The first entry of evil into humanity was through this act of unholy eating.  Until that fateful moment evil existed outside themselves embodied as the serpent.  When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they brought an intermingling of good and evil into themselves, into the very substance of their being.

Whenever we eat without proper kavanna we repeat this original sin.  The primary fixing of human civilization is to learn to eat in holiness.  Adam and Eve contained the souls of all humanity, of all the people who would ever live.
We were all present as a part of their consciousness and participated in their decision to eat.  Consequently we also suffered the damaging effects of their sin.

All neuroses, personality imbalances, and existential disatisfactions, teaches Torah, have their root in this sin of unholy eating.  Its impurity lives inside each of us as a fact of the human condition.  Every person has an eating disorder, for “eating” is a much broader activity than simply taking food into one’s mouth.

Eating, as an archetype, is the experience of lack and the taking inside oneself of something from outside to fill that lack.  Something that was not you, becomes a piece of you.  Literal eating, material acquisition, sexuality, honor-seeking, addiction to power,  praise, drugs, or even attention are all forms of eating.  They start with an experience of lack, and in an effort to assuage that lack one pulls something from the outside in.

The act of eating itself is neutral.  It has no intrinsic holiness, but neither is it shameful or destructive.  Creation does move forward simply by traveling up its food chain, but the truth of G-d as one and good and omnipresent is not automatically revealed.  The holy expression of “eating” has two criteria:

     1.  The “food” must be kosher.  Literal food must not mix meat and milk, nor be of an animal type forbidden by Torah; sexuality must not be adulterous, money must not be acquired by theft, etc.  In a more general sense, kosher also means healthy.  The Torah forbids us from doing anything that damages our bodies.  This includes eating amounts of types of food that are literally kosher but nevertheless unhealthy.

     2. One’s intentions must be pure and selfless.  One must consciously undertake to serve G-d and bring pleasure to his or her Creator with one’s newly acquired resource, be it food or possessions, etc.

Every person struggles with some form of eating disorder.  Our taking from the world is never perfectly conscious and selfless.  This was the first sin and it remains the root of all impurities in the personality.  Our literal eating is always a microcosm of the way we take from the world.  Every imbalance of psyche has some corresponding (and casual) expression in the way we ingest food.  Neuroses and psychoses are only symptoms of our unholy eating which is always the first cause.
(Eating as Tikun, Susan Schneider)




Wednesday evening is Rosh Chodesh Kislev. Here is a wonderful video from Rabbi Alon Anava on Rosh Chodesh, Women and Tehillim.

May Hashem accept the prayers of Am Yisrael this Rosh Chodesh and send us Mashiach and the Geulah Shleimah!




Wednesday evening begins the two days of Rosh Chodesh for the month of Kislev.  The day before Rosh Chodesh is Yom Kippur Katan.  What is Yom Kippur Katan and how can we make the most of it?

The day before each Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the month) is referred to as 'Yom Kippur Katan," the "Little Yom Kippur." R' Gedalya Schorr, in explaining why this is the case, first discusses the purpose of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur, simply stated, is a day for one to take an accounting of what he or she has accomplished or failed to do. It is time for people to inspire themselves, to arouse within their heart and soul a desire to accomplish more, to strive for greatness.
There are two approaches that can be taken when it comes to self-motivation. One approach is to focus on that which we are lacking. "Why can't I control my anger, why can't I control my evil inclination, etc.?" By accenting our faults, we realize how far we have fallen, and how great the need is to get back on the right track. Another approach is to focus on our aspirations and goals. Our Sages wrote that everyone is required to ask themselves "When will my deeds reach the (level of the) deeds of my forefathers?" A person must realize that he has it within himself to achieve greatness, and that greatness is indeed within reach. Read More

Rosh Chodesh reminds us of what man could and should have been.  It is a time of atonement because its message of renewal summons Israel to renew itself, to return to its roots and shed the blandishments of the material world.  Because of this, the nation’s spiritual leaders ordained that the day before Rosh Chodesh should be a day of repentance and atonement – a miniature Yom Kippur.  In earlier times, when Jews were closer to God, one Yom Kippur a year was enough, perhaps, but as the years went by and the exile chipped away at our spiritual awareness, the genius of our religious leaders asserted itself and they prefaced the monthly day of renewal with a day of reflection, prayer, and repentance.  This is Yom Kippur Katan, a day when we can help bring the moon back to its original state by becoming worthy of Redemption and God’s Presence. (Rabbi Nosson Scherman, The Arstscroll Yom Kippur Katan Service)

Tehilla Diamond writes about participating in her first Yom Kippur Katan service in Bnei Brak in a blog post entitled  Yom Kippur Katan, No Small Endeavor

For a more in depth look at Yom Kippur Katan.



We all know that we need to do Teshuva but what exactly is teshuva? How do we do it and how do we know when we have done it?  Rabbi Alon Anava answers these questions in this rather long, but fascinating and extremely important shiur.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

May all Am Yisrael do complete teshuva and merit the Mashiach and the geulah, speedily in our days!


Parshat Chayei Sarah

Camel Commotion: Parshat Chayei Sarah
Based on a Naaleh.com class by Mrs, Shira Smiles

The Torah relates the initial meeting of Yitzchak and Rivka in inverse parallel structure. Rivka was coming from her father's home in Charan. Yitzchak was coming from Be'er Lachai Roee. Both were on the road. Neither was in a defined place. The Torah states that Yitzchak went out towards evening to talk to God in the field. He raised his eyes and noticed camels coming. Rivka also raised her eyes, beheld Yitzchak, and fell from her camel. She asked Eliezer, "Who is this man walking in the field towards us?"  Eliezer answered, "He is my master." She then took the veil and covered herself. The commentators explain these verses as the preparations our ancestors made for finding their match and for beginning to forge the life of a Jewish family.

Yitzchak was forty years old. He knew he was ready for marriage.Vayovenu Bamikrah interprets his journey as his personal effort in the quest for a wife. He knew he could not marry a girl from Canaan and that he was prohibited from leaving the holy land. These two elements made it impossible for him to search for a bride. Even though Avraham had sent Eliezer back to the old country to find a match, there was no guarantee of success. So Yitzchak was involving himself in the mitzvah of making matches in the hopes that he too would merit his own mate. He went to Be'er Lachai Roee to bring Hagar, who had done teshuva, back to Avraham.

