Monday, December 31, 2007

On The End of Galus

In my prior post, The Sprouting of Moshiach, I mentioned the end of Galus, which is rapidly approaching. I also mentioned that the year 5708 is a starting point, and there is symmetry between the birth of Avraham and Churban Bayit Sheini on one hand, and Churban Bayit Sheini and the founding of the State of Israel on the other.

Talmud Yerushalmi Masechet Brachot 2:4 brings a Midrash that on the day that the 2nd Beit HaMikdash was destroyed, Moshiach was born (it gives his name as Menachem ben Chizkiyah). This of course is not meant to be taken literally (we are not expecting a 1900 year old man to be proclaimed as Moshiach). Perhaps this is a hint to what I have written. Every 1880 years, Moshiach is born.

Of all that I wrote, only 1 item calls for immediate physical action from a majority of world Jewry: Aliyah. I stated that the year after the 63rd Yom HaAtzmaut would be a last chance to get out of Galus at our own volition. Let's take a look for parallels with 1879 years prior (i.e. 1880 years prior, but after this cutoff year). What we see is the beginning of the doomed Bar Kokhba Rebellion. The revolt ended such that the culmination of the failure is one of the things we mourn on Tishah B'Av.

Esav pursued Yaakov, and that was the end of Jewish autonomy for about 1800 years. It was a time of danger in the land of Esav, which unfortunately (for other reasons) at that time included Eretz Yisrael.

Such is not the case today. Esav's influence inside Eretz Yisrael is not nearly on the same level as it was. Moshiach ben Yosef of yesteryear was unable to act, only suffer. The chains of Galus were still too much to shake off. That is not the situation today. We are relatively safe from Esav's direct control here, and in about another year, Esav's influence will begin to decrease.

We live in the last generation of the Footsteps of Moshiach, there are no more do-overs. There is simply no space left on the 6000-year Calendar of Jewish history to account for further chances.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Sprouting of Moshiach

I have recently attempted to establish that there is significance to the year 5708 on the Jewish calendar. If you have not read the posts already, you can find them here. However, it is blindness to not realize that the State of Israel that we have had these last 60 years is not the pinnacle of history. We must see that the State of Israel is a means, not an end.

Maaseh Avot Siman LaBanim - The deeds of the forefathers are a sign for the children.

As I quoted before, the original Right Side of Kedushah (Side of Chesed), Avraham, which represents Moshiach ben Dovid, was perfected through the birth of the Yishmael, and the original Left Side of Kedushah (Side of Din), Yitzchak, which represents Moshiach ben Yosef, was perfected through the birth of Esav. (The reason, in short, is their birth was the removal of the Klipah from the Kedushah.)

Now we can see one of the reasons that Yitzchak merited children earlier than Avraham; Moshiach ben Yosef comes first, he is the First Moshiach.

The 2 sides of Moshiach, Moshiach ben Yosef, and Moshiach ben Dovid, came in to this world (no, I do not mean that they were born on that day) with the founding of the State of Israel. Perhaps more proper is to say that they stood up at the time of the founding of the State of Israel. Up to a certain point, Moshiach ben Yosef is concealed in the Klipah of the Left, and up to another certain point, Moshiach ben Dovid is concealed in the Klipah of the Right.

So let us examine the lives of Avraham and Yitzchak as brought in the Chumash and Seder Olam Rabba with the notes of the GR"A.

The Chumash teaches that when Yaakov and Esav were born, Yitzchak was 60 years old. However this is problematic by itself: Esav was the firstborn and destined to carry on the family line. According to the Seder Olam Rabba, Esav and Yaakov were 15 years old when Esav sold Yaakov the bechorah (i.e. Yaakov became legally the firstborn at that point). This point is further made in Rashi to Breishit 27:36 - Yitzchak agrees that Yaakov was the rightful recipient of the blessings because Esav sold him the bechorah.

Let's move on to Avraham.

As per the GR"A on Seder Olam Rabba, Avraham Avinu left Ur Kasdim when he was 70 years of age. He then spent 5 years in Charan, and it was there that Brit Bein HaBetarim took place. That same year, while he was 75, he made Aliyah, was forced to go to Mitzraim due to the famine, and came back to Eretz Yisrael. After 10 years of being in Eretz Yisrael and still being barren, Sarah gives Hagar to Avraham, and 9 months later Yishmael is born, with Avraham being 86 years of age.

