Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Limey Limmud Lesson Learned

cross-currents link

Just how inclusive is inclusive? Every one has their own red line, as Rabbi Shafran so eloquently demonstrates.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Magnificent Manning Makes Many Monumental Marks

It's been some time since I've received Mussar from Bray, so perhaps a foray into the American Football scene will elicit an illicit response.

The Denver Broncos released the rising star Tim Tebow, and replaced him with the fading star Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning has gone on to shatter some NFL passing records, including 51 TD passes in a season, and the season is still not over, while Tim Tebow is out of a job.

Chochmo BaGoyim Ta'amin.

Yankee Yanky Yanked! Yeehaw! (Ostreicher)

This past week we were gratified to hear the news that Yanky Ostreicher has been spirited back to U.S. soil. In one of the biggest travesties of justice, he had been falsely Imprisoned in the lawless land of Bolivia.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Askanim, pulic servants and an actor, he is now able to appreciate this great altruistic Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave.

We should all learn a lesson from this to really appreciate the justice and freedom that we experience in this Medinah Shel Chessed.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Published Putrid Pew 'Port - Peeew!

The Pew rePort was published some months ago, yet the findings and controversial methodologies in finding them have been questioned by many a Jblog. It seems that the Pew results continue to be discussed and dissected, yet the results are not really that shocking. Everyone knows that the Orthodox are becoming more Orthodox and the Reform are becoming more Reformed.

I don't really understand what all the fuss is about.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Frum Flatbush Firm Furnishes Free Filters

It has come to my attention that the good Folks at Avenue M Computers will install Filters on Fhones and computers For Free.

Found at 1222 Avenue M in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dialogue - For Torah Issues and Ideas - Fall 5774/2013 Volume 4 - (Dialogue Deems Discourse Desirable)

Dialogue I
Dialogue II
Dialogue III
Dialogue V

The latest issue of Dialogue is a Dandy! Just when I thought that Dialogue was in Demise, my copy arrived with over 300 pages jam-packed with hot issues of the Day, in addition to a real Dose of Dialogue regarding the Torah-science Dispute.


Rabbi Aharon Feldman's Speech to Israeli Generals, explaining the Torah outlook of why Chareidim refuse to be drafted, is heartfelt and helps us understand why compromise is not an option. Rabbi Feldman's second article deals with Observant But Not Religious in what he deems to be the number one problem facing religious Jewry today.

Rabbi Eytan Kobre bemoans the superficiality of various religious practices, and pines for the olden days, when Yomim Tovim were appreciated more because one worked on building a Sukkah (not pre-fab like today) and one worked to make Pesach, not make reservations at some hotel. Gain through Pain: A proposal for Contemporary Orthodoxy. This article really reminds me of the kind of essays one used to read in the now defunct Jewish Observer.

Choosing Faith over Folly: The Mekubalim Phenomenon is penned by Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, one of today's real Kabbalists, as an effort to curtail the proliferation of fakes and frauds who prey on the vulnerable.

Rabbi J. David Bleich in The Challenge of Faith Commitment, notes that our external religiosity is much stronger than in earlier years, but we must also train out youth in the Internals - Emunah, Bitachon etc.

Rabbi Zev Cohen in The Vaad - An anchor in the Turbulent Sea calls for setting up Vaadim, as a way to keep the spirituality gained in Yeshiva after one has gone out to the working world.

Rabbi Aharon Lopiansky discusses the setting up of our Siddur in The Endless Dimensions of the Siddur.

In Kabbalah and Halacha, Rabbi Zev Kreines explores the dynamics of integrating various aspects of Kabbalah with Halacha.

Dr. Lee M. Spetner in The Limits of Evolution, opens up the science-Torah section with his scholarly article on the shortcomings of the theory of Common Descent, concluding that it is false.

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, in Letter to the Editor, responds to Dialogue volume 3 where Doctors Betech and Maya had argued that the biblical Shafan is the rabbit. Rabbi Slifkin argues that rabbits were not native to Israel, hence when Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech refer to the Shafan, it must not be referring to the rabbit, making the hyrax the most likely candidate. As for the Torah referring to the Shafan as a Maaleh Gaira, he invokes Dibra Torah Kilshon Bnei Odom.

Rabbi Dovid Kornreich, in The Betech-Slifkin Shafan Debate - An Assesment argues that the Shafan needn't have been native to Israel, as the Divine is all-knowing, and furthermore, Dibra Torah Kilshon Bnei Odom is not appropos over here. Also, rabbits may have been imported to Israel, of which we see other examples of imported animals in Tenach.

