Due to Blogger Format Changes
26 November 2022
A Very Weird Happening
Why Are Large Groups Of Animals, Insects And Birds Suddenly Walking In Circles All Over The Globe?
25 November 2022
Temple Talk Radio: The Red Heifer Special!
A seed was planted, and soon after a remarkable "coincidence" sparked a three-year global search for a perfectly red, unblemished red heifer.
Chanan Kupietsky, the man behind the red heifer, tells the story of the search for the red heifer that he personally led, the people he met, the heifers he inspected, and how, with unceasing efforts and limitless energy, he ultimately brought five red heifers from Texas to Israel, all five being eligible candidates to be the one to bring the highest level of biblical purity back to the world.
The Chronicles of WAR AND PEACE
As war is impacting us now on a global level, we are again reviewing the chronicles of Jewish and world history in the book of Bereishit. They always seem to run parallel, world events and the story of Israel as we read again and again the portions of the Torah. There are always actors on the stage- both of now and then. Learning history enables us to wonder at the beginning. The Torah fascinates time after time, year after year with distinguishing ingredients of what seems a story, yet a knowing testimony to the world and to the Torah’s mission in it. The underlying meaning of Toldot- literally –”this history” is about the raw carnal nature of man vrs. the need to “sit in a tent”-and to learn mussar, to study about the chesed and G-dly attributes, to be a better person bring true peace.- This juxtapose is augmented in the embodiment of the two personas- Yaakov and Esau.
This is the biography of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs and crucial to understand how it all began and ultimately will end (spoiler- with Yaakov limping but overcoming and becoming Israel). This is a book of adventure, of riveting pages turning, of turmoil and despair and a knowing lesson for every single person that reads it. Abraham has a son only in old, age, Yitzchak is almost offered and saved by the skin of his teeth, Yaakov is haunted and hunted by his own twin. The word Toldot is mentioned thirteen times in the Torah, culminating in Malchut when King David is born; this is when the last piece of the puzzle reaches the ultimate picture. The Torah is the frame and the narrator of a fabulous prophecy.
After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, ten generations later Hashem picked Noah to repopulate the world. Shem Chahm and Yapeth weathered the storm. Noah blessed Shem particularly and said: “G-d of Shem, let Him dwell in the tents of Shem.” The Shechinah would rest in a place that Shem would prepare- a Beit Midrahsh just steps away from the Temple Mount. Readers, I have been in it, an astounding find and testimony-(credit to Eli Shookroon- senior archeologist at the City of David) . Consecrating this place- the first “Yeshiva” was founded- the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever. The Priest that blesses Abraham (Malkitzedek) is identified as Shem. After the binding, Yitzchak goes to this sacred enclosure to glean Torah here. Yaakov went to learn at Shem and Ever for forteen years before he left Israel for the house of Lavan- filled up with the keylim (tools to handle)so needed . The Torah describes the house of Yaakov as- “How goodly are your tents!” All of what he learned he passed over to Yosef, who is also called “Ben Zekoonim”- the son of the elders because he learned the deep Torahs of the elders-Shem and Ever therefore had no doubt he would have his dreams come true.
In Berieshit we read about hearing G-d’s voice, erecting altars, but most of all- witnessing miracles. The paradigm for EFFORT is blatant on the side of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Their dedication cultivated a life of FAITH THROUGH ACTION- as we see Yaakov morphs from a Yeshiva bochur into a man of DOING. He is not ravaged by hunger, does not steal, does not make war- but he also moves out of the tent into the real world. The combination of ACTION, ACHIEVEMENT and MUSSAR is the recipe of the Torah. The blatant comparison of Yaakov and Esau teach us an important lesson today. At the time of crisis for Rivka as well as Sarah, they had a place to turn to, to receive council- the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever.
Finding Divine explanation can be found in a house of Torah study. Make it your business to get there. The Torah is vital in the long haul in life- at home, in your neighborhood, in your state, in your country- in the world!
Shabbat Shalom , Leah
BS”D Parashat Toldot 5783
by Rabbi Nachman Kahana | Nov 23, 2022
Textbooks define “inertia” as an inherent (installed by the Creator) property of matter that causes it to resist changes in speed and/or direction. According to Newton’s first law of motion, an object with a given velocity maintains that velocity unless acted upon by an external force. Meaning: an object at rest will remain at rest until an external force acts upon it to move, and an object in motion will continue to the same uniform motion until an external force acts upon it to change
All of the estimated 200 billion trillion planets and stars in our closed universe will continue to act as they do now until HaShem decides that they change.
The same applies to human beings. Had the serpent, as an external force, not enticed Adam and Chava to eat from the Tree of Knowledge, which induced in them the yei’tzer hara (evil, egotistical inclinations and vain initiatives), they and all humanity would have continued to this day to be passive, indifferent, aloof, apathetic residents of the perfect Gan Eden, resistive to change.
And had HaShem not planned out the disappointments of Yishmael and Aisav, the world would be today in another place.
How does a dry cell battery work; the kind that produces power to run our household appliances?
Every atom consists of three basic subatomic particles: protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons form the nucleus of the atom, while the electrons encircle the nucleus. While protons and neutrons are tied together, electrons can be discharged from their positions in the atom and made to flow, as a river; this is called electricity.
A battery is a device that converts its stored chemical energy (exchange between two chemicals) to produce energy in the form of a flow of electrons.
A battery consists of three separate parts: the top (under the little cap is the cathode), at the base is the anode, and they are separated by paste material called the electrolyte. The anode at the base contains an excess amount of electrons that the anode wished to be rid of, while the cathode contains a vastly less number of electrons; so the anode has a compulsion to release its excess electrons by flowing into the cathode. However, the electrolyte serves as a barrier that retards the flow.
However, we can induce a flow of electrons by by-passing the electrolyte barrier, connecting the anode and the cathode through an external path such as a conductive wire on the outside of the battery. Now if we introduce an appliance, such as a light bulb or a heating device in the middle of the wire, the appliance will resist the flow producing heat and light.
This is very interesting but, what you ask has it to do with this week’s parsha? Everything!
HaShem influences and directs the world’s history by producing a historical, world-wide “battery”.
Last week the world’s population passed the 8 billion mark. However, the direction of humanity from time immemorial was not centered around the 10 major Chinese dynasties: Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing of today’s 1.5 billion Chinese. Nor by India’s dynasties: Haryanka, Shishunaga, Nanda, Mauryan, Indo-Scythians Kingdom (The Shaka), Kushans/ Yeuchi, and Sung dynasties. The world in the macro was developed and advanced by four individuals and their descendants: Yitzchak and Yishmael, Ya’akov and Aisav.
Yishmael was the first son of Avraham. He was a good son, God-fearing to the degree that Avraham tells the angel that he loves Yishmael. Then Yitzchak was born and Yishmael was filled with jealousy as he discovered that the spiritual and material heir to Avraham would be Yitzchak and not he.
Yishmael is the anode in our story. He became outraged by hate and jealousy, feeling the need to release his evil desire to destroy the passive, modest tzaddik, Yitzchak.
Yitzchak is the “cathode”, the target of Yishmael’s hatred. However huge, Yishmael was forced to contain his hatred in the presence of their father Avraham.
Avraham is the electrolyte in the story.
Ya’akov and Aisav were twins. Ya’akov was the learner, the talmid chacham, the tzaddik. Aisav was a man of the field, of the jungle. After Ya’akov succeeded in convincing Aisav to abdicate and transfer his rights and responsibilities as the first born over to Ya’akov, Aisav regretted it and here the profound hatred began to beat in his heart. And when years later Ya’akov received the desired blessing of their father Yitzchak, Aisav’s hate expanded exponentially until Aisav decided to murder Ya’akov after their father would pass away.
Ya’akov is the passive “cathode” in the saga, while Aisav is the active, aggressive anode that seeks to overwhelm the cathode. But Aisav is held at bay by the live presence of their parents Yitzchak and Rivka.
In time, the descendants of Yishmael, the Muslims, continued their hatred of the Jew. And the descendants of Aisav, the Christians, sought to bring to fruition the desires of Aisav.
But as stated above, Yishmael and Aisav were contained by the presence of their holy parents who acted as the electrolyte in these episodes.
As we learned above, it is possible to work around the electrolyte by connecting an external path between the cathode and the anode to produce an energy current. In our history, the connections are the sins of Am Yisrael. That by our behavior in not living up to the requirements of HaShem’s chosen nation, the overwhelming number of hatred electrons in the hearts of Islam and Christianity were able to flow freely and cause so much suffering to our people.
But just as in a battery, there is a limit to the ability of the chemicals in the battery to produce free electrons, so too one day and very soon our enemies will lose their ability to cause harm to our people in Eretz Yisrael.
Conclusion: Three thousand plus years ago, HaShem set down the direction that humanity would take. He caused the two progenitors of the world’s major “movers and shakers”- Yishmael the Muslim and Aisav the Christian – to be compulsive enemies and haters of Yitzchak and Ya’akov and their descendants – the Jews.
How many decisions – political, religious, and military – were taken by these “daughter religions” because of their animosity towards HaShem’s chosen people?!
So, in effect, at the very basic core of history, who is the dominant factor in the way the world revolves?
The Jews – of course!
Copyright © 5783/2022 Nachman Kahana
RED RED MEAT
Someone recently wrote to a Jewish website with the following question: “In light of the recent spate of high-profile antisemitic celebrity incidents … how should we respond?”
In this week’s Parsha, we meet Esav, the progenitor of the quintessential anti-Semite, the father of the Roman Empire, the destroyer of the Bais Hamikdosh, the founder of the church of Rome, about whom Rashi says, “Halacha hi … it is given fact that Esav hates Yaakov.” (Rashi on Beraishis 33:4)
Because Esav hates Yaakov, Hashem hates Esav. “‘I loved you,’ says Hashem … ‘But I hated Esav….” (Haftaras Toldos)
Don’t expect to reason with them, because hatred is ingrained in their soul. It will not work. There is no way to settle this argument, but Hashem is about to settle it forever.
The Novi tells us exactly how it will end. “The House of Yaakov will be a fire and House of Yosef a flame … and the House of Esav like straw. They will kindle … and consume them …. Then saviors will ascend Har Tzion to judge Esav’s mountain and the kingdom will be Hashem’s.” (Haftaras Vayishlach)
Our problem is that we do not want to face this. We do not want to understand. We ourselves are so deeply sunk in the culture of Esav/Edom. It is exactly like Mitzraim, where our ancestors were ensnared in that polluted culture to such an extent that they did not understand where they were. They were extricated, through the mercy of Hashem, only when the culture itself collapsed.
Even then they didn’t want to let go! The vast majority of the Children of Israel were lost in the darkness of Egypt and never left with Moshe Rabbeinu. Even Paro’s servants saw the end coming. After the eighth plague, they said to their king, “Send out [the Israelites] that they may serve … their G-d. Do you not yet know that Egypt is lost?”
But our own people had been drugged by this alien culture. When you are drowning in the slave mentality, your mind becomes polluted and you are unable to perceive the truth. They did not listen to Moshe Rabbeinu and they were lost.
This is our present danger.
That is why we have to grab onto the Torah and hold tight. That’s why we said at Har Sinai, “Na’ase v’nishma … I will do” before we said, “I will understand.” When you are drowning and someone throws the life preserver, you don’t debate. Either you grab it or you are lost.
I feel compelled to be blunt. We do not see what is happening because we are holding on to the culture of the Western World as if it will last forever. The way to save ourselves is to understand that the culture of Esav – he who opens his mouth and wants only to swallow that red, red meat – this culture is doomed.
A great Rosh Yeshiva told me, “I never ate steak in my life.”
It is permitted to eat red meat, but it’s not permitted to “live for” the red meat. This is the subtle difference between life and death. We have to escape from the fate which is even now dooming the descendants of Esav.
We are so trapped, my friends. Our Father, the Master of the World, in His mercy, is bringing these horrible anti-Semites to wake us up. Chazal tell us that, in the End of Days, Hashem will send “a king as harsh as Haman” so that we will do teshuva. (Sanhedrin 97b) These messengers of hate are here to wake us up.
The Chofetz Chaim reportedly predicted three wars before Moshiach. He cited World War I as the first war; he predicted World War II and he said that there would be a Third War, after which Moshiach ben Dovid would come. He was also reported to have said that, in the Third War – unlike the first two – those Yidden who stick like glue to Hashem and His Torah and who distance themselves from the surrounding culture will be saved and will see the Final Redemption.
I also saw the following: “In the final war before the coming of Moshiach, all the Jews who fear Hashem will survive. Hashem will say to them, ‘All those who are removed from the secular, worldly culture … you are Mine!’” (Rabbi Yechezkel Levenstein zt”l, quoted in Redemption Unfolding)
I want to cry out from the rooftops!
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw, and that coming day will burn them up, says Hashem, Master of Legions, so that it will not leave them a root or branch. But a sun of righteousness will shine for you who fear My Name, with healing in its rays, and you will go out and flourish like calves [fattened] in the stall.” (Malachi 3:19-20)
This is what the prophet tells us. There is so much hope!
We are standing at the door of the Great Shabbos! We have to say goodbye to the culture of Golus. As the malach told Lot, “Don’t look back!”
“Lecha Dodi … Come my beloved to greet the bride!”
Let us welcome the Great Shabbos! May we all merit to see it!
|Red Red Meat|
|The House of Yaakov will be a Fire|
|Healing in its Rays|
This week's Perceptions is dedicated for the refuah shlaimah of Chayah Yael bas Udel Basha Hadassah. May the learning of this parsha sheet be a merit for her quick and complete recovery. She is in a very serious condition and can use all the tefillos she can get.
* * *
TWINS USUALLY HAVE a lot in common. Even though they may go in two separate directions, the basis of each is often something in common. For example, one may be a shochet (butcher) and the other might be a mohel who performs circumcisions, but it can be a common propensity to spill blood that drove each in the direction of their professions.
Seemingly, Ya’akov and Eisav were an exception. They looked nothing like each other, and they certainly acted like complete opposites. Yet, the Kehillas Ya’akov says that Eisav was supposed to have been the fourth forefather, just as there were for four foremothers. And Dovid HaMelech, ancestor of Moshiach Ben Dovid, had a lot in common with Eisav, being red and ruddy and having blood on his hands. Perhaps this is why Dovid asked G–D to make him the fourth father.
Furthermore, let’s not forget a very important fact. As the parsha says, Yitzchak loved Eisav most. He obviously loved Ya’akov very much, but he loved Eisav more. And though the Torah seems to say this was just the result of Eisav’s power of deception, Kabbalah says it is because both Yitzchak and Eisav came from same spiritual root, Gevurah. Though Yitzchak and Eisav look more like opposites to us than Ya’akov and Eisav, Yitzchak saw something of himself inside his son, and tried to bring it out.
Yitzchak was not wrong. Eisav has produced some amazingly righteous people. The prophet Ovadiah was a convert from Edom. The Roman ruler Antoninus was an admirer and supporter of Rebi Yehudah HaNasi (Avodah Zarah 10b). Many descendants of Eisav have put their own lives on the line to save Jews over the ages.
And the opposite has been true as well. Centuries of assimilation have proven just how Eisav-like Jews can be, some even “converting” to Christianity and rising up high in the Church. There are stories of Nazis being “impressed” with just how cruel Kapos could be to their own. And of course, there is this from the Gemora:
The ways and nature of these people, the Jews, are like fire. Were it not for the fact that the Torah was given to the Jewish people, whose study and observance restrains them, no nation or tongue could withstand them. This is the same as what Rebi Shimon ben Lakish said: “There are three arrogant ones: The Jewish people among the nations…” (Beitzah 25b)
POLITICS BRING OUT the worst in many societies. The more people “need” to win, the greater the chance for corruption. The more power people have and the less they believe in divine accountability, the more corrupt they will be. After all, if Kayin could kill his brother to get ahead fresh out of Paradise, and he still talked to G–D, how much more so the world after him that is not even sure G–D exists.
The most recent elections in Israel certainly got some Jewish Leftists to reveal what they think and feel. While one “donned” tefillin in a disgustingly immodest way to take a shot at the religious parties, another suggested that all Charedim hang themselves with their tefillin, an old Nazi past time. Erev Rav? Self-hating Jews? Eisav in disguise?
I was once told a story by a “nice Jewish boy.” In his High School days before he became religious, he played football. He liked offense more, but he was given a position on defense instead. He didn’t do too much until one game he got a break. Somehow he penetrated the other team’s offensive line, whose job is to protect the quarterback from being tackled.
The quarterback didn’t see him coming because he was looking for his receivers downfield. He ran as fast as he could at the quarterback, who could throw the ball at any moment and end the chance to tackle him. But not only did he reach the quarterback in time, he literally picked up the other player and threw him down to the ground like a piece of trash.
He was euphoric, especially when his teammates gathered to congratulate him for the “kill.” But within moments, he recalled, the euphoria began to dissipate and gave rise to a different, far less comfortable feeling. He tried to shake it off, at least for the rest of the game, but it was persistent, and it only went away once he realized where it came from: Shock.
“Who was that out on the field?” he uneasily asked himself. “Who manhandled that quarterback with such viciousness?” he wondered inside. It was as if he had been overcome by some inner beast that he did not recognize. By the time the game was over, he had decided he never wanted to see that side of him ever again. He quit the football team mid-season.
I recall another story from my own early years. Some children were bullying another child who was too meek to defend himself. But they pushed him too far and he snapped, probably out of fear and anger, and he became an unrecognizable terror. The bullies ended up running away from him, and they probably never bothered him again.
It is amazing what all of us have inside of us. Some of it is amazingly good while some of it is amazingly scary, and a person can go their entire life not knowing it is there, if nothing forces them to access it. This is why it comes as a great shock when it rears its head, because our self-perception never includes the quiet and hidden parts of who we are.
Did Ya’akov Avinu have to deceive anyone before Eisav made himself unworthy of the birthright? Did he have to steal before his mother sent him in to take Eisav’s blessings? Did he have to be a trickster before living with Lavan? No, no, and no, which means, perhaps, that all of that was actually part of his schooling about living in this world as a Ya’akov Avinu.
THE BOTTOM LINE here is, don’t be naive. Before all of this, Ya’akov Avinu was called tam, which can have many meanings, including naive. Ya’akov Avinu grew up sheltered because he clung to the Bais Midrash. He may have known about all the evil in the world, but until he left the Bais Midrash for the outside world in which people like Eisav lived, he never really experienced it. It is one thing to hear about Nazis. It is an entirely different thing to experience them firsthand.
But as scary as it is to meet Eisav in person, it is scarier to meet “Eisav” within ourselves. It was probably one of the things that drove Ya’akov to the Bais Midrash from an early age, and kept him there. He obviously loved Torah, but he probably hated his potential to be like Eisav even more, and he worked on expunging it from him with every word of Torah he learned. This is why he fought with the angel of Eisav before the real Eisav. He had to get the Eisav out from inside of him before he confronted the Eisav outside of him.
As the Gemora says, if you are not aware of the need for this, you certainly won’t work on it. And if you don’t work on it, you certainly won’t be able to resist it, and instead will personify Eisav as a Jew. There have always been such Jews throughout history, but today you can see them particularly in politics in the United States, and in Israel. They think they are heroes of society. But they are just worshippers of Eisav’s way of life.
That is nothing new historically, and “history” will take care of them over time. What may be new to many people, including those who do not identify with the obviously Eisav-supporting Jews, is the Eisav within them and how it manifests itself. The only way to manage it is to acknowledge it, and work on keeping it at bay with Torah values.
Ya’akov didn’t have to be born a twin. Most of history would have worked just fine had Eisav simply been his older brother even if, as in the case of Yitzchak and Yishmael, he had been born from another mother. If G–D created such a deep and intimate connection between the two brothers at such a critical point in time, we can’t dismiss it as just another quirk of Jewish history. How much more so when Ya’akov Avinu only merited the name “Yisroel” after overcoming the Eisav within him.
Ain Of Milvado, Part 27
IT IS EISAV-like to not trust in G–D, and we see this from their confrontation in Parashas Vayishlach. When Eisav refuses Ya’akov’s gift at first, he does so by bragging, “I have a lot.” When Ya’akov refuses his refusal, he humbly says, “I have all,” something Eisav could not say since he did not trust in G–D.
After all, “all”? A person can say they have a lot because it is based upon the current reality. They know what they have. They can see it, touch it. But how can you know if you have everything you need if you do not know at the moment everything you will need? There’s only one way: If you trust that G–D has your back at all times, even when it seems that He doesn’t.
Eisav didn’t want to live his life that way. The only risks Eisav wanted to have to cope with were the ones he chose to live with. Besides, he discovered at a young age that what he could not acquire through hard work he could usually get through stealing and other nefarious means. Who needs G–D when you can cheat?
So when the Jewish people were finally poised to enter Eretz Yisroel, G–D warned them about taking credit for their success. Everything they would receive in Eretz Yisroel was just like the mann in the desert, given to them directly from G–D as per their needs. Remaining on the land depended upon them realizing and accepting this.
After all, it is called Eretz Yisroel, not Eretz Eisav or Eretz Ya’akov. A Yisroel is someone who has risen above the level of a Ya’akov, and no longer has to contend with their inner Eisav. America and other western countries may be lands of, “yaish lee rav—I have a lot,” but Eretz Yisroel is the land of “yaish lee kol—I have all.”
This is why, as the Malbim states (Yirmiyahu 31:15-16), Jews in the Diaspora are called Bnei Ya’akov, but Jews who live in Eretz Yisroel are called Bnei Yisroel. It was on his way back into Eretz Yisroel that Ya’akov’s name was changed to Yisroel, a title we only really earn by doing the same thing.
24 November 2022
There are critical lessons here about our ongoing war with Amalek:
1) As we saw in the Mechilta, the first time Amalek came upon us was the only time they showed themselves as such. From now on they were playing dress-up and engaging in subterfuge. This time they disguised themselves as Canaanites, but they would assume many other identities as time went on.
2) Amalek is most concerned with the power of Jewish prayer, and they go to great lengths to neutralize our ability to pray effectively.
Rashi's source, the Yalkut Shimoni 764:13, adds important details and background:
“If it was Amalek, why does the Torah call him Canaanite? Because Israel was forbidden to wage war against Esav, as it says 'Do not start up with them, etc.' (Devarim 2:5). [However] when Amalek came upon them one time and a second time and started up with them, Hashem said to [the Jews] this one isn't forbidden to you like the [other] sons of Esav, but he is to you like the Canaanites, about whom it says 'You shall utterly destroy them' (Devarim 20:17). Therefore they are called Canaanites.
“Amalek was always ready to strike Israel when they rebelled. We find that when they said 'Is Hashem in our midst?', immediately 'And Amalek came'. Here as well, 'And the entire congregation saw that Aharon had perished, and the Canaanite, king of Arad heard, etc.'. [The Jews said] 'Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt', and Amalek went down [to wage war against them].”
The Midrash then relates the flight from the nation and the civil war, and seems to indicate that this preceded the war with Amalek. If that is the case, we can well understand that their vulnerability to attack was not “merely” for a loss of faith following the death of Aharon, but as a punishment for the terrible sin of the rebellion.
The Midrash continues as follows:
“Esav said to Amalek, 'How much I tried to kill Yaacov! But he was not given into my hands. Set your mind to collect my revenge.'
“Amalek said to him, 'How can I successfully engage him?'
“Esav said to him, 'This tradition should be in your hands: when you see that they stumble with something, go and jump upon them…”
Amalek rejected the advice of his father, Eliphaz, and instead carried the eternal, implacable hatred of his grandfather, Esav. His entire existence revolved around waging war against the Jewish people, and, both directly and indirectly, bringing down the rest of the world as well. This tradition – the seething hatred for Israel and God's world – would be passed down from generation to generation, and the war would continue until the end of days. When Amalek is unable to show his true face or wage war directly, he goes undercover and continues the war through proxy and subterfuge.
It is Amalek that would form and maintain secret societies over centuries that plot to take over the world, with an emphasis on destroying the Jewish people. There are many who lust for power and harbor hatred for the Jews, but none is so devoted, so organized, and so ruthless like Amalek. Unlike the others, Amalek is not driven by greed or personal ambition, but by a Satanic religion that consumes them.
It is why the Germans diverted critical manpower and resources to murdering as many Jews as possible, for as long as possible, even though it cost them dearly as the war turned against them. This defies all logic, unless one realizes that the Nazis were Amalek, and annihilitating the Jewish people was their war. World domination was secondary. That could wait.
The Yalkut Shimoni then describes how Amalek came against Israel when the first Beis Hamikdash was destroyed. Although it was Bavel who was the dominant force at the time, Amalek watched as the Jews deteriorated spiritually and materially, and seized on the opportunity. They lingered a short distance away and watched the battle for Jerusalem. “He said to himself, 'If Israel wins, I will say I came to help you, and if the kingdom of Bavel wins, I will turn against Israel and murder them', as it says 'Don't stand by the juncture to cut off his survivors' (Ovadia 1:14).”
This is a perfect example of Amalek always remaining close to the Jewish people, taking their spiritual temperature, and jumping on the Jews when they are vulnerable – all while posing as allies.
Indeed, the Midrash then relates that Amalek played the same game centuries earlier, when they ambushed the Jews after Aharon died. “Rabbi Tanchum bar Chanilai said, when they heard that Aharon died, they armed themselves from within [their garments] and dressed [normally] from without, and they came as if they were mourners.”
Amalek saw that the clouds had dissipated, but before they attacked they needed to scope out the spiritual situation of the Jews. If the Jews were vulnerable, they would attack. If not, they came prepared with a disguise and a cover story. Classic Amalek.
The Yalkut Shimoni concludes:
“[Amalek] said, 'We know that they have an heirloom from their fathers, that [Yitzchak] said to them 'The voice is the voice of Yaacov', that they pray and are heard. We will come upon them and they will think we are the children of Canaan, and they will pray about the Canaanites, and we will murder them.'
“When they saw that the form of their faces was that of Amalek, but their dress and speech was that of the Canaanites, they said 'Master of the world, we don't know who they are. In any case, do justice against them,' as it says 'If you will give these people [in my hand]'. Immediately, 'Hashem heard the voice of Israel.’”
It is no coincidence that during the Covid portion of today's war against humanity, which is spearheaded by Amalek, they placed a particular emphasis on closing down the shuls and yeshivos. Amalek has faithfully transmitted the tradition that our power lies in our prayers and Torah, and they strategize accordingly to short-circuit our spiritual defenses.
Do you understand now what's really going on? Do you realize that this is not a series of coincidences or natural events, but the latest – most likely final – chapter in a war with Amalek that has spanned thousands of years?
We cannot defeat an enemy that we do not recognize, or are unsure even exists.
Amalek knows this quite well, which is why they disguise themselves as various other nationalities and come as friends, as saviors from crises real, imagined, exaggerated, or orchestrated by them.
Amalek also knows the power of our prayers and faith.
If only we knew it as much as they do.
If we armed ourselves only with this information, we would be well on our way to defeating Amalek. But there is still more to learn from the Torah and Chazal to round out our understanding of Amalek and his methods.
After all, for thousands of years Amalek has been lurking around us, watching us, collecting data, analyzing us, and fine-tuning their strategies against us, while we denied they were even there at all. Let's finally wake up and catch up.
To be continued.
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In this week's Torah class I presented selections from the Rambam on the laws of judges. Among the many topics we packed into less than an hour are the qualifications for judges, the requirement for judges and rabbis to draw independent conclusions, blind adherence to "experts" or lack thereof, and much more. This is all elementary Jewish law (not opinion, but law).
Of course, that hasn't stopped the Erev Rav from distorting the truth and misleading the Jewish people to destruction. We have no excuse not to learn and be informed, and I'm trying to make it easy for people. The recording is available here.
I don't expect the following article to be the most widely read thing I ever write, but it's definitely one of the most important things I've ever written.
A Primer on Amalek – Part 3 (first part)
It is a great failure of our society that a Jew can attend the “best” yeshivos from an early age, yet never learn that we faced Amalek a second time in the desert. They might be able to repeat a complex discourse on five different ways of reading a line of Gemara, or split hairs on hypothetical minutiae, but when it comes to the fundamentals of the Torah and our history they can offer only blank stares and fumbling responses to those who might question them. Our education system – if it can be called that – creates argumentative yet cowardly scholars who devote their studies to the Torah equivalent of calculus without ever having learned arithmetic.
As our second encounter with Amalek occurs in Parshas Chukas, which generally occurs during summer vacation, there is virtually no chance it would be part of any school curriculum. For someone to “discover” it, he must decide to study Chumash on his own, and by the time a Jew is old enough to do that, chances are he won't want to “waste his time” on Tanach when he can split another Talmudic hair and impress those around him.
Even if one paid attention to the Torah reading, he would still miss it, for Amalek's name doesn't appear in the text. One would have to look at least as far as Rashi to discover there is more here than meets the eye, and what Talmudic scholar with an ounce of dignity would be caught studying Chumash and Rashi?
I begin with this digression because our collective disconnection from the fundamentals, even as Talmudic scholars and intellectuals abound, is devastating on many levels. The information I am about to share with you should not be a chiddush. It should not be something I had to learn on my own well into adulthood and gradually put together. We should have all learned this by fifth grade, and the presentation that follows should be merely a review.
I don't know how much control Amalek and the Erev Rav have over our children's education, but the greatest gift we could give our enemies is to marginalize and trivialize the fundamentals. We're easy prey.
End of rant. Let's turn to Bamidbar 21.
The forty years in the desert were nearing their end, but our travails were far from over. Aharon HaKohen, who had lovingly shepherded the Jews in Egypt and in the desert, had died, throwing the nation into turmoil. The clouds of glory that surrounded the Jews in his merit temporarily dissipated while they mourned.
The “Canaanites” happened to be lurking nearby. They noticed that the Jews were suddenly exposed, and took this as an invitation to attack them, even managing to take a captive. Although the Jews regrouped and took vengeance on their attackers, the battle took a deeper toll on many of the people, who were already in a fragile state.
Despite being so close to their destination, despair set in. Many Jews lost their faith – the constant miracles all around them lost their effect, as inevitably they do – and they decided they had enough. An undercurrent of rebellion that had flared up at various times reached a new peak. Several families joined together, appointed a leader, and broke away from the nation. They were returning to Egypt to be slaves.
They retraced their steps for seven journeys, throwing away the yoke of Torah for the yoke of the gentile taskmaster – a bargain many continued to strike ever since. The greatest yetzer hara of the Jew – including Orthodox Jews – is to be approved by the goyim, to emulate them (even if only in subtle ways), to be dependent upon them, and to be subservient to them in a land other than their own. This is the precise opposite of the very reason for the Jewish people to exist, and thus the greatest threat to our existence throughout history, present times included.
However, the dream of these rebels in the desert to abandon Jewish destiny for a hell they had become used to was not to be. The tribe of Levi chased after them and overtook them at Moseira, where a civil war ensued. The Levites killed seven families of renegades and lost four of their own in the battle – but they succeeded in ending the rebellion. When it was finally over the survivors mourned Aharon's death again, for it had precipitated this tragic spiral, and returned to the nation (see Rashi on Bamidbar 21:4 and 26:13).
The Torah only hints at this civil war, most likely out of sensitivity fo
r the fact that this rebellion was caused more by grief and emotional turmoil than wickedness.
But there is another hint in the Torah with even greater implications. The “Canaanites” who had attacked the Jews, which broke the spirits of many of the people and set a rebellion in motion, were actually Amalek. As Rashi on Bamidbar 21:1 explains, it was Amalek who dwelled in the Eretz HaNegev mentioned there, and Amalek was always on standby, a whip of punishment ready to attack the Jews at all times.
The Jews had lost faith and sunk into despair after Aharon died. Nothing charges Amalek's batteries like loss of faith. As we saw in our first encounter with them, whenever Moshe lowered his hands and the Jews lost some of their divine connection, Amalek got the upper hand. When Moshe's hands were raised and the Jews looked to heaven, they got the upper hand, and ultimately defeated Amalek.
The same pattern repeated itself here. After their initial setback, the Jews regrouped, turned to Hashem, and proceeded to decimate their attackers.
But why does the Torah refer to Amalek here as Canaanites?
Rashi explains that Amalek approached the Jews dressed as Amalek, but speaking in the language of the Canaanites. This was intended to confuse the Jews so they would ask Hashem to save them from the Canaanites, and render their prayers ineffective. The Jews were indeed confused, but finally prayed simply for Hashem to deliver “these people” in their hands, whoever they were, without being too specific.
