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PARASHAT LECH LECHA

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From the World of Rabbi Avraham Kook
“The man who constantly frets over his own sins and those of the world should constantly forgive himself and the world. By doing so he will draw forth forgiveness and the light of kindness…and bring joy to G-d and man… And he will earn the blessing reserved for Abraham: “there is no generation without one like Abraham”              (Erpalei Tohar, 53-4)


Rabbi Dov BegonRosh Yeshiva of Machon Meir

Message for Today:
“In the 7th year there will be wars. At the end of the 7th the Son of David will arrive”



The first war mentioned in the Torah is the war of the four kings against the five, in the days of Amrafel, who was Nimrod (Rashi on Genesis 14:1). This war took place between two coalitions of wicked kings. Heading the four kings was Nimrod, and heading the five kings was the King of Sodom. The outcome of the first stage of the war was that the four kings defeated the five. At a later stage, however, the Patriarch Abraham defeated the winners, as it says, “He divided [his men] against them at night, he and his servants, and he attacked them. He pursued them until Chovah, which is to the left of Damascus” (Genesis 14:15). As a result of Abraham’s victory, the kings and leaders of his generation bestowed great honor upon him: “The King of Sodom went out to meet him after his return from defeating Kedarlaomer and the kings that were with him, to the Valley of Shaveh which is the King’s Valley” (14:17). Rashi comments, “It was a valley where all nations were in agreement and appointed Abraham over them as a prince of G-d and leader!” Our ancestors’ deeds presage our own!

Today, 3,000 years after Abraham’s time, his descendants are rising to rebirth in Eretz Yisrael. The rebirth of the Jewish People is taking place in a time of wars. As our sages said, “In the 7th year, there will be wars. At the end of the 7th, the Son of David will arrive” (Sanhedrin 97a). World Wars I and II are directly and indirectly connected to the rebirth of the Jewish People, and it is the same with our own wars, from the War of Independence to the present war over our control of Eretz Yisrael. According to the Prophets (Zechariah 14; Ezekiel 38-39), the climax of wars will be the war of Gog and Magog, when the nations of the world will seek to conquer Jerusalem. Today, the Christian and Muslim worlds both long to do that. In this regard King David said, “Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter in vain?
The kings of the earth join ranks. The rulers take counsel together against the L-rd and against His anointed” (Psalm 2:1-2).

Yet the outcome will be resounding victory over all those who long to conquer Jerusalem and to drive us out of our land. As King David then says, “You will break them with a rod of iron. You will smash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel” (verse 9). And just as Abraham defeated the kings, so shall G-d’s great name be magnified and sanctified, as it says, “Thus will I magnify Myself and sanctify Myself. I will make Myself known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the L-rd” (Ezekiel 38:23). Looking forward to complete salvation,

Shabbat Shalom!


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Rabbi Shlomo AvinerChief Rabbi of Bet El

