Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Adar Commences

In the Midrash Rabba on Meggilas Esther it is noted that the term karahu in:
“Mordechai told him of all that had happened to him (karahu).”(Esther 4:7)
" וַיַּגֶּד-לוֹ מָרְדֳּכַי, אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר קָרָהוּ "
is reminiscent of the wording about Amalek:
“Remember what Amalek did to you on your way out of Egypt. When they encountered you (karcha) one the way, and you were tired and exhausted, they cut off those lagging to your rear, and they did not fear God”(Devarim 25:17-18).
זָכוֹר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה לְךָ עֲמָלֵק, בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם אֲשֶׁר קָרְךָ בַּדֶּרֶךְ, וַיְזַנֵּב בְּךָ כָּל-הַנֶּחֱשָׁלִים אַחֲרֶיךָ--וְאַתָּה, עָיֵף וְיָגֵעַ; וְלֹא יָרֵא, אֱלֹהִים
Mordechai is communicating that these events were linked to an ancient encounter with Amalek as Haman was a descendent of Agag, King of Amalek. Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar - last night R’ Efraim Klein was murdered (HaShem Yinkom Damo) in Crown Heights by cowards of the very same nature. How unfortunate that as we say “m’shenichnas Adar marbim b’simcha” “When Adar comes, joy is increased” - the same vile people that attacked us then attack us now in the same manner. As noted at MysticalPaths it matters not wether it be in Israel, France, Uzbekistan, or Brooklyn. Ultimately however we know that just as in the events of Purim, the evil decree will be overturned “v’nahafoch hu” and we will merit seeing the redemption of our people.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Joys of Youth

Coney Island always has something interesting to say. I was walking along the boardwalk yesterday during some free time I had, when I noticed that the only other people around at the time were the elderly and the young. At another point I noticed a child feeding seagulls which triggered memories of an earlier self that flooded my mind. It was nice to partake in such frivolities when I was just a boy. Life was simple and uncomplicated. Thinking to my self, I came to the conclusion [it was more like a confirmation really] that it is truly a shame we can no longer imbibe in such innocent pleasures during adulthood without seeming like a loon (think of the pigeon-lady in Home Alone 2). Perhaps we are all born with a drop of sagacity that tells us “enjoy being crazy while ya still can” and over time it evaporates with the discovery of greater wisdom. Which reminds me of the adage brought to us by Rabbi Meir in Pirkei Avos Ch. 4:
" אל תסתכל בקנקן, אלא במה שיש בו: יש קנקן חדש, מלא ישן; וישן, אפילו חדש אין בו "
Do not look at the flask but at what is in it; there may be a new flask that is full of old wine and an old flask that does not even have new wine in it.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all have brand new flasks with old wine in it ? I guess we cant really have it both ways... to enjoy the reckless and carefree youth or to enjoy the enlightenment that comes with age. One is sacrificed to the other.

PS - Matisyahu is releasing a new album called "Youth" on March 7th for those of you who dig Judaeo-Reggae .

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tehillim 148: אֵשׁ וּבָרָד שֶׁלֶג וְקִיטוֹר רוּחַ סְעָרָה עֹשָׂה דְבָרוֹ

Tu B'Shvat seemed a bit odd to me this year. It hadn’t really snowed all winter, and then suddenly the heavens dumped 2 feet of it upon us right before Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanos. There was a certain amount of irony in it I felt - but wasnt able to discern what precisely it meant. I played around and found that the Gematria of Sheleg (Snow) is 333, and that Ilan (Tree) is 91... when you subtract 91 from 333 you get 242...The Gematria of Ariel(Lion of HaShem) is 242. Incidentally the holy Ari [Yitzchak Luria] instituted the Tu B'Shvat Seder - vague connections ? Perhaps... but it certainly is striking.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Choosing Torah for Medinat Yisrael

If you are interested in directing the flow of over 1 billion US dollars towards Torah institutions rather than those representing anti-Torah Hellenistic Fascism, than make your presence felt with a Vote for Torah in the 35th World Zionist Congress - this is a historic opportunity for those who believe the “Jewish State” should actually represent Jewish values. There is a nominal registration fee of $7.00, or $5.00 if you are a student - hurry up as registration ends after February 15, 2006. May we merit soon seeing the spiritual nature of the State change for the better in our days.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Learning Like Fish in Memory of Kaduri

The Sage HaRav Kaduri has passed away last week, may his memory be a blessing upon Yisroel. He lived a long life - I have heard and read estimates anywhere between 103 and 111 years of age [birth records were not kept in Ottoman Iraq]. He was laid to rest at the Har HaMenuchos cemetery in Yerushalaim after being escorted there by 300,000 mourners who came to show their respects. Many newspapers have been writing articles about the life he lead and who he was as a man and what he represented. One thing I found of interest was that he was a vegetarian - except for Purim and Erev Yom Kippur on which he would eat some fish. I can only presume that he did such for some deep, hidden and mystical reason - nonetheless I will hypothesize as to why from my shallow perspective. For Purim the astrological [mazel] symbol of the month of Adar is the Fish ‘dagim’ or commonly referred to as Pisces. For Erev Yom Kippur this minhag of fish consumption has been adopted by some based on a Midrash in Bereshis Rabbah 11 . If anyone knows or would like to suggest any other possible reasons for why this righteous man has chosen such a path - I should love to hear it - and in doing so we would be collectively learning something in Rav Kaduri’s memory.