But let us not ignore Yaakov. Although Yaakov came in to the world without having a Klipah attached to him, the events of his life still have meaning for our times. Seder Olam Rabba states that Yaakov was 63 years of age when Yitzchak (at Rivkah's behest) commanded him to go find a wife (but her real intention is to flee Esav). It was another 14 years, when he was 77 years old, however, before he actually left Eretz Yisrael. It would be a further 20 years, when he was 97, that Yaakov Avinu conquered the Angel. He was yet 1 year older, 98, when he arrived "complete to the city of Shechem".

Our anniversary point is the 20th of the Omer, the day the State of Israel was founded. We will count according to the way people speak, how many anniversary dates we've reached.

That leaves us with the following years:

  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5768 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5769 - Esav is born. The initial separation of Moshiach ben Yosef from the Internal Klipah of the Left Side, the Erev Rav.
  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5771 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5772 - Yaakov is told by Yitzchak to flee Esav. This signals the impending end of the Galut. He who doesn't leave Esav by the appointed time is in danger.
  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5783 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5784 - Esav loses the Bechorah. By this point the External Klipah of the Left Side, Esav, will have been defeated by Moshiach ben Yosef. This will be a turbulent year of ups and downs, reflecting Avraham's Aliyah, as well as his short sojurn in Mitzraim and his return to Eretz Yisrael. This is the year Avraham was promised Eretz Yisrael for his descendents forever.
  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5794 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5795 - Yishmael is born. By this period, Moshiach ben Dovid will have complete freedom from the Klipah of the Right Side, Yishmael.
  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5805 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5806 - Yaakov defeats the angel. This might hint at the defeat of the Angel of Death.
  • Between Yom HaAtzmaut 5806 and Yom HaAtzmaut 5807 - Yaakov is complete. The unification of the 2 Moshiach's.

According to Targum Yonatan, Rivkah was pregnant with Esav and Yaakov for a total of 270 days. We know from the Gemara that the soul is put in the fetus 40 days in to pregnancy (Menachot 99b), so we can add 230 days on to the beginning of the events of 5768 and 5794, however, as is the concealed nature of pregnancy, we will comprehend this period after the fact. This is further hinted at by the troublesome nature of both births. For Avraham, he had to go to another woman, Hagar the Mitzrit. For Yitzchak, the entire beginning of Parshat Toldot shows us how there was conflict in the womb, up until the birth itself.

Kol HaTor shows us another hint regarding Moshiach ben Yosef. In chapter 2, we learn the following:

  • Yosef HaTzaddik became Moshiach ben Yosef at age 17, when he had his first dreams.
  • Yitzchak Avinu became Moshiach ben Yosef at age 37, at the time of the Akiedah.
  • Yehoshua bin-Nun became Moshiach ben Yosef at age 42, at the time he fought against Amalek.
  • Avraham Avinu became Moshiach ben Yosef at age 75, at the time of Brit Bein HaBetarim.
  • Moshe Rabbeinu became Moshiach ben Yosef at age 81, at the time he took Yosef's bones out of Mitzraim.

Why do I say 81 years for Moshe? The Jewish system of counting that we have for our forefathers, and the accompanying timeline of human history, is based on counting birthdays past. I.e. the entire year 1948, until his first birthday, is considered year 0. Shemot 7:7 says that Moshe was 80 years old when he spoke to Par'oh. According to tradition, this was about 6 months prior to the actual Exodus, and as such, Moshe reached his next birthday before Yetziat Mitzraim (Moshe's birthday is the 7th of Adar, some 6-7 weeks before Pesach).

If we line this up with our timeline of the State of Israel, we find the following:

  • 17 years - Yom HaAtzmaut 5725 - Yom HaAtzmaut 5726 - On the 16th of Iyar 5725, Eli Cohen is hanged in Syria, just 11 days in to this period. He sacrificed his life to save Am Yisrael from danger.
  • 37 years - Yom HaAtzmaut 5745 - Yom HaAtzmaut 5746 - On the 8th of Kislev 5746, Jonathan Pollard is refused entry to the Israeli Embassy and arrested in America. He was rejected by his brothers.
  • 42 years - Yom HaAtzmaut 5750 - Yom HaAtzmaut 5751 - On the 17th of Cheshvan 5751, Rav Meir Kahane is assassinated in Brooklyn by a terrorist on the payroll of Osama Bin Laden. He worked tirelessly to inspire his brethren to follow Torah and return to Eretz Yisrael.

