"Egypt" Loses Its Power Over Israel on the 15th of Nissan

"...and on the 15th of Nisan they will in the future be redeemed from subjugation to exile.” (Tanhuma, Bo 9)

29 February 2012

It's Moshe Rabeinu's Yahrtzeit

7 Adar 5772


1. A prayer of Moses, the man of God. O Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.

2. Before the mountains were born, and You brought forth the earth and the inhabited world, and from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

3. You bring man to the crushing point, and You say, "Return, O sons of men."

4. For a thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday, which passed, and a watch in the night.

5. You carry them away as a flood; they are like a sleep; in the morning, like grass it passes away.

6. In the morning, it blossoms and passes away; in the evening, it is cut off and withers.

7. For we perish from Your wrath, and from Your anger we are dismayed.

8. You have placed our iniquities before You, [the sins of] our youth before the light of Your countenance.

9. For all our days have passed away in Your anger; we have consumed our years as a murmur.

10. The days of our years because of them are seventy years, and if with increase, eighty years; but their pride is toil and pain, for it passes quickly and we fly away.

11. Who knows the might of Your wrath, and according to Your fear is Your anger.

12. So teach the number of our days, so that we shall acquire a heart of wisdom.

13. Return, O Lord, how long? And repent about Your servants.

14. Satiate us in the morning with Your loving-kindness, and let us sing praises and rejoice with all our days.

15. Cause us to rejoice according to the days that You afflicted us, the years that we saw evil.

16. May Your works appear to Your servants, and Your beauty to their sons.

17. And may the pleasantness of the Lord our God be upon us, and the work of our hands establish for us, and the work of our hands establish it.

R. Amnon Yitzchak: "Prepare for War!"

6 Adar 5772

Prepare the refrigerators, the war is at the doorway

“The People of Israel are called to prepare the refrigerators and to buy a stock of canned goods and dried food products. We are located at the entrance on the way to a mess. I know things that you don’t know and it’s forbidden to me to reveal. I can only hint that you need to prepare the refrigerators. Iran is at the doorway!” so said Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak shlita this evening.

"…We are before the destruction. How can we sit complacently and do nothing, going to work as usual and continuing the routine? …I’m not mistaken. We’re positioned a month before war. It’s really close...."

28 February 2012

"Economic 9/11"

6 Adar 5772

'Plan for an economic 9/11': Analysts warn Americans to buy guns and gold, predicting market crash and street riots within a year

Just when you thought unemployment was dropping and stock markets were surging back, these three analysts today sent out a stark warning to Americans to brace for another financial crash.

Trend forecaster Gerald Celente advises buying a gun to protect your family, stocking up on gold if the dollar crashes and planning a getaway, so it’s no shock he’s preparing for an ‘economic 9/11’.

Share prices and unemployment are posting their best figures in four years since the recession hit, but Mr Celente, along with authors Harry Dent and Robert Prechter, says the rebound won’t last.

All three were profiled in a USA Today feature on Monday. Mr Dent, who had The Great Crash Ahead published last September, believes stocks are simply experiencing an artificial short-term boost.

Mr Prechter, who had a new version of Conquer the Crash published in 2009, is fearful of today’s economic similarities to the Great Depression and says the brief recovery will fail like in the 1930s.

I'll be very surprised if it takes a year. What's it going to look like after Iran airbursts a nuke over the US from an off-shore freighter? The world is going to see proof this time that everything Israel claimed about Iran is true.

26 February 2012

An "aliyah-inspired" story

4 Adar 5772

Once there was a king who had three sons whom he loved very much. He lavished gifts upon them and all he asked for in return was their loyalty and obedience to his good laws.

The three sons swore their love and faithfulness to their father, the king, but as they grew older, they began more and more to flaunt the law of the land. They felt that, as sons of the king, they could get way with it and that his great love for them would protect them from any punishment.

The king was well aware of their thoughts and their actions, therefore, despite the heaviness in his heart, he called his sons to appear before him and he pronounced a decree of exile for an unspecified period of time. They would no longer be allowed to live within the kingdom in close proximity to their beloved father, until he would determine that they had learned their lesson – until they would understand the importance of obeying the king. .

The three brothers went away weeping when they realized their error and saw what it had cost them. However, they would not want for anything as the King would see to it that they were supplied with funds to cover every need.

The king could not bear to live in the palace without his beloved sons, so he also went into exile, leaving the palace and the kingdom in the hands of commoners.

Years went by. The three brothers settled down, built homes and families and businesses. It seemed as if they had forgotten their father, but the king never stopped thinking of them, even for a minute. He received regular reports on them from messengers whose sole duty was to keep the king informed on his sons’ situations.

Finally, the king decided that the exile was no longer serving any purpose, and besides he missed his sons. But he needed to test them to know if they had changed during their time away. The king sat down and composed a letter to each of his three sons telling them that their punishment was concluded and that he desired nothing more than to be reunited with them again in the kingdom.

When the brothers received their letters, each of them reacted in a different way.

The eldest was very comfortable with his new life and felt that he lacked nothing in the way of happiness. Forgetting that his father, the king, could supply him as well, or even better, in their true home, he worried that he would get there and have no place to live and no food to eat. And what if they really hated living in a palace? Better to stick with what you know. But despite himself, he felt anguish and not a little guilt over the knowledge that he would be letting his father and brothers down.

The middle son had some of the same concerns as his older brother, but his desire to see the land of his birth and to be reunited with his father outweighed his misgivings. He began to make plans to return.

The youngest son read his letter and let out a loud cry of joy. This is what he had waited and prayed for every day since leaving his father’s presence. He wasted no time packing up whatever belongings he would need and he set off in high spirits.

The middle son and the youngest son met up on the road leading to their kingdom. They were overjoyed to see each other and saddened to know that their older brother was not planning to return with them. They journeyed on together and finally arrived at a hilltop overlooking their father’s palace. The sight that met their eyes was very disheartening.

High weeds and heavy thorn-laden brambles lay between them and the walls that surrounded the palace. The walls themselves had been barricaded by the commoners who took over when their father vacated the palace. They had also built shacks on the palace grounds and cooking fires burned in the wrecked gardens. The palace itself was in ruins.

The brothers’ hearts sank and they felt like sitting and crying. The middle brother said, “I don’t know if I can do this.” The youngest brother said, “We don’t have a choice. We have to do whatever it takes to reclaim our home and to be reunited with our father again. It’s the only reason we have for being.”

Together, they began to make their way through the overgrown fields and fight their way through the thorn-laden brambles until they reached the walls that surrounded the palace. Both brothers were torn and bleeding and breathing hard from their efforts. They made camp for the night and determined to tackle the barricaded walls the next day.

When the sun rose, the youngest brother was determined to break through the barricades, but the middle brother kept looking backward at what he’d left behind instead of looking forward to what stood to be gained and it drained him of all resolve to move forward. He stumbled and fell a few times and finally he admitted to his younger brother that he had no heart to go on.

“It’s too difficult,” he said. “Look, I’m injured. This never happened to me in my home in exile. I love my father and I want to see him more than anything, but the price is too high.”

The youngest brother’s face fell. It was hard for him to imagine going on alone. He watched, heartbroken, as his middle brother walked away from him, headed back into exile again. Purposefully, he turned his face once again to the wall that stood between him and his father’s palace. He hacked and chopped and succeeded in making an opening big enough for him to climb through.

The obstacles were less intimidating inside the walls, but the dangers were greater, because the commoners who lived on the grounds were not ready to give up their claims to the abandoned area.

The youngest son made his way carefully among the squatters’ encampments. Once or twice, he was challenged, but when he identified himself as a son of the king, the resistance faded and he was able to arrive at the palace doors. With a burst of strength he didn’t know he had, the youngest son, threw open the great doors and shouted as loud as he possible could, “FATHER!!! I’M HOME!!!”

Having been informed by his messengers that his sons were en route, the king had begun his journey of return and was just outside the walls when he heard his youngest son’s cries. Immediately, the king ordered his accompanying soldiers to roust the squatters and take up their posts.

He ran up the broad steps, answering his son’s echoing cry, “MY SON!!!” And they fell into each other’s arms, embracing and crying with joy and happiness. Instantly, the weeds and brambles were turned to rolling green meadows and the palace gardens were filled with fruit-bearing trees, with fish ponds and fountains. The palace and its surrounding walls once again appeared as they had in the days when they’d all lived together there - a happy family.

Soon, messengers arrived at the homes of the eldest brother and the middle brother with new letters. This time, it was an official proclamation by the king announcing his return to the palace and ordering his remaining sons to join him there, along with their families and all that they possessed. Servants of the king accompanied them with wagons and carriages. The sons were left no choice in the matter as their belongings were summarily loaded up and the families readied for transport to the kingdom.

