Thursday, November 17, 2016

Redeeming Eretz Yisroel through Tzedaka and Mishpat: Repost for Parshas VaYeira

While I am in rerun mode, I want to repost from 2009 a hidden message in Parshas VaYeira that becomes more relevant with each passing year. This hidden message comes from the sefer Niflaos MiTorasecha. For those who have forgotten (or never knew) this sefer is an anthology of words encoded in the Torah in Roshei Teivos and Sofei Teivos and the striking relevance to the context.

Here goes:

There is only one occurrence of the word ציון (Tzion) in consecutive Sofei Teivos in all of Tanach! (No occurrences as Roshei Teivos at all!) It transverses these two pasukim (Breishis 18:18,19):

יח-יט- וְאַבְרָהָם הָיוֹ יִהְיֶה לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם וְנִבְרְכוּ-בוֹ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶצ: כִּי יְדַעְתִּיו לְמַעַן אֲשֶׁר יְצַוֶּה אֶת-בָּנָיו וְאֶת-בֵּיתוֹ אַחֲרָיו וְשָׁמְרוּ דֶּרֶךְ יְהֹוָה לַעֲשׂוֹת צְדָקָה וּמִשְׁפָּט לְמַעַן הָבִיא יְהוָֹה עַל- אַבְרָהָם אֵת אֲשֶׁר-דִּבֶּר עָלָיו:

The code in this pasuk clearly indicates that the gift of ציון is in the merit of following the path of HKBH and specifically doing צדקה and משפט (righteousness and justice).

The amazing thing is that this message is clearly reflected in the well known pasuk in Yeshaya (1:27) that we read every year before Tisha B'Av on Shabbos Chazon:

צִיּוֹן בְּמִשְׁפָּט תִּפָּדֶה וְשָׁבֶיהָ בִּצְדָקָה:

Rav Aranovsky also points out that the lead word in our pasuk that holds the first letter (צ ) of our hidden word is part of the word הארץ - the land!

All of this indicates that the Land of Israel (Tzion) can only thrive in the hands of those who are (1) descendants of Avraham and who (2) safeguard the way of HKBH to do צדקה and משפט.  

If you meet these conditions... by all means, hop aboard!

Gut Shabbos!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mesira XVII: Current Headlines and an Open Letter of Praise to Reb Dovid Lichtenstein

I just finished listening to the latest posted broadcast of Headlines (okay, it was yesterday). It is - to quote him - a fabulous show. So much so that it inspired me to write him an email of praise. It's a bit long and I don't know if he will read it (he asked me not to send him more emails when he disagreed with me on the Malka Leifer issue and he unsubscribed from my blog email list), but this is an open email, so, maybe, somebody will.

Here it is:

Hello Reb Dovid, LOY”T

Shalom u’bracha.

I was very impressed and gratified by your broadcast of November 5, 2016, Victims and Prevention and dealing with criminals in our midst Part 1. (Thus far I have not heard Part II).

The two Rabbinic guests that were interviewed, Rav Sorscher and Rav Eisenman, Shlita(s) were both very clear and effectual in presenting authentic daas Torah on how to deal with these regrettable circumstances.

Rav Sorscher clearly pointed out the proper Halachic procedure in accordance to the psakim of Rambam (Rotzeach 1:7), Shu”A (Ch”M 425:1), Chofetz Chaim (Hilchos Lashon Hara 3:10) and Rav Moshe Feinstein (IgM O”Ch 1:8) all of whom maintain that, if at all possible, the initial approach is to confront the accused and demand that he desist from his actions and comply with community demands and likewise to forewarn the suspected offender before one can take extreme measures. Also that these measures can only be undertaken by those who have firsthand knowledge of the issues. And, finally, this is only after other less extreme measures have been tried and/or ruled out.

Likewise, Rav Eisenman opened his discussion by stating that “each case is different and each case has its own complexities and nuances”. In other words, each case must be evaluated individually. He goes on to say that the most crucial element is to evaluate the stance of the accused offender to see if he admits to wrongdoing or not and if he is compliant. Obviously, this can only happen as a result of a direct confrontation.  Further, he says that if there is no true evidence there must at least be a “kahla d’lo paska” that should be “substantiated”.

