Until now, Hashem has been giving gentle prods to almost every Diapora community, telling them that by perpetuating the Diaspora, they're delaying the Geula, the full redemption of our people. As the time of Moshiach comes closer, the wake-up calls become louder. The gentle prods turn into painful pinches, and the painful pinches become electric shocks. The Diaspora can only pin the blame on its own deaf ear. To paraphrase the Prophet, if the lion roars, who shall not tremble?
The Jews in the Ukraine are now caught in the middle; they've been targets of antisemitic thugs from both sides of the fence, the pro-Russians and the Ukrainian nationalists. A trickle are making Aliya daily, but there's no mass exodus yet. What are they waiting for, another pogrom, Heaven forbid?
I could go on and on. One thing though - Rashi quotes the Gemara in his commentary on this week's Torah portion and says in Hashem's Name (bold letters are the Torah, italic letters are Rashi's commentary): I took you out of Egypt so that you will accept My mitzvoth, even if they're difficult for you...I will give you the Land of Canaanin return for your accepting my mitzvoth...and I will be a G-dto youfor anyone who lives in the Land of Israel, I Am his G-d, and anyone who leaves the Land of Israel is like an idolator (Leviticus 25:38 and Rashi's adjacent commentary).
What is Rashi telling us? Hashem is not particularly enamored, to say the least, with Diaspora style Judaism. The Rambam rules (Hilchot Melachim, 5:12) - right out of the Gemara at the end of Tractate Ketubot, 110b - that it's better to live among non-Jews in Israel than it is to live among Jews in the Diaspora. Most people don't want to hear this, but it's Halacha...
Just last night, Robert Singer, the chief executive officer of the World Jewish Congress - an international umbrella organization that represents Jews from more than 100 countries - declared in Ottawa that a dangerous wave of anti-Semitism is on the rise, especially in Europe. Yesterday also, the Supreme Court of Belgium decided in a major-precedent decision that Jewish children, who throughout history received Torah education in the traditional cheder, will now be forced to learn the local language and secular subjects. Coincidence? By no means, for everything comes from Hashem.
Jews around the world are still misleading themselves that they can be good Jews outside of the Land of Israel. Hashem thinks otherwise. Whereas every farmer and consumer in Israel feels the ramifications of Shmitta (Sabbatical) Year, few Jews outside of Israel - even observant Jews - give it a second thought.
Hashem has been yelling at the French Jews for a long time now. Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Belgium is Hashem speaking to the Chassidim living in Brussels. There are messages being transmitted to every Jewish community worldwide. Countries are banning shechita (kosher slaughter) and mila (ritual circumcision) right and left, giving all kinds of "humane" reasons, but it's all thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.
Diaspora is a dead-end with no future. It's time to come home to our Land of Israel - the sooner the better.
I'm sharply critical about our current government in Israel for a long list of reasons, but they did do one thing right: they didn't vote in favor of the USA's condemnation of Russia in the UN.
The facts on the ground are that, according to the highly authoratative Global Research Center, the USA has spent over $5 billion to install an extreme right-wing government in the Ukraine, while giving support and legitimacy to the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party. This is not hearsay, for the facts have been confirmed by US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.
Don't shed a tear for the Ukraine. Antisemitism there is getting worse by the minute. In recent days alone, the grave of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's brother has been desecrated and a synagogue firebombed. Try Googling "Ukraine Antisemitism", and see how many millions of results you get in less than a quarter of a second. What's so disgusting is that the current forces behind the perpetrators of hate crimes against the Ukrainian Jews is the United States State Department. This is the same State Department that supported the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt and supports Al Qaida in Syria. How do you like where your tax dollars are going, America?
Yet, we look at everything in the world through eyes of emuna. Like everything else in the world, the chaos in the Ukraine is also from Hashem. How much more must Hashem shout at our brethern in the Jew-hating Ukraine to leave there right away? Why a Ukrainian Jew remains for another 5 minutes in the Ukraine is beyond my comprehension. It's time to get out of there and to come home to the only true home a Jew has on earth - the Land of Israel.
If they'd listen carefully to our spiritual leaders, who don't want to be alarmists, our brothers and sisters outside of Israel be rethinking any plans to continue living outside of Israel.
