News from America 8:06 AM 3/9/2014
News from America 5:46 AM 3/9/2014
Inside Israel 8:07 AM 3/9/2014
Torah Tidbits Audio
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
In his classic, “Orot,” Rabbi Kook emphasizes the vital role of literature in bringing redemption to the world. “Literature will be sanctified, and writers will also sanctify themselves, and the world will rise up and recognize the great and gentle power of literature that will elevate the spiritual foundation of the world in all of its exaltation” (Orot, Orot HaTechiyah, 37).
Most people are motivated by their feelings, which influence their thinking and beliefs. It is here, in the deep workings of the psyche that literature can illuminate and uplift the spiritual foundation of mankind, transforming darkness to light.
“The spirit of impurity, as with all impurity, will vanish from the world, and literature will become a holy endeavor. Every writer will come to recognize the holiness and spiritual grandeur of his work, and he will not sit down to write without purifying his soul and sanctifying his thoughts. There will be a preceding thought of t’shuva (returning in penitence to one’s roots), deep reflections of return before each creation. Then the work will come out pure, and the spirit of God will be upon it” (ibid).
For Israel to return to its true Torah culture, all writers, not only writers from Hollywood, must become masters of penitence. As Rabbi Kook writes:
“Out of the worldly, too, will emerge the holy, and out of the brazen liberalism will also emerge the beloved yoke of the Torah. Golden chains will be woven and will arise out of the poetry of free thinkers, and a luminous penitence will also arise from the secular literature. This will be the great wonder of the vision of redemption" (Orot HaT’shuva, 17:3).
“The feelings of penitence in all of their glory, including the profound upheaval of the spirit which they engender, must become manifest in literature, so that the generation of the revival will understand in the depths of its being, the importance of repentance as a living and vitalizing power, and thus the generation will return and be healed” (Orot HaT’shuva, 17:5).
This, then, is the reason I write my stories. David may be right that my skills are inadequate for the task, but my heart is in the right place, and that, in itself, is a worthy endeavor.
Today, INN reports that “Russia has given Iran its bear hug and warns Israel and the West that an attack on Tehran would be considered an attack on Moscow.”
In case someone has forgotten, in the last century, Russia slaughtered millions of Jews and forcefully wiped out Judaism from an entire generation. In my opinion, when we strike Teheran, we should also nuke Moscow and major Russian cities. General Patton was right – American should have taken out Russia when it had a chance, at the end of WW2. Jews of Russia – get out now!
What about WW3? Yeah, I know all about it – it’s safer to stay in America than to come on aliyah with so many missiles pointed at Israel. Ha ha ha! That’ a jolly excuse! Especially when Hashem has promised that there will be a refuge in Zion and Yerushalayim, not in America (Joel, 3:5; Ovadia, 1:17).
Friends, make no mistake – America is going to get creamed too. So you are much better off in Israel where Hashem is going to put up an anti-nuclear fallout cloud to save us. Sure the leftists will sweat a little as the incoming missiles disappear from the sky, but when the cloud clears, it’s going to be business as usual, another beautiful day in the Land that Hashem watches over from the beginning of the year to the end.
Since Today is the yarhtzeit of the Rambam, may his memory be for a blessing, here’s what he wrote in his famous “Letter of Teman” about lingering in foreign lands where the danger of assimilation eats away at the Jews:
“If a man stays in a place where he sees the Torah is waning, and where the Jewish people will be lost in a matter of time, and where he cannot stand by his faith, and say, ‘I will stay here until Mashiach comes and survive where I am’ – this is nothing but an evil heart and a great loss, and a sickness of reasoning and spirit. This is my opinion, and Hashem knows the truth.”
This may be one of the most important prayers you ever say. Knowing that many people find it difficult to pray in Hebrew, I am presenting the translation I wrote of Rabbi Aharon Rota’s “Tikun HaYesod” learning and prayer to atone for sexual transgressions. With all of my heart, I urge everyone to study the translation posted on our jewishsexuality.com website, in order to take advantage of the special, 6 week “Shovavim” period, which is an especially favorable time to repent for sexual sins like masturbation, pre-marital sex, sex with non-Jews, adultery, violations of Niddah, homosexual relations, mistakes during marital relations, and watching Internet smut.
You may think it is just a lot of mumbo jumbo, but remember, I grew up in America. I spent years playing the bohemian playboy in Hollywood and New York. I’ve done things I could never write about, may G-d forgive me. In other words, I’ve been to hell and back. Since then I have had the great merit of learning Torah for thirty years in Israel, including studying about Shmirat HaBrit for ten years with the elder Kabbalist, Rabbi Leon Levi. And I have fallen and risen, fallen and risen, fallen and risen many times along the path. The things that our holy Sages have taught us are real, as set forth in the link to Rabbi Rota’s learning and prayer. Please read it. Please try to recite the prayer. Do it for the good of your souls, for the good of your children, for the good of Am Yisrael. And if you are fortunate to absorb its deep teachings, to feel true remorse, and to recite the confession with tears, then don’t worry – be happy – know that G-d has accepted your prayers. And even if tears don’t come, know that the learning itself, and the prayer, on whatever level you can say it, brings great cleansing in its wake to you and to all of the world.
(While the learning and prayer primarily apply to men, women can receive benefit as well in their study and recital, as the old saying goes, “It takes two to tango.”)