Sunday, July 29, 2012

How To Emerge From the Tisha B’av Fast Day

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By Rabbi Zalman B. Melamed
Rosh Yeshiva of the Bet El Yeshiva Center

A talk to students in the Bet El Yeshiva Center at the end of the Tisha B’av Fast

Every year when the Tisha B’av Fast Day ends and mashiach (the messiah) doesn’t come, a feeling of intense mourning settles in with no consolation in sight.

But, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook of blessed memory, Israel’s first Chief Rabbi and the father of religious-Zionist thought, shows us a way to consolation: Tisha B’av is a day of mourning and great sorrow over the destruction, but we know also that on Tisha B’av, the mashiach is born.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, founder of religious-Zionist thought in Israel

On the one hand, we are mourning and pained over the continuing state of destruction, as it says, “Anyone who during his days the Temple is not rebuilt, it’s as though the Temple was destroyed in his days.” The continuation of the state of destruction means that the sins of past generations haven’t been rectified, or at least not fully amended.

On the other hand, we can definitely be consoled by the droplets of consolation, as Hashem shows us the first illuminations of the light of mashiach.

Many generations of Jews saw no change for the good whatsoever. Troubles were followed by more troubles, trials were followed by tribulations, and there were no beginning signs of redemption from suffering.
However, in recent generations, the process of deliverance from our troubles has begun. From a spiritual standpoint, the sparks of rebirth began 400 years ago with the Arizal and Rabbi Yosef Karo.

Then, some 150 years ago, an awakening of aliya (moving) of Jews to the Land of Israel began. Not an aliya of individuals, but a growing, developmental process of aliya to the point that today there is approximately 50% of world Jewry in Israel – soon a majority of our nation will be in the Land of Israel. While we don’t currently inhabit all parts of our land, we are sovereign over many parts of it. This constitutes droplets of consolation.

But what we need now is not consolation, rather action. We have to take hold of ourselves and know that each one of us has the ability to contribute to the nearing of our nation’s redemption. When a Jew becomes a better person, he is bringing the redemption nearer.

First and foremost, we must increase Torah study. Many of the great sages of the esoteric aspects of the Torah have said that the final redemption will come about in the merit of Torah. Diligence and determination in Torah study, and especially the study of emunah, which is a wrapping around the secrets of the Torah – these are great devices which advance us towards mashiach. 

Students escorting Rabbi Shlomo Fisher after a class at the Bet El Yeshiva

It is incumbent upon us to cultivate people with great spiritual prowess, people with great capabilities of spiritual leadership, who will shine forth great light, and will begin the needed revolution of teshuva en masse.

The revolution of teshuva must start at home with us. To the extent that we will each serve as a personal example with refined character traits, imbued with wisdom and Torah knowledge, then our influence will intensify and we will effect change. This is a role that is incumbent upon each of us. We are the backbone of the nation.

There are many Torah scholars who engage in intense Torah study but are detached from the nation, that is, from a large part of Am Yisrael, who are distant from Torah and mitzvoth, though loyal to the Jewish People.

There are Israelis who are not connected in any way to Torah and mitzvot and could move overseas and get salaries 5 or more times what they are getting in Israel. There are excellent doctors, hi-tech workers, and other professionals who could earn much more in other countries, and live with a much higher standard of living, but despite all, they don’t want to leave Israel because this land is our home. 

Israeli startup entrepreneurs

In other words, deep inside, they have a bond to the nation, not an external connection, rather something very internal that cannot be explained. Many Israelis are loyal to the Jewish State, as government workers in various offices and in the army, who are distant from Torah and mitzvoth. We must bring all parts of the nation together.

We, who are engaged in the study of the Torah of Eretz Yisrael, must accept the role of being a backbone, and uniting the different parts into one. We must cultivate Torah giants in the spirit of Rabbi Kook, strive to reach his heights and uplift the nation.

A person who does not act, who is not agile, resourceful and imbued with spiritual courage, he will not be consoled; rather, he will continue to see our nation’s state of affairs as terrible and difficult.

But, a person who is engaged at all times in progress, who acts and influences, he will see things differently. We must act with all of our spiritual prowess, and find consolation in our positive accomplishments. 
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Hebrew Source:תשעה,באב,

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Arafat’s Death: The Missing Link

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Yasser Arafat, also known as Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, posthumously made headlines earlier this month after his widow, Suha, produced a bag of her late husband’s belongings on which were found traces of radioactive polonium, a deadly poison.

Officially, we were told in October 2004 that Arafat had a bad flu after he vomited during a meeting. His situation deteriorated and Israel allowed him to be flown to the Percy Military Hospital in a Paris suburb. According to the Associated Press, doctors announced a month later at his November death that he suffered from a blood condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, "although it is inconclusive what brought about the condition.”

But now, seven and a half years later, Suha’s findings have led to demands that his remains be examined to determine if it was the Zionist regime that poisoned him.

"Suha, the Zionists killed me."
Poisoning? How about AIDS?
Haaretz newspaper reported that both Israeli and foreign professors who examined the French hospital's medical report said that Arafat bore all the symptoms of AIDS. But no further evidence of AIDS was offered.

The Missing Link
My very close friend “D” is a service provider near the King David Hotel with many clients who are overseas nationals. “D” is a very friendly person, and people who get to know him tend to bond quickly beyond their business dealings.

Lo and behold, the French Consulate in Jerusalem is located right across the street from the King David Hotel, and a veteran French worker at the consulate is a longtime client of “D”.

The French Consulate in Jerusalem

The consulate worker visited my friend for a business matter and as the two sat, the Frenchman opened up to D saying he had something on his mind.

“At the time of Arafat's death, I was asked at the consulate to single-handedly process all the paper work for his transfer to the Paris hospital. I saw medical reports which included the department he was being transferred to in the hospital.”

He paused for what seemed to “D” like a long time, as though he was having difficultly continuing.

“Arafat was transferred to the AIDS ward in Paris. That’s what the reports said. No one ever reported it.”
Arafat, you actually do make me sick. How old was the boy you got AIDS from?

The Frenchman went on to explain that one of the reasons the family chose France as a destination is because of rigid laws there which keep cause of death guarded in secrecy even posthumously.

So there you have it. It appears that not the Zionist regime, but rather Arafat’s own degenerate and debauched escapades terminated his terrorist career.

Suha, I am so sorry to spoil the party.

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