Thursday, May 31, 2012

Be Open To Change

After maariv tonight I picked up a sefer in shul that was next to the place I davened called "Hachsharas Ha-avreichim" by the Piasetzna ztz"l. It is a magical sefer.

One gem: The gemara in ksubos [יז] rhetorically asks "When someone buys something from the store do you compliment the purchase or are you critical of it?" Of course you compliment it because nobody wants to feel that money was wasted.

Says the Holy Piasetzna: If a person doesn't want to feel that his new pair of pants or bicycle is faulty then CERTAINLY he doesn't want to feel that his own character is faulty. We love ourselves far more than we love our possessions.

That is one reason why people are so resistant to change: It means admitting that they are at fault and that something is wrong with them. I know people, nebach, who ruin themselves and those around them because they desperately hold on to the notion that they are wonderful and only those around them need to change.

SWEETEST FRIENDS!  I have no doubt that you are wonderful but that doesn't preclude the need to take a stock of yourself and mend what needs mending. The more I walk around this planet the more I see the difficulty people have with change. Well, that is not precise. People DO actively want to change.

Other people....

I think the process is first realizing that owning up to your imperfections will greatly improve your quality of life. Then develop strategies to grow.

לא פשוט. 


I Baruch Hashem have arrived in New York. If I can help you or you can help me my number is 212 799 1124 or cell 917 913 4416.

Love and blessings:-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How A Yid Thinks

"Ask those who love Him with a sincere love, and they will tell you that they find no greater or prompter relief amid the troubles of their life than in loving conversation with their Divine Friend."

"Your friend" [Mishlei 27] this is referring to Hashem [Rashi שבת ל"א ד"ה דעלך סני לחברך לא תעבד]

This morning I was zocheh to be in the OLD CITY and to daven at the KOYYYYSELL HAMAARAVI!! [This has happened in the past...] I was beginning, as is my wont, to worry. Tommorrow I fly to the US, or to be more exact, [I can't fly. Only Jordan used to fly and I don't think he can do so anymore either. If you are my age and followed basketball you remember the play-by-play man exclaim "Who says man can't fly!"] the plane will fly to the US and if I can correctly answer all of the many questions they will ask me at customs and then almost completely disrobe and then enter an x-ray machine which I hope will discover that I am filled with pnimiyus - I will be on the plane.

Why worry? Well, maybe my trip will fail, the kollel will close and then what?? Nothing like optimistic thinking...

Well then I think things like, "No, it'll work out. Last year it worked out and this year will be even better".

But wait! If I am at the kotel that is not the correct thought process. So here is how a yid thinks...

"I will definitely succeed because I am with Hashem. Success is defined as what Hashem wants and what ever happens is EXACTLY what Hashem wants. I will do my best [I am not exactly sure what that entails but I am learning..] and He will take care of me. Nothing bad can come out of this because there is nothing bad. He is my Friend and only wants what's best for me."


So I don't need tranquilizers that are so popular but a "natural", "alternative" solution which put me blissfully at ease.




הבוטח בשם חסד יסובבנהו - One who puts his trust in the Almighty is surrounded by chesed. So said Dovid Ha-melech and so has been my life experience until now. May it only continue.

לנו ולכל ישראל אמןןןןןןןןןן!!!!

Love and blessings

Monday, May 28, 2012

One Option

What lingers from the parent's individual past, unresolved or incomplete, often becomes part of her or his irrational parenting.

Virginia Satir

Why do my children have to suffer from MY problems and emotional challenges? For me this is one of the most painful realities I must face - that human beings whom I love so much must suffer because of my emotional inadequacies. 

The fact that every other child on the planet suffers because of his parents inadequacies DOESN'T make me feel any better. 

I have but one option.  


Don't Justify

It is not to be forgotten that what we call rational grounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts.

Thomas Huxley

Sweetest friends - this is what the great Masters of Mussar call - negiyos. We all have them and our daily avoda is to reach truth and act because it is right and not because our instincts push us in that direction.

BIG job!

רעוא דרעווין

Everybody knows that seuda shlishit on shabbos is a very special spiritual time. In Kabala it's called רעוא דרעווין - The will of wills. What does this MEAN?

On our very simple level: The day of shabbos gets progressively more holy until it reaches it's peak late in the afternoon. At that point it goes beyond the point where Hashem loves us for any logical reason. He loves us because he loves us. אין טעם לרצון - There is no logical reason for pure will, He just wants because he does.

Of course this creates a counter reaction within us, that we love Hashem "just because". No reason. Why do you like vanilla and not strawberry? Why do you like light blue more than dark brown? You just do. That is רצון למעלה מטעם ודעת - A will that goes beyond rational logic. להבדיל - At this time of seuda shlishit, we have the capacity to love Hashem ברצון שלמעלה טעם ודעת, regardless of our spiritual level.

May we be zocheh to feel that mutual love:-).

שם משמואל יתרו תרע"א

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Difficult Talmudic Passage

Let's learn a shtickel gemara [קידושין יב] and let the budding Talmidei Chachomim think about it.

"A certain man betrothed [a woman] with a black marble stone. Now, R. Chisda was sitting and appraising it: if worth a perutah, it is well;  if not, not.... Said his mother to him: But on the day he betrothed her it was worth a perutah!  It does not rest entirely with you, replied he, to render her forbidden to the other man. For is this not comparable to the case of Yehudis, R. Chiyya's wife, who had severe travail in childbirth.  Said she to him: My mother told me: ‘Your father accepted kiddushin on your behalf [from another man] when you were a child.’
 He replied to her: It does not rest entirely with your mother to forbid you to me." [Soncino trans.]

