25 September 2020

SHABBAT SHUVAH - PLUS

7 Tishrei 5780
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Ha'azinu - Shabbat Shuvah

Shabbat Shuvah / שבת שובה
The Shabbat between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is called Shabbat Shuvah because its special haftarah reading begins with the words Shuvah Yisrael ["Return O Israel"] from the prophecy of Hoshe'a.  It is also referred to as Shabbat Shuvah because it falls during the ten days of Teshuvah - Repentance.
...It is customary in almost all Jewish communities for the rabbi of the city or congregation to expound on teshuvah, and to emphasize the severity of transgression so that the people turn their hearts toward repentance.  Our Sages have said that when the wise address the people, God forgives the sins of Israel.
...on Shabbat Shuvah one should be especially careful to concentrate entirely on Torah, prayer, and reflection on teshuvah, thereby attaining forgiveness for whatever unfitting behavior may have marred other Sabbaths.
--- Book of Our Heritage by R. Eliyahu Kitov

PLUS: THE REGULATIONS FOR THE HOLIDAY CLOSURE IN ISRAEL INCLUDING WHAT IS "PERMITTED" FOR THE RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCE OF THE HOLIDAYS

~ SHABBAT SHALOM AND CHAG SAMEACH ~

23 September 2020

MASSIVE CHILLUL HASHEM DURING THE DAYS OF AWE!!

 6 Tishrei 5781

Maybe the chareidi politicians are just too used to the wheeling and dealing of their game.  Perhaps they felt it was a safe gamble - that the god of democracy was too dear to the hearts of the Israelis to ever give up on the public demonstrations - so they felt safe saying, "We'll agree to the ban on public prayers on Yom Kippur if the demonstrations are equally banned."  They've been playing the politics game too long.  It has damaged their souls to the point that they don't even see the CHILLUL HASHEM in conceding to banning public Yom Kippur prayers REGARDLESS OF ANYTHING ELSE!  

Not only that.  Imagine the repercussions from the Israelis when the government explains that they have to suspend civil liberties because of the religious Jews.  Of course, we know all of this is just getting right down to the nitty gritty of the BIRUR on the spiritual level, but we live in the physical world and our mitzvot are physical acts; therefore, we have to determine how to respond to these situations on the physical level as well. 

The Knesset is ready to concede outdoor prayers up to 20 people.  We've been living with that for awhile now.  However, Netanyahu wants to ban prayers altogether and he and his cohorts are threatening to take the matter out of the hands of the Knesset if they don't get their way.  That says to me that the order has come down from the head(s) of the NWO who are also orchestrating all these signed agreements with Arab countries at the very same time.  Do you not understand that they know the power of our prayers and that they are trying to destroy the mitzvot of the holidays in order to weaken us to the point that they can finally obliterate us as a nation?

The whole world is watching, listening as they announce that Israel is the only country to be locked down a second time.  They are asking what's wrong with us that it is so bad here, when in reality it is not at all the way it is being portrayed.  They are watching and listening as it is being reported that the holy days will be cancelled and Yom Kippur prayers will be banned outright in the entire public sphere.  They are asking how it is that the Jews in Eretz Yisrael are taking this lying down, without a peep of protest and even the "leadership" - rabbis and rabbinical organizations - are stating publicly that they intend to abide by the dictates of these 'authorities.' (Who has the authority to stop prayer?!)  What a CHILLUL HASHEM!  There is no hope for such 'rabbis'!

We have to draw a line somewhere.  We have to cling tenaciously to our Torah and mitzvot and in the merit of doing so with mesirut nefesh, and primarily to stop the desecration, perhaps HKB"H will see fit to send the Redeemer to Zion without any further delay!  May it be His will!!

DECLARATION OF WAR!!

 5 Tishrei 5781

I had not intended to post unless an emergency arose, and this, my brothers and sisters, is such an emergency.

At this hour, the evil ruling regime of the tragically misnamed 'Jewish' State is voting to lock every beit knesset and in addition TO FORBID PRAYER - EVEN IN THE OPEN AREAS - ON YOM KIPPUR!!!!

Since the Master of the Universe is the ONE Who has commanded us in this mitzvah, it is a war against HKB"H and these Amalekim - haters of God and His Torah - will not survive this!!  

THEY CAN'T LOCK THE OUTSIDE and THEY CAN'T BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE!!!!!!!!!!!

IT'S TIME FOR MELECH HAMASHIACH TO REVEAL HIMSELF!!!!!! 

