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I happened to start watching a video of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, when I noticed something very interesting.

Ever since all those really badly faked videos of the Rav flooded the internet a few years back, I have learned to examine all videos of gadolim apparently saying things very, very carefully.

Especially in cases where gadolim are saying things that seem somewhat surprising.

And especially when there are vested interests, big money, and possible extortion and coercion hovering, like a vulture, in the background of the subject being discussed.

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First, some background as to how I came to be watching that video.

Sadly for me, I happened to click on a link this morning of one of my least favorite Youtube fakers – a guy that I called out for being patently and obviously ‘fake’ a couple of years ago on my blog, but then decided to take the post down as all his flying monkey came out of the wings to start up a massive machloket.

The Rav says again and again – run from machloket! Don’t speak lashon hara, even if it’s true!

So at least sometimes, I’m trying to do what the Rav says.

That means I won’t mention his name, or link to his awful video, where he is saying you can’t question big rabbis’ psak din, you can’t decide for yourself what to do, and if ‘eight of the biggest rabbis’ say you HAVE to take to the ‘Covid 19’ vaccine, then you HAVE to take it – or you’re a murderer.

(puhleeze)

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Sadly for me, I happened to play that small clip while my husband was nearby, so he also heard it – and started to panic.

I mean, this a Youtube faker, ahem, rabbi!!! Quoting big rabbis!!! Saying that they say clearly that you have to take the ‘vaccine’ and if you don’t, then you’re a murderer!!!!

Suffice to say, we got into a massive argument about it all.

But God does everything for the best, and after we both calmed down, I realised that I needed to write something taking a closer look at what might be going on here.

(And he realised that THE WIFE IS ALWAYS RIGHT. Or nearly always… Male readers, please take note.)

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So, first things first, I started searching all over the place for that video of Rav Kanievsky the Youtube faker was referring to, telling people they are a murderer, if they don’t take the COVID ‘vaccine’.

Before we continue, I just want to remind you about the ‘deep fake’ technology that can make anyone look like they are saying anything, to anyone, on video.

Take a look at this, before we move on.

(Totally shmirat eynayim friendly until about the 1.30 min mark, when a woman pops up – enough to get the idea. And remember this is from 2018 – 3 years ago. The technology has for sure moved on leaps and bounds since then.)

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The fake videos the reshaim created with the Rav were so badly put together, they don’t count as ‘deep fakes’, btw.

Even a brain-damaged amoeba could have recognised they were forged. If they were really interested in the truth.

So now, let’s take a look at the videos being put out – apparently – for Rav Kanievsky in particular.

Rav Kanievsky gives very short, concise answers, usually literally just one word.

A year ago, the reshaim tried to claim that Rav Kanievsky had publically spoken – at length – against the Rav, and that they had a ‘highly unusual’ recording of this. Not just one! Two!

How CON-VEN-IE-NT, that these recordings popped up exactly the same time the Police blitzed Shuvu Banim and violently dragged the Rav off to prison, at dawn, on the ‘charge’ of accepting charitable donations.

What a great way of preventing any ‘opposition’ from the Chareidi world to the police’s actions- to get the apparent endorsement, in such timely fashion, from one of the gedolei hador!

Are you noticing a pattern here?

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Even back then, I posted up something warning people from believing all these fake videos, and fake recordings.

You can see that, here:

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A year later, and now the internet – and particularly Yeshiva World News – is awash with videos where Rav Kanievsky is apparently giving very strong psakim about COVID-19 vaccines, off the back of a two second question from one of his grandchildren.

I have to ask you: Does this seem credible?

Before we continue, I want you to go and read this 7 page (but very easy to read) exploration of the halachic issues around coronavirus and COVID-19 that was recently written up by Rav Vosner, HERE. 

Because I know a lot of people won’t click the link, I will also post it up in full below this article.

Please, please go and read it – not because it’s not going to tell you what to think about getting a Covid 19 vaccination.

Instead, it’s going to show you how to think about whether that’s a good idea or not, and how to make up your own mind. 

This is how a genuine Torah discussion about difficult subjects that is actually based on an examination of pertinent information, and relevant halachot, actually looks like.

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To say ‘no-one is allowed to disagree’ – respectfully – with a rabbinic opinion is total and utter BS.

Check through the Gemara – the whole thing is full of disagreements – even very strong disagreements – between our sages, on a variety of subjects.

If you have a rabbi, a sage who is taking an alternative stance, you are permitted to follow an alternative opinion, as long as that opinion is also firmly girded in Torah and halachot.

I have no idea why the Youtube faker is saying what he’s saying – why he’s suddenly so ‘behind’ this agenda, and so keen on ‘not arguing’ with ‘big rabbis’ when he built his reputation pretty much solely on the basis of ‘arguing with big rabbis’ – but what can we do.

It’s for God to deal with all these people, and for us to keep learning the lessons, and following the clues about not trying to take short cuts that take our own prayers and dealing direct with Hashem out of the picture.

Especially in life and death matters.

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So now, let’s return to some videos of Rav Kanievsky, because I want to point out how so many of them seem a little strange.

Many of the videos seem to be ‘cut’ in the middle of the question being asked and the apparent answer being given.

In many videos, Rav Kanievsky seems highly uncomfortable about being used as a ‘prop‘.

In many videos, the questioners don’t leave the Rav alone until they get the answer they apparently came for.

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And then, there is this one talking about Corona, that is really perplexing me:

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Here’s what I noticed about this video:

The grandson’s lips are not in sync with what he ‘apparently’ telling Rav Kanievsky about Corona.

Check it out for yourselves, see what you think.

And I’ve noticed that same phenomenon around other videos specifically to do with Corona, too.

Interesting, hey?

Just a CO-IN-CID-EN-CE, I’m sure.

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Point is, there are no shortcuts here, to obtaining your own clarity.

Anyone can be made to look like they are saying anything these days.

The truth is to be found internally – within the walls of your own heart, during hitbodedut, talking to God about what’s really going on, and begging Him to show you the truth.

And like I keep on saying and saying, that includes the stuff I’m writing here on this blog.

I do my best to put out truthful information, and to objectively research issues, but I’m still a fallible human being with my own biases that I’m trying to confirm.

Thank God, my husband balances me out – a lot!

And thank God, the honest commentators and readers here also do a very important job of refining the information here, and helping to sift it all through, because none of us really know what’s going on.

The darkness is so very dark.

But each point of clarity we manage to figure out together is building up into a strong beam, and hopefully soon, that light will shine out into every corner of the world.

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HERE’S THE FULL DISCUSSION FROM RAV VOSNER, FROM HERE.

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ד דעת תורה מהגאון רבי יוסף בנימין הלוי וואזנר שליט”א ראש ישיבת חכמי לובלין נכד הגאון בעל ׳שבט

 הלוי׳ זצ”ל VITAL INFORMATION CONCERNCING THE COVID 19 VACCINE

Regarding the topic of vaccination against Corona, the public is finding themselves in great doubt as to whether to take the shot or not.