Murderers of Souls

Dear President Bush,

The expulsion of England’s Jews, with most of them being drowned along the way. Two expulsions from France. The expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Spain and Portugal. Numerous expulsions from Europe during the “Black Plague” (the Jews were blamed). Expulsions from Lithuania and from Russia. The expulsion of the Jews of Sardinia and Sicily. The expulsion of the Jews of Hungary and Cologne, Strasbourg and Augsbourg, Barcelo and Naples.
And don’t think that expulsion just means moving. Almost all of the victims lost almost all of their property. They lost their livelihood. Many died or grew ill along the way.
Rabbi Yehuda Hayat, after arriving in Tunis, wrote, “We ate grass in the fields, and every day, with my own hands, I would grind meal for the Arabs in exchange for the skimpiest piece of bread, unfit even for the dogs. At night, due to the fierce, autumnal cold, lacking any protection from the elements, and lacking homes to sleep in, we would dig in the city dumps and cover our bodies that way.” (introduction to the sefer “Minchat Yehuda” 3:1)
Likewise, regarding the plight of the Spanish expellees, Rabbi Shlomo Ibz Virga wrote, “Those who went to Fez, suffered G-d’s punishments, especially severe famine. The local inhabitants did not allow them to enter their cities, and they charged exorbitantly for food. The refugees set up tent camps in the fields, where they would look for grasses, if only they could find them – the parched climate made this difficult. Many died there in the fields, with no one to bury them, for the survivors were too weak from starvation to do it. On Shabbat they would consume the grasses with their own mouths, making due with their not have plucked the grass with their hands [uprooting it with their mouths decreased the sin of uprooting grass on Shabbat from Biblical to Rabbinic].
“Something unprecedented happened. An Arab came and saw a beautiful Jewish girl, and in sight of her father and mother he raped her. A half hour later he came back with a spear in hand and he stabbed her in the belly. When they asked how he could do such a thing, he responded that he was afraid that he had left her pregnant, and that the offspring would be Jewish.” (Shevet Yehuda 125-126)
Blood libels in Noritch, in Mecklenberg and in Breslau and Lauda. In Bischoffsheim and Puldash. In Costingen, England, Torino and Naples. In Mainz, Buna, Tarwish, Pozen, Cracow, and many more.
As you will recall, blood libels are a Christian accusation that we murder Christians in order to use the blood on Passover Eve and for other rituals, our not being human creatures. Hence we require sorcerous concoctions in order to appear externally like human beings.
As a result of the blood libel, hundreds of Jews were tortured and slaughtered and much property was pillaged.
“Profanation of holy wafers”. In Brelitz, Roitlingen, Paris and Butzlav, etc., etc. This is a Christian accusation that Jews stole “holy wafers”, in which Jesus’ body is “transubstantiated”, and which is used for a Christian rite. Then the Jews stab the wafers, trample them under their feet and commit other acts of contempt. The result was torture of the Jews until some of them confess, burning Jews to death and expulsions.
Libels over currency counterfeiting in England – Jews thrown into jail and hanged.
Forced conversions.
Destruction of hundreds of Jewish communities.
The Crusades.
Persecutions.
And more.
Why am I bringing up all of this? For two reasons.
First of all, as far as all of you missionaries – maybe you’re finally ready to get out of here and to leave us be? Regarding your claim that we contaminate your Christian lands – now we are here, so why have you come all the way here to bother us? How low can people sink? 1.5 billion Christians isn’t enough for you, that you have to come to our country and to persuade Jews to convert?!
Therefore, we are warning you. Cease and desist! With all of your gigantic budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, and with all your sophisticated ways! Also, as far as your lovely names, such as “Jews for J” or “Messianic Jews” — you’re not Jews! Not according to Jewish law and not according to the Supreme Court! You are missionaries!
Second of all, as far as my dear, fellow Jews – stop accepting money from Christian organizations, missionaries and those linked to missions. Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook ruled regarding those who accept such money: “These people are responsible for all the destructive missionary activities liable to result through this ignominious rapprochement” (Igeret HaRe’iyah IV:1:61). His words are relevant even if the organizations possess lovely names like “Christian Lovers of Israel.” Certainly they love Israel, the way a gourmand loves to consume fish, like an alcoholic loves wine, like a rapist loves the unfortunate girl, like a wild animal loves its prey, and causing someone to sin is worse than killing him.
Distance yourselves far from these stealers of souls, from these murderers of souls.
Let us be strong and courageous on behalf of our Eternal G-d, who never lies and never regrets what He does.


Rabbi Azriel Ariel

Avraham Avinu, father of many nations, was given a golden opportunity. He could have captured a huge booty: all of Sedom and Amora, Adama and Tzvuyim and even Tzoar’s inhabitants fell into his hands. Their evil ways had been known for a long time but Avraham had no power to do anything then. Now it seems that he is able of doing something, he has captured them all. All of them are his slaves and he is their king. Now he can teach them and educate them, even forcing them to change their ways. Yet when the king of Sedom comes to Avraham and asks him to “give me the souls”, Avraham quickly complies with his request and releases them all.
Chazal criticize Avraham for this action. “Why was it that Avraham Avinu was punished and his descendants were enslaved to Egypt for two hundred and ten years?… because he prevented people from entering under the wings of the Shechina, as it says, ‘give me the souls'”. Yet why did Avraham behave in this way in contrast to his usual way of proselytizing everyone?
The only option is to say that this way of proselytizing by force, was not Avraham’s way. His name, Avraham, meaning father of many nations, attests that he did not wish to act as a king who tyrannizes his subjects but as a merciful father who says “educate the lad according to his way”. Education is a matter of persuasion. Avraham Avinu did not want to use forceful tactics on those who had no wish to change their faith. The midrash on the passuk, “And he returned all of the property… and also the women and the people” – “men and women he returned, but the children he did not return. They stood up and converted…” children can yet be educated but adults who have passed an educationable age, should not be converted by means of force. This method of Avraham Avinu was not accepted halachically, however. Rambam states explicitly that Am Yisrael has an obligation to impart to the world (only!) the seven Noachide commandments even by force. Therefore, says the gemara, Am Yisrael was forced to go down to Egypt, to suffer for itself the suffering of slavery and forced labor, in order to bring the “Erev Rav” up from Egypt. Even so, we must accept Avraham Avinu’s attitude that pleasant means should precede the rod of force.





Translation: R. Blumberg


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