Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Audio Shiur - Avos as Key to Connecting to Avinu Shebashamayim

The newest edition of Reb Yerachmiel's Baltimore Community Kollel Rav Pincus Chaburah is out, from this past Sunday. You can access the esnips page with the player that starts automatically RIGHT HERE (warning: there are sometimes innappropriate advertisements there so you might prefer the direct downoad link by CLICKING HERE).

Just in time for the Parshios Ha'Shavuah, Reb Yerachmiel and the Baltimore Community Kollel Rav Pincus (zt"l) Chaburah on Tefillah continue to delve into the first beracha of Shmoneh Esrei: Berchas "Avos". This week's shiur discusses the words "Elokei Avraham, Elokei Yitzchak V'Elokei Yaakov" with the hope that a deeper understanding of the Avos Ha'Kedoshim will further enhance our relationship with Avinu Sh'bashamayim, Hashem.

-Dixie Yid

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New Site on Hisbodedus With Guidance, Stories, Shiurim, & Links

Thanks to the folks at for the heads-up on this new site on Hisbodedus that has advice, guidance, shiurim, and personal stories relating to the practice of Hisbodedus, and not only based on Rebbe Nachman. It includes material from the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim as well. Warning: It is an Israeli site and is all Hebrew. Enjoy!

-Dixie Yid

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Amazingly Creative Akeida Cake at Temunot - Pictures

A Simple Jew pointed out these amazingly creative pictures taken by David at Temunot of a cake made by his children for Parshas Vayeira. Wow. Click on the link to see more pictures.

-Dixie Yid

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Vayeira - Lot's Daughters & Kiddushin for Bnei Noach - A Kasha

In parshas Vayeira, when the men of Sdom were demanding that Lot hand over his three guests so that the people there could forcibly be with them, he refuses and, very troublingly, offers them his two daughters, saying "הִנֵּה-נָא לִי שְׁתֵּי בָנוֹת, אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדְעוּ אִישׁ--אוֹצִיאָה-נָּא אֶתְהֶן אֲלֵיכֶם, וַעֲשׂוּ לָהֶן כַּטּוֹב בְּעֵינֵיכֶם." (Bereishis 19:8) Basicly, he tells them that these two daughters have never been with a man and that they can do what they want with them. It is obviously troubling how he could do this, and it is another illustration of why Chazal say that Lot was not saved on his own merit, but rather on the merit of Avrham.

I had a kasha a few psukim later, though where Lot goes to tell everyone in his family that they must flee before Sdom is destroyed. He goes to tell all of his sons-in-law and they all laugh him off. In Bereshis 19:14, it says that he told, "חֲתָנָיו לֹקְחֵי בְנֹתָיו," "his sons-in-law, the betrothers of his daughters." My first question on this was that a few psukim earlier, he had just said that his daughters had never been with a man, but now there are sons-in-law? Was he lying to the Anshei Sdom?

So Rashi answers this on the spot and he says that "חֲתָנָיו" refers to his married daughters living outside the home, and that "לֹקְחֵי בְנֹתָיו" refers to the men who had betrothed his two daughters using the first of the two stages of the marriage process, Kiddushin. They, therefore, were still living at home and had never been with their husbands yet. Therefore, this answers my question that he was truthfully able to say that those two daughters had never been with any man.

However, this made me think of another question. According to Rashi, at least with regard to the laws of marriage, Lot is keeping the laws of the "future" Torah, just as Chazal say Avraham was. But if this is the case, why did he offer his daughters to Anshei Sdom at all, from a halachic perspective? If they were Arusos (betrothed) already, for all intents and purposes, they were married women and it would have been adultery for Anshei Sdom to be with them. So why is that any better than the mishkav zachar that they wanted to do to the three guests? Either way it is a capital transgression of Gilui Arayos for Bnei Noach! What is he gaining by trying to give over his daughters?

However, I was thinking that the Rambam says at the beginning of Hilchos Ishus (1:1) "קודם מתן תורה, היה אדם פוגע אישה בשוק--אם רצה הוא והיא לישא אותה--מכניסה לביתו ובועלה בינו לבין עצמו, ותהיה לו לאישה." "Before the Torah was given [the way a marriage was effectuated was that] a man would meet a woman in the market. If he and she wanted to get married, he would bring her into his home, have relations with her in private, and she would be his wife." Therefore, for the halachos of Bnei Noach, since these two daughters had only been betrothed to their "husbands," and were still living with their father, those daughters were not considered married women at all, and therefore it wouldn't have been the more serious transgression of Gilui Arayos/adultery for those people to be with them, since according to the laws of Bnei Noach, they weren't married at all.

Of course it could also be that Rashi and the Gur Areye on the spot were using the term "arusos," betrothed in a lav davka sort of way. They might have been using it in the way modern Israelis use the term, which just meant "engaged" without any kiddushin or "Harei At Mekudeshes Li." Either way, it is unbelievable that Lot could even think of doing that to his daughters. A friend suggested over Shabbos that since Hachnasos Orchim was the only good mida that Lot picked up from Avraham, he took it to the extreme, with any thought or perspective whatsoever.

This mida is no so unheard of. Sometimes, someone with a Yartzeit pushes another chiyuv out of the way so that he can daven for the amud. Other times, somebody is so focused on davening in their makom kavuah, their usual spot in Shul (One who davens in a set place with have the G-d of Avraham helping him out, after all), that when he comes in to Shul a few minutes late, he will make a guest in Shul who happens to be sitting in "his" seat feel unwelcome. It's not good to be so focused on one particular mitzva, such that it pushes all sense of perspective and balance out of one's brain. This, my friend suggested was Lot's mistake with his daughters. Perhaps the way he treated them is somehow related to the ignoble act they did with him that produced Amon and Moav...

-Dixie Yid

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Mussar from "Last Lecture" of a 47 Year Old Terminally Ill Professor

Here's a brief version (10 minutes) of his 1 hour and 45 minute "Last Lecture." Randy Pausch (not Pauche) is/was a Virtual Reality professor at Caregie-Mellon University. He has about three months of good health left, as of now, and not all, but many of the things he says here sound like they come right out of a mussar shmooze or a Chassidishe vort. One of his repeating themes is that "Brick walls are not there to stop you, they are there to make you show how much you want it." This is remeniscent of Likutei Moharan 48 (I think). Also the story from the full lecture about the guy who spilled coke on the back seat of his new convertable so that children would not be embarassed if they accidentaly messed up his car, which he used to illustrate the message of the importance of "people, not things," is a step up from most people's perspective.

-Dixie Yid

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Sweet Ma'aseh with Rav Ruderman from Ner Yisroel

I wanted to share this sweet ma'aseh about R' Yaakov Ruderman, z'tl, the former Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore. I heard this from a Rav who was a Talmid from the yeshiva in the '80s.

He said that every year, when NCSY's Camp Sports would be at Ner Yisroel for the summer, they made a big deal of the guys having a meeting with the, then, Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Yaakov Ruderman. They built up the experience of meeting a great Rabbi and a Tzadik for a while beforehand.

At the big meeting, one summer, the Rosh Yeshiva asked one of the boys in his best English (as his real language was Yiddish), "Vhat do you tink of deh Yeshiva?" The boy answered, "Oh it's great. It's a great place!" The Rosh Yeshiva then followed up by asking, "And vhat is your favorite part of deh Yeshiva? The boy answered that, "Oh everything is so great here. I don't know how to pick out one favorite thing. The whole essence of the yeshiva is great."

