Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Awe of Hashem's Creation


Now this is amazing!

Lawrence Anthony, a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller The Elephant Whisperer, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during US invasion in 2003.
. On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.

He is remembered and missed by his wife, 2 sons, 2 grandsons and  numerous elephants.
 Two days after his passing, the wild elephants showed up at his home led by two large matriarchs.
Separate wild herds arrived in droves to say goodbye to their beloved man-friend.
A total of 31 elephants had patiently walked over 12 miles to get to his South African House.

Witnessing this spectacle, humans were obviously in awe not only because of the supreme intelligence and precise timing that these elephants sensed about Lawrence's passing, but also because of the profound memory and emotion the beloved animals evoked in such an organized way:
Walking slowly - for days - Making their way in a solemn one-by-one queue from their habitat to his house.

Lawrence's wife, Francoise, was especially touched, knowing that the elephants had not been to his house prior to that day for well over 3 years!
But yet they knew where they were going.

The elephants obviously wanted to pay their deep respects, honoring their friend who'd saved their lives - so much respect that they stayed for 2 days 2 nights without eating anything.  Then one morning, they left, making their long journey back home.........…
There are many links regarding this topic. Here's one:

I am always in awe of everything that Hashem has made.  Even the nefesh (soul) of an animal is inspired and guided by heaven.  How scientists can possibly think that everything evolved by accident is beyond me and really leaves scientist in a very ignorant and uninformed light.  Thank you Hashem for all You have created and the messages that we receive -- even the compassion of elephants.  What a message.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Instructions from Hashem for our Time

From Rosh Chodesh Elul to Simchas Torah, we recite an extra prayer everyday that is very appropriate for our times.  In fact, if you read it carefully, it comes out as definite instructions that Hashem is giving us to carry us through the coming weeks.   The prayer is Psalm 27.  The best way to understand the message is to state the prayer and do a cursory analysis of the what Hashem is telling us.   First read the Psalm:

 Psalm 27 (from the Birnbaum Siddur)
A Psalm of David. Hashem is my light and aid; whom shall I fear?  Hashem is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  When evildoers press against me to eat up my flesh - my enemies and my foes - it is they who stumble and fall.  Even though an army were arrayed against me, my heart would not fear; though war should arise against me, still would I be confident.  One thing I ask from Hashem, one thing I desire - that I may dwell in the house of Hashem all the days of my life, to behold the pleasantness of Hashem, and to meditate in His sanctuary.  Surely, He will hide me within His own tabernacle in the day of distress; He will conceal me in the shelter of his tent; He will set me safe upon a rock.  Thus, my head shall be high above all my foes around me; I will offer sacrifices within His tabernacle to the sound of trumpets; I will sing and chant praises to Hashem. Hear, Hashem, my voice when I call; be gracious to me and answer me.  In Your behalf my heart has said: "Seek you My presence"; Your presence, Hashem, I do seek.  Hide not Your face from me; turn not Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not abandon me, forsake me not, 0 G-d my Savior.  Though my father and mother have forsaken me, Hashem will take care of me.  Teach me Your way, Hashem, and guide me in a straight path, in spite of my enemies.  Deliver me not to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen up against me, such as breathe forth violence.  I do believe I shall yet see the goodness of Hashem in the land of the living.  Hope in Hashem; be strong, and let your heart be brave; yes, hope in Hashem.

This is not rocket science.  It is so simple to evaluate that when we are in times of peril, as we are now; in time of war, as it seems imminent now; in times of great danger from our enemies, as it is now, the only relief – the only protection that is available is Hashem.  This Psalm is read every year but it has never seemed as urgent as this year.  There is no coincidence that the last week the Psalm is required to be read just happens to be Sukkot (the week that we traditional read about and believe is the time of the final battle of Gog U Magog).  It is the time that many sources are predicting war this year.

I have mentioned that I believe war will come but that Hashem will say: “Enough” and completely control the situation by what we like to call “natural disasters.”  There is so much instability on this Earth for potential earthquakes (with possible tsunamis), hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, volcano eruptions, etc, etc, etc, that it may be another sign of the way Hashem will, measure-for-measure clean up the evil of the world.  It says above it is “they who stumble and fall” and Hashem knows each of us exactly where we stand in following Hashem’s ways.  Even atheists will have an opportunity to be scared enough from pending war to change their nonsensical ways – after all “there are no atheists in foxholes.”  Also, I believe “there are no atheists in storm cellars.”   