It was a wonderful family reunion as all worries about the future and all memories of the past were laid to rest. The brothers were older and wiser and they now understood the importance of following all the king’s laws. They obeyed him out of loyalty and out of love.

However, one thing no one would ever forget was that it was the youngest son who deserved all the credit for their new found happiness. For, had he not persevered in the face of all the obstacles and sacrificed everything to reach home, they would not now be enjoying and reaping the benefits of the restored kingdom.

24 February 2012


1 Adar 5772
Erev Shabbat / Rosh Chodesh

If you've never heard Sa'ada's story about her near-death experience, you should see this video. It's amazing!

Also this - Alon Anava

Shabbat shalom!

23 February 2012

Mini Hebrew Lesson

If people like this, I may make it a regular part of the blog - maybe weekly right before Shabbat or something.

(Thanks to JANGLO)



















21 February 2012

Like a freight train coming

29 Shevat 5772

With all the media manipulation, disinformation and plain old personal bias mixed in, it's hard to tell exactly what is really going on in the world. But, two things are for sure: 1) nothing is as it seems, and 2) Hashem is in control.

That said, I would hazard a guess about the truth behind some recent revelations.

At first, I thought America and Israel were playing good cop/bad cop with Iran - you know, America saying they want to hold out for sanctions to take effect, but they don't know how much longer they can hold back big, bad Israel from attacking?

I mean, this constant issuing of reports and updated reports to all the media, nearly every day, about when and/or/if a strike will take place is unprecedented.

But, going by what's been happening this week, I'm now convinced that not only is there no kind of cooperation going on between our two countries, but, that there is real hatred there and that America is, in fact, setting Israel up.

Articles, interviews and videos indicate to me that America is trying to goad Iran into a first-strike on Israel - forbidding us from striking and at the same time, warning Iran that they won't be able to stop us. Until today, Iran warned that if it "felt imperiled" (just the message American media is sending) then they would not hesitate to strike first.

Does Obama have a plan to provoke Iran into a first-strike on Israel, knowing she would have to respond in kind, leaving the easy way open for America and/or NATO to march in and take control of the region?

For a good long time now, pundits have been repeating over and over again that Israel is trying to force America to fight Iran for her. Some people have gone so far as to claim secret knowledge about an Israeli-Mossad plan to perpetrate a false-flag attack (dressed as Iranians and with Iranian IDs) either on an American vessel in the Persian Gulf or on American soil in order to draw America into a military conflict with Iran.

What I know is that this war is about Edom and Paras who both want control of the world's resources and both want their culture to dominate. When Iran gets too spooked and takes the decision for a first-strike, they won't hit Israel first. FIRST, they will hit America a mortal blow that will remove the perceived protective umbrella from over Israel. My best guess is the EMP atttack launched from an offshore freighter.

The pro-Iranian/anti-Israel crowd will lay the blame at Israel's door - one way or the other - either we did it or we were the cause of it happening, and this group could easily include tens of millions of people who are going to want Jewish blood as payback.

It's a nice little trap that has been laid. No matter which way we turn, we're caught - damned if we do and damned if we don't. But, never fear, the Master Chess Player (Hashem) is the one controlling the playing board. The scariest place is going to be in the lands outside of Eretz Yisrael. Get yourselves mentally prepared for this scenario before the pressure starts because it's coming like a freight train to a neighborhood near you.


28 Shevat 5772
While the Iranians' process of obtaining a nuclear weapon is advancing, so is our "geulah process," on every front. The signs are everywhere. Anytime you see the Arabs in an uproar about Har Habayit, whether for reasons real or imagined, and whenever Kever Rachel is in the news, you can be sure it's a sign that geulah is getting a new burst of energy.

Muslims: Israel to Give Half of Al Aqsa to Jews
...Dozens of Arab stoned Christian tourists and police on the Temple Mount Sunday morning, a day after a former Muslim Mufti warned of a possible “break-in” by Jews.
Arabs Riot at Rachel's Tomb

Arabs rioted Tuesday near the Rachel's Tomb compound, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, and hurled rocks at Jews who came there to pray.

Is it the beginning of a Third Intifada here on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Adar? And does it presage the building of the Third Temple?

Tensions run high in Jerusalem, West Bank; rioters arrested
Numerous incidents recorded across West Bank as stones hurled in Temple Mount, Rachel's Tomb and near Beit Ummar. Settlers retaliate by hurling stones as well

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 7

28 Shevat 5772

(Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5, Pt. 6)

(If you think you know how this series is going to end, think again. I did not even know how it was going to end until I got here.)

Did you know that Hitler was trying to get his hands on a nuclear weapon?

How close did Hitler really come to getting ‘the Bomb’?

The history books say the United States and Britain comfortably won the race against Nazi Germany to build the world's first nuclear bomb.

Today, that reassuring view is being nibbled away by the evidence from secret documents trickling out of private or former Soviet archives.

Hidden for six decades, these papers confirm that Hitler's scientists indeed were way behind their Manhattan Project counterparts in building a Bomb.

But the documents also suggest that by the end of the war in Europe, in May 1945, the Nazis had advanced farther down the nuclear road than is conventionally thought and had struck out in unexpected directions.

Interesting, no? Sometimes, a new gilgul will take up where the other one left off.

Do you think comparing Hitler and Achmadinejad is too far "out there?" Then consider this quote from former CIA Director James Woolsey taken from an interview he gave to Aaron Klein on 19 Feb. 2012:

"I once wrote a paper on Hitler as a diplomat. ...he was as shrewd a diplomat as the world has ever seen. He had the heads of Europe eating out of his hand. His objective was to kill all the Jews and dominate his region - Europe. ...the objective of Achmadinejad and those around him and Khameini, too, I believe, is to kill all the Jews and dominate the Middle East. And in seeking that, they are quite rational and careful and calculating. That doesn't mean that their objective is not hideous. Their objective is as hideous as Hitler's was."

So, is he back to finish off the job? I'm sure he believes so, but that's not what Hashem has in mind. You see, despite the fact that there are many Jews today who have chosen exile and its allures over Eretz Yisrael, the MAJORITY of Jews today DID NOT!

Apparently, we did learn our lesson, or at least MOST did. And at the time that the original decree went out, it was the majority who had stayed behind.

The Shoah settled that account with a generation who had essentially done the same thing. Today, although 'Haman' is back and willing to do his worst, we are no longer deserving of what he has to offer.

Like Saddam Hussein who fancied himself a gilgul of Nebuchadnezzar, Achmadinejad has been brought back to pay for his crimes against the Jewish people. Today, Hashem is not destroying his people from the exile. He is destroying the exile itself!

Egypt is chaos. Babylon is in ruins. Persia is falling. Greece is dead. Spain and Portugal, of Inquisition fame, is teetering. Britain is lost. And Edom/Am-reika is next. See the Prophet Ovadya for a description of the fate destined for her.

In the not-too-distant future, mankind is going to make a giant leap in its development - a leap of kedusha wherein the whole world will attain the status of Eretz Yisrael. And Eretz Yisrael will become like Yerushalayim and Yerushalayim will become as holy as the Temple Mount - "And the Lord shall become King over all the earth; on that day shall the Lord be one, and His name one. The whole earth shall be changed...." (Zechariah 14)



5 Adar 5775 UPDATE: He’s back? New Web site suggests Iran’s Ahmadinejad may be plotting return

20 February 2012

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 6

28 Shevat 5772

(Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4, Pt. 5)

To get an idea what the situation of the Jews was like in Europe during Hitler's rise to power, I'm taking quotes from the book Eim HaBanim Sameichah, by HaRav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal of saintly memory, who wrote it while on the run with his family from the Nazi hordes.

From The Author’s Preface:

My dear brothers, after presenting you the words of our brilliant and holy ancestors, you can clearly see that as early as eighty years ago [1862-63] a holy spirit arose within our exalted and glorious anointed ones, the leaders of the generation, to return to our mother’s bosom and no longer embrace the bosom of the foreigner. They urged us to devote our strengths, our blood, and our money to the Holy Land, in order to raise it from the dust, establish it, perfect it, and elevate the dignity of our “king.” It is well known from the Kabbalistic works that Eretz Yisrael is in the sefirah of Kingship (Malchut), the highest sefirah, and Kingship is the mother of Israel. She awaits us and cries for us to return to her bosom.

In the same vein, in the year 5660 [1900], the holy gaon, our mentor, R. Hillel of Kalamoya, published a manifesto calling and urging our Jewish brethren to buy the Land of Israel from the Ishmaelites (Arabs). It was an opportune moment, for the sultan was at war and needed money. He was willing to sell Eretz Yisrael, Transjordan, and Syria for almost nothing. This holy man [R. Hillel] saw this as a divine visitation and called out vigorously in the streets to persuade the people of Israel to swiftly redeem our “king” from foreign control and from the hands of the impure….

