Friday, January 28, 2011

Mishpatim - Seeing and hearing

Why is the first of the Mishpatim specifically the law of the Jewish slave? What is the significance of the fact that his ear is pierced at the doorpost? Why is he reminded of what he 'heard' at Sinai, as opposed to what he 'saw?' How is he remember what he 'heard' if he wasn't there? What is the significance of his 'six' years of work? Why do the Jewish people accept the word of Hashem multiple times? Why does the first time only involve a statement of 'we will do,' as opposed to the second time where they also said, 'we will listen?' What is the significance of the twelve monuments? Why does Moshe go to sleep in the middle? What is the parallel to Yakov and his twelve sons?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some more thoughts

Over Shabbos, and continuing until today, I have had a few thoughts that I found inspiring and wanted to share with you. On Friday night, when I came home from davening, I opened up the Mishpacha magazine, and I read something that was so exciting, it literally made me sing with joy. It was an article about the PA's bid for international recognition, which is slowly but surely gaining momentum. The article said that Netanyahu was presented with the scenario of the 'Palestinians' (who henceforth will be appropriately called 'Arabs') unilaterally declaring statehood. Norway has already called for an Arab state in Judaea and Samaria (commonly called the 'West Bank') in 2011, and similar types of recognition are coming out of the EU, as well as others. The article stressed that the Obama administration would likely take the side of the Arabs on border issues, and considers such places as Beitar, Ramat Eshkol (my sister lives there), Neveh Yakov (my brother-in-law lives there), and the Har Habayis (our hearts live there) to be 'settlements' that should ultimately end up in the hands of the Arabs. The Arab prime-minister, stated the article, is respected in the world at large for his expertise in finance, and thus, when the Arabs have a government that seems to be functioning, the time would be ripe for them to declare a state. The ramifications of this type of declaration on the half a million Jews living within the Judaea and Samaria areas would be tumultous, and certainly so for those who are more in the heart of that area, as opposed to the 'green line' itself. To me, this was extremely exciting, as it seems Hashem is forcing the Moshiach process forward with ever-increasing speed. It does not take a lot of imagination to picture what will happen when Yishmael stakes its claim to the heart of our Holy Eretz Yisrael. This clearly is a definitive representation of Yishmael's claim that they are the true heirs of Avraham, which will be met with a cosmic response from the people of Yisrael, whose claim is the true claim. And, of course, the scene will center around Jerusalem.

Now, I have spoken of Jerusalem on a few different occasions, but a deep thought came to me that has to do with some information I have shared more recently. We mentioned the concept that the Ramchal teaches, which is that Binyamin is the one who serves to unite Moshiach ben Yosef (represented by Yosef) and Moshiach ben Dovid (represented by Yehuda). Yehuda had guaranteed to return Binyamin safely to his father Yakov, and that guarantee was challenged when Yosef threatened to take Binyamin as his slave. Yosef had orchestrated this scenario in order to create a full tikkun for Yehuda's role in selling him years before. By standing up for Binyamin, as Yosef knew he would have to, Yehuda rectified the sin of selling Yosef and creating a tear in the fabric of the Jewish people. That seam was sewn together through his defiance of Yosef, his protection of Binyamin, and allowed Yosef to reveal himself and complete the reunification with his brothers. This unification of the Jewish people was what allowed the Divine Presence to return to them, as occurred when Yakov learned that Yosef was still alive. The unity of the Jewish people is a prerequisite for the Shechina to dwell upon them, and in turn, upon the world. The physical location of this revelation in the world is Jerusalem, and more specifically, the Temple mount. It is not a coincidence that this very location is situated on the border between the portions of Yehuda and Binyamin. The guarantee of Yehuda to protect Binyamin was what created the reunification of the Jewish people in the past, and that bond would always represent their unity, and the resulting Presence of Hashem that would be placed upon us.

