Revach L'Neshama RSS feed for - Section: HANHAGOS Category:MA'ASEH RAV Copyright 2007, Revach L'Neshama en-US Revach L'Neshama Logo 144 31 Wed, 01 Dec 2021 03:00:00 +0000 240 Rav Aharon Kotler Pays At Penn Station... With Bitachon On his way back to Lakewood from a Talmid's wedding in New York City, Rav Aharon Kotler arrived at the train station and realized he did not have any money to purchase a ticket.  Without any viable alternative at that hour, he decided to stand on line by the ticket purchasing counter relying solely on Hashem for help.

The line grew shorter and shorter, as his turn was quickly approaching without any help in sight.  Rav Aharon was not concerned and he just continued to learn while waiting patiently without any worries.  The person in front of him purchased his ticket and now it was his turn.  He still didn't despair and calmly started walking towards the counter as if he had no problem, completely confident in Hashem's salvation.

As he approached the counter, a talmid came rushing towards him happy to see him, screaming Rebbi Rebbi!  Rav Aharon asked his talmid if he could loan him the amount he needed for the ticket, which he did.  He took the money paid for the ticket and went home all without batting an eye.

Stories like this give you a new perspective on true Bitachon.

Wed, 02 Nov 2011 03:00:00 +0000
Rebbi Akiva Eiger's Dream, To Be The Caretaker Of The Mikva Rebbi Akiva Eiger the gaon and glory of Klal Yisroel, was Rav for 48 years of his life... and he considered every second of it pure torture.  He constantly thought of ways to exit the Rabbinate.  When he was already in his advanced years and he was the Rov of Posen and considered the Rov of all of Klal Yisroel, he wrote a letter to his friend in a neighboring town where the caretaker of the Mikva had died.

"In my old age I want to support myself in a permissible manner and not through issur, from my own handiwork and not from taking advantage of the crown of Torah.  Therefore I beg you to persuade the leaders of your Kehilla, on my behalf, to rent to me the town Mikva.  I am prepared to leave my Rabbinical post and become the Mikva caretaker in you city...  (Sarei HaMei'a 1:261)

Tue, 21 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
Kol Nidrei Night With The Brisker Rov One year after Kol Nidrei the Brisker Rov, Rav Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchick took his son in law Rav Yechiel Michel Feinstein to go for a walk.  Perturbed, Rav Yechiel Michel asked the Brisker as delicately as possible, if this was the time they should be taking a stroll.  The Brisker Rov answered, "I am surprised at you.  If this is not the time to take a walk, then we should never go any day of the year.  This walk however is not for pleasure, it is for my health as instructed by my doctor.  Therefore there is no difference between Yom Kippur or any other day. (As told by Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapira - Uvdos V'Hanhagos L'Bais Brisk)

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 03:00:00 +0000
How Rich Was Reb Moshe Montefiore? In 19th century England there lived a famous Jewish philanthropist Reb Moshe Montefiore. Queen Victoria once asked him, "Sir Moses, what is the extent of your wealth? How much do you own?" Sir Moses told her it would take a few days to do some accounting, and afterwards, he would reply. When Sir Moses told her his wealth she became upset saying,"This is offensive: Everyone knows that you have far greater wealth." Sir Moses explained that he considered as his true wealth whatever money he gave to Tzedakah. Anything else that he possessed was only temporary and could be confiscated or lost.

In this Parshas Naso the pasuk says (5:9) "Vechol Terumah LiChol Kodshei Bnei Yisroel Asher Yakrevu LaKohen Loi Yihyeh". "And every portion from any of the holies that the Bnei Yisroel will bring to the Kohen shall be his". The words "Lo Yihyeh" - "will be his" in the Pasuk seem superfluous.  With the phrase,"Lo Yihyeh" - "will be his"- the Torah is emphasizing that people should always consider their monetary wealth as temporary, and whatever one gives to charity "will be his"- his real wealth that will remain with him forever.

