Tuesday, September 27, 2011

עורו ישנים משינתכם

Only ONE MITZVA for which the Rambam in his Yad Hachazaka provides an explanation. Shofar. Explanation - A spiritual wake up call!

Only ONE DAY in the year where it is forbidden to sleep [if one does, the gemara says that his mazel will have a sleepy year] - at least until midday. Rosh Hashana.

Message of Rosh Hashana - WAAAAAKE UUUUPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!!!

[Heard from the Rebbe Shlita]

Sunday, September 25, 2011

שנה טובה ומתוקה!


A sweet new year to one and all!! Thank you for reading the blog, for the personal connection we [hopefully] have and for being faithful members of our people. May Hashem grant you all the wishes of your hearts - li'tova!!

Love and blessings!!

PS - My computer has malfunctioned [tichle shana u'kililoseha!] and it looks like I won't be responding to emails until at least next week after it gets fixed.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I often read marriage books. Some time back I read what I considered to be the best one I had ever encountered. I wrote the author a letter [remember what that is?] expressing my appreciation. I especially enjoyed his frankness, openness and honesty. He really seemed ready to reveal some of his issues in order to help others. Knowing other people have certain feelings [such as insecurities, fears etc.] make it easier to deal with the fact that we have them too.

Then somebody told me - this author has been divorced at least 2 or 3 times. THAT fact he didn't mention. Of course he didn't have too, it wasn't a tell-all biography but by sharing his own failures, I think he could have helped others.

So sweetest friends, don't be embarrassment to share. Openness towards others breeds openness in return, which enables deeper relationships, closeness and understanding. Of course this doesn't mean that you should tell everybody everything but don't feel that if you tell a close friend something personal, he will stop respecting you. You are special and good despite your shortcomings. We all have shortcomings.

Maybe we can sharpen the idea. You are special and good DUE to your shortcomings and the way you deal with them.

Good Decree

As I look back on the previous rosh hashana I realize that one of the best things that ever happened to me was decreed. I started my DREAM job. Not even a job. A labor of love. Having my very own kollel. Ahhhhhhh!

There is one thing I severely dislike about it - the need to fundraise. I love to funraise because I love fun but it's the added "d" that gets me. So this Rosh Hashana I will ask Hashem that this year I will be able to give out lots of money and try to have special kavana in bentching "vi'lo lidei matnas basar vadam" - we shouldn't need handouts. Giving is FUN, taking isn't. If it is decreed that I must continue fundraising then I will be happy because it will mean that I won't be punished in Olam Haba because of all the embarrassment in Olam Hazeh.

If you are fortunate enough to be a giver then may I suggest that you count your blessings because they are many.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Signing Ourselves into the Book of Life

This week we read the double portion of Netzavim and Vayelech – both of which contain very timely messages for the month of Elul. As we have seen over the past weeks, Sefer Devarim can be read as one extended speech that Moshe delivers before the Jewish people enter the land of Israel. In Parshat Netzavim, Moshe reminds the Jewish people that they must heed to the words of the Torah in order that they live a "good" life:

Behold, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil (Devarim 30:15)

Rashi explains this enigmatic verse by telling us that if one does good, then he will be granted life; but if one chooses to do evil, he will be not live.

Several verses later, we find a similar statement with slight, but notable differences:

I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. You shall choose life, so that you and your offspring will live (30:19)

The words of this command are striking. Firstly, why does Moshe repeat the message he delivered only a few verses beforehand? There must be a new lesson to be learned from these words. Moreover, according to Rashi’s interpretation of the first verse, it should read choose good and Hashem will give you long life. Of it is God that determines who lives, what does the Torah mean when it tells man to not simply to choose good, but to choose life? Is it God or is it man that chooses life?

Interestingly, a similar question arises when reading the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. In one of the most poignant prayers of the Rosh Hashanah service, U’netaneh Tokef, we recite the following words:

It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness…You will open the Book of Chronicles - it will read itself, and everyone's signature is in it…On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth…who will live and who will die

With these words we are reminded that God who opens the Book of Life on Rosh Hashanah and judges who will live and who will die. And yet, at the very same time, we say that the book will read itself, that man signs his own name into the book that Hashem opens for us on this day. The question still stands: Is it God or is it man who signs our names into the book of life?

In answering this question, we can gain a better understanding of our goals and our mindset on Rosh Hashanah and the days leading up to the New Year. As Rav Kirzner noted, man often makes the mistake of thinking that the pen of judgment rests in God’s hand alone on Rosh Hashanah, rather than realizing that Hashem opens the book and puts the pen in our hand. On Rosh Hashanah, we become responsible for writing ourselves in the book of life; we become partners with Hashem in determining what lies in our future.

