Thursday, April 29, 2010

Update On Rivka Bas Yael [Razel]

Still in a coma and needs your tefillos.

Tizku L'mitzvos

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chag Kasher Vi'sameach!!

Today is Pesach Sheni. Those Jews in the desert who were impure and were unable to eat the Korban Pesach asked for a second chance. So Hashem allowed them [and for the generations] to have the Pesach in Iyar.

There is a wondrous Rashi in Bamidbar [9/10] that says the following: פסח שני מצה וחמץ עמו בבית ואין שם יו"ט ואין איסור חמץ אלא עמו באכילתו

Many commentators understood Rashi to be saying that chametz is permitted on Pesach Sheni but when eating the actual korban it is forbidden to eat it together with chametz. The Minchas Chinuch is dumbfounded -where does Rashi get this? Why not? Chametz is only forbidden on Pesach Rishon in Nissan!

The sefer Ambuha Disifree says that the Minchas Chinuch just missed a period. If you put a period after the word חמץ Rashi reads that there is NO prohibition against eating Chametz rather you can even eat it with the Korban Pesach.

The sefer Shaarei Yitzchak on Kiddushin has a long detailed article on this topic at the end of the sefer. Ayain Shom!

And the lesson of the day -even those who are impure and far away from Hashem ["derech richoka" as the pasuk says] have a second chance! :):)

Love and blessings!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Begin Life

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”

It says "Viavraham zakeinba bayomim" - Avraham was old 'coming with days'. According to the Zohar Hakadosh this means that Avraham came to Hashem with EVERY day, he took advantage of every day. He didn't have time for newspapers, for television, for internet, for anything other than service of Hashem and never was a day wasted.

Once a day is wasted it will never return. Tomorrow has different possibilities, different potential and different "oros".

Tomorrow can never make up for today.

True Love

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”

This is called by our Holy Sages "Ahava sheaina tluya badavar" - Unconditional love. Parents and teachers much also show unconditional love. It is a Hurculean task to achieve such a level of love. My own experience observing many people [making me an "observant" Jew] is that it is EXTREMELY rare to find such a love. Many people CLAIM that they love unconditionally but then when it comes to li'myseh they insist that the person they claim to love follow their wishes.

Imagine if spouses loved unconditionally - it would be TERRIBLE!!!

For divorce lawyers.

They would lose their jobs.

May we all merit experiencing unconditional love.

Monday, April 26, 2010


"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Helen Keller

When I was a child, Artscroll Gadol biographies did not yet exist. [I date myself when I say that. It's funny dating yourself. At least there's no fear of rejection.] My "Gadol" was Helen Keller. What an inspiration!! If she could make something of herself, then anybody can!! But we don't believe in our capabilities, lack self-confidence and therefore live lives of mediocrity.

Too bad.

But we can change all that. And today is the BEST time to start!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Story About Holy Rebbe

On Shabbos was the Yahrzheit of the founder of Tolna Chassidus, Hatzaddik R' Dovid'l [d. 1882]. Here is a story about him that I heard from the Rebbe Shlita lihibadel bein chaim lachaim.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


This weeks sicha. A little bit hard-core as they say so only listen if you are in the mood to grow:).

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Steve Jobs

Steve was mechavain to Rav Kook as explicated here.

In the same spirit:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of G-d. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Good Shabbos!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I have never been privileged to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. I drink wine "religiously" - meaning kiddush, havdala and Purim but not much more than that. But I understand that they say the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

Oftentimes in life there is someone whom we really love who is making mistakes and we would like to make everything good. But people have minds of their own and it is really not up to us. I remember when I was in High School [in the Dominican Republic up on 186th street]. It was a good school - but I primarily took advantage of the gym and lunch program. Mr. Fenner the gym teacher would ask me "Don't you have class?" and I would say "No, this is my gym period". He would say "Then why were you here last period?" I would answer "Oh, that was during math class".

