November 9, 2009 9:00 am at 9:00 am #1124834
20 Cheshvan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 4 Parashas Vaeira
You should be rejoicing!November 13, 2009 3:33 am at 3:33 am #1124835
27 Cheshvan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 5 Parashas Chayei SarahNovember 17, 2009 3:07 am at 3:07 am #1124836goody613Member
just realized something amazing. the week the sukkas dovid was niftar, that parshah he writes a 10 page long shtickel on inyonei hesped.November 20, 2009 2:19 am at 2:19 am #1124837
I’m sure you all remember the Rashi on “Vayay’ahser lo Hashem…….lo v’lo lah” Where Yitzchak and Rivka daven for a child and HKB”H only listens to the tefillos of Yitzchak and not Rivka, because as Rashi explains “aino domeh tefillas tzaddik ben tzaddik le’tefillas tzaddik ben rasha”. One cannot compare the tefillos of Yitzchok who was a tzaddik ben tzaddik to the tefillos of Rivka whose father was a rasha.
This seems more than a bit unfair to Rivka and even shocking. Why should her prayers be ignored just because of her father?
Further, Rashi seems to contradict a well known gemara which states that in the place that a ba’al teshuva stands, even a completely righteous person cannot stand (be’makom she’ba’al teshuva omade, ain tzaddik gamur yachol la’amode”) The argument for this is that it is easy enough to be observant if one grows up in an observant environment, but a ba’al teshuva, who tries to become observant later in life is usually forced to make changes in his or her lifestyle and circle of friends which can be quite difficult.
I saw something interesting which may explain this.
Perhaps it is NOT easier for someone who is frum from birth to be a tzaddik than for a ba’al teshuva! A ba’al teshuva, whatever his difficulties might be, has an enthusiasm for an exciting new way of life, new experiences, new friends which carries him through. On the other hand, someone who has grown up in an observant environment (like me) may find it much more difficult to MAINTAIN the enthusiasm for davening three times a day. Even if he is a tzaddik, who may be a son of a tzaddik and so on all the way back to the Vilna Gaon himself, he may be doing mitzvot by rote (like me) because it is the only way he knows.
When an important task is new to us, we perform it meticulously. After we have grown used to it, we tend to find shortcuts and cut corners, in ways which are detrimental to our performance.
Yitzchak’s tefillos therefore, were answered not BECAUSE he was the son of a tzaddik, but because HE was a tzaddik EVEN THOUGH he was the son of Avraham and had been doing mitzvot all his life. His enthusiasm for mitzvot was maintained throughout his life, which can be a very difficult thing to accomplish.
If we keep this lesson in mind, HKB”H will indeed answer ALL OUR TEFILLOT!November 22, 2009 12:10 am at 12:10 am #1124838
4 Kislev, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 6 Parashas ToldosNovember 29, 2009 1:16 am at 1:16 am #1124839
11 Kislev, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 7 Parashas VayeitzeiNovember 29, 2009 1:16 am at 1:16 am #1124840
This is supposed to be a nightly dvar Torah thread. What happened to everyone?December 3, 2009 2:49 am at 2:49 am #1124841
cc, niskatnu hadorosDecember 4, 2009 1:02 am at 1:02 am #1124842
HASHEM is Here
??? ?????? ??? ??
?) ????? ???? ??? ???? ?? ???? ?? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ??? ???? ??????? ???? ?????
????? ???? ???? ????? ?? ?/?
???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ???? ???? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ???? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????
??”? ????? ?? ?/?
????? ???? – ??? ??? ????? ?????, ???????, ????? ???? ???? ?????? ???????
Aysav comes to kill Yaakov
The word came to Yaakov that his brother Aysav was coming to greet him, accompanied by 400 men armed to the teeth. It was obvious to all that Aysav intended to kill Yaakov. The posuk tells us that Yaakov feared greatly.
This Gemara becomes difficult to understand when we take into account that after all is said and done, Yaakov Avinu was still a human. No matter how great the Avos were, they were made out of the same flesh and blood that we are, had the same physical makeup that we do, and faced all the challenges of being a human being.
HASHEM made that promise 34 years ago
Yaakov walked with HASHEM
The answer to this question seems to be that there is a key distinction between Yaakov Avinu and the average person. Yaakov Avinu walked with HASHEM.
Yaakov Avinu was never alone
But Yaakov Avinu was never alone. His entire existence was focused on being close to HASHEM. HASHEM was present with him every moment of his day. When he went to the well to find a wife, HASHEM was right there arranging for Rochel to come with the sheep. When he went to the house of Lavan, HASHEM was right there protecting him from the scheming of a trickster. And now that he was preparing to meet his brother in what was likely to be mortal combat, he was not going out alone. He walked with HASHEM.
For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #20 – Davening Making it Real, and Shmuz #18 – the Difference between Emunah and Bitachon on http://www.theshmuz.comDecember 4, 2009 1:38 am at 1:38 am #1124843
18 Kislev, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 8 Parashas Vayishlach
[in royal garments]
Are we cognizant of the transcendent dignity of the Torah, and of our own greatness as the chosen people? The Torah that we study and obey elevates us head and shoulders above the masses. Let us not lower ourselves to the standards of society and stoop to seek their approval and acceptance. The more Torah we learn and mitzvos we perform, the more honored and regal we become. As the princely sons and daughters of the King of kings, we should view ourselves accordingly, and act in a manner befitting our noble and royal stature.December 10, 2009 9:56 pm at 9:56 pm #1124845
I Never Forget
??? ?????? ??? ??
(??) ????? ?? ???? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????? ?? ??? ?? ??? ??? ???? ???? ??? ????:
??”? ?? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ??
