28 December 2010

Purging by Fire

21 Tevet 5771

While the rest of the world is being inundated by water in one form or another (or yet another), Eretz Yisrael is having quite a different experience. Since the beginning of 5771, the six-year-old drought has deepened significantly with only one winter storm to date and fire keeps making the headlines.

Tishrei 5771 : Bnei Brak - 11 Sifrei Torahs Burned in Fire at a Vizhnitz Shul
Kislev 5771 : ISRAEL - Carmel fire is finally under control

Tevet 5771 : Train fire leaves 121 injured
What does it mean? We can look to our prophets for clues.

Yechezkel 22---
And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Son of man! The house of Israel has become dross to Me; all of them are copper and tin and iron and lead in the midst of a furnace; dross of silver have they become. ...As they gather silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin into the midst of a furnace to blow fire upon it, to melt it, so shall I gather with My wrath and with My fury, and I shall cast you in and melt you. And I shall gather you, and I shall blow upon you with the fire of My anger, and you will be melted in its midst. As silver is melted in the midst of a furnace, so will you be melted in its midst, and you shall know that I, the Lord, have poured out My fury upon you."

...Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Son of man, say to her: You are a land that is not cleansed; it was not rained upon on the day of fury...."

Zecharia 13:9----
And I will bring the third in fire; and I will refine them as one refines silver, and I will test them as one tests gold.
He shall call in My name, and I will respond to him. I said, "He is My people"; and he shall say, "The Lord is my God."

If so, then, this is only the beginning.

24 December 2010

Parashat Shemot

BS"D

YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
Jerusalem, Israel
HaRav Yehuda Kreuser SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva

PARSHAT SHMOT
18 Tevet 5771/24-25 December 2010


DON'T JUDGE THE BOOK BY ITS COVER

"And the child grew and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became a son to her."

If one would have lined up all the important Jews living in Egypt in the time of the exile, all the "Gedolim" - all the members of the "Sanhedrin" - and asked them who would be the redeemer of the Jewish people, who would take us out of Egypt and bring us into the Promised Land, the last one on the list would certainly have been Moshe Rabbenu. Moshe, who not only grew up in the palace of Pharaoh, but at an early age was given the responsibility for running the kingdom, and being that he grew up with the Egyptians - non-Jews, never going to the local Talmud Torah, there certainly were many who questioned his leadership as a Jew, as the redeemer. As we find when he broke up a quarrel between two Jews who said to him, "Who placed you as a leader over us?". And who would have blamed them? He acted and dressed as an Egyptian, but still, he was chosen by Hashem to lead the Jewish people out of Egypt.

David, too, as a youth, was also never consided to be the chosen one. In fact, if you had a daughter you probably would not have let her go out on a date with David. We find that when the prophet Samuel came to the house of Yishai to find the new king of Israel, as instucted by G-d, David was not even considered. In fact, he was so despised by his brothers, that when Samuel came, David was sent out with the flocks. But when all was said and done, it was David who was chosen to lead the Jewish people, as he wrote in the book of Psalms: "The stone which was cast out by the builders became the head of the house."

When King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jewish people to return to their land at the beginning of the Second Temple period, most Jews could not believe that this was G-d's will. How is it possible, they said, that a non-Jew will lead us back to the Holy Land? We are waiting for the son of David to bring us back home. So the great majority did not return. Some years later, Ezra the Scribe went to all the Jewish communities in the exile, encouraging them to return to the Land of Israel. In Djerba, a small island off Tunisia, the Jewish community there told Ezra that it cannot be G-d's will that a non-Jewish king return us to Israel. This, they said, is not the redemption that we have been waiting for. But they were in fact terribly mistaken, and the fact they the Jews did not return to Israel was the cause of us missing our chance to have the Final Redemption.

Some 90 years ago, when Lord Rothschild began to buy up properties in the Land of Israel for Jews to settle, many said that this is not the way of the Redemption; this is not what we have been waiting for. We expect a knock on the door from King David telling us to pack up and to bring us to the Holy Land. The Netziv, who lived at that time, wrote about the people who were complaining of those Jews going to live and redeem the Land, that "who are we to give advice to G-d on how to redeem His people?". They cited the example of how Moshe was raised in the house of Pharaoh - the exact opposite of what one would think the redeemer should be.

Today, too, many raise the concern that the State of Israel is not G-d's will. Certainly, they say, the redemption will not come about through the vote of the U.N. Still, who are we to give advice to the Master of the World on how to redeem His people? When we look at the facts on the ground, we see that the great bulk of Torah learning today is in the Land. Soon, if not already, the majority of the Jewish people will be living here. Only the blind do not see the Redemption unfolding. Jump aboard the Redemption train - it left the station long ago. You don't want not to be on it!

Blessings,
Levi

23 December 2010

Yehonatan / Yosef

16 Tevet 5771

His brothers (at the Israeli embassy) threw him into the pit (turned him over to the FBI). And he was sold (all the papers he had passed to the Israeli government were traded to the US in order to salvage "the relationship"). This will be rectified when his brothers are unified in their call for his release.

Rabbi Sitorsky, in his commentary on Vayeisheiv, said that Yosef and Binyamin cannot be separated. They must be together. It is no coincidence that the only Prime Minister to make any serious attempt to obtain Jonathan Pollard's release is Binyamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu to formally call for release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard

Interesting that Rabbi Glazerson apparently feels that it is permissible to reveal the following information at this time...

Jonathan Pollard in Torah Codes


21 December 2010

2010: The Weather Year That Was

15 Tevet 5771
2010's world gone wild: Quakes, floods, blizzards
This was the year the Earth struck back.

Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 — the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.

"It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves," said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.

"The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year."
(Continue reading here...)

And it ain't over yet!

CA: Heavy Rainfall Causes Flooding and Evacuations

Snow deepens Europe's Christmas travel misery

20 December 2010

What else have they lied to you about?

14 Tevet 5771
When you are a child, you'll believe pretty much anything the adults in your life tell you. That's natural. But, then the day comes when you find out that they lied to you. Oh, not maliciously! They were just preserving a tradition which they inherited from their own parents. It brings them good memories and they simply want you to share in the joy of that ritual, too.

But, it should be a lesson to us all that not everything should be accepted at face value just because it's what we have always done or it's all that we have ever known. Like one man I heard on the radio years ago said about the followers of a false religion: "Could millions of people be wrong?"