 I don’t want to give orders and then it’ll be because I said so, but rather I want that you should understand it on your own and come to your own conclusion.

If my father א”שליט would be well, he would say his opinion. With the flu – he already revealed his opinion which was not to take the shot.

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 I was asked to voice my opinion regarding the COVID vaccine.

It says in the Passuk – “אכלא לא שפתי הנה בקהל צדק בשרתי – “It’s forbidden to keep his mouth back from informing them what the people need to know.”

I was asked a few times to voice my opinion either in writing or orally.

Firstly, I would like to clarify that I am not coming to rule and to say you should accept my opinion.

I’m just pointing out the different points to the public – and the reality of the matter – in order that they should be able to decide on their own. Many Rebbes and Rabbanim gave out their P’Sak to the public in many different ways.

There are those who wrote to be M’Chayev every one to take the vaccine.

There are those that went publicly in front of cameras to take the vaccine – which is also a method to force the public to take the vaccine as well. I don’t want to mention the names of Rebbes & Rabbanim or docotors.

I can tell you that as soon as talk began on the subject – I understood that there would become a confusion about the matter among Am Yisroel. Therefore, for quite a few months already, I have been learning the Sugya of vaccines, and I have read many informative articles written by doctors in Eretz Yisroel & in Chutz L’Aretz.

Additionally, I have also personally spoken to some of these doctors.

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One needs to know that there is a clear Halacha in Hilchos Ta’anis on the definition of what is considered an epidemic.

There are rules regarding how many people have to die in how many days. It cannot be that these deaths be attributed to other things. Only then can one justly claim that it is an epidemic. According to all the given facts and parameters that exist here – at least here in Eretz Yisroel – it contradicts what they say – which is that Corona is an epidemic.

And I’m saying it from the facts that I know.

One of the Rabbanim here in the city – publicized the Shita of מיימוניות ההגהות – on the subject of epidemics – the numbers aren’t calculated and established according to how many died, but rather on how many are sick.

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 I would like to say that there is no end to the amount of people that received a test result claiming that they are positive and it was a complete lie.

There are those that have money and verified this theory by going to a different lab and having the result come out negative. There are also those that received a phone call claiming that their test result is positive – and they answered – “Excuse me, I never went for a Corona test.”

There are endless testimonies from many people about this.

Additionally, very big doctors told me that all of those that tested positive as being carriers of the Corona virus are not sick – they just carry the virus.

Every person has many germs and viruses inside of them – but it doesn’t harm everyone. Many more people are positive for flu – and it doesn’t harm everyone and not everyone gets sick from it.

Therefore – as long as a person doesn’t get sick from the virus – there is nothing in the fact that the numbers are rising every day.

Suddenly – the numbers are rising for the frum people. In the months of Tishrei & Chanuka – they raised the numbers a lot – and according to them – I don’t want to mention with my mouth what should have been R”L according to their words….and it wasn’t anything of the sort.

Now, again they are raising the numbers – it’s going up by the hundreds each day. Whoever wants to believe them should believe them – but it’s a shame that the media are posting all of these numbers on all of their notices.

The frum newspapers are also putting the people into big confusion.

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One of the Rabbanim wrote and said that the reason one needs to take the vaccine is because of וודאי מדי מוצאי ספק אין – a doubt can’t override a certainty.

Since there is a definite – a pandemic and it is a ספק if there is a danger in the vaccine – therefore וודאי מדי מוצאי ספק אין .As stated earlier – there isn’t a definite of a pandemic – and there isn’t a definite amount of sick people – there are a few sick people.

In the Halacha is says that when one calculates how many people are harmed – for the issue of whether it is considered a pandemic – or pestilence – or הצבור חולי etc. – women, children, and old people aren’t taken into account since – אבתן ממל שבטלן – they are retired.

This has to be understood.

The old people that are ממלאכתן בטלן- don’t need to live?! Why aren’t they taken into account? Behold! We don’t give up on one single Yid!

But the reason is that there are rules in the Torah of what determines what is a pandemic, what is considered מגיפה חולי 8 an illness that is considered a מגיפה , whoever is old already and there are many more reasons why he became sick or C”V worse than that.

This is why they are not taken into account.

And therefore we don’t have a definite number – and it’s obvious that we don’t have the דין of ספק אין .מוצאי מדי וודאי .

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Another Halacha – In כפור יום הלכות ערוך שולחן

It says that in a circumstance where there is a possibility of a danger – even if there are 2 doctors that hold and have an opinion against that of 100 doctors – the opinion of the 2 doctors must be accepted against the opinion of the 100.

Regarding the issue of the vaccine – I’m telling you that there are many more than 100 that do say to vaccinate – but the Halacha is that when there is a minority that oppose – we have to be חושש of that minority.

There were a few meetings and doctors that came forward to notify their opinion against the vaccine, and security was needed so that it shouldn’t be publicized that they voiced their opinion against the vaccine.

If the government would hear that they spoke against the vaccine – they would be called for a “hearing” and lose their positions. Doctors are afraid to say the truth.

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In addition, one of the heads of the manufacturers of the vaccine – I don’t want to mention a name – but he himself said that there is a possibility of infertility, and a possibility of a change in the D.N.A. – it could very likely happen.

This was out in the open and advertised in the media in Chutz L’Aretz – millions heard about it.

There is another thing – all of the doctors that are explaining the dangers of the vaccine are just bringing the facts to the public – but they are not telling the public what to do.

They prove their words with studies that are written up and proof in regard to what the manufacturers did in the past with the Polio & Tetanus vaccines in Africa – and the terrible consequences that resulted from it.

All those that do say to take the vaccine – no one is bringing any proof in writing.

They just say that you don’t have to be scared – that the dangers are too far-fetched, and all of the tests were made already. No proof in writing. On the contrary – let them prove it and then we’ll see.

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One of the Rabbonim – unbelievable what he wrote in a letter to the public – in ערוך שולחן in the Halachos of וגוסס חולה – he wrote on what the author Paskened – which is that the doctor has to receive permission from the Beis Din – and on this he wrote that בזמינינו שבאידנא – in our times – the doctor needs to get permission from the government.

Therefore, because the doctors have permission from the government – the decisions from the doctors is considered as the decision of the Beis Din.

The manufacturer of this vaccine was sued in the world by hundreds of thousands of people for crimes against mankind from different vaccines that he distributed in different countries where people were harmed terribly from their effects.

Who amongst us puts their trust in the government?

One of the Rabbonim said to me, “Harav Wosner – I have faith in the Ministry of Health.” I answered him “I hear. You have faith in the Ministry of Health – but I know where you davened on Rosh Hashana & Yom Kippur – and what that minyan looked like.

Where was your faith in the Ministry of Health?!”

How can there be faith in a government that acts this way?!

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I want to ask another question.

The Prime Minister signed a contract with the manufacturers of the vaccine a few weeks before they got an approval that the vaccine can be used for all – and on top of that paid a few million Shekel for it.

