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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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Niglah Should Be Learned On Shabbos
Chof Zayin Elul, 5776

In regards to what was mentioned previously, that the day of Shabbos is a time designated for the learning of Pnimyus HaTorah, some "shpitz Chabad" might interpret this to mean that there is no need, or that it is "forbidden," to learn Niglah diTorah on Shabbos. Therefore, it is imperative to clarify that the truth is not so; one can and must certainly learn Niglah diTorah (aside for saying Aizehu Mekoman before Davning), as it was clearly conveyed by the Rebbe Maharash that on Shabbos one should learn two thirds Nistar and one third Niglah.

Shabbos Parshas Shemos 5713

Chof Elul, 5776

Torah-Your Private Lawyer

The Gemara says (Makos 10a) that Torah protects a person, similar to an ir miklat. Similarly, Sefer Chareidim writes (Mitzvas Hateshuvah Ch. 3) that studying Torah protects a person from suffering.

How exactly does Torah protect a person? Perhaps it's by acting as a private lawyer when he is judged Above.

Chovos Halevavos explains (Shaar Hateshuvah Ch. 10, as explained by Pas Lechem) that (once a person does his best Teshuva, Hashem finds pretexts for a person's negative conduct, to minimize the severity of his misdeeds. This may be the type of protection afforded to a person who studies Torah: even if he has sinned and deserves to be punished, when he is judged in the supernal Beis Din, Hashem will excuse his actions so he can be vindicated.

This idea may apply to the present month of Elul. As is known, Elul is an acronym for various pessukim, three of which correspond to the three pillars of Torah, avodah, and gemilus chassadim. The possuk corresponding to Torah is אנה לידו ושמתי לך, written with regard to arei miklat, because Torah protects a person like an ir miklat (Lekutei Torah of the Arizal, Parshas Shoftim).

This fits very well with the above. The month of Elul serves as a preparation for the judgment of Rosh Hashanah. In the merit of studying Torah during this time, Hashem will advocate for us when judging us and give us all a good and sweet new year.


Chof Elul, 5776

Union City, New Jersey,
Erev Rosh Hashanah, 5742 (1982)

A few days before Rosh Hashanah, a young man named R. Sholom Eliyahu Tzvi Zilber was blessed with a simchah: his wife gave birth to a baby boy. Since that year Rosh Hashanah fell out on Shabbos, the sholom zachor was scheduled to take place on the night of Rosh Hashanah. The young man put together a list of items to purchase for the event, which included some mezonos, fruits, drinks, and, obviously, arbes (chickpeas).

(One of the reasons for making a sholom zachor is to comfort the child for forgetting the Torah he had learned while in his mother's womb [Derishah, Yoreh Dei'ah, end of §264]. Since lentils are customarily served to mourners, it has become customary to serve chickpeas, which are similar to lentils, at a sholom zachor.)

However, the young man remembered that one is not supposed to eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah, and certain poskim extend this to legumes in general. May one serve arbes at a sholom zachor taking place on Rosh Hashanah night?

Have Mercy on Yourself and Spread Chassidus!
Chof Elul, 5776

Think about it: The Arizal stated that specifically in these last generations it is permissible and a mitzvah to reveal the wisdom [of pnimiyus hatorah]. Moshe Rabbeinu, raya mehemna [the "faithful shepherd" quoted in Zohar], stated that "Yisroel will leave the golus with compassion because one day they will taste from the tree of life, namely, the sefer of Zohar." Hashem reveals his secrets through the Baal Shem Tov, his students, and his students' students, up until our generation, just so that the geulah will come, [when we will experience] redemption from the yetzer hara and shibud malchiyos, and [so that] all this should take place "with compassion."

[Accordingly,] it should have been that anyone with the necessary measure of influence would cry out with an inner voice: Jewish brethren! Have mercy on yourselves and on Klal Yisroel and spread [pnimiyus hatorah], the Torah and words of Elokim chaim! [They would further] inform [others] of the statement of R. Chaim Vital that [lacking to study pnimiyus hatorah] delays the ketz of the geulah. In other words, they are holding back themselves, Klal Yisroel, and the shechinah, kevayochol, in golus!

