Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: PARSHAS HASHAVUA Category:STORY Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Fri, 03 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Parshas Behar: Rav Chaim Volozhin Takes Testimony From A Surprise Witness

The Torah states in no uncertain terms that we must return the land by Yovel, "Ki Li Kol HaAretz; Hashem owns all the land." (Behar 25:23)  Rav Yeruchom Levovitz, the Mirrer Mashgiach, writes (see also MiShulchan Gavoa), that the whole point of Shmitta and Yovel is to make people understand that everything they have is only temporarily, and they are not the real owner. No one will live forever.

Rav Yeruchom tells of a Din Torah before Rav Chaim Volozhin where two people were fighting over a piece of land. They were both stubborn, and neither one was willing to listen to any compromise.

Rav Chaim then turned his ear down to the ground as if her were listening to what the ground was saying. He then turned to the Baalei Din and said after hearing both your arguments. "I wanted to hear what the land in dispute has to say. And do you know what it said? It said, 'Why are they both fighting who owns me? At the end, the two of them will both belong to me!"

Fri, 13 May 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Acharei Mos: Rav Moshe Of Kobrin Teaches The Snoring Old Man How To Live

Rav Moshe Of Kobrin walked into the Bais Medrash and saw an old man hunched over a sefer learning. The old man would doze off and shortly thereafter jump up and scream at himself, "What will be with you? At the end you will die and you still have so much to learn!" He would then start learning again until dozing off again, with this whole scene repeating tiself over and over.

Rav Moshe walked over to him and said, "Reb Yid, that is not the way. What you should say to yourself when you wake up is, "I need to live, and a life of dozing is not living!"

The pasuk (Acharei Mos 18:5) says, "Asher Yaaseh Oisam HaAdam VaChai Bahem." Perform the mitzvos because that is real life, and not because it is a nest egg for after death. (Yagdil Torah)

Fri, 15 Apr 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayishlach: The Ponevezher Rov's Escape In The New York Subway

On a fund raising trip to New York City, the Ponevezher Rov was accosted by a gang of teenagers on the subway. In his quick thinking the Ponevezher Rov quickly pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and naively asked the leader of the gang if he knew what stop to get off for this address. Realizing that once they get off the train they would have the Ponevezher Rov isolated and an easier victim, he smiled, and signaled to the gang to wait patiently and politely until they get off at the stop.

When they arrived at the stop the Ponevezher Rov let them go off first and lingered in the doorway. As the doors closed he quickly made his way inside the train with the stunned gang standing embarrassed on the platform outwitted by the "old man".

When the Ponevezher Rov told this story to a friend, he explained that the Ramban says that when dealing with Eisav for all future generations one would be wise to look into Parshas Vayishlach since "Maaseh Avos Siman LaBanim". In this case he related his circumstance to that of Yaakov whom Eisav offered to "escort him" to Eisav's "den" in Sai'ir. Yaakov agreed, but suggested that Eisav go ahead, which allowed Yaakov to divert his route and he still hasn't quite arrived. May we be zocheh to the ultimate arrival of Yaakov in Sai'ir as the pasuk says (Ovadya 1:24), "V'Alu Moshi'im B'Har Tziyon Lispot Es Har Eisav!"

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Haazinu: Ramban - Where Is R' Avner?

The Seder HaDoros brings this remarkable story about the Ramban.  He had a Talmid named R' Avner who converted to christianity.  After a short time he rose in the Church to become a very powerful leader.  

One Yom Kippur he summoned the Ramban to appear before him.  He then proceeded to slaughter a pig, cut it up, cook it, and eat before the Ramban.  He the asked the Ramban how many Krisus he was Chayav.  The Ramban said, "Four."

The apostate argued and said, "Five."  The Ramban gave a very dirty look and even he had enough shame from his Rebbi to be quiet then.

The Ramban asked him what made him do what he did?  He said that he once heard the Ramban say that all the mitzvos and everything that ever happened in the world was alluded to in Parshas Ha'azinu.  Since this was impossible for him to reconcile he left the Jewish religion altogether.

The Ramban reaffirmed its truth and challenged R' Avner to ask him anything, and he would find it in Haazinu.  R' Avner was taken aback and he asked the Ramban where his name R' Avner is in the Parsha?  The Ramban went to a corner and davened and suddenly a pasuk came to his mouth (Haazinu 32:26), אָמַרְתִּי, אַפְאֵיהֶם אַשְׁבִּיתָה מֵאֱנוֹשׁ זִכְרָם, I made up my mind to cast them away, I would eliminate mention of them from mankind. The third letter of each of these words spells R' Avner.  

When R' Avner heard this he turned white and his haughtiness left him.  He asked the Ramban if there was any cure for his grave ills.  The Ramban said, "You heard the words of the Pasuk!" and turned and left.   R' Avner immediately went down to the port, took a boat without any sailors or any oars, and sailed away where the wind would take him, and was never heard from again.

Mon, 06 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Seitzei: The Arizal's Hesped For Rav Moshe Kordevero
When Rav Moshe Kordevero was niftar in Tzfas, he was the leading Mekubal of his generation, and he had many talmidim.  He authored many seforim on Kabalah including the classic Mussar Sefer Tomer Devora.  Before his petira, his talmidim asked him who they will learn with after he passes on.  He said the person who sees a pillar of fire above my Aron, he is the one who will lead you.  That person turned out to be a little known recent immigrant from Mitzrayim named Rav Yitzchok Luria, better know as the Arizal.

After realizing that the Arizal saw the pillar, the people asked him to say a hesped on the niftar.  The Arizal said that the pasuk says (Ki Seitzei 21:22),  וְכִי יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ  עַל עֵץ," And if a man commits a sin worthy of death, he is put to death, and you should hang him on a tree."  The Arizal explained in Drush, that the word Ish means a tzadik.  The word "Chait" means lacking.  In other words if there is a tzadik whose actions do not warrant him to die because he has no aveiros, yet he dies anyway; וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל עֵץ, blame it on the tree.  His death was only because Adam and Chava ate from the Eitz HaDaas.  For if not, this tzadik would have lived forever.

Thu, 19 Aug 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Masei: Rav Zemele Volozhin Show No Sympathy For The Boy Who Is Tricked Into Marrying An Older Girl
One of the Chashuvim of Vilna once came crying to Rav Zemeleh Volozhin that he married off his son to the wise and kind daughter of a prominent family of Vilna, but to his surprise after the Chasuna they found out that the girl was 10 years older than the boy!

Rav Zemeleh cut him off mid-sentence and answered him light heartedly.  At the end of Parshas Masei (36:10), the Torah mentions the names of the Bnos Tzelafchad in a different order than previous mentioned in Parshas Pinchos (27:1).  Rashi comments that previously they were mentioned in order of their wisdom, while here they were mentioned in the order of their age.  Why here did the Torah mention them by age?

Rav Zemeleh explained that the gemara Bava Basra (119) says that the youngest any of them married was at the age of 40.  Surely the Torah would not want to reveal their ages before they married so it listed them in order of their wisdom.  Only here when the Torah says that they married their cousins, does the Torah finally reveal their true ages.  Apparently the Torah felt that after their marriage, no one worried if anyone would find out how old they really were.  (Pninim Uparpara'os)

Fri, 09 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bechukosai: The Vilna Gaon Gives The Wealthy Man An Accounting Lesson "V'Haya Erkicha... BShekel HaKodesh" (Bichukosai 27:3). The Vilna Gaon once paid a visit to a wealthy man to collect money for a Tzedaka cause.  The Gvir asked the Vilna Gaon, "Tell me, is it permissible to give tzedaka from other peoples money?  I am swimming in debt from all the property and belongings I acquired."  In the meantime there was a knock on the door and the tailor entered, delivering a very expensive garment that the Gvir had ordered.  The Vilna Gaon asked the Gvir, "and how can you buy such an expensive garment with other peoples money?"  The Gvir answered that he didn't pay with anyone else's money.  He bought it on credit!

The Vilna Gaon said now I understand the Pasuk in Yirmiya (9:5), "Shivticha B'soch Mirma", all your business dealing are done with trickery.  "B'Mirma MeiAnu Daas Oisi", but when it comes to Hashem's dealing suddenly we are most righteous.