Wed, 28 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000

Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld told the following story about the Chasam Sofer.  On Erev Tisha B’Av, Rav Moshe Novomesta, a Ben Bayis of the Chasam Sofer, saw the Chasam Sofer go into a room and lock the door.  Curious as to what his great Rebbi was doing, he peeked through the keyhole.  He saw the Chasam Sofer learning Megilas Eicha and crying bitter tears, which he caught in a glass cup.  Later at the Seudah HaMafsekes the Chasam Sofer drank the tears from this glass, like the Pasuk says in Tehilim (80:6) “VaTashkeimo B’Dma’os Shalish”; and gives them tears to drink in great measure.

When Rav Moshe Novomesta later moved to Yerushalayim he tried to do the same thing.  However even with putting all his efforts into his crying he could not muster up enough tears to fill the glass.  (Oros U’Nesivos 4:12)

Mon, 19 Jul 2010 03:00:00 +0000
The Divrei Chaim Is Happy Being a "Hedyot" And The Brisker Rov A "Boor" The Brisker Rav was once in Krenitz and stayed in the home of one of the Talmidei Chachomim of the city.  When putting on his tefilin the Brisker Rov looked in the mirror to make sure his Tefilin were straight.  His host became very mad since the great Divrei Chaim was vehemently against people looking in the mirror to check their tefilin.

Not having the nerve to confront the Brisker directly, his host left the Sefer Divrei Chaim with a bookmark on the relevant tshuva on the breakfast table, to send the Brisker Rov a not so subtle message.

Upon arriving to breakfast and seeing the Sefer, the Brisker Rov realized the problem and called over his host.  He said to him, I see you are a Chosid so I will explain this to you in terms you will understand.  One time when it rained on succos everyone left the succah except the Divrei Chaim.  They asked him why he won't leave since the gemara says that whoever remains in the succah in the rain is a "Hedyot" and is making a mistake.  The Divrei Chaim answered, you can call me a Hedyot but I cannot leave my beloved succah.

Similarly explained the Brisker Rov, you can call me a "Boor" (a big Am Ha'Aretz), as the Divrei Chaim calls someone who looks in the mirror to put on tefilin.  However I will still look in the mirror because all I care about is that I wear my tefilin in accordance with halacha.  (Peninim U'Parparos Al HaTorah)

Thu, 08 Oct 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Shaagas Aryeh's Rebbetzin Did Not Know How To Make A Good French Coffee Rav Eliezer Kleer in his hakdama to his sefer writes the Shaagas Aryeh, Rav Aryeh Leib Gunzberg, lived a life of deprivation.  He never ate meat, fish chicken or any living thing during the week and never slept on a bed.  He lived a difficult life of great suffering and poverty that followed him wherever he went.

In his later years  the Shaagas Aryeh was appointed Rov of Metz.  The minhag of the city was that the new Rov would hosts the leader of the Kehila for coffee after his appointment.  A day before the Rebbetzin was sent a list of things to prepare for this meeting including, coffee, milk, sugar, and utensils needed.

The next day during the meeting the Rebbetzin brought out a pot of fresh coffee and milk.  When the distinguished guests tasted the coffee each one realized that the sugar was missing but no one said anything.

There was great shock in the room when after clearing the empty cups the Rebbetzin proudly brought out a plate full of sugar.  When she understood what happened, she apologized profusely and said that in Volozhin where they came from they never saw coffee or sugar and certainly not the two of them together.

Despite the community's concern that the Shaagas Aryeh came to Metz to be buried there, the Shaagas Aryeh served as Rov of Metz for 20 years until his petira. Some people attribute this arichas yamim to a letter written by the Vilna Gaon telling them to accept the Shaagas Aryeh as their Rov despite his advanced age.

