"I live in Pittsburgh, PA, and have a regular day job. Most of my learning is done on the bus or while walking. You have great resources to help keep me learning and participating in things. I have enjoyed the Mishnayos printouts for 9 Kislev and 13 Tishrei."

Michoel Dovid Leopold

"I have been to other communities and I can't express enough how fortunate we are to have an organization like Yagdil Torah where you can walk down the street and see, 'Oh, a shiur on this, another shiur on this,' always learning and you never have to worry."

Menachem Mendel Simon

"Here more than any other place in Crown Heights have I been able to really 'chap' more of the Torah and the Rebbe's Sichos and more of the inspiration that Chassidus has to offer."

Ari Pfeffer

“I heard about Yagdil Torah’s 20 hour open-door policy and decided I had to check it out for myself. I went there at about 12:45 AM and was amazed to find people learning. I sat down and before I knew it, an hour had passed as if it was only 5 minutes… The undisturbed, quiet atmosphere made it a pleasure.

I got hooked.

I guess my newfound pleasure was noticed by my friends and neighbors – they joined too. The secret is out: If anyone wants to learn in a quiet, heimishe place, this is it.”

Shlomo Ezagui

“To have a comfortable place in the Shechunah where everyone can sit and learn is great enough, but to have so many shiurim available on a regular basis, finding chavrusas, encouraging people - especially through your wonderful newsletter -on top of that? Incredible.

But what is most amazing for me is that all the shiurim are available for me to enjoy in Miami Beach! I’m a regular listener to your shiurim on Chassidus, Nigleh, and Halachoh L'Maaseh.

Keep up the amazing work, and have tremendous hatzlochah!”

Shmuel Mendelsohn - Mashpia of Yeshivah Torah Ohr in North Miami Beach

"One of the Yagdil Torah tactics I admire is the exposure of existing Torah learning as a means of inspiring others."

Rabbi Yoseph Paltiel - Mashpia United Lubavitcher Yeshivah, Chovevei Torah

"Yagdil Torah is breathing vital life into our community. The efforts of the organization are not only important, but crucial for our very existence.

So thank you Levi and the Yagdil Torah team, for bringing us life!"

Rabbi Yossi Pels - Co-Director Chayeinu Publications

"The study of Torah each day is critical for every member of our community. It will broaden our horizons, make us happier, healthier, more wholesome people, better humans, husbands and fathers. It will challenge us to grow and live our lives to the fullest. Yagdil Torah-the way to go!"

Rabbi Yoseph Jacobson - Dean TheYeshivah.net

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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.

Publications

Here are some of our most recent publications.
You can view a full list for download here.

Compilation for Chof Daled Teives Tes Zayin Teves, 5778

Following the Rebbe's horaah that one learn from the teachings of the Alter Rebbe on Chof Daled Teves, along with at least one chapter of Mishnayos beginning with the one of the letters of his name, Yagdil Torah has prepared a 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.

קובץ מלא תוכן לכ"ד טבת ט"ז טבת תשע"ח

על פי הוראת רבינו ללמוד מתורת אדה"ז בעל יום ההילולא של כ"ד טבת, יחד עם (עכ"פ פרק אחד) משניות של שמו הק', יגדיל תורה הוציא לאור חוברת מעודכנת עם ליקוט מובחר מתורת אדה"ז כדי לסייע לקיים כיאה את הוראת רבינו.

כמו כן נכללו בחוברת מעודכנת זו המשניות המלא המתאימות לשמו הק', וגם סיפורים אודות בעל ההילולא.

הננו בטוחים שחוברת זו תתן ליום זה משמעות מיוחדת.

החוברת יהיה זמין בבתי כנסיות, בהיכל הלימוד ובמשרדינו.

הקובץ יהיה זמין בבתי כנסיות בשכונה, בהיכל הלימוד, ובמשרדינו.

להורדה לחץ כאן

לקריאת סיפור מדהים אודות חשיבות לימוד תורת בעל ההילולא ביום ההילולא לחץ כאן


Tes Zayin Teves, 5778

The Great Rav

Bar Ayvoh, (who became known as Rav) was one of the great Jewish scholars who lived in Babylon the same time as Rabbi Yehuda the Prince led the Jewish community in the Land of Israel. Because of his fine, impressive appearance, he also was given the nickname Abba Aricha, or "the tall Abba."

Rav began his illustrious career when he arrived in Israel to study under the tutelage of his uncle, the noteworthy scholar, Rabbi Hiyya bar Abbah, with whom he was very close. Eventually, Rabbi Hiyya appointed his brilliant nephew to serve as an interpreter, a special scholar whose function it was to explain the teachings of the dean of the academy. Abba grew in Torah knowledge and stature, and when his uncle introduced him to Rabbi Yehuda, he made a very favorable impression.

Rav returned to Babylon and during his stay both of his parents passed away. Upon his return to Israel, Rabbi Hiyya inquired whether his father was still alive. Reluctant to give bad news, Abba responded with a question, "Why do you not inquire if my mother is alive?" Rabbi Hiyya then asked, "Is your mother alive?" To which Abba replied, "And does my father live?" From this cryptic exchange, Rabbi Hiyya understood that Abba's parents had died.

After his return to Israel, Rav joined the yeshiva of Rabbi Yehuda, becoming one of the outstanding students there, and following Rabbi Yehuda to Tzippori, when he moved his court there. His fame spread, and the Talmud reports the esteem in which his colleagues held him. Once, Issi bar Hinni referred to Rav as "Abba Aricha" in the presence of Rav Yochanan. Rav Yochanan angrily retorted: "You dare to call him 'Abba Aricha'? Why, I recall when I sat 17 rows behind Rav in Rabbi Yehuda's yeshiva. Sparks of fire passed from Rav's mouth to his Master's mouth, and back to Rav's mouth, and I could not even understand their conversation!"

Rav's brilliance was not confined to his knowledge of Torah. He was learned in the whole spectrum of secular studies, including medicine, nature, nutrition, zoology, geography, business and trade. He studied all of these secular fields in order to be able to decide the many legal questions which came to him. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that Rav spent 18 months studying with a shepherd to learn how to distinguish between blemishes which are permanent and those which are temporary, in order to render a decision as to the fitness of a first-born animal. In addition to all his other talents, Rav was an accomplished linguist, conversing fluently in Persian, Greek and Aramaic.

Many sayings in the Talmud are attributed to Rav and illustrate his wisdom and sagacity. "Better to be cursed than to curse" (Sanhedrin 49); "A camel came begging for horns, so his ears were clipped," (Sanhedrin 106); "Better to have a pot of earth than a large amount on the roof," (Pesachim 113). Rav used to say that a father should never show more love to one child than to another because such action causes jealousy between children, as was the case of Joseph and his brothers.

Rav was very humble and always sought peace. If someone happened to offend him, Rav was always the first to go out and try to make peace.

In later years, Rav returned to Babylon to strengthen Torah and Judaism there. There were great scholars in residence there when he arrived, and although he was greater than they were, he refused to assume any of their positions. In fact, he arrived anonymously and was not recognized. One day, Rav Shila had need of an interpreter, and Rav volunteered. It was soon apparent that he was no ordinary scholar, and Rav Shila recognized him. He exclaimed, "I am not worthy of having you as my interpreter!" Rav replied simply, "When one hires himself out for the day, he is duty bound to perform whatever job he is given."

In his great humility Rav greatly respected all Torah scholars, even those on a far lower level than himself. Only in the instance of a possible desecration of G-d's Name did he speak brazenly, saying, "When a question of the desecration of the Holy Name arises, one need not respect the feelings of even a great person" (Brachot 19b).

Rav owned a brewery, but was unsuccessful in business and lived in poverty. When Rav Shila died, Rav refused to step into his position. Instead, Rav left Nehardea to travel from town to town, teaching and attracting many disciples. He finally settled in the town of Sura, which had not yet been established as a Torah center. Eventually, his yeshiva grew very large. His financial position also advanced, and he became intimate with the royal family.

Although Rav didn't care for his personal honor, he was scrupulous toward the honor of the Torah. It is related in the Talmud that once Rav summoned a wealthy man to appear in court. The rich man was very haughty and instead of coming, he sent a message saying, "Do you know how rich I am? All the camels of the Arabs would not be able to carry even the keys to my treasures."

