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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 Daled Cheshvan, 5775

The Alter Rebbe Farbrengs

When someone teaches Chassidus, he tries to make it more understandable by using a parable or the like. He thereby gives the student a way to grasp what the Rebbe is saying. But in this Maamar the Alter Rebbe himself leaves the reader with inspiration easily grasped:

When a person contemplates how his Neshama is raised high, after learning the Halochos of Torah, to Hashem himself, he will obviously rejoice and find happiness in the joy of Hashem which is the light of the infinite one, blessed be he. He is the source of life and pleasures, and exceeds even the greatest bounties of the life of the world to come, be it the lower or higher Gan Eden, because that is merely light etc; albeit a great one.

He will therefore "take his life in his hands" to make occupation with the Torah with the entirety of his attentions and his desires, so that he truly delights in Hashem who is the source of life and the source of delights!

And although this delight is neither visible nor subject to revelation, it is because its intensity is too great for the worlds to bear, for which reason it is not revealed in a manner that created beings can sense. On the contrary: he will derive yet greater happiness in Hashem from his soul's contemplation, knowing that revelation of the supreme delight blessed be he surely rests on Him, though it cannot be understood or grasped by comprehension of any means, since "no thought can comprehend Him".

Therefore when one occupies himself with Torah, it is compared to snow-white garments worn by Hashem. A person's thought and speech are equivalent to garments (thought being the inner garment and speech the middle garment), so when a person dons the thought and speech of the Torah, he in fact dons the clothing of the holy One, blessed is He: his garments are those very garments of white snow.

Likkutei Torah, Vayikra, 27b


Yud Daled Cheshvan, 5775

The city of Cagliari, Sardinia (an island off the coast of Italy), once received a royal visit from the king of the neighboring island of Sicily. Among the festivities accompanying the visit was a round of daus (a medieval gambling game), played by renowned experts to the delight of all.

The leaders of the Jewish community, led R. Yehudah ben R. Dovid, announced that any Jew who knew how to play the game should refrain from attending the festivities, out of concern that the king would command him to join the competition. This would stand in conflict to the edict passed by the community four years prior, according to which any Jew who played daus would be excommunicated (due to its gambling nature).

However, a certain Jew was present by the celebrations nonetheless, and indeed, he was commanded to play the game under threat of death. He consented and played successfully, earning a handsome profit of 160 perachim (a type of coin).

R. Yehudah, who as Rabbi of the community was present at the festivities as well, was sure that this was no simple case of coercion. After four years of inability to enjoy his favorite pastime, the daus enthusiast had thought of a way of circumventing the ban: he would enter the king's court despite the announcement, and perhaps he would be "forced" to play the game!

Accordingly, R. Yehudah approached the Jew and presented him with an ultimatum: either he would renounce his earnings and give the money to the shul or to tzedakah, or the excommunication would take hold. However, the Jew refused to relinquish such a large sum, and a heated debate between the Jew's supporters and those of the Rabbi created a stir in the community.

Is the Jew to be held responsible for playing the game? Was he required to relinquish his earnings or deserve to be excommunicated?

13 Methods Yud Daled Cheshvan, 5775

The thirteen methods through which the Torah is expounded, draw forth the thirteen attributes of mercy, to forgive iniquity and sin.

V'Kacha 5636 Chapter 69


Lamed Tishrei, 5775

Don't (just) be a Beinoni!

Arguably the main goal the Alter Rebbe wrote the Tanya for was to "Tehi Tzaddik" which means that our desires should always be in sync with Hashem's.

Sometimes we learn more, sometimes less, but our desire should constantly burn to learn Hashem's Torah.

Daily happenings do change constantly; however as long as the above is true, learning will always remain the highest priority.


Lamed Tishrei, 5775

According to a well-known halachic principle, a mitzvas asei takes precedence over a mitzvas lo sa'asei. This rule raises a question with regard to the mitzvah to eat a kazayis in the sukkah on the first night of Sukkos, just like one must eat a kazayis of matzah on the first night of Pesach (Sukkah 27a). What is the halachah if the only bread one has is chadash, i.e., it has been baked from wheat that was grown after Pesach? Does the mitzvas asei to eat in the sukkah take precedence over the mitzvas lo sa'asei of eating chadash?

Tosafos (Kiddushin 38a d"h akruv) quotes a Yerushalmi which writes that there is an exception to the above-mentioned rule: a mitzvas asei that was given before matan Torah is viewed as belonging to a lower category, and as such, it cannot override a mitzvas lo sa'asei that was given after matan Torah. For this reason, continues the Yerushalmi, when the Jewish nation entered Eretz Yisrael in the days of Yehoshua, they were not allowed to eat matzah from the new grain,because the mitzvah to eat matzah on the first night of Pesach was given before matan Torah (Shemos 12:18) while the issur of chadash was relayed afterward (Vayikra 23:14).

