19 September 2017

Rosh Hashanah: It's Not Just About Apples and Honey

29 Elul 5777
Erev Rosh Hashanah

It takes effort to stay focused on the main idea of this holiday. HKB"H has the right to sit in judgment of His creations on this day because He is the King of all. When we truly recognize that inescapable fact, we will repent completely because all of our sins are just rebellion against His sovereignty.

On Rosh Hashanah we submit ourselves to HKB"H's sovereignty over our lives and our destiny. We repent of our rebellions and renew our loyalty and faithfulness to carry out His will.
Three Basic Prayers of Rosh HaShanah: Malchuyot, Zichronot, Shofarot
Three descriptions, so to speak, of G-d, through which we can relate to Him, are contained in the Mussaf Prayer of Rosh HaShanah. They are as follows:
1) Malchiyot – Kingliness:
G-d is the incomparable King of The Universe. The destiny of humanity is to come to this realization. Whereas human kings rule in accordance with the principle of :”might makes right,” G-d is the Holy King, Who is, at the same time, beyond comparison in His power, “Vas er vil, Tut er” – “Whatever He wills, He can do,” yet He is also the Father of the orphan and the Judge of the widow, Who is always on the side of the powerless.
He is the Incorruptible and Righteous Judge of the World, Who favors no one, and cannot be bribed.
He is the true G-d and His word, the Torah, is true and eternal.
2) Zichronot – Remembrances:
We recognize that Hashem is above Time, and the idea of “forgetting” does not apply to Him, nor is He limited in “understanding” the inner thoughts of His creatures. Nevertheless, we ask that He “remember” only the “good” in our behalf when He Judges us.
For all of humanity, for the whole world is Judged today, we ask that He “remember” the faith of Noach who endured taunts and threats for 120 years while he built the Ark, and tried to explain its purpose to his wayward generation.
For the Jewish People in particular, we ask that He “remember” the early loyalty of our People, who followed Him as a bride, as He said “I remember your youthful devotion, the love of your bridal days, how you followed Me through the desert, in a barren land” (Yirmiyahu 2:2) and later as a precious child, “Is it because Ephraim is my favorite son, my beloved child? As often as I speak of him, I remember him fondly. My heart yearns for him, I will have pity on him, says the L-rd.” (Yirmiyahu 31:19)
Most of all, we ask that He “remember” the supreme act of devotion performed by our fathers Avraham and Yitzchak, where Avraham suppressed his natural feelings of mercy towards his son, and was prepared to sacrifice him at the command of G-d, and Yitzchak was prepared to be sacrificed, thereby suppressing his natural feelings of self-preservation, in fulfillment of G-d’s command. So should G-d suppress, so to speak, His Midat HaDin, His Attribute of Strict Justice, which would require that we be punished for our misdeeds, in favor of His Midat HaRachamim, His Attribute of Mercy.
3) Shofarot – Blasts of the Shofar:
We recall the time that G-d revealed Himself on Mt. Sinai and gave us the Torah.
“The whole world trembled at Your Presence, Creation shook in awe before You, when You, our King, did reveal Yourself on Mt. Sinai to give to Your People the Torah and its Commandments, letting them hear your majestic voice, your holy words out of flashes of fire. Amid thunder and lightening did You reveal Yourself to them, amid the sound of the Shofar did you appear to them.”
The Shofar will be blown during the final battles of Israel with its enemies.
It will be sounded when our Exiles return.
It will be sounded when the Temple will be rebuilt.
It is the sound signifying the Presence of the majesty of G-d.
We ask that it be sounded again with the arrival of the Mashiach.
AMEN!! May the Holy One, blessed be He, be merciful to us and grant us forgiveness for all our transgressions and bless us with an eternal salvation in the coming new year 5778!


G-D Help Us! If Mashiach Does Not Come Soon...

28 Elul 5777

...even the illusion of Israel being "The Jewish State" will no longer exist. Israel will be nothing more than the 51st State of the United States of America!
Survey finds Israeli Jews seek separation of religion from state
Religion and State Index finds 86% of Israeli Jews believe state should ensure freedom of religion and conscience for all of its citizens, while 65% call for equal rights and recognition to non-Orthodox Jews; 82% think ultra-Orthodox schools must be require to teach core curriculum subjects, while 36% call to conscript all yeshiva students.
...Support for a separation of church and state is on a constant rise, jumping from 56 percent in 2012 to 68% in 2017.
There's the "two-thirds" who won't make it!
IDF, US ARMY CELEBRATE INAUGURATION OF FIRST AMERICAN BASE IN ISRAEL
“This is the first time that we have an American flag flying in an IDF base."
How is this base different from the eight other US bases in Israel? The fact that they are publicly acknowledging it?

