Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It Won't Make You Happy

We see that the inclination to crass materialism, making it the PRIMARY goal of life, ensnares the individual in the net of inescapable dark depression. Why is this so? Because such an approach seals one off from the Divine lights, the source of true inner life and chokes the Soul with its crude air.

Rav Kook Ztz"l Shmoneh Kvatzim [1/359]

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Silver Lining

Shalom Aleichem sweetest friend,

Don't get me wrong!! I am not against people enjoying themselves. Au contraire [I am SURE I spelled that wrong], punkt fakert, aderabe, just the opposite! I want people to enjoy every second of life to the fullest.


A big "but". I believe that at the seder table the child should add a fifth question. [With the accompanying sing-song] "Why are we spending 25,000 dollars to make Pesach in the Bahamas when other Jews cannot even afford to buy the basics??"

The halacha says that your basic needs come before your friends basic needs [chayecha kodmin]. However, your LUXURIES do not come before your friends basic needs.

Maybe the silver lining of the current financial crisis will be that people will rethink their spending priorities.

Perhaps that will make all of the suffering worth it. Indeed, the Shulchan Aruch Harav writes that the primary mitzva in the time before the coming of Moshiach is tzedaka.

May we see his coming SPEEDILY in our days!!

Love and blessings to all!!!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Be A Partner In The Mitzva Of Pidyon Shvuyim

Sweetest friends! Before George Bush is "shooed" [pun intended] out of office he has been giving pardons. Please call the White House and leave a message asking him to free Jonathan Pollard - 202-456-1111. He reads his messages.

Am Yisrael Chai!!!!!!!!

A great quote for Chanukah that I saw when reading an article on the parsha from the Chief Rabbi of England's website [Miketz 5768, ayain shom].

"I remember how the materialist interpretation of history, when I attempted in my youth to verify it by applying it to the destinies of peoples, broke down in the case of the Jews, where destiny seemed absolutely inexplicable from the materialistic standpoint . . . Its survival is a mysterious and wonderful phenomenon demonstrating that the life of this people is governed by a special predetermination, transcending the processes of adaptation expounded by the materialistic interpretation of history. The survival of the Jews, their resistance to destruction, their endurance under absolutely peculiar conditions and the fateful role played by them in history: all these point to the particular and mysterious foundations of their destiny."

Nicholas Berdyayev

Good Shabbos sweetest friends

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Looking Inward

This speech was sent to me by my good friend R' Yaakov Ben Avigdor Schulder, given by the Rabbi of my old stomping grounds in Manhattan - Lincoln Square Synagogue.

Painful Loss

Sweetest friends, for reasons that completely escape me, the audio shiurim on the site no longer work, at least on my computer [if they work on yours - PLEASE email me]. So it looks like the only place to hear shiurim in the future will be YUTORAH.ORG and this blog will be limited to written comments. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Love and blessings!

A New [Yet Ancient] Perspective

Hi there! My name is Richard but my friends call me Rich. Well, they used to. Anyway, I am "MAD". Let me explain.

I worked hard for many years and made for myself quite a large amount of money. I don't want to divulge exact figures but suffice it to say that we are talking about millions. Well, I wanted to protect my money. I earned it and I wanted to keep it for a long time. The ideal situation was for my money to fulfill the very first commandment in the Torah "Be fruitful and multiply".

Then I heard about a nice Jewish man who guaranteed a ten percent return on your investment. THE MESSIAH HAS COME!! This is what I was looking for. "Now I am set FOR LIFE", I told myself. As Bar Kochva told G-d before he went to war [according to the Talmud Yerushalmi] "Don't help me and don't hurt me. I'll do just fine on my own." Now, I knew that this investor was trustworthy because soooooo many people entrusted him with their money. Could he fool so many sharp businessmen and millionaires? No way!

Well, last week I found out that about the only thing that still belongs to me is my toothbrush and pajamas. Great if I want to prepare for bed but not so great given the fact that I have a family and many expenses.

Then I opened my Tanach for some inspiration in my time of distress and my eyes alighted upon the following pasuk "Thus said Hashem, Cursed is the man who trusts in mortals and makes flesh and blood his strength, and turns his heart away from Hashem." [Yirmiyahu 17/5] Then as I was saying Hallel this Chanukah I noticed the pasuk "It is better to take refuge in G-d [even if He hasn't promised anything] than to trust man who has promised." [Tov lachsos bashem mivtoach biodom - according to the Vilna Gaon.]

And then one more pasuk hit me like a ton of bricks "Lee hakesef vilee hazahav nioom Hashem." [To Me is the gold and silver said Hashem.] The true owner of my money was Hashem. I wish I would have realized that when I still had some.

On a brighter note it helps soothe some of the pain when I realize that I didn't lose "MY" money after all.

May Hashem restore me and all of the countless others who lost so much money to our former positions of wealth together with the blessing of knowing where it comes from and the wisdom to use it only for the right purposes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Holy Land

From a talk given by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Shlita on his Yeshiva's website.