This gemara is very difficult to understand. Rav Chisda said that "it doesn't rest entirely with you to render her forbidden to another man" which implies that only because there is another man involved the mother is not believed but if there wasn't another man involved she would be believed. But we know the rule is that אין דבר שבערוה פחות משנים so she shouldn't be believed in any event. Also, why do we need to prove our point from the case of Yehudis, the rule is simple - אין דבר שבערוה פחות משנים?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Special Yom Yov Sheni

Interesting!! According to one opinion in the gemara the Torah was actually given on the seventh of sivan - the second day of shavuos. This is the one holiday where it seems that the people outside of Eretz Yisrael are really doing it right.... On the seventh of sivan it will be business as usual in these parts.

Love blessings and a lichtige Shabbos and Yom Tov to all!!!:-)

Quote Of The Day

"I have lived to thank G-d that all of my prayers have not been answered"


Shiur on Leil Shavuos at my apt. Ohr HaChaim 5 at about 11:30pm [for about an hour] for men.

תנו רבנן יאאאאא

About 50 years ago a Jew owned an old age home somewhere is chutz la'aretz. There was a certain gentile woman who used to say some words in a foreign language in her sleep that nobody there could understand. The doctors couldn't figure it out until they called this man to help them and he immediately identified what the woman was saying. She sang the words "תנו רבנן יאאאא"  [The Rabbis taught, yeahhhhh] in a gemara niggun. They asked the woman about it and it turns out that her mother was a housekeeper for a Jewish family and when this woman was a baby of a year and a half her mother would take her along to work. She heard the man of the house learning gemara with this tune תנו רבנן יאאאאא and it became so entrenched in her memory she continued singing it many decades later.

[Heard from the Rebbe Shlita who heard it directly from the person involved]

From here we see the effect of what a child hears, even at a young age. It remains with the child forever. 

May we always make sure our children always hear pure words and sounds.

Quote Of The Day

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty"

Thanks to Reb SBS for sending:-)

Yeshiva - A Link In The Geulah

This Torah should be a merit for a refuah shleima for Pesya Fraidel bas Rochel
and Binyamin Chaim ben Faigie Sara. Please daven for them.

The Torah says "ושננתם לבניך" You should teach your son. Chazal say that the word "son" is referring to one's talmid. Why did Chazal allude to a talmid as a son?

In Parshas Beshalach we read about the war against Amalek. Moshe says to his student Yehoshua בחר לנו אנשים choose people for us [to wage war]. Chazal were sensitive to Moshe's phraseology. He SHOULD have said בחר לי choose for me. Moshe was in charge and Yehoshua was working for him. So why did he say לנו?

From here we learn a lesson for life. A Rebbe must hold the honor of his student as dear as his own honor. Moshe wanted to honor [or "honour" if he was a Brit. Indeed the rabbis say that he was born with a brit....]  Yehoshua by equating the two of them. בחר לנו

Maran HaRav Hutner wonders why specifically at this point in time we learn the lesson that a Rebbe must accord honor to his student. If the context in which we learn this lesson is the war against Amalek then there must be some connection between the two.

We are going deep. Get your snorkelers..... 

What is Amalek really fighting against? The pasuk says מלחמה להשם בעמלק מדר דר. They are fighting against the "dor dor" - the link between generations. They want to sever the connection between father and son, Rebbe and student [a Rebbe has the status of a father to his students as the gemara says ושננתם לבניך אלו תלמידך - "You must teach your sons" this is a reference to your students]. The exile is couched in the Torah in terms of years - 400 years. The redemption is couched in terms of GENERATIONS, ודור רביעי ישובו הנה -  the fourth generations will return here [to Israel]. Redemption is achieved when the generations are connected. About the end of days it says והשיב לב אבות על בנים ולב בנים על אבות - reconnecting between the generations. 

 When we solidify the connection between the generations Amalek has no chance and we are assured of victory and ultimately the גאולה השלימה.That is why specifically here we learn the lesson that a Rebbe must respect his student. The way to create a deep bond between people is through mutual respect and Moshe knew that the order of the day was to create this bond. 

יהי כבוד תלמידך חביב עליך כשלך. 

We see from this that the bond forged between Rebbe and Talmid is another link in the chain leading to the geula. This is why the Torah refers to a student as a son. A Rebbe teaching a student is not merely transmitting information but creates another generation leading to the geula.

השמרו לכם פן יפתה לבבכם וסרתם - Be careful lest you follow your heart and serve idols. Nature abhors a vacuum. Either a person will follow Torah .... or follow idols [or internet filth or other types of soul-corrupting activities]. The Yeshiva saves one from the mabul of civilization [or "un-civilization"]. 

Rebbe Tarfon said to Rebbe Akiva "כל הפורש ממך כפורש מן החיים" - Anybody who separates from you, separates from life. [Kiddushin 66]

Anybody who understands what Yeshiva is in its purest form understands that separating from Yeshiva is separating from life. May we all be zoche to connect to Yeshiva, to Rabbeim and to true Bnei Yeshiva - regardless of how we make our living.


[Based on Maran HaRav Hutner Pachad Yitzchak Maamar 18 and a talk given in Yeshivas Shear Yashuv recorded in Sefer Reshimos Lev] 

Mekadesh Ha-Shabbos Vi-Yisrael

Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah [Brachos 49] write that the kedusha of the Jewish people is predicated on the kedusha of Shabbos. That is what we mean when we say in the bracha מקדש השבת וישראל והזמנים.

What is the root of this connection?

וכרות עמו הברית. Hashem was "kores bris" with Avraham. Kores means to "cut off" [as in the word "kares"] while "bris" - covenant, brings people together. So how is one "kores bris" which seems to be an internal contradiction??

The answer is that a bris by defintion cuts everyone else off. When one gets married  and creates a bris with his/her spouse this effectively cuts everyone else off from this special union. Hashem was never "kores bris" with the goyim becasue he doesn't have an exclusive relationship with them. But with klal yisrael Hashem enjoys an exclusive bond. Only with us Hashem was kores bris.

After the mabul it says יום ולילה לא ישבותו which means that goyim are obligated to work seven days a week and are not allowed to keep Shabbos. When we received the mitzva of Shabbos, we were cut off from all of the nations and sealed our level of holiness and exclusive relationship with Hashem. יום ולילה לא ישבותו doesn't apply to us.

This explains why our kedusha is predicated on the kedusha of Shabbos.

[Maran HaRav Hutner Shavuos 1972]

Based on this we can explain what we say every Shabbos in davening. "ושני לוחות אבנים הוריד בידו וכתוב בהם שמירת שבת". Moshe brought down the two tablets of stone upon which were inscribed the mitzva of keeping Shabbos. This is difficult because there were ten mitvos on the tablets, not just Shabbos??

However, based on the foregoing we understand that Shabbos more than any other mitzva symbolizes the kedusha of klal yisrael and that is why it is singled out.

That also might be why a mechalel shabbos has the status of a goy for many halachos [such as his wine that he touched being forbidden to drink]. He has effectively lost his kedushas yisroel.

I have a chiddush li-halacha based on this but MAYBE another time.


What Is A Yeshiva

What is a Yeshiva? People think that a Yeshiva is a place where young men dedicate themselves to Torah. That is not completely accurate. A Yeshiva is a place where we are מקבל תורה - we receive the Torah as it was received at Sinai. Sinai was in the desert and there was nothing else going on. It was a desolate waste land. So too, when in Yeshiva one must put oneself in the desert in order to receive the Torah.

[Rav Hutner Shavuos 1971 - for the record I spent that Shavuos learning mamesh with a malach. I promise. See Niddah 30]

Today - the biggest challenge mechanchim face is creating that desert. Students are connected 24/7 to the outside world and that makes it difficult to focus on קבלת התורה. When you go to learn Torah try to turn off all of the devices and give your undivided attention to the matters at hand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Correct Pronunciation - Losing The War - Baseball - Shavuos

I heard about the "asifa" at Citi field.

Three comments.

1] To the best of my knowledge the word "asifa" does not exist. It is "aseifa". That was bothering me.

2] A friend told me that a Satmar friend of his was at the aseifa and was taking pictures and putting it up on his facebook page.

[I don't mean to make light of the dangers of the internet. I just mean to "make light", because too many people are uptight and could use some comic relief. Smile Yidden. You are alive and holy!]

3] The Mets don't play in Shea anymore??? I'm appalled! What about all of my memories?? LEE MAZZILLI where are you? Next someone is going to tell me that the Yankees don't play in old Yankee Stadium anymore... Oyyyyyyyy.

Which brings me to my next trivia question - What do Yankee Stadium and Malchus Beis Dovid have in common?

They are both "The House that 'Ruth' built".

Recently I haven't been blogging much as I am preparing for my big trip. What - you didn't hear?? I am going to HAR SINAI on Sunday to receive the Torah. Hope to see you there...

Writing from a state of almost overwhelming fatigue [when I get that way I am often more giddy than normal], I remain faithfully yours.

Love and blessings:-)

Where To Spend Shavuos

There was once a Yeshiva bochur who became close to Gerrer Chassidus. Before Shavuos his Rosh Yeshiva found out that the boy was not planning to be in Yeshiva but in Ger with his Rebbe the Heilige Beis Yisroel.

The Rosh Yeshiva approached the boy and said "בארג סיני איז דאך דא" - Har Sinai is HERE in Yeshiva [so why are you going to Ger].

The boy sharply replied "בארג סיני איז דאך דא אבער משה רבינו איז דארטן אין גור" - Har Sinai is here but Moshe Rabbeinu [meaning the Tzadik Hador the Beis Yisroel] is in Ger.

The Holy Pnei Menachem loved this story and added that even thought the Jews received the Torah at Har Sinai it didn't prevent them from making an egel hazahav. Had Moshe Rabbeinu been with them he would have stopped them.

May we all be zocheh to cling to Tzaddikei Emes!

[Heard from the Rebbe Shlita]

Face The Mountain

The Jewish people faced the mountain when they received the Torah. That you knew.

What you might not have considered was that their backs were turned to the rest of the world. To RECEIVE the Torah you have to turn your back to the rest of the world. Afterwards we face the world again and try to rectify it and fill it with the Light of Torah [אורייתא].

[Based on Maran HaRav Hutner]

Sunday, May 20, 2012

First Year Report Card - And We Continue :-)

This is from an email I sent out that you may or may not have received.

"It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert."

Shaaalooom Sweetest Friends:-)!!!

As you probably know last year I embarked on a new endeavor and founded Kollel Iyun HaNefesh. One year ago at this time I went to the US to seek the "flour" that would facilitate the Torah. With tremendous Divine help and many wonderful caring and generous messangers on His behalf, enough money was raised to begin. Baruch Hashem, despite some bumps on the road, our goal was achieved and a great deal of Torah was studied. The Kollel fellows learned masechtot shavous, avoda zara, horiyos and shkalim etc. and also had a daily seder in mussar/machshava. We also put out a sefer you can access here  

This is my opportunity to say THANK YOUUUUU to everybody who helped in any way. I know who you are, you know who you are, and most importantly, Hashem knows who you are. Most of the people who gave, have very little money and I know that just about all of the donations came form the heart. When the mishkan was built the Torah stresses that כל נדיב לב - the donations must emanate from a generous heart as that is the only way to build an edifice of kedusha. I really feel that almost all of the contributions were given with a generous, kind, caring heart. I particularly thank my wife Nechi and children who stuck with me and suffered my long absences from home.

May Hashem repay everybody who helped or even tried to help [sometimes unsuccessfully...] with many long happy healthy years in this world and an eternal bliss in the next for you and your families.

Since this was a Torah and Kedusha project the powers of "evil" had to get involved and make things difficult. So they did and in the middle of the year we ran out of money. AHHHHHHH!!!! We had to let some people go and nevertheless were determined to continue, so we did with a smaller roster and by borrowing money. Baruch Hashem some donations trickled in and we now no longer owe anybody money. Debt triggers stress which is bad for your health and since I am health conscious I try to avoid debt [and Arabs with machine guns].  So as we stand we have zero [exactly where we were last year when we started!] and we are going to continue and add more avreichim to our kollel bez"H. In order to do so we need your help.

