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31 December 2016

Gedolei Yisroel Gather on Zos Chanukah and Segulos of Zos Chanukah

Gedolei Yisroel to Gather Together at the Home of Rav Chaim Kanievsky This Zos Chanukah

It is a truly a sight to behold. Gedolim in Torah from all over Eretz Yisroel will gather in the holy home of MaRan Sar HaTorah Rav Chaim Kanievsky, to daven together as one. What cause could be so important that they will all choose to come together, you ask? For the yeshuos and parnassah of those who donate to Kupat Ha’Ir.

Donors to Kupat Ha’ir help to support impoverished & struggling talmidei chachamim and their families. These talmidim have gone to Rav Chaim Kanievsky pleading for help. That is why he has taken responsibility for these struggling individuals, and has promised something absolutely incredible to those who choose to take part in this partnership with him. This Zos Chanukah, a time known to be auspicious for parnassah, while he does the beautiful & powerful mitzvah of lighting the menorah, he will daven personally for those who give to help the impoverished families that he has taken under his wing. Yeshiva World News

Segulos of Zos Chanukah:

*The day is mesugal for one to daven for; barren women to have children, for a Refuah Sheleimah, and for one to be blessed with increased Parnassah.

*It is said in the name of the holy Rebbe, Rav Yisroel Rhiziner zechuso yagen aleinu that “what the tzaddikim of the generation accomplish through their lofty Neilah prayers on Yom Kippur, a simple Jew can ask and accomplish with his prayers on Zos Chanukah, the eighth day of Chanukah”.

*The Bnei Yisschar brings down that for barren women it is a special time during Channuka and especially Zos Chanuka (Hebrew Books. The Gemara in Shabbas(23B) itself brings down a segula of having children who are talmidim chachmim by lighting as Rashi brings down from Mishlei(6) ner mitzva v'Torah ohr, ner mitvah = Shabbas and Chanukah = Torah ohr.

From the Tehillim Hotline Mamash:
A Chassidic thought for all of us.

Today is the eighth and final day of Chanukah. This day is called “Zos Chanukah” because the Torah portioned read on this day is “Zos Chanukas Hamizbach…” which is taken from the Torah portion of Pinchas which discusses the sacrifices that each of the tribal princes offered on the day of the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It is also taught that the final day of Chanukah is the “wrap up” of the entire eight day holiday and has special significance since it represents the essence of the entire holiday. As the festival of Chanukah is the Holiday of miracles, it is a particularly auspicious day for salvation and for our prayers to be answered.

It is said in the name of the holy Rebbe, Rav Yisroel Rhiziner zechuso yagen aleinu that “what the tzaddikim of the generation accomplish through their lofty Neilah prayers on Yom Kippur, a simple Jew can ask and accomplish with his prayers on Zos Chanukah, the eighth day of Chanukah”. 

Therefore a Jew should set aside time on this day to beseech of Hashem to open his heart and mind to spirituality and strengthening his emunah, belief and not let this tremendous opportunity slip by.

The “Kedushas Mordechai” of Lelov allegorically explains today’s Torah portion which actually begins with the sacrificial offering of the prince of the tribe of Menasheh. The verse states:  [Hebrew]  “On the eighth day [of the dedication of the Tabernacle in the wilderness] the leader of the sons of Menashe, Gamliel the son of Pedahtzur [offered thus].”

We can consider each expression in the verse:

  • “On the eighth day” is an allusion to the eight day of Chanukah.
  • “the leader of”; the term in Hebrew is Nasi which can also be understood as “raised”; we can render it as “they are elevated”;
  • Who? [Is elevated?]
  • “the sons of Menashe”; alludes to the “forgotten children” (the term “menashe” in Hebrew can refer to something which is overlooked) who plead “father do not forget us”
  • "Gamliel ben Pedahtzur" can be broken up into three Hebrew words consistent with its pronunciation;
  • "Gam –Lee-El", “also me, G-d”;
  • “ben”, “(I am) a child”;
  • ‘Pedah tzur”, [Pedah in Hebrew means] redeemed by G-d [through His salvation]. (The term Tzur is used to refer to H-shem, as in [Hebrew]: “The Almighty`s works are flawless, for all His ways are just”)


The Nature of Nature
What's the difference between nature and the miraculous?

It is a strange and disorienting panorama that Rabbi E. E. Dessler, the celebrated Jewish thinker (1892-1953) asks us to ponder: a world where the dead routinely rise from their graves but no grain or vegetation has ever grown.

The thought experiment continues with the sudden appearance of a man who procures a seed, something never seen before in this bizarre universe, and plants it in the ground. The inhabitants regard the act as no different from burying a stone, and are flabbergasted when, several days later, a sprout pierces the soil where the seed had been consigned, and eventually develops into a full-fledged plant, bearing -- most astonishing of all -- seeds of its own!

Notes Rabbi Dessler, there is no inherent difference between nature and what we call the miraculous. We simply use the former word "nature" for the miracles to which we are accustomed, and the latter one for those we have not before experienced. All there is, in the end, is God's will.

It is a thought poetically rendered by Emerson, who wrote: 
"If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore…"
A thought, in fact, that subtly informed famed physicist Paul Davies' recent op-ed in The New York Times, where he wrote that "the very notion of physical law is a theological one.”

And it is a thought, too, that has pertinence to Chanukah.

The supernatural nature of nature lies at the heart of an answer for one of the most famous questions in the canon of Jewish religious law, posed in the 1500s by the author of the authoritative Code of Jewish Law, the Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Yosef Karo: Why, if oil sufficient for one day was discovered in Jerusalem's Holy Temple when the Maccabees reclaimed it from Seleucid control, is Chanukah eight days long? True, that is how long the candles burned, allowing the priests to prepare new, uncontaminated oil. But was not one of those eight days simply the day for which the found oil sufficed, and thus not itself a miracle-day worthy of commemoration?

Suggests Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, dean, of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem: Seven of Chanukah's days commemorate the miracle that, in the time of the Maccabees, the candelabrum's flames burned without oil. The eighth commemorates the miracle of the fact that oil burns at all.

The suggestion pithily echoes an account in the Talmud (Ta'anit, 25a), in which the daughter of the Talmudic sage Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa realized shortly before the Sabbath that she had accidentally poured vinegar instead of oil into the Sabbath lamps, and began to panic. Rabbi Chanina, a man who vividly perceived God's hand in all and thus particularly merited what most people would call miracles, reassured her. "The One Who commanded oil to burn," he said, "can command vinegar [as well] to burn.”

There is, in fact, one day of Chanukah's eight that is set apart from the others, designated with a special appellation. The final day of the holiday is known as "Zos Chanukah," after the Torah passage beginning "Zos chanukas hamizbe'ach" ("This is the dedication of the altar") read in the synagogue that day.

