Chief Rabbi of Tzfat Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu gave over words of encouragement following the rocket attack in Be’er Sheva and the escalating security situation in southern Israel.
The rabbi said that the nation of Israel is in the midst of a “spiritual struggle.”
“The evil ones in Gaza shoot on civilians in southern and central Israel, and this entails a spiritual struggle. On the one hand, they live off of us, on the other hand, they strike us and find any way they can to burn our fields, dig under kindergartens, shoot missiles - and we stand against them with a weak spirit. Every soldier has a legal prosecutor and can’t do anything. “This is the same story that happened with David and Goliath. Goliath, with brazenness and insolence - it’s no accident he comes from the area of the Gaza Strip - comes out for 40 days, mocking Israeli soldiers, and Israel stands with its hands tied behind its back, not because they can’t respond - there were those in the tribe of Binyamin who could sling a stone at a hair without missing - but there was weakness of spirit, until David came along, and with courage and strength he strikes down Goliath and establishes the Davidic kingship. “Today, as well, we must understand, the nation of Israel needs strength to stand against these insolents, against the ‘unholy brazenness,’ with ‘holy brazenness.’ May G-d grant the people of Israel holy brazenness to strike these unholy elements and remove this great threat from the Jewish people,” the rabbi concluded.
* To hear video of Rabbi Eliyahu, follow link. ** Rabbi Mizrachi has also spoken of our spiritual danger
The Yomim Tovim are a massive spiritual mountain. Wherever we are on that mountain, we have a lot of climbing to do. “How can man be pure, when even the heavenly legion is not pure in Your eyes? …. The days of his life are desolate, his nights are void and his concerns are vanity. He is likened to a dream that is gone upon awakening; terrors always frighten him. By night he cannot sleep; by day he cannot rest … until he slumbers in the grave.” (Yom Kippur Shacharis)
Do I stand a chance against the Yetzer Hara?
“So remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come … before the sun, the light, the moon and the stars go dark and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the guards of the house will tremble … So man goes to his eternal home, while the mourners go about the streets…. Thus the dust returns to the ground, as it was, and the spirit returns to G-d Who gave it. Havel havalim …. Futility of futilities, said Koheles, all is futile!”
When I was a child, I had never heard the term “Yetzer Hara,” but I actually saw the Yetzer Hara in front of me! I felt completely powerless, like a slave controlled by an unconquerable force. It is no coincidence that the primal event in Jewish history is Yetzias Mitzraim, which freed our nation from slavery, because slavery is the default condition of man ever since we left Gan Eden.
You would think that, after I found Hashem, I would have been freed from subjugation to the Yetzer Hara, but it is not true. I find that I am still struggling with a force which pushes me away from the life I want to live. Why do I speak loshon hara? Why do I get angry? Why do I run from Torah obligations which are so clearly to my benefit? The Yetzer Hara is the most fearsome and ubiquitous enemy in the world!
And now, we meet Avraham Avinu! What strength! How did he do it? He not only subdued his Yetzer Hara, but he disregarded jeers, threats and mockery in order to adhere to what he had discovered. And what did he discover? That there is a Creator and Ruler to Whom we owe total allegiance. But you cannot even see Hashem! You cannot prove to any scoffer that He exists! People will think you are crazy!
The amazing fact is that, in proportion to Avraham Avinu’s devotion to Hashem, the results of that devotion became visible to all. Avraham Avinu became the Prince of the World.
“G-d chose Avraham but did not draw him close. Rather, Avraham drew close of his own accord.” (Bamidbar Rabbah 3:2, quoted in Encyclopedia of Biblical Personalities)
There is a wonderful athletic trainer in Borough Park named Yoel Gottehrer. His motto is “Improve one percent every day!” The Zohar (1:129a) says, “Avraham did not draw close to Hashem in one day or at one time; his deeds drew him one step closer every day….” (ibid)
Avraham Avinu demonstrates that a real person can struggle with his Yetzer Hara and prevail! This may be the most important fact in the entire world. The result of this unending effort was that, just as Avraham had overturned his Yetzer Hara, so Hashem overturned physical “reality” and made him young again at the age of one hundred. “[Avraham] grew old, turned white and abstained from the way of the world. Then his hair turned black, his youth returned and [he] became like a young man.” (Tanna d’Bei Eliyahu Rabbah 6, ibid)
My friends, all this can really happen! Avraham Avinu did it and we, his children, can do it!
