Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beyond Ben Torah

Over Chol-Hamoed I was looking for some Torah that would give me strength as a head back to work. Hashem brought me to this great shiur as posted and translated on Dafyomireview given by Rabbi Gershon Adelstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Ponevezh.

It discusses the special status of "Rabanan" who are exempt from city tax due to their merit of Torah study guarding the tzibbur. What's interesting is R' Adelsteins definition of "Rabanan"

"It doesn't matter how much he needs to work for his livelihood, whether two, three, or eight hours. If he does this because he is forced to provide his minimum amount (kdei chayav), and his free time is sanctified entirely for torah -he is called 'Rabanan', and is exempt from the guard tax because his torah shields on the tzibur."
It's a truly inspiring so please be sure to read it. May we all be zocha to use every free moment we have to toil in Torah and so we can reach this special status of "Rabanan".

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Friday, April 15, 2011


I was reading "Living Inspired" by Akiva Tatz this morning. I always re-read certain sections before Yomim Tovim.

He talks extensively about alacrity with regard to Pesach. Specifically how by shrinking time (physicality) we increase our connection to the spiritual domain. Hence why we left Egypt "k'heref ayin".

A thought occurred to me in regard to work. What were to happen if we treated our work with an attitude of k'heref ayin? Could this be an approach to brining our work to a higher spiritual plane?

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scientists "Discover" Kids Suffer Withdrawal When Separated from their Gadgets

Oy vavoy.

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News About Yeshivas Derech Hamelech - Personal Letter

R. Yerachmiel Weiss, who I posted about here and here, learns in the kollel at Yeshivas Derech Hamelech. The yeshiva is having serious financial difficulties and is in danger of closing its doors. Please click here to donate. Below is a letter from R. Weiss:
Dear Friend,

For the past seven years, Yeshivas Derech HaMelech has been helping young men grow in Torah and avodas Hashem. Many students have benefited from the transformational power of Derech HaMelech's integrated approach of intense Torah learning and Chassidus.

If you are receiving this email, you either (a) benefited directly from Derech HaMelech, or (b) know a student who has benefited directly from the Yeshiva. I don't need to remind you of the tireless efforts that Derech HaMelech's founder, R. Baruch Gartner, and it's teachers have put into the Yeshiva and the incredible impact that it has had on its students and their families. What I do need to tell you is that Derech HaMelech is in urgent need of funds to close its budget deficit. Over the past year, the financial climate has made it close to impossible for Derech HaMelech to meet its payroll. The Yeshiva may need to severely cut back its learning schedule or even close its doors.

We are asking everyone that has been connected to Derech HaMelech to pull together to help save this special makom Torah. It is unquestionably a unique place among the yeshivot in Jerusalem and it would be a great loss if it didn't survive. We are trying to raise $18,000 to fill in the remainder of the budget and keep the Yeshiva alive. It's not an enormous number, and if we all band together, we can do it! Here is how you can help:

1. DONATE: Go to You can donate online at the bottom of the page.
2. TELL YOUR FRIENDS: Add a personal note and send this message to 10-20 people that you know and encourage them to help support Derech HaMelech.
3. DAVEN: It works. Storm the heavens for the survival of Yeshivas Derech HaMelech.

Thank you for your help.

Yerachmiel Elimelech Weiss
Campaign Coordinator
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Separating Work From the Results of Working - Shevet Sofer & Rebbe Nosson

At Shalosh Sheudos on parshas Vayakhel, Rav Moshe Weinberger spoke on a fundamental point that especially working people have to internalize. I will (freely) translate the piece he quoted from the sefer Shevet Sofer by rav Simcha Bunim Sofer, the grandson of the Chasam Sofer, on Vayakhel, and then I will (freely) translate a piece from Likutei Halachos that my friend Dov Perkal pointed out to me which makes the same point.

