Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Moshiach Hasn't Yet Come

I have not listened to this yet, may not have time to do so today, but the subjects he is talking about include ''why Messiah isn't coming'' .... I'm guessing he means to say ''why Moshiach hasn't come yet''.  Please leave a comment if you have already listened to it and let us know.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Your Special Mission

While Jewish law obligates each person to observe all the mitzvot, there is always at least one particular mitzvah to which one's soul is drawn more strongly.  According to Chassidic thought, this concept is hinted to by the fact that the Land was apportioned ''by means of a lottery'' [Pinchas 26:55] suggesting that one's primary mission in life, one's spiritual ''inheritance'' has been pre-allotted to him on High, and one has no choice in the matter.

The reason why a person's soul has a particular affinity to its ''special mitzvah'' is because each soul is a ''spark'' of the general soul which Adam possessed; and corresponding to its original ''location'' within Adam's soul, it will have a distinct spiritual path of its own.  Consequently, through observing his ''special mitzvah'' the person will become spiritually fulfilled, which will give him additional enthusiasm in the observance of all the other mitzvot as well.

How can a person discover what ''his special mitzvah'' is?  There is no simple solution.  However, being that a person's mission in life is centered around his ''special mitzvah'', it follows that his ''evil inclination'' will oppose this mitzvah strongly, which may give a person a clue as to what it is. Furthermore, Divine Providence will inevitably lead a person to circumstances which are conducive to the observance of his ''special mitzvah''.  [So if one is wealthy, for example, his special mitzvah is quite possibly to give charity.]

In addition to all the above, every person in a given generation will have a ''special mitzvah'' by virtue of the times in which he lives.  And in our times, this is the obligation to promote knowledge, belief and  yearning for the coming of Moshiach, since our souls have, by Divine Providence, been placed here in the last generation of Exile.

Source: Lubavitcher Rebbe - based on Likutei Sichos vol 2 p.346, Sefer Hama'amorim 5706 p.240, Sefer HaSichos 5752 vol 1 p.97

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Physical Organs Correspond to the Organs of the Soul

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

“Pinchas son of Elazar son of Aharon the Kohen saw, and he stood up from amidst the assembly and took a spear in his hand” [Balak 25:7]

My holy forebear, Rabbi Chaim Vital, zy”a, states [Sha’arei Kedushah 1:1] that man’s body is comprised of 613 parts, corresponding to the 613 mitzvot. Each part of the body corresponds to a different mitzvah. And just as in the body there are 613 organs, so too, the neshamah contains 613 organs, paralleling the 613 mitzvot. This was very difficult for me to comprehend. The neshamah is a most elevated, spiritual entity. What connection can it have with the 613 physical parts of the body?

I thought over the matter and arrived at the conclusion that the body is physical mass. It is naturally drawn to materialism, not to mitzvot. Since the body does not want to part with its natural urges and temptations in favor of observing mitzvot, Hashem created the neshamah, corresponding to the organs of the body. The organs of the neshamah are spiritual, granting power to the body to overcome materialism and observe mitzvot. If not for these vital organs, the body would never be pulled to do mitzvot. How dreadful that would be! Hashem, Who knows our makeup, created spiritual organs in man’s neshamah. These are what motivate him to keep the mitzvot, which correspond to them.

For this reason, the pasuk [Eichah 3:23] states, “They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” The neshamah, which enters the body anew each morning, fuels it so that it can triumph over its materialistic nature and hurry to accomplish mitzvot. The neshamah, with its powers of purity, descends, sanctifying the body [see Eitz Chaim 29:3].

When Pinchas took note of what was transpiring with Zimri and the Midianite woman, he hurried to grab the spear and, sparing not a moment, killed both of them in one fell swoop. The pasuk [Balak 25:7] states, “He stood up from amidst the assembly and took a spear in his hand.” The Zohar (see III, 237a) states that the word רמח [spear] hints to the fact that Pinchas sanctified the name of Hashem with all his 248 [רמח] limbs.

The gematria of the word בידו [in his hand], adding one for the word itself, is equal to that of the word גידו [his limb]. Pinchas harnessed all his body parts for the purpose of fulfilling the injunction [Shoftim 17:7]: “You shall destroy the evil from your midst.”

From where did Pinchas gain the determination to act so zealously? It was from his neshamah, comprised of 613 organs which affect the physical organs, as explained according to Rabbi Chaim Vital, zy”a.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Conflict, Strife and Tzadikim

Art: Jacek Yerka

Source: Rebbe Nachman's Wisdom by Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov

The Talmud teaches "In the future, G-d will grant 310 worlds to each Tzaddik".

Each Tzaddik builds his 310 worlds through conflict. Every word of strife is a stone. The letters of the words are called "stones". Thus the Sefer HaYetzirah states: "two stones build two houses...."

Words of strife are built of slippery stones.
Strife is maChLoKes. Slippery is meChuLaKim.

Stones created through strife are therefore slippery and cannot be joined. However, a Tzaddik can join these slippery stones. He can then build them into houses.