I myself underwent this experience upon my first visit to Eretz Yisrael in the summer of 1962, and it left an indelible imprint on me. I made it my business to get to know as much of the country as I could. One day, I went to see mori ve-rabbi Rav Hutner zt”l, who used to spend summers in Eretz Yisrael. He had an attachment to Eretz Yisrael – he had studied in Yeshivat Chevron when it was still in Chevron. He began to ask me what are my impressions, what do I see here, what do I feel. I discussed with him the vitality of Jewish life and the sense of total community, as opposed to the Diaspora, where one’s life is more fragmented. He felt that you could have felt that wholeness and vitality in Eastern Europe as well. Then I said that I think there is a broader range of application of Halakha in Israel. In America, rabbinical courts handled only ritual law, and here they dealt with dinei mamonot (commercial and financial cases) as well, so here you feel the resonance of Halakha in more areas of life. He said that you could have seen that in Eastern Europe or in North Africa also.

I tried to get him to elaborate, and finally he exclaimed, “Why don’t you mention the uniqueness of being in Eretz Yisrael? Chazal (Ketubot 112a) speak of Eretz Yisrael as a country that Moshe and Aharon didn’t merit to enter, and we are there!” It was stunning to him to meet a ben Torah on an airplane flying to Israel, whose attitude was the same as if he were going to California. I walked out of there like a beaten dog.

..... The most striking example of the halakhic significance of Eretz Yisrael is the position of the Ramban (Vayikra 18:25) that the observance of any mitzva in Eretz Yisrael is qualitatively different that that outside of Israel. He holds the radical opinion that mitzva observance in the Diaspora is only a preparation for coming to Eretz Yisrael, where mitzvot acquire their full significance. I find this position astounding and alarming, but one can adopt it in a moderate vein. If Rav Hutner zt”l would daven on the airplane on his way to Eretz Yisrael, he would put on his tefillin again upon arrival. He said, “Before, I put on chutz la-aretz tefillin, and now I am putting on Eretz Yisrael tefillin.” Ramban says that this applies to the whole range of one’s religious experience.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The End Is Close

I thank my precious friend R' Ephraim Abba Gervis for sending me this special email. The truth is, that the story of the Holy Martyrs Rav Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg in India caused me a great deal of anguish. Especially hearing about the cries of little Moishe "Eeeema Eeeema". I REALLY hope that the end is near and the complete geulah is upon us. No, I am not a Lubavitcher but I wish I had their level of devotion and commitment and I join them in their cry "WE WANT MOSHIACH NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

In 5742/1982, Parshas Lech Lecha, the Klausenburger Rebbe, Rav Yekusiel Yehuda Halberstam zt"l gave a Chumash shiur about the times of ikvisa deMeshicha, the times before Moshiach. The Rebbe's remarks gained publicity more recently following the Mumbai attacks because he mentions, in the course of his statements, a Yid living in India who is going to die and millions of people there will learn what a Jew is.

Below is a translation of excerpts of the Rebbe's drasha:

Zochreuinu lechaim melech chofetz bachaim vechosveinu besefer hachaim lemaancha Elokim chayim. Why do we ask for life? For Your sake, Hashem! Yidden need life so that they can tell the world's people that there is a G-d in Heaven. When you have one Jew living among thousands of others, even a hundred thousand, all of them will find out that there is One G-d.

This in itself is a tremendous benefit. This way, a Jew is mekadesh sheim Shomayim berabim, as it is written, "Lo heglah Hakadosh Boruch Hu es Yisroel bein ha'umos elah kedei sheyitosfu aleihem geirim" – the Jewish people had to go to golus so that there would be many geirim. Hashem wanted the whole world to know that there was one People who didn't believe in avodah zara. The Gemara states that this is the tremendous tachlis, the goal of golus.

There could be one Yid living in all of India. He may be the only one there, but hundreds of people know about him. They talk about him, they discuss his situation. Is he alive? Was he killed?

The more time that passes without Moshiach, the more they talk about the Yid. People are so involved in politics and in gashmiyus today that they don't realize what this means. Millions of people who never knew that Yidden existed are now talking about Yidden. For example, in the early years in America, did they know anything about Yidden? Or in far-off India, under the harei choshech, what did they know about Yidden? Today, however, I doubt that a single person exists who does not know of the Yidden. Some of them bless us, some of them curse us, but they all know about us.
They have to know Yidden, so when Moshiach will come, they can say, "Hashem Elokei Yisroel Melech umalchuso bakol mashala…" Where there are no Yidden, they wouldn't know who Hashem is.

That is why Hashem has had to leave us in golus for so long, until the whole world, miktzeh ha'olam ve'ad ketzeihu, will recognize that, so when Moshiach will suddenly appear and we will all cry out, "Shema Yisroel Hashem Elokeinu," the nations will respond, "Hashem Echad!"

We say this in Akdamus: When people will ask why you let yourself be killed for G-d, the Yidden will explain it to them, and everyone will realize that this was in fact the Yid's tachlis.

And that tachlis will be realized one day. Every day that goes by is one day closer. Somewhere they may be isolated people, a thousand or fifteen hundred in number, who don't know about the Yidden. They, too, must learn about us. It may take a year, it may take more, but in heaven there is no rush, as time is not important up there.
Im yiyeh nidchacha biktzei haShomayim, we should know that misham yekabetzcha Hashem Elokecha umisham yikochecha. There must be Yidden in Honolulu, at the North Pole, at the South Pole….then the tachlis of the golus will be completed and the geulah sheleimah will take place…

Powered by WebAds
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.
My profile