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2 Kislev 5778 -
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The Last Secular Jew in Israel

As the first wave of bombers reached the shores of Tel Aviv, a wall of rain clouds appeared in the sky. Jerusalem vanished in an impenetrable fog. In the lead French bomber, the dials on the instrument panel were spinning wildly in circles. The mysterious fog darkened the cockpit. An unworldly thunder shook the plane like a toy. The terrified pilot tried to swing the giant bomber around, but the steering was jammed.

Days of Mashiach

"I've come for my house," the man said. "My family wants to move back tonight." Ehud's voice stuck in his throat. He felt dizzy. He felt weak. Giving up his house was too much. Ehud felt his sons' eyes upon him, watching to see what he would do. "It isn't your house," Ehud said. "Yes it is," the man answered. "We bought it. We have a deed," Ehud insisted. "I have a deed too. The people you bought the house from weren't the legal owners."

My Hero, King David

The Bible introduces us to many fascinating and inspiring personalities, righteous men and women whose example of piety continue to guide and uplift us to this very day. There are some, however, to whom we can relate in an especially powerful way and whom we can truly strive to emulate.

Towards A Zionism Of Destiny

Some still think that the rightist leadership is actually capable of getting the State of Israel off the route previously charted out by the Zionist Left. They really think that the reason why our national train continues to speed down the Oslo track is because of the people in charge.

Face To Face With Miracles

Our sages teach us that when we have left this life and face the Court on High, we will be called upon to answer for our lives. Among the questions we will be asked is, “Did you throughout your lifetime eagerly await and anticipate the geulah, the ultimate redemption?”

Dear Not a Jew -> Jew

Some people will tell you that if you put on tefillin in Brooklyn, you’ve reached the pinnacle of the Jewish journey, but it isn’t true. Other people will tell you we have to stay in exile until Mashiach arrives. But that isn’t true either. Hashem isn’t waiting for Mashiach. Before our very eyes, Hashem has brought millions of Jews back to Israel on His own, without waiting for Mashiach to do all the work.

Boundless Miracles Available For The Taking

Dear Dr. Respler: The holidays are a great time to learn about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly – and then try to make lemonade from the lemons, turn the positive into building blocks, and generally create good things from the lessons learned. The Yamim Tovim are saturated with kedushah, leading to beautifully crafted creations from what one learned and experienced during these holy, spiritual days.

Wakeup Call (Midot 1:9)

At about 4 a.m. on cold and damp autumn mornings in London, Dad would try to wake us in time for Selichot, the pre-Jewish New Year dawn prayers. As we heard Dad’s footsteps mounting the stairs, my brother and I would hide under our covers and mutter our displeasure at being disturbed.

The Merit Of Living In Israel

Yaakov Avinu received word that his brother Eisav was coming to greet him. He understood fully well that this was not to be a warm family reunion. Eisav came accompanied by a band of four hundred armed men, bent on revenge. The Torah says Yaakov was “very frightened,” so he prepared for war.

My Own Hashgachah Pratis

Several weeks ago I started a series on hashgachah pratis, or Divine Providence. Every believing Jew knows that events do not just unfold randomly; the story I told of two brothers named Yaakov and Yedidya clearly testified to that reality in a contemporary setting.

Sefira And The Battle With Our Evil Inclination

During Pesach we experience liberation from slavery, followed by the dramatic encounter with Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea. Then we trek through the desert to the great moment at Har Sinai.

Chad Gadya – Pesach & the Order of Things

As the Seder night ebbs away – long after the Four Questions have been asked and answered, after the festive meal has been eaten and the post-feast drowsiness descends, after the evening’s mitzvot have been observed and the fourth cup of wine emptied – we raise our voices in a curious, delightful, seemingly whimsical song at the end of the Haggadah.

Pesach: The End Of Victimhood

The Midrash (Shemot Rabbah 18:12) describes “leil shimurim,” the “night of watching,” the night before the redemption, as one of the glorious nights in Jewish history.

Purim Afterthoughts

Purim is the one Yom Tov all Jews can celebrate. Special knowledge is not required and the demands of its observance are easy enough.

Closing Our Eyes To The New Haman (Part II)

Last week I described some prophecies concerning the wakeup calls that would come to our people when the arrival of Mashiach was near. Unfortunately, we have yet to attune ourselves to the sound of those footsteps.

Why It’s Important To Know Hebrew

Many of the most fascinating posts I come across are based on sources in Hebrew. These stories would fascinate you, yet I simply do not have the time to translate them all for you...

Why Purim Is Forever

Why is Purim eternal? I would suggest that Purim is the prototype of the End of Exile, and as such will remain forever linked to the Era of Mashiach that will occur after the Final Redemption. Therefore, Purim will be part of that entire period at the culmination of history.

What We Can Learn From Trees

Tu B’Shevat is not just “another day.” It’s the Rosh Hashanah for trees, one of four roshei hashanah that occur in the Jewish calendar year (Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:1).

Q & A: Tying Knots On Shabbat (Part III)

Question: My son recently stopped wearing a necktie and lace-up shoes on Shabbat. He explained that he doesn’t want to transgress the prohibition against tying knots on Shabbat. Is tying a necktie or shoelaces really forbidden? “A Mother in Israel” (Via E-Mail)

Iran’s Threat And The Messianic Era

According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97), Mashiach will arrive before the Jewish year 6000. This means the full range of spectacular prophecies and supernatural events associated with the End of Days must occur within the next 228 years.

No Coincidences

Last week I wrote that we are now at a very critical juncture in our long history. We have entered the period of ikvesie d'Mashiach - a time of travail when the footsteps of the Messiah can be discerned. We are receiving wake-up call after wake-up call, and they come in many shapes and forms. Hashemis sounding the alarm, but we remain deaf to its implications.

Shavuos And The Reality Of Redemption

Having walked through the Valley of Death, I feel I can understand Shavuos better. My wife and I just returned from Auschwitz and other tragic sites in Poland. We were never there before and I had thought we never would be, but an opportunity arose and we took it. What does this have to do with Shavuos? Everything.

A Lesson From King Saul On Exposing Child Molesters

"Whoeverhas mercy on cruel people will in the end act cruelly to merciful people." So the Midrash deduces from the story of Shaul HaMelech - King Saul. When commanded to kill out the wicked nation of Amalek, the king had mercy on its monarch, Agag, sparing his life. As evidence that Saul eventually acted with cruelty to merciful people, the Gemara quotes the Navi that years later Saul showed no such compassion when he killed out an entire city of Kohanim because they had given shelter to his nemesis David.

The Sprouting Of Mashiach

What is it about Tu B'Shevat?There are four "Roshei Hashanah." The First of Tishrei we all know about. That is the day we blow the shofar.The First of Nissan and the First of Elul come and go in our times without much notice.

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