Behold, this person has a letter of approbation against him on money extorted illegally – and he goes and publicizes it to all the Yidden – and orders vaccines that have no approval – and one of the deliveries arrived even before approval – and there is no explanation for it.

He seems to just know that the vaccine will get an approval.

If you think that the approval depends on different studies and testing – how can you possibly know beforehand that the tests came out positive and were approved? Prophecy was given to the fools – but not to the Reshaim.

How did the Prime Minister know that the vaccine will be getting an approval?!

It’s a question that I asked and no-one gave me a plausable answer for it. The government goes ahead and gives a permit to the Ministry of Health – and they determine Halacha to Pasken like a Beis Din?!

I’m surprised! I’m just asking/questioning on the Rav in Am Yisroel that publicized such a P’Sak to the people.

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At the United Nations Headquarters there was a meeting a bit ago.

There is a paragraph in the summary of points from that meeting called “Agenda 2021 – with many signatures of Prime Ministers & Presidents.

I think that the Prime Minister of the Medinah also signed on it.

What it says in this paragraph is that there are roughly 7.8 billion people in the world and it’s too difficult and too much for the world.

There are a few studies on it – and they want to achieve that in the end there will only remain about 2 billion people. Diluting the population became an agenda. And these are things that they wrote about and signed on them.

Let’s think for a minute – how are they going to dilute the world?

How will they do it? Shoot the people like in China? Slaughter people and put them in refrigerators? How will they achieve this plan of dilution? Think about it.

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Another thing that one of the Rabbonim told me in the name of a couple of Gedolim that in E”Y it was always known that we rely on the doctors.

We know how much our grandfather – ZT”L didn’t rely on the doctors. How many times the well-known Medical Askanim came to the Rebbe, to the house and the Rebbe argued with them.

Until today – I meet with the doctors – on certain areas – and they say to me – “Your grandfather was against and we respect it until today.”

I am still the small one – but according to my experience of when I served the Rebbe – I saw myself how many abortions there would be if we always just listened to the doctors, and many women would take birth control – Hashem Yeracheim.

If we would all be careful to listen to the doctors – Hashem Yeracheim what would happen.

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I remember when the vaccine against Hepatitis-B came out – there are probably many who remember and when they came to ask the Rebbe whether or not to take it – the Rebbe said not to.

I remember that someone came to ask the Rebbe – and the Rebbe said to him ” Where are you running to?!

Do you have to be from the first ones?!

Let’s talk in another year.”

I remember that after that first year the excitement went down.

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A few Rabbonim once signed that one must take the flu vaccine.

I remember there was a renowned doctor whom all the Gedolei Yisroel respected – and many in the Tzibbur used him a lot – I asked him and he said that to take the vaccine for the whooping cough isn’t so bad because there is no live germ in it, whereas the vaccine for the flu, since it has a live virus in it – it shouldn’t be taken under any circumstances.

There were Rabbonim in Bnei Brak & Yerushalayim that signed that one should take the vaccine, and there was a lot of pressure on my father ZT”L to sign, to obligate to take the vaccine.

At the time – he was so weak – he wasn’t able to be moved from his stand, yet my father didn’t want to sign on it – to obligate one to vaccinate. He was strong about it in his very weak state.

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It’s very clear that whoever has a heart problem won’t seek the advice of an eye doctor – even if he has a permit from the government to be a competent eye doctor. He can’t diagnose or give information at all. He cannot be included to compose a majority.

A doctor that hasn’t studied and investigated many, many years on the subject of viruses – and not just that – a doctor that didn’t study and research many years of the components of vaccines and their effects can’t express his opinion on the topic of the vaccine.

It’s like an eye doctor or reflexologist that express his opinion on whether to do open heart surgery or not. The entire concept of asking a doctor is madness.

All vaccines go through a minimum of between 5 – 10 years of testing and experiments. This test barely passed 6 months of testing because it’s as if it’s an emergency – and therefore the process of the experimental tests and all that’s included were done using short-cuts.

But פרכא דדינא מעיקרא established that it’s “emergency time” now and you have to take a vaccine.

It’s like one who burns down the house of his friend and then when he shouts for help – the friend comes and says “I’ll help you – don’t light the fire & don’t extinguish it!”

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Another one of the Rabbonim wrote an unbelievable thing.

There is a Gemara in which the Halacha says that it’s forbidden to go get healed by a Goyishe doctor because he’s suspected of murdering.

There is a סברא that אפשייהו מרעי דילא – he’s not going to want to ruin his position. But – here – everyone knows and I didn’t yet find anyone to prove it otherwise – the doctors and all of the vaccine manufacturers are protected that no-one can sue them.

If this is the case – we don’t have here אפשייהו מרעי דילא – because they know that nothing is going to happen to them.

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They claim that millions of people died from Corona.

We know that the Chasam Sofer wrote in his Chiddushim on Shabbos and in the Teshuvos of Yoreh Deah that doctors who decide on illnesses or medications according to their Goyishe education have no נאמנות – no trustworthiness – and cannot be relied upon.

Yidden that learn by these doctors cannot be relied upon either.

One cannot bring proof from the nations of the world in this regard.

Aside from all of this – there are studies conducted in all of the countries of the world that people listed as died of Corona – didn’t die at all from Corona.

There is no end to the amount of people who died from thirst and hunger.

I, myself have 2 relatives that died this way. R’ Moshe Yuda – one day before he was Niftar said to his daughter, “They’re not giving me to eat or drink.” The family smuggled in bits of food in different bags – so that he should have what to eat.

In London as well, I have relatives that died from thirst and hunger.

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Additionally, there’s no end to the amount of people that died from fright.

They didn’t allow anyone to be next to them and calm them – to tell them a good word and a word or reassurance.

In ו”של סעיף חיים אורח ערוך שולחן there is a Halacha which says that one must calm down and speak to the sick people.

Even those that already had Corona and were immune to it weren’t permitted to go into the hospital to help the sick ones. There are many documents and testimonies from big lawyers about this – and it’s not possible to make a count case against them because in America – in the first few weeks of Corona a law was passed stating that it’s not possible to sue doctors and nurses for crimes done against those sick with Corona.

Is it possible to comprehend where we are holding?!

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Go ahead and ask the Chevra Kadisha if there are more people who died this year then passed years – and you will hear precisely what the situation is.

One of the Rabbonim has said – “Permission was given for a doctor to heal – לרפאות לרופא רשות נתנה .

When a sick person doesn’t want to take medication because he is afraid – he has permission not to take it.

There are many sick people R”L who are afraid of taking medications that destroy their body and don’t want to take them. The Rebb Paskened that it is forbidden to force them.

And now here they are forcing people to take a vaccine when people are afraid of the side-effects.

Is this about what it says – רשות נתנה לרפאות לרופא !?And even more interesting – when there is a “sick person” – permission was given for a doctor to heal – but here you’re taking healthy people and pushing it on them.

There is a lot more than what I’ve said in front of you – written on my tables and on my heart – and I have much more to say. Hashem should save us from stumbling and from any harm.