Professor Dr. Jonathan Ostroff - Shafan Hyrax or Rabbit joins the fray and argues that Shafan could well be the rabbit, even though it doesn't chew the cud in the conventional sense, but he agrees that caecotrophy - the re-ingesting of food pellets could well work with the Torah's definition. He disagrees with Rabbi Slifkin regarding the fossil record and dislikes the hyrax option, as the hyrax is not Maaleh Gaira in any definition.

Rabbi Yechezkel Spanglet discusses computer/internet addiction in Addictions: Underlying Causes and Recovery Options.

Rabbi/Doctor Benzion Sorotzkin discusses Same Sex Attraction - Beyond the Rhetoric, reiterating the theme from last issue of Dialogue that it is political correctness which drives much of the homosexual lobby, not necessarily truth.

Rabbi Mayer Twersky further discusses some of the fallout from the previous issue in Judaism and Deviant Behavior.

Other letters include more responses to the homosexuality issue and Lo Sisgodedu.

Rebbitzen Esther Farbstein laments Yet Another Destruction: Jewish Books in Hungary.

Rav Yechiel Goldhaber completes the magazine with the second part of his hebrew article discussing Secular Marriage in Italy and France. פולמוס נישואין אזרחיים באיטליה וצרפת In this issue, unlike volume 3, the hebrew article pages correctly read right to left.

I am very impressed with this effort, as there are many hours of intellectual thought awaiting the reader. They have engaged in some real dialogue and for the first time have featured a woman. I wish them much Hatzlocho in future issues.


Available in Seforim stores or call 410-367-2567

Disclaimer: I am not associated in any way with Dialogue.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

GET Grievance Generates Gossip

Much virtual ink has been spilled in recent weeks regarding using a GET as a weapon to keep a woman an Agunah.

There was a time when Agunah meant that the husband could not be found...lost in battle or the like.

Today, Agunah has come to mean a woman whom the husband has not given a GET, and remains chained and unable to remarry.

Whereas many claim that a GET should never be used as a bargaining chip, I can understand a scenario where it may be legitimate.

Suppose a woman after several years a marriage tires of her husband, a generally caring man and wants out of the marriage. She refuses all offers of marital therapy and chooses to take the husband's house and children, poisoning them against him in the process.

Yes, it is true that a GET should never be used as a weapon, but neither should a wife resort to such action, and unfortunately many do. While I normally agree that it is wrong to withhold a GET, I can understand that sometimes you need to fight fire with fire.

Democratic (Chaim) Deutch Deserves District

Despite Gerrymandering of the Brooklyn Districts, Chaim Deutch managed to pull off a stunning win in the 48th District, comprised of Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Midwood.

Despite the fact that only Midwood is heavily Orthodox Jewish, and Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach are primarily made up of other minorities, primarily of Russian descent; and despite the fact that there was a Russian-Jewish candidate with strong credentials, Chaim Deutch was still able to beat these odds and emerge victorious.

This win restores my faith in the Orthodox Jewish voter, who came out in force to support one of their own who has done so much to make this district a better place to live. Chaim created the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol, helped many when Super Storm Sandy Struck and assists many other organizations, especially those involved with troubled youth.

From the Brooklyndaily.com

“Chaim Deutsch did more than anybody else for the community, more than any elected official, more than anybody,” said Manhattan Beach Community Group president Ira Zalcman of Deutsch’s work after Hurricane Sandy. “I told him people were hungry, there was food, I told him people were cold, he was there with blankets, he was there with heaters. His ability to mobilize forces and get the things that people needed is amazing.”

It is comforting to know that someone who truly helps others will now be in a position to help even more.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Reichman's Riches Rejuvenate Religion

I was quite surprised to see that although the passing of Paul (Moshe Yosef) Reichmann was covered in the press, it was not covered to the extent that I thought it would be.

I salute this great Baal Tzedokoh, who contributed untold millions to so many institutions.

Everyone knew that his handshake was his word. Binding.

Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rosenblum Revives/Reunites Rocking Rabbis (Hasc Concert 2014)


This year's Hasc Concert looks to be a good one.

Not since 1992 has the Diaspora Yeshiva Band/Rocking Rabbis under the direction of Avraham Rosenblum reunited to bring back the age of the 70's.

Avrohom Fried, Benny Friedman, Abie Rottenberg, Ohad, 8th Day and Baruch Levine will be joined by Nachum Segal and Yisroel Lamm in a sold out Avery Fisher Hall on January 12th, 2014.

Get your tickets now, as the cheapest seats are $100.00 and they will not last.

