The virtual Kehilla of Orthodox Jewry of Greater Montreal

Avrum Revisited , Misinformation, the Balfour Declaration

 Golus , Mockery, Balfour Declaration

I saw a realy nice post left by a non Jew on the Wall of Friends of Hutchison.

Re-seeing Religious Resentment  

and we recommend you take a look;

“It does not leave a space to explain that, ‘I want to be a pious citizen. I give importance to praying, I want to raise my children with these values, and yes, dressing the way I do is not the most comfortable thing, but this is the way I most feel like myself … but I agree that I have an obligation to educate my children, and that I cannot kill my neighbour!’”

Reading these comments in a facebook group setup to for 'everyone who seeks peace, harmony, dialogue, adventure." , ie. dialogue and cooperation between the Chassidim of Outremont an their gentile neighbors, I felt that I could better understand what I , myself wrote last week in the name of the Netziv that , the name of Avrum was never really lost .It is meant for the Diaspora, where we can't truly fulfill ourselves , but where we can be appreciated as a 'pious people' and in that sense be a tikun and an elevation for the gentiles of the world - because, after all, we are part of the world, and our brocho and obligation as  the "Chosen Nation " is to be a 'Light to the World' .

We live in a time where misinformation and duplicity is becoming the default.For us, as religious jews,it is hard to accept that even 'Avrum/Avraham' twice used duplicity with regards his wife .He called her his 'sister' , both when they went to Egypt and when they lived amongst the Philistines (technically speaking , before the torah was given, marriage was only enforced when the two lived together, but obviously , this is still not what we expect from our holy patriarch).

The Netziv and my Rebbe (the Pachad Yitzchok) discuss the 'mockery' of the world at the time of Isaac's (Yitzchok) birth (Yitzchok -' tzchok' - laughter).Since she did not give birth till after being in the hands of Avimelech, even after living together for so many years (and Avraham still was old and looked old), they claimed that Isaac was illegitimate.

'Holy Matrimony' was really instituted by Sarah Imeinu.The chazal say that she commanded the angel to smite in the house of pharoah(and centuries later,in Egypt therefore,only one jewish girl was dishonored).The world needed to know that their zivvug (and in turn that of Isaac and Rivka) was from Heaven.So after Sara passed away , Avraham remarried and had many children.

(It may be that we can understand better Avraham's excuse כאאשר התעו , according to targum Onkelos --" when the nations of the world,went mistakenly after idol worship" - , in other words , the world of Avraham was a world of Misinformation.There was no other way to behave at that time)

The Netziv remarks that the sustenance of the jewish people (and ultimately of the world) is really from Divine intervention , but that is never clear, not to us, and for sure not to the peoples of the world.That reality is revealed only much later.

The Balfour Decleration is very much now in the news (as its Centennial was Nov 2).The prominent Jewish intellectual Arthur Koestler, repeating a frequent mantra, would call it “one the most improbable political documents of all time,” in which “one nation solemnly promised to a second nation the country of a third.”(taken from the Mosaic).

I had a special confusion which I think is astounding and worthy of being shared.The Malbim's commentary (written , I believe, about 50 years before), seems to predict the Decleration (Daniel 7 :25 - the date of the 'ketz'), except that he is off by 5 years! This bothered me very much,until, upon doing a little more research , I discovered that the Balfour Decleration had little real significance; it was legally impotent.It was only 5 years later , in 1922 when it was incorporated into the the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine, and served as the beginning of mass emigration to Israel (Palestine).

It is well known that the sage and tzaddik, the Chafetz Chaim quipped that it looked the pekida (being remembered by haShem), but he was afraid the irreligious (Zionists)would take it for themselves (which is ,of course, what happened).(By the way , if anyone doubts the reality of Divine Intervention , the whole thing , according to the Haarezt was preceded and made possible by a classic ,immoral  love triangle ).

Many will say ,perhaps justifiably, that being forced upon by an Imperial and haughty colonial power is what set the stage for the growing anti semitism in Palestine, and perhaps even the rise of Hitler,y'sh.And yet, most of the religious jews did not emigrate ,until forced to by events.

It would seem that the 'ketz' has had to be  'postponed' and transmuted.



Boy , am I embarrassed!

I thought through my observations on the Malbim; I'm accounting for 5 years difference in the wrong direction!

 1911   1912   תשׁעב  תשׁעג

 I thought to delete this page so i shouldn't be liable for 'disinformation', but I've invited many to read, and I beleive most of what I've written is worthy. Our sages actually taught us not to make computations. Others have said that we are so close, that it is permissible.

