Monday, June 30, 2014

Not A Time To Sink Into Deep Sadness

When we learn Torah we do everything we can in order to understand. The Torah was given in order to be comprehended by the human mind. When it comes to tragic events we are often in a realm that is far beyond us. We CAN'T understand. There is no theological problem with the horrible tragedy of the three boys that wasn't already presented when 5,999,997 more people were brutally murdered 70 ago.

Nistarim darkei Hashem. We just don't get it and we are not supposed to. Aharon Hakohen couldn't understand why on the joyous day of the chanukas hamishkan his beloved sons were taken. His reaction? Silence. וידם אהרן. Silence allows one to try to listen and perceive the Divine lessons instead of philosophizing. We can't fully understand but we MUST try to learn lessons. In other words - the abstract question of "why" will remain unanswered [in this world] but the "what" [should we do] should be addressed. The Rambam says [hil. taaniyos] that it is CRUEL to say that tragedies happen by chance because that generates more tragedies.

There are much greater people than I who will try to bring out lessons but at the risk of going out of  my orbit - I will offer the following....

The first thing we should do is teshuva. Teshuva, among other things, for being so self-centered. Hashem made something happen to extract people out of their narrow world of selfish concerns and enabled us to identify with the unspeakable suffering of others.

Two - This event brought Jews of all stripes, kippah sizes and colors, together [even Yair Lapid said he turned his house upside down in order to find a siddur and daven! His wife, incidentally, is the great-grandaughter of one of the sharpest lamdanim of the previous century. If you don't know who Yair Lapid is - I envy you:-). If you never learned the sefarim of his wife's great-grandfather - I pity you]. We can remain united because at the end of the day we all have common concerns. Not the least of which is to survive in this jungle we call the planet earth when so many want to devour us just because we are Jewish.

If you find yourself apathetic and still overly concerned with your own personal problems then it would be good to watch the funeral and cry a bit. If you are terribly shaken then it is time to strengthen yourself in the middah of simcha. The Baal Shem Tov and his followers stressed the necessity of simcha in ALL situations. After a very close chossid of the Tolna Rebbe Shlita suddenly passed away at a very young age and left a huge brood of orphans, the first thing he said to me when he saw me was "Reb Elchonon, we only go with simcha". He once spoke at a gathering in memory of a young child who was tragically killed in a freak accident and emphasized the middah of simcha. Depression is a weapon of the powers of evil.

There is much more but I will leave it at that. One more thing though - Every single word of tefilla was registered in shomayim and made it's mark. It will help in the future in ways we won't know and will be a source of tremendous merit for the neshamos of the three kedoshim forever. NO tfilla is ever lost.

We should all know no more tzaar and Hashem should comfort the families of the three boys and they should have the strength to get through this and see much simcha. They all made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem with their display of Emunah throughout. They are the real heroes.  

New Articles

Haven't been blogging so frequently recently. I have been very busy with matters that can keep a man busy [Yevamos - Minchas Chinuch and other Divinely inspired texts]. I hope to get back into it. I need 48 hours a day....

Here are some notes on the mitzva in the Minchas Chinuch to be makdish one's bechor beheima.

Here is the weekly parsha article from last week. The topic - Parah Aduma.

Here are some notes on the melacha of makeh bi-patish in the Minchas Chinuch.

Here is a glimpse into Rav Kook's soul. Pretty supernal....

[I dedicated the notes on the Minchas Chinuch in the zchus of a relative who could use some Divine grace [NOT ill chas vi-shalom] so if you trouble yourself to learn it then I will consider a huge favor.]

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hashem And The Torah Are One

לזכות ראובן יעקב בן שרה יוכבד לברכה והצלחה בכל ובריאות איתנה

Gimmel Tamuz [next week] is the Rebbe's yahrtzeit.

Rav Yoel Kahn, the main "chozer" of the sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe related a story that happened to him:

I used to give shiurim in chasidus to buchrim in a certain litvishe yeshiva in New York. There was one boy who didn't attend the shiurim because he was too involved in learning gemara but we became friendly anyway. One time he told me that he has a personal problem and needs an appointment with the Rebbe. I tried to get him one but the Rebbe's schedule was full for a looong time. I pressured the gabbai R' Chadkov and finally he relented and gave the boy an appointment with the caveat that he cannot stay in there for more than 3 or 4 minutes.

In reality, the Rebbe spoke with him for over an hour. R' Chadkov was angry but there was nothing I could do. After the meeting the boy said "I am never going to 770 again!!" I thought that the Rebbe told him something that didn't make sense in his mind. The boy explained that what the Rebbe said was logical but he still is not going to return to 770.

15 years later I am walking down the street in Crown Heights and someone calls out to me. It was this boy. He told me what had happened in this yechidus with the Rebbe 15 years prior and what happened subsequently. 

This boy had come from a chasidic home but had lost the strong connection to the warmth, feeling and emotion of chassidus after learning for so long in this litvishe yeshiva. He told the Rebbe that he had a certain problem [to this day I don't know what it was] and the Rebbe told him that the ONLY way to solve the problem is to learn a few hours [!] of chasidus a day. The Rebbe explained that learning gemara without chasidus often brings one to learn for ulterior motives such as honor or to be a gadol. Such learning has no solid foundation and won't last. When one learns chasidus, all of his learning becomes pure. When one learns Torah he should feel Hashem in the Torah he is learning. The Rebbe gave a moshol of a child who hugs his father. There is no other purpose in hugging his father other than connecting to him. In the same way, we learn Torah in order to connect and feel that אורייתא וקוב"ה כולא חד - Hashem and Torah are one [as the Zohar Hakadosh says].

"Have you ever seen anyone learning that way?" The Rebbe asked the boy. The boy asked in return "If one learns chasidus, he learns that way?" "I saw people who did", countered the Rebbe. "Sometimes a person feels that he wants to "grab" Hashem, so he takes his gemara and learns."

The boy said that the Rebbe explained the topic very well but the boy wasn't willing to give up on his desire to be a gadol and learn less gemara. But since he knew that the Rebbe was correct he refused to come back to 770.

Some time later, the boy gave an explanation of a gemara which caused his friends to scoff. He was not used to this. It happened another few times until he had a personal crisis. Until now, all of the kavod he had received from the other boys and being considered a genius kept him going but now it was gone.

