Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Foretaste of Redemption

In primitive tribal cultures, somewhere in South America or Central Africa, people's average annual income is about $90 a year. For comparison, the average annual income in Manhattan is $36,000 per year. This extreme, 400-fold difference still pales next to the gap that separates both populations regarding the difference in number of consumer products available. Tribal folk have 300 types of merchandise to choose from, compared to 10 billion available for Manhattan residents. That's a difference of 33 million times!

How does this happen? How did the bulk of the world manage to advance and prosper so much economically?

It's because - everything that happens in the world-at-large reflects, as a mirror image, that which is happening to Jews!

In recent decades we've witnessed a significant improvement in life conditions for the Jewish people. Following thousands of years of persecution, famine and forced migrations, Jews today enjoy materialisic prosperity as had never been experienced since the days of King Solomon. Prosperity encompasses almost all Jews all over the world.

For those relatively few Jews who do have difficulty - real support comes from many charitable organizations. Kindness abounds everywhere for them. Every Jew with minimal motivation can achieve economic sustenance - to an extent that for previous generations would have been but a dream.

It's hard to ignore the fact that this sharp upswing in Jewish economic state of affairs developed in parallel with, and since the time the Lubavitcher Rebbe assumed his role as leader of the current generation 60 years ago. The Rebbe himself referred to this advance and explained wherefrom it derives, quoting the Rambam: "We stand at the threshold to the Era of Redemption, of which it says, 'Goodness will be extremely abundant, and all luxury shall be as plentiful as dust.'"

Some of this future's plentiful benevolence, which is just around the corner, has already broken through the barrier that stands between the Diasporic Era and the Redemption Era. This barrier is becoming porous. Already today we can start to taste some of what the future utopia entails.

We are entering a period in which material abundance and high spirituality will coexist. In previous generations, a poor economic situation or meager subsistence was the price to pay to achieve a personal, spiritual surge. Today, in contrast, not only does opulence not hinder but, in fact, contributes to further elevating one's spirituality.

Maimonides depicts that future and how it will benefit the people of Israel: "It will allow Jews to pursue Torah-study fervently, without harassement or hindrance, without any pressure, economic or otherwise." As God ushers in this era, He grants us a foretaste of the solace of simultaneous physical relief and spiritual ascent.
Heard from my Chabad friends in the Krayot.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Poverty in America - A Hint as to Why

What do the top ten cities in the USA 
(with population over 250,000) with 
the highest poverty 
rate, all have in 

This charts tells the story.

"The definition of insanity is 
doing the same thing over and over again 
and expecting different results." - Einstein

It is
 the poor who 
habitually elect a 
Democrat, or “Liberally Left” mayor, 
and yet 
they remain poor!

"You cannot help the poor 
by destroying the 
cannot strengthen the weak 
by weakening 
the strong. 
You cannot bring about 
prosperity by 
discouraging thrift. 
You cannot lift 
the wage earner up 
by pulling the wage 
payer down. 
cannot further the brotherhood of 
man by 
inciting class hatred. 
You cannot build 
character and courage 
by taking away 
people's initiative and 

cannot help people permanently by 
doing for them, 
what they could 
should do for 

- Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Piercing Wisdom for Pierced Ears

As high as a Jew can climb, with his innate powers, is also a measure of how low he can descend. For example, the most grotesque-looking people in New York City often, it turns out, speak Hebrew. What can you tell these poor, restless, groping souls, during that one second you cross their paths, that can improve their lives? Here's such a story told by sharp-witted Gutman Locks, who runs the tefillin stand at Jerusalem's Western Wall.

A Free Jew

Smack! A young Jewish guy rushed up to me at the Kotel and gave me a friendly, but firm, smack on my arm. He was smiling a huge smile and pointing to his ear. Then I remembered who he was. A couple of days ago, I put tefillin on him and made fun of the 3 earrings he had in one of his ears.

When I took his picture I asked, “When you get married, who’s going to wear the pants in the family?”

He laughed and said, “I am!”

“Then who’s going to wear the earrings?” I asked.

“She will.”

“But what about yours?” I asked loudly.

When I do this, the boys almost always get a little embarrassed, (that’s when I take their picture) and they say something like he did, “Well… uh… then, we both will.”