Indeed in our parshiot we see the model of what it is to become a partner with the Divine - and the long and complete life that is granted to such a person. In his closing speech to the people, Moshe announces that he has lived, and will die at 120 years. The Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 11a) tells us that Moshe died on the same day he was born as a sign of his righteousness. Moshe was a model of someone who lived a complete life of not one day less than 120 years - because Moshe dedicated each moment of his life to the service of God and the fulfillment of the role Hashem determined for him in this world.

The Arizal explains that on Rosh Hashanah - the commemoration of the final step of creation – Hashem decides whether the world should be created anew again each year. The decision is made by Hashem’s determination of man’s ability to accomplish the goals for which the world was first created.

On this day, Hashem judges us not for actions that have taken place already in the past - but for something that lies beyond the past and beyond our actions - and that is our desire to dedicate our future to being better and to becoming a partner in fulfilling God’s mission in this world. As the well-known verse in this week’s Torah portion tell us:

The hidden things belong to the Lord, our God, but the revealed things apply to us (Devarim 19:28)

On the day that we are judged for what is hidden, internal and known only to God, it is up to each of us to truly feel that we are ready and able to dedicate ourselves to working towards achieving the greater task and purpose for which Hashem placed us in His world. If we are ready and willing to be His partner, then certainly He will grant us life and opportunity to fulfill these goals. If we are able to reach a point on Rosh Hashanah that we can are in touch with our internal drive to fulfill our potential and our purpose in this world, then we have essentially written ourselves in the book of life. And so our first step in this partnership is writing our names in the book of life - by declaring our readiness to follow in God's ways and to do His will for the year to come, even better and with more passion than in years past.

The importance of who we are and what we feel on the day of Rosh Hashanah is highlighted in the opening of our double-parsha:

You are all standing this day before the Lord, your God the leaders of your tribes, your elders and your officers, every man of Israel (Devarim 29:9)

Rashi, among others, explains that the word hayomthis day – is included in order to show the Jewish people that although they have caused Hashem to be angry time and again throughout their travels and travails in the desert, Hashem still gives us the opportunity to stand before Him. The Zohar explains that the word today refers to Rosh Hashanah – not a day of fear, regret, and distance - but a day of closeness and embrace with Hashem.

On Rosh Hashanah Hashem does not simply judge us for who we were, but instead He asks of us on this day who we want to be. Once we have determined that we are ready for such dedication, then we are ready to focus the next 10 days culminating with Yom Kippur - it is then that we will be able to do teshuva no simply to rid ourselves of our past mistakes, but to use them as a springboard for growth in the future that we have chosen for ourselves. May we all sign ourselves in the book of life and may God ultimately seal our names each year in the book of life each year ad meah ve'esrim (until 120)! Chativa Vechatima Tova and as always, Shabbat Shalom, Taly

Self Destructive

Whenever I say anything negative I feel yichee afterwards.

So why do I often say negative things? What normal person wants to feel yichee?!

The mystery of man's predilection to engage in self-destructive behavior. Am I alone? I think not. But it doesn't make me feel any better knowing that others also do and say stupid things.

The consolation: I can change EVERYTHING right now by thinking of ways to change the patterns and then implementing my ideas. I might fail in the future but at least I'm on the right road.

Would like to be my partner and change a little bit, too? Believe me - I have a lot more to fix than you.

Some thoughts I jotted down on the edge of exhaustion. I will sleep and then do SERIOUS battle with the powers of evil that try to bring me down.

Whether the Palestinians have a State or not is not in my control. Whether I turn myself into a mentsch is - shouldn't I focus more on the latter and not on the former.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I Love My New Job!

For years it has bothered me that the standard yeshiva schedule has too much vacation. It recently hit me - I make the rules now! So I told the guys in the kollel that except for a few days of chol hamoed - vacation is cancelled!:-) Fun!!! We get to learn during bein hazmanim.

It always bothers me when people answer their phone during learning, so I made a rule - No phones during the seder.

I don't like smoking. So I made a rule - No smokers in my Kollel.

It bothers me that people don't remember their learning. So I made a rule - Everybody has to summarize the gemara we learn in writing in order that they remember it better.

I don't like when people come late to seder. So I made a rule - Everybody must come on time. Not a minute late. This one we are still working on....

It's FUN being Rosh Kollel!

So thanks again to everyone who "elected" me into office.

Love and blessings!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Visa Problems

I am really, really nervous!! My Visa is going to be reviewed and it is going to be decided whether it is to be extended. There is no opportunity for permanent citizenship - only an annually renewed Visa. I REALLY, REALLY want to stay.

If it is not renewed I won't be able to dance at my children's weddings. Or enjoy grandchildren. Or write the sforim and give the shiurim I so look forward to. Or continue to grow with my wife. Or further develop the friendships I am lucky enough to have with many people. Or ... Or...

The date is the First of Tishrei.

The Visa is to stay on our planet.

Above ground.

May G-d inscribe me - and you and your loved ones - in the book of life!


Forwarded by my Mom - SHLITA!

