A word or two about Selichos Erev Rosh Hashanah
These are the longest of the year. I knew that the man standing before the Amud was davening not at the average Cray Computer Speed but Warp 12 speed. So I tried with my eyes not my tongue to capture the words of the Selichos in-between the 13 Midos. I glanced over the Hebrew Aleph-Bet acrostic in English Translation. I still finished a few minutes after the others. I don’t know how they do it. I sort of understood what was going on as my English speed reading is not up to their Hebrew. Heaven help us if these prayers were more than a mumble that I experienced. It is not easy to be Frum but this was beyond Kavana and Prayer.
Too Close for Comfort
Last Friday Natan Yahaloni fell on a Kiddush HASHEM. He did not have time to put on his helmet as the attack happened suddenly. He managed to fire off 23 rounds before a bullet hit him in his head and he went down. He was a fellow from Nof Ayalon on the other side of Modiin. Next to him was a fellow from Moshav Nechalim where my wife grew up and she knows the parents of the boy. He miraculously was saved by a bullet going into his stomach cavity and out his chest without damaging a major organ. His father is a Rav who teaches a lot of Torah over the course of many years. With two down the female paramedic sprang into action without hesitating to think, she did what she was trained to do. She ran to the wounded as one terrorist blew himself up trying to take the soldiers with him. Parts of the corpse hit her and she continued shooting the remaining terrorist dead and trying to save Natan HY”D who was too far gone and dealing with the wounded soldier. She managed him and kept telling you are strong and you are going to make it. All the soldiers were from an artillery unit which usually is well behind the lines but they performed as well as any infantry unit would under the surprise. Israel is a small country and when a soldier dies from a development over a hill or two away or the injured fellow is a family that your wife knows you feel it. May Natan’s memory be blessed and a speedy recovery the wounded and great honor to the soldier girl. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4285423,00.html
Parsha Hazinu and Parsha Zos HaBracha
Parshat Ha'Azinu includes the verse: "When I say God's Name, it should be with greatness." The commentators explain this to mean when we say God's Name, we must concentrate on the great significance of who God is - that He encompasses all of past, present and future.
We learn this principle from the high priest in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, who wore a gold plate on his forehead - upon which was written the Name of God. The Talmud says that while wearing this plate, the high priest was required to continuously concentrate on the Name of God written there. So if one is required to concentrate on God's written name, then all the more so are we required to concentrate when pronouncing God's name.
I have a friend who once counted how many times he said God's name over the course of one day. Between prayers in the synagogue, blessings over food, and Torah study - he pronounced God's name 900 times in one day! Figured over a lifetime, that's about 25 million chances to give proper honor and respect to God!
Which reminds me of a story. A religious man died and went to the Heavenly court for judgment. The court called for any angels to come forth and testify on the man's behalf. Thousands and thousands of angels appeared - angels who had been "created" every time this man did a mitzvah. But then the Heavenly court called for any accusing angels, who were created when this man acted inappropriately. Millions of angels appeared - representing each time the man said God's name without proper concentration.
The Almighty does so much for us, every moment, of every day. We should give Him our full respect and honor, for as it says in this parsha: "When I say God's Name, it should be with greatness." http://www.aish.com/print/?contentID=48970046&section=/tp/i/ky
In the spiritual world even inanimate objects such as heaven and earth can be witness. So any violation that happens below heaven or on the earth is witnessed and recorded.
Rashi says the same thing but more eloquently: Listen, O heavens: that I am warning Israel, and you shall be witnesses in this matter, for I have already told Israel that you will be witnesses. And so is [the clause] “And let the earth hear” [to be similarly understood]. Now why did [Moses] call upon heaven and earth to be witnesses [for warning Israel]? Moses said: “I am [just] flesh and blood. Tomorrow I will die. If Israel says, ‘We never accepted the covenant,’ who will come and refute them?” Therefore, he called upon heaven and earth as witnesses for Israel-witnesses that endure forever. Furthermore, if they [Israel] act meritoriously, the witnesses will come and reward them: “The vine will give its fruit, the earth will yield its produce, and the heavens will give their dew” (Zech. 8:12). And if [Israel] acts sinfully, the hand of the witnesses will be upon them first [to inflict punishment upon them]: “And He will close off the heaven that there will be no rain, and the soil will not give its produce” (Deut. 11:17), and then [the verse continues]: “and you will perish quickly”-through [the attacks of] the nations. — [Sifrei 32:1]
2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew; as the small rain upon the tender grass, and as the showers upon the herb.
This is a parable on the refreshing spiritual aspects of Torah. Water in Kabala always is a sign of Torah and here it is the refreshing of dew or rain aiding in the growth and not flooding the world. This is also a guide on how to learn Torah. 5700 plus pages of Talmud cannot be learned in a day but little by little and the same for the vast amount of Halacha. We all want to swallow the whole world of Torah and know every aspect of the Halacha, Talmud and perhaps people who want to know every aspect of the Siferos in Kabala but again it must come slowly like a nourishing rain. So too Moshe is teaching this song slowly so it can get ingrained in Am Yisrael.
like storm winds: Heb. כִּשְׂעִירִם. This is an expression similar to “storm (סְעָרָה) wind” [since ס and שׂ are interchangeable. Accordingly,] the Targum renders [כִּשְׂעִירִם as]: כְּרוּחֵי מִטְרָא, “like winds [that bring] rain.” [The metaphor is explained as follows:] Just as these [stormy, rainy] winds maintain the plants and promote their growth, so too, the words of the Torah cause those who study them to grow.
3 For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe ye greatness unto our God.
The song is starting out with praise of HASHEM.
4 The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice; a God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and right is He. 5 Is corruption His? No; His children's is the blemish; a generation crooked and perverse.
HE is just. HIS ways are just. Or as Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar “The fault dear Brutus is not in the stars but in ourselves as we are the underlings.” We are definitely below our CREATOR and we must behave so.
6 Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not He thy father that hath gotten thee? Has HE not made thee, and established thee? 7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will declare unto thee, your elders, and they will tell thee.
One should learn from his forefathers and know the lessons of history and take into account what HASHEM has done for Am Yisrael. …
27 Were it not that I dreaded the enemy's provocation, lest their adversaries should misdeem, lest they should say: Our hand is exalted, and not the LORD hath wrought all this.' 28 For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them. 29 If they were wise, they would understand this, they would discern their latter end. 30 How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had given them over and the LORD had delivered them up? 31 For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges. 32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter; 33 Their wine is the venom of serpents, and the cruel poison of asps. 34 'Is not this laid up in store with Me, sealed up in My treasuries? 35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense, against the time when their foot shall slip; for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that are to come upon them shall make haste.
There are reasons to worry about the missiles of Hezballah, Iran, Syria with their weapons of mass destruction and the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Yarden and even a threat from Egypt and Iraq and Turkey joining into the fray. Yet we must remember from WHOM we get our backing. When we are bad or it is not the time for redemption we should run to the mountains in caves in remote places to hide. But when a Redeemer will come unto Tzion, then it is time to be cautious and not rely upon the Nes (miracle) but one can walk tall and trust in the L-RD.
