26 March 2014

"Mashiach Will Come Suddenly"

B"H

24 Adar II 5774


The Baal Shem Tov taught: The day upon which Mashiach will arrive will be a day akin to any other. The business-man will be wheeling and dealing; the tailor will be cutting his material; the woodchopper will wield his ax; the farmer will sow his seeds; the housewife will be washing laundry (the computer technician will be programming computers, the stockbroker be will be watching the markets,) – suddenly a call will be heard: “HE’S HERE! MASHIACH HAS ARRIVED!”

Mashiach’s arrival will be sudden. Malachi prophesized: "וּפִתְאםֹ יָבוֹא אֶל הֵיכָלוֹ הָאָדוֹן אֲשֶׁר
אַתֶּם מְבַקְשִׁים וּמַלְאַךְ הַבְּרִית אֲשֶׁר אַ תֶּם חֲפֵצִים" , ‘Suddenly He will come to His Sanctuary, the Master whom you seek and the angel of the covenant that you yearn for.

...when the ראשון לציון , the first messenger to announce the redemption of Tzion will arrive, הנה הנם , Mashiach will immediately come. There will only be one messenger who will proclaim the news. Immediately after this messenger arrives and announces that Mashiach is on his way, Mashiach will arrive.

The Mashiach of Yosef will arrive suddenly. He will prepare the world for the Mashiach of David who will arrive on a designated day. It is the Mashiach of Yosef that we wait for daily.  (Read the whole thing here)

Eagerly awaiting the news,
-MW-

23 March 2014

Teshuva = Return

B"H


21 Adar 5772
Parshat Vayakhel-Pekudei/Para


Quoting from the commentary of Artscroll's Stone Edition Chumash:

...It is indicative of the great significance of the Tabernacle that most of the last three Torah portions and almost all of Vayakhel and Pekudei are devoted to it. Israel's ability to create a setting for God's Presence is a measure of its greatness and, indeed, a primary reason for its very existence. Its future history would revolve around its worthiness to have the Temple in its midst. When Israel was unfaithful to its trust, God's Presence would depart from the Temple, leaving it an empty shell, devoid of inner holiness. Once that happened, destruction and national exile came quickly. The challenge of the exile is for Israel to return to its former estate, and thereby bring about the era of Messiah and the Third Temple....
The essence of teshuva is "return." It begins with a return to the land. Today, ALL teshuva BEGINS with a return to the Land of Israel. When we are gathered here as we were at Har Sinai, then Hashem will reveal Himself to us once more. And THIS - the revelation of HASHEM - is the revelation of Mashiach.

-MW-

21 March 2014

The Tenth Parah Adumah

B"H

19 Adar 5774


This Shabbat is Parshat Parah.

The reason for reading Parashas Parah before the month of Nisan is to remind those who had become ritually impure through contact with a corpse, to purify themselves so that they could offer the Pesach sacrifice at the proper time.

...Although the Beis ha-Mikdash has been destroyed because of our sins, and we no longer have sacrificial offerings nor ritual purification so as to be able to eat sanctified foods, we nevertheless hold fast to the teachings of purification and we study its precepts at the proper time. By doing so, it is as if we have purified ourselves of our defilement and have prepared ourselves to offer our sacrifices at their set time.


...This mitzvah was given to Israel on Rosh Chodesh Nisan in the second year after they had left Egypt - on the day when the Tabernacle was first erected and put into use. At that time, all Israel - including those who had not come into contact with a corpse - had to be ritually purified with the mixture of the ashes of the parah adumah and spring water, for they had all been defiled through the incident of the golden calf. Idolatry imparts the same type of ritual impurity as does contact with the dead.


When God became reconciled with Israel and commanded them to build the Tabernacle so that He might dwell in their midst, He gave them this mitzvah as a means of purifying themselves.


From the time that this mitzvah was first given until the destruction of the second Beis ha-Mikdash, there were nine red heifers. ...The tenth parah adumah will be prepared by the Mashiach, may he come speedily in our days.  (The Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov)
Shabbat shalom,
-MW-

Out of Touch with Reality

B"H


28 Shevat 5772


Tel Aviv seems to be blissfully unaware that it is sitting in the shadow of 100,000 missiles. This self-proclaimed homosexual "capital of the world" has again thumbed its nose at the King of the Universe.

Tel Aviv Approves Public Transportation on Shabbat
Members of the Tel Aviv City Council - the first Jewish city built by Zionists - approved on Monday a proposal to operate public transportation on Shabbat, Channel 10 News reported.