With this understanding, we start to see how important Jerusalem is in the Moshiach ben Yosef process. Just as Yosef could not reveal himself until Yehuda stood up for Binyamin and created that bond, Moshiach ben Yosef will not reveal himself until their is an opportunity for the Jewish people to acknowledge their bond with Jerusalem, the place that represents Jewish unity and the Divine Presence. As I mentioned in a previous post, it would seem that Hashem is orchestrating events in such a way that Jerusalem's rightful Jewish ownership will be challenged. This itself will serve to cause the Jewish people - everywhere - of all stripes and types - to stand up for her, to acknowledge her and to stand by her side, as Yehuda did with Binyamin. This, itself, will be the tikkun for the sin that caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, which was Sinas Chinam - baseless hatred - a lack of unity. Hashem needs us to identify with the Jewish people, to identify with Jerusalem, to identify with the pain of the Shechina.

I mentioned my excitement about the Mishpacha article to a neighbor, and I was handed a book called "Fascinating Torah Prophecies" by Rabbi Nisan Aryeh Novick, which was published in 1997. I was intrigued by this little book that did not mention Moshiach ben Yosef and had no reference to Kol Hator, but still made all of the same observations that we have been making. The most remarkable thing was a midrash he quoted at the very beginning of his book, which was basically a conversation between Yakov and his sons after they had decimated the people of the city of Shechem. He berated them for having done this deed, as it could potentially arouse the surrounding people of Canaan to battle with the children of Israel. Yakov stressed that it was not the right time to have such a battle, as the Jewish people had not yet reached the number of 600,000 which is essential for them to be unbeatable. R' Novick marveled at the fact that the Jewish population of Israel in 1948, just prior to the war of independence was just above 600,000. He also remarked how the national census in Israel just prior to the 1967 war placed the number of males over the age 20 (of army age) at just a bit more than 600,000.

The greater significance of this to me was that I had recently mentioned to my wife that the Jewish population in Israel is nearing the six million mark. As the Ramchal mentions (I believe it in his sefer Kinas Hashem Tzeva'kos), the number 600,000 is significant because it is really the number six (divided or multiplied by 10x10x10x10x10, because the sefiros are each made of up ten sefiros, which are in turn made up of 10, ad infinitum), which corresponds to the male concept, which in turn corresponds to Yosef. 600,000 thus represents the power of Moshiach ben Yosef, which came into force in 1948, and again in 1967. This power is about to be ready to be unleashed once more in the near future, as we hit 6,000,0000, which is ten times the 600,000 of 1948. It is remarkable that at each moment where a significant 600,000 was reached, within a short time there was some necessity to use that power in the Moshiach ben Yosef process. This observation, combined with the PA's movement toward recognition, is hard to ignore.

I would like to share one last thought on Moshiach ben Yosef which occurred to me this morning, with Hashem's help. I was learning the sefer "Inner Space" by R' Aryeh Kaplan. On pages 90-91, he mentions the fact that after Kayin killed Hevel, he repented from his sin, and received a lighter sentence than had originally been handed down by Hashem. When Adam saw this, he inquired as to why he had not received the full brunt of his punishment. Hashem explained that Kayin had done Teshuva. At that point, it was 130 years after the sin of Adam, and he realized that he could do Teshuva, and both he and Chava did so. They had been apart for those 130 years, and they came back together and conceived Shes (Seth). They accomplished a tikkun for the sin of the eitz HaDa'as - the tree of knowledge. This brought them back into a state of Da'as with each other - the Da'as union of their marriage that would create Shes.

