Friday, September 23, 2016

Ki Tavo - Appreciating Your Blessings And Making Hashem Your Partner - The Amazing Story Of Lord And Taylor


A huuuuge mazel tov to [my soon to be cousin] Mordechai Yagelnik and [my present cousin] Esti Ehrman on their engagement!! May Mordechai and Esther have a home filled with their sweet light, lots of Purim-dike simcha all year round and [like the couple of yesteryear] save the Jewish people!!! A special mazel tov to the parents R' Yisrael [who some people for some reason refer to as "Eric"] Rebbetzin Ahava and families [I guess that would include me...]. May we all merit to see this develop into a binyan adei ad!

A huuuuugeee mazel tov to Zalman and Talia Baron on the birth of their son!! May he merit to grow up to be a holy tzadik and give his wonderful parents and family much nachas!!

This dvar Torah should be a zchus for my belovd friend Moshe Yehuda ben Pesha Dina that all of the wishes of his heart should be fulfilled li-tova. 

Also - a speedy zivug for Ester Baila bas Rus Devora.

And especially to all of the tzadikim who made possible all of the Torah I learned this year - they know who they are....

This weeks parsha talks about the Bikkurim, the first fruits. It's like a Machane Yehuda EXTRAVAGANZA! We all come to the Beis Hamikdash with our fruits and declare our thanks to Hashem for all of his blessings. Gratitude is a basic pillar and foundation of happiness. Taking things for granted leads to bitterness and dissatisfaction. So here this Shabbos we have a GREAT opportunity to reflect on all we have and inject ourselves with a shot of whiskey happiness. The previous parsha concluded with Amalek whose middah was ingratitude [Mechilta Beshalach]. Some explain that our way of combating the terrible middah of Amalek is to bring the Bikkurim and appreciate our gifts. 

There was a tailor named Mendel and he was worried about his business. Mendel was down to his last $50 and was torn between buying a sign and getting food for his family. Mendel decided to daven.

“Dear G-d,” he said, “I don’t know what to do. If I buy
a sign it may bring in business, but I need to buy groceries for my family…and if the sign doesn’t bring in sales, we will starve."

G-D replied, “Mendel buy the sign. Don’t worry, your family won’t starve.”

So, Mendel bought the sign and business took off. The tailor fed his family and all was well. However, as time passed it became evident that Mendel couldn’t keep up with orders all by himself. He contemplated hiring on a helper, but wondered if he could afford it. So, he asked G-D if getting help would be a prudent move.

“Go ahead,” G-D tells Mendel, “hire some help, you’ll do okay.”

And so Mendel did. And business took off beyond his wildest dreams. After a time, the tailor decided to move to a larger site that would accommodate the growing demands of his business. As he surveyed certain locations, he found a perfect storefront, but the rental price was really steep. [Midtown Manhattan - expensive real estate!!].

“G-D” Mendel again prayed, “I found the perfect place to relocate my business. But the cost of the lease worries me. I don’t want to get in over my head.”

“Go ahead and a get a lease on the store, Mendel,” said G-D. “Trust me, you’ll be okay–I haven’t steered you wrong yet, have I?”

So Mendel signed a lease on the 5th Avenue store and profits from his business went through the roof. Out of heartfelt gratitude, Mendel proposed to the Almighty that he dedicate the store to Him.

“How do you like the name “Hashem and Mendel,” the tailor asked.

“Nah,” G-D said. “Let’s go with ‘Lord and Taylor.'”

On Rosh Hashana, Hashem decides how our parnassa will be in the coming year. One way to increase one's parnassa [besides getting a job...] is to appreciate all of the blessings Hashem gave you. The Sefer Hachinuch guarantees parnassa to anyone who bentches with kavana. Bentching is our way of appreciating and showing gratitude for the source of all of our blessings. This brings in turn more and more blessings. [I know a very very wealthy philanthropist who told Hashem many years ago that for every two dollars - one dollar for you and one dollar for me. They both did very well:-)].

The purpose of creation is to recognize Hashem which is what we do on Rosh Hashana which is why that is the time Hashem decides our financial success. The more we appreciate Him, the more we make Him a partner, the more likely we are to see success.  

The sefarim talk about two types of blessing. One is when one doesn't connect the blessing to the source. That might "fill one up" but it lacks real nutrition. It is like eating white flour or sugar which is just empty calories [even though it might be sweet or tasty]. The type of blessing we seek is one that IS connected to it's source. That is like eating a good solid, healthy salad which is both filling and nutritious. [I use a food metaphor because I am Jewish and... hungry. Fortunately Shabbos beigns in a few minutes and that problem will come to a satisfying solution IMY"H!]. 

