Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I Hope Not

Why Am I Here - POWERFUL!!!

Richard Lockette 
Wide Receiver 
Seattle Seahawks

It was like being in a car accident. Everything was fast, then it was suddenly slow motion. I was running down on punt coverage against Dallas last season, like I’ve done a thousands times before. I pushed off on my blocker. I turned to my left. I saw a white jersey.

Car crash.

I hit the ground, and I heard the sound you never want to hear. When you have a brush with death, people always say you see a light. Well, I didn’t see a light. I heard a noise. You know the noise I’m talking about — like when you were a little kid, bored at a family party, and you ran your finger around the top of your auntie’s wine glass. It’s that weird, far-off ringing sound.

It was terrifying. I couldn’t hear the crowd. I couldn’t hear my teammates. That’s when I knew it was bad.

I was thinking, O.K., get up. Just get up.

But I couldn’t get up. My whole body was numb. I couldn’t move my arms. I couldn’t move my head. I couldn’t talk.

All I could do was move my eyes. I was thinking:

Am I deaf?

Am I paralyzed?

What is going on?

Am I about to die?

Please, somebody come help me.

In that moment, I was completely helpless. You know what it felt like? Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Imagine you wake up from a dream early in the morning, and you can hear everybody in your house making breakfast and talking and laughing, but you can’t move. No matter how hard you try, you can’t actually get up. You’re stuck in between being asleep and being awake.

So you just lay there, trapped inside your own body while the world goes on around you. That’s exactly what it felt like, except I wasn’t in bed. I was at the 50-yard-line of Cowboys Stadium, surrounded by 90,000 fans.

I said to myself, “Lord just help me. I know that I’m here for a reason. If you help me off this ground, I’ll change lives.”

It was the second time I had ever said that to myself.

I’ve never spoken about this before, but the first time I made that promise was when I was in college. I was talking to a young lady when her boyfriend came up and pulled a gun on me. It was a revolver, so I could see the bullets in the chamber. I didn’t know whether I was going to live or die. [My note: Be careful who you talk to:-)].

In that moment when I was looking at the chamber, I said to myself, “Lord, please help me. I promise I’ll change lives.”

The guy put the gun down and we talked it out.

At Cowboys Stadium, I found myself asking God to save me again.

It’s crazy what matters to you when you’re in that situation. Cars, jewelry, big houses, Super Bowls? It all seems so meaningless. I came up from nothing. Undrafted, practice squad, released a bunch of times, then I made it to three Super Bowls in a row. I have a saying, kind of like a mantra, “A hundred dollars and a dream.” When I came to Seahawks training camp as an undrafted rookie, all I had to my name was a gym bag full of clothes, my Fort Valley State receivers’ gloves, and a hundred bucks.

I used to want a black Lambo and a seven-room house. That’s what I dreamed about.

Now, all of a sudden, I can’t move. And the only thing that mattered to me in the entire world was being able to see my family again, to hold my kids in my arms.

Then I remembered something that broke my heart. My daughter was in the crowd. It was her 10th birthday. She wanted to come down to Dallas to see me play. Now she was watching her daddy lying on the field, surrounded by teammates and trainers.

Lord, you have to help me.

When your first child is born and you look into her eyes for the first time, you feel a love and a warmth like you’ve never experienced before. That you didn’t know existed.

Well, this was the exact opposite of that. This was a cold, cold darkness I didn’t know existed. When you can’t move, there are so many uncertainties that your mind races a million miles a hour. Ten minutes feels like 10 days. So from the time that I got hit to the time that I got to the hospital … man, that was a long trip that I was on.

I didn’t even know what was wrong until I got to the hospital. After a bunch of tests, the doctors explained that all the ligaments and cartilage that connect my vertebrae had been terribly damaged. My neck was technically broken. If the trainers and emergency personnel would have moved me the wrong way, or a teammate would’ve tried to help me up, I could’ve died.

My life was in the right hands. I had an amazing team of people around me that day, and they saved my life. Honestly. They saved my life.

When I was laid up in the hospital bed with a big neck brace on, my daughter was outside in the lobby begging to see me. I was still in my navy blue Seahawks pants and my bright green cleats. I just didn’t want her to see her daddy like that. I always tell her, “Your daddy is a rock star. He can do anything.” Because I want her to believe that she can do anything.

It took me a good hour to compose myself before I told the nurse to let her in the room. That was more painful than the actual hit. That was the worst 60 minutes of my life. I wiped the tears out of my eyes and went into Daddy Mode.

But when she came in, oh man. That’s everything in the world. That’s why you keep fighting.

I told her, “Don’t worry, babe. It’s not that bad. They’re going to put a little wrap on my neck and I’ll be fine.”

She started crying.

I said, “Don’t worry. Daddy’s gonna be okay. What am I, babe?”

“You’re a rock star.”

“I’m a rock star. I can do anything, and so can you.”

She gave me a kiss on the cheek and the nurse walked her out of the room.

I knew that was probably going to be the last time she saw her daddy in an NFL uniform. That was very difficult.

After surgery to repair my damaged vertebrae and a few weeks of serious rehabilitation, I was walking around just fine and we were playing basketball again. But a few months later, in early May, I made the decision to retire from football at age 29.

Coach Carroll used to preach to us all the time: “You live in a temporary fairy tale.”

Your fans are temporary.

Your coaches are temporary.

Your teammates, as much as they love you, are temporary.

The big houses you live in are temporary.

You can enjoy all that stuff, but it’s not what will bring you happiness.

