Monday, August 31, 2009

Guess Where Which Store I Went Shopping at on Sunday...

We got some things we needed at the "Silent Hippopotamus."

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Davening for the Mundane - Rabbi Boruch Leff on Bilvavi II Ch. 13 - Audio Shiur

Rabbi Boruch Leff has been mezakeh us with part three of his series of shiurim on Bilvavi Vol. 2, Chapter 13. The shiur discussed:
Is it wrong to daven for new shoes? A

re we made of gold and silver or of base metal (Kotzker)?

How are we supposed to feel after we daven?
CLICK HERE to get the shiur!
P.S. You can get "Shabbos in My Soul," Volumes 1 and 2 by Rabbi Leff, for the price of one, HERE.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern on Parshas Ki Seitzei

Here is an excerpt from the English translation of Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's "Toras Chochom" that he gave over this week on Parshas Ki Seitzei. Below are links to the full English and Hebrew texts of Toras Chochom on Parshas Ki Seitzei.
During the month of Elul, we need to fulfill the verse in our parsha that describes the “beautiful captive woman”: “And she shall weep over her father and mother for a month of days.”[1] Each and every Jew must seek to merit ruach hakodesh and prophecy during these auspicious days. We must all work to find the path to rectify ourselves and change our ways.

The first step to holiness is the level called “matrimony in an aspect of Chochmah.” This means that one truly lives with the understanding that whatever he endures is from Hashem and is for the best, since there is nothing but Him.[2] But as we work on this feeling of the immanence of Hashem, the bonded closeness that parallels matrimony, we must advance to the levels of yibum and chalitzah which represent confronting the negative within us so that we can truly change our ways.

[1] See Likutei Torah, Parshas Ki Teitzei
[2] Devarim 4:35
Click on one of the following links ot get the full text of Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's Torah on Parshas Ki Seitzei:

Toras Chochom on Parshas Ki Seitzi
English Translation of Toras Chochom on Parshas Ki Seitzi

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You Are What You Praise - Rav Shmuel Brazil, New Rosh Yeshiva of Ziv Hatorah

Parshas Ki Seitze
Rav Shmuel Brazil, Yerushalayim
At the end of the parsha we find the Torah describing Amalek as אשר קרך בדרך the nation that cooled you off on the way. What is the exact nature of “cooling one off on the way”?

In order for an individual to have personal growth in avodas Hashem, he must have constant yearnings to reach such a lofty goal. Our chazal say חייב אדם לומר מתי יגיעו מעשי למעשה אבותי אברהם יצחק ויעקב when will my deeds reach the deeds of our avos. This is not just a privilege to say but rather an obligation since our Chazal used the word חייב. Rav Gifter ztl as a young bachur had pictures of gedolim in his room posted on the wall. One frame however was missing the picture. When he was questioned what happened to the picture he would respond that it was his own picture in thirty years from now that was waiting to be placed there. He would claim that this aspiration for gadlus helped him to become the ben Torah that he was.

Some mechanchim came before the Chazon Ish ztl and asked that there was a gan mizrachi in the vicinity and they wanted to know if they could join with them for if not it would be almost financially impossible to do it separately. The Chazon Ish responded that it would be permissible only if they have pictures of gedolim exclusively on the walls. The gan refused and they did not join.

To blossom in Torah and Yiddishkeit one must have these yearnings and aspirations of gadlus. It is interesting to note that the word for yearnings is געגועים whose source word is גע which means to touch. To fulfill the obligation of מי יגיעו מעשה למעשה אבותי one must have the yearnings and inspirations to reach that goal and dream.

I once taught for a short period of time in a junior high school where as soon as you entered the building you were greeted with basketball and hockey trophies that this school’s team have won over the years. This was my Shalom Aleichem to the Magna Carta of what is esteemed in this school of torah education. It was obvious that to aspire to achieve this goal was the ultimate unchallenged success story that the educational staff thrived to convey and implant into the delicate minds and hearts of their students who every day would be reinforced with this ideal by passing by this “treifa,” I mean “trophy”. Then parents wonder why doesn’t my child have no interest at all in learning gemarrah or even chumash. “A trophy” awarded for all the energies invested for exceptional physical feats of man causes a sapping of spiritual energy and interest in our young children and an “atrophy” sets in, a diminution and wasting of ruchniyus growth. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not about sports and healthy exercise but rather only when we make an avodah zarah of it – the “my hero” syndrome.

