Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bailout - What it means to me

The continuing talk about a "bailout" of one company or another has got me thinking. What significance does this mean for us? With different industries and banks coming out and asking for a "bailout" and the US government setting aside almost $1 trillion, we have to be asking ourselves, what lesson are we to learn from here....

The US government is looked upon by most of the civilized world as the supreme leader of the world. And they make sure to play the part. The companies, although not all deserving this bailout, are being doled out tons of money, not based on their merit, but based on the fact that "they cannot fall". Their collapse would cause too much damage or would affect the economy too much.

The lesson to me is especially powerful and directed for our times. We are witnessing the final steps of the process of Mashiach's arrival. We are watching it all unfold before our eyes. Collectively, we may not all be deserving of such a wonderful "bailout" (redemption). We may have many faults that are truly in need of correction. However, we are the reason the world was created and if not for us (and our learning Torah), it would instantly disappear. We are too important to overlook, and therefore we are in desperate need of a "bailout" too.

We have been waiting 1940 years since the destruction of the Second Bet Hamikdash. We need to tell Hashem that we've had enough. We have faults, but how much of that is because of our wandering through the four corners of the earth? How much is because we are subjected to foreign ideas and cultures?

We may not deserve it, but we know from the redemption in Egypt, it was not necessarily something that was deserved, either. Datan and Aviram came out of Egypt as did Micha with his idol. The Satan tried to prosecute us as we walked through the Red Sea on dry land. But we got out! The world needed us too much. The time came... The "ketz" came.

It looks like it's coming again, for the last and final time. Let's ask for it. Let's pray, beg and cry for it. We've had enough suffering. We've experienced tragedy and suffering that no other nation has seen or experienced. But unlike them, we're still here and we'll be here forever. It's just a matter of time until we see that happen. Hopefully, if we truly care enough, we will see it before our very eyes.

Watching it unfold...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Global Warming - Heating Up

I think we need to talk about global warming today. No, not the propaganda being sold on the news by the "Green" people. No, serious heating up.

Over the past few years and more rapidly in the past several months, we've been accustomed to lots of CHANGE. Not Obama's rhetoric. Real change. Terrorism; the financial markets have plummeted; business has rapidly dropped; jobs are quickly disappearing; threats to security are increasing; nuclear Iran; major anti-semitism being shown worldwide; and finally the hype that was Obama is now showing its true identity and agenda. When we really take a step back and compare the situation today and even 1 year ago, we are shocked. What a difference!

What it seems like and has been echoes by many, is that Hashem is accustoming us to a different reality- the reality of Yemot Hamashiach. We are slowly being separated from the dependence on physicality. The luxuries we have been used to (especially in America) are slowly being diminished and removed. We're not even feeling secure physically anymore.

I believe this is all part of the Geula process. The Vilna Gaon (GR"A) mentions this specifically in his writings; saying that the dependence on physicalities will be removed from us in preparation of the final redemption.

What are we supposed to be doing? Surely we should be separating ourselves as much as possible from luxuries and extras and focusing on enhancing our relationship with Hashem through better prayers, additional Torah learning, helping our fellow Jews and becoming very strong in not speaking Lashon Hara.

For the ones not fortunate to live in the Holy Eretz Yisrael already:
We also should all be looking into Aliyah. Whether it is technically feasible for us or not, we need to start preparing for it. We need to make sure we have our papers in order and if at all possible, begin making plans. We definitely need to pray for Hashem to have mercy on us.

It is definitely not easy. It is definitely something that the Yetzer Hara will try to prevent at all costs (see R' Pinchas Winston's book - Talking About Eretz Yisroel). The more of us that live in Eretz Yisrael, the easier the Geula process becomes. In addition, the safest place to be is in Eretz Yisrael (see Yoel 3:5 and Malbi"m).

Many of us are in sore need of a "community" to rely on for support in taking on such a massive life-altering project like Aliya. Coming from America to integrate into Israeli lifestyle is a major change. I'd appreciate any ideas in the comments.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Job Forum

Added a Job Forum to BringMashiach.com. If we all help each other, we will surely bring Mashiach closer.

Dedication - End of Days Style

I have been pondering the unbelievable "success" the jihadists are having worldwide. What makes them get the pity of the media, world, UN? Why is the media on their [clearly evil] side? Why are nations worldwide giving them billions of dollars in aid, medicine and whatever? Forget that they all hate us and any other political reasons, I'm talking about spiritually.... What's the reason/message?

The answer may lie in their dedication. They are dedicated completely to doing evil to get what they want. They indoctrinate their children from birth to kill and die for their "cause". It's utterly insane, but they are dedicated - at least the brainwashed ones that die for it.