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*Editors edition: In a letter written by the Rav of Bikur Cholim Hospital in Jerusalem – he writes that recently it has become clear that many children who took the whooping cough vaccine were seriously harmed from it.

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This is what a real Torah discussion looks like.

Not a two second question and a one word answer.

Not a Youtube faker yelling at you that you ‘can’t question the rabbis!!!!’ – that’s simply not the halacha.

And not people trying to guilt and manipulate you into taking a vaccine to ‘save the NHS’, or ‘save Granny’, or to be able to ‘get back to normal again’.

It’s all lies.

May Hashem help us all to be able to clarify the truth from the lies, and to do what He wants us to do.

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How can it be, that a person can be so very learned in Torah and still be a force for ‘evil’ in the world?

Rebbe Nachman tackles this question in Likutey Moharan 1:12:

(Hebrew source from Sefaria.org)

מַה שֶּׁאָנוּ רוֹאִים, שֶׁעַל־פִּי הָרֹב הַלּוֹמְדִים חוֹלְקִים עַל הַצַּדִּיקִים, וְדוֹבְרִים עַל הַצַּדִּיק עָתָק בְּגַאֲוָה וָבוּז, זֶהוּ מְכֻוָּן גָּדוֹל מֵאֵת הַשֵּׁם יִתְבָּרַךְ. כִּי יֵשׁ בְּחִינַת יַעֲקֹב וְלָבָן; יַעֲקֹב הוּא הַצַּדִּיק, הַמְחַדֵּשׁ חִדּוּשִׁין דְּאוֹרַיְתָא וְלוֹמֵד תּוֹרָתוֹ לִשְׁמָהּ, וְטוּבוֹ גָּנוּז וְשָׁמוּר וְצָפוּן לֶעָתִיד, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה: לְמָחָר לְקַבֵּל שְׂכָרָם (עירובין כב.); וְעַל שֵׁם שֶׁשְּׂכָרוֹ לְבַסּוֹף, עַל שֵׁם זֶה נִקְרָא יַעֲקֹב, לְשׁוֹן עָקֵב וָסוֹף, שְׂכָרוֹ לְבַסּוֹף. וְלָבָן הוּא תַּלְמִיד־חָכָם שֵׁד יְהוּדִי, שֶׁתּוֹרָתוֹ לְהִתְיַהֵר וּלְקַנְטֵר, וְתַלְמִיד־חָכָם כָּזֶה נְבֵלָה טוֹבָה הֵימֶנּוּ (מ”ר ויקרא א, עיין מתנות כהונה):

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English translation:

“That which we see among most of the learned who go against the Tzaddikim and speak about the Tzaddik wantonly with arrogance and scorn, is specifically planned from G-d.

For there is the relation of Yaakov and Lavan; Yaakov is a Tzaddik who creates original (Torah) ideas and studies the Torah for its own sake and his reward is stored, guarded and kept for the future, as our sages of blessed memory state: “The next day they will claim their reward” 2 (Eiruvin 22).

Because his reward is in the end he is thus called “Yaakov”, a language of delay and end, his reward is for the end.

As for Lavan, he is a Talmud Chacham Sheid (lit: demonic Talmid Chacham), whose Torah (study) is done to glorify himself and to provoke, and a dead animal is better than a demonic Talmid Chacham like this.”

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When you’re a rabbi, a Torah scholar, you automatically earn respect and honor from those around you, especially the poor pious Jews who look up to you as a fountain of knowledge, wisdom and piety.

In the Middle Ages, there was an added benefit to being the Rabbi of a community, which boiled down to being given choice jobs as ‘tax farmers’ over the community (Jewish and otherwise), for the ruling non-Jewish nobles.

Jews were literate. Jews were clever. Jews were good with figures, good at business, had international connections with other Jews all over the world that gave them significant advantages in the world of trade and finance.

The only non-Jews who could really compete with the Jewish trading networks were the Templars, and the Catholic Church. More on that another time.

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In the meantime, as well as garnering you respect (and a free pass from too much personal scrutiny) within the Jewish community, being a ‘rabbi’ also meant that you could access to nobles and bishops who were interested in questions of religion, and also wanted to have a few ‘court Jews’ around that they could use for a bunch of different purposes.

Like for example:

  • Being the ‘go-between’ with the wider Jewish communities
  • Acting as advisors on financial affairs and trade
  • Debating philosophical questions of faith with
  • Picking their brains for any ‘black magic kabbalah’ that could help these royals and bishops in their quest to change base metal into gold (aka ‘alchemy’).

The more openly ‘mystical’ you were, the more of a reputation you had for knowing deep secrets, the more likely you were to move up the chain, and to become a famous rav with a lot of money and connections.

That is, if you were what Rebbe Nachman describes as a ‘Jewish Sheid‘, a Jewish demon scholar.

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You know why I love Breslov so much?

Because Breslov, for the most part, is so trodden down into the ground.

Where other communities have ‘organisation’, and ‘connections’, and fabulous money, and super-successful go-getting followers and chassidim, Breslov has practically none of those things.

Especially the ‘Shuvu Banim’ branch of Breslov.

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The last few years, I’ve been so upset to see truly uplifting Torah geniuses like Rav Ofer Erez – to just name one example – lack the money to translate his books into English. Or get ‘banned’ from regular speaking engagements because of his public support of the Rav, Rabbi Berland.

Or having to shut down their website because they ran out of the relatively small amount of money required to keep it operating.

God, it seems so unfair…. Why are all these tremendous rabbis and holy individuals – suffering so much?!

And of course, top of the list of holy rabbis who are suffering so much is Rabbi Eliezer Berland.

Now, things are starting to get a whole bunch clearer.

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Rabbenu, as always, is telling us what’s going on.

Those ‘real’ rabbis, who are learning their Torah lishma, just to make God happy, build the world and teach and uplift other Jews for no other gain or ego boost, their reward is at the end.

At the end of this painful birur process that is leading to the final redemption, and when we will see how the people ‘on the bottom’ really were on the top, after all.

And of course, vice-versa.

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All those ‘Jewish demon scholars’, who were only learning Torah because:

  • It gave them a ‘free pass’ to say and do what they want without public scrutiny; or
  • It gave them massive followings and tremendous power to control other people; or
  • They could cash in on all the ‘connections’ and ‘business opportunities’ being a ‘big rabbi’ afforded them; or
  • They wanted the ego boost of being a ‘famous holy person’ who could write lots of books and get their own TV shows; or
  • They were trying to learn the deepest secrets of the Torah to manipulate reality for their own ends…

All those people are about to be ‘unmasked’.

And I don’t envy them at all.

“As for Lavan, he is a demonic Talmid Chacham, whose Torah (study) is done to glorify himself and to provoke, and a dead animal is better than a demonic Talmid Chacham like this.”

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Daas Torah: The Torah sources on avoiding images of women.

