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Sunday, November 01, 2009

TLATD #2: The Fantastic Tales of Rabbah bar bar Chanah

Daf Yomi this week discusses the Fantastic Tales of Rabbah bar bar Chanah, twenty or so stories that Rabbah heard or witnessed that are just so unbelievable it’s obvious they are allegories.

In one tale, Rabbah witnesses a giant frog, the size of “sixty houses” swallowed by a sea-monster which is in turn swallowed by a giant raven. The raven lands on a massive tree. Rabbah exclaims “come, see how strong that tree was!” Rav Pappa remarks that if he hadn’t been there he never would have believed it!

The Gra explains (see "The Juggler and the King" for a detailed discussion of the Gra's explanations) how the frog is symbolic of the Torah Scholars (who make noise day and night studying Torah.) The sea-monster is the evil
inclination which can doom the scholar. The raven, a bird that abandons her young to the good will of Heaven, symbolizes the solution to defeating the evil inclination sea-monster. Put all your faith in Hashem.

The tree symbolizes all those that support Torah. In Babylonia, where Rav Pappa was from, the people did not support torah learning as much as the Jews of Eretz Yisrael did. In was only after Rav Pappa came to Eretz Yisrael that he saw the incredible philanthropic acts of the people of the Land of Israel. If Rav Pappa hadn’t seen it with his own eyes he wouldn’t have believed it.

The truth is, the hand of Hashem is much more visible here in Eretz Yisrael. The entire survival of the State of Israel is completely dependent on each year’s rainfall. In short faith is a little bit easier to come by here and it’s this faith that leads to so many acts of kindness people living far away from Israel would have to come and see to believe.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Bibliography: Aliyah and Geula

From Rivkah Lambert Adler:

A few weeks ago, I was looking for books about the connection between aliyah and geula. I went into a few local Jewish bookstores with some specific titles in mind and was disappointed to find that, for the most part, they didn't stock what I was looking for. So now my vision is to encourage the local Jewish bookstores to arrange a special section with a selection of titles about aliyah, Eretz Yisrael, Moshiach and geula. Can you imagine what an impact it could have on our community if these kinds of books were prominently displayed in our local Jewish bookstores?

In order to move this vision forward, I put together a bibliography. I prepared a version, with pictures of the covers, in Word. I'm only too happy to send it to you by request, but it's a large file so I didn't want to attach it here. You've certainly heard of some of these titles and probably already own a few. Please let me know if there are others I've missed.

Now I'm asking those of you who still live in Baltimore to go into the local Jewish bookstores and ask for (and buy! and read!) some of these titles. (Those of you who read my blog will surely recognize that this effort is part of my shlichut ;-)

Inspiration for Aliyah, Eretz Yisrael and Geula: An Annotated Bibliography
Prepared by Rivkah Lambert Adler, Coordinator, Baltimore Chug Aliyah
February 2008

Aliyah Stories

Moving Up: An Aliyah Journal
by Laura Ben-David
Mazo Publishers
Moving Up is an easy-to-read, daily account of a family's first year in Israel, from the packing up of their American house to the birth of their first child in Israel a year later.

To Dwell In The Palace: Perspectives on Eretz Yisroel
by Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein
Feldheim Publishers
A thought-provoking collection of articles, addressed to religious Jews in the West concerning the mitzvah of aliyah. I first read To Dwell in the Palace when it was published in 1991 and I was still firmly enmeshed in my Diaspora Judaism. I've reread it many times since then, and it retains its power to move the soul. Do not miss the section called, "Things My Shaliach Never Told Me."

Aliya: Three Generations of American-Jewish Immigration to Israel
by Liel Leibovitz
St. Martin's Griffin
The 2,000 year-old yearning to live in Israel, as expressed in the social history of one Jewish family.

Home to Stay: One American Family's Chronicle of Miracles and Struggles in Contemporary Israel
by Daniel Gordis
Three Rivers Press
The paperback version of If a Place Can Make You Cry, the story of Daniel Gordis and his family's decision to make aliyah after a sabbatical year spent in Jerusalem.

Aliyah and Eretz Yisrael

Eretz Yisrael in the Parashah: The Centrality of the Land of Israel in the Torah
by Moshe D. Lichtman
Devora Publishing
Why do so many Jews still choose to live in the Diaspora? To answer this question, the author analyzes every reference to Eretz Yisrael in the 54 Torah portions, demonstrates the overriding importance of Eretz Yisrael and encourages Diaspora Jews to at least consider making aliyah.

Talking About Eretz Yisrael: The Profound And Essential Meaning Of Making Aliyah
by Rabbi Pinchas Winston
ShaarNun Productions
This book is a forthright argument meant to encourage Torah-observant Jews to urgently consider making aliyah today.

Torat Eretz Yisrael: The Teachings of HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook (Lights on OROT)
by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman
Torat Eretz Yisrael Publications
The rabbinic name most associated with Religious Zionism is HaRav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, better known as Rav Kook, who lived and taught in pre-State Palestine. This book is an accessible English commentary on Rav Kook's teachings about Eretz Yisrael.

