The aim of this blog is to point out the "hidden" hand of God in the daily events of our lives and to give strength
and encouragement to those anxiously awaiting the final redemption - may it come speedily in our time.

24 July 2016

Events Do Not Occur in a Vacuum

18 Tamuz 5776
Tzom Shiva Asar b'Tamuz Observed

Today begins the Three Weeks - 17 Tamuz until 9 Av - when we mourn the major tragedies which have befallen our nation over millenia. On 17 Tamuz the walls of Yerushalayim were breached. It was the beginning of the end when three weeks later the Holy Temple would be set afire and destroyed. There are many books and websites you can look up which will list for you all the tragedies which followed over the course of the centuries, but the Temple's destruction - twice! - was the worst of all, not just for the Jews, but for all the people of the world. 

However, this blog post is not concerned with that subject today. What I feel heavily on my heart this morning is The Reason why these terrible things have occurred on these dates. Because, events on this scale don't occur in a vacuum without any discernible cause. Something set these dates aside for suffering on a grand scale and that "something" was (and still is) rooted in our own hearts and minds. Let's pull it out, identify it and deal with it, so we can hopefully move on past the suffering to reach the joy at The End of Days.

The Root of All Suffering - Lack of Faith and Trust in HKB"H

It goes all the way back to the first sin in Gan Eden. The Satan introduced doubt in Chavah's mind: "Did God indeed say....?"  Then he proceeded to capture her heart by explaining to Chavah that God actually had nefarious motives for denying them the experience of the Eitz Da'at Tov v'Ra: "For God knows that on the day that you eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil." 

The Satan called into question God's truthfulness, integrity and reliability, thereby undermining Chavah's faith and trust in HKB"H. The shifting of her faith and trust over to the words of the Satan was a criminal act of disloyalty and rebellion against the Sovereign of the Universe. 

Yes, I think it's possible to say that this was a loyalty test imposed by HKB"H - just as His demand that Avraham Avinu offer up his only son Yitzchak was a loyalty test: "...for now I know that you are a God-fearing man...." (Perhaps it's even possible to say that all ten of Avraham Avinu's tests were testing his loyalty to HKB"H by degrees until the final, ultimate test.)

Ok, so now maybe you are wondering how this all adds up to these days - 17 Tamuz until 9 Av. The Children of Israel also needed to prove their loyalty to HKB"H. It was intended that they be tested in the wilderness, but instead they tested HKB"H's patience with their doubt about His good intentions for their future: "Is God with us or not? Why did he bring us out of Egypt to let us die in this wilderness?" The constant complaints stemmed from their nagging doubts about HKB"H's motives for bringing them out of Egypt and into the wilderness. Despite all that they had seen of the miracles in Egypt and at the Red Sea, still they questioned His truthfulness, integrity and reliability.

The worship of the Golden Calf on 17 Tamuz and the decision to forego entrance into Eretz Yisrael on 9 Av were tantamount to eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. They were criminal acts of disloyalty and rebellion against the authority of the Sovereign of the Universe. These decisions arose out of doubt in the mind and a loss of faith in the heart. They did not trust HKB"H to fulfill His word or even to have their best interests foremost. 

These crimes of doubt, lack of faith, and absence of trust in HKB"H's goodness, truthfulness, trustworthiness and reliability are at the root of all our suffering. The recognition of this fact is the beginning of all real teshuvah...

"Our G‑d and G‑d of our fathers, may our prayers come before You, and do not turn away from our supplication, for we are not so brazen and obstinate as to declare before You, Lord our G‑d and G‑d of our fathers, that we are righteous and have not sinned. Indeed, we and our fathers have sinned."
"...We have turned away from Your commandments and from Your good laws but to no avail. But You are righteous in all that has come upon us, for You have acted truthfully while we have caused wickedness."  (From the Vidui prayers)

Say it! We were wrong about You, Hashem. The fault is all ours. You meant only good for us. We doubted you. It is our failure, not Yours. Please, forgive us!

The Final Test of Loyalty is coming. Prepare for it while there is still time. And may we all be successful! Then these days  - 17 Tamuz until 9 Av - will turn to days of rejoicing. Ken, yehi ratzon!

21 July 2016

Waiting for Mashiach

16 Tamuz 5776
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parshat Pinchas

It was recently reported that Rav Berger said that Rav Kanievsky told him that all we can do now is "wait" for Mashiach.  I agree

We must not make the same mistake that Chava did when she did not wait for Adam's return before eating of the fruit of the Eitz Da'at Tov v'Ra. We must not make the same mistake as those who did not wait for Moshe Rabeinu's return from the moutain and who sympathized with the Erev Rav who created the Eigel HaZahav.