Following on from this post on Daas Me, Rachel wanted to know what the Daas Torah sources are for not looking at images of women (and why orthodox publications are actually acting correctly, by not showing images of women.)

I asked Rabbi Reuven Levy (aka ‘the husband’) to pull some of the sources together, and this is what he put together.

I would love to see the Torah sources (as opposed to the ‘Daas Me’) from the orthodox folk who disagree with me on this subject. Please do post them up in the comments section.

Sources on avoiding images of women:

Do not stray after your heart and after your eyes”. (V’lo taturu acharei levavechem veacharei eineichem) (Bamidbar 15:39)

“You shall guard yourself (v’nishmarta) against any evil thought” (Devarim 23:10).

A man may not gaze upon a beautiful woman even if she is unmarried” (Gemara, Avoda Zara 20a).

The Smak (30) says that “v’lo taturu” applies only when one stares for the purpose of an immoral act. If one enjoys the beauty of a woman, but has no intention to commit an immoral act, he violates “v’nishmarta“. This distinction is reached independently by the Igros Moshe (Even Hoezer 1:69). However, the Mishna Berura (75:7) states that staring at a woman to enjoy her beauty is a violation of “v’lo tauru“.

Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 21:1):

  • It is forbidden to look at a woman’s beauty (even without any intention to enjoy her beauty).
  • It is forbidden to look even at her little finger, if his intention is to enjoy himself by looking.

R’i considers this law to be d’Oraitta, min ha Torah, in the case of a married woman, or any other woman forbidden to him.

Chazal say sinning through one’s eyes is in some ways worse than the actual act of sin:

(i) As one does not feel he has done anything wrong or harmed anyone, so he does not make teshuva;

(ii) When one sins with one’s intellect he is misusing his most precious G-d given asset, which may be considered worse than sinning with a lesser important part of the body (Rambam, Morei Nevuchim 3:8 and Nefesh HaChaim 1:4);

(iii) Shame or fear of others can cause a person to abandon his sin, this is not the case with sins involving thought (Derech Pikudecha).

Even looking at a woman without the intention of committing a transgression causes the images to be engraved upon one’s mind, damaging the soul (Chessed LeAvraham, Nahar 33).

Looking at a forbidden sight, such as a woman not permitted to him, creates klipot and shedim (Taharas HaKodesh 3).

It’s just a man’s problem if he looks. It’s nothing to do with me?

Wrong.

It’s a d’Orraitta transgression to put a stumbling block in front of someone [lifnei ever..] (Vayikra 19:14).

This means that even if the woman is dressed modestly, or it’s only a ‘head shot’, if she is beautiful to look at, she is transgressing this commandment by putting her picture in a public forum.

It’s forbidden for a man to look at a woman’s beauty, including just her face.

NB – this does not mean a woman is prohibited from showing her face or walking around in public modestly dressed. If a man, by chance looks up and sees a woman, so long as he looks away, he does not commit a sin.

So, here the woman is not responsible if the man has a ‘second look’ or stares at her. However, when posting a picture of herself, it is far more likely that a man will look at her picture closely, particularly if she is ‘good looking’, and thereby transgress. A man is (usually) not embarrassed to look at a woman’s picture (particularly) if no one else is with him at the time. However, he would be embarrassed to stare at her in the street.

But surely it’s ok for the purpose of fulfilling a Mitzvah, such as teaching Torah?

No, this would be a mitzvah that is brought about through a transgression [mitzvah ha’ba’ah b’aveirah]. In such a case, the mitzvah is void, and all you have is the transgression.


Ad kan, from Rabbi Reuven.

So, why are all these very frum, very tznius women happy to have pictures of themselves posted all over the net?

I don’t know.

But I’d love to find out if there is any daas Torah backing up that decision, or if it’s all just a reaction to pressure from the ‘ugly feminist’ crowd (i.e. people who believe it’s OK to do this either because a) they are feminists who don’t think keeping Torah commandments is so important or b) they think the women putting their pictures up are de facto ugly, so actually not transgressing any of the Torah commandments.)

So, that’s the question:

Are there any Torah sources on the other side of the debate, or is it all Daas Me?

Daas Torah, or ‘Daas Me?’

Recently, I got into a ‘discussion’ over email about our policy of not having any pictures of women up on the Sassonmag.com website.

Long story short, one of the writers for the site felt so strongly about this decision, they decided they can no longer write for Sasson. Dear reader, I’d love to tell you that I took this decision calmly and in a considered way, like someone with good middot and a mature outlook, and with full emuna that if God wanted things that way, it’s for sure for the best.

That’s not exactly what happened.

What rankled me the most is that I felt that the site – and yours truly – were being accused of being ‘intolerant’, and this unspoken accusation lit me up like one of Saddam’s scuds.

(If you want to know why I write so much about how psychos behave, it’s because I am one.)

So anyway, I wasted a lot of time having a back and forwards with the person in question, that was growing more and more frustrating, at least for me. Thursday night, I printed off all the email correspondence I’d had, and came to show it to my husband for his view of things.

As a lawyer in the secular world, and as someone who regularly learns gemara, my husband has a very good grasp of underlying arguments, and he’s also extremely logical in his approach. Sometimes, that can also drive me bonkers, as I go so much on gut and intuition, but in this case it was a decided blessing.

He read the back and forth, and then he told me:

“This discussion is essentially meaningless and can never be resolved, because there are no Torah sources being referenced, and there is no daas Torah here. It’s really just ‘daas me’.”

Daas Torah roughly translates as the ‘wisdom / insight / knowledge of the Torah’. I.e., it’s the Divine knowledge that Hashem clothed by way of the Torah, and by way of halacha, and it’s the only real point of reference for being able to know what is truly right and wrong.

As soon as we come away from our Torah sources, our halacha, our proper orthodox rabbinic responsa, we are no longer dealing with Hashem’s wisdom and insight, we are dealing with ‘daas me’ – i.e. our own views and opinions.

And while there are places where daas me is definitely valid – like, for example, deciding what to make for supper, or what color to paint the kitchen – for the really important stuff, daas Torah needs to be informing our thinking, if we really want to be trying to do the right thing by God, and giving Him nachas.

I suddenly had an Eureka! moment, and realized that this is a big reason why I just can’t be bothered with so many of the sites that I used to avidly gobble down every day (sometimes, even including my own): it’s all daas me, and very little daas Torah.

And who needs it?

All these arguments and discussions and having a go, who needs it?

Bezrat Hashem, with God’s help, I will be doing my level best to steer clear of daas me in my writing now. Not that I won’t discuss things or won’t share ideas, but I’ll be darned careful to make sure that opinions are at least based on daas Torah, and not just flowering out of daas me.

And if I come away from that, you are cordially invited to (gently…) remind me of it.

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You might also be interested in these posts:

Does ‘orthodox Jew’ ever really go together with ‘feminist’?

The first feminist in Israel

Daas Torah: Sources on avoiding images of women

Comets, and particularly large comets that pass close to the earth, can affect our planet in some hugely fundamental ways.