Eventually he left yeshiva, got married and went into business. He no longer had any taste for learning. After a long time he finally grabbed himself and realized how far he had fallen from his glory days in the yeshiva. He tried to get back into learning but it didn't go. He tried again - but for naught. He tried learning chasidus but that didn't grab him either. He was by nature a reserved and more cerebral boy and the fire and passion of chasidus didn't excite him.

One day he saw an advertisement for a farbrenegen at 770 and decided to go. AS HE WALKED IN, he heard the Rebbe saying "Hashem makes sure that everyone comes back. That applies to ALL Jews. But there is a special hashgacha for those people who once learned Torah, whether it was li-shma or not, and He makes sure things happen that bring such people back to Him."

The boy said that he doesn't know if the Rebbe was talking directly to him or not but he stayed and listened to the rest of the talk - some of which he understood and most of which he didn't.

After that he attended numerous farbrengens of the Rebbe. I asked him why he kept coming back if he didn't understand? He became angry and said "What don't you understand? I hear this Jew talking and I see that Hashem, the Torah and the Jews are one!" 

Since then he has been looking for me to study with him chasidus [Chabad chasidus is the most cerebral of all the sifrei chasidus. חב"ד = chochma, bina and daas. That is a good match for the nature of this man].

It was very important to him that the Rebbe remembered him and their meeting. One time [I think it was the last day of Pesach] he passed by the Rebbe to receive a li-chaim. When the Rebbe saw him he said "Voos machstoo" [How are you?].

We have been learning together for some time now and his home changed drastically for the better. His children now attend good yeshivos as opposed to where they used to be.

[This story was related in Kfar Chabad magazine י"ט כסלו תשע"ד]
זכות הצדיקים יעזור ויגן ויושיע!!  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Because Of Me - But Not My Fault

Rabbi Berel Wein from his new book Teach Them Diligently.

During my years as rabbinic administrator, I flew a lot. Interesting things always seem to occur on my travels, providing me with lots of airplane stories. In early 1974, when the Arab oil embargo of America was in full force, I was seated on a plane next to a very well-dressed businesswoman. In mid-flight, without warning, she turned to me and said, “You know, all this trouble we’re in is your fault.”

America was suffering from a major gasoline shortage, with long lines at every gas station, bringing much latent anti-Semitism to the fore. Yet I was taken aback by the nature and tone of her words. Somehow, I very calmly answered her, “No, madam. It may be because of me, but it is definitely not my fault.” We said nothing more for the rest of the flight.

Remember: Much may happen in human society and history for which the Jewish People may be the catalyst, but in no way does that make us at fault for what occurs. This crucial subtlety underpins all intelligent appraisals of Jewish history.

The Nature Of Kinyan Kiddushin

לרפואת ר' מרדכי דוד בן קריינא בתוך שח"י

How does one understand the act of kiddushei isha. This question was the topic of much discussion among our rabbis. The Rogochover presented the question as follows: Does the קנין of the אשה create an איסור or does the איסור create the קנין. Where does it start - with the קנין or with the איסור?

Tosfos in Nedarim [6b] asks why the gemara entertains the possiblity that there is יד לקידושין [i.e. a partial lashon is effective]. What is the basis for such a premise? Tosfos answers that קידושין is like הקדש and just as we say יש יד להקדש so too we can say the same about kiddushin. This would indicate that kiddushin starts with איסור [as hekdesh] and the קנין stems from the איסור.

Another proof is the gemara [Kiddushin 7a] that suggests that if one marries "half" a woman, the kiddushin should spread to the rest of her just as it does when one is מקדיש part of a קרבן. So we see that fundamentally we are dealing with איסור.

Another proof - the language of the gemara in explaining what the lashon of kiddushin means - דאסר לה אכולי עלמא כהקדש. Sounds more like איסור than קנין - no?

Kinyan and Issur don't always go together. A yevama who is waiting for her late husband's brother to perform yibbum has an איסור on her but no קנין [if you say אין זיקה]. When a חרש marries a חרשת, according to the Yerushalmi [Yevamos 7/4] there is no kinyan but only an איסור דרבנן.

Moreinu HaRav Shimon Shkop ztz"l [Nedarim simman aleph in a footnote] writes that fundamentally, kiddushin is a יחוד or קנין and the איסור is an outgrowth.

Rav Elchonon [kovetz shiurim kiddushin 53] writes that it depends: If one uses a lashon of kiddushin then we are dealing with איסור that develops a קנין. But if the man uses a different lashon [מאורסת etc.] then it starts with the קנין that evolves into an איסור as well.

Or maybe the two elements take effect simultaneously? See Rav Amiel [Middos 8/40] and Zecher Yitzchok [from Rav Itzele Ponivitcher ztz"l 1/23 and 2/48] 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Article

A new series of articles imy"H on the sefer Minchas Chinuch. Today's offering, here,  is li-rifuas R' Mordechai Dovid ben Kreina [who is undergoing surgery today] bi-soch shear cholei yisrael.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How To Improve

