26 July 2016

Community of Bat Ayin – Trailor and Episode One

Bat Ayin Trailor 
introducing the Series being created

Welcome to the first episode of Bat Ayin, our profile of a unique community in Israel.

The town of Bat Ayin lies in the hills between Jerusalem and Hebron. The population is estimated to be 85% baal teshuva, Jews who weren't born Orthodox but chose that way of life. Many of the residents are artists, farmers, and/or scholars. All of them share a sense of mission: this is their land, and their vision is essential to the future of the Jewish people.

Our goal with this film series is to show a community of Jews that doesn't get a lot of exposure beyond the political. The residents of Bat Ayin challenge many assumptions - about what it means to be Jewish, to settle in Israel, and to inhabit, physically and spiritually, the tension between worlds. In a discussion that is often divisive, we want to show you a human, living, breathing side of this one-of-a-kind place.

In our first installment, we follow Shlomo and Rina Shoshana Vile.. They first visited seven years ago, then returned to Chicago, sold their homes, and moved to Bat Ayin for good. They grow their own food, live in the nature around them, and connect their Jewish observance to the very earth they live on and that sustains them.

Episode Two expected sometime in August – Av 5776

Bat Ayin Ancient Mikvah and Winepress

B"H Bat Ayin of Gush Etzion was the location of an ancient mikvah and wine-press. It is believed that wine destined for the Beit Hamikdash came from this location in Judea, south of Jerusalem. 
Video by Ezra Ridgley וידאו על ידי עזרא רדג'לי

Bay Ayin Yeshiva

The above is part of a Series Arutz Sheva will be featuring and why:

While the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria are widely maligned by much of the international media, some communities in particular are often singled out.

Among them is Bat Ayin, a village of some 200 families nestled in the ancient hills of Judea, between two of the Jewish people's holiest and most historically important cities, Jerusalem and Hevron.

Often cast as a hotbed of extremism - particularly since the uncovering of a Jewish underground cell there who planned revenge attacks against Arabs during the Second Intifada - the community's human side, like that of the "settlers" in general, are rarely portrayed. That's something which Elad Nehorai - better known as founder of the Pop Chassid blog - set out to change, with a remarkable series opening a window into the lives of several families in this unique community.

As those familiar with the wider Gush Etzion area will know, Bat Ayin is a particularly unique place, offering a unique fusion of powerful Jewish identity on the one hand, and a deep - borderline "hippyish" - sense of spirituality and connection with nature. It's a character which comes out particularly strongly in the first episode of "Bat Ayin," released earlier this month, which features Shlomo and Rina Shoshana Vile - two olim from Chicago who sold everything and left for Israel after becoming enchanted with their current hometown.

In a statement posted along with the video, the directors what motivated them to launch the crowd-funded project:
"Our goal with this film series is to show a community of Jews that doesn't get a lot of exposure beyond the political.

"The residents of Bat Ayin challenge many assumptions - about what it means to be Jewish, to settle in Israel, and to inhabit, physically and spiritually, the tension between worlds.

"In a discussion that is often divisive, we want to show you a human, living, breathing side of this one-of-a-kind place."

Midreshet B'erot Bat Ayin Promo

Midreshet B'erot Bat Ayin is a unique seminary in Israel that approaches Torah study from a holistic perspective, combining intensive textual learning with creative arts, holistic health and healing, and working the Land of Israel - all within the framework of Jewish law. Our weekly schedule includes classes in the Bible (Torah, Prophets, Writings), Chassidut, Jewish faith, prayer, Jewish law (halacha), and much more. Hear from our students, alumnae and teachers about our special learning program, and enjoy the breathtaking view that awaits you in Bat Ayin!

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Letter from a Jewis Termite

Those Who Live On The Land
Elad Nehorai interviews a Bat Ayin Resident

25 July 2016

Could Be Headed Toward US!

Explanation of Magnetosphere Reversal 
plus other interesting photos and data
[skip over or ignore his religious comment (not long) and cautioning at end of Video, otherwise very informative]

Slow leak from NASA about “Brown Dwarf”
Magnetosphere is Struggling with 2 Suns
Planets not in regular alignment - Moon possibly off by 45 degree SW
[This is what I commented about on a fellow blogger – that I witnessed]

Some interesting photos:

Big Orb Little Orb
(with the Sun’s rays covering left side of Big Orb)

Constant Halo

What could be headed toward us!?

24 July 2016

How Do We Know About Gan Eden and Gehinnom?

How Do We Know About Gan Eden and Gehinnom?

From Defending the Honor of Hashem (#E-328)
by Rabbi Avigdor Miller

Q: How do we know that the tzaddik (righteous person) is going to Gan Eden and the rasha (evil person) is going to Gehinnom?

A: We know it because the Torah tells us that. That's the source of all knowledge. All that you can say is what you know, you know nothing at all. We listen to the Torah. Hashem spoke to our nation at Har Sinai, and He said that Moshe Rabbeinu is My spokesman. You hear that? Moshe will speak for Me.

Moshe Rabbeinu wrote in the Torah, “vayishkav im avosov,” Avraham Avinu “lay down with his fathers." Where were his fathers?

Avraham wasn’t buried with his fathers. Terach was in Canaan, in Aram, in Choron. Avraham is buried in Mearas Hamachpeilah. It says he’s lying with his fathers?
The answer is, he joined his fathers in the World to Come.

About Aharon it states that he was “gathered in to his fathers." Aharon wasn’t buried with his fathers, Aharon’s father was buried in Mitzrayim. Aharon was buried not in Mitzrayim. Moshe Rabbeinu was buried in Har Hohar; it says also he went to lie down with his fathers. So the Torah, Moshe says openly, when a person dies, he’ll go to his fathers, this is the World to Come.

When Bilaam stated “tomus nafshi mois yeshorim — let me die the death of these righteous people [meaning Am Yisroel]." What's the death of Am Yisroel, what does it mean, “usehi acharissi kamohu — and my afterward, should be like his [afterward].” What did Bilaam want, to be buried in the Jewish cemetery? Bilaam meant, if I could die and have an afterlife like they have an afterlife: an open statement in the Torah…

Therefore, there’s no question at all, we have an open demonstration of the truth of the World to Come, from the mouth of Moshe Rabbeinu. There are many other proofs in the Torah. Therefore, how do we know?

We know from Torah.

22 July 2016


By Roy S. Neuberger

“Seek Hashem when He can be found. Call upon Him when He is near.” (Yeshiah 55:6)

So begins the Haftarah we say at mincha on fast days.

Let’s try to understand what happens on fast days. During Shacharis, we say special tefillos recalling terrible events that took place on this day. By mincha, the shock of contemplating these
events is beginning to be digested by our intellect. The miracle begins to dawn on us that we have gone through all these events and survived! At that point we begin to understand that fast days provide us with a great gift: the chance to become close to the King of the Universe!

I find it amazing that the Holy Ark contains the broken luchos, the Tablets which Moshe Rabbeinu smashed after the incident with the Golden Calf. Why should the holiest spot on earth contain a vivid reminder of Am Yisroel’s rebellion against Hashem, a reminder of our degradation, our embarrassment, our ingratitude?

That may be exactly the point. Only when we remember our utter degradation can we rise to the heights. Only when we are broken can we cry out to Hashem. When we are filled with arrogance, we have no room for Him. Only when we are crushed are we ready to beg Him to save us. It’s not that we desire to be crushed, G-d forbid, but this is a fact of life.

“Let him put his mouth to the dust – there may yet be hope.” (Eichah 29)

A few weeks ago, I was driving near a Jewish neighborhood. I saw a car mount the sidewalk and park in front of a store. In America, this is unusual, so I watched as the door opened. A “religious-looking” Jew got out and entered the store. My friends, this is dangerous. The perception exists among non-Jews that we believe ourselves to be above the law and above other people.

“Dina d’malchusa dina … the law of the land is the law.” (Gittin 10b; Nedarim 28a) But more than that: it is just plain stupid to antagonize the surrounding culture, especially at such a violent time in history, when nations are looking for excuses to attack us, G-d forbid.

A Fast Day comes to remind us that our only hope for greatness and redemption is to humble ourselves and cry out to our Father in Heaven. Every day we begin our tefillos with the words, “Master of all worlds, not in the merit of our righteousness do we cast our supplications before You, but in the merit of Your abundant mercy. What are we? What is our life? What is our kindness? What is our righteousness? What is our salvation? What is our strength? What is our might? What can we say before You, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers? Are not all the heroes like nothing before You?” We really must try to incorporate this into our being.

The Three Weeks are not only the most tragic days of the year, but they are perhaps our greatest opportunity to come close to Hashem. This is how we can turn tragedy into simcha. Tisha B’Av is called a “Moed” (Eichah 1:15), which implies that its intrinsic identity is positive. It should have been the day on which our eternal entry into the Land of Israel was assured, but it became “twisted” into a day of tragedy.

The nature of the Jewish People is that we do not give up, even under conditions of deepest grief and catastrophe. We use these events – even if they arose through our own errors – to elevate ourselves to a level which would not have been possible without them. The lowest day becomes the highest day; that is exactly the nature of Redemption.

At the very beginning of history, Adam and Chava had every reason to give up. “How could Adam and Chava live with the burden they had introduced into the world? How, I ask, did they live? For quickly they knew. Quickly they sought clothing because suddenly their innocence was not good enough for them. Before their rebellion they had nothing to hide because they had no guilt. But now no amount of clothing could cover their guilt. Where could they run to escape from G-d? Nowhere! It is G-d’s world! So the banishment was self-inflicted; they had sealed their own doom. Can you imagine their burden on that day, the hot tears flowing as their feet walked out of that perfect world and passed the sword of the angel guarding the entrance through which no man has ever returned? Can you imagine what rested upon their shoulders? Already then they must have felt the guilt of thousands of future generations of their own children, the accumulated pain which was to befall every individual who would ever exist in the future world. It would all come about as a result of their one “tiny” error in Gan Eden. How could they bear it? How could anyone bear the responsibility for such untold suffering? The truly amazing thing is that they did bear it. Their greatness is shown perhaps more by the way they bore their exile than by their actions inside the Garden. Adam and Chava did not commit suicide. That same Adam and Chava – whose introduction to life outside the Garden included the murder of one son by another – walked onward through life. They did not give up! They lived to become the parents of yet another son, Seth, who carried the knowledge of G-d onward to the next generation and through whom the hope of the world was to survive.” (Quoted from my book, Worldstorm, Finding Meaning and Direction in Today’s World Crisis.)

Generations later, Avraham and Sarah did not give up. Even though Avraham was one man against the entire world, he did not waver in his belief in the Existence of Hashem and his quest to learn Hashem’s Torah. When they were already “too old” to bear children, they gave birth to a child who changed the world.

Am Yisroel was released from slavery in Egypt at precisely the moment we reached the lowest level, “mem tes sha’are tumah.”

At the Yam Suf we had every reason to give up, surrounded as we were by the sea on one side and the Egyptian Army on the other. But Nachshon ben Amminadav trusted Hashem, entered the water and Am Yisroel was saved.

When we as a Nation wandered through Midbar Sinai, we perpetrated rebellion after rebellion against Hashem. We were our own worst enemies, and – because of our own stubbornness – we had every reason to give up, but we did not. Because we did not give up, we were saved.

The list goes on and on. “Ani ma’amin b’emunah shelemah ….” When you are desperate, you cast all your hope on Hashem, and only then are you going to find Redemption. If you know there is nothing else beside “Hashem echad,” then your life is going to change.

“Min ha maitzar … from the straits I called upon G-d; G-d answered me with expansiveness. Hashem is with me; I have no fear; how can man affect me?” (Tehillim 118)  Hashem was with Dovid because he called “from the straits,” when there was nothing on earth which could help him. Hashem took Dovid out of the straits, but he had to hit rock bottom first.

I will recall for you my personal story. On January 10, 1966, my life was falling apart. I did not believe in G-d and I did not want to believe that I was Jewish. My marriage seemed to be disintegrating. I was in graduate school and I couldn’t concentrate. I woke up at 2 a.m. crying. It was all over. I had tried “everything” and nothing worked. It looked to me as if I would spend the rest of my life in a mental institution, G-d forbid.

But wait! Maybe there was something else, other than the pit. Only then, under the terrible pressure of a decree of death, did I come to realize that, if I was going to survive, I had to believe that G-d is real! And that’s where it all began. That moment of absolute despair was the moment that changed my life! It was G-d or Gehennom! I for one was so stubborn that it took that terrible moment to force me to humble myself enough so that I could believe I was not G-d!

The Three Weeks is that period of excruciating pain through which we are reminded that Hashem Echad is the One Source of Life. If we want to live, we have to surrender ourselves to His guidance and mercy. The secret and the seeds of Redemption lie in the pain we feel as we plummet to the utter depths during these terrible days of tears and tragedy.