My parents and teachers would have preferred that I be more studious but they couldn't control me. The happy ending was that I like "school" so much that I hope never to leave. And I lost my interest in gym, balls and black men with tattoos jumping and throwing, but I had to come to that on my own. Now as I raise the next generation I sometimes wish that they would do things differently but I have found that just as nobody could force me, I can't force anyone else. Ultimately, if somebody comes to a realization on one's own it is a lot more powerful that any external imposition of values and behavior. We must try to educate by words and example while realizing that the final product is not up to us. This attitude will bring a spirit of serenity upon us.

Oh, and we need LSD.

Lotsa Siyata Dishmaya!!!:):)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Important Message



May Hashem save us all from tragedy and bring Moshiach so we will see an end to all of our suffering.

Monday, April 19, 2010


"G-d who is eternally complete, who directs the stars, who is the master of fates, who elevates man from his lowliness to Himself, who speaks from the cosmos to every single human soul, is the most brilliant manifestation of the goal of perfection."

Alfred Adler

We have a mitzva every single second of every single day of our lives to be like Hashem [u'bo sidback]. This means that we are obligated to strive for perfection.

"I am religious enough," someone exclaims. CHAS VISHALOM!! Are you perfect? You have strong feelings of love for ALL of creation? You NEVER have a selfish thought? You care only about spreading goodness and holiness and never make a move or say a word without these goals in mind? You know the entire Torah?

It is never "enough". The spice of life is the feeling that we are constantly moving in the direction of our ultimate goal - clinging to our Creator through imitating His ways of kindness, compassion, love and holiness.

On the other hand we must realize that this is a process and it will happen that we will fall. When that happens we must strengthen ourselves with simcha knowing that Hashem loves us no matter what and that the road to greatness is paved with failure.

Love and blessings!!:)

A shiur on the upcoming day of celebration in Israel.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Disappearing Act

I will share a personal story with you [I am told by my critics that I am too open but that is my nature and I don't believe it is healthy to suppress ones nature. So I risk more criticism, but so be it.]

I was in high school about 23 years ago [I AM OLD!!]. One day, I disappeared from school. Just like that. Disappeared. Nobody knew where I went. I knew. My family knew. But in school nobody knew. In my grade I had over 100 boys and almost all of them knew me. I was never one of the quiet ones [except when I sleep:)]. [Where I went is not important but the happy ending is that I prematurely found my way to Yeshiva in Israel where I remain to this day. Maybe one day I will get a job but I hope not:):).]

How many boys in my class took the trouble to call and find out where I was, how I was, etc?



Just one. [To the best of my knowledge.]

How many girls in my grade called?


Not even one.

But that is understandable. I went to an all boys school....

Why didn't anyone else take an interest or tell me I was missed? I suspect the reason was because they weren't interested and didn't miss me.

Am I bitter?

Mamesh no!!!:)

Human nature. People generally don't get up in the morning and think to themselves - "How can I make someone feel cared for today." Human nature. People generally are very focused on themselves. We have a word for this in english. Egotism.

Many years later I was learning in a certain Yeshiva and somebody I was acquainted with would disappear for long periods of time. I didn't pick up the phone. I suspect most of the others in the Yeshiva didn't either. Only years later did I find out how important it was that I had called.

But I didn't.

Now I regret it in ways I can't describe for reasons I can't go into. I didn't learn a lesson from what happened to ME!


So that you will pick up the phone and show someone you care. Or better - visit. A sick person, an old person, a sad person.

Or just person who needs to feel more loved.

Who doesn't?


Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one'.

C.S. Lewis

“If the essence of my being has caused a smile to have appeared upon your face or a touch of joy within your heart. Then in living - I have made my mark.”

The reason most of our relationships are so superficial is because we allow them to be. When you meet someone and you want to make the relationship real and profound ask them a provocative question, such as "What was the most moving experience of your life?" or "What do you think your purpose on earth is?" or "Who is the most special person you have ever met?"