36 For the LORD will judge His people, and repent Himself for His servants; when He seeth that their stay is gone, and there is none remaining, shut up or left at large. 37 And it is said: Where are their gods, the rock in whom they trusted; 38 Who did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offering? let him rise up and help you, let him be your protection. 39 See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me; I kill, and I make alive; I have wounded, and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand. 40 For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say: As I live forever, 41 If I whet My glittering sword, and My hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine adversaries, and will recompense them that hate Me. 42 I will make Mine arrows drunk with blood, and My sword shall devour flesh; with the blood of the slain and the captives, from the long-haired heads of the enemy.' 43 Sing aloud, O ye nations, of His people; for He doth avenge the blood of His servants, and doth render vengeance to His adversaries, and doth make expiation for the land of His people. …
Make sure that you are following HASHEM and not going astray and then HE will be with you but if you turn to other religions then you are up the creek without a paddle.
48 And the LORD spoke unto Moses that selfsame day, saying: 49 'Get thee up into this mountain of Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession; 50 and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people. 51 Because ye trespassed against Me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribath-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified Me not in the midst of the children of Israel. 52 For thou shalt see the land afar off; but thou shalt not go thither into the land which I give the children of Israel.'
It is now time for Moshe to depart from this world.
Parsha Zos HaBracha
And this is the blessing… [just] before his death: Very close to the time of his death. — [see Sifrei 33: 1] “For, if not now, when?”
This year I want to concentrate on the Haphtarah of Shabbos Chol HaMoed Sukkos so I will make this short and sweet.
… 5 And there was a king in Jeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Israel together
And He was: i.e., the Holy One, blessed is He, was King in Jeshurun: i.e., the yoke of God’s sovereignty was always upon them. Whenever the sum total of the people were gathered: At every gathering of רָאשֵׁי - meaning, whenever their number is gathered. רָאשֵׁי as in the verse, “When you take the count (רֹאשׁ) of the children of Israel” (Exod. 30:12). These people are worthy that I should bless them. Another explanation: When Israel is gathered together in a unified group, and there is peace among them, God is their King-but not when their is strife among them. — [Sifrei 33:5]
We see the word Roshei or head of Yeshurun or the Nation of Yisrael. This was not Yom Kippur but HE was HAMELECH!
… 26 There is none like unto God, O Jeshurun, who rides upon the heaven as thy help, and in His excellency on the skies.
Rashi explains here that there is none like the G-D of Yisrael or the Nation of Yisrael. For no matter whether we are good or bad, the world ties us together with G-D and we are judged good or bad on what we do. We can be a light unto the nations or if we turn on back on Torah - darkness for mankind and consequently that result. Here we are dealing with the Bracha of Moshe and we are looking at the positive side of Am Yisrael in the world.
27 The eternal God is a dwelling-place, and underneath are the everlasting arms; and He thrust out the enemy from before thee, and said: 'Destroy.'
drove out the enemy from before you: And said to you, “Destroy them!” מְעֹנָה Every word that requires a lamed as a prefix [meaning “for” or“to”], can instead have a hey as a suffix [and the meaning is identical. Thus, here, the word מְעֹנָה is equivalent to לַמָּעֹן, meaning “for an abode”]. — [Yev. 13b]
The Torah is against destruction and cruelty to animals but sometimes HASHEM tells us not to be merciful. The Azazel Goat holds our sins and our sins have to be destroyed – both the Goat and Am Yisrael get atonement. Perhaps in the Kabbala world the animal gets to raise itself to a human soul so from the pungent comes the sweetness. If we do not destroy Amalek and have mercy upon them (like the instigator from Al Qaeda who killed the US Ambassador in Libya who was humanely freed from the prison) then we are cruel to the merciful people.
28 And Israel dwells in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of corn and wine; yea, his heavens drop down dew.
safely and alone: Every single individual [will dwell safely]-each man under his own vine and his own fig tree. [And their security will be so sound, that] they will have no need to live together in one group, because of the enemy. as Jacob [blessed]: Heb. עֵין יַעִקֹב. [The word עֵין, has the same meaning here] like [referring to the manna],“And its appearance (וְעֵינוֹ) was like the appearance of (כְּעֵין) crystal” (Num. 11:7). [So, our verse comes to teach us that the blessing here, of Israel dwelling בָּדָד] is like the appearance of the blessing that Jacob blessed, and not like the [meaning of the word] בָּדָד used by Jeremiah, “I dwelled alone (בָּדָד) ” (Jer. 15:17), but like the appearance of the promise [of secure dwelling] that Jacob made to them [Joseph and his brothers],“And God will be with you, and bring you back to the land of your forefathers” (Gen. 48:21). - [Sifrei 33:28] will drip: Heb. יַעַרְפוּ [like] יִרְעִפוּ, will drip .also, their heavens will drip dew: [Why does the verse say “also”? It means:] Also, Isaac’s blessing will be added to that of Jacob, which states, “And the God will give you from the dew of the heavens” (Gen. 27: 28). - [Sifrei 33:28]
One aspect that I have not mentioned is that grapes start in the month of July and can continue depending on the type of grapes through October. Figs start to ripen at the end of July early August and can continue also until Oct. The land is blessed and very abundant. Observe the Mitzvos and the land is blessed.
29 Happy art thou, O Israel, who is like unto thee? a people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and that is the sword of thy excellency! And your enemies shall dwindle away before thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.
Fortunate are you, O Israel: After Moses specified the blessings to Israel, he said to them, “Why do I have to specify all the details? In general: Everything is yours!” Fortunate are you, O Israel. Who is like you…!: Your salvation depends on God, Who is the Shield that helps you and the Sword of your majesty. Your enemies will lie to you: Like, for instance, the Gibeonites, who said, “Your servants have come from a… distant land…” (Josh. 9:9). and you will tread upon their upon their heights: [The meaning here is: “And you will crush their neck underfoot,”] similar to “Place your feet upon the necks of these kings!” (Josh. 10:24).
The people of Givon were known in the times of Ezra but over the course of the centuries if they are still left in Am Yisrael have blended into the Nation because of the confusion and the persecution and whomever is left is now a full convert. In fact we have no knowledge who is really from the original Mitzrayim, Ammon or Moav today but Amalek has his own traits that are distinct. They exist in Germany, Iran, Gaza, Lebanon, Russia and many other nations and their cruelty exposes them. Only when the Moshiach comes will they be completely blotted out via a miracle.
34: 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, even Gilead as far as Dan;
All the Land: He showed Him the entire Land of Israel in its tranquility, and the oppressors who were destined to oppress it. — [Sifrei 33:30] until Dan: He showed Him the children of Dan practicing idolatry, as Scripture states, “And the children of Dan set up for themselves the graven image” (Jud. 18:30), and He showed him Samson, who was destined to issue from him [Dan] as a savior [for Israel]. — [ibid.]
