"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

15 Dec 2017

Parshas Miketz

Spiritual Battles

Long History of Hypocrisy about Jerusalem

Parshas Miketz - Finding The Good In Everyone

Parshat Miketz by Rabbi Yissocher Frand 5778

Parshas Miketz/Chanukah - Elephants Can Jump!

13 Dec 2017

The nights of Chanukah

“It’s Not for Him to Give”

Video: The Immortal Flame

I received the words below in an email. It was a comment posted at the end of a 2015 Shirat Devorah post on Chanukah Segulot.

The Kedushas Levi says that each night of chanuka is mesugal for different things to daven for.
1st night -not to be lonely or depressed.
2nd night- shidduchim, shalom bayis
3rd night- good children,happy children, healthy
(Chasam Sofer says when u cry in front of the candles u can be sure your tefilos are answered)
4th night- 4 imahos
To be a normal woman, in my 4 walls, of true essence
5th night - chamisha chumshei Torah
Daven your husband should be a talmid chacham.
By the 5th night more of the menorah is lit up can daven for more light in your life, for a revelation.
6th night - simcha
You can have everything and still be sad, so opportunity to daven for simcha.
7th night -happy shabbos
Zmiros, divrei Torah by your seuda. Shabbos is source of all bracha.
8th nignt-mesugal for barren women
8 is above nature, powerful day to daven.
Kedushas Levi says if you are planning to start something new, if you start on chanuka it will be blessed.

Two versions

Yesterday I posted about two Palestinians who were killed the other day. The Telegraph reported - Two Palestinian militants killed in Gaza 'preparing attack on Israel'

AlJazeera reported - 'Mishandled explosives' kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza

The Palestinian news agency reported  - 2 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza Strip

Which version is reporting the truth and which one is fake news?

Rav Elyashiv: Am Yisroel Celebrates Peace, Not War

"השיחה האחרונה של מרן הרב שטיינמן: "מה שזך, מתקבל

12 Dec 2017

An address and a message

New Polish prime minister refers to rescue of ‘Jewish brothers’ in his inaugural address

מהמטבח ועד חדר השינה: בין הקירות הדלים האלו של הכתובת המפורסמת בתבל, רחוב חזון איש 5, העביר מרן הגראי"ל שטיינמן זצוק"ל את מירב שנותיו בתחושה מודגשת כי העולם הזה הינו פרוזדור - וכך יש להתייחס אליו • מיוחד

A timely message by HaGaon HaRav Aron Leib Shteinman zt"l

Rabbi Shteinman, Humble Giant

Maan News reported today 2 Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrike in northern Gaza Strip

AlJazeera reported today 'Mishandled explosives' kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza

The Associated Press news agency quoted Islamic Jihad as saying that the explosion was an accident.

Earlier in the day, the Palestinian health ministry and local news media blamed the deaths on an Israeli air raid. 

Will MaanNews correct its article or will their deaths be added to the count of those killed by Israeli forces?

Calls in Sweden

Decrying False Genocide, Palestinian Advocates Call for Genocide

Jew-Hatred in Sweden

מרן הגראי"ל שטיינמן זצוק"ל // תולדות חייו

The Incredible Ineptitude Of The Swedish Police

Today In Media: CNN Gives Trump Diet Advice

11 Dec 2017

Safety tips

Chanukah Safety Tips from the Lakewood Fire Department

מסר מפי הרב ניר בן ארצי שליט"א לפרשת מקץ-חנוכה תשע"ח

Yosef spent an extra two years in jail for asking the Sar HaMashkim to remember him. In describing the end of his extra sentence the Torah uses the term Mikeitz. The Medrash relates this word to the pasuk in Iyov (28:3) קץ שם לחושך, an end is put to the darkness.

The Mirrer Mashgiach Reb Yeruchom Levovitz explains that light and goodness are the natural state and are endless, as the pasuk says ולגדולתו אין חקר. The darkness covers the light but only for a limited time. The moment the darkness ends there is no lingering signs of the darkness that has gone. In a matter of moments Yosef is hurried before פרעה and goes from being a jailed slave to ruler of the greatest kingdom in civilization.

Salvation through man is a process. First comes the decision to free a man. Then papers need to be signed. Instructions need to be given. Only then does freedom finally come. One can technically be free but still be in miserable conditions in jail. In Hashem's terms there is no need for transition, and salvation is instantaneous. Darkness is removed and the brilliant light shines through. There is no salvation like salvation delivered from above!

The Protest

WATCH: Muslims at London Anti-Israel Protest Celebrate Massacre of Jews

Are racist chants now acceptable on the British left?

From a 2011 post at Israel Matzav. - Life Magazine pics of Arab army removing Jews in 1948 from Jerusalem

World War II Mansfield veteran gets a boost from firefighters

The Vilna Gaon says that it is to teach us if Poti Phera is one word or two. Secondly, 2025 is a Remez to Ner Chanukah. The gemara in Shabbos (21b) say we should light Ner Ish U'Baiso for 8 day. The Gematria of the word Ner is 250 If you multiply that by 8 days, 8 x 250 = 2000. The remaining 25 id for the 25th of Kislev.

2 Dec 2017

Ben Zikunim

Jewish Groups at UC Berkeley Call for Removal of Professor Who Shared Antisemitic Images

“Dear Rabbi, Please Excuse My Son For Being Late To School Today, His Father Was Performing CPR On A Stranger”

The pasuk says about Yosef that he was Yaakov's Ben Zikunim. Literally this means the child born in his old age. Yet Targum Unkelus chooses to veer from the literal meaning and translates it as "Bar Chakim", his wise son. Why does Unkelus do this? The Chinuch Malchusi explains that baby of the family usually gets the most love. The older children must endure the father's vision and his desire to raise the ideal child, the child of his dreams. When they fall short they pay the price and become a disappointment to their parents.

Not so the baby who is often treated more like a grandchild than a child, as he is overloaded with love and affection. Reality has set in, expectations are lowered, and age has softened the staff of the parents. The parents learn how to appreciate the good in the child, a thing that a well seasoned parent no longer takes for granted.

In this environment the child can flourish. His mind is at ease and his emotional needs satisfied. "Do not hit a child too much", says Rabbeinu Gershon (Bava Basra 21a). "No one ever got smarter from being beaten." With love you can do so much more!

26 Nov 2017

First the Eirev Rav

Thankful for Liberation From Nazis, French-Jewish Holocaust Survivor Donates $1 Million to Help US Military Veterans

טיפ וסגולה ליום מוצלח // ח' בכסלו

When Yaakov and the Shevatim met Eisav, the pasuk (Vayishlach 33:2) says that first came the Shfachos and their children, then came Le'ah and her children, then came Rochel and Yosef.

The Vilna Gaon says that this is a Remez to the Galus. First come the Eirev Rav who will be our leaders. They are represented by the Shfachos. Then come the well meaning Amei HaAretz represented by Le'ah. The Talmidei Chachom will be the lowest on the totem pole pushed around by all the unworthy people. This we see from V'Es Rochel V'Es Yosef Acharonim".

25 Nov 2017


Together We Will a Call to Action at Opening Night of Agudah Convention

?ראש ישיבת פוניבז' מסביר: במה להתחזק לרפואת מרן

Woman wearing Star of David attacked in French supermarket

The Gemara says that a person is allowed to have "Shiminis ShebeShiminis of Gaavah" - 1/8 of an 1/8 (1/64) of arrogance. What is the meaning of this unusual terminology - "an eighth of an eighth"?

The Vilna Gaon explains, the Gemorrah means the 8th pasuk in the 8th parsha. Parshas VaYishlach is the 8th parsha and "Katonti Mikal HaChasadim" is the 8th pasuk. A person's level of haughtiness must be on the level that he is unworthy of anything. - "I have been diminished by all the kindness and all the truth you have done for me." Whatever Hashem does and will do for me is not coming to me. It is a gift from Hashem, "Katonti" - I am unworthy!

Maharsha explains that a person who has more than 1/64th of Gaavah is considered a showoff. An allusion to this is that "Gas" - "Gimmel" Samach" - 63 - means haughty.

22 Nov 2017

Empty handed

Jews and Thanksgiving

Rashi (Vayeitzei 29:11) brings Chazal who say that Yaakov cried when he saw Rochel because he came empty handed without gifts. The reason was because Elifaz was commanded by his father Eisav to kill Yaakov, but since Elifaz was a talmid of Yitzchok he reached a compromise where he left Yaakov penniless which is considered like dead.

The Shnayim Mikra brings in the name of the Steipler Gaon that we see an important lesson from here. Yitzchok invested a great deal of time teaching Elifaz the son of Eisav. For what? So that he will only be a Ganav and not a murderer. The lesson is do not give up on those who are destined to lead lives contrary to the Torah. Even if your teaching can at best minimize the aveiros that he will commit it is still worth it!

