25 August 2016

VOICE OUT OF THE FIRE and an Invitation to a Shiur by Roy Neuberger in Jerusalem

Dear Friends:
We thought that you would want to know about our upcoming program in Jerusalem, which is scheduled to take place, with G-d's help, on Tuesday, August 30 at 8 p.m. at the Israel OU Center, 22 Keren Hayesod. The title of the program is "Working Toward Teshuva.” We hope to see you there!

With blessings from the Holy City and prayers for the speedy advent of the Final Redemption, Roy Neuberger

By Roy S. Neuberger

As I write, Tisha B’Av has just ended, and I am weak to exhaustion. The words have shattered me. The Kinnos are so devastating that I have no strength left. How can any nation survive what we have survived? And how can it be that the Nation of Israel still remains as a distinct entity after the destruction upon destruction which we have endured?

Compounding the spiritual heaviness was the weather. I cannot recall such heavy weather. During the Nine Days, the northeast United States endured intense heat combined with staggering humidity, which turned a ten-minute outing into a steam-bath from which a person would return drenched. At the same time, the West Coast was devastated by raging fires and the Gulf Coast was drowning. The entire country is in turmoil because of a presidential election which borders on the insane, and the entire world is reeling from violence and instability on every level.

My friends, next Shabbos is Rosh Chodesh Elul. We are five weeks from Rosh Hashanah 5777. What kind of year is coming? Elul is the month of teshuva, and all depends on teshuva.

Kinnah 14 states that both the Churban and the Redemption were foreshadowed from the beginning of history. “[The Torah] alluded to [the Temple’s] destruction [in the verse], ‘And the earth was astonishingly empty.’ (Beraishis 1:2) [Hashem] intimated an omen [symbolizing the Churban] as ‘evening,’ and [the future rebuilding] as ‘morning.’” This theme is expanded by Dovid Hamelech: “In the evening one lies down weeping, but with dawn … a cry of joy!” (Tehillim 30)

Think of the implications of this statement. This means there was never a time in history when we were at complete peace, because, even at the height of our greatness, talmidei chachamim understood that the Churban would come. It is like the days of the week; there is never complete peace except on Shabbos, which is called “menucha shelema … a perfect rest.” (Shabbos Mincha Shemoneh Esreh)

We have never had complete peace! All of history is clearly a prelude to the greatest moment, when Hashem will bring the Final Redemption and we will never again have to worry about a return to Golus with its unending tzouris.

“[The Sages of every] generation desired to know the secret [time of Moshiach’s advent] and pushed [to hasten] it, but then they heard [Hashem cry out] ‘I adjure you [Israel, not to attempt to force Moshiach’s arrival], and they sealed [their mouths].” (Tisha B’Av Kinnah 14)

“Rabbi Chelbo says, there are four oaths [in Shir Hashirim, as follows]: Hashem adjured Israel not to rebel against the kingdoms [that will subjugate them], not to force the end [of the Exile], not to reveal [our] secrets to the nations of the world and not to go up from exile [to the Land of Israel by force prior to the arrival of Moshiach]…. For, if Israel were to do so, why must Moshiach come to gather the exiles of Israel?” (Shir Hashirim Rabbah 2:18)

The Midrash further states, “Rabbi Eliezer says, [Hashem] adjured [the daughters of Yerushalay-im] by the heavens and the earth” Why “heaven and earth?” Artscroll refers to Rashi, who says (on Dvarim 32:1): because heaven and earth are “witnesses that last forever.”

What is the message for today? Our generation has still not learned the simple lesson that Chava failed to understand in Gan Eden. We continue to try to “outsmart” Hashem and bring the Geulah “our way.” No, my friends, it will not work. Our avoda in Chodesh Elul is to understand that our way must be subservience to Hashem and His plan for all of history. We cannot rush the Geula, but we can prepare for it and try to become the kind of people who merit the Geula.

Hashem placed us in Golus for very specific reasons. We rebelled against Him and we are required to do teshuva in order to return to our senses. The nations of the world have apparently been summoned to help us do teshuva. Until that process is complete, until we learn to understand why we are being punished, then we are not ready for Redemption.

Heaven and Earth are speaking to us, witnesses to the oaths through which Hashem adjured us. All our suffering is meant to bring us to the madreiga at which we learn the lesson that we failed to learn in Gan Eden and throughout subsequent history: Hashem Echad Ushmo Echad! His Torah is our life; the slightest deviation is deadly.

I wrote years ago, based on personal experience, “If a Jew deviates by one millimeter from the Rules, in the course of time his deviation will become infinite. Once you are headed in a different direction, you just keep going.” (From Central Park to Sinai) You keep going, that is, until something stops you. The sufferings of Golus are designed to stop our deviation.

The Bais Hamikdosh burned, but “the voice of G-d [is] speaking [to us] from amidst the fire.” (Dvarim 4:33) This was foreshadowed when Moshe Rabbeinu heard Hashem speaking out of the burning bush. “Ma’ase avos siman l’banim … the actions of the Fathers are signs for the children.” Our ancestors heard Hashem speaking from amidst the fire, and we must listen as Hashem speaks to us, even though – or perhaps especially because – the world is burning.

“For behold, a day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the wicked people and all the evildoers will be like straw, and that coming day will burn them up, says Hashem, Master of Legions … but a sun of righteousness will shine for you who fear My Name, with healing in its rays." (Malachi 3:19-20)

Soon, through our teshuva, we will see a new world, pure and perfect, just as Hashem made it during Ymai Beraishis. This time, we will not repeat Chava’s mistake. If we listen to His voice, we will merit to live in that perfect world.

* * * *

Roy Neuberger, 
author and public speaker, 
can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2016 by Roy S. Neuberger

24 August 2016

Tribute to Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis a”h

Total article honoring Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis from the Jewish Press by Naomi Klass Mauer

Originally published on April 6, 2015
How many people realize that one of the largest kiruv organizations in the world was founded by and continues to be run by a woman?

That woman is Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis and the organization she started in 1970, Hineni, is known worldwide and has brought countless people from all walks of life back to Yiddishkeit. In fact, when Rebbetzin Jungreis visited Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky a number of years ago, Rebbetzin Kanievsky told her, “I may be the Rebbetzin of Bnei Brak, but you are the Rebbetzin of the world.”

* * * * *

I can still remember the weekend, over 50 years ago at the Pioneer Country Club in upstate New York, when my parents met Rabbi Meshulem HaLevi and Esther Jungreis. We were sitting together in the lobby and the rabbi turned to my father and said, “The Jewish Press needs an advice column by a woman.”

“It sounds like a good idea, but who would write it?” my dad asked.

“My wife,” Rabbi Jungreis responded instantaneously. “She’s very good at giving advice.”
And so began Rebbetzin’s Viewpoint, the longest running column in the history of The Jewish Press and still going strong. Letters come to the Rebbetzin from readers all over the world who hope to see their questions answered in the paper.

“I wanted the word ‘rebbetzin’ to be part of the column’s title,” [. . .] “because I wanted young women to realize what a noble position it is to be a rabbi’s wife.”

Her connection to the paper, she tells me, is deeply personal:  “Despite many offers from other periodicals, I have only to picture your holy father and your very special mother, whom I loved, to know why I continue to write for The Jewish Press.”

* * * * *

Esther Jungreis’s father, Rav Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, was descended from a long line of rabbanim and the Jungreis name was well known throughout Hungary. Esther was born in Szeged, at the time the second largest city in Hungary and home to that country’s largest Reform community. It was into that milieu that Rav Avraham HaLevi Jungreis had come, with his long black beard and long black coat, to build an Orthodox shul.

“He built that shul and welcomed everyone,” says Rebbetzin Jungreis. “It mattered not who they were or how committed they were to Judaism, everyone felt welcome in his shul.”

During World War II, Szeged was the collection point for slave labor. Young Jewish men were sent out of the country to help the Nazi war effort. Rav Jungreis went to see those boys every day and would sing a song, like a prayer in Yiddish, with messages for them from their parents, and distribute honey cookies his wife, Rebbetzin Miriam, had made. He would take along young Esther, who carried medicine sewn into the hem of her coat to be distributed as needed.

At that time the Jungreis family was hiding a pregnant woman, and when her time came to give birth it was Rebbetzin Miriam who performed the delivery and kept the baby alive.
When deportation came, the Jungreis family was sent to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. But the woman and her baby were sent to a camp in Vienna, where Esther’s maternal grandfather, Rav Tzvi Hirsh HaCohen, was the rav. He protected her, and when the war was nearly over and some people were making it out to Switzerland, he gave up his seat on a transport for her and her baby. Rav Tzvi was eventually murdered but that little boy survived and today is the well-known Tzelemer Rav.nextpage

* * * * *

After liberation the Jungreis family came to the United States and moved into a small basement apartment in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. There were plenty of Jewish children in the neighborhood but they barely knew they were Jews. Rabbi Jungreis bought lollipops and distributed them to the children who eagerly accepted the treats from this man who must have looked like a fairy-tale figure to them.

Rabbi Jungreis encouraged young Esther to invite children into their home. She was reluctant, as it was a small basement apartment without any luxuries. But her father urged her to do her part to save these Jewish souls, assuring her that Hashem would help. She soon discovered that all the children wanted to come. It seems the magic of a Shabbos table was more enticing than fancy furniture or games outside.

Eventually Rabbi Jungreis built a shul and a yeshiva in Canarsie so that American children could learn about their heritage. Rebbetzin Miriam cooked lunch for all the children and baked cookies she would give out every morning as she welcomed each child to school. She would greet the students with a smile and tell them to make a berachah over the cookies.
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis recalls those days with great pride. “I meet people all over the world,” she says, “who remember the love they received from my parents.”

The years passed and Esther became a bride.

“My husband, Rabbi Meshulem, came to the United States as an orphan who had lost his entire family in the Holocaust,” she says. “He was a third cousin of mine and I was honored to marry him.”

He was a learned man, tall and handsome with a twinkle in his eye. People referred to him as the Gentle Giant, due to his height and gentle nature. His first position was in Paterson, New Jersey, where the family lived in a small apartment above the shul. Some time afterward they moved to Long Island and Rabbi Meshulem built a Torah community in North Woodmere. He was the much-loved rabbi of Congregation Ohr Torah and the chaplain of the local police department.

Esther, who had been in training for the position of rebbetzin all her life, was the perfect helpmate to him. He was very proud of his famous wife, and would refer to himself as “the rebbetzin’s husband.”

Sadly, Rabbi Meshulem died nearly 20 years ago, leaving a great void in the lives of the Rebbetzin, the rest of the family, and his beloved congregants.

Rebbetzin Jungreis described his last days at Memorial Sloan Kettering. True to his considerate nature, he didn’t want to bother the nurses and seldom asked for anything. But when Rebbetzin Jungreis came to visit he would give her lists of people he thought might make a good shidduch for people they knew.

When their friend the police commissioner came to visit him in the hospital, he told the Rebbetzin, “I always wondered what the meaning of G-d was but since I met your husband I know. G-d comes from the word ‘goodness’ and your husband walks with that goodness reflected in his eyes, in his gentle words and in his loving, warm ways. I will be forever grateful for having had the privilege to know him.”

At the rabbi’s funeral the entire police department joined the congregation to honor his memory. “At one point,” recalls Rebbetzin Jungreis, “the procession came to a halt. It seems the ducks and geese my husband had been feeding for years at a nearby pond came out through the locked fence and walked along the road, in silent tribute to the person who had fed them for so long. And then almost as suddenly as they had come they turned around and went back into the pond.”

* * * * *

Rebbetzin Jungreis with Rebbetzin Batsheva Kanievsky, zichrona l’vracha
I ask the Rebbetzin how the idea of starting an organization like Hineni came about.

“The idea of bringing people back to Yiddishkeit was inside me from my childhood days

It really started back when my father would encourage me to bring in the neighborhood children. But the older I got the more I realized how great the mission really was. I was asked to speak at a Young Israel collegiate convention. I looked out at the audience and told myself, ‘If I were to have an organization, I would speak to reach people, to wake people up. I would even speak in Madison Square Garden to students and young people. I would call it Rock and Soul, to wake up their souls.’

“From there the idea grew. My father was always encouraging me to reach out and before I officially started Hineni I asked him to take me to all the rabbanim for a berachah. He took me to chassidic rebbes and yeshivish rabbis, to Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yosef Soloveitchik, among others, and all gave me their blessings.”

Someone suggested that Rebbetzin Jungreis contact a man named Joseph Wohl who had built Long Island Jewish Hospital. If she could convince him of the importance of her cause, he would probably underwrite her grand Madison Square Garden plan. The only problem was, she didn’t know anyone who knew Mr. Wohl. She spoke to her father and he blessed her and told her that if she tried, Hashem would help her succeed.

“With my father’s blessings I looked up Mr. Wohl in the phone book and called him. I asked to meet him about a lifesaving idea. He invited me to his home and I went, keeping my father’s blessing in my heart. I spoke to him and his wife about my idea and I was passionate about it. Joseph Wohl gave me a check to cover the whole Madison Square Garden event. He became the first chairman of Hineni and his daughter Ellie is still the president of the Hineni Women’s League.”

Now that she had the money, she had to figure out how to fill such a large venue.

“I got a van that was outfitted with a stage that could roll out and I went all over college campuses with music playing, to get them to come to the event,” she says. “I went to Queens College to their Yavneh group. I was told that they didn’t have many members but I went anyway. Seven hundred students showed up. The New York Post reported on that event saying the Jews have their Billy Graham. She’s 5 feet tall and she’s blond.”

It took three years to put the Madison Square Garden event together but in November 1973 the Rebbetzin filled the Garden. With the seats sold out, people were sitting on the stage. Rebbetzin Jungreis had invited all the Jewish organizations to have booths in the hall and to give out their literature. It was billed a Night of Unity.

My mother, Irene Klass, covered the event for The Jewish Press.


And I went on from there. 

There was electricity in the air.

“The consul general of Israel was there. The next day he called me and said I had to go to Israel and speak to the soldiers. Shortly afterward I was speaking at the Miami Beach Convention Hall and was approached by a young man who said he wanted to come to Israel with me and that he was a musician. I asked what kind of music he played and he said jazz. I thought about it and decided it was a good idea.

“I told my mother that if I go to Israel I want to take yarmulkes, so we ordered yarmulkes made of jeans material and my mother sewed the Hineni symbol on them. Now I was ready to go to Israel.”

The Rebbetzin’s first stop in Israel was at the country’s largest air force base.

“I started to speak and after each story I told I had the jazz musician playing. The air force men didn’t know what to make of this, but as I continued speaking, these tough men began to cry. Then I spoke in Jerusalem at Binyanei HaUmah, the convention center. A young man from Hashomer Hatzair [the far-left youth organization] was waiting for me at the end. He said, ‘You have to come to Tel Aviv.’ So I went and spoke at the Cinerama in Tel Aviv. Someone in the audience jumped on the stage and said, ‘You have to come to South Africa.’ And so it mushroomed.”

The message was getting out and Rebbetzin Jungreis was reaching people long disenfranchised. And she indeed traveled to South Africa – to Johannesburg and Capetown and Durban – and to other countries all over the world. Wherever she went, young people approached her with tears in their eyes and told her she’d awakened feelings they never knew they had.

* * * * *

During these years the Rebbetzin was also raising her family and she is quick to give her mother credit for taking over the house on days she was traveling. Hineni was really a family project with her husband and her parents standing firmly behind her.

(Today her children also lecture in the Hineni Center.)

In the beginning Hineni met in her father’s shul but in the early 1980s the organization acquired a building in Manhattan at 232 West End Ave., where classes are given every week and shidduchim are frequently made.

Rebbetzin Jungreis teaches every Thursday night at 8:30 and everyone is welcome. After her lessons people wait to talk to her and it is from these discussions that many a successful match has been made.

The Rebbetzin’s stories and adventures are too numerous for these pages, so I will relate just one more and readers will have to go to the Hineni Center and ask the Rebbetzin to tell the rest.

A number of years ago the Rebbetzin was traveling back to New York from Portland, Oregon, where she had been invited to speak. On the plane a young man, noticing the very attractive Rebbetzin, asked her if she had fun in Portland. She replied that she had been in Portland to lecture. He asked, a little incredulously, “Lecture about what?” She then asked if he was Jewish. Very defensively he said, “Yeh, what of it?” and sat down.

Just then the stewardess came by with the meals. She gave two kosher trays to the Rebbetzin and her companion and asked the young man if he wanted a ham and cheese sandwich or some other item. He chose the ham and cheese.

The Rebbetzin quickly said, “No, you can’t have that; you are a Jew and that isn’t kosher.” The fellow said he didn’t keep kosher and ham and cheese was his favorite sandwich. She told him he had made a contract.

“With whom?” he asked.

“With G-d at Mount Sinai thousands of years ago,” . . .
“I saw you there.”

The young man looked at the Rebbetzin and said, “Lady, you’re crazy.” As he ate his sandwich he told her how delicious it was.

A few hours later at the baggage claim he went over to her and said, “Lady, you really should get help because you are really crazy.”

The Rebbetzin gave him her card and said, “Check it out and come see me sometime and I will teach you about it.” He pocketed the card with a laugh.

Seven years later a young man came to the Hineni Center wearing a suit and a black hat and all the other trappings of an Orthodox Jew. He approached the Rebbetzin and asked if she remembered him. Her usual reply is “You look familiar” (she never wants to hurt people’s feelings when she doesn’t recognize them).

He rook out the card she had given him years before. “I didn’t forget what you told me on the plane from Portland and I checked it out. And now I’ve come to ask you if you also remember seeing a girl at Sinai who could be the girl for me.”

Sure enough, the Rebbetzin knew just the right girl. The couple got married and are now part of the Hineni family.

* * * * *

One would think that running a large organization like Hineni, writing a weekly column for The Jewish Press, and raising a beautiful family (all of whom are now actively part of the Hineni adventure) would leave the Rebbetzin very little time for anything else. However, during these years she has also written five books with the sixth, Be a Blessing: The Purpose of Man, due out in the near future.

In addition to all that, she still flies all over the world spreading her own version of outreach. Her father’s blessings have definitely come true, as she has returned so many lost Jews to the fold.

And she doesn’t let anything stop her – not a broken hip and not a torn meniscus. She just keeps going. How, I ask her, does she keep up a pace that would tire a much younger person?

“I take my inspiration from Tehillim,” she replies. 

The psalm for the Sabbath day – Psalm 92, verses 15-16: 

‘They are vibrant and fresh even in ripe old age and proclaim how our Lord is right, His word inerrant.’”

23 August 2016

Ingathering Part III – The Vilna Gaon and Sin of the Meraglim – Amalek

[T]he Vilna Gaon’s comments* about those who spurn the opportunity of making aliyah, or at least of wanting to do so. It’s from Chapter 5 of Kol HaTor, which as mentioned previously, is not verified to be authentic GR”A. [I]n the 1700s, when Eretz Yisroel was barren, under the authority of the Ottoman Empire, and dangerous to inhabit:

The sin of the Spies (Meraglim) in the Desert in the days of Moshe is one of the greatest general sins that attaches itself to Am Yisrael in all the generations until today. 

According to the midrash of our sages, a weeping from generation to generation was decreed because of the Sin of the Spies, weeping for the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash, the destruction of Yerushalayim, and the desolation of the land. In a large part, Am Yisrael has suffered and suffers in all the generations the pains of the bitter exile due to the Sin of the Spies. A large portion of the punishment of this sin was brought down in the days that the sin occured during the generation in the desert, as explained in the Torah, but the remainder of the punishment was divided up to pieces that were put upon all generations, G-d save us.

A great tikkun for the Sin of the Spies can come by way of the redemption and building of Yerushalayim, and by way of actions of gathering in the Exiles, according to the known principle of "G-d made this opposing that", and measure for measure, for merit and also for sin, fix what you broke, to fix everything according to the place, according to the time, according to the action, and according to the publicity. And behold the Sin of the Spies which brought weeping for generations according to the explanation of our sages on the verse "And the people wept on that night", that night was the night of Tishah b'Av, on which the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed.
We find that the tikkun for the Sin of the Spies needs to be by building the Beit HaMikdash, and before the building of the Beit HaMikdash, there needs to be the building of Yerushalayim, as explained according to our Rabbi (the GR"A) according to the verse "Yerushalayim will be built and the Sanctuary founded" which is said on the final Atchalta DiGeulah like in the days of Koresh.

And due to our many sins, there are many who are sinning the great sin of "they despised the desirable land", also many that keep Torah do not know or understand that they are caught up in the Sin of the Spies, they are attached to the Klipah of the Sin of the Spies in all sorts of nonsensical, lying arguments, also covering up their logic with the rejected opinion that there is no mitzvah of Yishuv HaAretz at this time. This opinion was already rejected by the geniuses of the world, the Rishonim and Acharonim. These Spies want to be bigger than our rabbis the Tanaim and Amoraim that set that the mitzvah of living in Eretz Yisrael is equal all the other mitzvot in the Torah, and our rabbi
the Ramban zya"a that set that the mitzvah of Yishuv HaAretz is a positive commandment of the Torah from "and you shall inherit it and settle it”
and our rabbi the writer of Tosefot Yom Tov that before the Geulah there will be an Atchalta like in the days of Koresh in the days of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash and also our rabbi
the Shla"h HaKadosh (in  Sha'ar HaOtiot) explains the greatness of the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael, that at no time does the holiness of this mitzvah cease, even for an instant. 
And who is greater for us in all the last generations than our rabbi the GR"A, the holy of Israel, that with firey words urged his students to move to Eretz Yisrael and to work in the
Ingathering of the Exiles
and urged his students greately to start the Keitz Meguleh to bring forward the Keitz of the Geulah by way of settling Eretz Yisrael.

Almost every day our rabbi spoke to us with great emotion that "In Tzion and in Yerushalayim there will be refuge", and not to delay the appointed time. Who can speak or describe the great worry of our rabbi as he spoke to us with words like these with his holy spirit and with tears in his eyes, and also explained to us many times that the opinion of Rav Yehudah (Ketubot 110) that said that someone who moves to Eretz Yisrael from Bavel violates a positive commandment, even according to Rav Yehudah, this is only said regarding Bavel and not from the rest of the lands. And also Aliyah from Bavel of Rav Yehudah, it is a opinion of a single authority, and it is rejected from its base in the Gemara there and in the commentaries. This and more: Rav Yehudah bases himself on the verse "To Bavel they will be brought and there thay will be until the day of My rememberance" (Yirmiyahu 27). What is the meaning of "until the day of My rememberance"? Behold during the Aliyah of Ezra and Nechemiah was from Galut Bavel and any rememberance from Heaven needs to have first a rememberance in the Awakening from Below, and as our rabbi said to us in many places that the rememberence in the Footsteps of Moshiach will be first like in the days of Koresh in the days of the 2nd Beit HaMikdash from the Left Side, the side of Din meaning the Awakening from Below.

How great is the pain of the fact that many of our brothers Bnei Yisrael and among them many wealthy Jews in the state of Russia who eagerly prepared to come to Eretz Yisrael by the mitzvah of our rabbi the GR"A, and were cooled off davka by some who keep the Torah that don't know and understand. And this is what our rabbi wrote that during the ingathering, the Other Side will be strengthened, G-d save us, and this is what it says in the midrash that when Israel goes out of the Galut, Amalek is made ready for them on the way. And that is the strength of the impurity about which it says "that cooled you off on the way". And see how strong the power is of the satan that put this deceiving opinion also in those that keep the Torah to delay the Geulah, for behold the Spies themselves were amongst the greatest of Israel and the satan enticed them, G-d save us.

In addition to this, amongst the obstacles in the Diaspora, there are also those that interfere in the sending of financial support for the strengthening of the settlement in Eretz Yisrael. We hear from our emissaries a few such horrible stories. For example: On the day of the GR"A's Yartzheit, one of our emissaries gave the drash in the synagogue in the city in favor of supporting the settlement in Eretz Yisrael. After him, the Gabbai of the community came up to the bimah and said that the Gabbai's of the community in Yerushalayim have created a new business, it is not enough that they request donations for food for the poor but also donations for the building of Yerushalayim to buy fields, etc. in order to expand the settlement, and other dreams like this. And if it were really a time of desire in front of Hashem, said this Gabbai, to bring the Geulah, then there would be no need to buy fields, etc.

And behold this Gabbai that has no idea about the ways of the Geulah and doesn't know or doesn't want to know about the words of the prophet "Fields with money will be bought in the land of Binyamin and in the surroundings of Yerushalayim" (Yirmiyahu 32), and the words of the prophet "Expand the place of your tents" that all these were spoken about the Atchalta DiGeulah as I have explained in prior chapters.

And also what our sages said that thus is the Geulah of Israel, little by little it comes, like Ayelet HaShachar, etc, and all this was said about the Atchalta DiGeulah like a poor person on a donkey, as long as we have not merited the full Geulah on the clouds of heaven, speedily and in our days. And the GR"A speaks in many places about the first Geulah from the Servitude of the Nations by the first Moshiach, the Moshiach of the Atchalta, Moshiach ben Yosef, who is responsible for Kibbutz Galuyot in the Awakening from Below. And what is the meaning of the First Moshiach and the First Geulah in the words of the GR"A? It is the preparations that come before Moshiach ben Dovid. And what will those people with their deep explanations say regarding the words of our sages"When Yerushalayim is built, ben Dovid comes" and on the verse "And there will come to Tzion a redeemer" (Yeshayahu 59), about which the Midrash and Rashi say "As long as Tzion isn't built, the redeemer doesn't come". And indeed it is (akin to) the hyssop in the wall coming to defeat the (mighty) Cedars of Lebanon, this is nothing but the Klipah of the Spies speaking from within their throats, indeed this is what our sages said that in the Footsteps of Moshiach, the truth is hidden and chutzpah increases, chutzpah also against the holy words of our prophets and visionaries, chutzpah against the earlier Gedolei Yisrael, and against the opinion and holy command of the holy of Israel, our rabbi the GR"A, and we pray that all those that have the spirit of Amalek dwelling within them will repent from their evil ways, and He is merciful and atones sin.

 What would the GR”A say about Diaspora Jews today?

* Source: Rabbi Pinchas Winston Shlit”a Essays
(I have highlighted certain phrases but have not altered the wording, it remains as was transmitted to Rabbi Winston.

22 August 2016

Who Are The Descendants of Yaakov’s Sons Today – Part II: Ingathering Process of the Geulah


The history of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel is littered with dreamers and doers, men who ventured and sought, invented and prophesied, drowned in their insane fictions or zealous beliefs—overcome by their faith, opportunistic, visionary. “Once declared lost, the ten tribes went on to create, time and again, the edges of the earth and the boundaries of the world,” writes historian Zvi Ben-Dor Benite in "The Ten Lost Tribes”.
“They have conjured into existence whole places, such as Arzareth and Sambatyon; charted paths of supposed migration across the face of the earth; built land bridges between Asia and Europe and the Americas; inscribed real places with meaning and rendered them intelligible. The ten tribes have provided centuries of world travelers with itineraries and meaning. Whole peoples have been imbued with meaning through reference to them. They have promised the hope of redemption and humanity’s unity.”

Becoming Moses

In the spring of 1997, shortly after Israel pulled out of its settlements in Hebron, Michael Freund was working at the communications bureau of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then serving his first stint in that office. The Diaspora Affairs adviser at the time worked across the hall, where mail to the cabinet was handled. The adviser and Freund kept what they jokingly referred to as “The Crazy File”: letters from across the globe from people who believed that they were the Messiah or who made oddball requests of the government. These were sometimes illegible, sometimes threatening, sometimes naïve and amusing.

One day, a secretary handed Freund a beat-up orange envelope, addressed to the Prime Minster of Israel. Freund opened it. The letter inside had been sent by the leadership of a community in Manipur, in Northeast India, which claimed to be a lost tribe of the biblical people of Israel. The rest of the letter was a simply worded plea to be allowed to come back to the land of their ancestors after 2,700 years in exile. They had written to Golda Meir and every prime minister since then but had never gotten an answer. Why not?

“I read it,” […] “and I thought it was completely nuts.” Then, without really knowing why, he did something crazier. He answered the letter.

Michael Freund owes much to his predecessor, mentor, and former partner Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail [… ]  Avichail represents a modern incarnation of an important branch of historical ten-tribe-ism in which the theological implications of both the losing and the finding of the tribes supersede any mundane concerns.

In this view, the Bible and the prophecies related to the Ten Tribes provide “facts” as well as messianic signs that need to be both interpreted and audaciously acted upon. The prophecies point to a “final redemption” after at least three things are achieved: the restoration of the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem, the unity of the land of Israel, and the ingathering of the people of Israel, including the lost tribes. In modern Israel, this is reflected in the political philosophy of religious Zionism, a theocratic idea that tries to balance belief and patriotism. Religious Zionists from the Gush Emunim school of thought, out of which Avichail grew, believe the secular modern state has accidentally helped hasten the fulfillment of the biblical prophecies by virtue of its very existence.

Ingathering of the Lost Tribes 
is but another step

To End the Exile, Avichail was determined to track down the tribes in the form of their descendants and to bring them “first back to Judaism,” as he wrote, “and then to the Jewish People and to the Land of Israel.”

In 1975, Avichail presented his amateur scholarly research and biblical sources for the scattering of the Lost Tribes to his influential teacher Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook (1891–1982) at Kook’s Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva. […] After Avichail had spoken on his text-based discoveries about the Pathans of Afghanistan, Kashmiri Jews, the Karen, Shinlung, Chiang-min, and the Beta Israel of Ethiopia—with evidence for these and other remnants of the exiled Ten Tribes in Japan, the Caucasus, and elsewhere—Kook had said,

“Talking is nice, but it’s not enough. 
You must act.”

Over the next 30 years, he embarked on a series of insane adventures: to Pakistan, Kashmir, Szechuan, Thailand, India, Burma, Japan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Sicily, Majorca, Peru, and Mexico, to put his theories to the test. He found the Menashe, studied their traditions and beliefs, and began to bring a few of them to Israel. His travels often revealed what he hoped to find, and this in turn made him ever more obsessed. He made it his life’s work: Avichail founded a tiny organization consisting of his wife, Rivka, and a volunteer assistant and named it “Amishav,” my people has returned.

Next Phase –

The idea of the great redemption that had begun with the resettling of the land of Israel and the ingathering of the Lost Tribes became in Freund’s hands more like a bureaucratic maneuver, a “process” with “belief systems” within a “political reality”—as if what G–D needed was not an eccentric visionary, but a dependable, deep-pocketed accountant. Avichail insisted on staying focused on representatives of the Lost Tribes. After his experiences with the anusim, Freund wanted to expand Amishav’s brief to the descendants of Jews, known and unknown.

Why limit the work to biblical migrations when in the course of Jewish and world history so many other cataclysmic disruptive forces had caused wounds that had not healed?

Why bring only some lost Jews home?

Our next chapter in our history,  
the Baalei Teshuva of the Ingathering

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Source: Becoming Moses, about Michael Freund, the rescuer of Lost Tribes and the Ingathering of the Geulah. Michael Freund is now in the forefront of locating, verifying and bringing back to Eretz Yisrael (existential) members of the Lost Tribes.

On a lighter note: The Lost Tribe of Brooklyn

21 August 2016

Who Are The Descendants of Yaakov’s Sons Today – Part I

Where Are The Twelve Tribes Today  § Who Are The Descendants of Yaakov’s Sons Today

Map of the Land Promised to Yaakov’s Sons
"Ezekiel 47 and 48 state the land in millennial Israel will be divided equally between the tribes, each tribe having one portion. In Ezekiel 47:13–21 we find even more boundary detail. Obviously, Israel only occupies a part of what was promised (and is promised) to them. Any attempt by man to apportion land to them, try as they may, will end in failure. However, the way things are progressing in the Middle East, it will not be long until the ancient markers are made right and placed where they were intended to be.

Read EZEKIEL 47. Also an interesting read, THE UTOPIAN MAP IN EZEKIEL (48:1-35)

when Jews return to the Land, in their choosing where to settle, they may instinctually be drawn to their Tribal Ancestor’s portion of Land.

When the Messiah comes, we will all find out which tribes we are from. One of the most important aspects of the Redemption is the promise of the Ingathering of the Exiles from the Diaspora, with all Jews settling in their tribal portion of the Holy Land. We are assured that no Jew will be left behind—including the Ten "Lost Tribes.”

Jacob's twelve sons (in order of birth) and the Tribal Designation to the Land (map)
(Map and text - Wikipedia)

It is thus that R. Joshua of Siknin said in the name of R. Levi: Why are not the names of the tribes in the same order in all places, but sometimes one takes the precedence and sometimes another?
So that you should not think that the children of the wives come first, and those of the handmaidens last, but to teach you that these were not greater than the others
(Midrash Rabbah, Exodus 1:6).

This could be applied to Yaakov’s Sons’ descendants of today, in that they/we are their descendants, from differing Tribes, and while we are different we still need to be treated as family. Also, after all these years in Golus, we need understanding while we shed foreign concepts and move slowly into our new/old roles as various Tribal entities.

G-d is warning: You must not discriminate between the different ethnic groups in the holy land of Israel; they are all Jews! You must unite and help each other. Whoever discriminates will be discriminated by G-d. (R’ Nir Ben Artzi. AbsoluteTruth613

Where are Yaakov’s Descendants Today
conceptual connections between tribe and nahalah demonstrate a purposeful design to land apportionment

In the book, Tribal Lands: The Twelve Tribes of Israel in their Ancestral Territories (by Tamar Weissman), you can read about each Tribe’s ancestor, the personality of the Tribe, and where their Land is in today’s Eretz Yisrael. I read somewhere in this book that when Jews return to the Land, in their choosing where to settle down, they may be drawn to their Tribal Ancestor’s portion of Land. Why does one love the air of Yerushalayim; others the Jezreel Valley, and still others are attracted to the pristine Jordan Valley.

There is a further division to take into account, and that is the division at the end of the Rule of King Solomon, with Judah, Binyamin and half of Manassah in the South, and all the other Tribes in the North led by Ephraim. Of course, this is the division that led to the dispersion and the “Lost Tribes.” According to certain sources, Moshiach be Yosef will serve as Moshiach ben David's viceroy. Thus finally bringing to an end the schism between the northern Ten Tribes, which were ruled by Joseph's descendants, and the Kingdom of Judea, which was ruled by the Davidic dynasty. The principal and final function ascribed to Mashiach ben Yossef is of political and military nature. See footnote below for source (Chabad online) and continuation. The personalities of the Tribes, if I may, might be seen in the various communities/groupings of Jews in Israel today. Just as the lineage of a Kohen can be traced back to Aharon HaKohen, perhaps also with the Tribal Sons.

For instance, Reuven:

The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph) – the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Enoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. Chronicles 5􏰁:1􏰂–3

To Tour the Nachala – Organizing an itinerary is a straightforward task; bringing it off, however, is not simple, atlas not for one carrying an Israeli passport. First the most logical border crossing for those seeking to visit is the Allenby Bridge … located just opposite Jericho and is an easy half-hour ride from Jerusalem, […]􏰀

Dan ben Bilhah: The Liminal Child

If there ever was a provocative and entirely appropriate symbol for a tribe, it is that of Dan: the Serpent – like its tribe, Dan – provokes a reflexive distance. Grasping the complexities of this tribe was difficult. Dan seemed to act ever the serpent, skulking away in the shadows, evasive and unyielding,. It took much reflection – stormy at times – to determine just why this tribe evoked a strange mingling of discomfort and fascination. Dan represented a new force in the family of Israel.


Examining the character of Naphtali was like spending time with Mesilat Yesharim: at once, exhausting and exhilarating; humbling … and positively energizing. Naphtali is a delight perfectly capturing the midday of zerizut, or enthusiasm. He had a lightness and swiftness that refreshes after a meditation on his older brother Dan.

The Nachala of Naphtali. Often, in our times, Israelis travel north to recharge their batteries, soaking in the spaciousness of Nahalat Naphtali and enjoying the large expanse between villages. Anecdotally, a noted benefit of living up north is that there is a more generous, open spirit among local residents than is found in the more congested and busy center of the country.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In this Book, you will find discourse on the character of each tribe, woven from classical Jewish sources, accompanied by a description of the tribal nahalah. Suggestions for conceptual connections between tribe and nahalah demonstrate a purposeful design to land apportionment. The day-tour itineraries provide an enriching accompaniment to the character portraits, allowing the reader to virtually experience some of the outstanding sites in each tribe’s nahalah. Maps and full-color photographs illustrate the contours of each nahalah, and highlight some of the impressive sites within each nachalah.


With the Rebirth in 1948 of The Land of Israel – Eretz Yisrael 
which Jews returned to Israel in the beginning of the State?

Jewish Virtual Library:  In 1950 the Law of Return, granted every Jew the automatic right to immigrate to Israel and become a citizen of the state. With the gates wide open after statehood was declared, a wave of mass immigration brought 687,000 Jews to Israel's shores. By 1951, the number of immigrants more than doubled the Jewish population of the country in 1948. The immigrants included survivors of the Holocaust from displaced persons' camps in Germany, Austria and Italy; a majority of the Jewish communities of Bulgaria and Poland, one third of the Jews of Romania, and nearly all of the Jewish communities of Libya, Yemen and Iraq.

Additional mass immigration took place in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when immigrants arrived from the newly independent countries of North Africa, Morocco and Tunisia. A large number of immigrants also arrived during these years from Poland, Hungary and Egypt.

in the early 1970s, the Soviet Union permitted significant number of Jews to immigrate to Israel. At the end of the decade, a quarter of a million Jews had left the Soviet Union; 140,000 immigrated to Israel.

After 190,000 olim reached Israel in 1990 and 150,000 in 1991, the stabilization of conditions in the former Soviet Union and adjustment difficulties in Israel caused immigration to level off at approximately 70,000 per year. From 1989 to the end of 2003, more than 950,000 Jews from the former Soviet Union had made their home in Israel.

In 1984, some 7,000 Ethiopian Jews walked hundreds of miles to Sudan, where a secret effort known as Operation Moses brought them to Israel. Another 15,000 arrived in a dramatic airlift, Operation Solomon, in May 1991. Within thirty hours, forty­one flights from Addis Ababa carried almost all the remaining community to Israel.

On the eve of Israel Independence Day 2016, Israel's population stood at a record 8,522,000. The Jewish population makes up 6,377,000; 1,771,000 are Arabs; and, "others" (non-Arab Christians, Baha'i, etc) make up 4.4% of the population (374,000 people). When the state was established, there were only 806,000 residents.


Mashiach ben Yosef (continued): He shall wage war against the forces of evil that oppress Israel. The immediate results of this war will be disastrous: Mashiach ben Yossef will be killed. This is described in the prophecy of Zechariah, who says of this tragedy that "they shall mourn him as one mourns for an only child." (Zechariah 12:10). His death will be followed by a period of great calamities. These new tribulations shall be the final test for Israel, and shortly thereafter Mashiach ben David shall come, avenge his death, resurrect him, and inaugurate the Messianic era of everlasting peace and bliss. Read more HERE which includes an alternative commentary by R. Saadiah Gaon (with equally interesting and informative footnotes to text).

Post compiled 8/16–18

Divine Justice and Hebrew Letters

The following is an interesting article, Love and Judaism built into … Distinctive Home, from the Jewish Journal. This is an interesting read even tho we are on the other side of Shabbos Nachamu and V’eschanan wherein is the first paragraph of the Shema Prayer is inside our Mezuzah and Tefillin, which brings to mind the carving of the Luchos by HaShem that could be read from either side, just like this house (k’eilu): 

There is divine justice in the fact that the daughter of a survivor of Auschwitz now lives in a beautiful home wrapped in a metal sheath pierced with Hebrew letters and filled with Judaica.

Meyer Wiesel, who died in 1987, survived the Holocaust — the only member of his family to do so. And now, the Jewish heritage of that boy from the Czechoslovakian town of Topolčany — who would later become Michael Morris of Denver — plays out daily in the most public fashion possible in the Cheviot Hills home of his daughter, Maxine Morris, and her husband, Bob Hale.

“It is like a giant mezuzah,”
Morris said with a laugh during a recent afternoon interview at the house.

Indeed, like the V’ahavta prayer of love hidden inside every mezuzah’s decorative casing, this home is a 5,000-square-foot, three-story declaration of ahavah — love — with the word repeated in hundreds of perforations across the corrugated aluminum that encases its structure. 

The design is an expression of gratitude and deep affection between the two people who built the house, with the Hebrew letters inscribed both forward and backward, becoming, as well as an expression of their Judaism, an abstract, decorative pattern allowing light and shadow to seep through into the private spaces inside.

The “Beit Ha-Ahava” — “House of Love,” as it has become known — was, of course, a very personal project. In 2008, Morris, director of research finance operations at the Rand Corp., met Hale, a highly regarded architect and principal at the Los Angeles firm of Rios Clementi Hale Studios. […]  Morris and Hale fell in love and decided to marry. Both lived on the Westside, and when they thought about designing and building a new home for a life together, they found they had very compatible tastes in modern design.

“I was the architect, Max was the client,” Hale said. “She had a lot to say about it.”

They married in 2010, but had bought the property while engaged (the house wasn’t completed until 2012). Hale said he had always envisioned wrapping the exterior with perforated corrugated aluminum, but, at least at first, he’d simply thought of a pattern of holes.

“I said, ‘Just holes?’ ” Morris remembers. “Sounded not so interesting.”

Morris had been collecting images of objects she liked, and one day she came across a lamp in the graceful, turning shape of the Hebrew letter lamed.

“I was staring at it, and it just struck me: Hebrew letters are so beautiful,” she said. “So I said to him, ‘Can we do something with Hebrew letters?’ He said, ‘Sure, why not?’ And then it became, well, what letters?”

Credit: Photo by Trevor Tondro

They quickly settled on an expression of their love. “And it was perfect,” Hale said. “It was concise, and it allowed us to make a pattern, and, as Max said, if you know the letters, you can make it out, and if you don’t, it just reads as a pattern.”

The house is set back enough from the street to allow for privacy, and the metal, while a prominent feature, encases only the top floor of the house. Throughout, large sliding windows open onto terraces that take advantage of the Southern California climate and allow for a fluid openness between inside and out. Upstairs, the metal-enclosed bedrooms and office spaces are lit both day and night by light flowing through the lettering, which marks the rooms with shadows of ahavah across every surface — walls, windows and ceilings.

“It’s really cool in the middle of the night,” Morris said.

“The streetlights and the moon create the light coming through,” Hale explained. “And in the morning, the eastern light comes this way,” he said, pointing to their bedroom window, “and rakes across here, and sometimes it seems like it’s on fire. I have to say, it exceeded my expectations of how nice it could be.

Credit: Photos by Trevor Tondro

“I made it so we can actually open it up and have a completely open view,” Hale added. “But we almost never do.”

The home’s furnishings and décor are colorful, including shelves throughout displaying a host of menorahs, Shabbat candleholders and dreidels, as well as other toys and collectibles. On the walls are many vivid paintings by Hale’s late first wife, Anne Greenwald, an accomplished artist and children’s book author-illustrator. Hale said he converted to Judaism at the time of his first marriage, and the Jewish connection continues with Morris.

Together Morris and Hale traveled to Topolčany, to rediscover Morris’ lost paternal heritage, and today they proudly announce their own Jewish connection for all the world to see.

“This isn’t a very busy street, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people outside pointing and looking,” Hale said. “And sometimes I’ll go out there, and they’ll ask me, ‘What’s it say?’ ”

“People will ask, ‘Is it a word, or just letters?’ ” Morris added. “And some people know it’s Hebrew; some people know ahavah. It’s the whole spectrum.”

It’s not hard to notice that their joyous, public display of their Judaism is the absolute opposite of what young Meyer Wiesel would have experienced when he was carted off to Auschwitz at age 12.

“One of my Jewish architecture friends, Michael Lehrer, when he saw the house, he wrote me an email and called it, ‘The House of an Optimist,’ ” Hale said. “He’s right, I am an optimist. We’re open to the street, and we say who we are.”

Morris stressed that the never-ending commitment to Judaism her father passed on to her is essential to who she is, and to making this architecture possible.

“He kept his love of Judaism. And I hold onto that — it’s a part of him. It’s who he was."