IF NOT NOW, THEN WHEN????!!!



21 September 2020

G'MAR CHATIMAH TOVAH! GUEST POST

 3 Tishrei 5781

"Yom Kippur - Don't Be A Wimp" by Rav Yehudah Richter

Halfway through there is a second part entitled "Why the Gentiles Can't Repent."  (See further here, here and here.)                      

17 September 2020

SHANAH 5781 TOVAH!

29 Elul 5780
Erev Rosh Hashanah

On the Day of Judgment, as the King sits to open the books - who will live and who will die - may He overlook our shortcomings and count our steadfast loyalty to Him and to His Holy Torah as worthy of continued life and service to Him in the coming year 5781.  

The best is yet to come!

Ain od milevado!


Wishing Klal Yisrael the most heartfelt Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays as well.  God willing, I am taking a vacation from Tomer Devorah for the duration.  
Chag Sameach!!

16 September 2020

THE DAY OF HASHEM - WHO WILL SURVIVE?

27 Elul 5780

(Originally written 3 Kislev 5765, but it works in Elul, too.)

"Turn to Me and be saved, all ends of the earth, for I am G-d and there is no other." (Yeshaya 45:22)

We have a tradition that many prophecies given to Israel were not included in our canon of scripture because they were intended only for the people of their time and were not relevant for future generations.  Consequently, it is understood that the record of prophecy which is contained in our Tanakh, even if it describes events long past, has relevance for the future.  The language of Tanakh refers to calamitous days of judgement as "The Day of Hashem."
Wail, for the day of Hashem is near; it will come like a sudden attack from the Almighty... Behold, the day of Hashem is coming; [a day] of cruelty, rage and burning anger, to make the land desolate; and He will annihilate sinners from it. (Yeshaya 13:6, 9)
...Hashem, Master of Legions, has a day against every proud and arrogant person and against every exalted person -- and he will be brought low, ... Humankind's haughtiness will be humbled and men's arrogance will be brought down; and Hashem alone will be exalted on that day.  (Yeshaya 2:12, 17)

For the day of Hashem upon all the nations is close; as you have done [so] shall be done to you; your requital shall return upon your head. (Ovadya 1:15)

I will set wonders in the heavens and on earth; blood and fire and pillars of smoke; the sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood [red] before the coming of the great and awesome Day of Hashem. (Yoel 3:3-5)
The Day of Hashem is a transitional period which bridges the gap between the world in its current state of outright rebellion to the messianic era in which the entire world will be at peace, a reality that cannot materialize until all rebels against G-d's Law (sinners) have been eliminated. The way this comes about is completely at the discretion of the Creator. He has not asked for our input, so we do not have a vote in the proceedings. Neither will He be held accountable to human standards of morality and justice for His ways are completely moral and His methods are absolutely just.

This time period will be such a calamity that it is difficult to imagine anyone surviving it, and much less so when we factor in the low spiritual state of our generation. However we are assured over and over that a remnant will survive, but only a remnant:
It will be on that day that the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the House of Jacob will no longer rely on its attacker, but will rely on Hashem, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty G-d. For even if your people Israel will be like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of it will return; [for] an intense destruction will surge forth, with justification. For an intense devastation does the Lord Hashem/Elokim, Master of Legions carry out in the midst of the Land. (Yeshaya 10:20-23)
Since we are the generation facing the most critical stage in world history, it's time Jews began to ask the question that the Chr*stians have been pressing on us for two thousand years: "What must I do to be saved?" The answer might surprise you:
And it will be that anyone who calls on the Name of Hashem will escape. (Yoel 3:5)

There will be in all the land --- the word of Hashem --- two portions [of the population] will be cut off and perish, and the third will be left in it. I will bring that third into fire and purify it, as one purifies silver and as one refines gold; it will call out in My Name and I will answer it. I have said, 'it will be My people' and it will say,'Hashem is my G-d.' (Zekharya 13:8-9)

And it will be that anyone who calls on the Name of Hashem will escape for on the mountains of Zion and in Jerusalem there will be refuge as Hashem said, and among the survivors whom Hashem summons. (Yoel 3:5)

Some with chariots, and some with horses; but we, in the Name of Hashem, our G-d, call out. They slumped and fell, but we arose and were invigorated. Hashem save! May the King answer us on the day we call. (Tehillim 20:8-10)

Hashem is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him sincerely. The will of those who fear Him He will do; and their cry He will hear and He will save them. (Tehillim 145:18-19)
But there is a caveat to this. "Seek Hashem when He can be found; call upon Him when He is near." (Yeshaya 55:6) No doubt, by the time it becomes obvious what is happening, it will already be too late to change one's fate.

