Monday, September 03, 2007

Till further notice, a semi-permanent...

If you are interested in new posts check here: Secrets of Redemption


Thursday, August 16, 2007

HaShem YeRachem

Petach Tikva man dies after setting self on fire

There are many strange happenings occurring throughout the Land...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Purim in the Middle of the Summer ?

Photo: Reuters

Missile-launcher aimed at Gaza!

Group from central Israel makes improvised projectile-launcher, lobs organic eggs, vegetables at Beit Hanoun, Gaza...

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If only they could have used rotten produce to avoid Baal Tashchis it'd have been perfect.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Faithful City - ע֣יר נאמנה


The Haftorah for Parshas Devarim is taken from Sefer Yishayahu wherein we find the following passage:


"שר֣יך סורר֗ים וחברי֙ גנב֔ים כלו֙ אה֣ב ש֔חד ורד֖ף שלמנ֑ים יתום֙ ל֣א ישפ֔טו ור֥יב אלמנ֖ה לא־יב֥וא אליהם"

“Your rulers are rogues and cronies of thieves, every one avid for presents and greedy for gifts; they do not judge the case of the orphan, and the widow's cause never reaches them.”

Sadly this cry of moral outrage is still applicable. Knesset members are being tried in court, numerous MK's are under police investigation, and the leader of the pack has decided to release 250 Arab terrorists. Allegedly none of those released have “blood on their hands”… I don’t think Hitler Yemach Shemo literally had any on his either, but we still appropriately place the blood upon his head for having orchestrated it all. What is the difference between that vile NAZI scum and these murderers who are being freed to bolster a “moderate”? A moderate whose doctoral thesis asserts that the Holocaust never happened and whose henchmen just weeks ago were responsible for tossing their Arab brethren off of rooftops, and killing them in the street execution style? Olmert could not give a damn about the Jewish families shattered by these murderers, for all he cares the orphaned families, and the widows could rot. He and a good chunk of those sitting holding the reigns of power within the government of Israel are greedily concerned with their own skins. Olmert, and those around him have been charged with nepotism, cronyism, and corruption yet we still allow him and them to sit there pretending to represent the Jewish people.

I for one, anticipate the day when the words of the Navi are fulfilled:

"ואש֤יבה ידי֙ על֔יך ואצר֥ף כב֖ר סיג֑יך ואס֖ירה כל־בדיליך ואש֤יבה שפט֙יך֙ כבר֣אשנ֔ה ויעצ֖יך כבתחל֑ה אחרי־כ֗ן יק֤רא לך֙ ע֣יר הצ֔דק קרי֖ה נאמנה"

I will turn My hand against you, and smelt out your dross as with lye, and remove all your slag: I will restore your magistrates as of old, and your counselors as of yore. After that you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City.”

May we merit that day...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Replication


I’ve officially been tagged by the Good Samaritan (literally), Ben-Yehudah of Esser Agaroth. Though normally I would refrain from engaging in this sort of activity, I figured it would be rude of me to ignore the call so here goes.

The rules:

Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

- I’ve been in love with fishing (though I do wonder if it qualifies as Tzaar Baalei Chaim, especially if it is just ‘catch and release’) since I was a toddler.

- My Dad and his brothers were all members of the JDL’s infamous ‘Chaya Squad’.

- If I were not extremely attached to Eretz HaTzvi then I’d choose to live in New Zealand.

- I was a vegetarian for about a year.

- I appreciate ‘urban art’ (aka graffiti) but have become perturbed as of late regarding the ethical aspect of it.

- I was born at the Miamonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, and the RaMBaM is one of my all-time philosophical heroes.

- I own some relatively old coins and as such confer upon myself the pretentious title of “amateur numismatist”.

- My favorite roller coaster of all time is ‘The Cyclone’.

Unfortunately, I do not always have much time to peruse the J-Blogosphere, though here are some bloggers that I have found to be of interest:

Elchonon, Mad Zionist, David Guttman, ManuscriptBoy, RebelJew, ReJewvanator, Beis Runner, and Ben Bayit.

To any of the bloggers who feel me having tagged them was very random, my apologies. Additionally please forgive me if you’ve already been tagged, and I have not realized it. Please do not feel burdened to continue with this meme.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Syncerus caffer


It seems that some sources within Judaism indicate that the things we choose to eat, and in particular the animals we choose to eat carry potent symbolism and messages. Different species embody traits we are either to shun or emulate. The stork, is despite its generosity speciesist (or reflectively ethnocentric), the pig is inherently deceptive… This has led me to consider the dictum “you are what you eat”, particularly in light of some astounding footage that was taken by some tourists on safari in Kruger Park, South Africa. The buffalo’s status as a permitted kosher animal as percieved through the lens of this glimpse into the animal kingdom should encourage us as the Jewish nation to actively and collectively pursue the return of our captives in accord with the Torah’s command of ‘pidyun shvuyim’. If only the raw, natural instinct that drove these buffalo toward the course of action they took would be adopted, then our holy nation would be able to dwell securely within its own Land... sadly it seems that the so called "leaders" in Israel are addicted to a menu of treif spineless jellyfish.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Reishis Tzmichas Geulaseinu

The First Flowering of Our Redemption

I opened up a new blog entitled Secrets of Redemption devoted to poetry (and some other artistic expressions), thematically the content reflects the title... Some folks have a general mistrust of poetry (as they’ve been lead to believe since childhood that it is all a lie, and throughout maturation having been taught - "oh thats just poetic license"), others see it as being entirely effeminate, and most fear it as being indecipherable. However within Judaism we have a very long standing tradition of poets, be it Dovid HaMelech in antiquity, Moshe ibn Ezra, Shmuel HaNagid, Rabbi Yehudah ben Shmuel HaLevi during the High Middle Ages, or HaRav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook in the 20th Century CE. And, although I would never place myself on the same level as such holy sages, I do feel it important to follow their lead and continue the chain of active Jewish poïesis. The creative process itself emanating both from the poet via his/her poetry, and the audience in their interpretation. The power of the word as being an essential component of creation in Judaism is a concept heavily emphasized within Jewish tradition (particularly in the more mystically inclined manifestations of Judaism as is most prominently evidenced in the writings of Avraham ben Shmuel Abulafia). The might of the word is even humorously encapsulated within "magic's" most famous phrase 'Abra Cadabra' or more appropriately 'avra kehdabra' (in Aramaic), translated as “I will create as I speak.” On the more rational end of the spectrum however is Rabbeinu Moshe ben Maimon who for example pointed out to us the limits on our efficaciousness in verbalizing our praise of the Divine, and thus we must acknowledge with humility that our creative ability as expressed in words is in no way on par with the One Creator. Nonetheless, despite such hesitations having been largely ignored throughout history, and while in the modern era this art-form is largely neglected, poetry is certainly not in decay... so without further ado, here is my feeble attempt at perpetuating the long standing legacy that has been bequeathed unto us.

PS: Excellent treatment on the topic of Human Creativity: Art and Halakha

Monday, May 21, 2007

!כ כה כהנ כהנא מברוקלין


Not that I am the biggest fan of Breslov in particular or Chassidus in general - but here goes...

Rebbe Nachman mentioned a "Song of Redemption" that would be revealed before Moshiach's arrival. This song would be in a "single, double, triple, quadruple" form (Likutei Moharan II, #8). Rabbi Yisroel Odesser proposed one, in his "Letter from Heaven" here I propose another. I chanced upon this letter after a long day of not fasting and am certain that it is not of Divine origin.... it states:

It was very hard for me to descend to you, my precious student, to tell you that I benefited greatly from your service. And to you I say, my fire will burn until the coming of the Messiah -- be strong and courageous in your service -- Ka Kaha Kahan Kahane Me'Brooklyn. And with this I shall tell you a secret: Full and heaped up from line to line, and with strong devotional service you will understand it. And the sign is: They will say you are not fasting on the 17th of Tammuz.

I hereby declare that henceforth "I am Ka Kaha Kahan Kahane Me'Brooklyn!"
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PS: To all those Nachmanis out there - please don't get too offended, I say this all in good jest - I always hear Breslovers saying "mitzvah gedolah l'hiyos b'simcha" and laughter is just another way of achieving that end. I intend no disrespect to the deceased - may their merit save us... I would just like to add though if one day I saw large swaths of the Land plastered with
"כ כה כהנ כהנא מברוקלין" I would be brimming with pride...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

נשאר רק שבט יהודה לבדו


I recently came across an article advocating for the creation of a state to be established alongside Israel in the eventuality that there be made attempts to expel the Jews of Yehudah and Shomron from their homes. There may be many practical impediments to the establishment of such a state to be known as the "State of Judea" but for some reason the notion struck a chord within me... This past Shabbos we read Bamidbar aka Parshas Digalim, and in the notes I chanced upon a reference to a Midrash that informs us that the flag of Yehuda was sky blue, and upon it was an image of a lion (Bamidbar Rabba 2) . So with that in mind, I set about creating a flag proposal for the hypothetical future state... and viola! The lion I used in this rendition should be more authentic than the ones Rastafarians use - it is derived from a seal of a servant of Melech Yerovoam discovered on an archaeological dig at Har Meggido in the 1920’s. Yerovoam was a pretty bad dude from Malchus Yisroel, but because of his military conquests he probably felt justified in using the official symbols of Malchus Yehudah. The reference to 'Gur Aryeh Yehudah' [ Yehudah is a lion's cub] is from Bereishis 49:9 . . . I've seen it used on other offerings for a potential flag. Additionally I've been curious whether the lion indigenous to Eretz Yisrael would have been the Barbary lion, the Asiatic lion... or some other possibility - any thoughts?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Yom Yerushalayim - יום ירושלים


"ירושלים הבנויה - כעיר שחברה להּ יחדו"

"The built up Yerushalayim is like a city that is united together"(Tehillim 122:3)

Unfortunately currently this does not seem to be the case while that abomination still sits atop Har HaBayis. Jews are forbidden from praying there - and arrested if their lips are seen in motion on the rare chance the State permits Jewish visitors. A small delegation of Rabbonim ascending makes headline news. I pray and dream for the day that Yerushalayim is just as in the vision described by Dovid HaMelech, and I acknowledge the outright miracles that HaShem has performed for us 1967. However our work is not yet done...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Regret


וְהִתְוַדּוּ, אֶת-חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ

"then they shall confess their sin which they have done"

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I am but a fool unsure of himself

I am the pauper and she is the wealth

Shall I plunder and make her my eternal treasure

Or remain a poor man by any standard or measure

She spoke of blooming flowers whilst I was in the shower

Proclaiming that alls doomed and ever more soured

Redemption however lays upon my lips

Repenting of all the stolen sips

She presumes to know when and if I feel pain

But she surely she must know that I’m struggling to stay sane

My love for her is deep and profound

She is the heavens and I am the ground

I’ve sinned I’ve transgressed I’ve committed iniquity

Yet I know I can return to the Garden ever so blissfully

If only entrance will be granted I swear

Strengthened we’d be from all this despair

Thursday, April 26, 2007

גבעת איתם



Beautiful photographs taken by Menachem Kuchar of a march to Givat Eitam, a hill that will soon God-willing be enveloped by Efrat.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yom HaZikaron 5767


In loving memory of Gila Sara Kessler H"yd, murdered in Yerushalayim on the 9th of Tammuz (the same day it was invaded in churban rishon) 5762 at a bus stop on the French Hill by an Arab bomber. May HaShem avenge the blood of all those who have fallen sanctifying His Name.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Nissan: Redemption on the Horizon




In Nissan our forefathers were redeemed from Egypt and in Nissan we will be redeemed
(Maseches Rosh HaShana 11a)



Friday, March 02, 2007

Freilichin Purim!


This coming Motzei Shabbos commences Purim. Ironically much akin to the events described in Megillas Esther today modern Jewry faces a genocidal threat from a Persian tyrant. I’d even speculate as going so far as to say perhaps Ahmadinejad is a descendant of Haman (himself a descendant of Agag, King of Amalek) – and if not genealogically certainly spiritually. This however should not dishearten us (of course we should do introspection in times of affliction) but we must stand proud, and stand strong. HaShem is with our people and this holy day we are about to celebrate is intended to remind us to put our faith in Him. On a related note, if you are wondering what that image is of (which I borrowed from: SalamIran ), it is the Tomb of Esther and Mordechai, the heroes through which the Divine plan was effectuated – it is located in Hamadan Iran. Many forget though that Jews are not only distant memories of antiquity in Iran… there are still 25,000 Jews still living there. May HaShem protect them and keep them so that we may never be placed in the situation of having to perform the Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim for this population. My fear is that with all the rhetoric being ratcheted up in the global arena we may soon chas v’shalom be placed in this very hard situation. Ahmadinejad laughs in the face of the UN [a joke of an institution] at every obstacle they set before his nuclear ambitions but we can be sure that he will be hung. Towards the end of Midrash Rabbah on Esther it recounts an incident wherein Rabbi Chia Rabbah and Rabbi Shimon ben Chalafta were walking in the Arbel valley when they observed the Ayales HaShachar [the first rays of dawn] and Rabbi Chia Rabbah based on the pasuk in the Meggilah 8:6 [ לַיְּהוּדִים, הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה, וְשָׂשֹׂן, וִיקָר] [The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honour] stated “Such is the redemption of Israel, at first it comes little by little, then it grows rapidly greater”… Now, with the re-establishment of our people in our land currently in progress we can be sure that darkness is in its last throes and as such it is taking great (but futile) measures to attempt to preserve itself. Our day is on the horizon, and it will soon be clear as day – and our enemies shall fall. May HaShem continue to bless His nation with might, and bless His nation with peace.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Modern Revelations?