We must not make the same mistake that they did by thinking that they would bring redemption to the world through their own efforts instead of waiting for HKB"H's appointed agent to do it on our behalf. Mashiach will surely come and elevate us to the next level of existence. No mere desire or will or effort by humankind is capable of accomplishing this.

Here is a perfect example of the rebellious mindset that opposes HKB"H, his Torah and his Mashiach? Can you find all the errors that underlie it?

Torah Nations Mission Statement

Our goal is to be a ‘light unto the nations’ and unify all the ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ throughout the world, Jews and Gentiles, between all groups and within all groups, regardless of race, gender and nationality, in promoting the teachings of the Torah, with emphasis on humanism and moral values for all G-d’s children. In our kinship, we hope to create peace between the nations, fostering mutual understanding, open discourse and love for our fellow brothers and sisters as we usher in the era of redemption! We also aim to create solutions for global problems such as developing resources for food, water and ecology and hope to be able to come together during times of catastrophe in helping one another, making the world a better place for all mankind.

1) Jews and Gentiles have no common goal to be "a light to the nations." This is uniquely Am Yisrael's mission and Gentiles have no share in it.

2) There can be no "unity" between Jews and Gentiles - even those designated "righteous". Am Yisrael must be united internally around loyalty and service to our God and King.

3) "Humanism" and its "moral values" do not always align with the Creator's will as expressed in His Torah. It is based on human thought and feeling rather than on the revealed Divine will.

4) Only Mashiach can bring peace to the nations. Only when HKB"H slaughters the yetzer hara will peace reign on earth.

5) As the Ramchal explains, Jews are God's children and the Gentiles are His creations. There is a vast difference between Jews and Gentiles, which is why there can be no marriage between them. References to all mankind being God's children and there being this kinship of brotherhood between Jews and Gentiles is patently false.

6) All mankind will benefit from the final redemption, but the Gentiles have no part in bringing it about. That is uniquely Am Yisrael's mission and destiny. Am Yisrael is uniquely equiped and qualified with spiritual gifts which a Gentile does not possess.


We even find echoes of this in the parshiot of this time period  - Balak and Pinchas - which describe how Bilaam and Balak managed to induce some of Am Yisrael to sin with the Midianite women.

Tanchuma, Balak 18, tells us how it went down:

" [A Moabite girl lures an Israelite into her store.] Following that the girl says [to the Israelite], 'You are like one of the family. Sit! Choose what you like!' and a jug of Ammonite wine is sitting by her. The wine of the nations had not yet been prohibited [later on, our sages forbade their wine to prevent intermarriage, wine being a factor in generating intimacy]. The girl comes out in jewelry and perfume, and entices him, saying, 'Why do we love you but you hate us? Take this vessel for free! Surely we are all decendents of one man, Terach, father of Abraham.' "

And it is all for the purpose of mixing with us and blurring the boundaries that HKB"H established in order to ultimately assimilate us and thereby destroy us.

From Bamidbar Rabba 20:22 :

"Most of those who sinned with the Midyanite girls and worshiped the Ba'al Peor came from the airev rav. The seeds of impure desire had never been completely eradicated from their hearts. They were now weeded out from the pure stock of K'lal Yisrael through the test of Peor and the punishment that followed."

As we await the revelation of Melech HaMashiach, HKB"H is presenting us with "tests" to "weed out" those who are undeserving because of their unfaithfulness to Him. In their minds and in their hearts, they've strayed from Him. They are attached to their Christian or Muslim "friends" and to the alien culture. They refuse to slaughter the gods of the impure nations and have gone even further in calling them "kosher!"

More and More People Are Speaking Out on Behalf of Torah Truth

15 Tamuz 5776

Hundreds of rabbis support Rabbi Levinstein
300 rabbis across Israel signed a letter in solidarity with Rabbi Levinstein...

...The Rabbis penned a letter which was published on Wednesday night stating: “There is no place for legitimizing these phenomena or this behavior which celebrates a lifestyle contrary to human morality and the path of the Torah.”

“The love toward every human being from Israel and the obligation to show respect to every person cannot be used as a reason to twist the religious truth or to cut corners regarding forbidden acts,” the rabbis wrote. “It is the duty of a rabbi in Israel to deal with all religious or moral matters in a clear fashion as teachers in Israel. In this vein, we reject the attempt to shut the mouths of rabbis in Israel,” the letter continued.

...Three hundred rabbis across the country signed the declaration along with respected educators and heads of Yeshivas, Hebrew learning centers and IDF preparatory yeshivas.