In that vein, looking at the Malbim's usage of 400 years and looking at a calculation (prediction) being discussed widely (mostly in gentile messianic sites) and remarkably true (till now) ascribed to Yehuda hachasid,maybe we can share thoughts (and prayers ) worthy to be written.

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Go to Yourself for Your 'Pleasure " לך לך להנאתך

The famous question asked

The commandment was to go for one's own pleasure - where is the 'Test'

 Actually , I've hinted at what I believe to be the most simple answer by changing the traditional translation ; not go for yourself , but go to yourself , realize yourself, be the person you were born to be.Go to the Holy Land, where you will be continually tested to bring out and actualize your internal faith and belief until you become a complete and true servant of the Creator and will thereby become a source of blessing to all of Mankind.

It is not an easy task to accept to be tested continually by the Creator directly.It is much more comfortable to live as he was till then , especailly when he was having success drawing people to his world view.We all have our 'Comfort Zone'.Avraham Aveinu's comfort zone, was admittedly much greater than ours, but fighting for one's belief in the Omnipotent One, is not the  same as living with awe and humility in the palace of the King of Kings.

I saw this Shabbos a concept in the Netziv which  I didn't appreciate so well till I thought about an incident this last week in McGill (of which similar incidents happen continually worldwide).

The Netziv  writes that the name which Avraham Aveinu merited - Abraham - the Father of  multitudes of Nations , rather than just Abram - the Father of Aram , is really a name just for us, the seed of Avraham to know.This is our purpose, our 'raison d'etre' , to be a holy Nation , a kingdom of Priests and to be thereby a blessing to all of Mankind.But outside of ourslves they can't really appreciate just Avrum - Teachers of G-dliness.

There was a whole turmoil in McGill this past week for 3 Jews thrown out of the student government General Assembly.The Bnei Brith gets invovled and others, and yes, there may be a general 'cleansing ' of some sort, but we become more prominent , and that brings out even more dormant hate.

Generally speaking , the flashpoints with our gentile neighbors is not with those trying to live a holy, torah observant  life , but with those much less so.

The Daf Yomi today (Sanhedrin 104) says something incredible - when we go into golus, we become Masters to our Masters.I saw an explanation that when a Yid lives in the Holy Land, where the personal hashgacha is much greater and direct, when he is punished , at least the punishment can be a cleansing.But when living in chutz l'aaretz,where there is an 'hastores panim' (the 'face' is hidden), then punishment is not necessarily a  'cleansing'.But if we become more distinguished, at least the bad can be a 'cleansing'.

May we merit speedily as a Nation to be a holy people in the Holy Land an thereby fulfill our purpose in creation.



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Nekudos on לנו ולבנינו ע

Not "yet" responsible one for the other

I thought to share a short machsheva I had on today's readings, as we enter the last week before Rosh haShana.Hopefully it will strengthen my own resolve to improve in this coming year , and perhaps some others too, who may perhaps read these few words.

הנסתרת ל׳שם א׳ והנגלת לנו ולבנינו עד   To me, the 11 nekudos read as a flag denoting , there is something else going on , not explicit.Stop; pay attention.Think.

The baale mussar talk about thinking , taking things to heart.This is the faculty which differentiates us from all of creation , and , so , obviously ,in order to sucessfully serve haShem, we need to try to truly understand the task before us.

I saw that the Maharal explains that nekudos - points , come to uproot the simple pshat. I am not sure, but maybe that is because a nekuda has no dimension, so it doesnèt really belong here.It is, so to speak, a pointer.I once heard from a great sage that the words of the Rabbis often sound very stange.That is because they really refer ( a pointer) to a higher sphere.There it is to be taken literally.

An  individual jew  by himself cannot serve serve the Ein Sof - one without end ;only as part of that Nation which accepts the Kingdom of heaven on earth.The Shunamis said to Elisha when he wanted to bless her with a miraculous birth -  bsoch ami anochi yosheves , I dwell amongst my people - donèt make me exceptional.

The bris (Covenant ) of Arvus is more than just a means to insure our fulfillment of the mitzvos; it means that our neshemos are mixed together (basically this is clear i the gemerra in sota which discusses the bris) . Knesses Yisrael, which transcends time and place is a  second edition of what Adom haRishon , created in the image of haShem, was to be before the Sin.