“When the Holy Temple was destroyed, Hakodosh Baruch Hu found Avraham standing in the Temple. He said to him, ‘What is My friend doing in My house?’ [Avraham] replied, ‘I have come concerning my children.’ Said [Hashem], ‘Your children sinned and were exiled.’ Said [Avraham], ‘Perhaps they transgressed unintentionally.’ Said [Hashem], ‘They acted intentionally.’ [Avraham] laid his hands on his head, wept and wailed. ‘Perhaps there is no remedy for them.’ [Then], a Heavenly Voice rang out, ‘Hashem called your name a leafy olive tree, fair with goodly fruit.’ Just as the olive achieves its purpose in the end [even though it is a very lengthy process from the time the tree is planted until all the fruits are ready], so will Israel achieve its purpose in the end….
“Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Why are the [Children of] Israel compared to an olive tree? To tell you [that], just as the leaves of the olive tree do not fall in the summer or the winter, so Israel will never be subject to nullification, neither in this world nor in the World to Come.
“And Rabbi Yochanan said: Why are the [Children of] Israel compared to an olive tree? To tell you [that], just as the olive tree does not release its oil except [when its fruit undergo] crushing, so Israel will not return to the right path except through suffering.” (Menachos 53b, ibid)
In other words, our struggles have meaning! Perhaps we can actually ascend the Holy Mountain! “Why do you … declare, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from Hashem?’ …. The Eternal G-d … neither wearies nor tires…. Youths may weary and … young men may … falter, but those whose hope is in Hashem will have renewed strength…. Fear not, for I am with you … For I, Hashem, grasp your right hand! (Yeshiah 40:27ff; Haftaras Lech Lecha)
Our Father Avraham taught us to struggle, endure and prevail … ad Moshiach!
HaShem revealed to Noach that He would never again bring a flood to destroy all life, and the sign of the covenant would be the rainbow in the cloud. Why precisely a rainbow? And why did the start of Avram’s ascent on the stage of history begin as an addendum at the end of Parashat Noach?
When we delve deeply into the spiritual, a surprising truth is revealed – interiors are less complex than the exteriors.
What characterizes the world of nature is the multitude of entities. There are an infinite number of types of inanimate objects, plants and living things. All the specks of sand on all the world’s beaches do not come close to the number of stars in the two trillion galaxies in the heavens. When we examine the inner workings of the atomic universe, we discover that the particles that make up a steel rod are the same that make up the wings of a butterfly. What distinguishes between steel rods that can hold up a 100-story building and the delicate wings of a butterfly is nothing but the composition of the various molecules.
The pre-eminent physicist, Albert Einstein, discovered that the interior of matter is energy, which set off the Big Bang. The energy contracted and became matter, and it is possible to reverse the process and to restore the matter to its energy, as is done with the splitting of uranium in atomic blasts.
Similarly, in the spiritual world of the Jewish People, the inner reality is less complex than the outer reality, as was made eminently clear in the Temple Service.
Kohanim in their Temple service wore four identical garments. This appearance hid the personal identities of each individual kohen. Likewise, no kohen could be linked to a particular task, because the tasks of the daily service were assigned according to daily morning lotteries.
Moreover, the obligation to portion tithes to kohanim blurred the difference among kohanim, because in terms of the Torah obligation, the required amount of Kohanic tithe was one kernel of wheat per crop of produce, without distinguishing between an ample crop and a stark one.
For the Levi’im, as opposed to the Kohanim, the Torah did not establish a uniform garment during their service. This emphasizes the independence and uniqueness of each Levi. A Levi was identified with the task that was earmarked for him in advance, and it was forbidden for him to change his task. A gatekeeper remained a gatekeeper and a singer remained a singer. Such was his task, and such was his identity. The gift that the Torah awarded the Levi was ten percent of the entire crop, such that unlike the case of the kohanim, the quantity of the tithe changed from one Levi to another according to the economic situation of the giver. All this served to emphasize the uniqueness of the individual Levi.
The Kohanic service was more enclosed than that of the Levites. Accordingly, the uniqueness of the kohen in the divine service was blurred compared to that of the particular Levi, whose uniqueness stood out amongst the rest of the Levites because the Levitic service was in exterior places in the Temple.
The rainbow in the cloud has an interior and exterior reality. The exterior reality finds expression in the seven primary colors, stretching from red to purple. Yet the combination of all the colors of the rainbow together nullifies the uniqueness of each individual color and all of them together are transformed to simple, transparent light. Indeed, the interior is simple, and the exterior is complex.
The rainbow served to reveal to Noach and to the world that just as with the rainbow, so, too, HaShem’s essence is totally invisible. Just as with the rainbow, where the seven primary colors are revealed when the sun’s rays touch the tiny vapors of moisture, HaShem’s commandments reveal themselves when the Divine Presence touches the holy Jewish soul.
