Sunday, December 29, 2013


Ramchal by Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
"The Great Redemption" 

Prologue (Part 1)

At bottom, each nation is a product of its dreams and realizations. And while we Jews have certainly come upon a world of realizations in the course of our 2,000 year long exile, we've forgotten some of our dreams.

Perhaps the greatest of them, though, is the dream of the coming of the Moshiach ("Messiah") at long last and our being redeemed. But how will that happen, and what will be going on in the Celestial background to bring it about? Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto discussed all that in an early work entitled Ma'amar HaGeulah ("A Discourse on The Redemption"). It's a rather short and fairly unknown work that was composed sometime before 1730, and only came to light in 1889 through the research of Rabbi Shmuel Luria. What is manages to do, though, is explain the cosmic backdrop behind the exile we're in now, the first low stirrings of the Messianic Era, the eventual redemption itself, and much more. It will serve as the source of this series.

We'll start off the series itself with a quick preliminary overview of classical Jewish ideas of exile and redemption, we'll then offer the "end of the story" as Ramchal depicts it at the very beginning and thus come to see what we're all to look forward to, then we'll go back to the beginning to enjoy a full step by step laying-out of the process.

Friday, December 6, 2013

One Action Over a Thousand Sighs - for the Shabbos Table

     In Vayigash we read about the reunion of Joseph and Benjamin: "And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck."  
     Our Sages tell us that each brother wept over the destruction that would occur in the other brother's portion of Israel. Joseph wept over the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem, in Benjamin's portion, and Benjamin wept over the Sanctuary in Shilo, in Joseph's portion.  
     Symbolically, every Jew can build a "personal" Holy Temple in his heart, a place where the Divine Presence dwells. A Jew who conducts himself according to Torah causes G-d's Presence to dwell within him, thereby building a "Sanctuary." Doing the opposite prevents the Divine Presence from entering.  
     The destruction of the Temple is cause for grief. When Joseph prophetically saw that the two Holy Temples would be destroyed he burst into tears. When Benjamin saw that the Sanctuary would be destroyed, he was also overcome.  
     So too it is with a Jew's inner Temple: When a person sees his friend's Temple being destroyed by his actions, it is painful to witness.  
     He cries, for he is taking part in his friend's sorrow.  
     Yet we find something very strange. Joseph wept over the destruction that would occur in Benjamin's portion, but not over the destruction in his own territory.  
     Similarly, Benjamin wept over the destruction of the Sanctuary in Joseph's portion, but did not grieve over the two Temples in Jerusalem. Why didn't each one weep over his own misfortune?  
     A similar reaction occurs when we witness the destruction of a fellow Jew's personal Holy Temple. 
     A Jew weeps when he sees his brother destroying his inner Sanctuary, yet he does not weep when he destroys his own. Why is that?  
     The answer is that crying cannot rebuild. Crying lessens the pain, but cannot fix what was destroyed.  
     When a person destroys his own inner Temple, no amount of weeping can ever rebuild it. Instead, he should perform actual deeds, for "one positive action is worth a thousand sighs." Only mitzvot can reconstruct the ruined Sanctuary.  
     When a person sees another Jew's  Temple lying in ruins it makes him sad. 
But he cannot help the other individual, as rectifying the situation is not in his hands.  
     He may empathize and offer practical suggestions, but the other person has to do the actual work; only he can correct his misdeeds.  
Joseph and Benjamin realized that lamenting their own sorrows would yield no practical benefit. 
     Each brother would have to exert his own efforts to rebuild, by observing mitzvot and performing acts of goodness.  
     Let each of us rebuild the Sanctuary in our hearts, and together we will merit the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that will never be destroyed. 

(Adapted from the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe; Material on this page reprinted from - LYO / NYC) 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rav Meir Kahane wanted the Geula

and he did his utmost to bring it about.

“And if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those that you let remain, of them shall be thorns in your eyes and thistles in your sides and shall torment you in the land wherein you dwell.” (Numbers 33:55)

Some years ago I was arrested by the Israeli police and charged with “incitement to revolution.” The grounds? I had breached the conclusion that it was impossible to find a solution for the Arab-Jewish confrontation in the Land of Israel (both the State of Israel and the lands liberated in 1967); that the Jewish state was inevitably headed toward a situation like that in Northern Ireland; that the only possible way to avoid or to mitigate it was the emigration of Arabs. Consequently, I had sent letters to several thousand Arabs offering them an opportunity (funds and visas) to emigrate voluntarily. The fact that many Arabs replied positively and that a major Arab village in the Galilee, Gush Halev, offered to move all its inhabitants to Canada in return for a village there did not prevent the worried Israeli government from arresting me.