SWEETEST FRIENDS!!! As a very wealthy man [in the sense of being happy with his lot - I hope] I want to bless all of us that we should all prosper in the coming year and have the wisdom to realize where all of the bracha came from. In that merit we will always do the right things with our blessings and see them increase exponentially!!!

Bi-ahava rabba and wishes for a sweet Shabbos and sweet new year,

Rabbi Reisman – Parshas Ki Savo 5776

As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Ki Savo and we begin this coming week the week of Selichos and we hope that all of our Tefillos for the Yomim Noraim should be Mekubel by Shamayim. 

1. On Parshas Ki Savo, I have a few technical Divrei Torah but the technical Divrei Torah have in them a tremendous Mussar as well. First, I have noticed in the Sefer Tamei Dikra which is from Rav Chaim Kanievsky, he has a theme which he mentions in many of the Parshios. That is, that there are certain words in the Torah which are occasionally spelled Malei and are occasionally Choseir. What I mean is that the Cholem sound when it is written out is occasionally written Malei with a Vav and occasionally Choseir, where it has the Cholem sound but it does not have the Vav. The word Bechor is sometimes spelled (בכור) which is Malei and sometimes (בכר) which is Choseir. It sounds the same way but spelled differently. 

Rav Chaim Kanievsky writes that he believes that wherever it is Malei it indicates that the word is complete. The reference to something is that thing in a complete way. However, when it is Chaseir, when it is missing the Vav, that indicates that the item is sort of incomplete. 

One of the most beautiful examples of this which is something which I mentioned in Parshas Behar 5774 (the second Dvar Torah) is that the word Yovel in Behar appears 14 times. Of the 14 times, 6 times it is spelled Malei, (יובל), and 8 times it appears Choseir, (יבל). Pronounced the same way but without the Vav. 

Rav Chaim Kanievsky writes there (טעמא דקרא דף קנא) based on a Gemara in Eiruchin 12b, that there were 14 Yovels that Klal Yisrael observed. After the Galus of the 10 Shevatim when it was not Rov Yisrael Al Admasan, where most Jews were not in Eretz Yisrael, Yovel ceased to exist. So it turns out that for 14 Yovels which was approximately 700 years there was 14 Yovels. The Baal Haturim says that is why it says the word Yovel 14 times in Parshas Behar. 

Says Rav Chaim Kanievsky, of those 14 Yovels, 6 Yovels occurred when the Bais Hamikdash stood. When Klal Yisrael was Malei it was sort of complete in Eretz Yisrael. 8 Yovels are for the first 400 and something years where there was no Bais Hamikdash and the Yovel came but it was Choseir. The Yovel in Eretz Yisrael was still missing the completion of Eretz Yisrael. So that is the Lomdus in the 8 Yovels that are Choseir. There were 8 Choseir Yovels and 6 Malei Yovels. A very beautiful Nekuda. 

Another example is in Parshas Ki Seitzei, last week’s Parsha. The word Bechor appears Choseir, (בְּכֹר) in the Posuk (וְהָיָה הַבֵּן הַבְּכֹר, לַשְּׂנִיאָה) 21:15. Rav Chaim’s rule is that if Bechor is spelled Choseir it indicates that it is not a complete Bechor. (Ed. Note: This is brought down in (טעמא דקרא דף רכג)). 

For example, if you have a Bechor that is a first born to his father but not the first conceived. He has two wives and one wife became pregnant first and the second wife became pregnant second. The second wife gives birth first, that is the Bechor. The Bechor goes Basar Leida, it goes by birth. But that Bechor is incomplete. Conception it is not the oldest, in birth it is. The GRA says (וְהָיָה הַבֵּן הַבְּכֹר, לַשְּׂנִיאָה) is a reference to such a child. A child who was born first but not conceived first. The GRA doesn’t say from where he knows this. Zagt Rav Chaim (page # 145) since the word Bechor is spelled Choseir it is an incomplete Bechor as the Bechor is missing something in the Bechoroskeit and therefore, it is spelled Choseir. These are two examples that he gives in Parshas Emor 21:2 (כִּי, אִם-לִשְׁאֵרוֹ, הַקָּרֹב, אֵלָיו). It calls a wife Karov, (קָּרֹב), Choseir and then it talks about (וְלַאֲחֹתוֹ הַבְּתוּלָה הַקְּרוֹבָה אֵלָיו). It talks about a sister being (קְּרוֹבָה). Why is one Malei and one Choseir?

