"Where does it say that you have a contract with G-d to have an easy life?"

the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"Failure is not the enemy of success; it is its prerequisite."

Rabbi Nosson Scherman

28 Feb 2017

Divestment focus

This morning I came across an opinion piece titled The Jewish case for Ohio State divestment written by the President of Jewish Voice for Peace – Ohio State.

Three times a day, we recall our liberation from slavery in Egypt: “Once we were slaves in Egypt, now we are free people.”

I love when people take one verse out of the liturgy to justify their opinions while myriad other verses are ignored. Incidentally, I don't think even the greatest rabbi recites the above verse three times a day. What they do recite is, "May it be Your will, Lord our G-d and G-d of our fathers, that the Temple be speedily rebuilt in our days."

Does the author of the article advocate for the rebuilding of the Temple on the Temple Mount when Mashiach arrives?

By contrast, I was very moved by an article which uses the phrase, “We were once slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, now we are free.” Click here to read.

Incidentally, the Jewish voice for Peace is having a national conference which includes speaker Rasmea Odeh. You can read about her over here.


Reading Between the Hardlines

Arab who blinded Jew will not sit one day in prison

U.N. Human Rights Council Quicksand: Get Out or Drown

27 Feb 2017


Henry Rousso, a French historian and one of the most pre-eminent scholars on the Holocaust, said he was detained for more than 10 hours by federal border agents in Houston and told he would not be allowed to enter the United States before lawyers intervened to stop his deportation.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/26/us/french-historian-detained-immigration-henry-rousso.html?_r=0

The BBC describes Mr. Rousso as 'The Egyptian-born Jewish scholar.'

I would hazard a guess that if the historian had been a different religion, the New York Times would have introduced his religion into the article.

Purim: In What Merit Did "ונהפוך הוא" Come?

Swastikas Shock Miami Residents

Parashat Terumah: The Mishkan - The Jewish Heart

26 Feb 2017

Another cemetery desecrated

Meet the terrorist behind the next women’s march

New York Times Decries Catholic-Jewish ‘Mutual Suspicion,’ Prompting Outcry

מופת: החלום שהציל את ראש ישיבת חברון הגאון רבי נחמן טוקר

ABCnews reported on a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia (the city of brotherly lovethat was found desecrated. One can see in the video posted below how a journalist reported from the cemetery amongst the broken headstones. The first headstone the camera focuses on belongs to Esther Fishman. As we enter the month of Adar which features the story of Purim with Esther as the heroine, and the mazal of Adar being fish, let us hope that the month will usher in glad tidings and that these incidents become a thing of the past.

"הרב ברלנד במכתב חריף לתלמידיו: "מי שלא מסוגל לקבל ביזיונות באהבה - שיעזוב את הקהילה

Powerful moments

Let’s Not Waste Our Tefillos, The Most Powerful Moments of Our Day

A book about Jewish boxers and anti-Semitism

Mashiach Part 1: Understanding Key Concepts about Mashiach

Mashiach Part 2: End Of Days - The Craving For Wealth

Where's the Outrage Over Discrimination Against Jews/Israelis?

Rabbi Mendel Kessin The Hidden Story of Amalek (complete) Adar and Purim

23 Feb 2017

Ascending the ramp

Rabbi Shmuel Silber on Parshas Mishpatim: Mishpatim: Appreciating the Ramp

New Jersey: Parents Find Islamic Propaganda in 7th Grade Class, Violates District Policy

Emunah Daily lesson

The Prerequisite to Success

Toronto mosque apologizes for anti-Jewish prayer

Parashat Mishpatim: The Prerequisite to Success in Torah

איך "מרבים בשמחה"? שאלו את הילד שבכם

I was speaking to an elderly man yesterday who told me that his father left Poland in 1936 for New Zealand although job opportunities were scarce at the time. Hs father survived World War II while his uncles, who remained in Poland, did not. I told him that G-d must have plnated the idea in his father's mind to leave for uncharted waters as it was meant for him to live.
Somehow the conversation switched to a BBC program titled Who do you think you are. He told me that he had watched a number of the programs where people who had ties to the Holocaust were shown their roots. He recommended I watch the segment with Natasha Kaplinsy and I found an excerpt on YouTube which is really powerful. I have posted it below.

