Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cleaning For Pesach

This post is directed at my wife and every other Jewish woman. PLEASE: Take it easy. We left servitude and I see no reason to willingly place ourselves in that situation again.

R' Aviner

Going away for Pesach

If you are going away for Pesach and will not be at home during the entire holiday, you can be lenient and not clean for Pesach. You should sell all of the chametz (leaven) in the house, including all of the crumbs -- but not just the crumbs on their own, because that would have no halachic value. It is possible, however, to sell the food in the cabinets and closets including the "chametz dirt." If someone is staying in your house, you need to clean the rooms which will be used. The remaining unused rooms must be closed off with tape, and you must sell any chametz which is in them.

There is still the question of how to fulfill the mitzvah of Bedikat Chametz (the search for leaven). If you arrive at your Pesach destination by the fourteenth of Nisan, perform the search there. If you arrive on the morning of the fourteenth, you should clean well and check a small room, i.e. the entrance way and not sell the chametz in that room. You must also perform the search for chametz, with a blessing, in the rooms in which you will live during Pesach - if no one else has done so.

Chametz smaller than a "kezayit" (the volume of an olive)

Chametz which is less than a "kezayit" may obviously not be eaten, but it is not included in the Torah prohibition of "Bal Yeira'eh" and "Bal Yimatzeh" (Chametz may not be seen or found on Pesach – Shemot 12:19, 13:7) (Responsa Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim 1:145). Regarding the Mishnah Berurah's statement (Sha'ar Ha-Tziun 451:6) that chametz which can be seen is included in the prohibition of "chametz she-avar alav Ha-Pesach" (using chametz that has spent Pesach in a Jew's possession) -- the fact is that if it was included in the sale of chametz, there is no problem (see Mishnah Berurah 142:33 and Chazon Ish, Orach Chaim 117:15). A "kezayit" is 27 cubic centimeters - 3 centimeter square or a little over an inch square. Usually, only rooms in which children are allowed to bring sandwiches or cookies are likely to contain such big pieces of chametz. A room in which people do not walk around with food does not need to be cleaned at all. Incidentally, you must take care not to hide pieces of chametz which are larger than a "kezayit" before "Bedikat Chametz," in case one of the pieces should get lost. If you do not find them, you will not need to bother much to hunt for them, and you can rely on the "bittul chametz" (declaring chametz ownerless) that you do after the search (Responsa Yechaveh Da’at 5:149).

Bedikat Chametz

Only search for chametz in places in which there is a reasonable chance of finding it. It is nearly impossible for chametz which is an inch square to be hidden inside a book! If there is a chance that the book has chametz in it, then it must be thoroughly checked. Most books, however, do not need to be cleaned or checked. Cleaning and checking a sample is sufficient. It is customary not to place books that have not been checked for chametz on the table during Pesach. Everybody knows their kids' habits. Peek, and open here and there. Regarding crumbs in the corners of the house: 1. They are not a "kezayit." 2. They are inedible to a dog. If there is bread behind a cabinet in an unreachable place, nobody will get to it on Pesach and it is as if it is buried -- just as you do not have to search under stones or under the house's foundations, since nobody will take chametz from there. By the way, start "Bedikat Chametz" in a place where chametz was used, so the blessing will apply to it.

Educating Children

If you want to do a spring cleaning, this is certainly possible, but not before Pesach – this is not the appropriate time. Pesach vacation is for taking trips, playing with the kids, being happy, dancing and preparing stories for the Seder. A woman works hard all year long: "They enslaved the Jewish women with back-breaking work" (play on Shemot 1:13). If the husband is on vacation too, this may be a good time to leave him with the kids, and give the wife a vacation! That is what vacation is for – not for working like a donkey and scraping floors. You can take trips, enjoy yourself, and arrive at the Seder rested in order to make a beautiful Seder and inspire the children. If a woman wants to work like a donkey, and be a kind of slave, she is permitted to do so, but it is not good educationally. She should be free in order to play with the kids. We left the slavery of Egypt, and it was not to enter into our own slavery! We do not have anything against house cleaning, but you should spread it out over the course of the year – each few months clean another room. This is not the time for projects of cleaning and arranging. In any event, when the Seder arrives there will still be disorder and cleaning that has not been completed.

If a woman is happy with suffering, she is allowed and it subtracts from the suffering of "Gehinom" (purgatory): Any suffering in this world is deducted from the suffering of "Gehinom." If someone desires, this it is legitimate, but not before Pesach. The month of Nissan is a happy month.

Husband's help

Question: Does a husband have to help his wife?

Answer: A husband does not have to help his wife nor does a wife have to help her husband. Rather, the two of them have to clean together since this is a shared home, and it is a shared life as well.

Children's Clothes

There may be cookies in your kids' pockets. Even the crumbs must be removed, since a child may put his hand into his pocket and then into his mouth. You only have to check the clothes you will be wearing that season. It is unnecessary to check any clothes that are put away and will not be worn now, such as winter clothes.

Question: It is possible to simply clean them by washing them in a washing machine?

Answer: Running the clothes through a washing machine will not necessarily get rid of all of the crumbs. The clothes must be checked.


Toys must also be checked. However, you may put some or all of the toys away, and buy new toys as a present for the holiday! This serves a double purpose of saving work and making the children happy.

