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Michoel Dovid Leopold

"I have been to other communities and I can't express enough how fortunate we are to have an organization like Yagdil Torah where you can walk down the street and see, 'Oh, a shiur on this, another shiur on this,' always learning and you never have to worry."

Menachem Mendel Simon

"Here more than any other place in Crown Heights have I been able to really 'chap' more of the Torah and the Rebbe's Sichos and more of the inspiration that Chassidus has to offer."

Ari Pfeffer

“I heard about Yagdil Torah’s 20 hour open-door policy and decided I had to check it out for myself. I went there at about 12:45 AM and was amazed to find people learning. I sat down and before I knew it, an hour had passed as if it was only 5 minutes… The undisturbed, quiet atmosphere made it a pleasure.

I got hooked.

I guess my newfound pleasure was noticed by my friends and neighbors – they joined too. The secret is out: If anyone wants to learn in a quiet, heimishe place, this is it.”

Shlomo Ezagui

“To have a comfortable place in the Shechunah where everyone can sit and learn is great enough, but to have so many shiurim available on a regular basis, finding chavrusas, encouraging people - especially through your wonderful newsletter -on top of that? Incredible.

But what is most amazing for me is that all the shiurim are available for me to enjoy in Miami Beach! I’m a regular listener to your shiurim on Chassidus, Nigleh, and Halachoh L'Maaseh.

Keep up the amazing work, and have tremendous hatzlochah!”

Shmuel Mendelsohn - Mashpia of Yeshivah Torah Ohr in North Miami Beach

"One of the Yagdil Torah tactics I admire is the exposure of existing Torah learning as a means of inspiring others."

Rabbi Yoseph Paltiel - Mashpia United Lubavitcher Yeshivah, Chovevei Torah

"Yagdil Torah is breathing vital life into our community. The efforts of the organization are not only important, but crucial for our very existence.

So thank you Levi and the Yagdil Torah team, for bringing us life!"

Rabbi Yossi Pels - Co-Director Chayeinu Publications

"The study of Torah each day is critical for every member of our community. It will broaden our horizons, make us happier, healthier, more wholesome people, better humans, husbands and fathers. It will challenge us to grow and live our lives to the fullest. Yagdil Torah-the way to go!"

Rabbi Yoseph Jacobson - Dean TheYeshivah.net

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Tes Zayin Tammuz, 5776

Risky Investments

"Shmuel you got to hear about this steal of an investment; you only give one dollar a month and at age 115 they give you ten million!"

"Moishe, it sounds good at first but think. Firstly, they are counting on the fact that most people don't make it that far. Secondly, even if you do get the payout, what can you do with the money then; get a gold bingo set? With average teeth at that age you won't find too many restaurants to enjoy the money with, and the maximum amount of time you have for enjoying the money is five years.

"Let me tell you something much more solid; the Bal Hatanya writes that the revelation that will happen in this world when Moshiach comes depends on our work in the times of Golus.

"There is at least three major advantages to that investment: A) There is no qualitative or on quantitative comparison between the gilui then and any money, B) its Eternal, C) and definite.

It's not just a bull versus bear market. Rather, there is no comparison."

Tes Zayin Tammuz, 5776

The Gemara (Berachos 40a) says that one may not eat until he first feeds his animals. This is derived from the possuk (Devorim 11:15), "And I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and [following that,] you will eat and be satisfied." This obligation is quoted in Shulchan Aruch (see Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, 167:9) and is a derivative of tzaar baalei chaim, the directive to ensure that one's animals do not suffer.

Although not many of us are in possession of cattle, some houses feature attractive aquariums containing various types of fish. May a person who owns an aquarium sit down to a meal before feeding his fish?

The underlying question appears to be whether or not fish experience pain. Although animals may only be eaten if they were slaughtered with shechitah, which minimizes the pain of death, the requirement of shechitah does not apply to fish. Does this mean that fish do not feel pain, and as such the obligation to first feed one's animals would not apply to them?

Learn it for Real Tes Zayin Tammuz, 5776

It is vital and proper that chassidim should have the following three books in their possession: Keser Shem Tov, Or Torah and Tanya. For certain reasons, however, they should not be bound together in one volume. One should study them as much as one wishes (though let that study be worthy of the name!) - daily, or at least on Shabbos and Yom-Tov and at certain other times.

Sefer HaMaamarim 5710, p. 265 (reprinted from SIE with permission)

Beis Tammuz, 5776

Reish Lakish to the Rescue

The great Sage Reish Lakish had once lived among the wild people called Loddites.

Known for his bravery and prowess, the Loddites wanted him to be the leader of one of their fierce robber bands. Reish Lakish, however, was destined for greater things.

He fled from those wicked people and changed his life completely, becoming a great baal teshuva and dedicating his tremendous intellect and power to the study of Torah.

He married the sister of Rabbi Yochanan, the greatest Sage of the time, and excelled so much at his learning that he was appointed to a high position in the yeshiva at Tiberias.