I am going to be in New York for most of the month of June and will do what I can in order to continue this project of Torah learned with simcha and kedusha and good middos. Anything anyone can do to help is greatly appreciated. Parlor meetings, shiurim, scholar in residences etc. etc. Checks also help 

My number in the New York is             212-799-1124      .

Tax deductible donations can be made out to "Ohr David Outreach" and sent to Ohr David Outreach 326 Kingston Avenue Brooklyn New York 11213. Please write next to memo "For Kollel Iyun HaNefesh".  If you want to donate with a credit call you can call             718 715 1800       [Israel time] and give your credit card information and tell the secretary that the donation is for our Kollel.

Please G-d we will continue to grow and prosper for many years to come and I see it as a tremendous merit to be partners with you in this project.  

Love and blessings:-)

[You may link this to Bill Gates or anyone else on the Forbes 400 or who would like to be...



From Reb Mordechai Yehoshua - The Positive Project here.

We Come Back To Life In Yerushalayim

בנו את ירושלים מראש הררי קודש , ממעמקי נשמת ישראל , תחית האומה נובעת . החיים האיתנים , המפכים בעמנו ומעוררים אותנו לתחיה אחרי שנת מות עמוקה של גלות קשה ומרה , הלא הנם החיים של נשמת ישראל השלמה , נשמת הגוי כולו . לא חלק ממנה , לא איזה כשרון מיוחד מכשרונותיה , כי אם רוח חייה השלם , בכל גבורתו , בכל צביונו ותפארתו . והמטבע הבולטת לרוח נצח זה נחתמה בכליל שלימותה בעיר האלוהים , 'ירושלים הבנויה כעיר שחברה לה יחדיו' רוח החיים החי לעולמי עד, הדעה העליונה והנצחית, מצא את מנוחתו בהר ציון אשר אהב סלה . וישראל הוא היודע את זאת בעומק חיי נשמתו. 

הרב קוק זצ"ל 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It is no longer necessary to daven for Pinchas Tzvi Hirsch ben Mordechai z"l. I thank those who did.

I met him a number of moths ago at Yad Avraham where they have minyanim and shiurim for people who work in Manhattan and Mr. Paul Zuckerman was very active in this magnificent spiritual enterprise. His loss is a loss not only for his family but for all of klal yisrael. יהי זכרו ברוך.  

One Zchus

Sweetest friends!!

I am soooo far from what a Jew is supposed to be it is PAINFUL. Really. When you understand what is expected of a person in this world, when you know people who REALLY daven and REALLY learn and REALLY do chesed with a pure heart with no ulterior motives, it makes one realize his inadequacies and boy-oh-boy, I am riddled with them. It doesn't get me depressed. Depression is the number-one-super-duper-lethal-weapon of the forces of evil in this world. But it does hurt and the feeling doesn't allow my soul [and body for that matter] to rest easy.

However, there is ONE zchus I have. I can't deny it because doing so would be false humility. May I share? THANX!:-)

I live in Yerushalyim Ir Hakodesh. That is a TREMENDOUS zchus. Every mitzva I do, every daf gemara I learn, every tefilla I say, is worth more here in Yerushalyim than the same act done anywhere else in the world. Every second I am here besides the mitzva of living in Israel I also fulfill the mitzva of living in Yerushalayim. [See hakdama to the sefer Shiras Yitzchak for sources].

Have you ever had a tyve. You MAMESH want something. You are obsessed. You can't get it out of your mind. Let's take an example: An ice cream cone. It is a hot day and you walk by that store and you NEED the Vanilla Fudge [with sprinkles]. It consumes you until you consume it....

LI-HAVDIL A MILLION HAVDALOS it says כי איוה למושב לו  Hashem has tyve [כביכול] to dwell  Yerushalyim. That means that He is strongly connected to the place. If you are there it means that you have more of an opportunity to connect to the ONLY thing that is real. Everything else is הבל הבלים.

So beloved friends - even if you can't make it in person, the Baal Shem Tov teaches that you are where your heart is, so direct your hearts to Yerushalayim.

And if you can - come. Breathe the holy air. Visit Hashem in His home.

ברוך השם מציון שוכן ירושלים  -  Indeed Hashem dwells in Yerushalayim and after 2000 years you too have the opportunity to dwell here with all of the religious and personal freedoms and in addition with all of the earthly physical comforts you might be used to.

Yom Yerushalayim, when we commemorate the amazing miracles we experienced in 1967 and the recapturing of Yerushalayim is a VERY happy day.

שישו את ירושלים גילו בה כל אוהביה!!

In the framework of our war against EXCUSES I present the following link about a person who had all of the excuses and used none of them, here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Worth Watching

The Rebbe Shlita on the Lubavitcher Rebbe here

נפלא ממש
ס'איז נאך אלעס הבל הבלים

אין עוד מלבדו

Please Daven

PLEASE SAY TEHILLIM for Moshe Yehuda Yehoshua Michoel ben Chava. A young rabbi, husband, and father of 4 children, who is currently fighting desperately for his life.

Is Nachas The Goal?

Sent by Reb Y.A. - a HUGE thanks to him. We have children to give - not to get!

Rabbi Yissocher Frand recounts the following story that he heard from Rav Moshe Shapiro.
A man came to visit his nephew in Yerushalayim. This nephew was a young talmid chochom with a large family. The uncle was impressed with how attentive and patient his nephew was with all the children. "How will your children ever repay you for what you have done for them?" asked the uncle. "By giving me a measure of immortality, by carrying my name forward" answered the nephew. Later the nephew asked the Brisker Rov what he thought about the question and his response. The Brisker Rov shook his head in disapproval. "The answer you gave is close to apikorsus. Children have nothing to do with repayment. They are not an investment for future nachas. You can daven for nachas, just like you daven for health and prosperity, but that is not why you have children. Children are about giving. It's the way Hashem wants us to emulate His ways."

