his ending will be great
because all beginnings are difficult."
– Rav Eliezer Papo (1785-1827)
"Instead of stinging nettle, myrtle will rise" (Isaiah 55:13)
"Instead of evil, good will rise." (The Malbim's Interpretation)
"If his beginning is small,
his ending will be great
because all beginnings are difficult."
– Rav Eliezer Papo (1785-1827)
For anyone in need of a poem for Purim specially tailored to your specific needs, Nechumelle Jacobs is offering her poetry-writing services for 15 British pounds.
She has written poems tailored to specific needs & causes before, and does a great job!
For examples of her compelling poetry, please start here:
I received the following from a couple of different sources, apparently from Rabbi Avitan.
I never knew any of this about Purim Katan, which is today Tuesday until sunset:
Tsadikim say that the light of Purim Katan (the small Purim) is brought upon all those who feel small in the sense that they need a yeshua (salvation); those who feel little because they are lacking in something.
Thank you very much to the wonderful women who made sure I saw this & encouraged it to be shared!
"It is better to stumble with one's foot than one's tongue."
— The Ben Ish Chai in Laws for Women (published in 1906)
A Newly Rediscovered Fact of Biology Illuminates a Formerly Obtuse Area of Halachah & Women's History
This post addresses a delicate subject not really so appropriate for a public mixed-gender forum.
At the same time, I believe there's a great benefit to knowing about the chiddush from Rabbi Daniel Travis (which isn't actually a chiddush, but an illuminating fact of biology he wisely rediscovered).
So I'll try to discuss things as discreetly & appropriately as possible.
So let me first start with the issue:
When learning taharat hamishpacha, one comes across discussions of "hargasha."
What on earth IS it?
The descriptions of it ring unfamiliar and prove hard to understand.
People don't seem to know what it even is (although Rabbi Travis does, as you'll see below).
For a man learning the masechet or for women taking the Yoetzet course, it makes sense to learn about it.
But the topic is brought up in pre-wedding kallah classes (or it was we were getting married, don't know if it still is) while teaching the girls what they need to know in order to keep taharat hamishpacha properly throughout marriage.
My personal subjective opinion is they shouldn't even bring it up in kallah classes because it's just confusing without contributing anything useful.
Especially because it's introduced for no apparent purpose; it's acknowledged as being unrelatable and not understood—so what is the point?
It's like: "Here's something no one really understands, but we're just going to throw it in anyway for absolutely no useful purpose! And any confusion you feel or any questions you have will not be addressed—or even discussed—because, heck, I haven't got a clue! No one does, no one understands this at all, and it has nothing to do with anything that practically relates to what you need to know. Okay, now that I've discombobulated you with completely unnecessary and confusing information, let's go on now with all the myriad details you actually NEED to know..."
Furthermore, some of the greatest Torah minds concluded the phenomenon of hargasha no longer exists, so it's just extraneous and confusing for a young woman already struggling to understand & embrace a whole new area of halacha (and doing so during a very tumultuous phase in her life).
After all, it brings up doubts; like if no one understands it, then maybe women really are experiencing it, but no one is able to pinpoint it?
For example, people say things like, "We're not sensitive enough today to feel it." That simply does not make sense, especially when you learn that hargasha is the womb opening up so painfully that it awakens the woman in the middle of sound sleep, or it's accompanied by severe trembling, and other extreme sensations.
Very murky, indeed.
In addition, the idea just sits in one's mind as yet another significant part of Torah filed away into the "nishtaneh hateva" abyss.
Unfortunately, the whole "nishtaneh hateva/things have changed" concept (a very valuable & necessary concept when applied correctly) gets way too overused and even abused, with major and still-applicable aspects of Torah dismissed with a wave of this "magic" phrase by people who either lack understanding or allow their emotional inclinations to interfere with proper Torah hashkafah.
Having said that, in the case of hargasha, it is actually true that the nature of the monthly cycle has changed.
But the lack of explanation creates a problem where there doesn't need to be.
To me, this abstract dismissiveness pricks at one's emunah, even without that being the intention—and even without one being conscious of it.
How Exactly Did the Teva Change? Now It All becomes Clear...