Uh, yeah!
There are 1.5 billion Muslims in the world and every one of them believes in error. The vast majority will never be convinced of that, however.

What about the 1 billion Hindus?


Or the 330 million Buddhists?
Or dare we ask? What about the 2.1 billion Christians???
The Hebrew Israelite prophet Jeremiah wrote (16:19): "The Gentiles shall come to You from the ends of the earth and say, 'Surely our fathers have inherited lies, worthlessness and unprofitable things.' "
Despite the best attempts of the most evil people throughout history, the prophet's descendants still live. They number approximately 12 million in a world of almost 7 billion people. I can't show you a picture of their G-D since He has no image and they are forbidden from trying to make one. The world that He created cannot contain Him or express His true essence.

Despite the odds against them and the best efforts of those who would persuade them to abandon their religion for one of the predominant false ones, they have prevailed and faithfully maintained the Truth which He revealed to them through their prophets.

Those who have inherited a pretty package with nothing of substance inside...
...can trade it in at any time for the real deal.

"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)

17 December 2010

ASARAH B'TEVET

10 Tevet 5771

Today is a fast day. It grieves my heart to walk down the streets of Jerusalem and see the sidewalk cafes full with people eating, drinking and enjoying themselves. How much more must it grieve Hashem's heart, k'viyechol.

It's a bit late in the day, but those in chu"l can still get some use out of this and then there is always next time, sad to say.

Some timely quotes from The Book of Our Heritage by Eliyahu Kitov:

"Rambam writes the following in Hilchos Ta'anis 5: The fast of the tenth of Teves is like the other fasts which were established as means of mourning the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash and Israel's exile. However, the primary purpose of fasting is not grief and mourning, for the distress felt at the time when these events transpired is sufficient. Rather, the primary purpose of the fasts is to inspire people to repent, to bring us to recall the evil deeds of our ancestors as well as our own---deeds which brought them and bring us great travail. By remembering these events we will repent and act properly, as the verse (Vayikra 26.49) states: 'And they shall confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors for the evil that they have done to me.'

Our Sages (Talmud Yerushalmi, Yoma 1) taught: 'Any generation in which the Beit HaMikdash is not rebuilt, is considered as if they had destroyed it.' Every generation has the ability to awaken Divine mercy, to bring Israel salvation from her enemies, to gather the exiles from the places of their dispersion, and to rebuild the Beit haMikdash. How can this be accomplished? By complete repentance and by rectifying the sins of the previous generations. As long as salvation fails to arrive, it is a sign that we have not yet repented for our sins and that we are therefore suffering because of our own trangressions as well as those of our ancestors. It is therefore as if we were delaying the final redemption, and as if we ourselves had caused the destruction.

...The aim of fasting...is to subjugate our evil inclination by restriction of pleasure; to open our hearts and to stir us to repentance and good deeds, through which the gates of Divine mercy might be opened for us....

We read in Chayei Adam (133): 'Therefore, those people who fast, but who spend the day traveling or wasting their time, grasp what is of secondary importance, fasting, and forsake that which is essential, repenting. Nonetheless, repentance alone---without fasting---is insufficient, for it is a positive commandment, declared by the Prophets, to fast on these days.'"

May all your fasts result in complete and sincere repentance. Shabbat shalom.

16 December 2010

AMEN to that!

9 Tevet 5771

Jewish Monetary Law Should be Israeli Law
If Israel wants to call itself a Jewish state, it has to be about more than just physically housing Jews,” says Rabbi Dr. Ratzon Arusi, the Chief Rabbi of Israel's Yemenit Jewish community and head of an organization that promotes the case for Jewish civil law in the Jewish state. “There has to be Jewish content in the daily life of the state. Otherwise, we have no answer to those who call us racists, giving rights to one group of people over another.”

This past week, the Netzach Yisrael organization, under Rabbi Arusi's leadership, held its 20th Annual World Conference on Monetary Law, discussing and promoting various aspects of Jewish (Halakhic) law on monetary issues. But the conference is more than about just halakhic minutiae, as Rabbi Arusi told Israel National News; it's about promoting Jewish monetary law to be the law of the land.

15 December 2010

"That's Despicable"

8 Tevet 5771

Chalk it up to my wayward childhood, but I can still hear Daffy Duck saying, "That's despicable!!" with the spit flying, of course. That's the first word that came to mind when I read the publication of the RCA's position on Rav Eliyahu's letter calling for a ban on sales/rental of Jewish homes to non-Jews.


It's one of those pitiful Diaspora-mentality attempts to please all of the people all of the time; something which is not only despicable in its own right, but which makes Jews despicable in the eyes of non-Jews.
I might add that the habit of straddling the fence can result in damage to that part of the anatomy that enables a man to stand up for what is right and true regardless of whether it is palatable to "modern and democratic" (read "Western") sensibilities. Time to come down off that fence before the damage becomes permanent.

12 December 2010

Heaven is very unhappy with us

6 Tevet 5771

And I'm sure that's an understatement. We didn't do teshuva over the drought, so Hashem sought to get our attention with the fire. Instead of teshuva, everyone started pointing fingers in every direction.

This is the third time this season that I have watched gray clouds pass over without a drop of moisture falling. This is the second day that we are suffering from a dust storm in Jerusalem. Tree limbs are falling, garbage is flying around the streets and the air smells and tastes nasty. According to the weather radar, rain is falling in the North and is on its way here, but the wind is doing a lot of damage all around the country.

A tourist was swept off a rock by a wave and a ship sunk in the Mediterranean. In both Yafo and Caesarea ports, damage was done to piers and breakers. Electricity is out in many places and trees are being uprooted.

These are not rains of blessing. If we don't get our act together soon, I fear for what is coming next. It appears that Hashem's patience has worn out.

10 December 2010

More Connections

3 Tevet 5771

1) Rabbi Eliyahu makes the connection between the Carmel fire and events brought in the Tanakh.

2) Although not mentioning the fire per se, Rabbi Sitorsky makes the connection in his weekly parsha shiur between Hanukah and Eliyahu Hanavi at Har Carmel using the Targum Yonatan. He also brings the pasuk from Midrash Shir Hashirim that Rabbi Brody wrote about.

3) Rav Yehuda, who oversees our blog, called to comment on the previous post and brings yet another event from Tanakh. Citing Melachim 2, chapter 2, he brings the story of Elisha who inherited Eliyahu's prophetic office. He says that the 42 youths who died after mocking the prophet parallel the 42 who perished in the fire (and additionally the 42-letter Name of God). And that the two bears who killed them parallel the two who set the fire. The story tells us that Elisha went immediately to the Carmel.

