Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Many moons ago my father came home from work one day with a set of books the contents of which would change my life forever. Many years later I constantly refer back to the aforementioned set of books. They are the most thought provoking and intellectually stimulating books I have read to date. In addition they provide me with much needed guidance in my everyday life. If you are interested I think you can find these books in your local Jewish bookstore. They are called "Talmud Bavli".
One of the problems I have with certain segments of contemporary Jewry is its close-mindedness. From my trusty Talmud I have learned among other things the value of diverse opinions and the importance of openness to those opinions. So I am going to offer some opinions that might not conform with popular thought and ask you to consider them. Remember we must be openminded!!!

Here I go!!

Many scientific studies have concluded that T.V. promotes laziness, violence, promiscuity etc. etc. [Please refer to my shiur on the topic]. Plus [and for this we don't need scientists] it is a mammoth waste of time. Not to mention the fact that it is assur. Maybe we shouldn't own one.

Maybe the Lubavitchers are right and we DO want Moshiach now!!

Maybe Maran HaRav Kook was right when he said that in a child's youth he should first be filled with Torah and Yiras Shomayim and only when he gets older should we consider his secular education and livelihood. The state of ignorance in our Day Schools is simply appalling. Parents pay monumental sums of money for 12 years of Jewish education and in return receive a child who cannot translate a Rashi in Chumash or even the prayer that he says [we hope] daily.

Maybe R' Tzaddok Hacohen was right when he said that you should believe in yourself!!! Maybe you do have a unique task to fulfill in this world. And maybe Hashem really does love you [more than you love yourself]as we proclaim daily in our prayers.

Maybe King David was right when he said that when you die you can't take it with you. Shouldn't we then live our lives for something lasting and real.
Maybe your mother was right when she said :If you don't have something nice to say don't say it at all.

And finally, maybe R' Chaim of Volozhin was correct when he said that we are on this earth to perform acts of kindness for others [and not for our own personal gratification].

Food for thought.

And Dad if you are reading this - thanks for the books!!!!!

Love your friend, Elchanan Ehrman

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


In Parliment Square in Vienna a large crowd assembled as the representitive of Baron Rothchild exhibited the greatest invention ever known to modern man - the Automobile. The first wagon without horses!!!

For a long and tiring hour he explained the finer points of Motors, Gas, Transmissions etc. etc. At the conclusion of the lecture an old man rose and asked for permission to speak.

"Everything is very clear and very interesting" he said, "but I still don't understand where and how you connect the horses."

There is a school of thought in modern psychology which believes that all of a persons problems can be traced back to one fundamental error in perception. If you can correct this error then you have a happy human being.
Western culture accepts as axiomatic the principle that the purpose of life is physical pleasure. From this perception emerge many other ideas. Examples: Money is just about the most important thing in the world. [G-ds name on the dollar symbolises that on some level the dollar is... G-d. Just look at how many "G-d fearing" people lose all of their scruples when it comes to making the Almighty Dollar.] Male-Female interaction [lashon n'kia] should be unbridled. All forms of entertainment are very important and highly reccomended-unless illegal [Hey it's no fun to sit in jail]. The examples are myriad but we will suffice with the aformentioned.

If you speak with someone [or almost anyone for that matter] who suscribes to such a viewpoint and you suggest something different he will think that you are nuts.

I want to be nuts.

Western culture is really not that far off. We are here for pleasure. But the real thing. G-dly pleasure. Lihisaneg al Hashem. Primarily in the next world. But also right here in this world. If you have ever learned a Gemara with a Rambam, a question of the Maggid Mishne reconciled by a brilliant approach of the shev shmatsa-you know what I'm talking about. Or if you have ever helped a needy person [aren't we all needy in some way] for no other reason other than the fact that it was the right thing to do. And even if you acted at great personal sacrifice - you felt it was worth it. The examples abound but I would prefer that you go out and do it instead of reading about it!

So next time you have a decision to make ask yourself if you are being swayed by long held perceptions about right and wrong, good and bad. This is critical.

Otherwise you might end up tying horses to your automobile.

Your friend and ever faithful servant,

Ally Ehrman

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I have a problem. Cancer. No I am healthy Baruch Hashem. But many many people are suffering from this horrible illness. So horrible that Jews refer to it euphemistically "Yenna Machala" "The Big C" etc. Too horrible even to pronouce - and people experience this Gehenom as a daily reality. Good people. Tzaddikim. [I am friendly with 2 such tzaddikim. Chances are that you are personally acquainted with a few yourself]. Children. Sweet innocent children. In the Holy of Holies there were two cherubs who had the face of children. Children are the Holy of Holies. And they suffer so. Holy jewish mothers. Metaphorically compared to the Shechina Hakedosha. Instead of sending off their little angels to school in the morning with a kiss and hug they languish in a hospital bed. Unsure if they will be alive for their children's weddings - or next birthday.

My heart is breaking. If you have a heart of flesh and not of stone so is yours.
What can we do?