Then recently, TorahAnytime published a class on this very topic with Rabbi Daniel Travis:
How Radical Physical Changes Affected Hilchos Niddah
(Disclaimer: I did not listen to the whole shiur beyond the practical revelation because it got very lomdusy & technical...which is perfect for the fellows learning the topic, but just not for my individual learning needs.)
Rabbi Travis explored this topic in Torah scholarship and looked at the writings of the top poskim over the past couple of centuries, plus he spoke to a woman named Dr. Merel (whom I don't know & don't even know if I spelled her name correctly) and Dr. Merel, in addition to being an expert in the area of women's health, also spoke with older women who remember their grandmothers' descriptions of things & learned how they experienced the monthly cycle in their time.
So the big chiddush is this:
That time of the month occurred all at once within 1 hour, and not over the course of several days.
As Rabbi Travis states, it went from being a 1-hour process to an approximately 168-hour process.
So the opening to the womb opens up (sort of like when giving birth) and that's why women of yore even woke up in the middle of the night from the pain or experienced severe trembling and the like—in other words, major undeniable hargasha.
It was a serious event. As Rabbi Travis states, "It's a major shock to the body." (minute 8:31)
So it's not that we lack sensitivity or randomly don't experience hargasha; the entire monthly experience is now completely different.
No one feels hargasha because the cycle no longer causes hargasha.
This idea also explains the incredibly short time of niddah described after birth in the Torah—a phase so short, people can't relate to it nowadays.
So Rabbi Travis's research is incredibly helpful for getting closure on this issue.
Thank you, Rabbi Travis.
How This Revelation Impacts the Modern View of Older Research
As a side point, this explanation demonstrates the flaws in the research within women's studies.
For example, a woman recently wrote a book on the history of this topic, but she couldn't find information about the supplies used to deal with the monthly cycle.
So she made assumptions, which made their way into the standard explanations on this topic.
But they're not true.
Another female researcher discovered a method recommended for women of yore to deal with it, but dismissed the method as an outliers because the method assumed the kind of major 1-hour event described above. And that makes no sense to the modern observer who refuses to entertain the notion that, well, maybe things have changed.
Modern researchers work on the assumption that the monthly cycle operates the same way throughout the millennia, despite ancient writings showing it doesn't.
The problem is, the secular world doesn't acknowledge nishtaneh hateva so much, so they tend to remain narrow in their thinking, locked into their assumptions that however nature is today, that's how it always was.
(In this post, I'm picking on women's studies, but in past posts, I've picked on other branches of science. Narrow thinking and false assumptions run rampant throughout all branches of science & scholarship today.)
Knowing now how the monthly cycle was experienced by women, we see that women did not need our types of supplies & products to deal with just one hour. Furthermore, modern-day supplies are far too puny to deal with such an event. Nor did they just go about their business during that time; they simply could not.
Another interesting insight is how women's studies derides old observations, like those from Aristotle, for describing the flow of the monthly cycle as similar to the flow from a sacrificed animal.
But according to the research of Rabbi Travis via Dr. Merel, Aristotle's description was actually quite accurate!
Modern women's studies also criticize ancient texts for expecting that time of the month to be heavy & regular...even though it was.
Conventional medicine today assumes that the cycles of ancient women were lighter & less frequent, despite the complete opposite information found in ancient literature on the subject.
So of course, the modern minds assume all that medical literature must be wrong or the result of male bias & cultural attitudes.
Even certain sections of a book on the topic by a 17th-century midwife receive dismissal by modern women's studies female researchers as being influenced by male bias.
Women's studies also insist that ancient male researchers could not form objective observation of this common and natural biological process due to their cultural assumptions.
And the fact that such a diverse body of literature offering similar observations over the centuries & in different countries might be correct (at least as far as the actual physical process goes)?
Nope! Can't be. If it doesn't jive with modern observations, then all of them (including the female experts of yore) must be wrong. [sarc]
So who is really being biased here? Who is really the closed-minded "expert"?
In other words, women's studies dismiss centuries of observations simply because these observations do not jive with the modern norm...rather than opening their minds to the fact of nishtaneh hateva.
They also criticize the concern with which ancient doctors viewed a lack of regularity (to paraphrase their attitude: "Hey, it's a normal natural process, misogynist bozos!") and the doctors' perceived need to bring it on when it was missing.
But again, that all made sense in the context of what Rabbi Travis describes.
It was a major event and of course a medical professional would be concerned about what's happening in the body, what kind of build-up may be occurring, to prevent the such a major process.
I'm not saying that non-Jewish attitudes toward women were kosher or that ancient peoples were totally fine in their cultural mores.
Of course they weren't.
Nor am I saying that cultural or male bias doesn't exist within the records of women's health.
Of course there's cultural & male bias.
I just find it interesting how the narrow thinking developed within the secular, liberal, modern mind affects their ability to interpret science & history in a rational & accurate manner.
It's so clear that Rabbi Travis is correct and all these women's studies researchers are wrong.
The expanded thinking resulting from a Torah mind not only shed light on this whole issue (both halachically & historically), but enabled this ultra-Orthodox male rabbi to both seek out AND accept the experience & testimonies of a female doctor and the elderly women to shed light on male scholarship in this area—when self-lauding modern secular feminist thinkers prove themselves unequal to the challenge & unable to do the same.
Note: Researching women's and domestic history is one of my favorite topics. When I asked a female professor why I'm so much more interested in the daily life of different cultures throughout history (rather than the wars or politics), she said it's because their daily life shows how they really were, whereas the wars and politics and other events are more snapshots of only specific stratums of a society.
So I'm not against women's studies per se, but the blinding truth-distorting agenda that has taken over the field is definitely something I can neither respect nor submit to.
Because of the short-cut language we use when speaking about consistently dysfunctional people, whether we identify them as personality disordered or Erev Rav, the terminology implies an awareness on their part, which doesn't usually exist (or doesn't exist to that extreme).
Psychopaths generally mean to do what they do.
But most other people don't.
For example, a narcissist doesn't think, "Oh-ho, I will now engage in my beloved activity of triangulation!"
No, they simply feel victimized in some way, and naturally turn to others in a way that plays one person against the other.
They seek to feel supported & protected.
The fact that an innocent person gets badly hurt along the way doesn't register with them.
After all, the narcissist considers himself the victim and, in the narcissist mind, the person getting hurt either deserves it (if the narcissist feels victimized by that person) or is simply an unavoidable casualty (which again, is not the narcissist's fault in the narcissistic mind because he views it as an unavoidable casualty—and "Hey, what did you expect, that I would sacrifice myself to avoid harming such an insignificant person? Anyway, if you really cared about me, you wouldn't mind sacrificing in yourself for me.").
I used the example of a narcissist, but it applies to any personality disorder.
Same thing when a personality-disordered person slanders another.
Again, they felt victimized in some way.
They believe they are simply protecting themselves, perhaps even protecting others by warning them, or they justify their slander as emanating from irrepressible pain that must find a release.
If they genuinely mean to take you down via slander, it still emanates from the perception of themselves as victim and you as persecutor. So once again, they believe you deserve it; they see it as the best & most effective way to defend themselves.
They believe their slander to be true...or close enough to the truth to be true ("That's how I feel"), or they believe the lies & exaggerations popping out of their mouth because those justifications sound & feel so good...so they must be true, right?
Or, even if they know they twisted the truth, they feel it advances an important agenda, so the ends justifies the means...and that's also a kind of "truth" (to the disordered mind).
Those are just a couple of examples.
And the above is why a PD (personality disorder) can be so shocked, hurt, outraged, and vengeful when confronted with the truth of their motivations, beliefs, and actions—and also how badly they've hurt others, plus the destruction that results from their behaviors.
Most experts addressing personality disorders speak as if the PD knows and plots every step of their behavior.
(I speak/write like this too sometimes. It's a short-cut to describe the behaviors. But really, I think it's a bit misleading, so I'm trying to be more careful. On the other hand, some people really do believe PDs are wholly aware of every step they take. But that's not true.)
For example, they say:
"This narcissist can't handle being wrong, so she engages in twisty arguments to manipulate the discussion."
But the narcissist probably thinks she's right!
And she doesn't consider her arguments twisty nor does she consider her methods manipulative; she thinks she's being clever and self-protective. She believes what she's saying and genuinely thinks YOU are being mean.
Having said that, sometimes they do knowingly engage in hurtful argumentative tactics. And again, they do that because they think YOU deserve it.
They consider you pathetic, bad, or stupid and feel justified in playing mind games during a discussion.
They consider themselves cute, clever, or funny.
So if you get angry or hurt, they consider you oversensitive. (Or manipulative.)
Because you were the whole problem in the first place! Why are you bothering them by being pathetic, bad or stupid?
YOU are pathetic, bad, or stupid. THEY are cute, clever, funny...and the real victim here.
So why are YOU getting upset?
You have no right!
That's how they honestly see things.
And as long as you don't realize how sincere they are in their disordered thinking, it's hard to deal with them and also to identify them. You can also be used by them to hurt others when they rope you into "helping" them in their pain (which feels very real to them).
So to sum up:
And the same is also true for the Erev Rav.
Erev Rav Sincerity
Note: All quotes from Rav Itamar Schwartz are from here:
Since their inception, the Erev Rav lacked a conscious intent to destroy Am Yisrael.
They simply wanted the best of both worlds.
And THAT leads to destruction because, at their intrinsic root, the holy world and the profane world remain at odds with each other.
(The group with the conscious intent to destroy Am Yisrael both physically and at its soul-root is Amalek. And yes, Amalekite Erev Rav exist.)
To oversimplify, the Erev Rav followed Am Yisrael out of Egypt because they viewed Hashem as the biggest bully on the block, and they felt more secure aligning themselves with the most powerful entity.
Yet they were always looking back to see whether maybe the Egyptians would be the winners.
And despite all the palpable pure spirituality around, they constantly longed for their impure spirituality and materialism.
All the damage they committed (like the Golden Calf) resulted from a desire to protect their own interests.
They genuinely felt fear or anxiety or distress. Their motivation wasn't manipulation; that's how they honestly felt.
In other words, they believed in what they were doing.
And real Jews got swept up with them...because of the Erev Rav sincerity.
And it happens nowadays too.
Here's Rav Itamar Schwartz (page 40):
In fact, those people [who are pushing for the draft] might not even be aware that the ‘Sitra Achara’ is controlling them, and they might even be earnest in their intentions.
And why are they trying to uproot the Torah?
Because they honestly view it as holding themselves and others back.
But WHY do they feel that way?
The Torah contains such amazing inspiration, guidance, and is the only way for a human being to achieve truly great heights of holiness & morality.
Why is the Erev Rav view SO distorted?
Erev Rav Lack the Ability to Understand. Understand This Well!
Here's the answer on page 35:
They do not understand, and they can never understand, what Torah is.
This is why, by the way, the charedi rabbanim responded with such uncompromising opposition to the Erev Rav when they first invented & utilized the Zionist movement.
To regular Jews, the rabbanim DID explain their positions.
But when dealing with the secular Leftist anti-Torah Communist Erev Rav leaders, the rabbanim went just BAM! Full-speed opposition ahead.
Even nowadays, you can see there's no talking to them or explaining to them why this-and-such is important.
They CANNOT understand. It's simply impossible.
And that's sincere on their part!
They have NO ability to comprehend or relate to:
The potential simply is NOT there.
Here's an analogy:
Try and describe countries and their political systems to a toddler.
He can't see it!
What's a country? What's a political party? What's a budget? What's debt?
Yet would you allow the one-year-old to make policies?
If the toddler is screaming for his toy and his lollipop, would you say, "If you stop screaming, I'll let you decide the boundary of France! And you can also decide the fiscal policy for the coming year! Wouldn't you like that, shaifeleh?"
Or would you just ignore the screaming toddler (maybe just stick a lollipop in his mouth) and continue running the country to the best of your ability?
The Erev Rav Leaders of Today
Here's more explanation from Rav Itamar Schwartz (page 34):
The Vilna Gaon writes that in the final generations, the Erev Rav are the “heads of the Jewish people, who are the ‘leaders’, and they have control over the “sons of Leah and Rachel.”
So we see from here the actual main leaders of the Erev Rav are the Amalek Erev Rav who actively plot to destroy the Torah and Am Yisrael.
But the other types of Erev Rav (Nefilim, Gibburim, Refaim, Anakim) cause extreme damage because they can NEVER relate to Torah or the relationship between Hashem & His People.
It doesn't mean anything to them; they cannot wrap their head around it.
They have their own agendas & it genuinely bothers them when the Torah interferes.
So what do WE do?
Focus on 2 Aspects
We need to do 2 things:
Learing halacha and mussar help so much with turning from evil and doing good.
How else can you know what is good or bad unless you learn it?
Learning the halachot of how to treat people (giving the benefit of the doubt, acting with compassion, guarding one's tongue, etc.) provide you with the tools to avoid acting like a dysfunctional person.
Learning halacha and mussar also helps you to differentiate between the truly dysfunctional people and others who are basically good but flawed and struggling, so you know who to avoid and who to embrace.
Also, there is no need to water down Torah truths.
Darchei noam—ways of pleasantness?
Yes! By all means!
Be pleasant! Try to avoid fights with others! Focus on the Torah's beauty!
But please also realize that if you're dealing with an Erev Rav, he or she CANNOT see the beauty no matter how much you point it out or water it down.
So there's no point.
They're utterly sincere in their attitudes, beliefs, and agendas.
And that sincerity often knocks real Jews off balance.
That's why it's important to know their sincerity makes them neither redeemable nor changeable...and not convincible either.
Just YOU be strong within yourself.
Part of doing good is davening.
Davening for Erev Rav to do teshuvah (from the Komarna Rebbe) elevates the sparks, getting rid of the Erev Rav.
Davening protects you & others. Davening also enhances the growth of you & others.
Connect to Hashem in a deep & meaningful way for even only 1 minute a day...
May Hashem please bring the Geula swiftly with rachamim.
For more insights into the the workings of the Erev Rav mind & soul, plus the Amalekite influence:
If you'd like in-depth insights into:
...then please go to the Bilvavi Adar/Purim booklet crafted from transcripts of Rav Itamar Schwartz's shiurim:
I don't know whether people have read the entire booklet on Erev Rav produced by Bilvavi students from the transcripts of classes by Rav Itamar Schwartz.
The latest edition came out at the end of Shevat 5782/January 2022:
Here is an excerpt that applies very strongly today (pages 38-43):
They [the Erev Rav] make their appearance in several stages.
We see this today with the alliance of otherwise frum Jews to other religions.
With officially Orthodox organizations or Orthodox synagogues hosting church speakers or utilizing methods or bringing in associations or influencers from the Far Eastern spiritual groups, we see the last paragraph in realtime: "...in the end, they will tell the person to commit idol worship."
Also in the IDF, you have gentile Russian soldiers wearing crosses & singing carols in December within a room decorated with their holiday decorations on the army bases of the "the only Jewish army in the world!"
My son was their roommate. That's how I know. And they encouraged him to sing these pagan lyrics along with them. And he did!
"...in the end, they will tell the person to commit idol worship."
He was in IDF uniform wearing a kippah and tzitzit, putting on his tefillin every day, and singing carols because he thought it was a funny lark; it felt fun and innocent.
And that's how the Erev Rav present all their goals: "It's all in good fun! It feels good! Peace 'n' love, man! Can't we all just wave daisies & get along? Kumbaya!"
Aw, they're just a bunch of big sweeties! [sarc]
Erev, in addition to being rooted in the word for "mixture," also holds the root "arev"—sweet.
Many find the melodies of the holiday carols compelling and appealing. It's like a sweet honeytrap. Also, that feeling of camaraderie while singing the carols with your buddies—that also feels "sweet."
A lot of the peace and camaraderie stuff feels "sweet." It's all so nice & cozy! And comfy.
But once you get into all that thick, sweet, sticky honey...it's very hard to get out.
And it's even harder to get all that sticky goop off you.
The rav continues (boldface mine):
If someone doesn’t know that he is in a time of shmad, he is totally blind!
And what's the answer?
To develop really emunah and also make lifestyle changes.
Depending your personality & situation, you can make a huge change all at once, or go in steps along the way (Rav Schwartz has discussed both).
This also includes connecting with Hashem on a regular basis.
In your own words & according to your own unique soul needs, you can take even just 1 minute a day to tune in with your whole heart & mind to Hashem.
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I'm a middle-aged housewife and mother in Eretz Yisrael who likes to read and write a lot.
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