Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: GALUS & GEULA Category:GALUS Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Sat, 27 Nov 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Language From Mitzrayim all the way to Yeshivishe Talk

Chazal tell us that one of the reasons Bnei Yisroel merited to be taken out of Mitzrayim was that they did not change their language. What, however, was that language? The Otzar Pilaos HaTorah discusses this at length and brings various opinions.

The Maharsha in Megila 3a says that in Mitzrayim Bnei Yisroel spoke Aramaic, their mother tongue that was their inheritance from their youth spent in the home of their grandfather Lavan HaArami. Yet in Sanhedrin 21b the Maharsha says that they spoke Lashon HaKodesh and not Aramaic. Rav Yaakov Emden explains that Avraham spoke two languages, Lashon Kodesh when he spoke Devarim Shel Kedusha, and Aramaic for any mundane conversation that he needed to have. This dichotomy was followed by Bnei Yisroel in Mitztrayim, who did not change this custom and did not change their language to Egyptian. This would explain the Maharsha.

The Meor VaShemesh says that Bnei Yisroel did speak Egyptian in Mitzrayim, however they did not speak the foul language of the Mitzrim, and thus kept their language Holy.

The Chasam Sofer (Parshas Naso) says that when Chazal say "Devarim Hayotzim Min HaLev Nichanasim El HaLev", words that emanate from the heart have the ability to penetrate the heart, it refers only to Lashon HaKodesh. No other language has that ability to penetrate a heart. Nevertheless the Lev Ivri (on the Tzava'a of the Chasam Sofer) writes that this applies to Yiddish or any other language adopted specifically by the Jews. He adds that although the Arizal would not speak Divrei Chol on Shabbos, he would speak Divrei Torah in the adopted language of his time.

To corroborate this, the Chasam Sofer himself in his Drashos praises the Jews of Russia and Poland whom hundreds of years after being expelled from Germany, still spoke Yiddish and did not pick up the local language.

From these opinions we see that there are three aspects of language. First the intrinsic kedusha itself. Second, as a tool to keep ourselves separate and apart from the other nations. Third to keep it clean. May we be zoche for Chazal to say on us one day,that we brought the Geula because we did not change our language!

Tue, 12 Jan 2016 03:00:00 +0000
The Day Our Suffering Will End

Mi She'amar L'Olamo Dai Yomar L"Tzaraseinu Dai. He who said to His world enough should say to our pain enough. What does it mean that Hashem says to His world enough, and how is that connected to our suffering?

Olam is like the word Haalem which means hidden. The definition and essence of the world is the hiding place of Hashem. Hashem created our world to challenge us to recognize Him even in the randomness of nature and the apparent unabated evil acts that are perpetrated daily without Divine reprisal.

The gemara in Pesachim (50a) says that in this world we make two brachos, one bracha on good, HaTov V'HaMeitiv and one bracha for bad, Dayan HaEmes. However says the gemara, in the next world there is only one bracha since we will have the ability to recognize the goodness in everything. What the gemara is saying is that even in this world everything is good but we don't have the ability to recognize it, for Hashem hides it from us. Even people with steadfast Emuna that accept Hashem's decree and believe that it's good, still suffer and therefore must say Dayan HaEmes. That is the nature of our world.

In other words our pain is, simply put, a lack of understanding, for if we understood the reason for the seemingly bad things that happen to us we would thank Hashem for they are always good. When will we understand? Only when Hashem reveals Himself to the world and says to His Olam, His hiddeness, Dai enough.  Only then will our Tzoros be behind us forever.

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Sisa: Rav Shimon Schwab - Mordechai's Brings Real Freedom For His Nation

The germara in CHulin 139b says that Mordechai HaTzaddik is hinted at in the Torah in the pasuk (Ki Sisa 30:23) of the sweet fragrance used for the Shemen Mishcha called "Mor Dror". The Targum is Meira Dachya which sounds like "Mordechai". Rashi says the Mor Dror is the first of the Besamim as are the Tzaddikim.

Rav Shimon Schwab asks why do we need to base this on the Targum and not suffice with the words of the Torah? He answers that Dror means freedom. We may mistakenly think that Mordechai's greatness was that he helped Klal Yisroel gain a measure of freedom. In reality they were still slaves of Achashveirosh even after Haman's downfall. Rather Mordechai's greatness was that he helped Klal Yisroel gain spiritual freedom and kept them pure which is the meaning of the word "Dachya" that Targum uses to translate Dror.

The meaning of true freedom for Klal Yisroel as transmitted from generation to generation has nothing to do with our political status or self governance in our own homeland. the only true freedom is breaking free from the pressures around us to serve Hashem with purity. This freedom can be achieved anytime and anywhere under any circumstances. We need not the recognition of the world not do we need definable borders. Mordechai taught us this in the dark Galus of Paras, and with that became the true father of the nation and model for all future true Jewish revolutionaries.

Sun, 04 Mar 2012 03:00:00 +0000
The Shalach Avenges From World's Beyond

The gemara in Chulin (63a) says that when Rebbi Yochanan saw a Shalach (a non Kosher bird) he would say the pasuk "Mishpatecha Tihom Rabba", your judgement is like a deep abyss (Tehilim 36:7). Rashi says that the Shalach is a bird that flies over the water and swoops down to prey on a fish, which it plucks from the water. This, says Rashi, shows that Hashem takes revenge on those who deserve to die. What is the significance of this particular act of preying that depicts Hashem's revenge?

Maybe we can conjecture that the fish that the Shalach eats is a predator himself. Yet he knows that in his turf in the ocean no one can exact revenge on him. He is the king of his turf and is protected in his environment. Hashem teaches him a lesson, that although in his eyes the world is limited to his underwater habitat, in reality there is a much bigger picture. There is a world above his cloistered confines. And from that world, from the Heavens above, Hashem can send an angel in the form of a Shalach to swoop down and take revenge, even in his deep water abyss.

We often look around and think that the cards are stacked in our favor and we are protected from Hashem's judgement. But it is not so. Our picture is limited to the confines of our mind. Hashem's world is far beyond our naive outlook. From the Heaven's, Hashem can come down and strike us and we wouldn't even know what hit us.

On the flip side look at it from the small fish perspective.  We must realize that even if we are being hunted by a far larger fish and it seems there is no help in sight and we are doomed, there is far more to consider than meets the eye. Even when we think we are trapped and the bigger fish are closing in on us, a Yeshua can come from places far beyond our imagination. Hashem's means are vast.  Never lose faith!

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Re'eh: Vilna Gaon - A Galus of Pigs

The Torah lists four specific animals that are not Kosher. The camel, Shafan, and Arneves whom all chew their cud but do not have split hooves, and the pig who has split hooves but does not chew its cud. The Medrash says that these non-kosher animals represent the four exiles of Yisroel. The first three represent Bavel, Madai, and Yavan, while the pig represents Edom.