Using the past as a key to understanding the future:

  • 75 years - Yom HaAtzmaut 5783 - Yom HaAtzmaut 5784
  • 81 years - Yom HaAtzmaut 5789 - Yom HaAtzmaut 5790

These are years of danger for Moshiach ben Yosef. Moshiach ben Yosef is especially vulnerable to the Klipah of the Right at these times after he has defeated the Left.

May we all merit to have the strength to always stand with the side of truth.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hours of the Day - Source Texts

Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 38b

Rebbi Yochanan ben Chanina says: There were 12 hours to the day.

  • 1st Hour: His dust was gathered
  • 2nd Hour: He was made into a Golem (a lifeless form)
  • 3rd Hour: His limbs were stretched out
  • 4th Hour: A Neshamah was thrown into him
  • 5th Hour: He stood on his legs
  • 6th Hour: He called names (i.e. he named all the animals)
  • 7th Hour: Chava was made for him
  • 8th Hour: They went up to bed as 2 and came down as 4
  • 9th Hour: He was commanded not to eat from the tree
  • 10th Hour: He sinned
  • 11th Hour: He was judged
  • 12th Hour: He was sent off on his way

Vayikra Rabba 29:1

  • 1st Hour: Hashem decided to create Man (literally, it came up in thought)
  • 2nd Hour: He (Hashem) sought advice of the ministering angels
  • 3rd Hour: He brought together the dust
  • 4th Hour: He bound it together
  • 5th Hour: He wove it
  • 6th Hour: He made it into a Golem (a lifeless form)
  • 7th Hour: He blew a soul in to him.
  • 8th Hour: He brought him to Gan Eden
  • 9th Hour: He was commanded
  • 10th Hour: He sinned
  • 11th Hour: He was judged
  • 12th Hour: He went on his way (i.e. out of Gan Eden)

Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer Chapter 11

  • 1st Hour: He brought together the dust of Adam
  • 2nd Hour: He bound it together
  • 3rd Hour: He wove it
  • 4th Hour: He threw a Neshamah in to him
  • 5th Hour: He stood him up on his legs
  • 6th Hour: He called names
  • 7th Hour: Chava was made for him
  • 8th Hour: They were commanded about the fruits of the tree
  • 9th Hour: They went up to the bed 2 and came down 4
  • 10th Hour: He brought him to Gan Eden and he went against His command
  • 11th Hour: He was judged
  • 12th Hour: He was expelled

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Hours of the Sixth Day

According to Chaza"l, there are 6000 years of human history in parallel to the 6 days of Creation. The 6 days in Creation had a purpose, to continue perfection in to the first Shabbat. This did not happen, due to the sin of Adam HaRishon. Therefore, as a tikkun, there are 6000 years of human history as a preparation for the Great Second Chance. See the Ramban on Breishit 2:3 for an in depth explanation of this idea, including parallels for each of the days with each of the different millenia.

As I have said before, Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer says that an hour of Hashem's day is taking 1000 years and dividing it by 12, with the end result being 83.333 years per hour. Kol HaTor brings a different division, taking 1000 years and dividing it by 24, with the end result being 41.666 years per hour. Both are words of the Living G-d. For the 83.333 years, all 1000 years have acts of creation. For the 41.666 years, it is only the second 500 years of the millenium have acts of creation.

There are three places that I am aware of that refer to the events of this first and most fateful Sixth Day.

  • Sanhedrin 38B
  • Vayikra Rabba 29:1
  • Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer chapter 11

Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer and the Bavli Sanhedrin have nearly identical orders (the differences come in the last few hours of the day).

It is worthy to note that the 5th hour, according to both of them, that Adam HaRishon stood up on his legs.