Tue, 07 Jul 2009 03:00:00 +0000 The Vilna Gaon gave only three Haskamos on seforim in his life.  Two of them were for seforim written by Rav Aryeh Leib Epstein.  In one Haskama he calls Rav Aryeh Leib a “Rav HaDomeh L’Malach Hashem”.  These words are often overused but not by the Gra.  Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz called him Rosh Goilas Ariel, Rechev Yisroel U’Parashav”.  Among his talmidim was Rav Alexander Ziskind the holy Yesod V’Shoresh HaAvodah.  He was called the Ba’al HaPardes after a sefer he wrote.  He also wrote the Sefer Ohr HaShanim detailing which Mitzvos you can do during different times of the day.   

A sefer was printed with the Hanhagos of Vilna Gaon and the Hanhagos of Rav Aryeh Leib.  Beneath are notes from Rav Moshe Shternbuch.  A notable minhag he had for Bikur Cholim he says, when you visit a sick person you should give him your hand.  While holding the sick person’s hand you should say “Yahiv Lei Yadei V’Ukmei”.  (Literally he gave him his hand and he recovered.  This is what the gemara (Brachos 5b) says happened when Rav Chanina went to visit Rav Yochanan who was sick.)  Rav Aryeh Leib says that the first three words have Roshei Teivos of Yud-Lamed-Yud, which spells one of the 72 names of Hashem.

Rav Shternbuch says that he doesn’t know a source for this but certainly it is worth following the advice of a tzaddik sine it says “Sod Hashem Lirei’av”, Hashem share his secrets with those who fear him.

Sun, 05 Jul 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Brisker Rav Gives Rav Amram Blau A Lesson In The Importance Of Negel Vasser Rav Moshe Shternbuch (2:3) says that he was present when Rav Amram Blau came to complain about an institution he was financing.  He said that the children were not learning properly and he didn't feel it was worth his continuing efforts.

The Brisker Rov asked if the children wash Negel Vasser each morning K'Halacha.  Rav Blau answered that this they certainly do.  The Brisker Rov was very happy and said if so then it is definitely worth continuing for this alone.  Now lets sit and discuss how we can improve the rest of the situation, however the institution is certainly worthy of existence.

Tue, 16 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Brisker Rov Sleeps Tight As The Bombs Rain Down Whenever the Brisker Rov was in place fraught with danger he would search high and low to find the safest place of refuge. He would obsessively weigh the pros and cons of each place and endlessly debate what to do.  Even when he decided he was wrapped in fear of his decision.

Yet when he was trapped in Warsaw away from his home and family at the outbreak of World War II as Warsaw was being bombarded by the Nazi war machine, he did not make any issue of his place of shelter and always looked calm and went to sleep peacefully.

When asked to explain this seemingly strange behavior he said that when he is in a place of danger he has Chiyuv Min HaTorah to protect his life.  He treats this like any other mitzva and wants to make sure he fulfills his obligation in the best way possible.  The consequences of erring would mean causing his own death and he would be held responsible for it.  This was a scary undertaking.  However, he explained, right now in Warsaw there is no safe place and any possible shelter is equally dangerous.  That means that I have no responsibility to take action.  Of course I am relaxed.  It is the Kiyum HaMitzva that worries me, not the Nazi bombs.

Tue, 02 Jun 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Bedikas Chametz With Rav Elyashiv It starts with Ma'ariv and although Rav Elyashiv during the whole year does not daven before 30 minutes after Shkia, on Leil Bedikas Chametz he instructs the Chazan to begin earlier.

When he comes home he puts out the 10 pieces of bread by himself.  Each piece is wrapped and sealed inside a plastic bag.  He places the pieces in the corners of the house, only on the floor and in places that are hidden and not revealed.

He puts on his hat and kaftan to say the bracha.  He removes his hat immediately after the bracha and gets down on the floor for the bedika.  He does not check the places that were already cleaned for Pesach such as behind the door, under the refrigerator, under the beds, in cabinets, and inside clothing pockets.  He only checks under the closets that were not moved and cleaned.