I laughed and said, “Uh–uh, it doesn’t work that way. Either you wear the pants and she wears the earrings, or she wears the pants and you wear the earrings. Which is it? Get on the right side of the bed, buddy!”

By then they are usually laughing pretty hard, but still totally uncomfortable with the idea of giving up their “beautiful” earrings. After all, they think they look really cool, and that girls like them more if they have earrings.

I try to explain the real problem to them: “The Torah talks about a Jew who steals something. When he gets caught, the court makes him pay for what he stole. If he cannot pay, he is sold as a slave to another Jew. He has to work for that Jew for six years and then, in the seventh year, he goes free.”[Ex. 21:5]

“He goes free that is, unless he says he wants to remain a slave. If he says this, his master puts a hole in his ear and he becomes a slave forever.” [ie., until the Jubillee year; Lev. 25:13]

“You’re a free Jewish guy.” I told him. “You’re not anyone’s slave. You put those holes in your ear because you thought it was cool or something. It may be an “in thing” in some parts of the teenage world, but according to Torah, it’s a sign of a slave.”

“You put them in your ear to make some kind of statement about yourself. If you want to stand out, let your kindness or your good deeds make you stand out, not a bunch of earrings in your ear. You’re not a slave. Throw them away.”

As you see… sometimes it works.

Monday, June 27, 2011

It's the Small Things that Count

A new bridegroom, according to Judaic doctrine, attains: The status of majesty (e.g., he must walk escorted); A slate wiped clean of sins (gaining the rank of tzaddik); And given the possibility to procreate and provide Jewish life to another generation.

What does it take to rise to such height? One penny! The ring he places on the bride must be valued at least worth one penny.

How does the lofty state achieved by matrimony reconcile with its most minimal requisite of money, when one would think a much higher price would have been in order?

Because a penny, the smallest unit of currency, is the base upon which all amounts depend. All currency, no matter the quantity involved, has as its most fundamental unit, the unit of the penny. Without a penny, the currency structure would have nothing to stand on.

The groom, in his new relationship with his bride, also must relate to that which is minimal, whatever it is, and do it right. Everything he does depends on his taking each small step of his enduring relationship - correctly, with utmost attention to the smallest of issues no less than to more heavily thought-of issues.

In particular, this refers to his attitude to Torah and mitzvot! Whatever the mitzvah, however trivial it appears, even if it seems so minor people tend to "tread on it with their heels" (Rashi; Deu. 7, 12) - that very mitzvah - the one-penny lesson teaches, is the very basis of a flourishing relationship with God (and with the wife). If a mitzvah deemed so small is done in cherished mode, if this small unit is negotiated in the best of faith, then all other mitzvot will most certainly be executed in proper fashion. If the smallest unit takes him into serious contemplation and conduct, all other mitzvot comprise more of what that minimum represents and, therefore, will be done meticulously.

At which point he deserves the prominent standing he first received by merely spending a penny!
This novel insight comes from a friend of mine (Hershel Pekar).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Righteous Minority of Mankind

The following article appeared as an editorial in a magazine published by the Previous Rebbe (הקריאה והקדושה, May 1941).
The highlighting is my own.
- - - - - - - - - -
We read in the Authorized Version of the Bible: "And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it will be a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud. And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Gen. 9, 12-16)

According to this, God created the rainbow that it might remind Him not to bring another flood upon the earth. As a matter of fact the rainbow is not a special creation but is a natural phenomenon, an optical illusion caused by the rain plus the effect of the sun's rays, and God does not have to look at it to remember anything!

We must refer you to the Hebrew commentaries of the Bible for the proper translation and for proofs of correctness; Here we shall give only the idea contained in the real text:

"Token of a covenant" in the Bible more correctly, "symbol of covenant", means a sign to remind the parties to an agreement of the essence of their agreement briefly since there were few written covenants in pre-Biblical times. Thus the symbol of the treaty of peace between Abraham and Abimelech was made to be "the seven lambs"; The word "seven" meaning in Hebrew also to "swear", "the seven lambs" were to remind the two parties to the covenant that they had sworn not to harm one another, just as the lambs never think of doing harm to each other.

God made a covenant with Noah for perpetual generations not to destroy all mankind any more, as in the flood. A symbol was needed, therefore, for the pledges of both parties, and, of course, principally to remind man of his obligations, since God is not in need of reminders. Certainly, no better symbol could have been found that the one given to Noah, both for its everlasting recurrence, and for its exact parallelism of the terms of the covenant binding the two parties.

