Monday, April 08, 2024

Fins and Scales - a Chassidic Insight

10-7 and 9-11: Hitler, Hamas, and a Historic Diary
G-d Wants You to Be Good, But He Also Wants You to Shine
--  Essay by Rabbi YY Jacobson

Rabbi YY Jacobson at the Zikim beach in the south of Israel.
Hamas terrorists came by boat on October 7th 2023 and murdered the Jews on the beach here.

As Israel and the Jewish people face the horrors of October 7th, 2023, I wish to share the story of a fascinating 9-11 diary (capturing a significant theme of the weekly Torah portion of Shemini). This diary can shed light on the ongoing struggle between Israel, the West, and radical Islam.

September 11, 1941: The world is swimming in Adolf Hitler's bloodbath. In a few days, the Germans will capture Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and massacre 100,000 innocent human beings in a ravine named Babi Yar. On this day—9/11 1941—in Arlington, Virginia, the U.S. Department of Defense starts construction on its new headquarters, the Pentagon.

On the same day, a middle-aged new immigrant to the shores of the United States, Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, later to become known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe, writes an entry in his private journal concerning two traits that make for a moral and productive human being: "fins" and "scales."[1]

Nobody imagines that sixty years later, on 9/11 2001, the free world would be struck again. Radical Islamists would crash planes into the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, murdering thousands. A new era of global terror would descend on our planet.


The Journal

The idea the Lubavitcher Rebbe presented in his journal on this day is worth reflecting on today.

The Torah states in this week’s portion (Parshas Shmini as well as Reah): “This may you eat of all that is in the waters: everything that has fins and scales, you may eat. But anything that has no fins and scales, you may not eat.” [2] For a fish to be kosher, it needs both fins and scales.

The Talmud states a fascinating fact: “All [fish] that have scales also have fins [and are thus kosher]; but there are [fish] that have fins but do not have scales [and are thus unkosher].”[3]

“If so," asks the Talmud, "the Torah could have written only 'scales,' without having to also write 'fins?’” If a fish that has scales inevitably has fins, why is there a need for both signs? The Talmud answers: "Said Rabbi Abahu, and so it was learned in the study house of Rabbi Ishmael: “This is so that the Torah should be increased and made great." This is a strange answer. Where is the logic in presenting fins as an identifying sign for kosher fish when it is totally irrelevant and inconsequential since scaled fish inevitably have fins as well? How does this make the Torah greater?

Also, why are fins and scales the characteristics that distinguish kosher fish? What is special about these two identifying signs to deem fish suitable for Jewish consumption?

Food’s Force

The Rabbis and Mystics teach that the physical attributes of fish, and of all animals, reflect their psychological and spiritual qualities. They further explain that the food a person consumes has a profound effect on his or her psyche. Therefore, when one eats the flesh of a particular creature, the “personality” of that creature affects the person in some way.

Fins and scales too embody two qualities embedded in the souls of these types of fish that are necessary for the healthy development of human character. When the Jew consumes the substance of such fish, he becomes a more "kosher" and refined human being. When he consumes fish lacking these characteristics, it may dampen some of these vital qualities.

Drive & Direction

Scales, the "armor" that shields and protects the body of the fish, represent the quality of integrity, which protects us from falling prey to the many pitfalls that life presents. A person of integrity will not deceive his customers, despite the apparent financial profits involved. He will not tell a lie to a friend, despite the short-term comfort gained by doing so. He will not cheat on his spouse despite the tremendous temptations.

Integrity means that you have absolute standards of right and wrong and that you are committed to a morality that transcends your moods and temptations. Integrity preserves and protects your life and your soul.

Fins, the wing-like organs that propel fish forward, represent ambition. A healthy sense of ambition, knowing one’s strengths and wanting to utilize them in full, gives a person the impetus to traverse the turbulent sea of life and to maximize his or her G‑d-given potential. It propels us to fulfill our dreams and leave our unique imprint on the world.

What Is Our Priority?

Which of these two qualities is more important to cultivate in life—fins or scales? What ought to be the main function of education? Should we concentrate primarily on providing our children with the confidence and skills necessary for them to become productive and accomplished human beings? Or ought we to focus more intensely on raising children of high moral standing, concentrating more on how they will live than on how they will make a living?

The Talmud teaches that all fish that have scales also have fins. But some fish have fins but do not have scales and are thus non-kosher. On a deeper level, this symbolizes the idea that a human being who possesses fins may still lack scales and thus remain "non-kosher." He might swim and frolic through large seas and oceans with his talent and genius, but his achievements may be corrupt, hurting others in the process. Creating ambitious and confident children does not guarantee their moral uprightness and integrity. In our times, we have seen the result of people who had fins but no scales.

On the other hand, the Talmud tells us that all fish with scales have fins. If you teach your children to approach life with truth and honesty, with an unyielding commitment to morality and decency, this child will certainly succeed and develop "fins" as well. Regardless of his or her degree of intellectual prowess, they will find the "fins" with which to advance in their learning and their achievements to make the world a more beautiful place.

To Change the World

"If so," asks the Talmud, "the Torah could have written only 'scales,' without having to also write 'fins'." On a deeper level, the Talmud is asking, why is it important to emphasize the need for fins in developing a "kosher" human being? Why does an emphasis on ambition constitute part of a moral and "kosher" education? Why not just focus on integrity and ethics?

The Talmud’s answer is marvelous: "This is so that 'Torah be increased and made great.'" This means that our spiritual mission consists not only of professing integrity and morality but also of developing our full potential materially and spiritually. G-d wants us to be good; but He also wants us to be successful and shine; to utilize all of our talents and resources to transform the landscape of our planet into an abode for the Divine; to make the Torah “great and large.” The light, majesty and depth of Torah must penetrate the entire world and turn it into an oasis of goodness and holiness.