The passuk says איש לפי מהללו that the measure of man is according to those that praise him. The Rabbeinu Yonah renders a different interpretation to this. That the measure of a man is according to what he constantly praises. One’s true essence can be determined to what he esteems and deems important and worthwhile. If in his conversations we always find the topic of rich people, then we know what he aspires for. If he constantly talks about gedolim then we also know where his heart lies. This Rabbeinu Yona in an incredible chiddush. For this means that is does not make a difference if one works the entire day or learns the entire day. It is what he praises that defines and is the barometer of who he really is and where he is truly holding. A little scary wouldn’t you say?

Amalek cools a person off from these aspirations of gadlus. He places these obstacles on the way of this journey and says after one falls and fails “see I told you so that this is not for you and that you can really never make an everlasting change. Forget about trying it will never ever work. Use your energies for something more constructive like becoming part of the Fortune 500. The malach of Esav attacks Yaakov and the passuk says ויאבק איש עמו and the chazal say שהעלו אבק that during the battle they brought up dust. What was this battle all about? The answer is in the word אבק which stands for the acronym אשר קרך בדרך . The grandson of Eisav inherited his role as cooling agent from his zaida and malach.

Our Chazal say that a man’s profession in this world should be to make himself an אלם which means a mute. We can interpret this to mean that one must speak about the aspirations of Torah and avodah that he yearns to achieve and be silent about other issues that would take him and others away from their true mission in this world. Note that the acronym of אלם is איש לפי מהללו. There is no mitzvah just to talk but rather to talk about issues that will bring awareness to the tzelem elokim that man possesses and not materialism and earthliness. Remember that איש לפי מהללו and that will help one to be silent from saying the wrong and inappropriate things. Even if one is silent he can still listen and learn. Note that the letters of silent spell listen!

In the month of Elul one must re inspire himself to Torah and avodas Hashem. Let us reevaluate what are the contents of our praise. Let us remove from our midst’s the trophies of the secular world that has become morally bankrupt and decayed right in front of our eyes. Let us recharge our dreams and aspirations for gadlus which everyone can reach in his and her own level. Let us once again feel the excitement and freshness of yearning for personal growth and coming closer to Hashem. Then our Elul will make our Rosh Hashana even more meaningful and meritorious.

Gut Shabbos
Beis Medresh Zeev haTorah
Audio shiurim of the week of Ki Seitze
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Urgency of Making Our Voices Heard - Tefillas "Shema Koleinu" - Audio Shiur

Reb Yerachmiel has treated us to his third audio shiur on the topic of berchas "Shema Koleinu" in Shmoneh Esrei.

In this shiur Reb Yerachmiel poses the following basic questions on the tefillah's opening words "Shema Koleinu", which questions relate to the very nature of davening generally:

Why do we ask Hashem "Shema" ("please listen")? Certainly, our omniscient Hashem is always listening and aware (in fact, it's essentially Ani Maamin #10).
Why do we emphasize "Koleinu" ("our voice")? Isn't it sufficient just to "think" about what we need and let Hashem, the "Bochain Levavos", take it from there?
Doesn't Hashem already know exactly what we need and exactly what we want? So why the need for "bakashos" at all?

These and other questions are addressed by Reb Yerachmiel as he gleans from and learns together with us an astounding yesod written by Rav Shimshon Pincus zt"l in his renowned sefer "Shearim Be'Tfillah". This shuir is the perfect introduction not only to more deeply understanding an approach to what our "bakashos" are all about, but also explains the urgency of our increased prayers during the days of Ellul and the Yomim Noraim.

CLICK HERE to get the shiur by either left clicking to listen right away or right clicking and selecting "Save Target As" to download.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Where One Who Loves You Hurts You to Set You Free

Chana, of A Curious Jew, put up a great great post. She uses a movie mashal to bring out a very powerful point that you do not see outside of mussar seforim.

