26 July 2017

The Temple – Sanctity - Past, Present, and Future

Sanctity - Past, Present, and Future
Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaLevi Kilav

1. Sacrifices After the Temple's Destruction
2. Sanctifying City and Courtyard
3. Rashba's Position
4. The Approach of Tosefot and Ritvah
5. Rambam's Approach
6. Today's Conquest - Does it impart sanctity?
7. The Sanctity of the Temple According to Rambam
8. Raavad's Position

Sacrifices After the Temple's Destruction

The Talmud, in tractate Megilah 10a, relates the words of R. Yitzchak: "I hear that sacrifices may now be offered in the Temple of Onias." Onias was the son of Shimon HaTzaddik, the High Priest, and after a struggle for the High Priesthood he moved to Egypt and built an altar. R. Yitzchak lived in the period after the destruction of the Second Temple, and he said that it was permissible to offer sacrifices in the Temple of Onias. The Talmud explains that the words of R. Yitzchak are based upon the fact that Onias made an altar in the name of God, not for idolatry, and that "the first sanctification was valid for its own time, but not for the future." In other words, when the Temple was destroyed, its sanctity was abrogated, and it followed that it was again permissible to offer sacrifices outside the Temple.

The Talmud proceeds to bring a number of related comments by Sages, and concludes by proclaiming that R. Yitzchak in fact follows the approach of R. Yehoshua, who was known to have stated, "I have heard that sacrifices may be brought even though there is no Temple; that the most holy foods may be eaten, even though there are no curtains; and that foods of lesser sanctity and second tithe may be eaten even though there is no wall."

The Talmud further informs us that there are two traditions as to the position of R. Yishmael in the name of R. Yose regarding the question of whether or not the Jewish returnees had to re-sanctify the walled cities of Israel in the days of Ezra the Scribe? The answer to this question has practical bearing upon individuals infected by tzara'at (an illness conveying serious ritual impurity): if such a city is deemed sacred, it is forbidden for a metzorah (one infected by tzara'at) to enter therein. At any rate, according to one tradition, R. Yishmael in the name of R. Yose said that Ezra had to re-sanctify the walled cities, and any cities that he did not sanctify would not be considered sacred. According to a second tradition, R. Yishmael in the name of R. Yose said that the sanctity from the days of Joshua remained.

We find, then, that the Talmud does not differentiate between the sanctity of the Holy Temple and the sanctity of Israel's walled cities, for R. Yitzchak says that people may presently offer sacrifices because "the first sanctification was valid for its own time, but not for the future" and the Talmud explains that his opinion follows the position which claims that Ezra had to re-sanctify the walled cities. However, according to the opinion which holds that the first sanctification was also valid for the future, and one may not presently offer sacrifices at the Temple of Onias, the sanctity of the walled city also remained, and metzora'im were not allowed to enter them.

Sanctifying City and Courtyard

The discrepancy over first sanctification appears elsewhere in the Talmud, in tractate Shavuot 16a. In order to sanctify the city and the Courtyard a number of conditions must be met. For example, "The city of Jerusalem and the Courtyard may only be extended by king, prophet, Urim VeTumim, Sanhedrin of seventy-one, two thanksgiving loaves, and song."

And we indeed find that the Book of Nehemiah describes Ezra's dedication of the walls of Jerusalem as being carried out with "thanksgiving loaves and song." R. Huna and R. Nachman are at odds over how to understand this event: according to R. Nachman, the Book of Nehemiah refers to a genuine sanctification of the city and the Courtyard, and though neither king nor Urim VeTumim were present on that occasion, it is really not necessary for all of the conditions mentioned in the Mishnah be met - one of them is enough. The fact that Ezra needed to sanctify the Courtyard proves that the first sanctification was valid for its own time, but not for the future.

R. Huna, though, disagrees. He holds that all of the conditions listed by the Mishnah must be met if sanctification is to take effect. Hence, it is clear that what Ezra did had only symbolic significance, and this proves that the sanctity of the Courtyard in the time of Ezra carried over from the first sanctification, which was valid for its own time and also for the time thereafter. The Talmud concludes by explaining that the discrepancy between R. Huna and R. Nachman is a continuation of an earlier disagreement between Mishnaic Sages, and cites the same discrepancy brought in tractate Megilah. Here too, then, the Talmud draws a comparison between the sanctity of Jerusalem and the sanctity of walled cities with regard to the question of whether the first sanctification was valid for its time alone, or continued to remain valid thereafter.

Rashba's Position

Rashba asserts a novel understanding, explaining that the issue at debate is not only the sanctity of Jerusalem and walled cities, but also the sanctity of the Land of Israel as a whole. The Talmud, in chapter two of tractate Yevamot, records a disagreement with regard to the separation of tithes and offerings ("terumot u-ma'aserot") in post-Temple times. According to R. Yochanan, "the first sanctification was valid for its own time and also for the time thereafter," and therefore the obligation to separate tithes is biblically binding even today. Reish Lakish, on the other hand, says that "the first sanctification was valid for its own time, but not for the time thereafter," and hence the obligation to separate tithes is only rabbinically binding today.