Cruel Ambition; Deadly Surrender

The events of September 2001, like those of September 1941, dramatically altered our view of the world. Both ushered in a new era of violence, bloodshed, grief and terror. The first was by Nazi Germany; the second was by radical Islamists. Yet the roots of the two wars were very different: The Germans personified a culture possessing fins but no scales. Their ambitions, achievements, and love of life were impressive, yet their morality and sense of ethics were horrifically skewed. While they loved and nurtured their dogs, appreciated poetry, philosophy, and scientific advancement, they sent millions to die in gas chambers.

September 11, 2001, on the other hand, was perpetrated by people with a deep faith and commitment to the will of Allah, yet with a hatred for all progress and advancement, and a desire to destroy all who do not adhere to their dark vision of the world. They died for what they believed to be the ultimate in morality and holiness; yet their perception of G-d was horrifically skewed: theirs was a god who wanted them to die, as long as they can kill others.

People somehow delude themselves into thinking that Hamas and the people living in Gaza are two distinct entities and that Hamas took control of Gazans. They forget that Hamas does not control Gaza; rather, Gaza thinks Hamas. Hamas was elected by the people of Gaza in 2006, and more than 70 percent of Arabs living in Gaza and in the West Bank support the murders of October 7th, 2023.


Many young Muslims are being taught today to develop scales but no fins: to surrender their lives to Allah, without appreciating that G-d wants them to live, and not to die; to build the world, not destroy it, and to respect other peoples, not blow them up. To create a “kosher” world, we need scales, but we also need fins. Muslim leaders, parents and educators must begin to teach their youth to love their own lives more than they hate the lives of others.

They must discover that the love of G-d does not require a love for blood.

Israel and the Jewish people stand at the forefront of this conflict. This is not a time to back down but to stand with unwavering commitment to the sacredness of life and the fight against those who gleefully want to see us dead. With clarity, we ought to call out the evil we are facing and fight to eradicate it.   


[1] Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, escaped Nazi-occupied France with his wife, via Portugal, and arrived to these shores in June 1941. This journal of the Rebbe (among many more), dated Elul 19, 5701 (equivalent to September 11, 1941) was discovered in his study after his passing in June 1994 and published in Reshimos #39, pp. 6-8. I'm sharing my exposition based on the ideas presented in the above journal.

[2] Leviticus 11:9. Deuteronomy 14:9–10. – In 1941, Sep. 11 coincided with the Torah portion of Reah.

[3] Niddah 51b.

Rabbi Jacobson's site is

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Last Steps Preceding Moshiach's Revelation - 5781

It would be a big mistake to think a great or greater America is the final episode of this world's transformation now taking place. We realize, of course, such a step, great as it is, does not qualify as the Jewish utopia, namely, the "Era of Ultimate Redemption", G-d forbid. 

But we cannot deny the obvious; On the way to transforming the world into ultimate goodness, a world in which G-d Himself feels "at home", one in which a Jewish King descended from David and Solomon shall make his presence, this step, being that it is along the way, must of course be a good one. 

In fact, even during the previous administration's tenure, those who were attuned to Moshiach felt, despite what portended as ominous developments from a Jewish perspective, that this period served as a "descent" for the purpose of a subsequent "ascent".

Just as the Jews were made to suffer the treachery of Egyptian exile and slavery for 4 generations, as a means to become "refined" in preparation for the ascent thereafter of receiving the Torah and becoming God's Jewish nation, a similar "descent for the purpose of a loftier ascent", to a level even higher in elevation than a prior definition of "good" could imagine, was taking place.

A miraculous turnaround happened in 2016. Suddenly, when the world was expecting H. Clinton to win, which would've taken rampant radical Islam to its next level of terror, a Purim-like miracle happened, and in a matter of 12 hours a Jewish maidele was sitting in the White House instead. 

The backbone of evil had to be exposed in full relief, before being trashed and replaced with a framework of goodness. 

We will all rejoice after the Trump election, a week away, and it will be a stunning landslide! But then we'll still remain one step or two from our final destination. As of now, as the gemorrah says:

אכתי עבדי אחשוורוש אנן 
“We are still servants of Achashverosh” (Megillah 14a) 

i.e., we haven't yet reached the apex of that most glorious period. Jews will still remain under foreign sway. In Israel too Moshiach's paradise has yet to transpire for the collective. 

The Era of Redemption continues to blossom at a quick pace. 5781 is already beyond midday of the Friday millennium, with only 219 years left before Saturday's millennium arrives. 

So how close are we to that blessed period beyond? Tzephania the prophet describes that period. Notice how his description reflects our present period. The Jewish demographic is no longer looked down on, generally speaking. Jewish People are again being recognized as meriting praise, finding grace in the eyes of America and among the other nations.

Here's Tzefaniah's last verse (3:20), as he describes God's promise of that era:
"'At that time, I will bring you to the land, ingathering you to there, and give you a reputation of praise among all peoples of the earth as I restore you from exile before your eyes', said God."

בעת ההיא אביא אתכם ובעת קבצי אתכם כי אתן אתכם לשם ולתהלה  בכל עמי הארץ בשובי את שבותיכם לעיניכם אמר ה׳

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Fountainhead for Discovery

Presidential Election Day will be November 3rd, 2020

That'll be 16 of Cheshvan, 5781.

Cheshvan is "חודש השני" in Tanach.

Where's that month mentioned in Tanach?

(Go to; Find Phrase; Key in "חדש שני"; Select option "Adjacent words"; Hit GO.)

