95 posts categorized "Jewish holidays"

Like a Seed: Tisha B'Av, 5775

My main lamentation on Tisha B'av 5775 is that our nation as a whole hasn't yet learned emuna and still trusts in flesh-and-blood. Israel therefore remains in the clutches of darkness, rather than meriting the leadership of the generation's true tzaddikim, the ones who lead us without any thought of personal gain and amenities. If we all really knew what we were lacking, our eyelashes would fall out from so many tears. The fact that our spiritual awareness is so dull is all the more reason for crying, for this is the result of the Holy Temple's destruction, exile, diaspora, and assimilation. Soon, G-d willing, Moshiach will end all this. The more we prepare by strengthening our spiritual lives, the easier the transition to a more spiritual world will be for each of us.

Tisha B'Av is actually a beam of light from within a dark cloud. Our lamentations are designed to connect us to Hashem in a greater bond. Just as a seed buried in the ground must rot and degenerate before it sprouts into a beautiful, fruit-bearing tree, so are we, the Jewish people; for years, our martyrs have been buried in sanctification of Hashem's name. Now, we see that any path we take other than emuna leads to national decay. Everything around us - politics, media, big business, and morality - is rotten; but G-d willing, we shall soon sprout into the People of Hashem and the generation of the the renewed Beit HaMikdash, speedily and in our time, amen.

Have an easy fast and G-d bless. I send a special hug to all my beloved brothers who wear knitted kippas and who don't wear kippas at all. May we all truly be one people with one heart, amen!

In Praise of Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai

My first two choices for the greatest leaders of the Jewish People of all times are Moses and Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai. We should only have such a leader in today's challenging times...

On Lag B'Omer, the day I flew to the USA for our recent speaking tour, I was interviewed on Arutz Sheva TV; here is the interview, which I hope you enjoy:

Happy Lag B'Omer: First Haircut

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!

Happy Lag B'Omer 5775 from Ashdod

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.

And Even Though He Tarries...

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.