Saturday, 19 March 2011

It Has Begun...(With A Caveat)

The events in the 11th Chapter of Daniel seem to have taken place already.  This is clear as Daniel explicitly  says:

"And now I will tell you the truth. Behold, there shall stand up yet three kings in Paras: and the fourth will be richer than all of them and when he has grown strong through his riches, he shall stir up all against the kingdom of Greece.  And a mighty King shall stand up, who shall rule with great dominion with which he ruled for his kingdom will be plucked up and go to others besides those.  And the kingdom of the South shall be strong, but one of his princes shall be stronger than he, and have dominion; his dominion shall be a great dominion.  And at the latter years they shall join themselves together..."
Daniel Chapter 11

The above seems to be fortelling well known historical events such as the fall of Persia, the rise of Greece and Alexander the Great as well as the Greek empires splintering into warring factions. This is of course a lead up to the Channukah story, which is a taste of redemption for the nascent Jewish commonwealth.

Yet there maybe a message in these prophecies for the future.  As in everything in Tanach, words of the past serve as a blueprint for the future.

Daniel ends with the King of the North attacking the King of the South with a multitude of forces from the sea and land. 

"And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him; and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow, as he passes through."
Daniel Chapter 11:40

Is this NATO vs. Gaddafi?

I believe so. The Hebrew word for "end" or "latter" is Keitz.  This word is not really the end, but rather when used in a redemptive format, it means transition.  The Tanach wants us to have clues or keys to better prepare our response to certain events.  This means that these events known collectively as "The end of Days"  contain preconstructed information that happens over a period of time within those years.  I will, with the help of the Almighty write another post on this, but for now we need to understand that just as many of these prophetic events can always be traced to other historical time periods, they are applicative now as well.

We have seen how an Egyptian king fell from power as prescribed in Isaiah as happening in the "End of Days."  We have seen Jerusalem split (1948) and be reunited (1967) as for told in Zechariah 12 and 14.  Yes,  these events have happened before, but they are also happening again now, letting us know that just like Channukah and Purim, we are again at the "End of Days" or much simpler a Keitz.  So I would say NATO and Gaddafi are playing the roles of the King of the North and the King of the South in this "End of Days" or a Keitz revelation.  The Creator is letting us know that we are transitioning into a new time period very soon and wants us to be prepared. So get ready this is "The End of Days" or better yet another prophetic revelation reminding us that we are living in "The End of Days."

Purim Samayach!!!!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Israel and National Teshuvah: From Darkness to Light

"The expectation of the Salvation, that is the pervading attribute of the Judaism of the Exile, where as the the Judaism of the Land of Israel is the Salvation itself."

HaRav Kook, Orot (Eretz Yisrael Chapter 1)

This quote has stuck with me for a long time. I have explained it two dozen ways to myself and others, yet this week I feel I have finally begun to understand it at an experiential level. In a sense that is what Rav Kook is eluding to. Putting Rav Kook another way, one can describe the Judaism of the Land of Israel as one that involves experiencing an actualization of Torah, where as the Judaism of the exile is one where the Jew waits expectantly to actualize that which he or she has spent time maintaining and guarding. But what is this thing that Jews are meant to be experiencing and can only do so in Israel?

The Nation of Israel: An Actualization of Collectivism

In Israel the Jewish National Experience is felt most as a sense of collective responsibility. It is this situation, which forces us to repair that which caused us to be thrown into exile in the first place, baseless hatred of one another. By working together to build a National Construct, the Jewish Nation learns and grows from each individual member's interaction with one another. This is why inner debate is healthy within the State of Israel. This is providing it does not lead to hatred of one another.

As we work together, we build both the physical and spiritual construct of our National Home. Yes the collective makes mistakes, but the mistakes are collective. While the Nation is set back at times, it's achievements are sensed as belonging to all within it. This collective experience is the Judaism of the Land of Israel, which cannot be felt in exile, unless one is connected to Land of Israel and the National identity in its fullest.

