The Gemara tells us that Haman is referred to in the Torah, in the episode about the forbidden fruit. What does Haman have to do with Adam and Eve at all? Enjoy today's mini-lesson and have a wonderful Shabbat!
In light of the extremely tense security situation here in Israel and the recent wave of terror attacks, people are searching for solutions and many are demanding that the government adopt drastic measures. Woe to he who trusts in the government.
Today on Radio Kol Berama, my beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a gave an hour-long spiritual assessment of the current situation. He reiterated a salient point that the holy Chofetz Chaim osb"m said some 85 years ago before he left this physical earth - there is no political, military, economic or any other solution to the War of Gog and Magog. So what does one do in the face of imminent danger? We take the advice of King David, which we said every day during Succoth when we were reciting Hallel: "Israel, trust in Hashem!" (Psalm 115:9). The Chofetz Chaim stressed that during the War of Gog and Magog as well as during the tribulations that precede Moshiach's imminent arrival, there is no physical ploy or method to avoid stern judgments from Above. So what can we do?
There's plenty to do, says Rav Shalom:
1. First, we strengthen ourselves in emuna. Everyone believes that there's Hashem in the world, but few believe that Hashem does everything for the very best, which constitutes true emuna.
2. Second, we must remind ourselves of Hashem's love for us, remembering the amazing miracles that He did for us in 1967 and 1973, when the Arab nations united to wipe us off the map, when Sadaam Hussein rained SCUD missiles all over us in 1991 and all through recent years till today. We must daily thank Hashem for our national salvations and our private salvations. Personally, were it not for a rapid series of miracles that Hashem did for me in a no-way-out combat situation, I wouldn't be alive today. Think about your own miracles and take nothing for granted. Thank Hashem constantly.
3. Those who don't yet observe the Sabbath should begin immediately. Those who observe Sabbath should strengthen their knowledge of the laws of Sabbath.
4. One should ponder Hashem constantly and speak to Him as much as possible.
5. One should encourage others to learn and strengthen emuna.
Why are the finest people getting stabbed and becoming martyrs? Hashem is trying to wake us all up. He wants us to return to Him wholeheartedly, for our own benefit. Hashem has no joy from making us suffer; He would much prefer that we strengthen ourselves in emuna and in teshuva on our own accord. Hashem has no gratification from the injuries and deaths of His beloved children, yet He has wonderful gratification from every person who calls His Name and gets closer to Him.
We now have a very clear choice: either we accept the yoke of Hashem or suffer more stern judgments, Heaven forbid. Before you continue choosing immodesty and debauchery to modesty and morality, web-surfing over Torah learning or playing golf on Shabbat to observing the Shabbat, stop and think if you are acting in a responsible manner toward yourself, your family and the Jewish People...
Moshiach and Geula are fast on the way; the world is changing every moment and nothing is predictable. We too must change, for the better. I promise you, we'll all be happier and we'll see Hashem's miracles with our own eyes. Meanwhile, we'll continue to serve Hashem, build and thrive in our holy homeland with emuna, and not with fear of anyone but Hashem. Ein Od Milvado!
Above image - the holy gravesite of Rebbe Levi Yitzchok in Berditchev, Ukraine
Today, the 25th of Tishrei, is the 206th yahrtzeit of the holy Rebbe Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev (1740-1809), may his sacred soul intercede in our behalf, amen. When Rebbe Levi Yitzchok died, Rebbe Nachman of Breslev said that the world became a darker place. Rebbe Levi Yitzchok is especially known as the senegor of Israel, the defending attorney of the Jewish People in the Heavenly Court, for he only saw the good in people.
Light a candle in memory of Rebbe Levi Yitzchok ben Sara Sasha. may his holy memory invoke blessings for all of us, amen.
Rebbe Levi Yitzchok's hauntingly beautiful niggun (melody) is one of my favorites. Here is Yehuda Green singing it for us. Enjoy this bit of inspiration, and may you be blessed with a healthy winter and a wonderful new week.
With Hashem's loving grace, we're back after the High Holidays to resume our weekly emuna broadcast and live shiur. Today's lesson is entitled, "What, Me Worry?"; no, this is not a take off of yesteryear's anti-hero Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine - it's a teaching of Rebbe Nachman that can help us rid ourselves of anxiety like water off a duck's back.
Today's emuna shiur and broadcast will take place this evening (Wednesday), G-d willing, at 7:00 PM local time at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it on this coming week on Lazer Beams.
Today, Sunday Tishrei 21, is Hoshana Raba.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach ob"m left this world a month after Succot, 21 years ago in 5755. Here is a vintage clip of him during the last Hoshana Raba service of his life. Enjoy it, and may we all be signed and sealed for a wonderful New Year 5776. Chag Sameach!
Above image: On the way to the Henkin funeral procession with lulav in hand, this morning (Friday, Oct. 2), Jerusalem
All of Israel mourns last night's tragic and despicably evil murder of two holy martyrs, Rabbi Eitam and Naama Henkin, Hy"d, a couple in their thirties from the village of Neria in Samaria. Their four children, aged 9, 7, 4, and 4-months, were in the car when drive-by terrorists affiliated with Abbas's Fatah party shot their parents at close range with automatic weapons. Although their bodies are unscathed, who can fathom the scars on the children's souls from witnessing their parents being shot to death. May Hashem avenge the blood of this holy couple, who represented everything beautiful about the Land of Israel and its finest people, and may Hashem comfort the orphans and raise them in health of body and soul.
Terror attacks and violence are nothing new here, but this incident is jolting the people of Israel to the core of their souls. Such indescribable pain comes at the time of the year's greatest joy, Chol Hamoed Succoth. Undoubtedly, since we lack our Holy Temple and ritual sacrifices, the martyred Henkin couple are the two unblemished sacrifices that Hashem has chosen to atone for the Jewish People.
With eyes of emuna, what message can we discern? What is Hashem telling us?
The message is twofold: first, Hashem is reminding all of us, in case we have forgotten, Heaven forbid, that we are Jews. When we forget that fact and pursue all types of anti-Torah lifestyles, our enemies remind us who we really are. Therefore, in loving memory of Eitam and Naama hy"d, each one of us must strengthen his or her relationship with Hashem by reinforcing emuna and more careful observance of Torah, especially here in the Land of Israel, which does not tolerate unholiness. Second, we must trust completely in Hashem and not lean on the wobbly reed of so-called foreign allies who are systematically selling us out. This means doing what we must do without bowing to any foreign dictates, no matter what, including declaring Israeli sovereignty over all the Land of Israel, period.
The Torah says that when the Name of Hashem is upon you, your enemies fear you. This is the deterrence that the IDF needs. A proper government response to Abbas and his Fatah terrorist would be to build two new cities in Judea and Samaria, and call them "Eitam" and "Naama".
One might ask, "How can I dance on Simchat Torah with such a heavy heart and with the tears of four fresh orphans?" Eitam and Naama are dancing for us in the highest Heavenly realm, in the Hall of the Holy Martyrs. It's only proper that we should dance for them down here. Shabbat Shalom, moadim l'simcha, and may we see Moshiach soon, amen!