Thursday, October 29, 2015

Teaching Birkas Kohanim

Survey Says...

In a survey of Israeli teenagers who were asked what they think of the murder of Rabin, 17 percent didn't know who Rabin was and 79 percent didn't know what the word "think" means. 


Seminary girl to her friend: 

"What does "nahag" mean?"


"Back door".  

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Today my son went to the orthodontist who told him that he needs braces. When we asked the price he instead told us the sum of half an apartment.
So confused.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Returning To Youth

After the akeida it says that Avraham returned to his lads - וישובו אל נעריו.
This can also be translated "he returned to his youth". Avraham saw how Yitzchak was just as happy as Avraham was that he was about to be sacrificed, even though Yitzchak hadn't heard the command directly from Hashem as Avraham did. וילכו שניהם יחדיו - They were equally excited.
Where, thought Avraham, did Yitzchak get this attitude from? It must be his youthfulness.
So Avraham renewed and reJEWvenated himself. וישב אל נעריו - He returned to his state of youth.
[The Heilige Kotzker]  
לזכות רבי אפרים אבא בן מרים שושנה לברכה והצלחה בכל מעשי ידיו הוא ביתו וכל אשר לו

Musings On Reaching The Biggie

The Mets, the team of my youth, made it to the World Series.
And I couldn't care less. I just can't get myself to take games seriously or to assign any importance to them.
I could have been so happy, like I was in '86 when "we" won the Series. But then I was 15, immature, and cared deeply about games. Now I find myself caring about things like the security of the Land of Israel and Jews worldwide, ending world hunger and disease and getting people to stop yapping away on buses and in public places.
But games? Games just don't do it for me anymore. If  they win the Series, they just won a "game" and if they lose, it is ALSO a game.
Just a game.
Then again - a lot of my friends do care. So if it makes yidden happy that the Mets win, then I say ...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Victims Of Terror Attacks

  • Shoshana Bat Lulu
  • Yom Tov Lipa Ben Roza
  • Naor Shalev Ben Rut Elisheva
  • Yosef Chayim Ben Zehava
  • Maor Ephraim Ben Fetuna Daniella
  • Orel Azori Bat Limor
  • Ron Shai Ben Sigalit
  • Avraham Ben Rut
  • Sahar Ben Shoshana
  • Inbar Chaya Bat Chagit Channa
  • Dvir Ben Shoshana
  • Sagi Ben Orit
  • Meir Yitzchak Ben Sarah
  • Nir Ben Shoshi
  • Moshe Ben Orli
  • Odel Bat Miriam
  • Natan Ben Odel
  • Aharon Moshe Chaim Ben Chaya Chana

Where The Concept And Phraseology Meet

The pasuk [Breishis 12/17] says וינגע ה' את פרעה נגעים גדולים ואת ביתו - Hashem afflicted Paroh with great "negaim" and his household [when he took Sarah].
This is a seemingly odd phraseology. It SHOULD say that Hashem afflicted Paroh and his household with great "negaim". Why do the words נגעים גדולים interrupt between Paroh and ביתו. 
This gives credence to what Rashi Hakadosh says: במכת ראתן לקה שהתשמיש קשה לו. He was afflicted with a disease called "ra'ason" which makes the act of relations painful.
So these negaim "separated" between man and woman. That is why in the language of the pasuk it "separates" between the words Paroh and ביתו.
[The Holy Kojiklover Gaon Rav Aryeh Tzvi Frommer ztz"l page 301]

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New Shiur

Pursuant to the previous post - this shiur was given BS"D.
[In addition to numerous other new shiurim - please taste and see].

Killing A Terrorist - Women Rabbis - My Opinion And How Much It Is Worth

לזכות ידידי אהובי משה יהודה בן פעשא דינה לזיווג הגון בקרוב!!!!
There is a huge debate raging in Israel about what to do with a terrorist after he is neutralized and tied up. So say "KILL 'IM!!" Others claim that this is immoral.
The bottom line is that all of of our opinions are worth diddly squat because only true gedolei yisrael [who obviously don't read blogs] can decide what dvar Hashem is. First one must learn all of Shas and poskim thoroughly - then he has the right to an opinion.
[I recently read yet another article about women "rabbis". The author of the article mistakenly thought that passing a semicha test makes one an authority on all areas of Jewish law and hashkafa. The reality is that having semicha means that one memorized some halachos from hilchos Shabbos, nidda, kashrus and aveilus. NOTHING ELSE. It doesn't mean that one is a talmid chochom or an authority on anything. To be a true talmid chochom is not to sit and study and very narrow curriculum in order to pass a test but to sit for years and years, day and night, weekdays, Shabbos and holidays, toiling in Torah. From Brachos to Niddah. Every Tosfos. Every Maharsha. Bavli, Yerushalmi Sifra and Sifree etc. etc. No woman, as I have noted before, has done this or has the means and desire to do this. We love our women but we can't uphold our tradition by breaking it].    
But just to "talk in learning" on this sugya... 
1] The Heilige Kintzker Gaon asks [קבא דקשייתא א] why we are not מחלל שבת to save a בא במחתרת upon whom an avalanche of rocks fell [אין מפקחין עליו את הגל].  He is no longer a rodef so what is the problem??
One answer given [see the Mandelbaum edition at length] is that even though NOW he is not a danger - but he will be in the future. Therefore, we may not be מחללל שבת to save him.
Veist ois - a future rodef has a din rodef. ודוק היטב בזה.  
2] At war  - the regular rules of sanctity of human life are suspended. It is [until moshiach comes] kill or get killed רח"ל. One may argue that we have been at war since the birth of the State. [See R' Shachter's בעקבי הצאן סימן ל"ב for support of this thesis]. Any Arab who attempts to commit a terrorist attack must be treated like an enemy soldier - not like a regular civilian at a time of peace.
3] See Rambam Hilchos Melchim 8/10 ודוק היטב.
The final decision is given over to מאורי הדור and not to relative amaratzim like myself.
והאמת והשלום אהבו!!!
Bi-ahava rabba,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Important Announcement

Lots of new shiurim - taste and see!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hodoooooo Lashem!!!