Due to our numerous sins, however, his words fell upon deaf ears. They hovered in the air, unable to find a place in the hearts of our Jewish brethren in which to rest. The Orthodox Jews made silence their virtue and clung to the principle, “It is preferable to sit and do nothing, as has always been their policy.” The irreligious extremists were swayed by the new era which ushered freedom into the world. They said, “Here, I will dwell, for I have desired it.” They expected to find tranquility here in the lands of exile, seeing that they had received equal rights like all other citizens. In the meantime, they let our sacred mother [Eretz Yisrael] wallow in the dirt and remain in ruins….

After some years passed in this new era of freedom, known as “The Golden Era,” hatred sprang forth against the Jews in exile. Each time it occurred in a different location, until its flames spread so greatly that it endangered the entire community. We went from bad to worse until we reached the terribly dreadful state in which we find ourselves today [in 1942-43].

[He describes how the irreligious saw the error of their thinking and began to return to the land and build it up.]

…Those who tremble at the word of HaShem, however, stood on the side and refrained from sharing in the work. They stood by their age-old claim, “It’s preferable to sit and do nothing.” In the meantime, these “initiators” began rebuilding our Holy Land (so may it continue and prosper), while the Orthodox Jews and the tzaddikim stood aloof. It is clear that he who prepares prior to the Sabbath, will eat on the Sabbath, and since the Orthodox did not toil, they have absolutely no influence in the Land….

Now, what will the Orthodox say? I do not know if they will ever be able to vindicate themselves before the heavenly court for not participating in the movement to rebuild the Land, and for not heeding the call of these tzaddikim of the generation. These tzaddikim were renowned as completely selfless, holy men of God, and all their utterances were as complete and true as the Torah of Moshe from the Almighty. And since this awakening came from such holy mouths, they should have listened and joined in this sacred task. Had the God-fearing, religious Jews been involved in this undertaking, our Holy Land would have a completely different, more sanctified appearance and form than it has now. …Now that they kept themselves at a distance, they should not wonder or question the situation, for they are at fault.

Furthermore, if all of Klal Yisrael would have agreed to rebuild the Land, it would have already been built-up and perfected enough to absorb a large portion of the Diaspora Jews. A great number of our fellow Jews who were recently killed (due to our numerous sins) would have been saved, for they would have already been in Eretz Yisrael.

If this is true of the Orthodox, then what of the “enlightened” and the “reformed?”

From the Historical Introduction of Eim HaBanim Sameichah:

…Enlightenment philosophy can best be described as the belief that all people are equal. As such, great Enlightenment thinkers…believed that even Jews should be granted rights as equal citizens in gentile societies.

Consequently, the Jews created their own type of enlightened thought to grapple with the problem of dual loyalty. They sought ways to preserve their Jewishness while becoming equal citizens of the host country….

The upper class Jews of Germany and Austria had a different solution. Instead of trying to integrate their Jewish and universal commitments, they attempted to compromise between them. The result was the Reform movement, which tried to make Judaism resemble Christianity as much as possible….

…Reform leaders renounced almost all ties to their ancestral Homeland. They rejected the idea of reestablishing Jewish sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael, for they saw it as a major threat to their dreams of integrating into gentile society. Thus, they removed from the liturgy most references to Zion, Jerusalem, and Eretz Yisrael. Instead, they developed a new motto: “Berlin [or Paris or London or Vienna] is our Jerusalem.”

So, let's evaluate.

* preferred Berlin [Paris, London, Vienna. etc] over Yerushalayim;

* opted to subjugate themselves to
the gentile nations rather than respond to God's call to return to their land;

* replaced the Beit Ha-Mikdash with the
local synagogue.

Yes, they turned everything upside down alright! But, has anything changed today? Have we finally learned our lesson?

Sequel - Part 7

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 5

28 Shevat 5772

(Pt. 1, Pt. 2, Pt. 3, Pt. 4)

Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen of Aish HaTorah says in his Torah From Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen:

The Gemara tells us that the terrible decree to destroy the Jewish people was a punishment for their partaking of the banquet of Achashveirosh . Throughout the period of the first Beis HaMikdash, the Prophets were rebuking the Jewish people for terrible sins, including Avoda Zara, and yet they were never sentenced to universal destruction - why was such a drastic punishment reserved for the seemingly mild aveiro of eating at Achashveirosh’s banquet?

In order to answer this question let us first discuss the intentions of Achashveirosh in throwing such a lavish banquet. Chazal tell us that the drinks were served in the keilim that were used in the Avoda in the Beis HaMikdash. The King even dressed himself in the clothes of the Kohen Gadol - what was he trying to achieve by doing this? Rav Chaim Halpern Shlita explains that up till this point in time, Achashveirosh had been worried about the prophecy of Yeremyahu that the Jewish people would return to Eretz Yisroel and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash after 70 years. The King calculated that the 70 years had now passed without any sign of the prophecy being fulfilled. Consequently, on the exact day that he had calculated that the time was up he held the feast - he was trying to tell the Jews that they should give up hope of the Beis HaMikdash and that they now had an alternative source of happiness - his Kingdom. Therefore, he dressed up as the Kohen Gadol to show that he was their new leader, and he gave them the Temple vessels to show them that there was no point in waiting any longer for the Beis HaMikdash to be rebuilt .

Unfortunately, the Jewish people accepted the King’s message and willfully joined in the Seuda, even drinking from the Temple vessels. They gave up hope - they terminated their desire for a Second Beis HaMikdash, and turned to a new future, being loyal subjects of the King and his Empire. What in effect they had done was give up on the unique role of the Jewish people as the Chosen People who were meant to serve as a Light Unto the Nations. They forsook any hope of a return to Eretz Yisroel and a new Beis HaMikdash. What they did not realize is that the Jewish people’s whole right to existence is based on their unique role in the world. Hashem cherishes the Jewish people because of its willingness to serve as an Am Segula who teaches the world to know Him. Now that they did not want to assume this unique role they automatically forsook any right to exist. Measure for measure, they were sentenced to destruction.

This explains what precipitated the first Purim decree. Now we will look at how those same conditions might have been manifested in mid-20th century Europe.

Sequel - Part 6

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 4

27 Shevat 5772

Continuing with Menachem Leibtag's shiur on Megilat Esther at The Tanach Study Center:

...The opening psukim of the Megilla immediately point us to its time period (see 1:1-3). Achashverosh is a Persian king who reigns from India to Ethiopia in the city of Shushan. Considering that Cyrus (=Koresh) was the first Persian king, the story in Megillat Esther takes place during the Persian time period and thus after the time period when the Jews had an opportunity to return to Jerusalem.

Even though there is a controversy concerning precisely which Persian King Achashverosh was, he most certainly reigned after Koresh (the first Persian king), and thus, after Yirmiyahu's seventy years were over.

[Note: If you are not familiar with this time period, it is highly recommended that you review Kings II 23:31-25:12, Ezra 1:1-10 and 3:1-4:7, and Yirmiyahu 29:1-15. As you read Ezra 1:1-9, note how the Jews who did not make 'aliya' were encouraged to send 'money' instead! Seems like not much has changed in 2500 years!]

For those of you unfamiliar with this time period, here is a quick overview:

In the first year of his reign, Koresh issued his famous proclamation allowing and encouraging all of the Jews of the Persian Empire to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. The prophets clearly understood this historic decree as the fulfillment of Yirmiyahu's prophecy (see Ezra 1:1-9, II Divrei Ha-yamim 36:20-23). As God had promised, the time of redemption from the Babylonian Exile had come.


To appreciate the prophetic importance of this opportunity, we need only quote Yirmiyahu's final message to the Babylonian Exile in regard to what was 'supposed' to happen when these seventy years were over:

"Thus said the Lord, when the 70 years are complete, I shall remember you and keep my promise to return you to this land.... [At that time.] you shall call out to Me - you shall come and pray to Me - and I will hear you...and you will ask for Me and find Me; if you will search for me with all your heart. Then I will be there for you, and I shall turn away your captivity and gather you from all the nations wherein you may be dispersed... and I will return you to the land from which you were exiled ..." (29:10-14).

According to Yirmiyahu, the return of the Exile would not be automatic. Rather, it was God's hope that their return would be catalyzed by sincere repentance and a yearning to return. In other words, God intended for the Babylonian Exile [as the word 'exile' implies] to be temporary. People don't stay in 'exile' unless they are forced to be there. Exile implies that one cannot return to his own land. Otherwise the translation of 'galut' would be 'diaspora' instead of 'exile' / hey, not a bad idea!]

Note as well how Yirmiyahu's message is congruent with a primary theme of Chumash, i.e. God's desire for the Jewish people to become His 'model' nation - a vehicle through which all nations will come to recognize God (see Devarim 4:5-8 & Shmot 19:4-6). Recall as well that in that ideal setting, the Beit Ha-Mikdash in Yerushalayim was to serve as a symbol of this national purpose.