????? ?????? – (?”?) ??? ??? ???? ??????? ?? ??? ????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ??? ?? ???:
It is difficult to imagine a closer relationship than that of Yaakov Avinu and his beloved son Yosef. In Yosef, he saw wisdom, kindness and leadership; in Yosef, he saw his own life in parallel; and in Yosef he saw his wife, Rochel. He singled him out to be the leader of all the brothers. When Yosef was taken at the tender age of seventeen, Yaakov was inconsolable. He mourned this loss for years, and despite the efforts of his family to comfort him, his grief remained as intense as when he first heard the news.
Forgetting is natural
The answer to this question can be best understood from a different perspective.
Me after I die
The answer to why this fellow should be concerned about his nishomah is because he is the nishomah. Reb Yisroel Salanter teaches us that death is like taking off a coat. If I walk into a room and take off my outer garment, I enter the room. So too, says Reb Yisroel, when I die, my body will be buried, and I will emerge. The same I that thinks, feels and remembers. The same I that tells my arms and legs to move, will live on long after my body is buried.
I am not my brain
Did you ever have one of those brilliant flashes of intuition? Like a lightning bolt, you just realized something. You knew it. Then you had to go through the slow, laborious process of putting that thought into words, of taking that understanding and putting it into a concrete idea.
After my body dies, I live on
For more on this topic please listen to Shmuz #23 I Will Never Die
This issue sponsored: Li Ilui Nishmas Shayna Necha Bas Shalom.December 18, 2009 4:19 am at 4:19 am #1124846
VORT ON CHANUKAH (GEMATRIA)
We all know that min hadin the menorah must only burn for 30 minutes. the entire chanukah we light 36 nairos. take 36 and multiply it by 1/2 hour for each of the nairos, the result is 18 hours. every jew min hadin his nairos burn 18 hours a chanukah. the average person lives 70 years. multiply 70 years of a person’s lifetime by 18 hours a year, the result is 1260. in a person’s lifetime min hadin the menorah is suppose to burn 1260 hours.
In the bais hamikdosh there were 6 nairos that burned 24 hours a day the 8 days of chanukah. 6×24=144. 144×8=1152 the 7th ner was the ner maaravi. the ner maaravi burned 12 hours from night till morning, plus from shkiya till tzais which according to some shitos is 90 minutes which alltogether is 13 and a half hours a day the ner maaravi burned. multiply that by the 8 days of chanukah, the result is 108 hours. take the 1152 that we had before from the other 6 nairos and add that to the 108 of the ner maaravi and the equals to 1260.
In the lifetime of a person his menorah min hadin should be burning 1260 hours just like in the beis hamikdash where every chanuckah it burned 1260 hours.
The reason why the RAbbanon were mesakain that the menorah should be burning for 1/2 hour is so that in the lifetime of a person his menorah should be lit as much as the menorah in the beis hamikdash was burning for the whole chanukah.
A FREILICHEN CHANUKAH, A GUTEN CHODESH, A GUTEN EREV SHABBOS TO ALL MY FELLOW BROTHERS AND SISTERS OUT THERE.
EDITED TO CORRECT A TYPODecember 18, 2009 5:37 pm at 5:37 pm #1124847
mod, thanks for editing my typos i was very tired lastnight.December 24, 2009 2:39 am at 2:39 am #1124848
9 Teves, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 11 Parashas Vayigash
[for your strength and security]
All rights reserved. For more information call (818) 505-7999 or e-mail [email protected]December 28, 2009 1:44 am at 1:44 am #1124849eelleerrMember
DIVREI TORAH ON VAYECHI
TAKEN FROM “THE WEEKLY VORT”
[Hashem will] remember you and remember you? Yosef was telling Bnei Yisrael that Hashem will remember you twice, once in Tishrei and once in Nissan. In Tishrei, preceding the Exodus, Moshe went to Pharaoh for the first time. From then on Klal Yisrael were no longer forced to work. Hashem also remembered Bnei Yisrael in Nissan, when He actually took them out of Egypt. (Rabbeinu Bechaye) (A Gut Vort)January 6, 2010 8:20 pm at 8:20 pm #1124850oldCRgang01Member
CC: what happened to your DT??
Moshe, the humblest man who was ever on the face of this earth, the man who consistently pleaded with Hashem to spare the Jewish nation from his wrath, emerges this week for the very first time.
First impressions are almost always last impressions, so I wondered what are Moshe’s first actions? Surely they would typify his future distinction.
Open a Chumash and explore the young lad who is found on the Nile, spends his youth in Pharaoh’s palace, and finally “goes out amongst his brothers.” He sees an Egyptian smiting a Jew and then, in a non-speaking role (at least without speaking to any human), he kills him. That is Moshe’s foray in communal activism.
His first words seem diametrically opposed to his ensuing persona. The next day, Moshe “went out and behold, two Hebrew men were fighting.” He immediately chastised the wicked one, “Why would you strike your fellow?” (Exodus 2:13). His admonition provokes an angry response from the quarrelers. “Who appointed you as a dignitary, a ruler, and a judge over us? Do you propose to murder me, as you murdered the Egyptian?” (ibid. v. 4). Moshe’s hallmark compassion and concern seems to be overshadowed by his forceful admonition. Is that the first impression the Torah wants us to have of Moshe?
In his youth, Reb Zorach Braverman, who later was known as a brilliant Jerusalem scholar, once travelled from Eishishok to Vilna, Lithuania. Sitting next to him was an elderly Jew with whom he began to converse. Reb Zorach commented to the old man that it was sad that in a city as large as Vilna there was no organized Torah youth group.
The old man became agitated. In a tear-stained voice he responded, “Whom do you expect to organize these groups, “he asked incredulously, ” the communal leaders who are destroying Judaism in Vilna? They do nothing to promote Torah values!”
The man went on to condemn a group of parnasim who had assumed control of the community affairs and constantly overruled the Rabbinical authorities in every aspect of communal life as it related to observance of Jewish law. Reb Zorach became incensed. Who was this man to deride a group of community elders? He responded vociferously. “Excuse me,” he interrupted,” but I think you should study the new sefer (book) that was just published. It is called Chofetz Chaim and deals specifically with the laws of slander and gossip. It details all the transgressions listed in the Torah for gossip as such! In fact, I have it here with me.”