Myse she-haya this morning....
My rent is due today. The bank situation does not allow me to pay from there, Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo [you can't pay with a minus].
Hashem miraculously, unexpectedly, sent me money to cover it. But then, in my absentmindedness, I misplaced the money [I misplace things a lot. "Absentminded professor" is an apt description].
I then spent a half hour looking upside, outside, and all around for the money. I knew which room it was in and the room is not so big. 
I then had a thought. Why don't I ask Hashem.
So I did.
Within about one minute, it was in my hands.
הודו לה' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו!!!!!
I and my family have another month with a roof over our heads.
A true mechaya!!:-):-) 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Shiurim

Amazing wedding drasha from the Lubavitcher Rebbe ztz"l from his secret files.
Deep shaleshudes schmooze on Lech Lecha from the Heilige Rav Charlap ztz"l.

A great tshuva on Lo Tachmod from the Holy Kojiklover ztz"l. I thank Rebbi Meyer Simcha ben Leah for learning the teshuva with me.

And more.... 

A Separate Regel

The Satmar Rebbe would dance for hours on Simchas Torah and people would come from all over to watch. He had a lot of health problems with his leg and his doctor told him that he must take it easy with the dancing.
The doctor heard on Simchas Torah that the Rebbe was dancing as always, so he went to the Beis Medrash to beg him to take it easy. The Rebbe told the doctor not to worry about it because the gemara says that Shmini Atzeres is a רגל בפני עצמו - It's own independent regel, so it won't affect his regel..... 

Amazing Lady

By Techiye Levine
I just heard the news that Henny Machlis away at the age of 58.
I am flooded with love and gratitude for this incredible woman who profoundly inspired me so many years ago when I spent a year in Jerusalem deepening my Jewish commitment and learning in a women’s yeshiva.Each Friday morning I would get on the bus and head to their home to help them prepare for Shabbas and hosting 100 guests for each meal.
There is nothing like the Machlis’ Shabbat table. Each week, a flood of guests would arrive, some were invited, some asked to come, some were “regulars” and did not need to be asked or to ask. Students at yeshivas, seminaries and college, as well as some of their visiting parents who had heard about this incredible experience from their children and wanted to experience it themselves. Some were homeless. More than one was a recovering addict and was receiving almost all their meals from the Machlis kitchen, and occasionally even sleeping in the family’s car. Many were tourists, Jewish and non-Jewish, who heard that they could just show up and have one of the most incredible experiences of their life.
I have no idea how there was enough food for all those guests that seem to magically come from this tiny kitchen.
The Machlises did not know how many were coming. It could be 50, or 80, or 120. Each guest was welcomed with warmth and a huge smile from Rebbetzin Henny Machlis. Tables would shift, other tables and chairs would be brought in, and we would scurry to add more place settings. There was never a moment of hesitation or hints of concern that there would not be enough food. The older children and I would meet Rebbetzin Machlis in the kitchen and we would quickly pull more things out of the fridge that seemed to be just as magical as the wardrobe from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” fame. How there was enough food for the throngs of people never will make sense to me.
Once the food was served, Rabbi Machlis would again welcome everyone warmly. Then he would ask us to go around the table and share a piece of wisdom. “It can be an idea from Torah or something else; we all have wisdom to share.” He meant this. While we went around the table, the Machlises would listen to each guest as if they were a scholar or a renowned poet. Each person was treated with warmth and curiosity. They expressed interest in and concern for everyone there.
More than an abundance of food, there was an abundance of joy, love, respect and wisdom. The amount of light that emanates from that small home is blinding.
Henny Machlis embodied so many life-changing lessons that it would take a lifetime of aspiring to reach. With tears streaming down my face, here are just a few that come to mind.
1. It is possible to live in a near constant state of joy: It’s a direct result of being a giver.
2. It is possible to only see the good in others.
3. Everyone is precious. I was not alone in feeling like I was her favorite guest! She truly loved all of us and made it clear that each person should be beloved and welcomed, even those who make others uncomfortable.
4. Never stop learning and growing. Even a woman who has 14 kids and is expecting more than 100 for dinner can find time to learn Torah and often be found with a book in her hands.
5. You can let your family know they come first even while teaching them to be incredible givers. Each child was involved in the family’s abundant giving but Henny always made sure that they each were taken care of. Preparing the Rabbi’s plate before the food was put on the table or grabbing some cookies to be sure the kids would get. Through their unceasing kindness to people who were struggling and in need, like the recovering addicts who were mentally unstable and had nowhere to live, they showed their kids how far one could stretch themselves to give. By having them sleep in their car instead of inside their home, they taught that there are boundaries and that the safety of their children was paramount. They had close to 100 guests almost every Shabbas but only after they had a small private family meal and they made it known that they would not be hosting for the Passover Seder. They had it alone with their children in order to focus entirely on them, hear all of what they had learned at school, and fulfill the mitzvah of teaching one’s children about the Exodus. (Rebbetzin Machlis made arrangements for anyone who needed a Seder to go to various friends and neighbors!)
6. Show respect and love to your spouse. No matter how many guests were there or how much had to be done, Rebbetzin Machlis always stopped and sat to listen to her husband share words of Torah.
7. Everyone has wisdom, everyone can give. A four-year-old can bake a cake. (Their 4-year-old daughter would single handedly make one of the best chocolate cakes I ever tasted.)
8. There is always room and enough food for one (or 20) more.Limits stretch when they need to.
9. Welcome everyone into your home. Every type of person is welcomed to the Machlis home. Religious, non-religious, even anti-religious, Jewish, non-Jewish – Rebbetzin Machlis was not afraid that the variety of guests would have a negative influence on her children. She understood that their home was “THE place to be.” Others flocked there in order to be inspired. People admired and sat in awe of this special couple. Even a skeptical guest would be won over by the second course! The children saw how their parents were admired, beloved and respected by people of every culture, background and political affiliation and saw firsthand the power Torah has on people’s lives.
10. Each child is a world. The Machlis family was my first exposure to a large religious family. It was impossible not to be struck by how unique and altogether amazing each child was! It is easy to lump people together but the Machlis kids taught me that, if anything, having many siblings meant being even more of an individual! Rebbetzin Machlis was incredibly affectionate and truly adored all of her kids. She once told me that each child should have moments of feeling like the “only child;” that a parent should carve out time to make certain children felt that they were loved and understood individually.
There are no words to express my gratitude to Rabbi and Rebbetzin Machlis and their incredible family. Henny will be mourned by the entire Jewish people. May the family be comforted among the Mourners of Zion. And may we all aspire to emulate her ways.
Tax-deductible donations to the Machlis Shabbat project can be made at

She-lo Asani Goy - MICHIGANEEEEE!!!!!!

When it comes to targets of football fans' fury, there's nothing like a kicker who blows the game.
From Garo Yepremian to Josh Scobee, every poor kicker who's shanked one has felt it from fans.
Welcome to the club, Blake O'Neill. The Michigan punter reserved a place in the epic kicking fail hall of fame with his blunder that gave Michigan State a stunning win Saturday.
As you can imagine, Twitter wasn't kind to O'Neill. The Australian reportedly even got death threats.

New Shiurim On Nevuah And Ruach Hakodesh - BS"D!!

The Maor Einayim And The Misnaged

An old misnagdishe Jew once went blind רח"ל. His wife, who was of Chasidic background, implored him to go to the Satmar Rebbe for a bracha. He emphatically refused. "I don't go to Rebbes". He was a true misnaged. They had tried all the doctors, he said, and there was nothing left to do.
His wife didn't let up and said that since he admits that the Satmar Rebbe is a big talmid chochom, he could at least go to speak to him in learning. The husband reluctantly complied.
He went to the Rebbe who told him to learn the Sefer Maor Einayim [the "Light Of The Eyes"] from the Holy Chernobler, as a segulah to restore his vision.. He found a chasidishe avreich and they learned together. 
His vision was restored.
After he related this story he was asked if he learns Maor Einayim anymore. He answered "No".
A real misnaged:-).
[Heard from the person who heard it from the Baal Hamyse].

Monday, October 19, 2015

Why We Work

The gemara in Shabbos relates that when Rebbe Shimon and his son exited the cave after 12 years, they were very disappointed. They saw people plowing and planting and exclaimed that these people are abandoning eternal life and are involved in temporary life – מניחים חיי עולם ועוסקים בחיי שעה.
Everywhere they looked, their eyes would burn what they saw.
A heavenly voice emerged and said “Are you trying to destroy my world? Go back to your cave!” So they did for 12 more months [which is the time of judgement in gehenom].
Afterwards, they left the cave again and saw an old man running on Erev Shabbos with two hadasim. They asked him what they are for and he replied that it is for the honor of Shabbos, one is for zachor and the other is for shamor. At this point, Rebbi Shimon said to his son, “Look at how much Jews love mitzvos.” They were then satisfied.
What is GOING ON??
Why do Jews work? For parnassa? We don't NEED to work for parnassa because we have Hashem who will take care of all of our needs without our “help”. We work in order to accentuate the fact that we are resting on Shabbos for the sake of the mitzva and not because we don't work anyway. [Isn't that why you work??:-)]
When they saw the Jews working, they thought that it is all about having parnassa in this world and cried out “מניחים חיי עולם ועוסקים בחיי שעה". Afterwards, they saw the man with the two hadasim and asked him what they were for. The man replied that they represented zachor and shamor. Zachor means to remember Shabbos all six days. Shamor represents guarding and strictly keeping Shabbos. It now became clear that all of the toil of the Jews in the field during the six days was just in order to sanctify Shabbos. So Rebbi Shimon exclaimed “Look at how Jews love mitzvos” and they were calmed and at peace.
[עפ"י מי מרום פ' לך לך ועיי"ש לשני הסברים נוספים]
לזכות גילה שושנה בת נעכא גיטל

A Blessing

I would like to use my כח הברכה on my b-day to bless all of my sweetest and beloved friends that you should all have only good and sweet things all the days of your long life, limitless bounty in the material and spiritual realms, happiness, health and prosperity.

באהבה רבה
המצפה תמיד לישועת השם


Let Go Of Your Ego - It Is Destroying You

Learn From A Baby

Too Late

By  the time the children realize that their parents were right - they already have their own children who think that they don't know what they are talking about....

Be A Partner

R' Assaf Harnoy
Half an Aircraft Carrier
For 120 years, Noach builds his large ark, which will serve to rescue him, his family, and living animals from the Deluge. The size of the ark, as listed in the Torah, was about half the size of a modern aircraft carrier, which has room for about 5,000 sailors.
Just think about how much labor is necessary to build an ark of this size, especially if you are doing it alone, without the use of modern-day cranes and electrical motors. How many trees Noach had to chop down, how much work it was to connect them together. There can be no doubt that Noach worked very hard to make his ark, accompanied all the time by mockery and hatrew d of all the people around him.
These thoughts can be added to the great question asked by the Ramban in this week's Torah portion (Bereishit 6:19). He asks why Noach made such an effort to build the ark. He knew that without a substantial miracle it would not be possible to bring inside all the living types of animals, and there would certainly not be enough room for the food that they would need:
"It is known that there are a very large number of animals, and some of them are very large, such as the elephants... There are very many crawling animals, and when you gather enough food for all of them... it will not be possible to contain everything in this ark, not even in ten arks of this size..."
Do What you Can
The Ramban gives two reasons for the huge effort that Noach put into the project. First, he wanted to wake up the people of his generation to repent - When they saw the huge ark with their own eyes perhaps they would mend their ways.
The second answer of the Ramban can teach us a very important priniciple:
"He also made it very big in order to diminish the size of the miracle. That is the way of all the miracles in the Torah or in the Prophets – the people do whatever they can and leave the rest for G-d."
At first glance this seems to be an application of the well-known principle, "Do not depend on a miracle." That is, a person should not base his actions on anticipating a miracle because of G-d's kindness, since we can never be sure if and when it will come. To depend on the occurrence of a miracle is considered irresponsible, since it seems to ignore the verse, "It is not in heaven" [Devarim 30:12]. Who are we to take Divine reckoning into account?
However, it seems that the Ramban is hinting at a more profound idea.
The Ramban writes, "That is the way... the people do whatever they can." This is the very foundation that gives meaning to our lives on earth, as servants of the Holy One, Blessed be He. A person of Yisrael has been placed on the earth in order to be a partner in the labor of the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the creation here in the world. Our purpose here is not merely to "sit here and get along," but rather to rise up and act together with G-d. And that is the real meaning of Noach's labor.
Noach knew full well that there was no possibility of having enough room for all the animals even in the large ark that he built, and certainly not to supply their needs. It was clear that he would need a miracle to accomplish his task. However, he was required to rise up and act as a partner to the Holy One, Blessed be He. He understood that even if the Holy One, Blessed be He, would perform a miracle and rescue His creatures it was up to Noach to do whatever he could, and that for this purpose he had been sent to the world – to act, to work, and to perform the labor, in order to participate in the project of maintaining and continuing the existence of the world.
It would seem that for this reason the source of the Talmud Yerushalmi that one should not depend on a miracle is based on occurrences from the Temple (Shekalim 17:2). For example, the Table in the Temple was not made from silver, so that the Holy Bread would not become moldy, even though a miracle was needed in any case, since the Bread stood for an entire week out in the open. The fact that the source of the Yerushalmi is the Temple shows us that even in the holiest place, where the Shechina was always present, man must understand his position and his role within the world. Even in the Temple, he must be aware that he must do whatever he can, and in this way he will continue to be an active participant in the actions of the Shechina.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Watch Out ISIS

Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said her undergraduate degree in medieval history will be an asset in fighting ISIS. Because if there’s one thing that ISIS fears and respects, it’s a woman’s intellect.

Commanded Or Voluntary Mitzva- Which Is Greater?

The gemara [Kiddushin 31] first says that it is greater to do mitzvos voluntarily than it is to do them out of obligation but concludes that is is better to do mitzvos out of obligation. גדול המצווה ועושה ממי שאינו מצווה ועושה. OF COURSE, both opinions are correct and אלו ואלו דברי אלקים חיים.

It is greater to perform mitzvos voluntarily because it shows a deep pining to fulfill the will of Hashem even though one could get away with not doing the mitva.

It is greater to perform a mitzva out of obligation for numerous reasons – as explicated in our holy books.

1] When one is commanded, the power of the commander inheres in the mitzva. כח המצווה במצוה.  When volunteering, the act itself is praiseworthy but lacks the same potency.

2] When performing out of obligation – one places himself into the ENTIRE FRAMEWORK of the 613 mitzvos. It is not just THIS MITZVA that he is doing but he is essentially declaring “I am obligated in ALL of the mitzvos because G-d is Boss – not me. When one volunteers – it is HE who decides and not the Boss. [עי' בתוס' ר"י הזקן על אתר ובס' באר מרים מה שביאר דבריו]

When one “picks and chooses” which mitzvos he does, even the mitzvos he chooses to fulfill lack the kedusha and power they would contain if he would fulfill all of the mitzvos, because by not keeping some of the mitzvos [purposely and pre-meditatively], he is essentially asserting that it is HE who decides whether or not he must keep mitzvos. The goal of the mitzva is to submit to a Higher Power and not to assert my own power.

3] When one is מצווה ועושה he overcomes the natural yetzer hara to rebel and the challenge of acting out of obligation which is often perceived as a pain and tircha.

מצווה ועושה parallels Torah Shebichtav while אינו מצווה ועושה [because it is an unchanging immutable Divine command] parallels Torah Shebial Peh [which includes human input]. Ultimately - even Torah Shebial Peh must be rooted in Torah Shebichtav and similarly, even those mitzvos we perform voluntarily must be rooted in Hashem's rulership over the world and more importantly - His rulership over ourselves.  

In conclusion – volunteering is GREAT but there is nothing like fulfilling obligations. The secret to success in ruchniyus is understanding our obligations in this world and fulfilling them without giving ourselves too many breaks. As the great R' Luzzatto starts his classic sefer יסוד החסידות ושורש העבודה שיתברר ויתאמת האדם מהו חובתו בעולמו – Everybody has different obligations [outside of the standard obligations we all have] and every person must know what they are and then be vigilant in fulfilling them.

You can think about this next time you say the words אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו - Hashem commanded us with His mitzvos and sanctified us. Part of the sanctification in the mitzva act and part of it is because of the command.  

[Based on a shiur - עי' מי מרום י"ג בפיסקה אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו]

לזכות גילה שושנה בת נעכא גיטל לכל הברכות

Hat And Jacket For Davening - A Charedi Fiction?

The Shulchan Aruch [91/6] writes that it is the way of the wise and their students to daven while they are “atufim” which means wrapped up. This is understood by the poskim to mean [in our day and age] while wearing a hat and jacket. Later, the Shulchan Aruch [98/4] expands this to include all people ראוי שיהיו לו מלבושים מיוחדים לתפילה כמו בגדי כהונה – it is fitting that he should have special garments for tefillah like kohanic garb. When one meets a very important personage he dresses in a special way, so why should one wear a nice suit and tie for Obama but for the Master of the Universe [who is also, kviyachol, pro-israel] he wears khaki pants and a three button shirt? [עי' גם ברמב"ם הלכות תפלה ה ה].

It eludes me why it is considered so acceptable to dress so casually for tefillah. The gemara [in the first perek of shabbos 10 and see also the beginning of the fifth perek of brachos] is very clear about the issue of הכון לקראת אלקיך ישראל [Amos 4/12] – Prepare yourself [with fine clothing] to meet the G-d of Israel. People say that a hat and jacket are purely social norms that have no basis in halacha. This is false and misleading. For those who walk around in a hat and jacket it is an obligation to dress that way for davening. For those who don't – SOMETHING should be worn as an expression of our respect for the great personage we are about to beseech.

Rav Chaim Kniyevsky and Rav Nissim Karelitz are quoted as saying that if one can either daven with a minyan but without hat and jacket or with a minyan but without a hat and jacket – he should miss the minyan! Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach argues. [עי' מאיר עוז עמוד 278].