[See previous shiurim on Parshiot Re'eh, Noach, and Vayetze. Recall that the Mikdash is referred to as: "ha-makom asher yivchar Hashem le-shaken shmo sham"/ see Devarim 12:5-14.]

God's decision to destroy that Temple and exile his people was for a rehabilitative purpose. According to Yirmiyahu, God's hope was for the Exile to 'learn its lesson' during these seventy years in Bavel. Afterward, God hoped that the nation would be spiritually ready and anxious to return to their homeland, and to reconstruct their symbolic shrine - the Temple in Jerusalem.

Precisely as Yirmiyahu had predicted (seventy years after Bavel had risen to power), the opportunity to return arose when the Babylonian empire fell to Koresh (= Cyrus the Great), the first king of the Persian Empire (see Yirmiyahu 25:11-12, Ezra 1:1).


Unfortunately, the response of the Exile to this historic opportunity was less than enthusiastic. A group of some forty thousand did return; however, the majority of Am Yisrael remained in Bavel. For an insight into the tragedy of the missed opportunity we need only quote the explanation given by Rav Yehuda Ha-Levi in Sefer Ha-Kuzari (II.24):

"Had the entire nation enthusiastically answered the divine call to return to the Land, the idyllic prophecies of the return to Zion would have been fulfilled and the Shchina would have returned. In reality, however, only a small portion returned. The majority remained in Bavel, willfully accepting the exile, as they did not wish to leave their homes & businesses etc." (sounds familiar...)

Even those who did return lacked enthusiasm. The apathy of the returnees is echoed in the prophecies of Chagai and Zecharya, the prophets of this time period (see Chagai 1:1-3; 2:3 see also Zecharya 4:10; 6:15; 7:4-7; 8:6.

How does all of this relate to Megillat Esther? How could it not relate!

Could the fact that Am Yisrael remained scattered among the 127 provinces of the Persian Empire, while they could have returned a generation or two earlier to Jerusalem, not relate to the prophetic message of the Megilla?

Considering that Yirmiyahu's seventy years are over, why are so many Jews living in Shushan and all over the Persian empire during the time period of Achashverosh? Could not this fact alone supply sufficient reason for God to consider Am Yisrael negligent of their covenantal responsibilities? With this in mind, we must now take a second look at the Megilla in search of at least a 'hint' of this theme.

Based on this historic and prophetic setting, one could suspect that the impending destruction of Am Yisrael by Haman may be a Divine punishment for their apathy. After all, the Jews living in the Persian empire appear to have:

* preferred Shushan over Yerushalayim;

* opted to subjugate themselves to Achashverosh rather than respond to God's call to return to their land;

* replaced the Beit Ha-Mikdash with the palace of Achashverosh!

["ve-nahafoch hu"]

Sequel - part 5

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 3

27 Shevat 5772

(I was actually heading towards a completely different ending until I suddenly found myself here.)

To understand who might be at risk from today's 'Haman', we have to look at what precipitated the first Purim decree, see how those same conditions might have been manifested in mid-20th century Europe and how and where they might be replicated today?

I found a nice little shiur by Menachem Leibtag at The Tanach Study Center online that addresses some of these questions:

As every book of the Tanach contains a prophetic message, Megillat Esther should be no different. It is commonly understood that the Megilla teaches us how to see the 'hidden hand' of God behind the events that ultimately lead to Bnei Yisrael's salvation from Haman. Some even suggest that the Megilla's use of the name Esther (from the Hebrew verb 'lehastir' - to hide) instead of her real name - Hadassa (see 2:7) teaches us this very lesson.

However, if the Megilla wants to show us how God saved His people, why isn't this message explicit? Furthermore, why isn't God's Name ever mentioned? Most every other sefer in Tanach expresses this point explicitly. Why is Megillat Esther different?

Furthermore, most all other seforim in Tanach explain not only how God saves Am Yisrael, but also why they are being punished. This theme of divine retribution is explicit in the Torah in the tochachot (Vayikra 26:3-46, Devarim 11:13-17, 28:1-69, etc.) and reiterated over and over again by all of the prophets. In fact Chazal's explanation of the name Esther reflects this very same concept:

"Esther min ha-Torah minayin?" What is the source in Torah for the story of Esther?] "ve-Anochi haster aster panai ba-yom ha-hu" [I will surely hide my face from you on that day.] (Devarim 31:18 / See Chullin 139b).

However, if we take a closer look at that pasuk in Devarim, we find that its message is significantly different. Rather than explaining how God 'saves' Am Yisrael in a 'hidden manner', it explains how God 'punishes' them:

"And God told Moshe, after you die... this nation will leave Me and break My covenant...And My anger will be kindled against them on that day and I will forsake them, ["ve-histarti panai"] and I will hide My face from them... and many evils and troubles shall befall them - & they will say on that day, these evils are because God is not among us. - Ve-anochi haster astir panai ba-yom ha-hu - and I will hide My face from them on that day because of all the bad that they have done... [Therefore,] - Write down this song and teach it to Bnei Yisrael, so that it will be My witness..." (see Devarim 31:16-18).

In these psukim, God warns Bnei Yisrael that should they betray His covenant, great evil will befall them. Even though it may appear to Bnei Yisrael that God has left them, these psukim teach them that God only appears to be 'hiding His face' ['hester panim"] from them.

Nonetheless, Bnei Yisrael are expected to realize that their punishment is from God. Therefore, Moshe is to teach Bnei Yisrael Shirat Ha'azinu in order that they recognize this. The shira will teach Am Yisrael to contemplate their predicament and relate their punishment to their wayward behavior. To verify this point, simply read Shirat Ha'azinu [note especially 31:19-20.] Above all, Shirat Ha'azinu explains how we are to determine why we are being punished. In that song, we are told:

"Zechor yemot olam, binu shnot dor va-dor..." (Devarim 32:7). [Remember the days of old; consider the years of ages past.]

The shira teaches us to contemplate our history, especially how and why we were chosen (see 32:8-9), in order to realize why we are being punished. It reminds us that when something does go wrong, it is our fault, not God's (see 32:4-6!).

Even though God may hide His face, Shirat Ha'azinu does promise that God will ultimately redeem His people, however, not necessarily because they deserve redemption. Rather, God will have mercy on our pitiful predicament (see 32:26-27, also 32:37-38) and save us at the 'last minute'.

Most all of the prophets deliver a very similar message. They explain to Bnei Yisrael what they have done wrong, and hence why they are being punished. Prophecy teaches man not only to thank God for salvation, but also to recognize his faults and correct his mistakes.

Therefore, the Megilla should be no different, and especially because its name alludes to the pasuk in Chumash that commands us to search for a reason why we are punished. [This supports the Gemara's question in Masechet Megilla 12a (middle) "sha'alu talmidav et Rashb"i: mipnei ma nitchayvu..."]

Even though the Megilla does not provide an explicit reason for this impending punishment, this background and its name suggest that we search for a 'hidden' (or implicit) one. To find that reason, we must consider prophetic and historical setting of that time period.

Sequel - Part 4

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 2

27 Shevat 5772

It was a great chesed from Hashem that the decree of annihilation was deferred to the future because Achashverosh ruled the entire world of his time and nothing could have saved the Jews had the decree been carried out then. By the time the final bill arrived in 5700, the Jews were scattered across the globe and much of it was out of Hitler's reach. That ensured the survival of 2/3 of world Jewry.

There is reason to believe that not only is Achmadinejad, like Hitler before him, as Amalekian as Haman Harasha, but that they are gilgulim of the same soul. If the Shoah was the fulfillment of the first Purim decree then why not have it carried out by the same soul that initiated it to begin with?

What else could explain the Nazi connection to Purim?

...Adolf Hitler banned and forbade the observance of Purim. In a speech made on November 10, 1938, (the day after kristallnacht), Julius Streicher surmised that just as "the Jew butchered 75,000 Persians" in one night, the same fate would have befallen the German people had the Jews succeeded in inciting a war against Germany; the "Jews would have instituted a new Purim festival in Germany."

Nazi attacks against Jews often coincided with Jewish festivals. On Purim 1942, ten Jews were hanged in Zduńska Wola to avenge the hanging of Haman's ten sons. In a similar incident in 1943, the Nazis shot ten Jews from the Piotrków ghetto. On Purim eve that same year, over 100 Jewish doctors and their families were shot by the Nazis in Czestochowa. The following day, Jewish doctors were taken from Radom and shot nearby in Szydlowiec.

In an apparent connection made by Hitler between his Nazi regime and the role of Haman, he stated in a speech made on January 30, 1944, that if the Nazis were defeated, the Jews could celebrate "a second Purim". Seconds before he was hanged, Julius Streicher called out "Purim Fest 1946!"

