Category: Uncategorized

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Tziduq haDin

Tziduk Hadin Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz Yated Ne’eman March 13, 2008 Yerushalayim in shock Numb with grief Frozen hearts Disbelief In the heart of Yerushalayim A yeshiva under attack Unarmed students Shot in the back Rifle blazing No escape Vicious death trap Savage hate Gunfire roaring Young men falling Massacred No escape On Rosh Chodesh Adar Sheini. Yeshiva bochurim Close to...

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Gender Differences

(I had more to say on the each of yesterday’s post’s two topics, so it is being replaced with this and the next post.) In a post on parashas Chayei Sarah, I included R’ Aharon Soloveitchikzt”l‘s take on gender differences as reflected in halakhah. Men have an overly strong sense of qibbush, to conqure and subsue, women have a better...

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The Chosen People

The Rav Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam, the Klausenberger Rebbe, held firm during his imprisonment in Dachau. He somehow managed to smuggle tefillin into the camp, and continued wearing them regularly. One day, he saw a Jew crying: What’s it all for? What future do we as a people have? What will come from all this suffering? The rebbe consoled him, at...

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Ben Chamishim le’Aitzah

… בן חמישים לעצה … – יהודה בן תימא, אבות ה:כא וּמִבֶּן֙ חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה יָשׁ֖וּב מִצְּבָ֣א הָעֲבֹדָ֑ה וְלֹ֥א יַעֲבֹ֖ד עֽוֹד׃ – במדבר ח:כה שמייעץ את אחיו ומלמדם לשמור משמרתם – רש”י שם וְהִגִּישׁ֤וֹ אֲדֹנָיו֙ אֶל־הָ֣אֱלֹהִ֔ים וְהִגִּישׁוֹ֙ אֶל־הַדֶּ֔לֶת א֖וֹ אֶל־הַמְּזוּזָ֑ה וְרָצַ֨ע אֲדֹנָ֤יו אֶת־אָזְנוֹ֙ בַּמַּרְצֵ֔עַ וַעֲבָד֖וֹ לְעֹלָֽם׃ -שמות כא:ו עד היובל או אינו אלא לעולם (קידושין טו) כמשמעו ת”ל (ויקרא כה) ואיש...

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AishDas

I was recently interviewed by Steve Savitsky, the president of the OU, for his radio show “Around the Dining Room Table“. Here is their description of the show: Not excited about Jewish practice? Have trouble tolerating fellow Jews and their different practices? Steve Savitsky sits around the dining room table with Rabbis Benjamin Hecht and Micha Berger. My goal in...

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Like one person, with one heart

For the past day and a half, all Jewish eyes were on Mumbai, formerly known to us in the west as Bombay, named for two Hindu godesses. Nine popular tourist sites were attacked, locations that attracted many American and British citizens. Nine tourist sites… and one Chabad House. Jews around the world suddenly took an interest in IBN, CNN’s partner...

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Mi sheBeirach…

I was just sent the following list of names of wounded soldiers. These men were wounded late Monday evening, in street clashes with Hamas gunmeny”sh in northern Azza. Dvir ben Laya – seriously injured Noam ben Aliza – one leg amputated; doctors fighting to save the other Li’el Hoshea ben Miriam – serious head injury Neriya ben Rivka – serious...

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Sheloshah Pish’ai Azah

(This pasuq is making the rounds on the web. I believe original credit for pointing it out goes to R’ Shmuel Rosenberg, a sofer in Tzefat.) כֹּ֚ה אָמַ֣ר יְ-הוָ֔ה עַל־שְׁלֹשָׁה֙ פִּשְׁעֵ֣י עַזָּ֔ה וְעַל־אַרְבָּעָ֖ה לֹ֣א אֲשִׁיבֶ֑נּוּ עַל־הַגְלוֹתָ֛ם גָּל֥וּת שְׁלֵמָ֖ה לְהַסְגִּ֥יר לֶאֱדֽוֹם׃ וְשִׁלַּ֥חְתִּי אֵ֖שׁ בְּחוֹמַ֣ת עַזָּ֑ה וְאָכְלָ֖ה אַרְמְנֹתֶֽיהָ׃ וְהִכְרַתִּ֤י יוֹשֵׁב֙ מֵֽאַשְׁדּ֔וֹד וְתוֹמֵ֥ךְ שֵׁ֖בֶט מֵֽאַשְׁקְל֑וֹן וַהֲשִׁיב֨וֹתִי יָדִ֜י עַל־עֶקְר֗וֹן וְאָֽבְדוּ֙ שְׁאֵרִ֣ית פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים אָמַ֖ר אֲ-דֹנָ֥י...

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You only have 15 seconds…

From mopocket.com: GET A TEXT MESSAGE EVERY TIME ISRAEL IS FIRED UPON January 6th, 2009 by Justin Oberman As the conflict in the Middle East continues rockets fired by Hamas continue to fall into the Israeli city of Sederot where countless of innocent victims have 15 seconds to find shelter and or find their children and loved ones. Mobile Technology...

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Eight Years…

This song tells the based-on-truth story of someone who was saved from the Sbarro’s bombing on August 9th 2001. Then, after his return to New York, he missed work a month later to stay with someone while their father underwent surgery — thereby missing work that Tuesday morning at Cantor Fitzgerald, in the World Trade Center, in One World Trade...