The old man asked to see the book. He took it and immediately opened it to a section which specified the rare instance it was a mitzvah to speak out against a group of people, in the case when they act defiantly against rabbinic authority.
Reb Zorach remained quiet and silently took back the book. The trip ended and the old man and Reb Zorach went their ways in Vilna. It only took a day until Reb Zorach found out that he was seated next to none other than the Chofetz Chaim himself.
Of course, Moshe was the compassionate advocate for Klal Yisrael. But the Torah chooses to define his leadership in a clear and unambiguous manner in strong and controversial encounters. His first act was to kill an Egyptian who was smiting a Jew, and his second was to chastise two Jews who were fighting so strongly that they threatened to report his former act to the Egyptian authorities. After the Torah establishes an ability to reprove and even rebuke sin, only then does it tell us of Moshe’s compassion in protecting the daughters of Yisro, in tending sheep by running after a tiny lamb who lost its way in the scorching dessert.
Often I hear quotes, “if Rav Moshe were alive today,” or “if the Chofetz Chaim were alive today,” followed by a notion that these beloved, departed, sages, with their celebrated love and compassion for all Jews, would surely ascribe to unmitigated love and acceptance of anyone’s notion of Judaism as an acceptable alternative.
It’s just not true. Great leaders and Torah visionaries do have tremendous love for all Jews, but they do not compromise on Torah law or on Torah values. They are vociferous advocates of right versus wrong. Though one minute they may be chasing lost sheep, running after a small child who dropped a small coin, or translating a letter for an indigent immigrant, they would not hesitate to strike the Egyptian and chastise their fellow Jew who raised his hand against another, physically or spiritually. What truly makes a great man is not only knowing how and when to hold them, but also knowing how and when to scold them.January 8, 2010 5:24 am at 5:24 am #1124851
21 Teves, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 13 Parashas Shmos
We must conclude that Moshe really would have seized the chance to do this mitzvah even if there were others that were ready and able to kill the Egyptian. The lack of response by other Jews did not determine whether Moshe would react, but rather how he would react. Moshe would not have acted with the same intensity had he known that other people were available. The Midrash is explaining that Moshe surveyed the scene and saw no one else ready to act. This knowledge did not make him hesitant, feeling alone and unsure. Instead, seeing this state of affairs filled him with courage and strength. He focused on the fact that he was the only one willing to save his Jewish brother. This knowledge only caused Moshe to increase his zealous fervor.January 13, 2010 1:37 am at 1:37 am #1124852
Another D’var Torah on Parshas Shemos
23 Teves, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 12 Parashas Shmos
[the Jews] ask me [Moshe]January 15, 2010 7:39 pm at 7:39 pm #1124853
1 Shevat, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 13 Parashas Vaeira
[it has only become worse for the Jews]January 20, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm #1124854
28 Teves, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 14 Parashas Vaeira
The taunts of inconsistency appeal to our sense of pride and vanity. If we are humble enough to acknowledge our occasional mistakes, and move forward and upward to capitalize on every opportunity for spiritual growth, we will emerge victorious in our battle with the Yetzer Harah.
All rights reserved. For more information call (818) 505-7999 or e-mail [email protected]January 21, 2010 7:08 pm at 7:08 pm #1124855
6 Shevat, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 15 Parashas Bo
We must at all times remember that we are here in this world to do our job and to fulfill our personal responsibilities. Ultimately, Hashem is in charge of running the world. Let us humbly accept our mission in life, and by keeping the laws of the Shulchan Aruch, we will bring about the greatest kiddush Hashem possible.January 25, 2010 12:59 am at 12:59 am #1124856
8 Shevat, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 14 Parashas BoJanuary 27, 2010 5:28 am at 5:28 am #1124857
13 Shevat, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 16 Parashas Beshalach
Pride has the ability to twist and distort the human mind. It can mislead even intelligent and great people into accepting completely baseless ideas. Even as the Ephraimites were being enslaved in total subjugation, their arrogance created the delusion that it was safe to escape. Lulled by this sense of invincibility, they fooled themselves into believing a false prophet they normally would have rejected, who led them and their families on a path of total destruction.
Let us realize the dangers of arrogance, and protect ourselves against its insidious and pervasive influence, through the powerful and essential tool of daily mussar study. If we constantly work on our humility, we will not merely become better spouses, parents, neighbors or friends; we will also gain the clarity of vision and judgement to know that our decisions will be based on reality, sound reasoning and the eternal values of our Torah.February 1, 2010 5:29 am at 5:29 am #1124858
15 Shevat, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 15 Parashas Beshalach
This might possibly be the major reason that many Jews are disconnected from their heritage. A large number may be aware of many of the mitzvos. However, they perceive it as a dry, illogical collection of demands and restrictions that seem unreasonable and unpleasant. If we could reach out to them and show them the beauty and wisdom of a Torah life, and how Hashem has created us according to the blueprint of His Torah so that we achieve ultimate happiness through the mitzvos, it could open their eyes to a world they never knew existed. If we could give them a taste of the radiance of a real Shabbos, the explanation for a mitzvah or the joy of studying authentic Torah with commentaries, it would change their outlook and open the door to reclaim their priceless inheritance. Let us contemplate our obligation, and our privilege, to share the light of Torah with our fellow Jews, and teach it with its full glory and profound meaning, to illuminate their lives with purpose, satisfaction and genuine happiness, in this world and the world-to-come.February 2, 2010 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #1124859
20 Shevat, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 17 Parashas YisroFebruary 4, 2010 5:49 pm at 5:49 pm #1124860
DVAR TORAH: Yisro
“Remember the Shabbos day and keep it holy.”
