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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 5773   Giving has never been easier

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Daled Sivan, 5775

Can you join a minyan?
No, not to daven - to learn!

We all got to admit there is something strange here.

Let me explain...

There is a special kedusha that envelops a minyan and that is part of the reason we daven with one, however the Baal Hatanya seems to imply that within that itself the greatest kedusha is that of the Torah.

The Alter Rebbe says in Igeres Hakodesh Epistle 23 that he heard from his masters that if there were an angel standing in the presence of a gathering of ten, an unlimited and infinite fear and awe would then befall him from the Shechinah that dwells over them and he would become totally nullified.

While there is no halachic requirement to seek a minyan for learning and while it is more important to daven with a minyan than to learn with one there is quite clearly an advantage in learning when possible in a place where nine other Jews are learning - in a shiur or in the same hall as them.

And as Tanya goes on to say (ad loc): But he that will listen to me shall dwell securely, and in his and in our own days Yehudah shall be saved and Yerushalayim shall dwell securely, - amen, may this be (His) will.

Daled Sivan, 5775

A Jew in sixteenth-century Turkey once made a neder to travel to Eretz Yisrael on the next available ship, which was to depart the following Elul. His love of the Holy Land propelled him to disregard the many dangers common in those days, such as capture by pirates, ocean storms, and disease. He did not want to take his wife along on this perilous voyage; instead, he intended to travel alone and eventually return to his hometown, after spending some time soaking in the holiness of Eretz Yisrael.

In the midst of his preparations, his wife approached him with the good news that she had become pregnant. His joy at the prospect of welcoming a new child to the family was marred by the fact that he would not be present by the bris (if it would be a boy). Furthermore, his wife didn't want him to leave her alone at the time she needed his help most.

Was the husband required to fulfill his neder and travel to Eretz Yisrael despite the impediments it would create?

Talk of Extreme Circumstances Daled Sivan, 5775

"Bands of wicked men looted me; I did not forget Your Torah." The cruelty of other men did not prevent me from studying Torah. Yes, "bands of wicked men looted me," consuming me as if I was their prey. This typically inhibits the ability to study Torah deeply, which requires a clear and settled mind. But nonetheless, "I did not forget Your Torah."

Malbim, Tehilim, 119, 61

Yud Tes Iyar, 5775

How to Hear the Ten Commandments

"Enough!" The Shpoler Zeide called out. "That's the final blow!"

His Chassidim from a rural area outside Shpole had been suffering for years under the heavy yoke of their cruel landlord, a high-ranking member of Poland's nobility, who owned all the land in that area. He was constantly raising the rents on their homes and the leases for their businesses. But that he did to his non-Jewish tenants too. What hurt more were his vicious anti-semitic twists. He would make Jews that were indebted to him sing and dance in front of his aristocratic friends during their drunken parties, so that they could enjoy themselves laughing at the Jews. He had tried to force them to open their businesses on Shabbat. But his most recent depravity was the worst: he had issued a degree that in all buildings on his extensive properties, there had to be hanging a depiction of "that man", around whom the gentile religion was centered.

Over the years, whenever any of the Jewish tenants happened to be in Shpole, they would ask the Rebbe to bless them and pray for their relief from this anti-semitic tyrant. But this was too much. It was unthinkable. They all gathered as one and came to the Zeide together. When the tzadik heard this latest tale of woe, he was furious.

Yud Tes Iyar, 5775

Every morning, a businessman would provide his son with a list of phone calls to make over the course of the day, and upon his return home, the son would give him an account of the results of his conversations. However, the father would often return home at a late hour, after the son had already recited hamapil, and he would get angry when he wouldn't understand his son's gesticulations. Was the son allowed to speak after saying hamapil for the sake of kibbud av va'eim?

This question was posed to R. Moshe Stern, the Debretziner Rav.

The Perfect Path Yud Tes Iyar, 5775

"Fortunate are those who follow a perfect path." The definition of a perfect path is a path free of flaw and imperfection, referring to a path that will be followed permanently and never change nor falter. Such a path can only be reached by someone who acts solely for the sake of Heaven and not for personal gain, which is only if - as the possuk continues - "he walks in [the way of] Hashem's Torah." When all a person's actions are for the sake of Hashem to fulfill what he commanded in the Torah, the path he will follow is stable and consistent.