While creating the world, G-d turned to the angel Gabriel....

"On this day, I shall create a magic land. It shall be called 'Israel'. It will stand as holy. Its magnificence will be known all over the world. I will choose to send to this land special people of goodness, intelligence and conviction, so the land shall prosper. I shall call these inhabitants Jews."

"Pardon me, Lord," asked Gabriel, "but aren't you being too generous to these Jews?"

"Not really. Wait and see the neighbors I'm giving them."


Some hallmarks of baalei gy've [translated somewhat poorly as arrogance or haughtiness]. For examples of humility - flip it around.

1] He always has to be the best.

2] He has to impress others. He feels it necessary to toot his own horn and publicize his MANY accomplishments.

3] He CAN'T be wrong or at fault.

4] He has to show that he knows it all.

5] He gets very hurt when people don't recognize his greatness.

6] He doesn't answer emails or phone calls unless there is something in it for him. Otherwise he is MUCH too important to take the time to answer.

7] He likes saying things like "I'm too busy" when asked to help.

8] He complains a lot. The service is too slow and the food is too cold.

9] He finds himself superior in some way to every person he meets.

10] When he goes to a wedding, he doesn't dance much- beneath his dignity.

11] His wife is his slave and woe unto her if she doesn't follow his wishes.

12] Poor people are tremendous annoyances. He makes sure they feel that way.

13] He doesn't pay much attention to kids - beneath his dignity.

14] He doesn't like listening to the Rabbi's speech. The Rabbi has soooo much more to learn from him than he has to learn from the Rabbi.

15] He smokes in public or talks in shul or does other things to bother those around him but he doesn't notice or care - he is too involved with himself and his own needs.

Gy'veh is according to some commentators [such as the Smag] a biblical prohibition. It is called an abomination to G-d.

It is also quite abominable to me.

If I notice it in so many people I must have some of my own.

May I do tshuva before the High Holies!

Love and blessings! :-)
The latest article explaining the sa'ir hamishtaleach which im yirtzeh Hashem will be published as the preface to the first Torah journal published by kollel Iyun HaNefesh, here. Comments and criticism welcome. Tonights Shaarei Tshuva shiur here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kollel Iyun HaNefesh At Your Convenience

Sweetest friends - some shiurim from the kollel on the sefer Shaarei Tshuva, here , here, here and a shiur on Mishlei here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Appreciating it All

Every year in the weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah we read Parshat Ki Tavo - in this parsha we find a brief description of the blessings that Klal Yisrael will experience if they follow in God’s ways, followed by a lengthy description of the curses that will befall the Jewish people if they fail to do so. Perhaps we are reminded of these curses at this time in order that we learn the lesson from our parsha as to how to start the year with only blessings.

The Torah tells us that the reason the Jewish people will suffer the terrible curses:

lo avaddeta et Hashem Elochecha be’simcha ubetuv levav merav kol

You did not serve Hashem your God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart when you had an abundance of everything (28:47)

To understand the meaning of this verse, we must understand the Torah perspective of the deep concepts hidden behind the seemingly simple words - simcha and kol – both of which are fundamental to Jewish life.

The first of several times we find these concepts linked together is at the end of the section that deals with the laws of Bikkurim - the dedication of our first fruits to Hashem. Before laying down the basket of fruit before Hashem, one is required to retell the story of the bitter enslavement of Egypt. Only after this is done, the Torah tells us:

Ve’samachta bekol hatov asher natan lecha Hashem Elokecha
Rejoice with all the good that Hashem, your God, has granted you (26:10).

There are several questions that we might ask in trying to understand this custom. Firstly, why is it necessary to recount the bitter details of our past before dedicating the fruits of Israel to Hashem? And, why do we mention these dreadful details at all if we are recounting all the good that Hashem has granted us?

Additionally, it would seem that if Hashem gave us these fruits, He would want us to eat them and enjoy them; why do we give back the fruits as a way to thank Him for them?

Human nature is such that we only realize what we have to be thankful for when those things are lost or taken from us. Therefore, it is only in giving away a portion of the fruits that the Jewish people suddenly realize how lucky they are to have them at all.

In this vein we can understand why the Jewish people have to recount their traumatic past at this time - the Jewish people only appreciate the freedom and pleasures of living in the land of Israel after recalling the bitterness and the hardships they faced in Egypt. This is alluded to also in the verse from the parsha:

God has not given you a heart to know, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, until this very day (Devarim 29:3)

As Rashi explains, it was only on this very day - as the Jews entered the land of Israel -that they finally recognized the kindness Hashem had shown them over the last 40 years.

As Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman notes, so many of us ask for miracles to inspire us and reveal God’s presence in the world we live in - but in reality the inspiration from such miraculous signs and wonders is only temporary. The Jewish people saw unbelievable sights when they left Egypt and even heard the voice of Hashem at Har Sinai; and yet, they continued to sin throughout the dessert travels.

