Oraita Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Cowen Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Essel Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Gourmet Butcher

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

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

All Headlines

How to Succeed in Learning Alef Teves, 5777

Rava said in the name of Rav Sechorah, who said in the name of Rav Huna: What is the meaning of the possuk, "Wealth from vanity will diminish, but one who gathers by hand will increase"? If a person fashions his Torah into bundles [i.e., he studies a lot at a time without reviewing properly], it will diminish. But if not [i.e., he studies a little at a time but makes sure to review], "one who gathers by hand will increase."

Rava said: The Sages are aware of this fact, and they nevertheless transgress it. Rav Nachman bar Yitzchok said: I did so [i.e., I studied a little at a time and reviewed the material until I grasped it, and only then did I study something new,] and my learning remained with me.

Eiruvin 54b

Tes Zayin Kislev, 5777

It's not only Political, It's Cultural

There are many communities that don't marry into each other for a simple reason, no, not because the mechutanim will disagree whether the shamash or Gabai should get the seventh bracha. Rather the fine cultural differences make the potential future couple a not such perfect match.

Let's say for example in some communities putting the hand to the stomach may indicate the food is good - a compliment, but in some it may indicate it's causing a stomachache - the opposite.

What does this have to do with learning? Let me tell you.

With this I wish to help explain the importance of studying the source language which usually brings across the essence of the matter properly.

While our generation was graced by unparalleled translation of so many parts of the Torah - making it easy for all to learn parts of the Torah previously difficult - it is also right to make an effort to get more and more familiar with the source language in order to grasp the essence of the issue at hand.

Tes Zayin Kislev, 5777

Time period: 1880s. Place: Pressburg (now Bratislava), Slovakia

When entering a Judaica store today, one is likely to encounter a large selection of menorahs to choose from, from simple tin menorahs typically given out on mivtzaim to elaborate, silver Rambam menorahs. Over one hundred years ago, an Eastern European yeshivah bochur from a poor family had far less of a choice, if any at all. In fact, many young students resorted to using potatoes for their menorahs. They would carve out the potatoes' contents, insert oil and wicks, and presto! They had a makeshift menorah for Chanukah.

Observing this practice, a young bochur named Yitzchok Weiss (later to become the Av Beis Din of the Hungarian town of Verbau) wondered if it was acceptable. May one use a menorah created from potatoes?

Everlasting Flavor Tes Zayin Kislev, 5777

Rebbi Chiya bar Abba said in the name of Rebbi Yochanan: What is the meaning of the possuk, "He who guards a fig tree will eat its fruits"? Why are the words of Torah compared to a fig tree? [Figs do not ripen at once, rather some ripen today and others ripen tomorrow. Accordingly,] a person will always find ripe figs in the fig tree whenever he handles it. Similarly, a person will always find flavor in the words of Torah whenever he studies it.

Eiruvin 54a-b

Beis Kislev, 5777

Why Reb Nochum Fell from His Horse

The Mitteler Rebbe, was known for his penchant for joyfulness. He even had a group of chassidim who formed a kapelye (choir), and another group who were trained to perform tricks on horseback. On special, joyous occasions, he would ask these groups to perform, and he would stand on his balcony watching. The rebbe's son Reb Nochum happened to be one of these horsemen.

Once, for no apparent reason, the rebbe suddenly instructed both of these groups to perform. This was extremely unusual. Yet the chassidim performed while the rebbe stood in his usual spot and watched the horsemen carefully.

Suddenly the rebbe's son Reb Nochum fell off of his horse. Informed that his son was in grave danger, the rebbe merely motioned with his hand to continue the festivities.

After a while the rebbe asked them to stop, and stepped into his private office.

Beis Kislev, 5777

Date: 1953.
Location: Elizabeth, New Jersey

A blind Jew who would walk around with the assistance of a guide dog was faced with a dilemma. He desired to attend services in shul, but it didn't seem respectable to enter a mikdash me'at with a dog (or with any other animal, for that matter). On the other hand, that was the only way he would be able to participate in all of the devarim shebi'kedushah taking place in shul. Was he allowed to enter the shul with his dog?

The man presented his query to the local Rov, R. Pinchas Mordechai Teitz OBM, who in turn asked the opinion of HaRav Moshe Feinstein OBM.

In his teshuvah, R. Moshe cites a Yerushalmi (Megilah 3:3) that states that talmidei chachomim may make use of a shul for their personal needs. The Yerushalmi continues that Rav Imi instructed the schoolteachers (who taught in shul): "Even if a 'mediocre' talmid chochom arrives to the shul, allow him to enter along with his donkey and utensils." From this Gemara we can deduce that bringing an animal into shul is no worse than making use of it in other ways (such as through eating or drinking there). Since our shuls today are built with the stipulation that they may be used for other purposes (even by those who are not talmidei chachomim), it follows that one may bring an animal into a shul, at least in a case of a sha'as hadechak (such as ours).

R. Moshe brings another interesting proof as well. The Gemara (Brachos 62a) relates that Abayei's mother raised a sheep that would constantly accompany him. (This way he would not enter thebeis hakiseialone and would be protected from mazikin.) Since Abayei certainly spent most of his day in the beis midrash, the sheep probably accompanied him there as well.

R. Moshe concludes that the man was allowed to enter the shul with his dog, but he recommended that he sit near the entrance, to avoid disturbing the congregation.

When R. Moshe's teshuvah was printed in the first volume of Igros Moshe in 1959, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher OBM, compiler of Torah Shleimah, sent him a letter with a number of comments on the sefer, including this particular teshuvah. R. Moshe's heter was based on the premise that a dog is no worse than a donkey or sheep. R. Kasher argues with this premise.

The Most Effective Medicine Beis Kislev, 5777

Rav Yehudah beRebbi Chiya said: Come and see how the measure of Hashem is different from the measure of a man of flesh and blood. When a man of flesh of blood provides another with medicine, it can be beneficial for one organ and harmful for another [for example, it can be beneficial for the heart and harmful for the eyes]. But Hashem is different: he gave the Torah to Yisroel, which is a medicine of life for one's entire body, as the possuk says, "It is a cure for his entire flesh."

Eiruvin 54a

Yud Zayin Cheshvan, 5777

Puppet Solution

Thanks for sending me the encouraging emails to get more involved in learning.

For lack of a better word I wish to share with you that I am really like a puppet. I don't see why I need to be learning if I can simply ask a Rov if a shaila comes up and, so to speak, be a puppet to his learning.

Dear puppet,

Look, if you put the other reasons to learn on a scale opposite the reason of knowing what to do - it would swiftly catapult that reason flying to a distant place.

Still, for the sake of argument let me address just that reason; imagine all the times that asking a Rov is not possible, On Shabbos and Yom Tov, when you have no phone (or battery), when a moment's notice is needed, when you are in middle of Shemone Esrei; I am giving these examples cause they all pretty much happened to me.

I can accept your argument about Hilchos Mikvaos which I imagine you are not constructing and Hilchos Toen and Nitaan as I sense you aren't sitting at din Torah's and such; but before dismissing leaning any other halachic topics think - can I honestly get away without this knowledge?

Gloves are more useful than puppets.

Yud Zayin Cheshvan, 5777

Date: 1953.
Location: Elizabeth, New Jersey

A blind member of the Jewish community in Elizabeth, New Jersey, would walk around with the assistance of a guide dog. As a frumme Yid, he strongly desired to participate in the tefillos in shul and be able to answer Kaddish and Kedushah, hear the reading of the Torah and Megillah, and so on. However, since he was dependent on his dog to help him make his way, this would only be possible if the dog would accompany him to shul.

The Yid was faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, it didn't seem respectable to enter a mikdash me'at with a dog (or with any other animal, for that matter). On the other hand, that was the only way he would be able to participate in all of the devarim shebi'kedushah taking place in shul.

Was the blind mispalel allowed to enter the shul with his guide dog?

Beruriah's Advice Yud Zayin Cheshvan, 5777

Beruriah [the wife of Reb Meir] once found a certain student studying quietly... She said to him: "Doesn't the possuk say, '[It is] arranged in all and protected'? This teaches us that if the Torah is arranged in all of one's 248 limbs, it will be protected; but if it is not, it will not be protected."

It was taught in a Beraisa: Rebbi Eliezer had a student who would study quietly. After three years, he forgot his learning. [...]

Shmuel said to Rav Yehudah: "Sharp one! Open your mouth and read [Chumash]; open your mouth and study [Mishnah]. This way, what you study will remain with you and you will have a long life, as the possuk says: 'For they are life for those who find them [למוצאיהם], and a cure for his entire flesh.' Do not read it as למוצאיהם, but rather as למוציאיהם, those who recite the words of Torah verbally." [...]

Rebbi Yitzchok said: We can deduce [the importance of studying Torah aloud] from this possuk: "For [the Torah] is extremely close to you, in your mouth and your heart to do it." When is it extremely close to you? When it is in your mouth and your heart to do it.

Eiruvin 54a

Gimmel Cheshvan, 5777

Torah Education for Women

Devora Leah was the aunt of Rabbi Schneur Zalman, known as the Alter Rebbe. Her mother, Rachel, was a very unusual woman for her time.

Educated secretly by her unconventional father, Rachel eventually mastered not only Chumash, but the Talmud and the writings of Maimonides, and was especially expert in the Shulchan Aruch, the Code of Jewish Law.

Her erudition in Jewish legal matters is illustrated by an incident in which her husband and father were walking on Shabbos.

Suddenly, someone came running to tell them that the city's eiruv had broken.

The two rabbis stood still, unable to remember the law under such circumstances. Rachel's father asked her what they should do.

At first she didn't want to reply, since it was frowned upon in those days for a woman to be learned and she didn't want to alienate her new husband.

But when her father pressed her, she answered and everyone abided by her instructions.

Gimmel Cheshvan, 5777

The first successful manned landing on the moon in 1969 opened up a new area of halachah- how are Torah and mitzvos to be kept on the moon. One of the many questions that can arise is whether a Jewish astronaut on the moon can recite Kiddush Levanah.

This question was raised by R. Avraham Maimon, a Rov in Marseilles of Tunisian descent, in a sefer published seven years after this event. R. Maimon is of the opinion that an astronaut can, indeed, recite this brachah. After all, the halachah is that one who sees the new moon should recite this brachah (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 426:1), and the astronaut can certainly see the moon; in fact, he is actually standing on it! R. Maimon takes this a step further: since the waxing and waning of the moon is not noticeable on the moon itself, perhaps this brachah can be recited throughout the month.

The Key is At the End Gimmel Cheshvan, 5777

May it be a year of light, a year of blessing, a year of geulah, a year of happiness, a year of glory, a year of good assembly, a year of merit, a year of good life, a year of goodness, a year of promise, a year of sustenance, a year of successful study, a year of kingship, a year of victory and miracles, a year of good signs, a year of strength ("Hashem will give strength to his nation; Hashem will bless his nation with peace"), a year of redemption, a year of jubilation, a year of holiness, a year of supremacy, a year of great joy until it reaches the level of ad delo yada, and a year of praise.

All this is included in and derives from the fact that it is a year of Torah and a year of tefillah, and before that-a year of teshuvah.

Birchas Habonim of Erev Yom Kippur after Minchah, 5744 (TM 5744, Vol. 1, p. 137)