He saw the physical land and the future of what was to be from his time and the initial conquest until today. Just as before a person is judged after 120 years, his life passes before him so too here within instantaneous time he saw all that would be from the first and second until the third Beis HaMikdash.
2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah as far as the hinder sea;
And all [the land of] Naftali: He showed him his land in its tranquility and in its destruction, and He showed him Deborah and Barak of Kedesh-Naftali, waging war against Sisera and his troops. — [Sifrei 33:31] and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh: He showed him their land in its tranquility and in its destruction; and He showed him Joshua, who was descended from Ephraim, waging war against the kings of Canaan, and Gideon, who was descended from Manasseh, waging war against Midian and Amalek. — [Sifrei 33:31] and all the land of Judah: in its tranquility and in its destruction, and He showed him the kingdom of the house of David and their victories. — [Sifrei 33:31] until the western sea: Heb. עַד הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן, the land in the west [of Israel], in its tranquility and in its destruction. [Here, the sea referred to is the Mediterranean Sea, which represents the westernmost flank of the Land of Israel.] Another explanation: Do not understand the verse as stating הַיָּם הָאַחֲרוֹן, but read it, as though it had said הַיּוֹם הָאַחֲרוֹן, “until the very last day,” meaning that the Holy One, blessed is He, showed Him all the incidents that were destined to happen to Israel [until “the last day,” namely,] until the time that the dead would return to life. — [Sifrei 33:31]
This is based on Rashi a look into what will even become either in our times or after us. I PLAN TO GO INTO TIME AND SPACE WHEN I WRITE ABOUT BERESHEIS AND THE BIG BANG RIGHT AFTER THE SUKKOS HOLIDAY.
3 and the South, and the Plain, even the valley of Jericho the city of palm-trees, as far as Zoar.
and the south: Heb. הַנֶּגֶב, the southland [of the Land of Israel]. Another explanation: the Machpelah Cave [which is in Hebron, in the south of Israel], as Scripture states, “And they went up to the south בַנֶּגֶב, and they came to Hebron” (Num. 13:22). - [Sifrei 33:32] and the plain: He showed Him Solomon molding the vessels of the Holy Temple, as Scripture states, “In the plain (כִּכָּר) of the Jordan, the king molded them in thick clay” (I Kings 7:46). - [Sifrei 33:31]
Both seeing the graves of the forefathers and other spots of brooks and springs
4 And the LORD said unto him: 'This is the land which I swore unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying: I will give it unto thy seed; I have caused thee to see it with your eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.'
saying, ‘I will give it to your offspring,’ I have let you see it: so that you [Moses] can go and say to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, “The oath that the Holy One, blessed is He, swore to you-He has fulfilled it!” This is what is meant by the word “saying” [i.e., Moses should say this to them] (Ber. 18b).“For this reason,” [God says to Moses,] “I have shown it to you. However, a decree has been made before Me, that you shall not cross over there, for otherwise, I would keep you alive until you would see Israel implanted and settled in the Land, and then you would go and tell them [the forefathers].”
And Moses… died there: Is it possible that Moses died, and [then] wrote, “And Moses… died there”? But [the answer is:] Moses wrote up to that juncture, and Joshua wrote from then on. Says Rabbi Meir: But is it possible that the Torah Scroll would be lacking anything at all, and yet Scripture states (Deut. 31:26),“Take this Torah Scroll” [and Moses commanded this to the Levites; so, according to the above opinion, is it possible that the Torah Scroll referred to there was an incomplete one, up to the juncture of Moses’s death? This cannot be!] Rather, [continues Rabbi Meir, we must say that] The Holy One, blessed is He, dictated this [i.e., the verse “And Moses… died there”], and Moses wrote it in tears. — [B.B. 15b, Sifrei 33:34] by the mouth of the Lord: [i.e., Moses died] by a Divine kiss. — [B.B. 17a]
I, HASHEM, have set a limited time for saying Kaddish and punishment. Now it my people’s turn to move forward into Eretz Yisrael.
6 And he was buried in the valley in the land of Moab over against Beth-peor; and no man knows of his sepulchre unto this day.
And He buried him: i.e., The Holy One, blessed is He, Himself, in His very glory [buried Moses]. — [Sotah 14a] Rabbi Ishmael, however, says that [the words “And he buried him” mean that] Moses buried himself. And this אֶת in the phrase here וַיִּקְבֹּר אוֹתוֹ is one of the three instances of the אֶת in Scripture which Rabbi Ishmael expounded on in this way [i.e., where the suffix attached אֶת is understood to be reflexive, meaning “to himself” , “to themselves” , and so on]. And similar to this case [are the following two instances]:“On the day when his Nazirite vow is completed, he must bring him (אֹתוֹ) ” (Num. 6:13), which means, “he shall bring himself” [i.e., present himself]. And likewise, “And they cause them (אוֹתָם) to bear the sin of their guilt” (Lev. 22:16). Surely does this refer to others causing them to bear that sin? Rather, the verse must mean that they cause themselves to bear the sin. — [Sifrei Nasso 32:124] opposite Beth Peor: His burial site was ready there [at Beth Peor], since the six days of Creation, to atone for the [sinful] act of Peor. — [see Num. 25:1-8; Sotah 14a] This [Moses’s burial site] was one of the things created at twilight, on the eve of [the first] Sabbath. — [Avos 5:6]
Sort of Ironic after fighting the idolatry Moshe has to be buried there opposing the Baal Peor and other idols in the valley.
7 And Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
His eye had not dimmed: Even after he died. — [see Sifrei 33:36] nor had he lost his [natural] freshness: [The word לֵחֹה refers to his [body’s] moisture. [Thus, the phrase means:] “[Even after his death,] decomposition did not take over his body, nor did the appearance of his face change.”
8 And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; so the days of weeping in the mourning for Moses were ended.
The sons of Israel: [ordinarily meaning the children of Israel, male and female. But here, it refers only to] the males [who wept for Moses]. However, concerning [the passing of] Aaron, since he used to pursue peace and bring peace between a man and his fellow and between a woman and her husband, it is said [at Aaron’s passing], “The whole house of Israel [wept for him]” (Num. 20:29), meaning both males and females. — [Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer 17]
The mourning was genuine and real grief at the loss of the Tzaddik, Rabbi and Judge of the Nation.
9 And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.
The Bnei Yisrael accepted the leadership of Yehoshua without question as he had received Semicha in from of them.
10 And there hath not arisen a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face;
Whom the Lord knew face to face: For he was quite familiar with Him, speaking with Him at any time he wished, as it is said, “So now I will go up to the Lord” (Exod. 32:30), and, “You stand still, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you” (Num. 9:8).
One of the 13 principles of faith of the Rambam is that there will never be another prophet like Moshe.
11 in all the signs and the wonders, which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land; 12 and in all the mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses wrought in the sight of all Israel.