Yitzchak established the Mincha afternoon prayer. It is in the afternoon, says Rav Reiss, when we are heavily enmeshed in the concerns of daily work that we may easily forget that everything is dependent on the will of Hashem. Certainly, finding an appropriate spouse is subject to His will. But there is a much deeper mystical connection. Rav Avigdor Parness in Lev Tahor takes us back to the time of creation again. He references each hour of the sixth day and how Hashem created Adam and Chava. By the ninth hour, they were already complete and were commanded not to eat from the eitz hadaat. In the tenth hour, Chava and Adam transgressed that one commandment and ate of the fruit. That hour when the Creator went out into the field symbolically searching for Adam and asking him rhetorically "Ayekah, where are you," was the same hour of the day that Yitzchak went out into the field to reconnect with his Maker and rectify the sin of Adam. But to do so completely, he also needed his ezer kenegdo to represent Chava.

Rav Moshe Bick notes that when Yitzchak davened Mincha, he not only davened for his ezer kenegdo (helpmate), but for all of Klal Yisroel. He saw all of Jewish history before his eyes till the time of Moshiach. He knew that one of the signs that Moshiach is thatchutzpah (impudence) will increase. He also knew that it would be a time fraught with death and destruction. Yitzchak  used his self -nullification in prayer to counter this arrogance and try to prevent the massive destruction. When he saw the gemalim, the camels, he saw it as a sign of redemption, for it echoes Hashem's promise that although his descendants will go down to Egypt, "Gam aloh aaleh, I will also bring them up again." 

Chessed will also play a critical role in ushering in the redemption. When Yitzchak saw Rivka on the gemalim, especially after Eliezer related how Rivka gave him and all the camels enough water to drink, he knew that Hashem had sent him his destined mate to complete his mission. When Rivka saw Yitzchak approaching, she was overwhelmed by the aura surrounding him, and she either fell off her camel in awe or slid off in respect. Perhaps, as Meor Vashemesh suggests, she fell figuratively. She must have known she was on a higher spiritual level than her father and brothers. But now she was witnessing true greatness. She reassessed her own worth and her stature fell in her own eyes. But she decided to grow and do teshuvah, and so she took her veil and covered herself in modesty and determination.

The Belzer Rebbe explains that Rivka understood that her contribution to the household would be the attribute of chesed, kindness. But the aura of Yitzchak's gevurah was so strong, that Rivka worried it would overwhelm her chessed and she would not be an appropriate helpmate. To this Eliezer answered, "He is my master," he has grown up in the home of my master Avraham whose defining characteristic was also chessed and he carries some of this within himself as well. As Rabbi Dovid Cohen points out, Eliezer reassured Rivka that they would balance each other out. In the same vein, we too must strive to achieve equilibrium between the attributes of chessed and gevurah within us.

Although Yitzchak and Rivka were extremely different, they shared a common goal. Their differences served to complement each other and teach us how we can be inspired to grow and use each of our middot to build the world Hashem meant us to build.   



Let us examine the situation that prevailed then, when the world began.  At the time of Creation, Man and Woman were in a position unique in human history.  They were given an opportunity that was never again to be available.  Had they allowed Hashem to rule them, they could have crowned Him sovereign ruler of the world for all eternity.  But they chose otherwise.

Why?  What was the alternative which they sought?  In some way, the first man and woman were asserting their “independence.”  But this independence, to which so many of us aspire, is of course, nothing but an illusion which becomes transparent when closely examined.  “Free” of God’s mastery, we submit instead to enslavement by values internal—ego, passions, and desires—and external—unattainable financial and social goals and the like.  Indeed, we may even subjugate ourselves  to political "leaders" whose credentials to rule us are often dubious.

In the end, our submission to the control of external factors has brought us to the state of multifaceted dependence in which we find ourselves today.

Mashiach—the ultimate messianic king—is the leader who will release us from this enslavement.  After thousands of years during which man has been experimenting with every possible way of avoiding God, Mashiach will raise and liberate the consciousness of man.  He will end our search, and bring us under the yoke of God’s dominion. 
(More Precious than Pearls, by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller)



The word Teshuvah is usually translated as repentance. In fact, there is a well known prayer recited on the High Holy Days that Teshuvah, Tefillah, andTzedakah, translated as “Repentance,” “Prayer,” and “Charity” can avert the evil decree.

This translation is not entirely accurate. Teshuvah is better translated as “return” and signifies a return to the original state.

Classically, Teshuvah is comprised of three ingredients: regret of misdeed, decision to change, and verbal expression of one’s sins. Technically, whenever one sins, one is mandated to do Teshuvah. However, the Ten Days ofTeshuvah between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are specifically designated for Teshuvah, when the gates of prayer and repentance are more open than at any other time during the cyclical Jewish year.

Kabbalistically, Teshuvah takes on more of a cosmic dynamic.

The word Teshuvah in Hebrew may be read “tashuv hey,” literally “returning the letter Hey.” The last letter Hey of the Tetragrammeton refers to Malchut.Malchut is synonymous with Shechinah, which is how G-d manifests Himself as a sovereign within the creation.



An essay by Rabbi Eliyah E. Dessler on Parshat Veyera in Volume 5 of Strive for Truth;

The Banishment of Hagar and Yishmael

Avraham’s ninth test—the last before his final and greatest test, the ‘Akeda—was when Hashem told him to listen to Sara and send his maidservant Hagar and her son “away from me and from my son Yitzhak, from this world and from the next.”  The Midrash adds: “And of all the misfortunes that had befallen Avraham in his lifetime, this was for him the worst.”

God gave our Father Avraham, the greatest ba’al hessed in all creation, many tests dealing with the quality of gevura  [see “Our Forefathers’ Attributes”].  He bore a great love for his son Yishmael; and even after Yitzhak was born, his affection for Yishmael did not lessen.  The command to banish him from his house was a great blow to Avraham, as we saw in the midrash quoted above.  His quality of gevura was clearly demonstrated by the manner in which he performed this task.  [See Bereshit 21:14.]

First, “He rose early in the morning”: with alacrity, without the slightest hesitation.  Second: “He took bread and a flask of water.”  Contrast this with the meal he served the three strangers! Then:  “He put it on her shoulder, together with the child.” The boy was sick but God’s command was carried out immediately.  And then:  “She wandered in the desert.”  He did not provide a servant to help her or guide her.

