Thursday, September 13, 2007


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Which Dog is the Dog? The Houses of Lavan: Part 2

have been thinking all day about Simple Jew's comment to my previous entry about Monsieur Sarkozy. I believe that I have come up with an answer. Actually this has been a thinking process going through my head during the last three weeks since my article about the Houses of Lavan, dealing with the sub-prime mortgage catastrophe in the the USA.

Why has this happened? Have not American Jews been keeping mitzvot with great fervor in America. Surely the Baal Teshuvah movement in America should have protected American Jews and their investments in their homes. The cost of parochial or day school education has skyrocketed. The rising value on their homes and some creative financing on mortgages have been a vital source for paying for a G-d fearing education for one's children along with paying for the secular education of everyone else's child through state property taxes.

Except in Wisconsin no one gets a break on taxes simply because one has children in private schools. Moving to Milwaukee might solve a problem or two if every Jew who wanted to give their children a Torah education could move there.

As reported on Mystical Paths Jews who have mortgaged their homes to the hilt for holy purposes are being hurt by this. Is there something in their service to G-d which may need improvement which could have lead to this? Even if their service is holy and wholly wonderful is there potentially something that G-d wants that they have heretofore have not been able to deliver?

The Talmud in two places in Sotah and in Sanhedrin explicitly says that the face of this last generation before Mashiach comes and into which Mashiach comes will have the "face of a dog". This can mean many things, and not all of them are bad. While Chazal (the Sages of the Ages) heaps much scorn on people who behave like dogs, it must be remembered that one of the heroes of Jewish History who resisted tremendous temptation to be like ten of his comrades had the name "Dog".

He of course was Kalev (Caleb means dog) ben Yefunah. In Hebrew that would be כלב בן יפונה. Two things need to be remembered about Kalevben Yefunah with regards to his resistance against the pervasive plot of ten of his comrades in the book of Numbers. For one, he did not need a name change to go in and spy out the land. No yuds or any other letter were added to his name to help him resist the pervasive onslaught of his comrades' arguments to continue to learn Torah in the miraculous environment of the desert perpetually living on Mon (daily manna) and under Clouds of Glory.

As G-d's Dog he knew that G-d's will was for Klal Yisrael to live in the Land of Israel with all of the incumbent dangers and tribulations that come with fighting wars for and living with G-d in a more natural environment where the supernatural expresses itself within nature and where one only reaps what he sows.

Secondly and on a deeper level we see from Numbers 13:22 that only Kalev went into Hevron to pray at the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. He risked his life at the hands of the three giants, Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, who lived there. What was so important that he would place himself in such a dangerous situation knowingly. Rashi tells us that he wanted to protect himself from the spies evil counsel.

Of course this is true, but on a deeper level he was praying on behalf of Klal Yisrael that at the end of days we who love the Land of Israel, his distant spiritual descendants, will not fall into the trap of falling into the evil counsel of Mankind and the ErevRav that Chevron is expendable in order to bring World Peace. We will feel the pain of our Chaver (the root of the word Chevron), our fellow Jew, when the nations of the world seek to expel him from there. We will not take comfort with studying Torah in the "Desert" without Mashiach by ignoring the plight of our fellow Jew in Chevron as Esau slyly instructs his Erev Rav representatives to expel Jews from their homes.

This is a work in progress. Bli neder I will continue this essay as time allows. I am sorry for all the delay, but I have been very sick. Until yesterday I was not even able to answer my email. Baruch HaShem I am doing better now.
posted by Dov Bar-Leib at 9/05/2007 01:30:00 PM 20 comments

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