David Brooks from the New York Times:
Most of us are trying to get better at something. And when we think about our future progress, we tend to imagine we will improve linearly. We’ll work hard at mastering some skill; we’ll steadily get better and better.
But, as the Canadian writer Scott H. Young points out in a recent blog post, progress in most domains is not linear. In some spheres, like learning a language or taking up running, improvement is logarithmic. You make a lot of progress when you first begin the activity, but, as you get better, it gets harder and harder to improve.
Logarithmic activities require a certain sort of mind-set, Young writes. During the early high-growth phase, when everything is coming easily, you have to make sure you maintain your disciplined habits, or else you will fall backward. Then later, during the slow-growth phase, you have to break some of your habits. To move from good to great, you have to break out of certain routines that have become calcified and are now holding you back.
For example, when Tiger Woods was first competing at golf, he had to stick to his arduous practice routine even though success seemed to come ridiculously easy. But then, when he hit a plateau, he had to reinvent his swing to reach that final tippy-top level.
In other domains, growth is exponential. In these activities, you have to work for weeks or even years at mastering the fundamentals, and you barely see any return. But then, after you have put in your 10,000 hours of effort, suddenly you develop a natural ease and your progress multiplies quickly.
Mastering an academic discipline is an exponential domain. You have to learn the basics over years of graduate school before you internalize the structures of the field and can begin to play creatively with the concepts.
Many people quit exponential activities in the early phases. You’ve got to be bullheaded to work hard while getting no glory. But then when you are in the later fast-progress stage, you’ve got to be open-minded to turn your hard-earned skill into poetry. Vincent van Gogh had to spend years learning the basics of drawing, but then, when he’d achieved mastery, he had to let loose and create art.
I could think of some other growth structures. In some domains progress comes like a stairway. There’s a period of stagnation, followed by a step upward, followed by a period of stagnation, followed by another step. In other domains, progress comes like waves repetitively lapping the shore. You go over some material and the wave leaves a residue of knowledge; then you go over the same material again and the next wave leaves a bit more residue.
Yet other domains follow a valley-shaped curve. You have to go down initially before you can go up. The experience of immigrating to a new country can be like this; you have to start at the bottom as you learn a new society before you can make your way upward. Moral progress is like this, too. You have to go down and explore your own failures before you can conquer them. You have to taste humiliation before you can aspire toward excellence.
This way of thinking also makes it clear that skill acquisition is a deeply moral activity. You don’t only need knowledge about what to do; you have to train yourself to defeat your natural desires. In the fast-growth phase of a logarithmic activity, you have to fight the urge to self-celebrate and relax. In the later phase, when everyone is singing your praises, you have to fight self-satisfaction.

It does seem clear that our society celebrates fast-payoff instrumental activities, like sports and rock stardom, while undervaluing exponential activities, like being a statesman or craftsman. Kids increasingly flock to logarithmic sports, like soccer, over exponential sports, like baseball.
Finally, this focus on growth structures takes your eyes off yourself. The crucial thing is not what traits you intrinsically possess. The crucial questions are: What is the structure of your domain? Where are you now on the progress curve? How are you interacting with the structures of the field?
The crucial answers to those questions are not found in the mirror. They are found by seeing yourself from a distance as part of a landscape. That’s a more pleasing and healthier perspective in any case.

Inexpensive Bethrothal

Some notes and sources about the shittah of the Rashba that one can marry a woman with a kli less than a she-veh prutah, here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


About a month ago I received an email from a "Jewish leader" [i.e. major donor]. He suggested to the many people who received this email, that in order to increase unity among the Jewish people, in all shuls they should say a tfilla for the soldiers every Shabbos.

This is a GREAT idea! However - it has already been implemented. Every day twice a day we say tachanun where we say "שומר ישראל שמור שארית ישראל" etc. We daven for ALL Jews - soldiers included. When the Torah is on the bimah we say "אחינו כל בית ישראל" etc. etc. where we daven for all Jews to be guarded, both those on the land and on the sea. That covers EVERY chayal [except those on the moon]. We constantly invoke Divine mercy for klal yisrael. If we are already davening for the chayalim - maybe a tfila for Egged bus drivers. You don't want an accident with 70 Jews aboard. Or maybe for El Al pilots. We don't want to chas vi-shalom see any planes going down [unless Abu Mazen and his ilk happen to be aboard]. My point is that I often feel that people's insistence on a tfilla for the soldiers is more about recognizing and identifying the Zionist entity called "Tzahal" than it is about the welfare of the soldiers. It is perfectly legitimate to reject a connection with people one considers to be off the Torah path while at the same time wanting all Jews of all stripes to be safe and sound [and to appreciate their self-sacrifice]. Rabbonim are just not into decreeing the formulation of new prayers, even to the extent that many were opposed to adding a special kinah for the holocaust, even though it is clear that we all mourn the holocaust. [That being said - If it were up to me, every shul would say a tfillah for the chayalim. Not because I have a halachic or rational basis but because I feel an emotional connection to those who sacrifice their lives and well being for my safety and ability to dwell in the holy land. But klal yisroel has Gdolei Yisroel and my opinion is בטל ומבוטל כעפרא דארעא.]

So I have another, possibly more innovative idea [I am serious...]. Bring over a few dozen wealthy Jews from the Five Towns, Teaneck, Engelwood, etc. etc. and sit them in the Mir yeshiva for a week or two. They will learn three sedarim a day. Prepare for shiur with the avreichim, hear shiurim from gedolei torah and taste Torah as they have never tasted it before. They should also go to hear chizuk from Rav Shteinman to see how a hundred year old man lives and how little food and sleep he subsists on. This will give them a greater appreciation of who he is than reading a news report on

At the end of the week they all leave generous checks to help the yeshiva men feed their poor families.

The benefits: An increased appreciation of Torah and lomdei Torah and a kesher with true bnei Torah for the Baalei Batim. The yeshiva's benefit is that they spread their Torah to the greater world and then the Avreichim also have enough to buy food....

Achdus - good for all!!

Perplexing Mishna

The first mishna in Kiddushin talks about a woman being kohah herself from her husband through get or missas ha-baal. At the end of the mishna we learn that a yevama is konah herself with chalitza or missas ha-yavam. Now the kinyan in the reisha is much different than the kinyan in the seifa. In the reisha she is already knuyah to the baal and now is released. In the seifa she is knuya to no one. So how does the lashon "kinyan" of the seifa "shtim" with the reisha. [This was asked by the Rashash and he was "beaten to it" by the Tofos Ri"d]

A few notes here.

Visit The Kotel To Daven

If you couldn't make it.... see this.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


As a result of the absolutely heartrending story with the three boys, there has been much talk about the dangers of hitching [טרמפים in the modern parlance]. The reality is that it is faaaaar more dangerous [statistically] to cross a street or to eat Pizza and drink Coke than it is to hitch.

I live outside Jerusalem in a small village called Givat Zeev. Once a week I find myself in Jerusalem after the last bus has already long passed. I have a number of options.

I could walk seven hours home in the dark. Naaaaa.

I can find a random Beis Medrash that is open and sit there all night trying to learn. But then I don't sleep and I am not an angel. I get tired.

I can take a taxi home and spend far more than I can afford. I would rather use the money for groceries. I am very wealthy in that I have a family, good health and a life filled with meaning but not in gelt. Taxis are for people with wallets. I once lost my wallet [in a taxi actually..:-) or so it seems] and never got another one. I found that I spend far less money when I don't carry around any with me.

