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.
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!
Today's post is dedicated to our cherished friends Mendy Rosenberg in Brooklyn and Yitzi Hurwitz from LA. Both suffer from ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a rapidly progressive neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells (neurons) responsible for controlling voluntary muscles (muscle action we are able to control, such as those in the arms, legs, and face). Both Mendy and Yitzi are heroes who from their bedsides are inspiring thousands of people to get closer to Hashem.
Before Yitzi became sick, he wrote a lovely song called "Shine a Little Light". With the participation of leading Jewish-music personalities such as Avraham Freid, Mordechai Ben David, Yehoram Gaon, Gad Elbaz, the Maccabeats, Yossi Green, Rabbi Baruch Chait, and Benny Friedman among others, Yitzi himself (from before he became ill) and soldiers of the IDF, producer Chaim Marcus has put together a moving video tribute that is ever so inspiring. Enjoy this, and may Hashem grant Mendy, Yitzi and all those with ALS miraculous recoveries, amen!
Jewish music's magnificent Yaakov Shwekey is one of my favorite people. Sure, you see him performing in front of tens of thousands, but far from the public eye, you'll find him in the oncology ward of a pediatric hospital singing at the bedside of a child with a terminal illness to bring some joy to that child. If that's not enough, let me tell you about Yaakov's wife Jenine...
Twenty years ago, Jenine and her best friend started The Special Children's Center from a one-room apartment. Back then they were just teenagers with a dream to change the world, one child at a time. They felt a tremendous need for special children to have a place to flourish, to receive the care and attention they need, and to wrap it up in happiness. With the help of so many believers, that endeavor grew into a multi faceted Center for more than three hundred special children across three locations. While there is no end to the demand, there is also no end to their determination. While traveling and performing all over the world for the last fifteen years, Yaakov has seen with his own eyes the gift that music can give and the depths it can reach. As such, he made the following super-inspiring vid that you're about to see.
The power to accomplish what ever we dream of is within every one of us… you can be anything, no matter what challenges you face. That is the magic of emuna and love, and the magic of this song. It is dedicated to all the special children of the world, and to each one of you, cherished friends. Each of you is a precious, unique soul - you can be anything. This song is for you:
In honor of Shushan Purim, I'm going to teach you a new phrase in Hebrew - chiyuch echad, one smile. Rav Shalom Arush uses a slight alteration and says to everyone, tain chiyuch, "give a smile."
Who says that Yeshiva guys aren't cool? Who says that they can't sing and dance? I want to introduce you to Otsar Shalmoni, a very special yeshiva guy from Beit Shemesh, originally from Brooklyn. Here is his exciting new clip, produced by our dear friend Avi Hollander, entitled Chiyuch Echad - you already know what that means! Enjoy and have a marvelous Shabbat...
Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (1886-1969), The Ponovicher Rov of blessed memory, saved orphaned Jewish children from Catholic orphanages after the close of World War II. Although the priests and nuns denied that there were any Jewish children there, The Rov - accompanied by American officers - visited the orphanages at bedtime. He would call out "Shema Yisroel" and instinctly children raised their hands to cover their eyes, while crying in Yiddish, "Mama! Mama!" The holy Skolener Rebbe of blessed memory saved children in like fashion.
My dear and esteemed friend Yaacov Shwekey sings a moving rendition of the above story in "Shema Yisroel". Enjoy it and have a lovely Shabbat!
Our sweet friend and singer Shmaya Silverman went out to the field to talk to Hashem. Hashem gave him a splendid gift - this remarkably delightful niggun (melody), which we're happy to share with you. Enjoy it and have a wonderful Shabbat!