She uses a scene from a movie called V for Vendetta where one person who loves another like a father figure tortures her and puts her through a lot of pain and makes her think that she is sacrificing her own life for something greater than herself, in order to set her free from her fear of death and her desire to think that living a normal life is all that life is about. It really brings the "ain ben chorin ela mi she'oseik b'talmud Torah" point home in a very powerful way. I recommend the post highly.

A Curious Jew: Precious

Central Quote:

We are tortured, cruelly tortured by a God who seems not to care for us. We are tried beyond endurance; there is a pain that racks the soul and kills us. We do not know why we have been tortured so and then we are set free. And we realize it was all a sham. We thought it was someone evil and cruel who was torturing us, whether that was our Evil Inclination or some other tool. In truth, it was God. But God did it in order to set us free, to enable us to learn things about ourselves we could never otherwise have known.

Full post HERE.

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Amazing New Rav Kook Video - Must See

This is an amazing Rav Kook video. It has a number of pictures that I'd seen before on it. But the amazing part is that it has SEVERAL videos that I've never before seen of him, some of which are pretty close up. You can watch him talking to people and the kindness and holiness really shine through. His face is so bright and warm. I really appreciate whoever put this video together. Very worth seeing.

HT Heichal Haneginah

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Justice and Kingship - Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern on Parshas Shoftim

Here is an excerpt from the English translation of Rav Itchie Mayer Morgenstern's "Toras Chochom" that he gave over this week on Parshas Shoftim. Below are links to the full English and Hebrew texts of Toras Chochom on Parshas Shoftim.
Justice is itself associated with Malchus / Kingship [since ‘dinah d’malchusa dinah’—the law of the land is the law].[1] During these days of repentance leading up to the Yomim Nora’im, each and every one of us must judge himself honestly to be able to crown Hashem as King over himself. The Maggid taught that one can see the outcome of his heavenly judgment on Rosh Hashanah by closely evaluating the quality of his Divine service here below. His own self-judgment of his Divine service, his own scrutiny of his thoughts and intentions during his Torah study and prayer, have a lot to teach him about what his judgment on high is like.

As the day of judgment draws near, we enter into the aspect of, “You shall make judges and officers in all your gates”—everyone is seized by fear and trembling of what is to come, since, “Who is considered righteous before You?” For this reason, the Torah teaches us at precisely this time to pursue “justice,” to follow the attribute of Malchus, “that you may live and inherit,” so that the Shechinah will bring us to make the yichud of the ultimate future—the “beautiful” yichud symbolized by the beis din yafeh.

..All that we have learned sheds light on the final subject of our parshah, that of eglah arufah: “If one be found slain in the land which Hashem your G-d gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who has struck him... And they shall speak and say: ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Forgive, Hashem, Your people Yisrael, whom You have redeemed...”[1] But all of the Jewish people are responsible for one another—so how can the elders say that their hands did not shed this blood and their eyes did not see it? Rather, this comes to teach us that true repentance really does make it as though no sin ever occurred post facto. But this is only possible if one truly seeks out the Shechinah who waits for us to open our eyes and turn toward her.

The vessels through which we can receive the light of Shechinah are generated by looking at the letters of the Torah themselves and by visualizing the Divine Names. We must work to see that there is nothing but Hashem, while at the same time never being complacent in Hashem’s presence, but always feeling the healthy fear of transgressing even the most minor halachah. We must repent fully for all of the commonplace infractions and spend this month of Elul investigating whether our deeds are in accordance with the Shulchan Aruch. This has been the practice of the Jewish people—to check their tefillin and mezuzos during Elul, which is only a reflection of the rigorous checking that we have to do into our own hearts and actions. At the same time, during this month the tzaddikim focused on Hashem’s thirteen attributes of mercy and on the Shechinah, and sought the greater purpose of revealing Hashem’s glory throughout all of the world, to activate the final redemption.
PDF of Toras Chochom on Shoftim in English
PDF of Toras Chochom on Shoftim in Original Hebrew

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Article in Mishpacha Magazine About the Rubashkins - Legal Defense Fund

An article on Shalom Rubashkin by Reb Yisroel Besser has just come out in the latest issue of Mishpacha Magazine. You can see the full article HERE.