Feeling Each Others Pain

Nothing exemplifies this more than during times of National Tragedy. The Fogel murders have brought many quarters of the Nation of Israel together. The tragedy has broken down many barriers between left and right, and religious and non religious. A sense of unity has prevailed in the face of such terrible loss. From Ram Levi (super market mogul) donating groceries to the orphans "until the last one reaches 18," to Dalia Itzik the faction leader of Kadima (Center Left Party) who has been a left wing politician her entire career expressing anguish after her Shiva visit to Itamar to to give condolences. She said this:

"I think the murder has hit the entire nation, rightists and leftists, religious and secular, this indescribable tragedy, this heinous murder.. I cannot bear the people who say to me 'this happened because of Itamar.' Who does not care about a murder because of the location? This story - the murderer would have done it in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and everywhere in Israel! "We can have a political debate, but one thing must never happen as long as the State of Israel is sending these people we must give them security. All the way to Itamar we could not make mobile phone calls, there was no reception, there were no lights on the roads. I do not understand it, do not understand the Israeli government and the settlers. A government has to govern, a government that decides the settlers are there [in Judea and Samaria] needs to give them security - this is not political debate. Since the murder... since paying condolences... I am constantly choked with tears. This is terrible. I can not even imagine this kind of murder, shocking. I saw parents who are amazing. What peace. What well-bred people. I'm ready to mobilize and assist the residents and care for them. I cannot argue with having a political debate, but I am not ready to take risks on their lives."

This is unbelievable and yet it is bitter sweet in that it took the death of such pure souls to awaken the Nation from its sleep and that is what it is about this thing we call the State of Israel. Rav Tau of Har Emor likens the State of Israel to a spiritual factory that is meant to refine the national character of the Jewish people. Sometimes factories can be dark and loud, the noise almost piercing and painful, yet the end product is something beautiful. This unity we are experiencing is a flow of light, the light of redemption that Rav Kook insinuated in Orot HaTeshuvah (The Lights of Returning to G-d):

"And the lights of teshvah are splendid at first and afterwards will become a special pipeline that streams forth a vigorous life force that desires a delicate teshuva for the entire world, to enlighten it and sustain it's level."

This is the light that we are experiencing in such a moment of utter darkness.

And all the more fitting that this unity, this true light that will lead to an authentic return to the Creator; for both Israel and the rest of the world should happen at this time of year, right before the Fast of Esther and Purim, where we as a Nation stood 2,500 years ago in Unity in a time of terrible darkness against unspeakable evil and were saved.

                                               לַיְּהוּדִים, הָיְתָה אוֹרָה וְשִׂמְחָה, וְשָׂשֹׂן, וִיקָר.
                                 The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honour.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Redeeming the Kingdom of G-d

We have come home, returned against all odds from a near two thousand year exile. If you consider that after the destruction of the First Temple most Jews remained outside of the Land of Israel even with rebuilding of the Holy Temple one can trace this exile back 2,500 years.  Whatever the amount, the sheer length of time in exile has made us disconnected from statecraft, yet we have a state, a sovereign entity with a an enviable army. When the exiles returned from Bavel, 2,500 years ago, the prophet lamented on the state of Israel, yet the people believed and felt they were experiencing redemption.  Their redemptive process was purely physical as ours has been. In fact Rav Kook likened the process we are undergoing to the time of Ezra and Nechemia. This is a miraculous process hidden behind the veil of nature.  That is what Purim was and is about, seeing the divine in the ordinary machinations of the world.

Our State

Rav Kook writes in Orot Yisrael (6:7) "This State that is in truth higher on the ladder of richness, this State is Our State, the State of Israel, is the foundation of the throne of HaShem in the world,  That it's desire is that HsShem will be one and his Name will be one, that this in truth is the highest richness."  Without trying to decipher all of the Rav's holy words, one can ask a simple question: How can the State of Israel be the foundation of the throne of HaShem in the world?  After all so many people aren't "religious" or better yet look at the corruption in government.  These are issues that have daunted many observers and of course kept observant Jews from moving to Israel.  Yet, one can answer this by looking at Rav Kook's words carefully. Notice he is referring in the present tense to the State of Israel, but there was no State of Israel when he was writing this.  Rav Kook is talking about the ideal State, the one that lies in potential within the confines of the world.  He saw that this potential for the ideal State of Israel existed even in the early 1900s.  He understood a great and tremendous process was underway and that it would lead to the State of Israel reaching a lofty level of revelation of the Creator's light in the world.