The Jewish mystical sources consider that day to be the final reverberation of the Days of Awe marked many weeks earlier. Although Rosh Hashana was the year's day of judgment and Yom Kippur was the culmination of the days of repentance, later "time-stones" of the period of God's judgment of our actions are cited as well. One is Hoshana Rabba, the last day of Sukkot. And the final one, according to the sources, is "Zos Chanukah.”

It would indeed seem to be a fitting day for thinking hard about the "supernature" in nature, the miraculous in the seemingly mundane. For what is what we call a miracle if not a more-clear-than-usual manifestation of God? And what are the Days of Awe if not a time when He is "close" to us, when God-consciousness is at front and center?

And so, perhaps the final day of Chanukah presents us with a singular opportunity to ponder how, just as the ubiquity and predictability of nature can mislead us, allowing us to forget that all is, in truth, God's will, so too can the weeks elapsed since the late summer Days of Awe lull us into a state of unmindfulness regarding the import of our actions.

If so, the final night of Chanukah might be a particularly apt time to gaze at the eight flames leaking enlightenment into the world and, as we prepare to head into the dismal darkness of what some might consider a "God-forsaken winter," know that, still and all, as always,

"His glory fills the universe.”

Written by Rabbi Avi Shafran, published on Aish.com

29 December 2016

Parshas MiKeitz – Chanukah and Yosef

By Roy S. Neuberger

Techias Hamaisim must be a very important inyan. It is the subject of the second bracha in Shemoneh Esreh, which we say at least three times every day. 

Chazal emphasize that Hashem’s strength is demonstrated by the resurrection of the dead.

Awareness of techias hamaisim enables us to overcome the vicissitudes of life. With this knowledge we can act correctly, because we will apply the perspective of eternity rather than the confusion of the moment. We say every day, “shelo asani oved.” If we bind ourselves to the Master of the Universe, we can never be enslaved by anything in this temporal world.

Which brings us to the theme of both this week’s Parsha and the Yom Tov of Chanukah.

There is a passage in this week’s Parsha which shakes me to the core. Yosef was locked in a dungeon. Sold by his brothers. Lost in an alien land. But the yeshua never comes the way you expect it to come. 

“How great are Your deeds, Hashem! Your thoughts are exceedingly profound. A boor cannot know, nor can a fool understand this!” (Tehillim 93)

“The sar hamashkim spoke up before Paro … ‘There, with us [in prison] was a Hebrew youth, a slave ... and he interpreted our dreams.’” Observe how the Ribono shel Olam “raises the needy from the trash heaps” (Tehillim 113) in the blink of an eye. “They rushed [Yosef] from the dungeon … and he came to Paro….” (Beraishis 41:12ff) In a microsecond he is lifted from the dungeon to the throne!

What is the connection with Chanukah?

During Chanukah, we sit in darkness. It is deep winter. The land is frozen and dead. The nights are long and black. The moon wanes and then disappears (unlike any other Yom Tov). During the original Chanukah, not only the armies but the ideas of Greece all but ruled Am Yisroel. It seemed that the legacy of the Avos and Imahos was crushed, with no hope of redemption.

Then a light appeared, one flame, a tiny flame in the blackness. Was it real or illusion? Then two lights. It must be real! Then three. Suddenly the blackness is challenged. By the eighth day, not only has light sprung up from the earth but a new light is visible above, as the crescent moon pierces the sky. Hashem seemed to be telling us that, if we bring light to the earth, He will save us with light from Shomayim.

My friends, we are now crushed in darkness. But there is a way out! Hashem is really going to rescue us! We have to light the light and challenge the darkness. We have to imitate the deep integrity and anivus of Yosef ha Tzaddik.

Yosef said, “That is beyond me. It is G-d Who will respond with Paro’s welfare!” (Beraishis 41:10) 
Can we comprehend the courage it took to say these words before the man who believed himself to be a divinity and seemed to hold Yosef’s life in his hands? Yosef did not bow to the sheker. If we refuse to bow to the current world of sheker, Hashem will also save us!

Every week, there is a dark moment: Motzae Shabbos, when the neshoma yesaira has departed. We celebrate a meal at that time called Melave Malka. At this seuda we nourish the “luz” bone, from which we will be recreated at techias hamaisim. (See Mishna Berurah 300:1)

Redemption emanates from darkness. Rabbi Naftali Jaeger Shlita”h, Rosh Hayeshiva of Sh’or Yoshuv, explained, in the name of the Sefas Emes, that possuk 24:16 in Mishlei – “Ki sheva yipol tsaddik v’kam” – should be understood “because” the righteous man falls, he will arise. It is not “in spite of” the fact that we fall but because we fall! If we pull ourselves by the strength of the Ribono shel Olam then we will arise!

I heard an amazing story. A few years after the Holocaust, a bedraggled group of survivors from Europe arrived in Israel by ship. Having lost everything, they felt helpless and hopeless. They heard that the Belzer Rebbe, who himself had lost almost his entire family in the war, was in Tel Aviv, and decided to go to him for chizzuk.

This is what he told them: “Do you know where in the Torah we find a reference to techias hamaisim? Our rabbis found a hint in the Song that the Children of Israel sang at the Red Sea. The words ‘oz yoshir Moshe’ imply a future redemption after our final escape from our enemies at the end of history. In other words, Moshe ‘will’ sing a song in the future in addition to the song he sang at the Red Sea.

“But why did the Torah insert the hint at this particular place? It could have been anywhere.

“The Children of Israel had just emerged from Mitzraim. During the Makah of Choshech, four-fifths of Am Yisroel had died, apparently because they were reluctant to follow Moshe Rabbeinu. Imagine! Every person was mourning! All of them had lost close family members! And then they arrived at Yam Suf and sang shira!

“How is it possible that a Nation in mourning should be able to sing Shira to Hashem? How can one person, let alone an entire nation, be transformed in one moment from availus to the highest level of simcha? The answer is that, at that very moment, the concept of techias hamaisim was revealed to them! Those who had left them would come back!”

“Ele v’rechev … Some with chariots and some with horses, but we, in the Name of Hashem, our G-d, call out! They slumped and fell, but we arose and were invigorated! Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call!” (Tehillim 20)

A lichtige Chanukah to Klal Yisroel!

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

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

28 December 2016

The “Hole” Truth About Sufganiyot

The “Hole” Truth About Sufganiyot

"There is an Israeli folk tale about how the sufganiya, the ubiquitous Chanukah doughnut, got its name. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were despondent. G–d Himself cheered them up by feeding them sufganiyot.