The Chofetz Chaim writes that Shabbos is a sign for the Jewish people. When a store has a sign out front, you know it’s in business. When we have Shabbos, we are ‘in business.’
Faithful observance of Shabbos is part of what makes our people eternal, as the following true story submitted by Evi Reznck, Atlanta, GA, illustrates:
Back in the mid nineties a Jewish advertising executive in New York came up with an idea. What if the New York Times – considered the world’s most prestigious newspaper –
listed the weekly Shabbat candle lighting time each week. Sure someone would have to pay for the space. But imagine the Jewish awareness and pride that might result from
such a prominent mention of the Jewish Shabbat each week.
He got in touch with a Jewish philanthropist and sold him on the idea. It cost almost two thousand dollars a week. But he did it. And for the next five years, each Friday, Jews around
the world would see: ‘Jewish Women: Shabbat candle lighting time this Friday is ___’. Eventually the philanthropist had to cut back on a number of his projects. And in June 1999,
the little Shabbat notice and stopped appearing in the Friday Times. From that week on it never appeared again.
Except once. On January 1, 2000, the NY Times ran a Millennium edition. It was a special issue that featured three front pages.
One had the news from January 1, 1900. The second was the actual news of the day, January 1, 2000. And then they had a third front page.
Projecting future events of January 1, 2100. This fictional page included things like a welcome to the fifty-first state: Cuba . As well as a discussion as to whether robots should be
allowed to vote. And so on. And in addition to the fascinating articles, there was one more thing. Down on the bottom of the Year 2100 front page, was the candle lighting time in
New York for January 1, 2100. Nobody paid for it. It was just put in by the Times. The production manager of the New York Times – an Irish Catholic – was asked about it. His answer
was right on the mark. “We don’t know what will happen in the year 2100. It is impossible to predict the future. But of one thing you can be certain. That in the year 2100 Jewish
women will be lighting Shabbos candles.
This non-Jewish production manager sensed a profound truth. Thus is the power of Jewish ritual. Thus is the eternity of our people.
“Honor thy father and thy mother.”
This commandment demands of us to be the type of parents that our children can honor and cherish. This takes much wisdom and thought, as the following words written by Rabbi
Yakov Horowitz, submitted by Getzal Segal, illustrate:
The GPS system in our automobiles, nonchalantly responds when we make a mistake or don’t follow its instructions. The same calm voice that directed us in the first place comes
back on, simply says, “Recalculating,” and helps get us back on track.
Now; imagine how we would feel and respond if the GPS was programmed to progressively inject a harsher tone of voice and raise the volume each time we missed a turn in
Would it help or hinder us if instead of “Recalculating,” we heard things like, “Would you PLEASE listen next time?” or “Don’t you know anything at all about driving?”
The affection that we all feel regarding our children is most certainly a positive component of our relationship with them. However, precisely because we love them so much, we
are often too passionate to calmly help them grow and learn from the inevitable mistakes they make.
Our chazal (sages) teach us that there are profound lessons to be learned from all new developments in our world. Perhaps we ought to take a page from the makers of GPS and
do our very best to gently, privately and constructively help our kids “Recalculate” the next time they take a wrong turn or two.
Dedicated by Dr. Scott A. Magnes in honor of his parents Dr. & Mrs. G. D. Magnes.
Like to honor or remember a loved one? You can dedicate a Dvar Torah that will teach and inspire thousands of people. Dvar torah dedications: $180.
To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]
Also comes with jokes and letters to editor, I only pasted the Dvar Torah – YW Moderator-42February 4, 2010 5:50 pm at 5:50 pm #1124861
By the way, it seems that choftezchaim and I are the only ones posting Divrei Torah. If anyone else can help out, please post your own.February 8, 2010 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm #1124862
22 Shevat, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 16 Parashas YisroFebruary 10, 2010 2:09 am at 2:09 am #1124863
27 Shevat, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 18 Parashas Mishpatim
[If the Jews would have not made the Golden Calf]
Of course, once the Jews had sinned with the Golden Calf, their sin was a negative factor that weighed against them and the scales of judgement were no longer so overwhelmingly tipped in their merit that they could live forever. Still, the greatness remains in every one of us, because we all have free will and we all can struggle to overcome our yetzer hara. That potential has never left us, and as we look at our fellow Jews, and perhaps more importantly, as we look at ourselves, we must see the grandeur of our potential for holiness. We should appreciate the profound love that Hashem feels for us, to endow us with this incredible blessing of bechira, a potential so lofty that it deserves eternity.February 12, 2010 1:47 am at 1:47 am #1124864
29 Shevat, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 17 Parashas Mishpatim
level of responsibility by immersing in a mikveh and performing physical actions that solidify his resolve to keep the mitzvos.
If we want to improve our determination to keep mitzvos and learn Torah on a higher level, we should do more than decide in our minds, or even emphatically
verbalize a promise. To truly feel bound by our decision, we must perform some action, some significant demonstration of this resolution that will impact our personality and leave a permanent impression. With our entire bodies involved,
we can be sure that we have made a commitment that will endure, and bring us one step closer to our lofty goal of ultimate perfection.February 16, 2010 8:42 am at 8:42 am #1124865hyamkMember
I happened to stumble on this forum, and it seems like a good idea, having a dvar torah every day. I can’t promise how often I can post, but I’ll try to do so whenever possible and when I have something ready.