Shabbos Vs. Amalek

This Torah should be a zchus for Roiza Bat Benzion whose Yahrtzeit was today. And a merit for ALL of her grandchildren including Shoshana Leah and Shmuel Michoel Shimon the children of Rachel Chaya that they should have limitless bounty in both the spiritual and material realms.

It says in the Medrash that Amalek is the opposite of Shabbos. That leaves us trying to understand the contrast between the two. 

Says the Holy Sochochaver ztz"l  [שם משמואל תצוה תרע"א] in the name of his father the Holy author of the Avnei Nezer Rav Avraham ztz"l: Amalek went completely above the intellect and attacked the Jewish people in the desert after the splitting of the sea. This made no sense because all of the other nations were petrified of the Jews [שמעו עמים ירגזון חיל אחז יושבי פלשת] and nobody dared to attack but Amalek ignored that and came against us. [עמלק is עם מלק the nation that does מליקה, which is separating the head (of a bird) from the rest of the body. Amalek separated their head from their actions and acted illogically]. 

Shabbos, ahhhhhh Shabbos! On Shabbos a Divine light is revealed that is above and beyond logic and intellect. That is why the Jews are desired by Hashem on Shabbos regardless of their deeds. Hashem loves us JUST the way we are. [Remind me to tell you my "love you just the way you are" story]. That is why we stress in our davening ורצה בנו and Chassidus teaches that there is no logical reason for רצון. You want something because you want it. Why do you like vanilla more than chocolate? You just do! [Or maybe you don't want to stain your clothing]
Similarly Hashem loves us on Shabbos particularly for no other reason other than that ... He does.

ורצה בנו. 

No logic. 

So maybe our avoda on Shabbos is to DROP the critical eye and love people JUST LIKE THAT regardless of how they act.    

A blissful one to all:-)

Divorce And Stress

My sweet friend Gedalia Natan Hakohen sent me the following pursuant to a previous post... Thanx to him!

 (Exploring Psychology: eighth edition in modules, David G Myers)   
  "Some investigators have reported that people are at increased risk for cancer within a year after experiencing depression, helplessness, or bereavement. One large Swedish study revealed that people with a history of workplace stress had 5.5 times greater risk of colon cancer than those who reported no such problems, a difference not attributable to differing age, smoking, drinking, or other physical characteristics (Courtney et al., 1993)
     Other researchers,however have found no link between stress and human cancer (Edelman & Kidman, 1997; Fox, 1998; Petticrew et al., 1999, 2002). Concentration camp survivors and former prisoners of war for example, have not exhibited elevated cancer rates.
     One danger in hyping reports on stress management and cancer is that some patients may then blame themselves for their illness - "If only I had been more expressive, relaxed, and hopeful." A corollary danger is a "wellness macho" among the healthy, who take credit for their "healthy character" and lay a guilt trip on the ill: "She has cancer? That's what you get for holding your feelings in and being so nice." Dying thus becomes the ultimate failure.
     The emerging view seems to be that stress does not create cancer cells. At worst, it may affect their growth by weakening the body's natural defenses against proliferating malignant cells (Antoni &Lutgendork, 2007). Although a relaxed, hopeful state may enhance these defenses, we should be aware of the thin line that divides science from wishful thinking. The powerful biological processes at work in advanced cancer or AIDS are not likely to be completely derailed by avoiding stress or maintaining a relaxed but determined spirit (Anderson, 2002; Kessler et al., 1991). Often, however patients or their friends and families look to certain sources for help in preventing or defeating illnesses.
     We can view the stress effect on our disease resistance as a price we pay for the benefits of stress. Stress invigorates our lives by arousing and motivating us. An unstressed life would be hardly challenging or productive. Moreover, it pays to spend our resources in fighting or fleeing an external threat. But we do so at the cost of diminished resources for fighting internal threats to health.When the stress is momentary the cost in negligible.When uncontrollable aggravations persist, the cost may become considerable."

Just more of a reason to be B'simcha Tamid!

Did I Say Hamotzi?

The Shulchan Aruch [167/9] writes that if a person is on doubt as to whether he said hamotzi, he doesn't make the bracha again. The Mishna Brura [49]  writes that even if he wants to be stringent and make the bracha he is not permitted to do so because it would constitute an unnecessary bracha [ברכה שאינה צריכה]. The Shaar Hatziyun [48] writes that he may be strict on himself and refrain from eating any more to avoid possibly eating without a bracha - and this applies even if he hasn't yet started to eat.

This Shaar Hatziyun should have one scratching his head in wonderment. By not eating he is placing himself in a position where he would be transgressing the very serious prohibition of saying a ברכה שאינה צריכה so he should be OBLIGATED to eat SOMETHING in order to save himself from this terrible fate. How then can the Shaar Hatziyun allow a person to refrain from eating at all. Even if he DIDN'T in fact make a bracha he is still permitted to eat because it is a ספק דרבנן and we go לקולא and assume [despite our recent post about assumptions:-)] that he made the bracha and can eat. But if he doesn't eat, if in fact he made a bracha it will be a ברכה שאינה צריכה. So we cry out - eat sweet friend, eat!!! This Shaar Hatziyun requires understanding...

See בני ראם סימן יב for a resolution. See also פסקי תשובות סימן קסז for more details about what to do in such a situation.

A good piece of advice - make all brachos LOUD so that it rings in your ears and you arouse kavana and avoid all doubt...

Cancer And Divorce

Nebach, a lady I know who was recently divorced was diagnosed with cancer. I have had this theory that there is a correlation between cancer and divorce and stress in general [read Dr. Bernie Siegel's books where he talks as an oncologist about the emotional causes of cancer]. A good friend of mine was divorced and then died very young of cancer. In one of Dr. Siegel's books he quotes a lady who said that she felt an emotional void so she filled it up with a tumor. 