And all the strong hand: [This refers to] his receiving the Torah on tablets with his hands. And all the great awe: [This refers to the] miracles and mighty deeds [that were performed for Israel] in the great and awesome wilderness. — [Sifrei 33:41] before the eyes of all Israel: [This expression alludes to the incident, where] His heart stirred him up to smash the tablets before their eyes, as it is said, “and I shattered them before your eyes” (Deut. 9:17). - [Sifrei 33:41] And [regarding Moses shattering the Tablets,] the Holy One Blessed is He gave His approval, as Scripture states, “[the first Tablets] which you shattered” (Exod. 34:1); [God said to Moses:] “Well done for shattering them!” - [Shab.. 87a]
In Sefer Yehoshua we will see the miracles of the crossing of the Yarden and the stones falling from the sky as the sun and the moon stand still Erev Shabbos.
Haphtaros during Sukkos
The two Haphtaros for outside of Israel on the first days of Sukkos are from Zachariah 12 and 14 and for Shabbos Chol HaMoed is Yechezkel 38 all are dealing with various prophecies of the war of Gog and Magog. The tradition is that the war will occur on Sukkos. As a believer especially in the light of recent developments coupled with the book of Rabbi Fish Shlita, I decided to be cautious and I made sure that my escape door from the shelter was able to open. (It seems that the Arabs who put up the stone siding on my house had managed to seal shut the emergency door with some cement. I worked with chiseling it clear.) I also put in fresh emergency water in the shelter. Now this is not much a step in the right direction of faith in the prophets and caution regarding a developing situation in both the north and south of Israel.
I start off with my expanded commentary on the first few Psukim and then go into some condensed ideas on Yechezkel. I originally started learning this when I was a front line soldier and wanted to see how to prepare a physical defense for the battle where the mountains are supposed to come together from a massive earthquake such as has not been felt perhaps since Adam HaRishon. This was last published I believe in 5768 since then I have added well over 1,000 readers without exaggeration and in 5 years most of the older readers have forgotten including myself what I wrote then. I am mixing in a number of commentaries from Rabbi Shatz Shlita, and others in the beginning.
38:1 And the word of the L-RD came unto me, saying:
2 ‘ Son of man, set they face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the chief (Rosh) of Meshek and Tubal and prophesy against him.’
Commentary: Based on approximately 55 to 60 commentaries I’ve seen between the section in Bereshis (Genesis) 10:2-7 and Yechezkel. The commentators all agree that Gog is the name of the leader at the end of days. Magog is a place “in the far (ends of the) north”. Only Targum Yonatan and the Midrash Rabbah try to identify the places where the children of Noach went after the flood.
Quoting the translation of the Midrash: The sons of Yafet: Gomer, Magog, etc. R’ Shamuel ben Ammi said: There are Africa/Turkey, Germania, Media, Macedonia, Mysia and Tiras (Iran).
The Vilna Gaon interpreted Magog as in Russia. He said, “When you see the Russian fleet heading through the Dardanelle on the way to attack Israel, dress in your finery to greet the Moshiach. Where in Russia? “Yachtei HaZafon” could be as some identify it on the Black Sea inwards. Maybe Chechnya? Perhaps in Siberia?
A new and even radical interpretation is given by Rabbi Eliyahu Shatz in his book just out in Hebrew: “Perush Eliyahu al Sefer Yechezkel” printed late this summer/early Autumn 5763 (2003 CE). Copies can be obtained from:
Eliyahu Shatz P.O.Box 1716 Ramat Modin Chashmonayim
73127 Doar Na Modin Israel telephone 011-972-8-976-1378
He has given me permission to translate his commentary for your benefit.
He has a different from traditional approach to his dating system and gets the dates he uses from his interpretation of coding of time periods mentioned in Daniel “Edan”, “Plag Edan”, “Et” etc. From this he deduced that “Achrit haYamim”
(End of Days) would be approximately between the years 2000 to 2012 CE in which the wars of Gog would be fought and the Temple rebuilt. When I wrote back then, both Rav Shatz and I thought Gog could be with George W. Bush. But now we have the recent Gematria of 501 for Barak Hussein Obama = Son of man, set they face toward Gog of the land of Magog or the whole sentence. (My thinking – How about George W. Bush who is “Rosh” leader of the free world.) Rabbi Shatz says that Magog could be from the word “Mog” or sort of melting pot like the USA. Let us look at the shape of the map of the USA including Alaska and Hawaii. Rosh is the shape of Alaska that is in the far north. Meshek means also to stretch like from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Tubal can be like Tovala (transport) and Hawaii is in the middle between Alaska and Australia, Japan and South America, China and the Panama Canal etc. (If one gets a hold of Rabbi Shatz’s book, the maps and distances are there).
“Rosh” can mean “Russ” as in Russia but nothing else!”
Rashi says, “Towards Gog” – that is the name of the king. The Mahari and Mesudos Tzion add that basically all the children of Yafet (son of Noach) will follow Gog. The Mesudos David shows Gog as leader of all the nations of Yafet.
(Head of the coalition). The Malbim comments that all the 4 nations of exile (as described in the Midrash Rabbah Parshas Lech Lecha about Avraham and the war with the 4 Kings and the amount of soldiers in their armies). Gog’s hordes are coming to conquer Yerushalayim. (It is written in the Malbim “b’zad ehud” which can be translated by the words on one hand will be or the following translation as I write it – strategically in might make more sense on one hand the Yisraelim, on the other meshek and Tubal with Edom and the other the kings of the North but for a poetic picture see my translation as follows. However it makes more logical sense that Armies with the same language and weapons would approach from different sides towards the target so now read on:) Egypt and Ashur are the Yismaelim fighting against Yisroel towards the south. On the eastern front will be Meskel v’Tubal and the princes of Edom (Amelek) and from the north the children of Yafet. They will meet and fight between themselves and kill one another. (To get an idea of what will transpire with bad target identification one can see the Midrash Rabbah and Sefer Yashar on the wars of the children of Yacov with the nations after the slaughter of the men of Schem.) Our Sages tell us that Gog will come upon Yerushalayim three times. Here we learn of two of the attacks on Yerushalayim and the third attack is written in Zarcariah 14. AT THIS TIME WE DO NOT KNOW WHO GOG IS AND WHERE MAGOG IS ONLY THAT HE IS THE LEADER OF MESHEK AND TUBAL. (The Malbim wrote is commentary approximately around the year 5660 (1900 CE).) They are the children of Yafet and they are uncircumcised. They will come upon Yisroel who have returned to their borders and are living in peace. They will come because of the awakening that G-D has put upon them.
The Art Scroll mentions that perhaps the Goths are referred to for Gog’s people (George Bush is from Gothic descent). The region of Magog might be in the Caucasian Mountains. Yafet symbolizes the physical beauty such as in Greece and Shem has the spiritual beauty so on a higher plane the physical is fighting the spiritual for control of the beautiful city of Yerushalayim. The tradition is that Magog, Meshek and Tubal are areas that are part of Russia today.
