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Guard Your Eyes
Heichal Halimmud

Drop some coins each morning into the Yagdil Torah פושקא located in 770.
Pushka location: Walk down the main aisle toward the doors, it is on your  on the right side at shoulder height.

Chalukas Hashas 5775   You can help


Fifth Gala Melava Malka: Rabbi Paltiel Chof Kislev, 5778

The Mivtzah No One Knows About

Fifth Gala Melava Malka: Sholom Ber Klein Chof Kislev, 5778

Surprise Siyum Celebration

Chof Kislev, 5778

Is it Time for a Raise?

Reb Zvi of Portziva used to be the Baal Musaf on Rosh Hashana in the shul of Reb Yosele of Torchin, the Chozeh of Lublin's son.

He was once asked by Reb Yitzchak Meir of Ger: "Perhaps you could repeat for me a teaching which you heard from Reb Yosele?"

"I do not recall any words of Torah," said Reb Zvi, "but I do remember a story. One Rosh Hashana, just before the blowing of the shofar, Reb Yosele entered the shul and told his Chasidim, some of whom were undoubtedly thinking at that moment of their own requests to the Almighty for the coming year, "I am not going to rebuke you, nor am I going to teach you Torah. I am only going tell you a story.

"In a certain city a learned and wealthy wine-merchant lived who was honored one day by a visit from the local rabbi. The host went out of his way to show the rabbi great respect. The merchant quickly sent his servant down to the cellar, where he was to fill a bottle of wine from the middle barrel of the third row -- for this was the best wine he owned. All the while, he engaged in a scholarly conversation with his distinguished guest.

"When the merchant had waited quite a while for his servant to return, he excused himself and quickly descended to the cellar to find out what had happened. He was shocked at what he saw there. Some of the barrels were uncovered; others were being drained as their taps had been left open; broken bottles were lying in the puddles of wine on the floor; and the servant was nowhere to be seen.

The merchant returned upstairs, very upset at the serious damage which his servant had caused him. He began to look for the servant, calling him by name. The servant finally answered, from a comfortable place over the fireplace, where he was sprawled at his leisure. From up there, the servant called out to his master, 'Listen here! I want you to increase my salary by so and so much. It isn't nearly high enough...'"

Reb Yitzchak Meir of Ger thanked Reb Zvi warmly.

"Now that is what I call a fine Mashal!" he exclaimed.

Chof Kislev, 5778

Miraculous Animals

Before we explore the list of saintly individuals throughout history who created golems, let's first see who used their holy powers to create animals.

The Gemara relates (Sanhedrin 65b): "Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya would sit together every Erev Shabbos and study Sefer Yetzirah. Their learning would cause fat calves to be created, which they would then proceed to eat."

These two Amoraim were not the first to accomplish such a feat. According to one source (Chesed L'Avraham 5:51), when Avraham went to his cow pen to take three calves for his three guests, he took two calves and gave them to Yishmael. When he went to take a third calf, the angel Refael disguised himself as a handsome calf and slowly ran away from Avraham, leading him to the site of the me'oras hamachpelah. Avraham smelled the scent of Gan Eden and realized this was a special spot, and decided to eventually buy it as a burial plot.

When he made his way back to his guests, he discovered that he only had two calves, as the third one had actually been an angel in disguise. Not wanting his guests to wait any longer, he created a third calf using Sefer Yetzirah. This is hinted to in the wording of the possuk ( Vayeira 18:8),"ובן הבקר אשר עשה - the calf that he made."

Moving ahead a few generations, we know that one of the things Yosef related to his father about his brothers was that he saw them eating parts of a living animal. How is it possible that the shevatim transgressed such a sin? The Shaloh provides the following answer (Parshas Vayeishev, quoting an "ancient manuscript"): They created the animal using Sefer Yetzirah, and such an animal may be eaten without shechitah.

Next issue bl"n: List of people who created golems

Earth or Bread? Chof Kislev, 5778

"To what can the Torah be compared? One opinion compares it to a mound of earth... Others compare it to a loaf of bread" (Midrash to Mishlei 24:7).

The first opinion compares the Torah to a mound of earth, because at first the Torah may appear not to have any form, scent, or taste, just like a formless mound of earth. However, after you begin learning it, you discover a scent and taste, just like bread.

