As you're reading this, I'm on my way to Miami, via Rome, Italy. We hope to see you soon!
The third birthday is a big milestone for a little Jewish boy, for that's when he gets his first haircut and begins learning how to read. Traditionally, this is done on Lag B'Omer. Many people travel to the graves of great tzaddikim for the "challakeh", the first haircut, such as the gravesites of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai in Miron or the gravesite of Shimon Hatzaddik in Jerusalem. Others take their children to their rabbi and spiritual guide for their first haircut. In this clip, I have the privilege of giving sweet little Itzie Kligman from Ramat Bet Shemesh his first haircut, a tearless one, Baruch Hashem. May you have much joy from your own children, the ones here and the ones on the way!
Here's a quick clip I made, having been privileged to attend our annual Lag B'Omer bonfire in Ashdod with the Melitzer Rebbe shlit'a this evening before I left for the airport. Usually, after the bonfire here we head for Rebbe Shimon's holy gravesite in Meron. This year, we're headed for Miami, the first stop of a 2-week USA speaking tour. Happy Lag B'Omer, and we hope to see our wonderful friends in the USA soon, G-d willing.
Here we are on the eve of the final day of Passover during Shmitta (Sabbatical) Year, 5775. Our friends are forsaking us, our enemies are surrounding us and once again calling for our destruction and the world yawns...
All the preconditions that our sages have stipulated for the coming of Moshiach have been fulfilled. The time is especially ripe now. Nevertheless, despite all the eager anticipation, and even though he tarries, we still wait for Moshiach innocently and patiently with simple faith. "And even though" in Hebrew is Ve'af al pi.
The Rambam's 12th principle of emuna is, "I believe with full and complete faith in the coming of Moshiach; and even though he tarries, I shall still wait for him whatever day he comes."
Let's hear Rav Shlomo Carlebach of blessed memory put the Rambam's above principle to music in one of his most soul-stirring melodies. Enjoy it, and may you have a wonderful Shvii shel Pesach and Shabbat, and may we all soon - together - merit to greet Moshiach in our rebuilt Holy Temple in Jerusalem, amen.
To those who have been writing and asking for my reaction to the USA's total sellout to Iran: I'm delighted. Maybe now, our people will finally learn that there's no one to trust but Hashem. I pray that we all come back to Him in complete teshuva; this would be the finest response to both our so-called friends and to our enemies, neither 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. We sang this same melody on the Brody seder table this year. Meanwhile, have a wonderful continued Pesach holiday!