The Vilna Gaon explains that all these have one siman tumah and one siman tahara. The first three all chew their cud. They possess the internal siman tahara. However on the outside their hooves are not split. These three kingdoms were great kingdoms with great talents and accomplishments. However their exterior, the application of their talents were tamei. Edom is the opposite. They show a kosher face with their hooves, yet on the inside they are tamei. This is like Eisav himself who fooled his father and the entire world, professing to be a tzaddik but was a corrupt Rasha down to every fiber of his being.

The Vilna Gaon brings the gemara (Yuma 9b) which says that the first Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because although we were tzaddikim, we committed the three terrible aveiros which everyone knew ans saw. Appropriately we became captive to nations that also were great on the inside but criminal in their exterior actions. In the second Bais HaMikdash we looked like tzaddikim on the outside but we were corrupt beneath the surface in the way we related to Hashem and to our fellow man. For this we fell to a nation who possessed the same shiny exterior and rotten inside.

This says the Gra explains the enigmatic gemara that says, "Tova Tzipornan Shel Rishonim" better are the fingernails of the earlier generations, where the sin was outside, "MiKreisam Shel Acharonim", then the bellies of the later generations, who carried a fine exterior but deep in the pit of their stomach they were rotten.

This is the galus of the Chazir that we still live in until today. The advanced Spanish, the enlightened Germans, and all the polite and tolerant nations today, put on a wonderful face. On the inside though the words of the of the Hagada still ring true, Omdim Aleinu LiChaloseinu. Until we learn to be G-d fearing Jews, not just on the surface but also deep down inside, out nation will continue to be held captive and suffer oppression at the hands of those whose evil lurks behind smiling upstanding faces.

Fri, 26 Aug 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Tisha B'Av - Only Through The Prism Of Tears

The gemara in Pesachim (50a) says that Olam HaZeh is not like Olam Haba.  In Olam HaZeh when something good happens we thank Hashem with the Bracha of HaTov V’HaMeitiv.  When something bad happens we make the Bracha Dayan HaEmes.  In Olam Haba there is only one Bracha, HaTov V’HaMeitiv.  This because in Olam Haba we see the truth and understand that everything Hashem does is for the good.

What if you are wise person and a big Ba’al Emunah?  Now, something bad happened and you want to make a Bracha of HaTov V’HaMeitiv because you believe it is truly a good thing that Hashem, the master planner, is doing for you.  Surely your lofty soul should be able to sing the Bracha of HaTov V’HaMeitiv, no?  No, it may not.  You must say the bracha of Dayan HaEmes.  In fact the gemara says in Brachos 60a that if your land is flooded you must say Dayan HaEmes, even though you are happy since this will make your land much more fertile in the future.  Why?

Maybe we can answer with a Mashal.  Light contains the seven colors of the rainbow.  Yet we cannot see multiple colors only a single bright light.  When you view the light through a prism, the light is separated into its various colors and the full splendor of the individual colors comes out.

Similarly in this world when things are to good very for us, it is very difficult to see Hashem.  We cannot see his actions behind the great light.  Like the pasuk says in Eikev (8:14) “V’Ram Livavecha V’Shachachta Es Hashem Elokecha”, when you acquire wealth, your heart will become haughty and you forget Hashem.  In this world tears are the prism through which Hashem’s light becomes most visible to us.  Sometimes only tragedy can open our eyes and make us look at Hashem.  Tears come from the depths of our Neshama.  It is the neshama’s outlet into a world that refuses to listen to its call from within. Tears are the fluid that cleans the dirt off our eyes so that we can see Hashem’s light once again.  

Tisha B’Av is a day when Hashem wants to see our tears so that we can see him.  Through our tears during the Churban, we were able to see, in plain sight, that although the Bais HaMikdash was burning and Am Yisroel was being slaughtered, the Keruvim representing Hashem and his nation, were embracing with unparalleled closeness.

On Tisha B’Av Hashem wants to see that our Neshamos still function and our Yiddishe Heart is still pumping.  He wants to see that we still have feelings for our Father in heaven, who has hidden from us for so long.  Hashem has made it a day of tragedy upon tragedy throughout history, to help us get the tears out.  Dry eyes, say the Baalei Mussar, are a sign of a lost soul.  With two thousand years of darkness behind us, and poor visibility ahead of us, let's start the tears flowing again.  Our tears on Tisha B’Av will bring about the birth of Moshiach, who together with our corrected vision will help us be zocheh to see the light of Hashem, Milo Kol HaAretz Kivodo.

Mon, 08 Aug 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Michtav MeiEliyahu - We Need To Understand the Purpose of our Galus

Rav Eliyahu Dessler in Michtav MeiEliyahu (3:207) writes, "It is very important to understand the purpose of each Galus that Am Yisroel went through since we became a nation. Galus like all things that happen through the ways of Hashem, come to awaken us, teach us, and bring us to better ourselves. If the purpose of the Galus is not clear to us, we are lacking a fundamental understanding in how to serve Hashem. Certainly we must understand the Galus that we ourselves are in."

He continues. According to all the signs given by Chazal our generation is the Ikvisa D'Mishicha. We now stand at the moment in time just before the coming of the Bias Go'el Tzedek. It is a great loss if we don't learn to understand where Hashem is leading the world and why. For if not we won't know how to properly respond at this moment to the specific obligations put on us.

Wed, 27 Jul 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Matzmiach Yeshua - Yishmael, Corrupt In The Name of Hashem

Galus Yishmael is cited to be the most brutal Galus Bnei Yisroel will endure and its terror will herald the coming of Moshiach. What is the nature of Yishmael that makes it so fearfull, and why is this fifth galus buried inside the other four without any mention of it in Tanach?

Rav Alexander Mandelbaum in Matzmiach Yeshua explains. Bavel, Paras, Yavan, and Edom were all shlichim of Hashem to punish us for our shortcomings. U'li'om Mi'Li'om Yeematz. Each one drew its strength from the power amassed by the Satan from our specific flaws, which then came to haunt us when waved by our enemies. Each one was the arch enemy of Hashem. In their treachery they tried to wipe out Hashem's name k'viyachol and establish a kingdom of evil.

Not so Yishmael who draws its strength completely independent of Bnei Yisroel. Their strength comes from Avrohom Avinu and from the mitzva of mila. In fact Yishmael believes in the unity of Hashem unlike all the others, hence Hashem's name in the name Yishmael. They don't want to erase Hashem's name but rather they staunchly spread Hashem's name in everything they do.

