Sunday, February 16, 2014

Gad Elbaz - Miracles feat. Ari Lesser and Naftali Kalfa

HT to my father-in-law, who showed this to me literally two minutes ago. It's fresh (uploaded onto YouTube earlier today) and timely, so enjoy!

Friday, February 14, 2014


From YU's 5771 Shavuot-to-go, an essay addressing the circumstances surrounding the breaking of the Luchot

And in a similar vein, I'm reposting a piece I wrote back then as well:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tolna Rebbe on Moshiach

From a recent talk the Rebbe gave. HT to my dad for the audio file and VosIzNeias for the translation.

“My sons, Hakadosh Baruch Hu knows his yidden.  Imagine for yourselves that Moshiach is coming.  Let’s try to picture for ourselves that we are standing now on a Motzei Shabbos and we all hear the sound of the shofar. Moshiach is here.

“The first thing that we need to do is to rebuild the Bais Hamikdash.  We all know how the chareidi world operates, Baruch Hashem.  Picture for yourselves how this Bais Hamikdash will be built.  Let me tell you what is going to happen.

“The first ones who will enter the picture will be Agudas Yisroel who will say ‘Of course we are the ones who will build the Bais Hamikdash.  We are the ones who worry about all the needs of the chareidi community. Is there any doubt that we should be the ones in charge?’  They will convene a whole assembly of gedolim in order to decide what needs to be done.

“Meanwhile, R’ Meir Porush will come and say, ‘And what about me?  The Agudah represents everyone?  I want this to be under my auspices.’  And then there will be a second group of Rabbonim discussing how to build the Bais Hamikdash.

“The Litvaks will come next and they will start to scream. ‘Gevald! The chasidism should build the Bais Hamikdash?  They will all be dancing because they don’t know anything about the actual halachos of building the Bais Hamikdash.  They will offer to find one Kohein who actually knows the halachos of the avoda. But they will tell us:  “for this part, you are going to need the Kollel Chazon Ish.  For that part you are going to need the avreichim in Brisk.”  What are you, crazy?  We will build the Bais Hamikdash.’

“Then will come Satmar, from both sides, and they will say, ‘You are all Zionists!  You are unfit to build the Bais Hamikdash.’

“The Chabadniks will also get involved.  ‘You are all crazy!  Moshiach is ours!  It is our Rebbe, our Moshiach, what are you talking about the Bais Hamikdash?  You are all insane.’

“You understand that Moshiach will come and, nebuch, it will be another long galus just until we can all agree who will build the Bais Hamikdash.

Therefore, Hakadosh Baruch Hu has made the decision for us saying, ‘Listen to me, my children. It is enough for me that you will come to the Bais Hamikdash.  I will build it on my own, because there is no other way the Bais Hamikdash could ever be built.’”


The below stop-motion artwork is by a talented young lady who is one of several students at the Tzohar school in Pittsburgh who are honing and channeling their crafts in ways that enhance awareness and glorify the One Above and His world.

I love this piece.

Prior to Creation, there was only the infinite Or Ein Sof filling all existence. When it arose in G-d's Will to create worlds and emanate the emanated...He contracted (in Hebrew "tzimtzum") Himself in the point at the center, in the very center of His light. He restricted that light, distancing it to the sides surrounding the central point, so that there remained a void, a hollow empty space, away from the central point... After this tzimtzum... He drew down from the Or Ein Sof a single straight line [of light] from His light surrounding [the void] from above to below [into the void], and it chained down descending into that void.... In the space of that void He emanated, created, formed and made all the worlds. (Etz Chaim, Arizal, Heichal A"K, anaf 2)

Monday, February 10, 2014

The meaning of fear

FEAR has two meanings:

"Forget Everything And Run"


"Face Everything And Rise"

The choice is yours...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hidden gems

A recent comment on an essay by R. Yitzchak Adlerstein over at Cross-Currents mentioned anecdotally that Eliezer Ben-Yehuda use to walk down the block to consult with his neighbor Rav Kook regarding his work developing modern Hebrew. While that tidbit of information is very interesting, it brought to mind something else that I heard recently:

The word "history" is Hebraicized as Historia; traditionally, the word is spelled with the letter tet, as in היסטוריה. 

Rav Kook, however, made a point of spelling historia with a tav, so that the word was spelled היסתוריה.

His son Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook explained his father's particularity as follows: spelled with a tav, the word historia has the root letters samech-tav-reish, the same root if the word seter or hester, both words that allude to something hidden. In referring to history, Rav Kook didn't see any event that didn't have a measure of hester Panim an element of Divine Providence that may have been obscured by the actual events occurring.

The way a Jew learns history is informed by his awareness of God and the recognition that there is so much going on beneath the surface. Being able to perceive what is hidden, or not readily observable is something that takes work; it involves increasing our sensitivity to the spiritual and being mindful of why we are here in this Earth.

A very good lesson for this time of year, with Purim (sort of) right around the corner.