31 January 2010

Motivation

B"H

17 Shevat 5770


Dear Children of Israel, learn now why it is that I refer to you as "Children of Israel."
THEY [the Erev Rav] FOUND AN OPPORTUNITY TO CLEAVE TO ISRAEL BUT THEIR MAIN PURPOSE WAS TO CAUSE TROUBLE FOR ISRAEL.

When (vayehi) Pharaoh sent the people (ha am), G-d did not lead them in the direction of the Philistines ... (Shemos 13:17) . . . As well, it is as they [Chazal] say, that every time Israel is referred to as 'AM' (people), it is an allusion to the Erev Rav. This is why it sometimes says 'the people,' whereas other times it refers to them as the 'Children of Israel' ... [Thus, when it says "When (vayehi), a word that can denote upcoming suffering for the Jewish people; Megillah 10b) ..." [it was an allusion to the future trial by the Red Sea, which would cause] great suffering for the Jewish people [as a result of the fact that] "Pharaoh sent the people," that is, the Erev Rav. For, it was Pharaoh who sent them, and not God Who took them out. God only wanted to redeem His great nation and inheritance, but Pharaoh sent them along in order to force the Jewish people to return to Egypt. Thus, they found an opportunity to cleave to Israel but their main purpose was to cause trouble for Israel. (Ohr HaChaim)

...a tell-tale sign of Erev Rav is not what the person does, but his motivation for doing it, which is not always simple to know. However, over time it is clear which leaders serve G-d and His people 'lishmah' - for altruistic reasons - and which ones do so for the sake of some personal benefit. Thus, you can find simple, unlearned but devoted Jews who are cherished by Heaven, and intelligent and well-learned leaders who are self-serving, and despised by Heaven, especially when they fool the public and garner their respect.

THE EREV RAV DOES NOT HAVE AN OUTWARDLY SECULAR NATURE. ON THE CONTRARY, THEY CAN APPEAR QUITE RELIGIOUS AND, FOR THE MOST PART, FULFILL THE MITZVOS INCUMBENT UPON A JEW TODAY, AT LEAST EXTERNALLY. HOWEVER, THE ZOHAR ITSELF, AND THEN THE VILNA GAON, HAVE MORE TO ADD TO THIS LIST, BRINGING INTO EVEN GREATER FOCUS THE WORST OF ALL JEWISH ENEMIES THAT LIVES WITHIN. In Sifra D’Tzniusa, Chapter 1, the GR"A (Vilna Gaon)


The Erev Rav are very concerned for their personal kavod. If they perceive a slight, they will scream to the high heavens for their own honor, but for Hashem's honor they have no concern whatsoever.

This is what the holy Rabbi Yehonathan Eyebeshutz, author of Yearot Devash writes there (Derush 15): “Due to our many sins, the jealousy and zealousness due to G-d have disappeared, they are turned upside down and in their place the honor and profit of the people dominate. G-d forbid if someone comes and argues or diminishes the honor of any Rabbi or a leader of a congregation or if someone violates a decree of the community concerning the communal budget and allowances, they will run after him and persecute him until the end. But if on the other hand someone comes and damages or diminishes the honor of the Torah and he raises his hand against the Torah of Moshe, they will only shut their mouth. Even the good and pious people will only go so far as to say about that person: “May his name be blotted out”. But in this case no one will suggest to persecute him and run after him to humiliate him or cause him shame. And this constitutes the length of our exile, because no one is jealous for the Jealousy and Honor of G-d.


Pondering...
-MW-

28 January 2010

Who Are They? (Part 3)

B"H

14 Shevat 5770


Dear Children of Israel, there is much more to say about the Erev Rav and their origins, characteristics and destiny, and G-d willing we will continue next week, but today, I'd like to break from that discussion to say the following. We all know that Israel is ruled by an Erev Rav regime. They are not the sum total of the Erev Rav, not by a long shot, but they are the most powerful.

I would like to jump ahead and talk a bit about what is expected of us in regard to the Erev Rav, at least this part of them, because something happened today that I feel is noteworthy.

Backtracking a bit, Rabbi Meir Kahane was Mashiach ben Yosef in his generation. You see how as the generations degrade, our Mashiach sinks lower and lower in the esteem of the nations. This is a measure of how alienated they, and we, are from the truth.

Rabbi Kahane was set to win a very large and influential number of seats in the Israeli Knesset when at the last moment, a month from the elections, Likud and Shas (those who had the most to lose) made a deal to have his party declared racist and ineligible to run. They did it and they got away with it. In response to this, Rabbi Kahane wrote a book called "Referendum or Revolution" in which he called upon the people to demand a referendum on his party's eligibility or revolt outright against the government's abuse of power and denial of the people's democratic rights. (G-d willing, perhaps we will get into that book a bit more later on.)

But we were still too timid, too unsure of ourselves, too tied in every way to the Erev Rav rabbis who would never countenance such a thing. So the Rav's mission to bring the Redemption early, failed and Hashem called him home. (This is what is meant by "pray that Mashiach ben Yosef does not die in battle.")

We were left behind to face the False Peace Process, the Oslo Accords, exploding buses, suicide bombers, raining missiles and.... Well, you've lived through most of it, so you know.

The war of this generation is primarily a battle for hearts and minds. How many times did we hear former President George Bush say this? And it became a litany in the media thereafter. That is because it was a message for us. OUR hearts and minds must be properly prepared before we can receive Mashiach.

There are no more opportunities to bring redemption early. This is the last generation, the Dor HaMidbar; those who were not born into the slavery of the nations, but were free and unhindered to begin their journey to Eretz Yisrael. Either we will prepare or we will not be allowed to remain. There are no fence-sitters in this war.

If our hearts are attached to any manifestation of this evil anti-Torah regime, then we are sick and in need of healing. It is possible to love Eretz Israel because it is a gift from Hashem and a vehicle for our mitzvot without any regard for Zionism at all. Those who love the flag and the anthem and the army and the image of Bibi and Peres collecting accolades are far, far from the One Above.