In this post, I thought it would be useful to track down some of the key ‘turning points’linked to comets in human history, as described by the Torah.

Can we see the fingerprints of James McCanney’s ‘Plasma Discharge Comet Model’, as described in THIS post, coming through in the Torah’s descriptions of things like Noah’s flood (the mabbul); the sin of Enosh ben Shet (the first idol-worshipper in the world), and also the Exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai?

If the answer is ‘yes’, then that gives us a pretty good basis to assume that just as Hashem used large comets in the past to achieve key milestones in the human race’s spiritual development, He will probably do so again, in the time of Moshiach.

PLEASE NOTE: The Jewish sources below were all culled from Rabbi Dovid Brown’s wonderful work, ‘Mysteries of the Creation’. If you haven’t already bought his book, please do so, as he goes into much more depth and detail about many of the points brought below, and this post really stands on his tremendous scholarship and insight.

MOUNTAINS THAT ‘RUN’, ‘MELT’ AND ARE FORMED IN AN INSTANT

The first place to start is with James McCanney’s assertion that:

“During the close passage of a large comet, the ‘gravitational wave’ is sufficient to move waves of land and rock at speeds in excess of a thousand miles per hour, across land.”

Elsewhere, he tells us that:

“Mountain chains were ripped from the ground in a brief, violent motion as a massive planet / comet passed by earth.”

I’m going to keep my own comments very brief in this post, as the biblical quotations I’m about to list really speak for themselves:

Midrash Mechilta, Yitro, haChodesh 4:

“When God descended to give the Torah to Yisrael, the mountains rushed to dispute with each other. Each one wished the Torah to be given upon it. Mount Tavor travelled from Beit Aylim, and Mount Carmel crossed the sea from Spain to the Sinai Desert in order to be chosen for mattan Torah. Though their candidacies were rejected, their honor of the Torah was rewarded by their being replanted in Eretz Yisrael”

Psalm 29 (which Chazal in Sanhedrin 116a tells us is referring to Matan Torah):

“The voice of God is on the waters; the God of glory thunders…The voice of God breaks the cedars, Hashem shatters the cedars of Lebanon! He makes them (the mountains of Lebanon and Siryon) prance about like a calf, like young antelopes! The voice of Hashem lights flames of fire. The voice of Hashem convulses the wilderness…of Kadesh.”

The prophet Nachum (1:4, 5):

“The mountains tremble because of Him and hills melt; the earth goes up in smoke before Him, and the world and all its residents.”

Midrash Yalkut Shimoni 1:47:

“In the days of Enosh ben Shet, the third generation after creation, people began to anger the creator with new religious practices…Consequently, God brought on them three punishments: First, the ocean broke out and flooded a third of the globe. Second, whereas previously the earth had been entirely level, in those days it became mountainous, rocky and hilly (in the future, yet to come the world will be returned to its original level state.) Third, God reduced the height of men.”

Midrash Brayshit Rabba 49:6:

“For 25 years prior to the destruction of Sdom, God brought tremors onto the land and made the mountains around Sdom quake to warn the people they must repent, but they didn’t take the hint.”

Rashi on Parshat Vayeira, 19:25:

“The four cities of Sdom and its suburbs were situated on one table of rock. The angel overturned the rock and with that one act, the cities were overturned.”

TWO TYPES OF MOUNTAIN

Sources from the Torah basically describe two types of mountains in the world:

1) ‘Volcanic’ mountains, that were formed at the time of creation, in order to raise the land out of the sea and give the water that covered the earth depressions in which to ‘pool’ as oceans.

2) Non-volcanic mountains, that were formed AFTER the six days’ of creation by God, usually in response to some massive spiritual event like people starting to worship idols, or the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.

And guess what – modern geology agrees!

So far, we’ve seen proof from the Torah that mountains melted, ‘ran around the globe’ and reformed on a number of occasions, including:

  • When the generation of Enosh started to worship idols
  • When the inhabitants of Sdom sinned and were destroyed by God
  • When the Torah was given on Mount Sinai

(I’m sure there are many more instances, too.)

GOD DOESN’T VIOLATE HIS OWN LAWS OF NATURE

Before we continue, it should be made clear that the ‘line’ between ‘miracle’ and ‘natural occurrence’ is completely blurred when it comes to any discussion of comets. As a believing Jew, we know that really there IS NO NATURE, in any area or sliver of our lives. Even the smallest occurrence, thought or action in the world is God’s doing.

That’s the first principle of faith, and the first rule of Emuna.

But when we’re discussing enormous, earth-shattering events like the destruction wreaked by close contact with a comet, the curtain that Hashem hides behind in the physical world essentially disappears.

Clearly, God is the one moving all these mountains around, and flooding the world etc!

Nevertheless, the Zohar reminds us (in Bereishit 138b, Midrash HaNe’elam) that:

“The laws of nature are never violated.”

Which is probably why 4/5 of Am Yisrael died in the plague of darkness, and why the world didn’t repent of its idol worshipping ways in the time of Noah, because their evil inclination had them convinced that the ‘Niribu’ of their time was a natural phenomenon, and nothing to do with God….

CHANGES IN THE EARTH’S AXIS

Another thing we learnt in the last post is that ‘near misses’ with large comets can change the earth’s rotation on its axis, and permanently shift the poles, completely altering the earth’s calendar and seasons and relationship to the sun.

Is there any discussion of that phenomenon, in Torah sources? You betcha!

Sforno:

“Before the mabbul (Noah’s flood), the apparent circuit of the sun was directly around the equator. The change in the attitude of the earth after the mabbul, so that the earth faces the sun at an inclination of the axis, is the cause of the varying seasons.

“Before the mabbul, the climate was perpetually warm due to the sun striking the earth directly at the equator. That environment was extraordinarily robust compared to the modern world’s, and the earth had greater energy in all its members, mineral, vegetable, animal and human. For this reason, their lives were extraordinarily long.”

Midrash Bereish Rabba, 25:4:

“Rabbi Yochanon teaches that the heavenly bodies ceased functioning during the 12 months of the mabbul. Rabbi Yonaton argues that they did function, but as the earth was heavily clouded, their effects didn’t reach the land.”

Joshua 10:13:

Then the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the people took retribution against their enemies…so the sun stood in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to set for a whole day. There was no day like that before or after it…”

(Again, there’s lots more to say on each of these areas, but there’s a limit to how much I can type, so I’m giving a flavour here, and feel free to flesh it out in the comments section if you have more to add.)

FIRE AND BRIMSTONE / FLAMING HAIL

One of the things that occur with ‘near misses’ with large comets is that many of the accompanying gases, substances and rocks in the comet’s tail inundate the earth. That usually results in massive flooding on a scale that’s impossible to describe (as we know happened at the time of Enosh, when a third of the world was covered with water, and again with Noah’s flood, when the whole world was submerged by ‘strong waters’ for a year.)

But other things also ‘fall’ into the earth’s atmosphere from a near miss with a comet, including the elements that form naptha (crude oil), sulphur, and many other chemical compounds, metals, gasses, small rocks and other debris.

