31 October 2012

What will it take?

16 Marcheshvan 5773

Almost every major Jewish community in America was affected in some way by this so-called "Superstorm."  Hashem threw everything but an earthquake and a volcano. (I guess those are reserved for the west coast.) So, what more is it going to take to get through to Diaspora Jews?

Don't let anyone mislead you. This is all about being uprooted from homes, either by evacuation or through destruction. It's well past time for Diaspora Jewry to understand that Eretz Yisrael is the Jewish homeland and that Hashem Yitbarach has no intention of allowing you to remain on foreign soil.

Please take heed. It's only going to get worse.

Agudah of Bayswater Destroyed By Hurricane Sandy – Help Them Rebuild!

Among the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Agudah in Bayswater was unfortunately destroyed. Sadly, the Shul had just last week completed renovations caused by last years Hurricane Irene when this calamity struck.

According to a source at the Shul, the shul was flooded by the storm surge coming from the bay, and the pumps placed in and around the shul couldn’t keep up with the floodwaters. The shul very quickly filled with 6 feet of water....

All the Seforim – except for the Sifrei Torah thankfully – tables, chairs, walls, Bimah, Aron Kodesh, and Shtenders were destroyed. It appears that the shul may have to condemn the building and restart again.

The situation is very dire, and as of now, the shul reaching out to anyone who can assist them in rebuilding. The shul is an enormous part of the Bayswater community. There are hundreds who use it on a daily basis and rely on it for their Torah and tefilla needs. (Yeshivas Zichron Aryeh is also housed in the shul). The Shul is reaching out to the broader community to help them rebuild this vital source of Torah and Tefilla and need as much financial assistance that they can get.

For more, see here: News Items on How Sandy Destroyed Jewish Lives, Property, and Electricity

30 October 2012

"Sandy" Updates

15 Marcheshvan 5773


Northeast airports, transit systems slowly start moving again...

Crippled NYC subways could hamper recovery...

WIRE: Could Sandy postpone election?


Problems at five nuclear plants in wake of Sandy

The U.S. death toll climbed to 38, many of the victims killed by falling trees.

...More than 8.2 million people across the East were without power. Airlines canceled more than 15,000 flights around the world, and it could be days before the mess is untangled and passengers can get where they're going.

The storm also disrupted the presidential campaign with just a week to go before Election Day.

14 Marcheshvan 5773


Current headlines:

CON EDISON: 7-10 days to restore power...

Huge fire in storm's wake destroys 80 NYC homes...


Three towns flooded...


At least 16 deaths, 6.2 million without power in Superstorm Sandy's wake - Superstorm Sandy slammed into the New Jersey coastline with 80 mph winds Monday night and hurled an UNPRECEDENTED 13-FOOT SURGE OF SEAWATER at New York City, flooding its tunnels, subway stations and the electrical system that powers Wall Street. 

Sandy kills 1 in Canada - Officials reported one woman dead in Canada, killed by an airborne sign in a car park . 

29 October 2012

"Sandy" Quotes

14 Marcheshvan 5773

"This is the most catastrophic event that we have faced and been able to plan for in any of our lifetimes," Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy warned. An expected storm surge at midnight could raise water levels to 11 feet above normal high tide, bringing "the potential to cause unprecedented damage."

"It could be bad," said U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Rattior, "or it could be devastation."

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie put it most bluntly: "Don't be stupid. Get out!"

"This is not a typical storm. It could very well be historic in nature and in scope and in magnitude because of the widespread anticipated power outages, flooding and potential major wind damage," Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said, speaking of his state but just as well about many others in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
"Essentially, this is a hurricane wrapped in a nor'easter."
(Sandy could bring 'catastrophe,' impact 60 million)

Officials in Ocean City, NJ "the ocean has met the bay, we have never seen anything like this".


Latest update (6pm IT): Monster storm system packs maximum sustained winds of about 90 mph. The hurricane's wind speed has increased 15 mph over the past 12 hours. power already out to 10,000 in NYC, Long Island.

New York: The 'City That Never Sleeps' goes quiet

Water breaches promenade at Manhattan’s Battery Park


The last 'Frankenstorm': Video of the 1938 nor'easter that ravaged New England
Historic footage of a deadly storm offers clues about what to expect from Hurricane Sandy

Frum NY being evacuated

13 Marcheshvan 5773

Yeshiva World News is providing constant updates:

Hurricane Sandy: Urgent Updates For Far Rockaway / Bayswater / 5 Towns Communities

The following was sent to YWN by the Achiezer Organization:



Double or nothing?

13 Marcheshvan 5773

I didn't make the "date" connection. Hat tips to Arie and Dov.

7 Year Storm Cycle: Katrina, Isaac, Hurricane Sandy And The Perfect Storm

Earlier this year Hurricane Isaac hit New Orleans exactly 7 years to the day that Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast in 2005. Now Hurricane Sandy will slam the east coast of the US 21 years (three cycles of seven years) to the day of the anniversary of the Perfect Storm back in 1991. Is that two major coincidences in one year? What are the chances that two major storms land exactly on the anniversary of two prior epic storms,and disrupt US politics in a presidential election year?

Isaac as you may recall, disrupted the GOP National Convention in Tampa, FL. Now Sandy could potentially disrupt the US Presidential election on November 6th after starting to intensify on the date of the last presidential debate.

