Current Affairs

The Megilla of Geula (Redemption), 2021

Megillas Geula
One doesn't even need a spiritually-sensitive nose to smell that Geula is in the air; this is not only apparent in Israel, but in the USA as well.

Trying to make sense out of isolated current events is like looking at one piece of a 10,000-piece puzzle with the presumption of understanding the entire picture. That, of course, is impossible. Reading or listening to media analyses that ignore emuna and the message that Hashem is conveying to the world are therefore a waste of time. For example, if Esther and Mordechai were in today's generation, imagine how the politically-correct and agenda-oriented anti-Torah media would lambast Mordechai for refusing to bow down to the wicked Haman, the head of BDS and the Squad. Yet, Mordechai's steadfast adherence to Hashem's Torah saved the Jewish People - most of whom had sorely compromised Torah values by the political correctness of attending the king's palace ball - from a terrible decree. Don't forget that from start to finish, the Megilla of Esther transpired a thirteen-year time span from start to finish.

According to the writings of the Gaon of Vilna, who few realize was a monumental Kabbalist in addition to his unprecedented scholarship of the entire revealed Torah, the Megilla of Geula is now underway. The isolated events that are now happening in rapid succession are proof.

Before I elaborate on The Gaon's writings, let me ask a question: if five years ago, someone would tell you that in 4 years, there will be a pandemic that threatens the lives and livelihoods of all mankind, would you believe it? If someone five years ago would tell you that in 4 years, you'd be forced to pray on your balcony or in your back yard instead of in the synagogue, would you believe it? If five years ago, someone would tell you that in 5 years, people would be trampled to death in Meron, bleachers would crash in Karlin, and a giant hole in the ground would open up during the week of Parshat Korach, you'd be wondering which hallucinogenic drug this person is high on...

Look at the parallels between Israel and the USA. The parties that embody traditional values are out. The parties who wave the flags of anti-Torah values are in.

In Israel, a motley conglomerate of parties with nothing in common except for their loathing of Torah values has united, despite the fact the the coalition straddles extreme differences in ideology. Two things unite them: 1, they're hate of Bibi, and 2, their respective ego, greed and personal ambitions that override all ideology. Who would believe that a tiny political party that barely represents 5% of Israeli voters would betray their own voters to cross over the political Rubicon so that its head, who not long ago could not even pass the electoral threshhold, can become Prime Minister! It's a miracle in reverse that no one could dream of that only shows that Hashem is doing all of this, and for the very best. It's part of the Megilla of Geula. Here's how:

The Gaon of Vilna wrote an amazing elaboration on the Megilla of Esther that interprets the Megilla in two different ways, one according to the revealed side of Torah and the other according to the esoteric side of Torah, entitled Even Shlema.  Following the Megilla, the Gaon addresses several significant moral and ethical topics. Chapter 11 is about the Geula, the full redemption of our people, may it come soon, amen. The Gaon says that the fourth and final Diaspora, the Diaspora of Edom which we have been suffering for the last 2,000 years, will end with the government of the Erev Rav (the wicked rifraff) over the Jewish People. The Erev Rav, despite their Jewish names, appearance or outer trappings, are apparent in their desire to uproot Torah values and Torah authority. Reading this is like reading an Israeli daily newspaper that is describing the coalition agreement of the new incoming government.

The Gaon goes a step further. In Proverbs 16:4, King Solomon says that Hashem creates everything for His own purpose, including {literally "and also"} the wicked for the day of evil. King Solomon is emphatically stressing that everything, even the seemingly bad, is all from Hashem, Who is using the choices of the wicked to implement a piece of Hashem's puzzle that appears to be bad. The Gaon notes that the numerical value of ve'gam, the word for "and also" from our passage at hand, is 49, indicating that when the Erev Rav reaches the next to the bottom rung of the 50 levels of impurity, Hashem will lift them up in order to trigger their utter downfall, both of which are necessary stages toward our imminent Geula. How imminent? No one knows.

