"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

29 May 2017

Immortal truth

Mortal Etiquette vs. Immortal Truth

In Parshas Emor when the Torah discusses the Yom Tov of Shavuos, it makes no mention at all that we are celebrating the day that we received the Torah. All it talks about is the completion of the Sefira and the special Korban we bring that day. Why is this, asks the Kli Yakar?

He answers that Chazal tell us that Kabalas HaTorah should be daily event. Each day we should open up our Gemara, and we should learn with the enthusiasm of receiving a present for the first time and playing with it, "כאילו אותו היום קיבלה מהר סיני", as if that day we received it from Har Sinai.

The Kli Yakar says that although the Torah doesn't talk about Kabbalas HaTorah explicitly, the entire Korban of the day is all about this concept of Kabalas HaTorah. The Torah refers to the Korban Shtei HaLechem as "Mincha Chadasha", a new present, referring to the idea that the Torah is to be regarded as a new present each day.

Furthermore, says the Kli Yakar, although Chametz represents the Yetzer Hara, the Shtei HaLechem is made of Chametz. The reason is that when Moshe wanted to bring the Torah down to Am Yisroel, the Malachim did not let him. Moshe's winning argument was that since the Torah is the antidote to the Yetzer Hara as Chazal say, "בראתי יצר הרע בראתי לו תבלין", I created a Yetzer Hara and I created a remedy to protect people, therefore the place for the Torah is in this world where the Yetzer roams free, and not in Shamayim which is totally pure. So in essence, says the Kli Yakar, by not referring to Kabbalas HaTorah on Shavuos, the Torah is imbuing in us the real Kabalas HaTorah and the purpose of Kabbalas HaTorah.

Jewish family pelted with stones on Kent beach

Bridging denominations, this Jewish musician puts the ‘soul’ in music

Rejoice and be joyous

Canadian PM: Multiculturalism is the answer to terror

Jewish Student Driven Out of Berlin School by Threats and Violence from Muslim Classmates

“I loved the fact that the school was multicultural . . . the kids and teachers were so cool,” Ferdinand said.

Legal Insurrection posts Jewish Voice for Peace internet ad supported failed Palestinian terrorist hunger strike.

ממקסיקו סיטי תצא תורה לירושלים • וידאו וגלריה

The video in the above link contains footage of a dedication of a Torah. A rabbi who spoke during the ceremony provided an interesting insight into the words below.

Sisu vesimchu Besimchat Torah Ut'nu kavod laTorah - Rejoice and be joyous on Simchat Torah and honour the Torah.

It is not enough that we are rejoicing with the Torah; We have to be concerned that the Torah will rejoice from us.

The placement request

Jewish Ryerson student 'felt targeted' over placement request 

Non-Jews Following the Torah in the Andes

28 May 2017

A Shavuot shiur

The Custom to Read Megilat Rut on Shabuot

France: From Ilan to Sarah Halimi: shameful France

The all encompassing blessing

The last words of Birchas Kohanim are "V'Yaseim Licha Sholom". The Medrash says, "Sholom B'Knisasech, Sholom B'Yitziasech, Sholom Im Kol Adam," peace in your coming, your going, and peace with every man.

The Iturei Torah brings the Ksav Sofer who explains this Medrash. The Gemara in Brachos (59) tells us the interpretation of many different dreams. Among these dreams, three of them tell of peace; the kettle, the river, and the bird. The Ksav Sofer says that these represent three different kinds of peace. The kettle represents peace in your home, where all the household members use the same kettle. The river means peace in your country, where all the citizens share the water and benefits of the country's river. The bird symbolizes world peace, like a bird who is not limited to any specific local and can fly wherever its wings take it.

When Hashem gives us a bracha of peace it is all encompassing. The Medrash says, "Sholom B'Knisasech," you will have peace in your coming, meaning within the confines of your home. "Sholom B'Yitziasech," peace when you go outside and interact with your countrymen. "Sholom Im Kol Adam," no matter where and no matter with whom, peace will reign supreme!

"מארק צוקרברג: לפני אתגרים, אני אומר "מי שברך

25 May 2017

A special prayer

A Special Prayer for Ereb Rosh Hodesh Sivan

This morning I came across two journalists who were speaking about Jerusalem and I, for one, was not amused.

In an interview with James Zogby on HardBall, Chris Mathews opines about President Trump in the Middle East.

"In the campaign he promised the pro-Israeli hawks, 'I'm going to put the US Embassy in Jerusalem.' Now the people who paid attention to this over 50 years have noticed both parties know if you do that just blows everything up over there because it looks like we're saying Jerusalem, all of it, belongs to Israel, not a piece of it, all of it, right? And you're never even going to get your holy places back. It's a scary predicament."