One can deduce from this Yerushalmi that one may not eat chadash in the sukkah either.Being that the obligation to eat a kazayis in the sukkah on the first night of Sukkos is derived from the obligation to eat matzah on the first night of Pesach, it has the status of a pre-matan Torah commandment as well and does not override the prohibition of chadash.

However, one can still ask: What is the halachah if one only has a half-kazayis of yashan bread and a half-kazayis of chadash bread? Although the issur to consume less than a kazayis of a prohibited food (chatzi shiur) is min hatorah as well, it is not as severe as consuming a complete kazayis. Can the pre-matan Torah commandment to eat in the sukkah override such a prohibition?

This question can be resolved based on the well-known halachah that one is exempt from sitting in the sukkah if he is mitzta'er (i.e., if doing sowill cause him discomfort).The reason for this is because dwelling in the sukkah on Sukkos is compared to dwelling in one's house the rest of the year. Just like someone would leave his house if it was causing him discomfort, so too, he may leave the sukkah in such a circumstance (see Shulchan Aruch Admor Hazaken §640:5).

However, according to some poskim, the first night of Sukkos is an exemption to the rule, and one must eat in the Sukkah even if it causes him discomfort. Others differ and maintain that he is exempt the first night as well (see ibid. §639:17-19).

Keeping this in mind, let's examine the case of the chadash bread. Now, it is obvious that if one were to sit down to a meal in his home and discover that the only food available was treif, he would rather fast than transgress an issur! Consequently, according to those poskim who rule that a mitzta'er is exempt from dwelling in the Sukkah even on the first night of Sukkos, he should fast rather than consume forbidden bread in the Sukkah.

However, according to those who obligate a mitzta'er to eat in the sukkah on the first night, he would be required to eat the half-kazayis of forbidden bread if no other bread is available.

(Shu"t His'orerus Teshuvah §1:44)

Occupy Lamed Tishrei, 5775

"Whoever occupies himself with Torah" (Pirkei Avos 6:1) A person's study of Torah should be like a businessman. Just as his attention is never totally diverted from his business, the Torah should always be the focus of our attention [we should be "occupied" with it].

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 17, p. 402-403

Yud Gimmel Tishrei -L'chatchila Ariber!
Yud Aleph Tishrei 5775

Yud Gimmel Tishrei is the Yahrtzeit of the Rebbe Maharash. The Rebbe encouraged that on this day one should learn from the works of the Rebbe Maharash, as well as a chapter in Mishnayos beginning with one of the letters of his name.

On this occasion Yagdil Torah has compiled a short booklet with selected pieces of the Rebbe Maharash's Torah and a chapter of Mishnayos.

The Kovetz will be available in the shuls and for pick-up at the Heichal Halimmud located at 574 Empire Boulevard.

To download, click here.

Amazing Story Yud Aleph Tishrei, 5775

The following is an incredible story that was told to Yagdil Torah by one of the important people of the "Anash" of Crown Heights. It is regarding the pamphlets (Kovtzei Limud) that are published by Yagdil Torah in honor of the Yom Hilulah of the Rabbeim. Besides the great holiness of Torah learning in general, the story reveals the unique quality of learning Mishnayos and especially when the learning is in connection to a Yartzeit, and more specifically to a Yom Hilulah of our Rabbeim.

Whenever we mark the Yom Hillula of one of the Rebbeim, I have the practice of learning chapters of Mishnayos whose first letters spell out the name of that Rebbe, and of giving Tzedaka in the amount corresponding to the numerical value of the name.

A number of years ago, I was out of town on Yud-Gimmel Nisssan (the Yom Hillulah of the Tzemach Tzedek). A family member had been hospitalized and I was at the hospital without a Mishnayos. I felt bad for not being able to recite the Mishnayos, but I thought to myself: "What can I do? The Rebbe will surely understand. Bli-neder when I have a Mishnayos, I will recite the chapters corresponding to the name of the Tzemach Tzedek".

On Motzei Yom Tov (Pesach), I phoned my parents to see how Yom Tov was by them. My father told me the following: "On the first night of Pesach, I dreamt that I [had an audience] with the Tzemach Tzedek. In my dream, I was upset that you did not ask the Tzemach Tzedek for a bracha. The Tzemach Tzedek, however, gestured with his hand, as if to say, don't worry about it. Then he said in Russian: "Idi ee krepki budyet" ["Go, and it will good"].


Zayin Tishrei, 5775

Is life all about learning?

Let's see;

In Shaar Habitochon it says that Hashem requires us to work in order to test us and see how working will impact our Mitzvah observance.

Which Mitzvah does this apply to in a quantitative sense?

It would make sense that its Limmud Hatorah. It's a daily constant Mitzvah and causes one to often think, do I have time for this now; maybe I can earn more? Or relax more? Or enjoy more?

Every moment we learn we are passing this test, thereby accomplish in a quantitative way - one of the largest nisyonos of - life!