Tuesday, March 31, 2015

We Did It!

"Pretty soon Israel will be condemned by the United Nations for killing the Dead Sea. We were there and we MUST have done it."

Vihi She-amda- Zman Cheiruseinu

Israel was not created in order to disappear—Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.

 President John Kennedy

By Popular Demand - New Video

Please turn off before the end in order to avoid any immodest pictures that the Gentiles like to display. Shmiras Einayim is the yesod of Avodas Hashem. Before Pesach one may rid oneself of the immodest newspapers and magazines that are in his house and cause the Holy Shechina great discomfort....

Vi-Hakadosh Baruch Hu Matzileinu Mi-yadam!

This is what I am singing at my seder imy"H!

You think Yaakov will join me this year? If you see him, tell him that he is invited...

See The Holy Man

Really cool:-).

13.6 Billion

Many new shiurim - BARUCH HASHEM!!!!

Chatzer mehaleches.

Rov b'akum part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

The Yesod Of Mitzvas Kibbud Horim. 
[There is more to come on this topic bl"n, pilei pla-os].

Honoring Senile Parents - Part 1.

Part 2.

Part 3.

Part 4.

The sugya in Bava Metzia of
יכול לנתקה אצלו

And much much more:-)!!!!

If there is greater pleasure in this world than the Torah presented in these shiurim - PLEASE TELL ME!!! I want to know about it. In the meantime - I haven't found anything better.

Not even 13.6 billion dollars.

Taste and see.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Parshas Tzav - Shabbos Ha-Gadol

Please click off a moment before the end in order to avoid any immodest pictures of other videos that that Gentiles like to show and I haven't figured out how to block. Shmiras HaBris [and the eyes] is the foundation of the redemption from Egypt and all future redemptions:-).


Fear of punishment - what happens when we have it and what happens when we lack it.

Bekiah Or Kriah?

The Torah calls the splitting of the sea "בקיעה" as in "ובקעהו" "ויבקעו המים" while the Rabbis always refer to it as "קריעת ים סוף". Why the change?

Love And Suffering

“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Not to love is to suffer. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness."

Woody Allen

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Songs Of David

From my archives.....

In the Hagada [and in Shachris on Shabbos morning] we talk about the greatness of the songs of Dovid and then go into Yishtabach where we say הבוחר בשירי זמרה - He chooses the songs [of Dovid]. Tehillim is a very special sefer. It begins with the words אשרי מי שלא הלך בעצת רשעים  - Fortunate is he who didn't go in the path of the reshaim. Chazal say that this refers to Avraham who didn't follow in the path of the Dor Haflaga [the generation of the "Tower of Babylon". Take the train to Babylon and switch at Jamaica!].

Why does Tehillim start with a reference to the refusal of Avraham to join the rebellion, such a vague, unknown event in history? It is very nice that Avraham didn't follow those who rebelled against Hashem but why does that appear at the beginning of tehillim?

 In Hagadas Marbeh Li-sappeir, it is explained that the punishment of the Dor Haflaga was the mixing up of their languages. Avraham, who refused to join them, was rewarded with a very special and uniquely powerful lashon. Dovid begins tehillim and tells us that his כח הלשון is drawn from Avraham Avinu! הבוחר בשירי זמרה - Hashem chooses these special songs.

In that first perek it says ועלהו לא יבול which Chazal understand to mean that even the mundane speech of talmidei chachomim requires limmud because it contains depth. This pasuk appears here because this is the perek which glorifies the power of speech of those who don't go בעצת רשעים and all of their interest is in Torah - בתורת השם חפצו ובתורתו יהגה יומם ולילה. 

We may add that Chazal say that Avraham Avinu had a gem on his neck and every sick person who saw it was healed. Rabbeinu Bechaye [hakdama to Yisro] says that this "gem" was his כח הדיבור. He could heal people with his powerful speech. 

Many times we have discussed the two covenants Hashem makes with us - ברית הלשון and ברית המעור. The second bris, מעור, meaning bris milah, is famous. Now we have an expression of the first bris - the ברית הלשון Hashem made with Avraham Avinu. 

It is also fascinating to add what we discussed elsewhere in a different context - that Dovid was both the father of Moshiach and the author of tehillim. The poetry in tehillim is a harbinger of the end of days. The vision of the future is expressed by the navi כי אז אהפוך אל עמים שפה ברורה לקרוא כולם בשם השם - All of the nations will have a "clear speech" to call in the name of Hashem. There will be a tikkun of the power of speech. The source is the positive, healing speech of Avraham Avinu. 

The process of tikkun ha-dibbur begins with Avraham Avinu and will conclude at the end of days. It is obvious from here that Dovid, the antecedent of Moshiach, felt compelled to begin his sefer of eschatological [end of days] poetry with a reference to כח הדיבור of Avraham Avinu.

On Pesach, the night of speech פה סח [speaking mouth], the gemara says that we must begin with the words מתחילה עובדי עבודה זרה היו אבותינו ועכשיו קרבנו המקום לעבודתו - At the beginning we were idolaters but now Hashem has brought us close to His avoda. Who was is the "idolater" to whom we refer? Some say that we refer to Avraham [Terach is not "Avoseinu"]. He started out as an idolater but afterwards he came close to the "avoda" of Hashem. "Avoda" [according to Chazal] is a euphemism for tfilla - and less famously, but cited in the name of Chazal by the Rambam in Sefer Hamitzvos - Torah. Both are performed with SPEECH. We begin the hagada with an emphasis on the tikkun of speech and we conclude the hagada with חד גדיא which of course is a reference to the end of days when Hashem will slaughter the angel of death! When someone is shechted it is done on the place from where speech emanates [known in English as a "throat"]. Just as we find that the dor haflaga was punished with a mixing up of their speech and concomitantly Avraham was given a special speech, so at the end of days, the power of speech of evil [הוא שטן הוא יצר הרע הוא מלאך המוות - יורד ומשטין עולה ומקטרג נוטל רשות ונוטל נשמה - עי' בב"ב ט"ז] will be liquidated and we will be zoche to the tikkun ha-shalem of pure speech!

כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות - Geulas Mitzraim was the root of the ultimate geula. May we fix our speech and merit to see the redemption speedily in our days!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

"I Met Moshiach - He Is Coming Tuesday At 4" - Hagaon HaTzadik Rav Moshe Guudelhadorr Shlita

We all receive periodic emails that Moshiach is about to come. Well, we hope he does - today - but we don't base our faith on emails, viral as they may be. He will come at the right time and our job is to prove ourselves worthy.

A look at how the world will change in that special time - over here.

[If you don't understand the passage - then you may learn it with someone who does:-).]

"Go Ahead With The Procedure"

From myencouterblog.com

My family’s association with Chabad-Lubavitch goes back to my grandfather Rabbi Moshe Kowalsky, who, when he was a boy growing up in Warsaw, became enamored with the Chabad way. And he decided to run away from home and travel all the way from Poland to Russia, to learn at the Chabad yeshiva in Lubavitch.

His father, that is my great-grandfather, was a fierce Kotzker chasid, and he would have none of it. He went after his son to bring him back.

When my great-grandfather arrived in Lubavitch, he was invited to spend Shabbos with the Rebbe Rashab, the fifth Rebbe of Chabad, and he consented. After that Shabbos – instead of demanding that his son return immediately home to Warsaw – he declared, “I was so impressed by the spirituality I experienced over Shabbos that I consent to have my son stay here.” So my grandfather got to study with Chabad, and he received rabbinic ordination from Chabad, and he became a very big Lubavitcher chasid.