It says in psachim 86 “kol ma sheomer lecha baal habayit asse chutz mitze” why “chutz mitze”? I heard once that a guest should never get to the state that the Baal Habayit has to send him away, but should by himself when to leave.February 16, 2010 8:47 am at 8:47 am #1124866hyamkMember
BTW I wanted to know how many are in yhe forum, how much hebrew is understood.February 19, 2010 12:58 am at 12:58 am #1124867
6 Adar, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 18 Parashas Terumah
The very same routine mitzvah that we feel lacks gusto and seems humdrum can often generate the spark that ignites a chain reaction of enthusiasm for Torah and mitzvos. Focusing on infrequent mitzvos, or on practices that have popular appeal, is not necessary. Instead, we must each attempt to unleash the power of the mitzvos that we are presently performing. This will infuse our lives with the exuberance and joy of rising each morning to greet a new day, appreciating the incredible privilege bestowed upon us, to serve the Creator of the universe with all our heart and soul.February 26, 2010 8:01 am at 8:01 am #1124868
*****~~~~~asdfghjkl’s DT on Purim: ~~~~*****
Sobering Stories for Purim
by Rabbi Yehudah Prero
One of the customs associated with Purim is drinking at the Purim feast. This custom serves as a commemoration of the essential role wine played in the miracle of Purim: For example, Vashti was killed because of the intoxicating effects of wine, which allowed Esther to become queen, and at a wine party, Esther was able to turn the tables on Haman. The Talmud (Megillah 7b) states “One is obligated to drink (alcohol) on Purim until one does not know the difference between “Blessed is Mordechai” and “Cursed is Haman.” As drinking to excess seems out of place with the norm of Jewish practices, this directive is explained in many ways. Some explain that the “until” is not to be interpreted as an expression of inclusion. Rather, the drinking is to be until the point of incapability to differentiate, exclusive of that state. Others explain that the inability to differentiate arises because one falls asleep from drinking alcohol, and it is in that state one should fulfill this commandment. Whatever the interpretation, all agree that the drinking has to be done with the intent to praise G-d for His miracles and thank Him for saving us. If this is kept in perspective, the celebration can be a truly joyous one, both spiritually and physically.
Rav Elazar Rokeach of Amsterdam was a respected confidant of the Queen of Holland. One year, on Purim, the Queen learned that the dikes around Holland were in danger of collapsing, posing a serious threat of flooding to the entire country. She sent messengers to Rav Elazar, requesting that he pray on behalf on the entire country. Rav Elazar, who was in the midst of his Purim feast, heard the request, and the messengers returned to the Queen. Immediately, he ordered that many more bottles of wine, of the finest wines, be brought to his table, and instructed all those at his home to partake of them and to rejoice. Soon, all were engaged in drink and song, celebrating Purim to the fullest. Later that evening, the Queen wanted to let Rav Elazar know that the dangerous situation was over. When the messengers bearing this message arrived at Rav Elazar’s’ house, they were shocked: Everyone was singing, feasting, and drinking! The messengers immediately returned to the Queen, who was taken aback at this report. She sent a message to Rav Elazar: “I thought that when you heard the terrible news, you would proclaim a fast day, call for mass prayer, act in a way that was illustrative of how dire the situation was. How, then, could you go about your merriment when you knew that the entire country was in peril!”
Rav Elazar explained that “The best way to appease G-d is to do His will. When we listen to His word and fulfill His dictates to the fullest, He acts to us in similar fashion and grants us our requests. On this day, we have the holiday of Purim. We were commanded to rejoice and celebrate. I figured that the best way to ask G-d to help us was to obey His word to the best of my ability. I therefore celebrated today for the honor of G-d, to the best of my ability. In this way, I hoped that in the merit that I fulfilled G-d’s wishes today, so too would He fulfill ours. And indeed, that appears to have happened.”
Although we are commanded to engage in merriment on Purim, this commandment does not supersede others. The Rem”a was worried that because his fellow Jews in Krakow were drinking to celebrate Purim, they might forget to recite Ma’ariv, the evening prayers. To assure that this did not occur, he used to go visit the residents of Krakow after nightfall, when the Purim feasts were concluding. The Rem”a would knock on an individual’s door, and request water so he could wash his hands. He would then say to himself, yet loud enough that his hosts could hear, “Oh, I need to go pray Ma’ariv!” He went from house to house, repeating this act, to provide a gentle reminder that everyone should not forget, due to the merriment, to pray Ma’ariv.
As with all celebrations in Jewish life, our happiness is not complete because we are in exile, and the Bais HaMikdosh, The Holy Temple, remains in ruins. Rav Nosson Adler used to recite Psalm 137, “Al Naharos Bavel,” on Purim. This psalm speaks of our exile and how we will always lift the memory of Jerusalem above our moments of joy. He explained that we have a long standing tradition to temper all moments of joy with the remembrance of the destroyed Jerusalem. Therefore, on Purim, when we have a commandment to celebrate, this custom is not abandoned and we must remember the sad state of the Jewish nation. However, he added that we need to be sure that we raise the memory of Jerusalem above our happiness at the peak of our joy – the time when we are still intoxicated during the Purim feast.
May this be a most joyous Purim for everyone, and may it be the last one we have to spend in Galus!!!!
A Freilichin Purim!!!!!!!!March 5, 2010 9:15 am at 9:15 am #1124869
********* asdfghhjkl’s DT on Parshas Sisa ******
D’Var Torah – Parsha Ki Sisa
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman – 5761
Moshe urged Hashem, “Let me know Your ways… (Ex.33-13).
The ways of Hashem are indeed puzzling to us – particularly how Hashem runs the world. Things seem to make no sense. This because we only see part of the puzzle at a time. Trying to look at the world today and understand why things happen as they do, is like picking up a thousand page novel, turning to page 463, and trying to understand what is going on. Still, every so often, we are privileged to see how the pieces fit together as the following true story illustrates.
