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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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Yud Tes Iyar, 5776

Date: 1965.
Location: London, England

The Torah tells us, "When you lay siege to a city for many days to wage war against it to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees" (Shoftim 20:19). The severity of cutting a fruit tree is emphasized by the statement of Rabbi Chanina (Bava Kama 91b), "The reason my son Shivchas died is because he cut a fig tree before its time [i.e., when it was still producing fruits]."

A certain yeshiva in London had suffered a terrible calamity: a fire had broken out, destroying the building and resulting in the loss of precious lives. When setting out to rebuild the structure, the yeshiva leaders encountered a dilemma. The new blueprints called for the removal of a fruit tree that was growing in the area. Knowing that the Torah forbids cutting a fruit tree, they considered removing it with its roots and replanting it elsewhere. Was it permitted to do so for the sake of rebuilding the yeshiva?

Clear and to the Point Yud Tes Iyar, 5776

When teaching Torah in public, the subject material should be presented clearly and concisely, enabling the listener to receive it easily and drawing him to listen to what is being studied.

True, teaching in such a way necessitates hard work and much preparation, [preparing the material] once, twice, and a third time. However, then and only then will the study produce the desired benefits with Hashem's help, and the teacher is then performing the work of Hashem faithfully.

Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Vol. 3, p. 110

Learn For and About the Rebbe's Brother on his Yahrtzeit
Yud Aleph 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, 5776

Kosher Wine

Once the Baal Shem Tov had a dream in which a deceased man appeared to him. The soul was deeply troubled because his son had forsaken the path of Torah. "I cannot rest because of my son. Please, rebbe, try to help him."

The Besht lost no time. He harnessed his famous horses and in hours the carriage was standing outside the mansion of the wealthy son in Paris. The Besht's attendant knocked forcefully on the door, but was repeatedly rebuffed. Finally the master and mistress were awakened. The mistress peered into the carriage, and overwhelmed by the stately appearance of the man seated within, she entreated her husband to invite him to stay.

"We have such a large, empty house. Please let him stay."

The Besht was given a comfortable room, word soon spread that a great wonder-working rabbi had arrived. People began to converge on the grand home. The mistress was very curious about the goings on, and engaged many of the petitioners in conversation. People began to speak about the wondrous cures that were effected by the potions and blessings of the rabbi, and the mistress of the house began to hope that she, too, could be helped.

That night she asked her husband to go to the Baal Shem Tov for his blessing and advice. "For so many years we have been denied the blessing of children. Perhaps this holy man can help us."

Her husband was uninterested. After all, the best doctors on the continent were unable to help them. What could an itinerant rabbi do for them? But his wife was relentless, and in the end, he acceded to her wish.

The Besht received the man and inquired about his business. "I manufacture wine," the man replied.

"Do you make kosher wine?" inquired the Besht.

"No," he answered.

"Well, then, at the next harvest, I want you to make a run of kosher wine. When you bring it to Medzibozh I can guarantee you a good profit."

The man just snorted. He did quite well, thank you, without the bother of kosher wine. Then he made his request to the Besht. The Besht produced several vials of medicine for the man's wife, and promised that in a year she would bear a son. The merchant was skeptical, but at least he had satisfied his wife. His wife was overjoyed and took the medicines at once. The Baal Shem Tov left, but true to his word, within a few months the woman conceived.

The merchant decided that since the Baal Shem Tov's blessing bore fruit, he would make the kosher wine and bring it to Medzibozh. He loaded the barrels of kosher wine onto several wagons and set out for Medzibozh.

After several days on the road, he lost his way. When the merchant alighted from his wagon to check directions, the driver unwittingly set off without him. Realizing that his master was lost the driver returned and frantically searched for him, but to no avail. He was forced to return to his mistress alone. The wife resumed the search, but was also unsuccessful. It seemed that the merchant had vanished.

The merchant wandered around for some time, but finally found shelter in a small shack. There he found a group of men playing cards and joined them. It wasn't long before he lost not only his money, but some of his expensive garments as well. Dejected, he resumed his travels, searching for someone who might take pity on him.

He wandered for hours until he came to the small cottage of a shepherd and his family. Out of the goodness of his heart, the shepherd supplied him with new clothing, food and drink.

The merchant wandered for many months from village to village in his attempt to return home. It seemed that each time he neared his home some perplexing situation intervened. From time to time he stopped at Houses of Study where the local Jews extended their warm hospitality. This experience humbled him and he began to examine his own heart as he had never done before. He felt drawn to Torah and especially to the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, of whom he became something of a chasid.

One day at a gathering of the Besht's chasidim the Rebbe himself offered the man a glass of wine. The label on the bottle was that of his own company--a non-kosher wine!