Four long years and one important war later, a scandal broke in Israel. It was revealed that Yisrael Koenig, a high official in the Ministry of the Interior who is in charge of the northern region of Israel, had drafted a secret memorandum in which he warned of the increasing danger of Arab growth (which would make Arabs in the Galilee a majority by 1978) as well as of increasing Arab national militancy. His solution included several measures that he hoped would lead to Arab emigration.

On August 10, 1979, thirty-six Knesset members took part in a tour of the Golan Heights. Their guide was the head of the northern military command, General Ben-Gal. At Kibbutz Ein Zivan he told the thirty-six legislators: “First priority, today, must be given to the Jewish settlement in the Galilee, because of the growing strength of the Arab residents there. Their hatred of Israel is growing. They are becoming a cancer in our body . . . . They are waiting for the moment to hit us.”

The pity is that vital years have passed since my original proposal, wasted years that saw the Yom Kippur War produce a major psychological change in Arab thinking. In the aftermath of that war and its political consequences, vast numbers of Arabs, who in 1972 were depressed and convinced that Israeli sovereignty could not be destroyed, are today just as convinced that time is on their side, that it will not be long before the Zionist state collapses. Then they—the Arabs—will hold sway over all that will be “Palestine.” The necessary corollary is, of course, that hundreds of thousands who were potential voluntary émigrés nine years ago are now determined to stay and await the day of Arab victory. But they must go.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

One a Day - Keeps the Yetzer Hara Away!

......and brings the geula that much faster!

Sefer Hamitzvot

The Talmud tells us (Makkot 23b) that, at Sinai, G‑d transmitted 613 mitzvot toMoses—248 positive commandments (dos) and 365 negative commandments (don'ts). When counting, however, we find that there are many more than 613 biblical obligations and prohibitions. Thus we need to explain the formula by which we determine whether a particular precept is counted as part of the 613 or not.
Maimonides used 14 principles to make this determination:

Principle 1
Do not count Rabbinic Commandments in this list. E.g. lighting Chanukahcandles or reciting the Hallel.
Indeed, this seems obvious, for the Talmud says that 613 mitzvot "were given to Moses at Sinai," and rabbinic mitzvot were not instituted until later dates. But in truth, we follow rabbinic rulings because of a biblical mandate: "You shall not divert from the word they tell you, either right or left" (Deuteronomy17:11); and as such, before performing a rabbinic mitzvah, we say a blessing in which we thank G‑d for "sanctifying us with His commandments and commanding us to..." Nevertheless, the individual rabbinic precepts are not counted as part of the 613 (and, are considered "rabbinic," a classification that has certain halachic implications).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Shabbos Getaway



The 1st Shabbos Getaway is finally here.
Sorry! I made a mistake with the price. The special group rate for this Shabbos is: $115 per night plus tax = $264.50 (2 nights)
Plus $25 for "Shul" = $289.50

We still have very few Double rooms available but they will be gone soon, so reserve ASAP.

שבת פרשת חקת
June 14th-16th, 2013
at our favorite

Bring your own food.
Email me at:
or call me:
917-468-1135א געזונטן זומער

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Erev Rav Amongst Us

"We must strengthen ourselves for this war, and anyone who does not participate in the battle against the Erev Rav becomes, de facto, a partner with the k'lipah of the Erev Rav, and was better off not being born in the first place. 
(Kol HaTor, Chapter 2, Section 2, Letter 'bais') "

An Anthology of the Gaon by Rabbi Moshe Tzuriel 

"The entire 974 generations (Hagiga 14.) which are `Erev Rav which are the souls from the world of chaos, G-d transplants them every generation, and they are the bold-faced of the generation. Our Sages said that in the period of "messiah's footsteps" impudence will become great... and the `erev rav will return to be the shepherds of Israel" - Safra ditz'ni`utha, chapter 1, beginning with the words "They were not watching" (3).

