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Heichal Halimmud
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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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The Rules of Ribis Chof Zayin Elul, 5774

Ribis is confusing, for it has many details, and many don't realize how much it actually impacts our daily lives. However, those who attended Rabbi Vind's shiur last week left much more well-informed about Ribis and all its implications.

Rabbi Vind gave examples of Ribis in our day to day lives: Can a customer decline change from a cashier? Can a store-owner change the price of an item within minutes, depending on whether or not the customer will buy the item right away or sometime in the future?

All these and more were explained during the class. Rabbi Vind brought sources and explained the reasonings and nuances of the laws of Ribis. He illustrated the chiddushim introduced by the Alter Rebbe, and showed how many today paskin according to what he taught. Even though there are so many details, Halacha examines each possible scenario that can include Ribis, and describes exactly what to do, so one is never at a loss.

Many attended and some asked questions, which in the end were all answered. Thank you to those who attended, and thank you to Rabbi Shmuel Pevzner for helping Yagdil Torah to organize this shiur.

Yagdil Torah תשע"ה Crown Heights Community Calendar to be delivered to Crown Heights homes over the next few days.
Yud Zayin Elul, 5774

We are glad to announce that with the help of our partners, the 5775 Yagdil Torah Calendar will be delivered to Crown Heights homes over the next few days.

The Yagdil Torah Calendar has become a popular calendar amongst many Crown Heights residents.

Some like it because of it's durable binding and hanger,

Some like it because of the unique system of weekly זמנים,

Some like it because of the ruled daily calendar boxes,

And some like it for it's clear design and size.

Whatever the reason, we are sure you will appreciate it and find it useful, as it was designed with you in mind.

If you have any comments about the calendar or would like to make sure your address will be covered by our delivery please contact us.


Yud Zayin Elul, 5774

Venture Capitalists

Venture Capitalists. This term is synonymous with "fabulously wealthy, great investors, often good choices... and oftentimes, a lot of risk."

Venture capitalists look for potential in startup companies or people with talent who haven't yet been "found." They help the unknown companies or people become well-known, sought after, even famous. In return, they receive a "cut" of all the business given to the previously unknown companies/people.

In your neighborhood, too, there are talented people who haven't yet been "found." They are skilled orators, knowledgeable teachers, but they sit with only a couple of people because they are "unknown" and people don't come to hear them. Instead of shying away from the "smaller names," be an opportunist. Attend a class given by a previously unknown maggid shiur. Now, these people are easily accessible. Who knows? One day your soon-to-be favorite maggid shiur could become famous, and you'll get to say that you attended his shiurim way back when....


Yud Zayin Elul, 5774

A certain individual once built a house whose height extended above the height of the local shul. When he discovered that the shul is supposed to be the highest and most prominent building in town (see Shabbos 11a), he quickly hastened to do his best to solve the issue. Instead of breaking down his house and building it anew at a lower level, he decided to erect a flag on the roof of the shul, thus elevating its height. Would such a method be effective to allow him to keep his house at its present height?

This question was posed to R. Chaim Elazar Shapiro, the author of Minchas Elazar. R. Shapiro explains that this doubt can be resolved by clarifying whether a flag or similar structure is to be viewed as a part of the building itself or as a separate entity. If the flag is considered as part of the shul, it would indeed be effective; if not, however, erecting a flag would not resolve the issue.

Perhaps this question can be answered based on a quote from the above-mentioned Gemara: "When were these words stated [that the houses in the city may not rise above the shul]? With regard to the houses themselves. But with regard to structures and towers [built as an extension above the house], there is no concern." This Gemara clearly demonstrates that these structures are not to be viewed as part of the house. It thus follows that attaching a flag to the roof of a shul does not affect the height of the shul itself.

However, this proof can be challenged. One can argue that the reason why one may build a structure atop his house that rises above the height of the shul is (not because it is a separate entity, but) because one is not degrading the shul by doing so,being that the structure is not inhabited or used (see Tosafos Yeshanim, Shabbos ad loc.). In truth, however, a structure is considered as part of the house, and erecting a flag over a shul should thus be advantageous.

