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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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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?

Don't Be Satisfied! Yud Zayin Adar II, 5774

The idea of ascending from level to level as it exists in Halocha: One who learns Torah and does Mitzvahs should not feel that his avodah is sufficient, rather he must endeavor to continually be in a mode of ‘Walking’, which means progressing from level to level [even approaching the infinite]. Someone who lacks this, although he/she learns Torah and does Mitzvahs, is missing the effect of Hashem’s direction. In the terminology of Halocha: one must go “From strength to strength”.

Pesach Sheini 5744 Page 1683

We're Not Sitting Still Daled Adar II, 5774

One thing you can say about Yagdil Torah is that we always strive to deliver more.

The past couple of weeks are a prime example of that. Not only did we have our regular daily and weekly shiurim, but we had several "special" classes given as well! All three subjects are very applicable in our daily lives, and this was proven by the great attendance at all three shiurim.

The first one to take place, on 17 Adar I (February 17th), was a fascinating shiur by Rabbi Yisroel Marelus. He discussed astronomy and astrology according to Torah, and Yiddishkeit's view on the above. He even connected the Nesius of our Rebbeim to the Mazalos in the skies during their times! The very next night, on the 18th, Rabbi Meir Pogrow presented a live demonstration of his Master Torah program. To do it, he utilized the first Perek of Rambam Nezikin. In front of everyone's eyes, he learned the Perek and reviewed it according to the steps of his program. In a short time, he had it memorized, and many audience members were able to copy him in no time at all!

Rabbi Dovid Greenfield's shiur on 2 Adar II (March 4th) was a hit. Rabbi Greenfield described some of the intricacies of Safrus, and went over the importance of knowing your Sofer is doing what is right. He told us what to look out for when purchasing from a Sofer so that our purchases can always be the most mehudar and the best in every way.

Thank you to our three amazing instructors, and to all of you who joined our classes. Most importantly, if you're not yet on our email list, be sure to join ASAP so as not to miss out on any other great shiurim and programs.


Daled Adar II, 5774

Major machlokos in middle of sleep

There is a story told about a certain young man, a bochur, who learned in a Yeshiva in Crown Heights. He was acclaimed for his analytic, insightful understanding and recognized by all who knew him as very studious, a masmid in fact. At the time that this story takes place, there existed a dormitory on Kingston Avenue above Raskin's Fish Store. This bochur would learn during the day in Yeshiva and in the evening would go to the dormitory to sleep.

One night, this bochur awoke with a start, sat bolt upright in bed and exclaimed, still half-asleep, "But don't you see?! The Ktzos is disagreeing with the Raavad!" [perhaps it was the reverse.] Today, that bochur is a prominent rosh yeshiva.

Imagine if we all learned with such enthusiasm and so consistently that our very dreams were composed of Torah thoughts! In a time of questionable dreams and aspirations, isn't this something worthwhile to strive for?


Daled Adar II, 5774

A certain beis hamedrash in Cracow, Poland, was located on the second story of the building, while the first floor housed a store which sold electrical lighting equipment. The owner of the store approached the gabboim of the beis hamedrash with a deal. He asked the gabboim for permission to advertise his lights on the roof of the beis hamedrash, and in turn he would cover the costs of renovating the roof, as well as pay a yearly fee. Were the gabboim allowed to give him the go-ahead to use the roof of the beis hamedrash for such a purpose?

The gabboim posed the question to the rav of the city, Harav Yosef Nechemya Kurnitzer A"h. R' Yosef Nechemya quoted the Gemara in Pesachim (85b-86a) where it is stated that the attics and roofs of the heichal were considered holy, while those of the azarah were not. A shul is called a mikdash me'at. Should it be compared to the azarah or to the heichal?

On one hand, tefillah is compared to ketores (see Tehillim 141:2, Malachi 1:11 and Rashi ad loc.), a service performed in the heichal. On the other hand, one can argue that the reason why the attic of the heichal was holy was because Hashem relayed to Shlomo Hamelech the exact height of the heichal (see Divrei Hayamim I 28:10), which encompassed the attic as well. The holiness of a shul, however, might be limited strictly to its actual domain.

