‘Reflections & Observations’ Category Archives

15
Jul

Kinah 10 – Silence

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Reflections & Observations

“The voices of those who carried the Ark were silenced.” Destruction often causes the loss of music:

Listen to, “TED Talks: Bernie Krause: The Voice of The Natural World.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
10
Jul

Readings II: Kinot

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer, Reflections & Observations

I share some more random readings of the past year that are thematically related to the Kinot. Please share yours with us.

Kinah 26-While The Fire Was Burning

Based on Eicha Rabbatti, Peticha 24: “Then, Jeremiah went to the grave of the Patriarchs.”

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience (Henry David Thoreau).”

Jeremiah is still having powerful visions even as the Temple is burning. How?

 

Kinah 30-The Lost Power of Transformation

“The chambers of the highest heavens are Your abode. They are full of Your glory and cannot contain you. How much less so, this House.”

“Sanctify the House of my abode, and return to my dwelling place, and may my legions gather and behold; the Presence of God entered the House!”

“Everyone should know nowadays the unimportance of the photographic in art – that truth, life, or reality is an organic thing which the poetic imagination can represent or suggest, in essence, only through transformation, through changing into other forms than those which were merely present in appearance (Tennessee Williams).”

Whether we agree with Williams or not about photography, would we be able to imagine being able to pray and make a difference if we did not believe in the power of “transformation, through changing into other forms than those which were merely present in appearance”?

Kinah 31-Aflame

“A fire burns within me…”

As on all its sides a kitchen-match darts white

flickering tongues before it bursts into flame:

with the audience around her, quickened, hot,

her dance begins to flicker in the dark room.

And all at once it is completely fire.

One upward glance and she ignites her hair

and, whirling faster and faster, fans her dress

into passionate flames, till it becomes a furnace

from which, like startled rattlesnakes, the long

naked arms uncoil, aroused and clicking.

And then: as if the fire were too tight

around her body, she takes and flings it out

haughtily, with an imperious gesture,

and watches: it lies raging on the floor,

still blazing up, and the flames refuse to die –

Till, moving with total confidence and a sweet

exultant smile, she looks up finally

and stamps it out with powerful small feet.

“Rainer Maria Rilke; ‘Spanish Dancer.’)

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
8
Jul

Kinot-Links to Essays Related to Day Kinot 15-50

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Music of Halacha, Prayer, Reflections & Observations, Spiritual Growth

The Foundation Stone has a complete commentary on the Kinot on our website and Blog – Click on the Kinot Tab on the bottom right. However, not all essays on Kinot are listed as such. Below are essays pertinent to Kinot:

Kinah 15:

The Music of Halacha-Kashering,” Experiencing God’s wrath as a form of Kashering.

Kinah 16

Tehillim Tools-The Three Weeks-108:11.”

Kohen & Navi Murdered: A recurring theme in Kinot

Shekalim-Historical Background I, II-Yehu Avenges Navot, III-AthaliahIV-Yehu’s FailureV-The Vineyard of Naboth.

Shekalim-Reading The Text I-God’s Message To Renew the Covenant, II-The Form of the Covenant, III-The Form of the Covenant II, IV-Step By Step, V-The Seeds of Destruction, VI, VII-A Limited Vision.

Biblical Personalities-Yoash

Kinah 17:

The Voice of Torah-Kinot.”

The Story of Bar Kochva In The Midrash.”

The Psalm of Exile I.”

Drops of Light II.”

Kinah 18:

Tehillim Tools-Three Weeks-106:4-5.” Our response to “I will be exceedingly good to you.”

The Second Haftarah of Consolation-Confrontation.”

Outsiders.”

The Light In The Dark.”

Abraham the Builder,”A Chamber for the Shechinah,” “Reconnecting to the Heavenly Throne,” & “A Higher Vocabulary,” related to, “You are holy, enthroned by the praises of the holy.”

Kinah 19:

Mitzvah Planters.”

Jonah: Clarity and Confusion.”

