Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Right on Schedule

As the news breaks of the Russian plane being shot down by Turkey, and we count the days from the ''death of the five tzadikim and destruction of a synagogue in the south'', we end up right here.  

Quoting Rav Fish on Yaak's blog: If you count 32 days from 11 Heshvan, you get to 13 Kislev 5776. This is a date to look out for for wars to begin.

And of course Gog /Obama has decided to side with Turkey, pouring some gasolene on the fire.  

I couldn't resist this photo:

An Eighth of an Eighth

"I have become unworthy through all the acts of kindness" [Vayishlach 32:11]

The Vilna Gaon was once asked to explain Chazal's statement [Sotah 5a]  "Said R'Chiya bar Ashi in the name of Rav: A Talmid chacham must have one-eighth of an eighth [of haughtiness]".  

Rashi explains that it is essential for a talmid chacham to possess this minute amount of pride in order to prevent those who are ignorant in Torah learning from making light of him and his words.  Why did Chazal choose specifically the measure of one-eighth of an eighth?

The term "one eighth of an eighth" answered the Gaon, is not a reference to a particular measure. Rather it is hinting at the eighth verse of the eighth parsha of the Torah.  The eighth portion in the Torah is Parshas Vayishlach, and the eighth verse of the parsha [32:11] begins with the word "katonti" - "I am very small".

While a talmid chacham must possess a certain amount of arrogance, it must be a "very small" amount.

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Moshiach: What's going to happen ?

A video from Rabbi Alon Anava on events before and after Moshiach.  ''It's coming very soon''. 
Also contains vital information regarding prayer for pulling loved ones out of kelipah.


Reuven: The First Ba'al Teshuvah

Art: Xetobyte
''Reuven moved the bed of Yaakov....'' [Vayishlach 35:22]

The midrash refers to Reuven as "the first one to repent'' for his sin [of moving his father's bed].  G-d said to him ''No man has ever sinned before me and repented. You have opened the path of teshuvah.'' [Bereishis Rabah 82:11, 84:19]

Even though we find that Adam and Kayin repented before Reuven, nevertheless they did so out of fear of Divine retribution.  Reuven however was the first one to truly return to God, because he realized that his sin was wrong.

For this reason, Yaakov is said to have a ''perfect complement'' of children, for not only did he have sons who were tzadikim [perfectly righteous], he also had a son who was a genuine baál teshuva.

Based on Likutei Sichos Lubavitcher Rebbe, Sefer Hasichos 5750]

Monday, November 23, 2015

Domestic Abuse : Torah Advice from Rabbi Mizrachi

If you are a Jewish woman in a physically abusive marriage, if you are searching online for Torah guidelines on Jewish domestic abuse, if you have been given bad advice by someone and told to keep quiet about it for the sake of ''Shalom Bayit'', if you are in any way doubtful of whether you should go to the police or not, then please watch this very short video from Rabbi Mizrach. The Torah does not condone violence by a husband.
And to anyone who wants to comment that in this day and age people should know this..... I'm here to tell you that they don't.  Thank you Rabbi Mizrachi for speaking up.

Mamash Angels

We've been told that the way to avoid the chevlei Moshiach [birthpangs of Moshiach] is by learning Torah and doing good deeds. The other advantage of both these things is that when you do them, you create [good] angels for yourself, as Yaakov does in this week's Parsha.

"And Yaakov sent angels ahead of him to Eisav" [Vayishlach 32:4]

Rashi comments: "And Yaakov sent angels -  literally [mamash] angels".

R'Meir of Premishlan explained Rashi's words with the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos [4:13] : "He who fulfills one mitzvah gains one advocate for himself". When an individual performs a mitzvah, he creates an angel that speaks favorably on his behalf in Heaven.

The verse tells us that Yaakov sent angels as messengers to Eisav. Which angels did Yaakov send? Those angels that had been created through the mitzvos that he had performed.

This is what Rashi is alluding to when he says: "mamash angels".  For "mamash" is the acronym of the words "malachim me'mitzvos sheásah" ["angels from the mitzvos he performed"].