I didn’t really understand what Coach Carroll meant until I was cleaning out my closet back home in Atlanta this month. My teammates were gearing up for OTAs, and I had a lot of time to sit around and just think. One day I opened my closet and saw all these extra clothes that I didn’t need anymore.

Nice workout gear. Extra shoes. Seahawks polo shirts.

I figured since I didn’t need all that stuff anymore, somebody might as well enjoy it. So I stuffed everything into a white trash bag and headed outside. My condo is downtown, and there are a lot of homeless people who take shelter around my building, but I’m six-foot-two, so not everybody is my size. I was walking around with the bag over my shoulder when I saw this older black man who was about my height. He looked like he needed some help. His jeans were being held up by a rope, and he had on these old brown church shoes. It looked like he had been wearing them for 10 years.

So I said, “Hey, excuse me, would you like some clothes?”

He was like, “Uhhhhh,” kind of looking around like, Is there a catch to this?

He just looked lost. So I stepped a little closer and said, “Well, look, here’s some clothes for you, bud. They’re all clean. I just want you to have them.”

He still didn’t say anything.

So I stepped a little closer and put the bag down next to him, and a tear rolled down his cheek.

I said, “You O.K., bruh? What’s up?”

We sat down on a cement bench, and he just poured his heart out to me. He broke down and told me his whole story.

I could tell that he was extremely intelligent. He told me he had a Ph.D., and had been living a regular life. Then, a few years ago, his wife, son, and a nephew who lived with him had all been killed in a car accident.

He said, “Ever since then, I just lost my will to live. I lost the will to cut my hair. I lost the will to brush my teeth. There’s no other woman for me. My family is gone, and I just don’t care anymore.”

He had no idea who I was. He didn’t know my story at all. I barely even spoke. I just listened to him, and he was so appreciative that somebody in the world cared to sit with him for 20 minutes.

He didn’t realize that it was therapeutic for me, too. During that conversation, everything clicked.

When I was laying motionless on that turf in Dallas, I was completely dependent upon the help of others. It was the exact opposite of the mindset I had from the moment I got to Seahawks camp as a rookie: You’re a rock star. You’re a leader. You’re the alpha. This is all yours for the taking.

Then, in one second, you’re helpless.

I wouldn’t be here telling my story if those EMTs hadn’t done everything perfectly to protect my life. And the kindness of people went on for weeks. Our owner Paul Allen gave me and my family access to his private jet so we could fly back home. I received thousands of cards from almost every elementary school and high school in the state of Washington. Emails, texts, FaceTime calls. It was overwhelming. Most of the time, you don’t get that kind of appreciation and love until you’re dead.

Even now, when I’m living in Atlanta, and not around the team anymore, my guys are still reaching out to me, sometimes in pretty hilarious ways.

I hear from Marshawn Lynch a lot. He texted me the other day, and I couldn’t stop laughing.

He texts me, “Hey, I apologize, bruh, I left you out to dry.”

I text back, “What’re you talking about?”

“I left you out to dry on one of those blocks.”


A few seconds later, he sends me a video.

I tap the screen, and I see some game film from last season. I’m blocking the linebacker. I have his outside shoulder, like I’m supposed to. Marshawn usually runs off my back. But this time, he cut it back inside and got tackled.

He texts, "Sorry, bruh. I messed up.”

My dude is retired and still sitting at home watching film.

I’m like, “It’s okay, man. Don’t worry about it.”

A lot of people don’t know the real Marshawn. They don’t understand what kind of a man he is, and how much he does for his people in Oakland. My goal in life is to have 10% of the effect that Marshawn has on people’s lives.

When I was taken to the hospital in Dallas, Marshawn stayed in my room with me the whole first night. This dude had me laughing so hard that he was putting my damn life in danger. I’m laying in bed with a full neck brace, just trying to stay still, and he’s just being Marshawn — talking to the nurses, making jokes, being crazy.

When I look back on my life, I’m not going to remember the Super Bowls the most. What I’m gonna actually remember is moments like that night in the hospital. Just the laughter and the love, even in the toughest moments. I mean, I’m laying there in a neck brace, I can’t move, I just cried my eyes out, and here’s a guy who just wants to make me laugh and forget about the pain.

Now I just want to take that spirit and joy and spread it to people who really need it. I want to help people. Like the EMTs helped me. Like Marshawn helped me. Like so many people along the way helped me.

To be honest, my NFL career was like a blur. It was an uphill battle on an unending mountain. My mission now is to help people get off the streets and back on their feet in any way I can. I need to repay the Lord for helping me get up. That’s my new mountain. I’m back at the bottom. I’m climbing and I’m climbing, and I’m meeting some amazing people along the way. Every person that I meet, I’m bringing them up the mountain with me.

When it’s all said and done, when the temporary fairy tale Coach Carroll talked about is over, we have to ask ourselves why we’re really here on this earth.

I feel like I finally know why I’m here.

A Conundrum

A man walks into a store where his wife works.

He is the customer. She is the wife.

Who is right?

Like The Good Old Days - Guest Post By Rav Yechezkel Abramsky

Listen And Live!!

When in America, I didn't record shiurim for almost a month. Now - despite tirdos, BS"D there are numerous new shiurim [four especially amazing one's on Krias Shema and Tefilla based on the Har Nof shiur of the now legendary Rosh Yeshiva]. Hashem should help that this should be a fruitful year and that all of our material needs are taken care of so that we can focus on what is really important....

For you, me and all Klal Yisrael!!!

Is It Tzniyus To Talk About Tzniyus??

I recently related to the question of whether it is appropriate to discuss matters of tzniyus in this forum. Maybe it is not tzanua to talk about it? I am relying on the Tzadikim who felt that it was critical to do so. This is a post from the archives where the issue is discussed. Given that there is so much to fix in this area and it is probably the biggest spiritual test we face, I hope Hashem gives me the strength and wisdom to do what I can to combat all of the evil and to try to shine light and simcha where there is darkness and misery. 

Maran HaRav Hutner ztz"l wrote a brilliant letter analyzing the difference between the pritzus and immorality that was prevalent in the olden days and the pritzus and immorality which characterizes our times.

In the olden days, people had a strong yetzer hara. They had trouble controlling this yetzer and this led to many acts of tyva-fulfillment that were well outside the bounds of halacha. "OUTTA BOUNDS - SECOND AND THIRTY FROM THE 47 YARD LINE." The way to combat this was to speak words of mussar, imploring people to control themselves, as we see in the sefarim of yesteryear.

Today things are different. It is no longer just people fulfilling their base and animalistic lusts but a PHILOSOPHY of succumbing to the yetzer hara. The yetzer is no longer our enemy but our friend. If this was true when Rav Hutner wrote this letter decades ago it is so much more true in our days. People justify the most impure and immodest lifestyles. They want recognition from society that their choices are equally moral to the choices made by people who live wholesome family lives. The way to combat this must be to fight fire with fire. Strong words of reproof won't help. They will just shake off the criticism and call you a fanatic. Instead, one must go to the depths of human thought and reveal the eternal sanctity of modesty and contrast that with the corruption and impurity that is wrought when people choose to live lives of unbridled animalism.

It is interesting that Pinchas used a spear to stop the act of impurity in the Jewish camp. A spear is a רמח. The gematria of רמח is 248 which is the number of limbs that every person has according to our sages. The gemara says that tumas keri [seminal emission] is a felt by the whole body [Niddah 43a]. In order to combat this tumah, Pinchas in his act of zealotry, needed to use a utensil which encompasses the "whole body" Most appropriate was a רמח for this took all 248 limbs and brought them back to the world of kedusha. [This letter itself is an example of utilizing deep thought to explain the concepts of kedusha].

Holy or unholy family life is a topic which is felt by the entire nation, just as on a personal level the impurity of a tumas keri is felt by the whole body.

It is indeed frightening to think about how many thousands and thousands of lives have been ruined due to the world of advanced technology. How many ehrliche yidden have fallen to the depths of depravity because of the Internet. How many people cannot extricate themselves from the gehenom of addiction to unadulterated filth.

The avoda is not to say "SINNERS - You are going to he--" but to show from our sources the profundity of the topic, the value of remaining pure and the harm caused by moral failings. That will help us reach our goal of acheiving Kedushas Yisrael and fulfilling the eternal commandment and promise of קדושים תהיו.

Here is the letter I copied from the Igros Pachad Yitzchak page 80 - 81. 

May Maran HaRav Hutner's lips move in his kever and may our neshamos connect to his. I feel privileged to share this with you:-).

כבוד .....

שלום וברכה!

כל עין חודרת תרגיש נאמנה, כי לפנינו חזון של "קנא קנאתי", קנאה עמוקה ויוקדת לקדושת חיי האישות בישראל. קנאה זו היא שחידדה את הסתכלותו להבחין בהבדל התהומי בין זוועת הפריצות המשתוללת לעינינו כיום ובין כל סערותיה של הפריצות בימים עברו. כי זוועת הפריצות המשתוללת לעינינו איננה מופיעה בתור מכשול או סטיה מגדרו של עולם אלא שאדרבא כל עצמה אינה אלא מרד בעיקרי אמונה המונחים ביסודה של הצניעות והתקוממות כנגד כל הסתכלות של רוממות במעיני החיים. הבחנה זו הבשילה את ההכרה כי אם באנו להפעיל את כוחות ההתנגדות לפריצות זו, אי אפשר לנו להסתפק בלשונות של תוכחה ומוסר שכל עצמם אינם אלא התעוררות לכיבוש היצרים ולקבלת עול של גדרים וסייגים בשמירת טהרה וצניעות, אלא שעלינו להעמיד את כוחות ההתנגדות לפריצות זו בדרך זה לעומת זה. כלומר, לתפוס את אותם הנושאים ואותם המקומות אשר צפרני המרד תחובות בהם בעומק ולהשמיע על הנושאים הללו דברי תורה בהלכות דעות וחובות הלבבות בסוגיא זו דוקא [עיין אגרת המוסר של הגרי"ס].
עלינו לתפוס את הנושא של חיי אישות ולהעמידו בקרן אורה כפי שהוא משתקף מדיבורי הטהרה שיצאו בקדושה מפיהם של גדולי הדורות ולחלצו על ידי כך מתהום המחשכים המשתקף מתוך דיבורי המרד וההתקוממות הנ"ל שאין בהם אלא טומאתם ושפלותם. והלא ידענו כי דוקא בתחום זה של קדושת חיי אישות בישראל נאמרה ההלכה של קנאין פוגעין דוקא מקום זה ניתן לקנאים ליקח את הרומח ביד ולהפעילו. ועל זה באו דבריהם של חכמי האמת כי הכלי זיין מיוחד לכך הוא דוקא הרומח מפני שקדושה זו מאחדת היא את כלליות הקומה של תאר אדם דהרי בטומאה זו בעינן דוקא שכל גופו מרגיש בו. ועל כן הנשק הזה הוא ה"רמח" שמספרו מכוון כנגד רמ"ח איבריו של אדם.
כמדומני שעלה בידו ליצור את הרומח לחזון הקנאות שלו לציור כי חיי הבית האישות והמשפחה הם הם החיים שכל גופה של האומה מרגיש בהם וכל הפוגע בציור זה של חיי הבית והאישות בישראל את נפש האומה הוא קובע.

בתפלה להצלחתם של קנאי אמת

יצחק הוטנר

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How To Receive Torah From A Rebbi

We live in the "instant" generation. Everything has to be immediate. Divrei Torah and a kesher to a Rebbi are the polar opposites of such an approach and lifestyle. 

It is also critical to see ones Rebbi as more than a "knowledge machine" but as a living soul and chain in the mesorah with his own unique niche and talents. 

Please read:

Double Trouble

A Recently Divorced Woman Found A Magic Lamp. Her Last Wish Will Leave You Speechless.

I Don't Recommend It

Image result for death jokes

We Accept Credit Cards

A Torah like this is worth 7-10 million dollars at least.
Just other-worldly. חבל על דאבדין. If he were still alive the millions would pile up daily. If you don't understand - find someone who does and have it explained to you. It is worth your while. 

Why were the Jews not considered like newborns after the conversion at Sinai? [After seeing this Torah - if I were a goy I would convert].

How can we coerce a father to hire a teacher for his son if the reward for teaching ones son is written in the Torah and when the reward is written there is no coercion??

אשרינו מה טוב חלקנו ומה נעים גורלנו ומה יפה ירושתנו !!!

We Are All Terminal - What To Do About It - Why Was Fred So Tired?

Why are there gates around cemetaries? 

Because people are dying to get in. 

“To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago,” Montaigne observed in the sixteenth-century. 

“The greatest dignity to be found in death is the dignity of the life that preceded it,” the late surgeon and bioethicist Sherwin Nuland wrote half a millennium later. He might have added that it is rare that a guy with a name like "Sherwin" ever lives or dies.  

Oliver Sacks after finding out that he has a terminal illness:

"I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure."

What do we say?

שוב יום אחד לפני מיתתך. We all have a terminal condition called "life", we never know when it will end and all we can do is not waste a second of the great gift of life [terminal as it is] and try to fix all of our mistakes.

But primarily - to fill the world with the glorious light of our unique neshamos.  

And to conclude with a smile [we must laugh even though we know that we are going to die].

Image result for death jokes

How Can There Be An Ir Nidachas If We Can't Accept Testimony About It?

Asked the Minchas Chinuch and Chasam Sofer: 

How could we accept the testimony of the witnesses that a city is an עיר נדחת? Not only are the men who served idols killed but according to the Rambam the children are killed as well. 
Now, the gemara says that we can't give the punishment to the children of the עדים זוממין because of the drasha לו ולא לזרעו. It emerges that it is impossible to make the witnesses עדים זוממין and thus their testimony is עדות שאי אתה יכול להזימה and not acceptable in court.

So how do we have an עיר נדחת??

Many terutzim have been offered. Can you think of one or two on your own??

Who Has The Power

When I saw this passage from a shiur of Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, I fell off my rocker:

The Yom Ha-atzmaut military parade is clearly not about the כוח of Hashem and very much about the כוח of man. Also, it is hard to say that the Ran says that there is a MITZVA to say that it was our might. Let us look at the original. 

He calles it an "אמת בצד מה" that a rich person might say. Not that it is a MITZVA initially to say such a thing. The entire thrust of the psukim is NEGATING the power of man and attributing everything to Hashem. 

Look also at the Rambam and Ibn Ezra who say that the psukim are telling us to remember how we left Egypt as poor slaves and yet Hashem still led us through. 

I don't mean to completely negate man's active role in the Divine drama of history or the importance of having an army. But to say that one should go to the secular Yom Ha-atzmaut parade because of this Ran is a stretch.

I think the time would be better spent learning or ... saying tehillim for the chayalim. 

It's An Art - Master It

Excerpts from Erich Fromm's CLASSIC "The Art Of Loving"

This book … wants to show that love is not a sentiment which can be easily indulged in by anyone, regardless of the level of maturity reached by him. It wants to convince the reader that all his attempts for love are bound to fail, unless he tries most actively to develop his total personality, so as to achieve a productive orientation; that satisfaction in individual love cannot be attained without the capacity to love one’s neighbor, without true humility, courage, faith and discipline. In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the attainment of the capacity to love must remain a rare achievement.

Most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of loving, of one’s capacity to love. Hence the problem to them is how to be loved, how to be lovable.


People think that to love is simple, but that to find the right object to love — or to be loved by — is difficult. This attitude has several reasons rooted in the development of modern society. One reason is the great change which occurred in the twentieth century with respect to the choice of a “love object.”

If two people who have been strangers, as all of us are, suddenly let the wall between them break down, and feel close, feel one, this moment of oneness is one of the most exhilarating, most exciting experiences in life. It is all the more wonderful and miraculous for persons who have been shut off, isolated, without love. This miracle of sudden intimacy is often facilitated if it is combined with, or initiated by, sexual attraction and consummation. However, this type of love is by its very nature not lasting. The two persons become well acquainted, their intimacy loses more and more its miraculous character, until their antagonism, their disappointments, their mutual boredom kill whatever is left of the initial excitement. Yet, in the beginning they do not know all this: in fact, they take the intensity of the infatuation, this being “crazy” about each other, for proof of the intensity of their love, while it may only prove the degree of their preceding loneliness.


There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet, which fails so regularly, as love.

The first step to take is to become aware that love is an art, just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering. What are the necessary steps in learning any art? The process of learning an art can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice. If I want to learn the art of medicine, I must first know the facts about the human body, and about various diseases. When I have all this theoretical knowledge, I am by no means competent in the art of medicine. I shall become a master in this art only after a great deal of practice, until eventually the results of my theoretical knowledge and the results of my practice are blended into one — my intuition, the essence of the mastery of any art. But, aside from learning the theory and practice, there is a third factor necessary to becoming a master in any art — the mastery of the art must be a matter of ultimate concern; there must be nothing else in the world more important than the art. This holds true for music, for medicine, for carpentry — and for love. And, maybe, here lies the answer to the question of why people in our culture try so rarely to learn this art, in spite of their obvious failures: in spite of the deep-seated craving for love, almost everything else is considered to be more important than love: success, prestige, money, power — almost all our energy is used for the learning of how to achieve these aims, and almost none to learn the art of loving.

From The Father Of The Boy Who Fell Off The Cliff

Thank you all for your Tefilos.
Words can not describe our Hakaros Hatov.

Though the scans seemed ok there is a serious concern that Yehosua still did not wake up or even open his eyes.

They will be doing a procedure on Yehoshua shortly.

The next few hours are very crucial and critical.

Please have Yehoshua Ben
Alte Chaya Devorah in your Tefillos.

יהושע בן אלטע חיה דבורה

What The Bank Teaches About Shalom Bayis

I recently looked at my bank statement and was reminded of the secret of a good marriage. I had lots of WITHDRAWLS from the account but all too few deposits. That creates a serious ever increasing MINUS. 


In order to live properly and healthfully, one needs to have more and larger deposits than withdrawls.

Any criticism, demand, instruction, correction or any other type of negativity are like withdrawls from your marital bank account. In order to balance things out one must make sure that there are also generous deposits. [Remember the secret to Shalom Bayit. If you want Shalom - Buy it...]

A deposit is a compliment, a kind word, a smile, appreciation, a gift etc. etc.

If you want to be RICH then make many, many big deposits and limit your withdrawls to as few and as small as possible. 

Who Is The True Competition?

In a recent post I mentioned that a Rosh Yeshiva explained that he allowed unlimitedd use of modern devices because he is in competition with other yeshivos and a restrictive policy would hurt his chances of attracting boys.

One might suggest that the "competition" is not other yeshivos who are teaching and spreading the same Torah you are but the evil and immorality that pervades society. THAT is the competition. Is it going to be קדושה and טהרה or טומאה and פריצות. 

In the end we have to answer to Hashem. Most kids don't know any better. They were almost born with a smartphone in hand. It is up to the educators to lead the students on the correct path.

But if money, tuition and a large student body is the main concern and not Hashem and His Torah then what happens is what is happening. Kids spend a good part of the year completely immersed in schmutz. 

So I am officially registering my protest over the continued destrution of pure Jewish souls. I hope that SOMEBODY takes this to heart. If someone has a shyla - it can be directed to a qualified yarei shomayim posek. I wonder how many peple ask a shyla before they buy these machines for themselves and their children. 

פינחס שלמה צבי בן זאבה

Pinchas being wheeled in right now for emergency surgery .
Please daven for Pinchas Shlomo Tzvi ben Ze'eva

Family Ties

From we can extract a GREAT yesod for life.

Family, is the source and root of a person. To return to family is to return to one's עצמיות - his essential self. One who is connected to family will have a healthier sense of self, feel connected and that he belongs. 

One who lacks family feels detached, alone, disjointed and an outsider. His essential self will be lacking.

That is why it is so critical to develop and cultivate strong family ties. Sometimes, relative are less religious than we are and we fear the negative effect they might have on our children. That is definitely a valid concern. But the other side of the coin is to appreciate the importance of family for emotional stability. One doesn't have to be a professional 250 dollar an hour psychologist to understand the damage caused to children when they come from broken families. 

ויש להאריך מאד.

Double Life

אחת שאלתי מאת ה' אותה אבקש שבתי בבית השם כל ימי חיי 

Dovid Hamelech says - One thing I ask of Hashem that I seek, that I sit in the house of Hashem all of the days of my life.

Did Dovid want to be a Kohen? Too late, he was born a Yisrael. So how can he sit in the house of Hashem [the Beis Hamikdash] all of the days of his life?

The Slonimer Rebbe: Dovid was saying that even when he is in his house, he wants it to be the House of Hashem. He should have a holy home.

In a similar vein: Many people live double lives. When they are learning or davening they are good and pure. However, when they get to the outside world and find themselves in mid-town Manhattan, all of the sudden their darker, more goyish side emerges. So Dovid prays - אחת - I want to be ONE. These contradictions drive me BESERK. My request of Hashem is that I should be ONE. Completely pure - no matter where I find myself.

Reminds me of this classic letter of Maran ztz"l:

The Difference Between Ki Heim Chayenu And Orech Yameinu

"Life" is to FEEL Keudsha.

"Orech Yomim" is the hidden but eternal benefit received by the neshama. 

What Kosher Jews Talk About

People often invoke the Rambam to prove that one shouldn't learn in Kollel. How about quoting this Rambam:

There are a few other Rambam's that people ignore as well. ודי לחכימא ברמיזא. 



You Never Forget

Calvin and Hobbes

School Is Starting!!!


Monday, August 29, 2016

Please Daven

Yehoshua Ben Alta Chaya Devora Schonfeld. Little boy who fell off a cliff. They just arrived in Westchester Medical Center.

Learn How To Listen

In our tefillos we start with תקע בשופר גדול לחרותנו - blow the shofar for our freedom. Only then do we go on to ושא נס לקבץ גלויותנו - raising the banner to ingather our exiles.