The family is requesting help with their legal defense fund. You can click here to donate. Even though the website does not mention the Rubashkins specificially, that is who the money will go to.

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Kol Brisk on Parshas Shoftim

Parashas Shoftim

ולא תקים לך מצבה אשר שנא ה' אלקיך.
"And do not erect for yourself a single-stone altar, that Hashem, your G-d, despises."

Rashi:  A matzaiva is an altar comprised of one single stone for bringing sacrifices, even to Heaven.  Hashem despises matzaivos, for this was a practice of the kenaanim.  Even though in the days of the Avos the single-stone altar was favoured by Him, it is now despised for it was made into a practice of idol worship.

Why are specifically matzaivos despised by Hashem?  Didn't the kenaanim also have regular altars constructed of many stones??  What makes the matzaiva-altar so traife?


The Shaim miShmuel explains that the mizbeiach constructed of many stones represents the Shvatim, the twelve tribes of Klal Yisrael who all come together as one.  This is a prerequisite for serving Hashem.  Even though every person has his or her own individual characteristics and achievements and priorities, we all come together as one in the service of G-d.  It is not possible to present ourselves before G-d as separate, independent individuals.  It is a basic reality that all Jews are equal.  Avodas Hashem does not tolerate any class distinctions.  The ban on an altar of only one stone, the matzaiva, underscores this principle.


In the time of the Avos, matzaiva-altars were permitted and favored because the souls of the Avos were each as the soul of the whole nation.


The kenaanim, however, took the notion of matzaiva and incorporated it into their idolatrous rites.  They, in essence, are not one being as is Klal Yisrael, but are an odd, disparate and fragmented conglomerate of individuals.  Their matzaiva-altar, unlike those erected by the Avos, is despised.


After the time of the Avos, Am Yisrael cannot present themselves before the Shechina as individuals, but must identify with the whole of Klal Yisrael.


A few years ago, someone commented that today, there are no leaders recognized by all the groups.  Each religious group has its own leaders to whom they look for guidance, but we lack leaders that are accepted across the board.


Before we look to assess and give marks to the Manhigim of today, let us assess ourselves.  Have you ever noticed the trend, the phenomenon rampant today of people barricading themselves into social fortresses, the unifying factor varying, sometimes political affiliation, sometimes common lineage, neighborhood, affiliation with a specific institution, etc.  A great amount of effort is expended in order to fortify these strongholds.  Thus, the wherewithal of all these structures becomes very sophisticated.  There is a complete private vocabulary and communication network, humor, grading system that is developed, exclusively understood and used by the members of these barricaded cliques among themselves and their fans.


Chazal teach us, "Greet every Jew with a bright countenance." Why?

Because every single Jew has a G-dly soul, every single Jew has a great contribution to make, has something to teach and to give, whether or not it is in the realm of our perception.  If, chas vashalom, we don't grasp this very basic concept, then obviously there is something lacking in our entire perspective of things.  Obviously, this warped view will have its effect on the entire system.

The social clique and investment in it is basically a type of refuge for the person running away from himself.


One hundred and fifty years ago, there lived in Lithuania a great tzaddik, the spiritual mentor of the Chafetz Chaim.  His name was R' Nachum Horodniker.  The Chofetz Chaim said about R' Nachum that he perfected his neshama to its maximum capacity in this world!!   Rav Nachum Horodniker taught that a person needs others to learn from, to teach, to give and to receive.  However,  his main life work is drawing the vast resources from within himself, developing and purifying this essence. There is no better circumstance to achieve this than solitude. (excerpt from "Rabbi Nachum'ke maiHorodno", p.134)


Do not misunderstand!!!  The message here is not to be "antisocial", dissociated from others.  On the contrary, those that are very involved in the society game turn out to be most unsocial.  It is difficult to get them even to look at outsiders, let alone greet them with a cheerful face..  And an excellent example of how sociable is the one who shuns the social pursuit is the tzaddik, R' Nachum.  He rejoiced in every Jew's simcha.  He bore the pain and carried on his thin frame the plight of all.  He gave five shiurim  a day, both to the learned and to the unlearned.  He spent his days and nights dragging his sick feet through snow and wind, collecting for the needy; the destitute, widows, orphans...


