God says to Israel: ”I have made you shepherds..."

Jewish Center Bombed in Sweden: A Jewish community center was bombed in Malmo, Sweden, continuing an ongoing wave of anti-Semitic hate in the city. An explosive device was set off outside a Jewish community center in Malmo, Sweden late on Thursday night. Nobody was hurt in the blast, but the building sustained damage (INN, 9/28/2012).

The Patriarchs wandered from exile to exile, and attained rest only after great toil and travail: Avraham left Ur Kasdim to go to Charan (means ”wrath” a place of lies and deceptions) and from there to Canaan and went down to Egypt. Isaac dwelt in Philistia; Gerar. Ya'akov went to Padan Aram and came to the land of the children of the east; Charan, from there to Canaan and then he went to Egypt with his children.

Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt, and suffered disgrace and imprisonment. Moshe was forced to flee to Midian, he and his brother Aharon led the Israelites in the wilderness. David fled to Gat and Moab and he knew no rest from war.

Regarding Yitzchak, the Genesis 26:1 states: ”And there was a famine in the land, aside from the first famine that had been in the days of Abraham, and Isaac went to Abimelech the king of the Philistines, to Gerar.” – i.e., in exile. Israel his children, also wander and are persecuted from exile to exile but still do not doubt God.

Regarding Ya’akov Genesis 28:2 states:Arise, go to Padan aram,..” After the birthright had become his and he had merrited his father’s blessing, he enjoyed neither. Instead, he served Lavan for twenty years, for that was God’s will and he did not doubt God’s ways.

Regarding Yosef Psalms 105:17-18 states:”Joseph was sold as a slave.They afflicted his foot with fetters; his soul was placed in irons.” He remained as faithful in exile as he was in his father’s home. Israel, his descendants, also remain faithful to their Father in Heaven and find protection in the shelter of His faith.

Regarding Moshe and Aharon, we read (Psalms 77:21, 78:52):You led Your people like sheep by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” ”Then He caused His people to journey like sheep, and He led them as a flock in the desert/wilderness.” Israel, their children, throughout the generations, have not turned from their path either.

Regarding David, Psalms 63:1-2 states: A song of David when he was in the desert of Judah. O God, You are my God, I seek You. My soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You, in an arid and thirsty land, without water.” Even when David was in the wilderness, he was neither thirsty for water nor hungry for bread. All of his thirst and hunger was for the nearness of God alone, and Israel, his descendants, find satisfaction only in being close to God.

Why did God make them wander, moving them from place to place without rest?

”And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you" (Gen. 12:1-3).

He did so to enable them to shed light, goodness and blessing upon all of humanity.

Sukkot: 'The Canopy of Faith': Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks: Jewish history reads like a vast continuation of the stages of the Israelites’ journey though the desert. Faith was their only home.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160427

"It is a Miswah for every Jewish male, to include his wife and all his children with him in the Sukkah. The reason is so that they will be covered by the shade of faithfulness and so that the kindness of G-d, which He does with His people Israel at all times, will be made known to them..." (Women and Children in the SukkahbyRabbi Ya'aqob Menashe).

”It is a good thing... To declare Your lovingkindness... in the morning ("when things are bright and the sun shines...") and Your faithfulness (Your faith) in the nights” (Psalm 92:2-3). ”When the world turns dark and we feel only pain, then we must live on our faith. It’s not a Yid’s belief in Hashem that gives him life at night. It’s the way Hashem believes in us that gives us life. When the night is so dark and endless, what keeps us alive is remembering how much Hashem believes in us. Hashem believes that we will bring the coming day" (Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin). I.e., the redemption.

”Verily, the kindnesses of the Lord never cease! Indeed, His mercies/compassions never fail! They are new every morning; great is Your (EMUNATECHA) faithfulness (Your faith)” (Lam. 3:22-23). ”The concept that Hashem has faith in His children and that the new day will arrive through our perseverance is so beautiful and so powerful, that it enables us to actually turn the darkness into light” (Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin).

Divine providence is more reliable than all wordly wealth...the sukkah will renew his strength and courage him and teach him and inspire him with joy and perseverance, even in affliction and travail” (Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Book of Our Heritage).