This looks to be a really fantastic fundraiser.

Wish I could join you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hoodied Hoods Hoodwink Hashem?

This blog oftentimes focuses on the changing effect of technology on our lives.

One drastic change has been the security camera. Up to a decade ago, the security camera was only for the rich and famous, or businesses. Today, one can hardly go anywhere without his/her actions and movements being recorded.

This is a tremendous development for law enforcement, as events can be recreated and prosecution is now much simpler.

Perpetrators now must worry that their actions will be recorded for prosecution.

Yet we who know that Hashem is always watching, fear not the camera. We fear the Lord.

And although Hoodied Hoods may Hoodwink those in the 'Hood, (and sit down to a beer with the president), they will not fool the Master of the World.

הודו להי כי טוב

Monday, October 21, 2013

Birthday Boy Blogger Bash

I can't believe it, but this blog now enters it's 5th year.

The anti-LH experiment has proven successful.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

G-dfatherly Gangster Grants Gittin?

In one of my first posts, I discussed the idea that bloggers, with a few minutes of time can right the wrongs of many years of injustice.

Yet in that same post I cautioned that when the blogger gains too much power, they can abuse that power granted to them by their readership.

I am sure that there are those who feel that the current state of Gittin is unfair to women. Yet that does not give anyone the right to play G-d or G-dfather.

Certainly, causing a Chillul Hashem is most grotesque of all.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Beyond BT Buttresses Blogroll

BeyondBT.com has been around for eight years, which is a lifetime in the blogger community.

We founded Beyond BT in December 2005, with the goal of helping second stage Baalei Teshuva, those who’ve already made a commitment to a Torah centered life. With the help of our contributors and commentors over the years, we’ve published over 1,800 posts and 29,000 comments on issues of integration and spiritual growth.

While the posts generally do not cater to me, as they are geared toward Baalei Teshuva, they've recently added a column on the Parsha which "Plumbs the Depths of the Izhbitzer School". These Divrei Torah, adapted by one Rabbi Dovid Schwartz are worthwhile, as they require one to think. Additionally, the beautiful and rich translations, in a superb flowing and flowery English, are a pleasure to behold.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Maran Merits Million Man March (R' Ovadia Yosef ZTL)

Rav Ovadia Yosef passed away yesterday at the age of 93 and was accompanied by an estimated one million mourners to his final resting place in Jerusalem.

Rav Ovadia served as Chief Rabbi of Israel for many years, founded numerous Yeshivot, was a huge Baki, authored many seforim and was the spiritual mentor to countless Sefardim. He also founded the Shas party, and was influential in many an Israeli election.

I've been to many mass Levayos, among them Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTL and the Steipler Rav ZTL, but I was shocked at the sheer numbers of attendees by ROY's Levaya, and was wondering why he merited to have the largest funeral in Eretz Yisroel's history.

Perhaps the answer is that he single-handedly raised the banner of Torah among the Sefardim, giving them self-worth and equalizing them among their Ashkenazik brethren.

Yehi Zichro Baruch.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Viral Video Validates Values

A recent video that is running rampant on the web seemingly pokes fun at the Chassidic Rebbe who is distributing apples to his followers.

While I was initially taken aback, I think that perhaps there is merit for such behavior.

I recall the famous story of the holocaust survivor who complained to his Rebbe that he can't pray to G-d anymore, since while in the Concentration Camps, there were Jews who charged others for use of a precious Siddur. Replied the Rebbe, why focus on the fellow who charged? Why not focus on all those Heilege Yiddin who were willing to give up their food rations to be able to pray!

By the same token, we can be Dan LeKaf Zechut in the above video. Let us focus on how some Chassidim try to cleave to their spiritual mentor. while in my opinion they may be overzealous, at least they are not fighting over the apples, just going overboard in trying to retrieve them. Lehavdil, many adults at baseball games are overzealous in trying to catch foul balls, and oftentimes resort to fist fights.

And unlike a baseball, an apple can be eaten.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Disco Divinity Dean Dumbfounds!

I recently picked up a new selection from Shaar Press, titled Class Acts - True stories about the power of caring. Many of the short vignettes speak highly about various educators whose lives were turned around by an incident between them and a teacher from their youth. Other stories are told from the teachers viewpoint, how the right action at the right time changed the course of their students' lives.

Amidst these stories is one of the most amazing stories I've seen in a long time. The protaganist is The Disco Rabbi, of whom we've already dedicated a post to on this site.