I can knock on someone's door and ask to stay over. At 1:00am???

I can hitch a ride home and make sure the driver is a Jew [like by asking him before I get in what masechta Eilu Metzios is in or how many brachos there are in the Amida] before I get in. The reality is that almost nobody ever stops making it a not so attractive option. And when they do stop - who is ever going to Givat Zeev.

So what do I do? I am stuck....

Not important.

What IS important is that the three boys should return home safely.

U-fduyei Hashem yeshuvun uva-oo li-tzion bi-rina!!!

New Shiur

On Korach - some gilgulim, chasidus and mussar, here:-).

What Could Be Wrong With Chesed??

My daughter Gila is finishing 12th grade Baruch Hashem. In Israel there are three basic options for girls her age. 1] Army. 2] Sheirut Leumi [national service] 3] Neither and instead continued studies for a profession [together with chesed projects (such as helping one's mother around the house and with the younger children) and learning Torah etc.]. Those who choose number three are usually married within 3 years or so and need a degree in order to help support their new family.

The option of the army for girls was and is strictly forbidden by every Rov worth his salt in the last 66 years since the birth of the State. Any girl who goes is doing so against the psak of all Gdolei Yisroel. The Israeli army is no place for girls.

Option two, national service, is chosen by many in the Dati Leumi [National Religious] camp. Most of the Gdolei Yisroel strictly forbade this as well. People can't understand this. Why would anybody object to a girl spending a year or two doing chesed??

The Chazon Ish maintained that Sheirut Leumi is יהרג ואל יעבור. He was well aware of the value of chesed. About 2 years ago there was an article in the Dati Leumi newspaper "Basheva" which featured interviews with numerous girls who had served in various functions and the stories they told were frightening, disturbing and provided the strongest argument against Sheirut Leumi, made by the very people who support it. The most troubling of the stories were the number of girls who had succumbed to the passes of Arab workers at hospitals and the like. Imagine - a frum skirt-wearing-davening-every-day-girl who falls in love with an Arab from Ramallah [until he starts beating her up...].

Here is an excerpt from the weekly Shabbat Bishabato Parshat Korach:

In this article we want to focus on the subject of Sheirut Leumi, and we have asked Moriah, who is married and has children of her own, to think back about her experience:
"I took a job in one of the hospitals where our help is very important. We all arrived with a tremendous desire to contribute, and the girls sometimes forget what they might lose along the way. I was forced to cope with situations what were not simple in my relationship to the staff in general and to the Arab workers in particular. I will tell you briefly about some examples: In the department where I was sent to work there was a man on the cleanup staff who was a bit too friendly. He was always pleasant, he paid me compliments, he put candies in my locker every day. At first you feel very strong, but after a while you become weaker... There really is no place to run away, after all you and he work in the same department... And to top it all off, the rest of the staff do not see any problem with his 'nice' attitude.
"Every morning, before I went into the department, there was another Arab cleaning man in the entrance who would playfully block my way with his mop. One morning, he tripped me with the mop and stopped my fall with his body! I went to complain to the social worker in the hospital. She was skeptical and said that some of the girls make up stories in order to gain attention. In the end, she told me that he would be fired. But about a month after I finished I went there for a visit, and I found that the same worker had been reinstated as soon as I left. The doctors have the authority in the place, as part of their status they turn to the girls of Sheirut Leumi however they want to, including making them offers that are not always in their best interests..."
It is important to note that Moriah's story is not unusual. Like other girls who served in Sheirut Leumi, she feels that she did not know how to judge the significance of the incidents which she experienced. The Sheirut Leumi organizations provide support through their area directors, by organizing regular lessons, and more, but the level of success differs from one place to another. In addition, it is a good idea for the parents to pay a visit at the site of the service now and then (if necessary, they can always find some excuse for a visit). Unfortunately, many parents are not familiar with the site where their daughters serve, and the result is that they can help mainly with issues that the girl herself raises. Additional help should be available from the institution where the girl studied. The staff of this school knows the girls well, and it has people that they look up to, and to whom they can turn for advice even after leaving the school. Some facilities have regular contact with their graduates, and we recommend that every school should assign a specific teacher to maintain this contact, as part of his regular duties.
I humbly submit another idea - why don't they stop risking the spiritual [and at times physical] well-being of their daughters and abolish the system as per the pask of gdolei yisrael. Charedi girls who don't serve in Sheirut Leumi perform no less chesed than their Dati Leumi sisters. Chesed need not be under the auspices of the government.
We are not against chesed. Chas Vi-shalom. We are in favor of tzniyus and following rabbinic authority together with chesed.....:-).
Unlike her mother, who did two years of Sheirut Leumi [she wasn't aware of the strong opposition of Gdolei Yisroel and almost all of her friends went] my Gila'la will be choosing option number three [and her mother wouldn't have it any other way].

[As for the shidduch - you will hear about it when it happens imy"H...:-)]. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


A shiur from the Rebbe Shlita [in Hebrew] on being careful with the money of others, here

A shiur on Korach from the Rebbe Shlita, here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

New Articles - Language Barrier - A Taste Of Bliss

The Rambam says that anybody who stood at Har Sinai could not possibly deny Torah min hashomayim. Korach, according to the Yerushalmi, did just that. An article dealing with that here [for those who can't understand the Hebrew I apologize. My English is weak.....].

Some sources here for the question as to whether Beis Shammai will say that a woman is married with less that a dinar here based on the possibility that somewhere else it is worth a dinar.

The not fun part of having no parnassa is trying to pay bills. The fun part is being able to plumb the depths of Hashem's Torah. It is, like, מעין עולם הבא.

Next I have to get to the bottom, bli neder, of the critical issue that everyone should be talking about - can a women be married with a kli less than a shaveh prutah because of the chashivus of the kli. I mean, doesn't that keep you up at night??

Who Are The True Nesiim?

Nu - loads of people in Israel are talking about the new "Nasi". A meaningless position intended to give lots of Kavod and money to it's holder but of little or no benefit to society.

Did you notice that the names of the Nessim in Parshas Shlach are different than the Nesiim earlier on in the sefer? Here are some possible resolutions....

