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Israel map throughout history

Europe-according-to-Russia-2010

Europe-according-to-Germany-2010

Source: WEForum.org http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/01/the-map-that-will-change-how-you-see-the-world/?utm_content=buffer41f2d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Source: WEForum.org

The map of the world shows each country's major export. Source: BofA

The map of the world shows each country’s major export. Source: BofA

America according to Common Sense 2011 It's called a stereotype for a reason...

America according to Common Sense 2011
It’s called a stereotype for a reason…

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Leaving Mitzrayim and its Spiritual Realm

by Rabbi Pinchas Winston http://www.torah.org/learning/perceptions/5770/bo.html
At the end of the 430 years, on precisely that day, all the hosts of God went out from Egypt. (Shemos 12:41)

LEAVING MITZRAYIM IS NOT EASY. Indeed, it is far easier to leave Egypt than it is to leave Mitzrayim. Jews have come to and gone from Egypt for thousands of years now, but they have barely left Mitzrayim, if at all. In fact, every day of our lives we are trying to do exactly that, whether we are aware of it or not.

You thought they were the same place? Once they were, in Moshe Rabbeinu’s time. However, though Egypt has stayed where it was since that time, Mitzrayim has moved around and spread out. Now, it is possible to be as far away from North Africa as America, and still be in Mitzrayim, in a big way.

This is because Mitzrayim is a spiritual reality, while Egypt is a physical one, and though they can overlap, they don’t have to. For, though Egypt is defined by its geographical borders, Mitzrayim is defined by conceptual borders, and if you don’t know what they are, then you can “live” there and not even know it. And, to live there and not know it is to be stuck there.

This is why the Haggadah tells us each year to look at ourselves as if we too left Mitzrayim, because that is what we must do. Therefore, the Haggadah is really telling us to make a point of understanding what Mitzrayim is, so that we can recognize it for what it is, and escape it. Amazingly, so few Jews do, and as a result, so few Jews have.

Where to start? Well, to understand Pharaoh, the king of Mitzrayim as well as of Egypt that time, is to understand Mitzrayim. In very general terms, he was the bad guy. But, there have many types of bad guys throughout history, and we need to know precisely what kind he was, in order to know what we are trying to leave behind.

The following line from last week’s parshah is a good start:

Pharaoh said, “Who is God, that I should obey him and let the Jewish people go? I do not know God, nor will I let the Jewish people go.” (Shemos 5:2)Now, from the above statement, one might assume that Pharaoh was unaware of God. However, as Rashi points out at the beginning of the parshah, that was not so, since Pharaoh specifically chose to drown the Jewish children to avoid Divine punishment, knowing that God punishes measure-formeasure, and that He promised never to bring a Flood again after the one He used to destroy just about all of mankind. Had Pharaoh just been playing a game with Moshe Rabbeinu?

No. As the commentators point out, though Pharaoh was aware of God, he was only aware of a certain aspect of God, which we call Elokim. This is the level of Divine revelation that is responsible for the creation of the entire world, and the day-to-day running of it, but in such a way as to give rise to the notion of something called “nature,” or consistent miracle, giving mankind the impression that there is a reliable order to everyday life.

In fact, so reliable that, in general, the weak fall prey to the strong, and the pure are victimized by the impure. Indeed, it is a world in which you can cheat and get away with it, at least for a while, and in some cases, a long while. People always have. People still do, causing many throughout history to ask the question: Why do bad things happen to good people, and good things to bad people?

The trick is, as Pharaoh learned from Noach’s generation, is to get out of the game while you are still ahead. It is possible, Pharaoh assumed, to play poker with Elokim. After all, there probably had been plenty of people who had lived freely, dying happily before the Flood ever came. And, had the rest of the people of Noach’s time simply heeded the warnings and done teshuvah before the Flood began, then they also would have had their cakes and eaten them too.

It’s like living in the path of a glacier. There is no question that doing so can be dangerous, but naturally-speaking, it takes a certain amount of time for a glacier to descend down a mountain, something that can be calculated. As long as nature is allowed to run its course unabetted, and the townspeople move in time, then danger can be avoided.