He proved himself to be in complete control of his emotions.  Where apparent severity was demanded, he was perfectly able to provide it.  If the mitzvah is “banishment,” then banishment it must be, in the full sense of the word.  In this way, he fulfilled Hashem’s will in these particular circumstances and passed his tests completely.  [A lesson was being taught.  Even hessed has its limitations.  It is not true hessed to tolerate an evil influence in one’s household.  But even so the severity with which Avraham sent them away was only apparent.  Avraham had already been told that he need not be unduly concerned about Yishmael; he would become a great nation.  In this situation, miracles would be provided for their preservation.]

The Covenant with Avimelech

After the banishment of Hagar and Yishmael, the Torah begins a new parasha.  “At that time, Avimelech…said to Avraham, ‘God is with you in all that you do’…and the two of them made a covenant.” Why does the Torah tell us that the covenant with Avimelech occurred  just “at that time"?

The significance is this.  Avraham, the master of hessed, certainly loved peace and pursued it in all his relationships.  But particularly at that time—when he was obliged to act with apparent severity in turning Hagar and Yishmael out of his house—at that time particularly, he rejoiced in the opportunity to make a peace pact with Avimelech, the king of the Philistines.

However, we find that Hazal advance some criticism of Avraham’s action.  Rashbam quotes a midrash which teaches the following:

God said to him: You gave [Avimelech] seven ewe lambs.  By your life, [I swear to you] that his descendants will wage seven wars against your descendants and defeat them… By your life, his descendants will kill seven righteous men of your descendants;  Shimshon, Hofni and Pinhas, Shaul and his three sons… By your life, his descendants will destroy seven temples: the Tabernacle, Gilgal, Nov, Shiloh, Giv’on, and the First and Second Temples.  Also:  The Ark of the Convenant was in captivity for seven months in the land of the Philistines.

Our Rabbis, with access to ruach ha-kodesh—the holy spirit—tell us that, according to the judgment of absolute truth, Avraham might have displayed a very slight excess of hessed in this connection.  Avimelech was, after all, an idolatrous king who was occupying part of the territory promised ot Avraham.  Perhaps by making such a pact, not only for himself, but also for future generations, he was prejudicing future battles which might be required in the process of conquering the land.  Those future disasters, hint our Rabbis, may have been needed to atone for this very slight defect in Avraham Avinu’s middot.

Immediately after the account of the pact with Avimelech, the torah introduces the parasha of the ‘Akeda.  This is prefaced by the words “After these things.”  Again we can ask, What is the connection between these two parshiyot?  Rashbam explains that one of the factors leading to the test of the ‘Akeda was the need to correct the very slight excess of hessed which Hazal detected in Avraham's eagerness to conclude the peace pact with Avimelech.

Shabbat Shalom              



Indeed, G-d is kind and merciful, and His mercies are over all His works.  Man is duty-bound to emulate Him, and Israel, His nation, are commanded to wear the mantle of mercy and show mercy to all His works.  Our sages therefore declared (Shabbat 128b), “The prohibition against causing living creatures pain is Torah-based,” and (Gittin 62a), “A man is forbidden to eat until he feeds his animals.  First it says, ‘I will put grass in your fields for you cattle’ (Duet. 11:15), and only then, “You shall eat and be satisfied’ (Ibid.).”

Moreover, G-d tests man’s leadership potential according to the extant of his mercy for G-d’s creatures. ( Shemot Rabbah 2:2) teaches:

His eyes behold, His eyelids test, the children of men (Ps. 11:4): Whom does He test?  The righteous, as it says, “The L-rd tests the righteous” (Ibid., v.5). How does He test them?  Through shepherding.

He tested David this way and found him to be a fine shepherd:  “He took him from the sheepfolds” (Ibid., 78:70).  What are “the sheepfolds [machla’ot]”?  It is like “The rain was held back [vayikalei]” (Gen. 8:2).  He would restrain the older animals for the sake of the younger ones.  First he would let out the youngest to graze so they would get the soft grass.  Then he would let out the aged animals so they would get the medium grass.  Finally he would let out the young adults to graze on the hard grass.

G-d said, “let one who knows how to herd sheep according to their individual strength be the shepherd to My people.”  As it says (Ps. 78:71),  “From following the ewes He brought him to be shepherd over Jacob His people.”

G-d tested Moses, as well, precisely through shepherding.  Our sages say that when Moses was tending  Jethro’s  Chasit, where it found a pool of water and stopped to drink.  When Moses caught up with it, he said, “I did not know that you ran away because you were thirsty.  You are tired!” and “he picked it up and carried it back on his shoulder.  G-d said, “As I live!  Since you have the compassion to tend sheep this way, you shall tend My flock, Israel.”

This is how far a Jew’s mercy must extend—to the little lamb, the flock of sheep, so great is the mitzvah of showing mercy.  Yet it must always be in the right time and place in accordance with the dictates of Halacha, Jewish law, and the Divine conception of mercy.  Let us never forget the mitzvah of not showing mercy where forbidden to do so.

Our sages said (Shabbat 151b), “Whoever shows mercy to his fellow man shall be shown mercy by G-d, and whoever does not show mercy to his fellow man shall not be shown mercy by G-d.”  Let the reader understand that our sages learned this principle from a verse quoted immediately following the command to burn and destroy the ir ha-nidachat, the apostate city (Deut. 13:18):  “God will make you merciful and have mercy on you.”

Precisely this indicates a Divine decree.  It shows that the definition of “mercy” and love of Israel” are what G-d defines them to be, and not the mercy of fools enslaved to alien culture. 

Kindness and mercy – in the right time and place – is the obligation of every Jew.  It is a means of suppressing one’s passions and becoming less selfish, thereby exalting oneself almost to the level of the ministering angels, and perhaps higher.  Hence, from the general theme of kindness and mercy emerge countless mitzvoth and ideas which have always guided the Jew in his daily life. (Or HaRa’ayon, Rabbi Meir Kahane p.178)



This is a small excerpt from the essay on Parshat Lech Lecha, entitled Our Forefathers' Attributes by Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler in the book Strive for Truth volume 5.  

Our Rabbis say in the Midrash:  “The Avot were themselves the Divine Chariot.”  Maharal explains: “[The Forefathers are called the Divine Chariot]  because through them the Shechina rests on the earth.  God’s presence is upon them, and therefore they are a throne and a chariot for the Shechina.”
This saying certainly possesses depths into which we cannot delve, but the little which we can understand may go something like this:  The holy Avot merited to attach their whole mind, heart, and being to the Creator.  They gave over their whole existence to Hashem, leaving nothing for themselves.  All their thoughts and all their deeds, even in matters which seemed to be related to the affairs of everyday life, attested to the holiness of Hashem and the presence of the Shechina.  By observing them, one could see what God wanted from human beings.  They revealed the Divine will, and that is why God is called “the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzhak, and the God of Ya’akov.”
It is from this viewpoint that we must examine all that the Torah tells us about the Avot.  Every single incident of their lives which the Torah relates to us comes to teach us the highest levels of avodat Hashem.
Maharal adds that by being three in number, the Avot represented the Divine Chariot in all its fullness.  Ramban remarks on the same midrash that this refers to the fact that Ya’akov represents the height of truth and Avraham  that of hessed, while Yitzhak represents the fullness of the fear of God.  And he adds:  “The discerning one will understand,”  meaning that these three qualities refer to the three sefirot: hessed, gevura, and tiferet.  This will be explained later in the essay.
Through this gateway we can attain deep insights into the ways of avodat Hashem in all its purity.  This we will now attempt, with the help of Hashem.

Basic Forces
Three basic forces exist in man by means of which he can achieve his spiritual goals. Each one is different in its origin and character.
1.     HESSED.  Through the power of loving kindness, a person turns his efforts towards his fellow beings and tries to make them happy and influence them for good to the best of his ability.  Elsewhere we have called this “the power of giving.”
2.     THE FEAR OF GOD.  In contrast to hessed, in which a person turns his attention chiefly outwards, with the fear and awe of God, a person turns inwards on himself.  His chief concern is that his actions will meet the strict criteria of the Divine will.
3.     TRUTH.  Searching for truth clarifies for a person the right way in avodat Hashem.  This enables him to avoid turning either to the right or to the left. One who is guided by the desire for truth will be less likely to fall into the extremes of hessed and yir’ah and will thus avoid their negative aspects, as described below under the subtitle “Extremes”.
We can also see these three qualities correspond to the “three things on which the world stands:  Torah, the Temple service, and deeds of love.”  Torah corresponds to truth (and the sefira tiferet); the Temple service corresponds to sacrifice, negation of self; fear of God (the sefira gevurah) and deeds of love are, of course, hessed.  The three character traits which “banish man from the world” are the opposite of these.  Jealousy is the opposite of hessed: lust is the opposite of gevura (which, in essence, is the conquest of the yetzer), while kavod (prestige-seeking) is the opposite of truth, for it is well-known that all the honor and prestige of the world is falsehood and bluff.
Generally a person’s character is based mainly on one of the three dominant forces we discussed above.  We usually find that all a person’s thoughts and deeds are influenced and guided by his particular dominating quality.
When a person decides to devote his life to the service of Hashem, his first act should be to discover and recognize his dominating quality.  He should then try to develop it and perfect it and remain true to it to the best of his ability.  But he should not be satisfied with this.  There are other qualities hidden within him, and to reach his full potential he must try to develop these, too.

In a similar manner, though on an immeasurably higher level than we can comprehend, were the qualities of our holy Forefathers.  Each of them reached perfection according to his dominant character trait and then went on to develop the other two qualities as well, bringing them to perfection under the guidance of the dominant quality.  By these means, each one succeeded in completing his portion in the creation.  As the Zohar states:  “Each one of the Avot knew the Holy One Blessed be He through his own lens.”  That is, through the individual dominant quality of his mind.
Before God revealed Himself to Avraham in Haran, he had already reached a very high degree of hessed on his own. This is alluded to in the Torah by the words “the souls which they had acquired (literally:  made) in Haran,”  which refer to the men and women Sara and Avraham had brought near to the service of God.  There could be no greater hessed than this, since by this they gave those men and women the greatest good in this world and in the next.
Almost all the tests which Avraham had to face after this were in the direction of gevura.  The command “leave your home” meant to leave his father alone in his old age in order to fulfill God’s command.  The battle with the four kings was certainly an act of gevura.  So was brit mila, which separated him from the rest of mankind and might have impeded his successful work in bringing the people close to Hashem. 
All these tests were extremely difficult for him because they were in opposition to the quality of hessed which was natural to him.  But it was by this opposition and the work entailed in overcoming it that he grew in spiritual status to an incomparable degree.  What he had done previously, guided by his own individual quality, he now did out of a much more profound recognition of and trust in the Almighty.
The banishment of Yishmael and Hagar by the command of God went even more against his inborn quality. [Indeed the Midrash describes this as “the worst thing that had happened to Avram in his whole life until the test of the ‘Akeda.  When he had successfully withstood this test, he was acclaimed by Hashem as “one who fears God.”
Thus Avraham, despite his inborn midda of hessed, acquired perfection in the quality of fear, in its highest sense.  He had shown himself able and ready to accept the yoke of God’s kingdom without any reservations whatsoever.  All his possessions, spiritual as well as material, were nothing in his eyes before the divine majesty of Hashem.