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Merit Of Torah Should Help Bring The Boys Home

A special shiur given as a zchus for the missing boys - here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Is It Cool To Be Cool?

From - I thank my sweet friend E.G. for sending...:-)

Those "cool" kids who were at the top of the popularity food chain in middle and high school may not be so cool by time they hit adulthood -- and are more likely to face challenges with relationship and drugs, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Virginia found that while teens who prioritized hanging out with attractive people, having romantic relationships, and participating in rebellious activity were seen as popular in high school, that sentiment disappeared by the time they reached their early 20s.
The study, published in the journal "Child Development," followed 184 teens over a ten year period, beginning at the age of 13 (seventh and eighth grade) to the age of 23.
Researchers collected information from the teens, their peers and their parents.
According the study, by the time they reached the age of 22, the once-popular teens were perceived as less competent, and were more likely to have problems with drugs and alcohol.
"It appears that while so-called cool teens' behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens," study co-author Joseph P. Allen, the Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, said in a news release. "So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent -- socially and otherwise -- than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood."
The teens' "pseudomature behavior," as the researchers call it, "predicted long-term difficulties in close relationships, as well as significant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behavior," the study said.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Morphine For Terminally Ill Patients


Patients suffering from terrible pain are often given morphine.  While it reduces the pain, it also shortens a person life.  In light of the halacha (YD 339) that you cannot do anything to hasten a person's death even as they breathe their lasts breathe, is this permissible?

Rav Moshe Shternbuch (3:361) says that it is permissible when there is no hope to live more then 12 months.  Since the patient's whole existence is only "Chayei Sha'a", by giving them morphine and alleviating their pain you are in essence giving them life, albeit shortening it.  Moreover the action of giving them morphine is not done to shorten their life, rather to lengthen it, even if the end result is the opposite.  Furthermore when one is in unbearable pain, that itself is dangerous and relieving it may save them.

Rav Shternbuch does however stress that the patient themself should only agree to take morphine if they truly feel the pain is unbearable to the point where they despise life itself. It should not be used to alleviate any pain or discomfort that they can bear through hardship.

In conclusion we will quote a few stirring lines from the Tshuva. "And who can bear to stand and watch a sick person heaven forbid, writhe in terrible pain and say that is forbidden to give him means to alleviate his pain.  With pain like this, his life is not considered living and he cannot live like a human being.  Alleviating suffering is also a form of salvation and it is worthwhile."

לרפואת מרת שרה חאנטשה בת אהבה נחמה
ויהודה בן מרגלית שרה
בתוך שח"י

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Standing Up For A Talmid Chochom During Krias Shma


The Mishna in Brachos details when one is permitted to interrupt his own reading of Krias Shema to say hello or answer to someone out of respect or out of fear. Nevertheless the Mishna Brura (66:2) brings from the Mogen Avrohom that nowadays we do not interrupt Shema to talk to anyone under normal circumstances. What about standing out of respect for a Rebbi or parent? Can we and should we stand up during Krias Shema or is that also no longer permitted?
Rav Moshe Shternbuch (Tshuvos V'Hanhagos 4:22) weighs a number of reasons not to stand and dismisses them. He says that the Oseik BaMitzva Patur Min HaMitzva does not excuse you in this case since not standing up is an issur since it is embarrassing to a Talmid Chochom or parent to sit while they walk by. Furthermore Oseik BaMitzva Patur Min HaMitzva only exempts you when the second mitzva will disturb you from the first, which is not the case here when all you must do is stand up for a moment.

Rav Shternbuch, after discussing other reasons to not stand, concludes that the only excuse not to stand for a talmid chochom is if it will really disturb your concentration during Shema, which most of us cannot claim today. Therefore one should, if he can, grab this great mitzva of standing for a talmid chochom or parent and get back to Shema. Moreover he says the mitzva should be done properly and one should stand up to his complete height rather than just slightly raise himself.

לרפואת מרת הענא מרים בת חנה
שרה חאנטשה בת אהבה נחמה
ויהודה בן מרגלית שרה
בתוך שח"י

New Article

An article about Tcheiles - then and now.... here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cut The Mayor Some Slack....

From the New York Times. So silly:-).

Tests of courage are found in unexpected places.

On Tuesday night, Mayor Bill de Blasio attended a gala for Agudath Israel of America, a premier event for the black-hat leaders of the ultra-Orthodox Jews of New York. The mayor is a gregarious fellow and ... he chatted and joked on the dais with numerous rabbis, some of whom endorsed his mayoral campaign.  [Would he not have chatted and joked with them had they not endorsed him. Is he trying to get them to endorse him again? He is already firmly in office...]

Let’s assume the best. [Ahhh - limmud zchus!!] Perhaps the mayor was enjoying himself too much to listen as Rabbi Yaakov Perlow, a top rabbi with Agudath Israel, delivered keynote remarks laced with Yiddish and Hebrew words. [Give him a break. Why should a goy like de Blasio care to hear divrei hisorerus from a gadol in Torah like the Novominsker.... I know a lot of Jews who would tune him out as well. It is a matter of what is important to you. The readers of this blog would listen intently.]

Rabbi Perlow offered a shower of condemnation for Reform and Conservative Jews, who he said were among those who “subvert and destroy the eternal values of our people.” These movements, he said, “have disintegrated themselves, become oblivious, fallen into an abyss of intermarriage and assimilation.”

“They will be relegated,” he added, “to the dustbins of Jewish history.”

This was a striking statement because a majority of the Jews in this city identify as non-Orthodox.

[Why is Rabbi Perlow obligated to believe in what the majority of the Jews in the city believe?? He clearly knows more Torah than ALL OF THEM PUT TOGETHER. Did the author of this article ever study Jewish theology, philosophy or history in order to realize that what the good Rov was saying was a no-brainer that every Torah scholar worth his salt knows well. Why do journalists express opinions on matters of which they are ignorant??]

The mayor himself proudly celebrates his own mixed-race marriage. [Rabbi Perlow has nothing against a white goy marrying a black goya. They should be zoche to build a bayis neeman in Manhattan! He also has no problem with a black Jew marrying a white Jew. In his own family, I am told, there is a ger of Japanese descent who married in and he was in favor - despite oppostion from others...]

When Mr. de Blasio stood to speak a minute later, he offered no whisper of demurral. [Why should he? Why should a Gentile politician express opinions on internal Jewish matters of hashkafa?? Did he ever learn Moreh Nevuchim?]

The mayor praised the growth of the ultra-Orthodox “community” and said he had crafted his universal prekindergarten program so that yeshivas would receive taxpayer dollars. [Why is "community" in quotes?? It also seems that there is a insinuation that the "ultras" are taking money they don't deserve. They pay taxes, too...]

“Our pre-k program is going to have a strong yeshivot element, and I am proud of that fact,” he noted. [Halevai that the Israeli government should be so positive about furthering Jewish education...]

There is other bad stuff in the article.

Conclusion - better not to read the Times......:-)

Your Morning Cup Of Coffee


[Note: I am not a personal fan of coffee. I had a few cups over to decades ago and haven't touched it since. I am still a happy person B"H...:-)].

Drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning blunts the energy-boosting effects of caffeine and may lead to increased tolerance of the stimulant. This counterintuitive fact is explained in by Ryoko Iwata [what a shayne yiddishe name!!:-)], "a Japanese coffee-lover living in Seattle" on her appropriately titled blog, I Love Coffee. Iwata based her post on research gathered by Steven Miller, a Ph.D. candidate at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda.

Everybody is different, of course, but we are all guided by the 24-hour hormonal cycle referred to as the circadian clock. These basic rhythms are preprogrammed into us genetically and although we can mess with our cycles through lifestyle habits, the major factor in their regulation is sunlight. One of the things that this clock controls in humans is the release of the a hormone called cortisol which makes us feel alert and awake.

Here’s the thing. The peak production of cortisol occurs between 8–9 am (under normal circumstances.) This means that at the time that many people are having their first cup of coffee on the way to work, their bodies are actually “naturally caffeinating” the most effectively! According to Iwata, the effects of caffeine consumption at times of peak cortisol levels actually diminishes the effectiveness of the additional stimulation. Worse still, “By consuming caffeine when it is not needed, your body will build a faster tolerance to it, and the buzz you get will greatly diminish.”
Cortisol is also considered a stress-related hormone and consumption of caffeine has been shown to increase the production of cortisol when timed at periods of peak cortisol levels. An increased tolerance for caffeine can therefore lead to heightened cortisol levels which can disturb circadian rhythms and have other deleterious effects on your health.

The times of peak cortisol levels in most people are between 8-9 am, 12-1 pm and 5:30-6:30 pm. Therefore, timing your “coffee breaks” (an apt term) between 9:30-11:30 and 1:30 and 5:00 takes advantage of the dips in your cortisol levels when you need a boost the most.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Faithful Servant

The gemara says that Moshe couldn't see the tzaraas of Miriam and declare her impure because he was not a kohen and Aharon couldn't see the tzaraas because he was a relative and was therefore disqualified. Everyone asks - Moshe was also a relative so why didn't the gemara use that explanation as it did for Aharon?

Answers the Kotzker: Only in dinei nefashos is a relative is absolutely disqualified as a judge because Hashem is the baal din and nobody has the right to overrule Him. In monetary matters, however, a relative MAY judge if the two parties agree because they are the baalei din and have the right to accept anyone they choose as judge. A baal din can accept a normally disqualified judge.

The Torah says about Moshe "בכל ביתי נאמן הוא" - He was completely faithful to Hashem. This being the case he was not disqualified as a relative in dinei nefashos because a relative is a valid judge where the baal din trusts him. Hashem completely trusted Moshe making him a kosher judge even for dinei nefashos [and tzaraas].

That is why the gemara was compelled to say that Moshe was disqualified not as a relative but as a non-kohen....

Thursday, June 5, 2014

New Articles

This weeks sugya on the Parsha - Moshe as the Sanhedrin and the nature of his nevuah, here.

Some mareh mekomos for a shver Rashi-  here.

Article from Shavuos on Inyanei Kavod HaTorah and Bikkurim - here.

Praying In Times Of Crisis

From the Virtual Beit Medrash [the website of the Yeshivat Har Etzion]:

47 Omer - Sunday,  3 Sivan 5774 – June 1, 2014             
             The Torah in Parashat Behaalotekha speaks of the chatzotzerot (trumpets) which are to be sounded under certain situations, including times of war (10:9).  The Rambam, in the beginning of Hilkhot Ta’aniyot, famously cites this verse as the source of a more general Biblical command to appeal to God during times of crisis.  He defines this mitzva as requiring that we respond to any dire crisis with prayer and sounding the chatzotzerot (“li-z’ok u-le’hari’a ba-chatzotzerot”). 
             It is well-known that the Ramban, in his critique of the Ramban’s Sefer Ha-mitzvot (asei 5), cites this verse as the source for what he believes to be the Biblical command of prayer.  Whereas the Rambam maintains that the Torah requires daily prayer, the Ramban was of the opinion that the obligation of daily prayer was enacted by Chazal.  As far as Torah law is concerned, one is required to pray only “bi-sh’at tzara” – during times of crisis, as indicated by the mitzva of chatzotzerot. 
                        The question arises as to how to understand the relationship between these two obligations according to the Rambam.  As mentioned, the Rambam regards these two mitzvot – daily prayer and prayer in crisis situations – as Biblical commands.  Seemingly, then, there must be a fundamental, substantive difference between the two obligations.  Otherwise, why would the Torah command praying during times of crisis if we in any event are required to pray to God each day? 
                        The difference between the two obligations can be easily understood by considering the different terminologies used by the Rambam in these contexts.  The Rambam refers to daily prayer as “avoda she-be’leiv.”  The term “avoda,” which immediately conjures an association with the service in the Beit Ha-mikdash, suggests formality and procedure.  Indeed, in Hilkhot Tefila, the Rambam defines the obligation of daily prayer as requiring a fixed format of shevach, bakasha and hoda’a (praise of God, submitting requests, and expressing gratitude).  This mitzva requires approaching God and formally “serving” Him by following a set procedure, similar to the formal rituals performed in the Beit Ha-mikdash.  The obligation derived from the chatzotzerot, by contrast, requires “li-z’ok” – that we cry and beg for help during times of crisis.  This is not formal worship, but rather an outburst of genuine emotion.  And thus this mitzva is associated with the sounding of the chatzotzerot, which may be seen as a kind of wordless prayer, speaking to God through the expression of raw emotion, without articulating any particular text.  This is not an avoda; here we are commanded to cry and beg the Almighty for assistance, not approach Him with a formal protocol.  (We speak here on the level of Torah obligation; as we know from Masekhet Ta’anit, Chazal instituted a formal structure of fasting and prayer during times of crisis.)  In short, these two mitzvot require two very different forms of prayer. 
                        This analysis will affect the way the Rambam views the case of a crisis that surfaces after one has already prayed that day.  There is a view among the Acharonim (cited in the name of Rav Yosef Rappaport) that in such a case, the Rambam would not require one to pray, at least not on the level of Torah obligation.  Since the person had already prayed that day, he has fulfilled the day’s Biblical obligation of prayer even if a crisis suddenly arises.  According to what we have seen, however, this would not seem to be correct.  The requirement to pray in crisis situations is a completely different mitzva from daily prayer, and thus one must pray in response to crisis even if he had already recited the daily prayers earlier in the day. 
                        Another ramification of this distinction is the issue of kavana (concentration) during prayer.  The obligation of daily prayer is fulfilled even if one prays without concentrating on the meaning of the words, as long as he concentrates during the first berakha of the Amida.  (Rav Chayim of Brisk famously asserted that throughout the rest of the Amida, one must pray with an awareness that he stands before God, even if he does not concentrate on the words’ meaning.)  It stands to reason, however, that the obligation of prayer in times of crisis requires concentration and feeling throughout the entire of the prayer.  This obligation requires not formal prayer – which can technically be performed even without any mental or emotional component – but rather ze’aka, crying and pleading with God.  By definition, it would seem, this requires genuine feeling, and merely mouthing words would not suffice. 
Rav David Silverberg  