"You should know that there are five kinds of `erev rav. The first kind are argumentative and libelous people; the second kind are those who pursue passion and fornication; the third kind are those who are deceitful, who pretend to be righteous but whose hearts are not whole. The fourth kind are those who pursue honor in order to make a name for themselves; the fifth kind are those who pursue money... and the argumentative kind are the equivalent of all of them: they are called `Amalekim, and the son of Dovid will not come until they have passed out of this world, for it is of them that we recite  תִּמְחֶה אֶת זֵכֶר  `Amalek - "You shall erase the memory of Amalek" - Adderet Eliyahu, commentary on Deut. 1:1 (325), his words being based on Zohar 1:25, 27; 3:125: and see the Gaon's commentary on Tikkunei Zohar 97, pp. 86,91.

Adam, the first Man, sinned because of the souls of the `erev rav he contained - they caused him to sin. Similarly, Moshe Rabbeinu... because of the "erev rav" came to make mistakes. And these are the `erev rav that they desire to be the spiritual authorities and of great status and jump forward to teach (religious conduct) though they have not reached that level - Yahel Ohr, commentary on Zohar 1:28: beginning with uMoshe b'gineihu.

"Arguments which are not for the sake of Heaven come from the Erev Rav, those who jump forward to teach and to take the crown of `let us make for ourselves a name' - Tikkunei Zohar, p. 91, beginning and who caused [it] (v. Maimonides, Hilkhot Talmud Torah 5:4: `and every knowledgeable person who has not reached the level of teaching (spiritual conduct) and teaches is wicked, idiotic and rude... These are the small intellectuals who have not studied Torah as much as they should, but try to make a great impression on the boors and the people of their own town, and so they jump up and sit at the head of the line of sages who come to discuss cases and teach Israel. These are the ones who are argumentative, they destroy the world and extinguish the light of Torah, as they sabotage the vineyard of the L-rd of Hosts. Of them Solomon said: "ehezu lanu shu`alim, shu`alim k'tannim m'habb'lim k'ramim" - "grasp for us the foxes, little foxes that destroy the vineyards".

"All the exile, the destruction of the Temple and all the troubles - it all results from Moshe Rabbeinu having accepted the `erev rav. All the bold-faced and wicked people of the generation are from them, i.e., their souls are theirs (that is to say this is not physically inherited by lineage, but rather a mere reincarnation of souls), in that they are a reincarnation of them. This is what was meant in the Gemara, hani me`erev rav qa'ati - these spring from the erev rav - the Gaon on Tikkunei HaZohar 97, beginning v'aleihu. (Rabbi Yitzhak Hotner also commented on this, in "Pahad Yitzhak", Pesah, pp. 246-247.)

"Of the Amalekites some were leaders of the Israelites in their galut, their exile, acting violently and robbing the Jewish poor, and they are from the side of the generation of the Flood... and the bad separated out in the `erev rav, and when Moshe peace be unto him received them [Zohar I/27b] their souls intermingled with those of Israel, and this is the fourth exile... They are the fallen ones, who follow around after loose women and after bribes of this world. They are warriors, men of great name, all of whose deeds are done in order to enhance their reputation. They are spirits who do not desire to bestow kindness and charity for masters of Torah; they are giants who ridicule Torah scholars" - Tikkunei Zohar, p. 194.

"And all the exile and destruction of the Temple and all the tribulations - it is all [the result] of Moshe Rabbeinu's accepting the `erev rav, and all the brash and evil men of the generation are of them, that is to say from their souls, that they are an incarnation of them." - Tikkunei Zohar, p. 193.

"Just like roses are sown amongst the thorns, which are a protection for the roses, so the Jewish people are in exile amongst the `erev rav in order to speed up their redemption, and for this reason the thorns have not ceased - Tikkunei Zohar p. 54 [this means that the troubles we are suffering from them serve to speed up the time of the end].

"Eisav and Yishmael are entwined in Avraham and Yitzhak, but the `erev rav are entwined in Yaakov; they are more problematic to Israel and to the shekhina, for they are the leaven in the dough - for all the misers and those who do not support the Torah are from them" - Tikkunei Zohar, p. 35.

"The leaven in the dough" (B'rakhot 17a) is the `erev rav, who are worse than the nations of the world [who kill us], because the `erev rav stop Israel from performing the mitzvot (meaning: he who misleads his friend has done a greater act of evil than he who kills him - B'midbar Rabba 21:5) - Imre No`am, B'rakhot 17a. Ohr Yahel 3/232, the place beginning: the leaven in the dough.