Hashem Yatzileinu!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My cousin Reb Ezzie Goldish on Lashon Hara about Gedolim here.

Assumptions Assumptions

Recently I was called up to do "hagba". The gabbai, whom I have known for about 20 years, proclaimed in that universal gabbaic tune [you know it]  "Yaamod Eliyahu ..... " and waited for me to give my father's name. I stood there stunned and speechless. I've been called a  lot of names in my life. Sally, Salamander, Stupid, Retarded, Loser etc. etc. but NEVER "Eliyahu". Then I realized. He knows me as "Ally" which he ASSUMED is short for Eliyahu. AHHHHH. So I just said "Hanavi Zachur Latov".... No, I didn't.

The gabbai made a classic mistake we all make from time to time. We make false assumptions. We assume things about people that just AREN'T TRUE. Example: JUST people because a certain person dresses a certain way doesn't mean he is who you think he is. In Jerusalem [and Beitar and Kiryat Sefer and Lakewood etc. etc.], just about every male 13 and up wears the same uniform [with variations]: White shirt, black pants, black shoes, black kippah, black jacket, black hat [what IS IT with black? Are we all Pittsburgh Steeler fans?? Do the Steelers still wear black? Do the Oakland Raiders? What is Al Davis doing in Shomayim? An old childhood friend of mine was Al Davis' relative. (Do you read this Eli K.??) I'll bet many people reading this don't know who Al Davis is. Maybe his Hebrew name was in fact Eliyahu? Maybe the gabbai mistook me for Al Davis. But why would he think I am a dead man?? Do I look that bad in the morning?! I thiiiink I have strayed from the main topic, tyere yidden]. Yet EACH ONE  is a world unto himself.  But some external superficial people think that they are all the same [i.e. tzedaka collectors]. NO! Everyone has a different personality, talents and abilities.

There are many false assumptions we make. So remember - next time you make an assumption remind yourself that it is just that - an assumption and not reality.

In our search for the unadulterated truth about life it's worthwhile keeping in mind what Orville Wright once said "If we all worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true is really true, there would be little hope of advance."

Love and blessings:-)

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I thank Kivi Naiman who sent me a passage from Likkutei Moharan Torah צז who says the same thing in his own words עיין שם.

Quantity Vs. Quality

The order of hafrashas trumos and maasros is truma gedola, maaser rishon and then maaser sheni. If one doesn't go in order he trangresses the איסור of מלאתך ודמעך לא תאחר. Rebbe Akiva Eiger and the Minchas Chinuch both say that if one did the איסור, he should fix it by uprooting [שאלה] the hafrasha.

However, if after the hafrasha he ate the remaining fruits it would seem clear that he shouldn't do שאלה on the hafrasha because he would indeed benefit by not transgressing מלאתך ודמעך לא תאחר but on the other hand it turns out that he ate tevel [tevel is מיתה בידי שמים while מלאתך ודמעך לא תאחר is merely a לאו]. So it would seem that he shouldn't do שאלה.

Now we present a big chakirah: A person was mafrish out of order but he did not eat a whole shiur at once but numerous half shiurim. Should he do שאלה in order to save himself from the איסור of מלאתך ודמעך לא תאחר? On one hand, maybe he shouldn't do שאלה because he will transgress retroactively the eating of a חצי שיעור. On the other hand maybe he should do שאלה because it will save him from the איסור גמור of לא תאחר. It is preferable to trangress an איסור of חצי שיעור than a complete איסור.

But maybe one can argue, that since the שאלה is a new action done in order to fix the איסור, there is no היתר, or at least there is no obligation, to fix it by creating another עבירה [in our case אכילת טבל]. But it seems more likely that he should do שאלה in order to minimize the איסור from a complete לאו to a לאו של חצי שיעור .

Now, let us go deeper. Let's say that he should do hafrasha in order to minimize the איסור from a complete איסור to a חצי איסור. The Shulchan Aruch [328/14] says that a dangerously ill person who must eat meat and has two options, either to eat a neveilah or to shecht an animal on shabbos - we shecht for him on order that that shouldn't have to eat a neveilah. Explains the Ran, that qualitatively the sin of eating a neveilah is less stringent than chilul shabbos, but ultimately eating the neveilah is worse because every כזית is a new לאו, so quantitatively it is more stringent than chillul shabbos and we follow the quantitative עבירה over and above the qualitative עבירה.  

ZUGGGTTTTT the Magen Avraham, this psak of the Ran is not only in an instance where a person would have to eat numerous חצאי זיתים but even if he has to eat one חצי זית, since there are numerous חצאי שיעור in this חצי זית and yet again we have a problem of the quantitative increase of the איסור.

It would emerge then that according to the Magen Avraham, in our question one should not do שאלה on the truma [unlike we said earlier], because if he does it will turn out retroactively that he ate numerous חצאי שיעור טבל and that is more severe than transgressing one איסור גמור. [We must note that the Imrei Bina argues with the Magen Avraham and says that the Ran was only talking about where a person will have to eat numerous complete שיעורים of איסור].

[Based on the Super-Geshmack sefer בני ראם סימן י by HaGaon HaGadol Rav Avraham Genechovski Shlita . See there for his conclusion halacha limyse].


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Purpose Of Krias HaTorah

אם כן ניחא מה שהקשינו לעיל מהי התועלת בקריאה נטולת הבנה, התשובה פשוטה, גם...."
בקריאה כזו הנפש מתרוממת קידוש הגברא על ידי טיהור האישיות והתעלותה לדרגה גבוהה ואינו
זקוק ללימוד, אף הקריאה החיצונית משיגה תכלית זו. העובדה שבעקבותיה אין הקורא מחכים או
מתמלא ידע אינה שוללת את ערכה, וכבר עמדו על כך רבותינו במדרש משל למלך שנתן דלי
מנוקב לעבדיו ואמר להם מלאו מים בדלי זה שוטים אמרו מה אנו שואבים פקחים אומרים על
.כל פנים ננקה את הדלי
והוא הדין לגבי תורה שהקישה ישעיהו למים "הוי כל צמא לכו למים האדם" המשולל תורה הוא
?בגדר צמא משהו חסר לו הוא רוצה לשתות ומרגיש את צער הנפש המשתוקקת מה מספק אותו
.הקריאה דיה
בני ישראל שנגאלו ממצרים ועמדו על הים וחזו מחזה ש-די נלאו ללכת במדבר שלשה ימים בלי
מים בלי תורה והתחילו להתאונן עד שניסו את ה' איך אפשר הדבר כי אותם אנשים אשר
אמרו 'זה א-לי ואנוהו' ילונו על משה לאחר ג' ימים? התשובה היא כי היו צמאים לדברי תורה
כי לא קלטו קול תורה ולא היו שלמים באישיותם אפילו גילוי שכינה אינו יכול לשמש כתחליף
לדברי תורה לכן עמדו נביאים שבתוכם שאע"פ שנפגשים היו עם השכינה תדיר הבינו כי עיקר
.העיקרים היא הקריאה בדברי תורה והתקינו קריאה בתורה שבכתב
תקנת משה באה לאפשר לישראל לשבור צמאם ולהתעטר בדברי תורה ולהיות יודעי שמו ע"י
קריאה אף אם היא נטולת הבנה ולימוד המחייב של קריאת התורה הוא לא מצות לימוד כי אם
.מצות קידוש הגברא על ידי תלמוד תורה
  'וזה מה שהוסיף הרמב"ם על לשון הברייתא וכתב 'שלא ישהו שלשה ימים בלי שמיעת תורה

תקנתו התמקדה בקריאה ושמיעת הדברים ולא בהבנתם, קידוש הגברא הוא העיקר.
  מתוך שעורים]
[לזכר אבא מרי ז"ל ח"א עמ' קפד ואילך

The idea is very beautiful but I did a computer search and have been unable to find the מדרש that Rav Soloveitchik quoted. Can you locate it?

Happiness Under All Circumstances - The Sequel

The great gaon, HaRav Shimon Moshe Diskin was lying in Hadassa Ein Kerem hospital. Two weeks before he died I went to visit him and invite him to my wedding. HaGaon Rav Shimon Moshe, a person for whom the Yeshiva world rejoiced at every "vort" of his. He lay in bed and his eyes were shining. He didn't stop for a second speaking deep divrei torah. For hours he "spoke in learning", from Rambam to Rambam, chiddush after chiddush. We spoke about the Rebbe Akiva Eiger on עדים זוממים. When there was a momentary break I asked him how he was feeling, even though looking at his tortured and pained body was a clear answer to my question.

But no. Rebbe was radiating with light and said that he is happy, mamesh happy.

"Happy?" I asked with tears in my eyes.    

"Happy with yisurim! How wonderful it is that Hashem gave me this recent period, so that I can become more elevated and get closer to Him!"

זכות הצדיקים יעזור ויגן ויושיע

[Related by Rabbi Shmuel Ginott]

Happiness Under All Circumstances

A young Breslover Chossid, not the superficial-external-funny-dressing-type but a deep, sincere, intense servant of Hashem, was lying on his death bed. He was surrounded by his friends and the atmosphere wasn't, may we say, at the peak of Mitzvah Gedola Li-hiyos Bi-Simcha Tomid.   

The sick young chossid, who was at the bein hashmashos between the world of falsehood and the world of truth, looked at his friends and broke out into a huge smile. "You know my beloved friends, there is nobody on earth happier than I. I'm connected to "Rabbeinu!!!" [Rebbe Nachman].

He and his friends started to sing עז והדר לבושה [you know the tune...]. They sang and sang for six consecutive hours [!!] until he returned his pure soul to his Maker.

[From Bi-sod Siach gimmel iyar 5772]

Know Thyself

עקב הלב מכל אנוש מי ידענו

ירמיהו יז

"A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don't know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox's or bear's, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there."


People know what is going on in the distant galaxies but aren't aware of what is transpiring in their own hearts. 
"Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it."
I vaz reading Rav Usher Viess' Minchas Usher [that's how he speaks, he's chassidish:-)] on parshis becheekosai and he discusses alternative medicine and whether vone may be mechalel shabbos for a dangerously ill person in order to obtain such medicine [his answer is "no"].

I was then reminded of this lecture by a Talmid Chochom and Biology Professor.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Pushing Things Off

Some lomdus from this weeks parsha.

The Beis Yosef cites the Agudah [please - no politics...] that if someone makes a neder that he is going to do something within the next thirty days, such as buy a tub of delicious Ben and Jerry's ice cream, and he waits until the last day [we NEVER push things off, so this is clearly talking about other people:-)]  and LO AND BEHOLD, the supermarket is closed because the manager's great aunt died [may she rest in peace] and the נודר cannot purchase the ice cream, it is NOT considered אונס and he is חייב עונש. This is because אונס ביום אחרון is not considered אונס. You can't push something off until the last day and then claim אונס.


The Agudah proves his thesis from a gemara in Erchin [31]. The Torah in Parshas Behar says that if someone sold a house in a walled city he has one year to redeem it. What the buyers would do is hide on the last day so that the sellers wouldn't find them and redeem their homes. So a decree was promulgated [GOOD WORD, EHRMAN!] that the sellers could place the redemption money in a chamber of the beis hamikdash and wouldn't need to find the buyer. Fregggttttt the Agudah, why was such a decree necessary? Even if he doesn't find the buyer on the last day the house should be considered redeemed, because the seller is אנוס. From here we can prove the אונס ביום אחרון us not אונס. That is why the decree was necessary.

We have concluded that according to the Beis Yosef, אונס ביום אחרון us not אונס.