To illustrate:

  • First Hour (5500 - 5541.666) - The dust was brought together
  • Second Hour (5541.666-5583.333) - It was made into a Golem (a lifeless shape, a shell)
  • Third Hour (5583.333 - 5625) - The limbs were stretched out
  • Fourth Hour (5625 - 5666.666) - A soul was thrown in to him
  • Fifth Hour (5666.666 - 5708.333) - He stood up on his legs.

From this we can see very clearly, Adam HaRishon of the 6th day of Creation is Am Yisrael in the 6th millenium, who, with 600,000 souls, stood up during the fifth hour, culminating in 5708.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Moshiach ben Yosef in the Torah

This is an elaboration of the prior post.

Avraham Avinu became Moshiach ben Yosef from the time of Brit Bein HaBetarim. According to the Seder Olam, this was in 2018, when Avraham was 70 years old. According to the GR"A, it was in the year 2023, when he was 75 years old.

Yitzchak Avinu became Moshiach ben Yosef from the time of the Akeidah. This was in 2085, when he was 37 years old.

Yaakov Avinu became Moshiach ben Yosef from the time he fought with Esav's Angel at Peniel. This was the year 2205, Yaakov was 97 years old.

Yehudah became Moshiach ben Yosef from the day he saved Yosef. According to the Seder Olam, he was born in 2195. That is 4 years older than Yosef, therefore this was when he was 21 years old.

Yosef became Moshiach ben Yosef from the time of his first dream, at age 17, the year 2216.

Moshe Rabbeinu became Moshiach ben Yosef from the time he took Yosef's bones with him in the year 2448, at the age of 80.

Yehoshua Bin Nun fought against Amalek in the year 2448, at the age 42 (Yehoshua was born in 2406).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moshiach ben Yosef in the Past

The following is a translation from Kol HaTor, chapter 1.

Od Yosef Chai (Yosef Still Lives) - Also many from the Forefathers, and many from the Prophets of Hashem, Kings of Israel, and many of the Tanna'im and Amora'im, and many of the Gedolei Yisrael and Men of Action in all the generations were in the line of Moshiach ben Yosef.

The first was Avraham Avinu in the secret of "How will I know that I will inherit it", and as is known, any language regarding inheritance which is said about Eretz Yisrael is in the line of Moshiach ben Yosef, and thus it is hinted in the word "I will inherit it (irashenah)" which is equal in gematria to "Moshiach ben Yosef". Avraham Avinu started with the first Atchalta DiGeulah, meaning redemption of the Kedushah of below, i.e. the earth of Eretz Yisrael.

Yitzchak Avinu entered into the line of Moshiach ben Yosef from the day of the Akeidah. This is also hinted at in his name Yitzchak which has the letters spelling Keitz Chai.

Yaakov Avinu, from the day he fought with the ministering angel of Esav, and Yaakov came complete. Complete to Sukkot.

Yehudah, from the day he saved Yosef.

Yosef, from the day of his first dream.

Moshe Rabbeinu from the day he took with him the bones of Yosef.

Yehoshua bin Nun, who was the first in Hashem's War with Amalek.

Shaul and David who both worked in the Wars of Hashem, and as is known that every War of Hashem is in the line of Moshiach ben Yosef, etc.

And in the later generations, also the Holy Ariza"l and his special student Rav Chaim Vital, and the Holy Rav the Ohr HaChaim were of the line of Moshiach ben Yosef as is known.

And in the last generation it is our Rabbi the GR"A who is the light of Moshiach ben Yosef, whose light goes before us and lights up the way. And also a few of his students merited, those who follow his command in the Vision of Tzion to receive from his spirit and from his great light in this line (of Moshiach ben Yosef).

Right and Left

Kol HaTor Chapter 2 part 1

151 - ... And our Rabbi already explained the first thought of Yosef's brothers; they knew that when Avraham's soul came down to this world, the Klipah of the Right Side attached to him, and therefore Yishmael came out from him in order to separate him from the Klipah. And when the soul of Yitzchak came to the world, the Klipah of the Left attached to him, and therefore Esav came from him in order to separate him from the Klipah. And they (Yosef's brothers) thought that the Klipah of the Middle had attached itself to Yaakov, who is of the Middle Line, and after they saw Yosef act with traits of arrogance, they thought for sure Yosef was of the Klipah that had left Yaakov, and they didn't know of his holiness and Yosef's great role in the preparation for the Geulah.

