Friday, April 21, 2017

Shmini - Revealing Hashem's Glory

What is needed for 'Hashem's Glory to be revealed?' How are the barriers removed that stand between the Jewish people and Hashem? What is the purpose of the sacrifices in the Mishkan-tabernacle? How does one infuse one's mitzvah observance with Hashem's presence? What is the natural spiritual state of a Jew?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:41

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Asking Hashem for what I want vs. what I need

One of my favorite topics is the idea of bitachon - trust. I have been listening for years to the shiurim on this topic of my Rosh Yeshiva, R' Yechiel Perr. I recently got a book that he recommended as part of the shiur called "The Six Steps of Bitachon" by R' Chaim Goldberger. This book lays down a framework that can work for anyone. Among the steps is determining that the thing one is asking Hashem for is a 'need.' Then one goes about developing one's trust in Hashem that the need will be filled.

My question is this: Can I only get what I 'need' from Hashem? Can I ask Hashem for something I want?

I would like to believe that Hashem is like a loving parent. As a parent, of course I provide my children with their needs. But I also often provide them with their wants, even if they are not needs. This is part of the way I show love for them.

So can I trust Hashem that He will provide me with my wants?

Part of my personal challenge is that I often am propelled into action by need much more often than by want. "Urgent and Important" is a much greater motivator than "Important but not Urgent."

And I often feel like Hashem is constantly providing me with my needs, but I don't feel as much that He is providing my wants.

But it is often true that my relationship with Hashem is a reflection of my relationship with myself.

So, could it be that I only get what I 'need' from Hashem because I only give motivate myself with 'need?' What if I started doing the things I don't 'need' to do, but rather they are things I 'want' to do - things that are important, but not urgent. Maybe then I would be better able to receive from Hashem the things I 'want,' not just what I 'need.'

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pesach - Rose of the Valley

What is the difference between a Chavatzelet-rose and a Shoshana-rose? What is the parallel between our sojourn in Egypt and the many challenges we have faced as a nation? What is the parallel between the exodus and the final redemption? What is the idea of the song that we sang then and that we will sing in the future?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:44

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tzav - Finding Peace

What is the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices? How does the study of Torah assure the Jewish people that they need not fear the heaviness of the idea of the sacrifices? What is the concept of the Shelamim-Peace sacrifice? Why does the concept of Peace always come last? What is the depth of the importance of peace? How does peace relate to the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:03

Friday, March 31, 2017

Vayikra - Servant Leadership

How is the average Israelite meant to approach the book of Leviticus which seems to contain mostly laws for Kohen-priests? What is the take home lesson for us when the midrash speaks about Moshe's special relationship with Hashem? What is the meaning of Hashem's reference to the Jewish people as 'His?' How can we relate to someone else's 'specialness' when we don't feel particularly special ourselves?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 27:03

Friday, March 24, 2017

Vayakhel-Pekudei - Nature and Nurture

Why is is it important for us to know the lineage of Betzalel - his father, his grandfather and his tribe? What is the reason for his greatness - his grandfather, his grandmother, his tribe or specifically Hashem filling him with inspiration? What does the midrash mean when it says that even the animals were filled with a spirit of wisdom in the creation of the mishkan-tabernacle? How can we learn from and contribute to the specialness of our family line and tribe?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:52

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ki Sisa - Choosing Greatness

What does it mean when the midrash says that 'Hashem reviews the material four times before teaching the Torah to the people of Israel?' What is the depth of the idea that those who have fear of Heaven merit to have offspring who embody Torah? What is the idea behind the book of generations that was shown to Adam and contains the names of every great person that would ever live? Why did Avraham see a vision of all of the ups and downs of the Jewish people throughout their history? Is greatness something that is chosen with free will or predetermined?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:27

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tetzaveh-Purim - Power of Prayer

What is the concept behind the special clothes of the Kohanim? What is the Torah referring to when it says 'this is the thing that you shall do to sanctify the Kohanim unto me?' Why did Mordechai return to his fasting, praying and sackcloth even after he saw that the tide was turning and the Jews were soon to be saved? How can we atone for our sins without the sacrifices of the Temple? What is the true power of prayer?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:53