Again, the Talmud explains that certain Sages of the Mishnah already debated this point: R. Yochanan follows the opinion of R. Yose, and Reish Lakish follows the Rabbis. The sanctity as regarding tithes and offerings stems from the general sanctity of the Land of Israel. And Rashba deduces from the shared wording of all these texts ("the first sanctification was valid for its own time and also for the time thereafter") that the disputes over the sanctity of all of these matters - Jerusalem, the Temple, walled cities, and the entire Land of Israel - is one and the same dispute. Parenthetically, we should note that the sanctity of Jerusalem and the sanctity of the Holy Temple are one and the same sanctity - Jerusalem as a whole is considered a part of the Temple. We will not expand upon this matter here, but we shall shortly read the words of Rambam which also seem to support such an understanding.

Rashba makes another unique assertion: the status of the second sanctification (i.e., that of the Babylonian returnees) is unconnected of the status of the first (Joshua's conquest). Even if we were to maintain that the first sanctification does not remain valid for the time thereafter, it is still quite possible that a second sanctity did remain valid for the time thereafter. In this case, the dispute between Reish Lakish and R. Yochanan relates to second sanctity (for they lived after the destruction of the Temple), and we should approach the text in tractate Megillah in light of this understanding. There, the Talmud teaches that, according to R. Yitzchak, it is permissible to offer sacrifices today because the first sanctification is not valid into the future, and this accords with the position that says that Ezra had to re-sanctify the city and the Courtyard.

According to Rashba, however, even if the sanctity of the First Temple did cease to exist, it is still possible that the sanctity of Ezra was not discontinued. It appears, then, that according to Rashba, the Talmud only wishes to say that R. Yitzchak has a position on which to rely, for according to him the discrepancy over the sanctity of the First Temple also exists with the Second Temple, but other Talmudic Sages are not bound by this dependence.

Rashba himself infers that second sanctification does not remain valid for the time thereafter.

The Approach of Tosefot and Ritvah

Tosefot and Ritvah are at odds with Rashba. They draw a distinction between the sanctity of the Land of Israel with its attendant precepts on the one hand, and the sanctity of the Temple and the walled cities on the other. Their approach is based upon the text in tractate Hagigah 3b where we are told by R. Eliezer that Ezra conquered a portion of the Land of Israel leaving a portion of the land unconquered in order that the poor might be sustained upon it in the Sabbatical year. Here, then, we find that the first sanctification did not remain valid for the time thereafter. On the other hand, in tractate Megillah, the Talmud tells us that R. Eliezer can hold that the first sanctification remained valid for the time thereafter. This leads Tosefot and Ritvah to conclude that a distinction must be made between the sanctity of the Land of Israel and the sanctity of Jerusalem.

How does Rashba explain the text in tractate Hagigah? As a matter of fact, Ritvah himself explains that there is a variant reading of the Talmud in Hagigah according to which it was not R. Eliezer who did the speaking there. Furthermore, it appears that even if we choose to accept the existing reading, it is possible to say that though R. Eliezer draws a distinction between the sanctity of the Temple and that of the Land of Israel, but not everybody draws this distinction.

Rambam's Approach

The positions of Ritvah and Tosefot are made clearer upon the backdrop of Rambam's approach. In Hilkhot Shmitah VeYovel, Rambam writes that the sanctity bestowed upon walled cities by Joshua and Ezra was discontinued:

"A city which was not walled at the time when Joshua conquered the land, even if it is now walled, is like a courtyard; a city which was walled in the days of Joshua, though it is not now walled, is seen as if [it were even now] walled. When the Jews were exiled with the first destruction, the sanctity of the walled cities from the time of Joshua was discontinued. When Ezra returned...all of the cities that were walled at that time were sanctified, for their arrival in the days of Ezra (which was the second arrival) was like their arrival in the days of Joshua: just as with their arrival in the days of Joshua they counted Sabbatical years and Jubilees and sanctified the houses of walled cities and became obligated in tithes, so too in the days of Ezra they counted Sabbatical years and Jubilees and sanctified the houses of walled cities and became obligated in tithes.

"The same will be the case in the future, in the third arrival. When they enter the land, they will begin to count Sabbatical years and Jubilees, and sanctify the houses of walled cities, and every place that they conquer will become obligated in tithes, as it is written, 'And God your Lord shall bring you to the land which your fathers inherited, and you shall inherit it' (Deuteronomy 30:5). The verse likens your inheritance to the inheritance of your fathers: just as with regard to the inheritance of your fathers you must reinstate all of these matters, so with regard to your own inheritance, you must restate all of these matter."

From Rambam's words "they sanctified the houses of walled cities and became obligated in tithes," and then after this, "they will sanctify the houses of walled cities, and every place that they conquer will become obligated in tithes," Mahari Korkos infers that only the walled cities require sanctification, while the Land of Israel with respect to its attendant commandments does not require sanctification. This distinction also appears to be implicit from the words of Rambam in Hilkhot Terumot 1:5:

"Whatever was possessed by those who came up out of Egypt and became sanctified by the first sanctification, lost its sanctity when they were exiled. For, the first sanctity, because it resulted from military conquest alone, was valid for its own time, but not for the time thereafter. When the exiles went up and possessed a portion of the land, they sanctified it with the second sanctification which is eternal, for its own time and for thereafter. And they left those places which were possessed by those who had come up from Egypt, and those who came up from Babylon did not possess them when they came, and they did not exempt them from tithes and offerings in order that the poor might be sustained upon them in the Sabbatical year."