All of this is in concurrence with the well-known teshuva that Rav Elyashiv, ZT”L wrote to Rav Feivel Cohen, Shlita as far back as 2004. In his closing words, Rav Elyashiv, ZT"L, writes that each case must be evaluated separately by a qualified chacham before one can be moser to authorities.

I also found the firsthand account of Reb Motti Weiss to be very touching and toellesdig.

Lastly, I felt that in this broadcast your role as a moderator was top notch.  You seemed to come across very objective and balanced. More so than in many of your past broadcasts on this subject.

As you may be aware from some of my articles, it appears to me that this consensus of daas Torah has not been universally reflected on this sensitive issue. In your interview with Harav Dovid Cohen, Shlita in Sept. 2015, Rabbi Cohen seemed to advocate immediate mesira to non-Jewish authorities  for all cases regardless of the “complexities and nuances” of any specific case. This seems to contradict directly with the psak of Rav Elyashiv, ZT”L. Further, he initially made no mention of confronting or forewarning the accused and intimated there is no need for it. (Six minutes later, in the most marginal manner, he mentions having a “consultation” with the accused.) This seems to directly negate the guidelines of Rambam, Shu”A, Chofetz Chaim and Rav Moshe, ZT”L that were meticulously observed by Rav Sorscher.

Moreover, it is interesting to note that the correspondence of Rav Elyashiv, ZT”L was included in a kuntress compiled by Rav Zvi Gartner, Shlita that he called: Kuntress Dam Re’acha and was published in the anthology Yeshurun Vol. 15 in 5765. This kuntress includes teshuvos from four other contemporary gedolim including Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and Rav Asher Zelig Weiss, Shlita(s). One common thread among all the teshuvos is that they were all giving instructions to other Rabbanim (of lesser stature) in when to pasken that mesira is allowed. None of these gedolim was giving instructions to the general public. In fact, Harav Yehuda Silman, Shlita in the last teshuva has a summary of “Effective Rulings” where he states clearly (#4): This determination [to be moser] is not to be put into the hands of any [regular] individual, rather only into the hands of a dayan or “adam chashuv”.  The argument can be made that Rav Silman, Shlita speaks for all of the gedolim who wrote teshuvos (certainly for Rav Elyashiv, ZT"L).

Thus, it is very puzzling to hear Rav Cohen, Shlita openly defying this proviso by publicly declaring, “You don’t need to ask a Rav… go straight to the police”.

I am likewise puzzled at how, in 2015, 107 prominent American chareidi Rabbanim could defy the rulings of the Israeli rabbanim of ten years earlier as well as the psakim of the Chofetz Chaim and Rav Moshe Feinstein by signing a Kol Koreh that does just that. The Kol Koreh calls for “every individual” to promptly notify secular authorities of suspected abuse. No need to distinguish the nuances and complexities of the case and no need for confrontation, confirmation, forewarning, or exhausting other avenues. Just go ahead and be moser, and “every individual” can (must??) do it!

When this was printed in Mishpacha in August of 2015, I assumed that most of the signatories did not really scrutinize what was written. Surely, they will eventually either clarify or withdraw their approval. But it seems that these Rabbanim were willing to allow this faulty Kol Koreh to be republished in Mishpacha of October 13, 2016  - the gala Sukkos edition - with the identical terminology - not a single change (except for the email address of the organizer). And not with 107 signatures, but with 108.

I thought that perhaps the organizer managed to get one other young Rav to sign on. But the fact is that there were four new names on the Kol Koreh. Three are young rabbanim from Lakewood and the other a medical chaplain from Brooklyn. This means that three Rabbanim actually did remove their names. It seems that both Rabbanim from the Kollel in Cincinnati and one Rav from Los Angeles are no longer signed on.

I am most curious about why these three rescinded. I doubt it is due to anything that I wrote (they don't read my posts, do they?). But if it did have to do with the Halachic flaws of the letter (primarily enumerated HERE and HERE), why only these three?  

Do you have any thoughts on this?

What is most puzzling is that Harav Ron Yitzchok Eisenman, who so eloquently expressed the true positon of Rav Elyashiv and the prominent Rabbanim in Eretz Yisroel in his interview, is signed on both appearances of the Kol Koreh. If he supports the Kol Koreh, why deal with the complexities and nuances of the case and who cares about the stance of the accused?

I understand that only Rav Eisenman can answer this question, so I suppose I will send him a CC copy of this email.

All told, I really do want to commend you on your November 5 broadcast which was true to daas Torah and exceptionally well done. I wish all of the previous ones were as much. I am looking forward to hearing the Part II broadcast when it is posted.

You do have a great show and, over the months, I have learned a tremendous amount from it.

Keep up the good work and try to get those broadcasts posted a bit quicker!

Chazak v’ematz.


Your old friend and roommate (for about a week),

Yechezkel Hirshman

P.S. Did you really vote for Hillary?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Of Cabbages and Kings: The Best Posts of Parshas Lech Lecha

I am sure glad this election is over. Personally, I did not vote because voting absentee is a pain and I am anyway from a "safe" blue state, so what for?

Moreover, this way I can't take the blame for whatever clown is in the Whitehouse.

Still, I am happy that Trump got the nod because, in my opinion, Hillary was definitely the evil of the two lessors.

Around this time of year we start meeting up with Kings and heads of state. All kinds. We start with Nimrod and we also meet one of the earliest Pharaohs. Next week we'll get Avi-Melech. Then we get four kings here and five kings there and finally, the good one, Malki-Tzedek.

Everybody was busy staking their territorial claims and asserting their dominance. There is a lot of this going on today. Though it doesn't get much press, there is a lot of pushing and shoving going around in the region of Syria where Uncle Sam and Cousin Boris do not seem to be getting along.

So where does our Trump card fit in? Are we looking at the next Nimrod or the next Malki-Tzedek? Will he be a king or a cabbage?

Time will tell, but in the meanwhile, I do want to refer my readers, especially the new ones, to two very inspiring posts that I wrote in the past about these ancient rulers.

The first is a very insightful and seriously relevant subject about who did the land of Israel belong to immediately after the great flood. To read it, click here:

Who Did the Land of Israel First Belong to After the Flood?

In that post we really get to know one of the more underrated Kings: Kedarleomar - who was he really?

And, on a lighter note, I would like to link to an all-time favorite:The Biblical Psychotherapist

Enjoy and good Shabbos!


Friday, November 4, 2016

The End of All Flesh has Come Before ME

Parshas Noach is here and the American world is faced with three choices:

  • Vote for Hillary (For the world was filled with scandals and thievery and [the love of] Hamas before their faces)
  • Vote for Trump ( For all flesh has corrupted its path on the Earth)
  • Pray for rain (i.e., vote for "Reagan") -- lots of it!
It's no coincidence that the elections take place the week after Halloween.

BOO!!! Trick or Treat!

The following is a reprint of a post I published exactly eight years ago in 2008 (note - I am not the author of it). This is right before Obama was "elected" for the first time. If it was relevant then, imagine how relevant it is now.

Incidentally, this isn't only what's happening in modern day America. This is how things have always been here in "Medinat" Yisrael. This definitely explains the opinion in the gemara in Zevachim (113a) that claims there was no mabul in Eretz Israel. There just couldn't be one.

Read it and laugh weep:


In the year 2008 2016, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in the United States, and said: "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me."

"Build another Ark and save 2 of every living thing along with a few good humans."

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying: "You have 6 months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights."

Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no Ark.

"Noah!," He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah, "but things have changed."

"I needed a building permit."

"I've been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system."

"My neighbors claim that I've violated the neighborhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision."

"Then the Department of Transportation demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving powerlines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it."

"Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl."

"I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to
save the owls - but no go!"

"When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodations were too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space."

"Then the EPA ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood."

"I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew."

"Immigration and Naturalization are checking the green-card status of most of the people who want to work."

"The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience."

"To make matters worse, the IRS seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species."

"So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark."

Suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked,"You mean you're not going to destroy the world?"

"No," said the Lord. "Your GOVERNMENT beat me to it."

More to come!

Happy voting and remember...we'll keep the lights on for you!

P.S. Vote for Trump!