So where does Yishmael go wrong? The Torah calls Yishmael a Pereh Adam. Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch says that Pereh means free and totally without limits. Yishmael takes what it wants regardless of who it belongs to or whether fair or not. They have no red lines and no compromise. It is not in their genetic composition and never will be. Morals, ethics, standards will never matter.

These two facets of Yishmael combine to create a state of devastating terror. They do as they please without any concern or respect for others, all in the name of Hashem. They do not seek to understand the will of Hashem only their own. Yet their every action and desire is said to be sanctioned by Hashem and for his honor. Neither the fear of retribution or death can stop this awesome people. Only from this unsurvivable Galus will Hashem finally rescue us forever.

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bahaloscha: Netziv - Each Trip In The Galus Is On Schedule

The Torah describes how Bnei Yisroel traveled according to the Ananei HaKavod. It tells us in great details how when the cloud moved so did we and when the cloud stopped we did as well, no matter how long or how short the duration. With regard to the longer stops the pasuk says (Bahaloscha 9:19) that when we stopped, "V'Shamru Bnei Yisroel Es Mishmeres Hashem", Bnei Yisroel guarded the order of Hashem and did not move for many days as commanded.

The Netziv says that each stop in the Midbar had a precise reason for both its location and time spent there. Nothing was arbitrary, and when the time came, when the Tafkid was complete they left immediately.

Similarly during our lengthy sojourn throughout the Galus, every stop has a purpose and a point. It also has an exact duration. We may not see the hand of Hashem orchestrating our coming and going and we often chalk it up to petty politics, but we are sorely mistaken. Each stop we have our job to do, including being a light unto the nations as well as a tikun for ourselves and the entire Jewish people.  We need to guard Mishmeres Hashem.  And when we are done, the trip will end right on schedule.

Fri, 10 Jun 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parsha Yisro: Netziv - Sounds From The Smoke That Are Seen But Not Heard By Matan Torah it says "Vayehi Kol HaShofar Holeich V'Chozeik", the sound of the Shofar grew louder and louder. Normally a Shofar blast starts loud and dies down. The Shofar blast at Har Sinai was the opposite. The Netziv in Harchev Davar explains that this Kol Shofar represents Torah SheBaal Peh. As the galus drags on longer and the Tzoros increase, the Koach of Torah SheBaal Peh becomes stronger. This is why in the Bayis Rishon, Torah SheBaal Peh did not flourish until the Galus and then in Bayis Sheini it grew, and grew further after the Churban.

How this works we can't understand, but it is clear to all that this is the case, says the Netziv. This may explain the pasuk at the end of the Parsha. When the mountain was full of smoke and blanketed in a heavy dark cloud, the Shofar blew. "V'Chol Ha'am Ro'im Es Hakolos", at Matan Torah the whole nation saw the sounds. How does one see the sounds? According to this we understand that Klal Yisroel sees in every generation a growth in Torah SheBaal Peh despite the harsh galus. We see the Shofar but we do not hear it. We cannot understand what lurks in this darkness that produces this increase in Torah that we are zocheh to witness.

Fri, 21 Jan 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bishalach: Sridei Eish - Lingering In The Midbar And Leaning On Pesach Night

When Hashem took Bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim the pasuk says "Vayasev Elokim Es HaAm Derech HaMidbar", Hashem took them the long route through the Midbar (Bishalach 13:18). The Medrash says from this pasuk we see a remez to the mishna in Pesachim the on Seder night even a poor man cannot eat, "Ad SheYeisev", until he reclines. Aside fro mthe play on the word "Yasev" what is the connection between the Midbar and Heseiba on Leil HaSeder?

Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg answers as follows. The Ibn Ezra asks how could a massive nation of 600,000 men be so terrified when the Mitzrim chased them near the Yam Suf? Why didn't they turn around and fight? He answers that they still had the slave mentality and this was their master chasing them. They were still felt intimidated and inferior not even realizing that they had the upper hand.

To eradicate this inferiority complex Hashem needed to make them feel like free men. For this Hashem hid them away from civilization for many years and they spent their time studying Torah. Ein Ben Chorin Ela Mi Sheyaasok BaTorah. One who learns Torah is not subservient or impressed by any human, only Hashem. He adds that the reason all the non-religious Jews are always striving for equality among the non-Jews is because they have no Torah and feel inferior, while Shomrei Torah share no such feelings, no matter their financial hardships or social status throughout the course of the Galus.

Vayaseiv Elokim... Derech HaMidbar. Hahsem took us a roundabout way through the desert to teach us Torah and make us feel free and liberated no matter our plight. With our Torah, says the Medrash, even a poor Jew will lean back like a King on Pesach night and taste the sweet feeling of freedom.

Sun, 09 Jan 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Noach: Rav Elyashiv - Superhuman Strength In Extraordinary Times

We've all have heard so many remarkable stories of incredible courage and mesiras nefesh during the Holocaust by people who were at best ordinary before it all started.  From where did these people get this strength?

The Medrash tells us on the pasuk "Vayisha'er Ach Noach" (Noach 7:23), that Noach came limping out of the teiva because he was bitten by the lion for arriving late with his food one day.  Rav Elyashiv says that the Medrash implies that this was a punishment to Noach for his tardiness in feeding the lion.  

How could this be asks Rav Elyashiv?  The Medrash relates how Shem the son of Noach described to Eliezer Eved Avrohom how they didn't sleep a wink during their year in the teiva because they spent their days and nights tending to the multitude of animals and catering to each one's individual diet.  Under these circumstances Noach was a hero for his superhuman effort.  How could he be blamed for being a few moments late on one occasion to the lion?

Rav Elyashiv answers that we see from here that during critical times the bar is raised, and far more is demanded of us than in regular times.  Rising to the occasion is not optional, it is mandatory.  Even if it takes effort that we don't have, if we don't we will be punished.

If so, then surely Hashem gives us the strength to rise to the occasion and pass our the difficult test facing us.  So to be superhuman in tough times is not superhuman after all, it is the new you, supercharged for the occasion.  Forget what you used to be capable of and don't let it go to waste in your shock. 

Wed, 06 Oct 2010 03:00:00 +0000
What Dark Secret Couldn't Yaakov Reveal?
Rebbi Yochanan had a very difficult life.  He buried ten of his sons who died in his lifetime.  He would walk around with a bone from his last son comforting others who thought they had big problems (Brachos 5b).  Yet this same Rebbi Yochanan said that he'd give it up the privilege of greeting Moshiach in order to avoid living through the terrible days of the Ikvisa D'Mishicha (Sanhedrin 98b).  For a man that lost ten children, what horrors of Ikvisa D'Mishicha was he so scared of that he'd forgo living in the times of Moshiach?

