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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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Gimmel Nissan, 5774

A young bochur in eighteenth-century Italy once undertook a vow to abstain from playing games of any kind. He later approached the rabbis of his community and asked them to annul the vow, claiming that he could not recall if he had actually stated the vow verbally. He also wanted to know if a differentiation could be made between chess and other types of games.

The issue was brought to Rabbi Shimshon Murfurgo of Ancona, after which no less than seven other Italian Rabbis were asked to state their opinion on the matter. Rabbi Murfurgo cited the ruling in Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Dei'ah 228:15) that a vow not to play games may not be annulled. The reason for this is because it is forbidden to annul a vow if doing so may lead to the performing of a transgression, and it is forbidden to play a game that involves gambling (see Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 34:16).

A possible solution would be to only allow the young man to engage in games where no gambling is involved, while his vow would still be in effect with regard to gambling. The problem with doing this is that once part of a vow is annulled, the entire vow is automatically absolved as well (see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dei'ah 229:1). Hence, allowing him to play games without money would, in effect, open up the possibility for him to gamble as well.

Perhaps one could argue that the vow had not taken effect to begin with, because a vow is only binding when stated verbally (see ibid., 210:1). However, being that the man was uncertain whether he had expressed the vow in speech or not, we must be concerned that the vow is indeed binding, because sefeika de'oraysa lechumra (if one's not sure of the circumstances, (s)he should take the stricter point of view).

However, Rabbi Murfurgo concluded that a differentiation can be made between chess and other games. Chess involves wisdom and skill and is not a complete waste of time; we can therefore assume that he had not included it in his vow.

A number of other rabbis disagreed with Rabbi Murfurgo's differentiation, as they maintained that chess was undoubtedly included in the vow. The fact that the witnesses had seen him playing chess and did not rebuke him serves as no proof to the contrary; perhaps they hadn't been paying attention, or they hadn't wanted to hurt his feelings. "The young man should take to heart," wrote Rabbi Gavriel Pontrimoli, "that 'all is in the hands of G-d except the fear of Heaven.' He must place more effort in controlling his yetzer!"

(Shu"t Shemesh Tzedakah, Yoreh Dei'ah §32. Pachad Yitzchak, Os Shin, Erech Shevuah Shelo Lischok)

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Shabbos Metzora
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The Torah Will Compensate Gimmel Nissan, 5774

One who dedicates himself to inspiring others to set up regular group times for Torah Study - the Torah will not remain "in debt".The Torah will bring abundant brachos and hatzlacha to his home, in Gashmius and in Ruchnius.

Likuttei Dibburim 1 page 20

Amazing Story Gimmel Nissan, 5774

The following is an incredible story that was told to Yagdil Torah by one of the important people of the "Anash" of Crown Heights. It is regarding the pamphlets (Kovtzei Limud) that are published by Yagdil Torah in honor of the Yom Hilulah of the Rabbeim. Besides the great holiness of Torah learning in general, the story reveals the unique quality of learning Mishnayos and especially when the learning is in connection to a Yartzeit, and more specifically to a Yom Hilulah of our Rabbeim.

Whenever we mark the Yom Hillula of one of the Rebbeim, I have the practice of learning chapters of Mishnayos whose first letters spell out the name of that Rebbe, and of giving Tzedaka in the amount corresponding to the numerical value of the name.

A number of years ago, I was out of town on Yud-Gimmel Nisssan (the Yom Hillulah of the Tzemach Tzedek). A family member had been hospitalized and I was at the hospital without a Mishnayos. I felt bad for not being able to recite the Mishnayos, but I thought to myself: "What can I do? The Rebbe will surely understand. Bli-neder when I have a Mishnayos, I will recite the chapters corresponding to the name of the Tzemach Tzedek".

On Motzei Yom Tov (Pesach), I phoned my parents to see how Yom Tov was by them. My father told me the following: "On the first night of Pesach, I dreamt that I [had an audience] with the Tzemach Tzedek. In my dream, I was upset that you did not ask the Tzemach Tzedek for a bracha. The Tzemach Tzedek, however, gestured with his hand, as if to say, don't worry about it. Then he said in Russian: "Idi ee krepki budyet" ["Go, and it will good"].

A publication which will bring Beis Nissan to life Yud Zayin Adar II, 5774

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.

Text messages from the Rebbe Yud Zayin Adar II, 5774

An overview of the Kuntreisim the Rebbe gave out

Come join in the new shiur by
Rabbi Levke Kaplan
which teaches the Kuntreisim given out by the Rebbe to his Chassidim. The shiurim will unlock the topics for you and leave you with a well-rounded understanding of the centrality of these Kuntreisim in our lives.

It takes place daily from Monday through Friday from 6:15 AM-6:40 AM in English at The Shul at 418 Albany.

Organized by The Shul


Yud Zayin Adar II, 5774

Why The Wealthy Are Careful With Their Money

You’ve probably heard people say, "He has so much money–why is he so stingy?!"

Let's analyze the situation: Mr. Gvir has five hundred billion $1 bills in his account. Therefore, he sees each dollar as an intrinsic part of his fortune! Each dollar which is removed is a threat to his cumulative fortune. Now that you understand what we’re saying, try to take a moment and understand where he is coming from.

The Rebbe comments about something similar in a sicha. He explains the tremendous pain the Neshama goes through to come down into this world, and that every moment is compared to each dollar bill of Mr. Gvir. Each moment is infinitely precious, for it can be used to fulfill its goals in Olam Hazeh. Hopefully, the single moments will add up to something vast, just like the single dollar bills can add up to billions of dollars. In the big picture, each dollar makes a difference. The Rebbe says that if the goals which the neshama came down to fulfill are not completely accomplished, and if even one moment is wasted, the tza’ar is immensely great, for there was waste with no purpose!

Perhaps our weeknights can now be perceived as time for our neshamos to feel relief at the knowledge that we are working to fulfill our mission and spend our time busy with Limmud Torah.


Yud Zayin Adar II, 5774

A young bochur in eighteenth-century Italy began spending his free time playing games with his colleagues. Seeing that this practice resulted in the wasting of precious time for Torah study, he undertook a vow to abstain from engaging in games of any kind. He proceeded to write his vow in a document, and he summoned two witnesses to testify.

Unfortunately, his yetzer hara got the better of him and he transgressed his vow numerous times. Realizing that the vow had not produced the desired results, he approached the rabbis of his community, beseeching them to help him perform teshuvah and asking them to annul the vow. As the basis for his latter request, he said that he could not recall if he had actually stated the vow verbally or had merely written it in the document. (A vow is not binding unless it was stated verbally; see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Dei’ah 210:1.)

He further asked if he could at least be granted permission to play chess. He did not recall if he had intended to include the game of chess in his vow, but he remembered playing the game in front of the witnesses a few days after accepting the vow and they had not rebuked him. Perhaps that could serve as proof that it was permitted.

Were the rabbis allowed to annul his vow? And if not, was he permitted to play chess?