Source: Rabbi Yisrael Bronstein

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pollard and Moshiach ben Yosef

The release of Jonathan Pollard is imminent, and we will be one step closer to Geula.  The great mekubal Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt''l added the letter hei to Jonathan's name because he saw that his soul contained a spark of Moshiach ben Yosef [first video].

Also some discussion here from Dov bar Leib in the comments : Gog U Magog Just Crossed Over the Threshold 

See POLLARD label below for more.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Leftover Sparks

".... Lavan was informed that Yaakov had fled. He took his relatives with him and pursued him" [Vayeitze 31:22,23]

The Maggid of Mezritch taught: "Yaakov had left behind letters from the Torah which he had not yet extracted from Lavan. This is why Lavan pursued him - to give him the letters which remained with him.  An entire chapter was added to the Torah by these letters."  [Ohr Hame'ir, beg. Parshas Vayeitzei, see Ohr HaTorah vol 5, p.869a]

The "letters of the Torah" which Yaakov left behind were "sparks" of holiness.  In fact, Yaakov had spent twenty years in Lavan's house extracting whatever sparks of holiness he could find there, and when the process was complete, he left. At least he thought it was complete....

In truth, however, Yaakov had left some sparks behind, so Lavan chased Yaakov to give them to him.

Why did Yaakov leave sparks behind?

Chassidic teachings explain that, while most of a person's achievements in life come through his own conscious efforts, there are some "super-conscious" achievements that are so lofty they cannot occur intentionally.  So, while we are usually the ones that choose our own paths in life - to find the sparks which we are destined to elevate - sometimes our "sparks" pursue us, because they are too sublime to be "extracted" solely by our own endeavors.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Gutnick Chumash

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Putin Explains ISIS [video]


The Midrash describes the Jewish people as G-d's "sheep" [Shir HaShirim Rabah 2:16], as an expression of their total dedication to G-d, like sheep that follow their shepherd unquestioningly.

Yaakov exemplified this level of dedication while he worked for Lavan, remaining loyal to G-d's commands despite the spiritually alien environment.  Thus, to hint to Yaakov's dedication, G-d rewarded him with wealth that came about through amassing sheep.

However, when Yaakov returned to confront Eisav, he did not stress sheep as his most important acquisition, but rather, oxen [Vayeitze 32:6].  Yaakov was hinting: "Because I am dedicated to G-d like a quiet sheep, therefore I have G-d's might behind me, so I will be as strong as an ox against you."

This teaches us that, in our observance of mitzvos we should be utterly humble towards G-d like a sheep; but when fighting the forces that oppose Judaism in the outside world, we cannot stand by sheepishly and watch Jews be drawn away from their heritage. Rather, we must fight for Jewish values with the strength of an ox.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Gutnick Chumash

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Leah and Rachel

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1855

Leah's eyes were tender, but Rachel had beautiful features and a beautiful complexion. [Vayeitzei 29:17]

Rachel represents the approach of tzadikim [righteous individuals] whose lives are totally holy, and Leah, the approach of ba'alei teshuvah [penitents] who elevate the secular world to holiness.

Thus, Rachel was naturally attractive:  ''Rachel had beautiful [facial] features and a beautiful complexion'' - like the tzadik whose character is flawless; whereas Leah cried profusely [see Rashi] alluding to the process of teshuvah.  She was also naturally outgoing [see Rashi 34:1], a talent which helps a person to bring the outside world to the realm of holiness.

''Yaakov was an honest person, dwelling in tents'' [Toldot 25:27], i.e. he busied himself only with matters of holiness - the approach of tzadikim.  Therefore, people said that Yaakov was destined for Rachel, since their characters matched.  Eisav, on the other hand, was an outgoing ''man of the field''. Therefore people said that he would be a good match for Leah, for only the talented, outgoing Leah would have the ability to make Eisav do teshuvah.

Based on Likutei Sichot Lubavitcher Rebbe vol 35 p. 152-3