There is even speculation that the ten Hitler henchmen who were hanged were actually the gilgulim of Haman's ten sons:

...“And the king said to Esther the queen, ‘The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the capital, and the ten sons of Haman...Now whatever your petition, it shall be granted; whatever your request further, it shall be done.’

Then said Esther, ‘If it please the king, let it be granted to the Jews that are in Shushan to do tomorrow also as this day, and let Haman's ten sons be hanged upon the gallows.’ ” (Esther 9:12-14)

If Haman’s ten sons had already been killed, how could they be hanged?

Our Sages comment on the word “tomorrow" in Esther's request: "There is a tomorrow that is now, and a tomorrow which is later." (Tanchuma, Bo 13 and Rashi, Shemot 13:14).

In the Megilla, the names of Haman’s ten sons are written very large and in two columns. This is in distinct contrast to the style of the rest of the Megilla. The left-hand column contains the word v'et (and) ten times. According to our Sages the word v'et is used to denote replication. The inference is that another ten people were hanged in addition to Haman's ten sons.

If we examine the list of Haman's sons three letters are written smaller: the taf of Parshandata, the shin of Parmashta and the zayin of Vizata.

Those three letters together form taf-shin-zayin, the Jewish year 5707, which corresponds to the secular year 1946, the year that those ten Nazi criminals were executed.

The Nuremberg trials were a military tribunal and thus the method of execution was usually by firing squad. The court, however, prescribed hanging. Esther’s request "Let Haman's ten sons be hanged" echoes down the ages,

Equally uncanny is that the date of the execution (October 16, 1946) fell on "Hoshana Rabba" (21 Tishrei), the day on which G-d seals the verdicts of Rosh Hashana for the coming year.

As the Megilla recounts, a decree that the king has sealed cannot be rescinded, and thus Achashverosh had to promulgate a second decree to allow the Jewish People to defend themselves. In other words, that first decree was never nullified.

Our Sages teach us that eventually the Jewish People will return to G-d either voluntarily, or if not, G-d will raise up another despot whose decrees will be “as severe as Haman” (Sanhedrin 97b).

Just like in the redemption from Egypt, the conditions of our servitude got much worse before they got better, so it was when the final redemption began in 5700 and the Shoah arrived before Jewish rule in Eretz Yisrael was restored.

So, then why, you may ask, is the Amalekite back in the form of Achmadinejad if he finished his tafkid as Hitler y"sh?

Sequel - Part 3

Sequel to "Amalek is alive and well..." Pt. 1

27 Shevat 5772

In light of the fact that we are standing in the shadow of Rosh Chodesh Adar, I thought that now is a good time to get started on the promised sequel to the post Amalek is alive and well and living in Iran. First, a word about the nature of the month of Adar.

The "Personality" of Adar

Adar is the happiest, most joyous month of the Hebrew calendar. In fact, its motto is "When Adar comes, joy is increased."

The abundance of joy in Adar is primarily due to the presence within the month of Purim. That holiday commemorates the salvation of the Jewish People from a genocidal plot by the wicked Haman, whereby he hoped to destroy the Jewish People, G-d Forbid, completely. Because of our fasting and repentance, we were able to have that heavenly decree, if not the earthly one, torn up (a decree of Achashverosh could, of course, never be rescinded).

Haman achieved the result, thank G-d, of having his plot overturned ("venahapoch hu," "it was overturned" - a theme of Purim) upon himself. Our last picture of him and his ten sons are of them dangling from the very gallows which he had prepared for Mordechai, a leader of the Jews.

Even though we are instructed in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 4, Mishnah 24) by Shmuel HaKatan, "When your enemy falls, do not be happy, and when he stumbles, let your heart not rejoice," an exception is made in the case of Haman. He represents the spirit of absolute (or nearly absolute) evil, as did his infamous ancestor, Amalek, founder of the nation which attacked the weakest of the Jews on their way out of Mitzrayim. Then the Jewish People were fresh from the Miracle of the Splitting of the sea, and their faith was still fragile, while fear of the Jews and of the awesome might of their G-d was universal among all the other nations of the world.


I want to examine the connection between the different incarnations of Amalek and the holiday of Purim, but prior to that we need to answer this question. Is it really true that the Heavenly decree against Am Yisrael from Haman's time was "torn up?"

We've all learned at one time or another that the decree against Ninveh was "cancelled" when the people did teshuva in response to Yonah's message from Hashem. However, that may not be strictly true either. I learned in another place that the decree was not rescinded, but only deferred to a more 'deserving' generation. One hundred and twenty years later, Ninveh was destroyed as Yonah had prophesied. If so, then maybe that is what happened with the Jews, also. Maybe, the teshuva brought about through the actions of Esther and Mordechai simply bought a delay and the decree was deferred until the year 5700 - the beginning of the Shoah.

The following is excerpted from the article Under the Nazis’ Boots featured in issue 396, 15 Shevat 5772, of Mishpacha Magazine, which describes how Rav Yechezkel Shraga Landau, the Veretskier Rav, together with his wife and eight other people, survived living in a sub-cellar bunker under a non-Jew's house during the Nazi occupation of Czechoslavakia.

...On a dark, sad Purim night, when it was quiet upstairs, Rav Landau delivered a dvar Torah.

King Achashveirosh told Mordechai that anything written and sealed with the king's seal is irrevocable, yet the decree against the Jews of Shushan was ultimately revoked. Rav Landau explained that when the word "king" is mentioned in the Megillah, it is a reference to the King of the Universe. The dialogue between Achashveirosh and Mordechai was being played out in Heaven. Hashem was saying: "You know what? I can't revoke my decree, but I can push it off." World War II, said Rav Landau, was the realization of the original Purim decree, as men, women, and children were led to the slaughter. just as Haman had hoped for more than 2,000 years prior.

REMINDER:"And it is also brought down in the name of the Rosh Yeshiva of Mir - the Gaon Rav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel ZT"L, brought down in the introduction of the book "Tomer Devorah" that was printed in Shanghai in 5705 - that in the year 5700, when the Holocaust broke out, the period of a Be'itah Redemption began. Something similar to this is brought down in the name of the Kloisenberger Rebbe ZT"L (in the newsletter "Betzila DeMeHamnuta" Tzanz - Emor, 5770) that with the Holocaust started the time of Be'itah."

The time had come to settle all the outstanding accounts so that the redemption could begin and it started with Am Yisrael.

Sequel - Part 2

Instant Replay

27 Shevat 5772

Have you ever wondered how people could have been fooled by Hitler? How so much of the world could not see the evil for themselves? How even those who recognized the danger still stood by and did nothing?

Well, take note, because it's all happening again.


...Saturday, two Iranian warships got away with delivering arms for Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protest without US or Israeli interference.

They docked at Tartus port Saturday alongside a Russian naval flotilla, symbolizing their joint effort to preserve Assad.

US and Israeli naval craft were entitled by UN sanctions to intercept and search the Kharq supply ship carrying illegal arms and military equipment for Bashar Assad’s army as it sailed past Israel’s Mediterranean coast with the Sahid Qandi destroyer. But they abstained from doing so for fear of a firefight at sea with the Iranian destroyer.

The Egyptian Suez authorities were equally wary of trouble and so did not exercise their authority to search the arms vessel.

...Israel did not interfere either when exactly a year ago, the Kharq passed through the Suez Canal on its way past the Israeli coast to deliver missiles for Hizballah, even though Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the time that the Israel Navy would halt the ship if it was laden with arms.

A whole year has gone by and Israel is still not geared for stemming the flow of Iranian weapons to its enemies. Inaction this time is bound to detract from Israel’s military credibility at the very moment that another round of intense US-Israeli talks on Iran is taking place.

Top-flight White House advisers, National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator Gary Seymour and head of the NSC’s Middle East Desk Steve Simon, arrived in Israel Saturday, Feb. 18, for three days of critical talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his senior security team headed by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yaakov Amidror.

...This US-Israeli round is therefore designed to hammer out political and diplomatic coordination between the two governments, not the military aspects of a strike against Iran.

The Obama administration is walking on eggs so not to jeopardize the new chances opening up for resumed international negotiations with Iran.

...Israeli is paying a heavy strategic price for the interminable wrangling over an attack on Iran going back and forth between Washington and Jerusalem for months. It is forcing the Netanyahu government to sit on its hands in circumstances where inaction is dangerous and watch its deterrent strength drain away. Therefore, not a finger was lifted to break up Iran’s latest breakthrough to a seaborne route for replenishing Assad’s depleted arsenals.

19 February 2012

Ancient Judea meets Modern Science

26 Shevat 5772

"And they shall dwell each man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them move, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken." (Michah 4.4)

Ancient biblical gardens 'bloom' again

An ancient royal garden has come back into bloom in a way, as scientists have reconstructed what it would've looked like some 2,500 years ago in the kingdom of the biblical Judah.