Without going into the proof in lengthy details (the original text brings it all out most clearly), the substance of the terms is as follows:

Mankind is at all times to have a righteous minority amid the spiritually dark and sinful majority. God is to look after (not "look upon") that minority lest the sinful majority destroy it, and He is also to spare the latter for the sake of the former, since He could not think of destroying the righteous minority for the sins of others, and because there is hope that in time the sinful majority will be influenced to become righteous too by the efforts of that minority. Noah was also given to understand that he had lawfully earned the covenant, since he was himself the first shining human rainbow amid the clouds of sin and darkness in his generations, and because of that a part of his generations will inherit and retain the same power of remaining spiritually a shining human rainbow, though surrounded thickly by the most sinful and wicked generations, which will ignore or fight it as detrimental.

"Rainbow in the cloud" was therefore to be the token and symbol covering the essence of the covenant. Just as man sees the rainbow in heaven amid clouds, so will God see a shining righteous human minority amid spiritually dark majorities; And just as the actual appearance of the rainbow in the sky shows that no storm is ahead, threatening to destroy the earth, so will the presence of a spiritually shining minority amid sinful, wicked majorities be the sign that no complete destruction of all the earth and all mankind is coming. Here, there, now, and then, some wicked part of all mankind will be destroyed, but never again will there be a flood to destroy all the earth. The righteous minority will make it impossible. God will look at the rainbow (the human rainbow upon the earth, not the rainbow in the sky). He will safeguard it (not merely see it), and for its sake He will refrain from causing another flood to destroy all flesh.

This is no homiletic interpretation; The original text has it in this specific form, very clearly, and it can not be made to mean anything else sensible.

There is indeed a chain of righteous people a golden chain unbroken since Noah up to this very date. There were a few in every generation up to Abraham, and after that there was always a righteous minority among some of the ancient peoples; Each modern nation also has a certain number of righteous no matter how wicked and sinful the majority has been or is.

It was because of this that Abraham pleaded for Sodom; Even daring to accuse God of not doing justice; He claimed for it the right of the covenant, as was explained here. Unfortunately for Sodom, there was not one link of the unbroken chain in it, and it was destroyed: (only Lot, who was not so wicked, and who was a newcomer to the land, escaped destruction.) Sodom itself did not have even a minority of ten righteous, which, according to the Bible, is the smallest unit linking itself to the unbroken chain of righteous, the rainbow part of mankind sine Noah.

Since that time every man is either a part of the sinful majority or one of the unbroken chain of the righteous minority that reaches straight back to Noah, (4047 years ago) [now 4,117 years ago] and every man must ask himself: "To which of the two parts of mankind do I adhere?"

Ten truly righteous men will save their city; Ten truly righteous public leaders will influence a government and save their country; While ten truly righteous world leaders could save the whole world from destruction. This the Bible assures most clearly.

Yes! there is a righteous minority in the world since Noah, of which Abraham was one, and is mentioned in the Bible as an outstanding example - it is still the minority that preaches "the way of the Lord to do justice and judgement", the minority which is God's own chosen part of mankind!

As a whole, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob belong to the righteous minority, if and when they adhere to the laws of the Godly Torah!

Are you one of them?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love to Give versus Love to Take

Love in Torah must not be construed for what the English version of the word "love" often means. For English love, as in "falling in love" or in "I love you", expresses the very opposite connotation. In Hebrew, as in Torah's commandment to love a fellow Jew, love implies - "wanting to give". In English, love usually implies - "wanting to take".

In fact, the middle letters of the Hebrew word for love, אהבה, means "give", הב.

Take the English example of, "I love fish". This love entails first to suffocate the fish, then skin, gut, filet, fry and eat it. This sort of "love" really means - "I want the fish for me". Hebrew love for fish would have meant throwing the fish back into the water.

The English use of the word love in relation to mating is no different. Here too the love usually centers on taking. "I love her" most usually translates to "She has everything I want".

Hebrew love is a love of wanting to give, like a parent who loves his or her baby. G-d's love for humanity manifests in having given people a life, free of charge. His love for His people and for people of righteous conduct further manifests in His giving them eternity!