Bathroom Cabinets

These may contain chametz, such as wheat germ oil and alcohol derived from wheat. What a waste to clean it. Close and tape the cabinets and include it in the sale of chametz.


You have to check between the pillows. It is an interesting experience to find lost objects.


There is no need to clean them, just do not put them on the table on which you eat. The custom is not to check books for the crumbs that remain in them, but to rely of the nullification (Haggadah Chazon Ovadiah of Ha-Rav Ovadiah Yosef, p. 21). Clean the books which you will want to read at the table on Pesach, or clean a few books for Pesach.

Dining Room

You do not have to clean everything, just the place where people eat, i.e. the chairs and the table.

Chairs: If the chairs are clean, there is no need to clean them. If the kids throw cereal or other things on them and they do not look clean, clean it with a wet rag.

Table: There are two options: 1. Kashering with boiling water. 2. Covering with several layers of plastic and cloth tablecloths.

High Chair

If it is plastic, it may be immersed in a tub with boiling water and cleaning agents. Clean the cracks with a stiff brush. It is unnecessary to take the chair apart, because whatever is in the cracks and holes is inedible to a dog.


This room must be thoroughly cleaned and not one crumb of chametz left. A crumb is not nullified even in a thousand times its volume.


 It is preferable not to kasher a dishwasher. You can do the dishes by hand as in previous generations. It is also possible to use disposable dishes.

Question: Is it at all possible to clean a dishwasher?

Answer: It is possible, but it is a lot of work; there are a lot of rubber parts and connections.


If you do not have a self-cleaning oven, it is best not to kasher it. Seal the oven and buy baked goods or buy a "wonder-pot" which allows you to bake on a stove.


Grates: Clean and cover the grates with as much aluminum foil as possible. Use aluminum foil that is thick enough not to tear, but thin enough to bend and shape. What a waste of time and effort! The best thing is to use special Pesach burners.

Burners: There is no need to clean them; they get burned up in the course of use.

Bottom Pan (where everything falls): In general, if some food falls into it, we do not pick it up, and it is considered "treif;" nevertheless, put aluminum foil on it.

Knobs: Wipe them clean.


Clean it, but it does not have to be a lot of work. Of course, defrost the freezer (if you have an older model which does not defrost automatically) and clean it. It is best to eat up all chametz before Pesach, but if expensive chametz food products are left over, i.e. frozen foods, they may be wrapped up well, labeled "chametz," stored in the back of the freezer/refrigerator and included in the list of chametz sold before Pesach.

If you have an old refrigerator with cracks or crevices in the door which is difficult to clean, do not use its inner shelves, but cover them with plastic. Similarly, you must clean the door's rubber part well. If it is old, sometimes it is easier to replace it.

Food Pantry

Do not clean. It is a waste of time. Seal, put sign or sticker not to use and include it in sale of chametz.

Cabinets of dishes, utensils, pots and pans

Dishes, shelves, and drawers that will not be used on Pesach may be sealed, and need not be cleaned. There are those who are strict to clean even the things which are used for chametz, but one can be lenient on account of three reasons, each of which would be enough:

1. We sell all the crumbs together with the sale of chametz.

2. The dishes are clean -- nobody puts a dirty dish away in the cabinet.

3. Even if there is "chametz dirt," it is definitely less than a "kezayit."

By the way, sometimes it is easier to paint than to clean. You can paint the corner of the kitchen where food flies using a water-based paint and the gas grates using aluminum paint.


It can be kashered by not using it for twenty-four hours, cleaning it for five minutes and boiling water in it for half an hour. All food cooked or baked in it on Pesach should be placed in a covered utensil.


It is possible to cover them with thick aluminum foil, and then there is no need to kasher them at all; just wipe them with a rag. Sometimes it is complicated to cover, and then one can kasher it. Where there are holes, pour floor bleach in them and then pour water from an electric kettle which is still boiling. It is good for two people to do this: One to pour and the other to unplug.


Regarding the kitchen sink, there are a few solutions:

1. Do not put anything into the sink on Pesach, and wash the dishes in the air. This, however, is unrealistic.

2. Put a plastic bin inside. Just make sure there is still a direct flow down the drain.

3. Thoroughly clean and kasher the sink like the counters.


It is impossible to clean a toaster, but there is no need. Put it in the cabinet of sold chametz.


You have to do "Hagalah" (kashering by dropping into boiling water) for the bowl and blades. As for the body of the mixer, wrap it in plastic -- making sure not to block the air holes. The best thing is to buy a cheap hand-mixer for Pesach.

Kashering dishes

This is a tremendous amount of work. It is preferable to buy new dishes. True, it is expensive, so buy a few things each year. As for pots, it is possible to buy cheap aluminum ones which are okay for just seven days. There are cheap plastic plates as well as cheap cutlery.


You have to clean it. Take out the mats and gather the "chametz dirt" – there is no need for a vacuum cleaner -- and clean the compartments and containers. There is no need to pour water or dismantle the seats. In general, there is no need to dismantle anything with screws. Any way you look at it -- if the chametz is accessible, you can take it out without a screwdriver, and if it is not accessible, it will not come out on Pesach either.