This discussion, though, is just theoretical: the Shulchan Aruch rules (Orach Chaim 151:12) that the attic of a shul may not be used for a derogatory use, while a doubt exists regarding using an attic for other functions. Although one can argue that advertising is not a disgraceful act, the doubt of the Shulchan Aruch would seemingly require a stringent ruling in this case.

However, another factor exists that can play a role in this scenario. It is common practice to conduct festive meals in shuls, while some even use the site to sell seforim and similar wares. As a rule, Halachah prohibits such conduct in a shul (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 151:1), and even specifying a condition in advance does not permit these activities (ibid. 11). How is it, then, that such behavior continues unopposed?

R' Yosef Nechemya posits that although such conduct might have begun in an impermissible manner, once it became common practice, it is considered as if the beis din stated a condition prior to the building of the shul or beis hamedrash that it will contain a limited degree of holiness, similar to a private beis hamedrash which carries a lower level of sanctity (ibid. 2). This would allow other inoffensive activities to be carried out in the vicinity.

R' Yosef Nechemya concludes that it would therefore be permitted for the gabboim to go ahead with the deal, provided that installing the electrical lights does not affect the strength of the walls or lead to bittul Torah.

(Shaalos U'teshuvos Rabbeinu Yosef Nechemya, Orach Chaim §4)

Even if you learn Torah at the appropriate level Daled Adar II, 5774

Every Jewish person must increase his study of Torah in all areas of the Torah (even if his level of Torah study was previously at the appropriate level), both quantitatively and qualitatively, at a whole new level. And it would be even better if the study took place publicly. And when this is done with happiness and gladness, considering that happiness tears down boundaries, it's clear that the Torah study will be in a manner exceeding all measurements and limitations, including that of the nefesh ha'elokis, and most certainly that of this physical world, and it's obvious that the Torah studied will be in a far broader manner. And since the learning is beyond measurements and limitations, it's clear that even in a quantitatively small amount of time a person will still succeed to learn Torah at a much higher rate, both quantitatively and qualitatively, 'muat ha'machazik es ha'merubah (the little that contains much)'. Of course this learning should take place in a manner which leads to actually performing mitzvos b'hiddur (with greater beauty and effort).

Rosh Chodesh Shvat 5742, Hisvaaduyos Vol. 2, Pg. 770


Chof Adar I, 5774

Would you stop and cry mid-Maamer
-for several minutes?

Toward the end of delivering the famous Maamer, Lo Sihyeh Mishakela, the Rebbe paused, lay his head on the table, and cried for several minutes, before completing the Maamer.

What, you may wonder, was so emotional and crucial? What caused a sudden outburst at that very time?

The Rebbe was talking about the pricelessness of time, saying how each moment is a responsibility to Hashem to fulfill His will. When we dismiss even one moment by not working to fulfill that shlichus, we rebel against Hashem. When the Rebbe said the word "rebel" he broke out in tears.

Despite time’s evasive nature, the truth of its value remains. The challenge of "time management" is balanced by our ability and willingness to be loyal servants to Hashem.

Boruch Hashem we have the Mitzvah of Limmud Torah through which we can always fulfill that shlichus, whenever and wherever.


Chof Adar I, 5774

The turn of the twentieth century brought along with it a host of new inventions and technologies, each one more innovative than the next. The use of electricity and electrical lights became widespread, extending to the large cities of Eastern Europe, and many Jewish entrepreneurs took advantage of the new lighting techniques and began dealing in electrical bulbs, lamps, and the like.

One such dealer in Cracow, Poland, opened a store to sell his wares on the first floor of a two-story building, underneath the beis hamedrash of R’ Yisroel Meisels A"h, which was located on the second floor. In order to advertise his products, he met with the gabboim of the beis hamedrash and offered the following deal: they would allow him to use the roof of the beis hamedrash to display his electrical lights, and he would pay for the renovation of the roof, as well as paying a yearly fee for the right to advertise on their property.

The gabboim of the beis hamedrash were pleased with the deal. The roof was indeed in need of fixing, and they could use the yearly revenue as well. But they were unsure if halachah allowed a beis hamedrash to be used for such a purpose. Were they allowed to go ahead with the plan?