Be Happy With Your Lot

"And the nation acted as complainers" [Bamidbar 11:1]. The key word in this verse, "mit'onenim," has been explained in many different ways. Some say that it is related to the word "avon," a sin. Others say it has to do with sorrow, or that it means a complaint.
Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsh suggested a novel commentary, that the word denotes mourning, from the root "on." That is, the people were in mourning, "they saw themselves as if they had already died, and they mourned for themselves... The Clouds of Honor and the Ark of the Covenant of G-d which guided them in the desert merely gave them a feeling that they were isolated from the rest of the world... And the compensation that they received – their unique relationship with G-d, the fact that they had a Temple of G-d in their midst, the Divine mission which was their goal – all of this did not appear to them to be worth the cost. They did not feel that their lives were at a higher level, full of joy and satiated with happiness, and they felt as if they were in a coffin, so they mourned for themselves." The momentous events of Mount Sinai were difficult for them, and they wanted to be freed from their obligations. "'They traveled from the mountain of G-d' – like a child who flees from school." [Rashi, Bamidbar 10:33]. Some commentators bring a proof of this idea from the fact that it is written, "They traveled..." without mentioning any specific goal, as if to say, we don't care where we go as long as we leave the mountain of G-d, so that He will not be able to burden us with more mitzvot.
One of the reasons for the depressing attitude was the difficulty the people had with their lives, which required them to maintain a high level of faith and security. With reference to the manna, it is written, "The people went out to gather every day" [Shemot 16:4], gathering one Omer per person. Following the instructions of G-d requires the people to make do with a moderate portion and not to worry about the next day. "Who is wealthy? It is one who is satisfied with his portion." [Avot 4:1]. This can be contrasted to a pauper ("evyon" – related to "ta'ev," with a strong desire) – who always wants more. If he has a hundred he wants two hundred, and then his desire grows to four hundred. His desire always increases. He is thus never satisfied with what he has, he always has a feeling that something is lacking.
An unborn child in his mother's womb is linked to her through the umbilical cord – "He eats what the mother eats and drinks what the mother drinks" [Nidda 30b]. The Maharal explains that a fetus is the ideal model of a human being, who does not eat for pleasure but only what is necessary for his existence (Sermon for Shabbat Shuva). We enjoy our food through our palate, but he eats only for his health and therefore receives his sustenance through the umbilical cord. He has faith that his needs will be fulfilled, that his nourishment won't be stolen by anybody else. This is how a person should learn to behave in his own life.
     * * * * * *
Chassidic literature tells about a Chassid who asked from his rabbi how to be satisfied with a limited portion. The rabbi told him to search for a happy man and ask to wear his cloak. In this way the desired trait would be passed on to him. The Chassid journeyed all over the world, searching among rich and poor, among the weak and the strong, and could not find anybody who was happy and satisfied with his lot.
Finally, he found one man who testified that he was indeed happy – but the man did not own a cloak...

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Nazir-Kohen Gadol

The gemara talks about a Nazir who is also a Kohen Gadol. Asked the Rebbe Shlita - How is it possible to be both a Kohen Gadol and a Nazir? A Nazir may not cut his hair for 30 days while a Kohen Gadol must cut his hair once a week??

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Staying Up All Night

From R' Shlomo Aviner:

The custom of learning Torah the entire night of Shavuot is mentioned by the Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim #494), based on the Zohar: we dedicate the night to learning Torah in an attempt to rectify a mistake made by the Nation of Israel at the time of the Giving of the Torah.  When Hashem “arrived” to give the Torah to the Nation of Israel, we were still sleeping and had to be woken up.  The custom therefore developed to stay awake all night to spirituality make-up for our oversleeping and to show our zeal for the Torah.  But one should be aware that if, on account of the exhaustion of learning Torah all night, he cannot daven Shacharit in the morning with proper concentration, it is better not to stay up since davening properly is a clear obligation (the Magen Avraham makes this exact point regarding staying up all night on Yom Kippur – see Orach Chaim 611:11).

In fact, Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rav, was surprised that people are so particular to stay awake the entire night of Shavuot, which is a custom, while on Pesach night, when there is a law to discuss the Exodus from Egypt until one is overcome by sleep, people are not so careful.  And in the city of Brisk, people were not careful to follow the custom of staying awake the entire night of Shavuot, since why is this night different from all other night...?  And also, learning on Shavuot night is not more important than learning during the day… (Uvdot Ve-Hanhagot Le-Beit Brisk vol. 2, p. 79).