It was remarkable to me that this tikkun for the sin of Adam, which corresponds to the job of Moshiach ben Yosef, and the events that we are currently witnessing, was prompted by the death of Hevel and the subsequent teshuva of Kayin. As mentioned in a previous post, Hevel was an aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef, and thus, it would seem to parallel the death of Moshiach ben Yosef himself in the future, which the Gemara says will serve to cause the Jewish people to repent completely, bringing about the era of Moshiach. Although the Gra's understanding is that "Od Yosef Chai" - Moshiach ben Yosef will not die - we still have an aspect of Moshiach ben Yosef's death that is seen throughout the reality of the Jewish people today. The very fact that the Jewish people does not recognize the importance of living in Israel is itself a certain type of death of Moshiach ben Yosef. The fact that the deeper wisdom of the Torah is, in a certain sense, rejected by the Orthodox world, is also a certain aspect of death of Moshiach ben Yosef. The sorry state of the relationships of the Jewish people, whether it is the shidduch crisis, the at-risk youth issues, or the internet difficulties that so many face - all of these are aspects of the fallen state of Da'as, the death of Moshiach ben Yosef. Somehow, in Hashem's greater plan, all of these aspects of the death of Moshiach ben Yosef will serve to awaken the Jewish people to repent and complete a full Teshuva - to act as the Yehuda standing up for Binyamin, to finally bring back our relationships from their state of destruction back into a state of perfection. Then we will finally see the Divine Presence dwelling in our lives and the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash on the Har Habayis, where It will be apparent for all to see.

P.S. Just thought it important to remark that the day in Tammuz that corresponds to Rosh Chodesh Av of last year is 22/23 Tammuz, which is July 24/25. It is toward the end of the month, because the way you get to that date is by calculating two thirds of the year. Since this year consists of 13 months, the moment of 12:30 is a week or so before Rosh Chodesh Av.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Moshiach blog

All are invited to a new blog, by R' Daniel Krentzman, entitled "Mashiach Awareness." It is now on my blog roll.

In his words, "I decided to try and put all my Mashiach ben Yosef stuff on one blog that I can reference people to, instead of sending individual works out to people through e-mail, which has been happening more often these days."

I am sure everyone will continue to benefit from R' Krentman's wonderful Moshiach Torah.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Yisro - Light in the darkness

What is the significance of the advice of Yisro to Moshe to delegate his responsibilities? Why is this advice specifically given by Yisro, someone who has tried every form of idolatry? Why is the Torah given in the darkness? What is the significance of the holiday of Tu b'shvat? Why do we celebrate the New Year of the trees in the dead of winter?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Amalek, antithesis of the crown

Guest post by R' Daniel Krentzman

"ויבא עמלק וילחם עם ישראל ברפידים. ויאמר משה אל יהושע בחר לנו אנשים וצא הלחם בעמלק, מחר אנכי נצב בראש ומטה הא-לקים בידי. ויעש יהושע כאשר אמר לו משה להלחם בעמלק ומשה אהרן וחור עלו ראש הגבעה. והיה כאשר ירים משה ידו וגבר ישראל וכאשר יניח ידו וגבר עמלק"

“Amalek came and battled Yisrael in Rifidim. Moshe said to Yehoshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, do battle with Amalek; tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of G-d in my hand’. Yehoshua did as Moshe commanded him, to do battle with Amalek; and Moshe, Aharon and Chur ascended to the top of the hill. It happened that when Moshe would raise his hand Yisrael was stronger, and when he lowered his hand Amalek was stronger”

-(Bereishis 17:8-11)

We find that Moshe, Aharon, Chur and Yehoshua make up what can be referred to as the: "מערכת הקודש", or “Holy Assembly”; the power of kedusha which does battle against the spiritual enemy of Amalek.

This is connected to the concept which appears in Pirkei Avos (4:17) which teaches that there are three crowns: The crown of Torah, the crown of Kehunah, priesthood, and the crown of Malchus, Kingship.

Moshe manifested the crown of Torah and Aharon the crown of Kehunah. The crown of Malchus is actually divided into two, just as the Malchus of Yisrael is made of the Malchus of Mashiach ben Yosef and of the Malchus of Mashiach ben David. Thus, Yehoshua manifested to the crown of Kingship as Mashiach ben Yosef and Chur manifested the crown of Kingship of Mashiach ben David.

