Table of Contents

Notes on Revelation

Iyyar/Sivan, 5763
(May/June, 2003)


...[the second] half of Nisan, Iyar, and [the first] half of Sivan is the period of harvests...
(Talmud - Mas. Baba Metzia 106b)

(Please keep in mind that Jewish dates begin on the evening before.
This is a work in progress and will be updated as needed.
Very simple grid of May and June suitable for printing.)

April 30, 2003 USA presents roadmap to Israel and PA (please see Road Map to Armageddon)

1 Iyyar (May 3, 2003) Second Day Rosh Chodesh Iyyar/New Moon for month of Iyyar
1 Iyyar (May 3, 2003) Date of first population survey of Israelite people by Moses
1 Iyyar, 5763 (May 3, 2003) New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain" catastrophic collapse

2 Iyyar (May 4, 2003) Traditional date King Solomon begins building Temple

May 4-10, 2003 USA Jewish Heritage Week
May 4-10, 2003 USA Worse week for tornadoes in recorded history

5 Iyyar (May 7, 2003) Yom HaAtzma'ut/Israel Independence Day
5 Iyyar, 5763 (May 7, 2003) Mercury Transits Sun (passage of planet across face of sun)

10 Iyyar (May 12, 2003) One week notice to Noah before flood starts
10 Iyyar, 5763 (May 12, 2003) Behab Fast

May 14, 1948 Israel becomes a state (please see Israel Independence Day)
May 14, 2003 Mohammed's birthday

13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Lunar eclipse/"Night of the Scorpion Moon"
13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Planet X projected flyby
13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Behab Fast
13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Bilderberg Meeting Convenes in Versailles, France

May 15, 1948 British Mandate Ends/Five Arab states invade new state of Israel
May 15-16, 1916 The Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France carves up Arab regions of the former Ottoman empire.
May 15, 1923 Britain formally recognizes Emirate of Transjordan as a state

14 Iyyar (May 16, 2003) Pesach Sheini/Second Passover
14 Iyyar, 5763 (May 16, 2003) Sharon-Abbas meeting (moved to Saturday night)

15 Iyyar (May 17, 2003) Manna given to Israel
15 Iyyar (May 17, 2003) Sharon-Abbas meeting

May 17, 2003 Parashas Behar
May 17, 1939 British White Paper

17 Iyyar (May 19, 2003) God shuts door of ark, flood begins
17 Iyyar, 5763 (May 19, 2003) Washington DC to celebrate Israel's birthday/Jewish Covenant of 1993
17 Iyyar, 5763 (May 19, 2003) Behab Fast

18 Iyyar (May 20, 2003) Lag B'Omer
18 Iyyar (May 20, 2003) Sharon to meet with Bush in US? (cancelled due to terror attacks)
18 Iyyar (May 20, 2003) Bush talks to Abbas, Sharon by phone

19 Iyyar, 5763 (May 21, 2003) U.S. demanding Israel formally accept road map

21 Iyyar, 5763 (May 23, 2003) US issues statement regarding Israeli concerns about Road Map
21 Iyyar, 5763 (May 23, 2003) Sharon accepts Road Map to Peace
(PA already on board)

May 24, 2003 Parashas Bechukosai

23 Iyyar, 5763 (May 25, 2003) Israeli Cabinet Approves Road Map (with 14 reservations)

24 Iyyar, 5763 (May 26, 2003) Start of week of increased solar activity

27 Iyyar, 5763 (May 29, 2003) Sharon, Abbas meeting in Jerusalem

28 Iyyar, 5763 (May 30, 2003) Jesus' Ascension Day
28 Iyyar (May 30, 2003) Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day (reunification/liberation of Jerusalem in 1967)
28 Iyyar 2884 Traditional date of death of Samuel
28 Iyyar (May 17, 1939) British White Paper

29 Iyyar, 5763 (May 31, 2003) Strange Annular Solar Eclipse
29 Iyyar, 5763 (May 31, 2003) Shabbat Kallah/Sabbath of the Bride

Sivan, 5763 (June, 2003)


1 Iyyar (May 3, 2003) Second Day Rosh Chodesh Iyyar/New Moon for month of Iyyar

1 Iyyar (May 3, 2003) Date of first population survey of Israelite people by Moses

1 Iyyar, 5763 (May 3, 2003) New Hampshire's "Old Man of the Mountain" catastrophic collapse

  1. "Symbols: Some are made by man; others, by the hand of God. The Flag, Niagara Falls, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, Golden Gate Bridge, Old Faithful Geyser, Mount Rushmore, the Old Man of the Mountain."

    "The Historical Society’s Tuck Library in Concord has a file full of postcards that feature the granite profile. Among them is a card printed in 1959 that described the Old Man as 'the most perfect natural stone face in the world.'"

    "Mike Pelchat lay against granite on his belly to peer over an outcropping of what for thousands of years stood as a symbol of God's handiwork. Huge metal turnbuckles that for the past few decades held The Old Man of the Mountain's forehead in place, swayed in the whipping wind. Below him, 1,000 feet straight down the rock wall, he gasped at the sight. What was left of what Daniel Webster once called God's sign 'that here in New England, He makes men,' was a pile of rock strewn about and a few fresh scrapes on the cliff walls showing where the 40-foot-high edifice cascaded into rubble...He described the Old Man as put together like layers of a cake, all at an angle, held by an Adam’s apple, which was the keystone, which was falling apart...Lake View, an intermediate rock climb that is a favorite on the Cannon Cliffs, now has tons of dirt and pulverized granite making it now impossible to climb. Pelchat said it would likely be a while before the climb was opened again, and it would require many rain storms 'to wash away his blood.'"

    "It was essentially miraculous. There was no way I could justify on paper as an engineer that the thing should be there. It was delicate at best.”

    “We all knew it was a matter of time that something was going to happen up there. It seemed like the hand of God that was holding him up. "

    The Old Man "didn't slide off of its perch; it fell off of its perch down onto the cliff below, and broke up into a million pieces."

    "What was so unique about the Old Man was that it was not manmade, it was made by God. I think it will continue to remain the emblem.”

    "In his personal collection, Mori treasures a postcard bearing a quotation attributed to Daniel Webster. Mori thinks Webster would have written it in about 1831, when he was a guest of Ethan Allen Crawford at nearby Crawford Notch. The postcard reads: 'Men hang out their signs indicative of their respective trades. Shoemakers hang a giant shoe, jewelers a monster watch. And even the dentist hangs out a gold tooth; but in Franconia Mountains God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that in New England he makes men.'” (excerpts from five May 4, 2003 articles at Union Leader discussing the disappearance of the landmark sometime on the evening of Friday May 2nd and the morning of Saturday May 3rd)

  2. WMUR-TV 9 (NH) Saturday night 11 pm news program had one reporter who said something to the effect that (paraphrase): "Residents are left wondering why God chose this day for the Old Man to come down." The News Anchor then said something to the effect that (paraphrase): "We all knew this day would come but we thought we'd be on the other side of heaven when it happened."


2 Iyyar (May 4, 2003) King Solomon begins building Temple

1 Kings 6:1 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.


May 4-10, 2003 USA Jewish Heritage Week

Parashas Behar (read week of May 11-17, 2003)
"The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is Mine; for you are sojourners and residents with Me. In the entire land of your ancestral heritage you shall provide redemption for the land." (Lev 25:23,24)
Footnotes:
"...ancestral plots of land that have been sold between one Jubilee and the next revert to their original owners with the arrival of the Jubilee Year (Rashi).

The word heritage is derived from to grasp. One who owns land holds it in his grasp. Additionally the land grasps him as well, because one develops an attachment and loyalty to one's land (Radak, Shorashim).

Stone Chumash
If the US pushes the Road Map and tries to divide Israel then God will divide the US? will show his wrath? See next item...

May 4-10, 2003 USA Worse week for tornadoes in recorded history

U.S. set tornado record last week
Tuesday, May 13, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Last week's almost 400 tornadoes set a record for the number of twisters in the United States during a single week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.

A preliminary count showed 384 tornadoes in 19 states between May 4 and May 10, NOAA's National Weather Service said.

More than 40 deaths were blamed on the storms.

The most active previous week for tornadoes was May 12-18, 1995, when 171 tornadoes occurred.

The 412 tornadoes during the first 10 days of May were the most since record keeping began in 1950, the agency said. The previous record for the first 10 d ays of May was 177 in 1999.

(http://www.cnn.com/2003/WEATHER/05/13/tornado.record.ap/index.html)


5 Iyyar (May 7, 2003) Yom HaAtzma'ut/Israel Independence Day

  1. Israel was declared a state on 5th Iyar, 5708 - May 14, 1948

    In Israel, Yom Ha'atzma'ut is: A national holiday.
    Independence Day in Israel is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, a national day of remembrance for the fallen in its defense and by the hands of terrorists, that is marked by national ceremonies and periods of silence. Surprisingly, Israelis are still searching for a traditional way to celebrate Independence Day. In recent years the emphasis on military parades has been withdrawn, and during this national holiday, Israelis tend to go on family picnics, visit the battle sites, and fill the streets with festivities. Some religious Jews offer special prayers of thanks and the opportunity is also taken to hold the International Bible Quiz on Yom Ha'atzma'ut. (
    Answers to Yom Ha'atzma'ut Quiz)

  2. Like all Jewish holidays the festivities begin on the evening of what Westerners would call the day before. (the Jewish day begins at sundown) Public buildings are edged with colored lights (like Christmas lights in America). Of course, there are flags and Star-of-David banners hanging from buildings and lampposts and even flying from cars. Bands play patriotic songs, some old traditional Jewish melodies, some new Israeli compositions.

    Street vendors sell tiras (corn on the cob) and plastic squeaky hammers (huh?!) This is beyond doubt the oddest custom to typify this holiday in Israel: the custom of bopping total strangers over the head with a toy hammer which emits a high pitched squeaking noise when it hits! Why? Why not? It seems to be just one of those things that somebody started one year and it caught on and became a tradition.

    Spraying people with "silly string" string is another custom in the same vein.

    Of course, there are fireworks, too, and a joy to watch over the flood-lit walls of the Old City. The following day there are speeches, parades and barbecues. (Yom Ha-Atzma'ut)

5 Iyyar, 5763 (May 7, 2003) Mercury Transits Sun (passage of planet across face of sun)
  1. Mercury is the second smallest planet in our solar system. Only the planet Pluto is smaller. Mercury is about the same size as our Moon. It is very close to the Sun. Mercury travels around the Sun faster than any other planet. That is how it got its name. It was named after Mercury, the swift messenger of the gods in ancient Roman mythology. Mercury can only be seen from Earth just before sunrise or just after sunset, but not in the middle of the night. That is because Mercury always appears near the Sun when viewed from Earth. Mercury has a very thin atmosphere. Humans would not be able to live there. The surface of Mercury has holes in it where objects such as meteorites and asteroids crashed into it. (StarChild: Mercury)

  2. mercury - [L. Mercurius, Roman god and the planet] 1. a cap: a Roman god of commerce, eloquence, travel, cunning, and theft who serves as messenger to the other gods—compare HERMES; b. often cap, archaic: a bearer of messages or news or a conductor of travelers (Webster's)

    Hermes [L. fr. Gk Hermes]: a Greek god of commerce, eloquence, invention, travel, and theft who serves as herald and messenger of the other gods—compare MERCURY (Webster's)

    Hermes' main role is as a messenger but he has many other functions as well. He is also known as Mercury (Roman) and Argeiphontes (Slayer of Argos). His attributes in iconography include the kerykeion (messenger's staff), winged boots, and petassos (cap). (Classical Myth)

  3. May 15th yearly Mercuralia festival (ancient Roman festival for worship of Mercury) (see 13 Iyyar)
    Mercury/Nebo son of Jupiter/Marduk king of the gods
    Mercury = god of sleep
    Mercury brings souls to underworld
    Because of Mercury's swiftness he is considered god of winds (see tornadoes)

  4. transit n. 1. a: an act, process, or instance of passing through or over: PASSAGE b: CHANGE, TRANSITION c: (1): conveyance of persons or things from one place to another (2): usu. local transportation esp. of people by public conveyance; also: vehicles or a system engaged in such transportation 2 a: passage of a celestial body over the meridian of a place or through the field of a telescope b: passage of a smaller body (as Venus) across the disk of a larger (as the sun) 3: a theodolite with the telescope mounted so that it can be transited.

    transit vi vt 1 a: to pass over or through: TRAVERSE b: to cause to pass over or through 2: to pass across (a meridian, a celestial body, or the field of view of a telescope 3: to turn (a telescope) over about the horizontal transverse axis in surveying. (Webster's)


10 Iyyar (May 12, 2003) One week notice to Noah before flood starts, ark loading begins (see 17 Iyyar (May 19, 2003))

10 Iyyar, 5763 (May 12, 2003) Behab Fast

  1. "BeHaB" is an acronym for the letters Bet, Heh, Bet, which stand for the second and fifth days of the first week, and the second day of the second week. (http://shamash.org/listarchives/mail-jewish/volume12/v12n39)

  2. Some have a custom to fast on the Monday-Thursday-Monday after Passover and Succos. They should wait until the month of Nissan or Tishrei finishes.

    The reason for the fast is since there are many days of rejoicing, they fear that a sin was done through rejoicing. (Since one rejoices by drinking wine and eating, we fear that he may have drunk too much and said or did something inappropriate.)

    The synagogues make a blessing for those who accept upon themselves to fast. They make the blessing on the first Shabbos [Sabbath] after Rosh Chodesh [New Moon], after Krias HaTorah [Torah reading]. One who answers Amen to the blessing and has in mind to fast needs no further acceptance on his part. If he changes his mind thereafter, he does not have to make the fast up.

    If, on the day of the fast, there is a simcha [rejoicing], one should not fast, but should eat at the meal of the simcha. He need not make up the fast.

    The custom is in many places to say Selichos, or prayers for forgiveness, on the fast days, regardless of if anyone is fasting. If there is in the shul [synagogue] a minyan [quorum of ten men] of people who are fasting, they read the portion read for fasts, Exodus 32:11-14, 34:1-10, during the morning and afternoon services. They also add Aneinu [fast day prayer] to Shemonah Esrei [daily prayer]. (Fasting BaHaB with my comments in brackets)


13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Lunar eclipse/"Night of the Scorpion Moon"

  1. ...on Thursday night May 15th North America will experience the first of two total lunar eclipses of 2003...10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time facing southeast...you will see a brilliant white full Moon just above the head of Scorpius the Scorpion and smack dab between his claws...the Moon will start to enter the Earth's dark shadow called the umbra at 10:03 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time or your local equivalent. Then as the Moon slowly glides deeper into our Earth's shadow, the umbra, you'll actually see the curvature of our Earth's shadow, which the ancient Greek, Aristotle said was a proof that our Earth was a sphere over 2,000 years ago.

    As the eclipse progresses the Moon will gradually darken and change color and from 11:14 p.m. to 12:07 a.m. the Moon will be completely within the Earth's shadow, totally eclipsed for 53 minutes, after which the whole process will slowly reverse. Things to watch for are the curvature of our Earth's shadow and the unpredictable color the Moon will gradually turn during totality. During the last eclipse, many astronomers remarked that during totality the Moon looked the same reddish-orange color as Mars and as big as Mars would look if Mars were only half a million miles away.

    Now as the eclipse progresses you will notice that The Scorpion gradually rises higher. And because the light of the full Moon will be so incredibly dimmed down all the stars of The Scorpion will appear to slowly brighten as totality approaches. And during totality you will be able to see with no trouble the red star that marks the heart of the scorpion, Antares, a star so huge that we could fit 14 quadrillion of our Moons inside it. Wow! In fact, at totality the Moon may turn the same reddish-orange color as Antares... (Stargazer: May 15th's Total Lunar Eclipse: The Night of the Scorpion Moon)

  2. Our Rabbis taught, When the sun is in eclipse it is a bad omen for idolaters; when the moon is in eclipse, it is a bad omen for Israel, since Israel reckons by the moon and idolaters by the sun. If it is in eclipse in the east, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the east; if in the west, it is a bad omen for those who dwell in the west; if in the midst of heaven it is bad omen for the whole world. If its face is red as blood, [it is a sign that] the sword is coming to the world; if it is like sack-cloth, the arrows of famine are coming to the world; if it resembles both, the sword and the arrows of famine are coming to the world. If the eclipse is at sunset calamity will tarry in its coming; if at dawn, it hastens on its way: but some say the order is to be reversed. And there is no nation which is smitten that its gods are not smitten together with it, as it is said, And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. (Talmud - Mas. Sukkah, 29 a)

  3. Please see online book "Witness of the Stars" by E. W. Bullinger, chapter on Scorpio.

13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Planet X flyby (please see Catastrophism/Planet X file)

13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Behab Fast (see 10 Iyyar, 5763 (May 12, 2003) Behab Fast)

13 Iyyar, 5763 (May 15, 2003) Bilderberg Meeting Convenes in Versailles, France

Elite power brokers' secret talks
By Emma Jane Kirby
BBC correspondent in Paris
Thursday, 15 May, 2003

The world's financial and political elite are to hold a closed meeting in France on Thursday where delegates are expected to be focusing their attention on post war Iraq.

The Bilderberg meeting will be held in Versailles just before the start of the Group of Seven meeting of finance ministers in nearby Paris.

(Group of Seven)
Bilderberg, which was founded in the 1950s by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, is said to steer international policy from behind closed doors.

Its critics say that it is a capitalist organisation which operates entirely through self interest.

By anyone's standards, it is a bit of a mystery.

There are no members as such - instead, an invitation list is comprised each year by an unknown steering committee, but participants are mainly leading and powerful figures in the fields of business and politics.

Political clout

The meetings are cloaked in secrecy and participants rarely reveal their attendance, although this year's list is rumoured to include the American banker David Rockefeller and Henry Kissinger.