The Rosh Yeshiva shook his head and responded, "Nit! Der essen iz nisht der ikar!" "No! The eating (The Yiddish word for eating is "essen" which sounds like "essence") is not the main thing!"

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of Rav Ruderman as a young bachur courtesy of

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Did Avraham Avinu Tarry in Fulfilling the Command of "Lech Lecha"?

I was trying to find the ma'areh makom, citation, for this vort, but since I haven't been able to as of yet, I want to write it up anyway so I don't forget.

I was talking to a local Rav on Parshas Lech Lecha and he pointed out a suprising pshat. The Chumash says that Avraham was 75 years old when he left Charan. It also says that he was 100 when Sara gave birth to Yitzchak. It also says two different lengths of time for how long the Jewish people were in Mitzrayim, Egypt. In one place, it says they were there for 400 years, and in another place, it says they were there for 430 years. The 400 year count is counting from the birth of Yitzchak. But the 430 year could was counting from the Bris Bein Habesarim, the Covenant Between the Parts, when Hashem made the promise to Avraham about the Gerus, Avdus, and Inui (Exile, Slavery and Torture) that his descendants (starting with Yitzchak) would endure, which was 30 years before Yitzchak's birth, thus being 430 years before the Exodus.

But there's a problem there. That count would mean that the Bris Bein Habesarim was when Avraham was 70, when he was told to leave Charan and go to Eretz K'na'an, the land of Israel. But the Torah says he was 75 when he moved to K'na'an!

To answer this question, the Rosh on a Gemara about Avraham in Shabbos (?) gives a suprising answer. He says that Avraham tarried in fulfilling Hashem's commandment to move to K'na'an when he received the "Lech Lecha" command when he was 70. He made a "pilot trip," so to speak and he experienced the Bris Bein Habesarim at that time. That is when the 430 year date is counting from. However, he returned to Charan and didn't move to K'na'an until 5 years, later, when he was 75. That move is what the Torah was referring to when it says that he moved at age 75.

The Korban Nesanel on the spot affirms this pshat and says it works well with the psukim, the verses. He points out that when Avraham left, it says "וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָם, כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֵלָיו יְהוָה, וַיֵּלֶךְ אִתּוֹ, לוֹט" (Bereishis 12:4). "And Avraham went, as G-d told him, and Lot went with him." The Koban Nesanel asks why the verse has to say that Avrhahm "went" two times. First is says that Avraham went. And then, it says that he took Lot with him. That could have been consolodated into one statement! However, with the Rosh's chidush that Avraham went twice (once at 70 with the Lech Lecha command and the Bris Bein Habesarim on the pilot trip and once for good at age 75), the verse makes sense. One "going" refers to the first trip at age 70, and when he went with Lot, that refers to the second trip at age 75.

Just as an observation, it seems like I hear more peshatim that take things that we thought were good about one of the Avos, and then it turns out to be something not-so-good, about Avraham than about any other one of the Avos. Usually by the other Avos, we see how things that look outwardly "bad" were really good. However, with Avraham, I have heard many peshatim over the the years that seem to do the opposite. One example was how the Ramban says that one of the 10 tests of Avraham was to stay in Eretz Yisroel once he got there, dispite the famine, and that he failed this test.

One question I have is that the mishna in Avos 5:3 says, " עשרה נסיונות נתנסה אברהם אבינו, ועמד בכולם," that Avraham Avinu was tested 10 times and he passed all of the tests. Obviously, the Rosh, the Korban Nesanel, and the Ramban know the mishna in Avos. So how could they say that Avraham Avinu "failed," to one extent or another, these tests? Perhaps "ועמד בכולם" doesn't necessarily mean that he passed... Any ideas?

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dixie Yid's New Seder - Tanya B'iyun

As of this morning, I'm starting a new seder once a week. My 6-7 AM Sunday morning slot opened up, so I asked me rebbe what I should learn then. He asked me if I'd ever learned Tanya. I told him that I'd dabbled a little here and a little there, but not to deeply. He said that I should defninitely learn Tanya then. He said that it's the real nuts and bolts, the meat and potatos, so to speak, of Chassidus. And that if I really wanted to get a handle on the basics of Chassidus, that I needed to learn Tanya, b'iyun.

I said that I don't get into English seforim, so that I wouldn't be likely to enjoy "Lessons in Tanya," which I've perused. He suggested Rav Shteinzaltz's peirush on Tanya, Biur Tanya, which you can get from Kehot's webiste.
My friend Izbitza also suggested the book, Flames of Faith, by Rabbi Zev Reichman, giving over Shiurim of Rav Moshe Wolfson. Rabbi Boshnack said that although it's not explicitly written in the book, those shiurim by Rav Wolfson are an explanation of certain aspects of Tanya. So, IY"H, we'll have some good learning!

-Dixie Yid

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

The South, and the Jewish People Have Lost a Great Tzadeikes

The Jewish people has lost a great Tzadeikes, Rebbetzin Risia Posner. You can read a lot about and get chizuk from her in this fine article from
Update: Click here to see pictures from her levaya, which, unbeleviably, was a double levaya with her brother, who was niftar 4 hours before her. Not only was the levaya a joint levaya, but they were literally buried side by side in the ground. I'm not sure what that means, but it is the first time I have ever heard of something like that happening. Thanks to A Simple Jew for alerting me to that link.

-Dixie Yid

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Perspective & Story on Laziness Within Industriousness

The Cossack's were known as the paradigmatic "industrious types." They did everything with speed and alacrity. When something needed to get done, they did it fast and well, and no job was too difficult. One rebbe (Request: If anyone out there who this ma'aseh is about, please let me know!) pointed out to his Chassidim that looking up to this mida of industriousness in them is wrongheaded.

He said that when these men retire and receive their pensions from the Tzar, they spent the rest of their days relaxing, drinking tea and vodka beside an oven, to stay warm. And that the entire time they were working so hard, they were really just thinking that they were doing it because one day, they would be able to sit and relax beside that oven until they went into the grave.

There are two types of industrious/hard-working types. One is the type which works hard because they care about what they are actually doing and accomplishing with the work as an end unto its self. But then there are those, like the Cossacks, whose hard work is really just an expression of their laziness.

Some people work hard in college, medical school or law school, in in their business, and then later in their jobs, with only their next vacation or their retirement in mind. This type of hard work is not, then, to be labeled "industrious," or "hard working," but rather "laziness!"

I am very busy, to say the least. I'm up (usually) by 4 AM for a day filled with learning, davening, a full time job, and law school. People who don't walk in my shoes think that I'm a very hard-working, industrious person. However, I know that, לֵב--יוֹדֵעַ" מָרַּת נַפְשׁוֹ" (Mishlei 14:10). I know that I cannot absolve myself of my own penchant for laziness.

I like to think of that ma'aseh when putting hard work in perspective and remembering what it's all for.

-Dixie Yid

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Avraham Avinu - Doubt and the Creation of the World

In Parshas Lech Lecha, in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh al HaTorah, Rav Shwartz writes an interesting thing. He says that when it says, at the beginning of the parsha, "וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-אַבְרָם." It uses the lashon "וַיֹּאמֶר" because it is a reference to the asara ma'amaros she'nivrah bahem haolam." This is a reference to the fact that Hashem created the whole world for the sake of Avraham and the Emunah that he would bring to the world.