Often, these elements ignite as they fall through the atmosphere to earth.

So one of the key things that happen with close calls with comets is that the earth can be deluged BOTH by fire, and by water, at one and the same time.

Another thing to add into the mix is that an approaching large comet plays havoc with the earth’s existing weather and geology, triggering earthquakes and volcanoes. The Torah tells us that there are 8,000 volcanoes (or what it terms ‘gateways to Gehinnom) in the world – and many of these volcanoes are located in the oceans.

So with that knowledge under out belts, let’s see what Torah passages we can find that might be describing some of these phenomena:

Parshat Noach, Bereishit 7:4:

“In another seven days, I will bring rain on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, and I will obliterate the whole establishment which I had made from the face of the earth.”

Gemara, Sanhedrin 108b:

“The people of that time [the mabbul] sinned by raising their temperatures with sexual crimes; in consequence they were punished too by heat, with water at boiling temperature.

Parshat Vayeira, Bereishit 19:24:

“God made sulphur and fire rain on Sdom…”

Parshat Vaeira, Shemot 9:22:

“Hashem said to Moshe, ‘Stretch out your hand toward heaven and there will be hail in the entire land of Egypt, on man and beast, and on all the grass of the field in the land of Egypt.’

“Moshe stretched out his staff toward heaven, and Hashem sent thunder and hail, and fire went earthward, and Hashem rained hail upon the land of Egypt. There was hail and fire flaming amid the hail – very heavy, such as had never been in the entire land of Egypt, from the time it became a nation.”

And Chazal teach us that some of those same ‘hailstones’ returned a generation later, to help Joshua overcome his enemies as he led Am Israel in the conquest of Eretz Israel:

Joshua 10:11

“It happened when they fled before Israel; they were on the descent of Beth-horon when Hashem cast upon them large stones from heaven until [they reached] Azekah and they died. More died through the hailstones then the Children of Israel killed with the sword.”

THE SEVENTH WORLD

As we set out in THIS POST, where we discussed the six different ‘worlds’ that have existed since the creation of Adam and Eve, Pirkei deRabbay Eliezer tells us that the seventh world, the world of Moshiach, is also going to be a strikingly different place, physically, from the way we’re experiencing life at the moment.

Here’s a few of the statements we find in our sources about what will be happening in that seventh world:

Yerushalmi, Shkollim 6:2:

“Rabbi Yehuda maintains that in the future, grain will grow in one month and tress will bear fruit every two months. Rabbi Yossi asserts that grain will grow in fifteen days and trees will bear every month.”

Torat Cohanim on Parshat BeChukotai, Vayikra, 26:4:

“The Torah doesn’t promise us merely that in the future the earth will bring forth produce as it does today, but that it will produce at its maximum level, the way it did before the sin of Adam HaRishon. That is, crops will come up daily.”

Gemara Ketuvot 112b:

“In Eretz Yisroel in the future, even trees that today don’t produce edible fruits will bear fruit for human consumption.”

Prophet Yeshaya, 65:20, 22:

“There will no longer be a person who dies young, nor even an old person who doesn’t live out his natural life span, for a person who dies at age 100 will be considered to have died young, and a sinner will be cursed to die at a century…”

THE NATURE OF THE WORLD WILL CHANGE – NATURALLY

As you’re hopefully starting to grasp, the way God can cause these enormous changes in the nature of the world, and in human life, ‘naturally’, without breaking His own laws of nature, is via the massive realignments of planet earth that come along with close encounters with planet-sized comets.

There’s lots more to say, but for now, let me leave you with the following quotes about what’s in store for the world at the end of days, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out this could all be tied in to another ‘close encounter’ with a huge comet:

Midrash Dvorim Rabba 4:11:

“How will God enlarge Eretz Israel? When a scroll is rolled up, one cannot tell its length. When it’s unrolled, its size becomes evident. Just so, Eretz Israel is mostly mountains and hills. God will flatten it…then the true size of Eretz Israel will become evident.”

Prophet Zecharia 14:1-5:

“A day for God is coming…I will gather all the nations to Yerushalayim for war…And God will go out and fight with those nations like the day He fought the Egyptians at the Yam Suf.

“His feet will stand on that day on the Mount of Olives…east of Jerusalem, the Mount of Olives will split in half, forming a very big rift, and half the mountain will move north and half south.”

Prophet Yechezkel 38:18-20:

“It will happen on that day, on the day Gog arrives in the land of Israel,” says God, ‘My anger will rise…in the heat of My wrath…there will be an earthquake in Eretz Israel….The mountains will be demolished, stairs will fall and every wall will topple to the ground.”

Tanna DeVey Eliyahu, Rabba, Ch.2:

“At that time the whole world will quake and the people will wonder, ‘Is a new mabbul coming on the world?’ God will assure them, ‘No, this isn’t a mabbul. I have come, rather, to make a banquet for my children and rule over the entire world.”

May we all pass through the upcoming process peacefully and safely, holding firmly onto God’s hand.

I’ve been getting a few email about what the ‘Breslov’ attitude is in relation to non-Jews, and also whether Breslov believes that the Jewish people should be a ‘light unto the nations’ or not.

Let’s start with the idea that the Jewish people should be a ‘light unto the nations’. This idea is explicitly mentioned in the Book of Isiaiah three times, in the following verses:

49:6 – “It is insufficient that you be a servant for Me [only] to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the ruins of Israel; I will make you a light for the nations, so that My salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.:

60:3 – “Arise! Shine! For your light has arrived, and the glory of Hashem shines upon you. For, behold, darkness may cover the earth and a thick cloud [may cover] the kingdoms, but upon you Hashem will shine, and His glory will be seen upon you. Nations will walk by your light and kings by the brilliance of your shine.”

62:1 – “For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be still, until her righteousness emanates like a bright light, and her salvation blazes like a torch. Nations will perceive your righteousness and all the kings your honor…”

And then the general idea that the Jewish people should be active in bringing all of mankind back to serve Hashem (and that God actually very much wants that to happen), and that there is a ‘place’ for the righteous non-Jews in the post-Messianic world can be found in the following verses, all from Isiaiah:

45:21 – “There is no other god besides Me; there is no righteous god besides Me and no savior other than Me. Turn to Me be and saved, all ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.”

56:1 – “I will bring them to My holy mountain, and I will gladden them in My house of prayer; their elevation offerings and their feast offerings will find favor on my Altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”

60:9 – “Then the sons of foreigners will build your walls and their kings will serve you.”

61:5 – “Foreigners will stand and tend your flocks and the sons of the stranger will be your plowmen and your vineyard workers. And you will be called ‘priests of Hashem’; ‘ministers of our God’ will be said of you.” [By other people, i.e. the non-Jews].