It is well-known that 'on the path one desires to go, he will be led'. We know this is even true for evil. Dedication is the yardstick that will show how much in fact, the person wants to take that path.

What made me think about this, is the fact that right in middle the first Bracha of the Amida, we say praise to Hashem - our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers. We continue 'the one who brings the redeemer to their (our forefathers) children's children for His name's sake, with love'. The interesting thing is that our (Sephardic) Siddurim have a little note on the word 'with love', telling us to have in mind (kavana) to give up our lives for Hashem (Kiddush Hashem) and to accept the 4 capital punishments of Bet Din upon ourselves. I always wondered, what does it have to do with the redemption and love?

It seems to imply that the redemption is predicated upon our dedication to Hashem which is shown by our willingness to even die in order to sanctify His Great Name. Love, in this case means two things; both that Hashem loves us (and will bring forth the redemption lovingly) and that we need to love Him and be dedicated to Him.

Let's become more dedicated and serious. Let's stop doing things out of rote and start really thinking about what we are doing and praying. Every bit counts. The glass is almost full, its only going to take a few more drop to overflow!

We can use BringMashiach.com to ignite the spark in ourselves and others. Do something today!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Torah Correlations and Hints

I heard this one from several sources, it is not my own. The Parsha that was being read during US elections was Lech Lecha - where Hashem tells Avraham to head to Eretz Yisrael; Obama was elected and just happens to be taking office right after we read about Egypt and its new king that did not recognize Yosef and forced our ancestors into slavery. If we read into it, it looks pretty scary.

I heard this one too...this week's Haftara says 'from the North, the evil will begin'. We are currently in a dangerous war and we all know that the threat in the North, from Hizballah, sponspored by Iran is not a joke. Things can heat up quite fast and before we know it, we will be seeing Mashiach appear on scene in the North as well (as he is supposed to do). Let's make sure we are all ready both spiritually and physically.

I came up with these on my own. In Tehillim, it says "MiToch U'Me'Hamas Yig'al Naf'sham" (from within and from Hamas, He will redeem their lives). This can possibly be hinting to the war in Gaza against Hamas. Hopefully it will trigger our redemption. We need to ensure that we are doing our best, and at bare minimum praying for the welfare of our brethren and Am Yisrael's future.

Additionally, we know of many nations that are supposed to appear on scene as the final battle of Gog U'Magog ensues. We are not sure who these nations actually are in modern times. This might provide a hint to who Edom is. It says in Tehillim - "Al Edom Ashlich Na'ali" (I will throw my shoe at Edom). Since very recently, President Bush has had shoes thrown at him, Hashem may be letting us know who Edom actually is -- America. Not surprising, but scary nonetheless.

Whether these hints are true or not, we need to understand the message. The message is embedded in all of the world events, that we are watching unfold under our eyes. We all, collectively must unite, realize that the singular control of our destiny is in our own hands (and mouths). Hashem is the only one planning, directing, coordinating and completely controlling everything.

We can stand on the sidelines and watch or we can take matters into our own hands. We know from the story of Yaakov and Esav, the voice is the voice of Yaakov and the hands are those of Esav. Our power is in our voice, our speech (or lack thereof). We are not threatening, attacking, protesting or bombing those who do not agree with us, rather we are storming the Heavens with our heartfelt prayers, additional seriousness when performing Mitzvot, intensifying and increasing our learning and overall our complete realization of Hashem's control of the most minute of incidents.

Just as Yaakov was forced to do something about it, when Esav was about to receive the Berachot from Yitzhak Avinu, we must also do something about our situation. It is perfectly feasible that everything will quiet down and we will again become complacent with our situation. Yet, as Rabbi Pinchas Winston points out, historically this has never done us any good. We need to realize that Mashiach's coming depends solely on us. We will have to bring him about. We can do this through increasing our good deeds and strengthening our brothers (BringMashiach.com). The other possibility is that Chas Veshalom, we will feel threatened, our security will be undermined and we will be forced into a predicament in which we come to realize with pure clarity that we have nothing at all to rely on, and that nothing at all can save us, except for Hashem's miracles.

The prophets talk about the wars and dangers of the times of Mashiach. Many, if not all of us are familiar with the frightening prophecies. Yet we know that Hashem is merciful and the prophecies for bad are not required to come true. We can change them, because they didn't happen yet. The intensifying situation for Jews worldwide, is a clear sign which direction we are headed and that we can do more. Do we continue to watch idly, or are we going to change the course of history as our father Yaakov Avinu did?

ps - BringMashiach.com is still in its infancy. The early posters will have the Zechut (merit) of being the first ones involved and get credit upstairs for their effects. If everyone accepts to change for the better and document it, so that it serves to strengthen the next one, we can surely effect major changes "upstairs" and down here. Let's start looking around with a less judgemental eye. Let's see the good our brethren are doing and the miracles that Hashem is showing us (and document them). It can only serve to bring us together, to greet Mashiach very soon. We need to all work together on this one...Shabbat Shalom

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Deteriorating Worldwide Situation for Jews

I am extremely concerned about the deteriorating situation for worldwide Jewry. My concern is based on the threats being sent our way; the escalating violence against Jews; the continuous onslaught of false global media reports; the worldwide forgetfulness of Iran's nuclear ambitions; and the thousands of other reasons that have been available for all to see. All those who choose to see it.

It is clear that Hashem is sending us a message. Indeed we know that anti-semitism is a sign sent by Hashem, in His kindness to awaken us from our slumber. For all those who have not been paying attention, let me attempt to do a quick recap. I'll skip the part of the Holocaust, the establishment of the State of Israel, the establishment of the United Nations of hatred of Jews, etc. Let's skip to 2001 - the twin towers, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the hatred of President Bush (the only world leader actually doing something about terrorism), the downfall of the American economy and the worldwide economy, the election of an Arab descendent to the office of US President (based on blaming Bush for all problems), the media portraying Jews as criminals and as the cause of all the suffering of the world, the media attention of alleged crimes by Jews, the media bias against Israel and Jews, Arabs rise to power based on oil dependency, the Arabs sworn call for our destruction, the threat of Iran, Iran arming Arabs against Israel and America, the current war in Gaza, the onslaught of massive anti-semitism it is causing, the shuls burned or attempted to be burned worldwide, the worldwide threat to Jews increasing daily, the continued dependence on America for Israel's daily survival...and much much more.

I can go on and on. There are 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide. We know what they want to do. A casual perusal of Memri or PMW will show the hate that is being broadcast daily. The children are being indoctrinated to murder and maime Jews c"v. They are sending unknowing children with bombs in their bags to school, to blow up Israelis. They are embracing love of death. They are being led by leaders who proclaim that death is most high, yet they themselves choose to hide out safely in foreign countries.

What worries me most, is not the actual issues we are facing here on the ground, rather the situation that we are facing spiritually. Hashem is clearly sending us a message. Rabbi Lazer Brody continuously mentions how we need to start getting our act together and strengthen our collective faith in Hashem. I don't know how we are going to get this message out there, but everyone needs to at bare minimum work on themselves, their family, friends and peers and open people's eyes to the reality. Hashem is not trying, nor does He c"v want any bad for us. He just wants us to love Him, to rely on Him and Him alone.

There comes a time in every situation, where the person realizes that it has gotten too far and a decision has to be made. The smart ones are constantly on the lookout. They are the "defensive drivers", avoiding danger. Others wait a little longer, and some until the last minute. Nobody wants to be "too late". We have to look into our own history and realize that we have been in similar situations in the past. We are clearly being pushed into a very rough predicament. It is obviously, for our own good. On the one hand, we need to WANT Mashiach to come, otherwise we are really lost. On the other hand, we need to do something about it, before it gets worse, and definitely before it becomes "too late".

We all know that we need to become better and try to deserve his coming. Practical solutions are not easy to come by. Yet, we can all strengthen each other. That is what we are supposed to do. We are all 'cosigners' for each other. We are all peers and the group pressure can help us all get and stay in line. When we change for the better, not only are we an example, we also bring more Kedusha (holiness) into the world enabling our brothers and sisters to also "see the light".

Let's all take a minute to analyze the situation -- both our personal, community and worldwide situation. Anyone with an open eye cannot refute the proof -- we have reached a dangerous point in history and it is getting more and more treacherous daily. Let's do something about it. We can bring Mashiach with Rachamim, with love, mercy and happiness. We do not want to be threatened with annihilation c"v, in any real or tangible way. We do not need to feel the pain any more. We can realize now, before it's "too late", and do something, anything about it. Let's all commit to do something, whether small or large, and let's prepare to greet Mashiach with Hashem's mercy very, very soon. Amen.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mashiach Ben Yosef - Possible Sign

This came to mind the other day, while thinking about our dear captive Soldier Gilad Shalit - May Hashem bring him back home, alive, healthy, safe and sound immediately!

Since every detail of everything that happens is directed and orchestrated specifically by Hashem, the question was, what is the message of Gilad Shalit being captured? Why is it his name that is being discussed always in the news? Why do we have to keep hearing the name "Gilad Shalit" ? What is the message behind it?

It then came to mind that we are waiting for Mashiach ben Yosef to come and save us from all our enemies. Ironically, Yosef had a great-grandson named Gilad. He was the son of Machir, the son of Menashe, the son of Yosef. Therefore the name Gilad already seems to signify something to do with Yosef and moreover Mashiach ben Yosef.