20 Feb 2017

We didn't jump up and down

“This is the third time I’ve ever purchased a lottery ticket, and when we found out that we had won, we didn’t jump up and down – we took a book of Tehillim (Psalms) and said ‘thank you’ to the Creator. We couldn’t fall asleep. We were very happy and excited from the great gift we had received.”

Parshas Mishpatim: Ben Ish Chai - Why The Innocent Children Suffer

The pasuk tells us that when someone causes pain to an orphan or widow, Hashem will take matters into His own hand and will kill the opressor and leave his family without a father and husband. One might think that the reason is because they are downtrodden. While this is certainly a concept mentioned in the Torah and Chazal, that is not what the pasuk says here.

Rav Itzele Volozhin explains that when a person faces a difficulty, he naturally turns to his patron to help him, usually a father or husband. When the person does that Hashem stays out of the scene and leaves it to the person turned to for help to do so. Not so with widows and orphans who don't have a father figure to turn to. They cry out directly to Hashem, "Ki Im Tzaok Etzak Elai." (Mishpatim 22:22) When someone cries to Hashem, how can our compassionate King not answer their prayers?

The lesson is that we should be smart, and as soon as we need something, Hashem should be our first port of call and not a last resort when all else fails.

18 Feb 2017

A mirror image

High Court to Decide Amona's Mirror Image Arab Case

Where is The Mishkan?

Rav Menachem Mendel Mi'Kotzk answered that the Mishkan is wherever you want it to be. All you need to do is to make place for it. You need to create a Makom Kadosh. Once you do that Hashem will rest His Shechina anywhere, even in each individual person. That is what the pasuk says "V'Asu Li Mikdash"; make me a Holy place. "V'Shachanti Bisochum"; I will rest in them. "Them" is plural because Hashem's Shechina is not limited to a single place. It will dwell anywhere it is invited.

I heard in the name of Rav Ezriel Tauber that after the Holocaust, Moshiach was given permission to come down. The "satan" will not stop him anymore. The problem is that he has no place to come to. The satan works hard to make sure there is no "4 Amos" anywhere in the world completely clean of "tumah" to which Moshiach can come down to. Our job today is to create a sterile environment, clean enough to host Moshiach.

17 Feb 2017

The 7-year-old job applicant

Netilat Yadayim - Washing for Bread 1 (Introduction)

7-year-old writes to Google for job, CEO Sundar Pichai replies

Friedman Prayed Before Hearing

Honoring Parents and In-Laws

Parshas Yisro: The Princess And The Pauper

In the video below, Rabbi Tokayer speaks about thanking Hashem. Recently I went to a lecture in which the speaker related that she recites Tehillim Perek 100, which begins with words of thanks to Hashem, throughout the day. After I heard the lecture, I had a dental appointment which went better than I expected. I took out a  seferTehillim and recited Perek 100.
There is an organization in Israel which distributes pocket sized cards that contain the words of asher yatzar, perek 100, and also a special prayer of thanks to Hashem, even during what we perceive as bad times. If you call them at 054 849 8704, they will mail you the cards to you for free in Israel.

14 Feb 2017

The added parsha

UCLA newspaper publishes, then apologizes for, antisemitic cartoon

Telling the Rough Truth About the Shidduch Crisis

Opinion: The forgotten conversation over the Smartphone

Dating a Gift, Possibly a Bashert

Below is a vort about the parsha posted on a YeshivaWorld thread.

Brilliant insight from the Gerer rebbe, the Imrei Emes: Rashi: Yisro is Yeser, with the letter vav added. The reason it was added is because Yisro added a Parsha to the Torah, the Parsh of "And you shall see.." (the advice about appointing judges). Asks the Imrei Emes: the begining of the Parsh that Yisro added is "it is not good..you will surely become exhausted..." (Yisro started by pointing out the existing problem). 
 Answers the Imrei Emes: Anyone can point out that there is a problem. The gadlus is to advise a workable solution!