If Rosh hashana is the birthday  of Adom haRishon , then the only way for us to relate, to be reborn is to accept our role as part of Hs Holy People who proclaim His majesty at the beginning of the Year.

Those eleven nekudos which uproot the words we read, mean that , really ,it is - over there.That is where we are headed, ultimately and there is our fulfillment , even now, in an imperfect, fractured world.The Land of Israel is where we are responsible one for the other, not just because the  ;Mama land  unites, but because , there we as a  People find fulfillment. spiritually.The Chasam Sofer writes that  physical work done there , even if not the mitzvos of the Land, is holy.

A Yid cannot just live within his own little sphere and say, I am doing all that behooves me in my little world.

The Ribbono shel Olam wants us to think bigger , to recognize that there is bigger world out there to which we must attach.The chazal say that Adom was created as one so that we should say - The world was created for me -My repsonsibilities as a jew can sway universes.

Today , that means as part of klall Yisrael, knesset yisrael, whose ultimate destiny is over there.

Let us pray that this coming year we see Eliyahu hanavi and bias haMoshiach.Parents return to their chidren, children to their parents, and the world learns to give up the horrors of their war instruments and turn all that technology to blessing.

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Massive Event in honor of theYahrzeit of Tosfos Yom Tov : War Rumblings

On Vav Elul, August 28th, a massive event from the “Stop the Talking In Shul” organization was held in Ateres Avrohom Hall, commemorating the yahrtzeit of Rav Yom Tov Heller zt”l, the author of the Tosfos Yom Tov (a famous commentary on Mishnayos).

Rav Yom Tov Lipman Heller zt”l, lived during the times of Tach VeTat, the infamous Chelmenitzky massacres, r”l. These massacres caused terrible damage to Klal Yisroel, killing hundreds of thousands of Yidden. We can perhaps relate to these massacres, as akin to the Holocaust, which happened not so long ago.

We know that there is a reason for all Tzaros, and as Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz zt”l used to say, it is only Gedolei Torah and our Rebbeim that can interpret these events properly. When Tach VeTat happened (in the years 1648-1649, lemisparam), the Baal Tosfos Yom Tov realized the importance of interpreting this event properly. Based upon his own tzidkus, he was zoche to discover (some say with a shailas chalom, a question posed and answered in a dream) that the reason for this tragedy was due to showing a lack of respect to Batei Kenaisios and Batei Midrashos, including talking during davening (prayer) and Krias HaTorah (reading the Torah).

As a result of this revelation, the Tosfos Yom Tov composed a special Mi Shebairach that is still read in many Batei Keneses and Batei Midrash even nowadays.

(taken from the )

We know that many great gedolim ' lived with the parsha'; I thought to share a thought I had on learning the parsha, on the mitzva of 'שילוח חקן', 'sending away the bird.'

Perhaps a remez (sign ) that the mitzva has to do with the mitzvos and kedusha of shuls , is that we find those laws in shulchan aruch starting in  'סימן קן ', chapter 150, the numerical equivalent of nest.

The mitzva starts  ,'if we find a bird hovering over the egg or chick' .We find actually a very similar word in the In the narrative of Breishis -  'ורוח א מרחפת על המים ' - the spirit of Elok.., hovered over the waters, and Rashi says 'like a bird over it's nest'.The medrash says - the spirit of Moshiach.

We have all heard of the  'Big Bang' theory.Whatever can be the theory of the day, one who only knows nature, will say , Creation and all it's laws erupted into existence; everything afterwards just followed the mechanics inherent in nature.

This is not our emunah.The spirit of haShem was hovering over the waters actively guarding and guiding the universe towards its purpose and fulfillment.

The bird , hovering over its nest, is actively emulating that attribute of the Holy One.'The Ribono shel Olam gave over to man the whole world to conquer and use for its intended purpose and so to raise and bring back to its source.So, if we decide to take the egg, at least, we cannot take the mother which is acting to build and preserve the universe.

In medrash , we find the  'יונה ' , the dove, in particular compared to 'כנסת ישׂראל ', the Jewish people (which really means more than an assembly of its people , more the souls of all, in unity over time and place).We find the dove returned to Noach in the ark on the 7th day(and we sing about that occurence as we enjoy our shabbas meal).

The other  'building ' with which the dove is connected to would be the beis hamikdash , where it was brought as a sacrifice.

The beis hamkdash represents the ultimate era when the presence of haShem is here , recognized, "down on earth". so to speak .As we were sent into golus, Yirmiah taught us that the shuls will  be for us, a 'beis hamkdash m'at' - a small beis hamikdash.

