Monday, November 10, 2014

Tradition Transitions Theological Text to Tablets

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

Chaim (Dalfin) Chronicles Carlebach Conundrum

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

Shammai Solicits Social Smiling

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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bridge Bridges Boroughs Bicyclists

I've written several times about bicycling in Brooklyn. So this is welcome news that we will hopefully be able to pedal the 46 mile loop one day. I suppose it will take as much time to complete this project and it will take for one to build up resistance for a 50 mile ride. Start training now!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mega Mikvah Mayim Metaher Men

Being a Litvak, I nevertheless make an effort to attend the Mikvah twice yearly; Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Yom Kippur.

Lately I've been going to the second largest Mikvah in the world. The Atlantic Ocean.

The late September, early October coolness leaves the beaches free of Nekaivos, enabling me and the many other men who attend to enjoy a late season dip.

The waves are terrific, and if not for the shortage of time on these Erev Yom Tov days, I would enjoy a real swim.

Come join me next year, perhaps we can start a Jewish Polar Bear Club.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Shlomo's Shabbos Shiurim Shine - R Shlomo Pearl ZTL

Reb Shlomo Pearl and a few friends taught in public school as a profession, in order to give themselves ample time to study Torah.

Not only did R' Shlomo study, but he became a world-class Talmud Chachom, understanding and explaining the intricacies of Hilchos Shabbos.


Steven Sotloff Sanctifies Shem Shomayim

Steven Sotloff

Boruch Dayan HaEmes.
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