The proposal was passed by a vote of 13 supporters against seven opponents. The proposal, which was presented by the Meretz party’s representative in city council, was supported by Mayor Ron Huldai.
Its days are truly numbered. The countdown has already begun.

Sorrowfully,
-MW-

Nothing Sacred

B"H


Rosh Chodesh Adar


Not that there is anything holy about the Quran, but what if it was Jewish holy books?

Afghans angry over Quran burnings attack US base
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan police on Thursday fired shots in the air to disperse hundreds of protesters who tried to break into an American military base in the country's east to vent their anger over this week's Quran burnings incident.

The fresh violence came one day after clashes between Afghan troops and protesters broke out in the capital and in three eastern provinces over the incident, leaving at least seven people dead and dozens wounded.


The Quran burnings have roiled Afghans and set off riots in an illustration of the intensity of the anger at what they perceive as foreign forces flouting their laws and insulting their culture. The U.S. has apologized for the burnings, which took place at a military base near Kabul, and said it was a mistake.


..."Hundreds of our people in Laghman province gathered because of the burning of the holy book by the Americans," said protester Mohammad Issa.


"Everyone is so emotional. The burning of Quran broke our hearts and we are attacking the PRT because they are American," he said, using the acronym for the provincial reconstruction teams.


...The unrest started Tuesday when Afghan workers at the main American military base, Bagram Air Field, saw soldiers dumping books in a pit where garbage is burned and noticed Qurans and other religious material among the trash.

I don't believe for a minute that it was a "mistake." Let's face it, Eisavian culture has no concept of holiness. The only thing sacred in the West is the "Almighty Dollar."

-MW-

The Tenth Para Aduma

B"H

19 Adar 5774


This Shabbat is Parshat Para.

The reason for reading Parashas Parah before the month of Nisan is to remind those who had become ritually impure through contact with a corpse, to purify themselves so that they could offer the Pesach sacrifice at the proper time.

...Although the Beis ha-Mikdash has been destroyed because of our sins, and we no longer have sacrificial offerings nor ritual purification so as to be able to eat sanctified foods, we nevertheless hold fast to the teachings of purification and we study its precepts at the proper time. By doing so, it is as if we have purified ourselves of our defilement and have prepared ourselves to offer our sacrifices at their set time.


...This mitzvah was given to Israel on Rosh Chodesh Nisan in the second year after they had left Egypt - on the day when the Tabernacle was first erected and put into use. At that time, all Israel - including those who had not come into contact with a corpse - had to be ritually purified with the mixture of the ashes of the parah adumah and spring water, for they had all been defiled through the incident of the golden calf. Idolatry imparts the same type of ritual impurity as does contact with the dead.


When God became reconciled with Israel and commanded them to build the Tabernacle so that He might dwell in their midst, He gave them this mitzvah as a means of purifying themselves.


From the time that this mitzvah was first given until the destruction of the second Beis ha-Mikdash, there were nine red heifers. ...The tenth parah adumah will be prepared by the Mashiach, may he come speedily in our days. (The Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov)
Shabbat shalom,
-MW-

15 March 2014

PURIM SAMEACH!

B"H

14 Adar II 5774

Eat, Drink and Be Merry: A Spiritual Celebration
by Rabbi Yehudah Prero

"For the Conductor, On the Ayeles HaShachar, a psalm by David." So begins Psalm 22, which, commentators explain, alludes to Queen Esther and her trials and tribulations. The psalm, towards the end of its description of our request for deliverance from exile and persecution, states, "the humble will eat and be satisfied, those who seek Hashem will praise Him..."

Rav Shlomo Kluger explains that this portion of the psalm is alluding to the fact that on Purim, we are commanded to "eat, drink and be merry." This commandment is in stark contrast with the way we are told to celebrate Chanukah, "to give thanks and praise." The difference in how we celebrate these two holidays stems from an intrinsic difference between the miracles that we commemorate on these two holidays.

Read the rest here. And have a joyous Purim!
-MW-

13 March 2014

Ta'anit Esther - Fasting as a Form of Warfare

B"H

11 Adar II 5774

I once learned that when a Haman comes along and wants to physically destroy us, the proper response is a spiritual one - prayer and fasting; whereas, when the Greeks came along and wanted to destroy us spiritually, the appropriate response was to go to physical battle against them.

On this very day, in the Land of Israel, the Jews are under attack from both sides. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad are raining rockets down on our cities in an attempt to physically annihilate us and what is our response - to attack them with jets and tanks and helicopters. The Erev Rav regime is working tirelessly to destroy yiddishkeit in Eretz Yisrael and what is our response - to call a mass atzeret tefillah.