Chumrot - Being Strict

If you know that you are being stricter than Halachah requires, and you choose to be strict, you deserve a blessing. And if you accepted a stricture on yourself and now you want to stop, the way to do that is to do "Hatarah" (getting the vow annulled). But if you thought that a particular act was the actual Halachah, and now you realize it is a stricture, you do not need a "Hatarah." If you have a strong desire to clean a lot, you deserve a blessing, especially for Pesach, "whoever is strict deserves a blessing." You should not, however, force a stricture on yourself, but accept it with love.

Summary: In light of what is written above, it should take about an hour for the dining room, two-three hours to kasher the kitchen, and another hour to clean the rest of the house. In short, about one day!

All the rest of the cleaning jobs are either strictures or just made up. When we work hard, we use up our energy and get mad at the kids. You have to educate the kids -- but not to educate them to be aggravated: "I told you not to go into this room anymore! Why did you go in?! Eat on the porch! Eat standing up! Don't touch!" The whole kitchen looks like it was overturned by vandals; the husband and kids are trembling in fear in some corner and eating; the mother looks at them like a drill sergeant; there's anger between husband and wife. This is preparation for Pesach?! This is educating the kids? This is definitely not setting a positive example! Our memories of Pesach should not be of a reign of terror.

If you clean together with the kids, that is great, but it must be a happy adventure. First of all, you have to clean what you must – taking half a day – and after that if you want to do other things, you can clean with happiness and joy. Clean, sing, pour water and "you will clean with joy from the wellsprings of salvation" (based on Yeshayahu 12:3).

The Rama rules in the Shulchan Aruch writes: "Every person should sweep his room before Bedikat Chametz, and check his pockets for chametz, and the pockets or cuffs where you sometimes put chametz also need to be checked" (Orach Chaim 433:11) The Mishnah Berurah (#46) adds: "It is the custom to sweep the whole house on thirteenth of Nisan, so that it will be ready to check immediately after nightfall on the fourteenth." This custom is enough. Beyond that, "whoever is strict deserves a blessing" -- as far as Pesach goes, but not as far as the kids go.

It is understood that I am not forcing my opinion on anyone. I am simply stating my humble opinion with explanations. Whoever accepts the explanations will listen and whoever does not accept them will not. I heard most of the practical suggestions about how to shorten the cleaning from women themselves. It is possible that a woman has a strong desire not to shorten this work, and just the opposite, she finds joy in it. That is okay. Even she will benefit from all of the above, because she will not feel pressured that she might violate the Halachah, but rather she will clean with satisfaction and tranquility.

The essential point is the distinction between chametz, which there is an obligation to clean with all the severity of the Halachah, and dirt – which should obviously be removed, but not necessarily before Pesach. You can spread out the work of removing dirt over the whole year, so that we and our families do not suffer before Pesach. I am not advocating poor housekeeping. We should stand before chametz with awe and fear, but not all dirt is chametz. Do not treat chametz cavalierly, G-d forbid, but at the same time, not everything that is accepted as Pesach cleaning is directed at chametz.

Have a kosher and happy Pesach. We should ensure that we have a HAPPY Pesach and a KOSHER Purim. We should arrive at the Seder night neither tired nor aching but happy, so that this night will be a powerful experience for the kids, and a great source of faith in Hashem, the Redeemer of Israel.

"Dirt is not chametz and children are not the Pesach sacrifice!"

The Kiss Of Death/ Be Careful/ Trump And Kavod Shabbos

I am more than a little shaken up. There is a video circulating featuring a well known rabbi, talmid chochom and kashrus administrator, being publicly kissed [or hugged or both] by Hillary C.

Makes me question if I can trust his hechsher. If he can kiss a Gentile woman, then can he be trusted to certify my food as kosher? Shaking hands is one thing - but a kiss???

So all I can say is that we must be דן לכף זכות and assume that he was completely taken by surprise and felt terrible during and afterward. He wishes that it never happened and already did teshuva, as the gemara says  - if a talmid chochom sins by night, assume that by the next morning he already did teshuva.  

I also wonder if this rabbi [and all of her other Jewish supporters] are as supportive of giving our sworn enemies their very own state as she is. I know little about politics but have no doubt that giving our enemies more power and a stronger infrastructure will make our lives more pleasant.  

But the kiss thing was straight against the Shulchan Aruch.

What can we learn from this?? 

Stay away from politicians of the opposite gender kissing anyone in sight. 

Be careful - everything you do may be recorded on video.

Pray that you never stumble in this or other areas. 

NOTE: If you don't know the identity of the person to whom I am referring PLEASE DON'T google it and find out. I don't mean to bring him embarrassment chas vi-shalom as he is a distinguished talmid chochom and marbitz Torah.  

Now that I am on the topic - a word about Trump.

In his zchus, I am mechabed Shabbos. I wear really nice looking ties that have his name in them. Thanks Donald for being mechabed Shabbos - and for having a Jewish daughter who is also mechabed Shabbos!! 

About his politics: No comment....

Don't Think Like A Worm

There is an old Yiddish expression [at least Malcolm Gladwell claims there is:-)] that to a worm in horseradish, the whole world is bitter horseradish. אַז דער וואָרעם זיצט אין כריין, מיינט ער אַז עס איז קיין זיסערס ניטאָ.

When a person is suffering from financial problems, he often feels that all of life is about finances. When he suffers from marital discord, then all of his attention is focused in that area. This applies to any problems people face. They tend to place all of their attention on that problem and all other facets of life pale in comparison.