In an indisputable reference to messianic times, the prophet Yeshaya says:
...the fruit of the land will be for pride and glory for the survivors of Israel. Of every remnant that will be in Zion and every remaining one in Jerusalem, 'Holy' will be said of him. Everyone who is inscribed for life in Jerusalem. When my Lord will have washed the filth of the daughters of Zion and rinsed the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, with a spirit of judgement and a spirit of purging. (Yeshaya 4:2-4)
Note the phrase---"Everyone who is inscribed for life...." This brings to mind an event recorded in chapter nine of Yechezkel's prophecy. It describes the prophet's view of the spiritual reality co-existing with the physical reality at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple:
He [Hashem] called to the man clothed in linen [the angel Gavriel according to commentary], ...And Hashem said to him, "Pass through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark a sign on the foreheads of the men who sigh and moan for all the abominations that are done within it."

Then He said to those within my earshot, "Pass through the city behind him and smite; let your eye not spare and do not have compassion. Old man, young man and maiden, children and women, shall you slay to utter destruction; but do not approach any man upon whom is the sign. Begin from My Sanctuary! So they began with the elders who were before the Temple. (Yechezkel 9:3-6)
According to the commentary, this sign on the forehead of the righteous was to protect them from the fate of the sinners. Note how the "righteous" are defined---"[those] who sigh and moan for all the abominations that are done within [the city]." The purge started with the "elders" because they were the ones who had the power to correct the situation before it got out of hand.
...while they were smiting, I remained and I fell upon my face and I cried out and said, "Alas, Lord Hashem/Elokim! Are you destroying the entire remnant of Israel as You pour out your wrath on Jerusalem?" Then He said to me, "The iniquity of the House of Israel and Judah is very, very great --- the land has been filled with bloodshed and the city has been filled with injustice, for they have said, 'Hashem has forsaken the land' and 'Hashem does not see.' So, I too, My eye will not spare nor will I have compassion; I have placed their way upon their head. " (Yechezkel 9:8-10)
In our day, "bloodshed" has its equivalence in terrorism and "injustice" is enshrined in our Supreme Court. The phrase "they have said" can apply to words or deeds which speak as loudly as any words. Besides the fact that we can draw parallels between the matzav then and the matzav today, how do we know this passage has relevance for our time? Chapter 11 makes the connection:
I will assemble you from the nations and gather you in from the lands where you have been scattered, and give you the Land of Israel. They will come there and remove all its detestations and all its abomination from it. I will give them an undivided heart and I will place a new spirit in them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh so that they may walk in My decrees and observe My laws and fulfill them. Then they will be a people unto Me, and I will be a G-d for them. But those whose heart follows the heart of their detestations and abomination. I will place their way upon their head --- the word of the Lord Hashem/Elokim. (Yechezkel 11:12-21)
The last pasuk is a qualifier which lets us know that not everyone will receive this new spirit. At the end of days, there will still be those who choose to go their own rebellious way and their end will be like that of the sinners of Yechezkel's own time---"I will place their way upon their head." Why then should we not imagine that the protection of the righteous will also follow the same pattern? Perhaps the following describes the defining event which separates between the righteous and the sinner:
Behold, I send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and awesome day of Hashem. And he will turn back [to G-d] the hearts of the fathers with [their] sons and the hearts of sons with their fathers [for fear that] I come and strike the land with utter destruction. (Malachi 3:23-24)
This change of heart will 'mark' the righteous---the non-rebel---for survival. It is well-known that both Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and also the Lubavitcher Rebbe were instrumental to the teshuva movement which has brought untold numbers of Jews back to the path of observance. And further to that are the Discovery programs of Aish HaTorah and the personal endeavors of many unnamed rabbis all of whom together have functioned in the spirit of Eliyahu HaNavi. If so, then how short the time must be.

We do not look forward to the destruction that we know is hurtling toward us like a runaway freight train, any more than a woman looks forward to many hours of grueling labor in the effort to birth her child. But we anticipate the bliss on the other side of that event and hope to survive to see it just as the mother looks past the pain to the moment that she will embrace her child.

The sober reality that confronts us should put us in awe anew of the Holy One, Blessed is He, and of His majesty and power. It should inspire us to redouble our efforts to be counted worthy to survive and to try to inspire those within our realm of influence as well.