3 And say: Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal;4) And I will turn you about (lead you astray) and put hooks into you jaws and I bring thee forth and all thy army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed most gorgeously; all of them clothed most gorgeously, a great company with buckler and shield all of them handling swords:
The Rabbi S.R. Hirsh wrote that Yafet (Greece = culture and beauty) will team up with Edom (Rome = war) and Yafet will fail in keeping up beauty and culture during this war. G-D is dragging Gog into this war and he is no more than a puppet as G-D controls the minds of Kings and leaders.
Rashi: I will turn you round and about until it will come in your heart to do so.
Mahari: I will drag you and put into your heart to rule over Yisrael. The desire to rule over Yisrael will be so great that it will force you to leave your land to (oversee the army). The soldiers will be dressed (and serviced with) the finest (equipment). Gog’s army will come from the northern side.
Radak: Gog’s heart will be drawn into the war and he will come upon Israel with his very large army will be equipped with the latest equipment with the best protective equipment.
The Mezudos David and the Mezudos Tzion basically say the same as the Radak and others.
The Malbim says that Gog will be drawn or (politically forced) to leave his land to lead his massive coalition.
Perush Eliyahu: I will force you – like you were in hooks of steel to an illogical war. On Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist used civil aircraft to destroy the twin towers and kill close to 3000 people. Against his will, George Bush was forced to declare a war on terror and in the end will come against Israel. (RP- this is not his will but either Europe or the UN will drag Gog into this). Just change horses in the original into tanks, humbees, armored personnel carriers, mobile artillery, etc. (Eliyahu & revised by RP - He will have in his arsenal the latest uniforms and bullet proof vests, bullets, smart bombs, cruse missiles, electro-optical and the latest technology).
5) Persia, Cush and Put with them all of them with shield and helmet;
The forces of Gog will be augmented with Persia from the east and Sudan/Ethiopia and black Africa and the Libyans from the south.
WHAT ABOUT THE WEST? Tanya Debay Eliyahu on Devarim 28 (Deuteronomy) stating about the curse: “You will want to sell yourself to Egypt in poorness (aninios) and none will help.” Do not read aninios but oniyos (ships). When the war of Gog comes, you will want to sell yourselves into slavery in Egypt out of fear from the massive armies coming against you and will try to flee Yisrael by ships but nobody will take you. Here the curse becomes a blessing “none will help” because HASHEM will take care of Gog’s fleet blockade. The ALL MERCIFUL L-RD will produce miracles that will rival the Exodus from Egypt and the combined fleets of the enemy will be sunk in the Mediterranean Sea.
Mesudos David: Gog will be well supplied with uniforms, equipment and shielding devices.
Mesudos Tzion: Gog will lead this massive coalition.
The Malbim identifies the directions of the forces and adds countries like Iraq, and parts of Kurdistan and Turkey, Egypt etc.
Perush Eliyahu designates Put as countries on the Red Sea. However, here I tend to back up the general consensus that it is Libya and perhaps Algeria and Tunisia too.
6) Gomer and her cohorts Togarmah in the farthest north and its cohort, many peoples with you.
Art Scroll identifies Gomer with France and Perush Eliyahu identifies Togarmah as central Europe. However, the children of Yishmael are not mentioned here, in the Malbim on The Book of Daniel, the Arabs and Moslems play a major role in the battle of Gog. Also the tradition of “All the nations of the world coming against Yisrael in the final days” would include all the Asian nations from Siberia – Mongolia through Korea, Indochina and the Pacific Islands of Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Zeeland, Australia, Japan etc.
Note on The War of Gog and Magog:
On Shabbos Chol HaMoed Sukkos, we read Yechezkel about the war. During this past year, the prediction of Daniel about Esav and Yishmael fighting came to new proportions with the attacks in Spain, Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines and threat of attack in England, Italy and the States. There was a notice that I read recently that since the ‘peace’ with Egypt, they have rearmed to the tune of $70,000,000,000 plus in American Aid. The Egyptian army drills daily for an hour on gas warfare. One-hour 2/3rds of the army drills and the other 1/3rd the next hour. Since the other local Arab countries never threatened them with gas and Israel is at ‘peace’ with Egypt and would not attack for no reason. Unless the Egyptians were planning to gas somebody, their use would be redundant.
Written before the destruction of Gush Katif: The evacuation of Gaza may mean that the Arabs are planning to make a radioactive bomb. My father of blessed memory had a theory of Sodom and Amorah. He thought that the citizens gathered radioactive material from around the Dead Sea area into their city to light the area at night. He talked about the Angels blinding them in physical practical terms. He figured that on the day that Lot left, they reached the critical mass and blew themselves up. It could be and the miracle being that Lot left in the bottom of the 9th inning two outs, two strikes and three balls or as soccer fans say in the 90th minute of the game.
Based on my father’s theory, it does not take major prophecy to know that the Arabs are looking for atomic weapons and other WMD. If the Jews are to be evacuated from the settlements, it most likely means that somewhere in Gaza the critical mass is going to be reached by the Hamas or other terrorists and they accidentally blow themselves off the face of the earth.
When I first wrote this: It was announced because of the diggings of the Arabs on the Temple Mount that there is a chance that the floor above the Stables of Shlomo may cave in. This reminded me of the earthquake and upheaval that will proceed the final victory. All the Arab houses will collapse upon them and Gog and his hoards will be buried at the approach to the Temple mount in the valley there. The refueling convoys will give enough power to Eretz Yisrael for 7 years. On that day they will realize that they have made war with the Holy One of Yisrael. The L-RD G-D will sanctify HIS NAME among the nations. Peace will only come when:”HASHEM oze leamo letain HASHEM yebrach amo bashalom. (The L-RD will give strength unto HIS nation, HE will bless HIS nation with peace
7 Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou guarded of them.
According to the Malbim – first the west (Christianity aka Esav) will fight against the Arabs and their coalition (Yishmael). Eventually they will say what are we fighting each other for it was all because of Israel. Let us make peace and war upon the land of Israel.
8 After many days thou shalt be mustered for service, in the latter years thou shalt come against the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, against the mountains of Israel, which have been a continual waste; but it is brought forth out of the peoples, and they dwell safely all of them.
There is a physical limit to the number of rounds of bullets the smaller Jewish Army can fire at these massive hoards before being pushed back. There will be no allies, not enough weapons and our army will be giving up parcels upon parcels of our small country. The when there is nobody to turn to Yisrael will finally turn to their FATHER IN HEAVEN!
9 And thou shalt ascend, thou shalt come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many peoples with thee. 10 Thus says the Lord GOD: It shall come to pass in that day, that things shall come into thy mind, and thou shalt devise an evil device; 11 and thou shalt say: I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will come upon them that are at quiet, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates; 12 to take the spoil and to take the prey; to turn thy hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and against the people that are gathered out of the nations, that have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the middle of the earth.
The walled cities are things of the past with modern explosives and artillery. Our peaceful nation will be attacked by Muslims who have nothing better and more desirable than to pillage and rape.