One thing is for sure, Hurricane Sandy is a force to be reckoned with. A 100 year storm that in meteorological terms is characteristically called a “bomb.” With so much “coincidence” and disruption in a presidential election year, perhaps this won’t turn out to be a normal election year cycle for the stock market either, but rather an eventful year capped by a Black Swan named Sandy....

OMG! Another aspect of "Sandy"

13 Marcheshvan 5773

New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut Nuclear Plants In Path of Storm

Preface: We hope and expect that the severity of the hurricane is being overblown, and that the nuclear plants in the Northeast will ride out the storm without any incident.

We noted Friday that more than a dozen nuclear plants are near Hurricane Sandy’s path.

Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that there are actually 26 nuclear plants in the path of the hurricane, and that the spent fuel pools in the plants don’t have backup pumps (summary via EneNews):

Read the rest at Washington Blog.

Yad Hashem

13 Marcheshvan 57773

Interesting image rendered above, no? It looks like a question mark. As if the One above is asking us - what are you going to do now?

It's obvious to anyone on the spiritual wavelength that the Holy One, blessed be He, is going all out to get people's attention with this storm. But, while they recognize the uniqueness of this situation, they still refuse to see in it yad Hashem - the hand of God. Some conspiracy web sites are even claiming "Superstorm Sandy" is man-made, a manifestation of weather wars that was created as a weapon to upset the elections or as an excuse to begin filling up FEMA camps.

Among all the preparation lists being handed around, I have yet to see one that included an admonition to pray.

It's up to us - the Jews - the servants of God - to proclaim His Mastery over all that He has created and continues to create at every moment.

Hurricane Sandy: Storm Surge Pose ‘Worst Case Scenario’

The projected storm surge from Hurricane Sandy is a “worst case scenario” with devastating waves and tides predicted for the highly populated New York City metro area, government forecasters said Sunday.

The more they observe it, the more the experts worry about the water — which usually kills and does more damage than winds in hurricanes.

In this case, seas will be amped up by giant waves and full-moon-powered high tides. That will combine with drenching rains, triggering inland flooding as the hurricane merges with a winter storm system that will worsen it and hold it in place for days.

Louis Uccellini, environmental prediction chief for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told The Associated Press that given Sandy’s due east-to-west track into New Jersey, that puts the worst of the storm surge just north in New York City, Long Island and northern New Jersey. “Yes, this is the worst case scenario,” he said.

In a measurement of pure kinetic energy, NOAA’s hurricane research division on Sunday ranked the surge and wave “destruction potential” for Sandy — just the hurricane, not the hybrid storm it will eventually become — at 5.8 on a 0 to 6 scale. The damage expected from winds will be far less, experts said. Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters says that surge destruction potential number is a record and it’s due to the storm’s massive size.

“You have a lot of wind acting over a long distance of water for hundreds of miles” and that piles the storm surge up when it finally comes ashore, Masters said. Even though it doesn’t pack much power in maximum wind speed, the tremendous size of Sandy — more than 1,000 miles across with tropical storm force winds — adds to the pummelling power when it comes ashore, he said.

The storm surge energy numbers are bigger than the deadly 2005 Hurricane Katrina, but that can be misleading. Katrina’s destruction was concentrated in a small area, making it much worse, Masters said. Sandy’s storm surge energy is spread over a wider area. Also, Katrina hit a city that is below sea level and had problems with levees.

National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb said Hurricane Sandy’s size means some coastal parts of New York and New Jersey may see water rise from 6 to 11 feet from surge and waves. The rest of the coast north of Virginia can expect 4 to 8 feet of surge.

The full moon Monday will add 2 to 3 inches to the storm surge in New York, Masters said.

“If the forecasts hold true in terms of the amount of rainfall and the amount of coastal flooding, that’s going to be what drives up the losses and that’s what’s going to hurt,” said Susan Cutter, director of the hazards and vulnerability research institute at the University of South Carolina.

Cutter said she worries about coastal infrastructure, especially the New York subways, which were shutting down Sunday night.

Klaus Jacob, a Columbia University researcher who has advised the city on coastal risks, said, “We have to prepare to the extent we can, but I’m afraid that from a subway point of view, I think it’s beyond sheer preparations. I do not think that there’s enough emergency measures that will help prevent the subway from flooding.”

Knabb said millions of people may be harmed by inland flooding.

A NOAA map of inland and coastal flood watches covers practically the entire Northeast: all of Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut; most of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, and parts of northeastern Ohio, eastern Virginia, North Carolina, and western New Hampshire.

Along the mid-Atlantic coast, storm surge is already starting to build, Uccellini said. NOAA’s Coastal Services Center chief Margaret Davidson said to expect “bodacious impacts” from both surge and inland flooding.

The surge — in which water steadily increases from the ocean— will be worst in the areas north of where Sandy comes ashore.

New York will have the most intense storm surge if Sandy comes ashore anywhere in New Jersey, Uccellini said. Only if it arrives farther south, such as Delaware, will New York see a slightly, only slightly, smaller storm surge.

In general, areas to the south and west of landfall will get the heaviest of rains. Some areas of Delaware and the Maryland and Virginia peninsula will see a foot of rain over the several days the storm parks in the East, Uccellini said. The rest of the mid-Atlantic region may see closer to 4 to 8 inches, NOAA forecasts.