Love of a fellow Jew also reflects this desire to give, as, for example, when Chabad chassidim reach out to secular Jews, trying to coax them into doing a mitzvah. It's a form of giving. Why? Because "when the left arm is itchy, the right hand wants to relieve the itch", as the Rebbe once explained it. After all, getting a Jew to do one mitzvah will draw him into doing another one, our sages assure us (Pirkei Avot 4, 2). And how much better off would we be were all Jews nestled into the warm fold of Torah and mitzvot.

In sharp contrast, the English love that implies wanting to take, should rather be called "lust", as in "I lust for her" or "falling for lust", which more correctly defines this emotion. (Which is why the word "falling", also, is indeed appropriate.)

And, just to be sure we understand the difference between the two, Ethics of Our Fathers (5, 16) carefully defines both loves. "Any love dependent on a specific feature, when that specific feature vanishes, the love ceases. But a love not dependent on a specific feature lasts forever." The love for a parent, for example, is a love of the Hebrew type. A love based on looks, on the other hand, is a lust rather than a love.

Love of a spouse is a Hebrew version of love and was aptly defined in the show, Fiddler on the Roof, where the husband asks the wife, “Do you love me?” She then proceeds to tell the various ways she gives him, or provides for him - “I wash your clothes, I darn your socks ... cook your meals... if that's not love, what is?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Dumbing Down of Americans

A grand, diabolical conspiracy in America has people drinking poisoned water, promoted by government. From the spigot of your kitchen sink, or the one from the bathroom, water we and our children use contains fluoride - a toxin. The rationale for spiking the public's drinking water is to help fight tooth decay. So why do we still have so many visits to the dentist? And since when would dentists, who earn much more than average citizens, seek to minimize their income?

Do you want government in charge of your own destiny? Would you trust it with your health? If fluoride were indeed healthy, why not just bottle it and sell "Fluoridated Water" at health-food stores, like they do vitamins or other supplements? Why is this substance literally forced down our throats?

Which company sells to local governments this additive? How do they manufacture it? If it were Alcoa or Monsanto who make aluminum products and produce this additive as their waste product, I'd be very suspicious. How would they dispose of this poisonous waste product if they had no permission to dump it in the water storage facilities; Or how do they dispose of the fluoride in excess of the drinking-water needs?

How did fluoride get the okay to be dumped into our drinking water when other additives do not have this same privilege? How do they transport the fluoride to its destinations; In what containers; Do the containers carry the Toxic Substance label on them? How do they dump it into the water; Are there precautions taken by the handlers?

Answers to all these questions would be revealing.

Which seminal study discovered and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that fluoride is good for us? After all, fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program, both for workers and for nearby communities, as documents reveal. What research study then prompted government with the go-ahead? Did they compare tooth decay using fluoridated versus distilled water?

Who, in fact, decided the masses need this product in their drinking water while other substances, such as iodine or vitamins, must be purchased or prescribed?

This demonic plot to dumb down and make ill the population is ongoing, deliberate and has nothing to do with health - but everything to do with money. The Environmental Protection Agency is more monster than protector. (The pseudoscience that succeeded in duping the populace by spiking clean drinking water with a chemical toxin now wants to push the "global warming" hoax upon us).

Fluoridation of the water began with the "Manhattan Project", the project responsible for developing the atomic bomb. Health problems developed in the community in the vicnity of this project, where fluoridation of the water and air caused sickness. The agencies that "investigated" these concerns of fluoridation denied the ill-effects of this substance. Otherwise - this all-important military project would have come to a screeching halt.

In other words, fluoridation found its way into the drinking water in the nineteen-forties, when they were forced into rationalizing away its contamination! From then on, it only remained to make sure the safety ruse be perpetuated.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Life in the Wild

The wonders of Hashem

An observer in a South African safari caught these moments of wildlife, you won't want to miss. Watch the drama unfold among buffaloes, lions and crocodiles.

Seen this on Dolphin Solitaire yet?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Illumination Empowered by The Rebbe

Liberal Israelis, often radically so, curiously enough, break out of their shells and become amenable to spiritual input in far off places like India or Thailand. It's quite remarkable. In his very own back yard, where the Israeli stands on the holiest ground in the world and has access to a wealth of Torah knowledge, he remains impervious to inspirational osmosis. Yet in alien retreats of foreign lands, where idol worship abounds - just there his defenses crumble.