Friday, March 3, 2017

Terumah - Shechinah Returning

What is the concept of the Mishkan-Tabernacle? How does it act as a continuation of the revelation at Mount Sinai? What is the depth of the concept of the Shechina leaving as a result of man's sins, and returning through the deeds of the righteous? How can we create a 'tabernacle' for our own revelations of Hashem in our lives?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:01

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mishpatim - Preparatory Angel

Why does Hashem inform the Jewish people of their future in the very midst of the revelation at Sinai? Is the angel who will lead them in the future a positive or negative force? What is the reassurance to Jacob that he can 'ascend the ladder' and that he will never fall, if the Jewish people could sin and fall? What is the significance of the angel's presence in the blessings and in times of trouble?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 25:11

Friday, February 17, 2017

Yisro - Hearing Hashem's Voice

What is the difference between Moshe's experience of the revelation at Sinai as opposed to the entire Jewish people's experience? Why is his experience described as 'seeing' as opposed to the Jewish people's which is described as 'hearing the voice?' Why does the Torah use the name of Hashem in the interactions with Moshe, as opposed to Elokim, which is used for the Jewish people? What are the 'seven voices' that were heard at Sinai? What is the idea that Sinai is the source of all prophecy and wisdom?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:39

Friday, February 10, 2017

Beshalach - Singing Then

What is the idea of the verse that says that 'then' Moshe and the Jewish people sang? How does that manifest in regards to Hashem's relationship with the world, the Jewish people's relationship with Hashem, and Moshe's relationship with Hashem? Why is the word 'az' which means 'then' used both in regards to Moshe's disbelief in Hashem, and then in his statement of true belief? Why does Hashem make the bitter waters sweet with a bitter piece of wood?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:45

Friday, January 27, 2017

Va'era - Hosting Godliness

What does the verse mean when it says that Hashem told Moshe he would be a 'god' to Pharaoh? Why was King Solomon unable to bring the Holy Ark into the Temple? Why did he need to invoke his father, King David's honor? Why is Hashem referred to as the 'King of Honor?' When does Hashem 'distribute His honor to those who fear Him?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 27:26

Friday, January 20, 2017

Shemos - Voices of Redemption

What was special about the brotherly relationship between Moshe and Aharon? How did that parallel that of Binyomin and Yosef? Why does the midrash stress that Binyomin and Yosef 'suckled from the same milk?' What is the significance of the kiss of Moshe and Aharon? What is the idea behind the 'voice of Hashem' that is one voice, and yet is heard by different people in different ways? How does one prepare oneself to 'hear the voice?' Why does Hashem's voice come from many different directions? Why does the voice come from a different direction each time the Jewish people run to receive it in the place they've heard it?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:30

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Obama, Gog, Trump and Geulah Berachamim in 5776

It's been a long time since I've written anything on this blog, besides for posting my Parsha Podcast. And for good reason. There have been numerous times where I've wanted to write, but made the decision not to. There have been many times that I've seen something written in the Moshiach blogosphere and I was on the edge of saying something.

But I chose not to.

With the close of the Obama presidency, however, the remarkable nature of what has transpired is just to great to ignore. I hope that what I write will give pause to the many writers and many more readers of the Moshiach blog world.

One of the things that brought me out of my skepticism (for a very short time) of this world that I used to be a part of was the fantastic near death experience that was spread far and wide about a year ago. It put Obama as Gog and said 'this is the year!' Although we'd all heard that one before (think autistics and other false messiahs), it confirmed something that I really believed, and so did many of you - that Obama was the man - Gog. And that this was the time.

Because I believed that 5776 would really be the year of Moshiach. I had felt that already five years ago when I stopped writing for this blog. I had a lot of different thoughts and ideas and a really strong gut feeling that pointed in the direction of 5776. Even amazing gematriahs (as if they didn't exist for any other years)!

But, once again 5776 came and went. Another Moshiach year has bitten the dust.

Or has it?

I want to present to you with a theory that is both exciting and boring. It is a precise prediction, but it leaves open when Moshiach comes. It is absolutely true and completely questionable.

