"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

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.

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On the border

Praying on the Lebanese border, under the eyes of Hezbollah

The Israeli entrepreneur who discovered Shabbat

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"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

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The Marathon

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"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

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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

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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.

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