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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 Alef Nissan, 5777

The Rebbe's View

In the last issue, we quoted a number of proofs cited in various sefarim that other worlds exist other than our own. However, all these proofs can be refuted if we say that these worlds are spiritual worlds. Perhaps this is why, when the Rebbe addressed the topic of extraterrestrial life, he did not cite any of these proofs, instead referencing to a Gemara that proves that actual beings dwell somewhere in outer space.

On the Shabbos following the first successful landing of man on the moon, the Rebbe held a special farbrengen to discuss the lessons that can be learned from this historic event. Among other topics, the Rebbe addressed the Torah view on extraterrestrial life.

The Rebbe prefaced his discussion by saying that lichorah there is no reason to discuss this topic, as it has no relevance to Torah and mitzvos. However, since if someone knows what to answer on this topic he may find it easier to influence another Jew to put on tefillin, keep Shabbos, or eat kosher, he will therefore address the issue.

The Rebbe brings a proof from a possuk in Shoftim, in the song of Devorah (Shoftim 5:23). Devorah says: "Cursed is Meroz, says the angel of Hashem; cursed are its inhabitants, for they did not come to the assistance of Hashem [to fight against Sisra's army]." The Gemara (Moed Katan 16a) offers two interpretations for the word Meroz: "Some say it is the name of an important individual, and others say it is the name of a star." (The very stars fought with Sisra-see Shoftim 5:20).

Now, the possuk continues, "cursed are its inhabitants." If Meroz is the name of a star, this means that this star is inhabited!

Chof Vov Adar, 5777

Other Worlds in Chazal

As mentioned in the last issue, R. Chisdai Crescas, a Rishon who lived in Barcelona, Spain, during the fourteenth century, cites a proof for the existence of additional worlds.

The Gemara (Avodah Zarah 3b) describes what Hashem does during the twelve hours of the day: "During the first three hours, He sits and studies Torah. During the second three hours, He judges the world's inhabitants. During the third three hours, He provides sustenance to all the world's creatures. During the final three hours, He plays with the livyasan."

The Gemara continues: "What does Hashem do during the night? He rides His light angel and flies through 18,000 worlds." This Gemara, says R. Chisdai, is clear proof for the existence of other worlds other than our own.

(Although the Gemara offers two alternative answers to its question, the difference between them is merely regarding what Hashem does at night. However, all agree that these worlds exist.)

Of course, this doesn't mean that Hashem actually flies through these worlds. It simply means that Hashem watches over them and tends to their needs. The "flight" on a "light angel" is a mashal, referring to the speed with which Hashem oversees these worlds.

This proof was also cited by R. Yehudah ben Barzilai, a Rishon who also lived in Barcelona, some two hundred years before R. Chisdai. R. Yehudah elaborates on this Gemara, and he asks: Why doesn't Hashem provide for the needs of these worlds by day as well, at the same time when He provides for our needs?

"Delaying Torah Study Pending Good Health Is Similar to Delaying Taking Medication Until One Is Well" Chof Vov Adar, 5777

In reply to your letter of the 12th of Menachem Av, I hope and pray to G-d that your health will soon improve.

Regarding your statement that it is difficult for you to maintain your established times for Torah study [due to your illness]: This is just like an ill person saying that he cannot take his prescribed medications for he is not yet well [and he will only begin taking them after he is healed].

..Established times for studying the Torah of my father-in-law, the Rebbe, הכ"מ, are a vehicle through which one draws down his blessings for good health and sustenance.

Thus, if one laments his [meager] sustenance and [poor] health, the means [for improving them] is strengthening the established times for study. Thereby, [his] sustenance and health will be as they should be. ...

All rights reserved to chabad.org. From Igros Kodesh, Vol. III, p. 381
Originally adapted by S.B. Wineberg in his book Healthy in Body Mind & Spirit - Vol. 1

Yud Beis Adar, 5777

Throughout the ages, humans have always been fascinated by the notion that there might be other worlds out there somewhere, populated by unknown civilizations and strange creatures. In the past these ideas were mere figments of imagination, but with the advent of the Space Age, advanced technology allows us to probe the distant corners of the universe, searching for the elusive sign of life on another planet. Although science has yet to find proof of any such existence-even in the form of a miniscule microbe or bacteria-the search is still on, and humans everywhere are eager to see what findings lie ahead of us.

What is the Torah view of extraterrestrial life? Can it be that life exists elsewhere, aside from on our planet? If yes, what type of creatures inhabit these other worlds? And what does all this have to do with us and our mission in serving Hashem?

One of the first to discuss this topic was R. Chisdai Crescas, a Rishon who lived in Barcelona, Spain, during the fourteenth century. In his sefer Or Hashem (4:2), he devotes an entire chapter to the possibility of the existence of numerous worlds. After discussing at length the philosophical pros and cons of both sides, he concludes that there is no logical argument that rules out the existence of more than one world. Therefore, if we can prove from Chazal that additional worlds do exist, there is no reason to believe otherwise. And R. Chisdai proceeds to cite a proof from Maseches Avodah Zarah.

Yud Beis Adar, 5777

Arrange a Checking Today

One of the first things we do if a medical issue comes up chas veshalam is to check our mezuzos. The Rebbe ingrained in us the oneness between ruchniyos and gashmiyos, and for that reason if there is a physical issue there might be a spiritual issue that must be rectified.

Besides checking our tefillin and mezuzos we can also check our Torah learning. For the Rebbe tells us that increasing in our daily torah learning greatly increases Hashem's blessings for all of one's personal needs, both for the life of the body as well as for the life of the neshama (Igros Kodesh, Vol. XVII, p. 129 and other places).

Contact your Mashpia or Rov to arrange a checking today!

"Torah Brings Healing" Yud Beis Adar, 5777

Surely you will find the right words with which to explain to ... that his response of "I am entirely incapable of learning Torah at present because I am in pain," is similar to one who is ill and refuses to take medication with the excuse that he is ill.

Similarly, our Sages, of blessed memory, have informed us that "Torah brings healing to the world," and "He whose head or body aches should study Torah."

While it is understandable that in-depth study is difficult while one is in pain, an effort should nevertheless be made. Surely, one can at least study with less concentration - at least [study and recite] the three well-known daily lessons that apply to all, those of Chumash, Tehillim and Tanya, as established by my father-in-law, the Rebbe.

All rights reserved to chabad.org. From Igros Kodesh, Vol. XV, p. 175
Originally adapted by S.B. Wineberg in his book Healthy in Body Mind & Spirit - Vol. 1

Chof Tes Shevat, 5777

Right on Schedule

The two famous Rebbes, Reb Shmelke of Nikolsburg and Reb Pinchas of Frankfurt were brothers, the sons of the Rabbi of Tchortkov, Reb Tzvi Hirsh Halevi Horowitz. Even as small children they were known as prodigies.

When they were quite young their father took over the duty of teaching them Torah.

It was a challenging job and he taught them as quickly and as much as their brilliant minds could absorb. When they were both well below ten years of age, they were already learning the Talmud with several commentaries.

As part of their schedule, they would learn the laws which pertained to the next approaching holiday. And so, when the holiday of Chanukah ended, their father began the study of the tractate Megilla. Having completed it by Purim, they began learning the tractate dealing with the laws of Passover, which they finished right on target; the day before Pesach.

Shmelke, the elder of the two boys then said to his father, "Now we have to begin learning the tractate Shevuot if we want to finish it by the time Shavuot comes along."

"Do you think that Shevuot deals with the laws of the holiday?" asked their father smiling, for that was not the case.

Chof Tes Shevat, 5777

The Gemara states (Yuma 38b) that one may not name his child after a rasha. May someone name his child Yisro, who was an idol-worshipper?

Perhaps it can be argued that this name can be given, based on Rashi's statement (Yisro 18:1) that the name Yisro was given to him after he converted and began fulfilling mitzvos. If so, the name Yisro is a Jewish name and it has no relation to the time when he was an idol worshipper.

"Torah Study as an Aid to Various Ailments" כ"ט שבט תשע"ז

Our Sages, of blessed memory, [state] in Eruvin 54a, that "If one has a headache he should study Torah, and if one has a sore throat he should study Torah." The Gemara concludes that when he does so, he will be healed.

The question [regarding this statement] is simple: We observe people who have headaches and study Torah and are not relieved of their headaches.

Of the many answers that are provided to the above question, one of them is that Torah is an entire organism, as it states: "This is the Torah - man." [Just as man is an organic whole, so too is Torah.]

Torah thus contains some elements that relate to the head and other elements that relate to the throat, etc. Thus, when one has a headache, he should study Torah. If G-d blesses him with good fortune and he happens upon that section of Torah that relates to the head, then he will be healed of his headache.

Not everyone, however, is spiritually clear-sighted enough to find the appropriate section of Torah that provides healing for one's headache, or the specific portion of Torah that relieves one's sore throat, etc. ...

All rights reserved to chabad.org. From Igros Kodesh, Vol. V, p. 53.
Originally adapted by Sholom Ber Wineberg in his book Healthy in Body Mind & Spirit - Vol. 1

Chof Beis Shvat Mishnayos and Learning - all new content!
Chof Shevat, 5777

In honor of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka's yahrtzeit, Yagdil Torah is putting out a publication. 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.

Yud Daled Shevat, 5777

It's a Rare Find

"Chaim come check this out. I was going through my attic and I think you'll want these old cups. They were found at the yam suf and traces back to when the Yidden left mitzrayim. They could go for thousands each on the open market! If you want, you can have them."

"Wow, thanks so much Zaidy. Let me just pack them up well so they don't get tarnished."

Chaim finishes packing it all up and is ready to leave.

"Here, just hold on a second Chaim. I forgot another thing that could go for more than ten grand!"

"Whatever. It's fine. I'm already checking whatsapp..."

Imagine you just finished an hour of involved learning, you are now proficient in the opinions of Rashi and Tosfos on the meaning of "meat that has left its borders". You notice the hour is up and close your sefer, but then you notice that the rain is still tapering down. Due to the lack of rain gear it would be best to stay indoors for just one more minute. You now have a painful choice to make; should you check to see if there are any new updates on your phone or should you reopen the highly valued Sefer in front of you?

Tov Li Toras Picha Mialfei Zahav Vochesef

Yud Daled Shevat, 5777

"Viyikarei shmo beyisroel, Yisro ben Moshe..."

The Gemara states (Yuma 38b) that one may not name his child after a rasha, citing the possuk, "Shem resha'im yirkav-The name of resha'im should rot" (Mishlei 10:7). As Rabbeinu Chananel (ad loc.) explains, "A person with such a name will not succeed."

What is the din of giving the name Yisro? Yisro was an idol worshiper who worshiped every single type of deity that existed (Rashi, Yisro 18:11). May someone name his child Yisro, after the father-in-law of Moshe Rabbeinu?

"Joy Over Words of Torah" Yud Daled Shevat, 5777

It is fitting for a person to demonstrate that he is joyous over the words of Torah, both due to his diligence within its portals and because he sometimes discovers that he has studied or understood something new.

All new content in this Kovetz Limmud Yud Shvat Vov Shevat, 5777

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 (all new) for the Frierdiker Rebbe, along with a specially selected portion of the Frierdiker Rebbe's Torah (all new).

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.

Alef Teves, 5777

Purim Saragossa

The Purim of Saragossa was established in the year 1440, fifty-two years before the Jews were exiled from Spain. In the city of Saragossa, Spain, the Jews were ordered to appear at a public reception honoring the king with all of the Torah scrolls of the community.

The rabbis of the community decided that it would be safer to remove the Torahs from their cases, and were sure that the king would never know the difference.

Unfortunately, there was a Jew in the community named Marcos who was a rebel and a troublemaker. He went to the authorities and betrayed the rabbis' plan, citing the Jews' disrespect for the king as the reason for not bringing the actual scrolls.

The king was furious at this slight and ordered the Jews to open the cases at once. A terror fell upon all the Jews, for the punishment for disobeying the king was the most severe, but they had no choice but to open the cases. They were completely amazed and dumbfounded when they saw that all of the cases contained Torah scrolls.

What they could not have known was that the previous night, the caretaker of the synagogue had a dream in which Eliyahu Hanavi appeared to him and ordered him to replace the scrolls in their cases. The dream was so vivid that the caretaker did as he was instructed, but he had no time to inform the rabbis of his action.

The king saw that the Jews were innocent; the accusation was baseless. To commemorate their redemption, the rabbis established a special Purim to be celebrated throughout the generations on the 17th and 18th of Shevat.

Adapted by L'chaim #359