We find Amalek comes against each component of the "מערכת הקודש" according to its specific character and quality. The Torah says:

"זכור את אשר עשה לך עמלק בדרך בצאתכם ממצרים אשר קרך בדרך...".

Rashi presents three possible interpretations of the phrase:

"אשר קרך". Each one manifests a different attack of Amalek against one of the three “crowns” of the "מערכת הקודש":

One possible meaning of: "קרך" is a language of: "מקרה", meaning “chance” or “happenstance”.

This is because Amalek denied G-d’s direct involvement and providence in the world and claimed that the world functioned according to nature and chance alone. This is completely antithetical to the way the Torah teaches us that G-d is involved in everything that happens in the world and guides the Jewish people according to His direct providence.

The Torah itself is all about G-d’s active role in creation and his continuous involvement in guiding the world toward its intended purpose. Thus Amaleks’ attacking the Jewish people was in essence, an attack against the “crown of Torah” and everything that the Torah expresses about G-d’s direct relationship with the Jewish people.

Also, the foundation of Torah and fulfillment of the mitzvos is dependant upon "אמונה", “faith”, in Hashem. ChaZaL taught (Makkos 24a) that the whole Torah can be said to be rooted in having total faith in Hashem. Amalek represents lack of faith and true belief in G-d, which is why the word "עמלק" shares the same gematria as "ספק", meaning “doubt”.

Another possible meaning of: "קרך" is a language of "קרי" and "טומאה", “sexual impurity” and “ritual impurity”.

This relates to how Amalek is antithetical to the spiritual kedusha represented by Aharon, “the crown of Kehunah”.

Firstly, Kehunah is all about remaining holy and pure in the service of Hashem. Tumah and the approach that nothing is sacred or holy through being connected to Hashem and his Shechinah, is totally against what Aharon and the Kehunah represent.

It follows that a Kohen could only serve in the Beis HaMikdash in a state of purity and, for example, a seminal emission (called "קרי") would disqualify him, until he purified himself. One of the most important parts of the Kohen Gadol’s Yom Kippur preparations was to remain pure from a seminal emission (Yoma 1:4).

Also, we see that “Kedushas HaBris”, “guarding against sexual impurity” is an essential part of Kehunah through that which is says regarding Pinchas ben Elazar’s reception of the Kehunah:

"הנני נתן לו את בריתי שלום"", “Behold I give him My covenant of peace”. On a deeper level, this verse connects the concept of Kehunah with the concept of "ברית", that is, guarding one’s bris from misuse and sexual impurity ("קרי") and remaining holy and distinguished in Hashem’s service.

This is also what Amalek came to fight against, which was expressed by their mutilation of the slain Jews’ by cutting off the area of the bris milah and casting them upward as a gesture of defiance toward G-d (Tanchuma 10, parshas Ki Seitzei).

The third interpretation of : "קרך" is a language of "קור", meaning “cooling off” from heat.

The Midrash (Tanchuma 9) explains that Amalek’s attack against the Jewish people “cooled off” the “heat” of the Jewish people, as it were; for the nations were afraid to do battle with them, but by Amalek coming and battling with them, they opened the possibility for others to do the same, and thus “cooled off” the “heat” of the Jews, who were like a hot bath whom no one was willing to step into, until Amalek came and, although burning themselves, jumped in and cooled off the bath; encouraging others to follow suit.

The purpose of the exalted status, sovereignty and power that Jewish people are meant to obtain, is all intended to manifest the true authority and sovereignty of Hashem, in the world.

The prophets teach us that nations of the world come to recognize G-d’s providence and power over all nations and peoples through the ultimate elevation of the Jewish people; who, from their position of greatness, will come to elevate the rest of the world and teach them to know and serve Hashem.