13 Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the magnates thereof, shall say unto thee: Come you to take the spoil? Have you assembled thy company to take the prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take great spoil?
They will come from these second and third world countries and want to plunder the great wealth of lower middle-class Yisrael.
14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say unto Gog: Thus says the Lord GOD: In that day when My people Israel dwell safely, shalt you not know it? 15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou, and many peoples with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army; 16 and thou shall come up against My people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the end of days, and I will bring thee against My land, that the nations may know Me, when I shall be sanctified through thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
I, HASHEM, am going to make an example of you and your hoards as I did to Pharaoh in the past!
17 Thus says the Lord GOD: Art thou he of whom I spoke in old time by My servants the prophets of Israel, that prophesied in those days for many years, that I would bring thee against them? 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord GOD, that My fury shall arise up in My nostrils.
For close to 2,000 years I have let the Nations run over, bully, pogrom, plunder, inquisition and plain bash & brutalize Am Yisrael. Now it is time for MY revenge.
19 For in My jealousy and in the fire of My wrath have I spoken: Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 so that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep upon the ground, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at My presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
This massive quake in one swoop shall up root and behold the armies of Gog shall perish prior to taking control of Yerushalayim.
21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, says the Lord GOD; every man's sword shall be against his brother.
The amount of armies is so great and powerful on the surface but actually as they grow they have a language barrier so eventually it will be friendly fire attacking friendly fire.
22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will cause to rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
This massive coalition will have people so diverse that one will be germ resistence while the others will succumb to the germs and a massive plague or virus strain will break out amongst Gog’s coalition.
23 Thus will I magnify Myself, and sanctify Myself, and I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
From Shula a reminder of the Megilla for Shabbos Chol HaMoed Sukkos: (Actually there is nothing really new under the sun) http://www.jewishmag.com/147mag/ecclesiastes_kohelet/ecclesiastes_kohelet.htm
I HAVE MY SUKKAH READY AND THE FOUR SPECIES ARE YOUR READY?
The basis for all the above is the verse [Leviticus 23:43]: "In order that your [future] generations shall know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in sukkos when I took them out of the land of Egypt." Therefore, one must dwell in the sukkah with the intent of doing so because the Holy One, commanded us to dwell in the sukkoh to commemorate the exodus from Egypt.
There is a difference of opinion among the Sages [Sukkah 11b] regarding the interpretation of the word "Sukkos" mentioned in the above verse, "I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in Sukkos." Rabbi Eliezer says that they refer to the "Clouds of Glory" ("Annanei Ha'kavod") with which the Holy One, surrounded our ancestors in the desert, so that they should not be disturbed by the heat and by the sun. Rabbi Akiva says that they refer to actual booths which [the Jews] erected to protect themselves from the sun in their encampments.
Although we left Egypt in the month of Nissan, we were not commanded to erect Sukkos at that time of year, because it is the beginning of the summer, and since it is common for everyone to make a sukkah for shade [at that time of the year], it would not be obvious that [the sukkah is being constructed] as a mitzvah of the Creator. Therefore, He commanded us to construct [the sukkah] in the seventh month, at the beginning of the rainy season, when it is common for a person to leave his sukkah and dwell in his home. [Nevertheless, despite this,] we go out from our homes to dwell in the sukkah. Thus, it will be obvious to all that we are fulfilling the mitzvah of the King.2. One must treat the sukkah with dignity, so that one will not view Mitzvos as being cheap ("shelo tihye mitzovs bezuyos alav"). Therefore, one should not bring utensils that are not dignified ("einom mechubadim") into the sukkah. [This includes] pots, a jug used to draw water, the receptacles used to store flour, a kneading trough, a large kettle, a frying pan, a mortar, and the like. Similarly, one must remove plates after one has eaten. Glasses and other drinking utensils may be left in the sukkah.
It is customary not to bring an earthenware candleholder into the sukkah, because it can become disgusting ("mo'us"). Similarly, one should not carry out any disrespectful activity [in the sukkah], for example, washing pots or plates. One may, however, rinse cups. It is certainly forbidden to urinate in the sukkah. [This applies] even if one urinates into a receptacle, and even if one usually does so inside one's home (that is, into a receptacle). Sexual relations are permitted in the sukkah, because the essence of the mitzvah, is [that a] person [should dwell in the sukkah] together with his wife (as they would in the house).
The sukkah is not disqualified if one brings utensils that are not respectable into it. One should not, however, recite the blessing [for the mitzvah of sitting in a sukkah] "leisheiv ba'sukkah," until one removes them.
[Editor's note: we have skipped Halachos 3 through 6 of this chapter]
7. On the remaining nights (aside from the first), and similarly, during all the days [of Sukkos], there is no obligation to eat [only] in the sukkah. However, should one desire to eat an "achilas keva" (lit: "fixed meal") or to sleep, one is obligated to do so in the sukkah.
What is considered an "achilas keva"? More than a "k'beitzah" (1) of bread, even when one does not sit down to eat it as a meal ("lo kovah oleho"); the same applies even to "pas ha'boh be'kisnin" (2). Similarly, if one sits down to a meal ("kovea seuda") of cooked foods made from the five species of grain (3), and one will eat more than a "k'beitzah," one is obligated to eat [the meal] in the sukkah, and to recite the blessing [for the mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah], "leisheiv ba'sukkah".
In contrast, even when one sits down to a meal comprising a substantial quantity of fruits, it is permissible to eat them outside the sukkah. Similarly, wine and other beverages, or meat, cheese, [and other similar foods], may be eaten outside the sukkah, provided one does not sit down to eat them as a meal. If, however, one desires to drink wine or other beverages as part of a meal ("derech kevah") or one sits down to a meal of meat or cheese, it is necessary [to do so in] a sukkah. One should not, however, recite the blessing "leisheiv ba'sukkah" (unless one is eating bread with the meal). It is preferable that one eat bread beforehand, so that one may recite the blessing ["leisheiv basukkah"].
The above represents the minimum requirements of the law. However, [our Sages said] that one who is stringent with himself and does not drink even water outside the sukkah, is praiseworthy.
(1) Opinions as to the size of a "k'beitzah" range from 86.23 ml to 100 ml. In more concrete terms, a "k'beitzah" is two thirds of a slice of regular sliced white bread or three quarters of a regular square machine matzah ("Halachos of Kezayis" by Rabbi Y. Bodner).
(2) Cake, biscuits, or pastry made from the five species of grain (see note 3).
(3) The five species are wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt. http://torah.org/learning/halacha/
The Biblical origin is in the Book of Vayikra; specifically, in Parshas Emor, where the Torah commands "And you shall take for yourselves on the First Day the fruit of a beautiful tree, the branches of date palms, branches of the myrtle tree, and branches of the willow tree, and you shall rejoice before Hashem, your G-d, for Seven Days." (Vayikra 23:40)
Symbolism of the Four Species
The Commandment is to take these four species together as a unit, and to shake them together in all directions, at various times on Sukkot. One possible explanation is that we are taking these four elements from nature, and demonstrating that Hashem rules over nature everywhere and, by fulfilling this Command throughout the generations of our People, also at all times.
