Most Popular Articles

  • CoronaVirus or What Is G-d Trying To Tell Us?

    As you know more and more countries get infected with CoronaVirus and it is not slowing down. The World Health Organization has officially named this virus as Covid-19. Why did they choose this name?

    The Sages tell us that parents become prophets when they choose a name for their child, since they name the child with the name G-d wants him to have. I believe same thing happened here, the World Health Organization has chosen a name that G-d wants, since He is trying to tell us something.

    But what exactly is He trying to tell us?

    Covid-19 is written in Hebrew as: 19–כוביד starts with letters כו - Kaf & Vav that has a Gematria or a numerical value of 26, as in the Tetragrammaton - YHVH, and the word ends with יד - Yud & Dalet or word Yad which means Hand - with a numerical value of 14. Together both words mean: the Hand of G-d. In the middle there's letter ב - Bet that has a numerical value of 2. So, if we add all these values together 26+14+2=42 it represents a powerful Kabbalistic 42 letter name of G-d.

    In Exodus 8:12–15, we have a similar reference, but to a finger of G-d: "And the Lord said to Moshe, Say to Aharon, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may turn into lice throughout all the land of Mizrayim. And they did so; for Aharon stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Mizrayim. And the magicians did so with their secret arts to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice on man and beast.  Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of G-d: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them; as the Lord had said." 

    Back then, G-d has showed His Might to Pharaoh and whole of Egypt. But during this process Pharaoh hardened his heart every time and at the end he lost it all.

    I believe this time, G-d is showing His Might to the whole world and it is not pretty

    But what should we do? There's only one way to stop it, and it is a Teshuvah - to return to G-d, to keep Shabbat, Torah laws,  learn the laws of slandering and to make G-d - our Master and the driving force of our life instead of wealth and comfortable lifestyle. The nation of Israel must embrace and keep their end of the bargain - we must follow what we have promised when we accepted the Torah at the Mount of Sinai. 

    Same thing goes for the non-Jews, who have their own set of laws to keep.

    These are the times of the Moshiach and G-d will do everything to bring the end of days events and prophecies to happen whether we are ready for them or not. 

    DO NOT Harden Your Heart, a lot is at stake and we are all in this together.

    The destruction of Egypt happened with The Finger of G-d, imagine what may happen to our World from the blow of The Hand of G-d...?!??... Let's work together, do our parts and make this World a better place for all of the Humanity. 

    ------
    Here are the latest news from around the world where Covid-19/CoronaVirus is found.

    Shmuel Katanov

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  • Modesty or The Holy Scroll

    Modesty or Tzeniut... When one hears either one of these words, the first thing that usually comes to one’s mind is: Oh come on! Do I really have to wear all that? It is so hot outside, I feel so layered up, like an onion... There are lots of excuses one can come up with, but allow me to show you the outcome of either of the choices one decides to make.

    I looked up the word Modesty in the dictionary and this is what I have found: Modesty, is a mode of dress which intends to avoid the encouraging of sexual attraction in others. The word "modesty" comes from the Latin word modestus which means "keeping within measure". 

    The word Tzniut means: it describes both the character trait of modesty and discretion, as well as a group of Jewish laws pertaining to conduct. In modern times, the term has become more frequently used with regard to the rules of dress for women within Judaism.

    The Sages say, if woman keeps the laws of modesty as a reward she will merit to marry a Cohen and have Cohanim Gedolim come from her, she will have children that may be Jewish judges, sages, scholars, and righteous people and so much more and all of this just by being modest.

    But what is it about modesty that so much can be gained from it?

    In the book called Power Points by Rabbi Ephraim Nissenbaum, there's a story in Parashat Nasso, of a young woman that became observant and was bothered that Jews made a lavish Bar Mitzvahs for boys, while for girls - the Bat Mitzvah passes unnoticed.

    So she asked her Rav. To which he replied, "The Vilna Gaon says that tzeniut or modesty is to a woman what Torah study is to a man, meaning it is her vehicle for spiritual growth. When a boy becomes 13 years old, he is counted as part of the minyan and is being called to the Torah. These are public events and the celebration is therefore public as well.

    When a girl reaches bat mitzvah, her defining moment is marked by an image of royalty through modesty. So with this spirit of modesty, her celebration is less public and more reserved."