Igros Kodesh, Vol. 3, p. 159

Chof Tes Av, 5776

Hidden and Revealed

By A. H. Glitzenstein

It is a tradition that in every generation there are hidden tzaddikim ("righteous ones") who conceal their greatness from the eyes of men and live amongst us disguised as simple, ignorant folk.

Rabbi Gershon Kitover once asked his famous brother-in-law, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem, to show him one of the hidden righteous. At first, the Baal Shem Tov refused. But Rabbi Gershon persisted in his request until the Chassidic master finally relented.

"This Friday night in shul, look among the crowd of beggars waiting near the door to be invited for the Shabbat meal. One of them will be a hidden tzaddik," said the Baal Shem Tov to Rabbi Gershon, and described the righteous pauper. "But you must promise not to let on in any way that you are aware of his true identity."

Rabbi Gershon readily identified the tzaddik-in-disguise and invited him to share his Shabbat meals. But though he carefully scrutinized his guest's every word and deed, he was unable to discern anything beyond the ordinary behavior of a wandering pauper. Finally, he could not resist the temptation to ask his guest to grace the table with some words of Torah.


Chof Tes Av, 5776

Date: 1916. Location: Hungary

World War I, at that point the bloodiest war known to man, had been raging for over two full years. Casualties had reached the hundreds of thousands, hunger was rampant, and Europe was on the verge of economic collapse.

Certain rabbonim felt it would be appropriate to institute a public fast on the first day of Selichos, which that year fell out on 26 Elul. According to the plan, all healthy men and women would be required to fast, while the weak and sick, as well as women who were pregnant or nursing, would redeem the fast with tzedakah. Was this a proper plan of action?

One of the rabbonim behind this proposal sent a letter to R. Chaim Elazar Schapiro, the Rov of Munkatch and author of Minchas Elazar, asking him for his opinion.

R. Schapiro was opposed to the idea of instituting a public fast. He quoted a ruling (Orach Chaim §577 and Magen Avraham ad loc.) according to which public fasts are not to be instituted in certain cases.

Chas Veshalom to Cool Off Others From Studying Chassidus!
Chof Tes Av, 5776

[In your sefer,] you cool off [the reader] from studying pnimiyus hatorah! I would never have believed it had I not seen it explicitly. Would anyone ever believe it?! You are mekushar to the Ruzhiner dynasty, and you quote many times in your sefer divrei torah and wonders from the Baal Shem Tov and his students. As such, you are surely aware of the Baal Shem Tov's letter that Moshiach told him he will come when the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov will be spread to the outside. After all this, you write and publish for the public that whoever has not yet reached the level where "a spirit from on High has descended upon him to act in holiness, purity, and an added measure of prishus" should only study the revealed parts of Torah!

Are the hardships of the Jewish people until now not enough, chas veshalom?! Is the golus not enough?! The final redeemer, Moshiach Tzidkeinu, said that when the wellsprings of the Baal Shem Tov will be spread to the outside, then he will come. These words correspond to the words of the first redeemer, raya mehemna [Moshe Rabbeinu], that we will leave golus because we will taste from the sefer of Zohar. Will their words not come to fruition, chas veshalom?!

Igros Kodesh, Vol. 3, p. 159

Chof Av Learning Guide With Additions Tu B'Av, 5776

Chof Av DownloadIn honor of Chof Av, the Yohrtzeit of Reb Levi Yitzchak, the Rebbe's father, Yagdil Torah has compiled a publication with Mishnayos and selected pieces of his Torah, in keeping with the Rebbe's instructions for such occasions. The guide will be available in local shuls, at our office and on our website. The updated version contains stories of the Rebbe's father and the entire Mishnayos that corresponds to his name.

Click here to download the Kovetz Limmud for Chof Av.

For Russian version click here.


Tu B'Av, 5776

Lesson from a Cheese Danish

Everyone knows the famous saying: Make yourself holy (separate) from what is permitted. It means simply: Minimize in permitted pursuits.

However perhaps we can say a remez; make yourself holy through learning from what is permitted.

Take for example what a person would do to get a well done cheese danish;

It must be no more than 2 hours old and made by the bakery who charges more and takes longer to get to. Why? Because it's worth it. Costly but better quality.

