Friday, June 23, 2017

Korach - Organic Leadership

What is the Torah's approach to leadership? Why did Hashem create a concept of hierarchy? What was the mistake of Korach's rebellion? What is the depth behind the obligation to give a tithe to the Levites and the Kohanim? What was the mistake of the Jewish people in asking for a king in the times of Shmuel (Samuel)?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:03

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shlach - Running Thread

What was the root of the sin of the spies? Why were they only able to see the negative side of Eretz Yisrael? What is the connection between that event and the commandment of tzitzis? What is the idea behind the obligation of Tzitzis? What is the meaning of the statement of our sages that the blue of the tzitzis is to remind us of the throne of Hashem's glory? Why are the tzitzis specifically worn during prayer? How do they remind us of all of the commandments?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:56

Friday, June 9, 2017

Behaaloscha - Shining Hashem's Light

What is meant when the verse refers to the 'light of God which guides us?' How do the sun and moon 'guide us?' What is the concept of the 'face of God?' Why does the word 'face' in Hebrew also refer to the inner aspect of the person? How was Bezalel able to intuitively construct the Menorah-candelabra? What is the significance of the 7, 8 and 10 stringed instruments of the Levites? Why do certain individuals need to go through great tests before they can fulfill their unique roles in life?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:57

Friday, June 2, 2017

Nasso - Maintaining Inspiration

What is the idea behind the gift of the 12 princes of wagons to the tabernacle? What is the depth of what is going on with the repetitious listing of their offerings? Why does it follow the Priestly blessings? Why do both these events occur on the eighth day of the Tabernacles dedication? What is the connection between the numbers 50 and 8? Why does the Torah ask us to count to 49 and seemingly to 50, if we only count to 49? How do we hold onto the inspiration we have received? 

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:15

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bamidbar - Counting the Uncountable

How does counting the Jewish people express Hashem’s love for us? How can we be counted if we are ‘uncountable?’ Why are there different analogies for this uncountability - stars, sand, dust? Who refers to us in each of these ways? How are we both in this world and above it? How does the reality of the Jewish people parallel the Oneness of Hashem? What are the different types of being uncountable?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 29:06

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trump & Yesod ShebeYesod

We all know who's coming to Israel tomorrow. To Jerusalem no less.

I saw someone message my wife earlier today that she was going to Kever Yosef tonight and it hit me that tonight is yesod she'beyesod. Which is Yosef's day.

For those who are not familiar, yesod is the aspect of Yosef Hatzadik - the tzadik yesod olam. Yesod of Yesod is the concentration of that power (just as Lag b'omer is the concentration of the power of Hod - Hod of Hod). The power of the Tzadik is in controlling his passions - hence Yosef's overcoming the temptation of Potifar's wife. His control over his passions gives him dominion over the world - Egypt of that time; and, of course, the Jewish people.

How ironic that the president of the US, who is arguably a perfect example of the opposite of this mastery (by his own admission - see his books) - would come to Israel on that very day of Yosef's power! And of all places, come to Jerusalem, which is the Yesod of the world!

The Yesod is the point that connects the male and female aspects, and in a cosmic sense, Jerusalem is the point that connects the Heavenly spheres (male) to the Earthly spheres (female).

I can not say that I fathom the significance of this, but it is surely remarkable and noteworthy.

Let us all continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

Amen.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Behar-Bechukosai - God's Guarantee

Why does Hashem give such bounty - enough for three years - in the sixth year instead of just providing our needs as they come in the 7th and 8th? What is the concept of Bitachon-trust? How does one truly trust in God that one's needs will be provided for? Why did Adam's fall mean that he would no longer eat from fruit, but rather from the produce of the ground? What is the difference between fruits and plants? Why does the mitzvah of Shmitah-7th year apply only in Israel?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:05

Friday, May 12, 2017

Emor - Of Kings and Kohanim

What are the five aspects that make a Kohen Gadol-High Priest 'greater' than his brothers? What is the idea behind the concept that if he is not rich himself, his brothers 'make him rich?' How does a king parallel the Kohen in these five aspects? Why does a king, as represented by King David, receive special strength to fight Israel's enemies? What is the depth of the idea that David 'fit into the clothes of King Saul?' What is the intent of the Torah when it repeats the words relating to speach?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 25:23

Friday, May 5, 2017

Acharei Mos-Kedoshim - Material and Form

Why are the instructions about immoral relationships included in the reading of the High Priest's service on Yom Kippur? What is the significance of the Exodus and Hashem's oath to redeem the Jewish people in this context? Why are the Egyptian people referred to as 'donkeys' and why are they the example of immoral relationships? What is the depth of the idea that Hashem adds his name to the name of someone who is courageous in this area? What is the idea of the oath taken by certain individuals in the face of challenges in this area?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:30

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tazria-Metzora - Winds of Changw

What are the causes of the spiritual disease of Tzara'as-Leprosy? Why is the person who contracts it referred to as Adam? What are the 'measures of the winds' referred to in the verse in Job? What is the concept of the winds of destruction that threatened the world in the time of Job, Jonah and Elijah? Why is the Messiah referred to as the 'wind of our nose?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:13

Friday, April 21, 2017

Shmini - Revealing Hashem's Glory

What is needed for 'Hashem's Glory to be revealed?' How are the barriers removed that stand between the Jewish people and Hashem? What is the purpose of the sacrifices in the Mishkan-tabernacle? How does one infuse one's mitzvah observance with Hashem's presence? What is the natural spiritual state of a Jew?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:41

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Asking Hashem for what I want vs. what I need

One of my favorite topics is the idea of bitachon - trust. I have been listening for years to the shiurim on this topic of my Rosh Yeshiva, R' Yechiel Perr. I recently got a book that he recommended as part of the shiur called "The Six Steps of Bitachon" by R' Chaim Goldberger. This book lays down a framework that can work for anyone. Among the steps is determining that the thing one is asking Hashem for is a 'need.' Then one goes about developing one's trust in Hashem that the need will be filled.

My question is this: Can I only get what I 'need' from Hashem? Can I ask Hashem for something I want?

I would like to believe that Hashem is like a loving parent. As a parent, of course I provide my children with their needs. But I also often provide them with their wants, even if they are not needs. This is part of the way I show love for them.

So can I trust Hashem that He will provide me with my wants?

Part of my personal challenge is that I often am propelled into action by need much more often than by want. "Urgent and Important" is a much greater motivator than "Important but not Urgent."

And I often feel like Hashem is constantly providing me with my needs, but I don't feel as much that He is providing my wants.

But it is often true that my relationship with Hashem is a reflection of my relationship with myself.

So, could it be that I only get what I 'need' from Hashem because I only give motivate myself with 'need?' What if I started doing the things I don't 'need' to do, but rather they are things I 'want' to do - things that are important, but not urgent. Maybe then I would be better able to receive from Hashem the things I 'want,' not just what I 'need.'

Friday, April 14, 2017

Pesach - Rose of the Valley

What is the difference between a Chavatzelet-rose and a Shoshana-rose? What is the parallel between our sojourn in Egypt and the many challenges we have faced as a nation? What is the parallel between the exodus and the final redemption? What is the idea of the song that we sang then and that we will sing in the future?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 20:44

Friday, April 7, 2017

Tzav - Finding Peace

What is the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices? How does the study of Torah assure the Jewish people that they need not fear the heaviness of the idea of the sacrifices? What is the concept of the Shelamim-Peace sacrifice? Why does the concept of Peace always come last? What is the depth of the importance of peace? How does peace relate to the concept of the korbanos-sacrifices?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:03

Friday, March 31, 2017

Vayikra - Servant Leadership

How is the average Israelite meant to approach the book of Leviticus which seems to contain mostly laws for Kohen-priests? What is the take home lesson for us when the midrash speaks about Moshe's special relationship with Hashem? What is the meaning of Hashem's reference to the Jewish people as 'His?' How can we relate to someone else's 'specialness' when we don't feel particularly special ourselves?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 27:03

Friday, March 24, 2017

Vayakhel-Pekudei - Nature and Nurture

Why is is it important for us to know the lineage of Betzalel - his father, his grandfather and his tribe? What is the reason for his greatness - his grandfather, his grandmother, his tribe or specifically Hashem filling him with inspiration? What does the midrash mean when it says that even the animals were filled with a spirit of wisdom in the creation of the mishkan-tabernacle? How can we learn from and contribute to the specialness of our family line and tribe?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:52

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ki Sisa - Choosing Greatness

What does it mean when the midrash says that 'Hashem reviews the material four times before teaching the Torah to the people of Israel?' What is the depth of the idea that those who have fear of Heaven merit to have offspring who embody Torah? What is the idea behind the book of generations that was shown to Adam and contains the names of every great person that would ever live? Why did Avraham see a vision of all of the ups and downs of the Jewish people throughout their history? Is greatness something that is chosen with free will or predetermined?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 28:27