The lights are left on during the bedika and when he is finished he puts his hat back on to say Kol Chamira.  (Hagada Shel Pesach Maran Hagaon Rebbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv Shlit"a)

Mon, 30 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Mazal Tov To Kaiser Wilhelm! - Rav Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenberg Rav Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenberg was a talmid of Rebbi Akiva Eiger and the author of the renowned H'Ksav V'Hakabala on Chumash.  He was the Rav of Kennigsberg in Germany and apparently fearless as the following story suggests.

The Rav, Rav Yaakov Tzvi was invited to officiate at the wedding of a girl from a liberal home.  The girl refused to follow the requirements necessary for a Bas Yisroel to prepare for her wedding.  Because of this Rav Yaakov Tzvi refused to officiate at the wedding.  However with pressure from the government, Rav Yaakov Tzvi was forced to do so and finally relented.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi stood under the Chupah and said to the Choson for him to repeat to the Kallah the standard language of kedushin, "Harei At Mikudeshes Li" you are married to me.  Then he continued and instead of saying, "K'Das Moshe V'Yisroel", Rav Yaakov Tzvi said, "K'Das Kaiser Wilhelm the Great!"  An uproar ensued as the befuddled Mechutanim demanded that he explain why he did not say "K'Das Moshe V'Yisroel".  He calmly explained that this wedding was not "K'Das Moshe V'Yisroel" since according to Toras Moshe a kallah must prepare herself in the Jewish way.  This wedding and his presence was purely on the say so of the Kaiser so he made sure to use the correct and appropriate words attributing the wedding vows to whom they in fact belonged.

Rav Yaakov Tzvi held his position and refused to budge.  Without any other options the wedding was cancelled and held at a later date after the girl made all the proper preparations... and Rav Yaakov Tzvi proudly officiated the Chasuna "K'Das Moshe V'Yisroel". Yehi Zicro Boruch!

Sun, 29 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Steipler's Fifth Kos On Pesach Night, Nuts, Gebrucks... Rav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, The Steipler Gaon, drank five cups of wine during the Seder.  This is in accordance with the opinion on the Rif that five cups must be drank with the fifth one for the fifth expression of geula, V'Heiveisi.  Although the Rif held that place for the fifth cup is in Nishmas Kol Chai that we say afrter Hallel, the Steipler drank this Kos during Shulchan Oreich by the se'uda.

- Other hanhagos of the Steipler were that he only drank wine even in his old age when it made breathing difficult for him. 
- He also spent a great deal of time on the floor during bedikas chametz.  He once said that this bedikas chametz is the hardest mitzva for him.
- He was Makpid to give out nuts and toasted kernels to all his grandchildren.  Even for those who did not have the seder with him, he would send to their homes.
- He did not eat gebrucks but he allowed his family to do so.  Because of this his meals were prepared in special keilim separate from the rest of the family's keilim.  In his old age when it was hard for him to eat Matza unless soaked in water, he was matir neder and ate gebrucks as well. (Toldos Yaakov)

Mon, 23 Mar 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Zemele Volozhin Follows The Doctors Orders Rav Zemele Volozhin the beloved talmid of the Vilna Gaon and the brother of Rav Chaim Volozhin once went with another Rov to the house of a very poor person.  The host was in middle of eating and begged them to sit down and join him.  Rav Zemele knew that the host did not have enough food for them so he refused claiming the doctor told him he cannot eat.

When they left the Rov that accompanied him, asked him if it is true that he is sick.  He said no he is not.  "Then how could you lie?  What happened to Midvar Sheker Tirchok?"

He answered that the great doctor, the Rambam wrote that it is assur to eat from a meal where there is not enough food for the host.  He indeed was just following the doctor's orders.

Thu, 19 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Brisker Rov - The Magid of Plotzk Impresses The Vilna Gaon With A Small Bit Of Truth

The Magid Rav Pinchos of Plotzk wrote a peirush on Tefila called Shaar HaRachamim.  He took it to the Vilna Gaon hoping to receive his Haskama to print it.  The Gra took a look at his work and when he read the reason he wrote for saying Adon Olam in the beginning of davening, the Gra said, for this alone it is worth printing.