17 Nov 2017

The real Esav


פרשת תולדות • הגאון רבי דוד לאו עם וורט על הפרשה

Rabbi Sprecher explains why there is a special Haftarah for Erev Rosh Chodesh which will be read this Shabbos as Rosh Chodesh is on Sunday. Listen here.

Parshas Toldos - Will the Real Esav Please Stand Up

Parsha in Print

I just read about a new off-Broadway play opening tonight.

DIASPORA Takes on Jewish Identity, Opening Tonight Off-Broadway

Is keeping Shabbos not part of Jewish identity?


The Tower reports on Students for Justice in Palestine over here.

11 Nov 2017

Mitzva 614

McGill student group admits using anti-Semitic propaganda to keep Jewish student off board

אל תפספסו: טיפ וסגולה לשבוע מוצלח // כ"ב בחשון

Authorities investigating Antisemitism incident in Highland Park

UNICEF Pressured to Meet Chabad

Yitzchok tells Eisav (Toldos 27:40), V'Haya Ka'asher Tarid UFarakta Ulo;" although Yaakov will dominate you, when he goes down in his mitzva observance, you will take off his yoke, and you will rule over him.

The Vilna Gaon says that if the Yetzer Hara, who is the Malach of Eisav, would tell a Yehudi to do an aveira, he surely would not listen. What the Yetzer Hara does, is he convince us that this aveira is actually a Mitzva and then we take the bait.

This is seen in the words of the Pasuk, "Ka'asher Tarid". The word Tarid is 614, which is one more than Taryag, the 613 mitzvos. The pasuk tells us that when we listen to the Yetzer Hara/Malach of Eisav, and keep supposed mitzva #614, then Eisav has trapped us, and then he will rule over us.

6 Nov 2017

Equally good

מסר הרב שליט״א ליהודים בארץ ובעולם כולו - פרשת חיי שרה תשע"ח - ט"ז חשון תשע"ח

In the beginning of the Parsha the pasuk says "VaYihiyu Chayei Sara". Then at the end of the very same pasuk, the Torah repeats again the phrase Shnei "Chayei Sara" the years of the life of Sara. Why the repetition?

The Shnayim Mikra brings from a talmid of he Chasam Sofer, that the merash tells us that Avrohom was 48 years old when he completed his search and fully recognized Hashem. Avrohom lived until 175. Chazal tell us that a Ger is like a newborn child. If you deduct 48 years from Avrohom's years, he lived a life as a believer for 127 years. This was he exact number of years that Sara lived.

Therefore the Torah is teaching us by repeating the words "Chayei Sara" that Sara was a believer from her youth. That's why Rashi says about her years, "Kulam Shavin L'Tova" they were all equally good, from the moment she was born until the day she died.


Be a Part of Dedicating the Sefer Torah Written L’iluy Nishmas Moshe Moskowitz, Z’L

Parshas Chayei Sarah; Simple Reading Rules and Mesorah Transmission

The Pitfall of “Orthopraxy”

4 Nov 2017

2 bracelets

Belarus town opens synagogue for first time in over a century

הקמפיין המיסיונרי הרחב נמשך במלא העוז

"And it was when the camels finished drinking, Eliezer took a golden nose ring, its weight a Beka, and 2 bracelets on her arms weighing 10 golden Shekel. Rashi tells us, the Beka weight was an allusion to the Shekalim of Klal Yisroel - the half shekel donated by Klal Yisroel for the Beis HaMikdash. The 2 bracelets were an allusion to the 2 Luchos - and the weight of 10 shekel, alluded to the Aseres HaDibros which were written on them.

Why was it necessary at this time for Eliezer to hint to Rivka concerning these future events? The Maharal answers that Eliezer was telling Rivka that the world stands on 3 things - Torah, Avodah and Gemilus Chasadim. I see that you are very accomplished in acts of Gemilas Chesed. However, to be one of the foundations of Klal Yisroel you must also excel in Torah and Avodah. Torah, which was represented by the 2 bracelets weighing 10 shekel - alluding to the Luchos. Avodah, which was represented by the Beka - used to purchase the Korbonos for the Beis HaMikdash.

1 Nov 2017

Did he survive?


The NYT has no problem categorizing a terror attack as such when it comes to the headline about yesterday's incident.
Manhattan Terror Attack Kills 8 and Injures 11

When it comes to an attack in July in Israel, the same paper reported, "Deadly Violence Erupts in Standoff Over Mosque in Jerusalem Three Israelis were killed in what appeared to be a terrorist attack in a West Bank settlement hours after three Palestinians were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces."