The Ushpizin, Shepherds of the Entire World: Avraham overflows with the quality of lovingkindness; CHESSED. Yitzchak with the quality of spiritual strength; GEVURAH. Ya’akov with the quality of spiritual glory; TIFERET. Yosef with the quality of holiness, Moshe and Aharon fill every corner of the world with eternity and grandeur – the former through his Torah, the latter through his priesthood. David plants the seed of Divine sovereignty which shall rule the whole world.

http://www.aish.com/h/su/dits/48965711.html

From their blessings all of humanity is enriched. They transform a desolate wilderness into a living spring of Torah and Divine service which all of humanity can draw from for eternity (Isaiah 43:19-21, 41:17-20, Ch. 35, 65:17, 66:22) - (Drawn From The Book Of Our Heritage, by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov):

These faithful shepherds seek nothing for themselves, and one who seeks no personal gain is given the entire world. It is for this reason that Avraham was found meritorious and God made him ”the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5).

Regarding Yitzchak Genesis 26:4 states: ”And all the nations will find blessing in your descendants.” Regarding Ya’akov Genesis 27:29 states: ”People will serve you, nations will bow down to you.” Regarding Yosef, Genesis 42:6 states: ”And Yosef was the ruler of the land, he was the provider for all of the people.”

Regarding Moshe, Deuteronomy 32:8 states: ”He set up the boundaries of peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.” Regarding Aharon, Psalms 133:2 states: ”As the good oil on the head runs down upon the beard, the beard of Aaro...for there the Lord commanded the blessing, life forever.” Regarding David, Psalms 2:8 states: ”Request of Me, and I will make nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession..”

And now, the descendants of these Patriarchs come before God to rejoice on the Festival of Sukkos, declaring: ”God of the Universe,– we have no desire for our homes or for the produce of the fields – our only desire is for You” When they achieve this level of pure joy, they become a source of blessing for themselves and for the entire world.

In their merit, Divine bounty and blessing descend upon the entire world for the whole year.

Even the sacrifices which they offer during Succos are not meant for themselves. They offer seventy oxen to atone for the seventy nations so that they too may merit Divine bounty. It is only when they conclude the sacrifices brought opn behalf of all the nations that they bring an offering for themselves.

Numbers 29:35 states: ”And on the eight day it shall be an assembly for you.” I.e., between Me (God) and you (Israel) alone – and you shall offer a burnt offering...one ox. At first bring sacrifices for them (the nations); then make an offering for yourselves.

God says to Israel: ”I have made you shepherds to tend My entire world with love mercy and kindness. You are shepherds, the children of shepherds...”

Rejoice...Be Wholly Happy", Says the Bible on Sukkot – Tonight: "Sukkot", says Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, "is a complex set of variations on the theme of life, It is a festival of a people who have known more starkly than any other that the canopy of faith is the only shelter we have".

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160413

The Miraculous Clouds of Divine Glory: ”For in the cloud I shall appear...” (Leviticus 16:2, 1 Kings 8:10-12, 2 Chr. 6:1, Exodus 20:17, 40:34-38).

"I saw in the visions of the night, and behold with the clouds of the heaven, one like a man was coming, and he came up to the Ancient of Days and was brought before Him.And He gave him dominion and glory and a kingdom, and all peoples, nations, and tongues shall serve him; his dominion is an eternal dominion, which will not be removed, and his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed" (Daniel 7:13-14).

Before the Israelites left Egypt (or the north country; Jeremiah 23:7-8), they had rejected and slaughtered the Egyptian (or Rome’s) lamb-god. God cleansed them and purified them from their abominations and Israel forsook all falsehood and every vain belief (Ezekiel 36:16-38).

Israel travelled from the powerful fortress city of Ramses (Rome or USA; which gave false protection, Jeremiah 30:7-11) to Succoth (Exodus 12:37-38, Numbers 33:5); to the shelter of the sukkah of the God of truth (Leviticus 23:23-43). They now entered under His Chuppa (Isaiah 4:5-6), His protection, His wing (Ruth 2:12), in the shelter of His Shechinah (Presence).

Why is the place named Succoth? "And Jacob traveled to Succoth and built himself a house, and for his cattle he made booths/shelters/huts;.." It seems strange that Jacob named the place for the animal shelters, rather than for the houses he built for the people. Or HaChaim suggests that this may have been the first time anyone took the trouble to shelter animals from the sun and cold; until Jacob; shepherds considered livestock to be nothing more than a means for sustenance and profit. Because Jacob here made a public display of compassion for all living creatures, the place was named for that precedent-setting act (From Art Scroll's Chumash).

"When the children of Israel arrived at Sukkos, they encamped there until the following day. Our Sages teach that God made sukkos for the children of Israel there. Some maintain that God provided them with actual booths for shelter; others say that the sukkos He made for them consisted of seven clouds of glory which enveloped them and served as their protection...all Israel dwelled in one sukkah - the sukkah of the clouds of glory" (Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov, Book of Our Heritage). The Zohar refers to the Sukkah as the shelter/shade of faith

"Whoever sits in the refuge of the Most High, he shall dwell in the (protective) shade of the Allmighty. I will say of HaShem, (He is) my refuge and my fortress, my God, I will trust in Him. For He will deliver you from the ensnaring trap, from devastating pestilence. With his pinion He will cover you, and beneath His wings you will be protected; His truth is shield and armor" (Psalms 91:1-4). Whoever seek to dwell in Hashem's shelter, His Torah of life, will find true protection.

"For He will conceal me in His Sukka on the day of evil. He will secrete me in the hiding place of His Tent and lift me high on a rock" (Psalms 27:5). We all have times of distress, for such is the human condition. Hashem will hide us from the pain, but where?.. We need never look to the trinkets of this world for safety; Hashem’s rock awaits us in His Tent (Rabbi Yitzchok Rubin).

And HaShem will create over every structure of Mount Zion and over those who assemble in it a cloud by day, and smoke and a flaming fire by night, for this will be a canopy (CHUPPAH) over all the honor. And there will be a tabernacle (SUKKAH) as a shade from heat in the daytime, as a protection and refuge from storm and from rain" (Isaiah 4:5-6).

"Now what shall the messenger of a nation announce? That the Lord has founded Zion, and therein shall the poor/afflicted of His people shelter themselves"  (Isaiah 14:32, Zech. 14:16). Even from the ten tribes they would come there...(see 2 Chr. 30:6). "And I said, "But they are poor (impoverished of Torah knowledge; wisdom), they have become foolish, for they did not know the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God." (Jeremiah 5:4).

Over Sixty Countries March to Show Support for Israel: Cheers of "We love Israel" were heard throughout the streets of Jerusalem Thursday as thousands of Christians from all over the world paraded down the streets to show their support for the State of Israel. The flags of over sixty countries waved alongside the blue and white flag of Israel as confetti poured down and Israeli spectators stood on the sidewalk cheering on the marchers and thanking them with replies of "we love you too" (INN, 10/4/2012).

Sukkot Video: 3,000 Christians Support Israel: The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem hosts 3,000 Christians from around the world who come to express their support for Israel.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160520

Activists: Beware Concerned Christians: At least two prominent Jerusalemites believe that Israel is “selling its soul” to Christian missionaries for their political support. The organizers of the Christian “Feast of Tabernacles” celebration, who have brought more than 3,000 tourists to Israel for the week of Sukkot, “have their own interests, namely the spreading of the vision of their messiah and the arrival of his kingdom,” said Fenton. While all people are free to believe and worship as they wish, Fenton said, Jews must proclaim that their Messianic vision is at odds with the Christian one. The Christians' profession of “love for the Jewish people,” she said, is a “mask” for their true desire, which is to convert the Jews to their religion.

“When they talk about the rebuilding of the Temple, they mean it to be a Christian temple,” Fenton said. As far as they are concerned, the establishment of the State of Israel, as far as evangelicals are concerned, is a Christian event in and of itself, Fenton said, because it advances the Christian messianic agenda. (INN, 10/4/2012).

Now, Isaiah the prophet says that God soon will remove their protection; the “mask” “and the veil that is spread over all nations” (25:7).

"A palace of strangers...shall never be built" (Isaiah 25:2). Targum renders: "...the temple of the deity of the nations in the city of Jerusalem shall never be built." One wonders if prior to the overthrow of the forces of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:7-9) at the end of days, the deceived nations will attempt to build an idolatrous temple in Jerusalem, only to be thwarted by God, as seemingly implied by the Targum.

The mighty nations will fear God when He overthrows their cities and strongholds at the end of days: "Therefore, (even) a strong people (Edom, Gen. 25:23, Jer. 31:9-11) will honor You; the city of mighty nations (Rome) will fear You. For you were a stronghold for the meek (Israel, which suffered tribulation from the nations during their exile), a stronghold for the destitute when he was in distress; a shelter from downpour, a shade from the sorching heat, when the fury of the mighty was like a dwnpour against a wall. (Though they were) like a sorching heat in the wasteland, You diminished the tumult of the foreigners, like a sorching heat (is) shaded by a cloud, (so) the breaking of the mighty humbled (them)" (Isaiah 25:3-5, Ch. 24:16-23, 49:25-26, depicted the overthrow of the nations in the war of Gog and Magog).

"How abundant is Your goodness that you have stored away for those who fear You, that You have performed for those who seek refuge in You in the presence of men. Shelter them in the cover of Your countenance; from the haughtiness of man; protect them in a shelter (SUKKAH) from the strife of tongues" (Psalms 31:20-21, 37:9-15, Job 5:17-27).

Clouds brings rain and righteousness: "Shower, O heavens, from above...and let the skies pour down righteousness" (Isaiah 45:8) - "This means that great kindness and salvation shall come to Israel, as if they will flow down from the heavens above" (Metzudas David).

"Give ear, ye heavens, and I will speak; and may the earth hear the words of my mouth. My lesson will drip like rain; my word will flow like dew; like storm winds on vegetation and like raindrops on grass" (Deut. 32:1-2). The Torah which provides life and growth to the world, is just like the rain and the dew, which provides life and growth to the world.

”In the light of the King's countenance is life, and His delight is like a cloud of the late rain" (Prov. 16:15). The one to God, shows a bright countenance (Numbers 6:24-27) - it is life to him. Therefore, a person must straighten his way before Him  (Rashi). As we recite in the Amidah, “For in the light of Your Face, You have given us the Torah (Instruction) of Life,” with which (and through which) to carry out His will (Tanya).

Because Job used to engage in Torah, which is compared to water, he merited to be blessed with dew. And his speech (his prophecy) would drip upon them. And they waited for him as for rain (Job 29:19,22-23).

Psalm 72 is a prayer for Solomon's success; "May it (his words) descend as rain upon cut vegetation, as raindrops that drip upon the earth" (v6). "And let us know, let us strive to know the Lord:..and He will come to us like rain,.." (Hosea 6:3). Like rain which comes to be life for the world, for He will come to teach life (the secret of righteousness) that will come to us (Rashi).

Since the fall and winter are the rainy season in Eretz Yisrael, and it is a country that depends on rainfall more than most (Deut. 11:11-15), the ’sages ordained that the prayer for rain be recited on Succos, the pilgrimage festival closest to the rainy season. The prayer is recited on Shemini Atzeres, after the Scriptural commandment of succah-dwelling is over. 

First 'Rains of Blessing' Expected for Shabbat: Winter is expected to finally arrive in Israel this weekend, with plunging temperatures, heavy wind and rain, and thunder and lighting (INN, 11/8/2012).

The Early and the Late Rain: "And the children of Zion, rejoice and jubilate with the Lord your God, for He gave you the teacher for justification (Isaiah 2:4, 53:11, 45:25, 55:1-5, Michah 4:3), and He brought down for you rain, the early rain (in Marcheshvan) and (hopefully) the late rain in the first month (Nissan, spring)" (Joel 2:23, Deut 11:11-15, 28:11-14, Lev. 26:1-13). "Request rain from the Lord at the time of the latter rain; the Lord makes rain-clouds, and He shall give them rain; for each person, grass in the field" (Zech. 10:1). At Pesach we will also pray for dew...

When I call out the Name of HaShem, ascribe greatness to our God (Deut. 32:1-3). My Lord, open my lips, that my lips may declare Your praise (Psalms 51:17).

Blessed are You, Hashem our God and the God of our forefathers, God of Abraham, God of Jacob, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob; the great, mighty and awesome God, the supreme God, Who bestows beneficial kindnesses and creates everything, Who recalls the kindnesses of the Patriarchs and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children, for His Name’s sake, with love. O King, Helper, Savior, and Shield. 

Af-Beri is the name of the angel appointed over the rainclouds (Job 37:1-16, Psalms 147-148). "The name is formed from the two words Aph ”anger” and Beri ”health,” and alludes to the two ways in which rain may fall. Sometimes it comes in harsh torrents and is a sign of Divine anger (aph) and at other times it falls in a beneficial manner and brings health (beri) and prosperity in its wake (Mateh Levi). The responsibilities of this messenger are described in the first two stanzas in the Prayer for Rain (Siddur). 

"Aph Beri burdens the cloud; he scatters His rain cloud. And he turns around in circuits by His guidance for their work; whatever He commands them upon the face of the habitable world, Whether for the rod (correction or punishment), whether for His land, or for kindness that He cause it to come” (Job 37:12-13).

"You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the Resuscitator of the dead are You, abundantly able to save. May he obligate the angel Af-Beri, to give us portions of the segregated rain, to soften the wasteland's face when it is dry as rock. With water You symbolized Your might in Scripture, to soothe with its drops those in whom was blown a soul, to keep alive the ones who recall the strengths of the rain."

The segregated rain, i.e., the heavenly water; the spiritual flow of blessings from on high" (Siddur). With water (Torah), thunder and hail (truth); His voice, God symbolizes His might in Scripture (Isaiah 28:17, Job 38:22-23, Psalms 18:13-15, Ezek. 43:2). The rest of the prayer speaks of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron and the Twelve Tribes - that abundant, life-giving rain should fall in their righteous merit.

"I said, "Sow for yourselves righteousness, and you will reap according to loving-kindness, plow yourselves a plowing (toil in the Torah), and it is time to seek the Lord (through the study of Torah), until He comes and instructs you in righteousness" (Hosea 10:12), i.e., He will rain down charity to you, and cause you to let you know its secrets with righteousness.

"Cause the heavens above to drip, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let salvation and righteousness be fruitful;.." (Isaiah 45:8, 61:11).

Malachi 3:8-12 "Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me, and you say, "With what have we robbed You?"-With tithes and with the terumah-levy. You are cursed with a curse, but you rob Me, the whole nation. Bring the whole of the tithes into the treasury so that there may be nourishment in My House, and test Me now therewith, says the Lord of Hosts, [to see] if I will not open for you the sluices of heaven and pour down for you blessing until there be no room to suffice for it.

And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, and he will not destroy the fruits of your land; neither shall your vine cast its fruit before its time in the field, says the Lord of Hosts. And then all the nations shall praise you, for you shall be a desirable land, says the Lord of Hosts." Providing proper support for Israel's spiritual ministers and teachers is the very key to national as well as international survival and prosperity (Isaiah 24:1-6, Joshua 1:8).

The dead (and/or the wicked) will be resuscitated with a spiritual force referred to as ”dew." See Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2. And by restricting charitable contributions, especially to Torah scholars, one will reduce the downflow of Divine energy, spiritual life force...

Southern Kids Tell Diplomats: Life Here is Hard: Dozens of kids from southern Israel told foreign diplomats what it was really like to grow up with thousands of rockets being fired at them.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162015#.UKGEkGffWSo

How can one person pursue a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Mighty Rock has sold them out, and the Lord has given them over? (Deut. 32:30).

When the Jews made their break from Egypt, they numbered at least 3 million - and that is a modest estimate based on the fact that there were 600,000 males accounted for between the ages of 20 and 60. How many Egyptians chased them? At the very most - 1800. (Based on the 600 chariots that were reasonably carrying no more than 3 Egyptians per chariot). In other words, there were approximately 1600 Jews against every Egyptian.

So what was the problem? Why did the Jews at the edge of the Red Sea wail? Why didn't they fight?

Stories from the Holocaust reveal the same phenomenon. How could small numbers of Nazi soldiers force tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths with total compliance? (Moshe Feiglin). See LEVITICUS 26:1-13.

The Jewish people and all Israelites must repent (Judges Ch. 2:10-23, Nehemiah Ch. 9) and their enemies must be stoned by "knowledge of God" (1 Samuel 17:49, Daniel 2:31-35,40-44, Isaiah 11:9, Habakkuk 2:11-14).