17 August 2017

The Jewish Connection to Charlottesville

25 Menachem Av 5777

By now, everyone knows what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia last Shabbat. I'm hearing Jews saying they have no opinion on it because it does not concern them. But, like everything that happens in the world, it does concern us because it is about us whether we realize it or not.

It was the Charlottesville City Council under the leadership of a Jewish mayor who made the decision to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee which was the instigating event for last Saturday's violence. And it was the ACLU, an organization traditionally associated with Jews, which petitioned the court the keep the rally at the location where violence broke out, against the request of city officials to move it to a more defensible venue.

The right-wing Conservatives hate leftist Jews because they are perceived to be promoters of homosexuality, loose morals, communism, socialism, race-mixing, etc. Via Hollywood, the media and the banking system, these Jews are perceived to be undermining the traditional fabric of society and culture and bringing the country to the point of destruction.

The leftist Democrats hate right-wing Jews for their "blind" support of Israel and anyone who takes a public pro-Israel stance which is usually right-wing Conservatives. It is their perception that the tight relationship between the government of Israel and Conservative leaders undermines peacemaking in the world and fuels the agenda of warmongers. They also have a sense, real or imagined, that the very soul of their country is at stake.

Like it or not, this watershed event will no doubt have far-reaching consequences for Jews everywhere. Because what affects one of us, affects all of us. And there is no winning side for Jews in this brewing civil war.

Why did Hitler hate Jews? 


14 August 2017

Israel: Pipeline For American Culture to the ME

22 Menachem Av 5777
NBA HEADS TO THE HOLY LAND TO DEVELOP TALENT, PROMOTE VALUES
JERUSALEM (AP) -- The NBA is heading to the Holy Land this week, bringing together some of the top emerging talent from across Europe as part of the league's push to attract more foreign players and expand its global reach.
...An NBA delegation, led by Commissioner Adam Silver, is in Israel as part of "Basketball Without Borders," a program that hosts training camps for top teenage players throughout the world.
...In an interview, Silver said the program aims to give players who have a legitimate chance of reaching the professional ranks a cultural and athletic experience that would be hard to match.
"It's a realization that in order to develop as an elite player at a relatively young age, you need to begin competing against other elite players. And also you need the benefit of top notch coaching," he said.
...Off the court, the program also promotes cultural awareness.
"Whatever region we're in, we educate the young folks about what's happening socially, politically, economically in the area they are in," Silver said. "It's life skills in addition to basketball. It's about the values of the game, like leadership and discipline and hard work and respect for each other."
Toward that goal, the program will sponsor a series of clinics and workshops for local youngsters that will include Israeli Jews as well as members of the Muslim, Christian and Druze minorities. Palestinian children from the West Bank will also be participating, Silver said. On Sunday, for instance, the program will dedicate a new "learn and play" center at Jerusalem's YMCA.
"We look for regions where we can have a bigger impact than just the game of basketball," Silver said.

..."What we'd like to see is using basketball to build bridges between cultures," he said. "I think it really is true that people, whether on a basketball court, or it's on a soccer pitch, when they compete together they see how much they really do have in common. In this case, it's a shared passion for basketball."
Also, the Israeli government, ever eager to mix Jews and non-Jews (especially among those of marriageable age) in the Holy Land, strikes again.
Dangling cash, Israel pushes universities to woo foreign students
The Council for Higher Education in Israel is seeking to attract international, Jewish and non-Jewish students to its universities to promote diversity and a more fertile exchange of ideas on its campuses.
...The council has allocated some NIS 300 million ($83 million) over six years to boost the number of foreign students in its universities and colleges. The idea is to make local academia more competitive with universities abroad and strengthen Israel’s branding as a country of international academic excellence. This will also help fight boycotts and increase diplomatic, social and economic ties with foreign countries, the council said.
“When you have people from different backgrounds you open yourself up to a variety of cultures and ways of thinking, and that enriches you,” Prof. Yaffa Zilbershats, the chairman of the council, said in an interview. “This openness will enrich those who come from abroad, but also those who are here.”

13 August 2017

The "Post-Truth Era": Prelude to Mashiach

21 Menachem Av 5777

I only heard this phrase for the first time today. Since we know well that truth is the only basis for reality and that every lie must be wrapped around a bit of truth in order to exist due to this fact, it stands to reason that a complete detachment from truth will cause this entire "post-truth" world to collapse and disappear from reality. This is the necessary prelude to the revelation of Mashiach and a world of total truth. 