Many people have written explanations for why we say Adon Olam in the beginning of davening.  The Vilna Gaon who was not easily impressed was very moved by the explanation of the Magid of Plotzk, which doesn't seem on the surface any more or less interesting than other peirushim.

Someone once had the nerve to ask the Brisker Rov what the Vilna Gaon saw in this peirush that made him so excited.  The Brisker Rov answered that the Torah of the Vilna Gaon was pure unadulterated truth.  The truth impressed him and nothing else.  It made no difference if it is an earth shattering truth, or truth on a smaller scale.  In this short explanation, the Gra saw the truth, and the truth, in the eyes of the Vilna Gaon, is worthy of publication.

All his incomprehensible brillinace aside, to impress the Vilna Gaon all you needed to do was speak words of truth!

Tue, 10 Feb 2009 03:00:00 +0000
A Photo Shoot With Rav Shmuel Auerbach My son was turning three years old and it was time for his upsherin. Since I learned occasionally in the Bais Medrash of Rav Shmuel Auerbach's Yeshiva and saw him once a week, with some nudging from wife I garnered the courage to ask him to do the honors and cut the first snips.  When I managed to ask him, he told me that he is not the best barber but if I want I could come to him after Shachris.

So we got all ready for the big event.  We made sure to bring everything we needed for the occasion; scissors, candies, and a camera.  When we arrived, Rav Shmuel was learning Chumash with a few talmidim huddled around his shtender.  Wrapped in talis and tefilin with his face shining, it looked like a scene from the past.  Finally the group dispersed and one of the talmidim came to tell us that Rav Shmuel was ready for us.

Nervously we approached.  I think my boys were more terrified then I was.  He wished us Sholom Aleichem and asked my son his name.  As I started fumbling with the scissors he asked, "where is the camera".  Of course, the camera! I took it out and he called one of his talmidim to take a picture.

He held up the scissors and took a snip.  He then turned to his talmid and asked if the flash went off.  His talmid said yes.  Rav Shmuel said he didn't see it and he should take another picture.  He then held up the piece of hair that he had snipped off, together with the scissors, as if he was cutting it for the first time, and posed for the camera.  I couldn't believe my eyes.

It may be a fake pose, but it was one of the most genuine and thoughtful displays of kindness that we are fortunate to have hanging on the wall of our home.  Our gedolim don't waste their time with fulfilling mundane requests.  They go from the epitome of the world with their torah and tefila to the height of chesed with their incredible care for every simple Jewish adult and child alike.

Tue, 20 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Avrohom Pam: "Then They Will Call Me Humble"

One time someone introduced Rav Avrohom Pa'am, the Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Voda'as, with all sorts of flattering comments including calling him the Gadol HaDor.  Rav Pa'am got up and gave his speech with making any remarks about the introduction. 

Afterwards someone close to him approached him and asked his normally humble Rebbi why he did not protest or at least deflect any of the comments made about him.  Rav Pa'am answered that if he did, the only thing it would accomplish is that people would say, is that he is so humble as well.

May this great tzaddik be a lesson and inspiration in true humility!

Mon, 05 Jan 2009 03:00:00 +0000
The Tchebiner Rov Foils The Protest "In Honor" Of The Brisker Rov One time a member of the Israel Knesset insulted the Brisker Rov.  The askanim, furious at the chutzpa of a Chaver Knesset infringing on the kavod of such a great Gadol, rallied the people for a massive protest against him. 

The askanim came to the Tchebiner Rov and asked him to sign a letter of protest. The Tchebiner Rov said this was surely a worthy document to sign on but... before signing he wants them to go ask the Brisker Rov his opinion.  The Tchebiner Rov in his infinite wisdom apparently thought that nothing constructive would come out of this, only more damage.