It is necessary to realize that this is a warped and jaded perspective. Finances are important but not the end all of life. The great Gerrer Rebbe, the Sfas Emes, was so poor that his sons would split an egg in half for lunch. Yet, he was the Sfas Emes and he lit up all of the worlds [and continues to do so...]. Money isn't everything. 

Nor is health. Or shalom bayis. Important - very. But if one is not satisfied with his health or shalom bayis he shouldn't overlook all of the other important facets of life. Does he put on tefillin? Does he learn Torah? Give tzedaka? If he can answer even one yes then he must be FILLED with simcha. 

Never lose perspective sweet friends.

Every Sin Has Teshuva

Rav Zevin wrote in the "Moadim Bi-halacha" that in our times there is no longer a din that one rips his clothing when one see the cities of Yehuda, since today we are ruling these areas and they are no longer in Gentile hands. This is well known position held by many. 

He adds ואשרי שזכינו לכך - Fortunate are we that we merited this [i.e. Jewish dominion and our own State]. I just heard on an on-line shiur where the speaker noted that the English translation omitted these words. He was beside himself. "This is a sin for which there is no teshuva", he boomed. 

I say "Relax:-)". Every sin has teshuva. אין דבר העומד בפני התשובה. Even the sin of הוצאת ז"ל for which the Zohar says there is no teshuva, has teshuva בחילא סגי - if it is a super-duper-grand-slam-type-of-teshuva.

Speaking lashon hara is a worse sin than omitting ואשרי שזכינו לכך in the translation. So is getting angry. כל הכועס כאילו עובד עבודה זרה. 

My point is that being a chossid of the Medinah may have it's place [a hotly debated issue. The Chazon Ish and many other gedolei gedolim weren't fans] but not being a chossid of the Medinah is not the biggest sin in the Torah.

The Steipler, Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Satmar Rebbe, the Lubavitcher Rebbe were not sinners. They were also not flag waving, Hallel on Yom Haatzmaut saying, Dati Leumi type Jews. 

That being said, I am not justifying historical revisionism or unnecessary and misleading censorship. But every part of our Avodas Hashem must be within proportion to it's importance. Avoiding kitniyos is not on the same level as shmiras einayim, even though many more people are careful about kitniyos than those who are careful about shmiras einayim. Talmud Torah is more important than anything else, despite the penchant of many to waste quite a bit of time that could be spent learning [like the Chasidishe looking boy on the plane sitting near me who was busy the whole flight either playing games on his phone or watching movies...].

If one loves the Medinah - he should remain happy and healthy. But it is not the most important mitzva in the Torah.     

Who Won?

I went shopping and on the receipt it said that I saved $1.79. That may be true but I spent over 20 dollars so I think that the store came out ahead.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Whom Can You Trust?

Are People Self Sufficient?

Every person is needy, whether we like to admit it or not. Children need their parents for almost everything. In a different way, parents need their children [speak to parents who rachmana li-tzlan lost a child or are even estranged from a child]. A wife needs her husband [for money, companionship etc. etc.], a husband needs his wife [taking care of the children, preparing his food, fulfilling other wifely duties that without her he could never have etc. etc.]. We need a pilot to fly us to where we want or need to go. We need the cleaners, clothing manufacturers, shoemakers, plumbers, doctors [we should never need], accountants and so many other people. No man is an island [and no island is a man:-)]. 

A sobering thought - We are really needy 24 hours seven days a week for G-d's graces. Any part of anyone's body can shut down at any moment of any day. He could lose his vision, hearing, ability to swallow or digest food, respiratory capacity etc. etc. Some scientists estimated that the human body contains 37.2 TRILLION CELLS. One cancerous one and the person is done. We have to have the right amount of red blood cells - or else....  The average amount in the male is 4.32 trillion until 5.72 trillion cells per liter of blood. For a woman - 3.90 trillion until 5.03 trillion cells per liter. [מה רבו מעשיך השם!!] If anything in the body goes awry we are in big trouble. We constantly need food, oxygen, to relieve ourselves, etc. etc. We are actually quite pathetic if you think about it. 

A scary thought and a comforting thought: 

The Scary Thought

We are all needy of other people but they are thinking nothing or almost nothing of us on a daily basis. How often are you thinking about the needs of any one person beside yourself and maybe your closest relatives? Well, that is how much everybody else is thinking about you... Nobody gets up in the morning and thinks that you might be hungry and silently hopes that you eat a good breakfast. You eat because you are intimately aware and connected to your own needs but NOBODY else is [except maybe your mother]. 

The more I live, the more I am astounded by how focused people are on meeting their own needs and how little other people's needs and distress touch a deep place in the heart. Losing one's car keys or being late for an important business appointment [or even the loss of a "big game" by their favorite team] is more distressing for many than hearing that someone became sick with cancer or that a single girl is 37 and is feeling terribly lonely for years. We hear of things and as fast as they go in one ear - they go out the other. 

It is VERY rare to find a person who is elevated on a constant basis above his own needs and is focused on fulfilling the needs of others [unless he is being paid to do so - but then again, it is about him and not the other person]. I even know many parents whose attitude towards their adult children is "you're on your own. I am done with helping you", even when the parents are able and the child is doing his best to be independent but just not making it. There are also many children who basically send their parents off when they reach old age and don't want to be bothered by them. There are many instances of spouses who can't get past their own needs even when their partner is suffering because of them. To say this is sad is an understatement similar to "it can get a bit chilly in Antarctica". Fortunate is the person who has people who love and care for him as they do for themselves. Having one such person in one's life is a great success. More than one is beyond amazing. The more - the better. And if you are that person for others then consider yourself extremely fortunate [even if the feelings and care are not mutual]. 