Nooot soooo pashut.

The very same Beis Yosef [or as my Sefardi brothers call him the "Beit Yosef"] rules [או"ח סי' ק"ח ס"ח] that if one waited before davening until the last minute and then an אונס transpired, he nevertheless has to daven twice next time as תשלומין. The reason apparently is because he is אונס and if one is אונס he davens twice next time. If one is not אנוס then he doesn't daven twice. But wait a second - this is like אונס ביום אחרון - he waited until the last minute, so it should NOT be considered אונס. So why does the Beis Yosef consider it אונס??    

Much has been written about this question including this delicious piece.So there for a discussion and many sources.

Learning From Your Mistakes

In the early days of IBM an employee once made a mistake that cost the company 12 million dollars. He was called into the office of the legendary CEO Thomas Watson and knew that his end was near. He entered the CEO's office and said "Mr. Watson, I knew that I just lost 12 million dollars for the company and that you are going to fire me."

"FIRE YOU??!!" Boomed Watson. "We just spent 12 million dollars EDUCATING you."

Harsh Words For The Travel Agent

I think I went overboard....

I called up my travel agent to book a ticket to America and when he tried to help I started to SCREAM "מסית ומדיח!!!!!!!!- You are a subverter to idol worship!! You want me to be an עובד עבודה זרה!!!!" He couldn't understand. He was just trying to help...

In fact, the gemara says [כתובות קי] that when Dovid Hamelech was forced to leave the Land he compared it to idol worship.

What I must make clear is that only PART of what I just wrote actually happened. You decide which part:-).

But it does relate to what sometimes happens in life. You try to help somebody - and get rocked for it. It happened to me twice recently. BARUCH HASHEM!! This way all of the goodies are being saved for a different world and I can endeavor to do things purely li-shem shomayim with no expectation of anything [except maybe a few bad words about me...]. Hope you'll join me. Remember the words of wisdom from this Irishman I recently shared.

Looooove and blessings:-)

Defining Hotzaa

לע"נ מרדכי גימפל בן אברהם משה

The mishna at the beginning of maseches shabbos says that the melacha of hotzaa is המוציא מרשות לרשות.
What is the definition of hotzaa? Is it transferring from one domain to another "חילוף רשויות", as implied by the words המוציא מרשות לרשות. According to this understanding, in truth, if one transfers from one רשות היחיד to another רשות היחיד he should be liable. However, there is a גזירת הכתוב that one is only חייב if he transfers from רשות היחיד to רשות הרבים or vice versa because that is what happened in the mishkan. According to this we can understand the language of the Rambam הוצאה והכנסה מרשות לרשות מלאכה מאבות מלאכות היא, besides the fact that we see that הכנסה into the private domain is a melacha unlike the sugya 96b [see sfas emes דף ב], we also notice that the Rambam says "מלאכה" מאבות מלאכות "היא"  - which is לשון יחיד. This indicates that the melacha is transferring from one domain to another and therefore it doesn't matter from which domain it is being transferred and transfers in both directions are subsumed under one single melacha.

There is another possibility: The melacha is carrying an object "נשיאת משא" yet there is a תנאי that this carrying must be from one domain to another. Based on this approach we can better understand the question of the gemara   מרשות היחיד לרשות היחיד מאי קעביד ? If one transfers from one private domain to another - what did he do?! It DOESN'T say that he is פטור - it says that he did nothing. Based on our previous understanding the transfer from one רשות היחיד to another is significant [because the melacha is חילוף רשויות and logically he should be חייב]  but he is nevertheless פטור [a special גזירת הכתוב because they didn't have it in the mishkan], so the gemara's question makes no sense.

However, based on our present understanding the question makes sense - the melacha is carrying an object from one place to another and there is a condition that it be from רשות היחיד to רשות הרבים or vice versa. If that is the case, the fact that the object went from רשות היחיד to רשות היחיד is meaningless, "מרשות היחיד לרשות היחיד מאי קעביד". The problem is that according to this second approach, the language of the mishna המוציא מרשות לרשות is problematic because that is not the definition of the melacha but merely it's תנאי.      

Now see Tosfos and the Rambam and determine where they stand with regard to this חקירה.

[Based on the Sefer שעשועי תורה סימן א and see also the Dibros Moshe Simman Aleph anaf beis].

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Painful Emotions

 "The only people who don't experience painful emotions are either dead or psychopaths. A full life has sadness, anger, envy, fear, and disappointment. If we don't give ourselves permission to experience painful emotions, they intensify, become toxic and they stick. When we let them flow through us, they weaken and dissipate."


Recently I have seen a new person at mikva. This morning I decided to strike up a conversation with him [mikva is a place to "reveal all":-)]. I asked him where he lives. He replied that he lives in another neighborhood in Jerusalem but stays over all week in the Old City and goes home for Shabbos to be with his wife and children. I asked him how many children. He said "More than a minyan and 3 married off". I asked him where he sleeps and he said in a Yeshiva dorm where he teaches. I asked him which Yeshiva and he told me that it doesn't matter, otherwise he'd tell me. I asked him a little about his past and he told me. He was finished getting dressed, wished me a fine day and was on his humming way.

I was so curious. I thought it odd that he leaves his family all week even though he lives in the same city. Does he have marital problems? Is he married at all? Maybe he is divorced and made up the part about his wife. Why won't he tell in which yeshiva he teaches? There were a lot of unanswered questions. I wanted to know more about this mysterious person.

Then I came up with an answer that really answers ALL of my questions. All of 'em.

It's none of my business.


Two women meet at a wedding.
"So, are you a friend of the bride?"
"Certainly not! I'm the mother of the groom."

Or for many years after the wedding...

Abe calls his wife nervously two hours after he was expected home.
"So, Sophie, what are you making for dinner?"
"At this hour… what am I making? Poison is what I'm making!"
"Good, then just make one portion. I'm held up at the office and I won't be able to join you."