Similarly, he will think to himself if for something so temporary, so fleety, yet he exerts himself so; for sure he should put much effort and work into what is holy and eternal such as his Torah learning.


Chof Tes Av, 5776

Date: 1916. Location: Hungary

The year was 1916, and World War I, at that point the bloodiest war known to man, had been raging for over two full years. Casualties had reached the hundreds of thousands, hunger was rampant, and Europe was on the verge of economic collapse.

Looking for ways to evoke Divine mercy to end the war, certain rabbonim felt it would be appropriate to institute a public fast day. The date chosen for the proposed fast was the first day of Selichos, which that year fell out on 26 Elul. According to the plan, all healthy men and women would be required to fast, while the weak and sick, as well as women who were pregnant or nursing, would redeem the fast with tzedakah.

Was this a proper plan of action, from the perspective of both halachah and hashkafah?

Geulah Through Mishnayos Tu B'Av, 5776

The possuk says [Yeshaya 1:27], "Tzion will be redeemed with mishpat." Tzion refers to the inner depths of the heart, the natural, inner love concealed within the heart of every Yid. It, too, is in golus, and it is redeemed through mishpat. Mishpat refers to halachos (as the Targum translates the word kamishpat [in Bereishis 40:13] as "kehilchesa"). This is consistent with the statement of Chazal [Vayikra Rabba 7:3] that "The exiles will only be gathered in the merit of the mishnayos," for Torah is light.

Lekutei Torah (Devarim 1b-c)

Rosh Chodesh Av, 5776

Hidden Humility

Rabbi Dov Ber, the Maggid of Mezeritch, sat with his young pupil.

"Mendel, how many pages of Talmud did you learn today?"

The boy couldn't suppress the smile which played across his features as he replied, "Three pages, Rebbe."

But, contrary to what one would have thought, the Maggid was far from pleased. The boy was an excellent student and showed great potential, but he was too arrogant about his abilities.

"Hmm," he said, "If your hat slants at such a cocky angle from only three pages of Talmud, I wonder how many it would take for your hat to fall off completely!"

The Rebbe's sharp words brought the boy down from his high spirits and he began to look into himself. He realized that he had better change his outlook. He went to his Rebbe and asked,

"Rebbe, please, give me your advice; I know my pride is wrong, but I don't know how I should feel."

The Maggid was pleased to see the sensitivity of his pupil.

"I will go with you to the Baal Shem Tov, and he will explain the proper path."


Rosh Chodesh Av, 5776

The Gemara (Berachos 40a) says that one may not eat until he first feeds his animals. This obligation is quoted in Shulchan Aruch (see Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, 167:9) and is a derivative of tzaar baalei chaim, the directive to ensure that one's animals do not suffer. What is the law of one who owns an aquarium? May he sit down to a meal before feeding his fish?

This question was posed to R. Menashe Klein, the Ungvarer Rav and author of Mishneh Halachos. The questioner added a sevara to demonstrate that fish do not experience pain, and hence this law does not apply to them: Although animals may only be eaten if they were slaughtered with shechitah, which minimizes the pain of death, this requirement does not apply to fish. Apparently, he claimed, fish do not feel pain.

R. Klein dismisses this notion, explaining that shechitah involves pain as well, and the reason it is permitted is because tzaar baalei chaim is allowed if a human will benefit from it. Accordingly, the fact that a human may benefit from fish by eating them without shechitah does not prove that they do not feel pain.

In fact, perhaps it can be proven that fish do, indeed, experience pain. R. Klein cites two sources to demonstrate this:

Kvius Itim-An Urgent Matter! Rosh Chodesh Av, 5776

[A member of Anash once wrote to the Rebbe, requesting a brachah regarding a private issue. Since he felt that it was a pressing matter, he wrote on the envelope: "Urgent."

The Rebbe replied to his request and then added:]

It would be advisable to (sometimes) write-and with urgency-that you have set times to study Torah...I will mention [this] at the gravesite [of my father-in-law, the Rebbe].

Maaneh of Tammuz, 5744 (printed in Rishumah Shel Shanah, p. 269)

Yagdil Torah Match-A-Thon

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