Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aufruffs - Seek Deep Friendships - Am I A Salamander?

As I mentioned in a recent post, Eikev is my aufruff parsha. I have attended many aufruffs and I love them. The funny stories, the camaraderie, the excitement, the food, the singing, the hugs... It is so much fun when all of the old high school and some newer friends get together. 

But regrettably, I didn't have that. I left high school in 11th grade and in 10th my attendance was sporadic at best. So my high school experience was very limited. I couldn't have high school friends at my aufruff because I didn't have many [and the one's I had weren't really always the greatest friends - my closest friend from then never answers my emails to this day, so I stopped trying - but it was good while it lasted. Anyway - he is busy hedging, whatever that means. As for my other friends - with one exception, when I suddenly disappeared from high school nobody called to find out what happened to me and where I went. Friends?? Just my chemistry teacher Mr. Tarendash (so I am told) would call me out at attendance every day and when I wouldn't answer he would say "Where is that Ehrman???"], and also because the aufruff was in Israel and they were all in America. At the time I was in Yeshivat Hakotel and I guess I was friendly with the Israelis but not enough that they would attend my aufruff. Some of them came to the wedding. So the people at the aufruff were a little bit of family and people who lived in the town where I made it [in the Gush Dan section of Israel, near Ramat Gan and Bnei Brak].   

So why am I telling you this? 

Well, since I have been invited to a number of aufruffs of boys from the Yeshivos where I learned [located in the Old City], I wanted to be makir tova and show my appreciation. I always find them very touching and emotional and really value that they allowed me to be part of that. 

So thank you to those close friends!!! 

I also wanted to stress the importance of BEING a good friend and HAVING good friends. According to Pirkei Avos [2, 9], that is one of the most important things a person should seek in life. To this day, although I am friendly with many people, I have few people whom I consider and who would consider me real friends. Many people whom I thought were real friends have disappointed me over the years. What is a real friend according to my definition? Maybe for another post. 

The bottom line is  - seek deep abiding friendships. They enhance quality of life and Avodas Hashem considerably. [It goes without saying that Facebook "friends" are real friends like I am a real salamander].

Dovid Hamelech said חבר אני לכל אשר יראוך - I am a friend to all those who fear You. I hope that one day I am zocheh to say the same about myself. 

I hope to revisit this topic in the future. If I forget  - you can remind me:-). 

Poor Substitutes

This post from Rav Dessler, about substituting the fake for the real, just reminded me of the immortal words of Professor Morrie Schwartz who was מכוון לדעת גדולים. 

“We've got a sort of brainwashing going on in our country", Morrie sighed. "Do you know how they brainwash people? They repeat something over and over. And that's what we do in this country. Owning things is good. More money is good. More property is good. More commercialism is good. More is good. More is good. We repeat it--and have it repeated to us--over and over until nobody bothers to even think otherwise. The average person is so fogged up by all of this, he has no perspective on what's really important anymore.

Wherever I went in my life, I met people wanting to gobble up something new. Gobble up a new car. Gobble up a new piece of property. Gobble up the latest toy. And then they wanted to tell you about it. 'Guess what I got? Guess what I got?'

You know how I interpreted that? These were people so hungry for love that they were accepting substitutes. They were embracing material things and expecting a sort of hug back. But it never works. You can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship.

Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness. I can tell you, as I'm sitting here dying, when you most need it, neither money nor power will give you the feeling you're looking for, no matter how much of them you have.”

Morrie Schwartz as he was dying of ALS.
Tuesdays With Morrie

Parshas Eikev - Hearty Appetite - Eateateat - Will The Real Moshiach Stand Up - Public Festive Meal

Shaalllooooom sweeetest friends!!!!

A huuuuuuuge mazel tov to my Uncle Fred who just had a very special birthday. I am not at liberty to say how young he is but I will say that he is young enough to have finished shas 3 and a half times. He should finish it at least 7 more times at the rate of a page a day!!!

A huuuuuge mazel tov to Tani and Daniella Shimoff on their marriage!!! May they go from simcha to simcha in Eretz Yisrael!

A huuuuuuugeee mazel tov to Naftali and Tova Herskovic on their marriage!! May this special couple enjoy many happy healthy years. 

