Friday, July 13, 2012
This was an exciting week for me and this blog. As many of you know I was challenged on various items that I had written about, as to whether it was the Absolute Truth or not. The great debate that happened on the Shirat Devorah blog which finalized at 110 comments really made me happy and at the same time concerned. I will get more specific about some of the comments since I feel an obligation to answer the mail. But, I wanted to post these answers with further explanation for two very specific reasons. One is that my blog was very specifically created for Kiruv. Wikipedia describes Kiruv as: Jewish outreach commonly referred to as Kiruv or Keruv (Hebrew: קירוב , קֵרוּב "bringing close"). My desire is to share with the Jewish world and also to include righteous non-Jews, the truth about our world and the One Who created it. By “bringing close” the people of the world to this truth, people can actually live with reality and get away from the fantasy world of lies that we experience every day. Why I want to accomplish this task and of what benefit it is to you, is exactly what I have been writing about since March. So I am saying that my real target audiences are Jews that are not necessarily observant and doing the Commandments that Hashem has given us. This is the reason that I have tried to keep my posts at a very basic level even avoiding Hebrew or Yiddish terms that are so prevalent in this type of learning. In order to keep my blog exciting I have tried to cover subjects that most people would never see. Exciting discovery is the name of the game. When one can read about a subject and say "I never knew that" then I have whet the appetite of my reader and hopefully encouraged him or her to want to learn more.
The second purpose of my blog is to give information to observant Jews on subjects that they may not be as familiar with. The reason for all of this is that the evidence that we are in the end of days is so extensive that much work needs to be done very quickly by both groups – observant and not-observant-yet. As an observant Torah Jew I can never say that I am ready for Moshiach; but rather, that I have more to do in repentance, prayer, charity, Torah study and helping others. When will the job be done? When Moshiach comes; and, we get to our day of judgment which I call "the too late date." After that date we can say: “I made my bed and now I must lie in it.” In other words, whatever I have accomplished at that point is what measure-for-measure will be on my final report card and determine my future forever and ever. Fortunately, as I have mentioned Hashem does not judge us by what we know, but how we grow. So even starting today to follow the ways of Hashem should never be considered too late by anyone. The old expression "today is the first day of the rest of your life" may be corny, but so true.
So why was I happy about the debate this past week? When you get so many people debating Jewish subjects especially the coming of Moshiach, it was great. What was my concern? When people who are not to observant and are considering doing more, they should never experience seeing observant people arguing and calling each other names; that is totally counterproductive. I have said for months how observant Jews are the nicest people in the world. They show more love for each other and more help for each other than any other people that I've observed in my many years on this earth. But, when you see people, who claim to be observant, not being nice to other people, who claim to be observant, you paint a questionable picture.
The most important point that I wish to get across is that a very small minority of the debaters were being disrespectful. Most comments, including many comments and E-mails that I received on my blog, were done the way Hashem wants to see people treat each other. Let me teach you a very important Hebrew word that is of great concern to Hashem. “Achdus,” commonly translated as "unity," is what Hashem wants to see amongst all Jews and, for that matter, all the people of the world. One very good example that we have in the Torah is that there were two situations where the people were going against the will of Hashem. The first was the generation before the flood. They were very wicked -- people who were hurting each other, stealing from each other and even killing each other. Hashem knew that he had to wipe out this generation and start again with the righteous Noah and his family. In the generation of the Tower of Babble, the people we're fighting Hashem in their effort to reach heaven. Why did Hashem not wipe out these rebellious people? Because, they were working together with Achdus and not hurting each other. By confounding their languages, they were not able to continue their rebelliousness and the incident ended without Hashem wiping them out. Love of our fellow Jew where we work together to make a better world is the most important mission we have – that is living by the Torah. Torah Jews arguing on a public forum is not the way of Hashem. I was happy, however, to see that the number of favorable comments and even page views on my blog had increased.
A big concern which I tried to cover the other day was that Loshan Harah was happening by people who should know better. I mentioned that it is a sin to speak Loshan Harah. But, I failed to mention that it is also a sin to even listen to or read Loshan Harah. In other words in more modern vernacular listening to gossip is as wrong as speaking gossip. If one should inadvertently hear Loshan Harah, one is obligated not to believe what one heard. Once again, I am happy to say that there was not an abundance of Loshan Harahin in this week's discussion; but, the little that happened, should not give a wrong impression to Jews who are wanting to become more observant. I've always said that sometimes very observant people can have a secular moment. The temptation from our evil inclination sometimes gets the best of us and, because we are human, we don't always do everything according to Hashem's will.