Time is running out.  Be as skeptical and as stubborn as you want; but, when the time comes (and it may be next week), know that “I do believe I shall yet see the goodness of Hashem in the land of the living. Hope in Hashem; be strong, and let your heart be brave; yes, hope in Hashem.”  It is the only instructions you will need to survive.  Have a very good Holiday – and I do mean good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Year Census: Nearly 6 Million Jews in Israel

Babies born to recent immigrants from English speaking countries.
Israel has released the results of its annual census in advance of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) which begins on Sunday night. 5,978,600 Jews live in Israel, within close reach of the highly symbolic number of six million. Experts say that the six million mark will be passed by the end of 2012.
The total population of Israel is approximately 7,933,200 people with 1,636,600 Arabs and 318,000 from other populations including Christians. The rate of growth for the Jewish population in Israel this past year was 1.8% which is similar to the rate during the last eight years and throughout the 1980s. The rate was actually much higher during the 1990′s because of the massive immigration from the former Soviet Union.
Recent immigrants upon their arrival to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
In terms of geography, approximately 50% of Israel’s Jews live in central Israel and Tel Aviv, while 40% of the Arab population lives in northern Israel. Just 4% of Israel’s population live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Hebrew University demographics expert Professor Sergio Della Pergola reports that Jews in Israel make up 43% of world Jewry while 39% live in the United States (5.46 million) and 9.5% (1.43 million) in Europe.
Reported by DOV LIPMAN for United with Israel.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This is the time for  forgiveness.  I forgive all who have wronged me in the past year as I ask for forgiveness from those that I have wronged or offended in any way.  Please realize that we are in a time where being nice to everyone and helping everyone is Hashem's way and are exactly the traits on which He judges us.  We want to be written up in the book of life for the coming year.  Avoid conflict and arguing.  Work together with your fellow Jew -- it is not just a nice thing to do, it is a necessity.  Don't disagree with anyone -- ask questions and discuss it in a civilized manor that you both can learn and understand each other.  Hashem is watching all of us and will decide our future based on our actions of the present.  This time from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur (even to Simchas Torah) requires a lot of soul searching, correcting and cooperating.  Give it your best effort -- it is your future that depends on it.  With what appears to be coming up in the near future, consider this Holiday time as the most critical one you have ever had.  Treat it with great fear as though your life depends on it, since it does.  L'Shanah Tovah

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another Mystery Solved (continued)

Something I forgot to mention yesterday is that even the acceptance of Moshe Rabbenu as the Deliver was on an individual level.  Many totally rejected him and even caused him to flee and return at a later time.  According to scriptures, the Moshiach will not be accepted by many and, in some cases, there will be those who would never accept him.

The story of the first Geula is repeating itself.  Moshiach is here and many know him and accept him even though he has not been anointment as King Moshiach yet.  Likewise, King David was alive and well for many years before he became king.  Many new him and even were aware before it happened that he was to be anointed.  Hashem is totally consistent and so is history.  Even with Moshe one might ask was it Moshe they wanted or the Individual that Hashem sent to remove them from bondage.  People then and now are always concerned about what does this mean to me and my loved ones.

An excellent question received yesterday that I don’t want to ignore is:  Are you feeling the redemption already and others of us don't?  I was saying that since we have a comprehensive list of the events of Geula; and, it seems obvious that the Gedolim of today and even many observant Jews that I know (such as my neighbors) are further along in the list of events than most people in the world, it was very tempting to evaluate where I believe I am personally.  Since the Talmud talks about two different types of Geula, personal – step #7 and national – step # 10, it very much supports that we, as individuals, are at different levels.  Where I am personally is not important – where each of you are is my point of emphasis.  Not just nice to know information but a self-examination of what you need to do. 

This individual also stated:  I do believe that Moshiach will be knocking on our door and give us the choice to go or stay.  I take this to be a metaphorical knock since he would have way too many to visit.  So far as choice, the choice is ours to decide before he knocks on the door.  My entire purpose of this blog is to sell that tremendous possibility that we have and to get everyone to make the correct choice.  Let me give you an analogy.  Let say, an individual bought a lottery ticket, and picked the correct combination of numbers.  Mazel Tov, he won 100 million dollars and was the only winner – no sharing (except maybe 90% to the government).  This individual decided he was too busy to go collect.  He was swamped at work, many things he had to fix in the house, kids to drive to school, etc, etc, etc.  Everyone looked at him and questioned:  “Are you crazy?  You can retire for life, hire people to fix your house (or buy a new one that isn’t broken), hire someone to drive the kids anywhere they want to go (hopefully to Yeshivah), etc, etc, etc.  He answers:  “I’m not sure if I want such a change in my life.”  He gets advice: “Why don’t you try it; and, if it isn’t for you, just give it to me.”  I know this sounds silly.  But, you are each holding a lottery ticket worth much, much, much (and a whole bunch more muches) more than 100 million (tax-free) and answering “well, I’m not sure if this is what I want.”  In this case you don’t have to give it to me; I already have cashed in my ticket and am enjoying the luxurious life.  I wish to share my winnings life with you, however.

