Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your Friend's Mom

An ode to moms.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From Cold To Hot

Shalom sweetest friends!!

At the end of Yom Kippur davening, I observed as a man approached the gabbai of the shul and remarked "Everything was ok but next year you should make sure that the air-conditioner works properly".

I don't want to be critical. I once read that before you criticize someone you should step into the other persons shoes and walk for a block. This way if he gets angry you will be a block away and you have his shoes.

BUT, I will use this as an opportunity to ponder my own spiritual poverty. Isn't Yom Kippur supposed to make me a LITTLE more spiritual. Shouldn't I be focused on other things besides my creature comforts. How can I be any different after Yom Kippur if the air conditioning is on my mind?

Amalek cooled us off. "Asher karcha baderech" - They cooled you off on the way.

I hope we can all get heated up!!

Love and blessings to all!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Holy Matrimony

“To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.”

“After about 20 years of marriage, I'm finally starting to scratch the surface of what women want. And I think the answer lies somewhere between conversation and chocolate.”

Yom Kippur is a very holy day!

Strange then that on this day the mishna at the end of Taanis relates that the girls would dance in the vineyards and the single boys would come and pick wives. A Yom Kippur dance???

YES! Getting married is HOLY and there is no day more appropriate than Yom Kippur to find a wife.

We also know from the first mishna in Yoma that the Kohein Gadol MUST be married. No wife - no atonement for the Jewish People.

Maybe then, part of our Yom Kippur kabbala can be to help set up a couple [or 10].

Gmar Chasima Tova Sweetest and Most Beloved Friends!!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Actions Speak Louder Than .....

Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many people ask mechilah but their actions testify to the fact that they don't really mean it. So don't JUST ask someone for forgiveness but show him by your actions that you really mean it.

Don't JUST tell your wife that you love her but SHOW her [this will cost you money].

Don't just tell your children that learning/davening/chessed is important but make it a primary component of your life and they will get the message.

This is what chazal meant when they said "Gadol shimusha yoser mi'limuda" [Brachos 7b] - Greater is SERVING a Torah scholar that learning from one. When you serve him you see the Torah practiced in real life. Learning - with all of its greatness - remains in the realm of mere words. [See Ayn Ayah there!]

Love and blessings!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Want It

"Winning is not everything, but wanting to win is."

Vince Lombardi

"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

Robert Browning Hamilton

G-d doesn't expect us to be perfect but He DOES expect us to desire perfection. Don't be complacent with your spiritual level. Reach for the stars!!

Mussar From Reb Will

And oftentimes excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.

William Shakespeare

Isn't Yom Kippur great. No excuses! Hashem - we were wrong! That's it.

Wouldn't it be great if people were the same way to each other?! Instead of trying to justify inappropriate behavior, people would just admit error and resolve to be better the next time.

In order to do this it is critical to accept one truism. We are ALL riddled with flaws - and that is OK. We are only human and should not expect ourselves to be perfect.

Hashem doesn't. That is why he gave us the mitzva of teshuva.

May we all walk in the ways of Hashem and forgive those around us for their inadequacies.


Holiness Of Speech

There are some people who are thirsting for Hashem. I LOVE such people because they elevate me from my low state. They want nothing more than to fear, cling to and love Hashem - Yirah, Dveykus and Ahava. Rav Kook [Shmonah Kvatzim, Kovetz Dalet Os Ayin] discusses such people. He notes that even though they have a strong spiritual inclination, that is not enough.

It is also important for such people to focus on KEDUSHAS HAPEH. This means that they must engage in positive speech, such as torah and tefilla. This is what is meant by the pasuk we will read in this weeks haftora - "Kechu imachem devarim vishu el Hashem" - Take words and return to Hashem. Also, such people must be very careful not to engage in forbidden speech such as lashon hara and nivul peh. Of course, every person must be careful in his speech but people of great spiritual quality must be especially careful. For example, everybody must eat a healthful diet but professional athletes most be even more careful. In the same way, the soul of people with a strong spiritual constitution requires special vigilance in the area of kedushas peh.