Here's 5 of the first "hits"; We're only interested in the first:

namely, Noah 7:11

בשנת שש מאות שנה לחיי נח בחדש השני בשבעה עשר יום לחדש ביום הזה נבקעו כל מעינת תהום רבה וארבת השמים נפתחו

Take a look at the date during that "2nd Month": The possuk relates to 17th day of Cheshvan.

That's the 1st day for the next president, which will of course be Mr. Donald Trump! (Don't forget that we crossed the threshold, from Exile into that Era of Redemption, and the good gushing forth is easily evident and tangible.) Of course the foolish left will be trounced. But more significantly, inasmuch as we expect events of unbelievable (miraculous) circumstances and proportions-- in our times, may it be speedily, something else, besides his landslide victory, will also come to be, perhaps in the form of a "flood" - as per that possuk. 

"On that day, all the wellsprings from below shall burst open, and the heaven's floodgates opened."

On the face of it, at the story-telling level, (or "Nigleh"), the verse sounds ominous, as a prelude to a fatal flood. Chassidus, on the other hand,  brings the possuk to radiate a deeper meaning. 

The "waters from above" represent the New Light of Torah, that which transforms the world during the Era of Redemption; Which we happen to be in!

The "waters from below" represent the secular parallel of that new, strong light. What resonates below derives from the new spiritual awakening. 

For, just as sure as Chassidus began to shine forth this new light, which began already with the Arizal, in 1573, about 450 years ago, and continued to expand and accelerate since then -- this brought about, albeit unawares to the public as to why, a parallel, explosive age of discovery in the secular arena. 

As Chassidus began to sprout and blossom, the secular world began to thrive, and the economy of the world began to reshape. New light brought with it new growth ability from "below", the secular landscape.

As Chassidus continued to spread out, more with every generation, so too - in parallel, new innovations and scientific explorations thrust our technology into a prolific mode, onto an exponential vector of discoveries, from the micro to the macro.

After all, the better we grasp and appreciate our environment, the better and deeper we can comprehend, and the more truth we'll find to see that Hashem stages this whole beautiful world before our eyes -- every moment of the day.

So what has 16th of Cheshvan have in store? It'll be great for sure. I'm curious to find out.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The Downfall of Israel's Enemies

See today's headline from

What do you read between the lines?

We can see clearly that our wars against our enemies are being done for us, without us having to lift a finger. The unseen hand is fighting our wars for us, as we sit idly and watch arm in arm. 

One of Moshiach's qualifications is, he fights for the Jews the wars they would otherwise have to fight by themselves. The Rebbe said in 1980 that the Gog and Magog War was underway (LINK).

The Rebbe, explaining King David's Psalms 2 and 3, shows that this war of Gog and Magog, as it is ongoing, will leave the Jewish people totally immune from destructive conflict. 

And indeed, Amalek will finally be destroyed, as we, the last generation of the Diaspora, and thus the first generation of Geulah, watch our enemy's demise plays itself out. Not one Israeli soldier is needed to beat the enemy into oblivion, b"H.

Have a great month of Elul!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Chassidic Countdown to Redemption: 5780

Today is Friday, the 6th day, God's 6th millennium since He created Earth, after the night has passed, the time at 5780 being 12:43 pm.

If, as Moses explains,
כי אלף שנים בעיניך כיום אתמול כי יעבר
"For a thousand years are in Your eyes like yesterday, which passed ...." (Tehillim (90:4)

then we've passed from nightime, the first 500 years of that millennium, which began in year 5000, and have already entered daylight hours. If 500 years equals 12 hours, and we are 280 years since morning, and morning was at 6:00 am - let's say - then the time right now is 12:43 pm, 43 minutes after חצות!  

עלות השחר
The year the Ba'al Shem Tov went public was at 6:00 am, at dawn of the 6th day. The Alter Rebbe of Chabad became the 3rd generation thereafter to expose Chassidut, in the year 5550.

The light of Chassidus was lost from most Jews for 1,950 years; Since the 2nd Temple's destruction in the 4th millennium. Jews stuck with Torah, to be sure, but only to the well known 4 layers of Torah. The 5th layer of depth was an entirely new perspective of Torah that only Chassidus now brought to the public's cognitive grasp. 

This was a taste of the new light of Moshaich. This made for Jews for Moshiach to again become a valid topic of discussion. This new insight would have been shunned by Jews before that had they learned about it then because this topic brought about sorrowful memories. It had been a taboo subject earlier. The Jewish mind back then was unprepared to entertain the concept of Moshiach having been deeply frustrated over the years with fake candidates and, instead, met only with severe oppression by host countries.

The Wellsprings of Chassidus Opening Up
Kabballah, which preceded the exposure of Chassidus, began the reawakening of this secretive aspect of Torah, but only to a limited extent. Some secrets were then revealed, but kept under low profile because not everybody was "suited" in mindset to accept these. Kaballah opened the gates, so to speak, for Chasidus to begin trickling out.

Dawn arrived with the Ba'al ShemTov in 5500, and especially after sunrise the Alter Rebbe, in the year 5550, began to spread the word widely. By then all Jews were cognitively equipped by God to better digest this new light, this new spiritualism, of Chassidus.

These dates are significant from a Jewish Halachic perspective! How so?

We know that Chassidus will be learned during the Sabbatical Era in the 6th millennium. We will then be immersed in it, learning the most inner secrets of the infinite Torah. That will be the entire purpose of Jewish existence. This is what is meant by the metaphor, that in Moshiach's time we will partake in the festive "feast of the Leviathan and the Wild Bull" (סעודת שור הבר והלווייתן). That food is Chassidus.