    An image of royalty - this is a great way of looking at it, but I believe there are could be more to it.

    The Sages compare a woman to a Sefer Torah scroll. Since the Sefer Torah is holy and valuable, we dress it beautifully and hide it in a safe box or the Aron. And not only that, if any of the letters in the scroll are missing or broken, the whole scroll becomes invalid or not kosher.

    But what is the scroll made out of? It is made of the skin of a kosher animal - klaf and the sofer - the person who writes it, writes it in holiness and while meditating on the names of G-d.

    In the Midrash Tanchuma, Bereshit 1 it says: How was the Torah written? It was written with letters of black fire on a surface of white fire or black ink against the white parchment. 

    The black fire on white fire, I believe there are could be more to it.

    We can literally compare them to a married couple - a woman as white fire and man as a black fire.

    Just like in the Torah, if the letter is broken or fallen from its original place, the scroll becomes invalid, so is the woman, if she is dressed immodestly not according to the Jewish law, that makes her lose that energy or her white fire.

    But, what is this energy or the white fire?

    In Bereshit 2:24 it says: "עַל־כֵּן֙ יַֽעֲזָב־אִ֔ישׁ אֶת־אָבִ֖יו וְאֶת־אִמּ֑וֹ וְדָבַ֣ק בְּאִשְׁתּ֔וֹ וְהָי֖וּ לְבָשָׂ֥ר אֶחָֽד׃ - Hence a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, so that they become one flesh." What happens when the two of them become one flesh? Once the man and the woman are united in holy act when allowed according to the Jewish law, this is when they combine their energies or their fires - black fire and the white fire, and this is when the Presence of Hashem comes and lives in their home, thus helping them grow in their holiness.

    When woman dresses immodestly, she is letting her energy or her white fire to drip out, which causes her to lose her holiness. This causes the couple to get distracted from serving Hashem and their goals switch from spiritual to physical, but this is not the only loss. This distraction causes all the members of the family to weaken from serving G-d  and makes them slowly move further and further away from Him. Since when she is together with her husband, he cannot cling to her, and they cannot become one flesh - thus they lose out in this world and the next. This is when the issues of Shalom Bayit and other problems arise.

    When woman keeps the laws of Modesty, she becomes a holy parchment - the white fire, a man becomes the black fire or the black ink, when they are together in the holy act, the couple becomes a Holy Letter of the Torah - with their children around them as crowns on that letter written on the holy parchment

    As the families all around the world strengthen in their modesty, they slowly grow in their holiness, Hashem handpicks them to be part of his own Sefer Torah - The Living and Breathing Sefer Torah. These holy couples, keep the laws of modesty and the laws of Torah - either from birth, or by returning to their roots later on in their lives, thus they become part of the Holy Scroll of Hashem. And if little is revealed by the woman in immodest way, that letter loses its place in the Holy Scroll of Hashem, but not only the woman looses its place - the whole family is affected by it as well.

    In the Megilat Ruth 2:5 says, "וַיֹּ֤אמֶר בֹּ֙עַז֙ לְנַעֲר֔וֹ הַנִּצָּ֖ב עַל־הַקּֽוֹצְרִ֑ים לְמִ֖י הַנַּעֲרָ֥ה הַזֹּֽאת׃ - Boaz said to the servant who was in charge of the reapers: Whose girl is that? Rashi explains, To whom does this maiden belong. What did Boaz see in Ruth? He saw her modest and wise behavior, how she was picking up the stalks of wheat in order not to bend over and did it in modest way by sitting."

    This act alone, led to her marriage with Boaz - thus paving the way to a royal lineage to come from her - King David, King Shlomo and long awaited Mashiach himself, and all of this because of her modesty.

    But let's look at this from yet another angle. 

    It is written in the Torah, "The Israelites journeyed from Raamses to Succoth, about 600,000 men on foot, aside from children." (Shemot 12:37) They all traveled with their wives and children, and as it says in the Masechet Sotah 11B, "Rav Avira taught: In the merit of the righteous women that were in that generation, the Jewish people were redeemed from Egypt."

    Also, the word "ישראל - Israel" can be read as an acronym for "Yesh Shishim Ribo Otiot LaTorah", meaning: "There are 600,000 letters in the Torah." Therefore, nation of Israel did not leave Egypt until there were 600,000 holy couples that were included in Hashem's Sefer Torah.

