Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Turning Point

Since I read that the Israeli country-wide emergency preparedness drill next week is to be called "Turning Point 3" I couldn't stop wondering. The name was chosen by Israel for their own reasons....but it still may be signaling a turning point in world history. There have also been 2 redemptions so far, the one we are expecting is the third.

As I try to prepare to receive the Torah on Shavuot, my mind cannot stop thinking...'am I really prepared for the Geula?' We're all hoping for it, but sometimes as it begins to come into view and reality begins to set in, it gets very scary.

Are we really ready? What does ready actually constitute? I'll leave everyone to do their own soul-searching. Personally, I don't think it should be any different than Yom Kippur.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Settlements and Achdut

During these trying times preceding Mashiach, my heart is telling me there is a strong connection between the "settlements" and our Achdut. The reason these things are coming to the forefront of world politics, is to raise OUR awareness of it. It is to threaten the very fabric of Am Yisrael's achdut and oneness.

The Gush Katif expulsion was most likely alluded to in the Gemara when discussing the days preceding Mashiach. Again, a test of Achdut. Jews against Jews. Even the bracelets made to protest the "disengagement" said it clearly 'A Jew does not throw out a Jew'. A pretty clear message from Hashem. By deduction, if one does throw out a Jew, he may be an "Erev Rav" and possibly not a real Jew.

As we approach the holiday of Shavuot, where it says the word "Vayichan" - literally and he camped and Rashi explains - 'as one man, with one heart', we need to pay extra special attention to our level of Achdut. We are all different, there were after all 12 Shevatim as well as the Kohanim and Leviim. Each of us do different things and approach Hashem differently. We are unable to judge what is right and wrong by ourselves, rather we need to look to the "eyes" of the nation - our Rabbis. Hopefully we are sane enough to pick true Rabbis who will guide us. As long as that's what we are doing, we should be ok.

Let's stay as far away from fighting, arguing, bickering, Lashon Hara, etc. no matter what! During the time of Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, where most of the nation worshiped idols, nobody died in war. They did not speak Lashon Hara about one another.

Hashem is testing us. We are being polarized for a reason. Hashem wants to separate the true Am Yisrael and bring them close to Him and protect them. Maybe Hashem will make miracles to help everyone else pick their side too. But once the battle lines are drawn, it is quite hard to switch sides.

'The Son of David (Mashiach) will not come until the entire nation is completely guilty or completely meritorious' - This means every individual needs to be completely on one side. Not teetering or "fence-sitting" as Rabbi Pinchas Winston calls it. It's time to choose our sides. I hope we all realize the ramifications....

Friday, May 22, 2009

Living the Neviim

The plan will of course be based on the concept of ‘two nations for two peoples’, which translates in Israel turning over the eastern portion of Yerushalayim to serve as the capital of a Palestinian state. In actuality, Obama thinks the solution will be found by ‘internationalizing’ Jerusalem, turning it over to United Nations control, a solution that the American president apparently believes will be more palatable to Israel than turning Jerusalem over to the PA directly. (YWN)
I couldn't stop smiling while reading the beginning of this article. No, I'm not reminded me of the story of Rabbi Akiva laughing at the foxes coming out of the Kodesh Hakodashim. He was able to see the positive side of the prophecy regarding the foxes on Har Habayit-- that just as this prophecy has come true, the final redemption would also come true quickly.

Every day we say "Ve'Alu Moshi'im Be'Har Tzion Lishpot Et Har Esav, VeHayta LaShem HaMelucha VeHayta Hashem Lemelech Al Kol HaAretz, Bayom Hahu Yihye Hashem Echad Ushmo Echad". Loosely translated - 'And helpers will ascent Mt. Zion to judge the mountain of Esav; And the kingship will be to Hashem (i.e. overtly) and Hashem will be the King of the whole world. On that day Hashem will be One and His name One.

We've been praying and hoping for that day to come. There is no doubt it is coming. We don't have to predict it, it's clear for all to see. Just to note - the UN usually calls themselves "peacekeepers" or "aid workers" - both terms can easily fit the translation of Moshi'im - "helpers". The attempt to internationalize Jerusalem will be the focal point of the war of Gog Umagog. It is during that time, that Hashem will make His presence known and unbelievable miracles will take place. Let's take note....we're living the text of the Nevi'im.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who will we trust?

Iran is beefing up its defenses against the threat of an Israeli strike. Yet, in the same day, we hear obama threaten/tell Netanyahu not to strike Iran.

There's absolutely no question that Hashem is putting our faith on the line here. This looming threat of Iran is a perfect storm. It's always in the background and often hits the headlines with scary updates. Hashem is keeping our attention on it. He wants us to focus on Him. He wants us to trust in Him.

Everyone has their idea of how/when/where Israel should strike Iran. Too many may have faith in the IAF. But we all know Who is really in charge. During these trying times pre-empting Mashiach, we are all being tested. Hashem wants to see who really trusts in Him. As it winds down the road and we realize that we really have no other alternatives, that choice will become more and more clear. Soon it will be so clear that we will have lost our free-choice. May Hashem help us all make the best of our free-choice now and choose to trust in Him only. There is nothing else!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Purim Redux

I've often compared ahmadinejad y"s to haman y"s. I think there are many correlations - same country, same goals and same position in government - second in command.

It's interesting to note that the Megillah mentions Mordechai as "Ish Yemini" - meaning that he is from the tribe of Binyamin - more specifically - a direct descendant of Shaul HaMelech.

We also know that the Megillah is alluding to Hashem when it says the world "HaMelech", while outwardly speaking of Ahashverosh. So for example, when it says 'all the servants of the king and the populace of the king's countries would prostrate and bow before haman, for so the king commanded him' - it can also be discussing the real King - Hashem. Therefore the meaning can be something like 'all the servants of the King (heads of state) and the people of those countries bow before haman (ahmadinejad) and allow him to threaten Am Yisrael, for that is what Hashem commanded'.

Knowing what we previously mentioned about Mordechai being from the tribe of Binyamin, we may be able to translate "and Mordechai would not prostrate and would not bow" as an allusion to "Binyamin Netanyahu would not prostrate and would not bow".

This is obviously at best a hint - Remez. We all know that Hashem is in charge of everything and any protection offered to us by anyone is non-existent without Hashem's backing. We are not trusting in Bibi or anyone else to protect us or to destroy haman. However, just as in the time of Shushan, our repentance and reacceptance of the words of the Torah and our faith in the Rabbis, namely Mordechai, we were redeemed through "natural seeming" miracles, so shall it be today. The only difference is that if this is the final battle, then the "natural" part will be dropped and open miracles shall ensue.

The Gemara relates an argument regarding whether Am Yisrael will need to completely return in Teshuva to deserve Mashiach. The Gemara states that if we do not repent and return to Hashem, then Hashem will bring upon us a "king" who's decrees are worse than haman's and we will make Teshuva and deserve Mashiach.

The stage is set. We may already know who this haman is. Anyone can realize that a swift death of a sword (as haman wished) is a lot less painful than any nuclear holocaust that we are being threatened with.

We're a tough bunch, that's why we've been around so long. Let's loosen up a little and realize that we don't actually need the threats to be clear and present before we change our ways. If we recognize the signs early, we can head this off.