The Rambam writes here that the first sanctification does not stand on its own; rather, it stems from military conquest. Hence, when the conquest comes to an end, so does the sanctity. However, in the days of Ezra there was no military conquest, for the Jews were subject to the rule of the nations. The sanctity came from possession, and even though possession was discontinued, sanctity was not. In the third sanctification all of those places which Ezra did not sanctify will be sanctified. Kesef Mishneh (ad loc.) critiques Rambam's position, commenting that there should be no difference between first and second sanctity: just as the first sanctification was discontinued when the conquest was discontinued, so too, the second sanctification must be discontinued with the discontinuation of the possession!

Radbaz (ad loc.) explains that the act of sanctification in Joshua's conquest was not verbal; rather, the conquest itself was what brought about the sanctification. Hence, when the conquest came to an end so did the sanctity. On the other hand, when sanctifying verbally, the sanctification is effected via the sanctity of speech. And just as when a person sanctifies an object, its sanctity does not expire, so too in our case. To the question of why Joshua did not also sanctify verbally, Radbaz answers that Joshua knew that the Holy Temple would be destroyed. Therefore, he did not want there to be absolute sanctity throughout the land. He wanted to give Israel of the Second Temple the ability to leave places upon which the poor could be sustained in the Sabbatical year."

The words of Radbaz are in consonance with those of Mahari Korkos above who states that there is a kind of sanctity which does not call for verbalization.

It is worth noting that though Rambam writes that second sanctification remains valid for the time thereafter, he is of the opinion that priestly tithes and offerings are today only rabbinically incumbent. He is explicit in this matter, writing that the land must be in the hands of the entire nation, and because in the days of Ezra not all Jews returned to the Land of Israel there was no biblical obligation (this is a very novel assertion, and one which astonished other early authorities who felt that there is no need for the return of all Jews).

Today's Conquest - Does it impart sanctity?

Simply speaking, we can learn from the words of Radbaz regarding our own situation, wherein part of the Land of Israel has been conquered by the Jewish people, and as a result of conquest there is also sanctity. And though it is true that the entire Jewish people did not take part in the military conquest, with regard to our inquiry it is the Jews residing in Israel that count. Indeed, the Sages teach (tractate Horayot) that the Jews who reside in Israel are called "the Congregation of Israel," while those who live abroad do not merit this appellation.

This has practical implications regarding what is known as "the bull brought [in sacrifice] for breach of any of the commandments." If a court issued an erroneous ruling in a matter involving the penalty of karet (excision), causing the majority of the Jewish population to transgress unintentionally, a sacrifice must be offered. In such a scenario we go according to the population of the Land of Israel. In the time of Ezra, only forty-five thousand Jews returned. The majority of the Jewish people remained in exile. It is clear, then, that the conquest carried out by the citizens of Israel is seen as if it had been carried out by all of Israel.

Still, it is necessary to deliberate as to whether a Sanhedrin is needed in order to impart sanctity. It appears that verbal sanctification calls for a Sanhedrin, for the members of the Sanhedrin represent the community. The sanctification of conquest, on the other hand, does not call for the Sanhedrin, for it is not the Sanhedrin which does the conquering but the nation of Israel. This would appear to be so, however, this question really calls for a separate study.

The Sanctity of the Temple According to Rambam

We have discussed the Talmudic debate that appears in tractate Shavuot regarding the necessary conditions for adding to the city and the Courtyard. The question was, do all of the conditions mentioned in the Mishnah ("king, prophet, Urim VeTumim, Sanhedrin of seventy-one, two thanksgiving loaves, and song") need to be met, or is a single one of them enough? Rambam, in "Hilkhot Beit HaBechirah" rules according to Rav Huna, who maintains that all of the conditions are necessary:

"Wherever all of these acts were not performed in this specific order, a complete sanctification has not been achieved, and Ezra's employing the two thanksgiving loaves was an act of symbolic remembrance, and the place was not sanctified through his actions, for neither king nor Urim VeTumim were present. And so through what was it sanctified? Through the first sanctification which Solomon carried out, for he sanctified the Courtyard and Jerusalem for its own time and also for the future. Therefore all sacrifices are offered even though there is no Temple standing there.

"And why do I say that in the Temple and in Jerusalem the first sanctification was valid for its own time and also for the time thereafter, while when it comes to the rest of the Land of Israel, regarding the Sabbatical year and priestly tithes and offerings, [I say that] the first sanctification was not valid for the time thereafter? This is because the sanctity of the Temple and Jerusalem results from the Divine Presence, and the Divine Presence is never discontinued. Behold, He says, 'I will make your Sanctuaries desolate' (Leviticus 26:31), and the Sages comment, 'Even though they will be desolate, they will continue to be holy.'

"However, [regarding] the land [we] must observe the Sabbatical Year and the tithes because [it came into their possession through] mass conquest, and when the land was taken from their possession, the conquest was nullified, and it became exempt from the Torah, and from the tithes, and from the Sabbatical year, and when Ezra went up and sanctified it, he did not sanctify it through conquest but through legal possession. Therefore, every place that the returnees from Babylon took possession of and was sanctified by the second sanctity - that of Ezra - is sacred today, even though the land was taken from us, and calls for observance of the Sabbatical year and tithes..."

The Rambam, in keeping with the positions of Ritva and Tosefot, draws a distinction between the sanctity of Jerusalem, which cannot be nullified, and the sanctity of the Land of Israel and its attendant commandments.

Incidentally, this passage clarifies that which we mentioned earlier regarding the City of Jerusalem, namely, that it is part of the Temple. For, Rambam invokes the verse "I will make your Sanctuaries desolate," which deals with the Temple, in order to prove that Jerusalem's sanctity was not discontinued. Jerusalem is also called "your Sanctuary," however there are varying levels of sanctity even in the Temple itself - the Holy of Holies, the Holy, the Courtyard, etc.

