Add up the winning numbers in the $1.5 Billion Power Ball Lottery this week and you get 102, the exact gematria (numerical value) of emuna. Do you realize what Hashem's message is here? If you have emuna, you're a billionaire, much better off than if you won the lottery. Why? I guarantee you that the lottery winners have lost their peace of mind - their worries are only beginning. Wait and see how many long-lost friends and relatives come out of the woodwork with extended palms. But with emuna, you go through life with a smile on your face, no matter what. So if you have emuna, congratulations! You're the big winner. Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat!
Tremendous thanks to our cherished friend Nachum Kligman of Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph for initiating this post.
With broken hearts, we mourn the death of a most special soul, Rabbi Reuven Birmacher, HY"D (may Hashem avenge his martyred blood). Rabbi Reuven was 45, a Baal Teshuva who was born in Argentina and made aliya to Israel. He learned in the Torah v'Emuna Yeshiva in Jerusalem and later in Rabbi Shaul Yitzchak Frankel's Kollel together with my oldest son, Rabbi BenTzion. They were best friends.
Yesterday at about noon, we heard sirens after sirens outside our Breslev Israel and Chut Shel Chesed office windows in Jerusalem - the mixture of police cars and ambulances rushing in the direction of the Old City, a few minutes walking distance from our yeshiva, told us that something serious was happening. We soon found out that two Arab terrorists armed with knives had attacked several people at the Jaffa Gate, one of whom was Rabbi Reuven, of martyred and blessed memory. Seven hours later, he died of his wounds, leaving a wife and seven children.
In recent years, Rabbi Reuven taught at the Spanish division of the Aish Hatora Yeshiva in Jerusalem. He was killed when he was on the way to teaching Torah.
The second victim of yesterday's terrorist attack was Ofer Ben Ari, 46, who left behind a widow and two children.
May Hashem have mercy on the widows and orphans, may He uproot sorrow from our midst and bring us a merciful redemption. May we all come back to Him in real teshuva, very soon, amen!
The U.S. State Department, the White House and the European Union have been doing their utmost this past year to isolate Israel; we owe them our sincere our gratitude for their unrelenting efforts, for an isolated Israel is great news.
Why does the President of the United States and the State Department repeatedly deny the presence of Jihadi forces in America? Simply because they support Jihad. Obama's best friend Erdogan is the world's #1 consumer of ISIS oil; the revenue Turkey pays ISIS keeps the Jihad alive. As far as the White House and the State Department are concerned, Turkey is a valuable ally while Israel is expendable. There's therefore no way to trust the current USA administration.
If anyone in Israel entertained the thought of leaving a hostile Obama-Kerry administration and turning to Putin, Hashem put a veto on that. While fighting ISIS, Putin is solidly aligned with Iran and Hezbulla, Israel's sworn enemies.
The seemingly confusing world situation (but crystal clear according to emuna) is that the USA is backing the Sunni Moslems while Russia is behind the Shiite Moslems. Both Sunnis and Shiites are bent on destroying Israel. The result is that we're totally isolated. "Thank You, Hashem, for isolating us; everything that happens in the world is Your doing, and it's all for the best!"
Moses blessed the People of Israel before he died, "And Israel shall dwell in security isolated." This is one of the best blessings of Torah, if only we'd heed it...
In the south of Israel in the Negev Desert, lives an amazing creature, the Yael - the Ibex, or Israeli mountain goat (see photo, above). You won't find a more sure-footed animal in creation. It's breathtaking to see the Yael walk along steep and narrow mountain ledges, where the slightest slip means plunging down hundreds of meters to the canyon below. But the fact that the Yael lives in such rugged and treacherous terrain is also his protection. He dwells alone, where no predator or enemy can reach him.
When we the people of Israel dwell on a spiritual high of unshakable emuna, no predator or enemy can reach us either. Perhaps one of the reasons that the Shofar is made from the horn of a Yael is to teach us to be like him. When we put all our trust in Hashem, we too are surefooted and never fall.
The important news is that Chanuka reminds us to rid ourselves of any and all foreign influence and dependence. Thank goodness, we lead lives of Torah and emuna, and we don't lead two-faced and immoral governments.
Any person with emuna should be delighted that the administration in Washington, DC has blatantly betrayed Israel. Any occasion in our history when Israel depended on a foreign power led to submission and tragedy. It's about time we did what Hashem wants us to do and not what foreign governments want us to do. For example, the cowardly building freeze in Israel during the last six years as a capitulation to the White House did not bring peace; it only created a shortage of at least 20,000 housing units and drove apartment prices here through the roof. The 3,000 units that the Israeli Government is currently planning are certainly welcome, but still a drop in the bucket.