Rabbi Henry & Rebbetzin Esther Soille were in their apartment in Paris when they heard a scream. They recognized it as neighbor of theirs – a non-Jewish woman. Feeling the terror in the woman’s voice, Mrs. Soille said “Lets get dressed and go help her.” Rabbi Soille agreed and added, “If we wait that long she may be dead by then.” So, they immediately ran outside, dressed only in their pajamas to help. When they got outside they saw a Nazi car coming toward their building so they dashed out of sight. From their hiding place they could see that the Gestapos were going to none other than their own apartment. Had they not responded with sensitivity and courage to the anguished cries of their neighbor, they would have still been in their apartment for the Nazis to find them and drag them off. Because they engaged in a chessed, their own lives had now been spared. Why was the woman screaming? They later learned that the woman neighbor was screaming because the Nazis had come to seize her husband for smuggling. She told them to spare her husband and take the Rabbi next door instead. Her intention was to trade the Rabbi’s life for her husband’s life. It didn’t even help her because they still took her husband. In attempting to betray the Rabbi, she actually saved him…
The ways of Hashem are indeed puzzling to us – particularly how Hashem runs the world. Things seem to make no sense. This because we only see part of the puzzle at a time.
Have a wonderful Shobbos!!!
It’s Parshas Parah this Shobbos too!!!March 5, 2010 8:08 pm at 8:08 pm #1124870
20 Adar, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 20 Parashas Ki Sisa
plowing through 3-foot-high snow drifts. Will I truly receive the reward for doing the mitzvah with such self-sacrifice when I did not really expend that effort? How could the Levites get rewarded for just participating a non-existent scenario?March 8, 2010 3:17 am at 3:17 am #1124871
In Parshas Bo, we read about the last three makos; arbeh, choshech and makas bechoros. The story continues with HKB”H giving instructions for the
preparation and eating of the Korban Pesach and then the actual leaving of Mitzrayim.
Right in the midst of this narrative, before the instructions on the Korban Pesach, HKB”H informs Moshe about a new mitzvah. He tell Moshe “Hachodesh
hazeh lachem rosh chadashim”…..the mitzvah of Kiddush Hachodesh.
The obvious question arises. Why did HKB”H choose to tell this to Moshe right in the middle of the story of leaving Egypt? Couldn’t this have waited until
they left Mitzrayim? After all, no immediate action was required of the people when God gave this mitzvah?
Rav Soloveitchik suggested the following:
What is it that a slave has the least amount of use for? A clock. A slave works all day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Each day is exactly the same as the day before.
He has no need for time. What difference does it make if the clock reads 11 AM or 4 PM? Or if the day is Monday or Friday? The slave is forced to do exactly the same thing at each of those hours. After being in Mitzrayim for 210 years, time certainly had no meaning for Bnei Yisrael.
Now HKB”H comes and tells Moshe to tell the people….”You are soon going to be free”. And time will suddenly have meaning for you. And I want you to take
time and be mekadesh it!…I want you to make time holy by making Rosh Chodesh and hence the Yomim Tovim holy”.
If we examine the tefillah of Birchas Hachodesh we find a very puzzling formula. First, we recite the Yehi Ratzon asking for everything good for the coming month.
After “Mi she’asah nisim’……we announce the day of the week Rosh Chodesh will fall out on, and conclude with “Yechadshayhu HKB”H….” which once again
asks for a good month.
But this paragraph “Mi she’asah nisim la’avosaynu v’ga’al osom may’avdus lechayrus” is strange…..What is the mention of the geulah from Mitzrayim doing here
in the midst of Birchas Hachodesh? What is the connection???
The Rav explained that each and every month, precisely when we remember that a new month is beginning, we must also remind ourselves that we are no longer slaves
in Egypt and time is therefore very important to us. We must remember each and every month to make a commitment to use time wisely and to make it holy!!!March 10, 2010 6:04 am at 6:04 am #1124873
[Show]March 18, 2010 5:54 am at 5:54 am #1124874shkoyachMember
oy vey! no dvar torah in a week!! Someone do something fast!March 19, 2010 7:31 am at 7:31 am #1124875
The Midrash tells us that this pasuk is refering to a great man sinning; A man as lofty as Adam HaRishon. Adam was so great that the angels thought he was godly. He was on one of the highest levels a human can reach. But yet, the Midrash continues to say that this man who sins must take care to separate himself from the animals, to insure that he does not fall to the lowest of depths. Granted that a man as great as Adam HaRishon may commit a small sin. But would we ever imagine that this sin could drag him to the animalistic depths? Is he truly in danger of sinking so low?
Let us realize that the Yetzer Hara is the greatest enemy we can ever have, and let us try to learn from our nemesis, who never surrenders without a struggle and fights tooth and nail for the smallest gain. He knows quite well that the stakes are extremely high, because we are dealing with eternity. If we make the effort to be vigilant and to avoid even the smallest lowering of our spiritual level, and seize every opportunity to grow, we will find ourselves making consistent strides forward in the positive direction, onward and upward as we elevate ourselves and everything around us to accomplish the ultimate purpose of our existence.March 23, 2010 12:13 am at 12:13 am #1124876
5 Nisan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 22 Parashas Vayikra
As we examine this wager and the man that attempted to anger Hillel, we realize that this man was a wicked individual who employed every means to try to harm Hillel. To Hillel, becoming angry would have been a very serious error. Yet, this man even turned to diabolical psychological tricks to try to reach his nefarious goal. Now, having lost the bet, he has become extremely angry himself, and that anger is all directed at Hillel for causing him this major financial loss. Money obviously means a lot to him, and the value of patience does not. Hillel, nevertheless, did not give up on him. Hillel tried to enlighten him to the importance of humility and patience. Could this man take the lesson to heart? After trying so hard to induce a lack of patience, after losing his valuable bet, and now in a state of rage, could he be at all receptive to this lesson?March 23, 2010 6:45 am at 6:45 am #1124877
******asdfghjkl’s DT Lichvod Pesach*******
D’Var Torah – Pesach – 5764
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
A certain man once decided that he wanted to make his Pesach Seder the most meaningful and spiritual ever. He spent weeks of preparation and meditation. He studied the most erudite and esoteric commentaries on the Haggada. As Pesach approached, he bought the most super kosher Matzah available. He prepared the charoses and the maror and all the special foods for the Seder.