Tzror Hamor, Parshas Shelach

Tes Kislev Learning Guide Vov Kislev, 5778

The Rebbe encourages us to learn the works of a Rebbe in Nigleh and Chassidus on his yom hilula, and to learn (at least one perek of) Mishnayos beginning with the letters of his name. Yagdil Torah has compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of the Mitteler Rebbe's Torah. The publication will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website.

This year the publication marking Tes Kislev (the Yom Hilula of the Mitteler Rebbe) has been updated with the full Mishnayos. Keep an eye out for more easily accessible learning material and sections in English. The publication also includes stories of the Mitteler Rebbe.

Click here to download the Kovetz Limmud for Tes Kislev.

Vov Kislev, 5778

Ever heard of Chelm?

Shmerel once went to a Best Buy to fix his broken computer. As the representative walked over to help, he noticed that Shmerel was clutching the computer cable bending it tightly like a hose.

"May I ask you what you are doing" asked the representative?

"Oh, my computer isn't working so I wanna make sure none of my data spills out."

You and I know that computer data is abstract. It can't just spill out like water dripping out of a hose. So too the creator of all creations, Hashem, is infinitely more abstract.

Now, Kuntres Hatefilla says that only the Nefesh Elokis can relate to the concept of sovev. That's because sovev is how Hashem is abstract from the world's differences so only the nefesh elokis can understand that because it is sourced in the abstract worlds such as Atzilus.

The Frierdiker Rebbe tells us that Torah is the nutrition of our Nefesh Elokis.

The more we want to understand what is truly important yet abstract, at least a twice daily intake of the nutritious Torah learning is the way to go.

Vov Kislev, 5778


We have all heard the famous story of how the Maharal created a golem out of earth to help combat the vicious blood libels that were rampant in sixteenth-century Europe. These stories captivated our imaginations, as we were awed at the power of great tzaddikim to use supernatural powers to bring salvation to the Jewish people.

Are there any other recorded accounts of tzaddikim who created golems or other beings? How did they accomplish this supernatural feat? And what are the Halachos that apply to these wondrous creatures?

As it turns out, the phenomenon of creating a golem is already mentioned in Gemara, and other accounts date all the way back to the period of Tanach.

Next issue bl"n: List of people who created golems

One Step at a Time Vov Kislev, 5778

"To what can the Torah be compared? To a mound of earth". The fool says, 'Who can remove it from here?' But the wise man says, 'Didn't someone bring it here? I will remove one box of earth today and another tomorrow, until I will remove it entirely'" (Midrash to Mishlei 24:7).

The Midrash is hinting that the words of Torah are very profound and may seem to be incomprehensible, appearing as a large mound of earth. While the fool thinks it is impossible to understand Torah, the wise man says, "I will master it slowly. I will study one law today and a chapter tomorrow, until I grasp its depths.".

Tzror Hamor, Parshas Shelach

Chof Alef Cheshvan, 5778

An Invitation of a Lifetime

If you ever visit Yerushalayim and happen to pass by the large square which is called Batei Orenstein, you would be interested to know about the worthy deeds performed by a Jew named Berel Orenstein who built the original houses which stand in that place.

Reb Berel and his wife had already eaten their dinner and the kitchen was cleared away. Reb Berel had settled down to study Torah and his wife was relaxing with some needlework when there was a knock at the door. Reb Berel opened the door a crack, but the visitor pushed it so forcefully that Reb Berel was thrown backward. Several young hoodlums quickly followed into the house and ordered the terrified couple to lie on the floor. Although they offered no resistance, the couple was beaten unconscious and then bound with strong ropes.

As this violence occurred inside the placid exterior of the home, a group of yeshiva students arrived at this same house. "It's completely dark. Do you think we really should knock?" one of the students asked the others.

"Reb Moshe specifically told us to make sure to bring Reb Berel to the wedding. He's waiting there until we come," another replied.

"We have to wake them up," a third offered. And so they walked up to door and knocked. Repeated knocking, however, brought no response.

"Maybe we should force the door; maybe something has happened to them and they can't open the door." But forcing was not necessary, for the door easily pushed open.

When the young men entered they saw a dark form on the floor which turned out to be Reb Berel. They untied him and his wife who, by now, had regained consciousness, and explained that they had been sent by Reb Moshe to bring them to his daughter's wedding.

"Baruch Hashem you came when you did. The robbers would have ransacked the entire house and who knows what else they might have done to my family. This is truly a miracle that resulted from my mitzva of Hachnassas Kalla"

"Please tell us what happened," the students insisted.

Reb Berel, who was just recovering his composure, explained, "One day I was walking down the street, when I ran into Reb Moshe. He looked worried and so I asked him, 'How is everything?'

"He answered me, saying that he had to marry off his daughter very soon, and he didn't have the money. I asked him how much he needed, and he replied, 'Two hundred gold coins,' which was quite a sizable sum. Baruch Hashem, I have more than enough, and so I just took out my wallet and gave him the money plus some extra. Then I added, 'Just don't forget to invite me to the wedding!'

"I knew the wedding invitations had gone out, and I was surprised that he had forgotten to invite me. Now, I understand the Hashgocho P'rotis behind that apparent oversight. If you hadn't come along when you had I might have lost a great deal of my fortune and, who knows, we might have even lost our very lives!"

"Do you feel well enough to come to the wedding?" they asked Reb Berel. "For certainly, Reb Moshe is still waiting for you!"

"I wouldn't miss it for anything," Reb Berel exclaimed. "Thanks to the money I gave Reb Moshe, my life, the lives of my family and my fortune were saved."

Most of the wedding guests had already left, but Reb Moshe was there waiting for the "guest of honor," the benefactor he had forgotten to invite. Reb Moshe was about to apologize, when Reb Berel hugged him and began recounting the tale of his rescue.

Then Reb Berel said he had an announcement to make. "For many years I have thought of moving to the Holy Land. Tonight I have decided that I will, in fact, move there as soon as I close up my business here. There, I will build houses for the poor and for Torah scholars in Yerushalayim. In this way I hope to repay G-d for all the good He has done for me, and I pray that through this deed, I will bring the arrival of Moshiach a bit closer."

This announcement brought cheers from the remaining guests, "Amen, Amen," they cried joyfully. And so, the section of Batei Orenstein arose in the holy city of Yerushalayim to be a blessing to the needy who were furnished with housing due to the generosity of Reb Berel.

All rights reserved and reprinted from an article in L'chaim #543

Chof Alef Cheshvan, 5778

Do-it-Yourself Kefitzas Haderech:
A (Not so) Practical Guide

Are there any practical guidelines how to travel with kefitzas haderech?

One hint can be gleaned from Rashi's explanation on Eliezer's words, "I arrived today at the well": "I left today, and I arrived today. From here [we learn] that he traveled with kefitzas haderech" (Rashi to Bereishis 24:42). The Baal Shem Tov explains that Rashi is hinting that Eliezer's ability to travel with kefitzas haderech came "from here"-from these very words, because the Divine Name used to accomplish this feat is hinted in this very possuk (Avodas Yisroel to Bereishis, ibid.; Kesser Shem Tov §32). Others add that this Name is comprised of the four letters alef, hei, vov, and hei, the first letters of these words in Hebrew - ואבוא היום אל העין (Hashmatos to Ohev Yisroel).

Although some sources seem to imply that tzaddikim would accomplish kefitzas haderech by reciting this Name, others mention this name being written on a piece of parchment, to be placed on the vehicle being used to travel (such as a ship-see Seder Hadoros, shnas 4954). Yet others relate stories where a Divine Name was engraved on a reed, upon which the tzaddik would ride, flying through the air (Toldos Chachmei Tunis pp. 114, 179). In fact, in a work from R. Chaim Vital dedicated to practical kabbalah (presently unpublished), he gives a lengthy description how one can travel with kefitzas haderech by inserting a piece of parchment containing various Divine Names inside a hollow reed.

(It is well known that dabbling in practical kabbalah can have negative effects on those who are not qualified to do so.)

We will end this series by quoting the Rebbe's words (Likutei Sichos vol. 25, p. 339): May we merit to experience kefitzas haderech and quickly make our way out of this last stretch of golus, with the coming of Moshiach, immediately!

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