He makes peace between these stones, arranging them and joining them together until a house is built. This is the peaceful home.

The Tzaddik builds a peaceful home out of these slippery conflicting stones. Out of these houses he then builds a city, then a universe, until all 310 worlds are completed.

It is written [Prov. 8:21] "That I may give those who love Me substance".

"Substance" is YeSH [yud shin] - adding up to 310. These are the 310 worlds.

A Tzaddik inclines to the side of kindness. He even presumes the merit of those who oppose him.

The world cannot endure the light of a Tzaddik. Those who oppose the Tzaddik obscure his light enough so that the world can hear it.

A truly great Tzaddik must also face many judgments and accusations on high. Those who oppose him silence these judgments and accusations.

A man is on trial for a serious offence. Suddenly, another person becomes filled with zeal and says "I will judge him myself and take vengeance on him".

The others who wanted to bring the defendant to judgment are then silenced.

There are times when the defendant would find it impossible to endure the judgment of his original adversaries. The one who wishes to take personal vengeance is then actually doing him a favour.

It is better for him to endure the judgment of the individual than that of the many. He can bear the former, but the latter would be too much for him.

It is written [Pinchas 25:11] "Pinchas.... turned My wrath away from the children of Israel when he took my revenge among them, and I did not destroy them."

Pinchas killed the sinner Zimri, taking the judgment into his own hands. Had he not done this, the Jewish people would have been sentenced to annihilation. But because Pinchas took G-d's vengeance into his own hands, the accusation against the Jews was silenced.

A man stands up against a Tzaddik. He says "I will act against him! I will show him my strength and revenge!"

This man is actually silencing all other judgments against the Tzaddik.

There is another benefit that comes from such conflict. Before a Tzaddik can rise from one level to the next, he is first tested. [Sh'mos Rabbah 2:3] Those who can advance are called "those who have the power to stand in the King's palace".

Monday, July 25, 2016

Spiritual forces behind Trump's opposition & The Light Of Redemption

Rabbi Mendel Kessin - the sixth shiur in the ''current events'' series.

''What does the Ribbono shel Olam [Master of the World] have to do to bring the Moshiach?  He will not bring a Moshiach before He prepares mankind in order to receive Him.....'' Hashem has to prepare the people so they won't be destroyed when Moshiach comes.''

To see previous lectures by Rabbi Kessin, click on the KESSIN label below

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Red Moon Anyone ?

Keep an eye on the moon tonight, it was red in some parts of the world for the night of 18 Tammuz.

This photo was uploaded to Facebook by Luana:

and here is a link to a photo of it on Flickr:  ''I have never seen a redder moon rise"

Friday, July 22, 2016

17th of Tammuz

by Rabbi David Hanania Pinto

This year the fast on the 17th of Tammuz falls on Shabbat. Therefore, the fast is postponed until Sunday, the 18th of Tammuz. In the Sephardic and Eastern communities, it is customary to announce the fast on Shabbat.

Chazal relate that five dreadful events occurred on the 17th of Tammuz:

The first Tablets were broken. The daily [continual] burnt-offering ceased. The city’s wall was breached. Apostimos the wicked burned the Torah. An idol was erected in the Temple.

The Tablets were Broken

On the seventh of Sivan, after the giving of the Torah, Moshe returned to ascend Mount Sinai [it was still prohibited for the nation to approach the mountain, as they were warned prior to Matan Torah]. Moshe went to learn straight from Hashem all the rules and details and laws of the Torah, and to receive the Tablets of Testimony.

When Moshe went up to Heaven, he told Am Yisrael: ''At the end of forty days, at the commencement of the sixth hour [of the day], I will come and bring you the Torah.'' They thought that the day that he ascended counted as the first day. However, Moshe had told them it would be forty full days, and a full day begins at the sunset preceding it. Thus, the day that he ascended did not count as the first day because it was not a full day beginning at the sunset prior to it. As we know, Moshe ascended on the seventh of Sivan, and accordingly the fortieth full day came out on the 17th of Tammuz.

On the 16th of Tammuz the Satan came and confused the world with images of blackness and muddle, images of cloudiness, fog and turmoil, saying, certainly Moshe died, since the sixth hour of the morning already passed and he did not return.

The Satan said to them: Moshe, your leader, where is he? They said to him: He ascended to Heaven. He said to them: The sixth [hour] has passed! – But they paid no heed to him – Died! – and they did not pay attention to him. He showed them an image of his coffin. They ran to Ahron hysterically in confusion and said to him: Make us a G-d!

The next day, Moshe came down from the mountain. When Hashem gave Moshe the Tablets, the Tablets carried themselves. However, when Moshe descended and approached the Camp and saw the Golden Calf, the letters floated out of the parchment and the Tablets became unbearably heavy in Moshe’s hands. Immediately – “Moshe’s anger flared up,” and he threw them from his hands.

Also during the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash, the [wall of the] city was breached in Tammuz, on the ninth day of the month. However, because one cannot burden the people excessively, we do not institute two consecutive fast-days. Therefore, the fast was set on the 17th of Tammuz, since the destruction of the second Temple was harder for us.

