Friday, January 18, 2019

Dvar Torah - Beshalach - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

Dear Friends

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Beshalach. The Shabbos in which beshalach is read is called Shabbos Shira (praise/song). The reason why this portion is so special, that we name it a name, although we don't find that with any other portion. Usually a portion is named after an individual or a word in the beginning of the portion. There are four special historic events, and gifts we received from Hashem, that are mentioned in this portion: Splitting of the sea, the Manna which came down from heaven daily, the holy Shabbos, and the war with Amolek. All and each of the above warrant a separate praise to Hashem. It is for this reason, says Reb Avrom Yaakov of Sadigura, that this Shabbos is called Shabbos Shira.

We recite the Shira daily, during shachris (morning prayers). The Beis Ahron writes that the shiras hayam includes everything one needs. One can find salvation for all problems, spiritual or material, if one recites Oz Yoshir (shiras hayam) with proper concentration.

Many commentaries ask, why is it that Jews did not say Shira only after they crossed the sea ? They had witnessed so many miracles until then, why didn’t they say shira on the ten plagues or on the exodus ? The holy Kabbalist Reb Chaim Vital answers, that the Jews had been subject earlier to such a cruel decree of throwing infants into the river, they could not say praise or sing until they saw revenge for that specific decree. Now the Egyptians were punished measure for measure, and drowned in water, they were finally able to say shira wholeheartedly.

In Likutei Ritzba gives a slightly different approach. Moshe wanted to recite the Shira with the entire nation, as it is written in mishlei 14/28 birov am hadras melech - the greater the crowd, the more glory for the king. Up until now, despite the great excitement and appreciation for all the great miracles, there was still fear of the agressor. Even a slave that manages to escape is not fully relaxed until he knows his master can never recapture him again. Now when they witnessed with their own eyes how the Egyptian oppressors were dead at the sea side, they were able to sing shira to Hashem all together with glory.

As it is the week we read about the tremendous miracles, may Hashem grant us all the salvation that Klal Yisroel needs and each individuals needs, whether it is Parnosoh or Shiduchim or strengthening the taste of Shabbos and/or erasing Amolek from within, and of course from outside, speedily.

Gut Shabbos

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Dvar Torah - Voeiro - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Voeiro. In the end of last weeks portion, Moshe complained to Hashem, why he sent him on this mission, for since he came to Pharaoh the situation went from bad to worse.  The portion begins with Hashem rebuking Moshe for complaining. Later Hashem reaffirms that he will take the Jewish nation out of Egypt and He will bring them to the land, which He promised to their forefathers. We learn about the first seven plagues, brought upon the Egyptians, which was the beginning of the redemption of klal Yisroel (the Jewish nation). Before each plague there was a warning period whereby Moshe informed Pharoh about the coming plague, giving him the chance to release the jews from Egypt, and avoid the plague. Hashem informed Moshe that Pharaoh will be stubborn and he won’t send the Jewish nation out of Egypt.

The beginning of the portion is rather difficult to understand. Here Moshe left Midyan and came back to Egypt, risking his life, only to fulfill the request of G-d. He goes to Pharaoh, who considered Moshe to be a convicted felon. He warns him that he must send his brothers and sisters, the Jewish nation out of Egypt, and not only was his request not granted and in his eyes, his mission was a total failure, things got "worse" for the Jews. What's so terrible about Moshe's complaint ? Doesn't it sound like legitimate complaint from someone who was deeply concerned with the living conditions of his brethren.

The Chassidic commentaries and the Baalei Musar say a very similar concept. One needs to know that nothing Hashem does is "bad". If we see somethings that look bad it's because we lack clear vision we lack proper insight into what's taking place. The rebuke was not for requesting better conditions, that's acceptable. The rebuke was to the wording of Lomo hareioiso - why did you make it worse ( bad). Everything Hashem does is for the good, in fact the reason they were freed earlier after 210 years instead of 400 years), was because of the greater difficulty that made up for the remaining years.

A farmer's child woke up early every morning even before the sun would rise. He would look around as the sun was rising and wonder on the opposite side of the farm there was a house with gold Windows. He would marvel every morning at that home wondering who lived there. One day he decided he's gonna head out in that direction and although it's far he's determined to see that house. He heads west for hours, and it's nearing sunset and he just doesn't seem to find the house with the gold Windows, instead he sees an old broken house. As it was getting late, he knocked on the door and a little child opened the door and he asked him, maybe you know where the house with gold Windows are ? Sure, said the young child come on to the porch and look in the direction you came from. As he looks in the direction of his farm, he sees the gold Windows are by his farm. What we see is what we want to see, and from where we approach what we are looking at.

A lecturer in a rehab center once demonstrated to his patients the danger that overconsumption of alcohol can cause. He took a worm and put it into a cup of whisky and in seconds the worm became crumbs. The crowd was amazed, some wanted to see the demo again. Then the presenter asked the attendees, what conclusion do you draw from what you saw ? One of the attendees got up and said that he gets it, the conclusion he drew was that people who drink a lot of alcohol don't have bugs/worms in their stomach. No one got the simple message, that overconsumption of alcohol can tear the body apart. Because everyone sees what they want to see. If one wants to see good, one can see good in the midst of misery, G-d forbid. If one doesn't focus on seeing the good, they will never appreciate it.

This is the lesson for us, of course we are not on the level of Moshe, but the Torah writes this so that we should learn to program ourselves to see good in everything. May Hashem grant us good that's easy to comprehend!
Gut Shabbos!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

A glimpse into Torah Leadership in America - #1

Maran Harav Aharon Schechter, Shlit"a - Rosh Yeshivas Rabbenu Chaim Berlin.

Maran Harav Aharon, Shlit"a is the Senior Rosh Yeshiva‎ in America.

A Talmid Muvhak of‎ Maran Harav Yitzchok Hutner, Zt"l.

Maran Rav Aharon, Shlit"a authored the Sefer on Kodshim titled Avodas Aharon in his younger Years.

During his ACTIVE tenure as Rosh Yeshiva he would learn with his Talmidim the Sefer pachad
Yitzchok authored by his Rebbe Maran Harav Hutner, Zt"l.‎ He was greatly respected by Maran Harav SZ, Zt"l and Maran Harav Eliyashuv, Zt"l

Utnu Kovod L'torah!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is considered to be the most popular American president among the Jewish orthodox commu‎nity.

Beginning with commuting the sentence of R' Shalom Rubashkin after having spent almost 8 years in prison and his transfer of the American embassy to Yerushalayim he is seen as a president who cares about jews amongst many other groups.

His son in law, mr Kushner identifies as an observant jew ‎and has been very helpful to all of the Jewish community in the U.S.

The president, recently got many jews together for a chanukah celebration in the White House and spoke about his strong conviction that the U.S. should support Israel and help protect it.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Dvar Torah - Vayishlach - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion Vayishlach. Yaakov was heading back to his homeland, after many years of absence due to fear of Eisav. After leaving Levon’s home, Yaakov sent messengers (Angels) to meet with Eisov, and he prepared himself for a meeting with Eisov. Yaakov prepared three methods for his meeting. First he sent sizable gifts for Eisov, he also prayed to Hashem to save him in the event of confrontation, and thirdly he prepared for war. He split up his camp into two groups, so that if one is confronted the other camp will be saved. We learn how Yaakov returned to pick up some jars he left behind on the opposite side of the canal. Yaakov was confronted by the Angel representing Eisov, and he wrestled with him. Yaakov won the battle and made the angel admit that the blessings were rightfully his. We learn about the meeting between Yaakov and Eisov and the desire of Yaakov to part from him as quickly as possible. We learn about the tragic event with Dina, and the response from Shimon and Levi. We also learn about the tragic passing of Rochel, during childbirth (of Binyomin), and the passing of Yitzchok at age 180. The portion ends with the names of the ministers of Eisov.

The Torah tells us that Yaakov was afraid and he had fear and Rashi comments that, he was afraid he would get killed and he feared that maybe he would kill others. Many commentaries ask, we learned in the previous portion that Hashem promised Yaakov that he will be with him and watch over him, why was he afraid ? It is well known that the Chozeh of Lublin was extremely humble, and he once expressed about himself, that even if he heard from G-d directly, that he is a Tzadik (pious man), he would believe that it was true just for that second, but a second later he would be worried maybe he lost his greatness. This helps understand the way Ramban explains the fear of Yaakov. Ramban says that great people are constantly worried that they shouldn’t lose their level of holiness and that maybe according to the talents and strengths they were given, they didn’t do enough. So although Yaakov received a promise from Hashem that he would watch over him, maybe, he feared he was no longer worthy of the blessing.