A person whose main quality I hessed is in danger that, in his yearning to give to others, he may spend more money than he can afford.  Then, he will borrow from others and spend it in turn.  Eventually it will be found that his excessive desire to do hessed was counterproductive, for it led him to cause others loss because he could not repay his debts.  There is also the possibility that he will eventually “be merciful to the cruel,” leading to “cruelty to the merciful,” as we find in the example of Shaul Ha-melech.  There is also another more insidious danger that, by becoming accustomed to acceding to everyone’s requests, he may then come to accede to the demands of the yetzer hara.  This is why certain forbidden marriages are referred to as hessed.  (The whole institution of marriage is, of course, a great hessed.  Through it, people bestow a great bounty on mankind by allowing a new generation to emerse.  But when this deviates from the bounds set down by the Creator, by a person acting simply to gratify his desires or by way of sin, God forbid, then it is called “the hessed of defilement.”)  Such is the lot of hessed, which is not limited by the quality of gevura.
Similarly, the quality of gevura—even “the gevura of holiness”—if taken to extremes is liable to minimize a person’s actions, even his good actions, as we saw above.
A person whose main quality is gevura, unrestricted by considerations of hessed and emet (truth), is liable to tend to other excesses.  By concentrating too much on himself, such a person is likely to minimize the importance of other people.  He may then fall under the power of “taking.”  Or, in addition to controlling himself, he may come to dominate others and fall into the abyss of arrogance and hatred.  This is the “gevura of uncleanliness”  indeed.  But this is what is liable to happen to gevura when it is not controlled and guided by hessed and the love of other people.
But the quality of emet unites hessed and gevura.  When a person seeks the truth—the point of truth in his heart—in every problem and decision, he is freed from the danger of excess in either direction. The desire for truth cannot lead to any unworthy action, as the other qualities can.  On the contrary, truth will bring a person to the only correct amalgamation of hessed and gevura in one organic and harmonious whole.
The person of truth strives to find the precise point of truth in every problem and decision.  This corresponds to Torah, which is “a Torah of truth.”  A person who strives for truth will never go wrong.  On the contrary, the search for truth will bring a person to the correct balance between hessed and gevura.  This is tiferet—glory—which is the harmonious union of opposites.



IDF arrested the Israelis for 'entering a closed military site', have allegedly denied detainees medical treatment

MDA treats terrorist, if more severely wounded, before victims of terror

Arab terrorists are entitled to medical care but Jews aren't?  Regardless of whether or not Jews should have gone to Kever Yoseph at this time, there is no excuse for denying them medical treatment. There is something seriously wrong with anyone who would show mercy to an enemy but not to his own (Jewish) brother.

"those who are merciful to the cruel will be cruel to the merciful"



Terrible things are happening to Am Yisrael right now and anyone who pays attention understands that we are in "the end of days" and these are the birthpangs of Mashiach but why must we suffer for Mashiach to come?

Rabbi Alexander Aryeh Mandelbaum explains in his book Redemption Unfolding;

The Chevlei Moshiach are geared to bring Bnei Yisroel to a higher level of prayer, and thereby to become more aware of our total dependence on the Creator.  As Chazal teach us (Pirkei DeRebbi Eliezer, 32): "Why was he called Yishmoel?  In the End of Days, HaShem [El] will listen [yishma] to the cries [of Yisroel] as a result of Bnei Yishmoel's actions in the Land."

The Chofetz Chaim wrote (Kuntras Likutei Amarim, Chapter 10): "All the many troubles that have fallen upon us, from which we have still not been saved, are because we don't scream and increase our prayers in response to them.  If we had prayed [properly], we would not have returned empty handed.  And it is not enough that [one] prays the Shemoneh Esreh prayer three times each day; several times daily he must pour out his requests in solitude, in his house, from the depths of his heart.  The three regular prayers are so routine that one does not really concentrate during them --which is not the case if each person would contemplate in solitude his own plight...  then he would pour out his heart like water to HaShem.  Such a prayer would emerge with very deep intent, with a broken heart, and with great humility.  Such a prayer will certainly not go unanswered...!"

Just as HaShem listened to the groaning voices of Bnei Yisroel in Egypt, so will Hashem listen to our cries today.  In the merit of that prayer and crying, HaShem will speedily bring the Redemption, as is writen in the Zohar (Part 2, 12b): "Rav Yitzchak said that the salvation of Israel depends only on crying... as is written  (Yirmiyahu 31:8): '...with crying they will come, and with lamentations I will lead them.'"



First of all nothing is simple.  The issue is complicated are there are many reasons but Rabbi Yechiel Weitzman explains the core of problem in his book The Ishamealite Exile;

The reason man is being confronted with the actions of Ishmael is to bring him to the realization that he will never solve his problems solely by means of his own strength.

To this day, no solution has been found to prevent suicide attacks. There is no army or force in the world able to contend successfully with the terror of suicide bombers. All mankind stands impotent before these madmen. The military aircraft, tanks and rockets on whose strength nations relied until the recent past are utterly useless. There is nowhere to turn --almost nowhere, that is. For we still can turn to our Creator, and only to Him, to save us from the sons of Ishmael.

Hence, Ishmael is the means by which the world will regain it's lost faith. This is the nature of the Ishmaelite exile.

Yet make no mistake about it: Ishmael is not consciously G-d's messenger in this mission. He commits murder of his own volition, using his own free will. And he will come to his downfall at the End of Days because of it. But Divine providence makes use of a wagon already running along the course of its own choosing to bring the world under the dominion of the kingdom of G-d, so that all may recognize Him and believe in Him. This is where free will and Divine decree meet.

This plan, whereby Ishmael serves as a physician of sorts to heal us of our lack of faith, appears in our ancient sources. Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanos, Rabbi Akiva's teacher wrote (Pirkei deRebbi Eliezer, ch.31):

There were six individuals who were named before they were born.... Why was Ishmael [which means, "G-d will hear"] called by that name? Because the Holy One, blessed is He, will hear the moaning of the people as a result of what the children of Ishmael are destined to do to them in the Land [of Israel] at the End of Days. This is why he was named Ishmael.

Rabbi Eliezer, then, pinpointed both the place and the time: the Land of Israel at the End of Days. This astonishing forecast was recorded at least nineteen hundred years ago, before the birth of Islam and the existence of Arab culture. What lies beneath Rabbi Eliezer's question, "Why was Ishmael called by that name?" Wasn't the answer given explicitly in the Torah? Didn't the angel tell Hagar to name him Ishmael "because G-d has heard your affliction"? (Bereishis 16:11).

The answer is that if the name's full meaning was that conveyed by the angel, the name should have been Shamael ("G-d has heard"), for the angel referred to the prayer Hagar had already offered due to her suffering. But the angel specified a name that refers to the future, "G-d will hear." Rabbi Eliezer saw in this an allusion to future events.

Ishmael, through his persecution of the Jews, will bring the Jewish people to recognize that their own strength will be insufficient to solve the problem of suicide bombers. Only when they return to their faith and cry out to G-d in prayer will they be rescued.

The ideas discussed in all the preceding chapters regarding the Ishmaelite exile and the End of Days are encapsulated in a single verse of the Torah, where Moshe Rabbeinu informs the Jewish people what will befall them at the End of Days. He describes all the events that unfold today before our very eyes: "they enraged Me with a non-G-d; they angered Me with their nonsense. And I will enrage them with a non-people; with a despicable nation I will anger them" (Devarim 32:21).

How are we to understand why the Creator incites against us "a despicable nation," as stated in the passage referred to above, and why will those termed "a nonpeople" so enrage us?

The answer is hidden in the above verse, which appears near the end of the Torah. G-d tells the Jewish people that in the future, when they distance themselves from Him and provoke Him with a "non-G-d" (belief in other powers), then He will "enrage them with a nonpeople"; that is, He will have them live in proximity to groups who are not defined as a people.

The Ramban in his commentary on this verse explains that a "nonpeople" is a people that cannot develop a society fit to be called a nation, because they are not organized as a nation is. Rashi in his commentary relates a bit differently to the verse's meaning. He says that a "nonpeople" is a people that has no name." Yet the import is virtually identical to the Ramban's understanding: people who are not organized as a nation do not have a name as a nation. They are thus considered "a despicable nation," lowly and disgraceful. In all of our other exiles, we have been under the rule of peoples that had clearly defined national identities. They had a name and all the trappings of nationhood. Moreover, in the mercy of gangs of murderers, not established nations. (The Ishmaelite Exile, Rabbi Yechiel Weitzman)

While suicide bombings are not the current method of terror, the story is the same. The government can't protect us. The army can't protect us. The police can't protect us. So what is the solution?

Rabbi Chaim Vital adds, "We are at a loss as to what to do . We have no hope but to trust in His great name, may He be blessed, that He may save is from their hand." We see clearly that Rabbi Chaim Vital also reveals that persecution at Ishmael's hands will prod the Jewish people to renewed faith in G-d and to prayer. Only then will G-d answer.

Our sages teach us that prayer has the power to renew a person's faith. However, they say that only prayer that is called a "moan" (נאקה) has this ability. What is this moan?

Rescue from Ishmael requires a special kind of prayer. The quotation cited in the previous chapter from Pirkei deRebbi Eliezer explains that Avraham called his son Ishmael ("G-d will hear") because of the prayers that the Jewish people were destined to pray to be redeemed from Ishmael's decrees. With respect to these decrees, it says, "The Holy One, blessed is He, is destined to hear the moan of the people." A "moan" is a cry that bursts forth from the depths of the heart. In response to the awful sufferings that Ishmael will inflict upon Israel, they will cry out from tremendous pain with a moan. They are assured that when that happens, their prayer will be accepted.

There is an added dimension to our sages' choice of the word "moan" rather than "prayer" (תפילה) or "plea" (בקשה). Prayer is a request for something an infividual wants but does not have. But a "cry" (which Rashi uses as a synonym for "moan") is a prayer for life itself. The shahids around us give us the feeling that our very lives are in peril. Redemption will come only when we realize that without faith in G-d, our lives are at risk. Then we will truly cry out to G-d from the depths of our being.

Unfortunately, only the suffering Ishmael brings on us will lead us to this realization.
(The Ishmaelite Exile, Rabbi Yechiel Weitzman)



Parashat Beshallach – Mercy for the cruel? - Rabbi Meir Kahane

The water came back and covered the chariots and the horsemen of the entire army of Pharaoh, who were coming behind them in the sea – there remained not a one of them. (Ex. 14:28)

“The ministering angels sought to sing G-d's praises [when the Egyptians drowned at sea]. G-d responded, 'My handiwork is drowning at sea and you would sing?'” (Megillah 10b) Who can retell the distortions of G-d's valor perpetrated in recent generations! The deliberate distortion of “My handiwork is drowning in the sea”, as if we must glumly avoid gladness when our enemy falls, has become the steady fare of those who consume the alien culture [of the secular Western world]. G-d, Merciful Father and Creator of all life – righteous and evil – certainly does not sing or rejoice when His evil children die. Despite their wickedness, they are still His, and what father will rejoice at his son's death, even if that son be the most evil on earth? 

All the same, G-d does not hesitate to kill His handiwork, as when He drowned the Egyptians. He does not sing; He does not rejoice; but he drowns His handiwork at sea. True, He, Himself, neither rejoices nor allows rejoicing or song in Heaven, but others, the Jewish people, He does cause to rejoice.
In fact, He requires them to sing. Our sages said (Mechilta, Beshallach, Mesechta Devayehi, Ch.2): “The L-rd will fight for you” (Ex. 14:14): That is, “Will G-d perform mighty wonders for you while you just stand in silence?” Israel asked Moses, “What should we do?” and he responded, “Extol and exalt! Sing the praises, glory and majesty of the Master of all warfare, as it says, 'Let the high praises of G-d be in their mouth' (Psalms 149:6)”... Israel then opened their mouths and sang G-d's praises.
Because of their arrogance and wickedness, G-d drowned His handiwork in the sea and commanded Israel to sing praise and thanks to G-d, so as to inform the world that “The L-rd will reign forever and ever!” (Ex. 15:18).

Forgiveness and love for an enemy? Mercy and sorrow over his death? Here is Midrash Avchir, quoted in Torah Shlema, Ex. 14:31, letter 210: “Israel saw the great work” (Ex. 14:31): When G-d wished to drown Egypt, Uza, Egypt's angelic prince stood before G-d and said:”Master of the Universe! You have been called righteous and upright...Why do you wish to drown the Egyptians?” ... Just then Gabriel rose up, took a mud brick and stood before G-d saying, “Master of the Universe! Shall You have mercy on these who so harshly enslaved Your children with mud bricks?” G-d immediately retracted, judging them strictly and drowning them in the sea.

Sorrow over the death of the evil? Over Israel's enemies? The Torah's very defining good and evil in real, absolute terms constitutes a declaration of war against the [contemporary secular Western] culture of the nations and of the Hellenists [secularized Jews] who adopted it. That culture preaches that no one absolute good or evil can be determined, since all ideas and concepts, including those defining good and evil, are the product of human thought. Both those who deny the existence of a Supreme, Omniscient, Omnipotent G-d Who is the source of wisdom and truth, and those who admit the existence of a Supreme Being yet deny Torah from Sinai, i.e., that G-d set forth a blueprint in the Torah, hold that we cannot attach special status to one “good” over another.
Tolerance and pluralism are the ultimate principles of that alien culture. Since followers of that culture cannot determine with certainty what evil is, they cannot eradicate it from the world. Mercy toward the cruel is not a good trait. Quite the opposite, one is duty-bound to separate oneself from the evildoer even if this is a difficult step, and even if it appears cruel. The cruel, wicked person will influence goodness and corrupt it. There can be no coexistence between evil and upright people – only separation.

The mitzvah of eradicating evil from our midst requires us to hate it, as in Psalms 97:10, “Those that love the L-rd hate evil.” It is the duty of him who loves G-d to hate evil and evildoers, for they are G-d's enemies. Nonetheless, in the alien [contemporary secular] Hellenist culture, the themes of love and hatred have been so entirely distorted that it is a terrible crime to speak of hatred as a halachic duty in the right time and place. False love finds a hundred different ways to overlook evil. Advocates of that culture have transformed all such traits as cruelty and revenge into an evil that must be shunned. Such is not the Torah's way...

G-d, Creator of the universe and all that it contains, also created attributes, ethics and values. He created and defined them, assigning every single trait its time, place and purpose. As King Solomon said (Eccles. 3:1-8): To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to dance; a time to cast stones and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

Everything has a season. There is a time for every attribute and value. G-d created them all and assigned each a purpose, place and time. There is a time to love – but also a time to hate. Anyone incapable of hating those who G-d commanded us to hate is a sinner and heretic and he brings destruction to the world.

In the final analysis, if someone does not know how to hate properly, he cannot love properly. Whoever is unready for war in the right time and place, mandated by G-d, is a sinner and heretic precisely like someone unready for peace. G-d, Who created the world, understands “the minds of His beasts” (Prov. 12:10) in all their detail. He, Who understands and listens, examining man's inner recesses, knows that there is a place for mercy, peace, love, kindness and forgiveness, but simultaneously a place and a need for “cruelty”, so to speak, for war, hatred, killing, uprooting wickedness from the land and destroying evil from the world. What would one not do to save and defend one's household, family and friends from their enemies, to rid their world of danger, to frustrate the evildoers' designs? What would one not be ready to do to the evildoers themselves?

Precisely with this in mind, G-d, Merciful Father of the universe, gazed down and saw the danger posed by evil and wickedness threatening His righteous dear ones, innocent of all wrong. He understood that it is an unpardonable sin to take pity on those of whom it says, “Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness” (I. Samuel 24:13), thereby facilitating their cruel treatment of the righteous and innocent. Whoever takes pity on an evildoer, leaving him free to treat the righteous with cruelty and abuse, is not merciful but cruel. Anyone incapable of hating evil and evildoers can never love the righteous. The death of the wicked is infinitely preferable to the death of the righteous, and eradicating evil is infinitely superior to eradicating good.

Quite the contrary, when G-d destroys evil and evildoers, He is not showing kindness just to the righteous and innocent but to the evildoer as well. He does a kindness to the evildoers when He removes them from the world, for He thereby prevents their doing evil and increasing their sins. This represents a great gift from G-d which lightens their punishment in the Afterlife.
We find this regarding Enoch, of whom it says, “Enoch walked with G-d, and he was not, for G-d took him” (Gen. 5:24). The Midrash comments (Bereshit Rabbah 25:1): “Enoch was a hypocrite – sometimes righteous and sometimes evil. G-d said, 'Let Me remove him while he is still righteous.'” This is the true, definite meaning of our sages' utterance above, “The death of the evildoers is beneficial to them and beneficial to the world.”

It is beneficial to the world because the evildoers stop oppressing it. It is beneficial to the evildoers because G-d is saving them from themselves.
G-d established a time and place for love and for hate, and in the right time and place, each is a duty and a commandment. The Torah never contained, and never will contain, a concept of “groundless love”, just as the Torah absolutely rejects the concept of “groundless hate”. In G-d's attributes, nothing is “groundless”. Rather, there is a clear reason for all required behavior – with love and hatred warranted in their time and place. It is our duty to carry them out lawfully and as commanded, without, G-d forbid, confusing them.



On Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot we read Kohelet in which it is written;

Everything has its season, and there is a time for everything under the heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot the planted.
A time to kill and time to heal;
a time to wreck and a time to build.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to wail and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to shun embraces.
A time to seek and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to discard.
A time to rend and a time to mend;
a time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and time for peace.

Due to our time in the exile, we have assimilated the ideas of the goyim. We have learned from them the distortion of truth that says destroying, killing, hate and war are always bad and building, healing, love and peace are always good.

This is wrong! There is a time and a place for everything even hate and war.  It isn't easy. We, the Jewish people, have inherited our innate nature of chesed from our father Avraham. Just as Avraham suppressed his nature of chesed to fulfill the will of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, so must we. We must struggle every moment of every day to discern what is expected of us, by Hashem, in any given circumstance. We can't just follow our hearts like the goyim.  We must learn Torah and study the words of our Sages, daven for wisdom and guidance so we know exactly how to act or react.



We know that the yetzer tov can use its opposite, the yetzer ha-ra, for its own purposes, either by shelo lishmah, or as described in the article "Light from Darkness" (See p.180).  We learn this from the saying: "You shall love Hashem... with all your heart-- with both your inclinations, the good and the bad.
    It may not be realized that the yetzer ha-ra can use the yetzer ha-tov for its own purposes, too.
    Say the yetzer ha-ra causes a person to sin, and the yetzer ha-tov then counterattacks by giving him conscience-pangs. The person suffers from the contradictions within himself.  The yetzer ha-ra may tempt him to rid himself of the contradictions and silence the voice of conscience by self-deception and radical denial.  This means that he decides to reverse his values and henceforth to consider the bad as good and the false as true. The yetzer ha-ra has succeeded in converting the demand of the yetzer ha-tov into a factor leading to denial and heresy. 
    This is the meaning of the saying of our Rabbis:  "It is not enough for the wicked that they have not turned the yetzer ha-ra into yetzer tov; they have even turned the yetzer tov into yetzer ra'."
    The lesson is that one has to look very carefully at the demands of the yetzer tov.  One has to refine them, select them, and see that they lead promptly to practical results.  If not, one might wake up one morning and find that the yetzer ha-tov has lost its voice.
    It is all too easy to forget the true perspective and adopt the opposite view.  This is the one that has many names--"practical," "realistic," "progressive"; but whose real name is nothing more nor less than: "false."
    The result may be that the person finds he is --at least temporarily--at peace with himself.  But may God preserve us from that kind of peace!
(Strive for Truth, Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler, volume 2 p. 95)



The Jewish Idea (The Time of the Redemption) p. 907-909

In the era of Redemption, Ishmael  will rise up and become strong while still hating Isaac, Jacob and their descendants.  They will provoke kings and nations, while the world is sinking into a chaos of wars and tragedies.  We have already quoted Pesikta Rabbati (Kumi Ori, 36):

R. Yitzchak said, “The year the Messianic king is revealed… Persia will provoke Arabia, Arabia will go to Edom to take counsel from them, and then Persia will go back and destroy the whole world… Israel will be in a tumultuous panic, asking ‘Where shall we go? What shall we do?’”

The Holy Zohar, likewise, often states that the Ishmaelites  will attack the Jewish people and Eretz Yisrael in the end of days. The Zohar, Bereshit, 119a, teaches, “At that time, the Ishmaelites will be aroused together with all the nations of the world to attack Jerusalem.” The Zohar further teaches (Vaera, 32a, part of which was quoted previously):

The Ishmaelites shall long have control over the Holy Land when it is empty… and will deter Israel  from returning to their place… In the future, they will stir up major wars, and Edom’s descendants will gather against them and wage war on them—one on the sea, one on dry land, and one near Jerusalem. They will employ great force against each other, and the Holy Land will not be given over to Edomite control.

Thus the wars of Ishmael will be against Israel and will also be part of the series of wars between the nations.  All this will occur in an age of global collapse, which G-d will bring in order to punish the nations, sanctify His profaned name, defeat and eradicate false gods and religions, and publicize His Oneness to all the world.  The central theme of that age will be G-d’s  confrontation with the nations’ deities and religions, and Israel are duty-bound to clarify this point publicly.  Only when the world understands that the confrontation is religious, will they note the collapse of all the untrue faiths. On that day, “the L-rd shall be King over all the earth” (Zecharia 14:9); He shall be one and His name one” (Ibid.) “For the kingdom is the L-rd, He is ruler over the nations” (Psalms 22:29) – and over their gods.

The first redemption from Egypt was this way.  As our sages said (Tanchuma, Vaera, 13), “Why did the water get smitten first with blood?  Because Pharaoh and the Egyptians used to worship the river.  G-d said to Moses, ‘First smite their god in their presence, and then smite them.’” They also said (Mechilta, Beshalach, Mesechta DeShira, 2):

When Israel saw (Egypt’s) angelic prince fall, they began praising G-d.  It therefore says  “Exaltation on the sea” (Ex. 15:1).  Just so, G-d is not going to punish the nations in the future until He punishes their angelic princes, as it says,  “On that day, the L-rd shall punish the host of the high ones on high” (Isaiah 24:21), and only then, “and the kings of the earth” (Ibid.).  It also says,  “How have you fallen from Heaven, O bright star, son of the morning!” (Ibid., 14:12), and only then,  “How have you been cut down to the ground, you who ruled over the nations” (Ibid.).  We also find, “For my sword is sated in Heaven” (Ibid. 34:5), and only then,  “Behold it shall come down on Edom” (Ibid.).  (See Tanchuma, Beshalach, 13 for a similar source.)

Mechilta teaches (Ibid. 9), “Nations heard and shuttered’ (Ex. 15:14).  Once the nations heard that Pharoah and his hosts had died at the sea, that Egypt was eliminated and that its deities had been punished, they began to shudder.” Our sages also said, (Tanchuma, Mishpatim, 18):

“I destroyed the Amorites before you… I will destroy their fruit from above” means their angelic prince, and  “their roots from below” means the Amorites.  G-d will, likewise, do the same in the  future.  He will first punish the nations’ angelic princes and only then their earthly kings.

The Jewish people are duty-bound to clarify for themselves and proclaim to the world that the confrontation between themselves and Ishmael is between the G-d of Israel and the false religion called Islam.  The confrontation of the redemption era must constitute a collision between our G-d and theirs.  Then G-d’s victory will be the height of Kiddush Hashem and proof of His greatness and unparalleled might, and will establish His reign over the world.

Should a frightened coward whisper to you that such a proclamation is likely to heap tragedy and destruction upon the Jewish People, send him back where he came from.  Do not let him spread his fear.  Surely, it is Israel’s duty to sanctify G-d’s name and make the world understand that “the L-rd is G-d”; there is none besides Him” (Deut. 4:35). Whoever  has reservations about this and intentionally ignores his duty out of fear, letting the false religions rule the world, profanes G-d’s name and is partner to blasphemy.

Surely the false religions are undeterred from proclaiming their “truth”. Neither Christians nor Moslems fear confrontation with other religions, and they demonstrate their views publicly, aggressively trying to reach and convert members of other faiths, including the Jewish People—Heaven help us.  The Ishmaelites speak openly about the greatness of their religion, never hesitating to talk of waging holy war for it’s sake.

By contrast, not only do a lion’s share of Jews, including the impoverished regime in Eretz Yisrael, reject the truth of Torah, but they allow the false religions to influence our Jewish brethren to  change their faith, and do not deport them form the Holy Land.  Our policy must be to demonstrate that the confrontation is and will remain religious, a struggle between G-d  and the god of the nations, between G-d’s Torah and alien culture and beliefs.  That they find the very thought of this illegitimate, insane and abominable, is our main problem. For the Ishmaelites’ pious faith, in face of Jewish heresy and apathy, we will ultimately pay a heavy price – Heaven help us!

We must praise the Master of all, and turn our thoughts and actions to understanding the truth—that there is a war going on between G-d’s Torah and false beliefs.  In this way, we will lift our eyes to the mountains, as King David said, “I will lift my eyes to the mountains (harim).  From whence will my help come?” (Psalms 121:1).  Bereshit RAbbah, 68:2, comments, “I will lift my eyes to the patriarchs (horim, literally “parents”), my teachers and masters.”

There is a spiritual war happening across the entire world between good and evil.  Good being the truth of Torah and evil being all false belief systems. We need to understand that we are at war and we are soldiers of Hashem. The teachings of our forefathers and our Sages are our weapons in this war.