Eim Habanim Semeichah: On Eretz Yisrael, Redemption, and Unity
by Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal
Urim Publications
Rabbi Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal was an Eastern European scholar living during the Holocaust. While hiding from the Nazis in Budapest in 1943, he wrote this lengthy argument on behalf of the establishment of Jewish dominion over Israel, a position that he had previously opposed.

A Question of Redemption: Can the Modern State of Israel be the Beginning of Redemption? Questions and Answers in Halachah
by Rabbi Ya'akov Moshe Bergman
Kol Mevaser
Can the State of Israel really be "The First Flowering of our Redemption"? This book presents the Religious Zionist viewpoint of the State of Israel and the ultimate redemption.

Moshiach and Geula

The Ishmaelite Exile
by Yechiel Weitzman
Jerusalem Publications/ Feldheim
This book focuses on Jewish prophecies as they relate to the difficult events facing Israel and the Jewish people in the days closest to geula. The author argues that everything that is playing out in today's headlines about the conflict in the Middle East was predicted by Jewish texts long ago.

Talking About The End of Days: View of Our Times Based on Revealed and Inner Teachings of Torah
by Rabbi Pinchas Winston
ShaarNun Productions
A guide to better understanding the stage of Jewish history in which we find ourselves.

Redemption Unfolding: The Last Exile of Israel, Chevlei Mashiach, the War of Gog & Magog and the Final Redemption
Feldheim Publications
This book will help you understand current world events in their larger, Torah context.

Secrets of the Redemption
Feldheim Publications
by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzatto
A translation and commentary on the Ramchal's (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto) sefer Ma'amar HaGeula. For advanced students of Jewish texts.

As A New Day Breaks: A Contemporary View Of Mashiach And Israel's Redemption
by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger
Sichos in English/E.M.E.T

Sound the Great Shofar: Essays on the Imminence of the Redemption
by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger
Sichos in English
Based on the public addresses given by Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, this book offers answers to many of today's most frequently asked questions on the subject of geula.

Living With Moshiach: An Anthology of Brief Homilies and Insights on the Weekly Torah Readings and the Festivals (Paperback)
by Jacob Immanuel Schochet
Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch
Observations on the redemption by parsha.

On Eagle's Wings: Moshiach, Redemption, And The World To Come
by Rabbi Herschel Brand
Feldheim Publishers
Awaiting the Moshiach is one of the underpinnings of Jewish belief, one of

Maimonides's Thirteen Principles of Faith. The author gathers together the teachings of the Sages on this subject in an illuminating and thought-provoking question-and-answer format.

Mashiach:The Principle of Mashiach and the Messianic Era in Jewish Law and Tradition
by Jacob I Schochet
Sichos in English

Mashiach: Who? What? Why? How? Where? and When?
by Chaim Kramer
Based on teachings about Mashiach in the Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Kabbalah, together with insights from the writings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov.

Rivkah Lambert Adler

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

EHS: Rav Sonnenfeld: Don't be a Spy!


Eim Habanim Semeichah - Page 506:

I also saw in Eileh Mas'ei an idea which the righteous mentor of Eretz Yisrael, R. Sonnenfeld, used to say [on the verse] And you shall see the goodness of Jerusalem (Tehillim 128:5): One must always see only the good of Eretz Yisrael, that is, the positive sides of Jerusalem. One must be careful not to be a "spy," G-d forbid. The spies were punished because they slandered Eretz Yisrael at a time when there were no Jews there; how much more so now, when there are many Jews in the Land.

Praise to my beloved friend, the young and exceptionally sharp scholar, the magnate, our master, R. Eliezer Sussman shlita, the son of our brilliant and righteous master, R. Efrayim Fischel Sofer z"l, rabbi and av beit din of [Budapest]. He copied for me parts of a manuscript of his father's eulogy for our brilliant mentor, R. Yosef Chayim Sonnenfeld:

Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, and who will bemoan you, O beloved Land! He never cursed anyone, under any circumstances. He was distressed more than anyone else about those who came and defiled the Land by desecrating the holy Sabbath, eating forbidden foods, and eating leavened bread on Pesach. He invoked merit upon these lost souls, saying, "The Land which they work with such great devotion will bring them back to the proper path and purify their hearts."

He would rebuke anyone who even slightly slandered the residents of the Holy City. He once told me that the Shulchan Aruch states that righteous people fast on the seventeenth of Elul because of the spies, who spread the evil report about the Land died on that day. The Magen Avraham asks, does it not say, When the wicked perish, there is jubilation (Mishley 11:10)? The Shelah answers that the spies were righteous men (tzaddikim.) Thus, even tzaddikim can be spies!

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

4 Great Books for Prospective Olim

Dear Yishai,

Yasher koach on your activities and shows. Are there any books you can reccomend on aliyah?



Dear Allan,


Eim Habanim Semeichah: On Eretz Yisrael, Redemption, and Unity
This is the bible for why to make Aliyah from a Jewish perspective.

To Dwell in the Palace: Perspectives on Eretz Yisroel
This book showcases the life of new Olim and the joys of Aliyah

Torat Eretz Yisrael - The Teachings of HaRav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook
Fundemental perspectives on Israel

Moving Up: An Aliyah Journal
A new book about the Aliyah experience - I have not read it but it has rave reviews.

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