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December 3, 2016 / 3 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘T’Shuva’

When Ishmael Finally Repents

Friday, November 25th, 2016

“And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of the Machpela… (Breishit 25:9)

Rashi comments that we see from this Pasuk that Ishmael repented, as he yielded the precedence to Yaakov.

What was the sin of Ishmael that was rectified and required repentence?

There were 2 groups who denied the lineage of Isaac.

Last week, Rashi spoke of those skeptics who claimed that Avraham and Sara could not possibly be Isaac’s parents, rather they found a baby on their doorstep. A lie, but plausible.

Next week Rashi opens with the illogical claim of the cynics of the generation, the “letzanei hador”: Isaac was Sara’s child, but the father was Avimelech. This contention is absurd, as Avraham fathered Ishmael. It was Sara who was barren.

The Sforno teaches that when the Torah tells us that Ishmael was “metzachek”, it was that he spread the lies of the “letzanei hador” and poked fun of the great feast that Avraham and Sara threw in honor of Yitzchak’s weaning.

The Meshech Chochma points out that the public recognition and acknowledgement by Ishmael, of Isaac as the primary son of Avraham and Sara, corrected the travesty that he promulgated some 70+ years previously.

Today we are confronted by anti Semitism. Some manifestations, while vile, are theoretically plausible. Often they are absurd lies that are so remote from any actual possibility.

One day the perpetrators will repent and denounce their wicked ways and lies. It may be sooner than we think.

Shabbat Shalom.

Rav Yitzchak Korn

Oil Prices Hitting Barrel Bottoms: Good News for Israel

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Oil prices in the U.S. dropped to around $27 per barrel last week, worrying investors and raising the hopes of those who placed their bets on the Leviathan gas field in Israel.

Oil supplies in the U.S. right now are glutted, to be blunt.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 44 cents at $27.01 per barrel, within a squeak to the one-day $26.19 per barrel in January, the lowest since 2003. Brent crude futures traded at $30.67 per barrel, down 17 cents.

Chart analysts said crude prices may be just days away from falling to $25 a barrel – the price in April 2003 – or below, as weakening technicals put more pressure on the market, according to Reuters.

Japan is celebrating the National Foundation Day, a public holiday, and China’s New Year holiday lasts all week, so trading activity in Asia has remained low. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong resumed trading after being closed for the Lunar New Year holiday.

Nevertheless, British Petroleum (BP) forecast on Wednesday that demand for energy will increase in the next 20 years due to growth in world population and economy. The firm made its rosy prediction in its 2035 Energy Outlook report, commenting that although oil demand may decline, the demand for gas and renewable energy will grow. Gas remains the fastest-growing fossil fuel, according to the report, rising by 1.8 percent per year, compared to oil’s 0.9 percent growth. Renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind are projected to grow at around 6.6 percent per year.

Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field is just starting to make its debut into the market.

An Israeli-Turkish consortium, the Edeltech Group and Zorlu Enerji, has signed the first contract with the Leviathan development group, Texas-based Noble Energy, Israel’s Delek Drilling and Avner Oil.

Leviathan, believed to contain approximately 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, will provide six billion cubic meters of the energy resource to the Israeli-Turkish consortium at a cost of $1.3 billion over a period of 18 years.

Recently another natural gas reservoir was discovered by ISRAMCO and Modiin Energy LP off the coast of Israel, along the borders of the mammoth Tamar gas field, the first one to be discovered beneath Israel’s Mediterranean waters.

The licenses for Daniel East and Daniel West, as the reservoir has been designated, “have the greatest potential since Leviathan.”

The reservoir is about the same size as Tamar, which currently serves much of Israel’s needs. The next step is drilling to test the potential prospects of the reservoir – but trading for the field is already brisk on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE).

A seven-year gas deal with Egypt was announced last year by the Tamar partners with Dolphinus Holdings, with five billion cubic meters of natural gas to be sold for $1.2 billion in the first three years. As with Leviathan, Noble Energy, Delek Drilling and Avner Oil are the partners who operate Tamar. The gas was to run through the underwater pipeline built nearly a decade ago by East Mediterranean Gas (EMG).