Me, I wouldn’t know. To someone like Rav Chaim who knows Shas on his fingertips, it is simple. Zagt Rav Chaim, the Halacha is that a Kohein can be Metamei to a sibling, a brother or a sister even when that brother or sister is a Posul, a Mamzer, no matter what. (הַקְּרוֹבָה אֵלָיו) that Kirvus is complete, is Malei. However, a Kohein who is married could be Mitamei (לִשְׁאֵרו) which is his wife (הַקָּרֹב, אֵלָיו). The Gemara says only if that relative has no Psul. Metamei L’ishto Keshaira V’lo Lishto Pesula. If his wife is a divorced person that he married he cannot be Metamei for her. So (לִשְׁאֵרוֹ) is a relative (הַקָּרֹב, אֵלָיו) that it is an incomplete relationship, only under certain conditions is it a Karov. These are three examples and there are numerous other examples in the Sefer Taima Dik’ra in many of the Parshios Hatorah of this Yesod. Vayechi 49:29 would be an example. Look it up (page # 63).

What does that have to do with this week’s Parsha? In this week’s Parsha we seem to have the exact opposite. It says in the Parsha, in the Tochacha in Posuk 28:15 that in times that Klal Yisrael is not deserving (וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ). The curses will run after you (וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ) and will reach you. (הִשִּׂיגוּךָ) is spelled Malei. Hei, Sin, Yud, Gimmel, Vav, Ende Chaf. It is spelled Malei. We have the same language earlier when the Posuk is talking about Berachos that Klal Yisrael is blessed. There it says that the Berachos will run after you (וְהִשִּׂיגֻךָ) and the same Lashon that they will reach you. However, over there when it talks about Berachos it says (וְהִשִּׂיגֻךָ) Choseir, Vav, Hei, Sin, Yud, Gimmel, Ende Chaf. It is missing the Vav. Here we have a problem. If it would be reversed that Berachos it would be Malei and that by Klalos it would be Choseir then it would be Geshmak. The Berachos will reach you completely and the curses, Middah Tova Miruba Mai’Midda Puranios. The Midda Puranios, the bad thing is not complete. However, it is the reverse. It is Malei by the curses and Choseir by the Berachos. What is going on?

In the Sefer Talelai Oros he says such a beautiful Geshmake Teretz. He says the following. We have a Yesod which the Gemara spells out, that a person is fortunate with whatever Onshin a person he deserves Lo Aleinu he receives those punishments in this world and not in the world to come. Berachos is just the opposite. Schar, we don’t want Schar in this world. We want the Schar in the next world which is of course the real Schar. 

Zagt the Talelai Oros very Geshmak. In 28:2 (וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַבְּרָכוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וְהִשִּׂיגֻךָ) it is spelled Choseir. Berachos you will not get all of them in this world. Some of them will reach you. When it comes to the Klalos in Posuk 15 (וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ כָּל-הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלֶּה, וְהִשִּׂיגוּךָ) anything for which a person deserves punishment he should get in this world. Therefore, the Klalos will reach you completely and you will come to the Olam Ha’emes without Onshim. Such a beautiful Vort. 

The Emunah in Chazal in the Diyuk of every single word in the Posuk, every single letter in a Posuk is Gevaldig with this Yesod. Bli Neder, we will return to it at some other time. 

2. Let me move on to a second Yesod in the Parsha. We have in the Parsha half the Shevatim on Har Eival and half on Har Grizim. Kehas in the middle with the Aron and the splitting up of the Shevatim is very confusing. On Har Eival you have the 4 Bnei Hashefachos together, Gad, Asher, Dan, Naftali, we would expect them to be together, plus Reuvain and Zevulun. It is very hard to understand that set. On the other mountain there is Shimon, Yehuda, Yissochor, Menashe, Efraim, Binyomin. Why is it divided this way? The Meforshim struggle. 

When I gave Shiur on Sefer Yehoshua I had seen a Pshat (I don’t remember where it is), however, the Pshat I said was the following. The Shevatim were divided as evenly as possible on the two mountains. So that the number of people on each mountain should be as equal as possible. If you add up (the people on Har Eival), Reuvain, Gad, Asher, Zevulun, Dan, Naftali you get a total of 307,930[1] people. If you add up Har Grizim, Shimon, Yehuda, Yissochor, Menashe, Efraim, Binyomin you get a total of 293,800[2] people. Of all of the combination of Shevatim this appears to be the closest. But that is not enough. It is still not exact. But one minute, we forgot to add Gershon and Merari who are on Har Grizim as well. 

