30 August 2010

More on the Missionaries - The Waller Family

B"H 22 Elul 5770

This is the Waller family. I first introduced you to them about a year ago. They, along with whatever volunteers they can gather, come to Israel every year and volunteer to harvest Israeli vineyards FOR FREE! for the possibility of an opportunity to "share the Cheesus that they know" with gullible Jews. (Hey! If they buy into missionaries being the righteous among the nations and "saintly" to boot, who's to say that they aren't in the market for the Cheesus snake oil, too?)

They are here in the Holy Land now and they've brought another hundred people with them, all of them missionaries anxious to break down that pesky wall that separates Jews from Xians. And this year, they're not only in Har Bracha and Itamar, but also in Shiloh and Kochav HaShachar. There is even a deal in the works with the Binyamina winery! Is this even kosher???

And now the eldest Waller offspring is living with his wife and baby daughter in Jerusalem and attending the Hebrew ulpan. Hey! If the kid makes it to kindergarten, they'll probably be eligible for citizenship.

To an earlier post on this subject someone commented that if Jews could be found to do the work for free, there would be no opening for missionaries to get in. I stupidly tried to point out that unlike the missionaries who are generously supported with income from abroad, their fellow Jews are having to work very hard just to keep a roof over their children's heads and food in their stomachs. Of course, they can't just donate six weeks of their lives to giving their labor away for free. But, now I'm thinking, why should they? Why should anyone??

These vineyard owners are in business! And if they had any self-respect or yirat shamayim at all, they'd be willing to pay the most basic cost of doing business---paying their employees!!

God help us and save us---from ourselves!!!

29 August 2010

Window into Itamar

B"H 19 Elul 5770

Back in January, I expressed my disappointment and frustration with the citizens of the Shomron communities who stand idly by while missionaries are welcomed into Jewish homes and given access to Jewish children. I'd like nothing better than to turn over, go back to sleep and just ignore this ever-growing problem. But, I can't, because I care too much about my fellow Jews. I keep hoping that somehow, if I just keep pounding away, I'll hit the magic button that will make it all go away. I don't understand why they can't see it the way I do---the threat, the chillul Hashem. Everyone is doing what seems right in his own eyes and it's not supposed to be like this. That's why we have halacha.

Today, I am prompted to write because of a letter that has been publicized at Mashiach's Wife blog. And also, because the information has been pursuing me and I want it to stop. It won't until I write about it, so here goes...

In Itamar, a yishuv (settlement) in the Shomron, interaction with missionaries has become a very profitable business.

There are no less than sixteen websites dedicated to raising money for perpetually cash-strapped Itamar.

Tonight the mayor of Itamar and his wife will be guests of a Washington State senator and his wife who happens to have her own big plans for who and what Israel will be. For example, in her "Open Letter," she demands that Jews stop persecuting Xians in Israel. I have it on good authority that the barbeque will be "biblically clean" (as opposed to actually kosher).

It turns out the mayor of Itamar and his wife are frequent speakers at "messianic" churches. In fact, they'll be speaking at one tomorrow night.

In case, you have any doubt, you can click the picture to enlarge it and see the Yesh"u name very prominently displayed.

After reading the Giyoret's Letter, I can't help noticing the cynical use of the children's images in the Friends of Itamar website. On the Bless Itamar blog, if you're the voyeuristic type, which apparently the missionaries and their friends are, you can peep in the windows of Itamar and watch the children or observe some family's special occasion unseen. Apparently these people's lives are so bereft of any real content that they get their kicks out of watching how Jews live a half a world away. But despite that, they would destroy the real power and essence of Jewish life by causing us to abandon our Holy Torah and embrace their false god Yesh"u, if they could, but like the giyoret asked, who's gonna protect the kids if the parents, neighbors and rabbis won't ? Good question.

27 August 2010



White House document reveals American preparations for Israeli-Palestinian talks: President Obama to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah, call for painful concessions; permanent agreement to be signed within one year, implemented within ten years

(Catch the next exciting chapter of The Desert's Secret on Sunday, 29 August, 2010, iy"H.)

Thanks! I needed that.

Read and heed Nava's new post at Dreaming...