4) The latest message on the fire from the autistics includes a reference to the Carmel being destroyed by fire in Yirmiyahu, chapter 2, verse 26. According to someone who submitted a question regarding this, Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote that this prophecy would be fulfilled in the last generation.

Thank you to everyone who commented. I was however a bit surprised at the emphasis some put on the aspect of idolatry; however, that was not what was uppermost in my mind when I wrote my post and I don't think I even used the word. In the sense that anything which we put ahead of Hashem in our lives could be described as a form of idolatry, I guess that works, but what I wanted to communicate foremost is what the autistics also say in their message about the fire.

"There are many matters about which it is possible to say because of this the fire occurred, but the biggest message and the clearest is that it is 'Mi l'Hashem alai!' This is the main message."

Hashem must come first in our minds, in our hearts and in our lives and we must be holy and pure in our worship of Him and remain entirely true and faithful to His Torah. This is the choice we are all urged by Heaven to make at this time---to choose Hashem above anything else!

Shabbat shalom.

08 December 2010

Another take on the Carmel fire

2 Tevet 5771

It's a week since the Carmel fire broke out on the first day of Hanukah. We are right to look for the message in such events because our tradition tells us that nothing happens in the world except to bring a message to Am Yisrael. How much more so when it occurs in conjunction with a holiday and in the Land of Israel.

The most obvious connection, as many bloggers pointed out days ago, is to the classic Tanach tale of the showdown between Eliyahu HaNavi and the prophets of Ba'al. (Melachim 1, Perek 18) Then, as now, the land was suffering from a drought because of our many sins. Just last week, at the behest of the chief rabbis, we fasted and sought Hashem's face to relieve the drought and send us rain. Just when the drought was uppermost in our minds, comes the fire.

Regardless of the agent employed, the fire breaking out on Har Carmel was the hand of G-d. The faithful recognize that and understand that teshuva is required, but for what specific sin? Many opinions were offered in the immediate aftermath. But, to know definitively, I think we have to stay true to the story of Eliyahu HaNavi---the prophet who will usher in the messianic age.

"And Eliyahu drew near to all the people and said, 'Until when are you hopping between two ideas? If the Lord is God, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him.' And the people did not answer him a word."

It was not until the people saw the phenomenal miracle displayed before their very eyes that they were finally moved to say: "Hashem, hu ha'elokim! Hashem, He is G-d!" Shortly thereafter, the rains came and the drought was ended.

In addition to drought, the Carmel and fire, there is the aspect of Hanukah since the fire broke out on the very first night of the holiday. This was not a coincidence. It was by Divine design. With what cry by the High Priest Mattityahu was the war against the Greeks launched---the war which was to preserve Judaism's unique character? "Mi l'Hashem alai! Whoever is for Hashem, come with me!"

In both cases, the people have mixed foreign elements into its worship of the Almighty and are then urged to purge out those foreign elements and remain faithful to Hashem alone. Mattityahu's cry is reminiscent of another. In the wake of the Golden Calf affair (Shemot, Perek 32), we see Moshe Rabeinu saying these same words, "Mi l'Hashem alai! Whoever is for Hashem, come with me!" Again, the call is for separation from foreign elements which have been erroneously introduced into the Torah-pure worship of G-d Almighty.

The list of sins, especially those of individuals, which we could lay at the root of this tragedy is sadly long, but I believe the evidence points to a national sin for which we all share some guilt and that is the unholy mixing of Torah and Western values. Although certainly not restricted to the political arena, this can be seen very clearly in the idea of Israel being "both a Jewish and a democratic state."

We have a prime example in today's headlines. Fifty rabbis have come out publicly with a psak halacha that Jews may not sell or rent homes to non-Jews in the Land of Israel.

"Racism originated in the Torah," said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, who heads the Ashdod Yeshiva. "The land of Israel is designated for the people of Israel. This is what the Holy One Blessed Be He intended and that is what the [sage] Rashi interpreted."

He added that he did not see the move as racist so much as segregationist. "The world is so big and the State of Israel is small, that God intended it for the people of Israel and the whole world covets it. That is the injustice."

Here are some expected reactions:

1) Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi said during the discussion, "I am certain that the number of rabbis will rise. Since the Arabs are a Semitic people – this is anti-Semitism. These rabbis are skinheads acting against the Arabs."

2) President Shimon Peres slammed the rabbis who recently issued a ban on selling or renting apartments to Arabs. "The rabbis' ruling creates an ethical and fundamental crisis in Israel related to Israel's essence as a Jewish and democratic country," the president said.

And after this one, can anyone still question why Haifa was threatened?

3) Haifa Mayor Yonah Yahav termed the ruling the "real desecration of God's name. It is bringing hatred against those with whom we have chosen to live our lives."
The ongoing drought, the Carmel fire and the holiday of Hanukah come to remind us that we have a choice to make. Either the ba'alim or Hashem and His Torah; either the Golden Calf or Hashem and His Torah; either Hellenism or Judaism; either democracy or a Jewish state. Unholy mixtures are forbidden to us.

To do teshuva on a personal level, begin to purge your mind, your heart and your soul of foreign influences, ideas and practices (i.e., "foreign" to the Torah). The autistics call this Olam HaSheker. On a national level, I call on all my brothers and sisters living in Eretz Yisrael to do everything in their power to support the rabbis who take a public stand for Hashem and His Torah, His people and the Land of Israel.

In their ruling, the rabbis called on the religious community to voice support for Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who could face trial for incitement against Arabs for initiating the move against renting to gentiles."

How entirely appropriate it is that it was Rabbi Eliyahu who initiated this action.
In the prefatory prayer said before Hanukah candlelighting, we say...
"...Purify our hearts to Your service, distance us from evil traits and foreign thoughts, may our eyes see Your return to Zion with mercy...."
ZOT HANUKAH!

30 November 2010

Mikeitz, Pidyon Shvuyim and Hanukah


24 Kislev 5771

Continuing the story of Yosef Hatzadik in Parashat Mikeitz, Rabbi Sitorsky says the following...

The brothers went down to Egypt (besides for going to find food) "to reunite with their brother and to redeem him at all costs. Hanukah is the holiday of pidyon shvuyim. It's the holiday that we redeem---pada. Pada is the gematria of Hanukah and pidyon shvuyim is the gematria of l'hadlik ner Hanukah exactly."

29 November 2010

"...the 9/11 of world diplomacy..."

23 Kislev 5771

That's what some are saying about the Wikileaks revelations.

My comments:

Davka at Hanukah, the time when the Light of 36 (Hanukah candles) begins to shine...

Two powerful signs of redemption---

1) The World of Truth is overtaking the World of Lies

2) Another prop holding up the Evil Empire has been knocked out from under it.

Foreign Policy Meltdown
Leaked Cables Reveal True US Worldview

26 November 2010

Parashat V'yeishev's connection to Hanukah

19 Kislev 5771

My blog roll includes a link to Rabbi Sitorsky's parashat hashavua shiurim. They are always chock full of amazing insights and connections. I recommend to everyone to hear this week's lesson in full from the website. It is amazing and so encouraging! To whet your appetite, I've made some notes of the high points below...


Parashat V'yeishev

Hanukah is in parashat v'yeishev. ...the Shlah Hakadosh tells us that golus Yavan occurred because of the sin of the selling of Yosef Hatzadik, which automatically connects this parasha to Hanukah because it is the Shabbat that we read about Mechirat Yosef. Because of Mechirat Yosef, there was a Greek exile and because there was a Greek exile, there was a geulah from Greece which was Hanukah. Hanukah is the geulah from the Greek exile, so Hanukah is the holiday to rectify the selling of Yosef. The sin of Mechirat Yosef was a blemish in the unity of Am Yisrael and a blemish in the area of speech. There was an aspect of lashon hara involved. Yosef reported on his brothers. Yosef Hatzadik is punished. Meforshim say the ten years of incarceration is one year for each brother that he spoke against and the other two years for lack of faith in Hashem, according to Rashi.

The Shlah Kakadosh tells us that Yosef is Hanukah. Avraham is Pesach, Yitzchak is Shavuot and Yaaqov is Sukkot, so Yosef is Hanukah.

Hanukah is the holiday that brings the Jews who are far away from Yiddishkeit near. It affects those neshamas that no other holiday affects, including Shabbat. The most unaffiliated Jew, even if he doesn't keep Shabbat, will celebrate Hanukah. It's for those who are outside...this is our generation.

Yosef Hatzadik brings those who were far away near. Hanukah is the holiday of kiruv. Those who don't have a tikun any other time of the year, get a tikun on Hanukah.

Yosef is a hidden tzadik. He's misunderstood; not accepted. Hanukah, too was not accepted at first. What would we be today without Hanukah? What would we be today without Yosef Hatzadik?

Yosef and Binyamin HAVE to be united.

Yosef is the rival of Eisav.

Eisav was killed on Hanukah. (Yaaqov was buried on Hanukah.) [Eisav has his 'holiday' at Hanukah time.]

Binyamin is the rival of Yishmael.

Hanukah is the tikun for pegam habrit. It prepares us for Shovavim. The story of Yehuda and Tamar is about the blemish that would prevent Mashiach and the repair for that blemish which results in the birth of Peretz, ancestor of Mashiach.

Hanukah is not complete until Yosef and Binyamin are joined. Hanukah is the fusion of Yosef and Binyamin. Hanukah is the holiday to overpower Eisav joining with Yishmael.

Yishmael is the fifth exile. Hanukah is the fifth holiday and we drink five cups on Pesach, the fifth is the cup of redemption. These five cups appear in the parasha. "Cup" is mentioned five times. Four in the story and once again at the end of the parasha. Hanukah is the fifth cup. Hanukah is the light of Melech Hamashiach. The light of the fifth geulah after the exile of Yishmael. Corresponds to the five levels of the neshamah. Yechidah, the highest level corresponding to the fifth (which also corresponds to Neilah of Yom Kippur).

Yishmael has their mosque on the very place of the Beit Hamikdash where the miracle of Hanukah happened. On Hanukah we can merit all five levels of the neshamah. The gematria of the names of the five levels of neshamah is equal to the phrase "lamed vav nerot shel Hanukah." (Yishmaelim pray five times a day.)

Vayeshev means to relax, to rest in peace and tranquility, but the stories are anything but. They are full of tragedies. Why is it called vayeshev? Right in the middle comes the story of Yehuda and Tamar which opens the way for the birth of Mashiach. And the miracle of Hanukah is hidden here. Out of all the tragedies of these stories comes the hope of Mashiach.

At the end of the parasha we see how all of the tragedies were working towards a wonderful end to provide a salvation for Am Yisrael. It's just the same now in our generation. Soon we will see how all of the tragedies that we are now suffering will end just as wonderfully.

22 November 2010

Is there a connection?

16 Kislev 5771

It might be just my overactive imagination, but somehow I don't think so.

At the same time that the waves of support for Jonathan Pollard's release from prison keep coming and seem to be building ever higher, what has been the focus of the American public? ---the humiliation and loss of personal liberty experienced at the airport security check-in.

If you don't already know what I'm talking about, you can read all about it at Drudge or see videos on the subject at Youtube.

Is this a mida k'neged mida ---measure for measure---moment when the American people are reaping the reward for the criminal treatment that unjustly continues to be meted out to Jonathan Pollard?

Whether Americans choose to keep informed about what their government (...of the people, by the people and for the people...) is doing in their name or not, G-D holds them responsible.

Something to think about.

Have you done your part to help free Jonathan Pollard???

The Summer that Never Ends

15 Kislev 5771

It's ten days to Hanukah and I'm still wearing my summer clothes; still running the fans at home and the a/c at work. No need even for a sweater at night. The sun is still bearing down and there's not a cloud in the sky!

By this time, it should be feeling more like autumn---a little nippy. Usually the windows frost up in the heat of the Hanukah candles' flames.

I feel like a brown, shriveled, potted plant.

HASHEM, please send us the winter rains already!!!

21 November 2010

We all know that it's coming

14 Kislev 5771

NATO planning 'integral' role in enforcing Mideast peace deal
LISBON - NATO will play an integral role in enforcing a Middle East peace deal, but will not play a direct role in reaching that agreement, the alliance's secretary general told Haaretz this weekend.

"If a Middle East peace agreement is reached, an international military force will be needed to monitor and implement it," Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

...Rasmussen will visit Israel in February of the coming year.


Or at the end of the next three-month construction freeze when Obama has said, if the Israelis and Palestinians have not yet agreed to borders, he will set the borders for them.

Interestingly, this brings us to Purim Katan, a month before Purim/Pesach, an auspicious time for redemption!

19 November 2010

Timely Torah

PARSHAT VAYISHLACH
13 Kislev 5771
/19-20 November 2010

NO FREE LUNCHES

"He selected a minchah for his brother Esau from what he had with him.These he gave to his servents. He said to his servants: When my brother Esau encounters you, he will ask to whom does it belong? You must reply: It belongs to your servant Jacob, It is a minchah to my master Esau. Jacob said to himself, I will win him over with the minchah that is being sent ahead". (Gen. 32)

The question that must be asked is: Was Jacob's conduct proper? Was it fitting for Jacob, the man of truth, to call his evil brother Esau master, bow down to him countless times and offer up such a large gift?

We certainly see an admonishment of Jacob's actions in the teachings of our holy rabbis. The Midrash brings down the following: "As a muddied fountain and a polluted spring, so is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. G-d said to Jacob: 'Esau was walking on his way and you sent him a message, saying "your servant Jacob says". You degraded yourself and called Esau 'my lord' eight times. I swear that I shall make eight of his offspring precede yours as king."

The Rashbam, on his commentery to the Bible, writes that "Jacob was smitten and ended up with a limp, because G-d had made a promise to him while he was fleeing that He would be with him. So, too, all who refuse to take G-d's path, or who take an opposing path, are punished."

Rabbi Kahane HY"D brings down in his work the Jewish Idea that "Jacob took the minchah, our gift to G-d, representing man's lowliness before his Maker and his faith and truth in Him, and he transferred these sentiments to Esau. This reflected great lack of faith in G-d."

Even though as a rule we are forbidden to flatter an evil person, as the Talmud teaches us: "Every individual in whom there is flattery will fall into Hell," and "Whoever flatters the wicked will eventually fall into his hand" - there is an exception, as Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish ruled from a statement made by Jacob to Esau (Genesis 33: 10): "For therefore I have seen your face, and it is as though I had seen the face of an angel." Tosafos explains this apparent contradiction by asserting that it is permitted to flatter the wicked in a dangerous, life-threatening situation.

Jacob's life was certainly in danger from the evil one, Esau, and he felt he had to overwhelm him with gifts, in spite of the fact that Esau's intent was to kill Jacob. For as Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish taught us: It is a well-known law that Easu hates Jacob.

Throughout history, the conflict between the two brothers continues. Esau, the red one, represented by Rome, Amalek, the west, Russia and the U.S., has always set its goal to annihilate the descendents of Jacob, one way or another. So we find it interesting that it is now Esau who is giving over a minchah gift to Jacob! It was reported this week that the U.S. wants to give Israel 20 fighter jets for free, a three billion dollar deal! These are the same jet fighters which Israel had ordered from the US a long time ago and that have been held up time and time again, and are now being given to the Jewish state free of charge... Has Esau finally found his brotherly love? Has he done teshuva and wants to make right by his brother, Jacob? Undoubtedly not!

Rather, as we all know, there are no free lunches; with this minchah gift of Esau there come strings attached, many strings, strings to choke the life out of the state of Israel. Make Israel consent to permanent borders with the Palestinians and thus cut right through the heartland of Israel, thereby causing her destruction. Without proper borders to defend the Land, what use will the fighter planes serve? [Note: Delivery is to take place ten years from now.] It is important for us to remember that no matter how essential the planes are for the security of the country, the bottom line is that "some come with chariots and some with horses, but we come with the Name of the Living G-d."

Blessings,
Levi Hazan

18 November 2010

Collision Coming


12 Kislev 5771
I saw a very interesting video recently. I'm no fan of Glen Beck---not by a long shot---but, he did a three-part interview with a couple of guys about the souring US economy and where it all might lead. Part 3 was the most interesting. Without realizing it at all, he and his guests began describing the entree to the Days of Mashiach.

You see, there is going to be a New World Order, but it's not just exactly what most people think. And you know all those baseless antisemitic accusations that the Jews are taking over the world? Well....

The prophet Ovadiah wrote:

"And on Mount Zion there shall be a remnant, and it shall be holy, and the house of Jacob shall inherit those who inherited them. And the house of Jacob shall be fire and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau shall become stubble, and they shall ignite them and consume them, and the house of Esau shall have no survivors, for the Lord has spoken."

The Maharal wrote extensively in his book The Mitzvah Candle about the four world empires and how Rome/Esau would fall to Israel/Yaaqov.

For Glen Beck's guest, financial analyst Damon Vickers, this might not be so traumatic. He said:

"I would say that in spite of the fact of a new world order being potentially a scary thing, that there’s a growing awareness that all of us are a part of one planet, one community, and that we’re moving towards oneness, whether it’s facebook or whether it’s …, the society wants to be closer to one another."

For his other guest, novelist Brad Thor, it will likely be quite traumatic as he discovers that America is not the Promised Land and Americans are not the Chosen People.

“I believe in American exceptionalism. I agree [that communities should come together] in the context of America, and what makes America great and why American exceptionalism exists. It’s something that’s incredibly important for the rest of the world to follow US, not for us to be part of some one world, new world order."

According to people like this, American values are the only ones that count and everyone else in the world must be brought into line with those values, which I might add are NOT Jewish values!

Take this for example:

US State Dept: Israel Similar to Iran, Iraq and Sudan
The U.S. State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton claims that Israel violates religious freedom at the same level as Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and China.

Israel is listed among 30 nations...where “violations of religious freedom have been noteworthy"...due to the emphasis of the Jewish State on maintaining the status quo with regard to respect for Jewish legal standards.
Do you sense a collision coming between Israel and the US? I do. Actually, it has already started---over the construction freeze. The days of little Israel meekly bowing to the the will of Mighty America are nearly done. If you know how to listen, you will see that the whole world is talking about Days of Mashiach and it is almost here. No longer will Israel be under subjugation by any of the nations and we will be completely free to live according to every word of our Holy Torah!

Quickly, in our days!!

17 November 2010

"Hang in There!"

10 Kislev 5771

Ever hear that adage, "when you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on"? I love that one, as well as the image of the kitten hanging onto the rope for dear life. I think of it often.

Do you get the feeling that "there's a whole lot of (spiritual) shakin' goin' on" and it's getting harder and harder to hold tight? I've noticed a downward trend lately and I just wondered if it was the same by you. Everything seems to be sliding downhill. Women who once wore only skirts have taken up wearing pants. Those who previously wore pants now wear shorts. Those who minimally covered their hair have stopped covering it altogether. And a lot of people are leaving Eretz Yisrael.

Welcome to chevlei Mashiach and the process of birur. Nobody ever said it would be easy. But there is a guaranteed reward for your faithfulness. NEVER GIVE UP!!

11 November 2010

Sifting for the Truth

4 Kislev 5771

I am constantly amazed at how many people swallow whatever garbage they are fed by the mainstream media. Even in spite of what their own eyes should be telling them! I didn't think the subject of the "mystery missile" off the coast of California, near Los Angeles, was necessarily worth a blog post until a co-worker brought it up a short while ago and asked me if I had heard about it. I'm like, what do you mean? that missile? And she goes no, it wasn't a missile, the news said it was a plane. Right then and there, I knew I had to blog it.

I saw somewhere that there were like a thousand stories on Google about this event. As soon as it happened, looking at where it originated, I told someone that I'd bet it was a message from an Iranian sub. After the research that I did about Iranian military capabilities for my story and noting the Debka report about the US surrounding Iran, it is not unimaginable. The US has been expecting something like this along its Atlantic coast, but not the Pacific. I'll bet it woke a lot of people up.

There have been confirmations from all over that, in fact, this did not originate with the US military. They lamely claimed, well, if you look at a jet's contrail from a certain angle, it can look like it's coming from the ground to the sky.

Uh-uh. Watch the video of it below. A jet flies smoothly across the sky, this thing wobbles like a rocket headed for space. Besides that the military experts know what they are looking at and they also say, not only that it is a missile, but that it was likely sub-launched.

Think about the ramifications for a bit.

***************
UPDATE @ 6:25 pm: Or then again, maybe it was CHINA.

07 November 2010

Leaving Egypt


B"H 

30 Marcheshvan 5771

"...not since the days of the Pharaohs or the more ludicrous Roman Emperors has a head of state travelled in such pomp and expensive grandeur as the President of the United States of America."

This observation comes from a report in Britain's Daily Mail. Interesting that the writer would mention the leaders of the two exiles most embodied by America today. This blog and others have made this connection before.

This is an important and timely reminder that we are all still in exile and that America is just a reincarnation of ancient Egypt. And it will meet the same end---utter devastation and destruction. And the Jews who are connected to it, both physically and emotionally, will, G-d forbid! be lost there and never journey out to enter the Promised Land. (The exceptions are those souls who recognize it for what it is, but are trapped there and are begging Hashem every day to redeem them from there.)

America is a hateful and heartless enemy that only pretends to be righteous---like a chazir pretends to be kosher. Another holocaust is taking place there even as I write this. How many Jewish souls have been lost to the silent holocaust of rampant assimilation? And today, it is even being exported to every corner of the world, including Eretz Yisrael!! Hashem have mercy and deliver us NOW!!

24 October 2010

The Autistics Speak the Truth

16 Cheshvan 5771

Many people deride the words of the autistics and falsely accuse them of having set dates which never materialized. I have read all the messages and I've never seen a particular date quoted. They just keep saying "soon." And in the scheme of 6,000 years, even ten years is "soon."

Now, you can listen to their messages in English.

The two most recent ones are A Small Peak into the Future and Mass Destruction. Their words have the ring of truth and are entirely consistent with the Tanakh and other Jewish sources. We ignore them to our own detriment.

21 October 2010

The Battle for Jerusalem

14 Cheshvan 5771

We are so close to the complete redemption that now even an ordinary TV program like 60 Minutes sounds like prophecy!!

Zecharya 12.2-3: "Behold! I am making Jerusalem a cup of weakness for all the peoples around,.... And it shall come to pass on that day that I will make Jerusalem a stone of burden for all peoples; all who bear it shall be gashed, and all the nations of the earth shall gather about it."

Leslie Stahl's now (in)famous report on Ir David (The City of David) opens with the following words: "Jerusalem ... is one of the most difficult issues at the negotiating table." (Of course, the first lie of this piece of anti-Israel propaganda also occurs in the first sentence---that Jerusalem is holy to basically everyone!) Further on in the report, she actually uses the words "stumbling block" to refer to the Jerusalem issue.

Unfortunately, Israel is still being represented by people who don't properly present her case. Did anyone bother to inform Leslie Stahl that the Arab village she is calling Silwan was a barren hillside until the Yemenite Jews came and built the homes which are currently located there in the late 19th century? And that it didn't become an Arab village until a pogrom and threatened massacre drove the Jews away in fear for their lives in the 1930's? The Arabs moved in and stole those properties. The words "Will you murder and also inherit?" come to my mind.

But maybe they did and she or her team conveniently edited it out of the final cut. Who knows? But I can tell you right now that no bare-headed, bare-faced Mayor of Jerusalem who sees only the economic benefits of turning Holy Jerusalem into a theme-park for tourists will be able to prevent what is quickly coming upon us, Hashem have mercy!

Are you wondering where we go from here? Well, here is a clue...

Report: PA to Leave Talks

A report in the New York Times Thursday said that the Palestinian Authority has decided to halt talks with Israel, and will instead seek recognition of a Palestinian state in all of Judea and Samaria from international institutions. According to the report, the PA will not only seek recognition of a state from the UN, but will seek to cement its legality through the International Court of Justice in the Hague, and and will seek recognition from countries that are signatories to the Geneva Convention.


If they make good on this threat, will the world refuse them? Can the world refuse them? And if they so rule and we do not cooperate, how long will it be before the foreign troops arrive to enforce the edict?

But it will all be good!! The status quo is intolerable---that Jerusalem should stand so degraded, the Moslems on the Mount and the city being turned into a theme park where the residents are reduced to bit players to be filmed and photographed while they try to carry out their daily lives. We want more than that; much more!

The storm clouds are now gathering. Suddenly, the storm itself will rage with wind and rain and clean the filth away. Then the sun will come out and shine radiantly upon G-d's lovely palace---the Holy City.

Oh, one more thing that I can't allow to pass. If you view the video below, you will hear Leslie Stahl say that according to Clinton's plan, the parts of the city which were predominantly in Jewish hands were to remain Jewish while those which were predominantly Arab would constitute the new Palestinian capital and "That meant that for the most part, East Jerusalem would go to the Arabs."