And while we're at it, why is this in Jerusalem???


If You Haven't Yet Begun, It's Not Too Late

28 Elul 5777

17 September 2017

Weird-Looking Sky - UPDATED

27 Elul 5777

Yesterday, shortly before havdalah, we noticed the post-sunset sky had a strange glow to it and was a weird yellowish color long after the sun had gone. 

Today, it's electric orange and glowing red. Anybody else notice it? I've never seen anything like it. The pictures really don't do it justice. This is looking towards Jerusalem.




UPDATE 18/09/17

This is a reader-submitted photo taken from RBS yesterday


 And this is what it looks like from my house today. Strangely, almost no color at all.


Space Weather Has Become Stormy, Too!

26 Elul 5777

NASA warns we are still being battered by SOLAR storms

The biggest solar flare seen for 12 years erupted from the sun earlier this week, causing radio blackouts on Earth.

Two high-intensity solar flares were emitted, the second of which was the most intense recorded since 2005, the Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC) said.

Now, NASA has revealed the storms are continuing, with what the space agency says is a ‘mid-level solar flare’ that peaked at 3:49 a.m. EDT today.

This is the sixth sizable flare from the same active region since Sept. 4, NASA said.

It is expected to cause auroras to be visible over northeast America, and aurora has been seen as low as Alabama and northern California

The earlier flares knocked out radio communications for one hour on the Earth’s side facing the sun, as well as low-frequency communications used in navigation.


Monster Solar Flare Marks 7th Powerful Sun Storm in 7 Days

Solar Storms: 7 Large Solar Flares Erupt in 7 Days





Stormy conditions may be back in time for Yom Kippur.

14 September 2017

"Be Steadfast With Hashem"

24 Elul 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh

"The last Shabbat of 5777 - the last haftarah of consolation..."

Rabbi Mordechai Sitorsky

Parashat Nitzavim: Be Steadfast With Hashem



SHABBAT SHALOM and SHANAH TOVAH!

12 September 2017

"Orthodox DEFY Jewish Law"

21 Elul 5777

The term "Orthodox" has become meaningless. 

Houston: Orthodox ERTs Defy Jewish Law, Spearhead Church Cleanup



Amazing story of Israeli rescue team helping pro-Israel Christians in Houston
An Israeli search and rescue team is helping churches damaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey...
Some with warped hearts and twisted minds will call this a kiddush Hashem, but it is just the opposite. "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,' says Hashem.'

Leaving Eretz Yisrael to go abroad to rebuild avodah zarah?!!!! 
...ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, says he is proud of the hard, physical work his volunteers are performing for everyone in need in Houston. “Our sages tell us that God created man in his image. Not just Jews, but all men,” he added in a statement.
...“As a humanitarian organization, we help all those in need, regardless of religion, race or gender,” noted ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav. “Today, our team contacted Pastor Becky Keenan from the Gulf Meadows Church, and we are working with the Christian community in the area as well. It was particularly meaningful for Pastor Keenan that a team from the Holy Land has come to offer help.”
To add insult to injury, Evangelical "Pastor" Becky Keenan is particularly keen on evangelizing Jews in Israel.

Meeting IDF Soldiers - One With Israel Educational Adventure


11 September 2017

A Period of Grace

20 Elul 5777

"...With an upraised hand (Harvey) and with an outstretched arm (Irma) and with poured out fury (Jose?)."

Clearly, HKB"H is waiting to see if real teshuvah is going to come out of the first two before letting loose with the third one.
After Irma, are we going to get clobbered by Hurricane Jose next?
While all eyes in South Florida are fixed on the coconuts and construction cranes being flung about by Hurricane Irma, her not-so-little brother Jose is capering about in the Atlantic north of Puerto Rico, doing some kind of weird spinning in a circle fandango that current forecasts say could leave the storm pointed right at South Florida at the end of the week.
Like Irma, Jose is a major storm, with 130 mile-per-hour winds. At the moment, it's about 1,000 miles east-southeast of Miami, and an entirely schizophrenic attitude about where it wants to go.
The National Hurricane Center, in its most recent advisory, forecasts the Category 4 Jose over the next five days going slightly northeast, looping back west, spinning south, then east again — "sort of like tying a knot," as one of the center's hurricane specialists said. (Though, when it all takes place at 130 mph, the more accurate simile might be, like a teenager with a hot car doing donuts in the parking lot.)
When all this back-and-forth ends on Friday, the center expects Jose to be sitting about 600 miles away, facing Miami. But where it goes from there, at least right now, is pretty much anybody's guess.
"And I shall take you out of the peoples, and I shall gather you from the lands in which you were scattered, with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm and with poured out fury."
--- Yechezkel 20.34

07 September 2017

"What Does NOT Prevent Redemption..."