The zohar is quoted to say that when we take the egg or chick , the mother cries out and this ultimately arouses in the Creator the middah of rachamim towards our People in golus.

As we end the year 'תשׂע״ז' and see ominous war clouds sorrounding Israel, and challenging our people's greatest champion amongst the nations, America, how much we need to treasure the few moments we have to speak and supplicate before the Ribono shel olam and to keep that 'mikdash miat' truly kodesh and dedicated to his hallowed Name.'

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The Eclipse and the 400 men of Eisav , Malchus b'Yisrael

We ,in Montreal, had 'only ' a partial eclipse for viewing(safely).For the gentiles around us, it was an 'event'; for ourselves, the  'event ' coincided almost exactly with our beginning of Yom Kippur Katan prayers. It seemed extremely appropriate as our relationship to a 'likuy' of the sun ,is to increase introspection and davening , and this is especially so for Yom Kippur Katan , for Ellul.

In my general readings about this  'predictable 'coinicidence' of an event, which we as Yidden , know that nothing is simply a 'coincidence',I was somewhat caught up on the number I saw in the 'Aish ' site and elsewhere,that  this 'coincidence' could never happen if not for the fact that the sun is 400 times further away than the moon , which is 400 times smaller that the sun.

In fact there are hundreds of moons in the solar system , and none of them effect such an eclipse on their 'mother planet'.

This made me think about the 400 men who came with Eisav whenwhen he went out to meet his brother Yaakov, which taught Yaakov , that he kept his hate alive in his heart^

We know there is a 'kabbalah '(brought down orally ) from the beis medrash of the Gaon from Vilna) that the last stop in our golus (which we know is called Golus 'Edom' ,ie 'Eisav') will be America.

What was special about this specific  'coincidence '^.It was the first full eclipse to take in all of America since its being founded as a nation (and only America).

Another eclipse, a lunar eclipse is also very connected with the beginnings of the Americas.The story is  of how Columbus was saved by a full lunar eclipse , when the natives lost patience helping his stranded crew, until (guided by the prediction..................................


On Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus came ashore on an island northeast of Cuba, which he later named San Salvador (Holy Savior). Over the next 10 years Columbus would make three more voyages to the "New World." On his fourth and final voyage, while exploring the coast of Central America, Columbus found himself in dire straits.

He left Cádiz, Spain, on May 11, 1502, with the ships Capitana, Gallega, Vizcaína and Santiago de Palos.Unfortunately, thanks to an epidemic of shipworms eating holes in the planking of his fleet, Columbus was forced to abandon two of his ships and finally had to beach his last two caravels on the north coast of an island now known as Jamaica, on June 25, 1503.

Initially, the native peoples (Arawak Indians) welcomed the castaways, providing them with food and shelter, but as the days dragged into weeks, tensions mounted. Finally, after being stranded for more than six months, half of Columbus' crew mutinied, robbing and murdering some of the Arawaks, who themselves had grown weary of supplying cassava, corn and fish in exchange for little tin whistles, trinkets, hawk's bells and other trashy goods. With famine now threatening, Columbus formulated a desperate, albeit ingenious plan. 

Almanac to the rescue

Coming to the admiral's rescue was Johannes Müller von Königsberg (1436-1476), known by his Latin pseudonym, Regiomontanus. He was a highly regarded German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer. Before his death, Regiomontanus published an almanac containing astronomical tables covering the years 1475-1506.

Regiomontanus'almanac turned out to be of great value, for his astronomical tables provided detailed information about the sun, moon and planets, as well as the more important stars and constellations to navigate by. After it was published, no sailor dared set out without a copy. With its help, explorers were able to leave their customary routes and venture out into the unknown seas in search of new frontiers.

Columbus, of course, had a copy of the almanac with him when he was stranded on Jamaica. And he soon discovered from studying its tables that on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, 1504, a total lunar eclipse would occur, beginning around the time of moonrise. 

Armed with this knowledge, three days before the eclipse, Columbus requested a meeting with the Arawak chief and informed him that his Christian god was very angry with his people for no longer supplying him and his men with food. Therefore, he was about to provide a clear sign of his displeasure:  Three nights hence, he would all but obliterate the rising full moon, making it appear "inflamed with wrath," which would signify the evils that would soon be inflicted upon all of them.

Bad moon rising!

