Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Learn About Kiddush Hashem

A hesped here - listen and live.

New Shiur

Second Night Of Chanuka - Gvura And Yisachar, here.

Get Weadddyyyy!!!!!


I know what you are thinking!! How am I going to prepare for Chanuka this year??

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh:-):-). I am here to be AT YOUR SERVICE!

First completely abnormal shiur - here

Rabbinic Scandals And How To Prevent Them

A video talk from the Aguda Convention.

Surrounded by Scandal: Rabbi Avrohom Nesanel Zucker from Agudath Israel on Vimeo.

Tears Of Compassion

From "yeshivaworld":

“And so I found myself in the middle of Har Nof, in a small neighborhood grocery store. The store owner is talking to one of the workers. Both are discussing the names, just released, of those murdered while davening.

 At that moment a beautiful little 7 year old boy comes in accompanied by his rebbi. The rebbi, in a choked-up voice announces the full name of the smiling bashful child. The grocer immediately realizes that this is the son of one of those killed in the attack. The rebbi signals that the child has not been told anything.

The grocer rushes up to the little one, ice cream in hand and says: “Here you are motek, you can have whatever you want – Do you like these?” The kid smiles and says he does. Then the grocer whispers to him, “Any time you want something from my store, just come here and I’ll give it to you for free” “The boy whispers back “Thank you” and looks happy. His rebbi thanks the grocer with a look in the eye and the two leave. The grocer could not hold back his tears, and held his head in his hands...

"Right" Or Wrong?

In wake of the Har Nof massacre, many have been talking about the Kdoshim and I too have been thinking about them a lot. Rav Moshe Twerski was the scion of the Number One "Modern" or "Centrist" orthodox family in the world. His grandfather, Rav Soloveitchik, was the leader of the "Torah Umada" movement in the US and himself embodied the ideals of the movement, being both a gadol bi-torah and also receiving a doctorate in philosophy.

It is interesting that his grandson, about whom he said "He IS me" [as opposed to other grandchildren who learned from their grandfather and adopted various traits] did not choose a "Centrist" lifestyle or outlook. He was completely charedi, koolo Torah. If you go to Har Nof you will find a large percentage of people who rejected their modern upbringing and chose a more extreme charedi lifestyle. Why is that??

I myself am a flipout. I heard all of the modern orthodox rhetoric, went to their schools, read their publications and found it lacking. Not that it doesn't make sense, because it does. Be a pious, devoted Jew and be part of the world at the same time. Perfectly logical:-). It is also not that it doesn't have sources in our tradition. It most certainly does. There is much room for the study of secular wisdom to enhance our understanding of Hashem's world. It is also a mitzva to support one's family and one should not live off tzdaka. So what is wrong? Why are there so many defectors to more "right wing" pastures?

The answer, for me, is that IT DOESN'T WORK. In theory it is fantastic but the מבחן התוצאה - the practical application, yields very poor results. The day school system produces not only students who are close to Jewishly illiterate [I write as both a student and putative educator for over two decades] but are also sorely lacking in their commitment to halacha. There is very little ambition for greatness in the spiritual realm which is not called in that world "gadlus" or "tzidkus" but "fantacism" or "extremism". Striving for mediocrity is a recipe for failure. The desire to be engaged in the outside world brings many to enjoy activities and entertainment that are halachically problematic at best, forbidden at worst. A very well known and outspoken modern orthodox rabbi spoke at my sheva brachos and boasted that his students go to theater and the like. How very uplifting and inspiring:-). So many issurei di-oraisa in one, two hour show. Nivul peh, maros assuros, bitul zman, moshav leitzim AND MORE:-)!

People who want the truth without compromise find themselves gravitiating towards a more charedi lifestyle, with all of the hardships that often come along with it. The official "party line" in the charedi world is that we want to be perfect ovdei Hashem and that is all that matters in life. Everything else is just a means to achieve closeness to Hashem. [Of course nobody is perfect but the ambition is there]. To acheive that goal we don't need television, the New York Post, the NY Knicks or vacations in exotic locations.

The is much the charedi world can learn from the "Centrist" world as well. There are many, many many exemplary individuals who identify with that camp. The purpose of this post was not to denigrate or to be condescending, G-d forbid. The average "Centrist" is probably a hundred times better a Jew than this writer, yours truly. My goal is to prompt people to think about how they want to raise their children, what community in which to live and what type of rabonim to choose as guides and role models. It is my firm belief that an uncompromising life, with the highest religious standards, sealed off as much as possible [outside of parnaasa needs] from the outside world, is the only way to go in our crazy "post-modern" world where all values are relative and everyone's opinion is just as valid as anyone elses. We need to live lives where we strive for kedusha, tahara, dveikus baShem and bi-talmidei chachomim.

The niftar [and the other kdoshim as well] Hy"d was a beautiful example of someone who in life and in death, lived a life of religious maximalism, called by our holy books "tzidkus" and "chasdius". May we be zoche to follow in his path.   

New Shiurim

The Heilige Heilige Rebbe Leibele Eiger ztz"l on Parshas Vayeitzei here and here.

Sweetest friends - it doesn't cost any money but it's worth a million dollars. שמעו ותחי נפשכם

[After Rav Gustman publshed his Kuntresei Shiurim, a student wanted to purchase a copy. He asked Rav Gustman "How much is it worth?" Rav Gustman said "It's worth a million dollars but I will give it to you for 20 shekel".
Even though I enjoy posting very deep lumdishe shiurim - I fear that people are scared away by things they fear they won't understand or that require tremendous mental exertion. So I make sure to put up shiurim that appeal to the soul and that are שוה לכל נפש - appropriate for all. These are two such shiurim. Please listen li-ilui nishmasi vi-nishmascha, we should all live biz a hindrid un tzvonsik - till 120 in good health and prosperity:-)].