This is not the case, however, with the paths devised by philosophers based on human intellect. These paths are unpredictable, because they will be abandoned as soon as those who follow them imagine that benefit can be gained from an alternative path. This is because the original path was not based on what is truly good and fortunate but rather on what can bring a person benefit and appears to make sense to him; as such, it is easy to stray from it, and it cannot be a perfect path.

Malbim on Tehilim, 119:1

Learn For and About the Rebbe's Brother on his Yahrtzeit
Zayin Iyar, 5775

Iyar 13 is the day of passing of R' Yisroel Aryeh Leib, third son of the Rabbi and Mekubal R' Levi Yitzchok and Rebbetzin Chana Schneersohn and brother of our Rebbe.

R' Yisroel Aryeh Leib was known by the Chassidim of his time for his unique genius, especially in explaining deep concepts in Chassidus thought.

We have seen a few times when the deep connection between the Rebbe and R' Yisroel Aryeh Leib came out into the open for all to see. Throughout the years, the Rebbe assisted in initiating and coordinating various projects in his memory. On Yud Gimmel Iyar, 5751 the Rebbe spoke an entire sicha expounding on the name of the Baal Hayahrtzeit.

The Yagdil Torah organization has compiled a publication with Mishnayos, selected stories, and rare correspondents of R' Yisroel Aryeh Leib in honor of Yud Gimmel Iyar.

Hei Iyar, 5775

Stress is Also a Good Thing

We just had a few stressful weeks go by. Preparing our homes for Pesach and making sure no chometz is in our midst was quite an ordeal. In truth we have stressful days during the year to. We come home and want to just unwind from our day's work. How can we now learn with a Chavrusa or go to the shiur down the block?!

We see in Koheles, a new perspective that can help us in this quandary: "(חכמה שלמדתי באף, עמדה לי (קהלת ב, ט" (My wisdom that I studied with anger stood for me*). The Yalkut Shimoni (קהלת רמז תתקסח) explains this to mean that "the wisdom which I learned in anger, this is what stood for me".

The Frierdiker Rebbe says it very simply (Likkutei Dibburim Volume 1 Page 126): When a person arrives at home in the evening being spent and toiled from his day at work; baked from the sun or frozen from the cold; and he keeps to his shiurim - then the holy Torah itself will arouse compassion on him and his family.

*The translation of "עמדה" may not be the most basic understanding of this posuk however the word "עמדה" does imply stood as can be deduced from Makos 10a on the explanation of the posuk עומדות היו רגלינו.

Hei Iyar, 5775

A certain businessman would enlist the help of his son by asking him to contact various people while he was away at work. Every morning, the father would provide the son with a list of people to call for business or family purposes, and the son would take care of the phone calls over the course of the day. When the father would return home in the evening, the son would give him an account of the conversations he had conducted and the results of his efforts.

However, the father would often return home at a late hour when the son was already in bed after hamapil. When the father would ask the son what he had accomplished over the course of the day, the son would gesticulate with his hands, attempting ineffectively to relay the information to his father. (Writing down the lengthy answers was not an option.) After a long day at work, the difficulty in understanding his son's body language just served to wear out his already taut nerves, and he would get angry at his son and shout at him.

Was the son allowed to speak after saying hamapil for the sake of kibbud av va'eim?

Ego? Hei Iyar, 5775

Although a person's neshamah is higher than his intellect, it is vested within his intellect. As a result, when a person's intellect connects and becomes united with the wisdom of the Torah, a higher union takes place as well: the essence of his neshamah becomes part of the essence of ohr ein sof. And this union is accomplished solely through the connection of one's intellect with the wisdom of the Torah.

Furthermore: this union is accomplished even though he does not feel it when he studies Torah and his primary focus is on grasping the wisdom, and even though a bit of yeshus may get mixed in if he succeeds in understanding it properly. Nevertheless, being that his primary kavanah is lishmah, and his desire lies specifically in studying Torah, the essence of his neshamah unites with ein sof. And even though he does not perceive this, his mazal perceives.

Likutei Torah, Vayikra 4:4