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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 Zayin Adar I, 5776

Salmon on Shavuot

Among the followers of Rebbe Yecheskel of Kuzmir was Rebbe Shlomo HaCohen of Radomsk, author of the "Tiferet Shlomo". One year, word reached Kuzmir that Reb Shlomo was planning to come to Kuzmir for Shavuot. The Kuzmirer Chassidim began feverishly preparing for the event.

That year Shavuot came out on Sunday night through Tuesday. Reb Shlomo and his entourage, as well as many other Chassidim, arrived in Kuzmir for the preceding Shabbat. The tumult in Rebbe Yechezkel's court was great, with tremendous preparations being made for both Shabbat and the holiday which followed. Chassidim would say that on Shavuot in Kuzmir, one could experience the same spiritual arousal as the Jews had on Mount Sinai when they received the Torah.

Special attention was given to the preparation of fish for both Shabbat and Yom Tov meals in Kuzmir. Often the Rebbe himself would "meditate" on the fish before allowing it to be brought into the kitchen. In addition, he always came into the kitchen to add salt and pepper to the huge copper pot in which the fish was being cooked.

On Friday morning, the Rebbe's attendant came to him with a query from the Rebbetzin: since the coming Sunday was Erev Yom Tov, and the [non-Jewish] fisherman wouldn't be bringing their fish to town that day, should she leave over some of the Shabbat fish for the Yom Tov meals?

"G-d forbid!" answered the Rebbe. "The fish that have come to us for Shabbat cannot wait for their tikun (rectification) until Yom Tov. For Yom Tov, the Almighty will provide us with other fish."

Towards sunset, as the Rebbe was making his final preparations for Shabbat, he summoned his distinguished guest, Rebbe Shlomo of Radomsk, to his room. "Radomsker Rebbe! I order you to harness your horses and return to Radomsk to spend Shavuot with your Chassidim!"

"Really, Rebbe?" replied Reb Shlomo. "I've just come, and I still have much to learn from the Rebbe in serving G-d. I need to see how the Rebbe receives the Torah! And now you're sending me home, to all the common folk? Now that I'm here, please allow me to spend the holiday with you!"

"I'll tell you," answered Reb Chatzkel, "when the Torah was given, it says, 'And Moses went down from the mountain to the people' (Ex. 19:14). Rashi explains that this indicates that Moses did not occupy himself with his own business affairs, but went directly from the mountain to the people. One could ask, did Moses have a private business? Was he a merchant, that the Torah praises him for not occupying himself with his business?"

"No!" he continued. "It means that Moses, upon receiving the Torah from G-d, didn't think about himself - he didn't consider that maybe he should grasp things 100 percent, discuss them with Yehoshua, and then transmit them to the people. At that time, he wasn't concerned with himself, with his "affairs", even though these, too, were connected to Torah and serving G-d. Rather, he went directly from the mountain to the people."

"So now, Radomsker Rebbe, you would like to ascend undisturbed to the heights. But I'm telling you, you must go down from the mountain to the people, and return home for Shavuot."

In the midst of this conversation, the two tzadikim heard a commotion from just outside the door. Someone wanted to see the Rebbe about an urgent matter; but the attendants, knowing that he was involved with the Radomsker, tried to hold him back. Upon hearing the tumult, Reb Chatzkel opened the door and asked the man to come in. It was a simple Jewish fisherman. The Rebbe remained seated in his chair, and motioned to the Radomsker to remain there while he talked to the man.


Yud Zayin Adar I, 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.

The Gemara says (Yuma 22b) that it is forbidden to count Bnei Yisrael. The Gemara proves this from two instances where Shaul counted his soldiers, once using pieces of pottery (or stones) and a second time using lambs. This teaches us that one may not count Bnei Yisrael directly, as this can instigate an ayin hara, chas veshalom.

Is the teacher's new method problematic, since it involves counting the students?

Greater than the Sun (Part 2) Yud Zayin Adar I, 5776

(Continuation from the previous issue)

"The Torah of Hashem is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of Hashem is faithful, making the simple one wise. The directives of Hashem are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the mitzvah of Hashem is clear, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Hashem is pure, existing forever; the judgments of Hashem are true, they are all just" (Tehillim 19:8-10).

Dovid said these three pessukim as praise for the Torah. Beforehand, he mentioned the great luminaries and described some of the accomplishments and benefits of the sun. He then continues that there is a yet greater light, namely, the Torah.

[In what way is the Torah greater than the sun?] . . .

Although the sun is bright and pure, at times it is covered by clouds, tainting its appearance. Also, sometimes it is served by the nations as idolatry, and then it is not pure. But the Torah is pure forever, and its purity has no interruption.

It is also known that the sun shines by day and not by night; however, the light of the Torah shines forever. [Even when the sun does shine,] its light is not equal: until midday its light increases, and from that point and on it becomes less. But with the Torah, "the judgments of Hashem are true, they are all just."