One additional thing on a personal level.  I mentioned yesterday that Moshiach is only a person.  It is the Kingdom of Hashem that I crave.  If you go to my blog post entitled: “He is Hiding Behind Nature”, 2 May 2012, you will see what I am waiting for.  In a word “Hashem.”  In the future when Hashem is no longer allusive to us and we are totally aware of Him, then we will truly be living in paradise with joy and happiness beyond comprehension.  Moshiach is the agent that will help usher in this time of utopia and is the major reason that I crave Moshiach.  Now, you see where my heart is, and what I truly crave for me, my family and the entire world.

Most people in the world today would say "Moshiach is not here -- don't try to fool me."  Why?  Because they don't have a clue as to what the Messianic era entails and how wonderful it will be.  People reject change if they are unfamiliar with it.  That is why no matter how much of a warning I give and no matter how much proof I provide, there will still be a majority of people who don't want to give up their secular ways and follow Hashem.  They argue with success instead of realizing what truly “the way to success” is.  They see an observant life as strange and possibly even scary.  I believe atheists are not convinced that there is no Deity running the show, but that they are afraid of the concept.  Being a coward provides limited options in life.  But, it is like the child that you tell “this is a new food -- taste it you are going to like it.”   The response “I DON’T LIKE IT.”  How do you know if you didn’t taste it?  “I DON’T LIKE IT.”  Most parents have had this conversation (sound familiar?).

 In years of doing Kiruv (outreach), the most honest Jew that I ever worked with was a fellow that I was wowing with hidden codes in the Torah, prophecies come true, science in the Torah (he was also an Engineer with a very extensive science background), all my fancy footwork.  He, after a short while, stuck his fingers in his ears.  I asked “what is the matter?”  He replied:  “I think you are showing me truth about life that I may not be ready for.”  I was speechless.  I complimented him on being the most honest person I have ever dealt with; considering, most people who can’t cope with the truth just change the subject or pretend they have to leave or some other lame excuse.  People do not know what is best for them and I fully understand that – I could spend hours telling you the mistakes I’ve made (but I won’t).  One thing I know is that every mistake I made in life was for my own good.  We are taught “one does not really know good unless one knows evil” or “one does not know right unless one knows wrong.”  The idea is to learn from ones mistakes and improve.  This crash course that I have attempted to give since March was a way to cut to the chase since time is very short in getting it right.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Mystery Solved

Something that I have heard for decades is that we don’t really know what the order of events is in the Geula process.  Is the Redemption first, then Moshiach, the return of the Jews to Israel, the Temple, etc?  What will be the mysterious chain of events that we can look forward to experiencing?  Well, it turns out that we do know.  Hashem has given us extensive detail in scriptures and even information on where we are now and to what we should look forward next.  An even bigger surprise is we say the order five times a day in our prayers.

The Talmud, tractate Megillah 17b, states that the Shemoneh Esrei (some call it the Amidah or silent prayer) order of blessings and requests is the order this process will occur.  We say the Shemoneh Esrei three times a day silently and then twice we have the repetition, totaling five times.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult topics that I have attempted on this blog.  The information is extensive (volumes have been written), and is very deep.  To try to describe in this physical world the information below when most of it is very spiritual in meaning, is close to impossible.  But, I feel it is very important for me to try since it answers many questions that I have received over the months.  Since March I have receive over 1100 comments and private Emails which have included a plethora of inquiries.  I tried to answer them on a very basic level but could only do them justice if we were to talk on a much higher level – a spiritual level.  I have explained several times that Torah is the most difficult subject in the world.  The text at its deepest level is beyond human comprehension considering that it was created by an Infinite Intelligence.  Enough said.  Let’s get started.

I’ve organized this in several parts.  The first is to briefly (not completely) tell you what the Talmud says.  Then I will attempt to explain most of the parts.  This also will be a very abridged discussion since, as already stated, there are volumes written on the subject.  Then, with Hashem’s help, I will attempt to explain where we are in the process.  The last part will be the most difficult part to understand and will probably be the most controversial answer I have ever attempted.

Talmud Bavli - Megillah 17b
‘To the ‘Amidah prayer’. Where is this derived? — As it has been taught: ‘Simeon the Pakulite5 formulated eighteen blessings in the presence of Rabban Gamaliel in the proper6 order in Yavneh.7 R. Johanan said (others report, it was stated in a Baraita): A hundred and twenty elders, among whom were many prophets, drew up eighteen blessings in a fixed order’.
Our Rabbis taught: Where do we derive that the blessing of the Patriarchs 8 should be said? Because it says, Ascribe unto Hashem, you sons of might.9 And where that we say the blessing of mighty deeds?10 Because it says, Ascribe unto Hashem glory and strength.11 And where that we say sanctifications?12 Because it says, Ascribe unto Hashem the glory due unto His name, worship Hashem in the beauty of holiness.13 What reason had they for mentioning understanding14 after holiness? Because it says, They shall sanctify the Holy One of Yaakov and shall stand in awe of the G-d of Yisrael,15 and next to this, They also that err in spirit shall come to understanding. What reason had they for mentioning repentance16 after understanding? Because it is written, Lest they, understanding with their heart, return and be healed.17 If that is the reason, healing should be mentioned next to repentance?18 — Do not imagine such a thing, since it is written, And let him return unto Hashem and He will have compassion upon him, and to our G-d, for he will abundantly pardon.19 But why should you rely upon this verse? Rely rather on the other! — There is written another verse, Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,20 which implies that redemption and healing come after forgiveness. But it is written, ‘Lest they return and be healed’? That refers not to the healing of sickness but to the healing [power] of forgiveness. What was their reason for mentioning redemption in the seventh blessing?21 Raba replied: Because they [Yisra'el] are destined to be redeemed in the seventh year [of the coming of the Mashiach],22 therefore the mention of redemption was placed in the seventh blessing. But a Master has said, ‘In the sixth year will be thunderings, in the seventh wars, at the end of the seventh the son of David will come’? — War is also the beginning of redemption. What was their reason for mentioning healing in the eighth blessing? — R. Aha said: Because circumcision which requires healing is appointed for the eighth day, therefore it was placed in the eighth blessing. What was their reason for placing the [prayer for the] blessing of the years ninth? R. Alexandri said: This was directed against those who raise the market price [of foodstuffs], as it is written, Break You the arm of the wicked; and when David said this, he said it in the ninth Psalm.23 What was their reason for mentioning the gathering of the exiles after the blessing of the years? — Because it is written, But you, O mountains of Yisrael, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to your people Yisrael, for they are at hand to come.24 And when the exiles are assembled, judgment will be visited on the wicked, as it says, And I will turn my hand upon you and purge away your dross as with lye,25 and it is written further, And I will restore thy judges as at the first.26 And when judgment is visited on the wicked, transgressors cease,27 and presumptuous sinners28 are included with them, as it is written, But the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake Hashem shall be consumed.29 And when the transgressors have disappeared, the horn of the righteous is exalted,30 as it is written, All the horns of the wicked also will I cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be lifted up.31 And ‘proselytes of righteousness’32 are included with the righteous, as it says, you shall rise up before the hoary head and honour the face of the old man,33 and the text goes on, And if a stranger sojourn with you. And where is the horn of the righteous exalted? In Yerushalayim,34 as it says, Pray for the peace of Yerushalayim, may they prosper that love you.35 And when Yerushalayim is built, David(36) will come, as it says.
5) Possibly this means ‘cotton dealer’ (Rashi).
6) I.e. one based on Scriptural texts, as explained infra.
7) V. Ber. 28b.
8) The first blessing, containing the words, the El of Avraham, the El of Yitzchak, and the El of Yaakov’. For the ‘Amidah prayer v. P.B. pp. 44ff.
9) Tehillim 29:1. ‘Sons of might’ is taken as a description of the Patriarchs. The Talmud renders: ‘Mention before Hashem the sons of might’, i.e., the Patriarchs.
10) The second blessing, mentioning the ‘mighty deed’ of the resurrection.
11) Tehillim 29:1. (12) The third blessing beginning, ‘You are holy’.
13) Ibid. 2. (14) In the fourth blessing, beginning, ‘You grant to man understanding’.
15) Yeshayahu 29:23f.
16) In the fifth blessing, commencing, ‘Bring us back, O Father’.
17) Ibid. 6:10.
18) Whereas in fact it comes in the next blessing but one, ‘redemption’ being interposed.
19) Ibid. LV, 7.
20) Tehillim 103:3f.
21) Concluding, ‘Blessed are You, O Hashem, who redeems Yisrael’.
22) V. Sanh. 97a.
23) In our books it is the tenth (v. 15), but the Talmud apparently reckoned the first and second Psalms as one.
24) Yechezkel 36:8.
25) Yeshayahu 1:25.
26) Ibid. 26. The next blessing proceeds, ‘Restore our judges’. etc.
27) MS. M. minim (plur. of min v. Glos.).
28) Mentioned in the next blessing. This, however, was not one of the original eighteen, v. Ber. 28b.
29) Ibid. 28.
30) The next blessing concludes, ‘the support and trust of the righteous’.
31) Tehillim 75:2.
32) Mentioned in the same blessing. ‘Proselytes of Righteousness’ are converts who completely accept the Jewish creed and life.
33) VaYikra 19:32.
34) Mentioned in the next blessing.
35) Tehillim 122:6.
36) Mentioned in the next blessing, which commences, ‘Cause to sprout quickly the shoot of David’.