The Tamar natural gas field has been producing its precious energy resource for the domestic market since 2013.

Hana Levi Julian

Israel Testing Natural Gas Trucks

Monday, August 26th, 2013

The Israeli Ministry of Transportation is testing natural gas powered trucks to approve them for import and usage in Israel. Mercedes, Scania and Iveco have applied for import licences according to Globes.

Yitzchak Tshuva’s Delek Gas company, which owns the rights to the Tamar and Leviathan offshore natural gas sites is planning to build natural gas fuel stations.

Israel has found tremendous reserves of natural gas, and depending on usage, the gas could last Israel over 50 years.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Tshuva: No Shabbat Desecration Occurred

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Yitzchak Tshuva, one of the investors in the Tamar gas field said that no desecration of the Shabbat or Pesach holiday happened with the gas flow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

“Shabbat is the source of our blessing,” Tshuva said. He emphasized that no ceremony was held on Shabbat or the Holiday.

Tshuva said that all the work was being done by Noble Energy, the operating partner in the gas field, and they began the process weeks ago. The gas arrived into Israel on the eve of the last day of Pesach, and that the flow of the gas is an ongoing process which took time until it reached Ashdod.

Yitzchak Tshuva expressed regret that the gas flow’s arrival physically into Israel was being presented as having desecrated the Shabbat or the Pesach Holiday.

Shalom Bear

TORAH, TORAH, TORAH

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

As we saw in a previous blog, the t’shuva of the Nation and the Land of Israel go hand in hand. Phase two is the Nation’s return to the Torah.

During the reign of King Solomon, the Nation of Israel was at its prime. We lived in peace in our own homeland. A Jewish government ruled over the country from the majestic city of Jerusalem. All of the people gathered for the Festivals at the Temple three times a year. Jewish law went forth from the Sanhedrin. Prophets communicated the word of the Lord to the Nation and the world. A powerful Jewish army guarded the country’s borders. Torah was studied in great academies of learning. Hebrew was spoken on the street. The leaders of foreign nations flocked to Jerusalem to pay tribute to the Jews.

When Israel was exiled, however, everything was lost. The country was conquered by enemies. Jerusalem was razed, the Temple destroyed. Prophecy ceased. Jews wandered from country to country. They began speaking strange languages. Instead of being honored by the gentiles, the Jews were disgraced. They became an oppressed minority in alien lands. And while Jews continued to learn Torah throughout their exile, its light was considerably waned (Chagiga 4B). In the face of persecution and assimilation, Judaism lost its once great stature.

As we mentioned in our previous blog, with the commencement of the Zionist movement, the Jewish people began to return to what had been lost. Jews began to return to their homeland. They began to return to their very own Hebrew language. A Jewish government returned to Jerusalem. The city was rebuilt. Once again, Jews were sovereign in their homeland. Jewish soldiers once again guarded its borders. Once again, foreign rulers came to pay tribute to the leaders of Israel. Out from the humiliation of exile, the Nation was resurrected to life. The physical, national body of Israel’s statehood was restored with a newfound Jewish valor and strength. But without the Temple, without the Sanhedrin and prophecy, without the pilgrimages to Jerusalem three times a year, and without a national dedication to Torah, the return is still incomplete. Nonetheless, Rabbi Kook assures us, within the yearning to return to the Land is a deeper, hidden yearning to return to the Torah as well.

Within the inner heart, in its pure and holy chambers, the Israeli flame increases, demanding the strong, brave, constant connection of life to all of the mitzvot of God…. And in the hearts of all the empty ones, and in the hearts of all of the sinners of Israel, the fire burns and blazes in the most inward depths, and in the Nation in its entirety, all of the desire for freedom, and all of the yearning for life, for the community and for the individual, all of the hope for Redemption, only from the source of this inner spring of life do they flow in order to live Israeli life in its fullest, without contradiction or limitation (Orot, Eretz Yisrael, 8).

Under the secular-looking Zionist State is a flaming, raging, engulfing fireball of t’shuva. The Jewish soul is yearning for religion. Like a man dying of thirst in the desert, the voice of the Nation cries out, “Torah, Torah, Torah.” Ironically, it is precisely the spiritual wilderness which brings the great thirst. Rabbi Kook writes:

T’shuva will come (to the Jewish Nation) in several directions. One of the causes will be the deep sorrow felt over the humiliation inflicted upon the great spiritual treasure which our forefathers bequeathed to us, and which possesses immeasurable power and glory (Orot HaT’shuva, 4:9).

Israel’s great spiritual treasure is the Torah, the commandments, the holidays, Jewish customs, traditions, prayer, and the vast sea of Talmudic learning.

This mighty spirit spans over all generations. Its source is the most exalted Divine Source of life. When one looks to it, one finds everything, all beauty and splendor (Ibid).

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov told a story about a poor man from a poor village who was told in a dream to seek out a treasure buried under a certain bridge in a faraway town. The poor man made the long journey and located the bridge. As he was searching around, a policeman accosted him and demanded to know what he was doing. When the poor man explained, the policeman confided that he too had had a similar foolish dream, in which a treasure was to be found in a certain faraway village under the shack of a poor man. When the policeman cited the poor man’s name and village, the poor man realized that the treasure was buried under his very own house! He had to make the long journey to the bridge to discover the secret. Sure enough, when the poor man hurried back home, he uncovered the treasure under the floor of his storeroom.

Tzvi Fishman

Zionism is T’shuva Too!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Rabbi Kook teaches that even in the return of the non- religious Zionists to Israel there is a profound holy core. The inner source of their desire to return is the Divine Ideal itself – the return to the Jews to the Land of Israel, as the Torah and the Prophets of Israel both promise. With time, the holy spark in the Zionist movement will surely be ignited into a towering flame. This great transformation may take one hundred years or more. We need to remember that after nearly two-thousand years in exile, a few generations is like the blink of an eye.

The important thing to know is that the t’shuva of the entire Nation is destined to come. Rabbi Kook writes:

The awakened yearning of the Jewish people as a whole to return to their Land, to their roots, to their spirit and way of life — truthfully, there is the light of t’shuva in this (Orot HaT’shuva, 17:2).

The Book of Ezekiel includes an overview of Jewish history which traces Israel’s exile among the gentile nations, and her ultimate return to the Land of Israel and Torah. Only after the nation’s physical revival in Israel do the Jewish people undergo the period of spiritual cleansing which leads them back to Torah, as it says:

For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and I will bring you into your own Land. Then I will sprinkle pure water upon you, and you shall be clean; from all of your uncleanlinesses, and from all of your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart will I also give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit in you, and cause you to follow My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them. And you shall dwell in the Land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I shall be your God (Ezekiel, 36:24-28).

The return to our true national identity, and the spiritual revolution which follows, encompasses all aspects of Jewish life. This great return, while still in its nascent stages, is something we have witnessed in our century. First, out of the graveyards of exile, came a new hope and zest for life, as if our scattered, dry bones were rising to rebirth. Out of the ashes of the Holocaust, the Jewish Nation was reborn in Israel. The Hebrew language was restored. After two-thousand years of wandering, the Jews returned to being an independent Nation in their own Land. An incredible, new awakening of Jewish valor and physical prowess, epitomized by the Israel Defense Forces, startled the world. The ingathering of exiles from the four corners of the earth led to the building of a dynamic, progressive society. Yeshivas were opened all over the country. Today, Israel is unquestionably the Torah center of the world. All of these things are aspects of t’shuva, of a Nation returning to its roots.

As Rabbi Kook writes:

Without question, the light of Mashiach and the salvation of Israel, the rebirth of the Nation and the Land, the revival of its language and literature — all stem from the source of t’shuva, and out of the depths to the heights of the highest t’shuva, everything will be brought (Orot HaT’shuva, 4:11).