"This rather whimsical exegesis is based on a parsing of sufganiya as sof-gan-yud-hey (the end of the Garden of the Lord, aka the Garden of Eden), the last two letters spelling out the Divine name. While no known commentator supports this interpretation, the story indicates the high esteem in which the hole-less Chanukah doughnut is held[….] 

Read more of this funny but en-lighten-ing story at: OU.org

More From Meir Ettinger – על עמונה ושבת אסירי ציון כ"ב כסלו התשע"ז 22.12.2016 16:00

תובנות וסיכום על עמונה | שבת אסירי ציון • הבלוג של מאיר אטינגר
א. עמונה – סיכום אישי.

קצת קשה לסכם את כל מה שעבר עלינו במאבק ולחילופין בדילים השונים על פינוי עמונה, נדמה לי שצריך לכתוב כמה ספרים כדי להפיק לקחים ולתאר את כל הבחישות והמהלכים עד שהצליחו לשבור את תושבי עמונה להיכנע ולחתום על המתווה שכבר התבשרנו שגם הוא מתגלה כעבודה בעיניים בדיוק כמו קודמיו.

ובכל זאת פטור בלא כלום אי אפשר, אז בכמה נקודות הסיכום הראשוני האישי שלי:

1. "להשפיע מבפנים"

במשך שנים מוליכים את הציבור שולל בקריאה "תשפיעו מבפנים", את כל האנרגיות החיוביות של ההתיישבות ביהודה ושומרון ושל נשיאת דגל התורה בעוז, קיפלו על מנת להיכנס לתוך המערכת ו"להשפיע" שם מבפנים.

בעמונה, התגלה עד כמה שום דבר חדש לא התחיל. 40 משפחות בעמידה של גבורה לאורך תקופה הצליחו להוכיח עד כמה מי שנמצא בפנים לא משפיע, עמידתם האיתנה הצליחה להביא הישגים (כמובן, לפי המדד שלהם) יותר מכל הפוליטיקאים והרבנים ש"בפנים".

גם אחרי שהצהירו אותם אלו על ה"הישג הגדול ביותר להתיישבות" שניתן להשיג, התברר שגם בדרך של הסכמים ניתן להשיג יותר, למעשה, ההשפעה היחידה של חברי הכנסת ה"לאומיים" הייתה להכשיר את השרץ, ולהצהיר שפינוי עמונה הוא כשר ומשתלם...

כאשר "השפענו מבחוץ" גם שמעון פרס בנה יישובים, אך כאשר משפיעים "מבפנים" אז גם בצלאל סמוטריץ' הוא קבלן הרס של מאחזים. ולא, אל תספרו לנו שתבנו יישובים חדשים, את זה הייתם צריכים לעשות שנה שעברה...

2. בין זמביש לבוארון וסמוטריץ'.

במאבק האחרון על עמונה, הונח המסמר האחרון בארון הקבורה של השיטה ה"זמבישית", השיטה שבה הורחבה ההתיישבות באמצעות שטיקים וקומבינות, שיטה שהצליחה במשך כעשור וגססה לה לעיתה בעשור האחרון.

בכל המאבקים האחרונים מאז הסכם המאחזים הראשון (פינוי חוות מעון) דרך גוש קטיף ועד הסכם מגרון, התגוששו שתי גישות – הגישה הזמבישית שדגלה בעשייה בשטח ("עוד דונם ועוד עז") ומנגד הגישה העקרונית שלא מוותרים על ארץ ישראל, מבית מדרשו של הרב לווינגר זצ"ל ("ארץ ישראל ממשיכים ובגאון").

ה"מתווה" החדש שהושג בעמונה, הוא תוצאה של שיטה חדשה, מבית מדרשו של בנט – שהיא מעין פשרה בין שתי הגישות, אבל למעשה יוצאת קירחת מכאן ומכאן. לא עוד דונם ועוד עז, וגם אף מילה על ארץ ישראל.

בשיטה הזו, יש מצד אחד ניסיון לתקן את נזקי השיטה הזמבישית ולעשות הכל מעל השולחן, אבל בגלל חוסר המוכנות לעמוד מול ה"חוק", ארץ ישראל הוצאה מהתמונה, והשיח הפך למשפטי (ע"ע המאמר היפהפה של בעז אלברט).

חוק ההסדרה הוא שקבר את המשך פיתוח המאחזים, הוא שקיבע את מעמדם של ה"אדמות הפרטיות" מכאן ולהבא, ולמעשה יישר קו עם תפיסתם של מיכאל ספרד וביהמ"ש העליון. כך למעשה, איבדנו את הזכות המוסרית של ההתיישבות בכל מרחבי ארצנו. כך מתווה עמונה – שהפך כביכול ל"מתווה עקרוני" הוא שהביא את הניצחון ל"שלום עכשיו", ויביא ח"ו לסיום עידן המאחזים, יותר מכל ההסכמים – חסרי ה"עקרונות" - של עידן זמביש.

כך יצא שלאורך כל המאבק הארוך והמתיש שמענו על כל כך הרבה פתרונות, ועל התעקשות מרשימה של תושבי עמונה, כיפוף ידיים של בנט מול נתניהו והכרזות בומבסטיות, והתוצאה היתה כל כך מאכזבת – ואת הרושם העמוק הזה אפילו תעמולה יום יומית של התקשורת המגזרית כולל גיוס של כל הרבנים הזכורים לנו מימי גוש קטיף לא הצליחו לטשטש – צאו וראו בתגובות (איפה שמאפשרים להגיב...)

כאשר הקימו את ההתישבות ביהודה ושומרון קרא הרבי מלובביץ' לבנות את כל היישובים בשקט, הוא אמר שההצהרות על בניית ההתיישבות הם בבחינת "כוחי ועוצם ידי", ויביאו בפועל לחוסר מעש בשטח. קריאה זו לא סתרה את עמדתו הברורה על עמידה בתוקף על כך שהמסר על זכותנו על הארץ צריך להיות תקיף ברור ומכוח חוקי התורה.

בעיני, הדברים מתאימים גם להיום. הגישה הנכונה צריכה להיות שכאשר רוצים לפעול בשטח – צריך לעשות, ואילו כאשר רוצים להסביר אז צריך לדבר. הצרה היא כאשר מנסים לעשות ע"י דיבורים או לחילופין לדבר ע"י מעשים

נראה שהדברים מתאימים בדיוק ל"שיטה החדשה", שתשאיר אותנו עם הרבה אמירות בומבסטיות ובלי מעש בפועל.

את התקווה אפשר למצוא בנוער שבא בהמוניו, רק ורק בשביל ארץ ישראל, והלוואי שזה לא יכבה...

3. איך נאבקים?.

בדיוק השבוע "חגגנו" חמש שנים למעצר בפרשת המרגלים – בקצרה לפני חמש שנים התחיל הסיפור (הסאגה הנוכחית) של עמונה עם עוד יישובים, אנחנו הפעלנו מטה "חמ"ל המאחזים" שפעל בסיכול פינוי מצפה יצהר, נעצרנו – הורשענו ושילמנו את חובנו לחברה (אני 7 חודשי מאסר בפועל). יש בסיפור הזה הרבה מה ללמוד בנוגע לסוגיות שנידונו השבוע, התחלתי לכתוב את הסיפור, אבל יצא קצת ארוך. אז רק טעימה... וכאן תוכלו לקרוא את החלק הראשון, בעז"ה יהיה המשך, כולל מה אני למדתי מכל זה.

"המדינה התכוונה לממש את התחייבותה לגבי מצפה יצהר בלילה שבין 12.12.11 ליום 13.12.11, אולם בסופו של דבר לא מימשה המדינה תוכנית זו בעקבות מעשי הנאשמים שיפורטו להלן:" (מתוך כתב האישום).

הפעילים המבוגרים בוגרי ההתנגדות לגירוש מגוש קטיף, נהגו לחזור שוב ושוב על הכלל ש"ככל שמקדימים את המאבק ולא מחכים ליום פקודה – ככה המאבק יהיה בסופו של דבר פחות אלים", הם טענו שדווקא הניסיון להימנע מעימות תודעתי מול המערכת הוא זה שמייצר בסופו של דבר את האלימות בפועל.

לקראת אמצע חודש כסלו התחיל לזרום מידע ל"חמ"ל" על כך שכוחות הביטחון מתכוננים לפינוי היישובים, או אחד מהם בתקופה הקרובה, "הדיווחים כללו בין היתר, מידע על פריסת כוחות צבא, החלפת סדרי כוחות בתעסוקה מבצעית, התנהלות מבצעית של הכוחות בשטח, וכן מספרי יחידות וגדודים הפרוסים במרחב.. כמו כן, כללו הדיווחים מידע על פינוי צפוי של מאחזים". עם הזמן התברר שהכוחות מתרכזים בבסיס החטיבה המרחבית אפרים שצמוד ליישוב קדומים ולכן ההשערה הרווחת הייתה שמדובר במצפה יצהר או ברמת גלעד"

ב. שבת אסירי ציון –

בשבת הקרובה נקרא על מאסרו של יוסף הצדיק, וישיבתו בכלא שבזכותה עם ישראל התקיים במצרים, בשבת זו ובשבוע שבו חגגנו את חג גאולתו של אדמו"ר הזקן מבית הכלא, זה הזמן להיזכר (שוב) באסירי ציון שבדורנו.

בימים אלו, מלאה שנה לפרשת העינויים, כבר שנה שהנערים יושבים בכלא בתנאי בידוד אכזריים, בימים אלו עולים האינקוויזיטורים של השב"כ ל

העיד במשפטים, וצריכים את התפילות שלכם. כאן השמות לתפילה. אחד מהמעונים שיושב כבר שנה בכלא – שלח מכתב חיזוק שמומלץ לכל אחד לקרוא, ויהיו הדברים לשחרורו הקרוב והמהיר בתוך כל אסירי ציון:

לחבר'ה הגיבורים שמוסרים נפשם על קידוש ה' ועל יישוב הארץ:

הרבה זמן רציתי לכתוב לכם ולא מצאתי זמן וגם לא היה לי מספיק אומץ.

החלטתי לכתוב לכם אחרי שעלה לי איזה חיזוק, אז אני אכתוב גם אותו.

בחיים יש מצבים טובים וכשהמצבים האלו מגיעים אחרי שעבדנו בשבילם אז האמונה שלנו יכולה להיפגם – שנחשוב שאנו משהו או משהו אחר גרם לנו להצלחה. אותו הדבר כשהמצב קצת פחות טוב אבל נראה שאפשר לשנות אותו על ידי עבודה כל שהיא שלנו, אז גם כן יכול להיות מצב שהאמונה תיפגם כי נסמוך על עצמנו ולא על ה'. וכאן הנקודה: אנו היום נמצאים בזמן בו אף אחד לא יכול לעזור לנו מלבד ה'. אף אחד לא יכול להפסיק את ההרחקות מלבד ה', אף אחד לא יכול לגרום שיפסיקו להציק לנו בפשיטות ומעצרים, אף אחד לא יכול להוציא את האמת לאור ולשחרר את כל אסירי ציון. אף אחד לא יכול לגרום שנצא זכאים בדין מלבד אחד והוא ה' יתברך.

אם הגענו למקום כזה כנראה שאנחנו צריכים לתקן משהו, כנראה שאם ה' הביא אותנו למקום שבו אף אחד כבר לא יכול לעזור, הוא רוצה שנבטח רק בו.

כנראה שעד היום סמכנו יותר מדי על עצמנו או על אחרים ולא רק עליו יתברך, ויכול להיות שאם נחליט לשנות גישה עכשיו כשאנחנו חייבים ונחליט לסמוך עליו ולהתפלל אליו על כל דבר ה' ירחם עלינו ויחזיר אותנו למצב שבו הבחירה לסמוך עליו היא בידינו ואז כשגם בזמן שיהיה לנו בחירה נבחר רק בה' ורק נסמוך עליו נראה נסים ונפלאות.

אני אסיים בברכה והצלחה לכל החבר'ה. חיזקו ואימצו! אוהב אתכם ומתגעגע!

שנזכה לראות בגאולה שלמה בקרוב ובביאת משיח!

מקווה לראותכם בקרוב בבית המקדש ובירושלים הבנויה!

נזכרתי בעוד חיזוק מרבנו "שיחות הרן". כותב רבי נתן בסימן קי"ט ששמע מרבנו הקדוש רבי נחמן על ענין של חסידים שהתחילו בעבודת ה' ולאחר מכן נפלו והם היו עושים צחוק ומתלוצצים על הילדים והנערים שהיו מתחילים להיכנס בעבודת ה'. אומר רבנו שכל זה מחמת קנאה שמקנאים בנערים הללו ולכן אסור לנערים לפול ברוחם.

אותו הדבר אצלנו החבר'ה. אני פונה לכל מי שנפשו בוערת לה' יתברך לא ליפול בגלל שקצת קשה או שאיזה מבוגר אומר שאין בזה תועלת וזה סתם. הוא אומר את זה כי הוא מקנא בלהט של עבודת ה' שלכם.. חיזקו ואימצו, ה' איתכם!

