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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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Tes Shvat 5774

Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner A"h lived in a complex that was heated by a centralized heating system managed by a non-observant Jew. The Jew would frequently turn on the steam on Shabbos to counter the cold New York winters. Was Rabbi Hutner allowed to stay indoors or was it necessary for him to leave the house, as staying indoors meant he was deriving pleasure from a forbidden melachah on Shabbos? At the very least, was he required to shut the heating vents to prevent the forbidden steam from warming his home?

Rabbi Hutner posed his dilemma to his esteemed colleague, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein A"h. Rabbi Feinstein addressed the issue by comparing this case to a dispute between Abaye and Rava in Tractate Pesachim (25b). The two Amoraim debated over a case where one finds himself exposed to a forbidden source of pleasure, and while it is understood that he cannot prevent the enjoyment from reaching his senses, he intentionally derives pleasure from the issur. (For example: one passes by a house of avodah zarah and cannot prevent the pleasing scent emanating from within from reaching his nostrils, but he intentionally enjoys the smell.) According to Abaye this would be permitted; Rava, by contrast, holds that it is forbidden.

A parallel can be drawn to the present case as well. A person found in the house cannot help but feel the warmth of the steam, but it can be assumed that he will enjoy the warmth as well. Thus, this case would seemingly fall within the dispute of Abaye and Rava.

In reality, however, even Rava would agree that it would be permissible to stay in the house. While the prohibition against enjoying the scent of avodah zarah is min haTorah, that of deriving pleasure from a melachah on Shabbos is miderabanan (see Ketubos 34a), and according to certain opinions, Rava agrees with Abaye's conclusion in such cases (see Rashi d.h. ein, Pesachim 26a). Even those that maintain that Rava forbids deriving enjoyment prohibited mibrebanan all agree that when a need is present Rava is lenient (see Tosafos d.h. vetisbera, ibid.). The fact that it was cold outdoors created a definite need to remain indoors, and all would agree that he may do so.

Rabbi Feinstein ascertained that there is no need to close the vents either. Although one may not actively derive forbidden pleasure, when found in a situation where the prohibited enjoyment reaches him compulsorily, one has no obligation to separate himself from it by relocating to another location (e.g., to immediately backtrack when confronted with a smell of avodah zarah) or placing a division between himself and the issur (e.g., by closing the vents). (This is true according to Abaye, and in our case, according to Rava as well).

Other authorities assert that although one is not required to leave his house in this case, one would be obligated to close the vents to prevent the steam from entering the room. An exception can perhaps be made in cases of extreme cold, for even healthy individuals are considered ill in the face of severe chill. (This rationale is used to permit-under certain circumstances-asking a non-Jew to heat one's home in the winter [see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 276:5].)

(Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim, 1:123. Az Nidberu 6:76)

Tes Shvat 5774

Are we stuck in a mine?

Back in 2010 a group of Chilean miners were trapped underground for 69 days after their mine shaft collapsed. The only thing they had connecting them to the world above was a tether which brought them oxygen, food, and letters from family, friends, and world supporters. Interestingly, Steve Jobs offered the miners free ipods to keep them entertained while down there. However, the Chilean government turned down the offer, claiming that the ipods would distract the miners and cause them not to spend time with each other and thereby remain emotionally healthy.

There is a striking resemblance of this saga to our daily lives as a motivation that often gets overlooked. We are all down here, trapped in a dark world not sure about our goals in life and how to deal with our daily struggles. Tanya refers to the Torah as a tether which binds us with Hashem. We look to the Torah for light, guidance, and inspiration for our daily lives. While ipods, technology, and other distractions often have great tools to perhaps enhance our lives for our true mission- they often only distract us. [That is why, technology if used responsibly, can have reaping effects allowing just another channel for Hashem to dwell in this world. ] Our daily Kvius Itim is the above mentioned tether. So let us never abandon our "tether" that connects us down here to Hashem above.

Business advice from the Rebbe Tes Shvat 5774

In response to your complaint that your business has been experiencing difficulties lately, it's possible that you minimized your tzedaka giving towards matters of Torah and Yiras Shamayim last year, and it's therefore recommended that you increase that from now on, to an amount which you consider beyond what's expected, and Hashem's guarantee that 'aser bishvil she'tisasher' (tithe so that you become wealthy) is well-known, and it's specifically about the mitzvah of tzedaka which Hashem says 'uvchanuni na b'zos' (test me on this).

Igros Chelek Vov Page 76 First Letter

For Practical Purposes Is Only One Of The Reasons We Learn
Vov Shvat 5774

It says that learning is greater [than doing], because it leads to doing. When one learns they are uttering the words that are read on the topic at hand. However, there are times when a subject being learnt is not practical to today's day and age. For example the order of Kodoshim or [tractates like] Zevachim and Menachos. Not only that, but even many practical things do not need to be learnt from the Gemara these days, especially now since the laws are summed up in Shulchan Aruch. One would then think why the need to learn something that is not applicable, but they would be missing the point. Learning is not about the practicality but about uttering the words of Torah. When one speaks words of Torah it envelops the Neshama and draws down Heavenly pleasure.

Likkutei Torah Shmini Atzeres 84B

Compilation for Chof Daled Teives Chof Beis Teves 5774

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.

Dach Yomi Chof Beis Teves 5774

Want to learn Chassidus daily but need motivation? Committed to learn but need assistance?

Dach Yomi is a system for daily Chassidus. By learning one column a day of Torah Ohr and Likutei Torah, you will complete it in 4.5 years. Weekly booklet includes a running commentary in Hebrew and a daily synopsis in English.

Starting 24 Teves

Visit: DachYomi.com

If You Work For A Company, This is For You Chof Beis Teves 5774

Many companies sponsor matching gift programs that will match charitable contributions made by their employees. Some even match gifts made by retirees and/or spouses. These programs are a great way for companies to support Torah learning in our community and a chance for you to double or even triple your gift!

To find out if you are eligible for this benefit, click here to browse thru a list of companies to see if your employer sponsors a matching gift program.  

Most companies have matching gift forms available through their personnel office that you fill out and mail to us. We do the rest!

Please mail matching gift forms to:
Yagdil Torah
383 Kingston Avenue; Room188
Brooklyn, NY 11213

Or contact: Rabbi Levi Browd:
info@yagdiltorah.org for more information: