Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Supreme Acceptance

“The most effective attitude to adopt is one of supreme acceptance. The world is full of people with different characters and temperaments. We all have a dark side, a tendency to manipulate, and aggressive desires. The most dangerous types are those who repress their desires or deny the existence of them, often acting them out in the most underhanded ways. Some people have dark qualities that are especially pronounced. You cannot change such people at their core, but must merely avoid becoming their victim. You are an observer of the human comedy, and by being as tolerant as possible, you gain a much greater ability to understand people and to influence their behavior when necessary”

The Seventh Day Of Pesach - A Time For Friendship

Shaaallooommmmm swweeeeetest friends!!!!!!!!!!

This dvar Torah should be a zchus for the refuah of Yitzchak ben Bracha and Naomi bas Tova.

Also, for Rav Yehoshua Weinberg, his holy wife, parents, brothers and child. They should ALL have only bracha and chesed all the days of their lives.

And a special zchus for R' Avromi Sommers and family for אך טוב וחסד כל ימי חייהם!

And to Rav Zevi Reinitz and his mishpocho for simcha and brocho ba-kol!

Also, li-ilui nishmas R' Shmuel Pinchas ben R' Yaakov Tzvi whose yahrtzeit is the 24th of Nissan. He was my grandfather and I hope that the little good I have done in my life is a constant source of merits for him. I am certain that the amazing amount of good his very large amount of descendents are constantly doing is elevating him to higher and higher places in the world of truth. In this world he sold diamonds but where he is all that remains are the diamonds of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that he produced who are following derech Hashem. May we all leave such a mark on the world as he has.    

I certainly hope that you are enjoying yourselves  wherever you may be this Pesach. This is no time to think of all of your problems. Just to bask in the glorious light [thank G-d the sun shines so brightly on the beach] of our holy-days and feel unmitigated simcha.


We are on the cusp of the seventh day of Pesach, the day that is supposed to bring us to a higher level of Emunah, one of ויאמינו בה' ובמשה עבדו - belief in Hashem and in His tzadikim and leaders. It is important to look deeply into the story of kriyas yam suf in order to get the most out of the day and out of our lives.

In our daily davening we say about the miracle of the splitting of the sea וידידים העברת - you passed your "friends" [through the sea]. Interesting that we are called "friends". The simple meaning is that we are friends with Hashem. It can also mean that we became friendly with EACH OTHER. After a harrowing experience [such as being pursued by a few million bloodthirsty Arabs as happened before the splitting of the sea] and salvation, the survivors feel a sense of camaraderie and closeness. וידידים העברת.

Chazal tell us that the sea split into 12 sections, one for each tribe. This shows that each tribe must maintain their own distinct path. On the other hand, another medrash teaches that each tribe could clearly see the other tribes and they were talking to each other as they passed through [see Yalkut Makiri, Tehillim 136/19 and Torah Shleima 144].

This teaches that even though one must maintain his own unique path in life, that doesn't mean that he negates the path and life choices of others. We must respect and embrace others who choose to serve Hashem in ways that are at times not identical to our own path.

The Sfas Emes [in his very last piece on Pesach] says that not only was every tribe worthy of having the sea split for themselves but every INDIVIDUAL was worthy of having the sea split on his or her behalf. That is the meaning of the pasuk אתה פוררת בעזך ים - You made the sea into "crumbs" with your strength. These "crumbs" symbolize that EVERY JEW is worthy of having his own kriyas yam suf.

Jews are compared to the "sand of the sea" and also to stars in the sky. The earth [sand], sea, and heavens [stars] are all created for US. So that we can testify to the existence of Hashem and spread his light on earth. Every Jew has a portion in this revelation. That is why it is so important to value and love every Jew.

This means that this שביעי של פסח is the PERFECT time to stop being critical of others. Your husband - he is NOT perfect and will never be. But cut him some slack, he has many good qualities as well. The same applies to your wife [although the odds of you having a husband and wife are quite slim] and children. Let people be people - fallible by nature and their very definition. Love them, embrace them and give them the feeling that they are "yedidim" - good friends. You need them and they need you.

From a book "  “On the road to success there is absolutely no room for criticism of self or others. Insecurity and fear masquerade as jealousy and judgment. Finding faults in others wastes time as we attempt to remove the bricks from other people’s foundations – time that could be better spent building our own."

Sound advice.

BELOVED YEDIDIM!! I wish you all a very sweet yuntiv and Shabbos filled with limitless bracha and spiritual elevation!!!

Bi-ahava rabba ,

[Based on the words of the Tolna Rebbe Shlita]

Let Go

“Before you can live a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change the past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


C'mon - be a romantic!!!

Sing your wife Eishes Chayil in Spanish!

Yetzias Mitzraim

"Farlor ergo sum"

"I err therefore I am"

You want to change? Admit error. People work so hard to prove to themselves and the rest of mankind that they are right. Letting go of preconceptions and common habits of thoughts and practice is a boon to change and the beginning of the road to greatness. 

Mitzrayim comes from the word "meitzarim" - boundries.

Leave your meitzarim! 

Monday, April 25, 2016


Don't Be Afraid To Change

Abaye was a Kohen and was eligible to receive the coveted Zro'a, L'Chayayin, and Keiva, shoulder, tongue, and stomach of every animal slaughtered. The gemara Chulin (133a) tells us that initially, Abaye in his enthusiasm to show how important the mitzva is, used to grab these pieces of meat from the people who slaughtered the animal. Later when he heard that the pasuk says these pieces should be "given" to the Kohen, he stopped taking them himself but started to tell the people to give it to him. When he heard that the Navi criticized the children of Shmuel HaNavi for "asking" for the Matanos, he stopped asking but continued to accept them when offered. When he heard the Braisa says that the modest Kohanim would pass on the opportunity to get a piece of the holy Lechem HaPanim while the aggressive ones would grab, he stopped accepting altogether.

The Mei Shiloach says that the nature of a person whose opinion is attacked or even questioned, is to stand up and defend himself vigorously. This is especially of a person of stature and even more so when it comes to his personal conduct. Admitting error puts a blemish on his past behavior, which a public persona has trouble dealing with both on his own account and that of his position.

Abaye exhibited the exact opposite behavior. Despite that after his own internal lengthy debate, he decided that grabbing the Matanos showed the most respect for the Mitzvos, as soon as he even "heard" that his way may not be correct, rather than defend himself he chose to change his ways. Still when that did not prove sufficient to stem the voices of dissent, Abaye once again altered his behavior without any argument. And then he did it for third time. Could you imagine the shame of a Gadol HaDor swallowing his pride three times over the same issue?

Abaye, says the Mei Shiloach, set an example how all of ones conduct must be totally L'Shem Shamayim without any consideration of ones own ego. One must always seek the truth no matter what is at stake for him personally.


Listen And Live!!

A Proof That Moshaich Will Come?

לזכות ר' אברהם יצחק בן אסתר וכל בני ביתו

The Rambam says that the Torah alludes to the fact that we must believe in the coming of Moshiach when it says ואם ירחב השם את גבולך ויספת שלש ערים - If Hashem expands your borders, you should add three cities as ערי מקלט. Since this has never happened and the Torah is eternal, it must be referring to the time when Moshiach comes.

The question is that the gemara says that there was never a Ben Sorer Umoreh and the only reason the Torah writes about it is דרוש וקבל שכר - for academic purposes. So why can't we say the same thing about adding three cities - it will never happen and the Torah writes it for academic purposes דרוש וקבל שכר? So no proof....

וצ"ע - הרבי מחב"ד כתב שאולי אפשר לחלק וצ"ע 

[Don't worry - we have other pesukim from the Torah and Neviim to prove that Moshiach will come].