“In light of the recent public discussions regarding the remarks of Rabbi Yaakov Ariel, Rabbi Yigal Levinstein and other rabbis,” read the letter, “we wish to express our support to every rabbi who expresses his rabinical opinion which stems from faith in the Torah, impartially and without apologies.”

The rabbis concluded their letter pledging that they will continue to express their religious opinion on every matter which demands it, without fear, in fulfillment of their public responsibilities, “on behalf of the silent majority - religious and nonreligious.”

The "Drums" of (Summer) War?

15 Tamuz 5776

If your attention has been redirected by the three-ring circus of Terror Attacks - Politics - Entertainment, you might have missed the really BIG news of the day...

1) N Korea vs. S Korea (and US)

North Korea says missile test simulated attack on South's airfields
North Korea said on Wednesday it had conducted a ballistic missile test that simulated preemptive strikes against South Korean ports and airfields used by the U.S. military, a likely reference to the launches of three missiles on Tuesday.

North Korea restarts coded spy radio broadcasts, South says
Isolated North Korea has restarted coded radio broadcasts, presumed to be targeted at its spies, for the first time in 16 years this month, South Korea says.

The messages, a recording of which was broadcast by South Korean TV channel KBS, were disguised as a mathematics lesson for distance learners and appeared on North Korean radio station Voice of Korea.

...It was not clear whether the signals were meant to deceive or deliver genuine instructions.

2) Russia vs. NATO (Europe and US)

US-NATO Border Confrontation with Russia: Risking Nuclear War

... I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

3) China vs. US

Chinese Admiral Warns of 'Disaster' for US Patrols in South China Sea
In recent months, the Pentagon has launched a number of provocative "freedom of navigation" patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of China’s land-reclamation projects in the Spratly archipelago.

4) India vs. China

Mechanised Infantry, More Troops, Army's Preparedness For a China Face-Off
All along the 826-kilometre-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) - starting from the Karkoram Pass in the North - the de-facto border between India and China, the Indian military is ramping up.

Numbers of boots on ground have increased exponentially. Soldiers have been pre-positioned along the border. More are expected in the next few months. The ridge lines which often define the claim lines of the two countries are dotted bunkers and gun positions.

5) Israel - US - Iran

As secret accord is revealed, Israel complains: Iran deal ‘intensified’ nuke problem
After newly unearthed ‘add-on’ document shows key constraints will ease in 10 years, Jerusalem officials warn Tehran could ‘produce fuel for many bombs in a very short time’

6) Israel - Hezbollah - Iran

Israel’s Northern Border Heating Up Again
Ten years after the Second Lebanon War, Israel’s northern border is warming up again.

On Monday a code red alarm went off in several communities on the Golan Heights and people had to run to bomb shelters. A short time later Israel Radio Reshet Beth reported that the Israeli army had fired two Patriot missiles at a drone that had infiltrated Israeli airspace on the Golan Heights.

The missiles missed the drone for unknown reasons and so Israeli Air Force jets scrambled to intercept it. But when the warplanes arrived in the border area with Syria, the unmanned plane had disappeared.

...Hezbollah reportedly released a statement saying the unmanned aerial vehicle was “part of an operation against Israel,”....

“Israeli forces claimed that the UAV evaded three attempts at interception by helicopters and air force jets, and dodged Patriot surface-to-aircraft missiles and air-to-air missiles,....

...The reason that the drone evaded interception was that it “used advanced electronic systems from the U.S., based on an American ScanEagle drone intercepted over Iran on December 12, 2012. It’s been reported that cyber warfare specialists from China are responsible for these upgrades,”....

...On Wednesday morning, northern Israel was again attacked, this time from Lebanese territory.

Israel Strikes Back?

Israeli Army Outpost Sustains Cross-border Fire in North
IDF position near Metula fired on with light arms; none hurt, though bullet hit soldier's dog tag, but failed to cause injury.

And that's not even to mention what's happening in Turkey or the precarious situation of the world's economy!

Please Pray

15 Tamuz 5776

I honestly don't know which is worse, the yearly "pride" parade or the daily parade of nearly-naked women in Hashem's Holy City. These things come to remind us that the world is broken and we should be praying for it to be set aright again like it was in the beginning - in Gan Eden.

I ask all the readers also to pray especially for Yehonatan ben Malka (Pollard) as his case against his strict parole conditions goes before a judge tomorrow.

New Pollard Legal Filing
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to be heard on July 22.

Tizku l'mitzvot!