Their reconstruction, which relied on analyses of excavated pollen, reveals a paradise of exotic plants.

The luxurious garden had been discovered at Ramat Rahel, an archaeological site located high above the modern city of Jerusalem, about midway between the Old City of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. This site was inhabited since the last century of the Kingdom of Judah (seventh century B.C.) until the early Muslim reign in Palestine (10th century), a period that saw many wars and exchanges of power, with the garden evolving under each civilization.

Since excavators discovered the garden, they could only imagine its leafy, flowery inhabitants. That is until now.

The garden relied on an advanced irrigation system, which collected rainwater and distributed it using artsy water installations, including pools, underground channels, tunnels and gutters.

These water installations ended up being the key to the team's new discovery; the researchers found grains of pollen that likely got trapped in plaster when the installations were renovated and the plaster still wet. The result was preserved pollen grains.

In samples dating back to the Persian period (between the fifth and sixth centuries B.C.), the team found grains from local fruit trees, ornamentals and imported trees from distant lands.

"This is a very unique pollen assemblage," study researcher Dafna Langgut, a pollen expert at Tel Aviv University, said in a statement.

For instance, they found evidence of willow and poplar trees, which would have required irrigation to survive in the garden. They also found pollen associated with ornamentals, such as myrtle and water lilies; native fruit trees, including grape vine, common fig and olive; and imported citron, Persian walnut, cedar of Lebanon and birch trees....

17 February 2012

Shabbat Mevorchin Adar

24 Shevat 5772

This Shabbat is Parshat Mishpatim-Sheqalim and Shabbat Mevorchin Adar. Rosh Chodesh Adar is coming on yom chamishi and yom shishi b'shavua haba - Thurs & Fri next week.

Sheqalim is the first of the special parshiot that are read before Pesach - two before Purim and two after.

In his weekly parsha shiur, Rabbi Sitorsky commented about today's date that it is mentioned in the book of the Prophet Zekhariyah, chapter 1, and it says there...

On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month-that is, the month of Shevat-in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying:

I saw tonight, and behold! A man was riding on a red horse, and he was standing among the myrtles that were in the pool, and after him were red, black, and white horses.

(Rashi: "on a red horse: This is an allusion that He would exact retribution upon the Chaldeans, Media, and Persia with the sword and with blood,....")

...the angel of the Lord replied and said, "O Lord of Hosts! How long will You not have mercy on Jerusalem and upon the cities of Judah, upon whom You are wroth for seventy years already?"
And the Lord answered the angel who was speaking to me, good words-yea, consoling words.

And the angel who was speaking to me said to me, "Proclaim, saying: 'So said the Lord of Hosts, I am jealous for Jerusalem, and for Zion-great jealousy. And I am very angry with the nations that are at ease, for I was wroth a little, and they helped to do harm.

Therefore, so said the Lord: 'I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built there,' says the Lord of Hosts. 'And a plumb line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem.'

Further, proclaim, saying: so said the Lord of Hosts, 'My cities shall yet spread out with prosperity, and the Lord shall yet console Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem.' "

Rabbi Sitorsky says that the date is given because there is yet a future fulfllment on this date when a decree went out against the nations for their destruction and for the rememberance of Yerushalayim.

He also commented that "the Sfas Emes wrote: There will be another Purim before Mashiach comes."

But, on this he said nothing further. Hamavin yavin.

Shabbat shalom!

16 February 2012

Interesting reader-donated article

24 Shevat 5772

A reader has emailed the following interesting article:
Wake up! An Almost Nuclear Iran!
Harav Moshe Wolfson, shlita, spoke Tuesday night in a rare mid-week assembly for his kehillah, Emunas Yisroel in Boro Park, asking bluntly why there is no greater uproar within the community over the potential for war over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “Why are we quiet? Where is the awakening? Why is everyone so apathetic?” asked Rav Wolfson, who is also mashgiach of Yeshivah Torah Vodaath. “Everyone is busy with narishkeiten, we don’t hear the alarm? We don’t know that we have to pierce the heavens for rachamim from the Ribbono Shel Olam?” Rav Wolfson told the packed beis medrash of nearly 1,000 people that the potential for a war encompassing Iran, Israel, Europe and the United States over the next few weeks is a real one, and Klal Yisrael must prepare itself spiritually.

... The last time he called for a special asifah during the week to discuss current events was in 1991, prior to the Gulf War. Rav Wolfson started his address, which was carried live by Kol Halashon, with the famous Rambam, who writes that it is a mitzvah to daven during troubled times. “If you don’t daven,” the Rambam says, “then it is a cruelty, since it will get worse.”

... just like Eliyahu had to daven on Har Hacarmel even though Hashem had already promised to bring rain, Hashem still wants the tefillos of Klal Yisrael today, even though He had promised to bring yeshuos.

...He specifically suggested saying Tehillim 46 every day, adding that he is asking his own kehillah to have the kapitel printed out and stuck to the back of every siddur.

...But above all, Rav Wolfson said, Yidden should keep in mind that we live in momentous times, and we should prepare for the upcoming era with emunah and bitachon. “In the next couple of weeks there will be news,” Rav Wolfson said, “and with the help of Hashem, it will be good news for Yidden.”


23 Shevat 5772

New Israeli website caters to Jerusalem's annual 'snowmania'

From conversations with Jerusalemites, especially the born and bred, it seems the time has come to define "Jerusalem snowmania" as an official psychological ailment,....

Yerushamayim (a combination of the Hebrew words for Jerusalem and sky ), was established in 2002 by former meteorologist and present-day computer man Boaz Nehemia. He runs it from home, and updates the weather every 10 minutes.

It has become a lodestone for Jerusalem weather addicts, as well as a sideline for Nehemia.

Surfers can not only get updated weather reports but also specific answers and analyses from Nehemia, the webmaster, who might also be deemed "the prophet."

The stormier it is outdoors, Nehemia says, the more his visitors shovel a cyber-path to his virtual door seeking answers to their weather questions.

And of course, the ultimate question is always - when will it snow? How much accumulation will there be?


15 February 2012

Turning the screws tighter

23 Shevat 5772

US, Europe eye risky, unprecedented penalty for Iran over pursuit of nuclear weapons

WASHINGTON – The United States and Europe are considering unprecedented punishment against Iran that could immediately cripple the country's financial lifeline. But it's an extreme option in the banking world that would come with its own costs.

The Obama administration wants Iran evicted from SWIFT, an independent financial clearinghouse that is crucial to the country's overseas oil sales. That would leapfrog the current slow-pressure campaign of sanctions aimed at persuading Iran to drop what the U.S. and its allies contend is a drive toward developing and building nuclear weapons. It also perhaps would buy time for the U.S. to persuade Israel not to launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran this spring.

The last-resort financial effort suggests the U.S. and Europe are grasping for ways to show immediate results because economic sanctions have so far failed to force Iran back to nuclear talks.

But such a penalty could send oil prices soaring when many of the world's economies are still frail. It also could hurt ordinary Iranians and undercut the reputation of SWIFT, a banking hub used by virtually every nation and corporation around the world. The organization's full name is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications.

War Scenario

22 Shevat 5772

I've been reading various scenarios for the coming Paras/Edom war, so I thought I'd throw in my own excerpted from the unfinished story called The Desert's Secret written in 2010. It's not necessarily how I think it will play out now, but it certainly is one possibility. The military details come straight off of the internet.

...in Iran, the mullahs were convinced that Allah was fighting on their side. The Ayatollah decided that a first strike maneuver was in Iran’s best interests, so orders were issued for the Navy, the strongest arm of the Iranian military.

The US had four carrier groups patrolling the Persian Gulf. The USS Bermuda Amphibious Assault Ship carried three thousand marines; six vertical AV-HB Harrier attack planes; four AH/W Super Cobra helicopters; and twelve CH-46 Sea Knight & CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters. It was accompanied by the amphibious transport dock ship USS Pine Bluff with eight hundred marines and the amphibious dock landing ship USS Portland with four hundred marines and one hundred-two commandos.

On the night of [March 4th], Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi received a communiqué at the Bandar Abbas Naval Base and immediately put the entire fleet on emergency alert. The officers of the Bladerunners attack speedboats were convened to receive their instructions. They and their Russian-made Shkval torpedoes were the frontline defense against the US carriers. These torpedoes were the fastest on earth and their speed rendered them invisible to radar. The enemy literally wouldn’t see them coming.

The USS Jimmy Carter Carrier Strike Group carried six thousand marines. The flotilla consisted of twelve warships, including a guided missile cruiser and a guided missile destroyer.

The Bladerunners set out just after midnight followed by two Kilo-class Russian diesel submarines with a cargo of mines.