The good news about inland flooding is that the rivers and ground aren’t as saturated as they were last year when Hurricane Irene struck, causing nearly $16 billion in damage, much of it from inland flooding in places like Vermont, Uccellini and Masters said.

The storm, which threatens roughly 50 million in the eastern third of the country, began as three systems. Two of those — an Arctic blast from the north and a normal winter storm front with a low-pressure trough— have combined. Hurricane Sandy will meld with those once it comes ashore, creating a hybrid storm with some of the nastier characteristics of a hurricane and a nor’easter, experts have said.


What is so sigificant about NYC subway flooding is that, unlike with rain water from standard flooding, the salt water from the sea will ruin the wiring and the subway will not be able to go back into operation until all the affected wiring can be replaced. The common figure given is 8 million people depending on the subway daily and there is no current estimate for how long the replacement process could possibly take.

Note that Sandy, spelled in Hebrew letters סנדי, can be rearranged as ס-דינ. Samech din or judgment of the samech. And note how similar the circular hurricane is in appearance to the letter samech..

The design of the samech is a closed circle. A circle represents infinity, because it has no beginning or end. In Kabbalah the samech represents the infinite power of the Ein Sof, ...

The samech also resembles a wedding band. ...With the wedding ring we are saying in effect, “This ring has no beginning or end, no highs or lows. The characteristic of encircling is constant. So, too, will my commitment to you be constant, encompassing your whole being, regardless of the highs and lows of the relationship.”

We find the same concept regarding the Jewish people who were married to G-d at Mount Sinai. The Talmud states that the Giving of the Torah at Sinai “was the betrothal ceremony” when G-d gave us the ring, our wedding band. At that time we committed ourselves to follow G-d’s laws, “and G-d then obligated Himself to provide the Jewish people with sustenance and livelihood.”

I wonder what percentage of the Jewish world in chutz laaretz is sitting in the path of this storm. Clearly this is yad Hashem and the message is meant for Am Yisrael.

...We are told that the fifteenth of any month is the zenith of the Jewish calendar since the Jewish people are compared to the moon, and on the fifteenth the moon is full.

The worst of the storm's effects will be felt at the full moon.

The first two letters of the word samech are סמ—samech-mem. Together they spell the word sam, which means a potion or medicine. This is not only relevant with regard to one’s physical health but also one’s spiritual health. The word samech סמך is an acronym for: salach סלח,to forgive; mechal מחל,to pardon; and kaper כפר, to atone. When one takes strides to forgive, pardon and atone, one achieves a great spiritual heal­ing.

(You can read more here and here.)

Maybe the din of the samech is this: The din comes to remind us of the samech - the ring representing our marriage to Hashem. And the question mark posed by Hurricane Sandy should cause us to look inwardly and question ourselves as a people in exile.

Why am I still estranged from my husband?
If not estranged, then why am I living outside His House?
What is preventing me from returning home to my Beloved?

The power of this mighty storm is proof to any Jew looking on in wonder that the Holy One, blessed be He, will very literally, move Heaven and Earth to return His people to Himself.

28 October 2012

"Unprecedented freak storm"

13 Marcheshvan 5773

There she is filling up the Atlantic seaboard.  The headlines are scary enough.  Here is a sampling...

NYC to close subway system... 

Largest tropical cyclone to ever develop in the Atlantic basin?

Could wreak havoc across 800 miles...

Urgent Warnings...


5 Reasons Sandy Will Be Epic...

Meteorologist: Storm Could Be Bigger Than Worst East Coast Storm On Record

Tens of millions of people in the eastern third of the U.S. in the path of the unprecedented freak storm had hours Sunday to prepare for the first raindrops that were expected later in the day, to be followed over the next few days by sheets of rain, high winds and even heavy snow.

The warning from officials to anyone who might be affected path was simple: Be prepared and get out of the way.

“We’re looking at impact of greater than 50 to 60 million people,” said Louis Uccellini, head of environmental prediction for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hurricane Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen dead, to meet a winter storm and a cold front, plus high tides from a full moon, and experts said the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.

The danger was hardly limited to coastal areas. Forecasters were far more worried about inland flooding from storm surge than they were about winds. Rains could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple into power lines, utility officials said, warning residents to prepare for several days at home without power.

States of emergency were declared from North Carolina, where gusty winds whipped steady rain on Sunday morning, to Connecticut. Delaware ordered mandatory evacuations for coastal communities by 8 p.m. Sunday.

Officials were particularly worried about the possibility of subway flooding in New York City, said Uccellini.

Sandy was at Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph winds, about 260 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving northeast at 10 mph as of 8 a.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was about 395 miles south of New York City.

The storm was expected to continue moving parallel to the Southeast coast most of the day and approach the coast of the mid-Atlantic states by Monday night, before reaching southern New England later in the week.

The storm was so big, however, and the convergence of the three storms so rare, that “we just can’t pinpoint who is going to get the worst of it,” said Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Jeff Masters, director of the private service Weather Underground, said the storm could be bigger than the worst East Coast storm on record — the 1938 New England hurricane known as the Long Island Express, which killed nearly 800 people. “Part hurricane, part nor’easter — all trouble,” he said.

