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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.


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Chof Zayin Tammuz, 5777

Pointed Out

During the Middle Ages, there was a thriving Jewish community in the city of Bodenheim, in Alsace. One of the great treasures of this community was a silver pointer in the shape of a hand which was used to point to the correct place being read in the Torah scroll. The pointer was believed to have been fashioned during the time of the Roman Empire, and the Jews of Bodenheim were quite proud of this antique.

It happened that a gentile carpenter's apprentice began spreading a vicious story about the Jews, as was common in those days. He claimed that he overheard two Jewish merchants discussing a meeting of all the Jewish leaders of Alsace that had taken place in Colmar. At this meeting, the Jewish leaders supposedly planned to poison the wells of Bodenheim, Colmar, and the neighboring town of Schlettstadt. The apprentice's story was, unfortunately, readily accepted because there was a strange sickness spreading throughout the region.

The Jewish leaders of Alsace were immediately brought to court and questioned. They admitted to having met in Colmar, but the meeting was strictly for the purpose of strengthening Judaism in the region as they felt that it was beginning to weaken in certain areas of faith. The chief of police refused to accept their explanation, and threatened to torture them unless they confessed. One of the leaders, Rabbi Wolf, declared, "G-d is our witness that no evil has been plotted by us against anyone."

Chof Zayin Tammuz, 5777

Which Head Does Mitzvos? 

Installment 5 of 5

In this final installment, we will explore, with Hashem's help, some of the halachic questions that have been raised regarding a person with two heads.

As mentioned in the last installment, the Gemara (Menachos 37a) records a case where a father came to the chachomim with a halachic question. "My wife just gave birth to a two-headed firstborn boy," he asked. "How many shekalim must I give the Kohen, five or ten?"

The Gemara continues by citing a beraysa that says he must give the Kohen ten shekalim. In a regular case of twins, Rashi explains, the father gives the Kohen just five shekalim, because only one of the twins is the true firstborn; it is impossible that they were both born at the exact same moment. However, in this case, since the twins possess a single body, they were both born at the same moment and are both the true firstborn.

כ"ז תמוז תשע"ז

לחיים טובים ולשלום

בעיר ליעפלי גר חסיד אחד מחסידי הרבי ה"צמח צדק", בעל עסק ובעל רכוש, ועסק בדא"ח בעיון וגם האריך בעבודת התפילה וכן בכל התוועדות החסידים היה מן הראשונים.

לימים עלה בדעתו, שהתוועדות גוזלת ממנו זמן רב מדי ואינו יכול להתעסק בלימוד דא"ח בעיון, והחליט לתת חלקו בהוצאות ההתוועדות ואילו הוא עצמו לא יהיה נוכח בהן ובאותו זמן יותר טוב שילמוד.

עבר משך זמן והעסקים התחילו לרדת אצלו ולא ראה הצלחה בהם, שלום הבית בביתו התמוטט ובני ביתו חלו במחלות שונות, וראה שיד ה' נגעה בו.

ויסע אל הרבי ה"צמח צדק" ושפך לפניו את לבו, בהדגישו שאינו יודע הסיבה מדוע נהפך עליו הגלגל.

ויאמר לו רבנו שיספר לו סדר היום שלו. ויספר איך שהתנהג עד כה, אשר משך זמן שהחליט והסכים שלא להתוועד עם חסידים ובזמן ההתוועדות ללמוד דא"ח בעיון.

ויאמר לו הרבי ה"צמח צדק":

זוהי הסיבה לכל אשר אירע לו, כשיושבים עם חסידים ואומרים לחיים ומשיבים לחיים טובים ולשלום, לחיים הוא בריאות הגוף, טובים זה פרנסה, לשלום - שלום בית, ואם אין יושבים ומתוועדים עם חסידים - חסר בכל אלה.

(רשימות דברים ח"א ע' קלח-קלט, מסיפורי הגה"ח רבי יצחק המתמיד הי"ד)

כ"ז תמוז תשע"ז

איזה ראש מקיים מצוות?

חלק 5 מתוך 5

בחלק האחרון של סדרה זו נעיין בעז"ה בשאלות הלכתיות שנשאלו בקשר לבני אדם בעלי שני ראשים.

כפי שהבאנו בחלק הקודם, בגמרא (מנחות לז, א) מסופר שפעם בא איש אחד אצל החכמים עם שאלה הלכתית. נולד לי בן בכור שיש לו שני ראשים, הוא סיפר. כמה שקלים חייב אני לתת לכהן, חמשה או עשרה?

הגמרא מביא על זה ברייתא, שבמקרה כזה, חייב ליתן עשרה שקלים לכהן. במקרה רגילה של תאומים, מפרש רש"י, חייב האב ליתן רק חמשה שקלים, כי רק אחד מהם הוא הבכור האמיתי, כי "אי אפשר לצמצם", ואחד מהם בודאי נולד לפני אחיו. אבל בנדון דידן, שלשניהם גוף אחד, שניהם יצאו באותו רגע ושניהם הם הבכור האמיתי.

Yud Gimmel Tammuz, 5777

Keep the "Instructions"

Ever heard of the guy who put aside the mezuzah and held on to the case? He thought it was instructions. He just didn't know.

There is a myth that circulates that Torah study is a means to end - to know what to do. There is truth to that but it does injustice to its many other important reasons.

Deprioritizing Torah study in the thought that one (thinks) he already knows it all - would be somewhat comparative to throwing out the mezuzah - thinking that its secondary.