It is scary to live in a world where one realizes that he is very much alone.    

The Comforting Thought:

The one Being who thinks about you all day every day and has the capacity to provide with every one of your needs - both physical and emotional, and also WANTS to provide you with all of your needs, is Hashem. If it were anybody else then it would be inadequate because my mother [for example] can't help me breathe [for example]. Hashem can give me EVERYTHING I need and want. 

That is comforting. Then one is no longer alone in a scary world but feels the embrace and love of an All Powerful, All Loving Being. He doesn't forget you for ONE SECOND - ever. If he did, you would cease to exist. If you are here it is because He hasn't taken His mind off you EVER. 

So instead of counting on others - count on him. Others will let you down. So many people are friendly until that critical moment that you need them. I could write volumes about people who magically disappeared at the times of need of others.

The Megilla says that Esther was נושאת חן בעיני רואיה - She had special charm and everyone liked her. The same pasuk says לא ביקשה דבר - She asked for nothing. Rav Avraham Genechovski explained to to find favor in the eyes of others is to ask for nothing. The moment one asks, he becomes persona non-grata [Latin for "an annoying cockroach"]. But Hashem [כביכול] LOVES when we need Him and ask Him for things. So don't hesitate. 

Dovid Hamelech said  אם אסק שמים שם אתה ואציעה שאול הנך - If I go to the heavens you are there, when I go to the grave you are there. Hashem is with us everywhere. 

Some explain: אם אסק שמים - When I am doing great, I shouldn't get to haughty or arrogant - שם אתה, you are there and it is all your doing. I am just a כלי. 

ואציעה שאול - When I am down and miserable, הנך - I shouldn't get down because you are right there with me.   

Sweet friends!! May we all walk in the ways of Hashem by thinking constantly of others. May we never get down or depressed because we realize that our Loving Father is with us every step of the way, giving us challenges and helping us overcome them. May we not put our faith in man - אל תבטחו בנדיבים בבן אדם שאין לו תשועה but in Hashem and in the Tzadikim who are aligned with His will.  


My Impassioned Speech At The Supermarket/ Why It Is Fun To Die

From my archives.....

Today I went shopping in the supermarket [Fairway on 74th and Broadway, for those curious:)]. I am normally not a big shopping guy, but here I have only one other option.

Starvation, resulting ultimately in death.

The reason that such an eventuality doesn't seem so attractive is because I am far from my family and therefore don't know who would attend my funeral and half the fun of being at one's own funeral [I am assuming] is seeing how all the good buddies came out to offer final respects [the other half is not having to pay ridiculously high taxes]. People are so BUUUUUSSSYYYY. Hard to pin anyone down for 30 seconds. Sometimes I will send a friend an email and two and a half weeks later he will reply with three words making me amazed at how busy he must be. He only found four free seconds for me after two and half weeks:):)! AHHHHHHHH - friends........

There are OTHER reasons why I would prefer not to starve to death, all of them enough to get me to go to the supermarket, take a basket in hand and fill it up with delectable edibles.

Today I was walking around watching everybody shop and I could take it no longer.

[I am making the following up. It DID happened - in my imagination].

I stood up in a shopping cart and said with great drama and pathos:

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Goyim and Jews, Republicans and Democrats, Met fans and Yankee fans, I would like your attention for just a few moments, then you can go back to your business of expanding your waistlines and deciding the ever present dilemma of 'should I get the tuna in water or in oil'. Or maybe thinking 'Darn it, did my wife tell me to get the three percent fat milk or eight percent?'.

You are all walking around this supermarket filling your shopping carts and baskets with food. Why? Animals eat just like humans eat. Are we all just a bunch of overdeveloped monkeys?? NO, I SAY! Man is endowed with a Godly soul. In Hebrew, the language of the Bible, we call this a N-E-S-H-O-O-O-M-A [if you live in Boro Park]. A soul is a part of G-d that he gave to us in order to distinguish us from the animal kingdom. So that when we eat and sleep and procreate, we do so with different feelings and attitudes than mammals in the jungle.

MY FELLOW AMERICANS [and illegal immigrants] - ARE WE LIVING TO EAT OR EATING TO LIVE? Do we have a higher purpose? Have we transformed our bellies into a substitute for G-d. Can we somehow ELEVATE our gastronomic endeavors into something rich and satisfying for the indomitable human spirit or is all of the pasta we are buying going to merely serve as fodder for the worms on that dark day when we bite the dust?!

Beloved fellow members of mankind with whom I have the privilege of gracing G-d's earth, I URGE you. Transcend your basic animalistic desire to maximize your physical pleasure and go for something lasting, something eternal. Speak words of spirituality at the table. Read a chapter of Psalms written by King David and know that if he were alive today he would insist that another English name be given to his masterpiece. What a silly name. And why are two of the six letters silent?? Read the Song of Songs and try to experience G-d's love. Connect to the Jewish people who are here to guide the way towards a life of meaning and depth.

Thank you all so much for your attention. I love you all!" 

I then blew kisses to the crowd of dozens that surrounded me.

I can't tell you if they are still clapping hours later but for the next ten minutes I was in the store it didn't stop. All people need is to be reminded that

נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא

Sheva Yipol .... [Mishlei 24/16]

I just received an email informing me that 170 thousand dollars was raised for a fallen police officer.

Ribbono Shel Olam - I fall ALL THE TIME and nobody is giving me 170K. Where is the justice here?

I could do so many mitzvos with that money. 

Listen And Live!!!

Lots of new shiurim. One for my Gila's 20th birthday - what being 20 is all about. 

Another on Talmudic Methodolgy - שתי סיבות המתנגדות. 

And lots more - some linked on the side of the page. 

Adar Is Not Over:--)

Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.

I changed my password to "incorrect". So whenever I forget what it is the computer will say "Your password is incorrect".

Just read that 4,153,237 people got married last year, not to cause any trouble but shouldn't that be an even number?

That awkward moment when you leave a store without buying anything and all you can think is "act natural, you're innocent".

A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than the men who mention it.

Apparently I snore so loudly that it scares everyone in the car I'm driving.

When an employment application asks who is to be notified in case of emergency, I always write, "A very good doctor".

Wife: "I look fat. Can you give me a compliment?" Husband: "You have perfect eyesight."

My wife is so negative. I remembered the car seat, the stroller, AND the diaper bag. Yet all she can talk about is how I forgot the baby.

They say that marriage is an institution. Love is blind. That means that marriage is an Institute For The Blind. 

I think it’s pretty cool how 
the Chinese made a language entirely out of tattoos.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The History Of Pringles

I saw Pringles in the supermarket today. I am convinced that originally Pringles was supposed to be a tennis ball company. But on the day the balls were supposed to arrive, instead a truckload of potatoes came. So the manager screamed out - "Cut 'em up and put them in the cans".

And the rest is history. 

Speaking of which - someone recently showed me a picture of himself and said "This is me when I was younger". 

EVERY picture of you is from when you were younger! 

Living In The Past

I admit that I live in the past, 
but only because housing is so much cheaper.

I Got A Job!

I stopped at a gas station today. There were two signs. One said "Self Service". The other said "Help Wanted". 

So I walked in and hired myself. 

Oy Vey!

I just turned to the WORST page in the dictionary! 

What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest and disingenuous!!

Show You Care

Hallmark: "Show you care by sending a card mass produced by a company."

Shoot 'em

Sitting in the apartment here and the phone rings. I pick up and ask the caller [sounds Goyish] to identify himself. He says that he is from the National Rifle Association.

I asked him if he is in favor of rifles. He replied in the affirmative. I told him that I am too. [For self defense of course:-)].

I love America:-).

Links - Listen And Live

First shiur in NY! Appropriate topic - מנין לגמרא שלפי רבי עקיבא הסובר שאין קידושין תופסין בחייבי לאוין, אין גם חליצה ויבום - למה לא נאמר דאתי עשה ודחי לא תעשה?

An Avnei Milium that raises more problems than it answers - לכאורה. 

Here is the תירוץ המורכב והעמוק!

2 Announcements

1] My number for the next 3 weeks in Manhattan is 212 - 799 - 1124. 

2] There are openings for our Yeshiva G'dola D'skype for the spring and summer. You may contact

הרב אברהם נח בן רחל

Please daven for a close friend of mine, a Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Kollel, who is in scorchingly boiling hot water. He owes the banks millions and might end in jail.  

I saw him on Purim and he looked EXACTLY like Tisha B'av.  

HaRav Avraham Noach ben Rochel.

This Pesach, Jews are going to spend probably HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars on Pesach programs. So the money is there. We just have to think of a way to convince people to share it more...

Too Much Yiras Shomayim? - Why One Shouldn't Starve To Death

לרפואת נעמי בת טובה

Pursuant to the previous post - thanks for davening. I was in the supermarket today buying food because if one starves to death he can't daven mincha. 

I saw shrimp for sale and DIDN'T buy it!!:-)!

I recently read an interview with a Rosh Yeshiva [ztz"l] of a hesder yeshiva who said that some see this world as a minefield where at every point one could spiritually fall. He says that where he was taught this is not true. Rather, the world is filled with opportunity to do great things but not that one is in constant mortal danger. 

I don't really identify with his words. We see time and again with ourselves and those around us how much people fall. The Mesilas Yesharim wasn't written for Reform Jews but for people in Lakewood, Brisk and Mir. These are all people who, as described by the great Rav Luzzato, are in for a life of constant battle with the powers of evil. A fortiori [kal va-chomer] for everyone else who is not ensconced in the walls of the Beis Medrash [they just don't realize it very often].

OF COURSE we musn't be afraid to act and succeed for fear of sinning.

I share a few very sharp passages from expressing the idea of this Rosh Yeshiva [who generally did not personally identify with Rav Kook's philosophy]. 