The social clique is a great diversion.  It is a great drain of time and of energy.  It deludes the person into a false feeling of complacency, of greatness, of accomplishment; that he belongs and is identified with a "most significant address, involved in most vital and distinctive activities."  This can consume his entire self definition, this becomes his self-importance, this becomes his complete frame of reference.   He ceases to be aware that others in Klal Yisrael exist and function significantly, also outside of his circle.  He ceases to be cognizant of others and of their feelings and their needs and qualities.  He becomes barricaded into his social group; his prejudices and feelings of superiority locking him into his place, apart from the Klal. His ability to perceive spiritual horizons is impaired, his religious experience becomes one-dimensional, flat, non-dynamic and dull.


Sacrifice on an altar of one stone is despised by Hashem and forbidden.  It is an idolatrous rite, identified with the kenaanim.

Rashi warns, the matzaiva-altar is despised, even for the sake of Heaven.  Many of these groups are formed with goals and criteria that seem to be b'ruchnius, spiritual and religious in nature.  However, if the ruchnius is contingent on feelings of exclusiveness and elitism, on disdain and disregard for others who are not affiliated with the group, this is a sure sign that there are private egos and interests involved, and that something is amiss.


V'yachaid levavainu l'ahava ul'yira es Sh'mecha..
Unify our hearts to love and to fear Your Name..

Chodesh tov umevorach,

A gutten Erev Shabbos,
from Yerushalayim Ir HaKodesh

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tefillas "Shema Koleinu"- Hashem, Please Listen To Our Voice - Audio Shiur

Once again, Reb Yerachmiel has treated us to his second audio shiur on the topic of berchas "Shema Koleinu" in Shmoneh Esrei.

In this shiur Reb Yerachmiel discusses the opening words of this bakasha: "Shema Koleinu Hashem Elokainu", as understood and davened by such gedolim as the Eitz Yosef, the Siyach Yitzchak, the Vilna Gaon and the Sifsei Chayim. With particular relevance to the approaching days of Ellul and the Yomim Noraim, this shiur should not be missed by heartfelt-daveners and aspiring heartfelt-daveners alike.

CLICK HERE to get the shiur by either left clicking to listen right away or right clicking and selecting "Save Target As" to download.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

How to Tell If a Niggun Is Rooted in Holiness or the Opposite

By Rav Shmuel Brazil
Of the kosher animals listed in this week’s parsha, zemer is one of them. The Radak and Rav Saadia Gaon that the zemer is a giraffe. I find it very fascinating that the word for giraffe describes Jewish song - zemer. The interpretation is suggested as follows.

Notice that, in the Alef Bais, the letters following zemer is nachash. For after the letter zayin is a ches, after the letter mem is a nun, and after the letter raish is a shin. To go yet a step further, the letters in the Alef Bais preceding zemer spell kol. For before the letter zayin is a vov, before the letter mem is a lamid, and before the letter raish is a kuf.

Song and music can go two ways. It can elevate the spirit and even the body if the source is from “Hakol kol Yaakov.” Yet, on the other hand, it can lower the neshama and body if the source is from the nachash and tumah. It can either bring out divineness within man or bestiality. It can stir one to yearn for closeness of Hashem and the heavens, or it can gravitate one’s soul and body to gratify the cravings of physical appetites and fleeting earthliness.

Rav Shimon Susholtz from Beis Medrash Keren Orah shared with me the observation that especially when bochurim dance, one can tell whether the accompanying song is rooted in nachash or kedusha. The litmus test is to look at the position of their heads. If the heads face downwards towards the floor and feet, it is non-kedushah material. If their heads are straight, then it is holiness, for it arouses the soul and not the body. When I first heard this, I couldn’t believe that this was the barometer of the music’s source. Well, guess what? I found it to be true every time. [First observe the phenomenon before you start writing any commentary to the opposite.]

While we are on the topic, here’s another revealing observation. All the disco tech stuff awakens within an individual the desire to dance by oneself with oneself . It suddenly becomes show off time even if you don’t find yourself in the center being mesameach the chosson. With this type of music, the circle in which one was once holding hands with other Yidden peters out. Not so with the more traditional beats and chassidishe music. Why?

