Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: TANACH Category:SEFER DANIEL Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Fri, 03 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Daniel Part 27 Perek 12 con't: The Grand Finale "And I heard, and I did not understand, and I said, ‘My lord, what will be the end of these?'" What will be the end of the rule of the sarim who stand by the bank of the river -what will be the end of the nations they influence?

"And he said, ‘Go, Daniel, because the matters are sealed and closed until the time of the end.'"

"Go, Daniel" - The malach instructed Daniel to refrain from questioning about the topic of the end any further.

"Until the time of the end" - As the end approaches, chachamim will be able to recognize that the end is drawing near, and interpret events as they unfold.

"They will be selected and cleansed, and many will be purified, and the wicked will commit evil, and the wicked will not understand, but the wise will understand."

At that time, many of the nations will come to recognize the religion of truth, and they will be cleansed and purified to go in the light of Hashem.  However, there will be reshaim that will not return, and will instead fight against Yisrael during the war of Gog and Magog.

According to the Rambam, this refers to the suffering of galus.  Those who maintain their emunah will be purified by their suffering. 

"And from the time that the daily sacrifice was removed and the silent abomination was set up, one thousand two hundred and ninety years."

One thousand, two hundred and ninety years after the daily sacrificed is removed and the silent abomination is set up, the possibility of geulah will begin.  Before this time, geulah is not possible.

"Praised is the one who waits and reaches to one thousand three hundred thirty-five years."

This is forty five additional years than in the previous possuk.  Moshiach will come and then be hidden for forty-five years.  The Ramban says that after 1290 years, the Moshiach from Shevet Ephrayim will appear to gather the Jews from around the world and to battle with Gog, king of Magog.  Moshiach ben Dovid will come afterwards and bring in the final geulah.   

 "And you, go to the end, and you will rest, and you will stand for your lot at the end of days."

"Go to the end" - Daniel will die before these events occur. 

"And you will rest" - In Olam Haba. 

Wed, 19 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 26 Perek 12 - Techias HaMeisim

"And at that time, Michoel will stand, the great prince willstand for the children of your people. There will be a time of trouble that has never been from the time there was a nation until this time.  At that time, your people will escape. Everything that is found written in the book will occur."

The time will come when nature and the heavenly system will ascribe complete destruction for Bnei Yisrael.  Michoel, who is one of the highest princes in Shamayim and is above the sarim who lead the heavenly system, will then stand up to defend Bnei Yisrael.

"And many of those sleeping in the earth of dust will awaken; these for everlasting life, these for disgrace, for everlasting detestation."

Michoel elucidated several points on techiyas hameisim. 1)He explained that the dead will arise in body and soul like they were in life, and therefore will be called by their previous names. 2) Only part of humankind will arise during techiyas hameisim. 3) Tzaddikim will arise, as well as reshaim. (This view differs from most other mefarshim who maintain that reshaim will not arise at all. 4)The tzaddikim and reshaim will receive payment for their deeds during this time.

 "And youDaniel, keep the matter vague and seal the book until the time of the end, manywill ponder, and knowledge will increase."

It had been revealed to Daniel that the end of time was veryfar away, but this knowledge was for him alone, and he was not to reveal it toothers.  "Keep the matter vague"was also an instruction to Daniel to record the details of the end in an ambiguous way, so it cannot be easily elucidated.

 "Knowledgewill increase" - The Rambam says that this refers to the many ideas andspeculations about the end of days, which will be proposed throughout thegenerations.

"And I, Daniel, saw, and behold, two others are standing,one on this side of the riverbank, and one on the other side of the riverbank.  And he said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ‘Until when is the wondrous end?'"

Daniel saw the heavenly representatives who rule over the entire duration of that time. Their rule is limited until the time of the end, but it was not known tothem when their rule would end.

The Abarbanel says that these two angels are a reference to the two religions, Christianity and Islam, who are speaking to Gavriel, who represents Bnei Yisrael.

"And I heard the man dressed in linen who was above the waters of the river, and he raised his right hand and his left hand to the Shamayim,and he swore by the One who lives forever, that in a time period, time periods,and a half, and at the end of the dispersion of the hand and of the holy nation, all these will be finished."

The geulah will arrive in one of two ways, depending on the merits of Bnei Yisrael. The malach swore that the guelah would not be delayed past its last designated date, but he was not able to swear that the geulah would not bebefore this since Bnei Yisrael may merit it.  When the geulah arrives, all the troubles mentioned abovewill end.  According to the Abarbanel, the Islamic nation itself will then come to an end. This will happens when the "hand" is dispersed - the power of the Jewish nation is weakened, and the holy nation is dispersed- Bnei Yisrael is physically spreadout all over the world.          

Mon, 17 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 25 Perek 11 cont'd: Gog U'Magog And at the time of the End, the king of the south will spar with him, and the king of the north will storm on him with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships, and he will enter countries, and will flood and pass through."

 Gavriel now prophesizes what will be at the end of days. This is referring to the war of Gog and Magog.  The king of the north will come to conquer Yerushalayim, passing through Arab countries with his armies, and the king of the south will fight him.

The Malbim notes that this nevuah is similar to the nevuah in Yechezkal about the end of days.

It is unclear and subject to many interpretations which countries are represented by the "north" and the "south."  In fact, all prophecies and details of the end of days are obscure and difficult to interpret, and will only be elucidated with the coming of Moshiach.    

"And he will enter Eretz Yisrael, and many will stumble.  And these will be saved from his hand - Edom, Moav, and the first of Bnei Amon."

 "Many will stumble" - Many countries of the East will stumble, and be too weak to stand before him; only Edom and Moav will escape from his hand.  The Ibn Ezra says that the possuk is not referring to the original nations of Edom, Moav, and Amon, but to the people who now live in those lands. 

"And he will send forth his hand into lands, and the land of Egypt will not survive.

And he will control the gold reserves, and the silver, and all of the desirable commodities of Egypt, and the Lubim and Kushim in his footsteps."

"And he will send forth his hand" - to steal and loot.

"The Lubim and Kushim" - The king of the north will conquer Egypt as well as other nearby countries.  The Malbim again notes the similarity of this nevuah to that of Yechezkel, where the destruction of Egypt during this time period is also foretold.

"And news will frighten him from the east and the north, and he will go out in great rage to destroy and eradicate many."

 "And news will frighten him" - Nearby countries will be aroused to wage war on behalf of their neighbor.

 "And he will pitch his palace tents between the seas and the holy mountain (Eretz Yisrael), and he will come to his end, and no one will help him."

This is referring to the war of Gog and Magog.

Wed, 12 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 24 Perek 11 cont'd: Titus, Bar Kochba and the Coming of Christianity "And those stronger than him will stand up, and he will profane the fortified Mikdash, and the tamid will be removed, and he will set up the silent abomination."
"And those stronger than him"-
This is referring to Titus, the Roman general, who was stronger than Antiochus.

"And he will profane the fortified Mikdash" - In the days of Antiochus, the Beis Hamikdash was not yet "fortified."  When Herod rebuilt the Beis Hamikdash, he built it resembling a fortress.

"And he will set up the silent abomination."  -This happened later in the time of Hadrian, who set up an idol on the site of the Beis Hamikdash.

 "The wise ones of the people will help the masses to understand, and they will stumble by the sword, and by the flame, in captivity and in looting, for years."

"The wise ones" - The chachamim will help Bnei Yisrael to maintain their emunah.

"They will stumble by the sword." - Many of Bnei Yisrael were killed after the churban.

"When they stumble, they will be aided with a little help, and many will join them in smoothness. And those of the wise ones will stumble to purify them, and to clarify and to purify them until the time of the end, because it is not yet the designated time."

"When they stumble." - This is referring to the days of Bar Kochvah, when many people joined him to throw off the yoke of the Romans, including some of the "wise ones" - such as Rabbi Akiva. 

"And to clarify and purify them until the time of the end."  - Throughout history, the chachamim and leaders of Bnei Yisrael have been killed, thereby atoning for the sins of Yisrael, and this will continue until the "end."  However, "they will be aided with a little help" - Bnei Yisrael will never be destroyed completely. 

"The king will do as he wants, and he will exalt and raise himself higher than any god, and about the G-d of G-ds, he will speak wonders.  He will succeed until the rage is completed, for that which was determined was done."

The malach is now discussing a different point in history, when the Roman emperor, Constantine I, arose.  Constantine abolished avodah zara, and introduced Christianity to his kingdom, spreading the faith of G-d and the tenets of Christianity.  Christianity will flourish until Hashem's wrath ceases from His people at the time of Moshiach. 

"He will build strong fortresses with the strange god.  Whoever will recognize it, he will increase honor, and he will have rule over the masses, and he will divide land at a price."

This is referring to the building of churches and it power over the masses, including the taxes it levied.

Sun, 09 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 23 Perek 11 cont'd: Family Politics, Treachery and Deceit "A despicable one will stand in his place, and they will not bestow him the glory of kingship, and he will come in peace, and he will maintain kingship through smoothness."

"A despicable one" -This is Antiochus the Rasha, who was contemptible in his middos and deeds.

"They will not bestow him the glory of kingship" -Seleucus IV left a son when he died, who was actually the true heir of the throne.

"He will maintain kingship through smoothness."- He gained supporters through flattery and smooth talk.

"The arms of the stream will stream before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant."

 "The arms of the stream will stream before him and be broken" - This refers to the soldiers of the opposing nations he was battling with.

"And also the prince of the covenant" - This is referring to the king of Egypt, Ptolemy VI, the son of Cleopatra, sister of Antiochus, with whom he had a peace treaty.

 "He will use trickery through his alliance with him, and he will rise up and become strong with a small nation."

Antiochus went to Egypt to visit his sister Cleopatra, and utilized his family ties and his alliance with Egypt to deceive his way to power, with only a small group of supporters.

"In peace, and in the wealthiest parts of the country he will come, and he will do what his fathers and forefather did not do.  He will spread loot and possessions, and he will contemplate his thoughts on their fortresses, until the time."

 "He will contemplate his thoughts on their fortresses" - He schemed how to conquer Egypt's fortresses.

"Until the time" -Antiochus returned home and returned to Egypt three different times.

"He will awaken his strength and his heart against the king of the south with a large army, and the king of the south will be provoked to war with an extremely massive and strong army, and he will not stand, because he will contemplate strategies against him."

Antiochus returned to Egypt with a massive army, provoking Ptolemy VI to wage war against him.  However, Antiochus bribed the Egyptian generals, who betrayed Ptolemy.     

"And those who eat his food will break him, and he will flood away his army, and many corpses will fall."

"And those who eat his food" -The Egyptian citizens themselves betrayed their country and caused its defeat. 

"And the two kings, their hearts are for evil.  At one table they will speak deceit, and it will not succeed, for is there still an end to the designated time."

"And the two kings" -Antiochus then drew close to Ptolemy VI, who was the heir to the throne.  However, the Egyptians accepted the younger brother, Ptolemy VII, as their king instead. 

"At one table they will speak deceit"-Antiochus feigned close family ties with Ptolemy VI, while having devious intentions of causing a civil war between the two brothers so he could gain control.  Ptolemy VI superficially cooperated with Antiochus, but he was well aware of his true intentions.

"And it will not succeed" - As soon as Antiochus returned home, the two brothers made peace with each other and joined forces against Antiochus.

"And he will return to his land with great wealth and his heart against the holy covenant, and he will accomplish and return to his land."

Antiochus returned home, and a rumor spread in Yerushalayim that he had died.  A previous Kohen Gadol, who had bribed Antiochus for his position, and was later ousted by Antiochus in favor of someone else who had given him a larger bribe, decided the time was right to settle matters.  He came to Yerushalayim to drive away the second Cohen Gadol.  Antiochus, who was alive and well, came to quell the rebellion and killed many of Bnei Yisrael.   

"At the designated time he will return and come to the south, and it will not be like the first or the last."

Antiochus heard that Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VII had made peace with each other and decided it was time to drop all pretenses of friendship.  He traveled a third time to Egypt with an army to conquer the land.  The Egyptians then sent messengers to the Senate in Rome for aid.  The Romans sent a messenger to Antiochus threatening to wage war against him unless he returned home.

"And the ships of the Kitim will come against him, and he will be humiliated, and he will return, and rage against the holy covenant, and he will accomplish.  He will return and contemplate those who abandon the holy covenant."

The Romans came in ships and Antiochus was forced to return home in defeat.  He returned through Eretz Yisrael, and took out his anger on Bnei Yisrael, killing many Jews who opposed him.  Those "who abandon the holy covenant" -the Jews who supported Antiochus and his goals, were treated well by him.

(The vision does not include the story of Chanukah, since Gavriel is accounting the travails that Bnei Yisrael will suffer, and the respite during the story of Chanukah was for a relatively short time.)

Wed, 05 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 22 Perek 11 cont'd: Antiochus, Ptolemy and Cleopatra "Also their gods with their rulers, with their precious vessels of silver and gold, in captivity will bring to Mitzrayim, and he will withstand for years from the king of the North."

Ptolemy III returned to Mitzrayim with his booty and military successes.  However, the war was not yet over.  The next northern king, Seleucus II, reconquered some of his territory, and war began anew, but Ptolemy III remained the stronger one for at least two years.

"And he will come to the kingdom of the king of the south, and he will return to his land."

Seleucus II had succeeded in reconquering some of his land.  He then ventured out with a huge fleet to conquer the islands of the south, but stormy conditions destroyed his ships, and he returned to his land in shame. 

"His sons will rouse themselves, and will gather many armies.  He will come, and storm, and pass through.  And he will return and provoke until his stronghold."

 "His sons will rouse themselves"-    The children of Seleucus, continued to provoke wars, in which one of them was killed.

"He will come"- The remaining son, Antiochus III, who had become the next king, attacked the south, headed by Ptolemy IV.  Ptolemy realized that he would not be able to defeat Antiochus' armies, and instead, he signed a peace treaty with him.  During the next four months, Ptolemy built up his army, and then violated the peace treaty and attacked Antiochus.

"And he will return" - Antiochus twice returned to war, and managed to reach the stronghold of the border of Mitzrayim (Rafiah).

 "The king of the south will become bitter, will go out and battle with him, with the king of the north; he will raise a large amount (of troops), and they will be given into his hand."

Ptolemy IV normally liked nothing more than indulging in pleasure, but when he saw that the king of the north had entered his border, his bitterness was aroused, and he went out to battle him, and overcame him. 

"The huge amount (of troops) will feel uplifted, and its heart will be proud.  And they cut down tens of thousands, but they will not overcome."

The Egyptians were proud of their victory over the North; they had inflicted heavy losses.  However, they mistakenly thought it was a complete victory, and neglected to chase after them and decimate them completely, partly due to Ptolemy's love of leisure.  Ptolemy later paid for his laziness when Antiochus III attacked Egypt once again.

"The king of the north will return and establish more (troops) that at first, and at the end of times, years, he will come with a great army and with great wealth."

Many years after Antiochus was initially defeated by Ptolemy IV, he again attacked Egypt and Syria.  Ptolemy IV had died meanwhile, and the kingdom was ruled (in name only) by his son, Ptolemy V, who was still very young.

"In those times, many will stand up against the king of the south; and the unruly sons of your people will raise themselves to establish a vision and will stumble."

"In those times, many will stand against the king of the south."-Other kings, including the king of Macedonia joined in the battle against Egypt. 

"And the unruly sons of your people..."  The Jews hated the Ptolemy dynasty because of their oppression.  Some of the Jews them feigned nevuah, and claimed that the king of the north will be the victor in the war with Ptolemy.  They supported Antiochus, and were eventually killed as collaborators by the Egyptian government.

"The one that will come to him will do as he wants, and no one will stand against him, and he will stand in the land of tzvi (Eretz Yisrael), and all of it in his hand."

This is still referring to Antiochus, who conquered all of Syria, and also Eretz Yisrael.

"He will set his face to take over the strength of his entire kingdom,, and he will make an agreement with him, and he will give the daughter of the women to destroy, and it will stand, and she will not be his."

Antiochus was now ready to conquer the "strength of the kingdom of the south" - Egypt.  Meanwhile, the Romans were growing wary of Antiochus, and offered aid to the Egyptians.  Antiochus devised a plan to take over the malchus in a different way.  He made a peace agreement with Egypt and gave his daughter, Cleopatra, as a wife to Ptolemy V.  He had high hopes that Cleopatra would eventually turn against her husband and help her father to take over Egypt.  However, his conniving plans failed since Cleopatra was faithful to her husband. 

 "And he will turn his face to the island, and will conquer many, and an officer will put an end to his impudence; his impudence will be returned to him."

Antiochus now began conquering islands, some of which belonged to the Romans.  He also entered the islands of Greece on the advice of his ally, Hannibal, provoking a war with the Romans. 

The Romans then sent an officer to stop Antiochus, and the Romans defeated Antiochus, and retook the countries he had conquered and imposed a large tax on him.

"And he will turn his face to the fortresses of his land, and he will stumble and fall, and will not be found."

Antiochus returned home to collect the tax which he was being forced to pay the Romans.  He heard that that a great treasure could be found in a certain temple, and he stole it.  The people were furious and killed him secretly, and no one knew where he was. 

"One will stand in his place, and the glory of his kingdom will be the passing of the tax collector.  In time, he will be broken, but not by anger, and not by war."

The son of Antiochus III, Seleucus IV, took over the kingdom.  His malchus lasted only for twelve years, in which no events of note, such as rebellion or wars, took place.  However, he was forced to pay heavy taxes to Rome every year, and his government was constantly occupied with collecting money from the populace for the tax.  He was eventually poisoned by a member of his government. 

Sun, 02 Mar 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 21 Perek 11: Alexander The Great and His Kingdom "And I, in the first year of Daryavesh, I stood up as a source of strength and power for him. And now I will tell you the truth. Behold! Another three kings will reign over Paras, and the fourth will become wealthy with greater wealth from all, and when he becomes strong with his wealth, he will incite all against the kingdom of Greece."

Gavriel continues to speak. Daryavesh had promised to grant Bnei Yisrael permission to rebuild the Beis Hamikdash, and Gavriel "strengthened" him by prompting him to actualize his promise through his son-in-law, Coresh.

"Another three kings" - The three kings are Coresh, Achashveirosh, and Daryavesh (of Paras). The mefarshim differ on the identity of the fourth king.

"And a powerful king will arise, and will rule with great dominion, and will do as he wants. After he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken, and be divided into four directions-but not to his posterity, and not as he ruled, for his kingdom will be uprooted, and for others beside him"

This is referring to Alexander Hamakdoni, whose quick path to great power seemed to know no bounds, but who died at the prime of his life. His malchus was not left to his children, and those who ruled after him did not retain his incredible powers.

"And the king of the south will become stronger. And one of his nobles will become more powerful than him and rule, and his rule will be greater than his rule."

Only two out of the four kings who ruled after Alexander became powerful. One of them was the king of the south, Ptolemy I, who was the king of Egypt, which is south of Eretz Yisrael. The second one was the king of the north, of Ashur and Bavel (Syria), Seleucus I, of the Antiochus clan, from who stemmed Antiochus Harasha

"And one of his nobles will become more powerful than him and rule" - Seleucus was originally one of Ptolemy's nobles, but he eventually switched sides and opposed the south.

"And at the end of years, they will unite, and the daughter of the king of the south will come to the king of the north to do justice, but she will not hold back the strength of the arm, and he, and his arm will not endure. She will be given, and those who brought her, her governess, and he who supports her in the times."

The kings of the north and south battled each for other many years. Eventually, Antiochus II, the grandson of Seleucus I, made a peace agreement with Ptolemy II. Ptolemy convinced Antiochus to divorce his wife, Laodice, with whom he had a son, and instead marry Ptolemy's daughter, Berenice. The son that would be born to them would be the heir to the united kingdom.

However, events did not work out as planned. Berenice gave birth a son, but her father, Ptolemy, died shortly afterwards. Ptolemy then returned to his first wife, Laodice. Laodice feared that Antiochus would adhere to his agreement with Ptolemy that his daughter's son would inherit the kingship. She poisoned her husband, and had Berenice, her son, and all her attendants from Mitzrayim murdered. Laodice's son, Seleucus II, was then free to inherit the kingship.

"A branch from her roots will arise on her foundation, and will come to the army, and will enter the fortress of the king of the north, and conquer them and hold them."

"A branch from her roots will arise on her foundation" - Berenice's brother, Ptolemy III, succeeded his father as the king of Egypt.

"Will come to the army..." - When Berenice realized that Laodice was plotting to kill her, she fled, with her enemies close on her heels. Her brother, Ptolemy, came with his army to aid her, but was too late to save her life. Her supporters joined Ptolemy and attacked the North in revenge and conquered parts of the Northern kingdom, including Eretz Yisrael. Ptolemy also had Laodice and her son Seleucus II killed.

Wed, 27 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 20 Perek 10: Only Daniel Sees and Not Chaggai, Zecharya and Malachi Daniel now received another vision, while he was standing by the Chidakel river.  "In those days, I, Daniel was mourning three weeks of days.  I did not eat desirable bread, and meat and wine did not enter my mouth, and I refrained from anointing myself until the end of three weeks of days."

 "In those days" -The Abarbanel says that he was mourning for three weeks corresponding to the three kingdoms which would rule over Yisrael.

"I did not eat desirable bread" - Even when he broke his fast at night, he would refrain from eating fine break or drinking wine.

"I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, one man dressed in linen, and his loins are girded with fine gold, and his body is like Tarshish, and his face like lightening, and his eyes like torches of fire, and his arms and legs like the surface of polished copper, and the sound of his words like the sound of many."

"One man dressed in linen" - This was Gavriel "dressed" in white linen garments which signified his purity.

"Tarshish"- the name of a precious stone.

"I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, and the people that were with me did not see the vision, but a great fear fell on them, and they fled to hide themselves."

"The people that were with me"  - Chazal tell us that the neviim, Chagai, Zecharya, and Malachi were with Daniel, and they sensed the presence of a malach and were gripped with fear, but they were unable to see him. They were not on the level of Daniel who could see a malach face to face

Daniel remained alone to see the vision.  As he received the vision, his physical and intellectual strength was drained from his body.  He became so frightened from the vision that he fell down on the ground and lay down as if he was sleeping.  The hand of the malach then touched him and moved him on his knees, and Daniel stood up, still trembling. 

"He said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, because from the first day that you tried to understand and to fast before your G-d, your words were heard, and I came because of your words.  The prince of the kingdom of Paras stood against me for twenty-one days, and behold, Michoel, one of the most significant sarim, came to my aid, and I remained there next to the king of Paras. 

"The prince of the kingdom of Paras" - The heavenly representative of Paras was prosecuting against the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdah.

"I have to come to help you understand what will happen to your people at the end of days, for there is still a vision for those days."

Gavriel informed Daniel that he was able to win over the representative of Paras, and Paras will treat Bnei Yisrael with kindness.  However, he has not succeeded in winning over the representative of the future kingdoms who will rule over Yisrael, and who will mistreat them. 

As the malach spoke, Daniel became so frightened that he sunk to the ground again with his face on the ground.  The malach again strengthened him, and encouraged him to continue to listen to the nevuah.

"And he said, ‘Do you know why I came to you?  And now I will return to fight with the prince of Peras and I will go, and behold the prince of Yavan is coming."

"I will go" -I must leave when the time comes for the representative of Yavan to exert his influence, and I will not be able to affect him.  The Yevanim will not treat the Jews as kindly as the Persians.

Sun, 24 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 19 Perek 9: The Second Bais HaMikdash

"In the first year of Daryavesh, the son of Achashverosh, from the seed of Madai, who ruled over the kingdom of the Chasdim." 

"The seed of Madai"-  This was to differentiate him from the second Daryavash who was also the son of Achashverosh (and Esther), who was Daryavash the Persian.

"In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, pondered the calculation, the number of years about which the word of Hashem had come to the prophet Yirmayahu, to fulfill the seventy years from the ruins of Jerusalem."

It was seventy years since Nevuchadnetzer had subdued Yehoyakaim, and the kingdom of Bavel had ended, as had been promised in nevuah to Yirmayahu.  Daniel mistakenly thought that the nevuah which promised the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash would be fulfilled at the end of this seventy year period as well.  He perused all the books of nevuah to Yirmayahu and discovered that there were two versions of when the geulah would take place.  The first was seventy years after the subjugation of Yehoyakim, and the second was seventy years after the destruction of Yerushalayim, which was eighteen years after Yehoyakim's subjugation.  Daniel reasoned that the first date for geulah was dependent on the merits of Bnei Yisrael, and the second was set, and would happen regardless of Bnei Yisrael's merits.  Therefore, he began davening, fasting, repenting, and pleading with Hashem to hasten the geulah.

"And I turned my face to Hashem to request tefillah and pleading with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes."

"And I was still speaking in tefillah, and the man Gavriel, whom I saw in the first vision, was flying towards me at the time of the afternoon offering. "He caused me to understand and he spoke with me, And he said, ‘I have gone out now to sharpen your wisdom.'"

Gavriel corrected Daniel's erroneous conclusion that the geulah was possible seventy years after the subjugation of Yehoyakim. Daniel now understood that the geulah would only take place seventy years after the destruction of Yerushalayim.

"Seventy weeks have been decreed upon your people, and on your holy city to wipe out sin, to eradicate transgression, to bring everlasting righteousness, and to seal vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies." 

"Seventy weeks" - Gavriel informed Daniel that the decree that was passed on Bnei Yisrael that they would be in galus for seventy years was a punishment for the desecration of seventy shemittos.    During that time, they also committed other aveiros, but they were punished for these aveiros in other ways, such as their subjugation to foreign powers.  The galus, however, was a specific punishment for desecrating the shemittos. 

"You should know and understand -from the coming out of the word to return and build Yerushalayim until the anointing of the prince will be seven weeks. For sixty two weeks it will be rebuilt, street and moat, in difficult times."

"Seven weeks" - This refers to seven weeks of years, or forty nine years.  Forty-nine years after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, Coresh granted permission for the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash.  (He later withdrew his permission.)

"Sixty -two weeks"- The second Beis Hamikdash stood for 420 years which is 62 weeks of years. 

"In difficult times" -The years of the second Beis Hamikdash were difficult times for Bnei Yisrael since they were subject to foreign rule under the Persians, the Greeks, and then the Romans.

"And after the sixty-two weeks, the anointed one will be cut off and will be no more, and the people of the prince who comes will destroy the city and the kodesh, and its end will be in a flood, and until the end of the war, desolation is decreed.

"The anointed one will be cut off and will be no more." -The reign of Jewish kings will come to an end as the Churban approaches.  The last king, Agrippa, was killed in Rome, and the last Kohen Gadol was killed as well.

"And the people of the prince who comes will destroy the city and the kodesh"-

"And the people of the prince" - The Roman themselves destroyed Yerushalayim;  Titus, the "prince" only wanted to rule over Yerushalayim.

"Until the end of the war" - Until the time of the war of Gog and Magog arrives. 

"He will reinforce a covenant for the great ones for one week, and for half of the week he will cancel the sacrifice and offering.  In a high place, the mute abominations will  be, until annihilation as decreed will pour down upon the abomination."

"He will reinforce a covenant" - For one week only, Titus sought a covenant of peace with the "great ones" - the leaders of Bnei Yisrael. 

"For half a week, he will cancel the sacrifice and offering"

"In a high place" - Adionus set up his statue in the site of the Beis Hamikdash.

Wed, 20 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 18 Perek 8 con't: The Unclear Vision of The End of The Days "I heard a holy one speaking.  And the holy one said to the anonymous one who was speaking, "Until when, the vision of the tamid, and silent abomination, allowing the trampling of the holy and the host?"  "And he said to me, "Until the evening, morning two thousand and three hundred, and the holy will be justified."

Daniel had seen the he-goat and the horn falling in a vision, unlike the "officer of the army" and tamid, which instead he heard from the malachim.  The "holy one speaking" was Gavriel who addressed the "anonymous" malach, who was Michoel. 

Gavriel asked Michoel, "How long will the Beis Hamikdash be destroyed and the tamid abolished?"  Michoel answered that the time from the churban (evening) until the geulah (morning) will last for two thousand and three hundred years.  The Beis Hamikdash and Bnei Yisrael will then be restored, and all the nations will recognize Yisrael's righteousness. 

"When I, Daniel, saw the vision, and I tried to understand it, and behold, the appearance of a man stood before me.  And I heard the voice of a man from the middle of Ulai; he said, ‘Gavriel, clarify the vision to this one.'"

Daniel had understood the vision he heard from the malachim, but he did not understand the visions he saw of the ram and the he-goat.  He asked for understanding and he saw the form of a man which was Gavriel.  The voice of Michoel called out to Gavriel, commanding him to explain the vision to Daniel.

"And he came to where I was standing, and when he came, I was petrified and I fell on my face.  And he said to me, ‘Understand, ben adam, that the vision is about the end of time.'"

Gavriel informed Daniel that the vision concerned a far off time, the end of days.  The further in time a vision occurs, the more hidden it is to the eyes of those who see it, and requires extra insight.  He then explained the meaning of the vision and the symbolism of the ram and the he-goat, which represented Madai and Paras, and Yavan.

Gavriel also explained the vision which Daniel heard, which concerned the Roman rule, the power of the Roman church, the Romans' persecution of Bnei Yisrael, and the destruction of the Beis Hamikdah,

"And you should obscure the vision for it for a long time.

And I, Daniel, was broken and sick for days, then I got up and I did the work of the king.  I was bewildered by the vision, but no one understood."

The great fear which gripped Daniel during the vision caused him to fall ill.  While he was still ill, Daniel was summoned by Belshatzar to solve the mystery of the handwriting on the wall. Daniel was astounded how quickly the vision was being fulfilled.

Sun, 17 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 17 Perek 8 con't: Daniel Sees Victory on Chanukah "And the he-goat grew tremendously, and when it was at its strongest, the great horn was broken, and an appearance of four arose instead to the four directions of the sky."

"And the he-goat grew tremendously" -The kingdom of Yavan expanded its rule over the entire world.

"When it was at its strongest" - Alexander died at a young age while still at the height of his power.

"From one of them emerged one small horn, and it grew greatly towards the south and towards the east, and towards the deer."

"One small horn" -This is Antiochus the rasha. 

"It grew greatly towards the south" - Antiochus fought with the king of Mitzrayim, and seized his land.

"East" - This is Paras.

"The deer" - This is Eretz Yisrael."

"And it grew until the host of Heaven, and it threw to the ground from the host and from the stars, and it trampled them.  And it grew until the officer of the army, and through it, the daily sacrifice was lifted, and the foundation of His mikdash was thrown down."

 "And it grew until the host of Heaven" -This is referring to Bnei Yisrael, since they are the host of Shamayim. Antiochus tried to cause Bnei Yisrael to transgress the Torah, unlike any of the previous kings before him.

 "And it threw some of the host to the earth"  Antiochus tried to throw Bnei Yisrael from the shamayim to the eretz; his goal was that Klal Yisroel would no longer be a holy nation, but would be like all the other nations which serve avodah zara

"And from the stars and trampled them."  This refers to the kohanim and the tzaddikim whom the Yevanim killed.

"It grew until the officer of the army, and through it the daily sacrifice will be raised " - All this will continue until the "officer of the army" will arise, which is Matisyahu Hokehen and his sons, the Macaabim.  They will reinstate the daily sacrifice which had been abolished by Antiochus.

"And the foundation of His mikdash was thrown down"

According to the Malbim, these words begin a new vision.  Daniel heard in a vision that after the tamid will be reinstated, and the mikdash will be restored at the time of the Chashmanoim, the tamid will again be abolished, and the Beis Hamikdash thrown down by the Romans at the time of the Churban.  According to Rashi, the entire possuk is referring to the Roman era.

"And the host will be given with the tamid because of sin, and truth will be thrown to the ground, and it will take action and succeed."

"And the host will be given with the tamid because of sin" - Daniel heard in the vision that  the host (of Heaven)  which is Yisrael, will be given in the hands of the enemy along with the tamid due to their sins at the time of the second Beis Hamikdash.

"And truth will be thrown to the ground" - The Romans will throw the truth, which is the Torah, to the ground through their evil decrees designed to abolish Bnei Yisrael's religious observance. 

Wed, 13 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 16 Perek 8: The "Kosher" Kingdoms "In the third year of the reign of King Belshatzar, a vision appeared to me, I, Daniel, after what had appeared to me at the beginning.

"A vision appeared to me" - "The Malbim says that according to the Abarbanel, this vision was a completion of the first vision which Daniel had seen.  After the first vision, Daniel understood which kingdoms the first and fourth beasts represented (Bavel and Rome) and what the lot of Bnei Yisrael would be under these kingdoms, and he foresaw the eventual destruction of these two kingdoms.  However, he still was not aware of the identity of the middle two kingdoms, and how Bnei Yisrael would fare under their rule.  Now he saw a more detailed vision of the middle two beasts, which were now represented as kosher animals, rather than wild beasts.  This was because the purpose of this vision was to convey how Bnei Yisrael was treated under the rule of these two kingdoms, Paras and Madai, and Yavan.  Both of these kingdoms (except for the rule of Antiochus who persecuted Bnei Yisrael) treated Bnei Yisrael well, and therefore were now portrayed as kosher animals.

"I, Daniel" -  Nevuchadnetzer had already seen the four kingdoms in a dream, and Yechezkal saw them in the maaseh hamercava, but the details of this vision were only shown to Daniel.

"I raised my eyes and looked, and behold one ram was standing before the river, and it has horns, and the horns are high, and one is higher than the other, and the higher one is coming up last.  I saw the ram goring to the north, to the south, and all the beasts could not stand before it, and nobody could save it from it, and it did as it wanted, and it grew."

The ram represented the malchus of Madai and Paras; its two horns represented its dual kingdom.  One was higher than the other because Coresh was stronger and a better military strategist than Daryavesh.  The "higher one" arose last because Daryavesh of Madai ruled first for one year only until his death, and then Coresh took over, and from that point on the malchus remained in the hands of Paras.

The ram goring in different directions symbolized Daryavesh, Coresh and the kings who ruled after him who conquered land in all three directions. (The eastern direction was not mentioned since Paras was situated in the east.

"I was studying it, and behold a he-goat came from the west over the whole earth, and it was not touching the earth.  And the he-goat had a prominent horn between its eyes."

"A he-goat" - The he-goat represented Alexander the Great and malchus Yavan, and Yavan is west of Paras.

"And it was not touching the earth"- Alexander conquered countries at an incredible rate, without encountering any defeat.

"It had a prominent horn"- The horn between the eyes represented Alexander's brilliance and knowledge since the eyes represent insight and wisdom.

"It came until the ram with horns which I saw standing before the river, and it ran to him with the ferocity of its strength.  And I saw it reach the ram, and it struggled bitterly with it, and it hit the ram and broke its two horns.  The ram did not have the strength to stand before it.  It threw it to the ground and it trampled it, and there was no one to save the ram from it." 

"It came until the ram with horns" - Alexander approached the capital city.  Daryavesh did not go out to greet him, and instead sent his military officer against him, commanding that Alexander should be brought before him shackled in chains.

"It ran to him" - Alexander overpowered the military officer.

"I saw it reach the ram, and it struggled bitterly with it" - Alexander battled with Daryavesh himself face to face.  Daryavesh tried to make peace, offering him riches, pelagshim, and his daughter's hand in marriage, but Alexander made himself "bitter" and refused to make peace.

"It hit the ram, and trampled it" -Alexander humbled Paras, and Daryavesh met his death as a consequence of the battle.

"There was no one to save the ram from it." -Daryavesh's allies were not able to save him.

Sun, 10 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 15 Perek 7 con't: Oy! The Geula Is So Far Away And, I, Daniel, my spirit was troubled in my body, and the visions in my head confused me.  I approached one of the standing ones, and I questioned him about the truth of all this.  And he spoke to me, interpreting what was occurring.  These huge beasts, which number four - four kingdoms will arise from the earth.  And the high holy ones will receive the kingship, and they will inherit the kingship forever and ever."

"One of the standing ones" -  This refers to the melachim who stand before Hashem.

The malach explained to Daniel that this vision was showing him the ultimate downfall of the four kingdoms.  This explained why Daniel was shown the first beast, which represented Bavel, whose rule was already over.  Following the demise of all four kingdoms, the "high holy ones", which refer to Yisrael, will inherit the kingship, and their rule will last forever.

Daniel then questioned the malach about the fourth beast described previously, which was different and more frightening than the other beasts, and the horn which emerged from it

"I watched, and this horn fought with the holy ones and was winning over them until the Ancient of Days came, and took revenge for the high holy ones.  And the time came, and the holy ones inherited the kingship."

"And was winning over them." - This was referring to the era when Bnei Yisrael was subject to religious persecution, either through forced debates or harsh decrees, which compelled them to violate the Torah.

The malach then explained that the fourth beast was representative of a kingdom which will rule the entire world.  It will different because it will not serve avodah zara like the previous kingdoms.  The Malbim says that this refers to Mohammed who changed the religion, and canceled the holidays.  This kingdom will be completely destroyed.

"And the kingship, and authority, and the glory of all kingdoms underneath the sun will be given to the high holy ones.  Its kingdom will last forever, and all authorities will serve and obey it.  Until here is the end"

"Until here is the end" is not part of the possuk, but were the words of the malach as well.  "Until here is the end" meant that the end of all matters will be when the kingdom of Shamayim, the everlasting kingdom will rule.  This ultimate end is the purpose of all Hashem's actions in His world.  The four kingdoms and the exiles Bnei Yisrael will endure are the means to the lofty purpose of the kingdom of Shamayim, which is the end of all deeds.

I, Daniel, my thoughts frightened me, and my appearance changed, but I guarded the matter in my heart."

This vision frightened Daniel since it anticipated the end of days which would occur in a distant era.  He refrained from revealing this vision to anyone, since he knew that Bnei Yisrael still had to suffer through a long and dark exile, and he did not want to stifle the hopes of those eagerly awaiting the geulah.

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 14 Perek 7 con't: The End of The Galus and The Coming of Moshiach "I saw the vision until the time came that the thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days sat, His clothes as white as snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool;

His throne burning flames, its wheels burning fire." Chazal explain that these thrones are the kingdoms of ovdei avodah zara which Hashem is destined to overturn. 

"And the Ancient of Days sat" - This refers to Hakadosh Boruch Hu, who is not confined by time.  The reference to Hashem sitting connotes judging; Hashem "sat" on His throne to judge the world.

"His clothes as white as snow, and the hair of His head like clean wool." The reference to white clothes represents Hashem's middos which He will "don" at the time of judgment, the middos of tzeddaka and rachamim.  The reference to hair refers to the revealing of Hashem's hidden thoughts, which are comprised of tzeddaka and yeshua.

 "His throne burning flames, its wheels burning fire." - A fire burning with anger to destroy the reshaim.

 "A river of fire streaming from before Him, a thousand thousands serving him and countless multitudes standing before Him -the judgment was set, and the books were opened." The entire Heavenly court had gathered to judge the inhabitants of the world

 "I was watching.  From the voice of the arrogant words which the horn spoke, I watched till the beast was killed and its body destroyed, and left to the burning of the fire." The fourth kingdom was brought to judgment not only on its evil deeds, but mainly because of its evil rhetoric.  The Malbim says that is referring to Islam, which denies emunah and the truth of Hashem.  Their koach will be removed and they will be doomed to Gehinnom.

"And the rule of the remaining beasts was taken away, but their lives will be lengthened until a season and a time." The cruel authority of the remaining kingdoms will be removed, but they will remain alive to rule without cruelty until the end of days.  Rashi says that a season and a time refer to the time of the war of Gog and Magog.

"I saw visions of the night; with the clouds of Heaven a form of a man came, and he approached the Ancient of Days, and they brought him before Him.

"I saw visions of the night."  -Daniel now saw a new vision, also during the night.  These events will take place amidst the darkness of exile, at the time that the dawn will light and shine forth between the dark clouds.

"With the clouds of heaven, a form of a man came."    During the first visions, Daniel saw beasts arising from the stormy sea, which represented the kingdoms which ruled with physical power.  In this vision, he saw the form of a man, who is the chosen of Hashem.  This represents the new kingdom which will endure due to the power of Torah and mitzvohs.  Rashi says that this form of man refers to Moshiach.

 "He gave him authority, glory, and kingship, and all the peoples, nations, and languages will serve him, his rule will last forever, and his kingship will not be destroyed."     Hashem will restore everything that was lost during the galus.  Klal Yisrael lost all of their power, and was constantly fearful, and Hashem will now give them power and authority.  They were lowly and despised, and Hashem will now give them glory.  They lacked kings and officers, and Hashem will now give them kingship in Eretz Yisrael.

"His kingship will not be destroyed."  Malchus is only given to those to those who deserve it, and is taken away if they sin.  However, this new malchus will never be destroyed since all sin will be removed from the world.

Sun, 03 Feb 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 13 Perek 7 con't: Rome, The Church, and Islam "After this I saw visions of the night, and a fourth beast which was frightening, awesome, and extremely powerful, with huge teeth of iron; it was eating and crushing, and trampling the rest with its feet; it was dissimilar to all the beasts before it, and it had ten horns.  I was examining the horns, and another small horn emerged within it, and three of the first horns were uprooted before it, and eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth uttering arrogant words."

"After this I saw visions of the night."  In this vision, Daniel saw a long night, and an extremely dark exile. Rashi says that Daniel saw this fourth beast in a separate vision the night after he had seen the vision of the three beasts.  This represented the fact that the fourth exile will be equivalent to the three exiles preceding it. 

 "And a fourth beast" - This is Rome.

"Which was frightening, awesome, and extremely powerful."     The success of Rome and it rule was dependent on three things. 1) They were extremely cruel, and the nations' fear of their ruthlessness prevented them from rebelling against them.  2) They ran their affairs with great wisdom and thoroughness. 3) They were extremely powerful.  

 "With huge teeth of iron, it was eating and crushing."    Teeth grinds one's food, which allows the food to be digested and absorbed by the body.  This process is comparable to Rome's custom of turning about the nations they conquered and "absorbing" them into the kingdom of Rome.   

"And trampling the rest with its feet."  When Rome conquered distant kingdoms which could not be absorbed into their kingdom, they decimated them instead.

"It was dissimilar to all the beasts before it."  Rome was dissimilar in every way to the kingdoms which preceded it - in their behavior, their strength, and the length of their rule.  The magnitude of Rome's rule was incomparable to any nation in history.  This is why the beast which represented Rome was not given a name; it could not be compared to any existing beast.

 "And it had ten horns" At the end of days, the kingdom of Rome, which will initially be one large kingdom, will be divided into ten kingdoms which will rule over the four corners of the earth.  Other countries will exist, but these ten countries will be the most dominant powers.

 "I was examining the horns, and another small horn emerged within it."  The Malbim quotes the Abarbanel which says that this "small horn" represents the rule of the church, which began in Rome.  Initially, the church did not have significant power, but eventually the hold of the church developed, until the popes were stronger than the political leaders of Rome.  Alternatively, the Malbim says that the small horn represented Islam, which developed a few hundred years later, and was initially weak, but eventually grew into a great power.

"And three of the first horns were uprooted before it."   The three horns are representative of three kingdoms which broke away from the Roman Empire.  Another view is that the three horns represent three kingdoms which Islam eventually conquered.   

 "Eyes like human eyes were in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogant words."  This horn, unlike the others, which had only physical power, through war and physical force, had the power of wisdom and logic, represented by the eyes, and the power of rhetoric and persuasion, represented by the mouth.

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 12 Perek 7: Huge Beasts Rise From The Sea "In the first year of Belshatzar, King of Bavel, Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind while on his bed; he then wrote the main points of the dream."

This perek begins the second part of sefer Daniel.  The first part related the events of Daniel's life, and the second part consists of Daniel's nevuahs.  This first possuk was written by the Anshei Kenesses Gedolah, who wrote Sefer Daniel, but the rest of the perek is Daniel's words and are related in first-person. 

"In my vision at night, I saw the four winds of Heaven grapple with the immense sea.  And four huge beasts emerged from the sea, each one different than the other.  The first was like a lion with the wings of an eagle. I was watching while its wings were plucked, and it was taken from the earth, and it stood on its feet like a man, and it was given the heart of a man."

Since Yirmiyahu had prophesized that the nations would serve Nevuchadnetzer and his son and grandson, Hashem showed Balshatzar, the grandson, that the malchus of Bavel will soon be destroyed.  He also showed the kingdoms which will rule after it until the end of time.

The four kingdoms which ruled after Bavel are described as the four winds of the world.  Each of the four kingdoms was situated at a different point of the earth.  Daniel saw the winds grapple with the sea, since a storm of winds is more recognizable in the sea.  The four beasts represented the four kingdoms as well, which are aroused by their corresponding spiritual forces, represented by the four winds.  The beasts were huge because they represented the four most powerful kingdom; other kingdoms will exist, but will be smaller and less dominant.

The first beast which emerged from the sea was in the form of a lion.  The lion represented the malchus of Bavel because of its great power and dominion.  The wings of the eagle represented Bavel's swift flight to conquer the world.  Daniel observed its wings being plucked because at the time of Balshatzar, malchus Bavel was already weakened.  It no longer conquered lands, or even fought with Madai and Paras who battled at its gates.  The human heart also represented Bavel's current weakness; Bavel was soon to lose all its strength and cease to exist among the beasts.

"And another beast which was similar to a bear stood by the side; it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth, and they said to it, "Get up, and consume much flesh."     

The bear represented Madai and Paras who conquered Bavel.  They were represented by a bear, which is not as strong as a lion, because Paras and Madai was not as strong as Bavel, which ruled over Ashur, Paras and Madai, and all the twenty seven nations.

Rashi says that Madai ad Paras are compared to a bear because they ate and drank without end, like a bear.

The bear "stood by the side" because Paras and Madai did not rule simultaneously.  Daryavah of Madai ruled first, and after he died, Paras took over the malchus.

"And three ribs were in its mouth between the teeth.  And they said to it, "Get up, and consume much flesh."

The malchus of Madai and Paras included three parts, which were Bavel, Ashur and Paras and Madai, which are the three "ribs" of the world.  The ribs are described as being between the bear's teeth since a bear, by nature, does not eat meat.  Madai and Paras, were not a violent people by nature, and they did not eradicate the nations they conquered like Nevuchadnetzer did.  However, when they conquered Bavel, they completely destroyed it, and killed all its inhabitants.  This was contrary to their nature, and they did this only because it was decreed by Hashem.  They were fulfilling Hashem's rule, and had to be told, "Get up, consume much flesh."

Rashi says that the three ribs represent the three Persian kings, Coresh, Achashveirosh, and Daryavash. 

 "I was watching and another one, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back; the beast had four heads, and it was given power."

The leopard represents malchus Yavan.  The leopard is a type of lion which is even more brazen than the lion; Alexander Mukdon was stronger and more brazen than

all other leaders. 

"With four wings of a bird on its back."

Alexander speedily conquered lands in all four corners of civilization.

"The beast had four heads."

This represented the fact that after the death of Alexander, the Greek kingdom was divided into four parts.  However, "it was given power"; Alexander himself ruled over all four parts in his lifetime; his kingdom was divided in four only after his death.

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 11 Perek 6 con't: Daniel Is Thrown To The Lions "And Daniel, even though he was aware that the decree was written, entered his house.  He had windows opened towards Yerushalayim on his upper level, and three times a day, he knelt down on his knees and davened and thanked Hashem, just as he had done until now."

Why did Daniel put himself in danger?  He had no obligation to risk his life for the royal decree since the king's intention was not religious coercion. The Malbim explains that Daniel did not intend to transgress the king's decree.  The king did not require anybody to refrain from fulfilling his religious obligations.  The decree required only one who wished to request a new personal request to request it from the king and no one else.   Daily tefillah did not transgress these requirements since it is not comprised of new requests, but is praise and gratitude to Hashem, and general requests such as life and forgiveness of sin.

The other officers spied on Daniel, and witnessed him praying.  They immediately ran to the king to inform on Daniel, and twisted the truth about the nature of his prayers, saying that he made personal requests, and had thereby transgressed the decree of the king.

The king tried to save Daniel, saying that the decree does not apply to Daniel since he prays every day because of his religion, and his prayers do not include new requests on personal matters.  Rashi says that the king personally favored Daniel, and tried to save him the entire day, until the sun set.  Eventually the men pressured the king by quoting the law of Madai and Paras that any law that is established by the king cannot be changed.

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion's pit.  The king said to Daniel, "Your G-d, Whom you constantly serve, will save you."

A stone was then brought and placed over the opening of the pit, and the king sealed it with his signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles.  By doing this, the king assured that Daniel's enemies would not kill him with stones or verbally harass him, and the nobles made sure that the king would not secretly save Daniel.  This was also to ascertain that no one would say that they fed the lions and satiated them, which would provide an excuse if Daniel was unharmed.

The king then returned to the palace, but he had a troubled night; he could not eat or sleep. 

 "Then the king arose at dawn when the light began to rise and hurried to the pit of lions.  When he approached the pit, he cried out to Daniel in a sad voice.  The king said to Daniel, "Daniel, the servant of the living G-d, was the G-d whom You serve constantly able to save you from the lions?'"

"Then Daniel spoke with the king, ‘My G-d sent His angel which closed the mouth of the lions, and they did not wound me because merit was found for me before Him, and even you I have not harmed.'"

The king was happy and relieved that Daniel was unharmed, and commanded that he be brought up from the pit. 

"And the king commanded and they brought the men who had defamed Daniel, and they threw them into the lion's pit-and their children, and their wives.  Before they reached the bottom of the pit, the lions overcame them and crushed their bones."

 The lions were actually ravenous, which magnified the nes which occurred to Daniel

Following these events, the king issued a decree that his entire kingdom should "fear the G-d of Daniel, Who is the living and everlasting G-d.  His kingdom will not be destroyed, and He will rule for eternity.  He saves and rescues, and performs signs and wonders in Heaven and on earth - Who has rescued Daniel from the lions."

Wed, 23 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 10 Perek 6: Daryavesh Takes Control; Gives Daniel Too Much Power

"And Daryavesh the Mede received the malchus at the age of sixty-two."   Chazal explain that the possuk mentions his age to teach us that on the day that Nevuchadnetzer entered the Beis Hamikdash in the days of Yehoyakim, his enemy was born.  Sixty-two years earlier, Nevuchadnetzer had besieged Yerushalayim in the eighth year of his reign.  Seventy years had now passed, and the malchus of Bavel was taken over by Daryavesh.

In addition the possuk mentions Daryavesh's age to explain the reasoning for his following actions.  The next possuk tells us that Daryavesh appointed one hundred and twenty officers over the 120 provinces in his kingdom, and three higher officers over the rest of the officers, of which Daniel was one of them.  Since Daryavesh was growing old, he needed help in running his huge kingdom.

"Then Daniel was stronger than all the officers, because he had an extra spirit within him, and the king considered appointing him over the entire malchus."  The king noticed Daniel's superior leadership skills which were a result of his great wisdom, and he realized that it would be better to have one man lead over all the officers.

The other officers then began scheming to defame Daniel to the king, but they were unable to find anything suspicious in his professional or personal life.  Therefore, they sought to find fault with him through his religious laws.  They would convince the king to issue a decree which would conflict with Daniel's religious laws.  They knew that Daniel would be faithful to his religion in spite of any decrees, and they would be able to prove to the king that Daniel was not faithful to him. 

The officers approached the king and proposed that a new decree be instituted in the kingdom.

 "Whoever shall request anything for thirty days from any god or man besides the king will be thrown into the lions' pit."   The king agreed to the new decree and signed it into law according to the laws of Madai and Paras.  Once the decree had been written into law, it could not be revoked even by the king.

Sun, 20 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 9 Perek 5 con't: The End Of Belshatzar "The queen, because of the words of the king and his officers entered the party room, and said to the king, "King, live forever, your thoughts should not frighten you, and your appearance should not change.  There is a man in your kingdom in which the spirit of the Holy G-d is within him, and in the days of your father, light, intelligence, and wisdom, like the wisdom of Hashem was found in him..."

There is a difference of opinion whether the queen was the mother of the king, the wife of Nevuchadnetzer, or the mother of his mother.  The queen calmed Belshatzar's fears, and Daniel was brought before the king as she suggested.

Daniel explained to Belshatzar that Nevuchadnetzer was punished because he become proud of his wealth and power, and had rebelled against Hashem.  Eventually, after he was punished, Nevuchadetzer recognized the omnipotence of Hashem, and his heart became humbled. 

"And you, his son Belshatzar did not humble your heart even though you knew all this.  You exalted yourself above Hashem in Heaven, and the vessels of His house were brought before you...

Daniel chastised Belshatzar that as Nevuchadnetzer's grandson, he was surely aware of Nevuchadnetzer's punishment, and he should have drawn a lesson from it.  However, not only did Belshatzar not humble his heart, he exalted himself over Heaven as if he had won over Hashem.  He defiled the vessels of the Bais Hamikdash, and praised gods of gold and silver.

"This is the writing that was written, Menei, Menei, Tekal, Ufarsin This is the interpretation: Menei- Hashem has counted your malchus, and ended it.  Tekel - You were weighed on the scales, and you were found lacking.Perais -Your kingdom is broken and given to Madai and Paras."

Maneh was written twice because Hashem had calculated two calculations.  Yirmayhu had said, "And these nations will serve the king of Bavel seventy years, and it will be at the end of seventy years, I will punish the king of Bavel" (Yirmayhu, 25/11), and it also says, "And all the nations will serve him, and his son, and his son's son" (Yirmayhu 25/27).  According to the calculation of seventy years, the time of malchus Bavel had ended.  However, the second calculation was dependent on Belshatzar.  If he had been worthy to live longer, Hashem would have pushed off the destruction of Bavel due to Belshatzar's right to live and rule over Bavel. However, Belshatzar was found unworthy since he had rebelled against Hashem; Hashem used the first calculation, and the malchus of Bavel ended and was given to Paras and Madai.   

"That night, Belshatzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was killed."

The decree was fulfilled immediately.  That night, Belshatzar's own officers killed him, and Paras and Madai took advantage of the political chaos to attack and conquer Bavel.

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 8 Perek 5: The Handwriting On The Wall "King Belshatzar made a big feast for a thousand of his officers, and drank wine before the thousand."

Belshatzar was Nevuchadnetzer's grandson.  His father, Evil Merodach, Nevuchadnetzer's son, was king for twenty-three years before Belshatzar became king. 

Chazal explain that the Bavlim were aware of Yirmayhu's nevuah that the malchus of Bavel would end after seventy years.  They had now mistakenly decided that the seventy years were completed, and their malchus was still strong.  Paras and Madai had attacked them, and the thousand officers had successfully fought them off, and this was their reason for celebration.

It was the custom that when a king made a party, he would eat and drink in a separate room, but Belshatzar now ate and drank together with the thousand officers to show them special honor.  During the party, Belshatzar became intoxicated, and he ordered his servants to bring the golden and silver vessels which Nevuchadnetzer had seized from the Beis Hamikdash.  Nobody had touched these vessels until now, since they were aware of the prophecy that the Jews would return to Eretz Yisrael, and were afraid of Hashem.  However, they had now lost their fear due to their faulty calculations, and they demonstrated their disrespect towards Hashem by desecrating the vessels.    

"They drank wine and praised gods of gold, silver, copper, iron, wood, and stone."

They deliberately increased their act of desecration against Hashem by praising avodah zarah, while drinking out of the vessels of the Beis Hamikdash.

"At that moment, the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace, opposite the lamp, and the king saw the hand which wrote."

This incident could not be attributed to imagination, or to a deliberate act of an enemy.  It took place "opposite the lamp" - in a brightly lit place where there was no shadow.  All the officers in the room were witness to the sight, and the writing was high up on the wall of the palace, above the height of a man's hand.

An additional miracle occurred within this miracle;  Belshatzar's vision was different than everyone else in the room - he saw the entire hand of a man, and everybody else saw only the fingers.  Belshatzar became extremely frightened, and called for all his advisors, promising them that whoever would read the writing and interpret it would be richly rewarded.  However, the sages were not able to even read the words, much less provide an interpretation.  Belshatzar became even more frightened.   

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 7 Perek 4 con't: Nevuchadnetzer Becomes A Beast and Heads For The Forest Daniel now answered Nevuchadnetzer, and explained the dream. The tree which grew so powerful and high represented the greatness of Nevuchadnetzer's kingdom which was so powerful and far reaching.  Nevuchadnetzer's kingdom will be "cut down;" he will lose his kingdom and its "branches", which represent his servants and officers, and all the nations which were subservient to him.  However, the "roots of the tree" will remain in the ground; Nevuchadnetzer will only lose his kingdom temporarily.

How will Nevuchadnetzer lose his kingdom?  He will slowly lose his sanity; he will become wild and attempt to harm his surroundings, and those around him will be forced to bind him with iron chains.  Eventually, his mental health will continue to deteriorate until he becomes like a beast of the field; he will desire to eat grass and wash himself with dew.  Ultimately, he will escape to the wild and become like a beast, sustaining himself by grazing in the field.  He will pass through seven stages, until eventually he'll regain his sanity, recognize the sovereignty of Hashem, return to civilization and regain his kingdom.

Nevuchadnetzer originally thought that he would be able to nullify the Heavenly decree of the absolution of his malchus conveyed to him in his first dream, and that was his purpose in erecting the tzelem.  Hashem punished him for this, and removed his malchus in order that he should recognize that Hashem rules humankind, and man cannot change His decrees.  

Nevuchadnetzer was fearful of the fulfillment of his dream for a year after Daniel interpreted it.    When he realized that a year had passed, he thought that the decree had been annulled.  He reasoned that if the decree was true, it would already have made an impression on his kingdom, and his kingdom would have been diminished in some way.  When he realized that his kingdom still retained its full strength, his natural pride returned in full force.  He took a walk on top of his palace, and said, "'Isn't this the great Bavel which I built into a house of malchus with my mighty strength, and to glorify my splendor?'"

While Nevuchadnetzer was still speaking, "a voice fell from Heaven" and informed him that his kingdom had been removed from him.  The decree befell him, and Nevuchadnetzer became like a beast in the forest.  Eventually, his sanity was restored, he recognized the truth of Hashem's rule, and he blessed Hashem.  His malchus was restored to him, and he gained even more kavod that he had previously. 

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 6 Perek 4: Nevuchadnetzer Dreams Again; This Time About Himself Perek Daled cites the text of a letter which Nevuchadnetzer sent to all the subjects of his kingdom, in which he accounts a series of events that occurred to him.  He introduces the events by stating that "I was tranquil in my house and vigorous in my palace."  His illness was not caused by personal or national stress; it could only be attributed to Hashem.  During this period of tranquility, he had a frightening dream.  He again called for all the sages of Bavel to interpret the dream, but they were unable to interpret it.  Finally he called Daniel who interpreted the dream.

Why didn't Nevuchadnetzer call Daniel first, since he was already aware that he was a revealer of secrets?  Daniel had told him at the time of the first dream that its interpretation was from Hashem, which is why all of the Bavli sages, who deal only with lowly powers such as stars or demons, were unable to interpret it.  Nevuchadnetzer was under the impression that his present dream was a simple dream from the lower powers, and therefore Daniel would be unable to help him since he deals only with Hashem above.  At that point, Nevuchadnetzer did not believe that Hashem is mashgiach on small details.  Once he saw that the Bavli sages were unable to interpret the dream, he realized it must be a lofty matter, and he called Daniel.

"I was watching and there was a huge thick tree in middle of the earth of immense height.  The tree grew and became stronger, its height reached the sky, and it could be seen to the ends of the entire earth.  It had beautiful branches, bountiful fruit, and food for everybody in it.  The birds of the shamayim rested in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.  I then saw a new vision, and I saw two angels descending from Heaven.  One called out loudly and said, ‘Cut down the tree, cut down its large branches, throw down its small branches, scatter its fruit, the animals will move away from under it, and the birds from its branches.  But the main roots should remain in the ground, and with chains of iron and copper in the grass of field, and he will be washed by the dew of Heaven, and he will share the grass of the earth with the wild animals.'  Afterwords, his heart was changed from the heart of a man, and he was given the heart of a beast, and seven periods will pass over him.  By the decree of those who are awake, and by the word of the angels, so that the living know that Elyon rules over the kingdom of man and He will give the kingship to whom He wishes, and He will raise up the lowest of man over it.

Then Daniel, whose name was Balshetzar, was bewildered for a moment, and his thoughts confused him."

Daniel was hesitant to tell Nevuchadnetzer the interpretation of the dream since it portended negative events which would befall him, and he was afraid Nevuchadnetzer would become angry at him.  Therefore, Nevuchadnetzer reassured him that he will not harm him if he reveals the evil which will befall him; in fact, Nevuchadnetzer already sensed in his heart that his dream portended evil. 

Sun, 06 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 5 Perek 3 cont'd: An Amazed Nevuchadnetzer Recognizes Hashem "Then Nevuchadnetzer was astounded and arose quickly and said to his officers, ‘Weren't three bound men thrown into the furnace,' and they said, ‘So it was,' and he said, "Don't I see four unharmed men walking in the midst of the fire, and the appearance of the fourth one is like an angel's."

How did Nevuchadnetzer recognize an angel?  Nevuchadnetzer was present when a malach burned the camp of Sancheiriv outside of Yerushalayim.  The malach which descended now to save Chananya, Mishael, and Azaraya was revealed before his eyes in an awesome form, like the form of the malach he had seen previously.      

Who was the malach?  Chazal says in Perek Aravei Pesachim that the malach of hail wanted to descend to cool the fire.  However, the malach Gavriel told him that that would not be befitting the kavod of Hashem, since water extinguishing fire is commonplace, and it would merely be a nes utilizing the natural force of teva.  Gavriel, as the malach of fire, descended instead and cooled the furnace from the inside while heating it on the outside, which was a nes within a nes.  The fire was not extinguished, and in fact was so hot that it killed anyone near the furnace, and melted the restraints which bound Channaya, Mishael, and Azarya.  However, their bodies and even their clothing remained intact. 

"Then Nevuchadnetzer approached the gate of the burning furnace and said, ‘Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego, the servants of Kal Elyon, come out and come here!'"

All of the officials gathered there were witness to the sight of the three men emerging from the furnace, completely unscathed from the fire, including their clothes.  They did not even emit the smell of fire. 

And then Nevuchadnetzer said, "Blessed is the G-d of Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego, Who sent His angel and rescued His servants who depended on Him and defied the order of the king and were willing to give up their bodies in order not to worship or bow down to any god, besides their G-d.  I order that every nation or people who will say anything negative about the G-d of  Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego will be cut into pieces, and his house will be a dunghill, because there is no other god that is capable of saving like this." 

Following these events, Nevuchadnetzer sent a letter throughout his kingdom accounting the wonder and power of Hashem.  He had initially been a denier of Hashgacha, and did not believe that Hashem had the power to change nature which is why he erected the tzelem.  Now that he recognized the power of Hashem, he wanted to rectify his sin through a letter to the nations about the gevurah of Hashem, and he admitted in his letter that Hashem has the power to change teva.

Wed, 02 Jan 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 4 Perek 3: Big Idol, Hot Fire, Guards Die "King Nevuchadnetzer designed a tzelem of gold, its height was sixty amos, its width was six amos, and he erected it in the valley of Dura."

Nevuchadnetzer now took steps to nullify the message from his dream that his kingdom would eventually be dissolved.  He erected a tzelem which was similar to the one which he saw in the dream, except that it was formed entirely of gold.  He then commanded that all the nations bow down to it as if they were accepting Nevuchadnetzer's malchus which would exist forever.  Nevuchadnetzer believed that these actions had magical powers to nullify the Heavenly plan as expressed in his dream. 

According to Chazal, the valley of Dura was the same valley where the Dor Haflaga had gathered to build a tower.  Their intentions had also been to establish a malchus against shamayim which would exist forever.

"And King Nevuchadnetzer sent to gather all the officers of the countries to come to the dedication of the tzelem which he set up." 

The officers were then commanded to bow down to the golden tzelem when they heard the sound of music.  They were warned that whoever did not bow down to the image will be immediately thrown into a burning furnace.

"At that time Kashadim men approached and defamed the Yehudim." 

These men informed Nevuchadnetzer that Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego did not bow down before the golden tzelem.  They were included among the officials of the medinos, since they had been appointed as officials of Bavel.  This answers the question which all the mefarshim ask, which is why didn't they inform on Daniel as well?  Daniel served as the advisor to the king; he was not an official over a city or country. 

Nevuchadnetzer called for the three men, and granted them a second chance to bow down to the tzelem, despite his threat that anyone who didn't bow down would be punished immediately.  This was because the informers had told him that the men refrained from bowing down because their religion prevents them from bowing down to idols.  Nevuchadnezer had granted religious freedom to the subjects of his kingdom, so he understood that they were not deserving of death.  He gave them a second chance, but this time he specifically commanded them to bow down to the tzelem.

"Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya answered and said to the king, "Nevuchadnetzer,  we are not interested in answering you on this matter, because there is a G-d Whom we serve, who is capable of saving us from the furnace, and He can save us from the hands of the king."

Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya said that even if Hashem does not save them, they will not bow down to the tzelem.  Nevuchadnetzer reacted with fury and commanded that the furnace should be heated to seven times its normal heat.  He then commanded his strong bodyguards to bind Shadrach, Meishach, and Aved Nego and throw them into the furnace. 

Nevuchadnetzer commanded them to heat up the kiln seven times its normal heat because ovdei avodah zara believe that G-dly power is limited.  Therefore, he reasoned that if the fire would be seven times its normal heat, Hashem may not be capable of overcoming it.  This also explains his command for strong bodyguards to overpower the three men; he wanted their strength to stand against the power of Hashem,

Nevuchadnetzer's commands were carried out so hurriedly, and the fire was so hot that the bodyguards who carried up the three men were killed when they reached the opening of the furnace.  Chananel, Mishael, and Azarya fell into the furnace as the bodyguards breathed their last breaths and lost their grips on them.

Sun, 30 Dec 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 3 Perek 2 cont': Daniel Interprets The Dream & Becomes A Star  "You, king were watching, and behold, you saw one huge image.  This image, which was enormous and shined excessively, was standing before you, and its appearance was awesome.  Its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of copper, its legs of iron, and its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.  You watched until a stone was formed without hands, and hit the image on its feet of iron and clay, and smashed them.  Then, the iron, clay, copper, silver, and gold shattered together, and were like chaff from summer threshing floors, and the wind carried them, until they could not be found anywhere. And the stone which hit the image became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.  This is the dream, and its interpretation will be told before the king."

"Its interpretation will be told before the king" refers to the fact that Daniel informed the king what he dreamt publicly, but he revealed its interpretation privately since it included the dissolving of Nevuchadnetzer's malchus.  Daniel explained to Nevuchadnetzer that since he was the king, he was shown a dream which related to kingship until the end of days.  Nevuchadnetzer had been wondering what his end will be, "the thoughts of his heart", and Hashem showed him not only what his end will be, but what will be until the end of time.

Daniel clarified to Nevuchadnetzer that the "tzelem" he saw in the dream represented all the kingdoms which will rule until the end of days when the kingship will return to Hashem. The tzelem was designed out of four types of metal, one more inferior than the other, and similarly Hashem will set up four different kingdoms one after the other.  Nevuchadnetzer, whom Hashem has given a strong kingdom, strength, and power is represented by the head of gold.  Another kingdom will arise after the kingdom of Nevuchadnetzer which will be less superior, and is represented by the silver chest and arms.  The next kingdom is represented by copper, and the fourth kingdom will be a divided kingdom, represented by the feet, and toes which were formed partially out of iron and partly out of clay.  Part of this kingdom will be powerful, and part will be broken.  G-d will then establish a kingdom that will never be harmed, which will destroy all these kingdoms, and will endure forever.  This was represented by the stone that was formed from the mountain without human hand, which shattered the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold.

The Malbim says that the silver chest and two arms represent the dual malchus of Paras and Madai.  The copper belly and thighs represent the Greek kingdom, which will be extremely strong, and will fill the whole world.  The iron legs and the feet, which where made partially out of iron and partially of clay, represent the malchus of Rome. The malchus of Rome will initially be as strong as iron, and is represented by two feet because it will be divided into two kingdoms, Yishmael and Edom.  The feet are formed out of both iron and clay because when Yishmael is strong, Edom will be weak, and vice versa.  