"חסרון יש ביראה מצד החיצוני שלה, שהיא מרככת את הלב יותר מדאי, עושקת מן האדם את תכונת גבורתו, ועל כן נשאר הוא מצדה כגבר אין אונים" (קובץ א, קעח)

"רעה חולה היא כשהרגש המוסרי מתעדן יותר מדאי, עד שלא די שהוא משמש בתור כח עוצר בבא תור המעשה, שלא תשולח יד לעשות רע, אלא הוא מאיים תמיד ביראת עונות, הסובבים את האדם במעשה ובמחשבה. הפחד הנפרז מכל חטא, מאבד טובו של האדם, והופך אותו למין בריה שפלה, שאינה עושה דבר, כי אם שוכבת ורועדת. האדם צריך להאמין בחייו, להאמין בכחו החמרי והמוסרי יחד." (קובץ א', רלא)

"היראה, כשלא תזדקק כראוי, עושה היא את האדם לסמרטוט, פחדן ועלוב מעצמו, וממילא מסוער מכל תאוה פחותה." (קובץ א', שסח).

But at the same time we must always be vigilant because לפתח חטאת רובץ - Sin crouches at the door. For everyone with healthy male instincts, the attraction of the other gender is a lifetime test. For anyone with an appetite the issue of תאוות אכילה - excessive eating, is a huge test. 

For most - money. 

Ahhhhh - money. The deepest and most powerful yetzer hara, for unlike the other great yetzer hara's - this one people spend 10-18 hours a day pursuing and there is no embarrassment involved. It looks legit. But the בעל דבר, that מלך זקן וכסיל, knows better.  

והמבין יבין! 

The bottom line - we must find a balance between healthy Yiras Shomayim and the courage to change the world without fear.

May we all find it!:-)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Prayer Request

I am flying tonight im yirtzeh Hashem.

Daven that I should remain religious. It is DANGEROUS out there. As Solomon said צופה רשע לצדיק ומבקש המיתו - The yetzer hara goes for the jugular. 

And what happens if someone is so far from being a Tzadik in the first place. 

Tola-as vi-lo ish. 


Hashem yishmor. Daven for Elchonon ben Henna Miraim. 

Musical Interlude

Two free standing drums and a cymbal fell out of a window.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Is An Aveirah Necessarily Assur?? - The World Shakes!

לרפואת אליענה רינה בת אלעזר יעקב
ונעמי בת טובה
ולזכות שושנה בת דבורה גיטל

The gemara [Brachos 53a] says that a candle that was kindled on Shabbos may not be used on Motzei Shabbos for havdala because an aveirh was done with it. 

What if the candle was lit באונס? Rav Amiel [Middah 5] says that since we learn there that a candle that was kindled for a sick person MAY be used for havdala, we see that it is not the מעשה עבירה that prevents us from using the candle but the מעשה איסור. Kindling for a sick person MAY be a מעשה עבירה but it is not a מעשה איסור but a מעשה היתר. 

In the same vein we must then say that if a candle was kindled באונס where there is no מעשה איסור [because it is not the person's fault that he lit the candle], even though there may be a מעשה עבירה since a candle was kindled on Shabbos - it is nevertheless permitted to be used for havdala. 


But not so pashut [as pointed out in the מוסד הרב קוק edition].

Rashi [52b] says that one may not use a candle שלא שבת - that didn't rest, meaning that a Goy did melacha by the light of the candle. The Meiri learns that the Goy actually lit the candle.

Either way - we see that the problem here is not the מעשה איסור because it is not אסור for a Goy to perform melacha on Shabbos but the מעשה עבירה. That does not work with Rav Amiel's understanding that what prevents us from using the candle is the מעשה איסור but the מעשה עבירה doesn't bother us. Here we see that it is in fact the מעשה עבירה that is the problem. 

We also see a "the velt tzittert" [the world shakes] "dike chidush" that when a Goy does a melacha on Shabbos it is called an aveirah. 

If it weren't 2am, I would probably explain more:-). 

ועוד חזון למועד!   

Chashuv Link!

Breif discussion commenting on a passage in Rav Amiel's "Middos". 

The Dual Gift Of Clothing

לרפואת אליענה רינה בת אלעזר יעקב
ונעמי בת טובה
ולזכות שושנה בת דבורה גיטל

Did you know that we have a bracha thanking Hashem for our HUMAN DIGNITY?!

We do:-)!

Every morning we say the bracha of מלביש ערומים. We thank Hashem that we need to get dressed every day in order to preserve our dignity. Animals don't have clothing because they have no sense of dignity.

IN ADDITION - we thank Hashem that we actually have clothing.

So it is a double bracha.

1] Thank you for the need we have for clothing.

2] Thank you for providing for that need.

Hashem - you are the BESSSSTTTT!!!!

In the words of the Rav ztz"l...
בא"י, אמ"ה, מלביש ערומים.

העירום שהוא מרשם בנו רשם של גנאי והעדר הכבוד, המנגד לתפארת האדם, הננו מוכרחים להתגונן נגדו בלבושינו. וההכרח המוסרי הזה, אשר נטע בקרבנו יוצר האדם, אחרי שכבר נקבע המושג, שהעירום הוא דבר ששולל את הכבוד, זה ההכרח בעצמו מתת אלהים הוא, המעיד על זיו הנשמה, האצולה מזוהר כבוד של מעלה, החיה בקרבנו וחופפת עלינו. והנה תוכן הברכה הזאת כפול הוא : הודאה על החוש הנפשי העדין שלנו, שנטע ד' בקרבנו, שהננו על ידו מתלבשים מלבושי כבוד, ועל ההזמנה החמרית המציאותית, שממציא יוצר כל ב"ה בחסדו, לבריותיו האנושיות, את הבגדים לכסות את מערומיהם. בשני הדרכים הללו ביחד, דרך הנטיה הרוחנית ודרך ההזדמנות החמרית, פועל צור עולמים, מחיה חיים ב"ה, את פעולת חסדו הגדול, שאנו מברכים עליה: מלביש ערומים.