The stage is set.
Are we living in a post-truth era?
"Post-truth" was the Oxford Dictionaries’ international word of 2016.... It describes a situation “in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.
...The Guardian's head of media Jane Martinson will be discussing the new era of post-truth and alternative facts with economist and BBC presenter Evan Davis and journalist and former Spectator editor Matthew d'Ancona, both of whom have recently published their accounts of the post-truth age. (Source)

The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life

At one time we had truth and lies. Now we have truth, lies, and statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false. Euphemisms abound. We’re “economical with the truth,” we “sweeten it,” or tell “the truth improved.” The term deceive gives way to spin. At worst we admit to “misspeaking,” or “exercising poor judgment.” Nor do we want to accuse others of lying. We say they’re in denial. A liar is “ethically challenged,” someone for whom “the truth is temporarily unavailable.”

This is post-truth. In the post-truth era, borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and nonfiction. Deceiving others becomes a challenge, a game, and ultimately a habit. Research suggests that the average American tells lies on a daily basis. These fibs run the gamut from “I like sushi,” to “I love you.”

As the volume of strangers and acquaintances in our lives rises, so do opportunities to improve on the truth. The result is a widespread sense that much of what we’re told can’t be trusted. From potential mates to prospective employees, we’re no longer sure whom exactly we’re dealing with. Deception has become a routine part of the mating dance. Personnel officers take for granted that the resumes they read are padded. No wonder private investigation is a growth sector of the economy.

What motivates the casual dishonesty that’s become pandemic? Why do so many, even those with no apparent need to do so, feel a need to embellish their personal history? This question arises every time prominent figures are unmasked as fabulists: businesspeople, politicians, journalists, judges, military officers, police chiefs, beauty queens, newspaper reporters, South Carolina’s governor, the head of the United States Olympic Committee, and the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. Branches are grafted onto their family trees. Unearned degrees show up on their resumes. Purchased medals appear in their display cases. Thousands of non-veterans say they fought in Vietnam. Scores more passed themselves off as Ground Zero rescue workers.

We can only understand the motives of such dissemblers by examining the sea in which they swim. Trends ranging from the postmodern disdain for “truth” to therapeutic non-judgment encourage deception. There is much incentive and little penalty for improving the “narrative” of one’s life. The increasing influence of therapists, entertainers, politicians, academics, and lawyers, with their flexible code of ethics, contribute to the post-truth era. So do ethical relativism, Boomer narcissism, the decline of community, and rise of the Internet.

Post-truthfulness builds a fragile social edifice based on wariness. It erodes the foundation of trust that underlies any healthy civilization. When enough of us peddle fantasy as fact, society loses its grounding in reality. Society would crumble altogether if we assumed others were as likely to dissemble as tell the truth. We are perilously close to that point. (Source)

11 August 2017

Watch Out for Falling Stars Tonight!


19 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Eikav

Don't forget about the Perseid meteor shower!

The Perseid meteor shower will be visible from July 17 to August 24, with its peak on August 12 or 13. There will be good view from anywhere in the northern hemisphere; viewers close to the equator in the southern hemisphere may also see a few meteors low on the horizon.

The best time to look for meteors is between midnight and dawn, when the sky is dark and the radiant of the meteors is reasonably high.  (Source)

Spaceweather.com says: We recommend looking on the nights of Aug. 11th - 13th between the hours of 10:30 PM to 4:30 AM local time. Before midnight the meteor rate will start out low, then increase as the night wears on, peaking before sunrise when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky. Sky maps: Aug. 11, 12, 13.

"Whatever You Do It's Only For Your Own Good"

19 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Parashat Eikev



~ Shabbat shalom ~

10 August 2017

An Unwanted Truth

18 Menachem Av 5777

None of these burning buildings collapsed because of fire...

And despite the fact that no fire in history has ever brought a hi-rise building down, we are supposed to believe that fire - not remotely on the scale of what you see above - brought down the Twin Towers and Building #7 at the World Trade Center.


Former NIST Employee Speaks Out On World Trade Centre Towers Collapse Investigation




If they can get away with this, what other nefarious machinations are they capable of?

09 August 2017

IS THIS IT?!

