Edom Continues To Up The Ante

January 31, 2010

Edom continues to prepare for war against Paras.

And it also continue to arm Yishmael, further disrupting the balance of military power in the region

Hashem should protect us from the aftermath of Edom vs. Paras!


Dangerous Overconfidence

January 9, 2010

Many in the Moshiach Blogosphere have very harsh words, condemnations, threats, and warnings directed at Torah Jews who live in America.

Let it be said strong and clear:  There are thousands of dedicated Torah Jews who live in America who desperately long to move to E”Y but do not have the capacity as a result of their financial, family, and/or physical health situations.  For folks living in E”Y to besmirch “Jews” in America as people who “can’t leave the gashmiut” is unjust. Where I live, nobody is living the life of gashmiut – the weather is harsh and cold, we have no kosher restaurants, over 80% of the community subsists on lower-class to lower-middle-class incomes – and they work hard for the money.

In this regard in fact, last year I visited the tzaddik R. Chaim Kanievsky to ask whether I should move to E’Y.  His first question was, “Do you have parnassa?”. I replied, “What if I come with a sizeable chunk of money.” He replied, “Then you spend it and go back.”  R. Kanievsky probably has seen more “data points” in this area – should I come or should I go – than any other Rabbi in the world.  He’s seen the devastation poverty and loneliness can wreak on families.  He’s advised to stay, and he’s advised to go – nobody can judge any other person’s particular sitation, and certainly no one can question the actions of a Torah Jew who abides by responses to questions asked to a Gadol and Tzadik like R. Chaim.

Literally dozens of Aliyah blogs talk about the very real hardship of making a parnassah in E”Y if one does not speak the language.  Many olim are unemployed or severely underemployed. Never mind the issues of family, cultural, social, and religious integration, and the added pressures on these critical areas that come with financial problems.

The parnassa and high cost of living situation is real.  It cannot be simply dismissed by – “just have faith and HaShem will help”, “be a brave immigrant like your great grandparents were”.  We are not supposed to walk under leaning walls.  Can a person really provide for a family of 4 or more kids making 25-50 shekels an hour in E”Y?  Because that’s what’s facing the typical 40-something Anglo frum Jew with a family.

The Torah states clearly that in the fight against Edom, we are to split into two camps.  Despite what folks want to believe, there is no source declaring the inyan of “two camps” has been nullified.  We are still in galut, and for anybody to point fingers and claim that “I am physically safer than Plony” is, quite frankly, laced with dangerous conceit – a person should really think carefully before “prosecuting” Jews in America with an insensitive and too broad brush.

A person could dismiss the Gedolim as “blinded”, just as many Gedolim in Europe failed to see the holocaust coming.  Perhaps, too, here, the Gedolim don’t see a holocaust in American coming and are blind – but, for sure, they see a real threat of one, G-d forbid, to Jews in E”Y if Jews worldwide don’t do tshuva.

While it may be true that Jews who live in America are doomed, G-d forbid, it only may be true.

Truth be told, the choice is ultimately, “Where do I want to give my life for the sanctification of HaShem’s name?”  Because, if, G-d forbid, the Jews do not do tshuva and war comes, nobody can be so confident they will live and not die, wherever they reside.

I plead to the Moshiach Blogosphere and Torah Jews everywhere:

Confidence in miraculous salvation must be tempered by humility and compassion for other Jews.   This doesn’t mean we should ever stop urging folks to make Aliyah, nor that Torah Jews in America should not constantly strive to make Aliyah and encourage their children to do the same.  But rather it means that we must check ourselves to make sure when we make that call, its coming from a good place and is not tinged by a perverse “I told you so” hope that are “right” and that gentiles will ultimately slaughter millions of good Diaspora Jews who “failed” to move to E’Y.

We in America suffer when you suffer.  It is true.

Yartzeit of Abir Yaakov – The Light That Shines

January 6, 2010

Today is the 20 of Teves, the Yarhzeit of the Abir Yaakov,  R. Yaakov Abuchatzeira zt’kl (the grandfather of the Baba Sali).

I am BT, and was frum for over 13 years before I discovered his teachings, and those of his grandson, R. David Abuchatzeira (brother of the Baba Sali).

I had learned European Torah extensively and in depth – Mussar Greats, Chassidic Masters, etc.  Yet I have never experienced Torah that resonated and connected with me like the Torah of the Abir Yaakov and R. David.  The Torah of the Abir Yaakov has  literally changed my spiritual life for the so much better.

If you can read Hebrew seforim, from the depths of my heart, for what its worth, I strongly and highly reccommend all dedicated Torah learners who have the skills to learn the seforim of the Abuchatzeiras.

Notably, the Abuchatzeras are unique Tzaddikim in that nobody ever disputed or argued on their greatness. The entire Torah world – Litvish, Chassidish, and Sefardi, respectfully and collectively agreed (and agrees) that the Abuchatzera family represents a uniquely special, highest order of holy Tzaddikim.

Curiously, so few Torah Jews have learned the Abuchatzera Torah. Perhaps this is because people know of the Baba Sali, who never published, but are unfamiliar with his much greater brother R. David hy’d, and much much greater grandfather, the Abir Yaakov, whose works are published.

I recommend the purchase of the Abir Yaakov Mikrot Gedolot. It is a beautiful edition, with Rashi, Sifsei HaChomim, Baa’ ha Turim, Ohr haChaim, Abir Yaakov (Pituchei Chotaim, Machsof Lavan, Reisha v Sefa, Lavan Zacha), and R. David (Petach Ohel).  This sefer is a taste of the World to Come and will always suprise, elighten, and inspire.

If you want just a taste for starters, I recommend the Pituchei Hotam, the Abir Yaakov’s seminal work on Chumash.

The memory of the Abir Yaakov should be a merit for all the Jewish People.

Edom Arms Ishmael – What We Can Do

January 4, 2010

Edom ramps up arming Ishmael with advanced missiles.  The alleged threat is Iran/terrorists, but what’s the target after Iran falls?

Of course, according to our Sages – Israel.

But there is something we can do to mitigate this. . .

In parshat Vayechi, we learn that when Yosef and his brothers went up to E”Y to bury Yaakov, the princes of Ishmael came to do battle.  But once they saw Yosef’s crown hanging from the funeral bier, they all circled it with their own crowns, and let the caravan pass freely. (Rashi, Vayechi 50:10).

It is known that the Crown of Yosef was his brit milah, which he “guarded” in holiness and purity in the face of the massively sensual and erotic temptations of Egypt.

The b’nei Yishmael also have a brit milah, which underlies their spiritual claim (and current physical foothold) to E’Y.  But when they saw the unblemished Crown of Yosef, i.e.,  his guarded brit milah, which far outshone their “crowns”, the b’nei Ishmael were forced to admit Yaakov’s and his sons’ rights to E”Y.

So too, today – if the Jewish men Guard their Brit properly,  Yishmael will be forced, spritually and thus physically, to recognize our right to E’Y.  The Torah teaches this very clearly.

For sure, this is not easy, but it must be done.  Now that we are in the Shovavim period, HaShem should give us strength to do a complete tshuva in this area.

For starters, the very best first thing a person can do in the path to tshuva is download and install the K-9 filter to their computer and have a trusted friend (or spouse) set it up with the password – doing so is a tremendous merit for k’lal Yisrael.

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