בקשה לי אליכם, אם אפשר שכל אחד שקורא מכתב זה יקבל עליו בלי נדר להוסיף עוד איזה משהו בעבודת ה', עוד איזה פרק תהילים, עוד 5 דקות התבודדות. כל אחד לפי מה שהוא יכול. ושיאמר שהתפילה הזאת או שאר הדברים הם להצלחת אסירי ציון ולהצלחת כלל עם ישראל.

בתודה מראש!

אין יאוש בעולם כלל! "קוה אל ה' חזק ויאמץ לבך וקוה אל ה'". קיווי אחר קיווי. שאם התפללת ועדין לא ראית ישועה כנראה שצריך עוד תפילה.

*אם אפשר להעביר את זה לכמה שיותר מהחבר'ה.

תודה לכל שולחי המכתבים זה ממש מחזק.

While I wish someone could translate this, as it is long, IY”H I will put it to GoogleTranslate and see what happens. 

27 December 2016

Rejecting the False Notion That Israel is an Occupier

Rejecting the False Notion that Israel is an Occupier*

"This lie whitewashes violence against Israeli Jews, and leads directly to the antisemitic delegitimization of Israel"
The UN Security Council’s passage of Resolution 2334, an outrageous act of hostility personally engineered by President Obama against the State of Israel, has rightly evoked great anger across all parts of the American political spectrum.

This past summer, the Republican Party’s platform section expressing our unequivocal support for Israel, included a key statement made in anticipation of President Obama’s betrayal of our great ally:

“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier…” 
Given the anticipated effects of Resolution 2334, this policy statement is critical, as it represents the central tenet of what will now unquestionably be the policy of the Trump Administration and the pro-Israel community.

“Occupier” is nothing more than a polite way of calling Israel a thief, suggesting that Jewish invaders colonized territory belonging to the Arabs, and which therefore must be restored to its rightful, victimized owners. The term is intentionally misused against Israel in order to shape negative misperceptions of her history and legitimacy, while perpetuating a sense of Palestinian-Arab victimhood. To suggest that the Jews are occupiers in a region that has been known as Judea for over 3000-plus years is no less ridiculous than to suggest that Arabs are occupiers in Arabia.

“Occupier” is a legal term whose definition does not apply to Israel under the law. Israel’s legal title and rights to all of its present territory stem directly from an act of international law made in the post-WWI San Remo Agreement, which was then further recognized and incorporated in subsequent binding acts, from the Covenant of the League of Nations all the way through Article 80 of the United Nations’ charter. None of the national and political rights thereby recognized as inherit in the Jewish People have ever been revoked, nullified or superseded by a subsequent act of international law.
"The lie of occupation has become essential to anti-Israel forces in the Mideast and around the world, as they persist in efforts to deny and undermine the rights – and indeed the very existence – of the Jewish national home. It is no coincidence, therefore, that Resolution 2334 was entirely predicated on this vicious lie"
The lie of occupation also gives Israel’s enemies a basis to justify terrorism as merely “resistance to occupation.” The antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) uses the word as often as possible in its messaging, as it carries out acts of political and economic warfare upon Israel and her supporters. Thus, it is clear that promoting the common misrepresentation of the Jewish State of Israel as an occupier in the Land of Israel has become the primary antisemitic canard of the present generation, inherently accusing the Jewish People of territorial thievery.
"This lie whitewashes violence against Israeli Jews, and leads directly to the antisemitic delegitimization and demonization of, and application of double standards to Israel"
The peace process aimed at ending the Arab war on Israel was originally motivated by the basic idea that two incompatible peoples have unfortunately found themselves residing in the same space, and that it is desirable to see them disengaged for the sake of peace. This was the intention of President George W. Bush, and those Israeli prime ministers who chose the path of proposing a two-state solution.

Those who listen carefully will find that, unfortunately, hostile actors have emerged, who exploit support for the peace process in order to promote the lie of occupation. This is the tactic of J Street, President Obama and most member states of the United Nations, who regularly speak of Israel as an occupier and wrongly refer to parts of Israel as being territorially illegitimate.

It is one thing to advocate the two-state solution as a matter of seeking peace, and entirely another when argued as a matter of belief in the lie of occupation. The difficulty in grasping this distinction has escaped far too many supporters of Israel, who unfortunately tend to believe that all who propose the same solution are relative and equivalent in their intentions. They are not. The forwarding of the two-state solution by those who support the lie of occupation, like Barack Obama, simultaneously signals an inherent indictment of Israel as a criminally guilty party.

Donald Trump rejects the false notion that Israel is an occupier, and wholeheartedly helped lead the important expression of policy made by the Republican Party Platform on the matter. He has repeatedly made the promise that as president he will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capitol of Israel.

Among the top priorities of President-elect Trump in his first 100 days will be the passage of a major bill regulating against commercial discrimination aimed at Israel and its territories, following the lead of 15 states that have already done so. The new administration is clearly prepared to defend the American economy by preventing financial engagement with parties who would at the same time inflict economic harm upon Israeli and American businesses via discrimination promoted by the likes of Resolution 2334 and the BDS Movement.

The most immediate means of disarming the malicious intent of President Obama’s Resolution 2334 is by supporting Trump and the incoming Congress’s efforts to pass such legislation with overwhelming non-partisan support. Israel, and many of our other democratic allies around the world, are counting on us.

*Source: JPost.com (article in full, accents mine)

Alan Clemmons is a Republican member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was the primary author of the GOP Platform section regarding Israel. In 2015, he was the originating sponsor of the Country’s first state anti-BDS legislation.

25 December 2016

Megillat Antiochus

Megillat Antiochus (from Wikipedia)

Megillat Antiochus (Hebrew: מגילת אנטיוכוס‎‎ - "The Scroll of Antiochus"; also "Megillat Ha-Ḥashmonaim", "Megillat Hanukkah", or "Megillat Yevanit") recounts the story of Hanukkah and the history of the victory of the Maccabees (or Hasmoneans) over the Seleucid Empire.

Early texts of the work exist in both Aramaic and Hebrew, but the Hebrew version is a literal translation from the Aramaic original. In 1557 it was first published in Mantua, in northern Italy. The Hebrew text, with an English translation, can be found in the Siddur of Philip Birnbaum. The first known printed text is found in a Siddur from Salonika, then part of the Ottoman Empire, which was published in 1568. The original Aramaic text can also be found in old Yemenite Baladi-rite Prayer Book from the 17th century.[1]

There are several theories as to the work's authorship. Some scholars date Megillat Antiochus to somewhere between the 2nd and 5th centuries, with the greater likelihood of it being composed in the 2nd Century.[2] The scroll is first mentioned by Simeon Kayyara (ca. 743 CE) in Halakhot Gedolot,[3] wherein he claims that the scroll was compiled by the "elders of the School of Shammai and the elders School of Hillel."[4]

Another opinion is that of Saadia Gaon (882‒942 CE) who holds that the Scroll of Antiochus was composed in the Chaldaic (Aramaic) language by the Hasmonaeans themselves, and entitled Megillat Bayt Ḥashmonai.[5] He translated it into Arabic in the 9th Century. Hakham Moses Gaster argued for a 1st-century BCE date.[6] Louis Ginzberg, writing in the Jewish Encyclopedia, indicates that this scroll is a "spurious work" based on "unhistorical sources," with the exception of its citations taken from certain passages from First Book of the Maccabees.[7]
Nevertheless, it was held in very high esteem by Saadia Gaon, Nissim ben Jacob, and others, while a passage contained therein is still used to determine the date of the Second Temple's building, based on Jewish chronology (see Excursus: "Chronology in the Scroll of Antiochus”
During the Middle Ages, Megillat Antiochus was read in the Italian synagogues on Hanukkah just as the Book of Esther is read on Purim. The Mahzor of the Kaffa Rite from the year 1735 gives the order to read the Megillat Antiochus in the Mincha of Shabbat Hanukkah.[8]
It still forms part of the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews: some Baladi rite congregations had it as a custom to read the scroll to the older students during Hanukkah.
The Books of the Maccabees are entirely different from this work. These books are relatively lengthy, and of the four books only the first two deal with the activities of Matithiyahu the Hasmonaean (Mattathias) and his sons in general, and of Judah, who is called Maccabee in particular. The rest of the books bear this name because other heroic deeds are recounted there, but have nothing to do with Judah the Maccabee and his brothers. Moreover, 1-4 Maccabees survives only in Greek. 1 Maccabees was probably originally composed in Hebrew; the other three books of the Maccabees were originally written in Greek [1].

Megillat Antiochus concludes with the following words:

“...After this, the sons of Israel went up to the Temple and rebuilt its gates and purified the Temple from the dead bodies and from the defilement. And they sought after pure olive oil to light the lamps therewith, but could not find any, except one bowl that was sealed with the signet ring of the High Priest from the days of Samuel the prophet and they knew that it was pure. There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days. Therefore, the sons of Ḥashmonai made this covenant and took upon themselves a solemn vow, they and the sons of Israel, all of them, to publish amongst the sons of Israel, [to the end] that they might observe these eight days of joy and honour, as the days of the feasts written in [the book of] the Law; [even] to light in them so as to make known to those who come after them that their God wrought for them salvation from heaven. In them, it is not permitted to mourn, neither to decree a fast [on those days], and anyone who has a vow to perform, let him perform it.”

Section from the Aramaic Scroll of Antiochus in Babylonian supralinear punctuation, with an Arabic translation – Original language (Aramaic):

בָּתַר דְּנָּא עָלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵית מַקְדְּשָׁא וּבְנוֹ תַּרְעַיָּא וְדַכִּיאוּ בֵּית מַקְדְּשָׁא מִן קְטִילַיָּא וּמִן סְאוֹבֲתָא. וּבעוֹ מִשְׁחָא דְּזֵיתָא דָּכְיָא לְאַדְלָקָא בּוֹצִנַיָּא וְלָא אַשְׁכַּחוּ אֵלָא צְלוֹחִית חֲדָא דַּהֲוָת חֲתִימָא בְּעִזְקָת כָּהֲנָא רַבָּא מִיּוֹמֵי שְׁמוּאֵל נְבִיָּא וִיַדְעוּ דְּהִיא דָּכְיָא. בְּאַדְלָקוּת יוֹמָא חֲדָא הֲוָה בַּהּ וַאֲלָה שְׁמַיָּא דִּי שַׁכֵין שְׁמֵיהּ תַּמָּן יְהַב בַּהּ בִּרְכְּתָא וְאַדְלִיקוּ מִנַּהּ תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין. עַל כֵּן קַיִּימוּ בְּנֵי חַשְׁמוּנַּאי הָדֵין קְיָימָא וַאֲסַרוּ הָדֵין אֲסָּרָא אִנּוּן וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כּוּלְּהוֹן. לְהוֹדָעָא לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמֶעֲבַד הָדֵין תְּמָנְיָא יוֹמִין חַדְוָא וִיקָר כְּיּוֹמֵי מוֹעֲדַיָּא דִּכְתִיבִין בְּאוֹרָיְתָא לְאַדְלָקָא בְּהוֹן לְהוֹדָעָא לְמַן דְּיֵּיתֵי מִבַּתְרֵיהוֹן אֲרֵי עֲבַד לְהוֹן אֱלָהֲהוֹן פּוּרְקָנָא מִן שְׁמַיָּא. בְּהוֹן לָא לְמִסְפַּד וְלָא לְמִגְזַר צוֹמָא וְכָל דִּיהֵי עֲלוֹהִי נִדְרָא יְשַׁלְּמִנֵּיהּ

1 Yehiya Bashiri's Tiklal, the ancient Yemenite Baladi-rite Prayer Book (siddur), a microfilm of which is found at the Hebrew University National Library in Jerusalem, Microfilm Dept., Catalogue # 26787 (Hebrew); also in the archives of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, Micrfilm # 1219 (Hebrew); Bashiri (ed. Shalom Qorah), Sefer Ha-Tiklal, Jerusalem 1964, pp. 75b et seq. (Hebrew).
2 "The Scroll of Antiochus: Rabbi Benjamin Zvieli". Retrieved 2008-10-10.
3 "My Jewish Learning - Hanukkah Scroll". Retrieved 2008-10-10.. See also: Halakhot Gedoloth (Hil. Sofrim), Warsaw 1874, p. 282 (Hebrew)
4 See also Abraham Harkavy, Zikaron Larishonim, St. Petersburg 1892, pp. 205–209 (Hebrew)
5 Abraham Harkavy, Zikaron Larishonim, St. Petersburg 1892, p. 207 (Hebrew)
6 "The Unknown Chanukah M'gillah".
7 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Louis Ginsberg (1901–1906). "Scroll Of Antiochus". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.
8 http://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/20929
9 Hubarah, Yosef. "Sefer Ha-Tiklāl (Tiklal Qadmonim)". Jerusalem 1964, pp. 75b–79b, s.v. מגלת בני חשמונאי (Hebrew).

The text was edited on 12/21/2016 but these footnotes remained on the page even though the text was removed:

10 Richard A. Parker; Waldo H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology 626 BC - AD 75, Providence 1956
11 The Ancient Fragments, ed. I. P. Cory, Esq., p. 65, London 1828. Manetho was the high priest and scribe of Egypt who wrote down his history for Ptolemy Philadelphus.
12 Tosefta (Zevahim 13:6); Palestinian Talmud (Megillah 18a), et al.
13 Maimonides, Question; Responsa, responsum # 389; in other editions, responsum # 234 (Hebrew). Maimonides states explicitly this tradition, putting the destruction of the Second Temple in the lunar month Av, in the year which preceded anno 380 of the Seleucid era (i.e. 68 CE). See also She'harim la'luah ha'ivry (Gates to the Hebrew Calendar) by Rahamim Sar-Shalom, 1984 (Hebrew)

See also: Jewish Virtual Library


Scroll of Antiochus
(Megillath Benei Ḥashmunnai)

One of the more salient features of all the older Baladi-rite prayer books,[75] as well as those compiled by Rabbi Yiḥya Bashiri, is the Aramaic Scroll of Antiyuchas[76] with Saadiah Gaon‘s Arabic translation, the original Aramaic being written by the elders of the Schools of Shammai and Hillel.[77]
Aramaic Scroll of Antiochus written with Babylonian supralinear punctuation, including a Judeo-Arabic translation

Sufganiyot Israel

Hatzvi’s classic jelly sufganiya

Sufganiyot from Mambo Patisserie: From left, alfajores, Ferrero Rocher, bianco

Shemo’s innovative sufganiyot

Times of Israel

I’m sorry Knesset Health Supervisor, Sufganiyot override your decree!

23 December 2016


By Roy S. Neuberger

The subject matter of this week’s Parsha and the Yom Tov of Chanukah coincide.

Vayeishev is the parsha of Golus; Chanukah is the Yom Tov of Golus.

The parsha begins in darkness: “Yosef dreamt a dream which he told to his brothers and they hated him ….” It ends in Golus.

This is the darkest season. Chanukah is the only Yom Tov during which the moon is waning. Then it disappears and the darkness is complete. These are the longest nights. The trees are bare. Winter is like death, and Chanukah is the Yom Tov of winter.

I heard a fascinating vort from Rabbi Eliyahu Schneider, the beloved posaik of Yeshiva Sh’or Yoshuv. We know that Yaakov Avinu was worried he had lost merit in contrast with Esav because he was absent from his parents’ home for so many years. But Yaakov’s parents commanded him to leave! They sent him to the House of Lavan! Why should he be considered deficient in kibud av v’aim when he was following his parents’ instructions?

According to Rabbeinu Bachya, the problem was not that Yaakov was physically separated from his parents, but rather that he became subservient to Lavan. Yaakov agreed to serve Lavan for fourteen years for Rachel and Leah, and six more years for the sheep! If his parents had asked him to return, he would have been unable to comply because he had indentured himself.

This is a sign for future generations, “ma’ase avos siman l’banim.” The essential danger of Golus is not physical but spiritual. When we subordinate ourselves to the host culture, when we adopt their worldview and their values, then we really do become slaves. The most insidious degree of slavery is when one doesn’t realize he is a slave.

Because Torah is rooted in eternity, it is eternal. All other cultures are temporal and temporary. If a Jew attaches himself to a culture other than his own, he will disappear along with that culture when it ceases to exist.

It is appropriate here to recall the famous words of the non-Jew, Mark Twain:“If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of stardust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people. He has made a marvelous fight in this world, in all the ages; and he has done it with hands tied behind him… The Egyptian, the Babylonian and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dreamstuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?” (Harper’s Magazine, 1879)

Indeed, what is our secret? Our secret is dvaykus with Hashem, which only happens when we are united. At Har Sinai, we received the Torah because we were “K’ish echad b’lev echad… like one man with one heart.” (Rashi on Shemos 19:2)

We went into Golus Mitzraim because of internal strife. The brothers “hated” Yosef, and became distant from each other. This is darkness. There are many explanations of what happened in this parsha, but the essence is that the brothers fought.

My friends, we really must take this to heart. Two Jews can pass each other on the street. One wants to say “Shalom aleichem,” but the other is looking away. Why is he looking away? Because he doesn’t want to say “Shalom aleichem.” This is darkness; this is Golus.

Why do we hurt ourselves for no reason? What are we afraid of?

My parents, of blessed memory, were not from observant families, but both were raised in a culture of derech eretz. They would never have considered performing an act which would hurt another person. Their every action implied consideration and refinement. They wouldn’t leave a mess for another person to clean up. They covered their mouth when they yawned. They were honest to the penny. My father “loved” to pay taxes! Why? Because he was grateful that he lived in a benevolent culture and felt it was his obligation to support the stable government under which he lived.

Because of my parents, I became observant. “Derech eretz kadma l’Torah.” Their values led me naturally to search for the Ribono shel Olam, Who administers the entire universe with perfect fairness and benevolence.

The sons of Yaakov Avinu were on a madreiga of righteousness beyond our understanding, yet clearly they made mistakes. Whatever the explanation, hatred among them was to cause repercussions to this very day, with tragic and terrible consequences. All our tzouris is rooted in sinas chinom, and the brothers’ strife led straight into Golus Mitzraim. Our only path to redemption is to return, as our ancestors returned at Har Sinai, to the achdus which enabled us to receive the Torah. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say that one smile to another Yid can tip the scale. We have to repair the terrible breach of sinas chinom!

My friends, we are entering Chanukah. It is possible to illuminate the darkness. We can become one again, but we have to understand that our very lives depend upon it. Golus began in darkness, but we can bring light to the world by reuniting as One Nation. Only then can we return in teshuva to Avinu Sh’bashomayim and bring Moshiach ben Dovid.

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

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

22 December 2016

AMAZING: The Invisible Kippah

The Invisible Kippah
Rabbi Moshe Grylak
Israel’s new breed of baal teshuva

He’s a new breed of baal teshuvah, a seeker who starts keeping mitzvos while maintaining his secular appearance and persona. He keeps Shabbos under cover, and may lay tefillin in a closet. He wants Torah, but is afraid of being associated with the existing frum society. And he’s joined by hundreds of thousands of Israelis who yearn for deeper spiritual connection.

For now, let’s set aside the outrage of handing part of the Kosel over to desecrators. Let’s not dwell on the tragedy of Amona, slated for another terrible trauma in a few days’ time. We won’t talk about the massive chillul Shabbos coming soon to Israel Railways, and we’ll close our ears to the shouts of the anti-religious media. Instead, it’s time to share something encouraging from Eretz Yisrael, something so Jewish despite being secular. It’s a fairly recent and growing phenomenon that might be called “the invisible kippah.”