Halachically, on Friday, once daytime arrives, it is a Mitzvah - a commandment for every Jew - to taste of the food being prepared for the Sabbath (טועמיה חיים זכו). That Mitzvah is time-dependent, sanctioned only starting at daybreak. Thus since the year 5500, we are obliged to taste some of that food in anticipation of what it'll be like.

Had you learned some Chassidus before 1740, it would have meant little to you because the command to learn Chassidus, that is -- to taste the future food of Shabbat -- only took effect in the year 1740, with the exposition of the Ba'al Shem Tov.

Other halachic aspects concern the times when formal prayer services begin or end. So, for example, the time of Tefillah, the  Shmoneh Esrei morning prayer, is a time that Chassidus regards as a fight -- as a struggle to keep well concentrated in prayer, doing our best to keep from being distracted. These times may well translate into what happened to the Jewish people during the progroms and then the holocaust.

Anyhow, those time of day aspects, as to how and when they occurred, are now well behind us. For us Jews today, we only await the Ultimate Redemption that's about to happen any day now. Surely God won't wait until the last minute to debut Shabbat aspects, as if Friday hours were as secular as before. Rather, along the lines of the אחישנה possibility, which is one way Moshiach can come, aside from the other inevitable way (בעתו), the blessings will shower down a lot sooner than expected.
[Gleaned form a Maamar (להבין הקושיא הידוע) of the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Rebbe Rashab, who founded the first officially Chassidic Yeshivah, said in 1903.]

Sunday, June 21, 2020

"Garments" - And of Redemption - 5780

Think good; Will be good!

God gave us "Freedom of Choice". We express this freedom in 3 ways:
Free to think thoughts of one thing or another;
Free to speak words of one sort or another;
And free to do, one way or another.

In 3 ways we can align with, or misalign with, a given perspective.

You can think good thoughts or bad thoughts.
You can say good things or bad things, and
you can do either good or bad.

Thinking, saying and doing are referred to in chassidus as "garments". Just as you can choose which garment to wear or shed, so too you can decide to "wear" new thoughts and thereby abandon ("shed") your former thoughts; As you can say words that please in place of words that displease; And you can do favors and avoid crime, instead of proceeding otherwise.

Can emotions also be referred to as "garments"? No! There's no "free choice" for emotions. Emotions pursue thought, and not the other way around. Thoughts evoke emotions.

However, because emotions follow reflexively from thoughts, the garment of thought can be changed. This change of thoughts will trigger new emotions to supplant those that preceded.

Free choice, in light of chassidus, subdivides into thoughts, speech and behavior.

That bit of chassidus also sheds light on how to control emotions.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe wanted us well-versed in the topic of Moshiach because that's the Era we've entered, according to him. And if you think of it, thinking about Moshiach, whose revelation is approaching rather swiftly, will lead -- if you trust the Rebbe -- to good feelings during Moshiach's Eras.

The Rebbe so instructed us because he wanted us to see spectacles we'd otherwise never sense. Our panoramas are vast and exactly what to look for in this broad landscape to discern a moving target, among lots of activity, needs special attentiveness.

Learning about Moshiach and speaking and doing about Moshiach grows spiritual antennas. There are things happening locally and globally and to feel good amid these swirling events -- to be able to connect the dots of all these events in a refreshing light, they must be identified in proper context.

In other words, if we believe the Rebbe and do as he wishes, we'll discover that worldly events, which happen beyond our control, are actually benefiting us. We can begin to appreciate the good the Rebbe wants us to experience these days, much as father wants to impart his love to his child.

For those who think thoughts devoid of Moshiach, or have an entirely different perspective, the lesson of the Rebbe will be missed by them. Here's an example of this phenomenon today: What might appear to one person as a political fluke, as it might concern a politically-immersed person of the Democrat party, say regarding president Trump's election win in 2016, and he's expecting that already in 2020 Trump will be replaced by a "suitable" candidate -- to another person is a laughing joke. This other person, well-versed in Torah's views on Moshiach, sees that event as a palpable marker of a new era in history. This event was not at all a fluke. Rather, it was a sharp upturn in Moshiach's momentum.

This is an example of how "garments" of thought give one person agony for 4 long years, and to the other sheer ecstasy, under the same circumstances, seeing an altogether different pattern in the mosaic developing before him.

One will wallow while the other will thrive under the same circumstances. Think good; Will be good. Think Moshiach; Will sense Moshiach's imminence!

Thursday, May 07, 2020

The Imminent Utopia - As Apparent on Eve of Pesach Shaini, 5780

Just as God redeemed the Jewish People the first time, from Egypt, making sure the whole world was aware of the exodus (according to the Midrash, at the moment the Reed Sea parted, all waters in the world split as well) (e.g., even the water inside the cup of someone drinking, also split), as it says,

"... whom I took out from the land of Egypt - before the eyes of the nations..." (Lev. 26:25),

so too, our final redemption will transpire in full view of the whole world, as it says:

"He will once again gather you - from all the nations where the Lord your God had dispersed you." (Deut. 30:3)

There won't be any naysayer or dissenting voice to deny the marvel once it happens.

That emancipation will not be merely a metaphor for delivery from prosecution or hate. It will entail streams of Jewish people from all across the globe converging onto the Holy Land:

"... God will bring you to the land which your forefathers possessed ...." (Deut. 30:5)

One difference between the former and final emancipations is that while in the former, not all wanted, and thus never got, out, the final emancipation will embrace every last Jew.

Another major difference between the 1st redemption, from Egypt, and the last one, from among the nations, is, whereas the 1st time -- only the Jews benefited therefrom, the final one will -- benefit the entire world. Not only Jews will exult, the whole world will rejoice. It will be a utopia.

The first redemption happened in the spring. Our "spring" too is here, today, the eve of Pesach Shaini, could also be an opportune time for complete redemption!