The toes on the feet, which are the bottom of the tzelem hint to the last era of kingdoms.  At the end of the days, the kingdom of Edom and Yishmael will be divided into ten kingdoms, some of Bnei Edom and others of Yishmael.  These will be the last kings before the geulah, when Hashem will establish His malchus which will endure forever. These events will occur during the war of Gog and Magog when Bnei Edom will gather together to fight against Bnei Yishmael.  Each one will overpower the other as described in Yechezkal and Zecharia. 

"Then King Nevuchadnetzer fell on his face and bowed down to Daniel, and wanted to anoint him with sacrifices and incense."

Nevuchadnetzer now wanted to serve Daniel as a god, which is why he bowed down to him, and tried to anoint him with sacrifices and incense.  However, Daniel refused to be served as a god, which caused Nevuchadnetzer to become aware that Daniel's G-d was the true G-d.  This prompted him to say...

"I truly know that your G-d is the G-d over gods, Lord over kings, and the One who reveals secrets, since you were able to reveal this secret."

"Then, the king promoted him in the government and gave him many great gifts, and made him the ruler of the entire land of Bavel, and the main official over all the sages of Bavel." 

 "And Daniel requested from the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Avad Nego as officials of Bavel, and Daniel was at the king's gate."

 Daniel requested that his position as the official in charge of Bavel should be given to Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya, and he would instead be the king's advisor. 

Wed, 26 Dec 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 2 Perek 2: Nevuchadnezer's Dreams and The Mass Death Sentence "In the second year of Nevuchadnetzer's malchus, Nevuchadnetzer dreamed dreams.  His ruach was disturbed, and his sleep was interrupted."

Nevuchadnetzer called to all his astrologers and sorcerers, and demanded that they not only interpret his dreams, but they tell him what he had dreamt in the first place, since he had forgotten his dream.  They were unable to fulfill his request, and insisted that Nevuchadnetzer first tell them his dream, and then they would be able to interpret it. In a rage, Nevuchadnetzer ordered that all the sages of Bavel be put to death. 

Chazal say that Nevuchadnetzer's sages explained to him that the answer to his request was something that could only be answered through nevuah.  They admitted that Bnei Yisrael was able to attain nevuah in the past, but since the Churban Habayis, the Shechina has been removed, and nevuah is not possible.  Upon hearing this, Nevuchadnetzer became angry at his sages for having advised him to destroy the Beis Hamikdash, and he sentenced them all to death.  In his anger, he did not differentiate between guilty and innocent, and this death sentence included Daniel and his friends, who were not included among the sages of the king. 

"Then Daniel gave advice to Aryoch, the king's chief executioner who had gone to execute the sages of Bavel."

Daniel, whose life was now in danger, took steps to save his life.  He went to Aryoch and asked him, "Why is the king's decree so forceful?"  He acted as if he didn't know anything about the events preceding the decree.  This was because now that his life was in danger, Daniel hoped that Hashem would reveal the dream to him, but he needed an excuse why he did not come forward until now.   

"Daniel entered and requested of the king that he give him time and he will tell the interpretation to the king."

"Daniel then went home and told his friends, Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya, the story, and to daven to Hashem of Heaven for rachamim about this secret, so that Daniel and his friends should not be destroyed with the rest of the sages of Bavel."

Daniel went home to seclude himself to prepare to receive a neuva.  He told his friends that they should also seclude themselves, and prepare themselves for nevuah.  He also told his friends to daven for rachamim since the tefillah of an individual is not comparable to the tefillah of four.  They davened that they should not be killed together with reshaim - the sages of Bavel.

"Then in a chazon at night, He revealed the secret to Daniel.  Daniel then blessed the G-d of Heaven."
"Daniel then went to Aryoch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the sages of Bavel.  He went and said to him, ‘Do not destroy the sages of Bavel.  Bring me to the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.'"

"Daniel told the king, ‘The secret which the king requested, no sages, astrologers, necromancers or demonists can tell the king, but there is a G-d in Heaven Who reveals secrets.  He has informed King Nevuchadnetzer what will be at the end of days.'"

"It was not because I have more wisdom than others that the secret was revealed to me, but in order to inform the king the interpretation so you will know the thoughts of your heart."

Sun, 23 Dec 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Daniel Part 1 Perek 1: Nevuchadnezzar Quells The Rebellion In Yerushalayim and Brings His "Spoils" to Bavel "In the third year of the kingdom of Yehoyakim, the King of Yehudah, Nevuchadnetzer the King of Bavel, came to Yerushalayim and besieged it.  Hashem gave Yehoyakim the King of Yehudah, into his hand and some of the keilim of the House of Hashem..."

A rebellion was taking place in the city, and Nevuchadnetzer had to come personally to Yerushalayim to subdue it, and was only able to conquer the city after besieging it.  The Alshich comments that in light of such rebellion, Nevuchadnetzer might have been expected to destroy the whole city and murder all its inhabitants, but he only captured Yehoyakim and stole some of the keilim.  This made it obvious that Nevuchadnetzer's actions were a result of hashgacha rather than logical military actions, as the passuk says "Hashem gave Yehoyakim into his hand."  Bnei Yisrael were not yet deserving of the final destruction.

"The king told Ashpenav, the head of his officers, to bring from Bnei Yisrael, from the children of royalty and from the nobles, unblemished children, handsome, knowledgeable in all wisdom..."

Nevuchadnetzer was aware of Bnei Yisrael's superior wisdom due to the Shechinah and the nevuah among them, and he wished to take advantage of it.   

 "Among them, from the children of Yehudah, were Daniel, Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya."

They were the descendant of Chizkiyah, the King of Yehudah.  This was a fulfillment of the nevuah in Yeshaya "And of your sons that will stem from you, they will take away and they will be officials in the place of the king of Bavel."  Some say that only Daniel was a descendant of Yehudah.  Daniel was renamed Balshetzar, which was the name of a Bavli idol, and his three companions were renamed with typical Bavli names.  The Malbim says that the fact that Nevuchadnetzer named Daniel after his own god showed that he sensed his greatness immediately and discerned the spirit of Hashem within him. 

 "Daniel resolved not to be defiled by the king's food or by his wine and he asked the chief officer that he not be defiled."

Daniel did not want to defile himself with food prepared by ovdei avodah zara, and was moser nefesh to abstain from it.  He successfully avoided eating the king's food, and was rewarded by Hashem. 

"Hashem gave these four youths knowledge and skill in every sefer and wisdom and Daniel understood every chazon and dreams."

Hashem rewarded all four with knowledge and skill since they all avoided eating the king's food.  Daniel, however, was the one who initiated it and risked his life, and his reward was greater.

 "At the end of the years after which the king had said to bring them, the chief officer brought them before Nevuchadnetzer.  The king conversed with them, and of them all, none compared to Daniel, Chananya, Mishael, and Azarya."

Wed, 19 Dec 2007 03:00:00 +0000
Sefer Daniel Intro: The Galus Begins - The First Exiles Including Daniel Go To Bavel

The events in Sefer Daniel take place at the end of the era of the first Beis Hamikdash, which was built during the reign of Shlomo Hamelech. During the reign of Shlomo's son, Rechovam, the shevatim in the northern part of Eretz Yisrael seceded due to political dissent. Eretz Yisrael was now split into Yisrael, the northern kingdom, and Yehudah, which included the southern parts of Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim. This splitting of Yisrael weakened the nation, politically and spiritually, and led to its ultimate downfall.

Yeroveam ben Nevat, the king of the newly formed northern kingdom, feared he would lose political power as a result of his people's connection to Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash. He induced Bnei Yisrael to serve avodah zara to keep them close to home, rather than lose political power. Many subsequent kings followed the path of Yeraveam; some were evil and corrupt and continued to lead the people to avodah zara. Eventually, after many warnings through His neviim, Hashem punished northern Bnei Yisrael through Ashur (Assyria), who conquered the land and sent the people into exile. The ten shevatim were lost until the end of days.

Yehudah, the southern kingdom of Yisrael, fared a little better than the northern kingdom; some of their kings over the years were actually righteous, one being Chizkiya Hamelech, who was a shining example of a righteous Jewish king. During his reign, Assyria, led by Sancheirav tried to conquer Yerushalayim, but was miraculously thwarted by Hashem.

Unfortunately, Chizkiya's son, Menashe, did not follow in the righteous ways of his father, and the sad fate of Yerushalayim and the Beis Hamikdash was mainly attributed to his evil ways. Menashe's son Ammon continued in the evil ways of his father, but Ammon's son Yoshia, was righteous. Yoshia strived to eradicate avodah zara from Eretz Yisrael and awakened Bnei Yisrael to teshuvah. However, upon his tragic death, Bnei Yisrael's spiritual decline continued. Yoshia's son, Yehoachaz ruled for three months before being deposed by Pharaoh Necho of Mitzrayim. His brother Yehoyakim, ruled in his place.

Nevuchadnetzer became the king of Bavel a few years after Yehoyakim became king. Shortly later, Nevuchadnetzer, whose aim was for Bavel to become the new world power, conquered Eretz Yisrael. Yehudah became a vassal state of Bavel, and 10,000 of the most elite Jews were taken into exile to Bavel together with the King Yechanaya. Daniel, Mordechai, Chananel, Mishael, and Azarya were among this group who were exiled eleven years before the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash. Ultimately, the exile of these 10,000 Jews, which was viewed as such a tragedy at the time, was a blessing in disguise. After the Beis Hamikdash had been destroyed, and the rest of Bnei Yisrael were exiled, Jewish life had already been established in Bavel. Bnei Yisrael was able to thrive there, and ultimately return to Eretz Yisrael and rebuild the Beis Hamikdash.

Mon, 17 Dec 2007 03:00:00 +0000