This is Mirumaz in the pasuk "V'Haya Erkicha... BShekel HaKodesh".  When you spend money on your own material needs you don't make many calculations whether you should spend the money or not.   You only justify it after the fact.  But when it comes to Shekel HaKodesh then suddenly, V'Haya Erkicha, we make all kinds of calculations that require graphs and charts, explaining why we cannot give.

Fri, 07 May 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Tzav: The Rebbe Reb Elimelech Doesn't Let Reb Zusha Serve Him When Reb Elimelech of Lizhensk became a famous Rebbe and people from far and wide started coming to see him, his brother Reb Zusha of Anipoli wanted to be his gabbai and help him with all his needs.  Reb Elimelech knew the greatness hidden in his humble brother and would not allow this.

Reb Zusha complained to Reb Elimelech that we see in Parshas Tzav that Moshe Rabbeinu served his brother Aharon when he went up to greatness.  He even washed him and dressed him.  If Moshe Rabbeinu the greatest of all men and the King of Bnei Yisroel can humbly serve his brother, then surely I can serve you, said Reb Zusha!

Reb Elimelech told Rav Zusha that he overlooked the words that the Torah says before Moshe undertook this service (Tzav 8:5), "Vayomer Moshe El HaEidah Zeh HaDavar Asher Tziva Hashem."  Aharon HaKohen only allowed Moshe to serve him because this was a direct command from Hashem.  Since you Reb Zusha were not commanded by Hashem, I cannot and will not allow this.

Fri, 26 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Sisa: The Chofetz Chaim To Rav Shimon Schwab - Answer The Call! Rav Shimon Schwab told over the story of the time he went to visit the Chofetz Chaim.  The Chofetz Chaim asked him, "Did you know that I am a Kohein?".  Rav Schwab answered, "Yes".  The Chofetz Chaim then asked, "Are you a Kohein?"  Rav Schwab said no.  "What about a Levi?"  "Also not", said Rav Schwab.

"What a pity", said the Chofetz Chaim.  When Moshiach comes everyone will yearn to do the Avodah but "V'HaZar HaKarev Yumas", any non Kohein or Levi who do an Avodah will be put to death.

I will do the Avodah and you will not because when Moshe screamed Mi Lashem Eilai, my grandfather went running to join him, while yours did not.  Because of this all their descendants lost the chance to participate in the Avodas bais HaMikdash for all generation.

Concluded the Chofetz Chaim, in your life when you hear the call Mi Lashem Eilai, who will stand up for Kavod Hashem even before a hostile crowd, you must go running.  If you don't you will lose out forever.

Thu, 04 Mar 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Truma: Reb Yeruchom Levovitz Does A Goral HaGra & Stays In The Mir The Daas Chochma UMussar quotes a letter from Reb Yeruchom.  Reb Yeruchom writes that he wanted to leave the Mir Yeshiva (where he was the legendary Mashgiach) to go to live Kelm.  He faced all sorts of obstacles that were clearly orchestrated from Shamayim.  

He decided to perform a Goral HaGra to determine his path.  He came to a pasuk that shook him deeply.  "B'Tab'os HaAron Yihiyu HaBadim Lo Yasuru Mimenu" the poles of the Aron should remain in their rings and not be removed (Truma 25:15).  Unlike the other Keilim in the Mishkan, the Torah says the poles of the Aron must remain fixed in their place even if the Bnei Yisroel was not traveling.

Reb Yeruchom continued and wrote that this pasuk was revealed to him, not because of his own just actions but rather B'zchus HaRabim.  The lesson he learned is that the poles are the people who help carry the torch of Torah.  Those people should never leave their position just like the poles cannot leave the Aron.

From then on, said Rav Yeruchom, even when I had to leave Yeshiva for a short time I had many hesitations.

Fri, 19 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Bishalach - Baron Rothschild Teaches The Ksav Sofer Pshat In Bikur Cholim The famous Baron Reb Shimon Wolf Rothschild was a close friend of the Ksav Sofer.  When they would spend time in the same spa-town, Baron Rothschild would come to visit the Ksav Sofer every day, to hear Torah from his mouth.