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Redemption - From Counter-Intuitive to Intuitive

The prophet Tzefania says something that would have seemed incredulous only a few decades ago. It's a passage we say most every day in our morning prayers. His last verse quotes God's promise to the Jewish People in Moshiach's era:

"At that time I will bring them, and at that time I will gather you, for I will make you a name and a praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your captivities before your eyes, said the Lord."

How in the world could a Jew have comprehended that verse a few decades ago. "... among all the peoples of the earth ...". Really? How could billions of people, across 7 continents, in some 200 countries, discover about the Jewish People so the latter become a household name?

When newspapers became common, one could already imagine that they would carry the news, but even then, not all places could readily have gotten the information, certainly not at one time.

Of course today this question has its obvious answer, especially with the technological leap of the last 20 years that gave us the smartphone and the internet.

But back in days of the prophet, and thereafter for a good 1,700 years, the above verse could hardly have made much sense. How could they even have imagined such a global recognition? Maybe back then people figured the news could spread much like Indians "spoke" to one another with "smoke signals" from the hilltops, as Jews in fact did in ancient times to signal the day of "Rosh Chodesh" from the hilltops, the message originating from Jerusalem.

Another verse in our prayers is from Psalms (106:47):
"Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, to give thanks to Your holy name, to boast with Your praise."

Gather us from the nations? Or as we say daily, "And gather us from the 4 corners of the world". How could these verses make sense back then, or even understood? Surely an ancient Jew could hardly have figured this would mean we'd be travelling back to Israel using the airways! More likely, early on, Jews figured God meant we'd be taking long voyages by ship to get to the Holy Land.

Of course Jews always trust Hashem and any promise He made could happen as miraculously as the splitting of the Reed Sea. But we also know Hashem doesn't perform miracles unnecessarily. So the miracles of the airplane, the internet and the computer were made in order that by Moshiach's time it would all appear so natural.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Bolting Towards the Finish Line

Nearly 30 years ago, the Rebbe declared 1991 as the year to which the ancient Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Isaiah:499) was referring to, that is, "The year Moshiach is first revealed".

What significant events have occurred since then? We'll just mention 3 strides in the homestretch to the finish line.

1) In order that the whole world be able to connect to news of universal importance, the internet became connected to everyone's phone. In the last 20 years, the smartphone had been invented for this reason. Today this handheld device is everybody's newspaper.

2) The political upheaval that occurred overnight in 2016, with Trump's triumph, which brought a miraculous turnaround, from an administration bound to become a miserable hotbed of Jewish hatred under Muslim influence, to become, overnight, an administration that is the most benevolent ever to Jewish and Israeli aspirations.

3) The Chinese Corona virus caused a universal shakeup to demonstrate that even an invisible force can transmit to the whole world an earthshaking phenomenon. Even a person who cannot leave his home can get the message, an epoch-making news item to be sure, right in the palm of his hand.

Of course there were many other events as well, such as the Persian Gulf War, when Israel was struck with 39 Scud missiles (each the size of a bus), yet none were killed; Israel becoming a stellar technological giant and center of world trade, even selling military equipment to Arab countries; etc. But here we just mentioned 3 of global scope.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Reminder to Boost the Jewish Spirit

Purim and Adar are behind us now, for us to begin a new monthly countdown. We transition from Adar, a month of miracles camouflaged in natural events for the Jewish People, to Nissan, a month of miracles for the Jewish People in a revealed manner.

But because there's some gloom in the atmosphere today, I want to remind you all that we are inside of a new era, as The Rebbe had declared back in 1991. This was emphasized some 4 years ago when a major turnaround happened in world events. That event was a stark reminder, and we need reminders if only to confirm our otherwise absurd beliefs, that indeed we Jews, as well as the world at large, is inside of the new and final Era of Redemption.

The new viral phenomenon these days, instead of spelling gloom, ought to be understood as the new panorama wherein the whole world begins to gel into one communicable complex.**

The new technology of recent years, with the internet, computers and mobile gadgets, came into being so today the whole world can be embraced at one time. This viral episode, as yet another phase, serves much as a testing phase, if you will, in further preparing the world audience to become instantly in touch. The virus, like God, is invisible, the tiniest organism known to mankind, one that fits the bill perfectly.

The goal, of course, is that any day now we will - all - experience a most significant time of our lives, which will indeed draw wordwide focus on Moshiach himself.

The turnaround that happened in 2016 ought to have opened our eyes real wide. Until Trump's election, the prospects for the Jewish People, as well as the whole world, looked horrible. At the helm of the most powerful and influential country in the world was a serpent of hate and moral degradation. In his stead, the mainstream media had their polls predicting a major win for yet another monster, whose ever-present right-hand advisor was an Arab woman with ties to terror and Arab influence. Clinton was believed to have had a 90% chance of taking over. Anti-semitism was breathing heavily down the necks of Jewry and Israel, and corrupt oligarchies were threatening to impoverish and subdue the the world.

Then, suddenly, in a matter of hours, rather than days, the miraculous turnaround happened. Just as when Haman had been close to annihilating world Jewry, the turnaround happened in a matter of days after Esther had walked into the king's palatial quarters without being summoned. Suddenly the head of the treacherous Haman was hung by a noose and the Jewish people were given instant relief.

On election day in 2016, a similar "Purim miracle" happened. Instead of an Arab lady being held in esteem inside the White House, suddenly a lovely Jewish girl was sitting in her place.

We had gone from this ... :

... to this:

And, just in case people hadn't yet figured it out, or didn't take the change to heart, Trump had become Israel's great friend, had returned Yerushalayim to its age-old status, had sanctioned retaking historical Jewish territory, had inspired the world's peoples to believe in God, and had given us believers a welcome infusion of confidence that our dreams are not for naught.