But he says a startling thing. He points out that the word "Ma'amar," im mispar hakolel, equals the gematria of both "Amalek," and "safek." Of course I knew of the equivalency of those two words, but not with their connection between "Ma'amar" and Avraham and Brias Ha'olam. To explain this startling fact, he points out that Avraham is the only one of the Avos who started off his life of Emunah with safek about the existence of Hashem. He was brought up in the idolatrous house of Terach, his father. And he wrestled for years, using Chakira, logic and philosophy, to come to the conclusion that Hashem existed and that He is One. But since he started off with a state of safek, and Avraham's state of perfect Emunah in Hashem after a process of safek was the desired goal behind Hashem's creation of the universe, that is why he planted this reference to Avraham in His creation of the world through the word "Ma'amar," as used in parshas Lech Lecha. The Meor Einayim on the parsha also points out how Avraham was found in the creation of the universe in the famous gemara that says that the pasuk in Bereishis 2:4 states, "אֵלֶּה תוֹלְדוֹת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ, בְּהִבָּרְאָם," which says not to read the pasuk as "בְּהִבָּרְאָם," but rather, "בְּאָבָּרְהִם."

Separate from what the Bilvavi says about this, I was also thinking that the fact that Hashem created Safek in the process of the Asara ma'amaros she'nivrah bahem ha'olam, works well with what we know about that process of creation. Until Hashem created the universe, there existed absolute, unadulterated clarity about Hashem's presence and existence. However, once He started creating more of our "reality," His Presence became more and more concealed behind the veil of our metziyus hamedumeh. With each ma'amar that Hashem used to create the world, He was metzamtzim (concealed) Himself more and more.

Therefore, it can be said that Safek in Emunah arose because of and through Hashem's creation of the world. Concordantly, it can be understood why each "ma'amar" Hashem used to create the world is equivalent in gematria to the word "safek," doubt.

Hashem built Avraham into the creation of the universe because it is Avraham's type of Emunah, an absolute Emunah that follows doubt and uncertainty, which we most need in our world. Hashem intentionally concealed his existence behind the veil of "reality," in order that we should have an opening for doubt/safek regarding His presence, from which we must work very hard at concretizing our awareness and recognition of His presence.

May you and I merit to break through the false picture of doubt in Emunah that exists because of the seemingly real world before our eyes!

"[T]he world... has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth." (Morpheus - Don't tell anyone that I quoted this...)

-Dixie Yid
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Birkas Avos Audio Shiur - Part II - Reb Yerachmiel - Deveikus Bombshell

CLICK HERE to download the wav file of the audio of Sunday night's shiur by Reb Yerachmiel, from the Baltimore Community Kollel Rav Pincus Chaburah, which represents Part II of what will, be'ezras Hashem, be a multi-part-series on the first bracha of Shemoneh Esrei- "Avos" (just in time for the corresponding parshios ha'shavuah). As has been his theme in recent months, the thrust of this week's shiur was not simply to explain and understand the words we say, but on internalizing the equally important and ever-more elusive, additional requirement of Shemoneh Esrei: awareness that we are standing before the Divine Presence of Hashem. Warning: Contains a discussion of the (soon-to-be-famous) "Biggest Chiddush That No One Knows".

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of

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Practical Eitzos From Others on Shmiras Ha'Einayim

Please read THIS POST at A Simple Jew for several eitzos that he's collected from regular people out there who are working on being mechazeik themselves in the avoda of Shmiras Ha'einayim. I highly recommend this post and I hope that it will be a catalyst for people being mechazeik themselves in this inyan.

-Dixie Yid

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Great post by Yitz @ Heichal Hanegina on the Meor Einayim's Yartzeit

L'chvod the Yarzeit of R' Nachum Chernobyler, please read THIS GREAT POST by Yitz, from Heichal Hanegina, which includes some really good ma'asim and teachings from this great Tzadik regarding Ahavas Yisroel.

-Dixie Yid

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Audio & Video from Rav Tzvi Mayer Zilberberg's Aish Kodesh Drasha

Here are three videos that I received from Rav Tzvi Mayer Zilberberg's drasha at Cong. Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY. They do not comprise the whole shiur, but in the third video, R' Tzvi Mayer summarizes the whole drasha. And after these three videos is the full audio of the drasha. Enjoy.

Thanks to an anonymous friend who e-mailed me the audio files, and thanks to Nossi Gross, of Zemer Orchestras in Baltimore, who converted the files into a more accessible format, you may also listen to the audio of the entire shiur by Rav Tzvi Mayer. Rav Tzvi Mayer was on fire, so the shiur was 2 and a half hours, and therefore it is divided into two files. You can dowload PART 1 HERE and PART 2 HERE

Alternately, you may listen to to part 1 in the top embeded audio player below and you can listen to part 2 in the bottom embeded audio player below.

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Get this widget Track details eSnips Social DNA

P.S. As a bonus, listen to the embeded audio below to hear Rav Tzvi Mayer singing Koh Echsof at his erev Shabbos shiur in Yerushalayim. Again, thanks for recording this go to Nossi Gross!

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-Dixie YId

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My Answer to the Q&A at ASJ on Hashgacha Pratis

Please click on over to read my answer to A Simple Jew's question over at his site. It relates to recent examples of how I'm trying to see Hashgacha Pratis in everyday life, and how that relates to my law school studies and to the audio I heard of R' Tzvi Mayer's drasha in New York which I am also posting today.

Here's ASJ's acutal question to me...

A Simple Jew asks:

In many of my recent postings, I have attempted to uncover the hand of Hashem in events significant, and seemingly insignificant in my life. Can you think of something significant that happened to you this past year which you clearly believe is an example of hasgocha pratis?

Dixie Yid answers:

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Audio Shiur & Maareh Mekomos on Halacha & Kabbalah/Chassidus of Netilas Yadayim

I would like to present the following very in-depth shiur with Maareh Mekomos by Rabbi Reuven Boshnack on the topic of Netilas Yadayim Shacharis. The shiur and mekoros go through the halachic background on netilas yadayim and the Kabbalah and Chassidus on the topic. It is well worth the time to listen and this could probably make up a whole seder a day for a few days. Happy learning!


You can CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FIRST SHIUR and you can listen to it online here:

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You can CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SECOND SHIUR. And you can listen to the embeded audio here:

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-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of

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Hillula with Yosef Karduner - Aish Kodesh Woodmere - Embeded Audio

In response to my request for help on this, Nossi Gross from Zemer Orchestras in Baltimore has come to the rescue. Thanks to him, I want to present the audio which you can listen to online of the Hillula which took place this past Motzoi Shabbos at Aish Kodesh in Woodmere. It features a great shiur by Rav Moshe Weinberger between 2 sessions of Yosef Karduner's music.

As I stated for copyright reasons in my last post on this subject, I have obtained permission both from Aish Kodesh and from Yosef Karduner to place this audio on this site in a form that allows you to listen to the audio, but not to download it.

So, without further introduction, here's the audio. It's 2 hours 18 minutes long. Enjoy.

CLICK HERE To listen to the Hillula.

Update 10/19/07: I have removed the embeded audio because I observed someone outclicking to a web page that allows downloading. I am very sorry, since I did not realize that this was possible and I'd hoped to share this in a way that would allow people to listen while still keeping to the terms of the permissions that I got. As soon as I can find a way to get this sharable without being downloadable, I will put that up. Again, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Update: You can view and purchase pictures of the Hillula HERE. And this is a sample:

-Dixie Yid

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Possible Bilvavi Visit: Seeking Local Contacts in North American Cities

I have been asked by a reader to post the following request that he sent me about this great potential opportunity he is working on:

As many of you out there may know, Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim, visited the northeastern United States in August (New York, Lakewood and Baltimore). The trip was very successful and there was amazing feedback from the communities, kollelim, and yeshivos where he spoke. I believe that his teachings are helping start a new chapter in the Jewish people's unity and relationship with Hashem. From Chassidisher kollelim, to Litvisheh yeshivos and kollelim, and from Yeshiva University to Chareidi Sefardi Shuls, yeshivos and kollelim, he made a major impact on everyone, with a message for each person according to his nature.

Several people are assessing the feasibility of bringing Rav Shwartz for another visit to North America sometime this winter. However, this time the trip would not be limited to locations around New York. He would be available to visit cities across the U.S. and Canada. But since the Rav only speaks Hebrew (albeit an easy Hebrew), that means that only cities with a Hebrew speaking frum community or an Israeli/Sefardi community would be fitting venues. Also, even among frum communities, there are many places where people are not familiar with his seforim and therefore, there would not be much interest in those places for the Rav Shwartz's message.

Here's the bottom line; I need to speak to people in cities in the United States and Canada who are familiar with both their community and with the Bilvavi seforim. I need to talk to you about whether or not your community would be a good place for Rav Shwartz to speak at your yeshiva, kollel, or general community. So please, if you appreciate the Bilvavi seforim and Rav Shwartz's teachings, please e-mail "Dixie Yid" at dixieyid(at) and either give him your number so that I can call you or ask him for my number so you can call me to talk about this.

There will be no fee for his drashos except for the travel costs. However, donations are always welcome, to help publish the seforim, at the following address: "Yad LeAzor", C/O Mr. Chaim Rubin, Weiss & Co. CPAs, 22 West 38th Street - 12th floor, NY NY 10018 - You must write on the check memo "For Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh."

Tizku l'mitzvos and may our efforts at facilitating Rav Shwartz's possible visit to North America this winter be fruitful!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of North America courtesy of

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Aish Kodesh Hillula with Rav Weinberger & Yosef Karduner

Thanks to my anonymous Aish Kodesh contact, I have an the audio of the entire Hillula held Motzoi Shabbos by Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY, Motzoi Shabbos, October 13, 2007. It features mostly the music of Yosef Karduner, with an amazing shiur by Rav Moshe Weinberger in the middle. The whole thing is very inspiring and uplifting and I definitely recommend listening to the whole thing, especially the end. I have literally listened to the whole thing (2 hours 18 minutes) about three times in the last two days. While of course, the music of Yosef Karduner is great, the sound of the whole chevra over there singing and dancing is the best.

My friendly neighborhood Aish Kodesh friend asked Yosef Karduner for permission for me to post the audio, but was only able to get permission to share the whole thing if it's embeded into the blog, or can only be played online, and cannot be downloaded. Pracically speaking, I do not have the ability to do this. Usually, when I do embeded audio, I use esnips. But they have a 100 MB maximum per upload. And although the file is only 34 MG as a wav file, when I convert it to mp3, which is what I have to do on esnips to get an embeded player widget, it's over 100 MB. If anyone out there can make the file into something I can put online that can only be played online but never downloaded, please let me know if you can help! Again, I have express permission for Yosef Karduner to share his portion (and I have permission from Aish Kodesh for Rav Weinberger's portion. This is amazing, but I may only do so al tenai that people can listen to it online without being able to download it. I look forward to hearing from you about this if you're out there! You can e-mail me at dixieyid(at)
an embeded player, as long as it is not downloadable.

Update: Nossi Gross, of Zemer Orchestras in Baltimore has helped me out in this inquery and you can now listen to the embeded, non-downloadable audio online at this follow up post!

Here are some short, non-downloadable video clips from the Hillula, thanks to a new contact at Aish Kodesh! The light were out so the picture isn't great but you can get a feel for what it was like.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of last year's Aish Kodesh Hillula for the Piacezna Rebbe courtesy of their Kodak page, where you can order prints)

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Which Way is Up? - Great Ma'aseh From the Alter of Slabodka

I wanted to share a great ma'aseh and teaching from my rebbe...

Two bachurim went to learn by the Alter from Slabodka. One learned very much and learned on a very high level. His friend also came to learn in Slabodka, but he learned less, and on a lower level than his friend.

Over time, the "good learner" noticed that his friend was getting more attention from the Alter of Slabodka than he was. This started to bother him, so finally one day he asked the Alter why his friend, who didn't learn as well or as much, got much more time with the Alter than he, himself, did.

The Alter answered him with a kasha on a halacha. He asked, "Why is it that Alos Hashachar," "first light," is considered to be halachically "day time," even though it is virtually completely dark outside, while Bein Hashemashos, when it is almost totally light outside, is considered "night time"?

He answered himself by saying that the status of a time of day is determined by which direction it is heading. Alos Hashachar is headed towards day, even if it totally dark outside, and therefore has the halachic status of "day." Whereas Bein Hashemashos is heading on the way to being night, and therefore, has the din of "night."

Similarly, a person who is on a growth track is considered greater than one who might be objectively greater, but is headed in the opposite direction. Since you're only here so that you can say that you're learning at Slabodka, and since your friend is here to grow in learning, even though he is learning less and at a lower level, my relationship to the two of you reflects that reality. (Slabodka was, as I understand it, a mussar yeshiva, and people came there with the understanding and expectation that they would receive personal mussar so that they could recognize their own faults and grow.)

This story makes me think of a couple of things. One is that I am impressed at how people in those days were made of stronger stuff than we are today. People today need to be coddled and handled with kid gloves lest their ego be bruised (I am no exception to this). I might have been devastated by such blunt criticism from a Rosh Yeshiva that I respected. I would think that a bachur like this one would be able to use the criticism as an impetus for growth, and not something which would debilitate him.

Another thought is the actual message of the ma'aseh, which is that it is more important where you are headed than where you are currently. This is reminiscent of another teaching I have heard from my rebbe before. Why is it that we say "Baruch Shem Kavod Malchuso L'olam Va'ed," outloud at the Maariv at the very beginning of Yom Kippur? At that time, we haven't even davened one Y"K Shemoneh Esreh yet and we are still full from our seuda hamafsekes! How can we be like malachim then? !Concomitantly, at the Maariv after Yom Kippur we cannot say "BShKML"V" out loud, even though we have already been fasting for over 24 hours and have had 5 tefillos for Y"K already? Isn't that a holier time than the maariv at the beginning of Y"K?

My rebbe answers that the difference is where the person is heading. Even though your stomach is full going into Y"K, since you're headed into a Y"K experience and gearing up for all of that growth, so you're at the level of melachim. Whereas, by the maariv after Y"K, you're headed towards a meal and possibly "life as usual." So it's all about what direction you're heading.

All of this also reminds me of a recent post called "Out of Sync" by Akiva from Mystical Paths, where he talks about some people's inability to distinguish between two people of a similar observance level (in the shidduch context), when one person is going up and the other is going down.

May Hashem help us to constantly be on the growth road and appreciate others who are growing regardless of their current level.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of the Alter of Slabodka from

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pictures of the Baby (10 Weeks Old)

Here are some great pictures of our new baby that my in-laws took. Had to share.

-Dixie Yid

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Yosef Karduner to Play in Chicago This Sunday 8 PM

Here's an e-mail that Mr. Uberdox forwarded to me. This is certainly a great opportunity for anyone in the Chicago/Skokie area. Reb Yosef has amazing music and his albums Bechira and Bresolver Melaveh Malka are always somewhere in my car/house rotation.

"Presenting an evening of inspirational entertainment to benefit The Kehillah Jewish Education Fund

Featuring Internationally Renowned Recording Artist

Yosef Karduner

A live performance for the first time in Chicago

Sunday, October 21, 2007 - 8pm
The Shul @ The Wi-Fi Building
8170 McCormick Boulevard - Skokie, IL

$10 Suggested donation to the Kehillah Fund
Srulies Delicatessen will be open during the performance

For more info and to see videos of past performances, please go to or email

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of Yosef Karduner courtesy of Rabbi Lazer Brody)

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Rav Tzvi Mayer at Aish Kodesh Woodmere Last Night - Pictures and Video

My contact at Aish Kodesh in Woodmere, NY has come through again. I wanted to share these pictures from R' Tzvi Mayer Zilberberg's latest visit to this holy Shul in Woodmere, NY, last night Monday, October 15, 2007. He spoke there on 4 aspects of what we can learn from Noach bringing he and his whole family into the Teiva (which means not only "ark," but also "word." Which means that he should enter into the "words" of tefilla.). So please avail yourself of this opportunity to look into the face of the Tzadik. B"H, I selected this top picture because it is a beautiful shot of R' Tzvi Mayer with the Rav of Aish Kodesh, Rav Moshe Weinberger.

Rav Tzvi Mayer with Yosef Karduner...

Video of R' Tzvi Mayer meeting with a bachur...

Update: CLICK HERE to view more and longer videos, as well as the full audio of his drasha.

-Dixie Yid

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Rav Pincus on First Bracha of Shemoneh Esreh - Audio Shiur

Our friend, Reb Yerachmiel, is generously sharing his latest shiur from this past Sunday night's Baltimore Community Kollel Rav Pincus Chaburah.


In this shiur Reb Yerachmiel methodically, but energetically, covers the basic background of the history of Shemoneh Esrei, some of the many halachic requirements of Shemoneh Esrei, and the opening words "Baruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu", while simultaneously trying to obtain and maintain a conscious devaykus ba'Hashem during davening, learning and throughout our daily lives.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of the Melitzer Rebbe courtesy of Lazer Beams)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Rabbi Lazer Brody Speaking in Atlanta This Sunday (Oct. 21)

Thanks to our friend Alice, I've learned that Rabbi Lazer Brody, of the well known and insipring blog, Lazer Beams, will be speaking in the heart of Dixie, Atlanta, Georgia, this Sunday night at 8 PM in Congregation Ohr VeShalom. He is a great speaker, which you can see from this sample here:

Here are the main details:

Sunday, October 21st
Rabbi Lazer Brody
Arvit at 7:40 - lecture at 8:00
lecture is called "Zero Hour"
Admission is free
at Or VeShalom, 1681 North Druid Hills Road- Atlanta GA - 404-633-1737

For those of you near Atlanta, this is a great opportunity!

-Dixie Yid

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Eitza from R' Elimelech on Controlling Thoughts - "The Nuclear Option"

A friend and member of my Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Chaburah pointed out a really powerful eitza from Rav Elimelech from Lizhinsk to completely take control of your thoughts. I think that this eitza is so powerful, I would characterize it as "the nuclear option."

In Tzeitel Koton #13, found in the sefer Noam Elimelech, he writes that one should keep track of and tell over all of his machshavos asuros to either his rebbe, or a very close friend, every day. Not only will this force a person to control and eliminate his forbidden thoughts because he doesn't want to be humiliated in front of his rebbe or good friend, but it also has the bonus benefit that the rebbe or friend may have good advice for him in changing his thought patterns.

This advice makes me think of a couple of things. One thing is that it shows that with proper motivation, we have the ability to control our own thoughts, notwithstanding today's conventional wisdom, which says that one cannot control their own thoughts. For instance, if I knew that my employer would withhold a day's pay from me for every time that I had a forbidden thought, then you could be darn sure that I would lose one, or at maximum, two days pay for the rest of my life! I would know and be conscious of the consequences of my thoughts and I would find a way to control them, notwithstanding the difficulty. Reb Mailech is pointing out that this great truth can be channeled into practical application by creating a similar disincentive by telling over all forbidden thoughts to a rebbe or trusted friend.

The other thing that this makes me think of is computer programs that one can install that monitor one's internet use and them creates periodic e-mails to an "accountability partner," that lists all of the questionable internet sites that he has visited during a certain period. I have not found an effective and fully operational program like this, but the concept is the same. He is essentially taking what a program like that does for one's internet use, and then expanding it into his entire brain! His rebbe or friend becomes his "accountability partner" when it comes to taking responsibility for his every thought.

I hope that someone out there finds this eitza effective. May Hashem help us all to be goveir on our thoughts, such that they should only be thoughts which bring us closer to Him, and not, ChV"Sh, the opposite.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of LoriWilliamsOnline)

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Rav Kook's "HaDor," "The Generation" - Audio Shiur #1

This is the first in a series of shiurim on Rav Kook's groundbreaking pamphlet on relationships between the new and old yishuvim by Rabbi Reuven Boshnack, who may be known to some of my readers by his blogs, Izbitz and כדאי To See Inside, as well as through his book and weekly e-mails explaining the Sefas Emes, called The Sfas Emes Project. He is also the new Jewish Learning Initiative rabbi at Brooklyn College. You can listen to the shiur on the embeded player below. Or you can download it on mp3 by clicking here.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

-Dixie Yid

(Picture of Rav Kook courtesy of

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arguing with the yetzer Hara - A Simchas Torah story from R' Levi Yitzchak

I mentioned that four days ago, Sunday October 7th, was R’ Levi Yitzchak from Bardichev’s yartzeit. I saw a great ma’aseh from Simchas Torah about R’ Levi Yitzchak in the sefer Sippurei Chassidim by Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin.

In R’ Levi Yitzchok’s first year of marriage, he was not yet known as a great Tzadik and he was still being supported by his father in law, who was an important member of the community. On Simchas Torah, the Shul honored him with saying “Ata Horeisa.” He approached the bina and picked up the Talis. He remained there for a moment and then he put down the Talis. A few moments later, he picked it up again. And again, a few moments after that, he put it down again. This repeated several times until he yelled out “if you’re such a chossid and such a lamdan, then you do it!”, and then he returned to his place in the Shul, without leading the “Ata Horeisa.”