May Hashem have mercy on us on the day we call out to Him. Amen!
_______________________

And at no time is He more approachable than in Elul when "The King is in the field."

14 September 2020

CONNECTING THE DOTS

 26 Elul 5780

Whenever you see something like this...

And something like this is going on at the same time...

You can bet that with so many Americans being driven from their homes, this "accord" means there is either a plan to drive Jews from their homes or they are planning to trade Hashem's home for some economic and political benefit.  The only question is which one is it?  (Probably both!)

Every signatory to this "accord" has stated firmly that their participation is entirely contingent upon the establishment of a Palestinian State on the West Bank of the Jordan River.

Settlers warn of de-facto building freeze following annexation back-track

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is holding out for a bigger prize... 

Can the Temple Mount be a trading card to entice the Saudis?

But, when you see this...


Raise your head and shout...

 

13 September 2020

"Leave It Up To The King"

25 Elul 5780

I first posted this back in 5776, but it's worth repeating.

Leave it Up to the King
Elul / Rosh Hashanah

September 15, 2004 (5764) By Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann

One of the anomalies pointed out by the commentators regarding Rosh Hashana is that no where in the Torah is Rosh Hashana ever mentioned in connection with Yom Ha-din/A Day of Judgement; Scripture speaks only of a Yom Teruah/Day of Blowing the Shofar. It is only through the oral tradition of our Sages that we know that on the Universe’s anniversary, its Creator takes stock and makes His allocations and allotments for the coming year. Why does the Torah seemingly go out of its way to conceal the concept of Judgement? And why is it specifically the theme of the Shofar that receives the overwhelming focus in the Torah’s description of this day, when in fact the sounding of the Shofar is but a small, if very important, ingredient in the overall scheme of Rosh Hashana?

In the book of Nehemiah (8) we find a description of an ancient Rosh Hashana:

Then all the people gathered together as one man at the plaza before the Water Gate, and they asked Ezra the scribe to bring the Torah scroll of Moshe, which Hashem had commanded Israel. So Ezra the Kohen brought the Torah before the congregation… on the first day of the seventh month. He read from it… from first light until midday, and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Torah scroll. They read in the scroll, in G-d’s Torah, clearly, appreciating the wisdom; they helped the people understand the reading. Then Nechemia, Ezra the scribe, and the Levi’im who were helping the people understand, said to all the people – who were weeping as they heard the words of the Torah – “Today is sacred to Hashem, your G-d; do not mourn and do not weep. Go eat rich foods, and drink sweet beverages, and send portions to those who have not prepared – for today is sacred to our Lord. Do not be sad – Hashem’s pleasure is your strength!”

When the people listened to the Hashem’s word being read to them, they were overwhelmed by feelings of remorse and inadequacy, and began to weep. At first glance, this would seem to be most appropriate and praiseworthy – something we might all strive for on the most serious and introspective of days. Yet they are rebuffed. Rather, they are told to go eat lavish meals, because “Hashem’s pleasure is their strength.” We are left wondering what indeed is Hashem’s pleasure – from which they are to derive strength – if not their sincere reaction to hearing the Torah?

The Tur (Orach Chaim 581) describes a Jew’s preparation for the Day of Judgement:

Normally, a person who knows he is to be judged, dons black clothing, lets his beard grow unkempt, and doesn’t cut his nails. [He does so because he is overcome with anxiety] over not knowing the outcome of his judgement. Yet [before Rosh Hashana] we don’t do so. We don white clothing, trim our hair, and cut our nails. On Rosh Hashana, we eat, drink, and are happy, for we know that the Almighty will perform miracles with us…

Why shouldn’t we stand in trepidation before the mighty Yom Ha-din – instead of running around getting haircuts and preparing luxurious meals? What is the source of our assuredness that we will merit a good verdict – all the more so if we approach the Day of Judgement with such seeming nonchalance?

The holy Zohar (see Tikkunei Zohar 22a regarding Yom Kippur) criticizes those who cry out on the Days of Judgement, pleading for their needs. “Give! Give!” they cry, “like a dog begging for food.” What is so wrong if, recognizing the seriousness and imminence of the day’s judgement, we plead for our needs?

