Monday, August 15, 2022

The Difference Beween a Rich Man and a Poor Man

Art: Vladimir Kush

"And you say in your heart: "My strength and the power of my hand amassed this wealth for me" [Eikev 8:17]

A wealthy wood merchant approached R' Chaim of Volozhin and told him that he was in danger of losing his entire fortune.

"Why is your fortune at risk?" asked R'Chaim.

The merchant related his story. "I sent a large ship carrying wood to Prussia" he explained. "The Prussian authorities, however, are not allowing my merchandise into their country. They have warned me that should the ship not turn around, they will sink the ship and all of my precious cargo along with it!"

"Do not worry!" responded R' Chaim. "You will see, Hashem's salvation comes in the blink of an eye!"

That same day, the price of wood increased significantly and, to the merchant's good fortune, the Prussian authorities also allowed his ship to enter their country.

The overjoyed merchant ran over to R' Chaim. "Rebbe" he said, "today I have witnessed the hand of Divine Providence! I now realize that the government's unwillingness to allow my ship to enter their country was all for the best. For had it been permitted to enter any earlier, I would have received a lower price for my wood. Hashem saw to it, however, than my ship would not enter Prussia any earlier so that I would reap far greater profits!"

"You now see the difference between a rich man and a poor man" sighed R' Chaim. "A poor man sees Hashem's guiding Hand each and every day. But a rich man, who is certain that his wealth stems from his own abilities and strengths, only notices Hashem's Providence once every few years."

Source: Rabbi Y. Bronstein

Friday, August 12, 2022

Tu b'Av

L'illui nishmat Mordechai ben Menachem a"h

The Jewish mini-holiday of Tu B’Av

The 15th of Av is undoubtedly a most mysterious day. A search of the Shulchan Aruch [Code of Jewish Law] reveals no observances or customs for this date, except for the instruction that the tachanun [confession of sins] and similar portions should be omitted from the daily prayers [as is the case with all festive dates], and that one should increase one’s study of Torah, since the nights are begining to grow longer, and “the night was created for study.” And the Talmud tells us that many years ago the “daughters of Jerusalem would go dance in the vineyards” on the 15th of Av, and “whoever did not have a wife would go there” to find himself a bride.

And the Talmud considers this the greatest festival of the year, with Yom Kippur (!) a close second!

Indeed, the 15th of Av cannot but be a mystery. As the “full moon” of the tragic month of Av, it is the festival of the future redemption, and thus a day whose essence, by definition, is unknowable to our unredeemed selves.

Yet the unknowable is also ours to seek and explore.

Source and more  click here

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Predictions for New Year 5783 - תשפ״ג

Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin

This coming year 5783 is a year of hakhel, when the Temple stood, the year after shmita the king would gather every man women and child and read the Torah before them. What is the connection to this year 5783?  Furthermore 5783 is a year of abundant wealth, unity and redemption. Watch and learn how all of this is embedded in the Hebrew letters of Pei and Gimel. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Shabbat Nachamu: How Hashem Will Console Us

 New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Monday, August 8, 2022

In Sickness and In Health

"Watch yourselves very carefully...." [Va'Etchanan 4:15]

So much of physical health depends on spiritual health. If in olden days emphasis was placed on "mens sana in corpore sano" [a sound mind in a healthy body], in our days it is a matter of general conviction that even a small defect spiritually, causes a grievous defect physically; and the healthier the spirit and the greater its preponderance over the physical body - the greater its ability to correct or overcome physical shortcomings; so much so, that in many cases even physical treatments, prescriptions and drugs are considerably more effective if they are accompanied by the patient's strong will and determination to cooperate.

Note that Rambam stresses how "having a totally healthy body is among the paths of (serving) God", a point emphasized further by the Mezritcher Maggid.

Since physical health depends on spiritual health, if a person becomes ill, G-d forbid, he should search his past deeds to try to identify what shortcoming may have caused the illness. However, this approach should be taken only regarding one's own lack of physical health. When one sees that another person is sick, one should not think that this was caused by a spiritual shortcoming, since we are told "Do not judge your fellow until you have stood in his place" [Avos 2:4, see Tanya Ch 30]. One's first reaction to a sick person should be, to the contrary, that his sickness may well have been caused by spiritual health, as he may have weakened his body through fasting, in the process of doing teshuvah [see the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch].

The statement of the Zohar that "the weakness of the body is the strength of the soul" does not mean to say that a weakening of the body itself brings about spiritual growth. Rather, the intent of the Zohar is that the desire for physicality, for its own sake, is counter-productive to a person's spiritual growth.

Source: Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

As a youth, R' Yechezkel Abramsky was sent to Siberia. The cold was unbearable, and temperatures dropped to as low as 40 degrees below zero.

Wearing only light clothing, young Yechezkel stood in line along with the other Jews who had been exiled to that forsaken part of the world. They were all trembling from the cold.

"Listen Jews!" shouted the commanding officer. "Every morning you are to remove your shoes and run barefoot in the snow for the duration of an hour. Anyone who dares violate this order will be severly punished!"

R' Abramsky, who was a weak and frail youth, was frightened by this cruel order. Back at his warm home, his loving mother had always tended to him, dressing him in warm clothing and scarves, but now he would have to run barefoot in the snow!

He lifted his eyes to Heaven and pleaded with Hashem: "Master of the World" he said, "you have exhorted us in Your holy Torah to "watch yourselves very carefully". In truth, man is usually able to take care of his health by wearing warm clothing, but here in this Siberian labor camp, we are unable to do so. We therefore cannot be held responsible for our health. I therefore beg of You, Master of the World, watch over and us and protect us!"

Amazingly, throughout his entire stay in Siberia, R' Abramsky did not get sick even once.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Friday, August 5, 2022

Trauma is Emotional Murder

Rabbi Y. Y. Jacobson, a 5 minute video that everyone should watch. Those who already understand will appreciate his explanation to those who do not yet really understand the meaning of "trauma".

Thursday, August 4, 2022

How Does G-d Assure Everyone A Place in The World To Come?

New shiur from Rabbi Mendel Kessin

Major Tikkun for Moshiach


The author wishes to remain anonymous - it's such a long blog post that I had to make it a whole page.  Please click here to read.  Time sensitive information.

Blessing Your Medication


HT: Rivkah Lambert Adler