Today is Rosh Codesh Nissan. Its the timely month of Spring. We know Torah is truth. We know that the Moshe Rabbeinu of our generation spoke truth. We trust in Hashem, despite unbelievable events that make no constructive sense to us. Still, any day soon will yet come the greatest miracle of all, when the Ultimate Era of Redemption will shake the world to its core with new light and blessings we cannot even yet imagine.


** I write this with a sad heart because close friends passed away during this so-called pandemic. But I surrender to my madness of thought because it's not for us to understand how this is all for the good.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Another Rebbe Footprint

Wow; Just found another footprint while tracking the unfolding of the Era of Redemption! It's the footprint of the Rebbe, MH"M, the general running the show from abstentia. Didan Notzach is a holiday specially connected to Chabad. These dates are appropriate for registering knockout blows to sources of evil, in these last days in diaspora.

The era that is backdrop to this new, universal transformation is characterized by Good being revealed and promoted, while Evil is revealed for eventual elimination. The audience these days is the entire world, connected by internet. 

In these times, when you can access an entire world from the palm of your hand, Good and Evil are paraded over many screens for all to see. People can thus pick sides. The populace has free choice to align with either side. Of course soon enough Good will have the final triumph, while Evil is marked for extinction.

And, as usual, focus is always on the Jews and Eretz Yisrael. 

Because it's for their sake the world exists and because of them that the world is now in a state of metamorphosis into a utopic era illuminated with divine presence. Souls will have to decide either to hop onto this eternal, holy Messianic bandwagon, or squander the opportunity with poor choice, relegating themselves to the dust bin of history.

It was this Hei Tevet 5780 (דידן נצחthat Trump eliminated the top Iranian general, Q. S., who represented the pinnacle of that terror system. (Our time is 8 hours prior to Baghdad's).

(This "footprint" series was earlier broached here.)

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Home at the Center of the Universe

Jewish law has some “basic” laws. What makes basic laws basic? I suppose because without grasping these at first, knowledge of the rest of Jewish law may not be appreciated. For this reason, Maimonides, in scoping out all of Torah’s laws in his great 14-volume compendium, begins his treatise with 10 chapters called:
Torah’s Most Basic Laws”. (LINK)

Curiously enough, one of these most fundamental Torah laws is a lesson in astronomy. We are taught, of all things, the shape of the universe! “It’s round”, says the Rambam. And to be sure we understand just what round means, he qualifies his description as “round like a ball”. This extra phrase “like a ball” is deliberate. It pays to know that the Rambam scrupulously paid heed to being exceptionally concise, never using extra words unless they were necessary. I suppose therefore that adding "like a ball", therefore, means to exclude ovoid or elliptical shapes.

So right from the start, the student of Jewish Law learns that Torah rejects the scientific theories of modern astronomy, whose theories invoke elliptical orbits.

Then we learn that this huge spherical universe is made up of 8 concentric spheres, one within the other, layered like an onion. Each sphere whirls or rotates in its own autonomous direction, irrespective of its neighboring inner or outer sphere's direction, although the direction or velocity of a neighboring sphere does have influence on an adjacent sphere.

Outside the 8th sphere, is the 9th dimensionless, starless, empty expanse that rotates the entire universe contained within it one full revolution every 24 hours.

In the middle of this concentrically layered universe of stacked, orbiting spheres, one inside the other, the lowermost or innermost sphere has, at its core -- an empty space. That is, the 1st or innermost sphere has within it a hollow core. It is inside this core where Earth and its atmosphere were placed. Although all spheres around the Earth's space are in constant rotation, the Earth itself remains stationary!

Here too the Torah's perspective differs from modern science. Astronomy subscribes to a heliocentric universe, with the sun at its core; Torah, on the other hand, teaches us that the universe is geocentric, with the Earth at the center of the universe. Modern science claims the Earth rotates; Torah, to the contrary, tells us the Earth is still.

Each sphere has a thickness, is transparent and intangible. Each sphere abuts with its adjacent spheres. Each of the 1st 7 contain a main planet. The 8th sphere contains all the other stars of the universe.

Now -- you might ask -- why would this shape and configuration of the universe constitute a "most basic law of Torah"? Among the thousands of laws in Judaism, why does this one deserve such an important status? Is it even relevant to religious conduct?

Maimonides tells why. Pondering the incredible organization, beauty and grace built into the universe, he says, inspires us to “Love your God!” and “Fear your God!”. Without this basic law’s knowledge, the laws of loving and fearing Hashem involved in many other Torah commandments may not otherwise be satisfied.

One can also draw a simple conclusion from knowing the above shape-of-the-world facts. The whole world revolves around us down here at the center of it all. We small creatures live in this huge universe, all of which was obviously meant to benefit us down here. We are the focus of it all. Obviously this gives man a sense of awe and, at the same time, a sense of responsibility, which implies dedicating oneself to a commitmentknowing he is the centerpiece of all of creation.

Parenthetically, now that NASA has 3 times sent antennas to outer space to map cosmic background radiation, 3 times they've confirmed that the pattern found cannot support a random distribution. Rather, their finding implies a source of intelligence! Cosmologists belied their anger at these findings by dubbing the plotted axis, which points to the Earth as being the center of the universe, "the axis of evil". Why evil? Evil because they did not expect an alignment of all that surrounds the universe (the outermost "sphere") with what they supposed was an insignificant Earth. If anything, it now shows that the earth is indeed at the center of the grand architect's master plan. Their findings, to their own surprise and dismay, point to a one God of the universe!