מרים בת סערקא

Please say tehillim for Miriam bas Serka who is undergoing serious surgery at 10:30 am New York time.

Sunday, April 24, 2016



Thanking Hashem for The Troubles

R' M. Greenberg

"Whoever did not say these three things has not fulfilled his obligation: Pesach, matza, and maror." [Haggada]. Pesach and matza are a way of giving thanks for the redemption, but what about maror – bitter herbs? Is this also linked to our giving thanks?

The sages commented on the verse, "On that day G-d will be one and His name will be one" [Zecharya 14:9], that in the distant future we will bless about the bad just as we now recite a blessing for the good that happens. Some people have asked: Will there still be bad things in the distant future? The answer is that this refers to what we see today as being bad, for which we recite the blessing, "Dayan Ha'Emet." In the future the real picture will become clear and we will see that all the "bad" things are part of a good process. We will then retroactively recite the blessing recognizing the good that was done for us, "Hatov V'Hameitiv."

A perfect example of this is the incident of the sale of Yosef. When this event took place everybody saw it as a bad act, and even Yaacov himself complained, "Why did you treat me badly"  Brereishit 43:6]. However, in the end, everybody gave thanks and blessed, "Hatov V'Hameitiv," as Yosefsaid: "And now, do not be sad and do not be upset that you sold me here, for G-d has sent me before you to provide a livelihood." [45:5].

There is a hint of this idea in the verse, "For it is a decree ('chok') for Yisrael, a law('mishpat') for the G-d of Yaacov" [Tehillim 81:5]. What seems to Bnei Yisrael to be an unexplained decree is really judgement in the eyes of the G-d of Yaacov. Do you want proof? "See the testimony of Yehosef, when he went out into the Land of Egypt" [81:6]. Just look at what happened to Yosef in Egypt.

The Holy One, Blessed be He, gave good tidings to Avraham in the Covenant of the Pieces. Usually a covenant is a sign of friendship, but in order to create a chosen nation it was necessary to send the people through the melting pot of exile. And therefore the covenant includes a declaration that the nation will descend to Egypt.

"Everybody who expands the story of the Exodus from Egypt should be praised" [Haggada]. This refers not only to one who continues to discuss the story after midnight but also to one who broadens the story to include the descent to Egypt. Therefore, we begin the story with, "At first, our fathers were idol worshippers," in order to be able to tell about the exile which helped refine us.

In the Talmud Yerushalmi it is written that we redeem our firstborn for five Sela'im in order to atone for the sale of Rachel's firstborn, Yosef, for the same amount of money. But this seems problematic – if so, why should Yosef also pay for a firstborn, and to whom should he pay? Is it right that he should pay Levi, who instigated the sale in the first place? The answer is that in the end we owe a debt of gratitude to Levi for selling Yosef. If this had not happened, we might not have descended to Egypt, and perhaps we would not have become a chosen people.
Rabbi Mordechai Greenberg

It is written in the Talmud (Pesachim) that the lamb for the sacrifice was carried on the shoulders, as was the custom of the Yishmaelite merchants. Why should we remember the Yishmaelites on the night of the Seder? It must be that we are thankful not only for the redemption but also for the exile itself!

The commentators of the Rambam write that the eating of the "karpas" is a reminder of the "ketonet hapassim" – the striped shirt which Yaacov made for Yosef, which was part of the chain of events that led to Yosef being sold to Egypt. We dip this in salt water in memory of when the brothers "dipped the shirt in the blood" [Bereishit 37:31]. Rashi notes about the striped shirt that it was "fancy cloth, such as 'karpas'(white cotton) in Megilat Esther." All of this teaches us at the very beginning of the Seder that the descent to Egypt was part of a Divine plan, in order to bring the people out as a Kingdom of Priests. And we give thanks not only for the redemption from Egypt, "Pesach and matza," but also for the bitter "maror," for the exile itself.

Ta'avas Achila #12 - Are You A Man Or An Animal?

 כתב בסה"ק נועם אלימלך סוף פרשת ויקרא וזל"ק: "וגם בעניני אכילה יש חילוק לאוכל בקדושה במחשבות טהורות בין האוכל כבהמה עכ"ל.

The Noam Elimelech writes that there are those who eat with kedusha like human beings and there are others who eat like animals.

Fortunate are those who eat like human beings.....

Ta'avas Achila #11: Fixing The Stomach And The Bris

לזכות ידיד נפשי האברך היקר הר"ר דניאל צוייגבוים שליט"א ואשתו החשובה שולמית וילדיהם המתוקים!!!

אא"ז בסה"ק דברי בינה זל"ק: דהנה, על ידי מה יוכל האדם לזכות לאותו המעלה הנפלאה של בחינת 'צלי אש' על ידי 'ראשו על כרעיו ועל קרבו' וענינו הוא כמו שאמר אא"ז הרב הקדוש רבי ירחמיאל זצוקללה"ה הפירוש 'ושחט אותו על ירך המזבח וגו'' [ויקרא א' י"א], כי עיקר שחיטת היצר הרע הוא בשני דברים הללו בבחינת ירך הרומז על בחינת קדושת הברית שהוא בירכים והב' הוא במזבח באכילה שאוכל על שולחנו הדומה למזבח, ואז יזכה שיהיה כולו לפני ה' ולא יהיה שום חילוק בין ראשו לשאר אבריו עד כאן ודברי פי חכם חן. וזה רומז ראשו על כרעיו ועל קרבו שעל ידי בחינת קדושת גוף בבחינת כרעיו וקרבו אז יוכל להמשיך בחינת קדושה עליונה מן המח שבראש על כל האברים ויהיו כולם מקושרים ומיוחדים ביחודא שלים עכל"ק.

How can a person merit being like "roasted on fire"? Through "his head on his legs and on his innards". This means as follows: It says "you should shecht the animal on the thigh of the mizbeach", because the main slaughtering of the yetzer hara is in 2 areas. The "thigh" alludes to the holiness of the bris which is at the thigh and the "mizbeach" alludes to the table which should be like a mizbeach and he will then merit that there will be no distinction between the head and the rest of the body. And that is the allusion "his head on his legs and on his innards" - through sanctifying the body i.e. his legs [i.e. bris] and innards [i.e. stomach] he can then draw elevated kedusha from the head on all the limbs and they will all be connected and bound with elevated divine kedusha. 


We learn that the main areas that one must fix his yetzer relate to the bris and his eating habits. So enjoy your food - but with limits...  


Ta'avas Achila #10 - Torah In My Stomach

לזכות נעמי בת טובה
לאה אסתר בת פרימט

 "דהנה כל איש מישראל רצונו לעשות רצון קונו בתורתו ותפלתו, אמנם היצר הרע שבקרבו וכח המתאוה שבמעיו הוא מונעו מעבודת השי"ת שמסיתו לכל תאוות אכילה ושתיה וישמן ישורון ויבעט. ובפרט ח"ו מי שנכשל במאכלות אסורות ובדברים הטמאים ונתפטם באיסור, אשר לא כן אורח צדיקים שהוא כאור נוגה המשברים תאותם ולא למלאות כרסם לכן לבם ברשותם לעבוד את ה' בתורה ומעשים טובים. וזהו שאמר דוד המלך ע"ה בענותנותו "לעשות רצונך אלהי חפצתי" שזה בודאי שרצוני לעשות רצונך אמנם העיקר "ותורתך בתוך מעי" לשמור התורה במעי ולא לתת התפשטות לכח המתאוה שבמעי כדי שלא יעכבני מללכת בדרך אמת. ולכן סמך המדרש הפסוק הזה לפרשה זאת החיה אשר תאכלו שהזהיר הכתוב שלא לאכול דברים הטמאים ולא תשקצו את נפשותיכם ויהיה על ידי זה מניעה מעבודת השי"ת ואהבתו כי הדברים הטמאים נקראים בשם אסור שהם אסורים בקליפה ואין להם עליה עד ימות הקץ שיעבור רוח טומאה מהארץ כמ"ש בספר תניא עי"ש.

[ספר עבודת ישראל פרשת שמיני]

A Jew naturally wants to fulfill all of the mitzvos, to learn Torah and to daven. The problem is that he gets caught up in his desire for food and he forgets Hashem, as the pasuk says וישמן ישורון ויבעט - The Jewish people get FAT and rebel against Hashem.  

That is what Dovid Hamelech said in Tehillim: לעשות רצונך אלקי חפצתי - I desire to fulfill your will. But the main thing is ותורתך בתוך מעי -  The Torah must be in my stomach, preventing my desire for food to overcome me.

In fact, this pasuk was placed by Chazal in the medrash, in the context of the laws of forbidden foods in Parshas Shmini, to teach us that an excessive involvement in eating contaminates a person as forbidden food.

[The Kozhnitzer Rebbe ztz"l]

Ta'avas Achila #9

הנה המיתה נמשכה דוקא מחטא אדם הראשון, וזהו מפני הזוהמא של הנחש שנבלעה בגוף. אמנם זוהמא זאת נכנסה בהם על ידי אכילה. וצריך שתדע מה שכתוב "ותורתך בתוך מעי" ודבר זה נתבאר במקום אחר איך בחינת תרי"א איברים נמצאים בבני מעים, שבכח זה יכול המזון להתברר לצורך כל התרי"ג איברים של הגוף כידוע בסוד עיכול המזון. וב' איברים מן התרי"ג נמצאים בפה בסוד פה וגרון והמאכל נכנס בדרך אלה הב' שהם כנגד אנכי ולא יהיה לך שנתנו מפי הגבורה ואחר כך נשלם הבירור בשאר המעיים.

[רמח"ל ס' אדיר במרום]

We learn that the sin of Adam was with food which injected the impurity of the snake into man's body. The pasuk says that Torah must be in one's stomach [and Chazal say that if one's stomach is filled with too much pizza and ice cream then Torah can't penetrate]. All 611 limbs are connected to the stomach and the other two limbs, the mouth and throat through which the food passes are related to the two most primary mitzvos - believing in Hashem and not believing in any other gods. We "put the food through" these two mitzvos and then it enters the stomach and is purified through the other 611.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Listen And Live

Lots of new shiurim BS"D [the newest linked on the side of the page]. Close to 40 this month. Over 2,800 all together. When I was in the US, someone told me that his ipod is filled with my shiurim. That means more to me than כל כסף וזהב שבעולם.

טוב לי תורת פיך מאלפי זהב וכסף!

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Surrounding Culture

An old post. May we merit to escape from ערוות הארץ:-)

In the year 5716 (1956), the author Avraham Kariv wrote an article about the evil culture that has spread through our lives. Here is some of what he said about movies [when movies were tame]:

"They have become an all-powerful agent of all the evil and coarse urges within man... This is normally an unseen world which hides itself from the sun and from other people, and then rises up in front of the viewer in all its guile: 'Here I am! Here I am!'... The voice of the evil inclination is its most powerful in the world of the movies, almost as if it could be compared to the tunes of a chazzan, heaven forbid, representing the whole community of creative artists. Whatever society rejects, whatever education wants to uproot, is brought into movies and shown on the big screen with powerful emphasis... In a single week a person can pass through all seven sections of hell.

"Promiscuity and corruption were present throughout history, but they were never presented to an audience in such a show of shamelessness... Seafarers are created on the island of the movies, both boys and girls, and they all gaze at the actions taking place on the screen, which are directly opposite to all the limits put in place by parents and educational institutions alike. What is considered as a serious breach of acceptable limits within the confines of the home and educational institutions is the accepted norm here, in the movies...

"The venom of the movies lies in wait for our children from their earliest days. How and from what source will the soul of the next generation maintain a bit of purity and innocence? The movies are the evil angel which calls out to the young of our generation, saying: 'Descend to the lowest point!' These forces have the power to reshape the face of a nation. Our sages have taught us the following about Yisrael: 'This nation can be recognized by three characteristics: They show mercy, they have shame, and they perform kind acts.' After a quarter of a century of intensively watching movies, our nation is very different than it used to be, in all its traits.

"During the day, we are involved in laying the foundations for a proper life, and then at night the soul is abandoned to an approach that tears apart the very foundation of these efforts. If the night doesn't follow the day as it should, the day follows the night."

Similar things can be said about sports: "There is no greater sign of spiritual deprivation than the great increase in the interest in sports in our time. We must remember that winning a sports competition does not make the winner into a better person but only into a happier creature." (Dr. Kampell, Maariv).

We finish with a statement by Chaim Nachman Bialik about movies: "The intent is to cause impurity and to confuse all five senses at once, so that anybody who goes there one time will be transformed into an animal for life."

Big Job - Vi-somachta Bi-chagecha

To be consistently happy for 8 consecutive days [even in Israel the 8th day is Shabbos]!!!

Whether you are "feeling it" or not.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Our Chosenness

Why in kiddush on yuntiff do we say אשר בחר בנו מכל עם while in birkas hatorah we say מכל העמים??

Pitum Haktores On Klaf

There is a common minhag among Sefardim in particular to write Pitum Haktores on klaf and to read it as a segulah for wealth and other blessings. I just heard a shiur where a top notch Rov and posek rails against this and says that it is not correct because the gemara forbids one to write individual pesukim.

I am not a fan of saying that many good people are doing something wrong unless we are compelled to say so and there is no other recourse.

Here, there is a limmud zchus. See Tshuvos Vi-hanhagos 4/18 and Yabia Omer 9 page 306 ועוד ועוד ואין כאן מקום להאריך בזה!

Gratitude - Jewish Kindness

To my very sweet friends, shalom!!!!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the many people who performed acts of kindness on my behalf during my visit to the US. I am truly humbled by the tremendous warmth, love, care and chesed that I experienced.

Whether it was a warm, filling, delicious meal, a ride in a car, a place for Shabbos, hosting a shiur and many other types of chesed - so many people were there for me.

There are soooo many people who come to mind and I can only hope to repay every single person in any and every way. A special mention must be made of Rav Moshe Tzvi Weinberg, Rav Yehoshua Weinberg and Rebbi Eitan Katz who made the motzei Shabbos event in Teaneck such a rousing success. And of course the Teaneck suit lady who graciously sponsored the event.

I must also mention the Pollock family who do so much for me always. R' Yoni is always ready to drive me anywhere and his entire family are tremendous friends to me in many ways. They are so special and extraordinary.

I also thank my many beloved friends: R' Zach Sherman for organizing a shiur in YU. R' Yosef Wilcox for doing so in Landers. R' Avraham Yitzchak Jaspan [who will do anything and everything for me] and Rav Dori Levin for organizing shiurim in Edison. Dr. Ezer Weiss for going completely out of his way and driving me all the way back home late at night. Rav Chaim Shenkman for opening up his home and for being such a good friend. R' Yaakov Dov Slomnicki for having me over for Shabbos in Staten Island and organizing a shiur that was given in the Young Israel between mincha and maariv under the leadership of my good friend Rav Lehrfield. Also to Mr. and Mrs. Barry Weiss who opened up their home to me with their characteristic warmth and love. To Chana Beila Weinrich, Estee Goldschmiedt and Marguax Salig who opened their home in order to host a shiur for ladies in Kew Garden Hills. Next year they will have their own homes and will agree with their respective husbands to host many shiurim. To Rebbetzins Dahlia Berman and Aviva Orlofsky who made sure that I arrived home afterwards. Without them I would still be walking around Queens trying to find my way back to the city. They are also two of the best students I ever had in Seminary and am gratified for having been there just for them alone. To my brother R' Yosef Tzvi and his wife Myra for opening up their home in Passaic for Shabbos even though it was right before Pesach when company is the hardest. A happy birthday to my big brother TODAY. Many more to come in good health. I would publicly praise my brother for all he does but he forbade me from doing so. I thank Rabbi Weinberger of Passaic for honoring me with delivering a drasha in his shul. Also, to Mr and Mrs. Herschel Rothenberg for hosting me in their Abrahamic tent of glory. To my most beloved friend R' Yosef Jaspan for thinking of me one day when he was driving by and stopping to pick me up and driving me uptown to be makayim what my mother told "Don't take the subway at night". He is about my dearest friend on earth. To R' and Mrs. Chaim Schreck for having me over in their dwelling of the shechina and treating me to a delicious meal and transportation as well. To R' and Mrs. Yehuda Spindler who also graciously hosted and fed me in their holy home. To R' Shmuel Tzvi Rauch who has been about my most faithful friend for many years and is always there for me in so many ways. To Jonny Hanus who has a heart of gold and in his sweet and quiet way makes the world a better place in so many ways. Besides all of the good he does for me in so many ways - he also treated me to a delicious Sunday brunch in a kosher eatery on the Upper West Side. The girl who has the good fortune to marry him will be super lucky to spend her life with such a special person. To my most beloved friend, Rav Moshe Gavriel Bernstein who is beyond amazing in so many ways. He is a budding talmid chochom and true ben aliyah who understands what life is all about. There is nobody like him and together with his holy wife, he is building a very special home filled with kedusha, Torah and chesed. To R' Rafi Goodman and R' Zevi Blumenfrucht who are two faithful beloved friends on the UWS who always make me feel welcome when I come to town. To R' Chaim Yehoshua Austein for giving me a ride to the 5t's and is always there for me. To Rav Daniel Zweigbaum who together with his wife and two of the most special people I know. To R' Aharon Yisrael Feit who is a chavrusa, close friend, role model and tremendous baal chesed. To R' Shmuel Stein and R' Eytan Feldman who [together with a few other people already mentioned] saved me when I needed it most, on numerous occasions. To Mr. Henry Orlinsky who is a world class ish chesed and tzedaka. To R' Josh Goldberg who is a close friend and true ohev torah. To R' Yaakov Schulder who is very very close long time friend. I value our friendship and the special bond we have. To R' Ephraim Gervis is a tremendous oheiv Torah and oheiv Talmidei Chachomim. R' Shalom Yitzchak Chaim Dworkin who remains a close friend for 2 decades and whenever we get together it is always an exquisite pleasure. For that I thank him.

Of course I can't forget my parents who are incredibly devoted to all of their children and grandchildren and never want anything in return. I hope I can live up to their example. They allowed me to stay in their apartment while I was there and I can only imagine how much it would have cost me to stay in a hotel....

There are many, many, many more people to whom I feel indebted. I can't name all of them but that doesn't make me less appreciative. It is hard for me to believe how kind and wonderful so many people have been to me over the years but the facts are there. מי כעמך ישראל. It is not because anybody owes me anything but because people have such a kind and warm Jewish heart.

It reminds me a thought I once publicly shared:

We say הא לחמא עניא - This is the bread of affliction etc. anyone who is hungry should come and eat and anyone who is needy should come and have the Pesach.

Why do we open with an invitation to the poor to join us, a practice we don't find anywhere else. Obviously this has something to do with Yetzias Mitzrayim, but what??

We were in Egypt and were under foreign rule. This caused a psychological pressure that prevented us from being our true selves. What is a Jew? Let's check the DNA! We have CHESED throbbing through our veins. We are the children of Avraham Avinu, the paragon of chesed. When we were in Egypt this natural inclination was repressed. When were were released [as we are every year on Pesach night] it was like a spring that was held down was let go. We can finally be ourselves so we instinctively cry out "Poor unfortunate people PLEASE come join me. I need to GIVE." That is the first expression of our new found freedom. Not only that but we add כל דכפין ייתי ויפסח - anyone who is needy should come and have the Pesach. Meaning we don't just want to give food, we want to give SPIRITUAL food - the holy korban pesach.

I must say - מי כעמך ישראל. There is no nation that is as deeply imbued with the ethic of tzedaka and chesed as the Jewish People. I was thinking about that once when I was in Manhattan. I was watching people rummage through garbage cans looking for some "shirayim" [and it didn't matter to them which "Rebbe" left it. All that mattered was that it was edible]. If a Jew is hungry he can go to any Jewish community and be swamped with invitations to eat. We don't just do chesed - we love doing chesed.

[עפ"י הרב קוק]

I was definitely helped towards reaching one of the primary purposes of my visit [] and for that I am eternally grateful and Hashem will help everybody who helped me in a myriad of ways.

It goes without saying that everybody is invited to the wedding on June 22nd [invitation forthcoming].

It looks like I will be back in the summer and hope for the opportunity to spread more Torah and to do chesed.

I wish EVERYBODY a sweet, happy and healthy Pesach wherever you may be [there is actually a 15 percent chance that you are not in Florida] and hope to spend next Pesach with you in Yerushalyim Habnuyah!!

Bi-ahava rabba vi-ahavas olam,



Note: This is not about your mother in law, my mother in law, or anyone else's mother in law. It is about the stereotypical mother in law.

If someone is spending Pesach with his mother in law then you just wish him a chag kasher because it probably won't be sameach.

If he is spending Pesach at a hotel you just wish him a chag sameach because there might be problems with the kashrus.

If he is spending Pesach with his mother in law at a hotel then you wish him a "chag".

It's Official!

I am the only person I know [outside of my wife and children] who will not be in Florida for Pesach.

So lonely.

This means that -

1] Someone is making money, BARUCH HASHEM!

2] Jews will be WELL FED this Pesach!

3] The gemara says that wherever there are ten Jews the Shechina resides. The Baal Hatanya writes in his Iggeres Hakodesh that if an angel would be present where there are ten Jews - he would be so overcome with awe and trembling he would cease to exist. This is certainly true when almost all of Klal Yisrael is present as they will be this Pesach in Florida.

4] Eliyahu Hanavi will not have to schlep around too much seder night. He can stay local. 

5] Israel should change its name to "Miami". This way, Jews would be able to come here for Pesach and still feel that they were in Miami.     

Enjoy beloved friends and don't forget to use sunscreen for sunburns and eye screen for neshama burns......

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lost Opportunities

Rabbi Eisenmann

Rayzle Rubin was born in the Bronx in 1927; she was the middle daughter in a family of three daughters.
When the depression of 1929 caused a downturn in her family’s fortunes, Rayzle and her family suffered greatly. 
Added to Rayzle’s problems were a not too small dose of “middle-child-syndrome” which caused Rayzle to be cantankerous and often argumentative; she had difficulty maintaining relationships.
She had dreams of becoming a nurse or perhaps a doctor. Her parents, particularly her mother, thought otherwise.
“How can you get married and raise a family if you are in the hospital? Be a teacher or a switchboard operator; anything but a nurse!” Her mother would say.
The stress and pressure her mother placed on her found their mark and Rayzle’s dreams of becoming a nurse were never fulfilled.

Rayzle said “yes” to the first boy who was interested in marrying her; partially because her mother’s insistence (“Who knows if another boy will come around?”) and partially to get out of the house; she was 20 years old.

Rayzle and her husband Bernard had two children; a boy Steven, who eventually went to Eretz Yisroel and never returned and a younger daughter named Bernice who was born in 1958.

Rayzle was tough on Bernice; there is no other way to say it.

It had to be Rayzle’s way or no way. 

When mother and daughter would lock horns, Rayzle would invariably end the discussion by decreeing: “I am not your friend, I am your mother and therefore you will listen to me”.

Bernice must have heard her mother’s mantra: “I am not your friend, I am your mother”, at least ten thousand times.

She heard it when she awoke and she heard it during the day; she heard it before she went to bed and sometimes she even heard it in her dreams!

Fast forward to 2016; to a suburban nursing home in New Jersey where Mrs. Rayzle Berman who is now almost 90 years old lives alone.

On Sunday her daughter Bernice (now Brocha) drives down with her kids to visit and every Wednesday after work Brocha stops by the “home” to pay a solo visit.

There is a marked difference between the two visits.

On Sunday, Brocha sits on the side and allows her children to interact with their grandmother.

She is the facilitator in permitting her mother to bond with and have nachas from her grandchildren.

The visit on Sunday is carefree and no one looks at their watch.
The Wednesday afternoon visit is very different. It is short and to the point.

Brocha asks her mother if she needs anything; she asks her mother the usual questions, “How are they treating you? Do you like the food? How do you feel?”

And then she looks at her watch and announces after 15 minutes, “Sorry Mom, I have to go now; so much to do. Be well; bye”.

And with that Brocha waves to her mother and darts out of the room.

One day Rayzle Berman did what she never had done before with her daughter; she asked Brocha to sit down as she wanted to speak to her heart to heart.

“Bernice, (she never could get used to calling her daughter Brocha) how come when you come on Wednesday you are always in a rush to leave? Why can’t you stay so we can have a nice and friendly chat together?”

Bernice hesitated to respond as she looked at her mother who was so frail and vulnerable. Rayzle Berman was just a shell of her former formidable self. 
Bernice wanted so much to connect with her mother, to be “her friend”….However, the words, “I am not your friend, I am your mother” continued to echo in her tormented brain. 

The words reverberated incessantly within her and she was paralyzed and unable to speak.

Rayzle Berman looked hopefully towards her daughter for friendship as Bernice agonized over her feelings about the mother who had always insisted she was only a “mother” and never a friend and she struggled to decide how to answer her mother.

She was just about to say something….however, at that moment a nurse entered the room and the conversation stopped.

Bernice stood up and began to leave; as she reached the door she turned to look once more at her mother while mourning hopes and dreams which would never be fulfilled.

Rabbi Chaim Goldberg z"l

By Y. Koppel - Yated Neeman
Apr 6, 2016

The legendary gabbai tzedokah of Yerushalayim, Rav Chaim Goldberg zt”l, was niftar Thursday morning, 21 Adar, in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital. He was 67.

Rav Chaim Yosef Halevi Goldberg was born in Chicago in Kislev 5709/1948. Rav Chaim’s parents, Rav Yitzchok and Betty Goldberg, were renowned for their Torah and chesed and instilled their children with ahavas hatorah and yiras shomayim. Rav Chaim learned in Telz Yeshiva and at 17 went to learn in Eretz Yisroel.

He first went to learn in the Yeshivas Metzuyanim under Rav Chaim Aharon Turchin zt”l. He married Rav Turchin’s niece, the daughter of Rav Yechiel Wislovsky zt”l. They settled in Yerushalayim and Rav Chaim joined Yeshivas Brisk under Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, where he continued to learn ad sof yomov.

Rav Chaim started his lifelong dedication to tzedokah long before it was common. Philanthropists and donors trusted him and were in awe of his integrity. His donor base expanded and the amount of money available for him to distribute increased to the tune of hundreds of millions of shekels a year.

He had a brainstorm to set up individual kupos tzedokah in cities and neighborhoods.

He delegated the background checks to local community representatives who could check the authenticity of each individual case.

When he was diagnosed 4 and half years ago Rav Chaim was not misyaeish. He told doctors, “Only the Borei Olam is chosech chaim lechol chai.” So he continued, even in the face of terrible yesurim. He continued with his exemplary gemilas chesed, often visiting the homes of yesomim, almonos, gerei tzedek, the underprivileged and the poverty stricken, giving them practical and emotional support.

Not long before his petirah he called a meeting next to his hospital bed in Ein Kerem to discuss this year’s kimcha d’pischa.

The Levayah

The levayah started at 1:00 outside Rav Chaim’s home, on Rechov Elkana 7. Rav Alter Kaufman from the “chaburah of chesed” was maspid.

Rebbes, roshei yeshiva, rabbonim, askonim, businessmen in yarmlkes, hats and kippos of all types were among the thousands of people who filled the streets. Many of the yungeleit in the most prominent yeshivos, kollelim and kehillos throughout the country were recipients of Reb Chaim’s gemilas chesed. The levayah continued at Yeshivas Brisk.

Hespeidim were given by Rav Refoel Berlin, rosh yeshivas Reishis Chochma; Rav Mordechai Plotke, brother-in-law; Rav Yehoshua Dovid Turchin, rosh yeshivas Metzuyanim; Dr. Dovid Yonoson Stein; and Rav Nissan Goldberg, the oldest son of Rav Chaim.

The maspidim reiterated that Rav Chaim’s whole essence was Torah and chesed, which go hand in hand, and exemplary ahavas Yisroel. They talked about how he toiled in Torah and mitzvos and described the unbelievable extent of his lifetime dedication to tzedokah and chesed.

Dr. Stein, his contemporary from Yeshivas Brisk where they both learned, described the chesed he saw firsthand. When Rav Chaim was diagnosed with a serious illness he moved into the doctor’s home, where Dr. Stein monitored his medical situation, and Mrs. Stein was dedicated to his day to day welfare.

Rav Chaim was always happy with what she served, even if it did not exactly comply with his diet. He always showed appreciation without expressing that anything was not right until his wife realized the balance of his requirements.

He continued his tzedokah work with his network of gabbaim. often referred to as his chaburah of chesed. He was able to alleviate some of his extreme pain by focusing on helping aniyim.

Rav Chaim’s son, Rav Nissan, said his father built so many homes. He revived so many families, giving them a new lease on life. He made shidduchim. He resisted carrying a cellphone for the longest time, but then, he wanted to be available for the needy so he began to carry a cell phone. He always thought carefully about what to do in each situation.

Rav Nissan expounded on his father’s chashivus and love for Torah. People young and old were drawn to him like a magnet. He had so much hakoras hatov to his wife for helping him shoulder responsibilities at home and in his chesed.

Upon the request of the niftar, according to the tzavoah of Rav Akiva Eiger, as many as 2500 envelopes were distributed at the levayah, each one containing 200 shekel. A number of gabboei tzedokah led by Rav Chaim Turchin mingled with the crowd and distributed the envelopes to avreichim.

Reb Chaim’s life was so intertwined with his rosh yeshiva, Rav Meshulam Dovid Soloveitchik, who broke his longstanding minhag and for the first time since his father’s levayah 56 years ago, he walked behind the mitah. The levayah continued to Beit Shemesh for kevurah near the niftar’s parents.

Just days later, Rav Dovid became an ovel when his brother, Rav Meir Soloveitchik, was niftar.

Rav Chaim lived with his family in a modest third floor apartment with no elevator. He never took anything for himself. In the early years, Reb Refoel Berlin recalled, although he was distributing thousands of shekels, he himself was a nitzrach. Some of his friends would in fact collect for him so that his family could make yom tov.

The Vilna Gaon says, “Al sheloshah devorim ho’olam omeid: al hatorah avodah ugemilas chasodim.” Since Torah today is not what it once was, and we no longer have the avodas hakodesh of the korbonos, the Gaon says that the only pillar that remains is that of gemilas chasodim. Rav Chaim Goldberg dedicated his kochos to gemilas chesed.

How did it all start?

When Reb Chaim was a bochur learning in Eretz Yisroel, his father, Rav Yitzchok, who was a rov in Chicago, would send him donations from mispallelim to be distributed to aniyim. Reb Chaim would seek out underprivileged people in the poorer neighborhoods of Yerushalayim, where he saw the abject poverty and its devastating ramifications on the families. Through word of mouth he would hear of needy cases or be referred to the “suffering in silence,” whose needs he would verify on a case by case basis.

When he was 18 or 19, Rav Chaim wrote home to his parents and asked them to send him a new toothbrush. They read between the lines and understood that not only had he given away his own toothbrush, but he probably had given away a lot more and needed to be replenished with other necessary supplies.

Ten years later, when his childhood friend Reb Dovid Leib Cohen also moved to Eretz Yisroel, they joined forces to become lifelong partners in tzedokah vochesed.

What is the difference between this tzedokah and all other tzedokah campaigns and organizations in Eretz Yisroel?

They do not require a tedious processing system and criteria for eligibility. No lengthy applications, passports, visas, or driving licenses are required. Several major mosdos in Eretz Yisroel and America enabled this unique team to channel the funds under their umbrella and they were set.

This means, without delay, they could directly alleviate the suffering of those who were silent. They could appear out of the blue with that desperately needed heater, stove, refrigerator, food and provisions. They built a database of the shlish hatachton, those in dire need. They developed a network of 70 gabboim ne’emonim, dedicated men and women with inside information in their local communities.

Ultimately, most of the other main distributors of tzedokah have to turn to the Goldberg-Cohen partnership for assistance. They are also the go-to for roshei yeshiva and magidei shiur of the major yeshivos and kollelim when they need to help out struggling avreichim.

A gabbaei tzedokah, “Mattisyohu,” just received a package of carriages for distribution. Families throughout the country without carriages can request one. Where did the package come from? A group of ba’alei batim in Lakewood heard of a closeout and approached Mattisyohu. He said, “Go for it.” Countless families will now be relieved of another source of stress, one item at a time.

100% of the money collected by this tzedokah goes directly to the recipients. There are no overhead expenses.

Since Rav Chaim became sick, even more funds have been raised. Be’ezras Hashem the network will continue to fill the void of those suffering in silence.

Rav Chaim had a very hectic schedule, beginning at the crack of dawn and lasting into the late hours of the night. He learned two sedorim at Rav Dovid Soloveitchik’s Brisk Yeshiva. He was only available for phone calls between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. From 4-6 he would be out distributing funds, appliances, and provisions, physically exerting himself. Reb Dovid would pick him up every day at 4 and drive him around. Rav Chaim would often appear unannounced to some dilapidated apartment with a stove, heater or item of furniture which he had schlepped on his back since he knew the recipient desperately needed it.

From 7-8 he learned with his chavrusa of 45 years.

On the days when Rav Dovid gave a shiur, Rav Chaim would head to Rechov Amos the shiur in Rav Dovid’s home, rain or shine. If Rav Chaim had to go out of town, he made every effort to be back in time for the shiur.

Every week the gabboei tzedokah from different cities would come to meet with Rav Chaim. They presented each case and determined what was needed. Rav Chaim would give them the responsibility to raise half the amount needed, and he would match the funds.

As the number of people he helped multiplied exponentially, he had to modify his communication system. He accepted phone calls for hachnosas kallah between 10 and 11 and a secretary and others would take the calls between 2 and 3.

The stories are endless. The scope of his gemillas chesed is hard to fathom. These few examples will perhaps portray the tip of the iceberg.

The principal of a school for Russian girls sought out Rav Chaim for various needs for her students. She recalls one time when a student accompanied her to see Rav Chaim. As he listened to the principal’s specific request for help for this student, who came from a dysfunctional home yet was looking to grow in Yiddishkeit, he focused his attention on the student. Then he turned to the principal and said, “This girl needs major dental work.” He ultimately paid close to $5,000 for extensive treatment. Even though he refrained from paying towards dental work or apartments, when it came to helping Russian baalei teshuvah, he pulled out all the stops.

Reb Dovid Leib stresses that this unique chesed was made to tide people over through a crisis that presents extraordinary expenses, including yom tov and therapy. They seek to help those who help themselves, not those who expect others to carry their whole load.

They do give consistent assistance to single parents, who have a credit of about $100 a month, and of course there are other exceptions.

This same principal from the story above said that she had 12-year-old twin students whose mother was Jewish but father was not and the situation at home in Kiryat Atta was extremely difficult. Rav Chaim regularly assisted with necessary funds for the girls’ education and supplied food and provisions on a regular basis.

Rav Chaim constantly followed up with the people he helped and shared in their simchos. He never forgot anyone. A few years later, these twin girls were staying with their mother, who had moved to a small town in Canada. One day, one of the twins called her principal in Yerushalayim and said, “Guess who came to visit us today?” It was none other than Rav Chaim Goldberg! He was in Canada and had gone out of his way to visit them and give them chizuk.

Today, these twins, with help from Rav Chaim, are happily married to bnei Torah and live in Eretz Yisroel.

The principal recalls approaching Rav Chaim on erev Sukkos for urgent yom tov needs for her students, including lulov and esrog. She saw that he was inundated with requests and asked if he had managed to get his own lulav and esrog. His answer? “Lo!”

Reb Dovid describes the humble beginnings of their partnership. At its peak, when the world economy was booming, they raised and distributed about 5 million dollars a year. Currently the annual distribution is about 3.5 million dollars.

They pride themselves on their integrity and thorough system of inquiring and following up each individual case. The gabboei tzedokah are keenly on the lookout for unscrupulous people. They have seen it all. They consider the funds entrusted to them hekdesh and maintain a high level of erlichkeit.

Those who were involved with Rav Chaim’s chesed on behalf of unfortunate people knew that he did his own due diligence. He knew which families to approve and which to decline. It was not a free for all.

The chesed fund services families of all types and stripes. Many times, people in Rav Chaim’s family were eligible for much needed funds, but Rav Chaim never allocated money to them. On rare occasions, Reb Dovid Leib would advocate for family members to be helped on a one time basis.

On their daily trips, Rav Chaim and Reb Dovid conducted house to house inquiries and follow ups. On Fridays they would go a bit further afield to Beitar, Beit Shemesh and Kiryat Sefer. During bein hazmanim they would travel throughout the country and check individual cases.

Rav Chaim’s daughter, Mrs. Esti Orange, recalls that the family would often accompany them on their longer trips during bein hazmanim. She says before leaving, her father did extensive preparation, checking information with the local representatives and reviewing details of every one of those he was planning to visit.

He opened new doors for the hopeless and downtrodden and brought simcha to their homes, smiling at their babies, playing with their children and showing genuine concern for their welfare.

He used to ask the children whether they preferred candies or balloons. The majority preferred balloons. Someone in America sent a huge quantity of balloons, which Reb Dovid Leib used to keep in the back of his car for the kids. Rav Chaim

Reb Dovid Leib states that Rav Chaim was an encyclopedia of the who’s who of needy people. Resourceful people who had other alternatives to solve their financial straits did not qualify for assistance. His mind held every detail of a situation, often including names of a client’s children, parents and grandparents. When asked how many names he had in his personal memory bank, his immediate response was, “probably around 30,000 names,” likely a conservative estimate.

Rav Chaim would pay for new mothers to go for a few days to the Beit Hachlamah after birth. The cost per day has become prohibitively expensive and in the last few years, this expenditure has been significantly curtailed due to rising costs and less resources.

Since Dr. and Mrs. Stein’s home became the nerve center of Rav Chaim’s operation, not only did they take care of his medical and general welfare; there was a kollel and minyanim for Minchah and Ma’ariv. Singers came to generate an upbeat atmosphere of simcha, which Rav Chaim appreciated. When he was feeling well, he was an active participant.

The Steins and Goldbergs have tremendous hakoras hatov to Dr. Stein’s neighbors, Reb Aryeh Ganz and his wife, from Manchester, who spend Sukkos and Pesach in Eretz Yisroel. Their home was like an annex of chesed, providing extra refrigerator and freezer space and so much more. Their son, Menachem Ganz, was very attached to Rav Chaim and insisted that his bar mitzvah take place in Yerushalayim with Rav Chaim, and so it was.

The Ganzes made their apartment available to Rav Chaim’s guests and even built a special extension with a sukkah to accommodate the overflow crowds who came to visit Rav Chaim in the sukkah.

Rav Chaim and Reb Dovid converted many of the donations they received into individual packages and themes. One popular package was formed by the funds raised by Rebbetzin Yehudis Waldman of Monsey, who collects at weddings. Fondly known as the diaper packages, these bundles, blue for boys and pink for girls, included a blanket, underwear and pajamas. Years later, one thrilled recipient said she cannot throw out these blankets, which brought such joy. Now that she is older and needs to sleep with her feet slightly raised, she folds them up and uses them to heighten the foot of her bed!

After the sudden petirah of Mrs. Joan Dachs, a group of women in Chicago got together to raise funds in her memory. They organize an event once a year and send the proceeds to be distributed by Rav Chaim and Reb Dovid Leib.

Reb Dovid Leib describes how appreciative the myriad recipients are of the money and donated items. They receive hundreds of letters from the appreciative recipients, some of which they forward to the donors.

Rav Chaim was particular to distribute the matonos le’evyonim he received from America when it was Purim in their time zone. He would take his children and grandchildren to areas adjacent to Yerushalayim to distribute the funds bo bayom and then come back to Yerushalayim, where Purim is one day later.

At the shivah, a microcosm of Klal Yisroel was present. Prominent rabbonim, askonim, and laymen came to describe their relationship with Rav Chaim.

Many described how Rav Chaim would appear out of nowhere, like Eliyohu Hanovi, in the nick of time, and disappear just as quickly. One family came to the shivah and said that on a certain erev Shabbos, they were in a particularly desperate way, with no money for food for Shabbos. They had exhausted all their resources. They somehow arranged for a post-dated check to cover the expenses of their pressing needs for Shabbos. Suddenly, Rav Chaim turned up on their doorstep and handed them the same amount they had written on the check. They never knew who he was. After his petirah, they saw his picture in the paper and decided they had to come and share their story and show hakoras hatov.

One of the dedicated women in his network of representatives recalls accompanying Rav Chaim on some of his forays to dysfunctional homes so she could reinforce the practical assistance with emotional support and counseling. The combination, Rav Chaim felt, would ultimately enhance the lives of these families with long term stability.

The Vilna Gaon on Parshas Yisro says that “Bederech asher yelchu bo” refers to hakoras hatov. Rav Chaim was very makpid to express hakoras hatov, particularly since he became sick. He expressed his appreciation to all those who poured in to Dr. Stein’s home to visit him. He used to reiterate that every step they had made earned them schar for the mitzvah of bikur cholim.

As his health deteriorated, he was still determined to go out when he could to participate in simchos. From his wheelchair, he would be mesameiach his protégées.

When it became increasingly difficult for him to walk, with every step he would say, “Besheim Hashem na’aseh venatzliach,” and with every medicine, “sichu bechol niflo’osov.”

He would ask the grandchildren say brochos out loud so he could answer amein. He appreciated every minute of life, every extra opportunity for doing mitzvos.

Many of the kallos he helped so discreetly would come to him for brochos before their weddings. Recently, a kallah showed up in her gown at Dr. Stein’s house. She wanted Rav Chaim to give her brochah. He was unable to travel at that time but asked his assistants to find out where the wedding was taking place. Rav Chaim sent a representative to the wedding and with great mesiras nefesh went to be mesameiach the chosson and kallah at a sheva brochos in Yerushalayim later in the week.

Last year, he went in his wheelchair to the shivah of the Sassoons. His grandson had learned together with one of the Sassoon boys in cheder. He also went to the shivah of the Sofers, whose son was niftar on a hike in Ya’ar Yerushalayim. Mrs. Sofer says Rav Chaim gave them so much chizuk. Rav Chaim did not leave until he got a smile from the aveilim, which is an inyan in nichum aveilim.

Reb Chaim’s chesed followed him even when he traveled out of the country. His wife recalls when she accompanied him on a trip to Russia, where he discreetly distributed money and provisions to boys as far out as Vladivostok. Many of these boys have established their own homes and have built families of bnei Torah.

Twenty-two years ago, a girl was niftar in America and her family established a keren to provide linen and robes for kallos. They would send suitcases periodically to a certain address and Rav Chaim and his team would send the kallos there to pick out the linen and choose a robe. About three and a half years ago, Reb Chaim’s daughter, Esti, who plays an integral role in the chesed partnership, suggested that they simplify the system. She suggested that the family send the funds and she would arrange for the kallos to “purchase” the linen and robes in a particular store.

Some donors from Chicago wanted to donate candlesticks for several chassanim and kallos. They allocated a budget of $7,500 for 4 sets candlesticks, which they insisted included a tray, a relatively expensive component. Esti thought $1,850 per set was over budget. Reb Dovid Leib suggested that they approach a certain silver store in Meah Shearim for an estimate, not only because of their competitive prices, but also as a gesture of hakoras hatov. The proprietors of this silver store used to always give “the chesed partners” lunch and kugel on their visits to the Meah Shearim area. They were able to choose a set of candlesticks and a tray in this silver store for around $500 each. Instead of 4 sets of candlesticks, they were able to buy 14 sets of candlesticks for 14 couples and at the same time show hakoras hatov to the proprietors of the silver store, who were part of the chain of chesed!

Family and friends stress how makpid Rav Chaim was to make Kiddush Levonah at the first opportunity. On cloudy nights they would anxiously keep watch for the skies to clear and for the moon to appear. Being mekadesh levonah early is a segulah to finish the month.

One couple involved in helping marry off kallos recalls how last Pesach, they know of at least 20 people who received refrigerators, freezers, ovens and vouchers for provisions from Rav Chaim . That is apart from the assistance he gave to kallos, providing linen and housewares to get them on their feet.

One ba’alas teshuvah came to the shivah crying, “Abba shelonu!” A week before her wedding, Rav Chaim stopped by at the one room abode where she and her chosson would be living after the chasunah. He was horrified. She and her equally idealistic husband had thought they could get by on the bare minimum. The ever practical Rav Chaim, whose compass could evaluate the total picture, saw and filled the need that they did not even know they had. He immediately schlepped over a stove, fridge, heater and basic furniture, for which the couple is eternally grateful. When this young woman became sick, Rav Chaim visited her in the hospital every day!

Thirty years ago, Rav Chaim was sick and needed major surgery. He was encouraged to see a private doctor. Rav Chaim said he would use a regular doctor since he could not afford the $8,000 dollars for a private doctor. Word got around that someone who wished to remain anonymous needed major surgery and could not afford a private doctor. A concerned individual approached Rav Chaim, telling him that someone needed delicate surgery and it was imperative that he retain the services of a private doctor. Rav Chaim told the individual that he had to provide him with a name. He gave the name, Chaim Goldberg, and Rav Chaim retorted, “That’s me! I am not giving and I am not taking!” Somehow, another concerned friend arranged for the money to come from elsewhere. The surgery was successful.

His son, Refoel, spoke at the shivah about his father:

It says in Tehillim, “Maskil el dol.”