When they entered Israel they suddenly had to search to try to see, hear, and feel Hashem in their lives. It was on this very day that the Jewish people finally understood what it meant to be the Jewish people – to struggle to feel Hashem in their lives. It was now that they realized the struggle is what makes the relationship feel real, feel stronger, and more constant.

It was only now that they could appreciate the joy of the journey- appreciating not only what they had in the present, but their entire experience of the past. This is what it means to truly rejoice bekol – in everything.

This is also the way we understand a verse that is quoted at this time of the year tells us: ashrei haam yodeah teruah – happy is the People that know the teruah (Ps. 89:16). What does it mean to know the teruah, and how does this knowledge bring the Jewish people happiness?

The word teruah has two definitions: The first comes from the root roah, means brokenness. The verse, therefore, is telling us that the Jewish people find happiness in knowing that the moments of brokenness are ultimately for our good and for our growth. We understand that the moments of pain are only temporary – they only bring us to moments of greater strength and harmony.

As Mrs. Shira Smiles notes, the second definition of the word stems from the word reut, companionship. It is through the broken moments that we feel distanced and even abandoned by Hashem, that we are then forced to seek Him out – and when we do, we find true and lasting companionship with Hashem.

When our faith in Hashem is dependent on grand miracles and inspiring revelations, our moments of closeness to Hashem are passing, our moments of clarity and bliss are fleeting. When we live in constant search of Gd in our lives, there are sure to be moments of struggle and even pain – but these will be only temporary - while the connection we create with Hashem will be everlasting. When we can see the moments of hardship, toil, and pain as part of our lifelong struggle to see, hear, and feel God in our lives, then even in harder moments we are able to thank Hashem for what we have, always trust that we will be stronger because of it all.

May we all rejoice in all that was and all that is, and let us this bring a year of searching, finding, and letting God into our lives - and may this lead ys to true and eternal simcha! Shabbat Shalom, Taly

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chaya Meira Mindel bas Chava Golda


Monday, September 12, 2011

Enjoy The Roses

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.

Dale Carnegie

A Waste Of Energy

Feeling sorry for yourself, and your present condition, is not only a waste of energy but the worst habit you could possibly have.

Dale Carnegie

Big Mitzva

I am looking for a Jew who has free time and a car thursday afternoon in Brooklyn who wants to do a big mitzva!!!

Big Mitzva!

If anybody can help a blind man in the New York area by finding him a job and/or a shidduch it would be greatly appreciated!!! Please contact me at ally.ehrman@gmail.com.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learn Emunah!

All too often we hear of immoral behavior in the religious community. Whether it is cheating in business, lying, infidelity, abuse etc. it causes great pain and embarrassment to us all. The explanation to my [very puny] mind for these unfortunate phenomena is one and the same - PEOPLE DON'T REALLY BELIEVE IN G-D! Yes, they may dress the dress and talk the talk but but G-d is just NOT a living reality to them. If He were it would be IMPOSSIBLE to act in the way they do. Let us listen to the wise but stupid Professor Joel Marx - Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of New Haven writes:

“This philosopher has been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t…The long and short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality…I experienced my shocking epiphany that religious fundamentalists are correct; without God there is no morality. But they are incorrect, I still believe, about there being a God. Hence, I believe, there is no morality.

He is wise because it is true - without G-d there is no morality. He stupid [sic - that's how I originally wrote it and decided it's cute so I'll keep it] because he believes that the entire universe with its billions of complexities was all by chance - and has has NO proof. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prove that there is no G-d. The only way one could prove that there is no G-d would be if G-d Himself would tell us that it is true :-). We experienced Divine Revelation so we must be "religious fundamentalists".

The partial solution is to teach EMUNAH!!! In our shuls and schools and yeshivos, the study of seforim that focus on emunah should be standard fare. EVERYBODY needs constant reinforcement in his beliefs.

The gemara says at the end of Makkos that the whole Torah is rooted in the mitzva to believe in G-d. MOST PEOPLE I HAVE MET IN MY LIFE DON'T HAVE THE FOGGIEST IDEA WHAT IT MEANS TO TRULY BELIEVE. EVEN SO-CALLED RELIGIOUS JEWS.

And therein lies the tragedy.

YOU can make the tikkun!!

Love and blessings!!!


"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice."

Meister Eckhart

See Rambam hilchos tefillah perek aleph halacha beis -

והכל הולך אחר החתום - ברכות יב

חיה מאירה מינדל בת חוה גולדה

She is more in need of our tefillos than ever.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Challenging Our Inclincations

In Parshat Ki Teitzei we find over 70 mitzvot predominantly dealing with daily interactions. This parsha thus highlights the importance of mitzvot ben adam lechaveiro (between man and fellow man) – reminding us that during this time of year that often becomes very self-focused and self-reflective, its this should not be a selfish time in which we neglect our relationships and our responsibilities to others - otherwise we would be missing the whole point of this time of personal growth and development.