Raavad's Position

In the two places where Rambam clarifies his own position, Raavad, in his critical commentary to Mishneh Torah, records his own objection. Raavad rules that second sanctity remains valid, and therefore there is a biblical obligation to separate tithes and offerings even today. However, in "Hilkhot Beit Habechira," Raavad writes that this is true only regarding the general sanctity of the Land of Israel - not Jerusalem and the Temple: "For Ezra knew that the Temple and the city were destined to change and to become sanctified with a different, permanent sanctity," and Raavad concludes with the interesting comment that "this secret of God was revealed to His pious ones; therefore, one who enters therein today does not incur karet (excision)."

In sum, the Rambam and Raavad hold opposite positions. According to Rambam, the sanctity of the Temple endures eternally because it stems from the Divine Presence, not from the sanctity of the rest of the land. Apparently Rambam disagrees with Raavad's assertion that Jerusalem is destined to be sanctified with an exalted sanctity. In Rambam's opinion, it is not possible that there could be any kind of sanctity greater than the sanctity of the Divine Presence. On the other hand, when it comes to land-related commandments, the sanctity was discontinued and returned in the days of Ezra only to those areas which he sanctified.

The third approach is that of Rashba who rules like Reish Lakish who holds that the obligation of priestly tithes and offerings today is rabbinic, for the first and second sanctities were valid in their time, but not thereafter. Rashba draws no distinction between the Land of Israel and the Temple. He is of the opinion that all sanctity in the Land of Israel stems from a single source.

May it be God's will that very soon we merit climbing the stairs of the Temple on our way to greet the Messiah, Amen.

25 July 2017

The Subterranean Temple

The Subterranean Temple

I am asleep, but my heart is awake
Song of Songs 5:2

Our sages tell us that “when King Solomon built the Holy Temple, knowing that it was destined to be destroyed, he built a place in which to hide the Ark, [at the end of] hidden, deep, winding passageways.”1 It was there that King Josiah placed the Ark twenty-two years before the Temple’s destruction, as related in the Book of Chronicles.2

The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was built by King Solomon in the year 2928 from creation (833 BCE), and was destroyed 410 years later, on the ninth day of the month of Av, by the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar. Seventy years later it was rebuilt; the second Temple stood for 420 years, until its destruction by the Romans, also on the ninth of Av, in 3829 (69 CE). Ever since, 9 Av has been a day of fasting and repentance—a day on which we mourn the destruction, and pray for the coming of Moshiach, when the third and final Temple will be restored to its place as the divine epicenter of the universe.

The Holy Temple was G‑d’s home, the place in which He chose to manifest His all-pervading truth. How, then, could it have been destroyed by human hands? Only because the very structure of the Temple allowed for this possibility. This is the deeper significance of the fact that King Solomon built the Holy Temple “knowing that it was destined to be destroyed” and incorporated into it a hiding place for the Ark for that eventuality. Had the Temple not been initially constructed with the knowledge of, and the provision for, what was to happen on the ninth of Av, no mortal could have moved a single stone from its place.

The Places of the Ark

The fact that the Ark’s hiding place was built into the Holy Temple from the very beginning also carries another implication: it means that the first, second and third Temples are not three different structures, but the continuum of a single edifice.

The Ark contained the two tablets of stone, inscribed with the Ten Commandments by the hand of G‑d, which Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. It was the holiest object in the Temple, and the sole object in the Temple’s innermost chamber, the Holy of Holies. Indeed, our sages define the primary function of the Holy Temple as the housing of the Ark, for the Ark constituted “the resting place of the Shechinah (divine presence).”3

Thus, the underground chamber built by Solomon is much more than another “part” of the Holy Temple. The fact that it was constructed for the express purpose of containing the Ark means that it is of a piece with the Holy of Holies—the very heart of the Temple and its raison d’être.4

This is further underscored by the fact that the Ark has remained in this chamber from the time that it was placed there by Josiah, twenty-two years before the destruction of the First Temple, to this very day. This means that for the 420 years of the Second Temple, the Ark was not in the Holy of Holies, but in its underground chamber. But if the most fundamental function of the Temple is to house the Ark, how can there be a Holy Temple without an Ark? Also, at the time that Josiah hid the Ark, there was not yet any threat to the Holy Temple or to the Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, only the prophetic knowledge that the Temple was destined to be destroyed. If the essence of the Holy Temple would have been negated by the removal of the Ark below ground, this would certainly not have been done until there was actual danger that the Ark might fall into enemy hands. Obviously, then, the underground hiding place of the Ark is no less part of the Holy Temple, and no less valid a place for the Ark, than the (aboveground) Holy of Holies.

In other words, the Holy Temple was initially designed and built to exist in two states: a revealed state and a concealed state. Accordingly, there were two designated places for the Ark in the Holy Temple—the aboveground portion of the Holy of Holies, and the chamber hidden at the end of “deep, winding passageways.” In its revealed state, the Holy Temple was a beacon of divine light, a place where man openly perceived and experienced the divine presence.5 In its concealed state, the divine revelation in the Holy Temple is muted, or almost completely obscured. But as long as the Temple houses the Ark, it continues to serve as the dwelling of G‑d.