Everyone in the Shul thought this looked very strange and they thought that R’ Levi Yitzchak was either some kind of false Tzadik or meshugenah. His father in law was humiliated, given his position in the community but he felt it was wrong to ask his son in law for an explanation during the Hakafos. But as soon as they were over, he could no longer contain his curiosity. He approached R’ Levi Yitzchak and asked for an explanation for his strange behavior. And he answered with the following words:

“I’ll tell you the truth. When I picked up the Talis to say the “Ata Horeisa,” my Yetzer Hara said to me that he wanted come up with me and say the Ata Horeisa along with me. I adamantly refused him, and I asked him, “Who are you that you should go up and lead the Ata Horeisa?!” My yetzer hara then answered me, “Who am I?! Who are you!” So I answered him that at least I’m a lamadan, as I have learned much Torah. He answered me that he too was a Lamdan. I responded, “What do you mean? I have learned Shas and Poskim and know much Torah. He answered me that he had been right there with me learning, and he had learned all the same things I had learned. I then said, “But I am also a Chassid! I learned the derech haChassidus from great Tzaddikim.” He answered me that he was also a Chassid and that he had also learned the derech haChassidus from those same Tzadikim right along there with me. In frustration, and realizing that I would not be able to go up and lead the Ata Horeisa withouyt the yetzer hara leading it along with me, I threw down the Talis and yelled back at the yetzer hara, “If you’re such a chassid and such a lamdan, then let’s see you lead the Ata Horeisa by yourself!”

His father in law and the congregation were passified by that answer. I love this story for so many reasons. One is what it says about our learning in chassidus and derech avoda during the whole year and to be aware of the yetzer hara’s place in that, which may be legitimate. The other interesting thing is how in touch R’ Levi Yitzchok was with trying to drive out any yetzer hara or ga’avah in his leading of a part of the tefillah. To me, it’s just such a great ma’aseh. Anyone else have ideas on what we can learn from this ma’aseh?

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of

Torah and Tefillah: Our Connection to Creation and to The Creator - Downloadable Shiur

I am again pleased to offer, for your downloading pleasure, the latest shiur by our friend Reb Yechiel, from the Baltimore Community Kollel chaburah that is learning "Nefesh Shimshon on Tefillah." This shiur was given on Sunday night, Oct. 7, 2007.

The title is "Torah and Tefillah: Our Connection to Creation and to The Creator"
It's about our partnership with Hashem in the creation of "Yesh May'ayin" in the form of chidusshei Torah and heartfelt Tefillah. It serves as a hakdamah to next week's shiur/chaburah which begins talking about the first bracha of Shimoneh Esrei, and also ties in to Parshas Bereishis, with a little taste of Chanukkah as well. You can download the shiur from here. You can left click on the link to listen online or right click to download. Let me know if there are problems.

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of WPClipArt)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Practical Hisbodedus Chaburah in מבוא חורון This Friday Morning With Bilvavi Author

This Friday morning, there will the first in a series of practical Hisbodedus Chaburah meetings with the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh seforim. If you are interested, you can read the e-mail that I received below and RSVP with the proprietor, Ran Weber, at

אנחנו מתחילים ביום שישי הזה (12/10 למיניינם) בשעה 9:00 בבוקר אצלי בבית (מבוא חורון, בית 133א, משפחת ובר)
קבוצת עבודה פנימית עם הרב מחבר בלבבי משכן אבנה. בשיעורים הראשונים הרב יסביר את הבסיס להתבודדות
וינחה הנחיות כלליות ולאחר מכן בע"ה נפגש כל שבוע ונוכל לחלוק חוויות ולשתף את המקום שאנו נמצאים בו
תוך קבלת עצות והכוונה מהרב.

הקבוצה מיועדת למי שבאמת רציני לגבי עבודה פנימית ומוכן להתחייב

בהצלחה לכולם

נ.ב : אם אתם מתכוננים להגיע - נשמח לדעת כדי להערך מבחינת כסאות וכיוב'

-Dixie Yid

(Picture couresy of

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How A Bas Noach in Southeast Asia Learned About Hashem

A fascinating Q&A is posted at ASJ on this topic. Click here to read it.

-Dixie Yid

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Dixie Yid's Charleston, SC Reader

Would the reader from Charleston e-mail me? I have special feelings for Charleston, and especially the University Hospital there. Thanks! dixieyid(at)

Simchas Torah Challenges – "Getting Into" the Dancing

With some encouragement from A Simple Jew, I wanted to put an issue I’m grappling with out there on the table. To state it plainly, I currently find it difficult to ever “get into” the dancing in almost any venue. Aside from two specific events per year, I generally struggle with a feeling of coldness and apathy when it comes to various situations that relate to rikudim. Whether it’s a Chasuna, or dancing on simchas Torah, I generally have a general lack of enthusiasm. When it comes to weddings, unless I am very close to a Chossan, I face this problem.

On the first night of Shmini Atzeres, I went out of my way to daven at a Shul where they do not do Chassidishe hakafos on the first night of Shmini Atzeres. That way, I would only “have” to dance on Simchas Torah its self. When my children were there, I certainly made a great effort to have some great dancing during that time, and the rest of the time, I participated as well, but not with a lot of feeling.

Something that I found very helpful was the fact that the rabbi of my Shul gave us a nice pep talk before the dancing the at night with two sets of kavanos regarding what the avoda of the dancing is about and what it accomplishes. You can read that advice HERE. It was a huge chizuk to know what to think about and I was thankful to have a rabbi who'll lead us along what we need to be doing and thinking about during a mitzva. Although even knowing what great things are hanging in the balance during the dancing, I still had that coldness that is so difficult to shake off during the dancing.

When it comes to intellectual things, even emotionally connected things, like Torah, Chassidus, Gemara, etc. I have no problem getting into it most of the time. The problem arises when I try to connect my intellectual knowledge with my emotions. That’s a great challenge for me and it is something I’m working on in general with the derech avoda of the Bilvavi seforim. It all comes back to one of the messages in my current favorite pasuk from Devarim 4:39, “וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּוֹם, וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ אֶל-לְבָבֶךָ, כִּי יְהוָה הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים, בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וְעַל-הָאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת: אֵין, עוֹד..” It’s the old difficulty of connecting the וְיָדַעְתָּ הַיּוֹם to the וַהֲשֵׁבֹתָ אֶל-לְבָבֶךָ.

Anyone else facing this? How have you handled it or how would you like to handle it?

-Dixie Yid

(Video is a great one of the Melitzer Rebbe having no problems "getting into" the dancing with his then-new son in law, at a Sheva Brachos in Ashdod.)

Is it Intellectually Dishonest to Avoid Blogging About Negative Things?

Please read my guest posting at A Simple Jew, on the topic of whether or not it is intellectually dishonest to avoid blogging about negative topics. Here's his question to me...

A Simple Jew asks:

We can attempt to search for the kernel of truth in everything and strive to write all our postings in a positive manner, however if we fail to acknowledge that indeed sometimes there may be something negative aren't we being intellectually and emotionally dishonest?

Dixie Yid Answers...

(Take special note of the purely positve picture A Simple Jews graces his post with... It will fill you with positive emotions...)

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of ArtByWicks)

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Two Kavanos To Have During Simchas Torah Hakafos

The rabbi in my Shul gave over two thoughts to have during Hakafos on Simchas Torah. Perhaps you can bookmark this post to read next year before Simchas Torah!

The first was was introduced with a mashal. A Jew came to the regional Yerid, trade show, with the intention of making lots of money. With this in mind, he took out a room in the most expensive hotel in town. He enjoyed the luxuries of the room as well as the scrumptious meals every night after "work." After a few days the Maître` di noticed that he was wearing the same cloths every day and that he seemed to be eating the food with a little too much gusto to be accustomed to such fare. He approached him with a copy of the bill, and asked him, "I hope you are happy with your accomodations here?" "Oh yes, I'm quite pleased," the Jew replied. "Very good," answered the Maître` di, "because I just wanted to make you aware of the bill that you have run up. Here it is. Is this correct?" With eyes popping out of his head at seeing such a high number, the Yid fessed up.