...Eighty-five-year-old former sailor Ray Leonard had a bit of advice for those in the path of the storm. Leonard and two crewmates in his 32-foot sailboat, Satori, rode out 1991′s infamous “perfect storm,” made famous by the Sebastian Junger best-selling book of the same name, before being plucked from the Atlantic off Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., by a Coast Guard helicopter.

“Don’t be rash,” Leonard said Saturday from his home in Fort Myers, Fla. “Because if this does hit, you’re going to lose all those little things you’ve spent the last 20 years feeling good about.”

Anyone but Bibi!

12 Marcheshvan 5773

Likud Ministers Furious: Netanyahu Didn’t Ask Us

Likud ministers expressed fury over Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement that their party is uniting with Yisrael Beyteinu. In an interview with Maariv, they said, “The Prime Minister didn’t discuss this with us or tell us – he put us in an impossible situation.”

Netanyahu “went over our heads as if the Likud was his and his alone,” they accused. “He gambled with our future all to guarantee himself a third term.”

At this point, I'm thinking anyone but Bibi Netanyahu.  But, then I remember Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, Tsipi Livni and Shaul Mofaz and Lieberman - so many nasty, self-serving people whose only goal in life is to be king of the mountain and reap all the material rewards it brings.  Instead of governing, all their time is wasted in acquiring and then trying to maintain their power.  G-d help us!

26 October 2012

What is it about Louisiana?

10 Marcheshvan 5773

I mean, Las Vegas? San Francisco? LA? NY? DC? Yeah, I could understand those places possibly being eligible for modern day Sodom and Amorah status. But, New Orleans and vicinity?

Why was Louisiana Heaven's choice for the site of the worst natural disaster ever in US history (Hurricane Katrina - 2005) and why did Louisiana suffer more than any other Gulf state from the worst environmental disaster ever in US history (Deepwater Horizon explosion - 2010)?

And, so now, why is the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Louisiana (that's New Orleans up to the right of it on the map) the site of what's being called "...a historical event, unprecedented globally,...."

Why davka Louisiana?

Sinkhole unprecedented globally, heed evacuation order, geologist says

The Bayou Corne sinkhole is truly a historical event, unprecedented globally, according to a geologist who addressed a group of residents, evacuees and others Tuesday night in Pierre Part at a briefing high with emotions at times, such as when the mandatory evacuation issue was addressed.

"In the history of this type of event, this is very unique,” said Dr. Gary Hecox, geologist with Shaw Environmental stated at the resident meeting Tuesday night. Upset citizens fired one after another question after the officials gave presentation updating the locals with their latest updates about the disaster.

“Nobody ever dealt with something like this,” said Hecox, technical advisor with Shaw Environmental Group that has been contracted by Louisiana Department of Natural Resources to help attempt to manage the monster sinkhole, area leaking gases and crude, and earthquakes plaguing nearby communities for over four months.

...Extra experts are being hired to try to find and implement a solution, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources director Stephen Chustz told evacuees and other residents at the meeting.

Probably there would not be more sinkholes forming. Instead, if anything, the existing sinkhole would just get bigger, according to Hecox. Even another official on Tuesday night, however, questioned that, and tried to obtain more information.

“There is no cookbook," he stated matter-of-factly. "There’s not even any decent case studies people how to proceed when you’ve had a cavern collapse 5,000 feet below ground, you’ve had to frack out to the surface in the form of a sinkhole, and you have natural gas and crude oil coming in and bubbling up all over.

...Many people have not heeded the evacuation order. Many more are excluded from the mandatory evacuation zone that was based purely on the township boundaries, not areas where the human impact is being experienced, including chemicals in the air and seismic activity.

Two days ago, a jolt was felt by some people not in the mandatory evacuation zone.

"It felt like i was walking on jello," said Deby Tomlin, who lives just over the zone line.

You can read more here.  Google it and check it out on Youtube.

25 October 2012

More "Perfect" than the "Perfect Storm"?

9 Marcheshvan 5773

Hybrid of Sandy, winter storm threatens East Coast

WASHINGTON (AP) — Much of the U.S. East Coast has a good chance of getting blasted by gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow early next week by an unusual hybrid of hurricane and winter storm, federal and private forecasters say.
Though still projecting several days ahead of Halloween week, the computer models are spooking meteorologists. Government scientists said Wednesday the storm has a 70 percent chance of smacking the Northeast and mid-Atlantic.

Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North are predicted to collide, sloshing and parking over the country's most populous coastal corridor starting Sunday. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say.

"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in College Park, Md. "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."

It is likely to hit during a full moon when tides are near their highest, increasing coastal flooding potential, NOAA forecasts warn. And with some trees still leafy and the potential for snow, power outages could last to Election Day, some meteorologists fear. They say it has all the earmarks of a billion-dollar storm.

Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco said that one didn't hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing. Nor is it like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowstorm in the Northeast.

This has much more mess potential because it is a combination of different storm types that could produce a real whopper of weather problems, meteorologists say.

"The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. "Yeah, it will be worse."

But this is several days in advance, when weather forecasts are far less accurate. The National Hurricane Center only predicts five days in advance, and on Wednesday their forecasts had what's left of Sandy off the North Carolina coast on Monday. But the hurricane center's chief hurricane specialist, James Franklin, said the threat keeps increasing for "a major impact in the Northeast, New York area. In fact it would be such a big storm that it would affect all of the Northeast."

