As In The Days of Noach

Adam was created to be free and to rule the world, but he abused his freedom and fell slave to his lusts. Man pays the price of his sins by serving -- man has to work. Those who are slaves to other men may pay a bitter price for their sins, BUT THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO SERVE GOD BECOME FREE. The more they serve G-d, the more they are freed from servitude to the cycle of lust, sin and degradation. Through serving G-d, man reaches his greatest heights-- and once again he becomes His beloved son. " (Rabbi A. Greenbaum, Lech Lecha).

And the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden, to till the soil, whence he had been taken (Gen. 3:23). After much toil: "With the sweat of your face you shall eat bread,.." (v19). As one sows, so one reaps - according to one's be‎havior in this life, so is the reward one receives afterwards.

Prelude to the Flood: "And it came to pass when man commenced to multiply upon the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them. That the sons of the nobles (rulers) saw the daughters of man when they were beautifying themselves, and they took for themselves wives from whomever they chose" (Genesis 6:1-2,5). Even a married woman, even males and animals (Gen. Rabbah ad loc.). "And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time." In the days of Noah, God decreed that a generation that behaved so immorally had forfeited its right to exist, but even then, he extended mercy to them (Isaiah 54:9-10).

"...for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth;" (Genesis 8:21). The Evil Inclination is also called "the firstborn."

"...sin coucheth at the door; and unto thee is its desire, BUT THOU MAYEST RULE OVER IT (the voice of temptation)' (Gen. 4:7, 6:5). At the age of 13 for boys and 12 for girls, the obligation is cast upon all who have a desire to connect to God to uproot evil thoughts from one's heart and mind. Then the Good Inclination comes upon him/her and the the child's moral sense has developed sufficiently to hold the child responsible for his or her actions. Thus, the Evil Inclination is thirteen years older than the Good Inclination.

As in the days of Pharaoh (Exodus 12:12, Numb. 33:4) - in the era of Moshiach G-d will slaughter the inclination for evil (the desire to sin, the unclean spirit, the hardened heart) (Talmud, Sukah 52a). See Zechariah 13:1-2, Ezekiel 36:25-29.

Growing Each Day By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski: "I am your God Who has delivered you, "from the land of Egypt" (Shema, Numbers 15:41). This verse is recited twice daily, because the deliverance from Egypt was more than a historic event. It was a deliverance from a state of enslavement, and this deliverance should repeat itself daily in everyone's life.

No enslavement and no tyranny are as ruthless and as demanding as slavery to physical desires and passions. Someone who is unable to resist a craving, and who must, like a brute beast, do whatever the body demands, is more profoundly enslaved than someone subject to a human tyrant. Addicted people are an extreme example of those who have become slaves to their bodies.

Dignity comes from freedom, in the capacity to make free choices, and hence, in our ability to refuse to submit to physical desires when our judgment indicates that doing so is wrong. Freedom from domination by the body is the first step toward spiritual growth."

Today I shall ...
... declare my freedom from the tyranny of my body. 

"My understanding (and the Chassidic approach may see this differently) is that our goal is not to destroy the Yetzer Hara, but to co-opt it. To get it to work for our nobler side. To harness its energy for positive things.

The sages compare our "Evil Inclination" and "Inclination for Good" to a horse and a rider. The horse, by nature, likes to self-indulge. Run around, eat, sleep with other horses...The rider wants to get somewhere. He seeks to direct the horse. He can't get anywhere without the horse. So his goal is not to kill the horse, but to encourage the horse to go where he (the rider) wants the horse to go.

Normally, our "Evil Inclination" is much more present in our lives. We hear it speaking to us in the 1st person (I'm hungry, I'm tired...) while our "Inclination for Good" usually speaks to us in the 3rd person (Your should get up to pray now, You should visit your friend in the hospital...) The goal is to take that very real and present energy of the horse, and harness it for spiritual things" (Rabbi Michael Skobac). 

"Who is called strong? The person who controls his inclination" (Avot 4:1). Says G-d: "I have created the inclination for evil, and I have created the Torah as its antidote." (Talmud Kiddushin 30b). The weekly Torah portion and its lessons for all people: http://azamra.org/TFTN/TOLDOT.htm

Petraeus Resigns: What did White House Know, and When? CIA Director resigns, admitting an extramarital affair with his biographer. How long did the White House know? CIA Director David Petraeus resigned his post on Friday, admitting that he had shown "extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. The former Army general had been in charge of the "surge" in Iraq and was later the commander of American forces in Afghanistan" (INN, 11/10/2012).

When the bubble bursts and the emptiness of his fantasies is revealed (Petraeus’ email exchanges with the woman; references to such items as sex under a desk), all the CIA Director will face is bitterness and disaster... (Prov. Chs 10-11 at www.azamra.org

"So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife no one who touches her will go unpunished...And if he is found,.. he must give all he owns. One who commits adultery with a woman is devoid of sense; one who would destroy his soul-he will do it (the lewd act). He will find wounds and disgrace, and his reproach shall not be erased, for jealousy shall arouse the husband's wrath (the jealousy of the Holy One, blessed be He), and he will not have pity on the day of vengeance" (Prov. 5:29-34). 

Steadfast devotion to Torah (the good woman) and its commandments is the general remedy against all evil (Deut. 17:2-5, 22:22), and particularly against the "woman of evil", who is the worst enemy of the soul (Proverbs 6:20-26). Those who fall victim to ”the strange woman’s” seductions will loose the life of this world and the next... all they are left with is the terrible pain of regret and contrition (Proverbs Ch. 5). Bitter is the end of anyone who goes after the "strange woman", and this is why the "children" should listen to the warnings of the loving Father not to go after her (idolatry=adultery) (Prov. Ch. 7).

Sex Scandal Rocks Obama's Top Brass: A second top U.S. general is being probed concerning the same woman whose affair with David Petraeus forced him to resign, less than week after President Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney and won a second term as Commander-in-Chief. A defense official said Tuesday the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is under investigation for "inappropriate" emails to Jill Kelley, a key figure in the scandal that brought down the former general and CIA chief.

The revelation represented yet another stunning turn in a widening scandal...Retired US Army colonel Steve Boylan -- a close Petraeus associate -- told AFP the affair between Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell began about two months after he assumed his post at the CIA in September 2011, and thus after he retired from the U.S. Army. It ended about four months ago.

It all unraveled when 37-year-old Kelley, a Tampa socialite with close military ties who was a friend of the Petraeuses, complained to an FBI agent acquaintance that she had received threatening anonymous emails...FBI agents traced the mails back to Broadwell and, on scrutinizing her online records, found a series of sexually explicit exchanges with Petraeus confirming their affair.

Adding political intrigue to the scandal -- according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal -- the original FBI agent who was contacted by Kelley brought the matter to the attention of Republican lawmakers. They in turn contacted the FBI, and Petraeus resigned late last week.

Meanwhile, the FBI investigation itself has come under scrutiny. According to the Wall Street Journal, supervisors pulled the whistleblower FBI agent off the case after he became "obsessed" with the matter and was caught sending Kelley shirtless photos of himself... (INN, 11/13/2012).

Focus in widening scandal shifts to 'flirtatious' e-mails: The complicated web entangling an ex-CIA director, spy chief David Petraeus, his mistress, Paula Broadwell, a top military leader, Gen. John Allen, and a woman, Jill Kelley, he allegedly flirted with got no less confusing.., though the U.S. defense secretary insisted facts will emerge (CNN, November 14, 2012).

Nothing happens by chance or accident. What lesson can we learn from this news that came to our attention? Learning from past mistakes is the key to make the right decisions in the future. As one sows, so one reaps - according to one's be‎havior in this life, so is the reward one receives afterwards. Act like a pig - and be seen like a pig.

Even if you have disregarded God's commandments regarding marriage, you can begin to change that right now. Even if the families are falling apart around you  - your’s can be different. You can be a master of self-control and practice morality from today - in spite of mistakes you may have made in the past.

"The one to God, shows a bright countenance/face..." The Bible tells us that “there was no other prophet who arose in Israel like Moshe, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut. 34:10).

”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/face (Numbers 6:24-27) - it is life to him (Israel). Therefore, a person must straighten his way before Him (Rashi).

“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” (Amidah).

Recommended reading: General Petreaus & Us: It's no wonder Judaism forbids a man from being alone with a woman who is not his wife by Lori Palatnik

http://www.aish.com/ci/s/General-Petreaus--Us.html

The Mashiach & Israel will come like rain and dew, to teach the peoples on how to live and how to behave (Isaiah 55:1-5, Isaiah 2:4, Michah 4:3). And they will join them.

NON STOP TORAH: Rabbanith Ruth Menashe: Rahel Immenu - the Story that will Touch & Stir Your Heart: Where do we see the modesty in Rahel Immenu that was so powerful and so strong. When we think about modesty we think about the length of our sleeves, the length of our skirts, etc, its true, its very important, but there is a lot more to it.

Modesty is about who we are, what we think about, what, how we talk about things, what we say and what we don’t say, how we act, what we cry about, what’s important for us, all this is in the general sense of our modesty of who we are.


http://www.nonstoptorah.com/audio/rahel-immenu-story-will-touch-stir-your-heart

"Isaac foresaw (rightly) that if the descendants of Jacob would be given the task (on how to perform mitzvahs, thus bringing the world into its completed state), it would take a long time. Esau was a wild man. With all his frenetic, chaotic energy, perhaps he could finish the job sooner.

But Rebecca knew that a delicate job requires focus, gentle hands and patience. It has been thousands of years, and our dedication is about to pay off. We're the children of Jacob. We may not be flashy, but we know how to stay the course. And you know what? When we finally get the job done, the children of Esau will be there to help us— (Shais Taub, ChaBaD)."I the LORD will hasten it in its time" (Isaiah 60:22).

Audio: Biblical Shepherd from Brooklyn Copes with Stolen Herd of Goats: Avraham Herzlich went from being a speed demon and globetrotter to being a shepherd in the hills of the Holy Land.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/4325

And David said... 'Thy servant kept his Father's sheep and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant smote both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath taunted the armies of the living God.' And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, (knowledge of God), and slung it,.." (I Sam. 17).

Animal Farm: A sheep is a docile animal who roams always as part of a flock. Jacob was a docile man who remained within the tents – he was content inside. He stayed with the pack – his people, an unyielding conformist to all the dictates and mandates of his faith. Esau was the hunter, the aggressive one, who went it alone, over the fence and into the fields... The Torah calls Esau ish sair, which translates literally as a “hairy man,” though the word sair can also translate as goat. 

The unique quality of every Cohen, was to “love peace and pursue peace, love all of creation and bring them close to the Torah.” “if a sheep be his offering...if a goat be his offering,” both are equal. "The right hand draws near,” symbolizes the notion of bringing closer those who might have drifted – jumped the fence – abandoned the flock – wandered from their source. When you forget – reaching out, not just to the Jacobs but also to the Esau’s – then you’ve forfeited your right hand. Esau, like Jacob, is part of the family - (Are you a lamb or a goat?, Chabad of Mineola).

Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a fountain its branches run over the wall" (Genesis 49:22-26, 8-12, Deut. 33:13-17, 7). Joseph is compared to a prolific vine or tree growing luxuriantly by a spring, whose boughs or vines surge upward over the surrounding walls. This alludes to Joseph's offspring (Ephraim, Manasseh, Ten Tribes) or to Joseph himself, who was revealed after a disappearance...when his family thought he was dead or hopelessly swallowed up by some unknown society... (Edom/Ishmael; the divided kingdom; represented by Christianity and Islam, Daniel 2:31-35,40-44).

Because Job used to engage in Torah, which is compared to water, he merited to be blessed with dew (with whch to ressurect the dead/wicked). And his speech would drip (prophecy) 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 that will come to us (Rashi).

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, 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).

"Honor the Lord from your substance (wealth) and from the first of all your grain ("All the best... I have given thee;" Aaron; Numbers 18) - and your barns shall be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9). Loving God "with all your wealth" I.e., the individuals love and surrender to God, inspires him to give tzedakah (Tanya).
 
Donate to Outreach Judaism: http://www.outreachjudaism.org/
 
"But you must remember the Lord your God, for it is He that gives you strength to make wealth, in order to establish His covenant which He swore to your forefathers, as it is this day" (Deut. 8:18). Man has to work, so as to earn the promised goodness; Peace: "Sow righteousness (charity) for yourselves, reap according to loving-kindness, plow yourselves a plowing, and it is time to seek the Lord (Torah study), until He comes and instructs you in (the secrets of) righteousness" (Hosea 10:12, Deut. 6:24-25, Isaiah 32:17-18, 48:17-19, Jer. 30:7-11). Elijah prayed to God that He give him the key to the resurrection of the dead (Sanhedrin 113a)...
 
The dead and or the rephaim (the wicked) will be resuscitated with a spiritual force referred to as ”dew..." (Isaiah 26:19, Daniel 12:2, Deut. 32:1-3).

"Even in a difficult situation, at a time of “darkness”, a Jew should not think of reducing his accustomed (sowing) charitable contributions; rather, he should “trust in the Divine Name, and rely on His G‑d.”... If a person retreats from his customary charitability, “G‑d inquires after him.” ... for by restricting their charitable contributions (especially to Torah Scolars) they reduce the downflow of Divine energy, (spiritual) life force...

Donate to: Torah for the Nations: http://azamra.org/

As a result of an arousal from [man] below — the provision of [the means for] life, grace and kindness by an act of charity with goodwill and a friendly countenance — there is elicited an arousal from above, so that] “G‑d will make His Countenance shine forth,” with a radiation and downflow of grace, kindness and Supreme favor...to revive the spirit of the humble and downcast who have nothing of their own (Isaiah 57:15)...viz. the impoverished settlers of the Holy Land (Tanya Lesson Iggeret HaKodesh, Epistle 30).

Donate to Shuva Israel: http://www.blessingisrael.com/

Again: ”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 (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). "My lesson will drip like rain;" (Deut. 32:1-2). The Torah which provides life to the world, is just like this rain, which provides life to the world (Rashi).

Donate to the ChaBaD: http://www.chabad.org/

"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, Deut. 4:27-31, Ch. 30).

”...You shall love your fellow as yourself – I am HaShem” (Leviticus 19:18) R’ Akiva said that this is the fundamental rule of the Torah (Rashi; Sifra). Hillel paraphrased the commandment, saying, ”What is hateful to you, do not do to others” (Shabbos 31a). 

God demands that we want others to have the same degree of success and prosperity that we want for ourselves... (Ramban). God commands us to love even people whom it is hard to love (R’ Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Kopitchinitz).

Joshua 1:8 ”This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.”