Perhaps we can understand the correct approach to Rosh Hashana with a parable:

A great and mighty king let it be known that on a given day, he would be passing through a certain city. During his stay, he would grace the inhabitants with an audience, during which he would deliver a royal address. He would then entertain requests and supplications from his subjects. Those who wished were to prepare their requests on the highest quality parchment, upon which they should write what it is they were asking of the king, and why they felt the magnanimous king should grant their wishes. They could ask for up to three things.

The city’s inhabitants busily went about preparing a royal welcome. Of course there was also much excitement about the prospect of a private audience, and the possibility of one’s most-longed-for dreams being granted by the king himself. The king arrived amidst much pomp and circumstance, and was duly impressed by the extravagant preparations made on his behalf. After delivering his royal address, a huge line formed in front of him. Each person held in his hand a carefully written parchment to present to the king, with the hope that his dreams would be granted.

The king was indeed magnanimous, and graced his subjects by granting any and all reasonable requests. One by one the people had their turn and made leave of the king’s presence, all with the satisfied looks of one whose dreams have come true.

The entire time, the king had been observing that one lone maidservant stood at the back of the palace, modestly observing the goings-on, yet never approaching the line. Even now as the line was already empty, she still did not approach. Intrigued, the king had her called before him.

“Tell me,” he said, “why is it that you stand there quietly, while all your townsmen come and go, each of them having their wishes granted in a most generous manner? Do you not trust that I have the ability to grant your desires?”

“Oh no,” she said sharply to the king. “It’s just that – well – I simply didn’t have the time to prepare a parchment with my requests. You see, when I heard the king would be visiting, I immediately became preoccupied with making sure everything would be ready to receive the king. Draperies needed to be sewn, rugs weaved, floors cleaned, swept, and polished… There was so much to do to make sure the city was ready for the king’s arrival, and I so busy, that I simply never got around to preparing my wish-list. Today, as I stood before the king, I realized it was already too late. Instead, I chose to spend by time in the presence of your highness, as he graciously dealt with his subjects.”

The king’s face now glowed with a radiance that awed the simple maidservant. “My dearest maiden,” the king said, “if there is anyone who is truly deserving of having their wishes granted, it must surely be you, who have put my honour before all else. I will not trouble you to ask, for in your modesty your requests would likely be simple ones. Rather, I will grant you the blessings of my hand – the royal hand. I have no doubt they will satisfy you beyond your wildest dreams.”

In the weeks and days before Rosh Hashana, Jews are busy cleaning up (teshuva cleanses sins), and preparing ourselves to receive the King of Kings. Although of course Hashem is our King all year long, on Rosh Hashana His dominion is underscored by the fact that it is then that He sits upon the Throne of Judgement and judges the world. It is on Rosh Hashana that Hashem says, “Call out before Me with the blast of the Shofar – to demonstrate your acceptance of Me as your King (Mishna Rosh Hashana 4:5),” like the king who enters the palace amidst trumpet blasts.

The Torah stresses the theme of Rosh Hashana as being a day of Shofar blasts, and down-plays the aspect of judgement, in order to keep us focused. The nature of a man being judged is to become self-absorbed; his mind is consumed with thoughts of what he can do to assure himself a favourable verdict. Or, if he feels there is no hope, he falls into self- pity and stops caring. Either way, all he’s thinking about is himself, and that misses the whole point of the day. Our focus on Rosh Hashana should not be on “what’s in it for us” and “how’s this going to turn out for me” but rather on accepting Hashem as our King, and being the best servants we can.

That’s why, when the people began mourning and crying, they were told to stop. It’s good that they were aroused by the reading of the Torah, but the Navi (Prophet) guided them to take that arousal and use it to celebrate the day that Hashem brought the world into being, thereby becoming its King, and on which He renews its lease each year.

With what will they merit a good judgement? Why are we so self-assured that we will be judged favourably that we get dressed up in our finest clothing, and, as the Zohar suggests, we spend the day celebrating rather than grovelling before Hashem to forgive our sins and grant our wishes? It’s not because we arrogantly believe we deserve it, but because of what we’re doing instead. As Hashem sits upon His throne to judge the world, He finds us in the synagogues, listening to the Shofar and reciting the prayers whose focus is that we accept Hashem as our King, and pray that one day the entire world will also recognize His dominion. We’re too “busy” to even take the time to contemplate where we fit in the picture, and what Hashem has in store for us.

Seeing this, Hashem’s countenance glows, and no doubt He inscribes all His faithful servants in the Book of Life and the Righteous, that they may indeed merit another year of health and prosperity. And He bestows upon them blessings far more numerous and generous than they ever could have thought to ask for.