The blessings of the Shemoneh Esrei, in their correct order, are:

  1. Patriarchs.
  2. G-d's Might.
  3. G-d's Holiness.
  4. Insight.
  5. Repentance.
  6. Forgiveness.
  7. Redemption.
  8. Healing.
  9. Blessing of the Years (prosperity).
  10. Ingathering of Exiles.
  11. Restoration of Justice.
  12. Downfall of the Heretics.
  13. Support of the Righteous.
  14. Rebuilding Jerusalem.
  15. Reinstatement of the Davidic Kingdom.
  16. Acceptance of Prayer.
  17. Temple Service.
  18. Thanksgiving.
  19. Peace.

That was the easy part.  Now to try to explain the parts without writing a book.

1, 2 & 3 make us realize before we can make our requests in life that we must know to Whom we are talking and to have complete confidence that He is the Only Source of Salvation.   As our forefathers discovered, it is only with the Might and Holiness of Hashem can we succeed.

4.   Insight
You graciously endow man with wisdom. [This blessing begins the middle section of the Shemoneh Estei, in which we make his requests of Hashem.  The first plea is for wisdom and insight, because a person’s intelligence is his or her primary characteristic, the one that sets us apart from animals.]  We ask for wisdom and for insight, so that we can draw proper conclusions and achieve intellectual discernment (Vilna Gaon).  This request is fulfilled by our study of Torah so we are asking Hashem for all that is needed to strive and succeed in our efforts.

5.   Repentance
Our Father.  Only in this prayer for repentance, and in the next one, for forgiveness, do we refer to Hashem as our Father.  A father has the responsibility to teach his son the proper way to live, but even if a son has rebelled and become estranged, the father's compassion will assert itself if his son repents and seeks forgiveness (Eitz Yosef)And influence us to return.  Hashem never compels anyone to repent, but if a person makes a sincere beginning, Hashem will make his way easier.  The most important aspect of repentance is not admitting to your mistakes but the action taken as a follow-up to correct the mistake.  No trickery, no shortcuts – just good honest effort to make positive changes.  Hashem knows our intensions better than we do.  If we do what we are suppose to do, then:

6.   Forgiveness
Forgive ... pardon,  Forgiveness, means not even harboring resentment or ill will, while pardon, means only giving up the right to punish for a wrong, (Abudraham).

7.   Redemption
our suffering. Though Israel’s suffering results from its own sins, our enemies cannot rightfully claim that they merely do Hashem’s work, since Israel suffers much more than necessary at their hands.  Similarly, many commentators explain that the Egyptians were punished for oppressing and enslaving the Jews, even though Hashem had decreed suffering and slavery, because the Egyptians, in their wickedness, greatly exceeded Hashem’s decree (Eitz Yosef).  And redeem us, from the trials and agonies of everyday life (Rashi; Megillah 17b).  For Your Name's sake. Israel’s suffering is a reflection on our G-d, and therefore, a desecration of His Name (Eitz Yosef).

8.   Health and Healing
Heal us, HASHE; then we will be healed.  Sometimes human beings or angels are Hashem’s agents to heal illness, but in that case, the cure may only be partial or temporary. [Or the pain or other symptoms may be relieved, while the illness itself remains uncured (Siach Yitzchak).  But if Hashem Himself undertakes to cure the patient, we are confident that it will not be a temporary or a partial measure: then we will be healed (Eitz Yoseffrom Zohar).]  A very important concept is that this blessing provides spiritual healing.   As I have said in the past, the Soul causes physical pain and illness as a way of helping us reach Tekun.  If we have spiritual healing, physical healing results as well. This is a prime example of a very deep concept being made simple – it would take much more to truly explain all the details.

9.  Year of Prosperity
Bless on our behalf.  We request a blessing on our general business activities and then proceed to ask for abundant crops.  Even in bad times some people prosper, and even in good times some farms and businesses fail.  We ask not only for general prosperity, but that we be allowed to share in it (R'S.R. Hirsch).
Dew and rain. The mention of rain in the second blessing of the Shemoneh Esrei is an expression of praise only.  There we praise Hashem the Life-giver, Who controls the elements and provides wind and moisture as needed in the seasons when they generally occur.  Here we make the request that He give us rain; therefore it is recited only when rain is actually beneficial for the agricultural cycle. Since rain is needed in early fall in Israel, the recitation is begun there on 7 Cheshvan, much earlier than elsewhere.  From Your bounty.  Food acquired In a morally corrupt manner lacks the holiness to nourish the soul.  Therefore, we ask that Hashem satisfy us from His bounty, not from earnings to which we are not entitled (Yaaros D'vash).

10.  Ingathering of Exiles
Sound the great shofar: There are three differences between this prayer for redemption and the earlier one of #5 Redemption: (a) The earlier blessing refers to Hashem's daily help in all sorts of crises and suffering, while this one refers to the future Redemption from exile; (b) the earlier blessing refers only to physical salvation, while this one is a plea for spiritual deliverance; (c) this one specifies not only freedom from oppression, but the ingathering of all exiles to Eretz Yisroel.  What this means to us is that Geula can come to an individual before the ingathering and the final Geula.  I will expound on this point more when I talk about where we are in the Geula process.

11.  Restoration of Justice
Restore our judges. When Elijah heralds Messiah's coming, he will first re-establish the Sanhedrin, and then the Redemption will begin.  A secondary theme of this prayer is the wish that Hashem help all Jewish judges rule wisely and justly (Yaaros D'vash). - And our advisers, i.e., the prophets who gave wise advice in both spiritual and temporal affairs (Olas Tamid).  Sorrow and groan: sorrow, results from actual want or pain, such as hunger or destruction. ; groan, refers to inner turmoil, such as worry, depression, or fear (Vilna Gaon)

12.  Against Heretics
And for slanderers. This blessing was not part of the original eighteen blessings; it was instituted in Yavneh, during the tenure of Rabban Gamliel ll as Nasi of Israel, sometime after the destruction of the Second Temple.  The blessing was composed in response to the threats of heretical Jewish sects such as the Sadducees, Boethusians, Essenes, and the early Xtians, who tried to lead Jews astray through example and persuasion, and used their political power to oppress observant Jews and to slander them to the anti-Semitic Roman government.  

13.  The Righteous
The remnant of their scholars.  The term Sofer refers to those who transmit the Oral Torah from generation to generation (Auodas Yisrae/).  These four categories of people - righteous, devout, elders, scholars are the leaders of the nation.  Because the nation needs them, the Sages instituted a special prayer for their welfare (R' Yehudah ben Yakar)And we will not feel ashamed.  One who puts his faith in people feels ashamed, for he has been shown to be helpless on his ownBut he is not ashamed to have trusted in Hashem as no one can succeed without His help (Dover Shalom).

14.  Rebuilding Jerusalem
And t
o Jerusalem. Having sought Hashem's blessing on Israel's leaders and the righteous; we seek His blessing for the Holy City.  No blessing is complete until the seat of holiness, Jerusalem, is rebuilt in all its grandeur (Iyun Tefillah).
The throne of David.  Jerusalem cannot be considered rebuilt unless a worthy descendant of David is seated on the throne (R' Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik).

15.  Davidic Reign
The offspring of ... David.  Zechariah (6:12) teaches that Messiah's name will be Tzemach, literally, the sprouting or flourishing of a plant.  This indicates that the normal process of redemption is like the barely perceptible daily growth of a plant (Iyun Tefillah).
In the previous blessing the mention of David indicates that the realization of Jerusalem depends on the Davidic heir.  Here we are taught that the ultimate salvation of the Jewish people is possible only through the Davidic Messiah.

16.  Acceptance of Prayer
[In the middle section of Shemoneh Esrei we have asked Hashem to grant our specific needs.  We now close the section with a general plea that He take note of our call and grant our requestsPity and be compassionate.  Pity refers to an artisan's special regard for the product of his hands; while compassion is the emotion aroused upon seeing a totally helpless person.  0 Hashem, pity us because we are Your handiwork, and be compassionate because we are nothing without You! (Vilna Gaon).
Prayers and entreaties. Rashi (Deut. 3:23) explains that an entreaty is a request for an unearned gift.  This expression is used by the most righteous people, because they are aware that no human being can claim that Hashem "owes" him something.  Gur Aryeh explains that the righteous use the term entreaty only when praying for themselves, but when praying for the community they use Prayer, because Israel as a community deserves Hashem's help,

17.  Temple Service
Be favorable.  This begins the final section of Shemoneh Esrei.  Like a servant who is grateful for having had the opportunity to express himself before his master, we thank Hashem for having been attentive to our prayers.
The service.  As we conclude Shemoneh Esrei, our substitute for the Temple's sacrificial service, we ask that the true service be restored to the Temple (Eitz Yosef).
The fire-offerings of Israel.  Since the Temple is not standing, this phrase is allegorical.  It refers to: the souls and deeds of the righteous, which are as pleasing as sacrifices; Jewish prayers that are like offerings; or the altar fires and sacrifices of the Messianic era.  Some punctuate the blessing to read: ... restore the service...and the fire offerings of Israel.  Their prayer with love accept favorably.