"To tell you the truth, I have been totally unsuccessful at the Trade Show and and I have no money at all to pay this bill." Promptly, the Maître` di motioned for the hotels goons to come over. Knowing that they would probably kill him the Yid pleaded, "I know that I cannot pay this bill, but listen. I am the best dancer that any of you have seen around here. If you let me dance, I guarentee you that you will attract more customers here and their business will more than pay for my bill." The Maître` di saw no harm in giving him a chance, and it happened just as the Yid had promised. He danced and the hotel got more buisness, which more than made up for the Yid's bill.

The nimshal is that over the course of the year, we enjoy health, family, a home, parnasa, and many of the other services Hashem provides in the world. But at the end of the year, our balance sheets don't add up. We don't have the Torah, Mitzvos, and ma'asim tovim to "pay" for our stay. When Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur come, our life is on the line as we realize that our life is on the line because our balance sheet doesn't add up! So we tell Hashem, just wait until Simchas Torah! Then we will dance and bring ourselves and our children so much closer to Hashem that He will receive more Torah and Mitzvos in the future because of our dancing on Simchas Torah than he would have received had he taken us from this world because of our unpaid bill.

The idea is that we can think about the fact that we're validating our existance this past year and giving motivation, inspiration, and direction to our upcoming year through the dancing on Simchas Torah.

The second mashal is the following: A Jew is the tenant on his land and the landlord is a kind gentile, landowner. After three months of unpaid rent, the gentile landlord calls over his Jewish tenant and asks about the rent. Appolagetically, the Jewish tenant tells him that he has been unsuccessful in busniess recently, and he cannot pay the rent. The landlord responds that he shouldn't worry about it. He gives him a three month extensions and takes 10% off the balance.

After the three months, the Yid is heartbroken to admit to his landlord that he still hasn't been successful and cannot pay the rent that he owes. The landlord kindly gives him another 3 months and another 10% off.

After the last three months, the Jew feels so dejected about his failures until now that he is totally broken and lacks any self-confidence to succeed in business. He comes to his landlord empty-handed. The landlord tells him that since he's always been a good tenant and paid his rent ontime, he really doesn't want another tenant. He totally forgives all of the past-due rent and just asks him to make future rent payments on-time. The Jewish tenant is so happy and ashamed at the same time to have such relief from debt due simply to the kindness of the landlord.

Determined not to take advantage of his benefactor, he gets all his family together, and he reveals to them all of the difficulties that he is going through and the whole story with the landlord. They are very understanding and collect enough money between them to pay back the landlord and give the Jew enough money to make a new start for himself. He pays back the landlord and using the money that he received on loan from his family, along with the confidence that he gained from the whole process, he succesfully turns his fortune around and "lives happily ever after."

The nimshal is: We run up such a debt from the whole previous year where our ma'asim do not match all that we receive. On R"H and Y"K, we are given a free break from our Landlord in shamayim, and we are granted life for another year. On Simchas Torah, we call up our family, our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, Yosef and Dovid Malka Meshicha in each of the seven hakafos. "lend" the zechuyos we need to pay off our debts from the previous year and make a new start with chizuk for the coming year. Therefore, he suggests thinking of each of these "ushpizin" during each of the 7 hakafos and think about how they are lending their "midos" for our benefit.

In the first hakafa, think about the mida of chesed we receive from Avraham. During the seoncd think about the Gevura from Yitzchak. In the third Hakafa, we think of the Tiferes of Yaakov. During the fouth hakafa we should focus on the mida of Netzach from Moshe, and in the fifth hakafa, we draw down the mida of Hod from Aharon Hakohein. In the sixth hakafa, we should focus on the mida of Yesod to draw strength in the areas of shmiras haeinayim and shemiras habris that we draw from Yosef. And in the fifth hakafa, we should think about the mida of malchus that we receive from Dovid Hamelech.

If you can remember any of these for next year, or use my "Simchas Torah" category link on the right sidebar, I hope these teachings and kavanos for simchas Torah will be helpful!

-Dixie Yid

Notes from Pre-Yom Kippur Bilvavi Shiur - In Hebrew

I have received another e-mail from my new holy friend in Eretz Yisroel, Uri Sender, who took notes at a shiur given by Rav Itamar Shwartz, shlita, in Yerushalayim, before Yom Kippur. The notes are in Hebrew, and contain a number of the points Rav Shwartz gave over in this particular shiur, though they were not reviewed by Rav Shwartz prior to my posting them. Please read, enjoy, and distribute.

-Dixie Yid (Picture courtesy of Judaica Heaven, where the print can be purchased)

שיעור לקראת יוה"כ, תשס"ח, ירושלים
(נקודות שציינתי במחברת)