That is the meaning of “Hear O Israel, HaShem is our HaShem. HaShem is one.” The entire complex, external universe derives from the one single, invisible HaShem.
Avram is connected to Parashat Noach because the rainbow is addressed to him and to his descendants after him. The Jewish People were destined to give expression to the externality of HaShem through fulfillment of the 613 mitzvot that reflect that which is most invisible and that which is most interior – The Creator of the Universe.
In Parashat Lech Lecha, HaShem recalls to Avram that his holy soul, which will continue to exist in his descendants after him, will give expression to the externality of the Creator, but only in the Land of Israel. That is the basis for Ramban’s determination (Vayikra 18:25) that the mitzvot were given to be fulfilled only in the Land of Israel. As for their fulfillment in the galut, that is only so that they will not be forgotten when we return to the Land of Israel. As the Prophet Yirmiyahu said (32:37-42):
לז) הנני מקבצם מכל הארצות אשר הדחתים שם באפי ובחמתי ובקצף גדול והשבתים אל המקום הזה והשבתים לבטח:
לח) והיו לי לעם ואני אהיה להם לאלהים:
לט) ונתתי להם לב אחד ודרך אחד ליראה אותי כל הימים לטוב להם ולבניהם אחריהם:
מ) וכרתי להם ברית עולם אשר לא אשוב מאחריהם להיטיבי אותם ואת יראתי אתן בלבבם לבלתי סור מעלי:
מא) וששתי עליהם להטיב אותם ונטעתים בארץ הזאת באמת בכל לבי ובכל נפשי: ס
מב) כי כה אמר יקוק כאשר הבאתי אל העם הזה את כל הרעה הגדולה הזאת כן אנכי מביא עליהם את כל הטובה
“See, I will gather them from all the lands to which I have banished them in My anger and wrath, and in great rage; and I will bring them back to this place and let them dwell secure. They shall be My people, and I will be their HaShem. I will give them a single heart and a single nature to revere Me for all time, and it shall be well with them and their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them and that I will treat them graciously. I will put into their hearts reverence for Me, so that they do not turn away from Me. I will delight in treating them graciously, and I will plant them in this land faithfully, with all My heart and soul. For thus said the Lord: As I have brought this terrible disaster upon this people, so am I going to bring upon them the vast good fortune which I have promised for them.”
A Testimony Of What's Really Happening In Israel's Universities (secular institution against Hashem), Secular Courts (against G–d), UN–the Migdal Bavel of today, and Current Events
Must listen to the email that a university student sent to the Rabbi.
In the Religious world we are in a deep deep spiritual crisis!
Punishment of the Wicked
AMAZING . . . MUST HEAR (toward the end)
Scary: Rabbi Mizrachi said (in my understanding) that we shouldn’t think that a war and destruction would not come upon the Land of Israel (in the End Days scenario); that most Israelis would not be eliminated, and that one shouldn’t feel comfortable in their “level” of “Torah observance”, and that we should all wake up and prepare, as the days are narrowing down. (this is my take on the scariest portion of his shiur.)
God said to Abram, “Go from your land, your birthplace, and your father’s house . . .” (Bereishis 12:1)
MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT I was crazy. Only a few said they would join me if they could. As for me, I love travel and adventure, and this was a great opportunity for both. I would do “Lech-Lecha” myself, and retrace the historical and heroic steps our greatest ancestor of all, Avraham Avinu.
After months of research and of saving up money, I set out for Ur Kasdim, the birthplace of Avraham. Easier said than done, because there is no longer any place called “Ur Kasdim.” There is only a lot of discussion from over the ages as to where it might have been.
In 1862, Henry Rawlinson identified Ur Kasdim with Tell el-Muqayyar, near Nasiriyah in southern Iraq. In 1927, Leonard Woolley excavated the site and identified it as a Sumerian archaeological site where the Chaldeans were to settle around the 9th century BCE. Recent archaeology work has continued to focus on the location in Nasiriyah, where the ancient Ziggurat of Ur is located.
According to the Rambam, and before him, the Roman historian Josephus, Ur Kasdim could be located at one of various Upper Mesopotamian or southeast Anatolian sites, such as Urkesh, Urartu, Urfa or Kutha. Not knowing which city for sure, I decided to visit all of them.
Iraq today is not the Mesopotamia of Avraham Avinu’s time, though after thousands of years, there are still many cultural similarities. Even the people living there today may have migrated from other countries over the millennia. It would take a fair bit of imagination to go back in time and try and imagine what it must have been like for Avraham.