Although Reish Lakish now spent all his days and nights in the study hall, he had lost none of his fire and strength. He feared no one but G-d, and would stand up to deceit or corruption whenever he encountered it, no matter what danger he had to face.

One morning, as Rabbi Yochanan walked to the Study Hall, he was attacked by a band of robbers who stole all his money. When he finally arrived at the Study Hall he was very shaken by the incident, and, although he tried to lead the class as usual, he was unable to concentrate on the questions his students posed. It became obvious that the great Sage was troubled by something.

Noticing that his teacher was deeply troubled, Reish Lakish pressed Rabbi Yochanan for an explanation. "What is wrong? Has something happened to you?" Rabbi Yochanan answered by way of a hint, saying, "The whole body depends on the heart, but the heart depends on the pocket." Reish Lakish didn't understand his teacher's allusion, and he repeated his question.

This time Rabbi Yochanan explained clearly, "I can't gather my thoughts because as I was coming to study today, I was set upon by a band of robbers. I was carrying a great deal of money, and they stole it all. Now I will have to spend my energy trying to support myself and my family, and I'm afraid I won't be able to learn Torah as I did before."

Reish Lakish was outraged. "Where did they attack you and which way did they go?" he demanded to know. They went out to the road and Rabbi Yochanan pointed to the location of the attack. Not bothering to bring any weapons, Reish Lakish set out to find the robbers.

Beis Tammuz, 5776

Date: 5719 (1959)
Location: Brooklyn, New York

Rabbi Nissan Telushkin was the Rov of Congregation Beis Yitzchok of Brooklyn. Although the official nusach of the shul was nusach Ari, and therefore birchos hashachar were not recited in shul by the chazan, many congregants davened according to nusach Sefard, and they were not used to saying these brachos at home (before coming to shul).

Rabbi Telushkin was concerned that these congregants were not saying these brachos at all. To solve this problem, he considered instituting that the chazan should recite birchos hashachar in shul (as per the custom of nusach Sefard), following which the services would continue according to nusach Ari, as usual. Would this be an appropriate way of dealing with the issue?

Rabbi Telushkin sent a letter to the Rebbe describing the situation. The Rebbe replied that although this institution would ensure that these congregants would recite (or hear) birchos hashachar, it would create problems for those congregants who do follow nusach Ari:

Lights, Action Beis Tammuz, 5776

A shul is a lamp [that illuminates] life. It is by the light of those who teach Torah in public that the Jewish nation will travel on all the journeys of life. [Studying Torah in public supplies a Yid] with sustenance and nourishment, [reinforces his commitment to] observe the mitzvos, [and guides him] in directing the household, in family life, and in the education of his sons and daughters.

Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Vol. 3, p. 111

Tes Zayin Sivan, 5776

You Promised

We all have different things that start our engines; for some it's the handshake.

I recently read about a closing which was followed by a higher offer with a legal avenue to renege on the first commitment. The seller however wanted to keep his word and let the additional fifteen thousand go.

Now what does that have to do with us?

The amount of years minus your age ago you made a promise; a promise to learn Torah whenever possible. This promise also famously comes with satiation and energy (the word swear and satiation are spelled similarly in Hebrew, hence the hint).

You made the promise, make good on it. Fair?

Tes Zayin Sivan, 5776

Date: 5719 (1959)
Location: Brooklyn, New York

Rabbi Nissan Telushkin was the Rov of Congregation Beis Yitzchok, located in the East New York section of Brooklyn. Although the official Nusach of the shul was Nusach Ari, many congregants davened according to Nusach Sefard.

One of the differences between Nusach Ari and Nusach Sefard involves the recital of Birchos Hashachar in the morning. According to Nusach Ari, each individual recites them at home before coming to shul, while according to Nusach Sefard, they are not recited at home and are recited instead by the chazan at shul, before beginning Shacharis.

Since Rabbi Telushkin’s shul followed Nusach Ari, Birchos Hashachar were not recited in shul by the chazan. Rabbi Telushkin was concerned that this would create an issue for these congregants. On the one hand, they were not used to saying Birchos Hashachar alone at home. On the other hand, they wouldn’t say them in shul either, since they were not being recited by the minyan!

To solve this problem, Rabbi Telushkin considered instituting that the chazan should recite Birchos Hashachar in shul (as per the custom of Nusach Sefard), following which the services would continue according to Nusach Ari, as usual.

Would this be an appropriate way of dealing with the issue?

Pinnacle of Truth Tes Zayin Sivan, 5776

Our love of the Torah must be unconditional. It shouldn’t even be because the Torah is “your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations.” The epitome of a human is when he is passionately involved in matters of wisdom and intellect to the extreme. We find this concept even with secular wisdom, and certainly with wisdom of kedushah, as Chazal describe based on a possuk in Mishlei [5:19. See Eiruvin 54b]. However, all this is not enough, as it is still shelo lishmah in a subtle form. The goal is to eventually reach the level of learning Torah lishmah in the ultimate manner.

Motza’ei Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev, 5717 (Toras Menachem, Vol. 18, p. 257)

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