This is in contrast to what we say on Rosh Hashana כנשא נס etc. - first the raised banner and only then וכתקוע שופר תשמעו - the blowing of the shofar. 

Why the change in order?

Words from the Rav in England after the Balfour declaration:

Eulogy Of Maran Ztz"l For R' Naftoli Trop And The Meichiter Ilui - 3rd Of Cheshvan 1929

What is the meaning of the hesped on Rav Yochanan that בא שמש בצהרים?

Why do we always follow the Bavli and not the Yerushalmi?

How was Avraham Avinu a מנהיג  and a קברניט? Two types of leaders.

What characterized the early passing of these two great Geonim?

Pil-ei Pla-os

How To Relax - The Pill Generation

לרפואת מנחם אלחנן בן בריינדל 
ר' יצחק בן ברוך
לזכות הרב משה גבריאל בן יהודית 
ולזכות אילנה סימן בת מרים 

"בשלום יחדו אשכבה ואישן כי אתה ה' לבדד לבטח תושיבני"

[תהילים ד-ט]

In peaceful unity I could lie down and sleep. For you Hashem will make me dwell apart and secure. 

[Tehillim 4-9]

We have been learning in this perek that Dovid Hamelech was happy at the success of his enemies. This made him feel that he doesn't even have enemies. So not only אשכבה - did Dovid lie down in peace, but also אישן - he was able to sleep JUST FINE. בשלום - In complete peace. The reason Dovid didn't have a problem with his enemies was because he was living with Hashem so he didn't need people and didn't feel jealousy, enmity, hatred or anything unpleasant. All he needed was Hashem. כי אתה ה' לבדד לבטח תושיבני - I am secure with You alone. 

In he words of the Tzadik:

We live in a generation of sleeping pills, anxiety pills and all other types of pills. Many people would not have to resort to pills if they would only take the advice of Dovid Hamelech. Put all of your hope and trust in Hashem and everything will be JUST FINE AND DANDY. 

Holy Man

David Cohen Nazir.jpg

The wife of the famous Nazir Rav Dovid Cohen [died 28 Av 1972] relates that one time he was sitting in his apartment learning. The British suspected him of hiding members of the Etzel underground in his apartment. So a British officer tried to enter the apartment to conduct a search. The Nazir's wife said "Stop. There is a Rabbi here who is learning". He was not fazed and pushed her aside.

When he saw the Holy Nazir, long hair and all, he crossed himself and cried out "Holy Man". He then placed a guard outside the building to make sure that nobody would bother the "Holy Man".

[Related by Rabbi Yerachamiel Weiss Rosh Yeshivas Yashla"tz]

ועל זה נאמר "בִּרְצוֹת יְהוָה דַּרְכֵי אִישׁ גַּם אוֹיְבָיו יַשְׁלִם אִתּוֹ".

זכותו יגן עלינו !!

How About "Succos Street" Or "Pesach Drive"

If Manhattan named a street in honor of Tisha B'av...

Strange Smarts

Yankele the shoemaker thinks that he is the wisest person in the town, when in actuality, he is the most foolish. In fact, the town folk tell him on a daily basis that he is a fool. One day Yankele hears the rabbi quote from the Bible that the Almighty protects the foolish. Yankele decides that this is his opportunity. "I'll jump off the highest building in town. If the Almighty protects me then I am truly a fool but I won't get hurt, and if I get hurt then I'll have proven to all that I am a wise man." Off he goes, and he jumps off the roof of the town's only three-story building. Of course, he falls badly and breaks many bones. While the town folk rush him to the hospital they hear him moaning, "I am not just a wise man. I am a genius!"


Isaac Goldblum was sitting in a bar looking miserable. After a while the customer at the next table said: "Excuse me, but you look really depressed. What's the problem?"

"You may well ask," sighed Isaac. "I'll tell you what the problem is. My mother died in June, and left me with $25,000."

"Gee that's tough," said the customer sympathetically.

"Then in July", continued Isaac, "my father died, and left me $100,000."

"I'm really sorry to hear that," said the customer. "Losing two parents in two months -- no wonder you're depressed."

"And last month," added Isaac, "my aunt died and left me $150,000."

The customer shook his head in pity. "How terrible! Three close family members lost in three months!"

"Ya, and then this month," said Isaac, "nothing!"

What Happens When People Stray Sexually? - The Sins Of The Yeshivos

Yeshayahu continues describing the punishments of the Jews for their sins. He says ותחת פתיגיל מחגורת שק - Instead of the sash, a belt of sackloth. The gemara [Shabbos 62b] expounds these words and says פתחים המביאים לידי גילה יהיו למחגורת שק - the openings that lead to joy [Rashi explains that this is  a reference to אותו מקום] will be for a girding of sackcloth. [פתיגיל is an acronym for פתחים המביאים לידי גילה].

As we saw earlier in the gemara based on the psukim, the sins of the Jews were in the realm of sexuality. Therefore, the punishment must reflect the sin and be found in the realm of sexuality. The notion of מדה כנגד מידה exists both because it shows the Divine hand in the punishment that it is not just by chance and also through the punishment we learn about the nature of the sin, thus enabling us to correct it.

Sexuality is a very basic and important part of life. It is not just about creating the future but also has a very positive life affirming and life building effect on the present. Two people who unite in a holy union contribute to the completion and perfection of the personality of their partner. A man has particular masculine traits while a woman has her feminine qualities. In addition, every human being has their unique emotional and spiritual makeup that is a reflection of their special task on earth. By uniting in the deepest and most intimate way, the couple essentially shares of themselves with each other and creates something whole. The pasuk says 

וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם.