A fellow gets on a plane from Israel to America, and notices someone stately sitting a few rows away. He senses that it is someone special, by the way he sees him interact with those around him. The man looks familiar, yet he can't place him. Finally, he asks someone who tells him that it is Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman of Migdal HaEmek, otherwise known as "The Disco Rabbi".

A stewardess approaches the Rabbi pleading for a Bracha, crying that her son has just been selected to join an elite IDF fighting unit. He calmly blesses her, but she wants a Havtacha, a promise that all will be OK. He sees that his words are having no effect, so he painstakingly removes a Kameah (amulet) from his wallet and tells her to have her son wear it at all times. This finally placates the woman, who returns to her duties.

The man who witnesses this, approaches Rabbi Grossman and asks if he also can have a Kameah. Rabbi Grossman replies that he is sorry, but that is the only one he had! It was given to him by his great-grandfather, and he had carried it with him all these years until now.

What is amazing about this story is not only that Rabbi Grossman was able to part with a family heirloom to calm a fellow Jewess, but that no one would have been the wiser had the second fellow not asked for a Kameah also.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bat Boy? Ball Bochur? Be Bigger!

Seems that the Yarmulka is making inroads into professions that were heretofore unknownst to Orthodox Jewish children.

Hat Tips: RYGB, Torah Musings Daily Reyd.

ball boy

bat boy

What bothers me is that people are striving to be a "sideshow".

Why not "Be all that you can Be"?

Would you rather be the Besht or a Bahelfer?
Do you want to be a Bat Boy or the Babe?
Do you strive to be a Ball Boy or Bjorn Borg?

When I was in Yeshiva, I asked my Rosh Yeshiva if I can take some time off to visit Eretz Yisroel. He asked why, and I replied that I wanted to see the Gedolim. To which he responded "Become a Godol yourself!"

Rabbi Shlomo Freifeld used to admonish his Talmidim to "Be Big!"

Monday, September 9, 2013

(Shlomo/Steve) Zakheim ZT"L's Zillion Zechusim

On Rosh Hashana, Shlomo (Steve) Zakheim passed away.

The lineup of speaker's at his Levaya was impressive, as was the stately lineup of ambulances outside Shomrei Hadas Chapels on 14th Avenue. It resembled a hero cop's funeral, only this time the parade was made up of Hatzoloh ambulances from every locale, rather than police cars.

Shlomo was a trailblazer. He was the first paramedic in Flatbush Hatzoloh, paving the way for the many paramedics today. Who knows how many lives were saved because of these medics? It was noted that his handle, F-32 is Gematria Lev. Shlomo had a huge heart.

Shlomo was heavily supportive of Camp Simcha, and had a huge hand in starting it. Yet he shied away from recognition, and the children at camp only knew of him when he came to give them helicopter rides.

He paid for countless people to have medical operations when they couldn't afford it, all this was done in a way that nobody would know about it.

He maintained his own Make-A-Wish foundation, transporting sick children all over the world to enjoy vacations that were otherwise impossible.

He cared for all the poor, jobless, childless, jailed, orphans, widows etc. It was mentioned that his sole reason for trying to buy Peninsula Hospital was to give hundreds of people jobs.

He became a Mohel and travelled the world giving Brissim to those in need.

He went to Haiti when they had a big earthquake, he went to Sderot, he was active at the World Trade Center tragedy.

There is so much more that nobody knows about, but that is because he wanted it that way.

Perhaps the most startling piece of information I gleaned from attending his Levaya was the fact that he got up every day at the same time. 6:13 a.m.

Yehi Zichro Boruch.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Breslov Blinders - Burkaed BasYisroel - Betrothal!

Mazel Tov! It's a Shidduch!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tim Tebow Tweets Thanks

The experiment seems to have failed. Tim Tebow has in all probability seen his last NFL game.

I was impressed how he came into the league and did not shy away from his religious beliefs, and I am even more impressed how he has gone. With dignity and Tweets of thanks to those who gave him chance after chance.

As Rosh Hashana is once again upon us, may we learn these lessons of humility; and remember to give thanks to the Sustainer of all Mankind, who gives us chance after chance.

Friday, August 30, 2013

(Rabbi) Miller Mefaresh Mind-numbing, Mass Murder Massacre

Recently, a posthumous essay written by Rabbi Avigdor Miller ZTL has been published. A Divine Madness, was written circa 1960, but the author for whatever reason, didn't see fit to bring the book to light.

I imagine that the reason might be that the world was still in shock over the Holocaust. Rabbi Miller's strong belief in Hashem, and that the Holocaust was punishment for a nation that the majority had thrown off the yoke of the Torah, was not the kind of talk that Survivors wanted to hear.