The return of a scattered people to its Land is no simple matter. Because of the magnitude of the undertaking, there are numerous problems. Nonetheless, Rabbi Kook assures us that our inner longing for God will overcome all of the barriers. Even the brazen secularism, which seems so contrary to the Nation’s holiest goals, will become a powerful vessel bursting with Torah. He writes:

Out of the profane, holiness will also come forth, and out of wanton freedom, the beloved yoke (of Torah) will blossom. Golden chains will be woven and arise out of secular poetry, and a brilliant light of t’shuva will shine from secular literature. This will be the supreme wonder of the vision of Redemption. Let the bud sprout, let the flower blossom, let the fruit ripen, and the whole world will know that the Spirit of God is speaking within the Nation of Israel in its every expression. All of this will climax in a t’shuva which will bring healing and Redemption to the world (Ibid, 17:3).

Tzvi Fishman

Homeward Bound

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Before continuing with Rabbi Kook’s writings on T’shuva, I want to share an email which I received before Yom Kippur. It’s always nice to receive a kind word, even for an old alligator-skinned blogger like me:

Shalom, Reb Tzvi,

I am a semicha student at Yeshiva University, and I just read your sefer on teshuvah in Rav Kook’s thought and I wanted to thank you for it.  I was very much inspired by your book.  I do not study that much of Rav Kook’s writings (unfortunately), but I was preparing to give a shiur on Orot Hateshuvah when I came across your commentary, ‘The Art of T’shuva.’

What began as an intellectual exercise in preparing a shiur soon changed into a deeply spiritual experience as I began to understand some of what Rav Kook is trying to teach us.  I really feel that your book has made a big difference in my emotional experience of the yamim noraim and aseret yemei teshuvah this year.  Thanks again for the wonderful sefer.

And now, leading up to the holiday of Sukkot, we’ll wrap up our condensed look at Rabbi Kook’s teachings on t’shuva with a few blogs on two of the holidays most important themes – Eretz Yisrael and Torah.

We have learned that t’shuva encompasses far more than personal repentance. Its ever-streaming waves affect the world in its entirety, lifting it toward perfection. Furthermore, we have learned that it is the Nation of Israel who will lead the world to Redemption, marching in front of the parade of nations with its shofars blaring away.

This is all well and good. But what will bring the Jewish People to t’shuva? What will awaken the Divine voice in its soul? What causes the scattered, exiled Jewish Nation to return, as we beseech God in our prayers, to the glorious days of our past?

Rabbi Kook writes that the rebirth of the Jewish Nation in Eretz Yisrael is the foundation for the ultimate t’shuva, both for the nation of Israel, and for the whole world.

To understand this concept fully, one must understand the incomparable holiness of Eretz Yisrael and its importance to the Nation of Israel. While it is beyond the scope of this blog to explore this subject in depth, we will mention a few of the things which point to the unique connection between the Jewish People and their Land.

The Jewish People possess true national vitality only in the Land of Israel. Outside of the Land, Jews can excel as individuals in all fields of endeavor; there can be great Torah scholars, but the light of God cannot appear in a national format. Only in the Land of Israel can the Jews be a KINGDOM of priests and a holy NATION. The Zohar emphasizes that the Jews can be a Nation only inIsrael, and not outside of it, where we are compared to dry and scattered bones21-22). Prophecies of Redemption all involve the return of the Jewish people to the Land of Israeland the restoration of Jewish sovereignty over the Land. The Jewish People’s unique prophetic talent is dependent on being in theLandofIsrael. The Temple can only be rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and the full revelation of God’s Presence is exclusive to Eretz Yisrael, as the prophet teaches, “For Torah will go forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Yisheyahu, 2:3).

In a letter, Rabbi Kook writes:

The source of the moral baseness, which continues to darken the world, stems from the lack of recognition regarding the value and wisdom of theLandofIsrael. Thus the sin of the Spies, who spoke derogatorily about the pleasant Land, remains uncorrected. To rectify this, the Land’s praise, splendor, holiness, and honor must be declared to the world (Letters, Vol.1, pgs 112-113).

While Rabbi Kook emphasizes that the t’shuva of the Jewish People and a return to the Torah go hand-in-hand, he indicates that a preliminary stage of national revival will bring this spiritual awakening to pass. First, the Jewish people must return toZionto rebuild their homeland. Once the physical body that houses the Nation is built, then the revitalized Jewish soul will yearn for spiritual completion as well, and our people will flock back to the Torah. This may take several generations, but this national t’shuva is destined to come to pass.

Tzvi Fishman

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