One day Baron Rothschild stayed only briefly and then suddenly got up to leave.  The Ksav Sofer asked him why he is cutting his visit so short.  He answered that he noticed that the Ksav Sofer was not feeling well.  The Gemara in Bava Metzia (30b) says that we learn the Mitzva of Bikur Cholim from a pasuk in Yisro (18:20), "ViHodatem Es HaDerech Yeilchu Ba; You should show them to go in the way of the Torah."  Chazal say, "'Yeilchu-Zeh Bikur Cholim;  The Mitzva of Bikur Cholim is learned from the word Yeilchu.
Baron Rothschild continued and said that the message we can learn from this Drasha is that Bikur Cholim does not always necessitate a long visit with the sick person.  Sometimes, the greatest mitzva of Bikur Cholim is "Yeilchu" to know when to go.  By going you may be doing the Choleh a far bigger favor than by staying.

The Chasam Sofer frequently repeated these words in the name of the Baron.  (Shnayim Mikra)

Wed, 03 Feb 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas VaEirah: Chasam Sofer - Can A Poor Man Hear His Brother Crying?

A rich businessman came to the Chasam Sofer crying that while he was once one of the most successful traders in the city, a series of bad dealings has wiped him out.  He requested advice and a Bracha from the Tzaddik.  The Chasam Sofer said to him that he heard about his terrible plight, but he also heard that he has a brother who lives in poverty and that he doesn't help his brother.  "Please forgive me," said the man,  "but right now I am not in any position to help.  If Hashem helps me get back on my feet, I promise I will help my brother." 

The Chasam Sofer said to him, "Hashem says to Moshe (VaEirah 6:5), 'V'Gam Ani Shamati Es Naakas Bnei Yisrael; I have also heard the groaning of the B'nei Yisrael.'  Who else heard the cries of Bnei Yisrael that Hashem says He has 'also' heard?  The answer must be, that despite the terrible ordeal that each Yid in Mitzrayim was going through, still he managed to feel the pain of his fellow Yid and tried to alleviate his pain in any way."

Hashem said," B'zchus each person hearing the cries of his friend, I too will listen to each one's own tears and I will redeem them."

  "Despite your difficult predicament," said the Chasam Sofer, "go help your brother right now in any way you can, and bzchus this, Hashem will rescue you from you troubles."

Fri, 15 Jan 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Seitzei: The Kotzker Rebbe Was In No Rush To Send Reb Leibele Eiger Back Home Rav Leibele Eiger the grandson of Rebbi Akiva Eiger married and lived by his father-in-law's home learning day and night.  He became part of the Shul of the Chozeh of Lublin, where he became friendly with a group of young men who traveled to Kotzk and persuaded Rav Leibele to join them.  The Kotzker Rebbe was very happy with this cherished new talmid and told the Chidushei HaRim that he would walk 400 parsa to find a talmid like this.

When his father-in-law found out that his new son-in-law was in Kotzk, he came to retrieve him but Rav Leibele didn't want to go, instead he wanted to stay and bask in the Kedusha of Kotzk.  His father-in-law went to the Rebbe to complain.  He ask the Rebbe, is this right?  The pasuk says in Ki Seitzei (24:5), "Naki Yihiyeh L'Baischa Shana Achas"  A newlywed should be free for his home one year.

The Rebbe replied, had I believed that he is so free in you house like he is here in Kotzk, I would have commanded him to go back home! (Iturei Torah)

Fri, 28 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shoftim: Rav Chaim Soloveitchik - Purim War In Volozhin

In Parshas Shoftim the torah tells us the speech that is given to Bnei Yisroel as they are about to enter war. In Volozhin one year they performed a Purim skit theatrically depicting the scene.

One hundred thousand soldiers gathered together to hear their last minute instructions on the battlefield.  It is announced that anyone who built a new house and not settled in should go back from the front.  Immediately 10,000 soldiers do an about face and leave the battlefield.  Again they call out whoever planted a vineyard and has not reaped the benefits should return.  Another 10,000 soldiers pick up and leave.  And whoever is engaged to be married is dismissed as well and just like that thy are now short 30,000 soldiers.