“There comes a time," Martin Luther King Jr. advised, "when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right." Moral imperative, in other words, outweighs personal security, political correctness, and the psychological comfort of identifying with the crowd. During troubling times of human violence and suffering, it is always the lonely few — either blessed with innate courage or made resolute through private, grinding struggle — who dare to take a stand against encroaching evils tacitly accepted by the many. Such is the power of individual free will when man chooses principle as his guide.
Liberty Is Worth the Fight
Freedom's future always depends upon the courage of a lonely few.
by J.B. Shurk
23 November 2022
[Its a setup min Hashamayim]
Bibi Did NOT Win the Elections
|Great pic, Asher Schwartz|
Everyone is congratulating Netanyahu on his victory in the recent Israeli elections. President Biden (finally) called him, and the world is getting ready for another term of Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister. There’s only one problem; contrary to what everyone is saying and everything you are reading; Bibi did not win these elections!
Think I’m crazy? (Don’t answer that…) Allow me to explain.
This latest round of elections was called “Round 5” since it was the 5th election in the last 2 years. “Round 1” was when Bibi lost – the first time – since he could not put together a coalition. In those elections, Likud received 35 seats in the Knesset. In “Round 2” Bibi’s Likud party managed just 32 seats – a big failure. Then in “Round 3” he won 36 seats but was still considered a loser since he could not build a coalition. “Round 4” was Bibi’s worst showing ever, with Likud managing just 30 seats. It was at this time that the crazy deal was made between Bennet, Lapid, Gantz, Lieberman and the Arabs to form a coalition that lasted less than 2 years.
Then came “Round 5” – elections once again! – and Bibi led Likud to an amazing victory! Everyone is praising him, applauding his resilience and happy for his incredible achievement. How many seats did Likud win in this amazing victory? Well, if Bibi lost with 32, 35 and even 36… Likud must have won at least 40 seats in these elections… right?? Wrong!
“Round 5” – the elections where Bibi was declared the winner – had the Likud winning just 32 seats. You read that correctly – Bibi and Likud were declared the winner with just 32 seats. But wait… they received 32 seats in “Round 2” and lost… and 35 in “Round 1” and lost… and 36 in “Round 3” and still lost… so how can 32 seats win in “Round 5”??
The answer to that question is simple. Bibi did not win. The reason – the only reason – why Bibi has been declared winner is because he stands the best chance to build a coalition of at least 61 Knesset members but that’s not because of him… it’s because of the real – and only – winner in these elections; Itamar Ben-Gvir. Like him, love him or hate him… it really doesn’t matter. His party ran with Betzalel Smotrich and they went from 6 seats, in the last Knesset, to 14 in the present one. Those 8 seats – every one of them – are due to Ben-Gvir… and those 8 seats are the reason why Bibi is in the driver’s seat to form a coalition.
Without Ben-Gvir’s additional 8 seats, Bibi’s 32 would have been another dreadful loss. Political experts would have told him to throw in the towel and make room for a new Chairman of Likud. He would have been forced out of politics with people remembering his 5 consecutive losses. Instead, those same 32 seats – less than what he received in “Rounds 1 and 3” – have made him the comeback king. Yes, its silly, absurd and downright ridiculous but that’s the 100% truth. The words written above are not my opinion or assessment of the situation… they are an undisputable fact. Bibi did not win the election, yet he will probably become the next Prime Minister because of the Knesset’s “bad-boy”; Itamar Ben-Gvir.
So, what will be Ben-Gvir’s reward? What will Bibi do for him, since his votes make Bibi the Prime Minister?
The answer to that is not what you think.
It has been my prediction all along that Netanyahu will turn the Knesset upside down just to leave Ben-Gvir out of the coalition. He will split Smotrich away from Ben-Gvir and figure out a way to bring Gantz into the government. When I wrote, and published this, 2 weeks before the elections, people said I was crazy, but I stand by that prediction (and yes, I’m crazy…) I spoke to Ben-Gvir about this directly and told him that if this comes to fruition, it will be the best thing that ever happened to him.
Ben-Gvir’s support in this recent election came from people who were angry and fed up and if their #1 choice is ignored, he can guarantee that his popularity will grow tremendously. Bibi may think that he can do whatever he wishes but a coalition that doesn’t include Ben-Gvir will last even less time than the disastrous Bennet-Lapid fiasco.
You think Qatar hosting the World Cup is exciting? That’s nothing compared to watching a loser think he’s a winner by leaving the real winner out of the game. And this excitement… you can enjoy with a cold beer!
Just remember, that whatever happens… Am Yisrael Chai!
[great analysis Shmuel, love this analogy. its surely a setup]
Source article and artwork: https://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/am-yisrael-chai/bibi-did-not-win-the-elections/2022/11/22/