Rav Belsky [קובץ מתיבתא תשנ"ג עמ רפ"ו] is quoted as saying that it is a mistake to think that in the olden days people would wear a hat in front of important people but today we don't so it is not necessary for tefilla. The reality is that people would REMOVE their hats when standing in front of important people and yet the halacha required a hat and that hasn't changed. The Klausenberger ztz”l also says in a tshuva [עי' דברי יציב סי' ס – הוא קורא למנהג ללכת ברחוב בלי כובע - מנהג שוטים] that בטלה דעתו if he feels that a hat isn't necessary because it is an act of kavod to wear one and is thus obligatory.

In Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, Rav Soloveitchik would give shiur while wearing just a yarmulke but after shiur he would wash his hands [with a כלי] and then put on his hat and daven [מפניני הרב עמ' ע”ד].

Modern Orthodox, Yeshivish, Chasidish – it doesn't matter. Special clothing for the King is fitting for anyone who either has a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism….

לזכות גילה שונה בת נעכא גיטל

More On The Humility Of Gedolim

From an email sent by a beloved friend:
The Klausenbeger's anava....

 Rebbi Akiva Eiger was such an עניו that he wasn’t sure if he should publish his תשובות. רבי עקיבא איגר זצוק"ל wrote letters to his sons telling them directions in how he wants them to be מסדר his כתבים for publication. In the letters, גרעק"א says that he always had a tremendous trepidation when he was deciding הלכה. He says that the only reason he ever consented to decide הלכהand publish his תשובות is because he was worried “פן” – lest – he should be in violation of the איסור for a חכם שהגיע להוראה to avoid being מורה הלכה.

What we see from here is that even רעק"א, one of the greatest geniuses andטהור וקדוש we have ever had was מסופק whether he was הגיע להוראה. He was worried that he “may” be considered הגיעה להוראה and therefore consented to pasken שאלות!
Rav Moshe Feinstein זצוק"ל quotes this in הקדמה to אגרות משה ח"א. At first he says it looks like it should be a קל וחומר, and if רעק"א wasn’t sure, then certainly he cannot be sure. Then Rav Moshe says that he thinks that he need not measure himself up against רעק"א, rather it varies depending on the דור. One is considered הגיעה להוראה in comparison to those in his generation.
Rav Twersky commented that מסתמא Reb Akiva Eiger also agreed to this concept of Rav Moshe’s. He wasn’t measuring himself against previous generations. He genuinely was unsure whether he was הגיעה להוראה in his own דור.
I add that Rebbi Akiva Eiger also writes in the preface to his Tshuvos that he can't say that he ever had students [עיין שם!]. Who is to say that he taught them more than they taught him? I get squeamish when people tell me that someone is my talmid. If Rebbi Akiva Eiger couldn't claim talmidim - I certainly cannot.
And anyway, I have been uniquely unsuccessful in transmitting to the talmidei ha-yeshiva in which I have taught, the derech that I try to pass on - in lumdos, halacha, mussar, chasidus, hanhagos ha-chaim etc. 25 years and so little to show. I CERTAINLY have no talmidim.
Maybe one day:-).  
I won't stop trying.

The Importance Of Tradition

By Jessica Lamb Shapiro
Religion kept coming up in my research into self-help. Some religious texts were used as self-help (there is even a self-help edition of the Bible). Books like The Power of Positive Thinking (1954) combined self-help and religion to popular effect; so did forgotten titles like Pray Your Weight Away (1929). A conference I went to led by the author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books had the feeling of a tent revival. I often saw self-help referred to as “America’s religion, ” and at times I wondered if self-help, for some, had taken the place of religion.
My own ties to religion were weak. My grandparents had been religious Jews, but my father was an atheist. He even asked the Rabbi (also his brother-in-law to be) who performed his and my mother’s wedding ceremony not to mention the word G-d. As a result, my contact with Judaism was largely cultural: holidays spent with my grandmother, foods l loved like matzo brie and brisket.
If someone had asked me if I was Jewish, I would have said “yes,” but we had lost contact with most of our traditions, rituals, and history. My father wrote self-help books and was a child psychologist, and I think he believed we could figure out everything we needed for ourselves. He was wrong.
After my mother took her own life, my father was so angry and upset that he stopped talking about her. I was only two years old, and wasn’t allowed to go to the funeral. I was never taken to visit her grave, or taught how to grieve for her. By the time I was twenty-six, I felt completely lost. That summer, the week of the anniversary of my mother’s death, I broke down completely.
My paternal grandmother was the opposite of pushy, the kind of person who just wanted everyone to be happy, but for once, she intervened. Her confession: Every year, on the anniversary of my mother’s death, she told me, she burned a yahrzeit candle. My grandmother never told my father or me that she observed this ritual because she didn’t want to upset anyone. Yet, counter-intuitively, once I was given a way to grieve, I stopped feeling upset. From that year on, I have always lit a yahrzeit candle for my mother on July 27th. The ritual comforts me, and gives me a way to remember her. I light one for my grandmother too now, both to remember her and to remember the time she returned to me a tradition I didn’t even know I’d lost.
[From the website of the Jewish Book Council]

Saturday, October 17, 2015

My Oneg Shabbos This Week

I saw a teshuva in the Divrei Yatziv from the heilige Klausenberger Rebbe zy"a.

He was a man who could speak for hours and give complex pilpulim on any topic in Torah off the cuff. He was a gaon olam and master of kol hatorah koolah. 

He concludes the aforementioned teshuva by asserting that he is not worthy to pasken shylos and that he is only writing so that the real poskim will read it and decide for themselves what the correct psak is. But he? He can't pasken shylos....

And he meant it. He wasn't a joking sort of person. 

We should all strive to reach his level of greatness and then to remain as unbelievably humble as he was.  

Allusion To My Birthday?

On Monday is my 44th birthday - gematria ד"ם. It is also a fast day for tzadikim - the first of בה"ב.
A remez in the Torah for this birthday: The pasuk says אל תאכלו על הד"ם - Don't eat on the 44th birthday.......
I want to live forever. So far, so good....:-).
I want to thank Hashem for all of the wonderful years He has given me and ask Him for more. And that we can spend them together כולנו חיים in good health and prosperity!!:-):-)!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Where Have I Been...? - NEW EMAIL:

My computer crashed. Had to fix it and spent a lot of money. Then it crashed again so I spent more money on a new one [hey - rich guys like me are always looking for ways to spend more money:-)]. Then I couldn't access my email. This has taken up a lot of time and energy.