18.  Thanksgiving [Modim]
Rock of our lives.  Our parents are the "rocks" from whom our bodies are hewn, but from You we receive life itself (Eitz Yosef).  We shall thank You.  Having begun the blessing by describing Hashem's greatness and our relationship to Him, we now specify those things for which we thank Him.  For our lives.  Lest anyone think that he is master over his own life, we acknowledge that every breath and heartbeat are a direct result of Hashem's mercy (Olas Tamid).  Our souls that are entrusted to You.  The word neshamah refers to the higher soul that provides man his holiness, as opposed to the lower soul that merely sustains him.  During slumber, the neshamah leaves the body and is, so to speak, entrusted to Hashem's safekeeping, to be returned to man in the morning (Derech Hashem).
Your miracles ... Your wonders.  Miracles are the extraordinary events acknowledged by everyone to be the results of Hashem's intervention.  Wonders are the familiar things that we do not regard as miracles because we have grown accustomed to them, such as breathing, raining, and growing.  We thank Hashem for both miracles and wonders, because we recognize that He is their Creator (Eitz Yosef).

19.  Peace
Establish peace, is recited only times when the Priestly Blessing is given (O.C. 127 :2). At other times, Abundant peace is recited instead.  The six forms of good listed here - peace, goodness, blessing, graciousness, kindness, and compassion - allude to the six blessings of Bircas Kohanim (Eitz Yoseg).
Graciousness, kindness and compassion.  Man goes through stages of development in life.  When he is growing and improving, he is the recipient of Hashem’s graciousness.  In his period of maturity, when an individual may not improve, but continues the accomplishments of his more fruitful period, then Hashem grants him kindness.  Sometimes he declines or does not deserve Hashem’s help, but even then Hashem shows compassion (lkkarim),

The above description of the 19 prayers of the Shemonah Esrei came from the commentary of the Artscroll daily player book.  Although the order of the prayers are as described in the Talmud, there was much information in the Artscroll commentary that would enhance the statements that I am about to make concerning the process of the Geula and the time within which it will happen.  First of all, you can see that the process is not instantaneously accomplished.  From start to finish the goal of process is very involved and could take time.  What determines the amount of time is you the individual.  It is obvious that not every one of us is at the same stage of the redemption process.  For example the most prominent Rabbis of today are not waiting for insight, looking to start their repentance, waiting for forgiveness and, for that matter, waiting for redemption.  As you saw above number 7 and number 10 both talk of redemption.  Number seven was more of an individual redemption while number 10 after the in gathering of the exile is alluding to the final redemption.  Yet, one might ask if an individual has received all the stages of redemption up to number 10 and has already made Aliyah in Israel, has he or she already completed the in-gathering of the exile on an individual basis?  If an individual is up to step 14 the rebuilding of Jerusalem, one might argue that the Jews have returned to Jerusalem and the city is very much built up.  I personally have gone to Jerusalem three times in the past week and am in awe at how beautiful and built-up the city Jerusalem is. Then we get to the coming of Moshiach ben Dovid and wonder. What Rabbi Keduri said was that the Moshiach will here by Av 5772.  The fact is the Moshiach is here and Rabbi Keduri’s statement came to fruition.  The problem with most of us is we don't understand this statement.  Rabbi Keduri never said that he would be announced on CNN including a videotape showing him coming in on a donkey.  He never said that he was coming to my house to knock on my door and shake my hand.  All he said was he would be here by that time and since we know the individual that is to be anointed Moshiach lives in Jerusalem, he is, nevertheless, here.
I even question what does it mean that the Geula will be upon us and 5772.  By the Rambam’s definition, redemption will be “business as usual but there will be no enemies or evil around us.”  I have mentioned that I personally live in the city that doesn't even have a police force.  In 9 1/2 years that I have been here I have not seen any evil around me. Nobody in this city has television.  Very few people listen to radio since we are in a mountainous area, there are very few stations available to make it even worthwhile having a radio.  Very few people have computers other than those who need them for business purposes.  The schools in the city frown upon children being around computers and have even been known to turn down children who come from homes with computers.  What does all this mean?  Most of the people in this city don't have a clue as to what is going on in the world. They are not aware of the evil, suffering and, in many cases, even the financial hardships.  If there were such a thing as the redemption being announced to the world, most people around me including myself would see no daily change in our activities. In other words, I, and most of my neighbors have already received our personal redemption.