12 Feb 2017

Physical and spiritual


Danish teen charged with plotting to bomb Jewish school

Investigation Exposes UN Agents Inciting Terrorism, Hate

The Pasuk says Yisro heard "Es Kol Asher Asah Elokim L'Moshe U'LiYisroel" what Hashem did for Moshe and Yisroel that he took them out of Mitzrayim. Why does it say Moshe separately and Yisroel separately. The Rebbe Reb Elimelech says that there are two different ways to look at Yetzias Mitzrayim. One is the fact that they were no longer enslaved by the Mitzrim and were free from their hard work. The other view is that we were rescued by Hashem who loves us and took us out of spiritual slavery to a situation where we can serve Hashem without any interference.

That is why it says Moshe and Bnei Yisroel separately. Bnei Yisroel enjoyed the physical freedom while Moshe saw the Afeila L'Or Gadol, the spiritual bleakness lit by a great light and closeness to Hashem. Yisro saw the two reactions and appreciated both. (Iturei Torah)

11 Feb 2017

Good advice

Rashi tells us that Yisro had 7 names. One was ‘Yeser' - because he "added" a parsha to the Torah, by giving Moshe advice to take help when judging Klal Yisroel. Rashi says that the parsha he added was "ViAtah Sechezeh' - and you shall seek out from the people judges who are wealthy, G-d fearing, etc.

The Gerer Rebbe asks, isn't it odd that Rashi quotes a pasuk from the middle of the story? These are not the first words of the dialogue between Yisro and Moshe. Rashi should have quoted the earlier words of Yisro (pasuk 17) - "Lo Tov HaDavar Asher Atah Oseh" - ‘It is not correct what you are doing by judging alone." Why did Rashi quote verse 21?

The Rebbe answers, it's easy to be critical about what someone else is doing. "You are doing it wrong!" I can do it better!" If one wants to give constructive criticism, he should offer a better way. By just saying, "what you're doing is wrong!" is not sufficient. Show the other person a better way how to do it. This is why Rashi does not quote the opening words of Yisro, "Lo Tov HaDavar Asher Atah Oseh"; since that would just be a standard criticism. Rashi wants to stress that Yisro criticized and offered wholesome advice. That is why he was called "Yeser'. He added the parsha in the Torah of "ViAtah Sechezeh', which are the words of his advice to Moshe.

6 of 7 Trump Travel Ban Nations Reject Israeli Passports, Mainstream Media Ignores

PHOTOS: “Thanks for all you do”

University student leader: Punch a Zionist today

10 Feb 2017

Parshas Beshalach - Tu BiShvat

Hasidic Jew Invites the Homeless to an Epic Super Bowl Party

Hateful Threats Against a Jewish Blogger

Google AI's zoom and enhance photo tech gives you nowhere to hide

Parshas Bshalach - Current Events

A RUSSIAN HACKING TEAM has shown evidence that Apple is storing records of users' browser history even after it has been 'deleted'.
Read more: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/3004330/apple-is-storing-your-deleted-safari-search-history-in-icloud

As I read the last two articles above, I thought about the final sentence in Pirkei Avot 2:1.

Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you–a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in a book.

ט"ו בשבט בפתח: הסגולות שאתם חייבים להכיר

8 Feb 2017

A party

Rabbi Zecharia Wallerstein delivers powerful words in a lecture he gave last week - Parashat Bo: Watching Moshiach Come.

This morning I saw an advertisement for a Valentine's Day /Tu B'Shavat party. - Just what we need.

Someone posted a question in a comment at the end of an article by a rabbi who invited a motivational speaker to lecture in the social hall of his synagogue next week.

Also does the fees (.........) he charges for speaking in anyway helps to promote his dynamic Catholic Institute and Catholic programs?

Trump says he sleeps 4-5 hours a night

TV Reporter Tells His Miracle Story

4 Feb 2017


Behind the Wall, Part One

Some comments posted under a JPost article titled CONSERVATIVE JUDGE WORRIES REFORM JEWS include:

"These groups have subjugated halachic social norms to their social liberalism and so, of course they will oppose a judicial candidate who actually may find in favour or a religious conservative viewpoint, whether institutionally or individually."