I personally have little patience for small talk. Sometimes it serves a purpose, but ultimately it doesn't bring us closer to others in ways that can change our lives.

Love and blessings!

Please daven for a refuah shleima for Naomi Sarah Bas Henna Miriam, Zechariah Kalman Hakohen Ben Yael Margalit and Tuvia Ben Yachad, bisoch she'ar cholei yisroel.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Vehement Resistance

Every therapeutic cure, and still more, any awkward attempt to show the patient the truth, tears him from the cradle of his freedom from responsibility and must therefore reckon with the most vehement resistance.

Alfred Adler - Austrian Psychologist

It all started with Adam Harishon "Hey G-d, the WOMAN YOU made for me gave me from the tree and I ate." Meaning, my sin is HER fault - and yours!

Since then people have been pointing the finger at others and shirking personal responsibility. Most of our problems would be solved if everybody would just take personal responsibility.

You can start - today.

Gut voch tyere yidden!!!:)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Very Good

Death is really a great blessing for humanity, without it there could be no real progress. People who lived for ever would not only hamper and discourage the young, but they would themselves lack sufficient stimulus to be creative.

Alfred Adler

The Torah says "And Hashem saw all that He had created and it was VERY GOOD [Tov meod]" - "Very good" explain the Rabbis in the Medrash, is referring to death.


Very good?


But only if a person lives his life with death in mind. Today could be, chas vishalom, my last. Then he begins to live.

Sort of takes away ones desire to watch college basketball, doesn't it?

Love, blessings and arichus yomim to all!!!:)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Good Read

My beloved friend Reb Shmulie with reflections on his trip to Israel and a BEAUTIFUL picture.

Chessed Shebiferes [Day 15]

Tiferes ["Glory"] according to Kabbala is expressed with mercy. So today, when having mercy on people, feel loving [chesed=ahava] towards them. Also teach people Torah Shebichsav [Tiferes according to the Zohar] with love [chesed].

Monday, April 12, 2010

Malchus Shebigvura

Today's middah [14th day] is "Malchus Shebigvurah".

One thing to do today: Have special kavana during mincha [the tefilla of Yitzchak whose middah was gevura] that we should see the restoration of Malchus Beis David.


In the realm of bein adam lachaveiro: In Kabbala, Malchus represents tefilla, judging favorably and heavenly help [siyata dishmaya]. Gevurah represents rebuke. So today when giving rebuke to those not keeping mitzvos we should daven on their behalf that Hashem should see the good in them and that He should help us succeed in bringing them close to Him.


PS - For those who might have missed my son's bar mitzvah drasha, I posted it here.

BS"D I just reached 1000 shiurim [written and oral] on YUTORAH.ORG. So I must thank - Rabbi Revel, Rabbi Belkin, Rabbi Lamm, Mr. Joel, Rabbi Shur [the man behind the site] and everyone else who had a hand in allowing my Torah to be spread to the world - particularly my sweetest friends who listen. Due to the fact that the average attendance at my shiurim in Yeshiva is 3-4 boys, I REALLY appreciate the opportunity to spread beyond the confines of Yeshiva. My I be zoche to deliver many more thousands of shiurim lishem shomayim and may someone else hear them besides me and Moshe Pinchas [my nickname for my mp3 player who faithfully listens to all of the shiurim], and may my own children [KEYN YIRBU] also listen so that I can properly fulfill vishinantom livanecha!!!


Seder Night 1945

Reb Yonah Emanuel z"l was a Talmid Chacham/Optician in Yerushalayim for many years. He was also a survivor. Here is what he said at his grandson's bris in 1985 [translated by ACE from Hamayan Nissan 5770]:

I want to tell you what happened to me on this date 40 years ago. This story I have not been able to relate until today. I haven't told my wife, I haven't told my children , I haven't told anyone. I couldn't. For the first time I feel now at the bris of my grandson Aharon Chananel that I can tell the story of what happened on that day.