Mr. Mathews continues, "You know what they’re destroying? I’ve been there. When you go over there to the Palestinian territories, sure, there are terrorists, and they should be punished — by the people over there, that’s where I think they’ve gotta act. But then you have these Palestinian business guys, regular guys like us, just regular people, they’re peaceful, they are being bothered every day of their life to run their business. They have to sit there with some Israeli soldier pointing his gun at them, for three or four hours at every checkpoint. They’re humiliating those people. When’s that cauldron gonna blow?”

Click here to listen to the NBC journalist.

Click here to listen to Jeremy Bowen's take on Jerusalem. In the last minute of the transcript, he does a disservice to the beautiful city by describing it in less than glowing terms, to say the least.


21 May 2017

26 Iyar

26 Iyar

Rabbeinu Sa'adia Gaon (942)
Ramchal, R' Moshe Chaim Luzzato ben R' Yaakov Chai (1747), wrote many seforim, including Mesilas Yeshorom, Derech Hashem and Daas Tevunos. Died at age 39, which the Magid of Mezerich said was because the generation was not worthy of such a great tzadik. The Vilna Gaon said he did not find one extra word in the first 8 chapters of Mesilas Yesorim and that if he were still alive he would walk from Vilna to Italy to learn from him.
R' Yitzchok ben R' Chaim of Volozhin
R' Shlomo ben R' Mordechai of Zvhil (1945) See Reb Shlomke's Miraculous Cholent
R' Shmuel Eliyahu of Zvolin, son of R' Yecheskel of Kuzmir and father of the first Modzhiter Rebbe
R' Yitzchok Issac Epstein of Homil (1857), See: Reb Aizel Homiler Does a Jew a Favor

One time, when it became known that he was providing wine, meat and challahs to needy families for Shabbos, he attempted to claim that a certain Jew was covering the costs.

R' Shlomke of Zvhil was famed for his remarkable chesed (lovingkindness).

New York Times Excoriated For Counterfactual Reporting (2 Videos)

More negative than positive

News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days

Trump has received unsparing coverage for most weeks of his presidency, without a single major topic where Trump’s coverage, on balance, was more positive than negative, setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president.

 ...Although journalists are accused of having a liberal bias, their real bias is a preference for the negative.[22] News reporting turned sour during the Vietnam and Watergate era and has stayed that way.[23] Journalists’ incentives, everything from getting their stories on the air to acquiring a reputation as a hard-hitting reporter, encourage journalists to focus on what’s wrong with politicians rather than what’s right.[24] 

They Said Thank You to the Rebbe

The diploma

Holocaust survivor gets high school diploma in Minnesota

A Sabbath meal of fruit and crackers

He Raced To Help Another Jew

15 May 2017

The Fidget Spinner call

Monsey Hatzolah Has Call For Fidget Spinner Stuck On Finger

Ambassador Friedman Davens Mincha For Amud At Kosel [VIDEO & PHOTOS]

Historic Chuppah in Times Square

Open Season on the Orthodox

Who owns it?

The Torah states in no uncertain terms that we must return the land by Yovel, "Ki Li Kol HaAretz; Hashem owns all the land." (Behar 25:23) Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, the Mirrer Mashgiach, writes (see also MiShulchan Gavoa), that the whole point of Shmitta and Yovel is to make people understand that everything they have is only temporarily, and they are not the real owner. No one will live forever.

Rav Yeruchom tells of a Din Torah before Rav Chaim Volozhin where two people were fighting over a piece of land. They were both stubborn, and neither one was willing to listen to any compromise.

Rav Chaim then turned his ear down to the ground as if her were listening to what the ground was saying. He then turned to the Baalei Din and said after hearing both your arguments. "I wanted to hear what the land in dispute has to say. And do you know what it said? It said, 'Why are they both fighting who owns me? At the end, the two of them will both belong to me!"

אל תפספסו: טיפ וסגולה ליום מוצלח // י"ט באייר

The Torah Discourses of the Holy Tzaddik Reb Menachem Mendel of Rimanov

The Polish-Catholic Count and the Rebbe-an anecdote about Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Rimanov whose yarzheit is today.

14 May 2017

Praying intensely

The Nachlas Avos tells that the Tana Yochai (Reb Shimon’s father) was married for many years, and didn’t have any children. Yochai told his wife that he wants to divorce and marry someone else, so he can keep the mitzvah of bearing children. His wife didn’t want a divorce and she cried and prayed intensely for children.
Continue reading: https://emunadaily.com/2016/05/28/bar-yochai/

Linda Sarsour’s CUNY Speech: A Moral Disaster

I24 reports Bin Laden's son calls for attacks on Jewish targets

Lev Tov

Trump at Liberty University: “We don’t worship government; we worship God”

UC Irvine: What Happened to the Regents' Statement of Principles/Chancellor's Implementation?

Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai asked his five talmidim to go find the “good way a person should attach himself to” (Avos 2:8-9). The answer Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai liked best came from Rebbi Elazar Ben Arach who said “Lev Tov”. The Bnei Yisaschar explains that the talmidim were supposed to base their answer on the Torah’s first use of the word “Tov”. Rebbi Elazar Ben Arach said Lev Tov because the first time the Torah mentions the word Tov is after thirty-two words, the numerical equivalent of Lev.

This answer found the most favor in the eyes of Rebbi Yochanan Ben Zakai because it was the most general and included all the other answers within it. The key is Lev Tov. Lev Tov says the Bnei Yisaschar is 49 in gematria. Working on your Lev Tov is the best way to prepare for Matan Torah.

Chazal tell us the word Tov refer to the Torah. Sefiras HaOmer can be divided into two parts the first part Lev, 32 days and the second part Tov, 17 days. Lag BaOmer the 33rd day is the first day and the earliest sign of the light of Torah emanating from Matan Torah. It is the first day of Tov. On Lag BaOmer, through the teachings of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the light of the Torah is revealed to us. It shines brighter each day leading up to the day we eagerly await, the day of Kabalas HaTorah.

12 May 2017

Could be lurking

Parasites could be lurking in your sushi, doctors warn - Venishmartem lenafshotechem

On the one hand there is a beautiful Torah thought about connecting to Hashem in an article titled Parshas Emor - Our Father In Heaven.
On the other hand, there is this.

Parents of U.S. teen killed by Hamas to sue Palestinian charity group

Master of Cambridge college admits causing 'hurt' to Jewish students over misleading anti-Semitism inquiry

Let Linda Sarsour Air Delusional Views at CUNY

The New York Times has published an obituary titled William G. Bowen, Princeton Educator Who Championed Poor and Minority Students, Dies at 83.

He opposed politically motivated boycotts by academic groups — against Israeli speakers or institutions, for instance.

10 May 2017

Mothers and brothers

What Worked for Us (in Shidduchim)

"יאיר לפיד כתב אות בספר התורה: "אחים אנחנו

My First Mother’s Day without My Mother

The power of the Yarmulka: Jackson woman insists on paying for Frum man’s coffee

Kosher style

Rabbi Wein - The Old New Anti Semitism, From the Crusades to Toulouse

Rabbi Yair Hoffman writes about what type of food will be served at the 92nd St Y Gala Dinner in an op-ed titled A Grave Threat to Judaism.

If you click on the gala dinner page, you will see that your dinner experience will be kosher style. What does that mean exactly?

"Ayin Tachas Ayin Kasher Yitein Moom BaAdam Kein Yinasein Bo; An eye for an eye when you maim your friend the same should be done to you." (Emor 24:20) The Halacha L'Moshe MiSinai tells us that despite what the words appear to say, the Torah means that the perpetrator pays for the injury rather than Bais Din maiming him. If so why does the Torah clearly say that we avenge him in kind?

The Iturei Torah brings from Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik that had the Torah told us the halacha explicitly, we would become less sensitive to the value of a person's limb. We would see it as a price tag. We would get the feeling that you can injure someone, if the math added up, and it was worth your while. When the victim will be angry, the perpetrator will ask him why he is so angry since he will compensate him for the full value.

The Rambam clearly says that a person who maims his friend deserves to lose his limb but the Torah allows him to pay Kofer. The Torah is teaching us that Min HaDin, if someone takes from his friend the incredible gift of sight that Hashem bestowed upon him, justice demands that his ability to see be taken away as well. Even though the Torah limited the punishment to a monetary value, surely it is not a fair trade.

6 May 2017


In the first pasuk of Emor it says twice to tell the Kohanim, Emor and V'Amarta. Rashi quotes the gemara in Yevamos that says the double language is, "L'Hazhir Gedolim Al HaKetanim", to tell the adults to caution the children. How do Chazal see this from the fact that is says twice to tell them, asks Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro?

He answers that the Dubno Magid once asked the Vilna Gaon what is the most effective way to influence children. The Vilna Gaon answered with a Mashal. He said to take a large cup and surround it with smaller cups. Then pour into the large cup and keep pouring until it spills over the top right into the little cups. To have children absorb the lessons, you must fill yourself with an overdose of whatever traits you want to teach them. They will become filled from the overflow.

The Kohanim were implored twice, to give them a double measure of Kedushas Kohen. The reason for this is obviously in order for it to spill over to the children.