According to the Midrash, Avraham Avinu’s father, Terach, was an idol merchant with close connections to the ruler of that time, Nimrod. In those days, EVERYONE believed in idols. This is why it was such a BOLD and DANGEROUS move to disparage them, something Avraham started to do from the tender age of THREE YEARS OLD.
Talk about being mature for one’s age!
Talk about rocking the boat!
Needless to say that Avraham became a very “popular” individual, in a dangerous sort-of-way. When he was older, he mocked the idols and tried to convince people not to buy them. After he destroyed the idols in Nimrod’s own palace, Nimrod had him chained and thrown into a dungeon for 10 years, thinking it would force Avraham to rethink his position.
After the 10 years were over, Nimrod brought Avraham out of jail and demanded that he accept him as a god. Avraham, of course, refused, and was sent to be burned to death instead. Everyone brought wood to contribute to the fire, and 900,000 people came to watch the spectacle, certain that Avraham, only 50 years old at that time, would die that day.
The exact opposite happened. Avraham miraculously survived the fire, and Nimrod was the one who was humbled. A lot of converts were made that day, once Avraham walked away from certain death, totally unscathed. It was all the proof they needed that Avraham’s God was the REAL God, ushering in two years later the “2,000 years of Torah.”
Avraham’s near death told Terach that it was time to leave Ur Kasdim with his family. This made MY next stop what had been THEIR next stop, the city of Charan which, apparently, is thought to be Harran, a city whose ruins lie within present-day Turkey. I even planned to travel part of the route by camel, as they had done.
It was in Charan that Avraham and Sarah, his wife, really stepped up their outreach effort. As the Torah says, they “made” souls there. It is also where Avraham parted ways with his father, after he received the call from God to move on to Eretz Canaan. It was in Charan that Terach died.
As a footnote on history, apparently Terach had done teshuvah for his idol-producing days. You can’t live with a son like Avraham and not wake up to the truth about God along the way. But, I also remembered reading that Terach later reincarnated into Iyov, whose suffering completed whatever teshuvah had been left unfinished when Terach had died.
As I stood where Charan once existed, I tried to imagine Avraham and Sarah teaching the world around them about God, and the major historical revolution it must have started. It changed the way people would think and act forever.
Then came the call: Lech-lecha, but not when many people think it was. Avraham was NOT 70 years old at the time God appeared to him and told him, “Lech-lecha.” He was only 55 years old when God told him, “I am God, Who brought you out from Ur Kasdim . . . Take your wife and all you own and go to Eretz Canaan.”
I followed suit. At the age of 26, I made my own “lech-lecha,” catching a short flight from Istanbul to modern day Eretz Yisroel. I was met at the airport by a guide who came highly recommended to me, both for his knowledge of Tanach and Eretz Yisroel. He liked my idea of retracing the footsteps of the Forefather of the Jewish people.
“So where have you been so far?” he asked me, loading my bags into his trunk. I noted that the car looked pretty new, which meant it probably had good air conditioning. I couldn’t wait to get into the car.
“Ur Kasdim,” I told him, buckling up
“Ur Kasdim?” he asked me, checking his mirror before pulling out. “They actually know where that is?”
“Not for certain,” I told him. “But I had to be in the general area, which was good enough for me.”
“Interesting,” he told me, in Hebrew accented English. “I would like to have been there with you.”
“It was. VERY interesting,” I said. “It’s thousands of years later, yet, somehow, just being there made me feel connected to Avraham and his journey.”
We discussed many of the things I saw and experienced while in Iraq, and how I traveled by camel on my way to Charan. He asked me if I preferred to continue to travel by camel, or to stick with the car. I told him about the old cigarette commercial, in which a guy says he would travel a mile for a camel. I told him, “I just traveled SEVERAL miles ON a camel, and it was enough for me. An air conditioned car suits me just fine for the rest of this journey!”
“The war between Nimrod and Kedarla-omer,” he told me, “took place after Avraham had already been in Eretz Yisroel for 10 years.”
“So, that would have made Avraham . . . 65 years old at the time.”
“Nachon . . .” he confirmed. “When it says, ‘He said to him, “I am God, Who brought you out from Ur Kasdim, to give you this land to inherit it’ . . .”
He quoted the whole verse in Hebrew. I was impressed . . .
(Exerpted from my new book on Sefer Bereishis called, "Insights from the Weekly Torah Reading in Discussion: Volume, Bereishis," available in Softcover and Kindle through Amazon, and PDF from www.thirtysix.org)
Today, Beersheva, the capital of the Negev was woken up at 3:35 am to the crashing sound of a giant 230-millimeter (Hamas produced) rocket shot from Gaza.