Not at all! This outright lie depends on the general public who hears it to know nothing whatever of geographic Jerusalem. Did you ever hear of Ramat Eshkol? French Hill with the Hebrew University and Hadassah Mount Scopus Hospital? Ramot? Ramat Shlomo? Talpiot? Gilo? THE OLD CITY WITH THE JEWISH QUARTER, THE WESTERN WALL AND THE TEMPLE MOUNT!?? (And no doubt other places which I have forgotten for the moment.)

Chevre, hundreds of thousands of Jews live in these neighborhoods which were built already for many decades or as in the case of the Old City, for thousands of years! AND THEY ARE ALL LOCATED IN THE AREA WHICH THE WORLD CLAIMS IS "MOSTLY ARAB EAST JERUSALEM."

Oy!! And now I read that Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson (they certainly need no introductions) are here in Jerusalem inspecting the situation as I write this.

AND ...this just in! Hague Hears Arguments on PA State Status . Wow! That was fast! I have a feeling events are going to start going a whole lot faster as the coming days go by.

Shabbat shalom!

20 October 2010

Important Report by Jewish Israel

13 Cheshvan 5771

I'll be so happy when we will no longer have to warn others to beware of the wolves in sheep's clothing amongst Am Yisrael.


Fallen apple breaks interfaith fence

"…By the end of his paper, Rabbi Riskin surprised me by pleading for religious pluralism in which there is one God and the names YHVH, Allah, the Trinity, Buddha all reflect one reality. All ritual, images, statues, and representations serve the same Divine force. God only cares about morality and the forms of worship are incidental. The rainbow metaphor and its explanation seems like a paraphrase of the famed pluralist John Hick’s rainbow of faiths."

"…Rabbi Riskin concludes with an acceptance of the Pauline understanding of Abraham as the covenant of faith. He views Christianity as entirely within the Noahide laws and as reconciled with Judaism."


(Read the report in its entirety by clicking on the title above.)

19 October 2010

14th Annual Rabinfest

If you're not Israeli, you may not be aware of what happens at this time of year. True to the schizophrenic nature of modern Israeli society, the Rabinites can not make up their minds upon which date they want to commemorate Yitzhak Rabin's assassination---the Hebrew or the Gregorian calendar date. So they begin on whichever date comes first and continue until the second.

This year, that means 11 Cheshvan (20 October) through 4 November. Enough is enough! Unless and until someone is brave enough to expose the actual truth.


Peres: I kissed Rabin goodbye

..."From the foots (sic) of Mount Sinai to the slopes of Rabin Square, one commandment stands high throughout all generations: Thou shall not kill. Thou shall not kill a person. Thou shall not kill an idea," Peres said at the start of his speech.

"The murder is a crime which must not be forgiven or forgotten. We are holding a memorial evening because we must fight forgetfulness. Such forgetfulness is the enemy of man. It's also puts democracy in danger."



Like I said..."RABINFEST." Fifteen years and still counting.

17 October 2010

How many ways can I say it?

The Jews (some of us anyway) are fighting a war on two fronts. We're fighting a "Love" War with Eisav and a "Hate" War with Yishmael. The Xians want to absorb us and the Muslims want to obliterate us. But make no mistake! The "Love" War also comes from a place of deep hatred. The "love" is all pretend. As long as the Jew is groveling before the Xian, he'll never see it, but the moment he stands up and says, "Thanks, but no thanks" and insists on remaining a proud Jew, then the face changes, just like Lavan's did toward our father Yaaqov. As our sages said, "It's a law. Eisav hates Ya'aqov."

Jews who make friendships with Eisav and invite them into their homes and praise them are traitors to their people and our tradition. Be they Greeks, Romans, Brits or Xian "Zionists," they are the enemy and consorting with the enemy in a time of war is treason. If you don't think it's that starkly true, then you are infected with the assimilation virus and are not seeing and thinking like a Torah-true Jew.

John Hagee, a xian evangelist who has become rich misleading countless people into a false, idolatrous religion, presents himself as a great "friend" of Israel and Jews. He would not hesitate to "lead" any Jew who approached him to turn his back on the Torah and embrace a belief in his false messiah. Out of the millions he collects from duping poor clueless goyim, he shares some of the ill-gotten gains with his Jewish buddies, making them partners in his crimes against humanity. Too strong a statement for you? Again, I say, check your assimilation meter and see if you are not under the influence of Western "pc" thinking.

To feed people religious poison and lead them astray from the ONE G-D is a crime against humanity!! And all you Jews consorting with the enemy, taking the money as if it's your due and somehow salving your conscience.... Well, what more can I say? With your bechira, you'll laugh off everything I'm saying to you and go on your merry way. But I will just remind you: There is a Judge and there is a Judgment.

*******************

John Hagee Ministries Israel Gift Recipients 2010

Nefesh B’Nefesh $1 million
Migdal Ohr $500,000
Jewish Agency for Israel $450,000
Ashdod Emergency Medical Center $400,000
Barzilai Medical Center $400,000
Bikur Cholim Hospital $400,000
Laniado Hospital $400,000
Netanya College $400,000
Or Movement $300,000
Ben Yakir Youth Village $250,000
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee $250,000
Kiryat Yam Absorption Center $250,000
Ohr Torah Stone $250,000
Save a Child’s Heart Foundation $250,000
Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity $250,000
Avukat Or $200,000
Gush Katif $200,000
Yeshivat Hesder at Akko $200,000
Afikim Family Enrichment Centers $150,000
Gush Etzion $150,000
Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel $150,000
Leo Baeck Education Center $100,000
Ben-Gurion University $100,000
Bikur V’Ezras Cholim $100,000
Eretz Nehederet $100,000
Just One Life $100,000
Meir Panim $100,000
One Family Fund $100,000
Orr Shalom $100,000
Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center $100,000
Women’s International Zionist Organization $100,000
Eshel Yerushalayim $75,000
Leket Israel $75,000
Hadadi Center for Breast Cancer Survivors $50,000
Israel Emergency Aid Fund $50,000
Israel-Help in Kiryat Gat $50,000
Koby Mandell Foundation $50,000
Nativ $50,000
Or L’Doron $50,000
Jewish Federation of Greater Houston $250,000

TOTAL GIFTS $8.5 million

Jonathan Pollard

9 Cheshvan 5771

UPDATE! "Exclusive: Pollard lawyers file clemency request with Obama"

****************************

3 Cheshvan 5771


I don't know why and I don't know how, but I know without any doubt whatsoever that the fate of Jonathan Pollard is tied inextricably with the geulah shleimah. Just as the events that we are experiencing, which are bringing us closer and closer to the division of Jerusalem, come in waves like birthpangs, so do efforts to free Jonathan.