This concept of the world in its rectified state is referred to as:

"תיקון עולם במלכות ש-די", “World rectification resulting from the establishment of G-d’s Malchus, sovereignty”. This is achieved through the establishment of the Jewish people’s Malchus and authority, in the eyes of the nations. Only from this position of respect and reverence can the Jewish people fully guide all of mankind to reach their potential, in the knowledge and service of G-d.

When the Jewish people left Egypt, after Hashem had performed the wondrous miracles, it had established the Jewish people’s unique elevated status as G-d’s people. All the nations knew what of this and feared G-d and His chosen, sovereign people.

Amalek sought to depreciate and devalue this level of Malchus that the Jewish people had achieved and, in essence, challenge the notion G-d’s Malchus in the world. This is why the Torah says (Shemos 17:16): "כי יד על כס י-ה מלחמה לה' בעמלק מדר ודר", “For there is a hand on the throne of G-d: Hashem maintains a war against Amalek from generation to generation”.

The “Throne” (כסא) of G-d is missing the letter "א" and is spelled as: "כס", to show that His Malchus (represented by the “Throne”) is not complete as long as Amalek is around to counter it.

Because Amalek, essentially represents the constant challenge against the holy Malchus of Hashem and His people, the Torah commands the Jewish king, who represents the Malchus of the nation and G-d, with going to war and wiping out Amalek (Rambam Hilchos Melachim ****). This is also why Shaul, the first king, was charged with utterly destroying Amalek; and why his failure in doing so brought about the loss of his kingship (see Shmuel I, 15).

Thus, we see that Amalek comes against the holy crown of Malchus in the Jewish people, and ultimately, the Malchus of Hashem.

Therefore, to battle against Amalek successfully we must learn from the Torahs example of Moshe, Aharon, Chur and Yehoshua, and give strength to the three holy spiritual crowns of Torah, Kehunah and purity and Malchus, each person according to his abilities.

In an individual manner, it can be achieved through strengthening ourselves in Torah Li’Shmah, Torah for Hashem’s sake and not ulterior motives or as a pretense for causing dispute and disunity among the Jewish people.

Kehunah, through guarding ourselves in the area of Kedushas HaBris; and Malchus through accepting G-d’s kingship upon ourselves and sanctifying G-d’s name among each other and among the nations of the world.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Beshalach - Water, prophecy and song

Why is the climax of the Exodus specifically at Yam Suf, a body of water?
What is the significance of the fact that there was an incredible level of prophecy at yam suf? Why does the Torah stress, a number of times, that the water was a wall for them, to their right and left? What is the secret of the three verses of 72 letters and the 72 letter name of Hashem? What is the deep connection to Succos, where we see that the 72 letter name is used, as per Rashi in Succah? What is the deeper connection between water, ruach hakodesh, and song? Why did each of the twelve tribes get their own path? What is the significance of the miracle that they were able to see through the water and view each of the other tribes? Why was Moshe back involved in this miracle, after being left out of bechoros?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 22:36

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Moshiach 5771 - part 2

So, of course, you can't keep a good man down. Despite my last post, which was pretty forthright about predictions, I will share with you some thoughts that I have had recently about Moshiach and this year that may end up sounding a bit contradictory to what I wrote... Just remember that what I am writing is my hergesh - my feeling - and not fact. It is also not a prediction, and it is not meant to be concrete in any way.