17 Menachem Av 5777

When I saw this headline BLOOD MOON LIGHTS SKY IN ECLIPSE PREQUEL (Aug 7), and put it together with BRIGHTEST METEOR SHOWER IN RECORDED HUMAN HISTORY (Aug 12), as well as THE 2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE WILL BE 'ONE OF THE EVENTS OF THE CENTURY (Aug 21), all following immediately after TU b'Av, I couldn't help wondering if it connects at all to this...
Sound a shofar in Zion and sound an alarm in My holy mountain; all the inhabitants of the land shall quake, for the day of the Lord has come, for it is near.
And I will perform signs in the heavens and on the earth: Blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.
...The sun shall turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
...The sun and the moon have darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining.
(Yoel 1:1, 2:3-4, 3:4, 4:15)
We are exactly two weeks before the beginning of Elul and five weeks from Rosh Hashanah:
...even now, says the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with lamentation. And rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He repents of the evil. (Yoel 2:12-13)
Ten days after that is Yom Kippur and another twelve days beyond that brings us to Shemini Atzeret, the Day of Assembly following Hoshanah Rabbah. Is this verse an allusion to these three holidays?
Sound a shofar in Zion; proclaim a fast, call an assembly. (Yoel 2:15)
And who can ignore this call to a world war...
Announce this among the nations, prepare war, arouse the mighty men; all the men of war shall approach and ascend. (Yoel 4:9)

And the Lord shall roar from Zion, and from Jerusalem He shall give forth His voice, and the heavens and earth shall quake, and the Lord is a shelter to His people and a stronghold for the children of Israel. (Yoel 4:16)

"...even now, says the Lord, return to Me with all your heart,...."

08 August 2017

This Is a Story That You Have to Hear

17 Menachem Av 5777

With gratitude to Devorah Esther for sharing this story, may she go from strength to strength and with blessings poured out!

Adorned With Dignity - Day 50 Special Edition

 "My" Personal Testimony




You can find the whole series HERE.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Solar Eclipse a Disaster-in-the-Making?

16 Menachem Av 5777

Thirteen days to go...
Many States Preparing For Historic Eclipse Like A Natural Disaster
Americans across the U.S. will see the country’s first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in 99 years. While millions of people get ready to watch the Aug. 21 eclipse, local authorities are treating the event more like a natural disaster and are preparing for the worst.
The disaster prep work stems from the massive tourist attraction the solar eclipse has become. The eclipse’s path of totality, where the moon will almost completely block the sun, covers a 70-mile-wide lane that will cut across 12 states from Oregon to South Carolina. There are an estimated 12 million people in the eclipse’s path.
According to greatamericaneclipse.com, another 1.8 to 7.4-million people will travel into the path on Aug. 21. Several small towns and less populated states are preparing to see their populations double or even triple in the week leading up to the solar event.
Several counties in Idaho and Oregon have already issued emergency declarations. Local officials are citing increased public safety risks, financial damage, and excess costs of cleanup and property damage for the alerts.
On the East Coast, officials in South Carolina are reportedly stocking up on bottled water and port-a-potty services to prepare for the influx of tourists. The Red Cross is also setting up emergency shelters in the 12 affected states to help with possible emergencies that may overwhelm local governments.
Anyone who has ever seen a mass evacuation in front of a hurricane has some idea of what could happen when all these "eclipse tourists" all get on the road at the same time.  In gridlock, people run out of gas, they run out of drinking water and food (if they even thought to bring any along), and they run out of patience.

07 August 2017

Partial Lunar Eclipse Over Israel

16 Menachem Av 5777


About 7:45 pm, just after Moonrise in Israel...



About 8:50 pm in Israel...



At 9:20 pm at the peak of this partial Lunar Eclipse over Israel...


"For You have made me happy O Lord, with Your work; with the work of Your hands I shall exult. How great are Your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep."
(Tehillim 92.5-6)

Heads Up! Partial Lunar Eclipse Today/Tonight

15 Menachem Av 5777

Prelude to the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: A Partial Lunar Eclipse Occurs Monday

Much of the Eastern Hemisphere will be treated to a partial eclipse of the moon Monday (Aug. 7) — a prelude to the grand spectacle that awaits North Americans exactly two weeks later.

...You can watch the partial lunar eclipse live on Slooh.com beginning at 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT) [6:45 pm IST]. The webcast will last through 3:20 p.m. EDT (1920 GMT)[10:20 pm IST] and feature special guest commentators and live eclipse views from Slooh's partner observatories in Africa, Asia and Australia. You can also watch the webcast live on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh.