Har Eival is set at 307,930. On Har Grizim it is 293,800. So let’s add Gershon and Merari the two families of Sheivet Levi that stood on the mountain. How many were there? We have a problem because in Pashas Pinchos it just says that the Leviim were 23,000 and it doesn’t divide them by family. However, earlier in Parshas Bamidbar when the Leviim were slightly fewer at 22,300, it does. There we find that Merari and Gershon together had 13,700[3] people. Kehas who stood in middle had 8,600. Now, from Bamidbar to Pinchas, Sheivet Levi went from 22,300 to 23,000. Proportionality if you do the math, Merari and Gershon would have 14,130[4] people. That is exact. If you add 14,130 to the 293,800 people that were on Har Grizim you get 307,930. Which means that the Shevatim divided on Har Grizim and Har Eival were exact, not close but precisely divided in half by number of people. 

It is a wonderful Pshat in the understanding of the division of Har Grizim and Har Eival. They had to be equal. The Koach of Klalos and Berachos are equal. They had to be equal and they were equal. The numbers are there and they are precise. It is Gevaldig. It is an extraordinary lesson about how much is hidden in Torah. How much is underneath. How precise everything really was. 

An Am Ha’aretz could read the Chumash and think that things were done haphazardly. It is not so. Everything in Torah was done with precision. Both of these Divrei Torah for Parshas Ki Savo indicate that. The precision of Malei and Choseir, the precision of Jews on Har Eival and Har Grizim. Ashreinu Ma Tov Chelkeinu Uma Yafa Yerushaseinu, someone who is Zoche to delve into Torah. 

3. We come to the week of Selichos this coming week and I want to urge you all to make it a meaningful week. Selichos means that you get up early for Selichos not that you start everything later. 

Certainly this Thursday night, the last Thursday night before we come to Selichos is a night which you should all be staying up later for Mishmar. It is a time to prepare for the Yom Hadin. At the very least, if you have never attended a Mishmar come and learn Hilchos Rosh Hashana and prepare for it. You don’t have time? 

Nowadays you can take a Kitzur Shulchan Aruch with notes where the Mishna Brura argues and go through it easily in one hour the Halachos of Rosh Hashana and become an expert and be a Talmid Chochom. Of course you have to Chazir it as well. Do it. Do it. 

I have a feeling that just like there are barbers and tailors and I am not a barber and I am not a tailor. Many people feel that there are barbers, tailors and Mishmar goers and I am not a Mishmar goer. There are certain people who are Mishmar goers. Nothing doing. Everybody is a potential Mishmar goer. The only way is that you pick yourself up and get to the Beis Medrash tonight. IY”H we will order extra black and whites for you. I look IY”H forward to greeting you. Tell me you came because you heard this on the phone today and this is your very first time and IY”H you will be happy you did it. With this I wish everyone a meaningful coming week, a preparation for the Yom Hadin. A Gutten Shabbos to one and all!

[1] Reuvain – 43,730, Gad – 40,500, Asher – 53,400, Zevulun – 60,500, Dan – 64,400, Naftali – 45,400 = Total of 307,930. 

[2] Shimon – 22,200, Yehuda – 76,500, Yissochor – 64,300, Menashe – 52,700, Efraim – 32,500, Binyomin – 45,600 = Total of 293,800. 

[3] Merari – 6,200, Gershon – 7,500 = Total of 13,700. 

[4] 13,700/22,300 x 23,000 = 14,130.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Stopped For Drinking And Driving

Image result for clean humor

A Different Subject

A bank robber pulls out gun points it at the teller, and says, "Give me all the money or you're geography!" The puzzled teller replies, "Did you mean to say 'or you're history?'" The robber says, "Don't change the subject!"

Be Careful

Moderately Confused

Memory Problems

There was an elderly couple who in their old age noticed that they were getting a lot more forgetful, so they decided to go to the doctor. The doctor told them that they should start writing things down so they don't forget. They went home and the old lady told her husband to get her a bowl of ice cream. "You might want to write it down," she said. The husband said, "No, I can remember that you want a bowl of ice cream." She then told her husband she wanted a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream. "Write it down," she told him, and again he said, "No, no, I can remember: you want a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream." Then the old lady said she wants a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top. "Write it down," she told her husband and again he said, "No, I got it. You want a bowl of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top." So he goes to get the ice cream and spends an unusually long time in the kitchen, over 30 minutes. He comes out to his wife and hands her a plate of toast and eggs. The old wife stares at the plate for a moment, then looks at her husband and asks, "Where's the french fries?"

Someone's Type

Moderately Confused