When I wrote the whole post about Mincha Gedolah and Rosh Chodesh Av of 5770, there was more than one comment about the fact that the counting that we do of the years is based on the first year of creation being the year 1. If we would count from the year 0, as we normally do when thinking of the age of a person, we would actually be in the year 5770 right now, not 5771. According to this counting, we will actually reach Mincha Gedolah in the current year, in Tammuz, as it is also a leap year. Now, what is truly interesting is that there is always a concept of אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים, which means that there are always multiple perspectives and ways to look at each matter. As I understand it in this context, there are two layers of 5770, one which occurred last year, which, we could say, is a more hidden layer, and the one that occurs this year, which may be the more revealed aspect of it. For me personally, Rosh Chodesh Av was a significant point in my life, perhaps even the beginning of a new stage in my life. I do see myself very strongly in the role of the general tafkid of Moshiach ben Yosef. (I am not Moshiach! Just have strong aspects of his mission as part of my psyche, as per Kol Hator's second bechina of MBY - many multiple individuals who take part in MBY's mission.) In any event, my hergesh tells me that there is something that is going on right now in the mission of Moshiach ben Yosef which is getting concretized, started Rosh Chodesh Av of 5770, and will continue until Tammuz of 5771. I want to stress something which I mentioned in that post, which is that the nature of Moshiach ben Yosef is to remain hidden behind the scenes. This is true even when he starts to show his face - it is still in a hidden fashion. Just food for thought.

I was recently thinking about something which I have mentioned to a number of audiences over the past few days. I sang for a seminary on Friday night here in Ramat Bet Shemesh which has a strong Tzioni bent, and I also sang last night for a yeshiva. In both contexts I mentioned the fact that one has to be blind to what is going on in Eretz Yisrael right now. The Jewish population is nearing six million. When that is taken in contrast with the approximately 600,000 that were here in 1948, it is actually quite mind boggling. Compare the number to the miniscule amount of Jews that were here in the early 1800s, the miracle of the Jewish people's return to Israel in the current age is no less great than the hidden miracle of Purim. Just like one has to read the Megilla from start to finish and put the pieces together, one must take a purview of history and put the pieces together. When one does so with an open heart and an open mind, it is hard to ignore. What hit me so hard when I was thinking about this was the fact that the Jewish people are asking for Moshiach every day, three times a day. We bentch and we mention the rebuilding of Jerusalem. We end off each speech, no matter the topic, with mention of the advent of Moshiach. And the thing is - he's already here! We are guessing when he's going to come, and we are saying this year will be the year - and the truth is that it's all true! This is the year. And so was 5768, and so was 5769, and so was 5770. It's really no different than the Purim story, where each and every step - from Esther becoming the queen to Mordechai catching the plot to kill the king, etc. - all were geulah points and steps in the process. Purim is such a wonderful mashal for what is going on because Mordechai and Esther were aspects of Moshiach ben Yosef, and they were involved in a hidden geulah, similar to our current geulah process. In any event, the power of this is that 'He's finally here' is really true. Moshiach is here. His name is Moshiach ben Yosef, and by definition he hides himself - but he's there!

I was really moved by the following thought that Hashem gave me. When the brothers first came down to Egypt to get food for their families, the ten of them came in through different entrances in order to look for Yosef, to find where he had been sold, and to perhaps redeem him. This was what gave the 'viceroy' an excuse to accuse them of being spies. Now, the intense irony was that they were looking for Yosef - and they found him! They just did not recognize him. It is such a wonderful mashal for where we are today. The Jewish people is pining for a salvation from all of our problems. We are inundated with relationship issues, no different than in the times of Yosef himself - family issues and rebellious youth, lacks in communication. We are waiting for Moshiach, really, looking for Yosef, trying to find him from any direction - coming into Egypt from ten different entrances. And we are staring at Yosef in the face - and we don't recognize him! He's here! Moshiach is finally here! Rabosai, it is time to wake up! Why are we still in America? Why are we still in Europe? Why are we everywhere but here? He's moving the process along slowly behind the scenes, and it is not yet the right moment to reveal himself, because the Jewish people have not yet completed their tikkun, just as the brothers of Yosef had not yet done so. But we are oh so close. It is the time, my friends.