In addition, lots of other things are going on that are occupying my time. 

May Hashem bless you and all of Klal Yisrael [ואני בתוכם] with only only only smachos, hatzlacha and bracha. May we all have the time to learn a lot of Torah and not be distracted by all of the distractions of this world. We should all fufill our tafkid in this world with simcha and hislahavus and use the tests and difficulties Hashem sends us in His everlasting love and mercy as stepping stomes to more growth. 

We will turn all of the צרה into צהר [a light - as we see in this weeks parsha].

Not Arabs nor any other problems will stop us from serving bi-simcha!


Bi-ahava rabba,



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Was The Ramchal Against Torah Chas Vi-shalom?

According to R' Pinchas Ben Yair - the ladder that leads to Hashem starts with TORAH. But when the Mesilas Yesharim wrote his sefer [known as the "Mesilas Yesharim"] he omitted Torah from the ladder and starts with זהירות.

Why? Hear this and DANCE.

Who Is A Gazlan?

לרפואת שלום בן גילה בתוך שח"י

In the first mishna in Sanhedrin [ד"ה גזילות] Rashi writes that someone who neglects to return a loan is NOT a גזלן.

In Gittin [לו: ד"ה אמור רבנן] Rashi says that one who neglects to return a loan IS a גזלן.

Many achronim wonder how Rashi Hakadosh can say דבר והיפוכו.

I wonder as well.

Think about it.....

The Simcha Of Torah

The gaon Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein [Rav Moshe's nephew and Rav Yitzchak Zeev Soloveitchik's son in law] once made a siyum on maseches Zevachim and was especially happy. He was asked why he was so happy. It was the first time he had finished Zevachim?

He said that in the past he learned Zevachim but didn't learn דף ל. The talmidim pointed out that he gave shiurim on דף ל in the past so of course he had learned it. He replied that yes, he "said Torah" on דף ל but hadn't REALLY learned it. He remembers when Rav Chaim "Stutchiner" [Shmuelevitz ztz"l] was in the Mir and stood opposite the wall and reviewed דף ל about 40 times until everything became clear to him. He [R' Yechiel Michel] also had learned many other pages from the maseches but didn't have the same "geshmack" from דף ל. This time however, he felt the "geshmack".

That is why he was so overjoyed.

אין זכייה כתורה.

[Yeshurun 14 page 311]

Yet More On Nevuah And Ruach Hakodesh

Nevuah is the talent to develop ruach hakodesh. Ruach hakodesh is the prophetic power before it has been developed from its potential and reached its fruition.
When we assess the value of nevuah we have to place more weight on the ruach hakodesh within it. Nevertheless nevuah is greater than ruach hakodesh because it is more developed and advanced than ruach hakodesh. It is understood according to this that a person can be great in ruach hakodesh and nevertheless not a navi because he didn't develop his ability to reach nevuah due to external factors, coming from the levels of all the various worlds, the order of life etc. etc. that prevented the development of his nevuah.
And there is a navi that didn't reach the level of ruach hakodesh possessed by a big baal ruach hakodesh and nevertheless he developed his limited power of ruach hakodesh so much so that he became a navi.
This explains the relationship between neviim and ksuvim. On one hand neviim are holier than ksuvim. On the other hand, one may place neviim on top of ksuvim and a ksuvim on top of neviim, indicating that they are of equal kedusha. Not only that, but sometimes we find a special level of ksuvim that even exceeds that of neviim. An example of this is the halacha [Rosh Hashana 32] that when saying the psukim of Malchiyos, Zichronos and Shofaros, the order is first psukim from ksuvim and only afterwards psukim from neviim. The explanation is that sometimes ruach hakodesh is greater than nevuah so it takes precedence. On the other hand - there is an aspect of nevuah that exceeds ruach hakodesh. So when it comes to placing one on top of the other, there is no preference. When it comes to saying the psukim on Rosh Hashana, ksuvim comes first. Yet, after all is said and done, nevuah is a level that [again, from a certain perspective] is greater than ruach hakodesh as it is a well developed and cultivated ruach hakodesh.
Based on the foregoing - the following gemara will DANCE:
 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision; for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. Who were these ‘men’ — R. Jeremiah — or some say, R. Hiyya b. Abba — said: These were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. They were superior to him [in one way], and he was superior to them [in another]. They were superior to him, because they were prophets and he was not a prophet. He was superior to them, because he saw [on this occasion] and they did not see. But if they did not see, why were they frightened? — Although they themselves did not see, their star saw. [Megilla 3a]
In the words of the Rav ztz"l [Shmoneh Kvatzim 8/146]:  

הנבואה היא הכשרון המפותח של רוח הקודש, ורוח הקודש הוא הכח הנבואי טרם צאתו מן הכח אל הפועל הגמור. כשאנו משערים את ערכה של הנבואה, צריכים אנחנו לשים את המשקל היותר גדול והיותר עקרי על התוכן של רוח הקודש בקרבה, ומכל מקום עולה היא הנבואה על רוח הקודש, מפני שהיא מדת רוח הקודש מפותחה ומבושלה. מובן הדבר לפי זה, שאפשר שיהיה אדם גדול במדת רוח הקודש שלו ומכל מקום לא יהיה נביא, מפני שלא פתח את כשרונו לבא למדת הנבואה, או שמניעות חוציות, ממדרגת העולמים כולם, וסדרי החיים, ערכי התולדה האנושית, וכיוצא בהם, הן מעכבות את הפתוח הנבואי לצאת אל הפועל. ויש נביא שלא הגיע למדת רוח הקודש באותה המעלה המופלאה של בעל רוח הקודש הגדול, ומכל מקום אותה המדה של רוח הקודש שיש בו באה לידי פתוח.

וזהו התוכן של יחש נביאים וכתובים זה לזה, שהנביאים עולים בכללם על הכתובים בקדושתם, ומכל מקום ישנה מדרגה המשוה את הנביאים אל הכתובים, ומניחים כתובים על גבי נביאים כשם שמניחים נביאים על גבי כתובים. ולפעמים מתגלה מדרגה מיוחדה מוקדמת בכתובים לגבי נביאים, כפי הסדר של מלכיות זכרונות שופרות, דראש השנה.