When they went to the home of the Brisker Rov and presented the document before him, he disapproved the whole thing.  He was very appreciative of the Tchebiner Rov for helping prevent the plan from coming to fruition.

Thu, 04 Dec 2008 03:00:00 +0000
The Brisker Shadchan There was a person in Brisk who felt the need to always tell the absolute truth, especially when it came to other people.  This habit ruined many a Shidduch in the city of Brisk, when people would ask him about the participants of a Shidduch.  When this came to the attention of the Brisker Rov, he called the man and told him that the seforim say that the truth is so powerful, that with even a little truth you can light up the entire world... and with a lot of truth you can burn up the entire world.  (Peninim UParaparaos Al HaParsha  Chayei Sara)

Fri, 21 Nov 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Pinchas MiKoritz On How To Moan And Groan Rav Pinchas MiKoritz spent 7 years toiling to learn the meaning of truth.  He spent another 7 years learning what a lie was.  He then spent 7 years learning how to acquire the truth and stay away from falsehood.

Before his Seder HaLimud in middle of the night, Rav Shem MiKalushitz would go the mikva led by his attendant.  One night as the attendant overslept Rav Shem set out to the mikva by himself.  On the way, deep in thought, he tripped and broke a rib.

He lied in bed for many weeks with this painful injury but never let a groan escape his lips.  The people around him asked him how he can stay silent without letting out a single sigh.  He said that he was following the opinion of Rav Pinchas MiKoritz who said that one who groans louder or longer than his pain dictates is treading on the territory of falsehood.(Chaim Sheyesh Bahem - Pirkei Avos 1:9)

Thu, 30 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Esrog Worth Its Weight In Gold? Don't Forget The Real Gold... For Your Wife Rav Shalom Eisen, z’tl was a dayan and moreh tzedek in Yerushalayim more than fifty years ago.  He was also known as an expert in the kashrus and hiddurim of esrogim and lulavim.  As each Succos approached, hundreds of people would appear at his house to show him the arba minim which they purchased. 

One year, an avreich approached him with a beautiful esrog, mehudar in all its aspects, to receive R’ Eisen’s approval.  R’ Eisen examined it and then shook his head and said, “This esrog is not for you.”  The avreich was astounded.  He had delved into the halachos of the arba minim, and had spent a considerable amount of time purchasing such a mehudar esrog.  Why was Rav Eisen telling him that this esrog was not for him?

He asked Rav Eisen, “Is there an halachic problem with this esrog?

Instead of answering him, Rav Shalom asked him a question, “What do you do?”

The avreich answered, “I learn in a kollel here in Yerushalayim.” 

“How much do you get paid?”

The avreich answered him, and told him the exact amount of money he received from his kollel. 

“And how much are they asking for this esrog?” inquired Rav Shalom.

The avreich answered that they were asking a considerable amount of money.

Rav Eisen said, “This is what I thought from the beginning. You are right; the esrog itself is mehudar.  But if you listen to me, I would advise you to purchase a cheaper esrog, and with the remaining money, purchase something for your wife likvod Yom Tov.  This is true kavod Yom Tov.”    (Chayim Sheyash Bahem) 

Sun, 12 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
The Chasam Sofer Makes A Shidduch For Kol Nidrei One Erev Yom Kippur as it was getting dark, the Chasam Sofer sent for one of his talmidim.  The Talmid, all nervous at being called to his revered Rebbi at this most crucial time entered shaking with fear.  To his shock, theChasam Sofer offered him a Shidduch.  The girl was a Yesomah from her father.  Stunned, the Talmid couldn't get any words out of his mouth.  The Chasam Sofer once again said to him, "My son, I have only the best intentions for you, why do you not reply?"  Finally speaking through falling tears, the boy said, "Rebbi, you know I amdestitute and if I marry an orphan I am destined to live a life of bitter poverty."  The Chasam Sofer answered him that if agrees to the shidduch, he promises that Hashem will bless him with Parnassa and all his business dealings will succeed and he will live a very prosperous life.  When the Talmid heard this he consented.