Sweetest friends! Recently I have been fortunate enough to come into contact with various young people with very elevated neshamos. It has been a pleasure and I hope it continues. I also hope that they are wise enough to take care to speak words of holiness.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A War Has Broken Out!

Life is SUPPOSED to be easy. No battles! Smooth sailing!


Life is in fact supposed to be a CONSTANT battle. That is why you are having a rough time. Our purpose on earth is to fight relentlessly against the forces of evil - primarily those within us. So taught the Heilige Ramchal in his Mesilas.

In LiDovid Hashem we say "im takum alai milchama BAZOS ani boteach" - If there is a war, "Bazos" - in this, I trust. What is "in this" that I trust?

Sfas Emes: In the milchama! If I have a war, I know that I can win. That is my purpose, my raison d'etre. So don't worry! Just keep fighting - with a smile on your face and simcha in your heart with the knowledge that you are growing!!

Love and blessings!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

....U'tzedaka - Ma'avirim Es Roa Hagzeira

Sweetest friends, Chazal say that if a person says that "I have ONLY Torah" - he has NOTHING - including Torah. On Alleyways we try to spread Torah - but that is NOT enough. We must also spread Tzedaka. So here are two VERY worthwhile tzedakas where you can be sure that every penny/shekel will go to the worthwhile cause.

1] A sweet very ill boy - Bentzi Gottlieb. We publicized the letter from his father here.

2] I am collecting for the son of a friend of mine who is getting married. His father died tragically, leaving seven young children. I do not want to write the name in order to save the family embarrassment. For more information you can contact me at or 646-461-1628 or 02-6289-148.


Friday, September 18, 2009

The Rebbe Shlita in English!!

A sicha before the big day from his smallest talmid.


Monday, September 14, 2009

A New Perspective

If someone would ask me to characterize the most fundamental lesson of Mussar with a story I would relate the following: Rav Yechezkel Sarna was the Rosh Yeshiva of the Chevron Yeshiva [and a student of the great Ba'al Mussar Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel the Alter of Slabodka] was very old, ill and feeble. Nevertheless, one motzei Shabbos he insisted on going to the Beis Medrash in the Yeshiva for maariv. When he was on his way, it became clear that the students had already finished davening. The people with him told him that it is not worth the effort to climb all of the stairs to the "Beis".

He replied: Davening with a minyan is only a mitzva midirabbanan [a rabbinic mitzva]. Maariv is only [strictly speaking, according to the gemara in the fourth perek of brachos] optional. But to wish the boys a "shavua tov" is a mitzva midi'oraisa of "viahavta lirayacha kamocha".

Friday, September 11, 2009

Parshas Nitzavim

A sicha on the Parsha here

Good Shabbos Sweetest Friends!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's YOUR Fault

Every man is the architect of his own life. He builds it just the way he wants it. However, after he has built what he wants, he sometimes decides that he doesn't like what he has built and looks for someone or something to blame instead of changing himself.

Sydney Madwed

My favorite line in Shas [maybe]: "Ain hadavar talui ele bee" - It is up ONLY to me [to change], [Avoda Zara 17 - check out the context of the gemara!].

THANK G-D [!!!] there are so many other people in the world. A person can blame his wife for their problems in marriage, his boss for the problems at work, his children for the problems at home, his Rabbi for the problems in the shul - and the list goes on and on.

Sweetest friends - take life into your own hands. Personal responsibility. A sense of achrayus. No more blaming, no more passing the buck. THAT - is the beginning of change.

Love and blessings!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Elul Recall Notice

This has been circulating and was sent to me by my sweet friends Avraham Yitzchak ben Esther and Beryl Halevi ben Elisheva.

Regardless of make or year, all units known as "human beings" are
being recalled by the Manufacturer. This is due to a malfunction in
the original prototype units code named "Adam" and "Eve" resulting in
the reproduction of the same defect in all subsequent units. This
defect is technically termed, "Serious Internal Non-morality," but
more commonly known as "SIN. Some of the symptoms of the SIN defect:

[a] Loss of direction
[b] Lack of peace and joy
[c] Depression
[d] Foul vocal emissions
[e] Selfishness
[f] Ingratitude
[g] Fearfulness
[h] Rebellion
[i] Jealousy

The Manufacturer is providing factory authorized repair service free
of charge to correct the SIN defect.
The Repair Technician, Hashem, has most generously offered to bear
the entire burden of the staggering cost of these repairs. To repeat,
there is no fee required.
The number to call in for repair in all areas is: PRAYER.