The Chidushei Harim says that Yaakov was praying not for himself, but for the future generations and his fear was for his descendants when/if they would be in this situation they should be saved from the evil forces who want to destroy them. This has been proven over and over again. Unfortunately in many generations there were/are forces who thought/think they will erase the Jews from the face of the earth and Hashem saves us, as we read in the Hagodo, on Pesach,  Shebchol dor vodor omdim oleinu lichaloseinu, v’Hakodosh Boruch Hu Matzileinu miyodom.

One more idea I’d like to share with you regarding the outlook on life of Yaakov verses the outlook of Eisov. In Bireishis 33/5 when Eisov finally reaches Yaakov he saw the women and the children, and said “who are these to you”? And Yaakov replied, “the children which Hashem granted me”. The Divrei Shmuel of Slonim explains the dialogue between the two. Eisov saw Yaakov has four wives, and he thought to himself, this is my world, how does it come to a holy man like Yaakov ? Yaakov’s response was the purpose of marriage to these women was to have these children. It is known that a Baron once asked the holy Rebbe of Rizhin what’s the difference between me and you, I eat and drink and so do you, I have a wife and children and so do you. The difference, replied the Ruzhiner, is that you live because you want to eat and drink, I eat and drink because I want to live. You have children because you have a wife, I have a wife because I wanted to bring children to the world. It is all about putting things into perspective.

Gut Shabbos

Agudah Convention - 5779

The Agudah convention will be starting tomorrow (Thursday night). Though the crowd is not as large as previous years there are still a respectable amount of participants.

Maran Rav Aharon Schechter Shlita, The Zkan Roshei  Hayeshiva‎ in America, Rav Perlow, Rav Yerucham Olshin ‎Shlita, Rav Yaakov Horowitz Shlita & Maran Rav Kaminetsky Shlita are expected to attend. Maran Harav D. Feinstein Shlita will be attending for a short time.

The anticipated event will help clarify the torah position on many world & National events.‎ This event is for many the wellspring for Da'as Torah regarding many issues.

Utenu‎ Kovod L'Torah!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Dvar Torah - Vayeitzei - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Vayeitzei. We learn that Yaakov escaped from his parents home due to the threat on his life, from his brother Eisov. Yaakov stopped to study for fourteen years and then headed toward Choron, to fulfill the command of his parents, that he marry someone from “their” family. We learn how Yaakov met Rochel, the daughter of Lovon at the well. He was impressed with her and wanted to marry her. We learn how Lovon fooled Yaakov by giving him Leah and not Rochel, and the great sacrifice Rochel made not to cause her sister embarrassment. only later Lovon agreed to grant Yaakov his second daughter, Rochel. We learn how Yaakov worked hard and Lovon kept changing his pay. We learn about the births of the holy children of Yaakov, the foundation of Klal Yisroel. After the birth of Yosef Yaakov can no longer stay with Lovon. Hashem tells him it’s time to return. A dispute erupted as Lovon expressed his dissatisfaction of his children’s departure. Hashem warned Lovon not to harm Yaakov. They set feet back to the Holy Land.

There’s so much we can learn from the dealings between Yaakov and Lovon. In general all these portions about the history of our forefathers are full of deep lessons. I want to share one important lesson from this week’s portion.

When Yaakov reached Choron he had a discussion with the Shepards as to why they were just standing at the well. They declared that they waited for a group of Shepard’s to appear in order to remove the stone covering the well. Yaakov walked over and just removed on his own like he took a cap off a bottle. We need to understand what was the reason Yaakov did this, was he trying to show then his physical strength ? If so, why ? Also why is it important for the Torah to tell us about this detail ? There’s a tremendous lesson Yaakov wanted to teach them and us as well. If one really wants to accomplish something, nothing can stand in the way, all one needs to do is try, not stand on the side and say I can’t. We find the same situation (in the portion of Shmos), when Basya removed Moshe from the water. Moshe was placed in the water far from an arm stretch, however she was determined to save the child and stuck out her arm, and the Medrash teaches us that her arm became longer until she reached the box in which Moshe lye. We need to do ours and we will see that Hashem will help, and the impossible can be achieved.

Gut Shabbos!