The parsha begins with very striking words: If you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord, your God, will deliver him into your hand… (Dev. 21:10). Many commentaries explain that on a deeper level, the war that the Torah refers to is milchemet hayetzer – the war against our own individual evil inclinations.

Based on this understanding, Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb points out that is upon us to proactively wage battle against our negative qualities and tendencies. During this month we tend to focus on the past – apologizing for the times we let our anger or pride lead us to make mistakes. Perhaps, though, it is also a time to consider and confront the traits or habits that we so often tend to ignore or deny until a larger problem has surfaced. We need not wait for our greed to overcome us, or our jealousy to ruin our relationships – we should instead confront those parts of ourselves, and work to overcome them, before they overcome us.

While on the one had we see that there is much value to contemplating how we can preemptively work our middot, we learn that there are also moments that challenge us to overcome a middah without premeditation or preparation. Though we start the year with certain goals, and each day with certain objectives - there must always be room for flexibility and spontaneity in our avodat Hashem as well as our encounters with others.

In this vein, Rav Moshe Taragin explains that in our parsha we learn the importance of seizing unexpected and unplanned opportunities for performing mitzvot. Perhaps the most salient example is that of shiluach haken (sending away the mother-bird), as the Torah commands:

If a bird's nest chances before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground, and [it contains] fledglings or eggs, if the mother is sitting upon the fledglings or upon the eggs, you shall not take the mother upon the young (22:6)

The Torah states clearly that this is a mitzvah that one might “chance upon” - it is one of the prime examples of a mitzvah mizdamenet – a mitzvah that one can only fulfill in his lifetime if the right circumstance presents itself. It is unlike most mitzvot that must be done at predetermined times and/or with specific preparations.

While there is much value in preparing, planning, and finally performing a mitzvah, there is also immense value in chancing upon the opportunity to help another – and seizing it. The opportunity for mitzvot, for growth, for helping others surround us and at times require spontaneity and flexibility in our routines. This is highlighted as well with the obligation of hashavat aveida (returning a lost object):

You shall not see your brother's ox or sheep straying, and ignore them. [Rather,] you shall return them to your brother (22:1).

The Torah speaks against our human nature to “ignore” the needs of others when it interferes with our own interests, needs, and schedules - as we all know too well that it is difficult for us to stop in our tracks during our busy days and especially to go out of our way to delay our goals to help out a friend, let a lone a stranger.

The fact that the mitzvot of shiluach kaken and hashavat aveida – both of which reflect compassion and sensitivity - cannot be planned in advance teaches us that ultimately our responsibility to and compassion for others is supposed to become instinctual – so that we not only to act with sensitivity because we are mandated to do so and we have prepared (mentally and otherwise) to do so, but because it has become part of our essence to be kindly, giving, and caring - and we could not pass up the opportunity to do so.

By commanding us with mitzvot that we must “chance upon” and interrupt our daily routines in order to fulfill, the Torah teaches us that we cannot lose sight of the end-goal, of the greater mission – which is to be a good-hearted and good-natured individual with instincts to help those around us. These mitzvot remind us not to get too caught up in the details that we lose sight of the bigger picture. During this time, let us be constantly aware of our end-goal by focusing both on our performance of mitzvot between man and the Divine and repenting in this area, but also channeling our energies on bettering ourselves in our daily interactions and relationships. Let us work not only to change external behaviors, but to also work on a deeper level to change our underlying middot and challenge our inclinations so that we can instinctively make right choices in the coming year. Shabbat Shalom, Taly

The Vast Treasures Within Your Soul

כל אדם יכול להעשיר את כל העולם כולו מאוצרו הרוחני, אם יהיה לו כח לגלות אותו, ולאו דוקא חכם ומלומד, כי אם גם אדם פשוט, כי אין ערוך להעושר שבעצמיותה של הנשמה בטבעה, שהיא נר ה' בעולם

שמונה קבצים א תתמו

Any person can enrich the entire world with his spiritual treasures, if he has the strength to reveal them, and not necessarily a wise or learned person, even a simple person, for there is no way to assess the excessive wealth of the soul, which is the light of Hashem in the world.

Note: When the Rov says "Any person" that includes YOU.


Save The Date

I was asked to pass this on to my "talmidos" in New York. I don't have any talmidos [or talmidim for that matter], I am just a simple Jew who tries to understand a daf gemara [often without success] and spends his spare time being "me'ayain ba'nefesh". This is not false modesty or honest modesty - just fact.

So I am passing this on to my "Rabbeiyos":

"Hi Everyone :) !

