Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shalosh Sheudos at Aish Kodesh Woodmere - Guest Posting


(Guest Posting by Neil at Modern Uberdox)

Several months ago I spent a Shabbos in Woodmere and I'd like to share my thoughts about one particular experience.

As I walked downstairs at Congregation. Aish Kodesh after davening Mincha on Shabbos, I expected a typical Shalosh Seudos. I should have known better. After spending an entire Shabbos in Rav Moshe Weinberger's kehillah, I should have known that nothing is really typical (in a good way) when it has something to do with Aish Kodesh.

Tables and chairs were set up to hold the two hundred plus men that has come downstairs to join their Mora D'asrah for the last moments before Shabbos Kodesh would leave them. After I was wisked by my friend to wash and quickly take a seat, I grabbed a piece of bread from the table and some cake. I took in the whole scene. As during all of the davening over Shabbos there were a mix of men with beards, men clean shaven, men with long payos, men with knitted kipot, men with velvet yalmukas, men with hats, men with shtrimelach, men in white shirts, men in jackets, ...a true mix of Kenesses Yisrael.

To my right my friend was discussing issues concerning Sh'mita with someone across the table and to my left there were two men were reviewing that morning's section of Daf Yomi. After a few minutes of shmoozing and eating my friend told me to get up and grab my chair, quickly. Just as I got up, the lights when out in the room and we quickly took our chairs (along with everyone else) and formed rows in front of the table were Rav Weinberger was sitting.

I remembered reading that it was the minhag among Chassidim to have Shalosh Seudos in the dark, especially when it came time for niggunim and d'vrai Torah. As we sat, the entire room began singing. Of couse we sang Mizmor L'David three time to three amazing tunes. It was an emotional experience, especially when everyones' voices blended into one voice singing praise to Hashem. After the third time, we sang the tradtional Yedid Nefesh.

Then the Rav of Congregation Aish Kodesh spoke. Having attended Rav Weinberger's shiurim in Queens when I single and for many years being part of his teleconferenced classes, listening to tapes, CDs, and now mp3s I thought I was fairly use to hearing him give over Torah. As I look back now, hearing him speak at Shalosh Seudos was like hearing Rav Weinberger speak for the first time. It was intense, intimate, and electric! There was a connection he seemed to have with every Yid in the room. His message that Shalosh Seudos was one of hope and trust in Hashem. He said over an idea that each one of us has the ability to accomplish great things because Hashem gives us an inner strength that we need to unlock and tap into. It was a perfect message to give over as we left a state of Kodesh and re-entered a stale of Chol.

It is said that Shalosh Seudos bei the Rebbe of Piazeczna, Harav Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, zt"l (for whom Rav Weinberger's shul is named after) was truly the highpoint of Shabbos Kodesh. In my humble opinion, that Shalosh Seudos I experienced is a living tribute to the Aish Kodesh!

-Dixie Yid

(Picture courtesy of Yitzi Mayer [not taken at Shalosh Sheudos])

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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Parshas Bamidbar
The Medrash starts off in these weeks Parsha "the Torah was given with three things: fire, water, and desert. The Medrash begs the question what is the significance of these elements and what is their connection to the Torah? There are multifaceted reasons for each of the elements; it is only when you look deeper into each element in symbolism and history that it becomes abundantly clear. It is only then that the correlations are easy to understand. Fire represents many things. The first thing it represents is that we must do Mitzvos with a fiery enthusiasm. That is that our souls should be metaphysically on fire. A second lesson of fire is that just as fire spreads it is our job to spread torah. Then there is the Torah and its historic correlation with fire the first person to recognize hashem was Avraham. He was sent to death by Nimrod. The death they choose for him was a FIRE which he bravely entered and came out unscathed. Jewish history continues to illustrate the connection between the fire and Torah. We know the Medrash states that Har Sinai the Mountain was full of smoke because the torah descended with fire. The first part of the Medrash is now understood and we see that the torah and fire are essentially intertwined.
Water's symbolical and historical correlation with torah is also apparent after a bit of reflection. First everyone knows the Chazal that says that when the torah says water it is talking about torah as the Chazal state אין מים אלה תורה. The result of this is just as water is the greatest thirst quencher so to the torah is the only thing that can quench the thirst of our soul. The water further symbolize the messages of torah first by telling us that just as water always flows to the lowest point thereby always behaving modestly. It is our job as Jews to always behave modestly. A second aspect is just as water is abundant and is free so should the Torah be abundant and free. Lastly we all know that water in a Mikvah is to cleanse Jews from their impurities. That is to go frum Tumah to Tahrah it is also the function of Torah to cleanse Jews of their metaphysical impurities. Torah and its historic correlation with water is also known .The Jews where being chased by the Egyptians where did they go into the water and it split .This was done only so the Jews receive the Torah. A second aspect of the Medrash is now understandable and we see the wisdom of the Medrash in a much clearer light.
The last part of Medrash speaks of the desert. Thinking deeply we find its significance to Torah. The first moral lesson to take is, that is just as a desert is freely used by all people so to should be your Torah. The second lesson is that just as the Desert is empty of trees and shrubbery we should be empty of materialisms if we want to receive the torah properly. The third lesson of the desert just as it has no owner so to the torah has no owner and every Jew has a part in it. The historical aspect of the desert should be readily apparent. The Jews left Egypt and they followed Hashem into the Desert showing their amazing trust in Hashem an essential key to receiving the torah and a lesson to us all.
The Medrash may have one more lesson that is not so readily apparent that is the Kosher aspect. That is just as the Torah expects our dishes to be Kosher and Hashem expects no less of us, to receive the Torah. The Three elements are clear illustrations of Koshering. There are three ways to make a non kosher item kosher. They are all in our Medrash first fire this is Libun known more widely as kashering it is purging that means heating a pan or grill until it is red hot, so here we have the element of fire. Then there is hagalah which is essentially submerging the utensil in boiling water we now have the element of water. The most recognizable aspect of the desert is sand and dirt and now you can understand the final correlation. There is a way to Kosher something called na’itza and it is only for knives. It is when you stab it in hard soil 10 times you know have the element of desert. The Medrash is now explained and we understand it on a whole new level in its symbolism history and Kashrus.