And it is related in the book "Ha-Shakdan" (vol. 2, p. 240) that one of Ha-Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv's grandsons once asked him why he does not stay awake all night on Shavuot like everyone else, but follows his regular learning schedule of waking up at 2:00 AM to learn Torah. Rav Elyashiv explained that he calculated that if he changed his few hours of sleep on that night, he would not gain more time learning Torah - he would actually lose 15 minutes of learning!  For a few precious minutes of learning Torah, he decided that it is preferable to go to sleep at the beginning of the night as usual.

Each person should therefore carefully consider if it is worthwhile for him to stay up all night since there is a concern that "his gain is offset by his loss."

 For one who remains awake all night, this is how he should act in the morning:

1.    Talit

One who wears Tzitzit all night should not recite a new blessing on it in the morning.  One should try to hear the blessing said by someone who is obligated to recite it or have the Tzitzit in mind when he recites the blessing over his Talit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 8:16 with Mishnah Berurah #42).


2.    Netilat Yadayim

One should wash "Netilat Yadayim" without a blessing or hear it from someone who is obligated to recite it (Shulchan Aruch Ha-Rav 4:13).  It is preferable to use the restroom as one is then obligated according to all opinions to wash "Netilat Yadayim."  After washing "Netilat Yadayim," he should recite the blessing of "Al Netilat Yadayim" and "Asher Yatzar" (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 4:13 with Mishnah Berurah #27, 29, 30).


3.    "Elohai Neshamah" and "Ha-Ma'avir Sheinah"

They should be recited without the ending of using Hashem's Name or be heard from someone who is obligated to recite them, since these blessings where established over the return of the soul and removal of sleep and neither of these occurred (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 47 with Mishnah Berurah #30 and Biur Halachah).  If one sleeps a half an hour, one is obligated to recite these blessings (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 4:16 with Mishnah Berurah #34-35 and Biur Halachah).


4.    "Ha-Noten Le-Yaef Koach"

One should recite this blessing even if he is very tired, since this blessing was not established for the person's individual state, but as a general praise of Hashem who created His world which includes the removal of tiredness (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 46 with Mishnah Berurah #22 and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 47 with Mishnah Berurah #28).  Chasidim recite all of the morning blessings even if they remain awake all night (Shulchan Aruch Ha-Rav 47:7 and Siddur Chabad in the laws before the morning blessings and blessings over learning Torah).


5.    Blessings over Learning Torah

There is a dispute whether these blessings should be recited if one remains awake all night.  One option is that the morning before Shavuot, one make a condition that the blessings will be for the following day as well.  One can also hear the blessings from someone who did sleep, with both individuals having in mind that the blessings will apply to both of them (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 47 with Mishnah Berurah #25-28).  If neither of these is an option, one can recite the blessings based on the opinion of the Shut Sha'agat Aryeh (#24-25) that these blessings are a Torah Mitzvah and in the case of a doubt, one is strict to recite them.  This ruling is found in Maran Ha-Rav Kook's commentary on the siddur "Olat Re'eiyah" (vol. 1, p. 59 #5) and in Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef's responsa (Shut Yabia Omer vol. 5, Orach Chaim #6 and Shut Yechaveh Daat 3:33).

In this regard, women are also required to recite the blessings over learning Torah and these blessings are printed in all of the Siddurim for women.  But how can they recite the blessing "Blessed is Hashem…who has made us holy and commanded us to engage in words of Torah" when they are not obligated to learn Torah?  There are various answers, but the answer of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zev Soloveitchik, known as the Griz, on the Rambam (at the end of Hilchot Berachot, p. 10) and Maran Ha-Rav Kook (Orach Mishpat 11, 2) is that these are not blessings over performing a mitzvah but blessings of praise.  If the Torah was not given, the world would be in darkness for both men and women.  Women therefore also thank Hashem for the Torah being in the world
Weekly chiddushim on the parsha - here.

Getting A Raise

Employee: Excuse me sir, may I talk to you? Boss: Sure, come on in. What can I do for you? Employee: Well sir, as you know, I have been an employee of this prestigious firm for over ten years. Boss: Yes. Employee: I won't beat around the bush. Sir, I would like a raise. I currently have four companies after me and so I decided to talk to you first. Boss: A raise? I would love to give you a raise, but this is just not the right time. Employee: I understand your position, and I know that the current economic down turn has had a negative impact on sales, but you must also take into consideration my hard work, pro- activeness and loyalty to this company for over a decade. Boss: Taking into account these factors, and considering I don't want to start a brain drain, I'm willing to offer you a ten percent raise and an extra five days of vacation time. How does that sound? Employee: Great! It's a deal! Thank you, sir! Boss: Before you go, just out of curiosity, what companies were after you? Employee: Oh, the Electric Company, Gas Company, Water Company and the Mortgage Company!


The Heilige R' Leible'le Eiger asked the Kotzker what he can answer his grandfather Rebbi Akiva Eiger to halachically explain his very late davening times.

Tell him, replied the Kotzker, that the Rambam paskens that when worker sharpens the axe of his employer all day, it is also considered work.


To someone else explained the Kotzker that he starts on time but until he finishes everything it is much later.


Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die?His last battle
Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed?At the bottom of the page
Q3. River Ravi flows in which state?Liquid
Q4. What is the main reason for divorce?Marriage
Q5. What is the main reason for failure? Exams
Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast? Lunch & dinner
Q7. What looks like half an apple?The other half
Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become?Wet
Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ??By sleeping at night.
Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?You will never find an elephant that has only one hand..
Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have ?Very large hands
Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?No time at all, the wall is already built.
Q13. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?Concrete floors are very hard to crack.

What We Must Bury

The Heilige Kotzker asked his brother in law the Heilige Chidushei HaRim what the pasuk means when it says "אמת מארץ תצמח" - The truth sprouts from the earth. What do we plant in order that truth should sprout??

Answered the Chidushei HaRim: אז מען באגרעבאט דעם שקר וואקסט ארויס דעם אמת - When we bury the sheker, the emes sprouts.....

New Shiurim

A few not normal gemara shiurim - here, here, here, and here.

Pashut NOT NORMAL!!:-)

Shim-u usi-chee nafshichem!