The Medrash says that when Yaakov was on his death bed he wanted to reveal the Kaitz, the end of time, to his children.  At that point Hashem made him forget since He did not want this secret revealed.  We understand this secret to mean the time that Moshiach would come.  Rav Moshe Shternbuch said that he heard from Rav Mordechai Pogramonsky that it was not the date that Yaakov wanted to reveal but how the end of the Galus would look.

In the Ikvisa D'Mishicha before Moshiach comes after so many years of persecution so many rivers of blood and oceans of tears, we will go back to our land.  But our return will not be triumphant.  We will live in a darkness blacker than the entire Galus.  We will live in our land where the leaders and representatives not only do not keep Torah but they shame and disgrace it.  They mock it and fight it.  They hold their head high in rebellion against Hashem and His Torah.  They do all that is possible to turn the observant against the Torah and the heritage of their ancestors.  There has never been a greater Chilul Hashem in the entire miserable Galus.

Burying ten sons was one thing, but a Chilul Hashem of these proportions Rebbi Yochanan could not bare.  He didn't want to live through this no matter what the reward at the end.  Rav Mordechai Pogramonsky says that this had to be kept a top secret for had we known this in the days when we still understood the tragedy of Chilul Hashem, we would have long ago lost hope and desire to bring Moshiach.

Tue, 03 Aug 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Dancing On Your Wife's Grave
Mourning for our Bais HaMikdash is a round the year activity.  The Ramchal say that we get drunk on Purim because even the slightest feeling of sadness is forbidden on this day of pure simcha, even thinking about the Bais HaMikdash.  

We mourn the Bais HaMikdash all year round, but the three weeks are like the days of Shloshim and Shiva, when the mourning is most intense.  After Tisha B'av we focus more on the consolation.  We read the beautiful words of the Nevi'im promising a glorious return to Tziyon and the open revelation of the Shechina in the world over.

When we lose a loved one we don't get up from Shiva and start to party.  The feeling of loss does not disappear.  We try to look towards the tasks at hand and pick up the pieces.  If someone were to get up from Shiva for their wife and start dating the day Shiva ends it would be a sad commentary on his true feelings for his deceased wife.

So much more in the case of the Bais HaMikdash.  The Bais HaMikdash is still not here, although Hashem promised He would rebuild it.  The time is clearly near and there is so much we can do to hasten its imminent arrival.  One would think that after Tisha B'av passes we'd all run to implement plans that will bring Moshiach.  Yet there are also activities and pursuits so contrary to Hisgalus HaShechina that they delay the coming of Moshiach, as they show our true desire to remain in Galus.

Where we run to the moment we break our fast on Tisha B'av is a clear indication as to where we'd like to be, and how soon we really want Moshiach to come.  Ask yourself right now, where are you this moment and what are you doing to bring Moshiach?

Sun, 25 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Cry For The Daughters Of My Nation
When young people's lives are suddenly taken...
We all know and believe that they are in a much better place and are very happy.  
We all know and believe that their lives were not cut short but that they lived their entire existence that they were put on earth for.
We all know and believe that Hashem has chosen them as a Korban to be Michaper on all of Klal Yisroel.
We all know and believe that the fires did not consume them but lifted them to Shamayim B'Lahavas Aish.
We know that as their plane went down their Neshama soared.

Yet we cry because...
We will miss them just like we cry by a wedding for a close friend or family member.
While the Shamayim rejoices with its new arrivals, our world suffers from the loss.
It is another vivid lesson of our own mortality and the fragility of life.
We feel for the grieving parents who have lost the flowers they have nurtured and raised.
We feel the anguish of their young friends who are old enough to feel grief and shock, but too young to deal with it.
We are human.

The gemara in Pesachim (50a) says that Olam HaZeh is not like Olam Haba.  In Olam HaZeh when something good happens we thank Hashem with the Bracha of HaTov V’HaMeitiv.  When something bad happens we make the Bracha Dayan HaEmes.  In Olam Haba there is only one Bracha, HaTov V’HaMeitiv, because Olam Haba is world of light and perfect clarity.  

Regardless how strong your emunah is that everything is good, in this world Hashem's good is divided into two parts, good light and good darkness.  Everything is good but some good is covered in deep blackness.  In this world when we see black we must mourn and we must cry, even if we understand the good behind it. While all the gates of Shamayim are sealed shut in this bitter galus, and Hashem remains hidden, the gates of tears always remain open (Bava Metzia 59a).  Hashem cherishes our tears and places them in a special jug next to the Kisei HaKavod.  Why?

Our tears come from a well in the deepest recesses of our Neshama.  Tears are the foremost acknowledgement that we are powerless, and that this is Hashem's world.  To break down and cry, instead of trying to rectify the situation, is the ultimate admission that things are not in our hands.  Death invokes the greatest amount of tears and the greatest lesson of the meaning of life.

On Tisha B'av this years we can all cry together as we read in the Haftorah the moving words of Yirmiya, (8:23), who surely understood the beauty of Hashem's ways yet understood the power of tears, when he said,
מִֽי־יִתֵּ֤ן רֹאשִׁי֙ מַ֔יִם וְעֵינִ֖י מְק֣וֹר דִּמְעָ֑ה וְאֶבְכֶּה֙ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה אֵ֖ת חַֽלְלֵ֥י בַת־עַמִּֽי  

If only my entire head were waters, and my eyes a wellspring of tears, that I might cry day and night for the slain of the daughters of my people.
L'Iluy Nishmas - Moshe Menora, Rikki & Racheli Menora, Sara Klein Aleihem HaShalom
L'Refuas Nesanel Yosef ben Simcha Sima  

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Maharal Tzintz - What Is Taking So Long? 1940 years and still counting.  Millions of Korbonos.  Rivers of tears and oceans of blood. What is taking so long?  After the first Churban it took merely seventy years to rebuild.  Why is our Galus taking forever?

Rav Aryeh Leib Tzintz, the Maharal Tzintz says that each building’s foundation is designed to meet the needs of its desired longevity.  If the building is temporary, it may not need a foundation at all.  For something sturdier, a foundation must be dug to stabilize it and help it withstand nature’s forces over time.  For a structure that will carry a lot of weight and will last a long time the foundation should be much larger compared to the rest of the building itself.

The Bayis Sheini lasted only 420 years and was missing many key elements, including the Aron HaKodesh and the Urim V’Tumim.  The Bayis Shlishi will be LaNetzach, a permanent structure with all the kedusha.  Its foundation will be made of fire.  “B’Aish Hitzata U’BaEIsh Ata Asid Livnoisa”, the Bais HaMikdash was burned with fire and will be rebuilt with fire.  The foundation of the third Bais HaMikdash are the fires of the inquisition, the fires of Auschwitz, and all the blood and tears of Am Yisroel throughout the Galus.  The Bayis Shlishi will be of unparalleled proportions in grandeur and Kedusha.  We need to build a massive foundation to support a building of this magnitude.  Nearly two thousand years of building.  Hopefully the job is just about done!

Wed, 30 Jun 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bahaloscha: Ben Ish Chai - Is It Time To Build The Bais HaMikdash? In the gemara in Shavuos (15b) Abaye says that we do not build the Bais HaMikdash at night.  We learn this from the pasuk that talks about Bnei Yisroel's erecting of the Mishkan in the Midbar after arriving at their destination: "U'V'Yom Hakim Es HaMishkan", and the day you erect the Mishkan (Bahaloscha 9:15).  We see from here that the Mishkan is only erected by day.  What is the issue with building the Mishkan at night?

The Ben Ish Chai answers that night represents the Galus where our lives are engulfed in darkness while the light of the Shechina is hidden from us.  We are commanded to wait out the Galus for the ultimate Geula, and, only then build the Bais HaMikdash.  We may not force the Geula on our own and build a Bais HaMikdash in the darkness.  One day soon the great light of Moshiach will shine upon the world and we will build the Bais HaMikdash with the lights on, Bimheira BiYameinu!

Tue, 25 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Maror & Charoses: Rav Isaac Sher - Why The Sweet With The Bitterness?

On Pesach we eat Maror to remind us of the suffering in Mitzrayim.  We dip in Charoses to dull the bitterness a bit.  Why?  Do we find any dulling of the pain in the bondage of Mitzrayim that this represents?  Is the Maror simply too strong for us?

Rav Isaac Sher answers this with his often repeated Yesod.  He says that the Mesiras Nefesh that Klal Yisroel displays in Galus is greater than the Mesira Nefesh that Avrohom displayed when he was willing to be put into a fiery furnace.  To die, he says, is a Nisayon of B'Chol Nafshicha, willing to give up your life for Hashem.  Living through Galus is a test of B'Chol Mi'odecha, serving Hashem B'Chol Midda U'Midda, through every kind of Gehinom that opens up before us without complaining or questioning.

The Gemara (Kesubos 33b) says that although Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya were willing to be thrown into the fire, had they been tortured they would have relented and submitted to Nevuchadnetzar's will.  Throughout the Galus we have been tortured financially and bodily.  We have face expulsions, libels, exorbitant taxation, stealing of our children, and pogroms.  Hashem has hidden from us, and He sends every imaginable Tzara our way.  Yet we stick with him B'Chol Midda U'Midda. 

How do we manage, how do we forge on?  We persist because through all the torture we witness His light shining through the cracks.  We know our survival is only because He watches over us from behind the curtains.

The Maror is the bitter Galus.  The Charoses is the sweetness of Hashem, who cares very much and watches over us at all times.  The whole point of the Maror is to dip it in the Charoses and while our mouth is on fire from the sharpness we must taste the sweetness that is behind it all.

Thu, 18 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
The Great Cheer For The Hidden King "Yismichu HaShamayim V'Sagel HaAretz V'Yomru BaGoyim Hashem Malach", [when Moshiach comes] the Heavens will rejoice and the earth will be happy, and all the nations will say Hashem was King.  Why does the Pasuk use the past tense that Hashem "was King" and not the present tense "is King"?

The Vilna Gaon says that Gila is happiness over something that is constant whereas Simcha is rejoicing over something new.  "Ein Chadash Tachas HaShemesh", on earth there is nothing ever new.  However an appreciation of the incredible Briah leaves us in a state of Gila.  Simcha is beyond the Heaven's which are constantly renewing and refreshing themselves.

Maybe with this we can offer that the times of Moshiach will be a time of great Nissim.  Hashem's hand will be revealed and the whole world will finally take note.  The realization that Hashem is the King will be obvious.  An even greater revelation on the part of the nations will be that the entire history of victory of survival by the Jewish nation under their heavy hand was all part of Hashem's master plan.  Not only is He the King on this great day when Am Yisroel once again is on top, but He was always the King who miraculously saw His great nation through a difficult process that was needed in order to achieve the final outcome.

Hashem never left us and our persecutors did not take advantage of a slumbering protector.  He may have hidden Himself, but our King was always King and always in control, "Hinei Lo Yanum V'Lo Yishan Shomer Yisroel".  The whole world will sing, "Hashem Malach".

Tue, 02 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Naftoli MiRupshitz - Even When It's Lights Out, The Lights Are On In the Maka of Choshech, Moshe lifted his hand to Shamayim, "Vihi Choshech Afeila", it became dark blackness (Bo 10:22).  Why does the Torah use the redundant expression of darkness?  We find the same redundancy in Tehilim (105:28) where when mentioning the Maka of Choshech it says, "Shalach Choshech V'Yachshich", Hashem sent blackness and it was black.

Rav Naftali MiRopshitz in Zera Kodesh answers with another Pasuk in Tehilim (112:4), "Zarach BaChoshech Ohr LaYesharim", Hashem shines a light in the darkness for the upright people.  He explains that logically Am Yisroel has a 0%  chance for survival in the Galus.  How could a small scattered nation of a few million survive among billions of people, especially when it requires adhering to age old traditions often not in conformity with modern norms?  How could a small unarmed people living in tiny pockets throughout the globe and often scorned and persecuted by their host nations, who historically have turned on them trying to destroy them have survived all these years?

True we live in the darkness of the Galus, says the Ropshitzer, but Hashem casts a special light on us even in this darkness.  This light is what gives us the ability to survive.  This is the light that guides us and leads our way down the straight path despite our predicament.

This was not the case with the Mitzrim during Makas Choshech.  Hashem cast a darkness upon them with no light within the darkness.  There was no light in their outer world nor in their inner world.  There were no happy thoughts to help them get through the Maka.  It was black and it was bleak.  It was a total lights out filled with depression and despair.

The lesson here is that while the world can be dark around us, and the things we see can blind us from the right path.  However ultimately we can choose light.  Hashem provides us the Torah which is our guiding light in the Galus.  I we hang on tight we will never fall into the dark and our lives will always be full of light.

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Maoz Tzur - Enough Of The Yeshuos! In the last paragraph of Maoz Tzur as we beseech Hashem to reveal His holy hand, we say "Ki Archa Lanu Hayeshua", be cause you have lengthened the Yeshua, the salvation.  Why the Yeshua, shouldn't we say because you lengthened the Tzara?

The Pninim Al HaParsha brings Nachlas Avrohom answers with a Mashal.  A person who desperately needed funds borrowed money from a generous friend.  According to his business plan he expected to be able to pay back within 2 months when the loan was due.  Unfortunately things did not go as he hoped and at the end of the time period he realized he would not be able to pay.  Fortunately he had another friend who after hearing his plight lent him the money so that he could pay back now and return the money to him in another two months.

Suffice it to say that things never went as planned but with each due date the borrower was fortunate to find another generous lender.  Fortunate?  In a way, since he always found someone to help him rollover his loans, but the only real cause for celebration would have been when his business finally turned around and he would pay off the loan for once and for all.  Until then these small miracles were needed but he was still continuously in dire straits hanging on from one due date to the next.

In our 2000 year odyssey throughout a dangerous Galus, we have had miracle after miracle ensuring our incredible survival.  Sure we celebrate each kind act from Hashem and feel a debt of gratitude.  But on Chanukah we plead to Hashem, enough of the Yeshuos.  Please bring us back home under your watchful eye.  Our eight stemmed Menora is precious to us.  But let us stand proud and tall as we kindle the eternal Menorah.  Let us put all the many Yeshuos behind us already!

Sun, 13 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayishlach: Vilna Gaon - In The Galus Of Eisav, The Eirev Rav Will Lead When Yaakov and the Shevatim met Eisav, the pasuk (Vayishlach 33:2) says that first came the Shfachos and their children, then came Le'ah and her children, then came Rochel and Yosef.

The Vilna Gaon says that this is a Remez to the Galus.  First come the Eirev Rav who will be our leaders.  They are represented by the Shfachos.  Then come the well meaning Amei HaAretz represented by Le'ah.  The Talmidei Chachom will be the lowest on the totem pole pushed around by all the unworthy people. This we see from V'Es Rochel V'Es Yosef Acharonim".

Tue, 01 Dec 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayeitzei: Rav Elyashiv - We Came Home To Eretz Yisroel, Did We Need To Steal From The Goyim On The Way? Lavan catches Yaakov who fled his home to go back to Eretz Yisroel. Lavan says to Yaakov "Im Nichsof Nichsafta L'Bais Avicha"; I understand your desire and motivation to return home to your parents but.. "Lama Ganavta Es Eloihoi", why did you steal my Idols on the way. That was spiteful and for this I don't forgive you.

Rav Elyashiv said many years ago that this applies to the situation in Eretz Yisroel. After many long years living among the Goyim in Galus, Hashem brought us back home to Eretz Yisroel to be with our Father. By why when we left the Galus did we need to "steal" all the "avodah zara" the foreign culture, and bring it back to Eretz Yisroel with us?  We always said "How can we sing Hashem's songs in foreign lands" then why now do we live to the tune of foreign songs in Hashem's land?

Thu, 26 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Chinese Galus? As we witness a gradual shift in the axis of world power from the US towards China, us Jews who always have two passports in his hand must all be asking ourselves the same question, is China the next stop?  Having had occasion to be in China for over a week I spent a good part of the trip looking around and trying to find clues that would answer the question.

China is not America and would certainly be a rough adjustment.  Would the Chinese take us in?  Historically Jews have been allowed in to countries trying to develop who are willing to allow the Jews in because of the skills they bring to society, despite their racial feelings.  Or societies like the US which had no racial profile or background and the Jews were no different then the rest of the people in this giant melting pot.  Neither of the above fit the profile of China.

However despite the style of government, lack of religious understanding, and other traits that make China seem like the last place on earth the Jews would find themselves, would anybody have ever believed upon landing in New York City circa 1920 that in just a couple of decades the transfer of the majority of the Jewish people from eastern Europe would occur.  Did anybody dream that America could be haven of Yeshivos, Shuls, and other Jewish communal institutions on a scale that can compete with any stop along the way of our 2000 years odyssey?  It would be senseless to predict the path of the Galus through logic and reason.  Hashem is our tour guide and he decides the itinerary without consulting any world leaders.

So does that mean we should start taking courses in Chinese just in case?  It doesn't look like it.  Rav Shimshon Pincus warns against the futility of studying world events and trying to chart the progress and checklist of Chazal related to the coming of Moshiach.  However without reading too deeply into things we can take the words of Chazal at face value.  Rav Chaim Volozhin was known to have said nearly two hundred years ago when there was barely a minyan of Frum people in America that the Galus of America would be the last.  Moreover I have heard that the Zohar says that the last Galus will be a galus in our very own Eretz Yisroel at the hands of our very own brothers.  How can we reconcile these two quotes?  Simple they are both happening today?

Does that mean that the Geula is just around the corner?  No one can answer that for sure, but what I can tell is what I heard quoted from a Tzaddik.  "If you tell me that Moshiach will come tomorrow I will not rejoice.  I will cry that he should come today!"

Mon, 09 Nov 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Day The Dead Bird Will Remember To Fly What a spectacle... and on the world's greatest stage no less!  Last friday early morning I went to the Kosel for my weekly visit.  When I passed security and entered the square before the Kosel there seemed to be a crowd gathered about.  I stopped to look to see what they were looking at.  All I noticed was that instead of the dozen or so pigeons walking around there was only a single bird standing there.  Could this have been so interesting?  Then about 10-20 feet off to the side I saw a cat.  The cat looked funny like it had no legs as its body was stretched in a funny position on the ground.  

Before I had a chance to process what I was looking at the cat swooped forward like a bullet and attacked the bird as the whole crowd gasped.  It took only about a second or two of thrashing and then cat slowly walked away with the lifeless bird in its mouth while we all stood there speechless after witnessing this sight.  Then a middle aged gentleman who looked like a mainstay at the Kosel, still wearing his talis and tefilin came over and started screaming at the cat.  The cat wasn't too impressed and this made the man really mad.  He started kicking the cat until the cat dropped the bird and walked a few steps away as his prize.  All this while everyone was screaming at the man that bird is already dead.

Then suddenly after about ten seconds of lying lifeless on the floor the bird again started thrashing around.  After a few seconds he managed to stand himself up and then, lo and behold, fly away in the direction of Har HaBayis.

As the Ba'al Shem Tov says, everything we see in this world is meant to send us a message, and here we were at the Kosel in the nine days witnessing an incredible scene.  The little bird looked like Klal Yisroel sitting all alone in a big world with the nations waiting on the side for the perfect opportunity to pounce on it.  The nations succeeded and just like that Klal Yisroel was gone.  

But not so fast.  Along will come a force much more mighty than the most powerful nations and beat them until Klal Yisroel is set free.  All the people on the sidelines said why bother, the Jews are finished anyway at least let the enemy enjoy its prey.  Having lost all our hope and resolve we seem to agree, and even after Hashem shoos away our tormentors and gives us a new lease on life we continue to act dead.  But one day very soon Hashem will imbibe us with fresh spirit and we will wake up and fly high once again!

Mon, 27 Jul 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bichukosai: Kli Yakar - Blown By The Galus, Hit By Our Friends "V'Rodaf Osum Kol Aleh Nidaf", They will be chased by sound of a blown leaf (Bichukosai 26:36).  The Kli Yakar says that Am Yisroel in Galus is more fractious than any other nation.  Typically a group of exiles will band together to comfort and care for each other.  Not only is Am Yisroel scattered to the four corners of the world but we lack achdus.  We fight with each other and cause the downfall of one another.

This is the curse of the Tochacha, "V'Rodaf Osum Kol Aleh Nidaf".  A leaf is very light and is blown in the wind.  The wind of galus scatters us and doesn't give us rest.  But that is not the end of our suffering.  When the leaves blow on a tree, they crash against each other inflicting more pain upon each other, this time by their neighboring leaf.

When each one of us are smashed by the powerful winds of Galus we crash into the Yid beside us.  Am Yisroel absorbs two painful blows.  First the crashing of the winds of galus upon us, and then the effects of our neighbors, pushing us in response to the blow they received from the Galus.

Thu, 14 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000 Today we celebrate the Yom Tov of Tu Bishvat, which to be honest, has no real meaning for most of us (except for farmers) other than that no tachanun is said, and you get the opportunity to try some nice new fruits. However, that in and of itself, needs examination – what is so special about this sort of Rosh Hashana that we don’t say tachanun, and a choson/kallah whose wedding is on Tu Bishvat does not fast? 

The Meiri, in explaining the inyan of Tu Bishvat, says that the significance of this Rosh Hashana is that there are 3 months of winter – Teves, Shvat and Adar – and Tu Bishvat is exactly mid-winter, being the middle day of the middle of the three winter months. From this day and on, the sharpness of winter begins to dissipate and the trees begin their growth for the coming months. The Meiri is telling us that although it is still mid-winter, arguably the coldest part and furthest removed from anything resembling a tree alive and vibrant. Yet we are told that the tree begins its rebirth and we celebrate this event. Deep down in the recesses of the earth, there is movement. The trees are alive and ready to bear fruits for us to enjoy and spread its leaves to cool us in the summer heat.  

This lesson of nature carries a lesson for us personally. Many times, people see no hope in their situation. Their life is cold and dark, and it seems that all their entreaties with the Ribbono Shel Olam aren’t helping. Life seems frozen in time with no way out. Yet the Navi Yeshayahu warns us never to say, “Hein ani eitz yaveish”. Just at the very time of what seems as the end of the line of what you can handle, there is movement. We don’t know just how long we are to endure a particular nisayon, but Tu Bishvat teaches us that vibrancy and rebirth begin at the nadir of winter and furthest removed from resemblance of verve. We keep plugging on in hopes of a new beginning. 

Collectively, as the unit of Klal Yisroel, this is all too important to internalize. The chazal tell us that just as the geula from Mitzrayim was in Nissan, so too will be the future geula. We pray for the day that the navi promised of “Lo yom v’lo layla”. As the months of winter and darkness begin to pass us by and the days of spring come closer, we need to feel that the days of the possible geula are approaching. Although it can sometimes seem that it may never come, the buds of the geula have been planted and has the ability to sprout year after year – “Matmiach Yeshuos”. In just two months from today – a heref ayin in relation to the history of our galus, we can be in Yerusalayim eating the Korban Pesach.  

Let us use the lesson of the trees, the Rosh Hashana for ilanos, to be excited for our future and the possibilities that the days ahead may bring – Yeshuos for each and every one of us, personally and collectively, with Moshiach leading the way.

L’zchus Boruch ben Miriam

Mon, 09 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Paroh Declares Victory Moshe suddenly arrives on the scene after decades of bitter slavery and declares he will take Bnei Yisroel out of Mitzrayim.  Paroh for one is not impressed.  After Moshe's first audience with Paroh, the Bnei Yisroel are hit with a much heavier workload and not the respite that they were hoping to be granted.  Paroh announces that among the many Deities in his Rolodex, he doesn't recognize anyone called Hashem.  There is some grumbling among Bnei Yisroel but things go on and Moshe, despite being very disappointed with the mission, continues.

Next up comes Makas Dam.  Sure it's frightening for the Mitzrim and water is in short supply, but they very quickly learn to circumvent this by digging along the sides of the Nilus.  Anyway after a week things are back to normal.  Worst of all Bnei Yisroel is still enslaved.  After that comes the frogs.  Boy were they scary and deadly as well.  Not too mention the horrible noise keeping the Mitzrim up at night.  Surely Bnei Yisroel greatly enjoyed the scene.  Better yet Paroh promises to send them out, so the Maka ends.  Rather than sending them out, Paroh toughens up and declares victory.  Surely he sent images around the globe of the horrible mess caused by the frogs garnering sympathy and probably plenty of funds and volunteers for the cleanup.

Then comes Kinim.  This is admittedly the hand of Hashem but nevertheless Paroh remains stubborn declaring Mitzrayim's resolve, not recognizing Hashem, and boasting of victory after each passing Maka.  Meanwhile the Bnei Yisroel are still enslaved.  The events, on the face of it, make you wonder why Hashem didn't "finish the job".  Why did he let the Mitzrim off the hook each time he had them on the run?  Why were we still enslaved if our all powerful Hashem was fully in control and toying with the enemy?

As the Makos progressed, life did get easier for the Bnei Yisroel.  Their political fortunes even started to take a turn for the better.  Now they were becoming stars in Mitzrayim and their Mitzri neighbors suddenly even started to like them.  So much so that most of them wondered if it was even worth leaving Mitzrayim.  Life was pretty good right where they were.  Unfortunately for them, they never saw the light, perishing in the darkness of Choshech just before the final conclusion.

Raboisai, the hour of history is late.  All the signs point to the final redemption.  There is nary a single nevua about the galus left from Tanach that hasn't either already occurred or is unfolding right now before our eyes.  Make no mistake about it, if Moshiach doesn't come today, then he will come tomorrow or the day after.  Past events are the best guides for the future.  As we read the Parshios of the ending of Galus Mitzrayim, it would be foolish of us not to take note and learn the many lessons that can be gleaned from that ordeal, both the positive and negative.

It is up to us to make it happen sooner or later.  We can determine how painful the birth of the geula will be.  Now, if ever, is the time to live Yetzias Mitzrayim and not just have the weeks fly by, going unnoticed while we miss the whole point and forget whose hand is directing the unfolding events and shaping our ever changing world today.  Let's all daven and improve our ways so that Hashem will for once and for all "finish the job" and we will be zocheh to see the incredible light of the Shechina shine on this world.