(Kad Hakemach [Rabbeinu Bechaye], beginning of maareches Torah)


Gimmel Adar I, 5776

Going to Israel?

Yankel! Wow that is a great zchus; I wish I can go. I imagine you will also be going to the holy city of Yerushalayim and will go to its holiest accessible area; the Kosel Hamaaravi. I say accessible because, you know, the Kosel is only the wall of the holier Har Habayis. Come to think of it, it doesn't stop there, because the place of the Beis Hamikdash is even holier - within which the Kodesh Hakodoshim is the holiest with access only allowed to the Kohen Gadol on Yom Kippur. We just can't pass the Kosel as we are tamei (and there are questionable areas beyond the Kosel).

Here is a commentary I would write when I read this letter.

All true - quite amazing indeed. What if I told you that I found a legitimate way into the Kodesh Hakodoshim? In Tanya chapter 53 it says that the kedusha that rested in the Kodesh Hakodoshim rests on a person when he learns Torah. You may not value it as it sounds like so much for so little, however you probably know of many cases of people who netted large gains on small investments - so why not?


Gimmel Adar I, 5776

Date: 1904. Place:
Kadelburg, Slovakia

There was once a Jew who had a unique substance in his possession-earth from the holy land of Eretz Yisrael. One day, a non-Jewish acquaintance, who had heard of the Jewish custom to include a bit of earth from Eretz Yisrael in the casket of a deceased individual before burial, asked him if he could buy some of his precious earth. "I would like to adopt this practice of yours," he explained. "I am prepared to pay a large sum of money, which I will donate to the needy of Eretz Yisrael!" Was he allowed to fulfill his wish?

The Jew turned to the rov of Kadelburg, R. Yitzchak Weiss, for halachic guidance on the matter. R. Yitzchak researched the topic on his own, after which he asked the opinion of some of the leading rabbonim in the area.

Greater than the Sun Gimmel Adar I, 5776

(Installment 1)

"The Torah of Hashem is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of Hashem is faithful, making the simple one wise. The directives of Hashem are upright, causing the heart to rejoice; the mitzvah of Hashem is clear, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Hashem is pure, existing forever; the judgments of Hashem are true, they are all just" (Tehillim 19:8-10).

Dovid said these three pesukim as praise for the Torah. Beforehand, he mentioned the great luminaries and described some of the accomplishments and benefits of the sun. He then continues that there is a yet greater light, namely, the Torah.

[In what way is the Torah greater than the sun?]

For with the sun, one who sits in its heat for too long will be harmed greatly until he will faint. However, if one continues to study the Torah, it "revives the soul." It is also known that [the heat of] the sun enters a person's brain until he goes mad. However, the Torah "makes the simple one wise." Furthermore, one who sits [before the sun] for a long time will become worried and sad. But with the Torah, "the directives of Hashem are upright, causing the heart to rejoice." Also, by looking at the sun, one's eyes will become dim. The Torah, however, "enlightens the eyes."

Kad Hakemach [Rabbeinu Bechaye], beginning of maareches Torah
(Continuation in the next issue, b'ezras Hashem)


Yud Tes Shevat, 5776

Hashem Has His Ways

In a small village in Poland there lived an unassuming and pious Jew named Meir. While he was by no means well-to-do, his family never wanted for their daily bread. Each day on his way home from the synagogue Meir passed through the farmers' market, buying produce and poultry which his wife sold from a small store attached to their house. The prices were always fair, and they earned a reputation for honesty.

Meir stood out from the other buyers at the market, for he would never haggle over prices. Meir had his one fair price, and that was that--he would never budge. Eventually the farmers came to respect him and would even seek him out when they had some special goods for sale, and he became known to everyone as "Honest Meir."

Meir had only one regret in life--his business took time away from his beloved Torah study. One day he decided that he would work only half as much, and spend the time saved learning Torah. His wife was worried by his decision, but he calmed her saying, "Don't you think that G-d can send us enough in those three days?" She wanted to reply that of course He could, but would He? But she stopped herself and decided to wait and see what would happen. As it turned out, their income was the same and her husband thrived on his Torah learning.

One day his wife came to Meir to discuss the marriage of their daughter, Mirele. "G-d has been good to us, and we must certainly be grateful, but our daughter isn't getting any younger, and the time has come for us to start saving for her dowry."

Meir looked at his wife and replied, "G-d has taken care of us so far. Trust in Him and stop worrying."

But his wife couldn't rest. "Meir, we aren't supposed to rely on miracles. Maybe you should go out and work like you used to..."

Meir replied, "What you're saying may seem true, but don't forget my 'silent partner'--G-d. Haven't you seen with your own eyes that since I've spent extra time with my 'partner' we have lost nothing. I can not stop my Torah studies, especially now when we need Him even more." There was nothing more his wife could say except a heartfelt "Amen."

A short time later a peasant showed up at the marketplace with a large honeycomb encased in a block of wood. Several prospective buyers approached him, but he refused them, saying, "I will sell only to..." And there he sat and waited until finally, late in the afternoon someone told him that Meir wouldn't be coming to market that day.