The Gaon brings further proof for what he says. He quotes King David in Psalm 92:8 that reads, "When the wicked spring up like grass, and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is so that they'll be destroyed forever." This, writes the Gaon, is talking about the Erev Rav at the end of the Edomite Diaspora and preceding Geula.

As we stress in 3 Words of Emuna, when we know that Hashem is running the show and pulling the strings of the puppets He puts in power, and we know that Hashem is our loving Father in Heaven Who does everything for the best, there's nothing to worry about. I therefore have no part in the gloom and pessimism of so many people who are upset about events in Israel. One politically oriented rabbi asked me, "Aren't you worried about the new government starving the yeshivas?" To his surprise, I said, "Not at all." Hashem sustains the yeshivas and everyone else; with Bitachon, one isn't worried about where his or her next meal is coming from. We can already see the good in the Haredi parties going into the opposition benches of Knesset, because now everyone will have to learn emuna and bitachon, turning to Hashem rather than turning to the Government. What's more, once Moshiach comes, there won't be religious or Haredi parties - only Moshiach, Hashem's anointed King of Israel, the Sanhedrin and our true spiritual leaders. That's on the last page of the Megilla of Geula, something to really look forward to. So look at the big picture, smile and keep reading the Megilla, for no matter how things appear, it's all going to be party-time very soon, for these are simply the labor pains of the birth of redemption and the coming of Moshiach, speedily and in our days, amen!


Wiping out Amalek

This coming Shabbos is Shabbos Zchor and next Friday is Purim. Amalek, the arch-evil personification of the Sitra Achra (literally "other side", the antagonist of holiness) in every generation, has one main task - to destroy emuna and everyone who spreads it. The politically correct flow with Amalek, but a select few fight fiercely against him...

Thanks to our generous donors, you can obtain a free mp3 download of this podcast by clicking here on Wiping out Amalek.


The American-Jewish Olive

Today, an olive best categorizes the American Jew. We'll learn how and why in today's emuna-oriented analysis of current events in the USA.

Click here for your free mp3 download of the above podcast, courtesy of Emuna Beams and thanks to our esteemed donors


When the Eyes Can't See

Did you ever wonder why we put our hands over our eyes when we say the Shema prayer? How do we cope when something painful happens to us, especially right after we did a good deed or finished praying, when we can neither see nor understand what Hashem is doing to us and why? Today's podcast answers.

Would you like an mp3 of this podcast to listen on any device or to share with someone you care about? No problem! Get a free download here, compliments of Emuna Beams and by virtue of our wonderful donors. may Hashem bless them.


An End to Exile; The First Step to Redemption

132. Take the First Step

A group of friends once made a trip together. On the way to their destination, they saw someone standing with a backpack on a desert crossroads. Seven days later, on their way home, they encountered the same person with the backpack standing on the same desert crossroads in the hot sun. The group of friends asked the backpacker, "Why are you standing here?"

"I want to go to Jerusalem," responded the backpacker. "I'm waiting for a ride."

"How long have you been waiting?" they asked.

"More than a week," he answered.

They laughed. "Jerusalem's only a two-day walk from here. If you'd have started walking, you could have been there and back four times already!"

Many of us want to change, yet we expect it to happen automatically, with no effort on our part. Life doesn't work that way. An old Hebrew expression says, "Even a journey of a thousand kilometers begins with a first step."

The Yerushalmi Gemara in tractate Yoma 5a says that a generation that fails to build the Holy Temple is as if it destroyed the Holy Temple. People think that the Gemara is a little too severe here; let's see...

The Babylonian Gemara in tractate Yoma 9b says that the generation of the Second Temple was learned in Torah and exacting in mitzva observance. The Gemara even tells us that they engaged in charitable deeds. Despite all that, the Second Temple was destroyed because of sinas chinam, baseless hate.