Yet time heals many wounds, and now we are in a better position to understand history the further removed we are from the events. The Tochacha clearly says what will happen if we forsake God, and Rabbi Miller is very clear on showing that a Jewish Reformation that originated in Germany, would be put to an end in Europe by the German people. RAM shows how assimilated the Jews had become, and how Hitler's YMSH first laws were promulgated primarily to force a separation between Jew and Gentile.

I understand that for survivors, this book will be a difficult read, but the general thesis, that it was a Divine Madness, is clearly explained in detail. The German people were the most academic, the most cultured, the most refined and modern people of the time. It could have only been a Divine Decree which turned them into killing fiends.

Although I don't really care too much for holocaust literature, (as I have unfortunately had my fill) this book was refreshing in that there are many chapters which detail the history of how the Jewish people from the time of Mendelssohn, moved from following the Rabbis and Roshei Yeshiva to following the Haskalists.

The footnotes are excellent and I recommend this book strongly for anyone interested in an eye-witness (RAM learned in Slobodka from 1932-38)account in what Europe was like prior to WWII. RAM claims that it is a "fairy tale" to think that pre-war Europe was a Gan Eden of learning. Most Jews did not keep Shabbos or attend Yeshiva, but had already migrated to the progressive schools.

A welcome addition to any library.

Update: This is Post #300. Mazel Tov!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bike4Chai Builds Better Body

Back in May, I posted on the Brooklyn Bicycle phenomenon. Being that the borough was bicycle bereft, with minimal locations for the new CitiBike program.

As an aside, I noted that 100 of this year's Bike4Chai participants hail from Brooklyn. In any event, the recent highlighting of bicycles in the news, in addition to the addition of new bicycle lanes throughout the City, prompted me to dust off the old clunker and see if it is really true that one never forgets how to ride a two-wheeler.

After several local rides, I pushed myself to bigger and better excursions, eventually building up immunity to the aches and pains that usually accompany rigorous activity. Surprisingly, I found that there are others who have found the health benefits of biking.

Many tell me that they have lost between 10 and 50 pounds.

Alas, the summer is drawing to a close as Elul is upon us and Rosh Hashana beckons.

Perhaps next year I can join the three hundred riders who raised almost 3 million dollars for Bike4Chai. If I can start training early enough.

Perhaps that is the true meaning of Bike4Chai. Not that one bikes to earn money for Chai Lifeline, but one bikes for Chai-Life. His own!

May we all be written in the Book of Life.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Olinguito Offers Opposing Outlook/Options

One of the great recent controversies was how to define the word Shafan in the Torah.

Rabbi Slifkin argues for the Hyrax. Dr. Betech argues for the Rabbit. Rabbi Lubin argues for the Llama.

Much of Rabbi Slifkin's view rides on the fact that there are "no alternative candidates". Well, that theory is not air-tight if in the year 2013 we are still finding new species.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Hirhurim Hiatus Heralds Hesped?

Is blogging dead?

The great Gil has ceased publishing. He will hopefully return in a new format.

On The Main Line has been silent for a month.

My Buddy Bray has fallen off the face of the earth.

I suppose we never really appreciate what we have until we lose it.

Bring Back Bonafide Blogs!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Clergy's Children Crowned Chiefs

Wow! Such Nachas.  Both incoming Isreali Chief Rabbis chosen today to serve for the next 10 years are children of former, still living, Chief Rabbis.

Rabbi David Lau is the son of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, and Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef is son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

May they serve their people well.

Club Ceases Clamping Cars

If one were to walk the streets ten years ago, he would encounter nine out of 10 cars outfitted with "The Club".

The Club was a simple open-locking bar placed on the steering wheel that made driving an impossibility unless it was removed from the wheel.

Yet somehow, as quickly as they appeared, they have disappeared.  A recent stroll up my block featured no cars protected with this device.

Anyone have any insights to explain this passing fad?

Until then, if you still have one, you can use  it to stop the neighbors from using your basketball net while you are trying to take your Shabbos nap.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Holyclock Halts HTTP, HTTPS


Help Hatzoloh Homerun Heroes II

One of the few ways that a Frum Family can afford a night out in a Kosher atmosphere, and help a Tzedaka all while enjoying the breeze coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.


Last Year's Post

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

SCOTUS Sanctions Same Sex

It is truly a sad day in the history of the world.

In this world of live and let live, the fact that the Supreme Court has sanctioned SS benefits should seemingly have no effect on us, yet it is another nail in the coffin to this once great land of democracy and morality.