What [. . .] is an invisible kippah? 

Is it made of some transparent material, or of fibers that bond with human hair? It’s none of those, but it is a source of great hope. It seems that there is a growing circle of people from Israeli society’s secular elite who’ve suddenly felt the urge to investigate their Jewish heritage as a private endeavor. Like Oren Brooks, for example, a partner in a highly successful financial services business. He told the Israeli newspaper Makor Rishon that, “it was a time in my life when I felt I’d come to a dead end. I was getting up in the morning and going to work, coming home, watching TV, and going to sleep. And every day was a repeat of the day before.”

From this place of frustration, Mr. Brooks found pathways to Judaism. But he didn’t follow the classic baal teshuvah template. He’s a member of a new breed of baalei teshuvah, a type of seeker who starts keeping mitzvos while maintaining his secular appearance and persona. He doesn’t move to a religious neighborhood or even start wearing a kippah. He remains affiliated with the secular community, but he lays tefillin at home, keeps Shabbos to the best of his knowledge and ability, and learns Torah. He wants Judaism, but does not wish to be associated with the existing frum society, which is not especially popular in his circles. He considers himself a “chiloni shomer mitzvot.” But what, no kippah? Why won’t he adopt that basic mark of an observant Jew? “There is a kippah on my head,” he will answer. “You just can’t see it.”

According to Makor Rishon, the phenomenon is much more widespread than it seems, although it remains under the radar of Israeli secular life as well. It seems that little by little these people are discovering that they’re not alone in their deviation from the norm. Many others from the top social and financial strata have quietly added mitzvah observance to their secular lives. Among the participants in this underground movement are magnates in the construction industry, owners of high tech companies, partners in major accounting firms, marketing-strategy gurus, and veteran members of kibbutzim and moshavim. Scattered over the map of Israel, each of them within his own sphere, is maintaining a front of business as usual, while running a Jewish initiative in his community. That means a change of direction is discernable within the secular community, despite the continual incitement not only against the chareidi community, but against Judaism itself.

The article describes a gathering that took place in the home of one of these individuals. They got together to discuss the road ahead on their search for Judaism, a road they wish to travel while determinedly steering clear of the dati and chareidi establishment. At the meeting, each one shared his own story, the personal quest that led him to a point of partial mitzvah observance without adopting any change of dress or behavior that would give him away. In a way they are similar to the anusim of Spain and Portugal, keeping mitzvos in secret within the surrounding secular society that would look askance at them.

Perhaps it sounds as if they are self-indulgent, trying to have it both ways. But, in fact, they aren’t having an easy time of it. The article describes the struggles and the hesitations born of fear and anxiety: How will my spouse react? Will my happy family life be ruined if she finds out? One man said, “I have a business partner who started putting on tefillin a few years ago. For a whole year he was hiding them in a closet and putting them on there because he was ashamed. I’m on a mission to get the chiloni out of the religious closet.”

Those who spoke up feel that they are the vanguard, only the first wave in a major sea change in the spiritual life of Israeli society. They believe that the Jewish people are in a waiting phase, and when they see that others like themselves are moving toward mitzvah observance, they will follow. As one of them put it, “Hundreds of thousands of Israelis are standing on the platform, and as soon as they see that people like us, businessmen from the mainstream, have already gotten on the train, they’ll find the courage to join us. This is also a message to the spouses, many of whom are afraid — and their fear might or might not be legitimate — but they need to realize that today it makes sense to connect with their Jewishness.”

Another riveting passage was the testimony of Professor Asher Elhayani, one of Israel’s top-tier doctors, who has held several senior positions including director-general of Meuchedet health services. Dr. Elhayani related that the pull he felt toward Judaism was strengthened during a visit to the Majdanek death camp.

“I accompanied a group of honor students on a trip to Poland,” he said. “The hardest day was at Majdenek. When I asked the students how it affected them, they all talked about hatred and what a terrible thing it is. Then I asked them if they themselves ever behaved in a racist manner, and naturally they said, ‘Of course not!’ I asked them if they accepted the Arabs, and after thinking for a moment, they admitted to being somewhat biased. What about activists who come to visit Israel from abroad? You give them a nice reception. Again, they admitted to a certain bias – 

I went on to ask, and what about the chareidim? Now their answer was unequivocal: The chareidim ought to be done away with. There was no chance of having any kind of relationship with the chareidim, they said. With Arabs yes, but chareidim, not a chance.”
Reading about the vast number of secular Jews who’ve begun to put on tefillin reminded me of a passage from Rav Dessler’s Michtav MeEliyahu. In the section entitled Kolo shel Eliyahu, he cites the following Midrash: 
“This teaches that the opening [of inward redemption] does not open all at once, but rather, Eliyahu comes to one city and disappears from the other; he speaks with one man and disappears from the other man’s sight.” Rav Dessler then cites the Maharal’s explanation: “Many times Eliyahu HaNavi would tell things to a person, and the person would not know where these ideas came from; he would imagine that they originated with himself, when they were actually the words that Eliyahu said to him.”

“And [the Jewish People],” says Rav Dessler, “will not do teshuvah until Eliyahu comes, as is said: ‘Behold, I send you Eliyahu HaNavi… that he may turn the heart of the fathers back through the children, and the heart of the children back through their fathers…’ The final teshuvah is attributed to those who hear the voice of Eliyahu speaking to them, that is, Eliyahu comes to them” (Michtav MeEliyahu Vol. I, p. 209).

And that is what is happening now: A sudden awakening of the heart as they heed the voice of Eliyahu, calling on people to return — even if their kippot are invisible.

Source: as read in Mishpacha Magazine

21 December 2016

The North Pole is MELTING!

North Pole forecast to warm 50 degrees above normal Thursday

The North Pole is an insane 36 degrees warmer than normal as winter descends

GFS model simulation of temperature difference from normal Thursday. (WeatherBell.com)

Arctic sea ice levels are at a record lows. In November, the Arctic usually gains ice, but over a period of five days it saw 19,000 square miles of ice cover vanish, which NOAA called “almost unprecedented”.

It’s not normal, and it’s happening again.

For the second year in a row in late December and for the second time in as many months, temperatures in the high Arctic will be freakishly high compared to normal.

Computer models project that on Thursday, three days before Christmas, the temperature near the North Pole will be an astronomical 40-50 degrees warmer-than-normal and approaching 32 degrees, the melting point.

Read more at the Washington Post

Secrets of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron

Secrets of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron

A new video shares first-hand account of a visit to the cave itself, where bones and artifacts from First Temple times were discovered.

Source: The Land of Israel on Arutz Sheva.

Bitachon on the Front Line