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tetzaveh-Purim - Power of Prayer

What is the concept behind the special clothes of the Kohanim? What is the Torah referring to when it says 'this is the thing that you shall do to sanctify the Kohanim unto me?' Why did Mordechai return to his fasting, praying and sackcloth even after he saw that the tide was turning and the Jews were soon to be saved? How can we atone for our sins without the sacrifices of the Temple? What is the true power of prayer?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:53

Friday, March 3, 2017

Terumah - Shechinah Returning

What is the concept of the Mishkan-Tabernacle? How does it act as a continuation of the revelation at Mount Sinai? What is the depth of the concept of the Shechina leaving as a result of man's sins, and returning through the deeds of the righteous? How can we create a 'tabernacle' for our own revelations of Hashem in our lives?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 22:01

Friday, February 24, 2017

Mishpatim - Preparatory Angel

Why does Hashem inform the Jewish people of their future in the very midst of the revelation at Sinai? Is the angel who will lead them in the future a positive or negative force? What is the reassurance to Jacob that he can 'ascend the ladder' and that he will never fall, if the Jewish people could sin and fall? What is the significance of the angel's presence in the blessings and in times of trouble?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 25:11

Friday, February 17, 2017

Yisro - Hearing Hashem's Voice

What is the difference between Moshe's experience of the revelation at Sinai as opposed to the entire Jewish people's experience? Why is his experience described as 'seeing' as opposed to the Jewish people's which is described as 'hearing the voice?' Why does the Torah use the name of Hashem in the interactions with Moshe, as opposed to Elokim, which is used for the Jewish people? What are the 'seven voices' that were heard at Sinai? What is the idea that Sinai is the source of all prophecy and wisdom?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:39

Friday, February 10, 2017

Beshalach - Singing Then

What is the idea of the verse that says that 'then' Moshe and the Jewish people sang? How does that manifest in regards to Hashem's relationship with the world, the Jewish people's relationship with Hashem, and Moshe's relationship with Hashem? Why is the word 'az' which means 'then' used both in regards to Moshe's disbelief in Hashem, and then in his statement of true belief? Why does Hashem make the bitter waters sweet with a bitter piece of wood?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 24:45

Friday, January 27, 2017

Va'era - Hosting Godliness

What does the verse mean when it says that Hashem told Moshe he would be a 'god' to Pharaoh? Why was King Solomon unable to bring the Holy Ark into the Temple? Why did he need to invoke his father, King David's honor? Why is Hashem referred to as the 'King of Honor?' When does Hashem 'distribute His honor to those who fear Him?'

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 27:26

Friday, January 20, 2017

Shemos - Voices of Redemption

What was special about the brotherly relationship between Moshe and Aharon? How did that parallel that of Binyomin and Yosef? Why does the midrash stress that Binyomin and Yosef 'suckled from the same milk?' What is the significance of the kiss of Moshe and Aharon? What is the idea behind the 'voice of Hashem' that is one voice, and yet is heard by different people in different ways? How does one prepare oneself to 'hear the voice?' Why does Hashem's voice come from many different directions? Why does the voice come from a different direction each time the Jewish people run to receive it in the place they've heard it?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:30

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Obama, Gog, Trump and Geulah Berachamim in 5776

It's been a long time since I've written anything on this blog, besides for posting my Parsha Podcast. And for good reason. There have been numerous times where I've wanted to write, but made the decision not to. There have been many times that I've seen something written in the Moshiach blogosphere and I was on the edge of saying something.

But I chose not to.

With the close of the Obama presidency, however, the remarkable nature of what has transpired is just to great to ignore. I hope that what I write will give pause to the many writers and many more readers of the Moshiach blog world.

One of the things that brought me out of my skepticism (for a very short time) of this world that I used to be a part of was the fantastic near death experience that was spread far and wide about a year ago. It put Obama as Gog and said 'this is the year!' Although we'd all heard that one before (think autistics and other false messiahs), it confirmed something that I really believed, and so did many of you - that Obama was the man - Gog. And that this was the time.

Because I believed that 5776 would really be the year of Moshiach. I had felt that already five years ago when I stopped writing for this blog. I had a lot of different thoughts and ideas and a really strong gut feeling that pointed in the direction of 5776. Even amazing gematriahs (as if they didn't exist for any other years)!