    So, if the problems come into this world, we have probably fallen from our minimum count of 600,000 families or letters in Hashem's Sefer Torah for modesty - if we improve on this collectively - this can be the answer to solve the current problems the world faces today.

    And as we bring up the numbers to 600,000+ families, this will increase our chances of bringing the redemption closer and finally meeting Mashiach in the near future.

    Shmuel Katanov

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  • Why should I keep Shabbat?

    Shabbat or Shabbos... we heard it so many times, some heard it since birth if they were born into religious home, while others heard it from a friend, on a lecture or read an article about it later on in their life. This is the only question that is being asked most of the time, whether one observes Sabbath... when one is about to be hired, looking for a shidduch or some other important matter, but what is it? Why such importance is placed on this one day of the week? There are books and books written on this subject and if you search the Internet, there are literally thousands of lectures on importance of keeping Shabbat and its laws. So let's look into it closely, maybe we can understand it better...

    The first time we see the mention of Shabbat is when Moshe Rabbeinu received the Ten Commandments. G-d said: "Remember Shabbat day and keep it Holy". 

    So, what Shabbat is all about?

    A person is not allowed to do the 39 melachot or types of work on Shabbat, according to the Mishkan's activities with which they are associated.

    The commandment of Shabbat is a sign between us and Hashem for generations to come, when one day of the week we unplug ourselves from mundane, and plug ourselves or shall I say flood our life with holy energy of Shabbat for one day of the week that lasts until the next week Shabbat comes around. 

    But I believe there's more to it, so please allow me to offer my explanation.

    When woman lights the Shabbat candles, the Shabbat starts. Men go to shule for prayers, the table is set and everyone is in great mood. This is when the table is set with beautiful tablecloth, and set with fine silverware. The feeling of holiness is in the air. The food is extra delicious, there are more dishes taken out and in overall it feels extra special. Kids are sitting around the table, everyone singing, talking the words of Torah and simply enjoying each other's company. There's a feeling of harmony, and oneness in the family, love and comradery. This is the time when the family bonds and the ties of love between all the members of the family become stronger.

    Suddenly, one member of the family gets up from the table and sits on the sofa, reaches out for the remote control and turns on the TV...and BOOM - all the magic suddenly disappears, the harsh reality of mundane sets in, the voices of the people sitting at the table become louder and louder, the situation switches from the holy to everyday and the feeling of holiness and harmony of Shabbat is no longer there.

    This is how Shabbat is broken. The Holy Books bring some of the harshest punishments to the one that breaks Shabbat, but why go to such extremity? Why is G-d so harsh with the one that breaks Shabbat?

    To answer the question above, we need to look into one incident in the Torah, and hopefully we will be able to look at this with different set of eyes.

    In Sefer Bereshit, G-d created Heaven and Earth, then He created animals, trees, birds, man and everything else to support His creation in the livable conditions, after each day or work He said that - It Was Good - and indeed it was. Everything was simply beautiful, the sky with the birds flying around singing and enjoying life, the land with its animals and greenery, oceans with its creatures and above all there are were Adam with his wife Chava - everything in the Garden of Eden was in harmony and was simply beautiful.

    Suddenly, the Snake comes over to Chava and while Adam was not around, talks her into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, which she does and then she makes Adam to do the same. And for this, everyone involved were punished. G-d cursed Adam, Chava and a Snake with the harshest curses for breaking His word.

    Since Adam and Chava ate from the Tree of Knowledge, their view of the world has changed in an instant. But more then that, something else has been changed or shall I say got broken. The efforts that G-d put in to create that perfect world that can coexist with its flora and fauna - its harmony and its magic was broken, evaporated, gone and simply faded.

    Murder, rivalry, death, hardships, competition, diseases and more were introduced into the world. We are plagued by this till today and the whole world suffers. Turn on any media outlet and the negative news floods the minds of millions of people daily trying to sway them from spiritual truth and pursuits, we drowning in the lies and it seems that there's no way out. Go out into any social setting, and you'll see lies, slander, murder, and anything bad you can think of is done either openly or stealthily.

