Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Adar 2 - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

As we have already begun the second month of Adar, and we all know that in this month we are to increase joy and happiness, I’d like to share with you a thought from the Holy Ruzhiner Rebbe. We know the rule of “botel bishishim”, taste becomes void when it is mixed with sixty times its measure. Says the holy Ruzhiner when there are two months of Adar, (as this year,) from Rosh Chodesh Adar 1 until the conclusion of Adar 2 there are sixty days, in which we increase joy and happiness. With the power of sixty we can nullify any sorrow misery or depression from the entire year.

May we merit always only joy and happiness.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Dvar Torah - Titzave - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Titzave. The portion begins with the mitzvah of preparing proper olive oil in order to kindle the Menorah every evening. The portion continues with Hashem commanding Moshe to arrange for the production of the special garment to be worn in the Holy Temple (Mishkon - Beis Hamikdosh), by the High Priest - Kohen Godol. Separate garments needed to be worn by the other Kohanim (priests), during their service in the Mishkon/ Beis Hamikdosh. Each of these garments needed to be prepared according to special specifications. Each of the garments of the Kohen Godol were to atone for different sins, and their specifications have hints and very deep meaning.

In Shmos 28 - 2, the Torah says that the garments for the High Priest Ahron shall be made for honor and splendor. This would imply that it was sort of a manifestation of splendor, and a uniform to present the honor of the position. Further in the next phrase, the Torah states “and you shall speak the wise people whom I’ve invested with the spirit of wisdom, and they shall make the vestments (garments) of Ahron to sanctify him to serve me. This seems to be a contradiction. Is the purpose of the outer look of the Kohen meant for splendor and honor or is it for sanctity, and service?
Many times two people will hear the same thing and one hears what he wants to hear and the other is really paying attention to the deeper meaning. The simple person may view the garments and vestments as a uniform thats just there for splendor, someone who’s not superficial understands that every detail has meaning. Every color, every cut, every stone, every garment has tremendous lessons and is meant to awaken in us a yearning and a desire to get closer to Hashem. As we are well aware before the Jewish leaders went out to war they would consult with The Urim Vitumim which was placed behind the Brestplate - the Choshen. The answer would show up in lit up letters on the Choshen. Of course to understand and appreciate this one needs to obtain wisdom and not look at these holy garments as just superficially.

May we speedily merit to return to the days of true glory when the life of the Jewish people was directed by meaningful servants in the holy temple.

ותחזינה עינינו בשובך לציון ברחמים בשמחה ובטוב לבב.

Gut Shabbos

Friday, February 8, 2019

Dvar Torah - Truma - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Truma. The portion begins with Hashem’s request that Moshe tell klal Yisroel to contribute various raw materials in order to build a Mishkon - a dwelling, so to say, for the Shechina (Hashem’s presence). This contribution was given by everyone whose heart desired to take part in this great mission. There was no mandatory amount and nobody was forced to give. All items are needed for the Mishkon, are listed in detail, gold, silver, copper.... Hashem also described to Moshe the artifacts and utensils which were to be placed in the Mishkon, beginning with the Aron - the holy Ark, which held in it the two tablets, and represents the holy Torah. Then there were the remaining artifacts such as the Shulchan, the Menorah and the Mizbeiach. Each one of the above mentioned artifacts had to be made precisely to specifications. All the details and measurements have great meaning and nothing is just simply by chance.

The first of the artifacts is the Aron which represents the Torah and above them were the kruvim - two birds, with faces like children facing each other. The kruvim represent the highest standard of Torah study, like children, who are worry free and don't have to go out to earn a living, they are able to immerse themselves in anything without great worry. So too, the world stands on Torah that is studied around the clock with full concentration. Another interesting detail is that the Kruvim faced each other, which is a hint as to how Torah should be studied. The talmud teaches us oi chavrusa oi misusa - either with a partner, or death. In other words, live Torah needs to be studied with others, otherwise it is dead. Perhaps that is a hint of the Kruvim above the Aron. Maybe even a step further, without taking an interest in someone else, there is no relation to Torah, upneihem ish el ochiv.

The idea of the Mishkon is that we create place for the shchina, to dwell amongst us. The Talmud teaches us that after the destruction of the Holy Temple our Shuls and places where Torah is studied, have somewhat of the holiness of the Beis Hamikdosh. By cherishing and respecting our Mikdosh Mi’at (small Temple), we will soom metit to return to the glorious days of the true great dwelling - the Beis Hamikdosh.

Gut Shabbos

Friday, February 1, 2019

Dvar Torah - Mishpotim - Rabbi Yitzchok Wolpin

This week we are privileged to read the portion of Mishpotim. The portion begins with the laws pertaining to someone who purchased a Jewish slave. The maximum term of work is six years, and if he is married, his master must make sure that his family is supported as well. The Talmud in tractate Kidushin teaches us that one who purchased a Jewish slave, in essence, purchased a master. The way one must treat the slave is fascinating. He cannot sleep with two pillows and his slave with one, he cannot overwork him and many other details that are designed to teach us respect for each other.

The Torah portion continues discussing physical harm, which one may have caused to someone and the proper restitution. Further the Torah discusses the four different types of damages which one’s animal or property causes to his fellow man or to his property. Later we learn about the stringency of mistreating a widow or an orphan. We also learn about the importance of assisting one another with loans when needed. As Rashi states, when you are approached for a loan you should view it as if you were the one in need (imoch). The portion concludes with Details that transpired during kabolas haTorah.

The majority of this portion are issues that apply bein odom lichaveiro - between man and man. This is the first portion after kabolas haTorah, and it also ends with the details of mamad Har Sinai (events at Mt Sinai). To be a Torah Jew means to be stringent not only in mitzvohs between man and G-d but it begins with mitzvohs between man and man. Perhaps one more example of this concept is the mitzvah ozov tazov imo - one who see his enemy’s donkey lying under a heavy load, one must assist him. The Talmud states that if one has an enemy who needs assistance loading and a Friend who needs assistance unloading he should rather assist the enemy, in order to overcome his bad tendencies of revenge (see Bava Metzia 32). Although normally it would seem more important to unload to lighten the burden from the animal as well, yet, the Torah stresses how important it is for us to change and refine our character.

The portion begins with “the laws which you shall place before them” and rashi explains that the Torah should be placed before them like a fully prepared table from which one can immediately eat. A chosid once complained to the Chidushei Horim, that he was forgetting the Torah he learned. The Chidushei Harim replied, why is it that when it comes to eating, you don’t seem to have forgotten ? Did you ever put your spoon in the soup and then instead of putting it into your mouth, put it into your ear ? Why is it that the Torah doesn’t become ingrained in us at least as much as the mundane things we do ?

May we merit to learn Torah and be wholesome in both, bein odom laMokom and bein odom lchaveiro, thereby absorbing the Torah as part of us.

Gut Shabbos

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Boruch Haba

From Bnei Brak an Adam Gadol, Shlita arrived to New York to raise funds for his Yeshiva.

Maran Harav Menachem Tzvi Berlin, Shlita who is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Rabbenu Chaim Ozer in Bnei Brak, is visiting generous supporters of Torah in Brooklyn, Monsey and Lakewood‎ . He also plans on visiting Los Angeles during his time here.

Maran Harav Shach, zt"l admired Rav Berlin, shlita very much.

‎He is very respected in all of the Tzibur hacharedi

In Eretz Yisroel. People come to him asking him for his Brachos that have proven to cause change in people's lives for the better. Regarding Parnasa, health, and Shalom Bayis etc..

‎Utnu Kavod Ltorah 

Friday, January 25, 2019

Torah News in The Torah World

1. A Siddur with a Pirush and Psakim of Maran Rav Chaim Kanyevsky שליט"א, was recently published. It is currently available only in Nusach Ashkenaz.

The publisher is a nephew of Maran Harav Chaim Kanyevsky שליט"א, Harav Lipa Yisroelson שליט"א.

‎2- The Sefer `Emes V'emunah` has been out of print for a while. This book is a collection of Torah Gems from the Heilige Rebbe of Kotzk, זיע"א‎.

It has been recently reprinted and is available for purchase

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!