Don't be afraid as the nations of the world isolate us - Hashem is doing this for our very best and as preparation for the imminent redemption of our people - the Geula. You'd like to be part of the Geula, wouldn't you? Or do you prefer to continue hiding your kippa in your pocket and wearing a baseball hat or a beret so that your hostile neighbors won't know that you're Jewish?
Live like a Yael, with no fear of anyone but Hashem. Vayishkon Yisrael betach badad - "And Israel shall dwell in security isolated." Happy Chanuka from the Land of Emuna.
In light of current events, the following essay - written in 2004 by a Spaniard using the pen-name of Sebastián Vilar Rodrigez - is especially timely. It tells a truth that few people want to hear:
I walked down the street in Barcelona, and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz.
We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world. The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world.
These are the people we burned. And under the pretense of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.
They have turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naïve hosts. And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition.
We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for hoping for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.
What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.
Above image, credit AFP via Jerusalem Post: Malchei Yisrael Street in Geula, Jerusalem, scene of one of Tuesday's heinous terrorist attacks where Rabbi Shaya Krishevsky Hy"d was brutally murdered
I have been in Israel for 45 years and I don't remember a security crisis like the present. Even during the wars of 1973 and 1982, families of soldiers were under pressure but there was no fighting in the streets of Israel. As far as the rocket attacks we get in the south of Israel, you get a warning siren and 30 seconds to run for cover. But, when a terrorist attacks from behind on a crowded street with a knife, there's no siren and no time - one must react in less than a second.
There have been terrible, excruciatingly painful terrorist atrocities in our recent history. Yet, there has never been a situation where people all over the country feel the tension.
Yesterday (Tuesday) was a rough day. The 5 terrorist hits were all perpetrated by Arabs with Israeli IDs, those who received good salaries from Jewish employers, such as the cursed Alaa Abu Jamal who worked for the Bezeq phone company and killed our beloved friend Rabbi Yeshayahu (Shaya) Krishevsky, 59, a Pinsk-Karliner Chassid, a Torah scholar and the nicest most gentle person you'd ever want to meet. I don't want to be too graphic, but Abu Jamal split Shaya's skull open with an ax. Words cannot express such barbarians. Yesterday here on the Beams, we gave you a glimpse of their spiritual leaders (sic) who incite them.
We must do our hishtadlut (effort) to protect ourselves. Those who have weapons and know how to use them should carry them. Learn the basics of how to protect yourself against different types of knife attacks and increase peripheral awareness while walking down the street. Try to anticipate trouble before it happens.
This is probably the hardest national test of emuna yet, for the enemy is within our midst. Yet despite the losses, big miracles have been happening also. We must be strong and know that Hashem is with us, and nothing provides the inner strength that emuna does. Spreading emuna is therefore critical at this time; so is Jewish unity. We must put all the petty differences and intramural bickering aside, immediately.
The root treatment to terror is prayer, teshuva and like we said - emuna. G-d willing, I'll elaborate much more on my shiur and broadcast this evening. One thing is sure - everything comes from Hashem and it's all for the best. Our current wave of troubles is definitely paving the way to Moshiach and Geula. By the way, the neighborhood where Shay Krishevsky was so brutally martyred yesterday is Geula - that's where we're heading, soon, amen!
The war used to be on our borders. Yet today, Islamic terror plagues our entire country. What's more, because of the Islamic Movement inside Israel joining forces with Hamas in Gaza, Israeli Arabs are now participating in terrorist acts together with there brothers in Gaza and in the so-called Palestinian Authority (PA). What is behind all this terrorist violence that has spread all over Israel in recent days? Why are all Jews affected? What's Hashem's message and what can we do to solve the problem? Find answers to all these probing questions in today's emuna shiur and live broadcast, which is a must-see...
"Breaking the Blade," today's emuna shiur and broadcast will take place this evening (Wednesday), G-d willing, at 7:00 PM local time at our Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva, 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street, Jerusalem, in the main sanctuary. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time As always, the live shiur is open to the public - both men and women are welcome - so if you're anywhere near Jerusalem, come on by! If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it on this coming week on Lazer Beams.
"Islam is a religion that preaches peace..." (Barack Obama, President of the USA, UN Speech, Sept., 2014).
Is that so, Mr. President? Have you attended mosque services in Gaza lately? Thanks to our esteemed friends at MEMRI, we get a glimpse of an Islamic spiritual leader, "Abu Rajab", from the Al-Abrar Mosque in Rafah, Gaza brandishing a dagger during his sermon and inciting his listeners wherever they are to go and murder Jews. This video is not for the faint of heart. But don't worry, our shiur tomorrow, G-d willing, will address current events and explain how to disarm the Abu Rajabs of the world.
Look with your own eyes and listen with your own ears to what's being said less than an hour's drive from my home in the south of Israel. See this and ponder if Israel can ever make peace with such barbarism. Here's a taste of reality from this past Friday: