדקה

And this is what our Sages, of blessed memory, meant by saying that7 “Israel will be redeemed only through charity.”

שיעשו גם אם יהיו פטורים מדינא

[This refers to the charity] that they will perform even if they are legally not obligated,

כי אין בן דוד בא כו׳

for8 “[Mashiach] the son of David will not come [until the pocket will be empty of even the smallest coin].”

I.e., even if (Heaven forfend) there will not be a solitary coin left in one’s pocket, tzedakah will still be given. And it is this boundless level of tzedakah that secures a complete atonement for the sins of our people, after which9 “they will immediately be redeemed.”

The Rebbe explains that the Alter Rebbe does not conclude the above-mentioned quotation about the precondition for the coming of Mashiach because it is quite possible that he did not want to write out the last words (viz., “until the pocket will be empty of even the smallest coin”); and this precondition of the Sages can be fulfilled on the spiritual level, by conducting oneself with the humility of the destitute.

This could also explain why the Alter Rebbe does not say...כשיהיו (“when they are legally not obligated”), but rather...אם יהיו (“if they are legally not obligated”).

7. See above, Epistle 9, footnote 16.
8. Sanhedrin 97a.
9. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah 7:5.

From: Lessons in Tanya

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

How will we make money in Moshiach times?

Thought this was interesting from Kuntres Umaaon Maamamor 25, Chapter 1.
It says that God will bless you in all that you do.
Says Sifri, does this mean that if he sits with folded hands and does nothing God will help him? So the Torah says in that that you do. A person has to do and then God will help him.

This is a difference between the days of exile with its avodas haberurim and the future day of the Moshiach. In the times of Moshiach God's material blessing will flow down without the need to prepare a vessel for one's sustenance. But in the days of exile man has to work himself to prepare the instrument for his sustenance.

anyhow that all I wanted to say for now, enjoy.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

He Answered With a Nod - A Miracle Story about Moshiach's Coming in 5769 or 5770.

I am surprised that I haven't seen this story published on the internet even though it has been published for almost a year now. I am sure many people will find it very interesting with all the news about Moshiach's coming in the year 5769 and 5770.

Story taken from:
Miracles And Amazing Stories In Our Times, Volume XII, Number 12

He Answered With a Nod

note: the original publication checks all stories for authenticity.

The Shabbos between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (known as Shabbos Shuvah), the fifth day of Tishrei 5769, October 4, 2008 became even more unique after the most incredible dream of Rabbi Yosef Feldman's.

During the afternoon of that Shabbos when he dozed off, he saw in a dream a fellow Chasid, Rabbi Zev Simons OB”M who passed away along with his wife in a tragic car accident approximately eight months before.

In his dream, Zev requested a favor of Rabbi Feldman. Puzzled, Rabbi Feldman queried, but you are not alive anymore. Zev acknowledged this to be true but nevertheless, he asked Rabbi Feldman to go to Zev's house and make a Minyan there. But, Rabbi Feldman responded the house had been sold. Zev informed him that that if has not been sold yet, it is in the process. Rabbi Feldman further questioned, how he can get into the house, surely it must be locked. To which Zev replied, “don't worry, you'll be able to get in”.

Now, Rabbi Feldman had some questions of his own and proceeded to ask of Zev, “When is Moshiach coming?” and Zev's immediate response was “in approximately a year”. Rabbi Feldman asked further “and is the Rebbe Moshiach?” Zev did not answer verbally, but nodded with his head. And with that the dream ended.

The following day, Rabbi Feldman decide to go to the Simon's house and see what will transpire. As he reached the house, true to Zev's word, the door was open and there was a South African Jewish family living there. Rabbi Feldman approached the gentleman and inquired whether he was the owner of the house. The man responded that they were in the process of buying the house but at the moment the sale has not been completed.

Rabbi Feldman proceeded to tell him of this dream and the request of Zev Simons OB”M concluding with his request t fulfill Zev's wish. The man was agreeable to allow the Minyan in his home and took part in it as well.

Rabbi Feldman arranged the Minyan during which they said Kaddish, learned Mishnayos for the benefit of the departed and gave charity as well on their behalf.

