"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

26 Dec 2017

A beautiful day

I came acroos this video of Rabbi Anava speaking about Parshat Vayechi; I think it was delivered last year but his words are timely.
I loved the anecdote about the man in his pajamas at the beginning of the video.
Waiting for my turn at the dentist this morning, I decided to use the time to say Tehillim, beseeching Hashem that the doctor would not cause me pain and that he would deliver a good prognosis on the condition of my teeth. I turned to a random perek, only to feel apprehensive when reading the penultimate verse of Perek Gimmel.
8. Arise, O Lord, save me, my God, for You have struck all my enemies on the cheek; You have broken the teeth of the wicked.

Just what I needed to read?

When I first approached the dentist's office, I was struck by the melifluous sounds of a guitarist playing classical music on the street. Edging closer, I noticed a sign, "Beautiful day. Too bad I can't see it."

Besides saying Tehillim while waiting, I struck up a conversation with the woman seated next to me. She was waiting for an operation on her gums and I wished her the best. She told me that a doctor had performed two cataract operations on her within the past few months and, thankfully, her vision hadgreatly improved. She said that she had been much more afraid of the consequences of not being able to see than the operation she was to undergo at the dentist. It certainly put things into perspective for her, and me, as well.

7 ways, 4 minutes

7 Ways to Live Better This Year

Media should stop whitewashing Ahed Tamimi’s terror-supporting family

Report: Vandals attack Iran synagogue, destroy Torah scrolls

LISTEN: President Obama Denied Request From Former NY Gov Patterson To Free Rubashkin

24 Dec 2017

17 years

Why the Jubilation for Rubashkin?

"כל המסייעים על ידו לזכות את הרבים יתברכו"

"Yaakov lived in Mitzrayim for 17 years; and the days of Yaakov, the years of his life were 147 years". We know from Parshas VaYigash (47:9) that Yaakov was 130 years old when he came to Mitzrayim. Once the pasuk informs us that he lived the remainder of his life in Mitzrayim, it is not necessary to state that he remained in Mitzrayim for 17 years. Obviously, if he lived until the age of 147, he had to be in Mitzrayim for 17 years?

Daas Zekainim MiBaalei HaTosfos answer, the pasuk is stressing that Yosef repaid the kindness which Yaakov had bestowed upon him in his youth. Yosef lived by his father for 17 years until he was sold. During those years Yaakov took care of Yosef and fed him. Midah KiNeged Midah, Yosef supported his father for the last 17 years of his life. It is for this reason that the Torah stresses that Yaakov lived in Mitzrayim for 17 years - the years that Yosef was Mikayem the Midah KiNeged Midah.

Flatbush Kinnus

THIS SUNDAY: Flatbush Kinnus Following Azan Tragedy

Why did Sweden censor the story of Malki Roth?

Leading haredi rabbi calls for fasting over drought

Rabbi Moshe Hauer - INTECHIGENCE - Put it Away

Benshimon Live with Rubashkin

23 Dec 2017

Systematic attacks

Israel to leave UNESCO over ‘systematic attacks’ from the body

‘Breathtaking’ Jewish Vilnius trove reveals pre-war ‘Jerusalem of the North’

Disabled Gaza man did not die from IDF fire

Mother of slain soldier to UNSC members: Our son was a victim of your ceasefire

V'Einei Yisrael Kavdu MiZoken Lo Yuchal Liros;Yaakov was no longer able to see." (Parshas VaYechi 48:10) Chazal tell us various reasons why Yitzchok became blind. but why did Yaakov become blind?

Rav Shlomo Zalman Zelaznik Ztz"l. the Rosh Yeshiva of Eitz Chaim. explained with the principle that if someone suffers on your account, you are punished, even if you have done nothing wrong. In Yaakov's case we find two people whose eyes suffered on account of him. The first was Yitzchok. who Chazal say became blind so that Yaakov would be able to fool him and take the brachos. The second is Leah. whose eyes were swollen because she was destined to marry Eisav. while Rochel was supposed to marry Yaakov.

"Either of these two occurrences," says RaV Zelaznik, "were enough cause to warrant Yaakov losing his eyesight despite his complete innocence of any wrongdoing. If such is the Midas HaDin when we are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, certainly, if we actually play a part in the suffering of another person, we are in huge trouble."

Despite agreement, Mormons continue posthumously baptizing Jews

20 Dec 2017

To see better

Parshas Vayigash: To See Better, Yaakov Covers His Eyes

Rabbi Yossi Mizrachi Another Tragedy In Flatbush and an Explanation About Twisted Parenting

Emunah and Hishtadlus

Gavriel Sassoon Writes Open Letter to Yosef Azan, Father & Husband to Those Who Perished in Flatbush Blaze

Linda Sarsour began a December 9th Facebook post by opining, "In context of what's happening in Palestine in response to the announcement about Jerusalem and in general living under the longest and most brutal military occupation..."

Over 6 million Polish citizens – nearly 21.4% of the pre-war population of the Second Polish Republic — died between 1939 and 1945. Over 90% of the death toll involved non-military losses, as most civilians were targets of various deliberate actions by the Germans and Soviets. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_Poland_(1939%E2%80%931945)

So the German occupation of Poland was less brutal?

19 Dec 2017

Zos Chanukah

Zos Chanukah

One truth, not two


"גבריאל ששון כותב למשפחת אזן: "ילדינו היו חברים לכיתה

KikarHashabat posted a video which shows two of the Azan boys singing in a choir a while back.

The video is posted below.

The 122-day program

The seforim bring that the eighth day of Chanuka, known as Zos Chanuka, named after the Krias HaTorah of that day, is a very significant day. There are four periods of teshuva that are tied in with Rosh HaShana, three of which are very well known, Zos Chanuka is the fourth. The “Yimei Harachamim” begin with the blowing of the shofar on Rosh Chodesh Elul, calling to each of us to begin our teshuva process. The Gemara tells us that on Rosh Hashana, the tzadikim gemurim, completely righteous individuals, are immediately signed and sealed for a good year. This is the first period of judgment. Ten days later, on Yom Kippur, marks the second period of judgment, one that applies for most of us and after the completely righteous. For the stragglers, the grace period is extended and a third period of judgment culminates on Shmini Atzeres. Then, much after the others, comes the fourth period – Zos Chanuka.

These the respective periods of teshuva, works out to 30 days, 40 days, 52 days and 122 days from Rosh Chodesh Ellul. These four periods are hinted to in the amount of pasukim in the last few parshiyos of the Torah. The 40-day period, reserved for the majority of us, is hinted to in Parshas Netzavim, which has a total of 40 pasukim and speaks about how all of Klal Yisroel stands before Hashem in judgment. The 30-day period, reserved for tzadikim, is hinted to in the number of pasukim in Parshas Vayeilech, which begins with how the tzadik Moshe spent his final days inspiring the yidden to teshuva. The 52-day period is hinted to in Parshas Ha’azinu, as Moshe continues his message of teshuva. Finally, our fourth period, the 122-day program, culminating with Zos Chanuka, is hinted to in the amount of pasukim in Parshas Ki Savo, as a baal teshuva finishes their return to a new destination as a new person.


Menorah Blamed for Brooklyn Fire That Killed Mother and 3 Children

IDF arrests PA woman video-taped kicking soldiers

The view from Jerusalem

"צפו: ילדי משפחת אזן בקליפ "אשת חיל

16 Dec 2017

The rebuke

Deconstructing the Anti-Israel Book ‘State of Terror’ by David Collier and Jonathan Hoffman

Former Utrecht professor: Holocaust exaggerated to extract money

The NYT editorial board published an opinion piece titled Donald Trump Seems Confused About Jerusalem.

White House officials made clear their expectation that Jerusalem’s Western Wall, which lies outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders and abuts some of Islam’s most sacred sites, will eventually be declared part of Israel.

What about mentioning that the Western Wall abuts Judaism's most holy site?

The Al Jazeera Interview With Israeli Scholar I Bet They Now Regret

The Medrash says that when Judgement day comes, we will not be able to stand up to the "Tochacha" the rebuke from Hashem. We learn this from the Shvatim who couldn't bear the embarrassment of learning that Yosef was alive. Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that we see from here that the most painful rebuke is not a good screaming at, but rather being forced to confront the truth. Yosef did not scream or threaten, rather he softly told them that he is their brother whom they tried to destroy. Upon seeing how wrong they were, they experienced the worst embarrassment of their lives.

Similarly says Rav Shterbuch in the name of the Baal Shem Tov HaKadosh,the pasuk in Tehilim says, "Kel Nekamos Hashem". At the end of time Hashem will avenge those who have sinned against him. How? The pasuk continues "Kel Nekamos Hofia". Hashem's revenge is simply to appear! After all of history when Hashem finally reveals Himself openly to the entire world, everyone will be be mortally embarrassed when they grasp the lowliness for each and every one of their sins.

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.