When the Seder finally arrived, he sat like a king, reciting the Haggada with fervor, consuming the ritual Seder foods with the utmost sense of holiness, and singing the Pesach songs with joy into the wee hours of the night. He could not have been more pleased and satisfied after this monumental event.
The next afternoon, he was thinking about the second Seder to take place that night. He wanted this to be just as grand and special as the first. He was very tired, having stayed up so late the night before, so he decided to take a nap that afternoon in order to be awake and fresh for the night time Seder.
As it happened, because he was so exhausted, he slept until almost midnight. Since the Halacha requires that the Afikomen, which is the final food of the seder, be eaten before chatzos (midnight), he now needed to hastily start the seder; rapidly recite the Haggada; quickly eat the matzo, maror and charoses; drink the 4 cups; eat a modest meal; and chant all the appropriate blessings. He had only minutes to accomplish all of this.
The next day, he was mulling over the events of the previous night. He was so disappointed. He had such a marvelous Seder the night before. How could he have such an uninspiring rush-job the next night? He was very depressed about it and went to speak to his Rabbi for guidance, and to tell him about his sad second Seder.
The Rabbi listened to the entire story and responded, “Perhaps, in the eyes of Heaven, your second Seder was superior to the first. At the first Seder you were proud and haughty. You were convinced that you were doing the Seder your way and it was better than anyone else. At your second Seder, you were humble and determined. Despite your disappointment you proceeded to fulfill the Ratzon Hashem rather than your own will. You were a true Eved Hashem. You conducted the Seder simply because you knew it is a Mitzvah to do so -even without intense emotional euphoria. What greater Kavana could there be than this? That is indeed a wonderful praiseworthy thing.”
Emotions are a tricky thing. What gives us the maximum emotional feeling, may not be best thing in terms of our true avodas Hashem.
May we Merit the coming of the Geulah this Pesach!March 23, 2010 7:32 am at 7:32 am #1124878
Thanks Mod for the speedy modding & for fixing my HTML coding!!! 🙂March 24, 2010 6:45 am at 6:45 am #1124879
*******asdfghjkl’s DT-2 Lichvod Pesach********
D’Var Torah – Pesach – 5764
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
Rabbi Yosef Charif of Slonim was known for his sharpness and insight. Every year as Pesach approached, he received a multitude of queries concerning the intricate laws of the holiday. One year, he received a distressed looking woman on Erev Pesach morning, asking for an audience with the Rabbi. The Rabbi ushered her into his study.
The woman was none other than the wife of R’ Nota Hirsch. R’ Nota was a successful businessman and a prominent active member of the Jewish community. He was one of the biggest philanthropists in the entire region.
“Rabbi,” she began, “I am at my wits end. My husband has suffered severe business setbacks that have wiped him out. He has no money left – not a one cent.”
“I am so sorry to hear this,” responded Rabbi Charif, “I didn’t know a thing about it.”
“That’s just it,” she explained, “He is too humiliated to let anyone know. For years, we have always had the pleasure of contributing generously to the mitzvah of Maos Chittim (Passover food for the needy), and now I do not even have the ability to provide for our own Pesach – and the first Seder is tonight. I do not know what to do, I cannot ask anyone for help – my husband’s pride would be devastated. I didn’t even tell him that I was coming here.”
The Rabbi mulled over the problem for a few moments and came up with an idea, “Tell your husband that tonight in shul, when he greets me after services, he should whisper in my ear.”
“Why should he do that?”
“You must trust me and do as I say. Make sure he whispers in my ear.”
That night, the synagogue was packed with people, all dressed in their Yom Tov finery. Everyone was radiant with happiness and holiday spirit, looking forward to the Seder they would enjoy at home with their families that evening. As was customary, each went up to the front to personally greet the Rabbi.
When R’ Nota Hirsch went up to greet the Rabbi, he followed his wife’s instructions (though neither he nor she had any idea why), and whispered into the Rabbi’s ear, “Gut YomTov Rabbi. Happy Pesach.”
Upon hearing this, the Rabbi jumped up and said in a loud voice, “Oy vey! I am so sorry to tell you this. It is all chometz. It is all chometz!”
Everyone in the shul heard this and assumed that R’ Nota was describing some accidental occurrence that took place in their kitchen, and asking the Rabbi to rule whether or not it was kosher. Immediately one of the onlookers said, “Don’t worry R’ Nota, I have extra matzo in my house, I will bring you over some so that at least you will have matzo for the Seder.” Another piped up, “We have extra wine, I will bring some over so you can drink the Four Cups.” Another man chimed, “My wife made plenty of extra chicken soup, we will bring you over some for the Seder meal.”
Word of the “kashrus accident” spread throughout the town. There was literally a stream of people coming throughout the night, each bringing a dish or two, from fish to salad to soup to honey cake. By the time the night was over, they had enough food for a week. Thanks to the Rabbi’s wisdom and sensitivity, no one knew or even suspected anything about the family’s severe financial straits.
In the coming months, things turned around completely. By the next Pesach, R’ Nota Hirsch was restored to his original wealth – only now, he was even more grateful to Hashem and more philanthropic than ever.
May we Merit the coming of the Geulah this Pesach!March 24, 2010 7:29 pm at 7:29 pm #1124880
Wow, asdfghjkl, keep it up. We need more divrei Torah around here.
Here is my Dvar Torah for Pesach in memory of Rabbi A. Henach Leibowitz zt”l whose 2nd yahrtzeit is tonight 10 Nissan.
10 Nisan, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 23 PesachMarch 25, 2010 7:25 am at 7:25 am #1124881
*******asdfghjkl’s DT-3 Lichvod Pesach*****
D’Var Torah: Pesach
By Rabbi Baruch Lederman
Every year, the Korban Pesach was brought in the Bais Hamikdash; just as it was that very first Pesach when the Jews actually left Mitzrayim; and was distributed to be eaten by Bnei Yisroel. The Korban Pesach was not to be served to a non-jew.
