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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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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.


Alef Adar II, 5776

Date: 1962.
Place: Bnei Brak, Eretz Yisrael

A teacher once devised an innovative method of taking attendance. Instead of the standard time-consuming method of calling out each boy's name, he decided to have his thirty students sit in three rows of ten. Starting with the first row, the boys would count from one to ten, thus enabling him to quickly know who was present.

Is this method problematic, since it involves counting the students, which could instigate an ayin hara, chas veshalom?

The teacher turned to his rov, Rav Shmuel Vosner OBM for a ruling on the matter. R. Vosner writes that the first issue that must be clarified is whether this case constitutes an indirect method of counting. As the Gemara states in Yuma (22b), one may count Bnei Yisrael in an indirect fashion (such as Shaul did when counting his soldiers, once using pieces of pottery and another time using lambs). In this case, the teacher is not counting the students himself; he is merely having them count from one to ten. Can this be viewed as an indirect method of counting?

If we will assume that this is considered indirect, the next issue to consider is the fact that this counting is unnecessary. In Shaul's case, it was necessary for him to know how many soldiers he had, so it was permitted for him to count (indirectly). In our case, however, the teacher has the option of reverting to the standard method of taking attendance. May one count (indirectly) if there is no need to do so?

The answer to this question can actually be found in a story in Sefer Shmuel. The Tanach (II Shmuel 24) relates that Dovid Hamelech counted the Bnei Yisrael unnecessarily, and as a result a plague broke out among the Jewish nation. The mefarshim differ whether he used items to count them or counted them directly (see Ramban, Shemos 30:12. Radak, II Shmuel 24:1). If he counted them directly, it can be inferred that indirect counting is permitted even if it is unnecessary; it he counted them indirectly, it is clear that even this can produce negative outcomes.

R. Vosner concludes that even if indirect counting is always permissible, in this case it would be forbidden. He provides three reasons for this:

We Do the Studying; They Do the Work! Alef Adar II, 5776

"[Yitzchak] said, 'The voice is the voice of Yaakov, and the hands are the hands of Esav!'"

Chazal (Bereishis Rabbah 65:16) explain this possuk as follows: when "the voice is the voice of Yaakov," i.e., when they engage in Torah study, "the hands are the hands of Esav," meaning that the hands of Esav cannot dominate us.

Seemingly, the wording of the possuk implies the opposite: when "the voice is the voice of Yaakov, the hands are the hands of Esav," meaning that they do have the ability to dominate us, chas v'sholom!

I believe the possuk can be explained as follows:

It is known (Berachos 35b) that when Bnei Yisrael fulfill the will of Hashem their work is performed through others, as the possuk states (Yeshayahu 61:5), "Strangers will stand up and pasture your sheep." In other words, the nations of the world prepare the needs of Bnei Yisrael as slaves serve their masters.

This, then, is the meaning of the possuk. When "the voice is the voice of Yaakov," i.e., when they engage in Torah study, "the hands are the hands of Esav," meaning that the other nations perform their work and prepare their needs as a servant serves his master. Consequently, the opposite can be implied as well.

Degel Machanei Ephraim (Bereishis 27:12)

75,000 Seforim At Your Fingertips!
Chof Daled Adar I, 5776

We have recently upgraded our Otzar Hachochma Library to the latest edition! With an easy to use program our Heichal users have access to more than 75,000 seforim. From looking for a sefer that is out of print to finding out how many times a topic is talked about through the generations. It has graciously been sponsored by Oren Popper.

Let's Hakhel Together Yud Zayin Adar I, 5776

Especially as this year is a Hakhel year we encourage everyone to add in public Torah learning of all sorts; by learning in a public venue such as a Shul or Heichal Hallimud, by joining a shiur, or by learning with a chavrusa

Yagdil Torah is here for you with two Heichal Hallimuds open from 6am - 2am daily, a bunch of shiurim to choose from, a system which matches chavrusos and much more

We also have one of the largest lists of public learning resources available (places, phone-lines, programs and more) anywhere at yagdiltorah.org/links or by calling our office.

We can also refer you to a shiur based on your preferences

Please contact our office or visit our website for more information.