In later years, when he was living in New York, my grandfather had an apartment in the same building as the Rebbe and Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka, and he even purchased a gravesite within four cubits of the gravesite of the Previous Rebbe, which is of course where the Rebbe is now buried as well.

I visited my grandfather often and my earliest memory – from the time I was about eight years old – is the Rosh Hashanah Tashlich ceremony at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The Rebbe would come marching down the street with all of his chasidim following behind him, in formation. It looked almost like a military parade.The Rebbe was very vigorous physically, and he would walk at a very rapid pace, so the chasidim, in order to keep up with him, would be at a trot. It was a remarkable thing to watch, and it made a big impression on me.

On Shavuos, my grandfather would always send a platter of first fruits – bikkurim – to the Rebbe.

And he would ask his grandchildren to deliver it to Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway. We would carry the heavy fruit platter into the building and push our way through the tightly packed crowd of chasidim in order to reach the Rebbe. It would sometimes take 15 minutes to do this. Then we would present the bikkurim to the Rebbe who would thank us and put the platter on the table so the chasidim could partake of it.

Another fond memory I have is going with my father, Rabbi Sholom Ber Kowalsky, to farbrengens at the close of each holiday. Barring illness we would always go. Unfortunately, when my father was in his mid 50s, he became ill with a very serious lung ailment and eventually lost one-third of his lung.  There came a time, in 1966, the doctors wanted him to undergo a risky medical procedure, but my father would not consent to this until he got a blessing from the Rebbe.
Rabbi Shalom Ber Kowalsky
I had just gotten my driver’s license, so my mother said to me, “Take the car, drive to 770 and ask the Rebbe for a bracha for your father.”

I drove to Crown Heights, and I got there around 2 in the afternoon, but the Rebbe’s secretary said that it was impossible for me to see the Rebbe now. If I came back at 3 in the morning, he could possibly squeeze me in. But I knew that I couldn’t come back at 3 – there was no way that my mother was going to let me drive in the middle of the night from Queens to Brooklyn. So I could not go home if I wanted to fulfill my father’s request.

On the other hand, if I just sat there and waited 12 hours, my mother would panic. This was in the days before cell phones, and she would have no way of knowing what happened to me. She was sitting in the intensive care unit with my father, where there were no phones, and she would have no idea why I had disappeared. She’d go to the police for sure.

I didn’t know what to do and then I realized that the Rebbe would have to leave his office for the afternoon prayers. And I decided that I would approach the Rebbe then and tell him that I needed to speak with him.

Sure enough, the Rebbe left his office to pray, and as he was returning with his entourage, I walked up to him. Immediately, I heard a lot of angry murmuring from the people around him – the chasidim were very agitated that I was breaking protocol, and that I had the temerity to approach the Rebbe without an invitation. This was not proper respect of the Rebbe.

Some were so furious at this perceived insult to the Rebbe that they even shouted at me. But the Rebbe – who, of course, recognized me – just put his right hand on my shoulder and ushered me into his office.

He closed the door, and he said to me, “Something must really be important for you to approach me like this. Could you tell me what is the problem?”
Rabbi Avrohom Kowalsky

So I explained my quandary to him. If I went home, I couldn’t come back. If I stayed, my mother would call the police. So I didn’t know what to do, and I just figured that somehow, if I spoke to the Rebbe, he would understand.

He said, “I do understand. You did the right thing. Don’t worry.”

He then inquired about the details of the medical procedure my father was to undergo. And then he said, “Go back and tell your father that he should go ahead with this procedure, and that he shouldn’t have any fear, because he will get well, G-d willing, and he will have a complete recovery.”

I thanked the Rebbe and, as I made for the door, I realized that now I would have to face that crowd again. But the Rebbe anticipated this. He opened the door and walked out in front of me. The chasidim were all gathered there, but he put up his hand, and the crowd split like the Red Sea, opening a path for me to the front door. I bolted for the street and ran as fast I could to my car. I went home and I told my father the good news – that the Rebbe had given his blessing and assurance that he would get well.

And indeed, he did. The operation was a success, and my father lived for quite a number of years after that. In fact, he lived long enough to make aliya to Israel in 1982, and he passed away only seven years ago.

Rabbi Avrum Kowalsky learned in Ner Israel in Baltimore with Rabbi Zalman Ruderman for eleven years and presently gives Torah classes in Jerusalem where he resides. He was interviewed for JEM’s My Encounter with the Rebbe project in his home in March of 2014.
This week’s Here’s My Story is generously dedicated

in loving memory of
Reb Moshe Freundlich, OBM

and in honor of their newborn son

By Danny and Chana Sara Freundlich

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Down-side Of My Vast Library

There is a big discussion in poskim whether one much check his sefarim for chametz. See a lengthy jaw-dropping discussion in the seventh volume of the Yabia Omer. He [and most others] are lenient and don't require one to search.

On the other hand the Chazon Ish was famously machmir to check his sefarim.

Herein lies the problem. Thanks to a few friends who helped me - I own OVER 70,000 sefarim!!! How am I going to check all of them?! Now almost all of them are not in hard copy but on the computer but the Chazon Ish NEVER SAID that one is pattur from checking sfarim on the computer.

OK - I am being silly and I must turn in for the night.

Sweet and prophetic dreams for all of us

So Close In Body Yet So Far In Spirit

I love living in Israel. I feel it is a huuuuge zchus and hope never to leave again. I feel like living in chutz la-aretz is like serving idols [OK - PLAGIRISM! I lifted that last line right out of the gemara at the end of Ksubos]. I also feel G-dless in chutz la-retz [ditto].

But I WISH I could feel what this man felt about the Land. I am sooo far....

The Worst Time

The worst time after weekends is the first five days.

A Pesach Message

The Transformative Power Within Evil.

Please click off before the end in order to avoid any potentially immodest images that the gentiles like to display...:-).

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

House clean for Pesach? Keeping it that way....

[Thanks to my mother for sending:-).]

My Machlokes With Oscar

An old post I stumbled upon:-).

    "Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one's head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forgive life, to be at peace.”

Oscar Wilde

Sorry Oscar - death stinks [literally and figuratively]!

We weren't supposed to die. "Vi'atem hadveikim bashem elokeichem CHAIM koolchem hayom" - Those who are attached to Hashem remain forever alive. After the sin of Adam we found ourselves detached from the source of life - that is why we die. Removing the fruit from the tree causes the fruit to wilt. So too, we found ourselves removed from our source and we must eventually wilt. [See Maskil Lishlomo on Parshas Bereishis]

There is only one solution. To grab the aitz hachaim - the tree of life.

"Aitz chaim he lamachazikim ba".


Live and learn. Learn and live.


Good Shabbos to my beloved and sweetest friends!!!

Short And Sweet

The secret to happiness in one sentence:-).

New Shiurim - My Real Estate Ideas - Gratitude To Jews Of A Noble Spirit

Well, the Yeshivos are presently in their "Bein Hazmanim" period. At "Yeshiva Gdola D'skpe" - we don't EVER have a Bein Hazmanim. The Yeshiva will end when I die - then I will be able to learn without having any financial worries or having to trouble with lunch. May we enjoy TOGETHER many happy sweet years here on earth.

