In the Fourth Chapter of the Mishna in Tractate Avot, known as "Pirkei Avot," or "Ethics of the Fathers," we learn from the holy tsaddik Ben Zoma how to be wise, rich, happy, strong and charismatic. Enjoy this great advice and have a wonderful Shabbat!
A soul is happiest when it maintains its unblemished status. Rebbe Yehuda HaNassi explains how to do just that in the Second Chapter of the Mishna in Tractate Avot, known as "Pirkei Avot," or "Ethics of the Fathers"…
The holy Talmudic sage Reish Lakish (Rebbe Shimon ben Lakish) was a Baal Teshuva and even a gladiator before Rebbe Yochanan - his future brother-in-law and learning partner - brought him back to Hashem. Reish Lakish was skilled in all areas of combat arts. As such, he was an authority on fighting, weapons and warfare. Reish Lakish says (see Gemara in Tractate Sota, 25b) that Israel is the fiercest of nations. The Maharsha, in his classic elaboration of the Gemara, says that Israel inherited its fierceness from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The "Pnai Yehoshua" adds that if Israel would put its efforts into fighting rather than Torah, it would rule the world. The Malbim in his elaboration of Parshat Vayichi and Jacob's blessing to each of his twelvw sons before he died, says that each of the tribes of Israel had its own style of combat. In short, as opposed to the wimpy stereotypes of "Fiddler on the Roof" and the cowering Jew make that above-cited Gemara hard to believe for those Jews who don't know enough about their own people, the Jews are rough dudes.
Here's more to substantiate Reish Lakish's point: stop and think who the greatest guerrilla fighters of all time were: how about Abraham and Eliezer, who defeated four entire armies. Or how about Shimon and Levi, who right after their Bar Mitzva, wiped out the Canaanite town whose prince raped their sister Dina. Don't forget the Maccabees, a small family of Cohanim who routed the Syrian-Greek army. Think about Bar Kochba, who with his small band of followers defeated the Roman Army and reigned as king for two years. If I had the time, I'd write a book on this, for there's so much to add...
Let's fast forward in history: who is the one people that the Moguls, the British, the Russian Army, the entire US military or anyone else has ever been able to defeat? If you answered the Afghan Pashtuns, you're right.
The are loads of research, proofs and documents showing the link between the Pashtuns (aka Pathans) and the Jewish People. Anthropologist Shalva Weil of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem says, "Of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case." Researcher Nadav Sofy notes, "The Pashtuns are beyond any doubt the 10 tribes of Israel. The have more than 40 Jewish customs and commandments rooted in Torah, Talmud and Kabala."
If you're still skeptical about the Pashtuns being one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, take a long at some of their customs (gleaned from the above links and other resources, especially this article):
Pashtuns obeserve Saturday as their Sabbath and light candles on Friday night
They don't eat shellfish (lobsters, shrimp and crabs), they don't use camel milk and they don't mix milk and meat
They circumcise their baby sons on the 8th day
They cover their heads at all times.
Many do not cut their sidecurls
The women perform a ritual immersion in the river at the end of menstruation.
Their names are right out of the Torah.
They carefully avoid eating blood - they check eggs for blood and salt their meat after slaughtering.
I can go on and on, for there are dozens of additional points, but I'm sure you get the idea.
Compare the Pashto language to Hebrew; for example:
* Gazera means carrot. In Hebrew it is Gezer
* Dor means an era. In Hebrew the word Dor refers to an era or a generation.
* Orezy means rice. In Hebrew it is Orez.
* Qurban means sacrifice. In Hebrew it is Qorban
What do our own sages say about this? Professor Navras Jaat Aafreedi of the Presidency University in India refers to our great rabbis Rebbe Saadia Ga'on (9th Century, CE) and Moses Ibn Ezra (11th Century, CE) who mention Afghanistan and the Pathan territories in Pakistan as the home of Jews descended from the lost tribes.
What does all this have to do with today?
Rebbe Eliezer ben Hyrcanos says in tractate Sanhedrin that when Moshiach comes, he'll tell the lost tribes who they really are and bring them back to Israel - this is the Israel of Moshiach and Torah, for Hashem's law will reign. You know what that means? The Pashtuns, who today make up the bulk of the Taliban, will become the defenders of Israel.
Just looking at them is like looking at brothers. Change the attire of the Pashtan elders pictured below (image with appreciation to thepashtuntimes.com), and you could be looking at the men around a Seuda Shlishit table in our local Sefardi synagogue - notice that all these men have untrimmed beards and sidecurls tucked under their lungee, their traditional turbans. As we can see, a lot of excitement awaits us as Moshiach comes, may it be soon, with the ingathering of all the exiles, amen!
The Gemara tells the following story (Ketubot 66b): Rebbe Yochanan ben Zakai was riding on a donkey a short time after the Romans destroyed the Second Temple and vanquished Jerusalem. On the outskirts of the city, he saw a young woman gathering grains of undigested barley from amongst the droppings of Arab-owned cattle. As soon as she noticed him, she sprung to her feet, covered her hair and pleaded, "Rebbe, give me something to sustain myself." He asked her who she was. She answered that she was Nakdamon Ben Gurion's daughter, who before the destruction of the Holy Temple, was the richest man in Jerusalem.
