Oraita Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.


You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Essel Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

Cowen Ad

You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialise correctly.

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

All Headlines

Chof Zayin Kislev, 5775

An individual with undeveloped arms supported his family by writing sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos with his mouth. His competitors protested that his work was disqualified, as halachah dictates that they must be written by hand. Is it true that Torah does not allow tefillin and mezuzos to be written with the mouth instead of with the hand? At the very least, could an exception be made because of his handicap?

This question was addressed to R. Dovid Oppenheim (1664-1736), the Rabbi of Moravia. R. Dovid cites an earlier teshuvah written by R. Menachem Azariah of Fano (1548-1620), in which he writes, "I have heard that there is a sofer in Egypt with undeveloped hands who writes sifrei Torah, tefillin, and mezuzos and no one has raised a complaint." According to R. Menachem Azariah, they are unquestionably posul. He cites two sources as proof for his decision, both of which R. Dovid proceeds to refute:

Nail It Down! Chof Zayin Kislev, 5775

The tefilla of modim anachnu lach expresses self effacement ... Therefore it is said quietly and discreetly. Yet one would have to find ways for this principle and this greatness to be firmly planted in one's heart forever and never recede. For indeed we see that following the Shemoneh Esreh prayer, one resumes being as he previously was. It is therefore wise to engage in Torah and its halachos; which because they are clothed in things physical (such as matters pertaining to agriculture, the calendar, etc.) constitute the pinnacle of union and adherence to Hashem, and one must nullify himself and become united with Hashem, thus becoming a bastion of His oneness, while nullifying and clearing himself of all his desires and thoughts... And thus, in this sense, engagement with the Torah is the equivalent to Shemoneh Esreh, and one can see to it that the effect of this expression of self nullification contained within Shemoneh Esreh is firmly planted, nailed down and never receding forever through his engagement with the Torah.

Free Translation-Likkutei Torah 79:3, Devarim

Yud Gimmel Kislev, 5775

An Interview with R' Mendel Futerfas A"h

Yagdil Torah flourishes from the input of its readers and that is why starting iy"h this week we will start featuring a story and will continue this in every other bulletin. Enjoy!

What was it like in the [Soviet] labor camps?

They were days of light.

Are you speaking euphemistically?

No, I mean it simply. Those were the most inspiring days of my life.

How so?

Throughout my life, I always felt a battle between the material and the spiritual. In the labor camps, there was no battle. My life was all spiritual. All I had to do was learn Torah and daven.

I don't understand. You didn't have to work?

Of course we had to work! In one camp, my job was to care for a herd of pigs. I had to begin at 4:00 am and did not finish until 6:00 pm. In the winter, it was so cold that once the straps of my tefillin froze. When I began to unwind them, they cracked.

It was hard and crushing work, but only physically. My soul was free. There was nothing holding me back. All my energy could be focused on prayer and study. [I assumed Reb Mendel knew the prayers by heart, but what about Torah Study? Reb Mendel was not known as the kind of sage who had committed volumes of Talmud to memory; so I asked:]

Did you have books with you?

Books?! The Russians would allow me Jewish texts to study from?

Then how could you study?

How did I study? I would picture the cheder I attended when I was a child. I would sit in the third row. I remembered the table at which I would sit, the books that were placed on it. To my right sat my friend Berl, and to my left my friend Zalman. Yossel sat in front of me. I remembered their faces, the games we would play, the secrets we would tell each other. And I remembered the melamed: tall, with stern eyes, but with a warm and loving smile. I would picture him and the classroom in my mind. The scene was so vivid that I could actually hear the melamed speaking: "Shnayim ochazin betallit... If two people are holding on to a garment, and one of them says it is entirely mine and the other says it is entirely mine..." I would listen, and concentrate to record his words in my mind. Soon he had taught me a page of Talmud.

I then shut off the picture of the cheder and began to review the page that I had just learned. After a time, it was committed to memory. Then I returned to the cheder to learn another page of Talmud. In this way, I learned many chapters of Talmud and a good portion of Tanya.

Recorded by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger. Originally published in Kfar Chabad Magazine. Reprinted with permission from Chabad.org

Yud Gimmel Kislev, 5775

There was once an individual who unfortunately was born with undeveloped arms, and he lacked palms and fingers. Despite his severe handicap, he succeeded in marrying and raising a family. This was centuries prior to the conception of disability benefits, and he was forced to support his family on his own. He managed to do so by acquiring a unique skill: the ability to write Sifrei Torah, Tefillin, and Mezuzos by maneuvering the quill with his mouth! In fact, his Tefillin and Mezuzos were well-known throughout the city for their exquisite script and beautiful craftsmanship.

His newfound success did not pass by unnoticed, especially by his competitors. The other sofrim in town raised a cry: who ever heard of a sofer writing with his mouth?! They even found a halachic reason for his tefillin and mezuzos to be rendered posul, claiming that halachah dictates that they be written by hand.