From the time of Rav Kahane, every Torah-believing Jew in the government should have left it. For one thing, the Erev Rav are klipot who parasitically feed off of the kedusha of holy Jews. Had good, Torah-loving Jews withdrawn their support completely and abandoned the Erev Rav, the government would have collapsed from internal rot.

What happens to otherwise good Jews once they join with the government instead of opposing it? Well, we see what happens from the example of
MK Michael Ben -Ari:
MK Ben-Ari Condemns Shoe-Throwing Incident

(IsraelNN.com) MK Michael Ben-Ari, who has had no shortage of criticism for the High Court's actions and decisions, said Thursday that he condemned the shoe attack on High Court justice Dorit Beinish Wednesday. He warned, however, against making the incident into "a reason to make the court a 'sacred cow,'" that would be immune to any criticism at all.

One is forced to uphold the authority of and respect for this dangerously flawed institution. And then we see things like this:
Rabbi E. Melamed Considering Resigning

(IsraelNN.com) Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Dean of Yeshivat Har Bracha, is considering resigning his position – in order to make sure his students don’t sit in jail.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak removed Yeshivat Har Bracha from the Hesder arrangement [a five-year program, consisting of one-third combat army service and two-thirds Torah study] last month, after Rabbi Melamed did not condemn soldiers’ in-army protests against outpost demolitions.


A Rabbi who stood up for the Torah and the halacha was first degraded and harassed and now is being pushed out of his position. All hesder soldiers should refuse to serve and should have refused to serve from the moment that the army began expelling and beating Jews.

This is a big subject. We have barely begun to touch on various aspects of it that we need to learn. G-d willing, we will attempt to continue next week. In the meantime, I will leave you with this thought for Shabbat:

THE EREV RAV ARE THORNS AND ISRAEL ARE THE ROSES AMONG THEM IN EXILE

And why did Hashem appeared to Moshe from the thorn bush? To show Moshe that He was in pain among the thorns. And even with this “And the bush would not be consumed”. For the roses, that represent his sons, that represent Israel, and that are destined to be in the exile among the EREV RAV that they are thorns. And this is the secret of (Yermiah 46:28) “Do not fear, O my servant Jacob, says the Lord; for I am with you; for I will make a full end of all the nations where I have driven you; but I will not make a full end of you, but correct you in due measure; yet I will not leave you unpunished”. …And the suffering that the EREV RAV inflict to the Jews in Exile accelerates the Redemption, and the calm that they have towards the Jews delays the redemption. Tikkune Zohar, Tikkun 12

This was the reason for what happened to Gush Katif. And it was meant to distance us from them. If we don't do it ourselves, Hashem will do it for us or we may find that we are among the Erev Rav.
Wishing you all a lovely Shabbat Shira, a Tu b'Shevat sameach and Shana tova to the trees...-MW-

27 January 2010

Who Are They? (Part 2)

B"H

13 Shevat 5770


Dear Children of Israel, the war which we are bidden to wage against the Erev Rav is not a reference to some 'Erev Rav' element within us. These are real people. They are the souls of the Egyptians which have been reincarnated along with the entire Dor Hamidbar in this generation.

“The Children of Israel traveled from Ramses towards Succot. There were about 600,000 adult males on foot, besides the children. The Erev Rav also went up with them”. (Shemot 12:37-38)

THE EREV RAV WERE THE SORCERERS AND MAGICIANS OF EGYPT WHO MOSHE TOOK OUT OF EGYPT IN SPITE OF HASHEM’S WARNING NOT TO TAKE THEM ALONG.

... And who were the "mixed multitude"? Were they Lydians, Ethiopians, or Cyprians? Were they not all Egyptians, and did they not all come from Egypt? If they had consisted of a mixture of many different nations, would not the plural verb 'Alu (went up) have been used instead of the singular Ala (Ex. XII, 38)? In fact, however, the "mixed multitude" consisted entirely of one people all the members of which spoke one language: namely, all the sorcerers of Egypt and all its magicians, as it is written, "And the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments" (Ex. 7, 2); for they wanted to oppose the wonderful works of the Holy One, blessed be He. When they saw the signs and the wonders which Moshe wrought in Egypt they came to Moshe to be converted. Said the Holy One to Moshe: "Do not receive them" Moshe, however, replied: "Sovereign of the universe, now that they have seen Your power they desire to accept our Faith, let them see Your power every day and they will learn that there is no G-d like You." And Moshe accepted them. (ZOHAR HA KADOSH KI TISSA 191A)

"...the Erev Rav that left with the Children of Israel, and they were more than double the Jewish people . . . (Sha'arei HaPesukim, Shemos 1:8)"

In his book EVEN SHELOMO, the Vilna Gaon, ztk’l wrote that the selection and purification of Israel will not be complete until the Erev Rav separates from Israel completely, because they (Erev Rav) are very attached to the Jews and the Jews learn from their actions.

And the five types of Erev Rav are:
1- Those that create strife and talk Lashon ha Ra
2- Those who pursue their desires like Prostitution, etc.
3- The swindlers who pretend to be Tzaddikim but their hearts are not straight.
4- Those who pursue honor and build great synagogues to make a name for
themselves
5- Those who pursue money and strife
(Aderet Eliyahu)

"...Our Sages said that in the period of "Mashiach's footsteps" impudence will become great... and the `Erev Rav will return to be the leaders of Israel" – Sifra ditzniutha, chapter 1


Hoping to elaborate upon this a bit more in coming days...
-MW-

26 January 2010

Who Are They? (Part 1)

B"H

11 Shevat 5770


"... the redeemer will not come until we will purify and separate ourselves from [the Erev Rav]."

This is because Mashiach must fight against them and he can't do it alone. We must help him. If we are unprepared to do so, if, G-d forbid, we would even fight against Mashiach's attempts to defeat them because we do not understand the issue, then his mission is doomed to failure from the start.
"...our main service and battle is to break and to remove the strength of the Erev Rav, the k'lipah of Armelius the Evil, from Israel; the Erev Rav is our greatest enemy, the one who separates the two moshiachs. The k'lipah of the Erev Rav works only through deception and roundabout ways. Therefore, the war against the Erev Rav is the most difficult and bitterest of all. (Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, Section 2, Letter 'bais')

"Before the arrival of Moshiach, most of the rabbis will be from the Erev Rav, because Israel in themselves are holy, but the Erev Rav only work for their own benefit . . . wanting to rule over the public . . . One should only join with those who truly serve G-d and sacrifice themselves to Him, but not in order to receive any benefit." (Divrei Chaim, Parashas Vayakhel, 'Omissions')

"...And they are called Erev Rav, because they are the heads (leaders) of the Jews in the exile and therefore they are called RAV." (Likutim HaGRA)

"...they are the rich men living in happiness and contentment without suffering nor pain, thieves and full of bribes, that they are the judges, the leaders of the people, about whom it is written: 'And the land was filled with violence because of them', on them it is written: 'Their enemies became their heads',...." (Zohar ha Kaddosh III Parashat Nasso Raaya Mehemna 124ª)


To be continued, G-d willing...

-MW-

25 January 2010

Bringing Mashiach (Part2)

B"H

11 Shevat 5770


Dear Children of Israel, I submit that misplaced chesed has been a greater source of trouble for the Jews than misplaced gevurah. Chesed is compared to water and we all know what damage can result from unrestrained water, from water which is not confined within set boundaries.

Were it not for Sara Imeinu’s gevurah which balanced Avraham Avinu’s chesed, he would never have separated Yishmael from Yitzchak. And were it not for Moshe Rabbeinu’s insistence on bringing the Erev Rav along with us on our way out of Mitzrayim, we would have had the geulah shleimah at Har Sinai!

The Zohar HaKadosh says:

…"The tree of the knowledge of good and evil" shall be thrust from them and shall not cleave to them or mingle with them, for of Israel it is said - "and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ye shall not eat". This tree is the "mixed multitude", and G-d pointed out to them that through mixing with them they suffered two losses, of the first and of the second Temple, as it is said: "and on the day that you eat of it you shall surely die". They caused the Tzaddik to be left parched and desolate by the loss of the first Temple, which is the Shechinah in heaven, and by the loss of the second Temple, which is the Shechinah on earth. (Zohar ha Kadosh I 26a)
In the Tikkune Zohar (97a) it is written: “All the exile and the destruction of the Beit ha Mikdash and all the suffering, all of it came through Moshe’s acceptance of the Erev Rav, and all wicked people and evildoers in each generation come from them, meaning from their souls, for they are reincarnations of those who left Egypt and this is what the Gemara (Beitza 32) refers to: “They come from the Erev Rav”.


Furthermore: The Erev Rav delay the redemption much more than all the nations of the World.” (Raaya Mehemna-Sefer Ha Zohar)
And then we see:
The main aspect of the sin of Adam ha Rishon was that he wanted to bring close to him all the admixture of Chametz, the Erev Rav and the 70 nations and this was also the sin of Moshe Rabbeinu when he took with him the Erev Rav, and they made things worse when they made the Golden Calf. And we are still in exile, for the redeemer will not come until we will purify and separate ourselves from them. And this was also the sin of King Shlomo when he received converts. (Sefer ha Likuttim Tehillim)
Today, it is clear who is involved with trying to continue this sin by attempting to mix us up with Yishmael and Eisav or who condemn those who instinctively try to separate from evil Jews. And then they illegally play the unity card in order to get us back in line.


This must stop! We have to understand what is right and not be intimidated into backing down because of our lack of confidence in the truth. If we truly, truly wish to bring Mashiach, the most important thing we can do...right now...today...is begin to separate from the Erev Rav and stop enabling their dastardly deeds.

Hoping to continue this line of thought, IY"H...
-MW-

24 January 2010

Bringing Mashiach (Part 1)

B"H

10 Shevat 5770


Dear Children of Israel, we hear all the time that unity is the most important thing. Unity above all will bring Mashiach! And many Jews have taken this a step further and they say that we must be united with our apostate brethren as well and still others go beyond that and they tell us that we must even be unified with those of the nations.

Let me tell you something very simple. Our job in this world is to cleave to our Creator so that we will become like Him and be His partner in this world. What did Hashem do immediately when he began to create? He began to make order. He began to separate things and put them in their proper places. Then what did the first man do? Immediately, he made a mixture---he mixed good and bad by eating from the Tree. What is our job now? To rectify that mistake by separating the two again.

There are mitsvot that involve separating---shatnez, etc. In the Havdalah service, we praise Hashem for separating between the holy and the profane; between light and dark; between Israel and the nations; and between the Shabbat and the six working days.

I'm here today to tell you that contrary to the majority of what you hear, the way to bring Mashiach is not through unity at all costs. First, it is through separation---from Yishmael, from Eisav and from the Erev Rav---and only then should we unify...as Bnei Yisrael. This is the only unity that counts.

You can view an in-depth treatment of the subject of the Erev Rav
here. Following are some pertinent excerpts:
THOSE WHO FIGHT AGAINST THE MASHIACH
At that same time the Holy One blessed be He will awaken his power against all the nations of the world and the King Mashiach will be known in all the world and the Kings of the world will unite to go against him and many of the evildoers of the Jewish people will unite with those nations to wage war against the King Mashiach and then the world will darken for 15 days and many of the Jews will die on those days of darkness and on this episode it is written (Isaiah 60:2) “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon you, and his glory shall be seen upon you”. (Zohar ha Kadosh II, 7a)

...The prophet Malachi already spoke about the great hiding of the face of Hashem and the great confusion of minds and ideas before the arrival of Mashiach because the evildoers and the actions of the Satan will be successful and the trials and the strength needed will be great, and there will be no possibility of talking about the truth and about faith in front of the multitudes…Therefore the prophet said: “Then those who fear Hashem spoke each one to his fellow” that those who fear Hashem will have to strengthen themselves that they should not err and go after the mistaken people and after the majority, and one should help his fellow man and strengthen him and tell him: “Be strong” and the Holy One blessed is He who searches the heart and kidneys, will test their words. (Maskil el Dal)


Hoping to deal more with the subject in the coming days, IY"H...

-MW-

18 January 2010

Sepharadi Mashiach?

B"H

3 Shevat 5770


According to HaRav Ovadiya Yosef, Mashiach will be a Sephardi Jew:


Jerusalem - In his weekly shiur in Jerusalem, which focused on hilchos tekiyas shofar, HaRav Ovadiya Yosef touched on the differences between Ashkenazi and Sephardic halachic authorities.
“Every individual must follow his forefathers’ custom…Al titosh torat imecha…Elu v’elu divrei Elokim chayim. But when Moshiach comes, everybody will follow the Sephardic custom,” he said. The remark was consistent with HaRav Ovadiya’s approach and the halachic transformation he has led in the past generation, uniting Sephardic Jews under the halachic rulings of Maran Hashulchon Oruch zy”o.

It's very likely that he will be an American of Sephardi ancestry. Just like Moshe Rabbeinu grew up in the power center of Egypt, Mashiach will come out of the power center of America.

Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, ztz”l:


“The kingdom of Edom [i.e., the West] brings no other kingdom in its wake, for its power lasts until the end of This World as we know it — until the days of Mashiach…. That is to say, the kingdom of Mashiach comes forth and is revealed through the kingdom of Edom. Through the destruction of the kingdom of Edom, the kingdom of Heaven arises and is revealed — ‘and the rulership will be attributed to Hashem.’ The destruction of Edom will come only through the destruction of this world.


When HaKadosh Baruch Hu brings the world to a state in which the foundations of life in this world collapse; peace of mind will be undermined; individual life will turn to worry, fear, and suffering; and the whole world will stand in fear of havoc and destruction, then all will see that man’s vanity and pride in his progress and supposed conquest of the material world only lead to perdition. Then they will recognize the nullity and futility of life in This World when it is devoid of any spiritual content, leading only to ruin. When man loses hope of achieving his wants and desires, then the light of Mashiach will be revealed” (Michtav MeEliyahu III, p. 205).

All one has to do is open his eyes and look around him to see that the entire world is in the midst of a great transformation. We are slowly, but surely transitioning from one reality to another. At the conclusion of the process, nothing will be the same as it was.

Cling as tightly as you can to HKB"H...
-MW-

17 January 2010

Interesting online book to share

B"H

2 Shevat 5770


Quoting:

"..Our belief in Mashiach is great and our need for him to arrive has never been greater.

...Evil decrees are not borne out of the minds of madmen; rather those same madmen are directed Hashem through His secret channels to send us a message. Today, those very messages are being broadcast by the same media networks that despise us; the messages that are being proclaimed publicly for us to hear. The messages are really the public revelation of secrest hidden deep in G-d's plans. We are supposed to pay attention to and direct ourselves to the True Source of the message.

...As Jews, we must never forget that world events are not really for the world, but truly messages for us."


Mashiach's Arrival and Purim

Enjoy!
-MW-

15 January 2010

Mashiach's Image

Which one of the following pictures best represents your image of Mashiach? Vote in the comments section.















12 January 2010

"Democratic" rule

B"H

27 Tevet 5770


Democracy is considered to be the most advanced form of government in the world today. Yet, it has many flaws. Despite its flaws, it has allowed Jews a lot of religious freedom in the nations of their dispersion and for that reason alone, Jews have been enamored of it. Unfortunately, it does not work in Eretz Yisrael. Rather than liberating, this form of government in Israel is confining and destructive.

There is an
incident recorded in Tanakh which demonstrates the correct way to relate to "democratic" or "majority" decisions. From this we can surmise what Mashiach's attitude will be, for our sages said that Sancheriv would have been Gog uMagog and Chizkiyahu Hamelech would have been Mashiach, had Chizkiyahu said shira.

In the times of King Chizkiya and the prophet Yeshaya, King Sancheriv of Ashur had conquered almost the entire world. He finally came to Yerushalayim, and sent his general, Rav-Shakei, with a message to the Jews that they should submit to him. [This story is found in Melachim II ch. 18-19 and Yeshaya ch. 36-37, and is alluded to in Tehillim ch. 11.] The Gemara relates that when Rav-Shakei saw Yerushalayim, he ridiculed it and made light of it. The people of Yerushalayim were split in their attitude. One group, led by Shevna, the scribe, rationally felt that to fight the Assyrian empire was futile and was in favor of surrendering. Another group, led by King Chizkiya and supported by Yeshaya, did not agree to surrender.


The Gemara (Sanhedrin 26a) relates that Shevna's party was larger than Chizkiya's, 130,000 vs. 110,000. In Tehillim (11:2) it says, "For, behold, the wicked bend the bow ... to shoot in the dark at the upright of heart." The Gemara interprets this to mean that Shevna wrote a letter and shot it by arrow to Sancheriv saying, "Shevna and his party consent; Hezekiah and his party do not consent." His primary intention in submitting was, "to shoot in the dark at the upright of heart," to undermine Yeshaya and Chizkiya. Most of the people felt defeated, and Yeshaya tried to encourage them, "Do not speak of a faction to everything that this people speaks of as a faction; do not fear what they fear and do not be overwhelmed by it." (8:12) Even though they are the majority -- do not think that we should follow them, because they are wicked, and when there is consensus of wicked against spirit of Torah we don't follow them. Rather, "Hashem, Master of Legions, Him shall you sanctify; He is Your Reverence and He is your strength." (8:13) We should not pay any attention to the agreements of the wicked, but rather fear only Hashem. It was that minority that believed in the spirit of the nation that ultimately prevailed.

This is the Spirit of Mashiach which should sweep us off our firm footing in non-Torah "values" like democracy---a Greek word for a Greek concept.

Preparing my mind to accept the new realities...
-MW-

10 January 2010

"Anti"-Mashiachs

B"H

25 Tevet 5770


Interestingly, the three “monotheistic” faiths all share a belief in Mashiach. The Christians believe that their Messiah will come and convert the entire world to Christianity. The Muslims expect their Mahdi to come and convert the entire world to Islam. Meanwhile, the Jews are expecting the Mashiach to arrive and make G-d’s name ONE in the world that He created, thereby bringing all mankind to the knowledge of the Truth. It’s not about making the whole world Jewish, but about sanctifying G-d’s name; rectifying the world and bringing it back to its pristine, Gan Eden state.

However, according to the Christian tradition, before the Mashiach comes, first will arise an anti-Messiah (or anti-Christ) who will fool the Jews into accepting him as the Mashiach. What this means is that they are already programmed through their book of lies to believe that the True Mashiach is an evil imposter and they will fight against him and his rule. This will mark the end of interfaith cooperation with the Evangelical Christians in Israel, and especially so once Mashiach deports all the Christian missionaries and closes the churches to idolatrous worship. Look for him to also take back the real estate holdings which the Church today claims as its own in Jerusalem and charges the Jews exhorbitant sums to “rent.”

-MW-


07 January 2010

Comparative 'Literature'

B"H

22 Tevet 5770


Although I'm still a long way from deciphering the secret codes in Shirat Devorah, I have made this connection between Shirat Devorah and Psalm 68, which describes the End of Days:

SHOFTIM 5.4-5

"...Lord, when You went forth out of Seir, when You marched out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, the heavens also dripped; also the clouds dripped water. The mountains melted at the presence of the Lord, this (was at) Sinai, because of the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel. "


PSALM 68.8-9


"...O God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wilderness, forever. The earth quaked, even the heavens dripped; this is Sinai, because of God, the God of Israel."

Interesting repetition of language, yes? You are welcome to leave a comment.

-MW-

06 January 2010

Seeking Purity

B"H

20 Tevet 5770


Don't listen to the Yetzer HaRa. He'll tell you anything to get his way. And he lies!

Hashem commanded us: "Be holy, because I am holy." You cannot attain holiness and purity without disengaging yourself from Olam HaSheker---the World of Lies. This includes TV, movies and novels. Fiction and playacting belong wholeheartedly to the World of Lies and has no place in the life of holiness and purity. Immediately, the Yetzer HaRa will jump on you and tell you that there is certainly a place for such things in the World of Truth and Torah. Why, what about fiction that gives over a righteous message? What about plays that depict stories from Tanakh?

If a person is honest with himself, he knows that this is not what fills his mind and hours. When he's watching TV and movies and reading popular novels, he is filling his mind with anti-Torah images, values and philosphies. This is absolutely incompatible with a life of holiness and purity.

The Yetzer HaRa next tells you that this is for tzadikim and gedolim not for the average Jew on the street. But the Truth is that this is for every Jew, because every Jew bears the Name of G-d and is required to separate himself from the dungheap of the goyische world. Every Jew is obligated to work on himself and raise himself up level by level until he attains the exalted state that Hashem intended for him.

There is no room for compromise here. One is either dirty or clean. You can't be both at one and the same time. How it must pain our Father in Heaven when we mix our tefillah and Torah learning with these daily excursions into the Olam HaSheker and lose any gains we might have made. No wonder we are such a low generation. What's worse is that we feel no shame and often do not even care. And this pushes off the geulah shleimah.

May we each aspire to come completely out of the World of Lies and cling to Hashem's Eternal Truth alone. Until we do, we are totally unprepared to receive the great Light of Redemption.

Resolving to do better...
-MW-

05 January 2010

SHOVAVIM

B"H

20 Tevet 5770


According to
Reb Tzvi Fishman: ...It would bring the Mashiach right away, as we say at the end of prayers every morning: “And a redeemer will come to Zion and to those in Yaakov who return from sin, says the L-rd” (Yishayahu, 59:20) – who return from this sin specifically.

This is also the meaning of the words that follow, “As for Me, this is My BRIT-covenant with them, says the L-rd” (Ibid. See also, “Likutei Halachah, Tefillin 2, 11-12).

This is the path to hasten the coming of Mashiach – through Tikun HaBrit, when we repent over our sexual sins (See the Commentary of the Gaon of Vilna to the “Tikunei Zohar,” Tikun 21, Folio 56, Column 3).


TIKUN KLALI (Hebrew) - (English)

Shovavim - Rectifying Sexual Transgression
Written by Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu
Tuesday, 05 January 2010

Every week, Israel’s former Chief Rabbi, HaRav Rav Mordechair Eliahu, shlita, puts out a Torah bulletin for Shabbat, called “Kol Tzofiyech,” which is distributed to synagogues throughout the country.

Rabbi Eliahu has long been one of the outstanding halachic authorities in Israel. During his prolong illness, his son, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, has been delivering the weekly televised lecture upon which the Torah bulletin is based. The recent lecture is on the six-week period of “Shovavim” which begins this week. We can see from the importance that Rabbi Eliahu places on “Shovavim” that it is not something limited to Kabbalists, or a few fringe Hasidic communities, but an important and worthwhile practice for Jews everywhere.
May the learning of the laws and customs of “Shovavim,” that we are translating (in a condensed version) from the bulletin, bring a blessing of health and complete and speedy recovery to HaRav Eliahu (HaRav Mordechai Tzemach ben Mazal), along with all of the other ailing people in Israel. Amen.
(Excerpted from the bulletin)

PURIFICATION FROM THE POLLUTION OF EGYPT
During the next six Torah readings, we will be re-experiencing the liberation of the Jewish People from the exile Egypt and from the 49th level of impurity to which we had sunk, to the great elevation of reaching the 49th level of purity and the 50th gate with the giving of the Torah. The revered Sage, the Shlah HaKadosh, states that this period is a time of intensified tshuva for the Jewish People, as our earlier and later Sages have written. The hardships which we suffered in Egypt came to cleanse us in the purifying furnace of the exile. So too today, during the “Shovavim” period, we strive for a greater purity from the transgressions which have blemished our souls. The famous Kabbalist, the Arizal, states that the Shovavim period comes to purify us particularly from sexual transgressions, known as blemishes to the Brit. It is thus a period in rectification, known as “Tikun HaBrit.”

Just as every year on Pesach we are called to look upon ourselves as if we too had escaped from Egypt, we are also called upon to cleanse ourselves of the terrible impurity that characterized Egypt’s immoral culture. In the time of Moshe, there were people who protested against the holy lifestyle that the newly-formed Nation of Israel was called upon to lead. They longed to return to the immorality of Egypt, and in fact, were not permitted to travel on to the Holy Land. These people cried in the doorways of their tents over the Torah laws which restricted sexual conduct to married couples only. They didn’t want to give up the immoral practices of Egypt’s perverted culture.

This same immoral culture spread out from Egypt over the world and its influences are very prevalent until this day. The dominion of the nations of the world over Israel stems from this sordid source, and only when we expel this polluted culture from our midst, will Israel gain its rightful prominence. Sexual immorality was the mainstay of Egyptian culture - men married men, and women married women, and one woman took two husbands (Rambam, Laws of Illicit Sexual Relations, 21:8). This licentious behavior is what the Torah means when it tell us: “Do not conduct yourselves after the doings of the land of Egypt” (Vayikra, 18:3). And this is the moral, physical, and spiritual pollution that we are to purify ourselves from during the weeks of Shovavim, both men and women alike.

Twice each day, in the paragraph of the Shema dealing with tzitzit, we say that Hashem took us out of Egypt to sanctify us, with special emphasis on our hearts and eyes: “Thou shall not follow after your heart and your eyes which lead you astray.” After your heart is referring to thoughts of sexual licentiousness. After your eyes refers to seeing forbidden images. For these things impair a person’s holiness and go against the goal of our leaving Egypt – to become a holy nation dedicated to serving Hashem.

STEP ONE - TIKUN AGAINST INTERNET POLLUTION
The great Sage, the Orach HaChaim HaKadosh, explains why this cleansing is dependent on guarding one’s eyes and one’s thoughts. “It is known that all of the commandments which Hashem has given to His holy nation are matters that we can do and which follow after the will to do them. One exception is separating oneself from illicit sexual conduct which a man’s nature pulls him toward with an overpowering lust if he doesn’t guard himself from two matters: seeing sexually inciting images and thinking sexual thoughts. If a man doesn’t guard himself from these two things, he cannot overcome and escape the ruling passions that stem from them. And if he tastes even a little of this poison, he will be a slave to his lusts” (on Vayikra, 18:2).

One of the greatest dangers today of falling prey to these base passions is via the Internet. Thus, the first rectification during the days of Shovavim is to rectify this damaging agent. If someone has Internet in his home and does not have a filter that prevents entering forbidden sites, and seeing erotic images, he or she must correct this immediately before any other tikun. This includes cancelling access to Internet via cell phones. Everyone must make sure that these steps are taken. Everyone! Today and not tomorrow!

TIKUN HABRIT
Our Sages explain that the bondage in Egypt began when the Jews stopped guarding the commandment of brit milah. The tribe of Levi, who continued to safeguard the covenant of the Brit, were not subjected to slavery in Egypt (Ramban, Yevamot 46). Thus the Jews were not redeemed from Egypt until they performed the Brit of circumcision on the eve of their departure (Shemot Rabbah 19). This shows that safeguarding the Brit is a key factor in personal and national redemption.

RECTIFYING PAST WRONGDOING
Many times men and women come to me (Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu) requesting a tikun (rectification) for sexual wrongs which they committed in the past. I asked my father and teacher, shlita, (Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu) for his guidance, and he told me to counsel these people to take upon themselves to fast each year once or twice, or to undertake a fast of not speaking (taanit debor), during the Shovavim period for the rest of their lives. In truth, the tikun is different for each person, since sexual wrongdoings differ from person to person. There are those who succumbed to forbidden thoughts, and others who committed forbidden deeds. There are baale tshuva who erred, and observant Jews who erred, which is far graver. There are those who committed serious transgressions, and those who committed even worse prohibitions. Some people committed one wrongdoing, while others committed many. Some people committed sins privately by themselves, and some brought others to sin with them. Thus the tikun differs from one person to the next, depending on the level of the person and the level of his sin.

The literature of the Kabbalah indicates that these tikunim (rectifications) must be effected through many difficult fasts. My father and teacher, shilta, is far more lenient. He says that the main remedy is the tikun of Shovavim, which is conducted in several fashions. There is the learning about “tikun habrit” (rectifying sexual infractions), there are special prayers for tikun habrit, there are fasts from eating, and there are fasts from speaking. My father and teacher, shilta (may he live a good and lengthy life), says that someone who has done a tikun one year should undertake the tikun every year, as it says, “my sins are before me always.”

The reason my father, HaRav, is lenient in this matter is because this period is a time of repentance, and it is proper to be lenient with baale tshuva. In addition, the Master of the World assists in the tikun. It is Hashem who circumcises our hearts and the hearts of our children. During Shovavim, the gates of Heaven are open.

[ED. Note: It is important to note that the Kabbalists Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi and Rabbi David Basri consider the recital of special prayers of repentance, known as “Tikun HaYesod,” as essential to the rectification process. See the related article on Shovavim: http://www.jewishsexuality.com/whos-afraid-of-the-big-bad-wolf

END TO GLUTTONY

The book “Magid Maisharim” relates that our teacher, Rabbi Yosef Caro (compiler of the “Shulchan Aruch”) would take it upon himself to fast during the period of Shovavim. Once, the angel, “HaMagid,” who spoke with him, exhorted him to be strong in this resolve, telling him: “Know that the evil inclination, which is the Serpent, and its agents, are constantly pursuing you, and their desire is toward you, but you can overcome them. You have undertaking to fast during these weeks of Shovavim and a fast during this period is desirous in Heaven and highly accepted.”

Furthermore, he warned him not to overeat during the night between one daytime fast and the next, and not to eat out of pleasure, and not to eat when he wasn’t hungry, even when he felt weak from fasting, he should not overeat at night. Though we are not on the high level of Rabbi Yosef Caro, or of Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi who didn’t take enjoyment from this world at all, we can act like them during some of the meals that we resolve not to eat, or during a part of the meals themselves, especially during the weeks of Shovavim.

YESHIVA STUDENTS ALSO!
My father and teacher, shlita (HaRav Mordechai Eliahu), says that students of Torah also should participate in the tikun of Shovavim, whether by fasting from eating or from speech, along with the congregation, or by reciting Tehillim, even by interrupting their studies, because the recital of Tehillim is like Torah study, noting that the evil inclination seeks to entice Torah scholars more than anyone else.

However if the Rosh Yeshiva does not allow students to leave the yeshiva to participate in a fast from speech with the congregation, the student should take it upon himself to undertake the fast from speech in the yeshiva where he is learning Torah. He should not speak about things unrelated to his Torah study from sunrise till nightfall. This is especially important to unmarried students because the evil inclination seeks dominion over them. Nonetheless, married students also need to be strengthened in holiness, both over the misdeeds of their youth, and errors of the present, and the future.

HOW MANY FASTS?
Some people fast by eating less than usual, while others fast completely. Some people undertake one fast during the six weeks, while others fast on each Monday and Thursday, the weekdays when the Torah is read. Still others fast for forty consecutive days, excepting Shabbat, eating at night and fasting during the day. For people who cannot fast forty consecutive days, some authorities say eighty non-consecutive days is effective, while others say sixty-eight. Still others fast three days straight, both in the day and night without eating. This is equal to forty consecutive daytime fasts. Others fast day and night the whole week excluding Shabbat. Some do this for the entire Shovavim period.

My father and teacher told about several ordinary people he knew who fasted the whole week long. People came to them to receive a blessing and the blessing came to pass. On the other hand, I was present when several people came to ask my father whether to undertake weeklong fasts during the Shovavim. He told them not to – perhaps because they came and asked.

NOT TO VOW
Whoever takes it upon himself to fast in whatever fashion during Shovavim should begin by saying “blee nader,” meaning he is not accepting the fast as a vow, which involves a permanent commitment (and punishments if broken). Rather, he should say that if he so desires to fast, he will. If he chooses not to fast, he should recite Tehillim or give tzedakah (charity) in its place. If a person doesn’t do this (specifying that it is not a vow by saying “blee nader”), and fasts once or twice, this becomes a vow even though he did not say explicitly, “Behold, this is like a vow.” It is good to recite the “Hatarat Nedarim,” the cancellation of vows, but be careful in his regret not to include the mitzvot that he performed in the past, so that they will not be canceled as well.

“TAANIT DEBOR” – A FAST FROM SPEAKING
Part of leaving the impurity of Egyptian culture was departing from the culture of immoral speech. It is not accidental that Pharoah’s name (in Hebrew) means evil mouth (pe rah). This includes heretical talk like denying G-d’s power and Kingship, and speaking falsehood, and arrogant speech, all of which Pharoah was guilty.

For a long time in Egypt, the Jews failed to pray. Moshe himself was heavy of speech, a symbol that speech was in exile. With their redemption from Egypt, their speech was redeemed as well. The Jews cried out from severe bondage. The Arizal reveals that Pesach means “pe sach” – the mouth that speaks. After leaving Egypt, Moshe began to speak freely also. In Egypt, it was difficult for the Jews to pray – when they left they were able to sing, as at the crossing of the sea.

Shovavim is a favorable time to rectify transgressions involving speech: lashon hara, tale bearing, falsehood, flattery, broken and vain oaths, cursing, and embarrassing others. Holy speech should be increased during this period, including added prayer, Torah study, and the recital of Psalms.

The Arizal advises to say to say the Amidah blessing “Tekah b’shofar gadol…” with the special intention that in addition to the actual ingathering of the exiles, the scattered holy souls exiled through sexual transgression be gathered and returned to their spiritual source. The principle rectification is Torah learning, prayer, and giving tzedakah, each person according to his capability. Especially important is studying the Oral Torah, to derive the halachah from the surrounding discussions, and in this way raise up the sparks of holiness from the husks of the “kelipot” where they have fallen, in the secret of the verse חיל בלע ויקיאנו “his strength was swallowed up and spit out” (Job, 20:15). Learning Torah for its own sake is a powerful rectification also.

The “taanit debor” was established by Rabbi Yitzhak Alafiah, of blessed memory. Unlike a regular fast, one is not physically weakened, and someone who guards his speech is rewarded with the hidden light reserved for the saintly. Therefore it is proper that everyone undertake at least one “taanit debor” during this period. One can also go without speaking for an hour or two at different times during Shovavim. A full day fast from speaking is praiseworthy. Once during each of the six weeks is even better. Some adopt the practice on every Monday and Thursday of the period. At my father and teacher’s synagogue (Rabbi Mordechai Eliahu) the “taanit debor” is conducted congregationally on Shabbat.