What the group actually does is no clearer either, although it's known to be an extremely influential lobbying group with a good deal of political clout on both sides of the Atlantic.

Key members of both the British and the US governments are said to have attended gatherings.

But critics accuse Bilderberg of being sinister and conspiratorial - if what the delegates are discussing is really for the good of ordinary people they ask, then why can't they publicise it?

(http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3031717.stm)


May 15, 1948 British Mandate Ends/Five Arab states invade new state of Israel

May 14, 1948: late morning eastern standard time (late afternoon in Palestine): David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, reads a "Declaration of Independence," which proclaims the existence of a Jewish state called Israel beginning on May 15, 1948, at 12:00 midnight Palestine time (6:00 p.m., May 14, 1948,eastern standard time).

May 14, 6 p.m. eastern standard time (12:00 midnight in Palestine): The British mandate for Palestine expires, and the state of Israel comes into being.

May 14, 6:11 p.m. eastern standard time: The United States recognizes Israel on a de facto basis. The White House issues the following statement: "This Government has been informed that a Jewish state has been proclaimed in Palestine, and recognition has been requested by the provisional government thereof. The United States recognizes the provisional government as the de facto authority of the State of Israel." To see a color copy of this document click here.

May 14, shortly after 6:11 p.m. eastern standard time: United States representative to the United Nations Warren Austin leaves his office at the United Nations and goes home. Secretary of State Marshall sends a State Department official to the United Nations to prevent the entire United States delegation from resigning.

May 15: On May 15, 1948, the Arab states issued their response statement and Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq attack Israel.

(Truman Presidentail Museum & Library: The Recognition of the State of Israel. About the Collection: This collection focuses on The Recognition of the State of Israel. It includes 87 documents totaling 338 pages, four photographs, and chronologies of events spanning 1939-1949. Supporting materials include a finding aid, U.S.-Israeli Relations Subject Guide, and an online exhibit, the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel, 1948-1998.)

May 15-16, 1916 The Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France carves up Arab regions of the former Ottoman empire.

May 15, 1923 Britain formally recognizes Emirate of Transjordan as a state

Emir Abdullah soon succeeded in loosening the British mandate over Transjordan with an Anglo-Transjordanian treaty. On May 15, 1923, Britain formally recognized the Emirate of Transjordan as a state under the leadership of Emir Abdullah. This angered the Zionists, as it effectively severed Transjordan from Palestine and so reduced the area of any future Jewish national home in the region. The treaty stipulated that Transjordan would be prepared for independence under the general supervision of the British high commissioner in Jerusalem, and recognized Emir Abdullah as head of state. In May 1925, the Aqaba and Ma’an districts of the Hijaz became part of Transjordan. (The Making of Transjordan)


14 Iyyar (May 16, 2003) Pesach Sheini/Second Passover

  1. KJV Numbers 9:9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD. 11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it. 13 But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. 14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.

  2. Second Passover celebrated after a 30 day grace period.

  3. If we follow the "rules" of the first Passover we should subtract four days from the 14th and come to the day that the Passover lambs were picked, 10 Iyyar, which is the day that the ark began to be loaded; certain people and animals were chosen to be brought aboard.

14 Iyyar, 5763 (May 16, 2003) Sharon-Abbas meeting

Official: Sharon-Abbas Meeting Set for Friday
Mon May 12, 2003 02:57 PM ET

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas, under U.S. pressure to renew peace talks, will meet for the first time on May 16, a Palestinian official said on Monday... (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=2725731)


15 Iyyar (May 17, 2003) Manna given to Israel

In Iyar appeared the merit of the lesser Passover and of the manna which was given to Israel on the fifteenth of this month. (Midrash Rabbah - Esther VII:11)

15 Iyyar (May 17, 2003) Sharon-Abbas meeting

  1. Meeting Between PM Ariel Sharon and Palestinian PM Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser) Jerusalem, May 17, 2003

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) met this evening at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. At the opening of the meeting, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his outrage at the Hamas terrorist attack earlier in Hebron.

    Prime Minister Abbas expressed his regrets over the attack.

    Also present at the meeting, which lasted approximately 3 hours, were the Chief of the Prime Minister's Bureau, Dov Weissglas, the Prime Minister's Military Secretary, Maj. Gen. Yoav Gallant, the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser, Shalom Tourgeman, and Media Adviser Arnon Perlman.

    From the Palestinian side the meeting included Chairman of the Legislative Council, Ahmed Karia, and Minister of State Muhammad Dahlan. During the meeting, there was an exchange of opinions between the parties with regard to the manner in which to proceed. The parties agreed that a cessation of terrorism is a first and vital step to any progress, and the Palestinians promised to make a true and genuine effort to put a stop to terrorism.

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Prime Minister Abbas agreed to meet again soon after Prime Minister Sharons return from the United States.

    * * *

    May 18, 2003: Due to the wave of terror attacks, PM Sharon has decided to postpone his departure for planned meeting with US Pres Bush in Washington. PM Sharon will hold discussions and assessments with relevant officials.

    IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
    Website: www.imra.org.il

  2. Saturday to Monday Terror Attacks

    The following is a list of terror attacks from the Israel Government web site http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0i5d0 (this started shortly after talks between Sharon-Abbas finished).

    May 17 - Gadi Levy and his wife Dina, aged 31 and 37, of Kiryat Arba were killed by a suicide bomber in Hebron. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    May 18 - Seven people were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide bombing on Egged bus no. 6 near French Hill in Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. (A second suicide bomber detonated his bomb when intercepted by police in northern Jerusalem. The terrorist was killed; no one else was injured. )

    May 19 - Three IDF soldiers were lightly injured when a Palestinian on a bicycle detonated explosives next to a military jeep near Kfar Darom in the southern Gaza Strip. The bomber was killed. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

    May 19 - (Fox News) A homicide bomber blew herself up at the entrance to a shopping center in the northern Israeli town of Afula late Monday, killing three people and wounding as many as 15 others .

    It was Israel's fifth suicide bombing in two days; the other four -- which killed at least nine people, along with four bombers -- were carried out by the militant group Hamas. Israel holds Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat responsible for the violence.

    The blast went off at 5:14 p.m. at the Shaarei Amakim mall, near one of the mall entrances where shoppers were waiting in line for a security check.

    (Koenig's International News email)


May 17, 2003 (15 Iyyar, 5763) Parashas Behar (Lev 25:1-26:2)
(Every week a different portion of the Torah is read. The reading for the week of May 11-17, 2003 is Behar. This portion deals with the land and people of Israel.)

(JPS) Leviticus 25:3 But the land must not be sold beyond reclaim, for the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me.
  1. shemittah laws—land to lie fallow every seventh year
  2. Jubilee laws—all land returned to its original owners; Jewish servants freed
  3. prohibition against lending with interest

Haftarah Reading (reading from prophets): Jeremiah 32:6-27

Stone Chumash footnote:
As the companion reading to a Sidrah [Torah portion] that discusses the sale and redemption of land, the Haftarah is the story of God's message of hope to Jeremiah, at a time when all seemed to be lost. It was the period of the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem, and Jeremiah was in prison because he had prophesied what the people refused to hear—that their sins and stubborn refusal to repent was bringing upon them destruction and exile. In the midst of Jeremiah's imprisonment came God's command that he was to redeem a family property. Even the prophet found it hard to understand why he should redeem land that was about to be conquered by the enemy, but God informed him that no tragedy is so great or downfall so complete that it is beyond God's power to change it to hope and rebirth....It was by no means a symbolic purchase with no permanent meaning; Israel's history is not ended by conquest, destruction, and exile. Its destiny is merely delayed, but its mission and the Divine assurance of ultimate survival and success remain intact, always.

May 17, 1939 British White Paper (please see 28 Iyyar)


17 Iyyar (May 19, 2003) God shuts door of ark, flood begins

  1. KJV, Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. 2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. 3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. 6 And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. 7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean beasts, and of beasts that are not clean, and of fowls, and of every thing that creepeth upon the earth, 9 There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

  2. ‘In the sixth hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month. (Gen 7:11) R. Joshua said: That day was the seventeenth day of Iyar, when the constellation of Pleiades sets at daybreak and the fountains begin to dry up, and because they [mankind] perverted their ways, the Holy One, blessed be He, changed for them the work of creation and made the constellation of Pleiades rise at daybreak and took two stars from the Pleiades and brought a flood on the world. R. Eliezer said: That day was the seventeenth of Marheshvan.. (Talmud - Mas. Rosh HaShana 11b) (some think this relates to the second month of the sacred year which starts in Nissan (spring) and others think this relates to the second month of the civil year which starts in Tishri (fall))

    "...there is a cluster of stars known as the Pleiades. This word, which means the congregation of the judge or ruler, comes to us through the Greek Septuagint as the translation of the Hebrew kimah, which means the heap or accumulation...

    "It consists of a number of stars (in the neck of Taurus) which appear to be near together. The brightest of them...has come down to us with an Arabic name--Al Cyone, which means the centre, and has given the idea to some astronomers that it is the centre of the whole universe. The Syriac name for the Pleiades is Succoth, which means booths." (The Witness of the Stars, E. W. Bullinger)

    The Pleiades are also called the 7 sisters. Two of the 7 sisters/congregation were removed and the flood began.

17 Iyyar, 5763 (May 19, 2003) Washington DC to celebrate Israel's birthday/Jewish Covenant of 1993

  1. ...Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may meet with US President George W Bush in Washington...at a concert there to celebrate the anniversary of Israel's creation... Mr Bush has been invited to act as the host of honour at the May 19 concert, to mark Israel's 55th birthday, and Mr Sharon will attend if the situation at home permits him to travel, spokesman Raanan Gissin said. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/s840823.htm)
    Explanations differ for gala snafu:
    Was it Sharon, or poor ticket sales?
    By Matthew E. Berger

    WASHINGTON, May 14 (JTA) — A gala concert for Israel’s 55th birthday has been postponed, just one week before it was to take place — and no one seems to agree why.

    Organizers maintain that the concert was delayed from May 19 until December because of a request from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s office, not because of poor ticket sales.

    ...

    Organizers said arrangements were being made to determine which performers would or would not be able to attend on Dec. 18, the new date for the concert.

    The new date is one day before the first night of Chanukah, and the new concert is being touted as a celebration of the holiday.

    ...

    (http://www.jta.org/page_view_story.asp?strwebhead=Why+was+Israel+gala+nixed%3F&intcategoryid=3)

  2. Covenant of Jerusalem - Key to 25th Anniversary

    by Kaye Corbett

    Jerusalem - The historic Covenant of Jerusalem was presented to the Israeli government on Wednesday, May 19, 1993.

    It marked the conclusion of a year of celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Holy City's reunification, which reaffirmed the indelible bond between the Jewish people and its eternal spiritual and cultural capital.

    On May 31, 1992 a proclamation, under the signatures of Deputy Minister Avraham Verdiger, Mayor Teddy Kollek and Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz, was sent to Jewish communities around the world, inviting them to share in this moment of history with Jerusalem.

    Ministry Director-General Yeshayahu Barzel said the year-long celebration had three goals. First, to strengthen the feeling that the entire Jewish people stand united with Israel on the indivisibility of Jerusalem; second, to impart to all Jews - especially those in the former Soviet Union who have been cut off from world Jewry for four generations - a feeling of unity; and third, to remind the non-Jewish world that the entire Jewish people are unified on the emotional and religious significance Jerusalem has for Jews everywhere.

    Although there has been considerable opposition from those who want Jerusalem to be an "international city," the covenant of Jerusalem was inspired by the covenant renewal ceremony convened by Ezra and Nehemiah for the Israelites who returned to their homeland from Babylon.

    According to David A. Gross's article in Israel Magazine, the Covenant has seven paragraphs, as Jerusalem has seven gates from Ezra's day. Even today, there are seven open gates to the Old City: Jaffa Gate, New Gate, Damascus Gate, Herod's Gate, Lion's Gate, Dung Gate and Zion Gate.

    There's a legend which says Jerusalem will have seven gates in the days to come and shine "from one end of the world to the other."

    Prepared by Justice Menahem Elon, Deputy President of the Supreme Court Vice, and with input from a wide range of writers, historians and archaeologists, the Covenant, in the form of a scroll written on parchment, was signed by President Chaim Herzog on May 31, 1992.

    Besides Herzog, the original scroll was also signed by a lengthy list of dignitaries and national leaders.

    Two parchment scrolls of the Covenant were sent to authorities in Israel from Metulla in the north to Eilat in the south and there were signing ceremonies throughout the world, similar to the main signing ceremony in Jerusalem. (The Jerusalem Covenant)

    The Jerusalem Covenant

    As of this day, Jerusalem Day, the twenty-eight day of the month of Iyar in the year five thousand seven hundred fifty-two; one thousand nine hundred and twenty-two years after the destruction of the Second Temple; forty-four years since the founding of the State of Israel; twenty-five years since the Six Day War during which the Israel Defense Forces, in defense of our very existence, broke through the walls of the city and restored the Temple Mount and the unity of Jerusalem; twelve years since the Knesset of Israel reestablished the 'Jerusalem, unified and whole, is the Capital of Israel'; the State of Israel is the State of the 'Jewish People' and the Capital of Israel is the Capital of the People of Israel. We have gathered together in Zion, national leaders and heads, of our communities everywhere, to enter into a covenant with Jersualem, as was done by the leaders of our nation and all the people of Israel upon Israel's return to its Land from the "Babylonian exile; and the people and their leaders will dwell in Jerusalem, the Holy City.

    Once again, 'our feet stand within your gates, O Jerusalem - Jerusalem built as a city joined together' which 'unites the people of Israel to one another', and 'links heavenly Jerusalem with earthly Jerusalem.'

    We have returned to the place that the Lord vowed to bestow upon the descendants of Abraham, Father of our Nation; to the City of David, King of Israel; where Solomon, son of David, built a Holy Temple; a Capital City which became the Mother of all Israel; a metropolis for justice and righteousness and for the wisdom and insights of the ancient world; where a Second Temple was erected in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. In this city the prophets of the Lord prophesied; in the City the Sages taught Torah; in this City the Sanhedrin convened in session in its stone chamber. 'For there were the seats of Justice, the Throne of the House of David', 'for out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.'

    Today, as of old, we hold fast to the truth of the words of the Prophets of Israel, that all the inhabitants of the world shall enter within the gates of Jerusalem: 'And it shall come to pass at the end of days, the mountain of the House of the Lord will be well established at the peak of the mountains and will tower above the hills, and all the nation shall stream towards it.' Each and every nation will live in it by its own faith: 'For all the nation will go forward, each with its own Divine Name; we shall go in the name of the Lord our God forever and ever.' And in this spirit the Knesset of the State of Israel has enacted a law: The places holy to the peoples of all religions shall be protected from any desecration and from any restriction of free access to them.

    Jerusalem - peace and tranquility shall reign in the city: 'Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you be tranquil. May there by peace within your walls, and tranquility within your palaces.' Out of Jerusalem, a message of peace went forth and shall yet go forth again to all the inhabitants of the earth: 'And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.' Our sages, peace be upon them, said. In the future, The Holy One, the Blessed, will comfort Jerusalem only with peace.

    From this place, we once again take this vow: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its strength; may my tongue cleave to my palate if I do not remember you, if I do not raise up Jerusalem at the very height of my rejoicing.'

    And with all these understandings, we enter into this Covenant and write: We shall bind you to us forever; we shall bind you to us with faithfulness, with righteousness and justice, with steadfast love and compassion. We love you, O Jerusalem, with eternal love, with unbounded love, under siege and when liberated from the yoke of oppressors. We have been martyred for you; we have yearned for you, we have clung to you. Our faithfulness to you we shall bequeath to our children after us. Forevermore our home shall be within you.

  3. Copy of a portion of the original Jerusalem Covenant document

  4. This is very confusing as Washington has picked Iyyar 17 (May 19,2003) to celebrate Israel Independence Day which is celebrated on Iyyar 5 (May 7, 2003). The Jerusalem Covenant, which deals with Jerusalem Day, coincidentally fell on May 19th in 1993 but is, as usual, to be celebrated later this month on Iyyar 28 (May 30, 2003). May 19, 2003 seems to have been chosen because it is the anniversary of the Jerusalem Covenant signed and delivered on Jerusalem Day in 1993 but they somehow got the anniversary of Israel's creation mixed up with it? Killing two birds with one stone?

17 Iyyar, 5763 (May 19, 2003) Behab Fast (see 10 Iyyar, 5763 (May 12, 2003) Behab Fast)


18 Iyyar (May 20, 2003) Lag B'Omer

  1. Lag B'Omer (acronym for the number 33 in Hebrew) - 33rd day of the counting of the Omer From the second night of Passover/Pesach, every night for seven weeks, the Jews count the days that have passed until Pentecost/Feast of Weeks. This process is called "the counting of the Omer." This period is usually one of semi-mourning with many things being prohibited during these 7 weeks--with one exception--on the 33rd day, Lag B'Omer. On this day a great plague is said to have ceased and therefore the ban on weddings, getting haircuts, etc. is lifted.

  2. "Some Jews will not marry during the 33-day period until Lag B'Omer, so scores of weddings are held that day...the Jewish wedding season traditionally begins on Lag Ba'Omer..." (http://www.uahc.org/va/bnai_shalom/lagbomer_shavuot.html)

18 Iyyar (May 20, 2003) Sharon to meet with Bush in US?

Sharon will head to the United States on May 18 and will meet with Bush May 20 to discuss the newly released "road map" for Middle East peace, the sources said. (Sharon, Bush to meet in US, May 8, 2003)


19 Iyyar, 5763 (May 21, 2003) U.S. demanding Israel formally accept road map

U.S. demanding Israel formally accept road map
By Aluf Benn and Nathan Guttman, Haaretz Correspondents
Ha'aretz 22 May 2003
http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/295704.html

The U.S. administration is demanding Israel formally accept the road map to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, so that it does not appear to be recalcitrant trying to delay advancing the political process.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's chief of staff, attorney Dov Weisglass met Wednesday with U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in an effort to find a formula that would enable Israel to accept the plan, while taking into account its comments and reservations about it. Rice also met with Palestinian Finance Minister Salam Fayyad, who is in Washington for parallel talks with administration officials.

