Monday, October 7, 2013

Light Up he Word

The word "teiva"  means not only Noah''s ark but also means "word". The Baal Shem Tov said tzohar la teiva mean that we must light up the word with prayers and torah learning.Every letter contains worlds of spiritual and divine content and when they come together they create new spiritual worlds. This is the tzohar (light) lateiva (word). Then a person can rejoice in the new  entities that he has created


                                                                                                           Baal Shem Tov, Amud HaTefilla,
                                                                                                            Noach













































































































































































Monday, August 5, 2013

The Obligation of Living in Israel

                                           Based on shiur given by HRHG Shmuel  Eliyahu
In many passages in the Torah the land of Israel is related to in three ways.
1-The fulfillment of the covenant between Hashem  and the patriarchs..
2-The commandment to obey the mitzvot when you come to possess the land
3-The commandment to conquer the land and settle it
 There is a commandment to conquer the land and to conquer its inhabitants..
Dev.1:5See I have set before you the Land, the Land which was sworn by Hashem to your fathers,....
Baidbar 33:51-And you will disposess all the inhabitants thereof.

On this commandment the RMBN wrote(lacunae to Sefer Ha mitzvot laRMBM 5)
"We are commanded to possess(inherit)  the Land....not to leave it to anyone else or a wasteland as it  is written "possess the Land and settle it for I have given it to you as an inheritance.

The commandment of  conquest and settlement and the promise of the land are one and the  same.While there can be some interpretation of the individual passages, taken together the promise and the commandment are clear.

The obligation of settling the Land of Israel is also clear in Halacha.
The source is the Mishna
which states Ketubot 13-11 "all are brought up(to Israel) and none are taken away and why? Elsewhere the Gemarra states that he who dwells outside of Israeli is as if he 
has no G-d.Both the RIF and the ROSH Write this in the halacha.
The RMBM paskens in Hil. Melachim3,4That one should always live in Eretz Yisrael even in a city of mostly Gentiles.Because he who goes abroad is  likened to an idolater
The ShulchanAruch (Even HaEzer 75-3,4)rules according to the RMBM..The Pitchei Tshuva explains that the RMBN  counted this mitzvah as a positive Torah commandment which according to the Sifri is worth all of the  mitzvot together.RMBM doesn't disagree, but  since the mitzvah is so all encompassing he did  
 notlist it seperately.

Here I rest my case.A simple one really no chiddushim. If Shabbat is important to you or tefillin or tzizit,or any of the mitzvot,then Aliya and living in Israel should be just as important















.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tzohar Shoah and Geulah

Based on a sicha given by Rav Uri Sherky

How can we begin to understand the national catastrophe perpetrated on our people by the Nazis and their collaborators YmSh ? First of all we must understand that this was not the first Shoah in Jewish history. That took place in Pharo's Egypt where Hebrew children were thrown into the Nile and according to one peirush only20% of the Hebrews left Egypt in the Exodus while 80% were annihilated. Another Shoah was planned and almost carried out by Haman averted only by the mesirut nefesh of Esther and Mordechai and the Jews who defended their communities in Shushan and throughout the Persian Empire

What do we learn from this? Whenever Galut precedes Geulah there is an intermediate time which is the time of Amalek The Ramchal put it this way-During the Galut the divine light comes to Israel through a Tzohar, a narrow aperture or window.In the time of Geula, the gates of redemption are open tolGeulah in the divine light. But in the cusp between Galut and Geulah there is a time when darkness reigns and Amalek rules.

This happened in the Exodus from Egypt before the conquest of Yehoshuah. And again in the time of Haman  between the Babylonian Exile and the return to Zion and the second Temple.

And lastly at the end of Galut Edom and before the Geulah of the State of IsraelsThis perspective might help us understand-But in the end the Shoah is beyond understanding.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

God Bless America

We recenly returned from a short trip to the US to visit my parents who live in an assisted living community in Pennsylvania and especially to be with Risa's mother who is housebound and lives alone in her home in the  neighborhood of  Hilcrest  in Queens NY.

As always when I visit the US i am frustrated by seeing the affluent self satisfied .Jewish community which is completely indifferent  to the idea of Aliyah to Israel This community is exemplified by the Young Israel Synagogue of Hillcrest located not far from my Mother-inLaw's home. It is a big Modern Orthodox "shule" that has four active minyanim, three daf yomi shiurim, a young charismatic Rabbi (who gave a nice Pro Israel drasha on Shabbat.In short they seem to have everything. And yet I felt like getting up and shouting Jews WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE??  Can it really be that these religious comitted Jews are content to sit on the sidelines and watch as the divine march of Redemption continues in Eretz Yisrael? (see my post in Hebrew from two years ago "The golden Galut")

Speaking of sidelines, I happened to be in America during "Super Bowl Week" and Super Bowl  Sunday, a festival where the entire country is caught up in the ultimate violent sport-American Football. Ironically before the game a choir made up of children from the school in Conneticut that was the place of the massacre of over twenty children a few weeks ago. They sung GD Bless America. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. An interesting phenomena was that instead of the bawdy halftime show, Yeshiva University put up a special program on You Tube telling us about Yiddishkeit and football. Team play, Rambam praising physical fitness yadda yadda yadda. Really strange.