I decided after the Tisha Ba'Av inspirational event that was Baruch Hashem so successful, that I wanted to form a Chaburah for women that would meet on a monthly basis-- starring our very own dynamic speakers!!! :

Lisa Okun , Shoshana Rosenbloom & Dvora Weiner

These young women are able to bring Hashem, His Holy Torah, Hashkafah and Avoidas Hashem to a whole new level , that completely relates to YOU now in our 21st Century, so that we can all truly grow and become the best Ovdei Hashem that we possibly can!

Here is the info...SAVE THE DATE! :) Unless you already have a date... [I added that one on.]

Date: Thursday September 22 ,2011 Time: 7pm Location:

In the apartment of Shoshana Rosenbloom: 147-08 75th Avenue Kew Gardens Hills , NY 11367

Looking forward to seeing you there IY"H & Feel free to pass this along to any other women you feel would be interested..."

I am jealous - men not invited. Maybe I will go to Queens and sneak to the roof and listen from there.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Not Working!

Dear ...,

HI! I wanted to ask you a question. I keep davening for my zivug and he is not coming. I am getting very frustrated and frankly quite angry at Hashem at times. What is the point of all this davening if I am not getting what I want and need. My friends are already having their second and third kids and I am stuck in my depressing apartment with my two similarly unhappy single roommates. Do you have any insight?

Frum but Frustrated

My answer:


We always must try to distinguish between "means" and "ends". To daven is the "end" because it brings us closer to our beloved Father. The need we have that we are trying to get fulfilled is the means by which we connect. So ultimately it doesn't really matter whether our needs are met because we connected. Getting married is a means by which we connect to Hashem by loving another person and building a family. But if He decided it's not time yet then it is not our fault and we must find other means by which we can connect. Getting married is not the only reason we are here. It is an important component of our existence but not the only one.

Hashem is not a candy machine where we deposit the necessary change in the slot [tefillah] and we get what we want. He wants to give us the pleasure of connecting to Him in a deep way so he creates needs and after we daven MAYBE we will merit to have our request fulfilled. The important thing is that after we daven WE are transformed into deeper, more spiritual, more emunah filled people. Whatever He decides to do is His business. We know that whatever He decides is absolutely for our best because he loves us 'AHAVAS OLAM' [from the nightly maariv] - eternal abiding love. We know this because he sent the nevi'im to clearly convey this message to the Jewish People. אהבתי אתכם אמר ה' - מלאכי פרק א

However, there is an element of pain and loneliness as well. So I would recommend that you make a list of thing to DO that give you simcha and then set aside time to do them, such as chesed, reading, learning, art, music, trips etc. etc. It is not within your power completely to get married but it IS within your power to determine your mood and activities.

About your married friends and the envy you may feel at times - DON'T! They ALL have their own problems that you don't want. Many of them are UNHAPPILY MARRIED. Many have problems with their children. Others suffer from a variety of physical and/or emotional problems and/or financial problems. EVERYONE has things to deal with and being married NEVER solves all of one's problems. So try if you can to have an ayin tova and to feel JOY at the good fortune of your friends. REMEMBER, their success is not at your expense. They are not married to your husband, they didn't give birth to your children and they don't have your money. Hashem gives everyone what they need to fulfill their purpose on earth.



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

אני אוהב את הכל

אני אוהב את הכל. איני יכול שלא לאהוב את הבריות, את כל העמים. רוצה אני בכל מעמקי לב בתפארת הכל, בתקנת הכל. אהבתי לישראל היא יותר נלהבה, יותר עמוקה, אבל החפץ הפנימי מתפשט הוא בעזוז אהבתו על הכל ממש. אין לי כל צורך לכוף את רגש האהבה, הוא נובע ישר מעומק הקודש של החכמה של הנשמה האלהית

שמונה קבצים ב,עו

I love everything. I am incapable of NOT loving all creations, all of the nations. I want from the depths of my heart the glory of all, the rectification of all. My love for Jews is more enthusiastic, deeper, but the internal desire spreads with the strength of its love to all. I have no need to force this love, it flows directly from the holy depths of the Godly soul.

Imagine the simchas chayim of a person so consumed with love. We should all be zocheh!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

עריות וכסף

יצרא דעריות יוכל ללפף את האדם יותר עמוק מהשורש של קישור החיים שלו עצמו, מפני שהוא נעוץ בנטיית המשך החיים של כל הדורות כולם. ולעומת זה בקדושה, יכולים לעלות ע"י קדושת הברית למדרגת דוגמא של צדיק בכל הדורות. שני לזה הוא ענין חמדת הגזל, שהרכוש הוא ג"כ מעמיד על רגליו את הדורות בתור ירושה, שאהבת הקנין תוכל להשפיל מאד, והטובה שבקדושה תוכל לעלות למרומי החיים ועליונותם

שמונה קבצים קובץ א אות שנז

The yetzer of arayos can consume a person even more deeply than the root of his connection to his own life, because it is based on the inclination to continue life for all future generations. Whereas in the realm of holiness, one can be elevated through sexual purity to the highest levels of tzidkus. The second most powerful desire is to steal, because material possessions put future generations on their feet. Improper love for monetary possessions can lower a person tremendously, while the good of holiness can elevate one to the highest levels of life.