We have a SLEW of new shiurim on various topics. A sample:

Bishul in a kli in which a sefek treifah had been cooked [Hebrew].

Haanaka and Kinyan E-tain - Part 1.

Part 2.

Two types of Breira.

Migo bi-makom Trei U'trei.

Vayikra - The Path To Greatness Through The Stomach.

Chazara toch kedai dibbur in Kiddushei pachos Mishaveh Pruta part 1.

Part 2.

And much much more [including many shiurim from previous years]!! See my page on YUTORAH.ORG.

Like YU - my Yeshiva too is suffering from great financial distress. I was almost moved to sell a few buildings as YU did, alas, I then realized ..... that I don't own any buildings. Should've bought a few when I had the chance [when did I have the chance?].

So I thank the people who sent enough to get us through Pesach. It would be a BIG busha not to have matzos or wine at the seder after having written and spoken so much Pesach Torah. So THANK YOU - THANK YOU - THANK YOU and I bless you that Hashem will repay you a million fold in both the material and spiritual realms. After Pesach we will continue hoping and believing that the same Ribbono Shel Olam that led us faithfully until this point will continue to send holy shlichim.

If anyone does NOT want to donate to my project but wants to give other poor people in Eretz Yisrael - I have served as a gabbai tzedaka for over 20 years and know quite a few people in need. A tax deduction is available. EVERY PENNY goes to tzdaka. No overhead. [I don't chas vi-shalom take a cut]. If you don't want to use my services then please give SOMEWHERE, more than you can afford. וכל המוסיף מוסיפים לו. The Rambam paskens that simchas yom tov is only a simcha in the Divine realm when we give to the poor. But a 40 thousand dollar vacation in .... while other Jews of lesser means are left to suffer the indignity of lacking the basics is a cause of great distress in Shomayim [please see the Rambam 6/18]. Share your good fortune with others. בני ישראל קדושים and I am sure you will. 

You may contact me by email or telephone [my number is on the Yeshiva's blog that I linked earlier].  

Hallel In Shul On Seder Night


Question #1: When I visit Eretz Yisroel, I notice that even Nusach Ashkenaz shullen recite Hallel on the first night of Pesach. Should I be reciting Hallel with them when my family custom is not to?

Question #2: Should a woman whose husband recites Hallel in shul on Seder night recite Hallel with a bracha before the Seder?

Question #3: When I was in Eretz Yisroel for Pesach, I davened maariv the second day of Pesach with a chutz la’aretz Nusach Ashkenaz minyan, but none of us knew whether to recite Hallel. What should we have done?

Hallel is our unique praise to Hashem that is reserved for special occasions. Whenever the Jews survived a crisis, they responded by singing Hallel. Thus we sang Hallel after crossing the Yam Suf and again after Yehoshua defeated the allied kings of Canaan. Devorah and Barak sang Hallel when their small force defeated the mighty army of Sisra; the Jews sang this praise when the huge army of Sancheiriv fled from Yerushalayim and when Hashem saved them from Haman’s evil decrees. Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah sang Hallel after surviving Nevuchadnetzar’s fiery furnace. After each of these events, Jews recited Hallel to thank Hashem for their miraculous salvation (Pesachim 117a, as explained by Rashi; cf. Rashbam ad loc.).
Before addressing the above questions, let us clarify the five different ways we recite Hallel during Pesach.


I. Thanking Hashem while performing mitzvos

In the Beis HaMikdash, the Jews sang Hallel while offering the korban pesach on Erev Pesach (Mishnah Pesachim 64a, 95a; Gemara 117a) and then again during the festive meal when they ate it that night. To quote the immortal words of the Gemara, “Could it possibly be that the Jews would offer their korban pesach without reciting Hallel?”
The Jews sang Hallel at the Seder with such fervor that a new expression was coined, “The kezayis of Pesach and the Hallel split the roof.” It is unlikely that people needed to hire roofers to repair the damage after Pesach; this statement reflects the zeal of the experience. As Chazal teach, we should sing every Hallel with ecstatic feeling and melody (Mesechta Sofrim 20:9).
The Hallel recited while offering and consuming the korban pesach is inspired by the fervor of the event. Similarly, some have the custom of reciting Hallel while baking matzos on Erev Pesach to remember the arousing passion of singing Hallel while offering korban pesach. Unfortunately, as we have no korban pesach with which to ignite this enthusiasm, we substitute the experience of baking the matzos.

II. Part of the evening davening

In the times of Chazal (Mesechta Sofrim 20:9; Yerushalmi Berachos 1:5), the Jews recited Hallel immediately after maariv in shul on Seder night, a practice continued by Nusach Sefard and in Eretz Yisroel. I will soon discuss the different reasons for this practice.

III. During the Seder

We sing Hallel as part of the Seder. This Hallel is different from the regular Hallel in the following ways:
We divide this Hallel into two parts, separating the two parts with the festive Yom Tov meal. We sing the first part as the conclusion of the Maggid part of the Seder, as we describe the ecstasy of the Exodus while holding a cup of wine in celebration. The bracha, Asher Ga’alanu, is recited after these preliminary paragraphs of the Hallel, immediately followed by a bracha upon the second cup of wine. (Sefardim do not recite a bracha on this cup of wine.)
Following the birchas hamazon after the meal, which concludes with the third cup of wine, we pour a fourth cup of wine and hold it while reciting the rest of Hallel. Upon completing Hallel, we recite Chapter 136 of Tehillim, Nishmas, a bracha to conclude the Hallel (there are different opinions which bracha to recite), a bracha upon the wine (Sefardim do not recite a bracha on this cup of wine either), and then drink the cup of wine as the last of the four kosos.
Another difference between Hallel on Seder night and Hallel during the year is that we sit for Hallel at the Seder. Halacha requires that one give testimony standing, and when we recite Hallel we testify that Hashem performed wonders for us. Furthermore, the pasuk in Hallel declares, “Sing praise, servants of Hashem who are standing” (Tehillim 135:1-2), implying that this is the appropriate way to praise. However, at the Seder we sit because the Hallel is part of the meal and is recited while holding a cup of wine, which is not conducive to standing; furthermore, sitting demonstrates that we are free from bondage (Shibbolei HaLeket #173).
Reciting Hallel during the Seder commemorates singing Hallel while eating the korban pesach (Mishnah Pesachim 95a). Unfortunately, we have no korban pesach, so we must substitute the Yom Tov meal and the matzos.

IV. After Shacharis on the first day(s) of Pesach

We recite the full Hallel immediately following shmoneh esrei on the first day(s) of Pesach to fulfill the mitzvah of reciting Hallel on days that are either Yom Tov or commemorate a miracle. These days include Chanukah, Sukkos, Shavuos, and the first day(s) of Pesach (Arachin 10a). This Hallel can only be recited during daytime hours, which the Gemara (Megillah 20b) derives from the verse, from the rising of the sun until it sets, Hashem’s name shall be praised (Tehillim 113:3).