You can give $1,000 without emotion, or like Rav Chaim, you can be a maskil, a professor who can recognize the real needs and intrinsic problems of the poor. You can get to the root of the problem rather than putting on a band-aid with a one-time emergency handout of $1,000. In many cases, financial issues sprout from lack of financial responsibility and budgeting skills, disorderly homes and chaos on all fronts. $1,000 won’t solve this problem. With Rav Chaim’s chesed, assistance came as part and parcel, another example of what Mrs. Orange calls “the Imperiat Hachesed.”

Rav Chaim tapped into another source of currency in his reciprocal chain of assistance. He employed his own carpenter, who was also a nitzrach. There was a family living in a tiny, inadequate dwelling in Zichron Moshe. Rav Chaim brought along the carpenter and they devised a way to carve out a loft and install closets, a considerable undertaking. Rav Chaim contacted a crew of bochurim who were struggling in their yeshivos. He brought them along to assist the carpenter and arranged music and motivating shiurim playing in the background. This activity built their self-esteem and provided them with extra pocket money.

Rav Chaim saw that the maintenance in this home was sorely lacking and arranged for girls from mosdos of ba’alei teshuvah to come and help the house maintain some semblance of order. These girls needed the money and were only too happy to help.

Everyone benefitted. The carpenter, the bochurim, the girls and of course the family who ultimately got on their feet and out of their perpetual cycle of chaos. Rav Chaim maximized every opportunity and brought kiddush Hashem, which was integrally woven into his tzedokah vochesed.

The ripple effects of the “Imperiat Hachesed” pyramid were infinite, especially when combined with kiruv. The aveilim recollect the saga of a non-religious family on a leftist kibbutz in Ma’ayan Parad, between Meron and Haifa. The couple had total antipathy to all aspects of Yiddishkeit. To their horror, their teenage son became a ba’al teshuvah. The parents told their son that if he chose to follow that path, he would be on his own. They would not give him any financial support to go to yeshiva. The resilient bochur still opted to go to yeshiva. The yeshiva contacted Rav Chaim, and every yom tov he would send him a stipend for simchas yom tov so that he could buy a new hat, suit and shoes as needed.

Years passed. The bochur was in shidduchim. There was a serious shidduch proposal, but during the process, the potential machatonim realized that the bochur had absolutely no financial support. The shidduch was in jeopardy. The rosh yeshiva called Rav Chaim and made him aware of the situation. Rav Chaim went to meet the potential machatonim. He made a commitment to pay the chosson’s share of the wedding expenses. The parents of the girl were taken by surprise, particularly when the amount was more than they were giving for the kallah!

The shidduch materialized bemazel tov! Meanwhile, the parents of the chosson were flabbergasted when they heard about this assistance from an unknown frum patron. They had been so blinded by their animosity towards frum people, but here, a total stranger had stepped in to help their son.

The family began to rethink their attitude towards Yiddishkeit, which resulted in immediate changes in their lives and home. Within half a year, the whole family, parents and children, became frum. Their family restaurant became kosher and their geust house became a center for kiruv.

From Rav Chaim’s contributions to one bochur, a whole family in Klal Yisroel came back to Yiddishkeit.

This bochur developed a close kesher with Rav Chaim and eagerly welcomed him when he attended the bris of his son and subsequent simchos. What nachas ruach leborei olam.

Four years ago, when Rav Chaim was already sick, he heard from the Hidabroot kiruv organization about a girl who came from a non-religious home who wanted to go to Bais Yaakov high school. Her parents were adamantly opposed to this decision and were not willing to pay the tuition. When Rav Chaim was in Tzefas, he went all the way to Akko to look for this girl. When he found the address it was about 10:00 at night. Rav Chaim knocked on the door and walked into the house. He noticed pictures of Sefardi rabbonim.

The homeowner asked him who he was. He said he was from a chesed organization in Yerushalayim. “Is your daughter home?” He was told that she was not expected for at least 45 minutes. Rav Chaim waited until she arrived. After talking to her, Rav Chaim saw that she was sincere and spontaneously wrote 12 checks to cover a year of tuition. The parents were shocked. The mother came around immediately and started making improvements in her level of Yiddishkeit, while the initially reluctant father followed more slowly. The girl’s brother also made changes and then started going to yeshiva. Rav Chaim followed the progress of her brother, sending him kugel and care packages to yeshiva. The father also eventually came around to Yiddishkeit.

There was a ba’alei teshuvah couple in Yerushalayim, whose baby, Sarah, was not thriving and had serious digestive problems. She had to be fed intravenously. The mother had to leave her other children to be in and out of the hospital. It was erev Pesach and Rav Chaim saw that they were desperate for help at home. He went to the Shvilei Beis Yaakov on Rechov Strauss.

When he described to the principal what sort of help he was looking for, she said she had the perfect solution: a diligent student who was saving up to marry a ben Torah.

This principal marveled about Rav Chaim, “Eizeh gadlus, eizeh anovah, eizeh pashtus!”

Rav Chaim’s sister, who came from Baltimore to sit shivah with the family, has her own cadre of stories to tell. When their niece from Teaneck was bas mitzvah, she had $300 which she wanted to donate to her Uncle Chaim’s chesed fund when she came to Eretz Yisroel. Rav Chaim did not just accept the money; he gave her a hands-on chinuch experience as he took her along to some of the run down homes in Meah Shearim and Beis Yisroel so she could see first-hand the extent of the poverty.

The sister described her brother’s immaculate attention to detail, which included personal thank you’s and expressions of hakoras hatov to donors large and small. One of her neighbor’s children had contributed her ma’aser money to Rav Chaim’s fund. When Rav Chaim came to Baltimore, he knocked on the neighbor’s door and asked to speak to the young girl to offer his personal thank you!

One of Rav Chaim’s granddaughters goes to school in Beis Yisroel. Her third grade teacher, a daughter of the Slonimer Rebbe, sent a letter to the family in which she described the emotional reaction of her young students to Rav Chaim’s petirah. She told the class that a great tzaddik in Yerushalayim, Rav Chaim Goldberg, the saba of their friend, had been niftar. Many of the children, recipients of her grandfather’s chesed, burst into tears as they shared firsthand accounts of how he had personally delivered a desperately needed fridge, stove or heater to their homes. They had no idea that this “Eliyohu Hanovi” was their friend’s grandfather.

Even when he faced tremendous yesurim, he was besimcha when he was active in his avodas hakodesh. Not long ago, when he was already sick for a long time, a supporter came to visit from overseas and brought along $25,000. In his weak state, Rav Chaim, suddenly energized, asked for his checkbook and lists. He was so besimcha as he involved himself in allocating the funds appropriately, beaming as he wrote out the checks.

Rav Chaim was a positive person. Friends remember how he was brought by his metaplim in his wheelchair to the simchas beis hashoeivah in Yeshivas Brisk. Many were shocked by how drastically his appearance had changed, yet he was so alive and besimcha, a sight many of those close to him will always remember.

Rav Chaim’s wife and children were actively involved and supported his tremendous chesed activities, often with great mesiras nefesh.

Reb Chaim’s wife’s parting words to me before I left the shivah were profound. “It is better to go to a beis ovel then a beis mishteh. In a beis ovel you leave and take with you nitzchiyus, an indelible impression, a sense of purpose, whereas a beis mishteh is quickly forgotten and has no lasting effect.”

Rav Chaim leaves behind his almonah; his siblings, who are among the marbitzei Torah in America; his sons Rav Nissan and Refoel Chaim; his sons-in-law, Reb Yitzchok Orange, Reb A.Y. Vey, and Rav Alter Yitzchok Meyer Ackerman; and grandchildren, all following in his benevolent ways.