---end quote---

We see from this that Avraham Avinu, from the Right Side (the side of Chesed) was essentially perfected by the birth of Yishmael. It removed the Klipah from him. Avraham became personally complete at age 86.

Likewise, Yitzchak, who was from the Left Side (the side of Din) was brought closer to perfection by the birth of Yaakov and Esav at age 60, since Esav was the Klipah that was attached to Yitzchak. This was only completed, however, with the transfer of the Bechorah (firstborn status) to Yaakov 15 years later at the age of 75. As Rashi comments on Breishit 27:36, Yitzchak's conversation with Esav. Yitzchak realizes that it was proper for him to bless Yaakov, as he was the bechor (firstborn), and that he was going to bless Esav because he thought incorrectly that he was the bechor.

The Tikkun that took place through the birth of Yishmael and Esav is what allowed Yaakov to not have any Klipah attached to him. Only when the Left and the Right become perfected, they can then join together to form the Middle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Daniel 8

The 8th chapter of Daniel discusses the Four Great Kingdoms that were to span history from the time of the fall of Bavel. It includes within it one of the well-known predictions in the book.

At the end, the question is asked: How long will it take for all this to transpire? The answer is terse enough:

He said to me: Until evening morning, two thousand, three hundred, and the holy one will be justified. (Daniel 8:14)

Among the commentators we see the opinion that the 2300 mentioned is 2300 years, see Rav Sa'adiah Gaon, Rashi, etc. The question, however, before looking to see what the end-date is, is to ask: what is the start date?

And the vision of the evening and the morning that was said, it is true; And you - hide the vision, for it is for many days. (Daniel 8:26)

Daniel indeed hid the true meaning of his vision, as he did later on in chapter 12, however in a different manner.

In the third year of the kingdom of Belshatzar the king, a vision appeared to me; me, Daniel, after what appeared to me at the beginning. And I saw in the vision, and it was when I was seeing, I was in Shushan... (Daniel 8:1-2)

The third year of Belshatzar was the last year of Belshatzar, and indeed the 70th year of the kingdom of Bavel, as brought in Megillah 11b. The Ibn Ezra takes note of this and states that it couldn't be that Daniel went to Shushan and came back even the same year. He saw himself in the future in Shushan.

Daniel is hinting to us that the starting point of the vision is in the future during the reign of Paras uMadai. The vision starts at the tachlit of their kingdom, the construction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash, which came to fruition in 3408.

The year 3408 was a beginning that went awry. It would be a full cycle to start over.

And there was evening and there was morning, one day (Breishit 1:5)

It would be 2300 years to restart the cycle.

3408 + 2300 = 5708

Now, unlike then, we achieved the minimum threshold of ingathering, 600,000 souls. The Geulah is proceeding according to Daniel's vision, with the order of tefillah as its guide.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

70 Years

For the 10th of Tevet, let us take a short look at one small aspect of Galut Bavel.

The theme of 70 years shows up 3 times regarding Galut Bavel (See Seder Olam Rabba chapter 28, the GR"A there).

(The following years are mainly taken from Seder HaDorot HaKatzar by Rav Shlomo Binizri, which largely follows Seder Olam Rabba)

3319 - Nevuchadnetzar becomes king of Bavel. (Seder HaDorot HaKatzar, based on Seder Olam chapter 24 with the GR"A there, and Yirmiyahu 46).

3320 - Nevuchadnetzar captures Yerushalayim.

3338 - Destruction of the Beit HaMikdash

3389 - The death of Belshatzar, the last king of Bavel, as recorded in Daniel chapter 5. Beginning of the kingdom of Paras uMadai.

3390 - First year of the reign of Koresh, Koresh declares that the Jews can return to Eretz Yisrael and build the Beit HaMikdash.

3408 - Construction Resumes on 2nd Beit HaMikdash, this is considered the year it was built (although construction continued for a few years)

We therefore end up with three periods.