DixieYid said...

Thanks for the dvar Torah Mr. Anon. Marbitz Torah!

-Dixie Yid

Neil Harris said...

I second that!

Anonymous said...

Parshas Bamidbar
שְׂאוּ אֶת-רֹאשׁ כָּל-עֲדַת בְּנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת כָּל-זָכָר לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם
Why does the posuk say בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת the number of names? The Ramban answers the question by saying that the Jewish counting is fundamentally different then a regular Census. A regular census is to collect data. There is no recognition of the individual. Therefore the torah went out of its way to say at a Jewish counting each person according to his name. Reb Lebowitz Zatzal says Hashem is telling we have to emulate him. When we interact with people we don’t just say yes he another of a certain group we must recognize each person for the individual he is and Honor and respect him as such.
וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר
The Medrash starts off in these weeks Parsha "the Torah was given with three things: fire, water, and desert. The Medrash may have one more lesson that is not so readily apparent that is the kosher aspect. That is just as the Torah expects our dishes to be Kosher so to Hashem expects no less of us, in order to receive the Torah. The Three elements are clear illustrations of Koshering. There are three ways to make a non kosher item kosher. They are all in our Medrash first is fire this is Libun known more widely as Kashering in English it is purging that means heating a pan or grill until it is red hot, so here we have the element of fire. Then there is hagalah which is essentially submerging the utensil in boiling water we now have the element of water. The most recognizable aspect of the desert is sand and dirt and now you can understand the final correlation. There is a way to Kosher something called na’itza and it is only for knives. It is when you stab it in hard soil 10 times you know have the element of desert. The Medrash now has a whole new level in its symbolism as now it represents Kashrus.
וַאֲנִי הִנֵּה לָקַחְתִּי אֶת-הַלְוִיִּם מִתּוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תַּחַת כָּל-בְּכוֹר פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהָיוּ לִי הַלְוִיִּם
Whenever the torah speaks about the Levim it almost always says מִתּוֹך from among. What is the Significance that the Levim be among the Bnei Yisroel? Reb Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld answers it is to teach a lesson for the Levim. There are Halachos that apply to the Jews interaction with the Shevet Levi the Kohanim and Levim come first for Bentching and Kriyas Hatorah. This may lead to them to feel superior. This is why the torah always said from among the Jews. The reason you receive the honor is because you are among the Jews as teachers therefore you are owed the respect and not because of some Intrinsic quality. He also noted this message in the word יִשְׂרָאֵל when you spell it out and take the middle letter it spells out the word Levim
לויים =, למד, אלף, יוד שין ריש
so here we have another level of the Levim being מִתּוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
וְנָסַע אֹהֶל-מוֹעֵד מַחֲנֵה הַלְוִיִּם בְּתוֹךְ הַמַּחֲנֹת כַּאֲשֶׁר יַחֲנוּ כֵּן יִסָּעוּ אִישׁ עַל-יָדוֹ לְדִגְלֵיהֶם
What is the Posuk telling us as they rested so they traveled? The Satmar Rebbe in his Sefer Divrie Yoel gives an answer based on a Gemara in Taanis. The Gemara says that Yosef warned his brothers do not talk torah on the way as you are liable to get lost or fall into a pit because you will get caught up in your learning. This week in the Medrash it explains how the clouds of glory worked .They traveled in front of the Jews a distance of three days it cleared the land of snakes and scorpions and leveled it so that there are no pits. Therefore we now understand what the Posuk is saying, that is just as when we rest we are not concerned about getting lost and falling into the pit so to now with the clouds of glory leading the way even when we travel getting lost is not a concern.
מִבֶּן שְׁלֹשִׁים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה וְעַד בֶּן-חֲמִשִּׁים שָׁנָה כָּל-בָּא לַצָּבָא לַעֲשׂוֹת מְלָאכָה בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד
Why here by קְהָת does the torah use the language מְלָאכָה but by גֵּרְשֻׁנִּי the torah says עבודת ? The answer is a Klal in Hilchos Shabbos. קְהָת carried things on his body that is an Issur from the Torah so we call it a מלכה. The other Levim but the objects from the Beis Hamikdash on animals which is only a Drabonon so their work is called an עבודה.

Raphael Adams said...

Concerning Shalosh Seudos at Aish Kodesh, you've provided yet another reason why I would love some day to be able to spend a Shabbos at this holy kehillah.

For those who are ever in Thornhill(north of Toronto), you can experience a similar (albeit considerably smaller) Shalosh Seudos at the Westmount Shul.

It is also in the dark, has beautiful singing, a powerful d'var Torah and personal stories of Hashgacha Pratis. And it ends well after Rabbeinu Tam as the 30 or so Yidden try to hold onto Shabbos as long as possible.

Check out westmountshul.com for more info and a lot of free online classes by our Rav, R. Yossi Michalowicz, on the Piasezner, Bilvovi and Rav Pincus z"l, to name a few.

DixieYid said...

Rephael,

Yours sounds like a great Shul. That's one reason why I've linked to it on the right side-bar. Thank you for sharing that information and may Hashem help y'all keep on growing up in the great, wild north. :-)

-Dixie Yid

Neil Harris said...

I'm actually going through R. Yossi Michalowicz's mp3s of Bilvavi for reviewing while biking. They are excellent.