In the twenty-eight centuries since it was first built, the Holy Temple has never ceased to fulfill its fundamental function as the seat of the divine presence in the world. There were times in which the entire structure stood in all its glory atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, times in which it existed in a diminished form (as in the Second Temple era), and times in which it was almost entirely destroyed. But a certain part of the Holy Temple has never been disturbed, and there its heart has never ceased to beat. When the “Third” Temple will be built, speedily in our days, and the Ark restored to its aboveground chamber, it will not be a new edifice, or even a “rebuilding,” but a revelation and reasserting of what has been present all along.

Deep and Winding

“Because we have sinned before You . . . our city was destroyed, our Sanctuary laid waste; our grandeur was banished, and the glory departed from our House of Life; no longer are we able to fulfill our duties in Your chosen home, in the great and holy house upon which Your name is proclaimed . . .”6

As these lines express, the Temple’s susceptibility to destruction is, on the most basic level, a negative thing. Because G‑d knew that we might prove unworthy of His manifest presence in our lives, He instructed that the Holy Temple be built in such a way as to allow for periods of diminution and concealment.

But our vulnerability to sin is but G‑d’s “awesome plot on the sons of man.”7 G‑d created us with the capacity to do wrong only to enable us to uncover “the greater light that comes from darkness”8—to enable us to exploit the momentum of our lowest descents to drive our highest achievements. There is much to be achieved through the virtuous development of our positive potential; but nothing compares with the fervor of the repentant sinner, with the passion of one who has confronted his darkest self to recoil in search of light. No man can pursue life with the intensity of one who is fleeing death.

For centuries the Holy Temple has lain desolate, its essence contracted in a subterranean chamber deep beneath its ruined glory. But this terrible descent is, in truth, but the impetus for even higher ascent, even greater good, even more universal perfection, than what shone forth from the Temple in its first and second incarnations.

The paths to this chamber are hidden, deep and winding. This is not the straight and true path of the righteous, but the furtive, convoluted path of the “returnee” (baal teshuvah)—a path that plunges to the depths of his soul to unleash the most potent forces buried therein.9

1. Mishneh Torah, Laws of the Holy Temple 4:1, from Talmud, Yoma 53b.
2. II Chronicles 35:3; Mishneh Torah, loc. cit.
3. Nachmanides’ commentary on Torah, introduction to Exodus 25. See Likkutei Sichot,      vol. 4, p. 1346, note 24.
4. Thus the Talmud says that “the Ark was concealed in its place” (Yoma, ibid.).
5. See Exodus 23:17 (as interpreted by the Talmud, Chagigah 2a), 25:8 and 40:34–35; I Kings ch. 8; Ethics of the Fathers 5:5; et al.
6. From the Mussaf prayer for Shabbat Rosh Chodesh.
7. Psalms 66:5.
8. Ecclesiastes 2:13 (as interpreted by chassidic teaching).
9. Based on an address by the Rebbe, Shabbat Chazon 5741/1981 (Likkutei Sichot, vol. 21, pp. 156–163).

Source: Chabad>/a>

24 July 2017


Israel's former foreign minister warns her country (Israel) is on the verge of 
a religious war with the Muslim world

Israel's former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says she fears that Israel is on the verge of a religious battle with the Muslim world. (dailymailonline – no link)

Livni said tactical differences over controversial security measures at a sensitive Jerusalem holy site - imposed after a deadly shooting of two Israeli police officers - have deteriorated into something far worse.

She told Israeli media that 'we are a step away from turning our conflict with the Palestinians, and cooperation with Jordan and other Sunni nations, into a pan-Muslim event against the state of Israel.’

Livni said the Israeli Cabinet now needs to show leadership to prevent the scenario from happening.

In other words, first the Arabs seem to recognize and join with Israel for common security issues, then those who are fighting each other decide to stop (“why are we fighting each other, the Israelis are the enemy”) and then join together to fight against Israel (“their common enemy”) and the Jews, and the nations of the world hop on the Arab bandwagon.

Just a few metal detectors to keep guns and knives and other weapons from entering the Holy Temple Mount area! Over this they will start a world war? Naw, just another excuse to kill Jews.

“[. . .] large mosques in Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia all have metal detectors and security procedures for entry.” Mystical Paths

Meanwhile in the rest of the world:

5 Wounded in Chainsaw Rampage in Switzerland
“Man" carrying chainsaw goes berserk in northern Swiss town, leaving severely injured. ArutzSheva [“man” is a euphemism for palestinian terrorist]

Terror attack on Israeli embassy official in Jordan
Senior embassy official wounded in terror attack in Jordanian capital. Terrorist shot and killed. 

Jordanian police threaten to jail Israeli pilgrims for praying. Warning to visitors at Aaron’s Tomb comes as tensions between countries skyrocket over stabbing at Israeli Embassy. TimesofIsrael

Aaron's Tomb near Petra, Jordan. (CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikipedia)

Shuttered Bronx synagogue becomes a dumping ground
After Bronx synagogue closes down, neighborhood residents dump trash on the property - then complain to municipality. ArutzSheva

Second anti-Israel protest outside Istanbul synagogue
For the second time in one week, anti-Israel protesters take their anger at Israel's security policies out on their local synagogue.  ArutzSheva  Turkish President: “the Zionists (didn’t) block worship at the mosques in Jerusalem, so we will defile, destroy, and block your entry to synagogues in Turkey”. Read more by acerbic and witty Akiva at Mystical Paths


Is Turkey Bank Rolling the Clashes Over the Temple Mount? IsraelRisingIt might be more accurate to say, Is ISIS via Turkey bankrolling the Arab Clashes…. Reb Nir ben Artzi says ISIS is controlling Erdogan and he does what they say, to save his neck. (Where are they getting their money from?)