The handicapped sofer was at a loss what to do. He had finally succeeded in overcoming an obstacle of major proportions, only for yet another hurdle to be put in his path! Was it true that Torah does not allow tefillin and mezuzos to be written with the mouth instead of with the hand? At the very least, could an exception be made because of his handicap?

Get a Good Chavrusa Yud Gimmel Kislev, 5775

The instruction of our sages is well known, that one should specifically learn with a companion. Surely where ever he lives it will be possible for him to find a chavrusa. It is possible that [in the past] this condition was not fit according to his needs- this is to say that either he did not have a chavrusa at all or it was not a fitting chavrusa. This negatively impacts the success of the learning. It is understood that even if one does not have a chavrusa, it is still necessary to learn Torah. It is also simple that frustration and a low spirit do not come from "the side of kedusha", as we see with our senses that this is not the way to arouse diligence, as is explained in a few places including the Tanya.

Igros Kodesh, vol. 14, p. 414

Melave Malka FAQs
Chof Ches Cheshvan, 5775

Could I use Maaser to pay for the Melave Malka?

You may use Maaser money to pay for expenses beyond that of what you would pay for a Melava Malka in your own home.

For example, if you would usually spend $20 on a Melava Malka (for one person), then you may use $80 from Maaser to pay for a single, $100 reservation. If you would normally spend $30 on 2 people, then you may use $145 to pay for a double, $175 reservation.

Is placing an ad in the journal tax deductible?

Advertising your business in the dinner journal is a business expense and is completely tax deductible.

Does the dinner reservation count for a tax deduction?

For the dinner, up to $40 per person is not tax deductible. This means that for one person (a $100 reservation), $60 is tax deductible (as a charity expense); for a couple ($175 reservation) $95 could be deducted, and so on. Tax receipts for the dinner are available upon request.

Did we miss something? Please let us know.

Tes Kislev Learning Guide
Chof Ches Cheshvan, 5775

Tes Kislev Download

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 of) Mishnayos beginning with the letters of his name. Yagdil Torah has compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of the Mitteler Rebbe's Torah. The publication will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website.

This year the publication marking Tes Kislev (the Yom Hilula of the Mitteler Rebbe) has been updated with the full Mishnayos. Keep an eye out for more easily accessible learning material and sections in English. The publication also includes stories of the Mitteler Rebbe.

Click here to download the Kovetz Limmud for Tes Kislev.

Chof Ches Cheshvan, 5775

A Missed Opportunity

A man lived in a small town and never met the great Tzaddik, but hearing of his holiness he always yearned to see him, even if it was a moment. For years he waited for the right time, financially and otherwise, to make a trip to the city where the Tzaddik lived and have that precious opportunity. When he finally got there he heard that the Tzaddik had just set out on a trip, however he could probably catch up with him as he usually stopped for a day or so in the next large city. He immediately set out to do so, stopping just briefly in a tavern for a break. Whilst he was there he noticed a hustle and bustle as a meeting to restore czarist rule was about to start. His curiosity piqued and he stopped in to listen. The fascinating strategy had him hooked and while he knew he had to be on his way he wouldn't leave until hours later. When he reached the city he found out that two hours earlier the Tzaddik had left and his next stop was several hundred miles ahead. He quickly counted his money hoping that he would still have enough to hire another coach to bring him to his destination. After a few moments he realized that he didn't have enough money back home if he would go to the Tzaddik. His financial straits simply didn't allow him to make the next attempt. It was a missed opportunity.

Perhaps in a less extravagant way we all experience this on a daily basis: A child once innocently asked; why is only one Seder called Kodshim, isn't all of Torah holy?

That precious innocence is something we should all try to live with, especially as the Alter Rebbe writes that there is no holiness like the holiness of Torah (end of Chapter 23 of Igeres Hakodesh).

When we do, we will find ourselves finding more time to learn Torah.

Chof Ches Cheshvan, 5775

When the king of Sicily paid a royal visit to the city of Cagliari, the festivities included the playing of daus, a gambling game that had been banned by the local Jewish community under punishment of excommunication. In order to avoid the possibility that Jews would be forced to play by the king, the community leaders, led R. Yehudah ben R. Dovid, announced that any Jew who knew how to play the game should refrain from attending the celebrations. A certain Jew attended nonetheless and was indeed forced to play under threat of death, earning a handsome profit of 160 perachim (a type of coin).

Hearing this, R. Yehudah presented the Jew with an ultimatum: either he would give the money to the shul or to tzedakah, or the excommunication would take hold. However, the Jew refused to relinquish such a large sum. Unsure as to what path should be followed, R. Yehudah sent an inquiry to R. Yitzchak ben Sheshes (the Rivash).