The first Diaspora, the period that lasted for seventy years between the destruction of the First Holy Temple and the rebuilding of the Second Holy Temple, was an atonement for the three terrible sins that led to the destruction of the First Holy Temple - idolatry, bloodshed and debauchery. According to the Gemara in tractate Sanhedrin 74a, these are the three worst sins in the Torah, which a person must give up his own life rather than violate. Yet, the generation of the First Temple was punished for 70 years only? In the Second Temple, there was none of those three. On the contrary, people were super observant and learned too. Yet, they've been in Diaspora for almost 2000 years, with Inquisitions, pogroms, Holocausts and pandemics on the way. Is that fair? Where's the proportionality? We're still part of that prolonged exile and Diaspora! We must ask ourselves, why is the punishment and subsequent exile of the Second Temple already thirty times worse than the first. And it's not over yet!

The generation of the Second Temple they hated each other. Sure, they fed the poor, built luxurious mikvas and study halls and educated the orphans, but they were jealous of each other and they spoke slander day and night. Comes along the Gemara in tractate Arachin 15b and tells us that lashon hara is just as bad as idolatry, bloodshed and debauchery put together. Even worse, the Yerushalmi in Tractate Pe'ah says that those who speak evil are punished in this world and the next, and their punishment is no less severe that the punishment for the three nasty sins that one should die rather than violate.

It's therefore easy to understand while we're still in Diaspora - our generation is still full of lashon hara and sinas chinam, slander and intramural hate. We can now realize what the Gemara means when it says that a generation that fails to build the Holy Temple is as if it destroyed the Holy Temple. Hashem won't rebuild the Temple another time and then let it be destroyed again because the core sin is still there. So we have to get rid of the core sin!

A person called me this week, very upset. He told me that his boss is so cruel to him that he's constantly nervous and he's lost his joy in life. I asked him why he doesn't sit down and discuss the ill treatment with the boss. He said it won't help, because the boss treats all the workers like that. I then asked why he doesn't seek the advice of a local rabbi who might be able to influence the boss. He told me that no one will believe him, because his boss gives millions of dollars to charity. The organizations think he's an angel. That's the type of thing that went on in the Second Temple - people would fund yeshiva and kollelim but they'd murder their employees or their competitors.

Anyone you ask will say that they await Moshiach and the Geula, with the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, once and for all. Yet, we have to ask ourselves: have we taken the first step to bring Moshiach? Have we done the very first thing to reduce the lashon hara or the sinas chinam in the world? How many groups within Judaism carry a flag of hate? For one group, it's a mitzva to hate Zionist Jews. For another group, it's a mitzva to hate non-Zionist Jews. A third group hates people who wear a different style kippa than they do and a fourth group hates all Jews who wear kippas while a fifth group hates all Jews who don't wear kippas. All these groups don't call it hate - they call it ideology. How can the Chassidim get along with the Litvaks if they can't get along with each other? I could go on and on, but this is distasteful.

It's a lot easier to sit on the floor and lament with tearful eyes about the destruction of our Temple and the calamities that have befallen our people than it is to commit to refrain from saying anything derogatory about a fellow human. This Tisha B'av, I am deciding to take the first step. I'm not going to wait for anyone else but you're more than welcome to join me. I ask Hashem to help me avoid saying or writing anything uncomplimentary about a fellow human, much less a fellow Jew. I ask Hashem that not a single syllable of slander or evil speech should appear in my blog or podcast, or anything else I say or write. Hashem, I don't want to perpetuate the exile and Diaspora. I do want Moshiach, redemption, the ingathering of the exiles and our rebuilt Holy Temple. Help me take this first step, Hashem, and help all my wonderful brothers and sisters who are joining me. Show us Your mercy and Your miraculous salvation, and bring us all home to our rebuilt Holy Temple and the glory of Your Holy Presence in Zion, speedily and in our days, amen!

Hear the above lesson on mp3, which you are welcome to download, courtesy of Emuna Beams:


Remodeling

Shavua Tov! So many people nowadays feel short-tempered, or nervous, or worn out, or all three. The lurking threat of sickness and the difficult challenge of lockdown, quarantine and kids at home are eating away at their nerves. If you feel like that, don't be down on yourself, because it's natural and even mentioned in the Gemara. Hear all about it in today's encouraging podcast, which is bound to make you feel better about yourself.