This is a well-known phenomenon among Chabadniks, who hear so many stories of Jews who returned to the warm fold of Torah - after being inspired in such far flung places where only a Chabad emissary dares to stake out a homestead.

These returnees themselves then may well, in turn, become emissaries of the Rebbe. And in fact, they often have better luck breaking through the shell of ignorance and repulsion many Israeli youth have for religion.

Such a personality is Rabbi Michael Kedlberg, whose own return-story I don't know, but who gets my donation every time he knocks on my door in Brooklyn to collect for his outreach programs in Israel. He maintains contact with me by sending me, periodically, pictures of his outreach campaigns. His forte is to "crash" the "festivals" that "happen" in Israel. These festivals draw large crowds of youth to "hang out" for a good few days, where Kedlberg sets up his own "booths" to do "his thing".

Sometimes he has competition from Christian missionaries.

He's been at this campaign now for years. And every Jew he brings around, our sages tell us, is a world of its own.

Last weekend they partook in the festival alongside the Kinneret, which drew 5,000 youth. He heads what he calls his "Light Festival Team". They set up tents to house prayer services, including Torah readings. They held multiple conferences, conversations, lectures and one-on-one lessons on various topics in Judaism. Their Sabbath meals attracted hundreds of participants. From Thursday, their compound remained active 24 hours a day! They distributed "Friday-night candle-lighting kits" to the women. On Friday they opened a tefillin-laying table for men. They attribute their success and energy to empowerment from the Rebbe. The team of 4 included a singer and guitarist. The temperature neared 40 degrees C (104 F) in the shade!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Generations in Decline

Catch the nuance of some Talmudic phrase and you can reap a windfall.

The "Ethics of Our Fathers" starts out saying,
"Moses received the Torah from Sinai and passed it on to Yehoshua"
("משה קבל תורה מסיני ומסרה ליהושע")

I don't know the source for this; My hunch is the Maharal of Prague.

The question is, why does the verse resort to two distinct verbs when one alone would suffice? That is, the verse could have said, "Moses received the Torah from Sinai, and Yehoshua received it from Moses;"
("משה קבל תורה מסיני ויהושע ממשה");
Or, similarly, it could have said, "Sinai passed on the Torah to Moses and Moses passed it on Yehoshua;"
("למשה נמסרה תורה מסיני ומשה מסרה ליהושע")
Instead, the actual verse uses both verbs, "received" and "passed on"; Why?

Answers the Maharal - to show you where a drop in the next generation's wisdom occurred. Judaism, we know, postulates that since the generation of Moses, succeeding generations suffered a diminution in Torah wisdom and intellect. The brightest generations were that of Moses' until the Men of the Great Assembly. The dumbest one, dear friends, is ours. The Ethics of Our Fathers documents for us just where these degradations occurred in the initial history of the Jewish people.

Wherever the term "received" is used, it implies the receiving end of the interaction was limited by the size of the receptacle; It could only take in as much as the receiving "vessel" will allow, and no more. The term "passed on", on the other hand, implies a transfer from one to another of the entire package, a "hand-off", with no decrement involved.

Now we can go back and chart where and by whom did wisdom diminish for his generation. The first node of transfer, that between Sinai (G-d) and Moses, is obvious. Moses, limited as a human vessel, could only receive from G-d; The term "passed on" would have been inappropriate. On the other hand, Moses passed on that which he knew to Yehoshua because Yehoshua grasped and contained all of the material Moses transferred to him. Between these two generations, and in fact not until after many more generations, until after the Men of the Great Assembly retired from the scene, did any diminution in Torah knowledge, wisdom or intellect take effect.

The first generation to fall below the par set by Moses' generation was that of Antignos of Socho. Thus the phrase, "He received from Shimon the Righteous" (where Shimon was the last vestige of the Men of the Great Assembly). Until Antignos, all leaders "passed on" their knowledge to the next leader and generation. You can thus chart the "stepping down" of generations by tracking those that "received" and those that had it "passed on" to them.

If Jewish people comprise a collective, vertical, chronological body, the first generations constituted the "head", whereas our generation today would fittingly be referred to as a "heel", given the decline of our Torah-inspired wisdom over the ages.

(An entirely different light shed on this verse can be found here.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Central Luminary of Every Generation

As sure as a body requires a head, every generation of the collective Jewish body also needs a head. Our first "head" was Moses; Moshiach will be our last. The whole of Chassidus rests on this singular, fundamental premise - that every generation has a "head".
(He who denies this tenet we classify as an "opposer" [מתנגד].)