When Rav was given that message, he remarked that the rich man would soon be relieved of his riches. Very soon after, the king issued an order that all the rich man's possessions be confiscated. When that happened, the rich man ran to Rav, begging for his forgiveness. Rav forgave him at once. Soon, all his possessions were returned to him.

What Rabbi Yehuda the Prince was to Jews in Israel, Rav was for the Jews in Babylon. He is considered one of the greatest scholars of his time.


Tes Zayin Teves, 5778

A Golem-Making Guide

So how do you go about making a golem?

Regarding the calves Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya would create every Erev Shabbos (as mentioned in a previous installment), the Gemara states that they would create them with Sefer Yetzirah (Sanhedrin 65b and 67b). How exactly does that work?

We know that the world is created with Divine letters (as the Alter Rebbe explains at length in Shaar Hayichud VeHaEmunah). Sefer Yetzirah, a sefer attributed to Avraham Avinu, discusses these letters and their special power. When the Gemara says that Rav Chanina and Rav Oshaya would study Sefer Yetzirah, it means that they would combine these letters and use them to create animals, just as Hashem creates the world with these letters (see Rashi to Sanhedrin 67b).

Let's ask the opposite question: How do you dismantle a golem?

According to one account, Ben Sira created a person with Sefer Yetzirah, and Yirmiyahu Hanavi reprimanded him for doing so. "The person is already created," said Ben Sira. "What should I do now?"

"Combine the same letters you did to create him," replied Yirmiyahu, "but this time combine them backwards." Ben Sira did so, and the golem returned to dust (Shevet Mi'Yisrael to Tehillim 28:1, quoting Yalkut Reuveni).

We can now understand the story mentioned in the previous installment, in which Rava created a golem and sent him to Rebbi Zeira, who caused the man to return to dust (Sanhedrin 65b). How exactly did he do so? By combining the specific letters used to create a human in a backwards order (Ben Yehoyada to Sanhedrin ibid.).

Next issue bl"n: Halachos of man-made animals-in our times!

ט"ז טבת תשע"ח

"מדריך" לבריאת גולם

איך בדיוק עושים גולם?

בנוגע להעגלים שנבראו על ידי רב חנינא ורב אושעיא (כמובא בגליון קודם), מסופר בגמרא (סנהדרין סה, ב ושם סז, ב) שנבראו על ידי שעסקו בספר יצירה. מהו הפירוש בזה?

ידוע שהעולם נברא על ידי אותיות עליונות, וכמבואר בארוכה בשער היחוד והאמונה. בספר יצירה, המיוחס לאברהם אבינו, מדובר אודות אותיות אלו והכח המיוחד שלהם. רב חנינא ורב אושעיא ידעו איך לצרף אותיות אלו, באופן שהיו יכולים לברוא על ידם בעלי חיים, כמו שהקב"ה ברא העולם (ראה רש"י לסנהדרין סז, ב).

עכשיו נשאל שאלה הפוכה: איך "מבטלים" גולם, שיחדול להתקיים?

מסופר ש"בן סירא עשה גולם על ידי צירופי אותיות א"ב, ובא ירמיהו והוכיחו . . השיב לו בן סירא וכבר נברא ומה אעשה, אמר לו ירמיהו תן דעתך לכוין כל הצירופים בדרך תשר"ק ואז יחזור לעפרו, וכן נעשה" ('שבט מישראל' על תהלים כח, א בשם ילקוט ראובני).

עכשיו נבין הסיפור שהבאנו בגליון הקודם, שרבא ברא אדם ושלח אותו לרבי זירא, ורבי זירא החזיר אותו לעפר (סנהדרין סה, ב). מה בדיוק עשה רבי זירא? "רבי זירא היה יודע לברוא אדם ע"י צירוף ידוע, שמועיל לברוא אדם שלם חוץ מכח הדיבור שאינו יכול לברוא בו. ואחר שידע דההוא גברא נברא מספר יצירה, מאחר שלא היה יכול לדבר, אז הזכיר עליו צירוף שנברא בו לאחור, כי הוא יודע באיזה צירוף בוראין אדם, וכיון שהזכיר עליו את הצירוף למפרע, שב לעפרו ונתבטל לגמרי" (בן יהוידע סנהדרין שם).

בגליון הבא בעז"ה: הלכות בעלי חיים מעשי ידי אדם - בזמנינו!


Daled Teves, 5778

Royalty

Kings and royalty have a sophisticated style; they aren't satisfied with good alone, rather they strive for the truly fine. By the same token, they don't just have street knowledge, rather they seek to broaden their knowledge in interesting and abstract topics, and delve in the arts. As an example of how kings seek to be above and beyond in everything, the Baal Shem Tov writes that even in his times, the Arab kings would speak in hints.

Chazal say that Jews are royalty. In that vein, Jews learn Torah, which is a wisdom that is on a wholly different and higher plain. Additionally, they keep Mitzvos, which is (also) the art of connecting a mortal to an almighty Hashem, who, while infinitively abstract is ever present in all.


Daled Teves, 5778

Man-Making Tzaddikim

Let's explore some of the Tzadikim throughout the ages who created golems.

According to one source (Pirush HaRaavad LeSefer Yetzirah 6:4), just as Avraham Avinu once created an animal with Sefer Yetzirah (as related in the last issue), he created people as well. This is the meaning of the possuk (Bereishis 12:5), "V'es hanefesh asher asu vecharan - the souls that they created in Charan."

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 65b) relates that Rava once created a man by combining letters of Hashem's name, a feat revealed to him by studying Sefer Yetzirah. He sent the man to Rebbi Zeira, who attempted to carry a conversation with him, but received no reply as the man lacked the power of speech. Realizing what type of person this was, he proclaimed, "Return to your dust!" and the man ceased to exist.

Such miraculous beings have been created in more recent centuries as well. In addition to the Maharal of Prague, Reb Eliyahu, the Baal Shem of Chelm (not to be confused with the Baal Shem of Worms), was reputed to have created a man using Sefer Yetzirah. At one point, seeing that he was acting in an overly destructive manner, he removed the name of Hashem that was affixed to his forehead, and he returned to dust. However, as Reb Eliyahu was removing the name, the golem inflicted a wound on his face (Shu"t Chacham Tzvi 93. Shu"t She'ilas Yaavetz 2:82).

There were some unfinished "projects" as well. In his introduction to Safra D'tzniusa, Reb Chaim Volozhiner relates that the Vilna Gaon told him that when he was still under the age of bar mitzvah, he once started making a golem, but then stopped when he received a heavenly sign that he should not do so.

Next issue bl"n: A golem-making "guide"


ד' טבת תשע"ח

בני מלכים

בני מלוכה הינם אנשים בעלי סגנון מיוחד; הם לא מסתפקים רק במוצרים ודברים טובים, אלא שואפים להשיג את הדברים הכי מצויינים והכי יקרים שקיימים בשוק.

כמו כן, צבירת הידע שלהם אינם נעשית באותו אופן כפי שהיא נעשית אצל העם. הם שולחים את ילדיהם לבתי הספר הכי טובים עם המורים הכי מוכשרים, ומבקשים להרחיב את מאגר הידע שלהם עם נושאים מעניינים ונעלים. כדוגמא כיצד מלכים ביקשו מאז ומתמיד לשאוף להתעלות מעל ומעבר לאיש הפשוט, כותב הבעל שם טוב, שבזמנו, דיברו המלכים הערבים ברמזים.

חז"ל אומרים שבני ישראל הם בני מלכים. אנו לומדים תורה, שהיא חכמה שנמצאת בעולם שנעלה באין ערוך ביחס לחכמות אחרות. בנוסף, אנו מקיימים מצוות, שהיא (גם) הדרך שלנו להתחבר עם הקב"ה, שהוא בתורו, למרות היותו מופשט, נעלה ואינסופי, נוכח וקיים בכל דבר ודבר, גשמי ככל שיהיה.

ד' טבת תשע"ח

צדיקים שבראו אנשים

בגליון זה נרשום חלק מהצדיקים במשך הדורות שבראו גולם.