I would like to clarify a couple of the points that were disputed in the comments. One I have already mentioned – that I was being accused of calculating a date for the coming of Moshiach. I have said many times I never calculated a date but had only drawn an obvious conclusion from the evidence that had appeared on many blogs recently. This is the hundred pages of evidence that I offer to anyone who would like to review the documents. It is still available. Just send me an E-mail requesting the information. You will notice, as many, many individuals who already have received the information, that none of it was written by me; but, is completely a collection of blog posts (from other blogs) that use Scriptures and prominent Rabbis as their sources. I am not calculating I am just stating the obvious “we are just about there.”
Another area that I was accused of in a not too favorable way was my statement about Moshiach ben Yosef being killed and then brought back by Moshiach ben Dovid. This dispute points to a problem that I have experienced for years. When somebody disagrees with me but will not take the time to research the answer, only stating a personal opinion and resolving nothing. I encourage people to check things out for themselves. Instead of just disagreeing, we should all have the desire to avoid conflict by checking it out and getting back to the person with the correct answer.
This particular website worded it well about Moshiach ben Yosef and included legitimate references as to where the information originated:
The immediate results of this war  will be disastrous: Moshiach ben Yosef will be killed. This is described in the prophecy of Zechariah, who says of this tragedy that “they shall mourn him as one mourns for an only child.” (Zechariah 12:10). His death will be followed by a period of great calamities. These new tribulations shall be the final test for Israel, and shortly thereafter Moshiach ben David shall come, avenge his death, resurrect him, and inaugurate the Messianic era of everlasting peace and bliss.
. Targum Yehonathan on Exodus 40:11, and on Zechariah 12:10 (manuscript-version in ed. A. Sperber); Agadat Moshiach; Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty (in version cited by Ramban, Sefer Hage’ulah, sha’ar IV; ed. Chavel, p. 291); and Rashi on Sukah 52a; identify the battle of Moshiach ben Yosef with the war of Gog and Magog.
. Sukah 52a, and parallel passages
. Pirkei Heichalot Rabaty, ch. 39 (cited in Sefer Hage’ulah, sha’ar IV); Sefer Zerubavel; Agadat Moshiach (cited in Lekach Tov, ibid.). See R. Saadiah Gaon, Emunot Vede’ot VIII:ch. 5, adding Scriptural “prooftexts” or allusions for all details; and the lengthy responsum of R. Hai Gaon on the redemption, published in Otzar Hageonim on Sukah 52a, and in Midreshei Ge’ulah, ed. Y. Ibn Shemuel, p. 135ff. Cf. Rashi and Ibn Ezra on Zechariah 12:10; Ibn Ezra and Redak on Zechariah 13:7
One last thought is that I never want to give the impression that I am infallible. Yes, I make mistakes but I wish to be corrected in a very friendly way. I encourage people to make comments on my blog but if your comment is complete disagreement, it is best to avoid embarrassment for you and me. E-mail me instead. In a private E-mail to email@example.com you can say anything you want without getting into Loshan Harah. Of course, be aware that Hashem is listening and reading everything that transpires between us. As I have told people who are talking during prayer services: “say anything you want; Hashem is listening.” They get the message I hope you are getting this message also. Comments are always sent to me for review on a No Reply E-mail address. Obviously, if I would like to return a comment without posting it on the blog, I cannot. If you wish to make a comment that really should not be seen by other people (harsh disagreement or bordering on Loshan Harah) a personal E-mail is second best – no comment at all is best. Also I encourage avoiding Anonymous. If you are ashamed of what you are posting, then you probably shouldn't be posting it. Many don't realize that when you want to post with a name and it asked you for a URL as well, the URL can be left blank.
All I am asking is do things the Jewish way, the way that Hashem wants to see it done and that is with us working together, learning together and helping each other – all with love and respect.
Have a great Shabbat.
Posted by The Absolute Truth at 2:38 PM