    But I believe there's more to the curse of the snake. In Bereshit 3:14 it says: "Then the LORD G-d said to the serpent, Because you did this, More cursed shall you be Than all cattle And all the wild beasts: On your belly shall you crawl And dirt shall you eat All the days of your life."

    In the beginning it may seem that the snake hasn't lost much, but the Sages say the real curse was that snake was walking like a human being in an upright position, but after the curse he has lost his limbs, thus had to crawl on its belly and eat the dust, which is plenty and all around him. He also lost the ability to pray or be heard by G-d, this ability has been taken away from him no matter the situation he may be in.

    When person breaks Shabbat, he breaks the harmony of that day, he breaks the flow of the holy energy, he breaks the ancient creation, and draws more of that negative energy into this world, thus continuing the work of the snake. That is why Masechat Chulin 5A says, that he deliberately takes himself out of the covenant and sets himself apart from the nation - where he is considered to be like a non Jew. By breaking Shabbat, it opens the door to more transgressions, at which point they are committed without a second thought.

    I believe we can even go further and say, that just like the snake lost his limbs, so is the person's spiritual limbs on his neshama atrophies so he can't experience the spiritual, and he pursues physical pleasures in this world. He may enjoy wealth and positions in this world since they become more available and abundant to him, because they become easier to acquire than spiritual items which require functional limbs, but he also loses the opportunity to have a relationship with G-d, and gets paid for any of the outstanding merits and good he may have done over the years in this world to enjoy his life, until he is ready to part with this world.

    When a Jew dies, it is said in the Holy Books, that so and so is joined to his nation, his neshama is joined with his parents, grandparents and so on all the way to the forefathers, but not so with the one that breaks the Shabbat, he is not joined to his nation and his soul goes to a different place not where all the Jews are going, the cleansing process of the soul is longer, and when the time of resurrection comes, he won’t be joining his nation, since he is not part of the Jewish nation and his soul is lost forever.

    By breaking Shabbat we are breaking away from our people, thus making ourselves an outsider not only to the religion, but to the G-d, to the nation, to the future redemption and vulnerable to the outside events and turmoil of the everyday life.

    Our passed on parents, grandparents and the ones before them all the way to our forefathers are praying that we will make the right choice and embrace the covenant so we stay together after our passing as a nation.

    The Sages say that this world is like a hallway before the Grand Ballroom. In order to get to the main room we need to pass through the hallway, make ourselves look presentable - by toiling in Torah and mitzvot - in order not to be ashamed in front of others that have passed before us, and not to shame our relatives because we lack in front of others present in the ballroom.

    But, what should we do, if Shabbat was not on our To Do list as a major and important item? Start today, and keep some of it or all of it, and you will see how your life will change. Make an opening in your heart and let G-d enter and fill your heart, and let the blessings overflow into every area of your life. And when you do that, that's when your spiritual limbs will heal and get stronger and you will be able to easily grow and prosper in the spiritual domain. As it is says in the Devarim 4:4 "וְאַתֶּם֙ הַדְּבֵקִ֔ים בַּיהוָ֖ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶ֑ם חַיִּ֥ים כֻּלְּכֶ֖ם הַיּֽוֹם׃ - While you, who held tight to the LORD your G-d, are all alive Today." With the turmoil that's going on in the world today, you can hold tight, only if your spiritual limbs are intact and strong.

    So, why should we keep Shabbat? Because life is full of vanities as was told by Shlomo HaMelech, it is full of things that make noise but have no base and no real value. Loyalty to G-d, and to the generations of the past, and loyalty to your own nation - this is something worth living for, everything else is just a fading noise which is not worth pursuing.

    Shmuel Katanov

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Most Popular

  • CoronaVirus or What Is G-d Trying To Tell Us?
    As you know more and more countries get infected with CoronaVirus and it is not slowing down. The World Health Organization has...
  • Modesty or The Holy Scroll
    Modesty or Tzeniut... When one hears either one of these words, the first thing that usually comes to one’s mind is: Oh...
  • Why should I keep Shabbat?
    Shabbat or Shabbos... we heard it so many times, some heard it since birth if they were born into religious home, while others...
  • The Wisdom of the Jewish Sage
    It's very puzzling how it all played out. The nation of Israel was three days away from the Land of Israel - just go in, and...
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