Inspiring Good.”

Al Regel Achat-Double Comfort.”

A Life Without Shame.”

Kinah 21: The Ten Martyrs:

Mishlei Tools 11:30-Sources of Life.”

Kinah 22: Be Quiet, allow me to speak.

Hear Our Voices.”

Captions: Reading The Kinot.”

Kinah 25

Languages of Exile.”

The Music of Halacha-Kinah 25-Crying 1.”

The Music of Halacha-Kinah 25-Crying 2.”

My Eyes Are Dry.”

Kinah 26: Jeremiah’s Journey To The Patriarchs

The Long Walk.”

Kinah 27: Jeremiah’s Vision:

Nightmares.”

Kinah 31: Leaving Egypt-Leaving Jerusalem (Usually sung, alternating between joyous and sad tunes, concluding with a joyous song of hope.

Shall We Dance.”

Singing Through The Three Weeks.”

Conspicuous As Waves.”

Exile In Our Blood.”

Singing Despite.”

Travels in Exile.”

Doing Away With The Trappings III.”

Kinah 33: To Stir Elegy

Akeidat Yitzchak-Fasting Tools.”

Forms of Mourning-Serving A Purpose.”

The Maharam miRottenberg.”

Kinah 41: Inquire, consumed in fire:

Mayim Yechezkel-As A Sacrifice.”

Kinah 45: Keili Tzion

Lost Opportunities.”

Haftarah of Consolation 4.”

Mitzvah 138-Concept 398.”

Empty Spaces.”

As Dreamers.”

The Things I Miss.”

Kinah 46 is the same as Kinah 4-Evening Kinot

Holocaust Kinot-Kinot 47-50:

Our Weapon in the Battle of Good and Evil.”

Travels in Exile II.”

There Are Tears In Things.”

The Pieta and The Pear.”

A Dress For My Child.”

Learning Hope.”

Our Story.”

Strangers In The World.”

3 Stories From Simon Huberband.”

A Reading of Joel 2:12-14.”

A Movie Like No Other.”

Hitler’s Children.”

The Klausenberger Rebbe’s Faith.”

Isaac Katzenelson-The Song of The Murdered Jewish People.”

Under the Tattoo.”

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
16
Mar

Location, Location, Location!

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations, Spiritual Growth

I returned to Van Cortland Park today for the first time since the winter began. A four and half mile walk is, well, a walk in the park compared to an hour on a treadmill. (On My Terms) It’s not simply that I can fool myself into believing that I burned more calories when there is no monitor measuring my progress. I am far more comfortable in the park. There are all sorts of people, not just muscle men and people far thinner than am I. There are old people and young, men and women, fat and thin, fast walkers and slow. The people in the gym are nice. Many refer to me as Miracle Man because they remember how I first arrived in the gym using a walker. Others call me String Man in honor of my Tzitzit. They are helpful and warm, but they are generally in far better physical condition. I fit in better with the other park walkers.

But the main difference is not the people; it’s the location. I remember a real estate agent telling me that it’s all about “Location, location, location!” She was right. The location makes all the difference in the world. I am outside in middle of nature. I have a sense of freedom that isn’t there in the gym. I think well. I come up with ideas for the blog and lectures, which doesn’t often happen in the gym. I relax and consider the time productive. My time on the treadmill is a burden. Location matters when I walk, as it does when I learn, pray, or eat.

The Children of Israel did not really have a place in Egypt. They did not belong to society. Yet, out they go, into the desert, again without a sense of place. They may have been in a camp, in their own tents, but I imagine they felt displaced all those years in the desert, never knowing when the cloud would rise and they would have to pick up and move yet again.

It’s not surprising that the verse does not describe God dancing, or passing over, the people; it says that God danced over their Homes, their place, as if God was nurturing a sense of place for them, even as their bags were placed and they were dressed for travel, knowing that they would soon be traveling. They were creating a place for themselves when they placed the blood on their doorposts and lintels. No wonder they were not allowed to move outside of their homes while eating their Pesach Offering. It’s all about location.

They learned that a person does not need to have something permanent in order to have a sense of a place all their own. This is why the Sages teach that we create a space of four cubits around ourselves when we pray or study Torah. We can create a place for ourselves wherever we go.

No wonder we refer to God as Hamakom – The Omnipresent – in the Haggadah! We gained the ability to create our own special locations for ourselves wherever we go as part of gaining freedom. We can move around and make that special “location,” with everything we do.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
7
Jan

As The Mourning Ends

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

The most poignant part of sitting Shiva for my mother a”h was observing my nieces and nephews and their children caring for us, the older generation. I envied these people for being able to honor their parents by bringing food and drinks, and doing all they could to make us comfortable. They had an opportunity that I would never again have to honor a parent. I understood, as I had not after my father zt”l’s passing, why we mourn a full year over the loss of the Mitzvah to honor a parent, and committed myself to be meticulous in observing the year of mourning as a form of honoring my mother. My sisters, great women all, accepted to be extra careful with blessings as merit for my mother’s already lofty soul. It was my mother who made me a blessing fanatic and I’ve always thought of her each time I recite a blessing. I needed to do more than focus on the way I recite blessings. I found that the things I did not do because I was in mourning were a more powerful reminder of the Mitzvah I lost, and how careless I was fulfilling the Mitzvah when my mother was alive.

I realized that my mother instilled a sense of possibility in me and that I cannot recall her ever saying, “It can’t be done,” so spending a year “not doing,” experiencing limitations was the perfect way to honor her life.

I always write to music. Each time this past year that I sat down to write without music I consciously thought of my mother and considered the restriction as an expression that my world was lessened by her passing.

I experienced the Talmudic reflection that a mourner’s mouth is closed when I would sit down to write, only to think of my mother and end up frustrated with the limitations of life. I have yet to find the proper words to eulogize her – how could I write about anything else? Each essay I chose to not write was a way to more intensely experience mourning her death.

The year of mourning is about to end. I’ve been looking forward to listening to music, and am shocked that I will actually miss the restriction. I have made such a powerful connection between not listening and honoring my mother that I’m looking for another way to make her a constant presence in my day.

I’m still thinking, but as she lived her life I know that it can be done. If only I could ask her how!

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
7
Jan

Which Attribute?

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Reflections & Observations

I was fluctuating between sadness and inspiration when I finished reading Rohinton Mistry’s.”A Fine Balance.” I have yet to shed the horrible cruelties powerfully described. The caste system, misuse of power, the desperate search for work, forced castration, and the hopeless lives of the masses helped me understand what the Children of Israel experienced in Egypt. Each nightmarish scene contains a powerful expression of the drive to live and the sweetness of kindness. I hear echoes of people being rallied to support a new government, suffering under the leaders they supported, and the merit of the women who kept the family alive under the worst conditions.

A week later, I realized that it was the goodness that made the deeper impression. I experienced the power of good over evil. So inspired, I gave the book to one of my daughters, who is quite upset with me for suggesting she read such a horrible story. When we last spoke, my daughter was struggling with finishing the book with its historically accurate descriptions of suffering in 1975 India. “How could you ask me to read such a horrible story?”

My daughter sounds just like Moses: “My Master! Why have You done evil to this people (Exodus 5:22).” I’ll respond as God did to Moses:

“The Lord spoke to Moses and said to him, ‘I am God’ (6:2).” Lord, or, Elokim, is the Name we associate with Justice, often harshness. God, or, Hashem, speaks of God’s compassion. Elokim, Justice, says to Moses, “I am Hashem, compassionate – find the goodness hidden in the folds and creases of the suffering. Moses cannot become a complete leader until he can find the power of good and the drive for life that motivate the people to move forward.