We see from this pasuk that a human being only has the צלם אלהים - the image of G-d, when there is both a male and female. Only when we unite the male and female together does the צלם אלהים appear. 

But sexuality is a double edged sword. It is especially potent so when it is misused and abused tremendous damage is caused. 

At the time before the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, the level of modesty and purity had fallen precipitously. The punishment was therefore in the same realm. What was once a place of גילה - joy and pleasure, was now transformed into a place that is contained by the crude material of sackcloth. What was once a place of life, turned into a place of death and mourning. 

We learn from here a great lesson about the ramifications of sexual perversion. People until our very day believe that by living lives of hedonism and unbridled pleasure seeking they will be happy. But the reality is that just about nothing rivals sexual depravity and impurity in causing deep emotional [and often physical] problems.

We also see an example of the openess Chazal had to relating to private matters. As always they used very clean language but didn't shy away from addressing the issue. If we avoid it then the misbehavior will perpetuate. It must be addressed and dealt with in the most effective way. 

In our days there are so many people, even in the Orthodox community who have strayed in this area. What is our response? I am not sure we are responding. 

I will say this. Within the next few weeks thousands of kids will be coming to Israel for the next eight months or so to learn [they call it a year but it is really not]. Many of these young men and women will have iphones, smartphones, ipods and countless other types of contraptions that enable them to watch all of the מרעין בישין - the depths of depravity, that exist. In some of the more modern yeshivas - the students are using these "weapons of spiritual destruction" IN THE BEIS MEDRASH. 

I asked the Rosh Yeshiva of one place how he allows such a thing. Boys are watching pritzus IN A MAKOM KADOSH and nobody says anything to them. He gave a very "halachic" answer: "We are in competition with other yeshivas. If we have a name that we forbid these devices we will lose out to the competition".


Maybe this yeshiva attracts boys and gets their tuition money but many of their students spends HUNDREDS of hours in the dorm watching filth. It is not just one yeshiva and it is not just two.

But alas, the world continues going round and nothing is done. If they have the approval of the Rosh Yeshiva - who can say that anything is amiss. 

Let us see the words of the Rav ztz"l: 

"""ותחת פתגיל מחגורת שק" - פתחים המביאים לידי גילה יהיו למחגורת שק"".

היחס המיני ההגון הבנוי בקדושה וביושר, לבד מה שהוא בונה ומשכלל את העתיד של העולם, הוא מאשר בזה עצמו את ההוה. ההשתלמות שהמינים מקבלים זה מזה בתכונותיהם הנפשיות, אינה פחות מלאת ערך מהתכנית של התולדה החומרית. עדון נפשי הגון המביא אחרית טובה, הוא עומד הכן לישרי לב המנהיגים את חייהם ביושר ובכושר בסיוג התורה ובאמונת הלב. אבל הרשעים משחיתי דרכם מאבדים את ההון היקר שברכת ד' בקרבו, לאבדון. ואותה התכונה שהוד החיים ועוזם מתגלים בה בטובה ותמותה, כשיורדת היא לעמקי רע ישוב הכל אחורנית. האדם יאבד את ערכו, לא לבד את ערכו האנושי, כ"א גם את ערך החיים שלו. הלב יתרוקן מכל ששון וכל תקוה. הכוחות יתדלדלו ויהפכו לפלצות וזועה. לבישת השק של עת-צרה מכוונת היא עם ההשפלה הזאת של הכרת ערך ההשפלה היורדת עד לגבול הדומם החומרי; כלומר לא ענין חי התופס ערך לעצמו, הראוי להיות קובע מדורו לפי ערכו ולפי תביעותיו הטבעיות שהינן על כן זכויותיו היותר צודקות, כי אם כמו חומר ודבר של קנין שאין בו חיים וחפץ, הראוי רק להטען ולהנתן בשק. כה תגדל הנפילה ממרום עיזוז חריפות החיים המלאים בטובם עד למחגורת שק.

What's In A Name? [Or "Who's On First?"]

לזכות ר' חיים יהושע בן ר' אפרים הכהן לברכה והצלחה הוא וכל בני ביתו ומשפחתו
לרפואת ר' מנחם אלחנן בן בריינדל ור' נתן חיים בן זעלדא

Is a name the essence of the object or concept it is describing and lasts forever or is it just an expression or indication of the present nature of the object but not inherent. The way the Rogochover puts this is: 

אם שם הוה עצם או רק סימן. 

Of course the Rebbi ztz"l [מהד"ת עמ' 104] found that this was a machlokes Tannaim. In the Tosefta there is a dispute what happens if one calls his produce מעשר שני in a מעשר עני year. If we view a name as an essence then it doesn't count. מעשר שני and מעשר עני are two different names. But if we view a name as a סימן, an indication of the nature of the item, then his "calling" is effective, because, in fact, מעשר עני is שני to מעשר ראשון [even though strictly speaking it isn't מעשר שני]. 

The Rambam writes [Nedarim 9/18]:

הנודר מן המים הנמשכין ממעין פלוני אסור בכל הנהרות היונקות ממנו ואין צריך לומר הנמשכות אע"פ שנשתנה שמם ואין קורין אותן אלא נהר פלוני ובאר פלוני ואין מלוין אותן לשם המעין הנדור הואיל והוא עיקרן אסור בכל אבל אם נדר מנהר פלוני או ממעין פלוני אין אסור אלא בכל הנהרות הנקראות על שמו:

When a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from the water that flows from this-and-this spring, he is forbidden [to benefit] from all the rivers that derive nurture from it. Needless to say, this refers to those that flow directly from it. Although the name [of the body of water] has changed and it is now called "the So-and-So River" or "the So-and-So well," and we do not associate it at all with the name of the spring concerning which a vow was taken, since it is the source for these bodies of water, he is forbidden to benefit from all of them. If, however, a person takes a vow [not to benefit] from this-and-this river or spring, he is only forbidden [to benefit] from those rivers called by that name.

The Raavad makes a cryptic comment: 

א"א עיקרא דהא מלתא בסוף מסכת בכורות בפרק מעשר בהמה דאמרי' לשם המעין נדר. 

He gives a mareh makom but doesn't tell us how he differs from the Rambam. 

The Rebbi ztz"l explains: 

פליגי רבינו והראב"ד אם ר"ל השם שלהם או ר"ל המים הבאים משם ... ונפ"מ בהני מים שבאים לאחר נדרו.

The Rambam and Raavad are arguing whether he is making a neder on the water of the river as it is now or the river that is called by this name. According to the Rambam he is making a neder on a certain reality [מציאות מסויימת], the water the river contains now. The Raavad holds that he is making a neder on the river called by this name. So according to the Raavad, even water that comes into the river afterward will be forbidden because they are now called by name of this river.  

There is also an argument about a person who sells his house but explicitly excludes the דיוטא עליונה [literally upper level - meaning roof] from the sale and the roof collapses [Bava Basra 63b]. May he now rebuild where the roof once was? The root of their argument may be whether we follow the reality [מציאות] of the actual roof. Since it is gone he loses his rights. Or maybe we follow the שם of דיוטא עליונה and that is there forever. The שם remains even though the מציאות changed. As Rebbi ztz"l writes:

אם ר"ל עכשיו [does he mean the metzius that exists now] או ר"ל העליונה כמו שיהיה לעולם עליונה שלי [the name "upper level" for all times]

If a person slaughters Reuven's korban todah on behalf of Shimon, Rabbah says that it is valid while Rav Chisda says that it is not. Tosfos explains that according to Rabbah it is valid because it is only considered שינוי בעלים [an act done for the wrong owner] if there is intent for a different owner during the זריקה  and not during the שחיטה. 

Why would Rav Chisda invalidate the korban? The answer is that this korban carries the name of Reuven and slaughtering it on behalf of Shimon "messes things up". In Rebbi's language, a name 

"אינו סימן, רק בעצם הקרבן".

It becomes part of the essence of the korban. 

R' Elazar asks [Sanhedrin 16a] how many judges are needed to judge the ox of a Kohen Gadol that killed and must be judged [to be killed], 71 like a Kohen Gadol or 23 like a regular person. In other words, how do we view this ox - does it's name change it's essence and we view it as a "Kohen Gadol's ox" because a person's essence extends to his possessions and it therefore requires the same amount of judges that a Kohen Gadol requires when he is judged? Or do we say that since the מציאות is that the ox is NOT the Kohen Gadol but an ox, and it's name ["Kohen Gadol's ox"] is just a סימן, twenty three judges are enough. 

Or how about this machlokes. R' Tarfon says that for lulav we must take כפות תמרים. R' Akiva argues and says כפות תמרים כשמן [Yerushalmi Succah 3/1]. What is their argument?

R' Tarfon says that the lulav must come from a tree that actually bears dates. The name כפות תמרים is describing to us a tree that carries dates. כפות תמרים is a סימן that it has dates. R' Akiva argues and says that the name is essential and characterizes a certain type of tree. It doesn't indicate that the tree bear dates but that this is the species called כפות תמרים.  

[עפ"י משנת הרוגוצ'ובי עמ' 122 וע"ע מפענח צפונות עמ' ע"ה-ע"ו]

[This חקירה of רבינו [li-havdil a trillion havdalos] reminds me of the the famous "Who's On First" routine. The confusion there is whether the name is just a name or indicative of a concept. 

Here is the script:

(Lou Costello is considering becoming a ballplayer. Bud Abbott wants to make sure he knows what he's getting into.)

Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
Costello: Funny names?
Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
Abbott: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: You know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well, then who's playing first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name on first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The fellow playin' first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first base.
Abbott: Who is on first.
Costello: Well, what are you askin' me for?
Abbott: I'm not asking you--I'm telling you. Who is on first.
Costello: I'm asking you--who's on first?
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.
Costello: Who is?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: So who gets it?
Abbott: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Costello: Who's wife?
Abbott: Yes. After all, the man earns it.
Costello: Who does?
Abbott: Absolutely.
Costello: Well, all I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base?
Abbott: Oh, no, no. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: St. Louis has a good outfield?
Abbott: Oh, absolutely.
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.
Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.
Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field?
Abbott: Who's playing first.
Costello: Stay out of the infield! The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: Because.
Abbott: Oh, he's center field.
Costello: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team?
Abbott: Wouldn't this be a fine team w i t h o u t a pitcher?
Costello: Tell me the pitcher's name.
Abbott: Tomorrow.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Costello: Now, when the guy at bat bunts the ball--me being a good catcher--I want to throw the guy out at first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?
Abbott: Now, that's he first thing you've said right.
Abbott: Don't get excited. Take it easy.
Costello: I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is grabs the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to what. What throws it to I don't know. I don't know throws it back to tomorrow--a triple play.
Abbott: Yeah, it could be.
Costello: Another guy gets up and it's a long ball to center.
Abbott: Because.
Costello: Why? I don't know. And I don't care.
Abbott: What was that?
Costello: I said, I DON'T CARE!

Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop!]