Our sages comment on the above episode and say, "How fortunate you are, O Israel! When you do Hashem's will, you are above the angels; no nation can prevail over you. But when you don't do Hashem's will, you are not only subservient to the most contemptible of nations and even below their cattle, but you are even below the droppings of their cattle."
No, there's not much middle ground for a Jew - it's either good or evil. A tzaddik who maintains a standard of impeccable personal holiness is higher than an angel; he gives off the spiritual fragrance of Gan Eden. But a lowlife who breaches every clause of personal holiness - like the one Racheli wrote about yesterday - stinks worse than the dung of an animal.
Rather than dealing with the stench of the dung, I prefer to deal with the fragrance of the holy.
King Solomon in Song of Songs (7:3) describes the Jewish People who fulfill Hashem's will as a "fence of roses". Why a fence of roses? Why the juxtaposition of the beauty and the thorns? What's the praise here?
With Hashem's help, I'll answer all those questions in today's emuna shiur and broadcast.
Don't miss this evening's vital emuna lesson and broadcast, which is also our Emuna News commntary for the week, entitled "A Fence of Roses", which will take place, G-d willing, in the ground-floor main sanctuary of the Chut Shel Chessed Yeshiva on 13 Shmuel Hanavi Street in Jerusalem at 7PM Israel time (12 noon EDT); the shiur is open to the public - both men and women are invited. You can see today's lesson here - the broadcast, as well as our lessons posted from now on - are Mac and iPod compatible. If you tune in too early to the live broadcast link, you'll be sent to the main page of the Breslev Israel website, so try to tune in on time. If you are not able to view today's broadcast live, then G-d willing, you'll be able to see the video tape of it later this coming week on Lazer Beams.
A rare bulls-eye solar eclipse will frequent the USA on the amazing date of Aug. 21, 2017, which in the Hebrew calendar is 29 Av, 5777, Erev Rosh Chodesh, the eve of the new month of Elul. This will begin 1:15 PM EDT, a time that is known as Yom Kippur Katan, or "little Yom Kippur", which is essentially the kickoff of the 40-day penitence period between the beginning of Elul and Yom Kippur, which corresponds to the third period of forty days and forty nights that Moses spent with G-d on Mount Sinai atoning for the Jewish People until Hashem fully forgave them on Yom Kippur.
What is the metaphysical meaning of this rare solar eclipse, and that fact that the umbra - the full eclipse - will be exclusively over the USA?
Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters... if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west... (Succah 29a). If you're trying to strengthen yourself in emuna, the solar eclipse is good news for you. Nevertheless, unlike other wonders of nature like lightning and shooting stars, one does not say the blessing of osah ma'aseh breishit when witnessing the solar eclipse.
Among other reasons, as I highlighted in the image of the Gemara Succah page 29a below, total solar eclipses come because of rape, sodomy and bloodshed. And, it's a bad sign for whichever part of the world witnesses it. What's more, this comes at the beginning of "teshuva time" as we mentioned above.
We all must do teshuva, big time. But, a complete solar eclipse that only the USA will see? That is a shout from Above - America, get your act together, Come back to the Almighty and cast away all your legalization of what the Torah calls abominations. This is also a warning for anyone in Israel who prefers the "American" lifestyle to the Torah and emuna lifestyle.
Sure, the chorus of agnostics will chime in and say, "This is a natural phenomenon that would have happened anyway." We here at the Beams are not out to convince anyone or to proselytize. We're here as an emuna (faith) resource to help anyone who so chooses to live a happier, healthier and more meaningful life. If you choose to ignore Hashem's voice, go ahead. Nevertheless, one who does choose to ignore and refuse to heed the shout from Above, doesn't have the sense of an ox or a mule (see Isaiah 1:3).
Anytime is a great time to come back to Hashem - let's start right now. The little things are what counts. Let's look around us and see what we can do to make another human happy. That's not difficult at all - just start with a smile. Don't forget, today is "Love Day" - see our post below this one:
Urgent Update - 4:30 PM, Israel
Our good friend Ira from www.astronomyisrael.com just informed us that tonight in Israel, there will be a partial lunar eclipse. According to the above Gemara, we here in Israel must first correct ourselves and urgently do what we can to strengthen emuna and come back to Hashem. Since the maximum eclipse is only partial, it's still a gentle warning from Hashem. Let's not wait for the volume to get louder.
King Solomon, the wisest of all men who ever walked the face of the earth, said: "A person's foolishness takes him askew, and then his heart fumes at Hashem" (Proverbs 19:3). In other words, people choose courses of action that the Torah strongly discourages or even forbids; then, when their lives go haywire, they blame Hashem.
Hashem doesn't force a person to be righteous or otherwise. Indeed, one will discover that the path of righteousness is much more difficult and obstacle-laden than the path to the opposite. Nobody will stop you from going to a movie or a night club, but you'll get big-time resistance every time you open a Gemara. Accordingly, our sages tell us that there are paths that are rocky at first and smooth at the end (the paths of righteousness) and there are paths that are smooth at first and rocky at the end (the paths of cheap thrills).
Hashem leads a person down the path of his/her own choice, for He clearly sees what every person's heart desires. May we all make good choices always, amen! Blessings for a wonderful Shabbat!