PALESTINIAN TERRORIST FROM WEST BANK STABS ARAB-ISRAELI IN PETAH TIKVA: "‘I did it for Al Aksa,’ says 21-year-old suspect who served recent prison sentence for terror activities.” JPost

And the ongoing Arab Wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran in Syria, Iran supplying weapons of destruction to Lebanon, to name a few nefarious actions in Arab countries. Add to this recipe the Nations who are always ganging up on Israel. We are not allowed to defend our People, we are not allowed population increase and the need for housing, and, such as this:   “man! Israelis are so bigoted because they installed a metal detector so they won't be killed.” (also from Akiva)

This entire scenario reminds me of a Tale by Rebbe Nachman:

The king’s star gazer saw that the grain harvested that year was tainted. Anyone who would eat from it would became insane. “What can we do?” said the king. “It is not possible to destroy the crop for we do not have enough grain stored to feed the entire population.”
“Perhaps,” said the star gazer, “we should set aside enough grain for ourselves. At least that way we could maintain our sanity.” The king replied, “If we do that, we’ll be considered crazy. If everyone behaves one way and we behave differently, we’ll be considered the not normal ones.
“Rather,” said the king, “I suggest that we too eat from the crop, like everyone else. However, to remind ourselves that we are not normal, we will make a mark on our foreheads. Even if we are insane, whenever we look at each other, we will remember that we are insane!”

23 July 2017

The Most Recent Flyby of NIBIRU

Nibiru's Thirteenth and Final Flyby Approaches Now
(including all the visual flybys of NIBIRU and the Nemesis System)

Amazing Explanations

Capture by Becky Smith (forgive her off-color rambling, she is in shock)
After the 35 min mark is a discussion of what is going on in Britain and the Brexit. Dave Dobbs is an extremely unusual person – an analyst of the politics in England AND a calculator of NIBIRU and the Nemesis System – Then skip his rambling to 47 when he begins again about NIBIRU. At 1:25 is a chemical explanation – fascinating.

This will be the 13th orbital rotation of Nibiru round Nemesis - without any doubt at all - before it completely plunges back through the ecliptic and into the Southern aspect of our Solar System, from whence it came. If there is any preparations we can make then now is the time.

September 17 2017 a maneuver by NASA supposedly invading another planet

Estimated:  Final Flyby 2 January 2018 (not exact)
Estimated the Govts will describe this as an alien invasion

WSO - Why the Big Orb on this Satellite is IMPORTANT to UNDERSTAND

Many of my Subscribers were perplexed about my dumbfoundedness yesterday looking at these images with the huge orb in it. So I do an in depth explaination of what we are seeing and why I think it is important.

22 July 2017

Ecological Terrorism – Sewage from Gaza Increasing

'Ecological Terrorism': stream overflows with sewage from Gaza

As a result of the crisis in Gaza, the amount of wastewater flowing into the stream that reaches the Ashkelon coast has increased. Vacuum trucks are no longer efficient, and the barriers erected by the IDF are not succeeding in preventing the flow of sewage into the stream.

Over the past week, the amount of sewage flowing by the Palestinians to the Hanun stream, which crosses Israel and the Gaza Strip, has increased, and Israel is feeling the impact of the pollution. Following the electricity crisis and the collapse of sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are dumping their sewage into the Hanun stream.

"The dozens of trucks that operate are no longer effective, he added, warning that "the water level rises daily and if the situation remains as it is—the stream will overflow. Beyond the visible pollution, the sewage water also pollutes the Coastal Aquifer very severely.” YNetNews

Photo: Roee Idan

20 July 2017

Parshas Maatos–Maasei . . . ON THE PLAINS OF MOAV

By Roy S. Neuberger

As I have mentioned on previous occasions, my favorite road in the world is the “Tishim,” Route 90, which runs the entire length of Israel, some 300 miles from Eilat in the south to Metulla in the north. From the Tishim today, just east of Yericho, one can look across the YardenRiver to Arvei Moav, the Plains of Moav. With my mind’s eye, I see Moshe Rabbeinu and Bnai Yisroel encamped there, about to cross over into the Promised Land. 

view of plains of Moav

This Shabbos we conclude Sefer Bamidbar with the words, “These are the commandments and the ordinances that Hashem commanded through Moshe to the Children of Israel in the Plains of Moav at the Yarden by Yericho. (Bamidbar 36:13) 

“Chazak! Chazak! V’nis’chazaik!”  This is history! This is reality! This is today!

Yes, my friends: “ma’ase avos siman l’bonim.” It is about to happen again. With Hashem’s blessing, we have survived millennia in the Midbar of history. Now, once again, the Nation is poised, about to cross over into the Promised Land, but this time it will be forever, everything according to the Word of Hashem, Who desires to “prolong [our] days … upon the Land … like the days of the heaven over the earth.” (Dvarim 11:21)

I know it seems impossible, but it also seemed impossible then. “[The prophets told you that by remaining faithful you would] withhold your foot from [exile] and your throat from thirst, but you said, ‘I do not care!’” (This week’s Haftara;Yirmiah 2:25) Coming off the many rebellions related in Sefer Bamidbar, how can we expect that Hashem will have rachmonis and allow us to enter the Holy Land in unity and strength, filled with kedusha?