It would seem that our enemies have nothing to fear from us as we no longer understand how to effectively fight our battles.  I noticed something interesting however, but I have no source for it. After the evil decree of Haman was annulled, we went out and did physical battle with our enemies and in the time of the Greeks, once they had been defeated in battle, we rededicated the Temple and instituted prayers of praise and thanksgiving for all time.

So, it all goes together - prayer and fasting and physical warfare - only the order is reversed in each circumstance.  Hopefully someone better informed than I will comment on why this might be so or perhaps will provide us with a source for these ideas. I do not recall where I learned it.

In any event, I find it also interesting that while the celebration of Purim begins with fasting, it ends with feasting. Let it all be done in purity and holiness and thereby will we merit God's blessings. And remember that teshuva comes before all...

"If only My people would hearken to Me, if Israel would go in My ways. In a short time I would subdue their enemies and upon their enemies I would return My hand." (Tehillim 81:14-15)

Tzom kal,
-MW-

08 March 2014

Moshe Rabbeinu - 2368 to 2488

B"H

7 Adar II 5774

Today, we mark the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu. Below are some excerpts from a work by Rabbi Pinhas Winston which mentions Moshe Rabbeinu in light of redemption.  Please read it in full at the linked site and keep in mind that: "The first redeemer will be the final redeemer."

Redemption In Hindsight

So Moshe, the servant of G-d, died there in the land of Moab, as G-d told him to. He buried him in the glen in the land of Moav, opposite Beit-Peor, though no one knows the place he was buried even today. Moshe was 120 years old when he died. His eyes had not weakened, nor had his strength dissipated. The Children of Israel cried for Moshe in the plains of Moav for thirty days, after which the days of crying and mourning for Moshe were completed . . . There never again arose a prophet in Israel like Moshe, whom G-d spoke to face-to-face, [and who could perform] all the signs and wonders which G-d sent him to do in the land of Egypt, against Pharaoh, all his servants and all his land, or any of the mighty acts and awesome sights that Moshe displayed before all the eyes of Israel.(Devarim 34:5-12)

...According to the Talmud, Moshe died exactly 120 years to the day that he was born: The Holy One, Blessed is He, completes the years of righteous (Sotah 13b).

...one could say that the redemption began the moment MosheRabbeinu was born, for the light to bring about the redemption certainly sparked at that time. And, since he had been meant from the start to be the future redeemer of the Jewish people - some 80 years later! - his birth certainly meant the beginning of the redemption . . . even though the Jewish people, at that time, were in a state of despair from the cruelty of the redemption, as Moshe himself witnessed when he had been old enough to go out into the fields.

And, even though the days of redemption had begun with MosheRabbeinu's birth, he had not known that, and had even been forced into a personal exile, first to Cush and then to Midian (Yalkut Shimoni 1:168) after killing the Egyptian taskmaster (Shemos 2:15). According to various different opinions, he had been somewhere between the tender age of 12 (Shemos Rabbah 5:1) and 60 years (Rebi Moshe HaDarshan) at the time.

Meanwhile, the slavery worsened for the Jewish people back in Egypt. While in Midian, Moshe married Tzipporah, had two sons, and was a mere shepherd of his father-in-law's flocks. It was only in his 79th year that Moshe was finally contacted by G-d through the Burning Bush (Shemos 3:4), and sent back to Egypt to get the final stages of redemption under way.

There is no question that Moshe's return to Egypt had been extremely significant to his enslaved and broken people. One can just imagine the Messianic atmosphere that must have prevailed as Moshe, with his long and flowing white beard and staff engraved with the Name of G-d, moved in the direction of Pharaoh's palace, unafraid and undeterred. One can only try and imagine the terrible sense of despondency that must have resulted after Moshe left Pharaoh's palace without the least bit of success, even having caused a worsening of the exile and oppression!

...Like with life itself, it is the last moment of the redemption process that reveals what the entire process had been about from the beginning. It is only at the end of the process that it is revealed to us how everything, including the exile itself, was really just the beginnings of the redemption. It has to be that way, for there is a famous principle when it comes to the Jewish people, and that is the "cure always precedes the sickness" (Megillah). In other words, before the golus can begin, the redemption has to already exist on some level that makes it inevitable.

Why do we need to know this now? Because, Rava says,

Likewise will it be in Yemos HaMoshiach. (Sanhedrin 111a)....

-MW-