So GD bless America, far far away from us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The King in the field-Ellul in the Yeshiva

The month of Ellul, the month before Rosh Hashana is a special time in the Yeshiva. The word Ellul is an acronym for Ani Ledodi Vdodi Li.From Shir Ha SHirim "I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me" relating to the special relationship of the Jewish People to Hashem.The last letter of the four words is yud numerically 10x4=40 denoting the 40 days between rosh chodesh Ellul and Yom Kippur, the same 40 days that Moshe entreated Gd on Mt. Sinai to forgive The sin of the golden calf and give the second tablets of the commandments. Ellul also is connected to the Aramaic root A-L-L which means to come and specifically to come in order too seek out. Onkelos translates spies-allalin.,those who come to seek out the land
Who is coming and what is he seeking?. The Sages tell us that during the year Hashem is like a king in his palace and the commoners must be granted special permission to enter. But in the month of Ellul, before his coronation the king leaves the palace and goes into the fields to meet his subjects This is the time that the King is closest to his people..

Yeshivat Machon Meir is known as the "ba'al teshuva Yeshiva" of the Dati Leumi community . That was true 20 years ago when I first attended the Yeshiva. Most of the 100 or so students were men who came from secular backgrounds and were taking their first steps toward the world of Torah and commandments.Today with over 400 students there avreichim and talmidei chachamim along with Ba'alei Teshuvah.

The personality of Rosh Yeshiva , Rav Dov Bigon, himself a ba'al teshuva, is the leading light of the yeshiva. He has"hadrat panim' a glowing countenance that radiates tremendous charisma and at the same time total humility.Before tefillat Arvit he gives a short "shmuss", a discussion based on the teachings of Rav Avraham Yitzchak Hacohen Kook. HaRav taught that teshuva,  usually translated as repentance,  really means "return" that every Jew has the ability to return to his real self, his pure inner self whose source is divine. This is so no matter how far he has strayed from the path of Torah and mitzvot.

In Ellul when "the King is in the Field" there is an aura of kedusha, of holiness in the Yeshiva. When we can search our souls and ask forgiveness in order to participate in the crowning of the King on Rosh Hashana.
The dovening is very different than what I had gotten used to in my shul in Rechovot. The Rav there was Rav Avraham Rubin a Slonim Chassid. Slonim Chassidut takes dovening very seriously. The Rav used to say to us "Prayer is not a sing-along, it is not entertainment, but communion with the divine that requires total concentration.At Yeshivat Machon Meir the dovening is full of song, much of it influenced by niggunim from the Chassidic courts of  Mozhitz, Vizhnitz and also modern tunes of Shlomo Carlebach,, Avraham Fried and Ben-tzion Shenker. To me there is no contradiction here. Kriat shema and shmoneh esrei are said silently and with great concentration, but songs of praise are sung with joy and exuberance. There is even dancing on Kabbalat Shabbat. This is in line with the synthesis of  the seriousness of the Litvish Yeshiva world together with the unbridled joy of Chassidut that you find in the Yeshivas such as Machon Meir which are identified with Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav Kook and Har HaMor.

It is a great privilege to learn Torah from Rabbanim such as R' Bigon, Doron Katz,Chanoch Ben-Pazi, and Elisha Vishlitzki. May Hashem give me the strength to take advantage of this opportunity to meet the King in the field with his ministers. who show us the way to approach Him and crown him with the crown of Torah.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Let us put Jersalem above our chiefest joy

We have just moved to Yerushalayim,fulfilling a dream we have had for many years. Actually I should say we returned to Jerusalem. It was in this very neighborhood of Kiriat Moshe that Risa and I met forty years ago. We spent the first three years of our marriage in Jerusalem. Those were magical years that we had together before we had children..Our apartment is across the street from Yeshivat Machon Meir where I learned for three years almost twenty years ago.When I entered the Bet Midrash and sat down and opened a Gemarra, it felt as if those interim years fell away and I was at home. The rosh yeshiva,Rav Bigon immediately recognized me and welcomed me back to the yeshiva. I don't know yet if I will be learning full time at Machon Meir, there are other options, but I will probably learn at least one seder there.
The neighborhood has changed very little in the past twenty years except for the fact that it seems that there are more Chardalim (National Charedi) and less DatiimLeumiim (National Religious) and secular. That is fine with me since I consider myself to be closer to Chardali today, particularly the Mamlachti (statist) trend. Yeshivat Mercaz Harav which along with Yeshivat Har HaMor are the flagships of the Chardali (sometimes called "Torani" movement. It is very comfortable to live in a neighborhood where most of the people look like you, and doven in the type of shul that you do.
We hope and pray that Hashem will grant us many years of health to serve Him in his city, Yerushalayim our chiefest joy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Chadarav II

Chadarav p16


How can I say things to others, if I don't say them to my own soul
How can I disseminate spiritual and material  knowledge
if I dont have the key to the hidden treasures inside me
"Open your gates" I say to my inner sanctums
to my heart and my conscience.


My soul yearns to penetrate  those inner sanctums
In all that I try to raise up from the light of Torah and the world
 I find  the pure roots must come from the depths of the soul itself 
whose light comes from the light of Torah, the glory of the world
If I can come back from Torah to my inner soul then I can add life
to  reenter the rooms of Torah, the rooms of ancient treasures.
Every clear revelation has a tripartite meaning:
for the soul, the Torah and the world.
"Answer the words of my tongue for all your commandments are righteous" (ps.119:172)