A huuuugeeee mazel tooov to Moshe Gold and Rivka Spero on their engagement!!! I no longer will have to tell shadchanim who call me what a tzadekes Rivka is. Now I will tell the world. Rivka is a special one of a kind tzadekes. And now Moshe will have the zchus of being married to her. And as for Moshe? "Gold" is a great description.... ענבי הגפן בענבי הגפן

Mazel toooov to Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Riemer on the birth of a son!!! The simcha is through the roof! Much nachas! 

Many special yidden moved homes... To the Daniel Ross family, Daniel Slomnicki family, Ephraim Gervis family, Rabbi Akiva Balk family, and everyone else who moved - YISHUV TOV!! May you enjoy your new homes and communities and may they enjoy you!!

I recently returned from 4 weeks in New York City. I officially went in order to raise money for various mitzvos but alas, I don't like asking people to contribute for mitzvos and people generally don't like when I ask them either, so to satisfy everyone I did just about none of that and sat in the YU Beis Medrash. It was a taste of the world to come. So many people were kind to me. They are too innumerable to mention. Meals, rides EVERYTHING. I want to thank EVERYBODY. Some people saw me learning alone and know how weak I am in learning and kindly offered me chavrusos which I graciously accepted. Thanks chavrusos!!

I must single out my best friends ever R' Yoni and Leba Pollack [and the sweet Bailey] who so warmly welcomed me into their home for the entire duration of my stay. They were even more considerate and let me have it all to myself. Free of charge. What tzadikim! I thank Camp Morasha who gave them a place to stay in the meantime.   

I also must single out Moshe Yehuda ben Pesha Dina who is about the kindest and dearest friend that one can have. 

And to everyone I didn't mention - you know who you are, I know who you are, Hashem knows who you are .....  and I love you.


I have been getting complaints that my mazel tovs are too long and that it is forever till I get to the Dvar Torah. I accept the criticism but still ask that people keep sending me their good news so I can keep sharing with the world the simchas of my sweetest brothers and sisters😇🤗 . 


This weeks parsha is Eikev. It is a special parsha for me because it was my aufruff parsha. Savyon, Israel 1994 with my smooth face [not because I shaved but because nothing was doing there. From my Bris till my Bar Mitzva till my wedding it remained smooth. Now the beard is full and getting grayer as the tzoris mount:-).... Just joking. The graying part is true but B"H I have no tzoris other than the yetzer hara who tries to get me to learn during chazaras hashatz]. I read the haftorah like a good American, we had a nice kiddush after shul sponsored by my beloved parents zol zein gezunt and shtark and a good time was had by all because Shabbos was filled with food. Then I got married and there was more food at the wedding. Then I had a wife who is great at ... making food. Then Hashem gave me children [with some help from my wife] and they like to eat. הודו לשם כי טוב!!!

Jews like food. After an hour at Deli Kasbah on my recent trip when I went out with two friends, I came to the following conclusions: Jews like to eat and the Rebbi [Shlita? Ztz"l? Undecided? I am so confused] is most likely Moshiach. And even if he isn't I am inclined to say that he is in order to get a free dessert.  

Food. Reminds me of the myse with Moshe who goes to see his Rav. 

“Rabbi, last week I missed bentching. What is the halacha in such a case? Can I make it up?”

“Why did you miss,” asked the Rav. 

“Because I forgot netilas yodayim.” 

“That’s twice you didn't keep the halacha but you still haven’t told me why.” 

“Ah - because the food wasn’t kosher. Why would I wash for treif food?!”

“You ate non-kosher food?” asked the Rav. 

“It was a lobster joint.”

“That makes it even worse,” said the fuming Rav. “Couldn’t you have eaten in a kosher eatery?” 

“What, on Yom Kippur?”

In Parshas Eikev we read of the mitzva to bentch after eating. The Mishna in the seventh chapter of Brachos says that if three people eat together they must make a zimmun. The gemara never explains the rationale behind this halacha. Why three? Why not just make a zimmun when you eat alone? Pesukim are offered but no explanation. 