During his conversation with the gentleman of the house, Rabbi Feldman was informed that these people did not know the Simon's nor of their tragedy. Yet when they had a little boy, whose Bris took place the day after the accident, by divine providence they name their son Menachem Zev.

Moshiach Now!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Moshiach is coming in 5769

There was a yid who lived in Vilna in the times of the Alter Rebbe and his name was Mendel. He was a learned man but he was a big opponent of those who followed in the path of the Baal Shem Tov and his followers. So what he would do was make fun of every single minhag (custom) that the Chassidim would employ. The way that the Chassidim dressed being careful to button their coats right over left, the gartels, the way the Chassidim behaved and so on and so forth.

They say of course that all jokes get old and so Mendel set out to devise a plan to come up with new material of how he may make fun of the Chassidim and their ways. As most of his material was already outdated he decided that he will go to Leozna himself and see the Rebbe, and this way he will have the best possible way to make more jokes and fun. He set out to Leozna, arrived there and was greeted by the Chassidim. He informed them of his desire to see the Rebbe. "See the Rebbe?" they said, "you cannot just go in to see the Rebbe so easily". First you have to prepare. They told him that you have to learn these certain books, Musar seforim and so on for examle Chovos Halevavot (Duties of the Heart) and Reishis Chochma. Then you have to go to the mikva. You have to farbreng with the chassidim. you have to write out your request to the Rebbe on paper, you don't speak to the Rebbe. You have to make an oppointment and wait to be let in to be seen. So he agreed to do all these things. He went back to Vilna and learned all the books that he was insturced to learn and came back to Leozna. He fargbred with the Chassidim, immersed in a mikva, wrote out a request on paper and made an appointment to be go into the Rebbe's room.

The day came for him to be seen. He went into the Rebbe sat down and handed his paper over to the Rebbe. The Rebbe took it and read the letter to himself. Then he picked up his head sat back and answered Mendel in a musical voice.

Mendel's reqest was that the Rebbe should give him a tikkun (corrective measure) to dirtying his tziza (fringe of his garment). This too was all made in a manner to make fun of the whole idea of Rebbe and Chosid and so on and so forth. then instead of signing his name Mendel he signed his name Chaim ben Sarah.

So the Rebbe looked up and answered, there are more things that you require a tikkun for besides getting your tziza dirty, isn't there Mendel? the Rebbe said using Mendel's real name. This had such a great effect on Mendel that he immediately fell into a faint. He eventually woke up exited the room, stayed in Leozna for a few months, realized his great error and become a very big and devout Chosid of the Alter Rebbe.

So they said about him, I cannot remember who says the Rebbe or the Chassidim that this was a case that his yetzer ha Tov was able to outsmart his yetzer ha Ra. How is this? His yetzer Ha Tov wanted that he should come to the Rebbe realize what truth is realize what the Rebbe is and so on and so forth. But unfortunately his yetzer ha Ra would not let him go so easily. So his yetzer Tov decided to trick it. His yetzer Tov told his yetzer Ra, come to Leozna, there you will see all the Chassidim and their silly and foolish ways and activities, you will see the Rebbe himself, you will have what to talk about and laugh at your whole life! And this way he was able to drag his yetzer Ra also to the Rebbe and all this was to realize truth, chassidus and the Rebbe.

We are faced with a similar situation this year. For what ever reason many people are afraid and do not wish that Moshiach will come in the year 5770. So can trick our yetzers to do a lot more in order bring Moahiach a year earlier, this year, in 5769.

This story was heard from Rav Shalom Jacobson shlita.

Moshiach Now. 5769 (2009).

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Great Link to Noahide Book

I found this link recently the book The Path of the Righteous Gentile is available as a free e-book from Moshiach.com



Friday, July 10, 2009

A Fair Attempt at a Rebbe Painting

A Fair Attempt at a Rebbe Painting

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Letter From the Rebbe to a Tomim Who Started Cutting his Beard