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Very Last Martyr I used to think that the biggest "Nebach" in the Holocaust were those died moments before being liberated.  To come so far and suffer so much, only to end up with the same fate as those who were relieved of their agony long ago, and just before it was all over.  They knew freedom was at the doorstep.  Their liberators were within earshot.  But no, it was not to be.

Rav Shmuel Hominer, in Olas Tamid asks the famous question, why after not seeing Yosef for 22 years did Yaakov feel the need to say Krias Shema and the moment of their emotional reunion?  He explains that the pasuk says "V'Ahavta Es HashemElokecha... Bichol Nafshicha ", you must love Hashem even if he takes your life.  There is nothing more precious to a person than life itself even for someone whose life is full of pain and suffering.  Certainly for someone whose life is full of happiness and joy, giving up his life is that much more difficult.  Nevertheless the torah demands Ahavas Hashem to the point where you willforego all this for the sake of Hashem.

Yaakov Avinu suffered terribly for 22 years, grieving for his beloved son.  Now at the time of his reunion, he teaches his children, who are all watching his every action very carefully at this moving ceremony, that even on the cusp the greatest moment of his life, he is willing toforego his own pleasure and give it to Hashem.  He declares "Amusa HaPa'am", even now I am prepared to die for Hashem and give up the warm embrace of my long lost son.

Every Jew murdered in the Holocaust Hy"d was a holy martyr, Al Kiddush Hashem.  But surely a special place is reserved in Gan Eden for those who lived long enough to see a glimpse of the future and then give up their neshamos Al Kiddush Hashem.  It was Ahavas Hashem at its most selfless.

Today we hear the footsteps of Moshiach louder and louder as he gets closer.  Surely we all want to survive to see the bright light that we have waited and suffered for, for so long.  The great light never seen before in history.  The humbling of the nations, the slaughter of the Malach HaMaves, the Nissim and Niflaos that will dwarf Yetzias Mitzrayim.  We have heard and read so much about those sacred times and now we ourselves are within reach of living through something more grandiose.  Does anybody want to be the last martyr?  Not really.  But oh what a lesson in Ahavas Hashem it would be.

Thu, 01 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Shlomo Volbe: From Jail To The Palace, In The Blink Of An Eye Yosef was in jail for twelve years, including the last two because he placed his faith in the Sar HaMashkim.  When his gezeira ended, it happened in a heartbeat.  "Vayiritzuhu Min HaBor", they ran him our of the pit (Mikeitz 41:14).  Yosef was taken out so quickly that they barely had time to bathe and groom him.  The Sforno says this is the typical of Yeshuas Hashem that happens in a flash, like the pasuk says "Ki Krova Yeshu'asi Lavo", my salvation is near in coming (Yeshaya 56:1).  That's how it was in Mitzrayim and that's how it will be when Moshiach comes, "K'heref Ayin", in the blink of an eye.

Rav Volbe says that this is how the Ba'al HaTanya describes the geula.  He said he will be sitting in his study learning torah and he will hear a commotion from outside.  The people will be talking about the special midday edition of the newspaper that came out to report the coming of Moshiach.  Similarly, Rav Chaim Volozhiner said his wife will burst into his study disrupting his learning and say, "Chaim, why are you just sitting in front of your gemara, Moshiach has arrived!"

Two thousand years of bitter galus will end just like that.  No matter what our troubles are, no matter how deep we seem to be and how far the light seems from us, we need not worry.  Ki Krova Yeshu'asi Lavo, when the time comes it doesn't take more that a second for it to happen!  Leave it Hashem, He knows what He is doing and... he can work fast.

Sun, 21 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Until We Hear The Shofar Of The Akeida We Are Not Out Of The Woods The Torah tells us that after Avrohom was instructed not to slaughter Yitzchok, he saw an Ayil, a ram with its horns caught in the bushes.  To paraphrase, the Medrash, Avrohom saw the ram come out of the forest only to get lost in another forest.  Hashem then said to Avrohom, this is the future of your children.  They will leave the iron grip of Bavel to fall into the waiting hands of Madai.  When they escape the clutches of Madai they will become ensnared in Yavan.  After prying themselves loose from Yavan they will become prisoners of Edom.  This will continue until they will finally be redeemed with the horn of the Ram as Hashem blows the Shofar signaling the final redemption.

Each Galus has its own challenges.  Typically when someone leaves a tzara, any situation looks better than the one he just escaped.  Often he later finds out that he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire.  Klal Yisroel has been through so many tzorus in this long, seemingly never ending, galus.  When I was a child my grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, would say to me, "you may think that life is good and you are not in Galus.  When you grow up you will realize that the galus has not ended and you will begin to feel its heavy burden." 

Compared to history, things seem relatively good even now.  Maybe we are living in la la land.  Maybe we are so far out of touch with Hashem's reality that we don't know what's going on.  The fact is that neither I, nor anyone I know, has yet heard the sound of the Shofar.  So according to the Medrash and the message that I received from my saintly grandfather, we are still wandering inside this new forest without even knowing that we are lost and trapped.  May we all be zocheh to hear the sweet sound of the shofar that we've been longing to hear, before we figure out what lurks in the darkness of this new forest.

Wed, 12 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
A Big Fish In A Sea Of Trouble

Rabba Bar Bar Channa tells a fantastic tale (Bava Basra 73b) of a sea voyage.  He was traveling on a boat in the sea when they saw a large fish with sand on its back and a pond in the sand.  They thought the fish was dry land.  They went off the boat and started baking and cooking on it.  When it got warm, the fish flipped over.  Rabba Bar Bar Channa concludes that had their boat not been close by, they would have all drowned.

The Meforshim explain this and other stories of Rabba Bar Bar Channa as a mashal about Galus and Geula.  The Likutei Basar Likutei brings the Yalkut Eliezer who explains this story as follows.  The boat in the sea is Am Yisroel in the stormy waters of galus.  The troubles are about to swallow us like a huge wave in the ocean.  Suddenly a big fish, a ruling nation, welcomes us and lets us plant our sand (Yisroel is compared to the sand) on their backs, in their country.  This gives us a respite from the sea.

The minute things quiet down, we go off the boat of Torah and Yiras Shamayim to enjoy the comforts of this new land.  We cook and bake, meaning we eat and drink with the natives.  When our cooking and baking warms the climate and relations between us and the natives become too cozy for our own good, the fish flips over.  Their love for us turns to hatred and we are forced back into the sea.  Had our boat of Yiras Shamayim not been close by, we would disappear into the raging sea never to be seen again.

We are now zocheh to a period of tranquility.  Just remember we are living on the back of a fish.  Stay close to the boat because the water is raging all around us.

Sun, 10 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000