We live in interesting times. It seems the pace at which things are moving are faster than ever. I am not sure whether it’s a matter of perception, a change in reality, or the confluence of events in the world coinciding with technologies that make information so instantaneously available. What I do know is that it is different [though, then again – most people believe the age in which they personally are living in to be of paramount significance and perhaps justifiably so]. I was recently at a friend’s house whose family is very into natural living, organic lifestyles, vegetarianism etc., and I picked up a magazine that had been sitting on their coffee table and began reading it. Within, there were many advertisements for the advice and help of various gurus, witchdoctors, shamans, so on and so forth… basically though probably well intentioned – quacks. However there was one article that referenced something known as Indigo Children, and this piqued my interest. Most of the attributes that these children possess sound more like a ben sorer umorer, however that is not what interested me. Allegedly these children have abilities that are of a seemingly spiritual nature, such as telekinesis, psychic talent, and communication with the “unseen world”. This reminded me of a now defunct website that had been around for a while that recorded the thoughts of a Jewish six year old boy in the NYC area that professedly was revealing ideas regarding Moshiach’s eminent arrival as per conversations with his father. Of course, it entirely could have been fakery, but nonetheless we do have a tradition according to the Zohar of the potentiality for such a scenario and its validity.

Zohar on Parshas Vayera : "Rabbi Shimon continued: HaKadosh Baruch Hu, does not wish that too much be revealed to the world. But when the Days of Moshiach are near, even infants in the world will discover the secrets of Wisdom and, through them, know how to calculate and figure the End of Days. At that time, it will be revealed to everyone. Therefore, it is written: "For then will I turn to the peoples a pure language..." (Tzefanyah 3:9). What is meant by "then"? It means at the time when the Knesses Yisrael shall rise from the dust, and HaKadosh Baruch Hu, shall raise her up. Then, "I will turn to the peoples a pure language that they may all call upon HaShem and serve Him with one consent"."

However that in and of itself of course is not enough of a justification for acceptance. We know that even within Orthodoxy the Zohar is not entirely accepted by everyone as being an authentic sefer to be learned – for example the RaMBaM oriented Dor Daim of Yemen who follow the judgments of the sefer Milchamos HaShem, lambast it as stinking of avodah zarah. Personally I am no expert on the matter and will reserve my opinion for a future date at which time I will God willing be more learned. Nonetheless I could not help but recall the stories I had heard about this child, and the passage of the Zohar referencing the intuitive capacity for young children in the days preceding Moshiach’s arrival. It may very well be that these alleged “Indigo Children” are simply spoiled brats, pampered by their parents into negative behaviors, an instance of a father who read too much into his son’s imagination, and an over-acceptance of the Zohar’s authenticity within Orthodox Judaism that led me to ponder these things – however it is very tantalizing and seducing to be able to point to concrete evidence of how close something is that we yearn so greatly for. Honestly, I want to believe these children have powers, and the boy in NYC had visions, and that the Zohar is dead on about this topic… it has great emotional appeal – but it may be a bit irrational, illogical and not in line with what the Torah wants of us. Before I run off accepting such ideas, it is probably best for me to recall “Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai taught: If you have a fruit-tree on your hands and someone says to you: Here is the Moshiach. Go and finish planting your fruit-tree just the same, and afterwards go out and welcome the Moshiach.” (Avos d’Rabi Nasan 31).

Perhaps I am best off continuing with the work at hand, conscientiously with full force, and not allow myself to be concerned with such proclamations - it is in the hands of heaven, and when Moshiach arrives I will not be plagued with questions of rationalism - it will {I hope} be blatantly obvious to all.