23 August 2010

Rabbi Kessin on a Nuclear Iran

B"H 13 Elul 5770

I found the notes that I made of Rabbi Kessin's shiur in December 2008 with some of the same concepts that I tried to give over from his most recent shiur in August 2010. With your indulgence, I'd like to try to recap them according to the way I recorded it then, since it seems to me to be a lot clearer.

In addition, I found that he spoke about Iran going nuclear and what that would mean for us. I'd forgotten all about it. I know that will be of interest to you as well. Here it is all in context. Enjoy!

(According to my notes)

The long and short of the Divine Plan, according to the Ramchal, is as follows:

G-d created everything in order to do good. Creation is the recipient of His goodness.

What is the greatest good of all? ---eternal infinite bliss. This is a state in which we can experience G-d Himself. In Hebrew it's called devekut, from the same root as devek (glue). It's being attached to G-d.

The big question was---will He give it to us for free or should we have to earn it? Even though we must earn it, He helps us out enormously.

G-d created a state of existence where we can’t see Him; a state where the revelation of G-d is absent. The task of the Jew is to fix the world by revealing G-d. How do we do it? ---mitzvot. A mitzvah is not an end in itself, it is a device for fixing creation. If we don’t do mitzvoth, there is a second device which accomplishes the same thing. That’s teshuva, which is a testimony that G-d is Supreme. If that doesn’t get it done, there is a third device and that is suffering. Suffering=exile. Suffering is not for retribution, but for tikun.

The job of Mashiach is to reveal G-d after the Jews make the tikun.

10 forces (sefirot) emanate from G-d and they create reality (physical AND spiritual). A mitzvah brings down ohr (Divine light) from the sefirot—the more mitzvot, the more ohr (life force).

What we have accumulated over our entire history through mitzvoth, teshuva and suffering is released when Mashiach comes and it changes reality. Olam Haba is just Olam Hazeh changed into a different reality (Example: Like the difference between a fetal existence in the womb as compared to the emergence into the wider world. Something we cannot even begin to imagine.)

G-d created the Satan and in the beginning he was attached to G-d and derived his sustenance directly from Him. His job was to tempt Adam and Chava. If they had passed their test, he would have had no further reason to exist. When Adam and Chava listened to his words, they justified his continued existence and so he became detached from G-d and re-attached to man and his offspring. (Like having his cable cut and spliced and plugged into Adam.)

Our job is to kill him. He competes with us for the ohr. A mitzvah directs the ohr to us while a sin directs it to the Satan. The more he gets us to sin, the stronger he gets with the ohr. The only way to get it back, once he has it, is either through teshuva or suffering. ( This is the secret of galut-exile.)

We want the ohr so we can change reality. At the end of days, the Satan starts dying (we’ve already taken 98% of the ohr). He is desperate to get it back. When we were at the 49th level of tumah in Mitzrayim, we made the tikun through suffering. It’s the same today.

How the Satan fights at the end:

1. The big bluff (compared to a military general blowing his last bit of ammunition all at once.) This equates to the Shoah. He used up a lot of his accumulated ohr in order to pull this off. He hoped it would cause us to be so discouraged that we would give up the fight.

2. Wakes up the “peace doves” who advocate giving up and giving in. (The Peace Process)
These are from the Erev Rav. They are the LEADERS of Conservative, Reform, Jewish organizations outside of Israel and the government leaders in Israel.

3. He needs an ally to replenish him. (This is where he holds today.)
This is where the Arabs come in. They have an independent supply of ohr which comes to them as a result of Avraham’s blessing for Yishmael. (They are the second greatest nation on earth (1) Yisra-el, (2) Yishma-el.)

The problem for the Satan with the Arabs as an ally is their fear.

After 1967, they were afraid of the Jews, but then with Oslo, when Jews were being slaughtered everywhere and the only response was to force Israel to give more. Arabs lost their fear of the Jews.

They were afraid of the Israeli government until Gush Katif --- each step til now is meant to embolden the Arabs against the Jews. After this, the Arabs no longer feared the government of Israel, but they were still afraid of the IDF. Now Hashem has to destroy the deterrence capability of the IDF.

The 2nd Lebanon War---3 failures were leading the government (Dan Chalutz, Amir Peretz and Ehud Olmert). 5000 Hizbollah caused 1 million Israelis to flee the Galil. The IDF is impotent.