The Daily [lit. Continual] Burnt-Offering Ceased

During the destruction of the First Temple, the following occurred. On the ninth of Tammuz, the wall surrounding Yerushalayim was breached and the enemies charged through the city and caused destruction. However, the enemies could not enter the Temple, because the Kohanim barricaded themselves within and continued performing the services until the seventh of Av. But the supply of sheep for the daily sacrifice was lacking from the thirteenth of Tammuz, since they always kept a four day supply of sheep that were checked for flaws and ready for sacrifice. From the thirteenth of Tammuz and onward they bribed the enemies who made a siege on them: They lowered silver and gold, and they sent up sheep for them. This is what they did until the 17th of Tammuz.

The [wall of the] City was Breached

This event took place during the destruction of the Second Temple when the wall surrounding Yerushalayim was breached on the 17th of Tammuz as Titus and his army invaded the city. Whereas the destruction of the First Temple in the times of Tzidkiyahu Hamelech it says [Yirmeyahu 52]: In the fourth month, on the ninth of the month, the famine in the city became critical; there was no food for the people of the land. The city was breached, and all the men of war fled and left the city during the night,” etc.

In Yerushalmi it says that also during the destruction of the First Temple the city was breached on the 17th of Tammuz, but because of the terrible suffering at the time, they were confused about the date, and they thought that it was the ninth of Tammuz.

And even though Hashem knew the date, and the navi knew it as well, He recorded through the navi Yirmeyahu that it occurred on the ninth of the month as the nation believed, in order to demonstrate that, so to say, Hashem is with them in their suffering, and so to say, even His calculations got distorted, which is something which we cannot dare utter with our mouths or allow our ears to hear.

Apostimos Burned the Torah

This event which is mentioned in the Mishnah, its description is not recorded in the earliest sources. Yerushalmi only mentions: Where did the burning take place? Rav Acha says: passage of Lud; and Rabbanan say: by the passage of Terlosa.

The later commentators speculate that this event refers to the period of the Roman commissioner Cumanus. It took place approximately sixteen years before the Great Revolt against the Romans. At that time the commissioner’s troops provoked the Jews and their service in the Temple, causing large disturbances that subsequently quieted down. Regarding that period, Josephus relates the following:

“After this calamity [when ten thousand people were killed on the Temple Mount because of the uproar caused by the Romans] a new uproar began because of highway robbers, since on the main road next to Beit Horon, bandits attacked the convoy of Stephen, a servant of the Ceasar, and robbed him. Cumanus sent members of his army to the nearby villages where the robbery took place, and commanded the arrest of the villagers and to have them brought to him, since he accused them of not chasing after the highway robbers to catch them. One of the soldiers took the sacred Torah scroll in the village and tore it up and burned it. All over the Jews were frenzied, as if the entire country before them was consumed by fire. Immediately upon hearing what happened, people fueled by their zealousness over the holy scroll, rushed like arrows flying from a sling to Caesarea to see Cumanus, so he should not delay the punishment of the man who always cursed at G-d and His Torah. The Commissioner realized that the storm would not subside until he would calm their spirits. Therefore, he ordered the soldier hung on the gallows in the midst of the throngs demonstrating against him. Thereafter, the Jews returned to their homes.

According to this account, the event took place on the 17th of Tammuz, several years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple. The name Stephen was confused with Apostimos, and such mix-ups are quite common.

An Idol was Erected in the Temple

There are those who claim that also this was performed by Apostimos the wicked on the fateful day of the 17th of Tammuz. And there are those who claim that it is referring to the idol that Menashe Hamelech erected in the Temple, which was on the very day of the 17th of Tammuz as well.

Days of Peace and Truth

In the future, so the prophet Zechariah prophesied following the destruction of the First Temple, all the fasts; Tisha B’Av, the 17th of Tammuz, Tenth of Tevet, and the Fast of Gedaliah, will become days of joy and happiness. And this is what the prophet Zechariah says: “Thus says Hashem, Master of Legions: The fast of the fourth [month], the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth will be to the House of Yehudah for joy and for gladness and for happy festivals. [Only] love truth and peace!” [Zechariah 8:19]

Nevertheless, we should know that the sages stated that not everyone will merit to live until the End of Days and to see Yerushalayim in its glory. What must we do to merit to get to these glorious days? One must grieve over the destruction of the Temple and feel the pain of the holy Shechinah, who is wailing because she is in exile, as it says [Taanit 30b]: Whoever mourns over Yerushalayim merits and sees in her joy, and whoever does not mourn over Yerushalayim will not witness her joy.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Lofty Trait

"He perceived no iniquity in Yaakov" [Balak 23:21]

R' Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev remarked: 

Hashem, to Whom everything is revealed and known, does not look at the sins of a Jew, as the verse states: "He does not look [lo hibit] at the iniquity in Yaakov".

If this is the way of Hashem, how much more so is it forbidden for us - flesh and blood - to look at the sins of another Jew!  We, too, must cling to this lofty trait of "He does not look at the iniquity in Yaakov".

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein