Thursday, April 28, 2011

Holy People, Holy Land

Parshat Kedoshim opens with the famous call, challenge, and command to the Jewish people: Kedoshim tehiyu. The Alshich Hakadosh explains that to be holy is not to be in prayer all day, or to be alone in our study of Torah day in and day out without implementing the lessons we are learning into the world we are living in. This week’s parsha of kedusha teaches us the profound lesson that to be a holy people and to be a holy person is not to avoid the chol or the mundane but instead uplift the mundane to a higher spiritual purpose and existence. In our parsha we learn to what extent the call for purification and elevated must permeate our lifestyles.

As part of the command to sanctify ourselves (20:7), we find the prohibitions that fit in the category of gilui arayot – forbidden relations. Most notably, this section ends with the command to keep these laws so that the land “will not vomit you out” (20:22). Why is it that of all the laws in this parsha it is this set of laws that is associated with the permission to remain in the land of Israel?

Rabbi David Aaron explains that the land of Israel is like the body of the Jewish nation. And, the Jewish people are the soul of the land of Israel. He explains that what makes the promise-land so promising is that the land provides the opportunity for the Jewish people to imbue all aspects of life with the light of Torah. The land of Israel allows the Jewish nation to show the rest of the world how to have an economic, political and legal system and an army (or a Defense Force, as Israel so fittingly calls it) that can be moral and just. In essence, when the Jews have their own land we are able to show the world how to permeate this world-every part of it-with Torah values.

In a similar vein, Rabbi Grebenau explains that our body is like a vehicle for our soul in this world – and the soul is what drives our physical body. In other words, our spiritual, moral compass should guide our physical drives. An individual who transgresses the laws of gilui arayot is an individual who gives into his most base, primitive, physical desire. This person clearly loses sight of what the point of his body is. He has disconnected the physical from the spiritual. Such a person cannot be in the land of Israel – as he is clearly not capable of using the physical land for the right reasons – and that is essentially the purpose of living in the land of Israel.

This notion that eretz Yisrael is about connecting the physical and the spiritual is further elucidated in Pasrshat Kedoshim, where we also introduced to the laws of orla that pertain only to the fruits of Israel:

When you come to the Land and you plant any food tree, you shall surely block its fruit [from use]; it shall be blocked from you [from use] for three years, not to be eaten.

The word orla, used to label the forbidden/blocked fruit, is the same word used to describe the foreskin of a baby boy before his circumcision. In drawing the connection between these two laws, Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene suggests that orla symblizes spiritual blockage – by cutting the foreskin of the baby boy, the most physical part of the body is being used for a spiritual purpose – this principle should guide the child throughout his lifetime.

Likewise, when we wait for several years to reap the literal fruits of our labor, we are reminded that there is a higher purpose and that life is not simply about fulfilling our physical desires and appetites. It is no surprise that this law applies specifically to the land of Israel, where the physical is spiritual!

The laws of orla thus serve to remind us that even the land, the most physical part of this world – is inherently holy – and that it is holiest and highest when we, the Jewish people, rest inside of it. Perhaps this is why the notion of a promised land is such an essential part of the Jewish tradition – it is what keeps us grounded so to speakreminding us that all aspects of our life can be made holy.

What makes us distinct, or holy, is our ability to rise above the physical – to be a part of the world but to still be distinct and distanced from it to some degree. What makes the land of Israel so essential to our existence and what makes this Holy Land so holy, is that it allows us to do this in every aspect of our lives. We know that Hashem promised the land to zera Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov – the descendents of our forefathers. The word zera translates both to the descendent and seeds – what makes us a unique People of Israel is the ability to plant ourselves in the land, and root ourselves in our beliefs and Torah values – and that is what lets us continue to thrive as a people. May we all be able to answer the call of kedoshim tehiyu on our own levels as we continue to root ourselves in Torah values and traditions in all aspects of our lives. Shabbat Shalom, Taly

Big Bucks!

I have 2 billion dollars in my hand!!!


Let me explain: If someone would offer me 2 billion dollars to take away my hand [why he would do that is another question but as they say in Yiddish "Oif a mayseh fregt men nicht kein kashyas" About a story we don't ask questions - that's what happened!] I wouldn't take it!


Because I am a tzaddik and don't care about money? Halevai!!!:)

But because my hand is worth more than 2 billion dollars. Too useful. Even my right hand [I'm a lefty..].

So literally, I have 2 BILLION DOLLARS [more] in my hand.

Don't you?

הודו לה' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו!

Love, Blessings and Tomid Bi'simcha!!
"Your mind is an instrument, a tool. It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down. As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people's thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful. Observe your mind and you will find this to be true. It causes a serious leakage of vital energy."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Tolna Rebbe Shlita in hebrew here!

[PS - The question he asked the six minute mark I think can be answered based on the Rambam in hilchos geirushin 2/20. See also Rav Eliyasiv's sefer on Maseches Rosh Hashana, Moadei HaRav [Soloveitchik] page 152, Moadim Uzmanim Vol. 1/15 Vol 8/257, Halichos Shlomo Seder Leil Pesach page 68, Otzros HaTorah 5764 page 62, Dvar Meshulam page 48].

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just Matza And Wine??


The MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION is: What did you get this Pesach that you are going to take with you for the rest of the year?? How did you change? How were you affected? It's not too late, you can review and learn the lessons.

Make sure you are never the same:).
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.”

Benjamin Disraeli

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Blog Chadash

A 'friend' has started a blog of articles on assorted talmudic, halachic and machshava topics in the Holy Tongue here. These articles will one day turn hopefully with Hashem's help into a sefer [after he finds a sponser or three]. HATZLACHA TO HIM:).

Already featured are articles on Pesach.

A HEAVENLY SHVI'I SHEL PESACH TO ALL. A shidduch is as difficult as the splitting of the sea. Just as the sea will split tomorrow, so should all find their zivug.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Shabbas About Searching

On the Shabbat of Chol Hamoed Pesach we read a set of verses from Parshat Ki Tisa. The special Torah portion we read begins with the famous interaction in which Moshe Rabbeinu asks Hashem: Show me, now, Your glory! To which Hashem replies: You will not be able to see My face, for man shall not see Me and live…you will see My back but My face shall not be seen (Exodus 33: 18-22). Much is to be learned from this profound interchange, and much more is to be gleaned when we try to understand it in the context of the Shabbat of Chag HaPesach on which we read it.

At first, the verses that highlight the limited Divine revelation man can experience in our lifetimes seems to be a seemingly odd choice text for us to read on Pesach – a holiday in which we commemorate and celebrate the greatest revelation we experienced as a people. It would seem on some level that this interchange between Moshe and Hashem might diminish or taint the excitement we felt on the nights of the Seder in which we recounted (and hopefully re-lived on some level) the greatest revelation of Hashem as we crossed the Yam Suf and as we stood on Har Sinai to receive the Torah.

In appreciating the true nature of the holiday, we see that it is precisely because we have just had this kind of experience on the first day(s) of Pesach that we must be reminded that the normative experience of man is not one of Divine, overt, and open miracles, but instead one of Divine providence that is less obvious and apparent in our lives.

In a similar vein, Rabbi Shalom Hammer cites the insight of Rabbi Yonatan Eibeschitz who suggests that this is actually the deeper message of the holiday we are in the midst of celebrating. In commenting on how we can describe Hashem on the night of the Exodus as acting be’yad chazakah u’bezroah netuyah (with a strong hand and an outstretched arm), he explains that the expression of strength is in relative terms -- relating to us that Hashem strengthened Himself (so to speak) in order to perform this particularly mighty and wondrous miracle that contrasts the typical way that Hashem governs this world.

The customs and liturgy of Pesach and the memory of the exodus and all the miracles that accompanied these moments remind us that Hashem runs the world, albeit not always through plaguing our enemies or splitting seas for us to get from one place to another. But, it is the survival (and thriving!) of the Jewish people and Israel even in our generation that is nothing short of miracles – they are enabled by the will of God, just as were the great Miracles of our people's history.

It seems then very fitting that on the Shabbat of Chol Hamoed we are reminded that the lasting lesson of the Pesach experience is not to look out for Hashem in the miraculous, wondrous, and extraordinary experiences but to be reminded and re-inspired to seek out Hashem in our daily lives – as this is the very essence of the Shabbat experience. Rabbi Hammer notes that each time we recite the Kiddush we say, six days we work and on the seventh we rest – we mention the six days because it is on the seventh that we process the six days. Rabbi Hammer explains that the common purpose of both Shabbat and remembering the Exodus is to help us to see Hashem during our week, in our daily lives.

The fundamental lesson about the reality of the Jewish experience - in which we cannot see Hashem fully revealed to us though we believe that His presence and providence never dissipates - is reflected in the words of Shir Hashirim that is customarily read on this Shabbat. In explaining this practice, Rabbi Eliyahu Ki Tov points to the Sfat Emet who suggests that the allegorical structure of Shir HaShirim reflects the true nature of the Jewish experience – one in which there is deeper, hidden, and underlying truths that lie beneath the surface level of the lives we are living.

More specifically the words I will compare you, my love, to a mare among the chariots of Pharaoh (Shir Hashirim 1:9) remind us that the chariots, the land and the sea all heeded to the word and will of God in the moments that the Egyptians were drowned and the Jews were saved. With these words in Shir Hashirim we are reminded to search for the more discrete acts of love and protection that Hashem performs for us each and every day.

So often we become caught up in the routines and the humdrum of life that we forget to look beyond the literal, surface level. The figurative nature of Shir HaShirim that metaphorically describes our relationship with Hashem reminds us the nature of our relationship with Hashem is just that -- an on-going search and discovery - a relationship becomes stronger as it becomes deeper -- and so it is not only true of the timeless text of Shlomo Hamelech but also true of the relationship that becomes stronger as we search to finds its depths.

The lesson we learn on Pesach, and the lesson we learn each Shabbat, is that Hashem is with us at all times and though we may only realize it after the events have transpired, or perhaps (most likely) we may never fully understand the ways of the world during our lifetimes, we must always strive to feel the closeness and presence of Hashem in our lives – and following in the ways of Moshe Rabbeinu who continued to seek out Hashem even after he was told that he will never see the complete revelation –and yet he continued to stand with Hashem and Hashem continued to stand with him.

As we read the special portions of Torah chosen for this special Shabbat of Chol Hamoed may we feel Hashem close to us and be reminded to see beyond the surface and to perceive the reality of Hashem’s presence and providence in our lives. Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameach, Taly


“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.”

Morrie Schwartz

SWEETEST FRIENDS!! This Shabbos we read Shir Hashirim! 'All songs', said Rebbe Akiva, 'are holy. But Shir Hashirim is HOLY OF HOLIES'.

Shir Hashirim is about love. The mashal is the love between a man and woman and the nimshal is the love between us and Hashem.

Viahavta lirayacha kamocha ani Hashem is the same gematria as Viahavta es Hashem Elokecha [907].

The gematria of Ahava - love - is 13. If a man loves his wife [13] and she loves him back [13], you get 26. 26 is the gematria of the name of Hashem [yud-heh-vav-heh]. If two people love each there is Hashem between them.

Indeed all emotions are important. A primary component of our Avodas Hashem is in the realm of emotion and feelings. But LOVE is the holiest and highest. To love each other, to love Torah, to love Hashem - THOSE ARE THE ULTIMATE GOALS OF LIFE.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Being Inspired by Our Own Potential

Parshat Acharei-Mot introduces the laws of the Yom Kippur service by first providing us with the context in which they were commanded:

And the Lord spoke to Moshe after the death of Aharon's two sons, when they drew near before the Lord, and they died (Vayikra 16:2)

The juxtaposition of the Yom Kippur service with the story of Nadav and Avihu (whose story we read in greater detail a few weeks ago in Parshat Shemini) tells of a deeper connection between this set of laws and the seemingly unnecessary repetition of their story. In trying to discover the underlying theme of the parsha we will learn an important lesson about the challenge, uniqueness, and essence of Judaism.

At the surface level, there is an obvious connection between the laws of the Kohen Gadol entering the Kodesh Kedoshim and the incident of Nadav and Avihu. By mentioning their grave mistake, Hashem highlights the sanctity of the place and reiterates the importance of entering only at the proper times and in the proper manner. As we read further on, however, an even more profound message can be unraveled. Hashem commands Aharon:

Do not come at all times into the Holy within the dividing curtain, in front of the cover that is upon the ark, so that he should not die, for I appear over the ark cover in a cloud (Vayikra 16:2)

As Rashi clarifies, Aharon should be careful not to enter regularly into the Kedosh Kedoshim is because Shechinah is revealed in that place.

A fundamental question about our faith and religion emerges from these words: Is not the whole goal of Judaism to be in the presence of the Shechina? Moreover, is not the whole point of the Mishkan to provide a place in which the people could feel and sense the presence of the Shechina in our lives? And finally, how do we understand the sin of Nadav and Avihu if their actions were driven by a desire to feel immersed in the proximity to the Shechina that they felt in this holy place?

Chazal suggest that the mistake of Nadav and Avihu was not that they wanted to feel close to the Shechina, but the fact that they felt the need to be in the holy of holies. One of the lessons to be learned from their story is that places and experiences outside the Holy of Holies is not void of Hashem. We cannot depend on the inherent kedushah of location and surroundings to inspire us, but instead we must be constantly working to make the environment we are in and the experience we are having infused with kedushaha.

This is the very timely lesson that Hashem reminds Aharon and the Jewish people before commanding the laws of Yom Kippur – the one day of the year that the Kohen enters this holy space, the one day that we are commanded to negate all physical desires and focus entirely on the spiritual cleansing of our souls. By referring back to the story of the kohanim who wanted to make this one day into a more common occurrence, Hashem reminds us that it is only one day of the year that Aharon is allowed to enter this most holy site at the center of the Mishkan, only one day that we are supposed to negate our physical needs entirely. In order words, on all other days of the year we are not only allowed, but in essence we are forced to be involved with the physical reality that we live in.

The mission of the Jewish people is to have a completely spiritual existence, and yet the ideal is not necessarily to live in the Holy of Holies nor is it ideal or even possible to fast every day of the year – how do we make sense of this? The answer to this question reveals the unique challenge and opportunity that the Jewish people have is to find Hashem within their everyday life and experience. We are a people that is constantly striving to get closer to Hashem and to reach higher spiritual levels, and at the same time we do not isolate ourselves from our surroundings - instead, in Hashem's greatness He provided us with the opportunity and the challenge to be able to use the world we live to achieve our spiritual goals -and in so doing we can live an even more fulfilling and rewarding spiritual existence.

As we all know from our own experiences, when we put in the effort and we earn a grade we work for or a job position we want, it feels exponentially more authentic and exciting and the elation is so much more long-lasting than if we are given these things without feeling worthy. And so it is in our relationship with Hashem – when we work to create and maintain a level of closeness to Hashem the experience is much more rewarding and the feeling is much longer lasting.

This lesson is at the very core of the upcoming holiday of Pesach. In his insight into the essence of this chag, Rabbi Tatz points out that the word Pesach itself is derived from the Hebrew word that means leap over – on this holiday the Jewish people were able to literally leap from the 49th level of impurity to a level of unparalleled closeness, revelation, and connection to Hashem.

But, soon after Hashem brings us up to this highest moment of elevation and revelation (comparable on some level to the Yom Kippur experience of the Kohen as he enters the holiest site in which the Shechina can be sensed most profoundly), we are brought back to normal life – to a life in which we must work towards finding Hashem and relating to Hashem. As we know all too well that on the other side of the Yam Suf the Jews faced new struggles, doubts, and challenges they would have to overcome.

This pattern of feeling, seeing, and experiencing spiritual heights followed by a time in which we are forced to work so hard to see and feel the same level of
emunah and bitachon is hidden within the mystical meanings of mazalot (signs) that represent the months surrounding Pesach. The mazal for the month of Nissan is the sheep, an animal that is dependent entirely on his master to guide him. The month of Iyyar that follows is represented by the bull, a powerful animal that is responsible to pull itself and the load it carries in order to move forward.

These two months culminate in the month of Sivan, symbolized by twins - the synthesis of the two approaches - it is in this month that we are able to finally receive the Torah because it is at this time that we understand the pattern of living a Torah life – a life filled with moments of inspiration that we must seize in order to reach those spiritual heights through our own efforts in our day-to-day lives.