I was also hit the other day with another powerful thought, another gift from Hashem. I have had the opportunity to deal with a certain issue that is facing the Jewish people. This is the issue of the internet, which I can deeply thank Hashem for the fact that the internet is not a source of nisayon for myself. But for most of the Jewish people, it is an intense test. It is so intense that for many, it is not even a test, because there is almost no choice but to fall in. It is a test that is unprecedented in all of Jewish history. Every single home has a tool with which one can fall into the darkest, most destructive forms of psychological damage known to man, through the many evocative images and pornographic content available with the touch of a button. The intensity of the problem is one that astounds and confounds Jewish educators everywhere - and the educators themselves face the same test as the ones they seek to help! I personally believe that there is salvation in powerful tools like group therapy (as are starting now in the Jerusalem and Ramat Bet Shemesh area), as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with a qualified practitioner. Unfortunately, the magnitude of the problem is not something that will be solved in a simple and sweeping manner. What struck me so deeply was that this is the greatest sign that we are mamish holding at the end. R' Mendel and R' Shimon Kessin both speak of the Yetzer Hara - the Satan - at the end of time. It is like a star that is at the end of its cycle, about to burn out and end its life. At that point, briefly, before it dies, it becomes a supernova and releases the light of ten stars. The yetzer hara is slaughtered with the advent of Moshiach - his role is completely transformed as he moves out of the inside of man and becomes an external force. He knows this, and will not take this without a fight. Thus, as he is about to be bested, he puts up his greatest fight. He throws off the light of ten stars in intense battle. This is the nisayon of the internet - it is the yetzer hara's last stand. He wants so badly to destroy us and pull us down - and he is succeeding! But it is just a show. He's about to fall and die. He is about to be extinguished. My friends, we are witnessing the final battles being played out in front of us, in our very homes, in the privacy of our own most secret thoughts. It is do or die.

And this is the battle of Yosef - the battle with forbidden sexual pleasures. This is the battle that has many, or even most individuals falling into and failing with. But at the same time, there are those who are fighting and winning. There are those who realize that even the one time out of ten that they overcome - that is a success. The gemara in Succah says that when Moshiach comes, Hashem slaughters the yetzer hara, and everyone cries. The Tzadikim (righteous) cry, because the yetzer hara seems to have been a mountain, and they overcame him. The reshaim (evil ones) cry, because they envision him as a hair, and they were unable to overcome it. My thought on this chazal was that the difference in power between a sin today as opposed to the victory of overcoming that sin - is between a hair and a mountain. The spiritual power of that victory is so intense that it is like a mountain in comparison with the deleterious effect of the sin, which is a hair. This is not to minimize the effect of the sin. It is just to give us a true perspective of the power of doing what's right. The yetzer hara is on his way out, and he is going down kicking. There is a once in history opportunity for each on of us to act in the bechina of Moshiach ben Yosef, to latch onto a picture of Yakov Avinu, of spiritual purity - to literally aid the Moshiach ben Yosef process and bring about the final tikkun for the sin of Adam harishon. This sin created the concept of shame and nakedness, of the misuse of the sexual capacity of man for disconnection instead of connection. It is now the final moment when we are battling to take back the proper use of our means of connection. It is a difficult battle, of the order of Yosef's test with potifar's wife - a daily battle with no obvious victory. But if we are strong and face it with courage, perhaps we will indeed see Moshiach in the year 5771.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Moshiach 5771?

The following comment was left on my post from the Ramchal:
Ari appreciate if you wrote on the significance of the torah codes of rabbi glazerson and the holy spirit of mordec hai elyahu ztzl connecting him to YIOSEF!I believe thev soul of yosef ie the nrn is divided among 2 maybe 3 people someones tikkun is the neshamah anothers the ruach anothers the nefesh , pollard is definitely connected to one of the lower 2 . Also a blog about the korean threat lilit , atomic holocaust , barak obama 5771 ! in glazersons torah codes . It looks like this really is the year !!!!!!!