V. After Shacharis on the other days of Pesach

We recite Hallel with parts deleted (colloquially referred to as half Hallel) immediately following shmoneh esrei on the other days of Pesach. This reading is not part of the original takanah to recite Hallel on Yomim Tovim, but is a custom introduced later, similar to the recitation of Hallel on Rosh Chodesh. Thus the poskim dispute whether one recites a bracha prior to reciting this Hallel. Rambam (Hilchos Chanukah 3:7) rules that one does not recite a bracha, and this is the prevalent custom among the Sefardim and Edot HaMizrach in Eretz Yisrael (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 422:2). Tosafos (Taanis 28b), however, rules that one may recite a bracha on Hallel on Rosh Chodesh and the last days of Pesach, and this is the universal practice among Ashkenazim.
Why do we recite the full Hallel every day of Sukkos, bur only on the first day of Pesach? The Gemara gives a surprising answer to this question. We recite full Hallel every day of Sukkos since each has different korban requirements in the Beis HaMikdash; on Pesach, we do not recite full Hallel every day because the same korban was offered every day. The fact that a day is Yom Tov is insufficient reason to recite Hallel; there must also be something original about that particular day’s celebration. Thus, although the Seventh (and Eighth) day of Pesach is Yom Tov, full Hallel is omitted.
The Midrash presents a different explanation why full Hallel is not recited on Pesach — we should not recite it at a time that commemorates human suffering, even of the evil, since this was the day that the Egyptians drowned in the Yam Suf (quoted by Shibbolei HaLeket #174).
Now that we have a basic background to the five types of Hallel, we can now discuss the Hallel we recite at the Seder. The Gemara’s list of dates that we recite Hallel only mentions reciting Hallel in the daytime. However, other sources in Chazal (Mesechta Sofrim 20:9; Tosefta Sukkah 3:2; Yerushalmi Sukkah 4:5) include Hallel of Seder night when mentioning the different days when we are required to recite Hallel. This leads us to an obvious question:


Since we recite Hallel at the Seder, should we not introduce it with a bracha? Although the universal practice today is to not recite a bracha before this Hallel, whether one recites a bracha on this Hallel is actually disputed. Here are three opinions:
1. One should recite a bracha twice; once before reciting the first part of Hallel before the meal and once before resuming Hallel after bensching (Tur Orach Chayim 473, quoting Ritzba and several others).
2. One should recite a bracha before beginning the first part of Hallel, notwithstanding the interruption in the middle of Hallel (Ran; Maharal).
3. One should not recite any bracha on Hallel at the Seder (Shu’t Ri MiGash #44; Rama; Bach).
Of course, this last opinion presents us with an interesting difficulty: If Chazal instituted reciting Hallel on Seder night, why does it not require a bracha beforehand?
I found three very different approaches to answer this question:
A. Some contend that, despite inferences to the contrary, Hallel on Seder night is not a mitzvah but only expresses our rejoicing (Shu’t Ri MiGash #44).
B. Alternatively, although there is a mitzvah Seder night to praise Hashem, this praise could be spontaneous and unstructured which would not technically require reciting the structured Hallel. Since no specific song or praise is required, Chazal did not require a bracha before singing Hallel (see Rav Hai Gaon’s opinion, as quoted by Ran, Pesachim Chapter 10).
C. Although Hallel Seder night should require a bracha, we cannot do so because we interrupt the recital of the Hallel with the meal (Tur Orach Chayim 473). This approach leads us to our next discussion:


In several places Chazal mention reciting Hallel in shul on the first night of Pesach. Why recite Hallel in shul, if we are going to recite it anyway as part of the Seder?
The Rishonim present us with several approaches to explain this practice.
A. In Chazal’s times, there were no siddurim and therefore the common people davened together with the chazzan or by listening to the chazzan’s prayer. (This is why the chazzan is called a shaliach tzibur, the emissary of the community, since he indeed prayed on behalf of many individuals.) On the days that we are required to recite Hallel, these people listened to the chazzan’s Hallel and responded appropriately and thereby fulfilled their mitzvah. However, how could they recite Hallel Seder night? They did so by reciting Hallel together with the chazzan in shul before coming home (see Gra, Orach Chayim 487).
B. A different approach contends that the community recited Hallel in shul the first night of Pesach in order to fulfill the mitzvah with a large group. Although one may recite Hallel by oneself, reciting it communally is a greater observance of the mitzvah.
Neither of these two approaches necessarily assumes that Hallel on Seder night requires a bracha. Indeed, the Chazon Ish recited Hallel in shul Seder night without reciting a bracha beforehand. There are congregations in Bnei Braq that follow this approach.
C. A third approach contends that the primary reason for reciting Hallel in shul is to recite a bracha beforehand. These poskim contend that Hallel at the Seder would require a bracha if it was not interrupted by the meal; to resolve this, Hallel is recited twice, once in shul with a bracha without interruption, and then a second time during the Seder. According to this opinion, Hallel Seder night fulfills two different purposes:
(1) We sing Hallel to Hashem as we do on all Yomim Tovim because of his miracles; on Seder night we sing Hallel at night because that is when we were redeemed.
(2) We praise Hashem while performing the mitzvos of Seder night – haggadah, matzah etc.
Although one could fulfill both of these mitzvos by reciting Hallel one time during the Seder, one would miss making a bracha. Therefore, Hallel is recited during davening so that it can be introduced with a bracha, and is sung again during the Seder so that it surrounds the mitzvos of the night. This is the prevalent practice of Sefardim, Chassidim, and the most common approach followed in Eretz Yisroel today (see Gra, Orach Chayim 487).
At this point, we can begin to discuss the questions we raised above:

Question #1: When I visit Eretz Yisroel, I notice that even the Nusach Ashkenaz shullen recite Hallel on the first night of Pesach. Should I be reciting Hallel with them when my family custom it not to?

Your custom follows the poskim that reciting Hallel Seder night does not require a bracha. You should preferably follow your own practice and not recite a bracha on the Hallel, but there is no reason why you cannot recite Hallel with them. Since you do not lose anything, have in mind to fulfill the bracha by listening to the chazzan’s bracha.
However, there is another halachic issue, which is that one should not do things in a way that could cause strife. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Orach Chayim 2:94) discusses a situation of someone in chutz la’aretz who does not recite Hallel in shul on Seder night, but davens in a Nusach Ashkenaz shul that does. The person asking the shaylah, a certain Reb Yitzchak, was apparently upset that his shul recited Hallel with a bracha on Seder night and wanted to create a commotion to change the practice. Rav Moshe forbids this and emphasizes that one should follow a path of shalom. Rav Moshe further demonstrates that if it is noticeable that Reb Yitzchak is omitting the bracha on Hallel, he must recite the bracha with them so that no machlokes results.

Question #2: Should a woman whose husband recites a bracha on Hallel in shul Seder night recite Hallel with a bracha before the Seder?

This takes us to a new question. Assuming that one’s husband recites Hallel with a bracha on the night of Pesach, should his wife also recite Hallel before the Seder with a bracha?


Are women required to recite Hallel?
Although Hallel is usually a time-bound mitzvah from which women are absolved (Mishnah Sukkah 38a), some poskim rule that women are obligated to recite Hallel on Chanukah and Pesach since this Hallel is recited because of miracles that benefited women (see Tosafos, Sukkah 38a s.v. Mi; Toras Refael, Orach Chayim #75). All agree that women are required to recite Hallel Seder night because women were also redeemed from Mitzrayim. Rav Ovadiah Yosef reasons that the wife or daughter of someone who recites a bracha before Hallel in shul on Seder night should also recite Hallel with a bracha before the Seder (Shu’t Yechavah Daas 5:34). However, the prevalent custom is not to.