"Reform Jews an anachronism that is slowly, but surely dying away. To be replaced by former Jews of a liberal persuasion."

Jewish community centers in US receive nearly 50 bomb threats in 2017 so far

Imagine you own a stock brokerage firm. Cleaning your offices is a janitor who every now and then sticks his nose into your business and makes a comment about a stock which of course you ignore. After all he is only the janitor. One day he quits and as he leaves he tells you that he happened to be a top Wall Street analyst before some unfortunate turn of events destroyed his life and caused him to accept working as a janitor. Now things turned around and he was hired by top firm to head their brokerage department. You'd probably kill yourself for being so blind.

The gemara says that the word "VaYehi" sometimes has a connotation of a very painful event. I once heard that this is pshat in the pasuk "VaYehi BiShalach Paroh Es HaAm". The Medrash says that Bnei Yisroel left Mitzrayim in the formation of the Degalim that they traveled in the Midbar. Paroh always viewed them as "good for nothing" slaves. Upon seeing this incredible organization and understanding that these were not ordinary slaves rather son's of nobility, he experienced a moment of intense pain and regret. How could it be that he had this amazing talent under his control for so long and he didn't take advantage of it? He could have moved Mitzrayim fast forward in time with their talents and innovation. Yet he was too busy pushing them down to realize what he had.

This is a lesson to open up your eyes and see the best in people while you still have a chance. Once it is too late they may never come back again.

2 Feb 2017

Two times two times two

A few days ago I caught a video by Rabbi Daniel Coren in which he spoke about the importance of learning mishnayot. He said that he was forming a WhatsApp group where people would be able to learn two mishnayot a day. In addition, he also decided to post two mitzvot a day, as well as two halachot a day.
Since a couple of days ago, Rabbi Coren has posted on youtube, two mishnayot, two mitzvot and two halachot daily both in Hebrew, as well as English. In his "spare time" he also posts thoughts on the parsha.
Kol Hakavod to Rabbi Coren for utilizing his potential and the internet's potential to provide maximum benefit for mere mortals such as me who can only look upon all his endeavors with great awe. I wonder how one individual can accomplish so much. I wish him continued success and may he merit to have many following his learning schedule.
One can check out his videos by searching youtube for הרב דניאל קורן or Rabbi Daniel Coren. Below I  posted one video in English and one in Hebew from today's learning.

Baba David’s Roshei Teivos for Rav Shteinman

Faux outrage

WATCH: Nigel Farage Exposes EU Leaders’ Hypocrisy And Faux Outrage Over President Trump

Parashat Bo: Constant Growth


An Austrian luxury hotel says it’s ditching electronic room cards for old-fashioned locks and keys after having their systems frozen by blackmail-hungry hackers.
Read more: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/01/31/austrian-hotel-ditching-electronic-room-cards-after-being-hacked.html

That certainly makes it easier to keep Shabbos.

Shliach Stars in New Documentary

1 Feb 2017

Sparking outrage

Anti-Israel Cartoon Sparks Outrage

A video posted on youtube titled Rashid Khalidi: American Mediation between Israel & the Palestinians has the professor from Columbia University opining about the causes of the failed peace process. It's the fault of the Israelis. It's the fault of the Americans. It is not the fault of the Palestinians.
I wonder how his students can ever learn that there are two sides to a story. I also wonder about a statement Professor Khalidi made in the video regarding a question posed to him about President Obama.
Khalidi stated, "I haven't had anything to do with him in years and years."
Why did Michael Rubin write in the book he authored Dancing with the Devil about the President's actions in 2009, "Coached by Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian historian and PLO veteran, Obama sought to recalibrate the American postion?'

Derech Eretz

Make Derech Eretz Great Again

Trump supporters help Muslim business owner whose limo was burned by rioters - Why aren't the rioters accountable for restitution?

Nancy Pelosi Instructs Andre Carson To Tell Crowd He Is a Muslim

Rechnitz in London Tackles School Acceptance and Tzedakah Giving