03 August 2017

Shabbat Nachamu 5777

12 Menachem Av 5777
Erev Shabbat Kodesh

"The haftarah of Shabbat Nachamu is the first of the "seven consolations" - the seven haftarot which are read on the seven Shabbats following Tisha b'Av. These haftarot are taken from Yeshayahu and record the prophetic messages of consolation which Yeshayahu offered Israel."  (Our Heritage)

Nachmu Ami - Aaron Razel





~ Shabbat Shalom ~

"A Day At The Parade"

11 Menachem Av 5777

Most unfortunately, I cannot be there this year, but for those who can, the protesters will be meeting near the Begin Center at 5:00 pm. Take a bus as close as you can get. If you try walking through the crowds, you will be stopped at multiple checkpoints along the way.

I just have to say here that in my opinion, the worst crime of this illegal regime (neged the Torah and a non-democracy) is the way it protects all the enemies and criminals of the Jewish people with all the strength it can bring to bear while torturing, harassing, and expelling the righteous of the nation with that same "strength." Hashem should deliver us from this evil!

Consider Rabbi Richter's video testimony from last year as instructive...

Rav Richter's shiur June 22 2016. A Day at the "Pride" Parade in Jerusalem 5776/2016


The Fable of Democracy

11 Menachem Av 5777

Maybe, if Israeli Jews will begin to understand that they don't really live in a "democracy" - maybe, maybe - they won't be averse to considering the option of a Torah monarchy.

In a democracy, the rule is by the people through elected representatives. Can any Israeli name their elected representative whom they can contact personally about an issue or concern? The answer is "no", because in Israel, we elect parties, not individuals. No one is accountable and there is no way to rid ourselves of individuals we do not support. Only the party can do that. 

There is no direct election of either the Prime Minister or the President. And anything decided by the Knesset can be struck down by the High Court who also aren't elected. Therefore, no democracy.

Not only is there no democracy, there are no civil rights. When people can be plucked from their homes in the middle of the night and locked up for months on end without charge under "administrative detention"; when the police can single out individuals and forbid them the basic right to peaceful public protest; when a Defense Minister can take over a beit midrash, kick out its students and install security forces on bogus assumptions that it is a source of "violent behavior", (and so much more) then no one is guaranteed their civil rights and Israel is not a democracy, because no people would choose to live this way!

02 August 2017

They Want To Build A Temple To Avodah Zarah

10 Menachem Av 5777

For all the talk about building the Third Temple, the majority don't really want to build the Temple of Hashem with all the complications that would entail. What they really want is a synagogue on the Temple Mount. And not for Hashem's honor, but for their own - as a demonstration of their sovereignty, not Hashem's

They say we have to prove something to the nations of the world. No! We have something to prove to HKB"H! That we have have done sincere and complete teshuvah. And that we are ready to follow Mashiach's lead and not argue with his instructions.

"When will Mashiach come? TODAY - if we will heed his voice." Why would Hashem send Mashiach if no one is going to listen to him? 

His first order of business will have to be to clean house. We can't welcome the Shechinah to a Holy Temple rebuilt in the same city alongside a "Pride Parade"...


Date of the 2017 Jerusalem Pride March was announced: August 3rd. 

[Will Women in Green, Yishai Fleisher, Ari Fuld and the other hundreds of people who joined the March Around the Walls and who ascended to Har Habayit on Tisha b'Av also join the protest against this "March" - this very public desecration of G-d's Name and Jerusalem's holiness? Because this is a first step towards building the Third Temple.]

Any such "Temple," which will welcome also all religions inside it, will be a Temple to avodah zarah, G-d forbid! What god will be served there? The "All-love" Xian god? The "All-hate" Muslim god? Or the ONE GOD of the Jews Who is "All" with no divisions?

Just like there is no forgiveness without repentance and there is no reward without punishment, there is no love without hate. Those who love Hashem are required to hate evil.

Those who greet Mashiach with love and joy will have one common trait. They will fear nothing except HKB"H, because anything that you fear more than God, whether it be the authorities, public opinion or the loss of your life, is already set higher in your mind and heart than HKB"H and this is what you really worship as god.

Avraham Avinu proved in his ultimate test of faith that he did not even value his own beloved and long-awaited son's life above obedience to Hashem. This is the legacy that he passed down to all his offspring. Every real Jew has within himself the capacity to reach this level of emunah and very soon - too soon for most - we will be called upon to demonstrate it.