But, once again 5776 came and went. Another Moshiach year has bitten the dust.

Or has it?

I want to present to you with a theory that is both exciting and boring. It is a precise prediction, but it leaves open when Moshiach comes. It is absolutely true and completely questionable.

I still believe that Obama was Gog. And I believe that there was some truth in what the autistics and the near deathers etc. etc. etc. have predicted. A little bit of truth. And a lot of falsehood. Because it is so important to understand that the world is not two dimensional. It is not just a world of judgment where anyone who wears a wig is going to burn eternally. And where a soul is dipped into 7 levels of fire, which can be named because someone was just there.

That description - the description that the Moshiach Blogosphere is used to talking about and describing - is the side of judgment - din.

And it is interesting that that young man experienced and saw all these things during his near death experience time in the space of judgment - which is where a soul goes immediately after death. It is called the world of Z"A - which we don't even pronounce as its component words (Z'er Anpin) because it denotes extreme judgment, which we don't want to call into play.

The world of Z"A is where they speak from. But there are other worlds - the world of Beriyah - above Z"A - crowning Z'A and Nukva. It is transcendent and there is no evil there. It is the world of the throne, the world of the souls where no evil can penetrate from our realm.

But even our realm is not the world of Z"A - we do not live in a world of pure judgment. We live in a world where there is a balancing act between Din and Rachamim, between judgment and mercy.

And in the real world, there is no such thing as unmitigated judgment.

Many of you might be familiar with the fact that the Gemara in Succah speaks about Moshiach ben Yosef, describing the great mourning that occurs after his death in the war of Gog Umagog.

But the Gra's opinion is that Moshiach ben Yosef will not die. The Gemara itself hints to such an opinion when it refers to the same mourning as NOT being for Moshiach ben Yosef (but for the Yetzer Hara). The Gra's opines that MBY won't die, because the reason he was meant to die has already been atoned for by the length of the exile we've endured.

Moshiach does not have to arrive with death, destruction and mayhem.

And I still believe that Obama was Gog, and that something amazing is unfolding right in front of our eyes. Because if Gog could not do anything more than create an ineffective UN resolution, then we are looking at Geulah Berachamim - redemption with mercy.

I believe that we experienced the judgment 70 years ago with World War II.

And that now is the time for redemption with mercy.

If you listened to my most recent podcast, you heard what the war of Gog Umagog is about - it is about a claim to Jerusalem. It is about a claim to being the spiritual conduit of Hashem. Which is an exclusive right of the Jewish people. Gog comes to Jerusalem to try to remove the Jewish people's claim to Jerusalem; to deny the Jewish people's chosen status. To claim that other religions and peoples have replaced us as the conduit of spirituality into the world.

But on the day that the greatest of the 70 nations of the world moves its embassy to Jerusalem, it is the greatest statement that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people.

I don't want to say too much more, but a parallel is spoken of between the Purim story and the future redemption. It is why Iran/Persia is part of the story. And it is hard to ignore the people who have been in the life of the incoming president before this story started.

I haven't written and haven't wanted to predict, because I have not wanted to say things that look silly within a small amount of time.

But I'm writing now, because I think it's time to start seeing that things are turning. We may look back in a couple of years and see in hindsight that 5776 was a significant year in the coming of Moshiach Berachamim.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vayechi - War of Gog Umagog

What is the parallel between the blessings of Jacob and that which occurs on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? Why do the 10 tribes gather to the portions of Yehuda and Benjamin? Why do they need to 'show honor to Judah and Benjamin?' What is the idea of there not being 'any arguments' as a prerequisite for the advent of the Messianic age? Why did Jacob reveal the idea of the War of Armageddon to his sons? Why does this war center around Jerusalem? Why was all this revealed in the context of the revelation of the unique attributes of each tribe?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 26:31

Friday, January 6, 2017

Vayigash - Exile and Redemption

What is the significance of Chushim ben Dan's arrival on the scene in Egypt as Yosef was about to reveal himself to his brothers? Why does he also play a significant role as Yakov is about to be buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs? How does this parallel what will happen in the future in the war of Gog and Magog, when Sherya, a great-grandson of Dan will fight side by side with Moshiach ben Dovid? Why does Yosef have his dreams twice, but they do not seem to be fulfilled immediately - as opposed to Pharaoh who had his dream repeated, and Yosef interpreted this to mean it would occur immediately?

Find out in this week's parsha podcast.

Running time: 21:39