Yet we knew then and we know now that Hashem will never forsake us. We know now because – through the lens of history – we see an amazing fact: we still exist! Despite all our faults and rebellions, Am Yisroel still exists as the People of the Torah! We still exist as that distinct nation which survives only through the ceaseless miracles by which Hashem preserves us amidst universal hostility which would have destroyed any other nation countless times over. 

On a recent Shabbos, I was crossing a large road on my way to shul. A passing motorist starting honking at me and other Jews along the roadway. It was clear that he would have loved to stop and assault all of us, chas v’Shalom. Do you know what I thought to myself? It was the Shabbos of Parshas Balak, and I thought to say to him: “My hateful friend, it will do you no good! All your hatred cannot touch us! Yes, there have been terrible afflictions throughout the ages, but you cannot destroy Am Yisroel! If Bilaam could not destroy us, if we are still here after every pogrom since the beginning of history, then your hatred cannot touch us! Hashem will never relinquish His promise to bring Am Yisroel home at the end of history!”

My friends, Arvei Moav are next to Yam Hamelach, the lowest point on earth. Do you know what that means? We rise from the lowest to the highest! In Biblical times we marched from mem-tes sha’are tumah to Har Sinai, and in our own times we will march from the depths of Golus to Har Habayis

This week we initiate Chodesh Av. “Av” means “father.” In the midst of all our nisyonos, we have to remember that Hashem is our loving Father, Who wants nothing more than to rejoice with His Children at the Rebuilt Yerushalaim! Yes, He is Malkeinu, but He is also Avinu!

There is a certain project I have been working on for years. It has been extremely difficult. Getting my books published was difficult, but nothing like this! After years of effort, I am still not there. So I say to myself, “Now I understand why it took the Children of Israel forty years to cross a Midbar that is literally a ten-day journey!” What the Torah describes is not hyperbole; it is reality! We read about every stop in this week’s Parsha! This is life! A “ten-day” journey takes forty years. But we get there! 

One of the six brachos we say in every Shemoneh Esreh, whether it is Shabbos or Yom Tov or a weekday, is “Retzai,” regarding the restoration of the Avoda in the Bais Hamikdosh. On Shabbos we do not make specific requests, so why do we say this bracha? Rav Shimon Schwab zt”l supplies the answer: “The meaning of ‘Retzai’ is completely different than that of the brachos we offered up to this point in the (weekday) Shemoneh Esreh. In Retzai, we ask nothing for ourselves. Rather we ask that through the return of the avodah … the purpose of Creation shall be realized when the Shechina will permeate the world and Malchus Shomayim shall be recognized by all of mankind.” (Rav Schwab on Prayer)

“We ask nothing for ourselves.” My friends, when we desire the rebuilt Bais Hamikdosh we are asking for Hashem’s “return from Golus,” and of course we will accompany Him. “Not for our sake, Hashem, not for our sake but for Your Name’s sake give glory!” (Tehillim 115)

Do you think Golus will last? Do you think the current culture has a future? The world we see around us today is as fleeting as the weekdays seem when we sing “L’cha Dodi.” 

“All those who mourn for Yerushalayim will see her joy” (Taanis 30b) We are about to see the return of the Shechina to Yerushalayim. Today’s world is transient, but Yerushalayim is eternal! “V’sechezena …. May our eyes behold Your return to Tzion in compassion. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who restores His Shechina to Tzion!”

“May You raise up those who stand by You forever!” (Selichos, Seventeenth of Tammuz)


View eastward toward the Plains of Moav from a vantage point slightly to the south of Yericho. In the foreground is the northern tip of Yam Hamelach.

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

© Copyright 2017 by Roy S. Neuberger

Why are you afraid?

Major General Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, said at a Monday press conference that at some point Israel will have to destroy all Iranian infrastructures in Syria. He stated that Israel's interests must be taken into account by the Russians and the Americans when considering possible peace agreements in Syria.

In Amidror's opinion, Israel needs to first of all "take care of its strategic goal" of "keeping Iran and Hezbollah from building launch pads in Syria."

Regardless of how much Israel wants the Syrian civil war to end, "the price can't be having Iran and Hezbollah on our borders."

Yalkut Shimoni (Book of Yeshayahu #499) deals with military conflicts of the future, which is now:

Interestingly, but not coincidental, the Yalkut states that Paras (Persia-Iran) will be the dread of humanity. World leaders will be frustrated in their futile efforts to save what they can. The people of Yisrael will also be petrified by the impending danger. And HaShem will say to us, "Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the awaited redemption. And this redemption will not be like the redemption from Egypt, which was followed by suffering. This redemption will be absolute, followed with peace".

Who will bring about the final redemption?

In view of the life-threatening dangers facing our nation from Arabs and Moslems, military service in Tzahal is the fulfillment of the most essential contemporary mitzva.

In this week’s parasha, Moshe angrily rebukes the tribes of Reuven and Gad when they requested to receive their land portions on the liberated eastern side of the Jordan River without having to go to war together with the other tribes.

Would your brothers (the other tribes who still have to liberate the western side of the Jordan) come to war while you sit here?

Devorah the Shofetet, denounced the people of Meroz for evading the call to defend the nation! (Shoftim 5,23)

Curse Meroz said the angel of the Lord. Curse its people because they did not come to help the Lord,

The hareidi sector is opposed to military service in Tzahal, but are splintered regarding the reasons for their objections. The most extreme elements claim that the Medina was born in sin and has no right to exist, and would welcome the return of some foreign entity - even the Arabs - to rule over the land until the Mashiach appears.