Yud Tes Shevat, 5776

Date: 1904.
Place: Kadelburg, Slovakia

There was once a Jew who developed a relationship with an affluent non-Jewish individual, with whom he conducted various business dealings. At one point, the non-Jew found out that his Jewish colleague had a unique substance in his possession: some earth from the holy land of Eretz Yisrael.

The non-Jew had heard of the Jewish custom to include a bit of earth from Eretz Yisrael in the casket of a deceased individual before burial. This segulah intrigued him, and he desired to adopt this practice as well. Approaching his Jewish acquaintance, he asked if he could buy some of his precious earth. "I am prepared to pay a large sum of money for it," he offered, "which I will donate to the needy of Eretz Yisrael!"

At first the Jew avoided providing a clear answer, but the non-Jew was persistent with his request. Was he allowed to fulfill his wish and sell him some of the special soil?

Rare expressions from Reb Itche Der Masmid Hy"d Yud Tes Shevat, 5776

It is known that the [Frierdiker] Rebbe's present situation is not good. His health is deteriorating, rachamana litzlan, and his material income-which for us is spiritual-is decreasing as well. . . .

If you have any good news regarding your learning schedule in shul, you should write to the Rebbe about it. We can clearly see that on the day he receives positive news about a learning schedule in shul, he is another person. He feels completely different, because it affects the very life of his soul.

Letter from Reb Itche der Masmid-
"Representative of the Frierdiker Rebbe"-to one of the chassidim in America

Kovetz Limmud Chof Beis Shvat Yud Tes Shevat, 5776

In honor of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's yahrtzeit, Yagdil Torah has released a newly updated publication. For the first time ever, the pamphlet includes full mishnayos for those who wish to learn it, expanded quotations on women's part in Torah learning, and a short sicha from the Rebbe.

The publication will be available in local shuls, at the Heichal Halimmud, and at our office.

Click here for publication.


Hei Shevat, 5776

Want to Learn Something?

"I am not interested and that's it"

"Got it.

"In one of the Ani Ledodi Maamorim of Likkutei Torah the Baal Hatanya explains why one should have mercy on his soul due to its depraved state. He then says that if one doesn't feel merciful despite the reasons given he should realize that itself can elicit mercy; that his soul is so removed that even when he thinks about it - it doesn't bother him.

"Perhaps in a similar sense it can be suggested that if despite ones contemplating the greatness of Torah and its pricelessness he still feels "I am not interested and that's it" - that very conclusion should make him feel like something is wrong with his status. Honesty is a first great step to solve many a problem."


Hei Shevat, 5776

Place: Lausanne, Switzerland.
Date: 1963

The Swiss government once decided to put together an exhibition including various artifacts and items of interest which would be displayed before the public. One of the items they wanted to display was a sefer Torah, and they asked Rabbi Schwartz, a Rabbi in one of the local communities, for permission to borrow a sefer Torah from the shul. Was it permitted to hand over a sefer Torah to be displayed as an exhibit?

Rabbi Schwartz posed this question to R. Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, from the nearby city of Montreaux. R. Weinberg confirmed Rabbi Schwartz's reservations about transporting a sefer Torah to another location where it will not be used for kriah purposes (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 135:14 and commentaries ad loc.). In fact, there are two more halachic considerations as well:

It's Obvious Hei Shevat, 5776

...Besides the obvious that a Jew must constantly add to the amount and quality of his students, and not be satisfied on how much he accomplished until now even if he made plenty of students - still so as long as he has the capability to cause another Jew from any denomination to participate in a shiur - he simply has to do it. What's the question?!

From the Sicha of Parshas Lech Lecha 5752

Kovetz Limmud Yud Shvat Hei Shevat, 5776

On Yud Shvat we mark the Yom Hillulah of the Frierdiker Rebbe. One of the Minhogim the Rebbe set for the day is to learn the Mishnayos of the Frierdiker Rebbe's name.

Yagdil Torah has produced a booklet containing the full Mishnayos for the Frierdiker Rebbe, along with a specially selected portion of the Frierdiker Rebbe's Torah.

The booklet will be available in local shuls, on our website and in our office.

Click here for the pdf.
Click here for the Russian Version. .

Read an amazing story which shows the importance of learning in connection to a Yom Hilulah of our Rabbeim.

Compilation for Chof Daled Teives Chof Beis Teves 5776

Following the Rebbe's horaos that one should learn from the teachings of the Alter Rebbe on Chof Daled Teves, and also that one should learn chapters of Mishnayos beginning with the letters of a Rebbe's name on his Yom Hilulah, Yagdil Torah has prepared an updated learning guide for this day. The compilation features specially selected portions of the Alter Rebbe's teachings, stories, and the full mishnayos. It will be distributed throughout the Shuls in Crown Heights, in the Heichal Halimmud and in our office. It is also available for download here.

Read an amazing story which shows the importance of learning in connection to a Yom Hilulah of our Rabbeim.