Even more ironic is that the second part of his name, "Shalit", was also mentioned in reference to Yosef himself. It says that Yosef was the "Shalit" - the leader, in Egypt. Yosef's position of leadership was actually a foreshadowing of his future leadership as Mashiach ben Yosef.

The message may be that the name Gilad Shalit is actually a sign to us, that Mashiach ben Yosef has already arrived on the scene. But Gilad Shalit unfortunately, is still in captivity. So to, Mashiach ben Yosef is "in captivity", waiting for is for us to do something -- to make mass Teshuva on an unparalleled scale. We need to trust in Hashem a REAL trust beyond a shadow of a doubt and realize that nobody can help us but Him. (Maybe the key to Mashiach is through Hamas who captured Gilad Shalit and all that will ensue from this war).

Please visit BringMashiach.com and accept to become better in any way and write it up for all to see and become inspired. May we all be Zoche (merit) to see the real Mashiach ben Yosef with Hashem's mercy very soon, Amen.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Birkat Halevana - Protection

Our Rabbis tell us that the Jewish Nation is compared to the moon. Just as the moon waxes and wanes, so too the Jewish Nation seems to have its own ups and downs. This is both a short and long-term phenomenon.

Each and every month, upon the new moon's arrival and rebirth, we go outside and thank G-d for creating the moon, by reciting a special blessing. We do this before the moon reaches its full strength on the 14th or 15th day of the month. By thanking G-d for the moon (that we are compared to as a nation), we achieve a special state of protection the entire month. We jump up and say [to the moon] '...just as we are jumping/dancing towards you, and cannot touch you, so too, even if our enemies jump towards us in order to hurt us, they shall have no ability to touch us or to rule over us or to hurt us at all. Fear and dread should fall upon upon them. They shall become stiff as stone from the strength of Your (G-d's) Great hand...'

We explicitly ask for this protection while reciting our blessing on the new moon that seemed to have disappeared for a night or two. Just as the Jewish nation seems to get to a point of despair and danger, G-d renews our license on life, the same way it is with the new moon. Right after we finish the blessing, it is customary to ask G-d for one very special request as it is a special time for prayers to be accepted.

I wish the Israeli soldiers that are highly-endangering their lives for the protection of their fellow Jewish brethren, the only protection that counts, from G-d himself. May He watch over them and protect them from our enemies who only seek to destroy us forever. We know G-d's protection is with us and with that, we can never be hurt.

This month, we can all ask for G-d to protect all of our brothers and sisters wherever they are from all of our enemies, near and far. If the soldiers themselves can try to say this blessing it would surely arouse great mercy upon them from Heaven and they should be especially protected the whole month.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gaza - Spiritual Warfare

We are fighting a Spiritual War. We need spiritual warfare to win. This is as much a personal as it is a national battle and everyone needs to better themselves immediately. We must all bring extra spirituality to the world by taking upon ourselves to do a little extra. Whether it's an extra few minutes in prayer or learning; helping a fellow Jew; or resolving to do a Mitzvah that we have been lax with. Whatever it is, we need to formally accept it upon ourselves (B'li Neder) and start doing it immediately.

We need to realize, that we have been at war our entire history. All of our battles were defensive, save the few that G-d explicitly commanded us to wage in order to give us the land of Israel. The current Israeli Army is even called the IDF - Israel Defense Force - or Z"HL in Hebrew - Zva Hagana (Protection) L'Yisrael. Unlike our enemies and their propaganda, we are not out to murder, mame and hurt anyone except those trying to hurt and kill us. We only want to live in peace and that is what we have been fighting for since our inception as a nation.

This battle is a clear sign that G-d is with us and wants us to become closer to Him. Nothing brings us together like war and danger. It has been so throughout our entire history. Although the exile has been hard on us and the effects are clearly seen, we need to pull ourselves out of the exile and bring ourselves closer to G-d.

Our enemies pray 5 times a day and ask for our destruction. They fire missiles at our innocent civilians while declaring
"Allah Hu Akbar" (G-d is Great). We need to pay attention and realize that G-d is merciful and peace-loving. He loves us beyond our furthest comprehension -- even more than we love ourselves. He (and only He) is protecting us now and will continue always to do so. We need to make sure that we are praying to Him and realize that it is, in fact only HIM and nothing else that is protecting us.

G-d ONLY wants good for us and ONLY does good. Everything that happens is good. This battle in Gaza will only bring our redemption closer and sooner. But we need to act on it. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that any army or any nation will save us. G-d Himself will save and protect us. He has promised us this in our Torah. Let's try to at least make ourselves (somewhat) worthy of His protection.

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