Then comes the big announcement.  Whoever is afraid because they have sinned even a small aveira should also return home.  All the remaining soldiers throw down their weapons and leave, except for four remaining soldiers, the Sha'agas Aryeh, the Noda B'Yehuda, the Vilna Gaon and the Pnei Yehoshua.

Rav Lazer Silver of Cincinnati, a talmid of Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky, relates that when they told this humorous story over to Rav Chaim Soloveitchik he said they forgot to tell over the punch line of this play.  The four tzaddikim won the war! (Iturei Torah)

Fri, 21 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Shoftim: The Alter Of Novhardok - A Good Steak Changes Everything "Ki HaShochad Yi'Aver Einei Chachomim", because bribery blinds the eyes of the wise (Shoftim 16:19).  Chazal warn us that the smallest favor can blind the smartest and greatest tzaddik in his judgement of a fellow Jew even if he is in no way corrupt.

Rav Moshe Shternbuch brings the following story with the Alter of Novhardok whose deep understanding of the human psyche unmasked a person slandering his friend.  A person once came to the Alter of Novhardok and told him that the Shochet in town is not a Yiras Shamayim and his Shchita should be pasul.  The Alter explained to him that since his testimony does not reach the bar to remove the Shochet from his position, the Shochet can remain.  However there is a rule of "Shavya Anafshei K'Chaticha D'Isura", meaning that since in the witnesses own words the Shochet is pasul, he may not eat from his shchita, although the general public may continue to do so. Suddenly the person started backtracking saying that he never meant to say that he was pasul, only to check into his behavior and/or to search for a better shochet etc., etc.

From here said the Alter we learn that when a person wants to be a Kana'i he is prepared to destroy another Jew, but not his next meal.  When his food is at stake the truth suddenly appears otherwise.

Mon, 17 Aug 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Behar: Ribis - Rebbi Akiva Eiger and The Bargain Burial Plot The Medrash says that a person who lends money with interest does not “wake up” by Techias HaMeisim… In the town of Rebbi Akiva Eiger there lived a very wealthy man who was very stingy and would charge interest when lending money to his fellow Jew.  When he died, the Chevra Kadisha in revenge for his wicked behavior, charged an exorbitant price to bury him far more than they usually charged to even the wealthy residents of the town.  His children protested bitterly, to no avail.  Ultimately the feuding sides went to the Rov of the town, Rebbi Akiva Eiger, to hear his thoughts on the matter.

To the shock and dismay of the children, Rebbi Akiva Eiger sided with the Chevra Kadisha.  He then explained to them as follows:  When someone dies and is buried, it is only temporary because the person will only need the plot until Techias HaMeisim.  However since your father lent money with interest, he will never get up from that plot.  Considering the amount of time he will use the plot, he is getting a tremendous bargain and better price than all the other town’s people.  (P'ninim V'Parparos Al HaParsha)

Fri, 15 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Kedoshim: The Brisker Rov Gives Conflicting Advice "V'Lifnei Iveir Lo Sitein Michshol" (19:14).  Rashi says not to give advice that is not fit for the person you are advising.  This means that sometimes the advice you give is wrong but right for that person.  The depth of this concept can be seen from a story with the Brisker Rov.  

The head of a very respectable institution came to ask the Brisker Rov if he should hire a certain person in his institution.  The Brisker Rov told him that this person would be a wonderful choice for the position.  After being offered the position this candidate went to the Brisker Rov to ask him if he should take the job.  The Brisker Rov advised him against it.  

When word got back, the head of the institution was bewildered and went straight to ask the Brisker Rov why he changed his mind.  The Brisker Rov told him that he didn't change his mind at all.  When you asked for advice I told you what I think is best for the institution.  When he then came to ask me my opinion as well, I was obligated to tell him what I think is best for him. 

Fri, 01 May 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Kedoshim: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Gets Sick Over Two Misguided Machmirim (Masmihim) "Ish Imo V'Aviv Tira'u V'Es Shabsosai Tishmoiru" (Kedoshim 18:3)  Rashi quotes Chazal who says that these two mitzvos are in the same pasuk to teach us that if a parent tells you to be Michalel Shabbos you need not listen.  Do we take this too far?