עבודת הימים - עבודה של תשובה. עשי"ת עד יו"כ, בבחינה "ושבת עד ה' אלוקיך". עליה עד יוה"כ.
מצוות תשובה כוללת: חרטה, וידוי, קבלה לעתיד.
כל המצוות בד"כ שייכות להווה. בתשובה שייך עבר-חרטה, הווה-עצם המצווה,וידוי, עתיד-קבלה לעתיד.
זו המצווה היחידה שיש בה 3 הזמנים.
שורש - בפסחים נ"ד - 7 דברים קדמו לבריאת העולם ואחד מהם זו התשובה.
שמאיר בה אור שקדם לעולם, שאין בחינה של זמן. וכך מאחדת את 3 הזמנים. שולחים את השעיר לעזאזל בידי מזומן ומיוחד לדבר. עד כמה שיש מי שאינו מוכן, יש מי שמוכן ומזומן. בעומק, זהו לשון זמן. הכנה וזימון היא בבחינת עבר הווה ועתיד.
שליחת השעיר לעזאזל ע"י איש עיתי שולחת את הזימון לעזאזל וע"י זה מתגלה האור שמעבר לזמן, בבחינת אחד.
יו"כ זה היום של הקב"ה, שאין בו בחינה של זמן, זה יום אחד בשנה, אחד - לא בבחינה של זמן. בחינת מקום אינה מן המידה וכך גם הזמן.
זה תפישה שלא כאבחנה של זמן. האור, אם כן, הוא לא בגדר של 3 הזמנים, אלא ממילא במקום שאין בו זמן יש ??????
כשאין זמן, מהי העבודה בנפש? עבודה יו"כ היא להכנס לאבחנה שאין בו זמן.
מהי? מהי בנפש?
"משנה עיתים ומחליף הזמנים" - כל כח השינוי הוא בעצם תפישת הזמן. לולא שינוי לא היה זמן. כל ענינו של זמן - שינוי.
האור האמיתי, אין בו זמן - אין בו שינוי. "ביום הזה יכפר עליכם מכל חטאתיכם" כשאין זמן אין חטאים.
כל ענינו של חטא הוא השינוי מהמצב הראשון. כדי שיהיה שייך רע מוכרח שיהיה שינוי מהמצב הראשון. הרי בשורש אין רע, נקודת התמידיות - הראשית - אין בה רע. שורש הרע הוא בריאה מחודשת.
עומק הכפרה ביו"כ - "לפני ה' תטהרו" (שם הויה אין בו בחינה של זמן), האדם צריך להתאחד עם האבחנה של היה הווה ויהיה. זה העומק של מצוות התשובה.
א"כ, התשובה היא כלי להתאחד בהוויה של הווה היה ויהיה. כל דבר שהוא בתוך גדרי הזמן - לא שייך שם תשובה!
"עיצומו של יום מכפר" - גדר של יומו של הקב"ה - אין בו שינוי - וכשנגלה באדם האור הזה שאין בו שינוי - אז נגלה בו האור שאין בו רע. אין שינוי מנקודת הראשית - הכל טוב.
ביו"כ אנחנו דומים למלאכים - מתעטפים בלבן - האדם הוא בבחינת בחירה, ולא המלאכים. נקודת השינוי היא נקודת שורש הבחירה. בכל רגע ורגע יש באדם בחירה. כשפועל, או כשמחריב ח"ו, או כשמתקן. התנועה מושרשת בבחירה. ביו"כ מגיע להכרה במציאות ה' יתברך, וע"כ אין לו רצון לצאת משם. זו המציאות שמכפרת ביום זה. מצב התפישה הזו, אין מקום של חטא. באותה נקודה החטא לא נגע.
מתוך העולמות המקולקלים האדם לא יכול לינוק כפרה, רק מחוץ - מה' יתברך - בו אין נגיעה לתנועה ושינוי - עבירה.
במס"י פרק כ"ו, מובא שהקדושה, עניינה הדביקות בה' יתברך. הכרת האדם בבורא היא בבחינה של תנועה ולשם כביכול החטא יכול להגיע.
רק הכרה תמידית בבורא - אין בה שינוי - אין בה מציאות של חטא!
לעתיד לבוא אין הבחנה של חטא.
בנפש האדם הכפרה היא כאשר מגיעה לנקודה התמידית.
ביו"כ כהן גדול היה הוגה את השם המפורש באותיותיו. הכתיבה - שם הויה והקריאה - שם אדנות. לעתיד לבוא - "ה' אחד ושמו אחד".
בשם אדנות יש מרידה במלך ואז יש את אדנותו. כשאדם בוחר נגד רצון השם הוא מכחיש את קיון האדנות של הבורא ית'. כשלא מקבל את האדנות, פוגם באדנותו. שם הויה לא משתנה - היה הווה ויהיה. שם אדנות משתנה באם קיבלנו או לא את האדנות.
נכתב בהויה וקרא באדנות. הקשר שלנו, ההשגה שלנו, היא בבחינת האדנות. אבל הכהן גדול ביו"כ שאין בו מציאות של זמן - נגלה תפישה של מלך מלכי המלכים כנקודה שאין בה מקום/זמן - שינוי, ומשם נקודת הכפרה של יום הכיפורים. מתגלה אור שאין בו שינוי, שהיה מתגלה לכהן והוא היה הוגה את השם - שם הויה.
יש מהלך של חיים שהוא בבחינת שם הויה, ויש מהלך של חיים שהוא בבחינת שם אדנות. הנפוץ - אדנות. אבל הפנימי - נדיר, ואותו האדם יכול לגלות ביום הכיפורים.
נבאר אותם:
למה יתגלה לעתיד לבוא שה' אחד ושמו אחד?
כעת האור הוא לא הכלי, הכלי יש בו שינוי והאור אין בו. לפיכך האדם לא יכול להרגיש את ה' באמת.
רק אדם שיש בו תפישת מציאות ללא שינוי הוא כלי לאין סוף. "העקשן יצליח" (הגר"א). העומק - עקשן זה אותו אחד שיש לו תמידיות - לא מתייאש - יכול להיות כלי לאלוקות.
סוד ענינו אי אפשר לגלות אותו כלפי חוץ כי אין בו תנועה. עד כמה יש מרחק בין אמיתותה של התורה למה שנגלה כלפי חוץ. כלפי חוץ נגלה האדנות.
הלוחות הראשונים ניתנו לאחר לאחר מעמד הר סיני, הויה ירד על הר סיני, אך לאחר העגל, הלוחות נגלים דוקא ביו"כ.
"והגית בו יומם ולילה" - תמידיות - כדי לתפוש את הנכתב ולא את הנקרא. כשמשה שבר את הלוחות זה הפך לנקודה של תנועה.
מהי תורה? האם מציאות תמידית או נקודה משתנה?!
המשיח יגלה את התורה של ההויה.
הדבר היחיד שאנחנו יכולים לעשות הוא לבכות לקב"ה - פתח ליבי כדי שאוכל להגיע לנקודה של תמידי בנפש ואז נראה "אור חדש על ציון תאיר".
האור שנמצא הוא באין-ערוך למה שנגלה היום בבריאה.
כאשר התורה של האדם היא בבחינה של תמיד האדם יכול לדבוק בבוראו.
שנזכה להתאחד בהיה הווה ויהיה, להתכלל בו ית' בשלימות.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Higher Levels of Yirah & Clarification of "The Biggest Chiddush"

I was learning Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh vol. 2 (Chapter 16 and Bilvavi Vol. 4, chapter 1), and I think that his explanation of the 5 types of Yirah, as outlined in the Mesilas Yesharim, shed some more light on his statement that if one isn't consciously Daveik to Hashem in this world, he will not truly be Daveik to Hashem in the next world (that we have discussed earlier here and here).

He explains the difference between the two highest levels of Yirah, Yiras Haromemus and Yiras Chait. He says that Yiras Haromemus is greater than the three lower levels of Yirah because it is focused on fear of doing anything wrong against Hashem, whereas the three lower levels all focused on different levels of fear centering around one's self. However, Yiras Haromemus means that the person is only Daveik to Hashem when he is learning or doing Mitzvos, but not when he is doing divrei reshus. I have come to the understanding that when Rav Shwartz is speaking about being Daveik to Hashem, Deveikus here means a constant consciousness of Hashem's immediate presence. When the person who has attained Yiras Haromemus is davening, doing a mitzvah, or learning, he feels the immediate presence of Hashem. This consciousness automatically results in a fear of doing anything to wrong Hashem. This is the level of Yiras Haromemus.

On the other hand, Yiras Cheit is the constant awareness of Hashem's immediate presence, even when doing "divrei reshus," mundane things. In this context of this explanation, though, I think that I have gotten more of a handle of how the Bilvavi seforim define Deveikus. It is not necessarily an emotional feeling (serenity, pleasure, fear, excitation, etc.), but rather it is a constant consciousness of Hashem's immediate presence.

He says that if one does not have know this experience of constant awareness of Hashem's immediate presence, then he will be at a loss when the time for reward comes. When all of the other Tzaddikim are sitting and enjoying the radiance of the Divine Presence while pointing, k'vayachol, at Hashem and saying, "This is the G-d that we have hoped for!", this person will not know what to make of the whole situation (Brachos 17a: צדיקים יושבין ועטרותיהם בראשיהם ונהנים מזיו השכינה... זה ה' קוינו לו".) Since he has no personal experience with the Divine Presence (though he's lived a life of Torah and Mitzvos) he will have the experience of not really being sure that the G-d that everyone is "pointing" at is really the G-d he's been hoping for. Hashem will be somewhat of a stranger to him. (Although he will be rewarded for every mitzvah and every word of Torah, this will still be his experience when it comes to Hano'oh mi'ziv Hashechina.)

May this deeper understanding of the meaning of Deveikus with Hashem and this sober understanding of what our foucus and goal should be in life, may we be zocheh to attain the Deveikus with Hashem that Rav Shwartz describes!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of"Dion")