Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
A Great Sacrifice
Supporting those in the Land can come with great sacrifice. It is with joy that we are here, but we have seen the enemies to our east, namely Iran and others who want to annihilate us. The economic pressures are enormous since most of which has their source in anti-Semitism. All around the world, one hears of synagogues being desecrated as in times past. These occurrences will only escalate to incredible proportions. It is only with those who have the same vision who will lock arms with us that we will survive. HaShem has given us many abilities to arm ourselves, but there will only be strength in the numbers of us that will stand together.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Rosh Hashanah Fever?
In the days preceeding Rosh Hashanah (the New Year), many are anticipating the coming of Mashiach. It seems the fervor this year is unprecedented in comparison to the years that have come and gone before us. As events have unfolded, especially in Jerusalem with the ultra-orthodox (haredi) sector seeking to divide the city, is it possible the Maschiach is coming this year? I’m not by any means making any predications whatsoever; however, there are indicators in our present state of affairs that would indicate His appearing is very close at hand. We truly must have “simchat arteznu” or the joy of our land in order to prepare the way for Him to appear. At present, all around us there exists constant strife and division which does not seem to abate in the near future. Obviously, we need to rise above it all so we can distance ourselves from its web.
Those in the gentile world have their objective to destroy us which we know in the end what their outcome will be. Many are speaking claiming to be “prophets of G-d” and giving out many hopes that will not manifest. The prophet Jeremiah in centuries past warned us explicitly to avoid such individuals who receive their own judgment from HaShem. In our day, many of these “prophets” have led many astray from true Judaism and have shown no remorse in doing so. In addition, Ezekiel, the prophet, gave us many warnings of similar fate to those who would follow them and their deceptions.
In the work by the Chofetz Chaim, A Daily Companion, he summarizes his thoughts regarding a wicked person as one who refuses to do tsuvah and refrain from evil speech. It appears the role of a “prophet” would fall into this category. Under these circumstances, the Chofetz Chaim encourages us to expose any individual who persists in perpetrating any deceptions. Even though these events are part of the current tide, we need to stay focused on the “Joy of our Land” and not be swept away by them.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Several weeks ago, my article of not dividing Jerusalem was published by Arutz Sheva. israelantionalnews.com, August 10. 2009 In keeping with not even considering such a thought, how can we “possess the Land “ that HaShem has given us and dwell in it, as we read in Parshat Masei several weeks ago (Num. 33:53)? Obviously, from the verse above, we see HaShem has not given us an option of reneging of giving up Jerusalem in any shape or form. When Joshua and Caleb were sent out into the Land, they were expected not to bring back an evil report. Also, the verbs to conquer and to dwell are in Ramban’s positive mitzvah #4. Rabbi Nachson Gaon states, “There is no Jew who does not own four amot of the Land of Israel. But you say: the Ismaelites took possession of it, while we are in Exile? We have the right of possession: land cannot be stolen it still belongs to us.”
Since when does a foreign entity have the authority to demand of its residents to not dwell within its borders? It has been stated on numerous occasions, “Our Nation is the cornerstone of the World.” Since we are in that position, what would befall us if that cornerstone were eroded in any way? The releasing of many chilulei HaShem into the universe would be one of many occurrences that would have such a profound affect on all of us.
It behooves us to meditate on the verb “to dwell.” Not only to meditate on its meaning, but the type of individuals who HaShem expects to dwell in the Land. The whole point of the Exile, whether we like it or not, was a consequence of the abominations of our people. As a result, HaShem allowed us to return once we made Tsuvah and made a commitment to Him. Once we returned, He expected us to dwell in the Land and be righteous in all our ways; however, as we all know, our electronic media outlets have been reporting otherwise. With an avalanche of debris in a constant barrage around us, we must gather ourselves and be courageous as Joshua was instructed and go forward against the present tide, unless we want to be swept up in the imminent destruction that will soon befall us as we have seen throughout our history.
Especially, as we come into the month of Elul, we need to be aware of our “attachment” to the nations. Have we come to embrace any of their pagan ideologies? G-d forbid. During this entire month, as we do our tefillah and other mitzvot, let us continue to look within ourselves so when Rosh Hashanah is upon us, BS”D we can say with assurance that HaSem has inscribed us in the Book of Life. In the coming days, we must heed the warnings He has given us and not be swayed by other “well meaning” people both Jew and gentile. He has given us an obligation as was mentioned earlier by the Ramban to conquer and to dwell in Eretz Israel. The “modernism” of our communities, particularly outside of Israel need to be aware of the folly of their ways. Let us not be as some as in the times of Ezra and Nehemiah and interfere with HaShem’s expectations. “Also, in those days I observed the Jews who had married Ashdodite, Ammonite, and Moabite wives. Half their children spoke Ashdodian and did not know how to speak the language of the Jews; and likewise with the language of each nation. So I contended with them and I cursed them. I beat some of their men and tore their hair out. I made them swear by God, and that ‘you did not give your daughters over to their sons, nor marry their daughters to your sons or to yourselves.’ [I said,] ‘Did not Solomon, king of Israel, sin with such [women]? Among the nations there was never a king like him; he was beloved by God, and God appointed him king over all of Israel. Yet the alien wives caused even him to sin!, . . .’ (Neh. 13:23-26).
Can we see here that Solomon was “possessed” within his own midst in spite of being King of Israel? How can we even say that we are exempt from such possession within our midst? Earlier in the chapter, there were gentile merchants who came to entice the people of Judah to desecrate the Shabbat. In the coming days, may we be constantly aware of the “infiltration” from external circumstances. The forces of possession are very real indeed. They may come with utmost subtly that will even deceive a king; however, HaShem has given us the ability to see their entire intent with their final agenda in full view.
(Quotations from Tanach, the Stone Edition, ed., Rabbi Nosson Scherman, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., 2007.)