The Yagdil Torah tells the story that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was once walking in the street on Shabbos where there was a Kosher Eiruv.  He saw an older gentleman dragging a bench through the street with his two sons following behind empty handed.  He asked them why they aren't helping their father?  The answered that because of a certain Chumra they are makpid not to carry there.

Rav Mendelson, who told over this story, said that after hearing this Rav Shlomo Zalman became so upset that was not himself for a a considerable amount of time.  He even cancelled his shiur for a day or two, which he was not up to giving, under the circumstances.

Wed, 29 Apr 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayechi: Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin Curses The Hospital The famous magid of Yerushalayim Rav Bentzion Yadler retold the story of a group of Askanim who came to Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin to tell him that they purchased a plot of land to build a hospital outside of the old city of Yerushalyim near Shaar Shchem.  Rav Yehoshua Leib said to them, "Yehi Ratzon Shelo Tishreh Shechina Aleha", it should be Hashem's will that the Shechina will not reside there.  The group was baffled.  Why would Rav Yehoshua Leib curse their holy venture?

Then they realized the slyly disguised bracha in Rav Yehoshua Leib's words.  The pasuk says (Vayechi 47:31) that after Yosef swore to bury Yaakov in Eretz Yisroel, Yaakov turned to the head of the bed and bowed.  Rashi explains that from here the gemara (Shabbos 12b) learns that the Shechina rests above the head of a sick person's bed.  Rav Yehoshua Leib gave them a bracha that their hospital should not have many sick people in it and all of Am Yisroel should be blessed with good health! (Gilyon Pninim Al HaParsha)

Fri, 09 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Vayishlach: The Chofetz Chaim - One Camp Will Survive The Nazis ym"s The nazis ym"s rose to power while the Chofetz Chaim was still alive.  Right from the beginning they declared their intentions to wipe out all the Jews r"l.  The Chofetz Chaim was asked about what he saw as the future plight of the Jews of Europe in light of the nazi plans.  The Chofetz Chaim said that no one was, or ever will be, successful in wiping out Am Yisrael as the pasuk says, (Vayishlach 32:9) "Im Yavo Eisav El HaMachaneh HaAchas V'Hikahu, V'Haya HaMachaneh HaNishar Lifleita; If Eisav smites one group the other group will survive."

He was then asked what group he was referring to.  He answered that this is also clearly written in the pasuk (Ovadia 1:17), "U'B'Har Tzion Tihiyeh Pleita; On the mountain of Tzion, meaning Eretz Yisrael. there will be refuge."  True to the Chofetz Chaim's Torah wisdom, while there was great fear in Eretz Yisrael as the nazis overran North Africa and were on the doorstep of Eretz Yisrael, they never got any further, thanks to the kindness of Hashem. (MiShulchan Govo'a)

Fri, 12 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Lech Licha: Rav Levi Yitzchok Of Berditchev Gets An Unwanted Bracha Rav Levi Yitzchok Of Berditchev was collecting for a poor couple who were trying to raise funds to get married with at least the bare minimum.  He went to visit a very wealthy man to ask for money.  After telling the wealthy man all the sad details of their plight, the wealthy man gave the couple a hearty bracha wishing them a long healthy, happy, and prosperous life, but the money didn't seem to be very forthcoming.

Rav Levi Yitzchok thanked the man for the bracha, and added that we can learn from Malki Tzedek (Sheim ben Noach) the correct way to handle these matters.  When Avrohom came back from war with the four kings, the pasuk says (14:18-19) that Malki Tzedek came out with bread and wine.  Only after feeding him does the pasuk say, VaYivarcheihu.  "Brochos are nice after the money," explained Rav Levi Yitzchok, "not before!"  (Gilyon Peninim U'Parpara'os LaTorah)

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Noach: Rav Meir Shapiro Sees The Teivah In A Reform Temple It is told that one time during Rav Meir Shapiro's travels to raise money for the Yeshivas Chachmei Lublin, he somehow ended up in a reform temple.  The architecture was extravagant, but the outside looked like a church, and inside the Bimah was not in the correct place, and had musical instruments beside it.