Two additional aspects of this "Group of Four" are as follows:
- The "Esrog," the Citron, resembles in its shape, the heart, the driving force behind all our actions. The "Lulav," the Palm Branch, resembles the spine, which holds the body together and, without which, we would be unable to move. The "Hadasim," the Myrtle Branches, resemble, in their almond-shape, the eyes, with which we behold G-d's World. And the "Aravos," the Willow Branches, resemble the lips, with which we give expression to our thoughts and feelings.
By holding these four together, we show that a person should devote all of his-or- her strengths and capacities to the Service of Hashem.
- The "Esrog" has both a pleasant taste and a pleasant aroma, symbolizing one who possesses both the blessings of knowledge of Torah and of good deeds. The "Lulav," the branch of a tree (the date palm) the fruit of which has good taste but no aroma, symbolizes the person who has Torah knowledge but not good deeds. The "Hadas," the myrtle, which has pleasant aroma only, symbolizes the person who has good deeds but not Torah. And the "Arava," the willow branch, which has neither pleasant taste nor pleasant aroma, symbolizes the person who has neither Torah nor good deeds.
Holding these four in a tight bond represents the unity that is Hashem's goal for the Jewish People. The bond represents the conversion of a set of separate individuals into a People, which is far greater than any individual in both the Crown of Torah and the Crown of Good Deeds, and is far more deserving than any individual of the blessings of Hashem.The Stolen (!) Four Species
For each of the Four Species, the Mishnah in Meseches Sukkah compares the stolen article to its dried out and lifeless form, which is absolutely invalid. This is derived from a word in the Torah, and is also very understandable. It is derived from the word "yourselves" in the expression "And you shall take for yourselves the fruit of a beautiful tree, …," implying that one's ownership is required."
But the explanation is to be found in the Talmud. The reason that the stolen "Lulav," for example, cannot be used as part of the fulfillment of a Divine Command, is that it would then be a "Command performed By Means of a Sin," which is self-contradictory! It is obvious that an Act would not be pleasing to Hashem, if it comes at the price of violation of one of His Own Commands. http://www.ou.org/chagim/sukkot/aspects.htm
A few words on the Yahrzeit of Rav Chanan Porat Zal: When he started out as a young man he would meet activists in city to city he walked from Rabbi Galinsky Shlita to my house to meet with me in my garden with I am uncertain if it is HaRav Pinto of today. He was willing to spend energy to get together two or 3 Yidden at a time. By the time he passed away he had hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of people whom he influence. So do not be disappointed if only your work comes to two or three people here or two or three people there continue and you can get to influence thousands.
Over extending a helping hand - some of my behind the scenes adventures
Working on this BlogSpot takes a lot of time. I get e-mails from direct readers, Facebook friends and others related to Judaism. What started out as a nice helping hand to others in my retirement has turned into a full time or over-time job. Sometimes it is Shalom Beis between husband and wife or a teen, other times Halachic questions, still other with Rabbi Mimran Shlita true Beis Din stories and my opinion as a neutral party. Much of my work deals with Baalei Teshuva and if they go into Judaism too fast they leave Torah Judaism just as fast. Others with potential converts or saving a Jew from going the wrong way – I have had some success and some half successes with Jews. Some of the converts became like Ruth and others like Orpah.
Judaism does not look for converts unlike other religions. We in fact want quality not quantity. Therefore when a Ruth and Orpah come to convert we tell them of the hardships and the problems involved in being a Jews and in fact try to reject them. Only after the third time, do we accept them. But after this there are other hardships both financially, learning Hebrew, Halacha and trying to be accepted in the community.
One was a girl who had a Jewish Father who was in contact with me. I explained to her the rules of modesty and she dressed nice enough to walk through Meah Shaarim. She asked me for what to learn in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and I told her of the sections that applied to or would apply to her. She had served in the IDF and was subject to the reserves and asked me what she could do as a person becoming Frum. I referred her to members of the Knesset to contact as I had absolutely no influence what-so-ever. She also was going to contact somebody in the Rabbinute about conversion and at that point my help basically would end unless she contacted me for advice. Fast forward a few months and the girl has an Israeli boyfriend running around the beach in Tel Aviv and returning to her old habits. Did she get a conversion, I sort of doubt it. Does she feel part of Am Yisrael, I believe so.
Two is a young woman who is a civil servant in Brazil. She contacted me via Facebook. She asked me about Judaism believed that she was part of the Conversos or Maranos. Having roots in Spain and Portugal I sympathized with her. She spoke to me a few times via Skype and convinced me of her sincerity. She had managed to tattoo a Jewish Star on her shoulder. I spoke to her I believe about tattoos but not more than that. I then went on to give her names of Rabbis to contact and even spoke to the senior Rabbi in San Paulo Brazil regarding conversion procedures. This went on for a certain amount of time. She then got worked up on the Vasco Rio football team which had the symbol of a large red cross with a white interior cross outline which she decided to tattoo on her stomach. I released who I was dealing with and defriended the person. Perhaps she has Judaism on her mind perhaps a fad but I had advised her on what to do and she would have to go on from there.
Three and Four is a mystery for me. This young lady was working towards conversion. She started along with another person a conversion site that has 197 members on Facebook and works towards Orthodox Conversion. During the course of the year she met four on the internet a young man calling himself Yehuda living in Mexico City as he claimed. He could be Hispanic, Jewish or Arabic from his complexion if it was a real photo. One day after finishing her Freshman or Sophomore Year in College she disappeared from the net, e-mail, Facebook and he disappeared too. Based on her sincerity I suspect that she went to meet him and something happened but I have no way of knowing.
To my joy there were some cases where the people went through with conversion and all I did was a little encouragement and advice how to deal with problems. There was one black woman and her daughter who were having trouble. I could not figure out if it was bigotry or just her not getting properly attached to Judaism or a combination of both. Whatever it was she went on the Torah Forum for a while and disappeared as suddenly as she came in.
There are a lot of sincere people who want to convert to Judaism out there. Some are going about it the wrong way because they only have Reform or Conservative in their area. There was a lady in Knoxville TN who had converted Reform and wanted to convert Orthodox in Nashville but did not have the fiancés to move there and participate in the community. I suggested that the woman move to Israel and Convert here and live on her disability insurance from the USA.
Sometimes as Rabbi Murray Schwartz Shlita told me it takes 4 or 5 years for a person to get themselves together to move a Jewish Community in order to convert.