Once connected, please upload the burden of SIN through the
REPENTANCE procedure. Next, download ATONEMENT from the Repair
Technician, Hashem, into the heart compon ent of the human unit.. No
matter how big or small the SIN defect is, Hashem will replace it

[a] Love
[b] Joy
[c] Peace
[d] Kindness
[e] Goodness
[f] Faithfulness
[g] Gentleness
[h] Patience
[I] Self-control

Please see the operating manual, TORAH, for further details on the
use of these fixes. As an added upgrade, the Manufacturer has made
available to all repaired units a facility enabling direct monitoring
and assistance from the resident Maintenance Technician, Hashem.
Repaired units need only make Him welcome and He will take up
residence on the premises.

WARNING: Continuing to operate a human being unit without corrections
voids the Manufacturer's warranty, exposes the unit to dangers and
problems too numerous to list, and will ultimately result in the
human unit being incinerated.
Thank you for your immediate attention.

Please assist by notifying others of this important recall notice.

Have an uplifting Chodesh Elul!

Taking Me For A Ride

"Nothing but heaven itself is better than a friend who is really a friend."


I have returned B"H from my short excursion to the U.S. I would like to thank my sweetest friends who made the trip so special. To all of the people who gave me rides: R' Yaakov Dov Slomnicki, my sister Naomi Weberman and her husband R' Yossi, R' Shmuel Binyamin Stein, R' Mordy Leifer and R' Avraham Yitzchak Jaspan. Many others offered to drive me somewhere and I appreciate that as well. To the people I stayed with: The Hirsh family, the Stein family and my brother Jonathan and his family. Everyone made sure I was comfortable.

I also thank R' Dori Binyamin Levin for organizing a get together [with pizza!] in his apartment and R' Shmuel Binyamin and his wife Shira Malka for doing the same [pizza too!]. I also thank everyone who took part and gave me tremendous chizzuk.

May all of the achdus we felt serve as a merit before the days of the high and holy.

I also want to thank the pilot. Flying is MUCH easier than SWIMMING the Atlantic.

The very first word we say every day is "Thanks". So I will conclude this post with the very same message - Thanks to one and to all!!

Love and blessings!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A Matter Of Principle

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.

Groucho Marx

Teshuva means deciding what is right and that you will stay with it under all circumstances. You have to be real to the extent that even Hashem testifies that your resolve is steadfast [Rambam].

Love and blessings!!

My number in the USA - 609-290-4835. I am about to fly. Hope my wings are strong...

Breathing Impure Air

I am a smoker.

No, no. I would NEVER put a cigarette in my mouth. I am not suicidal and have no particular aspirations to suffer from any of the various forms of cancer that are caused by smoking. Plus,it makes a person's breath stink. And his clothes. Also, I'd rather spend my money on food for my family, toys for my kids or tzedaka. I wonder what smokers are going to answer G-d after 120 [smokers never get close..] when he shows them the amount of money they wasted in their lives to fulfill their disgusting habit [known in the mussar sefarim as "taaveh"] when they could have used that money to feed hungry children or to help pay for the weddings of orphans.

But still, I smoke.

Second hand. People smoke in my vicinity and I must ingest their noxious fumes.


I am on my way to the USA. I pray that my soul will not suffer too much from what our sages called "tumas eretz ho'amim". And they never went to Times Square! Imagine what they would say today.

I also hope that my sweetest friends will help me. Many are pros at remaining holy in an environment where the spiritual fumes are quite contaminating.

Lord help us all.

Love and blessings!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Mussar From A Matchmaker

Shadchanit: What type of boy do you want?

Girl: A "modern" boy.

Shadchanit: Stop worrying about modernity and start worrying about eternity!

[Ehrman: Some shadchanim can be quite blunt at times but I think she has a valid point....]

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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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