- Ger Tzedek Emes
- Ego and Yetzer
- Duality and G-d
- Torah of the Mother....and Father
- Changing Mazal
Monday, October 28, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Parashas Chayei Sarah
Loving You Like It Was Yesterday
[...and Abraham proceeded and took a wife whose name was Keturah]
***she is vaguely familiar with hagar..."a word to the wise is sufficient"
For score and a million years ago; OK it was 127 – but who's counting?
Like the whirlwind we once were, who knew we could meet up on a Ger-like pretense?
When there was so much to say, and so little time apart, I found myself embraced by the maiden.
The Ger, you know her, the one they call hagar; but to me, it's something vaguely more familiar.
God has a story to tell, with an audience of reserved seats – front row for the live performance.
Corpses no more, we demand delight, popcorn and cola in hand – the show we have all been waiting for.
While I think back, eons ago…hearing of the master of the house, happening upon the jester and his hedva – come on in they said; strangely appropriate, an even odder reoccurrence.
See, time flies, people sit, and the sorcerer's spell erupts in poetic chaos; did we ever think that Lovers are destined to reunite?
A fairytale indeed, the type of Divinity we thought not of, yet the soul thirsts for God's "romantic side" – did we ever even think of it that way before?
Long long ago lived a man named Solomon, maybe he thought of it; maybe he conceived Romeo before there was a Juliet; maybe Juliet arrived the day after William dropped his pen.
Think not, and absorb the ink - just know Abraham found his love; yet a better question one may perhaps ponder: did he ever drop by the lost and found department of heaven?
I thought he married hagar? I thought he loved sarah? …and we are to believe old wise tales?
Silly scholar, the rashbam you read not when he deduced that the pshat of the pussuk surely isn’t hagar the daughter of pharaoh – FOOL!
Do you really wish to delve into the upsurd? What next – a Kabbalistic discourse from tzfat explaining that funny word we trip on; mazal.
An episode of Torah dripping with the hand of God; go buy stuff you Ger and Toshav I am you; go find the mother of Israel – you iyov program you!
And it happened just the way you said it would – mazal Hashem. To the letter of the law – even when they contrived the hated son's years; repent he did. Noticed not did the 137 years enter the mind of gerless sage.
Numbers – 127, 175, 137 – the kabbalah code in full bloom; doesn’t this Egyptian maidservant ever die?
…But she does..err did. I swear on it, for did I not quote you the faithful servant the Rashbam?!
So who – pray tell, is this "the ger" woman who is comely like the scent of the throne?
Like a distant memory, shown up all grown up; you might know me – surely in your gilgul?
We didn't even have time for the wedding bells; Look! Abraham has taken his wife! For she has returned with the aroma of her tent…the same tent that became foreclosed to another.
Can a soul really come and go as it pleases? Can it reinvent itself in a telephone booth like Mr. C. Kent?
The World's first Messiah program has cleared the labyrinth; I believe this is where we see the light that was never seen.
This could be the scene we've only reaped a glimpse: eliezer, sarah, Abraham – one last ride on the other side of the aisle?
That world way yonder – here – now – in the book we read every year? How about a new battle cry – the books of moses end happily ever after?
You remember Abraham, all grown up, done smashing idols. Wed the woman of women, spun the whirlwind web of yester yore…..crawled through the hula hoop – even passed go and collected his ransom.
Not easy to look your only one in the eye; how ironic though – where the sacred feminine declares demise, the Lord claims victory?
That’s right; sarah found the flame of the sword that turns and the cherubim, while the maidservant disappeared long ago – far far away from little hedvah.
But in the end, in a few mystical moments, hagar is transformed in front of our misty eyes into the keturah that remembered Abraham.
Who knew sarah would find her way back so soon, now as his equal ger and toshav I am? Who knew now she would send off the villain offspring to the original lands?
Who knew the dead could dance [so eloquently]?
Who knew that Abraham would become the father of Nations? – uh, maybe God? – as it was told over a million times!
Yet what we knew not of, and where we stumbled time and time again – is that the Torah is the book of redemption. Redemption that is contained within the confines of darkness.
Welcome to Abraham's World – where this time Hashem has chesed for him.
Welcome to Abraham's World – where the sons of nobility prosper until micro antics bleed into macro and kosher cheese.
Welcome to Abraham's world – the sanctuary that is divorced of yesterday's plight, while happily wed to the flame and scent of sarah's tent.
The ger, the stranger, the one that remembers the righteous one of God, the one who goes by keturah – a spice of the divine – maybe it's about time we go code red; if they ask, tell them you are my sister.
In a book that loves to love – from Solomon to the ger; did you really think you could separate wisdom and understanding?
Silly in thought, for the mother and the father are lovers who never fall apart; in fact, we just got to see them fall in love.
.Audio Shiur on Parsha Sunday 11 P.M
***Notice we changed our clocks in Israel
Friday, October 25, 2013
The Yetzer Hara i.e. the one who comes from "Ego" is dumb. In fact, King David says that the more we sin from ego led inclinations, eventually we become immersed in sin such that we will eventually stumble in supremely foolish ways. This is why King David anguished over his yetzer, for he feared that God Forbid he do something so utterly foolish before God that he should become blind to his own madness and folly.
King David won out, and merited the seed of Moshiach; The Sitra Achra is the anti-David in this matter.
Behold just how dumb it may get. By this thinking [along with World Precedent in these issues - Bavel anyone?] - we may be entering an unprecedented era of stupidity that simultaneously declares utter genius.
God Help Us All [as Rome falls over its own brittle feet (Daniel)]
European leaders united in anger as they attended a summit overshadowed by reports of widespread U.S. spying on its allies — allegations German Chancellor Angela Merkel said had shattered trust in the Obama administration and undermined the crucial trans-Atlantic relationship.
The latest revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency swept up more than 70 million phone records in France and may have tapped Merkel's own cellphone brought denunciations Thursday from the French and German governments.
Merkel's unusually stern remarks as she arrived at the European Union gathering indicated she wasn't placated by a phone conversation she had Wednesday with President Barack Obama, or his personal assurances that the U.S. is not listening in on her calls now.
"We need trust among allies and partners," Merkel told reporters in Brussels. "Such trust now has to be built anew. This is what we have to think about."
"The United States of America and Europe face common challenges. We are allies," the German leader said. "But such an alliance can only be built on trust. That's why I repeat again: spying among friends, that cannot be."
View gallery."The acting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle … The acting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle speaks after his meeting with the US ambassador … The White House may soon face other irked heads of state and government. The British newspaper The Guardian said Thursday it obtained a confidential memo suggesting the NSA was able to monitor 35 world leaders' communications in 2006. The memo said the NSA encouraged senior officials at the White House, Pentagon and other agencies to share their contacts so the spy agency could add foreign leaders' phone numbers to its surveillance systems, the report said.
The Guardian did not identify who reportedly was eavesdropped on, but said the memo termed the payoff very meager: "Little reportable intelligence" was obtained, it said.
Other European leaders arriving for the 28-nation meeting echoed Merkel's displeasure. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called it "completely unacceptable" for a country to eavesdrop on an allied leader.
If reports that Merkel's cellphone had been tapped are true, "it is exceptionally serious," Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told national broadcaster NOS.
"We want the truth," Italian Premier Enrico Letta told reporters. "It is not in the least bit conceivable that activity of this type could be acceptable."
View gallery."US Ambassador John Emerson, right, gets into his car … US Ambassador John Emerson, right, gets into his car as he leaves after a meeting with German Foreig … Echoing Merkel, Austria's foreign minister, Michael Spindelegger, said, "We need to re-establish with the U.S. a relationship of trust, which has certainly suffered from this."
France, which also vocally objected to allies spying on each other, asked that the issue of reinforcing Europeans' privacy in the digital age be added to the agenda of the two-day summit. Before official proceedings got under way, Merkel held a brief one-on-one with French President Francois Hollande, and discussed the spying controversy.
After summit talks that lasted until after 1 a.m. Friday, Herman Van Rompuy, European Council president, announced at a news conference that France and Germany were seeking bilateral talks with the United States to resolve the dispute over electronic spying by "secret services" by the end of this year.
"What is at stake is preserving our relations with the United States," Hollande told reporters at his own early-morning news conference. "They should not be changed because of what has happened. But trust has to be restored and reinforced."
"It's become clear that for the future, something must change — and significantly," Merkel said. "We will put all efforts into forging a joint understanding by the end of the year for the cooperation of the (intelligence) agencies between Germany and the U.S., and France and the U.S., to create a framework for the cooperation."
View gallery."Artist A. Signl, of the artist group Captain Borderline … Artist A. Signl, of the artist group Captain Borderline paints the mural 'Surveillance of the fittes … The Europeans' statements and actions indicated that they hadn't been satisfied with assurances from Washington. On Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama personally assured Merkel that her phone is not being listened to now and won't be in the future.
"I think we are all outraged, across party lines," Wolfgang Bosbach, a prominent German lawmaker from Merkel's party, told Deutschlandfunk radio. "And that also goes for the response that the chancellor's cellphone is not being monitored — because this sentence says nothing about whether the chancellor was monitored in the past."
"This cannot be justified from any point of view by the fight against international terrorism or by averting danger," Bosbach said.
Asked on hursday whether the Americans had monitored Merkel's previous communications, White House spokesman Carney wouldn't rule it out.
"We are not going to comment publicly on every specified alleged intelligence activity," he said.
View gallery."French President Francois Hollande, right, speaks with … French President Francois Hollande, right, speaks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as they arriv … But while the White House was staying publicly mum, Carney said the Obama administration was discussing Germany's concerns "through diplomatic channels at the highest level," as it was with other U.S. allies worried about the alleged spying.
Obama adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism Lisa Monaco wrote in an editorial for USA Today that the U.S. government is not operating "unrestrained."
The U.S. intelligence community has more restrictions and oversight than any other country, she wrote. "We are not listening to every phone call or reading every e-mail. Far from it."
Monaco noted that a privacy and civil liberties oversight board is reviewing counterterrorism efforts to ensure that privacy and civil liberties are protected.
"Going forward, we will continue to gather the information we need to keep ourselves and our allies safe, while giving even greater focus to ensuring that we are balancing our security needs with the privacy concerns all people share," she wrote.
View gallery."German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second left, and French … German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second left, and French President Francois Hollande, second right, … In the past, much of the official outrage in Europe about revelations of U.S. communications intercepts leaked by former NSA contract worker Edward Snowden seemed designed for internal political consumption in countries that readily acknowledge conducting major spying operations themselves. But there has been a new discernible vein of anger in Europe as the scale of the NSA's reported operations became known, as well as the possible targeting of a prominent leader like Merkel, presumably for inside political or economic information.
"Nobody in Germany will be able to say any longer that NSA surveillance — which is apparently happening worldwide and millions of times — is serving solely intelligence-gathering or defense against Islamic terror or weapons proliferation," said Hans-Christian Strobele, a member of the German parliamentary oversight committee.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, said Europe's undermined confidence in the U.S. meant it should suspend negotiations for a two-way free-trade agreement that would account for almost half of the global economy. The Americans, Schulz said, now must prove they can be trusted.
"Let's be honest. If we go to the negotiations and we have the feeling those people with whom we negotiate know everything that we want to deal with in advance, how can we trust each other?" Schulz said.
European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said for many Europeans, eavesdropping on their phone calls or reading their emails is particularly objectionable because it raises the specter of totalitarian regimes of the recent past.
View gallery."German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and French President … German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and French President Francois Hollande, right, arrive for a r … "At least in Europe, we consider the right to privacy a fundamental right and it is a very serious matter. We cannot, let's say, pretend it is just something accessory," Barroso told a presummit news conference.
Referring to the former East Germany's secret police, the feared Stasi, Barroso said, "to speak about Chancellor Merkel, in Germany there was a part of Germany where there was a political police that was spying on people's lives every day. So we know very recently what totalitarianism means. And we know very well what comes, what happens when the state uses powers that intrude in people's lives. So it is a very important issue, not only for Germany but for Europe in general."
In Berlin, the German Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to stress how seriously it takes the reported spying on Merkel. Germany's defense minister said his country and Europe can't return "to business as usual" with Washington, given the number of reports that the United States has eavesdropped on allied nations.
A German parliamentary committee that oversees the country's intelligence service met to discuss the spying allegations. Its head, Thomas Oppermann, recalled previous reports to the panel that U.S. authorities had denied violating German interests, and said, "we were apparently deceived by the American side."
Meanwhile, two Western diplomats told The Associated Press that U.S. officials have briefed them on documents obtained by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that might expose their respective countries' levels of intelligence cooperation with the U.S.
The diplomats said the briefings came from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The Washington Post said some of the documents Snowden took contain sensitive material about collection programs against adversaries including Iran, Russia and China. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the intelligence briefings publicly.
In this Generation, to label it the "genius's" [like neo-gaonim] would an insult to their intelligence [by dictations of ego]; all that leaves is the Generation of the gods'?
It truly fits...and with that said [as King David and Zohar also qualify] - we may have entered an era of unprecedented Avodah Zara among Men - fitting to the imagery that the Torah illustrates us with as Man will sin in those days by the workings of their hands/fingers. This "i generation" is certainly that, and their Messiah was Steve Jobs [consciousness] that ushered in the blanket permission slip for Man to do as he pleases [against his fellow man]. Today, the dumber it gets, the more genius the ego claims to be.
It is sure to get interesting, as we have just returned to the proverbial sandbox and are being held captive by the kids who eventually cried uncle over their own misery.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Commenting on the IAF’s hidden strength, and hinting to Iran and other enemies of Israel, Peres said: “The full power of the army and the air force is not visible to the naked eye, but anyone who is disdainful of Israel and plans to attack us, should take this into account.”
At the base, Peres was briefed on defense strategies by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz, IAF Commander in Chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel and senior officers who showed him the latest innovations in the air force’s defense systems.
Peres expressed his pride in all branches of the IDF and declared the IAF to be the best air force in the world with the most exclusive, advanced technological systems, plus a high quality, dedicated human component.
The Israel Air Force will never rest on its laurels, but will always but will always look forward towards future challenges, said Peres. Air strength, flexibility and capability are more relevant today than before, he added.
Gantz said that Israel is confronted by many challenges including those in the sky and is ready to meet them all 365 days a year, and to react accordingly with intelligence, operational and tactical responses against every threat.
Eshel said that the air force was the most essential and effective branch of the defense forces and was made up of exceptionally talented and devoted personnel.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2013
Undertones of Torat Shem
Rabbi David Katz
The previous Parasha ends with the circumcision of Abraham and Yishmael, and yet what most readers never find out, was that this was orchestrated by Shem. There are three ways of looking at the Brit of Abraham, and each one appears as he is the master of the art form; in fact, all three are really one in the same. Abraham musters the strength to go at it alone, as he is aided by Hashem, who in turn called upon the selfless Shem to be the facilitator to bring the command to form and function in God’s name. This is just one example of the hidden Shem; the entirety of our Parasha offers more of the same in regards to Shem, and his influence over the all of Jewish history.
With Shem having given circumcision to Abraham, we now have a perfect introduction into our Parasha, and a precedent that Shem never left Abraham’s side from their monumental meeting at the Temple Mount. As one flips the pages and scans each event that will revolve around Abraham, one can see the Shem undertones loud and clear. Up next for example, is the art of praying on behalf of the generation; where Noah would stumble Abraham shined...and perhaps Shem is was and will be the difference, as for the Final Redemption, Shem will be the all too famous Righteous Priest to get things started.
Hashem wastes no time in getting to business with Sedom and Gemorra, as their wicked cries have reached a boiling point for Divine retribution. At the same time, Hashem makes known that He must include Abraham in such matters, and Abraham meets the standard, as he prays for the lives of the righteous among the wicked. Here we see two direct connections to Shem – praying for the generation, and the link between Sedom and Jerusalem.
Where Noah stumbled in uplifting the generation, we can see that Shem rectified the problem, and helped pass the appropriate torch onwards to Abraham. The Zohar accounts that Hashem’s covenant after the Flood was actually inscribed in the merit of Shem. The Zohar also gives account that both Jerusalem and Sedom suffer common fate of destruction. However Shem took Jerusalem in a righteous direction, whereas the rest of the World made Sedom into a spiritual wasteland. That is where the similarities end, as Jerusalem is the one destined to become rebuilt. The Messianic dream of Jerusalem will also include a return of the righteous inhabitants who come as Nobleman who are in the mold of Abraham and are found in every Generation to the number of Thirty-Six. [The Zohar points out that there are 30 like Abraham, another three not included in the count, and three like the three men who appeared to Abraham at the beginning of the Parsha. These thirty-six men uphold the World every generation, and this was the precedent that Abraham prayed for.]
Fast forward to the episode of Lot and his two daughters at the tail end of the Sedom story, and we find the seeds of yet another Shem saga.
As we know, Lot fathered the eventual nation Moav; the same Moav that Ruth is destined to come from. Yet if we trek just a little bit deeper, it is almost common knowledge that the Davidic Kingdom comes out of this. These state of affairs are practically synonymous with not only David, but the Tribe of Judah. For the whole entire Judah – Ger Tzedek relationship is a sect of Torah that laid its first roots of fruition with Tamar and Judah. Tamar of course was Shem’s daughter, and their union would help shape and ferment the eventual Ruth story, along with the other Judah – Ger Tzedek relationships that would occur in close proximity of the Judah lineage. The Torah is about spiritual repair and leverage; for as much as Lot perverted the pathways [with his daughters], Shem sought to purify the World through righteous paths that the impure know not of. Of Judah, Shem, and the myriads of Gerei Tzedek; a word to the wise is sufficient.
The next stop on the Shem train is the encounter between Abraham and AviMelech. To quickly and simply put the story into Noahide context, the Talmud [and all subsequent authorities] understands that AviMelech was [Noahide] wrong for his out of bounds interest of Sarah, the wife of Abraham. To put it bluntly, in any situation [all the more so an openly dodgy situation] one must make it his business to know what is going on. As Hashem said in the Torah [and the Talmud expounded further] – AviMelech was obligated to learn, yet he hadn’t learned. This goes for all situations, places, and people. It was not impossible to know that Sarah was Abraham’s wife, thus he was obligated to make it his business to find out just exactly was going on; the difference being life and death. The Torah precept here is called Derech Eretz, and as is known Derech Eretz comes with Torah, and reminds us of Shem and Abraham on the Temple Mount that was embodied by an inheritance of Torah.
Yet one can expound further, and say that this precept is actually an [binding] invitation to take on Shabbat [something Abraham then did!] for if one is to learn [and incur possible guilt should he not learn] then Shabbat is the ticket! As Jewish Ger relations thicken towards Geulah [in relation to the Judah – Ger Tzedek tree], the two peoples will come into close proximity by nature on and around the Sabbath. Should the Jew entertain his Ger Tzedek [Ger Toshav] friends who have journeyed a great length to partake of his company, they will be obligated to have learned the ins and outs of an acceptable Shabbat. In most cases this is for the sake of the Ger, to know what is appropriate in the relationship, for Scholarship on the Jewish side may be weak as to what the function of the Ger is on Shabbat. [The same as well on the inverse] Accolades again fall upon Shem, for soon after Lech Lecha, we find Torah proof that Abraham was a Shomer Shabbat Ger, in conjunction with the Ger who learns Torah is as a High priest. [Abraham was given the High priesthood from Shem]
The last two locations of Shem in the Parasha are both tailored to Isaac. We find that the life of Isaac was inspired directly from Shem. After Isaac was weaned, the Midrash tells us that Abraham and Sarah had a party, and the generations greatest Men were in attendance. Amidst the congregation, as Sarah was attending to Isaac, she noticed that Shem and Ever had come to pay respects to young Isaac. It is a known wisdom that a nursing mother heavily influences an infant; one can imagine the Awe that Sarah had and imbued into Isaac when she saw Shem and Ever in full bloom and in relation to Abraham. Isaac was destined to be different.
And indeed he was, as after Abraham had succeeded in his 10th and final test [the Binding of Isaac, upon which both of them merited their higher self], the Midrash again fills in the missing gap, and makes the reader aware, that Isaac left the Mount, and enrolled into Shem’s Yeshiva for advanced learning. This would become the gold standard of the Abrahamic lineage, as Jacob and his sons would also learn from the mouth of Shem. In fact, Torah history would come to be defined by one’s proximity to Shem and the Torah of. Once we meet Malki Tzedek / Shem and Abraham together in Lech Lecha, the Torah’s secret precedent is established.
The lost doctrines of the Ger are not a tale of doom and gloom, for Shem is said to have eaten of the Tree of Life and Lives forever. As much as we find false religions that exploit the ambiguous nature of the Shem – Abraham connection, or in Judaism’s side it has sadly become forgotten, misquoted/learned, or blatantly left out of tradition, Shem certainly does live and thrive even to this day. Every year we have the chance to align ourselves with the Shem undertones in Genesis, and are given the opportunity to heal the Shem – Abraham union in a religious awakening. Whether it be a Ger Shabbat, extended Torah learning, or the classic Love the Ger message, we all have what to gain and learn from seeking out Shem in this new Torah cycle of the current year.
We are all given the choice – do we judge Abraham as the streimel [Chasidic fury head garb] wearing first Jew that he really wasn’t [but if we put enough makeup on him – he can be], or as the Universal message that Shem saw at the Temple Mount, and thus routed the Torah of Creation through him? Abraham makes a great Jew, maybe even the best Jew…but as a Ger, Abraham really was one of a kind, and the best part of the original Ger Tzedek story, is that it finally allows the truth of Shem and his Torah to radiate into our souls. Shem is not mentioned in our Parasha, but don’t be fooled, as Sechel is a Ger in this World. Thank God we have Abraham, the first Ger Tzedek as a constant reminder that all that we have, comes from Shem son of Noah. Thanks to Shem, Abraham goes from being a good Jew [through limited perception], and illuminates into Abraham the father of Chesed…and now, we can merit to know the difference.
Audio Shiur 11 P.M. Monday Night [Tzfat Time]
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
Parashas Lech Lecha
Abraham My Lover – The First Ger Tzedek
Rabbi David Katz
God loves Abraham. Abraham was a Ger. Abraham loves God. Under these terms, one will conclude and realize the true meaning of the text, “Abraham My Lover” – and that this Love is unconditional, running the gauntlet of every faction of Love contained in the Torah. If you want – Love God, Love Israel, Love Jews, Love Gerim, Love Torah, Love your neighbor, Love your wife, Love your son – every true love on Earth, then perhaps one should invest time into understanding Abraham, the first [Ger Tzedek] of all Gerim. To put it simply, Jews are commanded to Love [to which the commentators will apologize for the difficulty that runs towards perceived impossibility of this command] while the Ger [i.e. Abraham] simply falls in love.
To first understand matters, we as people don’t dictate our emotional affairs with God [when undeserved]. If I feel like loving God [or at least convince myself of this new religious flavor] there is no guarantee that God will openly Love me back. Yes God loves us all, yet as Torah will show time and time again, if one is so bold as to claim to Love the God of Israel, your grace period is quite short, and soon you will have the merit of meeting “Mr. Test” – for any serious follower of Torah will have his faith based on love tested promptly by God. Yet the Torah is littered with exceptions to the rule no matter what; sometimes it’s the widow, or the orphan, or the Levite….or the Ger. And always remember, God Loves the Ger. He just does.
Yes we try to Love God and sometimes it works out and sometimes we stumble in our efforts, not different than any flesh and blood relationship. Where God is different, is that His side of the equation is not based on a flesh and blood [emotional] response. God might weigh it out as a test as was mentioned, He could enter merit into the equation, this could be a matter of repentance; there are essentially a myriad of ways that God will act towards a human yearning for Him. At that rate all we can say is that God is Good, righteous, Just, and the True Judge. Some will experience a clear path to God, others will be met with challenges. Yet the biggest perceived impediment to God’s Love [as the Love is always there, that’s the point of the effort and the Torah on the matter to encourage the Servant of God to Love God through various agencies and Mitzvot, all leading to Love Hashem your God] might not be in the ingredients of which we approach Him, rather in the withdrawal of the subject’s own Love! In fact if one is compelled to Love God from trial, one can ask why do good people suffer, and if from the source of Blessing, one can belittle the actual dynamic taking place as a perceived happenstance.
Underneath the complexities of Life and Love – “He loves me/He loves me not” – for whatever reason, and all of one’s struggles and life made easy moment’s, the relationship might be different than you ever imagined, in fact, you may be operating the Abraham program, all the while you are searching for merit in Abraham! In other words, as you search for God, and to offer Love to Him, He may have already found you; Joe average may be perhaps something different to God. Sometimes God pours out His love for the sake of His love, and this becomes the foundation of being a Ger [Tzedek]. Should this be the case, instead of “trying” to Love God, one would need to realize “God loves me!” – I am a Ger, and at that point, it becomes the journey of falling in Love.
The Torah is for Jews and Gerim. Jews are commanded to Love God, Love your fellow, Love the Ger, etc. One could even say this is one reason why God created the Jews out of the World’s Gerim, to be a Nation that would forever be charged and bound to the task of preserving the art of Love. Moses reiterates often in the Book of Devarim, “What does Hashem your God want from you – only to Love Hashem your God!” This is the very premise of the Shema, in which we proclaim a Love for God after declaring his unique One-ness over His peoples. This begs the question then, as to the nature of the Ger – if he really even exists.
The good news is that he does exist, and the journey of the Ger is unique in the eyes of God, for if Noah found grace in the eyes of God, we can at least say the same thing about every Ger; one could call it the Naaman moment, when one realizes he is having a God/Jewish moment, and needs the prophet of Israel stat! Ok, not always is there a prophet of Israel standing nearby, but thanks to God’s providence [mazal], Jews and [invisible/unknown] Gerim are intertwined, and have been since God said “I am Hashem Your God, and even going back to Shem and Abraham where it all began to take its current shape. Thus for every Naaman moment, a Jew [even if unbeknownst to himself] will have his “be a light to the nations moment” – and this is where the falling into Love begins, not much different to Naaman, who departs from Elisha the Prophet, in order to properly fall in Love, and fall out of idolatry.
It is here, the Ger Toshav is born, and the path of the Ger Tzedek begins; he need not search for Abraham outside of himself in a mythological what if scenario, for he is now a student of Abraham, finally realized as a Lover of God in God’s eyes. This is where the path to the Garden of Eden and joining hands with the Shechinah will fill the heart of the Ger. God loves the Ger, and the Ger Loves God – not much different from Shir Hashirim, and the Love that King Solomon compares to the Holy of Holies.
The Ger in Love, who loves by responding to and recognizing God’s love upon him, for simply realizing that he is a noble Ger to God, will literally fall in Love on many levels and to many furthest extents. He will Love Israel, Love the Jews, Love his fellow man, etc. – in short, for every Torah precept of Love, the Ger is there. The irony is in his relationship with the Jew, for the Jew knows not of this Love, struggles with his inclinations that counter love, and even denounces the Love of the Ger; the entire time the Ger is there in Brotherhood for the Jew, yet the Jew remains blind to the Divine dynamic. Oddly, this scenario plays out throughout the entire Torah, from Kain and Able, Yishmael and Isaac, all the way until today. For all that the Jew is challenged by the yolk of Heaven, the Ger has fallen into place, and has become a standing partner in Serving God.
How ironic is it then, that Loving Ger should be discouraged from Torah, prayer, Brotherhood, Mitzvot, song and dance, etc. To put it mildly, the Ger has been put into a place of Love, and his soul’s desire now is to express this Love! – all in the name of serving God from Love, and most uniquely from the lack of command, rather from the very fact that God has Loved him, and he has seen this Love and acts to preserve it for eternity. The Ger under the spread wings of the Shekinah, will delight in the path of Torah such that the Zohar explains that this is the way to healing all of the World’s sufferings […urging people to accept their divine role and place, such that God’s Love reaches all of the Torah’s subjects; Gerim, Priests, Levites, etc. All must be realized and accepted to find content within the soul, and this alleviates suffering].
The crown jewel to such philosophy is the Shabbat, for it resonates in the exact light of the Noahide Laws. Just as one takes the Laws in the fashion as Moses taught at Sinai, so too a Ger is to take Shabbat. Not for his sake is he to take Shabbat, but to join the Brit of Yisrael [who is sworn to guard preservation that God created the World as represented by Shabbat; this serves as the World’s continued existence as well], as an expression of Amen to the Jewish command of Shabbat. The Torah hints at this by stating “My Sabbaths you shall keep” – implying two peoples’ Sabbaths; along with commentary that suggests this is the deeper appreciation as to why Hashem created Shabbat in the first place, was for World Peace between those who keep the Torah.
In short, God Loves the Ger. The Ger Loves God. Abraham was called by God His Lover, and the Ger from then on until the end of time shall be subjected to falling in Love. There is nothing to fear from such providence, for one’s salvation is finally find this Love; Blessed is the Ger to be of the first to know God’s Love, and Blessed is Am Yisrael to have a faithful Lover/Brother in the Ger. One day the Jews with give back the light and Love the Ger as he was created to do, but ironically, by that time, the Ger’s Love will already have played its part in bringing Moshiach. Torah of Moshiach? – learn to Love, and that journey began with the Ger. You may even want to call him Tzedek…like Abraham who loved God, as the father of all Gerim, and who fulfilled the Torah’s deepest desire, in making Gerim. As Torah states, God loves the Ger, and there is no greater Honor to God, than having Gerim return to walk the Divine path.
Audio Shiur Tonite Sunday 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time]
Monday, October 7, 2013
חיים עובדיה יוסף בן יעקב
- 555 - Moshiach ben Yosef in atbash [opposite letters]
- Add a ה to יהוסף for 'קידוש ה plus a "ו" for יעקוב as per Inyanei Geulah, and the Gematria is 566 - Moshiach ben Yosef.
- Roshei Teivot + Ima: חייב 'ע' הרי גוג: "The decree" against 70 Nations, who are destined to fall in the Mtns. of "Gog" [Thus the Rav's Name alludes to the impending Geulah, like Moshe preceding Joshua]
May we see Yeshuot Klal Yisrael B'Zchut Torat HaEmet! ב''ה הביאת המשיח בקרוב
Sunday, October 6, 2013
Shabbos: Taking the First Step Towards Redemption
Rabbi David Katz
Parashas Noach contains one of the most emphasized verses in the Torah that brings form to most [if not all] opinions that weigh into whether the Noahide is to keep Shabbat or not. The verse [8:22] says, “…Continuously , all the days of the earth , seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, DAY AND NIGHT, shall not cease.” The range is vast in interpreting this verse, for some it spells out an obvious forbidden connotation in regards of the Noahide’s opportunity to keep the Shabbat, yet for the advocate [i.e. the Kabbalist vs. the Rationalist] of the Noahide/Ger, it is not a question of ‘no” but rather when and how! The Zohar has a couple of views that are most pertinent when exploring the Noahide Shabbat, and how it serves as a massive step towards Redemption and in revelation of one’s soul, name, and mission on this Earth.
The path to understanding the Zohar’s very premise that the verse quoted is a proof for Shabbat observance, one must first have a background knowledge of a deeper look at the Six days of Creation – after all, Shabbat is the day that we glorify Hashem of having created the World! The following system is a key to understanding most Kabbalah and the Noahide – Jewish relationship through usage of the famed model of the Tree of Life; this will be through precedent of the Days of Creation Divine Attributes [Sefirot] that are applicable to Jews and Gerim.
As most are aware, the Creation took place through God’s labor amidst six days, whereas on the Seventh Day, it would become a Blessed rest day for Hashem through His Blessing to make it so. For all that the traditional 7th Day “Shabbat” is the proper time and place for this rest day, i.e. at the end of the week [as this would be the precedent given to Israel at Sinai, and the most easily understood in the Torah] the Zohar illustrates that per force of Kabbalistic truths, there is another aspect to the rest day, and this comes from yet another principle in scripture [Vayikra 19:3], “My Sabbaths you shall observe.”
The grammar in this expression implies that the Shabbat is not double for one observant group; rather it implies two different observances. The simple answer is the Jew and the Ger are its subjects – to which the Sefer “Bahir” offers an analogy to describe a King’s Day of Joy that he shares with his beautiful bride along with his two sons of which he deeply loves. The Zohar [Hakdamah 5a] then takes liberty to explain through the Divine Attributes offer a clear blueprint as to how this works. Once we have a model of Wisdom as to how this works on a soul level, it becomes quite easy to provide the Chassidut [“Chassidei Umot HaOlam”], or, the sweet Torah of Spirituality in real time, in a way that we can easily see how to live this out in our lives every day of the week.
The Zohar after an explanatory discourse, shows how the first three days of creation are called “Avot” [“fathers”, after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in an analogous level of exegesis], and they culminate into an unprecedented revelation on the Fourth Day, which is the day that the Moon was reduced in size [which fourth emphasizes the point, as the Moon is a hint of the Shabbat Day, or the proverbial “Seventh” level]. Simultaneously, days Four, Five, and Six function as a unit of three [and obviously a full set of Six Days], logically, giving way to the Seventh Day, the traditional Shabbat. What makes this passage in the Zohar most interesting is that it says that Day Four as the Fourth Day in regards to the Three “Avot” is actually a hidden Shabbat [in regards to the first three days] and can only express itself as such, alongside our traditional Seventh Day Shabbat.
The spin on this outlook, is that anyone uninitiated into the Zohar’s rationale, may hastily conclude that the “first Shabbat” [i.e. the Fourth Day] would belong to the non-Jew and the traditional Shabbat belongs to the Jew. Yet with careful consideration to all angles [the Zohar takes into account an extremely dynamic model and numerous factors into its formula], we see that the Jewish Shabbat is surprisingly the Day Four revelation [that can only be revealed on the Seventh Day] while the Noahide Shabbat is in its traditional spot. To simplify matters, the Seventh Day is the location of the level of Shabbat “To Guard” [“שמור”] (which is taken up by Jews and Gerim) while the level of the Fourth day [actualized on the Seventh day] is synonymous with the term “To Remember Shabbat” [“זכור”].
Thus Israel embodies “to guard” and “to remember” – two powers condensed into one day. The Ger contains his “to remember” within the confines of “to guard.” The outcome is one day of Shabbat for two peoples, perfectly catered to both, in a way that not only is spiritually satisfying, but prepares the World for Messianic revelation. This becomes more easily visible once perceived in context of the Name of God and in Divine Attributes.
In Kabbalah, there are 10 Sefirot, which when placed in context of a system of “Seven” [days of the week, Laws of Noach, etc.] the custom is to employ the lower seven Attributes, while the upper three serve as an inspiration to the lower seven, much like a head and a body. Thus the Seven levels of Attributes can be seen in two different ways, such that the model of Shabbat works.
The first Three Days that are coined “Avot” would find that their “Fourth” Day is located in “Kingship” [Malchut] – the traditional 7th. It just so happens that the first three days/attributes find their fourth level only in the seventh and last space, thus leapfrogging over the traditional 4th, 5th, and 6th spots, settling in Kingship/7th Day – the Day of God’s Glory. This is parallel to the Forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their culmination into the “Fourth Forefather” – King David. This constitutes the level of “Remembering Shabbat.” The Ger Shabbat then takes numbers 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and into the 7th Day – the Holy Shabbat that must be guarded.
It is at this junction, that we find two peoples, Jews and Gerim, each observing Shabbat, in a unique way tailored to their souls, and in the same time and space. As the verse says, “DAY AND NIGHT, shall not cease” we now have two people to observe, guard, and remember an entire Shabbat. The Zohar explains that the Ger’s Shabbat emphasizes and utilizes the Friday Night as a modus operundi to fully punctuate the portion of Shabbat that falls within the first hours of Shabbat. The Shabbat portion that best suits the Jew, is to take command of the Shabbat Day, gaining full steam ahead, and erupting through Havdalah, onwards into “Yom Rishon” [Day one of the new week].
Both keep the Shabbat by day and night; metaphorically the Jews rest Friday Night and are prepared to enhancingly serve God by day [as there are more proactive measures to fulfill by day for the Jew] while the Ger is infused to rush into Shabbat after an exhilarating 6th Day and onwards into Friday night, while enjoying a day of rest with the Lord on Shabbat Day. Both Night and Day are kept by both, and when Gerim and Jews perfect the art of Shabbat before Moshiach arrives, we will find an enlightened Night by Jews [as prepared by the Gerim] and a day of Torah for Gerim [as prepared by Jews]. It may be quite simple to say that Jews have kept night and day Shabbat forever, yet the emphasis comes within, “Shall not cease” – as if in taking shifts while one sleeps, the other takes command.
The Zohar states that through this, Holiness will pour into the World, and levels of never seen before Wisdom will enter our lives. As we grow in Holiness, Hashem will reveal Himself in Awesome revelation that will allow Mankind to repair the World for the Messianic Age. Thus we find two verses that the Zohar shows how Jews and Gerim working together in their mutual Shabbat, are foretold as “You shall guard my Sabbaths” and “Night and Day shall not cease.” As the story usually goes with Jews and Gerim, the Torah and Kabbalah are predicated around the existence and fulfillments of these two Nations; Shabbat perhaps is the greatest example of unity, partnership, and Brotherhood that is prerequisite to God’s Most Holy Day.
We find yet another theme in the Zohar, that Noach is synonymous with Shabbat, for his prophetic name means what Shabbat is by definition: Rest! Parashas Noach may be a great source to learn about Shabbat, but truth be told, it is THE GUIDE to understanding redemption for all of time, either by simple definition of the past, or by looking forward in prophecy by means of the allegorical truth latent in the Parsha.
Yet one topic that is utterly buried in the Parsha, and is often overlooked [if not blatantly left out] is the life and story of Shem. Underneath all of the redemption plotlines of the Parsha starring Noach, we are bound to get caught up in the Noach – Abraham comparisons that will spill over into Lech Lecha. The missing link to these Parshiot, and to the Torah itself is Shem and the Torah of Shem. We are told by tradition that Shem stood for peace as lesson learned against the evil that existed in the days prior to the Flood. Thus for the Parsha that carries the loudest undertones for Shabbat is defined by definitions of Peace / Shalom.
The Arizal says that Noach and Shem are the same aspect in two different people; each one giving a unique perspective of Torah, for we needed two people to express what the Mouth of God can say as one. If Hashem said “Remember and Guard the Shabbat Day” [the Torah captures both versions, and fittingly enough alludes to both Jews and Gerim separately in each location] in one utterance [as we heard two], then perhaps the message of Noach and Shem [to Abraham the First amongst the Gerim and all other Gerim] is simple…The path to redemption can be enveloped in the simple yet eloquent greeting that World will one day be announcing in every city on the planet; none other than, “Shabbat Shalom.” Once this is said, then His “Mikdash you shall fear” – as Shem and Abraham stood in Jerusalem [fear/Shalom lit.], obvious secrets of Torah hidden no more.
Audio Shiur on Parasha 11 P.M. [Tzfat Time] Yom Rishon [Sunday Night]
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Americans say they need a crisis. Perhaps the World needs World Crisis I instead of the WWIII. As Rahmbo says, never let the opportunity of a good crisis go to waste. This is political engineering that I can actually look forward to; Mazal-nomics 101 - letting fate decide [i.e. God] could actually be the trump card this transition needs. I'm game if this is in fact the game.
The US government began a partial shutdown on Tuesday for the first time in 17 years, potentially putting up to 1 million workers on unpaid leave, closing national parks and stalling medical research projects.
Federal agencies were directed to cut back services after lawmakers could not break a political stalemate that sparked new questions about the ability of a deeply divided Congress to perform its most basic functions.
After House Republicans floated a late offer to break the logjam, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid rejected the idea, saying Democrats would not enter into formal negotiations on spending "with a gun to our head" in the form of government shutdowns.
The political dysfunction at the Capitol also raised fresh concerns about whether Congress can meet a crucial mid-October deadline to raise the government's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling.
With an eye on the 2014 congressional elections, both parties tried to deflect responsibility for the shutdown. President Barack Obama accused Republicans of being too beholden to Tea Party conservatives in the House of Representatives and said the shutdown could threaten the economic recovery.
The political stakes are particularly high for Republicans, who are trying to regain control of the Senate next year. Polls show they are more likely to be blamed for the shutdown, as they were during the last shutdown in 1996.
"Somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose," said pollster Peter Brown of the Quinnipiac University poll. "Going in, Obama and the Democrats have a little edge."
The dollar held steady on Tuesday even though much of the US government was due to start shutting down. S&P stock futures inched up 0.2 percent, unchanged from earlier price action after the cash index fell 0.6 percent on Monday, while US Treasury futures slipped 5 ticks.
Most Asian markets were trading higher on Tuesday.
The shutdown, the culmination of three years of divided government and growing political polarization, was spearheaded by Tea Party conservatives united in their opposition to Obama, their distaste for Obama's healthcare law and their campaign pledges to rein in government spending.
Obama refused to negotiate over the Republican demands and warned a shutdown could "throw a wrench into the gears of our economy."
Some government offices and national parks will be shuttered, but spending for essential functions related to national security and public safety will continue, including pay for US military troops.
"It's not shocking there is a shutdown, the shock is that it hasn't happened before this," said Republican strategist John Feehery, a former Capitol Hill aide. "We have a divided government with such diametrically opposed views, we need a crisis to get any kind of results."
In the hours leading up to the deadline, the Democratic-controlled Senate repeatedly stripped measures passed by the House that tied temporary funding for government operations to delaying or scaling back the healthcare overhaul known as Obamacare. The Senate instead insisted on funding the government through Nov. 15 without special conditions.
Whether the shutdown represents another bump in the road for a Congress increasingly plagued by dysfunction or is a sign of a more alarming breakdown in the political process could be determined by the reaction among voters and on Wall Street.
"The key to this is not what happens in Washington. The key is what happens out in the real world," said Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis. "When Joe Public starts rebelling, and the financial markets start melting down, then we'll see what these guys do."
A Reuters/Ipsos poll showed about one-quarter of Americans would blame Republicans for a shutdown, 14 percent would blame Obama and 5 percent would blame Democrats in Congress, while 44 percent said everyone would be to blame.
An anticipated revolt by moderate House Republicans fizzled earlier on Monday after House Speaker John Boehner made personal appeals to many of them to back him on a key procedural vote, said Republican Representative Peter King of New York.
After Boehner made his appeal, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer called on him to permit a vote on a simple extension of federal funding of the government without any Obamacare add-on. "I dare you to do that," Hoyer roared.
The potential fallout has some Republican Party leaders worried ahead of the 2014 mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race, particularly given the Republican divisions over the shutdown.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who commandeered the Senate floor for 21 hours last week to stoke the confrontation and urge House colleagues to join him, sparked a feud with fellow Republicans who disagreed with the shutdown and accused the potential 2016 presidential candidate of grandstanding.
"Whether or not we're responsible for it, we're going to get blamed for it," King told reporters on Monday. "They've locked themselves into a situation, a dead-end that Ted Cruz created."
It was unclear how long the shutdown would last and there was no clear plan to break the impasse. The Senate on Tuesday planned to recess until 9:30 a.m. (1330 GMT), at which time Democrats expect to formally reject the House of Representatives' latest offer for funding the government.
The shutdown will continue until Congress resolves its differences, which could be days or months. But the conflict could spill over into the more crucial dispute over raising the federal government's borrowing authority.
A failure to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling would force the country to default on its obligations, dealing a potentially painful blow to the economy and sending shockwaves around global markets.
Some analysts said a brief government shutdown - and a resulting backlash against lawmakers - could cool Republican demands for a showdown over the debt limit.
"A lot of this is political theater. It's not about real policy. Part of this is taking a stand for their constituents," said Julian Zelizer, a historian at Princeton University.
"If there is fallout from a shutdown and there is a big enough shock, maybe they will be willing to move on to other issues," he said.
Obama says negotiating over the demands would only encourage future confrontations, and Democrats are wary of passing a short-term funding bill that would push the confrontation too close to the deadline for raising the debt ceiling.
"The bottom line is very simple - you negotiate on this, they will up the ante for the debt ceiling," Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said.