...And see the profundity of their statements made about the blight, and yet there is a fourth kind: `and they have mingled (in Hebrew, Vayitarvu, related to the term Erev Rav) with the nations and learned from their deeds' - these are themselves Jews who adhered to the `erev rav and became like them...and this fourth kind is the most difficult of them all, and they are our brothers who have soured" - his commentary to B'rakhot 54:

And in the book of Tikkunim of Zohar Hadash (p. 54) we find written: "As for Yaakov, because he foresaw the pressure of the last exile in the end of days, the Torah says And Yaakov was very much afraid and felt troubled, and he divided up the holy nation in exile into three divisions, and he placed the maidservants and their children first, and Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Yosef last "

And the Gaon wrote there:

The three divisions are as follows: the `erev rav, the good simple people amongst them, and the scholars. The maidservants and their children first - these are the `erev rav made by Lilit, the bad maidservant, of whom it is said: And if a maidservant should inherit her lady, and also her sons, who are the leaders of the holy nation in the last exile, as it is said: Her foes became her leaders, as it was said in "Raaya Mehemna" (Zohar 3/125).

Leah and her children behind them - they are the good simple people.

Rachel and Yosef last of all - they are the scholars of whom Rachel is the chief of the house... They are last because they are downtrodden and debased, as it is said: Those who fear sin will be despised, and the wisdom of the scribes [alt. translated as counters] will be rotten, as he went on in R.M. (ibid., and see Sanhedrin 98.). See: Leshem, Shevo V'Ahlama, Introduction and Contents, p. 46, explanation.

Now it is clear why in Kol HaTor (chapter II, part II, section II) R. Hillel of Shiklov brings in the name of the Gaon: "The general role of two Messiahs, the messiah son of Yosef and the messiah son of Dovid, throughout the generations is one of defense and war against the three leading husks - Eisav, Yishmael and Erev Rav... The `erev rav is our greatest foe, he is what separates the two Messiahs, The `erev rav husk operates only by deceit and indirectly. Therefore the war against the `erev rav is the most difficult and most bitter, and we must use all our remaining forces to win this war. Whoever is not engaged in actively fighting the `erev rav becomes an automatic partner to the husk of the `erev rav, and whoever this may be it would be better for him had he not been created.

The main force of the `erev rav is at the gates of Jerusalem by the entrance of the city (The Great Period, 503-504).

This seems to be a shift and a change in the definition of `erev rav from what we have seen in the other quotations (full of desire, argumentative, honor-seeking, hurrying to give instruction though they are unqualified to do so, etc.). It would seem that this point mentioned by "Kol HaTor" of the resistance to the realization of the redemption of the Jews was not expressed in the other utterances by the Gaon regarding the `erev rav. This, however, is what R. Hillel of Shiklov explains to us: the nation of Israel has suffered so many tribulations during its horrible exile (see MahaRal, Netzah Yisrael, the beginning of chapter 49), and our heart boils over with distress at the memory of our terrible debasement, both in spirituality and in materiality. How, now, can there arise out of our nation Sanballats to destroy and disrupt the restoration of the nation of Israel in its land? The only explanation possible is that they really are full of desire, argumentative, proud etc. - lacking true links with the Jewish people or with the Torah of Israel.

We must not take into consideration that some of them do actually have some superficial knowledge of Torah (see Adderet Eliyahu to Deut. 32:20) for My people is foolish, they do not know Me... they are wise in causing evil, but know not how to do good (Jeremiah 4:22). That is, if they are not G-d-fearing - they do not know Me - they will turn the words of the living G-d into lies and deceit. The proof that their hearts are impure is that they are not distressed at the disaster of Yosef (Amos 6:6). They do not feel sorrow at the disaster of the entire Jewish people, though they chatter Torah-like platitudes of love of Israel. "And they heal the disaster of My nation too easily, saying `Peace, peace!' - but there is no peace!" (Jeremiah 6:14). Further proof, instead of quarreling with the nations of the world who cause us distress, they choose to argue and quarrel with the faithful of Israel - all by virtue of those very same characteristics defined by the Zohar (I/25).