So the Arabs are not afraid of the Jews, or the government, or the IDF. There is only one thing left that they fear—Israel’s nuclear capability. So Hashem has to counter that with Iran. Once Iran has nukes, the Arabs will no longer fear Israeli nukes.

Achmadinejad believes he will usher in the reign of the Islamic Mashiach by going to war with the world, but he will instead usher in the Jewish Mashiach because of the zechut (merit) Iran has from it’s days as Persia when it enabled the building of the 2nd Beit Hamikdash. They will also enable the building of the 3rd.

Hashem diverted Bush to make war on Iraq so that he would not be able, when the time came, to also go to war against Iran.

One puzzle piece left. The Arabs are still afraid of America. The answer to this is Obama---an outright miracle. Obama election is a miracle beyond belief and is intended to remove the Arab’s fear of America.

An “eved” (a slave) and an “isha” (a woman) are pasul from malchut (not fit to rule), but now Obama and Hilary will be the reigning kings of Edom.

Tikun through mitzvoth brings the redemption by open miracles, but tikun through suffering brings it b’derech teva (in a seemingly natural way).

Three things the world couldn’t believe when they saw it:

1. Fall of Communism (1989)
2. Fall of the WTC (2001)
3. The third thing will be when all the Arabs simply vanish from Eretz Yisrael overnight. Like in 1948, they will just get up and flee. It will happen as soon as the tikun is complete, when we have finally taken all the ohr, and only Hashem will know when that is.

Poking G-d in the Eye

It just came to my attention that the start of new 'peace' talks in Washington is set to take place on the Hebrew date anniversary of 9/11---Elul 23.

Netanyahu: We can surprise the doubters to reach historic peace
...Netanyahu's comments follow news on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians will return to direct peace talks on September 2 after an 18-month pause, to be hosted in Washington by U.S. President Barack Obama.

...Both Clinton and U.S. special envoy George Mitchell said over the weekend that the negotiations will aim to reach a permanent settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian state in a year. They said the negotiations will focus on all core issues: Jerusalem, borders, refugees, security, settlements and water.

Will they never learn? They are courting tragedy...again!

So today, we hear that a new Tropical Storm is gearing up to become a hurricane in the Atlantic. It's name? Danielle---G-d's judgment!

Stay tuned...

(H/T Esser Agaroth)

19 August 2010

More from Rabbi Kessin

Recently, I shared some insights that I heard in a lecture by Rabbi Mendel Kessin. I wanted to write up the notes I took into a coherent whole, but it is beyond me. So, for what it's worth, here are the notes as I wrote them down. The ideas should be clear enough, but you can send questions via the comments and I'll try to clarify the points as needed.

From the pre-Tisha b'Av 2010 lecture:
History is about the balance of kedusha in the world---who controls it.

The ten sefirot are the forces that create reality. We, along with everything else in creation, are connected to it, so-to-speak, via a cable, and receive kedusha from its flow.

In the beginning, the Satan came to incite man to rebellion against G-d.

Adam's only task was to ignore him, but by listening to him, Adam, so-to-speak, gave him existence. Now the task is changed. Mida k'neged mida, Adam must destroy the Satan.

So what did he do? Adam cut the Satan's cable, so-to-speak, cutting him off from the flow of kedusha. But the Satan was smart, he quickly spliced his cut cable into Adam's (the yetzer hara was formerly outside of man, but now it resides within us). So now, the kedusha that we receive from the sefirot can be siphoned off by the Satan.

Adam's task was passed on to us. Our relationship to the Satan is one of combat. We have to grab all the kedusha and keep him from getting it. Hashem however, put conditions on it. If a Jew does a mitzvah, the kedusha goes to him, but if a Jew does an aveirah (a sin), it goes to the other side, to the Satan. And he turns around and gives it to the goyim so that they can destroy us with it.

Hashem gave the Jews gifts and we, through the loss of the kedusha to the other side, gave it away to the goyim, deepening the exile.

1. Tiferet: access to wisdom/truth at a profound level. Greece got it.
2. Oz (might): went to Rome.
3. Prophecy: The East.
4. Torah: The West.

Not only do we give it away, but they use it to destroy us.