Igros Kodesh VI pg. 285)
29 Av, 5712, Brooklyn.
Greetings and blessings,
For a person like yourself, it is surely unnecessary to elaborate on the concept explained in many places in Chassidus, and also in works of Mussar: that a divine blessing [:arousal from above”] requires a fit vessel, appropriate effort on man's part [ an arousal from below']. It is absolutely obvious that one should not initiate something that runs directly contrary to the “arousal from above: for which one is [requesting and] praying.
[In light of the above,] How shocked was I to see you[r appearance] in the office of the Merkos Le'Inyonei Chinuch, that you labored and compelled your divine soul to remove, Heaven forfend, the “Image of G-d” from your face, by cutting and removing the thirteen fixtures of the beard, which correspond to the thirteen pathways of divine mercy! They are the channels for one's livelihood, as is explained in the Zohar and in Chassidus in several places. Elaboration upon this is unnecessary, especially for tone who hails from the Sephardic community who have held fast to the study of the Zohar for all time. There, no opposition ever existed to it, as did exist in several places in earlier days among the Ashkenazim.
It is difficult and burdensome for me to elaborate upon this. Surely these lines will suffice. I give you the benefit of the doubt that perhaps your intention [in cutting your beard] was as follows: You have seen and contemplated the statement of our Sages that earning one's livelihood is as difficult as splitting the Red Sea.1 It, therefore occurred to you that perhaps it worthwhile to assist the A-lmighty (Who sustains [all creatures] from the eggs of lice until the horns of the wild ox2) in His task by causing your outward appearance to resemble the gentiles. This would then make it easier for you to be given a rabbinical position, or the like.
However, even one who is not intelligent will easily understand that this is contrary to simple faith; to suggest that laxity in observance of the mitzvos of the Torah-i.e., distancing oneself from the Source [of life]-will bring the person to be granted a large flow of blessing. You should study in-depth that which is explained concerning [the verse], “[He will bless himself in his heart, saying , “Peace will be with me, though I follow the caprices of my heart] adding the watered to the thirsty.”3
It is my firm hope that the efforts that my father-in-law, the Rebbe, of blessed memory invested in you as his student and his Chossid will assist you to leave behind the aforementioned mistaken thinking. If the hand of someone else is enticing you [to cut your beard], then explain to him as well that such conduct is contrary not only to divine intellect, but also to human intellect. For every Jew believes that G-d is the Master, even of this physical and coarse world. He and only He is the one to allocate sustenance to a person and his family. Thus, the human effort [“arousal from below”] should also be consistent with this.
From on who awaits good news and blesses you with spiritual and material success, which, for a Jewish man and woman, go hand in hand,
PS: Our Nesi'im have elaborated upon [the prohibition of] cutting one's beard: Tzemach Tzedek, Shu”t Yoreh Dei'ah, 93. Tzemach Tzedek, Chiddushim leMakkos, ch. 3. Piskei Dinim on Yoreh Dei'ah, 181, sec.2. Derech Mitvosecha, 2:221b. In the book known as Amudei Arazim of Rabbi Margolis of Yerushalayim, toward the end the compiled the opinions of the later rabbinical authorities, etc., concerning all the above.

[1] Pesachim, 118a.
[2] Shabbos, 107b.
[3] Devorim, 29:18. This is explained in Kuntres U'Ma'aon, ma'mar 5.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Rebbe as the Moshiach

There is no debate within the Lubavitch community: Only one individual, the Rebbe, crafts the opinion of Chabad. There may be divergent opinions as to what the Rebbe's opinion is on a specific subject, but the resolution can only be found within the fullness of the Rebbe's works.

In their recent Post op-eds on Lubavitch, neither Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ("Chabad messianists: Wrong, but still Jews," January 21), nor Rabbi David Berger ("Rabbi Boteach, you're wrong about Chabad," January 24), actually reference the Rebbe's own writings or statements on the subject of the messiah.

A fundamental principle of Chabad throughout its 200-year-plus history is that its primary mission is to bring the messiah and the revelations of redemption to all of mankind.

In 1951, during the Rebbe's first discourse, he said that our present generation was the seventh from the Alter Rebbe - the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. The Rebbe explained that Moses, the leader of the seventh generation after Abraham, was the catalyst in bringing the divine presence into the world. In a similar way, the Rebbe outlined, our generation - the seventh, is tasked with, and will succeed in bringing the divine presence into the world permanently, with the full redemption.