Over in Pirkei Avot (the Ethics of the Father), Rabbi Akiva tells us in 3:14 that:

“Beloved is man, for he was created in [God’s] image. It shows an even greater love that it was made known to him that he was created in [God’s] image, as it is written, “For in the image of God, He made man” (Genesis 9:6)”

The Tosfot Yom Tov writing on this verse explains that it ‘refers to all of humankind’ – not just the Jewish people, who are referred to more explicitly by Rabbi Akiva as ‘God’s children.’

Now that we’ve established that it’s standard Jewish thought that righteous non-Jews who believe in the One true God of the Jews have a place in the post-Messianic world, and that God does want the Jewish people to play an active role in being a ‘light unto the nations’, let’s take a more specific look at what some Breslev sources say about the issue of dealing with non-Jews.

Let’s start with Rebbe Nachman, who tells us the following (in Tzaddik):

“The Rebbe said that there are seventy nations and all of them are included under Esau and Ishmael: thirty-five under one and thirty-five under the other. In the future, they will be conquered by two Messiahs, Mashiach the son of Joseph and Mashiach the son of David. There is one Tzaddik who is a combination of the two messiahs.”

From this, we can see that the basic idea is the Jewish Moshiach will ‘conquer’ the nations of the world, and presumably bring them back to belief in the one true God of Israel.

Next, let’s go to Likutey Moharan I:244 where Rebbe Moharan gives a warning to those of us who aren’t on a very high spiritual level (i.e. pretty much everyone…), when it comes to dealing with non-Jews:

“Anyone who intermingles with gentiles, that is, who has business dealings with them, must be on very careful guard that this should not harm him. Otherwise, it’s very easy to be caught in their trap and to distance oneself from one’s Jewishness.”

In other words, as soon as money, or ‘business dealings’ with non-Jews come into the picture, Jews need to be very, very careful to not compromise their Jewishness and spiritual integrity because a ‘bribe blinds the eyes of the wise’.

On this note, Rav Shalom Arush once went to speak to a church in South Africa who’d just bought a very large amount of his emuna books. He got on stage in front of 5,000 people and told them in Hebrew: “You are all fornicators and idol worshipers!” That’s a classic example of not letting money and business dealings compromise your Jewishness and spiritual integrity.

The last thing to quote for now, which I think sums up the position and also includes the deeper kabbalistic underpinnings of why a Jewish Moshiach comes for the benefit of the whole of mankind, comes from Rav Berland’s speech to more than 8,000 people at the Winter Stadium, a few years’ back, when he said:

“When Rebbe Nachman was alive, he stated that he stood as guarantor for the whole world – for all of mankind, including the Jews, the non-Jews and everyone else. Because the Tzaddikim told Hashem to go ahead and create all of mankind, while the angels told Him not to bother, because in the end he would only end up failing, and there was only a miniscule chance of him making Teshuva.

“But I say different! I say that there’s only a miniscule chance of him not making Teshuva, and that’s what this gathering is all about – to encourage everyone, Jews and non-Jews alike, to make Teshuva and to return to their Father in heaven!

“God created everyone in His image, and in every person there is a spark of the Divine, in every Jew and in every non-Jew – the spark of God is in everyone, and we are all created in God’s image. And the whole point of this gathering is to spread the light of Hashem, and the light of Rebbe Nachman, to the whole world, to every Jew and to every non-Jew….

“…As soon as the whole world recognizes Hashem’s greatness, we’ll be able to immediately rebuild the third Temple, and to see the revival of the dead.”

The Jewish people is about Tikkun haolam, or the rectification of the whole world, and bringing the whole world back to God, the Jewish way. That means the non-Jews accept the 7 noachide commandments, stop with all their yoshki, muhammed and booda rubbish, and accept that God is running the world (without any help from anyone else) and that the Torah is true, and the Jewish people are God’s representatives.

That pretty much sums up the authentic Jewish approach that you’ll find in Breslov, and also any other Jewish group that has a deep knowledge of our sources, and a strong grasp of what the whole concept of the Moshiach, and Tikkun haolam is really all about.

In recent years, every time we get to parsha Mikeitz, where Yosef HaTzadik is finally freed from prison, and finally gets to see what all his suffering, loneliness and pain was for, I find myself getting in a funny mood.

You’re meant to find yourself in every letter of the Torah, somehow. Somehow, God’s put a coded message for every single one of us, into every nuance, every detail, every cantillation mark. Sometimes, you need to be a genius like Rebbe Nachman or the Vilna Gaon to have a clue about working them out. Other times, the messages hit you straight in the face with the force of a punch, and then you have to be a fool to miss them.

Yesterday, I read the parsha Mikeitz, and when Yosef starts sobbing when he sees his brothers, it struck me: the man went through a personal shoah. He lost his home, his family, everything he held dear, his status. He almost lost his soul, when enticed by Potifar’s wife, and then his faith in humanity (again…) when he was unfairly incarcerated as a result of doing the right thing.

How could he not lose his faith in God, when stuck in a hellish Egyptian prison for 12 years, all alone?

The fact that he didn’t shows how much he earned the appellation ‘ha tzaddik’. But existential loneliness, when God hides His face from you, and you have no-one in your life to love, or to love you back, is one of the worst punishments known to man.

Somehow, Yosef comes through all that. He finally gets out of prison. He finally rebuilds his life, albeit still all alone in his Egyptian splendor, with no old friends to reminisce with; no siblings to joke around with, or remember things with; no parents to encourage him from the side, and tell him how proud they are of him.

And then his brothers show up, and Yosef has to set a chain of events in train that will atone for their previous misdeeds against him, and rectify them for the future. And in the middle of all this, he suddenly realizes that these are his brothers. He’s reunited with his family physically, but spiritually and mentally, he suddenly realizes that what was, was. It can’t be regained, it can’t be rebuilt on the same foundations, because such a huge shift has occurred to the very foundation of who Yosef now is.

He’s a man who was sold out by his family, and treated mercilessly by the people who should have loved him the most.

He’s a man who had to face the most difficult, alien, exile alone, bereft of all sources of comfort except his emuna that God would eventually remember him, and turn it all around. He’s a man for who all the illusions and pretensions people like to have that ‘they are there for each other’, and that ‘they really care about each other’, and that ‘you don’t have to suffer alone’ had disappeared like smoke. And once those daydreams go, you can’t get them back, for all the wishing in the world.

So I think he was crying a little about what was, and what had been lost, and what had been done to him. But mostly, he was crying because even though they were all reunited again, really, he was as alone as he ever was. Maybe even more so.

The brothers could never go back to being true ‘brothers’ to Yosef, because even though he forgave them unconditionally, they couldn’t really forgive themselves.

Yosef was a permanent, and permanently uncomfortable, reminder to them of their own flaws and limitations and capacity for evil, and there was nothing Yosef could do to erase that knowledge, and truly regain his family.

I think this story has to resonate for anyone who’s a baal teshuva; anyone who’s made Aliya; anyone who found their life going in a direction that changed them fundamentally, even for best of reasons. The ultimate outcome is only good, the spiritual rewards are more than worth the pain and the effort.

But the aloneness of it all seems to stay with you forever.