Watch And Live!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Birkos Hashachar: Blessing For Our Vision

לזכות שושנה בת דבורה גיטל

"Sometimes people ask me how I slept. I'm like, I don't know. I was sleeping...." 

After we couch our gratitude to Hashem in the negative [thank you for NOT making me a Goy, a slave or a woman], we start thanking Hashem in positive terms. 

We begin by thanking Him for our vision. Why specifically this sense? 

Since we are thanking Hashem for returning our souls and giving us another day of life in His world, it is appropriate to start with our vision. Seeing is the way we relate to the world and it should fill our soul with power and joy from the vision of creation and the universe in all of its grandeur and glory. When we were sleeping, we didn't have this capacity and were like blind. Therefore, when we arise, we thank Hashem for restoring our vision.

Baruch Atah ... Pokeach Ivrim!

In the words of the Tzadik....

בא"י, אמ"ה, פוקח עורים.

כל סדר הברכות הללו הולך הוא ומפרט את ההודאה של החזרת הנשמה אל קרבנו ע"י היקיצה, בחמלת מלך חי וקים, אדון כל הנשמות, המבוטאת מכבר בכללותה בברכת אלהי נשמה. והננו מתחילים, אחרי ההודאות המפורטות שבדרך השלילה, על אשר לא ירדה נשמתנו ביסודה מרום מעלתה, שהיא עומדת עליה, והננו באים לידי ההודאה המפורטת החיובית, להודות על ההארה הפרטית של אור הנשמת החוזרת אלינו. והננו מקדימים את יחוסנו אל העולם כולו, ביחס להחוש הכללי חוש הראיה, הנותן לנו אותו הרגש הנעים והמרהיב, הממלא את נפשנו עז וחדות ד', ממחזה התבל וכל היקום, אשר נעלמו מאתנו כליל ע"י תגרת יד השינה, אשר עשתה אותנו כעורים, והננו מודים לד' חסדו בברכת פוקח עורים.

Purim - Scattered And Spread Around

From an email

Shalllooooommmm sweeeeetest friends!!
A huuuuuge mazelllllll toooovvvvv to my beloved friend Bradley Goldstoff on his engagement ot Rebecca Tessel. May they merit to build a beautiful home filled with simcha!!:-).

A huuuuuuge mazel toooov to my beloved friend Rav Meir Zeev [Jonah] Steinmetz and his Rebbetzin Shoshana on the birth of their ben habechor!! May they raise him to be a tzadik and talmid chacham in good health always and limitless bracha from above! An additional bracha of mazel tov and endless shefa to the Steinmentz's and Kaminetski's!!

A huuuuuge mazel toooov to the great Gaon and Tzadik Rav Yehoshua Skydell and his Rebbetzin on the birth of a son. May he grow up to be a light unto Israel in all respects! A special mazel tov to the Skydells and Rakovskis on this wonderful simcha!!

This dvar Torah should be a zchus for Shoshana bas Devorah Gittel that she should have ONLY BRACHA and good things always together with her special husband and family!

When Haman tried to sway Achashveirosh to decree destruction and genocide on the Jewish people he said ישנו עם אחד מפוזר ומפורד - There is one nation that is scattered and spread around. It seems as if it is just a repetitive phrase - scattered and spread around.

But it is not.

The word מפוזר connotes geographical distance. Jews are everywhere. That is a GOOD THING! We need Jews everywhere so that in Teaneck, the Five Towns, Montreal, Los Angeles, the Upper West Side, Brazil, Miami, Kew Gardens Hills etc. etc. the Jews can spread the light and kedusha of Torah.

The word מפורד however, has a negative connotation. We are emotionally distant from one another. So, said Haman, we have nothing to worry about. Since the Jews aren't united, we can liquidate them [חס ושלום].

The antidote was what Esther said to Mordechai - לך כנוס את כל היהודים, gather the Jews. Once we have achdus, the Goyim have no power over us.

After we were saved the Rabbis decreed that we give Mishloach Manos. This does not only mean food. Everybody must share their special talents with each other, as the gemara alludes to [see Megilla 7b מר שלח חורפא with the Maharsha].

A person with wisdom must share his wisdom, one with money must share that etc. etc.

One when we bind together as one do the Anti-Semites lose all of their power. May we merit to prove Haman wrong and while we may be מפוזר - we are never מפורד!!

[Based on the Sfas Emes 5661 ד"ה וכל כוחו]

A delicious, sweet healthy and happy Purim to all,



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Secret

לרפואת אליענה רינה בת אלעזר יעקב
ונעמי בת טובה
בתוך שח"י!

Chazal teach: נכנס יין יצא סוד - The wine comes in the secret comes out. What is the secret??

Eisav was told על חרבך תחיה - You will live by the sword. When Goyim get drunk the secret comes out. They fight, punch, stab and shoot. Listen to WINS: You give them 22 minutes - they will give you the explanation of the pasuk על חרבך תחיה! 

A Jew drinks, he hugs and kisses any guy in sight. The secret is - ואהבת לרעך כמוך. We really, really love each other. The alcohol removes the inhibitions.