The rest of the article is found here at JPost.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Drawing of a man learning Torah

Drawing of a man learning Torah.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Gimmel Tamuz - Beginning of Redemption

It obvious to all of us that the main thing is that G-d Almighty should send immediately the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach to redeem the Jewish people in an auspicious time and an auspicious hour with joy and a happy heart.

On Gimmel Tamuz what at first seemed like the beginning of exile turned out to be the beginning of redemption.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

In G-d We Trust - An Essay About the Ailing Economy

The economy has been going haywire fast. What are we supposed to think at a time like this? I believe that we have to go back to basics and see why this problem happened in the first place, the complete loss of faith in the American dollar and economy. I mean, what happened over here? Nobody believed that what they were buying was worth anything valuable. No one could trust that salespeople were selling them anything useful. The whole system became who can outsell the next guy? Who can offer some piece of junk to the customer that he doesn't need, and convince his that he really needs it?

The system had to collapse. But we really have to see this as one step backwards in order to to take two steps forward. We have to be astute and realize that we have to put G-d back into the way we do business. A person has to be able to trust that what he is buying is worth the amount that he is paying and that he is not being ripped off. We have to instill back into our society that the idea of cheating and stealing is against the laws of G-d Almighty. Only with such an awareness can the economy recover and become strong again.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A rare story of the Alter Rebbe

This unbelievable story was heard in the name of Rabbi Vishedski A'H.

There was once a chossid of the Alter Rebbe. The man was a peddler of goods and made a living traveling from town to town selling his items. One time, by a yechidus, the Rebbe asked him questions and after hearing the chossid's responses, the Alter Rebbe advised him that he should always carry with him three challahs. The chossid did not understand why the Rebbe would give him such a strange instruction, but the chosid did exactly as the Rebbe instructed, trusting that one day he would understand why he got such advice from the Rebbe.

And so it happened, one day that the chossid was traveling before shabbos and he lost his way. Shabbos was approaching soon so he quickly tried to find a place to stay. He knocked on a house and the owner came out with a friendly smile. They exchanged greetings and the chossid explained to the man that he needed a place to stay the night. The man invited him in and led him to his room. Now, this man was a non Jew, when he opened the door and led the chossid into the room, the chosid realized that there was a friend that was going to be staying with him that night. It was a huge dog the size of the chossid himself! He realized that his host is not as friendly as he first appeared to be and quickly turned around to go back. By this time the door was locked and the non Jew told him that it this room “people go in but they do not come out.”

The chossid became very afraid. He figured being in a room with such a friend he did not have long to live. He started praying to G-d and saying vidui (confession). He noticed that the dog was just sitting in his corner. So the chossid began davening mincha. Still, the dog was quiet. He then davened kabbalas shabbos and marriv. The chossid remembered that he had three challas with him so he found some water in the room, washed and made kiddush on the bread. The dog listening to kiddush, so to speak, and afterwards was very excited. The chossid realized that the dog wanted some challah, so he ate a small piece and gave the dog the rest of the loaf. Needless to say, the rest of the night he did not sleep, with such a friend in the room who would sleep? Morning came and the chossid davened shacharis and the same scene repeated itself with the challah.

After shabbos the owner of the house opened the door to the room carrying a broom and bucket hoping to clean up the bones of the man. Lo and behold he found the chossid sitting in one corner and the dog in the other. So he screamed at the dog, "get that Jew, eat him!” but the dog wouldn't move. The chosid realized that when you feed a dog you become its owner. So he said to the dog “get that man!” and the dog jumped on the non Jew and tore him apart and killed him.

Then the dog took the Jew by his kappota and dragged him to the forest. There he took him to a place where the chosid found a great treasure, a chest filled with gold coins. The non Jew acquired it all by killing and stealing it from his former guests. The dog grabbed the Jew again and took him outside the forest near the village. At that point the dog spread dropped dead. The Jew realized where he was and made his way home. Before going home he stopped by the Alter Rebbe to tell him all that had transpired. The Rebbe took him in and told him the following: the dog was a gilgul (reincarnation) of a Jew who did not properly fulfill the mitzvah of eating after making kiddush. His punishment was to be stuck in the body of this dog. When you made kiddush for him this was its' rectification. The reason he took you to show the gold coins is because he wanted to repay you for helping him accomplish his tikkun so he can go to Gan Eden. The Rebbe told the chosid that he should open a business with the gold coins which the chossid did and became a rich man.