 After he left, the heads of this temple asked him what his impression was of their house of worship.  He told them that in a way it was like Noach's teiva, and in a way it wasn't.  By the teivah the pasuk says (6:14) "MiBayis U'MiChutz BaKofer," literally meaning it was coated outside and inside with tar.  "Similarly, this house of prayer was covered outside and inside with Kofer or Kefira, denial of Hashem."

"The difference being," he continued, "was that the teivah protected its inhabitants from the Mabul outside, while this building will not protect its members from ultimately succumbing to the spirit of the time." (Peninim UParparaos Al HaTorah)

Fri, 31 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Ki Seitzei: Rebbi Akiva Eiger Gives The Convert An Ultimatum Rebbi Akiva Eiger was once in Poland visiting with the Chemdas Shlomo when a lady walked in crying for help.  Her husband had decided to abandon Yiddishkeit to practice another religion.  He refused to free her with a Get and left her an Aguna.  The Chemdas Shlomo had tried solving the problem to no avail.  Upon hearing that the great gaon and tzaddik Rebbi Akiva Eiger was in town, she thought that between these two giants, together they could come up with a solution.  After hearing this sad story Rebbi Akiva Eiger asked that every effort should be made to bring this man before him.  His friends taunted his refusal saying, "why are you scared of the old Rabbi?"  At the end he agreed to go see Rebbi Akiva Eiger

Rebbi Akiva Eiger asked him why he was so cruel and refused to give his wife a Get.  Unimpressed he stood his ground and stubbornly refused to budge.  Rebbi Akiva Eiger said to him, "I heard that you learned in Yeshiva when you were younger.  Surely you remember the first Mishna in Kedushin that says that you can be Koneh a woman 3 ways and she goes out in 2 ways.  Those being, with a Get or the death of her husband."  He continued, "You can either give her a Get or she can be freed the other way, with your death."  The man laughed and walked out.  As he walked down the stairs his eyes became weak and he became very dizzy.  He fell down the stairs and died on the spot. (Pninim Al HaParsha)

Fri, 12 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000 A few boys from the Yeshiva came to complain to the Chofetz Chaim.  They had given someone money  in a business venture and the man cheated them and stole all their money.  The Chofetz Chaim said, "I understand your problem and where you went wrong. Since you are innocent Yeshiva boys and you are accustomed to trusting in Hashem with purity and wholehearted faith, you carried over that attitude to your dealings with this businessman and his grand scheme.  But the truth is, if you read the pasuk (Devarim 18:13) it says clearly, 'Tamim TihiyehIm Hashem Elokecha: Go innocently with Hashem.'  You can only be trusting when Hashem is your partner, but when you give your money to people you must be wary and not be gullible."

Fri, 05 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Parshas Balak: Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer - Some Shuls Are Easy To Clean Rav Ezriel Hildesheimer, a talmid of the Aruch L"Ner and together with Rav Shamshon Refoel Hirsch, was a fierce and fearless opponent of the Reform movement.  He was once asked, sarcastically, by the members of the Reform Synagogue why the Reform Shuls are always spotless and immaculately kept while the orthodox Shuls are often dirty and not in the best condition.  He replied that the orthodox people use their Shul seven days a week and that's how it looks.  The reform at best use it for Shabbos and Yom Tov and that's how it looks.

Mah Tovu Ohalecha Yaakov.  Not "how beautiful" but "how good" are the Shuls of Am Yisroel!

Fri, 11 Jul 2008 03:00:00 +0000

Rav Chaim Brisker, the Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin, once sent someone abroad to raise funds for the Yeshiva.  A few months later when the fundraiser returned and they counted up all the donations and calculated all the expenses, it turned out that the expenses were as much as the amount spent by the fundraiser on his trip, leaving the Yeshiva with no money from this campaign.

Rav Chaim Brisker lightheartedly said that the lesson learned from this experience can be found in the pasuk.  “Shelach Licha Anashim ViYasuru”.  Literally, send people and they will “spy”.  However, the word, ViYasuru, can also be interpreted to mean and they left over.  From here, said Rav Chaim, we see that the Torah tells us to send Meshulachim who will have some money left over when they return and not spend it all on the way.  (Pninim - Reb Yosef Berger)

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Fri, 20 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000