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56 posts from July 2014

Sirens Strengthen Emuna

Everything Hashem does in the world is a message for us.

The current war in Gaza and the Red Alert sirens are no exception. The whole purpose of the sirens are to remind us that there's no one to trust but Hashem.

The Hebrew word for siren is azaka, אזעקה - which has a numerical value of 183. The Hebrew words for faith and trust, emuna v'bitachon, אמונה ובטחון - also equal 183. There you have it - the entire purpose of the siren us to enhance our faith and trust in Hasahem. Once we do so on our own accord, we won't need the sirens to prod us.

Sirens Strnegthen Emuna


Israel's Open Spaces

Marina rocket

The above image shows a Grad missile that sneaked past the Iron Dome missile-defense system and landed in Ashdod this past Friday afternoon. As usual, the newscasters broadcast the above news item and said, as usual, "Iron Dome intercepted three missiles over Ashdod this afternoon, but one missile fell in open spaces." For a listener who isn't familiar with Israel, it sounds like the missile landed someplace similar to the Sahara Desert or the Grand Canyon. But in tiny Israel, open spaces are parking lots and vacant sandlots adjacent to residential areas, as in the above image.

Hashem threads needles with the Hamas missiles. It's about time that we open are eyes and recognize Hashem's phenomenal providence, protection and patience. Such miracles, such as the 2000-plus missiles that have been fired at us in recent weeks that have led to such a miniscule level of casualties and damages, obligate us to understand Hashem's message, awaken from our spiritual slumber and to return to Hashem.

We don't want another war; if we all wake up and make teshuva, this war will be the last.


Hamas Tunnels: Hashem Sees What We Don't

Attack tunnels
We've been intending to write about the Hamas attack tunnels that reach deep inside Israeli territory for several weeks now, but there are many stories being told with details that needed verification.

Rabbi Arie Deri (MK-Shas) is a member of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs commitee. He verified that the story of the planned Hamas attack for Rosh Hashana, as follows:

For years now, Hamas has been searching for a game-changer against Israel. As such, they have been digging assault tunnels that reach deep inside Israeli territory, as far as the Gaza-border communities. Hamas created a sinister master assault plan for an operation that would make 9-11 look like Sesame Street. They planned to send at least 200 of their best fighters through a number of the tunnels, simultaneously to at least six communities this coming Rosh Hashana, when everyone would be home and when surveillance and defensive alertness would be minimal. Their objective was to kill and kidnap as many people as possible, especially children, and to bring the south of Israel to its knees. This was supposed to be a terrorist attack like nothing history has ever known. To make matters worse, all the terrorists would be wearing regulation IDF fatigues.

With the above in mind, Hamas didn't want the current war at this time. It prematurely ruined their plans. So, when Hamas said that they were not responsible for the kidnapping and murders of our three holy martyrs Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer, may Hashem avenge their holy blood, they were not lying. Our martyrs were killed by the Hevron-area Hamasniks, who are still at large. One source told me that the killers were operating on the initiative of their local Hevron cell without coordination with Gaza HQ and that Gaza Hamas HQ was in fact taken by surprise. Another source told me that they weren't taken by surprise, but that they were surprised by Israel's no-nonsense reaction in rounding up and re-incarcerating many of the terrorists that had been released in the Shalit deal. In either case, Hamas did not plan on a war at this time, which explains the inexplicable and eerie quiet that we had from them in the south of Israel during the six months that preceded the "Operation Protective Edge", the current war .

Don't forget that the Hamas assault tunnels were used to kidnap and capture Gilead Shalit eight years ago in June of 2006. Yet, since then, Israeli intel - both military and civilain - has grossly underrated the potential threat of the Hamas tunnels and were caught by surprise, doing virtually nothing to prepare for and counter the threat. Remember, Hamas terrorists, although foiled in several infiltration attempts like the one near Sufa, nonetheless entered Israel through a terror tunnel and opened fire on IDF forces who were patrolling the area, killing Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, and Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, may Hashem avenge their martyred blood.

Hashem, who never slumbers, was not caught by surprise; He foiled the Hamas plans and saved us from a tragedy of catastrophic proportions.

Imagine thousands of Hamas terrorists infiltrating the south of Israel wearing IDF uniforms! Who knows the damage that could have been done, and on Rosh Hashana as well! Hashem didn't want that to happen, so He chose three pure souls - Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer - as pure sacrifices to be martyred as an atonement for the Jewish People. Although our intel did not see either the quantitative or qualitative dangers of the Hamas assault tunnels, but Hashem saw both - He sees what we don't.

Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaer of sacred and martyred memory truly sacrificed themselves for the welfare of all of Israel. We must never forget them, for their deaths triggered the war and the discovery of the Hamas assault tunnels and the magnitude of their threat.

We thank the "Forum Dati" of Bat Yam for the following clip, which drives the point of the tunnel-threat home; imagine that the tunnel exits into your backyard:


More Miracles: Reasons to Dance

Explosive device beitar

Image above, courtesy of Israel Police via kikarhashabbat.com - disassembled car-bomb explosive device from Beitar, 27 July, 2014

The ongoing war in Gaza has blurred our focus on Judea and Samaria, where a new entifada is brewing.

Yesterday morning, an alert border policeman at Beitar Illit noticed that the driver of a white west-bound Citroen Berlingo was acting weird - he pulled him over but he tried to get away. He was apprehended immediately and arrested. In the back of the Berlingo, the officers saw several prodigious cooking gas canisters, the size that would be sufficient for a month's needs for a 12-family apartment building. These propane cannisters were connected to chunks of metal and an explosive device which contained several pounds of TNT (the flesh-colored play-dough looking substance in the image above). Police sappers disassembled the car bomb, which was intended to explode in an Israeli residential area. Hashem prevented a mega-catastrophe. In the words of super-modest officer Yeshurun Zoran, a real hero who we all owe much to:

We're in the notorious "9 Days" before Tisha B'Av, and yet Hashem's miracles and loving-kindness know no bounds. We should all be singing praises and songs of gratitude all day long.

The Klausenberger Rebbe osb"m, who lost a wife and 11 children in the Holocaust, addressed the challenges of our people and taught how to regard them from the proper perspective: "A father's mercy is upon his son; it's therefore clear that our Father in Heaven doesn't want to harm us, for His love of His people Israel and even the sinners of Israel is well known."

Read all about it in Dance the Troubles Away, my feature article in this week's issue of Breslev Israel magazine.

This week's Torah portion is Devarim. Digging Up the Dirt is a very relavant elaboration on it.

Also featured this week: 

Rabbi Shalom Arush - Gift from Gaza

Dr. Zev Ballen - The Price of Peace

Racheli Reckles - A Sexist Religion? and Club Paradise

Rivka Levy - A Minute of Peace

David Perlow - War? What For? 

Important Announcement - this week, there will not be a live emuna shiur and broadcast; G-d willing, we'll be back next week, the day after Tisha B'Av. Have a great week and G-d bless!


Balance of Power

The world is chaotic now, and we especially feel the chaos in Israel. What's the underlying spiritual lesson we must learn from this? Hashem created the world with four basic elements; peace and harmony depend on the elements working in balance and in unison, for this is the key in understanding not only current events, but all of creation, as we learn in this week's emuna lesson. Don't miss it, because we also tell the story about some of the miracles that have been happening here lately. Enjoy, and let's hear good news from each other:


The Miracle Grenade

Grenade and bullet
Here's a miracle of miracles: 

Nir Dabouri of Israel's Channel Two News online (Mako), reports: an IDF infantryman was hit with an AK-47 (Kalatchnikov) bullet which hit one of the pouches in his flak jacket. The pouch held an Israeli-made assault grenade. The grenade fully absorbed the bullet, but didn't explode!

This is a magnificent triple miracle as follows:

1. The soldier was hit in the torso but the bullet did him no harm;

2. The bullet penetrated the grenade (the bullet could have easily ricocheted off the grenade and hit the soldier anywhere in his torso);

2. The grenade did not explode!

The chances of a soldier emerging unscratched from such an uncounter is one in a trillion.