The following rough translation of an article (from Yiddish; הקריאה והקדושה, June 1941, p. 136) makes this point from the awkward name given last week's Torah portion.

"... When you elevate the lamps to face the inner aspect of the candelabrum, the seven lamps will shine." (Numbers 8, 2)

The word "בהעלותך" requires elucidation; The correct word would have been "בהדלקתך", "When you light the lamps". Instead the text reads, "When you elevate the lamps".

Invoking "elevation" in the lamp-lighting implies the lamps can be lit in a "lowering" manner as well! The words in the rest of the verse indicate these lamps reach a higher plane if the lamps are arranged to "point" to the middle candle, the one on the candelabrum's main stem. Rather than centering each wick in its bowl, each lamp thereby expressing its "equivalence", the wicks must point to, or "acknowledge", the lamp at the center [by being positioned at the east or West edge of its oil container].

It makes no difference, really, in terms of light radiated by the seven lamps - whatever the position of the wicks, but the candelabrum that stands in the Holy Temple intimates to an essence of Judaic light, Torah light, that projects from divinity and sanctity. On such basis, then, there is a big difference in the way the wicks are arranged. Each lamp experiences an elevation when it faces the one in the middle, the "biggest" of them. For if each outer wick were positioned to assume an otherwise "equivalent" [middle] position, then each lamp would suffer a diminished profile, because it fails to "bow" to the greater, central light source.

By lighting the Mishkan's candelabrum in the centrally-oriented arrangement, the Kohen Gadol thereby manifests the necessity to show respect to the central luminary because that's how G-d created the world; That is, every spiritual "branch luminary" must recognize that every generation has one individual who stands out above all the rest; He is the greatest of all Torah scholars; He is of greatest righteousness; And he is the wisest of all. According to this principle, it's important to realize the value of this spiritual personality in every generation.

If people submit to this individual, this giant in Torah, righteousness and wisdom, in effect they all "rise up" while they themselves illuminate. [A synergy takes place, rather than an antagonism.] For, in a generation wherein many turn away from this central figure, when many "great people" shine as independent sources of light irrespective of the greatest among them, their illuminations therefrom suffers a descent.

This is the lesson of the name of this week's Torah portion, "When you raise up" (בהעלותך). There where light bearers fail to turn to the individual giant among them, their light is but a lower, demoted light. Why? Because not everyone can be equally great; One of them is surely greater than another; But if they know not for sure who this individual is, the entire array of luminaries has but scant value; There is no "elevation" of the illumination because the luminaries are either too small to appreciate the greatest among them, or too paltry to want to recognize him; In which case the common folk mustn't rely on anyone but should rather by themselves seek out the greatest among them, until he's found!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Torah Codes re: Rambam

The following "Torah Code" findings about the Rambam (Maimonides) were originally discovered by Rabbi Dov Ber Weismandel, author of "Min Hamaitzar", even before the days of computers. (Taken from a page in the new book, "Toldot HaRambam", pp. 1253-4. Charts are my own, or modified.)

The acronym "Rambam" (רמב''ם) occurs once in the entire Pentateuch (Ex. 11, 9).

This very verse also contains the word Moshe, Rambam's name.

Seven verses later comes the commandment for the Jews to bring a sacrifice on the 14th of Nissan. This is the Rambam's birthday.

Counting forward every 50th letter from the Mem in the word Moshe, spells "Mishne". This is the first word in the Rambam's most famous book, "Mishne Torah", a book that enumerates all the laws of Torah and the basis of which is the 613 commandments.

The word "Torah" (the second name of his book's title) is also in the region, and also arrived at counting every 50th letter.

The point at which the Taf of this "word" begins occurs after a skip of exactly 613 letters from the Mem in Moshe.

All these features occur within the tight space of 15 verses.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Red Hen Thinkers

I'd like to address a common view among some Israeli bloggers who think it is incumbent upon all Jews in the diaspora to pack their belongings and take up residence in Israel instead.

1) One of Moshiach's duties will be to ingather the Jews to Israel. In fact, this operation of his actually constitutes one of two signs that will absolutely identify him as Moshiach. He will first build the Beit Hamikdash, and only then will he ingather the exiles. So let's not hear from people trying to preempt Moshiach's duties.

