The site of the old Concord Hotel in Thompson, Sullivan County, (Borscht Belt Country) has been chosen to host a casino.
I am not sure how long it will last, but one day it will probably be owned by a Yeshiva. May that day come soon.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Sunday, December 7, 2014
The story of Yosef Mendelevitch is inspiring indeed. Yosef was one of the famous refuseniks, who took on the Russian Empire and won. In 1970, together with several others he conspired to hijack a Russian plane and fly to freedom. Unfortunately, the group was imprisoned and several were sentenced to death. In fact, news of the death sentence prompted Shlomo Carlebach to write the famous melody Motzi Asirim.
Yosef was freed in 1981 and came to build a beautiful family in Eretz Yisroel. This past week, he returned to Russia for the first time since his incarceration. This reminds me of another famous refusenik, Anatoly Scharansky, who also went on to build a successful political career in Eretz Yisroel after gaining his freedom. When hearing the famous Safam song, "Mother Russia", he commented dryly...Why is the empire referred to as Mother Russia? No mother should treat her children this way.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014
RCA press release:
Nov 5, 2014 -- Please spread the word in your community
The Rabbinical Council of America and Tradition: A Journal of Orthodox Jewish Thought are pleased to announce that we have opened up our archives to the general public. All the back issues from 1958 through 2012 are now available at link.
We invite you to read the material there; share it with your congregants, students, and peers; and urge them to take advantage of this treasure house of thought, opinion, and ideas.
As a regular feature, we will bring important articles to your attention. This week, we highlight two significant articles...
Monday, November 3, 2014
This week marks the 20th Yahrtzeit of R' Shlomo Carlebach.
One of my first posts was to mark the 15th Yahrtzeit, and I noted that one needs to fill up with spiritual gas, at least once a year, perhaps by attending a Carlebach-style Kabbolos Shabbos.
One of the fascinating similarities I find between the Lubavitcher Rebbe and R' Shlomo, is that although they enjoyed a tremendous following during their lifetimes, they both have increased their popularity posthumously. Also, they both passed away 20 years ago, and they both have been subjects of several new biographies.
One of the jewels of Chaim's new book is the answer to Bray's question on my initial post on whom accompanies Shlomo in the following picture:
According to page 217 of the book, this photograph was taken in 1959 at the Kings Hotel in Yerushalayim.
Left to right: Yaakov Lerner, Shlomo, Chaim Adler, Yaakov Tzuker and Yosef Miletzky.
Photo courtesy of Yaakov Lerner.
UPDATE from Rabbi Dr Nathan Ophir, author of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission, and Legacy -
The photo is actually from August 1960 and not 1959. It was in 1959 that Adler who was a student in the Hevron Yeshiva, then located in Geulah, who first met Reb Shlomo and he organized this get together in the Kings Hotel the next summer.
Monday, October 27, 2014
I saw a beautiful Vort this past week in a sefer Shaarei Ahron. He quotes Rav Dessler, who said in the name of his father, regarding the 15th Mishna of the first Perek of Avos. Shammai says:
והוי מקבל את כל האדם בסבר פנים יפות
One should greet every individual cheerfully.
Yet we don't Pasken like Bais Shammai, so why is this said over in his name?
The answer is that if it were Hillel who said it, people would say that it is only a Midas Chassidus, being that Hillel was always so patient with everyone and always went לפנים משורת הדין.
ולבן שנים מחלב אל תיקרי לבן שינים אלא לבן שנים פשטיה דקרא במאי כתיב כי אתא רב דימי אמר אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקב"ה רבונו של עולם רמוז בעיניך דבסים מחמרא ואחוי לי שיניך דבסים מחלבא מסייע ליה לר' יוחנן דאמר ר' יוחנן טוב המלבין שינים לחבירו יותר ממשקהו חלב שנאמר ולבן שנים מחלב אל תקרי לבן שינים אלא לבון שינים
The Gemara in Kesuvos 111B says that "teeth are preferred over milk". In other words, if you meet a person, he would rather that you greet him with a warm smile than present him with a cold cup of milk.
I've often wondered how one would be able to be Mekayem Shammai's dictum. Perhaps in the shtetlach and small towns of yesteryear one would be able to greet all passersby; but in our day and age, particularly Manhattan's pedestrian traffic, this becomes an impossibility.
Yet if we follow Shammai's words, all is clear. We need to keep a perpetual smile on our faces when we are seen in public. Everyone who passes us by will then have a lift in their day.