16 Elul 5777

THIS IS THE NEXT INSTALLMENT. Phenomenal!!





THE PRIMARY MESSAGE FROM HEAVEN HAS NOW BEEN PICKED UP BY DRUDGE...




"In Its Time, I Will Hasten It"

16 Elul 5777

A military drill unprecedented in its size and scope began day before yesterday in Israel's north and is purportedly scheduled to end next Thursday which is 23rd Elul. That date is significant because it was the Hebrew date on September 11, 2001.

In light of this morning's news of an aerial attack on a Syrian weapons facility, one must consider whether this is the "sudden small attack" referenced below.

Thousands of troops to stage mock war with Hezbollah in largest drill in years
Tens of thousands of soldiers as well as ships and aircraft will take part in 10-day exercise from Tuesday; army says timing unconnected to current Iran tensions.
...Tens of thousands of soldiers, including thousands of reservists, will take part in the exercise,....
...The exercise will simulate a conflict with Hezbollah that starts with a sudden, small attack and develops into full-scale war.
...The number of reservists taking part in the drill is also “unprecedented,”....
...In addition, the IDF Home Front Command will practice its “Safe Distance” plan, in which civilian populations along the Lebanese border will be evacuated farther south in order to keep them out of harm’s way, as the military believes that in a future conflict Hezbollah would try to send fighters to attack northern Israeli communities and their inhabitants.
“The decision to carry out the transfer of communities will be made at the political level, with the intention of preserving the safety of the citizens of the State of Israel,” the military official said.
The officer would not specify which communities would be evacuated during the exercise.
It occurs to me that our government takes no action without first obtaining permission from TPTB. What if they have given Netanyahu the green light with the expectation that they will back him up, but it's just a trap to draw us in and then abandon us to our fate? Completely according to HKB"H's plan, of course.

05 September 2017

The Sun Threw A Fit Today!

15 Elul 5777

It's not just Earth in turmoil...





Knowledge Is Power: Empower Yourself

15 Elul 5777

Check out this new blog...