As the potential Kingdom of G-d or the ideal revelation within the State of Israel becomes manifest, we are able to see it's potential become more and more actualized in the world.  The State being a vessel that allows the Jewish Nation sovereignty over it's ancestral homeland and thus establishes the Jewish people as a collective force, it is only natural that this Strate within time would reach a level where one could say it has manifested the divine within it.  This is the goal; to build the kingdom of G-d in the Land of of G-d. Through outside events raging across the globe and those within, HaShem is refining our outlook and forcing us to draw out the divine light with his National Instrument for G-dliness.  May this process reach completion speedily in our days.

Monday, 14 March 2011

"At this time, Relief and Deliverance Will Arise From Another Source..."

Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the Prime Minister of Israel today. Activists are requesting a flood of letters from inside Israel and abroad in order to influence him.

Dear Prime Minister,

I am an American immigrant. My wife and I and our three children (Leah 6, Betzalel 4, Itai 2) live in the small community of Pnei Hever, south of Hevron. We have been living there for almost four years and we have no intention of leaving. In fact we are almost done buying a small three bedroom house. I came to Israel almost a decade ago to learn Torah after embracing my heritage. I have grown close to our Land and feel as though it nurtures me as I feel it nurtures the entire nation. I don't believe Am Yisrael is weak. I believe our Nation is strong and it is obvious to me that the weakness lies in our leadership.

I don't believe that my last statement should be taken as an insult. You see I lost hope after Gush Katif. After I and many others were dragged out of the Beit Knesset in Neve Dekalim I had all but given up. Then you were elected and yes although I didn't vote for the Likud I had high hopes for you. You always struck me as someone who could articulate the Zionist position in form of clarity little equaled around the world. You don't hesitate to quote the Torah and invoke the name of the Creator. Yes, you were different than those who came before you. Further it is clear to me that you have the strengths that great leadership is made of. You could be the greatest Prime Minister since David Ben Gurion. Yet, it is clear to me you are scared of global reactions and I don't mean to understand what kind of pressures you are under, yet you must know that you have been chosen now not to give into the whims of foreigners, but to be the leader we know you can be. After all Am Yisrael is the hand of the Creator in the world and you right now are its messenger. Do not falter we are behind you. Do not grovel to the global establishment, it only brings the nation down. You can rise above it; just tap into your G-d given faith and deep cleaving to our divine and historical connection to our Land. Please become the leader that we hoped you would be, but you must do so soon and publicly.

I and the rest of my community humbly request the following:
  • That you make no more concessions under any circumstances
  • Dismiss Ehud Barak (who has lowered check points, frozen settlement construction, and weakened the national resolve) and replace him with Minister Bogie Yaalon, who is respected in all quarters, at home and abroad and who will proudly serve and further the Zionist enterprise
  • Extend civil law to all of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. If you believe what you claim that we are equal brothers and sisters in the Land of Israel, then we should have full Israeli Law applied to our communities
  • Reinstate the full security apparatus
Most importantly and separate from the above list is that you need to know that the Creator himself is directing events. We are in the midst of our redemption. We have returned from exile to build our national home, the vessel of the Light of the Blessed Holy One.  The Creator has chosen you now to be at the helm of the Medinat Yisrael, the Kingdom of G-d. It is Purim time. The time of miracles and although we seem to have entered darkness, we know there will be light: "there was happiness and joy for the Jews, a celebration and a holiday."

You can lead us to salvation or fumble, squandering your G-d given strengths, yet know this, just like Mordechai warned Esther: "Do not think that you will escape [the fate of] all the Jews by being in the king's palace. For if you will remain silent at this time, relief and salvation will come to the Jews from another source, and you and the house of your father will be lost. And who knows if it is not for just such a time that you reached this royal position." If you shirk your responsibilities, the redemption will still be completed, but you will be a national disgrace.

I believe you will rise to the challenge. May HaShem bless you and grant you success and salvation.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

"Remember That Which Amalek Did to You on the Way..."

We are commanded to remember the attack that Amalek committed against us on our way out of the Land of Egypt. This attack was so vicious and unwarrented as it was committed against the women and children, old and feeble, that we are not only commanded to remember it, but to wipe out Amalek wherever he maybe forever.

We also know that Amalek is intrinsically connected to Purim, which is this time of year. The pasuk says Amalek attacked us "...on the way." What does being "on the way" have to do with Purim?