Then the Chasam Sofer quickly sent for the girl and her mother.  After telling them about the boy he had for the girl, they to wondered out loud how they would even be able to make aChasanah considering the lack of money on both sides.  The Chasam Sofer promised them that if they agree to the shidduch, he promises that they will never lack anything and they will never have to take gifts or borrow money from anyone.

With both sides agreeing the Chasam Sofer wished Mazal Tov and since he was late for Kol Nidrei he headed for the door exclaiming, "Boruch Hashem I now have what to take with me to Kol Nidrei." 

The Chasam Sofer lived every moment of the year B'Kedusha U'B'Tahara.  His Elul was a lesson in Tshuva.  Yet he felt that he desperately needed to bring something special with him to Kol Nidrei.  What will we bring with us to Kol Nidrei this year?

Mon, 06 Oct 2008 03:00:00 +0000
The Ponevezher Rav - Money Talks... Torah

After World War II there was gathering of the Va'ad HaYeshivos about what to do about the dire need for funds for Yeshivos.  Each Rosh Yeshiva got up and spoke Divrei Torah.  The Ponevezher Rav, Rav Yosef Shalom Kahaneman got up and said, "I will talk about money.  You are all talking Torah but you really have in mind money.  I will talk about money but I am really doing this for the Torah." (Derech Sicha: Rav Elyah Mann to Rav Chaim Kanievsky)

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 03:00:00 +0000
The Last Will Of The Nesivos - Five Perakim Of Tehilim A Day The Baal HaNesivos, Rav Yaakov Loiberboim, left in his tzava'ah to say 5 Kapitlech Tehilim every day.  Tehilim, he says, fires up the heart for Avodas Hashem.  Moreover, Dovid HaMelech davened, that when people say Tehilim it should be considered in Shamayim like they learned the difficult Masechtos of Nega'im and Ohalos.  Since there is no ulterior motive for saying Tehilim, as it brings no glory or respect like Torah learning does, the Nesivos reasons that saying Tehilim is like Torah Lishma!  If you listen to the Nesivos, you'd be wise to say a few perakim with Kavana on a daily basis.

Tue, 26 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Magid Of Mezeritch: A Hearty Appetite Will Feed The Poor A wealthy man once came to visit Rav Do Ber the Magid of Mezeritch, the famed talmid and successor of the Baal Shem Tov.  During there conversation the Magid asked his visitor what he eats every day.  The man told him that he eats bread with salt and water.  The Magid scolded him and told him that he must eat like a rich man.  He should eat meat and fine drink befitting man of his stature.

When the audience was over and the visitor left, the Magid’s puzzled talmidim asked him why he insisted on the lavish diet?  What is wrong with a rich man who refuses to indulge in the riches of Olam HaZeh?  The Magid answered that if a rich man eats meat and fine drink, when a poor man tells him that he is in great need he will understand that the poor man needs at least enough money for bread and water.  However if the rich man himself subsists on bread and water, he will insist that the poor man can survive on rocks!

Mon, 25 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Rav Moshe Halberstam Rejoices Over Seeing Yerushalayim Although you must tear kri’ah upon seeing the Kosel for the first time in thirty days, if you live in Yerushalayim you need not tear kri’ah because its local presence numbs the senses, as if you have been there within thirty days.  Like all things we get used to, we stop fully appreciating it after a while.

Not so Rav Moshe Halberstam zt”l, a longtime resident and staple figure of Yerushalayim.  While driving back from out of the city with one of his children, they fondly remembered their father.  As we drove down the hill from Mivaseret Zion, where the homes of the Har Nof neighborhood become visible, they related how when Rav Moshe would see these homes, he would break into joyous melody and sing “Omdos Hayu Ragleinu Bishara’yich Yerushalayim”, our feet shall stand inside your gates, Yerushalayim!  He had spent just a few hours outside of our Holy city and he was still making a production about his joyous return.