This is my response:

You may have noticed that my posts have been sparse - few and far between. I was asked to comment on different predictions and events that are going around the Moshiach blogoshere. First, I would like to proudly tell you that it has been six months since I have looked at any blogs, other than my own. Rosh Chodesh Av was that turning point for me. It has also been a year and four months since I have looked at news websites on the internet. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment, as I was totally hooked before. The irony of it was that I only started being interested in the news as a result of reading the autistic books. While I can say that my obsession about Moshiach had some positive results, some of the results were undesirable - resulting in a tremendous waste of time, from a few different perspectives. What I can say is that I learned a big lesson - we must wait for Moshiach every day and know that he can come at any moment. But I think it is extremely unhealthy to always be looking and/or believing that "This is it!" I refuse to look at any autistic sites ever again - I believe they are totally bogus and if there is anything there, it is coming from the side of tumah (impurity). Predictions based on Torah codes are pure conjecture. Even codes that you find after the fact, as far as I am concerned, are in question. You can find Torah codes talking about the Christian version of Moshiach as well. To me, this is just an example of Hashem showing possibilities and maintaining free will. I have come to firmly believe that Moshiach's advent, at least in the stage we are in, is a gradual process. We can see the process if we take a purview of history. We can even see the process speeding up in recent history. I don't believe we will see any instant miraculous type of movement in the process until after Moshiach ben Yosef himself actually reveals his identity. Moshiach ben Dovid's advent is miraculous and fast, as per the Or Hachaim on the passuk in the bracha of Bilaam (דרך כוכב מיעקב וקם שבט מישראל). To believe that Moshiach will come this year, as far as I'm concerned, is fine. To say that he will definitely come this year is simply foolish. The autists said he would come in 5768. When that didn't happen, they changed it to 5769. Frankly, no one can say when he will come. Will he come this year? I hope so. I can't give a lot of credence to any predictions. We simply don't know, and the nature of the world is that the end is always changing, because it is dependent on our free will choices. The Jewish people as a whole must choose their path, and depending on their choices and the way Hashem must respond to those choices, that will determine when and how and what and where. The process will continue in any event. The speed of the process, however, does depend on us. As far as Rav Mordechai Eliyahu - That was another disappointment, as he had the watches which were supposed indicate Moshiach's arrival when they hit twelve. Well, they've hit twelve, and we are still waiting. I'm sick of hearing about signs and significance. I am happy to talk about the Moshiach process. I had the chance to sing and speak last night to a seminary, and they enjoyed my discussion on Moshiach. I made it clear, however, that it is a process, and we can't know when it will reach its peak. I do believe it is gaining momentum, and I do believe that Pollard is connected to Yosef. But to what degree? How significant would it be if he was released? I don't know. Anyone who will predict will look foolish when he is freed and nothing happens. What is the point of all these predictions? What do we gain? A deeper sense of connection to Hashem? A deeper yearning for Moshiach? Study the Ramchal and learn about what life is about. You will naturally want Moshiach. You will want that time when we can experience spirituality openly and serve Hashem without the distractions of the world we now know. You will want to see a time when the moon is full, when the Jewish people completely reflect a higher reality, where our relationships are whole and perfect again, where the lion lies with the lamb, and one nation will not lift a sword toward another. The study of what life is all about will awaken within you a desire for a world where that goal is feasible and attainable. Guessing that the time will come this year will not. It will just paralyze you from accomplishing what you can in your life. Let's stop wasting our time on the internet and start learning and teaching others what life is really about. That is what will bring Moshiach.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bo - Keser and Malchus

Why were the first nine plagues performed by Moshe or Ahron, but the plague of the firstborn was done by Hashem Himself? Why did the Jews have to do something active to be excluded from the plague, as opposed to the previous plagues where this was not necessary? What is the significance of the blood being placed on the doorpost? Why did this plague occur precisely at midnight? What is deeper significance of the parallel of the midrash between the Pesach offering and the binding of Yitzchak?

Find out in this week's Parsha Podcast.

Running time: 20:05