Sweetest friends, probably the two biggest problems of our generation: People are obsessed with arayos and worship money and those who possess it. The tikkun: To be married in a holy way to a spiritually upwardly mobile person and to sanctify [kiddushin!] the yetzer of arayos and to foreswear newspapers, television, movies and anything else that displays immodesty. In addition, to constantly remind ourselves that money is only a means to serve Hashem and we are guaranteed that we will have it for a very short time .... at which time we will die.

A LOOOOONNNNG SWEEEET LIFE to all of my beloved friends!

פגם הברית

עיקר תיקון פגם הברית הוא קידוש הרצון והארתו הברורה, עד שהרצון היותר חזק מצד הטבע הגופני, שיש לו שורש בקדושה חזק מאד, מפני הופעת החיים שבו, שהוא הרצון של נטיית מין, אור הקדושה שופע בו כ"כ, עד שהצד הקדוש שבו הוא הרודה בחיים, וממשיך את פעולתו והופעתו, והצד של חול, וק"ו של הטומאה שבו, הוא בטל לגמרי לצד הקודש. ואז באמת לא יקרב נגע לאהלו, ונעשה צדיק משומר מכל מוקש. וכשהרצון עולה במדרגה עליונה של קודש כזאת, אז הוא מתברר גם מכל מדות רעות ומכל המעשים רעים שבעולם, אפילו מהדברים היותר קלים, שאדם דש בהם בעקביו.

שמונה קבצים - קובץ א שנו

A free translation -

The primary rectification of the blemish in one's sexual purity פגם הברית is sanctifying the will and luminating it with pure clarity, to the extent that the strongest physical desire, that has a very strong root in holiness, because of the fact that it creates life, i.e. the sexual urge, the light of holiness flows within it, to the point that the holy aspect is dominant and the non-holy aspect is nullified. Then no spiritual harm will befall the person and he becomes a complete tzaddik guarded from any failings. When the will reaches such a level, it is purified from all bad middos, even from seemingly insignificant sins that people tend to disregard.

Simply stated [if I am reading it right - and stating it simply], the secret of purifying one's sexual urge is to become completely suffused with the notion the the purpose of this urge is to CREATE NEW LIFE AND BRING MORE HOLINESS TO THE WORLD. For the rest of society this urge is meant [according to their errant perspective] to be fulfilled and enjoyed for the sake of enjoyment. We categorically reject any such attitude. The sexual urge is very potent and must be used to elevate oneself spiritually. If one is successful in directing his desires towards more lofty goals, he will thereby purify ALL of his bad middos. The yesod, the foundation, is in his strongest urge and if rectified everything else will follow along. If one fails then oy vi'avoy! There is nothing worse. If one succeeds then there is nothing better.


RABOSSSAAAIIIIIII, there is no better time than NOW to fix the pgam habris. Who can say he is completely pure in this area? I know who!

Dead people!

Just about everybody else needs to make a tikkun. This, says the great Kohen Gadol, Rebbe Tzadok of Lublin [whose yahrztiet is this week, tes elul] is the biggest test before the coming of moshiach.

Pgam Habris bigimatria Internet [if it doesn't work out - it should].

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A New Perspective On My [And Your] Personal Problems

האדם צריך להחלץ תמיד ממסגרותיו הפרטיות הממלאת את כל מהותו, עד שכל רעיונותיו, סובבים תמיד רק על דבר גורלו הפרטי, שזהו מוריד את האדם לעומק הקטנות, ואין קץ ליסורים גשמיים ורוחניים המסובבים מזה. אבל צריך שתהיה מחשבתו ורצונו ויסוד רעיונותיו נתונים להכללות, לכללות הכל לכללות העולם, לאדם, לכללות ישראל, לכל היקום, ומזה תתבסס אצלו גם הפרטיות שלו בצורה הראויה. וכל מה שהתפיסה הכללית היא יותר חזקה אצלו ככה תגדל שמחתו, וככה יזכה יותר להארת האור האלהי, כי שם מלא חל על עולם מלא

שמנה קבצים קובץ ו' ריד

A person must always extricate himself from his narrow personal issues that fill his essence, to the extent that all of his thoughts revolve around his personal fate. This lowers a person to the depths of pettiness, and there is no end to the physical and spiritual anguish that is caused by such an attitude. Rather all of his thoughts and desires should be focused on the community, mankind, the Jewish People, the whole universe, and this will help establish his own personal uniqueness in the right way. The more a person thinks in general terms, the happier he will be, and he will merit to bask in the G-dly light, because His complete name is found only in a complete world.

The Gateways to Teshuva

Parshat Shoftim begins with the following words:

Shoftim ve’shotrim titen lecha be’kol shaarecha

Judges and officers shall you appoint for yourself in all of your gates

On this verse, many commentaries ask what is the purpose of the seemingly unnecessary word, lecha – what is the Torah trying to tell us by emphasizing that the judges are for our own sake? Moreover, why is the word lecha written in the singular when the command has just been given to the entire people?

Rav Moshe Feinstein explains that the word, lecha, comes to remind us that while we must appoint official judges to uphold and enforce the law, the command us also upon every individual to accept responsibility to guard his own gates, to guard over him to follow the right path and not rely on others to push them in the right direction.

In a similar vein, Rav Frand suggests that this understanding of the text explains why the guidelines for the judges listed in the verses that follow seem to be addressed to every Jewish individual and not only the appointed judges. Rather than writing they, the judges, should judge fairly and honorably, the Torah tells us: you shall not pervert justice, you shall not show favoritism, you shall not take a bribe (Devarim 16:19). Ultimately, we must all be our own judges – of our own characters, thoughts, and actions. A message that is all too appropriate for this time of introspection and repentance.

The Netivot Shalom develops this idea further - based on a beautiful idea found in the Sefer Yetzeira that says the human body is likened to a small city with seven portals to the outside world: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and the mouth. The gates that we are commanded to guard in the beginning of our parsha are these 7 gates of our bodies.

In essence, these gates, our senses, are what allow us to interact with our surrounding world. They allow us to take in sights, scents, and sounds, while also enabling us to reveal our thoughts and feelings into reality with the power speech. So what does the Torah mean exactly when it tells us to guard these gates?

I think in answering this question we can understand the deeper implications of this concept for our mindset and our goals during the month of Elul. Often during this time of the year we are suddenly moved to make drastic and dramatic changes upon ourselves – promising to transform ourselves in various ways for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, after several days the inspiration and the enthusiasm of Elul fade away. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur come and go, and we find ourselves at the end of it all unchanged and discouraged by our failures.

The key to maintaining this motivation after Elul is to make a connection between our thoughts and our actions, between our head and our body. In the moments of our inspiration we must set our resolutions for growth and determination for change into motion. We must make our thoughts into a reality.

God gives us the ability to utilize all of these senses, each of these modes with which we can and must interact with our surroundings – and we are meant to use them for good. We can choose to eat non-kosher, or we can choose to say a bracha before and after we eat and to appreciate the food we are given. We can speak badly about others, or we can use our words to comfort others, or to defend others when necessary. To guard our gates is to consider in a very practical way how we are interacting in the world we live in.

The Sfat Emet explains that the need to actualize our thoughts into action is precisely why we need to appoint both the shofet (judge) and the soter (officer) for ourselves. An individual must employ his personal “judge” to decide what is right and good to do, but then that person needs a personal “officer” to ensure that he follows through on his thoughts. It is not enough to make a judgment about oneself that they want to change; one must follow through on those thoughts to actually make those necessary changes come into fruition.

If we want the inspiration of Elul to last and the closeness we feel with Hashem during this time to endure long after the "holiday season," we cannot make lofty resolutions that are too difficult and unrealistic to live up to. The Midrash explains based on the words of Shir Hashirim, kol dodi dofek, that when one does even a tiny amount of true teshuva, he creates an opening the size of a pinhole - and Hashem then expands the tiny opening that allows us to enter his palace through the opened gates of Heaven. Perhaps all it takes is focus on one of these small gates or portals…whether it is our vision, how we view our world; our speech, how we speak to and about others; our hearing, how we truly listen to the words of our close ones and how we hear that which is asked of us...

Rav Pinchas explains that the 613 mitzvot are 613 gates that allow us to enter Hashem’s palace. If we can just focus on one mitzvah, one action – if we can just focus on one way habit we can change in the way we see or interact in our lives – then we have opened the door upon which Hashem is knocking. Once we allow Hashem to enter, Hashem will bless us and help us with all of the other things you want to work on for the rest of the year and for the rest of our lives.

And so during this month in which Hashem literally opens the gates for all to enter, let us be our own judges to determines what actions we can take - and may Hashem help us in being able to make that small change that can open the gateway to a lifetime of character development, closeness to God, and relationship building with those around us.

Shabbat shalom!

The Nature Of Tefilla

Based on Rav Kook - whose yahrtzeit is gimmel Elul, on the nature of Tefilla.

Davening is NOT for Hashem - He doesn't need it.

Davening is also NOT for ME! Chas Vi'shalom that davening should be self-serving. My own selfish desires should not be on my radar screen.

Davening is a Mitzva from the Torah that we do that changes WORLDS - both billions of spiritual worlds and our own little tiny universe as well. These changes also affect our own fate which we care about because we have a job to do and if our needs aren't met we can't do our job.

History Is Made

The very first recorded shiur from Iyun HaNefesh [it is in hebrew - sorry for those who don't understand. I am not sure I understand either. I should really speak to the guy..]