Jewish groups question census results showing dramatic population decline

30 Oct 2017

The tunnel

Message from Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, shlita, Parashat Lech Lecha, 2 MarCheshvan 5778, 22.10.17

Hamas continues to dig tunnels twenty-four hours a day. Listen attentively Hamas: Soon a patent will be found to destroy the tunnels.

Gaza Terror Tunnel Explosion — What We Know So Far

On the border

Praying on the Lebanese border, under the eyes of Hezbollah

The Israeli entrepreneur who discovered Shabbat

Jordanian Businessman With Long Record of Antisemitic Outbursts Rewarded With Prestigious UN Post

"V'Hinei Ayil Achar Neechaz B'Svach BiKarrnav" (Vayeira 22:13). After the Malach told Avrohom not to shecht Yitzchok, Avrohom yearned to bring a Korban to Hashem and not let the Mesirus Nefesh elude him. Hashem showed him a ram that was ensnared in the bush, and told him that this will be his Akeida. What does this mean?

The Pninim UParparaos brings B'Shem the Chozeh of Lublin as follows. V'Hinei Ayil Achar, there is another way to earn the schar of the Akeida with similar Mesirus Nefesh. How? Neechaz B'Svach, when a person is entangled with Olam HaZeh, and is caught in the grasp of the Yetzer Hara, and is struggling to free himself. B'Karnav, if he fights hard and frees himself from his desires and inclination, his shine (Keren) will radiate towards Shamayim.

28 Oct 2017

His history


Live From the Great Synagogue


We are taught that Avrohom was the epitome of Chesed. Yet the stories in the Torah about him are rather few and far between. The highlight is how he ran out to fetch guests on a hot day while he was recovering from his Bris. The Mashgiach Rav Gedalia Eiseman zt"l asks what is so super special about this story. Sure it was a great act of Chesed but wherein lies the greatness? After Avrohom runs out to bring in the three travelers he makes his pitch for them to come to his house to eat and rest. Their response to him is "Vayoimru Kein Taaseh Kaasher Dibarta" (Vayeira 18:5), Yes, you will do as you offered. What did the Malachim mean by this?

Rav Gedalia explains that when we do Chesed we feel very good about ourselves and we often over extend ourselves in an effort to please our beneficiaries. But all this usually comes with one condition, we are the generous giver and they are appreciative recipient. As soon as the recipient begins to demand, the Chesed becomes less appealing to us and we let them know subtly or not so subtly who the boss is.

Not so was Avrohom. He offered the Malachim a little bread and rest. They crudely responded that Avrohom should do as he offered. Yet instead of getting turned off by their response, Avrohom did the opposite. "Vayimaher" he ran to serve them and gave them far more than he promised! That is the epitome of Chesed for Chesed sake and not kindness as a way of making ourselves feel good and mighty to those who need us.

22 Oct 2017

Helping the orphans

They've Suffered Enough: Help Kupat Ha'Ir Marry Off 30 ORPHANS This Month

Director's Shocking Holocaust Claim

When My Son Clinically Died

The Marathon

White Supremacists Encounter ‘Good Deed Marathon’ at University of Florida

Deborah Lipstadt Delivers Frank Memorial Lecture

"Vavorichah Mivarachekah Umikalalechah Ahor"; "And I will bless the ones that bless you and the ones who curse you I will curse" The Meforshim ask, just like the pasuk says, "I will bless the ones that bless you" - stating "I will bless" first, so too should the pasuk end, "I will curse the ones who curse you". Why does the pasuk reverse it by saying, "The ones who curse you I will curse?"

The Kli Yakar answers, "Machshava Tova HaKadosh Baruch Hu Mitzaref Limaaseh, Machshava Raah Ayn HaKadosh Baruch Hu Mitzaref Limaaseh"- Hashem considers a good thought (when one thinks about doing a Mitzvah) as if the person actually did it; but concerning an evil thought, Hashem only punishes when the thought come to fruition and the person commits the sin. That is the pshat in this pasuk. "Vavorichah Mivarachekah" - "And I will bless them even before they bless you. When they just have a thought to bless you I will consider their Machshava as if it was done. But Umikalalechah Ahor" - only after they actually curse you will I curse them, since Hashem only punishes when the thought come to fruition.

Vilna Gaon offers another explanation. He says that the blessing of a rich man is greater than that of a poor man, since the rich man knows what it means to have pleasure. He therefore will give a greater Bracha. On the other hand, a poor man's curse is greater than a rich man since he experienced pain in his life and can give a harsher curse. The Hashem is saying to Avraham, "Vavorichah Mivarachekah" - I will bless them before they bless you, therefore making it a blessing of a rich person who gives a more lavish Bracha. "Umikalalechah Ahor" - I will only curse them after they curse you. This way it won't be a curse of a poor man whose curse is harsh.

17 Oct 2017

Torah, morals and ethics

Lubavitcher Rebbe's letter is a guide for Kotel mixed prayer issue

Watch: Lazer Becomes Bar Mitzvah

Scolding UNESCO, GOP lawmakers introduce resolution on Jewish ties to Jerusalem

A great fanfare is made over the fact that Noach was a tzaddik but could not save his generation from the Mabul. The mefarshim explain that he didn't believe it would happen or that he didn't push them to do tshuva, choosing to perfect himself instead.

The last Sforno at the end of Parshas Bereishis has a different approach, that explains the difficulty of the latter pshat, since he spent 120 years building the teiva precisely for the reason that people will see and question him and he can explain the the problem and how to rectify it. The Sforno says that while Noach did spend his time urging people to do tshuva and correct their bad ways, he did not teach them Torah. He did not teach them to go in the way of Hashem.

A person is not complete without Torah. If you only make yourself holy with Torah you can save yourself but will not save others. The Torah is the only foundation you can build on. A chinuch built on a foundation of moral and ethical behavior did not change the people and therefore Noach was accused of only saving himself and not the rest of his generation because he did not teach them Torah.

Similarly, when we raise our children we need to teach them to be moral and ethical, but that is not enough. We must teach them Torah, Emunah, Bitachon. We must teach them to go in the ways of Hashem. That is the way we build a generation that will be light unto the nations and be worthy to bring the Moshiach.

As opposed to the above devar TorahA growing share of Americans say it’s not necessary to believe in God to be moral. Which side do you stand on?

11 Oct 2017


Dancing On the Verrazano Bridge

Ex-Qatari Minister, Who Wrote Preface to Antisemitic Book, Among Leading Candidates in Election Contest for New UNESCO Chief

Daughter of Hamas Sheikh Tells Her Life Story

The pasuk (2:20) tells us that Adam gave names to all the creatures. Chazal tell us that this was a great Chochma on his part. Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz asks, why was this such a great accomplishment?

He answers that for each animal, Adam linked, with his deep insight, each animal's characteristics to its parallel in the heavenly court. Just like there is an "Ari" and "Shor" in the Merkava, he was able to spot the traits of a lion and ox and understand the connection.

However when it came to his own name, he did not link it to something heavenly. He called himself Adam as in Adama, the lowly earth. This showed Adam's great modesty. He wanted to remind himself of his lowly makeup and always remain humble.

However, says Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz, the name Adam is in fact a very exalted name. Adam is from the word, "Adameh L'Elyon", I am compared to the elevated. A person is created B'Tzelem Elokim and is compared to Hashem Himself, and not just the Merkava. Furthermore he adds, that the comparison to Adama, the earth, is also very distinguished. Just like the earth never disintegrates and remains forever, similarly a person's neshama, his Chelek Elokai MiMa'al is also Nitzchi, eternal.

טיפ וסגולה ליום מוצלח // כ"א בתשרי

28 Sep 2017

Two messages before Yom Kippur

Slovie Jungreis Wolff talks about the secret to achieve happiness.

The Hebrew word for happiness is שמחה - simcha, but, if you change the nekudot, it can be read as שמחה - shemacha - to erase, to make peace and forgive by not holding on to grudges.

Republican Congressman Steve Scalise talks about what transpired to him as he returns to the House floor. Watch him in the second video below.

And it starts with G-d. When I was laying out on the ball field, the first thing I did when I was down and couldn't move anymore, was pray. It gave me an unbelievable sense of calm, knowing that at that point it was in G-d's hands.... It gives you that renewed faith in understanding that the power of prayer is something you cannot underestimate.


A pure soul

'The Jewish People lost a pure soul'

His father, Shimon, said: "Today the IDF lost one of its best soldiers, a commander in the Israel Defense Forces. Today, the Jewish People lost a pure soul, between [Rosh Hashanah and] Yom Kippur. For 22 years, we received a gift, and we need to return it - and we have returned it. It hurts, it hurts, it hurts. But we accept it. "

"Everyone here, if they can do something small for the smooth passage of his soul, another drop of mitzvah, another drop of tefillin, one Shabbat, two Shabbatot. And whoever is secular - it doesn’t matter, take something upon yourself. I think he would be very happy."

Protecting the Children

Watch: 'Son of Hamas' stuns PA delegation at UNHCR

Kol Nidre: When the melody meets the moment