All this was seen at the time by R. Hillel of Shiklov. He knew how the words of the Zohar and those of the Gaon, his rabbi, could co-exist with contemporary problems. The false virtues of the hypocrites and deceivers are what cause them to put barriers and other delays on the path to the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the redemption of Israel. Really, all the words of this chapter correspond to one another extremely precisely - to whoever understands.

Monday, July 8, 2013

It is a Must!

Yearning for Mashiach Needs Fit Expression:
An Increase in Torah and in Mitzvos .....

     The sincerity of this intent, however, must be reflected in the performance of activities to hasten Mashiach’s coming for, as our Sages teach, [131] “Action is what matters.” Every man, woman, and child has an individual responsibility to work to bring about Mashiach’s coming. No one else can shoulder this burden for him: his own efforts and energy are needed. Each of us must prepare for the coming of Mashiach by increasing his study of the Torah and enhancing his performance of its commandments behiddur, in a beautiful and conscientious manner.
     Why is it that these are the activities which will hasten Mashiach’s coming? – Because they are intrinsically parallel to the manner in which Mashiach will relate to the Jewish people.
     To explain: The manner in which G-d rewards the Jewish people follows the principle of “measure for measure.” [132] Thus our efforts to prepare for and draw down a particular revelation must reflect the nature of that revelation itself. Mashiach will serve as both a king [133] and as a teacher, [134] simultaneously. [135] Therefore, to hasten his coming, our activities should anticipate each of these two functions.

Tractate Niddah 70b Tefillia without action – One without the other is insufficient. Prayers must be accompanied by action.

Hidden Motives: Just as the spies had hidden motives the same holds true in our times, even among rabbis, rebbes, and Chassidim. This one has a good rabbinical position; this one is an established Admor, and this one has a profitable business or factory, or a prestigious job which provides great satisfaction. They are afraid that their status will decline if they go to Eretz Yisrael (The author of Sefer HaBrit (Vol. 1, 9:16) writes in a similar vein as he bemoans the lengthiness of our exile.) – page 50 EIM HABANIM SEMEICHAH

Do You Anxiously Await Mashiach's Arrival?

In his Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 11:1, the Rambam writes,

In the future, the King Mashiach will arise...Anyone who does not believe in him, or does not await his coming, denies not only [the statements of] the other prophets, but also [those of] the Torah and of Moshe, our teacher.

Implied in the Rambam's statement is that even if a person believes that ultimately Mashiach will come, but does not anxiously await his arrival, he is considered to have denied Judaism's fundamental creed (Chiddushim U'Biurim BeShas, Vol. III, ch. 40).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Shall We Ascend The Mountain?

The Need to Act

The prophet Hoshea says (3-5), "Afterwards the Children of Israel will return and seek out Hashem their G-d and David their king and they will tremble for Hashem and His goodness in the end of days.
Rashi makes a very powerful comment. He says, "The people of Israel were exiled because they rejected three things: the kingdom of Heaven, the kingdom of the House of David and the Beit HaMikdash. R. Shimon ben Menassiya said, 'Israel will not be shown a good sign until they return and (Uvikshu) seek out these three things.'"
Rabbi Yissacher Shlomo Teichtahl in his classic work "Eim Habonim Semeichah" cites this Rashi a number of times as proof for two central ideas. Firstly, that by seeking out Eretz Yisroel one is in fact attempting to acquire all three because they all apply only there. His second point is that "seeking" of necessity means much more than prayer. One cannot fulfill the requirement "to seek" by prayer alone regardless of its sincerity.
King David prays "One thing (Shaalti) I asked of Hashem that shall I seek (Avakesh): would that I dwell in the house of Hashem all of the days of my life to behold the pleasantness of Hashem and to contemplate in His Sanctuary."
What is the difference between Shaalti — asked and Avakesh— seek. "I have asked and I will seek." The former refers to prayers while the latter indicates that David is ready to actively pursue his goal. So too the passage in Hoshea, "Afterwards the Children of Israel shall return and seek" means that they will follow up their prayer with action.
Rav Teichtahl was writing in 1943 urging Jews to seek out Eretz Yisroel. We have thank G-d made great strides forward since those dark days. For us the imperative is to "seek out" Har HaBayit.

Yet we didn't always respond to challenges with the same wisdom and sense of purpose. We made mistakes. We made big mistakes.