Kedusha, by definition, brings to unity and wholesomeness, while tumah, by its very nature, accommodates separateness and fragmentation. For if the soul is dancing, then all Yidden naturally tend to connect, since in the world of soul we are all one. If the body alone is dancing, then we tend to dance alone, for each individual has his own individual body.

We now might be able to answer why the giraffe is the symbol of the Jewish kosher zemer. The giraffe is unique by the fact that its head is so raised above the rest of its body. The head of the giraffe towers towards the heavens to symbolize that the Jewish niggun must raise one’s head towards Hashem, bringing man to a consciousness to distant himself from the pursuit of material lusts that lie close to earth.

The word zemer itself - identical to the letters of remez - hints to this concept. For zemer also spells ram zayin. Ram translates “to be lofty and high.” The letter zayin symbolizes nature, for nature was created in seven days. The zemer must raise one above the seven to yearn to be otherworldly even though these feelings might only last for a few moments. However, impressions do last forever!

Chazal say concerning Adam Harishon that before the sin, he was able to see from one end of the world to the other. His head and daas were clear and incredible. After the nachash seduced them to eat from the Eitz Hadaas, he lost that madraiga of daas. Hashem placed His hand on man’s head and dwarfed his dimensions. The nachash brought sadness into the world, as evidently seen from the curses given to Adam and Chava. The purpose of the zemer is to bring happiness, the opposite of which was brought by its neighboring letters nachash. But specifically, it refers to the happiness that brings about clarity of mission and not the cloudiness of mind; the light of meaning, not the darkness of chaos; and the direction of purpose, not the choreographic fluff that lead to dead ends.

Gut Shabbos.
Rav Brazil
Next Shabbos from Yerushalayim, iy”H.
HT Heichal Haneginah and

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Things My Name Equals in Gematria

  • "I love to eat" (אני אוהב לאכול)
  • "King of kindness" (מלך חסד)
  • "Tent of Meeting" (אוהל מועד)
  • "Noda Bi'Yehuda" (נודע ביהודה)
  • "Oogie Boogie Bo Agah Boogie Oh Oh" (עוגי בוגי בו אגה בוגי אואו)
  • "Jewish Army Troop" (איגוד צבאי יהודי)
  • "Depression" (עצב)
Courtesy of Gematria Calculator.

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Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh on Yomim N'oraim Now Available!

You can get it at!

HT A Simple Jew

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Hidden Goodness in Our Lives - Parshas Re'eh - Rav Zvi Leshem



 The Hidden Goodness in Our Lives

Rav Zvi Leshem


Parshat Re'eh begins with the verse, "Behold, today I set before you a blessing and a curse.  The blessing if you listen to God's mitzvot … and the curse if you don't listen to the mitzvot."  On the Shabbat before Elul, the month of teshuvah, the Torah sets out both of these alternatives in stark simplicity.  In fact, the Mai Hashiloach informs us that if good things happen we know for sure that we have followed God's will, and if not, we suffer the consequences.  However, our instinctive reactions are often quite different because although "everything is from Hashem, human nature is to complain when one suffers, 'what have You done to me?'  However, when Hashem blesses a person with only goodness, he refuses to see that it is from Hashem and he says, 'I have achieved all of this with my strength and the power of my hands.'" 


Yet things are not always as they appear.  The Mai Hashiloach continues, "When Hashem gives goodness He dresses it in a way that makes it appear the opposite so that the person can clarify the good and bring it to light … by the toil of his hands."  Similarly, the Beit Aharon writes that there is both hidden good that is tov, good, and revealed good that is chessed, loving-kindness.  In this way, "the righteous rejoice even in what does not appear to be good, for they rejoice in its hidden goodness."


We invariably find that the future is filled with uncertainty and trepidation.  This parsha is generally read when the Jewish nation enters Elul, a time to renew our optimism and simultaneously undertake a serious and painful cheshbon hanefesh, reckoning of our deeds, as individuals, a community, and a nation.  Every painful experience is an opportunity for growth, and without it growth is impossible.  The seed must rot in the ground before a tree can sprout, and a woman in childbirth sits upon the mashbar, the birthing stool.  The word mashbar also means "crisis," but it is a crisis that leads to a new birth.   This is the revelation of the hidden good. 