There will be a lot of news and a lot of activity and then a long period of quiet where nothing seems to be happening and then along comes the next 'contraction.'

I don't know if you were aware or not that Netanyahu put out feelers a few weeks ago to see if Obama might give Pollard in exchange for a renewal of the building freeze in Yehuda v'Shomron. It made international headlines. Washington did not respond, of course. Shortly thereafter, a handful of congressmen from Obama's own party began circulating a letter that is to be delivered to Obama "mid-October" requesting clemency for Pollard based on the discrepancy between his sentence and what others received for the same crime.

"...The letter notes that they are not questioning Mr. Pollard's guilt, the process by which he was convicted and sentenced, nor the necessity of punishing those who engage in espionage on behalf of allied countries. Rather, the appeal for clemency is based on the vast disparity between Mr. Pollard's sentence and the sentences given to many others who have been convicted of similar activities, even with countries that unlike Israel are or have been adversaries of the United States.

The letter also notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of our nation towards Israel and the Israeli people. This would be particularly helpful at a time when the Israeli nation faces difficult decisions in its long-standing effort to secure peace with its neighbors."


This is the most public call for Pollard's release since the fiasco at Wye River.

This week, every Jewish organization in America from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism to the Orthodox Union and Agudat Israel have lent their calls for clemency to this latest effort. Things are definitely moving along, but this long and protracted labor is exhausting and disheartening us all. Please do your part to make this big push the one that will 'deliver the baby' so to speak; that will bring us all to the deliverance that we have all been waiting, hoping and praying for. Please bombard Heaven with your pleas on behalf of Jonathan Pollard and the complete redemption!

Our Brother in Butner
HAMODIA Editorial - October 6, 2010


Pidyon shvuyim (Redemption of a captive). A mitzvah that retains a unique place in every Jewish heart - and rightfully so.

"There is no mitzvah that is [as great] as pidyon shvuyim," declares Rambam. The Shulchan Aruch rules that pidyon shvuyim takes precedence over all other types of tzedakah, and even when money has been collected for any other cause, it may be diverted for the sake of ransoming a captive.

Avraham Avinu placed his life in grave danger to gain freedom for his nephew Lot, and ever since then his descendants have done their utmost to free their captive and imprisoned brethren.

We are privileged to live in a malchus shel chessed (a benign regime), with an overall fair and transparent legal system. There are, however, some shocking exceptions to the rule: cases in which justice has, thus far, been denied and the ideal of fairness has disappeared.

For nearly 25 years, a Jew has been incarcerated in a federal prison. His crime? Passing classified information to a close U.S. ally. His intentions were good, as he acted out of a deep concern for the safety and security of his brethren in Eretz Yisrael. The close intelligence ties between America and Israel and the pacts between them made him feel that in no way was he endangering U.S. interests.

Nevertheless, as he has acknowledged on more than one occasion, despite his good intentions, what he did was wrong, and he should never have done it.

Others who committed similar crimes were either deported, or received a minimal prison sentence (an average of two years). Either punishment fit the crime.

But after Jonathan Pollard agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a promise that he would not get the maximum sentence, the judge proceeded to ignore the agreement and sentence him to life in prison!

Now, nearly 25 years later, this travesty of justice continues as Yehonoson ben Malka Pollard remains imprisoned in a Federal facility in Butner, North Carolina.

Can we look into our own hearts and truly say that we have done all we can - both on an individual and on an organizational level - on behalf of this Jew?

Contrary to what is commonly though mistakenly assumed, much can be done. First and foremost is the power of tefillah (prayer). Ultimately, the Ribbono shel Olam (Master of the World) is the One who frees captives, and if each and every one us would undertake to daven (pray) every day for Yehonoson ben Malka, it would certainly have a huge impact in Shamayim (Heaven).

At the same time we also have a obligation to undertake practical hishtadlus (efforts) on his behalf.

As reported on the front page in this issue, four Congressmen have announced that they are circulating a letter in the House of Representatives seeking other members to join them in asking President Obama to extend clemency to Pollard.

The appeal for clemency is based on the vast disparity between Mr. Pollard's sentence and the sentences given to others convicted of worse crimes, aiding countries that unlike Israel are or have been adversaries of the United States.

The letter also notes the positive impact that a grant of clemency would have in Israel, as a strong indication of the goodwill of America towards Israel and the Israeli people.

According to Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of National Council of Young Israel, who for many years has been at the forefront of efforts to help Pollard, this is the first time such a letter has been circulated in Congress.

We commend Congressmen Barney Frank, Bill Pascrell, Adolphus Towns and Anthony Weiner for this effort; they have our appreciation and gratitude.

It is crucial for each of us to contact the member of Congress representing our particular district and urge them to sign this letter, which is now being circulated in Congress and is expected to be sent to President Obama in about ten days.

It is essential for our elected officials to hear how important this matter is to us, and with Election Day only weeks away, that whether or not he or she signs this letter will impact our vote on November 2. "We all need to call our congress people and request that they sign on, and if not, ask why. Then we need to educate them on the real story," says Rabbi Lerner.

In another noteworthy development, Professor Lawrence J. Korb, who served as Assistant Secretary of Defense when Pollard was arrested, has written to Obama calling for clemency.

"Based on my first-hand knowledge, I can say with confidence that the severity of Pollard's sentence is a result of an almost visceral dislike of Israel and the special place it occupies in our foreign policy on the part of my boss at the time, Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger.

"Secretary Weinberger submitted two affidavits to the court in order to convince the judge to give Pollard a harsher sentence than the one requested by the government, despite Pollard admitting guilt, plea bargaining and cooperating with the government," Korb says. "The government committed to not seeking a life sentence but due to the Weinberger Affidavits, the redacted version of which I have read, Mr. Pollard received a disproportionate life sentence," he insists. The Shulchan Aruch states that "Every moment that one delays freeing captives, in situations when it is possible to expedite their freedom, is considered tantamount to the shedding of blood!"

Now is a time for united, comprehensive effort on behalf of Yehonoson ben Malkah. With only days left before the congressional letter is to be sent to the president, time is of essence. Let's pick up our phones and call now, and pick up our pens and write today.