In our own time, the suffering is prodigious. In Eretz Yisroel, Jewish blood is flowing. Outside Israel, tzouris upon tzouris. Each day, you think that you have heard the ultimate, until the next day, when you hear something worse, G-d forbid! How far can we be from Mem-Tes Sha’are Tumah, the straits from which we are going to cry out to G-d, “Ana Hashem Hoshia na … please Hashem, save [us] now!” (Tehillim 118)

Our son told us a beautiful thought from the Chofetz Chaim. Why did the miraglim become despondent? They knew Hashem was able to bring them into Eretz Canaan, but they felt that they and their generation were not worthy of His help because of their sins. Their sense of shame caused them to doubt that they had the merit to enter the Land. This is the way of the Yetzer Hara: to try to cause us to forget our innate nobility to focus instead on what we did wrong! Hashem is waiting to help us, but we feel unworthy. (Based on Sefer Shmiras Haloshon, Chelek Bais, Parshas Shelach)

Just this morning, as I was writing this article, I did something so stupid! I began to berate myself and feel as if I were hopelessly dumb with no hope whatsoever! Why do I keep making the same mistakes over and over again? This is the same thought many people have before Rosh Hashanah, when they tell themselves it is hopeless to do teshuva, because “each year I regress after all my promises to improve.” In general, the present generation is extremely depressed. We are so steeped in the ways of the surrounding culture that the innate meaninglessness of their lifestyle has affected us deeply.

But we really do not want to give up! This morning, after my stupidity, I spoke to a trusted rabbi, who gave me a way out. I started to feel that – perhaps – there is hope for me, and that is what we need to know: even though the Yetzer Hara will tempt us endlessly to become depressed and hopeless, there is hope and help from Above which will never desert us. Hashem loves us and will certainly bring Moshiach. No matter the mountain of problems that weighs down on us, Hashem will surely fulfill all His promises!

We begin every day by saying, “My G-d, the soul You placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me ….” Contrary to the belief systems of other cultures, we know that Hashem created us with intrinsic kedusha.

The Fast-Day Haftara continues: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways…. As high as the heavens over the earth, so are My thoughts [higher] than your thoughts.” We are being guided by a Power infinitely higher than we can comprehend.

During the Three Weeks, the rejuvenation of Am Yisroel begins, because we are not going lower than this. This is the end … and the beginning! On Tisha B’Av Moshiach is born. “On the day the Temple was destroyed the Messianic Savior was born. What is his name? Menachem (Comforter).” (Medrash Eichah Rabbassi 1:59)

Midrash Eichah explains: 

An Arab passed a Jewish farmer plowing his field. The Arab heard the farmer’s ox mooing. The Arab, who understood the language of animals, told the Jew that meant the Holy Temple had been destroyed. While they were conversing, the ox mooed a second time. The Arab told the Jew this meant that the Redeemer had been born. (Midrash Eichah 1:51)

Amazingly, the news of Moshiach’s birth came through the mouth of an Arab. Today, the Arabs of the world are also telling us something. Their hyper-activity shows that they are aware of how little time they have before their power is nullified by the arrival of Moshiach.

The Artscroll commentary to this Midrash is illuminating: 

“Before the Temple’s destruction, it was not possible to have Moshiach, as that which is already perfect cannot perfect itself. It is only from the imperfect state of a destroyed Temple that this nation may ascend and eventually merit the Moshiach…. All seeds in the ground first disintegrate and decay and only afterward begin to grow into new plants…. A similar principle exists in the spiritual realm: sprouting must emanate from decay. The Sages teach that us that only one who mourns over the … destruction of Jerusalem will merit to see its consolation. This, explains Maharal, is because the eventual rebuilding of Jerusalem and the rebirth of the Jewish Nation can only come about after there existed a state of destruction…. But how will we be consoled? We will realize that all those years of pain and travail were not for naught and were not purposeless. They were part of the process of decay that caused the brilliant light of the Moshiach to shine.”

May we see it soon in our days!

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A version of this column appeared in THE JEWISH PRESS (July 22, 2016)

Roy Neuberger’s latest book, WORKING TOWARD MOSHIACH, is now available. His book 2020 VISION is available in ENGLISH, HEBREW, SPANISH, FRENCH, RUSSIAN & GEORGIAN. 

Roy is also the author of FROM CENTRAL PARK TO SINAI: How I Found My Jewish Soul, available in ENGLISH, HEBREW, RUSSIAN & GEORGIAN, and 
WORLDSTORM: Finding Meaning & Direction Amidst Today’s World Crisis.
Email: roy@2020vision.co.il. Website: www.2020vision.co.il.

21 July 2016

Leopard Attacks Baby Deer

For a Change of Pace, an fascinating encounter of a Leopard and a baby deer
Instead of eating her (as is the custom in Africa) he played with her and wouldn’t let her out of his sight. Watch the Leopard grab her tail and not let her go. They become friends after a while.
I watched the entire video and it took my mind off the star and other strange things going on.

Leopard attacks a baby deer but then doesn't want to kill - what a surprise!!

And then a Female Lion takes a fancy to a Baby Antelope Orex

What’s So Important About Morality?