Very luckily, mom used the few seconds she had between the siren warning and the direct hit on her home to whisk her four children to safety.
Needless to say, their lives will never be the same again after this horrific trauma.
Yitzchak Rabin is finally vindicated.
He guaranteed us back in 1993, that once we take the bold step for peace and withdraw from Gaza. delivering it to the PLO/Arafat, there will most definitely not be Katyusha rockets fired at Israel from there.
Better late than never. Thousands of rockets have of course been fired at Israeli population centers causing death and destruction and trauma for life, but today, finally - no longer Katyusha rockets. Today they have their own homemade giant bombs that they shoot into Israel.
The increasingly sophisticated arms industry in Gaza, of course, uses the very materials that enter Gaza with Israel's permission and blessing.
The prophet Isiah talked about a day when "you will turn your swords into plowshears". Israel has been complicit in helping Hamas turn our benevolently supplied "plowshares into swords" to be wielded against us.
Rabin was right. The Katyusha days are over.
Then there was Shimon Peres, the spirit behind the facade of Rabin to create "the new Middle East."
As we left parts of Gaza in 1993 - 4 ( before the total abandonment and expulsion of Jews there in 2005 by Sharon), our peace partners began shooting homemade Kassam rockets into Israel.
This represented the earliest stage of the local terror arms industry.
They were unsophisticated and cheap to make but lethal when they found a target. The simple rockets have succeeded in killing Jews and destroying families in neighboring Sderot.
Shimon Peres thought that "the right" was making too big a deal about this threat. He famously derided them and scoffed, "Kassam - kashmam". You are simply afraid of peace and trying to scare the public"!
Peres is now proven right as well. No more Kasams or kashmams.
Now we have something very much more serious to fear.
If you told Rabin or Peres six months ago that half the Negev forests and farmlands would be burnt down by incendiary balloons from Gaza they would have assured us that that was simply the product of alarmist, paranoid - anti-peace fanatics.
The same answer would be given by Ariel Sharon who completed the dastardly work of Rabin and Peres. He too promised us, with the smug certainty of the security expert that he was supposed to be (like Rabin) that "not one missile will ever fly again from Gaza" once we expel ten thousand Jews and deliver their homes and synagogues to the terrorists.
Of course, the motives of these shameful politicians were different and yet similar;
Similar in that they thought it would advance their political careers.
Peres pinned his huge ego and hoped for a legacy on this extremely dangerous gamble(which hitherto was advocated only by the extreme Left in Israel). He was going to be the man who finally brought peace to Israel. And if he failed, he would always find someone to blame.
Rabin was convinced by Peres.
Sharon simply wanted to keep himself and his sons out of jail as investigations into their corruption menacingly closed in around them. They needed a sympathetic Left (in the media and judiciary) to stay out of jail. In this, they calculated correctly.
Meanwhile, the rockets come over in their thousands and are continuously getting bigger and more sophisticated.
The Negev is burning. Children do not sleep at night and can not function in school the next day. Parents sleep with one eye opened and with their shoes on.
But hey..kassam kashmam.
Maybe it was not such a hutzpa on my part to have questioned our great leaders after all.
So what now?
I don't know exactly but I kind of think ..it might be time for making Israel great again..?
PA TO CHAIR GROUP OF 77 DEVELOPING NATIONS IN 2019
The United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday voted in favor of allowing the Palestinian Authority to chair the group of 77 developing nations in 2019, Reuters reported.
The move will allow the PA to act more like a full UN member state during meetings in 2019.
Commenting on the vote, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said that the US “does not recognize a Palestinian state, notes that no such state has been admitted as a UN Member State, and does not believe that the Palestinians are eligible to be admitted as a UN Member State. The US strongly opposes the Palestinian election as Chair of the G77, as well as the so-called enabling resolution in the UN General Assembly.”
“The Palestinians are not a UN Member State or any state at all. The United States will continually point that out in our remarks at UN events led by the Palestinians. Today’s UN mistake undermines the prospects for peace by encouraging the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations. In fact, today’s vote does nothing to help the Palestinian people,” said Ambassador Haley.
WIKIPEDIA: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers is a nonprofit organization responsible for coordinating the maintenance and procedures of several databases related to the namespaces and numerical spaces of the Internet, ensuring the network's stable and secure operation.
The Governmental Advisory Committee has representatives from 111 states (108 UN members, the Holy See, Cook Islands, Niue and Taiwan), Hong Kong, Bermuda, Montserrat, the European Commission and the African Union Commission.