This was a terrible situation which could not be allowed to continue, yet how could the Rabbi stop him if he insisted on playing this charade.
May we merit the Geulah this Pesach!!!
Side point: For an ~~AMAZING~~ Pesach Haggadah with English DT’s, Mefarshim, stories ect..I highly recommended Rabbi Yechiel Spereo’s Haggadah called ”Touched by a Seder”. I got it last year and it really was a wonderful Haggadah!!!April 1, 2010 5:08 am at 5:08 am #1124882
10 Nisan, 5769 Vol. 10, No. 24 Pesach
The experience of the Jewish people in Egyptian slavery was not merely one of hard labor without compensation. Tortured by the taskmasters and their newborn babies murdered en masse, the Jews suffered in Egypt to an unimaginable degree. When Hashem freed them from bondage, with an unparalleled revelation of His awesome mastery of the forces of nature, the Jews must have felt an overwhelming sense of ecstasy. Imagine concentration camp inmates being liberated by Allied forces, or prisoners being released after years of suffering and torture in Soviet prisons. Would it make an iota of a difference to them if the weather was less than favorable? Would they mind having to walk through a snowfall to their freedom? To our Father in heaven, it did make a difference.
This amazing ability, and the resultant responsibility to show gratitude, is shared by every person, in every generation. If we simply spend a few moments contemplating the unending flow of goodness bestowed upon us by Hashem, we will realize that all our prayers and mitzvos cannot even begin to thank Hashem for all His kindness.April 14, 2010 2:46 am at 2:46 am #1124883
Responding to Critics of Israel
????? ? ??? ? ???? ?
???????????? ????????? ????? ?????????? ?????? ????????? ??????????? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ????????? ????????? ???? ??? ???????:
The Haftorah for this week’s double Torah reading of Tazriah-Metzorah is lifted out of II Kings Chapter 7.
In a speech delivered at New York’s Yeshiva University forty four years ago by HaRav Aharon Soloveichik Zt”l on the 18th anniversary of the State several key arguments were addressed. What follows is an excerpt of this lecture from 1966 (printed in Gesher, Vol. 4) captivating the creative message so relevant to contemporary times as well.
“Those who do not recognize the importance of the establishment of the State of Israel (????? ?????) give several reasons. The first argument raised is that non-observant Jews led the movements which culminated in the establishment of the State. They argue that the results of such leadership cannot be of great historical significance for the Jewish people. These results cannot be considered a step towards redemption (?????), but rather as a step away from redemption.
Chapter seven of II Kings has a bearing on all these arguments. Samaria (??????), the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel, was besieged by the mighty armies of Syria and was in the throes of famine. Ordinary food was unobtainable and articles of food which, under normal circumstances, would have been considered repulsive were obtainable only at fantastic prices. Samaria seemed doomed.
Desperate as the situation of the inhabitants of Samaria was, the condition of the four lepers outside the city (II Kings 7:3, above) was infinitely worse. According to our Sages, these four lepers were none other than Gechazi (????) and his three sons who were afflicted with physical leprosy as a penalty for their spiritual leprosy [described by Rambam as heretics]
[??????????? ????? ??? ??????? ??? ??? ????????? ??????? ??????? ?????? ???? ????????? ???? ??????????? ????????? ??????????? ??? ???? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ???????? ????? ????????? ??????????? ????? ?????????:] Consequently, they entered the city of Samaria and conveyed the good tidings to the inhabitants. We thus see that the miracle of deliverance of the inhabitants of Samaria was carried out through the medium of four lepers: physical lepers, yes, but above all, spiritual lepers.
The first argument as to how any relief to the Jewish people could be realized through the medium of heretics can easily be rebutted by the precedent of the deliverance accorded to the people of Samaria through the medium of the four lepers. This episode shows that no Jew can be excluded from the grace of G-d, that “????? ??”? ????, ????? ???”, and that there is an innate tendency towards altruism even in the hearts of spiritual lepers; it also shows that G-d does not exclude any Jew from salvation and He may therefore designate even spiritual lepers as the messengers of relief and deliverance for the people of Israel. Consequently, we cannot ignore the significance of the establishment of the State of Israel simply because Jews who stand a substantial distance from any form of observance of Mitzvot were in the forefront o the movements which established the State and are in the forefront of the State itself. Perhaps the fact that non-observant Jews are in the forefront today is a penalty for Orthodox Jewry’s failure to play the most important part in the formation of the State.”
“The State of Israel represents not the “break of dawn” (“???? ????”) of redemption, but the “appearance of the morning star” (“???? ????”) of redemption. The “???? ????” of redemption must be part of the actual day of “?????”. Unfortunately, we have not yet attained that. Perhaps, if in the course of the last fifty years all observant Jews had dedicated themselves to the up building of the land and would not have allowed spiritual lepers to take the lead, then we might have attained the “???? ???? ?? ??????” (“the dawn of redemption”) and perhaps even more.”April 16, 2010 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #1124884
3 Iyar, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 24
[Hillel]May 2, 2010 2:59 am at 2:59 am #1124885
17 Iyar, 5770 Vol. 11, No. 26
The Ralbag (ibid.) explains why the Torah prohibits a kohen from defiling himself by coming in contact, or in proximity, of a dead body: The kohanim need to learn to despise earthly matters. Their position as servants of Hashem in the Beis HaMikdash demands that they separate themselves as much as possible from worldly pursuits. The only reason to justify their involvement with a physical body would be to benefit the spiritual aspect of that person, his neshama. Once the neshama has left the body, however, there is no longer any spiritual component that would gain from the interaction, and therefore it should be prohibited as a purely physical activity. If the deceased is a direct relative, on the other hand, the kohen is obligated to defile himself, the Ralbag continues, in order to properly mourn them and to build the necessary family bonds.
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