The forecasts keep getting gloomier and more convincing with every day, several experts said.
Cisco said the chance of the storm smacking the East jumped from 60 percent to 70 percent on Wednesday. Masters was somewhat skeptical on Tuesday, giving the storm scenario just a 40 percent likelihood, but on Wednesday he also upped that to 70 percent. The remaining computer models that previously hadn't shown the merger and mega-storm formation now predict a similar scenario.

The biggest question mark is snow, and that depends on where the remnants of Sandy turn inland. The computer model that has been leading the pack in predicting the hybrid storm has it hitting around Delaware. But another model has the storm hitting closer to Maine. If it hits Delaware, the chances of snow increase in that region. If it hits farther north, chances for snow in the mid-Atlantic and even up to New York are lessened, Masters said.

NOAA's Cisco said he could see the equivalent of several inches of snow or rain in the mid-Atlantic, depending on where the storm ends up. In the mountains, snow may be measured in feet instead of inches.

23 October 2012

Interesting Updates

7 Marcheshvan 5773

Here are some updates on two ongoing disasters which, unfortunately, do not merit headline status by the MSM.

Fukushima Update: Unit 4 Is Sinking … Unevenly… And May Begin Tilting

The spent fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4 is the top short-term threat to humanity, and is a national security issue for America.

As such, it is disturbing news that the ground beneath unit 4 is sinking.

Specifically, Unit 4 sunk 36 inches right after the earthquake, and has sunk another 30 inches since then.

Moreover, Unit 4 is sinking unevenly, and the building may begin tilting.

An international coalition of nuclear scientists and non-profit groups are calling on the U.N. to coordinate a multi-national effort to stabilize the fuel pools. And see this.

Given the precarious situation at Unit 4, it is urgent that the world community pool its scientific resources to come up with a fix.

Why is this important?

“If the cooling water supply is lost to the high-level radioactive waste storage pool in Unit 4, it could be just a matter of hours before the irradiated nuclear fuel is on fire,” warned Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear. “A fire in the Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool could release up to eight times more hazardous cesium-137 than the Chernobyl reactor explosion. That in turn would mean the site would have to be evacuated, risking the potential for all seven high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the site to ignite. If that happened, Fukushima Daiichi would release 85 times the levels of cesium released by Chernobyl, potentially forcing an evacuation, and permanent condemnation, of hundreds to thousands of square miles,” Kamps added.

Cesium-137 fallout from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has already been measured by the US Geological Survey across the US, although the agency has downplayed the risks, despite the position long held by the National Academy of Sciences that there is no safe dose of radiation.

And here is the latest on the Deepwater Horizon Disaster oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Did you really think they could mend a breach in the earth's crust?) Notice how many qualifiers are used in this article. Although they confirm that the leak is indeed from Deepwater Horizon, nobody is willing to say for sure that this is not a new leak, except of course, BP.

Deepwater Horizon pipe 'responsible for new oil slick in Gulf of Mexico'

Government scientists have definitively linked a new oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to the BP oil spill disaster of 2010.

A senior government scientist said the most likely source of the new oil is the mile-long length of pipe from the Deepwater Horizon rig, now lying in a crumpled loop on the ocean floor.

At worst, he said, the pipe was thought to contain some 1,800 barrels of oil – a minuscule amount compared with the 4.9m barrels that gushed into the ocean from BP's well during the 2010 oil disaster.

"When you look at all those pieces of information and put them together there is a high degree of confidence that the oil we are seeing and the sheening on the surface is coming from the riser, and that this is residual oil," said Frank Csulak, who is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's scientific co-ordinator for the Deepwater Horizon disaster site.

BP said in a statement to reporters that its tests confirmed the oil was from the riser, and that samples contained compounds found in drilling mud.

...The United States Coast Guard said in a statement on Wednesday night that lab tests, performed at a government facility in Connecticut, had matched oil from the slick to the Deepwater Horizon.

Oil sheens are pretty common in the Gulf of Mexico, where there are tens of thousands of idled offshore wells – many of which were abandoned without being completely sealed off.

But the size and persistence of the sheen near the BP disaster site, first detected by satellite images on 9 September, prompted further investigation.

The Coast Guard in its statement said it was still investigating the source of the new oil. "The exact source of the oil is unclear at this time but [it] could be residual oil associated with the wreckage or debris left on the seabed from the Deepwater Horizon incident."

Other government officials, speaking to the Washington Post, have said it is unlikely that oil could be leaking again from the original well head. Engineers poured thick plugs of cement into both ends of the well to finally cap it last July 2010, and officials said a new breach was very unlikely. "With what we did to it it's pretty hard to imagine," Marcia McNutt, who heads the US Geological Survey, told the Post.

19 October 2012


3 Marcheshvan 5773
Erev Shabbat

If Hevron, the city where our patriarchs and matriarchs are buried and where King David first began to rule, is not part of the Land of Israel, then Dan Meridor is not part of the People of Israel. And no one who says such a thing is fit to hold public office!!

Meridor: Hevron is Not Part of the State of Israel

Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor was interviewed, Friday, by Kol Yisrael government radio about the possibility of the Levy Committee report on Judea and Samaria being brought to the cabinet for approval. The report says Israel is not an occupier in the region and supports government authorization of currently unauthorized Jewish communities there. Meridor said he knew nothing about any attempt to put the matter on the cabinet agenda. He added, "Ramallah and Hevron are not part of the state of Israel and I do not think Prime Minister Netanyahu is going to change that situation."