HAYOVEL: THE ENEMY WITHIN


~~~

See also:


Wildfires rage in 8 Western states





...If it stays on track and reaches the Florida Straits, the water there is warm enough that the already “intense” storm could become much worse with wind speeds potentially reaching 225 mph, warned Kerry Emanuel, an MIT meteorology professor.

“People who are living there (the Florida Keys) or have property there are very scared, and they should be,” Emanuel said.

...“Puerto Rico has not seen a hurricane of this magnitude in almost 100 years,” Carlos Anselmi, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Juan, told The Associated Press.

Authorities warned that the storm could dump up to 12 inches (31 centimeters) of rain, cause landslides and flash floods and generate waves of up to 23 feet (7 meters). Government officials began evacuations and urged people to finalize all preparations as shelves emptied out across islands including Puerto Rico.

“The decisions that we make in the next couple of hours can make the difference between life and death,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “This is an extremely dangerous storm.”

"Who By Fire, Who By Water"

14 Elul 5777

Second Largest American City

Fourth Largest American City

04 September 2017

"The Six Obstacles to Teshuvah"

14 Elul 5777

Why Is It So Hard to Change? The Six Obstacles to Teshuvah
by Abraham J. Twerski | September 19, 2012 in Jewish Living

“Of course a person should do teshuvah, but I am a bit puzzled. I observe Shabbos, I keep kosher and taharas hamishpachah. I daven every day, I attend a Daf Yomi shiur and I am honest in my business dealings. What exactly should I do teshuvah for?”


People may not actually say this, but some certainly think this way. Yet King Solomon said, “For there is no man so fully righteous that he always does good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Even the greatest tzaddik is not free of sin. How, then, can a person who is quite far from being a perfect tzaddik not feel a need to do teshuvah?


Several psychological defense mechanisms tend to discourage an individual from changing, from doing teshuvah. The obstacles to teshuvah are denial, rationalization, trivializing, projection, habituation and ego.


1) Denial

Throughout Tanach, the prophets repeatedly exhorted the Jewish people to abandon their errant behavior, but as is evident from the Scriptures, they were not very successful. Isaiah explains why. “Surely you hear, but you fail to comprehend; and surely you see, but you fail to know. This people is fattening its heart, hardening its ears and sealing its eyes, lest it see with its eyes and hear with its ears and understand with its heart, so that it will repent and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9-10). No psychology text can improve on Isaiah’s description of denial. Because people are intent on doing whatever they wish, they resort to denial, one of the best-known defense mechanisms so that they are unaffected by the reality of what they see and hear.

We are creatures of habit, and we are comfortable when we can do things without the need to exert much effort. Change is uncomfortable, and in order to avoid this discomfort, our minds block out those realizations that would call for change. The natural state of all matter—including human beings—is inertia, but one must force himself to overcome inertia in order to grow and change.


2) Rationalization

Denial enables a person to maintain the status quo. When reality threatens to overcome denial, the mind employs other defense mechanisms to reinforce the denial—such as rationalization. One of the themes in Proverbs is the tendency to rationalize. Ramchal says, “If a person is confronted with one’s laziness, one will doubtless come back with many quotations culled from the sages and the Scriptures and with intellectual arguments, all supporting, according to his misguided mind, his leniency with himself” (Mesillas Yesharim, Chapter 6).

Denial is not always possible, so the mind is very clever in rationalizing; in other words, justifying one’s actions by giving logical-sounding reasons for them. The Torah stresses the gravity of speaking lashon hara, for example, which requires both teshuvah vis-à-vis Hashem and forgiveness from the victim. Oftentimes one who speaks lashon hara may attempt to justify his behavior by claiming “But it’s the truth!” Defamatory speech is lashon hara, even if it is true.


3) Habituation

The Talmud says that when a person does a forbidden act several times, it loses its opprobrium. Habituation enables one to think that these transgressions are permissible. His conscience is lulled into thinking, It’s really not so terrible. Thus, even though the morning minyan begins promptly at 6:30 am and ends at 7:05, there are some minyannaires who habitually show up at 6:45 and leave before everyone else. They are so accustomed to arriving late and davening at breakneck speed, they see nothing wrong with it.

4) Projection

One who projects onto another will not be able to do genuine teshuvah. Sins committed against another person are not forgiven on Yom Kippur unless one has obtained forgiveness from the offended individual. The defense mechanism of projection turns things around: I did not offend him. He offended me. He should really be apologizing to me.

5) Trivializing

The tendency to trivialize halachah is another impediment in the road to teshuvah. I missed Minchah, but I was so busy at the office. Anyway, it’s not a big deal. Or, I chatted with my friend during the Reading of the Torah, but doesn’t everybody? (This is the only sin for which the Shulchan Aruch says, “There is no forgiveness.”)

6) Ego

Inasmuch as teshuvah for an offense against another person requires that one make amends and ask forgiveness, there is ego resistance to humbling oneself, apologizing and making restitution where required.

One of the axioms of human behavior is that a person will always choose to do that which is most comfortable for him. We find that an addict will not agree to change until he hits “rock-bottom,” i.e., that the pain incident to the addiction is greater than the pleasure it provides. This is equally true of the non-addict. Therefore, oftentimes individuals only agree to change when they have reached rock-bottom.


But what can constitute rock-bottom for the non-addict? A person who contemplates his life goals and sees that his behavior is jeopardizing his reaching those goals may reach rock-bottom. But this requires giving serious thought to defining one’s goals and purpose in life. Confronting death can usually lead to such introspection. I recently attended the funeral of a great talmid chacham. A man next to me said somewhat somberly, “Reb Z. is taking along with him much Torah and mitzvos. What will I be taking along?”


The first chapter in Mesillas Yesharim is entitled “A Person’s Obligation in His World.” The theme of Mesillas Yesharim is the refinement of one’s character. Changing one’s character traits is a major challenge and is usually met with great resistance. Many times real change won’t happen until one realizes that unless one does so, his life is meaningless.


Uncompromised honesty is necessary to see through the psychological defenses that are a barrier to teshuvah. Rosh Hashanah, the Ten Days of Penitence and Yom Kippur are days in which one should be inspired to evaluate the meaning of one’s life. Only when we are aware that we need “fixing” will we do teshuvah.


The founder and medical director emeritus of Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, Rabbi Abraham Twerski, MD, is one of the country’s leading experts on drug and alcohol rehabilitation. He is the author of numerous books and his column is regularly featured in Jewish Action.


This article was featured in Jewish Action Fall 2012.

01 September 2017