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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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A Shiur leads to a Sefer Ches Adar, 5775

Over six years ago we asked Rabbi Berl Levin to give a Shiur to the Crown Heights community. He agreed and started what has come to be a six year stretch of Shiurim on the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch. With time the Shiur became one of the most attended weekly Shiurim in the community. Recently Rabbi Levin furthered the reach of these Shiurim by writing a Sefer based on his Shiurim. The Sefer is now available for purchase.

At present the shiur is learning the dinim of donning a Talis Katan, every Sunday at 8:00pm in Empire Shtibel (Yiddish).


Ches Adar, 5775

A certain Jew once wanted to help a fellow Jew in a predicament by visiting the local coffee shop on Shabbos, which was frequented by a certain individual who might be able to provide assistance. However, this coffee shop was a central point for numerous merchants and businessmen, and the Jew wondered if he was allowed to enter on Shabbos, when bystanders would suspect him of engaging in business matters on this day. On the other hand, he would be entering for the sake of a mitzvah, to help a fellow Jew. Does performing a mitzvah override the obligation to avoid actions that will arouse suspicion (see Shekalim 8a)?

This question was posed to R. Avraham Menachem Steinberg (1847-1928), the rov of Brody. R. Steinberg quotes numerous sources that can possibly shed light on this question. One source is the law that one may not run when leaving shul, because it makes it appear as if attending shul is a burden (Berachos 6b). However, some say that one may run for the sake of a mitzvah-such as to return quickly before the minyan will reach kedushah, or to study Torah in a beis midrash-and this overrides the fact that he will be suspected of transgressing this halachah (see Magen Avraham Orach Chaim 90:26).

On the other hand, R. Steinberg cites another source that appears to indicate that preventing suspicion is more important.

According to R. Eliezer, one may carry a knife in the street on Shabbos to perform a bris if the knife was not prepared beforehand. The Mishnah continues that there was a time when a Roman decree prohibiting bris milah was in effect. In such a situation, the knife should be covered before carrying it outside so that it will be hidden from view. The covering of the knife should be done in the presence of witnesses. This will prevent people from suspecting him of desecrating Shabbos, as the witnesses will testify that the carrier is transporting a knife for a bris and not something else (Shabbos 130a). At first glance, this gemara can serve as a proof that one must prevent suspicion even when performing a mitzvah.

However, R. Steinberg refutes this proof: in this case it is possible to prevent suspicion by covering the knife in the presence of witnesses; but if no other option is available, perhaps performing the mitzvah takes precedence.

Another source can demonstrate that performing a mitzvah (or care to avoid performing an aveirah) overrides preventing suspicion. A story is brought down in Sefer Chassidim (§622), in which Shimon asks Levi for advice in a proposed match between Shimon's daughter and Reuven's son. Levi knows that the match was not ideal, but he nonetheless gives his approval. His rationale is that if he would say what he really believed, people would suspect him of disapproving the match because he desired Reuven's son as a husband for his daughter. When Reuven finds out what had happened, he criticizes Levi, saying that he should not have transgressed the prohibition of lifnei iver-offering improper advice-even if the intent was to avoid suspicion.

(Shu"t Machazeh Avraham Vol. 2 Orach Chaim §12)

A Free Man Ches Adar, 5775

Even if a person has not sinned in the least, he nevertheless should make a point of being among those who perpetually examine any thought, speech, or action that is not dedicated to Hashem, but comes in vanity and goes in darkness. Then he will be able to accept upon himself the yoke of the kingship of heaven as at Yam Suf, as noted above, by occupying himself with the Torah and mitzvos. Then, when he has accepted upon himself the yoke of the Torah, the yoke of derech deretz -subjugation to the animal soul-will be removed from him.

Torah Or, Beshallach 61:4


Chof Daled Shevat, 5775

And then you woke up!?

That's what many critics will tell you about novels; that they are pure fantasy and don't interest many. They simply never happened and probably won't ever. It's much more intriguing and inspiring to read about what is really happening in Venezuela than what could have happened in Los Angeles.

This can also be said about Torah learning. Learning something that you know is true makes it an entirely different experience; it's not just in inyan geret. Every word of Torah is true and relevant and the application of that principle will no doubt make learning a wholesome and meaningful experience for anyone who thinks this through a bit.


Chof Daled Shevat, 5775

Coffee shops are more than just a place where you can buy a cup of coffee; they are places where individuals can gather to spend time, talk, and interact. They can also serve as focal points for businessmen, where deals can be made and potential buyers can be found.

One Shabbos, a certain Jew heard of a fellow Jew who was found in a predicament. Determined to help him to the best of his ability, he decided to consult a certain individual who might be able to provide assistance. However, knowing that this individual frequented the local coffee shop, the Jew wondered if he was allowed to enter on Shabbos.

This coffee shop was a central point for numerous merchants and businessmen, and perhaps bystanders would suspect him of engaging in business matters on this day. This would be problematic, as one must avoid actions that may be perceived as a sin (see Shekalim 8a). On the other hand, he would be entering for the sake of a mitzvah, to help a fellow Jew. Does performing a mitzvah override the obligation to avoid actions that will arouse suspicion?

A Teacher Like This You Don't Want To Miss Chof Daled Shevat, 5775

For when a person engages in Torah study, the sounds and breaths that emerge from his mouth become a vehicle on which the souls of the early tzadikim can descend to teach that person Torah.

Arizal, Sha'ar Ruach HaKodesh, Chapter 1 in the beginning

Kovetz Limmud Chof Beis Shvat Chof Aleph Shvat 5775

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.


Yud Shevat, 5775

Brokenhearted Chassid

By Mendy Kaminker

Chassidim would say that when learning Torah, one must take utmost care not to forget the Giver of the Torah, but to study in a state of humble awe.

There were once two men named Eizik. Both were great Torah sages as well as venerable chassidim of the first Chabad rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Lyadi. Since one of them hailed from Homel (Gomel) and the other from Vitebsk, they were known as Reb Eizik Homler and Eizik Vitebsker respectively.

In his youth, Reb Eizik Vitebsker had studied Torah at the feet of his learned uncle, Reb Zemle, whose reputation for erudition and insight was known throughout the land. But that was before Eizik had become a chassid and begun learning from Rabbi Schneur Zalman.

Reb Eizik of Homel once asked his friend from Vitebsk, "What is the difference between the Torah that you learned from your uncle and the Torah that you now learn from our rebbe?"

Reb Eizik of Vitebsk burst into tears and replied, "Aside from the actual learning - with his piercing logic, our rebbe opened our eyes to how Torah must be analyzed and applied - the main difference is how we feel after we finished learning."

"Nu," said the man from Homel, "what is the difference in how you feel after study?" Reb Eizik, still sobbing, replied, "After my uncle would conclude a lecture, we would all feel elated. Thank G-d, we have mastered another Torah thought and made it our own. But after hearing a Torah class from the Rebbe, we feel a new awareness of the one who gave the Torah--G-d Himself--and a great sense of humility. We are broken-hearted over our own unrefined state, and recognize how much harder we have to work to connect to the Giver of the Torah."

Reprinted with permission from Chabad.org


Yud Shevat, 5775

The members of an early-twentieth-century shul once decided to renovate the ezras nashim, which was located in a small, cramped room adjacent to the ezras anashim. The proposed plan entailed elevating the roof of the ezras nashim, which would cause two-thirds of the height of the shul's windows to be obscured, significantly decreasing the illumination of the shul. Were they allowed to continue with their plans?

The rov of the community, R. Dov Te'omim, sent a letter to the famous Galician rov, R. Meir Arik, detailing the question under discussion. In the last issue we explained that obstructing the windows and thus diminishing their ability to illuminate the shul was not tantamount to destroying them, because they still can bring in a certain amount of light to the shul. B'ezras Hashem, we will now examine an additional problem, based on the premise of horadah mikedushah chamurah likedushah kalah-decreasing the holiness of an object. Until now, the windows had served the ezras anashim; now, they will serve the ezras nashim as well, which possesses a lesser degree of holiness. Might this reason obligate them to withdraw their plans?

R. Meir quotes the Magen Avraham who writes that one may place possul sifrei torah in the aron kodesh together with the kosher sifrei torah (Orach Chaim 154:14). The reason this is not considered as a decrease in the holiness of the aron kodesh is because it is still being used for the kosher sifrei torah. The same is true in our case. Since the windows will continue to serve the ezras anashim as well by bringing in some degree of light, there is no issue of horadah.

Upon contemplating the matter further, though, one can differentiate between the two cases. In the case of the aron kodesh, placing the possul sifrei torah inside does not diminish the capacity of the aron to house the kosher sifrei torah; but in our case, allowing the windows to serve the ezras nashim will decrease their ability to illuminate the ezras anashim. So perhaps this can indeed be seen as a reduction in the holiness of the windows.

Nonetheless, R. Meir concludes that the community may elevate the roof of the ezras nashim. The Alter Rebbe rules that the issue of horadah is only mid'rabanan (Orach Chaim 34:9), and in our case there is a distinct need to renovate the ezras nashim to provide the women with much-needed light and air. Another factor to take into consideration is the fact that large windows will be built in the outside walls of the ezras nashim, enabling light to enter the ezras anashim as well. In light of all the above, the proposed renovations may be carried out.

(Shu"t Imrei Yosher 1:22)

Wealth and Life Yud Shevat, 5775

Rav Yosef bar Chama said in the name of Rav Sheishes: What is the meaning of the verse, "In her right hand is long life, in her left hand are wealth and esteem"? Is it possible that in its right hand there is long life but not wealth and esteem?! Rather, those who approach it from the right [who study the Torah profoundly and intensively; just as the right hand is stronger for work - Rashi] merit long life, and all the more so wealth and esteem. Those who approach it from the left [whose motivations are less pure] merit wealth and esteem, but not long life.

Shabbos 63a