Meanwhile, reports in the U.S. press say President George W. Bush is considering inviting Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to a three-way summit in Geneva, possibly next week, when Bush is attending a G8 summit. The New York Times reported Wednesday morning that Bush is also considering a Middle East trip, to promote his peace plan, but Israeli and American officials downplayed the idea, saying it would not be likely if the president was not certain of achieving progress during the trip.

As reported Wednesday night by Channel Two news, the U.S. administration has reversed its position in the last two days. Until now, the Americans have been saying there is no importance to a formal acceptance of the plan, and that the important thing is to start its implementation on the ground.

But the Palestinians have insisted that they won't start acting against terror until Israel declares its formal acceptance of the road map. The issue was at the heart of the meeting between Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas during their meeting last Saturday night.

U.S. President George W. Bush told Sharon on Tuesday that it is important to proceed with the political process according to the road map. American officials told senior Israeli officials that they are under heavy pressure from Arab countries to make Israel accept the road map. They made clear that the issue of "acceptance" not become an obstacle to its implementation, giving the Palestinians an excuse not to act against the terror groups. The administration has also rejected Israel's distinction between Bush's June 24 speech and the road map meant to implement it.

The road map, which was formally presented to the sides on April 30, calls for a three-phase process: calming the situation on the ground; establishment of a Palestinian state in provisional borders; and a permanent agreement by 2005. Israel has accepted the phases in principle, but has presented many reservations about the specifics of the plan, starting with a demand the process begin with the Palestinians dropping their demand for the right of return of refugees to the country.

The road map puts the refugee issue in the third phase of the process, during the final status negotiations. Israel is also against the road map's predication on the Saudi Arabian initiative, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories captured in 1967. Sharon and Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom have told the Americans that the road map, in its current form, could not pass the current government coalition.

The administration is also demanding that Sharon dismantle the illegal outposts in the West Bank, in a move that is clearly seen by the world, immediately after the next meeting between Sharon and Bush. But the administration has accepted an Israeli distinction being drawn between "illegal" outposts and "legal" ones. For Washington, the issue has become a matter of Sharon meeting his commitments.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il


21 Iyyar, 5763 (May 23, 2003) US issues statement regarding Israeli concerns about Road Map

Text of Powell Rice statement [black day]
23 May 2003

Statement by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/20030523.html

The roadmap was presented to the Government of Israel with a request from the President that it respond with contributions to this document to advance true peace. The United States Government received a response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap.

The United States shares the view of the Government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap to fulfill the President's vision of June 24, 2002.

This amorphous fig leaf solution is sheer madness.

This American statement isn't a solution. It is another problem. A source for future American-Israeli friction.

What does it mean to "address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the roadmap"? This when the roadmap itself is not being changed?

Would anyone commit to a defective contract based on the assurance that even though the written text is dangerously defective that when the contract is implements that the problems will be address?

How can they be addressed when the text calls for one thing and "addressing" these problem means doing something completely differently?

Washington has already been bending over backwards to ignore the failure of the Arafat-Mazen government to meet expectations. More of the same can be expected in the future.

Prime Minister Sharon's statement after the announcement indicates a serious failure in his team to think beyond the next 24 hours.

It should be noted that the "response from the Government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the roadmap" is not in the public record. A third party - concerned Israeli citizens - have no way of even establishing if what happens in the future does or doesn't address these problems since it can always be claimed that newspaper reports regarding Israel's concerns were no accurate.

If the wording of the statement was coordinated with Sharon the ramifications are even more serious. It indicates that the true "enemy" of both Bush and Sharon is the Israeli public, hence the move to try and strip it of its ability to effectively monitor and criticize implementation.

Today is a black mark on American Israeli relations and a black mark on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The question remains if the ministers who make up his cabinet have the will to put the interest of the nation over personal considerations and stop this madness. This is particularly challenging for ministers who see themselves only a conviction away from the prime minister's slot (unlike other Israeli politicians who tried to separate themselves from illegal fundraising activity, Sharon relied on his sons and developed a paper trail that even the most political attorney general can ignore for long).

To date no vote has been held on this matter by the Cabinet in point of fact, no official discussion has been held by the Cabinet of the roadmap.

Under the law, each minister bears responsibility for the decisions of the Government.

We will see this Sunday if the ministers have the intestinal fortitude to act on that responsibility.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) (mail POB 982 Kfar Sava) Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730 INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il pager 03-6106666 subscriber 4811 Website: http://www.imra.org.il

21 Iyyar, 5763 (May 23, 2003) Sharon Accepts Road Map to Peace (PA already on board)

Sharon Accepts 'Road Map' to Peace
Friday, May 23, 2003

JERUSALEM — After weeks of hesitation, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the United States on Friday that he accepts a U.S.-backed peace plan that would create a Palestinian state within three years. Sharon said he will present the plan to his Cabinet for approval as early as Sunday.

Sharon's statement came just hours after the Bush administration announced it would "fully and seriously" address Israel's concerns about the plan -- though Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington did not intend to change the road map.

The assurances from Bush aimed to spur momentum over the plan, which has stalled over the issue of how to stop violence. Israel wants the Palestinians to rein in militants before Israel moves on its obligations under the plan -- though the road map calls for the steps to be taken in parallel.

With the U.S. statement, Sharon should be able to win a majority of support in his Cabinet, where hardline ministers oppose the plan, said a Sharon adviser, Raanan Gissin.

The Israeli Cabinet will discuss the peace plan on Sunday or Monday, Gissin said.

The Palestinians, who accepted the plan last month, welcomed the Israeli announcement, but reiterated that they had assurances from Washington that the three-stage plan, which envisions Palestinian statehood by 2005, would not be altered.

An Israeli Cabinet vote could pave the way for the first stage of the plan: Palestinians are to crack down on militias, while Israel is to withdraw troops from Palestinian towns and freeze construction in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

It was not clear from the White House statement whether the United States was addressing Israeli concerns already in the first stage.

Israel has also demanded that the Palestinians drop without further discussion a demand for the "right of return" of about 4 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants to former homes in Israel. The fate of refugees is to be addressed in the last stage of the road map.

Just hours after the White House statement, Sharon's office announced that the prime minister "has informed the United States that the state of Israel is prepared to accept the steps prescribed in the road map."

Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Amr said the Palestinians "consider the Israeli acceptance as a positive step, but at the same time we still insist on the American and European promises and guarantees not to have any changes in the road map."

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, the Islamic militant group Hamas attacked an Israeli bus with explosives Friday, wounding two people.

The bombing -- Hamas' fifth in a week -- was an apparent challenge to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, who a day earlier had asked the Islamic militant group to halt attacks against Israelis.

Hamas told Abbas it would consider stopping attacks on civilians in Israel, but would continue targeting Israeli settlers and soldiers in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel has said it would not accept a partial truce.

Sharon, meanwhile, faces stiff opposition to the U.S. road map from hard-liners, including many members of his own Cabinet and Jewish settler leaders.

"In its present form, the roadmap is a recipe for more terror," said Cabinet minister Uzi Landau.

The settlers' umbrella organization asked Sharon on Friday not to endorse the road map, saying "acceptance of the map ... is likely to be interpreted as a prize for terror."

Bush is also considering a three-way meeting with Sharon and Abbas in Egypt to prod them into implementing the road map, officials involved in the planning said Thursday.

However, the meeting would only occur if both sides take steps toward peace in the coming days, a senior Bush administration said on condition of anonymity.

One major obstacle to the road map is the differences over how to deal with Palestinian militant groups that carried out scores of shootings and bombings in the past 32 months of fighting. Abbas wants to persuade militants to lay down their arms, while Sharon insists they be disarmed and arrested.

Abbas summoned Hamas leaders to his Gaza City office Thursday evening in his first visible effort to help end attacks on Israeli civilians.

Abbas is trying to avoid using force against the militias, in part because he may not have enough of a power base to risk a full-fledged confrontation. Hamas has grown in popularity in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians are embittered by Israeli military strikes and travel bans that cause much hardship.

Earlier this week, Hamas and other Palestinian militias carried out five suicide bombings that killed 12 Israelis and wounded dozens.

The bus attacked Friday was en route from the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in central Gaza to Israel, with 15 people on board, when the explosion went off.

Hamas claimed responsibility during a rally in the Gaza refugee camp of Jabaliya, saying it had targeted the bus with a pipe bomb. The Israeli military said the explosion came from a "roadside bomb."

Following the attack, the Israeli army fired tank shells near neighboring Palestinian areas, and soldiers began searching farms, according to residents.

(http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,87654,00.html)


May 24, 2003 Parashas Bechukosai (Lev 26:3-27:34)
(Every week a different portion of the Torah is read. The reading for the week of May 18-24, 2003 is Bechukosai. This portion deals with the land and people of Israel.)

Lev 26:3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. 7 And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. 8 And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

14 But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; 15 And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: 16 I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.

The content of parashat Behukotai is basically a contractual statement of blessings and curses, and the laws of valuation. Allow me to explain. The contract states that if we as a nation follow the commandments, our national life on our homeland will be idyllic. If we don't follow the commandments then we will be chased out of our land and great calamities will occur.

(http://www.asbee.org/bechukosai_summary.htm)

Haftarah Reading (reading from prophets): Jeremiah 16:19-1714

This week's haftorah teaches us a profound lesson in trust and faith in Hashem. The prophet Yirmiyahu introduces the haftorah by proclaiming, "Hashem is my strength, my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble." Yirmiyahu proceeds and admonishes the Jewish people for pursuing foreign avenues and engaging in strange practices for security. He warns them that they are subject to forfeiting their wealth and possessions because of their public involvement in idolatry.

He then delivers a crushing blow in the name of Hashem and says, "And you will forsake your land which you are to blame for mistreating the inheritance I gave you and you will be enslaved to your enemies in a foreign land."(17:4) This is the dreadful prophecy about their pending exile from their precious homeland, Eretz Yisroel. Yet, Yirmiyahu devotes his attention to one specific detail as the cause of their exile. He immediately follows with serious reprimand about trust and says, "Cursed is the person who trusts in man...and turns his heart away from Hashem... Blessed is the person who trusts in Hashem." The juxtaposition of these words suggests that the Jewish exile was caused by lack of trust. Apparently, the previous criticism of mistreating the land related to this fault. Rashi develops this and explains that the admonition referred to their failure to properly observe Shmita laws. Yirmiyahu chastised them for mistreating their inheritance by refusing to return it to its true owner during Shmita.

(Parshas Bechukosai: Yirmiyahu 16:19, by Rabbi Dovid Siegel)


23 Iyyar, 5763 (May 25, 2003) Israeli Cabinet Approves Road Map (with 14 reservations)

  1. STATEMENT FROM PM'S BUREAU [With the 14 Israeli remarks attached]

    Israel Government Press Office Israel Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2003 7:14 PM Sunday, May 25, 2003 7:14 PM

    A. The Government of Israel, today (Sunday), 25.5.03, considered the Prime Minister's statement on the Roadmap, as well as Israel's comments on its implementation. Following its deliberations, the Government, by a majority vote, resolved:

    Based on the 23 May 2003 statement of the United States Government, in which the United States committed to fully and seriously address Israel's comments to the Roadmap during the implementation phase, the Prime Minister announced on 23 May 2003 that Israel has agreed to accept the steps set out in the Roadmap.

    The Government of Israel affirms the Prime Minister's announcement, and resolves that all of Israel's comments, as addressed in the Administration's statement, will be implemented in full during the implementation phase of the Roadmap.

    A list of the comments forwarded by Israel for the review of the Administration in the United States has been attached to this decision.[IMRA: attached below]

    B. The Government also resolved, concerning the issue of the refugees, as follows:

    The Government of Israel today accepted the steps set out in the Roadmap. The Government of Israel expresses its hope that the political process that will commence, in accordance with the 24 June 2002 speech of President Bush, will bring security, peace and reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The Government of Israel further clarifies that, both during and subsequent to the political process, the resolution of the issue of the refugees will not include their entry into or settlement within the State of Israel.

    ====

    The Roadmap: Primary Themes of Israel's Remarks

    1. Both at the commencement of and during the process, and as a condition to its continuance. calm will be maintained. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and implement security reforms during the course of which new organizations will be formed and act to combat terror, violence and incitement (incitement must cease immediately and the Palestinian Authority must educate for peace). These organizations will engage in genuine prevention of terror and violence through arrests, interrogations, prevention and the enforcement of the legal groundwork for investigations, prosecution and punishment. In the first phase of the plan and as a condition for progress to the second phase, the Palestinians will complete the dismantling of terrorist organizations (Hamas. Islamic Jihad. the Popular Front, the Democratic Front Al-Aqsa Brigades and other apparatuses) and their infrastructure, collection of all illegal weapons and their transfer to a third party for the sake of being removed from the area and destroyed., cessation of weapons smuggling and weapons production inside the Palestinian Authority, activation of the full prevention apparatus and cessation of incitement. There will be no progress to the second phase without the fulfillment of all above-mentioned conditions relating to the war against terror. The security plans to be implemented are the Tenet and Zinni plans. [As in the other mutual frameworks. the Roadmap will not state that Israel must cease violence and incitement against the Palestinians].

    2. Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase. Attention will be paid not to timelines, but to performance benchmarks (timelines will serve only as reference points).

    3. The emergence of a new and different leadership in the Palestinian Authority within the framework of governmental reform. The formation of a new leadership constitutes a condition for progress to the second phase of the plan. In this framework, elections will be conducted for the Palestinian Legislative Council following coordination with Israel.

    4. The Monitoring mechanism will be under American management. The chief verification activity will concentrate upon the creation of another Palestinian entity and progress in the civil reform process within the Palestinian Authority. Verification will be performed exclusively on a professional basis and per issue (economic, legal, financial) without the existence of a combined or unified mechanism. Substantive decisions will remain in the hands of both parties.

    5. The character of the provisional Palestinian state will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The provisional state will have provisional borders and certain aspects of sovereignty, be fully demilitarized with no military forces, but only with police and internal security forces of limited scope and armaments, be without the authority to undertake defense alliances or military cooperation, and Israeli control over the entry and exit of all persons and cargo, as well as of its air space and electromagnetic spectrum.

    6. In connection to both the introductory statements and the final settlement, declared references must be made to Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel.

    7. End of the process will lead to the end of all claims and not only the end of the conflict.

    8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties, in accordance with the vision outlined by President Bush in his 24 June address.

    9. There will be no involvement with issues pertaining to the final settlement. Among issues not to be discussed: settlement in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (excluding a settlement freeze and illegal outposts), the status of the Palestinian Authority and its institutions in Jerusalem, and all other matters whose substance relates to the final settlement.

    10. The removal of references other than 242 and 338 (1397, the Saudi Initiative and the Arab Initiative adopted in Beirut). A settlement based upon the Roadmap will be an autonomous settlement that derives its validity therefrom. The only possible reference should be to Resolutions 242 and 338, and then only as an outline for the conduct of future negotiations on a permanent settlement.

    11. Promotion of the reform process in the Palestinian Authority: a transitional Palestinian constitution will be composed, a Palestinian legal infrastructure will be constructed and cooperation with Israel in this field will be renewed. In the economic sphere: international efforts to rehabilitate the Palestinian economy will continue. In the financial sphere: the American-Israeli-Palestinian agreement will be implemented in full as a condition for the continued transfer of tax revenues.

    12. The deployment of IDF forces along the September 2000 lines will be subject to the stipulation of Article 4 (absolute quiet) and will be carried out in keeping with changes to be required by the nature of the new circumstances and needs created thereby. Emphasis will be placed on the division of responsibilities and civilian authority as in September 2000, and not on the position of forces on the ground at that time.

    13. Subject to security conditions, Israel will work to restore Palestinian life to normal: promote the economic situation, cultivation of commercial connections, encouragement and assistance for the activities of recognized humanitarian agencies. No reference will be made to the Bertini Report as a binding source document within the framework of the humanitarian issue.

    14. Arab states will assist the process through the condemnation of terrorist activity. No link will be established between the Palestinian track and other tracks (Syrian-Lebanese).

    IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
    Website: www.imra.org.il

  2. GOV'T VOTES TO ACCEPT PALESTINIAN STATE - WITH RESERVATIONS

    The Israeli Government voted to accept the Road Map plan today, recognizing a Palestinian state for the first time. Twelve ministers voted for the plan: Five from the Shinui party, and seven Likud ministers: Ariel Sharon, Sha'ul Mofaz, Silvan Shalom, Meir Sheetrit, Tzippy Livny, Gideon Ezra, and Ehud Olmert.

    Ministers Binyamin Netanyahu, Tzachi HaNegbi, Limor Livnat, and Danny Naveh - all of the Likud - abstained.

    Seven ministers opposed the plan: Uzi Landau and Yisrael Katz (Likud); Effie Eitam and Zevulun Orlev (NRP); Benny Elon and Avigdor Lieberman (National Union); and Natan Sharansky (Likud-Yisrael B'Aliyah).

    The Cabinet meeting lasted close to six hours, and was very stormy at times. Each minister was given a chance to speak. The exact wording of the approved resolution reads as follows:

    "The Government of Israel announces that it approves the declaration of the Prime Minister [see item 3 below] regarding the acceptance of the steps included in the Road Map, and resolves that the implementation of the plan will take place contingent upon the 14 comments that Israel submitted to the Americans."
    The Cabinet also voted 16-1 that it would not accept the Arabs' claimed "right of return." Only Minister Benny Elon voted against it, explaining that the resolution rules out the return of Arab refugees to the State of Israel - but not to Judea and Samaria. Elon has long said that an influx of millions of Arabs to Yesha would be a tremendous demographic danger to Israel.

    Under the banner, "The Road Map is Worse than Oslo," the Yesha Council, Women in Green, and Jewish Leadership organized protests opposite the Prime Minister's Office this morning. Yesha leaders say that a Palestinian state will be a calamity for Israel, and demanded that the Road Map be voted down.

    The Likud Party ministers were strongly divided this morning, and Prime Minister Sharon met with them before the Cabinet meeting today. The main threat that Sharon hung over the ministers' heads was that a rejection of the Road Map would lead to a crisis between Jerusalem and the White House. He further tried to convince the ministers to support the plan by noting a "direct connection between Israel's sorry economic state and the security situation."

    Mr. Sharon is expected to meet with Palestinian Authority leader Abu Mazen tomorrow, for the second time.

    2. MINISTERIAL COMMENTS ON THE VOTE

    Prime Minister Sharon himself said that today was a "difficult" day for him, and that the choice was between "the least of the evils." He said that the reservations included in today's resolution represent Israel's "red lines." In this morning's Yediot Acharonot newspaper, however, he was quoted as singing a slightly different tune: "It's time to divide the land," Sharon told the paper, following his fairly sudden decision to accept the Road Map plan. "No one can compete with me over these areas. I am connected to these parts of the land that we will be required to leave no less than those who are speaking so stridently [in favor of the Land of Israel and against the plan]."

    Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had earlier said he would vote against the plan. However, when the resolution brought to vote stated that the plan would be implemented only "contingent upon Israel's 14 reservations," he agreed to abstain.

    Minister Ehud Olmert said before the meeting that the Road Map was bad, yet he voted for it. Defense Minister Mofaz said the same a few days ago, but explained that he was not voting for the plan, but rather for the "package of understandings with the U.S., which include Israel's reservations against the plan."

    Minister Tzippy Livny had an interesting approach. She said that she accepts the two-state solution in principle, but is worried that merely pushing off the 'right of return' issue might lead to the flooding of Israel with millions of Arab 'refugees' in the future. "There is a national consensus against this now," she said, "but we don't know what will be in the future." The Foreign Ministry's legal counsel was called to the meeting to explain the dangers of the 'right of return.' Minister Livny distributed to the ministers a position paper on the dangers of the 'right of return,' and only after an accompanying resolution against the 'right of return' was formulated did she agree to vote in favor of the Road Map.

    Minister Benny Elon said that the ministers could not be expected to vote on a plan of this magnitude on such short notice. "We have not even been given a Hebrew translation of the document," he lamented.

    Minister Natan Sharansky said that Prime Minister Sharon always promised that the Road Map would not be brought for a Cabinet vote without a deep and intense discussion and debate - contrary to what in fact happened today.

    Education Minister Limor Livnat, who has expressed opposition to the plan in the past, proposed that the Cabinet include a declaration that there would be no Palestinian state until the terrorist bases are totally and completed uprooted; no compromise on the 'right of return;' no return to the '67 borders; and no division of Jerusalem. This proposal was also debated in the Cabinet today, but was not voted upon.

    Likud MK Michael Eitan told Arutz-7 this morning that though the Road Map plan is dangerous, "now is not necessarily the time to vote against it." He said that Israel's 14 reservations must be implemented, and that if the dangers in fact materialize, "we will be able to stop it then." He said that we must not be the ones to destroy whatever small chance for peace currently exists.

    Minister without portfolio Gideon Ezra took a similar position while speaking with Voice of Israel this morning. He said that he is confident that if the PA does not honor its obligations, Prime Minister Sharon will put an end to Road Map progress.

    Coalition head Gideon Saar, a Likud MK, said that the Road Map in its current framework is "a dangerous diplomatic document that includes the Saudi initiative, which returns Israel to the May 1967 borders on all fronts and divides Jerusalem."

    Opposition leader MK Dalia Itzik (Labor) rejoiced in the decision: "The government finally understood that which the Labor Party has been saying for years. The Road map is a victory for Labor's way." Other left-wing politicians echoed her satisfaction, though some were already looking ahead: "Sharon's intentions will be tested by whether he removes 100 outposts or not," said Labor MK Amram Mitzna.

    3. HISTORY OF THE TURNABOUT, AND MORE COMMENTS

    ...

    Eli Kornfeld, head of the "Darkecha Darkeinu" (Your Way is Our Way) forum in the Likud Party, was noticeably saddened by the decision to bring the Road Map up for a Cabinet vote: "This is a hasty decision that seals the fate of the Nation of Israel for a very difficult period that we will face. It is a decision that is forced upon us, for some reason, by the United States. The economic thriving that the Prime Minister sees as a result of this - it's just a dream, just as it was before Oslo - when they promised us a great period, but many people paid with their lives. This is a prize to Arafat for his 2.5 years of terrorism. It's terrible, if this is the approach - we have learned absolutely nothing; just terrible."

    The Yesha Council, representing the Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, released a strong announcement today condemning the Cabinet's approval of the Road Map. The council said that the decision "would be remembered as an eternal disgrace in the history of the State of Israel," and that it "ignores our historical rights over the Land of Israel, and causes damage to the national security interests of Israel."

    Deputy Education Minister Tzvi Hendel (National Union) told Arutz-7 today that there were so many points to raise against this Road Map, "but let me just give you two or three. For years, Arafat has wanted to internationalize the dispute, yet no Israeli government ever agreed - until now. This means that Arafat has succeeded in having the Europeans and the UN decide whether the Palestinians are fulfilling their obligations... A terrorist state will be established aside us… I can only hope that the normative, Jewish, logical point of view will prevail - I have no hope from Shinui, but at least among the Likud ministers."

    Reminded that Sharon was facing very strong American pressure, Hendel replied: "Last night we spoke to some U.S. Congressmen, and they said that they feel that Israel is undermining them and their objections to this plan. They are trying to reject it, and we are supporting it! There are many in the Administration who don't like this plan. It could be that Blair is pushing Bush to come through on his pre-Iraq-war promises, and it could be that Sharon thinks that nothing will come of it, etc. - but the fact is that the Israeli government will be making a tremendous mistake by making this statement for history that it accepts a Palestinian state... This will be one of the absolute worst decisions in the history of the State of Israel. We can't always worry about tactics and maneuvering. We must stand up for what is right."

    Arutz Sheva News Service
    http://www.IsraelNationalNews.com
    Sunday, May 25, 2003 / Iyar 23, 5763

  3. For more info please see Road Map to Armageddon.

  4. For more info please see Space Shuttle Columbia.


24 Iyyar, 5763 (May 26, 2003) Start of week of increased solar activity
Very low and low readings all month of May until May 26th when activity picked up. May 27th moderate activity. May 28, 29 high. May 30th moderate. (
Big Bear Solar Observatory: Solar Activity Reports)


27 Iyyar, 5763 (May 29, 2003) Sharon, Abbas meeting in Jerusalem

STATEMENT FROM PM SHARON'S OFFICE After meeting with PA PM

Press Release

May 29, 2003

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met, once again, with the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas, and the Ministers Nabil Shaath and Mahmud Dahlan at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. The meeting lasted two and a half hours, and was conducted in a positive and very good atmosphere.

The Prime Minister welcomed his guests, and expressed hope that following the meeting, and as a result of the changes in the Middle East, the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority would move forward in achieving security and peace.

The Prime Minister demanded from his Palestinian colleagues that they act decisively to stop terror, and take real, practical steps, such as: dismantling terror organizations, arresting terrorists, confiscating illegal weapons, putting a stop to incitement and creating an atmosphere of peace. The Prime Minister clarified that only after a real effort to eradicate terrorism has been undertaken, will it be possible to achieve the desired peace.

The Prime Minister repeated his offer from the previous meeting, and suggested that he would direct the security forces to redeploy immediately in the Gaza Strip and in Judea and Samaria in such a way that would make it easier for the Palestinians to take responsibility for security in these areas, and act in a genuine and real manner to stop terror. The significance of this step would be a different deployment of our troops, and in the framework of this change pulling out of city centers in Judea and Samaria, and the reduction of the Israeli military presence there would be included. In addition, the Prime Minister emphasized that if an imminent threat to the lives of Israelis occurs in areas which are handed over to Palestinian control, and no action to prevent it is taken by the Palestinian forces, the IDF would not hesitate to take action to prevent that danger.

In addition, the Prime Minister announced a comprehensive review of Palestinian prisoner lists, in order to assess if there are any who could be released. The Prime Minister also announced a long list of steps, the purpose of which is to ease the living conditions of the Palestinians, foster trade and encourage the Palestinian economy. Some of the steps the Prime Minister detailed include:

  1. Removing the closure of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
  2. Granting permanent transit permits to senior Palestinian officials, according to the lists which were submitted.
  3. Israel would undertake a comprehensive review of prisoner lists, and would examine which prisoners could be released. Israel would release 100 administrative detainees. Furthermore, in response to a Palestinian request, it was decided to release the prisoners Tiysar Chaled and Abu Sukar. Every prisoner would be required to sign a document, which obliges him or her from engaging in terror.
  4. It was decided to increase the transfers of Israeli-held Palestinian tax funds to the amount of NIS 150 million per month.
  5. A quota of 25 thousand workers will be allocated to work in Israel, 15,000 from Gaza and 10,000 from Judea and Samaria.
  6. Over night stays will be approved for 2,000 Palestinian workers in Israel.
  7. The travel permits for Palestinian businesspeople travelling within Palestinian Authority areas and into Israel was increased to 8,000.
  8. The series of measures easing operation of humanitarian organizations operating in the territories was expanded.

The Prime Minister stated that as long as the security situation continues to improve, and quiet prevails, Israel's willingness and capability to reciprocate in a positive manner would increase, and so would the ability of the Palestinian population to feel the change.

The Prime Minister clarified to the Palestinian Prime Minister that if the Palestinians would indeed act to stop terror and violence, Israel would consider commence political negotiations, in accordance with the conditions, principles and stages laid out in President Bush's June 24, 2002 speech, and it is in that framework, it will be agreed to establish a provisional Palestinian state, which would lead to a permanent state.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that a comprehensive dialogue would continue, and in that framework professional meetings would be held at different levels and echelons, while the progress of the process will be supervised by the two leaders.

IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
Website: www.imra.org.il


28 Iyyar, 5763 (May 30, 2003) Jesus' Ascension Day

KJV Acts 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey.

28 Iyyar (May 30, 2003) Yom Yerushalayim/Jerusalem Day (reunification/liberation of Jerusalem in 1967)

On June 7,1967 / Iyar 28, 5727, Israeli troops crashed through the defenses set up by Arab troops and recaptured those parts of the holy city of Jerusalem which had previously been in Arab possession. Yom Yerushalayim commemorates this significant day.

28 Iyyar 2884 Traditional date of death of Samuel

Samuel: Israelite judge and prophet who lived in the 11th century B.C.E. Standing at the close of one era and the beginning of another, Samuel was instrumental in the painful, but necessary, transition from a loose confederation of Hebrew tribes to a centralized monarchy. He played a part in events which eventually saw his people completely freed from subjection to the Philistines and from the threat of the utter loss of national life. (Encyclopaedia Judaica)

28 Iyyar (May 17, 1939) British White Paper

The 1939 White Paper: Issued on May 17, 1939, it rejected, in essence, the Peel Commission's partition plan on the grounds that it was not feasible. The document stated that Palestine would be neither a Jewish state nor an Arab one, but an independent state to be established within ten years. Jewish immigration to Palestine was limited to 75,000 for the first five years, subject to the country's "economic absorptive capacity", and would later be contingent on Arab consent. Stringent restrictions were imposed on land acquisition by Jews. (White Papers)


29 Iyyar, 5763 (May 31, 2003) Annular Solar Eclipse

Viewer's Guide: Strange Solar Eclipse on May 31
By Joe Rao
Special to SPACE.com posted: 07:00 am ET 23 May 2003

A partial eclipse of the Sun surrounded by strange circumstances is on tap for Saturday, May 31 and will be visible in parts of North America, Europe and the Middle East. The event could be quite spectacular at sunrise in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom.

Looking directly at the Sun is dangerous, so proper viewing techniques (below) are necessary. The most impressive aspect of the event will be an annular, or ring eclipse, so named because the Moon’s disk will be too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk. The result is a ring of fire surrounding the black circle of the Moon. It's like a dull penny sitting atop a shiny nickel.

Annular eclipses can occur because the Moon's orbit around Earth is not quite a circle. When the Moon is closer to Earth than average, a total solar eclipse can occur. When it is farther than average, an annular eclipse can result. The annular eclipse will be visible across a sparsely populated swath of Earth from Scotland to the Canadian Arctic.

Strange site

The extreme northern track of the Moon's shadow will likely make this one of the most unusual solar eclipses that will occur in the 21st century.

Here's why:

The antumbra or negative shadow of the Moon – from where the annular phase of eclipse is visible – will strike the Earth at a very oblique angle. In fact, the shadow will actually pass above the North Pole and a bit beyond it before it finally makes contact with the Earth’s surface. As a result of this extraordinary geometry, the antumbra appears to graze the Earth’s surface resulting in a broad, semicircular region that will experience the "ring of fire" effect.

Also, because of this unusual circumstance, instead of moving in a typical west-to-east fashion, as is the case with most solar eclipses, the shadow’s movement will actually run in reverse – from east to west.

Where to see a partial eclipse

Outside of the zone of the annular eclipse, most of Europe, the Middle East, central and northern Asia and northwestern sections of North America will be underneath the Moon’s outer shadow, or penumbra, and will see a partial eclipse. The effect is that of the Moon taking a bite out of the Sun.

The closer one is positioned to the region of visibility of the annular eclipse, the larger the eclipse. Those living in northern and eastern sections of Europe will be in position to see more than 80 percent of the Sun’s diameter eclipsed at, or soon after sunrise. Across parts of central Europe, which includes Ireland, much of England and France, Switzerland and Italy, the peak of the eclipse will have already occurred when the Sun finally comes up above the horizon – nonetheless still making for a most unusual sunrise! Interestingly, the partial eclipse will also be visible across all of Alaska as well as a swath of northern and western Canada. Depending on where you are located, you might expect to see anywhere from about 40 to 80 percent coverage.

However, adding to the oddities associated with this eclipse, for these "Al-Can localities," since the Moon’s penumbral shadow falls to the east of the International Date Line, local clocks will be set to the previous day: Friday, May 30. Moreover, for these particular locations the eclipse will be occurring not at sunrise, but around the time of sunset.

Where to see the annular eclipse

The region from where the annular phase will be visible takes on an outline resembling a peculiar "D" shape that spans nearly 750 miles (1,200 kilometers), broader than any eclipse path in this century. The antumbra itself, thanks to the grazing angle it makes from the low Sun, projects onto the Earth’s surface as an extremely elongated ellipse. The broad area of visibility includes northern Scotland, encompasses all of Iceland before crossing into central Greenland, before ending in Baffin Bay, Canada.

The antumbral shadow will sweep over the Earth in a little under 47 minutes, beginning at 3:45 GMT. The actual axis of the shadow will ever-so-briefly touch down on the Earth for just 12 minutes, from 4:02 to 4:14 GMT, tracing a short semicircular path that starts and ends at local sunrise. This is in stark contrast to most other total or annular eclipses, whose tracks usually begin at sunrise and take a course in a general easterly direction, ending a few hours later at sunset.

The annular eclipse will begin somewhere on Rannoch Moor in the midst of the Grampian Mountains of the Scottish highlands. This is about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Glasgow. Notable locations in Scotland that will see (local weather conditions permitting) the Sun appearing as a glowing ring at or shortly after sunrise include the Northwest Highlands, Loch Ness, the Isle of Lewis (Outer Hebrides), the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Several minutes later, as the antumbral shadow moves in a northwesterly direction, the Faeroe Islands (which belong to Denmark) will experience the annular eclipse. Less than ten minutes later, the shadow will envelop Iceland. From the capital city of Reykjavik, the annular eclipse will last 3 minutes 36 seconds.

But prospects for clear skies here are not at all good. According to Jay Anderson, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, "The Icelandic low (about 600 miles or 1,000 kilometers to the southwest) is the source of a frequent and endless supply of weather systems that move past the island, each one bringing its own retinue of cloud and precipitation; overcast skies with rain or snow are the norm."

Yet, even if skies dawn perfectly clear over Reykjavik, many of its 106,000 inhabitants may still miss the low-altitude spectacle because of mountains that could block their view toward the northeast. Continuing in a northwest direction, the eclipse reaches its maximum about 120 miles (200 kilometers) beyond Iceland in the Denmark Strait at 4:08 GMT. Here, the annular eclipse will last 3 minutes 37 seconds, with the Sun standing a mere 3º above the horizon. The shadow then cuts across the center of the sparsely inhabited island of Greenland, before finally leaving the Earth over Canada’s Baffin Bay.

...

(http://www.space.com/spacewatch/annular_eclipse_030523.html)

29 Iyyar, 5763 (May 31, 2003) Shabbat Kallah/Sabbath of the Bride

In Sephardi communities, the Shabbat before Shavuot is called "Shabbat Kallah". The Torah is likened to a bride, and the Jewish people to a bridegroom coming to meet his bride. Thus the poets composed wedding songs and instituted a special version of a "ketubah" (marriage certificate) that is read out in the synagogue, when the Sefer Torah [Torah Scroll] is taken from the Ark, just as the "ketubah" is read under the wedding canopy.

This Shabbat is widely celebrated in Jewish communities. The synagogue service is followed by dancing and refreshments. (Shavuot: Laws & Customs)


Quotes from Talmud taken from The Soncino Talmud CD-ROM, Davka Corp. 1991-1995.
Quotes from Midrash Rabbah taken from The Soncino Midrash Rabbah CD-ROM, Davka Corp. 1992-1995.


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