אינהו עדיפי מיניה, ואיהו עדיף מנייהו, אינהו, עדיפי מיניה, דאינהו נביאי ואיהו לא נביא, ואיהו עדיף מנייהו, דאיהו חזי ואינהו לא חזו.

Please Daven For A Refuah

שלום בן גילה

בתוך שח"י

Exciting New Shiurim!

From The Secret Files Of The Lubavitcher Rebbe - Accepting Tzedaka From A Goy.

Klausenberger Rebbe ztz"l - Chidush Dos: Part 1

The Klausenberger Rebbe On A Goy Being "Mechadesh Dos" - Part 2

Yisachar Zevulun.

Torah Tziva Lanu Moshe - Gentiles And Torah Study

Akum That Keeps Shabbos: Rashi And Rambam - Part 1

The Sequel.


Taste the delicious Torah!:-)

ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL BS"D! [I like to say that I am hooked on L.S.D. - Lotsa Siyata D'shmaya].

How Many Judges For Lashes?

לזכות ידידי אהובי ר' ברוך בן ר' משה לברכה והצלחה בכל מעשי ידיו

The Mishna at the beginning of Sanhedrin says that for a case concerning a punishment of  מלקות we require three judges. Rebbi Yishmael says 23. Rava [10a] explains that Rebbi Yishmael's reasoning is that מלקות במקום מיתה עומדת - Lashes are instead of capital punishment [see Rashi and many other meforshim] and so just like מיתה requires a court of 23, so too מלקות.

The Rambam [Sanhedrin 5/4 and see Tosfos as well] says that we give מלקות based on a court of 3 [like the Tanna Kamma says], even though the person may die.

This implies that Rebbe Yishmael's reasoning that we require 23 is that the person may die and thus we need a court of 23 as we do for capital punishment.

This is difficult to digest: The reason capital punishment requires a court of 23 is NOT because a person might die [איבוד נפש]. Proof positive: A Shor Haniskal requires a court of 23 because of כמיתת הבעלים כך מיתת השור [as the Mishna says further on] and here there is no איבוד נפש [of a human being]. The reason 23 judges are required is because it is a case of דיני נפשות and thus even a Shor Haniskal case is considered דיני נפשות because of כמיתת הבעלים כך מיתת השור [which means that just as if a person would have been חייב סקילה for this act of goring, we would require 23 judges, so too when an ox is going to be חייב סקילה we require 23]. So how can the Rambam imply that we require 23 because of a potential איבוד הנפש?    

עי' מה שביאר בשיעורי רבינו יחיאל מיכל עמ' ה


לע"נ מרת אסתר בת ר' שמואל

The Mishna at the beginning of Sanhedrin says that there is a machlokes how many judges are required for a מוציא שם רע - a man who claims that the naara he married was not a besulah. R' Meir says three and the Chachomim say 23.

Rashi there explains that we are referring to a case where the husband was accused of lying and we bring him before a court in order to determine if he must pay the fine of 100 silver pieces.

Many point out that later [8a], this same Rashi Hakadosh explains that we are talking about a husband who is trying to incriminate his bride in order to divorce her withour paying a Kesuba [which is the din if his claim that she was not a besulah is verified]. In THAT instance there is a machlokes how many are required in order to sit on the beis din.

Why does Rashi contradict himself?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

More On Nevuah And Ruach Ha-kodesh

לזכות אמונה נסיה בת חוה שירה שנולדה במזל טוב!!!!
There are three levels of prophecy. Torah, Neviim and Ksuvim. Torah is the highest as it came from the nevuah of Moshe who was a prophet in his own league [the M.P.L.? Moshe Prophecy League]. When he received his prophecy, despite the fact that it was on the highest level possible, his senses were fully active. [Miriam didn't understand this and thus spoke lashon hara about him and Hashem explained that לא כן עבדי משה .... פה אל פה אדבר בו - He is a prophet of a completely different order and that is why he separated from his wife].
Neviim is when someone received a divine communication and all of his senses were suspened [sort of like I was in ninth grade when I missed gemara shiur on Sunday because I went to a Eagles game with my friend Marc].
What we read in Ksuvim is also a divine communication but on a lower level. The senses were still active while the person accurately predicts the future.
That is why we have a three pronged תנ"ך - Three different sfarim for three different levels of divine communication.
Full disclosure - this was not my own idea. I lifted it right out of a shtikel Rabbeinu Bechaye: 
ודע כי ההפרש שיש בין נבואה לרוח הקדש הוא, שהנביא בעת שתבא בו הנבואה כל הרגשותיו וכחותיו בטלות והוא משולל מכל דרכי העולם הזה ומופשט מן החומר ומתבודד עם השכל לבדו..... ורוח הקדש היא שלא תתבטל אחד מהרגשותיו והוא מדבר כדרך כל אדם, אבל יעורר אותו רוח עליוני ויופיע הדברים על לשונו וידבר עתידות בסיוע אלקי, וזו היא מעלת הכתובים. אבל מעלת התורה שצוה לנו משה למעלה מכל זה, כי נבואתו של משה למעלה מכל הנביאים כולן. ומטעם זה תמצא לרז"ל שיזכירו בכל מקום תורה נביאים וכתובים בסדר המעלות ומדרגות הנבואה... (ויקרא ח ח)

What Is The Meaning Of The "True Religion"?