Example: Chr*stianity---"This guy and his mom and the twelve shleppers, what are the odds? ...Whatever we say, they say it's them, i.e. they're Israel, they have Torah, etc. They are Judaism on its head! Without us, they wouldn't exist!"

But that's not all. it's not just a matter of losing that bit of kedusha, but there is an adverse effect as well. The Jew becomes weaker and closer to materiality and physicality. He becomes more pleasure-seeking, gets sick, has parnassa problems, etc.

"Only Jews have the power to defeat and destroy evil." It's not like if I don't do the mitzvah, the kedusha just doesn't come down into the world, instead it goes to the other side and it strengthens evil in the world.

Nevua is a phenomenon where a person can experience and communicate with the Shechina. Imagine. The Satan had access to that. He wanted to give that to the goyim, so Hashem took it away.


18 August 2010

A Plague on Your House!

Is this the equivalent of the 'kinim'?

Ohio's Bedbug Battle Escalates with EPA Crisis Meeting

Bed Bugs Found at Times Square Movie Theater


Hard Times in America

Crowds Chase Scarce Housing Vouchers

EAST POINT, Ga.—The weak economy has expanded the ranks of people chasing the limited number of federal housing vouchers, leading to a surge in applications nationwide and chaotic scenes here this week.

Sixty people were taken to hospitals Wednesday in this Atlanta suburb after a lengthy wait and an angry mob scene in a sweltering shopping-center parking lot. Those treated for heat exposure and injuries from scuffles were among 30,000 people who had lined up for a waiting list for just 455 vouchers to cover part of their rent.

Some camped out for nearly three days in temperatures that neared 100 degrees, including pregnant women, elderly in wheelchairs and people who drove down from New York City and Philadelphia, hoping to get on the waiting list in East Point for Housing Choice, or Section 8, vouchers.

17 August 2010

Did you think it was fixed?

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A long-standing deadline for sealing the ruptured Gulf of Mexico well deep below the seabed will be missed as US officials and BP tackle concerns about debris lodged in the well.

15 August 2010


(Excerpted from the article, "From Misnagid to Rebbe" by Rabbi Naftali Flintenstein, as it appeared in the Elul 5770 edition of Kolmus magazine. It tells the story of Rav Tzaddok HaKohein of Lublin.)

One of the focal points of Rav Tzaddok's writings is the topic of sin and teshuvah. As a talmid of the Izhbitzer Rebbe, he pursued each topic with the goal of uncovering its inner truth, seeking to uncover why we sin and how we can recover once we have fallen.

Rav Tsaddok builds his own principles on this idea, writing, "The sins of Klal Yisrael are not an inherent failure. Rather they are like a superficial stain falling on a cloth, as it says, 'And your sin is a stain...' If we rub and wash, the cloth will be clean [once again]" (Likutei Maamarim pg. 84).

...He continues: "If a person has great physical desire, he should not become depressed, thinking he is flawed for having such desires. Rather, he should realize that [the desire] represents the characteristics necessary to love Hashem greatly and to eagerly seek truth... Thus it is written that in Days to Come, [Hashem will remove the yetzer hara, and ] tzaddikim will see it as a great mountain and reshaim will see it as a flimsy hair. Both are true, for the desires of tzaddikim are extremely strong." (Tzidkas HaTzaddik, p.44)

"Every nisayon that a person faces is new---it contains challenges that have never been faced before... Likewise, the nisyonos that face each generation are new challenges that man has never faced before, and it therefore takes extreme efforts to overcome them." (Yisrael Kedoshim, p.5)

"When a person sins, he should know that it can prepare him to be successful in the same matter. If he merits, he can ascend to great heights, and the greater the sin the yetzer hara seduced him into transgressing, the higher the level he can subsequently attain." (Tzidkas HaTzaddik, p.76)

"Each person must know that the area in which his yetzer hara is most potent is the area in which he has the greatest potential for purity and righteousness. The areas in which he faltered the most are the exact areas in which he can become clean and pure-hearted... This is the tikkun of his soul, for each person was created to repair some specific thing that only he can fix... Thus it says that no man can follow the Torah fully unless he first stumbles in it, for when he stumbles he realizes that the area in which he stumbled is the area in which he must make a tikkun." (Tzidkas HaTzaddik, p. 49)

10 August 2010

JudeoXianity - Another Chapter

Have you heard the latest controversy? Giant Brazilian Temple Replica Panned as 'Mockery'

A church wants to build a full scale replica of the Holy Temple in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Doesn't Sao Paulo mean Saint Paul in Portuguese?) Complete with the Kedosh Hakedoshim, lehavdil, dedicated to the false Xian god.