Sedom wasn't destroyed until their Supreme Court sanctioned SS marriage.

Kudos to Agudah and the OU for standing up for ideals in a politically incorrect world.

See TPV and HaMavdil for more.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tzedakah Tzadik Tries to Take Tower

The owner of the Woolworth Building in lower Manhattan has launched a surprise, against-the-odds bid to buy the Empire State Building for $2 billion in an attempt to head off the landmark tower's planned inclusion as the centerpiece in a new $5 billion public real estate company...

See more at Crains...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Moisture Malbush Mimics Martian-Men

A Yiddishe Kup is a terrible thing to waste.  And so after years of only hatters and roofers enjoying the Shabbos downpours, www.shaynecoat.com has produced a Line of Levush that satisfies the need to keep one's self and one's clothing, particularly the hat, dry, while simultaneously satisfying the halachik stringencies against carrying.

The price is right, and the concept seems good, yet for some reason I just can't seem to get past the clown factor.  I simply laugh inwardly each time I pass a black-clad Martian-Man.  

One day I might succumb, but for now I'll settle with wearing an older hat in inclement weather and replacing my good one when finances allow.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Shmiras Shabbos Sefer Survives - BDE Harav Yehoshua Neuwirth ZTL

Harav Yehoshua Neuwirth, the author of Shmiras Shabbos KiHilchoso, has passed away. The following obit from Hamodia explains how he came to write his monumental work on the Laws of Shabbos. Yehi Zichro Baruch.

For two and a half years they lived in a bunker with nothing but two sefarim, a Gemara Kesubos and a Mishnah Berurah chelek gimmel, and so, they were able to learn only hilchos Shabbos.

In the spring of 1946, Reb Yehoshua joined a group of illegal immigrants traveling to Eretz Yisrael. They were ordered to board the ship in Marseilles, France, on Shabbos, which distressed him to no end. On the other hand, it would have been dangerous to remain alone in a strange place with no money, food or belongings. He boarded the ship, but felt remorseful about it for many years, especially when he learned that the whole boarding on Shabbos was a setup by Shabbos desecrators who wanted the religious group to desecrate Shabbos.

As he boarded the ship that Shabbos, Reb Yehoshua pledged that when he would settle down, he would do something for Shabbos. This pledge was the seed that germinated into the sefer Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Demonstration Demonstrates Dueling Daas

The events of the past week have restored my faith in the Halachik process.

Unfortunately, in recent years, it seems as if we have left the Shtetl and joined the global village.

Whereas Psak used to be localized, nowadays we've looked to the great rabbinic leaders of Eretz Yisroel and the diasporic rabbis have fallen in line, none daring to question the leading sages.

The demonstration that took place on Sunday in Manhattan's Foley Square was populated primarily by various Chassidim; and many Litvishe Rabbonim and Rosh Yeshivos joined and urged their followers to attend.  Yet other Litvishe groups were told by their spiritual leaders to stay away. See blogging buddy The Partial View for more details.

It seems that Rav CHAIM Kanievsky was originally supportive of the gathering, yet later issued a retraction (when he was informed that Rav Shteinman opposed it).  As one wit quipped, "Eilu V'eilu Divrei Elokim CHAIM". 

In any event, it is refreshing to see that localized Psak has returned.  Eilu V'eilu Divrei Elokim Chaim.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ancient American's Answer Awes

As this blog oftentimes focuses on Seforim and Technology, I thought it worthwhile to share a vignette I recently was privileged to hear.

A young child was given an assignment to interview a grandparent. He asked the usual questions, where were you born, where did you live, what was your profession etc.

The final question was "What is something that you did not have as a child that you are now able to enjoy?"

I thought the octogenarian would say the Mobile Phone, or Internet or the like.

The surprising answer, stated in all sincerity was "Artscroll Shas!".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pro-family Parisian Parade Protest

The sages advised that במקום שאין איש השתדל להיות איש.  Since Blogging Buddy Bray has taken another absence, and no other jbloggers are discussing this, I feel it is my duty to note some Praise for the Parisians.

As the world rapidly turns more and more towards Sedom, I feel honored to note that upwards of 300,000 People Paraded in the heart of France opposing same-gender marriage.

1 Papa, 1 Mama...

Perhaps the Moslem influence is finally being felt?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dean Decries Drinking Debacle

Rabbi Yaakov Bender has written a much needed article on drinking in our community.

What people must realize is that children look up to their parents and mimic their behavior.

Parents must practice what they preach.