In his fury, Moses failed to see how the foremen assumed the extra burden imposed on the slaves. He could have challenged God by calling on such compassion and demanding that their good earn them redemption. Moses continued to speak of Israel as victims, not the heroes they were. Moses would have to learn to treasure the extraordinary kindness that softened every scene of suffering. (See, “Respectful Compassion.”)

I want my daughter, all my children and students, to mine through the horrible and treasure the good. We see and read of horrible things happening in the world and our communities, and we hear Elokim, God’s Judgment speaking. We have to pay attention to God’s message to Moses, “I am Hashem, compassionate and kind – I want you to find the good that is hiding underneath the suffering.”

A long ago friend, Dennis Prager, once convened a gathering that focused on Altruism: “The Altruistic Personality – Rescuers of Jews in Nazi Europe.” I recall Dennis challenging the audience to remember the names of the heroes who stepped forward in moments of ugly tragedy – the name of the Secret Service agent who stepped in front of a bullet meant for President Reagan, the name of the man who jumped into the freezing Potomac to save victims of a plane crash. No one knew the names.

We focus on the bad, not the good. We focus on Elokim, not Hashem. We read “A Fine Balance,” and shiver in horror. We study the Exodus story and wait for the miracles to find Hashem, the Compassionate One, and miss the scenes of human kindness that are so much more powerful than the evil.

“I may be Elokim, but you must always search for Hashem, so that you will become a force of kindness and compassion that will overcome the bad.”

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
6
Jan

Reflections On A Monument

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

While yet a young man, Tycho Brahe discovered a new star, and the discovery brought him fame at home and in many distant lands. Denmark had a King then who was a patron of learning, and the King built an observatory for Tycho at the center of a small island, Tycho and Tycho named the place Uraniborg, the City of the Heavens. Here, for years and years, Tycho worked by day and night, watching the heavens and figuring his observations till*after*with exquisite precision had been set down upon his chart. But Frederick, the King, did, and young Prince Christian came upon the throne with a host court case of flippant courtiers, who begrudged the treasure that had been lavished upon the observatory and this feckless charting of the stores. They could not see the value of it all, and so, at last, messengers were sent forward in the name of the new King, who were to visit Tycho Brahe, to learn, if they could, the use of all his labor, to quiz him about it, and to pit their values against his.

Alfred Noyes tells the story in his noble and inspiring home, “Watchers of the Skies.”

“Is this all?” they said.

“Not all, I hope,” said Tycho, “for I think before I die I shall have marked a thousand.”

We can almost hear their laughter. How many have heard it in our day,, and every lover of truth, and beauty every man who has seen visions, and try to leave them in his life, has heard the same sardonic mirth. “To what end,” said the messengers, “to what end the travail and the waste? Show its uses to us now, show them now before we go.” I hear familiar echoes resounding through the centuries. Never a philosopher has lived, nor a saint nor a scientist nor an artist, but has been summoned to a like proof, to show the value for today, not the value for the un-plumbed future, but the value for today.

“They could not understand: this life that sought

Only to bear the torch and hand it on;

And so they made report that all the dreams

Of Tycho Brahe were fruitless; perilous, too,

Since he avowed that any fruit they bore

Would fall, in distant years, to alien hands.”

“In the time to come,”

Said Tycho Brahe, “perhaps a hundred years,

Perhaps a thousand, when our own poor names

Are quite forgotten, and our kingdoms dust,

On one sure certain day, the torch-bearers

Will, at some point of contact, see a light

Moving upon this chaos. Though our eyes

Be shut for ever in an iron sleep,

Their eyes shall see the kingdom of the law,

Our undiscovered cosmos. They shall see it–

A new creation rising from the deep,

Beautiful, whole.

We are like men that hear

Disjointed notes of some supernal choir.

Year after year, we patiently record

All we can gather. In that far-off time,

A people that we have not known shall hear them,

Moving like music to a single end.”

I look at the stone that covers my mother’s grave, and wonder whether a stranger who knows nothing of her work could begin to understand her accomplishments. I could only begin to measure her life by the number of people she helped.

I could only begin to measure her life by the number of organizations she founded.

I could only begin to measure her life by the projects she began. I look at the stone and know that at most someone would know of the stars she began to count and name, but they would not know of the values she planted in her community that will benefit countless people for generations.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
12
Sep

Listing Who Matters

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations

It wasn’t boring; it was moving. I intended to listen to the reading of the names of the victims of the 9-11 attacks for just a few moments to honor those who died on that tragic day. I ended up listening for quite a while. It may have been the recital of a long list of names, but the way it was done left me feeling that each name mattered.

The Reading of the List set me on a search for a list of my own. I kept a list of all the people at whose funeral I was honored to officiate. The list began in 1983 when, as a new rabbi in Saratoga Springs, New York, I was asked to officiate at a funeral in Glenns Falls, New York. This was the first time I was asked to serve at a funeral for someone who was a stranger. He was a member of a dying community and there were few people who knew him to honor him. His wife was already quite old, and did not remember very much. His son, grandchildren, and great grandchild, seemed to be in a rush to get through the funeral and returned to their lives. I had a devastating sense that this man would soon be forgotten. I wanted him to be honored by more than a tombstone, so I began my list. He is remembered. His life mattered.

There are, unfortunately, hundreds of names on the list. A childless man buried by his wife, who is also on my list as she passed away just a few months later. They were all alone in the world. Clearly, soon to be forgotten. They are on my list and I mention their names each time I recite Yizkor, the Memorial prayer we recite on major holidays. Their lives still matter.

There is the man who sat by himself in synagogue week after week, praising every sermon that he, being deaf, could not possibly have heard. He was buried far away from home in a cemetery close to his long deceased wife and parents. I made a pledge to him at his funeral that I would not forget him and that he too would be on my list.

The Reading of the List on 9-11 moved me because I recalled visiting El Salvador just a week after a devastating earthquake killed more than 20,000 people, and realized how many of them would soon be forgotten as if they had never existed. The List reminded me that all too often in this world there are those we treat as if their lives did not matter.

The Reading of the List reminded me of another list that is also read aloud each year: Our tradition teaches us that every human being is called before the Heavenly Judge on Rosh Hashanah, his name is announced, and he is judged. This is a list of Names that Matter.

We matter to the Creator.

God judges us because we matter to God.

God judges us because everything we do matters to God. This is the list of people who matter.

This is the gift of Rosh Hashanah.

When we are taught that on the opening night of Rosh Hashanah the judgment begins, we are reminded that the opening moments of Rosh Hashanah are gift from God, assuring us that we matter. The rest of Rosh Hashanah is simply a celebration of that gift.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
24
Jul

Kinah 37: Miraculous Life

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Reflections & Observations, Spiritual Growth

Everything about Israel, when the Temple was standing, was different, even the animals:

Never did serpent or scorpion injure anyone in Jerusalem. (Yoma 21a)

The Talmud describes how some of the great Rabbis continued to live with such miracles even after the Temple was destroyed:

Rabbi Phinehas happened to come to a certain inn. They placed barley before his ass, but it would not eat. It was sifted, but the ass would not eat it. It was carefully picked; still the ass would not eat it. ‘Perhaps’, suggested R. Phinehas, ‘it is not tithed’? It was at once tithed, and the ass ate it. He, thereupon, exclaimed, ‘This poor creature is about to do the will of the Creator, and you would feed it with untithed produce’! (Chullin 7a)

However, many of those who lived during the Temple times refused to acknowledge that their existence was different:

1 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and held in esteem, because by him the LORD had given victory unto Aram; he was also a mighty man of valour, but he was a leper. 2 And the Arameans had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 And she said unto her mistress: ‘Would that my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! then would he recover him of his leprosy.’ 4 And he went in, and told his lord, saying: ‘Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.’ 5 And the king of Aram said: ‘Go now, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel.’ And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying: ‘And now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy.’ 7 And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said: ‘Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? but consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh an occasion against me.’ 8 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying: ‘Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.’ 9 So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying: ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come back to thee, and thou shalt be clean.’ 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said: ‘Behold, I thought: He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. 12 Are not Amanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean?’ So he turned, and went away in a rage. 13 And his servants came near, and spoke unto him, and said: ‘My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee: Wash, and be clean?’ 14 Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came back like unto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. 15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him; and he said: ‘Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel; now therefore, I pray thee, take a present of thy servant.’ 16 But he said: ‘As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none.’ And he urged him to take it; but he refused. 17 And Naaman said: ‘If not, yet I pray thee let there be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of earth; for thy servant will henceforth offer neither burnt-offering nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto the LORD. 18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant: when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I prostrate myself in the house of Rimmon, when I prostrate myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.’ 19 And he said unto him: ‘Go in peace.’ So he departed from him some way. (Kings II, Chapter 5)

Elisha wanted the King and all to know “That there is a prophet in Israel,” meaning that everything is different even our waters. Na’aman, understandably had difficulty accepting Elisha’s assertion, but eventually, at the urgings of his servants, tested the waters and was miraculously healed.

We lived a different sort of existence as long as the Temple stood.

Some people believed that such a miraculous existence was possible, and would try anything, without understanding, (much as many people in our times seek magical answers from Kabbalists) to bring the miracles back to the land:

Once upon a time, a man was coming to Israel from Babylonia. When he sat down to rest, he saw two birds fighting with each other in the road. One of the birds killed the other, then flew away. It brought back a certain herb, which it placed on the dead bird, and revived it.

The man said, “It would be wonderful if I could get some of that herb. I could take it with me and bring the dead of the Land of Israel back to life!”

Having found some of the herb, he continued on his way. He saw a dead fox lying by the roadside. The man said, “It would be good to test this on the dead fox,” and touching the fox with the herb, he revived it.

Continuing still further on his way, the man reached the Ladders of Tyre, near the border of Israel. At that place he saw on the road a lion that had been killed. The man said, “It would be good to try this on the lion.”

He touched the lion with the herb, and it was brought back to life.

The lion then got up and ate the man.

(Vayikra Rabbah 22:4)

The man recognized the miracles. He believed, but he did not understand that his magical herb still functioned according to some of the rules of nature; Lions eat people! He did not appreciate that the Temple level of existence was necessary to use such miracles safely. He died in his efforts.

Others refuse to believe that we ever lived at such a miraculous level, and therefore reject the possibility that we should aspire to regaining that level of miraculous existence:

“I will make… your gates of precious stones [O’ Jerusalem], your surrounding wall, of gems.” (Isaiah 54:12)

R. Yochanan [explained] when he [once] sat and gave an exposition: The Holy One, blessed be He, will in time to come bring precious stones and pearls which are thirty [cubits] by thirty and will cut out from them [openings]30 ten [cubits] by twenty, and will set them up in the gates of Jerusalem.

A certain student sneered at him: [Jewels] of the size of a dove’s egg are not to be found; are [jewels] of such a size to be found?

After a time, his ship sailed out to sea [where] he saw ministering angels engaged in cutting precious stones and pearls which were thirty [cubits] by thirty and on which were engravings of ten [cubits] by twenty.

He said unto them: ‘For whom are these?’ They replied that the Holy One, blessed be He, would in time to come set them up in the gates of Jerusalem. [When] he came [again] before R. Yochanan he said unto him: ‘Expound, O my master; it is becoming for you to expound; as you said, so have I seen.’

He replied unto him: ‘Empty one, had you not seen, would not you have believed? You are [then] sneering at the words of the Sages!’

He set his eyes on him and [the student] turned into a heap of bones. (Bava Batra 75a)

Rabbi Yochanan did not rebuke his student when he sneered; he was angry only after the student witnessed a miracle and returned a believer! Rabbi Yochanan wasn’t troubled by the students skepticism; he was furious with his students belief in the miracle without any context.

What is the most important element necessary for proper context?

That our level of miraculous existence depends on the level we have achieved in our attachment to God, as the Midrash teaches:

Rabbi Yudan said in the name of Rabbi Avin, “Six things were taken away from Adam, namely:

his radiance,

his immortality,

the extraordinary ease with which he reaped the fruits of the earth and the fruits of the trees,

and the wondrous light of Early Creation.

How do we know his radiance was taken away from him?

The verse states,

“You alter his face and send him away.” (Job 14:20)

Bereishit Rabbah 12:6

When we appreciate the possibility that it once existed, that it can exist again, that it demands a higher level of service of God, we can then share in the following blessing:

When the Rabbis took leave from the school of R. Ammi — some say, of R. Hanina — they said to him:

May you see your requirements provided in your lifetime,

And may your latter end be for the future world and your hope for many generations; May your heart meditate understanding,

Your mouth speak wisdom

And your tongue indite song;

Aay your eyelids look straight before you,

May your eyes be enlightened by the light of the Torah

And your face shine like the brightness of the firmament;

May your lips utter knowledge, your entire being rejoice in uprightness,

And your steps run to hear the words of the Ancient of Days. (Berachot 17a) Truly, a miraculous existence!

To live without believing in the miracles that were, is to live in eternal Tisha B’Av.

To live without believing in the miracles that can be, is to live in eternal Tisha B’Av.

To believe without understanding the context of holiness and service that are necessary, is to live in eternal Tisha B’Av.

To believe in what was and what will be when we regain Beit Hamikdash existence and awareness is to live as shining examples of that original light.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share
28
Mar

There Is A School in Monsey II

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Reflections & Observations

I once posted an article, “There is a school in Monsey,” describing the great achievements, awareness, sensitivity and Chesed of Ateres Bais Yaakov in Monsey, NY. They’ve done it again:

While thinking of a nice winter vacation, most of us would come up with destinations such as Florida, or any other sunny place on the globe.

Many of my Ateres eleventh grade students thought differently. They decided to embark on a journey to Ukraine, on a trip organized by the school.

The temperatures dropped to -25F, but they were able to bring warmth to others while gaining tremendous inspiration.

One group of students went to Kiev on a Kiruv mission, where they gave over lessons and led activities at the Orach Chaim School.

Another group headed to Odessa, where for ten days, they slept, ate and lived in the Tikva girls’ orphanage. They witnessed the unfathomable poverty and misery these children come from, and experienced the incredible physical and emotional care that Tikva provides for 250 Jewish children in Ukraine. Overnight, my students became teachers, friends and “Mommies”; they nurtured, they bonded, they danced and sung and played with, they tucked little children into bed and said Shema with them. They forged lasting friendships, they gave and taught and brought smiles on these orphans’ faces.

The Ateres eleventh graders came back transformed. They were inspired beyond words. And they haven’t stopped since. They have tirelessly worked at raising  funds  to enable Tikva to continue doing its incredible work. They organized a fundraiser, produced a video, spoke at different events about what they experienced on their trip to Odessa, they held a bake sale, a raffle, a clothing drive and sent food packages.

To quote one of my students: “These children became my siblings, they are my second family. The feeling of love I experienced is a feeling beyond this world. And they need our help. So many more orphans are still on  the streets of Odessa. Without Tikva, these children are lost Jewish souls. Every single one of them should be given the chance to grow up in a happy, healthy environment. They are the future of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word ‘Tikva’ means hope. That is exactly what the Tikva organization gives to those children.”

With hope, and best wishes for a Chag Kasher V’Sameach,

Sarah Salvay,

Eleventh Grade Mechaneches,

Ateres Bais Yaakov

To learn more about Tikva, you can visit www.tikvaodessa.org

Checks can be made out to Tikva corp. and mailed to Tikva c/o Salvay, 11 Pasadena Pl. Spring Valley, NY, 10977

(Tax ID # 223 779 212)

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.

Share