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Mussar Kallah VII — Phoenix — October 25th (a reminder)

REGISTER NOW — ONLINE! Mussar Kallah VII is less than three weeks away. Registration is now much more convenient. Click here to open the online registration page. PHOENIX, AZ — SUNDAY OCTOBER 25 (9 am to 5:30 pm) The Mussar Kallah is your unique opportunity to drink deeply from a stream of authentic Jewish spiritual wisdom. Learn from seasoned teachers who...

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E-lokai Neshmah, redux

In an earlier post, I extrapolated from a point made by R’ YG Bechhofer, contrasting Pinocchio with Adam haRishon to give a perspective on the yeitzer hara vs. the yeitzer hatov. I wrote: Until Adam ate the fruit, he consisted of free will and internalized yeitzer hatov (inclination to do good). He had no yeitzer hara; the inclination to do...

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My Mesorah

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to actually find my place on the chain from rebbe to talmid. I then thought it might be of general interest, just to demonstrate how we can actually trace a contemporary Jew’s exposure of the Torah to back to Moshe Rabbeinu. This is just a chain, artificially restricting each student to only...

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Yom haAtzmaut

A short but very appropriate quote from today’s Yerushalmi Daf Yomi: ר הושעיא: רומס הייתי זיתים עם רבי חייא הגדול. ואמר לי, “כל זית שאת יכול לפשוט ידך וליטלו, אינו שכחה.” א”ר יוחנן, “מכיון שעבר עליו ושכחו הרי הוא שכחה.” Rabbi Hoshiah: Once I was picking olives with Rabbi Chiyya the Great. He said to me, “Any olive that you...

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Building Anew

65 years before was the holocaust — one third of our people killed. When we left Egypt, we were led through the desert by a pillar of fire by day, and a pillar of smoke by night. When we made camp, the pillar moved to the Qodesh haQadashim in the Mishkan, the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. Now, a...

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Two Ideals

(Split off from last week’s post “Shavuos Reading” because I thought of a number of points I wanted to add.) Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, in the Naso 5770 issue of his weekly Parashah Sheet “Covenant and Conversation” discusses what appears to be a contradiction in the Rambam. In Hilkhos Dei’os 3:1, the Rambam writes: שֶׁמֶּא יֹאמַר אָדָם, הוֹאִיל וְהַתַּאֲוָה וְהַכָּבוֹד...

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The Time of the Ivrim

Note this map of Israel, as it was divided into the territories for the various shevatim: There are two things odd about the south-west corner of the map. First, the Gaza Strip is not included, and second, the tribe of Shim’on lives in an island within Yehudah’s land. These two are connected. Shim’on never succeeded in conquering its promised portion...

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What defines greatness

From R’ Gil Student’s blog “Hirhurim“, a sad quote about the underlying greatness of my rebbe: When I was a bochur in yeshivah I had a scary experience. I had the zekhus of assisting a gadol ba-Torah in his last days. When R. Dovid Lifshitz got very sick, I was assigned the task of helping him out during davening. At...

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The Holy Script and Speech

There is a beraisa quoted in mesechtos Megillah (3a) and Shabbos (104a) that R’ Chisda says, “the [final] mem and samech of the luchos stood miraculously.” Meaning: the letters were carved all the way through, so that  ם and ס, letters that are drawn as closed shapes had a piece in the middle unattached to rest the luchos. The miracle was that...

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The Ninth of Av, 3830

The second half of parashas Naso is quite repetitious. The head of each tribe brought a gift for the consecration of the Mishkan. Each gift was the same, but aside from some slight but intriguing grammatical differences, all twelve are recorded in the same words. Seemingly repeatedly. The Ramban (on 7:1) explains that each korban was in fact unique. Even...

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Ten Reasons to Attend Kallah IX

Reasons to Attend Mussar Institute Kallah IX Where: The Mussar Kallah will take place at beautiful and serene Illinois Beach Resort, located in Zion, Illinois, amid 4,100 acres of a protected state park, right on the shore of Lake Michigan.The Illinois Beach Resort One Lake Front Drive Zion, IL 60099 Driving Directions When: Friday November 11, 2011 at 4:00 PM...

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Shaarei Yosher, sec. 4: Connecting – part 4

And there are more levels in this of a person who is whole, who can connect his soul to feel that all of the world and worlds are his “I”, and he himself is only one small limb in all of creation. Then, his self-love helps him love all of the Jewish people and [even] all of creation. ועוד יש...

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The Curriculum at Volozhin

On the April 6, 1858, the government ordered the closure of the yeshiva in Volozhin. There is no record that anyone from the government tried to implement this order. But on the 22nd, R’ Gershon Amsterdam led a delegation to have the ruling repealed. Among the things presented to the government was the curriculum at the yeshiva. Here is my...

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Pagans in Our Midst

נענה רבן גמליאל ואמר: “צְדָקָה תְרוֹמֵם גּוֹי…” (משלי יד:לד) — אלו ישראל. דכתיב (דברי הימים א יז:כא) “וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל…” [וגו’] “…וְחֶסֶד לְאֻמִּים חַטָּאת”(משלי שם) — כל צדקה וחסד שעכו”ם עושין, חטא הוא להן. שאין עושין אלא להתיהר בו. וכל המתיהר נופל בגיהנם, שנאמר (משלי כא:כד), “זֵד יָהִיר לֵץ שְׁמוֹ עוֹשֶׂה בְּעֶבְרַת זָדוֹן.” ואין עברה אלא גיהנם שנאמר (צפניה א:טו),...