Time to get ready for Moshiach http://yishaifleisher.com/radio/radio-its-not-about-survival-its-about-becoming-the-spiritual-superpower/
At long last Jewish Refugees have their day on the international stage: http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/finally-expelled-arab-jews-get-hearing/
Among some of these marriages are Cohanim to divorcees which are forbidden in Parsha Emor. http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontLines/Article.aspx?id=285743
We always wonder in Vayikra 18 how forbidden relationships can ever be Shogeg (by accident). Here is a case which might have been by both sides at least in the beginning. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/09/21/us/ohio-woman-marries-father/index.html?hpt=hp_t3
When the IDF does stupid things: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160155#.UF3_O1GLUis
Nazi confirmed dead: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284490,00.html
Three terrorist dead but one Israeli soldier died and one injured: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284462,00.html The soldier had a similar family name as a youth from my Yeshuv and he lived on the other side of Modiin in Nof Ayalon. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160185#.UF3-uVGLUis
Israel might not attack Iran before the US Elections but Iran might attack via Syria or Lebanon Israel. http://www.debka.com/article/22376/Washington%E2%80%99s-Iran-war-game-vs-real-Iranian-Israeli-war-preparations and http://www.debka.com/article/22378/Hamas-signs-binding-military-commitment-to-Iran-led-war-on-Israel
If you ever watch Star Gate SG-1 you will know that Jafari has a snake inside himself http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284640,00.html
Intelligence is critical http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160198#.UF61h1GLUis
Listen carefully about what Romney says of the Federal Reserve: http://www.video.theblaze.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=24925935&source=THEBLAZE “I want you to listen carefully to what Mitt Romney said is the biggest problem in our country. A response to a question – listen to what he says about the Federal Reserve.“Yeah, it’s interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We’re living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who’s loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren’t loaning us anymore. The Russians aren’t loaning it to us anymore. So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer is we’re just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we’re giving it.’ It’s just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future.
You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind.”
Egypt wants to change the treaty but it is close to casus belli: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/23/israel-minister-says-no-changes-to-egypt-peace-deal/?test=latestnews
Lacking intelligence an Ed Op: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4284708,00.html
If Rav Fish Shlita is correct Gog and Magog will occur in less than 2 weeks I just revised the water and got the emergency door to open again in my Shelter for the first time is many-many years. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160293#.UGGvV1GLUis
MK Katz warns about Egyptian violations of the treaty. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160296#.UGGyVVGLUis
Yom Kippur War failures: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4285092,00.html
Syria gets Iranian help: http://www.debka.com/article/22385/Iranian-officers-reshape-Assad’s-Shabbiha-militia-into-a-second-al-Qods
Public school parents this is dangerous http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/kids-to-drink-gay-kool-aid/
Iran pushes ahead quicker than you can say wake up west: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4286306,00.html
Defining the Red Lines http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160349#.UGSAplGLUis
Now for Matis Wolfberg’s Good Shabbos Story “Return to sender”
As the Torah tells us: “And it came to pass that when Moshe raised his hands, Yisroel prevailed, while when he lowered his hands, Amalek prevailed”. (Shemos 17:11) The Mishna asks an interesting question: Was it the hands of Moshe that won or lost the battle? No, answers the Mishna. Rather, the Torah is teaching us a foundation of Jewish faith: As long as Yisroel looked heavenward and make their hearts subject to their Father in Heaven, they would prevail; but when they did not, the would fall.(Rosh Hashana 3:8) So, as we approach Yom Kippur with heavy hearts, we turn our eyes skyward to Hashem, so that we may prevail.
On Yom Kippur which begins Tuesday night, we will ask Hashem to forgive us for all of our wrongdoings and we will also resolve to do good in the coming year. In fact, this Shabbos is called Shabbos Shuvah; it is so named for the beginning words of the Haftorah that we read this week in the book of Hoshea. As the prophet tells us in our Haftorah this week: “Return O Yisroel to Hashem your G-d because you have stumbled in your transgressions.” (Hoshea 14:2) Let us now take advantage of these waning moments to do teshuvah – to return to Hashem.
Teshuvah and prayer are always proper. However, in the time between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, in which we now find ourselves, Teshuvah and prayer are especially proper. During these 10 days, Hashem is standing ready for us to return to Him, as the prophet tells us: “Seek Hashem when He is found…”(Yishayahu 55:6) (Artscroll Selichos, p. 19 citing Rambam, Hilchos Teshuva 2:6) When is Hashem found? The Talmud explains that Hashem is found in the ten days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. (Rosh Hashana 18a) Thus, Hashem, as it were, gives us general amnesty in these days to return to His loving embrace. The first step in returning to Hashem is confessing what we did wrong. Then we must apologize to Hashem for our wrongdoings and resolve not to return to our old ways.
The following inspirational story shows how important it is for all of us to make a spiritual accounting before Yom Kippur.
The Holy Reb Elimelech and the Holy Reb Zisha were two brothers and Chassidic Rebbes who lived around 200 years ago. Reb Elimelech and Reb Zisha had a third brother who was a simple village innkeeper. Some of the Chassidim wanted to see how this third brother carried-on his business. Was this third brother as holy as the two Rebbes?
One day, the Chassidim of Reb Elimelech journeyed to the village where the third brother operated his tavern. Sure enough, they found the third brother standing behind the counter of his tavern, selling vodka to the surly yokels of the province. There was certainly no hint of any spiritual flights into the lofty Worlds above. Could this really be the brother of such holy men as Reb Elimelech and Reb Zisha?
The Chassidim did notice however that the tavern-keeper would time to time take out a little notebook and write a few words in it.
The bar was closed at nightfall, and the inquisitive Chassidim asked to sleep at the inn. Then, late at night, when the household was fast asleep, the Chassidim listened-in from the room next to the tavern-keeper, and they heard the simple man turning pages and reading to himself. Every so often, the man would strike his chest and weep bitterly.
Overcome by curiosity, the visiting Chassidim walked right into the room and asked the man why he was striking himself.
Their host answered them simply that this was a regular custom. Every day, whenever it seemed to him that he had violated the Torah in some way, or if an unholy thought had crossed his mind, the man would note down his violation in his little notebook.
Then, when night came, he could never go to sleep until he had repented with a full heart. And he even had a sign by which he knew that his repentance was accepted in Heaven. For when he saw that his tears had blotted out the ink in his notebook, then he knew that in Heaven his sins had been erased. (Sipurei Chassidim al HaMoadim, p.70, R.S.Y. Zevi, R.U.Kaploun trans.)
Sometime before Yom Kippur, everyone should make an accounting of all of his spiritual mistakes for the entire year. The more detailed the list of violations is, the more likely we will be able to correct our deeds.
If we committed violations in our relationships with our fellow Jews, then asking for forgiveness from Hashem is not enough; before Yom Kippur, we must seek out those people that we offended and beg their forgiveness.
It is crucial for us to use these last days before Yom Kippur to make a spiritual accounting and to resolve to change in the coming year. Then we will truly feel the holiness of the holiest day of the year. A Gmar Chasima Tovah. Good Shabbos Everyone. M. Wolfberg is sponsored by: In memory of R' Yaakov ben Naftoly, of blessed memory Refuah Shleima to Reb Mordechai Menachem Mendel ben Tziporah Yitta Refuah Shleima to Tsviah bas Bracha Leah
A good Shabbos, good Yom Tov and good Year.