"Six days work shall be done and the seventh shall be holy to you, Shabbos Shabboson..." (Shmos 35:2) (emphasis added)

The pasuk earlier said "remember the Shabbos day to sanctify it... and you shall call Shabbos a delight." (Shmos 20:8). However, there are those who does not believe with perfect faith in Hashem that everything comes from Him, and that a person's livelihood is fixed and that it is Hashem who gives a person strength and success. Such a person will be somewhat sad on Shabbos, and he will not rejoice in Shabbos, because his heart will be filled with worry, thinking that he is losing out by desisting from his efforts. Therefore, one must believe that everything comes from Hashem, and that "bread is not for the wise and neither is wealth for the discerning" (Koheles 9:11). Rather, [a person must work, as it is written,] "in order that Hashem your G-d will bless you in all the work of your hands that you do" (Devarim 14:29).

Hashem wants a person to do what he is able to do and not to rely on miracles. But nevertheless, one must know in his heart that everything comes from Hashem, and that without the blessings of Hashem, nothing he does would have any effect and all would be for naught. If a person has belief in this fact, then he will certainly rejoice in Hashem and Hashem will give him everything he needs during the six days of the week, just as it was with the manna, which Hashem gave as a double portion before Shabbos.

Similarly, with regard to the Menorah, we also find that Hashem said to Moshe, "As one piece it shall be made..." (Shmos 25:31) (emphasis added) The Medrash explains why the verse says "it shall be made," rather than "you shall make." It says that that it is because Moshe had difficulty making the Menorah, and toiled greately until finally, he could not make the Menorah. Once Moshe had difficulty, Hashem said, 'Take a meausure of gold and throw it into the fire, and then it will be made by itself.' This is the meaning of the phrase 'it shall be made.'"

A person's work life must be the same way. A person must work and toil, but nevertheless, he should not say that "my might and the power of my hand has made all of this success for me." Rather, he should view it as if everything happens without any effort of his own through the blessings of Hashem, and as if he did not do anything."
Reb Nosson in Likutei Halachos Orach Chaim Hilchos Shabbos 3:4, 7 (quoted above), commenting on Shmos 25:31 (quoted in the Likutei Halachos Chumash):
A person who does business and work, must subjugate all of his thoughts, actions, and words to Hashem ... and to believe with perfect faith that man alone accomplishes nothing whatsoever. Rather, we are obligated to do some business and work because it is Hashem's will that we do so, since there are deep secrets and great intentions in every aspect of business and work. This is because through work, one can accomplish great clarifications and draw holy sparks through his work and toil, as is known. For this reason alone, we must at least do some amount of work or business because it is Hashem's will. It is for this reason that the sages said, "Torah is good if it is with the ways of the world."
In truth, though, a person does nothing at all. His livelihood does not comes from his physical activities at all. On the contrary, his main livelihood comes from abstaining from the 39 forms of labor on Shabbos. This means that the illumination of Hashem's will, which is the aspect of the holiness of Shabbos, is the source of the blessings of the six days of the week...
When we merit to do business and work in this way [of remembering that all the results and income that we receive come from Hashem and not as a result of our efforts], even though we do work, it is not considered "doing" anything at all. Instead, it is an aspect of our work being done automatically, on its own, as the pasuk says with regard to the Mishkan, "the Mishkan was erected," and the Menorah shall "be made."
It is amazing to see the confluence of the same teaching from the non-Chassidish world of the Shevet Sofer and the Chassidus of Rebbe Nachman/Rebbe Nosson when they both come to teach us the same lesson. If we are zoche to mentally separate our efforts from the income we receive, then we will truly have oneg, happiness, and really be able to keep Shabbos without worrying about the work that we still need to do.

IY"H, may we all be zoche to repeat this truth to ourselves, internalize it, and live with it throughout the six days of the week and Shabbos kodesh!

Picture of the Shevet Sofer courtesy of Greenfield Judaica. Click here to get Dixie Yid in your e-mail Inbox or here to subscribe in Google Reader.