Money Quote:

"I vividly remember a commercial that used to play on radio many years ago, where a deep voice would ask a number of children: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The children would invariably answer: “I want to be a policeman just like daddy.” “I want to be a doctor just like daddy.” “I want to be a lawyer just like daddy.” And finally, “I want to be a fireman just like daddy.” And then the deep voice would resonate with one question addressed to all of us out there, listening to the commercial:

“Daddy, do you smoke?”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brooklyn's 'Burg Bicycle Bereft

Brooklyn's Chassidic community has long Battled the Bloomberg administration regarding keeping their neighborhoods spiritually clean.

There were previous successes in removing Bike lanes that cut through this area, which were opposed for several reasons. Firstly, the Chassidim did not want collisions between speeding Bicyclists and the many children and pedestrians that inhabit this area Furthermore, they did not want the scantily clad Bicyclists destroying the spiritual aura that permeates this region.

The new CitiBike sharing program once again threatened to infiltrate this region, yet according to the NY Daily News, the Chassidim have seemingly Blocked this program from their Blocks.

In other bicycle news, Chai Lifeline's Bike4chai now enters it's fifth season. Bikers will travel 175 miles over 2 days to raise money for Camp Simcha.  What began as a simple ride by one counselor 5 years ago, was followed by 39 participants the second year, and has now mushroomed to 300 participants. Last year 1.8 million dollars was raised! I wish I could swap my Blogger-seat for a Bicycle seat and join them.

In any event, what is somewhat mystifying is that well over one third, over 100 bicyclists hail from Brooklyn! I wonder how many of them live in the 'Burg?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lipman, Lapid Launch Literacy 'Lightenment

We are the people of the book. From time immemorial, the Jewish people have always had a high level of literacy, despite their host country's desire to keep them from attaining higher education.

Along with this desire to keep Jews out of colleges, has been the double edged sword to have them somewhat educated in the basic Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic, so that they could engage in commerce with the natives of the land.

Yet this always received stiff opposition from the rabbis, as the inability to communicate was a safeguard against assimilation. Additionally, any time spent on disciplines other than Torah was suspect and viewed as time wasting.
Many within the Jewish community felt that Jewry would benefit by becoming acclimated to Modern Society, but just as many felt that we must keep our distance for Torah and our way of living to thrive.

This debate raged in 1782 when Rabbi Naftali Hertz Wesseley printed his Divrei Shalom V'Emes, which featured reasons why secular knowledge was necessary, yet his opponents were vehement in squashing his arguments.

Another attempt was made in the 1840's in Russia when Max Lilienthal met with the great Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbis of that era in a vain attempt to get them to update the curriculum.

This debate has been recently renewed in Eretz Yisrael, whereby the Yesh Atid party, under direction of Yair Lapid has directed the Orthodox Ner Israel graduate Dov Lipman to assist in introducing changes to the Chareidi curriculum.

In some ways this mirrors the great debates of yesteryear. But in other ways, not. This is different from Russia trying to Russify their subjects, whereby the Czar should not be telling Volozhin how to run their Yeshiva. In Israel, however, the government is paying for the education, so perhaps they do have a right to dictate how to spend taxpayers money. It seems like they are willing to let them teach what they want, as long as the participants are willing to pay for it.

In any event, RNHW was chastised, Max Lilienthal was run out of the country, and Dov Lipman has earned the contempt of his alma mater.

לא ימושו מפיך ומפי זרעך ומפי זרע זרעך אמר ה' מעתה ועד עולם

Monday, May 6, 2013

Please Provide Post Posek

A recent article in the Yated causes me to ponder: When is it appropriate to publish LH?

The Chofetz Chaim lists 7 conditions that must be met in entirety before one can relate derogatory information about another:

1. Absence of any doubt as to the truth of the incident.
2. Absence of any possible factor to render the action permissible.
3. The necessity to admonish (if possible) prior to relating the incident.
4. The narrative must be accurate.
5. Beneficial intentions.
6. Use another method whenever possible.
7. Punishment must be according to Torah Law.

Several recent incidents have once again shown the power of the internet and how it can be used and abused to further one's agenda.

There was a story about a politician who used the power of an online newspaper to elect/promote himself and downgrade his opponent.

There was a story about a rabbi who promoted his own candidacy for higher power and allegedly concocted stories about great rabbis of previous generations that they orally approved of lenient Halachik practices.

Google recently upgraded and labeled certain parts of Israel as "Palestine".

The upshot of all these shenanigans shows remarkably how much power is the hands of those who hold the reins of the Internet. I have advocated many times that the Agudah should maintain a web presence. Grab onto those reins. I understand their opposition, but I believe that they should - somewhat akin to their position vis a vis present day Israeli elections. "We will oppose the Zionistic state, but now that it has become a reality, we need to deal with it."