19 July 2016

The Rabid Dogs Have Been Turned Loose

13 Tamuz 5776

And they are frothing at the mouth. What a spectacle!

In case, you don't keep up with the Israeli news, the latest uproar involves words of Torah spoken by a rabbi. Yep! That's all it takes today to get a firestorm going.

I won't link to all of the many articles that have come out over the past few days because they don't come to inform but to assassinate character, foment discord, cast aspersions on the holy Torah and those who teach it, and to further propagandize the public.

However this one puts the whole battle in a nutshell and clearly draws the line in the sand - "Mi l'Hashem elai"...

Outrage signals growing moderate religious voice


If you would like to make a public show of support for Rabbi Yigal Levenstein...

"Rabbi Levinstein was addressing an assembly of over 700 rabbonim and leaders of the dati leumi community from Israel and abroad, using the forum to blast ongoing efforts by the IDF Education Corps to diminish the authority of the IDF Chief Rabbinate and advance an agenda that accepts Reform Jewry, a to’eva lifestyle secularism over observance of Torah and Mitzvos, and female combatants; speaking out in the strongest terms against all of the above-mentioned items." (Source)

Please sign the petition HERE.
(It asks for full name and place of residence, then click the green bar.)


For the sake of the sanctification of God's name, the honor of the Holy Shechinah and the kedushah of the Holy City Yerushalayim, please join me in praying that the abominable gaivah parade will never again take place - not this year or any other year! Thank you.

18 July 2016

"Nishmat Kol Chai"

13 Tamuz 5776

It is with great pleasure that I share this latest video from Devorah Esther. Thank you Devorah Esther!

17 July 2016

What to Expect from the Transition Phase of the Messianic Era

12 Tamuz 5776

Excerpted from Redemption Unfolding by Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum (Chapter 11, Birth pangs of the World of Mashiach):

The Pains of the Transition Process

In the writings of the Maharal [1520-1609] we find a profound insight into this issue.

He wrote (Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 36) that in nature, all transitions, from one condition to another, involve yissurim. For example, the period of transition from summer to winter, or winter to summer, often brings on physical and/or emotional ailments. Similarly, the period of transition from childhood to adulthood is known to be a very difficult time, during which the teenager and everyone around him or her are prone to tensions and misunderstandings.

So, too, wrote the Maharal, the transition to the system of the Messianic Age will involve yissurim

The Messianic Era

Many of us were brought up to think that in the Messianic era, the world will continue to exist as it exists today, albeit with a few improvements. Wealth and peace will be abundant; life will be full of happiness and contentment. However, the Maharal (Netzach Yisrael, Chapter 47) wrote, this is a superficial and unrealistic understanding of the times of Moshiach. In reality, a complete change will come over the world, to the extent that the world of Moshiach will be considered a new creation in comparison to the world as we know it.

Our Sages said (see Maharal, ibid.) that the world of Moshiach will be a spiritual world of true reality. It says in Tehillim (126:1): "...with the return of Zion [we understood that we had been] dreaming." When we witness the spiritual world of Moshiach, we will understand that our current world was superficial, unreal - a fantasy dream (Machsheves Charutz 3).


The Changeover of Systems

In that new world all the old systems will undergo regeneration.

An example of such a changeover of systems is the birth of a baby. At the exact moment of birth all of the life support systems of the fetus (respiratory, blood systems, etc.) undergo a radical change. The systems that enabled life in the womb would cause instant death outside the womb. Likewise, if the new life support systems took over inside the womb, they, too would cause death to the fetus.

Our Sages called the troubles before the coming of Moshiach, 'birth pangs of the Moshiach.' Just as birth pangs precede and actuate the changing of the life systems, so too the troubles of Ikvesa DeMashicha allow for the changeover of world systems, from our present world to the world of Moshiach.

The World of True Reality

The transition to the world of Moshiach necessitates the negation of all of the false systems which abound in our world.

In this vein, Rav Eliyahu Dessler wrote (Michtav Me'Eliyahu, Part 3, page 205): "The destruction of Edom [our last exile] will only come through the destruction of this world [as we know it]. The Holy One Blessed be He will cause the very foundations of life on earth to collapse. Tranquility will be disrupted, personal lives will be filled with worry, fear and yissurim, and the entire world will cower in dread of destruction and devastation.... Only then will the light of Moshiach be revealed - 'and the saviors shall go up to Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Eisav....' (Ovadya 1:21).

"For only by achieving nullification and obliteration of this world will mankind be able to rise up and see with a true spiritual perspective. Then the kingdom of Edom will be destroyed, and the light of Moshiach will be revealed."