In six places in the Yad Hachazaka, the Rambam uses the term דת האמת - "the true religion" - and here they are:

One must begin [the narrative describing our ancestors'] base [roots] and conclude with [their] praise. What does this imply? One begins relating how originally, in the age of Terach, our ancestors denied [God's existence] and strayed after vanity, pursuing idol worship. One concludes with the true faith - דת האמת: how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness. [Chometz U'matza 7/4]

We are obligated to be careful with regard to the mitzvah of charity to a greater extent than all [other] positive commandments, because charity is an identifying mark for a righteous person, a descendant of Abraham, our patriarch, as [Genesis 18:19] states: "I have known him, because he commands his children... to perform charity." The throne of Israel will not be established, nor will the true faith ודת האמת stand except through charity, as [Isaiah 54:14] states: "You shall be established through righteousness." And Israel will be redeemed solely through charity, as [ibid. 1:27] states: "Zion will be redeemed through judgment and those who return to her through charity." [Matnos Aniyim 10/1]

It is a positive commandment to gather together the entire Jewish people - men, women, and children - after every Sabbatical year when they ascend for the pilgrimage holiday and to read so that they hear passages from the Torah that encourage them to perfom mitzvot and strengthem them in the true faith - בדת האמת, as Deuteronomy 31:10-12 states: "At the end of a seven-year period, at the time of the Sabbatial year on the Sukkot holiday when all Israel come to appear... gather the nation, the men, the women, the children, and your stranger in your gates...." [Chagiga 3/1]

Converts who do not understand are obligated to concentrate their attention and direct their hearing, listening with reverence and awe, rejoicing while trembling as on the day the Torah was given at Sinai. Even great Sages who know the entire Torah are obligated to listen with exceedingly great concentration. One who is unable to hear should focus his attention on this reading, for Scripture established it solely to strengthen the true faith - דת האמת. He should see himself as if he was just now commanded regarding the Torah and heard it from the Almighty. For the king is an agent to make known the word of God. [Chagiga 3/6]

All the lands that he conquers belong to him. He may apportion them to his servants and soldiers as he desires and keep the remainder for himself. In all these matters, the judgement he makes is binding.
In all matters, his deeds shall be for the sake of heaven. His purpose and intent shall be to elevate the true faith - דת האמת and fill the world with justice, destroying the power of the wicked and waging the wars of God. For the entire purpose of appointing a king is to execute justice and wage wars as I Samuel 8:20 states: 'Our king shall judge us, go out before us, and wage our wars.' [Melachim 4/10]

Do not presume that in the Messianic age any facet of the world's nature will change or there will be innovations in the work of creation. Rather, the world will continue according to its pattern.
Although Isaiah 11:6 states: 'The wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the young goat,' these words are a metaphor and a parable. The interpretation of the prophecy is as follows: Israel will dwell securely together with the wicked gentiles who are likened to a wolf and a leopard, as in the prophecy Jeremiah 5:6: 'A wolf from the wilderness shall spoil them and a leopard will stalk their cities.' They will all return to the true faith - לדת האמת and no longer steal or destroy. Rather, they will eat permitted food at peace with Israel as Isaiah 11:7 states: 'The lion will eat straw like an ox.'
Similarly, other Messianic prophecies of this nature are metaphors. In the Messianic era, everyone will realize which matters were implied by these metaphors and which allusions they contained. [Melachim 12/1]

Apparently, דת האמת means Yiddishkeit - Judaism. However, the last Rambam we quoted seems to refute that theory. The Rambam says that when Moshiach comes the goyim will return to the true faith and no longer steal and destroy. Does this mean that they will convert? Not stealing and destroying [killing] are included in the sheva mitzvos bnei noach, so it doesn't seem to mean that the goyim will convert. [The Rambam implies in Hilchos Teshuva 9/2 and Melachim 12/4 that when Moshiach comes the goyim will remain goyim and not convert]. So maybe when he says that they will return to the "true religion", he means to the sheva mitzvos bnei noach [that they must keep because it is part of the Torah [Melachim 8/10-11].

The question is what he means in the other places. In the Kovetz Hayaros Hatmimim [Manchester 5767] an article suggests that in all places the Rambam means the same thing. דת אמת connotes a more broad true faith in G-d together with his Torah and sheva mitzvos beni noach and not a more narrow true faith in Yiddishkeit.

I am not convinced.... The first four Rambam's [and maybe 5] I quoted can mean Toras Yisrael in the more narrow sense and not refer to a general faith in G-d and his moral law of sheva mitzvos. The first Rambam certainly would seems to have a more parochial Jewish meaning [.... One concludes with the true faith - דת האמת: how the Omnipresent has drawn us close to Him, separated us from the gentiles, and drawn us near to His Oneness] and so the mitzva of Hakhel [Rambam 3 and 4] is for Jews alone.  


How Are You With The Mitzva Of Fearing Your Parents?

I remember when I was in Holshitz with the Belzer Rebbe, R' Yosochor Dov. I observed how his son Rebbe Aharon would have tremendous awe and fear of his father and his limbs would shake when he mentioned him. He fulfilled the mitzva of fearing your father to the fullest degree.

[The Klausenberger Rebbe ztz"l, Chumash Rashi Shiur Parshas Naso 1979]

The Difference Between Nevuah And Ruach Hakodesh

The root of our Emunah is that all that it says in the mishna and gemara both in halacha and agada those were matters that were revealed by a prophetic power which is a "kiss" from the "divine intellect" [שכל הנאצל] with the intellect that is connected to the body when prophecy was a common phenonenom. Ruach Hakodesh is shefa [divine flow] from the divine intellect to the human intellect.
However there is a fundamental difference between nevuah and ruach hakodesh; In nevuah, the human intellect does not take part, rather after one has the special qualities that elevate him, he becomes a vessel that absorbs wisdom without intellectual toil. In contrast, ruach hakodesh is toiling with tremendous effort until he merits supernatural understanding.  
[Igros Chazon Ish 15]
משרשי האמונה שכל הנאמר בגמ' בין במשנה ובין בגמ' בין בהלכה ובין באגדה הם הם הדברים שנתגלו לנו ע"י כח נבואי שהוא כח נשיקה של השכל הנאצל עם השכל המורכב בגוף, בזמן שהנבואה היתה חזון נמצא. רוח הקדש הוא שפע מהשכל הנאצל על השכל המורכב. אבל יש הבדל יסודי בין נבואה לרוה"ק, נבואה אין השכל המורכב של האדם משתתף בה אלא אחרי התנאים הסגוליים שנתעלה בהם עד שזכה לזוהר נבואי אפשר לו להיות לכלי קולט דעת מבלי עיון ועמל שכלי אבל רוה"ק היא יגיעת העיון ברב עמל ובמשנה מרץ עד שמתוסף בו דעת ותבונה בלתי טבעי.
חזון איש  איגרת ט"ו

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