Needless to say, the chossid realized why the Rebbe gave him the seemingly strange instruction to carry the three challahs with him at all times.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Beautiful, Noahide Universal Laws Movie

Enjoy and learn from these videos. This is video one of five.

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

Video 5

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Journey to see through someone else's eyes

An essay by my friend Joel.

Today I am going to look at writing a story through someone else's eyes. That would make sense if I want to improve my writing skills. Up until now my writing has been through my own eyes. I have to say that I like that more than writing through someone else''s eyes. I feel very uncomfortable trying to speak for someone else. I really don't like it at all. It felt wrong when I have attempted to write from someone else's point of view in the past. For me, it might be wrong today as well. But, that is the exercise of the moment. Can I tell you anything as if I were seeing it through someone else's eyes?

I'm not going to pressure myself to do this. Instead I am going to coach myself and try to find out if it works for me. In the meantime I am going to do what I always have done. Which is, more or less thinking out loud. I have to say that it has been working for me. So, I am not in such a hurry to move into another mode. The danger of trying to stretch myself is that I may stretch myself too far and stop writing altogether. That has happened plenty of times before. I like to think of it as the "burn it up" phase because when I reach it I want to completely destroy everything I had ever written. Somehow the idea of a fire taking it all away is comforting. But that is only when I am in that "burn it up" phase. I try not to get myself into that phase too often.

The thought of writing through someone else's eyes bothers me enough to raise the warning flag. So I will approach this exercise with caution. They say, "he who turns and runs away lives to fight another day." If I'm not up to figuring out how to write through someone else's eyes right now I would prefer doing something else that doesn't raise the "up in smoke" response.

So, here I am. Just me. Talking out loud about nothing.

This is how I start. This is how I begin to explore.

Now you may be thinking...

Boom. There it is. Could this be the beginning of seeing through someone else's eyes?

I don't think so. "Now you may be thinking..." is just what comes up for me when I write. That's me taking both sides of the argument. And frankly, I don't like going that way. I tend to get lost in a made up argument in my head and waste my time and the reader's time trying to defend myself against this inner critic.

I tend to be very critical of my work. So as I am writing, a part of me watches my every move with a critical eye. I am asking myself now what this critic is looking for. Is it the truth? Yes. No. Maybe.

Well, here we go... Now I'm going to get into a conversation with myself about it.

I might as well go for it. The conversations are always going on in my mind. I just don't want to bother you with all of this.

I've been accused of spending too much time thinking about things. I've been told that I should just do it. "Yes, you should think things through but then you need to make a decision and move on from there."

I don't know to what extent I agree with this advice. And this is the kind of conversations I have with the critic in my mind all the time.

This reminds me of a story about how intense these inner conversations can get.


A guy once had the idea to get up very early - at the crack of dawn. So he set his alarm to wake himself up.

When the alarm went off he said to himself, "Wow. What a good idea. I can get so much done by starting my day at this early time. I shouldn't waste a minute."

Then he hears a voice in his mind say, "Yea, but you can remain in bed for a little longer and it won't make that much of a difference. You'll still get what you need to done today."

He thought about it and it sounded like a good idea.

Then a second voice in his mind said, "No, don't listen to him. He's going to mess up your whole day. You need to get your feet moving. The early bird gets the worm."

He considered that and agreed that this is also a good point.

The first voice responded, "But, if you stay in bed a little longer you will feel more rested and therefore you will eventually be more productive."

Anyway, they argued back and forth, each presenting a very compelling side to the argument. The guy said to the voices look I don't have a strong preference either way so I'll let the two you decide whether I should get up or stay in bed. Just tell me when you've come to some consensus.

He figured that as long as they were busy arguing he might as well take a short snooze.

He said he woke up four hours later and they were still arguing. That's how strong the voices can be.


I try to avoid getting sunk by these critical voices. I spend so much time fending off the criticism of these inner critics that I can't imagine writing from someone else's point of view.

I have a list of things that I avoid doing. Evidently, this exercise falls into that category. I may just finish up this entry with the recognition that it was too much for me to do today. I don't see it happening. but at least I got to see what comes up when I consider it.

Written by Joel.