On erev Pesach 1945 I went out early in the morning for a day of back breaking labor in Bergen Belsen, as I had gone out every day for the last 2 years. I came back at night, the night of Pesach, broken down, as I had returned from work every day for the last 2 years. I was 19 years old. My father was no longer alive. My eldest brother Elchanan was no longer alive. My little brother Shalom was no longer alive. My little sister Bisyah was no longer alive. Bergen Belsen was not a death camp but a work camp but still, the Jews died from the hard labor, from the cold, from starvation and disease. Hundreds of Jews died daily during this period.

I went to my mother's bunk, she was very sick. I sat down next to her and started to say the hagada. We didn't have wine. We didn't have matzos. But one thing we had and a lot lot lot of. Maror. A lot of Maror in our hearts. I said the hagada silently as my mother may or may not have been listening to what I was reading. But when I got to the words "So Hashem our G-d and the G-d of our fathers will bring us to other holidays in peace, happy with the building of Your city and joyous in Your service" [כן ה' אלקנו ואלקי אבותינו יגיענו למועדים ולרגלים אחרים הבאים לקראתנו לשלום שמחים בבנין עירך וששים בעבודתך] - I felt for the first time that I didn't believe what I was saying. Is someone here going to enjoy other holidays? Is someone here going to see the building of Yerushalayim? Is someone here going to be happy again? I broke out into tears and in the middle of the bracha I stopped saying the hagada.

If I could have imagined then on seder night 1945 a little bit of what is going on here today, if I could have imagined that I would merit coming to Eretz Yisrael with my sister and two brothers, that I would merit to live in a Jewish State, that I would merit to raise a family, that I would merit having 7 children, that I would merit to be sandak at my grandson's bris 40 years later, if I could have imagined all that - maybe I would have been able to finish saying the hagada that night.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yesod Shebigvura

Sweetest Friends Shalom!!!!

Every day of the Omer we are supposed to work on a different middah. There are seven basic middos and all of them also interplay with the other six so that all together there are 49 [each middah with itself and the other six]. The explanation of what each middah means is in the wonderful sefer "Usfartem Lachem" - PLEASE get yourself a copy.

Today's middah is "Yesod Shebigvurah." One of the areas that we can work on in this middah is to merit fear of G-d ["gvurah"] by holding on tightly to the level of Tzaddik. Tzaddik is defined by the Mekubalim as one who guards his bris kodesh. The pasuk says "Tzaddik YESOD Olam" -The Tzaddik is the foundation of the world. Yosef was a Tzaddik because he didn't succumb to the wife of Potifar despite her unrelenting seductions.

PRACTICALLY!!! First the guys - Keep your eyes DOWN when walking down the street with a constant awareness that G-d is right there with you watching. Don't read anything with inappropriate pictures. Go to mikva. Whenever an inappropriate thought comes into your mind banish it with positive holy thoughts. Don't have friendships with females outside the framework of marriage or finding a partner. There is NO room for that in Halacha and it is not the behavior of one on the level of tzaddik. If you see a female you know you can be polite but not too friendly. Make FENCES for yourself. That is part of gevurah as Rav Soloveitchik so poignantly describes in one of his famous essays when talking about Jewish heroism. To be a hero means to conquer your own passions.

Girls - TZNIYUS!!! You have such an awe and awareness of Hashem that you always dress appropriately even when nobody sees you - because HE does. When men do see you - be doubly modest. Hashem created men in such a way that they are VERY prone to inappropriate thoughts and you can help them be pure by acting in a way that exudes kedusha and tahara.

There is much more to say but for tzniyus purposes I won't. But we must remember that the YESOD - FOUNDATION of all of our service of Hashem lies in this middah. Without a foundation everything collapses. If you have any personal questions feel free to contact me.

Love and Blessings!!!!

[This blog is lzchus CA"BSM who prompted me to start writing again after a hiatus]