April 29, 2010

I would just like to say a little vort that I heard this past week from Rabbi Beinenfeld at an azkara for my wife’s grandfather.

He asked what is the nature of the tefila that we say everyday that ends with the bracha goel yisrael. He asked one more question. Why do we say in the hagada pesach matza and maror. What is the connection between the three?

He said the bracha of goel yisrael is really redundant. Why because we really have a bracha of  matzmiach keren yishua. That is the bracha of geula.So the question is why do we need two brachot of the same thing?

He said that the bracha of goel yisrael is not the bracha of geula. It is a bracha of all the little geulas that everyone has in their lives. Everyone needs to be saved from something in their lives and it is our prayer that we should saved and be able to see the hashgacha as much as possible.

The reason it says maror in the middle is that the maror signifies that even the part that was not so easy in Egypt was part of our geula also. The maror enabled us to come out of Egypt  early. So really the maror was a part of the geula.



April 21, 2010

It says in the first verse in Kedoshim that people should try to be holy.What is holy?Aren’t angels holy.How can people be holy?

We know that the nations of the world punish people for doing misdeeds.As a matter of fact their punishments sometimes can be even more strict than that of the Jews! But still it says we do not ascribe to their punishments.The reason is their punishments are different than ours that when they punish, their punishments are not to educate the wrongdoer and to bring them back  to good.The purpose of the punishment according to the nations is to save and shield civilians.What comes out of this is the robbers do not realize that what they are doing is wrong.They just try to find ways to steal without being caught!

Hashem does not need to punish people in order to protect the population.Hashem can guard people in other ways.In this way is the Torah different than the judgements of the courts.The Torah is meant to teach.The purpose of the punishment is to make an impression on the wrongdoer and to say to him that what he did is wrong and he should realize that.

This is the reason it says in the first verse that people should be holy.A persons job is to be as holy as they can be.As holy as the holiest Rabbi.So when the robber sees that he was punished only having to pay money and not getting a bodily punishment,he should understand that his robbery is what we are punishing him for.Not to protect other people. We did not whip him or hit him to scare him away from doing that kind of action again.He should work on his desire to steal and realize it is wrong and to stop right away.

People can be holy be rising up from the level they are on and overcoming what they desire . It is not something in the heavens and not something in the sky that people can’t reach.It is something in your hands that takes a little work.

I just want to add one thing. I am going to try to work on that when I get stressed or angry not to take it out on anyone and especially my wife. I got angry the other day and I came home and shouted at my wife.She asked me why are you so upset? I didnt know. I did a self introspection and realized I was angry at the other person. So my job is before I come home to realize that I am angry and put it in my angry box and not let it spread out to my whole being.

It is my blessing that everyone should be able to contain their anger and if they do get angry to admit it and to deal with it in a mature way.

Say Amen.

How to admonish someone-“Hocheach Tocheach”

There is a mitzvah to give mussar to your fellow man that is in this weeks parsha. The Shela in parshas Masei states when you admonish someone do not say to him just his shortcomings because he will hate you and will not listen to your words. A person is not supposed to admonish someone if the person will not listen. A person is supposed to say ,”You are a smart guy a great guy.This action is beneath you.A person like you should not be doing these kinds of things.” If you say the mussar in this manner , you are giving mussar to a Chacham,you make him into a Chacham.Then he will love you and will listen to your words.

I gotta include a story in this weeks blog and then I will let you go. In the second world war when most of the Jews of Brisk left the city,there was no one to supervise the butchers of the city with the shechting of the animals .So when the war ended the butchers did not want anyone to oversee them either.There was a need to stop these butchers and to start the hashgacha on them once again.So One of the Rabbanim invited all the others to come to his house and formulate a plan how to start the hashgacha once again.Among he people was one of these butchers who did not want a supervisor on him.Therefore he was an uninvited guest.The Rabbanim of the meeting did not want him to be there.So they asked the head Rav  to convince him to leave.But he did not say anything. They tried to make the butcher leave and he did not leave.Finally, they convinced the butcher to go.

They asked the head Rav,why didn’t you ask this guy to leave? He said to them “come and see how powerful the power of embarrassment is.Because of embarrassment, Hashem helped Bar kamtza destroy the Beis Hamikdash.”

“If I were to embarrass this butcher we would’ve lost everything.Nothing good would’ve come of this meeting.”

We should also be extra careful not to embarrass anyone even if it is only  a little embarrassing.