2) It says G-d did the Jews a favor by spreading them out in the world. So there is a purpose for Jews to be where they have been planted. So let's not hear from people trying to preempt G-d's plans.

3) Because Jews must teach Gentiles about the 7 Noahide laws, as the Rambam teaches, it follows, too, wherever Jews are in exile, they need to serve as lamplighters to the Gentile folk.

4) Many great rabbis did not go to Eretz Yisrael purposely, each for their own reasons. Nor did they, or do they, encourage their flock to do so - not until the time is right.

5) When the chief rabbis of Israel come to the States, for example, we never hear them make the request of us Jews to pack our bags and make aliyah.

6) Many Jews outside Israel can help the Jewish country better than if they were in Israel.

There is a parable of the Red Hen, who suggests to plant grains of wheat. The goose and duck decline her offer. The red hen then plants them, waters them, and finally harvests the seeds. She then seeks help to carry them to the mill. The goose and duck decline. So the red hen takes the wheat to the mill herself. She returns with the flour and asks who will help her make bread with this flour. The goose and duck again decline. After she makes the bread she asks who will eat from it. Now the goose and duck are willing, but the red hen reminds them of their previous refusals and denies their wish. Instead she and her chicks eat the bread.

Those Jews who think like the red hen, thinking that Israel "belongs" to them, by "right of having returned there", believe only their own reasons for being in Israel are valid and all reasons to be outside Israel are invalid. This despite all the points made above, and aside from many more simply as a result of having been bred, nurtured and rooted in a foreign country.

Red Hen thinkers, going through the trouble of planting seeds, etc., as it were, e.g., having the government of Israel abuse them, especially if they are "settlers" and "religious settlers" to boot, assume, incorrectly, all Jews must now come to Israel. They do not. Red Hen thinkers would like them to. For it will help their cause. While this may be true, they should not confuse their own desires with someone else's obligations.

Another major point; They tend to dole from the trough that feeds them; They confuse a concept godless Zionism wrought upon them, stemming from the claims that "redemption" started with the founding of the state. In effect, they confuse the founding of the state with Geulah. We don't have far to look to see the unfortunate results of godless zionism; As, for example, when the state renders more respect to its enemies than to its own and bravest citizens. Yet it is these godless adminstrators who gave the word "ALIYAH" the rather sanctimonious meaning Red Hen Thinkers fall victim to, by assuming all Jews now must come to Israel to help them, otherwise "outsiders" won't deserve their full rights to return.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Main Purpose for the Internet

Why does Israel always draw the focus of the entire world? Two reasons: One, as lamplighters to the world, Jews need the world's attention; Second, to prepare for Moshiach's era, anyone in the whole world can tune in to find out what's new with Moshiach.

For this ultimate purpose the internet phenomenon came into being. It makes sure the vast world can become, in an instant, a "small world", where anybody anywhere can be networked. Instant communication, be it visual, audio or print, ensures everyone access into the global network. The internet is already at the ready to accommodate the Messianic utopia.

We spoke before of current history's technological spurt that parallels - and derives from - the spurt in Chassidism. Chassidism came onto the world scene around 1740, in order that Jews awake from their slumber. It's meant to arouse them to acknowledge Moshiach, and to prepare the world for his revelation. Before chassidim flowered, the subject of Moshiach was anathema. Today, hardly any Jewish circle ignores it.

By divine design, as a by-product of this new Chassidic light and its dissemination, a parallel phenomenon has taken place, that of major advances emanating from the secular sector in all fields of science and technology. The spiritual changes in the atmosphere automatically trigger parallel new insights into the material world. 

By the same token, Gentiles too can prepare for this imminent era by learning the 7 Noahide Laws incumbent upon them. With a little tweaking, the internet can easily reach even behind the wall of China, and even into the jungles of the Amazon.

As we wait for the Moshiach's era to fully blossom, the internet meanwhile broadcasts worldwide an ongoing global war that serves to pit Good versus Evil - for all to see. It paves the way for Moshiach because, after all, in his time the Good shall eradicate the Evil. People must align themselves into one of these two camps. (See here for more details on Daniel's prophecy.)

The final battle in this epic struggle Moshiach himself will fight and win.

UPDATE: Britain's chief rabbi presents an interesting corollary to this theory here.