לפי מקור אחד, כמו שאברהם אבינו ברא עגל על ידי ספר יצירה (כמו שהובא בגליון הקודם), כמו כן ברא אנשים על ידי ספר יצירה, וכמ"ש (בראשית יב, ה) "ואת הנפש אשר עשו בחרן" (פירוש הראב"ד לספר יצירה בסופו).

בגמרא (סנהדרין סה, ב) מסופר שרבא ברא אדם על ידי צירופי שמות, חכמה שרכש על ידי עיסוקו בספר יצירה. הוא שלח אותו לרבי זירא, והלה התחיל לדבר אתו, אבל לא קיבל מענה. רבי זירא הבין שהאדם הזה נברא על ידי ספר יצירה ולכן חסר לו חוש הדיבור, ואמר לו לשוב לעפרו. וכך הוה.

בני אדם מסוג כזה נבראו גם בדורות מאוחרים יותר. בנוסף על המהר"ל מפראג, מסופר על ר' אליהו, הבעל שם מחעלם (לא להחליפו עם הבעל שם מוורמייזא), שברא אדם על ידי ספר יצירה. כשראה שהלה עלול להחריב את העולם, נתק מעליו השם שהיה דבוק במצחו, וחזר לעפרו. אולם, בשעה שהיה מתעסק בנתיקת השם ממנו בחזקה, עשה בו הגולם שריטה בפניו (ראה שו"ת חכם צבי סי' צג. שו"ת שאילת יעב"ץ ח"ב סי' פב).

היו גם "פרויקטים" שלא נשלמו. בהקדמתו לספר 'ספרא דצניעותא', מספר ר' חיים מוואלאזהין על הגר"א מווילנא: "בספר יצירה היתה משנתו סדורה לו מימי ילדותו בגירסה ברורה ועמקות נורא . . אמרתי לו מעתה הלא אינו דבר גדול ופלא כל כך לברוא גולם. השיב, כי באמת פעם אחת התחלתי לברוא גולם, ובעודי באמצע עשייתי חלף ועבר תמונה אחת על ראשי והפסקתי מלעשותו עוד, כי אמרתי מסתמא מן השמים מנעוני לפי רכות [=קטנות] שני אז. ושאלתיו בן כמה היה אז, והשיב שהיה קודם י"ג שנה".

בחלק הבא בעז"ה: "מדריך" לבריאת גולם


Chof Kislev, 5778

Is it Time for a Raise?

Reb Zvi of Portziva used to be the Baal Musaf on Rosh Hashana in the shul of Reb Yosele of Torchin, the Chozeh of Lublin's son.

He was once asked by Reb Yitzchak Meir of Ger: "Perhaps you could repeat for me a teaching which you heard from Reb Yosele?"

"I do not recall any words of Torah," said Reb Zvi, "but I do remember a story. One Rosh Hashana, just before the blowing of the shofar, Reb Yosele entered the shul and told his Chasidim, some of whom were undoubtedly thinking at that moment of their own requests to the Almighty for the coming year, "I am not going to rebuke you, nor am I going to teach you Torah. I am only going tell you a story.

"In a certain city a learned and wealthy wine-merchant lived who was honored one day by a visit from the local rabbi. The host went out of his way to show the rabbi great respect. The merchant quickly sent his servant down to the cellar, where he was to fill a bottle of wine from the middle barrel of the third row -- for this was the best wine he owned. All the while, he engaged in a scholarly conversation with his distinguished guest.

"When the merchant had waited quite a while for his servant to return, he excused himself and quickly descended to the cellar to find out what had happened. He was shocked at what he saw there. Some of the barrels were uncovered; others were being drained as their taps had been left open; broken bottles were lying in the puddles of wine on the floor; and the servant was nowhere to be seen.

The merchant returned upstairs, very upset at the serious damage which his servant had caused him. He began to look for the servant, calling him by name. The servant finally answered, from a comfortable place over the fireplace, where he was sprawled at his leisure. From up there, the servant called out to his master, 'Listen here! I want you to increase my salary by so and so much. It isn't nearly high enough...'"

Reb Yitzchak Meir of Ger thanked Reb Zvi warmly.

"Now that is what I call a fine Mashal!" he exclaimed.