Parshat Tazria

April 16, 2010

It says in the Medrash on this weeks Parsha.

I have created him before and after.Raish Lakish said ,”If a person merits it,they say to him you were before all the other creations.If not they say to him a gnat was created before you.”

It is known to all that man was created on the last day of creation.How is it possible that you were created before all the creations?Also, what is the big deal if a person is told that a gnat was created before him?First is the worst and last is the best!!

Rav Moshe Mendel answered this question with a very nice parable. There were philosophers gathered at a meeting and they were discussing what is the purpose of all the creations. They were able to figure out everything!!This grass is meant as medicine and this poison plant is a good topical medicine. They figured it all out. So they sat down to eat.  All of a sudden one of the philosophers called out and said what about people?  What is their purpose? They concluded that people just wreck things and destroy things. They cut down trees and kill animals and fish. All he does is for his own pleasure.

They did not figure out what mans purpose is. We do know however what his purpose is. We know that the world was created for the Jews and the Torah. A person when he plows his field and harvests it can do all kinds of mitzvot. He makes brachot on all these mitzvot and everything in the world is there for him to elevate it.

This is what Raish Lakish meant .  If a person merits it, meaning if he does Torah and Mitzvot then they say to him you were before all the creations because the world was created for you .  You were created last but Hashem had you in mind when he created the world. But if a person does not keep the mitzvot then he is no different from a gnat .He  just destroy things and what is his purpose? He is categorized with the animals and therefore there is no greater insult.

Parshat Tazria

April 12, 2010


It says in Chazal that if a woman seeds first then she will have a boy.  The Nesivos Shalom would like to bring a proof to that through Avoda to this concept.  There are two ways to serve Hashem .  Through ahava,love and yirah ,fear. The question arises, which attribute should a person acquire or better yet , Which attribute is a person obligated to acquire first ?  Is it love or fear of Hashem?  Fear must come first.  We see this because when Hashem gave the Jews the Torah, it was given with fear,with lightning and thunder and trembling and a mountain over their heads.  The nation was trembling.   How could a person who has a physical body and physical desires accept the Torah which is spiritual and holy?  So Hashem gave the Jews the Torah with fear to neutralize the physical factor and disconnect the Jews from physicality to enable them to be more spiritual and be able to accept the Torah.

It is impossible to have love of Hashem before one has fear of Hashem. What is love of Hashem?  If a person looks and sees the greatness of all the creations all the trees all the mountains and all the oceans,a person can come to love Hashem out of sheer astonishment at how much greatness went into creating all these things.  This is called intellectual love.  However in the Rambam it says that love of Hashem should be even more than this to the point that a person should be consumed with love of Hashem to the point that his soul should be yearning for Hashem.

The only way a person can love Hashem so much,is if a person first fears him.  When a person fears him his blood is purified and he becomes more spiritual.  His connection to this world is severed somewhat. We say everyday in the Shema that you shall love Hashem with all your heart and all your soul . The love that Hashem wants of us is to love him with all our hearts.  That does not mean sometimes and it does not mean when you remember.  It means all the time with all your being. Now honestly ,how can a person be expected to fear Hashem if he is  a spiritual being and we are bodies made of bones and blood?

The point is if a person loves himself, he cannot also love Hashem the way he is supposed to.  Therefore, fear of Hashem is the tool to acquire love of Hashem. This is also why Hashem arranged for the Jews to have fear first before they accepted the Torah.

So when we say that a person loves Hashem, we are also saying that fear of Hashem goes hand in hand with this love. They are a unit. An inseperable unit. Otherwise it is not love that will last. Just like there are containers for products in the grocery store, milk for example has a container. You don’t go to the store and buy the liquid milk.The milk is in a container. The only way the milk is going to make it home is if it is brought in the container. The same goes for fear and love. The love is only going to last if it is in the container of the fear.

This could be the reason why we say Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokainu Hashem Echad.Because this puts fear into us . We accept upon ourselves that Hashem is over us and is in charge of us .  After we accept this on ourselves, then we can love Hashem and say v’ahavta etc.

This is the reason it says that if a woman seeds first a boy will be born. A woman is compared to strength and fear. Like we say in the Aishes Chayil, “Isha yirat Hashem” and the man is compared to the attribute of love. If the couple starts with the woman first, then they will have the boy – the love. Without  fear, the love will not be lasting. Fear and love work together. They are one unit.

We should all merit to fear and love Hashem to the best of our abilities and live long healthy and prosperous lives!! Amen!!