UC Santa Cruz Students Occupy Building, Shout Anti-Semitic Slurs, Admin Caves In to Demands

A friend posted, "Instead of saying 'Sorry so late, say 'Thanks for your patience' Using positive language in a negative situation can have a big impact on how you're remembered!"

4 May 2017

Friends indeed

Our View: Friends in Need

VIDEO: 60 Seconds of Inspiration: How to Test Your Level of Bitachon

Questions for Linda Sarsour from Assemblyman Dov Hikind

Parshas Acharei Mos/Kedoshim - Love is More than the Negative of a Negative; The Lesson of The Kedoshim

The right way

Parashat Kedoshim: The Right Way to Criticize


A Nochri came to Hillel telling he wanted to learn the Torah very easily and quickly. Hillel told him "D'Alach Sani L'Chavrach Lo Sevid" whatever he doesn't like, he should not do to his friend. (Shabbos 31a). The Chidushei HaRim asks why didn't Hillel tell him what the Torah says, "V'Ahavta L'Rei'acha Kamocha" (Kedoshim 19:18).

He answers that the highest level of righteousness towards another that the human mind an fathom, is not to harm your neighbor. To understand that there is an obligation to "love" each and every person no matter what, is beyond human comprehension, unless you live Tachas Kanfei HaShechina. In order to draw this Nochri near to Hashem, Hillel needed to start with a concept that he was able to grasp. Once he did that and was drawn Tachas Kanfei HaShechina then Hillel could teach him the superhuman obligation of V'Ahavta L'Reiacha Kamocha.

The Mitzva of V'Ahavta is not simple and doesn't make any logical sense. However we live Tachas Kanfei HaShechina and therefore we have the capability to grasp it. Now its just a matter of mustering up the will and strength to actually do it.

3 May 2017

Mundane acts

The Tamar Yonah Show – Who is the Messiah and When Will He Come? [audio]

While we don’t understand the impact and the reward of one mitzva versus another, there are some mitzvos that are put on pedestals by Chazal. From the many mitzvos, certain ones are associated with Kedusha, holiness. Off the top of most people's heads comes the Mitzva of Shabbos. “Kedushas Shabbos,” is a familiar term. When Shabbos comes around the atmosphere is tangibly different. We bask in the glow of Shabbos. We are uplifted by our honored guest, the holy Shabbos HaMalka.

Kibbud Av V’Eim, on the other hand, can sometimes be a test of endurance and tolerance. We know we must honor our parents, but the demands are trivial, and we are not always enthusiastic to accommodate. But we know it is a great mitzva, if not always a spiritual lift. Do we ever think of the mundane acts we do to please our parents as “holy”?

It seems that the pasuk in Kedoshim (19:2) is coming to correct this serious miscalculation. The pasuk tells us, “Kedoshim Tihiyu; Be holy." Immediately after that is says, “Ish Imo V’Aviv Tira’u; Fear your mother and father." Only after that does it say, “V’Es Shabsosai Tishmoru; Keep Shabbos."
http://revach.net/parshas-hashavua/quick-vort/Parshas-Kedoshim-Do-You-Want-to-Know-What-Real-Holiness-Is/2169 <

No one is assigned to Jewish outreach at the DNC. Who ya gonna call?

1 May 2017

The travel ban

WATCH: “Dear Jewish People”

It’s Our Fault

אל תפספסו: טיפ וסגולה ליום מוצלח // ה' באייר

תהילים יחד

Below are excerpts from J Street and AIPAC home pages of their respective websites,

J Street U is grateful for the Union for Reform Judaism’s recent letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, which raises serious questions about Israel’s deeply troubling travel ban. The ban blocks anyone advocating for any kind of boycott, divestment or sanctions against Israel or Israeli settlements from entering the country....

We write as leaders of J Street U Princeton to update you on our decision to move forward with an event hosting an exhibition on Princeton’s campus by the Israeli anti-occupation organization Breaking the Silence....

RETWEET THIS and thank your senators for demanding an end to anti-Israel bias at the @UN → http://fal.cn/ThankSenatorsUN

VIDEO: Combating BDS

FoxNews published an article a while back titled Dozens of letters from Anne Frank's father for sale.

One of Otto Frank’s top priorities: keeping the Anne Frank Foundation fully funded so that future generations could continue to learn her story. “I cannot continue to carry the burden principally alone and we have to find a way to be able to go on. I never want to accost Jewish people for this purpose, as I think they should give as much as possible for Israel, therefore I have to choose other sources,” he wrote.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect tweeted, "We are proud to follow Otto Frank's vision."

Seeing Otto Frank.s concern for Israel, I wonder why the center didn't tweet a thank you to the senators as AIPAC did. The center found time to thank former President Obama a number of months ago, Why not thank the senators, as well?

Parashat Acharei - Focus on the small details - Rabbi Alon Anava