Am I personally waiting for the Moshiach with the changes that the Moshiach will bring about.  Even that is a misnomer since everything that will happened as a result of the Moshiach and the Geula will come from Hashem, not a person.  So it is not Moshiach that I'm waiting for, but Hashem's changes. Did Moshe Rabbenu cause plagues, split the sea, bring Manna from heaven and water to come from rocks?  There are many other changes that are expected that I am already living on a daily basis.  All from Hashem.  I experience miracles all the time that wouldn’t have been known to me in New Jersey.

It says in Scriptures that Hashem created many worlds.  One of the connotations of that statement is that each one of us is a separate world.  No two individuals in this world experience the same thing.  The design that Hashem provides for each of us is for the good and merciful treatment that each of us needs.  I have had readers recently question why certain things that the Rabbi's have been predicting have not come to fruition. I believe that all is happening as they had said but being experienced on an individual basis according to where you stand with Hashem.  If you are skeptical about things, then in essence you must be lacking faith and trust in Hashem.  I believe you may be waiting much longer for redemption or not experiencing it at all. What are my statements based on?  Prophecy from the Torah.  We are told that the events of the first redemption would repeat themselves in the end of days.  Interestingly enough only 20% of the Israelites had enough faith in Hashem to follow Moshe into the desert.  80% of the Israelites perished in the plague of darkness.  There seems to be similar numbers and percentages of Jews today that may fall into the same categories of having faith or not having faith.  In other words, one might ask are most of the Jews of today not going to experience redemption?  Even the 20% that went into the desert were still measure-for-measure happy or unhappy depending upon how much they were serving Hashem and having faith in Him.  It all comes down to measure-for-measure (I have been saying that since March) when we ask what each of us individually should be experiencing in the end of days.  If we are following the ways of Hashem I believe we are either already there or soon to be.  If you are a sceptic, a complainer or, even worse, a heretic, don't expect Hashem to shower you with blessings.  We really need to take this week before Rosh Hashanah and do the best repentance we have ever done.  Whatever you do measure-for-measure you will receive in return.  We are individuals and are treated as individuals.  There is no such thing as blending into the crowd or assimilating into society.  Throughout history the Jews have painfully experienced that lesson.  Hashem keeps tabs on each one of us – what we think, what we say and what we do.  If it is a positive act according to His ways, we receive measure-for-measure a positive response.  It is an exact science.  Hashem is consistent and totally to be trusted.  He doesn’t play practical jokes and He doesn’t change His mind.  The design of this world and the life we live are constant.  Hashem makes the world look random just to facilitate our free will; but, it is not random, it is, by design, for each of us.  Your deeds, good or bad, will repay you in kind.

Since March I have basically said the same message repeatedly. I am amazed that I am still getting an occasional comment or E-mail that is so negative that the person doesn't even realize what he or she is doing to himself or herself.  I had one yesterday from an individual who argues everything he ever said to me and he has appeared on many other blogs with the same negative attitude.  He wrote to me and asked why I have censored him from this blog; I thought I would answer him now.  We are in a time where Hashem wants to see complete unity and love amongst all Jews.  Criticism, conflict, and even worse hatred have no place in the Jewish community.  If an individual disagrees with something that I have said, that individual has the opportunity to privately E-mail me or send me a comment telling me where I am incorrect.  The comment should include definite information from Scriptures showing me the error of my ways.  I am only interested in Hashem’s opinion.   Since March I have had many individuals who have told me "you are wrong."  The problem is without telling me specifically where I was wrong and proving it with Hashem's opinion.  A statement such as you are wrong is meaningless and not very nice to my readers.  If I made a mistake according to scriptures, I would need to repent and the only way that I could rectify my mistake is an immediate change.  Why am I bringing this up right now?  This is the greatest reason why many will never see the redemption or the Moshiach.  Hashem wants us all to work together, love each other, help each other, be nice to each other and then. and only then. are we all deserving of the time of redemption.  It's interesting to me how I seem to be more concerned about my fellow Jews’ welfare than they are about themselves.  I guess, living Hashem's truth makes it obvious.  I ask you with very little time left until the too- late-date, to take everything that I am saying very seriously and with a plan for corrective action.  Time is running out.  It is your future and your eternity that concerns me.  Am I perfect with no mistakes? Absolutely not!  I am human and I know many flaws that I continue to work on.  The one big difference is that having studied Torah for many years and knowing what Hashem wants of me, I am aware of what I need to work on, and that Hashem will help me in every way.  I have peace of mind because of my strong faith and trust in Hashem and I know that it will carry me and my family to a wonderful future.  All I ask is that each one of you joins me.