36 posts categorized "Hashkafa - Jewish outlook"

V'hi She'amda: The Eternal Promise

Even though I am cold-turkey on political issues, there are still those who are asking for my reaction to the USA's venomous criticism of Israel: I'm delighted. Maybe now, our people will finally learn that there's no one to trust but Hashem. We certainly can't trust our own elected leaders, who prefer political expediency to justice and truth and who brazenly declare in the media that they refuse to heed Hashem's laws. I pray that we all come back to Him in complete teshuva; this would be the finest response to both our so-called friends abroad, to our enemies and to our own elected officials, none of whom surprise us in the least.

The Gemara (tractate Sanhedrin 97b) says that the Nation of Israel (aka the Jewish People) will be redeemed as soon as they make teshuva, in other words, return to Hashem and the ways of His Torah. The Gemara then asks, what happens if the Nation of Israel doesn't make teshuva? Rebbe Yehoshua answers that if Israel doesn't make teshuva, then Hashem places them under the influence of a wicked king whose evil decrees are as severe as Haman's, and then they make teshuva.

We cannot fathom The Almighty's love for us and His infinite mercy. Despite the fact that we haven't made Teshuva from Love, which is what we need to do in order to be redeemed, and despite the fact that our own misdeeds put us under the boot of each generation's wicked kings, Hashem has made an eternal promise to deliver us from their hands. That's the V'hi She'amda prayer that we recite each year in the Haggada.

Let me share with you something additional about Hashem's love for His people: The Heavenly Altar and Throne is known as Upper Jerusalem; it is situated directly above Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is known in the Zohar, Midrash, and Gemara as Lower Jerusalem. Hashem refuses to dwell in Upper Jerusalem until His permanent dwelling on earth - the Holy Temple - will be rebuilt in Lower Jerusalem (see Gemara tractate Taanit 5a, Midrash Tehillim 122, Vilna Gaon's elaboration of Zohar, Safra DeTzniuta, ist Chapter). Many evil world leaders are denying our right to the area of our own Holy Temple. Once again, we have no cause to be angry at them, for as soon as we make real teshuva, they will crumble. But, until we make teshuva, those evil leaders should be forewarned that by disenfranchising Israel from what they call East Jerusalem, they are in effect trying to disenfranchise The Almighty. Cherished brothers and sisters, that won't happen, period.

Hashem has no gratification by forcing us to make teshuva. When we strengthen our emuna and seek Hashem on our own accord, we sanctify His Holy Name. Let's wake up, beloved brothers and sisters. It's either nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles or emuna books and CDs; the choice is ours. Now you can understand why Emuna Outreach is working so hard to spread emuna around the globe - Rav Shalom Arush says that every emuna book or CD neutralizes one ballistic missile. When Moshiach comes, he'll show us all how emuna saved lives; the Gemara says that anyone who saves one life is considered as if he or she saved an entire world.

V'hi She'amda is a Passover song whose words come from the Haggada. It conveys a very timely message for the Jewish people: He who stood by our forefathers stands by us to deliver us from the hands of our enemies in every generation.

One of Jewish music's favorite sons, my dear friend Yonatan Razel, wrote a beautiful melody for this song, which he sings here with the king of Jewish singers, my very special friend Yaacov Shwekey. You'll get shivers up your spine and tears in your eyes listening to them. We're sure you'll enjoy this musical treat as much as we do. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat, Seder night and Passover holiday!


Jihad and an Isolated Israel

Yael Negev Ibex
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.


Wave of Terror in Israel

Carrying the Load
In light of the extremely tense security situation here in Israel and the recent wave of terror attacks, people are searching for solutions and many are demanding that the government adopt drastic measures. Woe to he who trusts in the government.

Today on Radio Kol Berama, my beloved teacher Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a gave an hour-long spiritual assessment of the current situation. He reiterated a salient point that the holy Chofetz Chaim osb"m said some 85 years ago before he left this physical earth - there is no political, military, economic or any other solution to the War of Gog and Magog. So what does one do in the face of imminent danger? We take the advice of King David, which we said every day during Succoth when we were reciting Hallel: "Israel, trust in Hashem!" (Psalm 115:9). The Chofetz Chaim stressed that during the War of Gog and Magog as well as during the tribulations that precede Moshiach's imminent arrival, there is no physical ploy or method to avoid stern judgments from Above. So what can we do?

There's plenty to do, says Rav Shalom:

1. First, we strengthen ourselves in emuna. Everyone believes that there's Hashem in the world, but few believe that Hashem does everything for the very best, which constitutes true emuna.

2. Second, we must remind ourselves of Hashem's love for us, remembering the amazing miracles that He did for us in 1967 and 1973, when the Arab nations united to wipe us off the map, when Sadaam Hussein rained SCUD missiles all over us in 1991 and all through recent years till today. We must daily thank Hashem for our national salvations and our private salvations. Personally, were it not for a rapid series of miracles that Hashem did for me in a no-way-out combat situation, I wouldn't be alive today. Think about your own miracles and take nothing for granted. Thank Hashem constantly.

3. Those who don't yet observe the Sabbath should begin immediately. Those who observe Sabbath should strengthen their knowledge of the laws of Sabbath.

4. One should ponder Hashem constantly and speak to Him as much as possible.

5. One should encourage others to learn and strengthen emuna.

Why are the finest people getting stabbed and becoming martyrs? Hashem is trying to wake us all up. He wants us to return to Him wholeheartedly, for our own benefit. Hashem has no joy from making us suffer; He would much prefer that we strengthen ourselves in emuna and in teshuva on our own accord. Hashem has no gratification from the  injuries and deaths of His beloved children, yet He has wonderful gratification from every person who calls His Name and gets closer to Him.

We now have a very clear choice: either we accept the yoke of Hashem or suffer more stern judgments, Heaven forbid. Before you continue choosing immodesty and debauchery to modesty and morality, web-surfing over Torah learning or playing golf on Shabbat to observing the Shabbat, stop and think if you are acting in a responsible manner toward yourself, your family and the Jewish People...

Moshiach and Geula are fast on the way; the world is changing every moment and nothing is predictable. We too must change, for the better. I promise you, we'll all be happier and we'll see Hashem's miracles with our own eyes. Meanwhile, we'll continue to serve Hashem, build and thrive in our holy homeland with emuna, and not with fear of anyone but Hashem. Ein Od Milvado!