R. Shapiro raises another issue which would pose a problem in this case. Recent times have seen an increase in the establishing of "new" Temples, characterized by flags and similar structures meant to give the "synagogue" a more modern look. Building a flag can thus be seen as a slant towards this wrong viewpoint, and it may even entail an issur de'oraysa (see Hasagas HaRaavad, Avodah Zarah 11:1). Doing so is thus out of the question.

As a solution, R. Shapiro suggested that a pole be erected atop the shul to elevate its height. Although the Magen Avraham (Orach Chaim 150:3) writes that this is ineffective, the Peri Megadim (ad loc.) states that one may employ this method if no other option is present. Nowadays, as well, no other option is available, as anything more impressive than a simple pole can be viewed as a resemblance to movements not in line with the Torah.

(Shu"t Minchas Elazar 1:57)

Learning Torah Is Greater Yud Zayin Elul, 5774

"Great is the Torah, for it gives life to those who practice it" (Pirkei Avos 6:7) "Those who practice it" refers to individuals who observe the Mitzvos. By saying "great is the Torah," the Mishna emphasizes that learning Torah is greater than doing Mitzvos.

And it explains why: "for it gives life." It is possible that even a person who is meticulous in observing Mitzvos will do so without passion. By learning Torah we come to understand the bond with Hashem that is established through doing Mitzvos, and thus infuses them with energy and vitality.

Sichos Shabbos Parshas Bamidbar, 5729


Gimmel Elul, 5774

"Money or your life!!!"

"I'm thinking..."

The greatest jokes are funny because they represent life. The Rebbe once asked someone how his daily Torah learning was going. The man answered that he was busy making money to have a luxurious house. The Rebbe was astonished because this same person risked his life for yiddishkeit just a few years earlier in Russia. What was going on in that man's mind was that America is different and therefore there are different priorities. But if he would just think for a minute how he himself felt about yiddishkeit in the old country it would push him to value his Torah learning more. So, money or your life!! What's the question?!


Gimmel Elul, 5774

A shul is viewed by halachah as the focal point of the Jewish community. It is the place where young and old congregate on a daily basis to re-energize through prayer and Torah study. The shul's importance is manifest not only in its spiritual importance, but in its physical structure as well: it is to be constructed as the highest and most prominent building in town. As the Gemara states (Shabbos 11a), "Any city whose rooftops are higher than the shul will ultimately be destroyed."

A certain individual once built a new, spacious house to accommodate his growing family. Being that he was unaware of the above-mentioned directive, it was built higher than the height of the local shul. When he discovered the severe outcome of such conduct as described by the Gemara, he quickly hastened to do his best to solve the issue. Instead of breaking down his house and building it anew at a lower level, he thought of a novel solution: he would erect a flag on the roof of the shul, thus elevating its height so that it would be higher than his new residence.

Would such a method be effective to allow him to keep his house at its present height?

Serious Business Gimmel Elul, 5774

"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 constantly on his business - day and night, the Torah should always be the focus of our attention. To the extent that it becomes his very identity.

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

Chof Av Learning Guide With Additions Yud Tes Av, 5774

Chof Av DownloadIn honor of Chof Av, the Yohrtzeit of Reb Levi Yitzchak, the Rebbe's father, Yagdil Torah has compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of his Torah, in keeping with the Rebbe's instructions for such occasions. The guide will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website. The updated version contains stories of the Rebbe's father and the entire Mishnayos that corresponds to his name.

Click here to download the Kovetz Limmud for Chof Av.

For Russian version click here.


Yud Tes Av, 5774

Learning on the Battlefield of Life

19:00 After an exhausting night of intensive searching for the three kidnapped Yeshiva students in a hostile PA village, an IDF Combat Battalion Commander starts Meseches Taanis. He completes Maseches Taanis at the edge of Gaza just as his troops are preparing for a ground incursion.

Even with rockets flying overhead he was able to concentrate on a blat of Gemara;

If he can do it, we can too!

We all have things in the way of just sitting down and learning. Just like he was able to, even while not knowing if he will survive the next day, so can we!