The Gemara says that Torah scholars should only eat meals which are a seudos mitzva but not a regular meal [Pesachim 49a - see there for some harsh words]. This is because eating is really an animalistic act. We stick food in our mouths chew it [make sure your mouth is closed so as not to gross anyone out], swallow it and then go for more. It is very pleasurable but certainly far from spiritual. Things that we do that are very physical are generally done in private. Do what you gotta do but not in full public view!! [See Rambam Moreh Nevuchim 3/8]

Chazal came and wanted to elevate our conceptualization. Get three people together, each with their own philosophy of life, experiences and knowledge and EAT. Transform the experience into something spiritual and edifying. A Beis Din also has three because that represents the basic gamut of a broad viewpoint. We need the spiritual contribution of all three and then the eating becomes HOLY and we must therefore make a special zimmun. [Based on Ayn Ayah]  

That is the secret of Jewish gastronomy. 

What did the waiter ask the group of Jewish mothers at the local milchig eatery?

Is anything ok?

The Jewish Princess recipe book: Chapter one - Reservations. 

[I must note that EVERY Jewish woman I know serves food in her home in great quantity after tremendous toil. But I couldn't resist the joke].

What is every bubby's favorite 9 letter word when her grandchildren come over?


[I must make special mention of my children's bubby whose constant encouragement of their father that he eat, ensured that he is here today. Skinny - but here. THANKS MOM!! And to the sponsor - Dad. Ahhhhh - whatta team.]

We are always eating whenever we have a spiritual celebration [Shabbos, Yuntiv, Marriage, Bar Mitzva, Siyum etc. etc.] because eating, when done correctly, is holy. 

So I want to conclude by again thanking all those who fed me on my recent stay and invite everybody to my house so I can return the favor. 

May we all merit to have many reasons to celebrate with delicious meals, the good health to enjoy them, the money to pay for them, and the seichel to appreciate them. It was not that long ago when for our people in many places in Europe, Eretz Yisrael and America, food was a scarce commodity. May Hashem always make sure that we are well fed and that we can be His agent to make sure that others are as well.

A sweeeeeeet Shabbos to all and maybe everybody will come to Israel and celebrate my anniversery together with me. My recent sefer is called Nagila Vi-nismicha in honor of the wedding of my Gila and Bar Mitzva of my son Simcha. The pasuk concludes "Bach" which is gematria 22, the time I have been lucky enough to be married. May I have many more years, more children and more simcha, together with you and all Yidden!

Bi-ahava rabba,

PS - A video of what EVERY meal should look like. What are tables for? Eating and tantzing!🎹🎸🎷 [There are 2 Bobovs - if this is how this one makes a party I want to join them... Maybe it is really the BOBOVER REBBE who is Moshiach??]


The Born Loser

Not Every Day


Watch Your Words


Sometimes encouragement - can be discouraging....

Therapy And Hashkafa

Every therapist walks into the room with a hashkafa - philosophies and beliefs about life. These beliefs are not necessarily false but they are also not necessarily true - at least not for the patient. Many therapists, consciously or not, IMPOSE their beliefs on the client, even though they are not coming from their professional training or experience but from a deeply ingrained set of beliefs that they feel a need to impose on others for various psychological reasons. 

The patient must be very careful about this - especially if the therapist is not religious and the patient is. "Don't be so strict about these archaic laws. Do you think G-d really cares if you give your wife a hug when she had a rough day even if it is 'that time of month'. Maybe that is when she needs it most. A Compassionate G-d would want you you hug her". This and MILLIONS of other "chochmos" may emerge from the therapists mouth. Beware.

Even if the therapist is religious, he or she will have a beliefs that there is no reason the patient should adopt. There are many ways of being religious. As long as the therapist sticks to pure psychology everything should be fine, but the second, other, non-psychological issues are involved, things get thorny. There is also a very fine line between what is part of the therapeutic process and what isn't. Many patients suffer from dysfunction that relates to their religious practices and how to correct it is subject to dispute and often requires rabbinic intervention.

My point is - be very careful when you choose a therapist and be discerning as to what you accept from him or her. Nobody is perfect or knows it all. Everybody has mistaken beliefs about life, religion, themselves, others or countless other issues. 

A  healthy sense of doubt is ...... healthy.  

You want PERFECT? Hashem is your address. People, even therapists, are quite fallible.