"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 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