My Holy Rebbe The Tolna Rebbe Shlita related the following story. About 10 years ago the Gerrer Rebbe Rav Pinchas Menachem Alter Zatzal went to the Kotel to daven. He went at a time when he thought that his chassidim would not be there so that he would not be mobbed. It didn't help. People recognized him [with the preponderece of Rebbe cards it's hard to remain anonymous...] and crowded around him to request brachos. He patiently listened to each and every supplicant. Most people gave him the name of cancer patients for whom to daven.

During the car ride home the Gerrer Rebbe repeated the names he had just heard [and there were many!!!] beseeching Hashem for a Refuah Shleima. Then he turned to the Tolna Rebbe and said :" Do you know why there is so much cancer in the world? Cancer can start with one tiny cancerous cell. All the surrounding cells are perfectly healthy. Then the cancer begins to spread and afflicts the healthy cells. Jealousy works the same way. One person feels jealous about his friends success and then destroys him with negative feelings and Ayin Raá. I FEAR THAT UNTIL WE RID OURSELVES OF THIS SPIRITUAL MALIGNANCY THE PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION WILL CONTINUE TO RUN RAMPANT".

I could never make such a claim but the Gerrer Rebbe who had Ruach Hakodesh [documeted but not our topic] could and did. "Ayin Hara motzi es haodom min haolam". Kipshuto.

Something to think about next time you are inclined to feel jealous.

Instead we can try to have an Ayin Tovah. "Ïsn't it wonderful that so and so is so wealthy/ found such a great shidduch [even if I am single!!!]/has everything going for him" [or so you think]/ etc. etc.

Number two- Cry. [If your are male it might be more difficult, but it can be done.] Hashem loves our tears. He counts them. Believe that your tears can alleviate pain better than any pain-killer. They heal. Doctors are only fallible human beings. Hashem can do the job with ease. But, kvyochol, he needs our tears first. Then the doctors will be successful. If we don't cry when the choleh is still alive then ... well I've attended far too many funerals and oh how the tears flow. Like waterfalls. Hashem Yerachem.

One more thing. As long as you and your loved ones are healthy - appreciate it . It is a gift too often seen as such only after it is lost.
Best of health to all of you.

Ally Ehrman

P.S. A few names I picked up: Molly bas Bracha, Alexander ben Chaya Ruchama, Rina Chaya Bina bas Ester, Dovid Yifrach ben Freeda, Lipman Asher ben Breindel, Tichye Noa Ester bas Chaya, Shmuel ben Faige, Braina Leah bes Fruma, Yaakov ben Sarah, Chaya Anat bas Malka -bsoch shear cholei yisroel!!! [feel free to send me more names .I live next to the Kotel].

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Summer

Dearest Sweetest Friends

When I was a young boy of about 10 [close to 25 short years ago] my holy mother had the foresight to enroll me in a computer course. However for little Ally Ehrman computers could not hold a candle to the Mets-Knicks-Rangers-Dolphins and Reb Jimmy Conners [the honorific title in recognition of his SMASHING two-fisted backhand]. My next serious interaction with computers was in 9th grade M.T.A. class. I received a 33 on my report card. This was no love affair...

For many years I resisted use of this foreign and [to me] scary machine. Even when I needed to make use of the computer I always found a way to avoid it.

Times change. I came to the realization that in order to spread Dvar Hashem I would have to make use of this machine. Thus I sit right now in front of my computer typing this message.

However I have learned that there are few contraptions [if any] more dangerous than a computer.

Many frum marriages have been broken up because one of the partners founnd a romantic interest on line. Many marriages. Very often with a member of a different faith!!! [For the Torah attitude on such liasions see Parshas Pinchas]. Think of the poor children. One frum woman threw her shaitel on her bed and ran away from her husband to live with a truck driver in Ohio.

Many many [!!!] frum Jews have become Mechallelei Shabbos Ochlei nevelos vetreifos living a lifestyle that even one of the metukanim of the Umos Haolam [loosely translated as "decent gentiles"] would find sleazy. Men women and children. Oy,how many children.

I am aware that Internet is not the only problem but it is certainly a central one.

And even if one stays "kosher" how much time is wasted on the computer. Every second encapsulates within it eternity!!!! And when squandered it is lost for eternity. Yet people forgo eternity in order to play solitaire!!!!

It is now the summer. You worked hard this year and deserve a break. Take one!!! Play ball travel swim etc. etc. Whatever you enjoy. But please have mercy on your Neshama and don't waste time!!!!! It is too precious. Life flies by. A cliche but a painfully true one. You won't regret it. I promise.

Also remember - it won't be easy. Your Yetzer Hara is going to work hard to destroy you. [He is a computer expert!!] And your job-

Love Elchanan Ehrman

P.S. If you have or are planning to have children (or if you are presently or once was a child) please go to www.torahweb.org and listen to a lecture given by Mr. Phillip Rosenthal. It was a real eye opener for me. Although I strongly disagree with his conclusions he has done the religious community a great service by publicizing the dangers that lurk on the Internet. A must listen for Goyim too!!!

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Segula - 40 days at the Kotel

About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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