The US carrier crews had grown quite indifferent to the on-again-off-again alerts. For literally years now, there had been talk of ‘imminent’ war with Iran. Nobody thought it would become anything more than talk for the foreseeable future; .... War seemed highly unlikely. And anyway, everyone knew how heavily the Pentagon depended on its air power.

Suddenly, with no warning, a tremendous explosion ripped through the bowels of the USS Bermuda. Then two more followed in quick succession. Before the new reality could register in their minds, the massive ship was going under; orange flames and the cries of dying men rising high into the night sky. Not one aircraft was able to get off.

The accompanying USS Portland was also hit, but not sinking. She was dead in the water. Marines were rushing either to make repairs or to locate the source of the attack in order to take retaliatory measures when the USS Pine Bluff off their starboard bow erupted into flaming, flying pieces of metal, some the size of a truck. It had made contact with one of the mines laid down by the Iranian sub after the Bladerunners had already cut and run.


A similar fate awaited the USS Jimmy Carter. The Strike Group was traversing the Straits of Hormuz when it came under attack. The wreckage left behind closed the Straits to commercial traffic, interrupting the world’s supply of oil.

When word of the mayhem reached the US Navy’s 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain, an immediate call went out straight to the president, per Executive Order. When the US President wordlessly and solemnly hung up the phone, he paused for only a moment before issuing his first order of the War with Iran--- ‘Hit the internet kill switch.’

Pressure was brought to bear on the mainstream media to suppress publication of any details of what had just occurred in the Persian Gulf ‘in the interest of national security.’ The President scheduled a slot for an address to the nation...

Meanwhile, back in the Middle East, a missile war had begun in earnest. The US used its remaining ships to launch cruise missiles on all of the major Iranian cities. Iran answered with Chinese C 801 and C 802 anti-ship missiles from its coastline. Then they began sending Scuds into the US camps in Saudi Arabia. The Patriot anti-missile batteries set up in Bahrain and Qatar took out many of them, but a few still got through. It was quite a shock to the kingdom to find itself under attack.

Three days into the war and all was quiet on the Israeli front, but all of that was about to change…

President’s Briefing Room

The security briefing bringing the President up to speed on the war’s progress was ending when an aide approached with an urgent message. It was relayed to the President who nodded his assent.

‘Set up a conference call in the Communications Room in fifteen minutes.’

‘Sir!’ the soldier saluted and hurried to fulfill the will of his Commander-in-Chief. Exactly fifteen minutes later…

‘Mr. President,’ the Israeli Prime Minister looked nervous.

‘Make it quick. We’re rather busy here right now.’

‘Well, Mr. President,’ the PM cleared his throat. ‘I was wondering what you had in mind for us to do if we should come under missile attack?’

‘If it’s coming from Hezbollah in the north or from Hamas in the south, you’re on your own. You can bury them for all I care. But, hear me and hear me well, Mr. Prime Minister. You stay out of my way in Iran!’

The manner and tone of the President’s speech riled the Israeli Prime Minister. He sounded almost defiant when he asked, ‘And if Israel should come under direct attack by the Iranian madman?’

‘That’s why you have the X-Band,’ the President barked. His anger and impatience were beginning to show. He did not like Israelis. ‘Our people know what to do.’

The PM was not happy with that answer. None of the Israelis were comfortable with the idea of their main defensive weapon resting in the hands of non-Israelis.

In 2008, the US deployed an advanced high-powered radar system at Nevatim Air Base southeast of Beer Sheva. The AN/TPY-2 ‘X-Band’ system was accompanied by one hundred-twenty support personnel provided by EUCOM (European Command) to operate and ‘defend’ the US installation on Israeli soil. The Americans would only provide the system with the stipulation that it be staffed solely by US personnel. Israel would be dependent on American goodwill for the full eleven-minute warning of any incoming Iranian ballistic missile.

Suddenly, without signing off, the communication was terminated.

‘Chutzpah!’ pronounced the Prime Minister angrily to the blank screen. Then, with a wicked grin creasing his full face, he said under his breath, ‘Israeli chutzpah still trumps American chutzpah!’

…The Israelis went about their normal business in an air of increasing tensions, knowing that at any moment any one of them could become the target of the first missile to fall. No one entertained any illusions that Israel would get by unscathed.

There were greater numbers of military vehicles on the roads and the low roar of jets overhead never diminished. Some people decided astutely to lay in a few more groceries and drinks as if yom tov were coming.... TV and radio personalities speculated endlessly, but no one really listened. People were sunk in their own ruminations and anyway, the typical Israeli always understood that his own innate common sense made him a better informed person than any of the so-called experts.

The rabbis were calling people to repentance with a renewed urgency, even desperation. Deeply sensitive people understood that Israel was facing a crisis of existential proportions. A steady stream of people continued to flee the country, but almost no one was coming in.

...When it started, it was just as the prophet had forewarned: ‘From the North the evil will be released upon all the inhabitants of the land.’ Hezbollah was the one to bring Israel into the war that Iran had instigated. In the evening ... a salvo of twenty-five rockets came thundering over the border with Lebanon. They lit up the sky just as the sirens began to wail their warning.

Hamas joined in almost immediately, but strangely, Syria did not involve itself. Over the course of the next seventy-two hours, tremendous damage was inflicted on all sides of the war and untold numbers of people were dead or injured. Israel’s coastline was raked with missile strikes. Before it was over, we would lose the chemical company and oil refinery in Haifa; the power plant in Hadera; the oil refinery in Ashdod and the main electric grid in Ashkelon. Ben Gurion International Airport was the last to go, but by that time, it was like a ghost town.

Even so, as it was in the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein fired thirty-nine Scud missiles into Israel, there were fantastic tales of hashgacha pratit and even open miracles. For no discernible reason, both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem remained virtually untouched...


…On the blazing hot desert sands of Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Coast, the 2nd Combat Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division, known as the Marauders, was setting up its new base camp. They were located roughly in the middle of five divisions (approximately 60,000 soldiers) covering five miles of coastline between the King Abdulaziz Air Base and the King Abdulaziz Naval Base. This was in preparation for the launch of the US ground invasion of Iran to a spot just southeast of Bushehr.

The men tried not to complain, but it was only 7 am and already it was just so hot! Little did they know that it was about to get a lot hotter…

Office of the Supreme Leader
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Tehran, Iran - 8 AM

‘The Jews have a saying---‘mida k’neged mida.’ It means measure for measure. The United States first introduced nuclear weapons into the world.... It is appropriate that we, as Allah’s representatives, will answer their aggression ‘mida k’neged mida.’ The Ayatollah addressed several members of the Council of Guardians in his private offices.

‘Sir, I have the General on the line.’ An aide stood by with a telephone in hand.

‘The wind direction remains unchanged?’

‘Yes, sir and no change is expected over the next forty-eight hours.

‘This is a historic moment, my brothers,’ the Ayatollah intoned as he took the telephone. ‘Launch the missile.’

He hung up the phone and turned again to his guests. ‘Today the Great Satan; tomorrow the Little Satan.’ They all got a good laugh out of that.

…One minute the sun was bright in the morning sky and then suddenly it was dwarfed by a second, brighter sun which erupted out of thin air. All that was left of the Marauders was their shadows burned into the Arabian sand.

Talk about ‘shock and awe,’ the aptly named American campaign at the beginning of its war in Iraq, the entire world was in shock and awe of what Iran had just done. Well, that is, all except the American citizenry who were still being kept in the dark by their Orwellian government and controlled media.

The world waited with bated breath to see if the US would nuke Iran back to the stone-age in retaliation. They waited and they waited. For three days, the world stood still, shaking in fear for what it knew must surely come.

Of those who had decided to stick it out in Israel, either out of ideology or because they had no place else to go, many of the survivors had gravitated towards one of the two largest cities, either Jerusalem, where it was felt that G-d would protect them or to Tel Aviv, where it was reasoned that the Kirya would be defended at all costs. The latter obviously did not know that Israel had moved its entire defense establishment into the newly built bunker inside a mountain near the entrance to Jerusalem.

In fact, as soon as the news had arrived, the entire Israeli government had relocated inside the bunker. All, that is, except for two. The Prime Minister and the President made excuses to explain their delay, while secretly arranging for a private jet to pick them up at the Atarot Airport and fly them to Rome. This dealt quite a blow to the morale of the remaining members of the government. Thankfully, the citizenry had not a clue about what was going on.

Well, that’s not entirely true. A number of them actually did. Like Eliyahu Hanavi and his circle of mekubalim...


…In the wake of Iran's nuclear attack on US troops in Saudi Arabia, the President had been in a round-the-clock meeting with his cabinet. Initially, they waited for accurate damage reports and recommendations from the field to come in. Twenty-four hours later, ... the President addressed the nation on TV and radio and broke the tragic news.