By Roy S. Neuberger

“Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon ha Kohain … stood up from amidst the assembly and took a spear in his hand. He followed [them] into the tent and pierced them both … and the plague was halted from upon the children of Israel….”
“Behold! I give him My covenant of peace.” (Bamidbar 25:7-12)

Unlike the Parah Adumah, we can understand this inyan very well. But do we really grasp the magnitude of Pinchas’ achievement? If this is so easy to understand, why aren’t we all out there like him, fighting for the ultimate cure?

It’s not so simple to be a Pinchas.

What precisely did he do?

The answer is that he single-handedly stood up for moral sanity. It is often difficult to go against the opinion of even one person, and here was Pinchas acting alone when the entire nation was paralyzed. His was the courage of an Avraham Avinu, who was not afraid to stand alone against an entire world for kovod Shomayim.

But is moral behavior so crucial that the entire future of Am Yisroel was at stake? What does it mean that “the plague was halted?”

Chazal state that “the Generation of the Flood acted corruptly [in a manner described as] ‘great,’ and they were [similarly] punished [in a manner described as] ‘great.’” (Sanhedrin 108a) Artscroll comments in the name of the Bais Halevi and others, “mankind’s licentious behavior permeated the world with a spirit of immorality which infected even the animals.”

Why does licentious behavior result in the destruction of the entire world?

Let’s compare this to magnets. If you place the north pole of one magnet next to the south pole of another magnet, they will bond, but if you place like poles together, they will repel each other. Hashem created men and women as opposites through which the strongest union is created, a union blessed by Hashem with the power to create new life!

But if mankind perverts the bria and tries to bring together like poles instead of opposite poles, they will repel each other. Rather than creating new life, this actually destroys life by creating chaos in the universe, with each part of the bria repelling the other part and loosening all the bonds of Creation. Instead of achdus, division is created everywhere in the universe, and the entire structure can literally fall apart, every atom spinning away from every other atom. This is similar to the plague of sinas chinom, in which individuals among Am Yisroel are increasingly separated from each other with disastrous consequences.

Moral perversion causes catastrophe on every level. Our entire world is now reeling under perversion after perversion. I happened to hear the new British Prime Minister’s opening words, in which she congratulated her predecessor on his achievement in making moral perversion the law of the land! The political turmoil in Britain followed the turmoil in the European Community and immediately preceded a mass attack in France and chaos in Turkey. Within the United States, there are also strong indications of a widespread breakdown in national unity.

World order – if there is such a thing – is rapidly deteriorating. It will not be easily fixed. Of course, Hashem gives us a chance to fix everything, just as He gave the world time to do teshuva while Noach was constructing the teva. But nobody paid attention. There was no Pinchas to restore sanity, and I do not see a Pinchas on the world stage today. Around the globe, mankind is plummeting to new lows of rebellion against the order established by the Ribono shel Olam when He created the universe.
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” (Beraishis 2:24) Chazalinform us that “he shall cling to his wife” teaches, “But [he shall] not [have relations with] a male.” (Sanhedrin 58a)

This is non-negotiable. This is the way Hashem created all mankind, Jew and non-Jew. Moral laws are included in the Sheva Mitzvos Bnai Noach, the Seven Laws which are applicable to all mankind. When the Torah tells us that “a man shall leave his father and mother and cling to his wife,” Chazal teach us that “The Holy Spirit says this to forbid to the Sons of Noach [that is, all mankind] forbidden relationships.” (Rashi to Beraishis 2:24)

This situation is uncomfortable to contemplate; the potential suffering is unimaginable. But, my friends, mankind is literally destroying the world, and it behooves us to be aware of this. Everything that we know in this world is now in imminent danger, just as at the time of the Mabul. We must try to understand that mankind is playing with fire, and the fuse is rapidly burning.

Pinchas ben Elazar ben Aharon ha Kohain acted because he saw sin in front of him and he was zealous to serve Hashem. His courage was prodigious and his reward unique. His act was similar to that of Nachshon ben Amminadav, through whom Israel was saved at the Yam Suf.

In our days, where do we begin? How do we confront an entire world gone mad? We have a moral obligation to raise our voices in Truth. In the end, there will come one person who will stand up in front of the entire world and proclaim “Hashem Echad Ushmo Echad” and “His Torah is forever!”

This will be Moshiach ben Dovid. 

We need him to come now and save us from the plague that is raging across the earth. May Hashem allow us to see with our own eyes the Days of Salvation, purification and Redemption that will come with the building of the Bais Hamikdosh in Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh!

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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

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Today is the yartzeit of the Ohr Hachaim
AND in Israel
Immorality is parading as pride
More 'oppositism'
The opposite of Good is Evil