18 October 2012

"Noah's Ark Found?"

3 Marcheshvan 5773
Erev Shabbat


Parshat Noah - 5773

3 Marcheshvan 5773
Erev Shabbat

The Natural Miracle
by Levi Chazan of Yeshivat Ohr Hara'ayon

"On that very day Noah came with Shem, Ham, and Japheth, Noah's sons with Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the Ark - they and every beast after its kind, every animal after its kind, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth after its kind, and every bird after its kind ... two by two."

"It is known that there are a great many beasts," Ramban in his commentary to this week's parsha writes, "and some of them - such as elephants, rams and others - are very large; likewise, the creeping things upon the earth are very many. Of the fowl of the heaven there are also innumerably many kinds, Noah was thus obligated to bring all of them into the ark in order that they may beget their like after the flood. Even if you would gather a full year's supply of food for all of them, you would find that this ark and ten others like it could not hold it!"

In that case, concludes the Ramban, since an ark of some 150 meters could in no way contain all the animals and birds of the world, it is obvious that G-d made a miracle. A very large assembly was contained in a small space.

If so, asks the Ramban, why bother Noah with the construction of the ark? Here, he toiled and worked for some 120 years. Every day he and his sons would go and gather wood, cut and shape it and construct the ark, working from sunup to sundown. If in any case there needed to be a miracle to house all the animals and fowl - let there just be a miracle and that would be that. Why trouble Noah so much?

The Rambam answers that miracles do not happen by themselves; first one must do his utmost - all in his power - and then, and only then, will G-d do His part.

This important lesson is vital for us today, to understand the developments of the last 70 years with the return of the Jewish people to its land. G-d works within the framework of the laws of nature - something does not come from nothing. It is only when we do our maximum that the miracles happen. The Talmud teaches us: "I will not enter into the heavenly Jerusalem until the Jewish people first enter into the earthly Jerusalem." Only when we the Jewish people first start to work and re-build the land and Jerusalem, will G-d, so to speak, give us a helping hand.

When the first Jews arrived here in the Land of Israel at the beginning of the 20th century, they had to dry up the marsh lands, fight malaria, and defend the land against those who wanted to uproot us. It was only after many hardships and countless tragedies, that slowly the desert land turned into a Gan Eden.

The famous story is told that when flood waters hit a particular town, the police came and warned the people to leave. One man told them he was not worried, for G-d would surely save him. A the waters rose,the rescuers sent a boat to help the man, but he told them: I'm not worried, for G-d will save me. Finally, they sent a helicopter to bring him in, but he would not come, for he believed that G-d would save him. The waters continued to rise, eventually drowning the man. When he went up to Heaven he questioned G-d: Where were You? Why did You not save me? G-d said: What are you talking about? I sent the police to help you, I sent a boat and even a helicopter! For G-d helps those who help themselves.

Today, too many fellow Jews are still waiting for something to happen from nothing. Far too many are sitting around waiting to come back home to Israel, waiting for the Holy Temple to come down. Truth be told, this is not the Torah way and this is not the way of the world! We must be the ones who go out and make things happen, we must be the ones who are out there in the army defending ourselves and our land - then and only then, will we receive G-d's blessings and success. Interestingly, when it comes to finding the best doctors or running after a livelihood, we make the greatest effort. Why, then, when it comes to bringing the Redemption closer, do we just sit around and wait?

For all the animals to fit into the ark, Noah had to work day and night for 120 years. For us to rebuild the Land and the Holy Temple, we must do all we can - no less than Noah.

15 October 2012

The Eighth Month

29 Tishrei 5773
Erev Rosh Chodesh Marcheshvan

Another new month - another opportunity for teshuvah and geulah...

The Month of Cheshvan According to the Book of Formation (Sefer Yetzirah)


Cheshvan (in Hebrew: חֶשְׁוַן), or as it is also known, Mar-Cheshvan, is the eighth of the twelve months of the Jewish calendar.

In the Bible, Cheshvan is called the month of bool (בּוּל) a name that stems from the word for "flood" (מַבּוּל). The flood began on the 17th of Cheshvan, and ended the following year on the 27th of Cheshvan. On the following day, the 28th of Cheshvan, Noah brought his sacrifice to God and God swore never again to bring a flood upon the earth to destroy all mankind, and then revealed the sign of His covenant with the world, the rainbow.

Cheshvan is the only month which has no holidays or special mitzvot.We are taught that it is "reserved" for the time of Mashiach, who will inaugurate the third Temple in Cheshvan.

Letter: Nun (נ)
The letter nun is considered to be the letter of Mashiach, as is said (with reference to Mashiach): "Before the sun, his name is Ye-non [from nun]" (Psalms 72:17). As a verb-root, nun means "to reign." As a noun, it means "the heir to the throne" (from nin).

Cheshvan, the eighth month, is the month of Mashiach, because eight signifies the eternal revelation of the supernatural (the consummate state of rectified nature being the secret of the number seven). Whereas in our present reality, the "harp" played by King David and used in the Temple has seven strings, the harp of Mashiach possesses eight strings. Just as 8 transcends 7, so does 50 (the numerical value of nun) transcend 49 = 72.