Question #3: When I was in Eretz Yisroel for Pesach, I davened the second day of Pesach with a chutz la’aretz Nusach Ashkenaz minyan, but none of us knew whether we should recite Hallel. What should we have done?

Assuming that this minyan consisted of people who do not usually recite Hallel in shul on Pesach night, they did not need to recite Hallel, and certainly not a bracha on Hallel, in their minyan. Since they are only visiting Israel, and have not yet assumed residence there, they follow their own custom in their own minyan, and their custom is to not recite a bracha on Hallel Seder night.
Reciting Hallel with tremendous emotion and reliving Hashem’s miracles rekindles the cognizance of Hashem’s presence. The moments that we recite Hallel can encapsulate the most fervent experience of His closeness.
In the merit of joyously reciting Hallel, may we see the return of the Divine Presence to Yerushalayim and the rededication of the Beis HaMikdash, speedily in our days.

A Good Eye

If I were to give myself and you a bracha it would be to have his ayin tova.

Zchuso yagein aleinu.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Get Rich!

I promise you - if you understand this shiur then you have something worth more than all of the delights of this world. I personally would rather have this, than 100 million dollars. [Given my state of material lacking [called by the gemara  עניות]-  I wouldn't mind a percent or 2 of the 100 mill. But the Torah is still worth infinitely more].

Here, here, here, and here

At the beginning of part 4, I ramble on about Torah u'madda:-).

Special Giant

Memories of Rav Shlomo Zalman ztz"l.


From people's feedback I get a sense of how the posts were received and for that I am grateful. This written word is more easily misconstrued than the spoken word and I value the opportunity to clarify my intentions.

I was asked by a beloved friend about a recent post "Why I hate Netanyahu?"

Answer: I hate nobody. Even people who "dis me baaaad" or cause me emotional pain. Hatred destroys the hater more than anyone else so why would I want to destroy myself?! Plus and primarily - it is a serious Torah prohibition to hate another Jew [unless one is permitted to hate him as per the gemara in Pesachim 113] and I dress so frum so why would I have feelings that contradict what is expressed by my dark suit that I wear every day all day [which you gotta admit makes it easier to choose a wardrobe in the morning]?! I attempt to love every Jew. Sometimes I am more successful and sometimes less.

The purpose of my post was to lament the fact that a "Jewish State" features leaders who live in many ways very un-jewish lives. The basics are Shabbos, kashrus, tefillin, tfilla etc. etc. and all too often our leaders are more than lax in these areas.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Election Results In

The elections are over and unfortunately - another Chilul Hashem. For 67 consecutive years since the birth of the Jewish, the leader is ... not Jewish.

Well, biologically he is very Jewish, no less than you or I. But in practice - he is more or less like any goy. No davening three times a day, no kippah or tzitis, no Shabbos etc. etc. אין אומתנו אומה אלא בתורותיה - famously proclaimed Rav Saadya Gaon. If one does not live his life in accordance with the Torah She-bichtav and Torah she-bi-al peh then he is living a goyish life. What a major tragedy that someone who is openly secular is leading our people in our HOLY LAND - which we only deserve when we keep the mitzvos. We are so used to the idea of a secular Prime Minister that it doesn't bother us so much but when you think about it you realize what a disgrace it is [and the fact the many religious people voted for him]. Not to mention the fact that the third largest party in the Knesset is Arab and would like nothing better than to see the destruction of the Jewish State. There is democracy for you....

Yes, yes - Netanyahu is better than the other candidate would have been but he is was and will be [until that magical day when he is chozer bi-tshuva] a secular-practicing-goy-biological-Jew. This means that the anti-semites want to kill him as much as they want to kill me and you but gives rise to the question of what all of this Zionism is worth is G-d is out of the picture. [And what he says to G-d when he goes to His Kotel, as he just did, when he doesn't plan on keeping His mitzvos].

Demographically, this will change in the forseeable future. Charedim get married young and have anywhere from 6-15 kids. My 19 year old daughter already has a few dozen girls in her grade who are either engaged or married [another one today!! Mazel Tov Malki!:-)]. Chilonim get married much later and have an average of 2 kids ["Yuval" and "Sigalit"] and one dog ["Poopsie"]. Chances are that one or both will end up in LA [the dog will remain here]. The majority of Jews in Israel will soon be religious and this of course will change the texture of the government.

R' Moishe Yankel Frumalevitch - Prime Minister!

I hope it never happens. I hope Moshiach comes and redeems us from this bitter galus. In Teaneck and Woodmere it is a galus bi-soch galus bi-soch galus [albeit COMFY!] while in Eretz Yisrael it is a galus bi-soch galus.

We must never feel complacent and satisfied with the present reality until we realize the prophetic visions of tikkun olam bi-malchus Sha-dai.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Shiur

The sugya of ביאה אירוסין עושה או נישואין עושה - Part 1 and part 2.

Simply ... not real!

הרב זאב חיים בן חיה איידל

Please daven for a refua shleima for HaRav Zave Chaim ben Chaya Aidel.

New Shiur

Pilei - Pla'os - Haflei Va'fele!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Who Am I Voting For?

This week the Israeli elections take place. I have mixed feelings. On one hand - politics is FILLED with  sheker and corruption. I don't trust any of them. It is all just a competition to see who is going to get the money and power and kavod. The Prime Minister has far from a sterling record both personally and on a national level. He is also a chiloni which gives him the halachic status of a goy [in some areas of halacha, such as the wine he moves may not be consumed]. Maybe there are exceptions to the rule but the rule is that politicians can't be trusted. It is all about getting elected and remaining in office and they will do almost anything to achieve those goals. If one votes for a secular party it is an aveirah of מסייע בידי עוברי עבירה [there is a teshuva on the topic in an early volume of Techumin by Rav Avraham Shapira ztz"l where he says as much. Haven't seen it in maybe two decades but you can look it up...].

On the other hand the gedolei yisroel said that everyone must vote and there is a mitzva [even bi-zman ha-zeh according to the Chinuch] to listen to everything the gedolim say. If certain parties are in positions of power it will be a disaster for Torah true Jewry while other parties will work to further those causes close to the hearts of those who care about and live our tradition.

On the other hand - politics is SOOO filthy....

Mixed feelings.   

I vote ..... Melech Ha-moshiach.

Doesn't Appear

Dry Bones, Kirschen, cartoon,Obama, Bibi, Netanyahu, Iran, Islamisn, Islam, Islamist, U.S.A., congress, nukes, nuclear,sanctions,I

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Guide To Being A Guest For Seder


New Video

I ask that you click off the video before it ends out of concern that something inappropriate or immodest might appear on the screen after it ends. Thank you:-).

Calling All Men!

A sweet friend conceived the idea of a shalom bayis vaad for married [or almost married] men.

We all need it:-).

If you are interested in joining - please contact me also mentioning what times would be convenient. We will try to make it at the best possible time. If there is a great deal of interest we can have more than one group.

NOTE: It is free - so cost is no excuse. Do it for your wife, your present and future children and for all of klal yisrael. Save yourself the time and expense of future visits to a marriage counselor. I have been researching and developing these groups for YEARS and there is much for all to learn [me from you, of course].

I thank my beloved friend for his initiative.

Nusach Of The Bracha

In Eretz Yisrael we say [on Israeli produce] in our bracha על פירותיה or על גפנה and not על הפירות or על הגפן like people say on produce that came from chutz la-aretz.

Why don't we say in Eretz Yisrael על מחייתה??

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"How was you first flight?"

"Great. Everybody clapped for me".

Don't Believe Everything You Read

"Not every quote in my name on Facebook was really said by me."


Our Cousins

Class picture.


"For years I have been fighting against Iran's attempt to develop nuclear weapons.

And I have not been successful. Do you think that maybe it is time that I give someone else a try?"


A Tree For 3

Hmmmmm, you made a reservation? I don't know if I have a tree for 3.


A huge thank you to an anonymous friend who sent a donation in the mail in order to help our efforts of spreading Torah continue. I can't thank you personally because you didn't identify yourself but I know you read the blog so THANK YOU and may Hashem repay you one million fold!! 

New Shiur

Germane to perek Eilu Naaros that is being learned in daf yomi these days [if there is special interest in shiurim bi-iyun on daf yomi sugyos please tell me so that I can post more Bez"H bl"n].

25 Million Dollar Offer

This shiur is worth 25 million dollars. BELIEVE YOU ME!!


Much more.

Here, here and here.

Part 1 is very good, part 2 gets yet better and part 3 is הפלא ופלא פלאי פלאות.

A milestone - we hit 1900 shiurim בסייעתא דשמיא [as my Gila reached her 19th birthday, 100 shiurim per year. It should be a zchus for her...]

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Get High

I fell a little behind in my "Rav Kook Yomi" so I made up for it with some very special thoughts.

I again apologize if you can't understand it and wish I could share my thoughts and analysis. But at 2:30am, I must play dead for a few hours so that I can arise like a mentsch for davening.

הודו לה' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו!!!!

Today the 20th of Adar is the happiest day of my life. Hashem gave me 19 years [and counting] of my precious daughter Gila Shoshana.

I feel obliged to thank Hashem publicly. This is MUCH better that the day she was born [which was also beyond special] when everybody was wishing me mazel tov. Instead of ONE DAY of bracha, I have had 19 consecutive years of it. I will not sing her praises but suffice it to say that we have yet to "fight" once ever and she has yet to show chutzpah in any way. I don't know where she came from but it is nothing less than a miracle that I was an agent to bring down to earth such a pure and holy neshama. As the pasuk says מי יתן טהור מטמא - לא אחד? An Divine miracle.

I thank Hashem for every second that her heart beats until 120 and hope that soon and at the right time, I will share good news about her new stage in life. Over a few dozen girls in her grade are already engaged... In the meantime every day she is in my home is a bracha greater than all of the material treasures of olam ha-zeh.


Contradictions And The Red Heifer

This is from Rav Schachter - shiurim on contradictions in halacha, here and here.

Dealing with Contradictions

For many years the twenty third Psalm was the most popular among American Christians. It conveys the impression that religion can have a very calming and soothing effect on one's life. Some ministers would "sell religion" to the masses by claiming that one who is devoutly religious will not have any contradictions in his life and will always be at peace. Rav Soloveitchik never liked this approach.
Shlomo Hamelech commented (Koheles 7:23) that he thought he could understand everything but soon enough he realized that there is much that is simply beyond him. According to tradition (Yalkut Shimoni, Melachim, #178) he was referring to the mitzvah of Parah Adumah. The details of this "chok" are simply contradictory. The main purpose of the ashes of the parah is to help one purify himself from tumas hameis, but at the same time it causes one who handles those ashes to become tameh. How can it be that the same thing can be metaher the tehorim and metameh the temeim?
The truth of the matter is that the world is full of contradictions. According to quantum physics a particle can indeed in two places at once and can travel in an infinite number of directions at once. A cat may be thought of as dead and alive at the same time. It is absolutely impossible to explain quantum phenomena using traditional principles of physics. If someone says he can think about quantum physics without becoming dizzy, that only shows that he has not understood anything whatsoever about it (see "Quantum Physics, Jewish Law, and Kabbalah", by Aaron M. Schreiber, z"l, pp. 14-16.)

Whenever we recite a beracha, we always start off in second person ("Blessed are You...") and conclude in third person (e.g. - "Who has brought out bread from the ground.") We often have the sense that G-d is very close to us, and on other occasions feel as if he is very far away from us. Both impressions are simultaneously correct. We are expected to both love Hashem and fear Him at the same time. These two miztvos are clearly interconnected. To the extent that we love Him, we come close to Him; and to the extent that we fear Him we withdraw from Him. When we recite Ashrei we continually switch back and forth between second and third person.

In Sefer Tehillim (chapter 8) Dovid Hamelech describes the duality of man's nature. On the one hand (in possukim 4 and 5) when we observe the vastness of the universe man's role seems so insignificant and petty that it leads one to wonder why G-d should think about man at all! And on the other hand in the very next possuk (6) Dovid Hamelech states, "You have created him (man) only slightly lower (in stature) than the angels, and crowned him with honor and glory, and gave him control over the entire creation."

The gemarah (Yoma 19b) derives from a passuk that when one is in the middle of reciting Krias Shema he ought to interrupt in order to show respect for someone else (mipnei kavod barhiyos.) but when one is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei we consider man as insignificant and ignore him.
According to Professor Schreiber z"l (ibid p. 31) the Avnei Nezer deals with the possibility of tartei d'sasrei in Halacha in over thirty of his responsa. Rabbi Soloveitchik z"l adopted this notion of the Avnei Nezer and this was a recurrent theme in many of his shiurim (see Sefer Mipeninei Horav, Yoreh Deah, the section about Talmud Torah). If in the natural world there seem to be glaring contradictions, we ought not to be surprised if in halacha as well there will be contradictions.
Religion will not resolve any contradictions at all! If anything it will make us aware of more contradictions. Parah Adumah is not the only instance of the contradictory nature of Halacha. The parsha opens with the statement, "This is the chukah of the Torah." All of the Torah is one big chukah; the entire creation is one vast chukah. The midrashim on the opening passuk in Breishis make the comment that Hashem looked into the Torah and used it as a blueprint for creation. All of nature is interconnected with Torah.

Just as the study of physics guides us to maneuver with all the contradictions in the natural realm, so too the halachah guides us in how we should deal with contradictions in the spiritual realm.

From Torahweb.org

My own opinion and inclinations [לעניות דעתי המאד עניה] are more in line with Rav Kook's approach - namely that there is an underlying unity in all of creation and even the contradictions have resolutions. The notion of פירוד [disunity] is always associated with the forces of evil.

On an emotional level, I certainly feel that it is healthiest to try to find the resolution, the כתוב השלישי המכריע ביניהם whenever we find contradictions in the world and life. Contrdictions exist - our job is to resolve them.


Interviews conducted with various Roshei Yeshiva.

When The Rabbis "Contradict" The Torah

Great shiur on a recent Daf Yomi sugya.

I Protest!

I want to make a מחאה - a protest.

I heard in shiur that someone said that he learned Eruvin and he understood every word for the very first time because of the beautiful picture book.

NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ERUVIN!!! Not every word, not one word. We learn and learn and learn and after the 101st time we are CLOSER to understanding but the Torah is so deep and profound that we must not fool ourselves that we really understand.

Not Eruvin, not any masechta. Pictures are lovely and Artscroll is helpful, but at the end of the day - we barely understand anything [see Taanis 9 ודאורייתא מי איכא דידע לה].

