Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Please Help Me:The Eightonpology

1. The Rambam explains that part of the teshuva process is ויסירו ממחשבתו ["remove it from his mind"]. What does this mean?

2. Why does the Rambam wait until the second perek of Hilchos Teshuva to define what Teshuva is. Would it have not been more appropriate to define the term at the outset?

Please help me.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Vacation Time

A while back I read about a very impressive Yeshiva day-school Rebbe from the U.S.A. who died tragically young. One extraordinary story told about him is the following: At that time (1982) the Israeli's were fighting a war in Lebanon. This Rabbi enjoyed taking vacations with his family. But even though he had planned a vacation during a break from school he did not think it appropriate to vacation as his fellow Jews were engaged in dangerous and deadly warfare. On the other hand - it was vacation time!!

So he approached his Rov and shared his dilemma. His Rov said that if he has such Holy feelings that cause him to identify with his fellow Jews in their time of distress he should act on his feelings and cancel the vacation. The counsel [thanks Will] was of course followed.

No practical ramifications.

Just thinking.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Softball Games On Tisha Báv

Dear Rav Ehrman,

Tisha Báv is coming up and to my great dismay I don't feel particularly sad. Life is, thank G-d, quite good. I am learning Torah in Y.U. I have a great chavrusa , the shiur is stimulating and I feel that I lack nothing spiritually - minyanim, kashrus etc. etc.

Materially things are quite well also. I have a car, a nice house, plenty to eat and above all - a wonderful kallah [or maybe I should include her in the spiritual category.]!!!

As you like to say "PLEASE HELP ME"!!!

Kol Tuv,
Desensitized To The Churban

My answer:

Dearest sweetest friend,

I greatly appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

The answer I believe is three-fold. 1 - You can mourn on Tisha Báv [and during the entire 3 weeks for that matter] that you are so far away that you don't feel the mourning.

2 - Look at current events. And all of what our nation has suffered for the 2,000 years. Very very sad. Such suffering, pain and destruction. The Holocaust. Words fail me.

If we would have had the Beis Hamikdash and the prophecies of the Neviem would have been fulfilled we would have been saved from all of that indescribable anguish.

3 - Learn Eicha and other books that discuss inyanyei Tisha Báv. Attend shiurim given by people who do appreciate the loss. When you have more knowledge and understanding the emotions will follow.

You should feel tremendous joy that you are bothered by your inability to mourn. That also requires great spiritual sensitivity. All to many Jews see Tisha Báv as a long, hot, boring and bothersome day which we can fortunately sidestep [to a certain extent] by watching T.V. and otherwise distract ourselves. I attending a summer camp in my youth [which claimed adherence to Torah law - a highly debatable claim] where Tisha Báv was anticipated with great excitement as we would then witness the annual staff softball game. When asked why the game took place on Tisha Báv I was told that the game is designed to distract us from the fast....

That might be the greatest churban of all.


Elchanan ben Henna Miriam

P.S. Feel free to call me and we can discuss this in greater depth.

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About me

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