Likewise, Pharaoh gambled, since Elokim works, naturally-speaking, measure-for measure, and naturally-speaking, water was no longer an option for punishing him, then, naturally-speaking, he had time before God could find another way, naturally-speaking, to take revenge against him for his evil and genocidal behavior.

Moshe Rabbeinu was sent to Pharaoh to inform him that, though he may have been right until now, history demanded that another, higher level aspect of God enter the picture at that time:

Therefore, the wicked shall not be vindicated in judgment, nor the sinful in the assembly of the righteous. For, God attends the way of the righteous, while the way of the wicked will perish. (Tehillim 1:5)It’s not that God, appearing as Hovayah, was going to break His own rules for Creation. It was that God, as Hovayah, was about to take advantage of rules built into Creation, mentioned right there in the fine print, that allow Him to overturn the natural order of Creation to expedite important historical events, such as the exodus from Mitzrayim.

“Hmm, interesting,” Pharaoh told Moshe Rabbeinu. “I can’t recall seeing that happen anywhere before. It would certainly be a first for history,” he mocked Moshe.

“Well, at least on this scale,” Moshe Rabbeinu mocked him back, unfazed by his intransigence. “And, you will be the first leader to be toppled in such a way!”

“Hmm,” Pharaoh thought more deeply, pulling at his long Egyptian beard, pretending to be weighing the odds. “It sounds menacing .” he said, faking concern, “but I am going to have to assume that you are bluffing.”

By Your light may we see light. (Tehillim 36:10)Therefore,” Pharaoh continued, changing his tone and sounding menacing himself, impressing the Egyptian courtiers standing around him, “I think I will take my chances and not free your people. Indeed, I am going to increase their hardship, and let the people themselves blame their troubles on you and your God!”

Extend Your kindness to those who know You, and Your charity to the upright of heart. Let not the foot of the arrogant come to me, and let not the hand of the wicked move me. (Tehillim 36:11)Like strong medicine that can only be taken in increments, the plagues were doses of Hovayah delivered in increasing amounts of revelation. Because, there is a downside to Divine revelation: decreased free-will. The point of free-will is to use it to do that which reveals the hand of God in life to mankind. The more God does it Himself, the less mankind has to do it on his own, and therefore, the less reward he will receive in the World-to- Come for doing so.

Therefore, for our sake, God remains hidden as long as possible, except to the person who has already found Him. And when history demands that He reveal Himself, He does so in increments, so that after each revelation, there is still some room left to make a free-will decision to say, “Hey, that’s gotta be the hand of God making all that happen!”

THAT is what it REALLY means to leave Mitzrayim, which, as we see from the story of the Exodus, can happen while a person is still in Egypt, or America, or anywhere else in the world of that matter. Indeed, a person can even be living in Eretz Yisroel and be living in Mitzrayim at the same time, though he is not in Egypt at all! There are many Jews doing exactly that today here in the Holy Land, because they insist on living on the level of Elokim, if even that.

The word “Charedi,” which means “one who fears,” only has meaning if the one whom he fears is God, and nothing else. Therefore, to earn that title, one must fear only God, and know that, no matter what someone does to him, it is all min HaShamayim-from God. The human perpetrators are only shlichim-messengers of God-though, as always, they’ll have to answer to God why they were so good at it.

In other words, being Charedi in the true sense of the term has less to do with the uniform that one wears than it does with one’s attitude towards Divine Providence, though obviously, on some level, the two issues will overlap. How one dresses is also an expression of one’s level of fear of God, or to be more accurate, of one’s seeing of God. And, certainly if one does dress the part, he should live up to the implication, or risk being a Chillul Hashem-a profanation of the Name of God.

And, since the reality of Mitzrayim is not tied to geography, mitzvos designed to help us break away from it apply even beyond the borders of Egypt, long after Pharaoh and his people were wiped away. Mitzvos such as the Eglah Arufah (Devarim 21:1), the ceremony performed upon finding a dead body, but not the murderer, or Petter Chamor (Shemos 13:11), which requires the owner of a first born donkey to redeem it with a sheep which must be given to the kohen.