In our present reality, the nun is bent over, confined by the boundaries of nature. With the coming of Mashiach, the nun will "straighten out" (the shape of the final nun - ן), and will break through the boundaries of nature also descending ("below the line") into the subterranean realms of reality in order to reveal there God's all-encompassing Infinite light.

Mazal: Akrav (Scorpio - the Scorpion)
Our sages teach us that the scorpion (עַקְרָב) is the deadliest member of the general category of poisonous creatures whose archetypal figure is the primordial snake of Eden. The Hebrew word for "scorpion," derives from the word meaning "heel" (עַקֵב) as is said: "And you [the snake] shall bite him [man] at the heel" (Genesis 3:15). Thus the scorpion symbolizes the consummate "bite" of the snake at the heel of man.

While the poison of the snake is considered "hot," the poison of the scorpion is considered "cold." The Mashiach is the one and only soul who can overcome, kill, and ultimately revive the primordial snake (in order to convert it to good). (The soul of Mashiach and his continuous state of consciousness manifest the ultimate rectification of "heat," "burning" solely in his love for God and Israel, as well as that of "cold"-absolutely "cold" to the false vanities of this world.) This is the secret of the well known gematria that "Mashiach" (מָשִׁיחַ) equals "snake" (נָחָשׁ).

Indeed, the Mashiach is also numerically related to the scorpion since "Mashiach" (358) plus 14 is equal to 372, the value of "scorpion." 14 is the value of David (דָוִד) and the 14th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is nun, the letter of the month of Cheshvan. Furthermore, the root-letters of Cheshvan are chet-shin-nun and they permute to spell "snake." One final point about the relationship of Cheshvan to the Mashiach who rectifies the snake is that whereas the snake is crooked and bent the nun in the word Cheshvan is "straightened out" as it is the final nun, as above.

Tribe: Menasheh
Menasheh is the firstborn of Joseph. Deriving from the word "to forget" (literally "to leap, up and away"), Menasheh suggests the power of the tzadik (Joseph) to make us forget the hardships, trials and tribulations of this world, with the coming of Mashiach. By the power and sense of Menasheh, all of the pain of this world will transform and metamorphose into the pleasure of the Messianic era.

The name Menasheh (מְנַשֶׁה) permutes to spell "soul" (נְשָׁמָה). Menasheh represents the sense to reveal the Divine soul in Israel. In one place in the Bible, Moses is called Menasheh, for Menasheh is Moses (מֹשֶׁה) with an additional nun (the letter of Cheshvan).

Of Moses it is said that, "He is the first redeemer and he is the final redeemer" (See Shemot Rabbah 4:2; Zohar 1:253a; Sha'ar HaPesukim, Vayechi; Torah Or, beginning of Mishpatim). In his first lifetime (as "the first redeemer"), Moses did not attain the 50th gate of understanding—the understanding of God Himself, as it were, and His deepest intention in the creation of the universe. 50 is the numerical value of the letter nun, the letter of Cheshvan. But, when Moses will return as Mashiach—the final redeemer—he will be given forever the 50th gate, the nun of Mashiach, the secret of Menasheh (Moses with an additional nun).

In the Zohar we are taught that when Moses first passed from this world he received the 50th gate and was subsumed, as it were, in the Mishnah (מִשְׁנַה), another permutation of Menasheh (and Moses plus an additional nun). Through the study of Mishnah today (in the time of exile) we reveal the soul of Israel and thereby merit the redemption of Moses-Mashiach and the universal revelation of the 50th gate of understanding.

Sense: Smell
The sense of smell is the most spiritual of all senses. The Hebrew word for "smell" (רֵיחַ) is cognate to the word for "spirit" (רוּחַ). The sages teach us that smell is the one and only sense that "the soul enjoys and not the body." As noted, in Hebrew, "soul" is a permutation of Menasheh.

The sense of smell is the only sense (of the five senses) that did not participate, and thereby was not blemished or polluted, in the primordial sin of man in the Garden of Eden. It is the sense which saved the Jewish people in the time of Mordechai and Esther, who are called Mor veHadas ("myrrh and myrtle," the two primary sources of fragrance).

Furthermore, it is explicitly stated that the sense of Mashiach is the sense of smell. "And he shall smell with the awe of God"—"he shall judge by smell" (rather than by sight or hearing. Isaiah 11:3; Sanhedrin 93b). By his sense of smell (his "holy spirit") the Mashiach will know how to connect each Jewish soul to its Divine root, and thereby identify its tribe (branch) in Israel.

Controller: Intestines
The word for "intestines" (דַקִין) derives from the same root as the words meaning "minute" (דַקָה) or "grain" (דַק). It implies the power to dissect into fine, refined parts.

In the process of preparing the incense for the Temple (the consummate expression of the sense of smell in the Temple service), the priest would repeat (over and over) a phrase which uses the verb "to grind" (הַדֵק הֵיטֶב, הֵיטֶב הַדֵק), which is also cognate to the word for "intestines."