Chabad Chassidus is based on a most interesting axiom, which originates from one Midrashic quote, or a few at most; Namely, that the Creator of the universe desires to make this nethermost world of ours into His "home". That is, if all Jews were to behave according to Jewish law, this world would be a fitting place for God's Presence to manifest in its full glory. The above basic laws of Torah certainly support this exalted mission of the Jewish people.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Deed to the Land of Israel

Finally, finally, Israel has followed Torah's exhortation to proclaim before the gentile nations who accuse Israel of having robbed their land exactly as Ambassador Danny Dannon did in the U.N.'s security council on April 30, 2019.

The very first verse in Torah, and there, in the very first Rashi, Rashi dictates exactly the words that need be said to counter this false accusation. And indeed, Mr. Danon raised the Chumash in the air and said words to the same effect, if not exactly the right words.

God gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people when he made a covenant with Abraham, said Danon, quoting from Genesis.

He could have elaborated just as Rashi elaborates, that God, creator of the world, had first given the land to the Canaanites and then took back the land from them -- to give it to the Jews.

Only this argument, which carries Torah's sanction, is the one that will be respected by the Goyim. Indeed, until now, no matter what else Israel had been arguing, it all fell on deaf ears. Now things are going to change.

Now, very close to the Era of Ultimate Redemption, it's due time that the right argument be put forth. Only this argument will be the one that the Gentiles nations will understand and respect, and eventually accept (whether they like it or not).

This big step is yet another clear sign we're heading down the path of Geulah.

(It pays to realize, too, that Rashi, who lived in France some 1,000 years ago, in the time of the Crusades, when Jews were deep in exile, scattered the world over, under persecution almost wherever they lived, in an era when the Land of Israel was merely a figment of imagination or a dream at best, wrote this Torah commentary derived from prophecy. For who then would have believed that there would ever again be a Land of Israel that will belong to the Jewish people, a people then dispersed across all the continents, without a common language, without an army, with no political clout, with no security and without any power whatsoever?)

____________ Rashi on Genesis 1:1 ____________

אמר רבי יצחק: לא היה צריך להתחיל את התורה אלא (שמות יב ב) מהחודש הזה לכם, שהיא מצווה ראשונה שנצטוו בה ישראל, ומה טעם פתח בבראשית, משום (תהילים קיא ו) כוח מעשיו הגיד לעמו לתת להם נחלת גויים, שאם יאמרו אומות העולם לישראל לסטים אתם, שכבשתם ארצות שבעה גויים, הם אומרים להם כל הארץ של הקב"ה היא, הוא בראה ונתנה לאשר ישר בעיניו, ברצונו נתנה להם וברצונו נטלה מהם ונתנה לנו

Rabbi Yitzchak said: "Torah ought to have began its narrative from (Shemot 12: 2) where God delivers His 1st commandment to the entire Jewish People, from the verse "This month (of Nissan) shall be for you the 1st month of the year ... ."  Why then did Torah open with the story of creation, etc. ? King David explains it (Psalms 111:6). It was "in order the people should know of God's omnipotence, which He projected for the sake of the Jewish People." That is, they should know that He, the Creator, gave them the inheritance to this land. For when the gentile nations will accuse the Jews of robbing them of it, and that Israel conquered a land that belonged to 7 other nations, Jews should respond, saying, that all of earth belongs to God, He created it and gave The Land to whom He saw fit for it; He first wanted the Canaanites to have it, but then wanted it back, because now He wanted to give it to us."

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Anti-Semitism in Moshiach's Times

The previous post (Rating the Trump Miracle) posed the seeming contradiction of anti-Semitism prevalent in an era imminently leading to a utopian Redemption. The explanation given there was the standard answer that applies to all eras.

But here's a more apt reason from a Moshichist's perspective. The looming anti-Semitism in Moshiach times serves as a backdrop to portray the sharp contrast between good and evil. How so?

The present era, being the prelude of Moshiach's times, is depicted by the prophet Tzefaniah. In his last verse (3:20) he describes this era:

"'At that time, I will bring you to the land, ingathering you to there, and give you a reputation of praise among all peoples of the earth as I restore you from exile before your eyes',
said God."

בעת ההיא אביא אתכם ובעת קבצי אתכם כי אתן אתכם לשם ולתהלה  בכל עמי הארץ בשובי את שבותיכם לעיניכם
אמר ה׳

How can "all peoples of the earth" recognize Jewish merit? Until 100 years ago this could have been a very hard question to answer. How could people from Afghanistan to Zambia, from all continents and walks of life, know up close what's happening with Jews and who these people are, to recognize them, let alone praise them? Even television a few decades ago wasn't sufficiently widespread to capture the ongoing fluidity of events. But this phenomenon today can easily be appreciated. Today's modern technology is designed to capture everybody's attention on a whim. Hardly a person today, wherever on the globe, is prevented from seeing and hearing worldwide events - right in front of his nose.

For merit to be grasped, for good to take on tangibility, a backdrop of blatant evil makes it stand out in bold relief. Are not people who have for decades been aborting live fetuses today starting to turn around? Are not perverts and corrupt politicians running for office for all to see? Are not good people like judge Kavanaugh being paraded before the public to show how evil seeks to destroy what's good? And let's not forget, as the previous post emphasizes, that we have a role model of goodness leading the most powerful of all countries, having trumped (pun intended) what could have been the most wicked of administrations.

People the world over see who Jew-haters are. Their evil is starkly visible. The more people see this, the more they come to appreciate the value of goodness, the more they'll align with good against evil. And indeed, is not the world stage being set, as the entire world somehow always seems to focus on tiny Israel? And although evil will finally be eradicated only by Moshiach himself, by then those who chose the side of evil will easily be identified and vanquished.