In each case, the neck of the animal is broken from the back, the arufah, which in Hebrew has the same letters as Pharaoh. For, the attitude, in each case, that leads to the necessity of breaking the back of the neck is a Mitzrayim-like attitude, one of selfishness, and a lack of clarity regarding Who it is that gives man what he needs to survive, and therefore, how to treat other people.

Do you want to leave Mitzrayim, wherever it is that you live? Do you want to complete your journey that began over three millennia ago, perhaps even ahead of the rest of the nation, which will only do so once Moshiach comes? After all, that is why it is called “Keitz HaYomim,” that is, “the end of the days.”

Which days?

The 190 years that we left Egypt early, before we were done, leaving us still in Mitzrayim until this day. That is why, says the Ben Ish Chai, that the gematria of keitz is 190, to indicate that only once Moshiach comes and reveals God to all of mankind, will the words of Zechariah be fulfilled:

On that day, God will be one and His Name will be one. (Zechariah 14:9)But, in the meantime, individuals can leave early. They can personally leave Mitzrayim early if and when they stop saying “Who is Hashem?” when they stop betting on nature, trying to have their cake and eat it too, trusting that, if nature is allowed to run its course, they’ll be enough time to do teshuvah, and leave exile while it is still safe.

Historically, the individuals who made the break and left Mitzrayim often left their host nation in exile on time as well. The nation, which like Pharaoh, gambled against time, historically, has always fared far less well. And, if you want more details, then you can buy my book, “No Such Victim: A Book About Divine Providence and How To Work With It,” on line at www.thirtysix.org. At the very least, it will help you leave your very own Mitzrayim.


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Pinchas Winston and Torah.org.TOP

US-drought-conditions-2014-06-03_usdm

US-drought-conditions-2014-06-03_usdm

US-drought-conditions-2014-07-29_usdm http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

US-drought-conditions-2014-07-29_usdm
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

US-drought-conditions-2015-03-24_usdm http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Winter rainy season

US-drought-conditions-2016-03-01_usdm</br/>http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

US-drought-conditions-2016-03-01_usdm
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Winter rainy season

Heavy rains from late October through March mark the rainy season in California, bringing the majority of yearly rainfall to the region. Each year during the winter rainy season,

Map showing how temperatures across the US at the beginning of January 2014 have differed from the average between 1981-2010

Map showing how temperatures across the US at the beginning of January 2014 have differed from the average between 1981-2010

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Ohr Somayach

http://www.ohr.edu/838

Pesach

The Ten Plagues – Live From Egypt

by Rabbi Mordechai Becher
In the early 19th Century a papyrus, dating from the end of the Middle Kingdom, was found in Egypt. It was taken to the Leiden Museum in Holland and interpreted by A.H. Gardiner in 1909. The complete papyrus can be found in the book Admonitions of an Egyptian from a heiratic papyrus in Leiden. The papyrus describes violent upheavals in Egypt, starvation, drought, escape of slaves (with the wealth of the Egyptians), and death throughout the land. The papyrus was written by an Egyptian named Ipuwer and appears to be an eyewitness account of the effects of the Exodus plagues from the perspective of an  average Egyptian. Below are excerpts from the papyrus together with their parallels in the Book of Exodus.

(For a lengthier discussion of the papyrus and the historical background of the Exodus, see Jewish Action, Spring 1995, article by Brad Aaronson, entitled When Was the Exodus? )