So please sweetest friends!! PLEASE review and review and review and know that Torah is beyond infinite. There is no end. The joy is constantly discovering new Light in the Holy Word of Hashem.  

Holy-Holy Tzadik

Yesterday was the yahrtzeit of the Holy Tzadik Rav Alexander Ziskind [d. 1794], author of the Yesod Vi-shoresh Ha-avoda. He was something special, beyond holy. Some of his teachings...
Li-zchus Avraham Yitzchak ben Esther and Yosef Ezra ben Esther my best friends in the world and descendants of the baal ha-yahrtzeit.

Give Hashem nachas ruach
ובוודאי יש לאדם לחקוק עבודה זו של נתינת נחת-רוח ליוצרנו ובוראנו יתברך שמו ויתעלה על לוח לבו, ואל יליזו מעיניו אפילו רגע אחד כי על קוטב עבודה זו היה עיקר בריאת האדם בעולם הזה
Thank Hashem constantly
הייתי נזהר מאד ליתן הודאה ושבח לה' יתעלה יתברך שמו על כל מה שהגיע עלי, הן איזה רעה ר"ל קטנה או גדולה הייתי מצדיק עלי את הדין בשמחה ונתתי לה' יתברך גם כן הודאה על זה בשמחה עצומה בזו הלשון: יוצרי ובוראי אתה צדיק על כל הבא עלי כי אמת עשית ואני הרשעתי ואני נותן לפניך שבח והודאה על זה יוצרי ובוראי, כי בוודאי לטובתי עשית לי סיבה זו. הן על איזה טובה קטנה או גדולה נתתי לו ית"ש הודאה ושבח על הטובה שגמלני. ובוודאי כל אדם מוזהר על זה. והיא משנה מפורשת "חייב אדם לברך על הרעה כשם שהוא מברך על הטובה", והיודע תעלומות יעיד עלי שמלבד החיוב מהמשנה הקדושה עבדתי עבודה זו בתמידות מגודל אהבת ה' יתברך שהייתה תקועה בלבי בתמידות
Simcha Tomid
היה בלבי בוער בתמידות שמחה וחדוה עד מאד, שמחה שאין למעלה הימנה, שיש לי אלוה כזה שלא תכזב אלוהותו לעולמי עד ואחר שברא עולמות לאין מספר בחר גם בי בשר ודם, חרש מחרשי אדמה, וברא אותי מגודל טובו בתוך עם קדוש הישראלי והיה כזה בלבי בתמידות התפארות גדול שזכיתי להיות עבד עולם לאלוה כזה
Eretz Yisroel
בני אהובי, תשוקתכם יהיה בתמידות ליסע לארץ הקדושה. ובוודאי בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך מוליכין אותו

Don't run after kavod
שלא תקבלו שום התמנות, היינו, שלא תהיו בקהל כלל, לא ראשים ולא מנהיגים. בניי אהוביי, כוונתי בכל זה הוא לטובתכם, כרחם אב על בנים, שתרשו שני עולמות הזה והבא, כי על זה יעיד כל בר שכל, מי שהוא יותר טרוד בעסקי העוה"ז השפל והבזוי שהוא כצל עובר, ובפרט ברדיפות הכבוד, אף חייו אינם חיים.


I know someone who is perpetually looking for an empty usable apartment in Yerushalayim for Shabbos [especially now as bein hazmanim approaches and many are traveling to the US]. If you know of any please contact me.


New Shiurim

Issur Beulah To Kohen Gadol.

Part 2.

Beis Din giving a punishment on Shabbos.

Ba Bi-machteres Bi-Shabbos.

Rodef and Ba Bi-machteres.

And more that I haven't linked....

New Article

A lot of delicious thoughts on this weeks parsha.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Be friends with stupid people... this way you will feel like a genius.

My Political Commentary

I don't follow politics much [only a bit in that small room where one may not learn Torah...] and certainly don't waste my time writing about it. Politics is sheker and why would one want to immerse himself in sheker?!:-) [רמז - פוליטקה בגימטריא עמלק]

But a comment about Netanyahus "historic" speech in Congress. He is HILARIOUS! He spoke about the Purim story and did it wearing a Purim Costume. No beard, peyos, kippah or tzitzis. He dressed up as a GOY:-). No indications in his appearance that he is really a Jew ben Jew ben bno shel Rav. Upon relating the Purim story he comically forgot the WHOLE POINT of the story. That HASHEM saved the Jews from Haman and their enemies. He said that is was ESTHER who saved them. Not their tfillos and fasting. That is SOOOO ODDD. I mean, like, you missed the point dude.

But Netanyahu spends his days and nights trying to help Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. For that, we owe him tremendous debt of gratitude. Plus, he is a GREAT speaker. I hope his speech will help.

Sof-sof - אין לנו להשען אלא על אבינו שבשמים!!:-)  

New Special Purim Shiurim

Yiras Shomayim and Amalek.

Tzdaka and Purim.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Pursuant to the last post, I quote from a news story.

Entertainment industry executive David Geffen has donated $100 million to New York's Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

 The performing arts building — long known as Avery Fisher Hall — will be renamed David Geffen Hall in September.

The music and movie mogul is a native New Yorker and a longtime philanthropist.

Think of how much good 100 million dollars would bring am yisrael. And instead- performing arts...

Something To Keep Your Mind Off Food

My Taanis Esther activity.

Ki Tisa and Purim: Moshe Gets Rich - Why Was There A Golden Calf? - Buy An Elephant - Pesach in "Mehico" - Haman The Philanthropist - How We Overcome Our Enemies - Shtark Mussar - Shloime Daskal rocks the Max Stern Gymnasium

From an email. I take no responsibilty for the content....

Abe goes to see his boss and says, "We're doing some heavy house-cleaning at home tomorrow and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff."
"We're short handing, Abe," the boss replies. "I just can't give you the day off."
"Thanks, boss," says Abe, "I knew I could count on you!"

In parshas Ki Tisa we read of the breaking of the luchos. Afterwards Hashem tells Moshe "פסל לך" - Fashion for yourself new luchos. Rashi [echoing a gemara] tells us that Moshe will become RICH from the chips of the stone that fell when chiseled out. It was really expensive stone.

HOLD ON!! Is that what Moshe was interested in? Getting rich. In fact we know that the Jews didn't lack for money as they had quite a bundle from the booty of Mitzraim and the sea. He needs MORE money? Enough is enough. And is this what you give a tzadik, half-angel half-human [as the Medrash calls him]. Expensive stone? Gelt? Moola? Kesef?? If Hashem wanted to give him a gift I believe that the mesivta edition of Shas would be a more appropriate gift or maybe a super mehuder-dike tefillin. But BUCKS?

Another problem is that these luchos are coming to fix what we lost the first time. How does making Moshe rich create a tikkun for the cheyt ha-eigel??

And what does this have to do with Purim?

A man goes to a fancy house in an upscale neighborhood and knocks on the door. A woman opens up the door and he pleads "I haven't had a morsel of food in 3 days". The woman answers "I really admire your willpower".

Chazal tell us that the sin of the golden calf was committed because the Jews had TOO MUCH MONEY AND USED IT FOR THE WRONG REASONS. A new avoda zara came to town and the donations piled in. Much better that a chabad telethon. People were giving generously and willingly. When the Jews built the mishkan not everybody gave  - only those of a generous heart. When donations were needed for the unholy calf כל העם gave - EVERYBODY!!! [except for the holy ladies].

The pasuk says הצילני מדמים אלקים - [literally] save me from bloodshed O G-d. It can also be read SAVE ME FROM MAKING MONEY [דמים] A gOD! People literally turned their money into a god. Instead of using it for holy elevated purposes they used it for unholy, impure purposes.

The Medrash tells us that Moshe was the biggest philanthropist of his generation. He needed the money to give to the poor! For tzdaka and chesed. For Torah and tfilla. For kedusha and tahara. Using money for kedusha is the tikkun of the cheyt ha-eigel.

Wonder of wonders!:-)  

  Moishe is not the world's greatest businessman – he loses money all of the time, but this time it's not his fault because he was robbed. Henry, his friend, hears about the robbery and goes to visit Moishe.
"I'm very sorry to hear about the robbery," says Henry. "Did you lose much?"
"I lost a few things, but it's OK – I got off lucky. I'm just happy it didn't happen one night earlier."
"Why?" asks Henry.
"Well," replies Moishe, "just on the day of the theft, I marked everything down by 30 percent!" 
Achashveirosh said to Haman when he offered big-big heavy bucks for permission to annihilate the Jews הכסף נתון לך והטוב בעיניך תעשה - Keep the money and use it for what is good in your eyes. The holy Rav Yonason Eibeshutz says a HUUUUGE insight into this pasuk. Even goyim understand the value of tzdaka. Haman understood that the BEST thing to do with money is to give it to those less fortunate. That is כטוב בעיניך - What is good in Haman's eyes was to give to the poor as a merit with which he would be able to decimate our people. On Purim we give matanos li-evyonim to relive and re-earn the right to exist by defeating Haman with the power of tzedaka.


Morris and Bernard meet in a restaurant for a business lunch. Morris says, "I have a good deal for you, Bernard. When I was at the zoo recently, I happened to pick up an elephant they didn't need anymore. I could let you have it for $3000."
"Morris are you crazy?" Bernard responds. "What am I going to do with an elephant? I live in a third floor apartment. I barely have enough room for my furniture. Why in the world would I buy an elephant?"
Morris says, "OK, I could let you have three of them for two grand."
"Aha!" says Bernard. "Now, you're talking!"

You know why Obama is talking to Iran? I have a secret. It is all about ONE issue.


If tomorrow I would walk into the White House with a few dozen billion dollars he would pick up the phone and say "Muchamed - not interested. Deal off".

EVERYTHING in life revolves around money. Every shidduch comes down to money issues. Every school, yeshiva, shul etc. makes every decision because of financial factors. When kids come to Israel to learn and their parents pressure them not to stay for more than one or two years it is because of money. If the kid would have a bank account with 700 million years the parents would let the kid learn to his hearts delight. But people are worried "If he learns Torah, what will he do for MONEY?".  

EVERY advertisement you see EVERYWHERE is another way of saying "We want your money". "I am looking for a job" is a euphemism for "I need money". Almost nobody really wants a job. Let's be honest. People want money - not the headaches that come along with a job. The entire entertainment and sports industry is about money. The Ponivitcher Rov said about this world that is both a "mashal" and a "nimshal" to money. Everything is money alluding to money. There is nothing we can do about it. That is the reality. The wealthy work hard to earn their money and to preserve and increase it while the poor and less fortunate [even though I don't think that rich people are particularly fortunate - too many worries and problems] try to get a small piece of the pie [which the Ohr Ha-chaim Ha-kadosh and the Alshich Ha-kadosh say really belongs to them in the first place and Hashem gave it to the rich man to give it to its rightful owner]..

Every business [it goes without saying] revolves around money and since peoples lives revolve around their work it emerges that all of life revolves around money.

We see attractive pictures of vacation getaways "Come to Chicopica, Mexico for Pesach, glatt kosher food, full time tea room, nightly entertainment, top chef, 18 hole golf course, olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts and [oops we almost forgot], daily minyanim and daf yomi. Scholar in residence - Rabbi Warren Geltman". What they are really saying is "Give us tens of thousand of dollars for a few days. Sounds like a bad deal for you and it really is. 40k for some food and a little golf. You can stay home and your wife cooks better - or if she needs a break you can hire a chef and save a huge bundle of money. But come anyway. You will leave fatter and with a sun tan [even though there is sun in New York as well]. Plus, you will see Lipa live and make business deals with a cell phone next to a pool insead of in your boring office."

But they know what they are doing. People go for it and every Pesach klal yisrael spends tens [hundreds?] of millions of dollars on Pesach getaways.

So here is a Purim suggestion - don't stop enjoying life. Hashem loves you and wants you to enjoy his world and the gifts he gave you. But start re-assessing if we are really using His gifts in the Jewish way. Maybe some of the money we spend on our luxuries could better be used to help our BROTHERS [in the context of tzdaka the Torah calls the poor "brother"] who lack the basics. What will happen if one night we decide to cancel our plans to eat in a fancy restaurant and give the 180 dollars we were going to spend to a family in Yerushalayim that has nothing more than challah for a shabbos meal? I will tell you what will happen. You will be tremendously elevated and bring great good and bracha down to the world. 

The anti-semites spends billions of dollars creating weapons to destroy us. They receive DONATIONS. People give generously for this purpose. The Christians spend TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS every year in efforts to convert us. The Tzadikim teach that when we are lacking the middah of generosity, the goyim take it and use it [often] for nefarious purposes. I have read about so many wealthy goyim who give loads and loads of money to tzdaka. Some billionaires established foundations to give away ALL OF THEIR MONEY while many many [even] frum Jews don't even give a tenth of their money. When Madoff went down we learned how many people had tremendously huge sums of money which instead of being shared with those less fortunate ended up ... in the ground.


In many families you find some members who possess tremendous wealth and have more money to live three lifetimes in great while their own blood relatives have to scramble for the barest necessities. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US??  The Huffington Post reported in April 2012 that "81 billionaires committed to giving at least half of their fortunes to charity". As of January 2015, 128 billionaire or former billionaire individuals and couples have signed the pledge. Where are Torah Jews?

OF COURSE there are many many generous Jews but is it enough? THAT is the test of our generation and of a person's character. It befuddles the mind how people can sleep soundly at night knowing that people lack the basics, yeshivas and other Torah institutions are choking, sick people can't afford medication, cold people can't afford warm clothing [a neighbor of mine...] etc. etc. and instead of helping they instead spend the money on a new car. Of course nobody can solve all of the problems but the more we do the better. לא המלאכה לגמור ואי אתה בן חורין להיבטל ממנה. We ask how the world was silent when 6 million were being slaughtered. Silence in the face of anyones pain is inexcusable - even if it is not about Nazis and gas chambers.  

This world is very-very-very short. The next world is VERY-VERY-VERY-LONG. All we TAKE with us is what we gave.. Let us open our hearts and wallets this Purim [see the Rambam that the mitzva of matanos le-evyonim is greater than the mitzva of mishloach manos] and feel true love and brotherhood with our fellow Jews. In that merit ALL Jews will experience ליהודים היתה אורה ושמחה וששון ויקר.   

And let the parties begin....

Love and blessings to one and all  and li-chaim.


[Based in part on last night's shiur of the Tolna Rebbe Shlita]