RULES FOR A “TAANIT DEBOR”
The fast of speaking should be from sunrise to nightfall. One is allowed to eat. One is also allowed to speak about holy matters. Most often, the fast is conducted with the congregation, but it is possible to conduct such a fast privately. If the fast is done with the congregation, it is best to eat together also, so as not to waste time traveling home to eat, with the likelihood of speaking about non holy matters, such as politics, everyday business, shopping needs for the house, and the like, even if they are important. One is not to wish others shalom, nor respond to their greetings. To avoid slighting others, it is possible to prepare a note saying, “Sorry, I am on a taanit debor.”

When conducting a “taanit debor,” Rabbi Alifiah would not speak at all, outside of reading Tehillim. It is good to read the entire Book of Psalms three times during the day. A little with kavanah (concentrated intention) is better than a lot without absorbing the words. If a person is reading the Tehillim with the congregation in the synagogue, and he is unable to maintain their pace, if they finish the Book of Psalms three times, it is considered that he did so also.

If the “taanit debor” will cause anguish to one’s wife, or diminish the pleasure of Shabbat, one should not do it. However, since profane speech is not permitted on Shabbat, a “taanit debor” on Shabbat is a very exalted thing.

All Am Yisrael should see hatzlacha raba from all their tikunim and bring Mashiach Tzidkeinu!

-MW-

03 January 2010

Days of Mashiach

B"H

17 Tevet 5770


Some people, who apparently spend too much time watching SCI-FI TV, have convinced themselves that the War of Gog uMagog will be an alien war fought with spaceships with even Mashiach coming out of the mothership after it lands on top of Mount Moriah where it will become the Third Temple, chas 'vchalilah!

This idea was originally popularized in the late sixties with an atheistic book called Chariots of the Gods. It was more recently resurrected in the Stargate television series. In the Jewish version, the aliens are really angels.

The prophet Yechezkel, chapter 37, gives us one perspective on Days of Mashiach:

...So says the Lord God: Behold I will take the children of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side, and I will bring them to their land. And I will make them into one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be to them all as a king; and they shall no longer be two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms anymore. And they shall no longer defile themselves with their idols, with their detestable things, or with all their transgressions, and I will save them from all their habitations in which they have sinned, and I will purify them, and they shall be to Me as a people, and I will be to them as a God.


And My servant David shall be king over them, and one shepherd shall be for them all, and they shall walk in My ordinances and observe My statutes and perform them. And they shall dwell on the land that I have given to My servant, to Jacob, wherein your forefathers lived; and they shall dwell upon it, they and their children and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever. And I will form a covenant of peace for them, an everlasting covenant shall be with them; and I will establish them and I will multiply them, and I will place My Sanctuary in their midst forever. And My dwelling place shall be over them, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall be to Me as a people. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, Who sanctifies Israel, when My Sanctuary is in their midst forever."

Our sages already told us that Hashem wanted to make Sancheriv Gog and let King Hizkiyahu be Mashiach, but King Hizkiyahu did not offer Hashem shirah, so he was undeserving. What we see described in the prophets of Tanakh is a similar scenario where Jerusalem is surrounded and the enemy is destroyed supernaturally with a plague (Zekharyah). No spaceships required.

There is a popular source for the imagery of Mashiach coming in the clouds with an angelic army, but it's not one we Jews accept. It's called the book of Revelations and it's found in the Christians' book. At any rate, by all accounts, we are already in the midst or even near the end of geulah b'ita where Mashiach comes riding on a donkey---slowly, ploddingly, humbly.

Mashiach will come from our midst, not from some other planet. And the Third Temple will be similar to the Mishkan and the two previous Batei Hamikdash. It is a copy of what stands in Shamayim, which is in the spiritual dimension, not another part of the created universe. And we will build it, just like the others were built. This was the expectation of every generation until now.


In Shmuel Bet, chapter 5, there is an allusion to an army of angels going out ahead of David haMelech to do battle with the Philistines, but they are heard and not seen. On the other hand, there are unconfirmed reports of Syrian soldiers claiming to have seen armed soldiers arrayed against them where there were no Israeli soldiers located during one of its wars with Israel. The spiritual coexists alongside the physical and can allow itself to be seen at will.
Shimshon's parents both saw and spoke with an angel of G-d and neither knew it was an angel until after it had gone. Avraham Avinu saw and spoke with three angels in Chevron and was not immediately aware that they were angels. Apparently not very "alien"-looking.

All the prophets are clear that the entire world will know and understand that it is Hashem who has entered (again) into our reality. Not aliens.

At that time, free will is finished and the yetzer hara will be slaughtered. This will be the end of war and rebellion.

Yeshayahu, chapter 2:
And it shall be at the end of the days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be firmly established at the top of the mountains, and it shall be raised above the hills, and all the nations shall stream to it. And many peoples shall go, and they shall say, "Come, let us go up to the Lord's mount, to the house of the God of Jacob, and let Him teach us of His ways, and we will go in His paths," for out of Zion shall the Torah come forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between the nations and reprove many peoples, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift the sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

-MW-

01 January 2010

Hold on!

B”H

15 Tevet 5770


The Children of Israel are really hurting right now. Everyone is suffering so very much, especially children, it seems. We ask, “Why? What have they done---the innocent little children.”

Many spiritually attuned people can feel the answer to that. We are just that little bit away from Mashiach and the revelations of the End of the Age. Since we are lacking in merit, we are ‘buying’ the geulah shleimah with our suffering. We are in travail in sympathy with chevlai Mashiach and the Holy Shechinah. Just a little more and we will bring this “baby” into the world.

When the Light of Redemption fully dawns, all of the troubles and all of the pain will seem of so little consequence by comparison. No one will deny that it will have been worth it all to live in Days of Mashiach; days when death, disease and pain will be only a distant memory.

Please G-d, it should even be today!
-MW-