IPUWER PAPYRUS – LEIDEN 344 TORAH – EXODUS
2:5-6 Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.2:10 The river is blood.2:10 Men shrink from tasting – human beings, and thirst after water3:10-13 That is our water! That is our happiness! What shall we do in respect thereof? All is ruin. 7:20 …all the waters of the river were turned to blood.7:21 …there was blood thoughout all the land of Egypt …and the river stank.7:24 And all the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river. Papyrus dating from the end of the Middle Kingdom
2:10 Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.10:3-6 Lower Egypt weeps… The entire palace is without its revenues. To it belong [by right] wheat and barley, geese and fish6:3 Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.5:12 Forsooth, that has perished which was yesterday seen. The land is left over to its weariness like the cutting of flax. 9:23-24 …and the fire ran along the ground… there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous.9:25 …and the hail smote every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field.9:31-32 …and the flax and the barley was smitten; for the barley was in season, and flax was ripe.But the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up.10:15 …there remained no green things in the trees, or in the herbs of the fields, through all the land of Egypt. archaeological proof of the splitting of the red sea-Chariot Wheel-2
5:5 All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan…9:2-3 Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together. 9:3 …the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field… and there shall be a very grievous sickness.9:19 …gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field…9:21 And he that did not fear the word of the Lord left his servants and cattle in the field. archaeological proof of the splitting of the red sea-Chariot Wheel
9:11 The land is without light 10:22 And there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt.
4:3 (5:6) Forsooth, the children of princes are dashed against the walls.6:12 Forsooth, the children of princes are cast out in the streets.6:3 The prison is ruined.2:13 He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.3:14 It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the prison.12:30 …there was not a house where there was not one dead.12:30 …there was a great cry in Egypt.
7:1 Behold, the fire has mounted up on high. Its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land. 13:21 … by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
3:2 Gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze… are fastened on the neck of female slaves. 12:35-36 …and they requested from the Egyptians, silver and gold articles and clothing. And God made the Egyptians favour them and they granted their request. [The Israelites] thus drained Egypt of its wealth.

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UN To Investigate 10 Plagues As Possible Crimes Against Humanity

The Council has already appointed Canadian professor William Schabas to head the commission, citing his experience with similar inquiries.

United Nations logoGeneva, April 1 – The United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed a commission to collect and analyze evidence that the ten plagues wrought against Egypt violated international law, and may constitute crimes against humanity.

Egypt submitted a request last month to the Council alleging that the release of the Israelite nation was secured under duress, and that the Israelite god had perpetrated mass atrocities in the process. As part of the negotiating strategy with the Pharaoh of the time, the Hebrew god YHWH repeatedly struck the nation with various calamities, disrupting life, agriculture, commerce, diet, and causing an unknown number of deaths and injuries. The request asked the Council to investigate, noting that although the events took place nearly 2,500 years ago, there is no statute of limitations on such crimes.

Specifically, the commission’s mandate includes a series of ten events in the year leading up to the Israelite exodus, with the addition of a mass murder allegation charging that on the way out, YHWH disproportionately smote the entire cavalry corps of the Egyptian military. The commission will also explore the evidence of two accessories to the crimes identified as Moses and Aaron, brothers who may have participated in some or all of the alleged atrocities.

Investigators will have to sort through varying accounts of the events, but the broad outline of the narrative has been broadly accepted for some time. After encountering Egyptian resistance to his demands, YHWH dispatched Israelite brothers Moses and Aaron to threaten the Pharaoh over possession of at least 600,000 Hebrew slaves that the god wanted to acquire for himself. YHWH allegedly transformed the Nile to blood, then caused a massive frog infestation; according to some reports, vicious and venomous other reptiles also descended upon the land. The first two came with a threat, but then YHWH brought lice with no warning.

The pattern repeated when Moses threatened and brought wild beasts and animal pestilence, but initiated boils with no warning – though some reports claim swarms of gnats instead of beasts; and again, when he threatened hail and  locust swarms, but caused thick darkness even in daytime with no advance warning. Finally, YHWH allegedly resorted to actual killing, when he smote all of Egypt’s firstborn males.

The commission will attempt to depose Egyptians claiming to be eyewitnesses or victims, then build a coherent case for or against recommending that the International Criminal Court open a formal criminal investigation. However, several important hurdles may impede its work, chief among them an apparent paucity of survivors to interview, leaving only documentary evidence of disputed veracity. Such problems have not hampered other UNHRC commissions in the Middle East, since they often amount to a technicality in the foregone conclusion envisioned by the report authors, but if a bona fide criminal case by the ICC is the goal, and not mere political posturing, then rules of evidence may eliminate the vast majority of universally accepted credible sources.

The Council has already appointed Canadian professor William Schabas to head the commission, citing his experience with similar inquiries.
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