We shouldn't be surprised that it has come to this. Since the apostate "messianic" Jews began introducing their gentile Xian brethren to Jewish ritual, interest in Israel and all things "Jewish" has been growing like crazy.

It used to be restricted to Stars of David, kippot, tallitot and shofarot. Then it advanced to tzitzit, tefillin, and siddurim. Now they're installing replicas of the Western Wall in their churches...

Those are some scary kids. Looks like they are in training to make the next round of crusades, G-d forbid! And let me remind you this is a gentile church. These are not Jews! You can see Becky Fischer in the video. She runs the J*sus Camp.

Some people think this is all good, that it means the Xians are beginning to see the truth and the beauty of Judaism. But is that really the case? Or is it just another means to their same end---the conversion of the Jews to faith in their man-god?


09 August 2010

The Cup Has Been Passed

"For there is a cup [of punishment] in Hashem's hand, with strong wine of full mixture which overflows from this [cup] only [until] its dregs shall they drain and drink---all the wicked of the earth." (Tehillim 75.9)

"Awaken, awaken, arise, Jerusalem, for you have drunk from the hand of the Lord the cup of His wrath; the dregs of the cup of weakness you have drained. ...So said your Master, the Lord, and your God Who shall judge His people, "Behold, I took from you the cup of weakness; the dregs of the cup of My wrath-you shall no longer continue to drink it. And I will place it into the hand of those who cause you to wander, who said to your soul, 'Bend down and let us cross,' and you made your body like the earth and like the street for those who cross." (Yeshayahu 51.17, 22-23)

Russia's devastating summer heatwave has cost almost 5,000 lives, according to officials who conceded yesterday that the state was struggling to gain control over the worst wildfires in decades.


Russia, the world's third wheat exporter, Thursday banned grain exports for the next four-and-a-half months due to a record drought that has destroyed millions of hectares (acres) of its land.


The worst flooding in Pakistan's history has now affected more than four million people and left at least 1,600 dead, says the UN.


At least 15 people have been killed and thousands of others have been evacuated as heavy rain and flooding disrupt traffic and cause power outages in central Europe. Polish officials announced on Sunday that at least three people have been killed after rivers overflew and a dam burst, submerging towns in southwestern Poland.


The U.S. might be experiencing a hot, hot summer, but south of the border, things couldn't be more different. Latin America's southernmost regions are shivering through the coldest winter in decades, which has left vast swaths of Argentina and Brazil with snow, and caused millions of freshwater fish to freeze to death in Bolivia.

To get an idea of how unusual this icy snap is, you just have to take a look at the weather records of Argentina's capital Buenos Aires. It's snowed there three times since 1918 -- and two of those dustings have taken place in the past month. (The other was in July 2007). But while the city has gotten off relatively lightly during the current big freeze -- it's only experienced a light spattering of snow so far -- the country's Andean and Patagonian provinces have been buried under 3 feet of snow. Dozens of villages have been cut off by the vast drifts, which have killed an unknown number of livestock and ruined thousands of acres of crops.


One of Indonesia's most active volcanoes erupted Friday, sending lava and a searing gas cloud tumbling down its slopes.


New NASA airborne radar images of Southern California near the U.S.-Mexico border show Earth's surface is continuing to deform following the April 4 magnitude, 7.2 temblor and its many aftershocks that have rocked Mexico's state of Baja California and parts of the American Southwest.


A group of researchers studied the effects of the massive earthquake that jolted [Chile] in February, killing almost 500 people. ...They said the 8.8-magnitude earthquake was "the fifth largest event in modern seismology".


Dangerous rip currents fueled by Tropical Storm Colin continue to bash the coast. Heavy surf and dangerous side shore currents have kept rescuers off the stands and in the water throughout the day. With Tropical Storm Colin at a near standstill near the island of Bermuda it looks as though Sunday may see even worse currents still.