All of the sacrifices in the Temple service are meant to produce a "satisfying aroma" (רֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ) and please the Divine sense of smell, which symbolizes God's "satisfaction" with the service of His children Israel in particular and with creation in general. The sages interpret the phrase "satisfying aroma" as "I am satisfied, for I have spoken and My will has been fulfilled." This Divine satisfaction with man and creation was first expressed on the 28th of Cheshvan, when Noah offered his sacrifice to God. Due to His satisfaction, God swore to Noah never again to destroy the world by flood. As is expressed explicitly in laws of the Torah, it is the fats of the intestines that when offered on the altar produce the "satisfying" aroma for God. For this reason the intestines are understood to control the sense of smell.

Color: Violet

From the OU:

...King Solomon completed the seven-year building of the Sanctuary during Cheshvan and there should have been a festival. Though all Israel waited for G-d’s command concerning this dedication, G-d waited until the next Tishrey (11 months later) before he finally commanded the dedication.

Yet our sages tell us (Yalkut Melachim 184) that Mar-Cheshvan will be repaid by G-d for its loss in the world to come.

Important Dates in Cheshvan:

  4  Yahrtzeit of the Ramban
11  Yahrtzeit of Rachel Imeinu
15   Kristallnacht
17  Balfour Declaration

20  Yahrtzeit of Abarbanel

14 October 2012

It's not your father's war

28 Tishrei 5773

Report: Iran mulls plans for deliberate Gulf oil spill
Der Spiegel says Tehran is harboring secret plan, codename 'Dirty Water,' to cause massive environmental disaster in Persian Gulf in order to force West to sponsor cleanup, suspend sanctions

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have developed plans to damage an oil tanker in the Gulf to create an environmental disaster, German magazine Spiegel reported on Sunday.

Citing Western intelligence sources, the weekly said the top-secret plan, codenamed "Dirty Water", is aimed at blocking the oil-rich Gulf to shipping and forcing Western countries to become involved in a huge clean-up operation.

Der Spiegel said the Revolutionary Guards believe this in turn would prompt Western nations to suspend sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program which have started to hit the economy hard this year.

The plan, developed by the head of the Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Admiral Ali Fadavi, head of the force's navy division, would also "punish" Arab states around the Gulf for their support of the West and Israel, the report said.

A clean-up operation could only take place with Iranian technical help, requiring a temporary lifting of sanctions, the plan says, according to Spiegel.

Jafari and Fadavi have passed the plan to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who would have the final say on whether to implement it, Spiegel said.

US warning reflects fears of Iranian cyberattack

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's pointed warning that the U.S. will strike back against a cyberattack underscores the Obama administration's growing concern that Iran could be the first country to unleash cyberterrorism on America.

Panetta's unusually strong comments Thursday came as former U.S. government officials and cybersecurity experts said the U.S. believes Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated computer systems of Persian Gulf oil and gas companies.

Unencumbered by diplomatic or economic ties that restrain other nations from direct conflict with the U.S., Iran is an unpredictable foe that national security experts contend is not only capable but willing to use a sophisticated computer-based attack.

Panetta made it clear that the military is ready to retaliate — though he didn't say how — if it believes the nation is threatened by a cyberattack, and he made it evident that the U.S. would consider a preemptive strike.

Iran scoffs at Israel air defenses after drone flight

IRAN has scoffed at Israel's air defences as it confirmed Tehran had provided Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah with the sophisticated drone which overflew the Jewish state earlier this month.

Iran's "capabilities are very high and are at the disposal and service of Islamic nations," Defence Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said, quoted by state television when questioned on the origins of the unmanned aerial vehicle.

"It is natural to use whatever we have at our disposal at the necessary time to defend the lands of the Islamic world," the general said. "This move shows that Hezbollah is fully prepared ... and will respond to the Zionist regime."

He said the drone which overflew Israel "shattered everything that was said about the Iron Dome system (Israel's air defence shield) and it became clear that the Zionist regime can not escape Muslim anger".

Iran has developed a program of manufacturing drones to be used for surveillance and attacks.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted last week that his group sent a sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel, saying the device was built by the Jewish state's archfoe Iran.

His acknowledgement of the drone which Israel shot down on October 6 came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed at Hezbollah and vowed to defend his country against further "threats".

Nasrallah said the latest drone was "Iranian built and assembled in Lebanon".

Israeli Air force jets shot down the unarmed drone over southern Israel's Negev desert after it entered the country's airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

11 October 2012

About those "lucky charms"

26 Tishrei 5773

Last night I read the WND story about Obama's ring which made the rounds today. I thought I would blog about it until it got so much exposure.  By then, I figured everyone had already seen it.

Then I saw another item over at The American Dream blog which reminded of me of my favorite breakfast cereal (along with Cocoa Puffs and Sugar Pops) when I was growing up. Oh my! Anyway. It's called "Obama's Lucky Charms: A Hindu God In His Pocket, A Masonic Emblem, And A Ring That Says "There Is No God Except Allah".  Not exactly the Lucky Charms of my childhood, or yours either, no doubt.

The article claims Obama never goes anywhere without these items in his pocket:

...a bracelet belonging to an American soldier deployed in Iraq, a gambler's lucky chit, a tiny monkey god and tiny Madonna and child.

Does anybody know who Barack Obama really is?  Apparently, it is a very well-kept secret.  Will the cat come popping out of the bag during a second term?

Maybe, he's subconsciously searching for substitutes for the unremembered accessories of his former office:

...Pharaohs owned many different styles of jewelry. There were amulets, bracelets, pectorals and collars that spread from the neck over the top of the chest, anklets, finger cuffs, pendants and earrings.