Even the ingathering of Jews can now also be felt, as the screws mildly tighten across Europe, where they may need more convincing to make aliyah. However things pans out, it will always remain mild for Jews, no matter from where, and when; This is, after all, Moshiach's times. Be that as it may, in fact, the other main task that will be Moshiach's, besides destroying the last remnants of evil, will be the ingathering to Israel of all his brethren.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Rating the Trump Miracle

The election of President Trump in 2016 may well appear to the general public as a "natural" event that was just a happenstance, because long-shots on occasion win as they do in horse races.

Judging from his opposition's view of things still today, despite his convincing majority, they think his win was a fluke.

But those of us in the know, those who ride on to the coattails of the prophet and leader of this generation, know better. More than that, with our keenly honed perspective, we can even rate Trump's victory -- not just as a simple miracle that happened, but as a huge miracle of the highest proportions.

Of course to see it this way, you'd have to familiarize yourself with a good "miracle barometer".

To learn what this miracle barometer is based on, you can go to this LINK to find out. But for here, briefly, the difference between a "big" miracle and a "small" one is -- the extent of its concealment from the natural landscape. The more that nature's framework of laws and constraints is breached, the smaller the miracle is; And the greater its concealment within the natural environment, thus making it practically undetectable, the greater the miracle.

For example, consider events as they unfold before us in the present. As Jews, do we not sense a greater fear because of a rise in antisemitism the world over, and in America too, where it never existed to such a degree? Still, that would seem natural enough because Jew-hatred has been around for ages and now it's just escalating even over here. This phenomenon would assuredly cancel out any talk of living today under miraculous conditions, would it not?

Or, consider today's Democrats who have consolidated behind their "never Trump" posture, with full backing by the "deep state" or "establishment swamp", together with their Republican (in name only), university, mainstream media and Hollywood cohorts in full support. These have the strong impression they have simply encountered a bump in the old road, which will again smoothen itself out once they obliterate or trash their nemesis often enough. With such folk around, does today's scenario suggest a miracle is in progress?

Even good folk, even Trump lovers, without the spectacles that align us with the vision of the Rebbe MH"M, they too cannot see the great miracle that took on tangible form the day of Trump's election. They too would fail to see the momentous transformation occurring in real time, right now, and only growing stronger.

How so? Doesn't the virulent antisemitism and the disgusting politics of the left negate this view of the imminence of an era of ultimate Jewish and world redemption? On the contrary, does it not portend a slippery slope into an abyss of socialism, divisiveness and hate?

It would -- unless you see the present trend in motion from the Rebbe's angle. Consider the miracle of Purim. It all looked frightfully bleak for world Jewry then. They were destined for demise. That is, until that night when the Persian king was unable to sleep. At the crack of dawn, he welcomed into his palace the nemesis of the Jewish people. That's when events quickly revealed that a grander plan had actually been in effect already 9 years in the making. Sure enough, Jewish prospects suddenly took a turnaround. Less than a year later, Jews would breathe a deep sigh of relief and rejoiced. That was the Purim miracle, one that rates extremely high according to the aforementioned barometer. These events and the turnaround all became apparent when, metaphorically, "on that night the King [of the universe] had his sleep perturbed." (Esther 6:1) - בלילה ההוא נדדה שנת המלך
[The halacha is that this possuk must be read by the megillah-reader a bit louder because here the main part of the miracle is about to happen.]

There's a major transformation going on in our natural landscape and another huge step took place during the few hours polling booths were open across America. In that short span of time another giant leap to advance the Era of Ultimate Redemption happened.

Just before the election, the Hillary witch was destined to be the next leader, with some polls predicting her victory with 90% probability. And who was this dame? The wife of a crook, awash in Arab money, hateful of Jews, and having for two decades as her deputy chief of staff the daughter of a Muslim Brotherhood key figure. She was expected to take over the reins from the incumbent, Muslim, Jew-hating president, may his memory be wiped out. Until that election day, Jews certainly, if not most of America, had little hope for a good future had she won. This country would have quickly become a 3rd world country.

But behold, the election results betrayed the forecasts. In a matter of hours the outcome had cast aside a gloomy situation. It was the bright light of Moshiach dissipating darkness. The new Era of Ultimate Redemption can no longer be turned back.

Instead of a Muslim girl in the White House steering Hillary, we now have where a Jewish girl can comfortably sit in the White House. Instead of greed, hate, immorality, disgrace and ugliness spewing from the world's highest office, we now sense beneficence, love, moral integrity, grace and beauty exuding therefrom.

The election result was an obvious turnaround moment. Of course another such obvious turnaround event was wrought 70 years earlier when the United Nations (of all organizations) granted the Jews their right to return to their Jewish homeland.

As for the Jew-hatred, I suppose it's a way to keep our opponents busy so they can wallow in their evil as a world of goodness lying dormant is reshaping the natural terrain. It's a slow process, apparently for the purpose of still allowing the individual free choice, allowing him to consider which side he wants to be on, to weigh matters on his own and have bearing. To paint everything blatantly rosy would rob the individual of his free choice.

But besides for appearances, Israel and the Jewish people will thrive and only wax in prosperity.

The Rebbe MH"M told us, nay -- bombarded us daily, for years, from around 1991, trying his darnedest to get us to see the great miracle in its making. There were, to be sure, plenty of other significant events that pointed to the truth of his prophecy, before then and after then. And in 2016, Trump's election has clearly solidified the Rebbe's stance.

That Mr. Donald J. Trump will be a shoo-in in 2020 is a sure thing. May God grant him and his family good health and disposition. Thereafter too the golden path will be open to us, leading us to the utopian era. There's no turning back. May it happen that we dance with all Jews and with King Moshiach in Jerusalem sooner than we expect.