The Besht laughed. "Don't worry about the wine. Although it is your own manufacture, this is the kosher wine which I requested of you. Your own wagons loaded with the wine are standing just outside the city. Know that it is now time for you to return home. Hurry, for your wife is ready to give birth to your son.""

Reprinted from Lchaim #292 with permission.


Hei Iyar, 5776

The Mishnah in Pirkei Avos (5:5) lists ten miracles that took place in Yerushalayim. One of these miracles was that no one was ever bitten by a snake or scorpion throughout the city.

This leads us to a number of interesting halachic sha'alos:

  1. The din is that when one is in middle of davening shemonah esrei, he may interrupt if he sees a scorpion approaching him who may bite him fatally (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 104:3). What is the din if a person davening shemonah esrei in Yerushalayim is confronted by a scorpion? Should he continue davening, relying on the fact that no one was ever bitten by a scorpion in this city? Or do we say that אין סומכין על הנס,we do not rely on miracles (see Yerushalmi, Yuma 1:4), and he should interrupt his davening to avoid the potential danger?
  2. If one sees a snake or scorpion drawing near, he may kill it even on Shabbos, because of the concern of sakonas nefashos (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 316:10). May one do so in Yerushalayim as well, or is it forbidden, as surely no one will get hurt?
  3. A third scenario: A wall collapsed, and there is a possibility that chometz lies underneath. The rubble is less than three tefachim thick, which leads to the concern that a dog will sniff out the chometz and uncover it on Pesach. Therefore, even if the owner nullifies the chometz, there should seemingly be an obligation to search for it, lest it become exposed on Pesach and one will accidentally eat it.

However, if scorpions may be hiding beneath the rocks, Chazal did not obligate the owner to search for the chometz, to avoid possible injury (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 473:8).

(Chazal teach us that one who is occupied in performing a mitzvah will not be hurt. But nonetheless, we are concerned that after completing the search, he may continue looking for another object he had lost there earlier. Since he has already completed the mitzvah, the protection it affords has ended and he may become injured. Chazal therefore waived the chiyuv bedikah in this case.)

Now, what will the din be in Yerushalayim? Will he be exempt from searching for chometz, or will he be obligated, because he will surely not be bitten?

These three questions were asked by R. Yitzchak Weiss, the rov of Kadelburg, Slovakia. However, he does not conclude with a definite psak on the matter, ותן לחכם ויחכם עוד.

Shu"t Si'ach Yitzchak §49

Absolute Must Hei Iyar, 5776

It is an absolute and sacred task to establish daily shiurim to study Chassidus in every Lubavitcher shul. [If this is not possible, shiurim should be arranged] at least several times a week (according to the conditions of each location), and especially on Shabbos, from which the entire week is blessed.

Igros Kodesh of the Frierdiker Rebbe, Vol. 3, p. 110

"Super Food" for Yud Gimmel Nisan
Hei Nissan, 5776

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) Mishnayos beginning with the letters of his name. Yagdil Torah compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of the Tzemach Tzedek's Torah. The publication will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website.

The publication marking Yud Gimmel Nissan (the Yom Hilula of the Tzemach Tzedek) includes the full Mishnayos and easily accessible learning material and sections in English. It also includes stories of the Tzemach Tzedek.

Click here to download the Yud Gimmel Nissan Publication.

A publication which will bring Beis Nissan to life
Chof Tes Adar II, 5776

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) Mishnayos beginning with the letters of his name. Yagdil Torah compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of the Rebbe Rashab's Torah. The publication will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website.

The publication marking Beis Nissan (the Yom Hilula of the Rebbe Rashab) includes the full Mishnayos. Keep an eye out for easily accessible learning material and sections in English. It also includes stories of the Rebbe Rashab.

Click here to download the Beis Nissan Publication.


Chof Tes Adar II, 5776

Running on Empty

Perusing a business news column, I saw that my friend's business was doing quite well. I decided it was a good time to give him a visit, and coincidentally he called me from a store in a nearby shopping mall. He told me to meet up with him at the Hills Shopping Mall and I drove over seeing him standing next to a gleaming Bentley.

"Why not take a ride to your house?" I asked, only imagining what type of mansion he had. "Sure. But we'll have to take your car as I don't have money for fuel". Super confused I got into my car with him and drove up to an estate beyond imagination. Even more confused I followed him to the front door into which he put in the key and entered.

He led me through a dark yet marvelous hallway into his living room where the magnificent opulence dazed me. "Can I turn on the light?", I asked. "No. Sorry. I didn't pay the electric bill so there's no electricity in the home."

Dizzy from confusion I could no longer hold back and blurted "You look like you're on the Forbes 400 but can't pay for gas and electricity?!"