The American public mourned the losses as a family, but as soon as the first shock had worn off, they were screaming for vengeance. Taking to the streets had become the new American pastime. With all the political unrest and ruined economy, it had the feel of a third world country.

The antisemites were in their element. They laid all the blame at the feet of the Jews. Hadn't all these wars that had ultimately wrecked their economy and treasured way of life been instigated on behalf of Israel at the behest of their NeoCon agents in the American government? Gangs of Neo-Nazis, Klansmen and Militia members went in search of Jews upon whom to unburden their murderous anger, but strangely, none were to be found.

Jews seemed to be in short supply in America. Many, many died in the natural disasters that had devastated the coastal cities. Many less of the survivors, with eyes finally wide open, had fled to Israel while they still could. Those who unfortunately still remained were extremely careful to guard the secret of their ethnic identity.

The American government was split on whether to strike back, unleashing what could easily become a nuclear holocaust upon the world, or to swallow their national pride and absorb the blow .... The final decision would rest with the President.

The debate continued until the evening .... The President knew what his answer would be, but he declined to reveal it until the following day. He had his own reasons for the delay.

... Once again, as in 1967 there was talk of the 'Third Temple' falling. By this they meant the elimination of the modern State of Israel. The faithful however, continued to view it all as the footsteps of Mashiach which must surely give way to the complete redemption. Their hope was greater than it had been at any time in the past.

Office of the President
Undisclosed Location - 9 AM

The strident ring of the President's emergency line shattered the quiet breakfast meeting he was holding with his Chief of Staff, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and his Secretary of Defense. They all stared at each other, their eyes round with surprise and fright. It had to be about Iran. The Iranians had most probably taken the ongoing silence and inaction as a goad to move on to their next step---the annihilation of Israel.

The President activated the speaker so his guests could listen in. Their fears were justified. It was the EUCOM crew at the X-Band facility in Israel.

'Permission denied,' the President responded and he hung up the phone.

'What did you say?' queried the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, unable to believe his ears. The others gaped at the President in shock.

'Gentlemen, the time has come to right an historic wrong for which the world has paid very dearly until now. In approximately nine minutes, Israel will become a footnote in history. The entire world community has recently and simultaneously come to the same conclusions. The world will be a safer, saner place without Israel. The UN made a horrendous mistake in 1948 when it allowed it to come into existence in the first place. Now, destiny has placed me in a position to correct that historic error and I will not fail to live up to the challenge of this moment.'

Nevatim Air Base
Near Beer Sheva, Israel - 9:05 AM

'What happened? Was it the President? What did he say?' Staff Sergeant Drew McIlroy sounded baffled and panicky as he observed the look on Sergeant Major Ed Harris's face while he slowly put down the telephone. Why wasn't he rushing to sound the warning to the Israelis?

'He said only two words before he hung up---permission denied,' answered the Sergeant Major incredulously.

'What!? But, that's why we're here!' said the Staff Sergeant in confusion.

'No,' replied the Sergeant Major with the dawn of understanding. 'We're here so they won't be warned.' He felt as sick as he had ever felt in his life.

…Those who had placed their bet on the might of the secular Zionist state to save them lost their gamble when Iran's second one-kiloton nuclear bomb rode a Shahab-4 ballistic missile into the Azrieli Towers in downtown Tel Aviv...


Ground Zero
Tel Aviv, Israel - 9:11 AM

When the bomb exploded, it was like the supernova of a miniature star. The resulting flash of intense light was seen across the entire country. Anyone who looked at it was instantly blinded. Whatever body surface was exposed to it was burned.

[People on the streets] vanished in an instant as their bodies were vaporized; reduced to nothing more than a dark smear on the ground where they had stood.

A fraction of a second after the flash, a powerful shockwave led by a rolling black cloud surged outward from the epicenter at the speed of sound. It leveled the American Embassy, the Kirya Base, City Hall and the Diamond Exchange, as well as everything in between.

There was a highly radioactive crater, seventy meters deep and three hundred meters across where the Azrielli Towers once stood. For almost three kilometers in every direction, there was only smoldering rubble. Nothing was left standing and nearly every living thing had perished.

From that point out to Old Jaffa in the south and north to the Tel Aviv University everything was destroyed. The walls of all the hi-rise buildings were blown out. Only the bare, skeletal remains could be seen. Of the people who chose to remain, half were dead and the other half were dying.

Heavy blast damage extended to Herzliya, Petach Tikva, Yehud and Rishon LeTzion. All the windows were blown out along with the buildings’ contents. Most of the injuries in these areas resulted from flying glass and debris. Many were trapped in the rubble. Those managing to crawl outside were faced with darkness, fires and corpses---a living hell on earth.

In the immediate aftermath, a supernaturally mighty blast of wind rushed in from the east and drove the devastating radioactive plume far out to sea away from Eretz Yisrael. This was the wind that in time past had divided the waters of the Reed Sea.

Western Wall Plaza
Old City, Jerusalem - 9:12 AM

The phenomenal power of the blast sent a seismic wave charging across the coastal plain, through the Judean hills and straight into the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. The people huddled together in the Holy City screamed in terror when the earthquake struck. Those who were inside buildings were afraid that they would be buried alive. Those who were outside were fearful that the massive stone walls would collapse upon them. But, this was no ordinary earthquake. In fact, nothing would ever be ‘ordinary’ again.

Its destructive power was highly selective. The mosques and churches crashed to the ground in heaps while the yeshiva buildings swayed slightly and then settled firmly in their places. All those who were attached to false gods and had taken refuge with them died with them, while not one Jew suffered so much as a cut or scrape.

The same could not be said, however, for the government ministers and members of Knesset who had taken shelter inside the secret mountain facility at the entrance to the city. It shook to its very foundation and crumbled and collapsed, crushing everyone to death under hundreds of tons of solid rock. These rejected the covenant and so they were buried beneath the mountain.

Their legacy would be embodied in the last spark of electricity to flow through the facility before it, too, died. It would empower a computerized security system to fire off one final command. Attributing the destruction to a catastrophic attack, it triggered a failsafe mechanism that would ensure the enemy’s demise.

9:14 AM

It sent an urgent electronic message ordering the immediate launch of fifty-one Jericho III missiles armed with multiple nuclear warheads. From the underground caves east of Ashqelon and between Kiryat Gat and Beit Shemesh which served as their silos, the missiles rose like a swarm of angry bees. All of the survivors in Israel watched in stunned awe as the vapor trails arced across the blue mid-morning sky, winging their way to deal death and destruction to the enemies of Israel.

A communal gasp erupted as the true meaning and consequence of this sight suddenly sunk in. Forty-two missiles were designated for Iran; one for each of its nuclear sites and Tehran. The remaining nine missiles were headed to Cairo, Beirut, Ankara, Damascus, Amman, Baghdad, Riyadh, Mecca and Pyongyang. The North Koreans would no longer contribute their expertise to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

9:15 AM

As the people continued to gaze upward, a very strong aftershock hit. It shook the ground and rattled the windows along with everyone’s nerves. Just as it felt safe to stand upright again, their attention was drawn to the western wall. A loud, tearing, rending sound of structural failure was emanating from its direction. Shocked and terrified by all that had transpired in such a short span of time, the people could not rationally process what they were experiencing. Again, they began to scream in fear of those closest to the Wall being crushed under the massive ancient stones should it truly collapse.

But, it wasn’t the Western Wall at all, which continued to stand as steadfastly as it had these past two thousand years. Only those further back in the Plaza, up in the yeshivot, on the roofs and in the alleys of the upper city could see what was going on and the sight that met their eyes astounded more than all the others that they had seen so far. First the Al Aksa Mosque collapsed and then the Dome of the Rock swayed drunkenly from side to side before crashing to the ground in a great cloud of dust and debris.

All who saw it began to clap and cheer. Those who didn’t clamored to know what was happening. When they heard the cause of all the excitement, they all began to cry tears of joy because this was a clear and unmistakable sign that the long-awaited redemption had indeed arrived, albeit with more fanfare than anyone might have anticipated.

9:16 AM

The people standing in the archeological garden to the south of the Temple Mount suddenly started screaming and yelling. Those who had witnessed the fall of the mosques could not see what was happening over there, but water had begun to gush out of the ancient water channels that originate under the Temple Mount. This was the stream prophesied by Yechezkel HaNavi to flow from the mountain when the Third Temple would be rebuilt. The earthquake and its aftershock had broken the blockage.

We had always heard that ‘Hashem’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye.’ Only five minutes after Tel Aviv was struck a mortal blow, the Erev Rav regime was finished, the surrounding Arab/Islamic countries were out of commission, Achmad and the Ayatollah as well as the Qa’aba were so many swirling atoms caught up in the mushroom clouds’ updraft and the Temple Mount was free of Islamic domination for the first time in over 1300 years. The whole world had simply turned upside down.