01 August 2017

The Sinat Chinam That Destroyed the Second Temple

10 Menachem Av 5777

Who goes to war with their brothers while trying to mount a rebellion against a formidable foreign power? The misguided nationalistic (it's all up to us) Jews of the Second Temple period who refused to listen to da'at Torah.





PART 2, PART 3, PART 4

The Reason for Tisha b'Av: Doubt and Lack of Faith in HKB"H

9 Av 5777

In my previous post, I wrote about the root problem that caused Tisha b'Av to become a fast day. Whenever a person has any doubt regarding HKB"H's goodness (lack of emunah), it opens the door to rebellion which leads to exile.

Chavah listened to the serpent and believed that Hashem would withhold good from her by denying her the tree at the center of the Garden. In her lack of faith and trust in HKB"H, she disobeyed and the end result was exile from Gan Eden.

Am Yisrael listened to the Erev Rav and believed that Hashem would deliver them from Egypt just to leave them leaderless in the midbar. In their lack of faith and trust in HKB"H, they allowed the Golden Calf to be built as a substitute for Moshe.

Yet again, Am Yisrael listened to the ten spies and believed a bad report against HKB"H, that the Land of Israel really wasn't the great gift G-d claimed it was, that He had done all the miracles just in order to bring them to this horrible land to die in a horrible way, chas v'shalom.

If you examine the reasons for why the two Batei Hamikdash were destroyed, you will see that it always goes back to lack of emuna and bitachon in Hashem. The yetzer hara tells us that HKB"H really does not have our ultimate good at heart, chas v'shalom, so we must turn to substitutes and take matters into our own hands.

Avraham Avinu passed the ultimate test of emunah when he did not hold even Yitzchak's life above obedience to G-d's command. Do you wonder how he could do it? He absolutely believed in Hashem's goodness, that He would not ask him to make the sacrifice capriciously, but had only their ultimate good and blessing in mind.

Am Yisrael demonstrated this level of faith and trust when they slaughtered the lambs and put the blood over their doors in Mitzrayim and again when they plunged into the Red Sea. But, keep in mind that they did so in obedience to G-d's commands. It wasn't something they thought up on their own and then offered it to G-d.

This account in Shmuel Aleph, perek 15 is instructive. The prophet Samuel is speaking to King Saul regarding his failure to destroy Amalek...
...the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and you shall utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and you shall wage war against them until they destroy them.' Now, why did you not hearken to the voice of the Lord, but you flew upon the spoil, and you did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord?"
And Saul said to Samuel, "Yes, I did hearken to the voice of the Lord. I did go on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and I brought Agag, the king of Amalek alive, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. And the people took from the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the ban, to sacrifice to your God in Gilgal."
And Samuel said, "Has the Lord (as much) desire in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Since you rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being a king."
We would not be honest with ourselves if we did not ask "what is the point of fasting all these years?" The point is to make us aware of what we are lacking and I'm not talking about the obvious answer "we're missing our Beit Hamikdash, of course." The missing Bayit is a symptom, not the illness itself. We lack the Temple, because we lack faith and trust in HKB"H.

As I've written here before on more than one occasion, Rabbi Kook brought down the Rambam that there is a clear order to the restoration of our nation: 1) we must appoint a king; 2) we must destroy Amalek; 3) we must build the Temple. It's a very logical progression. Once we have a Torah government, we can destroy the enemy who prevents the rebuilding. But, ignorant and faithless people propose to do it all backwards and so are doomed before they even start.

If we truly want to rebuild the Holy Temple on Har Habayit, we are going to have to be willing to obey HKB"H to the letter of this order. We have to be willing to replace democracy with monarchy, to give up dreams of coexistence and be willing to annihilate Amalek, and to build the Third Temple in accordance with all the strictures of the Torah. There will not be a temple to avodah zarah here!!!

Only once we have repented for the lack of emunah which leads to rebellion (failure to obey G-d's will), then will come the test to see if the repentance is sincere. If it is found to be so, then forgiveness and redemption will arrive hand in hand.

However, there is first going to be a very, very big test of that repentance - a test of our faith in HKB"H - to see if it is really sincere and only those who pass the test will remain in this world to enjoy the messianic era. 

Secrets of the Greatest Emunah Test