Who is Amalek?

The question arises for our times and lives: Who is Amalek today? One can reverse engineer this as to find Amalek through the way particular groups of people act towards the Jewish Nation. During WW2 is was easy to see Hitler and Nazis as well as a good part of the German populace as Amalek. They purposely attacked the weak, young, and old and for no reason other than that they were Jews. Today a group of people exist that seems to focus on one thing and that is the killing of women and children with only one reason in mind and that is because they are Jews. These people make up the multitudes of the Arabs living within the Palestinian Authority.

On the Way

When Amalek originally attacked us we were on the way from Egypt to the Land of Israel. Amalek seized on our "weakened spiritual state" to attack the women and children, old and feeble. The key point is that although we were at a weakened spiritual state, we were on our way to our homeland. Today it is the same. We are faced with external threats and internal ones as we have come back to our Land after nearly two thousand years in exile. We are "on the way" to a complete redemption as promised by the ancient prophets, yet are in a state of attack by the forces of Amalek. These are the forces which seek our destruction because we are Jews. The crown of the creator, the arm of his will in the world.

The Purim Connection?

Purim is a time of joy. A celebration of redemption that took place thousands of years ago from the hands of Haman, a decedent of Amalek. In Megillat Esther the name of the Creator is not found, yet the Creator's saving hand is found through out the story. So to today we live in confusing and dark times. There is evil around. Amalek is found amongst us, waiting to butcher us where eat, sleep and work. Yet there is a time that will come soon. And just like Purim, the darkness will lift, the tears will dry, and we will experience the full redemption.

This post dedicated to the Fogel family, Udi and Ruth Fogel, and three of their children Yoav 11, Elad 4, and Hadas 3 months who were butchered in their sleep by an Arab attacker.

Monday, 7 March 2011

The Sovereign Vessel

The government of Israel being a tool in this world can either be used to draw in the light of Mashiach or if left unattached to its source will ultimately fall into a state of tum'ah. This where it rests now. It lies soaked in the impurities of the world of Edom from where it came forth. Edom, the last exile of the Nation of Israel has realized that it's time is short and so it holds onto the vessel it birthed in 1948, the governmental apparatus of the State of Israel. It is losing the Army and so it is scared that perhaps the source of its hegemony here in the Land of Israel will fall into the hands of Mashiach Ben Yosef, who is uniquely talented to lift the vessel for sovereignty in Israel up out of the impurities of Edom and to prepare it to reveal the true Messianic Kingdom.
This is the current battle. The Army is being drawn into the hands of Mashiach ben Yosef, yet the sovereign is being pulled apart between the minions of the Erev Rav and those working at the behest of Mashiach ben Yosef. The sovereign is indecisive. One day a Zionist, the next day a Leftist, then of course religious, its identity is the Nation and yet it cannot lead, for the forces of the Erev Rav have covered it over.

To Break the Glass or Not to Break it...That is the Question

After Gush Katif many people wanted to abandon the Sovereign, the government to the forces of the Erev Rav, yet this only caused more frustration in the National Camp, which is the vehicle for Mashiach ben Yosef. The more one tried to ignore the Sovereign, the more they were reminded. For the sovereign is still the sovereign and yet we allow it to be ruled by the Erev Rav and the forces of darkness, but that is only what fills the glass. Just like a glass does not become traif, so too the sovereign cannot become traif and so there is no need to break it. To break it would be to go into exile again. The way out is to wrest the vessel for sovereignty from the minions of the Erev Rav and return it to the forces of Mashiach ben Yosef.

Right now both forces find themselves within the vessel, yet the Erev Rav reigns, hiding the Mashiach ben Yosef within its impurity. By helping the forces of Mashiach ben Yosef who have entered the Sovereign redeem it from the clutches of the Erev Rav, we will witness the Malchut beit Yosef reveal itself in all its glory and receive the full geulah by way of rachamim. If we desist and let the Erev Rav take full control of the Sovereign then the forces of Mashiach ben Yosef will be thrown from potential leadership into a state of exile (death) and we will experience worse birthpangs on the way to Geulah Sleimah, heaven forbid.

We need to rise up to take what is ours and to expunge the impurities from our Land and our Souls.