Over two years ago, I wrote about the legacy of Rabbi Shalom Arush's spiritual guide and teacher, Rabbi Yehuda Zev Leibowitz of saintly and blessed memory. Rabbi Yehuda Zev (image, right), according to true Kabbalists who stay far away from the limelight, was one of the 36 hidden tzaddikim of the generation. Before he died, he told Rav Shalom 3 things; the first two have materialized fully already:
1. Uprisings and infighting is still sweeping through the Arab countries, as he said;
2. Bibi has not been able to attack Iran as he said.
I never wanted to reveal the third thing he said, but for the last two years, I've been urging people to make aliya.
I keep debating with myself about whether to reveal #3. With Moshiach so close, it's probably time, for it could save lives. Rav Yehuda Zev said that American Jews would targeted and attacked. He used more emphatic language.
Our people crossed the Red Sea to freedom on the 7th day of Passover. Our brethren in North America and everywhere else should start thinking seriously about crossing the Atlantic and coming home to Eretz Yisrael. Have a wonderful week and a good Yomtov.
Suppose you're watching a boxing match between a rapist and a murderer. Who do you cheer for? I would cheer for both, hoping that they'd knock each other out simultaneously...
One cannot walk a single meter in the Ukraine without stepping on ground that's soaked with Jewish blood. A third of our people lost there lives in the uprisings of 1648-49, the Cossack rebellion of 1768 and intermittent pogroms that continued until the Soviet Revolution.
Hitler could not have accomplished what he did without the cooperation of the vehemently anti-Semitic Ukraine population.
So, don't shed a tear for the Ukraine, which is on the verge of a civil war. Before Moshiach comes, Hashem is systematically giving each nation what it deserves.
As for the Russians, maybe they didn't kill Jewish bodies like Hitler and the Ukrainian Cossacks did, but they killed millions of Jewish souls, waging their seventy-year war against Torah and Judaism while the Communists were in power from 1921-1991. Don't think the Russian on the street loves Jews any more than the Communists did.
The Russian nationalists who have taken over the Donetsk region in the Eastern Ukraine yesterday disturbed the sanctity of Pesach prayers in the local synagogue to pass an official leaflet demanding Donetsk Jews to register, declare their property, or be deported. This is something that the civilized world should not tolerate for a moment, yet it's no surprise. We now see the pro-Russian militias - none other than KGB operatives - in all their disgusting ugliness. The Russians and the Ukraines deserve each other.
We pray for the welfare of our Jewish brethren in Donetsk. I for one call them to make Aliya immediately and not wait until they're herded into a ghetto.
Historically, whenever there was war between Poland, the Ukraine and Russia, the Jews were caught in the middle and killed by both sides.
Gunte, the Cossack who murdered Uman's 33,000 Jewish martyrs in 1768, is celebrated as a Ukrainian national hero.
The Jews of the Ukraine should leave en masse and come to Israel immediately. Donetsk is only the beginning. Brothers and sisters, it's time to come home and be free. Time is running out. Don't stay in your 21st Century version of Egypt. No wonder this is happening during Pesach. We're waiting for you with open arms.
Al-Arabiya News Agency has now reported that Israel and the Palestinians have agreed via American brokerage to extend the peace talks. Part of the three-sided deal is that our cherished brother Jonathan Pollard will be released. We here at the Beams pray daily for his release, and we hope that Al-Arabiya's sources are accurate. Meanwhile, there's no confirmation of the report here in Israel.
A snake in the grass makes a quiet hiss before it strikes, so don't let Hamas's apparent quiet allow us to be complacent. Hamas too is preparing full steam for escalation at the time they deem right.
It's time for the Israeli Government to call off the dogs against the Yeshiva world and pay attention to the real enemy. Current legislative proposals would make Israel the only country in the world to incarcerate an individual for learning Torah, Heaven forbid. Let the government and the defense establishment here in Israel focus on the real enemy - Iran.
One thing our enemies score extremely high on is credibility. Iran means what it says. What a difference between Tehran and Washington, DC...
Really, the political and military pictures are nothing but a smokescreen. Rebbe Nachman of Breslev predicted this struggle over 200 years ago. He said that we'd have a double struggle, from within and from without, trying to attack our emuna. The odds are way against us, but the good news is that we'll prevail. Torah, teshuva and emuna are the weapons in our spiritual arsenal that will ultimately overcome every enemy. Make sure you join the right side.