3319 - 3389 - 70 Years of Bavel, from the beginning of the reign of Nevuchadnetzar to the murder of Belshatzar

3320 - 3390 - 70 Years from the initial capture of Yerushalayim until the order for Yerushalayim to be rebuilt

3338 - 3408 - 70 Years from the destruction of the 1st Beit HaMikdash to the construction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash

Symmetry in Jewish History

  • 100 Years - From the birth of Avraham to the birth of Yitzchak (1948 - 2048)
  • 190 Years - From the birth of Yitzchak to the beginning of the exile in Mitzraim (2048-2238)
  • 210 Years - From the beginning of the exile in Mitzraim until Yetziat Mitzraim (2238 - 2448)
  • 40 Years - In the desert (2448 - 2488)
  • 440 Years - From the entrance to Eretz Yisrael to the beginning of the 1st Beit HaMikdash (2488 - 2928)
  • 410 Years - From the construction of the 1st Beit HaMikdash to its destruction (2928 - 3338)
  • 70 Years - From the destruction of the 1st Beit HaMikdash to the building of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash (3338 - 3408)
  • 420 Years - From the construction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash to its destruction (3408 - 3828)
  • 1880 Years - From the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash to the founding of the modern state of Israel (3828 - 5708)

This is the general progression of Jewish history from 1948 to 1948 (i.e. the year 1948 from creation, to 1948 of the secular calendar). And as one would expect from that fact that they are the same year in those 2 different calendars, the difference between the beginning and end is exactly 3760 years, as this is the general margin of difference between the two calendars.

However, what is not so obvious is that this is also 2 equal periods of time hinged around one year, the year of the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash in 3828.

  • 1880 Years - From the birth of Avraham to the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash (1948 - 3828)
  • 1880 Years - From the destruction of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash to the founding of the modern state of Israel (3828 - 5708)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bavli Megilah on the Order of Prayer

The Yerushalmi in the last post starts out with a general statement which I brought, the order of proper progression of requests. It is then followed by a case by case explanation of why one is before another. The Bavli in Megilah 17b, however, interpolates the quotes with the order:

And why did they see fit to say the Ingathering of the Exiles after the blessing of the years (regarding making a living)? For it is written: "And you, mountains of Israel, your branches will give forth and your fruits you will hold for my nation Israel, for they will be coming soon" (Yehezkel 36:8).

And because the exiles have been gathered, judgement is done on the wicked as it is said: "And I will turn my hand upon you, and I will refine your dross as with lye" (Yeshayahu 1:25), and it is written (in the next verse) "And I will return your judges as at first" (Yeshayahu 1:26)

And because judgement was done on the wicked, sinners are finished, and (we) include with them intentional sinners, as it says "And the breaking of transgressors and sinners is together" (Yeshayahu 1:28)

And because sinners are finished, the horn of the righteous is uplifted, as it says "And all the horns of the wicked I will cut off, and the horns of the righteous I will raise" (Tehillim 75:11) and (we) include righteous converts with the righteous, as it says "In front of age, rise up, and glorify the face of the elderly" (Vayikra 19:32) and adjacted to that is "For a stranger will live with you" (Vayikra 19:33).

And where is this horn raised up? Their horn is in Yerushalayim, as it says "Pray for the peace of Yerushalayim, those who love her will prosper" (Tehillim 122:6)

And because Yerushalayim is built, Dovid comes (i.e. Moshiach ben Dovid) as it says (from here until the end, we continue on page 18a) "And afterwards, B'nei Yisrael will return and request Hashem their G-d and Dovid their king" (Hoshea 3:5)

And because Dovid has come, prayer will come, as it is said "And I will bring them to My Holy Mountain and I will make them happy with My House of Prayer..." (Yeshayahu 56:7)

And because prayer comes, the Service (Avodah) comes, as it says "Their elevation offerings and their sacrifices are for desire on My altar..." (Yeshayahu 56:7)

And because the Service comes, Thanksgiving comes as well, as it is said: "He who offers a thanksgiving offering honors Me" (Tehillim 50:23)

From here we see there is agreement between the Bavli and Yerushalmi on this matter that the order of the Shmoneh Esreh is the same as the order of the Geulah. The only difference of note is that the building of Yerushalayim is included with the coming of Moshiach according to the Yerushalmi.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yerushalmi Brachot on the Order of Prayer

Brachot 16b (Chapter 2, halachah 4)

Mishnah: One who reads (Kriat Shema) out of order has not fulfilled his obligation.