Furthermore, I think it is high time we had a "Blog Posek". Similar to Shmiras HaLashon hotlines, one would send questionable posts to be screened prior to posting. Having a picture of the Chofetz Chaim on your blog is nice, but actually keeping away from LH is nicer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Artscroll Achieves Another Addition (Yeshaya)

Artscroll has published Yeshaya, to complement their ongoing Prophets series. This volume joins with Yehoshua/Shoftim, Shmuel I,II and Melachim I,II.

These volumes are beautiful to behold, as a new translation and new typeset of the classic Meforshim is a welcome addition to any library.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Boston Bomber Beasts Bared

Several days after a couple of כפוי טוב Bad Boys unleashed terror in the Boston area, the long arm of the law brought them to justice.

The FBI was able to quickly apprehend the perpetrators, using a myriad of technology and good old fashioned police work.

One of the lessons we learn from this incident is that there is an עין רואה that runs 24x7 and records all our actions.

Living in a מדינה של חסד we sometimes forget to appreciate the saying in פרקי אבות that government enables us to go about our daily lives.

The other lesson that was reenforced was that there really is no anonymity on the net.  You can sit at the keyboard in Atlanta or Yerushayim, in Brooklyn or in Chechnya, in Minneapolis or Los Angeles, if you are too Big for your Britches, you will Be Bared.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sockpuppet Shocker Stuns 'Sphere

This past week was a sad one for the Jblogosphere, as one of the original bloggers did an expose of a prominent Dayan, accusing him of sock puppeting.

Every generation has its challenges, and the new social media generation that we live in is faced with unprecedented avenues to destroy and enhance one's reputation.

Prominent authors have been accused of writing positive reviews to their works on Amazon, politicians have besmirched their opponents on various blogs, investors have pumped and dumped inflated stocks - and businesses have ruined their competition and raised their own worth using fictitious internet postings.

Aside from the Geneivas Daas aspect, is the M'Dvar Sheker Tirchak. Ethics still counts, no?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hamodia Heralds Holy Headlines

Hamodia newspaper has launched a website.

I am very impressed with their website for a number of reasons:

Primarily because of the professional look, but more importantly, because commenting is not allowed.

This is a milestone in Jewish publishing, in that the website looks and functions like any other secular website, minus the glossy pictures and annoying advertisements.

I can understand that TheYeshivaWorld and Matzav rely on advertisements to support their websites, and they rely on the commenting feature to attract and keep subscribers, but kudos are in order to Hamodia for setting a new standard for the Torah Community.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Magnificent Minister: Madame Margaret (Thatcher)

The Iron Lady has fallen.

Growing up in the Ronald Reagan era, it was always comforting to know that there was a woman across the ocean who believed in the Conservative agenda that eventually brought the Cold War to an end.

Margaret Thatcher will be remembered for her staunch support of the United States and Israel.  Additionally, she did not tolerate anti-semitism and nominated many Jewish constituents to her cabinet.

May the likes of her proliferate in the United Kingdom.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lesson: Leave Lasting Legacy

Aside from the posting on the picking of the pontiff, the last few posts have provided short snippets from the lives of people who have changed the world.

Rav Friedenson bequeathed to us Dos Yiddishe Vort. Rav Goldstein entertained a generation with his stories on vinyl and tape that captured many Hashkafic themes. Rav Meir Birnbaum turned his war experience into a lecture tour and book that enthralled thousands with his first-hand witnessing of the waning days of the Nazi horror. Ruchoma Shain documented her father's extraordinary life of Tzedaka in the early days of the last century. The few chapters on her own life in Europe are also of historic importance.

Moshe Yess, is responsible for the proliferation of Kiruv music using English lyrics.

The lesson we learn from these individuals is how a meaningful life can become so much more meaningful when shared with others. Documenting the lives of the greats gives us commoners something to strive for...something to yearn to emulate.

Live Life. Learn Life. Love Life. Leave Lasting Legacy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rebbitzen Ruchoma's Reminisces Resonate

One of my favorite authors, Ruchoma Shain has passed away at the ripe old age of 98. Her biography of her father is one of a few books that leaves a lasting impression on a person - one that drives a person to become better. She moved with her young husband to Europe-Mir before WWII so that her husband could learn by the great European Talmudists. Her father's Hachnasas Orchim was legendary. T.N.T.B.H.

See Matzav for her life's highlights.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Argentinian American Appointed Ablegate

But is it good for the Jews?
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