Midrash Tanchuma states that a woman giving birth cries out 100 times - 99 for death and once for life.  The first 99 cries represent the time of uncertainty preceding any new birth or growth.  The final cry is that of happiness, when the birth has occurred and a new life is revealed.  When this happens, we see the past in a new light and realize that Hashem hu HaElokim, and that even the difficulties we have endured have also been for the good.  This is the clarity that sustains us after we have been through difficult times, whether as individuals or as a people.  It is what we experience during Elul and the High Holidays, as the previous year's sufferings and tribulations are washed away or elevated to a new level or understanding.  It is our annual process of closure.  We should pray that Hashem will grant us all the clarity to understand the deeper meaning of our own lives.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Introduction to Tefillas "Shema Koleinu"- Audio Shiur

Reb Yerachmiel is back with his first audio shiur on the topic of berchas "Shema Koleinu" in Shmoneh Esrei.

In this shiur Reb Yerachmiel discusses the general nature of berchas "Shema Koleinu" as one which is kolleles (combines) all the other bakashos and tefillos, as well as the related topic of our ability to add both previously codified tefillos and new tefillos entirely of our own design into the various bakashos of Shmoneh Esrei.

This halachik and hashkafic shiur, enhanced by the "pilpul chaverim" of members of the Baltimore Community Kollel, should not be missed by the thinking and proactive davener.

CLICK HERE to get the shiur by either left clicking to listen right away or right clicking and selecting "Save Target As" to download.

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Friday, August 7, 2009

Shiurim by Rabbi Nasan Maimon of the Breslov World Center in the Five Towns

I am thrilled to announce that there will be two exciting shiurim (Torah classes) taking place, G-d willing, in the Five Towns area in the coming week:

(1) The first will be held on Sunday August 9 at 8:00 PM at the Sephardic Shul located at 539 Oakland Avenue, Cedarhurst, N.Y. 11516 (on the corner of Peninsula Blvd. & Oakland Ave.);

(2) The second will be held at congregation Aish Kodesh located at 894 Woodmere Place Woodmere, NY 11598 [(516) 374-8596]. The shiur will take place on August 12, 2009 at approximately 8:30 PM (immediately following evening services).

The shiur will be given by the noted teacher, lecturer and spiritual guide Rabbi Nasan Maimon. Below is a copy of Aish Kodesh’s electronic newsletter which includes Reb Nasan’s bio. I invite and strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of these wonderful and unique opportunities by attending the shiurim. There will be plenty of seating for both men and women and please feel free to spread the word!

Announcement courtesy of Avi Weiss.

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

One Day Intensive Rosh Hashanah Preparation With Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Author

One Day Intensive Rosh Hashanah Preparation With Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh Author

IY"H, Rav Itamar Shwartz, the author of the Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh and Da Es Atzmecha seforim, will be in the U.S. starting on September 6th, for a week. The Rav will be available for several drashos and private meetings in the New York area. Details about the schedule will be forthcoming.

In addition, you can come to a one-day intensive workshop with Rav Shwartz on Labor Day, available to both men and women (separate seating). There will be three drashos relating to preparing for Rosh Hashana and carrying out the avodah that the Rav teaches about in Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh throughout the year. All participants may meet with the Rav individually to discuss their own personal application of the avodah necessary for each person.

A suggested donation of $200 per person is recommended and the workshop will take place in Woodmere, NY. all proceeds will go toward printing more sets of the seforim for shuls, yeshivos, seminaries, and organizations. Participants are welcome from Brooklyn, Monsey, New Jersey or anywhere else.

If you live too far to drive, you may either fly in or participate by phone conference in the drashos and have your private meeting with the Rav by phone call or video conference.

For on-line registration click here For more information or to register by phone, contact Benyomin Wolf at (516) 668-6397
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ken Burgess Breslov Bluegrass Video

HT Gruntig. See y'all on Wednesday!

Picture courtesy of XYZ. Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.