Gemara: Rebbi Yonah says that Rebbi Nachman bar Adda and Rebbi Yosi says that Rebbi Nachman Sabba taught "V'Hayu" (and they will be, from the text of the Shma) means that (they should be read) like it is (meaning in order). It is taught: thus it is as well with Hallel and the reading of the Megillah. It is easy to understand regarding Megillah (from now to the end is page 17a) as it is written (Esther 9) "like their writing", however for Hallel it is due this verse: "From the east of the sun until the west, praised is the name of Hashem" (Tehillim 113).

Rebbi Abun says also (because) it is written in order:

"When Israel went out of Egypt" (Tehillim 114) - About the past.

"Not for us, Hashem, not for us" (Tehillim 115) - For these generations.

"I love that Hashem should hear my voice" (Tehillim 116) - For the days of Moshiach.

"Order the festival procession with boughs" (Tehillim 118) - For the days of Gog and Magog.

"You are my G-d and I will thank You" (Tehillim 118) - For the future to come (Le'atid Lavo).

Rebbi Acha in the name of Rebbi Yehoshua (says): Even those that set the prayer set it in order. Three first blessings, three closing blessings, praise of Hashem, and the middle (blessings) the needs of the creations.

Bestow upon us knowledge! (Now that) you have bestowed upon us knowledge, desire our repentance! (Now that) you have desired our repentance, forgive us! (Now that) you have forgiven us, redeem us! (Now that) you have redeemed us, heal our sickness! (Now that) you have healed our sickness, bless our years! (Now that) you have blessed our years, gather us in! (Now that) you have gathered us in, judge us with righteousness! (Now that) you have judged us with righteousness, subdue those that rise up against us! (Now that) you have subdued those that rise up against us, in justice make us righteous. (Now that) you have made us righteous in judgement, build Your house and hear our prayers and desire us within it!

Notice how the order of brachot here does not include any mention of Moshiach or the house of Dovid. The Gemara goes on to say later (when quoting the sources that prove that this is the proper order according to the Tanach) that we mention Dovid in the brachah for Yerushalayim. The Yerushalmi, as opposed to the Bavli, has 18 brachot in the daily prayers, not 19 like we say today in line with the Bavli.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Importance Of Good Leadership

A common theme throughout Jewish history is the ability of the leadership to cause Am Yisrael to follow Torah as well as the opposite.

In the Chumash, the most glaring examples are the Sin of the Golden Calf and the Sin of the Spies.

The Zohar (2:191a) on Ki Tisa brings that the Sin of the Golden Calf was instigated by the 2 leaders of the Erev Rav, who used their avodah zarah to cause the people to stray.

In the Chumash we see that 10 leaders caused the nation to not want to enter Eretz Yisrael, causing the 40 years sentence in the desert.

Melachim II has a recurring theme: whether or not the king caused the people to sin like Yerov'am ben Navat before them, or if they did what was right and made the people do what was right.

The common theme is that one person really can make a difference, specifically a leader. Now we see the necessity in defining Moshiach as someone who causes Israel to follow the Torah (See Rambam Laws of Kings, chapter 11).

However, it is not limited to the Moshiach. This appears to be the intent of the GR"A regarding Anshei Amanah (Men of Faith/Truth). These are people for whom Truth is an ultimate value. There are two leadership roles that must be filled by Anshei Amanah in the final generation: Moshiach ben Yosef, and the Sanhedrin.

Moshiach ben Yosef because Moshiach ben Yosef is from Yesod, as is Truth. Truth will sprout forth from the ground (Tehillim 85:12), meaning that the sprouting will be dependent on human action.

However, not to dwell on what is not in our reach (Moshiach ben Yosef is not yet "here" for us to gather behind, and we cannot at this point make the appointed person in to that role), let us discuss the Sanhedrin.

There are three main aspects to the Geulah before the crowning event when Moshiach ben Dovid arrives:

  • Ingathering of the Exiles
  • Establishment of the Sanhedrin
  • Building of the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim

The Ingathering of the Exiles and the Building of Yerushalayim all began in tiny steps approximately 200 years ago. Every point is a building-block. In order to get the minimum 600,000 Jews, it took time, and indeed we are close to an absolute world majority of Jews in Eretz Yisrael. To build the Beit HaMikdash, there has to be a city around it. What was then fantasy is now reality.