He took a deep breath and responded calmly, "I always wanted this kind of lifestyle so I saved every last penny and borrowed all I could to get the car, the yacht and this mansion. So I simply cannot squeeze another penny to pay for fuel, electric, food, and the like..."

Tanya chapter 5 tells us that Mitzvos are a levush and Torah is the food; or in other words mitzvos are the car, yacht and home whereas Torah is the fuel (besides being a Mitzvah) that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

In other words, if we want our Mitzvos to truly accomplish their purpose we need to fuel it in every sense with the learning of Torah.


Chof Tes Adar II, 5776

Location: Vienna, Austria.
Year: 1831

A certain Jew decided to try his luck in the art of sculpting as a profession, and he attended the local university and studied the skill. In order to acquire a degree, it would be necessary for him to sculpt numerous complete human figures, something usually forbidden due to the concern that they may be worshipped (see Rambam, Avodah Zarah, 3:10. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Dei'ah, 141:4). Was he allowed to do so?

The Jew turned to the rabbi of the city, R. Elazar Segal-Horowitz, who in turn forwarded the question to his teacher, R. Moshe Sofer, better known as the Chasam Sofer. R. Segal-Horowitz added that the questioner had found a possible heter, based on the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah (24b).

The Gemara there quotes the possuk (Devarim 18:9), "When you will arrive at the land Hashem is giving you, do not learn to do similar to the abominations of those nations." From the wording "do not learn to do" we can infer that studying the practices of idolatry is only forbidden if one is studying them with the intent of performing them. However, if he is studying them for educational purposes, it is permitted. (This heter is quoted in Shulchan Aruch [ibid.] as well.) The Jew assumed that this allowed study for the sake of mastering a profession.

R. Segal continued that he had replied to the Jew that this is incorrect, for two reasons:

Even If You're Correct... Chof Tes Adar II, 5776

Even if the reasons you provide why you don't have set times to study Torah are correct, ultimately, the study is lacking!

From a letter of 8 Adar, 5712 (printed by Lahak for Shabbos Tzav 5776)


Tes Vov Adar II, 5776

Before Their Eyes

Sometime after the war and after the creation of the State of Israel, a Gerrer chasid, a survivor of the Holocaust, arrived in Israel. He had lost all of his family and was embittered and disillusioned. He ceased the observance of mitzvot, shaved his beard, gave up his chasidic garb, and conducted himself as a secular Israeli. Yet, somehow, one day, he felt such a strong a longing to have contact with the Gerrer Rebbe that he appeared at the back of the synagogue of Grand Rabbi Yisrael Alter, the Bais Yisroel. Not willing to be a hypocrite, he came dressed as a secular person. He was certain that no one would sense his origins and that he would merely have an opportunity to see his Rebbe, unobtrusively and incognito.

However, the Bais Yisroel would typically scan the people attending his synagogue, and he had a special ability to remember people he had met. He recognized the man despite all the time and circumstances that had passed, and from his seat in the front of the room, he sent his aide to bring the man to him.


Tes Vov Adar II, 5776

Location: Vienna, Austria.
Year: 1831

A certain Jew, searching for a profession with which to sustain himself and his family, decided to try his luck in the art of sculpting. He began attending courses from professional craftsmen at the local university, and before long he grew adept at the skill.

The Jew was aware that one may not fashion a protruding form of a complete human, due to the concern that it may be worshipped (see Rambam, Avodah Zarah, 3:10. Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Dei'ah, 141:4). His plan was that when he would eventually open his own shop, he would fashion incomplete figures and leave the final touches for his non-Jewish workers to finish. However, in order to acquire a degree at the university, it would be necessary for him to sculpt numerous human figures to demonstrate his knowledge of the craft. Was he allowed to do so?

Stay Connected Tes Vov Adar II, 5776

A person can find himself in a situation where he is drowning in worldly matters, chas veshalom, either in action or in thought, by being involved in them day and night. To avoid this, Yidden must connect themselves either with the Torah or to talmidei chachomim, the leaders of the generation, to elevate them so they do not remain in such a state, chas veshalom.

Degel Machanei Ephraim, Bereishis 32:4


Alef Adar II, 5776

The Real Jeweler

Say your friend a jeweler wants to sell you precious stones much less than the going rate, would you buy it? Sure you would. You know that he is only selling it to you for cheap because you are his friend, but not for free; he wants you to value it to an extent.

The real Jew-eler is the one above, he loves the Jews and can be called a Jeweler just for that.

He gave us the Torah which as Dovid Hamelech says is more valuable than thousands of units of gold and silver, but wants us to put an effort into it. Not because there is no way for him to provide stress free evenings where we can learn like the neshamos in Gan Eden. He just wants us to value it.

Let's thank him for the high value at a comparably negligible cost and take advantage of every moment we can squeeze to accumulate more and more of these precious stones.