The Shabbat that precedes Pesach is known as Shabbat Hagadol – a Shabbat of greatness. Rabbi Berel Wein suggests that this Shabbat is so named because it is the time that we have to begin to recognize our own greatness. The holiday of Pesach, and the entire month of Nissan, reminds us of our ability to see the great and awesome potential we each have – as individuals and as a nation. May we all try to internalize the feelings of closeness and greatness so that we can push ourselves in the coming weeks to continue to reach for those spiritual heights even after the “holiday spirit” has passed – reminding ourselves always that the most rewarding and lasting relationships sustain themselves only when we work at them on a daily and constant basis.

The Jewish calendar is filled with important days, gifts that Hashem gives us throughout the year - Yom Kippur, Pesach, and all of the other chaggim that function as checkpoints for us in our lives - to step out of the world just for a moment in time to reflect on where we are and to be rejuvenated by the spiritual heights that we reach on those special days. May Hashem continue to grant us these moments of elevation, revelation, and clarity throughout the year so that we can continue to see and therefore strive to reach our very greatest potentials.

Shabbat Shalom & Chag Kasher ve’Sameach, Taly

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club."

Friday, April 8, 2011


An ATHEIST!! Yes! I was talking to a friend. He davens three times a day with a minyan, sends his kids to Yeshiva, his wife wears a tichel, he only drinks cholov yisroel and eats glatt kosher. He learns daf yomi, mishna yomis, halacha yomis. Wears tcheiles and puts on Rabbeinu Tam tefillin [according to the shulchan aruch those tefillin are only to be donned by those who excel in their fear of Heaven]. So FRUM. But a heretic! OY VEY IZ MIR!!!!!! Oh, don't get me wrong - he claims to believe in G-d. But he spoke lashon hara. And one who speaks lashon hara is considered by Hashem as an atheist. Chazal say "ki'eeloo kofar bi'ikkar". May Hashem save us. The tikkun? Say NICE things about others! [See Taly's beautiful dvar Torah that preceded this one.] Zohar: Just as Hashem will take us to task for all of the negative things we say, he will also judge us for all of the positive things that we DIDN'T say. LOVE, BLESSINGS AND A SHABBOS THAT IS MAMESH MAY'AIN OLAM HABA!:)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

To Think and to Act in Positive Terms

In Parshat Metzorah we continue to learn about the unique and laws of tzaraat – the affliction most associated with the transgression of loshon hara. Though usually understood to be an affliction of the skin, we learn that the condition of tzaraat can affect not only one’s body, but also one’s home. The rabbis tell us that "there has never been, nor will there ever be, a house smitten with leprosy. Why then was the law given? To study it and to be rewarded for studying it” (Sanhedrin 71a). Clearly there are important lessons to be gleaned from this parsha that we must try to understand and internalize.

The Torah tells us that the following procedure was done to a house that was afflicted with tzaraat:

He shall demolish the house, its stones, its wood, and all the [mortar] dust of the house, and he shall take [them] outside the city, to an unclean place (Vayikra 14:45).

In reading these words, we might wonder why is the consequence so harsh – why not simply isolate the house for 7 days as the individual does when contaminated? In answering this question we learn an important lesson about the value of the Jewish home. Chazal explain that a home in which negative speech is commonplace is also likely to be a home in which negativity towards others sets the tone of the home. In an atmosphere in which people are not sensitive to loshon hara, the environment will only continue to breed impure thoughts and ultimately improper actions. For this reason, the very drastic consequence of complete destruction must be in place – the pillars upon which the home is founded must be broken down, forcing the members of the home to rebuild on more wholesome, pure, and constructive foundation.

The purification process the house that is marked with tzaraat reminds us that there are times in our lives that in order to raise ourselves higher, we must first admit to and ultimately remove the flaws that were bringing us down. In order to fill ourselves with good thoughts and our lives with good deeds, we must first recognize and remove the negative thoughts and qualities that hindered us from making the right decisions in the past.

This notion of removing the bad in order to find and experience the good is demonstrated further in our parsha. Chazal explain that while the metzorah was destroying and breaking down the walls of his house, he had the opportunity to find a hidden treasure that was placed by the nation of Canaan before Israel’s conquest of the land. In grappling with the question of why the individual who has transgressed such a serious sin might find a treasure during this purification process, Rabbi Friedman suggests that this is a reminder to the individual and to everyone else that underneath the negative qualities there is the essence of the person that is good.

And so, we must we are able to remove the negative exteriors that sometimes build up over the years (whether it is cynical, critical perspectives we have internalized that have replaced our hope and faith in ourselves, our friends, our humanity…or whether it is physical desires and instant gratifications that have numbed us from the things that bring us deeper, longer lasting satisfaction), we will find and expose the inner and true good that lies within.

Indeed, embedded in the laws of tzaraat is the Jewish notion of sur merah v’aseh tov - stray from evil and do good (Tehilim 34). One more example is found in the laws of the cleansing process, when the individual is commanded to bring two live birds - one that will be slaughtered and the other will be let loose in an open field to live (13:53). Chazal note that the symbolism of the birds, a creature of constant chirping and chatter, reminds the metzorah that his impurity came from improper use of his speech. The slaughter of the first bird represents ridding oneself of evil, idle, negative chatter. How then do we understand the significance of the second bird that is let free?

In trying to understand the more encrypted symbolism of setting the second bird free, Rabbi Shlomo Yosef Zevin writes so beautifully that birds do not only chirp and chatter - but they also sing a most pleasant song. The significance then of the bird that flies away is that it reminds us that it is not enough to simply stop speaking loshon hara (sur mera), the individual must also recognize the positive ways in which he can use his voice and his words – he must begin now to focus his energies on using speech for the good.

Most of us find it really challenging to not do certain things that we know we aren't supposed to do - and certainly loshon hara is no exception. But perhaps the lesson and the key to overcoming this challenge is to change our mindsets - don't focus only on what we are not allowed to do, but instead focus on what positive things we should and could we be doing and saying. Eventually when we force ourselves to think and speak in positive terms we will start thinking more naturally in that way and we ultimately look at each other more positively and certainly speak about one another more positively. Perhaps we will train ourselves to see beyond the surface and see the inner goodness and treasure that lies within.

And so, all the details of the laws of the metzorah come together to teach us a deeper understanding of sur mera veaseh tov. We learn that when we are able to bring down the negative exteriors, we will find the goodness in ourselves, and in the people and things around us. We also learn that both steps of this axiomatic phrase are in fact necessary – first to acknowledge and get rid of the negative thoughts and actions that prevent us from living the most pure lives, and then focusing on the positiv and looking ahead with this positive outlook and positive goals in mind.

This is precisely the process we are all undergoing during the month of Nissan as we prepare ourselves, our homes, our spirits for the upcoming holiday of Pesach. Chazal tell us that the chametz holds much symbolic meaning – the inflation of ego, the excess of physicality, the delaying of pursuing mitzvot. All of these negative qualities and tendencies that distract us from our deeply real and spiritual goals.

The days before Pesach is the time we recognize that this chametz exists in our homes and in ourselves – and now is the time we can be sur mera – we rid ourselves of these negative things. Nissan is also a month of new beginnings as we commemorate the rebirth of the Jewish nation. And so, after the process of sur mera we can, and we should, begin the process of aseh tov – focusing on the good and striving to be even better. May Hashem help us to rid ourselves of the chametz and to maintain our pure and positive outlooks and goals throughout this month and long after!

Shabbat Shalom, Taly

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A chabura given by a talmid in Yeshivas Mevakesh Lev attempting to explain the Rambam's opinion that the child doesn't ask the 4 questions, here. פלאי פלאות! [Not the talmid - the Rambam and his interpreters...]

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I returned from Boca Raton and I must say that the people there were really nice. And FRUUUM! It seemed that everybody had a large, beautiful, personal "mikvah" in their backyard. And a MAJOR Mazel Tov to Shmuli and Rachel Stern on their eternal covenant. A mai'seh with Fiorello LaGuardia, 1933: The future mayor [and airport owner:)] was then a judge. A trembling old man was brought before him for stealing a loaf of bread. The man broke down and conceded guilt, adding "What can I do, my family is starving?!". LaGuardia said "I must fine you 10 dollars for your crime". He then reached into his pocket and took out 10 dollars and put it on the table saying, "Here is the money to pay your fine. Furthermore, I am going to fine everyone in the courtroom 50 cents for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat. Will the baliff please collect the fines and give them to the defendant!" The bailiff went around the room collecting the fines and gave the defendant the money. The shocked old man, who was originally brought to the judge for stealing a loaf of bread, left with tears in his eyes and 47 dollars and fifty cents to help feed his starving family.