People in the past looked down upon the Aliyah movement in the early 19th century, but patience and persistence have proven that it can be done. Yet people expect differently of the Sanhedrin. Historical perspective shows us patience is necessary.

There is now a stepping stone in place. The utmost was done to make this kosher, however at this stage, it was to be expected that there will be those that look down upon it.

The task of the Sanhedrin at this time is to get ready. Walk with wisdom. For one day soon, we will demand that the Sanhedrin take the lead as the sole authority of Torah for Am Yisrael. Whatever disputes we now have regarding its legitimacy will soon fade.

Truth will yet reign again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


In Parshat Masei, Moshe recounts the different locations that B'nei Yisrael visited during the years in the desert.

The 25th place that B'nei Yisrael encamped is recorded as Chashmonah. The two similarities are fairly obvious. Chanukah falls on the 25th day of Kislev, and the protagonists in the story are from the Chashmunai family. Furthermore, the word Chanukah can be read as Chanu (they encamped) and kah (gematria of 25).

It is a well known fact amongst Kabbalists that the most seemingly mundane passages of Torah contain the greatest of Creation's secrets. One which is well known to many who are acquainted on even a low level with Kabbalah is the Kings of Edom from the end of parshat VaYishlach. The GR"A, in his commentary on Sifra Ditzniuta, relates the kings to the 6000 years of history, and by way of remez, indicates that the Keitz "B'itah" is some time after 5666, in the time corresponding with the last king.

The following is a translated paragraph from the last note on chapter 3 of Kol HaTor from within HaTekufah HaGedolah:

And I (Rav Kasher) will bring here what Rabbi Avraham Isaac of Yerushalayim wrote me, and these are his words: The Elders of Yerushalayim tell that the students of the GR"A begged him to reveal to them the Keitz, which he knew. After they begged him much on this matter, he said to them once that within the 42 travels in the desert includes the secret with all its details.

(I recommend reading the whole footnote, for other related items that are mentioned there)

The quotation then goes on to discuss the warning from the GR"A that one who figures out the details of the secret should not reveal it to another.

Sha'ar HaGilgulim Introduction 20:

... for in the future, Moshe himself will return by way of gilgul (reincarnation) in the final generation, and then he will rise, this is why it says "behold you lie down with your fathers and rise" (Devarim 31:16). And also in the last generation, the entire Generation of the Desert will reincarnate with the Erev Rav, and that is what it says "And the nation will rise up" (same verse). And the matter is that there is no generation that doesn't have Moshe Rabbeinu in it, in the secret of "and the sun shines, and the sun sets", "a generation goes, a generation comes", in order to fix that generation. And also the Generation of the Desert itself, with the Erev Rav, all of them will reincarnate in the Last Generation, "As the days of your going out of Egypt". Also Moshe will rise up among them. For they are all from the secret of Da'at: Moshe, the Generation of the Desert, and also the Erev Rav, as was explained in Parshat Shemot....

An essential Tikun of the Geulah is the Tikun of Dor HaMidbar (The Generation of the Desert mentioned above). There was great potential and unfortunately great mistakes occurred. Therefore, these souls return (on some level) to get a final chance to make things right.

So the question is this: Does Chashmonah hint at Chanukah, or does Chanukah hint at Chashmonah?

Essentially, at some point, the message of Chanukah needs to be internalized in all of us. At some point, we must turn Chanukah in to a metaphor and apply it to our situation.

What is the message of Chanukah? Basically a story of extremism, a big taboo in our days. The two sides were Torah and Hellenism. The choice was imposed upon us, the Hellenists/Greeks demanded abandoning our way of life. To apply the metaphor to Dor HaMidbar, Torah and Eretz Yisrael or returning to Egypt. The way to stay true to the Torah was made extremely difficult by the surrounding environment.

Our age is one of polarization. Western values/attitudes allow for, to a large degree, live and let live attitudes, and therefore invite coexistence between ideologies and religious beliefs. The terrorist threat is causing an essential defining of sides, and the West must define itself in to narrower boundaries. We will soon be pressed to choose between the West and the Torah, it will no longer be a mixture.

May we all internalize the meaning of these 8 days, the miracles, both physical and spiritual, and make these part of our daily life, so we know what to choose when the time comes.