I still believe that Obama was Gog. And I believe that there was some truth in what the autistics and the near deathers etc. etc. etc. have predicted. A little bit of truth. And a lot of falsehood. Because it is so important to understand that the world is not two dimensional. It is not just a world of judgment where anyone who wears a wig is going to burn eternally. And where a soul is dipped into 7 levels of fire, which can be named because someone was just there.

That description - the description that the Moshiach Blogosphere is used to talking about and describing - is the side of judgment - din.

And it is interesting that that young man experienced and saw all these things during his near death experience time in the space of judgment - which is where a soul goes immediately after death. It is called the world of Z"A - which we don't even pronounce as its component words (Z'er Anpin) because it denotes extreme judgment, which we don't want to call into play.

The world of Z"A is where they speak from. But there are other worlds - the world of Beriyah - above Z"A - crowning Z'A and Nukva. It is transcendent and there is no evil there. It is the world of the throne, the world of the souls where no evil can penetrate from our realm.

But even our realm is not the world of Z"A - we do not live in a world of pure judgment. We live in a world where there is a balancing act between Din and Rachamim, between judgment and mercy.

And in the real world, there is no such thing as unmitigated judgment.

Many of you might be familiar with the fact that the Gemara in Succah speaks about Moshiach ben Yosef, describing the great mourning that occurs after his death in the war of Gog Umagog.

But the Gra's opinion is that Moshiach ben Yosef will not die. The Gemara itself hints to such an opinion when it refers to the same mourning as NOT being for Moshiach ben Yosef (but for the Yetzer Hara). The Gra's opines that MBY won't die, because the reason he was meant to die has already been atoned for by the length of the exile we've endured.

Moshiach does not have to arrive with death, destruction and mayhem.

And I still believe that Obama was Gog, and that something amazing is unfolding right in front of our eyes. Because if Gog could not do anything more than create an ineffective UN resolution, then we are looking at Geulah Berachamim - redemption with mercy.

I believe that we experienced the judgment 70 years ago with World War II.

And that now is the time for redemption with mercy.

If you listened to my most recent podcast, you heard what the war of Gog Umagog is about - it is about a claim to Jerusalem. It is about a claim to being the spiritual conduit of Hashem. Which is an exclusive right of the Jewish people. Gog comes to Jerusalem to try to remove the Jewish people's claim to Jerusalem; to deny the Jewish people's chosen status. To claim that other religions and peoples have replaced us as the conduit of spirituality into the world.

But on the day that the greatest of the 70 nations of the world moves its embassy to Jerusalem, it is the greatest statement that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people.

I don't want to say too much more, but a parallel is spoken of between the Purim story and the future redemption. It is why Iran/Persia is part of the story. And it is hard to ignore the people who have been in the life of the incoming president before this story started.

I haven't written and haven't wanted to predict, because I have not wanted to say things that look silly within a small amount of time.

But I'm writing now, because I think it's time to start seeing that things are turning. We may look back in a couple of years and see in hindsight that 5776 was a significant year in the coming of Moshiach Berachamim.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vayechi - War of Gog Umagog

What is the parallel between the blessings of Jacob and that which occurs on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Why do the 10 tribes gather to the portions of Yehuda and Benjamin? Why do they need to 'show honor to Judah and Benjamin?' What is the idea of there not being 'any arguments' as a prerequisite for the advent of the Messianic age? Why did Jacob reveal the idea of the War of Armageddon to his sons? Why does this war center around Jerusalem? Why was all this revealed in the context of the revelation of the unique attributes of each tribe?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:31

Friday, January 6, 2017

Vayigash - Exile and Redemption

What is the significance of Chushim ben Dan's arrival on the scene in Egypt as Yosef was about to reveal himself to his brothers? Why does he also play a significant role as Yakov is about to be buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs? How does this parallel what will happen in the future in the war of Gog and Magog, when Sherya, a great-grandson of Dan will fight side by side with Moshiach ben Dovid? Why does Yosef have his dreams twice, but they do not seem to be fulfilled immediately - as opposed to Pharaoh who had his dream repeated, and Yosef interpreted this to mean it would occur immediately?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:39