Another group claims that since the sins of the secular are responsible for our security problems, they are the ones who must serve.

The more enlightened hareidim claim that their Torah study is protecting the Medina, no less than Tzahal.

So, the question is: now that leading Chareidi rabbis have relinquished the helm of leadership of the Medina by prohibiting their students (numbering in the tens of thousands) from taking part in the defense of our holy land and nation, who will bring about the final redemption?

The answer is Iran.

Changes to the status quo are on the horizon

Current events are following HaShem’s plan as revealed by Chazal.

The US and European States signed a bad agreement with Iran, the result of an American President who is a closet Jihadist or an incompetent with a narcissist complex.

The Redeemer will be HaShem, but what is the role that Iran will play?

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b) records a fundamental controversy between two leading tana’ic rabbis - Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua.

Rabbi Eliezer believes that redemption will come about only after the Jewish people do teshuva (to repent and return to the correct path). HaShem will not initiate any act of forgiveness or redemption, but will react to our teshuva initiative.

Rabbi Yehoshua disputes this, claiming that when a certain point in time will be reached, and the Jewish nation will not have done teshuva, HaShem will create a situation whereby we will be forced to return to the Torah. This will be done by HaShem giving rise to a despotic leader whose decrees will be even harsher than those of Haman.

Rambam in Hilchot Bait Habechira 7,23 states:

When builders enter the Temple to construct or repair it, or to remove an impure object, it is a mitzvah for the craftsmen who enter to be kohanim who do not possess any disqualifying physical deformities.

If no capable craftsmen meeting those criteria can be found, then kohanim with disqualifying deformities should enter. If none are found, Levites should enter. If none are found, Israelites should enter.

It is a mitzvah for those who enter to be tahor (ritually pure). If no capable craftsmen who are tahor can be found, then craftsmen who are tamai (impure) may enter.

At the end of the 19th century when HaShem saw that the time to return home had arrived, He certainly preferred that the initiators of our national renaissance would be great Torah scholars leading large numbers of God-fearing laymen. When the great scholars did not come forward, HaShem brought forth a non-observant visionary by the name of Theodor (Binyamin Zeev) Herzl to fill the historical void by establishing the Zionist movement. He was followed by groups of Jews who too were not Torah observant, but their hearts and minds were obsessed with rebuilding the Land and bringing millions of Jews home.

As the Rambam wrote regarding the construction of the Bet Hamikdash, the order of preference was from the observant craftsmen down to whoever there was who could do the job. HaShem gathered together Jews of every persuasion to clear the swamps, pave the roads, build the buildings, plant the vineyards, establish industries, form the military and a modern robust nation, called today Medinat Yisrael.

And just like the Bet Hamikdash, the moment it was completed, no tamai person could enter, no Levi could enter the precinct of the kohen and only the Kohen Gadol could enter the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur; so too the Medina. While it is being constructed, every craftsman can contribute his part; but when the Medina will reach a point decided by HaShem, changes will occur.

It is happening now, and those changes will be generated by Iran.

Iran’s role

Dire threats will be made by the Ayotullas of Iran to the people of Israel. The dangers will create here an atmosphere of trepidation, causing many people to leave the country.

Those with weak spiritual connections to the State and to Torah will either return to the Torah through teshuva or leave the land.

The three hundred and fifty thousand gentiles from the Soviet Union who do not want to convert halakhically will leave.

Hareidim who do not identify with the Medina will find living more comfortable in other places in the world, and many kollel men will find that the tension is interfering with their learning, and leave.

Millions of Arabs will flee to wherever they can, as they did in 1948.

The radical leftists who undermine the foundations of the Medina will leave.

The Jews in the galut will certainly not want to be here.

We lived in Kiryat Sanz in Netanya and during the three weeks preceding the Six Day War in 1967, we witnessed whole families escaping their own fears for “greener” pastures of the USA and Europe.

Their punishment was swift in coming. It was during the Six Day War that Medinat Yisrael liberated all of Yerushalayim, and the Medina became three times larger in six days. Those who had left were not here to rejoice with us.

In the future, those who will remain here will be the Jews who have an “irrational” love for the Land and believe deeply that HaShem will never abandon His children in Eretz Yisrael. They will be the old entrenched families who came here a hundred or more years ago - the Rivlins, the Blaus, the Solomons, the Kahanas of Tzfat, and the Liders of Tiveria. And of course, the knitted kipot people and the military personnel who are willing to sacrifice all for the State.

This is the role set about for Iran. To create fear that will cleanse the country of “inappropriate” residents and retain only those who are sincerely loyal to HaShem.

When that happens, we will witness the most astounding and impressive miracles of salvation which will defy all human imagination.

The Mashiach will appear and Tzahal will be his vessel to destroy the foreign enemies of HaShem and prepare the Land for the reappearance of the Shechina in the Bet Hamikdash on the Temple Mount.

This is what the Yalkut Shimoni means when it says: And HaShem will say to us, "Why are you afraid? All of this I have done in order to bring you the awaited redemption."

I hope and pray that HaShem will grant me, my family and friends to be among those who will witness these extraordinary events.


Rabbi Nachman Kahana is an Orthodox Rabbinic Scholar, Rav of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, and Author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah”, as we