On the appointed evening, as the sun set in the west and the moon started emerging from beyond the eastern horizon, it was plainly obvious to all that something was terribly wrong. By the time the moon appeared in full view, a small but noticeable dark scallop had been removed from its lower edge. [How lunar eclipses work (Infographic)]

And, just over an hour later, as evening twilight ended and full darkness descended, the moon indeed exhibited an eerily inflamed and "bloody" appearance: In place of the normally brilliant late winter full moon there now hung a dim red ball in the eastern sky. 

According to Columbus' son, Ferdinand, the Arawaks were terrified at this sight and "with great howling and lamentation came running from every direction to the ships laden with provisions and beseeching the admiral to intercede with his god on their behalf." They promised that they would happily cooperate with Columbus and his men if only he would restore the moon back to its normal self. The great explorer told the natives that he would have to retire to confer privately with his god. He then shut himself in his cabin for about 50 minutes. 

While in his quarters, Columbus turned an hourglass every half hour to time the various stages of the eclipse based on the calculations provided by Regiomontanus' almanac.

Just moments before the end of the total phase Columbus reappeared, announcing to the Arawaks that his god had pardoned them and would now allow the moon to gradually return. And at that moment, true to Columbus' word, the moon slowly began to reappear, and as it emerged from the Earth's shadow, the grateful Arawaks hurried away. They then kept Columbus and his men well supplied and well fed until a relief caravel from Hispaniola arrived on June 29, 1504. Columbus and his men returned to Spain on Nov. 7.

(as taken from


Of course , there is all kind of talk that Regiomontanus was a Yid (and Columbus a Marrano) ; maybe, but what is more interesting to me, is what a difference to history if Columbus did not return ! As we all know Columbus set out on his 'mission ' , 'coincidentally , when the Spanish exiled the Yidden form Spain (on the 9th day of Av, 'coincidentally ')- the Refuah before the Makkah (Hashem prepares the medicine before the punishment).

Last week we saw a terrible divisiveness in America, and we saw a president ,unable to lay blame .

Chazal say "Why is Eisav compared to 'chazir' , because it will ultimately return ('chozer") Malchus to Yisrael.Many were hoping that this would be the job of this president, but a chazir has another sign - it's  signs of kashrus are only on the outside, but inside , a chazir is still treif.

I am not very qualified to write , but from the little I've seen , din, the middah of Eisav , divisiveness, has to do with the number 2: 2x2 = 4 10x10 = 100.The 400 men of Eisav.And when Yaakov realized that Eisav was coming with 400 men , he prepared by dividing his camp -- as the middah of Eisav is divisiveness.As Yaakov had told Rachel years earlier, he would fight the bad with their own middos.

We all know the medrash how ,originally the two 'kings ' the sun and moon were equal.The moon complained to haShem , who said to the moon to make itself small.We saw the moon  at the eclipse reassert itself for a fleeting few moments.But malchus Dovid is compared to the moon , which comes , wanes and returns.but our real glory is to reflect the light of haShem , as we make ourselves small,not necesseraily the blinding light of the external world (such as that of the 'Startup Nation').

I don't believe it is for naught that we lained this week about the mitzva of appointing a a king.In fact for those hwo have a custome to learn a portion of the parsha every day , the eclipse happened on the day of that reading.

Dovid haMelch's 'Malchus' is compared to the moon which wanes, disappears  and then regrows.The Seforim say 'les leh m'gromeh clum' - nothing from himself; all reflected light, the quiet inner light of revelation.

I was thinking that on the simplest plane we could take a limud from this eclipse erev rosh chodesh Ellul, that we are not bound by fate. If the Chazal talk about a 'bad omen' it does not need to be the reaction of those Indians of Columbus.If all is pre ordained mathematicaly ,that is also a 'bad omen' because then there is no 'avodah ', service of haShem.The possuk says in Mishley  'ein kol chodesh tachas hashemesh ' , but Rashi commnets that 'above the shemesh , there is new.'For us , going into the New Year , this should be a sign  to remember what was said to Avraham 'Go out from your astrology', we can serve haShem directly.Ultimately all reflects our avodah.

This week's parsha deals with setting up courts guided by judges who are not afraid to speak the truth, and the appointment of a King who is guided only by our holy torah.The Rambam says the torah was given to us to bring peace to this world.

Never in history has mankind been in such danger as it is today , to, chas v'sholom , obliterate itself.

As this year ends ,let us pray for bias haMoshiach quickly in our day!






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