It sure ain't.

Yud Gimmel Tammuz, 5777

Testimonies in Torah   

Installment 4 of 5

In the last issue, we learned about the descendants of Kayin, two-headed people who live in the subterraneous world known as arka. Let us now continue and see if there are any recorded instances in Chazal and other sefarim of two-headed people who lived in our world.

The first recorded instance of such a person is mentioned in Gemara (Menachos 37a). The Gemara states as follows:

A sage named Plimu once asked Rebbi: "If someone possesses two heads, upon which one does he lay tefillin?" Thinking he was making fun of him, Rebbi responded: "Either get up and go into exile, or accept a niduy!" As they were talking, a person entered the room. "I would like to ask a halachic question," he began. "My wife just gave birth to a firstborn boy with two heads. How many sela'im must I give the Kohen, five or ten?"

The Ralbag's father, R. Gershon ben Shlomo, records an account as told by the Muslim scholar Ibn Sina (Shaar Hashamayim Ch. 8):

י"ג תמוז תשע"ז

חשיבות הלימוד

מסופר על גביר גדול שביקש ממשרתו הגוי שיקבע מזוזות בכל דלתות הבית החדש שקנה.

כשחזר בערב מעבודתו, שאל את המשרת האם ביצע את המשימה. המשרת השיב בחיוב, והוסיף, "את תעודות האחריות הוצאתי והנחתי על שולחן משרדך"...

הוא פשוט חשב שהכיסוי הוא הדבר העיקרי ולא המזוזות.


רבים חושבים שלימוד התורה הוא אמצעי לדעת את "המעשה אשר יעשון". יש בזה קצת אמת.

אולם התייחסות ללימוד התורה כאמצעי, ולהמעיט בחשיבות הלימוד במחשבה שאתה כבר יודע את הכל - יהיה קצת כמו המשרת בסיפור - שחושב שהקלף (הלימוד) עצמו אינו חשוב.

י"ג תמוז תשע"ז

עדויות בתורה

חלק 4 מתוך 5

בחלק הקודם של הסדרה, למדנו על התולדות של קין, אנשים בעלי שני ראשים הדרים בארץ התת-קרקעית "ארקא". עכשיו הבה נראה האם יש עדויות בחז"ל ובספרים לאנשים בעלי שני ראשים שחיו בתוך הארץ שלנו.

העדות הראשונה לאדם כזה הוא בגמרא. הגמרא (מנחות לז, א) מספרת שחכם בשם פלימו שאל מרבי: מי שיש לו שני ראשים, באיזה מהן מניח תפילין? רבי, שחשב שהתכוון להתלוצץ עליו, ענה לו: או עמוד ולך לגלות, או קבל עליך נידוי! בינתיים נכנס אדם אליהם ואמר: נולד לי בן בכור שיש לו שני ראשים. כמה סלעים חייב אני לתת לכהן, חמשה או עשרה?

Chof Tes Sivan, 5777

Match Made in Heaven

Although the farmer, Yankel, was as wise as could be in the ways of farming, in the vast sea of Torah, he could not swim a stroke. For his sons, however, he wanted better. He sent them to a nearby town which had a good cheder and yeshiva and the two boys learned assiduously until they became known as the brightest students of the school.

One day they happened to hear the Baal Shem Tov speak and from that time they became great adherents of his and went to Mezibuzh whenever they could steal away. Their father couldn't understand what they found so interesting there. "We want to hear the words of the famous Baal Shem Tov," they would reply.

Once Yankel's curiosity was so great that he decided to visit Mezibuzh himself. When he arrived, he quizzed the tzadik on his knowledge of farming, and when he seemed to know all the correct answers, the farmer was satisfied that the Baal Shem Tov was, indeed, a wise man. Over the course of time, Yankel also became a great admirer of the Baal Shem Tov and he traveled to Mezibuzh to seek advice.

When years had passed and Yankel's daughter reached marriageable age, he decided to consult the Baal Shem Tov about finding an appropriate mate. "Send your sons to me and I will send them home with the proper husband for your daughter," the Baal Shem Tov advised the him.

The two sons arrived and traveled with the Baal Shem Tov to a distant town where the tzadik made inquiries about a certain young man named Shmerel. They remained in the town for several weeks, but the youth, Shmerel, was nowhere to be found. On the eve of the new month, when the townspeople had gathered at a festive banquet in honor of their distinguished guest, a wild-looking young man entered the hall. His manners were most uncouth, and he ran in and out just as quickly. This very youth was the one whom the Baal Shem Tov had been seeking, and although the two sons of the farmer Yankel couldn't understand what he could have possibly wanted with such a character, they duly informed him that they had found the boy.

The Baal Shem Tov was delighted and gave instruction that the boy be cleaned up and dressed properly and then brought before him. Shmerel was given the place of honor next to the Baal Shem Tov, and during the meal the Baal Shem Tov passed his handkerchief over the boy's face and commanded, "Give us a Torah discourse!" To the shock of all present, Shmerel began speaking and he expounded gems of Torah for the next few hours. The two brothers were very pleased with what they saw and heard and they set off for home with the yokel in tow.

Chof Tes Sivan, 5777

Subterraneous Worlds  Installment 3 of 5

In the last installment, we saw what Torah has to say about two-headed animals. Now let's see what Torah says about two-headed people.

The existence of people with two heads can be traced back to the first years of Creation, when Kayin sinned by murdering his brother Hevel.