The number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China so far this year has risen to nearly 1,700, the government said Wednesday, warning the situation could still get worse.


Landslides and floods triggered by torrential rain have engulfed a town in north-western China, killing at least 127 people and leaving 1,300 missing.


Russian health officials are warning people in Moscow to stay inside and avoid physical exertion as smog from the worst wildfires in modern Russian history smothers the city.


A magnitude 5.3 earthquake hit southern Iran on Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, a day after another moderate quake in the country's northeast left 170 people injured.


A wildfire that scorched almost 14,000 acres in Northern Los Angeles County continued to threaten thousands of homes Saturday, although fire officials said they appeared to be gaining the upper hand in the days-long battle.


A state of calamity declared at the end of May by the government was extended for another 30 days due to the grave damages caused by the eruption of the Pacaya Volcano and tropical storm Agatha that left 166 dead and displaced thousands.


The Volcán Irazú shook and shook and shook - a total of 31 times - between 5am and 11am on Thursday, though only one of the tremors was perceived by the population, registering 3.1 on the Richter scale.


Large parts of the United States faced another day of extreme weather yesterday, with temperatures in the capital and on the Southeast coast forecast to be near or above 38 degrees Celsius and more storms likely in the mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley regions.


NASA-funded researchers are monitoring a big event in our planet's atmosphere. High above Earth's surface where the atmosphere meets space, a rarefied layer of gas called "the thermosphere" recently collapsed and now is rebounding again.


Waves of thunderstorms rolled through the Metro Saturday night. High winds and hail caused major damage to parts of Minnesota. Nearly 16,000 Metro households are still without power. ... at least eight tornadoes were reported by trained spotters.... There were reports of hail as big as softballs in some areas.


A spell of extreme cold weather has brought ice and snow to much of Argentina, killing at least nine. Most of the victims were homeless people.... The cold front moving up from Antarctica has caused temperatures to plunge across the southern cone region of South America. Deaths have also been reported in Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia.


"And the earth quaked and roared, the foundations of the earth shook, they trembled when His wrath flared." (Tehillim 18.7)

"God is for us a refuge and strength, a help in distress, very accessible. Therefore, we shall not be afraid when the earth is transformed, and at mountains collapse in the heart of the seas; when its waters rage and are muddied, mountains quake in His majesty." (Tehillim 46.2-4)
(With thanks to Global Disaster Watch for the links.)

08 August 2010

An Answer to the Question...

"Where did the oil go?"

Items of Interest

Interesting that today's main headline in the American news is the execution of six Western missionaries by the Taliban. I say interesting because this week's parsha, Parshat Re'eh, instructs us as follows:

(Devarim 13:7-12 )...If your brother, the son of your mother, tempts you in secret or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your embrace, or your friend, who is as your own soul saying, "Let us go and worship other gods, which neither you, nor your forefathers have known." Of the gods of the peoples around you, [whether] near to you or far from you, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; You shall not desire him, and you shall not hearken to him; neither shall you pity him, have mercy upon him, nor shield him. But you shall surely kill him, your hand shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones so that he dies, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. And all Israel shall listen and fear, and they shall no longer do any evil such as this in your midst.

This is a very difficult topic, but we can not allow ourselves to think that we will be more merciful than our Creator. We are obligated under the covenant to obey His instructions explicitly. If we want to prepare for Mashiach, we need to look seriously at our own willingness to live with the consequences of a restored Torah regime and a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash.
Of course, the western press highlights the humanitarian self-sacrifice of these workers and assures us that they were non-proselytizing. But, all one has to do is go to a website or a blog where such people discuss their experiences abroad in the "mission field" and you will immediately read the reports of their successes in wooing people over to their false god. And their motives are not so selfless after all as this is how they believe that they earn their Olam Haba.
To be enslaved to a false religion and to lead others astray is a tragedy all around.
Then, for the second Shabbat in a row, a high-profile American Jew has made a very public desecration of the Shabbat.

"Elena Kagan was sworn in Saturday as the 112th justice and fourth woman ever to serve on the Supreme Court."
Last Shabbat Marc Mezvinsky wore a tallit and stood under a quasi-chuppah and intermarried with a shiksa. If I were a Jew living in America I would duck and cover about this time. Just how much more is Hashem going to continue to take?

Compare that to this amazing story about the "Mezuzah Rebbe," Rav Moshe ben Tov, who was niftar last week. It is taken from the 17 Av 5770 issue of Mishpacha magazine as told by Reb Yomtov Friedman of Flatbush...
"The first time he came to America, he came not as a poel yeshuos but to be machazek Yidden, to inspire them to cherish the mitzvah of mezuzah. We picked him up at the airport, and he spoke words of Torah throughout our trip to Brooklyn. We were amazed: an older man, on his first trip to America, yet the skyline and passing scenery meant nothing to him. His eyes were lowered until we reached our home. My wife had prepared refreshments for him, but he did not eat. 'If from Shamayim they arranged that I should have to leave Eretz Yisrael,' he explained, 'then there must be some area in which I need tikun, so I am fasting today, the day I left Eretz Yisrael.' "
Marrying into the top of goyische American society or attaining the top of the political ladder in the American government is just so much ashes and bitterness when compared to the loftiness of this Yerushalmi Tzadik's soul, may his memory forever be a blessing.
Shavua tov!

06 August 2010

Update on the Oil Gusher

BP says its "static kill" was a success and the government is reporting that all that nasty oil is gone now, so the summer can end on a high note. Or can it? Take a look at the graphic below which illustrates the damage likely caused by BP's hubris, mismanagement and obfuscations.

(Click to enlarge.)

05 August 2010

My Vacation Day

I work for an Orthodox institution which has shortened hours during chol hamoed Pesach and Sukkot and during Hanukah. Consequently, I usually end up using my vacation time to cover those lost hours and it doesn't leave over much for a summer vacation. Today was the day I chose for my one summer vacation day. Guess where I went!

Question: Where do you go on vacation when the world's most spectacular spot is in your own backyard?

Answer: You vacation in your own backyard, of course!

For the price of a 15 min, $1.50 bus ride, I can travel right to the center of the world. And I can do it any day of the week, 365 days a year. What a deal, huh?

I'm a Yerushalmi. Out of the abundance of His mercy and His kindness, Hashem brought me up to live close to Him in His palace---His Holy City Yerushalayim.

Today, instead of soaking up the sun on the beach in Tel Aviv, I decided to soak up some kedusha. Also, instead of rushing through the city like I usually do, I played tourist and walked slowly, taking in all the sights with a fresh perspective. It really is a very beautiful city. G-d forbid that I should ever take her (or my place within her) for granted! Thank you, Hashem!!

I took the number 60 bus from the center of town to the entrance to Mamilla. I tried to take a picture to show you and that's how I discovered that my camera's batteries had died.

(Take a 3-D virtual tour of it HERE.)

I walked through the new Mamilla outdoor mall with all its fancy, expensive shops since I had not done so since its opening. I found that all I had been missing were the vast collection of immodest graven images on display throughout the promenade and a huge church with crosses that overlooks it.

The entrance through Shaar Yafo is still under some kind of construction and the Arab shuk on David St is still congested with tourists. Some things don't change. I sat in the shade of some palm trees near the Cardo to make some notes for this post and perused the local bulletin board out of force of habit. I'm always on the lookout for housing in the Old City. Just my luck, there was an ad for a 2.5 room apartment for ONLY 1.5 million sheqels.

I wandered around the Jewish Quarter for a bit and happened upon a musical group performing for a bar mitzvah crowd. It was really cool so I decided it would be worthwhile to buy new batteries and make a video to share with you. By the time I got back, it was just breaking up. Oh well!

Next I visited my favorite bookstore---Moriah---in the Rova. I replaced a book I had given away and bought two new ones, both by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Can't wait to get started on them. Yummy spiritual food!! And speaking of food…

I chose a nice Mehadrin shwarma place for lunch that looked out on the new Hurva Synagogue. Shwarma b'pita im humus v'çharif (rak ktsat), gam chatzilim aval b'li salatim, toda. I don’t trust anyone in any public eatery to actually wash the outsides of their vegetables, so I take my shwarma with humus and a bit of hot sauce and fried eggplant without salads. I watched the steady activity out on the Rova Plaza, the open area in the middle of the Jewish Quarter. There were lots of obviously Israeli families with young kids. That made me really happy. The steady stream of Arab women cutting through the Jewish Quarter to get to Kfar Shiloach didn't.

The descent to the Kotel is lovely this time of year.
Say hello to the Temple Menorah on the way down. And may Hashem make us zoche to watch it being moved into its future permanent home within the Temple precincts!

Then it was time to take care of the King's business. Time to daven Minchah, which unlike Shacharit, is a pleasure because the Kotel is in direct sun and it's very hot (93/34 today) and consequently, there are much fewer people there; no trouble at all getting face time with the last remnant of the wall that supported our Holy Temple.
Then there are those who don't need to stand and wait for room to open up.
On the way out, I heard some singing coming from the men's side and thought I might still get some sounds of Yerushalayim on video for those of you who are far away.

This is a look back up towards the Jewish Quarter from the way out of the Kotel Plaza to the buses. One is the new Aish Building and the other shows the historic Porat Yosef Yeshiva.

This sight was a bit jarring. At the entrance to the Davidson Center, a large plasma screen with video has been installed. I have to say that I did not appreciate this juxtaposition of ancient and modern.
I only waited a few minutes for a bus and then twenty minutes later I was back at my door. All in all a very nice little vacation. I hope you enjoyed it, too!

(PS. Click on any picture for a larger, clearer image.)

04 August 2010

Solar Storm

Our local star blew us a kiss yesterday to remind us of the Creator's power and majesty.

Drudge called it a "Solar Tsunami." Spaceweather.com provides these details...

"On August 1st, the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more.

...A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on August 3rd at 1740 UT. The impact sparked a G2-class geomagnetic storm that lasted nearly 12 hours--time enough for auroras to spread all the way from Europe to North America.

...The solar storm of August 1st sent two CMEs toward Earth. The first one arrived yesterday, August 3rd, sparking mild but beautiful Northern Lights over Europe and North America. The second CME is still en route. NOAA forecasters estimate a 35% chance of major geomagnetic storms when the cloud arrives on August 4th or 5th."

Here is a nice vid that explains about CMEs:

03 August 2010

What's Going on in Russia?

Have you heard anything of what is going on in Russia?

...Wildfires raging across central Russia claimed 34 lives and blanketed cities in a smoky haze as drought and record heat cut crop yields, driving wheat prices as much as 19 percent higher last week.

About 156,000 firefighters are battling 693 blazes on more than 120,000 hectares (463 square miles), according to the Emergency Situations Ministry. Since the start of the fire season, 565,737 hectares have been consumed by flames, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

In many regions, including Moscow, July was the hottest month since records began 130 years ago, and the heat wave will last at least through the end of this week,....

...Industrial output may also suffer in July and August from extreme weather, VTB Capital’s Evtifyeva and Dmitry Fedotkin said in an e-mailed note today. “In particular, major automakers have announced summer breaks due to the extreme weather conditions.”

Last week, state-run automaker OAO AvtoVAZ suspended production because of the heat.


The cost of the damage caused by forest fires that have hit European Russia amid the ongoing heatwave is now preliminarily estimated at 5 billion rubles and is likely to increase further, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told reporters on July 31.


Russia's drought threatens sowing for next crop

01 August 2010

The Happy Chatan - A Sad Picture

If you don't already know him, meet Marc Mezvinsky. He's an American Jew. Mother is a former NBC reporter and former Congresswoman. Father is a former Congressman, convicted of 31 counts of fraud in 2001, released in 2008 to a halfway house. There are ten siblings.

He was married on Shabbat Parshat Eikev in an interfaith ceremony, officiated by Rabbi James Ponet and the Rev. William Shillady, to the daughter of former President Bill and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton---Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist.

Reports say the program included "friends and family reading the Seven Blessings, which are typically recited at traditional Jewish weddings following the vows and exchange of rings."

In the photos, he's wearing a kippa and a tallit. Someone should have explained to him what the fringes on the corners stand for.

It makes one wonder why he chooses to identify as a Jew at all. And if he does, why does he not care enough to ensure that his children will be Jews?

(Sorry we had to cut the bride out of the picture, her wedding dress was not tzanuah.)