If we genuinely connect to Kedushas Ir HaKodesh there is no dulling of our senses and every moment we spend in our Holy city is cherished.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 03:00:00 +0000

Many Gedolim dreamed about moving to Eretz Yisroel.  The Chofetz Chaim was one of them (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 3:281).  He had his bags all packed and was ready to go.  European Jewry was grief stricken over the thought of losing their leader.  Rav Chaim Ozer was notified and asked to persuade the Chofetz Chaim to remain in Europe.  When Rav Chaim Ozer Grodzinsky told him that the entire Yeshiva world would be in jeopardy if he left, he unpacked his bags and decided to remain right where was and give up his dream.

The Chofetz Chaim’s Talmid, Rav Elchonon Wasserman Hy”d, took his Rebbe’s Achrayos, responsibility for the Tzibbur a step further (Tshuvos V’Hanhagos 3:281).  He was in England shortly before the outbreak of World War II.  People begged him not to return to Poland because of the danger of the Nazi threat.  He answered that, “A captain does not leave his ship along the way, especially when a storm is coming in”.  Rav Elchonon returned to Baranovich and was killed Al Kiddush Hashem together with his talmidim.

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Wed, 25 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000
Reb Chaim Volozhin and the Secret That Saved The Brisker Rav

Today is the yahrzeit of Reb Chaim Volozhin, talmid of the Vilna Gaon and architect and father of the modern yeshiva. In Nefesh HaChaim he writes that when faced by danger if you concentrate on the pasuk "Ein Od Milvado"; "there is no other power other than Hashem", then all other forces will be nullified and the danger will disappear.

His descendant the Brisker Rav, in World War II when escaping from German occupied Poland towards Lithuania, made a harrowing three day journey towards the border. While many people on the same route were murdered by the Nazis ym"s his wagon travelled pretty much unharassed encountering many miracles along the way. When he was about to cross the border he was stopped by a soldier who started physically abusing him. After a few minutes another soldier mysteriously appeared and told him to leave the Brisker Rav alone.

The Brisker Rav later told a talmid that during the entire journey he strained himself to concentrate on "Ein Od Milvado". Once he approached the border he relaxed thinking that he was safe and at that point he was harassed by the soldier. Once he started concentrate again the mysterious soldier came to the Rav's aid.

Tue, 17 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000

Rav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, the Steipler Gaon was especially Makpid on Kavod HaSefer.  The Sefer Toldos Yaakov gives some examples of his diligence and sensitivity in his Kavod HaSefer.

•    Once when someone took out the wrong Sefer for him, before returning it to its place on the shelf he made sure to learn something from it in order not to embarrass it.  
•    He would fix every rip in his seforim.  When he rebound his Shas he said, “I have pleasure from the fact that my Seforim have been restored with their proper honor.”
•    If he would fall asleep on a Sefer after learning until his last ounce of energy dissipated, he would feel terrible about the lack of Kavod for the Sefer.
•    Two of his seforim “Birchas Peretz” and “Chayei Olam” were originally sold at cost price because he felt they were worthwhile to disseminate publicly.  Afterwards he decided to raise the price because he felt it was not Kavod for the seforim to be sold so inexpensively.  The profits were given to Tzedoka.

In many Shuls and Yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel there is a letter hung near the Seforim shelves regarding the importance of returning seforim after using them and not leaving them on the table.  It tells a story of a time that the Steipler Gaon finished learning in a Yeshiva not far his home.  After walking approximately 100 meters, despite the fact that walking was very difficult for him he realized that he didn’t return his sefer to its place.  He then turned around, went back to the place he was sitting, returned the sefer, and then went home.

The Steipler Gaon was a living Sefer Torah.  We may never reach his level of Torah but there is no reason we cannot reach his level of respect for the seforim that the torah is written in.

Mon, 16 Jun 2008 03:00:00 +0000